DAVID MORRIS – For Republican presidential candidates the phrase “American Exceptionalism” has taken on almost talismanic qualities. Newt Gingrich’s new book is titled, A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters. “America the Exceptional” is the title of a chapter in Sarah Palin’s book America by Heart.
MICHAEL MARIOTTE – Even while the tragedy of the Fukushima disaster continues and our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Japan, there has been a spate of good news on this side of the Pacific.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH – Fukushima Daiichi reactor number 3 – one of the reactors in Japan that has suffered a partial meltdown and that remains endangered – is using an unusual, highly volatile form of reactor fuel that is not yet used in the U.S. but that has been proposed for use at the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Washington.
RACHEL KENNEDY – April has been a momentous month for WikiLeaks. On April 6 Julian Assange was given a date by Britain’s High Court to appeal against extradition to Sweden. Meanwhile, British diplomats have joined many others who are pressuring the U.S. to provide humane treatment of 23-year old Bradley Manning, the U. S. soldier accused of leaking classified data to WikiLeaks and currently held in 24-7 solitary confinement in the stockade at Quantico, often stripped naked.
JEFREY SACHS – Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People’s Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus.
SUSI SNYDER and WILBERT VAN DER ZEIJDEN – For decades, the U.S. has deployed nuclear weapons on the territories of NATO allies in Europe. Now, about 200 of these weapons remain – in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The weapons were originally intended to be used to put up a wall of radiation to block a ground invasion from the Warsaw Pact. Their type and numbers were greatly reduced at the end of the Cold War, but they have not been completely eliminated. Yet.
JO COMERFORD – [Today is Tax Day. It seems appropriate for Americans to know what their government is using their money for. Here is a comprehensive summary. – Editor]
Six months after the start of the current fiscal year (FY2011), congressional leaders and President Obama have reached agreement on a budget for the second half of the year. In all the deal provides just over $1 trillion in spending over the last six months of the year, a cut of roughly $40 billion from FY2010 levels.
POO HA BAH – Anishinabe Kweag, a group of women indigenous to the area now called Ontario, is calling on Bruce Power to halt its plans to ship 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
ROBERT DODGE, MD – The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 the International Year of Youth. This is in recognition of children’s rights throughout the world and to realize the potential of children everywhere. The resolution proclaiming the Year signifies the importance the international community places on integrating youth-related issues into global, regional, and national development agendas. Under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding,” the Year aims to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations.
WORKINGINAMERICA.ORG – Read the following Top Ten Tax Avoiders, and think about the closed schools, struggling students, empty firehouses, and the unemployed workers dreading the day their benefits run out. It doesn’t need to be this way.
WINSLOW MYERS – Keeping the biggest possible picture in mind, paradoxically, may give us the best lens through which to focus clearly upon the messy details of our lives at every level — internationally, nationally, locally, even personally.
What can this abstract immensity have to do with our own lives? More than we think, because we really are a product of the changes the earth has undergone over eons, and we are totally subject to the rules that dictated those changes. By rules we mean big processes, ones we are still trying to fully understand. Processes like evolution itself.
IAN HARRIS – People should not be surprised that the United States has put itself in line to dictate the nature of the next head of state in Libya. After all, in 1954 this country replaced an elected leader in Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had promised to nationalize the oil in his country. Look what happened to Saddam Hussein after he nationalized the oil in Iraq! In 2009 Moammar Quadhafi mentioned nationalizing the oil industry in Libya, where the largest oil company was already state owned. This made Quadhafi a dangerous mad dog renegade who needed to be replaced. Do you see a pattern here?
PHYLLIS BENNIS – The United States and its allies launched the war against Libya on the eighth anniversary of the 2003invasion of Iraq. President Barack Obama says the U.S. will transfer command authority very soon, that military action should be over in “days, not weeks,” and that he wants no boots on the ground. But theparallels with other U.S. wars in the Middle East don’t bode well.
CRAIG CLINE – I’m a “baby boomer” — one of about 76 million American children born during the demographic post-World War II baby boom — between the years of 1946 and 1964. If you’re a baby boomer, too, this message is especially for you. We have patriotic work to do… again.
ROBERT F. DODGE, MD – The world has anxiously watched the events in Japan unfolding this past few weeks after the horrific earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. The feelings are magnified out of a sense of helplessness in aiding the victims in Japan mixed with concerns for potential effects and implications to our own health and communities. In assessing the devastating effects of natural disasters, we must pause as we consider the potential for catastrophic effects of manmade disasters, specifically from nuclear power plants.
JOHN LAFORGE – Well-reported plumes of radiation have spread to California and beyond from the wrecked six-reactor complex at Fukushima, Japan. What’s worse in terms of citizen awareness, clouds of disinformation are circling even faster.
LETTER FROM SENDAI – This inspiring letter was received by an OPW member from a friend in Sendai, Japan.