JOHN NORRIS – The United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly.
JOHN NORRIS – The United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly.
LAWRENCE J. KORB – Like jilted lovers, the U.S. military and many of those who got U.S. into the senseless invasion of Iraq have been pressing the Iraqi government to change its mind about removing all U.S. troops by the December 2011 deadline.
GARY G. KOHLS – Julia Ward Howe, author of the Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870 was a life-long abolitionist and therefore, early on, she was a supporter of the Union Army’s anti-slavery rationale for going to war to prevent the pro-slavery politicians and industrialists in the Confederate South from seceding from the union over the slavery issue.
DAVID SWANSON – In December 2009, psychologist Bruce Levine published an article at Alternet called “Are Americans a Broken People?” His timing couldn’t have been better. Americans of good will and bad analysis were suffering a severe fit of Obamanation withdrawal. The article was reposted everywhere, commented on endlessly, and responded to voluminously. (This was my response.) Levine has now developed his article into an important book called “Get Up, Stand Up.”
DAN HANDELMAN – We were very troubled by your announcement Sunday night about the death of Osama Bin Laden. You described his assassination at the hands of a secret U.S. operation as “justice,” an “achievement” that “should be welcomed by all people who believe in peace and humanity.”
RACHEL KENNEDY – April has been a momentous month for WikiLeaks. On April 6 Julian Assange was given a date by Britain’s High Court to appeal against extradition to Sweden. Meanwhile, British diplomats have joined many others who are pressuring the U.S. to provide humane treatment of 23-year old Bradley Manning, the U. S. soldier accused of leaking classified data to WikiLeaks and currently held in 24-7 solitary confinement in the stockade at Quantico, often stripped naked.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – The United States and its allies launched the war against Libya on the eighth anniversary of the 2003invasion of Iraq. President Barack Obama says the U.S. will transfer command authority very soon, that military action should be over in “days, not weeks,” and that he wants no boots on the ground. But theparallels with other U.S. wars in the Middle East don’t bode well.
CRAIG CLINE – I’m a “baby boomer” — one of about 76 million American children born during the demographic post-World War II baby boom — between the years of 1946 and 1964. If you’re a baby boomer, too, this message is especially for you. We have patriotic work to do… again.
WINSLOW MYERS – Muhammar Khaddafy’s brutal reaction to the aspirations of his own people is becoming a textbook case in the futility of opposing the citizens from whose consent a leader’s political authority derives, however illegitimately. Instead, his stubborn egotism has led to absurd violence, even civil war. At moments like this, the world trembles with indignation and apprehensive hope.
DAVID D. LEEPER – Main Street Wisconsin—harbinger for the nation—is becoming aware that our democracy is being threatened by some very rich, powerful people. The super-wealthy are threatening the very core of our democracy as they consolidate more and more wealth and power.
NORMON SOLOMON – Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.
DAVID SWANSON – Statistically speaking, virtually nobody in the United States of America knows that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined, that we could eliminate most of our military and still have the world’s largest, that over half of the money our government raises from income taxes and borrowing gets spent on the military, that our wars (outrageously costly as they may be) cost far less than the permanent non-war military budget, or that most of the financial woes of the federal and state governments could be solved just by ending a war in Afghanistan that two-thirds of Americans oppose.
BILL MCKIBBEN – Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on March 3, that’ll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.
RALPH NADER – The large demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin are driven by a middle class awakening to the spectre of its destruction by the corporate reactionaries and their toady Governor Scott Walker.
For years the middle class has watched the plutocrats stomp on the poor while listening to the two parties regale the great middle class, but never mentioning the tens of millions of poor Americans. And for years, the middle class was shrinking due significantly to corporate globalization shipping good-paying jobs overseas to repressive dictatorships like China. It took Governor Walker’s legislative proposal to do away with most collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions to jolt people to hit the streets.
ALEX DOHERTY – [It gives me especial pleasure to present this article to PeaceWorker readers because I recall hearing Mark Rudd speak at a rally on the U of California campus in 1968, just after the occupation he refers to below. I thought his rhetoric was wrong-headed at the time and am delighted that he – who later became one of U.S. movement’s most ardent supporters of violence – has now come to appreciate the importance of nonviolence. – Editor]
[From 1965 to 1968, Mark Rudd was a student activist and organizer in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter at Columbia University. He was one of the leaders of the Spring 1968 occupation of five buildings and the subsequent strike against the university’s complicity with the Vietnam war. After being kicked out of Columbia, he became a full-time organizer for SDS, where he helped found the militant Weatherman faction. Mark was elected National Secretary of SDS in June, 1969, then helped found the “revolutionary” Weather Underground, which had as its goal “the violent overthrow of the government of the U.S. in solidarity with the struggles of the people of the world.” Wanted on federal charges of bombing and conspiracy, Mark was a fugitive from 1970 to 1977. He spoke to NLP’s Alex Doherty on the dangers of self-indulgent activism and his thoughts on current anti-war organizing in the United States.]
MICHAEL NAGLER – When is a whistleblower not a whistleblower? When he’s a scapegoat. Pfc. Bradley Manning is an unfortunate – and a challenging – case in point, and to understand why we need to see it in context.
URI AVNERY – We are in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.
People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.
MICHAEL TRUE – Blind faith — adhering to a proposition with no reasonable justification of its truth — is more dangerous for politicians than it is for religionists. True believers may acknowledge their blind faith in religious dogma, while foreign policy wonks seldom acknowledge their blind faith in political dogma. Yet many legislators and administrators — as well as columnists and academics — adhere to the dogma of “military supremacy,” which dominates U.S. foreign policy. American tax payers, who have invested heavily in that dogma, may have serious questions about whether it works. The evidence?
DORIS MORRIS – I needed a way to express my feelings about the recent shooting involving our representative, Gabrielle Giffords, so began writing this reflection a few days ago. I am open to comments.
JEFF COHEN AND NORMAN SOLOMON – While Washington pundits are talking up a new civility, many progressives are bracing for the old servility — a bipartisanship that is servile to a corporate elite that is unquenchably greedy and more powerful than ever. But this is not a time for despair. It’s a time for new activism — built upon one of the great achievements of the last decade: the rise of independent media.
TED GLICK – “Those who take the meat from the table teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men and women.” – Bertolt Brecht
Several times in columns over the last year or so I have written about the need for a “third force,” a broad, inclusive, independent, and progressive united front.
RALPH NADER – Dear President Obama: The sentiments expressed in this letter may have more meaning more for you now that the results of the mid-term elections are clear. You have seen what can happen when a number of your supporters lose their enthusiasm and stay home or do not actively participate as volunteers.
STEPHANIE N. VAN HOOK and MICHAEL N. NAGLER – In 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church called “Beyond Vietnam,” where he declared that his conscience would not allow him to remain silent on the question of Vietnam, on the horrors of war, on the threat of violence to our existence. In this speech he pointed out the irony that young men of color were welcomed to join the military in order to burn villages and kill the people of Vietnam in the name of a democracy and of freedoms not yet granted to them in the country for which they fought. They could kill and wreak havoc side by side with white Americans in combat abroad, but they could not sit by one another in the same school or eat together at the same restaurant back home.
MICHAEL TRUE – “The same war continues,” Denise Levertov wrote, in “Life at War.” Her lament is even more appropriate for 2011 than as it was when she wrote the poem forty-five years ago. Columnists and academics, including International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich, Boston University, are finally acknowledging facts familiar to anyone “awake” regarding failed U.S. policies, wasted lives and resources during this period, Willfully ignoring such facts, as Professor Bacevich wrote, “is to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.”
NORMAN SOLOMON – On December 5th, in a column about economic policy, Paul Krugman focused on “moral collapse” at the White House — “a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.” Meanwhile, President Obama flew to Afghanistan, where he put on a leather bomber jacket and told U.S. troops: “You’re achieving your objectives. You will succeed in your mission.” For the Obama presidency, moral collapse has taken on the appearance of craven clockwork, establishing a concentric pattern — doing immense damage to economic security at home while ratcheting up warfare overseas.
ROBERT RACK – I happened into a conversation with man sitting next to me on a plane ten or fifteen years ago that today seems almost prophetic. It was one of those gradual conversations that can happen when you’re in a car or maybe in a stuck elevator for a long time with someone, where there’s no agenda or expectations and plenty of time to quietly think about what each other is saying.
TOM HAYDEN – We know that conservatives are extremists for order, but why have so many liberals lost their minds and joined the frenzy over Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? As the secrets of power are unmasked, there is a growing bipartisan demand that Julian Assange must die.
JOE CIRINCIONE AND PAUL CARROLL – Headlines and pundits once again declare that we have a crisis on our hands in the wake of discovering that North Korea is building a new nuclear reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. More ominously, last Tuesday brought news of direct artillery barrages between North and South Korea, heightening tensions and costing lives. But as provocative and serious as this is, neither is a crisis. Both fit a clear pattern of North Korean behavior — a pattern that ultimately holds out the opportunity for progress.
BY JIMMY CARTER – No one can completely understand the motivations of the North Koreans, but it is entirely possible that their recent revelation of their uranium enrichment centrifuges and Pyongyang’s shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday are designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future. Ultimately, the choice for the United States may be between diplomatic niceties and avoiding a catastrophic confrontation.
CRAIG CLINE – There appear to be no easy ways out of the financial difficulties we face. We have “money messes” at our local, state, and federal levels. There is one big thing that can help us though, and I propose that all of us get behind the following objective, with all the political and financial power we can muster, starting right here in Salem-Keizer.
NORMAN SOLOMON – In his first term, President Franklin Roosevelt denounced “the economic royalists.” He drew the line against the heartless rich: “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” What a different Democratic president we have today.
WINSLOW MYERS – After the silly season of the mid-term elections, where left and right each proclaimed imminent apocalypse if the other side prevailed, it can be a relief to turn to measured voices and larger views. No voice is more measured nor view larger than that of the late Thomas Berry, a historian of cultures who called himself a “geologian,” because the ruler by which he measured current events was no less than the 13.7 billion year story of the universe itself.
WILLIAM LOREN KATZ – In 2010, with the blessing of a five-to-four Supreme Court, unlimited money from anonymous corporate sources was allowed to select candidates and call the political tune. It is hardly surprising the party best able to tap these funds scored major gains. While suspicious of repentant witches, the public fell for a heroic narrative of capitalist individualism gallantly charging into the 20th century bearing gifts for all. Rand Paul, the clearest voice of the victorious Republican Party, championed the tried and true values of American individualism, freedom and capitalism of this earlier time.
MICHAEL MARIOTTE – By now you’re probably as sick of election news, results and analysis as we are, but since we haven’t seen anything useful specifically on the election’s impact on nuclear power, we hope you’ll bear with us. We’ll keep it short!
NORMAN SOLOMON & KAREN DOLAN – Media critic Norman Solomon describes the election as “grim history” while Institute for Policy Studies staff Karen Dolan reads the results as a victory for progressives. Both views are well worth considering and both call for visionary grassroots action in response. See both below. – Editor
TED GLICK – Polling and pundits tell us that tonight we will see a significant political incursion from the right wing, if not, indeed, a complete power takeover. We may not appreciate the Tea Party, but we had better learn a few lessons from them, as this article suggests. Business as usual is not serving us well and if we let it continue to run our nation’s business, we will be increasingly unhappy with the results. – Editor
DMITRY ORLOV – Just in time for Halloween comes a fascinating thought piece about some real-life horror: one vision of how some of today’s most positive community-building activities to could turn on us in the face of declining access to oil. Avoiding this future is another strong reason to do the peace visioning Oregon PeaceWorks has been calling for and facilitating. People who do not want to live in the world Orlov posits must take up the challenge of strategizing ways to avoid it. – Editor
NORMAN SOLOMON — Take it from David Axelrod. “Almost the entire Republican margin is based on the enthusiasm gap,” the president’s senior adviser said last week. “And if Democrats come out in the same turnout as Republicans, it’s going to be a much different election.” But we don’t get to have a different election.
ED HEMMINGSON — My thoughts here are in response to Oregon PeaceWorks’ call for personal visions of what the world might look like if “peace broke out.” That term of course, is a satirical twist on the common expression, “war broke out,” which is used by the popular media, as though war were some wild beast that just got loose. In reality, war is the result of cold calculations by people in power who see it as being to their advantage.
MICHAEL MOORE — Not only does Michael Moore express many of the frustrations progressives currently experience in relation to the leadership of the Democrats in Congress and the White House, but he also – and much more importantly – suggests some quick fixes the Democratic leadership could and should implement to head off their self-destructive race to the bottom. – Editor
JACK KIRKWOOD — American leaders and commentators often refer to Israel as our ally. Yet despite six decades of relationship, this term gained wide usage only after President Bush declared alliance with Israel against the terrorists after 9/11/01. American forces have never joined Israel in any military campaign.
JOHN LAFORGE — The press made a big deal of it. The president even starred in an Oval Office TV show about the “end to U.S. combat” in Iraq, which was announced on August 31. Mr. Obama said he’d fulfilled a promise to end the war. Obama’s bit of theater cost less than George Bush’s May 1, 2003 shameless declaration of “mission accomplished,” his circus-act-in-military-flight-suit-to-the-flight-deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Yet the president’s speech was just as dishonest.
TOM HASTINGS — San Bruno, California, is about 12 miles south of San Francisco, near the airport. That is where the gas line ruptured and exploded into a massive fireball hundreds of feet tall, burning dozens of homes, killing at least four, and injuring many others. Residents report having gotten whiffs of gas now and then for a period beforehand.
NORMAN SOLOMON — At this bleak political moment, gaining congressional power for progressives might seem like pie in the sky. More and more desperate efforts are underway to stave off a Republican takeover of Congress. But the necessity of trying to prevent right-wing rule on Capitol Hill should not obscure the need to win more seats for genuine progressives.
AFIF SAFIEH — The Obama administration has been persistent about the Middle East peace process. But is it serious about peace? If it is, and I believe that President Barack Obama is personally serious in spite of widespread skepticism among Arabs and Palestinians, then this administration needs to understand why its predecessors have failed. There were serious flaws in previous peace processes, and I saw how they played out firsthand from my posts in London, Washington and Moscow.
NORMAN SOLOMON — On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to boost a policy of perpetual war. Hours later, the New York Times front page offered a credulous gloss for the end of “the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq.”
WINSLOW MYERS — Two strategic goals of the U.S. are an apparent desire to control Middle East oil and the expressed commitment to help keep Israel safe. This requires the U.S. to refuse the laudable vision of the Middle East as a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would demand that Israel dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Instead, news reports indicate that Israel may be gearing up for a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
NORMAN SOLOMON — It’s already history. In mid-August 2010, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan launched a huge media campaign to prevent any substantial withdrawal of military forces the next summer. The morning after Gen. David Petraeus appeared in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote the war effort, the New York Times front-paged news of its own interview with him — reporting that the general “suggested that he would resist any large-scale or rapid withdrawal of American forces.”
LAWRENCE WITTNER — The August 9 announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of cost-containment measures at the Defense Department should not obscure two underlying facts. First, as he conceded, these proposed economies will not result in cutting the overall Pentagon budget, which is slated for expansion.
REP. PETER DEFAZIO — Given that the war in Afghanistan has entered its ninth year without clearly defined objectives or an exit strategy, I wanted to provide you an update of my continued opposition to our head-in-the-sand Afghanistan policies. We recently saw a major shakeup in military leadership in Afghanistan, but it is clear that this will not translate to a major change in strategy.