Category: Analysis

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: Saving Humanity from Itself

ROBERT F. DODGE – Since the beginning of the nuclear age and the dropping of the first atomic bombs, humankind has struggled with the reality of being able to destroy the planet on the one hand and the abolition of these weapons on the other. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear (ICAN) acknowledges these realities and celebrates the efforts to achieve the latter.

Mass Shootings: Time for Thoughts and Prayers or Time for Change?

MELISSA A. WORK – After 20 children were killed by gun violence in Sandy Hook politicians did nothing. They made no changes, and continued to say, “Now is not the right time to talk about gun control. It is the time to mourn.” My question to you is when is the right time to talk about gun control? We see something that worked elsewhere—Australia—and we cannot learn from that?

Cultural Shift on Gender-Based Violence Needed

LAURA FINLEY – November 25th kicked off the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. At no time has this work been more necessary than now. From rampant sexual harassment to sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual trafficking, women across the globe and in the U.S face gender-based violence at horrifying rates.

The Illusion of Armed Salvation

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – This time, the “the fire and the fury” of American mass murder erupted in church. Twenty-six people were killed, including children, one only 18 months old. How do we stroke their memory? How do we move forward? This is bigger than gun control. We should begin, I think, by envisioning a world beyond mass murder: a world where rage and hatred are not armed and, indeed, where our most volatile emotions can find release long before they become lethal.

‘Violent Flank Effects’ and the Strategic Naiveté of Antifa

MOLLY WALLACE – In a 2015 article for the journal Mobilization, Erica Chenoweth and Kurt Schock examined all nonviolent campaigns from 1900-2006 with radical (i.e. maximalist”) goals — such as the “removal of an incumbent national government, self-determination, secession, or the expulsion of foreign occupation” — to see how the presence or absence of armed resistance affected the success of these nonviolent campaigns. Their findings offer compelling evidence that violence is not generally a helpful addition to nonviolent resistance movements. How did they arrive at this conclusion? And what lessons do we learn by adhering to this understanding?

Massive Overkill Brought to You By the Nuclear-Industrial Complex

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG – Unless the nuclear spending spree long in the making and now being pushed by President Trump as the best thing since the invention of golf is stopped thanks to public opposition, the rise of an anti-nuclear movement, or Congressional action, we’re in trouble. And of course, the nuclear weapons lobby will once again have won the day, just as it did almost 60 years ago, despite the opposition of a popular president and decorated war hero. And needless to say, Donald Trump, “bone spurs” and all, is no Dwight D. Eisenhower.

How to Respond When Someone Uses a Vehicle as a Weapon of Terror

PATRICK T. HILLER – There are many ways we can respond to vehicles being used as weapons that make such incidents less likely in the future. If we don’t use these alternatives, it is not because they are not available, but because of artificially imposed constraints, lack of interest, or self-interest. The broad social spectrum gives us ample opportunity in our respective contexts to take the contested area away from the terrorists and dissolve any hateful ideology at its roots.

Trump’s Finger on the Button is not the Main Problem with Nukes

WINSLOW MYERS – At some point in the near or semi-distant future, one way or another, Mr. Trump will have departed public office. For many reasons, perhaps most of all because we managed (if we do manage) to avoid nuclear war during his tenure, we will feel relief. But we may also feel a kind of letdown. Instead of having our anxieties focused upon the shallowness, impulsivity, and macho vengefulness of one particular leader, we will be forced to go back to worrying about the craziness of deterrence itself, irrespective of who is leading us.

The Mote in North Korea’s Eye, the Forest in the USA’s Eye

KARY LOVE – Mass murder of 59 is the mote in the eye of that lone “Las Vegas” killer and we all condemn him. Mass murder of all humanity is the forest in the eye of Donny Trump and we are called upon to salute him. Trump has recently threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation. The USA has thousands of nukes, NK may have 20 and a limited, if any, capacity to deliver them. Thus, the forest in the eye of Donny Trump and the mote in the eye of NK.

Some Corporate Horror Stories You Probably Don’t Know and What to Do About Them

PAUL CIENFUEGOS – In early October, Project Censored released its always-newsworthy Top 25 Most Censored Stories of the past year. These are urgent and essential stories that the mainstream corporate-owned media failed to cover. There’s just one problem with this annual list, and it’s the same problem year after year with Project Censored’s annual Top 25 lists. Sixteen of these twenty-five news stories – 64% of them – really aren’t stand-alone stories at all. They’re actually mere symptoms of what happens to a society when We the People forget who We are, and allow large business corporations to possess more constitutionally protected “rights” than We do. We are in fact The Sovereign People. “Sovereign” means “the authority to rule”.

Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State

CHRIS HEDGES – The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

ICAN’s Nobel Peace Prize is Humanity’s Rx for Survival

ROBERT F. DODGE. M.D. – Friday’s (Oct. 7) award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) draws attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and the global movement to abolish these weapons as the only reliable way to guarantee that they will never be used again.

Focus on the Violence of Our Culture, not the Details of the Shooting

MICHAEL N. NAGLER – Although I have been studying nonviolence – and therefore indirectly violence – for many years, what I want to share with you about this latest gun tragedy is just plain common sense. And not to keep you in suspense, here’s my answer: this man slaughtered his fellow human beings because he lives in a culture that extols violence. A culture that degrades the human image – those two go together. How do I know? Because I live in the same culture; and so do you. And that uncomfortable fact is actually going to put us on the road to a solution.

What’s North Korea Afraid of?

DAVID SWANSON – “Peace” clubs in U.S. schools are likely to teach that a local bully is afraid and in need of help. They are much less likely to teach that about entities involved in the actual subject of peace (meaning the absence of war), such as — to take the example momentarily most prominent in U.S. propaganda — North Korea.

Our Enemy is Our Weapons

WINSLOW MYERS – It is long past time for us to recognize that the greater enemy is not someone in another country shouting threats, but the weapons themselves. On the basis of this shared truth, new relationships among adversaries can flourish that will allow reciprocal reduction and elimination. Nature within her inmost self divides, and science has unleashed this process on earth as the mighty power of fission, setting before us life or death choices. It is not too late to restrain the rise of the machines we ourselves have created, and choose life.

Growing Violence and Climate Change Are Linked

FODAY DARBOE – Violence is a profound threat and it is likely exacerbated by climate chaos. Global warming as an important effect on civil conflicts has been recently debated by many scholars and policymakers. Scholars from backgrounds as diverse as economics, climate science, peace studies, and political science have explored the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes on civil conflicts.

The Silencing of Dissent

CHRIS HEDGES – The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.”

Trump at the UN: “Wrong Speech, at the Wrong Time, to the Wrong Audience”

PATRICK T. HILLER – “It was the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience,” Swedish foreign Minister Margot Wallström expressed about what global and U.S. audiences helplessly had to endure during President Donald Trump’s September 19, 2017 address to the United Nations General Assembly. President Trump acted like a bully, but unaware that he showed up at the wrong playground.

Sleeping Near a Forest Fire

JENNIFER HOFMANN – It isn’t exactly the kind of situation you go looking for, pitching your tent mere miles from a forest inferno, sleeping on the ground zipped up into a sleeping bag. But it [is] exactly what is happening in America right now. On the precipice of danger, finding a way to live.

To Protect Our Planet and Revitalize Our Economy, We Need a Climate Conservation Corps

DAVID BAAKE – Although programs like the Clean Power Plan would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, they are not framed as job-creating measures, and are not understood by the public as such. In fact, many people incorrectly assume that regulations lead to reduced employment. The Climate Conservation Corps avoids this pitfall by emphasizing both environmental and employment benefits.

Is It Time to Restructure US CEO Compensation?

LAWRENCE WITTNER – An awful lot of Americans are skeptical about the value of their nation’s corporate executives. As a 2016 nationwide survey reveals, 74 percent of Americans believe that top corporate executives are overpaid. This public dismay with CEO compensation exists despite the fact that Americans drastically underestimate what top corporate executives are paid every year. In fact, the survey found that CEO compensation at Fortune 500 companies was approximately 10 times what the typical American thought it was.

Trump Is Missing an Opportunity in Cuba

MEL GURTOV – President Obama’s engagement with Cuba was one of his administration’s success stories. The policy shift was based on the entirely realistic as well as humanitarian assessment that permanent estrangement deepens enmity, isolates two peoples and separates families, reduces opportunities for improvement in the quality of life in Cuba, inhibits the two-way flow of information, and prevents cooperation on common problems. But the Trump administration, pressed by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, is still fighting the Cold War, as evidenced by Trump’s disengagement order the week of June 20.

Trump’s Wall: Ultimate Symbol of an Ultimate Con

ANDREW MOSS – Though Donald Trump failed to get his wall funded when Congress passed a recent $1.1 trillion federal spending package, he did succeed in creating a wall of sorts. Fashioned partly out of words and partly out of existing physical structures and technologies, Trump’s wall has effectively cast a shadow of fear over the 11.1 million people living in the U.S. without the requisite papers signifying citizenship or legal residence. This shadow accompanies them wherever they go in their daily lives. But this metaphoric wall not only serves to incite fear; it also helps to exacerbate inequality.

Trump Abdicates Control of US Military Interventions

MEL GURTOV – Now, just below the radar, the US military is engaged in an ever-increasing number of “advise-and-assist” missions, supplemented by major arms deals and CIA-run drone strikes, that commit the US to long-term intervention in Africa and the Middle East. And Donald Trump, unlike Barack Obama, is happy to cede operational control—to “let the war fighters fight the war,” as Stephen Bannon told CNN.

The Trump-Putin Meeting and the Fate of the Earth

NORMAN SOLOMON – Any truthful way to say it will sound worse than ghastly: We live in a world where one person could decide to begin a nuclear war — quickly killing several hundred million people and condemning vast numbers of others to slower painful deaths. Given the macabre insanity of this ongoing situation, most people don’t like to talk about it or even think about it. In that zone of denial, U.S. news media keep detouring around a crucial reality: No matter what you think of Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, they hold the whole world in their hands with a nuclear button.

July 4: An Appropriate Day to Defend Liberty

WIM LAVEN – With a long holiday weekend lined up for the 4th of July most people are probably worried about having enough food for the barbeque, or hoping that their get-togethers aren’t too political. Facebook will be littered with messages of freedom, and assorted dissents. I post a link to Frederick Douglass’ 1852 speech “What to the Slave Is the 4th of July?” to mark the occasion most years. For many people this year will be different and it is important that we pay attention. The freedoms marked by the day are under attack.

Let’s Have ““A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind” and Ban Nukes

WINSLOW MYERS – The distractions of the Trump presidency, even including Russian attempts to hack our democracy, have swamped events that may in the long run be of far greater historical significance. A primary example is the historic ongoing U.N. conference concerning the prohibition and eventual abolition of nuclear weapons— and our own nation’s unwise boycott of same.

The Unifying Force of War Abolition

DAVID SWANSON – It’s not unusual for an activist, focused on one of the millions of worthy causes out there, to try to recruit other activists to that particular cause. That’s not exactly what I want to do. For one thing, if we are going to succeed we are going to have to recruit millions of new people into activism who are not now active at all.

Coal Miners Are Pawns in Trump’s Fossil Fuel Agenda

ROB BYERS – Earlier this spring, I was asked a question about my late father, who had been a coal miner in the 1970s and ’80s. It had to do with a familiar romantic storyline: Did he feel at home underground? Was it a calling that tugged at him during the layoffs, a longing to get back to the job he loved? Short answer: No. Long answer: Hell, no.

Will “Nones” make America more liberal?

JAMES A. HAUGHT – The steady retreat of religion in America may shift politics to the left. Surveys find that young Americans who say their faith is “none” generally hold humane progressive values, supporting women’s equality, gay rights, universal healthcare, legal marijuana, free college and other liberal goals. Decline of religion is perhaps the most profound sociological phenomenon of the 21st century.

A Dying Man’s Gift of Awareness

ROBERT C. KOEHLER — “Tell them, I want everybody to know, I want everybody on the train to know, I love them . . .” These words are also part of the geopolitics of murder — these words of light and hope, alive and pulsing amid the bullet casings, the blood and wreckage, the shattered lives. They were the dying words of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, one of the two people stabbed to death last week on a commuter train in Portland, Ore., after they had intervened to stop a man’s tirade of racial slurs — “go back to Saudi Arabia!” — directed at two teenage girls on the train.

President Trump: Toss Your Generals’ Escalation Plans in the Trash

RON PAUL – By the end of last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster were scheduled to deliver to President Trump their plans for military escalations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Trump would be wise to rip the plans up and send his national security team back to the drawing board – or replace them. There is no way another “surge” in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus a new one in Syria) puts America first. There is no way doing the same thing over again will succeed any better than it did the last time.

Class War in the Capital City

DON MCINTOSH – There’s a top-down class war under way, but unlike the 1930s, when thugs shot workers on strike picket lines, today’s business organizations are using “hired gun” lobbyists in state capitols, to rewrite the laws — all of them — in their favor. That’s the basic argument made by political scientist Gordon Lafer in his new book The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time.

US Support of Saudi Attacks on Yemen Must Cease

KATHY KELLY – The U.S. has decidedly taken the side of the Saudi-led coalition. Consider a Reuters report, on April 19, 2017, after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with senior Saudi officials. According to the report, U.S. officials said “U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition was discussed including what more assistance the United States could provide, including potential intelligence support…” The Reuters report notes that Mattis believes “Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East would have to be overcome to end the conflict in Yemen, as the United States weighs increasing support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting there.”

Gorbachev: It Was Worse Than This, and We Fixed It

DAVID SWANSON – On Friday, May 12, in Moscow I and a group from the United States met with former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. He said the current relationship between Washington and Moscow alarmed him. But, he said, it is possible to rebuild trust. “We had a situation that was worse, but we were able to rebuild trust. And people-to-people contacts helped to rebuild trust.”

What If He’s Not an Idiot?

JOHN ATCHESON – It’s worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch the political pornography of the Trump Administration play out and also how the focus on Russia undercuts the Democratic Party. In other words, what if this is exactly what Trump intended when he fired Comey? It’s worth remembering Trump’s mentor was Roy Cohn, who was a master at controlling the narrative and one of his favorite techniques was to change the subject with an in-your-face outrage of one kind or another.