TEX DWORKIN – In a landmark decision on September 4, following intense pressure by indigenous people, trade unions, farmerâ€™s organizations and others, the Guatemalan judiciary ruled to suspend the controversial Plant Variety Protection Law, commonly referred to as the â€˜Monsanto Lawâ€™ because of the multinational biotech companyâ€™s involvement in it.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – American politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Is there any evidence for this claim?
CORAL DAVENPORT – The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published in May, 2014 by a leading government-funded military research organization concluded.
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG – It has been nearly half a century since a young antiwar protester named Tom Hayden traveled to Hanoi to investigate President Lyndon B. Johnsonâ€™s claims that the United States was not bombing civilians in Vietnam. Mr. Hayden saw destroyed villages and came away, he says, â€œpretty wounded by the pattern of deception.â€ Now the Pentagon â€” run by a Vietnam veteran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel â€” is planning a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. The effort, which is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $15 million by the end of this fiscal year, is intended to honor veterans and, its website says, â€œprovide the American public with historically accurate materialsâ€ suitable for use in schools. But the extensive website, which has been up for months, largely describes a war of valor and honor that would be unrecognizable to many of the Americans who fought in and against it.
NORMAN SOLOMON – No single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price — the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the â€œwar on terror.â€ Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity: focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive. Published this week, Pay Any Price throws down an urgent gauntlet. We should pick it up. After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, the book — subtitled â€œGreed, Power, and Endless Warâ€ — zeros in on immense horrors being perpetrated in the name of national security.
AJAMU BARAKA – The U.S. is conducting a curious humanitarian war against ISIS in Syria. While Kobani, the largely Kurdish district that straddles the border with Turkey is being attacked by ISIS forces and facing the very real possibility of mass civilian killings if it falls, U.S. military spokespersons claimed that they are watching the situation in Kobani and have conducted occasional bombing missions but that they are concentrating their anti-ISIS efforts in other parts of Syria. Those other efforts appear to consist of bombing empty buildings, schools, small oil pumping facilities, an occasional vehicle and grain silos where food is stored to feed the Syrian people. Turkey also seems to be watching as the Kurds of Kobani fight to the death against ISIS.
STARHAWK – Weâ€™re getting close to voter registration deadlines here in the US for our November elections, and itâ€™s time for my periodic voting rant. Why vote, when politics are vile, the right wing is a pack of intransigent bullies and the politicians who call themselves progressive inevitably go belly-up and give in to them? Obama, the guy who stood for hope, turned out to be just another good-looking guy who let us down, and a true progressive like Bernie Sanders â€“ Iâ€™m at an age where I go for older men! â€“ probably doesnâ€™t stand a chance. Nonetheless, it is vitally important that you vote, and hereâ€™s three good reasons why: the practical, the political, and the spiritual.
JIM LAFFERTY – If the U.S. public gained a fuller and more honest understanding of what U.S. and U.S. backed Arab states have done that has led to the creation of ISIS, what the true nature of the threat is from ISIS, and the futility and negative blow-back from waging such a war, antiwar sentiment would develop much more quickly and deeply than otherwise. And those who already oppose this new war would be more articulate opponents of it if they, too, had a better understanding of the root problem, its origins, why the U.S. has entered the fray, and why this war is not in the best interests of the people of this nation.
ONWARD OREGON – Although Governors Kitzhaber and Inslee are publicly concerned about fossil fuel exports, other branches of our state governments are investing in infrastructure supporting these activities. Thanks to our friends at Sightline Institute, we see that Oregon and Washington have made substantial investments in enhancing fossil fuel export facilities.
STEVEN YOUNGBLOOD – A friend and colleague recently wrote me and asked if I, an advocate for peace, was discouraged by the avalanche of violence that seems to be engulfing mankind. Itâ€™s certainly easy to get discouraged, or even to abandon the notion that peace is possible, given the new status quo in Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, Ferguson, Missouri, Mexico, Syria, Gaza, Somalia and so on. Against this backdrop, the annual commemoration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 seemed futileâ€”like holding a storm awareness seminar in the middle of a category five hurricane. Yes, the big picture seems awful. But itâ€™s not the only picture. Thatâ€™s why I choose to look instead at a number of other pictures that show peace breaking out all around the globe.
WORLD BEYOND WAR ISIS STATEMENT – The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.
NAOMI KLEIN – Once every five or 10 years, Naomi Klein publishes a book that changes the way we see things. With No Logo, published in 1999, she explored corporate power in a globalized world and the movements springing up to resist it. The Shock Doctrine, published in 2007, showed how governments collude with big corporations to take advantage of natural and human-made disasters to push through deeply unpopular change.Her newest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate is another transformational book.
DAVID SWANSON – Raise your hand if you weren’t surprised when fancy films of beheadings resulted in bombings? Keep your hand up if you weren’t shocked when bombings resulted in more brutality and beheadings? Is it possible we need a radically different way of thinking about how to solve violence?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Sometimes, amid the heated political debate about what should done by the U.S. government in world affairs, a proposal cuts through the TV babble of the supposed experts with a clear, useful suggestion.
WINSLOW MYERS – Is it too much of a stretch to link the alleged police execution of Michael Brown in Missouri with the terrorist execution of journalist James Foley somewhere in Iraq? Setting aside obvious differences, do these tragedies have anything in common?