Category: Big Picture

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!”

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.