EBAN GOODSTEIN – It’s hot. It’s going to get hotter. And despite the politics of the moment, extreme weather will eventually drive a national consensus on climate action. What can each of us do to insure we get there soon, rather than too late? There are three answers. The first is to build political power. Elect clean-energy champions at the municipal, state, and national levels who can pass policies enabling a clean-energy revolution. The second is to stop expansion of the global carbon infrastructure. This will cut pollution — some — but will also build the morally grounded movement that must ultimately drive a strong clean-energy politics. Answer three? Grow the green shoots of the emerging sustainable economy.
LORI WALLACH – On Sept. 6, as President Barack Obama promised jobs and transparency in his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, his top trade officials were cloistered in conditions of extreme secrecy at the Lansdowne resort in Leesburg, Va., negotiating a massive “trade” agreement that will promote more U.S. job offshoring and ban Buy American procurement preferences.
DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years — so far.
DAVID SWANSON – I’ve been trying (with virtually no success) to get everyone to drop the election obsession and focus on activism designed around policy changes, not personality changes. I want those policy changes to include stripping presidents of imperial powers. I don’t see as much difference between the two available choices as most people; I see each as a different shade of disaster. I don’t get distressed by the thought of people “spoiling” an election by voting for a legitimately good candidate like Jill Stein. Besides, won’t Romney lose by a landslide if he doesn’t tape his mouth shut during the coming weeks?
RITIKA SINGH and BENJAMIN WITTES – Political parties in the United States, like a spatting couple in a bad marriage, have been fighting over the law of counterterrorism for more than a decade. And like the spatting couple, they have developed an almost rote script for their fight. The script has a logic of its own. It is a comfortable one for both spouses—and the fight is soothing in its own way. Republicans and Democrats alike wrap up some portion of their party’s identity and self-image in the conflict over national-security policy. The fight gives each side the impression—and the confidence—that the other endangers America. And it gives each side something to tell voters about why they should vote one way rather than another.
ANNIE SNIDER – Armed only with flashlights and bolt cutters, Sister Megan Gillespie Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed broke through three fences and painted pacifist slogans on the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn., before voluntarily surrendering to a guard who had not even seen them, according to a report
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with women’s right to abortion and doctors’ right to perform it.
MICHAEL NAGLER – Until today I didn’t even know there was such a thing as white supremacist music. Wade Michael Page knew; the “domestic terrorist” who killed six people at the Oak Creek Sikh temple in Wisconsin a week ago Sunday had played in a neo-Nazi band called “Definite Hate” and started one called “End Apathy” in 2005. So Page, when you think of it, has something in common with his immediate predecessor in mass murder, James Holmes, who perpetrated the Aurora, CO shooting two weeks earlier. Despite their differences, in his case also a form of contemporary “art,” namely the Batman film, played some role in the buildup to his murderous violence.
BEN FREEMAN – After hearing the hypocrisy of multi-millionaire CEO’s cry about job-losses for months, I finally decided to see just how many different jobs we could pay for with just one Pentagon contractor CEOs compensation package.
DAVID SWANSON – Fifty thousand members of RootsAction.org signed a petition at http://StarsEarnStripes.org protesting NBC’s war-is-fun “reality” show co-hosted by former general Wesley Clark. Activists in New York have held a weekly protest and delivered the petitions. The final protest is at 5 p.m. this evening (Sept. 3) on the north side of W. 49th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City.
ROBIN MCKIE – Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps. Preliminary results from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year.
ERIN NIEMELA – About a week ago I had the unfortunate experience of being followed off a bus on a dark corner. The man who followed me made it clear that he intended harm – even growling at me as I hastened into a nearby open market. The experience was benign compared to many others I’ve had, but it compelled me to revisit my understanding of and beliefs in feminism.
PETER BERGEL – In my email this morning was a message from one of my favorite organizations, the League of Conservation Voters, that began: “We just won a major victory…”but I have to admit that my reaction was “really?”
ALLISON FISHER – Radioactive waste has often been referred to as the Achilles heel of nuclear power. It should be. It poses a threat to human health and our environment for hundreds of thousands of years. To date, a safe and viable way to permanently isolate it has not been identified. However, this dilemma has not kept nuclear out of the U.S. energy portfolio or dampened the zeal for a new generation of nuclear reactors by the industry and its congressional allies. A recent court decision, the termination of the Yucca Mountain geological repository and lessons from the Japan nuclear crisis present new arguments for why radioactive waste should be a chief reason we abandon nuclear power once and for all, but it is still might not be enough.