Category: Analysis

Why Do We Have So Much Violence in the U.S.?

MICHAEL MINCH – Can anything be said in the wake of the most recent murderous eruption, this time in Aurora, Colorado? On one hand, many people jump forward quickly with new laments, calls for greater gun control, appeals against such control, and frankly, everything we’ve heard so many times before. Others, on the other hand, are offended by the very idea that we would try to answer the question of why such violence occurs. To suggest that explanations might exist, seems, for them, a move toward affixing blame somewhere close to their own values, interests, and lifestyles. They are people who tell us that murderers alone are to blame for murders. Period. This view is a preemptive strike against calls for, and criteria of, accountability and moral maturity.

Hope is for the Lazy: The Challenge of Our Dead World

ROBERT JENSEN – In 2005, I preached on the ecological crisis in a sermon I titled “Hope is for the Weak: The Challenge of a Broken World.” Looking back, I realize that I had been far too upbeat and optimistic, probably trying too hard to be liked. Today I want to correct that. Hence, my updated title: “Hope is for the Lazy: The Challenge of Our Dead World.”

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Approaching the Nuclear Tipping Point

DR. ROBERT DODGE – This week marks the 67th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the combined initial death toll of approximately 200,000 and thousands more in the years that followed. As Albert Einstein famously said, “With the dawn of the nuclear age everything changed save [except] our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

On Facts, Lies and Sarah Palin

LEONARD PITTS, JR. – The death panels are back. Sarah Palin’s vision of a dystopian society in which the elderly and infirm would be required to justify their continued existence before a jury of federal functionaries has been widely ridiculed since she first posted it on Facebook three years ago. It was designated “Lie of the Year” by Politifact, the nonpartisan fact-checking website, something that would have mortified and humiliated anyone who was capable of those feelings.

The Lessons Washington Can’t Draw from the Failure of the Military Option

TOM ENGELHARDT – Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us — less than 1% — serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washington’s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans. And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate.

Want to Eliminate Terrorism? Offer Nonviolent Leadership

TOM H. HASTINGS – When I teach about the possibilities of a nonviolent response to terrorism, I try to cover many aspects of this complex topic. One of the main strands is the idea that the objectives of al Qa’ida, as stated by Osama bin Laden on several occasions in the 1990s, were not at all unreasonable, but their methods, we agree, were grotesque.

Shaky Assumptions About Military Spending

BETSY CRITES – Fear can be a great motivator – and a great manipulator. Those who oppose cuts to military funding play on our fears to convince us that any reduction in the defense budget would be a dangerous threat to our national security and to our economy. But is this level of panic justified? An examination of the assumptions that underlie the fears will expose just how shaky those assumptions are.

Syria: Only Diplomacy Can Stop the War

PHYLLIS BENNIS – Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, as former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan noted: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”

Syrian Ceasefire Faces Many Obstacles

BILL RHATICAN – Just over two weeks ago the town of Houla was the scene of a horrible massacre claiming more than 100 innocent lives, many of them women and children. The violence is yet another tragic event in an increasingly violent conflict driven by the Assad government, its supporters and a wide array of opposition groups.

Why Even Failed Activism Succeeds

DAVID SWANSON – Almost every account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which a government was been spying on and infiltrating activist groups. And almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which government officials were influenced by activist groups even while pretending to ignore popular pressure.

How to Divest from Armageddon

PATRICK HILLER – In 1951 the U.S. gs partovernment’s Civil Defense Branch produced the film Duck and Cover. … Even at that time the usefulness of the proposed duck-and-cover maneuver in the face of the utter annihilation arising from a nuclear blast was questioned.

Top 10 Electric Car Makers – United States 2012 EV Market Leaders

JOHN ADDISON – Electric car sales triple in the U.S. each year – 20,000 in 2011, 60,000 or more in 2012, 180,000 or more in 2013. Accenture forecasts 1.5 million electric vehicles in the United States by 2015. Over 10 million electric vehicles are possible by 2020, especially if oil prices rise as battery prices fall. Single electric utilities have scenarios for charging over one million electric vehicles in their own service area by 2020.

Carbon Tax Needed to Protect Us from Coal

TAMATA STATON, LAURA CARVER & PHILIP CARVER -An economically efficient policy would place a price-adder (tax) on fossil fuels based on their carbon-content. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced legislation to price carbon emissions — the Save Our Climate Act of 2011, H.R. 3242. Revenue is collected at the point of first sale or import. In the first ten years, the IRS would return 80 percent of the revenue to the public on an equal, per-person basis. The other 20 percent would go toward deficit reduction.

Drone Activist Denied Visa

SHAHZAD AKBAR – The drone campaign, which continues to be conducted without oversight and accountability, is documented to have taken a horrendous toll on the civilian population of these regions, the magnitude of which has only come to light through the efforts of grassroots activists such as Akbar.

Victory Against ALEC – Objectionable Task Force Ends

NANCY SCOLA – Public Safety and Elections was not quite a rogue unit, it was a distraction. Today’s release from ALEC was titled ‘ALEC Sharpens Focus,’ and the theme continued in its body, which said the group was recommitting to its ‘efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of out organization for decades.’

The Tyranny of Freedom

WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ – Freedom has become the be-all and the end-all of our political expectation, the full meaning of the American experiment. Justice is gone, and even more conspicuously banished is that term of terms for movements from abolitionism to feminism, for Lincoln and King: equality.

Thinking the Unthinkable on Iran

EDITOR’S NOTE – This article adds to the peace movement’s usual analysis, which views control of oil supplies as the driving force behind U.S. policy toward Iran, the notion that nuclear nonproliferation might actually be the prime objective. Whether or not you believe that nonproliferation is the most important aspect, it is reasonable to believe that it does play an important role, as author Jonathan Schell maintains.

Everyone Matters

BY KEN BUTIGAN – Larry taught me that everyone matters, and it was this primal lesson that consciously and unconsciously fueled a longing within for a world whose policies, structures and conditions reflected this most basic fact.

Illusion of Separation Causes Global Disasters

WINSLOW MYERS – The biggest challenges we face all have their root cause in an artificial separation—between nations, races, religions, classes, between political parties, between humans and the living ecosystem upon which we depend for life—even between our heads and hearts. Such apparent separations represent a kind of global neurosis for which one antidote is what Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing”—the recognition of our deep interdependence.

Dennis’ Prayer for America Speech

DENNIS KUCINICH – Ten years ago, as we watched the Bush administration – through Attorney General John Ashcroft – respond to the horrific events of 9/11/01, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio gave this stirring speech. Now, ten years later, measure Kucinich’s wisdom against that which has been actually directing our nation’s path

If You Care About Keystone and Climate Change, Occupy Exxon

PAUL LOEB – It seemed like the afterthought in the payroll tax cut extension fight, a small consolation prize to the Republicans on what should have been the easiest of bi-partisan votes. But the two-month clock is now ticking on whether Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s environmentally disastrous tar sands. If we want him to make the right decision and deny the permit, maybe it’s time to Occupy Exxon, with creative protests at local Exxon/Mobil stations.

Bring the War Dollars Home

BETSY CRITES – The withdrawal from Iraq is to be celebrated like a migraine that finally subsides. It is what the majority of Americans have long asked for through pollsters and by their election of a president who promised to get us out.

Do We Have Our Priorities Straight?

BETSY CRITES – What do Durham and Afghanistan have in common? We are worlds apart, but we both have people who need jobs, health care, schools, transportation and sewers, and help for our homeless, elderly and hungry. Neither of us is getting our critical needs met in part because a war neither of us really wants is draining our economies, killing and injuring our young people, and depleting our spirits.

Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred

CHRIS HEDGES – News personalities, politicians, self-appointed experts on the Muslim world, and law enforcement and intelligence officials, as well as the Christian right, have successfully demonized Muslims in the United States since the attacks of 2001. It is acceptable to say things openly about Muslims that could never be said about any other ethnic group.