We need peace officers, not pinkertons: What’s Wrong with Police in America

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Americans got a glimpse of what policing is like in a more humane and civilized society last year when four young Swedish cops, on vacation in New York City and riding on a subway, found themselves faced with a bloody fight in the aisle by two angry black men.

Let us recommit to peace

By
PUBLISHED by Albuquerque Journal

Four score and seven years ago many nations brought forth on many continents a pact that made war illegal.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed on Aug. 27, 1928, by 15 Nations, ratified by the U.S. Senate the following year with a single dissenting vote, signed by President Calvin Coolidge in January of 1929, and on July 24, 1929, President Hoover “caused the said Treaty to be made public, to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.”

Thus, the pact became a treaty and therefore the law of the land.

The treaty established the important point that only wars of aggression – not military acts of self-defense – would be covered.

In the final version of the pact, the participating nations agreed upon two clauses: the first outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and the second called upon signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.

A call for peace: City activities honor 85-year old treaty outlawing war

 
Sally Alice Thompson, left, and Dr. Hakim Zamir, center, release white doves symbolizing peace prior to the start of a presentation by former CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern at Albuquerque Mennonite Church on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
Sally Alice Thompson, left, and Dr. Hakim Zamir, center, release white doves symbolizing peace prior to the start of a presentation by former CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern at Albuquerque Mennonite Church on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

An 85-year-old international agreement aimed at ending American and world wars – while unsuccessful – is still worth attention, Albuquerque City Councilors declared this month, naming Aug. 27 as Rededication to the Kellogg-Briand Treaty Day.

Also in honor of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, internationally known CIA agent turned peace activist Ray McGovern visited Albuquerque as part of his work fighting against “out-of-control military spending” and U.S. military policies that he said are undermining American security by causing the deaths of innocent people and fueling terrorism.

“The nation spends billions of dollars on bombs … that we don’t need,” he told a crowd of about 70 gathered Thursday afternoon for a reception hosted by the area chapter of Veterans for Peace. He urged nonviolent federal policies toward other nations.

The Weak Tough Sell of the Iran Deal

Airing on PBS on September 12 will be an interview I watched taped at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia on August 28 with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State who played the key role in negotiating the Iran agreement.

The Miller Center has cut public questions and answers out of the portion of its events that are broadcast, so what will air will only include questions from the host, Doug Blackmon, but he asked I think most of the questions, some reasonable, some absurd, that have been asked by CNN, Fox, and the Associated Press. The elderly, wealthy, white audience asked questions at the end too, and the first one was about supposedly secret side agreements that would allow Iran to build nuclear weapons. My impression was that the audience was won over by Sherman's answers to everything she was asked.

In fact, Blackmon was about to call on me to ask a question when I had to leave to go meet with a staffer of Senator Mark Warner to urge him to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the first thing I did was give the staffer Sherman's information and ask him to ask the Senator to call her. Warner is, of course, undecided on whether the Iran deal is preferable to the course toward war that so many of his colleagues openly prefer.

My concern, which I had most hoped to ask about, would not have been a concern for Warner, I suspect. My concern was this: the White House Press Secretary has suggested, and Politico has reported that the White House has been telling Congress, that the agreement will allow the U.S. to learn useful information about Iranian facilities that will make it easier to launch an effective war against Iran in the future if "necessary." Sherman on Friday repeatedly violated the U.N. Charter by stating that the United States could launch a war on Iran, and that she had no doubt President Obama would do so, if "necessary" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. How is that sort of talk heard in Iran?

Sherman should know. She spent two years getting to know and negotiating with Iranians. She describes friendly moments. Both she and her Iranian counterpart became grandparents during the course of this negotiation. She also describes yelling and walking out. How does she think the Iranians she knows hear threats of war? For that matter, how does she think they hear accusations of having had and desiring to have a nuclear weapons program -- accusations repeated by Sherman on Friday but for which she was not asked for any evidence. For that matter, she accused Iran of wishing death to the United States and Israel -- again, without being asked for any evidence.

Sherman was quite articulate and to-the-point and convincing in arguing every detail of the inspections. Those who want a "better deal" had better avoid listening to her at all costs if they want to maintain their belief system. But pushing for peace while threatening war is a weak sort of advocacy, even if its advocates view it as being tough. Sherman, like her former colleague Madeline Albright, brags about how much damage sanctions have done to people -- in this case Iranians. She wants to be tough. But is she being strategic? What happens when the U.S. changes presidents or Congresses or some sort of incident occurs or is alleged to have occurred? The U.S. public will have been taught to think about Iran in the least helpful manner possible.

Asked if she trusts Iran, Sherman says no way. She goes on at length about how trust is not even part of her profession, doesn't enter into it at all, that these negotiations were aimed at and achieved a regime of verification based on total mistrust. A moment later, asked if she trusts in the good faith of Benjamin Netanyahu, Sherman does not hesitate to exclaim "Oh, of course!" What does that example tell people to think about Iranians? Compared to an openly racist militarist who orders the slaughter of civilians, the Iranians are untrustworthy? If that were so, I'd oppose the agreement myself!

Sherman also says that Iran knows how to make a nuclear weapon. I'd have liked to ask her whether she learned this before or after the CIA gave Iran nuclear weapons blueprints -- for which Jeffrey Sterling sits in prison as the alleged and convicted whistleblower. And how did she learn it?

Sherman says the United States is the one indispensible nation that must lead the global fight against "terrorism." She declares that if needed the U.S. can re-impose not only its own sanctions on Iran but also those of its partners and the EU. I wouldn't be so sure. A stronger, reality-based case for this agreement would recognize that the threat is not from Iran but from the United States, that the world understands that to a huge extent, and that other nations are not going to easily re-impose sanctions on Iran. In fact they're already opening embassies there. For the United States to go back on this agreement, now or later, would indeed isolate one nation from the rest of the world. I wonder, however, if Sherman is able to allow herself to realize which nation that will be.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power wrote this week: "if the United States rejects this deal, we would instantly isolate ourselves from the countries that spent nearly two years working with American negotiators to hammer out its toughest provisions." Power goes on to explain that such isolation would be undesirable because it would prevent the United States from getting other governments to join in new sanctions to harm any other country or new wars against any other countries.

Hey, now that I think about it, I have to wonder whether U.S. isolation would be such a bad thing after all.

Our quadrennial reality TV show: Sorting Through the Bullshit in America

By John Grant


“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. ... The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept.”

Focus: Clinton, Biden - Aug 28, 2015


POLL: Hillary declines sharply in Quinnipiac poll, 45% down from 55% a month ago, Sanders has 22% and Biden 18% - philly.com


POLL: Joe Biden polls better than Hillary Clinton against all Republicans, beating them by a larger margin - New York Post


POLL: The top three words voters think of to describe Hillary are 'liar', 'dishonest' and 'untrustworthy' - Washington Examiner


POLL: List of 50 Words Americans Used to Describe Hillary Clinton - Breitbart


POLL: Full results of the Quinnipiac Poll - Quinnipiac Poll


POLL: Biden 'Honest,' 'Genuine' in Reuters/Ipsos poll - The Times


POLL: Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in Utah, BYU poll says - The Salt Lake Tribune


Biden to meet with AFL-CIO chief as he weighs White House run - TheHill


Biden to Meet With Jewish Leaders to Make Case for Iran Nuclear Deal - WSJ


Possible Biden run puts Obama fundraising network on high alert - The Washington Post


DNC chair: Biden 'would be welcomed' to presidential race - POLITICO


DNC to honor Beau Biden - TheHill


DNC announces fundraising agreement with Clinton, says it’s pursuing similar agreements with the other Democratic primary campaigns - POLITICO


O'Malley: Rallying around Clinton a 'big mistake' - TheHill


Christie: Hillary Clinton should quit presidential race - NJ.com


Obituaries Keep Requesting Loved Ones Not Vote for Hillary - Washington Free Beacon


Progressive groups press Hillary on Wall Street's golden parachutes, Two former Clinton aides received bonuses from banks when they left to join her at the State Dept - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Clinton equates GOP stance on women to terrorists - TheHill


Clinton, Sanders united in call for more federal spending on higher ed, vary on college affordability approach - InsideHigherEd


Hamptons home rented by the Clintons could be yours for $32.5M - New York Post


How Chronic Disease Could End Hillary Clinton’s White House Run - The National Enquirer

 

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Clinton Data Went Unsecured For Over a Month After ‘Classified’ Data Discovered - Washington Free Beacon


Clinton's attorney got security clearance just before handling emails - Washington Examiner


GOP senator accuses Clinton of improperly passing state secrets to her lawyer - McClatchy DC


Hillary Clinton emails: Chuck Grassley questions lack of permanent IG at State Department - Washington Times


Hillary Clinton’s State Department IG Was More Lapdog than Watchdog, Its Oversight Was Toothless, Lax - National Review Online


Top senator presses State on whether Clinton has security clearance despite FBI probe - Fox News


Group: Hillary Clinton mixed State, foundation business - CNNPolitics.com


Clinton ally accused of running interference on email scandal - Washington Examiner


How Huma Abedin operated at the center of the Clinton universe - The Washington Post


Former AG Mukasey says he was wrong to suggest that if Clinton was ever convicted of destroying government records by erasing her server, she would be legally unqualified for the presidency - NBC


Hillary Clinton’s Handling of Email Issue Frustrates Democratic Leaders - The New York Times


Dems: Grassley's probe of Clinton's email gives Biden wide opening - Washington Examiner


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

War: Legal to Criminal and Back Again

Remarks in Chicago on the 87th anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, August 27, 2015.

Thank you very much for inviting me here and thank you to Kathy Kelly for everything she does and thank you to Frank Goetz and everyone involved in creating this essay contest and keeping it going. This contest is far and away the best thing that has come out of my book When the World Outlawed War.

I proposed making August 27th a holiday everywhere, and that hasn't yet happened, but it's begun. The city of St. Paul, Minnesota, has done it. Frank Kellogg, for whom the Kellogg-Briand Pact is named, was from there. A group in Albuquerque is holding an event today, as are groups in other cities today and in recent years. A Congress member has recognized the occasion in the Congressional Record.

But the responses offered to some of the essays from various readers and included in the booklet are typical, and their failings should not reflect poorly on the essays. Virtually everyone has no idea that there is a law on the books banning all war. And when a person finds out, he or she typically takes no more than a few minutes to dismiss the fact as meaningless. Read the responses to the essays. None of the responders who were dismissive considered the essays carefully or read additional sources; clearly none of them read a word of my book.

Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field

By Joy First  

Voices for Creative Nonviolence engaged with a number of Wisconsin peace groups to organize an 8-day 90-mile walk across southwest Wisconsin from August 18-25.  The purpose of the walk was to call attention and make connections between the militarized police violence at home and the military using violence abroad through drone warfare and by other means.  In both cases the victims are people of color, which forces us to reflect on the systemic racism of our society.

The walk began at the City/County/Jail complex in Madison on August 18.  Dane County has one of the highest rates of racial disparity of any county in the country on many issues, including when it comes to incarceration - hence starting the walk at the jail.  In fact, in order to make the prison population match the general population in Dane County, we would need to release 350 Black people.  This is horrific, especially when we understand that so many people of color are in jail for nonviolent crimes and crimes of poverty that could better be solved by more positive interventions.  It is up to all of us to stand up with our brothers and sisters and proclaim that “Black Lives Matter!”

Wall Street reporting is a joke: The Stock Market is Getting Harder to Rig

By Dave Lindorff


It’s entertaining to watch and to read reports in the corporate media about the current stock market decline, which over the course of the last six business days erased $2.1 trillion in the market value of stocks of publicly-traded US corporations (and in a lot of ordinary Americans’ retirement savings). 


Navy Trying to Kill Gangjeong Village

By Bruce K. Gagnon, www.space4peace.org

I was invited to come to Jeju City today to appear on live radio show for 20 minutes at 6:00 pm.  As we were preparing to leave Gangjeong village we looked into the sky as a formation of Navy Blue Angel war plans came screaming over the village.  For the next 15 or so minutes they went back and forth directly over Gangjeong doing various stunts.  One of the stunts brought the planes very low in an ear splitting maneuver.

The Navy was sending a message to Gangjeong village.  The message was loud and clear. "We own you now.  Your village will become a war base.  There is nothing you can do.  We will project power against China from Jeju Island.  You'd better get used to the idea."  This is the way the US military empire thinks and the way they treat people who stand in their way.

Just before we went on the air for the radio interview we learned that the Navy was demanding that Gangjeong villagers pay $20 million (USD) in fines for disruption of construction operations on the base now nearing completion.  Some activists believe that the Ministry of Defense in Seoul is actually controlled by the Samsung corporation which is the lead contractor for the Navy base construction operation.  Just as in the US, where Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and General Dynamics control our government, the Park administration inside the Blue House in Seoul is actually the pawn of corporate interests.

By demanding this outrageous amount of funds from a small fishing and farming community the South Korean puppet government is saying that democracy does not actually exist anymore.  In a true democratic nation people who protest oppressive government policies are not fined and driven into poverty - especially an entire village.  What was the crime of Gangjeong?  They wanted to protect the environment, sacred Gureombi rock, the offshore endangered soft coral forests, the water, the sea life and more.  The villagers wanted to protect their way of life - their 500-year old culture. 

I've learned that only South Korea and Japan have this kind of punishing policy that obviously smacks of fascism.  The government of South Korea is controlled by corporations and Washington.  How can they claim in Seoul to be a democracy and then turn around and treat citizens this way?  How can the government claim they need a Navy base to defend the people and then attack the people who use non-violent protest to challenge the destruction of their village?

This will have to go to court but the courts are ultimately under the control the the same corrupt corporate state.  When the Navy demands that the village must pay $20 million in fines that means every man, woman and child owes that debt.  It means they would be naked without any land after the court would take all they owned.  This is nothing more than an illegal and immoral attempt to finish off Gangjeong village.  Every living and breathing human being on this planet should be outraged at this crime against the human rights of the people in Gangjeong village.

After the US directed April 3 massacre on Jeju Island soon after WW II was over a new program was put into place called the 'Involvement System'.  This meant that anyone who was labeled a communist by the US run puppet government could get no job and would have no future.  It also meant that any family member would suffer the same fate.  This demand for $20 million by the Navy is an attempt to reinstate this 'Involvement System' once again.  The only way out for a person is to commit suicide.

I am told that the South Korean regime is using this same punitive program to go after striking auto workers on the mainland and other activists around the nation.  The decision has been made to kill democracy in South Korea.  We are seeing the same method of operation in Japan today as the right-wing government kills their peaceful constitution against popular will.  We see the same system in Okinawa as the people demand US bases there be closed.  We see the same system underway inside Ukraine where Washington has installed a puppet government.

For those out there sitting on the fence this is the time to wake up and see the writing on the wall.  Democracy is being drowned globally by corporate capitalism. 
 
Who will be next?
 

Focus: Clinton, Biden, Sanders - Aug 26, 2015


Exclusive: State Dept.-released Clinton email had classified intel from 3 agencies, possibly violating Obama order (VIDEO) - Fox News


DHS has no record of State Dept. giving info for Clinton server audit, despite rules - Fox News


Trey Gowdy frustrated by State Dept stonewalling on Clinton and her aides - Washington Examiner


Clinton's emails discuss conversations with foreign diplomats, embassy security and countries from Russia to China - Washington Examiner


POLL: 46 percent of voters believe Clinton should suspend her campaign amid email scandal, 44 percent disagree -  Washington Free Beacon


POLL: Should Hillary Clinton Suspend Her Campaign? - Rasmussen Reports


Former attorney general says classified email scandal 'disqualifies' Hillary Clinton from serving as president – IF she's broke federal law - Daily Mail Online


Memo Analyzes Possibility Hillary Clinton Prohibited From Holding Office - causeofaction.org


President Bill Clinton's top spy blasts alleged Hillary email cover up - Examiner.com


Hillary Clinton’s lawyer had 'top secret' clearance - POLITICO


Hillary Clinton Used Email-Monitor Linked to Personal Tax Lawyer - breitbart.com


Hillary Server Firm Employs Top Clinton Operative - breitbart.com


Questions arise about existence of second, private Clinton email server - Fox News


Hillary Clinton E-mails Reveal Inner Circle of Yes Men - National Review Online


Emails Draw Huma Abedin, a Clinton Aide, Back Into the Spotlight - The New York Times


Occupy Argues Clinton Unfit To Run For President - The Moderate Voice


4 State Parties Sign Fund-Raising Pacts With Clinton Campaign - The New York Times


Maserati, Ferrari, Bentley and Porsche at Hillary Clinton fundraiser - Daily Mail Online


POLL: Hillary Clinton lagging against Republicans in summer target state polls - Washington Examiner


POLL: Michigan poll shows Hillary Clinton trails Jeb Bush; barely leads Donald Trump - freep.com


POLL: Clinton trouncing Trump, edging rest of GOP in Virginia - Washington Examiner


POLL: Hillary Clinton still a strong frontrunner in Iowa - CBS News

 

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Obama gives Joe Biden 'blessing' for 2016 bid - CNNPolitics.com

 

POLL: Yes He Can! 64% of Dems say VP Biden can win presidency in the  Economist/YouGov Poll - Washington Examiner


Joe Biden to Hold Unusual Conference Call With Hundreds of DNC Members - The New York Times


Joe Biden 2016: Draft Biden group circulates pro-Joe memo to DNC members - POLITICO


Draft Biden on track to be up in 50 States by next week, the super-PAC hopes to raise $3 million by the end of September - Bloomberg


Top Democratic fundraisers invited to meet with Joe Biden at Naval Observatory - The Washington Post


Joe Biden 2016: Big donors being courted by advisers - POLITICO


Hedge funder asked to host Joe Biden luncheon - Page Six


CBS: Citing Email Scandal, Major Clinton Donor Would Flip Support to Biden If He Ran (VIDEO) - Washington Free Beacon


More Democrats crack open door for Biden presidential run - Reuters


Joe Biden hires communications chief with campaign experience, she comes to the White House from the Motion Picture Association of America - Washington Examiner

 

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POLL: Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in second striking New Hampshire poll - Business Insider


POLL: Sanders is gaining ground on Clinton, but he has little support among non-white Democrats - Economist/YouGov Poll


Bernie Sanders Grassroots Planning Huge March on Washington in October, this Facebook RSVP movement has garnered so far over 87,000 signatures - Observer


Bernie Sanders Gets Stamp of Approval From Cornel West - The New York Times


Bernie Sanders’s Success in Attracting Small Donors Tests Importance of ‘Super PACs’ - The New York Times


Deez Nuts endorses Bernie Sanders and John Kasich for presidential nomination, meet the 15-year-old presidential candidate (VIDEO) - huffingtonpost.com

Open Letter to the War-Politicians of the World – by Juergen Todenhoefer, a German journalist, former media manager and politician

Source.

Juergen Todenhoefer is a German journalist, former media manager and politician. From 1972 to 1990 he was a member of parliament for the Christian Democrats (CDU). He was one of Germany's most ardous supporters of the US-sponsored Mujahideen and their guerrilla war against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Several times he traveled to combat zones with Afghan Mujahideen groups. From 1987 to 2008 he served on the board of the media group Burda. After 2001 Todenhöfer becames a outspoken critic of the US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has published several books about visits he made to war zones. In recent years he did two interviews with Syria's President Assad and in 2015 he was the first german journalist to visit the 'Islamic State'.

Here his latest post on his Facebook page, a post that during the last two days alone has been liked by 22.000 people and shared on Facebook by 15.000 people.
Juergen Todenhoefers Facebook Page is the most visited political page on Facebook with 443,135 Likes


"Dear Presidents and Heads of Governments!

Through decades of a policy of war and exploitation you have pushed millions people in the Middle East and Africa into misery. Because of your policies refugees have to flee all over the world. One out every three refugees in Germany comes from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. From Africa comes one out of five refugees.

Your wars are also the cause of global terrorism. Instead some 100 international terrorists like 15 years ago, we now are faced with more than 100,000 terrorists. Your cynical ruthlessness now strikes back at us like a boomerang.

As usual, you do not even consider, to really change your policy. You cure only the symptoms. The security situation gets more dangerous and chaotic by the day. More and more wars, waves of terror and refugee crises will determine the future of our planet.

Even in Europe, the war will one day knock again at Europe's door. Any businessman that would act like you would be fired or be in prison by now. You are total failures.

The peoples of the Middle East and Africa, whose countries you have destroyed and plundered her and the people of Europe, who now accommodate the countless desperate refugees have to pay a  high price for your policies. But wash your hands of responsibility. You should stand trial in front of the International Criminal Court. And each of your political followers should actually take care of at least 100 refugee families.

Basically, the people of the world should raise and resist you as the warmongers and exploiters. As once Gandhi did it - in nonviolence, in 'civil disobedience'. We should create new movements and parties. Movements for justice and humanity. Make wars in other countries just as punishable as murder and manslaughter one's own country. And you who are responsible for war and exploitation, you should go to hell forever. It is enough! Get lost! The world would be much nicer without you. Jürgen Todenhöfer "

Dear friends, I know you should never write letters in anger. But life is way too short to always beat about the bush. Is your anger not so great that you want to cry about so much irresponsibility? About the infinite suffering that has been caused by these politicians? About the millions of dead people? Did the warmongering politicians really believe they could go on for decades with impunity beating up other peoples making a killing at the same time? We should no longer accept this! In the name of humanity, I call upon to: Defend yourselves!
Your JT

 

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/JuergenTodenhoefer

http://www.warumtoetestduzaid.de/

Talk Nation Radio: Salt Rebellion in U.S. Colonies and Sailing Food from Maine to Boston

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-salt-rebellion-in-us-colonies-and-sailing-food-from-maine-to-boston

Why sail food from Maine to Boston, and what do salt and the British colonies in North America have in common with Gandhi's India?

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha, and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Occupy Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She tours nationally speaking and educating in nonviolent civil resistance. Her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance. See http://riverasun.com

Marada Cook is a food entrepreneur who can be found at Crown O'Maine Organic Cooperative, Northern Girl, and Fiddler's Green Farm.

Read Rivera Sun's article "Maine Sail Freight Revives: A Salty History of Revolution, Independence."

Find the Maine Sail Freight at http://thegreenhorns.net

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Let It Shine

By Kathy Kelly

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna' let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

Imagine children lustily singing the above lines which eventually became a civil rights anthem. Their innocence and happy resolve enlightens us. Yes! In the face of wars, refugee crises, weapon proliferation and unaddressed climate change impacts, let us echo the common sense of children. Let goodness shine. Or, as our young friends in Afghanistan have put it, #Enough! They write the word, in Dari, on the palms of their hands and show it to cameras, wanting to shout out their desire to abolish all wars.

Let It Shine image two

This past summer, collaborating with Wisconsin activists, we decided to feature this refrain on signs and announcements for a 90-mile walk campaigning to end targeted drone assassinations abroad, and the similarly racist impunity granted to an increasingly militarized police force when they kill brown and black people within the U.S.

The Rise of the Permanent Prisoners of War

If someone has had the good fortune not to encounter the world of U.S. police and prisons, and the misfortune to learn about the world from U.S. schools, entertainment, and "news" media, a great place to start understanding one of the worst self-inflicted tragedies of our era would be with James Kilgore's short new book, Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time, followed up by Radley Balko's longer Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces.

Both books tell a story of gradual change over the past half-century that has resulted in the police going to war against people they were supposed to serve (call it a war on crime, a war on drugs, a war on terror, it's always in fact a war on people). And what do you do with people captured alive during a war? You lock them away as prisoners of war until the war ends. And if the war never ends? Well, then you bring back the death penalty, create life sentences for lots of crimes including for kids, impose mandatory minimums and three-strikes, and transform parole and probation from rehabilitation to reincarceration services.

The story of this gradual change is one of legal changes (court rulings and legislation), behavior, and popular belief -- with each of these influencing the other two in a vicious cycle. You can't quadruple a prison population in 40 years without instituting a different belief system. You can't ship black prisoners to be guarded by rural whites employed by for-profit companies, or lock up immigrants indefinitely while they await hearings, and not alter the belief system further. You can't run several successive election campaigns as contests in meanness and not see changes in policy and behavior. You can't give police military weapons and not expect them to adopt military attitudes, or give them military training and expect them not to want military weapons. You can't give crime 10 times the coverage on the "news" and not expect people to imagine crime is increasing. You can't start smashing in doors without alienating the police and the people from each other.

Kilgore reminds us that the popular movements of the 1960s had an impact on popular thought. Opposition to the death penalty peaked in 1965 and was over 50% from 1957 to 1972, dropping to 20% in 1990. In 1977 only 37% of people polled rated police officers' ethics as high, a number that rose to 78% in 2001 for no apparent substantive reason. As late as 1981 most Americans thought unemployment was the main cause of crime. We've since learned of course that crime is caused by evil demonic forces that possess the bad people of the earth.

The creation of the world's largest ever collection of permanent prisoners of war -- a trend that would translate perfectly to the war "on terror" abroad -- developed through cycles, including partisan cycles. That is to say, Nixon had a horrible impact, Carter briefly slowed the mad rush to prisonville, and Reagan and Bush built on Nixon's policies. The war on drugs was created as a means to militarize the police and involve the federal government in more local law enforcement, not the other war around. Reagan's attorney general announced early on that, "the Justice Department is not a domestic agency. It is the internal arm of the national defense." The end of the Cold War saw the military looking for new excuses to exist, and one of them would be the war on drugs.

When Clinton came along it again made a difference to have a Democrat in the White House, only this time for the worse. Bill Clinton and his would-be president wife and allies such as would-be president Joe Biden accelerated the march to suburban Siberia rather than slowing it. Under Clinton it became possible to throw people out of public housing for a single drug offense of any kind by anyone in the house. And yet Clinton was never evicted from his public housing despite the near certainty that someone in the White House used some kind of drug. Clinton brought us huge increases in incarceration, war weapons for police, and the shredding of social supports.

When the War on Terra began in 2001 whole new pathways to profit and police militarization opened up, including the beloved Fatherland's Department of Homeland Security, which has handed out tens of billions of dollars in "terror grants" that fund the terrorizing of the U.S. public. In 2006 the Buffalo, NY, police staged a series of drug raids they called "Operation Shock and Awe." Adding truly military grade incompetence to meanness, the New York Police Department raided an elderly couple's home over 50 times between 2002 and 2010 because their address had randomly been used as a placeholder in a computer system and remained in any report that had failed to include an address.

The arrival of Captain Peace Prize at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue continued the trends and added an escalation of the war on immigrants, as well as of the war weapons for the police programs.

But the partisan cycles are more subtle as well. As Balko recounts, Congress members and others opposed police militarization when the president was of the other party and supported it when he was from theirs, or opposed it when the discussion focused on drugs but supported it in matters of gun-control (or vice versa). Yet, each acceptance was two steps forward and each resistance one step back, so that what was outrageous one decade became the norm in the next.

National partisan tides and vicious cycles of ever increasing militarization interacted over the years with local advances. Los Angeles, and the leadership of Darryl Gates, brought SWAT teams to U.S. policing. The name originally stood for Special Weapons Attack Teams and the tactics were literally a bringing of the war on Vietnam home as Gates consulted with the military to learn what was supposedly working in Vietnam.

Let me close with the question with which Balko begins his book: Are police constitutional? The police, prisons, parole, and probation did not exist when the U.S. Constitution was created any more than did drones or the internet. The first thing in the United States like police was the slave patrol. The first modern police force in the United States was begun in New York City in 1845. I've argued at length elsewhere that drones are incompatible with the Bill of Rights. What about police?

The Third Amendment grew out of resistance to allowing soldiers to engage in any of the abuses that constitute the work of police. Need we accept those abuses? I think we can at the very least radically reduce them. To do so we will have to declare an end to the wars abroad and the wars at home. Balko quotes former Maryland police officer Neill Franklin on what changing police attitudes will require:

"Number one, you've signed on to a dangerous job. That means that you've agreed to a certain amount of risk. You don't get to start stepping on others' rights to minimize that risk you agreed to take on. And number two, your first priority is not to protect yourself, it's to protect those you've sworn to protect." But that would mean not being at war with people.

TV Commercials Urging U.S. Drone Operators to 'Refuse to Fly' Pulled from Air

Cable Provider Has Strong Links to Military Industry, Including Snowden Employer and Drone Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton

CLOVIS, NM – An international cable provider with links to the war industry is refusing to air television commercials produced by U.S. military veterans that are critical of the U.S. drone program, according to vets involved in the production of the spots.

While the controversial commercials – which urge U.S. military personnel to "Refuse to Fly" military drones – have run elsewhere in the U.S. without incident, Suddenlink Cable refused to air them. They were pulled after just a few days of being on the air.

Suddenlink is linked to a financial backer, The Carlyle Group, a major international arms investor which owns drone contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, Edward Snowden's former employer, according to KnowDrones.com, sponsor of the anti-drone commercials.

Booz Allen Hamilton is now contracting with the U.S. Air Force to do drone targeting analysis, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Suddenlink, the nation's seventh largest cable provider with 1.4 million customers in 17 states, pulled the spots within days of when they began airing in early July in Clovis, NM, seven miles from Cannon AFB. The base is home to the 3rd and 33rd Special Operations Squadrons that are reported to control MQ-9 Reaper drones in the skies over Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen and possibly elsewhere.

Suddenlink, despite repeated requests, refused to give any reason for cancelling the anti-drone commercials. 

The anti-drone commercials have run on FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN and other networks on Comcast, Cox and Time Warner throughout the country since early 2015, including near drone operation centers near Las Vegas, Sacramento, New York and Florida. The spots can be seen here.

Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com, said Suddenlink's decision to censor the ads may be because Suddenlink is controlled by Altice, owned by Patrick Drahi, described by the newspaper Haaretz as a "Franco-Israeli telecoms billionaire." Drahi is connected to the war industry through his association with the Carlyle and Cinven private equity firms; both are invested in the arms industry, and both are invested in Altice, which bought 70 percent of Suddenlink in May, 2015 for $9.1 billion.

"Suddenlink's decision to kill our ads raises the extremely disturbing possibility of censorship at the behest of Mr. Drahi, Carlyle, Booz Allen and the U.S. military. Through the images of children killed in drone attacks the American people can see the illegality and immorality of the U.S. policy of systematically killing people without due process. Suddenlink's decision to censor the spots shows how powerful the commercials are, and it reveals connections that give power to people who profit from war to literally remove the truth from the public airwaves so that Americans only see the sanitized version of how their tax dollars are killing and mutilating people around the world," said Mottern.

The “Refuse to Fly” message in the ad is reinforced by a letter from about 50 veterans to drone operators urging “drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/assassination missions.”

Via worldcantwait.org.

Which U.S. Senators Really Want War on Iran -- An Update

UPDATE:

Stabenow Yes takes potential No list down to 14. But Blumenthal is still undecided, so it's 15.

____________

This is an update to "Which U.S. Senators Want War on Iran." But Blumenthal is still undecided, so it's 15.

I've found there isn't really any way to touch on this topic without misunderstanding, but here's a try. Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program or threatened to launch a war against the U.S. or Israel. Many opponents of the Iran deal in the U.S. Congress and nearly every, if not every single, proponent of the agreement in the U.S. Congress has proposed war as the alternative. Some examples are here. The White House is even telling Congress that the agreement will make a future war easier -- as a selling point in favor of the deal.

Of course, war is NOT the only alternative to the agreement. The threat of war comes from the U.S. An alternative to that would be to simply stop threatening it. No deal is actually needed. The purpose it serves is to slow down a U.S. push for war.

Of course, many ordinary supporters and opponents of the agreement do not want a war. But with Washington offering two courses of action toward Iran: a deal that imposes tougher inspections than anyone else has to deal with, or bombs, one has to choose the inspections.

That is, a moral person does. The "I want a better deal" argument is cynically put forward by people who want no deal at all, even if supported by well-meaning people who have the misfortune to own televisions or read newspapers.

Of course, the Iranian government can be criticized in many areas, none of which are subject to improvement by bombing.

Here are people who have said they oppose the agreement or can't make up their mind about it yet:

Every Republican in the U.S. Senate plus these Democrats (the first two have said No, the rest Undecided):
Menendez (NJ)
Schumer (NY)
Wyden (OR)
Bennet (CO)
Booker (NJ)
Cantwell (WA)
Cardin (MD)
Casey (PA)
Coons (DE)
Heitkamp (ND)
Mikulski (MD)
Murray (WA)
Peters (MI)
Stabenow (MI)
Warner (VA)

This is a much shorter list than what it was when I previously wrote on this topic. In fact, it's at 15, which is almost down to the 13 needed to kill the agreement. Get it down to 12 and the agreement survives. That means two more Democratic senators can come around to the Yes position on the Iran deal and the deal still die. Almost certainly at least those two will. Whether a third does, or more do, is the real question.

When measures voted on are popular with funders but unpopular with the public, they very often pass with no more than exactly the votes needed. Sometimes word leaks out about the deals that have been cut. Senators and House members take their turns giving the unpopular votes demanded by funders and "leadership." The trick here is that the "leadership" is split between Obama's and Biden's YES and (would be Senate leader) Schumer's NO.

The fifteen people named above have had PLENTY of time to conclude that many of their colleagues want to risk a war and to understand that the agreement is preferable to that. It's time for us to let them know we will not stand for them getting this wrong and will never forget it if they do. Here's what I'm asking about my senator, Mark Warner:

Here's what World Beyond War is doing to try to correct the myth that Iran is the origin of the threat of war in this affair:

iranthreatSITE

We must uphold the Iran agreement, but upholding it while pretending that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, or is threatening anyone, will not create a stable and lasting foundation for peace. Upholding an agreement with both proponents and opponents threatening war as an alternative is perilous as well as immoral, illegal, and — given the outcome of similar recent wars based on similar recent propaganda — insane.

You can spread the above message on Facebook here, Twitter here, Instagram here, Tumblr here, and Google+ here.

In the U.S. sign these petitions: one, two, and join these events.

More events all over the world, and tools for creating your own are here.

Outside the U.S., people can contact the nearest U.S. Embassy.

Environmentalist Writer Claims Military Saves Lives

Jeremy Deaton seems to be a fine writer on the subject of climate change right up until he stumbles across the propaganda of the U.S. military. I highlight this as the latest example of something that is so typical as to be nearly universal. This is a pattern across major environmental groups, environmental books, and environmentalists by the thousands. In fact, it's in no way limited to environmentalists, it's just that in the case of environmentalism, blindness to the damage done by the U.S. military is particularly dramatic in its impact.

U.S. Bows Out After Plowshares Conviction is Vacated: Appeals Court Ill-Informed on Nuclear Overkill

By John LaForge

The 2012 Transform Now Plowshares anti-nuclear action made the “Fort Knox” of weapons-grade uranium look like “F Troop.” Three senior peace activists got through four chain-link fences and past multiple “lethal force” zones before stringing banners, spray-painting slogans and pouring blood on the Highly-Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – all without being noticed by guards.

The guard that finally spotted the three activists – Sr. Megan Rice, 85, of New York City, Greg Boertje-Obed, 60, of Duluth, and Michael Walli, 66, of Washington, D.C. – testified that he knew a peace protest when he saw one. He had watched a lot of them while on duty at Rocky Flats, the former plutonium warhead factory near Denver, Colorado. That’s why he shrugged off official protocol and didn’t draw his gun on Greg, Megan and Michael that night.

Never again—Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s 70th Anniversary Commemoration

By Blase Bonpane

A holocaust began on this day in 1945 and has continued to the present. Some 30 million people have been sacrificed. It was then Korea, Indo-China, Central and South America, Panama and Grenada. And for the past 24 years the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and much of Africa.

And now all of the military hubris, waste, murder, torture and rape must be put aside and channeled into saving our common home . . . this tiny grain of sand called planet Earth.

Never has there been a greater danger of nuclear holocaust than today. The United States and Israel are certainly the most apt to use these biocidal weapons. There is not now nor has there ever been any value in what was called deterrence. There is only crisis.

The United States does not obey the nuclear non-proliferation treaty Israel is not even a member and both point the finger at a nation which is open to inspection and is a member and yet has no nuclear weapons . . . Iran.

Women Who Crossed Korean DMZ Call for Restraint and Dialogue

The exchange of fire across the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea is rapidly spiraling out of control and could escalate into a full-scale war. Women peacemakers who crossed the DMZ in May urgently call leaders of South Korea, North Korea and the United States to exercise restraint and return to the long-abandoned table for dialogue.

The tit-for-tat began on August 4th when a landmine exploded on the southern border of the DMZ and shattered the legs of two South Korean soldiers. In response, South Korean President Park Geun-hye erected massive speakers to blast anti North Korean propaganda across the DMZ. North Korea retaliated by launching a rocket at a loudspeaker, and South Korea fired back 36 artillery shells. Pyongyang has ordered North Korean troops along the front line and has set a 5 pm Korea Standard Time deadline for South Korea to turn off its speakers. Meanwhile, the U.S.-R.O.K. temporarily halted military exercises in what some fear is to prepare for retaliation.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Aug 22, 2015


Exclusive: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest - Reuters


Declassify Dates of Some Clinton's Emails Raise Questions - VOA


Snipers, vehicle moves among classified data emailed to Clinton - Bloomberg


U.S. said to probe how classified data got on Clinton’s Server, blending info from multiple sources that included classified content - Bloomberg


Court says Clinton emails broke 'government policy', orders State Department to get FBI findings on Clinton e-mails - Washington Times


State Department did nothing to protect Clinton emails after hack - McClatchy DC


Critics say new State Department guidelines meant to 'chill' employee speech - Fox News


Denver-based Platte River Networks questioned by U.S. Senate over Hillary Clinton email server - 7NEWS Denver


Clinton’s Email Server Firm Scrubs ‘Data-Disposal’ References from Website, Hiding a Partnership with a Company Specialized in '100 Percent Data Destruction' - Washington Free Beacon


VIDEO: The IT Firm That Managed Hillary Clinton's Private Server Speaks Out - Fox News


Clinton Blames The Fed's 'Ridiculous Classification Rules' - The Daily Caller


The Real Clinton Email Scandal: Our Ridiculous Classification Rules - POLITICO Magazine


Intel, Military Officials Fire Back At Hillary’s Over-Classification Tweet - The Daily Caller


Watchdog: Two National Security Laws Appear Broken in Clinton Email Scandal - Washington Free Beacon


Everything you need to know about how the State Department classifies information - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Hillary For America's campaign Press Secretary, Brian Fallon, is here to fact check tweets about the emails controversy - YouTube


Déjà Vu: When Bill Clinton Pardoned His Former CIA Director over Classified Documents on His Home Computer - National Review Online

 

---------------------------------------------------------

Decision nearing, Biden games out mechanics of a 2016 run - Chicago Tribune


Biden buzz grows amid new polling, ‘draft’ movement picks up key adviser - Fox News


VIDEO: Draft Biden movement gains momentum, Interview with former Obama campaign adviser Steve Schale - MSNBC


Hollywood Panic: Hillary Clinton's Email Scandal Has Some Donors Whispering, 'Joe Biden' - thewrap.com


Swing-State Quinnipiac Poll Suggests Joe Biden Opening - Bloomberg Politics


POLL: Quinnipiac: Clinton Has Nearly 2-to-1 Dishonesty Ratings in Key Swing States - Washington Free Beacon


Full text of results of the 2016 Presidential Swing State Polls Poll - Quinnipiac University 

 

POLL: A Fox 2 Detroit/Mitchell Research poll shows Republicans beating Clinton in Michigan - Washington Examiner


Democrats urge Clinton to offer better explanation of emails - AP


NBC: Democrats Think the Clinton Campaign Is ‘In Denial’ Over Email Scandal (VIDEO) - Washington Free Beacon

 

Fellow diplomats question Clinton's email defense - POLITICO


VIDEO: Email controversy sheds lights on Clinton's confidante Huma Abedin - CNN


Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin tried to force past Secret Service without ID - Daily Mail Online


Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowds to His ‘Political Revolution’ - The New York Times


Martin O’Malley puts pressure on Clinton with new Social Security plan - POLITICO


Clinton Campaign On Alert For Undercover Conservative Sting - time.com


The Hamptons where Hillary feels at home, Clintons prefer to vacation next to the rich one percent - POLITICO


The joke third-party presidential candidate Deez Nuts tops Trump, Clinton in Internet traffic - TheHill


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

When $8.5 Trillion is Chump Change

Three cheers for Reuters pointing out that the Pentagon can't explain what it did with $8.5 trillion that taxpayers gave it between 1996 and 2013.

Three trillion cheers for a blogger who is pointing out that this fact renders many other concerns ludicrous, and recommending that people bring it up at every opportunity:

"What's that? Body cameras for all cops will be too expensive? How about we find 1/10,000th of the money we sent to the Pentagon."

"Oh really? There's 500 million in provable food stamp fraud going to poor people how about the $8.5 TRILLION the pentagon can't account for?"

"Oh really? You think Obamacare is going to cost us almost a trillion dollars over 15 years? How about the 8.5 Trillion that just disappeared into the ether at the Pentagon? What's your take on that?"

"Oh really, you're concerned about deficit spending and the debt? Fully 1/3 of the national debt is money we sent the Pentagon and they can't tell us where it went. It's just gone."

"College for everyone will cost too much? You must be really pissed at the 8.5 Trillion, with a 't', dollars the pentagon's spent and can't tell us where it went."

This is all very good as far as it goes, whether you like the body cameras or corporate health insurance or other items or not. We could add an unlimited number of items including some expressing our concern for the other 96% of humanity:

"You can end starvation and unclean water for tens of billions of dollars; what about that $8.5 trillion?"

Et cetera.

But here's my real concern. The $8.5 trillion is just the bit that the Pentagon can't account for. That's far from all the money it was given. U.S. military spending, spread across several departments with the biggest chunk of it to the Department of so-called Defense, is upwards of $1 trillion every year. Over 17 years at the current rate, which rose sharply after 2001, that's upwards of $17 trillion.

Imagine that the Pentagon accounted for every dime of that missing $8.5 trillion, named every profiteer, documented the life history of every man, woman, and child killed, and passed the strictest audit by an independent team of 1,000 accountants reporting to 35 Nobel Laureates -- if that happened, I ask you, exactly what difference would it make?

Why is the $8.5 trillion that went to unknown purposes worse than the other trillions that went to known and named weapons and dictators and militants and recruitment campaigns? The documented and accounted for spending all went to evil purposes. Presumably the unaccounted for "waste" did the same. What's the difference between the two?

As World Beyond War points out, war has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what's thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government's discretionary budget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.

Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twice as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures. The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.

It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs — with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.

Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved -- thus concentrating wealth.

While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.

Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates’ wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.

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