Author Archives: Norman Solomon

As war keeps poisoning humanity, organizing continues to be the antidote

In the long run, peace activism is essential for overcoming militarism. And organizing is what makes that possible.

Last weekend, U.S. corporate media continued a 20-year repetition compulsion to evade the central role of the USA in causing vast carnage and misery due to the so-called War on Terror. But millions of Americans fervently oppose the military-industrial complex and its extremely immoral nonstop warfare. Continue reading

Abortion bounty hunters in Texas are not “whistleblowers”—they’re cruel vigilantes

Calling those who exploit this law "whistleblowers" is a way to turn the true meaning of whistleblowing on its head. We might as well have history books referring to enforcers of the Fugitive Slave Act as "good Samaritans," or monitors of Jim Crow compliance as "civic activists."

One of the many preposterous claims coming from supporters of the vicious new Texas law against abortion is that bounty hunters—standing to gain a $10,000 reward from the state—will somehow be “whistleblowers.” The largest anti-abortion group in Texas is trying to attach the virtuous “whistleblower” label to predators who’ll file lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” a woman getting an abortion. Continue reading

How California’s top Democrats paved the way for a Republican governor this fall

Whether Newsom will remain governor past mid-autumn now looks like a coin flip. And what's at stake in the recall goes far beyond California—in fact, all the way to the nation's capital.

In fewer than four weeks from now, a right-wing Republican could win the governor’s office in California. Some polling indicates that Democrat Gavin Newsom is likely to lose his job via the recall election set for Sept. 14. When CBS News released a poll on Sunday, Gov. Newsom’s razor-thin edge among likely voters was within the margin of error. How this could be happening in a state where Republicans are only 24 percent of registered voters is largely a tale of corporate-friendly elitism and tone-deaf egotism at the top of the California Democratic Party. Continue reading

Nina Turner’s loss is oligarchy’s gain

Turner's defeat is a victory for an array of wealthy individuals and corporations alarmed at her willingness to challenge such corporate powerhouses as Big Pharma, insurance firms and the fossil-fuel industry.

The race for a vacant congressional seat in northeast Ohio was a fierce battle between status quo politics and calls for social transformation. In the end, when votes were counted Tuesday night, transactional business-as-usual had won by almost 6 percent. But the victory of a corporate Democrat over a progressive firebrand did nothing to resolve the wide and deep disparity of visions at the Democratic Party’s base nationwide. Continue reading

Who’s afraid of Nina Turner?

What's at stake in the special election is whether progressives will gain a dynamic champion in the House of Representatives.

Nina Turner is very scary—to power brokers who’ve been spending big money and political capital to keep her out of Congress. With early voting underway, tensions are spiking as the decisive Democratic primary race in northeast Ohio nears its Aug. 3 finish. The winner will be virtually assured of filling the seat in the deep-blue district left vacant by Rep. Marcia Fudge when she became President Biden’s HUD secretary. What’s at stake in the special election is whether progressives will gain a dynamic champion in the House of Representatives. Continue reading

How Democrats and Progressives undermined the potential of the Biden-Putin summit

Most Democrats in Congress are now locked into a modern Cold War mentality that endangers human survival.

No matter what happens at today’s summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva, a grim reality is that Democratic Party leaders have already hobbled its potential to move the world away from the worsening dangers of nuclear war. After nearly five years of straining to depict Donald Trump as some kind of Russian agent—a depiction that squandered vast quantities of messaging without electoral benefits—most Democrats in Congress are now locked into a modern Cold War mentality that endangers human survival. Continue reading

Why Israel blows up media offices and targets journalists

The Israeli government is now exerting deadly force on a large scale to underscore an assertion of impunity—in effect, wielding power to subjugate Palestinian people with methodical disregard for their basic human rights.

Israel’s missile attack on media offices in Gaza City last weekend was successful. A gratifying response came quickly from the head of The Associated Press, which had a bureau in the building for 15 years: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.” Continue reading

Reporting from around the world, Reese Erlich was a beacon of independent journalism

The longtime war correspondent, who died earlier this month, embodied the honesty and deep humanity that makes for the very best journalists.

When Reese Erlich died in early April, we lost a global reporter who led by example. During five decades as a progressive journalist, Reese created and traveled an independent path while avoiding the comfortable ruts dug by corporate media. When people in the United States read or heard his reporting from more than 50 countries, he offered windows on the world that were not tinted red-white-and-blue. Often, he illuminated grim consequences of U.S. foreign policy. Continue reading

Contrary to what Biden said, US warfare in Afghanistan is set to continue

No matter what the White House and the headlines say, U.S. taxpayers won’t stop subsidizing the killing in Afghanistan until there is an end to the bombing and "special operations" that remain shrouded in secrecy.

When I met a seven-year-old girl named Guljumma at a refugee camp in Kabul a dozen years ago, she told me that bombs fell early one morning while she slept at home in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley. With a soft, matter-of-fact voice, Guljumma described what happened. Some people in her family died. She lost an arm. Continue reading

Hidden in plain sight: The “unimpeachable” offenses

If what's impeachable is only what members of Congress say it is, constituents should insist that egregiously narrow definitions must no longer prevail.

Impeachment dramas on Capitol Hill have routinely skipped over a question that we should be willing to ask even if Congress won’t: “What about a president’s unimpeachable offenses?” Continue reading

Judging Biden by low standards set by Trump would be an unforgivable catastrophe

We don't have any room to grade this administration on a curve. Progressives must push with everything they've got.

Unless consciously resisted, one of Donald Trump’s lasting triumphs will be the establishment of such a low bar that mediocre standards will prevail for his successor. Of course, providing a clear contrast to the atrocious Trump presidency is irrefutably necessary—but it’s hardly sufficient. Continue reading

Don’t let President Biden ‘make us the dupes of our hopes’

More than being a time of hope—or fatalism—the inauguration of President Joe Biden should be a time of skeptical realism and determination.

At inauguration time, journalist I. F. Stone wrote, incoming presidents “make us the dupes of our hopes.” That insight is worth pondering as Joe Biden ascends to the presidency. After four years of the real-life Trump nightmare, hope is overdue—but it’s hazardous. Continue reading

In 2021, the best way to fight neofascist Republicans is to fight neoliberal Democrats

As its policies gradually degrade the standard of living and quality of life for most people, neoliberalism provides a poisonous fuel for right-wing propaganda and demagoguery.

The threat of fascism will hardly disappear when Donald Trump moves out of the White House in two weeks. On Capitol Hill, the Republicans who’ve made clear their utter contempt for democracy will retain powerful leverage over the U.S. government. And they’re securely entrenched because Trumpism continues to thrive in much of the country. Continue reading

Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken personify the ‘moderate’ rot at the top of the Democratic Party

What's so moderate about being on the take from rich beneficiaries of corporate America while opposing proposals that would curb their profits in order to reduce income inequality and advance social justice?

Sometimes a couple of nominations convey an incoming president’s basic mindset and worldview. That’s how it seems with Joe Biden’s choices to run the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department. Continue reading

Why progressives must not give Joe Biden a political honeymoon

Silence or merely faint dissent would enable the third Democratic president in four decades to again sacrifice progressive possibilities on the altar of corporate power.

The third time would not be a charm. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders and our winter of progressive discontent

While Sanders is ill-positioned and uninclined to push back very hard against the evident trajectory of Biden's decisions, many progressives are starting to throw down gauntlets against the corporate and militaristic aspects of the incoming presidency.

Bernie Sanders is not in a good political position right now. Yes, he continues to speak vital truths to—and about—power. His ability to reach a national audience with progressive wisdom and specific proposals is unmatched. And, during the last several decades, no one has done more to move the nation’s discourse leftward. But now, Sanders is in a political box. Continue reading

Some liberals and arms-control experts are cheering for war profiteers to be in Biden’s cabinet

What does all this praising and access-drooling amount to?

No matter who ends up winning Senate confirmation for top positions on President Biden’s “national security” team, an ominous dynamic is already underway. Some foreign-policy specialists with progressive reputations are voicing support and evasive praise for prospective cabinet members—as though spinning through revolving doors to broker lucrative Pentagon contracts is not a conflict of interest, and as though advocating for an aggressive U.S. military posture is fine. Continue reading

Hey Joe, where you going with that Pentagon in your hands?

The pernicious and lucrative aspects of military madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s defense secretary.

By all accounts, the frontrunner to be Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of defense is Michèle Flournoy. It’s a prospect that should do more than set off alarm bells—it should be understood as a scenario for the president-elect to stick his middle fingers in the eyes of Americans who are fed up with endless war and ongoing militarism. Continue reading

Corporate Democrats are to blame for congressional losses—so naturally they’re blaming progressives

When Rep. Rashida Tlaib talks about "pushing the Democratic Party to represent the communities that elected them," she actually means what she says.

Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement “moderate” strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Biden’s victory “came with no coattails down ballot.” Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives. Continue reading

Progressive message to Joe Biden: Don’t you dare ‘cooperate’ with Mitch McConnell

If Biden chooses to 'cooperate' with Mitch McConnell, that choice is likely to set off a political war between the new administration and the Democratic Party's progressive base.

Near the end of his well-crafted victory speech Saturday night, Joe Biden decried “the refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another.” He went on to say that “we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to cooperate. That’s the choice I’ll make. And I call on the Congress—Democrats and Republicans alike—to make that choice with me.” Continue reading

Progressives made Trump’s defeat possible. now it’s time to challenge Biden and other corporate Democrats

Without a strong progressive program as a rudder, the Biden presidency will be awash in much the same old rhetorical froth and status-quo positions that have so often caused Democratic incumbents to founder, bringing on GOP electoral triumphs.

The defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues—climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more—it’s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party. Continue reading

Why a former Green Party candidate is on a very long fast—urging progressives to vote for Biden to defeat Trump

"A very large number of people on the left who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren have come around to an understanding that Trump and his accomplices are such a dire threat to any hope of forward progress in this country."

In ordinary times, Ted Glick would hardly be someone you’d expect to hear urging fellow progressives to vote for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Continue reading

The man who would be president: Mike Pence, corporate theocrat

The case of Mike Pence should be an ongoing urgent reminder that—as toxic and truly evil as Donald Trump is—the current president is a product and poisonous symptom of an inherently unjust and anti-democratic status quo.

If President Trump dies from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans largely due to his deliberate negligence, the man replacing him will be no less dangerous. While Mike Pence has eluded tough media scrutiny—in part because he exhibits such a low-key style in contrast to Trump—the pair has been a good fit for an administration that exemplifies the partnership of religious fundamentalism and corporate power. Continue reading

Twin imperatives: Defeat President Trump this fall; challenge President Biden from day one

This is our political crossroads.

One result of the Republican convention will be a drop in the number of progressives who are in denial about the Trump regime’s momentum toward fascism. This week’s relentlessly unhinged GOP gathering has probably done more to win votes for Joe Biden from the left than last week’s Democratic convention did. And that points up a problem. Continue reading

Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis police and her VP quest

When Amy Klobuchar was running for president, corporate media served as her biggest political base.

Eighteen years before Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named George Floyd on Monday, Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man named Christopher Burns. Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar decries the killing of Floyd. Back then, Minneapolis chief prosecutor Amy Klobuchar refused to prosecute city police for killing Burns. Continue reading

In a class war—like it or not—the system always makes a killing

While negative coverage of Donald Trump has been common due to his handling of the pandemic, media outrage has been muted in relation to the magnitude of the dying in our midst.

Journalists aren’t supposed to “bury the lead.” But when death is the topic and corporate power is the culprit, the connection routinely goes unmentioned. Continue reading

Some progressives are in denial about Trump’s fascist momentum

Some say preventing the re-election of Trump isn't important. That amounts to ignoring political reality, an evasion with potentially vast consequences.

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, the author of “How Fascism Works” assessed him in a video. “It might seem like an exaggeration to call Trump a fascist,” Yale Professor Jason Stanley said. “I mean, he’s not calling for a genocide or imprisoning his own people without due process. But . . . if you use history and philosophy as a guide, it’s easy to see parallels between Trump’s words and those of the most reviled fascists in history. That scares me, and it should scare you too.” Continue reading

Power in a time of coronavirus

Rather than being a respite from political power struggles, the coronavirus emergency is greatly intensifying them.

Every day now we’re waking up into an extreme real-life nightmare, while responses are still routinely lagging far behind what’s at stake. Urgency is reality. The horrific momentum of the coronavirus is personal, social and political. In those realms, a baseline formula is “passivity = death.” The imperative is to do vastly better. Continue reading

‘In a dark time, the eye begins to see’: The 2020 Bernie campaign represents a fight that must continue

Corporate media and corporate Democrats want the Bernie 2020 campaign—and the grassroots energy behind it—to melt away. That's not going to happen.

“In a dark time,” poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “the eye begins to see.” Continue reading

A profound and historic question for Elizabeth Warren: Which side are you on?

How Warren answers that question might determine the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. In the process, she will profoundly etch into history the reality of her political character.

The night before Super Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren spoke to several thousand people in a quadrangle at East Los Angeles College. Much of her talk recounted the heroic actions of oppressed Latina workers who led the Justice for Janitors organization. Standing in the crowd, I was impressed with Warren’s eloquence as she praised solidarity and labor unions as essential for improving the lives of working people. Continue reading

Iowa fiasco raises stakes for New Hampshire, where Sanders could win big

Monday night's collapse of the caucus vote-counting process in Iowa has amped up the spotlight on—and political consequences of—what will happen in the New Hampshire primary.

While journalists pick through the ashes of the Iowa caucuses meltdown, thousands of progressive activists are moving forward to make election history in New Hampshire. In sharp contrast to the prattle of mainstream punditry, the movements behind Bernie Sanders are propelled by people who engage with politics as a collective struggle because the future of humanity and the planet is at stake. As a result, the Granite State’s primary election on Feb. 11 could be a political earthquake. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders’ people-powered campaign is on fire

The Bernie 2020 campaign is a crucible of broader activism from the grassroots that can spark uprisings of heat and light.

To corporate media, Bernie Sanders is incorrigible. He won’t stop defying the standard assumptions about what’s possible in national politics. His 2020 campaign—with feet on the ground and eyes on visionary horizons—is a danger to corporate capitalism’s “natural” order that enables wealth to dominate the political process. Continue reading