Dimock, PA Lawsuit Trial-Bound as Study Links Fracking to Water Contamination in Neighboring County

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater. 

The Prison Gates Swing Open for Peace Activists

Kathy Kelly is just out of prison, where she'd been sent for nonviolently opposing drone murders.

An appeals court has just overturned convictions for Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed, imprisoned for entering and protesting a nuclear weapons site at Oak Ridge, Tenn., three years ago. Resentencing on lesser charges, and quite possibly immediate release, is expected.

Amazingly, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the government failed to prove that the activists intended to "injure the national defense." (Maybe Venezuela, accused by President Obama of being a threat to the same, should appeal to the Sixth Circuit!)

The U.S. government has just dropped charges against eight members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance who nonviolently protested the U.S. military's environmental destruction with a march from the EPA to the Pentagon this past Earth Day.

"It can only be speculated why the charges were dismissed," said NCNR. "The eight activists were charged with 'Failure to Comply With a Lawful Order' and were scheduled to appear for trial on June 4 at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA. The group was well prepared to challenge the charge and to speak some truth to power in the courtroom. Perhaps the U.S. attorney recognized that the defendants at the Pentagon were simply exercising their constitutionally-protected right to speak out against our government's wrong-headed policies. Or possibly he agreed with the defendants' messages."

In recent months there have been absurd indictments and sentences. But there have also been surprising acquittals and the dismissal of charges.

Freedom isn't free, it's won by continued protests of wars.

Now to free all the other prisoners!

John Kiriakou, just out of prison, writes about his experience here.

Child Soldier released from jail by Canadian court: US Still Seeks Jail for ‘Fighter’ Captured at 15 in Afghanistan

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The good news is that an appellate judge in Canada has had the courage and good sense to uphold the release from jail on bail of Omar Khadr, a native of Canada who was captured as a child soldier at the age of 15 in Afghanistan by US forces back in 2002 and shipped off to Guantanamo, where he became one of the children held in captivity.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 9, 2015


State Department Says No Review of Undisclosed Clinton Foundation Donations - Bloomberg Politics


VIDEO: At the briefing press question why the State Department chooses to "close their eyes" to the Clinton Foundation - C-SPAN


Hillary Clinton’s State Department office had a voice in ethics review of Bill’s speeches - POLITICO


Bill Clinton put the blame for foundation’s foreign donor scandal on the accountant who filed its taxes - Washington Free Beacon


VIDEO: Bill Clinton: Hillary 'Didn't Know About a Lot of' Foundation Donations - Breitbart


Clinton 'fact-check' under fire: controversial uranium deal for a major Clinton Foundation donor - WashingtonExaminer.com


The Billionaire Giustra Whose Clinton Foundation Ties Could Be Trouble for Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics


Travels with Bill and Frank: A look at the Clinton-Giustra friendship - The Washington Post


Furious B.C. magnate Giustra says he’s caught up in ‘vicious’ smear campaign against Clinton charities - National Post


Statement From Frank Giustra, Founder And Chairman Of The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership - TheStreet


A review of Canadian court documents reveals that Clintons’ Canadian mining Pal Giustra has been accused of double-dealing  before - The Daily Caller


Alleged Clinton and Giustra Influence Peddling in Colombia Examined by Univision - newsbusters.org


Under pressure, Clinton Foundation’s Canadian arm reveals 21 donors - SanLuisObispo


Sant Chatwal Denies Allegations over Donations to Clinton Foundation - bignewsnetwork.com


What dealings did Indian American entrepreneurs Sant Singh Chatwal, Vinod Gupta have with the Clinton Foundation? - The American Bazaar


Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton changed positions on an India nuclear deal - PolitiFact

 

Did Clinton Foundation Donor Get Hillary to Delay Boko Haram Terror Designation? - Judicial Watch


Elizabeth Warren Targets Clinton Foundation Donors - Washington Free Beacon


Revealed: Four Clinton Foundation Trustees Charged or Convicted of Financial Crimes - breitbart.com


Clinton Foundation Employee Who Worked for the Muslim Brotherhood Gets Life in Prison in Egypt - Wounded American Warrior


Clinton Cash's Schweizer Pushes Stat "Incredibly Misleading”: Clinton Foundation Keeps 90 Percent Of Foundation Money "For Themselves" - Media Matters for America


How the Clinton Foundation did, and did not, meet its White House agreement on donations: A PolitiFact scorecard - PolitiFact


VIDEO: Earth Institute Director and Economist Jeffrey Sachs: People in Charity Work Unhappy With Clinton's Schmoozing For Years - Breitbart


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

Benghazi panel releases interim report, accuses administration of dragging feet - TheHill


Cummings Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Benghazi Committee: “What Have We Accomplished?” - Committee on Benghazi


Partisan rancor marks Benghazi panel's first year of work - USA Today


Democrats suspect Benghazi panel delaying Clinton appearance - Reuters


Judicial Watch Files 7 FOIA Lawsuits for the Release of Clinton Emails - judicialwatch.org


Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin's emails now face disclosure lawsuit - Washington Times


Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's Islamic connection - Washington Times


Obama to Pardon Hillary Clinton for Benghazi, Emailgate, Sources Say - National Report


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

Hillary Clinton Embraces a ‘Super PAC,’ Trying to Erode a Republican Edge - NYTimes.com


Hillary Clinton Isn't Ready to Disclose Who's Funding Her Campaign - Mother Jones


POLL: Hillary is the favorite among millionaire voters: Survey - cnbc.com


Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Draws Strong Hollywood Crowd And $3 million - Deadline


Latino Activists in LA Press Clinton To Oppose Major Pacific Trade Pact - Al Jazeera America


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton greeted by protesters at LA fundraiser opposing influence of money in politics and the Pacific trade deal - YouTube


VIDEO: Hillary Comes to LA to Fundraiser and Finds Some Very Unflattering Welcome Posters Waiting for Her - ijreview.com


Bill Clinton says Hillary right to step away from his criminal justice legacy - POLITICO


Hillary Clinton endorses NSA reform bill - MSNBC


Liberal ears perk up as Hillary Clinton aide floats debt-free college - POLITICO


Senate Fast Track Vote Tuesday – Where Is Clinton? - ourfuture.org


An Inside Look at the Hillary Clinton Inner Circle - Bloomberg Politics


Why Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Opponents Only Throw Softballs - TIME


Yoko Ono: “I Had an Affair with Hillary Clinton in the ’70s” - World News Daily Report

 

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

 

To unsubscribe reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

The No More War Movement

Remarks at UNAC Conference, May 8, 2015.

This week I read an article by someone I have a lot of respect for and who I know to mean well, and who wrote about being a part of something called "the Less War Movement."

Now, in my analysis, war murders, it injures, it traumatizes, and it harms huge numbers of people, fuels hostility, makes the aggressor less safe, drains away wealth for both victim and aggressor, wastes resources that could have saved many more lives than war kills, devastates the natural environment, erodes civil liberties, turns police officers into occupying armies, destroys the rule of law, and corrupts morality beyond recognition. So I consider myself part of something I call the No More War Movement.

If I wanted only less war but still some war, that would mean that I believed some wars were good. But, then, wouldn't I want to make sure to keep the good wars and get rid of the bad ones? I mean, if I just demanded less war, and the wars were reduced or eliminated at random, we might get stuck with all the bad ones and none of the good ones. Wouldn't it make more sense to start an Only The Good Wars Movement?

But then you'd have to find some good ones, a crusade that carries most of its participants back 70 years in search of their most recent example -- an example that transforms into a nightmare monster once examined. An Only the Good Wars Movement ends up making as much sense as an Only the Good Rapes Movement or an Only the Good Child Abuse Movement. There are no good wars.

I suspect the reasoning behind proposing a so-called Less War Movement is actually that all wars are bad but it's more strategic to pretend otherwise. Of course if this were so and it could get us fewer wars, who would complain? But, in reality, once you've proposed that some wars are good, you're trapped inside the logic of the war machine. If even a single potential war is going to be good, why not make 110% sure -- indeed, why not make 1,000% sure -- of winning it? And that means weapons, and troops, and mercenaries, and flying killer robots, and personnel in 175 countries, and surveillance of the planet, and emergency authoritarian secrecy and power that generates more wars -- all of which, incidentally, are lost, not won.

On this Mother's Day weekend, recall Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870 which said, "From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession."

There's logic. There's passion. There's something to build a movement around. You can't build a movement around less war. You can't create a coherent agenda around "Hey Hey LBJ Please kill somewhat less kids today." Nobody's moved by "No justice, no peace. U.S. partially out of the Middle East."

It isn't the bad wars, whichever ones they may be, that do the major damage. It's the routine preparation in case of a future good war. The routine so-called non-war military spending is 10 times the war spending. It kills more by how it's not spent than by how it's spent. It's not spent on food, water, medicine, agriculture, and clean energy.

Baltimore City Schools spends $5,336 per student, while Maryland spends $38,383 per prisoner, and every man, woman, and child in Maryland and in the rest of the United States on average each, EACH spends $4,063 per year on the U.S. military — except those who refuse to pay. That the prisons and military do harm, rather than good, compounds the damage.

The routine weapons business, buying by the U.S. government, and marketing to dictatorships abroad is what ends up providing local police with the equipment, training, conditioning, and attitude of war. You can't sell all the weapons to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, with the latter blowing up the former's. You have to unload some of them on police ($12 million worth to Maryland), who then figure out what to do with them when you explain that protesters are low-level terrorists, and terrorists are by definition protesters. Many of the police who rioted in Baltimore were trained in Israel, and as Medea just noted in U.S. wars.

This weekend in 1944, in El Salvador, a nonviolent movement overthrew a dictator. The victory did not last, but on average such nonviolent victories last far longer than violent ones, and nonviolent action is more likely to result in a victory to begin with. Notice that I said nonviolent ACTION, not nonviolent inaction, which we have way more than enough of.

Nonviolent action is the answer to the question "What do you replace war with?" You replace it with tools that work better: economic, legal, and political structures that facilitate peace and disarmament, actions of resistance and constructive replacement that disrupt business as usual.

You know, I have to confess that I feel bad for the Baltimore Police. The Pentagon would have immediately announced that it broke its victim's spine for women's rights and the spread of democracy. The Baltimore Police had to get the Washington Post to claim that Freddie Gray broke his own spine. It's hard to have to claim something you yourself cannot believe. Like a drone pilot driving home for dinner, the Baltimore Police have been thrust from participation in a war on poor black people into trying to defend murder in a civilian world. In war you don't have to defend murder.

What yanked those killers out of a war and into a society under the rule of law? People in Baltimore standing up and acting.

Young people in Baltimore are as trapped in poverty as almost anywhere on earth. Yet we're told to look for the causes of anger in skin color or culture. In a parallel manner we're told that Western Asia, the so-called Middle East, is violent because of a religion. Yet it is as heavily armed as anywhere on earth, and armed principally by the United States weapons industry.

We're told to debate which type of violence to add to the mix, when the answer right in front of us is Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Stop arming people and beating people and denouncing them as violent.

When we push for disarmament with the logic of reality, that armaments bring wars, and wars bring enemies, and enemies bring the propaganda that brings more armaments, we break a vicious cycle. And perhaps we begin to get somewhere. Of course we won't achieve an instant result of zero armaments. The government will at best give us less armaments. But that is no reason to pre-compromise. Our job is to speak truth to power, not because it makes us feel better, but because it is believable.

Don't put your time, energy, or money into a less war movement, much less a less war candidate for president and for kill list decider in chief. Put it into disarmament, disarmament of Israel, disarmament of Egypt, disarmament of Saudi Arabia, of Bahrain, of Washington D.C., of police departments across this country, of secret agencies, of immigration patrols, disarmament of our households, disarmament of our minds.

We have more powerful tools. We just need to stand up and use them.

Peace.

Saudis condemned for bombing airport, Alkhalifa will be challenged on Rajab

The Saudis have lost their war on Yemen, militarily, morally and politically. Yet they continue to bomb the remains of their earlier bombings. On Monday 4th May The United Nations condemned the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes on Yemen's Sanaa airport on Monday, saying it hindered the travel of humanitarian aid workers.  "No flights can take off or land while the runways are being repaired," the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes Van Der Klaauw, said in a statement. "I strongly urge the coalition to stop targeting Sanaa international airport and to preserve this important lifeline - and all other airports and seaports - so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict in Yemen." On Monday 4th Mary residents of The Eastern Province buried Martyr Abdullah Al Ramadhan. He was killed two weeks ago by regime’s forces who attacked a group of young men preparing to watch car race outside their town of Taroot in Qatif Prov ince.

The Alkhalifa, on their part, have extended the detention of Nabeel Rajab for two more weeks until 14th May in revenge for his tweets against their intensive campaign of torture at Jaw Prison. On that day President Obama will meet the GCC leaders in Washington. Appeal letters have been sent urging him to discuss human rights and democracy in their countries and to demand the release of the Bahrain 13, Nabeel Rajab, Sheikh Ali Salman and other prisoners of conscience. The appeals were made despite the fact that the US is the main supporter of Arab dictators especially the Saudis and Alkhalifa. Hussain Abdullah, of ADHRB wrote a personal letter to Mr Obama urging him to take up the case of Nabeel Rajab with the Alkhalifa dictators attending that meeting.

On 30th April 68 Members of The European Parliament signed a letter to Federica Mogherini,E the Head of the European External Action Service urging her to take action against the Bahraini regime: The letter says: We are writing to you to express our deep concern over continuing human rights violations in Bahrain, and namely the repeated arrests of Nabeel Rajab, prominent human rights defender and President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). Mr. Rajab was recently arrested on April 2nd for "disseminating false or malicious news, statements or rumours in time of war” and for "insulting a statutory body.” We demand that strong and urgent action is taken by the EU to pressure the Bahraini government for his immediate and unconditional release, and revocation of his travel ban. Likewise the Bahraini government must release all political prisoners and cease all human rights violations.

On 5th May regime’s forces snatched a native under-aged Bahraini boy, Hassan Hamid Al Rayes in a raid on a swimming pool at Barbar Town. From Sanad Town three people were detained in house raids. They are Hussain Najeh, Mohammed Majeed and Hussain Ali Hassan. On 30th April ten people were arrested from Aali Town: Sheikh Mohammad Khalil Naysar, Sayed Ibrahim AlGhuraifi, Ali Shamtoot, Mahmood Ahmad, Jaffar AlAmm, Ali Saleh AlJamri, Kumail AlAdraj, Mortadha AlAali, Ali Hussain AlAmm and Ali Abdul Rahim AlAmm.

In its 2015 Annual Report, Freedom House has downgraded Bahrain in the democracy and human rights scale. Bahrain’s political rights rating declined from 6 to 7 due to grave flaws in the 2014 legislative elections and the government’s unwillingness to address long-standing grievances among the majority Shiite community about the drawing of electoral districts and the possibility of fair representation.

On Saturday 2nd May, The Independent published an article titled: “Dissidents’ fury at Hammond’s 'secret' Bahrain visit” in which it said: Bahraini dissidents, human rights activists and Labour have condemned Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond for secretly visiting the repressive Gulf state’s leaders on the same day that Bahrain extended the detention of its most prominent critic.” It further added: “While Mr Hammond exchanged pleasantries with Prince Salman al-Khalifa, Nabeel Rajab was remanded in custody for a further two weeks on charges of spreading “false news” on Twitter.”

On 29th April the Alkhalifa regime sentenced 12 native Bahrainis from El Ekr Town for their anti-regime activities. Salman Isa was sentenced to death for the false accusation of participating in the killing of one of the mercenaries. Seven were given life sentences; Ali Makki, Isa Moosa, Abdulla Abdul Jalil, Abdul Hadi Ali Hassan, Yousuf Abdulla Al Nata’ei, Abdul Amir Hassan Radhi and Hassan Abdulla Batti. Four were given ten years jail sentence: Jaffar Yousuf Jassim, Jaffar Abdul Amir Jaffar, Hussain Abdul Latif Mansoor and Hassan Ahmad Sharaf.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

An "Indispensable" Snub

Obama's Petulant WWII Snub of Russia

Editor Note:  Russia will celebrate the Allied victory over Nazism on Saturday without U.S. President Obama and other Western leaders present, as they demean the extraordinary sacrifice of the Russian people in winning World War II – a gesture intended to humiliate President Putin.

By Ray McGovern

President Barack Obama’s decision to join other Western leaders in snubbing Russia’s weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe looks more like pouting than statesmanship, especially in the context of the U.S. mainstream media’s recent anti-historical effort to downplay Russia’s crucial role in defeating Nazism.

All the President's Psychologists

by Debra Sweet       Credit goes to dissident psychologists for staying on the case for more than 10 years against official professional involvement with the US torture program. Stephen Soldz, Nathaniel Raymond and Steven Reisner released a report last week backing up their conclusions that  “The A.P.A. secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A., White House and the Department of Defense to create an A.P.A. ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the C.I.A. torture program.” 

Yemen: Another Impoverished Country Crushed by US Bombs

By Debra Sweet           Six weeks of bombing by U.S. close ally Saudi Arabia has brought about a desperate situation in Yemen. The Saudi government said weeks ago it would reduce bombing, but instead has increased it. Reports that hospitals are shutting down for lack of fuel, and the expected loss of the whole telecommunications system will bring more danger for the people.

Larry Everest writes in Obama & U.S. Imperialism: Pushing Yemen Deeper into Hell:

Lessons Learnt from the American War on Vietnam

By Debra Sweet      It's worth thinking about how imperialist wars start; how they can end up; how opposition develops externally and domestically. Sometimes waging wars make the aggressor less stable. Sometimes they lose legitimacy. A lot depends on what the opposition does. In this week of anniversaries, let's look back.

New poem: Manure Cannon

BAM!

Echo, like thunder off the shell of the sky-dome.

We, all on the terrace, glance at each other,

Jump to action.

Everyone knows what to do.

Grab something quick,

Fast Track the Good Stuff

The U.S. Senate has been very concerned not to let peace with Iran slip into place too easily, even while a new war in Iraq and Syria proceeds without the formal pretense of Congress "authorizing" or rejecting it.

Both houses of Congress are interested in ramming through the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) on a fast track. The fast track procedure of rushing things through Congress or creating them without Congress seems to be reserved for the least popular ideas our government produces.

What if, instead, a fast track were set up for those items favored by a vast majority of the public, or required for the future habitability of the planet, but which meet resistance from campaign funders, lobbyists, and the corporate media?

Of course I'd rather have clean elections and a publicly accountable Congress if we can't have public initiatives and direct democracy. But in the absence of such utopias, why not use extreme anti-democratic measures to ram through the things people want rather than the things we'd protest if we found out about them? Why not slip one past the plutocrats rather than slipping one past the people? Why not go with voice votes, no debate, and no time to read the details on measures to demilitarize and protect the planet rather than on "trade" agreements that empower corporate lawyers to overturn laws?

I recently read this in an email newsletter from peace advocate Michael Nagler: "The other day I went to test-drive an electric car. When we got through some of the technicalities and were waiting for a red light the salesperson coming with me said, 'So what do you do?' Here it comes, I thought: 'I work with a nonprofit; (gulp, and) we're promoting nonviolence.' After a reflective pause she said quietly, 'Thank you.'"

I've often had that same experience, but increasingly I eagerly reply: "I work on abolishing war." That's what I replied recently in a sandwich shop here in Charlottesville called Baggby's. I didn't get a "thank you," but I got a question as to whether I had known Jack Kidd. I had never heard of Jack Kidd, but Jack Kidd, a retired two-star Air Force general who lived in Charlottesville, had been in Baggby's in the past debating the need to abolish war with some other bigwig general who favored keeping war and militarism going.

So, I read Kidd's book, Prevent War: A New Strategy for America. Of course, I think we need a strategy for earth, not for the United States, if we are going to end war. Kidd, who died in 2013, believed in 2000, when the book was published, that only the United States could lead the way toward peace, that the United States had always meant well, that war could be used to end war, and all sorts of things I can't bring myself to take seriously. And yet, believing everything he still believed, after "waking up" in the early 1980s, as he describes it, Kidd came to recognize the insanity of failing to work for the abolition of war.

This was a man who had bombed German cities in World War II; who believed he'd survived a particularly difficult mission during which he'd shot down lots of German planes, because he'd prayed to God who'd answered his prayer; who'd flown secret nuclear attack plans from Washington to Korea during the Korean war; who'd "served" as Chief of the Joint War Plans Branch and worked on plans for World War III; who believed in the Gulf of Tonkin attack; who had obeyed orders to knowingly fly his plane through nuclear clouds moments after bomb tests -- as self-human experimentation; and yet . . . and yet! And yet Jack Kidd organized retired U.S. and Soviet generals to work for disarmament at the height of the Cold War.

Kidd's book contains numerous proposals to move us away from war. One of them is to fast track disarmament agreements. For that idea alone, his book is worth reading. It's also worth giving to the most hard-core war supporters as a sort of a gentle nudge. It's also worth asking, I think, why Charlottesville has no memorial to this former General who's layed out a plan for peace when it has so many to those whose only accomplishment was losing the U.S. Civil War.

See You in New Jersey This Weekend

Friday, May 8 – Sunday, May 10, 2015

Empire Meadows (Clarion) Hotel
Secaucus, New Jersey

(30 minutes from New York City)

Learn more: http://www.unacconference2015.org

I'll be speaking there Friday evening, May 8, and hope to see you!

—David Swanson

Mother's Day

 

By Kristin Christman

 

If we could see a Mother’s Day

All around the world,

Where mothers lived a day of joy,

Where mothers felt their worth,

 

Then what exactly would we see

So moms could realize

That their lives are important and

Their own perspectives wise?

 

The women in Sudan would not

Be flogged for wearing pants.

Their spirits wouldn’t be constrained;

They’d run, skip, sing, and dance.

 

In Arabia we’d celebrate

No groping of the girls;

They’d drive their cars with elbows bare,

Show ankles under skirts.

 

As golden rays of morning light

Touched arms tan from the sun,

Brown locks of hair blown by the breeze

From scarves could come undone.

 

And no false blame on women for

Attracting hands of men,

As if the hands were victims of

The evil feminine.

 

Instead of yoking women, telling

Them they have to hide,

The men without firm self-control

Would wear handcuffs outside.

 

And stiff Wahhabi thoughts of us

As temptresses dirt-smeared

Would turn around, go upside down

Til women were revered.

 

We’d hear collapse beliefs that virgins

Wait up in the sky

To welcome men who’ve torn apart

The hearts of countless lives.

 

For woman would not see the sense

In violence or the use

Of bombs, explosions, grief, and death

With God as an excuse.

 

And over in Afghanistan

Car bombings and grenades

Against the women working for

Their rights would quickly fade.

 

Iranians for their part would

forbid torture and rapes

Of prisoners and end abuse

Of wives, victims of hate.

 

And Pakistani mothers giving

Birth would have the aid

Of female nurses from their land

Who’ve been to school and trained.

 

Then as their infants grew in age

They’d find joy escalate

From playgrounds, slides, and jungle gyms,

From swimming, roller blades.

 

As youth needing adventure they’d

Not turn to violent games;

Instead they’d learn gymnastics,

Parachute, ski, climb, and skate.

 

And as adults out searching for

High purpose, noble life,

They’d tie their passion to non-violent

Action without strife.

 

Down south in Congo women would

Be safe from savage harm;

Their sons and husbands never forced

To kidnap, kill, bear arms.

 

Traditions that insist a wife

Accept pain from her mate

Would be replaced by cell phones to

Report him and escape.

 

And food crops would replace cash crops

So families could eat,

And women would not eat what’s left

From men but with them feast.

 

Cold darkness that compels some men

To kill for treasured mines

Would change to light so they could see

that deadly greed’s unkind.

 

And what use is the gain of wealth

When all that it’s used for

Is purchasing more guns to fuel

A war for wealth for war?

 

The violence in Nigeria,

The suffering on all sides

From lack of prosecution, no

Defense of human rights;

 

The oil spills from old pipelines that

The owners won’t clean up,

Polluting land and water leaving

Natives without much;

 

The poverty and homelessness

And baseless cruel arrests

That place one thousand on death row,

No fair trials or defense;

 

On Mother’s Day if this could all

Completely change around,

We might set up good habits and

Not spirals going down.

 

In India no woman would

Get acid on her face

From men who feel superior

But are debased by hate.

 

And South Koreans would not let

A thirst for alcohol

Fuel murder, rape, and robbery

And take a morbid toll.

 

High in Nepal the women who

Have skills to mediate

Would not be kept from peace talks led

By men who just debate.

 

And women healers never would

Be stoned for their witchcraft.

Holistic ways cure even without

Numbers, charts, and graphs.

 

While medicalized knowledge of

The body may be right,

The inattention to the whole

Leaves gaps in our insight.

 

Just as the mediator should

Not solve our problems by

Descending bombs and missiles down

To quench unfriendly fire,

 

The healer cannot fix sickness

By simply cutting out

The portion of the body that

Has fever, fat, or gout.

 

For problems in the world cannot

Be fixed by killing lives,

And problems in our bodies need

Much more than drugs and knives.

 

Frustrations and relations, time

In nature or at jobs,

The feeling that we’re trapped somehow,

Our life dreams have been robbed:

 

How are these matters making us

Unhealthy or unkind?

Do they bring out the worst in us

Or bring us peace of mind?

 

The system whole must be observed

To see what causes what

Or else the complications will

Remain all tangled up.

 

For enemies, just like disease,

Are symptoms:  something’s wrong.

Repair what does provoke them and

You’ll build a friendship strong.

 

Across the sea in Mexico

No woman would depend

Upon her husband for her wealth

Nor for her self-respect.

 

Each woman could afford to hire

Help within the home.

Poor moms need not tend children of

The rich but raise their own.

 

The Wayuu of Colombia

Could live without alarm

That families will be massacred

With holes from bullet swarms.

 

By men who from the government,

Police and private thugs,

Seize for themselves the coast for fossil

Fuels and smuggling drugs. 

 

And work for human rights in countries

Like El Salvador

Would not be targeted by groups

Who profit more from war.

 

Then in the mid-Pacific where

The natives are in grief,

Kept out of sacred land that is

now navy property,

 

Hawaiian native women would

Return to visit land

Of ancient gods and goddesses

Test-bombed by US planes.

 

The toxins in Pearl Harbor dumped

As military waste

Would all be cleaned so fish could breathe

And beauty not erased.

 

In US stores we’d witness rows

Of magazines on racks

Of women not in swimsuits showing

pubic bones and breasts.

 

We wouldn’t cover woman and

Reveal only her eyes,

Nor lay her bare for all to see,

Cheap flesh, demeaning lives. 

 

And all strip clubs would be stripped down,

Their women given jobs,

Positions of great dignity,

Not work for two-faced slobs.

 

We’d recognize that women whether

Shrouded or displayed

Have hearts and minds that are submerged

In cultures’ one-track ways.

 

And shackled wisdom of our land

From cultures that were free

Would resurrect itself, a gift

For all humanity.

 

Lakota mothers and Diné

Would finally realize

A family life without despair,

Depression, suicide.

 

Full bonds with nature, spirit sparked,

Again community,

No disconnection with the heart,

The spirit, mind, body. 

 

With hunger gone, no poverty,

The chance to regain rights,

No need to turn to drink and drugs

When meaning’s back in life.

 

∞∞∞

 

On Mother’s Day we’d recognize,

Confirm equality

Between the genders, age, and class,

At work, in families.

 

We’d pay the waitress, teacher, nurse,

And secretary, too,

A wage much higher than those who

Sell weapons, drugs, and fuel.

 

For weapons sales would be exposed

As selfish business games

To not resolve but push for war

With profits as the aim.

 

And alcohol’s dark role in death,

So many homicides,

Would firmly be acknowledged and

Its sale not be advised.

 

We’d help the homeless, feed the poor,

And not expect one class

To serve the needs of higher-ups

While their needs pass unmet.

 

Our presidents, their spouses would

Not sport designer dress;

Instead they’d pay a good wage to

A hungry, poor seamstress.

 

And males and females would maintain

Reciprocal respect.

Girls would not hurt and put down boys;

Boys would not girls reject.

 

The women wouldn’t serve beneath

The men in any church

Or mosque or synagogue as if

Their spirits had less worth.

 

Yet women who are leaders would

Gain power not because

Their vicious qualities have replaced

Caring, joy, and love.

 

For in the workforce people would

Lead democratic lives

And not be trampled by a boss:

Cold tyrant, warm disguise.

 

For if we’re a democracy

But plod to work each day

In fiefdoms of a monarchy

With meager voice and pay,

 

How can we then experience

The feeling that we’re free,

Where each voice is of value and

We’re cared for equally?

 

∞∞∞

 

On Mother’s Day our care for kids

Would not be thrown between

The cooking, dishes, laundry, but

Receive deserved esteem.

 

And raising children would be viewed

As life’s most precious role,

Requiring endless love and time,

A giving of the soul. 

 

We wouldn’t raise our children to

Crave power more than love,

Beat, scold, and dominate them to

Instill a fear of us.

 

For how we treat them now will lead

To future consequence;

If we want loving adults then

To start with us makes sense.

 

If we want men to love their wives

We’d better love our sons,

And not raise them to hate themselves

Without love, joy, and fun.

 

For if a boy learns to relate

In terms of fear’s control,

He’ll see no other choice but

Domination when he’s old.

 

Over his wife, over his friends,

The pattern will run deep;

He’ll dominate all foreigners

And those of other creeds.

 

If he learns that his status and

His wealth are paramount,

He’ll only strive for power thinking

Love and joy don’t count.

 

∞∞∞

 

On Mother’s Day life would be more

Than time for work and chores:

We’d all have time for hobbies, pets,

And for the wild outdoors. 

 

We wouldn’t split the family with

Each member heading for

A different job, a school, and

Reuniting not before

 

The gloaming when at last they come

Fatigued from weary days,

With little energy for love,

No spark to laugh or play.

 

The schools would open later and

Give children needed sleep,

Instead of living days fatigued

Like uncharged batteries.

 

Instead of tests and punishments

Class sizes would be small,

For learning grows when love has time

To help scared kids feel tall.

 

With so much sadness, so much hate,

The question should not cease:

Should needs for academics so

Eclipse our need for peace?

 

For while a core of knowledge can

Do wonders for our world,

There comes a point where more classtime

And homework are absurd.

 

So classtime would be cut in half;

The children could unwind

And wade in brooks and skip some stones,

Ride horses, jump, and climb.

 

And those kids who prefer more school

Could happily remain

For teachers’ help, class, clubs, and gym,

A half-day freely gained.

 

But if the light of freedom is

Snuffed out from children’s days,

Before too long the zest to care

For learning fades away.

 

For while those lacking schools may have

Much thirst to learn at will,

When schools are overwhelming

Overload can make us ill.

 

And while we pay much money to insurance industries,

We’d probably have better health

If things like this could be.

 

On Mother’s Day life would not be

A selfish race for pay,

For grades, for profits, numbers, but

A time to care and play.

 

And on that day our children would

Be more than cogs in wheels

That turn the global marketplace

And work for others’ deals.

 

Pursuing values that should never

Be priorities,

of militarized space, control,

greed, wealth, and vanity. 

 

For when demands on children and

adults do prove too much

and replace joy and love with stress

our wisdom’s turned to dust.

 

And while the bell curve’s going up

Our culture may seem sound,

But when the excess leads to grief

We plummet to the ground.

 

∞∞∞

 

Then suddenly in Europe all

The ancient toppled shrines

Of Mother Earth the Goddess would

Be righted, unconfined.

 

And Mother Earth would take her place

Above all human beings,

Not subject to harsh vagaries

Of man-made deities.

 

We’d recognize the beauty of

The Earth without the stains

Of human excavation, mines,

And highways multi-laned.

 

We’d shun atomic energy

And fuels of fossils, too,

Abhor their deathly toxins and

Their ugly residues.

 

Before invading Arctic lands

They’d ask us if it’s wise

To drill for fossil fuels that are

The cause of melting ice.

 

Before constructing one new road

Or store or parking lot,

They’d ask us if we mind yet one

More shattered habitat.

 

The population we’d reverse

The growth to smaller size:

No Goddess would intend for us

To live while all else dies.

 

With Mother Earth as Goddess we

Would fervently exclaim

That land is much too beautiful

To spoil and profane

 

With bombs and blood of those who in

War’s unholy pursuit,

Believe their cause is nobler than

The Earth that they pollute.

 

The painting of the mother with

Tears streaming down her cheeks,

Who bravely hugs her son goodbye

To play war’s drumming beat,

 

We’d paint that over to reveal

The wisdom of her heart

In knowing that her child should stay

And not for war depart. 

 

Sons would not be conscripted nor

Be registered for war

to lose the very freedom they

allegedly fight for.

 

To serve in war by force within

A nation labeled free,

Enticed to register with offers

of college degrees,

 

Is lower than a nation proud

Should shamelessly descend

While undermining promises

Of freedom in the end. 

 

For what true good can come of war

If it recycles hate

And falsely teaches lessons that

Our foes deserve their fate?

 

If we learn that the enemies

Are lacking in remorse,

Our conscience never pricks us when

We kill with total force. 

 

If we learn that the enemies

Cannot be understood

And that we would not be like them

If in their shoes we stood,

 

Then we won’t know a Mother’s love

For all her children round. 

We’ll never learn the view from in

The sky when looking down:

 

Upon us all, our faults and strengths,

how we antagonize

Each other and then claim we’re right,

The other misaligned;

 

To see all of our weaknesses

As faults to meet with love,

To see through hatred to the fear,

And through that to distrust.

 

If children cheat, use drugs, or lie

A mother still can see

The goodness in them and just why

Such problems are conceived.

 

To kill or stun with taser guns

Just escalates the stress,

When what the victim needs the most

Is love and peacefulness.

 

To bomb them, hate them, does no good;

It’s better patiently

To kindly guide them to the sun,

For they have faults like we.

 

To bolster war, believe in hate

Is blasphemy to Her,

The Mother Earth the Goddess who’s

Now crushed beyond all words.

 

Yes, cards and flowers mean so much,

But it would mean much more

To share a planet where love reigned

And beauty, joy, not war.

 

Until events like these arise

I’ll know that Mother’s Day

Is shallow consolation for

A world not gone Her way.


Kristin Y. Christman is author of The Taxonomy of Peace.  She has degrees in Russian and public administration from Dartmouth, Brown, and the University at Albany. https://sites.google.com/site/paradigmforpeace

 

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 6, 2015


Hillary Clinton's Campaign Declares War Against 'Clinton Cash', with new website and a 42-page report - NationalJournal.com


VIDEO: New Clinton-Backed Web Site Called 'The Briefing': Fact-Checking "Clinton Cash" - YouTube


VIDEO: Media Matters' David Brock Calls "Clinton Cash" Allegations A Classic Smear Based On A 100 Percent Innuendo - MSNBC


Pro-Clinton group called Correct the Record: “Clinton Cash” Debunked - Correct The Record


Bill Clinton defends foundation dismissing the suggestion that  foreign donations influenced American policy - yahoo.com


VIDEO: Bill Clinton Defends Clinton Foundation's Foreign Money - NBC Nightly News


State Department Says No Evidence Donations Influenced Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics


The Clintons, a luxury jet and their $100 million donor from Canada - The Washington Post


The Clintons Pressured Kazakhs To OK Uranium Deal - The Daily Caller


Clinton helped companies that donated to foundation profit off Africa - WashingtonExaminer.com


Boeing gave to Clinton causes after Hillary steered its Russian contract - WashingtonExaminer.com


Billionaire Tied to Russian Mob to Hold Fundraiser for Hillary Clinton - Washington Free Beacon


Hillary Clinton's final trip as secretary of state highlighted conflicts - WashingtonExaminer.com


Bill Clinton Amassed $104.9 Million From 542 Speeches - bayoubuzz.com


The Clintons Incurred Up To $7.4 Million In Capital Gains - The Daily Caller


The Clinton Foundation isn’t a “charity” in any normal sense of the word - Hot Air


New Judicial Watch Lawsuit over Clinton Cover-Up - Breitbart


VIDEO: Fact-Checking Hillary Clinton's Fact-Check Video - Bloomberg


Clinton Cash author: I like Marco Rubio (Audio interview with Peter Schweizer) - POLITICO


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

NBC/WSJ POLL: Hillary's unfavorable rating has increased 6% and just 25% of voters give her high marks for being honest - MSNBC


NBC/WSJ POLL: A detailed analysis of Clinton's numbers - NBC News.com


Times/CBS News POLL: Hillary Clinton’s Appeal Survives Scrutiny, her favorability rating has improved by 9% - NYTimes.com


POLLS: Hillary Clinton up or down? Two political surveys with opposite headlines - LA Times


IBD/TIPP POLL: Hillary Clinton Dogged By Trust Issues - Investors.com


WMUR Granite State POLL: Clinton leads but some Democrats looking for alternative, One-third of likely primary voters prefer Warren or Sanders - WMUR Home


Carly Fiorina: Hillary Clinton 'clearly is not trustworthy' - WashingtonExaminer.com


Hillary Clinton agrees to testify before Benghazi committee on attacks, personal email - Washington Times


Text of Clinton attorney David Kendall's letter to chairman of the Benghazi committee Trey Gowdy - scribd.com


Watchdog blows ethics whistle on Clinton, Reid, Senate Democrat meetings - WashingtonExaminer.com


Hillary monetizes Mother’s Day with call-from-Clinton contest - New York Post

 

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DISSOLVING FASCISM - Reflections 70 Years After the Fall of Nazi Germany

"The fascist madman cannot be made innocuous if [...] he is not tracked down in oneself; if we are not conversant with the social institutions that hatch him daily.”  (1)
-- Wilhelm Reich

With the conquest of Berlin carried out by the Red Army, the Third Reich and the Second World War ended in Europe on May 8th 1945. With the unconditional capitulation of Germany, one of the worst massacres in human history came to its end. What happened under Hitler breaks the categories of conventional thinking in such a way that it has not been possible to really grasp or work through this history to this day. The trauma of National Socialism lies undigested and unresolved in the suppressed psychological underground of the German society and its ramifications persist to this day.

Black man warns his young grandson about the police: A Black Child Fears Cops more than Criminals

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

I was seething inside as I watched the live television coverage of the recent rebellion/riot in Baltimore as we witnessed yet another explosion caused by America’s historic failures to reign in abusive police. Then I received a text message that lead to a conversation that absolutely broke my heart.

The conversation was with my 11-year-old grandson, who himself was seething from what he saw going on in his hometown of Baltimore.

My grandson told me he was mad…mad because police “keep killing black men.”

When I probed further into his anger he said he feared for his own life -– not because of what might happen when he gets older because of what could happen even now if he encountered a police officer.

Michael Gould-Wartofsky: The New Age of Counterinsurgency Policing

In the part of Baltimore hardest hit by the recent riots and arson, more than a third of families live in  poverty, median income is $24,000, the unemployment rate is over 50%, some areas burnt out in the riots of 1968 have never been rebuilt, 

Chicago Protests "Hands Off Yemen - No More Wars For Empire!"

By Chicago World Can't Wait          World Can’t Wait Chicago joined a coalition of other organizations and concerned individuals on April 25 to condemn the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war on Yemen now underway. Called on short notice, it was good to see 50-75 people with banners and signs saying “Hands Off Yemen” and “Saudi Rulers Are War Criminals” and “No U.S. Intervention.”

Chicago Protests "Hands Off Yemen - No More Wars For Empire!"

By Chicago World Can't Wait          World Can’t Wait Chicago joined a coalition of other organizations and concerned individuals on April 25 to condemn the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war on Yemen now underway. Called on short notice, it was good to see 50-75 people with banners and signs saying “Hands Off Yemen” and “Saudi Rulers Are War Criminals” and “No U.S. Intervention.”

Chicago Protests "Hands Off Yemen - No More Wars For Empire!"

By Chicago World Can't Wait          World Can’t Wait Chicago joined a coalition of other organizations and concerned individuals on April 25 to condemn the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war on Yemen now underway. Called on short notice, it was good to see 50-75 people with banners and signs saying “Hands Off Yemen” and “Saudi Rulers Are War Criminals” and “No U.S. Intervention.”

What to say to people who drone on about how good drones are

by Debra Sweet    A few points on the U.S. drone war which will not surprise you, but should be in your arsenal of arguments for people who think drones are an acceptable form of mass murder:

Speaking Truth to Empire with Dan Yaseen

Every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 3:00 to 3:30 pm, Dan Yaseen hosts Speaking Truth to Empire on KFCF 88.1 FM Free Speech Radio for Central California. He interviews authors, scholars, bloggers, columnists and activists who help us look at our world through the prism of American Imperialism. The show focuses on U.S. foreign and domestic policies and the actions of the military, industrial, surveillance, security.

April 15, 2015 – Ronnie Barkan
On “Speaking Truth to Empire” Dan Yaseen interviews Ronnie Barkan, an Israeli activist, a conscientious objector and co-founder of Boycott from Within - a group of conscientious Israelis who support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

March 18, 2015 – Murtaza Hussain

February 18, 2015 – Cindy Sheehan

January 21, 2015 - Andre Vltchek

Syria News - May 5, 2015


Nusra-led militants pound Hezbollah, Syria army posts near Lebanon border - THE DAILY STAR


Hezbollah and Syrian army determined to cut off access of ISIS and Nusra Front to any towns near the border - THE DAILY STAR


Lebanese Army Mobilizing to Avert Threats by Jihadists in Syria's Qalamoun - Naharnet


Lebanon Speaker Berri backs Qalamoun fight to oust jihadists - THE DAILY STAR


Sources: al-Nusra evacuates its positions in Qalamoun hills that are difficult to defend to avoid paying a high price - Al-Monitor


Nusra to use anti-tank weapons in Qalamoun battle - Islam Times


PHOTO: Jabhat al-Nusra is giving training in the use of 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles in the Qalamoun - Charles Lister on Twitter


'We’ll Die Before They Make Us Leave': Lebanese Christians Are Ready to Face the Islamic State on Syria's Border - VICE News


Specter of assassinations by jihadist groups revived in Lebanon - THE DAILY STAR


Relatives visit Lebanese captive on Arsal outskirts, one of 25 Lebanese servicemen being held hostage by the Nusra Front and ISIS since August - THE DAILY STAR


Qatar about to seal deal with Nusra to release Lebanese security officers in exchange for prisoners in Roumieh - An-Nahar


ISIS returns bodies of Lebanon soldier, civilian - THE DAILY STAR


Lebanese General Security arrests Tripoli's ISIS emir - THE DAILY STAR


How Al Qaeda's Syrian Affiliate Jabhat al Nusra Is Trying To Take Northern Lebanon - ibtimes.com


Syria army launches offensive on rebel attacks in regime bastion Latakia - Middle East Online


Pro-Assad forces strive for control of Southern Syria - ARA News


Assad army tightens siege of rebel bastion Goutha near Damascus - ZAMAN ALWSL


Syria: Assad regime accused of chlorine gas attack in Idib - ibtimes.co.uk


Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front claimes responsibility for a suicide attack in Damascus - Yahoo News


Inside Aleppo: Syrian activists reveal kidnap and torture at hands of al-Nusra extremists - The Independent


VIDEO: Activists Reveal Torture At The Hands of Al-Nusra - LiveLeak.com


Syria moves to stabilize its ailing currency - The Salt Lake Tribune

 

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

De Mistura to kick off separate talks with rival Syria sides - THE DAILY STAR


Iran will take part in new Syria consultations, UN says - Fox News


US not opposed to Iranian participation in Syria talks, supports a political solution - middleeastmonitor.com


EU's Mogherini sees 'major role' for Iran in Syria talks - Yahoo News


Syrian Opposition Coalition: Participation in the Geneva Talks to Consider How To Get Rid of Assad - etilaf.org


Report: Iran Spends $35 Billion a Year to Prop Up Assad - Arutz Sheva


Syria's defense minister in Iran to step up fight against 'terrorists' - THE DAILY STAR


Iran to launch maritime shipping line with Syria - ARA News


CIA-Backed Rebels Fight Alongside al-Qaeda Wing in Northern Syria - Reuters


VIDEO: ICP Asks Syrian Coalition's Khoja of FSA Working With Nusra, He Says “Tactical Alliance" - YouTube


Army of Conquest backed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Coalition comprises mostly Islamist groups, the most prominent being Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham - AFP


VIDEO: Syrian Rebels Hit Syrian Army Vehicle With TOW ATGM In Idlib - YouTube


The U.S. $500-million program to train anti-Islamic State fighters appears stalled - LA Times


VIDEO: Activists: 52 killed civilians in U.S.-led airstrike in Syria - YouTube


Pentagon: US Military Says Coalition Airstrikes Killed ISIS Fighters, Not Syrian Civilians - breitbart.com


Syrian Archbishop: Obama Must Stop ISIS' Slaughter of Christians (VIDEO) - Newsmax


Syria accuses Turkey of providing supporting fire and logistical help enabling "terrorist groups" to capture the Syrian city of Idlib - Reuters


Turkey May Have Found Syrian Horse To Back In Ahrar al Sham, But US Disagrees - ibtimes.com


Turkistan Islamic Party had significant role in recent Idlib offensive - The Long War Journal


Turkey Opposition Puts $16B Price Tag on Neighborhood Wars - VOA


Turkish military puts brakes on a Syrian intervention - Al-Monitor


Fertilizer, Also Suited for Bombs, Flows to ISIS Territory From Turkey - NYTimes.com


Syria crisis: Spooked by rebel gains, Jordan doubles down vs. Islamic State - CSMonitor.com


Palestinian Delegation to Meet With Syrian Government in Damascus - syrianobserver.com


The Defenders of Yarmouk, Pro-Assad Palestinian militias are fighting a grinding battle to the death against the Islamic State - Foreign Policy

 

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Talk Nation Radio: Kathy Kelly: Fog of War Is Not the Problem

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-kathy-kelly-fog-of-war-is-not-the-problem

Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( http://vcnv.org ) a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare. During each of fourteen trips to Afghanistan, since 2010, Kathy Kelly, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She is just out of prison for having protested drone murders at Whiteman Airforce Base in Missouri. Kelly discusses the state of peace and war.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

The U.S. Bill of Rights Rewritten to Match Reality

There just might be a big boost in government honesty soon, as both houses of Congress have now passed with two-thirds votes and sent to the states for ratification a potential 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution bearing the unofficial title "The Truth in Advertising Amendment." This is the text as passed by Congress:

Amendment 28

Preamble: The first through tenth articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States are hereby repealed.

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, apart from tax breaks for churches, and other than appropriate surveillance, entrapment, and drone strikes for members of any non-established religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof except where that exercise withholds taxes that fund war; or abridging the freedom of campaign bribery in any way or the freedom of speech from within adequate caged areas at an appropriate distance from potential listeners, unless that speech reveals wrongdoing by the government; or of the press cartel or of its right to propagandize for war; or the right of white people peaceably to assemble when not organizing a union, opposing a war, or protesting injustice, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, and to peaceably contemplate the Government's wisdom in ignoring any demands.

2. A well-armed world, being necessary to the profits of the weapons makers, the right of the people, police, government, and foreign nations to keep and bear any weapon they can afford to purchase, shall not be infringed, nor facts about the damage done be openly discussed.

3. No soldier shall, in time of peace be educated in the optional, unnecessary, counterproductive, uncontrollable, murderous, and trauma-inducing nature of war, nor any war veteran be quartered in any house without the proper funding or loan to purchase or rent that house in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of white people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated much, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, unless the Government deems it appropriate to collect any electronic or other communication, or to record or film any behavior, or to kidnap, imprison, torture, or murder any person.

5. No police officer shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger, in which cases fuggedaboutit; nor shall any white person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall any high-ranking official be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor any non-whistleblower be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, except as stipulated in section 4; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation, unless someone has smoked marijuana.

6. In all criminal prosecutions of extremely wealthy defendants, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty million dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the White House Office of Legal Counsel.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required of white people, nor excessive fines imposed on high-ranking officials, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted on non-whistleblowers, nor on anyone who has not been designated a military-aged male.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, including the right to shop.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, at the discretion of the President.

Watching Shadows of Liberty

A powerful new film on what's wrong with the U.S. media is now being screened around the country. It's called Shadows of Liberty and you can set up a screening of it as part of an upcoming international week of actions for whistleblowers called Stand Up For Truth. Or you can buy the DVD or catch it on Link TV. (Here in Charlottesville I'll be speaking at the event, May 19, 7 p.m. at The Bridge.)

Judith Miller is on a rehabilitative book tour; the Washington Post recently reported that a victim of Baltimore police murder broke his own spine; and recently leaked emails from the State Department asked Sony to entertain us into proper war support. The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner was just blocked, for now, but the existence of those mega-monopolies in their current form is at the root of the problem, according to Shadows of Liberty.

Allowing for-profit companies to decide what we learn about the world and our government, allowing those companies to consolidate into a tiny cartel controlling the formerly public airwaves, allowing them to be owned by much larger companies that rely on the government for weapons contracts, and allowing them to determine politicians' access to the public and to bribe politicians with "campaign contributions" -- this, in the analysis of Shadows of Liberty, this subservience of public space to private profit is what creates news that misinforms, that takes no interest in the poor, that propagandizes for wars, and that shuts out any journalist who steps out of line.

The film is not primarily analysis, but example. The first example is of Roberta Baskin's reports for CBS on Nike's labor abuses in Asia. CBS killed her big story in exchange for Nike paying CBS so much money that CBS agreed to have all of its "journalists" wear Nike logos during their olympics "coverage."

Another example from CBS in the film is the shooting down of TWA flight 800 by the U.S. Navy, a case of media cowardice and government intimidation, which I wrote about here. As Shadows of Liberty points out, CBS was at the time owned by Westinghouse which had big military contracts. As a for-profit business, there was no question where it would side between one good reporter and the Pentagon. (This is exactly why the owner of the Washington Post shouldn't be someone with much larger funding flowing in from the CIA.)

The New York Timesseemed impressed by an earlier film devoted entirely to the TWA flight 800 mass-killing. The Times favored a new investigation but lamented the supposed lack of any entity that could credibly perform an investigation. The U.S. government comes off as so untrustworthy in the film that it can't be trusted to re-investigate itself. So a leading newspaper, whose job it ought to be to investigate the government, feels at a loss for what to do without a government that can credibly and voluntarily perform the media's own job for it and hold itself accountable. Pathetic. If only Nike were offering to pay the New York Times to investigate the government!

Another example in the bad media highlight reel in Shadows of Liberty is the case of Gary Webb's reporting on the CIA and crack cocaine, also the subject of a recent movie. Another is, inevitably, the propaganda that launched the 2003 attack on Iraq. I just read an analysis of Judith Miller's role that blamed her principally for not correcting her "mistakes" when the lies were exposed. I disagree. I blame her principally for publishing claims that were ludicrous at the time and which she never would have published if made by any non-governmental entity or any of 199 of the 200 national governments on earth. Only the U.S. government gets that treatment from its U.S. media partners in crime -- and in fact only certain elements within the U.S. government. While Colin Powell lied to the world and much of the world laughed, but the U.S. media bowed down, his son pushed through yet more media consolidation. I agree with the recommendation of Shadows of Liberty to blame the media owners, but that doesn't subtract any blame from the employees.

To the credit of Shadows of Liberty it includes among the stories it tells some examples of complete media silence. The story of Sibel Edmonds, for example, was totally whited out by the U.S. mega-media, although not abroad. Another example would be Operation Merlin (the CIA's giving of nuclear plans to Iran), not to mention the extension of Operation Merlin to Iraq. Dan Ellsberg says in the film that a government official will tell the big newspapers to leave a story alone, and the other outlets will "follow the lead of silence."

The U.S. public airwaves were given to private companies in 1934 with big limits on monopolies later stripped out by Reagan and Clinton and the Congresses that worked with them. The 1996 Telecom Act signed by Clinton created the mega-monopolies that have destroyed local news and already guaranteed his wife a 2016 presidential nomination on the basis of the money she'll spend on TV ads.

The bad media's greatest hits are finding a miniature progressive echo-chamber but are not, in fact, isolated cases. Rather they are extreme examples that have taught lessons to countless other "journalists" who have sought to keep their jobs by never stepping out of line in the first place.

The problem with the corporate media is not particular incidents, but how it always reports on everything including the government (which always means well) and wars (there must always be more) and the economy (it must grow and enrich investors) and people (they are helpless and powerless). The particular story lines that do the most damage are not always inherently the worst. Rather, they are those that make it into the general corporate echo-chamber.

The Washington Post sometimes admits exactly what it does wrong but counts on most people never to notice, because such articles will not be repeated and discussed in all the papers and on all the shows.

According to Shadows of Liberty, 40-70% of "news" is based on ideas that come from corporate PR departments. Another good chunk, I suspect, comes from government PR departments. A plurality in the U.S. in the last poll I saw believed Iraq had benefitted from the war on Iraq and was grateful. A Gallup poll of 65 countries at the end of 2013 found the U.S. widely believed the be the greatest threat to peace on earth, but within the U.S., as a glaring result of nothing but ludicrous propaganda, Iran was deemed worthy of that honor.

The Tonight Show regularly asks people if they can name a senator and then if they can name some cartoon character, etc., showing that people know stupid stuff. Ha ha. But that's how the corporate media shapes people, and clearly the U.S. government doesn't object enough to do anything about it. If nobody knows your name, they won't be protesting you anytime soon. And there's never any need to worry about being reelected.

Shadows of Liberty is long on problem and short on solution, but its value is in exposing people to an understanding of the problem. And the solution offered is just right, as far as it goes. The solution offered is to keep the internet open and use it. I agree. And one of the ways in which we ought to use it is to popularize foreign reporting on the United States that outdoes domestic reporting. If media tends to report well only on nations in which it is not based, and yet it's all equally accessible online, we need to start finding and reading the media about our country produced in others. In the process, perhaps we can develop some sense of caring what 95% of humanity thinks about this 5%. And in that process perhaps we can weaken nationalism just a bit.

Independent media is the solution proposed, not public media, and not a restoration of the corporate media to its earlier not-quite-so-awful form. The shrinking of newsrooms is to be lamented, of course, but perhaps the recruitment of foreign news rooms and independent bloggers can mitigate that loss in a way that imploring the monopolists to do better won't achieve. I think that part of the solution is creating better independent media, but part of it is finding, reading, appreciating, and using independent and foreign media. And part of that shift in attitude should be dropping the absurd idea of "objectivity," understood as point-of-viewlessness. Another part should be redefining our reality to exist without the blessing of the corporate media, so that we can be inspired to build activist movements whether or not they are on corporate TV. This includes, of course, persuading independent media to invest in stories that are ignored by corporations, not just focus on retelling in a better way the stories the corporations tell wrong.

Independent media has long been the most bang we could get for a buck donated to a useful cause. The next year-and-a-half is a real opportunity, because a completely broken U.S. election system expects hundreds of millions of dollars from well-meaning people to be given to candidates to give to the TV networks to whom we gave our airwaves. What if we withheld some of that money and built up our own media and activism structures? And why think of the two (media and activism) as separate? I think the jury is still out on The Intercept as new independent media, but it's already far superior to the Washington Post.

No independent media will be perfect. I wish Shadows of Liberty didn't glorify the American revolution to sounds of cannon fire. Later we hear President Reagan calling the Contras "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers" while the film shows dead bodies -- as if the American revolution produced none of those. But the point that free press, as theoretically provided by the first amendment, is critical to self-governance is right on. The first step in creating freedom of the press is publicly identifying its absence and the causes.

Engelhardt: Counting Bodies, Then and Now

Who Counts? 

Body Counts, Drones, and “Collateral Damage” (aka “Bug Splat”)

By Tom Engelhardt

The Ugly Myth of U.S. Exceptionalism

      For inexplicable reasons, the United States citizenry clings to the idea of 'exceptionalism', that heady concept that says that the U.S. is different from and better than all the rest of the world, and therefore has a sacred obligation to spread its goodness around the globe. In 2014, President Barack Obama said this: "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being."

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August 27, Chicago

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