Thursday, January 13, 2022

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): On the Costs Of War


A Legacy of Extraordinary Renditions, Unlawful Detentions, And Torture
New Report Outlines The Global Costs of
Unlawful Detention And Interrogation Post-9/11
Twenty years after Guantánamo Bay detention operations commenced on January 11, 2002, a new report assesses the massive costs of U.S. unlawful transfers, secret detention, and torture after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The report, released in conjunction with Human Rights Watch, outlines how these abuses trample on the rights of victims and suspects, create a burden to U.S. taxpayers, and damage counterterrorism efforts worldwide, ultimately jeopardizing universal human rights protections for everyone. 

The report also cites instances in which unlawful rendition and detention and torture have undermined U.S. security goals. The Islamic State (ISIS) and other armed groups have used U.S. abuses as a propaganda tool to lure recruits and bolster their narrative that Washington and its Western allies are waging a crusade against Muslims. 
The authors call on the Biden administration to close the Guantánamo prison and enact significant legal and policy reforms to end further abuses. Reforms should include far greater transparency about crimes that U.S. forces committed and accountability at the highest levels, as well as robust efforts to address religious, racial, and ethnic bias in counterterrorism efforts.

Save the Date: Spread the Word About #TeachingCostsOfWar on January 18
Join our Teaching Costs of War campaign and help us spread the word about our dynamic resource hub for educators teaching about contemporary U.S. war and militarism.

On Tuesday January 18, we're having a #TeachingCostsOfWar outreach day. Please encourage the educators you know to share our resources on the causes and consequences of the post-9/11 wars and add their name to the campaign.
Costs Of War: In The News
Costs of War research on military contractors was cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Costs of War co-director Catherine Lutz was quoted in on military spending.
Costs of War’s research on the U.S. military’s emissions was featured in E&E News.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): An Outsider PSA re: FCC Affordable Connectivity Program


Quick Links

ACP Application Link


FCC’s ACP Page


Application Questions: or 1-877-384-2575


Request a Speaker

ACP Outreach Toolkit


On December 31 the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This longer-term program was created by Congress in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, and replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.  This investment in broadband affordability will help ensure households can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care and more.


To support your ACP outreach efforts, the FCC also launched a toolkit of materials for partners to download and customize to meet their needs. More materials will be added in the coming weeks, so continue to check the page for new additions.


The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Enrollment in the ACP is now open for households with at least one member qualifying under any of the following criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.

As we transition to this new program, the over 9 million households fully enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as of December 31, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. More information about steps current Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients must take to continue receiving the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit after March 1, 2022 will be available in the coming weeks.

Finally, thank you for your ongoing commitment to serve consumers in your community by spreading the word about the EBB’s successor program, the ACP. 

Saturday, January 1, 2022


2022 has officially arrived in the United States.      We present the following as a Gift for the new year as we look forward to the opportunity and privilege to serve.

Roughly two thousand years ago, there was a woman who went into labor in a province of the Roman empire. Her son would go on to be one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. He taught people about the importance of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, on doing one’s duty, on the corruptive influence of wealth and the redemptive power of poverty and adversity. Eventually, his wisdom became controversial, a threat to the state, and so he was painfully put to death by the Romans. As he experienced the agony and humiliation of a very public death sentence, he asked his loved ones and his followers to stay strong, to forgive the excesses of an emperor who did not know what he was doing. In those brave final moments, he immortalized himself forever.

Who are we talking about? Today is Christmas, you are thinking, that’s obviously the life of Jesus. Well, it’s also the life of Seneca. Remarkably, Seneca and Jesus lived nearly parallel lives. Not only that, but they were also born—according to many sources—in the same year. No one can confirm for certain the exact birth date for either, but it is indisputable that two of history’s greatest philosophers walked the earth at the same time.

More incredible is just how much their teachings overlap. And it’s worth taking some time this Christmas morning to consider those similarities:

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — Jesus

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” — Seneca

“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” — Jesus

“It is a petty and sorry person who will bite back when he is bitten.” — Seneca

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” — Jesus

“You look at the pimples of others when you yourselves are covered with a mass of sores.” — Seneca

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal…No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” — Jesus

If my wealth should melt away it would deprive me of nothing but itself, but if yours were to depart you would be stunned and feel you were deprived of what makes you yourself. With me, wealth has a certain place; in your case it has the highest place. In short, I own my wealth, your wealth owns you.” — Seneca

Now Seneca was obviously just a man—a flawed and contradictory man at that—while Jesus—depending on your beliefs—was both a man and God. But it is fascinating to think that they were both born in the same year, in the same empire, and died bravely facing evil. Both would be immensely popular in their own time, and long after. Both would run afoul of the powerful interests of their time. Both would be forced, in their final moments, to live their teachings—Jesus, on the cross, asking for forgiveness for the people who had wronged him. Seneca as he comforted his friends and family when Nero’s goons came to demand his suicide. Tacitus, who also tells us about the life of “Christus,” would note how Seneca had made plans for such an ordeal, writing that “even in the height of his wealth and power he was thinking of his life’s close.” So too, the Bible tells us, had Jesus.

Their words and their example lives on.

Especially here as we bring 2021 to a close, wondering how we’ll get through this, how we’ll survive. We’ll make it by clinging to these timeless principles from those timeless philosophers. We’ll get by on love, on wisdom, on courage, and self-discipline. We’ll find beauty in the ordinary. We’ll be of service to others. We’ll zoom out and look at the big picture. We’ll zoom in on what's immediately in front of us. We’ll find something to be grateful for—because there is always something to be grateful for.

Life is short, Seneca said. It was short for Jesus, too. What matters is what you do while you’re here. What matters is what you do with the year (and the days) you’ve been given. What matters is the example you leave behind you for others to follow.

Enjoy today. Don’t be afraid. Do what’s right.

Follow in their footsteps. They’ve shown us the way.

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