LORI WALLACH – On Sept. 6, as President Barack Obama promised jobs and transparency in his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, his top trade officials were cloistered in conditions of extreme secrecy at the Lansdowne resort in Leesburg, Va., negotiating a massive â€œtradeâ€ agreement that will promote more U.S. job offshoring and ban Buy American procurement preferences.
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?
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with womenâ€™s right to abortion and doctorsâ€™ right to perform it.
SEN. RAND PAUL – Does the government really peer into the personal business of everyone in America? According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has put the number of instances that the feds have spied on Americans in the â€œgazillions.â€
MICHAEL MINCH – Can anything be said in the wake of the most recent murderous eruption, this time in Aurora, Colorado? On one hand, many people jump forward quickly with new laments, calls for greater gun control, appeals against such control, and frankly, everything weâ€™ve heard so many times before. Others, on the other hand, are offended by the very idea that we would try to answer the question of why such violence occurs. To suggest that explanations might exist, seems, for them, a move toward affixing blame somewhere close to their own values, interests, and lifestyles. They are people who tell us that murderers alone are to blame for murders. Period. This view is a preemptive strike against calls for, and criteria of, accountability and moral maturity.
TIM RINNE – Skeptics of human-caused climate change unremittingly contend that the science is inconclusive and the debate still is unsettled. The U.S. military, on the other hand, entertains no such doubts.
FRANCES BEINECKE – Letâ€™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.
BY LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this December on ratification of the New START Treaty, Republican legislators appear on the verge of producing an international disaster. From the standpoint of logic, there are excellent reasons to ratify the treaty. This agreement between the U.S. and Russian governments provides that each of the two nations would reduce the number of its deployed strategic nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,550.