Category: Archive

Letter to Kings Bay Plowshares Judge Calls for Gratitude

PETER BERGEL – Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has the unenviable task to sentence the Kings Bay Plowshares actionists recently found guilty of conspiracy, destruction of government property, depredation and trespassing for a 2018 anti-nuclear weapons protest at Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia. I write to her urging a very light punishment, for the very specific reason that issuing such a sentence is to act in the service of gratitude. I invite you to write your own letter.

Accepting “Partial Scores” from New Media Leads to Poor Understanding of Issues

JEFF COHEN – In the old George Carlin joke, the TV sportscaster announces: “Here’s a partial score from the West Coast – Los Angeles 6.” For a brilliant comedian like Carlin – who skewered corporate power, class structure and political/media propaganda – that’s one of his more innocuous jokes. But it’s sharply relevant today as corporate TV news outlets serve up a series of partial scores. Call it “propaganda by omission.”

How the Youth-led Climate Strikes Became a Global Mass Movement

NICK ENGELFRIED – It began as a call to action from a group of youth activists scattered across the globe, and soon became what is shaping up to be the largest planet-wide protest for the climate the world has ever seen. The Global Climate Strike is the result of a whole new generation taking bold action and could be the turning point for grassroots resistance to fossil fuels.

Economic Sanctions on Venezuela: War by Another Name

H . PATRICIA HYNES – Recall the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 from grade school history? President James Monroe proclaimed that European nations could not colonize nor otherwise interfere in North and South American countries. Ironically, since 1890, the U.S. has intervened in Latin American elections, civil wars and revolutions at least 56 times, according to historian and author Mark Becker, to bolster US corporate interests and to eliminate democratically elected governments and leftist movements.

Immigration Resistance Has Many Faces

ANDREW MOSS – For the most part, major news organizations like the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times have provided comprehensive, accurate coverage of major immigration-related developments. Significant policy changes and their impacts on people have been presented with careful regard for both detail and larger issues. This is as it should be. Nevertheless, coverage often falls short in underplaying a critical dimension of unfolding events: the extraordinary depth and breadth of resistance to the Trump administration’s policies.

Trump Has Blocked Wage Gains for American Workers

LAWRENCE WITTNER – On June 19, 2019, President Donald Trump bragged at his re-election kickoff rally in Orlando that, thanks to his leadership, the wages of American workers “are rising at the fastest rate in many decades.” The reality, however, is that they are not. Indeed, wages rose at a faster rate only a few years before, under his predecessor. And a key reason for the very limited wage increases since Trump entered the White House is his administration’s success in blocking any wage increases for some workers and in reducing wage increases for others.

The Trump Administration’s Approach to the Climate Crisis is a Crime Against Humanity

MEL GURTOV – The President of the United States is a criminal. I’m not referring to the twenty-odd investigations of him currently underway for violations of the Constitution, obstruction of justice, and collaboration with the Russian election attack, among other misdeeds. No, I’m referring to his and his administration’s intentional and reckless pursuit of national policies that condemn American and the world’s citizens to environmental destruction and the end of life as we know it.

Virgin Plastic Pellets are the Biggest Pollution Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of

ZOE SCHLANGER – “Pellets make up the second most common type of microplastic that we find, second to fragments which break down from things that are bigger,” says Sherri Mason, a plastics pollution researcher at Pennsylvania State University who has published foundational studies on microplastics found in freshwater. She spends much of her time collecting and counting bits of plastic in the environment. “I can go to any beach, give me five minutes and I’ll find a nurdle,” she says. “Along a river, 10 minutes. Once you know what a nurdle looks like you find them everywhere.”

2019’s States with the Most Underprivileged Children

ADAM MCCANN – In an ideal world, all children would live worry-free and have access to their basic needs: nutritious food, a good education, quality health care and a secure home. Emotionally, they all would feel safe and be loved and supported by caring adults. When all such needs are met, children have a better chance of a stable and happy adult life. But in reality, not every child is so privileged — even in the richest and most powerful nation in the world.

Why the West Has Historically Feared Russia

NATYLIE BALDWIN – Russia’s vast size – the largest country geographically in the world – and its prodigious resources are present for all to see. But now, having overcome its historical issues with poor agricultural policies, it also has the ability to feed itself, a highly educated citizenry, and the industrial infrastructure to support a space program as well as a sophisticated nuclear and defense system. It has the ability to build cars, trucks, and airplanes completely within its own borders. Unlike many countries in the world, it has very little external debt and major gold reserves. It is weathering the sanctions against it better than Iran or Venezuela.

Hiroshima Unlearned: Time to Tell the Truth About US Relations with Russia and Finally Ban the Bomb

ALICE SLATER – August 6th and 9th mark 74 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where only one nuclear bomb dropped on each city caused the deaths of up to 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 people in Nagasaki. Now, with the US decision to walk away from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) negotiated with the Soviet Union, we are once again staring into the abyss of one of the most perilous nuclear challenges since the height of the Cold War.

Trump is Trying to Revive the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site

DERRICK BROZE – “The United States is brokering land deals to enrich corporations and deprive the Shoshone of our lawful property rights and interests,” Ian Zabarte, a member of the Western Shoshone nation, says while sitting at his home in the Las Vegas area. Zabarte recently celebrated his 54th birthday and also marked 30 years of defending his community against the controversial Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste site.

Rotary International as a Model for Statecraft

WINSLOW MYERS – The United States is strong enough to lead the way into a new paradigm of self-interest, where dominance is replaced by a global network attuned directly to meeting human and ecosystem needs. Anything less threatens everyone’s survival. If we can offer help to our adversaries because we see it as self-interest, a different world is possible.

It’s In Our Hands Now: Localizing Resistance to Fight Climate Change

OAKLEY HILL – As the climate crisis becomes more prominent and imminent, the world has looked to the top echelons of global power to save us from ourselves. Too often, we look for top down change when problems so profound and systemic must also be addressed from the bottom up. Everyday citizens can slash emissions and move the planet toward environmental sustainability—especially if they leverage their power at the community and city levels. Around the world, this is already a growing reality as hundreds of communities take matters into their own hands to resist the climate crisis and build alternative institutions.

Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – A serious part of a new consciousness concerning climate change must be addressing what it means to live as part of one global community that is in peril from the consequences of exploitative human behavior. This is not a mere moral abstraction, something to do because it’s right and good. We will disappear as a species if we don’t — no matter how much money we have.

New Common Cause Site Tracks Which Members of Congress Have Actually Read the Mueller Report

DAVID VANCE – Common Cause is tracking which members of Congress have read, or not read, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian attacks on the 2016 presidential election. The new easily searchable “Will Congress Act?” website (willcongressact.org) allows people to see whether their Members have read the report and contact them to ask that they read it if they have not.

‘Completely Terrifying’: Study Warns Carbon-Saturated Oceans Headed Toward Tipping Point That Could Unleash Mass Extinction Event

JULIA CONLEY – The continuous accumulation of carbon dioxide in the planet’s oceans—which shows no sign of stopping due to humanity’s relentless consumption of fossil fuels—is likely to trigger a chemical reaction in Earth’s carbon cycle similar to those which happened just before mass extinction events, according to a new study.

In Afghanistan We Have Three Dreams

DR. HAKIM YOUNG – We’re the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, and we have three dreams. Our three dreams are about reuniting with nature and 7.7 billion other human beings! Our dreams aren’t prescriptions. They’re music and movements, distilled from today’s nightmares.

Here’s One Way Democrats Can Defeat Trump: Be Radically Anti-War

MARK HANNAH and STEPHEN WERTHEIM – Democrats have a unique opportunity to close the traditional national-security gap with Republicans, but only if they choose a clear direction for foreign policy and not just against Trump. They should listen to the American people and offer them a genuinely pro-peace message — standing firmly against Trump’s bellicosity as well as decades of bipartisan military intervention.

Listening for Immigration at the Democratic Presidential Debates

ANDREW MOSS – If you’ve been repelled by the family separations and other immigration-related cruelties perpetrated by the Trump administration, and if you plan to watch either or both of the upcoming Democratic presidential debates, please listen carefully – not just to what the candidates are saying, but how they’re saying it: how they frame the issues. Will they present immigration as a discrete set of concerns (“fixing our broken immigration system”), or will they describe it in relation to broader historical struggles, distinctly American struggles, for human rights?