ISA ABU JAMAL – [December 6, 2013] In a stunning turn of events today in Thailand, riot police yielded to the peaceful protesters they were ordered to harass and block. The police removed barricades and their helmets as a sign of solidarity.
LUCY EMERSON-BELL – In early November the Diane Rehm Show on NPR featured an episode on the natural gas boom in America. After panelists glorified the natural gas revolution, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, chimed in by saying, “Nobody (on this panel) has mentioned climate change. What we should acknowledge is that production of oil and gas is undermining our goals to achieve a stabilized climate.”
KEN BUTIGAN – An organizing summit held this past weekend [November 23-24] at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. — called Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance — signaled another important milestone in the growth of the anti-drones movement. With 400 participants, including people from nations regularly under drone attack, the conference was a mix of research, analysis, networking and concerted movement building. The news delivered at the gathering was grim, but the convergence gave attendees a sense that the struggle is gaining traction, both in the United States and internationally.
LYNN FITZ-HUGH – Hyperbole? You decide if this is how you believe the police should behave when citizens are exercising their constitutional right to free speech. On Monday, December 16, 16 people were arrested at two different locations on Hwy 26 outside John Day, OR. They were there in response to Omega Morgan Company moving a heat condenser from the port of Umatilla to the Tar Sands site of the XL pipeline in Canada.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – Fukushima continues to spew out radiation. The quantities seem to be rising, as do the impacts. The site has been infiltrated by organized crime. There are horrifying signs of ecological disaster in the Pacific and human health impacts in the U.S. But within Japan, a new State Secrets Act makes such talk punishable by up to ten years in prison.
TOM H. HASTINGS and ERIN E. NIEMELA – In the spirit of sharing what we’ve learned in our obscure field of Peace and Conflict Studies, let’s think about some possible conflict management methods unexamined by our decision-makers in their dealings with Iran and its uranium enrichment capacity.
ANTHONY D. ROMERO – Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. When Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA, he single-handedly reignited a global debate about government surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals. On Monday, a federal judge vindicated Snowden’s actions by declaring unconstitutional the NSA’s spying program, labeling it “Orwellian”-adding that James Madison would be “aghast.”
JOE ROMM – Humanity is choosing to destroy a livable climate, warn 18 of the world’s leading climate experts in a new study. Led by James Hansen, they make the strongest case to date for a target of 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the air, or about 1°C (1.8°F) total warming.
PRESS RELEASE FROM ROOTS ACTION & OTHER GROUPS – (December 10, 2013, Washington, DC). Representatives from a broad coalition including over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups called upon Congressional leaders Tuesday to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs by cutting runaway, dangerous military spending by 25 to 50%.
ROB OKUN – As we prepare for the gut-wrenching first anniversary of Newtown on Saturday, I teeter back and forth between sadness and anger. Sadness that 20 six and seven year-olds were murdered—along with a half-dozen Sandy Hook Elementary School educators—and anger that public officials and most of the media still largely ignore the missing component in the Connecticut tragedy—the gender of the shooter.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Can the world’s biggest corporations act with impunity? When it comes to General Electric (GE) — the eighth-largest U.S. corporation, with $146.9 billion in sales and $13.6 billion in profits in 2012 — the answer appears to be “yes.”
DAVID SWANSON – When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later. Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more President Obama’s war than President Bush’s. Now the White House is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until “2024 and beyond.”
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Some 47 million Americans live in poverty, and a key reason is the decline of the minimum wage. First established under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the nationwide minimum wage was designed to lift millions of American workers out of poverty and to stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, however, it was not indexed to inflation, and big businesses — hostile from the start — fought, often successfully, to prevent congressional action to raise it.
GEORGE PLAVEN – Dec. 2, 2013: Climate activists won the night Sunday, effectively stalling the first of three controversial “megaloads” from leaving the Port of Umatilla on schedule. Two protesters were arrested after they locked themselves onto the side and underneath the truck hauling massive equipment to the oil fields in Canada. It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished it was 11:30 p.m. About 50 people representing grassroots environmental groups, as well as the local Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, arrived late Sunday to speak out against the megaloads and industrial transporter Omega Morgan.
JOHN LAFORGE – Beginning Nov. 1, food stamp cutbacks mean $36 per month less for a family of four. Public ‘servants’ like Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan and Democratic former President Bill Clinton point to the failure of poverty programs to end poverty, and then slash those program budgets or abolish them altogether. Meanwhile, the chronic test failure of anti-missile rockets never results in budget cuts, but is called reason enough for more funding.
KEVIN ANDERSON and ALICE BOWS-LARKIN, interviewed by AMY GOODMAN – A pair of climate scientists are calling for what some may view as a shocking solution to the global warming crisis: a rethinking of the economic order in the United States and other industrialized nations. Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin of the influential Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in England say many of the solutions proposed by world leaders to prevent “runaway global warming” will not be enough to address the scale of the crisis. They have called for “radical and immediate de-growth strategies in the United States, EU and other wealthy nations.”