JOANNE LUCAS CVAR – Is a world beyond the barbaric practice of war only a romantic dream?
JOANNE LUCAS CVAR – Is a world beyond the barbaric practice of war only a romantic dream?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although the U.S. mass media are awash with stories about America’s “booming economy,” the benefits are distributed very unequally, when they are distributed at all.
MEL GURTOV – Whatever substantive agreements were reached took place between Trump and Kim alone, without any top advisers. And here’s where the trouble begins: the contrary claims that are bound to emerge about who promised what.
DAVID SWANSON – We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?
ROBERT KOEHLER – We’re stuck, at least here in the USA, with a pseudo-democracy partially but not completely controlled by certain special interests. We possess a fair amount of freedom of thought and action. Maybe it’s not enough to dislodge the entrenched, money-blessed military-industrialism that is our ruling god — but maybe it is, if we can foment a Great Waking Up and start undoing the harm we have been inflicting on ourselves for so long now. The collapse of the Republican Party may signal that change is underway. So is the message from a few millennia back: Love thy enemy as thyself.
BRANKO MARCETIC – As much of the world celebrates a modest step towards peace in Korea, Western pundits seem to be panicking.
DR. KENT D. SHIFFERD – We need to uproot the “tree of war.” That means to persuade people that the myths we hold about war are just that, that War makes us less secure, and that there are other ways to manage conflict that make us more secure. It means to stop saying “No” and to start saying “Yes.” It means to place before them a positive peace system. And that is a long-term project so the sooner we all focus on that, the sooner we end War.
JACK F. MATLOCK JR. – “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” That saying—often misattributed to Euripides—comes to mind most mornings when I pick up The New York Times and read the latest “Russiagate” headlines, which are frequently featured across two or three columns on the front page above the fold. This is an almost daily reminder of the hysteria that dominates our Congress and much of our media.
KHARI JOHNSON – We’re roughly halfway through 2018, and one of the most important AI stories to emerge so far is Project Maven and its fallout at Google. The program to use AI to analyze drone video footage began last year, and this week we learned of the Pentagon’s plans to expand Maven and establish a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. We also learned that Google believed it would make hundreds of millions of dollars from participating in the Maven project and that Maven was reportedly tied directly to a cloud computing contract worth billions of dollars. Today, news broke that Google will discontinue its Maven contract when it expires next year.
REV. DR. STEPHEN P. BOUMAN – This week’s focus of the Poor People’s Campaign is about the resources dedicated to military strength and its relationship to mitigating poverty.
LINDA J. BILMES – Humpty Dumpty famously cannot be “put back together” again. For those who care about the environment, every day since Donald Trump took office is a Humpty Dumpty day — with something being broken beyond repair.
PROJECT 21 – Law enforcement agencies focus too much on revenue-generating activities that have a negative impact on poor and minority communities, further straining the relationship between police and the communities they serve, according to the black leadership network Project 21 . As part of its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America,” Project 21 recommends 10 criminal justice reforms.
PRESS RELEASE FROM STAND UP TO OIL COALITION AND PARTNERS – Despite widespread opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would bring in 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day across Canada and out through the international Salish Sea waters in oil tankers, the Canadian government announced today that it will buy the pipeline in an attempt to guarantee its construction. By nationalizing this project, the Canadian government is taking on the risk of a massive construction project and pipeline that just this past weekend spilled oil.
REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II and REV. DR. LIZ THEOHARIS – As the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival prepares for our third week of direct action, the nation pauses for Memorial Day weekend. Listening to many, including veterans in this movement, we chose to focus this week on our challenge to militarism and the war economy as well as the proliferation of gun violence in the US. We believe the greatest patriotism for moral agents is insisting that America become a more perfect union.
CHRIS MOONEY and JULIET EILPERIN – White House officials last year weighed whether to simply “ignore” climate studies produced by government scientists or to instead develop “a coherent, fact-based message about climate science,” according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post. The document, drafted Sept. 18 by Michael Catanzaro, President Trump’s special assistant for domestic energy and environmental policy at the time, highlights the dilemma the administration has faced over climate change since Trump took office. Even as Trump’s deputies have worked methodically to uproot policies aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon output, the administration’s agencies continue to produce reports showing that climate change is happening, is human-driven and is a threat to the United States.
LAURA FINLEY – It is infuriating to write what feels like the same piece. Multiple times, in way too rapid succession. But here we go again…a shooting, a white male perpetrator, a rejection, and victim-blaming.
ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – Ignoring international partners, world public opinion and action, the U.S took additional steps these past weeks to renounce another international leadership role, this time in nuclear disarmament.
ROBERT KOEHLER – Cynical racism means throwing a bone to the political base, what Matthew Yglesias, writing at Vox, called “the very promise of Trumpism — to narrow the definitions of who belongs, subjecting outsiders to a realm of cruelty and thus bolstering the favored status of the insiders.”
FRED WEIR – Amid the current worries in the West over Russia, the idea that Russia would be cutting its military spending seems counterintuitive to us. But that’s just what Vladimir Putin is doing with his new budget, in which plans for a major infrastructure boost are coming at the expense of some of the Kremlin’s more ambitious defense projects.
NORMAN SOLOMON – With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Party’s much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled out. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.
ANDREW MOSS – Carving a path to citizenship for the Dreamers is important and necessary, but it’s only one step in a comprehensive reform that will, among other things, remove criminalization from all 11 million undocumented people in the country and abolish the iniquitous for-profit detention centers. Moving reform forward will require leaders with the vision and eloquence to show that protecting immigrants’ rights means protecting all our rights – and that the struggle for economic justice is inextricably bound up with the struggle for immigration justice. This is both the opportunity and the challenge.
ANOOP MIRPURI – The problems of police violence and mass incarceration are about much more than criminal justice. For this reason, efforts to resolve the current crisis solely at the level of criminal justice are more likely to wind up justifying police violence than ending it. For those who benefit from the way society is currently organized, peace and quiet for some may be more important than peace and justice for everyone. But if we’re really interested in justice, we have to listen to the people our society dismisses as “criminals” and the millions more vulnerable to being criminalized. We have to acknowledge that police violence isn’t the cause of injustice; it’s the outcome of injustice. Justice can’t be achieved simply by reforming the police. It can be achieved only through the long-term effort of transforming a society that produces such extreme inequalities that the police are seen as necessary.
PATRICK HILLER – The May 8, 2018 announcement by U.S. President Trump to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal is a disastrous decision, shredding successful diplomacy into pieces and paving the path toward destructive conflict and war. In his announcement, the President continued to display his utter ignorance of the nature and functioning of the deal.
ROBERT KOEHLER – Whenever the topic is nuclear weapons, I remain in a state of disbelief that we can talk about them “strategically” — that language allows us to maintain such a distance from the reality of what they do, we can casually debate their use.
SHARON TENNISON – We Americans must take diplomacy into our own hands — as our citizens did in the 1980’s!
LAURA FINLEY – Despite the horrors that Nicholas Cruz levied, in the terrible killing and wounding at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High SchooI in Parkland, Florida, I still do not want to see him executed. I universally oppose the death penalty. That is not a particularly easy position to hold right now, in this case, but I believe it is the right one. It is for me, at least.
DAVID SWANSON – When peace shows its face, and weapons companies’ stocks plummet, we have to do more than just cheer. We have to avoid misunderstanding where peace comes from. We have to recognize the forces that want to destroy it. We have to work to make it last and expand.
RICH SCHECK – The Trump/May/Macron attack on Syria constituted a naked act of aggression in violation of the Nuremberg prohibitions making them prospective war criminals.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Willingness to challenge Wall Street would certainly alienate some of the Democratic Party’s big donors. And such moves would likely curb the future earning power of high-ranking party officials, who can now look forward to upward spikes in incomes from consultant deals and cushy positions at well-heeled firms. With eyes on the prizes from corporate largesse, DNC officials don’t see downsides to whacking at WikiLeaks and undermining press freedom in the process.
ROBERT KOEHLER – The concept of the nation, an imaginary configuration of interests protected by military strength, is becoming increasingly obsolete. The United States, as the planet’s largest superpower, must find the will and leadership to reopen itself to values beyond those coldly enforced by ICE.
EL – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – It appears that the pursuit of ever-greater wealth and military power by national governments doesn’t necessarily create happiness for their people. By contrast, governments that seek to improve everyone’s lives―or, in the words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “promote the general welfare”―do a much better job of it.
MICHA NARBERHAUS – To this day, few civil society organisations are promoting the much-needed transition to a new economic system based on the principles of ecological limits, solidarity, human well-being, and intergenerational justice, nor are many organisations embracing the complexity of systemic change in their strategies, campaigns, and projects.
LAURA FINLEY – Ending police abuse is going to take continued vigilance and a multi-faceted approach. But one important way to hold police accountable is for citizens to be able to bring and win civil suits. Today, the playing field for doing so is so deeply tilted toward protecting police that there is no semblance of accountability in the legal realm
MEL GURTOV – Protect innocent civilians, gain the removal from Syria of as many occupying forces as possible, let Assad learn what it means to be dependent on Russia—these are all that is left of a Syria policy.
ROBERT KOEHLER – We’re not who we think we are. We sanitize our past and call it heritage. We sanitize the present and call it justice. It’s time to start looking at the truth in all directions.
THE NUCLEAR RESISTER (a posting) – Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning, April 5, at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia. They entered on Wednesday night, April 4. Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command: “beat swords into plowshares.”
MEL GURTOV – With the appointments of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser, Donald Trump has signaled his preparedness by the May 12 deadline to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and ramp up pressure on North Korea if it refuses to denuclearize. The two moves would have interactive consequences.
PAUL STREET – Given the current state and rate of environmental destruction, the continuing advance in the destructive power of nuclear weapons systems, and the likelihood of pandemics in a warmer and more globalized world, there are good reasons to wonder if a human civilization with historians will exist a century from today. We may well be standing near the “end of history,” and not the glorious bourgeois-democratic one that Francis Fukuyama imagined with the end of the Cold War.
ROB OKUN – Students: keep up the pressure to ensure legislators pass assault weapons bans. Demand they raise the age requirement to purchase firearms. Insist on funding for mental health screenings. Also, please don’t forget to press for research dollars and training initiatives on how we raise boys.
DAVID DEBOLT – Opponents in a lawsuit rarely find themselves in the same corner of a legal boxing match. In federal court here on March 21, though, the gloves stayed on: Leading climate change experts and oil industry representatives largely agreed our planet is warming, our seas rising.
RICK ULFIK – Our system of Representative Democracy has been increasingly failing us.
ANDREW BUNCOMBE – More than a dozen protesters who clambered into holes dug for a high pressure gas pipeline said they had been found not responsible by a judge after hearing them argue their actions to try and stop climate change were a legal “necessity”.
SERGEI KARAGANOV – The problem between Russia and the West is really a problem among Westerners themselves. If there is a new cold war, it is only because established elites have not come to terms with reality: the balance of military, political, economic, and moral power has shifted too far away from the West to be reversed.
RIVERA SUN – The secret to successful nonviolent struggle lies in understanding strategy and systems. All systems require participation and resources to survive. Deny those things, and the system will wither away . . . or concede to meet your demands.
RIVERA SUN – We have more power than we think. But we’ve got to go beyond the “protest-petition-call officials-vote” routine. Think outside that box, and you’ll find a world of creative solutions and strategies to tap into. The time has come to double down on strategy and make great strides toward change.
ROBERT F. DODGE – If we want to abolish nuclear weapons, we must stop investing in them. The just released “Don’t Bank On The Bomb“ report draws attention to the “Hall Of Shame” companies that are either financing or producing nuclear weapons and their components.
GEORGE LAKEY – Many assume that polarization is a barrier to making change. They observe more shouting and less listening, more drama and less reflection, and an escalation at the extremes. They note that mass media journalists have less time to cover the range of activist initiatives, which are therefore drowned out by the shouting. From coast to coast activists asked me: Does this condition leave us stuck? My answer included both good news and bad news. Most people wanted the latter first.
ADAM WINKLER – A farcical series of events in the 1880s produced an enduring and controversial legal precedent. Somewhat unintuitively, American corporations today enjoy many of the same rights as American citizens. Both, for instance, are entitled to the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. How exactly did corporations come to be understood as “people” bestowed with the most fundamental constitutional rights? The answer can be found in a bizarre—even farcical—series of lawsuits over 130 years ago involving a lawyer who lied to the Supreme Court, an ethically challenged justice, and one of the most powerful corporations of the day.
JESSICA CORBETT – With a decision that could have far-reaching implications, a federal judge in California has ordered the first ever U.S. court hearing on climate science for a “public nuisance” lawsuit, meaning that major oil and gas companies for the first time may have to go on the record regarding what they knew about the planetary impacts of their products—and when.