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Michael Ratner: Obama, Guantánamo, and Civil Liberties

Will President Obama be prepared to close Guantánamo on day one? Michael Ratner, for one, certainly hopes so. But he’s not holding his breath.

Obama in this election has moved heavily to the center on issues that I really care about, and that gives you great pause. His new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a very moderate Democrat, was one of the only members of the Illinois congressional delegation to vote in favor of the Iraq War. At the same time, Obama has made a number of promises, at least on some of the issues that are at least the heart of some of my work, which is he said he would close Guantánamo, he said he would end torture—and what that means is stop the CIA from torturing people in secret sites—and he said he doesn’t favor the current military commission system that’s going on at Guantánamo, but he favors criminal trials. Now, those are just promises, and as I know with any president, even on those three issues where he’s spoken very boldly, really, and on his web site as well, those, you still have to hold their feet to the fire, because it’s certainly not going to be a main priority. You have the economy here, you have the war here, etc. But those are three issues that are of great concern to me.


Enter to Win Your Copy of Nuclear Roulette

Seventy years ago, the city of Hiroshima was incinerated by an atomic bomb. Today, tens of thousands gather in Japan to mark the anniversary with silent ceremonies and somber reflections. In the United States, visitors to the National Air and Space Museum hear a narrative recounting that day as they view the Enola Gay, the […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..