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The Activist as a Young Girl

Clare Hanrahan's memoir The Half Life of a Free Radical: Growing Up Irish Catholic in Jim Crow Memphis is a remarkable feat: part Jack Kerouac, part Dorothy Day, part Howard Zinn, and a bit of Forest Gump.

First and foremost this is an entertaining and irreverent tale of childhood and adolescence told with great humor, honesty, and empathy. But it's also told by someone who became a peace and justice and environmentalist activist in later life, someone able to look back on the poverty, racism, consumerism, militarism, sexism, and Catholicism of her youth with passion and perspective -- even appreciation for all the good that was mixed in with the bad. Hanrahan writes what in outline form would read like an endless tale of misfortune, and yet leaves you with the thought of how much riotous fun she and her eight siblings and other acquaintances had.

I know Clare, though I learned much more about her from this book, and I wouldn't risk changing her if I had a time machine and magical powers. But I still found myself wondering, as with most stories of most people in the United States and much of the world, how different Hanrahan's life would have been in a society with the decency to provide free college and free job training as needed, or a society that integrated civic activism into everyone's life, or a society in which peace activist careers were marketed on the level of military recruitment ads or even marketed at all so that they weren't so frequently found so late, or a society in which some of the best people didn't live below a taxable salary level so as not to pay taxes for wars.

Hanrahan gives us her family genealogy first, and by doing so teaches some U.S. history that echoes through the book and the years. So, she shows us the cruelty of Jim Crow, for example, through personal experiences as a white girl, but illuminates it with an understanding of its origins, and -- even more importantly -- an awareness of its latest incarnations today. She also contrasts what she knows of the history of Memphis with what she was taught in school in Memphis growing up.

Hanrahan tells her story largely in chronological order, with no lengthy flashbacks, but with numerous quick bits of foreshadowing. For example:

"Brother Tommy gouged his initials, TPH, with a pocket knife on that same bannister long before the American war in Viet Nam maimed his hand, stole his youth, poisoned him with Agent Orange, and eventually took his life and that of his twin brother Danny. The bannister was later knocked down by a speeding car that careened into the porch stopping just short of the front bedroom."

Tommy returned from Vietnam to a  hospital. "In my naiveté," Hanrahan writes,

"I rushed to my brother's bedside to embrace him. I may even have called him 'my hero' as I approached, expecting a hug. Lightning fast his good arm flailed out knocking me across the room and onto the floor. 'Wake up!' he said. 'Wake up you stupid bitch.' I can still hear those harsh words. Dazed and confused, I picked myself up and backed away. This was not the brother I had sent away with a patriotic poem, proudly recited before my senior class."

Hanrahan's two veteran brothers suffered in many ways, and failed to fit back into society in many ways, but it was the cruelty toward women that they came back from the war with that their sister Clare eventually found intolerable.

When Hanrahan left Memphis she saw a lot of the country and a bit of the world, including living off the grid on land and water, joining intentional communities and finding her way to a job writing for peace. She also protested for peace and spent six months behind bars. During the course of her ramblings, Hanrahan managed to be present at or part of an extraordinary number of crucial events and developments in recent U.S. history. Hanrahan became editor of Rural Southern Voice for Peace just in time for the first Gulf War and the awful wars that have followed.

Hanrahan found her way back to Memphis on numerous occasions, sometimes for funerals, but also to be part of activist efforts such as the successful campaign to preserve the band shell in Overton Park launched by one of her brothers. Hanrahan intersperses her memories with her dreams and poetry, adding emotional depth to an account of an extraordinary family in a struggling city that I've enjoyed visiting but would like to visit again with this book as a guide.

Obama Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Frack Jobs in Gulf of Mexico: Corporate Media Ignored It

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On June 24, the independent news website TruthOut broke a doozy of a story: the Obama Administration has secretly approved over 1,500 instances of offshore hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the Gulf of Mexico, including during the Deepwater Horizon offshore spill disaster. 

How IOGCC-Spawned Lawsuit Overturning BLM Fracking Regulations on Public Lands

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In a ruling on the Obama Administration's proposed regulations of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on U.S. public lands, U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl — a President Obama appointee — struck down the rules as an illegal violation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. 

 Photo Credit: WildEarth Guardians | Flickr

Internet divide issues persist: An Emancipation Proclamation for the Digital Age

By Alfredo Lopez and Jackie Smith

 

We just celebrated "Juneteenth" (the start of the end of slavery in the U.S.) amid tumultuous and sometimes confusing politics and what appears to be an increase in racist mobilization. For internet activists the situation begs the question: what, at this moment in our history, is the relationship between technology and black people?

After Keystone XL: TransCanada Building North American Fracked Gas Pipeline Empire

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Though President Barack Obama and his State Department nixed the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in November, the Canadian pipeline company giant has continued the fight in a federal lawsuit in Houston,  claiming the Obama Administration does not have the authority to deny a presidential pipeline permit on the basis claimed that he did.

Fox in Hen House: Online Auctions For Public Lands Oil and Gas Bids May Be Industry-Owned, Run

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

If the recent past serves as prologue, then online leasing of oil and gas on U.S. federal lands may resemble the proverbial fox guarding the hen house, with one eBay-like company in particular standing to profiteer from the industry's proposed e-bidding scheme.

Image Credit: Willis Nowell | Flickr

America’s party-line corporate media: The Democratic Primary Race Has Been Called Before 15% of the Country Votes

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Reading the papers and listening to the radio about the Democratic primary race, which is reaching its climax tomorrow in California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota, I’m having a powerful sense of deja vu harking back to my years living and working as a journalist in China in the 1990s.

Documents: IOGCC-Spawned Loophole Creating Frackquake Crisis Faces Federal Lawsuit

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On May 4, several environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for an end to the regulatory exemption it carved out in the late 1980s for the oil and gas industry with regards to how it handles industrial waste.


Photo Credit: United States Geological Survey

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

By Dave Lindorff

 

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

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

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

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

Bush-Obama Powers Will Pass to Next President

Remember when coups and assassinations were secretive, when presidents were obliged to go to Congress and tell lies and ask permission for wars, when torture, spying, and lawless imprisonment were illicit, when re-writing laws with signing statements and shutting down legal cases by yelling "state secrets!" was abusive, and when the idea of a president going through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays to pick whom to have murdered would have been deemed an outrage?

All such resistance and outrage is in the past by mutual consent of those in power in Washington, D.C. Whoever becomes the next president of the United States could only unfairly and in violation of established bipartisan precedent be denied the powers of unlimited spying, imprisoning, and killing. That this is little known is largely a symptom of partisanship. Most Democrats still haven't allowed themselves to hear of the kill list. But the widespread ignorance is also a function of media, of what's reported, what's editorialized, what's asked about in campaign debates, and what isn't.

The new book, Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program, from Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, is terrific to see even more for what it represents than for what it actually teaches us. We've already learned the details it includes from the website of the Intercept, and they fit with similar details that have trickled out through numerous sources for years. But the fact that a media outlet is reporting on this topic and framing its concerns in a serious way around the dangerous expansion of presidential and governmental power is encouraging.

The United States is now working on putting into action drone ships and ships of drone planes, but has never worked out how in the world it is legal or moral or helpful to blow people up with missiles all over the earth. Drone wars once declared successful and preferable alternatives to ground wars are predictably evolving into small-scale ground wars, with great potential for escalation, and nobody in any place of power has considered what candidate Obama might have called ending the mindset that starts wars, perhaps by using the rule of law, aid, disarmament, and diplomacy.

I recommend starting The Assassination Complex with the afterword by Glenn Greenwald, because he reminds us of some of Senator and candidate Obama's statements in favor of restoring the rule of law and rejecting President George W. Bush's abuses. What Obama called unacceptable at Guantanamo, he has continued at Guantanamo and elsewhere, but expanded into a program that focuses on murder without "due process" rather than imprisonment without "due process."

"Somehow," writes Greenwald, "it was hideously wrong for George W. Bush to eavesdrop on and imprison suspected terrorists without judicial approval, yet it was perfectly permissible for Obama to assassinate them without due process of any kind." That is in fact a very generous depiction of the drone murder program, as The Assassination Complex also documents that, at least during one time period examined, "nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets." We should think of drones more as random killing machines than as machines killing particular people who are denied the right to a trail by jury but are suspected of something by somebody.

"It is hard," writes Greenwald, "to overstate the conflict between Obama's statements before he became president and his presidential actions." Yes, I suppose so, but it's also hard to overstate the conflict between some of his campaign statements and others of his campaign statements. If he was going to give people a fair hearing before abusing their rights, what are we to make of his campaign promises to start a drone war in Pakistan and escalate the war in Afghanistan? Greenwald is assuming that the right not to be murdered ranks somewhere fairly high alongside the right not to be spied on or imprisoned or tortured. But, in fact, a war-supporting society must understand all rights to have particular protection except the right to stay alive.

The advantage that comes from viewing small-scale drone murders as an escalation of small-scale imprisonment -- that is, as a violation of rights -- really comes when you carry logic one step further and view large-scale killing in war as also a violation of rights, as indeed murder on a larger scale. In fact, among the top areas in which I would add to Greenwald's summary of Obama's expansions of Bush powers are: torture, signing statements, and the creation of new wars of various types.

Obama has made torture a question of policy, not a crime to be prosecuted. Frowning on it and outsourcing it and hushing it up does not deny it to the next president in the way that prosecuting it in court would.

Obama campaigned against rewriting laws with signing statements. Then he proceeded to do just as Bush had done. That Obama has used fewer signing statements is largely due, I think, to the fact that fewer laws have been passed, combined with his creation of the silent signing statement. Remember that Obama announced that he would review Bush's signing statements and decide which to reject and which to keep. That is itself a remarkable power that now passes to the next president, who can keep or reject any of Bush's or Obama's signing statements. But as far as I know, Obama never did actually tell us which of Bush's he was keeping. In fact, Obama announced that he would silently assume any past signing statement to apply to a new and relevant law without restating the signing statement. Obama has also developed the practice of instructing the Office of Legal Counsel to write a memo in place of a law. And he's developed the additional technique of creating self-imposed restrictions, which have the benefit of not being laws at all when he violates them. A key example of this is his standards for whom to kill with drones.

On the question of starting wars, Obama has radically altered what is acceptable. He began a war on Libya without Congress. He told Congress in his last state of the union speech that he would wage a war in Syria with or without them (which statement they applauded). That power, further normalized by all the drone wars, will pass to the next president.

Lawyers have testified to Congress that drone killing is murder and illegal if not part of a war, but perfectly fine if part of a war, and that whether it's part of a war or not depends on secret presidential memos the public hasn't seen. The power to render murder possibly legal, and therefore effectively legal, by declaring the existence of a secret memo, is also a power that passes to the next president.

In reality, there is no way to even remotely begin to legalize drone murders, whether or not part of a war. The seven current U.S. wars that we know of are all illegal under the UN Charter and under the Kellogg-Briand Pact. So, any element of them is also illegal. This is a simple point but a very difficult one for U.S. liberals to grasp, in the context of human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch taking a principled stand against recognizing the illegality of any war.

If, on the other hand, the drone murders are not part of an illegal war, they are still illegal, as murder is illegal everywhere under universal jurisdiction. The defense that a foreign dictator, exiled or otherwise, has granted permission to murder people in his country, so that sovereignty is not violated, misses the basic illegality of murder, not to mention the irony that helping dictators kill their people conflicts rather stunningly with the common U.S. excuse for launching wars of overthrow, namely punishment of a dictator for the ultimate sin of "killing his own people." Sovereignty is also an idea very selectively respected; just ask Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Syria.

Reporter Cora Currier, in The Assassination Complex, looks at Obama's self-imposed, but never met, restrictions on drone murders. Under these non-legal limitations it is required that drone missiles target only people who are "continuing, imminent threats to the American people," and who cannot be captured, and only when there is "near certainty" that no civilians will be killed or injured. Currier points out that Obama approves people for murder for months at a time, rendering dubious the already incoherent idea of a "continuing imminent threat." It's not clear that "capture" is ever a serious option, and it is clear that in many cases it is not. The "near certainty" about not killing civilians is thrown into doubt by the constant killing of civilians and, as Currier points out, by the White House claiming to have had that "near certainty" in a case in which it killed civilians who happened to be American and European, thus requiring some accountability.

Scahill and Greenwald also document in this book that sometimes what is targeting is a cell phone believed to belong to a particular person. That of course provides no "near certainty" that the targeted person is there or that anyone else isn't.

What might begin to restrain this madness? Will those who opposed Bush lawlessness but turned a blind eye to its expansion under Obama find themselves opposing it again? That seems highly unlikely under the best of the three remaining big-party presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders. I can't imagine ever getting a significant number of his supporters to even become aware of his foreign policy, so good is he on domestic issures. With Hillary Clinton the task would be extremely difficult as well, aided only by the likelihood that she would launch truly big-scale wars. With a President Trump, it does seem much more conceivable that millions of people would suddenly find themselves opposing what has been firmly put into place the past 16 years. Whether it would then be too late is a different question.

My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail by Brian Terrell


“What happened to us was a shakedown by gangsters wearing police uniforms and judges’ robes, not for the sake of justice, but to maintain the civic infrastructure behind the glittering façade of Las Vegas with dollars squeezed out of its poorest citizens.”

“The degree of civilization in a society,” wrote the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, “can be judged by entering its prisons.” As a frequent visitor to Nevada in recent years, I have often been surprised by the cultural diversity and spiritual richness that can be found in Las Vegas. Still, I think that Dostoyevsky was right. A more accurate assessment of the degree of civilization in Las Vegas and for the broader society that the city claims to be “The Entertainment Capital” of can be made by entering the cells of the Clark County Correctional Center than by going to the top of the Stratosphere, cruising the Strip or even by taking in a Cirque du Soleil show.

Brian and renee arrest

I was one of twenty five arrested by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police at Creech Air Force Base, the center of drone assassination by the US Air Force and the CIA some forty miles northwest of the city on March 31 and April 1. “Shut Down Creech” was a weeklong convergence of activists from around the country. Most of us staying in tents at a makeshift “Camp Justice” in the desert across the highway from the base, our days of discussion, study, song, reflection and strategizing built up to a dramatic series of coordinated actions, including street theater and blockades, that disrupted the lethal business as usual of Creech. While we expected to be arrested, this was not our desire or our goal. Once again, the police arrested the wrong people as they abetted the criminals and took those who acted to stop a crime in progress down town to be booked.

Since 2009, I have had at least two other trips on the police from Creech to the county jail at the prestigious address, 330 S Casino Center Blvd in Las Vegas, to undergo the tedious process of booking, the fingerprinting, mugshots and other indignities before getting kicked out onto the sidewalk a few long hours later. This time, however, after my friends and comrades were released one by one, I remained behind. I was kept in jail for the next four days, not for my part in the day’s protest, but on a bench warrant due to an unpaid traffic fine.

What Is a Global Citizen, and Can it Save Us?

Headlines this past week claimed that for the first time ever more than half of poll respondents around the world said they saw themselves more as a global citizen than as a citizen of a country. What did they mean in saying that?

Well, first of all, to lower the heart-rate of U.S. readers, we should state that they clearly did not mean that they were aware of a secret global government to which they had sworn loyalty until the Dark Side crushes all light from the Force, or until Mom, apple pie, and sacred national sovereignty expire in the satanic flames of Internationalism. How do I know this? Well, for one thing, something that a majority of the planet is aware of is the opposite of a secret. But, more importantly, what's at issue here is the poll respondents' attitude, not their situation. In many nations, the responses were almost evenly split; half the people weren't wrong, they were just differently minded.

Still, what did they mean?

In the United States, rather stunningly, 22 percent of respondents supposedly said they strongly agreed that they saw themselves more as a global citizen, while another 21 percent somewhat agreed. How you can somewhat agree with a binary choice I haven't the foggiest idea, but supposedly they did. That's 43 percent total agreeing either strongly or somewhat in the land of flag-waving militarized exceptionalism, if you can believe it -- or if it doesn't actually mean much.

Canada is slightly higher at 53 percent. But what does it mean? Were respondents shocked into agreement with a sensible sounding idea they'd never heard mentioned before? Is a strong minority really enlightened beyond the common nationalism? Russia, Germany, Chile, and Mexico had the least identification as global citizens. Should we look down on that? Nigeria, China, Peru, and India had the highest. Should we emulate that? Are people identifying with humanity or against their country or in support of their own desire to emigrate, or against the desires of others to immigrate? Or are people employed by globalized capital actually turning against nationalism?

I've always thought that if people would stop speaking in the first person about the crimes of their country's military, and start identifying with all of humanity, we might achieve peace. So I compared the "global citizen" results with the results of a 2014 poll that asked if people would be willing to fight in a war for their country. The results of that poll were also stunningly encouraging, with strong majorities in many countries saying they would not fight in a war. But there does not appear to be a correlation between the two polls. Unless we can find a way to correct for other important factors, it does not seem that being a global citizen and refusing to fight have anything consistently in common. Nationalistic countries are and are not willing to fight in wars. "Global citizen" countries are and are not willing to fight in wars.

Of course, the willingness to fight responses are sheer nonsense. The United States has numerous wars up and running, recruitment offices in most towns, and 44% of the country saying it "would" fight if there were a war. (What's stopping them?) And, again, the global citizen responses may be largely nonsense too. Still, Canada does roughly as much better than the United States in each of the two polls. Perhaps they make the sort of sense I'm looking for but only in North America. Asian nations, however, are both biggest on global citizenship and most willing to participate in wars (or to make that claim to a pollster).

Whatever it may mean, I take it to be wonderful news that a majority of humanity identifies with the world. It's up to us to now make it mean what it should. We need to develop a belief in world citizenship that begins by recognizing every other human on earth, and other living things in their own way, as sharing in it. A citizen of the globe does not expect to necessarily have much in common with the inhabitants of some far-off corner of the earth, but does certainly understand that no war can be waged against fellow citizens.

We don't need clean elections or an end to war profits or the expansion of the ICC to impose the rule of law on countries outside of Africa in order to create world citizenship. We just need our own minds. And if we get it right in our own minds, all of those other things had better get ready to happen.

So how do we think like world citizens? Try this. Read an article about a distant place. Think: "That happened to some of us." By "us" mean humanity. Read an article about peace activists protesting war who say aloud "We are bombing innocent people," identifying themselves with the U.S. military. Work at it until you can find such statements incomprehensible. Search online for articles mentioning "enemy." Correct them to reflect the fact that everyone has the same enemies: war, environmental destruction, disease, starvation. Search for "them" and "those people" and change it to us and we humans.

This is in fact a massive project, but apparently there are millions of us already identifying with it, and many hands make light work.

Why the best candidate can’t win the support of People of Color: Where the Bern is Fizzling

By Alfredo Lopez

 

In the recent New York primaries, Bernie Sanders experienced some very cold water thrown in his face. Not only did he lose, and soundly, but he was served a major lesson about one of the primary deficiencies in his campaign.

Talk Nation Radio: John Dear on Catholic Church Rejecting "Just War" Theory

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-john-dear-on-catholic-church-rejecting-just-war-theory

After 1700 years, the Catholic Church is turning against the idea that there can be a "just war." We speak with John Dear.

John Dear is an internationally recognized voice for peace and nonviolence. A priest, pastor, retreat leader, and author, he served for years as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S. After September 11, 2001, he was a Red Cross coordinator of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center in New York, and counseled thousands of relatives and rescue workers. John has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 75 times for peace, led Nobel Peace prize winners to Iraq, recently visited Afghanistan, given thousands of lectures on peace across the U.S., and served as a pastor of several churches in New Mexico.

His many books include: The Nonviolent Life; Walking the Way; Thomas Merton Peacemaker; A Persistent Peace; Transfiguration;  You Will Be My Witnesses;   Living Peace;  The Questions of Jesus;   The God of Peace;  Jesus the Rebel;   Peace Behind Bars;  and Disarming the Heart.  He has been nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize, including by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sen Barbara Mikulski. He works for www.campaignnonviolence.org, is a priest of the Diocese of Monterey, Cal., and lives in New Mexico. See: www.johndear.org

Statement from April 11-13 Vatican Meeting:
http://www.paxchristi.net/news/appeal-catholic-church-recommit-centrality-gospel-nonviolence/5855#sthash.gBLNmWLZ.Ko153230.dpbs

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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Did the Vatican Just Throw Out Its Just War Doctrine?

By Erica Chenoweth

Last week, the Vatican hosted a conference on the theme of “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence,” organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace along with the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International. In their concluding appeal to Pope Francis, the 80 conference participants recommended that he reject Just War Doctrine as a viable or productive Catholic tradition. They also recommended that he write a new encyclical laying out the Catholic Church’s commitment to nonviolence in all of its manifestations—including nonviolent action as a means of engaging in conflict, nonviolent conflict resolution as a way of resolving conflict, and nonviolence as the principle doctrine of the Catholic Church.

If such an encyclical follows, this is a big deal. The just war tradition—which contains numerous doctrines morally justifying violence and war, as well as defining appropriate conduct during war—has served for the past 1500 years as the primary normative basis politicians have evoked (correctly or incorrectly) to validate their waging of war. Because the Catholic Church developed the doctrine between the 4th and 13th centuries, the just war canon has had a monopolistic influence on the way people in the West think about war and violence—whether they know it or not. Consequently, many people now take for granted concepts like the right to self-defense, the importance of weighing the goals of war against its potential human costs, the need to exhaust other options before going to war, and the necessity of only fighting wars you think you can win. Whether you’re the President of the United States in D.C., a police officer on the beat in Denver, or a student in a self-defense class in L.A., these moral concepts have probably had a deep impact on your thinking and your experience when it comes to the proper uses of violence.

Conference participants acknowledged the main sticking point for many skeptics of nonviolence—that promoting (or using) nonviolence can be difficult in the face of armed aggression. Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International and a participant at the conference, claimed that the group fully considered this challenge. Yet she argued that the international community hasn’t yet devoted resources to developing or discovering nonviolent alternatives to armed aggression because of our reflexive turn to violence as the only possible response. In her words, “as long as we keep saying we can do it with military force, we will not invest the creative energy, the deep thinking, the financial and human resources in creating or identifying the alternatives that actually could make a difference.”

So—why is the Catholic Church reconsidering now? Reporter Terrence Lynne argues that there are five primary reasons for this—among them the fact that contemporary weapons of war render obsolete any positive impacts that war might have; and what he calls “the compelling, thrilling saga of nonviolent action over the 60 years since Gandhi.” Indeed, among the arguments Pope Francis used to encourage the conference participants was the dramatic rise in the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance over the past century—a trend we hear a lot around the halls of the Korbel School. In fact, one of the participants in this landmark conference was my colleague Maria J. Stephan, whose work on civil resistance in a variety of struggles around the world helped to provide a strong empirical basis for this conference.

How’s that for engaged scholarship?

Erica Chenoweth is Professor & Associate Dean for Research | Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of DenverOriginally published at Political Violence at a Glance, republishing permitted.

Something’s happening in the presidential race: Clinton’s Crumbling, Bernie’s Surging ‘Political Revolution’ is in the Air

By Dave Lindorff


            Philadelphia -- Something “YUGE” is happening in the Democratic presidential campaign, and perhaps in the broader American body politic. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but like that feeling of your neck hairs rising off your skin as a big thunderstorm approaches, you know it’s big and it’s coming.

New TCBH! poem: 'Fishing the Red Herring'

We were at Shelby’s at the bar and Jeff,

Who was watching Fox News,

Slams down his empty bottle

And says,

I’m so sick of hearing about damn red herrings

David and Jan Hartsough: Why We Don't Pay Taxes

Hartsoughs 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117
March 30, 2016

Dear Friends at the IRS,

We cannot in conscience pay for the killing of other human beings or pay for war and preparations for war. Human life is too precious to drop bombs on people because we do not like their governments. Developing a new generation of nuclear weapons which could put an end to life on our beautiful planet is insane.

Giving the Pentagon hundreds of billions of dollars when we are cutting funds for schools, libraries, head start programs, job training and creation, and now even social security, does not increase the security of our people.

The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and the use of drones have NOT increased our security, but have created more enemies of the United States in these countries, in Pakistan and around the world. Let’s end the war on terror and bring the tax dollars home to meet the needs of the American people.

We are Quakers and cannot in conscience contribute in any way to the killing of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Fifty percent of our tax dollars go for wars and preparations for wars. Together with our IRS Form, we are sending a check for $424 or 50% of what we owe to the Department of Health and Human Services and ask that you designate all those funds for health and education and human well-being – and NONE for war and killing.

The other $424 or 50% (the portion which goes for war and killing) we are contributing to organizations working for peace and justice and programs meeting human and environmental needs in the US and around the world.

Instead of paying for war and killing, we are joining together with others to build what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community”. We hope and pray that all the taxes from people all over the world can go for schools, good health care and housing for all people on earth and a healthy planet for our children and all future generations rather than for wars and killing one another.

Sincerely,  David and Jan Hartsough

Protest The Vanguard of Killing-for-Profit, April 20, Noon, Phila. Convention Center.

Spread the word! Protest the Vanguard Group at Speech of its CEO, F. Willian McNabb III

33_Drone Attacks

 
The  Brandywine Peace Community, KnowDrones.org, Phila. Area Anti-Drone Network, World Can't Wait, and other social justice, community and anti-war and anti-mass incarceration activists will demonstrate at noon on April 20 at the Philadelphia (PA) Convention Center to protest the unconscionable profit-making of the $3 trillion Vanguard Group on drone killing, private prisons and small arms manufacture.
 
The protesters will call on F. William McNabb III, CEO of Vanguard Group, headquartered in Malvern, PA, who will be speaking at the convention center during the protest, to drop Vanguard’s investments in:
  1. Military contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Honeywell Corporation, and Boeing, all of which profit from from drone killing and war in general. Military hardware is Vanguard’s largest investment sector.
  1. The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest for-profit private prison company in which Vanguard is the largest investor
  1. Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm-Ruger firearms manufacturers. Smith & Wesson manufactured two of the guns used in the San Bernardino massacre. Vanguard also invests in ammunition makers in Vista Outdoor (VSTO) and Orbital ATK (OA).
The group will also call on Amy Guttman, president of the University of Pennsylvania, who appears to have been paid over $1.2 million by Vanguard as a member of its board of directors, to take a public position against Vanguard’s investment in war, mass incarceration and small arms.  Guttmam's salary at UPenn is reportedly $3.4 million.  She has been on the Vanguard board since
2006.
 
Today, racism, xenophobia, Islamaphobia and  the hatred of immigrants and the undocumented fuels the  investments of the Vanguard Ground no less than presidential candidates that speak of  bigger and bigger walls, more bombing, and banning refugees fleeing U.S. wars from Syria to Afghanistan.    
 
Our protest is also directed at the gun industry and the scourge of violence  across the U.S., particularly in poor and communities of color which are also the targets of the for-profit prison industry that has grown alongside the U.S. system of economic apartheid: mass incarceration. 
 
Corrections Corporation of America
 
Drone warfare, gun violence, for-profit prisons and mass incarceration are the death ship on which the investments of the Vanguard group sail.
VanguardJoin the protest of  the Vanguard Group on Wednesday, April 20th 2016 from 12Noon - 2:00 p.m. outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the intersection of 12th and Arch Streets where F. William McNabb will be the keynote speaker for the Urban Land Institute's 2016 Convention.
 
For more information about the demonstration and what you can do, call the Brandywine Peace Community, (610) 544-1818

A Call For Actions During the NATO Summit in Warsaw July 8-9 2016

No to War

No to NATO Bases │ No to the Defence Missile Shield │ No to Arms Race│
Disarmament - Welfare Not Warfare │ Refugees Welcome Here │ Solidarity with peace and anti-war movements

The next NATO summit is planned to take place in Warsaw on 8-9 July. This summit will be held during a period of wars, heightened global instability and conflict. The wars raged by the West in the Middle East and Afghanistan have left hundreds of thousands dead; destroyed these countries’ infrastructure and ruined the conditions for political stability and social peace. The terrorism that has spread around the world is a terrible legacy of these conflicts. Millions of refugees have been forced to flee their homes in search of a safe place for them and their families to live. And when they reach the shores of Europe and the USA, they often meet hostility and racism from those very countries that started the wars from which they are escaping.

The promise of peaceful Europe in a peaceful world that was developed after the end of the Cold War has failed. One of the reasons is the enlargement of the NATO to the east. We are presently in the middle of a new East-West arms race, seen clearly in the area of Central and Eastern Europe. The war in the east of Ukraine, in which thousands have lost their lives, is a terrible example of this rivalry. The proposals of NATO to expand further to the East further threaten to escalate this conflict. The proposals of the present Polish government to station permanent NATO bases in Poland and build a new Missile Defence Shield in the country would not guarantee the country’s safety but rather place it on the frontline of these new hostilities. NATO is urging all member states to rise its military spending to at least 2% of GDP. Not only will this intensify the arms race in the world, but it will mean that during a time of economic austerity more funds will move from welfare to war. When the governments and Generals meet in Warsaw in July an alternative voice must be heard. A coalition of the peace and anti-war movements in Poland and internationally plan to hold a number of events during the NATO summit in Warsaw:

-        On Friday 8 July we shall hold a conference bringing together the organisations and activists of the peace and anti-war movements. This will be an opportunity to discuss and debate alternatives to the policies of militarisation and war being proposed by NATO. In the evening we shall hold a large public meeting. We already have a number of prominent speakers (both international and from Poland) confirmed, including former Colonel Ann Wright, Maite Mola, and Tarja Cronberg.

-        On Saturday we will take our protest to the streets of Warsaw to express our opposition to the NATO summit.

-        On the Saturday evening a cultural/social event will be held.

-        On Sunday a meeting of peace activists and organisations will be held to give us a chance to discuss our further cooperation and activity in the pursuit of a peaceful world.

We invite you to participate and urge you to mobilise for this important event. If you wish more information or have any suggestions or questions please write to us: info@no-to-nato.org/ www.no-to-nato.org.

Our goal is a world without war and nuclear weapons. We are fighting to overcome NATO through the politics of common security and disarmament and solidarity with global peace, anti-war & anti-militaristic movements.

International Network No to War – No to NATO, Stop the War Initiative Poland, Social Justice Movement Poland, Warsaw Anarchist Federation,Workers Democracy Poland

 

 

Program of Alternative Summit (as of March 17)

Friday July 8th

12:00 opening of the alternative summit

-        NN Poland

-        Kristine Karch, No to War – No to NATO

12:15 – 14:00 Plenary: Why we are against NATO

-        NN Poland

-        Ludo de Brabander, vrede, Belgium

-        Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, GB

-        Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, USA

-        Natalie Gauchet, Mouvement de la Paix, France

-        Claudia Haydt, Information Centre Militarization, Germany

-        Tatiana Zdanoka, MEP, Green Party, Latvia (tbc)

LUNCH

15:00 – 17:00 Working groups

-        Military spending

-        Nuclear weapons and weapons in space

-        How to overcome the war against terror?

-        Militarization and women rights

19:00 Public event: Peace politics in Europe – for a Europe of peace and social justice, for a common security

-        Barbara Lee, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, USA (video message)

-        Ann Wright, former Colonel of the US army, USA

-        Maite Mola, Vice President of the European Left, Spain

-        Reiner Braun, International Peace Bureau/ IALANA, Germany

-        NN Poland

-        NN Russia

-        Tarja Cronberg, former MEP, Green Party, Finland

Saturday July 9th

-        Demonstration

-        Peace gathering: exchange of information and lesson learnt from peace movements in Europe

-        Cultural evening event

Sunday July 10th

9:30 till 11:00 Special forum on refugees, migration and wars

Introduction: Lucas Wirl, No to War – No to NATO

11.30 till 13:30 How to come to peace in Europe? Ideas for strategy

With 10 minute introduction

13:30 END, Afterwards: common lunch

 

REGISTRATION and further information: info@no-to-nato.org

Talk Nation Radio: Paul Engler on THIS IS AN UPRISING

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-paul-engler-on-this-is-an-uprising

Paul Engler is founding director of the Center for the Working Poor and one of the founders of Momentum Training. He is co-author of the new book: This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century.

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

Why I won’t be voting for Hillary in November: A Neolib Posing as a Progressive vs. a Reality TV Star Posing as a Fascist

By Dave Lindorff

 

            I won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic Party nomination for president, and I won’t heed Bernie Sanders if, as he has vowed to do, he calls on his supporters to “come together” after the convention, should he lose, to support Clinton and prevent Donald Trump or another Republican from becoming president.

 

Protest Trump in DC


Its outrageous (but not surprising) that Donald Trump will be speaking Monday at the The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington D.C. Join CODEPINK outside the conference to protest both Trump and AIPAC’s dangerous racist, Islamophobic rhetoric which foments hatred and undermines efforts to achieve peace. 


When: Monday March 21 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM 

Where: Verizon Center 601 F St NW, Washington, DC - 
F St Entrance between 6th St and 7th St 

RSVP here. If you can, bring your handmade sign.

Co-sponsors include: CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace - D.C. chapter, Roots Action, Peace Action Montgomery, Interfaith Peace Builders, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.
 
Know Your Rights/Civil Disobedience Training Saturday March 19 3:00 PM. Contact ariel@codepink.org to attend.

$1,000 Prize for First Place Peace Essay

2016 Peace Essay-Response Contest Rules

The West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. As in the previous year’s contest, essays will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1.To enter the contest send a Peace Essay Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]

2.In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2016 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3. By May 15, 2016 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

Some examples of impact:

  1. The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.

  2. A member of congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.

  3. The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.

  4. A newspaper includes a KBP story.

  5. A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.

  6. A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.

Act now: We may have to limit the number of contestants and it takes time to get responses. We will announce the Winners at a festive event honoring the 88th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2016.

Faithpeace.org

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

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

Find Events Here.

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