DAVID MCCANN – At a time when news of banking scandals is uncomfortably frequent, a new report says that last year only 17% of global banking organizations â€œclawed backâ€ compensation payments previously made to employees. The survey of financial-services institutions by the consulting firm Mercer was not expansive, with only 42 banks participating (in addition to 18 insurance companies and three other types of firms). Still, the results may suggest that regulators are not achieving the objectives of their persistent calls for banks to implement clawback policies.
NICKOLAS C. ARGUIMBAU – This is a response to Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone article, “Warming’s Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is,” Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. Bill McKibben has once again put his heart and soul into an attempt to stop global warming. That’s more than most of us can say, and I’m afraid much more than I can say. Remember that. He is, like every living, breathing being on this earth, our friend. The stunningly well-written call to arms has apparently at this time already been read 450,000 times on-line and received 3105 written comments.
ERIN E NIEMELA – As the NATO summit approaches in May, throngs of peace protestors are expected to descend on Chicago to pressure the U.S.-led, 28-nation military alliance for an end to the war in Afghanistan. But for some activists, it will be too late to protest the greatest threat to a peaceful Afghanistan: the signing of the U.S.-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement.
NY TIMES EDITORIAL – It is no coincidence that so many state legislatures have spent the last year taking the same destructive actions: making it harder for minorities and other groups that support Democrats to vote, obstructing health care reform, weakening environmental regulations and breaking the spines of public- and private-sector unions. All of these efforts are being backed â€” in some cases, orchestrated â€” by a little-known conservative organization financed by millions of corporate dollars.
PETER BERGEL – Former U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford wrote in his journal on March 20, 1990, â€œArtists and peace workers are in it for the long haul and not to be judged by immediate results. Redemption comes with care.â€ Seeing the results of last monthâ€™s election, it would be easy to get discouraged. Thatâ€™s why Staffordâ€™s words are important. It reminds us that to deserve the name â€œpeace worker,â€ we must take a long view, dedicating ourselves to a lifelong challenge.
PETER BERGEL — Hereâ€™s another intrusion into the rights that most of us thought were sacrosanct in these United States: now government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This development is the result of a Portland case affirmed by the Ninth Circuit, which includes eight western states. Worse yet, the law draws a line of privilege between the rich and the poor. The rich have rights, the poor donâ€™t.
PETER BERGEL — Two days ago, The PeaceWorker published an explanation by Rep Peter DeFazio of his recent votes on funding the war in Afghanistan. This article was encouraging in that it expressed the misgivings many of us have about the war and those prosecuting it. It also explained in a cogent way what the â€œbest thinkingâ€ in liberal Congressional circles is these days concerning how to extricate ourselves from the Vietnam-like mess which the Afghanistan situation has become. At the same time, the article revealed why the peace â€œmovementâ€ needs so desperately to rethink its overall strategy.
PETER BERGEL — For decades, beginning during the Vietnam War, our elected leaders have tried to mask the size of the national debt they have permitted to accumulate by â€œborrowingâ€ the surplus from the Social Security Trust Fund. This was done without consulting the public in any way, and largely without public knowledge, even though this money was set aside from all workersâ€™ paychecks in an insurance program guaranteed to provide funds for them in their old age. To be precise, the government purchased U.S. T-bonds with our insurance money.
I have been thinking about a verse from Leonard Cohenâ€™s oft-recorded country song Bird on a Wire, a lot recently. Written in 1968, this simple, if depressing, song has been covered by artists as varied as Cohen himself, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, The Bobs, Dave Van Ronk, k.d. laing and the Neville Brothers, to name a few â€“ a sure sign that it speaks to many kinds of people.
PETER BERGEL: In an enormously provocative article entitled â€œAre Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppressionâ€ psychologist Bruce E. Levine divines what ails the American body politic.
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.
PETER BERGEL: The government and the Pentagon are right. Our national security is definitely at risk. Afghanistan? Iraq? Al Qaeda? Small potatoes. Yemen? Iran? Even smaller. Nope, the big threats are not military. Nor can they be addressed by the military.