A Border Wall Basically Sets an XPRIZE for Criminals to Penetrate Our Border

Media Contacts:
Sanho Tree, stree@igc.org, 202-494-8004
Domenica Ghanem, domenica@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5205

In his first week Trump signed an executive action to begin the immediate construction of a Mexican border wall.

This is the response from Institute for Policy Studies Drug Policy expert Sanho Tree, who has been analyzing the drug war for nearly two decades.

“The first thing to know is that we already have a lot of this wall in place at the Mexican border, and ever since the wall was built, drug traffickers have developed sophisticated counter measures to get across it. By building walls we’ve basically set up an XPRIZE for bad guys to penetrate our borders, exacerbating the risk to our national security rather than alleviating it.

In earlier days, traffickers built ramps to drive over it, catapults and compressed air cannons to launch drugs over it, and tunnels with rail systems, electricity, and ventilation to push drugs under it. At the same time, traffickers took the sea route and bypassed the wall – starting with speedboats, advancing to narco submarines, and even using drug torpedoes attached under ships. Other traffickers went airborne using small planes, old airliners, and now ultralights and drones.

It is very stupid and very dangerous to incentivize drug cartels to find new and innovative ways to penetrate our borders. If they decide to work with terrorists some day, our country could face a terrifying national security threat of our own making.”

Available for comment:
Sanho Tree, stree@igc.org, 202-494-8004

The post A Border Wall Basically Sets an XPRIZE for Criminals to Penetrate Our Border appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sanho Tree directs the Drug Policy project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Trump’s First Test on Taxes

Mansion Estate

(Photo: Adwo | Shutterstock)

Donald Trump’s voters have high hopes that he’ll boost the economy and protect jobs for those who’ve been left behind after three decades of flat or shrinking paychecks.

They didn’t vote to make the super-wealthy even wealthier.

Even Steve Mnuchin, the Goldman Sachs banker Trump picked to be his treasury secretary, seems to understand this. He promised “no absolute tax cuts for the upper class.”

Yet one of the first priorities of Republicans in Congress is to give an exclusive tax break to multi-millionaires and billionaires. They plan to abolish the estate tax and allow tax loopholes for billionaires to continue.

The estate tax, sometimes derided as a “death tax,” is only paid by households with assets over $ 11 million. In 2013, 99.8 percent of the population was exempt.

But the 0.2 percent who are subject to the tax are well represented in Donald Trump’s cabinet.

Our first billionaire president has nominated a cabinet that includes two billionaires and at least ten multi-millionaires, whose combined net worth is estimated at over $ 13 billion. As a group, they’re part of the tiny segment of U.S. society that will personally benefit from such targeted tax cuts for the wealthy.

Under the GOP plan, Mnuchin’s taxes would be cut by $ 3.3 million a year, according to an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness. And his heirs would get an extra $ 160 million if the estate tax is abolished.

Members of Donald Trump’s family would also score big. If Trump has the $ 10 billion he claims, scrapping the estate tax would net each of his four children an additional $ 1 billion in inherited wealth.

There’s no credible argument that abolishing this tax on inherited wealth will create jobs or help the economy. It’ll simply be a windfall for the already have-a-lots.

At the root of our problems is a two-tiered tax system in America: one for the privileged and one for everyone else.

The tax system for the bottom 99 percent is hard to play games with: Most of us have taxes taken out of our wages in every paycheck.

The privileged people’s tax system, for those with $ 10 million or more, includes numerous opportunities for the super-rich to get out of paying their fair share. Wealthy families like the Mnuchins and Trumps hire teams of lawyers, accountants, and estate planners to help them to design escape routes from their tax obligations.

Mnuchin has personally set up several “dynasty trusts” to avoid paying any taxes on his personal estimated fortune of $ 620 million. According to federal ethics disclosures, he has $ 32 million in one such trust, including corporate stock, artwork, and a private jet. The primary purpose of these vehicles is to dodge federal estate taxes for generations to come.

When the wealthy dodge taxes, ordinary taxpayers who can’t game the system must pick up the tab for infrastructure, defense, national parks, and servicing the national debt. The super-rich reap the enormous benefits of growing their wealth in U.S. society, but they’re freeloaders when it comes to paying the bills.

Historically, being wealthy hasn’t disqualified a president from being a champion for those with less. There are many examples of “born on third base” presidents: Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush. The test of leadership is whether they put the country ahead of their own narrow personal financial interests.

For Trump, the estate tax is the first such text.

Making America great doesn’t mean giving booster rockets to multi-generational dynasties of wealth. We need one tax system that’s fair to everyone.

The post Trump’s First Test on Taxes appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good.

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Mnuchin’s Misplaced $100 Million

ceo-pay-mnuchin-goldman-sachs

(Photo: Shutterstock)

How rich have America’s rich become? So rich that they can squirrel away $ 100 million and then lose track of it.

Steven Mnuchin, the Donald Trump nominee for U.S. treasury secretary, did just that earlier this month.

Mnuchin’s explanation for missing all those millions? The official disclosure questionnaire made him do it. All cabinet secretary picks have to file paperwork on their personal financial holdings, and Mnuchin dutifully filed his required records after his nomination. But subsequent review revealed that the one-time Goldman Sachs partner who went on to even greater hedge fund glory had failed to disclose assorted personal assets worth over $ 100 million.

“I think, as you all can appreciate, filling out these government forms is quite complicated,” he told a Senate hearing.

That big, round $ 100 million figure came up again last week with another Trump administration top pick. Gary Cohn, the administration’s choice to head the National Economic Council, used to be the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs. Cohn resigned those positions to accept his new Trump position. But he won’t be walking away from the bank empty-handed.

On Tuesday, news reports related that Goldman Sachs would be blessing Cohn’s service with a $ 100 million windfall. By Thursday, more disclosures had swelled that reward to $ 285 million in stock and cash. This quarter-billion-plus comes over and above the $ 20 million the bank has already paid Cohn for his regular 2016 compensation.

Will Cohn, following his Goldman confrère Mnuchin, now lose track of his new millions? Would you — if someone dropped $ 100 million or more in your lap?

Probably not. The average American with a college degree, over the course of a working a career, will only collect a grand total of $ 2.1 million in paychecks. The average American high school grad will earn $ 1.2 million.

Most all of this paycheck income, in both cases, will go toward meeting daily expenses. Not much will be left over. In fact, the typical 401(k) account of Americans aged 55 to 64 now holds just $ 71,579.

So Gary Cohn, with his latest $ 285 million from Goldman Sachs, is walking away with nearly 4,000 times the reward for a lifetime of labor that goes to Americans of modest means.

Something must be done about this enormous disparity in corporate pay. Many people are doing something. Among them: Rhode Island lawmaker Aaron Regunberg. Representative Regunberg has just introduced a measure that would, if passed, become the first-ever state-level tax on excessive executive compensation.

Regunberg’s proposal would place a 10 percent business surtax on publicly traded corporations that pay their top execs over 100 times what their median — most typical — workers earn. Firms that pay their top execs over 250 times worker pay would face a 25 percent surtax.

“The spectacular concentration of income and wealth among the top 0.1 percent hurts our economy and corrupts our democracy,” Regunberg noted when he and five colleagues filed the excessive pay surtax legislation. “Nobody needs to receive more than what their employee would earn in a century.”

Early last month, in Oregon, Portland city officials adopted a similar pay ratio surtax on excessive corporate executive compensation, the first-ever municipal move against America’s gaping corporate pay divide. A host of other cities — led by San Francisco — have since then begun exploring actions along the same line.

So far, meanwhile, no one seems to have asked treasury secretary-designate Mnuchin what he thinks about this notion of levying extra taxes on companies that pay their CEOs excessively. But Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, did ask the Goldman Sachs alum whether he thought having CEOs making hundreds of times more than their workers rated as “fair.”

Shareholders, Mnuchin responded, should determine how much CEOs make.

“I don’t think it is the proper role of the federal government to prescribe limitations,” added Donald Trump’s choice to run the federal government’s entire financial apparatus.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the United States also has a good many local and state governments. And they — increasingly — have some different ideas.

The post Mnuchin’s Misplaced $ 100 Million appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sam Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Trump Is Carpet-Bombing U.S. Foreign Policy

us-militarism-trump

(Image: AK Rockefeller / Flickr)

Very soon, Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order regarding refugees and entry to the U.S. for a whole swathe of people. In effect, the edict would be aimed at banning Muslims from the United States, demonizing people from Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

It’s no accident that of the seven countries identified, the U.S. is bombing five (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia), has troops deployed and military bases in another (Sudan), and imposes harsh sanctions and frequent threats against the last (Iran).

These military actions all reflect policies that fuel refugee flows in the first place. In a grim irony, the order bans refugees from wars that in many cases the U.S. itself started.

The order violates international law requiring countries to provide refuge to those in desperate need, and completely reverses the long history of the U.S. claim — however often that claim is actually denied — to be a country that welcomes refugees and immigrants.

We should also note that the list of Muslim-majority countries targeted in the new regulations all happen to be countries where the Trump business empire has no holdings. Exceptions just happen to be countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Muslim-majority states where Trump has major investments and business partnerships.

One might think that Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the two countries that nearly all the 9/11 hijackers came from — and which are currently known to be backing ISIS and other terrorists, in Saudi Arabia’s case, and facing serious terror attacks on their own soil largely in response to government repression, in Egypt’s — would be included in Trump’s twisted analysis as potential sources of terrorism.

But no, those countries were ignored. Conflicts of interest? Nah, just a coincidence.

The order goes on to call for the Pentagon to create a “safe zone in Syria and in the region” to absorb local refugees, to prevent them from heading to Europe and beyond to the U.S. Yet almost inevitably, that means launching more airstrikes on the country — a recipe for more war and more refugees.

This is the opposite of what we should be doing. If we’re serious about taking care of refugees and ending the conditions that give rise to their plight, we must welcome far more of the 65 million people currently displaced in the world. And crucially, we must provide real support — not with more war, but by working to end the wars that create refugees in the first place.

That means demanding that our government privilege diplomacy over war. The Obama administration’s successes in foreign policy — the Paris climate agreement, the moves towards normalization with Cuba, and most especially the nuclear deal with Iran — all emerged from hard-fought campaigns to choose diplomatic over military means.

And even if anyone near the top of the new administration were interested in diplomacy (though there’s no evidence of that!), it just got a whole lot harder.

The soon-to-be-signed executive order creates a lot more work for federal workers, especially in the Department of Homeland Security and in the State Department. Yet the entire top echelon of the State Department’s management just quit and walked out. There are conflicting stories about whether these leaders, who weren’t political appointees, were pushed out by new political leaders or left on their own after being presented with unacceptable demands. But either way, State is now severely understaffed in key areas such as consular services.

For those of us convinced that real internationalism should be the basis of U.S. foreign policy, the State Department has never been a full-fledged ally. U.S. diplomacy is too often deployed in the interest of military goals, U.S. corporate profits, and the undermining of governments deemed insufficiently submissive to U.S. strategic interests — and too rarely in compliance with international law.

But diplomacy and multilateralism, however flawed, are still the key alternatives to military force. Getting rid of the key civil servants who kept U.S. diplomacy functioning fits far too well into the opposite goal — privileging war over diplomacy.

The new president’s budget calls for the Pentagon to get a huge influx of new funds, beyond the $ 600 billion or so base budget it already has (a figure that doesn’t include the funds that support the nuclear arsenal, care for veterans, or even the war on terror, which run several hundred billion dollars more). The military forces are about to get a lot bigger. And the nuclear arsenal is about to get an enormous influx of money for “modernization.”

Combine that with a State Department more or less incapable of doing anything because they’ve lost all the people who actually know how to make diplomacy happen, and you have a perfect storm of war winning out over diplomacy.

It’s kind of like the way elites have carried out neoliberal policies of privatization and de-regulation: You de-fund and under-staff the public agencies, while shifting money to now deregulated private sector entities. Then you watch while the government agencies fail, thus “proving” that government can’t do anything nearly as well as the private sector.

Only in this case, it’s not the public that fails while the private succeeds. It’s diplomacy that fails while the military wins out. Which means everyone loses.

The post Trump Is Carpet-Bombing U.S. Foreign Policy appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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The Trouble with Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’

liberal-media-alternative-facts

(Photo: woodleywonderworks / Flickr)

About an hour after Donald Trump was sworn in, I was having lunch with my wife and our five-month-old. As we picked at our food outside my office in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, groups of tourists trickled by in Trump regalia.

Early the next morning, as I dumped a pail of diapers in the trash can out front, I ran into a much different crowd: throngs of people wearing pink and carrying anti-Trump signs, passing through my neighborhood on their way to the Women’s March.

It was scarcely 7am, yet already I’d seen more pink hats than I’d seen red ones the day before. Surprised — and still in my pajama pants — I scurried inside.

DC’s Women’s March alone attracted three times as many visitors as Trump’s inauguration, crowd experts quoted by The New York Times estimate. According to ridership data from the DC Metro system, only one other event topped it: Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

This was obvious to anyone who lives here, and to anyone who’s seen aerial photos of the crowd.

Of course, whose crowd is bigger matters only a little more than whose hands are bigger, among other appendages Trump likes to size up. But sometimes he can’t help himself.

It was laughably untrue. But it wasn’t a lie, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told NBC. It was just an an “alternative fact.”At a moment you’d expect a new president to be busy with other things, Trump directed his press secretary to announce that his crowds had been “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Any media outlet that told you differently, he said, was lying.

If that doesn’t set your Orwell alarm off, I don’t know what will. Yet almost immediately, Trump’s version of events started circulating through conservative news sites and social media outlets.

The Trump administration, in short, used its inaugural press conference to tell bald-faced, easily falsifiable lies — and many Americans believed them. Aerial photos, crowd experts, Metro data, even TV ratings be damned — all that mattered were the “alternative facts” of the Trump team.

There’s more at stake here than a “whose is bigger?” contest — including for millions of Trump supporters. To see how, let me tell you something else about Trump’s first day in office.

Shortly after announcing that “every decision” will be “made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump retreated to the Oval Office to sign his first directives as president.

The first raised mortgage fees for working families, including many who probably supported Trump. Another began the process of dismantling a health care law that’s helped 20 million people get insurance.

Trump voters in red states could be especially hard-hit.

From Florida to Pennsylvania, in fact, over 6 million people getting health insurance subsidies live in states that Trump won. Combined with the law’s Medicaid expansion and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, that’s helped deep-red states like Kentucky and West Virginia cut their uninsured rates by half.

But here’s the question: If Trump can tell you your own eyes are lying about a simple aerial photograph of his inauguration, can he also convince you your mortgage fees didn’t just go up? Or that you’ll still have health care after he axes your subsidy and gives your insurer permission to drop you?

Talk about “alternative facts.” If those things slide, what else can he get away with?

Trump voters are famously skeptical of Washington. Of all people, I hope they’d agree that watching what a politician does tells you more than hearing what he says. If they shut their eyes now, they’re going to get sucker punched.

The post The Trouble with Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’ appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Peter Certo is the editorial manager at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Fairfood verwelkomt twee nieuwe medewerkers

Met Fairfood gaan we het in 2017 nét even anders doen. Onverminderd fair, maar wel meer food. Twee nieuwe foodies in ons team gaan daar een belangrijke rol in spelen: Marten van Gils en Martijn Scheutjens.

Marten van Gils at als peuter eens zóveel mango’s dat ze hem naar het ziekenhuis moesten brengen… een echte die-hard dus. Daarnaast is hij sociaal ondernemer, met een aantal initiatieven in o.a. Sri Lanka, Mexico en Peru. Bij Fairfood komen food en ondernemerschap samen in zijn nieuwe taak: mooie producten lanceren. Anno 2017 betekent dat niet alleen dat de producten zelf moet kloppen, maar ook het proces erachter. En dat kan echt beter, want nog te veel mango’s smaken naar vervuiling en armoede.

Martijn Scheutjens’ liefde voor koken is geboren uit een haat voor afwassen. Immers: wie kookt, hoeft niet af te wassen. Toen hij bij Wakker Dier ging werken, kreeg hij de klus om het fotoarchief opnieuw in te richten. Sindsdien eet hij nauwelijks nog vlees, en als ie dat wel doet is het biologisch. Hij ontwikkelde zich verder als creatieve communicatiespecialist en je kent ’m vooral van zijn talloze campagnes tegen plofkip, kiloknallers en vlees van gecastreerde biggetjes. Nu zet hij zich in om te zorgen dat de boeren die ons voedsel verbouwen en zelf nauwelijks te eten hebben, het beter krijgen.

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Treasury Secretary Nominee Steven Mnuchin Pulls an Old Trick on CEO Pay Questions

Unequal wealth

(Image: Truthout.org / Flickr)

In response to questions from senators who will be voting soon on his Treasury Secretary nomination, Steven Mnuchin pulled an old trick on the issue of CEO pay.

I’m well familiar with this maneuver after having spent a couple decades pushing for reforms to rein in excessive executive compensation. Overpaid CEOs make everybody’s blood boil. But the minute you suggest there might be a responsible role for policymakers in addressing the problem, watch out. The CEO pay defenders will immediately accuse you of trying to erect an iron ceiling on what somebody can earn. “And what,” they hyperventilate, “could be more un-American than that?!”

Here’s how this played out in Mnuchin’s written response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Wyden: One area where I see a lot of unfairness in our tax system is executive compensation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, top CEOs were paid 276 times more than the typical worker in 2015. Do you think that’s fair? In many ways, the Tax Code encourages employers to pay their employees large sums of money on a tax-preferred basis. Do you agree? Do you commit to working with me to shut down executive compensation loopholes?

Mnuchin: I am committed to work with Congress to ensure that the tax code is fair. I believe these issues need to be addressed in the context of broad tax reform. As to the issue of what executives are paid, I believe this is for shareholders to determine. I don’t think it is the proper role of the federal government to prescribe limitations.

You see how Wyden asked about eliminating tax loopholes that favor CEOs and Mnuchin responded as if the Senator had proposed a firm limit on executive compensation?

Not that the idea of a wage cap isn’t worth discussing in our current era of extreme wealth and income concentration. British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn recently called for a ceiling on individual income, as one of several options for addressing his own country’s widening divide. And as my colleague Sam Pizzigati pointed out last week, Corbyn’s proposal echoed one initiated by an American president – Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1942, FDR called for a limit on income after taxes of more than $ 25,000, about $ 370,000 today.

But wage cap proposals are nowhere near the table in today’s U.S. policy discussions. What Mnuchin was doing in response to Wyden’s legitimate question was simply setting up a straw man. It’s much easier to shoot down a non-existent proposal for a compensation ceiling than it is to defend taxpayer subsidies for excessive CEO pay.

The post Treasury Secretary Nominee Steven Mnuchin Pulls an Old Trick on CEO Pay Questions appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Sarah Anderson the director the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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The Trade Debate Isn’t About the U.S. vs. the World, It’s Corporations vs. the Rest of Us

Media Contacts:
John Cavanagh, johnc@ips-dc.org, 202 297 4823
Domenica Ghanem, domenica@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5205

In an executive order yesterday, Donald Trump scrapped the Trans Pacific Partnership under the guise of bringing jobs back on American soil and promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

This is the response of Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanagh, who has been analyzing U.S. trade policies since the 1994 launch of NAFTA:

“IPS has worked for many years with the broad array of labor, environmental, consumer, and other civil society groups in many countries that are primarily responsible for the death of the TPP agreement. The pact was designed in the interest of large corporations – circumventing labor and environmental standards, offshoring jobs, and granting excessive investor rights that would let tribunals sue governments against the public interest.

But we cannot allow the trade policies that replace it to put the interests of multinational corporations first, as the renegotiation of NAFTA under a Trump administration teeming with corporate interests is positioned to do. Trump has promised that the NAFTA renegotiation will create jobs in the United States, but if corporate elites are allowed to dictate the renegotiation, Trump’s false economic populism will result in Americans facing job loss, wage stagnation, and eroding working conditions, especially for low-income workers and workers of color.

We need an internationalist approach to trade that lifts up labor rights, environmental standards, and human rights for people in all of the nations involved in the agreement, and provides good jobs for workers in the U.S. Trump wants to allow corporations to pit American workers against other working communities in a global race to the bottom. IPS will fight with broad civil society networks for a trade policy that lifts up all working families and the environment.

We support the recent trinational declaration that brings together Canada, Mexico, and the United States to make a transparent, internationalist approach to trade a reality.”

For more information:

John Cavanagh, johnc@ips-dc.org, 202 297 4823
http://www.citizenstrade.org

The post The Trade Debate Isn’t About the U.S. vs. the World, It’s Corporations vs. the Rest of Us appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

John Cavanagh is the director of the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Vacancy: Living Wage & Livelihoods Expert

Do you want to contribute to a fair food system, in an international environment…

…working with the coolest team in the world? 😉

Expert wanted

Fairfood is an innovative, fact-based non-profit organisation that advocates for fair and transparent food chains.

We lead the transition towards a fair food system in which people live in dignity, the environment is respected, and there is social and economic value for all. The food on our plates is often not produced under fair working conditions.  We strongly believe that food workers and farmers have the right to a living income; enough to pay for nutritious food, healthcare, education, clothing and housing. We ensure that food and beverage companies and retailers pay a living wage to workers and that farmers can earn a living income.

We are looking for a Living Wage and Livelihoods Expert to join our small, dedicated and enthusiastic team. You will be responsible for designing projects in specific supply chains which ensure fair prices and wages.

Responsibilities:

  • Translates the Fairfood strategy and vision into policy, plan and approach and takes up its implementation;
  • Is aware of developments and actively engages with relevant networks within the area of Living Wage and uses inputs from external parties for development of Fairfood’s position and approach on the topic;
  • Designs projects and methodology to implement living wage and living income;
  • Initiates and takes the lead in developing the Living Wage Lab initiative;
  • Advises and supports colleagues — solicited and unsolicited — on the living wage policy and its implementation and execution;
  • Initiates and organises meetings and participates in discussions with relevant groups, stakeholders and governments on the topic.

Candidate requirements:

  • At least 6-8 years of work experience in a multi stakeholder programs or organisations, preferably in agriculture;
  • University degree in a relevant field (e.g. social studies, economics or international development);
  • Experience with living wage/income policies, approaches and programs;
  • Experience with value chain or private sector approaches to social issues;
  • Organisational cross-cultural, communication and diplomatic advocacy skills;
  • Hands-on, analytical, positive and a get things done mentality;
  • Food lover and enthusiast with an inquisitive nature especially regarding where our food comes from;
  • Fluency in Dutch (native speaker) and English, mastering French and/or Spanish is a big plus.

Employment is based upon 32-40 hours/week. The position is based in Amsterdam, with regular travels abroad.

Please send your application (max. 1 page motivation, max 2 page resume) before 10 February 2017 to sander@fairfood.org.

Recruitment agencies are asked to refrain from approaching Fairfood about this or any other vacancy.

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Bombing to Eradicate Terrorism Produces the Opposite Effect

A recent report calculated that the U.S. conducted  airstrikes in seven countries last year.

In an interview with Radio Sputnik, IPS Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis argued that these air assaults on Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere were largely ineffective at combating terrorism.

“More important than the number of bombs,” she said, “is the number of people killed.” She argued that when drones, planes, and helicopters drop bombs on people, U.S. intelligence officials hope they’re getting the “right people,” but can’t actually be completely sure of who they’re targeting.

“You can’t bomb terrorism out of existence,” she added. “You can bomb cities, you can bomb people, you can kill them, and once in a while you can bomb a terrorist.” But ultimately, that does not end terrorism.

Rather, it breeds more terrorism, because people who may be viewed as a terrorist by U.S. intelligence officials aren’t viewed the same in their communities. Killing them only sparks “more terrorism, antagonism, and violence,” Bennis explained.

This kind of military-first policy, she argued, is one “that governments often choose because they are not prepared to invest the money, time, high level attention, etc. that it takes to do the real diplomacy and the real development issues that spark terrorism in the first place.”

And in the Obama era, she added, a heavier reliance on air power has made it “much easier for people in the United States to forget that there’s a war going on at all,” compared to the Bush administration, when hundreds of thousands of U.S. ground troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bennis explained that the key reason the U.S. continues to use bombs despite the fact that it doesn’t work has largely to do with money, referencing the military industrial complex that profits from war. She said we need to not only mobilize massive public opinion against war, but also to challenge the claim that wars produce jobs. Peacetime investments in education and the environment, she added, yield far more jobs per dollar spent.

Asked about whether the next few years would bring in a more peaceful world, Bennis answered that it is too early to tell. But there’s cause for concern, because many members of Donald Trump’s cabinet come from a military background. “If you’re a military person, you tend to think that all solutions are military,” she concluded.

Listen to the full interview on Sputnik Radio.

The post Bombing to Eradicate Terrorism Produces the Opposite Effect appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis is the director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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