Category: Analysis

Get Real About Preventing War with North Korea

PATRICK T. HILLER – It is time for the public and its servants – our elected officials – to get away from the pretense that there are no alternatives to projecting and using military force, when indeed there are many constructive responses. This matters greatly, because a study has shown that there is a proven decline in public support for war when the alternatives come to light.

‘Too Cheap to Meter’ Nuclear Plants Seek Welfare Again

JOHN LAFORGE – You have to hand it to the nuclear industry for socializing costs and privatizing profits. Last year, lobbyists for operators of dirty, deadbeat old reactors won massive public subsidies — bailouts — in New York and Illinois that will keep decrepit, retirement-age reactors from shutting down. Instead of turning off the rattle traps — and investing public funds in renewables – state-sponsored electric ratepayer handouts in the two states will total $10 billion over 12 years. Remember Reagan’s mythical “welfare queens”? These utilities are welfare gods, propping up decrepit reactors by buying entire state legislatures that in turn legalize monthly electric bill increases.

The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia

NORMAN SOLOMON – After Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the party’s progressive base — personified by Bernie Sanders — was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board. Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject.

Keep Your Eye on Trump’s Main Agenda

PETER BERGEL – Not so fast, fellow progressives! We’ve underestimated Donald Trump a couple of times now. Let’s not do it again. He may be all the things we think he is – racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, homophobic, anti-Muslim, power-mad. At the same time, though, he’s also getting away with a deadly distraction game – one which threatens life on this planet. If you think he’s dumb, think again.

Depleted Uranium Weapons Leave Shameful Legacy of Radioactive Death

BARBARA KOEPPEL – Although the United States and its allies call their newest weapons conventional, which means non-nuclear, the truth is more complicated. Scientists I interviewed here in the United States, and in Canada, Europe, and Lebanon describe this latest generation of weapons as radioactive and chemically poisonous. While not nuclear, they leave high levels of uranium in their wake. And it’s now documented that cancer and birth defects associated with exposure to radiation have soared in countries where the United States and its allies have waged wars since the early 1990s.

Focus on Whistleblowers’ Information, Not Sources or Motivations

JESSELYN RADACK – It is the leakiest of times in the Executive Branch. [A little over a week ago], Wikileaks published a massive and, by all accounts genuine, trove of documents revealing that the CIA has been stockpiling, and lost control of, hacking tools it uses against targets. Particularly noteworthy were the revelations that the CIA developed a tool to hack Samsung TVs and turn them into recording devices and that the CIA worked to infiltrate both Apple and Google smart phone operating systems since it could not break encryption. No one in government has challenged the authenticity of the documents disclosed.

Let’s Give the CIA the Credit It Deserves

NORMAN SOLOMON – For months now, our country has endured the tacit denigration of American ingenuity. Countless statements — from elected officials, activist groups, journalists and many others — have ignored our nation’s superb blend of dazzling high-tech capacities and statecraft mendacities. Fortunately, this week the news about release of illuminating CIA documents by WikiLeaks has begun to give adequate credit where due. And not a moment too soon. For way too long, Russia has been credited with prodigious hacking and undermining of democracy in the United States.

Contacts with Russian Diplomats are Normal Statecraft

JACK MATLOCK – Finding a way to improve relations with Russia is in the vital interest of the United States. Nuclear weapons constitute an existential threat to our nation, and indeed to humanity. We are on the brink of another nuclear arms race which would be not only dangerous in itself, but would make cooperation with Russia on many other important issues virtually impossible. Those who are trying to find a way to improve relations with Russia should be praised, not scapegoated.

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

DAVID SWANSON – In my view, not only was Thomas Jefferson right to list all of King George’s wrongs, not only was Martin Luther King Jr. right to propose taking on militarism, racism, and extreme materialism all together, but the way to an effective movement — not just a larger movement, but a coherent movement with a vision for a better future — is to go multi-issue, big-tent, cross-border, and otherwise “intersectional.”

Trump Can Prove He’s Not a Putin Puppet by Blowing Up the World

NORMAN SOLOMON – Four weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that “nothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet.” The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to “the Trump-Putin axis.” Such lines of attack have become routine, citing and stoking fears that the president of the United States is a Kremlin stooge. The meme is on the march — and where it will end, nobody knows. Actually, it could end with a global nuclear holocaust.

What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds

COLIN BEAVAN – Some years ago, the communications psychologist John Marshall Roberts said at a talk I attended that there are three ways of converting people to a cause: by threat of force, by intellectual argument, and by inspiration. The most effective of these methods, Roberts said, is aligning communication about your cause with the most deeply-held values and aspirations of your friends, relatives, neighbors, and fellow citizens. To get people’s total, lasting, and unwavering support, in other words, we should try neither to cajole them judgmentally nor convince them forcefully. We should inspire them toward a vision that they—not we—can really care about.

Here’s What’s Psychologically Wrong with Donald Trump

KAREN WEHRSTEIN – With all the talk of Donald Trump’s mental health status, I’ve decided to do something I’ve put off for a while: write a diary that shows he is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and spell out what that means in terms of what to expect from him and how to deal with it. Certainly the term “narcissist” is being applied to him a lot, but most people don’t know the entirety of what that means, psychologically.

Reclaiming Our Democracy

ANDREW MOSS – Donald Trump can hardly sustain a movement as a “cure” or unifier. Something much deeper has to be involved, and that something is nothing less than the reclamation of our democracy and the democratic promise of the American experiment.

Preparing for the Storm

DAVID CORTRIGHT – It is time for resistance, for acts of radical, even revolutionary, patriotism. We need to re-think our priorities and put our bodies and souls on the line. Business as usual is no longer an option.

Introducing the New Pledge of Allegiance

ROBERT kOEHLER – The challenge presented by Trump requires something more than resistance. I believe it requires reaching for, and pledging our allegiance to, a much larger, more compassionate and peace-oriented country than the one we have now. It requires pledging allegiance to the planet and the future.

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

DAVID SWANSON – When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith. Those standards are gone.

Urgent to Progressives: Stop Fueling the Anti-Russia Frenzy

NORMAN SOLOMON – Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 election—though it’s hardly the slam dunk that agencies like the CIA and U.S. mass media are now claiming. But in any event, this month it has become routine for a lot of progressive organizations and individuals to descend into a dangerous mode of partisan flackery — with troubling consequences.

How to Scrap the Electoral College

JOHN LAFORGE – The Electoral College is based on state law, so when enough additional states pass the National Popular Vote bill — enough to add up to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House — then the “electors” would be legally bound to vote for the popular vote winner and never again steal an election from the top vote getter.

People Are in the Streets Protesting Donald Trump. But When Does Protest Actually Work?

ERICA CHENOWETH – The politics of dissent is back in the United States. Since 2011, the country has witnessed the resurgence of popular action — from Occupy Wall Street to Flood Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock. Since Nov. 8, many Americans have participated in protests and marches in nearly every major city in opposition to Donald Trump’s election — or to counterprotest in defense of it. Recent data from around the world suggest that popular action is here to stay.

The Road Ahead in Saving the Climate

HUNTER CUTTING – Saving the climate and reaping the power of renewable energy is a vision that can help power the climate/sustainability movement as we go back to work. We will get no help from the Republican Congress or the Trump presidency in this effort. But the economics of the ongoing revolution in the energy sector will fuel our fight. And a large majority of Americans stand on our side. Those are considerable assets. Capitalizing upon them is the work ahead.

Media Complicity Is Key to Blacklisting Websites

NORMAN SOLOMON – We still don’t have any sort of apology or retraction from the Washington Post for promoting “The List” — the highly dangerous blacklist that got a huge boost from the newspaper’s fawning coverage on November 24. The project of smearing 200 websites with one broad brush wouldn’t have gotten far without the avid complicity of high-profile media outlets, starting with the Post. In media and government, the journalists and officials who enable blacklisting are cravenly siding with conformity instead of democracy.

Standing Rock: Determining President Obama’s Legacy to All Americans

ELLEN LINDEEN – What the president does next will determine Obama’s legacy with Native Americans. He has protected and provided for many Americans who were ignored until his presidency. However, the First People on this land, who know the past in a way descendants of immigrants and colonists cannot, are uniting to protect the land. Is oil the new gold or is water the ultimate prize since we all need it to survive? (hint: a bottled gallon of water is about $10—a gallon of gasoline is less than $3) After hundreds of years of dishonorable actions and broken treaties, President Obama can stop this destruction of land, water, and people. Please take action, Mr. President, and assure your legacy to all Americans.

Another $11.6 Billion for Obama/Trump Wars? Hell No!

DAVID SWANSON – President Obama waited until after the election last week to propose an unpopular idea. He asked Congress for $11.6 billion extra — outside the huge existing military budget — for wars. Here’s his letter including all the gory details. Please read it yourself when you begin to hope that I’m making up some of what follows.

Democracy is Not Demonization

SAADIA AHMAD – I am a Muslim-American and a peacebuilder. In the aftermath of a polarizing election season, the victory of President-elect Donald Trump, and an onslaught of violent hate crimes and proposed policies threatening human rights, I am struggling to simultaneously maintain my commitment to both roles and identities.