Category: Analysis

U.S. War Machine Continues Bush Policies

NICOLAS J S DAVIES – The world faces huge problems that must be addressed and resolved in the next few decades. The question facing us is this: will the allocation of increasingly scarce resources and the necessary transformations of the 21st century be directed by international cooperation for the benefit of all and the survival of human civilization? Or will our world be torn apart by a desperate scramble for dwindling supplies of precious resources as the most powerful countries use military force to try and grab what they can at the expense of everybody else? Our country’s current war policy offers only one answer to that question. We must find a different one – and an effective political strategy to impose it on our deluded leaders while there is still time.

How Arms Sales Distort US Foreign Policy

JONATHAN MARSHALL – Money may not be the root of all evil but it surely contributes to horrible war crimes when lucrative arms sales distort U.S. foreign policy and cause selective outrage over human rights atrocities: Forget oil. In the Middle East, the profits and jobs reaped from tens of billions of dollars in arms sales are becoming the key drivers of U.S. and British policy. Oil still matters, of course. So do geopolitical interests, including military bases, and powerful political lobbies funded by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf states. But you can’t explain Washington’s deference to Saudi Arabia, despite its criminal war in Yemen and its admitted support for Islamist extremism, without acknowledging the political pull generated by more than $115 billion in U.S. military deals with Saudi Arabia authorized since President Obama took office.

New Cold War Spins Out of Control

ALASTAIR CROOKE – In the aftermath of the U.S. attack on the Syrian army positions overlooking and commanding the Dier A-Zor airfield – the airfield, whose daily “Berlin air-bridge” style flights, are the sole lifeline to a city long besieged by ISIS – the Russian U.N. Ambassador asked a pertinent rhetorical question at the United Nations Security Council: Who is running U.S. policy: Is it the Pentagon or the White House?

We Need to Ban Nuclear Weapons (in Spite of Canada)

CESAR JARAMILLO – Make no mistake: neither North Korea’s latest nuclear weapons test nor the recent high-stakes stalemate over Iran’s nuclear program are the root of nuclear insecurity. They are but symptoms of a nuclear disarmament regime in a severe state of disrepair. While every other category of weapons of mass destruction has been specifically prohibited under international law, nuclear weapons — by far the most destructive of them all — remarkably still have not. What is needed is a global legal ban on nuclear weapons, with specific provisions for the elimination of existing arsenals and a timeline for verified implementation.

Everything You Have Wanted to Know About Carbon Pricing

UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS – “Carbon pricing” is a market-based strategy for lowering global warming emissions. The aim is to put a price on carbon emissions—an actual monetary value—so that the costs of climate impacts and the opportunities for low-carbon energy options are better reflected in our production and consumption choices. Carbon pricing programs can be implemented through legislative or regulatory action at the local, state or national level.

This Is Our Lucky Day

DAVID SWANSON – This is our lucky day for quite a few reasons. We haven’t yet rendered the climate of this planet uninhabitable for our species. For those of us who are not in prison: we’re not in prison — and not because of some significant difference between us and many who are. For those of us not hungry or scared . . . (see note above re prisons). But there’s another big reason that this is our lucky day — a reason that is different in kind from these.

The Debut of Our Revolution: Great Potential. But.

NORMAN SOLOMON – While Bernie Sanders was doing a brilliant job of ripping into the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the livestreamed launch of the Our Revolution organization on Wednesday night, CNN was airing a phone interview with Hillary Clinton and MSNBC was interviewing Donald Trump’s campaign manager. That sums up the contrast between the enduring value of the Bernie campaign and the corporate media’s fixation on the political establishment. Fortunately, Our Revolution won’t depend on mainline media. That said, the group’s debut foreshadowed not only great potential but also real pitfalls.

What’s Really Behind the Election

ANDREW MOSS – You don’t have to be a poet to breathe new possibilities into an old, familiar metaphor. Recently, for example, author and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman took a well-worn metaphor – the “web” – and reworked it in such a way as to recast the terms of the current presidential campaigns. His take is both provocative and wrong.

Clinton’s Transition Team Suggests a Corporate Presidency

NORMAN SOLOMON – Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. “Unity” was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America. Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign — Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.

A Summer of Discontent: the Consolidation of Nuclear Disarmament and Deterrence Divides

JENNY NIELSON – Nuclear weapons policy—issues relating to deterrence and disarmament—has been discussed this summer in various fora and generated significant media and public interest. The diverging views on the value, role and risks of nuclear weapons, and the increasing polarization among those promoting nuclear deterrence postures and disarmament, have been evidenced in a number of recent developments.

Lost on the Way to the Voting Booth: Dignity and Respect

RIVERA SUN – If there is one political action every American should take between now and November, it is to lift our heads with greater dignity and treat our fellow Americans with respect. Regardless of others, our own self-respect should demand such action. We can engage in functional civic dialogue. There is no need to wait for the “leadership” of politicians, parties, pundits or press. In our own lives and interactions, we can discuss politics in a way that uplifts the dignity of all.

The U.S. Government Needs to Reorder Its Priorities

ADAM VOGEL – The politicians say we have the funds to spend on weapons that will destroy life on earth. It is time for the people to stand up and insist those funds be used to help our citizens create better lives for themselves and a better world for everyone. We have the funds, we are the ones who worked for them; let’s demand they be spent sanely and humanely.

10 Facts the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About the War in Syria

DARIUS SHAHTAHMASEBI – August 04, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Anti Media” – Corporate media regularly attempts to present Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria as solely responsible for the ongoing conflict in the region. The media does report on events that contradict this narrative — albeit sparingly — but taken together, these underreported details shine a new light on the conflict.

DOD WOE: The Pentagon’s War on the Earth

TOM H. HASTINGS – We are waging war. We are the Nation of War. We destroy. We kill. Everyone fears us. Fewer and fewer admire us. But our fighting forces—and their attendant industries which manufacture the bombs, bullets, and ballistic delivery devices—also wage a war on the clean air, clean water, and clean soil many Americans falsely regard as protected by legislation fought for by those trying to protect our environment.

China’s Bad Day in Court

MEL GURTOV – As had been widely expected, the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the UN Convention on he Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ruled on July 12 in favor of the Philippines’ suit to declare Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea (SCS) illegal. On every particular, the court found that China’s claims—defined by the so-called “nine-dash line”— to an expansive maritime zone and its undersea resources are illegal, and therefore that its land reclamation and construction projects in the islands encroach on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Though the ruling did not extend to the issue of sovereignty over the SCS islands, it clarified the boundary dispute. The ruling also found China guilty of harming the marine environment by building artificial islands, of illegally interfering with Filipinos’ fishing and oil exploration, and “aggravating” the dispute with the Philippines by its construction activities.

Obama Considering Nuclear Reductions Via Executive Order

RAMESH JAURA – Despite protests by Republican congressional leaders and the heads of Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, President Barack Obama is garnering wide support for his reported plan to implement at least a part of his cherished nuclear agenda through a series of executive actions during the next months before leaving the White House.

Abolish NATO

TOM MAYER – A passionate denunciation of NATO is given by Dennis J. Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (1994-98): “NATO as it expands today is absolutely not what the world of struggling economies and deprived populations require. It is nothing, but a negative force. It is undermining an already fragile United Nations. NATO has not been appointed policeman for the globe. It is self-serving, lacks integrity, has demonstrated its leadership cannot be trusted and creates nothing positive. It only yields destruction and human poverty, insecurity and misery. NATO must be abolished!”

Time for a Woman to Lead U.N.

TRUDY RUBIN – When it comes to Western political leaders, we have definitely arrived at The Time of the Woman. Hillary Clinton is the first serious female candidate for U.S. president, Theresa May just took over as British prime minister, and Germany’s Angela Merkel remains the most powerful European politician. Moreover, the nationalist Marine Le Pen will most likely make the final round for French president in 2017. So why not a woman to succeed Ban Ki-moon for secretary-general of the United Nations when he steps down later this year?

U.S. Plans to Saturate Globe With Weapons

DAVID SWANSON – As the United States and NATO antagonize Russia, and pressure NATO members to buy more weapons, and showcase U.S. weapons in numerous wars, and use every carrot and stick in the State Department to market U.S. weapons, an “official” who happens to have been located at a giant weapons trade show predicts that of its own accord “demand” for weaponry is going to grow. Here’s Reuters’ first sentence: “International demand for U.S. weapons systems is expected to continue growing in coming years, a senior U.S. Air Force official said on Sunday, citing strong interest in unmanned systems, munitions and fighter jets.”

Keep Your Guns But Repeal the Second Amendment

TOM H. HASTINGS – My real point on the Second Amendment is that it effectively blocks sane control of weaponry. Repealing the Second Amendment would not affect anything that most gun owners feel is desirable. But the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supremes does make it possible for the gun industry, through its most powerful lobbyist–the NRA–to claim that laws restricting anything to do with guns are odious and part of an unconstitutional slippery slope. The track record is so clear. The Second Amendment protects the gun manufacturers and sellers at the expense of a lot of lives every year.

What is Really Going on in China?

MEL GURTOV – Will the real China please stand up? In the US media, most stories about China raise questions that amount to threat-mongering. How can China’s “aggressiveness” in the South China Sea be stopped? Is China forming a new alliance with Putin’s Russia? Has China hacked its way into the most sensitive US industrial and military secrets? Is China on the verge of displacing the West from Africa and even Latin America? Are the Chinese about to become a military rival of the US in terms of naval and air power?

Recruiting Child Soldiers in the United States

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – What’s the difference between education and obedience? If you see very little, you probably have no problem with the militarization of the American school system — or rather, the militarization of the impoverished schools . . . the ones that can’t afford new textbooks or functional plumbing, much less art supplies or band equipment. My town, Chicago, is a case study in this national trend.

We Shall Be Heard: Nonviolence is the Key to Social Gains

JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – Fifty years ago this past March, a small group of activists left Delano, California and began a march to Sacramento to raise national awareness about the plight of farmworkers. By the time the march made it to the state capitol, its ranks had swelled to over 10,000 people. California politicians and their agri-business supporters realized that they were facing a major civil rights movement in the Central Valley, and that its leader, Cesar Chavez, was someone to contend with. The importance of the Sacramento March today is more than just historical. The march is a lesson about how to use nonviolence to respond to economic hardship in a way that builds a powerful force for justice.

Report Includes Recommendations for U.S. Fathers

ROB OKUN – Millions of men will wake up Sunday to handmade cards, neckties, and, maybe, a new electronic gadget. It’s Father’s Day 2016, a time to acknowledge dear old Dad. But beyond this increasingly commercialized day of purchasing manly presents lies a deeper, more important question: where is fatherhood in the U.S. going today?

Why Tuition-Free College Makes Sense

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – The major argument for free public college and university education is the same as for free public education in general: like the free public elementary and high schools already existing in the United States, free public higher education provides educational opportunity for all and strengthens the American workforce.

Evaluating Obama’s Foreign Policy Record

MEL GURTOV – How should we evaluate Obama’s foreign policy record? Right-wing critics will of course excoriate Obama for all the usual things—weakness against adversaries like Russia and China, negotiating with instead of subverting Cuba and Iran, eviscerating the US military, undermining relations with Israel. On the left, Obama is already being cast as another liberal leader whose actions failed to deliver on his promises, from Guantanamo to the Middle East. Historians will have plenty of things to quarrel about, but we need not wait.

Obama in Hiroshima Paints a Peace Sign on a Bomb

DAVID SWANSON – President Obama went to Hiroshima, did not apologize, did not state the facts of the matter (that there was no justification for the bombings there and in Nagasaki), and did not announce any steps to reverse his pro-nuke policies (building more nukes, putting more nukes in Europe, defying the nonproliferation treaty, opposing a ban treaty, upholding a first-strike policy, spreading nuclear energy far and wide, demonizing Iran and North Korea, antagonizing Russia, etc.). Where Obama is usually credited — and the reason he’s usually given a pass on his actual actions — is in the area of rhetoric. But in Hiroshima, as in Prague, his rhetoric did more harm than good. He claimed to want to eliminate nukes, but he declared that such a thing could not happen for decades (probably not in his lifetime) and he announced that humanity has always waged war (before later quietly claiming that this need not continue).

North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons. So Could Obama

JOHN LAFORGE – North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.”

Woman Describes How Street Abuse Feels

LAURA FINLEY – It wasn’t the first time. Like most women—84 percent across 22 countries, in fact– I have been catcalled by random men many times. In a widely shared 2014 experiment, a woman in New York City received 100 catcalls in just ten hours. But last night was definitely the scariest I have ever experienced. This man amped up his harassment.

Yes to Assertive, No to Aggressive

TOM H. HASTINGS – I teach and write in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, with a special focus on strategic nonviolence. It is a rich field, growing in its scholarship and its widespread usage. I’m so enthused by this—the more we wage our conflicts with nonviolence the lower the costs. Counting the costs of conflict, we normally think of blood and treasure, of casualties and expense. We are slowly beginning to also count other costs, including our environment, our relationships, our civil rights, our human rights, our metrics of democracy, and more. Nonviolence is superior to violence in every way if we read the research and consider all the costs.

Nuclear Ground Zero Is Everywhere Now

WINSLOW MYERS – Torture and rape are unbearable enough, but a nuclear war anywhere could throw billions of people into the misery of worldwide starvation. It is a dangerous illusion to assume that our political leaders and foreign policy experts will magically prevent apocalypse—that the generals on the front lines in Pakistan or anywhere else are sufficiently trained and disciplined never to fall into fatal error. With each further deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons, weapons that the United States and other nuclear powers are also developing, the temptation grows to cross the nuclear threshold. As Lao Tzu said, “if you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” All nations share an interest in stepping back from a catastrophe where any “victory” is a mirage that briefly disguises defeat for all.

Panama Papers Reveal How the 1% Operate

MEL GURTOV – One of the many tools at the disposal of multinational corporations (MNCs) for maximizing profits and undermining state sovereignty is moving operations to low-tax countries. Global companies do not simply “go abroad”; they shift capital, as well as labor and technology, to wherever the advantages are greatest. This reality of globalization is well known, and it is matched by the similar behavior of powerful, wealthy individuals, including present and former top government officials. Like the MNCs, wealthy individuals are not content to make tons of money at home if they can make even more by finding tax shelters abroad, where their money is completely hidden from public view. It’s what the One Percent do.

Here’s What a U.S. Military “Mistake” Looks Like

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – “The people are being reduced to blood and dust. They are in pieces.” The doctor who uttered these words still thought the hospital itself was a safe zone. He was with Doctors Without Borders, working in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where the Taliban and government forces were engaged in hellish fighting and civilians, as always, were caught in the middle.

North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead

MEL GURTOV – North Korea is on a military tear. How and when any of the weapons the North claims to have might actually be operational is open to speculation. What does seem clear is that Kim Jong-un is pressing his weapons specialists to produce a reliable deterrent that will force the issue of direct talks with the U.S.

Voices of Reason vs the Doomsday Lobby

JOHN LAFORGE – In 2010, three high-ranking military officials including Air Force Colonel B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of the US Air Force’s Strategic Plans and Policy Division who had worked directly for the Secretary of the Air Force, published a major policy paper suggesting that the US should unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal by more than 90 percent.