Category: Archive

Why Americans Need to Act Like the Majority We Already Are

OMNESHA ROYCHOUDHURI – The next time someone tries to tell you it’s hopeless or that we need to “reach across the aisle,” because we’ve never been more divided, tell them they’re right. We’ve never been more divided: Over decades, the Democratic and Republican platforms have become increasingly out of touch. The real divide in America is between what the majority of us want and need, and what a tiny minority — a handful of extremists in power — have been offering.

Democrats Are Afraid Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too. And That’s A Good Thing.

NORMAN SOLOMON – Turning the Democratic Party into a truly progressive force will require turning “primary” into a verb. The corporate Democrats who dominate the party’s power structure in Congress should fear losing their seats because they’re out of step with constituents. And Democratic voters should understand that if they want to change the party, the only path to do so is to change the people who represent them. Otherwise, the leverage of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex will continue to hold sway.

Grassroots Catholics Challenge Congress to “Face the Crisis”

MARYKNOLL OFFICE FOR GLOBAL CONCERNS – January 18, 2019—On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day on January 21, eleven national and international Catholic justice and peace organizations delivered a joint statement to Congress today, entitled “Facing the Crisis: A Catholic Offer of Wisdom and Courage to Congress” which calls on Members to courageously take the first steps to end the political polarization that the group says is eroding democracy in the United States.

The Democrats Can Only Move Left

HARVEY WASSERMAN – The Democratic Party has nowhere to go but left. The faux mantra from bloviating experts, petulant pundits, and high-priced consultants has been droning on since the coming of Ronald Reagan: the Democrats must forever tack right to attract “swing” conservatives in the “mainstream middle” between the two parties. But in the Age of Trump, such voters are all but extinct. The middle ground has cratered. The swing constituency (if it ever existed) has disappeared into the abyss. What matters now is excitement, commitment, clarity, and REAL CHANGE … none of which can come with a corporate/compromised agenda.

Green New Deal Must Abolish War Preparations

ROBERT KOEHLER – The Green New Deal needs to go further than it does. Since it’s already being pilloried as the most radical piece of legislation in modern history, it might as well open itself up to become just that: the cornerstone of a truly sustainable national and global future. The Deal should take on militarism and war as well as climate change and poverty; they are all linked.

Four Reasons the Corporate Media Refuses to Talk About Things That Matter

THOM HARTMANN – Ever since the media began, in a big way in the 1980s, to ignore actual news and go for highly dumbed-down or even salacious stories, many of us who work in the media have been astonished by this behavior by the network and cable news organizations and the major newspapers. They used to report the details of policy proposals in great detail (see this report from the 1970s about Richard Nixon’s proposal for universal health care, comparing his with Ted Kennedy’s, for example). But since the Reagan era, the networks have largely kept their coverage exclusively to personality, scandal, and horse race.

Award-Winning Journalist Quits NBC Over Relentless Support For War

WILLIAM M. ARKIN – January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good. This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis. My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.

Beatrice Fihn Is Banning Nuclear Weapons, With or Without Us

EMILY MOON – Beatrice Fihn has spent 12 years working on a campaign to prohibit nuclear weapons, and, as she says, compiling rational arguments and scientific evidence, yet less informed strangers will still pick a fight. But, she adds, “I prefer to argue with politicians than people on the street.” Indeed, she has advanced her arguments and will never give up the fight.

The United States is First in War, But Trailing in Crucial Aspects of Modern Civilization

LAWRENCE WITTNER -Maintaining the U.S. status as “No. 1” in war and war preparations comes at a very high price. That price is not only paid in dollars—plus massive death and suffering in warfare―but in the impoverishment of other key sectors of American life. After all, this lavish outlay on the military now constitutes about two-thirds of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending. And these other sectors of American life are in big trouble.

Mayors for Peace Call for Early Adoption of Nuclear Abolition Treaty

MAYORS FOR PEACE – “We call on the cities around the world to unite in cross-border cooperation to pave the way towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.” This call made by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the establishment of “Mayors for Peace.” Since then, we have appealed for the establishment of a legal framework to prohibit nuclear weapons as we believed it to be essential in achieving their abolition.

Ann Wright Wins 2017 Peace Prize

U.S. PEACE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION – We are pleased to announce that the US Peace Memorial Foundation has awarded its 2017 Peace Prize to The Honorable Ann Wright “for courageous antiwar activism, inspirational peace leadership, and selfless citizen diplomacy.”

Don’t Feed the Trolls – How to Combat the Alt-Right

KAZU HAGA – Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violence. Let’s start there. The constitution does not protect violence, and I’m happy to see that the California chapter of the ACLU has taken a stand against protecting the “free speech” of hate groups. But with or without marching permits, it is clear that public displays of hatred are a growing trend in the United States. And as much as I don’t want to give these groups more attention, it is also clear that simply ignoring them is not going to make them go away. So what do we do?

Should I Go to That Neo-Nazi Rally to Fight Back?

STEPHANIE VAN HOOK and MICHAEL NAGLER – When we hear that the Neo-Nazi movement is coming to our town, most of us naturally feel called—or pushed– to some kind of action. But not every action is going to be effective, especially if we are walking into a situation where the level of dehumanization is extreme—where people are prepared to harm or kill others. How then can we draw from the power of nonviolence in a situation of escalating violence?

What Did MLK Mean by “Love”?

JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – As someone who regularly teaches about the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I often spend time discussing with students the ways in which King’s ideas are taken out of context and turned into sound bites in order to support positions he would not himself have taken.

Chemical Industry’s Years of Deadly Malfeasance Revealed in “Poison Papers”

SHARON LERNER – For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers.

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.

‘Fossil Fuels are Dead,’ Says CSX Railroad Chief: No More New Trains for Coal, Ever

JOHN VOELCKER – The industrial revolution that began around 1750 was powered in large part by coal, and the carbon-rich fuel had 200 good years after that. By the middle of the last century, however, serious studies had begun of its deleterious effects on human health—and that was before the climate-change impact of human emissions of carbon dioxide became known. Transportation will slowly electrify over the coming decades, while coal’s share of electric power generation will wane worldwide.

The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California

JAMES HEDDLE – In the US, as more and more energy reactors are being shut down and are entering the decommissioning process, the overriding question is becoming unavoidable at reactor communities across the country: What do we do with all these decades of tons of accumulated radwaste now being stored on-site? Each canister contains a Chernobyl’s-worth of cesium; each cooling pool, hundreds more.

Working in Concert: Remedy for Flawed Democracy

ROBERT J. GOULD – Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit dropped its score for the U.S. from 8.05 to 7.98 (Above 8 is a full democracy; below 8 is a flawed democracy). Not much of a change, and according to the report, no fault of the current President, as the rating has been “teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy for several years.” Like other flawed democracies (France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and India), we have “weak governance, an underdeveloped political culture, and low levels of political participation, according to the EIU.”

C’mon Millennials, Woodstock is Over and Our Seniors Deserve a Break

CHLOE MEYERE – On Jan. 21, I took a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with a million like-minded ‘friends.’ I swore it was the beginning of an epic uprising, the first one where millennials could be the leaders. I was so certain that my generation would be responsible for the president’s downfall that I wrote about it. It even landed me a few death threats, kindly mailed to my office. But I didn’t care. I was ready to fight the good fight.

In Our America: Community Building 101

ALI KING – As the night of Tuesday, November 8, began to go downhill, like many Americans, I felt stunned and sickened. I hadn’t actually allowed myself to imagine things going the way they did and the unthinkable had happened. Just a few months earlier, everyone was scoffing at the idea of Trump becoming the president and, inexplicably, he had just won. When I woke up from my restless sleep the next morning, I could barely function. Over the next two days, I went through the usual stages of grief – disbelief, anger, sadness, but with so much on the line, I just couldn’t get myself to the acceptance stage. I knew sitting around and watching things crumble was not an option.

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.

An Open Letter To Rep. Barbara Lee: ‘Think Through The Implications Of Our Actions’

NORMAN SOLOMON – More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust. Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I’ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you’ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives. Until now.

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.

Pruitt Will Launch Program to ‘Critique’ Climate Science

EMILY HOLDEN – U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal initiative to challenge mainstream climate science using a “back-and-forth critique” by government-recruited experts, according to a senior administration official. The program will use “red team, blue team” exercises to conduct an “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” the official said, referring to a concept developed by the military to identify vulnerabilities in field operations.

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.