New poem by TCBH! poet Gary Lindorff: The life expectancy of a homeless person is 50 years

A crow will never peck out the eyes of another crow.

Perhaps that is why they live longer than men.

(Paraphrase from a poem by Shukrulla.)

Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Surging to Failure

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

Focus: Syria - Mar 8, 2017


Marines have arrived in Syria to fire artillery in the fight for Raqqa - The Washington Post


US weighs deploying up to 1,000 'reserve' troops to Kuwait for IS fight - CNBC


US expanding Kobani airport runway to receive large transport aircraft - southfront.org


With a show of stars and stripes, U.S. forces in Syria try to keep Turkish and Kurdish warring allies apart - The Washington Post


VIDEO: US troops on the ground in Syria - Canoe Video


Islamic State losing territory but still determined to fight, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 fighters remain in Raqqa: U.S. military says - New York Times


ISIS on trajectory toward lasting defeat, defense official says - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE


IS leaders reportedly fleeing Syrian de facto capital Raqqa to the nearby province of Deir Ezzor, local sources say - VOA


Iraq to continue striking Islamic State targets in Syria, Abadi says - Reuters


U.S. appears to root for Kurdish support in Raqqa push: Turkish sources - Reuters


Turkey shuts down US aid group Mercy Corps as relations with Washington deteriorate - Fox News


Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) sends aid to civilians in Syrian town Al Bab - aa.com


Turkey Applies political pressure by cutting off water to Syria - Sputnik


Turkey pushes Syria safe zones again, wants the issue on the agenda at the next round of U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva scheduled for later this month - VOA


Kurdish-led forces clash with Turkish military in Efrin canton - almasdarnews.com


Fight IS, start 'revolution': Why foreigners join Syria Kurds - AFP


UN envoy says next round of Syrian talks to start March 23 - therepublic.com


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

 

Syrian Army liberates more territory in east Aleppo pushing towards Raqqa - almasdarnews.com


+20 villages liberated as the Syrian Army seizes ISIS pocket in stunning Aleppo offensive - almasdarnews.com


Syrian army captures water station supplying Aleppo from Islamic State - Reuters

 

Syrian Army reaches Lake Assad for the first time since 2012 amid humiliating ISIS defeat - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO (Arabic): Syrian Army Tiger Forces liberates Khafseh & reaches Euphrates river - YouTube


Syrian Army advances on Jihar military airbase - southfront.org


Syrian Army captures areas outside Kashish military airport East of Aleppo - Sputnik


Syrian Army amassing soldiers in northwest Aleppo for new offensive - almasdarnews.com


PHOTOS: Another amazing day for the Syrian Army as ISIS faces full annihilation in rural Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


VIDEO: Russian Special Forces engage terrorists in Latakia and Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army breaks through ISIS defense line in Hama - southfront.org


Syrian Army pushes militants out of Daraa city districts - Sputnik


Syrian special forces trained by Russian military advisers ready to fight against ISIS in Homs - southfront.org


PHOTOS: Syrian Army captures underground insurgent HQ in eastern Damascus - almasdarnews.com


MAP: Extrapolation of the population in Syria under control of each war faction: Government 71%, Syrian Democratic Forces 13%, Rebels 9%, ISIS 7% - Syrian Civil War Map on Twitter


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

Uh-Oh, there goes the Democrats’ 'Russia Did It' campaign: WikiLeaks’ Latest CIA Data Dump Undermines Case Against Russia Electi

By Dave Lindorff

 

The so-called Deep State and Democratic Party campaign to demonize Russia for allegedly "hacking the US election," and delivering the country into the hands of Donald Trump suffered a huge and probably mortal blow this week with the release by WikiLeaks of over 7000 secret CIA documents disclosing secret CIA hacking technologies.

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, War Without End

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

Sit-in at Customs and Border Patrol HQ, Act of Resistance to Trump’s Travel Ban Targeting Muslims

WASHINGTON -- A group of concerned citizens and George Washington University students will be engaging in a sit-in on the ground floor of the Customs and Border Patrol Headquarters this morning, calling on officials to ignore President Trump’s latest controversial and bigoted executive order targeting Muslims and immigrant communities. Several participants are willing to risk arrest.

 

As a group in solidarity with many other organizations and individuals, “Each Other” is committed to calling out the racist, anti-immigrant policies of this administration. The group plans on visiting these offices again as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement Offices in the DC area. In so doing, the group also hopes to make contact with officials and agents in these offices to personally urge responsible parties to resist and oppose Trump's mandates against immigrants, Muslims and any other group targeted for religion, race or country of origin.

 

Each Other will be acting in conjunction with DC Justice for Muslims who will be holding a rally simultaneously outside the Reagan building, which houses CBP.


“We want to appeal to the people working at CBP and ICE not to follow these incredibly prejudiced and frankly unlawful executive orders,” said Alison Schwartz of Each Other. “It is the rich ethnic and religious diversity which gives our nation its beauty, strength, and advancement.”


When: 8:00AM, Thursday March 2, 2017

Where: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC (14th Street Entrance)

Why: Citizen outrage to the president’s revised Muslim Travel Ban

Charlottesville to Vote on Opposing Trump Budget

We Did It! Now's Our Chance!

Everybody out to oppose war at the next meeting!

At the March 6, 2017, meeting of the Charlottesville City Council, (video here) three members of the council proposed to put on the agenda for a future meeting a vote on a resolution opposing the increased military spending proposed by President Donald Trump. If even just those three (Kristin Szakos, Wes Bellamy, and Bob Fenwick) vote in support of the resolution it will pass. The views of the other two City Council Members (Mike Signer and Kathy Galvin) are unknown.

We are currently assuming, and will confirm as soon as possible, that the vote on the resolution will come at the March 20th, 7 p.m., meeting. We need to be there in large numbers!

We also need to sign up in large numbers ahead of time for 3-minute speaking slots. Please do that here: http://bit.ly/cvillespeech (Of fifteen slots, ten go to online sign-ups, five to early arrivals in person.)

Thus far, these organizations have endorsed the resolution: Charlottesville Veterans For Peace, Charlottesville Amnesty International, World Beyond War, Just World Books, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, Candidate for Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Fogel, Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible Charlottesville, heARTful Action, Together Cville,

We need to reach out to other organizations and ask them to sign on. We'll add them here: http://bit.ly/cvilleresolution

Focus: Syria - Mar 6, 2017


U.S. military deploys forces in Syria's Manbij to be a 'visible sign of deterrence and reassurance' - Reuters


The 75th Ranger Regiment hits the ground in Syria to participate in the war against ISIS - SOFREP


VIDEO: US troops spotted in armored convoy near Manbij, Syria - RT News


Syrian militia says Manbij under protection of U.S.-led alliance - Reuters


US and Russian troops patrol neighboring villages in Syria - Telegraph


Russian and US forces reach common ground in Syria, troops from both countries patrol the same Syrian town in close co-operation - The Times


U.S. base near Manbij appears to house military transport aircraft CH-4 Chinook in addition to transfer helicopters V-22 Osprey and assault aircraft AH-64 Apache - almasdarnews.com


US-led coalition carries out 2 strikes against Daesh near Manbij - Sputnik


Plans to boost Roj Peshmerga troops to 10,000, commander says US gave the green light for the Roj troops to enter Kurdish territories in Syria - Rudaw

 

Scores of Kurds killed, two villages captured by Turkish-back forces west of Manbij (PHOTOS) - almasdarnews.com


Turkey says to step back from striking Syria's Manbij unless it is in cooperation with Russia and the United States - AFP


Ankara content with Syrian regime presence in Manbij if PYD withdraws - Daily Sabah


Defence Minister Işık: Turkey will prevent unification of PYD cantons at all costs - Daily Sabah


Next rounds of Syria talks to be held in mid-March in Astana - Kurdpress News Aganecy


EU to host Syria conference on Apr 5 with UN: Mogherini - Channel NewsAsia


Moscow wants to include PYD Kurds in next Geneva talks - ARA News


Benjamin Netanyahu to urge Russia to say 'nyet' to Iranian ops in Syria near Israel border - Jerusalem Post

 

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

 

Kurdish forces begin to hand over 20 villages to the Syrian Army in rural Aleppo, all located between Al-Bab and Manbij - almasdarnews.com


Manbij Military Council denies handing over Manbij city to Assad - ARA News


Government troops gain more ground liberating villages in Aleppo and isolating ISIS stronghold of Dier Hafer - southfront.org


ISIS continues rapid decline in rural Aleppo as Syrian Army liberates two new towns - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Army liberates Jazal gas fields in northern Palmyra - almasdarnews.com


ISIL faces expulsion from east Aleppo: the Syrian Army has liberated more than 100 villages since mid-January - almasdarnews.com

 

PHOTOS: Lots of T-90 main battle tanks supplied by Russia to Syrian Army - southfront.org


Five more Syrian Army soldiers captured by Turkish forces in Aleppo province (PHOTOS) - almasdarnews.com


Turkey to allow family of Syrian pilot who crashed to visit him: PM - Reuters


US-backed Syrian forces cut key road linking Raqqa, Deir Ezzor - VOA


Syrian Kurds to make deal with Damascus: representative - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Battle for Manbij shows Syria’s civil war is almost over – and it looks like Bashar Assad has won - The Independent


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

 

Tomgram: William Hartung, The Generals vs. the Ideologues or the Generals and the Ideologues?

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

Stop Government Repression Against Anti-Fascists in Odessa!

ACTION ALERT from the ODESSA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN:

Stop Government Repression Against Anti-Fascists in Odessa!

Free Alexander Kushnarev!

It’s been nearly three years since the brutal massacre of 46 mostly young progressives by a neo-Nazi-led mob in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Government repression and right-wing attacks against Odessans demanding justice for that atrocity have been constant, but now have entered a new and much more dangerous stage.

On Feb. 23, Alexander Kushnarev, the father of one of the young people murdered on May 2, 2014, was arrested by agents of the federal Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Oleg Zhuchenko, chief prosecutor for the Odessan region, claims Kushnarev had been planning to kidnap and torture a member of the country’s Rada, or parliament.

The Sessions stench: Trump AG Jeff Sessions is Trapped in the Malodorous Maelstrom of an ‘Alabama Hurricane’

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the target of demands for resignation due to his triggering yet another Trump Administration scandal related to lying under oath in the Senate about contacts with Russian officials, finds himself in an ‘Alabama Hurricane’ of his own making.

Focus: Syria - Mar 4, 2017


Pentagon: Russian and Syrian regime convoys enter northern Syria city Manbij, they have some armored equipment with them - AFP


Pentagon: US operations in Syria unaffected as Russia moves convoys to Manbij - Sputnik


Pentagon was not aware of Manbij deal between SDF and Assad regime, US official says - Daily Sabah


US-led coalition sends troops to Manbij to 'deter aggression and keep focus on defeating ISIS': spokesperson - Rudaw


PHOTO: More US SOFs deployed to north of Manbij by the Sajur river to prevent Turkish/jihadi attacks on SDF - Gilgo on Twitter

 

VIDEO: Manbij Military Council set up new base with ‘international coalition’ help - YouTube


US commander says Syrian Arab Coalition is now majority group within SDF - Rudaw


PYD proxy won’t need U.S. State Department permission to open a Washington office: diplomatic sources - Daily Sabah


US Air Force aided Syrian Army, Russian military liberate Palmyra - almasdarnews.com


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

 

Russian MOD General Staff chief Sergey Rudskoy confirms Syria regime takeover in YPG-held Manbij - Daily Sabah


VIDEO (English Subs): Syria briefing by Chief of MOD of Russian General Staff Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy - LiveLeak.com


Syrian Army and Kurdish coordination strengthens as food enters Manbij district - almasdarnews.com


Kurds hope corridor to Aleppo will ease economic blockade on Rojava - Rudaw


Kurdish YPG fighters repel Turkish attack near Syria's Afrin - ARA News


Turkey sends armored vehicles to northern Aleppo amid escalating tensions with Kurdish forces - almasdarnews.com


Walls, drones and mines: Turkey tightens border as Syria incursion deepens - Reuters


Syria's water cut off by Turkey - aina.org

 

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

 

Syrian army takes more villages from militants in northwest Syria - Reuters


MAP: Once again huge SAA advances vs. ISIS in eastern Aleppo. Government forces are approaching lake Assad (approx. 16 km) - Peto Lucem on Twitter


Russia's General Staff reveals details of Palmyra operation: Russian aviation and Special Operations forces have made a considerable contribution - TASS


VIDEO: Syrian Army, Qud's forces conduct operations against terrorists in rural Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


Ahrar al-Sham: Syrian jet crashes near Turkey after attack by the group (VIDEO) - Middle East Eye


VIDEO: Four Syrian Army soldiers captured by Turkish-led forces in rural Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


Turkish-backed rebels capture two more Syrian soldiers near Al-Bab - almasdarnews.com


Al-Qaeda affiliate filmed using US anti-tank missiles in west Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


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

 

Paving the way for a new progressive party?: Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Democratic Party leadership, both in the Democratic National Committee and in Congress, is full of bad ideas these days, and they’re risking disaster because of it.

DRONE RESISTERS ACQUITTED!

Four drone resisters, James Ricks, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, and Ed Kinane, from the 2015 big books action were found innocent of all charges at 11pm at the Dewitt Town Court. After deliberating for only about a half hour, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Applause erupted in the courtroom upon the jurors’ announcement of the verdict. The four were charged with obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, and trespass and faced a year in jail. Following the rendering of the verdict, a juror approached Brian Hynes and said “I really support what you are doing. Keep doing it.”

During the trial, Brian Hynes told the jury, “This is not a case about contested facts, this is a case about contested meanings.” Hynes went on to explain to the jury that they could, in the words of the 4th Circuit of Appeals, acquit for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion. In powerful testimony, James Ricks told the jury about meeting the families of drone victims and seeing the wreckage of hellfire missiles. Jurors were brought to tears several times. Daniel Burns said, “Would any of us deem it acceptable for our precious loved ones to be sacrificed for another nation’s anticipatory self defense. Of course not!  Moreover, if drones were being aimed at my children by another country, I would hope with all my might that the citizens of that country might try and stop their country’s illegal and immoral actions.” Ed Kinane told the jury in clear and powerful language about his time living in Iraq during the war and about the terror sown by drones. Closing arguments were given by lawyers Daire Irwin and Jonathon Wallace as well as James Ricks and Brian Hynes.

The trail resulted from an action on March 19, 2015. On the 12th anniversary of the U.S.’ illegal invasion of Iraq, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars shut the main gate of the Hancock Drone Base (near Syracuse, NY) with a giant copy of the UN Charter and three other giant books – Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), Living Under Drones (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and You Never Die Twice (Reprieve).

            The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land. They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings. The group attempted yet again to deliver a citizens’ indictment for war crimes to the Hancock Air base chain of command.

Resisting Donald Trump's Violence Strategically

It is already clearly apparent, as many predicted, that Donald Trump's election as president of the United States would signal the start of what might be the final monumental assault on much of what is good in our world.

Whatever our collective gains to date to create a world in which peace, social justice and environmental sustainability ultimately prevail for all of Earth's inhabitants, we stand to lose it all in the catastrophic sequence of events that Trump is now initiating with those who share his delusional worldview.

Focus: Syria - Mar 2, 2017


Manbij is Turkey's next target in Syria, and the SDF must also not be in Raqqa: Erdoğan - Daily Sabah


'Turkey will hit PKK/PYD in Manbij unless it retreats’: Mevlut Cavusoglu - aa.com


Turkey sets up military bases in Syrian Cities of al-Bab, Azaz - Sputnik


Turkey deploys elite commando units in Syria - Daily Sabah


Concurrent attacks by Turkish army, affiliates and ISIS against SDF on Manbij - ANF


Manbij Military Council regains what it lost in the city’s countryside hours after losing it to Turkey backed forces - SOHR


MAP: Manbij: Turks & Ahrar al Sham attack from the West - whilst Daesh attacks from the South - Doloroso on Twitter


VIDEO: Turkish backed forces advances to Manbij - YouTube


Turkey may shut off İncirlik Air Base to US - yenisafak.com


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

 

To counter Turkey, US-backed Kurdish forces agree to hand over key Manbij area to Syrian government in deal brokered by Russia - Middle East Eye


Statement (Arabic) from SDF saying they have handed over several towns to the Syrian army west of Manbij due to EuphratesShield attacks - Twitter


MAP: Kurdish-led SDF to handover huge section of Manbij territory to Syrian army - almasdarnews.com


Damascus looks to Syrian Kurds to counter Turkey - Middle East Online


Syrian Army liberates 10 villages in eastern Aleppo amid dash towards Euphrates River - almasdarnews.com


Syrian army announces recapture of Palmyra from Islamic State, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes - Reuters


Hezbollah, Russia and the U.S. help Syria retake Palmyra - The Washington Post


Syrian opposition likens Palmyra battles to 'Tom and Jerry' show - Reuters


Russia and Syria say opposition trying to wreck peace talks - Reuters


At peace talks, Syria rebels urge Trump to correct Obama's 'catastrophic mistakes' - Reuters

 

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

 

U.S.: Kurds will participate in some form in attack on Raqqa - The Washington Post


US arms Syrian Arab Coalition to combat ISIS in Raqqa - ARA News


Syrian Kurds receive US weapons, vehicles via Iraq - Kurdpress News Aganecy


US sets up military base in Syrian Manbij to ‘defend it from Turkish attack’: SDF officer - Sputnik


Standoff in Manbij as US troops face the Turkish Army across the battlefield (VIDEO) - almasdarnews.com


U.S. General says no evidence of YPG attacks from Northern Syria on Turkey - Reuters


Central Command tweets photos of Kurdish women fighting ISIS - Business Insider


Syrian opposition figure to deploy all-Arab force in Raqqa offensive alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces - Reuters


U.S. commander downplays chance of big Iraq, Syria troop hike - Reuters


Russians strike U.S.-backed forces in Syria by mistake believing they were ISIS, general says - usatoday.com


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

Tomgram: Karen Greenberg, The Forever Prisoners of Guantanamo

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

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

Global corporations and international government alliances are pushing war, environmental destruction, economic exploitation, defunding of schools and housing, hateful divisive ideologies, and reductions in rights and liberties as a package wrapped in shiny foil, tied with a bow, and advertised in hundreds of different advertising media.

. . . and in this corner we have local and national organizations, segregated by race and other demographics, raising pitiable sums to fund nonprofit work, each to work against one or another particular item out of the package. Occasionally a movement will propose to take on two or three items at once but be shouted down with cries of “WHAT IS YOUR ONE DEMAND!?”

In my view, not only was Thomas Jefferson right to list all of King George’s wrongs, not only was Martin Luther King Jr. right to propose taking on militarism, racism, and extreme materialism all together, but the way to an effective movement — not just a larger movement, but a coherent movement with a vision for a better future — is to go multi-issue, big-tent, cross-border, and otherwise “intersectional.”

We’re facing environmental disaster. It might be mitigated by a massive investment in clean energy. The only possible source of the kind of money needed is in the institution that is currently doing the most environmental damage — so, taking its funding away serves a double purpose. I’m talking, of course, about the military, to which Trump’s budget would give over 60% of discretionary spending. For what? For “stealing their oil” and “killing their families.” Once you start opposing killing families, the remaining purpose for the military stands out as rather anti-environmental.

But that 60% of discretionary spending is also why the quality of life, life expectancy, health, and happiness of people in the United States doesn’t match up with its level of wealth. You’ve heard all about the wealth hoarded by the billionaires. It’s a drop in the bucket. Throwing the military $700 billion a year, year after year, explains not having free college, free clean energy, free fast trains, beautiful parks, wonderful arts, a basic income guarantee, and why the U.S. isn’t leading the world in actual foreign aid rather then begrudging it a stingy token. I don’t mean that we could choose one of these other things instead of military spending. I mean that we could choose all of them. I’d gladly give Donald Trump the leftover billions too just to shut up. Who cares? The world would be a wonderful place.

I usually don’t include healthcare in the list of things we could fund because we’re already over-funding it. We’re just funding a corrupt system of private insurance companies that wastes a lot of it. This corrupt system is the result of a corrupt system of government defended by increasingly militarized police cracking down on the use of the First Amendment. Failing to connect these issues leaves us fumbling in the dark. Refugees from U.S. wars are blamed for their suffering and then used as justification for more wars.

The wars are fueled by racism and in turn fuel greater racism and bigotry, which does its damage within the United States and at the locations of its wars and its bases around the world. Part of the bigotry fueled by war for centuries is sexism. Part of what keeps the wars going is perverse machismo. We should trace the roots of these fears, as many of those roots can be found in military spending to just the same extent that the lack of funds for teachers can.

Yet we try to address the erosion of civil liberties as though it stands alone. What would be the justification for spying on everyone, for example, if there were no enemies? It sounds fantastic, I suppose, but numerous nations that are not at war do not have enemies. The United States should try it sometime, if only for the novelty.

There is another serious result of putting our resources into wars, though, and that is the generation of so many enemies, so much hatred, such widespread hostility and resentment. There is, of course, a way to overcome the fear of terrorism, and that is to stop engaging in the terrorism that produces blowback.

There is no divide between foreign and domestic. There is no pro-war environmentalism, or crony capitalist human rights work, or racist peacemaking. If the absence of The One Single Demand troubles someone, give them the single demand that they go read a book.

Has Van Jones Lost His Mind, Or Are Sane People Missing the Point?

A rational and moral person might think of the recent U.S. raid in Yemen this way. Here's one small incident out of a war consisting primarily of a massive bombing campaign that has slaughtered innocents by the thousands and is threatening to lead to the starvation of hundreds of thousands. In this one incident some 30 people were murdered, some 10 of them women and children, one of them the 8-year-old sister of a 16-year-old American boy whom President Obama had earlier murdered just after having murdered his father. There wasn't some Very Important Thing accomplished, such as learning the cell phone number of someone suspiciously Muslim or whatever, that an immoral hack could try to claim justified this incident. This was mass murder.

In the course of this mass murder, one American taking part in it was killed.

The first paragraph above is of virtually no interest to the U.S. media. The second paragraph above is of intense and passionate interest. But there is a very different point that this interest misses. Much of the media coverage suggests that the One American being killed was a very negative thing for Donald Trump. I'd suggest that it was a very negative thing for the man killed and his family and loved ones, but not necessarily a bad thing for Donald Trump or Lockheed Martin. Here's why.

Drone Protesters Arrested on Tuesday

Anti-Drone Activists Blocked Gate to Beale AFB with Life-Sized Figures of Drone Victims
 
Four Arrested While "Putting A Human Face" on Recent Civilian Drone Victims in Afghanistan
 
Two Others Were Arrested Monday While Sprinkling Ashes on the Base to Represent Innocents Incinerated by Drone Missiles.
 
 
 
Report from Toby Blomé on Tuesday:

A Model City Resolution to Resist and Overcome

Resolution Proposed for __________, ___

Whereas President Trump has proposed to move $54 billion from human and environmental spending at home and abroad to military spending[i], bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending[ii],

Whereas part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees[iii],

Whereas President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer[iv],

Whereas fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college[v], end hunger and starvation on earth[vi], convert the U.S. to clean energy[vii], provide clean drinking water everywhere it's needed on the planet[viii], build fast trains between all major U.S. cities[ix], and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it[x],

Whereas even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid[xi],

Whereas a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world[xii],

Whereas a United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world,

Whereas our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,

Whereas the military is itself the greatest consumer of petroleum we have[xiii],

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program[xiv],

Be it therefore resolved that the ____________ of ___________, ________, urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.


[i] "Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending," The New York Times, February 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/us/politics/trump-budget-military.html?_r=0

[ii] This does not include another 6% for the discretionary portion of veterans' care. For a breakdown of discretionary spending in the 2015 budget from the National Priorities Project, see https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states

[iii] "43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes," World Beyond War, http://worldbeyondwar.org/43-million-people-kicked-homes / "Europe's Refugee Crisis Was Made in America," The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/europes-refugee-crisis-was-made-in-america

[iv] On February 27, 2017, Trump said, "Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we've spent in the Middle East . . . and we're nowhere, actually if you think about it we're less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there's not even a contest . . .  we have a hornet's nest . . . ." http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/02/27/trump_we_spent_6_trillion_in_middle_east_and_we_are_less_than_nowhere_far_worse_than_16_years_ago.html

[v] "Free College: We Can Afford It," The Washington Post, May 1, 2012, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/free-college-we-can-afford-it/2012/05/01/gIQAeFeltT_story.html?utm_term=.9cc6fea3d693

[vi] "The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger," Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index.html

[vii] "Clean Energy Transition Is A $25 Trillion Free Lunch," Clean Technica, https://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/03/clean-energy-transition-is-a-25-trillion-free-lunch / See also: http://www.solutionaryrail.org

[viii] "Clean Water for a Healthy World," UN Environment Program, http://www.unwater.org/wwd10/downloads/WWD2010_LOWRES_BROCHURE_EN.pdf

[ix] "Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries," The World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/07/10/cost-of-high-speed-rail-in-china-one-third-lower-than-in-other-countries

[x] Non-military U.S. foreign aid is approximately $25 billion, meaning that President Trump would need to cut it by over 200% to find the $54 billion he proposes to add to military spending

[xi] Letter to Congressional leaders, February 27, 2017, http://www.usglc.org/downloads/2017/02/FY18_International_Affairs_Budget_House_Senate.pdf

[xii] See http://www.wingia.com/en/services/about_the_end_of_year_survey/global_results/7/33

[xiii] "Fight Climate Change, Not Wars," Naomi Klein, http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2009/12/fight-climate-change-not-wars

[xiv] "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update," Political Economy Research Institute, https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/449-the-u-s-employment-effects-of-military-and-domestic-spending-priorities-2011-update

Nancy Pelosi: Resister Without a Clue. A 10 point rant.

Sam Husseini just asked Nancy Pelosi why she won't support an impeachment investigation for Trump. Her answer is on video.

The transcript is probably less embarrassing than the video for the former Speaker who was never much of a, you know, speaker.

SH - ... And if I could, to Leader Pelosi, you said that there are no grounds for impeachment against Donald Trump, but legal scholars from Catherine Ross at GW to Laurence Tribe at Harvard say there is. Laurence Tribe recently said, "Congress cannot give consent to a President's violation of the domestic emoluments clause."

NP - We have to ... the case is being made about the emoluments, and you have to have evidence, and the rest, but the case has not fully been made. The fact is, is that when I was Speaker, after we won in '06, in '07 people wanted me to impeach President Bush because the war in Iraq. But there's a big - I've never recovered with the Left on this subject for not impeaching President Bush because of the war in Iraq. Well, you don't impeach somebody because you don't like their policies. When they break the law, that's when you have grounds for impeachment. And at the time of the war I said, as a top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, "The intelligence does not support the threat," and so did Senator Bob Graham. But the administration was making this strong case with the American people, and perhaps misrepresenting the American people could be cause for impeachment. If so, there's plenty of grounds right now with the current President, but it just, just isn't the case. That doesn't mean nobody's listening to cases that are being made in a very scientific, methodical way, as to whether there are grounds for impeachment. But the fact is, is that many of, we're trying to unite the country, and many of the President's supporters are just not ready to accept the fact that their judgment just might not have been so great in voting for him, and by the time the case is made perhaps they'll be ready to accept that. It's very hard, impeachment. It's very, very hard.

Uh huh. Sort of like stringing words together coherently: very, very hard. But important.

Some basic lessons in law and history for Rep. Pelosi:

1. When we began the drive to impeach Bush it was over violations of law, including violations that traditionally Congress most gave a darn about, including the felonies committed when lying to Congress. We later produced dozens of articles of impeachment, and I published a book together with a former federal prosecutor outlining how to prosecute each of the dozens of crimes found in each of 60 articles.

2. High Crimes and Misdemeanors is not literally crimes, and an impeachment trial is not a criminal trial, which can follow in a court of law. At issue in impeachment is abuse of power, including crimes that violate the highest law of the land, the Constitution, without violating the U.S. Code.

3. The "left" that wanted Bush impeached consisted of roughly half the U.S. public in opinion polls even with zero action for impeachment on capitol hill and Pelosi warning everyone against it.

4. The purpose of impeaching Bush was not to spite Bush but to prevent the expansion of imperial presidential power that has continued ever since the failure to impeach Bush.

5. When we introduced the case for impeaching Trump at http://impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org it was based around violations of the rule of law that numerous legal scholars had predicted he would be violating as soon as he took office. The case was made before Trump became president. It has not been unmade.

6. Opening an investigation may require pretending the case has not already been made, but -- by the same token -- it does not require that the case have been made. It requires only that there be a basis for an investigation.

7. An impeachment investigation uses the power of subpoena to request relevant documents, such as Donald Trump's taxes. By precedent, when such a request is refused, that refusal is an impeachable offense. A Congress without an understanding of how these powers work is a Congress that has cut itself off at the knees and then rolled Nancy Pelosi out to tell us how to win marathons.

8. Uniting the deeply despised Democratic and Republican parties as they exist in Washington D.C. is not the same thing as uniting the country. And many of us don't give a rats behind about either cause in comparison with preventing climate change, war, starvation, poverty, mass-incarceration, and homelessness.

9. The way to educate portions of the population that you believe are lagging in understanding is not to sit back and do nothing until they magically become ready. It is to present your case to them. That's what impeachment hearings typically have done.

10. That the public was opposed to impeaching Bill Clinton, at least for lying about sex, is as relevant to the general popularity of serious impeachment proceedings as Bernie Sanders' crowds are to the public approval of the Democratic National Committee.

This Is Not Your Grandparents' Resistance

I want to disagree, in part, with a recent recommendation that John Steinbeck's The Moon Is Down be used as a guide to resisting the outrages of the Trump regime. I think you could present the basic plot to an average middle school student today, and they would point out the fundamental flaw quite quickly.

Here's the plot. Nazis armed with machine guns take over a small Norwegian town that has a 12-member army, instantly killing 6, injuring 3, and sending 3 into hiding. The Nazis want all the townsfolk to cooperate, including by working in a coal mine so that coal can be shipped out to help the Nazis in the war, as well as -- of course -- generally providing food, shoveling snow, and keeping things running in the town. The townsfolk bitterly resent the occupation. Yet they generally cooperate in all ways, except when they find opportunities to kill a German soldier or two. They send to England for dynamite with which to blow up bridges. No other resistance tactics even occur to them.

Does something occur to you? Does it occur to you that a mine won't run if the miners all refuse to enter it? The fact that this occurs to a great many people today is the result of intellectual and practical progress. We know now that nonviolent tools are the most likely to succeed. We have models and plans for potential situations. This response -- unthinkable through most of human history -- has almost become common sense today.

In part, that's because of the real history of Norway. A strong case has been made that Norway avoided developing its own brand of Nazism in the 1930s by means of using strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and nonviolent occupations to democratize its society, rather than the violent approach used in some other countries. Norway also used, not just violence, but largely nonviolent resistance (as well as violence against non-living things, aka sabotage) to resist Nazi occupation.

Leaders of the Norwegian resistance were, appropriately enough, school teachers, who refused to cooperate with a puppet government, and inspired others to do the same. U.S. teachers should be, and in some cases are, leading resistance to Trump's agenda for the United States. So should local and state governments. So should prominent individuals and organizations of all sorts. I think this is what the article linked above has in mind, too, in recommending The Moon Is Down. But that tale needs updating.

Even so, The Moon Is Down, begins to get close to what's needed. It was a controversial book, and is a good book, because it depicts the Nazis occupying Norway as human beings, just as the people obeying orders to yank Muslims off airplanes in the United States today are human beings. Steinbeck depicts foreign occupations as hopeless and dreams of being welcomed with flowers and chocolates as insane -- something the United States has been in desperate need of learning these past 16 years. The Nazis fail to occupy the town in the story not because they are racists or sexists or haven't donated to the Clinton Foundation, but because there is no way to occupy someone else's town successfully, whether or not the people of the town have been "disarmed."

The Moon Is Down makes the powerful point that the victims of war do not excuse the crimes because the crimes are part of a war. After all, most of them have never attended any U.S. university, so they don't know any better. When the Nazi commander orders the mayor to order the killing of one of his citizens for the crime of murdering a German soldier, he asks if they will punish their own troops for the crime of killing six Norwegian soldiers. Murder is murder, after all, even -- I would bet Steinbeck might agree -- when a flying robot is used.

But the idea that today Norwegian villagers occupied by German troops would be wisest to engage in assassination, as opposed to mass non-violent resistance live streamed on the internet, seems hopelessly outdated. If we want to resist strategically, if we want to transform positively, we will have to update our toolkit dramatically. Looking back at how people thought 75 years ago should serve us primarily as an inspiring reminder of how far we've come, and thereby as an indication of how much further we can go in changing the way we think and act. The permanent military state into which Trump now wants to dump 65% of discretionary spending was begun by people who basically didn't know any more about how societies can work than Aristotle knew about evolution. Perhaps we should reconsider our devotion to their manner of resistance -- which is, after all, what the Pentagon believes it is leading.

Tomgram: William Astore, In Afghanistan, America's Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception

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

Talk Nation Radio: Michael Kazin on the Peace Activists Who Warned Against World War I

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-michael-kazin-on-the-peace-activists-who-warned-against-world-war-i

Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University and editor of Dissent, a magazine of politics and culture which has been published since 1954. His main interest is the history of politics and social movements in the United States. Kazin writes frequently for such publications and websites as The New York Times, Foreign Affairs , The Nation, and The Daily Beast.

His most recent book is War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918. We discuss World War I, World War II, and peace activism.

Kazin will be speaking on April 4, 2017, at this event:

Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

An event to mark 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech against war. A new movement to end all war is growing.

April 4, 2017, 6-8 p.m. Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Streets NW, Washington, D.C.

Speakers:
Michael Kazin, professor of history at Georgetown University, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918.

Eugene Puryear, journalist, activist, radio host, and author of Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America.

Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK, author of books including Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection.

David Swanson, director of World Beyond War, author of books including War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War.

Maria Santelli, executive director of Center on Conscience and War, founding director of the New Mexico GI Rights Hotline.

Jarrod Grammel, conscientious objector.

Nolan Fontaine, conscientious objector.

Sponsored by World Beyond War, and Center on Conscience and War, with thanks to Busboys and Poets.

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

New TCBH! poem: 'True Story of a One-Legged Duck'

 I was walking down the bike path

Focus: Syria - Feb 27, 2017


Syrian army advance opens new link to Kurdish areas, bringing it to the edge of SDF-held areas south of Manbij - Reuters


Damascus opens up trade route with Kurds in northern Syria - almasdarnews.com


MAP: Syrian army links up with the Syrian Democratic Forces in Manbij, finally allowing Efrin to call home - Aron Lund on Twitter


Syrian soldiers block Turkey-backed militants' only pathway to Manbij - farsnews.com


Syrian troops block Turkish push to Raqqa - Morning Star


Syrian army advances against Islamic State near Aleppo, takes the town of Tadef south of al-Bab: monitor - Reuters


Turkey-backed FSA rebels clash with Syrian army in Tadef near Al Bab - Reuters


Russia stops the fighting between Syrian army, Turkish-backed rebels near Al Bab - Sputnik


Massive loss for ISIS as Kurdish troops restart operations south of Manbij - almasdarnews.com


Syrian Arab Coalition makes major gains toward Raqqa, Pentagon says - Sputnik


U.S.-backed fighters in Syria worry more about Turkey than ISIS - Foreign Policy


"We'll quit Raqqa and fight in Manbij if Turkey/FSA attacks," YPG officials tell US military - Map of Syrian Civil war


Syrian planes transfer Kurdish PYD wounded members to Damascus: Official - basnews


Kurdish fighters capture three new villages in dash towards Deir Ezzor - almasdarnews.com


Thousands of Kurdish troops arrive from Iraq to spearhead Deir Ezzor offensive - .almasdarnews.com


Barzani's agenda in Turkey visit: ‘Rojava Peshmergas’ in Syria offensive - ekurd


Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga forces not part of Free Syrian Army or YPG: officials - ARA News

 

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

 

Mattis gives White House tentative plan for rapid defeat of ISIS - Military.com


Top US commander for Mideast visits Kurdish-led SDF troops in secret Syria trip: alliance - AFP


US general says Kurdish-led SDF forces need heavy weapons to destroy ISIS in Raqqa - ARA News


US sends new batch of armored vehicles to Kurdish forces (PHOTO) - almasdarnews.com


US Central Command tweets support for Manbij Military Council despite Turkish threats - almasdarnews.com


PHOTO: Image purporting to show US forces on demarcation line between the SDF and Turkish backed forces in Manbij - syria.liveuamap.com


US, Russia need more talk on ISIS fight, Air Force general says - Military.com


Al Qaeda second in command killed in US drone strike in Syria. Who is Abu Khayr al-Masri?  - ibtimes.com


A big story here: Many dozens of the most hard-line fighters in northwestern Syria headed to Raqqa after a free-passage deal with Al Qaeda - Hassan Hassan حسن on Twitter

 

Turkey sends troops, armored personnel carriers to Syrian border: Reports - Sputnik


Turkey cutting Euphrates River flow to Syrian villages particularly in Kobani and Manbij, it is a violation of intl. conventions of water - alwaght.com


Turkey builds more than half of Syrian border wall - DW.COM


Turkey will end operation in Syria after Manbij captured: Tayyip Erdogan's adviser - UPI.com


Russia plays key role in maintaining ceasefire in Syria: Erdogan’s Adviser - Sputnik


Erdogan's adviser says March meeting with Putin to focus on Syria - Sputnik


Russia forms elite Syrian unit to hunt ISIS terrorists - macedoniaonline.eu


Russian frigate heads to Mediterranean on Syria mission: source - Reuters


A shipment of 17394 tons of wheat, sent by Russia to Syrian people, arrive in Tartous - Syrian Arab News Agency


Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu: Russia, US may conduct joint operations against ISIS in Raqqa - TASS


Top-notch Kh-101 cruise missiles that Russia unleashes on Daesh in Raqqa - Sputnik


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

The Choice Trump’s Budget Creates

Trump proposes to increase U.S. military spending by $54 billion, and to take that $54 billion out of the other portions of the above budget, including in particular, he says, foreign aid. If you can’t find foreign aid on the chart above, that’s because it is a portion of that little dark green slice called International Affairs. To take $54 billion out of foreign aid, you would have to cut foreign aid by approximately 200 percent.

Alternative math!

But let’s not focus on the $54 billion. The blue section above (in the 2015 budget) is already 54% of discretionary spending (that is, 54% of all the money that the U.S. government chooses what to do with every year). It’s already 60% if you add in Veterans’ Benefits. (We should take care of everyone, of course, but we wouldn’t have to take care of amputations and brain injuries from wars if we stopped having the wars.) Trump wants to shift another 5% to the military, boosting that total to 65%.

Now I’d like to show you a ski slope that Denmark is opening on the roof of a clean power plant — a clean power plant that cost 0.06% of Trump’s military budget.

Trump’s pretense that he’s going to just screw the no-good foreigners by taking $54 billion out of foreign aid is misleading on many levels. First, that kind of money just isn’t there. Second, foreign aid actually makes the United States safer, unlike all the “defense” spending that endangers us. Third, the $700 billion that Trump wants to borrow and blow on militarism every year would not only get us close in 8 years to wasting directly (without considering missed opportunities, interest payments, etc.) the same $6 trillion that Trump laments blowing on recent failed wars (unlike his imaginary successful wars), but that same $700 billion is more than enough to transform domestic and foreign spending alike.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Trumpian Snapshot of America

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

A MOOD IS NOT A MOVEMENT: FIVE IDEAS FOR THE ANTI-TRUMP FORCES

By Richard Rubenstein

Comrades and friends, I am not writing to advise you how to resist the Trump regime. There are as many action proposals in circulation as there are anti-Trump groups, with “resistance” the buzzword of the moment.  But resistance against what, exactly, and for what purposes?  Most of the tactical proposals I have seen are strangely devoid of political content.  It seems that anti-Trump is more a mood than a movement with shared aims.  It is a negative sentiment shared by most of the identity and interest groups that formed part of the Democratic Party coalition (or, as the President himself would put it, by the losers) during the 2016 election. 

The spread of public protests against the new regime’s immigration ban and other initiatives is heartening to those who oppose these measures.  Yet, protest by itself doesn’t create a movement.  Spending one’s days reacting to Donald Trump’s misstatements, prejudices, and cruelties risks repeating the mistakes of the presidential campaign, when the country split 50-50, more or less, and a right-wing populist appeal aimed primarily at working class Americans generated an electoral vote majority for the Tweeter-in-Chief.  Outrage provoked by Trump’s character, rhetoric, and behavior is inevitable.  Even so, this is a time for hard thinking and conversation, not just outraged action.  (This is the point of Slavoj Zizek’s 2015 video, “Don’t act, just think.”  Take a look at it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLOTi2498xg.) 

We dearly need to spend more time talking with each other about what the underlying problems are and what kinds of organization and action are needed to start solving them.  I have a few preliminary ideas about how to frame the issues requiring discussion. If you find any of them interesting, let’s talk further about what a credible program for real change would look like, and how to organize a coherent movement to realize it.

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

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