LAWRENCE WITTNER — The offshore oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico brought to us by BP has overshadowed its central role over the past century in fostering some other disastrous events.
Category: Big Picture
Police State Tactics Take Another Step Forward
WENDY MCELROY — In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer. Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.
Palestinian, Israeli Physicians Call for Inquiry on Attack on Ships
IPPNW — The following is a joint statement from the Palestinian and Israeli affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) on the recent violence at sea. This statement is the product of unique and powerful collaboration, with physicians transcending political and ideological divisions to speak out with a common voice for peace and humanity.
Replacing Offshore Oil Would Take 195 Californias or 74 Texases
CHRIS NELDER — As the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster continues to unfold, the peak oil community has a â€œteachable momentâ€ in which it can illuminate the reality of our energy plight. The public has had a crash course in the challenges of offshore oil, and learned a whole new vocabulary. They are more aware than ever that the days of cheap and easy oil are gone. What they do not yet grasp are the challenges in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.
Unarmed and Courageous: Emergency Workers in Afghanistan
KATHY KELLY & JOSH BROLLIER — These brave peace correspondents, reporting from a desperately dangerous place, reveal why U.S. policy is failing in Afghanistan.
Actual War Spending to Top $1 Trillion Today
NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT — National Priorities Project’s Cost of War counter http://www.costofwar.com/, designed to count the total money appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will reach the $1 trillion mark on May 30 at approximately 10:06 a.m. (regardless of time zone).
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Holds 50th Reunion
DAVID HARTSOUGH — I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 50th reunion of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), April 15-18, 2010, in Raleigh, NC. Over 800 SNCC workers, their families and friends came together for four days to remember, reflect, share stories, inspire a younger generation, and strategize about how to continue the important work that SNCC students started 50 years ago.
Maryland Prohibits Automatic Release of Student Info to Military
JEAN ATHEY — Maryland Governor Martin Oâ€™Malley signed a measure into law on April 14 that prohibits the automatic release of student information to military recruiters gathered as a result of the administration of a military test in the stateâ€™s high schools.
Americans Troubled by Recent Anti-Government Activity
MARIO CANSECO: Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City bombing, many adults in the United States believe a terrorist attack carried out by Americans is likely to happen over the next 12 months, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found. Most respondents think the Hutaree plot is real and serious, and more than a third believe the Guardians of the Free Republics are a security threat.
On the Ground in the Fifth World
ANDY HARRIS: Former Oregon PeaceWorks Board Chair Dr. Andy Harris is in Sierra Leone on a medical mission of mercy. Here is his fascinating report on the work heâ€™s doing.
New USDA Rules Establish Strong Organic Standards for Pasture and Livestock
MARK KASTEL: After over 10 years of lobbying, family farmers across the country, who produce organic milk, are celebrating the release of strict new USDA regulations that establish distinct benchmarks requiring the grazing and pasturing of dairy cows and other livestock. Many hope that the new rule will put an end to the abuses that have flooded the organic market with suspect milk from a handful of mega-dairies generally confining thousands of animals in feed lots and barns.
U.N. Chief to Visit Hiroshima on August 6
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.
Active Nonviolence Persists in Palestine and Israel
DAVID HARTSOUGH: When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine. The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.
Uranium Mining Begins Near Grand Canyon
KLEE BENALLY: In defiance of legal challenges and a U.S. government moratorium, Canadian company Denison Mines has started mining uranium on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. According to the Arizona Daily Sun the mine has been operating since December 2009.
Congressman Obey’s Path to Peace
DAVID SWANSON: Congressman David Obey (D., Wis.) is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He’s in charge of spending our money. For years he spent it on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without any resistance. Until last October, Obey maintained that spending hundreds of billions of our dollars on wars was something he just had no choice about.
Rest in Peace, Granny D
RIP: Legendary campaign finance activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock died peacefully in her Dublin, New Hampshire family home at 7:18 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2010. She was 100 years old.
Howard Zinn and Other Heroes Transformed History
WILLIAM LOREN KATZ: In less than a year the battle for truth has lost three of its most innovative and stalwart voices, historians John Hope Franklin, Ivan Van Sertima and Howard Zinn. Each challenged aspects of the cheerfully bigoted narrative that has passed for history in schools, colleges, texts and the media. Each created works that made history by awakening millions of fellow citizens to a new host of heroic men and women whose daring contributions had been shamefully ignored.
Glimpsing the Depth of U.S. Polarization
DAILY KOS: From January 20 through January 31, 2010, the Daily Kos website commissioned a poll of self-identified Republicans which was conducted by Research 2000. A total of 2003 self-identified Republicans were interviewed nationally by telephone. The results will be, to say the least, startling to progressives.
Group Proposes Free Speech for People Amendment
FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE AMENDMENT: The group has written a resolution in support of the â€œFree Speech for People Amendmentâ€ and is collecting signatures on it at its website.
National Priorities Project Releases FY2011 Budget Analysis
NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT: President Obama issued his Fiscal Year 2011 budget on February 1, 2010 â€“ a 2,585-page proposed blueprint for addressing the social agonies caused by record-high job loss, a continued sluggish economy and state deficits.
Nuclear Industry May Not Give Up on Yucca Mountain
STEVE TETREAULT: The nuclear industryâ€™s trade group is signaling it might not go along with the Obama administrationâ€™s plan to withdraw from Yucca Mountain and make it difficult, if not impossible, to revive the proposed nuclear waste repository ever again.
Obamaâ€™s Afghan “Strategy” Â Another American Tragedy
JOSEPH GERSON: Shortly after President Obamaâ€™s Afghanistan War escalation speech, I was contacted by the Voice of Americaâ€™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?
International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against Bush & Co.
FRANCIS A. BOYLE: Champaign, U.S.A./The Hague, Netherlands — Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a complaint with the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings.
Middle East Conflict: Fighting to Improve the Past
VALERIE SATUREN: With the rising power of Hamas and a rightward shift in Israeli politics, a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians appears farther out of reach than it has in decades. Meanwhile, the window of opportunity is closing on a two-state solution to the conflict.
Lowering the Bar: How Young is Too Young to Recruit?
JON LETMAN: How old is old enough for students to be approached by military recruiters? High school? Junior high? Fourth grade? How about ten weeks into kindergarten?
Privatizing the Military: Full Speed Ahead Under Obama
JEREMY SCAHILL: A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskillâ€™s Contract Oversight subcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it.
Government Hinders Gaza Freedom March
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 â€” 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.
100 Ways You Can Help Stop Violence
WORDS TO LIVE BY: Practical ideas for living and teaching peace.
New Afghan War Cost Analysis
JO COMERFORD: The presidentâ€™s $30 billion figure for getting those 30,000-plus new surge troops into Afghanistan is going to prove a â€œthrough-the-basement estimate.â€ As for the dates for getting them in and beginning to get them out? Well, itâ€™s grain-of-salt time there, too. According to Steven Mufson and Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, some of the fuel storage facilities being built to support the surge troops wonâ€™t even be completed by the time the first of them are scheduled to leave the country, 18 months from now.
Are Americans a Broken People?
BRUCE E. LEVINE: Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?