Category: Big Picture

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!”

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.”