FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

From Flint’s Children to Nuclear Weapons, Funding Our Nation’s Priorities

This week our nation funds our national priorities on tax day. In this era of growing discussion about participatory democracy and citizens engaging in the decisions of how their community tax dollars should be allocated it is important for each of us to identify what our priorities are.

The priorities we set provide a moral mirror of our humanity and are the fabric of our nation. From social security to Medicare, education, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, environmental protection to defense and yes the funding of nuclear weapons programs this is the time we fund each of these priorities. Yet what role does the latter, nuclear weapons, really play in our humanity? We now recognize that their use in any way is unacceptable and would forever change our world. Even a “tiny” nuclear war using half of one percent of the global nuclear arsenals or approximately 100 Hiroshima size bombs could kill two billion people from the climate change that would follow. Any use therefore would be the ultimate “reset” button in this crazy game we play ending life as we know it on the planet.  Yet we continue to gamble allowing luck to be the overriding determinant. Luck is not a security policy!

The myth of nuclear deterrence has been one of the greatest driving forces of the nuclear arms race. Because if your country has one weapon then I must have two and so on. Currently there are 15,375 nuclear weapons in the world’s arsenals.

For this 2015 tax year, the U.S. will spend $55.9 billion on all nuclear weapons programs.  This expenditure affects every single community from the very poorest to wealthiest, robbing these communities of vital resources that could provide for their basic needs.  The children of Flint, Michigan who have unwittingly become the mine canaries of a society that chose cost savings over clean drinking water will see their city pay $8,781,398.10 for nuclear weapons programs. These weapons do nothing but add to the uncertain future of these children. My community of Ventura County north of Los Angeles, California with a population of 850,536 and per capita average income of $33,308 will spend $155,321,482.10 as our share of these nuclear weapons programs. Our wealthiest Americans from the Zuckerbergs to the Buffetts and Gates with their generous philanthropy will contribute in excess of $6.09 million for every billion dollars income last year. How does this help the world they envision? Is this really the best use of these precious dollars?

Nuclear weapons programs have been allowed to take on a life of their own seemingly without end. We are planning to embark on a $1 trillion dollar nuclear modernization program over the next 30 years.

While the danger of a nuclear disaster is as high as or higher than during the height of the Cold War, it is an unexamined assumption that this is what must be.  There is much that is happening as peoples, leaders and nations are awakening to the realities of our nuclear world. There is an ever growing awareness of the potential impact and ultimate costs of nuclear weapons and war. The winds of change are blowing.

To date, 127 Nations have formally endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge – a commitment by nations to fill the unacceptable “legal gap” that allows nuclear weapons to remain the only weapons of mass destruction not yet explicitly prohibited under international law. It is time to change the rules!

In June 2015, the American Medical Association passed a resolution urging the U.S. and all national governments to continue to work to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and has committed to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to increase public awareness and education on the topic of the medical and environmental consequences of nuclear war – what has been called the final epidemic.

On April 24, 2014, the tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands filed landmark lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed nations for failing to comply with their obligations under international law to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. This David vs. Goliath effort continues to work through the International Court of Justice.

Rotary programs around the world are now hearing presentations on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear war and more importantly are figuring out how best to deal with this international health risk for which there is no cure.

Pope Francis has also spoken out and called for the elimination of nuclear weapons when he said “A world without nuclear weapons is essential for the future and survival of the human family … we must ensure that it becomes a reality.”

There is much that is happening and the choice is ours. The time is now. Silence implies consent. It is time to let our voices be heard and let our representatives know what our priorities are.  We can and must do better.

To calculate your individual or community cost of nuclear weapons programs go to: http://www.psr-la.org/nuclear-costs

More articles by:
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail