Chris Hellman is the military budget specialist and senior research analyst at the National Priorities Project. He said today that while many have focused on looming reductions to military spending, "in fact, the Pentagon is in a better position to absorb these cuts because of sizable growth in [its] spending over the past decade."
The group recently released the report "Sequestration, the Pentagon and the States," which finds: "Sequestration cuts discretionary spending to reduce the deficit. The military accounts for over half of all discretionary spending (57 percent). Military spending has grown by 35 percent since 2002, 48 percent if you include war costs. Domestic discretionary spending grew by only 8 percent over that period.
"Despite a modest 2.6 percent decrease projected in FY2013 — the first such cut in over a decade — Pentagon spending will continue to grow over the next five years if sequestration does not occur. U.S. military spending accounts for 43 percent of the global total, five times more than China, the second largest military budget. A $1 billion federal investment in health care would create 2.4 times more jobs than investing it in the Pentagon. Cutting Pentagon spending will not affect veterans’ benefits."
Jo Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project and said today: "The federal government will reduce or delay needed investments in education, food safety, and infrastructure projects. And some two million people will lose their jobs."
The group reports: "More than $700 million will be cut from Title I grants for disadvantaged public schools, affecting 1.2 million students. At the same time, 70,000 children will lose their slots in Head Start. ... Furloughs for public health officials will mean roughly 2,100 fewer food safety inspections and the potential for public health problems and shortages of some foods, as reduced inspections will slow production schedules. ... Treatment for adults and children with serious mental illnesses will be cut back, denying treatment for an estimated 373,000 patients. ...
"A $50 billion cut in Pentagon spending could fund five years of Community Development Block Grants AND five years of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) AND four years of Homeless Assistance Grants."
Local biologist and adventurer Dave Metz will be speaking at 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 12, at REI. He lives in Cottage Grove. The Medford Mail Tribune did a story on him recently.
This Valentine's Day show at the Jazz Station is likely to sell out soon. See Jazz Station for online ticket sales.
Too late for the Calendar this week: We hear from Doug Card that he’s doing a free program at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Lane County Historical Museum at the Fairgrounds, on "Wiley Griffon, More Than a Mule Car Driver." Card will talk about recent research that “uncovers new insights in to the remarkable life of Eugene's first well-known black man, who lived here from 1890- 1913, as well as on the history of Eugene, both good and bad." This event is in honor of the centenary of his death and the kickoff for MLK events.
Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) and Community Supported Shelters will assemble two conestoga huts at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, 3925 Hilyard St. in Eugene. Two houseless people who have been chosen to use the first Conestoga Huts will participate in their assembly.
The city of Eugene recently approved the simple, waterproof 6’ X 10’ conestoga huts as part of St. Vincent de Paul’s Car Camping Program. Episcopal Church has volunteered to be the first host site for two huts.
Speakers at the event will include Dan Bryant, OVE Board chairman and Pastor of First Christian Church; Michael Carrigan, OVE Steering Committee member and community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and a representative from the church.
People interested in helping construct the shelters or contributing cash or materials are invited to the event. Or checks can be sent made out to St. Vincent de Paul, designated for OVE and mailed to CALC, 458 Blair Blvd., Eugene 97402. Include an address so receipts can be mailed back. Phone number for more information is 606-3480 and the website is www.conestogahuts.org
Materials (new or used) needed include 1-inch cedar or Douglas fir planks, pressure-treated posts, 2X4s and 2X6s, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch plywood, doors and hardware, pier blocks, etc.
Below is a joint statement from a collection of U.N. experts on the rights of migrants worldwide. The word "states" refers primarily to nation states.
On a day like today, we unite our voices to recognize the invaluable contributions that millions of migrants across the world make daily to create better living conditions for everyone. Even though participating in our societies, the other side of the story is that simply for being migrants, millions are victims of discrimination, xenophobia and a myriad of violations against their human rights. It is because of this that today, on International Migrants Day, we reaffirm that human rights are rights for all persons. In this sense, a real commitment by States regarding the human rights of migrants requires the full recognition of migrants as rights holders. Human rights are derived from human dignity and not from national origin or migratory status.
In the current context, we reiterate our concern regarding the tendency of some states to criminalize irregular migration. Crossing a border without the required documentation or overstaying a visa is not per se a crime, but rather at most, an administrative offence.
Measures that criminalize irregular migration include the enactment of laws that penalize migrants in an irregular situation and persons that assist migrants; the use of excessive and disproportionate force during migration control operations; the detention of migrants in an irregular situation; deportations without procedural guarantees; and also xenophobic statements in which authorities and the media encourage the stigmatization of migrants. In addition to being contrary to human rights and increasing the vulnerability of migrants, these measures have not been proven effective in deterring irregular migration.
In this sense, we express our deep concern for the increasing use of detention of migrants by some states. This situation is of even greater concern because detention is often applied to children. Respect for the right to liberty and security of person implies that liberty is the rule and detention, the exception. States have the obligation to establish a presumption in favor of liberty in domestic law. The automatic, mandatory or punitive use of migrant detention not only violates migrants' right to liberty, but also affects others of their human rights. The exceptionality of administrative detention of migrants also applies to asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons and other persons in need of international protection. We call on States to gradually abolish the administrative detention of migrants and establish alternative measures to detention, applying a human rights based approach.
By celebrating International Migrants Day, we reaffirm that the protection of the human rights of migrants requires the adoption of various measures by states. In this context, we call on states to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, as well as other international and regional human rights treaties. In parallel to ratifying these instruments, States should guarantee that their policies, laws and practices on migration conform to their international human rights obligations.”
This joint statement has been subscribed on Dec. 18, 2012, on International Migrants Day by François Crépeau, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; Abdelhamid El Jamri, chair of the U.N. Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW); Felipe Gonzalez, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS); Maya Sahli Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) of the African Union (AU).