Category: March 2015

Nuclear Legacy Calls for Action

RIVERA SUN – Nowhere is Hannah Arendt’s phrase the banality of evil more potent than at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The prosperous county -one of the nation’s richest – sits amongst the piñon pines and junipers in the high-altitude desert of northern New Mexico. It exists almost exclusively for the purpose of researching and developing nuclear weapons.

Scientists Set Doomsday Clock Closer to Armageddon

ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in minutes to nuclear apocalypse – midnight. This significant move of two minutes is the 22nd time since its inception in 1947 that the time has been changed.

TV Ad Airing in Las Vegas Asks Drone Pilots to Refuse to Fly

DAVID SWANSON – This advertisement does a number of things in 15 seconds that U.S. television has not done before. It presents a moral case against drone murders (the U.S. government’s terminology, and strictly accurate). It opposes drone murders as illegal. It shows victims. It provides the name and website of an organization opposing drone murders. And it directly asks drone “pilots” to refuse to continue. It also makes the Nuremberg argument that an illegal order need not (in fact must not) be obeyed.

Interconnected Struggles: Jeju Island, Detroit, Sao Paulo

KATHY KELLY – Living, as I briefly do, in a world of imprisoned beauty, on an island inside that archipelago of U.S. prisons so unacceptably similar to that of our old superpower rival, it’s no wonder I’m thinking of Prof. Yang Yoon Mo. What we do to the environment, we’re doing to each other. What we let our state impose on those walled beyond our borders we will tend to inflict on more and more people walled up within them, until there is no world of beauty left to keep safe for our own use, and no trust left on which any safety can be built. Until it all dries up. Whereas if we recommit to risk and beauty, refusing paths of alleged safety which only avoid temporary danger by leading us toward certain doom, if we seek our security in treating other people fairly, we may find our way to decent lives, along the way toward “decent human survival.”

Intervention in Civil Wars ‘Far More Likely in Oil-rich Nations’

DAVID SWANSON – Conspiracy theorists have long insisted that modern wars revolve around oil. Now research suggests hydrocarbons play an even bigger role in conflicts than they had suspected. According to academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex, foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none.

Great Speech in Selma, Mr. President!

WINSLOW MYERS – Very stirring and eloquent words at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Mr. President, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march. President Obama: “What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and hope can conquer hate.” Not only that nonviolent change is possible, Mr. President, but that nonviolence is by far the most effective route to change both at home and abroad. So stop sending those drones to kill innocent children in faraway desert lands, murders that create more terrorists than they eliminate!

How Obama’s Aggression in Ukraine Risks Nuclear War

ROBERT ROTH – I voted for Barack Obama for president twice, for one reason: I thought he would not get us into a nuclear war. Now I’m afraid even that reason for my vote is wearing thin, threatened by US and NATO aggression in Ukraine. As the US continues threatening to send so-called “defensive” weapons to the Ukraine government and to impose yet more economic sanctions against Russia – despite the recent ceasefire agreement beginning to take hold – the prospect of Armageddon by accident increases. Moreover, Russian president Vladimir Putin has said he would (understandably) regard the US arming the Ukrainian military an act of war, to which Russia would respond. I don’t think that means he would resort to nuclear weapons, at least initially. But if the already tense situation continues to heat up, anything could happen.

Will the U.S. Government Stand Alone in Rejecting Children’s Rights?

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Within a matter of months, the U.S. government seems likely to become the only nation in the world still rejecting the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Sometimes called “the most ratified human rights treaty in history,” the Convention has been ratified by 195 nations, leaving the United States and South Sudan as the only holdouts. South Sudan is expected to move forward with ratification later this year. But there is no indication that the United States will approve this children’s defense treaty.

Petraeus won’t serve a day in jail for his leaks. Edward Snowden shouldn’t either.

TREVOR TIMM – The sweetheart deal the Justice Department gave to former CIA director David Petraeus for leaking top secret information compared to the stiff jail sentences other low-level leakers have received under the Obama administration has led to renewed calls for leniency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And no one makes the case better than famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

It’s Time Oregon Put a Price on Carbon

CAMILLA THORNDIKE and DAN GOLDEN – Climate change hurts Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The region’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, viticulture and forestry — all of which are climate-dependent. Summers are hotter and drier with rains occurring as storms, rather than the typical drizzle. The snowpack is decreasing. Less water for irrigation, increasing incidence of pests and disease, and growing competition from weeds threatens local agriculture.

Reject Endless, Worldwide War

DAVID SWANSON – We strongly reject President Obama’s request for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) of the U.S.-led war on ISIS. We urge Congress to oppose the request for a war which is endless, not the last resort, illegal by national and international standards, geographically unlimited, and unwinnable. The resultant costs of endless wars are too high and will not lead to the expected outcome. We know that the use of military force in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen has been a failure and has increased violent extremism and recruited volunteers for Al Qaeda and ISIS. There is no reason to believe that further military action will have any different result.