Iraq Needs Actual Aid More Than Ever

Statement Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Iraq Solidarity Association

May 19, 2016

The people of Iraq are tormented by continued violence and destruction.

Decades of war are never ending. It is one of the world ́s worst crises. The UN

fears that 10 million Iraqis are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

Make serving in war an option, not an order

No one should be forced to register to represent our country in combat

By Kristin Christman

Published in the Albany Times Union May 22, 2016 

Josef Beno didn't want to go to war. A Czech, he didn't want to kill his fellow Slavs, the Russians. A father, he didn't want to leave his starving family unprotected.

But the year was 1915 and Austria-Hungary was rounding up men and boys to serve in the war. Those who resisted were shot. After hiding for a year, Josef was captured for conscription. He escaped, only to be captured by Russians and marched to Siberia.

As the story goes, troops received injections by needle to make them aggressive. Perhaps it was merely a tale to explain a father's changed temper, for upon returning home, Josef physically abused his wife and children, including his daughter, my grandmother.

A lesson here for Sanders?: 72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election

By Dave Lindorff

 

A 72-year-old college professor named Alexander van der Bellen, running for president as the candidate of the leftist Austrian Green Party, a fringe party that had never been considered a serious contender in post-war Austrian politics, just won a narrow victory over Norbert Hofer, a right-wing candidate of the neo-fascist Freedom Party who had been favored to win.

Let's Back All Moderates in Syria and the World

I've come around in favor of backing all moderates. The question appeared to me for a long time as a difficult one. Should one give anti-aircraft weaponry, for example, to al Qaeda fighters in Syria in order to better combat ISIS (which could some day develop the airplane)?

The answer is yes, if, and only if, those fighters are moderates.

Now, who's a moderate? Some people get confused on this part, but it's not really that difficult to get straight. Fighters who want to blow up buildings and airplanes and cars and pedestrians and playgrounds can be either moderates or extremists, since war has nothing to do with their categorization. After all, we're picking which people to arm in the war.

Also, the question of whom a fighter is fighting for or against is completely irrelevant. The CIA and the Department of Defense have armed and trained forces that are fighting against each other in Syria. Obviously, both are moderate.

The answer to "Who is a moderate?" actually comes down to this: What sort of an ideal world would they like to see in the future, and is there anyone else who would like to see some sort of world that sucks worse than theirs? That's it. Simple. And you have to keep it simple. Don't go looking into whether they're actually creating that ideal world. That's not relevant. Both the moderates and the extremists are obviously creating a world of death, injury, trauma, bitterness, vengeance, rubble, starvation, and toxic pollution. The moderates, again, are the ones who are doing this while envisioning a utopia that's not as grotesque as someone else's.

This is also why I'm routing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs. All the teams dribble and pass (well, except Oklahoma City) and shoot. But if you survey the players as to what sort of society they'd like to live in, the Cleveland players have the best answers -- or at least that's what my 18 intelligence agencies guess without actually, you know, asking them.

I believe we should be applying this policy to rapists as well. Just as fighters in a war all murder people, rapists all rape. But some of them must be moderates, and those are the ones we should support. We just need to determine their political ideologies. The same goes, I think, for sweatshop owners, and ought to be a guide to ethical investment and shopping. One need only keep up on the political views of the new owners after every sale.

The U.S. government has been distributing military weapons to local police forces in a rather haphazard manner heretofore. Some have asked that police departments that murder too many unarmed citizens not receive free military weapons any longer. This misses the point entirely. The departments that should be cut off are those whose members envision the worst future society.

You see the universality of this? All things in moderation, as the saying goes.

I'm personally delighted to have discovered this guide to life's difficult decisions. I plan to use it in voting come November, and to abandon all active thought processes immediately.

Talk Nation Radio: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: U.S. Was Always at War

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-roxanne-dunbar-ortiz-us-was-always-at-war

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has taught in the Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, and including An Indigenous People's History of the United States.

She discusses the idea that President Obama is the longest serving war president.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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

Obama is not first president at permanent war

The New York Times recently claimed, and peace advocates repeated, that President Barack Obama will be the first U.S. president to have been at war for two complete four-year terms. It's also become common to refer to the current U.S. war on Afghanistan as the longest U.S. war ever. These ideas fit well with the universal activist demand that we return to the time of peace or the age of justice or the wisdom of the Founding Fathers or the era before superdelegates.

This is all based on a fundamental misunderstanding of history, and of its uses and abuses for life. You cannot "take back our country!" because you never had it. There is no age of peace or justice to be returned to. The United States has been at war since before it was a United States, and formed itself as such in part in order to expand its western wars.

One value of history is in fact to recognize how much better or worse or simply different things have been in other times and places. But the purpose of that is not to restore some better time. All past times thus far, each taken as a whole, have been horrendously awful. The purpose is to facilitate the rejection of the silly idea that we're stuck with whatever we happen to have in the way of a lifestyle at the moment.

One can always find specific ways in which things were once better. Bush used to lie to Congress and get authorizations for wars. Obama just goes to war. But both are awful. The desire to end war was common in the 1920s. Now it's unthinkable for millions of U.S. citizens. But both frames of mind lacked an effective path to peace.

One can always find specific ways in which things were once worse. The war on Vietnam and neighboring nations killed some 6 million people. The latest U.S. wars may have killed less than half of that. Teddy Roosevelt marketed wars as desirable means of building character and slaughtering lesser races. Barack Obama markets wars as philanthropic assistance to the places being bombed. But both kill just the same.

In the perspective of the recent past, we should not be looking at Obama as the longest war president, but rather as a president who has added his bit to the normalization of war, to the restoration of permanent war as routine and unquestionable. It's not the length of his wars that stands out, but the number of them: seven significant wars that we know of, the 2001 AUMF used and misused for military actions in 14 countries, "special" forces active in 75 countries, troops permanently stationed in 175 countries -- and all of this with very little public or Congressional involvement or even awareness.

Targeted and not-so-targeted assassinations, coups, and counter-insurgency operations stretch through the entire history of the United States, as do decades-long wars. To understand this, we have to begin thinking of Native Americans as real people, so that wars against them count as real wars. A good way to do this is by listening to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Read her book, An Indigenous People's History of the United States, or catch her interview on this week's Talk Nation Radio.

Dunbar-Ortiz tells a story of endless genocidal war that employed settlers and their militias against the native people of North America in a manner not unlike Israel's use of settlers against the Palestinians. The first law created by the United States was the Northwest Ordinance, a "blueprint for gobbling up the British-protected Indian Territory." According to Dunbar-Ortiz, "documented policies of genocide on the part of U.S. administrations can be identified in at least four distinct periods: the Jacksonian era of forced removal; the California gold rush in Northern California; the Post-Civil War era of the so-called Indian wars in the Great Plains; and the 1950s termination period."

Some of the settlers of the United States had previously settled Ireland, where the British had paid rewards for Irish heads and body parts, just as they would for Indian scalps. The United States for many years sought out immigrants who could settle on native land. The war on Mexico was not the first foreign war of the United States. The U.S. had attacked numerous Indian nations. Mexico was just one more in that string. With the land now filled, attitudes toward immigrants and toward the rest of the globe have shifted. "Indian Country," in the dialect of the U.S. military, refers to distant lands to be attacked with dozens of weapons named for Native American nations.

John Yoo justified lawless imprisonment, now evolved into lawless murder by drone, with the ancient Roman concept of homo sacer, a person who must obey the government but whom the government or anyone else may kill. Yoo referred to past U.S. Supreme Court opinions upholding this category for Native Americans. The Indian was the original "terrorist."

The United States did not go to war after reaching California. Rather it simply continued the war it had been in from the start. The United States didn't wage war for decades because of a communist threat and then for additional decades because of a terrorist threat. Rather, lies about Crazy Horse on the warpath (while he was in a reservation) evolved into lies about missile gaps which evolved into lies about incubators, WMDs, and Libyan Viagra.

None of this makes war unendable. We can end it tomorrow if we choose. The unimaginative can check the history of other parts of the world that have engaged in war far less or not at all. But we will not bring the U.S. corner of the world under control until after we recognize what the problem is.

Hey Kids! Try Collateral Damage at Home

One day a couple of weeks ago I was reading Saint Augustine while driving to the local convenience store, and I accidentally drove right through the front glass wall of the store, smashing up some shelves of junk food. After I'd made my purchases, a police officer stopped me and asked if I'd intended to drive into the store. "Oh, not at all," I replied. "I intended to get here as quickly as possible while also educating myself as quickly as possible. I knew I might crash, of course, but that wasn't part of my intention."

"Well," the cop replied. "Where should we send the check for your car repair?"

"I'll let you know," I replied, a bit annoyed by the hassle.

My brother in law repaired my car for not much more than $100,000, and all it still needed was to be repainted. So, I took a giant paint sprayer with me. I parked the car in front of my neighbor's house, the one with the loud dog. When I'd finished painting the car, there was a rough shape of its profile on the front of my neighbor's house, surrounded by fresh purple paint. I pinned a note to the door letting him know that my intention had been only to paint the car and not his house.

The new collateral damage laws we've been living under for the past year have really been working out great, as far as I'm concerned. We don't let it get out of hand, though. Only property damage is excusable using bullshit medieval arguments about what we "really intended" and what we "merely knew was going to happen." Damage or death to people or animals is not included in the law.

I've heard tell, though, that there is another world somewhere in which, believe it or not, the exact opposite is true. In that world, if I were to damage someone's property and pull out a load of horse manure about "just intentions" or "proportional collateral damage," I'd be punished for the destruction I'd caused and possibly locked up for my delusional state of mind.

But, in stark contrast, if I were to blow up some poor guy who dressed suspiciously with a missile from a drone, even though 8 other guys who dressed acceptably were standing next to him, well that'd be totally cool. Or if I were to bomb an entire city flat because its people were suffering under the rule of a brutal dictator I'd stopped supporting and arming last month, that'd just be good patriotic citizenship.

Now, I'm not going to swear to you that this crazy world exists, but I have reports on it from numerous credible sources. I even have recent reports from several people that an ancient institution in this world -- they call it the Catholic Church -- is dropping its support for using "collateral damage" to excuse murder, while the rest of the society is just going ahead with mindlessly accepting it anyway, even without the support of its original devious devisers.

Regardless, however, of whether such a place is real, the manner in which its customs shock us should wake us up to the possibility that our own might shock someone else, and that we should never accept traditional customs without thinking them through for ourselves.

A Friendly Critique of the Break Free Climate Actions

I have enjoyed reading accounts and seeing photos of those committed and courageous climate activists who participated in the recent Break Free from Fossil Fuels actions conducted at various locations in 13 countries from 4-15 May 2016. See 'Break Free from Fossil Fuels'.

Focus: The Democratic National Convention - May 21, 2016


Sanders supporters secure rally permit near Democratic convention in Philadelphia - WSJ


Philadelphia approves four massive pro-Bernie Sanders rallies during DNC - NBC 10 Philadelphia


Bernie Sanders delegates prepare for Philadelphia convention fight - Fortune


Democratic insiders: Convention could be 'a rough ride' - POLITICO


Democrats consider new rules to avoid convention chaos - NBC News


DNC to offer Sanders a convention concession - Washington Post

 

Army of Sanders supporters fuming over Wasserman Schultz - TheHill


Liberal pundits blame Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not Bernie Sanders, for Democrats’ division - The Washington Post


ARCHIVE: DNC chair wants to exclude independents from Dem primaries - Washington Examiner


Nancy Pelosi calls out DNC on superdelegates, says party should ‘revisit’ rules so it doesn’t ‘undermine’ Democratic process - TheBlaze.com


#NeverHillary gathers momentum: 63,000 Bernie Sanders supporters sign online campaign promising not to vote for Clinton - Inquisitr

 

Sanders Camp: millions have ‘growing doubts' about Clinton campaign - TPM


VIDEO: Bernie Sanders: 'The Democratic Party has to make an important decision and I say to them: Open the doors. Let the people in!’ - YouTube

 

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

POLL: Democrats say continued primary campaign isn't hurting the party - CBS News


POLL: Most Democrats say continued campaign not hurting the party - Gallup


POLL: 55% of all adult voters, including independents, have an unfavorable view of Clinton against just 39% with a favorable one while 37% are unfavorable to Sanders and 48% favorable - Gallup


Primary results indicate independents craving for more choices, electorate more anti-establishment in open primaries than closed ones - IVN


Polling expert: Independents in primaries would make Sanders the next President - Political People Blog


Big challenge for Sanders to get California independents to vote - capradio.org


Nonpartisan voters face hurdles in California presidential primary - The Sacramento Bee


Report: Bernie Sanders seeks California win to gain ‘maximum political power’ at Democratic convention - Hot Air


Hillary Clinton ducking final debate with Bernie Sanders in California - Washington Times


Clinton fury with Sanders grows - TheHill

 

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton: ‘I will be the nominee.That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.’ - CNN


Sanders out-raises Clinton for the fourth month in a raw, launches microsite on historic fundraising - Bernie Sanders

 

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

Tomgram: Harwood and Stanley, Policing the Dystopia

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

What about violence from the Clinton campaign?

hrcwecame

By Michael Collins

Some rough housing at a Democratic Party convention in Nevada over the weekend shocked party leaders and the mainstream media. The official custodians of propriety demand that Sanders control his followers and denounce their actions. The double standard on this issue is simply appalling since the Clinton campaign represents failed policies that got 350,000 killed and future plans (the “no fly zone” for Syria) that will cost even more lives. (Image)

To be specific, Hillary Clinton’s policies, as secretary of state, helped launch the Libyan regime change operation. To date, 100,000 Libyans are dead due to that foreign policy fiasco. Clinton was the tip of the spear for the “Assad must go” movement resulting in major support for extremist jihadist fighters attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Why? Because Assad didn’t just amble off when then Secretary of State Clinton commanded him to he leave his office and nation. The death toll in Syria is 250,000.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s past policies and efforts resulted in 350,000 dead people. She is the only remaining presidential candidate with a major death toll.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 19, 2016


Clinton aides Mills, Abedin subpoenaed over email; group seeks to depose Clinton - The Washington Post


Judicial Watch announces the schedule for deposition testimony in Clinton email lawsuit - Judicial Watch


Judicial Watch seeks Hillary Clinton testimony - Judicial Watch


VIDEO: Judicial Watch seeks deposition on emails from Hillary Clinton in Federal Court case - Fox News


Why a civil case over emails could hurt Hillary Clinton more than the FBI - TIME


FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton may involve more than her emails: donations given to the Clinton Foundation from foreign entities while she served as secretary of state - Conservative Daily Review


Peter Schweizer: ‘Clinton Cash’ shows how the Clintons ‘monetized public service’; email scandal ‘symptom of the larger problem’ - Breitbart


Peter Schweizer: FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton are required to read ‘Clinton Cash’ as a backgrounder - Breitbart


Lobbyist sought secret favors from Hillary and Huma, David Mercer was paid $25,000 a month by the Turkish government to oppose the Armenian genocide bill - The Daily Caller


Financial analyst alleges major holes in Clinton Foundation records - Washington Examiner


The real Clinton Foundation record is getting exposed - Charles Ortel


Hillary and Bill Clinton made $6.7 million from speeches in 2015 - ABC News


Clinton ups the ante by tapping Goldman aide as economic spokesman - The New York Sun


Another Wall Street fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, former Goldman Sachs executive hosts Clinton in New Jersey - freebeacon.com


New ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee: Hillary Clinton is burden on Democrats candidates (VIDEO) - Washington Times

 

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

Top journalist's attorneys rip into FBI for not releasing correspondence with Clinton over emails - Inquisitr


Journalists’s lawyers present FBI with a dilemma In Hillary Clinton email server investigation - The Daily Caller


Text of document filed in court by journalist's attorneys that rips into the DOJ/FBI’s reasoning for withholding Clinton correspondence - LawNewz


Most within the FBI ‘cannot comprehend’ why Clinton investigation has not been concluded, says former district attorney and FBI agent - Inquisitr


Lawmaker predicts FBI will stay silent on Clinton indictment - Washington Examiner


Op-ed: Handling of Clinton probe tarnishes FBI - The Buffalo News


Here are all the ways the FBI director tried not to make news on Hillary Clinton's email probe - huffingtonpost.com


Taxpayer tab for investigating Hillary: over $20 million - americanthinker.com


Documents show Hillary's email technician was underqualified - The Daily Caller


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

Big Oil Group Plots to Exclude Public from Public Lands Bidding, Calls for "eBay"-Style Auctions

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

At the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)'s 2016 meeting in Denver, Colorado this week, a representative from a prominent oil and gas lobbying group advocated that auctions of federal lands should happen online "eBay"-style — a clear attempt to shut the public out of the bidding process for fossil fuel leases on public lands. 

Focus: Donald Trump - May 18, 2016


POLL (NBC News): Trump closing gap with Clinton nationally - Newsmax


POLL (NBC News, Full results): Clinton leads Trump nationally 48 to 45% while Sanders beats Trump by 53 to 41% - NBC News


POLL (Morning Consult): Trump almost pulls even with Clinton leading him by 42 to 40% while Sanders beats Trump 50 to 37% - Morning Consult


POLL: Trump, Clinton tied in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, Sanders performs better against Trump than Clinton in all three states - POLITICO


POLL: Trump beats Clinton by 4%, loses to Sanders by 5%, in Georgia — Atlanta Constitution Journal


POLL: Trump tops Clinton and Sanders in Utah, beats Clinton 43-30% and Sanders 43-37% - utahpolicy.com


POLL: Trump leading Hillary with Hispanic voters - The Daily Caller


POLL (Reuters): Top reason Americans will vote for Trump: 'To stop Clinton' - Reuters


POLL (Military Times): Troops prefer Trump to Clinton by a huge margin - Military Times


POLL (NBC): Eighty-three percent of U.S. CFOs believe Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States - NBC


POLL: Majority supports Sanders-like health care plan - POLITICO


Conservative women: Donald Trump unpredictable, but Hillary Clinton ‘completely predictable,’ 'what a bad candidate' - Breitbart


Unions lean Democratic, but Donald Trump gets members’ attention - The New York Times


Donald Trump borrows from Bernie Sanders’s playbook to woo Democrats - The New York Times


Roger Stone: Trump will win one-third of Bernie Sanders supporters - Breitbart


Trump keeps telling Bernie Sanders to run as an Independent - Business Insider


Trump, Clinton and Sanders face most diverse demographic electorate in history - TheHill


Trump doesn't like his vote totals being compared to Clinton’s, 'I had 17 people to beat—she had one!' - Washington Examiner


Trump rips Hillary for Bill Clinton's 'role' in charge of revitalizing the economy, says he was responsible for NAFTA as the worst economic deal in U.S. history - Business Insider

 

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

POLL (NBC News): Majority of Republican voters trust Trump over Ryan to lead party - MSNBC


VIDEO: Ryan says he wants 'real unification over our common principles and policies' with Donald Trump - Reuters


GOP ‘establishment' may get on Trump train - CNN


Trump is forcing the GOP reconsider what is 'conservative', he has crayoned far outside the lines of party orthodoxy - CSMonitor.com


Rabid right winger? Not so fast. Turns out it's not that easy to pigeonhole Donald Trump - theage.com


VIDEO: Scarborough: 'This is not Paul Ryan's party anymore - this is Donald Trump's party' - Breitbart


Why Rupert Murdoch decided to support Trump - NYMag


Sheldon Adelson op-ed: Why I'm endorsing Donald Trump - Chicago Tribune


How Donald Trump made a Wall Street executive kiss his... ring - Vanity Fair


The powerless brokers: Trump’s got the Koch Brothers running away from the general election and leaving their billions at home - Salon.com


How Donald Trump hypnotized America: while talking he uses repetitions to create a stimulus-response effect and to make his simple ideas, labels and attitudes stick - theweek.com


Donald Trump criticizes Washington’s foreign policy elite—with cause - Cato @ Liberty


Donald Trump calls Hillary Clinton ‘trigger happy' as she courts neocons - theintercept.com


Donald Trump condemns Tony Blair for Iraq war ‘disaster' - newsweek.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Meike Capps-Schubert on U.S. Military Resistance in Germany

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-meike-capps-schubert-on-us-military-resistance-in-germany

Meike Capps-Schubert is the co-founder and current manager of The Clearing Barrel GI-Coffeehouse in Kaiserslautern next to Ramstein Airbase, Germany, the only GI-coffeehouse outside the United States. A long-time peace and justice activist in Germany, Meike is a counselor with the Military Counseling Network e.V. -- the German branch of the GI-rights-hotline, which provides free, confidential, and accurate information on U.S. military regulations and practices to members of the U.S. military, veterans, and their families. She has also helped build critical support for U.S. war resisters in Germany since 2003. Learn more:
http://theclearingbarrel.blogspot.de
http://www.mc-network.de
https://www.betterplace.org/en/projects/5543-the-clearing-barrel-gi-cafe-germany
http://gicoffeehousetour.blogspot.de

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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

Voting for Empire is the Sole Option for Democrats and Republicans

By Peter Phillips

The presidential primaries offer a single choice for both Democrats and Republicans to vote for empire and permanent war. This year’s entertainment spectacle, what we call democratic elections, is a particularly gross circus of meaninglessness, misinformation, sound bites, and lies. Both parties are in support in the continuation of the US/NATO global empire of permanent war and the protection of the capital of the global 1%. Even Bernie Sanders calls for drone strikes and continued war on Isis and other evil terrorists.

Neo-fascists, racists, and misogynistic people are finding new voice with Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Neo-conservatives and fundamentalists found hope with Ted Cruz. Moderates, liberals and women see Hillary Clinton as a chance for Supreme Court balance and gender equality, and left-leaning liberals are cheering for democratic socialist Sanders to save our economy by breaking up big banks and restoring trust in government.

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, The Snapchat Version of American Victory

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Why Set Up a Shell Company in Panama? The Psychology Driving Illicit Financial Flows

A previously little-known law firm called Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama, has recently been exposed as one of the world's major creators of 'shell companies', that is, corporate structures that can be used to hide the ownership of assets. This can be done legally but shell companies of this nature are widely used for illegal purposes such as tax evasion and money laundering of proceeds from criminal activity. See 'Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption: The Panama Papers'.

North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons. So Could Obama

By John LaForge

North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.” 

Nuclear “first use” means either a nuclear sneak attack or the escalation from conventional mass destruction to the use of nuclear warheads, and presidents have threatened it as many as 15 times. In the build-up to the 1991 Persian Gulf bombing, US officials including then Def. Sec. Dick Cheney and Sec. of State James Baker publicly and repeatedly hinted that the US might use nuclear weapons. In the midst of the bombardment, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas both explicitly promoted nuclear war on Iraq.

5 Refugee Camps in Mud on the Greek-Macedonia Border

By Ann Wright

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"If you don't like refugees coming to your country, stop voting for politicians who love to bomb the shit out of them."  Our delegation from CODEPINK: Women for Peace saw this written on a tent at the Idomeni refugee camp in on the Greek-Macedonian border:  As we well know, either the Greek nor Macedonian governments have bombed people, but they are having to deal with the huge numbers of refugees caused by the decisions of government far away.

The Obama administration which inherited the chaos from the 2003 Iraq war from the Bush administration but that has been bombing ISIS in urban areas in Iraq and Syria has resettled only 1,736 Syrian refugees over the last seven months—despite President Obama’s pledge to resettle at least 10,000 Syrians by September 2016. In contrast, Canada has resettled more than 26,000 Syrian refugees since late 2015, while Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have together taken in millions of Syrian refugees since the conflict began five years ago.

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/12/headlines/us_has_resettled_only_1_736_syrian_refugees_in_last_7_months

In early May, we had flown from Athens to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and then had driven one hour north to the Greek border with Macedonia.  The name of the tiny hamlet of Idomeni has become synonymous with the largest refugee camp in Greece.

 As we arrived, a tremendous thunder, lightning and hailstorm hit the area ripping down tents, making mud pools and deluging tents and the clothing and bedding inside. We saw the worst conditions (except cold and snow) that the 13,000 refugees must endure in five camps within 4 miles of the Macedonian border. All five are “informal, unofficial” camps and refugees can come and go at will.  They have refused any attempt to put them into the formal “detention” camps that place them in isolated areas and restrict their movement within Greece. As a result, the services provided are not particularly well organized although all have limited porta-potties, showers and faucets for washing clothes.  All have basic food provided primarily by volunteers, non-governmental organizations and the Greek military (in only one camp).

The first camp one comes upon on Highway 75 heading north from Thessaloniki is at the gasoline station and rest stop called EKO.  Over 2,000 persons are camping in the large parking lot, grocery store and car wash.  Save the Children provides rice porridge and oranges daily for children under 11 years of age and estimates there are over 1,000 children.   We helped hand out the porridge by going tent by tent and asking how many children of that age group were in the household (tenthold).  Save the Children coordinators told us that they liked having the daily contact with people in their living space rather than having people stand in another long line.  We were greeted with a warm smile and a thank you by every mother to whom we delivered the porridge.  The Boat Refugee Foundation of the Netherlands has a number of volunteers that help with the porridge delivery-young women and men from the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and the UK.

Virus blinds public to health issues that really matter: Zika Hysteria Spreads Faster than Zika Itself

By Jess Guh, MD


Zika has been described as extraordinary in so many ways. But the only thing that’s really extraordinary about the whole thing is how incredibly dispassionate I am about it.

Just War Lies

With the Catholic Church, of all things, turning against the doctrine that maintains there can be a "just war," it's worth taking a serious look at the thinking behind this medieval doctrine, originally based in the divine powers of kings, concocted by a saint who actually opposed self-defense but supported slavery and believed killing pagans was good for the pagans -- an anachronistic doctrine that to this day still outlines its key terms in Latin.

Laurie Calhoun's book, War and Delusion: A Critical Examination, casts an honest philosopher's eye on the arguments of the "just war" defenders, taking seriously their every bizarre claim, and carefully explaining how they fall short. Having just found this book, here is my updated list of required reading on war abolition:

A Global Security System: An Alternative to War by World Beyond War, 2015.
War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo, 2014.
War and Delusion: A Critical Examination by Laurie Calhoun, 2013.
Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War by Judith Hand, 2013.
The End of War by John Horgan, 2012.
Transition to Peace by Russell Faure-Brac, 2012.
Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace by Douglas Fry, 2009.
Living Beyond War by Winslow Myers, 2009.

These are the criteria Calhoun lists for jus ad bellum:

  • be publicly declared
  • have a reasonable prospect for success
  • be waged only as a last resort
  • be waged by a legitimate authority with right intention, and
  • have a cause both just and proportional (sufficiently grave to warrant the extreme measure of war)

I would add one more as a logical necessity:

  • have a reasonable prospect of being conducted with jus in bello.

These are the criteria Calhoun lists for jus in bello:

  • only proportional means to sound military objectives may be deployed
  • noncombatants are immune from attack
  • enemy soldiers must be respected as human beings, and
  • prisoners of war are to be treated as noncombatants.

There are two problems with these lists. The first is that even if every item were actually met, which has never happened and can never happen, that would not make the mass killing of human beings moral or legal. Imagine if someone created criteria for just slavery or just lynching and then met the criteria; would that satisfy you? The second problem is that the criteria are, as I've mentioned -- just as with President Obama's similar, extra-legal, self-imposed criteria for drone murders -- never actually met.

"Publicly declared" seems like the one item that might actually be met by current and recent wars, but is it? Wars used to be announced before they began, even to be scheduled by mutual agreement of the parties in some cases. Now wars are, at best, announced after the bombs have begun falling and the news become known. Other times, wars are never announced. Enough foreign reporting piles up for diligent news consumers in the United States to discover that their nation is at war, via unmanned drones, with yet another nation. Or a humanitarian rescue operation, such as in Libya, is described as something other than a war, but in a manner that makes clear to the critical observer that yet another governmental overthrow is underway with chaos and human tragedy and ground troops to follow. Or the serious citizen researcher may discover that the U.S. military is helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen, and later discover that the U.S. has introduced ground troops -- but no war is publicly declared. I've asked crowds of peace activists if even they can name the seven nations that the current U.S. president has bombed, and usually nobody can do it. (But ask them if some unspecified wars are just, and lots of hands will shoot upward.)

Focus: Clinton Foundation - May 14, 2016

 

Clinton charity aided Clinton friends, a $2 million commitment arranged by the CGI in 2010 went to a for-profit company - WSJ

 

Clinton charity gives $2M to company owned by Bill’s ‘friend’, a wealthy blond woman rumored to have been his mistress - New York Post


Clinton Foundation rejects allegations it aided Clinton friends - CNN


Donald Trump steps into row over Bill Clinton’s charity helping woman 'dubbed the Energizer' to get cash for her company - Daily Mail


VIDEO: Trump reacts to ‘bombshell' report that Bill Clinton charity gave $2 million to friend's company - Inside Edition


Hit Job: A closer look at the WSJ’s clueless attack on the Clinton Foundation - Inside Philanthropy


Pro Clinton Media Matters: NY Post’s “blond bombshell” story is ripped from pages of National Enquirer - mediamatters.org


VIDEO: Foundation scandal more damaging to Clinton than emails? - Yahoo Finance


Clinton received more than $100 million from Middle East leaders, in addition to another $30 million by two Mideast-based foundations and four billionaires from Saudi Arabia - Examiner.com


More on the Clintons and the Persian Gulf Sheikhs donations - The Daily Caller


Wall Street whistleblower says money missing from the Clinton Foundation - Breitbart


Hillary gave a special State Department post to an ex-fundraiser — even as he was laying the groundwork for a global consulting firm with ties to the Clinton Foundation - POLITICO


Blumenthal: I had a real job at the Clinton Foundation working on educational projects - Washington Examiner


Clinton Foundation takes steps to be rated by charity watchdog, in 2014 Charity Navigator said the foundation was operating with an 'atypical business model' - CNN

 

VIDEO: Charity Navigator CEO Michael Thatcher talks about the Clinton Foundation's rating - CNN

 

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

MSNBC look at 'Clinton Cash' doc as it debuts at Cannes on May 16, opens in U.S. on July 24 just before the Democratic National Convention - MSNBC


Clinton Cash: Review after the advance screening of the documentary - TIME


Clinton Cash film aims to cause likely Democratic nominee maximum damage - The Guardian


Donald Trump: ‘Clinton Cash’ Proves Hillary Is ‘Crooked As Hell’ - Breitbart


VIDEO: Trailer: 'Clinton Cash' - Washington Post


Pro-Clinton Media Matters: TIME calls error-ridden book Clinton Cash “heavily researched” - mediamatters.org


A talk with Schweizer, the man behind Clinton Cash documentary - The Daily Caller


RADIO: Schweizer discusses the new “Clinton Cash” documentary - Breitbart News Daily


Schweizer: Uranium deal was ‘win-win-win’ for Clintons, Canadian financiers, Vladimir Putin; ‘losers are the American people’ - Breitbart


VIDEO: Schweizer talks about AP report which identified at least 60 firms and organizations that sponsored Clinton's speeches and lobbied the U.S. government - Fox News


AP Report: Firms that paid for Clinton speeches have US gov't interests - AP


VIDEO: Peter Schweizer speech on ’money and politics' - Government Accountability Institute


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

Student Privacy and the Military

By Pat Elder

Over the last two years, more than half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting the privacy of high school students. A Student Privacy Pledge has attracted the support of 200 companies in the business of providing online services to students in America’s classrooms. The White House, too, has proposed a Student Digital Privacy Act, modeled after California’s stringent Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, (SOPIPA), that was passed in 2014 and went into effect in 2016.

Meanwhile, the military, the nation’s most egregious violator of student privacy rights, gets a pass.

Several elements are common to most of these laws, according to Jules Polonetsky and Brenda Leong of the Future of Privacy Forum. They summarize the new laws regulating school-based digital data collectors:

[Data collectors] are barred from selling student information, delivering targeted advertising to students, or changing privacy policies without notice and choice. They must use data for authorized educational uses only, support requirements for parental access to data, and delete data when required.

If a school promotes an online product and requires or encourages students to use it, then it has responsibility for making sure the tool complies with many of these new privacy laws. 

Like yearbook and ring companies that sell student information to the highest bidder, DOD recruiters and civilian employees routinely pass sensitive information about underage students to the Joint Advertising and Marketing Research Systems (JAMRS), a DOD program. JAMRS subcontracts the massive, Orwellian database of approximately 30 million youth, ages 16-25, to the data goliath Equifax.

On a scale that dwarfs corporate competitors, the DOD delivers targeted advertising to students. It changes privacy policies without notice or choice to consumers. (The recent changes to USMEPCOM Regulation 601-4 concerning the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB, provide an example.) The military does not use the data it collects for educational purposes, and it works against providing for parental consent or access to data. Furthermore, the military retains data collected on students long after laws demand their destruction.

While proposing the Student Digital Privacy Act last year, President Obama forcefully declared, “data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children.” However, the president’s proposal leaves the DOD alone. 

The framework of the President’s proposal is taken from the California law:

Operators may not collect information that is descriptive of a student or otherwise identifies a student, including, but not limited to, information in the student’s educational record or email, first and last name, home address, telephone number, email address, or other information that allows physical or online contact. discipline records, test results, special education data, juvenile dependency records, grades, evaluations, criminal records, medical records, health records, social security number, biometric information, disabilities, socioeconomic information, food purchases, political affiliations, religious information, text messages, documents, student identifiers, search activity, photos, voice recordings, or geolocation information.

The DOD collects most of this through the ASVAB enlistment test alone. More than a thousand schools require students to take the test. Overall, 650,000 high school kids take the test in 12,000 schools.

MinnesotaNew Jersey, ColoradoNew Mexico,and  Mississippi, allow students to take the ASVAB as an alternative end-of-year assessment. Kentucky and Missouri encourage students to take the ASVAB to be considered “Career Ready.”  These policies provide a treasure trove of unregulated data for the Pentagon, all without parental consent. On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Hampshire do not allow results from the ASVAB to be used for recruiting purposes.

Federal law says military recruiters may request the names, addresses, and numbers of students for direct marketing purposes, an act prohibited in all the new privacy laws. The law, however, allows parents to request that their child’s name not be forwarded to the Pentagon. Maryland is the only state that has a law requiring an “opt-out” form to be placed on the mandatory emergency contact card, leading most parents to remove their child’s information from lists being sent to recruiters.  The new data privacy laws fail to address this obvious invasion of privacy in the 49 states that are reluctant to check this military overreach.

The military has multiple avenues of data flowing into its databases. High school guidance offices and career centers encourage students to visit the websites of each of the military branches, reserves, and Guard units. They all collect volumes of personally identifiable data. Schools also promote the following websites, and they often provide instruction in navigating a host of military or military-supported sites like: www.todaysmilitary.com, www.ecybermission.com,www.march2success.com, www.armystrongstories.com,www.military.com,www.asvabprogram.com,www.march2success.com, and www.myfuture.com.

Unwary students are prompted to click on military links to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter where newly formed units of recruiters in recruiting companies across the country spend countless hours trolling these sources to assemble a virtual portrait of children before first contact.

The DOD also works in state houses to loosen privacy protections. Kentucky is the worst. Their law says, “All student academic records are made available upon request to any agency of the federal or state government for the purpose of determining a student's eligibility for military service.” 

When President Obama endorsed the Student Privacy Pledge, he called for companies to make a firm commitment to using student data only for educational purposes. The Student Privacy Pledge asks data collectors to abide voluntarily by the same standards taken from many the new state laws

“We pioneered the Internet,” Obama said at the Federal Trade Commission. “But we also pioneered the Bill of Rights and a sense each of us as individuals have a sphere of privacy around us that should not be breached by our government but also by commercial interests.” The DoD has not signed the pledge and is not likely to do so on anytime soon because so much of the Pentagon’s strategy for recruiting the nation’s youth depends on deception.

The Pledge applies to all personal student information whether or not it is part of an “educational record” as defined by federal law.  It is an important distinction because the DOD has claimed for years that the administration of the ASVAB in the schools is not subject to the Buckley Amendment, so results do not need parental consent to be released to recruiters. The Buckley Amendment says schools may not release educational records to third parties without seeking parental consent. The DOD claims ASVAB results are not educational records. Instead, they say test results are military records. The DOD has a long and despicable history of dodging privacy mandates.

Meanwhile, other giants in the student testing industry, like the College Board and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, have signed on.

When the ACLU settled their lawsuit with the DOD over the illegal JAMRS database in 2007, the DOD agreed to the following:

·        limit to three years the length of time that DoD retains student information;

·        stop collecting student Social Security Numbers; and,

·        establish and clarify procedures by which students can block the military from entering information about them in the database and have their information removed.

The DOD has fallen short on all three accounts. Student information is retained indefinitely, although JAMRS data is placed in a “suppression file” after three years. The Recruiting Command routinely collects social security numbers through the ASVAB program and the DOD has failed to make anything clear to students or their parents regarding the JAMRS database or ways to have information removed.

This is not what democracy looks like. The DOD defends its actions arguing that this heavy-handed arrangement is preferable to the return of the draft, although the problem is much deeper.

Relatively few want to enlist and those that do increasingly come from a shrinking number of deep red states in the south. The realities of a vicious and unresponsive command structure after 15 years of unnecessary warfare have filtered down to potential recruits and their families.  The Pentagon feels it must violate our 1st Amendment rights while operating a highly deceptive recruiting apparatus to achieve its yearly quotas. What’s needed is a sincere national discussion on the size, cost, and mission of the Department of Defense, particularly as it relates to the inability of this nation to address the overwhelming needs of its citizenry. We may discover we don’t need all of these troops and that reduced recruiting quotas will engender a more democratic and transparent defense establishment.

========

Pat Elder pelder@studentprivacy.org is the Director of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy.  The organization works to expose the military’s unconstitutional and deceptive recruiting practices in the nation’s high schools. www.studentprivacy.org

Fanning fears during London’s mayoral election: Islamophobia on the Rise in England

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

During a casual conversation inside a store on a swanky shopping street located a short distance from London’s fabled Kensington Palace a twenty-something retail clerk said she feels a strange sense of discomfort that she’s never felt before in London, the city where this native of Algeria has lived most of her life.

Speaking Events

2016
War Is A Lie: Second Edition

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7:30 pm @ Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke (2015 Grandin Rd SW, Roanoke, VA 24015). Contact: plowshare@plowshareva.org Sign up on FB.

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