Columns & Articles
The U.N.‘s 17th “Conference of Parties,” or COP 17, negotiations were extended, virtually nonstop, through Sunday, in hopes of avoiding complete failure. But despite optimistic pronouncements to the contrary, many believe the Kyoto Protocol died in Durban.
There is a growing consensus here at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, that the United States is the main impediment to progress at these crucial talks. The fossil-fuel industry exerts enormous influence over the U.S. government, and over the U.S. public, with tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and PR campaigns to shape public opinion. Scientists and activists here and around the world are urging the negotiators to, "Listen to the People, Not the Polluters."
The United Nations’ annual climate change summit descended on Durban, South Africa, this week, but not in time to prevent the tragic death of Qodeni Ximba. The 17-year-old was one of 10 people killed in Durban on Sunday, the night before the U.N. conference opened, when torrential rains pummeled the seaside city of 3.5 million.
Even though Heather Carpenter was outside of Citibank, a plainclothes officer had identified her as an Occupy Wall Street protester. She said she was a customer and showed her receipt. To her shock, as documented by video, Heather was grabbed from behind by a plainclothes officer who began forcing her into the bank. She screamed, but within seconds disappeared into the vestibule, surrounded by a dozen cops, where she was roughly handcuffed and arrested.
We got word just after 1 a.m. Tuesday that New York City police were raiding the Occupy Wall Street encampment. I raced down with the “Democracy Now!” news team to Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square. Hundreds of riot police had already surrounded the area.
Since President Barack Obama took office, a broad, international coalition against has formed against the planned Keystone XL pipeline, intended to run from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Now the deadline for its approval or rejection is at hand.
11-11-11 is not a variant of Herman Cain’s much-touted 9-9-9 tax plan, but rather the date of this year’s Veterans Day. This is especially relevant, as the U.S. has now entered its second decade of war in Afghanistan, the longest war in the nation’s history. U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are appearing more and more on the front lines—the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street protests, that is.
The winds of change are blowing across the globe. What triggers such change, and when it will strike, is something that no one can predict.
The national memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated last Sunday. President Barack Obama said of Dr. King, “If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.” The dedication occurred amidst the increasingly popular and increasingly global Occupy Wall Street movement. What Obama left unsaid is that King, were he alive, would most likely be protesting Obama administration policies.
While President Obama has made concession after concession to both the corporate-funded tea party and his Wall Street donors, now that he is again in campaign mode, his progressive critics are being warned not to attack him, as that might aid and abet the Republican bid for the White House. Enter the 99 percenters.
The Occupy Wall Street protest grows daily, spreading to cities across the United States. “We are the 99 percent,” the protesters say, “that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
On Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., Troy Anthony Davis was scheduled to die. I was reporting live from outside Georgia’s death row in Jackson, awaiting news about whether the Supreme Court would spare his life.
2,000 people occupied Wall Street on Saturday. They weren’t carrying the banner of the tea party, the Gadsden flag with its coiled snake and the threat “Don’t Tread on Me.” Yet their message was clear:“We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”
Death brings cheers these days in America. In this week’s Republican presidential debate, when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked, hypothetically, if a man who chose to carry no medical insurance, then was stricken with a grave illness, should be left to die, cheers of “Yeah!” filled the hall. When, in the prior debate, Gov. Rick Perry was asked about his enthusiastic use of the death penalty in Texas, the crowd erupted into sustained applause. This dynamic is why challenging the death sentence to be carried out against Troy Davis by the state of Georgia on Sept. 21 is so important.
The body bag marked “Victim 0001” on Sept. 11, 2001, contained the corpse of Father Mychal Judge, a Catholic chaplain with the Fire Department of New York. His was the first recorded death from the attacks that morning. His life’s work should be central to the 10th anniversary commemorations of the Sept. 11 attacks: peace, tolerance and reconciliation.
“When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it,” wrote Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s Reich minister of propaganda, in 1941. Former Vice President Dick Cheney seems to have taken the famous Nazi’s advice in his new book, “In My Time.”
The White House was rocked Tuesday, not only by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, but by the protests mounting outside its gates. More than 2,100 people say they’ll risk arrest there during the next two weeks. They oppose the Keystone XL pipeline project, designed to carry heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
What does the police killing of a homeless man in San Francisco have to do with the Arab Spring uprisings from Tunisia to Syria? The attempt to suppress the protests that followed. In our digitally networked world, the ability to communicate is increasingly viewed as a basic right. Open communication fuels revolutions — it can take down dictators. When governments fear the power of their people, they repress, intimidate and try to silence them, whether in Tahrir Square or downtown San Francisco.
Democracy Now co-host, Juan Gonzalez, reports in the New York Daily News that on the 10th day of the most important labor fight in America, hundreds of striking Verizon workers have vowed to stay out as long as necessary.
In 1945, the U.S. suppressed reports of its A-bombs. In 2011, Japan censors Fukushima’s radiation. When will we learn?