ADAM KLAUS – Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the loss of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
JEFF COHEN AND NORMAN SOLOMON – While Washington pundits are talking up a new civility, many progressives are bracing for the old servility — a bipartisanship that is servile to a corporate elite that is unquenchably greedy and more powerful than ever. But this is not a time for despair. Itâ€™s a time for new activism — built upon one of the great achievements of the last decade: the rise of independent media.
LAWRENCE A. WITTNER – The discussion of the Tucson tragedy should be familiar, as we witness similar massacres in U.S. schools, shopping centers, and other public places played out periodically. Each time, the NRA and other gun apologists tell us that the easy accessibility of firearms, including assault weapons, had nothing to do with it. Indeed, they argue that the key to our safety is to obtain more guns. But does the fact that nearly 100,000 Americans are shot with guns and nearly 10,000 Americans are killed with them each year really have no connection to the remarkable availability of guns in the United States?
ROBERT FISK – In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading. Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars.
TED GLICK – â€œThose who take the meat from the table teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men and women.â€ – Bertolt Brecht
Several times in columns over the last year or so I have written about the need for a â€œthird force,â€ a broad, inclusive, independent, and progressive united front.
LEONARD EIGER – Last Saturday, January 15, the Seattle Raging Grannies set the mood for honoring Martin Luther King, Jrâ€™s birthday at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington. Eighty three people from the Center participated in a vigil at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale with the help of a full scale, 44 foot long, inflatable Trident D-5 missile. Each D-5 missile, deployed on Trident nuclear submarines, carries up to 8 warheads, each with an explosive yield of up to 475 kilotons. Each D-5 missile costs approximately $60 million.
CLIFF BOYER – A great New Yearâ€™s resolution would be to take the 5% Solution pledge to reduce your carbon footprint 5% in 2011. Scientists say that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the safe limit to support human life on earth. Right now we are at 388 parts per million (check out Bill McKibbenâ€™s web site at www.350.org for more information). The need to act is becoming more urgent every day. We canâ€™t rely on the federal government to address this issue meaningfully anytime soon. It is up to each and every one of us to take the steps necessary to change our behaviors and make conscious and deliberate choices about how we individually impact the environment.
RALPH NADER – Dear President Obama: The sentiments expressed in this letter may have more meaning more for you now that the results of the mid-term elections are clear. You have seen what can happen when a number of your supporters lose their enthusiasm and stay home or do not actively participate as volunteers.
DANNY POSTEL & NADER HASHEMI – We are peace activists and supporters of the Green movement in Iran. We adamantly oppose any military attack on Iran, and we stand in solidarity with the democratic struggle in Iran. We see these positions as inextricably linked, as forming a consistent position based on the principles of peace, social justice, and human rights. But thereâ€™s a lot of confusion about this in the peace movement. We offer the following food for thought in hopes of clarifying some of the issues at hand and encouraging peace activists to learn more about the Green movement.
JOHN LAFORGE – U.S. attacks on Pakistan using missiles fired from remote-controlled â€œdroneâ€ warplanes have been increasing under President Obama. These covert bombings often kill civilians in violation of the law of war. Even when the missiles somehow blow up targeted individuals, they kill mere suspects. The U.S. denies that its Green Berets, Navy Seals and CIA assassination squads are waging war in Pakistan from bases in neighboring Afghanistan, but the Pentagon has long wanted to expand its regional war there to attack suspected militants — much like President Richard Nixon secretly bombed and then sent thousands of soldiers into Cambodia.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – With U.S. Senate ratification of the New START treaty on December 22, supporters of nuclear disarmament won an important victory. Signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April, the treaty commits the two nations to cut the number of their deployed strategic (i.e. long-range) nuclear warheads to 1,550 each â€” a reduction of 30 percent in the number of these weapons of mass destruction. By providing for both a cutback in nuclear weapons and an elaborate inspection system to enforce it, New START is the most important nuclear disarmament treaty for a generation.
STACY MITCHELL – Let me begin by sharing some good news. Scattered here and there, in my country and in yours, the seeds of a new, more local, and more durable economy are taking root.
JAMES PLOESER AND BEATRIZ LOPEZ – Itâ€™s the moment we hoped would never come. President Obama has announced heâ€™ll submit to Congress the Bush-negotiated, NAFTA-style Korea trade deal. Obama is moving forward on this job-killing trade deal with Korea without living up to his fair trade campaign commitments. The Korea vote will be the first major congressional trade vote of the Obama presidency, and itâ€™s going to come up fast in the New Year.
STEPHANIE N. VAN HOOK and MICHAEL N. NAGLER – In 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church called â€œBeyond Vietnam,â€ where he declared that his conscience would not allow him to remain silent on the question of Vietnam, on the horrors of war, on the threat of violence to our existence. In this speech he pointed out the irony that young men of color were welcomed to join the military in order to burn villages and kill the people of Vietnam in the name of a democracy and of freedoms not yet granted to them in the country for which they fought. They could kill and wreak havoc side by side with white Americans in combat abroad, but they could not sit by one another in the same school or eat together at the same restaurant back home.
CHRIS HELLMAN – After the November elections, members of Congress returned to Capitol Hill for their â€œlame duckâ€ session with one huge piece of unfinished business â€“ the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. And while they failed to complete work on the budget â€“ the government is currently running on a â€œcontinuing resolutionâ€ that funds federal agencies through March 4, 2011 â€“ the lame duck session did pass legislation on a number of serious issues.
PAUL CIENFUEGOS – On November 17, Democracy Now ran a news story about the historic Pittsburgh City Council vote in their news headlines: “Pittsburgh has become the first Pennsylvania city to pass a measure barring natural gas drilling. In a unanimous vote, the Pittsburgh City Council approved the ban within city limits. Pittsburgh sits atop the Marcellus Shale formation, which has large reserves of natural gas. Opponents say natural gas drilling has contaminated water and air in communities across the nation.”