Originally posted at AcronymTV
AtPeace Makita is a single mother of five, a life long resident of Detroit, and the Creative Director of the Detroit Water Brigade. She wants you to know that the push for the privatization of the water supply in Detroit could be coming to an area near you soon.
“If Detroit can be used as a prototype,” asks Makita “why can’t it happen in LA, Chicago, or New York? On top of the bankruptcy, on top of the foreclosures, on top of the mayoral issues and emergency manager, on top of all of it – now you want to take our life source?”
Watch the clip below, or you can watch the full episode here.
State Dept. Overseers of Contentious Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Workaround Have Industry, Torture Ties
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other green groups recently revealed that pipeline giant Enbridge got U.S. State Department permission in response to its request to construct a U.S.-Canada border-crossing tar sands pipeline without earning an obligatory Presidential Permit.
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/25/14
Obama and ISIS in Dance of Death
The growing U.S. bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria serves no one but war profiteers, said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson. “I know that ISIS had to be aware that slitting throats on camera would result in more bombing, just as President Obama had to be aware that blowing men, women and children up with 500-pound bombs would result in slitting throats,” said Swanson, publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.Org. “The beneficiaries of escalation, which is entirely predictable, are the weapons makers.”
Black Strategies Must Include Self-Defense
“First and foremost, it is right for our people to rebel,” said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and co-author of the groundbreaking report “Operation Ghetto Storm,” which documented extrajudicial killings of Black Americans under color of law. “I think it boiled over in Ferguson as a result of a transformation in our people’s consciousness, especially our young folks,” said Akuno. “They’ve had enough of the brutality, of being systematically excluded.” Black community self-defense must be part of any organizing strategy. “This has been part and parcel of what we know we have to do in the face of white supremacy and in the face of the brutality that the capitalist system has reserved for us, in particular.”
Black Passivity is Mentally Unhealthy
Political protest is therapeutic for Black Americans, said Dr. Vernellia Randall, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton and author Dying While Black. “I want us to be less passive, I want us to engage in civil disobedience” – and not the kind of protest-like activities sanctioned by the authorities. “If they’re telling us, Here’s how you can protest, then that, to me, is not civil disobedience,” said Randall. “If you are coloring within the lines that the establishment establishes, then you are putting no pressure on the establishment.”
Cuba Should Join in Fight for Slavery Reparations
The young United States was a horrible example of democracy, but it did lead the way in the business of human trafficking. “After the establishment of the United States, it quickly became the leader in the African slave trade to Cuba,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. “They also became the leader of the African slave trade to Brazil, helping to account for the fact that Brazil has more people of African descent than any other nation outside Nigeria,” said Horne, who hopes to enlist Cuba in “our journey to claim reparations for the enslavement of Africans in the Americas.”
Click here to download the show.
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
Barry! Barr -er Mr. President, I got Congress out in the parking lot looking at the new SUVs. I'm pushing the missile strikes on the Syrian government hard, but just a few little ones, and then ka-blam we get em with the whole package deal, 800 vehicles plus fuel and maintenance, a little shock, a little awe, a little razzmatazz, and we reel em right in.
Ataboy, John, go get em.
Oh, damn it all. Barry, it's not my fault. They were on recess and listening to people at town hall meetings. And AIPAC is totally AWOL. And the lousy stinking pacifist Brits voted it down when I never even asked them. Apparently the entire House of Representatives is going to ride bicycles from now on.
That's all right, John. That's all right. They can't hold out long. You'll get em next time.
It makes no sense, Mr. President. We rolled right over them on Afghanistan and Libya and all the drone strikes and all the bases, and here they go saying No to bombing Syria. And I told them Assad was Hitler. And you told them it was this or support poisoning children. But nothing. What are we missing? What if we throw in free GPS and hands-free telephoning. Plus, that way we can keep a close eye on them while they pay us for the favor. Huh? Huh?
You see, there's the old spirit. Now, listen, what we don't want is for them to go rogue and get desperate and pick up an old wreck from down in the back lot. You steer them away from that broken down Iranian convertible, OK?
Yes, Sir! John Kerry reporting for duty, Sir!
Oh, cut the shit, John, I've told you 18 times I'm not taping everything like Nixon.
Nixon didn't have the technology to . . .
LET ME BE CLEAR, the problem with the missile strikes on Syria last time wasn't the human cost or the financial cost or any of that crap. People didn't want to join a war on the side of al Qaeda rebels and terrorists. We'd told them those were the Enemy for over a decade. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to find a war where we can jump in on the side of the government, against the Islamic Extremists. Congress loves governments. The media loves governments. Everybody hates extremists. And guess where we're going to find this war?
Good guess. Try again.
Getting warmer. Try again.
Well, I don't . . .
Try again, that's a direct order.
Now I'll tell you: Syria.
Think about it, John. It's genius, if I do say so myself. Look, people forget that Syria was our ally a few years back, but Congress remembers. We just flip back. We have to, or we're fighting both sides of a war in Iraq and Syria. The key on Syria is to do something. Well what counts as doing something? Blowing shit up, that's what. And nobody wants us blowing up the government. Well, we'll blow up the rebels. Either way, we're destroying U.S. weaponry on the ground, which is much smarter than giving it to local police as a means of creating demand for more. You think they won't go for it because we're flip-flopping, right? You're always so damn terrified of flip-flopping.
You don't know. You didn't go through what . . .
Oh hell, they stole the votes in Ohio, John, and you bent over and said "Thank you sir, may I have another?" We're not flip-flopping. We're blowing up evil, evil people, lots of them. That's the story. We've been funding and arming all sides in all of these wars for some time now, payments to the Taliban, weapons to ISIS. You know, the troops on the ground in Libya three years ago could have exchanged parts -- they had the same U.S. guns.
Mr. President, there are hundreds of Americans who listened to us last year and have gone off and joined the rebels in Syria.
They can provide information, switch sides, or pay the price, John. Now, are you ready to go out there and make the pitch? I see the leadership on the curb there.
Mr. President, in all good faith, we've sold humanitarians on the need to bomb Assad, not bomb in defense of Assad.
Mr. Secretary, I'm giving you an order.
Mr. President, with all due respect, you keep saying there's no military solution, there's a million other approaches that don't create this sort of SNAFU, that just . . .
Mr. Secretary, Hillary would not hesitate.
I'm on it.
By John Grant
Back in June 2011, James Foley gave an hour-long interview to an auditorium of students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he had graduated three years earlier with a Master’s degree in journalism. It was 15 days after he had been released from 45 rough days of captivity in Libya. He was a handsome young hero returning to his alma-mater.
A BBC audio podcast from the show "Four Thought" (go here and click on the date "13 8 14") includes a talk by Italian journalist Mara Oliva. She grew up in the same Italy infatuated with the U.S. that I lived in as an exchange student -- an Italy that has largely fallen out of love with the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.
Oliva makes a case that the U.S. public is not nearly as pro-war as its government.
As early as 1954 the U.S. public opposed a U.S. war in Vietnam, and favored diplomacy with China, according to polls commissioned by President Eisenhower. Nixon finally went to China decades after the public had begun favoring that move.
In January 2003, two-thirds of the U.S. public wanted U.N. inspections to be allowed to continue in Iraq. In February 2003, a majority still wanted to see more evidence and wanted U.N. inspections to continue.
In September 2013, 80% in the U.S. were against attacking Syria. (Let's hope that holds now that Obomber wants to attack the other side in that war.)
So, it remains possible to be fond of the United States if one looks away from what we allow our government to do and focuses instead on what we tell pollsters we'd like.
But our expressing good opinions and then sitting on our hands is perhaps not the height of good world citizenship.
In October, Pax Christi will buy a full-page ad in the National Catholic Reporter prior to the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops. The ad will advocate abandoning the idea of a "just war," something the Catholic church, including in recent statements by the current Pope, shows signs of possibly being willing to do. James Rauner's article below reports how the Catholic church outside of the United States has opposed past wars, and suggests how little it would take to move the church in the U.S. to the same position. But opposing particular wars as "unjust," and suggesting that there might be just ones, leaves the war industry in place, making new wars inevitable. Pax Christi is to be applauded for urging the church to drop that outdated way of thinking, as the current Pope's statements suggest he already has. —DCNS
When Catholics Become a Peace Church
By Deacon James Rauner, Pax Christi Michigan
From Just War to Just Peace: The Time Is Now!
The Ides of War, March, 2003 …
In 2003, weeks before the attack, Pope John Paul II warned President Bush that his “preemptive war” on Iraq would throw the Middle East into chaos, that this war would be a “defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified.”
On March 5, 2003, Pope John Paul II sent the Italian Cardinal, Pio Laghi, to intervene with President George W. Bush and ask him not to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the US leader rejected the appeal claiming he was “convinced it was God’s will”.
The pope had already referred to this planned military intervention as an “adventure” and had warned that war would have serious consequences for both nations and the world. The pope had chosen Laghi for this delicate mission, because he was a friend of the Bush family and might have stood a better chance of being listened to.
The day before the scheduled meeting with the President, the cardinal was asked to meet with officials from the US State Department, as the President wanted to know the agenda of the meeting in advance. Cardinal Laghi was “interrogated” by the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice.
When the Cardinal arrived at the meeting with the President the next day, he handed Pope John Paul II’s letter to the President, “who
immediately put it on a side table without opening or reading it.”
The President then launched into an argument for war,. He told the cardinal that he, the president, “was convinced it was God’s will”, and sought to convince the papal envoy that it was the right thing to do.
“After a few minutes of what the Cardinal termed ‘a sermon’”, Laghi interrupted President Bush and said, “Mr. President, I came here in order to speak to you and to give you a message from the Holy Father and I would like you to listen to me.”
Cardinal Laghi told Bush that three things would happen if the United States went to war. First, it would cause many deaths and injuries on both sides. Secondly, it would result in civil war. And, thirdly, the United States might know how to get into a war, but it would have great difficulty getting out of one.
Cardinal Laghi realized from this exchange that the President had already made up his mind. This was confirmed shortly afterwards by General Pace, as he accompanied the Cardinal to his car. He shook hands with the Cardinal and told him, “Your Eminence, don’t be afraid. We’ll do it quickly and we will do it in the best way.”
Laghi knew his mission had failed, but he also realized that the Bush administration was very naïve about the consequences of war.
The press corps was waiting outside the White House after the meeting to interview the cardinal, but administration officials did not allow him to speak to them at the White House.
In the weeks and months before the U.S. attacked Iraq, not only the Holy Father, but also many in the Vatican spoke out against a “preemptive” or “preventative” strike. They declared that the just war theory could not justify such a war.
The Vatican also spoke out against war in Iraq. Archbishop Renato Raffaele Martino, a former U.N. envoy and current prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters that war against Iraq was a preventive war and constituted a "war of aggression", and thus did not constitute a just war. The foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, said that such a war of aggression is a crime against peace.
On September 13, 2002, US Catholic bishops had signed a letter to President Bush stating that any "preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq" could not be justified at the time. They came to this position by evaluating whether an attack against Iraq would satisfy the criteria for a just war as defined by Catholic theology.
War against Iraq is
John Paul II
So what happened
On 15 February 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.
Americans, and of course American Catholics, were largely unaware of the depth and importance of the opposition of Church leaders everywhere to an attack on Iraq, since for the most part the mainstream American media did not carry these stories. In the same way, many Americans were unaware that Pope John Paul II had spoken out against the first Gulf War at least 56 times. Media in the United States, controlled by corporate, government biased owners, omitted this from news commentaries on these wars.
We go to war ...
The invasion was preceded by an air strike on the Presidential Palace in Baghdad on 19 March 2003. The following day, coalition forces launched an incursion into Basra Province from their massing point close to the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.
While the Special Forces launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding petroleum fields, the main invasion army moved into southern Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on 23 March. Massive air strikes across the country and against Iraqi command and control threw the defending army into chaos and prevented an effective resistance. On 26 March, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was airdropped near the northern city of Kirkuk, where they joined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several actions against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country.
As the Bombs fell, … American Opposition became Silent…
“Son of man, Can these Bones Come to Life ?” Ezekiel 37:1-14
But, what if…
Following the solitary example of Bishop John Michael Botean, who had, on March 7th, just twelve days before the Iraq invasion, issued a Pastoral Letter to his U.S. diocese morally denouncing the War on Iraq as gravely evil,…
…. Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the USCCB, decides to call an emergency meeting of the entire American Catholic Hierarchy.
He had been powerfully moved by the strong words of Bishop Botean’s Pastoral Letter:
“When a moral conflict arises between Church teaching and secular morality, when contradictory moral demands are made upon a Catholic’s conscience, he or she, ‘must obey God rather than man’ (Acts 5:29).”
“A moment of moral crisis has arisen for us, I must now speak to you as your bishop… with the authority and responsibility I, though a sinner, have been given as a successor to the apostles on your behalf…. It is a moral imperative that I not allow you, by my silence, to fall into grave evil.”
“I must declare to you my people, for the sake of your salvation as well as my own, that any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally incompatible with the Person and the Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the catholic just war theory.”
Noticing that Botean was the first and only Bishop to yet speak out against the war, in support of the Pope’s urgent message, Bishop Gregory, as president, began calling all American bishops to a special session of the USCCB, to start the evening of Sunday, March 16th .
In doing so, Bishop Gregory believes it is necessary for the American Catholic church to reinforce the message sent to President Bush by Pope John Paul II….
When he consults with Bishop Skylstad, vice-president of the USCCB, Skylstad becomes very alarmed at the possibility of confronting the government. He tells Gregory that he has too much on his plate, that he has just had some real success with issuing “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in his efforts to gain control of the scandal of the Roman Catholic sex abuse cases. Now wasn’t the time to anger both the public and the government.
Bishop Gregory knew there was great danger, and he saw that he had two obstacles to overcome. First, the conference itself would have to unite the bishops in support of the papal initiative, and in giving up their usual strategy of always proving Catholics were faithful and patriotic citizens no matter what. But then that would create the second difficulty. They would have to explain to American Catholics why there had been no teaching preparing them for something like this beforehand.
Gregory thought of the passage he had read recently from Richard Rohr:
"We are saddled and bridled with a religion that is not sure if it wants to become church. It’s adherent’s expectations are very set. … It is a comfortable and very materialistic religion, which tests it’s people’s commitment on the level of doctrine but is afraid to test that commitment on issues of lifestyle or mature conscience.” —Near Occasions of Grace, page 52.
Tensions and grumbling mounts within the church as its bishops prepare to travel to the emergency meeting. The Archbishop of the Military Vicarate, Edwin O’Brien, starts objecting loudly to the possibility of confronting his Commander-in-Chief.
… Speculation abounds…..
Some are estimating that if the church were to confront the government over this war, as many as 20% of Catholics might leave the church, and certainly the church, in parishes, dioceses, and organizations, would lose at least half of its income from collections and rich donors. One smart-alec suggested that it might solve the priest shortage,… if not too many of them left !
On Sunday evening, March 16th … the USCCB gathered in closed session. The question being put before the bishops was this: Should we, the Catholic Hierarchy of the United States, support the teaching of Pope John Paul II that a preventative war against Iraq is immoral, illegal and unjust, and should we teach our Catholic people to resist this war and refuse to serve in it? Or, should we simply be silent and do nothing, as we have always done during wartime? While the meeting is ‘completely closeted’, word does leak out in dribbles here and there. There seems to be a terrible argument going on, back and forth. Some want to be faithful to the pope, many are reluctant. Some are angry, many are scared.
Bishop Botean had said: “the Gospels reveal our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ to be nonviolent. In them, Jesus teaches a Way of life that his disciples are to follow, a Way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies”…. “All well and good, but it’s not practical!”... “All the recent popes have said the same thing!” … “But It doesn’t work. We’ll lose everything.”
“It’s our sacred and patriotic duty to sacrifice our children to defend our American life styles.”
“Any killing associated with this war is unjustified and, in consequence, unequivocally murder. Direct participation in this war is the moral equivalent of direct participation in abortion”……”We have a moral obligation to overthrow the vicious and evil regime of Saddam, the tyrant”…Time passes,… Monday …and then …Tuesday, … the arguments go back and forth until finally on Wednesday morning, the feeling is they can’t move any further …
It’s time to take a vote:… 79 % of the bishops vote in support of the Papal teaching, …14 % of the bishops dissociate themselves from the USCCB and walk out in protest… The holy Spirit has spoken through the majority,… we Catholics are now a church of Peace, and will try to dissuade President Bush from going to war.
Efforts are made all day long to get through to President Bush in the White House, but he is taking no calls from the American bishops, as he took no heed of the Pope himself.
By now, it’s the evening of March 19, 2003, President Bush is in the White House enjoying the evening with Rev Billy Graham, who prays that our American bombs may find their targets and destroy our enemies.
Before the USCCB meeting ends…
Special Peace and Justice committees are set up to determine what steps to take to implement the decision taken. It will be a multiple step process. It is a difficult time for the church in the United States. They begin listing what steps are needed and what organizing will be useful.
This is a good place to PAUSE….
The story so far sets up the possibility of the Catholic Bishops actually showing some GUTS, like the early church martyrs. What happens next will depend on your own vision and imagination, please follow the inspiration of the Spirit, as you are given.
The remaining paragraphs are just the “vision” of Jim Rauner. Now it’s your turn…
Please RESUME your story.
Efforts are made to reach out to Justice and Peace organizations within the church for help, … representatives of Pax Christi , Pace e Bene, Kroc Institutes, etc., and even the Knights of Columbus, our best organized and financed lay organization, were called in… if only the 4th degree would lay down their swords, and severe their Supreme Knight’s ties with the Republican Party.
(1) A committee of reconciliation sets to work with the 14% of bishops who walked out.
(2) A committee is set up to review and update the Pastoral letter on War: 1983 -“The Challenge of Peace” originally planned to be ambiguous, and now outdated by advances in catholic thinking and Papal teaching about war since that time.
(3) The Gospel teaching of nonviolence, and how “just war” theories are like “just abortion” theories will be taught in all parishes and pulpits in the country.
(4) Conscientious Objector counseling is set up in all dioceses and support offered for all Catholics confronted with situations of legal jeopardy due to their need to be C.O.s to this war.
(5) State Catholic Conferences begin lobbying Senators and Representatives explaining why the church will no longer support war… We begin to feel a chill in Church-State relationships!
(6) Homilists are beginning to explain to our congregations what it was like during the primitive church’s ‘communities of resistance’ to the Roman Empire, and how this is now similar to our Catholic parishes within the American Empire.
(7) We begin prayer and study groups in parishes to teach contemplation and help live in intimate union with Jesus, and follow his teachings to love one another, friends and enemies, learning forgiveness as we have been forgiven.
(8) Our efforts to support justice for immigrants and refugees is radicalized, we begin offering sanctuary for them and other minority group- victims in our society, opening our churches and communities across the country.
(9) Our jail/prison ministries protest inhumane conditions and practices, demand closing of ICE prisons, and release of millions of people, especially racial minorities, held for minor drug and non-violent crimes
(10) Most catholic parishes stop flying American flags as a counter cultural practice. Jesus is our commander-in-chief, not the president.
(11) 4th degree Knights of Columbus decide to no longer use their swords during church services, and hide them away in closets. A big revue and reorganization is going on with the 4th degree political/ patriotic level.
(12) Bishops' meetings begin discussing the ways of “critical collaboration” in working with the government – supporting efforts that benefit the common good, opposing legislation that harms the common good.
(13) Training in techniques of nonviolent Protest, Resistance, and Alternative Structures are offered in all dioceses, and these actions are used to enforce critical collaboration, and to offer a new means of nonviolent national defense.
(14) Movements are supported by the church, working with other religious, and non-religious groups, with Occupy citizen groups, and even international organizations to bring about the Kingdom of God, “on earth as it is in heaven”: Justice and Peace for all.
(15) Movements that would:
A. Create a just foreign policy. Cessation of all foreign military aid, outlaw all arms trade. Increase foreign peaceful aid and sharing by 10% each following year.. Strengthen the United Nations, and the World Court.
B. Dismantle the military-industrial complex, converting our industry to alternative energy and peaceful purposes. Start reducing our “Defense” spending by 20% for each following year. Invest this money in the Department of Peace. Close down the CIA, and department of Homeland Security
C. Take all private money out of the political election system, let all primary elections be open to everyone. Redraw all one party districts.
D. Corporations are not people – take away all rights of free speech or religious liberty. Severely limit corporations’ size and power, make them subject to the cost of their use of public commons and their damage to the environment.
E. Diocesan and parish action committees begin supporting citizen organizing to protest economic injustice, class warfare by the rich against workers, and to promote labor unions for everyone, and public banks.
F. These committees encourage the creation of a New Economic Bill of Rights.
a. Set Taxation of the rich back to the 1950’s. No one needs more than ‘enough’ to live well. Confiscatory inheritance tax of all but modest amount – a year’s average wage.
b. Free education for all capable students through college and professional universities / with social responsibilities afterwards.
c. Free and complete, single payer, Health Care for every person in the country, even visitors.
d. Minimum wages of $15 / hour indexed for inflation.
e. Guaranteed Job for every person able to work.
f. Guaranteed Income for every person unable to work.
(16) The church throws itself into supporting the Franciscan efforts to protect God’s creation, to save the environment and prevent catastrophic climate change.
... Well, you can see how easily I can go on, and on … I’d like to stop now …..And turn it over to you…… Why don’t you play with these ideas for awhile, and see what good things the Spirit leads you to….. Please let me know what you do come up with…. thank you,
Today, back in October, of the year 2014,
We members of Pax Christi are calling on “the US Catholic church to embrace nonviolence as the only stance consistent with Christian discipleship and to reject the just war tradition, as expressed, among other places, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2309). The just war theory is unChristian and obsolete… We urge our Church to return to its roots, as a power for peace, before it allied itself with the power of empire in the time of Constantine….”
“Clearly, it is time to embrace and reaffirm our primary tradition of just peace. Our Catholic Church, with 1.2 billion adherents worldwide and 22% of the US population, is ideally positioned to support peacebuilding, and avert what Pope Francis calls ‘the suicide of humanity.’”
“Do we expect it to be easy? No indeed. But we are a people of hope. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ We invite our Church to lend its prophetic voice to the abolition of war and the promotion of the way of just peace.”
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
Deacon James Rauner,
Pax Christi Michigan, state council
Remember the guy who dressed up in a blue shirt, khaki pants, and blue gloves and impersonated a TSA agent in San Francisco last month? He succeeded in leading two victims into a curtained booth and groped at least one of them. Well, we don't know exactly what he did, since he was hidden. We only know that he got away with it, and that if he had been an actual TSA clerk, whatever he did, including sexual molestation, would've been legal.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador to Belgium and to NATO.
Kislyak spoke to a packed auditorium and took, I think, well over an hour of questions. He spoke frankly, and the questions he was asked by students, professors, and other participants were polite and for the most part far more intelligent than he would have been asked on, for example, Meet the Press.
He told the audience that Russia had known there were no WMDs in Iraq, and had known that attacking Iraq would bring "great difficulties" to that country. "And look what is happening today," he said. He made the same comment about Libya. He spoke of the U.S. and Russia working together to successfully remove chemical weapons from the Syrian government. But he warned against attacking Syria now.
There will be no new Cold War, Kislyak said, but there is now a greater divide in some ways than during the Cold War. Back then, he said, the U.S. Congress sent delegations over to meet with legislators, and the Supreme Court likewise. Now there is no contact. It's easy in the U.S. to be anti-Russian, he said, and hard to defend Russia. He complained about U.S. economic sanctions against Russia intended to "suffocate" Russian agriculture.
Asked about "annexing" Crimea, Kislyak rejected that characterization, pointed to the armed overthrow of the Ukrainian government, and insisted that Kiev must stop bombing its own people and instead talk about federalism within Ukraine.
There were remarkably few questions put to the ambassador that seemed informed by U.S. television "news." One was from a politics professor who insisted that Kislyak assign blame to Russia over Ukraine. Kislyak didn't.
I always sit in the back, thinking I might leave, but Kislyak was only taking questions from the front. So I moved up and was finally called on for the last question of the evening. For an hour and a half, Kislyak had addressed war and peace and Russian-U.S. relations, but he'd never blamed the U.S. for anything in Ukraine any more than Russia. No one had uttered the word "NATO."
So I pointed out the upcoming NATO protests. I recalled the history of Russia being told that NATO would not expand eastward. I asked Kislyak whether NATO ought to be disbanded.
The ambassador said that he had been the first Russian to "present his credentials" to NATO, and that he had "overestimated" NATO's ability to work with Russia. He'd been disappointed by NATO actions in Serbia, he said, and Libya, by the expansion eastward, by NATO pressure on Ukraine and Poland, and by the pretense that Russia might be about to attack Poland.
"We were promised," Kislyak said, that NATO would not expand eastward at all upon the reunification of Germany. "And now look." NATO has declared that Ukraine and Georgia will join NATO, Kislyak pointed out, and NATO says this even while a majority of the people in Ukraine say they're opposed.
The ambassador used the word "disappointed" a few times.
"We'll have to take measures to assure our defense," he said, "but we would have preferred to build on a situation with decreased presence and decreased readiness."
Wouldn't we all.
Join the campaign to shut down NATO.
Sign a petition for an independent investigation into the airplane crash in Ukraine.
Send a note to the Russian Embassy to let them know you're against a new Cold War too.
Cheney’s Legacy: Honesty Still in Short Supply
By Ray McGovern
As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago today.
Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and is the former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group, a network of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in US strategy in Afghanistan. A former State Department official, Matthew resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over US strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan in September 2009. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Matthew was in Iraq; first in 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, Matthew worked on Afghanistan and Iraq policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. Matthew’s writings have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Defense News, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. The Council on Foreign Relations has cited Matthew’s resignation letter from his post in Afghanistan as an Essential Document. In 2010, Matthew was named the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling. Matthew is a member of the Board of Directors for Council for a Livable World and is an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts (ExposeFacts.org). He writes on issues of war, peace and post-traumatic stress disorder recovery at MatthewHoh.com.
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At the 200th anniversary of the jackasses of 1812 getting the U.S. capital burned by the British in 1814, I found myself watching a new film by Rory Kennedy called Last Days in Vietnam. This film covers the moment of loss, of defeat, of the U.S. military at long last receiving its final ass kicking by the Vietnamese, for whom these were not the last days of Vietnam but the last days of the American War and of Western military occupation.
As in the Middle East these days, where the United States has been busy losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and wrecking Libya and Pakistan and Yemen and Palestine on the side, Vietnam was a disaster by the time the movie begins. As the U.S. news media blames ISIS for the state of Iraq, Last Days in Vietnam blames the North Vietnamese. This is the story of the loss in Vietnam, but it is told primarily by the losers.
A Pentagon-funded online celebration of the U.S. war on Vietnam describes the incidents shown in this film thus:
"The American evacuation ends. Saigon falls to the North Vietnamese troops, and organized South Vietnamese resistance to the communist forces ends. President Duong Van Minh announces the unconditional surrender of the Republic of Vietnam."
I recommend Veterans For Peace for a counter to the Pentagon's current $65 million campaign to glorify the U.S. war on Vietnam. And I recommend watching Last Days in Vietnam for an understanding of how wars end. In particular, this film should be watched by anyone who has managed to continue after all these decades to falsely associate war with victory or winning or success or accomplishment.
The final months of U.S. presence in Vietnam were a time of denial, by the U.S. ambassador and others, that the North Vietnamese were coming to kick them out. Every American and every one of their Vietnamese allies and collaborators, and all of the family members of both groups, could have been safely evacuated. Instead, there was a last-minute mad rush with helicopters dumped into the ocean after they unloaded passengers onto ships, and many left behind to be killed.
The film blames Congress for rejecting President Ford's request to fund an evacuation. But the Pentagon could quite easily have simply done it, and President Ford apparently never instructed the ambassador to do so. So, the spooky music plays, and the color of blood flows down the map from North to South as the barbaric communist aggressors who go so far as to use violence, something Americans would never do, approach Saigon. And they only come because President Nixon was driven out by the peaceniks. Never mind that that was several months earlier, they never would have come had Nixon been in the White House.
Of course, the views of the losers tend to obscure as much as to reveal. The war had to end. The people fighting for their homes had to prevail, sooner or later, over the people fighting for the fact that they'd already been fighting and couldn't face the shame of stopping. But Last Days in Vietnam shows the Americans watching the rushed evacuation from home, the Americans who had earlier "served" in Vietnam. And they believed all their efforts had "come to nothing."
Nothing? Nothing? Four million men, women, and children slaughtered. The U.S. society calls that nothing. The Germans are expected to know how many millions their government killed. The Japanese are required to study the past sins of Japan. But the United States is supposed to gaze at its navel, glorify its sinners, and pretend that its defeats are neutral, indifferent, nothingness. Try telling that story about Afghanistan or Iraq or Gaza, I dare you.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
By Kathy Kelly
Here in Kabul, one of my finest friends is Zekerullah, who has gone back to school in the 8th grade although he is an18-year old young man who has already had to learn far too many of life’s harsh lessons.
Years ago and miles from here, when he was a child in the province of Bamiyan, and before he ran away from school, Zekerullah led a double life, earning income for his family each night as a construction crew laborer, and then attempting to attend school in the daytime. In between these tasks the need to provide his family with fuel would sometimes drive him on six-hour treks up the mountainside, leading a donkey on which to load bags of scrub brush and twigs for the trip back down. His greatest childhood fear was of that donkey taking one disastrous wrong step with its load on the difficult mountainside.
Zekerullah going to school in Bamiyan
And then, after reaching home weary and sleep deprived and with no chance of doing homework, he would, at times, go to school without having done his homework, knowing that he would certainly be beaten. When he was in seventh grade, his teacher punished him by adding ten more blows each day he came to school without his homework, so that eventually he was hit sixty times in one day. Dreading the next day when the number would rise to seventy, he ran away from that school and never returned.
Now Zekerullah is enrolled in another school, this time in Kabul, where teachers still beat the students. But Zekerullah can now claim to have learned much more, in some cases, than his teachers.
Much to the surprise of his environmental studies teacher, Zekerullah has a strong grasp of issues related to the environment. For the past two years, living with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, he has occupied himself with presentations and conversations about global warming, climate change, and environmental degradation. He cares deeply about the issue. Last winter, I was with him as he watched the entire BBC Blue Planet series of videos, and realized that he hungers for more information and deepened understanding about issues hitting far beyond his own beleaguered country.
When his new teacher, a teacher accustomed to beating pupils, asked the class elementary questions about the environment, Zekerullah had definitely done his homework. But among his other recent studies were the history of nonviolent movements, led by people like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, to resist oppressive forces. So without calling any attention to his plans, Zekerullah decided to join the line of students singled out for punishment, in his environmental studies class, even though he wasn’t at fault and didn’t deserve to be punished. The teacher was befuddled. Zekerullah so clearly knew the answers.
Zekerullah calmly explained to the teacher that he also knew, from experience, that beating students doesn’t help them learn, that he himself had lost four years of studies because he could no longer bear the beatings. He respectfully asked the teacher to beat him instead of the next seven students in the row.
The teacher obliged, administering blows to Zekerullah while his fellow students began to wonder about and admire Zekerullah’s unusual stance. Perhaps for the first time in a long while, everyone in that class was learning something.
For several weeks, the teacher was confronted with Zekerullah’s quiet insistence that he be allowed to take the blows in place of students who hadn’t studied. The teacher tried to ignore him and belittle him. Once, the teacher punished him and a few others with the escalated punishment of using a rattan cane to inflict the blows. Adding salt to the wound, the teacher even failed Zekerullah in the mid-year exams, though Zekerullah said he knew the answers and had no trouble finishing the exam.
I asked him what other students thought about his choices. He said that some of them wanted to spare him from being punished, and so they began to study more and complete their homework. He isn’t sure what impact his actions have had. Zekerullah isn’t inclined to brag. But he surely has affected me.
He is also affecting other vulnerable young Afghans. Over the past two years, Zekerullah has worked hard to improve his studies, and with the literacy he has acquired, he now volunteers to teach a literacy class at the APVs Borderfree Center for about 20 street kids who have not had the opportunity to go to school regularly. He and several companions have organized other aspects of the “Street Kids” program, visiting children in their homes and helping distribute oil and rice to each family so that the children can stop working on the streets.
Zekerullah tells me that the current education system in Afghanistan is not a good learning environment. His story alerts educators, officials and the international community to understand that the relatively small funds spent on badly-constructed new school buildings won’t suffice to provide a good education for the young Afghan population. Moreover, the predominantly militarized approach of aid and development, even in the field of education, reinforces the prevalent methods of teaching by force and punishment.
Zekerullah yearns for knowledge as well as justice, and he’s willing to sacrifice for both. I want to learn from him.
Sometimes, amid the heated political debate about what should done by the U.S. government in world affairs, a proposal cuts through the TV babble of the supposed experts with a clear, useful suggestion.
That proposal came on August 17, when Pope Francis told journalists how he thought the world should cope with the challenge posed by ISIS, the Islamic militant group engaged in murderous behavior in Syria and Iraq. “One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this,” he said, in an apparent reference to U.S. action against ISIS crimes. Instead, the United Nations is the proper forum to “discuss `Is there an unjust aggression’” and “`How should we stop it?’ Just this. Nothing more.”
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Kristina Moore, the Senate staffer listed as the author of U.S. Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) "green billionaire's club" report published by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on July 30, has career roots tracing back to the Koch Brothers' right-wing machine.
People Climate March Sept.
In the 1920s and 1930s, anybody who was anybody tried to figure out how to rid the world of war. Collectively, I'd say they got three-quarters of the way to an answer. But from 1945 to 2014, they've been ignored when possible (which is most of the time), laughed at when necessary, and on the very rare occasions that require it: attacked.
What a flock of idiots the leading thinkers of a generation all must have been. World War II happened. Therefore, war is eternal. Everyone knows that.
But slavery abolitionists pushed on despite slavery happening another year, and another year. Women sought the right to vote in the next election cycle following each one they were barred from. Undoubtedly war is trickier to get rid off, because governments claim that all the other governments (and any other war makers) must go first or do it simultaneously. The possibility of someone else launching a war, combined with the false notion that war is the best way to defend against war, creates a seemingly permanent maze from which the world cannot emerge.
But difficult is far too easily distorted into impossible. War will have to be abolished through a careful and gradual practice; it will require cleaning up the corruption of government by war profiteers; it will result in a very different world in just about every way: economically, culturally, morally. But war will not be abolished at all if the meditations of the abolitionists are buried and not read.
Imagine if children, when they'd just gotten a bit too old for Winnie the Pooh and we're becoming old enough to read serious arguments, were told that A.A. Milne also wrote a book in 1933-1934 called Peace With Honour. Who wouldn't want to know what the creator of Winnie the Pooh thought of war and peace? And who wouldn't be thrilled to discover his wit and humor applied in all seriousness to the case for ending the most horrific enterprise to remain perfectly acceptable in polite society?
Now, Milne had served as a war propagandist and soldier in World War I, his 1934 view of Germany as not really wanting war looks (at least at first glance) ludicrous in retrospect, and Milne himself abandoned his opposition to war in order to cheer for World War II. So we can reject his wisdom as hypocrisy, naiveté, and as having been rejected by the author. But we'd be depriving ourselves of insight because the author was imperfect, and we'd be prioritizing the ravings of a drunk over statements made during a period of sobriety. Even the ideal diagnostician of war fever can sound like a different man once he's contracted the disease himself.
In Peace With Honour, Milne shows that he has listened to the rhetoric of the war promoters and found that the "honor" they fight for is essentially prestige (or what is more recently called in the United States, "credibility"). As Milne puts it:
"When a nation talks of its honour, it means its prestige. National prestige is a reputation for the will to war. A nation's honour, then, is measured by a nation's willingness to use force to maintain its reputation as a user of force. If one could imagine the game of tiddleywinks assuming a supreme importance in the eyes of statesmen, and if some innocent savage were to ask why tiddleywinks was so important to Europeans, the answer would be that only by skill at tiddleywinks could a country preserve its reputation as a country skilful at tiddleywinks. Which answer might cause the savage some amusement."
Milne debates popular arguments for war and comes back again and again to ridiculing it as a foolish cultural choice dressed up as necessary or inevitable. Why, he asks, do Christian churches sanction mass murder by bombing of men, women, and children? Would they sanction mass conversion to Islam if it were required to protect their country? No. Would they sanction widespread adultery if population growth were the only path to defense of their country? No. So why do they sanction mass murder?
Milne tries a thought experiment to demonstrate that wars are optional and chosen by individuals who could choose otherwise. Let us suppose, he says, that an outbreak of war would mean the certain and immediate death of Mussolini, Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, Sir John Simon, one unnamed cabinet minister chosen by lot on the day war is declared, the ministers responsible for the military, Winston Churchill, two unnamed Generals, two unnamed Admirals, two unnamed directors of armaments firms chosen by lot, Lords Beaverbrook and Rothermere, the editors of The Times and The Morning Post, and corresponding representatives of France. Would there, in this situation, ever be a war? Milne says definitely not. And therefore was is not "natural" or "inevitable" at all.
Milne makes a similar case around wartime conventions and rules:
"As soon as we begin making rules for war, as soon as we say that this is legitimate warfare and that the other is not, we are admitting that war is merely an agreed way of settling an argument."
But, Milne writes -- accurately depicting the 1945 to 2014 history of a U.N. and NATO-run world -- you cannot make a rule against aggressive war and keep defensive war. It won't work. It's self-defeating. War will roll on under such circumstances, Milne predicts -- and we know he was right. "To renounce aggression is not enough," writes Milne. "We must also renounce defence."
What do we replace it with? Milne depicts a world of nonviolent dispute resolution, arbitration, and a changed conception of honor or prestige that finds war shameful rather than honorable. And not just shameful, but mad. He quotes a war supporter remarking, "At the present moment, which may prove to be the eve of another Armageddon, we are not ready." Asks Milne: "Which of these two facts [Armageddon or unpreparedness] is of the more importance to civilization?"
This is what it takes to get answers from the TSA and DHS: you have to sue them. And even then you'll be stonewalled.
A global movement is growing to stop war—that is, all war on Earth. And now a crowdfunding project at Indiegogo.com offers individuals and organizations the opportunity to contribute to an advertising campaign aimed at making “millions of people … aware of exactly how popular and mainstream the idea of war abolition has become.”
World Beyond War, the organization behind the global billboard and ad campaign, is dedicated to ending the institution of war everywhere. Its organizers provide resources and coordinate peace-promoting activities and events. For example, you can sign a pledge on its website to “engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.” Already, people from 58 countries have signed the pledge.
Militarism has been profitable for armaments manufacturers and the politicians who support them, but it has ever been unpopular among those who are drafted to fight. It was the Vietnamese people who defeated first the French and later the U.S. occupations of their country, but the peace movement of that era in the States helped bring the war to a close. More recently, popular resistance within the U.S. may have prevented American missile attacks against Syria.
The costs of war are well known. The World Beyond War petition states that, “wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities.”
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense.
– U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.
Now awareness is growing that war is not only harmful but also unnecessary. Evidence shows that nonviolent resistance is often more successful than violence in overthrowing tyranny and creating space for democracy and peace.
Sociologist Jane Addams, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, observed that “peace is not merely an absence of war, but the nurture of human life.” Every year, the world spends about two trillion dollars on war and war preparation—half from the U.S. alone.
The good news is that we can redirect those resources to sustainable energy, agricultural, economic, health and educational systems. This would not only end war, but nurture life and make possible the social justice necessary to sustain lasting peace on earth.
Remarks at North Carolina Peace Action Event in Raleigh, N.C., August 23, 2014.
Thank you for inviting me, and thank you to North Carolina Peace Action, and to John Heuer whom I consider a tireless selfless and inspired peacemaker himself. Can we thank John?
It's an honor for me to have a role in honoring the 2014 Student Peacemaker, iMatter Youth North Carolina. I've followed what iMatter has been doing around the country for years, I've sat in on a court case they brought in Washington, D.C., I've shared a stage with them at a public event, I've organized an online petition with them at RootsAction.org, I've written about them and watched them inspire writers like Jeremy Brecher whom I recommend reading. Here is an organization acting in the interests of all future generations of all species and being led -- and led well -- by human kids. Can we give them some applause?
But, perhaps revealing the short-sightedness and self-centeredness of myself as a member of a species that didn't evolve to manage a whole planet, I'm especially happy to be recognizing iMatter Youth North Carolina because my own niece Hallie Turner and my nephew Travis Turner are part of it. They deserve LOTS of applause.
And the full iMatter planning team, I'm told, is represented tonight as well by Zack Kingery, Nora White, and Ari Nicholson. They should have even more applause.
I take complete credit for Hallie and Travis's work, because although I didn't really teach them anything, I did, before they were born, tell my sister she should go to our high school reunion, at which she met the man who became my brother in law. Without that, no Hallie and no Travis.
However, it was my parents -- who I suppose by the same logic (although in this case I of course reject it) get complete credit for anything I do -- it was they who took Hallie to her first rally, at the White House protesting a tar sands pipeline. I'm told that Hallie didn't know what it was all about at first or why the good people were being arrested, instead of the people committing the offenses against our loved ones and our earth being arrested. But by the end of the rally Hallie was right in the thick of it, wouldn't leave until the last person had gone off to jail for justice, and she pronounced the occasion the most important day of her life thus far, or words to that effect.
Perhaps, as it turns out, that was an important day, not just for Hallie but also for iMatter Youth North Carolina, and, who knows, just maybe -- like the day Gandhi was thrown off a train, or the day Bayard Rustin talked Martin Luther King Jr. into giving up his guns, or the day a teacher assigned Thomas Clarkson to write an essay on whether slavery was acceptable -- it will eventually turn out to have been an important day for more of us.
I'm a bit ashamed of two things though, despite all my pride.
One is that we adults leave kids to discover moral action and serious political engagement by accident rather than teaching it to them systematically and universally, as if we don't really think they want meaningful lives, as if we imagine comfortable lives is the complete human ideal. We are asking kids to lead the way on the environment, because we -- I'm speaking collectively of everyone over 30, the people Bob Dylan said not to trust until he was over 30 -- we are not doing it, and the kids are taking us to court, and our government is allowing its fellow leading destroyers of the environment to become voluntary co-defendants (can you imagine volunteering to be sued along with someone else who's facing a law suit? No, wait, sue me too!), and the voluntary co-defendants, including the National Association of Manufacturers, are providing teams of lawyers that probably cost more than the schools Hallie and Travis attend, and the courts are ruling that it is an individual right of non-human entities called corporations to destroy the inhabitability of the planet for everyone, despite the evident logic that says the corporations will cease to exist as well.
Should our kids do as we say or as we do? Neither! They should run in the opposite direction from anything we've touched. There are exceptions, of course. Some of us try a little. But it is an uphill effort to undo the cultural indoctrination that has us saying phrases like "throw this away" as if there really were an away, or labeling the destruction of a forest "economic growth," or worrying about so-called peak oil and how we'll live when the oil runs out, even though we've already found five times what we can safely burn and still be able to live on this beautiful rock.
But kids are different. The need to protect the earth and use clean energy even if it means a few inconveniences or even some serious personal risk, is no more unusual or strange to a kid than half the other stuff they are presented with for the first time, like algebra, or swim meets, or uncles. They haven't spent as many years being told that renewable energy doesn't work. They haven't developed the fine-tuned sense of patriotism that allows us to keep believing renewable energy cannot work even as we hear about it working in other countries. (That's German physics!)
Our young leaders have fewer years of indoctrination into what Martin Luther King Jr. called extreme materialism, militarism, and racism. Adults block the way in the courts, so kids take to the streets, they organize and agitate and educate. And so they must, but they are up against an educational system and an employment system and an entertainment system that often tells them they are powerless, that serious change is impossible, and that the most important thing you can do is vote.
Now, adults telling each other that the most important thing they can do is vote is bad enough, but saying that to kids who aren't old enough to vote is like telling them to do nothing. We need a few percent of our population doing the opposite of nothing, living and breathing dedicated activism. We need creative nonviolent resistance, re-education, redirection of our resources, boycotts, divestments, the creation of sustainable practices as models for others, and the impeding of an established order that is politely and smilingly steering us over a cliff. Rallies organized by iMatter Youth North Carolina look like moves in the right direction to me. So, let's thank them again.
The second thing I'm a little ashamed of is that it is not at all uncommon for a peace organization to arrive at an environmental activist when choosing someone to honor, whereas I have never once heard of the reverse. Hallie and Travis have an uncle who works largely on peace, but they live in a culture where the activism that receives funding and attention and mainstream acceptance, to the limited extent that any does and of course trailing far behind 5Ks against breast cancer and the sort of activism that lacks real opponents, is activism for the environment. But I think there's a problem with what I've just done and what we usually tend to do, that is, with categorizing people as peace activists or environmental activists or clean elections activists or media reform activists or anti-racism activists. As we came to realize a few years back, we all add up to 99% of the population, but those who are really active are divided, in reality as well as in people's perceptions.
Peace and environmentalism should, I think, be combined into the single word peacenvironmentalism, because neither movement is likely to succeed without the other. iMatter wants to live as if our future matters. You can't do that with militarism, with the resources it takes, with the destruction it causes, with the risk that grows greater with each passing day that nuclear weapons will be intentionally or accidentally detonated. If you could really figure out how to nuke another nation while shooting its missiles out of the sky, which of course nobody has figured out, the impact on the atmosphere and climate would severely impact your own nation as well. But that's a fantasy. In a real world scenario, a nuclear weapon is launched on purpose or by mistake, and many more are quickly launched in every direction. This has in fact nearly happened numerous times, and the fact that we pay almost no attention to it anymore makes it more rather than less likely. I imagine you know what happened 50 miles southeast of here on January 24, 1961? That's right, the U.S. military accidentally dropped two nuclear bombs and got very lucky they didn't explode. Nothing to worry about, says comedy news anchor John Oliver, that's why we have TWO Carolinas.
iMatter advocates for an economic shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy and for sustainable jobs. If only there were a couple of trillion dollars a year being wasted on something useless or destructive! And of course there is, worldwide, that unfathomable sum is being spent on preparations for war, half of it by the United States, three quarters of it by the United States and its allies -- and much of that last bit on U.S. weapons. For a fraction of it, starvation and disease could be seriously dealt with, and so could climate change. War kills primarily through taking spending away from where it's needed. For a small fraction of war preparations spending, college could be free here and provided free in some other parts of the world too. Imagine how many more environmental activists we could have if college graduates didn't owe tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for the human right of an education! How do you pay that back without going to work for the destroyers of the earth?
79% of weapons in the Middle East come from the United States, not counting those belonging to the U.S. military. U.S. weapons were on both sides in Libya three years ago and are on both sides in Syria and Iraq. Weapons making is an unsustainable job if ever I saw one. It drains the economy. The same dollars spent on clean energy or infrastructure or education or even tax cuts for non-billionaires produces more jobs than military spending. Militarism fuels more violence, rather than protecting us. The weapons have to be used up, destroyed, or given to local police who will begin to see local people as enemies, so that new weapons can be made. And this process is, by some measures, the biggest destroyer of the environment we have.
The U.S. military burned through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day, as measured in 2006. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption. If you removed the Pentagon from the total oil consumption by the United States, then the United States would still rank first with nobody else anywhere close. But you would have spared the atmosphere the burning of more oil than most countries consume, and would have spared the planet all the mischief the U.S. military manages to fuel with it. No other institution in the United States consumes remotely as much oil as the military.
Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spends $622 million trying to figure out how to produce power without oil, while the military spends hundreds of billions of dollars burning oil in wars fought and on bases maintained to control the oil supplies. The million dollars spent to keep each soldier in a foreign occupation for a year could create 20 green energy jobs at $50,000 each.
Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War "rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality," according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School. Leaning divides war's environmental impact into four areas: "production and testing of nuclear weapons, aerial and naval bombardment of terrain, dispersal and persistence of land mines and buried ordnance, and use or storage of military despoliants, toxins, and waste." A 1993 U.S. State Department report called land mines "the most toxic and widespread pollution facing mankind." Millions of hectares in Europe, North Africa, and Asia are under interdiction. One-third of the land in Libya conceals land mines and unexploded World War II munitions.
The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.
You may not care about politics, the saying goes, but politics cares about you. That goes for war. John Wayne avoided going off to World War II by making movies to glorify other people going. And do you know what happened to him? He made a movie in Utah near a nuclear testing area. Of the 220 people who worked on the film, 91, rather than the 30 that would have been the norm, developed cancer including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, and director Dick Powell.
We need a different direction. In Connecticut, Peace Action and many other groups have been involved in successfully persuading the state government to set up a commission to work on converting from weapons to peaceful industries. Labor unions and management support it. Environmental and peace groups are part of it. It's very much a work in progress. It was likely stimulated by false stories that the military was being slashed. But whether we can make that a reality or not, the environmental need to shift our resources to green energy is going to grow, and there is no reason North Carolina shouldn't be the second state in the country to do this. You have moral Mondays here. Why not have moral every days of the year?
Major changes look larger before they happen than after. Environmentalism has come on very quickly. The U.S. already had nuclear submarines back when whales were still being used as a source of raw materials, lubricants, and fuels, including in nuclear submarines. Now whales are, almost suddenly, seen as marvelous intelligent creatures to be protected, and the nuclear submarines have begun to look a bit archaic, and the deadly sound pollution that the Navy imposes on the world's oceans looks a bit barbaric.
iMatter's lawsuits seek to protect the public trust for future generations. The ability to care about future generations is, in terms of the imagination required, almost identical to the ability to care about foreign people at a distance in space rather than time. If we can think of our community as including those not yet born, who of course we hope far outnumber the rest of us, we can probably think of it as including the 95% of those alive today who don't happen to be in the United States of America, and vice versa.
But even if environmentalism and peace activism were not a single movement, we'd have to join them and several others together in order to have the sort of Occupy 2.0 coalition we need to effect change. A big chance to do that is coming up around September 21st which is the International Day of Peace and the time when a rally and all sorts of events for the climate will be happening in New York City.
At WorldBeyondWar.org you'll find all sorts of resources for holding your own event for peace and the environment. You'll also find a short two-sentence statement in favor of ending all war, a statement that has been signed in the past few months by people in 81 nations and rising. You can sign it on paper here this evening. We need your help, young and old. But we should be especially glad that time and numbers are on the side of the young around the world, to whom I say along with Shelley:
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many — they are few.
Originally posted at AcronymTV
After five hours of rallies and marches on justice for Palestine and Ferguson, 1,500 protesters were in Union Square park in Manhattan, all with their hands up for Mike Brown. When the crowd took their hands down, a voice from the crowd told them “Mike Brown never took his hands down. The dead children in Gaza did not get to take their hands down.”
And so it was on this dramatic ending to a long day of complimentary marches in New York Wednesday: the NYC Solidarity with Palestine March over the Brooklyn Bridge and the Hands Up/ Turn Up march in remembrance of Mike Brown energized activists and community members who stood up to racism and oppression “from Ferguson to Palestine.”
Editor Note: Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk.
By Ray McGovern
Before dawn broke in Washington on Saturday, “Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists” – more accurately described as federalists of southeast Ukraine who oppose last February’s coup in Kiev – unloaded desperately needed provisions from some 280 Russian trucks in Luhansk, Ukraine. The West accused those trucks of “invading” Ukraine on Friday, but it was a record short invasion; after delivering their loads of humanitarian supplies, the trucks promptly returned to Russia.
by Desmond Tutu
published on Haaretz 14 Aug 2014
The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.
If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
GUEST: David Swanson, author, activist, and blogger. His books includes Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union and War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. Follow him on Twitter.
TOPIC: David reacts to the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the related militarization of law enforcement and drug war.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Thursday, August 21, 2014.
What's the truth behind Malaysian Flight 17 downing?: CIA Analysts Won't Support White House Claims of Russian Culpability
By Dave Lindorff
With the US continuing to push its submissive European “allies” towards an ever more confrontational stance towards Russia over the crisis in Ukraine (a crisis initially provoked by the US itself through CIA and State Department actions that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government), the world appears headed towards a dangerous renewed Cold War between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.