Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Democratic Hopefuls Must Spell Out a Compassionate Immigration Policy

ANDREW MOSS – If the Democratic candidates hope to offer a comprehensive vision of what our immigration policy should be, it’s imperative that they shift the debate from sloganeering about the wall and “open borders” to a consideration of an underlying question: What priorities and values will guide our immigration policy in the coming years? Will we continue along the present path of increased militarization and incarceration, or will we forge policies guided by a vision of a more just society?

US Cold Warriors Escalate toward Actual War with Russia

STEPHEN F. COHEN – Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, America’s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples.

Congress Should Begin Impeachment, But Not the Way You Think

DAVID SWANSON – Back before Donald Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article called “Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump.” Perhaps it is less quixotic, or perhaps it is more, to hope that, after more than two years of being barraged with those fantasies, but with their main focus having publicly flopped, more people will now be open to trying something else. That pre-inauguration article read: “Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. . . . Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate . . .

Youths Explain Support for Green New Deal

SAMANTHA M. and ANGELICA PERKINS – We believe in the Green New Deal, and we know what the Green New Deal is. We have read it and we understand it because we know exactly what we have to do to secure our future. Youth have a right to be in this conversation because in the long run, this is more than a debate. It is our life and future.

Sanders Spells Out a Progressive Prescription

NORMAN SOLOMON – Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption

JOHN LAFORGE – “Here’s the issue: Nuclear power right now is six percent of energy of the world. There are only 400 nuclear power plants. These are old nuclear power plants. But our scientists tell us [that] to have a minimum impact on climate change — which is the whole rationale for bringing this technology back — nuclear would have to be 20 percent of the energy mix to have the minimum, minimum impact on climate change — not six percent of the mix. An impossible goal. For one thing, the issue of water.

Why All Anti-Interventionists Will Necessarily Be Smeared As Russian Assets

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE – But we can’t keep living this way. We all know this, deep down. The people at the helm of the unipolar world order are advancing an ecocidal world economy which is stripping the earth bare and filling the air with poison while at the same time pushing more and more aggressively against the multipolarist powers, one of which happens to have thousands of nuclear warheads at its disposal. The unipolarity so enthusiastically promoted by the neoconservatives and their fellow travelers has reached the end of the line after just a few short years, and now it’s time to dispense with it and try something else. They will necessarily smear us with everything but the kitchen sink for saying so, but we are right and they are wrong. The state of the world today proves this beyond a doubt.

U.S. Iran Policy: What is Great?

ALEX MCDONALD – Although the Iranian government has its problems, I saw greatness in its people. The people overwhelmingly were warm and welcoming. They repeatedly told us they love Americans but don’t like our government. So, let’s stand up against corruption in our government, like the influence of hostile forces trying to buy our politicians and use our military power. Let’s oppose governments rather than their people. Let’s use our American strengths for good, or even better, for Greatness.

Chelsea Manning Jailed Again For Refusing to Testify at a Grand Jury Inquiry

KATHY KELLY – Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the U.S. military, is again imprisoned in a U.S. jail. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, VA federal detention center for refusing to testify in front of a secretive Grand Jury. Her imprisonment can extend through the term of the Grand Jury, possibly 18 months, and the U.S. courts could allow formation of future Grand Juries, potentially jailing her again.

US Peaceworker Suffers US Sanctions in Iran

DAVID HARTSOUGH – I come back home with a heart which is much stronger but also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war. I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war. I hope you will join me.

Why the Social Policies in the Green New Deal Are Essential to Its Success

SHARON ZHANG – Even aside from its economic virtues, the Green New Deal is already polling across both major parties as one of the most popular climate bills in recent memory. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t allocate as much money as possible to address the many interlinked problems that await us in a changing climate. Perhaps, in the process, we may find that we can pay for it after all.

Trump Missed Another Great Opportunity with North Korea

MEL GURTOV – Trump was correct to describe denuclearization last June as a lengthy “process” that one summit meeting could not achieve. However, the second summit, in Hanoi at the end of February 2019, again showed that personal diplomacy divorced from an engagement process that incorporates flexibility and give-and-take raises the risk of failure.

What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives

NORMAN SOLOMON – In the obvious contrasts with Kamala Harris and in the less obvious yet significant contrasts with Elizabeth Warren on matters of economic justice as well as on foreign policy, Bernie Sanders represents a different approach to the root causes of — and possible solutions to — extreme economic inequality, systemic injustice and a dire shortage of democracy.

When Will Politicians Start Exercising their Constitutional Authority to Rein in Large Corporations like Amazon?

PAUL CIENFUEGOS – Many of us around the country are working hard to build the Community Rights movement, as we understand that in this ecological and social crisis moment in the world, it’s too late to tackle one corporate outrage at a time. That in fact, these problems are structural. That we need to learn from our history and bring back these century-old laws that can once again subordinate the business corporation, so that it is again required to serve The People, to cause no harm, and for its directors and stockholders to once again be held personally and financially liable when the corporation causes significant harm to our communities and the natural world.

Green New Deal Threatened by Nuclear Weapons

ROBERT F. DODGE M.D. – The Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives is positioned to take the lead on climate and nuclear arms issues and realize the connection–if only they will. We the people must inform and support them as we help build the political will transforming the dream into a reality for a just, environmentally sustainable and peaceful nuclear-free tomorrow.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Washington Resurrected the Arms Race

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS – Washington might be setting up America for a first strike with the extraordinary stream of accusations and provocations issuing from people too stupid to be in possession of nuclear weapons. In the nuclear era, it is reckless for a government to replace diplomacy with threats and coercion. Washington’s recklessness is the most dangerous threat that the world faces.

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.