FODAY DARBOE – In light of President Obamaâ€™s 2015 trip to Africa, likely his last trip to Africa as the U.S. president, it is appropriate to evaluate his governmentâ€™s foreign policies in Africa since he assumed office. Through this assessment, it is sadly plain to see that Obamaâ€™s policies have not helped the vast majority of Africans. Instead, the policies have allowed the suppression of the African peopleâ€™s hoped-for democratic reforms while simultaneously bolstering the power of corrupt African elites.
THOM HARTMANN – Why are our seniors paying higher taxes on their social security benefits than billionaires pay on stocks? The IRS released a new report that reveals the staggering amount of money that the top one-thousandth of the 1% in the US is hoarding.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements. What accounts for their advent on the world scene and what have they accomplished?
EMERSON URRY – It seems like we, at EnviroNews, have been reporting on this type of thing all year. That is, sketchy environmental riders being attached to totally unrelated appropriations bills in backdoor efforts to kill environmental and wildlife protections. Yes, this year’s spending bills are littered with Republican-stamped provisions seeking to gut current regulations, while rolling back what little painstaking progress the government has made on the climate issue – this, in an attempt to open the door for limitless carbon pollution, and myriad other industrial plunders.
CLANCY SIGAL – I hold no special brief for the British police at whose hands and batons Iâ€™ve split a lip or two. But here in Los Angeles, where our trimly athletic LAPD shoots fewer civilians than, say, in Albuquerque or Baltimore, weâ€™re seeing a spike in â€œhe was reaching into his waist bandâ€ or â€œcoming at me with a knife (or rock).” Police in Gardena, LA, shot two unarmed Hispanics looking for their stolen bike, one died (you can see the police-camera video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkjGBEbfKyo); a few days ago police in the beach city of Venice shot and killed a homeless guy who allegedly had a knife; police in Los Feliz, LA, shot an unarmed jogger who approached them. The dead guys tend to be black, brown or homeless. Itâ€™s a weekly sometimes daily occurrence. The city has paid victims’ families over $20m in recent years. From the WashPost and the UK Independent, Iâ€™ve put together one or two factoids for perspective.
KARL GROSSMAN – Consider getting on to an airplane with nuclear-powered engines. Consider the consequences if an atomic airplane crashes. The Boeing Company last week received approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an airplane engine that combines the use of lasers and nuclear power. â€œBoeingâ€™s newly-patented engine provides thrust in a very different and rather novel manner,â€ heralded Business Insider. Itâ€™s a leap into mad scienceâ€”and backwards to a 1950s notion of nuclear-powered aircraft.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Austerity, the brutal tool of neoliberal capitalism, stands up to Greek democracy and stares it down. Oh well. Weâ€™re remarkably comfortable with soulless economics. Pope Francis, speaking this week in Paraguay, cried to the nations of Planet Earth: â€œI ask them not to yield to an economic model â€¦ which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit.â€
WINSLOW MYERS – Iâ€™m not an expert, just another interested citizen who follows the news, but something genuinely bothers me about the U.S. negotiations with Iran, whether they are ultimately successful or not.
MEL GURTOV – On January 17 the New York Times reported that, to appease environmentalists, the Obama administration would â€œban drilling in portions of the Arctic Oceanâ€™s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.â€ But in return, Republicans and the oil and gas industry got federal approval to drill in a large swath of the Atlantic Ocean, a move that I believe risks another BP-type disaster.
ETHICAL MARKETS – The encyclical from Pope Francis [the week of June 1, 2015] marks yet another significant milestone in our planetâ€™s march toward a global climate change agreement in Paris this December. The fact that the leader to more than 1 billion Catholicsâ€”roughly 14 percent of the worldâ€™s populationâ€”is urging action on climate change is undeniable evidence of growing support for an agreement that even global warming naysayers cannot refute.
ARNOLD OLIVER – Along the rugged coast of northern Californiaâ€™s Humboldt County, maritime history is being made. June 20th marked the launch ceremony of the rebuilt sailing ketch, the Golden Rule, after four years of hard work by a restoration team led by Veterans for Peace. As we shall see, the Golden Rule is no ordinary sailboat.
DAVID SWANSON – The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive â€œtemporaryâ€ measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations! What if not just our civil liberties but our budget got a little bit of 2001 back?
RICHARD LENNANE – At the closing session of the NPT review conference on 22 May, South Africa described the NPT regime as a form of “nuclear apartheid.” This certainly captures the idea of a privileged minority unjustly imposing its will on a disenfranchised majority. But in many ways, a better analogy is that of the struggle for civil rights in the United States in the 1950s and 60s.
KATHY KELLY – â€œGuantanamo Diary,â€ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, is his story of being imprisoned in Guantanamo since 2002. In all his years of captivity, he has never been charged with a crime. He has suffered grotesque torture, humiliation and mistreatment, and yet his memoir includes many humane, tender accounts, including remembrances of past Ramadan fasts spent with his family.
METEOR BLADE (TIMOTHY LANGE) – The U.S. Supreme Court plunked a setback into the lap of the Environmental Protection Agency Monday [6-29-15] by trashing the agency’s regulation of emissions of mercury and other air toxins (MATS) from electricity-generating plants. The court overturned a lower-court decision in the case of Michigan v. EPA stating that the agency had acted reasonably when it chose not to consider compliance costs first in its effort to control those emissions. The justices split 5-4, with the four liberals on the side of the EPA and the four conservatives and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the side of industry and the states that had sued.