NORMAN SOLOMON – Let’s be blunt: As a supposed friend of American workers, Joe Biden is a phony. And now that he’s running for president, Biden’s huge task is to hide his phoniness.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Let’s be blunt: As a supposed friend of American workers, Joe Biden is a phony. And now that he’s running for president, Biden’s huge task is to hide his phoniness.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell teamed up to invite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to address a joint session of Congress, they had every reason to expect the April 3 speech to be a big hit with U.S. media and political elites. The establishment is eager to affirm the sanctity of support for the transatlantic military alliance. But huge reverence for NATO is matched by how dangerous NATO has become. NATO’s continual expansion — all the way to Russia’s borders — has significantly increased the chances that the world’s two nuclear superpowers will get into direct military conflict.
ANDREW MOSS – If the Democratic candidates hope to offer a comprehensive vision of what our immigration policy should be, it’s imperative that they shift the debate from sloganeering about the wall and “open borders” to a consideration of an underlying question: What priorities and values will guide our immigration policy in the coming years? Will we continue along the present path of increased militarization and incarceration, or will we forge policies guided by a vision of a more just society?
ALEX MCDONALD – Although the Iranian government has its problems, I saw greatness in its people. The people overwhelmingly were warm and welcoming. They repeatedly told us they love Americans but don’t like our government. So, let’s stand up against corruption in our government, like the influence of hostile forces trying to buy our politicians and use our military power. Let’s oppose governments rather than their people. Let’s use our American strengths for good, or even better, for Greatness.
MEL GURTOV – Trump was correct to describe denuclearization last June as a lengthy “process” that one summit meeting could not achieve. However, the second summit, in Hanoi at the end of February 2019, again showed that personal diplomacy divorced from an engagement process that incorporates flexibility and give-and-take raises the risk of failure.
By BBC News The US is rushing to transfer sensitive nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a new congressional report. A Democratic-led House panel has launched an inquiry over concerns about the White House plan to build nuclear…
THOM HARTMANN – Ever since the media began, in a big way in the 1980s, to ignore actual news and go for highly dumbed-down or even salacious stories, many of us who work in the media have been astonished by this behavior by the network and cable news organizations and the major newspapers. They used to report the details of policy proposals in great detail (see this report from the 1970s about Richard Nixon’s proposal for universal health care, comparing his with Ted Kennedy’s, for example). But since the Reagan era, the networks have largely kept their coverage exclusively to personality, scandal, and horse race.
WILLIAM M. ARKIN – January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good. This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis. My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.
EMILY MOON – Beatrice Fihn has spent 12 years working on a campaign to prohibit nuclear weapons, and, as she says, compiling rational arguments and scientific evidence, yet less informed strangers will still pick a fight. But, she adds, “I prefer to argue with politicians than people on the street.” Indeed, she has advanced her arguments and will never give up the fight.
PAUL STREET – The case for Trump’s ouster grows stronger by the week. Beyond his possible obstruction of justice, criminal acceptance of foreign emoluments while in office and felonious campaign finance violations—any one of which could provide grounds for legal proceedings against him—the president has routinely embraced authoritarian rulers around the world and engaged in obvious appeals to violence. He has, at every turn, revealed himself to be entirely unfit for office.
DAVID SWANSON – War is not necessary, not just, not survivable, not glorious. We need to leave the entire institution of war behind us. We need to create a world beyond war.
MEL GURTOV – America’s China problem is no longer about “managing China’s rise.” It is about finding ways to more deeply engage China on common problems, such as climate change and energy, while also establishing rules of the road to avoid military confrontations in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
LYLE JEREMY RUBIN – Coming home from the Forever War can be difficult. Not long after returning from Afghanistan as a Marine officer in early 2011, I found myself feeling betrayed by compatriots who worshiped the idea of my service while refusing to confront what that service entailed. There is a chasm of awareness that often exists between veterans and civilians, especially during an age in which an all-volunteer military prosecutes never-ending wars, and in which those Americans who end up experiencing combat prove statistically negligible. It isn’t so much a chasm of awareness as a chasm of memory.
ANDREW MOSS – How do we transition from being a republic of fear to being an exemplar for other nations wrestling with issues of migration? And how, in redefining our identities as individuals and as a nation, do we come to see the border not as a site of separation and of threats, but as a place of coming together, as a site of possibility and creativity?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Despite the soaring costs of attending American colleges and universities, their students are receiving an education that falls far short of the one experienced by earlier generations.
LEE CAMP – We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names. Once every 12 minutes.
POPULAR RESISTANCE – All of humanity is being put at risk by the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans opposition to dialogue with Russia. The combination of Russophobia and the Democratic Party’s compulsion to criticize Trump’s every action, even when he accidentally does something sensible, is preventing the two largest nuclear powers, with the two most advanced militaries in the world, from working together to create a safer and more secure world.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – People searching for an alternative to the nationalist and military alliance-driven approaches of the past would do well to consider strengthened global governance. It’s a foreign policy that has enormous potential for addressing current world problems, as well as substantial public support.
MEL GURTOV – Were it not for the source, it would hardly be news to learn that the United States can’t take care of its most needy—that it may be the richest country, but it is also increasingly, appallingly, unequal in how its wealth and opportunities are shared. When the various dimensions of human security are examined, critics have long noted that the US falls short, whether in treatment of children, poverty rates, income gaps between rich and poor, or even life expectancy. All this has been amply documented in annual reports of the United Nations Development Programme.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Although many people have criticized the bizarre nature of Donald Trump’s diplomacy with North Korea, his recent love fest with Kim Jong Un does have the potential to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Even so, buried far below the mass media coverage of the summit spectacle, the reality is that Trump―assisted by his military and civilian advisors―is busy getting the United States ready for nuclear war.
L.A. KAUFMANN – Quite suddenly, over the last week or so, something crucial has shifted in the mood of the grassroots resistance to Donald Trump. You can time it, more or less, to the release of that devastating recording of migrant children weeping for their parents after having been ripped from their arms, or the widely circulated photographs of children being held in cages. The unfolding horror of Trump’s family separation policy, and his administration’s plans for indefinite immigrant detention, is galvanizing people to fight back in a way that hasn’t yet happened under this presidency — specifically, with mass direct action.
ROBERT KOEHLER – We’re stuck, at least here in the USA, with a pseudo-democracy partially but not completely controlled by certain special interests. We possess a fair amount of freedom of thought and action. Maybe it’s not enough to dislodge the entrenched, money-blessed military-industrialism that is our ruling god — but maybe it is, if we can foment a Great Waking Up and start undoing the harm we have been inflicting on ourselves for so long now. The collapse of the Republican Party may signal that change is underway. So is the message from a few millennia back: Love thy enemy as thyself.
BRANKO MARCETIC – As much of the world celebrates a modest step towards peace in Korea, Western pundits seem to be panicking.
LINDA J. BILMES – Humpty Dumpty famously cannot be “put back together” again. For those who care about the environment, every day since Donald Trump took office is a Humpty Dumpty day — with something being broken beyond repair.
PATRICK HILLER – The May 8, 2018 announcement by U.S. President Trump to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal is a disastrous decision, shredding successful diplomacy into pieces and paving the path toward destructive conflict and war. In his announcement, the President continued to display his utter ignorance of the nature and functioning of the deal.
RICH SCHECK – The Trump/May/Macron attack on Syria constituted a naked act of aggression in violation of the Nuremberg prohibitions making them prospective war criminals.
MEL GURTOV – Protect innocent civilians, gain the removal from Syria of as many occupying forces as possible, let Assad learn what it means to be dependent on Russia—these are all that is left of a Syria policy.
MEL GURTOV – With the appointments of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser, Donald Trump has signaled his preparedness by the May 12 deadline to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and ramp up pressure on North Korea if it refuses to denuclearize. The two moves would have interactive consequences.
KEVIN MARTIN – Effective negotiators build on any points of agreement the parties to a dispute have at the outset. So why not ditch the “non-equivalency” 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 isn’t afraid to talk to the North, why is the U.S.? If Rex Tillerson can’t do his job, the least he can do is support the North-South talks, and let Koreans make peace.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – As Donald Trump launches his latest assault on renewable energy—imposing a 30 percent tariff on solar panels imported from China—a major crisis in the nuclear power industry is threatening to shut four high-profile reactors, with more shutdowns to come. These closures could pave the way for thousands of new jobs in wind and solar, offsetting at least some of the losses from Trump’s attack. Like nearly everything else Trump does, the hike in duties makes no rational sense. Bill McKibben summed it up, tweeting: “Trump imposes 30% tariff on imported solar panels—one more effort to try and slow renewable energy, one more favor for the status quo.”
MEDEA BENJAMIN – When I recently asked a prominent activist how she was doing, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “Everything I’ve been working on for 50 years has gone down the toilet.” With so many good people feeling depressed, let’s point to the positive things that happened, even in this really, really bad year.
TOM H. HASTINGS – Since the #GagMeElection of 2016 we have heard a great deal about “resistance.” Nevertheless, we’ve seen relatively little of it actually happening. Who is doing what toward what announced goal?
LAURA FINLEY – November 25th kicked off the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. At no time has this work been more necessary than now. From rampant sexual harassment to sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual trafficking, women across the globe and in the U.S face gender-based violence at horrifying rates.
WILLIAM D. HARTUNG – Unless the nuclear spending spree long in the making and now being pushed by President Trump as the best thing since the invention of golf is stopped thanks to public opposition, the rise of an anti-nuclear movement, or Congressional action, we’re in trouble. And of course, the nuclear weapons lobby will once again have won the day, just as it did almost 60 years ago, despite the opposition of a popular president and decorated war hero. And needless to say, Donald Trump, “bone spurs” and all, is no Dwight D. Eisenhower.
KARY LOVE – Mass murder of 59 is the mote in the eye of that lone “Las Vegas” killer and we all condemn him. Mass murder of all humanity is the forest in the eye of Donny Trump and we are called upon to salute him. Trump has recently threatened North Korea with nuclear annihilation. The USA has thousands of nukes, NK may have 20 and a limited, if any, capacity to deliver them. Thus, the forest in the eye of Donny Trump and the mote in the eye of NK.
CHRIS HEDGES – The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.
WINSLOW MYERS – It is long past time for us to recognize that the greater enemy is not someone in another country shouting threats, but the weapons themselves. On the basis of this shared truth, new relationships among adversaries can flourish that will allow reciprocal reduction and elimination. Nature within her inmost self divides, and science has unleashed this process on earth as the mighty power of fission, setting before us life or death choices. It is not too late to restrain the rise of the machines we ourselves have created, and choose life.
CHRIS HEDGES – The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.”
MARIANNE LAVELLE – These efforts are mostly flying under the radar, but they could short-circuit lawsuits and make it harder to restore environmental protections.
DAVID SWANSON – If war were moral, legal, defensive, beneficial to the spread of freedom, and inexpensive, we would be obliged to make abolishing it our top priority solely because of the destruction that war and preparations for war do as the leading polluters of our natural environment.
ALI KING – As the night of Tuesday, November 8, began to go downhill, like many Americans, I felt stunned and sickened. I hadn’t actually allowed myself to imagine things going the way they did and the unthinkable had happened. Just a few months earlier, everyone was scoffing at the idea of Trump becoming the president and, inexplicably, he had just won. When I woke up from my restless sleep the next morning, I could barely function. Over the next two days, I went through the usual stages of grief – disbelief, anger, sadness, but with so much on the line, I just couldn’t get myself to the acceptance stage. I knew sitting around and watching things crumble was not an option.
NORMAN SOLOMON – More than a decade and a half ago, your eloquent words and courageous vote set a high bar as you stood up against a war frenzy on the House floor. Three days after 9/11, you implemented the kind of brave wisdom that we desperately need in a world beset by the massive violence of warfare and the overarching dangers of nuclear holocaust. Since then, like many other people opposed to perpetual war, I’ve deeply appreciated your leadership in advocating for diplomacy instead of reckless confrontation in international relations. Year after year, following your lone vote against a blank check for war on Sept. 14, 2001, you’ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives. Until now.
MEL GURTOV – President Obama’s engagement with Cuba was one of his administration’s success stories. The policy shift was based on the entirely realistic as well as humanitarian assessment that permanent estrangement deepens enmity, isolates two peoples and separates families, reduces opportunities for improvement in the quality of life in Cuba, inhibits the two-way flow of information, and prevents cooperation on common problems. But the Trump administration, pressed by Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, is still fighting the Cold War, as evidenced by Trump’s disengagement order the week of June 20.
EMILY HOLDEN – U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal initiative to challenge mainstream climate science using a “back-and-forth critique” by government-recruited experts, according to a senior administration official. The program will use “red team, blue team” exercises to conduct an “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” the official said, referring to a concept developed by the military to identify vulnerabilities in field operations.
ANDREW MOSS – Though Donald Trump failed to get his wall funded when Congress passed a recent $1.1 trillion federal spending package, he did succeed in creating a wall of sorts. Fashioned partly out of words and partly out of existing physical structures and technologies, Trump’s wall has effectively cast a shadow of fear over the 11.1 million people living in the U.S. without the requisite papers signifying citizenship or legal residence. This shadow accompanies them wherever they go in their daily lives. But this metaphoric wall not only serves to incite fear; it also helps to exacerbate inequality.
MEL GURTOV – Now, just below the radar, the US military is engaged in an ever-increasing number of “advise-and-assist” missions, supplemented by major arms deals and CIA-run drone strikes, that commit the US to long-term intervention in Africa and the Middle East. And Donald Trump, unlike Barack Obama, is happy to cede operational control—to “let the war fighters fight the war,” as Stephen Bannon told CNN.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Any truthful way to say it will sound worse than ghastly: We live in a world where one person could decide to begin a nuclear war — quickly killing several hundred million people and condemning vast numbers of others to slower painful deaths. Given the macabre insanity of this ongoing situation, most people don’t like to talk about it or even think about it. In that zone of denial, U.S. news media keep detouring around a crucial reality: No matter what you think of Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, they hold the whole world in their hands with a nuclear button.
ROB BYERS – Earlier this spring, I was asked a question about my late father, who had been a coal miner in the 1970s and ’80s. It had to do with a familiar romantic storyline: Did he feel at home underground? Was it a calling that tugged at him during the layoffs, a longing to get back to the job he loved? Short answer: No. Long answer: Hell, no.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The American will to wage war — endless war, pointless war, total war — is, I fear, impervious to public opinion and even political action. It remains alive deep in the underground bunker of American militarism, protected from sanity. This goes beyond the staying power of our loser generals, who have ever freer rein in the Trump administration to expand the war games of the 21st century. There is a quiet determination among those who serve the god of war — or so it seems — to engage in, and presumably win, a nuclear war.
PATRICK T. HILLER – It is time for the public and its servants – our elected officials – to get away from the pretense that there are no alternatives to projecting and using military force, when indeed there are many constructive responses. This matters greatly, because a study has shown that there is a proven decline in public support for war when the alternatives come to light.