Category: Analysis

Trump’s Immigration Reform is Tone Deaf

JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – The US has always struggled with how to incorporate diverse peoples into a modern democracy. Philosopher Horace Kallen insists that part of this work has to be about our imagination and the way we talk and listen to one another across cultural differences. Trump’s plan would be like insisting that all voices of the choir have to sing baritone in order to make beautiful music. His plan is not innovative; it’s tone deaf to the current needs of our society.

The Other Superpower?

ROBERT KOEHLER – Is this moment in history empty of all hope and sanity, occupied as it is by the forces of empire and a militarized presidential ego? Or is there a global, evolutionary counterforce out there as well, equal to or greater than the corporate militarism that seems to have a stranglehold on the future?

Capitalize on the Olympic Truce, Formalize a Freeze for Freeze with North Korea

KEVIN MARTIN – Effective negotiators build on any points of agreement the parties to a dispute have at the outset. So why not ditch the “non-equivalency” argument and state the U.S.-South Korea war drills are on indefinite hiatus as long as North Korea continues to observe a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing? That would be solid footing on which to begin real diplomacy. South Korea isn’t afraid to talk to the North, why is the U.S.? If Rex Tillerson can’t do his job, the least he can do is support the North-South talks, and let Koreans make peace.

U.S. Weapons Threaten Beleaguered Civilians In Yemen Conflict

KATHY KELLY – U.S. foreign policy is foolishly reduced to the good guys,” the U.S. and its allies, versus “the bad guy,” – Iran. The “good guys” shaping and selling U.S. foreign policy and weapon sales exemplify the heartless indifference of the smugglers who gamble human life in exceedingly dangerous crossings. The nefarious actions of the US-supported Saudi military in the Middle East must arouse citizen opposition in the one country where democracy is still strong enough to make a difference, the US.

Let’s Stop Lying to Each Other

THOMAS LINZEY – While it’s certainly easier to blame the latest president for our state of affairs, the reality is much more troubling – that we have a system of law and government which poses as a working democracy while guaranteeing the destruction of the planet. In other words, it’s the hardware, not the software. It’s a faulty system.

Trump’s Assault on Solar Masks an Epic Crisis in the Nuclear Industry

HARVEY WASSERMAN – As Donald Trump launches his latest assault on renewable energy—imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China—a major crisis in the nuclear power industry is threatening to shut four high-profile reactors, with more shutdowns to come. These closures could pave the way for thousands of new jobs in wind and solar, offsetting at least some of the losses from Trump’s attack. Like nearly everything else Trump does, the hike in duties makes no rational sense. Bill McKibben summed it up, tweeting: “Trump imposes 30% tariff on imported solar panels—one more effort to try and slow renewable energy, one more favor for the status quo.”

Why the Resistance Can’t Win without Vision

GEORGE LAKEY – We’ve had our first year of tweets and leaks from the White House, complete with reactions and outrage in the United States and abroad. The tsunami of words and feelings about Trump has dominated the media and is likely to continue. The question is: Will reactivity to Trump continue among activists, or are we ready to channel our passion into more focused movement-building for change?

Trump’s Comments Recall a Racist Past in Immigration Policy

JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – About a century ago, Americans struggled to find a language to describe what a multicultural, racially diverse, and democratic society would look like. One group of progressive thinkers, led by figures such as John Dewey, Alain Locke, and Jane Addams, urged us to imagine a nation where immigrants were not forced to assimilate to a single mold, but encouraged to keep their traditions and enlarge the possibilities of what it means to be an American. This theme is missing from public discussions on immigration today. But if we are looking to the past for hints today about what to do with our immigration policy that do not involve reinventing a white nationalist vision, then perhaps this is a conversation we need to remember.

10 Good Things About 2017

MEDEA BENJAMIN – When I recently asked a prominent activist how she was doing, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “Everything I’ve been working on for 50 years has gone down the toilet.” With so many good people feeling depressed, let’s point to the positive things that happened, even in this really, really bad year.

Bernie Sanders’ New Year’s Resolution

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS – Here is a New Year’s resolution I hope you will share with me. In 2018 we will not only intensify the struggle against Trumpism, we will increase our efforts to spread the progressive vision in every corner of the land. Yes. We will create a vibrant democracy where the voices of all people are heard. Yes. We will create a nation which leads the world in the struggle for peace, and for economic, social, racial and environmental justice. The struggle continues.

Corporate-Spun Science Should Not Be Guiding Policy

CAREY GILLAM – As an invited expert to a European Parliament hearing last month, I joined scientists, regulators and others in what has become a global debate over the activities of the American seed and agrochemical giant, Monsanto, and the “science” surrounding glyphosate, the active ingredient in its popular Roundup herbicide.

Should We Pay the Staggering Economic and Human Costs of Nuclear Weapons?

LAWRENCE WITTNER – Most countries are moving down the road toward a nuclear weapons-free world. This past July, the official representatives of most of the world’s nations, meeting in a UN-sponsored conclave, voted 122 to 1 (with 1 abstention) for an international treaty prohibiting countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, possessing, transferring, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. However, the nine nuclear-armed nations boycotted the conference and are not among the countries backing this Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons―at least not yet. Given the staggering economic and human costs of nuclear weapons, isn’t it time that the nuclear nations got on board?

Let It Go: The Arctic Will Never Be Frozen Again

ERIC HOLTHAUS – Two weeks ago, at a New Orleans conference center that once doubled as a storm shelter for thousands during Hurricane Katrina, a group of polar scientists made a startling declaration: The Arctic as we once knew it is no more. The region is now definitively trending toward an ice-free state, the scientists said, with wide-ranging ramifications for ecosystems, national security, and the stability of the global climate system. It was a fitting venue for an eye-opening reminder that, on its current path, civilization is engaged in an existential gamble with the planet’s life-support system.

Cashing Out From the Climate Casino

BILL MCKIBBEN – It’s hard to be optimistic about climate action, not in a week when federal scientists reported that “the Arctic shows no sign of returning” to the “reliably frozen region of recent past decades.” Not in a month when California’s wildfires show every sign of burning straight through Christmas. And not in a moment when the federal government keeps scrubbing basic climate information from its websites. But something big is starting to shift.

Muslim Ban Threatens the Freedom of All

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Dred Scott lives! With the Supreme Court’s declaration that President Trump’s third version of a Muslim travel ban is now enforceable, even as legal challenges against it proceed, the court and the country reopen the racism that permeates American history.

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.