Tomgram: William Hartung, How to Arm a "Volatile" Planet

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The Democrats' War Within, War at Home, and War Abroad

On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" host Eugene Puryear is joined by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Presidential candidate to talk about the fall out at the DNC over leaked emails exposing their coordination with the Clinton campaign.

And later in the show Eugene is joined by David Swanson, author, activist, and journalist and Reece Chenault, National Coordinator for US Labor Against the War to talk about the Democrats false narrative of supporting the rebuilding of American communities while at the same time supporting foreign war. The group also discusses the current state of the anti-war movement and its intersection with the labor movement within the United States.

Listen here.

Talk Nation Radio: Jill Stein on Why You Should Help Make Her President of the United States

Jill Stein is Green Party candidate for U.S. President. Learn more at

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Focus: Democratic National Convention - July 25, 2016

Democratic national convention: Boos and jeers from Sanders supporters at virtually every mention of Hillary Clinton - The Washington Post

VIDEOS: Shouting matches erupt for Hillary and Bernie at start of Democratic convention - Mediaite

VIDEO: Anti-TPP protest breaks out on Democratic convention floor - Breibart

Bernie Sanders supporters push to make sure he gets a roll-call vote - LA Times

At a meeting with his pledged delegates Sanders gets booed as he urges to vote for Clinton and Kaine - POLITICO

VIDEO: Sanders booed after saying 'we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine' - CNN

VIDEO: Bernie Sanders full speech to his 1900 delegates - YouTube

Pelosi, other officials booed by Democratic delegates at convention breakfast -

Sanders delegates threaten convention chaos, Bernie 'is not running the show’ - Mother Jones

Bernie Sanders to delegates: Please don’t protest on convention floor -

Sanders protesters march on Democratic national convention, 55 cited for disorderly conduct - Fox News

Bernie Sanders supporters chant ‘lock her up’ in Philadelphia protest against Clinton - WSJ

VIDEO: Sanders supporters protest: 'Hell no, DNC, we won't vote for Hillary' - Breitbart

PHOTOS: 13 best protest signs at Democratic national convention - Breibart

We asked Sanders die-hards, 'Who will you vote for in November?': 'I'll even vote for Trump before I vote for her. I’m so anti-Hillary.' - Mother Jones

Meet the groups protesting the Democratic national convention - CBS News

Democratic convention: Celebrities head to Philadelphia, some to back Clinton, others to protest -

There will be no Bernie Sanders delegates on DNC convention floor? -

A guide to buying access at the Democratic national convention -



Latest scandal rocks Clinton's crowning at convention start, leak of emails from the DNC indicated an anti-Bernie Sanders bias - Fox News

Embattled DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz won't gavel in the convention, Gets booed at Florida convention breakfast - NBC News

Hillary Clinton's soft landing for ousted Democratic Party chair Wasserman Schultz rankles Bernie Sanders supporters - LA Times

DNC issues 'deep and sincere apology' to Bernie Sanders -

Sanders: Leaked DNC emails in no way change my support for Clinton -

Sanders' campaign manager on DNC leaks: 'Time to go forward' -

There is no longer a Bernie Sanders "political revolution." He is turning out to be a weak and somewhat pathetic figure, wants it all to end! - Donald J. Trump on Twitter

DNC leak reveals party insiders promised Obama access in exchange for cash - Common Dreams

Leaked DNC documents show plans to reward big donors with federal appointments - The Daily Caller

FBI investigating Democratic national committee email hack - Breitbart

Sources: US officials warned DNC of hack months before the party acted -

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

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Crimes Against the Future

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

DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism

So, the "neutral" DNC secretly plotted to hurt Bernie Sanders' campaign by getting him asked if he was an atheist. Did the DNC succeed in this? Sanders was in fact asked repeatedly in public fora about his religion. Did the DNC make those questions happen? I don't know. It's worth investigating. The DNC was in touch with Anderson Cooper who asked one of the questions to Bernie, but I've seen no indication they influenced his questions. As I recall, Cooper was himself intent on asking every possible non-policy fluff question he could think of that day. Same for Jimmy Kimmel who asked another of the questions to Bernie.

More significant is what we already know if we choose to see it: Being exposed as an atheist by any other name did not hurt Bernie Sanders in the least. That is to say, in U.S. politics now, if you present an atheistic point of view but don't call it that, you're totally fine. You could even get yourself nominated by the Democratic Party if it weren't so corrupt. If Bernie Sanders were to go before a randomly sampled audience of Americans right now and face these two questions:

1) Do you believe in God?
2) Do you still support the DNC and the legitimacy of its primary results?

... his answer to the first would win applause, although he would not say he believes in God. But his answer to the second would get him roundly booed, although he would declare his allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Sanders' website calls him "secular" and "not particularly religious." His answers to a religion question during that CNN "town hall" were typical. A member of the audience asked about religion and race, and Sanders answered only about race. Then the moderator asked again about religion. And this was Sanders' answer:

"It's a guiding principle in my life. Absolutely it is. You know, everybody practices religion in a different way. To me, I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings. I believe that, as a human being, the pain that one person feels, if we have children that are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can't afford their prescription drugs, you know what? That impacts you, that impacts me, and I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, 'It doesn't matter to me. I got it. I don't care about other people.' So, my spirituality is that we are all in this together, and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That is my very strong spiritual feeling."

It's also my very strong non-spiritual feeling. But that was a typical Bernie answer, one he's given many times, typical even in its focus on only 4% of humanity and on only a particular type of homeless people. Some states, by the way, are making huge strides toward ending the shame of homelessness for veterans, so that soon all homeless people in the United States may be people who have never been part of a mass-murder operation. I point this out not to oppose it. Better more people with homes, no matter how it's done! And I point it out not to quibble with Sanders' statement of generosity and humanism, but to suggest that part of how Sanders slipped a completely irreligious answer past an audience that asked a religious question is that Sanders identified himself with the true U.S. religion -- the religion of war, the religion of national exceptionalism. Who can forget Ron Paul being booed in a primary debate for applying the golden rule to non-Americans?

When Sanders is asked explicitly if he "believes in God," he also answers, "What my spirituality is about is that we're all in this together." Exactly what my non-spirituality is about. I think it's safe to assume politicians will never be asked if they believe in death (which television sponsors would be pleased by that topic?), so "God" is the question they'll get, and they won't be required to answer it. The United States has moved against religion and even more so against "organized religion." Some of us always preferred the organized part (the community, the music, etc.) to the religion, but the larger trend here is a rejection of elite institutions telling us how to run our lives while demonstrably running the world into the ground. And who has more to answer for in that regard than God?

Rejecting organized religion while proclaiming an individual "spirituality" may be all that is needed, and that is tremendous news. That Sanders has done this while professing an ideology of generosity and solidarity, and winning applause for that, is even better news. Studies find that lack of religion can correlate with greater generosity, as certainly seems to be the case with the Scandinavian societies Sanders points to as models. (Seventeen percent of Swedes, as compared to 65% of U.S. Americans, say religion is "important".)

A majority in the United States say they wouldn't vote for an atheist, but for many atheism, like gender, race, sexual preference, and other identifiers is now a matter of self-identification. Someone must choose to call themselves an atheist. Just having no use for theism doesn't qualify them. The media also seems to have no direct interest in attacking candidates on religion. Nobody pays them to do that. And it doesn't show a lot of potential as a weapon. Donald Trump was seen as the least religious candidate in the field, and some of the most religious voters say they support him and just don't care. In addition, Sanders is a supporter of religious freedom, tolerance, and even tax exemptions. He doesn't fit the mold of the bigoted atheist who finds Islam dangerously more religious than Christianity. The media is also no big fan of Ted Cruz, who was on a Dubya-like mission from God. All of these factors seem to have made it possible to run for president of the United States on a platform of pure enlightenment humanism. I didn't think I'd live to see that.

To some extent people also excuse religious differences as cultural, accepting that people "believe" what their parents told them. The same could apply with similar logic to partisanship, but it is not so applied, not to anything like the same extent. That is to say, if you watch the Democratic Party rig an election for an unpopular candidate like Hillary Clinton and you go on supporting the Democratic Party, most people are going to blame or credit that decision on nobody but yourself.

The Golden Rule at Ground Zero: A Meditation Interrupted

By Gerry Condon

I am sitting in the middle of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on the Hood Canal near Poulsbo, Washington. It is a large and beautiful piece of property, partly forested. There is a beautiful, ample house, with a sprawling lawn and garden space, protected by tall pine and cedar trees. At the far end of the lawn is a large stone marker engraved with a Buddhist prayer for peace. As I scan this idyllic scene, small bunny rabbits come into focus on the lawn. Enjoying this space all by myself for a few hours restores a sense of inner peace.

The World Must Support Ireland Against U.S. Wars

A Letter to Ireland from World Beyond War

Add your name here.

Those of us outside Ireland, and in particular those of us in the United States, have a pressing and urgent responsibility to lend all the support we can to our brothers and sisters in Ireland who are resisting U.S. wars.

Despite Ireland’s officially neutral status and its claim to have not gone to war since its founding in 1922, Ireland allowed the United States to use Shannon Airport during the Gulf War and, as part of the so-called coalition of the willing, during the wars that began in 2001. Between 2002 and the present date, over 2.5 million U.S. troops have passed through Shannon Airport, along with many weapons, and CIA airplanes used to transfer prisoners to places of torture. Casement Aerodrome has also been used. And, despite not being a member of NATO, Ireland has sent troops to participate in the illegal war on Afghanistan.


Under Hague Convention V in force since 1910, and to which the United States has been a party from the start, and which under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is part of the supreme law of the United States, “Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.” Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which both the United States and Ireland are parties, and which has been incorporated into very selectively enforced felonies in the U.S. Code since before George W. Bush left Texas for Washington, D.C., any complicity in torture must be investigated and prosecuted. Under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, to both of which the United States and Ireland have been parties since their creation, the war in Afghanistan and all the other U.S. wars since 2001 have been illegal.

The people of Ireland have a strong tradition of resisting imperialism, dating back even before the 1916 revolution of which this year is the centenary, and they aspire to representative or democratic government. In a 2007 poll, by 58% to 19% they opposed allowing the U.S. military to use Shannon Airport. In a 2013 poll, over 75% supported neutrality. In 2011, a new government of Ireland announced that it would support neutrality, but it did not. Instead it has continued to allow the U.S. military to keep planes and personnel at Shannon Airport, and to bring troops and weapons through on a regular basis, including over 20,000 troops already this year.

The United States military has no need for Shannon Airport. Its planes could reach other destinations without running out of fuel. One of the purposes of regularly using Shannon Airport, perhaps the main purpose, is very likely simply to keep Ireland within the coalition of the killing. On U.S. television, announcers thank “the troops” for watching this or that major sporting event from 175 countries. The U.S. military and its profiteers would hardly notice if that number dropped to 174, but their goal, perhaps their main purpose and driving objective, is to increase that number to 200. Total global dominance is the explicitly stated objective of the U.S. military. Once a nation is added to the list, all steps will be taken, by the State Department, by the military, by the CIA, and by any possible collaborators, to keep that nation on the list. The United States government fears an Ireland free of U.S. militarism more than we probably can imagine. The global peace movement should desire it more than we probably do, including for the example it would set to Scotland, Wales, England, and the rest of the world.

How do we, outside of Ireland, know anything at all about what the U.S. military does in Ireland? We certainly don’t learn it from the U.S. government or U.S. journalism. And the Irish government takes no active steps to reveal what it knows, which is likely not everything. We know what we know because of brave and dedicated peace activists in Ireland, representing majority opinion, upholding the rule of law, exercising creative nonviolence, and working through numerous organizations, most prominently These heroes have pried loose information, elected and lobbied members of the Irish legislature, entered the grounds of Shannon Airport to ask question and draw attention and face criminal prosecution for the cause of peace. If not for them, citizens of the United States — a nation that literally bombs other countries in the name of democracy — would have no idea what was happening whatsoever. Even now, most people in the United States have no idea. We have to help tell them. Even U.S. supporters of war don’t support a mandatory draft, at least not until they themselves are too old to qualify. Many should be willing to oppose forcing Ireland to take part in wars it wants no part in.

If U.S. military transport continues to make use of Shannon Airport, a disaster will inevitably occur there. Of course the moral disaster of participating in the mass killing of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc., is ongoing. The cultural disaster of insidiously creating the impression that war is normal is underway. The financial cost to Ireland, the environmental and noise pollution, the heightened “security” that erodes civil liberties: all of those things are part of the package, along with the racism that finds a target in the refugees fleeing the wars. But if Shannon Airport survives routine U.S. military use without a major accident, spill, explosion, crash, or mass-killing, it will be the first. The U.S. military has poisoned and polluted some of the most beautiful spots in the United States and around the world. The unsurpassed beauty of Ireland is not immune.

And then there is the blowback. By participating in counterproductive wars that generate international terrorism, Ireland makes itself a target. When Spain became a target it pulled out of the war on Iraq, making itself safer. When Britain and France became targets, they doubled down on their own participation in terrorism-too-large-to-carry-that-name, generating more blowback and deepening the vicious cycle of violence. Which path would Ireland choose? We cannot know. But we do know that it would be wisest for Ireland to pull out of its criminal participation in the barbaric institution of war before the war comes home.

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Focus: Tim Kaine's Foreign Policy Record - July 24, 2016

Clinton picks Kaine, foreign policy heavyweight: he favors 'shoring up democracies’, safe zones in Syria, nuclear modernization - defensenews

Clinton's VP pick Tim Kaine supports Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression - UAWire

Letter to Obama, signed by Kaine, to make U.S. support for Ukraine and Eastern Europe a focus of upcoming NATO summit -

ARCHIVE: Defense policy bill, supported by Sen. Kaine, would send weapons to Ukraine - Washington Examiner

Sen. Kaine: Trump's NATO comments ‘very dangerous' - Morning Consult

VIDEO: Tim Kaine: Is NATO obsolete? -

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's VP pick, told us why he wants the US doing more in Syria - Vox

Factcheck: Kaine voted to strike Assad in August 2013 and to train & equip Syrian rebels - All4Syria

ARCHIVE: Kaine: U.S. not creating safe zone in Syria will be considered ‘one of the big mistakes we've made’ (VIDEO) - Washington Free Beacon

ARCHIVE: Letter to Obama, signed by Kaine, calling on the US to set up 'humanitarian safe zones' in Syria -

Meet Tim Kaine: he agreed with removing Saddam Hussein from power, and said 'I do share the President's [Bush] view’ - GOP



US lawmakers duel over plans to upgrade nuclear arsenal - DoD Buzz

Sen. Kaine signed pro-nuclear ‘modernization' letter to the Secretary of Defense - PEACE ACTION

Letter signed by Kaine urging 'nuclear modernization in light of a wide array of strategic challenges facing the United States' -

Sanders and other senators call on Obama to scale back plans to develop new, costly, nuclear weapons and reduce the risk of war – PEACE ACTION

Letter to President Obama, signed by Sanders, to cut nuclear weapons spending -

ARCHIVE: Sen. Kaine: Sanders is 'an incredibly risky bet' for commander in chief - POLITICO

ARCHIVE: Commentary: US is more secure without new, nuclear-armed cruise missile -

Kaine statement on senate passage of defense bill: it 'contains several provisions he advocated for that will benefit Virginia’s shipbuilding industry and defense community' -

Kaine and other senators vote to keep bomber price secret, a severe blow to transparency and fiscal responsibility  -

ARCHIVE: Kaine: Budget deal good for defense industrial base -

ARCHIVE: Analysts warn budget problems on new carrier Ford to be expected, Kaine says Ford expenses are not out of line with the development of new ships -


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

Focus: Islamic State - July 22, 2016

War on ISIL: US and allies plan to corner jihadist group in Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq -

Joint statement by foreign and defense ministers of the expanded small group of the global coalition to counter ISIL / Daesh -

Carter: Defense ministers agree on next steps in counter-ISIL fight - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

VIDEO: Carter addresses counter-ISIL meeting in Maryland - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

VIDEO: Carter briefs reporters on counter-ISIL efforts - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Kerry: Islamic State will remain dangerous after Mosul, Raqqa fall - Stripes

VIDEO: Secretary Kerry opens ministerial meeting of global coalition to counter ISIL - YouTube

While Carter portrays the terror group as on the run, GOP committee paints it as deadlier and more destructive than ever and determined to strike within U.S. borders - McClatchy DC

There have now been over 100 ISIS-linked terror plots against the West since 2014 - House Committee on Homeland Security

REPORT: Terror Gone Viral - House Committee on Homeland Security

Islamic State braces for imminent Iraqi siege to retake Mosul -

Pentagon investigating claims of civilian deaths in Syria strike -

Syrian opposition calls for suspension of U.S.-led air strikes - Reuters

Kurds to Syrian opposition: halting coalition airstrikes will only help ISIS - ARA News

U.S.-backed Syrian force gives Islamic State 48 hours to leave Manbij - Reuters

Obama administration has begun to see al-Nusra as a global threat echoing a Russian argument that it has long resisted - The Washington Post

Russia-US-UN talks on Syria to be held in Geneva on July 26: source - TASS

Friends and foes of détente with Russia, Events from Turkey, Washington, Moscow, and Syria to Cleveland affect the Obama-Putin attempted rapprochement - The Nation

Carter: U.S.-Russian airstrikes in Syria 'not in the cards' - Washington Examiner

U.S.-backed ‘moderate’ rebels behead a child near Aleppo - The Daily Beast



Brazilian police arrest 10 suspected of planning terrorist acts during Olympics -

Brazilian terror group pledges allegiance to ISIS before Olympics - New York Post

Olympics: U.S. warned of jihad in Latin America before Brazilian Islamic State pledge -

Islamic State threatens to intensify attacks against France - Telegraph

Attacker in Nice plotted for months and had accomplices, French prosecutor says - The New York Times

Teenager who terrorized German train appears in Islamic State video - The Long War Journal

`Lone wolf` attacks rising, hard to track, warns Europol - Zee News

Report: More Than 100 Chinese Muslims Have Joined the Islamic State - Foreign Policy

Libyan forces reportedly laying siege to Islamic State in Sirte - Washington Post

UN: Islamic State fighters in Libya facing the "distinct possibility" of defeat, likely to scatter elsewhere in the North African region -

Cutting the Islamic State's money supply - The National Interest Blog

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

RNC War Party, DNC War Makers

If you believe that Hillary Clinton might be working with (or be) Lucifer, if you believe that supporting Israeli wars helps bring about the re-election campaign, as it were, of Jesus Christ (who will deal with those Israelis like the Muslims and atheists they exactly resemble as soon as he gets here), if you think eternally burning to death is a fate too mild for Muslims who burn people to death (something no missile made by Raytheon would ever do), if you believe military weaponry is appropriate for police as long as they focus on the real criminals (black people), if you want Muslims banned and deported, you just might -- I'm going to go out on a limb here -- you just might be a Republican.

But if you are a hard-core promoter of wars like Robert Kagan, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Jamie Weinstein, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Richard Perle, George Shultz, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and many others, you have either endorsed or said very positive things about Hillary Clinton. How to explain this? Are the most rabid war supporters on one side and the most dependable war makers getting nominated by the other? Well, maybe.

But if you believe that the U.S. military is a force for good that hardly ever kills anyone worthy of redemption, that the chief role of the military is to rescue poor innocents from evil by overthrowing tyrants and spreading democracy by drone missile, if you believe air wars are more humane because in air wars nobody gets hurt, if you think presidents checking off kill lists on Tuesdays is ideal as long as it's the right presidents doing it, if you cheer for diversity in the U.S. military and want the Selective Service expanded to force every 18-year-old woman to register for the draft, if you believe Honduras and Ukraine and Libya had it coming or you have no idea what I'm referring to, if you think suggesting the abolition of NATO or a halt to overthrowing governments is crazy talk, and if you believe a good heavy bombing campaign of Syria would be the perfect way to demonstrate that we care about Syrians and value them as human beings, you just might be a Democrat.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is the most dependable war monger nominated by a major party in the United States in many years. She has the most consistent and lengthy record of doing what she's paid to do, of marketing U.S. weaponry abroad, of manufacturing justifications for wars, of lobbying branches of the U.S. government and foreign governments to support wars. And she'll do so while keeping up a pretense of abiding by some selection of laws.

What if it were to strike Donald Trump that arming the world, including the opposite side of many U.S. wars, with U.S. weapons was dumb or not great? What if he were to conclude that NATO really did have to go? What if he were to alienate possible accomplices before a new war? What if he were to just skip ahead to nuking everybody, or start sharing nukes with any non-Muslim or non-Mexican nation? He's too unpredictable.

But Trump is almost guaranteed to continue, escalate, and launch new wars, just like Clinton -- though that has little to do with what his supporters -- the group that Ted Cruz calls servile puppies -- want. In a representative system, one would suppose that electing the leader of the most war-crazed party would bring on the most war. In fact, what Trump or Clinton does will not necessarily bear much in common with what the majority of Republicans or Democrats want. So, it does make sense for real war mongers to base their pick on the candidate rather than the party. But how will party demands play out under one of these two regimes?

I've studied the marketing of wars, and the most successful war marketing campaigns in the United States include, in order from most to least necessary:

1) The pretense of a threat to anyone in the United States, most powerfully if it is a threat of torture or rape or death by hand or knife. It need not be the least bit realistic.
2) The demonization of an entire foreign population.
3) The demonization of a particular foreign person.
4) Revenge.
5) The pretense of urgency, inevitability, and ideally of the state of being already underway.
6) The pretense of upholding the rule of law.
7) The pretense of humanitarianism.

Point #7 will pick up a section of the population's support, even among people opposed to some of the other justifications. But alone it won't work. Points #1 and #2 can do well without #7.  Any of these points can be strengthened or undone by partisanship if the war is labeled the possession of one political party or the other. And once the war is really up and rolling, a new justification slides into the #1 spot, namely the need to "support the troops" by killing more of them.

A Trump war would have the support of Trump followers, but that category does not include many Republicans and Independents, much less Democrats. Those groups are all maybes. Left-leaning and Democratic peace activists would be quite likely to oppose a Trump war -- albeit in the face of nasty police attacks.

A Clinton war would have the support of Clinton followers, but that category is as limited as Trump's. Would war-mad Republicans find supporting a war or opposing Clinton more appealing? The devil, if not Lucifer, is in the details. But the peace movement would be limited to people willing to challenge Democrats in the cause of peace -- and that could mean that Clinton could get away with lower ranked excuses (such as numbers 4 through 7), but there is no reason to imagine she wouldn't reach for numbers 1-3 as well.

Laugh about it, wrote Paul Simon. Shout about it. When you've got to choose. Every way you look at it you lose. Unless you support Jill Stein and/or build a more principled peace movement.

Top 10 Reasons Why It's Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children

Is it really necessary for me to explain to you why it's acceptable, necessary, and admirable for the United States and its minor allies to be blowing up houses, families, men, women, and children in Syria?

This latest story of blowing up 85 civilians in their homes has some people confused and concerned. Let me help you out.

1. Somebody mistook them for ISIS fighters, determined that each of them was a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, verified a near zero possibility of any civilians being hurt in the process, and determined that some more bombing was just the way to advance a cease-fire in Syria. So this was not only an accident, but a series of unfortunate events, mistakes, and miscalculations of such proportions that they're unlikely ever to all align again for at least a few days to come.

2. This isn't actually news. That the United States is blowing up civilians by the hundreds in Syria has been endlessly reported and is really of no news value, which is why you don't hear anybody at presidential conventions or on TV talking about it, and why you shouldn't talk aboiut it either if you know what's good for you.

3. Quite a lot of families actually got away without being blown up and are now refugees, which is truly the ideal thing to be in Syria, which is the most totally prepared place for more refugees in the history of the earth, or would be if liberal internationalist do-gooders would provide some aid and stop whining about all the bombs falling.

4. Who gets labeled a "civilian" is pretty arbitrary. The United States has killed thousands of people who clearly were not civilians, and who likely had no loved ones or anyone who would become enraged by their deaths. So why lump particular groups of families into the category of "civilian," and why just assume that every 3-year-old is a civilian, and then turn around and complain with a straight face when the government labels every 18-year-old male a combatant?

5. Houses do not actually have feelings. Why be so bothered that people are blown up in their houses? I'll let you in on a little secret: The word "battlefield" hasn't meant anything that looks like a field for decades. They don't even have fields in some of these countries that don't know any better than to get themselves bombed over and over again. These wars are always in houses. Do you want the houses bombed or do you want the doors kicked in? Because when the Marines start kicking in doors and hauling people off to torture camps you whine about that too.

6. People who live in an ISIS territory are responsible for ISIS. Even those who didn't vote in the most recent ISIS election have a responsibility to get themselves burned alive, and if not then they are responsible for the evil of ISIS and ought to be burned alive by Raytheon missiles which at least make somebody some money in the process for godsake. And if ISIS won't let people flee its territory, but won't burn them alive, then it's time for the international community to step in with efficient burning-alive systems that meet international standards.

7. Donald Trump has sworn he would start killing families. If the U.S. government does not continue its centuries-old practice of killing families, Trump might gain support and endanger us all by creating the new policy of killing families.

8. When airplanes take off from Turkey to commit mass murder in Syria, it helps to bring Turkey back into the community of the rule of law and international respect for human rights, following the recent coup attempt. Keeping U.S. nuclear weapons in Turkey serves a similar purpose.

9. Sometimes when you blow people up in their houses, their heads can remain on their bodies. When U.S.-armed moderates behead children, they're doing it for the goal of moderating the moderation of moderate allies and allied moderates. But when the United States kills directly, it is important that there be a chance of some heads remaining on bodies.

10. Unlike every other country on earth, the United States is not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so, in the words of the great Thomas Friedman, suck on this.

Turkey News - July 20, 2016

Turkey fires 21,000 teachers, 1,577 university deans and 15,000 education ministry employees in post-coup crackdown - Telegraph

Turkey's post-coup crackdown by numbers - About Croatia

Turkey's government fears second coup attempt as purge removes many army commanders - The Independent

President Erdogan refuses to rule out execution of Turkey coup plotters - Daily Mail Online

VIDEO: Interview with President Erdogan -

Turkey formally requests extradition of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen from US, Prime Minister says - ABC News

Turkish cleric gulen urges U.S. to refuse extradition request - WSJ

VIDEO: Interview with Fethullah Gulen - BBC News

An interview with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs - The Washington Post

Turkish ambassador urges Greece to return coup plotters - Middle East Online

Turkish navy ships still missing since attempted coup – as it remains unclear which side admirals are on - The Independent

Two Turkish pilots who played a role in the downing of a Russian plane in November are in custody over the weekend’s failed coup in Turkey - Al Arabiya English

The Turkish military: In numbers - Forces TV

After failed coup, Erdogan vows to build barracks in Taksim square that sparked anti-government protests in 2013 - Reuters

It’s time for 'Erdogan’s coup': Threatened journalist expects widespread backlash in Turkey -

Turkish lira, stocks plummet as Erdogan widens purge - MarketWatch

Turkish cenbank says to stick to tight policy after cutting rates again - Reuters

How the military coup attempt may change Turkey, The violent bid to oust President Erdoğan has exposed weaknesses in his divisive rule (VIDEO) -

Insight: Turkey's Erdogan beats foes for now, but at high cost to stability - Reuters



Obama presses Erdogan in phone call to respect rights as he responds to the coup that almost forced him from power - Bloomberg Politics

Kerry urges Turkey to maintain democratic principles after coup attempt - The Washington Post

VIDEO: John Kerry urges Turkey to 'respect rule of law' - YouTube

'No excuse' for Turkey to abandon rule of law: EU's Mogherini - Reuters

VIDEO: EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on the impact of possible reintroduction of death penalty in Turkey - Veblr

Turkey won’t get visa-free travel this year: EU - The Journal of Turkish Weekly

Turkish air base stationed by US troops used by coup plotters - Worldbulletin News

Turkish police search air base used by US military storing NATO nuclear weapons - Daily Mail Online

America’s nukes aren’t safe in Turkey anymore - Foreign Policy

Expert: Turkey too dangerous for nuke storage -

Turkey and NATO: What comes next is messy - Foreign Policy

WikiLeaks releases 300k Turkey govt emails in response to Erdogan’s post-coup purges - RT News

WikiLeaks: Search the AKP email database - WikiLeaks

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

White Plains, NY, Spies on Residents With Drone

At right is a photo of a drone taken by Sue McAnanama at a July 14, 2016, march, in White Plains, N.Y.

Nick Mottern of says, "I just spoke with White Plains Assistant Chief of Police Anne Fitzsimmons who declined to acknowledge whether or not the White Plains Police have a drone much less whether the police used a drone to undertake surveillance of people at the County-wide March for Justice held in White Plains last Thursday, July 14.

"Asked if the police had used a drone at the march, she said that she would not give any information having to do with 'tactics'.   No information will be provided, she said, because 'we need to maintain the integrity of our ability to protect the public.'

"She said further that since there are 'many, many cameras out there' the question of the use of a drone is 'a moot point'."

It's worth noting the meaningless and militaristic language this supposedly domestic civilian public servant uses to deny information to the public. Just label something a "tactic" and you can keep it secret, she thinks, so that the enemy doesn't learn your tactics. But who is the enemy? And the "integrity" of serving the public requires not letting the public know what you are doing (and spying on that public)?

Mottern points out that, in fact, there are differences between drone cameras and other cameras that might film people attempting to exercise their First Amendment right to assemble and speak. "Drones are able to focus in on individuals and groups and to follow them for extended periods; drones can be fitted with pepper spray, tear gas and other anti-personnel weapons," Mottern says. Yes, and they can be used to intimidate, to target political enemies, to restrict people's rights. And if they really were no different from other means of surveillance, what sort of excuse would that be? Nobody excuses police killings on the grounds that there are lots of other killings anyway.

Syracuse, N.Y., was the fifth city in the country to join the list of those banning drones. Meanwhile White Plains just goes ahead with this new abuse without making any sort of public decision. "It seems quite extraordinary," says Mottern, "that the White Plains Police feel that they can begin to use a highly intrusive tool of public surveillance and intimidation without informing the public and, moreover, without public debate and a vote by the White Plains City Council."

Talk Nation Radio: Edward Hasbrouck: Extend Selective Service to Women or End it for Men?

Edward Hasbrouck is a long-time member of the War Resisters League and maintains one of the most comprehensive websites about "Selective Service," the draft, draft registration, and draft resistance. His website at includes news about the current proposals to expand draft registration to women as well as men, and FAQs about what to do if you don't want to be drafted. Edward was one of 20 people who were prosecuted for organizing resistance to draft registration in the 1980s. He spent 4 1/2 months in a federal prison camp in 1983-1984 before the government gave up trying to enforce the Selective Service law in 1987 in the face of massive noncompliance.

Dump draft registration, don’t extend it to women (Op-Ed by Edward Hasbrouck, San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 2016)

Support H.R. 4523 to end draft registration

Petition to the U.S. Congress: Pass the new bill to abolish the military draft

Women: Do not register for the draft. (by Rivera Sun, PeaceVoice, June 17, 2016)

Gender-Neutral Draft Registration Would Create Millions of Female Felons (U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 2016)

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Tomgram: Adam Hochschild, Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

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

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Even TD knows when it’s beat. Thursday is clearly a media day reserved for pure Trumpery. There’s no point in fighting it, so this site is taking it off. The next post will be on Sunday, July 24th. Tom]

What About Theresa May Plagiarizing Genghis Kahn?

There are scandals and then there are the things that should be scandals. Melania Trump gave a speech on Monday plagiarizing a speech by Michelle Obama, not to mention a song by Rick Astley (that, like these speeches, someone else wrote). Yes, that's funny. The accented immigrant spouse campaigning for the xenophobic bigot is funny in itself. So are her pornographic photos in the context of the Republican Party's denunciation of pornography as a major threat. But, between you and me, if you base your voting on someone's spouse's mindless cynical blather about "values," you've got worse problems than trying to choose between two parties that can swap such blather word-for-word with each other -- and so, consequently, do we all.

And if you can take a look at opening night of the Republican Convention and worry more about Melania's nonsense than about the endless repetition of the dogma that holds 96% of humanity in contempt, that declares the United States to be the only place in the world that matters, then you're missing the forest for the trees and the arsenal for the guns. Go back and watch Virginia Foxx suggesting that only in the United States does anyone value families. Or watch a crazed looking Michael Flynn declare that "the destructive pattern of putting the interests of other nations ahead of our own will end." Then please devote some moments to trying to identify all the nations whose interests the United States puts ahead of its own. Flynn, by the way, said he favored "a new American century." Should the fact that he didn't call it "the project for" really get him off the hook? Yes, yes, it's too short and common a phrase to truly count as plagiarism, but it has already killed a lot more people than Michelle's/Melania's "your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise."

Also on Monday the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May declared that she would be willing to kill a hundred thousand innocent men, women, and children, and that she would be willing to do it using a weapon that in reality is likely to kill several times that many. How is that not a scandal? If she'd said "American" men, women, and children, you can bet your fat french-fry ass it'd be the biggest roaring scandal of the week. That she is assumed to have meant some other variety of men, women, and children avoids any scandal in the U.S. media, as other people must surely be a bit more deserving of dying. However, there's a problem with that unarticulated thought process, namely that the modifier May did use was precisely this: "innocent." You can't get any more innocent than "innocent," and that's who she's willing to slaughter.

And for what purpose is Theresa "Seven Days in" May, just seven days into her prime ministership, willing to commit mass murder? In order, she says, to ensure that her enemies know she is willing to, because that knowledge will deter them from something or other. Of course, Tony Blair was warned that attacking countries would create anti-UK violence, not deter it. And that warning proved accurate. Imagine how many enemies Theresa May would have if she started nuking people? She'd have the whole surviving world for enemies. ISIS could blow its whole recruitment budget on self-flagellation or whatever ISISers do for fun. May would have it covered. In trying to defend her nuclearism, May is not just plagiarizing Genghis Kahn, but plagiarizing the false claims of her U.S. and UK predecessors, and doing so just as mindlessly as Melania Trump.

When Spain was victimized by a terrorist attack it pulled out of the war on Iraq, and the terrorist attacks stopped. That's an important lesson. And the lesson is not to do whatever a bully demands. The lesson is to stop being a bully if you don't want your victims to hit back. Spain didn't agree to commit some new crime. It just agreed to stop committing a larger crime. This was the lesson when George W. Bush pulled the U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia or Ronald Reagan pulled them out of Lebanon. But pulling out of Saudi Arabia and moving into Iraq was not well thought through, unless the goal was chaos.

There was a bit of a scandal on Monday in the UK. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn declared that mass murder is not a good way to handle international affairs. It would have been nice last December if the Democratic or Republican Party in the United States had had a Jeremy Corbyn in it. That was when CNN's Hugh Hewitt asked Republican candidate Ben Carson if he would be willing to kill hundreds and thousands of children. To Carson's great credit, he responded by answering a question from an exam he'd taken in medical school for which the answer had only just occurred to him, and then wandered off into recounting a dream or something. But the asking of the question, the assumption that a president's basic duty is mass murder created no scandal, and won't unless someone answers it by plagiarizing Ben Carson.

Focus: Syria News - July 19, 2016

Syrian troops besiege rebel-held parts of Aleppo, a decisive battle that could turn the war in favor of the government - AP

Syria, Russia seek rebel surrender with Aleppo seige -

Aleppo rebels accuse Kurds of aiding regime siege - NOW

Kurdish YPG forces combatting Islamists in Syria's Aleppo - ARA News

Pressure mounts in Aleppo, Since government forces closed off Castello Road supplies have dwindled and prices have skyrocketed - Al Jazeera

Syrian opposition plans to launch full-scale offensive across Aleppo - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Jihadists, mostly composed of the Al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra, launch a large-scale offensive on Al-Mallah Farms and the Castillo road in an attempt to lift the Aleppo siege -

Huge blast rocks government arms factory near Aleppo as ISIS, Al-Nusra shell city & attack Syria troops (VIDEO) - RT News

VIDEO: Ancient city of Aleppo ravaged by relentless conflict - YouTube

Aleppo Governor, ICRC representative discuss cooperation in relief work – Syrian Arab News Agency

Field Report: Syrian Army makes fresh gains in Darayya (VIDEO) -

Syrian army foils jihadi attack in Quneitra: frontline report -

Syrian Forces Recapture Key Town on Latakia Coast -

Lebanon Army targets Nusra, ISIS on northeast border - THE DAILY STAR

Russia to test new ship-based helicopters in Syria -



Fierce clashes between US backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants erupt in western Manbij - Rudaw

Syrian Democratic Forces advancing toward Manbij city center -

US Central Command says anti-ISIS operation in Manbij will take time due to 'countless snipers and explosive belts’ - ARA News

US-Led coalition, supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, destroys 22 Daesh positions near Syria’s Manbij: CENTCOM - Sputnik

US-led coalition denies ISIS access to critical supply routes north Syria near Manbij - ARA News

Unconfirmed report: 3 US soldiers killed by guided missile in Manbij northeastern Aleppo - Alalam

French special forces on the ground in Manbij - Rudaw

Manbij operation uncovers treasure trove of ISIS documents - Rudaw

Syrian opposition says U.S. must stand up to Russia which is committing 'war crimes' - Reuters

New Syrian opposition interim government excludes the Kurdish National Council - ARA News

Clinton backer and advisor Panetta: Obama’s strategy in Syria has resulted in ‘worst-case’ scenario, The U.S. will need to challenge ISIS, Assad and the Russians as well - Daily Caller

VIDEO: Leon Panetta talks Syria and the next U.S. president - YouTube

Statement by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Obama administration’s delusional talks with Russia - United States Senator John McCain

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

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, How Extrajudicial Executions Became "War" Policy in Washington

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

Syria: Reasserting Dignity in the US Antiwar Movement

[Note: I'm publishing this with no edits, but with a note from myself at the end, as I think this article may serve as a useful corrective to various mistakes but am convinced it makes a few of its own. --David Swanson]

By Andy Berman

After 5 years of intense bloody conflict in Syria, resulting so far in the death of half a million people, the severe injury of millions more, the destruction of major parts of the nation’s housing and infrastructure and the displacement of 12 million persons, literally half the nation’s population, it is abundantly clear that the entity that calls itself the “US antiwar movement” has failed.

The US antiwar movement contributed significantly to ending the US war in Vietnam, and successfully prevented a US invasion of Nicaragua, and gave tremendous solidarity to the people of El Salvador in their struggle against their death-squad government. It made a major contribution of solidarity to the South African people in the struggle against apartheid.

But its record to date in mitigating the violence in Syria, much less helping to bring about a just solution to the conflict, is one of abject failure. It is also, in the opinion of millions of Syrians, a great betrayal.

After 5 years of death and destruction, following an initially non-violent uprising against a brutal dictatorship, there is no legitimate excuse for concerned antiwar activists to say they are still “confused” by the conflict, and to hold back from condemning the ongoing war crimes that occur on a nearly daily basis in Syria today. Bloodshed and conflict are occurring in a number of places around the globe. But in its scope of violence, its years of unceasing slaughter, its extent of civilian suffering, Syria arguably leads the pack. Syria should be very high on the agenda of peace and justice organizations.

Misusing a quote about peace: Obama Calls for Peace and Comity at Home, But Favors Wars and Killer Drones Abroad

By Dave Lindorff


            President Barack Obama made an eloquent plea for sanity and peace following the latest deadly assault on police officers -- this time a gunman with an assault rifle shooting and killing three cops in Baton Rouge and wounding another three, one critically injured.

Iranians Ask France Not to Support Terrorism

Dear President Hollande,

On behalf of the people of Iran, we are writing to express our deepest sorrow in response to tragic events that in recent months have been unfolded in your country.  

Please accept our condolences, for we share your pain and sorrow for the loss of innocent lives due to the heartless actions of terrorist groups. We convey our sympathy to the people of France and stand in solidarity with families of victims of such barbaric acts.
We, in Iran, understand the horror of terrorism as we have experienced it in first hand and for a long time. In our country thousands of civilians have been targeted by terrorist groups, such as Mujahidin- e- Khalq (MEK). Similar to ISIS, MEK also stands for violence and destruction of precious lives in order to achieve its “goal” and “win.”
In fact, we are saddened and hurt to witness Turki bin Faisale Al Iskander, the Saudi official, entered Paris last week only to openly support Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a terrorist organization. This group led by Mariam Rajavi, is responsible for the lives of 17000 Iranians alone, as well as numerous non-Iranians throughout years of terrorist activities.
Sadly, in the eyes of many observers, friendships and collaborations of Saudi officials with terrorist groups and organizations is not anything new. For decades, directly or indirectly, Saudis have supported groups such as Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and now is openly supporting the MEK. While we deeply sympathize with the people of France and share their pain, we also believe this is the time for the international community to revisit consequences of wrong policies toward states and non-state actors who overtly or covertly have supported terrorism.

In solidarity, 
A group of Iranian Artists.

Superpowers Are Violent Powers

If asked to identify the world’s superpowers today, most people would name the United States, Russia, and China.  Although many citizens of these countries maintain that this status is based on the superiority of their national way of life, the reality is that it rests upon their nations’ enormous capacity for violence.

Certainly none has a peaceful past.  The United States, Russia, and China have a long history of expansion at the expense of neighboring countries and territories, often through military conquest.  Those nations on their borders today, including some that have wrenched themselves free from their imperial control, continue to fear and distrust them.  Just ask Latin Americans, East Europeans, or Asians what they think of their powerful neighbors.

Best Speech a U.S. President Ever Gave

In planning an upcoming conference and nonviolent action aimed at challenging the institution of war, with the conference to be held at American University, I can't help but be drawn to the speech a U.S. president gave at American University a little more than 50 years ago. Whether or not you agree with me that this is the best speech ever given by a U.S. president, there should be little dispute that it is the speech most out of step with what anyone will say at either the Republican or the Democratic national convention this year. Here's a video of the best portion of the speech:

President John F. Kennedy was speaking at a time when, like now, Russia and the United States had enough nuclear weapons ready to fire at each other on a moment's notice to destroy the earth for human life many times over. At that time, however, in 1963, there were only three nations, not the current nine, with nuclear weapons, and many fewer than now with nuclear energy. NATO was far removed from Russia's borders. The United States had not just facilitated a coup in Ukraine. The United States wasn't organizing military exercises in Poland or placing missiles in Poland and Romania. Nor was it manufacturing smaller nukes that it described as "more usable." The work of managing U.S. nuclear weapons was then deemed prestigious in the U.S. military, not the dumping ground for drunks and misfits that it has become. Hostility between Russia and the United States was high in 1963, but the problem was widely known about in the United States, in contrast to the current vast ignorance. Some voices of sanity and restraint were permitted in the U.S. media and even in the White House. Kennedy was using peace activist Norman Cousins as a messenger to Nikita Khrushchev, whom he never described, as Hillary Clinton has described Vladimir Putin, as "Hitler."  

Kennedy framed his speech as a remedy for ignorance, specifically the ignorant view that war is inevitable. This is the opposite of what President Barack Obama said recently in Hiroshima and earlier in Prague and Oslo. Kennedy called peace "the most important topic on earth." It is a topic not touched on in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. I fully expect this year's Republican national convention to celebrate ignorance.

Kennedy renounced the idea of a "Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war," precisely what both big political parties now and most speeches on war by most past U.S. presidents ever have favored. Kennedy went so far as to profess to care about 100% rather than 4% of humanity:

Focus: U.S. and Russia on Syria, Trump and Clinton on Nice terror attack - July 16, 2016

Putin-Kerry talks made no progress on Syria deal, Kremlin says - Bloomberg Politics

Kremlin spokesman says Putin, Kerry did not discuss Syria military cooperation, 'unfortunately, we are not much closer' - Almanar

U.S., Russia extend talks in search for Syria cooperation deal -

Kerry: World 'waiting' for U.S.-Russia cooperation on terrorism - Washington Examiner

Kremlin: Moscow ready for coordinated anti-terrorist efforts with US, Putin regrets over our American partners’ rejecting cooperation - TASS

Russian Defense Minister urges US to joint action to normalize situation in Aleppo - TASS

US, Russia talk Syria military coordination despite Pentagon concerns -

Pentagon resists Obama’s new plan to work with the Russians in Syria - The Daily Beast

Obama’s Syria plan teams up American and Russian forces - The Washington Post

Text of the U.S. Syria plan: Terms of reference for the Joint Implementation Group - The Washington Post

While the Obama administration works to shift its Syria policy away from pressuring the Assad regime, Congress launches Syria sanctions drive - The Washington Post

Interview: Bashar Al-Assad says U.S. is ‘not serious' about defeating ISIS (VIDEO) - NBC News

Assad: No talks with Russia about leaving power - BBC News

Journalist Colvin responsible for own death: Syria s Assad - Yahoo7

Syrian troops aided by Russian jets recapture 586 settlements: defense minister - TASS

Syrian Arab Coalition troops move toward center of Manbij in Syria - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Death of Islamic State's ‘minister of war’ Shishani may damage foreign recruitment, Pentagon says that he has been the target of an attack near Mosul - defenceWeb



Trump says he would ask Congress to declare war on terrorism - The New York Times

Trump on Nice attacks: 'Extreme vetting' of immigrants; 'A different world and we're trying to be politically correct’ (VIDEO) - RealClearPolitics

VIDEO: Donald Trump: Use NATO ‘for a purpose’, to destroy ISIS - Fox News

Clinton on Nice: We need to launch an ‘intelligence surge' in war against ‘radical jihadist groups’ (VIDEO) - RealClearPolitics

Hillary: Europeans not cooperating with US on terrorism -

VIDEO: Donald Trump full interview on Nice, France terrorist attack - Fox News

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton full interview on Nice, France terrorist attack - Fox News

Debate rages in Clinton camp over Syria policy - TheHill

Hillary Clinton’s likely Defense Secretary Michelle Flourney wants more US troops fighting ISIS and Assad (and Michelle Flourney reply) - Defense One

Defeating the Islamic State: A bottom-up approach - Center for a New American Security

Admiral Fabuloso: Hillary, Syria and the destructive career of James G. Stavridis -

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

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David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.


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