Uh-Oh! Violets in late February?: Signs of an Unusually Early Spring in Southeastern Pennsylvania are No Cause for Celebration

By Dave Lindorff

 

This whole winter has been anomalously warm in southeastern Pennsylvania where I live. My oil guy, Hans, is complaining that the demand for home heating oil is so low this winter that it's killing his business, causing him to lay off workers that he had already trained.

“If We Could Change Ourselves”: The DNC and Transformational Change

The Democratic sweep of 2008 built on an overwhelming public hunger for a shift in the direction the country was moving.  In a skillfully crafted campaign, Barack Obama presented himself as the personification of hope and change.  He and the party turned pent-up demand for a more equal society and a less belligerent foreign policy into a smashing victory.  Obama swept into office along with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

 

100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War

By David Swanson

This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war.

That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, the war to end all wars, the war without which the conditions for the next war would not have existed.

As well recounted in Michael Kazin’s War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918, a major peace movement had the support of a great deal of the United States. When the war finally ended (after the U.S. had actually been in it for about 5% the length of the war on Afghanistan thus far) just about everybody regretted it. The losses in life, limb, sanity, property, civil liberties, democracy, and health were incredible. Death, devastation, a flu epidemic, prohibition, a permanent military and the taxes to go with it, plus predictions of World War II: these were the results, and a lot of people remembered that they had been warned, as well as that the ending of all war had been promised.

The peace activists had warned the U.S. government to stay out of the war (not out of foreign relations, just out of mass-murdering foreign relations). And they had been right. The regret was intense and lasting. It lasted right up until the worst result of World War I came along in the form of World War II. At that point, regret was replaced with forgetting. World War I was erased from popular history, and its child on steroids was celebrated rather than mourned, and has been celebrated with growing reverence ever since.

The massive peace movement that outlawed war in 1928, had been widespread, mainstream, and aggressive before 1917 as well. Antiwar Congress members had entered into the Congressional Record a sample of the flood of letters and petitions they had received urging that the U.S. stay out of war. Peace groups had held marches and rallies, sent delegations to Europe, met with the president, and pushed to require a popular vote before the launching of any war, believing that the public would vote war down. We’ll never know, because the vote was never taken. Instead, the United States jumped into the war, thereby preventing a negotiated settlement and creating a total victory followed by vicious punishment of the losing side — the very fuel for Nazism, as well as for Italian fascism, Japanese imperialism, and the Sykes-Picot carving up of the Middle East so beloved by that region’s residents to this day.

An antiwar exhibit that toured the U.S. in 1916 included a life-sized model stegosaurus that represented the fatal consequences of having heavy armor but no brains. The idea of preparing for war in order to achieve peace, which today is simple commonsense, was widely found to be a great source of humor, as Washington cynically pursued “preparedness.” Morris Hillquit, an eloquent socialist — something of a Bernie Sanders without the 21st-century militarism — asked why European nations, having fully armed themselves to avoid war, hadn’t avoided it. “Their antiwar insurance turned out to be a bad case of over-insurance,” he said. You prepare for war, and you get war — remarkably enough.

Woodrow Wilson won reelection on an antiwar platform, and could not have won it otherwise. After he opted for war, he was unable to raise an army to fight his war without a draft. And he was unable to sustain a draft without imprisoning people who spoke against it. He saw to it that conscientious objectors were brutally tortured (or, as we would say today, interrogated). Yet people refused, deserted, evaded, and violently fought recruiters by the thousands. The wisdom to reject war was not lacking. It just wasn’t followed by those in power.

The understanding that war should be ended, which reached its peak perhaps in the 1920s and 1930s, saw something of a comeback during what the Vietnamese call the American War. Martin Luther King did not propose a different war or a better war, but leaving behind the entire war system. That awareness has grown even as the Vietnam Syndrome has faded and war been normalized. Now, the U.S. popular mind is a mass of contradictions.

In a recent poll, 66% of people in the United States are worried that the U.S. will become engaged in a major war in the next four years. However, the U.S. is engaged in a number of wars right now that must seem pretty major to the people living through them, wars that have created the greatest refugee crisis so far on the planet and threatened to break similar records for starvation. In addition, 80% of the U.S. public in the very same poll say they support NATO. There’s a 50/50 split on whether to build yet more nukes. A slim majority favors banning refugees who are fleeing the wars. And over three-quarters of Democrats believe, for partisan rather than empirical reasons, that Russia is unfriendly or an enemy. Despite the warnings of the wise for over a century, people are still imagining they can use war preparations to avoid war.

One thing that could help keep us out of more wars is the Trump face now placed on the wars. People who will hate Russia because they hate Trump may at some point oppose Trump’s wars because they hate Trump. And those getting active to support refugees may also want to help end the crimes that create the refugees.

Meanwhile, German tanks are again rolling toward the Russian border, and instead of soliciting denunciations from groups like the Anne Frank Center, as recently done to combat Donald Trump’s anti-Semitism, U.S. liberals are generally applauding or avoiding any awareness.

One thing is certain: we will not survive another 100 years of this. Long before then, we will have to try something else. We will have to move beyond war to nonviolent conflict resolution, aid, diplomacy, disarmament, cooperation, and the rule of law.

World Beyond War is planning events everywhere, including these:

Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

April 3rd at NYU, New York, NY. (details TBA)
Speakers: Joanne Sheehan, Glen Ford, Alice Slater, Maria Santelli, David Swanson.

April 4, 6-8 p.m. Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Streets NW, Washington, D.C.
Speakers: Michael Kazin, Eugene Puryear, Medea Benjamin, David Swanson, Maria Santelli.

May 25, 6-8 p.m., Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA.
Speakers: Jackie Cabasso, Daniel Ellsberg, David Hartsough, Adam Hochschild.

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, At the Altar of American Greatness

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

Focus: Syria and Turkey - Feb 22, 2017


Extensive efforts to solve the knots for the official launch of the fourth round of Syria peace talks at Geneva - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


Syrian opposition says direct negotiations with Damascus regime necessary to reach political solution in Geneva talks - ARA News


De Mistura: Intra-Syria talks in Geneva impossible without ceasefire holding - Tasnim News Agency


Russia asks Syria to halt bombing during UN peace talks - AFP


Lavrov: Russia waiting for US to provide ‘details’ on proposed safe zones in Syria, they should be agreed with Damascus - RT News


Full text of the a new Syrian draft Constitution, proposed by Russia and presented to opposition leaders - Sputnik


More U.S. troops may be needed against ISIS in Syria, a top general says - The New York Times


Exclusive: CIA-backed aid for Syrian rebels frozen after Islamist attack: sources - Reuters


Kurdish-Arab alliance pushes into Deir ez-Zor, expels ISIS from several villages - ARA News


Manbij Military Council: We will fight Turkish army if they attack Manbij - freerepublic.com


US coalition continues to assist SDF-led Manbij Military Council north Syria - ARA News


McCain meets Erdogan, calls for the formation of a US-Turkish partnership to solve the Syrian crisis - Middle East Monitor


Statement of SASC Chairman John McCain on meeting with Turkish President Erdogan - United States Senator John McCain


Trump critic McCain meets Saudi king - DAWN.COM


Saudi Arabia 'ready to send ground troops' to Syria - alaraby.co.uk


Dem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy - TheHill


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

 

Multiple sites seized from ISIS as the Turkish Army reaches Al-Bab city centre - almasdarnews.com


Turkey Defense Minister: ‘100 Daesh fighters’ left in Syria’s Al-Bab, half of the town in the hands of Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels - Arab News


VIDEO: Al Bab street war: Turkish Forces and Syrian rebels attack ISIS - YouTube


Turkish Defense Minister to US: Act over Syria’s Manbij or we’ll reconsider a military operation there - Hurriyet


'Turkey will not seek permission to address threats’ whether in Al-Bab, Aleppo, Raqqa in Syria or Tal Afar, Sinjar in Iraq: Presidency spokesman - aa.com


Seizing control of Syria's Al-Bab important to push for Raqqa: Turkish official - US News


Turkey wants to see FSA replace SDF in Raqqa battle - Rudaw


Claim that PYD only effective force against Daesh collapsed, says Ankara - Daily Sabah


Turkey: Send US Special Forces to northern Syria to back Syrian opposition forces - Middle East Monitor


VIDEO: Turkey's Erdogan says aims safe zone in Syria after Raqqa operation - YouTube


Turkey failed to deliver a Syrian force to take Raqqa: analysis - ARA News


Regional rivals Iran, Turkey trade barbs over Syria - AFP


Erdoğan fans an Islamic nationalism in bid to build Ottoman-style influence - Christian Science Monitor


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

Democratic Ex-Dove Proposes War On Iran

Rep. Alcee Hastings has sponsored a bill to authorize President Trump to attack Iran. Hastings reintroduced H J Res 10, the “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran Resolution” on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress after President Trump’s election.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/19/democratic-ex-dove-proposes-war-on-iran/

Bigot boy business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance -- Again

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

Twice in recent weeks President Donald Trump reinforced his image of ignorance on African-Americans with astounding statements. Those statements amplified concerns about this president who rose to the Oval Office through a campaign tarred by brazen bigotry from his surrogates, his supporters and himself.

Focus: The House GOP Border Tax Plan (Part 3) - Feb 21, 2017


CEOs of 16 U.S. companies urge Congress to pass border tax - Reuters


Text of U.S. companies’ letter to Congress on the border tax - American Made Coalition


Americans for Affordable Products coalition responds to American Made Coalition press call on the border tax - AAP

 

Americans for Affordable Products calls on Sens. Tim Scott, Lindsey Graham to oppose border adjustment tax: Press event set for 11:00 am on Feb 23 - AAP


Graham: Ryan tax plan won’t get 10 votes in the Senate - TheHill


Koch-backed group American for Prosperity squares off against Paul Ryan on import tax - Bloomberg


Tim Phillips, Americans for Prosperity president: 'Border adjustment' a 'devastating tax increase' - Washington Times


Walmart warns against House GOP's proposed border tax - Business Insider


Retail has good reason to hate a border tax - Bloomberg


Border tax could wipe out retail earnings by 50% or more, analyst says - CNBC


IHA urges Congress to stop border adjustment tax - Giftware News


The president of a housewares and cleaning products company: Border tax will cripple companies like mine - TheHill


Bespoke Bikes threatened as border-tax plan hangs over factory - Bloomberg


Rep. Ro Khanna op-ed: Border tax is reverse redistribution - TheHill


Robert Reich op-ed: The Republican tax sham - The Huffington Post


Paul Ryan’s border adjustment tax mistake - National Review


A bad way to pay for Trump's corporate-tax cuts - Bloomberg View


Border adjustment tax just complicates tax code even more - MacIver Institute


Border tax debate pits theory against the real world - stltoday.com


EU denies plan to challenge GOP border tax - The Times


China to respond if U.S. introduces border adjustment tax: minister - Xinhua


The planned US border tax would most likely violate WTO rules - Inter Press Service


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

Talk Nation Radio: L.A. Kauffman on Direct Action

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-la-kauffman-on-direct-action

L.A. Kauffman is the author of Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism. She has spent more than 30 years immersed in radical movements, as a journalist, historian, organizer, and strategist. Her writings on grassroots activism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, the Village Voice, and many other outlets. She served as executive editor for the radical theory journal Socialist Review and as an award-winning national political columnist for SF Weekly, focusing on dissent and activism. Kauffman was the mobilizing coordinator for the massive February 15, 2003 antiwar protest in New York City. She continued in this role through the years of major antiwar protests, including those that greeted the 2004 Republican National Convention.

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

Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Mission Unaccomplished, 15 Years Later

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

In search of a Trumpian reality: On Killers and Bullshitters

By John Grant

 

* NOTE: The term bullshit is used here in the sense established by Harvard philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt in his little gem of a book titled On Bullshit, which opens with: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit."

“I’m Going to Have to Wear That Phrase Like Sackcloth”

“Kellyanne, good gracious!  What’s wrong with you, honey, you look terrible!”

 

Ukraine on Fire

I read this article: "A Documentary You’ll Likely Never See," and watched this preview.

So, of course, I wanted to see it.

I got a hold of a copy but am not allowed to share it and have been unable to get any information on where you can learn more, how you can rent it, where it will be screened, etc.

Bit *if* you are ever able to see Ukraine on Fire you should. This is a story about recent events in Ukraine that puts them into the context of Ukraine's history, rejects propaganda, and presents the evidence clearly and concisely. It includes interviews of key figures conducted by Oliver Stone.

To summarize the key points will just sound like lunacy to U.S. media consumers, though a bit of reading or watching this film might help persuade many.

The United States promoted two color revolutions in Ukraine several years apart, taking the side of neo-Nazis, installing handpicked leaders in Kiev and even a former coup leader from Georgia in Odessa. Russia did not invade Ukraine. Just as Russia did not hack the German or U.S. elections. The evidence also suggests that Russia was probably not involved in shooting down that Malaysian airplane, that Ukrainian nationalists did that.

As Russia is being demonized in a new way every week in Washington, knowing truth from lies on Ukraine may be critically important and could just save us. I hope somebody makes a way for you to see this movie.

Focus: Syria and Turkey - Feb 18, 2017


US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces inch closer to IS ‘capital’ Raqqa - AP


Syrian Democratic Forces liberate villages in the Raqqa campaign - ANHA


Syrian Democratic Forces liberate two more Raqqa villages from IS - milletpress.com


Syrian Democratic Forces liberate prison on the outskirts of Raqqa city - almasdarnews.com


Islamic State fortifies Raqqa with barricades, landmines, booby-trapped explosives and suicide bombers - alaraby.co.uk


Islamic State 'bureaucrats' fleeing Raqqa stronghold in Syria - Reuters


Russian strategic bombers hit ISIS in Raqqa in coordination with Pentagon via ‘deconfliction line’ (VIDEO) - RT News


Syrian Kurds will fight Turkish forces if they advance towards Raqqa: Kurdish leader - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Kurds pledge to fight Turkey to retain Syria's Manbij - Al Jazeera


SDF Commander: We promise our people to liberate Raqqa very soon - anfenglish.com


Coalition general says SDF forces most likely to take Raqqa from ISIS, not Turkey - ARA News


Next phase of SDF Raqqa operation sees alliance with Deir Ezzor Military Council - Rudaw


Wrath of Euphrates campaign statement on the Raqqa - Deir Ezzor connection - ypgrojava.org


US Airforce propels the Syrian Democratic Forces to capture three villages from ISIS in the northern Deir Ezzor countryside - almasdarnews.com


Kurdish forces overrun two more ISIS-held villages north of Deir Ezzor - almasdarnews.com


Kurds call on Russia to defend Syria's federalization on international level - Sputnik


Russia pushes hard to include Syria’s Kurds in Geneva talks - Rudaw


After a month of military operations, regime forces advance over IS in 50 areas - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

 

Syrian Coalition spokeperson: Assad cannot have a role in Syria, Geneva talks should discuss political transition - etilaf.org


Isis’ ‘business model’ failing as group haemorrhages millions while losing territory across Syria and Iraq: Report - The Independent


ICSR/EY Report key findings: "Caliphate in Decline: An Estimate of Islamic State’s Financial Fortunes" - ICSR


REPORT: "Caliphate in Decline: An Estimate of Islamic State’s Financial Fortunes" - ICSR


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

 

Turkey sets out Raqqa operation plans to U.S.: report - Reuters


Turkish PM: If the Trump administration opts for the YPG and PYD in the Raqqa operation 'there will be serious problems in relations with the U.S.' - Hurriyet


Turkey threatens to move on Kurdish-held stronghold Manbij in Syria - Middle East Monitor


Erdogan interview: We will eradicate terrorism with GCC support - Saudi Gazette


Turkey says almost taken Syria's Bab, war monitor says the jihadists still control 90 percent of the town and that shelling and air strikes killed dozens of civilians - Reuters

 

Turkish forces lose ground as ISIL's mounts counter-offensive in Al-Bab - almasdarnews.com


Syria government and monitoring group blast Turkey over civilian deaths - The Washington Post


Casualties by the Turkish forces in al-Bab city - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


Syria calls on Turkey to withdraw troops from Syria, close border - CCTV News

 

No breakthroughs at second round of Syrian peace talks in Astana - rferl.org


Trump: Gulf states will pay for safe zones in Syria - The Daily Caller

 

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

Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters

Those of us who consider it disgraceful to have a giant statue of Robert E. Lee on his horse in a park in the middle of Charlottesville, and another of Stonewall Jackson for that matter, should try to understand those who think removing one of these statues is an outrage.

I don't claim to understand them, and certainly don't suggest they all think alike. But there are certain recurring themes if you listen to or read the words of those who think Lee should stay. They're worth listening to. They're human. They mean well. They're not crazy.

First, let's set aside the arguments we're not trying to understand.

Some of the arguments being passed around are not central to this attempt at understanding the other side. For example, the argument that moving the statue costs money, is not what I'm interested in here. I don't think cost concerns are driving most of the support for the statue. If we all agreed that removing the statue was important, we would find the money. Simply donating the statue to a museum or to some city where Lee actually lived would quite possibly produce a new owner willing to pay for the transport. Heck, donate it to the Trump Winery and they'd probably pick it up by next Thursday.[1]

True, if the statue is simply moved to a different Charlottesville park, Charlottesville will have to pay, and that money could have gone to creating a new park with monuments to peace and civil rights, etc. Perhaps there are  people for whom this really is the central argument. Perhaps they are also consistent in their frugality and put up the same struggle against billion dollar highways and trillion dollar militaries. Perhaps the announcements of how much good could be done for the poor with the money that could be spent to move a statue are being made by some people with a history of caring about the poor. We'll save trying to understand them for another time.

Also tangential here is the argument that removing a statue erases history. Surely few of these history fanatics protested when the U.S. military tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Wasn't he part of Iraqi history? Hadn't the CIA meant well and gone to great efforts in helping to put him in power? Hadn't a company in Virginia provided him with important materials for making chemical weapons? Good or bad, history shouldn't be torn down and erased!

Actually, nobody's saying that. Nobody's valuing any and all history. Few are admitting that ugly parts of history are history at all. People are valuing a particular bit of history. The question is: why? Surely history supporters don't believe that the 99.9% of Charlottesville history not represented in monumental statuary has been erased. Why must this bit of history be monumental?

There may be those whose historical concern is simply for the past 90 years or so of the statue being there in the park. Its existence there is the history they are concerned about, perhaps. Perhaps they don't want it changed simply because that's the way it's been. I have some sympathy for that perspective, but it has to be applied selectively. Should we keep a half-built frame of a hotel on the downtown mall because my kids have never known anything else? Was history destroyed by creating the downtown mall in the first place? What I'm interested in trying to understand is not why people want nothing to change. Nobody wants nothing to change. Rather, I want to understand why they don't want this particular thing to change.

Focus: Russia and NATO - Feb 16, 2016

 

Putin accuses NATO of trying to embroil Russia in confrontation  - TASS


Putin pledges to strengthen Russia’s Federal Security Service - TASS


Putin: 'Ukraine government is clearly not ready for a peaceful solution...openly speak about organization of sabotage and terrorism' - Donbass International


Putin urges 'restoring dialogue' between Russia, US intel - AFP


VIDEO: Putin urges 'restoring dialogue' between Russia, US intel - YouTube


VIDEO: Vladimir Putin’s full statement at the annual meeting of the FSB - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s full statement at the annual meeting of the FSB - President of Russia


Moscow vows to take measures in response to NATO buildup in Black Sea - Sputnik


Russia may lose interest in dialogue with NATO if it yields no results: NATO envoy - APA


Russia demands Pentagon explanation of Mattis’s ‘position of strength' comments - newsweek.com

 

Out of question: 'Crimea cannot be subject of bargaining between Russia and US': Official - Sputnik


POLL: Over 80% of Russians have positive attitude toward President Putin - Sputnik


Kremlin aide says no agreement yet on Putin-Trump meeting: Ifax - Reuters


Russian fighter jets 'buzz' US warship in Black Sea, photos show - CNN.com


Russia shows off menacing amphibious vehicle after NATO deploys troops - Express.co.uk


The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was followed by more than 50 NATO ships on its way to Syria and back - Sputnik


Russia deploys cruise missile in violation of arms treaty: report - TheHill


Russian spy ship now off Virginia coast - ABC News


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

 

Defense ministers at NATO meeting pledge to counter Russia, sign letters of intent spurring additional actions - ibtimes.com


NATO European allies to jointly buy planes, set up new elite HQ - US News


NATO to boost naval presence in Black Sea - Yahoo News


VIDEO: NATO Secretary General, Press Conference at Meetings of Defence Ministers - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: NATO Secretary General, Press Conference at Meetings of Defence Ministers - NATO


NATO Secretary General: alliance remains committed to Georgia - Agenda.ge


Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Defence Ministers - NATO


NATO to stay "strongly committed" to Ukraine: Stoltenberg - Unian


Stoltenberg unfazed by poll showing waning Ukrainian support for NATO - KyivPost


Ukraine turns a blind eye to ultrarightist militia - The Washington Post


Ukraine publishers speak out against ban on Russian books - The Guardian


500 US troops arrive in Romanian Black Sea port to bolster defense - AP


Ships from 4 NATO countries conduct naval drills in Black Sea - RT News


Get Ready, Russia: Britain is sending warships to the Black Sea - The National Interest Blog

 

NATO ships merge into group to exercise anti-submarine tasks amid drills in the Black Sea - Sputnik

 

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

 

Trump warns of the dangers of a “nuclear holocaust” while addressing the need for a positive relationship with Russia - POLITICO


VIDEO: Trump raises spectre of 'nuclear holocaust' amid questioning over Russia - YouTube


Mattis tells NATO: 'We are not in a position right now to collaborate on a military level (with Russia.) But our political leaders will engage and try to find common ground' - UPI.com


Mattis rejects Putin’s proposal to share intelligence - New York Post


Trump’s retreat from realism accelerates: The case of Crimea - Cato @ Liberty


An open letter to Trump and Putin: The world needs Nuclear Zero - TheHill


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

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, Donald Trump, a One-Man 9/11?

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

Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?

For the past decade, the standard procedure for big coalition rallies and marches in Washington D.C. has been to gather together organizations representing labor, the environment, women's rights, anti-racism, anti-bigotry of all sorts, and a wide array of liberal causes, including demands to fund this, that, and the other, and to halt the concentration of wealth.

At that point, some of us in the peace movement will generally begin lobbying the PEP (progressive except for peace) organizers to notice that the military is swallowing up enough money every month to fund all their wishes 100 times over for a year, that the biggest destroyer of the natural environment is the military, that war fuels and is fueled by racism while stripping our rights and militarizing our police and creating refugees.

When we give up on trying to explain the relevance of our society's biggest project to the work of reforming our society, we generally point out that peace is popular, that it adds a mere 5 characters to a thousand-word laundry list of causes, and that we can mobilize peace groups to take part if peace is included.

Focus: Syria - Feb 15, 2017


Pentagon might propose sending ground troops to Syria - CNNPolitics.com


VIDEO: Pentagon considering proposing troops in Syria - CNN Video


The United States confirms use of depleted uranium in Syria, the toxic material has been accused of causing cancer and birth defects - Foreign Policy


Tillerson, Dunford to meet with Russian counterpart - KBZK.com


Russian top diplomat says broad anti-terrorist front forming in Syria - TASS


Anti-Assad states to meet amid concerns over US policy on Syria - The Guardian


Stoltenberg rules out NATO's involvement in combat operations against IS in Syria - TASS


Turkish FM rules out engaging with Assad for solution to the conflict, defends Ankara's calls for safe zones in Syria - qatar-tribune.com


The positions of Saudi Arabia and Turkey are “absolutely identical” on Syria: Saudi foreign minister - Middle East Monitor


Qatar's ties with Turkey at new heights - The Peninsula Qatar


Syria talks in Kazakh capital Astana delayed, delegations downgraded - Reuters


Cease-fire brokered by Turkey and Russia frays in Syria’s south as rebels launch new offensive in Daraa - The Washington Post


Russian strikes target rebels at southern Syria border crossing, moderate Islamists and al-Qaeda fighters cooperate in attempt to expand into Daraa - Antiwar.com


The truce of the Caesar (Putin) and Sultan (Erdogan) ends the 46 day with growing breaches within the ceasefire areas - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


Prominent FSA rebel spokesman assassinated in Daraa province, he was scheduled to attend the Syria peace talks in Astana - almasdarnews.com


ISIS fights back in al-Bab against Syria regime troops and Turkish-led forces - ARA News


The Syria regime forces are about 5 km northwest of Deir Hafer town after controlling 9 villages in the road between it and al-Bab area - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


Contrary to Turkish optimism, an arduous battle against a ‘dug-in’ Islamic State in al-Bab - Syria Direct


Jordan commander: IS expands hold in border camp for Syrians - AP

 

Ahrar al-Sham claims 955 of its members defected during infighting w. AQ/JFS in Syria - Charles Lister on Twitter


Hizbollah boosted by battleground successes in Syria conflict - FT.com


Libyan National Army troops may be trained in Syria by Russia - Stratfor


U.N. warns of catastrophic dam failure in Syria battle - Reuters


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

 

Syrian Kurdish groups expect U.S. support, will fight any Turkish advance - Reuters


Turkey unwelcome: Syrian Kurds ready to defend territories liberated from Daesh, including the city of Manbij - Sputnik


Syrian Kurds want Turkish 'occupants' to stay away from liberating Raqqa - ekurd


Turkey warns US defense secretary over PKK/PYD in Syria - aa.com


YPG entrance into Raqqa a threat against Turkey’s security: deputy PM - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Turkish soldiers, Syrian Kurds exchange fire as Islamic State battle rages on - Breitbart


Uninvited Syrian PYD Kurds 'not expecting much' from Astana talks, not to recognize unattended conferences’ decisions - ekurd


Syrian PYD Kurds reportedly not invited to Geneva IV peace talks: PYD chief Muslim - ekurd


Asya Abdullah: We will not recognise a Syrian constitution drafted without Kurds - Kom News


Interview with co-chair of Syria Democratic Council Ilham Ahmad - ekurd


Any Syria settlement meetings excluding Kurds doomed to fail: Turkish HDP Party - Sputnik


Pan-Kurdish conference takes place in Russia - ekurd


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

Which Washington Crimes Matter Most?

Michael Flynn participated in mass murder and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, advocated for torture, and manufactured false cases for war against Iran. He and anyone who appointed him to office and kept him there should be removed from and disqualified for public service. (Though I still appreciate his blurting out the obvious regarding the counterproductive results of drone murders.)

Many would say that prosecuting Al Capone for tax fraud was a good move if he couldn't be prosecuted for murder. But what if Al Capone had been funding an orphanage on the side, and the state had prosecuted him for that? Or what if the state hadn't prosecuted him, but a rival gang had taken him out? Are all take-downs of major criminals good ones? Do they all deter the right activities by up-and-coming criminals?

Michael Flynn was not removed by public demand, by representative action in Congress, by public impeachment proceedings, or by criminal prosecution (though that may follow). He was removed by an unaccountable gang of spies and killers, and for the offense of seeking friendlier relations with the world's other major nuclear-armed government.

Hoist on his own petard: NSC Head Flynn Was Brought Down By the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build

By Davd Lindorff

            A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world.  Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies-- all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.

            Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.

            His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!).  Because clearly Flynn was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador -- communications that are now widely circulating in complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.

            Talk about someone being hoist upon his own petard!

            You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?

            But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of shadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”

            And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” -- the permanent power structure the really runs things in the US -- which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3452

Talk Nation Radio: Is Amnesty International Promoting War in Syria?

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-is-amnesty-international-promoting-war-in-syria

Rick Sterling is an independent investigative journalist who just wrote the article "Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War" for ConsortiumNews.com.

Find Sterling's article here:
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/11/amnesty-international-stokes-syrian-war

Find the Amnesty International report here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/human_slaughterhouse.pdf

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Tomgram: Michael Klare, A "China First" and "Russia Second" Foreign Policy?

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

Focus: The House GOP Border Tax Plan (Part 2) - Feb 13, 2017


EU and trade partners readying WTO challenge to GOP border tax, say plan ‘definitely not compatible’ with global trade rules - Financial Times


VIDEO: Economist Chad Bown explains why the GOP border tax could lead to $385bn retaliation by US trading partners under WTO rules - YouTube


The GOP border tax threatening to split corporate America, Will Trump back the radical reform that pits importers against exporters? - Financial Times


A border tax could turn the Trump dream into a nightmare - Financial Times


Border tax could upend global markets, but investors shy away from any bets - WSJ


House tax chief Brady : Lawmakers coming around on border adjustability - Washington Examiner


US border tax plan could harm developing nations, destabilise world economy - The Straits Times


‘Trump’s border tax devastating for India’ - Business Line


Border tax didn't come up in Trudeau's meeting with Trump, Canada's finance minister says - CNBC


U.S. border adjusted tax could raise vehicle prices by hundreds, thousands - autonews.com


Proposed border tax would hurt low-income car buyers most, study finds - NESN.com


Automakers enlist dealers in border tax fight - autonews.com


U.S. refiners give mixed reviews of GOP-backed border tax, concerns that it could upend the energy ecosystem and consumers most likely to get hit with gas up 30-40 cents - Oil & Gas 360


Financial Industry worried about effects of border adjustment tax plan - Morning Consult


VIDEO: Border adjustment tax clearly bad for retail: Leonhardt - Yahoo Finance


Solomon retail chief: How a border tax will threaten retail M&A - CNBC


These 21 companies support GOP proposed border adjustment tax, over 100 companies have come out against - Fortune.com


US exporters may not benefit from border adjustment tax, companies that run negative tax liabilities would be entitled only to a carry-forward and not a refund - Global Trade Magazine


The real dangers of border adjusted tax for fashion, it could cripple any American fashion brand reliant upon importing goods and services from abroad - BoF


Italian fashion industry hopes to avert additional US border tax - AP


GOP senator Perdue: Reject border tax proposal - TheHill


Letter of Senator David Perdue (R–Georgia) concerning tax reform - Forbes


GOP stalwart Steve Forbes blasts Republicans on ‘crazy' border tax's $1 Trillion cost to consumers - NBC News


VIDEO: Steve Forbes: 'Crazy' border tax punishes American consumers - CNBC


The border-adjusted tax plan is bad for America - The National Interest


Paul Ryan’s border adjustment tax vs. Donald Trump’s targeted tariffs - americanthinker.com


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


Tomgram: Rajan Menon, The China Missile Crisis of 2018?

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

Focus: Turkey and Syria - Feb 12, 2017


Erdogan says Turkish troops inside Syria's al-Bab, end goal is Raqqa and clearing the area of both Islamic State and Kurdish YPG - Middle East Eye


The 'Islamic State' still in control over most of al-Bab city and repels 2 violent attacks on Bzaah and Qabasin - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


VIDEO: Turkey sets sights on ISIS capital Raqqa - YouTube


Erdogan: 'Next step is to establish a no-fly zone, then they [the Syrians] will be able to establish their national army' - Middle East Observer


Russia deescalated clash between pro-Syrian government,Turkish-backed forces in Al Bab - Rudaw


Turkey bombs Kurdish villages northwest Syria - ARA News

 

Turkey aims to strengthen ties with Gulf as Erdoğan starts 3-day visit in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar - Daily Sabah


VIDEO: President Erdogan visits the Gulf region - YouTube

 

Turkey's ties with Saudi Arabia strategically important: Erdogan - KUNA


Riyadh, Ankara on same page on Mideast: Saudi envoy - Daily Sabah


Turkey referendum on boosting presidential powers set for April 16, opponents fear a lurch towards authoritarianism - France 24


Turkey pressures media ahead of Erdogan referendum, the opposition says the space for debate is already being squeezed - DW.COM


Turkish officials demand Gulen extradition, end of support to Syrian Kurds during Pompeo visit - Breibart


Turkey demands extradition of Gulen supporters from 16 countries - Sofia News Agency

 

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

 

Syrian Democratic Forces seize more ground east Raqqa amid ISIS retreat - ARA News


Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces: 124 ISIS militants killed, 98 villages captured east of Raqqa - ARA News


Syrian Democratic Forces: Raqqa’s Arab tribes support us in fight against IS - Kurdpress News Aganecy


All-Arab force to enter Raqqa once liberated: Syrian Democratic Forces commander - Rudaw


PYD delegation meets with Syrian government representatives, discuss attempts to prevent the Turkish-led Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Moscow mediates talks between Assad & Syrian Kurds: Russian FM - RT News


Kurdish towns reconcile with Syrian government in Aleppo - almasdarnews.com


YPG has been using US anti-tank missiles for a year: Report - Daily Sabah


Tensions between Kurdish rivals in Syria continue, three KNC officials arrested by the PYD - ARA News


KNC officials to join Syria peace talks in Geneva, PYD excluded - ARA News


Russia pushes hard to include Syria’s Kurds in Geneva talks - Rudaw


Moscow to host pan-Kurdish conference on 15 February with the participation of Kurds from Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria - ARA News

 

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

 

Assad says US troops welcome in Syria to fight ‘terrorism' - ABC News


Assad: Trump's plan for safe zones in Syria 'not a realistic idea’ (VIDEO) - TheHill


VIDEO: Defiant Assad tells Amnesty International torture and mass hanging report is 'fake news’ - Yahoo News


Hearsay extrapolated: Amnesty claims mass executions In Syria, provides zero proof - M of A


Amnesty International’s kangaroo report on Syria - theduran.com


Amnesty Internation report on Syria: a response from a Syrian dissident (former political prisoner living in Europe) - The Angry Arab News Service


Saydnaya report: Amnesty hired special effects experts to fabricate 'evidence' - Centre for Research on Globalization


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

Speaking Events

2017

 

August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.

 

September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.

 

October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference



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