NORMAN SOLOMON – Yes, the Doomsday Clock keeps ticking — it’s now at 90 seconds to midnight, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — but the ultimate time bomb never gets the attention that it deserves. Even as the possibility of nuclear annihilation looms, this century’s many warning signs retain the status of Cassandras.
NORMAN SOLOMON – What Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism” finds its supreme expression in the routine of nuclear weapons policies, which rely on an extreme shortage of countervailing outcry and activism. The ultimate madness thrives on our daily accommodation to it.
WILLIAM J. ASTORE – Together, it’s time to find an exit ramp from the wars and weaponry highway to hell that we’ve been on since 1953 and look for the on-ramp to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s highway to peace.
ERIC BRAKEY – In his final point about a Maine joint resolution supporting the United States’ continued stance on the war in Ukraine, Eric Brakey concludes: This resolution should be demanding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken go to Geneva and sit down for peace talks with both Russian and Ukrainian leaders to resolve this border dispute, broker a peace, end the war, end the famine, end the energy crisis, and take the very real threat of nuclear annihilation off the table. That is what this body should be calling for: peace, not war!
NORMAN SOLOMON – Vast quantities of lies from top U.S. government officials led up to the Iraq invasion. Now, marking its 20th anniversary, the same media outlets that eagerly boosted those lies are offering retrospectives. Don’t expect them to shed light on the most difficult truths, including their own complicity in pushing for war. What propelled the United States to start the war on Iraq in March 2003 were dynamics of media and politics that are still very much with us today.
JEFFREY D. SACHS – We are not at the 1-year anniversary of the war, as the Western governments and media claim. This is the 9-year anniversary of the war. And that makes a big difference.
NORMAN SOLOMON and JEFF COHEN – Applying adjectives like “moderate” to congressional Republicans is much worse than merely bad word choices. Our language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish,” George Orwell wrote, “but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” And dangerous ones.
STEPHEN ZUNES -As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fateful congressional vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq, many are questioning what would have happened had Congress refused to go along. There was widespread public opposition to going to war at the time.
RICK STERLING – There are significant parallels between the international crises in Cuba in 1962 and Ukraine today. Both involved intense confrontations between the USA and the Soviet Union or Russia. Both involved third party countries on the doorstep of a major power. The Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to lead to WW3, just as the Ukraine crisis does today.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Desperately needed is a new European security framework, to demilitarize and defuse conflicts between Russia and U.S. allies. But the same approach that for three decades pushed to expand NATO to Russiaâ€™s borders is now gung-ho to keep upping the ante, no matter how much doing so increases the chances of a direct clash between the worldâ€™s two nuclear-weapons superpowers.
ROBERT KOEHLER – We must free ourselves from the mindset of militarism, which is perpetuated not merely by politicians and generals but, inexcusably, by much of the media, which compliantly speaks their language. In militaryspeak, civilians may be bombed but theyâ€™re never murdered, at least not by us. If we canâ€™t avoid acknowledging their deaths, then they become collateral damage, necessary for â€œthe restoration of strategic stability.â€
ROB OKUN – Where are the â€œotherâ€ white men? Who wear masks, believe in gender equality (and science), raise their children, donâ€™t â€œbabysitâ€ them; workingmen volunteering in their communities? There are plenty of them below the mediaâ€™s radar, and many like them are in BIPOC communities.
REV. DR. EMMA JORDAN-SIMPSON – Doing the difficult work of determining the truth and demanding accountability for Donald Trump and the insurrectionists he incited is a small down payment on the truth required for democracy.
WORLD BEYOND WAR – Victoria Nuland, former foreign policy adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, should not be nominated for Undersecretary of State, and if nominated should be rejected by the Senate.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The Republican plunge into Trumpism has made the party especially unhinged and dangerous, but its basic ideology has long been a shameless assault on minimal standards of human decency. Now — while Democratic leaders and most corporate media outlets are suitably condemning the fascist tendencies of Trump and his followers — deeper analysis and stepped-up progressive organizing are urgently needed.
ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of â€œNo Honeymoonâ€ — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The groupâ€™s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists â€œto join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.â€
GREG COLERIDGE and JESSICA MUNGER – The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 â€” if not their existence entirely â€” are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated.
ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trumpâ€™s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.
MEL GURTOV – A complete overhaul of the political system is impossible because the system itself is rotting at the foundations and immune to fundamental change. Addressing the structural problems has to begin somewhere, and the voting system seems like that place.
RALPH NADER – It is difficult to overestimate the continuing harm to our beleaguered democracy and its people, should Trump and his cohorts not be brought to justice.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement â€œmoderateâ€ strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Bidenâ€™s victory â€œcame with no coattails down ballot.â€ Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives.
ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Joe Biden, in blatant defiance of the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has won the vote and claimed the presidency. He will now, as he told the nation in his acceptance speech, begin attempting to â€œrestore the soul of Americaâ€ and â€œmarshal the forces of decency,â€ which sounds great but means virtually nothing unless the words are linked to a clear and courageous agenda.
GEORGE LAKEY – The point of claiming a stolen election is not to set the stage for a coup, but to add to the right’s list of grievances for building political power in the future.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues — climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more — itâ€™s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.
STEPHANIE LUCE – Strikes are rare but political strikes are on the agenda more than they have been in many years. Labor Action to Defend Democracy has come together to “plant seeds and stir the pot,” and work with community partners to protect the vote.
SIMON MONTLAKE – Proponents say liquefied natural gas is cleaner than coal when burned, and we shouldnâ€™t make perfect the enemy of the good. Hereâ€™s why policy on the fuel would test Democrats under a potential Biden presidency.
MEL GURTOV – Commentators evidently desperate for good news are touting the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreement as a welcome path to Middle East peace. The agreement trades Israelâ€™s promise not to annex portions of the West Bank for the UAEâ€™s recognition of Israel. One conservative writer for the Washington Post actually thinks Trumpâ€™s role in helping bring the agreement about makes him a Nobel Prize candidate. But hold on.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Democratic majorities were crucial this summer to the defeat of three separate bills, introduced by progressive Democrats, to reduce military spending and/or undo the militarization of police departments. These included amendments in both the Senate and the House to the National Defense Authorization Act, diverting 10 percent of the Department of Defense budget to health care, education and jobs; as well as a Senate proposal to end the 1033 Program, which allows the Pentagon to transfer military gear to the police. The amendmentâ€™s defeat in the House was especially an outrage in that the Dems hold a majority in the House and could have passed it.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Free of charge, Joe, here is an action plan that will get you from Election Night through your first two weeks in office. Follow this plan and by your 100th day in the White House observers will be comparing you to at least one President Roosevelt, if not both.
PETER BERGEL – In the wake of the COVID epidemic, the movement to ensure that Black Lives Matter, the inadequacies revealed in our health care system, the movement to address climate change and the growing disgust our people feel for the U.S.â€™s ongoing foreign wars and international bullying, the time has come for system-wide changes.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – Americans know how to engage. In the past four years alone, weâ€™ve seen a groundswell of grass-roots activism on threats from climate change and gun violence to racial injustice and gender inequity. Today, we must add one more to the list: the threat of nuclear weapons. As Collina said, â€œNuclear disarmament must be part of the new mass movement.â€
NORMAN SOLOMAN – After events of 2016, when facts emerged showing that the Democratic National Committee put anti-Sanders thumbs on the scales, many progressives have become acutely sensitive to shortages of fairness in party proceedings. The last thing we need are fresh examples of powerful politicians opting for self-serving actions over democratic principles.
CHARLES M. BLOW – Feel-good gestures from politicians and the police shift no power. Real change lies within a system overhaul.
NORMAN SOLOMON – With Amy Klobuchar now on Joe Bidenâ€™s short list for vice president, the gruesome killing of George Floyd has refocused attention on Klobucharâ€™s history of racial injustice.
GEORGE LAKEY – A big-city, mainstream editorial board is talking â€œsystem change.â€ We activists need to be able to answer such an invitation not with piecemeal policies, but with a system alternative â€” one that delivers what the pandemic has shown that we need.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – After this pandemic passes, there must be a profound reckoning. Iâ€™m not referring to President Trumpâ€™s abysmal performance in the crisis; the election in November will render citizensâ€™ judgment on that. No, there must be a reckoning with the profound failure of the United Statesâ€™ domestic and foreign policies and priorities, a failure that was apparent even before covid-19 revealed the catastrophic bankruptcy of our national security strategy.
CHRIS HEDGES – There is zero chance Trump will be removed from office in a trial in the Senate. The Democratic Party elites have admitted as much. They carried out, they argue, their civic and constitutional duty. But here again they lie. They picked out what was convenient to impeach Trump and left untouched the rotten system they helped create. The divisions among Americans will only widen. The hatreds will only grow. And tyranny will wrap its deadly tentacles around our throats.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, itâ€™s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the â€œthreatâ€ of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
NORMAN SOLOMON – The billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, thereâ€™s a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires — or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation — in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.
JEFF COHEN – In the old George Carlin joke, the TV sportscaster announces: â€œHereâ€™s a partial score from the West Coast â€“ Los Angeles 6.â€ For a brilliant comedian like Carlin â€“ who skewered corporate power, class structure and political/media propaganda â€“ thatâ€™s one of his more innocuous jokes. But itâ€™s sharply relevant today as corporate TV news outlets serve up a series of partial scores. Call it â€œpropaganda by omission.â€
DAVID MASCIOTRA – First the U.S. invaded Iraq â€” then we left it poisoned. Bombs, bullets and military hardware abandoned by U.S. forces have left Iraq “toxic for millennia.”
NORMAN SOLOMON – For plutocrats, this summer has gotten a bit scary. Two feared candidates are rising. Trusted candidates are underperforming. The 2020 presidential election could turn out to be a real-life horror movie: A Nightmare on Wall Street.
SAM HUSSEINI – A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over, says Sam Husseini.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as theyâ€™re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues. Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as theyâ€™re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?
DAVID SWANSON – The geniuses running the U.S. military set up U.S. bases in Iraq at the sites of old chemical weapons piles, dug giant burn pits into the ground, and began burning the military’s trash — monumental quantities of trash, something like The Story of Stuff on steroids. They burned hundreds of tons of trash every day, including everything you can think of: oil, rubber, tires, treated wood, medicines, pesticides, asbestos, plastic, explosives, paint, human body parts, and . . . (wait for it) . . . nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination materials.