NOAM CHOMSKY – Recent events trace a threatening trajectory, sufficiently so that it may be worthwhile to look ahead a few generations to the millennium anniversary of one of the great events in the establishment of civil and human rights: the issuance of Magna Carta, the charter of English liberties imposed on King John in 1215.
LEONARD PITTS, JR. – The death panels are back. Sarah Palin’s vision of a dystopian society in which the elderly and infirm would be required to justify their continued existence before a jury of federal functionaries has been widely ridiculed since she first posted it on Facebook three years ago. It was designated “Lie of the Year” by Politifact, the nonpartisan fact-checking website, something that would have mortified and humiliated anyone who was capable of those feelings.
F. BRINLEY BRUTON – Thanks to lax international tax rules the worldâ€™s super rich have siphoned at least $21 trillion — more than 50 percent larger than the entire U.S. economy — into secretive tax-free havens, according to a study by UK campaign group Tax Justice Network. According to the study, the worldâ€™s top 50 private banks managed more than $12.3 trillion in 2010 in off-shore financial assets, up from $7.5 trillion five years earlier.
PORTLAND PEACE AND JUSTICE WORKS – On Saturday, July 22, in a hotly contested race, the United States Government was named “Warmonger of the Year” by a group of Portlanders, winning 30% of the 311 votes cast. The contest was held at the 20th anniversary event of local group Peace and Justice Works (PJW), which also included as nominees the U.S. Military, the Portland Police Bureau, War Profiteers/”Contractors,” and Drones.
TOM ENGELHARDT – Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us â€” less than 1% â€” serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washingtonâ€™s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans. And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate.
SATO MATSUI and PAMMIE SHAPIRO – Recently, the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) released the annual 2012 Global Peace Index (GPI), and also the inaugural report on the Positive Peace Index (PPI), which aims to incite optimism in the analysis of global peace measurements.
JASON MARK – Itâ€™s no surprise that many Bellingham residents are against plans to make the area home to one of the countryâ€™s largest coal-export terminals. Peabody Energy, the worldâ€™s biggest non-state-owned coal-mining company, is working with developers to convert the Cherry Point piers â€” located just north of town on the U.S.-Canada border â€” into a port capable of exporting 50 million metric tons of coal a year. Locals of all stripes have come together to fight the proposal.
TOM H. HASTINGS – When I teach about the possibilities of a nonviolent response to terrorism, I try to cover many aspects of this complex topic. One of the main strands is the idea that the objectives of al Qa’ida, as stated by Osama bin Laden on several occasions in the 1990s, were not at all unreasonable, but their methods, we agree, were grotesque.
LAURA LITVAN – Companies led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the worldâ€™s largest defense contractor, say federal and state laws may require them to send out blanket notifications of potential job cuts before the election unless President Barack Obama and Congress act by October to avert automatic defense reductions of $500 billion over a decade that would start on Jan. 2.
DAVID SWANSON – Most people are going to agree that the ideal recruit is not a drooling idiot who announces, “I want to join up because the military sponsors NASCAR drivers.”
JOE ROMM – This heat wave has broken thousands of temperature records. Climate Central reported Satuday, â€œIn many cases, records that had stood since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s have been equaled or exceeded, and this event is likely to go down in history as one of Americaâ€™s worst.â€
BETSY CRITES – Fear can be a great motivator â€“ and a great manipulator. Those who oppose cuts to military funding play on our fears to convince us that any reduction in the defense budget would be a dangerous threat to our national security and to our economy. But is this level of panic justified? An examination of the assumptions that underlie the fears will expose just how shaky those assumptions are.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, as former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan noted: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”
MICHAEL MARIOTTE – Fed up with the undue influence of the energy companies, utilities, lobbyists and other interests that are making it impossible for Washington to move forward decisively in achieving Americaâ€™s clean energy future, Nuclear Information and Resource Service and 35 other citizen organizations with more than 1.1 million combined members are joining forces to advance a nine-point â€œAmerican Clean Energy Agendaâ€ and to push for a serious renewable energy agenda no matter who is the next President or which party controls Congress.
DAVID SWANSON – Dennis Trainor, Jr., has produced a full-length movie of the Occupy movement, and he’s done a hell of a great job. The Occupy movement was created, as are all movements in the United States, in large part by the corporate media…
JANE DUGDALE – Philadelphia City Council, by a vote of 15-2, passed – on June 21 – a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, to take the funds saved by that action and by significantly cutting the Pentagon budget, and to use that money to fund education, public and private sector family-sustaining job creation, special protections for military sector workers, environmental and infrastructure restoration, care for veterans and their families, and human services that our cities and states so desperately need.”