JULIA CONLEY – “November’s election results show that universal, higher-quality, lower-cost health care through Medicare for All is all moral upside—without political downside.”
JULIA CONLEY – “November’s election results show that universal, higher-quality, lower-cost health care through Medicare for All is all moral upside—without political downside.”
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.
DAVID SWANSON – Congress can take innumerable steps. some easy, some difficult, to advance peace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
J. P. LINSTROTH – It is official. On the first of the year, Jair Bolsonaro, was inaugurated as the 38thPresident of Brazil. One of his first official acts as a newly inaugurated president was doing away with demarcation of indigenous territories in Brazil. All of us living on this planet should be fearful of this act.
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.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – The environmental policy centerpiece of the incoming Democratic House of Representatives has ignited tremendous grassroots enthusiasm, but it faces many challenges, including from nuclear advocates who could undermine it?
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.
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.
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.
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.
GEORGE LAKEY – The cause of rising fascism is the economic elite and its wish to take more and more of the country’s wealth for itself. But, while touring the country the past couple years, I’ve seen an enormous amount of reactivity among progressives. That’s the opposite of what works for making progressive change.
ROBERT KOEHLER – The Senate’s “symbolic” Yemen vote matters hugely (you might say, in honor of co-sponsor Bernie Sanders). For one thing, Dems gain control of the House next year and the resolution could be reintroduced. Also, according to Reuters, some of the supporters are determined to introduce legislation calling for a ban on weapons sales to the Saudis; in other words, there’s more political action to come regarding U.S. involvement in this war.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?
KATE ARONOFF – Democratic socialism will be defined by what its most public adherents—people like Sanders, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez—are able to accomplish once they have the opportunity. At least in the short term, turning their ambitious bills into law will mean prying open the Overton window in policy debates to accommodate what might elsewhere be considered fairly basic social-democratic demands. But with just 12 years left to prevent a total climate catastrophe, time is a luxury that progressives simply don’t have.
JAMES HAUGHT – In the 2018 election, America’s shrinking segment of white evangelicals mobilized strongly for the Republican Party – but the rising cohort of nonreligious Americans failed to exert their full political power.
KATHY KELLY – Recent polls indicate that most Americans don’t favor U.S. war on Yemen. Surely, our security is not enhanced if the U.S. continues to structure its foreign policy on fear, prejudice, greed, and overwhelming military force. The movements that pressured the U.S. Senate to reject current U.S. foreign policy regarding Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen will continue raising voices. Collectively, we’ll work toward raising the lament, pressuring the media and civil society to insist that slaughtering children will never solve problems.
STEPHEN F. COHEN – War With Russia?, like the biography of a living person, is a book without an end. The title is a warning—akin to what the late Gore Vidal termed “a journalistic alert-system”—not a prediction. Hence the question mark. I cannot foresee the future. The book’s overarching theme is informed by past and current facts, not by any political agenda, ideological commitment, or magical prescience. This article is adapted from the concluding section of Stephen F. Cohen’s War With Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, just published, in paperback and e-book, by Skyhorse Publishing.
RIVERA SUN – Change happens on many levels: cultural, economic, industrial, social, artistic, personal, psychological, spiritual, and more. We must work in all of them if we hope for lasting, systemic shifts. Don’t be fooled by the annual circus of voting. Go vote, sure, but don’t sit back down on the couch when you’ve cast your ballot.
DAVID SWANSON – War is not necessary, not just, not survivable, not glorious. We need to leave the entire institution of war behind us. We need to create a world beyond war.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The obsession of the Trump administration with building nuclear weapons and threatening nuclear war underscores its unwillingness to join other governments in developing a sane nuclear policy. Indeed, it seems determined to continue lurching toward unparalleled catastrophe
GEORGE LAKEY – The midterm election brings activists both good news and bad news, but one thing is certain: Reactivity lost.
JOHN LEWALLEN – Did North Korea’s very credible threat of testing a HEMP nuclear weapon capable of destroying the United States play any role in causing Trump to begin peace talks and acknowledge North Korea as a legitimate nation?
JOHN LAFORGE – It gets harder to commemorate World War I, because of time and the public’s embrace of, or indifference to, a permanent war economy.
JUAN COLE – More progressive Democrats in the House must be prepared to fight like hell against the Pelosi-Schumer establishment, which will try to make them quiescent and go along with corporate priorities. What 2016 showed is that that platform is a formula for humiliating defeat and irrelevance. Democrats have to stand for something or people won’t bother to vote for them.
STEVEN C. BEDA – While the origins of many present-day rural extremist movements can be traced back to frustrations with BLM policy in the 1970s, the Sagebrush Rebellion spawned another less talked-about movement: collaborative land management. Many people recognized that fighting over wilderness, grazing rights, timber harvests and endangered species protections was getting them nowhere. So in the 1990s, rural workers sat down with environmentalists, government agents and tribal representatives, and together they worked out agreements that would protect the land, preserve tribal resource rights and allow for continued grazing, mining and logging.
ALICE SLATER – We can ill-afford another nuclear arms race.
MEL GURTOV – America’s China problem is no longer about “managing China’s rise.” It is about finding ways to more deeply engage China on common problems, such as climate change and energy, while also establishing rules of the road to avoid military confrontations in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
TOM H. HASTINGS – What are we to think about our character, as Americans? How do we square some startling observables?
HOWARD ZINN – It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds. Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.
MEAGAN DAY – Right-wing populism is advancing across the world. Bernie Sanders wants to fight back.
LYLE JEREMY RUBIN – Coming home from the Forever War can be difficult. Not long after returning from Afghanistan as a Marine officer in early 2011, I found myself feeling betrayed by compatriots who worshiped the idea of my service while refusing to confront what that service entailed. There is a chasm of awareness that often exists between veterans and civilians, especially during an age in which an all-volunteer military prosecutes never-ending wars, and in which those Americans who end up experiencing combat prove statistically negligible. It isn’t so much a chasm of awareness as a chasm of memory.
JAMES CARDEN – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has accused President Trump and Vice President Pence of protecting “al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria.”
ANDREW MOSS – How do we transition from being a republic of fear to being an exemplar for other nations wrestling with issues of migration? And how, in redefining our identities as individuals and as a nation, do we come to see the border not as a site of separation and of threats, but as a place of coming together, as a site of possibility and creativity?
JOHN LAFORGE – he World Nuclear Association says its goal is “to increase global support for nuclear energy” and it repeatedly claims on its website: “There have only been three major accidents across 16,000 cumulative reactor-years of operation in 32 countries.” The WNA and other nuclear power supporters acknowledge Three Mile Island in 1979 (US), Chernobyl in 1986 (USSR), and Fukushima in 2011 (Japan) as “major” disasters. Claiming that these radiation gushers were the worst ignores the frightening series of large-scale disasters that have been caused by uranium mining, reactors, nuclear weapons, and radioactive waste. Some of the world’s other major accidental radiation releases indicate that the Big Three are just the tip of the iceberg.
ROBERT ALVAREZ – Though the Cold War is long over, the Energy Department’s antiquated, contractor-dominated management system—in which safety goal posts are easily moved behind closed doors—continues to endure and, in some cases, thrive. Without the meaningful oversight of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the nuclear weapons complex will predictably march back to a time, in the not-so-distant past, when public and worker safety was an afterthought—with serious consequences.
KEVIN MARTIN – On September 12, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially certified Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “…are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.” This is required to allow U.S. planes to continue refueling jets for the Saudi/UAE coalition, without which it could not keep dropping bombs on targets in Yemen. Secretary of Defense James Mattis concurred with Pompeo, though congressional legislation required only Pompeo’s say-so.
EDWARD B. RUST JR. – Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is critical to reduce the risks of exposure to extreme weather like the hurricanes now barreling across the Atlantic.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Despite the soaring costs of attending American colleges and universities, their students are receiving an education that falls far short of the one experienced by earlier generations.
JONATHAN HAIDT and GREG LUKIANOFF – If we want saner politics, we need to start building better foundations from the playground up.
STEPHANIE VAN HOOK – The timeless wisdom that Fred Rogers lived, and the challenge of a lifetime: to refuse the degradation that turns us into consumers, offer people dignity even while resisting their behavior, and, above all, love them as they are right now.
JARED KEYEL – If the US were to follow the rules of warfare written into US military law and treaties to which the US is a party, the US must immediately end its support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen.
STEPHEN F. COHEN – For nearly 100 years, Russia has been under US sanctions, often to the detriment of American national security.
LEE CAMP – We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names. Once every 12 minutes.
POPULAR RESISTANCE – All of humanity is being put at risk by the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans opposition to dialogue with Russia. The combination of Russophobia and the Democratic Party’s compulsion to criticize Trump’s every action, even when he accidentally does something sensible, is preventing the two largest nuclear powers, with the two most advanced militaries in the world, from working together to create a safer and more secure world.
CONN M. HALLINAN – It is finally time to re-think alliances. NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there is no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force. It is time NATO went the way of the Warsaw Pact and recognize that the old ways of thinking are not only outdated but also dangerous.