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100 Door-Knocks for Bernie!

Active now in the counties of Sonoma and Marin in Northern California. Coming soon to Mendocino.

Click here to learn more and to sign up for 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie!

After Paris Attacks, Critics Warn Against ‘Wars of Vengeance’

Meanwhile, human rights advocates predict backlash against refugees


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. November 16, 2015

As details trickled out about Friday's deadly attacks in and around Paris, observers urged world leaders to avoid knee-jerk responses both at home and abroad.

"The true test for France is how they respond to the terror attacks in the long-game—that’s the king in all this," said analyst and former U.S. Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren in an op-ed Sunday. "America failed this test post-9/11; yet it does not sound like France understands anything more than America. 'We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,' French president [François] Hollande said outside the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed."

Indeed, beating the drum for "all-out war" would not be strategically sound, critics cautioned in the wake of the attacks.


The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: “It’s Just the Way It Is”

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. November 9, 2015

'The surveillance state is not the default setting of digital technology. The surveillance state is a failure and suppressor of democracy.' (Image:

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration's shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting “national security” whistleblowers, none is more pernicious than the claim that technology is responsible.

At first glance, the explanation might seem to make sense. After all, the capacities of digital tech have become truly awesome. It’s easy to finger “technology” as the driver of government policies, as if the president at the wheel has little choice but to follow the technological routes that have opened up for Big Brother.

Now comes New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, telling listeners and viewers of a Democracy Now interview that the surveillance state is largely a matter of technology: “It’s just the way it is in the 21st century.”


See you at our celebration on the 14th!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
November 6, 2015

It’s not too late to RSVP for our celebration on November 14!

For the past several months, your fellow activists for progress have been walking in their neighborhoods, talking to their neighbors, and organizing their precincts for a more progressive vote.

We’ve been especially focused  on “100 Door Knocks for Bernie,” and on Saturday, November 14,  we’ll be getting together to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of that project.

Come join us in Santa Rosa for a celebratory gathering with like-minded friends as we reflect on the powerful nature of our work together and discuss next steps!


 Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism

They know that Bernie Sanders is advocating an old American tradition—in fact, Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism by 12 percentage points.


Published November 4, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. November 4, 2015

FDR's "good friend": Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas in Milwaukee, September 1932. (Photo: AP/Archive)

“Do I think Bernie Sanders should talk about democratic socialism? Yes, I do,” says Iowan Mary Clark. “I want him to explain everything in detail—give people a really good explanation. People who like Bernie are probably going to like him a little more if he does that. And people who aren’t supporting Bernie now might just say, ‘It sounds like he’s got some ideas that would actually solve our problems.’”

Clark isn’t a pundit or a pollster; nor does she sell herself as an expert on economics or presidential politics. She’s a rural Iowan who worries a lot about whether her neighbors will have clean water, decent housing, and fair pay. She’s worked a few minimum-wage jobs herself, and she knows a lot of folks who are struggling to get by along the rural routes that pass through her corner of Iowa’s Polk County. She talks to them about politics, and she always talks up Sanders. People like what they hear, she says. “But then they hear these guys on television saying, ‘Bernie Sanders can’t get elected because he’s a democratic socialist.’ So Bernie has to talk about it. But he doesn’t have to apologize for anything. He should say, ‘You’re wrong—I can get elected as a democratic socialist, and here’s why.’”


Disturbing Schools

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. October 30, 2015

In this photo made from video taken by a Spring Valley High School student, Deputy Ben Fields tries to forcibly remove a student who refused to leave her high school math class near Columbia S.C. (Photo: Screenshot/AP)

So South Carolina has a special crime category called “disturbing schools,” which seems to be creating just that: disturbing schools. Very disturbing schools.

Not that I need to single out South Carolina. In my brief stint teaching writing as an outside consultant in several Chicago high schools, some 20 years ago, I was smacked broadside with the observation that the city’s educational system exhibited the behavior of an occupying army, at least in its low-income neighborhoods. Education was something imposed from above and force-fed to the students like bad-tasting medicine. It didn’t honor the students’ own culture.

What the kids needed was a generosity of understanding that the education system had no interest in giving them, preferring to help them along on their journey to adulthood with zero tolerance and metal detectors.

What has happened to our national intelligence, not to mention our national values? In the era of cellphone accountability, our lack thereof has a new poster boy: Officer Slam. Throw the insolent kid across the floor, break her arm if necessary, slap her in cuffs.

This is how we teach respect. This is how we teach math.


Phillip Baldwin for Russian River Flood Control District!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 21, 2015

You’ve heard it said that every vote counts, and that has never been more true than it is for elections like the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District election this November.

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed former Ukiah City Councilman and long-time progressive Phillip Baldwin, running for one of two seats on this board, and he needs your vote.

If you live outside the district and can’t vote for him, please urge any of your contacts who can vote for him to do so.


Grassroots Progress in Sonoma County. Let’s Celebrate!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 13, 2015

We have something to celebrate, and we hope that you will join us!

CGP’s “100 Door Knocks for Bernie” project has been getting a lot of attention, all over the country as well as locally, and on Saturday, November 14 we’re going to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of the project.

We’re getting money out of politics by putting people back in, as our activists step away from their computers and get out into their neighborhoods instead, talking to their neighbors about progressive issues and candidates.


Will Sanders challenge Clinton on foreign policy?

In debate, Sanders should be less reluctant to stake a position against the militarism of mainstream Democrats

by Norman Solomon
OPINION. Al Jazeera America
October 12, 2015
Ernesto Hernandez Fonte / U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging Democratic Party elites who serve corporate power at the expense of widening income inequality. No one personifies those elites more than his main rival for the party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton, who will face off with Sanders on Tuesday night in the first Democratic presidential debate.


Why Do Conservatives Get to Question Candidates–but Not Progressives?

Published on October 9, 2015 by
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
by Jeff Cohen
Common Dreams. October 9, 2015

CNN‘s Republican debate included questions from conservative talkshow host Hugh Hewitt. Why won’t there be a progressive asking questions at CNN‘s Democratic debate? (Photo: Bill Rice/cc)

At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan Library, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network.

But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.


Bombing Hospitals All in a Day’s Work

Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz destroyed by U.S. bombing

by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. October 5, 2015

Surgeons work inside a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Photo: Handout/Reuters)

The destruction of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, with 22 dead so far, including doctors, other staff and patients, capped a week that also saw the bombing of​ another hospital in Afghanistan, plus the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian bombing of a wedding party in Yemen set up in tents far out in the desert, away from anything remotely military. (What IS it about wedding parties that U.S. and allied bombers keep hitting them?).


Single Payer and the Case Against ‘Clicktivism’

by Russell Mokhiber
Common Dreams. September 30, 2015

Obamacare, with its promise of healthcare reform, took the wind out of the sails of the single payer movement.

In the House of Representatives, the number of co-sponsors of the single payer bill, HR 676, today is at 53 — down from a high of about 100.

Under Obamacare, 30 million Americans are still uninsured and tens of millions more are underinsured.

It’s a down year for single payer and activists are asking — what to do?

What’s the next step?


The Painful Facts, State-by-State: How We’re Victimized by Corporate State Tax Avoidance

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
September 28, 2015

When it comes to tax-dodging, the biggest companies are the worst. (Photo:  Yuri Keegstra/flickr/cc)

Corporate data from numerous sources, including annual reports directly from the companies themselves, has been merged and matched and managed into two spreadsheets that reveal state-by-state corporate tax avoidance. The results show how people all over America are being deprived of revenue that should be going to education and infrastructure.


CGP Endorses Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 14, 2015                                                                          

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is pleased to announce its endorsement of Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board, Marin County. 

Over the past two years, Ruth has carefully familiarized herself with the issues facing the Dixie School District; as the district faces changing demographics, she has a vision for the future of the district that addresses both budgetary challenges and ways to expand needed educational programs.

We wish Ruth Carter success in her campaign!


America’s post-9/11 Cassandras are still ignored

As the US war machine grinds on, mainstream media outlets bury prescient warnings


by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
September 11, 2015

Fourteen years later, the horrors of 9/11 continue with deadly ripple effects. American militarism has become the dominant position of U.S. foreign policy, while other options remain banished to the sidelines. Yet from the outset of the “war on terrorism,” some Americans spoke out against a militarized response to the terrible events on Sept. 11, 2001.

Conventional wisdom presents the “war on terrorism” — proclaimed by President George W. Bush and maintained under President Barack Obama — as the only practical response to 9/11. Fighting terrorism has been the main rationale for all U.S. military interventions since then, spinning the Pentagon’s machinery into overdrive despite the absence of clearly identified foes or geographical boundaries.

Even the most prominent warnings against such an approach were marginalized and vilified in the wake of Sept. 11. And those warnings have been buried by the U.S. media as though they never occurred, even though their concerns have proved prescient. The U.S. has spent trillions of dollars on military interventions across the Middle East, and yet the region is more violent and turbulent than ever.



Grassroots Progress for Bernie Sanders!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 3, 2015                                            

When we announced our endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President last month, we said that the 2016 election could be a turning point in American democracy, if we the people can get money out of politics by putting the people back in.

Bernie has been attracting big crowds of supporters wherever he goes; he’s spoken to more than 100,000 people at live events across the country, and his grassroots campaign keeps growing. You’d have to look hard at the newspaper or television news reports to learn about that, though.

That’s why we’ve launched our “100 Door-Knocks for Bernie” project in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties in California, where we’re talking to our neighbors about why we support Bernie Sanders for President. We know that if every one of our supporters in those counties makes a commitment to knock on one hundred doors in their own neighborhood to get the word out about Bernie Sanders’ campaign, that will have a large effect on election results.


The Power of the People: Richmond Progressives Share Lessons from Defeat of Chevron at the Polls

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress hosted an extraordinary event in Petaluma, California. Members of the successful team of Richmond progressives came to town to share the lessons they learned in the process of defeating oil industry behemoth Chevron's attempt to buy a friendly City Council in the November 2014 election.


Norman Solomon on Bernie Sanders and Foreign Policy

UpFront. KPFA. 08.31.15
Hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert   
Peace activists have been petitioning presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to stake out clear positions on war and militarism–so when ABC’s Martha Raddatz pinned him down this weekend on Iran, drones, and war, did they get what they want? Norman Solomon will join us in studio to talk Bernie Sanders, foreign policy, and trying to make change through elections.
Click here to listen to the archived audio of the program.
Brian's interview with Norman Solomon begins at about the 30 minute mark.


How to win an election: go knock on doors

by Andrew Steele
The Globe and Mail. August 10, 2011
Udated September 06, 2012                               

Everyone has a theory about why elections go the way they do:

“Barack Obama won the election because he understood new media.”

“In 2008, Obama only won the election because he won the critical states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by differentiating himself from McCain on trade.”

“The Bush Economy won the election for Obama”

All of these are interesting theories, but they are difficult to prove.

But there is one thing that is proven to increase voter turnout for your candidate: canvassing.


Congressman Huffman: Support the Iran Agreement

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
August 19, 2015                                       

You will probably be as surprised as we were to learn that Congressman Jared Huffman has not yet publicly said that he will support peace in the Middle East by voting “Yes” on the Iran nuclear arms agreement.

Let’s tell Congressman Huffman that it’s time to get off the fence and make a solid commitment to peace in the Middle East by voting yes on the Iran deal. Here’s a link for his constituents who want to email the Congressman with that message.


Subverting Illusions: Julian Assange and the Value of WikiLeaks

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. August 17, 2015
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Photo: AFP)

Three years after Ecuador’s government granted political asylum to Julian Assange in its small ground-floor London embassy, the founder of WikiLeaks is still there—beyond the reach of the government whose vice president, Joe Biden, has labeled him "a digital terrorist." The Obama administration wants Assange in a U.S. prison, so that the only mouse he might ever see would be scurrying across the floor of a solitary-confinement cell.

Above and beyond Assange’s personal freedom, what’s at stake includes the impunity of the United States and its allies to relegate transparency to a mythical concept, with democracy more rhetoric than reality. From the Vietnam War era to today -- from aerial bombing and torture to ecological disasters and financial scams moving billions of dollars into private pockets—the high-up secrecy hiding key realities from the public has done vast damage. No wonder economic and political elites despise WikiLeaks for its disclosures.


Norman Solomon on Community Organizing & Confronting Corporate Power


Composting for Progressive Movements & Challenging Sonoma County’s Corporate Power Structure.

A Presentation by Norman Solomon


Published by The Raucus Rooster
August 13, 3015

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress (CGP) hosted an event at Heidi Overman’s lovely restaurant and catering venue, Fourchette, in an industrial business park at the northern end of Petaluma, California. Some may know the site as the former location of Lydia’s Sunflower Center.

The event was an organized for two purposes: first, to recognize the remarkably effective work in political and community organizing achieved over the past decade by the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), which culminated in the election in November 2014 of a progressive majority on the Richmond City Council.

This victory came about despite a record-setting expenditure of over $3 million on the campaign by the Chevron corporation to elect its own trio of candidates. Chevron is the eighth largest corporation in the world. All three of Chevron’s candidates were defeated.

The second goal was to learn what progressive and allied activists, community organizers and leaders can do to achieve similar successes here in the North Bay.


10 Steps to Wean US Foreign Policy Off Militarism

by Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams. August 7, 2015
While some sectors of our society certainly benefit from excessive militarism, the majority of Americans don’t. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

US progressives are delighted to see the US administration making some progress on the diplomatic front with Cuba and Iran. We should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US foreign policy towards one based on respect, cooperation and diplomacy.

President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn’t stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress.

US progressives who are delighted to see some progress on the diplomatic front should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US policy towards one that is based on respect, cooperation, and diplomacy, including the following:



Bernie Sanders should stop ducking foreign policy

The progressive favorite has views on foreign affairs but has avoided articulating them to voters


by Norman Solomon
Opinion. Al Jazeera America
August 5, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked a strong grassroots response in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on social and economic issues. At the same time, he has given short shrift to foreign policy, military spending and war. That approach should change.

I’m among millions of supporters who are enthusiastic about the clarity of his positions in taking on Wall Street, corporate power and economic inequality. But we also need Sanders to be clear about what he would do as commander in chief of the world’s leading military power.


Sanders Makes History With 2016 Cycle’s Biggest Campaign Event Yet

'I have never seen a campaign as exciting as this,' says Sanders supporter in Alabama


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. July 29, 2015
From a house party in Washington, D.C., Sanders spoke to roughly 100,000 people at 3,500 house parties across the country. (Photo: Screenshot)

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed an estimated 100,000 supporters at more than 3,500 house parties in all 50 states on Wednesday night, at what is being called the largest campaign event of the 2016 election cycle thus far.

The organizing kick-off, which Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) said was aimed at building a political movement from the ground up, saw the democratic socialist beamed into bars, libraries, and living rooms from Alaska to Florida. There was a "custom cocktail" featuring Vermont maple syrup at a bar in Washington, D.C., while a Texas event served up "brisket and biscuits for Bernie."

The man himself spoke from what the Burlington Free Press described as "a modest, steamy apartment" in the nation's capitol. His remarks were delivered "off a yellow legal pad balanced precariously on a wobbly music stand," added Salon.


We’re for Bernie!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 22, 2015                                           

We are pleased to announce that the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President!

Excitement is growing around the country, as Bernie keeps drawing much larger crowds than any other presidential candidate this year. Last Saturday night, 11,000 people turned out to hear him in Phoenix.

The year 2016 could be a true turning point in American democracy: Will the moneyed interests win again? Or, if we get money out of politics by putting the people in, will we the people win?


Perpetual war creates endless consequences

Democrats who once spoke out against Bush’s militarism have enabled Obama’s reliance on military force


by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
July 13, 2015

When the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, began this month by issuing a farewell report on U.S. military strategy, the gist was hardly big news. “Dempsey to Pentagon: Prepare for the Never-Ending War” read the headline on the cover page of the National Journal.

The “war on terror” now looks so endless that no one speculates anymore about when it might conclude. “This war, like all wars, must end,” President Barack Obama declared in a major speech more than two years ago. “That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.” But midway through 2015, this war seems as interminable as ever.


Bernie Sanders Speaks

Published on July 6, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. July 6, 2015

Sanders at a town hall at the Culinary Workers Union, March 2015, in Las Vegas (AP Photo/John Locher)

When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation last year that he was “prepared to run for president,” he said he would do so only if it was clear that progressives were enthusiastic about a movement campaign seeking nothing less than “a political revolution.” It was an audacious proposal—but after traveling the country for a year, Sanders decided that the enthusiasm was there and announced in late April as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. There were plenty of doubters then. Two months into the campaign, however, everything about this candidacy—the crowds, the poll numbers, the buzz—is bigger than expected. That says something about Sanders. But it also says something about the prospects for progressive politics. In late June, The Nation sat down with Sanders for several conversations that asked the longtime Nation reader (“started when I was a University of Chicago student in the early 1960s”) to put not just his campaign but the moment in historical perspective for our 150th-anniversary issue:


CGP Endorses Bernie Sanders

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 5, 2015

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress Endorses Senator BERNIE SANDERS for President 2016.

For more information about Senator
Bernie Sanders, visit:


Would Jeffrey Sterling Be in Prison If He Were White?

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 25, 2015

Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling has begun serving a 3-year prison sentence after being convicted, despite no conclusive evidence, of leaking classified information to a New York Times journalist. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Ehrlich)

Last week CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldn’t be there.

Sterling was one of the CIA’s few African-American case officers, and he became the first to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency. That happened shortly before the CIA fired him in late 2001. The official in Langley who did the firing face-to-face was John Brennan, now the CIA’s director and a close adviser to President Obama.

Five months ago, in court, prosecutors kept claiming that Sterling’s pursuit of the racial-bias lawsuit showed a key “motive” for providing classified information to journalist James Risen. The government’s case at the highly problematic trial was built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Lacking anything more, the prosecution hammered on ostensible motives, telling the jury that Sterling’s “anger,” “bitterness” and “selfishness” had caused him to reveal CIA secrets.


After 13 Years of Hell, Human Held Without Charges Has One Question for US

'If the war in Afghanistan is over,' asks prisoner languishing at offshore prison, 'why am I still here?'


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 24, 2015

In a strikingly personal piece, Moath al-Alwi expresses his grief, anger, and frustrations after nearly 13 years of being held with no charges by the U.S. government. "I wonder now," he writes, "if the US follows any rule of law at all: the Geneva Conventions or even its own Constitution. Where is the freedom and justice for all that it so proudly boasts to the world?" (Photo: AP/file)

Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here?


Latest Poll Confirms Nation’s Desires Marching Leftward

'The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont,' says Gallup


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders participates in the Populism 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C.  (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty)

Democrats in the U.S. are shifting to the left, according to new data from Gallup.

Or, as Frank Newport writes for the research and polling firm: "Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination face a significantly more left-leaning party base than their predecessors did over the last 15 years."

According to telephone interviews conducted in the first week of May with more than 1,000 adults, 47 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal. This is compared with 39 percent in these categories in 2008, when there was last an open seat for their party's nomination, and 30 percent in 2001.

Elaborating on the poll's implications, Newport added: "The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has used the label 'socialist' to describe himself and who is avowedly liberal across the board."


We’ll see you on June 20!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
June 13, 2015                                                        
Are you looking forward to hearing from the Richmond Progressives about how they beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign this past November?

RSVP today for this inspiring event, where Richmond City Council Member Gayle McLaughlin and Richmond Progressive Alliance activist Margaret Jordan will tell us how they did it!


Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth

Published June 7, 2015 by
by Richard Heinberg
Common Dreams. June 7, 2015

(Image: Shutterstock)

The world needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That’s the only sane response to climate change, and to the economic dilemma of declining oil, coal, and gas resource quality and increasing extraction costs. The nuclear industry is on life support in most countries, so the future appears to lie mostly with solar and wind power. But can we transition to these renewable energy sources and continue using energy the way we do today? And can we maintain our growth-based consumer economy?

The answer to both questions is, probably not. Let’s survey four important sectors of the energy economy and tally up the opportunities and challenges.


A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

Published on June 4, 2015 by
By Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 4, 2015

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.


Is Voter Turnoff Inviting a Progressive Rollback?

By Steven Mikulan
Capital & Main. May 27, 2015

It’s become an unsettling fact of political life that as election turnouts dwindle, campaign spending skyrockets. Los Angeles’ recently concluded school board races, which drew a paltry 7.6 percent of potential voters, underscored this point. Ref Rodriguez, who unseated the District 5 incumbent, received most of the $2.2 million contributed by political action committees (PACs) controlled by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates. Rodriguez has co-created several charter schools and his backers, unsurprisingly, came from that community. Among the familiar local names of extreme wealth and influence were Eli Broad, Richard Riordan and William Bloomfield. Equally familiar to followers of school privatization were more distant funders such as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Walmart heir Jim Walton, Laurene Powell Jobs, the Gap Inc.’s Fisher family members and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Rounding out Rodriguez’s cascade of thousand-dollar checks were names associated with high-powered investment firms, various charter schools and charter-advocacy groups, such as Parent Revolution and StudentsFirst. Even among this varied and far-flung group, two names stuck out: Amplify Learning president Larry Berger of New York, and New Majority California, which calls itself the state’s largest Republican PAC.


Labor for Bernie

Bernie Sanders has a long record of supporting pro-worker policies. Organized labor should back his presidential run.


Published May 27, 2015 by Jacobin
by Steve Early
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015

Bernie Sanders campaigns for Burlington mayor in 1981. (Photo: Vermont Press Bureau)

When I first met Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders, he was a relatively marginal figure in his adopted state of Vermont. It was 1976 and he was running, unsuccessfully and for the fourth time, as a candidate of the Liberty Union Party (LUP).

Liberty Union was a radical third party spearheaded by opponents of the Vietnam War who had, like Sanders, washed up in the Green Mountain State as the sixties subsided. At its historic peak, the LUP garnered maybe 5 or 6 percent of the statewide vote for some of its more presentable candidates — in short, nothing like the winning margins racked up in recent years by the far more savvy and effective Vermont Progressive Party, which now boasts a ten-member legislature delegation and attracts growing union support.

During Sanders’s quixotic mid-1970s bid to become governor of Vermont, I accompanied him to a meeting of local granite cutters, teamsters, and electrical workers. This was not a “flatlander” crowd, nor one dominated by full-time union officials. His audience was native Vermonters, some of them Republican, who were still punching a clock at local quarries, trucking companies, and machine tool factories in an era when the future home state of Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont Teddy Bear Co. still had impressive blue-collar union density.


Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

Published on May 27, 2015 by
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling got on the wrong side of his employers at the CIA. And now he faces prison. (Photo: file)

A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency. has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.


Get money out of politics by putting the people back in

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 20, 2015                                                                  
Recently the satirical publication The Onion asked “What is the purpose of super PACs?” Their answer was “To counteract the excessive influence ordinary voters exert on US elections.”

Satire or not, we at the Coalition for Grassroots Progress believe that The Onion is right, and that the only way we’ll be able to get money out of politics is if the people put themselves back in. 

We saw evidence in last year’s election that putting the people back into the political process makes a remarkable difference in election results. The grassroots group Richmond Progressive Alliance organized voters to beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign spending in Richmond, California, and it worked: the progressives won!


Establishment Journalists Pride Themselves on Staying on the Official Rails

Published on May 18, 2015 by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
by Jim Naureckas
Common Dreams. May 18, 2015

"It’s an odd choice of metaphor," writes Naureckas. "Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track."

In his brilliant analysis in Columbia Journalism Review (3/15/15) of establishment media reaction to Seymour Hersh’s re-examination of the killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books, 5/21/15), the Guardian‘s Trevor Timm notes that one of the put-downs hurled at Hersh to discredit his story is “off the rails”–as in, “In recent years, however, Hersh has appeared increasingly to have gone off the rails,” as Max Fisher put it in his Vox broadside (5/11/15).

It’s an odd choice of metaphor. Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track. It’s not much of compliment to compare a journalist to a smoothly operating train, always showing up at the official stations.


Don’t Grade Justice on a Warped Curve: Assessing the Case of Jeffrey Sterling

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 14, 2015
Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 3 years in prison earlier this week. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Erlich)

Yes, I saw the glum faces of prosecutors in the courtroom a few days ago, when the judge sentenced CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison -- far from the 19 to 24 years they’d suggested would be appropriate.

Yes, I get that there was a huge gap between the punishment the government sought and what it got -- a gap that can be understood as a rebuke to the dominant hard-line elements at the Justice Department.

And yes, it was a positive step when a May 13 editorial by the New York Times finally criticized the extreme prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling.


CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: Latest Blow in the Government’s War on Journalism

It’s a warning shot—not only against whistleblowing but against basic communication with journalists by government employees.


Published May 13, 2015 by The Nation
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 13, 2015

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling with his wife after being convicted of leaking classified details to a New York Times reporter. (Photo: AP/Kevin Wolf)

The sentencing of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on May 11 for espionage ends one phase of a long ordeal and begins another. At age 47, he has received a prison term of 42 months—three and a half years—after a series of ever more improbable milestones.

The youngest of six children raised by a single mother, Sterling was the only member of his family to go to college. He graduated from law school in 1993, worked briefly at a public defender’s office, and then entered the CIA, where he became one of the agency’s only African-American case officers. In August 2001, Sterling became the first one ever to file a lawsuit against the CIA for racial discrimination. (His suit, claiming that he was denied certain assignments because of his race, was ultimately tossed out of court on grounds that a trial would jeopardize government secrets.) Soon afterward, the agency fired him.

Sterling returned to his home state of Missouri and restarted his life. After struggling, he found a professional job and fell in love. But the good times were short-lived. One day in 2006, the FBI swooped in for a raid, seizing computers and papers at the small home that Sterling and his fiancée shared in a suburb of St. Louis. Slowly, during the next four years, without further action from the government, the menacing legal cloud seemed to disperse. But suddenly, a few days into 2011, Sterling was arrested for the first time in his life—charged with betraying his country.


Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out Upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison
May 12, 2015


CIA Whistleblower Sentencing Today

Institute for Public Accuracy
May 11, 2015                                               

Nearly four months after a jury returned a guilty verdict on government charges that Jeffrey Sterling gave classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, the former CIA officer is scheduled to be sentenced at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. today.

The sentencing, by Judge Leonie Brinkema, is set for 2 pm. Immediately afterward, former CIA official Ray McGovern and former Justice Department official Jesselyn Radack will be available for comment in front of the courthouse.

McGovern and Radack — as well as NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe — will also be available for interviews later in the day. Contact information and summaries of their backgrounds are below.

Detailed coverage of the trial, which happened in January, is posted at, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy. See letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the case.


DOJ to Investigate Pattern of Racist Policing in Baltimore

Though welcomed, rights advocates question whether prosecutions or probes will have meaningful impact on systemic discrimination in Baltimore and other U.S. cities


by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Common Dreams. May 8, 2015

A Baltimore protester faces a wall of police in riot gear during a demonstration on April 28, 2015. (Photo: Arash Azizzada/cc/flickr)

The United States Department of Justice announced Friday that after weeks of uproar and protest it would open an official investigation into the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether the discrimination and events that led to the brutal death of Freddie Gray were part of systemic pattern of abuse.

After traveling to the city this week, the newly anointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that recent events, including the "tragic in-custody death of Freddie Gray," had led to a "serious erosion of public trust," prompting local officials and community leaders to seek federal oversight of policing practices.


Broken Windows, Broken Spines

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. May 7, 2015

Activist DeRay Mckesson smacks down Wolf Blitzer: "You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines, right?"

The 21st century has skewed off plan and begun to break open. Its self-designated guardians and explainers look on, at times, confused.

“But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires — these are statistics. There’s no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”

This is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewing DeRay Mckesson last week as Baltimore convulsed. Mckesson, an organizer and citizen-journalist — a young, former school administrator radicalized last summer by the death of Michael Brown — stared into the camera and refused to succumb to, or be ensnared in, the anchorman’s agenda. That agenda was obvious: to turn “the riot” into the news, to sever Baltimore’s fury and despair from its cause, a militarized police force and the casual, ongoing murder of African-Americans. The official agenda was to portray the protesters as terrorists.

“Yeah, and there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore City Police Department killed in the last year either, right?” Mckesson answered, flipping the interview on its head.


Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh to speak in Santa Rosa on May 13

A video introduction to Dr. Kanaaneh's book Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor’s Tales of Life in Galilee

Look here for information about where you can hear Dr. Kanaaneh in Santa Rosa on May 13.


How We Reach Critical Mass to Stop Climate Chaos

Published May 06, 2015 by EcoWatch
by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

'The movement needs to expand,' writes Yearwood, 'and to do so we need to re-frame the issue of climate change to make it an everyday, every person issue.'

This upcoming weekend at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, Bill McKibben, Dr. Michael Dorsey, Lester Brown, Professor Mark Jacobson, Mustafa Ali from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Professor Phillip Harvey, Barbara Arnwine, Rev. Rodney Sadler, Jay Nightwolf, Krystal Williams, Joe Uehlein, Ted Glick, Chuck Rocha, Professor Joel Rogers, Nikisha Glover, Mike Ewall, Jeffrey Wolfe, Joel Segal, State Sen. Ben Ptashnik, Jacquelyn Patterson, Terrence Muhammad, Mark Magana, Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Leslie Fields, Andrea Miller and many, many more, will address these two central questions in a convening sponsored by People Demanding Action:

1. How do we reach the political “critical mass'” to stop climate chaos, and simultaneously tackle poverty and its accompanying social inequities?

2. The social ills that create poverty and accompanying social inequalities are created by the same mechanisms which thwart the proper response to climate change. How can we change them all together?

The objective of this convening is to build a movement of solidarity which includes climate crisis action and reestablishment of justice.


The Five-Step Process to Privatize Everything

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams. May 4, 2015

'The heart of privatization,' writes Buchheit, 'is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation.' (Image: stock/public domain)

Law enforcement, education, health care, water management, government itself -- all have been or are being privatized. People with money get the best of each service.

At the heart of privatization is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation. Adherents of privatization demand 'freedom' unless they need the government to intervene on their behalf.

These privatizers have a system:


The Significance of Bernie Sanders’ Decision to Enter the Democratic Primaries

by Tom Gallagher
Common Dreams. May 1, 2015

Sanders has correctly recognized, writes Gallagher, that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as an Independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Why has the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history just announced that he will seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination?  Simply put, because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), so long and so famously neither Democrat or Republican, has understood that the presidential primaries (and caucuses) offer him his best option for taking a politics of the 99 percent to the voters of the 99 percent.

This decision may not go down easy with all of Sanders’s potential supporters.  There will be those who may have to swallow hard to follow him into the Democratic primaries.  But Sanders obviously has not prefaced this decision by any trimming of his sails so far as arguing against the failure of the leading figures of the Democratic Party to demonstrate that they’re not merely the leaders of the country’s second party subservient to big money interests.  What he has done, however, is recognize that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. 


Whistleblowers vs. “Fear-Mongering”

By John Hanrahan • April 28, 2015

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Seven prominent national security whistleblowers Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying.

Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.


Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day

Developments show how booming demand and support for solar is shaking up energy paradigm


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 27, 2015

If the fossil fuel industry has its way, the real promise of a "rooftop revolution" or "100% Renewable Energy Vision" is a long way off, but various factors reveal that a time may be coming where what oil, gas, and coal companies say, does not necessarily go. (Photo: SunCity)

Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming.

That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world's energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations.

With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its "giant oil-fired power plants" one after another.


The Sun Must Go Down on the Patriot Act

Published on April 22, 2015 by Blog of Rights / ACLU
by Anthony D. Romero
Common Dreams. April 22, 2015
'Allowing Section 215 to sunset is a crucial first step if we want to ensure that this unlawful and ineffective surveillance finally ends,' writes Romero. (Image: ACLU)

Not long after the Patriot Act was passed in 2001, I had dinner with the late Senator Paul Wellstone in Washington, who was a stalwart defender of civil liberties throughout his career. I asked him how he could have possibly voted for a law that so vastly expanded the government’s spying powers. He told me that he was facing a tough election, but as soon as it was over he’d invite my organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, to testify before Congress about the Patriot Act’s flaws and the threats it presented to privacy and civil liberties. “We’ll work together to get this repealed,” he promised. Unfortunately, that day never came, as the senator tragically died in a plane crash in October of 2002.

Almost 13 years later, the most egregious part of the Patriot Act, Section 215 – which underlies the National Security Agency’s call-records program – is scheduled to expire on June 1. Some legislators want Congress to reauthorize it in its current form – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just introduced a bill that would do exactly that, extending it for another five years. Others want to make relatively minor changes. Congress shouldn’t do either of these things. Unless Congress can coalesce around far-reaching reform, it should simply let the provision expire.


‘Right to Work’ Debunked: Economists Find Anti-Worker Laws Lead to Lower Wages

Workers in Right to Work states earn an average of $1,558 less per year than their counterparts in states without anti-labor laws


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 22, 2015

Protesters at an anti-Right to Work rally in 2014. Critics of the legislation have long said it has a detrimental effect on wages. (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Contradicting arguments typically used to advance so-called Right to Work legislation, new research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that wages and benefits are actually lower in states with such anti-worker laws on the books.

The paper, released as part of EPI's Raising America's Pay project, finds that the negative impact of Right to Work (RTW) laws—which undercut unions by allowing workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay dues—translates to $1,558 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker.


Fast-Track: A Gut-Kick to the Progressive Movement

The administration's push to ram massive new trade and investment deals through Congress is an unambiguous concession to corporate power.


Published April 21, 2015 by Foreign Policy In Focus
by Sarah Anderson
Common Dreams. April 21, 2015

More than a thousand people marched on the office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that critics say puts profits and corporate power ahead of democracy, communities, and the planet. (Photo: National People's Action/flick)

In a move that elicited a collective groan from virtually all of progressive America, the Obama administration and congressional Republicans reached a deal on April 16 on so-called “fast track” trade authority. This is the legislation needed to ram new trade agreements through the U.S. Congress with limited debate and no amendments.

It was a gut-kick for labor unions and environmental, consumer, human rights, and other groups that have long called for a change of course on U.S. trade policy. Instead, the fast track legislation shows we’re still stuck in the same old failed model of the 1990s. The bill lays out trade policy objectives that elevate the narrow interests of large corporations and undercut efforts to support good jobs, the environment, and financial stability.


Surge of the Opt-Out Movement Against English Language Arts Exam is Act of Mass Civil Disobedience

Published on April 19, 2015. New York Daily News
by Juan Gonzalez
Common Dreams.

At Public School 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, some 20% refused. And at Public School 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, 36% boycotted, local parent leaders said. (Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)

Remember the number 999.

It’s the computer code that keeps track of what will go down as a historic grass-roots movement in public education in New York State.

Tens of thousands of parents rebelled this week against years of standardized testing from the politicians in Albany. They joined the national opt-out movement by refusing to allow their children to take the annual state-mandated English Language Arts exam.


‘Profiting From Misery’: Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Companies spent millions in lobbying on immigration issues that led to a spike in incarceration levels and, in turn, boosted corporate profits


by Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 16, 2015

A guard at the Northwest Detention Center, which is operated by private prison corporation GEO Group, on contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Photo: Alex Stonehill)

Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff.


Fight for $15: On Worldwide Day of Action, Workers Demand Livable Wages

Mass protests set for more than 200 cities nationwide

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 15, 2015

Low-wage workers across the globe mobilized for a day of action calling for livable wages and the right to unionize. (Photo: Fightfor

Fight for $15—the movement calling for livable wages and union rights for low-income workers—launched a worldwide day of action on Wednesday morning with walkouts and rallies across the globe, spanning more than 200 cities in the U.S. and 35 countries.

By early Wednesday morning, protests were already taking place in numerous locations, including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Boston, among others. Workers blocked intersections in front of McDonald's restaurants and planned speeches, presentations, and marches throughout the day for what organizers say will be one of the biggest Fight for $15 days of action yet.


Chicago’s Chuy Garcia Lost an Election, but Won a Movement

by John Nichols
April 8, 2013
Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (AP Photo/ M. Spencer Green)
Chicago progressive Jesus “Chuy” Garcia made political history in February, when he forced Rahm “Mayor 1%” Emanuel into an unprecedented runoff election. For the first time since the nation’s third-largest city established a nonpartisan system for choosing local officials, a mayor fell short of 50 percent of the vote and had to face a challenger in a second election.


See you this month in your neighborhood!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 6, 2015                                                                      

Our CGP Spring Event is coming up soon! And you are invited…

Full details and RSVP here. Three dates and three locations to choose from.

We will discuss practical, concrete actions we can take today to counteract big money and corporate domination of our elections. You can hear about what CGP activists are doing here and now to help progressives win election to public office – where crucial decisions are made that affect our lives every day.

Please join us! We would love to hear from you.

We’ll be in:


Reality Checking Our Water Woes

Published April 04, 2015 by Food & Water Watch Blog
by Kate Fried, Darcey O’Callaghan
Common Dreams. April 4, 2015
"It’s time for a reality check. Water service is not free, low prices are not to blame for the water crisis and climate change alone is not causing drought. The real culprit is a failure to align our water management policies with environmental and human needs." (Photo: philografy/flickr/cc)

This week while promoting his new music service, Tidal, Jay Z made a well intended but nonetheless tone deaf statement, gushing about the beauty of supposedly “free” water service. While tap water may seem free to a rap mogul, those in Detroit who have been living without this essential service because they cannot afford to pay their water bills are singing a very different tune. In a seemingly unrelated development, the New York Times published an editorial that day claiming that water isn’t priced highly enough and thus isn’t properly valued. Both statements were wrong, and reflect some fundamental misconceptions about how our society views and values water.

While many of us are conditioned to turning on the tap and always finding water flowing from it, it’s crucial to note that water is a finite resource. We may pay fractions of a penny for a glass of tap water, but that water doesn’t magically find its way to our homes—it gets there through a complex infrastructure system that requires billions of dollars a year for upkeep.


Iran Deal: A Game-Changer for the Middle East

Negotiators in Switzerland just won a huge victory for diplomacy over war. Now we've got to protect it.


Published April 03, 2015 by Foreign Policy In Focus
by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. April 3, 2015

'The current diplomatic initiative must be defended,' writes Bennis. (Photo: marsmet545 / Flickr)

Negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland just won a huge victory for diplomacy over war.

The hard-fought first-stage negotiations resulted in the outlines of an agreement that will significantly limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for significant relief from crippling economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Both sides made major concessions, though it appears Iran’s are far greater.


Lodestar of Peace (and the Now Distant Efforts to Outlaw War)

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. April 2, 2015

President Calvin Coolidge signs the Kellog-Briand Pact in his office on August 27, 1928. (Credit: Corbis/Archive)

“Deeply sensible of their solemn duty to promote the welfare of mankind . . .”

What? Were they serious?

I kneel in a sort of gasping awe as I read the words of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty signed in 1928 – by the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and ultimately by every country that then existed. The treaty . . . outlaws war.


Bernie Sanders Backs Chuy Garcia and a ‘Political Revolution’ in Chicago

by John Nichols
The Nation. April 1, 2015

Chuy Garcia (AP/M. Spencer Green)

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says America needs a "political revolution" to change the debate about economic inequality and he sees evidence of the upheaval in Chicago. So the senator is wading into that city's mayoral race as a backer of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the labor-backed progressive who is mounting a spirited challenge to incumbent Rahm Emanuel.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, has been exploring a possible 2016 presidential candidacy as a progressive-populist challenger to the Democratic establishment. And he argues that Garcia is forging the sort of "working-class coalition" that is needed to shake up politics in urban America and beyond.


Burning Our Bridges: Failing Infrastructure in the Age of Corporate Tax-Dodging

President Obama and some members of Congress think the easiest way to fund infrastructure is by granting corporations a large tax cut on their untaxed offshore profits.


by Sarah Anderson, Scott Klinger
Common Dreams. April 1, 2015

To generate funds to shore up our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the U.S. Congress is considering giving corporations large tax cuts on their offshore profits. Under current law, corporations can defer U.S. tax payments on overseas earnings until they bring the profits to the United States. The proposed “tax holidays” would generate a relatively small, one-time revenue bump while allowing large corporations to avoid much larger amounts of tax owed over the longer term.

The last time we tried this, in 2004, it failed miserably. Corporations that participated shaved nearly $100 billion off their long-term IRS bills. And instead of boosting investment, they used the windfalls to buy back their stock and boost dividends while laying off more workers than they hired. Once the holiday was over, they began rebuilding their overseas profit stashes.


Seattle City Council Unanimously Declares Opposition to Fast Track, TPP

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 31, 2015

"Few things counterpose the interests of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy" like the TPP, says councilmember Kshama Sawant


A protest against Fast Track, with Seattle's Space Needle in the background. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

The Seattle City Council resoundingly approved a resolution Monday evening cementing its opposition to so-called Fast Track authority that's needed to speed passage of corporate-friendly, rights-trampling trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The resolution (pdf), which passed the nine-member council unanimously, expresses concern with the "closed-door manner" in which that 12-nation pact is being brokered, as well as its potential to "undermine local governmental authority to create reasonable rules and regulations, including those related to environmental safeguards, future climate policy, and food safety standards."

Furthermore, it outright opposes Fast Track authority, which would allow the TPP to be finalized with no opportunity for Congress to amend, review, or debate it. Lawmakers are expected to take up Fast Track as soon as they return from Easter recess on April 13.


The Growing Progressive Movement to Save Public Education

Published March 29, 2015 by The Progressive
by Ruth Conniff
Common Dreams. March 29, 2015

Protesters rallied in New York City on Saturday, March 28 against the corporatization of the public school system. (Photo: United Federation of Teachers/ Facebook)

All over the country, a growing movement of parents, teachers, and students is rising up against over-testing, school closings, and shady schemes that channel public funds into private schools.

Saving public education is shaping up to be a key issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

In a front-page article this week, The New York Times described Hillary Clinton’s dilemma on so-called education reform.

On one side, charter school operators and hedge fund managers are urging Hillary to adopt their teachers-union-bashing, pro-privatization agenda.

On the other side, communities all over the country are experiencing education “reform” as a major threat to their local public schools.


What Have Whistleblowers Done for Elite Journalists Lately?

Published March 28, 2015 by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
by Jim Naureckas
Common Dreams. March 28, 2015

David Gregory asks Glenn Greenwald to explain his lack of imprisonment.

To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

Meet the Press host David Gregory’s question to journalist Glenn Greenwald (6/23/13; FAIR Blog, 6/24/13) sums up much of the elite media’s attitude toward whistleblowers–or what the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius refers to as “malcontents and self-appointed do-gooders who may get security clearances.”

This attitude is documented and questioned in a piece by John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who later headed the Fund for Investigative Journalism, that appeared on the pro-whistleblower Expose Facts site (3/24/15) and was reposted as “Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers” by Consortium News (3/25/15).


It’s OK to leak government secrets - as long as it benefits politicians

by Trevor Timm
The • March 26, 2015
Leaks that benefit Hillary Clinton probably won’t land you in jail. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When it comes to classified information, some leaks are more equal than others. If you are a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, who tells the press about illegal, immoral or embarrassing government actions, you will face jail time. But it’s often another story for US government officials leaking information for their own political benefit.

Two stories this week perfectly illustrate this hypocrisy and how, despite their unprecedented crackdown on sources and whistleblowers, the Obama administration - like every administration before it - loves to use leaks, if and when it suits them.


Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

Published March 25, 2015 by
by John Hanrahan
Common Dreams. March 25, 2015

Why do the established stars of the news media so readily brush off concerns about our dangerous warfare/surveillance state revealed by Snowden, Manning and the others? (Image: file/public domain)

Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

One would think that a business that has relied on confidential informants for some of the major investigative stories of this and the previous century would applaud whistleblowers who risk everything on behalf of the people’s right to know what its government is doing in the shadows. But looking back at cases over the last five years, we see the unedifying spectacle of some of the nation’s best-known print and broadcast journalists venting their outrage at whistleblowers’ disclosures and expressing their preference for being kept in the dark by the government in the name of national security.


How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams. March 23, 2015

'USPS is so inexpensive, in fact, that Fedex actually uses the U.S. Post Office for about 30 percent of its ground shipments,' writes Buchheit. (Photo: file)

The Project on Government Oversight found that in 33 of 35 cases the federal government spent more on private contractors than on public employees for the same services. The authors of the report summarized, "Our findings were shocking."

Yet our elected leaders persist in their belief that free-market capitalism works best. Here are a few fact-based examples that say otherwise.


Judge Orders US Government to Stop Suppressing Evidence of Torture and Abuse

Ruling on Friday is latest development in years-long legal battle, in which the ACLU has argued the photos 'are crucial to the public record'


by Sarah Lazare
Common Dreams. March 21, 2015

"Indefinite Detention" (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. government to release more than 2,000 photographs showing abuse and torture of people detained by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision is the latest development in a more than 10-year-long legal battle, in which the American Civil Liberties Unions has argued the public has the right to know what the U.S. military has done.

Many of concealed photographs were taken by U.S. military service members and collected during more than 200 of military investigations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some could be on par with, or worse than, those released from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.


To Solve California’s Water Crisis, We Must Change the Nation’s Food System

Published March 20, 2015 by TruthDig
by Sonali Kolhatkar
Common Dreams. March 20, 2015

Irrigation water running along a dried-up ditch between rice farms in Richvale, Calif. (Photo: AP/Jae C. Hong)

The bold headline of a recent Los Angeles Times editorial by the hydrologist Jay Famiglietti starkly warned: “California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?” The write-up quickly made the social media rounds, prompting both panic and the usual blame game: It’s because of the meat eaters or the vegan almond-milk drinkers or the bottled-water guzzlers or the Southern California lawn soakers.

California’s water loss has been terrifying. But people everywhere should be scared, not just Californians, because this story goes far beyond state lines. It is a story of global climate change and industrial agriculture. It is also a saga that began many decades ago—with the early water wars of the 1930s immortalized in the 1974 Roman Polanski film “Chinatown.”


California Stiffens Water Regulations Amid Devastating Drought

'No amount of money, no amount of political posturing, no display of military might, no act of Congress, no amount of chemicals, no amount of whistling by the graveyard can bring more water.'


by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 18, 2015

California's drought will require drastic action to stave off immediate and long-term effects, officials said. (Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr/cc)

As California approaches the end of a disappointing rainy season, officials are further narrowing restrictions on water usage to help stave off the effects of the state's ravaging four-year drought crisis.

Following record-low rainfall from December to April, with no extra precipitation expected for the rest of the year, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted Tuesday to increase emergency regulations on water usage for citizens and businesses alike.


Lawmakers Say TPP Meetings Classified To Keep Americans in the Dark

Democratic lawmaker says tightly-controlled briefings on Trans-Pacific Partnership deal are aimed at keeping US constituents ignorant about what's at stake


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 17, 2015

US Trade Representative Michael Froman is drawing fire from Congressional Democrats for the Obama adminstration's continued imposition of secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Parternship. (Photo: AP file)

Lawmakers in Congress who remain wary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are raising further objections this week to the degree of secrecy surrounding briefings on the deal, with some arguing that the main reason at least one meeting has been registered "classified" is to help keep the American public ignorant about giveaways to corporate interests and its long-term implications.

With a briefing set between members of Congress and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the Labor Department for Wednesday, the lack of transparency and the inability to discuss openly what they learn in the meetings has especially drawn the ire of progressive Democrats who say the TPP is being jammed through without a full airing of its negative consequences


Guardian Publicly Challenges World’s Largest Foundations to Divest

Fossil fuel divestment campaign calls on Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to remove combined $70 billion from threatening industries


by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 16, 2015

'Climate change poses a real threat to all of us,' charges the Guardian newspaper, 'and it is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal.' (Image: The Guardian)

Having reached the mainstream with new backing from the United Nations, the global fossil fuel divestment campaign continues to gain momentum. On Monday, the Guardian news agency launched a campaign calling on the world's two largest charitable foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, to follow the lead of the Rockefeller Foundation and nearly 200 other prominent universities and institutions by divesting their holdings from the fossil fuel industry.

"We are calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to remove their investments from the top 200 fossil fuel companies and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years," the news service announced in a statement.


‘Patriot Act 2.0’? Senate Cybersecurity Bill Seen as Trojan Horse for More Spying

Framed as anti-hacking measure, opponents say CISA threatens both consumers and whistleblowers


by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 15, 2015

The Senate Intelligence Committee approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) on Thursday, despite concerns from privacy advocates. (Photo:Free Press/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a cybersecurity bill during a secret session on Thursday, marking the next step in a process that critics warn will nefariously expand the government's already substantial surveillance powers.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which passed by 14-1 vote, would ostensibly protect against large-scale data thefts of private consumer information, exemplified by recent hacks of Target, Sony, and Home Depot. But critics—including the lone dissenting voice on the committee Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.)—say it would open the door for continued invasive and unlawful government spying operations.


Conservatives May Control State Governments, But Progressives Are Rising

by George Goehl, Ana María Archila, Fred Azcarate
Common Dreams. March 13
Progressive activists flooded the rotunda of the State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois as part of the 'We Rise' national day of action on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. (Photo: National People's Action/flickr/cc)
In November, conservatives swept not only Congress, but a majority of statehouses. While gridlock in Washington is frustrating, the rightward lurch of statehouses could be devastating. Reveling in their newfound power, state lawmakers and their corporate allies are writing regressive policies that could hurt families by exacerbating inequality, further curtailing an already weakened democracy, and worsening an environmental crisis of global proportions.


Save the Date! What Does Your Neighborhood Have to Do With It All?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
Sonoma County. March 9, 2015                       


Corporate Chevron-supported candidates all lost to progressive candidates in the recent city council election in Richmond, CA.

Mayor 1%, Rahm Emmanuel just became the only Chicago mayor to face a run-off for re-election. The candidate challenging him?  Long-time progressive activist Chuy Garcia.

Yes, our progressive electoral victories are few and far between. But when they do happen, what do they have in common? Regular people doing the unglamorous, seldom heralded, mostly invisible but highly effective work of contacting and educating their neighbors, identifying supporters and getting them out to vote. In a word:


US Ground Troops in Syria? Top Military Official Doesn’t Rule It Out

Gen. Martin Dempsey's comments highlight openness allowed by vague language included in Obama's proposed AUMF.


by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 6, 2015


The nation's top military officer told a House subcommittee Wednesday that U.S. troops could potentially hit the ground in Syria to fight Islamic militants, offering another sign the operation is headed towards expansion.

Speaking to the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said, "If the commander on the ground approaches either me or the secretary of defense and believes that the introduction of special operations forces to accompany Iraqis or the new Syrian forces, or JTACS (joint tactical-air controllers), these skilled folks who can call in close-air support, if we believe that's necessary to achieve our objectives, we will make that recommendation."


Ignore the Drumbeat of Doom, the NSA’s Call Records Program Didn’t Stop a Single Terrorist Attack

by Rachel Nusbaum
Common Dreams. March 4, 2015
The director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday and warned that if the Patriot Act was not renewed, lawmakers would be to blame if another 9/11-style attack occurs. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Do you hear that? It's starting.


The predictable drumbeat of dire warnings about what will happen if portions of the Patriot Act – the post-9/11 law being used to conduct controversial NSA dragnet surveillance – are allowed to expire on June 1 has already begun.



Netanyahu Threatens War In Speech to Congress

by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. March 3, 2015

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.(Photo: Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images)

This was a speech threatening war.

Realizing he has insufficient clout to stop the negotiations, Netanyahu demanded a back-up position: If not "no" deal, then we can have a better deal.

His vision of a "better" deal, however, is grounded in Iranian surrender. And since that is not going to happen, demanding it means abandoning diplomacy in favor of—yes, war.


As Bibi Marches on Congress, Obama Says If Iran Talks Fail ‘Military Actions’ Await

Obama says Iranians "have been serious negotiators," but called Israeli prime minister's speech to Congress a "distraction" of efforts aimed at finalizing a nuclear agreement


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 3, 2015
Obama indicates that remaining options would be limited, including additional sanctions or military actions, if ongoing negotiations with Tehran fail. 'Why wouldn't we take that deal?' the president asked, if there are assurances Iran cannot build a covert nuclear weapons program. (Image: Screenshot/Reuters)
Though voicing no overall criticism of Israeli state policy when it comes various issues involving regional politics, its own nuclear weapons program, or its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the number of U.S. lawmakers who now say they will not attend the speech of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday has grown to nearly 60 members of Congress, with high-profile Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken among the most recent to register their objection to the address.


Answers Demanded Following Fatal Shooting of Homeless Man by LAPD

Caught on tape by bystander, a graphic video shows several officers failing to subdue homeless man before opening fire


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 2, 2015

Investigators with LAPD stand at the scene after a homeless man was shot and killed on skid row by Los Angeles police on Sunday. (Christina House, For The Times)

The fatal shooting of a homeless man by Los Angeles Police Department officers on Sunday that was caught on video is spurring outrage in California and around the country with criticism focused on why deadly force was necessary given the number of officers on the scene and reports which indicate the man, who witnesses said suffered from mental illness, did not have a weapon, at least when the altercation began.

The graphic video—posted to Facebook and viewed several million times overnight—comes as just the latest example of a police shooting caught on camera and is sure to add to the national outrage surrounding excessive force used by law enforcement.


People Power Just Dealt a Major Blow to Mayor 1%

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced into runoff by progressive challenger Chuy Garcia


by Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Common Dreams. February 28, 2015

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  (Photo:  Daniel X. O'Neil/flickr/cc)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, dubbed Mayor 1 Percent, was forced into a runoff Tuesday after failing to achieve more than 50 percent of the vote in his bid for re-election.

Despite what the Chicago Tribune described as "his multimillion-dollar campaign war chest," Emanuel got 45 percent of the vote, pitting him in the April 7 runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who came in second with 33 percent of the vote. Emanuel outspent Chicago Teachers Union-backed Garcia 12-to-1.

The "election numbers reveal one clear result: Chicago’s voters shunned Mayor Emanuel and soundly rejected his corporate agenda that benefits the richest 1%," stated April Verrett, Executive Vice-President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois.


What You Should Know About Walmart’s Raise

by Michelle Chen
Common Dreams. February 27, 2015

Walmart workers on strike in Pico Rivera, California, October 4, 2012. (Photo: Courtesy of Matt Hamilton, CC by 2.0)

Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees—overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour. The move was widely praised even by labor groups—for lifting wages slightly closer to… well, what it should have been paying workers all along.

Still, the announced raise, to a $9 minimum, then rising to $10 an hour by early next year, isn’t chump change: for many, it means earning perhaps $1 or $2 more per hour, which, spread across an estimated half million workers, may generate a not-insignificant economic stimulus. Moreover, Walmart promises to offer more stable scheduling and boost some managers’ starting pay, as well—all measures that respond partially to the longstanding demands workers nationwide have aired in protests, petitions and lawsuits.


When Politics Is Local, Who Decides?

by David Morris
Common Dreams. February 27, 2015

In state after state a clear pattern has emerged: Cities legislatively address a local problem.  Big business complains. State legislatures clamp down. (Image:

Who decides? Conservative Republicans in Texas are split on the issue. Darren Hodges, a Tea Party councilman in the West Texas city of Fort Stockton, fiercely defends his town’s recent decision to ban plastic bags.  City officials have a “God-given right” to make that decision he tells the New York Times

James Quintero of the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation disagrees, “What we’re arguing is that liberty, not local control, is the overriding principle that state and local policy makers should be using.”  He apparently would strip communities of the right of local control, at least to regulate commercial behavior. Quintero is Director of TPPF’s Center for Local Governance.  Perhaps they should change the “for” to “against.”


CIA Evidence from Whistleblower Trial Could Tilt Iran Nuclear Talks

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. February 26, 2015

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference after a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna June 2, 2014. If the CIA has been conducting "sting" operations in order to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, wonder some at the IAEA, what more are they capable of doing when it comes to undermining the global nuclear regulatory regime? (Photo: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)

A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences—casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.

With negotiations between Iran and the United States at a pivotal stage, fallout from the trial’s revelations about the CIA’s Operation Merlin is likely to cause the International Atomic Energy Agency to re-examine U.S. assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.


‘Going up Against a Beast’: Wisconsin Workers Rise to Fend Off GOP Attack

'Right-to-work legislation is part of a national anti-worker agenda that won't bring one job to our state or help a single family put food on the table.'


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. February 24, 2015

In front of the Wisconsin State Capitol on Tuesday. (Photo: Overpass Light Brigade/Facebook)

State and national labor leaders rallied in the Wisconsin State Capitol on Tuesday, ahead of a day-long committee hearing on a so-called 'right-to-work' bill, which undermines collective bargaining by allowing workers to opt-out of paying the costs of union representation.

Wisconsin Republicans, who have expanded their majority in the state legislature since the last labor showdown in 2011, called a surprise "extraordinary session" late last week in an attempt to fast-track the bill. Anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential candidate, said he would sign the legislation if it reached his desk.


Your Comment in Lights – in front of the FCC

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
February 20, 2015                                           

Are you ready for your Internet speed to slow down? On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on new rules for the Internet, and the big phone and cable companies continue to lobby hard for a loophole that will allow exceptions to net neutrality. They’d love to get a last minute change to the proposed “bright line” rules against blocking, throttling, or paid authorization, that would allow them to charge Web giants (like Netflix and Amazon) for access to fast lanes and preferential treatment on the Internet.

Preferential treatment for the big companies that can pay more would mean individual users like us would be stuck with slower Internet speeds.


In Richmond, We Would Not Let Democracy Be Bought

Published February 18, 2015 by Moyers & Company
By Gayle McLaughlin.Common Dreams. February 18, 2015

Protest against Chevron in Richmond, California in April 2012. (Photo: Daniel Arauz/flickr CC 2.0)

In November 2014, my city of Richmond, California, provided us with a beautiful and successful David vs. Goliath story in which ordinary people (the people of Richmond) triumphed over the Chevron Corporation and its $3 million attempt to stop Richmond’s progressive direction. We experienced a clean sweep in the elections with all the progressives winning and all of Chevron’s candidates losing.

Until recent years in Richmond, Chevron was not accustomed to having progressives inside and outside elected office working side by side for the interests of the people (rather than rolling over to corporate interests). A decade of hard-won successes, including initiatives for fair taxation; legal action requiring greater transparency; and public health, safety and environmental protections, as well as enormous local mobilizations for environmental justice and climate justice, made the corporate giant furious. Despite its rage, we persevered.


Uber Wants to Reorganize the Economy? Workers, Too, Can Play at that Game

Published February 17, 2015 by Grit TV
By Laura Flanders
Common Dreams. February 17, 2015

Chicago taxi drivers outside City Hall and circling the neighboring streets protest the granting of a city license to ride-sharing company Uber. Cab drivers say the company has an unfair advantage because they aren't subject to the same stringent regulations. (Photo: Scott L/flickr/cc)

The global newswire Associated Press announced this January that it will no longer refer to the app-based cab-hail service Uber as “ride-sharing.”

The move follows criticism that services like Uber and Lyft are very far from sharing; to the contrary, they are taking more than they’re giving.       That’s certainly the view of Bhairavi Desai co-founder and director of the National Taxi Worker’s Alliance. Desai told GRITtv this week that while it characterizes itself as an innovative disruption, Uber’s more like Walmart on wheels. They’re not democratizing the workplace, she said, they’re de-regulating it or rather, re-regulating it, to the benefit of app-owning bosses and the detriment of drivers.       Minimum guaranteed wages, health and safety insurance, and the chance to negotiate collectively: taxi drivers fought decades for those minimal protections, said Desai. Now in comes Uber and behind the sharing spin, what’s it really want? She says, “It’s nothing less than the reorganization of the economy.”


Obama’s ISIS War Request Is an “Extraordinary Opportunity” for Congress

Published February 16, 2015 by Moyers & Company
by Andrew Bacevich
February 16, 2015

US President Richard Nixon poses in the White House after his announcement to the nation April 30, 1970 that American ground troops have attacked, at his order, a Communist complex in Cambodia. Nixon points to area of Vietnam and Cambodia in which the action is taking place. (AP Photo)


Try this thought experiment. Pretend that it’s the spring of 1970. President Richard Nixon has just sent US troops into Cambodia. He thereby expands the Vietnam War, a costly undertaking already ongoing for years with no sign of victory in sight.

Now imagine further that Nixon sends a message to Congress asking that it authorize him to do what he has already done (while simultaneously insisting that even without legislative approval he already has the necessary authority).


From Warrior Cops to Community Police

A Former Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization.


Police in America belong to the people—not the other way around. Former Seattle police Chief Norm Stamper on how we can turn war zone occupiers back into friendly neighborhood officers.


Published February 13, 2015 by YES! Magazine
By Norm Stamper
Common Dreams. February 13, 2015

The routinization of police militarism ought to concern us all. (Photo: JPL Designs / Shutterstock)

You’re in the kitchen. It’s a Saturday morning, still dark outside. Your partner, three-year-old son, and the family dog are all sound asleep at the back of the house. You’ve put the coffee pot on, are making sandwiches—a trip to the lake is planned, your son’s first fishing trip.

Without warning, the pre-dawn quiet is shattered as your front door flies off its hinges, followed by back-to-back explosions and blinding light. Your local police department calling, decked out in cammies, ballistic helmets, and full-body armor, brandishing M4 and M16 rifles.

“Knife!” shouts a cop. “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” roar his nine fellow officers, each pointing a rifle or a pistol at your chest. The knife in question? A standard, dullbladed utensil you’d been using to slather mustard and mayo on the sandwiches.

You drop the knife.


Endless War? Obama Sends Congress Expansive Anti-ISIS Measure 6 Months After Bombing Began

Democracy Now
February 12, 2015

President Obama has sent Congress a formal request to authorize military force against the Islamic State six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposes a three-year limit on U.S. operations, but does not put any geographic constraints.

It also opens the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. The resolution’s broad language covers military action against the Islamic State as well as "individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."

The resolution also leaves in place the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force Congress enacted one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, which has been used to justify U.S. action in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond, and which Obama had previously called for repealing.

We speak with Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of many books, including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."


Brian Williams Suspended for False Iraq Tale, But Media’s Real Scandal is the War Lies Spun Daily

Democracy Now
February 12, 2015

NBC News has suspended anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay for making false statements about a 2003 incident in Iraq. Williams apologized last week after it emerged he had wrongly claimed he was on board a U.S. helicopter downed by rocket fire. American soldiers publicly challenged Williams’ account, saying he was nowhere near the aircraft that came under attack. Williams has blamed the "fog of memory" for his mistake. But in a statement, NBC said Williams’ claims were "wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position."

We are joined by Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."


Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov’t Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers?

Democracy Now
February 12, 2015

In January, a federal jury in Virginia convicted former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on nine felony counts, including espionage. Prosecutors accused Sterling of leaking classified information about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to journalist James Risen of The New York Times. Risen later revealed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program.

Supporters of Sterling described him as a whistleblower, but prosecutors claimed he leaked the information to settle a score with the agency. Sterling is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum possible sentence of decades in prison.

We speak with Norman Solomon, who reported from the Sterling trial. "We’ve got to support investigative journalists and whistleblowers. We can’t allow the government to drive a wedge between the two," Solomon says, co-founder of, which has launched public campaigns to support both Sterling and Risen.


California’s 2014 Voter Turnout Was Even Worse Than You Thought

By John Myers
KQED News. Feb 11, 2015

For a state whose political leaders pride themselves on being focused on the future, California’s 2014 elections seem to have decidedly been driven by its past — as in, its older voters.

Or put another way: It was the Year of the Grandparents.

“Not only was the average voter older than the average Californian,” says political data expert Paul Mitchell. “The average voter was older than the average Californian’s parents.”


In His Own Words

  • It’s war and peace that to me circumscribe our realities here…. We’re being depleted of resources for state and local government services. We need to redefine what national security is. It’s not national security to have our schools crumbling. I would argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made us less secure.

    Norman Solomon
    Pacific Sun, Jan. 14, 2011

  • I revere the New Deal legacy that gave our country Social Security and other key aspects of the social compact. President Franklin D. Roosevelt fought for economic fairness. Before the end of his first term, FDR denounced “the economic royalists.” He said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.”  He did not say, “They hate me -- and I want them to like me.”

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Dec. 23, 2010

  • Washington’s failure to respond to climate change is an abysmal betrayal of hopes. The coal and oil industries, along with other corporate behemoths, have managed to trump the interests of life on Earth… It doesn’t do much good for officials to agree that the planetary house is on fire if they won’t really fight for turning on the fire extinguishers.

    Norman Solomon
    Solar Times, Autumn 2010

  • When I listened to children from Helmand province at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, it was clear that they didn't know or care whether the man in the Oval Office had a “D” or an “R” after his name. They, and their surviving parents, were trying to stay alive. For all the talk about winning hearts and minds, the refugee camp told a different story about priorities.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Oct. 7, 2010

  • The survival of all living beings on this planet, the entire ecosystem, depends on our civic engagement, on our working together to do the difficult tasks, to engage in the tedious activities, to be part of the political process, to insist that the ocean is not for sale, that the government is not for sale, that our earth is not for sale.

    Norman Solomon,
    speaking at rally against offshore oil drilling
    Marin Independent Journal, June 27, 2010

  • No amount of rhetoric about the dignity of work can make up for the deficit of determination from elected officials to roll back the scourge of unemployment…. Even when they decry high jobless levels, many in Congress seem to passively accept the myth that government can do little other than boost the private sector…

    Norman Solomon
    The Press Democrat, June 24, 2010

  • We can generate sustainable green jobs, protect small independent fishers and ecologically fragile coastlines, and rebuild local economies to serve communities rather than the big corporate model of take the money and run.

    Norman Solomon
    Eureka Times-Standard, August 10, 2011

  • In Washington, job one should be creating jobs. And that won't happen by continuing to give tax cuts to the wealthy while imposing benefit cuts on the rest of us.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, August 15, 2011