Category: Big Picture

Coral Reefs ‘Will Be Gone By End of the Century’

ANDREW MARSZAL – Coral reefs are on course to become the first ecosystem that human activity will eliminate entirely from the Earth, a leading United Nations scientist claims. He says this event will occur before the end of the present century, which means that there are children already born who will live to see a world without coral.

Don’t Cut International Humanitarian Assistance

CORY MCMAHON & RICHARD CLARK – Genocide expert Daniel Goldhagen has shown that genocide — which includes deliberate famine and other silent killing campaigns — has occurred more than 70 times since 1900 with a death toll of at least 127 million, outnumbering the casualties of all of mankind’s 20th century wars. It is no wonder that Goldhagen calls genocide an “urgent first order global problem.”

Fund Our Communities – Bring Our War Dollars Home

PEACE ACTION – U.S. military spending is higher than it has been since World War II, at a level difficult to justify by any threats to the American people. A close look at U.S. military spending shows that it is directed toward threats posed by conventional opponents such as the Soviet Union. That is, we are preparing to fight the last war.

The Future of Food – The Global South Shows the Way

JAMES O’NIONS – Last week in the town of Krems in Austria, 400 people met to discuss the future of our food system. Delegates from around 40 countries met to discuss how to progress towards “food sovereignty” in Europe. Food sovereignty is a radical proposal for the production and distribution of food that is sustainable, healthy, fair to producers and, above all, democratic.

The Post-Western World is Coming On Fast

KENNETH RAPOZA – The economic crisis in advanced economies is accelerating the timeline in which big emerging nations like China rule the global economy. Instead of the market focusing on American shopping habits, they’ll be focused on consumers in Shanghai and Mumbai. Unless the US can recover the 8.5 million jobs it lost in the recession, and unless incomes begin rising, the US will be knocked off its pedestal within a generation. The post-Western world is coming faster than we think.

UCS Scientist Separates Electric Car Fact from Hype

DAVID FRIEDMAN – With the battery-electric Nissan Leaf and the gas-electric, plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt now on the showroom floor, and with plans by most major car companies to offer at least one model driven partially or completely by batteries or fuel cells in the next few years, we stand at the cusp of an exciting—even electrifying (forgive the pun)—transition in the auto industry.

Rioting for ‘Justice’ in London

JESSE STRAUSS – On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tottenham police station, peacefully calling for “justice” for Mark Duggan, a man killed by officers three days prior. Police stood in formation, separating the community members from the station they were guarding, until a 16-year-old woman reportedly approached an officer to find out what was going on. According to a witness account, some officers pushed the young woman and drew their batons. “And that’s when the people started to retaliate. Now I think in all circumstances, having seen that, most people retaliate,” said the witness.

University Offers Leadership for Sustainable Change Certificate

VERNICE SOLIMAR, PHD – Over the years, students and faculty at John F. Kennedy University have expressed a desire to apply principles of psychology, human development and human potential to social action, diversity and systems approaches to planetary issues…a major need for the 21st century was a new paradigm of leadership that would solve problems, shift systems and create opportunities that engendered respect and care of the community, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and world peace.

Next Plutonium Space Launch Set

BRUCE GAGNON – The next plutonium enabled space mission, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida between November 25 and December 18 of this year. The MSL rover, known as “Curiosity,” will be fueled with 4.8 kilograms (10.56 pounds) of plutonium dioxide. It will be, NASA says, “the largest, most capable rover ever sent to another planet.”

Honduras: A Sty in the Eye of the Obama Regime

IAN HARRIS – Honduras has for a long time been a “banana republic” controlled by U.S. interests. With the lowest per capita income in Central America, but with a strong military, Honduras in the 80s was viewed as a “U.S. surrogate” in the region, providing a base for counter-insurgency operations especially in Nicaragua. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) signed in 2005 further cemented U.S. economic influence with Honduras.

Congress Members Sue Obama to End Libya War

DAVID SWANSON – On Wednesday in federal court, 10 members of the U.S. Congress sued President Obama in an attempt to end U.S. involvement in a war in Libya.These are the plaintiffs: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Dan Burton (R-IN).

They’re Eating Our Lunch – U.S. Misses Green Opportunities

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL – The [British] Mark Group started hunting for a new untapped market when it realized that its core business — insulating old homes using innovative technology — would drop off in coming years. Based in the rust-belt city of Leicester, the company had grown rapidly over the last decade largely because of generous and mandatory government subsidies for energy conservation that impelled the British to treat their homes.

Savings, Not Cost: Arresting Climate Change Makes Economic Sense

EUGENE REGISTER GUARD – The science of climate change is more controversial in the United States than in most other countries — skeptics reject the evidence that temperatures are rising due to increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases or, if they accept the data that point to global warming, claim that a link to human activity is unproven.

Global Peace Index Shows Decline in World Peace for Third Year

THE INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMICS AND PEACE – The threat of terrorist attacks and the likelihood of violent demonstrations were the two leading factors (1) making the world less peaceful in 2011, according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI), released May 25, 2011. This is the third consecutive year that the GPI, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has shown a decline in the levels of world peace. The economic cost of this to the global economy was $8.12 trillion in the past year.

FBI Left Damning Document at Site of Peace Group Raid

BILL SOREM – A press conference at the offices of the Anti-War Committee office last week revealed an interesting remnant of the FBI raids on peace activists in Minneapolis and Chicago on September 24, 2010. They left a copy of the FBI SWAT team operational plan and the set of questions that was to be asked of the targets if any had agreed to talk to the FBI agents.

This is What #1 Looks Like

DAVID MORRIS – For Republican presidential candidates the phrase “American Exceptionalism” has taken on almost talismanic qualities. Newt Gingrich’s new book is titled, A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters. “America the Exceptional” is the title of a chapter in Sarah Palin’s book America by Heart.

Withdrawal Issues: What NATO Countries Say About the Future of Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe

SUSI SNYDER and WILBERT VAN DER ZEIJDEN – For decades, the U.S. has deployed nuclear weapons on the territories of NATO allies in Europe. Now, about 200 of these weapons remain – in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The weapons were originally intended to be used to put up a wall of radiation to block a ground invasion from the Warsaw Pact. Their type and numbers were greatly reduced at the end of the Cold War, but they have not been completely eliminated. Yet.

Analysis of the FY 2011 Federal Budget Agreement

JO COMERFORD – [Today is Tax Day. It seems appropriate for Americans to know what their government is using their money for. Here is a comprehensive summary. – Editor]

Six months after the start of the current fiscal year (FY2011), congressional leaders and President Obama have reached agreement on a budget for the second half of the year. In all the deal provides just over $1 trillion in spending over the last six months of the year, a cut of roughly $40 billion from FY2010 levels.

Youth or Nukes – Where Are Our Priorities?

ROBERT DODGE, MD – The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 the International Year of Youth. This is in recognition of children’s rights throughout the world and to realize the potential of children everywhere. The resolution proclaiming the Year signifies the importance the international community places on integrating youth-related issues into global, regional, and national development agendas. Under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding,” the Year aims to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations.

Top Ten Tax Avoiders

WORKINGINAMERICA.ORG – Read the following Top Ten Tax Avoiders, and think about the closed schools, struggling students, empty firehouses, and the unemployed workers dreading the day their benefits run out. It doesn’t need to be this way.

I’ll Meet You in Rumi’s Field

WINSLOW MYERS – Keeping the biggest possible picture in mind, paradoxically, may give us the best lens through which to focus clearly upon the messy details of our lives at every level — internationally, nationally, locally, even personally.
What can this abstract immensity have to do with our own lives? More than we think, because we really are a product of the changes the earth has undergone over eons, and we are totally subject to the rules that dictated those changes. By rules we mean big processes, ones we are still trying to fully understand. Processes like evolution itself.

Libya: Backing the Destructiveness of Military Power Again

IAN HARRIS – People should not be surprised that the United States has put itself in line to dictate the nature of the next head of state in Libya. After all, in 1954 this country replaced an elected leader in Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had promised to nationalize the oil in his country. Look what happened to Saddam Hussein after he nationalized the oil in Iraq! In 2009 Moammar Quadhafi mentioned nationalizing the oil industry in Libya, where the largest oil company was already state owned. This made Quadhafi a dangerous mad dog renegade who needed to be replaced. Do you see a pattern here?

Health and the Nuclear Gamble

ROBERT F. DODGE, MD – The world has anxiously watched the events in Japan unfolding this past few weeks after the horrific earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster. The feelings are magnified out of a sense of helplessness in aiding the victims in Japan mixed with concerns for potential effects and implications to our own health and communities. In assessing the devastating effects of natural disasters, we must pause as we consider the potential for catastrophic effects of manmade disasters, specifically from nuclear power plants.

Is the World Headed Toward Peace?

KENT D. SHIFFERD – With the 20th century having been the bloodiest in history, and with bombs falling in Libya, explosions in Iraq, Hamas rockets falling on Israel and a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan, the answer to the question above seems an obvious “No!” However, if you take the long view and look at some trends that have been going on more or less unnoticed for a couple of hundred years, it could well be a “maybe.”

What Can Afghanistan and Pakistan Teach Us About Nonviolence?

DAVID SWANSON – I may soon have an opportunity to meet with nonviolent activists in Afghanistan, an area of the world we falsely imagine has earned the name “graveyard of empires” purely through violent resistance. I was educated in the United States and learned in some detail about the lives of several morally repulsive halfwits who happened to have “served” in various U.S. wars, assaults, and genocides. But I was never even taught the name Badshah Khan. Were you?