Category: Analysis

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

RIPPLE, WOLF, NEWSOME, BARNARD and MOOMAW – Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

Conclusions of the “C40 Report” Questioned

RICK BARNETT – Any time you see a cheery climate story, it’s about a subset of the subject-of-story’s emissions. When a city does this, the headline always associates the cheery news with the city’s name, rather than noting that it’s only about a portion of city operations, which represent a miniscule percentage of emissions from the entire city. The key to a claim about “peaked” emissions is picking the correct subset of emission sources from total emissions.

Why Those “Endless Wars” Must Never End

ANDREW BACEVICH – Here’s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washington’s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and they’ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).

Should You Be Afraid of the Fascists in Your Community?

WIM LAVEN – I get accused of “being over-the-top” and using hyperbole by conservative friends and acquaintances with increasing frequency. This is caused, in large part, by me being a vocal and active contributor to the public discourse about issues of peace and justice. I am called a “snowflake” for responding to those who support—or even promote—rape culture. My conservative friends say they cannot take me seriously, which is frustrating, but at least it is honest. The question is: how seriously should we consider the statements others make?

What Is the Real Status of Democracy in Russia?

NATYLIE BALDWIN: An interview with Nicolai N. Petro – I conducted an email interview with Nicolai N. Petro, professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island, on the state of democracy in today’s Russia, after having read his eye-opening 2018 journal article, “Are We Reading Russia Right?” His full biography is below the interview.

Unasked Questions about US-Ukrainian Relations

STEPHEN F. COHEN – Is U.S. national security being trumped by loathing for Trump? We need to know fully the origins of Russiagate, arguably the worst presidential scandal in American history, and if Ukrainian authorities can contribute to that understanding, they should be encouraged to do so. As I’ve argued repeatedly, fervent anti-Trumpers must decide whether they loathe him more than they care about American and international security.

Accepting “Partial Scores” from New Media Leads to Poor Understanding of Issues

JEFF COHEN – In the old George Carlin joke, the TV sportscaster announces: “Here’s a partial score from the West Coast – Los Angeles 6.” For a brilliant comedian like Carlin – who skewered corporate power, class structure and political/media propaganda – that’s one of his more innocuous jokes. But it’s sharply relevant today as corporate TV news outlets serve up a series of partial scores. Call it “propaganda by omission.”

Economic Sanctions on Venezuela: War by Another Name

H . PATRICIA HYNES – Recall the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 from grade school history? President James Monroe proclaimed that European nations could not colonize nor otherwise interfere in North and South American countries. Ironically, since 1890, the U.S. has intervened in Latin American elections, civil wars and revolutions at least 56 times, according to historian and author Mark Becker, to bolster US corporate interests and to eliminate democratically elected governments and leftist movements.

Trump Has Blocked Wage Gains for American Workers

LAWRENCE WITTNER – On June 19, 2019, President Donald Trump bragged at his re-election kickoff rally in Orlando that, thanks to his leadership, the wages of American workers “are rising at the fastest rate in many decades.” The reality, however, is that they are not. Indeed, wages rose at a faster rate only a few years before, under his predecessor. And a key reason for the very limited wage increases since Trump entered the White House is his administration’s success in blocking any wage increases for some workers and in reducing wage increases for others.

The Trump Administration’s Approach to the Climate Crisis is a Crime Against Humanity

MEL GURTOV – The President of the United States is a criminal. I’m not referring to the twenty-odd investigations of him currently underway for violations of the Constitution, obstruction of justice, and collaboration with the Russian election attack, among other misdeeds. No, I’m referring to his and his administration’s intentional and reckless pursuit of national policies that condemn American and the world’s citizens to environmental destruction and the end of life as we know it.

Why the West Has Historically Feared Russia

NATYLIE BALDWIN – Russia’s vast size – the largest country geographically in the world – and its prodigious resources are present for all to see. But now, having overcome its historical issues with poor agricultural policies, it also has the ability to feed itself, a highly educated citizenry, and the industrial infrastructure to support a space program as well as a sophisticated nuclear and defense system. It has the ability to build cars, trucks, and airplanes completely within its own borders. Unlike many countries in the world, it has very little external debt and major gold reserves. It is weathering the sanctions against it better than Iran or Venezuela.

Hiroshima Unlearned: Time to Tell the Truth About US Relations with Russia and Finally Ban the Bomb

ALICE SLATER – August 6th and 9th mark 74 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where only one nuclear bomb dropped on each city caused the deaths of up to 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 people in Nagasaki. Now, with the US decision to walk away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) negotiated with the Soviet Union, we are once again staring into the abyss of one of the most perilous nuclear challenges since the height of the Cold War.

Trump is Trying to Revive the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site

DERRICK BROZE – “The United States is brokering land deals to enrich corporations and deprive the Shoshone of our lawful property rights and interests,” Ian Zabarte, a member of the Western Shoshone nation, says while sitting at his home in the Las Vegas area. Zabarte recently celebrated his 54th birthday and also marked 30 years of defending his community against the controversial Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste site.

Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – A serious part of a new consciousness concerning climate change must be addressing what it means to live as part of one global community that is in peril from the consequences of exploitative human behavior. This is not a mere moral abstraction, something to do because it’s right and good. We will disappear as a species if we don’t — no matter how much money we have.

Here’s One Way Democrats Can Defeat Trump: Be Radically Anti-War

MARK HANNAH and STEPHEN WERTHEIM – Democrats have a unique opportunity to close the traditional national-security gap with Republicans, but only if they choose a clear direction for foreign policy and not just against Trump. They should listen to the American people and offer them a genuinely pro-peace message — standing firmly against Trump’s bellicosity as well as decades of bipartisan military intervention.

Listening for Immigration at the Democratic Presidential Debates

ANDREW MOSS – If you’ve been repelled by the family separations and other immigration-related cruelties perpetrated by the Trump administration, and if you plan to watch either or both of the upcoming Democratic presidential debates, please listen carefully – not just to what the candidates are saying, but how they’re saying it: how they frame the issues. Will they present immigration as a discrete set of concerns (“fixing our broken immigration system”), or will they describe it in relation to broader historical struggles, distinctly American struggles, for human rights?

Snub of Russia on D-Day a Worrisome Omission

DOUG MALLOUK – Has the current tide of hysteria against all things Russian risen to the point that European and American policymakers are now attempting an Orwellian rewrite of the history of World War II? This is no mere academic matter of misrepresenting the past but has life-and-death importance for the here and now.

When Countries Increase Their Military Budgets, They Decrease Public Health Spending

PEACE SCIENCE DIGEST – One key argument against military spending is that it “crowds out” government spending in public health. The evidence is mixed. Some argue that increased military spending has indirect but positive effects on public health — whether through the diversity of military expenditures or other “growth-stimulating” effects. Others suggest that there is a trade-off between military and public health priorities because government spending is constrained by limited resources. Using sophisticated statistical techniques, this article examines whether a causal relationship exists between military spending and public health spending.

Why the Trade War with China is So Dangerous

MEL GURTOV – The trade war with China that Trump so confidently predicted would result in a great new deal now threatens to become a permanent feature of US-China relations. Why that is likely may have less to do with the specific trade issues in dispute than with the vastly different negotiating styles and operating principles of the two countries’ leaderships.

Seeking True Diversity; Leaving Shame Behind

JOHN HEID – “Don’t Label Me, An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times” (by Irshad Manji, St. Martin’s Press, 2019), opens with an invitation to expand our moral imagination and concludes with an 11-step “moral courage regimen.” The pages in-between read like a manifesto as radical, i.e. deeply rooted, as any I have come across in years. This is a book acutely for our times. Irshad Manji offers critical analysis, alongside a crash course in nonviolent engagement techniques. Theory and practice all in one. The content is as at once a life-size mirror and flashing red lights for the progressive left.

Memorial Day: a Day of Bad Memory

WIM LAVEN – The frustration I experience with dishonest politics reached a peak with Memorial Day this year. I saw protest signs and memes to the effect of: “Some gave all. All gave something. Trump gave nothing.” While it perfectly captured my frustration, it was oversimplified and failed to articulate the real failures.

“Emergency” Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Lack an Emergency

MEL GURTOV – Trump has authorized the dispatch of 1500 additional troops to the Middle East and the sale of several billion dollars in “precision-guided” weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The arms sale is being made without Congressional authorization or consultation, on the argument (made by Pompeo) that an “extreme emergency” eliminates the legal requirement to make the case to Congress. But there is no emergency.