John Vidal and Annie Kellly – Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilizers.
JOHN LAFORGE – Risking your personal freedom for a worthy cause is as American as apple pie. But nonviolently putting your life at risk in defense of others is so rare that the actor is sometimes dismissed as crazy. Some people think the Transform Now Plowshares activists were crazy for sneaking into a nuclear weapons factory — the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. — in order to make a direct, unequivocal and crystal clear demand for an end to the expensive, poisonous, criminal and delusional self-destructiveness of building nuclear bombs.
HILARY O. SHELTON – With the devastation from Hurricane Sandy fresh in our minds, it is time to deliberately address the menacing climate change concerns that are facing our planet and their disparate impacts on communities of color. With this in mind, we must also recognize and address the air pollutants contributing to issues of climate change. In 2005, many thought Hurricane Katrina would force politicians and decision-makers to pay attention to the buildup of harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and to build momentum for change. Yet here we are again, seven years later, rebuilding after a catastrophic super-storm, which ravaged the Caribbean and U.S. Atlantic Coast. During the election season, the topic of climate change was barely broached. However, President Obama gave it some much needed attention in his victory speech. And, as many know, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and our allies in the environmental justice movement have been speaking with a sense of critical urgency on this issue for years.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003, countless journalists in the United States extolled him for a masterful performance — making the case that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the speech later became notorious should not obscure how easily truth becomes irrelevant in the process of going to war.
REP. BARBARA LEE – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) on February 15 introduced a new bill in the House of Representatives that would create a Cabinet-level “Department of Peacebuilding.”
DR, JOSEPH MERCOLA – A review of U.S. healthcare expenses by the Institutes of Medicine1 has revealed that 30 cents of every dollar spent on medical care is wasted, adding up to $750 billion annually.
REV. JIM HETZER – An Israeli graphic designer overhead a conversation at a grocery in Tel Aviv between the owner and a customer. The owner said that soon Iran would send 10,000 missiles to rain down on Israel. The customer said it would be 10,000 missiles a day. The Israeli graphic designer is named Ronny Edry. He has heard this kind of story over and over for the last 10 years. He felt that he needed to do something to help the situation.
LAURA FINLEY – Domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence endured by women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-fourth of U.S women will endure an abusive relationship, while some 1,300 people are killed each year by intimate partners. Thankfully, we have come a long way since the 1970s, when laws did not directly prohibit domestic violence, police often failed to respond, and few resources were available to victims. Yet we stand at the brink of losing much of that progress if Congress does not act now to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
KEN MCCORMACK – The tragedy at Newtown is driving a debate over gun control. Gun control is critical. But there is also a need for basic change in our culture of violence. To this end, the Oregon-based Peace Village, Inc. (PV) is taking the message of nonviolence directly to children.
CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE – Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2013” for increased transparency and accountability in the defense budget. This bipartisan bill will cut the budget of any Federal agency by five percent that does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. To protect benefits for the nation’s veterans, military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts.
INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY – Reuters reported this week that President Obama has endorsed a plan to “rescue” the Postal Service, including by reducing service one day a week.
Bloomberg reports: “A measure that may put the U.S. Postal Service under a control board, end to-the-door mail delivery and close post offices using the same process as military-base shutdowns was approved by a U.S. House panel. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican, was approved today with Republican support and Democratic opposition.
DAVID SWANSON – Shortly after 11 p.m. on Monday, February 4th, the City Council of Charlottesville, Va., passed what is believed to be the first anti-drone resolution in the country. According to my notes, and verifiable soon on the City Council’s website, the resolution reads:
JOHN LAFORGE – Even the deregulation-happy Wall St. Journal sounded shocked: “The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products.”
RETHINK MEDIA – The public has conflicted opinions about nuclear weapons. They don’t like them, but they see them as necessary and essential. They like the idea of eliminating them, but don’t see that as realistic. The challenge is to build public confidence in a process of reductions.
MIKE FERNER – During the Vietnam war, there was a vibrant, courageous resistance movement within the military itself. Young men and some women did anything they could to end the killing. They demonstrated, sabotaged military equipment, and fragged their officers. They also published dozens of underground newspapers, one of which was put out by the crew of the carrier, USS Kitty Hawk, cheekily called Kitty Litter.