JEFF COHEN and NORMAN SOLOMON – The Progressive Caucus leadership approach that gave up leverage for Build Back Better is akin to the one that just endorsed Shontel Brown against Nina Turner. Progressives around the country should take note and not forget: We can’t depend on the Congressional Progressive Caucus to provide the kind of leadership we need. It must come from the grassroots.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Desperately needed is a new European security framework, to demilitarize and defuse conflicts between Russia and U.S. allies. But the same approach that for three decades pushed to expand NATO to Russiaâ€™s borders is now gung-ho to keep upping the ante, no matter how much doing so increases the chances of a direct clash between the worldâ€™s two nuclear-weapons superpowers.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Nuclear weapons are at the pinnacle of what Martin Luther King Jr. called â€œthe madness of militarism.â€ If youâ€™d rather not think about them, thatâ€™s understandable. But such a coping strategy has limited value. And those who are making vast profits from preparations for global annihilation are further empowered by our avoidance.
NORMAN SOLOMON – At the same time that the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases have continued to increase, so have the dangers of nuclear war. No imperatives are more crucial than challenging the fossil fuel industry and the nuclear weapons industry as the terrible threats to the climate and humanity that they are.
NORMAN SOLOMON – When President Biden announced late Friday afternoon that he will nominate Rahm Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan, the timing just before the weekend was clearly intended to minimize attention to the swift rebukes that were sure to come.
NORMAN SOLOMON – A vital challenge for progressives is to not only block Republican agendas but also to effectively campaign for policy changes that go far beyond the talking points of current Democratic leaders offering to tinker with the status quo. Merely promising a kinder, gentler version of grim social realities just wonâ€™t be enough to counter the faux populism of a neofascist Republican Party.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Next year, if Republicans gain just five House seats, Rep. Kevin McCarthy or some other right-wing ideologue will become the House speaker, giving the GOP control over all committees and legislation. In the Senate, where the historic midterm pattern has been similar, a Republican gain of just one seat will reinstall Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Cleveland has been spiraling downward. Itâ€™s one of the poorest cities in the country, beset by worsening violent crime, poverty and decaying infrastructure. Now, 42 years after the end of his first term as mayor, Dennis Kucinich is ready for his second.
NORMAN SOLOMON – AP president, Gary Pruitt, said â€œwe are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing APâ€™s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.â€
NORMAN SOLOMON – The U.S. war in Afghanistan wonâ€™t end just because President Biden and U.S. news media tell us so. As countless Afghan people have experienced, troops on the ground arenâ€™t the only measure of horrific warfare.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The outbreak of rhetorical hostilities between the White House and the Kremlin has heightened the urgent need for a summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. The spate of mutual denunciations is catnip for mass media and fuel for hardliners in both countries. But for the world at large, under the doomsday shadow of nuclear arsenals brandished by the United States and Russia, the latest developments are terribly ominous.
JEFF COHEN and NORMAN SOLOMON – Rahm Emanuel has never been associated with the word â€œdiplomatic,â€ but news reports say that President Biden is seriously considering him for a top position as U.S. ambassador to Japan or China. Naming Emanuel to such a post would be an affront to many of the constituencies that got Biden elected. The saga of Emanuelâ€™s three decades in politics is an epic tale of methodical contempt for progressive values.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The best way to not become disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place. And the best way to win economic and social justice is to keep organizing and keep pushing. What can happen during the Biden presidency is up for grabs.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The Republican plunge into Trumpism has made the party especially unhinged and dangerous, but its basic ideology has long been a shameless assault on minimal standards of human decency. Now — while Democratic leaders and most corporate media outlets are suitably condemning the fascist tendencies of Trump and his followers — deeper analysis and stepped-up progressive organizing are urgently needed.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Silence or grumbling acquiescence as the Biden presidency takes shape would amount to a political repetition disorder of the sort that ushered in disastrous political results under the Clinton and Obama administrations. Progressives must now take responsibility and take action. As Nina Turner says, â€œeverything we love is on the line.â€
ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of â€œNo Honeymoonâ€ — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The groupâ€™s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists â€œto join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.â€
NORMAN SOLOMON – Some foreign-policy specialists with progressive reputations now extol potential Cabinet picks whoâ€™ve combined pushing for continuous war and hugely expensive new weapons systems with getting rich as dealmakers for the military-industrial complex.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement â€œmoderateâ€ strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Bidenâ€™s victory â€œcame with no coattails down ballot.â€ Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues — climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more — itâ€™s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The case of Mike Pence should be an ongoing urgent reminder that — as toxic and truly evil as Donald Trump is — the current president is a product and poisonous symptom of an inherently unjust and anti-democratic status quo.
NORMAN SOLOMAN – After events of 2016, when facts emerged showing that the Democratic National Committee put anti-Sanders thumbs on the scales, many progressives have become acutely sensitive to shortages of fairness in party proceedings. The last thing we need are fresh examples of powerful politicians opting for self-serving actions over democratic principles.
NORMAN SOLOMON – With Amy Klobuchar now on Joe Bidenâ€™s short list for vice president, the gruesome killing of George Floyd has refocused attention on Klobucharâ€™s history of racial injustice.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Every day now weâ€™re waking up into an extreme real-life nightmare, while responses are still routinely lagging far behind whatâ€™s at stake. Urgency is reality. The horrific momentum of the coronavirus is personal, social and political. In those realms, a baseline formula is â€œpassivity = death.â€ The imperative is to do vastly better.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, itâ€™s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the â€œthreatâ€ of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, thereâ€™s a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires — or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation — in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.
NORMAN SOLOMON – For plutocrats, this summer has gotten a bit scary. Two feared candidates are rising. Trusted candidates are underperforming. The 2020 presidential election could turn out to be a real-life horror movie: A Nightmare on Wall Street.
SAM HUSSEINI – A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over, says Sam Husseini.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as theyâ€™re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues. Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as theyâ€™re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Letâ€™s be blunt: As a supposed friend of American workers, Joe Biden is a phony. And now that heâ€™s running for president, Bidenâ€™s huge task is to hide his phoniness.
NORMAN SOLOMON – What Barbara Lee did on the House floor three days after 9/11 — speaking prophetic words and casting the only vote against a green light for endless war — remains the bravest wise action in Congress during this century. The contrast was jolting last week when her vote enabled the House Budget Committee to approve a bill with a $17 billion increase in military spending for next year and another such increase for 2021.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.
NORMAN SOLOMON – In the obvious contrasts with Kamala Harris and in the less obvious yet significant contrasts with Elizabeth Warren on matters of economic justice as well as on foreign policy, Bernie Sanders represents a different approach to the root causes of — and possible solutions to — extreme economic inequality, systemic injustice and a dire shortage of democracy.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Turning the Democratic Party into a truly progressive force will require turning â€œprimaryâ€ into a verb. The corporate Democrats who dominate the partyâ€™s power structure in Congress should fear losing their seats because theyâ€™re out of step with constituents. And Democratic voters should understand that if they want to change the party, the only path to do so is to change the people who represent them. Otherwise, the leverage of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex will continue to hold sway.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?
NORMAN SOLOMON – Twenty-five years ago — when I wrote a book titled â€œFalse Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Eraâ€ — I didnâ€™t expect that the Democratic Party would still be mired in Clintonism two and a half decades later. But such approaches to politics continue to haunt the party and the country.
By Norman Solomon Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on theÂ New York TimesÂ home page stayed the same: â€œJust by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.â€ TheÂ SundayÂ headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S.…
NORMAN SOLOMON – With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Partyâ€™s much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled out. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Movie critics are already hailing â€œThe Post,â€ directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. Millions of people will see the film in early winter. But the real-life political story of Graham and her newspaper is not a narrative thatâ€™s headed to the multiplexes.
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, Iâ€™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, youâ€™ve been a steadfast voice for the necessity of diplomatic initiatives. Until now.
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 donâ€™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.
NORMAN SOLOMON – No longer will the pilots who steer drones and fire missiles while staring at computer screens be confined to remote areas like the Nevada desert. With scant public information or debate, sizable American communities are becoming enmeshed in drone warfare on other continents. Along the way, how deeply will we understand â€” in human terms â€” what the drone war is doing to people far away? And to us?
NORMAN SOLOMON – After Hillary Clintonâ€™s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the partyâ€™s progressive base — personified by Bernie Sanders — was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board. Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject.
NORMAN SOLOMON – For months now, our country has endured the tacit denigration of American ingenuity. Countless statements — from elected officials, activist groups, journalists and many others — have ignored our nationâ€™s superb blend of dazzling high-tech capacities and statecraft mendacities. Fortunately, this week the news about release of illuminating CIA documents by WikiLeaks has begun to give adequate credit where due. And not a moment too soon. For way too long, Russia has been credited with prodigious hacking and undermining of democracy in the United States.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Four weeks into Donald Trumpâ€™s presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that â€œnothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet.â€ The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to â€œthe Trump-Putin axis.â€ Such lines of attack have become routine, citing and stoking fears that the president of the United States is a Kremlin stooge. The meme is on the march — and where it will end, nobody knows. Actually, it could end with a global nuclear holocaust.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The momentum to impeach President Trump is accelerating.
DAVID SWANSON – Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed? Here’s why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 electionâ€”though itâ€™s hardly the slam dunk that agencies like the CIA and U.S. mass media are now claiming. But in any event, this month it has become routine for a lot of progressive organizations and individuals to descend into a dangerous mode of partisan flackery — with troubling consequences.
NORMAN SOLOMON – We still donâ€™t have any sort of apology or retraction from the Washington Post for promoting â€œThe Listâ€ — the highly dangerous blacklist that got a huge boost from the newspaperâ€™s fawning coverage on November 24. The project of smearing 200 websites with one broad brush wouldnâ€™t have gotten far without the avid complicity of high-profile media outlets, starting with the Post. In media and government, the journalists and officials who enable blacklisting are cravenly siding with conformity instead of democracy.
NORMAN SOLOMON – While Bernie Sanders was doing a brilliant job of ripping into the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the livestreamed launch of the Our Revolution organization on Wednesday night, CNN was airing a phone interview with Hillary Clinton and MSNBC was interviewing Donald Trumpâ€™s campaign manager. That sums up the contrast between the enduring value of the Bernie campaign and the corporate mediaâ€™s fixation on the political establishment. Fortunately, Our Revolution wonâ€™t depend on mainline media. That said, the groupâ€™s debut foreshadowed not only great potential but also real pitfalls.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Like other Bernie Sanders delegates in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I kept hearing about the crucial need to close ranks behind Hillary Clinton. â€œUnityâ€ was the watchword. But Clinton has reaffirmed her unity with corporate America. Rhetoric aside, Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign — Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.