TOM H. HASTINGS – What will greatly increase the chances for a movement victory? A seriously researched and developed strategic plan.
ERIC DE PLACE and PAELINA DESTEPHANO -Oregon is on the cusp of a climate protection breakthrough in 2018. The state legislature is weighing the Clean Energy Jobs bill, a remarkable opportunity to join its West Coast neighbors in lowering carbon pollution while raising money to invest in clean energy and transportation. The money raised would also provide assistance for low-income state residents. (Sightlineâ€™s Kristin Eberhard wrote an excellent summary of the legislation.) Nevertheless, Oregonâ€™s climate proposal has garnered backlash from a range of shadowy conservative groups determined to halt the billâ€™s progress. Many of these organizations are linked to anti-tax and anti-union politics, and many seem specifically designed to obscure their backers and operations from public view. Itâ€™s a roguesâ€™ gallery of climate-protection opponents in Oregon, and Sightline takes a hard look at whoâ€™s who in this movement and casts some light into the shadows.
MARILYN LANGLOIS – What if powerful nations like the US, Russia, China, Great Britain and France announced to the International Olympic Committee, â€œWe reserve the right to give our athletes performance enhancing drugs and they will participate in the Olympic games anyway, no matter what you say,â€ adding soto voce, â€œOh, and weâ€™ll let Israel use them, too, but we just wonâ€™t talk about that.â€ Unthinkable, you may say? At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games now in progress in PyeongChang, South Korea, IOC President Thomas Bach, hinting at past doping scandals, admonished all the assembled athletes to play by the rules of Olympic sports. So how do the powerful nations, in particular the US, get away with playing by very different rules from others when it comes to one of the most life-threatening scourges of our time, namely nuclear weapons?
P.N. LOUKIANOFF – 2017 represented the centennial of the communist takeover of Russia, which indelibly marked the transition from Tsarist Empire to the Soviet Union. The U.S.S.R. was a menace not only to the free world, but also to its own people. Despite its collapse and Russiaâ€™s independence over 25 years ago, many in Washington still cannot allow themselves to imagine, let alone manifest, a productive relationship with Russia. This article provides useful historical context for events and actions affecting U.S.-Russia relations to this day and argues why there’s hope for the future with the new generation of Russians – the kind the Center for Citizen Initiatives will be bringing to the U.S. as part of CCI’s Russians Meet Middle America (RMMA) program.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – When Donald Trump was running for the presidency, he promised that, if he was elected, â€œAmerican worker[s] will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.â€ Today, though, safely ensconced in the White House, President Trump is waging a fierce campaign against American workers.
LAURA FINLEY – I never thought this would be my lifeâ€™s work. But writing and speaking about the connections between domestic and dating violence and mass shootings has become an absurd and sickeningly frequent part of my life. Here we go, again.
EMILY JOHNSTON – Itâ€™s such an astonishing honor to live in this moment, knowing that we probably still have the power to set the world back onto a stable path, and thereby make life better, or at least possible, for countless people and other beings. I cannot imagine anything more meaningful. Uncertainty is possibility. In the uncertainty before us, in the sacrifices and joy of our connections with each other and every living thing, we have been given overwhelming abundance. In this darkness, we have begun our real journey.
MEL GURTOV – In the aftermath of the â€œKorean springâ€ at the Winter Games, some observers waxed euphoric over the potential for direct US-North Korea talks. The apparent breakthrough at the Games in North-South dialogue occasioned by Kim Jong-unâ€™s sister, Kim Yu-jong, and South Koreaâ€™s President Moon Jae-in had put Vice President Mike Pence in an embarrassing positionâ€”odd man out as Moon and Ms. Kim discussed a summit meeting while Pence sat on his hands. Pence tried to recover by indicating as he left South Korea that talks with the North might actually be possibleâ€”a concession that gave the appearance of a US decision to fall in line with the South Korean view. But has the US position on how to deal with North Korea actually changed?
CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW – On February 8th, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights released a precedent-setting opinion which recognizes the right to a healthy environment as fundamental to human existence and enumerates key duties of States in protecting that and other environment-related rights.
MATTHEW TAYLOR – Animals from the deepest places on Earth have been found with plastic in their stomachs, confirming fears that manmade fibres have contaminated the most remote places on the planet.
JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – The US has always struggled with how to incorporate diverse peoples into a modern democracy. Philosopher Horace Kallen insists that part of this work has to be about our imagination and the way we talk and listen to one another across cultural differences. Trumpâ€™s plan would be like insisting that all voices of the choir have to sing baritone in order to make beautiful music. His plan is not innovative; itâ€™s tone deaf to the current needs of our society.
ROBERT KOEHLER – Is this moment in history empty of all hope and sanity, occupied as it is by the forces of empire and a militarized presidential ego? Or is there a global, evolutionary counterforce out there as well, equal to or greater than the corporate militarism that seems to have a stranglehold on the future?
JOHN LAFORGE – The list of old age reactors shut down or closing soon keeps growing, and new reactor construction is being thwarted by exorbitant costs.
KEVIN MARTIN – Effective negotiators build on any points of agreement the parties to a dispute have at the outset. So why not ditch the â€œnon-equivalencyâ€ argument and state the U.S.-South Korea war drills are on indefinite hiatus as long as North Korea continues to observe a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing? That would be solid footing on which to begin real diplomacy. South Korea isnâ€™t afraid to talk to the North, why is the U.S.? If Rex Tillerson canâ€™t do his job, the least he can do is support the North-South talks, and let Koreans make peace.
KATHY KELLY – U.S. foreign policy is foolishly reduced to the good guys,â€ the U.S. and its allies, versus â€œthe bad guy,â€ â€“ Iran. The â€œgood guysâ€ shaping and selling U.S. foreign policy and weapon sales exemplify the heartless indifference of the smugglers who gamble human life in exceedingly dangerous crossings. The nefarious actions of the US-supported Saudi military in the Middle East must arouse citizen opposition in the one country where democracy is still strong enough to make a difference, the US.
MARK PRATT – Gene Sharp, a lifelong advocate of nonviolent resistance whose influence has been cited in social upheaval around the world, has died.