Category: Big Picture

Oil and Water Wars Ahead in the Geo-Energy Era

MICHAEL T. KLARE – Welcome to an edgy world where a single incident at an energy “chokepoint” could set a region aflame, provoking bloody encounters, boosting oil prices, and putting the global economy at risk. With energy demand on the rise and sources of supply dwindling, we are, in fact, entering a new epoch — the Geo-Energy Era — in which disputes over vital resources will dominate world affairs.

Chris Hedges: Why I’m Suing Barack Obama

CHRIS HEDGES – Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

The Man Who May Bring the Banksters to Justice (If They Don’t Break His Knees First)

MILES MOGULESCU – New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may go down in history as the most important public official in reforming the corrupt financial system that caused the great Financial Crisis of 2008 and holding the perps responsible — if he can hold out against pressure from Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration to give Wall Street a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

Charlottesville, Va., City Council Passes Resolution Opposing War on Iran

DAVID SWANSON – The City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, home of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and the University of Virginia, passed on Tuesday evening, January 17, 2012, a resolution believed to be a first in the country, opposing the launching of a war on Iran, as well as calling for an end to current ground and drone wars engaged in by the United States and urging Congress and the President of the United States to significantly reduce military spending.

Defense Act is Unconstitutional

BRIAN J. TRAUTMAN – Each year, Congress authorizes the budget of the Department of Defense through a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA of 2012, however, is unlike any previous ones. This year’s legislation contains highly controversial provisions that empower the Armed Forces to engage in civilian law enforcement and to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus, as well as other rights guaranteed by the 5th and 6th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, for terror suspects apprehended on U.S. soil.

Victory Against Tar Sands Pipeline

FRANCES BEINECKE – Let’s face it: Big Oil is used to getting its way. But not any more. President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us.

U.S. Troops Going to Israel

GLOBAL NETWORK – In one of the most blacked-out stories in America right now, the US military is preparing to send thousands of US troops, along with US Naval anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel, to Israel. It took forever to find a second source for confirmation of this story and both relatively mainstream media outlets are in Israel.

Slip-Sliding to War with Iran

ROBERT PARRY – With the typical backdrop of alarmist propaganda in place, the stage is now set for a new war, this time with Iran. The slightest miscalculation (or provocation) by the United States, Israel or Iran could touch off a violent scenario that will have devastating consequences.

NDAA: Congress Signed Its Own Arrest Warrants

NAOMI WOLF – I never thought I would have to write this: but – incredibly – Congress has now passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, with Amendment 1031, which allows for the military detention of American citizens. The amendment is so loosely worded that any American citizen could be held without due process.

Protesters Played Important Role in Ending Iraq War

MADELYN HOFFMAN – As 2011 ends, it is time to reflect upon continuing U.S. involvement in overseas wars and the impact that involvement has here at home. It is a good time to reflect on the role that protest played in getting us here and what those protests still want to achieve so the U.S. is genuinely safe and secure.

Six Tricks Corporate Elites Use to Hoard All the Wealth

LES LEOPOLD – Day in and day out we are told that if the government doesn’t tighten its belt, we’re all headed for debtor’s prison. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack. State budgets are in disarray. Teachers and firemen are getting canned. Public services are slashed. This is the new America and we’d better get used to it, the pundits proclaim. You would think we were a poor country.

Where Next for Occupy?

CHARLES EISENSTEIN – Occupy has awakened a potent energy that had been lying dormant. It has made activists of people of a new generation, and brought renewed hope to veterans of past movements. Unlike earlier protest movements, it has not objected to any specific policy, such as segregation or the Vietnam War. It is a protest against a condition of society, highlighted by the maldistribution of wealth and debt whose symbol is Wall Street, that goes deeper than anything the Occupiers can easily name. As we say, no demand is big enough.

Sustainability Reporting Enters New Phase, Say Experts

GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE – Reporting corporate economic, environmental and social performance is entering a new phase, moving from a pioneering and experimental practice to become standard practice, say sustainability reporting experts. The number of reports continues to increase, as does the variety of organizations that report, according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s Year in Review 2010/11.

Two Parties, One Approach to Climate Science

PETER FRUMHOFF AND KERRY EMANUEL – One of us is a Republican, the other a Democrat. We hold different views on many issues. But as scientists, we share a deep conviction that leaders of both parties must speak to the reality and risks of human-caused climate change, and commit themselves to finding bipartisan solutions.

Why ‘We The People’ Must Triumph Over Corporate Power

BILL MOYERS – Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five conservative members of the Supreme Court handed for-profit corporations the right to secretly flood political campaigns with tidal waves of cash on the eve of an election, they moved America closer to outright plutocracy, where political power derived from wealth is devoted to the protection of wealth. It is now official: Just as they have adorned our athletic stadiums and multiple places of public assembly with their logos, corporations can officially put their brand on the government of the United States as well as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the fifty states.

Durban Deal Will Not Avert Catastrophic Climate Change, Say Scientists

FIONA HARVEY – Scientists and environmental groups warned that urgent action was still needed to rescue the world from climate change, despite the deal sealed on Sunday morning in Durban after two weeks of talks. Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said: “This empty shell of a plan leaves the planet hurtling towards catastrophic climate change.

Walmart Heirs Have Net Worth Equal to All the Bottom 30 Percent of Americans

PAT GARAFALO – Income inequality in the U.S. is currently the highest its been since the 1920s, with the 400 richest Americans (who are all billionaires) having as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of Americans combined. And as it turns out, just one wealthy family has managed to amass a fortune equal to that of the combined net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans — the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart fortune

Occupy Our Homes

J.A. MYERSON – Yesterday, no one had lived in 702 Vermont Street for three years. Vermont Street sits in East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhood where foreclosures are five times more frequent than in the rest of the state. Today, Alfredo and Tasha and their son and daughter moved in, with the help of a number of friends whom they’d never met. Some were from the advocacy groups Picture the Homeless and Vocal New York, others were clergy or members of the city council.

Where Were You When They Crucified My Movement?

CHRIS HEDGES – The Occupy movement is the force that will revitalize traditional Christianity in the United States or signal its moral, social and political irrelevance. The mainstream church, battered by declining numbers and a failure to defiantly condemn the crimes and cruelty of the corporate state, as well as a refusal to vigorously attack the charlatans of the Christian right, whose misuse of the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism, bigotry and imperialism is heretical, has become a marginal force in the life of most Americans, especially the young.

Occupy the Next Level: Four Ideas for the Movement

JOSH HEALEY – Over the last two weeks, mayors across the country (apparently coordinated by the FBI) shut down many of the largest Occupy encampments, including in New York, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and more. Police arrested hundreds of peaceful activists, inevitably leaving clouds of pepper spray and millions of dollars in their wake. While I fully condemn the police raids, I also think they offer us an opportunity to move to the next stage: it’s time to Occupy more than just tents.

WMO: 2011 One of the Hottest Years on Record

JON HERSKOVITZ – The world is getting hotter, with 2011 one of the warmest years on record, and humans are to blame, a report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Tuesday. It warned increasing global average temperatures were expected to amplify floods, droughts and other extreme weather patterns.

Don’t Sit This One Out – What’s Your Vision for Occupy Wall Street?

MICHAEL MOORE – This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:

Wall Street Battle Plan to Address Occupy Leaked

SAM GEDULDIG, ET AL – [Leaked memo] Leading Democratic Party strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street {OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year. We have seen this process of adopting extreme positions and movements to increase base voter turnout, including in the 2005-2006 immigration debate.

Human Development Report Calls for Inclusive, Sustainable Development

ETHICAL MARKETS – Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands lead the world in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, and Burundi are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings of national achievement in health, education, and income, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

GTO: Give Thanks for Occupy

TYGER RICARD – We are told, and have come to accept, that the Occupy movement lacks focus, direction, and purpose. How can a group be successful without a linear plan and a list of demands? How does camping in a park solve the world’s problems? Onlookers often say that in the last two months, Occupy has yet to accomplish anything. As we come to Thanksgiving, however, I want to offer seven reasons to give thanks for the Occupy movement.

Occupy Wall Street – Something Happening Here

TOM CORDARO – The weekend of Oct. 15-16 my daughter Angela and I had the privilege of attending the Pax Christi Metro New York Fall Assembly where I gave the keynote address. As you might expect a lot of the conversation focused on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that started in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street.

This Is What Revolution Looks Like

CHRIS HEDGES – Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak.

Bloomberg Personifies What the Occupation Opposes

GLEN FORD – It was never in the cards for a plutocrat mayor to long tolerate a movement whose essential logic is the dissolution of his class. “If the Occupy Wall Street movement has been about anything, it is the absolute necessity to rid the nation – and the world – of the collective tyranny of the Bloombergs, the dictatorship of the moneyed classes.” The next phase of the movement must more self-consciously “have, at least, the goal of shutting down the infernal machines of capital.”

The Curiosity Mission: Nukes in Space

KARL GROSSMAN – NASA intends in coming weeks to launch a rover to be deployed on Mars fueled with 10.6 pounds of plutonium. Opponents of the launch in Florida, concerned about an accident releasing deadly plutonium, such as the explosion of the rocket that’s to loft the rover, have created a Facebook page warning people not to visit Disney theme parks in Orlando during the November 25-to-December 15 launch window. “Don’t Do Disney brought to you by NASA,” the Facebook page is titled. Other actions are planned.

Worst Congress. Ever.

RT.COM BLOG – In the 34 years that an ongoing poll has asked Americans for their take on Congress, never in the three-decade span has that number dipped into the single digits. Never, at least, until now. The results of the latest survey from CBS News and The New York Times confirm that Congress’ job approval rating is at an all-time low.

Despite Bombings & Beheadings, Stats Show a Peaceful World

SETH BORENSTEIN – It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it’s really on the run. Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings. Wars drag on in Iraq and Afghanistan. In peaceful Norway, a man massacred 69 youths in July. In Mexico, headless bodies turn up, victims of drug cartels. This month eight people died in a shooting in a California hair salon. Yet, historically, we’ve never had it this peaceful.

The Meagerness of the Republican Debates, the Smallness of the President’s Solutions, and the Need for a Progessive Alternative

ROBERT REICH – Republicans are debating again tomorrow night. And once again, Americans will hear the standard regressive litany: government is bad, Medicare and Medicaid should be cut, “Obamacare” is killing the economy, undocumented immigrants are taking our jobs, the military should get more money, taxes should be lowered on corporations and the rich, and regulations should be gutted.

We the 99% Demand a Totally Different Federal Budget

DAVID SWANSON – We can fit our demands on a bumpersticker: “Majority Rule” or “People Over Profits” or “Love Not Greed.” But we don’t want to. Our government is doing everything wrong, and we should be allowed to present the full list of grievances. We can, however, give the world a thousand words’ worth in an image, a pie chart to be exact. Our federal budget funds the wrong things. We want it to fund the right things.

A Movement Too Big to Fail

CHRIS HEDGES – There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking.

5 Facts You Should Know About the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans

ZAID JILANI – It may shock you to learn exactly how wealthy this top 1 percent of Americans is.
As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters enters its third week — and as protests spread to other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles — demonstrators have endorsed a new slogan: “We are the 99 percent.” This slogan refers to an economic struggle between 99 percent of Americans and the richest 1 percent of Americans, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth to the detriment of the middle class.

Americans Finally Join the Wave of Healthy Global Protest

RANDALL AMSTER – “Hello, you’ve reached the people of the United States of America. We’re away from our desks right now, and perhaps for good — so instead of leaving a message for us, we encourage you to take your messages directly to the halls of power for their consideration. If you require immediate assistance, do not ask the agents of governments or corporations, but organize in your own communities instead. For directory assistance, get out in the streets and talk to others concerned about the direction of the nation and world. To be connected to an operator, follow the protest signs and/or the smell of teargas in the financial districts across the country. And if you should become disconnected … we are very happy to welcome you home to the movement!”