Category: January 2016

Open Your Heart for Valentine’s Day

ARVIN PARANJPE – In the United States, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated widely with candy, flowers, and private expressions of affection. I proposed to my wife on Valentine’s Day and my kindergartner daughter, who was born on its eve, observes it with heartfelt cards to friends and family. I never suspected that St. Valentine’s Day, so sweet and whimsical, actually stands tribute for the ancient struggle against war and oppression.

WAAAHHHH…But We Don’t Wanna Get Arrested!

MIKE FERNER – As the macho, gun-toting, testosterone-addled cowboys who took over the wildlife refuge in Oregon call it quits, their pitiful whine can be heard all the way to Florida: “Waaahhh…but we don’t wanna get arrested…” So much for the rugged-individualists and badass proponents of personal responsibility. Let’s see what happens as their armed insurrection winds down. How will the system treat the militant bullyboys?

Time for a Reset in US-Saudi Relations

MEL GURTOV – How long must a so-called ally be tolerated and coddled, with mountains of arms, when its actions contradict US policy and violate international norms? Indefinitely, since access to oil, support of Israel, and reliance on the authoritarian Middle East monarchies have been staples of US policy for many decades. Yet wouldn’t it be worth considering that the violence and deprivations of human rights in the Middle East might be alleviated by US adherence to a different set of priorities: social justice, environmental protection (with a focus on water), accountable and transparent governance, and demilitarization through substantial reductions of armaments and arms transfers?

Open Letter: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age

RICHARD FALK, DAVID KRIEGER (pictured) and ROBER LANEY – By their purported test of a hydrogen bomb early in 2016, North Korea reminded the world that nuclear dangers are not an abstraction, but a continuing menace that the governments and peoples of the world ignore at their peril. Even if the test were not of a hydrogen bomb but of a smaller atomic weapon, as many experts suggest, we are still reminded that we live in the Nuclear Age, an age in which accident, miscalculation, insanity or intention could lead to devastating nuclear catastrophe.

Nonviolence is the Key to Our Future

MICHAEL N. NAGLER – He came out against the war. Against all advice. In his famous speech opposing the Vietnam War at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King announced to the world his departure, or rather expansion, of his role as civil rights leader to that of a prophet warning “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, my own government,” that they had put themselves on a course “approaching spiritual death.”

Slaves in All But Name

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND – Communities across the U.S. are stripped of their right to local self-government, and the right to protect themselves from corporate harms and the corporate state. Read how we are “Slaves in all but Name” in Community Rights Paper 11 – and what is possible with the Community Rights Movement.

How the World is Proving Martin Luther King Right about Nonviolence

ERICA CHENOWITH and DR. MARIA J. STEPHAN – Since 2011, the world has been a deeply contentious place. Although armed insurgencies rage across the Middle East, the Sahel and Southern Asia, violent civil conflicts are no longer the primary way that people seek to redress their grievances. Instead, from Tunis to Tahrir Square, from Zuccotti Park to Ferguson, from Burkina Faso to Hong Kong, movements worldwide have drawn on the lessons of Gandhi, King and everyday activists at home and abroad to push for change.

Which Nation Truly Speaks for Nuclear Peace?

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – “Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And . . . as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it. “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Uh . . . These words, the core of President Obama’s first major foreign policy speech, delivered in Prague in April 2009, now resonate with nothing so much as toxic irony — these pretty words, these words of false hope, which disappeared into Washington’s military-industrial consensus and failed to materialize into action or policy.

Healthy Climate Bill Would Protect Health, Businesses and Jobs

NEIL SMITH and TONIA MORO – The great majority of Oregonians want to see smart, practical action to slow climate change. We know the effects of climate disruption ― heat waves, drought, wildfires, unrecognizably extreme weather ― will be too destructive to delay action. Further, we have the opportunity to animate our economy by transitioning to energy-efficient practices. We can take advantage of this transition if we insist that our state government provide a legislative framework to support businesses in this emerging economy.

What the Women of Berlin’s Rosenstrasse Protest Can Teach Us About Trump

RIVERA SUN – Many United States citizens are appalled at recent remarks by Donald Trump and other bigoted politicians advocating policies against Muslims that are eerily reminiscent of Nazi policies toward the Jews. The parallels between the 1930s-40s in Germany and the United States in 2015 are frightening. It is clear to many citizens that the rise of bigotry and fascism in our nation cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged. Organized resistance is essential. In this effort, revisiting the history of resistance to the Nazis offers us some tantalizing concepts.

Still Torture After All These Years

JOHN LAFORGE – A full accounting and criminal investigation of the torture regime must be made, including disclosure of videotapes of CIA interrogations under Bush and of force-feeding under Obama. There is no other way to demonstrate that law binds U.S. presidents, to ensure that such crimes are not repeated, to recover the right to condemn torture by other states, and to reduce the chances that captured U.S. soldiers will not be tortured using the same sickening rationale that Cheney still spews on Sunday talk shows.

Has the Time Come for Democratization of the Economy?

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Many Americans are becoming fed up with economic inequality. Of course, they might be distracted by xenophobia and fear-mongering, which have been promoted assiduously in recent months by pro-corporate politicians. Even so, there are growing indications that Americans favor democracy not only in their politics, but in their economy.