PHYLLIS BENNIS and DAVID WILDMAN – The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever. . . . The US government has been divided over the Syria crisis since it began. . . . But the situation is changing rapidly, and the Obama administration appears to be moving closer to direct military intervention. That would make the dire situation in Syria inestimably worse.
STEPHANIE VAN HOOK – Nonviolent Army: to many, this would seem like an unnatural contradiction. Armies are by definition violent; nonviolence is too passive and weak to be of any use in societal defense. But . . . soldiers are only conditioned to use violence, . . . and nonviolence does not mean passivity; it means active, creative courage that goes beyond refraining from consciously harming others toward building a community where everyone belongs–where no one is “other.”
TOM H. HASTINGS – How culpable is the person who watches a mugger rob someone and does nothing? What is our social psychology as we bystand silently while our government gears up toward yet another war crime? Lies or misleading information that leads to war should be an enforceable war crime and crime against humanity.
PETER DECCY – For 68 years the peace movement has worked to insure nuclear weapons will never be used in war again. Worldwide solidarity of peace movements is increasingly possible and is more and more necessary in the work for peace so war will have no place to take root, so the wealth of nations is directed to creating a better world for its citizens and not spent on preparations for its destruction.
JAMES BALL and SPENCER ACKERMAN – The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden.
DAVID SWANSON – Jody Williams’ new book is called My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, and it’s a remarkable story by a remarkable person. It’s also a very well-told autobiography, including in the early childhood chapters in which there are few hints of the activism to come. One could read this book and come away thinking “Anyone really could win the Nobel Peace Prize.”
NORMAN SOLOMON – Bradley Manning saw an opportunity to provide the crucial fuel of information for democracy and compassion, thereby illuminating terrible actions of the USA’s warfare state. He chose courage on behalf of humanity. He refused to just follow orders. The Nobel Committee must award him its Peace Prize to recognize his dedication to human rights and peace.
JOHN LAFORGE – On August 11, more than 750 people converged at Buchel Air Force Base — the largest joint U.S./German Luftwaffe air base — to condemn the retention of 20 U.S. nuclear weapons, in open violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In a show of popular rebellion 150 hearty war resisters blockaded all nine base entrances for 24 hours.
SARA SCHNEIDER – Notogroup, a Portland-based, national executive search firm, has been awarded B Corp certification after undergoing a comprehensive examination of its business practices, by the nonprofit B Lab. Companies that are designated B Corps meet high standards for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
DAVID WEIGEL – Alan Grayson, the Democratic congressman from Orlando, is using a new strategy that is getting him closer to an unheralded title: The congressman who’s passed more amendments than any of his 434 peers. The strategy is simple. Grayson and his staff scan the bills that come out of the majority. They scan amendments that passed in previous Congresses but died at some point along the way. They resurrect or mold bills that can appeal to the libertarian streak in the GOP, and Grayson lobbies his colleagues personally.
DAVID SWANSON – U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.
INTERVIEW BY SIMON DAVIS-COHEN – Santa Monica recently passed an ordinance that elevates its right to enforce its Sustainable City Plan, rights to clean air, water and soil, and the rights of nature above corporate entities’ privileges and powers. The interview is a written conversation between Read the Dirt editor Simon Davis-Cohen and Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Earth Law Center and advocate of the Santa Monica Sustainability Rights Ordinance.
LAURA FINLEY – Much attention has been paid to Florida’s asinine Stand Your Ground law, which John Oliver on The Daily Show described as cut and pasted from 1880s Tombstone. That is just the start of it, however. Other backwards laws and policies have been passed, largely under uber-Conservative Governor Rick Scott.
KURT SCHRADER – No Labels and Congressional Problem Solvers are providing some of the only forums in Washington for Members on opposite sides of the aisle to sit down with one another and work through issues that ordinarily push us far apart. Among other efforts, the bipartisan group of Problem Solvers is unveiling a comprehensive legislative package to make government work more effectively.
ED PILKINGTON – While Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, was cleared of the charge of ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ he faces a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail after he was convicted of most other charges on which he stood trial.
DAVID OSBORN – Saturday (July 27, 2013) we drew the line. Some 800 people came together from across the region including Vancouver (WA), the Tri-Cities, Astoria, Eugene, Bellingham, Vancouver (BC), Seattle, Portland and Hood River to demonstrate our unity in opposition to the oil, coal and gas terminals proposed throughout the Northwest and our commitment to take action such that none shall pass through our region.