DAVE BARRY – The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but too often, in all the excitement and craziness, we forget the real “reason for the season.” The holidays are not about parties, or decorations, or Frosty the Snowperson. Those things are fun, but they are not the true purpose of the holidays. The true purpose of the holidays is to purchase consumer electronics.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Ever since the first big revelations about the National Security Agency five months ago, Dianne Feinstein has been in overdrive to defend the surveillance state. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she generates an abundance of fog, weasel words, anti-whistleblower slander and bogus notions of reform — while methodically stabbing civil liberties in the back.
THE LINCOLN COUNTY DISPATCH – Wednesday, 13 November 2013 14:26: Fair trade advocates praised the release of a letter today voicing congressional opposition to fast track, a policy-making process that allows trade pacts to circumvent ordinary congressional review, amendment and debate procedures. Three quarters of the House Democratic caucus—including Oregon congressional representatives Kurt Schrader and Peter DeFazio—signed the Nov. 13 letter. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici signed onto another letter signaling concerns over fast track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – Four climate scientists have made a public statement claiming nuclear power is an answer to global warming. Before they proceed, they should visit Fukushima, where the Tokyo Electric Power Company has moved definitively toward bringing down the some 1300 hot fuel rods from a pool at Unit Four. Which makes this a time of global terror.
JOHN LAFORGE – The U.S. Army School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia is a notorious training operation for Latin American officers and soldiers. It’s associated with some of the worst dictatorships and human rights violators in the hemisphere. Over the past 20 years, the grassroots School of Americas Watch (SOA Watch) has grown into one of the most dynamic, multi-generational, cross-continental movements against militarism in the Americas (SOAW.org/November).
ERIN NIEMELA – I am a parent of a an elementary school student in Portland, Ore., and early this week I discovered our school is participating in the STARBASE program. STARBASE is a Department of Defense initiative offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training to at-risk public school students. . . .While some parents applaud STARBASE for bringing STEM subjects to students in an engaging, exciting way, others – myself included – are concerned about the intentions of the program.
NAOMI KLEIN – In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. . . . But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).
ROGER WILLIAMS – Without remembering — without telling and retelling America’s complete history, including the important role of whistleblowers — we Americans, all of us, become cultural and ethical amputees.
SUSANNA TWIDALE – Investors and the panel overseeing the U.N.’s carbon market for developing countries have called on delegates at next month’s climate meeting in Warsaw to rescue the ailing scheme, which the U.N. estimates has provided $315 billion in funding to low-carbon projects to date.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The conventional explanation for nuclear restraint by the relatively small number of nations possessing nuclear weapons is that the danger posed by these weapons has “deterred” nations from waging nuclear war and, overall, has created a situation of nuclear safety. But something is missing from the conventional explanation. The missing ingredient is a massive grassroots movement: one that has mobilized millions of people in nations around the globe: the world nuclear disarmament movement. This is the text of a talk delivered by Dr. Wittner in May 2013 to the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Ottawa.
CONGRESSMAN ALAN GRAYSON (D, FL) – Members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight. On the contrary, “oversight” has become “overlook.” Despite being a member of Congress possessing security clearance, I’ve learned far more about government spying on me and my fellow citizens from reading media reports than I have from “intelligence” briefings.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY – The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
LT. GENERAL ROBERT GARD (Ret.) – Instead of engaging in political gamesmanship to raise the debt ceiling or enacting periodic government shutdowns, we should be focused on eliminating waste and allocating government expenditures more efficiently. Unnecessary defense spending that detracts from security instead of improving it is at the top of the list.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Google Inc. is now aligned with the notorious ALEC. Quietly, Google has joined ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — the shadowy corporate alliance that pushes odious laws through state legislatures.
GRANT SMITH – In surveying the energy landscape, there’s an emerging, inevitable trend. Old coal and nuclear plants are being decommissioned while new ones are extremely difficult to keep within estimated construction budgets. Moreover, the next nail in the coffin for these passé technologies is water. The water/energy nexus, as it is known, is a big deal.