Five Best Tuesday Columns

Jules Boykoff on why you should root for World Cup protesters, Jeffrey Toobin on how Citizens United shaped the climate change debate, Michael J. Allen on the pre-Bergdahl precedent for prisoner exchange, Michael McGough on the increasing number of married priests, Brian Beutler on why the American far-right are more violent than the far-left.

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Jules Boykoff at the Guardian on why you should root for World Cup protesters. “The World Cup launches in Brazil on Thursday, but there's no need to wait for dramatic action – the festival of dissent has already begun. In the past week alone, activists from the Homeless Workers Movement marched on the São Paulo stadium where host Brazil will square off against Croatia in the tournament's opening match. In Brasilia, indigenous dissidents clashed with tear-gas-happy riot police. For the millions of us watching the World Cup – and the attendant protests – from afar, it's time to focus our attention on the plutocratic puppet-master behind the entire process: FIFA,” Boykoff writes. “FIFA is the 1% of the global 1%, the apple of Thomas Piketty's ire. And for a non-profit organization, it sure is a profitable one: the Zurich-based group stands to rake in $4.5bn from this World Cup alone, far above its initial expectations. And with Brazil preparing to host the 2016 Olympic Games, we can't let FIFA set an example for sports extravaganzas turned into loathsome economic and social disasters.”

Jeffrey Toobin at The New Yorker on how Citizens United shaped the climate change debate. “Remember when climate change could be a bipartisan issue? Republicans are unified in denial, and one good reason this is so is the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. That decision revolutionized the law of campaign finance; what is less well recognized is that it transformed the climate-change debate, too,” Toobin writes. “It’s clear that in the forefront of anti-climate-change activism are the Koch brothers, who have invested huge amounts in politics and political candidates since Citizens United. The Kochs are so prominent that they have become, in effect, gatekeepers for Republican politics. Climate-change denial is now the price of admission to the charmed circle of Republican donors. It is true that Democrats and the scientific community are not entirely powerless in this debate. But no one should be mislead that this has somehow been a fair fight.” International history professor Glenda Sluga tweets, “More evidence of why Piketty's rising eco inequality equals threat to democracy argument is urgent.”

Michael J. Allen at the Chicago Tribune on the pre-Bergdahl precedent for prisoner exchange. “‘The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule,’ President Barack Obama said in response to those who criticized his decision to exchange five Guantanamo detainees for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. ‘We don't leave our men or women in uniform behind. … Period.’ Yet while this commitment has long enjoyed widespread acclaim among Americans, for some, including Sen. John McCain, Obama's decision goes too far. Not only does the United States have a long record of giving more in exchange for its prisoners, it did so in the war in which McCain fought," Allen writes. "Obama stands on firm historical footing when he claims, 'this is what happens at the ends of wars.' This history not only confirms Obama's point that prisoner exchanges have historically accompanied the end of hostilities, it suggests that his desire to use a prisoner transfer to pave the way for a broader peace agreement with the Taliban was neither as treacherous nor foolhardy as critics allege.”

Michael McGough at The Los Angeles Times on the increasing number of married priests. “More married men may be serving as Catholic priests in the U.S. and Canada soon, but not because Pope Francis is about to relax the requirement that Latin Rite priests be celibate. Last week the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation called on the Vatican to lift restrictions on the ordination of married men to serve as priests in Eastern Rite Catholic churches in the United States and Canada,” McGough writes. “Another complication is Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to allow Anglican and Episcopal priests and their congregations to enter the Roman Catholic Church under special provisions that preserve the 'Anglican heritage,' including the use of sections of the Book of Common Prayer. As part of that express-aisle process, married Anglican priests have been able to be re-ordained as Roman Catholic priests without having to forsake their wives and children.” Father Joseph Musco tweets, ".—perhaps the way to avoid 'scandal' today is to make celibacy optional for all Catholic priests in the U.S."

Brian Beutler at the New Republic on why the American far-right are more violent than the far-left. “Between September 11, 2001 and March 2014, right wing extremists killed 34 people in America. If you count the three Jewish community members Frazier Glenn Cross killed in Kansas City before screaming "Heil Hitler" as police arrested him this past April, the tally jumps to 37. And it hits 40 when you add the two policemen and lone civilian who died this weekend when Jerad and Amanda Miller launched their Las Vegas revolution. The above figures are based on a tally maintained by experts at the New America Foundation. They array their analysis in a way that makes the implicit point that, for all our fretting about jihadi extremism, it's been less deadly in the U.S. since 9/11 than domestic terrorism, but that neither problem is particularly dangerous,” Beutler writes. “There are 320-or-so million people in the United States, over 30 million more than lived here on September 11, 2001. Forty people isn't very many. Among causes of death in the U.S., right-wing violence must rank near the bottom. But 40 people is more than zero people, which is the number that have been killed by left-wing extremists over the same stretch.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.