Peace Rally

On April 17, there will be a peace rally in Brattleboro. Cutting the USA's military budget is an effective way to slow population growth and stop climate change, experts say. The USA's military, by far the world's largest, is used to steal resources from poor nations. The federal government does this through war (as in Iraq) but also through the threat of war, as in oil-producing nations in Africa. On average -- globally and in the USA -- the poorest and least educated people have the most kids.

Marian Starkey is a spokeswoman for Population Connection. In 2016, she told the Valley Post, “The 49 least developed countries are also those with the highest fertility rates.”

On average, people in rich nations use far more fossil fuels than people in poor nations.

Earth's population is growing fast. In the year 1700, there were about 600 million people on earth. By 1800, there were about 900 million. In 1900, there were about 1.6 billion. In 2000, there were about 6 billion. That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The world's population will be about 11 billion in 2100, according to a prediction made last year by the United Nations.

Almost half (47 percent) of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

With 5 percent of the world's population, the USA spends at much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

John Ungerleider is a professor of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation at the School for International Training in Brattleboro. “The military budget is so high mainly because members of Congress want to keep defense jobs in their districts,” he told the Valley Post. Asked if the U.S. would be more likely to be attacked if the military budget was cut by 50 percent, Ungerleider said, “Of course not.” The best way for people to get the government to cut military spending is to donate to, and/or volunteer for, a group like the American Friends Service Committee, he said.

Melvin Goodman is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. For a decade he worked at the CIA as a division chief and foreign policy analyst. New Yorker magazine writer Seymour Hersh said of Goodman’s 2013 book, National Insecurity, “Goodman is not only telling us how to save wasted billions, he is telling us how to save ourselves.”

In the book, Goodman writes, “The United States has the most secure geopolitical environment of any major nation, but sustains a defense budget that equals the combined budgets of the rest of the world…. We have more than 700 military bases and facilities around the world; few other countries have any. We can deploy 11 aircraft carriers; among our rivals only China plans to deploy one—and that is a revamped Ukrainian aircraft carrier, a carryover from the ancient Soviet inventory…. Since the end of World War II, the United States has fought inconclusive wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; conducted dubious invasions of Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, and Panama; and mounted counterproductive covert operations around the world, including those in the Congo, Chile [which resulted in the installation of dictator Augusto Pinochet, who tortured and killed thousands of his political opponents], El Salvador, and Guatemala. Only Desert Storm in Iraq in 1991 can be termed a success, although it left Saddam Hussein in power and President George H.W. Bush out of power the following year, setting the stage for George W. Bush’s use of force against Iraq two decades later.”

David King is the United Kingdom's Special Representative for Climate Change. "The Iraq war was just the first of this century's 'resource wars,' in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities," King told the Guardian newspaper.

The U.S. and other rich nations have a long history of stealing resources from Africa. This story is told in the books “Bury the Chains” by Adam Hochschild and "Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power" by Steve Coll, and in the film "Lumumba" by Raoul Peck. The average life expectancy in the central African nation of Chad is 50; in the USA, it’s 80.

The Brattleboro rally will be at 10 a.m. outside 2 Main Street. More information is available at

While the chances of dramatically cutting U.S. military spending may seem small, in 1989, the chances of Nelson Mandela -- who was then seven years into a life sentence in prison -- becoming president of South Africa were also small. In 1994, Mandela was elected president and one of the world’s most brutal and racist governments was overthrown.

In the United States, 153 years ago, ending slavery and granting women the right to vote both seemed unlikely. Mass movements of ordinary people won justice.

In other news from the Valley, on March 28, the company that owns a nuclear waste dump in Vermont that’s three miles from Massachusetts and a stone’s throw from New Hampshire, and another company that wants to buy the dump, had full page ads in the Brattleboro Reformer daily newspaper, and in the Commons, a weekly newspaper published in Brattleboro. The ads urged people to support the deal.

As of last year, a full page ad in the Washington Post (circulation about 600,000) cost about $160,000.

A full page ad in a daily newspaper in Montana with a circulation of about 14,000 cost about $3,000.

Those prices are from:

The Reformer’s web site does not appear to list the paper’s circulation or ad prices, but as of 2005, its circulation was about 10,000. That’s according to:

Sandy Levine lives in Vermont and is a lawyer at the Conservation Law Foundation. On March 28, she told the Valley Post her group opposes the deal. “Entergy is responsible for cleaning up their plant, but wants to hand everything over to NorthStar – a company that has no experience decommissioning nuclear power plants. The deal Entergy and NorthStar proposed leaves Vermonters vulnerable to picking up the tab if something goes wrong. The promises are not supported by insurance, or money set aside until the work is done. ”

In other news from the Valley, on March 29, a spokesperson for Springfield No One Leaves said of a rally in Springfield that day, “With all of your help, we are happy to announce that Carrington Mortgage has started to negotiate with Boston Community Capital so that Ed and his wife can hopefully buy back their home.” Usually, when a giant corporate bank wants to evict a low-income family from the family’s home, that’s what happens. Thanks to the rally, in this case the family might win. More information is available via A powerful photo is at:

In other news from the Valley, on April 2 nurse Donna Stern of Greenfield told the Valley Post her union is asking the public to show up for rallies on April 11 at noon and 5 p.m. outside the hospital at 164 High Street in Greenfield. Details are at:

In other news from the Valley, in Keene on April 21, there will be a rally for 100 percent renewable energy for the USA by 2050. The rally will be at 1 p.m. outside 34 Cypress Street. The rain date is the next day. Details are at:

In other news from the Valley, on March 22, Vermont Land Trust announced it had saved 161 acres in Brookline, Vermont. Brookline is about four miles from Brattleboro.


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