Much has been said about the big deficit in Oregon's public pension program, PERS. 

Now Stacy Bannerman has something new to say about it: PERS should get any of its investments out of companies that make weapons of war.  Bannerman, the head of Women's EcoPeace, brought her group and others into a coalition, calling upon state leaders to "divest PERS from the war machine." 


Just a small percentage of Americans serve in the armed forces now. 

But that's still 20 million and more people with experiences taking up arms to protect the country. 

Southern Oregon Public TV--SOPTV--honors them periodically with "My Story of Service," personal tales of service from veterans of all ages. 

A second season of stories is now underway, and producer Jeff LeBeau visits with Larry Slessler, who has memories from Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis. 

Michael R. Noggle, Public Domain,

Two words, not terribly descriptive alone, gain surprising strength when used in a two-word phrase: special forces. 

That phrase conjures up images of elite teams of military forces, trained for the most difficult and harrowing missions. 

Special operations forces grew out of World War II and stuck around.  Now they are profiled in a book, Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces.

Master Sgt. Thomas Meneguin/Air Force, Public Domain,

People in parts of the region have grown accustomed to the sound of military jets flying overhead. 

The Oregon Air National Guard wing based at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls puts planes into the air on a regular basis for training runs. 

The boundaries of the training maneuvers are clearly defined, but will expand under the Oregon Airspace Initiative

The initiative spent several years putting together the environmental documentation to change the limits. 

Cancillería Ecuador, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was all about preventing totalitarian government from taking hold in the world. 

Now the Cold War is long over, the Soviet Union gone... and totalitarian government is gaining anyway. 

Brian Klaas at the London School of Economics says if western democracies are looking for whom to blame, they should look in the mirror. 

That is the case he makes in his book The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy

Mythbusting The Perpetual Arms Race

Feb 22, 2017

No matter the state of the economy or the political party in power, the arms industry continues to hum along. 

New and expensive weapons systems are built all the time, both for domestic use and for sale in foreign countries.  If there is a true debate going on, the arms makers are winning it. 

Paul Holden pulls together arguments from many writers against the arms industry in the book Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade.

Army.  Navy.  Marines.  Army Air Force. 

It took a lot of people to win the war that started for the United States 75 years ago today at Pearl Harbor.  And the list of services gets even longer when you add in the Merchant Marine. 

USMM ships and people helped supplies get through during the war, and the service suffered casualties at a greater rate per capita than any other branch. 

Toni Horodysky, whose husband served in the Merchant Marine in WWII and Vietnam, started a web page tracking USMM history

We focus a great deal of attention in our veterans, in political campaigns like the one just ended, and in non-election years. 

But while service members are deployed, they've got people back home waiting and hoping for a safe return. 

Two military families are profiled in the documentary "While Time Stands Still," by filmmaker Elena Miliaresis. 

She and her film visit Southern Oregon for a few screenings, and a discussion show on Southern Oregon Public TV

Life In The Cockpit

Nov 10, 2016

We complain about the cramped seats on commercial planes, but at least we can get up and go to the bathroom. 

Not so in fighter jets like the ones Larry Wood flew in his career.  Wood was a fighter pilot for the Marine Corps in Vietnam, one of many duties in a long military career. 

He'll give us a glimpse into life in the cockpit when he visits the Exchange.

Bad feelings about the U.S. Army's "School of the Americas" die hard. 

The training center at Fort Benning in Georgia trained some of the worst Latin American dictators and their operatives after its creation in the 1960s. 

School of the Americas Watch has campaigned for its closing for years. 

The army officially changed the name 15 years ago, but the function remains.  As does the protest. 

Can War Be Comfortable For Warriors?

Jun 23, 2016
W.W. Norton Books

Diarrhea as a threat to national security is nothing new, (dysentary's been part of American military history since before Valley Forge), but the approaches have certainly evolved.

Where we are now in easing the ravages of war -- be it intestinal distress, panic, exhaustion, heat, ​flies and/or ​noise --- are all covered in a new book by journalist Mary Roach.

She goes under the armor, below the belt and to a few more unmentionable places in Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War.

Documenting Costa Rica's "Bold Peace"

Apr 26, 2016

The level of American military spending comes up a lot, because it IS a lot; more than any other country.  Let's turn our focus to military spending in another country: Costa Rica. 

There's very little, because Costa Rica disbanded its permanent military decades ago, in favor of spending the money on improving the quality of life. 

The situation is summed up in the documentary film "A Bold Peace," produced by Matthew Eddy and Michael Dreiling. 

The Budget Emphasis On The Military

Jan 18, 2016
U.S. Navy/Public Domain

“The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined." 

So said President Obama in his final State of the Union address. 

But there is constant pressure from Congress to further expand military spending, even at the expense of domestic programs to help people in poverty. 

Economist Mike Prokosch tracks the trends in federal spending.

What Do We Owe Veterans?

Oct 19, 2015
PBS / Debt of Honor

What does society owe its Veterans? How are Southern Oregon communities responding to the human cost of war? 

Please tell us what you think by completing this brief survey

Everyone's input is valued, and the results will inform collaborative reporting on Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television

WHY We Have So Many Military Bases

Sep 9, 2015
Metropolitan Books

If you've ever wondered how many American military bases exist around the world, and why, David Vine has some answers for you. 

He calls his book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World an exposé of the vast network of American bases. 

His thesis: that the bases do more harm than good, annoying many societies around the world and providing launching points for military adventures far from home. 

Patricia Murphy/KUOW

The massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management that was revealed last month has exposed the Social Security numbers and personnel records nearly every federal worker.

The implications for federal employees, military service members and the intelligence community could be huge. But at a very basic level, US service members have been at high risk for identity theft for decades.

In Combat And In PTSD: Women In The Military

Jul 30, 2015


  The admission of more females to the military has resulted in more opportunities for women, but that's a sword that cuts two ways.

They now hold positions of greater responsibility, but they also get to fight in dangerous places. 

AND there are issues with their treatment by fellow (male) members of the military. 

We spend the hour delving into the issues. 

Field Exercises That Don't Train For Battle

Nov 17, 2014

"Field Training Exercises" is a military term. 

The FTX, as it's known, does what the name implies… gets soldiers ready for battle in realistic conditions in the field. 

Stephanie Westlund turns the terminology on its head in her book Field Exercises: How Veterans Are Healing Themselves through Farming and Outdoor Activities. 

She details the work some veterans are doing in nature to get past their military experiences. 

On The Battle Lines With "Soldier Girls"

Sep 18, 2014
Simon & Schuster

The 21st century American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represented a departure from the American military adventures of the past. 

Put aside the political for a moment and consider the gender issue: both wars featured large numbers of American women in uniform for the first time. 

Using The Tax Return To Protest War

Apr 2, 2014
U.S. Navy/Public Domain

There are probably few people who look forward to April 15th.

It is, after all, the day when our income tax returns are due. 

But there are people who relish the opportunity to make a statement about where our tax money goes.