KENT D. SHIFFERD – With the 20th century having been the bloodiest in history, and with bombs falling in Libya, explosions in Iraq, Hamas rockets falling on Israel and a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan, the answer to the question above seems an obvious â€œNo!â€ However, if you take the long view and look at some trends that have been going on more or less unnoticed for a couple of hundred years, it could well be a â€œmaybe.â€
DAVID SWANSON – I may soon have an opportunity to meet with nonviolent activists in Afghanistan, an area of the world we falsely imagine has earned the name “graveyard of empires” purely through violent resistance. I was educated in the United States and learned in some detail about the lives of several morally repulsive halfwits who happened to have “served” in various U.S. wars, assaults, and genocides. But I was never even taught the name Badshah Khan. Were you?
CAMPAIGN FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE WORLD – In 2011 we will push the Obama administration and Congress to shift priorities in the nuclear weapons budget, including:
Cutting funding for expensive, unnecessary nuclear bomb production plants.
Preserving and increasing spending to dismantle warheads and secure nuclear material around the world.
WINSLOW MYERS – Muhammar Khaddafyâ€™s brutal reaction to the aspirations of his own people is becoming a textbook case in the futility of opposing the citizens from whose consent a leaderâ€™s political authority derives, however illegitimately. Instead, his stubborn egotism has led to absurd violence, even civil war. At moments like this, the world trembles with indignation and apprehensive hope.
GREYWOLFE359 – This chart puts the class war in simple, visual terms. On the left you have the “shared sacrifices” and “painful cuts” that the Republicans claim we must make to get our fiscal house in order. On the right, you can plainly see why these cuts are “necessary.” The reason? Because we already gave away all that money to America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations.
DAVID D. LEEPER – Main Street Wisconsinâ€”harbinger for the nationâ€”is becoming aware that our democracy is being threatened by some very rich, powerful people. The super-wealthy are threatening the very core of our democracy as they consolidate more and more wealth and power.
NORMON SOLOMON – Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.
JUDY DEMPSEY – The nuclear power emergency that began unfolding at a Japanese atomic power plant during the weekend could lead to a major reassessment in European countries that are already building such plants or are considering a shift from fossil fuels to nuclear energy to combat climate change.
BECKY BOND – The contrast between the Democratic state senators from Wisconsin and the Democratic senators in Washington, D.C. couldn’t be starker.
In the face of extreme overreach by Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the state house, 14 Wisconsin state senators stood up and fought for almost a month â€” forcing Governor Walker to resort to a shady, cloak-of-night legislative maneuver which might not even be legal, and which powerfully reveals his commitment to destroying the progressive political base in his state above all else.
DAVID SWANSON – Statistically speaking, virtually nobody in the United States of America knows that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined, that we could eliminate most of our military and still have the world’s largest, that over half of the money our government raises from income taxes and borrowing gets spent on the military, that our wars (outrageously costly as they may be) cost far less than the permanent non-war military budget, or that most of the financial woes of the federal and state governments could be solved just by ending a war in Afghanistan that two-thirds of Americans oppose.
BILL MCKIBBEN – Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on March 3, that’ll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.
BETTY A. REARDON AND TONY JENKINS – The New York Times recently featured significant articles highlighting the important role of non-formal civilian education and training contributing to the nonviolent toppling of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (Feb 13: A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History; Feb 16: Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution). In our peacebuilding work, we have found that such significant nonviolent political transformations are not likely to occur without the essential education and training of everyday citizens in the knowledge and skills of peacemaking, mediation and negotiation, conflict transformation, and nonviolent resistance. This is why we believe the February 18 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of amendment 100 to HR 1 (246 to 182 â€“ largely along partisan lines) that will eliminate all federal funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a tremendous mistake.
PETER BERGEL – I was among the 800 or so who turned out in Salem, OR on Feb. 26 to support preservation of Wisconsin public employeesâ€™ collective bargaining rights and protest the increasing domination by corporations of our political and economic system. It was one of those heady moments when ordinary people scent the distant fragrance of â€œthe power of the people.â€ With the rest of the crowd, I cheered the speakers, smiled at my fellow demonstrators and agreed with others that something seems to be happening at last.
KIM ZETTER – The Army has filed 22 new counts against suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, among them a capital offense for which the government said it would not seek the death penalty.
The charges, filed Tuesday but disclosed only Wednesday, are one charge of aiding the enemy, five counts of theft of public property or records, two counts of computer fraud, eight counts of transmitting defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, and a count of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy. The aiding the enemy charge is a capital offense which potentially carries the death penalty. Five additional charges are for violating Army computer security regulations.
RALPH NADER – The large demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin are driven by a middle class awakening to the spectre of its destruction by the corporate reactionaries and their toady Governor Scott Walker.
For years the middle class has watched the plutocrats stomp on the poor while listening to the two parties regale the great middle class, but never mentioning the tens of millions of poor Americans. And for years, the middle class was shrinking due significantly to corporate globalization shipping good-paying jobs overseas to repressive dictatorships like China. It took Governor Walkerâ€™s legislative proposal to do away with most collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions to jolt people to hit the streets.