NORMAN SOLOMON – The part of the First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press” is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.
DAVID ROBERTS – While President Obama’s climate plan addresses U.S. coal-fired plants through EPA regulations, it neglects another, equally large aspect of the coal problem. Specifically, coal mining, leasing, transport, and export in the U.S. Northwest. There’s a bad situation there and it’s getting worse. Obama can and must address the situation head on and end coal leases on Montana and Wyoming public lands.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As 2013 gets underway, progressives need to be here now. We’re in a new era of national politics — with different circumstances that call for a major shift in approach.
EBAN GOODSTEIN – It’s hot. It’s going to get hotter. And despite the politics of the moment, extreme weather will eventually drive a national consensus on climate action. What can each of us do to insure we get there soon, rather than too late? There are three answers. The first is to build political power. Elect clean-energy champions at the municipal, state, and national levels who can pass policies enabling a clean-energy revolution. The second is to stop expansion of the global carbon infrastructure. This will cut pollution — some — but will also build the morally grounded movement that must ultimately drive a strong clean-energy politics. Answer three? Grow the green shoots of the emerging sustainable economy.
DAVID SWANSON – I’ve been trying (with virtually no success) to get everyone to drop the election obsession and focus on activism designed around policy changes, not personality changes. I want those policy changes to include stripping presidents of imperial powers. I don’t see as much difference between the two available choices as most people; I see each as a different shade of disaster. I don’t get distressed by the thought of people “spoiling” an election by voting for a legitimately good candidate like Jill Stein. Besides, won’t Romney lose by a landslide if he doesn’t tape his mouth shut during the coming weeks?
PETER BERGEL – In my email this morning was a message from one of my favorite organizations, the League of Conservation Voters, that began: “We just won a major victory…”but I have to admit that my reaction was “really?”
TOM CARTER – Over the last month, heavily armed “domestic terrorism” units of the FBI used battering rams and stun grenades to conduct early-morning raids on the homes of political protesters in Seattle and Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon. On July 25, three homes were raided in Portland alone and, since July 10, as many as six homes have been raided.
These raids are only the latest in an emerging pattern of similar raids conducted by the Obama administration in order to terrorize, suppress and chill political dissent, in flagrant violation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
MICHAEL KEEGAN – Despite the national headlines, last night’s results from Wisconsin were a mixed bag. It appears that by just a few hundred votes, our efforts in the Racine State Senate district were successful, meaning we flipped the Senate to Democratic control and the new majority will be able to block [Gov. Scott] Walker’s aggressive ideological agenda moving forward.
IAN DUNCAN & LISA MASCARO – Wading into the gay marriage debate, the Republican-led House tacked a provision banning same-sex marriages at military chapels onto a sweeping defense bill that is now headed to the Senate.
CRAIG CLINE – Former Vice President Dick Cheney is the fortunate beneficiary of a heart transplant. I hope his new heart has more compassion than his old one did.
EDITOR’S NOTE – This article adds to the peace movement’s usual analysis, which views control of oil supplies as the driving force behind U.S. policy toward Iran, the notion that nuclear nonproliferation might actually be the prime objective. Whether or not you believe that nonproliferation is the most important aspect, it is reasonable to believe that it does play an important role, as author Jonathan Schell maintains.
RUSS BAKER – Is the president being asked to pound yet another nail into the coffin of democratic expression? So say alarmist scenarios concerning HR 347 (the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011), now on the president’s desk.
DAVID SWANSON – Attorney General Eric Holder explained last week why it’s legal to murder people…
ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ – In his new proposed federal budget, President Obama called on Congress to repeal more than $4 billion a year in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, arguing that these “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies…impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to address the threat of climate change.”
ADAM ENTOUS – Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn’t yet capable of destroying Iran’s most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.
MILES MOGULESCU – New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may go down in history as the most important public official in reforming the corrupt financial system that caused the great Financial Crisis of 2008 and holding the perps responsible — if he can hold out against pressure from Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration to give Wall Street a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
FRANCES BEINECKE – Let’s face it: Big Oil is used to getting its way. But not any more. President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us.
ROBERT PARRY – With the typical backdrop of alarmist propaganda in place, the stage is now set for a new war, this time with Iran. The slightest miscalculation (or provocation) by the United States, Israel or Iran could touch off a violent scenario that will have devastating consequences.
PAUL LOEB – It seemed like the afterthought in the payroll tax cut extension fight, a small consolation prize to the Republicans on what should have been the easiest of bi-partisan votes. But the two-month clock is now ticking on whether Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s environmentally disastrous tar sands. If we want him to make the right decision and deny the permit, maybe it’s time to Occupy Exxon, with creative protests at local Exxon/Mobil stations.
TED GLICK – Two days ago I was convinced that the amazing Keystone XL pipeline victory won by the North American climate movement on November 10 was going to be, without question, a pivotal turning point. Today, having thought more about it, I’d say it’s more like somewhere between “maybe” and “probably.”
RT.COM BLOG – In the 34 years that an ongoing poll has asked Americans for their take on Congress, never in the three-decade span has that number dipped into the single digits. Never, at least, until now. The results of the latest survey from CBS News and The New York Times confirm that Congress’ job approval rating is at an all-time low.
MIKE LOFGREN – Both parties are rotten – how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot.
BILL MCKIBBEN – Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.
URI AVNERY – The Palestinians are planning something thoroughly obnoxious: they intend to apply to the UN for statehood. Why obnoxious? Any Israeli spokesman (not to mention spokeswoman) will tell you readily: because it is a “unilateral” move. How dare they proclaim a state unilaterally? How dare they do so without the consent of the other party to the conflict – us?
REBECCA GRIFFIN & TOM HAYDEN – Rebecca Griffin and Tom Hayden are both strong peace advocates who have worked long and hard to end the wars in the Middle East. Their views on President Obama’s speech about his Afghan war plans are quite divergent, yet both make valid and important points.
SIBEL EDMONDS & COLEEN ROWLEY – On March 28, 2011, President Obama was given a “transparency award” from five “open government” organizations: OMB Watch, the National Security Archive, the Project on Government Oversight, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and OpenTheGovernment.org. Ironically — and quite likely in response to growing public criticism regarding the Obama Administration’s lack oftransparency – heads of the five organizations gave their award to Obama in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House.
DAN HANDELMAN – We were very troubled by your announcement Sunday night about the death of Osama Bin Laden. You described his assassination at the hands of a secret U.S. operation as “justice,” an “achievement” that “should be welcomed by all people who believe in peace and humanity.”
IAN HARRIS – People should not be surprised that the United States has put itself in line to dictate the nature of the next head of state in Libya. After all, in 1954 this country replaced an elected leader in Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had promised to nationalize the oil in his country. Look what happened to Saddam Hussein after he nationalized the oil in Iraq! In 2009 Moammar Quadhafi mentioned nationalizing the oil industry in Libya, where the largest oil company was already state owned. This made Quadhafi a dangerous mad dog renegade who needed to be replaced. Do you see a pattern here?
PHYLLIS BENNIS – The United States and its allies launched the war against Libya on the eighth anniversary of the 2003invasion of Iraq. President Barack Obama says the U.S. will transfer command authority very soon, that military action should be over in “days, not weeks,” and that he wants no boots on the ground. But theparallels with other U.S. wars in the Middle East don’t bode well.
DAVID SWANSON – Statistically speaking, virtually nobody in the United States of America knows that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined, that we could eliminate most of our military and still have the world’s largest, that over half of the money our government raises from income taxes and borrowing gets spent on the military, that our wars (outrageously costly as they may be) cost far less than the permanent non-war military budget, or that most of the financial woes of the federal and state governments could be solved just by ending a war in Afghanistan that two-thirds of Americans oppose.
DAVID SWANSON – Did you know that the U.S. public wants military spending cut? Did you know that President Barack Obama wants to increase it for his third year in a row? Actually I already know that most of you didn’t know either of these things.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – With U.S. Senate ratification of the New START treaty on December 22, supporters of nuclear disarmament won an important victory. Signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April, the treaty commits the two nations to cut the number of their deployed strategic (i.e. long-range) nuclear warheads to 1,550 each — a reduction of 30 percent in the number of these weapons of mass destruction. By providing for both a cutback in nuclear weapons and an elaborate inspection system to enforce it, New START is the most important nuclear disarmament treaty for a generation.
MICHAEL TRUE – “The same war continues,” Denise Levertov wrote, in “Life at War.” Her lament is even more appropriate for 2011 than as it was when she wrote the poem forty-five years ago. Columnists and academics, including International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich, Boston University, are finally acknowledging facts familiar to anyone “awake” regarding failed U.S. policies, wasted lives and resources during this period, Willfully ignoring such facts, as Professor Bacevich wrote, “is to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.”
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.
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.
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.
JOHN LAFORGE — The press made a big deal of it. The president even starred in an Oval Office TV show about the “end to U.S. combat” in Iraq, which was announced on August 31. Mr. Obama said he’d fulfilled a promise to end the war. Obama’s bit of theater cost less than George Bush’s May 1, 2003 shameless declaration of “mission accomplished,” his circus-act-in-military-flight-suit-to-the-flight-deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Yet the president’s speech was just as dishonest.
NORMAN SOLOMON — At this bleak political moment, gaining congressional power for progressives might seem like pie in the sky. More and more desperate efforts are underway to stave off a Republican takeover of Congress. But the necessity of trying to prevent right-wing rule on Capitol Hill should not obscure the need to win more seats for genuine progressives.
NORMAN SOLOMON — On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to boost a policy of perpetual war. Hours later, the New York Times front page offered a credulous gloss for the end of “the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq.”
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.
NORMAN SOLOMON — If President Obama has his way, Elena Kagan will replace John Paul Stevens — and the Supreme Court will move rightward. The nomination is very disturbing, especially because it’s part of a pattern.
JUDITH LEBLANC AND KEVIN MARTIN — Barack Obama is undoubtedly the U.S. president most committed to nuclear disarmament since Kennedy. People all over the world have cheered President Obama’s commitment to move toward nuclear disarmament.
NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW: The New York Times’ lead editorial on Sunday, February 28, 2010 laid out some of the major nuclear issues very well.
LAWRENCE WITTNER: Does the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague on April 8, really provide a beginning toward a nuclear-free world? That’s what Obama implied in a statement two weeks earlier. Speaking to reporters at the White House, he described the treaty as an historic step toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”
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.
BRIEFING REPORTS ON: 1) Federal Debt vs. the Current Deficit; 2) Social Security; 3) The Federal Debt; 4) Obama’s Energy and Global Warming Plans; and 5) Tethered Wind – Emerging but Ignored by the Feds.
WINSLOW MYERS: The hopeful energy that resulted in the election of President Obama has run smack into the depressing reality of the largest military budget ever submitted in the history of the planet. But effective strategizing for peace can only emerge from an accurate perception of where we are.
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?
NORMAN SOLOMON: In his triumphant speech on election night, the next senator from Massachusetts should have thanked top Democrats in Washington for all they did to make his victory possible.
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.