Category: Big Picture

Gen. Petraeus Goes to Media War

NORMAN SOLOMON — It’s already history. In mid-August 2010, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan launched a huge media campaign to prevent any substantial withdrawal of military forces the next summer. The morning after Gen. David Petraeus appeared in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote the war effort, the New York Times front-paged news of its own interview with him — reporting that the general “suggested that he would resist any large-scale or rapid withdrawal of American forces.”

DeFazio Explains His Opposition to Afghanistan War Funding

REP. PETER DEFAZIO — Given that the war in Afghanistan has entered its ninth year without clearly defined objectives or an exit strategy, I wanted to provide you an update of my continued opposition to our head-in-the-sand Afghanistan policies. We recently saw a major shakeup in military leadership in Afghanistan, but it is clear that this will not translate to a major change in strategy.

Top 5 Social Security Myths

EDITOR– The “realities” listed in this article are correct as far as they go, but they do not go far enough. While it is strictly true that “there is no Social Security crisis” because the Social Security Trust Fund “is full of U.S. Treasury Bonds,” the implication is that everything is all right. This is emphatically not the case. Please read the MoveOn article and also the PeaceWorker editorial that follows it.

The Impossible Contradictions of Modern War

WINSLOW MYERS — The article in Rolling Stone that ended the meteoric career of General McChrystal shines light on the thought-process not only of one military man, but also on the dysfunctional paradigm now failing in Afghanistan. It is a textbook demonstration of how the mind-set of war itself, the notion of annihilating an enemy and emerging victorious, has become obsolete.

Why We Must Reduce Military Spending

REPS. BARNEY FRANK AND RON PAUL — As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues to interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree. By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts.

“Americans Don’t Flinch” ­ They Duck!

KATHY KELLY & DAN PEARSON — In accepting General McChrystal’s resignation, President Obama said that McChrystal’s departure represented a change in personnel, not a change in policy. “Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks.” he stated, “We persist and we persevere.” Yet, President Obama and the U.S. people don’t face up to the ugly truth that, in Afghanistan, the U.S. has routinely committed atrocities against innocent civilians.

Elise Boulding Dead at 89

MARY LEE MORRISON — Elise Boulding died at 4:40 pm, June 24, 2010 in Needham, MA. Hailed as a “matriarch” of the twentieth century peace research movement, she was sociologist emeritus from Dartmouth College and from the University of Colorado and in on the ground floor in the movements of peace, women’s studies and futures and played pivotal roles in each.

Wikileaks Founder Fears for His Life

SIMON LAUDER — The man behind whistleblower website Wikileaks says he is not in a position to record an interview amid claims his life is in danger. Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, is said to be under threat with reports that the site has hundreds of thousands of classified cables containing explosive revelations.

Police State Tactics Take Another Step Forward

WENDY MCELROY — In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer. Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

Palestinian, Israeli Physicians Call for Inquiry on Attack on Ships

IPPNW — The following is a joint statement from the Palestinian and Israeli affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) on the recent violence at sea. This statement is the product of unique and powerful collaboration, with physicians transcending political and ideological divisions to speak out with a common voice for peace and humanity.

Replacing Offshore Oil Would Take 195 Californias or 74 Texases

CHRIS NELDER — As the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster continues to unfold, the peak oil community has a “teachable moment” in which it can illuminate the reality of our energy plight. The public has had a crash course in the challenges of offshore oil, and learned a whole new vocabulary. They are more aware than ever that the days of cheap and easy oil are gone. What they do not yet grasp are the challenges in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Holds 50th Reunion

DAVID HARTSOUGH — I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 50th reunion of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), April 15-18, 2010, in Raleigh, NC. Over 800 SNCC workers, their families and friends came together for four days to remember, reflect, share stories, inspire a younger generation, and strategize about how to continue the important work that SNCC students started 50 years ago.

Americans Troubled by Recent Anti-Government Activity

MARIO CANSECO: Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, many adults in the United States believe a terrorist attack carried out by Americans is likely to happen over the next 12 months, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. Most respondents think the Hutaree plot is real and serious, and more than a third believe the Guardians of the Free Republics are a security threat.

New USDA Rules Establish Strong Organic Standards for Pasture and Livestock

MARK KASTEL: After over 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the country, who produce organic milk, are celebrating the release of strict new USDA regulations that establish distinct benchmarks requiring the grazing and pasturing of dairy cows and other livestock. Many hope that the new rule will put an end to the abuses that have flooded the organic market with suspect milk from a handful of mega-dairies generally confining thousands of animals in feed lots and barns.

U.N. Chief to Visit Hiroshima on August 6

KYODO NEWS: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has decided to visit Hiroshima on August 6 as the Japanese city marks the 65th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing, according to a senior U.N. official. The plan, expected to be formalized around July, would make Ban the first U.N. chief to attend an annual commemorative ceremony at the city’s Peace Memorial Park.

Active Nonviolence Persists in Palestine and Israel

DAVID HARTSOUGH: When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine. The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.

Congressman Obey’s Path to Peace

DAVID SWANSON: Congressman David Obey (D., Wis.) is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He’s in charge of spending our money. For years he spent it on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without any resistance. Until last October, Obey maintained that spending hundreds of billions of our dollars on wars was something he just had no choice about.

Howard Zinn and Other Heroes Transformed History

WILLIAM LOREN KATZ: In less than a year the battle for truth has lost three of its most innovative and stalwart voices, historians John Hope Franklin, Ivan Van Sertima and Howard Zinn. Each challenged aspects of the cheerfully bigoted narrative that has passed for history in schools, colleges, texts and the media. Each created works that made history by awakening millions of fellow citizens to a new host of heroic men and women whose daring contributions had been shamefully ignored.

Glimpsing the Depth of U.S. Polarization

DAILY KOS: From January 20 through January 31, 2010, the Daily Kos website commissioned a poll of self-identified Republicans which was conducted by Research 2000. A total of 2003 self-identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. The results will be, to say the least, startling to progressives.

Obama’s Afghan “Strategy” ­ Another American Tragedy

JOSEPH GERSON: Shortly after President Obama’s Afghanistan War escalation speech, I was contacted by the Voice of America’s Russian Language Service. They wanted to interview me. These are the questions they asked: What do you think about Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan? Were you surprised by it? Do you think it would be possible to carry out all Obama’s objectives by 2011? Would Afghanistan, you think, cease being a failed state?

International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush & Co.

FRANCIS A. BOYLE: Champaign, U.S.A./The Hague, Netherlands — Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a complaint with the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings.

Government Hinders Gaza Freedom March

JEAN ATHEY: We are in the Middle East, seeking a nonviolent solution to the blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza actions are occurring all over Cairo, and so the police, who are often in riot gear, have had a busy day — they show up wherever we go. They are incredibly young, maybe 18 or 19. Typically, they surround us with moveable steel fences, which they line up behind and they watch us with what seems to be curiosity, not malice.

New Afghan War Cost Analysis

JO COMERFORD: The president’s $30 billion figure for getting those 30,000-plus new surge troops into Afghanistan is going to prove a “through-the-basement estimate.” As for the dates for getting them in and beginning to get them out? Well, it’s grain-of-salt time there, too. According to Steven Mufson and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, some of the fuel storage facilities being built to support the surge troops won’t even be completed by the time the first of them are scheduled to leave the country, 18 months from now.