Commemorating the bombing of Nagasaki

9 Aug 2023
We chose to commemorate the 78th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki right under the Amor sign (a take-off on the Love sign closer to City Hall on the same parkway).
Nagasaki was the second Japanese city to be hit with an atom bomb after Hiroshima. The explosion killed about 70k people more or less instantaneously.

The two peace movements in the US of the 21st Century, the one that began in 2002 over the Iraq War and the one that started in 2022 over the Ukraine-Russia war are both alike in that the activists are largely older and white. The lack of the direct involvement of the US means the war in Ukraine has necessarily meant that the 2022 movement is a great deal weaker (The movement against the war in Nicaragua managed to prevent the commitment of US troopss, but didn't make all that much of a cultural impact), but even more, the movement to oppose US involvement in the war on Ukraine has been largely dominated by "tankies," people who feel that the US is always wrong, under all circumstances. A large chunk of the people who advocated against attacking Iraq in 2002 feel today that the best peace plan is the one proposed by Ukraine. The main feature of it that distinguishes it from many others is that Ukraine wants ALL of its territory back, the 1991 borders. Yes, Russia can have peace, as soon as it withdraws!

David Gibson of Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!

People have criticized the Ukrainian counter-offensive as being too slow. Something in Ukraine's favor is the odd Russian military habit of trying to defend every inch and of taking back useless territory when they could just pull back into a defensive line whenever one of their lines is penetrated. This means that Ukraine can push ahead enough to provoke a Russian counter-attack and then wear away at Russian equipment and reserves from prepared positions.

Russia began the war with several thousand tanks, primarily the T-72, T-80 and T-90 variants. Ukraine has captured about 300 T-72s. But destroyed Russian tanks absolutely litter the landscape. So many of the modern variants have been destroyed, the Russians are refitting T-54s (produced in the late 40s) for use at the front. More and more, but especially since the Counter-offensive began in June, Ukrainian artillery and drones switched their attention to hiting Russian mortars, howitzers and rocket launchers. Russian manpower is still strong and they're launching plenty of missiles and drones at Ukrainian cities, but their actual, usable battlefield weapons are rapidly diminishing.

Bob Smith (sitting) of the Brandywine Peace Coalition.
Bob Smith rang this bell 78 times to commemorate the 78 years since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

In Israel, there are serious problems with what appears to be a mutinous military objecting to a judicial overhaul that was proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel is a highly centralized state anyway and the overhaul eliminated the semi-official role of its judiciary that resembled that of the American judiciary in its ability to review laws.

Generally, Israel maintains a tight blockade around Gaza (The blockade has been in place since 2007). They recently loosened it by a hair, but it is still quite difficult for Gazans to connect with the outside world. Israel' current government is today pushing back against reforms that were introduced by the last government:

That government, under prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, had seen the first-ever participation in a governing coalition by an explicitly Palestinian-Israeli party, “Ra’am”, which used its leverage to secure these long-overdue budget allocations.

Now, the curent Israeli government has suspended $55 million that was going into education and infrastructure for the people of Gaza.

under the Aor sign
One of our people calling on the US to join what's more or less the rest of the world in abolishing nuclear weapons.

In Ohio. as in Kansas last year, a state took a vote on abortion rights and completely shocked the anti-choice right wing in this country. The idea was to change the state consitution so that making changes to it would require a 60% majority, as opposed to 50% +1. Trump won the state in 2016 and 2020, but Ohio's Democrats warned that this would prevent Ohio's voters from passing  a Roe v Wade replaement. The bill lost by 14 points. The Fox News host Laura Ingraham feels getting Roe v Wade overriden (via stacking the Supreme Court) was "...the greatest accomplishment the conservative movement has had since the end of the Cold War." Progressives, of course, love the idea of conservatives defending their handiwork!

But a real problem in reaching any sort of settlement or compromise on abortion is that many anti-choicers refer to it as murder. That's why, when I  researched the issue in the late 70s, I found that there simply wasn't any possible compromise between the sides. How do you compromise on murder?