KEVAN HARRIS – The contentious events of 2009 not only ensured four more years for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidentâ€™s office but were also heralded as signaling the death of reformist politics in Iran. Yet as another presidential election approached, the three-decade political improvisation called the Islamic Republic once again went off script.
ERIN E. NIEMELA – While the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement is supposed to ensure a secure and sovereign Afghanistan beyond the U.S. withdrawal in 2014, it does not take into account the opinions of those who will most likely be affected by its implementation â€“ the Afghan people. Without their support, the partnership is more likely to inhibit the realization of a peaceful and secure Afghanistan.
DAVID SWANSON – Like most of you I do not spend my life studying trade agreements, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is disturbing enough to make me devote a little time to it, and I hope you will do the same and get your neighbors to do the same and get them to get their friends to do the same — as soon as possible.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The part of the First Amendment that prohibits â€œabridging the freedom â€¦ of the pressâ€ is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.
CASSANDRA PROFITA – Activists are trying to ban genetically modified crops in Lane County through an initiative on the May 2014 ballot. Eugene-based Support Local Food Rights filed an initial petition on Wednesday, The Register-Guard reports. Lane is now the third county in Oregon to receive a petition to put the issue to a vote.
RABBI MICHAEL LERNER – This article by a leading Rabbi connects the travesty of acquitting killer George Zimmerman with climate change and other environmental disasters through Jewish theology, and challenges us all to take personal responsibility for healing, repairing and transforming the world.
JONATHAN D. SALANT – A majority of U.S. registered voters consider Edward Snowden a whistle-blower, not a traitor, and a plurality says government anti-terrorism efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties, a poll released recently shows.
INTERVIEW BY TERRY MESSMAN – Erica Chenoweth and her co-author, Maria Stephan, reveal in their book, Why Civil Resistance Works, that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their immediate goals of either regime change or territorial change. They also found that these trends hold even under conditions where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective.
Nonviolent campaigns were effective, for instance, against dictatorships; against highly repressive regimes that are using violent and brutal repression against the movements; and also in places where people would expect a nonviolent campaign to be impossible to even emerge in the first place â€” such as very closed societies with no civil society organization to speak of prior to the onset of the campaign.
Chenoweth conducted her research because of the skepticism that a lot of people have about the efficacy of nonviolence in these circumstances. In most of the violent insurgencies we look at, people will say the reason they are violent is because nonviolent resistance canâ€™t work in these conditions. This is why itâ€™s particularly striking that even in these types of conflicts, weâ€™re seeing nonviolence resistance outperform so dramatically.
LESTER BROWN – Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water. There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water.
THOMAS LINZEY – Many have now concluded that our legislatures, environmental agencies and courts have all been privatized â€“ and are now used by a corporate minority as just one more means to get oil and gas out of the ground, to run family farmers out of business, and to take everything of value that our communities have.
MARC CARTER, BRIT LIGGETT, TAZ LOOMANS – Four articles at Inhabitat.com tout recent advances in battery technology that open new horizons for electric vehicles. Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. The blog also addresses innovative design and practices in technology, energy, transportation, fashion and art.
OFFICE OF PETER WELCH – Washington, DC (June 27th) – Rep. Peter Welch joined with Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) at a press conference today to unveil bipartisan legislation to block U.S. military intervention in Syria without an affirmative vote of Congress.
DAVID ROBERTS – While President Obama’s climate plan addresses U.S. coal-fired plants through EPA regulations, it neglects another, equally large aspect of the coal problem. Specifically, coal mining, leasing, transport, and export in the U.S. Northwest. Thereâ€™s a bad situation there and itâ€™s getting worse. Obama can and must address the situation head on and end coal leases on Montana and Wyoming public lands.
DAMIAN CARRINGTON – Climate change poses as grave a threat to the UK’s security and economic resilience as terrorism and cyber-attacks, according to a senior military commander who was appointed as William Hague’s climate envoy this year. In his first interview since taking up the post, Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti said climate change was “one of the greatest risks we face in the 21st century,” particularly because it presented a global threat.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washingtonâ€™s high places. So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber — and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable. Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. More of the NSAâ€™s massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day — which is exactly what it canâ€™t stand.