Tag: Norman Solomon

New Polls Show Anti-Trump Isn’t Enough to Beat GOP

NORMAN SOLOMON – With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Party’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.

An Open Letter To Rep. Barbara Lee: ‘Think Through The Implications Of Our Actions’

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.

The Trump-Putin Meeting and the Fate of the Earth

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.

Killer Drones Take Another Step Into the Mainstream

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 — in human terms — what the drone war is doing to people far away? And to us?

The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia

NORMAN SOLOMON – After Hillary Clinton’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 party’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.

Let’s Give the CIA the Credit It Deserves

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 nation’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.

Trump Can Prove He’s Not a Putin Puppet by Blowing Up the World

NORMAN SOLOMON – Four weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that “nothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet.” The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to “the Trump-Putin axis.” 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.

Urgent to Progressives: Stop Fueling the Anti-Russia Frenzy

NORMAN SOLOMON – Many big factors affect any presidential race, and the Russian government may have tried to be one of them for the 2016 election—though it’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.

Media Complicity Is Key to Blacklisting Websites

NORMAN SOLOMON – We still don’t have any sort of apology or retraction from the Washington Post for promoting “The List” — the highly dangerous blacklist that got a huge boost from the newspaper’s fawning coverage on November 24. The project of smearing 200 websites with one broad brush wouldn’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.

The Debut of Our Revolution: Great Potential. But.

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 Trump’s campaign manager. That sums up the contrast between the enduring value of the Bernie campaign and the corporate media’s fixation on the political establishment. Fortunately, Our Revolution won’t depend on mainline media. That said, the group’s debut foreshadowed not only great potential but also real pitfalls.

Clinton’s Transition Team Suggests a Corporate Presidency

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. “Unity” 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.

A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

NORMAN SOLOMON – The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights. Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

NORMAN SOLOMON – A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency. ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.

The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

NORMAN SOLOMON – The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday, January 26, as a CIA whistleblower. Sterling’s indictment four years ago received fleeting news coverage that recited the government’s charges. From the outset, the Justice Department portrayed him as bitter and vengeful — with the classic trash-the-whistleblower word “disgruntled” thrown in — all of which the mainline media dutifully recounted without any other perspective.

The Revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

NORMAN SOLOMAN – This [past] week, in a federal courtroom, I’ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong. Those CIA employees and consultants are more than mere loyalists for an agency that soaks up $15 billion a year and continues to loosen the bonds of accountability. The docket says “United States of America v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling,” but a more discerning title would be “National Security State v. The Public’s Right to Know.”

Risen’s New Book Exposes the “War on Terror”

NORMAN SOLOMON – No single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price — the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity: focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive. Published this week, Pay Any Price throws down an urgent gauntlet. We should pick it up. After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, the book — subtitled “Greed, Power, and Endless War” — zeros in on immense horrors being perpetrated in the name of national security.

Editorial Position of the New York Times: Thumbs Up for Gaza Slaughter

ABBA SOLOMON and NORMAN SOLOMON – Over the weekend, the New York Times sent out a clear signal: the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable when the Israeli military is doing the killing. Under the headline “Israel’s War in Gaza,” the most powerful newspaper in the United States editorialized that such carnage is necessary. The lead editorial in the July 19 edition flashed a bright green light — reassuring the U.S. and Israeli governments that the horrors being inflicted in Gaza were not too horrible.

Why We Need Media Critics Who Are Fiercely Independent

NORMAN SOLOMON – The most renowned media critics are usually superficial and craven. That’s because — as one of the greatest in the 20th century, George Seldes, put it — “the most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.” No institutions are more image-conscious than big media outlets. The people running them know the crucial importance of spin, and they’ll be damned if they’re going to promote media criticism that undermines their own pretenses.

Obama Pronouncements about International Law Are Hypocritical

NORMAN SOLOMON – International law is suddenly very popular in Washington. President Obama responded to Russian military intervention in the Crimea by accusing Russia of a “breach of international law.” . . . Unfortunately, during the last five years, no world leader has done more to undermine international law than Barack Obama. He treats it with rhetorical adulation and behavioral contempt, helping to further normalize a might-makes-right approach to global affairs that is the antithesis of international law.

Cut Off the NSA’s Juice

NORMAN SOLOMON – The National Security Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA’s top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential — and any interference with that flow is unthinkable. But interference isn’t unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Why the Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous

NORMAN SOLOMON – American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain. A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos — who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder. The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.

Big Brother’s Loyal Sister: How Dianne Feinstein Is Betraying Civil Liberties

NORMAN SOLOMON – Ever since the first big revelations about the National Security Agency five months ago, Dianne Feinstein has been in overdrive to defend the surveillance state. As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she generates an abundance of fog, weasel words, anti-whistleblower slander and bogus notions of reform — while methodically stabbing civil liberties in the back.

Google: Doing Evil with ALEC

NORMAN SOLOMON – Google Inc. is now aligned with the notorious ALEC. Quietly, Google has joined ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — the shadowy corporate alliance that pushes odious laws through state legislatures.

Why Snowden’s Passport Matters

NORMAN SOLOMON – When the State Department revoked Edward Snowden’s passport four months ago, the move was a reprisal from a surveillance-and-warfare state that operates largely in the shadows. Top officials in Washington were furious. Snowden had suddenly exposed what couldn’t stand the light of day, blowing the cover of the world’s Biggest Brother.

Justice Department Mounts New Attack on Press Freedom

NORMAN SOLOMON – There’s something profoundly despicable about a Justice Department that would brazenly violate the First and Fourth Amendments while spying on journalists, then claim to be reassessing such policies after an avalanche of criticism — and then proceed, as it did this week, to gloat that those policies made possible a long prison sentence for a journalistic source.

If Peace Is Prized, a Nobel for Bradley Manning

NORMAN SOLOMON – Bradley Manning saw an opportunity to provide the crucial fuel of information for democracy and compassion, thereby illuminating terrible actions of the USA’s warfare state. He chose courage on behalf of humanity. He refused to just follow orders. The Nobel Committee must award him its Peace Prize to recognize his dedication to human rights and peace.

Reward of a Whistleblower: Solidarity or Solitary?

NORMAN SOLOMON – Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washington’s high places. So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber — and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable. Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. More of the NSA’s massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day — which is exactly what it can’t stand.

Three-Quarters of Progressive Caucus Not Taking a Stand Against Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

NORMAN SOLOMON – For the social compact of the United States, most of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has gone missing.

While still on the caucus roster, three-quarters of the 70-member caucus seem lost in political smog. Those 54 members of the Progressive Caucus haven’t signed the current letter that makes a vital commitment: “we will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits — including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need.”

Ten Years After Powell’s U.N. Speech, Old Hands Are Ready for More Blood

NORMAN SOLOMON – When Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003, countless journalists in the United States extolled him for a masterful performance — making the case that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the speech later became notorious should not obscure how easily truth becomes irrelevant in the process of going to war.

King: I Have a Dream. Obama: I Have a Drone.

NORMAN SOLOMON – A simple twist of fate has set President Obama’s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago — but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said “I have a dream.”

Why I May Run for Congress

NORMAN SOLOMON – Norman Solomon has been a regular PeaceWorker columnist since the PeaceWorker began in 1988. By then he was already a widely published author, but I had met him more than a decade earlier as an activist in the struggle to stop nuclear power development in Oregon. From that time to this he has never stinted to tell the direct truth as he saw it and to act upon it as he was able. These are qualities we could use a lot more of in Congress. – Editor

One of the most inspiring political leaders in recent decades, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), famously declared: “I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Today we need progressives in Congress who will represent the progressive wing of the Progressive Caucus.

White House Dries Out Moral Collapse in Spin Cycle

NORMAN SOLOMON – On December 5th, in a column about economic policy, Paul Krugman focused on “moral collapse” at the White House — “a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.” Meanwhile, President Obama flew to Afghanistan, where he put on a leather bomber jacket and told U.S. troops: “You’re achieving your objectives. You will succeed in your mission.” For the Obama presidency, moral collapse has taken on the appearance of craven clockwork, establishing a concentric pattern — doing immense damage to economic security at home while ratcheting up warfare overseas.

Obama Wooing “Economic Royalists”

NORMAN SOLOMON – In his first term, President Franklin Roosevelt denounced “the economic royalists.” He drew the line against the heartless rich: “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” What a different Democratic president we have today.

Progressive Canaries in a Political Mine

NORMAN SOLOMON — Take it from David Axelrod. “Almost the entire Republican margin is based on the enthusiasm gap,” the president’s senior adviser said last week. “And if Democrats come out in the same turnout as Republicans, it’s going to be a much different election.” But we don’t get to have a different election.