• With Washington’s nuclear targets, Putin’s war feels closer to home

    Reprinted from the The Seattle Times, March 6, 2022 Author Nicholas Mele is a retired U.S. diplomat, currently coordinates the Pax Christi USA Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament and serves on the Pax Christi International Working Group on Nuclear Abolition. He lives in Bellingham. Events in Ukraine are far from Puget Sound and, despite real-time reporting and video from the conflict, often seem just another level of anxiety. Russian President Vladimir Putin has brought the war much closer to home with his decision to put his nuclear forces on high alert. In fact, one reason for the cautious U.S. and European response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is concern about triggering any use of nuclear weapons. Residents of Western Washington…

  • The Underground Draft Resistance in Bellingham during the Vietnam War.

    A summary of an article in The Journal of the Whatcom County Historical Society by Dan Hammill pp 38-54 entitled “Peace Underground: Quietly Helping War Resisters Reach Safety in Canada.”  (not yet posted on the Historical Society website at this date 4/1/2022) by John M Repp This article tells us about a story from Bellingham during the Vietnam War, from 1966 to 1973. There were similar efforts in many other locations around the U.S, but the proximity of Bellingham to Canada was an impetus to the efforts described here. The article contains short biographies of some of the key figures, many of whom are now dead. Nearly 50,000 draft age men emigrated to Canada during the Vietnam war. Many had…

  • Bernie Sanders Opening Statement to the Senate Budget Committee

    Bernie Sanders Opening Statement to the Senate Budget Committee: April 5, 2022 Have you heard the words below on the mainstream media? If not, why not? Bernie Sanders, still the most popular politician in the United States, is calling the United States “an oligarchy”. While millions of workers are getting paid starvation wages, over the last 45 years there has been a huge transfer of wealth, to the tune of $50 trillion dollars, from the bottom 90% of Americans workers to the top 1%. The 1% use a little bit of their wealth to control the government through their donations to politicians which is essentially bribery and corruption. The 1% also have a control over much of the news media:…

  • A review of Democracy in Chains

    A review of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (New York: Viking, 2017) Is the U.S. a democracy? by John M Repp There has been a lot of talk lately about democracy in the United States. We like to think we are a democratic nation and contrast our system with the other two great powers in the world, Russia and China. Nancy MacLean published Democracy in Chains in 2017. The main story focuses on a Nobel prize-winning  economist who developed the “ideas” that the vast Koch network of organizations like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), (the whole stealth network is larger than the Republican party) uses to undercut the will of most…

  • Book Review: “Revolutionary Nonviolence”

    A review of James M. Lawson Jr., with Michael K. Honey and Kent Wong. Revolutionary Nonviolence: Organizing for Freedom (Oakland: University of California Press, 2022) by John M Repp This book is a transcript of recent talks by Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr. with a foreword by Angela Davis, an introduction by Michael Honey and a brief biography of Lawson by Kent Wong. Lawson is 93 and still working for justice, now in Los Angeles. Lawson was the workshop trainer in nonviolence in the campaign to desegregate downtown Nashville in 1960. The main tactic used there was the sit-in at lunch counters in the downtown stores. Lawson tells us that he spent months training people in nonviolence before the actions.…

  • Ukraine Maps Tell a Different Story Than Putin’s Claims

    by Zoltan Grossman abridged from Common Dreams Feb 28, 2022 As a geographer who has studied and taught about interethnic conflict around the world, and as a U.S. citi-zen with family roots in East-Central Europe, I’ve always read the stories told in the maps.These two maps show how Putin got it wrong, and miscalculated in launching his war against Ukraine. In Ukraine’s past presidential elections, the electoral map would almost perfectly match the language map. Pro-Russian politicians would win the red region, Ukrain-ian nationalists would win the yellow region, and they’d split the difference in the orange region.But in the 2019 election, something different hap-pened, shown on the bottom map. Fed up with corrupt politicians of both ethnic groups, voters…

  • Disinformation: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Have a New Recruit

    Who would have thought disinformation could turn a society upside down?  An editorial by John M Repp, Pacific Call editor   February 15, 2022 Mark Twain once said “a lie will fly around the whole world while the truth is getting its boots on”. He said that in the era of newspapers, books, and the telegraph. In those days, not everyone could publish a newspaper, write a book or even send a telegram. But today with the Internet, anyone who has a computer can post or pass on lies on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. These are some of the sites used to spread misinformation/disinformation now, and they make it easy for bad actors, even foreign governments, to intervene…

  • There is no planet B

    Review of Kim Stanley Robinson. The Ministry of the Future (New York: Orbit Books, 2020) by John M Repp This sprawling novel with 106 chapters starts with a deadly heat wave in India. A heat dome combines with high humidity that is beyond human survival. Millions die. We have been hearing for years about sea level rise, and indeed we could lose all our beaches in a few years. However, we have barely heard about high humidity and heat combined to a level that could kill millions in some areas of the world, including the American southeast. Bill McKibben, a leader of the environmental group 350.org, wrote in his review of Robinson’s book in New York Review of Books that…

  • No More Profit-seeking Middlemen in Our Medicare

    by John M Repp Medicare was passed in 1965 as a program to provide health care for seniors and disabled people. In the U.S. most people get their medical insurance from their employer as a benefit. But after retirement, or for those people who cannot work, the Medicare program has been a life saver. It was simple and efficient. 98% of its budget went to patient care.   There were gaps from the very beginning. It did not provide for nursing home care, hearing aids, glasses, and dental care. In 1997, Medicare Advantage plans were allowed to be set up by traditional for-profit insurance companies to plug some of the gaps. Many of the Medicare Advantage plans are low-cost or…

  • March 2022 Newsletter print edition

    The latest print version of Pacific Call is now available as a pdf to view or download. See the latest articles including the ones posted since our last newsletter issue! Plus some excellent letters to the editor, interesting graphics, and tidbits. CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE INCLUDE WWFOR Spring Retreat online                                  p. 1 A review of The Ministry of the Future        p. 2-3 Stop Privatizing Medicare                                p. 3 Less disinformation, more Internet savvy    p. 4 A review of The Dawn of Everything              p. 5-6 Zoltan Grossman: geography of Ukraine     p. 7 Cindy and Tom’s letters to editors        p. 8 U.S. Senate blocks Freedom to Vote bill       p. 8 Click here to see the pdf version. Full…