Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice: Halfway Across the Country Now

By Dan Monte

Parting Shot

I left from Marin County, just north of San Francisco, to LA on Memorial day, and then on June 15 headed east toward Washington D.C. I have ridden over 1,600 miles and climbed more than 40,000 feet of mountains. I will be traveling Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri the next few weeks and hope to arrive in DC mid to late September.

I view this as a necessary pilgrimage for me. I want to raise awareness that climate change, which threatens our civilization, is only intensified by war, and that there is no solution to climate change that does not include peace.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report 2013

This is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a demarcation notifying us that industrial warfare can end civilization. Clearly we the people of this earth are at a critical juncture, whether to work in peaceful cooperation to solve the consequences of climate change or whether out of fear we wreak havoc through war. Polls show we have collectively lost trust that our good intentions are the leading motives of our leaders’ actions. My hope lies in the faith that we can change this and that in other countries there are people such as us.

But we are accustomed to viewing issues as independent of each other, war and the environment as not connected. And yet our Department of "Defense" has been telling us for many years now that climate change is a serious national security threat. Indeed it is a global security threat that is destabilizing our world. We must understand that military force forgoes the international cooperation needed for solving our climate problem. War reverses all of our progress on improving environmental standards. It is extremely carbon intensive. Our task is to stand firm against the evangelists of war and to reject their fear mongering. The rejection of militarism is necessary -- it is the only course towards climate solutions.

The effects of climate change are not limited to melting Arctic ice sheets.

Climate change drought is causing civil strife and provoking war. A multi-year drought in Syria caused the migration of the rural population into the cities and threatened the stability of their imperfect government that has turned into ‘a major civil war with international involvement.’ Scientific studies report that in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a 30-year correlation of climate changes ‘with an increase in the likelihood of civil war.’ Additionally food shortages caused by climate change have been found to be a contributing factor in the Arab Spring uprisings. (Scientific American, March 2, 2015)

The world population is on course to increase 30% in the next few decades. Many countries are now incapable of producing enough food for their current population. Overdrawn aquifers and drought have depleted once abundant land. Additionally sea level rise will diminish many productive river deltas from food production.

Americans have a special role to play in world affairs.

The US accounts for nearly half of all military spending worldwide. Our leaders are correct in telling us that we are the strongest military power on earth. What they leave out is that this great force is limited to destruction and chaos as evidenced by its recent use in conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq from Libya to Syria. We have given the whole of the 20th century to perpetual war. How much time can we give to peaceful solutions, to negotiated solutions?

It takes significant fear-mongering to turn people towards war. The images of the World Trade Towers falling and the beheadings of innocents are such propaganda. These are real events, horrifying, and they terrorize us. What we fail to see is that our interventionist policies and militaristic actions are part of the cause and are not the solution. It is our responsibility, if we are serious about reversing climate change, that we face our fears and question closely what alternatives there are for this violence. 

What outcomes are forgone by following the path of war? 

What are possible unintended consequences? 

What can be gained by peaceful initiatives? 

International cooperation, the hallmark of peace, is necessarily part of the solution. We cannot wage war or threaten to do so and at the same time expect to receive the assistance we need to reverse the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

We can chose leaders that have a track record for constructive action.

We have to demand of our leaders that they abandon acting like 19th-century imperialists, militarily dominating others for their resources. It doesn’t add to our security and in fact it puts us in greater jeopardy. And it is completely unnecessary in a global economy. We need to end war as it is the antithesis of the peaceful cooperation we need. Climate change is the real threat to our security. Environmentalists need to assert that there exists no military path to climate security.

I will be posting at: Bicyclingforpeace.blogspot.com

Focus: Hillary Clinton - July 25, 2015

 

Federal investigators discover classified information in Clinton emails, say those secrets should never have been on Hillary server - New York Times


GOP Lawmakers renew calls for probe of Clinton's private server - Washington Examiner


Statement by Chairman Gowdy on Reports of Classified Information in Secretary Clinton’s Emails - Select Committee on Benghazi


Hillary Clinton: The New York Times Report of Email Probe Has 'a Lot of Inaccuracies’ (VIDEO) - NBC News


Cummings Responds to Inaccurate Leaks to New York Times on Clinton Emails - Select Committee on Benghazi, Democrats


Text of the State Department and Intelligence Community inspectors general’s memos on Clinton emails - documentcloud.org


Inspectors General's joint statement explaining that the referral was not criminal in nature, “it was a security referral made for counterintelligence purposes” - Mediaite


Text of the Intelligence Community Inspector General's letter to congressional committee leaders on Clinton emails - images.politico.com


VIDEO (at minute 3:00): Press Briefing of State Department spokesman Mark Toner who says they did not believe that Clinton sent classified information through her personal email - YouTube


Judge: State Department Will “Answer For” Any Destruction of Clinton Emails - judicialwatch.org


State Department Hid Clinton Aide’s Special Job Status, Grassley Charges - The American Spectator

 

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POLL: Sanders Surges While Clinton Sags in U.S. Favorability, Hillary is at its Lowest Level Since 2007 - gallup.com


Dem fears over Clinton’s strength grow after new Quinnipiac poll - TheHill


POLL: Clinton In Trouble In Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds - Quinnipiac University


Hillary Clinton focuses on economy amid email controversy - CNNPolitics.com


VIDEO (Full): Hillary Clinton Remarks on the Economy - C-SPAN.org


Hillary Clinton Isn’t Going As Far As Her Democratic Rivals on Minimum Wage - ABC News


Wall Street Is Putting Money Behind These Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio - huffingtonpost.com


Hillary Clinton's Biggest Campaign Bundlers Are Fossil Fuel Lobbyists - huffingtonpost.com


Lobbyists for Monsanto, ExxonMobil Raise Money for Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics


Does Hillary Clinton have a small donor problem? - theweek.com


Top Hillary Clinton Fundraisers Also Big Donors to Foundation - WSJ


Most Hillary bundlers also gave to Clinton Foundation - Washington Examiner


Clinton Foundation Tax Records Raise Questions About How Funds Are Used, Salaries of Executives Total $30 million in 2013, $8M in Travel Costs - Radar Online


Bill Clinton’s Limo Service to Hermès Cost Taxpayers $8,852 - Washington Free Beacon


Bill Clinton's half brother Roger was paid $100k to influence the president - Daily Mail Online


Arms dealer: Obama DOJ prosecuting me to protect Hillary, Claims administration covering up 2011 scheme to arm Libyan ‘rebels’ - WND

 

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

Elephant In The Room: The Pentagon's Massive Carbon Footprint

(Image: Anthony Freda. Used with permission)

It’s not news that climate change threatens the security of every person on planet Earth. The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts 6-16 inches of sea level rise by the year 2050. The threat is apparent in the Marshall Islands, which just set its own ambitious goal for reducing carbon emissions in the wake of catastrophic storms and coastal flooding in the South Pacific. The threat is apparent in California, where prolonged drought has led to wildfires like the one that crossed a busy highway and caused several vehicles to explode in flames.  The threat of weather extremes is apparent in Sydney, Australia, which saw snowfall this winter for the first time since 1836.

George Clooney Opposes War Profiteering While African

George Clooney is being paid by the world’s top two war profiteers, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, to oppose war profiteering by Africans disloyal to the U.S. government’s agenda.

Way back yonder before World War II, war profiteering was widely frowned on in the United States. Those of us trying to bring back that attitude, and working for barely-funded peace organizations, ought to be thrilled when a wealthy celebrity like George Clooney decides to take on war profiteering, and the corporate media laps it up.

“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” said Clooney — without encountering anything like the blowback Donald Trump received when he criticized John McCain.

Really, is that all it takes to give peace a chance, a celebrity? Will the media now cover the matter of who funds opponents of the Iran deal, and who funds supporters of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.?

Well, no, not really.

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, The Pivot to Eurasia

 This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

How We Teach Violence to Children

By David Soleil

As thoughtful, caring parents, we would never want to teach our kids that violence is the answer to any or every problem.  We want our children to learn to get along with others, share, be kind, say "excuse me," and try their best at an empathetic, "I'm sorry."

I thought I was attuned to the violence that surrounds us in American culture.  However, a trip to our local department store with my kids yesterday was shocking.  We stepped into the toy aisles.  Here is a quick rundown of the toys and action figures, in order...

  • Batman
  • Power Rangers
  • Star Wars
  • Elite Force - modern Army/military toys
  • Professional Wrestling

Next aisle:

  • More Power Rangers
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Spider-Man
  • Super Hero Smashers
  • Marvel Comics Characters - Hulk, Avengers, Captain America, etc.
  • Transformers

End cap:

  • Horror Series - Michael Meyers action figure from Halloween movies and Eric Draven from the Crow
  • Game of Thrones
  • Magic
  • HALO

Next Aisle:

  • Super Hero Adventures - these are tiny cute versions of Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman and Hulk for younger kids.

Notice a pattern here?  Every toy, without exception, uses violence and weapons to cause pain and/or death as their solution to problems.  Then, with the Horror Series, we are supposed to play Serial Killer? Seriously?

What message does this send our children?  Violence is heroic.  Violence is the solution to all problems.  Violence is a super power.  

We are aghast and outraged when we see ISIS beheading a person on the nightly news, yet our children play out the same gruesome scenarios with the toys we get them for their birthday, the movies we take them to see, the comic books we buy for them, the shows they watch on TV, and the video games we buy for them.  

What is a solution for this?  Do I want a Selma action figure series at Target?  Perhaps a Gandhi bobble-head?  (Yes, that one exists...)  

While that would be nice, the solution that I seek is to empower parents to take a stand for your values.  Take a stand for peace-making.  Take a stand for selfless service to others, out of compassion and empathy.  Your children are looking to you to define how to interact with the world.  Talk with them about your values, especially at Target, and especially in the toy aisle.  How do you solve problems?  Connect it to your faith or your belief system.  What does it mean to you to be a Christian?  A Muslim?  A Unitarian Universalist?  A Humanitarian?  Who are the super heroes in your life and why?        

Suddenly, those plastic "super heroes" and weapons seem pretty silly and your family's connections, values and relationships have grown much deeper.  Stand strong.  Put peace into their hands.  Leave the violence on the shelf.  

David Soleil, syndicated by PeaceVoice,  is the former Chair of the Leadership Education group for the International Leadership Association, a founder and staff member at the K-12 Sudbury School of Atlanta.

The Golden Rule Sets Sail from Eureka to San Diego

Sailing for a Nuclear Free World

EUREKA, CALIFORNIA - The historic Golden Rule peace boat, restored by Veterans For Peace and many friends, sets sail from the Eureka marina at noontime on Thursday, July 23, on its way to San Diego.

The 30-foot ketch and its crew ignited an international movement to stop the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in 1958, when they attempted to sail into a nuclear bomb test zone in the Marshall Islands.  The Golden Rule will now continue its mission to educate millions of people about the perils of nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear weapons are still with us and the threat of nuclear war is very real,” said the Golden Rule’s captain David Robson, a Veterans For Peace member from Baltimore, Maryland. “We are dismayed that the U.S. government plans to invest One Trillion Dollars into upgrading its nuclear arsenal, instead of reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons, as called for in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”

Joining David Robson on the sail to San Diego is first mate Jan Passion of Pleasant Hills, California, and crew members Michael Gonzales of Trinidad, California and Helen Jaccard of Seattle, Washington.

“The ongoing nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, Japan reminds us of the dangers of radiation poisoning posed by nuclear power plants,” said Golden Rule crew member Helen Jaccard.  “Nuclear power is the flip side of nuclear weapons, and we don’t need either of them,” said Jaccard.

The first voyage of the renewed Golden Rule sailboat will be from Eureka on California’s north coast to San Diego near the U.S./Mexico border. After an estimated 7-10 days, the Golden Rule will arrive in time for the national convention of Veterans For Peace, August 5-9.  That week is also the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more than 200,000 people.  The convention theme is “Peace and Reconciliation in the Pacific.”

In Eureka, there is a sense of shared pride and joy among those who have worked hard for the last five years to see this day. 

“This little wooden boat is a honey,” said Leroy Zerlang, whose boatyard has been home to the Golden Rule during five years of restoration by volunteers.  “We all want to live in a peaceful world.  My family and staff were very happy to do our part,” said Zerlang.

The Golden Rule will return to Eureka in October, after visiting ports along the California coast as it works its way north from San Diego.  Over the next ten years, the Golden Rule will carry its message of peace around the United States and possibly around the world.

Follow the progress of the Golden Rule on its website, www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org

Greece News - July 23, 2015

 

Greece PM Tsipras Wins Parliamentary Backing For EU Bailout Reforms - ekathimerini.com


ECB provides $980 million cash Injection to Greek banks ahead of the key vote in parliament on judicial and banking reforms - VOA


Moscovici says Greece, creditors seek to finalise bailout deal by mid-August - AFP


Greek companies forced out of business because of restrictions on foreign transfers even after banks reopened: Chamber of Commerce - Independent


Thousands protest as Greece votes on bailout bill - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Greece: Protesters throw Molotov cocktails at riot police in front of parliament - YouTube


VIDEO: Athens anti bailout deal protesters set TV van on fire - YouTube


Standard & Poor's upgrades Greece's credit rating to 'CCC+' as fears of collapse dissipate - Associated Press


Eurostat: Greek govt debt decreased compared to the first quarter of 2014, dropping by 5.5% - GreekReporter.com


It's Not Just Greece: Total European Debt Hits New All Time High - Zero Hedge


Government debt rose to 92.9% of GDP in euro area, First quarter of 2015 compared with fourth quarter of 2014 - EUROSTAT


Can Greece Get A Handle On Its Notorious Tax System? - NPR


German media eyes Greek public assets sell-off in privatization push - protothemanews.com


Greece's EU Migrant Crisis: Thousands Of Refugees Flock To Islands As Greece Sinks Under Debt - ibtimes.com


Greek PM Tsipras Allegedly Asked Russia for $10 Bln to Print Drachmas - GreekReporter.com


Drachma? Never heard of that: Tsipras never addressed Russia with a request to provide Greece with financial assistance in order to print its own currency, Kremlin spokesman - Cihan Economy News


Greece is more useful to Russia inside the EU than out - blogs.ft.com

 

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

German coalition in turmoil over Schäuble, Vice Chancellor Gabriel accuses the finance minister of being unreasonable over Greece - EurActiv


Awkward Alliance Running Germany Exposed by Greek Crisis - Bloomberg Business


The Man Behind the Iron Chancellor - Foreign Policy


Pierre Moscovici pushes Angela Merkel on debt relief for Greece - Irish Examiner


There is little legal basis for Wolfgang Schäuble’s claim that debt restructuring is incompatible with euro membership - EUROPP


Bernanke seeks long term Greek solutions, says Germany succeeding in a monetary union at the expense of others - valuewalk.com


Bernanke blog post: Greece and Europe, Is Europe holding up its end of the bargain? - Brookings Institution


New IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld is a euro visionary - Bloomberg


IMF Brings in New Enforcer Delia Velculescu to Deal With Greece - EconomicPolicyJournal.com


Sachs blog post: Germany, Greece, And The Future Of Europe - socialeurope.eu


Krugman blog post: Europe’s impossible dream: the euro has turned into a Roach Motel, a trap that’s hard to escape - The New York Times


This is what economists, like Krugman, don’t understand about the euro crisis – or the U.S. dollar - The Washington Post


EU launches € 315bn investment fund to boost Europe’s economy - RT Business


Press release: Investment Plan for Europe: European Fund for Strategic Investments ready for take-off in autumn - European Commission


VIDEO: 'Juncker’s plan' to boost EU investment - euronews


8 Projects of 6 EU Countries among First Batch to Get Funding under ‘Juncker Plan’ - Novinite.com


Europe’s Economy Could Grow 1.7% in 2016 - Barron’s


Why 2016 may be Europe's best year in decade - cnbc.com


French business confidence hits four-year high - The Guardian


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

Armed Insecurity

By Robert C. Koehler

“. . . no real security, just powers of retaliation.”

This was Norman Mailer, four-plus decades ago, writing in Miami and the Siege of Chicago about the obsessive security measures – “helicopters riding overhead like roller coasters, state troopers with magnums on their hip and crash helmets, squad cars, motorcycles” – at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, which . . . uh, didn’t actually provide security, but sure allowed us to get even afterwards.

This is still the unnoticed insanity haunting the American news cycle, whether the story being reported is domestic or international. As a society, we’re armed and dangerous – and always at war, both collectively and individually. We’re endlessly declaring bad guys (officially and unofficially) and endlessly protecting ourselves from them, in the process guaranteeing that the violence continues. And the parallels between “them” and “us” are unnerving.

Jon Stewart Blew Last Chance to Ask Obama a Question

Jon Stewart interviewed President Obama for the last time and told jokes instead of asking questions.

If Stewart retires, where will we find someone willing to let Obama spew nonsense at such length unchallenged?

I discussed Obama's interview on RT on Wednesday, and someone asked me to post the Youtube, but RT has to do that, not me. So here's the gist of what I think.

Stewart said to Obama: you've tried bombing and overthrowing leaders and arming rebels and ... what's that new thing ... oh yeah, diplomacy.

Everybody laughed.

Obama talked up the Iran deal.

Stewart should have asked Obama a question, such as, "If you prefer diplomacy in this case, why not in many other cases where you seem to prefer war?" He could have followed up by asking about each war.

Military Conscription Worldwide

By CJ Hinke
Excerpted from Free Radicals: War Resisters in Prison by CJ Hinke, forthcoming from Trine-Day in 2016.

Incredibly, in the 21st-century, roughly half of the world’s nation-states practice military conscription. According to Wikipedia, the countries on this list may still be enforcing military conscription.

In all cases, registration is required but military service may not be; this practice would certainly yield a number of draft refusers. In some cases, other forms of national service are compulsory which also generate principled refusal.

Starred * countries list provisions for alternative service or conscientious objection which exemption would also result in absolutist refusers; in some cases, the right to conscientious objection is constitutional. Failure by governments to provision conscientious objection or alternative service contravenes United Nation conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18), to which almost all these nation-states are party.

Panem et Presidential Elections

I know you like the elephants and the acrobats, but we really do not have time for this.

The U.S. presidential election is very far away. There's a measurable rise in the ocean, the construction of numerous new military bases, a decision on peace or war with Iran, a push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, intense antagonization of Russia, and more than likely another month-long bombing of Gaza between now and then.

We should be engaged in intense, all-out, creative, nonviolent resistance. We should be reforming or revolutionizing the election process, among much else. Even when elections have not been financed and reported on primarily by a wealthy elite with debates run by two parties, they haven't tended to be the means by which important social change has come.

We need radical change, and the election process isn't even advertising it. One of the chief sources of U.S. election funding, Sheldon Adelson, dismisses the idea of democracy because it's not in the Bible. And of course Adelson is up-to-date compared with some of the people he funds. At least 32 Republicans are running, apparently with a collective IQ that hardly reaches three figures. For them I'd be willing to revive the Confederacy, give it lots of flags, and locate it in the portions of the Southeast expected to fall below the rising ocean (as long as Donald Trump is charged extra for beach properties!).

Of course Jill Stein has great positions, but let's face it, the Democrats are not up to the task. Hillary Clinton has replaced FDR's four freedoms with "the four fights." It turns out she's in favor of families, America, democracy, and economics (who knew?), or at least she wants to fight with them. Oh, and she also wants to fight with Iran, ISIS, China, and Russia -- each of which is apparently somehow harming our "values." Then there's Bernie Sanders who pretends that the 54% of federal discretionary spending that goes to militarism just doesn't exist. Military? What military? Martin O'Malley has the same approach. Lincoln Chafee claims very briefly and vaguely to oppose wars. Jim Webb adds a bit more to his claim to oppose wars, but makes clear that he wants to fund militarism while expecting doing so not to produce more wars. Chafee and Webb are the worst on non-war issues, unless you compare Clinton's and O'Malley's actual records to their stated desires. Sanders is the best on non-war issues but might do little to slow the rush toward bigger and more frequent wars.

A decent candidate with a basic grasp of the problem of war addiction would say something like this, and no Democrat or Republican is anywhere close to saying it:

Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Message in a Bottle from My Mother

Requiem for the Home Front
A Cheer for Irma the Caricaturist
By Tom Engelhardt

Greece News - July 21, 2015


Greece Adjusts to New Normal as Banks Reopen - US News


3 week bank shutdown cost Greek economy €3 billion: report - The Property Gazette


New Data Show How Bad Things Were for Greek Banks the Week Capital Controls Were Introduced - Bloomberg Business


Greece repays crucial €4.2bn to ECB and €2bn to IMF - Reuters


Greece does about-face, pledges privatization push - AP


Greece becomes more expensive after VAT hikes, Low VAT rates remain in medicine, theater tickets and books - GreekReporter.com


Greek VAT rises: what they pay compared to other European countries - World First Blog


Greece’s Tsipras Shakes Up Cabinet in Bid to Rebuild Government - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide


VIDEO: New Greek ministers sworn in after Tsipras reshuffle - YouTube


Merkel opens the door to cutting Greek debt burden by extending maturities and reducing interest rates, but not writedowns - Bloomberg


French President Francois Hollande calls for creation of eurozone government after Greece crisis - Reuters


IMF names advocate of eurozone integration as chief economist - FT.com


Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn addressing “German friends” on Greece - fr.slideshare.net

 

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

Goldman Sachs Facing Heat As Greek Crisis Mounts - valuewalk.com


How Goldman Sachs profited from the Greek debt crisis - CSMonitor.com


Did Wall Street Enable Greek Debt Crisis? - Al Jazeera America


Goldman Sachs could be sued for helping hide debts when Greece joined euro - The Independent


Greek debt crisis: Meet the Goldman Sachs banker Antigone Loudiadis who got rich getting Greece into the euro - The Independent


Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein has become a billionaire - Crain's New York Business


UK Treasury minister was managing director at Goldman Sachs which ‘cooked the books’ for Greek government - Political Scrapbook


Plenty Deserve Blame for Greece’s Woes, but Maybe Not Goldman Sachs - The New York Times


ARCHIVE: Goldman Secret Greece Loan Shows Two Sinners as Client Unravels (2012) - Bloomberg Business


VIDEO ARCHIVE: Goldman Sachs, Eurostat, and cooked Greek books - BBC


EuroZone Profiteers: How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece - Common Dreams


A Greek default would have massive repercussions for Deutsche Bank and by implication the entire European banking system - Irish Examiner


Greece’s 2010 assistance program was largely a bailout of European banks, initiated to prevent a wider banking crisis - interfluidity


ARCHIVE: It is not the people of Greece who have benefitted from bailout loans, but the European and Greek banks which recklessly lent money to the Greek State (Jan, 2015) - jubileedebt.org.uk


ARCHIVE: Greek Bail-Out: 77% went into the Financial Sector (2013) - Attac Österreich

 

ARCHIVE: The Greek Debt Restructuring: An Autopsy (2013) - scholarship.law.duke.edu


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

Talk Nation Radio: Ukraine and the Checkmating of the West

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-ukraine-and-the-checkmating-of-the-west

Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong are the authors of Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated. We speak with both of them about the book and the current crisis in Ukraine.

A review of Ukraine by David Swanson is here: http://davidswanson.org/node/4799

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Actually There Is One Problem That's Solved by Starting Wars

Walter Kloefkorn tells me a story from 24 years ago: 
 
"Near the end of my Silicon Valley career in manufacturing I was Materials Director for Biomation Corp, which made logic analyzers. (We may still have been a subsidiary of Gould Inc - some other subsidiary of which was the originator of the infamously expensive coffee pots, hammers, and toilet seats, I don't recall.) We got a contract with the military, somewhat to our amazement because we could figure no good reason for them to buy 100 of our $30,000 logic analyzers. They were mostly used to design integrated circuits, not something the military did. They could be used to repair electronic equipment, but it would have been a lot cheaper and easier for their techs to just use digital oscilloscopes. Our honest assessment was that we'd just sold some to the FAA (we couldn't figure out what they were going to do with them either), and the Air Force wanted to have some too.  

"In any event, I had to get involved with the shipment as I was the only person who had any experience with the military's arcane procedures for packaging and shipment. We were approaching the first shipment date, so I called the supply sergeant, who I had carefully cultivated with lunches and beers so there wouldn't be any problems on that end. We'd had a problem, however, with a mandatory engineering change making the cost of getting new PCBs made and replaced in time to meet the schedule hugely expensive. And then Saddam invaded Kuwait. So I called the sergeant up and asked him (without too much desperation in my voice, I hoped) whether the outbreak of hostilities would impact our schedule. To my relief he replied that he did want to delay our shipments, that he'd been trying to get a chance to call me, he was insanely busy at the moment. I replied that yes, it must be quite a job to get ready for the invasion and keep our brave troops supplied after. (I was bicycling the 18 miles to work with a sign on the back of my bike that said, "Runs on US beer, not Middle East Oil, No War for Oil.") He said, 'Hell, no, that's not it. We've got warehouses full of stuff stored that we don't need or want. Now that hostilities have broken out, I've got to get it all shipped to the war zone so we can declare it destroyed in action and get it off our books.' I was pretty much speechless, muttered something about I wish he hadn't told me that."

Desertion: A Long, Proud History

It’s not a job, it’s an adventure, or
wearing your own clothes is the new camo
By CJ Hinke
Excerpted from Free Radicals: War Resisters in Prison by CJ Hinke, forthcoming from Trine-Day in 2016.

There are as many reasons to desert military service as there are deserters. All countries’ militaries like to snatch young men when they are uneducated, inexperienced, and unemployed. It takes a soldier far greater courage to throw down his weapon than to kill a stranger.

There are deserters in every country that has an armed forces. Armies demand blind obedience and human beings crave liberty.

Why do men desert? Certainly not from cowardice. It takes far more courage to break from the pack and its reliance upon rabid nationalism. 36% of men facing battle for the first time were more afraid of being labeled a coward than of being wounded or killed.

Help Place Anti-Drone Ad in Air Force Times

Please send checks to: VFP - Chap. 87, PO Box 191244, Sacramento, CA  95819

droneopad

New TCBH! poem: 'Holding the door'

I watched a man whipping an apple tree.
I held the door open to him.
I knew that when he got tired
he would turn around and see me
holding the door for him.
And maybe he would come inside and we could talk.
I could see that many of the trees in his orchard
bore the scars of the whippings
they had received over the years.
Some of the older trees were bent over and knotted
as if riddled with pain.
Finally he turned around.
Who are you? he asked.
I am your door-man, I said.
I never saw you before, or that door.
Has that ever helped, I asked?
Whipping your trees?
It helps quiet my demons, said he.
And then I saw that the grass was crawling
with a nasty host of creeping and flying
and buzzing creatures of hideous appearance.
Anyone might have thought they were insects.
Nothing will make them go away, he said,

Clinton Days Are Here Again!

See if you can spot the mistake in this activist email I received recently:

"In 2001, the Clinton Administration handed George Bush peace, prosperity, and record budget surpluses. Eight years later, Bush handed Barack Obama two disastrous wars and a global economic crash that destroyed over 8 million American jobs. Now that President Obama has finally brought those jobs back - in the face of vicious GOP opposition - Bush's brother Jeb is now blaming American workers for not working hard enough. If you're as outraged as we are, please click here to sign Hillary Clinton's petition telling Jeb Bush that Americans need a raise, not a lecture."

OK, it was a trick; there's more than one mistake. Let's list a few:

Here are things Bill Clinton is now apologizing for: mass incarceration, Wall Street deregulation, the drug war, and corporate trade agreements. Here are a few of the things he should also be apologizing for: destroying welfare, creating media monopolies, expanding NATO toward Russia, creating a precedent for illegal NATO wars without Congressional or UN authorizations, and 500,000 children killed by sanctions in Iraq.

Here are a few little-known facts about President Barack Obama: the war on Afghanistan is more his than Bush's by any measure, he had regularly voted to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senator, he broke his promised schedule for ending the war on Iraq and never fully ended it and soon revived it, he's supported coups in Honduras and Egypt and Ukraine, he's claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone, he's expanded the military into numerous nations laying the groundwork for future hostilities, and his war on Libya followed the Clinton model of blatant illegality rather than the Bush Jr. approach of at least bothering to lie to Congress and the United Nations.

Another activist group sent me an email this week reading, in part: "The truth is, Republicans don't want diplomacy to work. They want another costly war like the one they started in Iraq in 2003." In reality, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate voted for the war on Iraq in 2002. The same parties hold the same branches now. There's a wise saying that goes something like this: those who convince themselves of a bullshit version of history may be condemned to repeat what actually happened.

Those who study what actually happened may be less shocked to discover how grotesquely corrupt Hillary Clinton is, how murderous, how fervently she promoted that war on Iraq, how very long she has been so disastrous, how she out-hawks almost any hawk, how awful she is for feminism, how brutal she can be, how close she is to Wall Street Republicans and oil barons and Henry Kissinger, how hard it would be to actually elect her, how she used the State Department to market weapons and fracking and pushed weapons on governments she called soft on terrorism while waiving restrictions on sales to brutal governments that donated to her foundation, how she backs mass surveillance, how she believes in representing banks, and how greedy she is.

So long sad times, go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times, cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Clinton days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So lets sing a song of cheer again
Clinton days are here again

Yall Are Talking About War Wrong

Former head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lt. General Michael Flynn has joined the ranks of the many recently retired officials openly admitting that what the U.S. military does generates dangers rather than reducing them. (Flynn didn't explicitly apply this to every recent war and tactic, but did apply it to drone wars, proxy wars, the invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Iraq, and the new war on ISIS, which seems to cover most of the actions the Pentagon engages in. Other recently retired officials have said the same of every other recent U.S. war.)

Once you've admitted that the means of mass killing is not justified by some higher end, once you've called the wars "strategic mistakes," once you've accepted that the wars don't work on their own terms, well then there's no way left to claim that they are excusable in moral terms. Mass killing for some greater good is a tough argument to make, but possible. Mass killing for no damn good reason is totally indefensible and the equivalent of what we call it when it's done by a non-government: mass murder.

But if war is mass murder, then virtually everything that people from Donald Trump to Glenn Greenwald say about war is not quite right.

Here's Trump regarding John McCain: "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." This is not just wrong because of your view of the good, bad, or indifference of being captured (or what you think McCain did while captured), but because there is no such thing as a war hero. That is the unavoidable consequence of recognizing war as mass murder. You cannot participate in mass murder and be a hero. You can be incredibly brave, loyal, self-sacrificing, and all kinds of other things, but not a hero, which requires that you be brave for a noble cause, that you serve as a model for others.

Not only did John McCain participate in a war that killed some 4 million Vietnamese men, women, and children for no damn good reason, but he has been among the leading advocates for numerous additional wars ever since, resulting in the additional deaths of millions of men, women, and children for, yet again, no damn good reason -- as part of wars that have mostly been defeats and always been failures even on their own terms. This senator, who sings "bomb, bomb Iran!" accuses Trump of firing up "the crazies." Kettle, meet pot.

Let's turn to what a couple of our best commentators are saying about the recent shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn.: Dave Lindorff and Glenn Greenwald. First Lindorff:

"If it turns out that Abdulazeez was in any way linked to ISIS, then his action in attacking U.S. military personnel in the U.S. and killing them has to be seen not as terrorism but as a legitimate retributive act of war. . . . Abdulazeez, if he was a combatant, deserves credit really, at least for following the rules of war. He appears to have focused his killing remarkably well on actual military personnel. There were no civilian casualties in his attacks, no children killed or even wounded. Compare that to the U.S. record."

Now Greenwald:

"Under the law of war, one cannot, for instance, legally hunt down soldiers while they're sleeping in their homes, or playing with their children, or buying groceries at a supermarket. Their mere status as 'soldiers' does not mean it is legally permissible to target and kill them wherever they are found. It is only permissible to do so on the battlefield, when they are engaged in combat. That argument has a solid footing in both law and morality. But it is extremely difficult to understand how anyone who supports the military actions of the U.S. and their allies under the 'War on Terror' rubric can possibly advance that view with a straight face."

These comments are off because there is no such thing as a "legitimate retributive act of war," or an act of mass murder for which someone "deserves credit," or a "solid" legal or moral "footing" for the permissibility of killing "on the battlefield." Lindorff thinks a high standard is to target only soldiers. Greenwald thinks targeting only soldiers while they are engaged in war is a higher standard. (One could make an argument that the soldiers in Chattanooga were in fact engaged in war.) Both are right to point out U.S. hypocrisy regardless. But mass murder is neither moral nor legal.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war. The U.N. Charter bans war with narrow exceptions, none of which is retribution, and none of which is any war that takes place on a "battlefield" or in which only those engaged in fighting are fought. A legal war or component of a war, under the U.N. Charter, must be either defensive or U.N.-authorized. One could fantasize a United Nations without its Western bias accepting an ISIS attack in the United States as somehow defensive against a U.S. attack in what used to be Iraq or Syria, but it wouldn't get you around the Kellogg-Briand Pact or the basic moral problem of mass murder and of the ineffectiveness of war as a defense.

Lindorff might also consider what "in any way linked to ISIS" means for the U.S. side of the war, in terms of whom the United States claims the right to target, from those guilty of "material support" for trying to promote nonviolence in Iraq, to those guilty of assisting FBI agents pretending to be part of ISIS, to members of groups with ties to ISIS -- which includes groups that the U.S. government itself arms and trains.

Lindorff ends his article discussing actions like the Chattanooga shooting in these terms: "As long as we diminish them by calling them acts of terrorism, nobody's going to demand a halt to the War on Terror. And that 'war' is the real act of terrorism, when you come right down to it." One might exactly as well say: that "act of terrorism" is the real war, when you come right down to it, or: that governmental mass-murder is the real non-governmental mass-murder.

When you come right down to it, we have too much vocabulary for our own good: war, terrorism, collateral damage, hate crime, surgical strike, shooting spree, capital punishment, mass murder, kinetic overseas contingency operation, targeted assassination -- these are all ways of distinguishing types of unjustifiable killing that aren't actually morally distinguishable from each other.

Ukraine News - July 19, 2015


'Normandy Four' leaders agree to implement Minsk accords on Ukraine by end of 2015 - UNIAN news


Russia calls Ukrainian constitutional changes inadequate, decentralization does not include defense, foreign policy, national security - rferl.org


Putin stresses the establishment of direct dialogue between Kiev authorities and representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk - Sputnik 


Moscow: West should persuade Ukrainian authorities to start real national dialogue instead of encouraging Kiev’s irresponsible policy - TASS


Poroshenko: Constitutional changes stipulate no special status for Donbass, “There isn’t a single hint on federalization" - Sputnik 


Ukraine calls local elections but not in rebel-held east - US News


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland sees no ground to talk about Ukraine's way to federalization, only decentralization - interfax.com


Russia says US Nuland ‘jumping to conclusions’ backing Ukraine constitutional law - TASS


Nuland: In case of escalation in Donbas costs for Russia will go up - interfax.com


Victoria Nuland Press Conference in Ukraine - Embassy of the United States Kyiv, Ukraine


US to punish Putin by stepping up financial sanctions if Russia does not fulfil commitment to Minsk agreement - The Independent


Separatist: Kiev didn't submit new draft law on constitution to Contact Group for discussion - TASS


Statement Of The LNR Chairman of the Government Plotnitsky On The Draft Amendments To The Ukrainian Constitution - Voices from Russia

 

Ukrainian law on local elections has nothing to do with the DPR: Pushilin - Novorossia Today


Lavrov and Steinmeier call for soonest Ukrainian troops’ withdrawal from Shyrokino - TASS


Ukraine Rebels Claim Readiness To Pull Back Tanks, Smaller Arms - rferl.org


Strelkov Reportedly Says that Motorola, Givi Out; Zakharchenko Stripped of Guard; DNR Defense Ministry Dismantled after Moscow VIP Visit - Interpreter_Mag


Savchenko moved to Russia's Rostov region: lawyer (VIDEO) - uatoday.tv


Right Sector to hold popular assembly in Kyiv on Tuesday - interfax.com


Right Sector doesn't believe in unbiased inquiry into Mukacheve events, ready to defend its fighters - interfax.com

 

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

MH17 investigators to analyse footage of Russian-backed rebels at crash site in Ukraine - news.com.au


The moment Russian-backed rebels realise their momentous mistake after shooting down flight MH17 - news.com.au


VIDEO: Footage reveals Russian-backed rebels arriving at the wreckage of MH17 - news.com.au


TRANSCRIPT: Russian-backed rebels ransack the wreckage of MH17 in shocking 17-minute video - news.com.au


MH17 Victims' Families Suing Igor Girkin, AKA Strelkov, For $900 Million - Interpreter_Mag


VIDEO: MH17 investigator: ‘Buk Missile strike most credible scenario' - BBC News


Chemical examination found submunitions from Boeing corresponding to Russian Buk missiles: Butusov - EN.Censor.net


Unraveling the mystery of MH17: A full recount of the event (PHOTOS, VIDEOS) - mashable.com


MH17 In Their Own Words: Witness Testimonies on Social Media from July 17th, 2014 - bellingcat


A local resident describes seeing a rocket flew from south of Snizhne towards MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


SBU intercepted conversation between separatists discussing the downing of Flight MH17 - MH17 Live on Twitter


Separatist communications discussing the Buk intercepted by the SBU - MH17 Live on Twitter

 

Russia’s Colin Powell Moment – How the Russian Government’s MH17 Lies Were Exposed - bellingcat


Zaroshchens’ke Launch Site: Claims and Reality: A Bellingcat Investigation - bellingcat


Evidence the Russian Military Supplied the Type of Missile Used to Shoot Down MH17 - bellingcat


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

Lila Garrett’s CONNECT THE DOTS. Guests include:

Monday morning  at 7-8AM  tune in (KPFK 90.7 fm)  or log on: http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Swanson on the virtues of the American-Iranian diplomatic deal.  Will it pass this hawkish Congress or will they reject diplomacy for another war. 

Ben Beachy Research Dir of Global Trade Watch for Public Citizen on the future of the TPP, the trade agreement that gives corporations final say over government rule.  Can this assault on democracy be defeated in this right wing Congress?

Dr. Paul Song, Chair of the Courage Campaign joins us with facts & myths about Obamacare.  Is it another gift to the insurance companies and big pharma or can it actually lead to Medicare for All.

Lila Garrett (Host of CONNECT THE DOTS)

KPFK 90.7 FM in LA; 98.7 Santa Barbara; 93.7 San Diego;
99.5 China Lake
Airs Mondays from 7AM to 8AM.

Link to my program page
http://www.kpfk.org/index.php/programs/67-connect-the-dots-with-lila-garrett

Link to my podcasts
http://archive.kpfk.org/index.php?shokey=ctd

Each show is online for three months.

It's not terrorism if it's retaliation: Chattanooga Shooting, If Linked to ISIS, is a Legitimate Act of War

By Dave Lindorff

 

I'm not a fan of war or of killing of any kind, but the labeling of the deadly attack by Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez on two US military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee as an act of terror is absurd.

Iran’s Nuclear Agreement welcomed as Saudis, Alkhalifa wage war on Yemen

The signing of the Nuclear Agreement by Iran and the 5+1 countries has been welcomed by the people of Bahrain who have always hoped for peace and stability in the region under democratic practices. The regional dictatorships such as those of AlSaud and Alkhalifa have exploited the rift between Iran and the West to maintain iron fist policy on the people, denying them democratic and human rights. It is hoped that a new era would reign and dictatorships would gradually be eliminated from the GCC countries. While the Iranians were negotiating the nuclear deal with the six big powers, the Saudis were engaged in meaningless war on Yemen, obliterating people’s existence, occupying other people’s land, supporting terrorist groups, grooming extremism and exclusionism and destroying mosques, heritage sites and detaining human rights activists. The Alkhalifa are following their steps and committing severe human rights abuses.

In the early hours of this morning a young native Bahraini has been martyred at the town of El-Ekr. An explosion was heard but it is not yet clear how Qassim Mohsin Al Mughanni, 16, died. In the past regime’s security forces had planted booby-trapped devices to kill activists, liquidated opponents in “car accidents” (the case of Sayed Ahmad Al Ghuraifi, 1986, and that of the six young Bahraini girls killed on 26th February 2012) and destroyed people’s homes killing occupants (the case of Salman Al Taitoon and his family, Sanabis 1996). In all these cases no formal investigation had been conducted.

The human rights world has reacted with fury to the realisation that Bahrain’s dictator has the absolute power of ordering the detention or release of native Bahrainis. The rule of law has totally disappeared and replaced by the personal dictatorship of Hamad Alkhalifa who rules the country with royal decrees. On Monday night he issued a decree to release Nabeel Rajab, the most-respected human rights activist whose repeated arrest on royal orders has angered international human rights bodies. Two weeks ago the European Parliament issued a resolution calling for the release of all political prisoners including Nabeel Rajab. There were hidden threats of military and political sanctions if he did not heed the calls to release prisoners. Mr Rajab’s release is seen as a result of several developments in addition to the European Parliament’s call. The Saudi/Alkhalifa aggression on Yemen is turning into a military and political fiasco for the two regimes. Then came the his toric Nuclear agreement between Iran and the six major world powers. With the Bahrain’s Revolution continuing unabated, the regime is gradually being squeezed into submission and gradual disrespect even among its supporters in Washington and London. In the first demand of its Resolution the European Parliament “Calls for the dropping of charges and immediate and unconditional release of all human rights defenders, political activists and other individuals detained and charged with alleged violations related to the rights of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including Nabeel Rajab, Sheikh Ali Salman and the ‘Bahrain 13”

Anger is also amounting following the re-arrest of Ibrahim Sharif whose arrest last week has convinced the Europeans that Bahrain’s dictator is bluffing. Mr Sharif’s release last month was used by Washington to announce the resumption of arms to Alkhalifa regime which is notorious for its “systematic torture”. His re-arrest followed a speech to a group of activists insisting that the revolution was continuing and that the political demands of the people would not be abandoned by the opposition.  These assertions were presented by the regime’s system of deception as “a plot to overthrow the regime by force”. Today Amnesty International issued a Public Statement calling on the Bahraini authorities to release political activist Ebrahim Sharif and end his ongoing prosecution on charges brought solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression following a speech he gave last Friday. It added: “The re-arrest of Ebrah im Sharif and the continuing imprisonment and prosecution of peaceful critics and leaders of the political opposition indicates that the Bahraini government intends to continue to silence dissident voices. The authorities must start by releasing all prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to show they are serious about reform.”

Meanwhile the spate of arrests and torture has continued. Yesterday Hussain Jaffar from Saar Town was arrested at one of the shopping malls. On Monday 13th July under-aged Bahraini boy was arrested. Jassim Mohammad Jassim was taken from the airport to one of the torture houses. His fate is not yet known. A bright student who achieved 99 percent in this year’s Secondary School exams was arrested on 10th July. Mustafa Mohammad Ali Isma’il , 18 was taken to the torture houses instead of being honoured with a grant to pursue his studies.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th July 2015

Pushing Up

By Kathy Kelly

Last weekend, about 100 U.S. Veterans for Peace gathered in Red Wing, Minnesota, for a statewide annual meeting. In my experience, Veterans for Peace chapters hold “no-nonsense” events.  Whether coming together for local, statewide, regional or national work, the Veterans project a strong sense of purpose. They want to dismantle war economies and work to end all wars. The Minnesotans, many of them old friends, convened in the spacious loft of a rural barn. After organizers extended friendly welcomes, participants settled in to tackle this year’s theme: “The War on Our Climate.”

They invited Dr. James Hansen, an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, to speak via Skype about minimizing the impacts of climate change.  Sometimes called the “father of global warming”, Dr. Hansen has sounded alarms for several decades  with accurate predictions about the effects of fossil fuel emissions. He now campaigns for an economically efficient phase out of fossil fuel emissions by imposing carbon fees on emission sources with dividends equitably returned to the public.

Dr. Hansen envisions the creation of serious market incentives for entrepreneurs to develop energy and products that are low-carbon and no-carbon.  “Those who achieve the greatest reductions in carbon use would reap the greatest profit. Projections show that such an approach could reduce U.S. carbon emissions by more than half within 20 years — and create 3 million new jobs in the process.”

Are Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements of Any Value?

The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements.  What accounts for their advent on the world scene and what have they accomplished?

Ever since 1945, when the atomic bomb was built and used by the U.S. government in a devastating attack upon Japanese cities, the world has lived on the brink of catastrophe, for nuclear weapons, if integrated into war, could cause the total destruction of civilization.

Join Me and Kathy Kelly in Chicago on the 87th Anniversary of Kellogg-Briand Pact

From David Swanson:

Please indicate you're coming here and share it widely:https://www.facebook.com/events/1451800825124185/

Here's a webpage. Here's a flyer.
 
Here's the book I wrote that alerted people to the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Chicago activist who made it happen and put forward, with others, a vision that could help us actually eliminate war: http://davidswanson.org/outlawry
 
In that book I advocated celebrating August 27. St Paul, Minn., has taken that up. There's an event this year in Albuquerque. But I'll be at the third-annual award ceremony for a related essay contest created by Frank Goetz and others in Chicago.
 
And if you can't be there, you can organize your own event to mark the day evoked in "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" when nations said they'd never fight again (ask me to help!).
 
The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war, is acknowledged as in force by the U.S. State Dept on its website -- and by the Pentagon just last month in its new publication.

We have a long way to go to end war, and one way is to learn from the model of Kathy Kelly's work. Join me and her in Chicago where Outlawry of War was born.

And make sure you're part of World Beyond War.

Speaking Events

2015

August 27, Chicago

September 22, DC

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