Wealth Rules the World (Is There Really Any Doubt Anymore?)

by Hendrik Van den Berg, UNL Economics Professor

We like to believe that we have a democracy and that our votes ultimately decide important social and economic issues. People in other so-called democracies like to think the same thing. But, increasingly, observant citizens of Greece, France, Holland, the United States and elsewhere are beginning to see their democracies as little more than shams to keep citizens occupied and quiet while the real rulers consolidate their power. Who are these ‘rulers’? Here are several recent developments that clearly expose their identity.

Greeks vote for change, but they end up with more of the same

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Action Alert on Iran Nuclear Agreement

The successful completion of the first round of the negotiations between Iran and the six-member-nation group (Russia, China, United Kingdom, Germany, France and US) to encourage Iran to use its nuclear capacity for peaceful purposes is a source of considerable satisfaction to Nebraskans for Peace and to almost all peace organizations that have followed these critical talks. The proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East -- beginning with Israel's now-acknowledged nuclear stockpile and the threat of Iran and the Sunni great powers acquiring such devastating WMD -- cannot but lead to unfortunate consequences for the Middle East and the world. We urge our U.S. Senators, Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, to cease from spreading misinformation about Iran’s nuclear capacity, such as that Iran is within a month of developing a nuclear bomb and that it has the ICBM capacity to reach the United States. These assertions, promoted by self-interested Middle Eastern powers -- especially Israel -- and repeated by some of our national legislators from Nebraska, have never been validated by the CIA, and the scholarly Arms Control Association absolutely dismisses them (Arms Control Association Issue Briefs Volume 7, Issue 2, January 23, 2015). We ask that our U.S. Senators not only withdraw all irresponsible assertions of this kind, but that they also remove their signatures on the Sen. Tom Cotton letter threatening to undermine the negotiations -- a letter that Major General Paul D. Eaton has described as “mutinous.” Please write to your Senators at the following addresses:

Sen. Deb Fischer
383 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
202-224-6551
202-228-1325(FAX)
402-391-3411(Omaha)
402-441-4600(Lincoln)
www.fischer.senate.gov

Sen. Ben Sasse
B40E Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-4224
402-476-1400 (Lincoln)
www.sasse.senate.gov

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The NRA is Targeting Nebraska

The National Rifle Association is throwing its weight behind bills that will loosen gun laws in Nebraska. LB289, a “preemption” bill, would nullify all local gun ordinances in Nebraska, leaving only lax statewide gun laws valid in Nebraska’s cities. In Lincoln, this would do away with ordinances that keep people convicted of stalking, possession of explosives, impersonating a police officer, and other dangerous misdemeanors from possessing a gun in the city limits. It would also get rid of all of Omaha’s gun ordinances, including handgun registration and requiring a permit to open carry. Even though it would undermine her city’s efforts to curb gun violence, Omaha mayor Jean Stothert supports this NRA-backed bill.

Other gun bills before the Judiciary Committee include LB30, which would keep the identity of conceal carriers secret, making it impossible for the media and researchers to connect crimes to conceal carriers; LB635, which would allow conceal carriers to take guns into bars; and LB340, which would make businesses post specific signage with exact dimensions in order to bar people from carrying guns on the property.

Please contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and tell them that these laws are good for the NRA but bad for Nebraska.

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Let's Grow! | Get Out and Garden

Everyone should try growing some of their own food. It’s a great way to save money at the grocery store, eat more fruits and vegetables, get exercise, and connect with your community! Gardens and gardeners come in all shapes and sizes. Grab a shovel and create a plot in your yard or grow food in a container on your porch or balcony. Whatever you decide, make a pledge to grow some of your food this year. Let’s Grow! Get Out and Garden.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FLYER! Share it with everyone you know!

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CULTURAL HUMILITY

A’Jamal Byndon, Board Member of Nebraskans for Peace, Policy Research & Innovation, and long-time Community Organizer.

Nebraskans for Peace has not always enjoyed a significant participation of people of color during the course of its 45-year history. Over the last six months however, we have identified a State Board member and stakeholders who are actively working to bring more diversity to the organization. Our organizational agenda and image has been recalibrated in our 2015 Priority Plan to enable us to better reach out to these key constituencies.

We are endeavoring to increase the diversity of NFP’s membership by co-sponsoring events with the Omaha-based “Nebraska Families Collaborative” and other organizations working to make Nebraska a better place to live. These events are covering a variety of peace-related issues, including sessions on conflict resolution, reducing violence and helping other communities’ members address social challenges.

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