Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

The World is Two Minutes from Doom

JERRY BROWN and WILLIAM PERRY – On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight. Welcome to what we call “the new abnormal.” This phrase describes the catastrophically dangerous world in which we live. We have to go back 66 years, to 1953, to find a time of equal danger.

Why Americans Need to Act Like the Majority We Already Are

OMNESHA ROYCHOUDHURI – The next time someone tries to tell you it’s hopeless or that we need to “reach across the aisle,” because we’ve never been more divided, tell them they’re right. We’ve never been more divided: Over decades, the Democratic and Republican platforms have become increasingly out of touch. The real divide in America is between what the majority of us want and need, and what a tiny minority — a handful of extremists in power — have been offering.

Democrats Are Afraid Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too. And That’s A Good Thing.

NORMAN SOLOMON – Turning the Democratic Party into a truly progressive force will require turning “primary” into a verb. The corporate Democrats who dominate the party’s power structure in Congress should fear losing their seats because they’re out of step with constituents. And Democratic voters should understand that if they want to change the party, the only path to do so is to change the people who represent them. Otherwise, the leverage of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex will continue to hold sway.

Grassroots Catholics Challenge Congress to “Face the Crisis”

MARYKNOLL OFFICE FOR GLOBAL CONCERNS – January 18, 2019—On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on January 21, eleven national and international Catholic justice and peace organizations delivered a joint statement to Congress today, entitled “Facing the Crisis: A Catholic Offer of Wisdom and Courage to Congress” which calls on Members to courageously take the first steps to end the political polarization that the group says is eroding democracy in the United States.

The Democrats Can Only Move Left

HARVEY WASSERMAN – The Democratic Party has nowhere to go but left. The faux mantra from bloviating experts, petulant pundits, and high-priced consultants has been droning on since the coming of Ronald Reagan: the Democrats must forever tack right to attract “swing” conservatives in the “mainstream middle” between the two parties. But in the Age of Trump, such voters are all but extinct. The middle ground has cratered. The swing constituency (if it ever existed) has disappeared into the abyss. What matters now is excitement, commitment, clarity, and REAL CHANGE … none of which can come with a corporate/compromised agenda.

Green New Deal Must Abolish War Preparations

ROBERT KOEHLER – The Green New Deal needs to go further than it does. Since it’s already being pilloried as the most radical piece of legislation in modern history, it might as well open itself up to become just that: the cornerstone of a truly sustainable national and global future. The Deal should take on militarism and war as well as climate change and poverty; they are all linked.

Four Reasons the Corporate Media Refuses to Talk About Things That Matter

THOM HARTMANN – Ever since the media began, in a big way in the 1980s, to ignore actual news and go for highly dumbed-down or even salacious stories, many of us who work in the media have been astonished by this behavior by the network and cable news organizations and the major newspapers. They used to report the details of policy proposals in great detail (see this report from the 1970s about Richard Nixon’s proposal for universal health care, comparing his with Ted Kennedy’s, for example). But since the Reagan era, the networks have largely kept their coverage exclusively to personality, scandal, and horse race.

Award-Winning Journalist Quits NBC Over Relentless Support For War

WILLIAM M. ARKIN – January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good. This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis. My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.

Beatrice Fihn Is Banning Nuclear Weapons, With or Without Us

EMILY MOON – Beatrice Fihn has spent 12 years working on a campaign to prohibit nuclear weapons, and, as she says, compiling rational arguments and scientific evidence, yet less informed strangers will still pick a fight. But, she adds, “I prefer to argue with politicians than people on the street.” Indeed, she has advanced her arguments and will never give up the fight.

The United States is First in War, But Trailing in Crucial Aspects of Modern Civilization

LAWRENCE WITTNER -Maintaining the U.S. status as “No. 1” in war and war preparations comes at a very high price. That price is not only paid in dollars—plus massive death and suffering in warfare―but in the impoverishment of other key sectors of American life. After all, this lavish outlay on the military now constitutes about two-thirds of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending. And these other sectors of American life are in big trouble.

Major Liberal Groups Silent As Senate Passes Historic Yemen Resolution

CLIO CHANG and RYAN GRIM – The senate vote this month to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen marked a historic break from a bipartisan embrace of a pro-war foreign policy, yet it was accomplished without strong backing from Washington’s liberal foreign policy infrastructure. The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., invokes the rights laid out in the War Powers Act of 1973 that assert Congress’s authority over war, and it was the result of many months of work by a coalition of progressive activists and anti-war lawmakers. The war is Saudi-led, but the U.S. has provided critical support, and an end to that support effectively means an end to the war.

Could This Be Our Best Hope of Removing Trump From Office?

PAUL STREET – The case for Trump’s ouster grows stronger by the week. Beyond his possible obstruction of justice, criminal acceptance of foreign emoluments while in office and felonious campaign finance violations—any one of which could provide grounds for legal proceedings against him—the president has routinely embraced authoritarian rulers around the world and engaged in obvious appeals to violence. He has, at every turn, revealed himself to be entirely unfit for office.

Why Trump Decided To Remove U.S. Troops From Syria

POPULAR-RESISTANCE – On Friday, December 14, President Trump had another long phone call with the Turkish President Erdogan. Thereafter he overruled all his advisors and decided to remove the U.S. boots from Syria and to also end the air war. This was the first time Trump took a decisive stand against the borg, the permanent neoconservative and interventionist establishment in his administration, the military and congress, that usually dictates U.S. foreign policy. It was this decision, and that he stuck to it, which finally made him presidential.

Trump’s Middle East Retreat: Problems for Everyone

MEL GURTOV – There are no winners, here or abroad, in Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. But there are important losers: innocent lives and prospects for peace. However remote a political settlement in Syria and Afghanistan might have been before, it is even more remote now. With the US largely out of the picture, incentives for adversaries—Syria and Russia in Syria, the Taliban in Afghanistan—to negotiate war-ending or at least violence-reduction agreements are now gone. Civil war is likely to gain intensity. Civilian casualties and refugee numbers will rise substantially. A new regional war is possible. The defeat of peace should be the focus of critics’ concern.

How to Take on Fascism Without Getting Played

GEORGE LAKEY – The cause of rising fascism is the economic elite and its wish to take more and more of the country’s wealth for itself. But, while touring the country the past couple years, I’ve seen an enormous amount of reactivity among progressives. That’s the opposite of what works for making progressive change.

The Senate’s “Symbolic” Yemen Vote is Enormously Significant

ROBERT KOEHLER – The Senate’s “symbolic” Yemen vote matters hugely (you might say, in honor of co-sponsor Bernie Sanders). For one thing, Dems gain control of the House next year and the resolution could be reintroduced. Also, according to Reuters, some of the supporters are determined to introduce legislation calling for a ban on weapons sales to the Saudis; in other words, there’s more political action to come regarding U.S. involvement in this war.

Beto, We Hardly Knew Ye

NORMAN SOLOMON – As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?

A Mandate for Left Leadership

KATE ARONOFF – Democratic socialism will be defined by what its most public adherents—people like Sanders, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez—are able to accomplish once they have the opportunity. At least in the short term, turning their ambitious bills into law will mean prying open the Overton window in policy debates to accommodate what might elsewhere be considered fairly basic social-democratic demands. But with just 12 years left to prevent a total climate catastrophe, time is a luxury that progressives simply don’t have.

U.S.-Supported Mid-East War Has Killed 85,000 Children

KATHY KELLY – Recent polls indicate that most Americans don’t favor U.S. war on Yemen. Surely, our security is not enhanced if the U.S. continues to structure its foreign policy on fear, prejudice, greed, and overwhelming military force. The movements that pressured the U.S. Senate to reject current U.S. foreign policy regarding Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen will continue raising voices. Collectively, we’ll work toward raising the lament, pressuring the media and civil society to insist that slaughtering children will never solve problems.

War With Russia?

STEPHEN F. COHEN – War With Russia?, like the biography of a living person, is a book without an end. The title is a warning—akin to what the late Gore Vidal termed “a journalistic alert-system”—not a prediction. Hence the question mark. I cannot foresee the future. The book’s overarching theme is informed by past and current facts, not by any political agenda, ideological commitment, or magical prescience. This article is adapted from the concluding section of Stephen F. Cohen’s War With Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, just published, in paperback and e-book, by Skyhorse Publishing.

Voting Is Not the Only Way to Make Change Happen

RIVERA SUN – Change happens on many levels: cultural, economic, industrial, social, artistic, personal, psychological, spiritual, and more. We must work in all of them if we hope for lasting, systemic shifts. Don’t be fooled by the annual circus of voting. Go vote, sure, but don’t sit back down on the couch when you’ve cast your ballot.

Keep Your Eye on HR1 – the Most Consequential Pro-Democracy Legislation in Half a Century

ROBERT WEISSMAN – Our democracy is in a double crisis. We face the immediate threat posed every day by Donald Trump, with his combination of unprecedented corruption, disdain for the rule of law and autocratic governance. We also face the deeper rooted problems of Big Money dominance of our elections, shocking voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering and outrageous corporate influence over the policymaking process. After the 2018 election, we have the chance to do something about this double crisis

The Top 11 Things the Dems Absolutely Must Do in the House

JUAN COLE – More progressive Democrats in the House must be prepared to fight like hell against the Pelosi-Schumer establishment, which will try to make them quiescent and go along with corporate priorities. What 2016 showed is that that platform is a formula for humiliating defeat and irrelevance. Democrats have to stand for something or people won’t bother to vote for them.

Collaboration, Not Fighting, is What the Rural West is Really About

STEVEN C. BEDA – While the origins of many present-day rural extremist movements can be traced back to frustrations with BLM policy in the 1970s, the Sagebrush Rebellion spawned another less talked-about movement: collaborative land management. Many people recognized that fighting over wilderness, grazing rights, timber harvests and endangered species protections was getting them nowhere. So in the 1990s, rural workers sat down with environmentalists, government agents and tribal representatives, and together they worked out agreements that would protect the land, preserve tribal resource rights and allow for continued grazing, mining and logging.

It’s Time to go on the Offensive against Racism

GEORGE LAKEY – The hope for a movement of movements that can amass enough power to push the 1 percent out of dominance lies, I believe, in taking at least these steps. A series of nonviolent direct action campaigns that stay on the offensive can build vision-led movements that — finding themselves facing the same opponent — create a coalition and win. That is the shift that can make possible, at long last, a decisive win against racism

All Wars are Illegal so What do We do About it?

MARGARET FLOWERS and KEVIN ZEESE – Every war being fought today is illegal. Every action taken to carry out these wars is a war crime. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact or Pact of Paris was signed and ratified by the United States and other major nations that renounced war as a way to resolve conflicts, calling instead for peaceful ways of handling disputes.