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Drowning on Wall Street and Ending World War II

Imagine if George W. Bush had stood on the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center and declared, "We are going to continue our pursuit of world domination and environmental destruction until the oceans rise, the storms surge, and this spot and all the surrounding streets are drowned in routine floods, destroying the infrastructure, and collapsing the buildings of this great city, while you morons are distracted by my screams for vengeance and genocide against people who've never driven an SUV a block in their lives or ever heard of us."

Imagine if Barack "Clean Coal" Obama had followed the same honest path, and not only competed with Mitt Romney in debates over who could drill more oil, but also stated plainly and openly that the Pentagon is still not ready for World War II to end.

On August 14, 1941, the military brought before the Senate plans to build a permanent building that would be the largest office building in the world and would be called the Pentagon.  Senator Arthur Vandenberg asked for an explanation: "Unless the war is to be permanent, why must we have permanent accommodations for war facilities of such size?" Then he began to catch on: "Or is the war to be permanent?"

We weren't supposed to have standing armies, much less armies standing in everyone else's countries, much less armies fighting wars over the control of fuels that destroy the planet and armies that themselves consume the greatest quantity of those fuels, even though the armies lose all the wars.  Before the Nobel Peace Prize was handed out to war makers, it was intended for those who had done the best work of removing standing armies from the world.  World War II changed everything.

We never went back to pre-WWII taxes or pre-WWII military or pre-WWII restraint in foreign empire or pre-WWII respect for civil liberties or pre-WWII notions of who deserved a Nobel Peace Prize.  We never saw another declaration of war from Congress, but we never stopped using those of 1941, never left Germany, never left Japan, never dismantled the Pentagon.  Instead, as William Blum documents in his remarkable new book, "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy," since the supposed end of WWII, the United States has tried to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of them democratically elected; interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries; attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders; dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries; and attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 nations.

Oh, but we meant well, and we mean well.  Absolutely not so.  There's no "we" involved here.  The U.S. government meant and means global domination, nothing else.  And yet, even foreigners buy the U.S. snake oil.  Gaddafi thought he could please Washington and be spared.  So did the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein.  When Hugo Chavez heard about the coup planned against him in 2002, he sent a representative to Washington to plead his case.  The coup went ahead just the same.  Subcomandante Marcos believed Washington would support the Zapatistas once it understood who they were.  Ho Chi Minh had seen behind the curtain when Woodrow Wilson was president; World War II didn't change quite everything.  Maurice Bishop of Grenada, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana, and the foreign minister of Guatemala appealed to Washington for peace before the Pentagon overthrew their governments.  "We" don't mean well when we threaten war on Iran any more than we meant well when "we" overthrew Iran's government in 1953.  The U.S. government has the very same agenda it had in 1953 because it is still engaged in the very same war, the war without end.

At the very moment of supreme moral pretense in 1946, as the United States was leading the prosecution of Nazi war crimes and killing the Nazis found guilty, at the very moment when Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson was declaring that those who sat in judgment at Nuremberg would be subject to the same standard of law, the United States was giving Guatemalans syphilis to see what would happen to them, and importing Nazi scientists by the dozen to work for the Pentagon.  The war to save 6 million Jews that in reality condemned them and 60 million others to death, the war of innocence that followed the arming of the Chinese and the British, and before that the arming of the Nazis and Japanese, the war against empire that in reality spread the largest empire the earth has known, the war against inhumanity that in reality developed and used the greatest weapons ever directed against humans: that war wasn't a triumph; it IS a triumph.  It has never ended.  We've never stopped making our children pledge allegiance like little fascists.  We've never stopped dumping our money into the complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us would exert total influence over our society.  We've never stopped to consider whether attacks on a finite planet must end someday.  Truman showed Stalin a couple of bombs, and the goddamn flags haven't stopped waving yet.

If you don't believe me, read more William Blum.  The Marshall Plan was a plan for domination -- smarter and more skillful domination than some other attempts -- but still domination.  U.S. capitalist control was the highest purpose.  Sabotage of leftist political gains was the primary approach.  It's never changed.  Dictators that play along have "our" full support.  Don't go looking for "humanitarian" attacks by NATO in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Jordan or UAE or Qatar or Kuwait or Yemen, any more than Obama was willing to turn against Ben Ali or Mubarak or Gadaffi or Assad until doing so appeared strategic for the pursuit of global domination.  The United States does not intervene.  It never intervenes.  It is incapable of intervening.  This is because it is already intervened everywhere.  What it calls intervening is actually switching sides.

If you don't believe me, read a short new book by Nick Turse called "The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare."  The "new" U.S. military is not a return to pre-WWII, not a reduction in financial expense, not a redirection away from global domination, not a shift toward somehow becoming defensive rather than offensive.  The "new" military is a technological and tactical tweaking of the existing U.S. empire based on racist exploitation.  Here's what's new:

The branches are blurring.  The military, CIA, State Department, and Drug Enforcement Agency are becoming a team that operates in secret at the behest of the President.  (Before you cheer, stop and consider that come January the president may belong to the Bad Team.)  The Pentagon now has its own "intelligence" agency, while the State Department has its own office of proxy war making.  U.S. Special Forces are active in 70 nations on any given day, on behalf of the President, without the authorization of Congress, and in the name of the uninformed people of the United States.  The "special" forces, operating under the acronyms SOCOM and JSOC, are no longer special for being smaller.  They're special for having the power to operate in greater secrecy and without the apparent limitation of any laws whatsoever. 

Remember that raid that killed Osama bin Laden?  Yay! Hurray! Whooo Hooo! Murder is sooooooo cool.  But did you know that soldiers working for you do at least a dozen such raids somewhere in the world on any given night?  Are you confident that everyone killed in a dozen raids a night is also Pure Satanic Evil deserving of execution without charge or trial?  Are you certain that this practice sets a good example?  Would you support other nations adopting its use?  "Our" "special" forces are now larger than most nations' militaries, and we don't have the slightest idea what those forces are doing.  "Our access [to foreign countries]," says Eric Olson, former chief of Special Operations Command, "depends on our ability to not talk about it."  Got that?  Your hero-murderers want you to keep quiet.

Here's what's new: the U.S. military has set up dozens of bases all over the world from which to fly killer robots known as drones.  And there are dozens of bases all over the United States involved in the drone wars.  Turse helpfully lists them; I guarantee there's at least one near you.  Here in Virginia at Langley Air Force Base our brave desk-murderers watch what they oh-so-comically call "Death TV" -- the live video feeds from drones flying over people's homes on the other side of the world.  At Fort Benning in Georgia, where the annual protest of the School of the Americas torture school is coming up soon, they're testing drones that can shoot to kill without human input.  What could go wrong?  Not only has the blowback begun, but it's how we learn where some of the drone bases are.  In 2009, a suicide attack killed CIA officers and mercenaries at Forward Operating Base Chapman in the Khost province of Afghanistan, and only then did we learn that the base was used for targeting drone murders in Pakistan. 

This is of course apart from the usual blowback of greatly heightened hostility which is being produced by the U.S. military in nations all over the world.  The 2010 attack on Libya, for example, resulted in well-armed Tuareg mercenaries, who had backed Gadaffi, heading back to Mali, destabilizing that country, and producing a military coup by a U.S.-trained officer, as well as parts of the country being seized by the latest al Qaeda affiliate.  And that's in Mali.  Never mind what a paradise Libya has become post liberation!

Many of the bases the U.S. military uses abroad are in nations less heavily occupied than Afghanistan.  They are permitted to operate where they do by the nasty governments of those nations, thanks to U.S. support for dictatorship.  This explains why the Arab Spring produced so much footage of U.S.-made armored personnel carriers, tanks, helicopters, and tear gas.  The Obama administration is eagerly increasing supplies of U.S.-made weaponry to the very regimes beating, jailing, and killing pro-democracy activists.  Repeat after me: "But it's a jobs program." 

In fact, it's a major jobs program.  The Pentagon/State Department markets U.S. weapons abroad, and the U.S. tripled its sales of weapons abroad last year, now accounting for 85% of international weapons sales.

But the weapons sales are the least of it.  The United States now maintains its own troops in most nations on the earth and engages in joint training exercises with the local militaries.  The biggest areas for base construction today are probably Afghanistan and Africa.  Despite the supposed "winding down" of the war on Afghanistan over the next 2 or 12 years, base construction is moving ahead full steam, including new "secret" bases for "special" forces, new "secret" drone bases, and new prisons.  The thinking -- and I use the term generously -- in Afghanistan and around the globe is that the United States should let the locals do more of the killing and dying.  Of course, this hasn't worked in Afghanistan or Iraq, any more than it worked in Vietnam.  In Afghanistan, a proxy war in the 1980s produced notable blowback that can only be appreciated by fanatics for continued war, not by residents of New York City. 

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Countrywomen, let's grow the fuck up.  Stop blaming an imaginary being for a storm that you and your government produced.  Stop thanking "God" for sparing one house while wiping out another.  Put down the flags and the bullshit love of country.  If you want to love this country you'll have to love the planet it's on.  If you want to love this planet you'll have to love all of its people, and all of its other life forms.  The storms are our own creation.  The rising ocean is our own knowing act.  If we want to turn this trend around we will have to shut down the Department of Defense and create a new department aimed at defending us from dangers that actually exist.

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan Explain the Past Four Years

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan are touring the country with a new book that everyone should have and read.  "The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope" is a history of the Obama Years in the form of a thematically organized collection of columns -- columns that grew out of the reporting done by the most useful show on our airwaves: Democracy Now!

How quickly we forget, or even never knew, this recent history -- history that will never make it into school-approved history books.  Reading this book, I was reminded of watching, for the first time, the movie Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore who wrote this book's introduction.  That movie recounted basic facts about recent years, many of them familiar to anyone who'd been paying attention, and yet the information came as a shock to most moviegoers.  This book would come as a shock to most readers.

A column from November 10, 2010, included in the book, begins, "If a volcano kills civilians in Indonesia, it's news.  When the government does the killing, sadly, it's just business as usual, especially if an American president tacitly endorses the killing, as President Barack Obama just did with his visit to Indonesia."  Who recalls that episode now?  Who remembers the crises that jump in and out of our media: the cruelties imposed on Honduras or Haiti?  This book brings together a full four years and moves us to ask where each story has now gone.

Here we read a history of teasing:  There's going to be accountability for foreclosure fraud very soon.  No, really.  Any day now.  Any month now.  We've launched a new study into, um, an investigation of a review procedure capability program.  No, seriously. Investigations are underway into the crimes of Rupert Murdoch.  Really, we mean it.

Too many of these columns end with references to pretended federal efforts of law enforcement that were never heard from again.  There is no doubt an office somewhere in the FBI in which people are paid to calculate the ideal timing for pretending to pursue justice in one cause or another, and the ideal timing for switching over to silence and forgetting.  But it all looks laughable and offensive if you read four years' worth of it all strung together.

This book encourages placing events in context and practices that habit.  "Just before this Sunday's election in Haiti," Goodman and Moynihan wrote on March 23, 2011, "President Rene Preval gave Aristide the diplomatic passport he had long promised him.  Earlier, on January 19, then U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley tweeted, referring to Aristide: 'today Haiti needs to focus on its future, not its past.'  [Aristide's wife] Mildred was incensed.  She said the U.S. had been saying that since they forced him out of the country.  Sitting in a plane a few minutes before landing in Haiti, she repeated the words of an African leader who criticized abuses of colonial powers by saying, 'I would stop talking about the past, if it weren't so present.'"

Part of the recent history reviewed here is the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement.  As our government/media work to rewrite those stories, Goodman and Moynihan remind us of the days when people in Cairo held up a sign that read "To: America. From: the Egyptian People. Stop supporting Mubarak. It's over!"  This collection takes us through the occupy movement and numerous other stories that are ongoing and developing, serving as an ideal primer for those now getting or staying involved. 

The current crisis in Syria, for its coverage of which Democracy Now has been criticized, is too new and does not appear in the book.

Enough is included in this book for disturbing patterns to emerge without comment from the authors.  Here, for example, are four years of empty threats to our government from our people.  Many have probably forgotten Bill McKibben's statement in August 2001: "Our hope is to send a Richter 8 tremor through the political system on the day Barack Obama says no to Big Oil and reminds us all why we were so happy when he got elected.  The tar sands pipeline is his test."  Apparently there was no plan for what to do on the day (after day after day) on which Obama did not remind them why they were so happy.  There was no contingency plan for his failing the test.  There was no comprehension of how this guaranteed that he would choose to fail the test.  And there is now forgetfulness of the growing ludicrousness of past promises and past pseudo-threats to power.  Move the goal posts.  Declare a new showdown.  Avoid reading this book.

The themes of the book include many that never entered the recent Obama-Romney debates.  Among them: race, and the death penalty.  The themes of the book are not presented in isolation, but in interconnectedness.  A Chicago police officer, Jon Burge, goes on a torture spree. "Where did it all begin?" ask Goodman and Moynihan.  "One thing is clear: In 1968-69, Burge was an MP at the U.S. Army's Dong Tam camp in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where captured suspected Viet Cong soldiers were allegedly interrogated with electric, hand-cranked field telephones supplying shocks.  Torture techniques similar to this were rampant under Burge's command in Chicago."  On October 6, 2010, Goodman and Moynihan wrote:

"News broke last week that the U.S. government purposely exposed hundreds of men in Guatemala to syphilis in ghoulish medical experiments conducted during the late 1940s.  As soon as the story got out, President Barack Obama phoned President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala to apologize.  Colom called the experiments 'an incredible violation of human rights.'  Colom also says his government is studying whether it can bring the case to international court. … Ironically, the Guatemala study began in 1946, the same year as the Nuremberg tribunals, the first of which tried Nazi doctors accused of conducting heinous experiments on concentration-camp prisoners.  Half of those accused were put to death."

Numerous such connections are pointed out in the book or inevitably arise in the reader's mind.  The U.S. Supreme Court in the Troy Davis case finds it constitutional to kill an innocent person.  President Obama creates a drone program the serves primarily to do that very thing on a large scale. 

While the Occupy movement would not have existed as a national phenomenon without the corporate media, Democracy Now was there first and stayed with it longer.  Getting more people to watch Democracy Now must be an easier thing that getting the corporate media to favor the dismantling of corporate power.  Goodman and Moynihan, who barely sleep, and who are driven by the urgent moral need to confront the horrors the corporate media rarely notices, are on their way to a town near you.  Welcome them.

Is Our Deepest Desire to Die?

Our so-called self-government rarely agrees with what we tell pollsters, and yet it does what it does with our acceptance.  We may have fallen for the pretense that we're powerless.  Our ignorance and xenophobia should never be underestimated as explanations for what we do.  But consider the following public policy and then tell me the clearest explanation isn't that we all want to rush our arrival at death's door.

Not only do we spend over half of public discretionary funds on war preparation without a particular war in mind, but we spend a huge chunk of that on weapons we can never use without destroying life on the planet, including in our own country, including if we use those weapons and nobody else retaliates.  The earth has one atmosphere, and if we wreck it with nuclear weapons, it won't matter that we've done so on another continent.

We put these evil, useless, apocalyptic weapons on ships and sail them as close as possible to the most dangerous spots on earth.  Then we threaten war with the countries they're floating next to.  We stick them on planes and fly them around the skies. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, we spread these weapons (and the energy technology that is closely related to them) to more and more countries.  We ignore our treaty obligation to disarm and falsely accuse a nation that has no nuclear weapons yet of violating the treaty, building hostility and the likelihood of war.

The nuclear weapons on planes and ships make nuclear missiles on land obsolete.  The United States has 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles.  They are easily targeted.  And should they all be destroyed, and should we want to seize the opportunity to all hurry up and die together, the bombs on planes and ships could do the job many times over.

Yet the land-based missiles in the United States are not only still sitting there ready to serve no purpose whatsoever, but they're on high alert.  These nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less.  Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end.

President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor was about to wake him up in the middle of the night to inform the President that 220 Soviet nuclear missiles were headed our way, when he learned that someone had stuck a game tape into the computer by mistake.  Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time.  Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse.  And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke.  One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years  -- so far.

Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation.  Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth.  The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too.

Is that what we want?  I'm not imagining we have a democracy.  I'm not discounting the power of financial corruption.  I'm not suggesting that we are all driven by the same lust for power that moves elected officials and their staff.  But look at popular opinion.  War is exciting.  Peace is dull.  Oil drilling is sexy.  Solar panels are lame.  Storms are cool.  Safety and survival are not fashionable at all.  We have 450 missiles whose sole purpose is to kill us all.  They cost us a fortune every year, while we whine and moan about money as if it were all that mattered.  And where is the resistance?  It's in a handful of activists.

You don't want to die, you say? Freud was a freak? You don't envy penises or intend your accidents or think the slightest little bit about Bill Clinton when you see a cigar?  O.K.  I'm thrilled to hear it.  Go ahead and prove me wrong.

An easy immediate step toward sanity would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch.  This would increase our security by reducing the likelihood of an accidental or unauthorized launch.  Again, those intent on achieving nuclear doomsday could rest assured that U.S. submarines and bombers would remain able to complete that job many times over.

A second obvious step that would also work wonders for our federal budget would be to decommission these missiles.

You don't have to click the links above.  You don't have to help end this end-game policy.  But don't come crying to me that you want to live.  I'll not be inclined to believe it.

John Kerry Must Speak Out on 2004 Election Theft Now

The presidential election of 2004 left much to be desired.  Millions of votes were suppressed, and the evidence is overwhelming that votes were flipped by interested parties.  Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman summarize:

"The widespread use of electronic voting machines from ES&S, and of Diebold software maintained by Triad, allowed [Ohio Secretary of State Ken] Blackwell to electronically flip a 4% Kerry lead to a 2% Bush victory in the dead of election night. ES&S, Diebold and Triad were all owned or operated by Republican partisans. The shift of more than 300,000 votes after 12:20 a.m. election night was a virtual statistical impossibility. It was engineered by Michael Connell, an IT specialist long affiliated with the Bush Family. Blackwell gave Connell's Ohio-based GovTech the contract to count Ohio's votes, which was done on servers housed in the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thus the Ohio vote tally was done on servers that also carried the e-mail for Karl Rove and the national Republican Party. Connell died in a mysterious plane crash in December, 2008, after being subpoenaed in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal lawsuit focused on how the 2004 election was decided (disclosure: we were attorney and plaintiff in that suit).  Diebold's founder, Walden O'Dell, had vowed to deliver Ohio's electoral votes---and thus the presidency---to his friend George W. Bush. That it was done in part on electronic voting machines and software O'Dell happened to own (Diebold has since changed hands twice) remains a cautionary red flag for those who believe merely winning the popular vote will give Barack Obama a second term."

There are no doubt honest people who have looked at the evidence and disagree that the election was stolen in 2004.  There might even be -- although I can't imagine how -- people who have looked at Ohio 2004 and concluded that what went down was a respectable electoral process up to all international standards and beyond all possibility of doubt.  I'm even willing to concede that someone somewhere honestly thinks allowing private companies to count our votes on computers in a manner that can never be verified is a reasonable approach to democratic self-governance, given the complete absence from all recent history of any private company ever engaging in any questionable practice that might radically increase its profits.

But, according to a credible report from 2005, one key person who eventually came to understand that Ohio was stolen was the candidate from whom it was stolen: John Kerry.  Kerry reportedly said that he did not want to speak out about this because he would be accused of being a sore loser.  His running mate John Edwards, who -- by various accounts -- opposed conceding the election in 2004, has since been disgraced as an adulterer.  Let's set aside for the moment the question of whether adultery is worse than election theft.  What I want to know is this: would allowing the 2012 election to be stolen be a price worth paying to avoid the unpleasantness of John Kerry being called a sore loser on tee-vee?

Why would the 2012 election be stolen?  Well, there is the matter of the 2012 primaries.  And then there are the basic facts as laid out by the least likely media outlet in the world to twist them in favor of my argument: Fox News.  Again, let Fitrakis-Wasserman, or Wassrakis for short, summarize:

"Despite an almost total blackout from the corporate media, the Romney family has a personal ownership (through the investment firms Solamere and H.I.G. Capital) in Hart Intercivic, which owns, maintains, programs and will tabulate alleged votes on machines in the critical swing states of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Despite various official disclaimers, the election could be decided on Hart machines producing 'vote counts' with little connection to how 18 million people actually voted.  It is inconceivable that the Romney chain of ownership in Hart Intercivic will not influence how that goes. …  [T]here is no legally binding way by which a professionally rigged electronic vote count can be overturned or even definitively discovered except through the use of unabridged but legally inconsequential exit polling.  Scytl, a Barcelona-based e-voting company, has been contracted to count votes in 26 states through the easily rigged Federal Overseas Voting Program. FVAP is ostensibly geared to let military and other overseas Americans vote absentee by electronic means. But Scytl is positioned to intercept and redistribute such overseas electronic votes as needed through its spyware sister company, CarrierIQ. In a close race, these 'votes' can be distributed at will to make the difference in critical swing states.  Other key voting machine companies, such as ES&S, Dominion, Command Central and more, are controlled by major corporations, some of whose owners are outspoken in their support for the Republican Party. … Republicans hold the governorships in the nine critical swing states of Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Arizona. They also hold the secretaries of state offices in all of those states but Wisconsin. Electronically flipping the vote count in any or all of them, with Hart Intercivic, Scytl, Dominion or other technologies, can be done quickly, simply and invisibly, with no public recourse."

Perhaps you're thinking that just because a crime can be undetectably committed is no reason to create the slanderous idea that it would be.  However, we are dealing here with people already, beyond any question, disenfranchising millions by throwing away registration forms, stripping registration rolls, instructing voters to vote on the wrong day, warning voters they may be arrested for voting, and flooding the media with dishonest advertisements for candidates.

If anything disgusts me more than the false charade of democracy distracting most of my fellow citizens from the struggle to develop actual democracy, it is death bed confessions.  I don't want to ever hear one from John Kerry.  I hope that he may live many more years.  But when he dies, I don't want to hear any Robert McNamara-like truth telling spilling out of his horselike face.  I want to hear it now, this week, prior to the 2012 election.  I want it out there preemptively.  I want people prepared to look for election fraud.  And I want candidates prepared to point to it if it appears, big as life, staring us all in the face as it did eight years ago.

Or perhaps you're counting on Barack Obama, whose supreme value is "bipartisanship," to speak up for himself unprompted, in the complete absence of a swift kick to his pusillanimous posterior.

Speak now, Senator Kerry.  Show courage unlike the perverse daredevilism required to participate in war.  Show courage when we need it.  We need it now.  Speak.


Military Commander Gets Court Order to Protect Himself from Peace Activists

Some friends of mine have gotten arrested more times than I can count now for the offense of protesting drone use outside Hancock Air Field near Syracuse, N.Y.  Sometimes they've blocked the gates to the base.  Often they've been aware of the risk of being arrested.  But they've gone into court and argued that the larger crime is being committed inside the base by drone pilots.  The protesters have gone into court and said things like this:

"I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time.  I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom." -- Elliott Adams

If you're among the tens of millions who have assiduously avoided becoming aware of major news stories, what my friends are protesting will come as a shock: President Obama has developed a program of murder, with drones as the primary weapon, that is unprecedented in size, extent, claims of legality, and almost-protest-free acceptability.  On Obama's list of people to kill are men, women, and children, Americans, and non-Americans.  He has targeted and killed people in all of those categories.  He has targeted and killed people whose names he did not know but who showed a pattern of behavior that suggested they might be resisting the U.S. occupation of a foreign nation.  And the vast majority, almost all in fact, of the people our president has killed have simply been men, women, and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not on the list at all.  All of this is done in secret, without Congress, without courts, and without the public.  It's done at a scale that can only properly be termed "drone wars."  It's done in nations where the United States was not previously engaged in any ground war but now is sending in troops as a result of the inevitable blowback from the drone wars.  And the news stories are generated by the White House, which wants to brag about this effort.

I apologize to informed readers for passing along all of that old news, but volunteers keep phoning me from the Obama campaign and MoveOn.org who've never heard of this at all.  They always promise to read up on it and get back to me, and then a different ignorant do-gooder phones the next day instead.

What is new, as far as I know, is what the police in the town of Dewitt, near Syracuse, have now done to try to prevent drone protests outside Hancock Air Field.  They've found, out of all the individuals stationed on the base, one particular coward by the name of Earl A. Evans.  The protesters I've spoken with had never heard of him before.  They don't know who he is or what he looks like.  Here's a photo I've found.  He is apparently a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the 174th Fighter Wing Mission Support Group.  I suspect he might have access to some troops and some weaponry.  But the Dewitt Town Court has banned some 17 nonviolent peace activists with posters from coming anywhere near him. 

Each oh-so-dangerous demonstrator has been issued an order of protection -- not to protect them but to protect the Lieutenant Colonel from them.  Under this order, they've been told they will be arrested even if they demonstrate in permitted areas near the base.  Presumably that is the order's real purpose, to prevent demonstrations.  But what the order says is that each nonviolent opponent of institutionalized mass murder may be sent to prison for up to 7 years if they go near the home of Earl A. Evans (although they don't know where that is and have not been told), the school of Earl A. Evans (although they don't know what or where that is and have not been told), the business of Earl A. Evans at 6001 East Molloy Road in Dewitt, N.Y. (which is the military base), or the place of employment of Earl A. Evans at the same address.  They are required to refrain from all communication with Evans -- and Evans in particular, as no one else on the base is named.  And they are specifically forbidden from doing the following things to Evans (but not others?):

"assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, strangulation, criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, intimidation, threats or any criminal offense or interference with the victim or victims of, or designated witnesses to the alleged offense and such members of the family or household of such victim(s) or witness(es) as shall be specifically named Earl A. Evans."

After all that, who couldn't begin to almost feel sorry for the poor victim of these criminal protesters!  I searched in vain to find any among them, however, who had ever contemplated engaging in criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation with this victim they'd never heard of or any other human being.  Instead, they seemed oddly focused on preventing the criminal killing, dismemberment, and traumatizing of large numbers of children, women, and men in places like Pakistan.

Elliott Adams, one of the protesters, said: "This looks to me like an outrageous court action to block us from using first amendment rights to comply with international law.  We have been arrested a number of times blocking one of the entrances to Hancock Air National Guard Base while trying to serve an indictment to the base for violation of international law with the drones operated from the base."

Adams called the order of protection "ludicrous."  "Apparently," he said, "someone forgot to inform the judge that the commander at Hancock is the one with all the Humvees, the chain-link fence with barbed wire on top, the M16s and M4 assault rifles, not to mention the F16 fighter jets and the MQ9 drones, among other armaments. He has trained in and made a profession of aggressive violent behavior. By contrast the citizens petitioning their government for redress are the ones who have taken an oath of nonviolence."

When nonviolent activist Paul Frazier asked if the order to stay away from the base included staying away from the weekly permitted demonstration area across the street from the base, Onondaga County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Daily said that if the "victim," Evans, finds it irritating then yes it would be a violation.  Sheriff's Dept. Deputy Ferazolli then said, "I will do one better.  If I see you there I will arrest you, and it will be a felony."

I'll give them this, at least: the brave law-enforcement officers in Dewitt and Onondaga have finally figured out a way for the Department of Defense to do something defensive.

Would that the same could be said for all of us.  I write this on a Sunday as tens of millions of Americans take an hour or more to devote to millennia-old superstitious rituals aimed at making the world a better place.  Imagine if they also, or alternatively, spent 10 minutes making two phone calls, one to the Obama campaign and one to the Romney campaign.  Imagine if the message were: "Unless you adopt the following commandment, none of us will cheer for, vote for, or cooperate with your candidate: Thou Shalt Not Kill."

Imagine the lives that could be saved.

Go forth and do likewise.

Video: Helena Cobban, Roy Hange, David Swanson, and W. Scott Harrop on Iran, Syria, and the U.S. at War or Peace

 

Propaganda in the U.S. media is very real. In an attempt to counteract its effects and to offer the Charlottesville public a deeper understanding of the situation in the Middle East, Random Row Books has invited several local experts to give their take on the continuing volatility in that region.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at Random Row Books

Helena Cobban is a British-American writer and researcher on international relations, with special interests in the Middle East, the international system, and transitional justice. In March 2010, she founded Just World Publishing.

Roy Hange pastors Charlottesville Mennonite Church and has worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. He has taught faith-based peacebuilding courses at EMU and UVA.

David Swanson is a local author and activist at the forefront of the peace movement in America. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to New York for the U.N. talks, David was one of several activists who had dinner with the Iranian president. His most recent books are War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He also hosts Talk Nation Radio.

W. Scott Harrop currently teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Culture at UVA, with Iran as his area of expertise.

Videos by Kathryn

Now That Was a Debate

Here's a video with highlights of Tuesday's presidential debate:
http://youtu.be/iiPtJkK58lo

Participating were Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Virgil Goode, and Gary Johnson.  Moderating was Larry King.  Larry was a bit unprepared, but his questions were far superior to those asked at any of the corporate funded debates thus far.  They weren't his questions, though, as they'd been submitted through the internet and selected by http://FreeAndEqual.org Also contributing to the debate was an audience that was permitted to applaud and frequently did so.  Johnson was the clear favorite of the crowd before any words were said.

The first question dealt with election reform, and Stein and Anderson made clear they would clean the money out of elections.  Goode proposed to ban PACs but to let the money flow through individuals.  Johnson made no proposal to limit private election spending, even though it's the primary reason most Americans have no idea he's running for president.  Instead, Johnson claimed he'd like politicians to wear NASCAR suits advertising their funders.  However, he was not wearing one.

Following the first question, it was pointed out to King that he'd skipped opening statements.  So those were made.  Stein and Anderson described a nation in crisis, suffering from expanding poverty, lack of healthcare, homelessness, and an erosion of civil liberties.  Goode tackled the pressing issues of the deficit, immigration, and his desire for term limits (as he would throughout the evening).  As a former constituent of Goode, I'll have you know we had to vote him out before he would leave.  Johnson focused his comments on the need to end wars, including drone wars, as well as the war on drugs.  He agreed with Stein and Anderson on civil liberties, proposing to repeal the PATRIOT Act and indefinite detention.  But he also proposed to virtually eliminate taxes.  Johnson tried to address the apparently unfamiliar topic of poverty that Stein and Anderson had raised, referring repeatedly to policies that "disparagingly" impacted the poor (he meant disproportionately).

The second question dealt with the drug war, and all but Goode proposed to end it, and to reduce incarceration.  Anderson said that he would pardon all prisoners convicted of only drug crimes.  Goode said he'd keep marijuana illegal but cut funding for enforcing that law.  Cutting funding in his view is clearly desirable even when he approves of the funding.

The third question was whether military spending should be so incredibly high.  All four agreed with the majority of the rest of us that it needs to be cut.  Goode didn't specify how much he would cut, and his record suggests he would cut little or nothing.  Johnson proposed cutting 43%.  Stein and Anderson failed to specify but have both said elsewhere, including on their websites (which will always remain the best source of most information debates provide), that they would cut 50%.  Johnson, Anderson, and Stein, listed off the wars they would end.  Stein stressed that climate change is where she would move much of the money.

Tuesday's debate included a great deal of denouncing the Obama-Romney position on a range of topics, and a great deal of developing slight differences among agreeing candidates.  But the fourth question brought out dramatic disagreement.  Asked about the cost of college, Goode said he would cut spending on education, apparently because cutting spending is just more important than anything else.  Johnson, in a slight variation, said he'd stop funding education because without student loans students would just avoid education and eventually schools would have to lower their costs.  With at least one leader of the Chicago Teachers strike in the room, Stein and Anderson said they would make college free.  This resulted in Johnson and Goode arguing that there is no such thing as free, that the money must come from somewhere.  A flight attendant on the airplane I took out of Chicago shared their view when I asked her if the online internet was free and she rather angrily informed me that "Nothing is free, sir."  But of course the porno-cancer-scans and gropes from the TSA are free.  What we choose to fund collectively is often not thought of as a consumer good at all.  Stein and Anderson came back with an argument that "we cannot afford NOT to invest in education."  But neither of them pointed out that by cutting the military and/or taxing billionaires we could have far more money than needed.  At no time in the course of the debate was the room full of libertarians (who imagine we all have an equal right to spend money) informed that 400 Americans have more money than half the country.

The fifth question dealt with the presidential power to imprison anyone forever without a charge or a trial, a power contained in the 2011 National "Defense" Authorization Act, and a power which Obama's subordinates are currently struggling in court to uphold.  All four candidates, coming from very different places, agreed that this power needs to be removed, along with powers of assassination, warrantless spying, and retribution against whistleblowers.  Clearly there is a broad public consensus on these issues that is derailed by lesser-evilism, with half of those who care about such things holding their nose and backing Republicans, and the other half Democrats.

A sixth and final question, before closing statements, asked the four participants for one way in which they would amend the Constitution.  Goode and Johnson proposed term limits, a rather silly solution that would not fix elections but just remove one person from them, accelerating the pace of the revolving door between government and lobbyist jobs.  Anderson proposed an equal rights amendment barring discrimination based on gender or sexual preference.  And Stein, to huge applause, proposed an amendment clarifying that money is not speech and corporations are not people.

Here's the full video:
http://www.c-span.org/Events/Third-Party-Presidential-Debate/10737435220-1/

Talk Nation Radio: Green Party Presidential Nominee Jill Stein

Jill Stein is the Green Party's nominee for president.  We discuss her platform and her campaign.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Embed on your own site with this code:

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

The Case for Irrational Voting

When I was a philosophy grad student in the ancient times at the U. of Virginia, some over-smart logician pointed out to me that voting is not rational, since a single vote is never decisive. It's all the other stuff that's rational: appearing to have voted, applying a sticker to your bumper, registering voters, making phone calls -- because all of that stuff has the potential to spread sufficiently to make a difference in the election, or perhaps in a future election or in other forms of civic engagement.

But, of course, unlike the model "persons" in philosophical or economic mental experiments, actual people tend not to be sociopaths. Pretending to vote without voting is far more work than actually voting, which -- while it may be irrational -- does no harm. And so, good citizens tend to vote even understanding its irrationality, and even when there are no candidates worth voting for.

Some smart friends of mine argue for a particular type of quasi-rational voting in such situations. Because of our antiquated electoral college that pretends an entire state voted for Tweedledee even if 49% of it voted for Tweedledum, moral voters should, this argument goes, vote for truly good candidates -- even write-in candidates -- in most states, in order to send a message. But they should only do so because there are too few such informed ethical strategic voters to actually swing the state. In the all-important handful of Swing States, however, where the contest between the two Tweedles is too close to call, we are advised to vote for the less hideous of the two.

This is a difficult argument to face down. It seems to leave the vast majority of us free to vote our consciences, while requiring that those of us with the (mis)fortune to live in the states that count are required to grit our teeth and do our civic duty. No matter how godawful the less-evil candidate may be, the other one is more evil and therefore worth resisting. This is not a time for self-indulgent purity. Lives are at stake. Mr. Less-Evil will kill a great many human beings through war, climate-crisis-aggravation, and misdirection of resources, but Mr. More-Evil will kill more people faster and bring on the risk of complete catastrophe faster. Ergo we have no choice. Suck it up. Vote for the occupier of brown countries who's not the racist.

If elections changed anything, said Emma Goldberg Goldman, they'd be banned. Policy-driven independent activism is far more important. We can make that case. It's not who's sitting in the White House but who's doing the sitting in, said the late great Howard Zinn. But some of the people making the above argument for letting the electoral college determine who you vote for are also leaders in-between elections in independent risk-taking creative nonviolent activism. I'm thinking of people like my friend Daniel Ellsberg.

But that's just it: the people who manage to think this way tend to be few and far between and usually worthy of Nobel Peace Prizes, if those prizes were still given out for -- you know -- peace.

People, as a general rule, do not function as the theoretical sociopath who could pretend to be a voter and not vote. This is why employers have begun instructing their employees to vote for Republican candidates. We have secret voting. An employee could act as if he or she were going to vote as instructed and then vote for someone else. But many employees will not draw sharp lines in their minds between the employer's threat to fire them and the employer's false claim that electing Democrats will require firing workers, any more than they will draw sharp lines between sticking a Romney sign in their yard and punching Romney's name on a voting machine owned by one of Romney's companies. When employers hold mandatory anti-union meetings, their intimidation and propaganda mix. Some workers turn against a union out of fear but tell themselves it’s a strictly strategic choice; for most it's probably a combination of the two. The same will happen with mandatory pro-Republican meetings in the workplace.

The number of registered likely voters with a high enough level of information to vote strategically by state is probably too small to swing any Swing State. This is a sliver of the population that understands the truth about the less-evil candidate (i.e. his evilness) but is willing to urge others to vote for him (one vote makes no difference, remember; they must urge others to do likewise for their action to be worth anything). They must then immediately or even simultaneously devote themselves to a movement of resistance to that candidate, and open their minds to information on his or her ongoing crimes and abuses, information that is not helpful in campaigning for them. For, without that resistance movement there is no way to break out of the downward spiral that gives us ever-worse lesser-evil candidates. We can choose the less-evil one each time, but if next time they are both more evil, some other tool is needed for positive social change.

And here we come to a second key factor that our rational strategists fail to adequately reckon with. The problem is not just that people are irrational, or that I am giving them too little credit in terms of their ability to become rational. I do think people overwhelmingly IDENTIFY with candidates and parties and begin to self-censor their intake of information and their expression of disagreement. They become fans instead of participants in self-government. But, beyond the people, there are the organizations. A movement that can fix what ails our politics cannot be driven by organizations, think tanks, labor unions, activist groups, and media outlets that identify with and seek patronage from a party or an elected official.

A couple of years ago, AFSCME, a labor union that had favored nonprofit universal single-payer healthcare for many years, brought a bus tour to Charlottesville, Va., to hold a rally for something called "the Public Option." Whatever that was, it was not a demand that had originated with AFSCME members or any other group of ordinary people outside of our government. The rules for the rally were laid out ahead of time: speakers and posters that favored or mentioned single-payer were forbidden.

This year, President Obama came to Charlottesville, and a number of us handed out flyers and held up posters outside the entrance to his event. We discovered that the crowd going in did not support policies such as his "kill list" assassination program. Rather, they had never heard of them. They had clearly gone to great lengths to avoid major news stories that would have occupied their attention and their passions were the president a Republican.

In considering how we deal with elections, we cannot avoid dealing with the way our activism and its funding and its communications work year-in and year-out. Do we become hopelessly compromised? Clearly, there would have been a greater chance of creating a single-payer system had we not censored the demand. Clearly, there would have been a greater chance of winning the pathetic "public option" had the demand of people in the streets been for single-payer, and had the "public option" become a compromise. And clearly the positive bits in the atrocious corporate giveaway that was passed in the end would not have suffered from a full-throated movement of greater size and clarity demanding healthcare for all. What did us in, in this case and thousands of others, was not lesser-evil voting in an election, but people and organizations acting as if they were doing lesser-evil voting even when there was no election.

Half the country does not vote. Most of the country has no idea there are truly great candidates like Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson on the ballot. Some activists are urging people to not vote, in order to "send a message." But half the country doing that has already failed dramatically to send any message for many years.

What might do some good would be to vote for a good candidate, whether or not you're in a Swing State. I understand that you could then be blamed, and not without cause, for the election of President Romney and all of his evils. Truly you would have to be irrational to face that risk. But being blamed for something is hardly the greatest risk our current situation demands of us. Many of us will have to face far worse if we are going to prevail. The case for casting your irrational vote for someone like Jill Stein is not that they are likely to win (and completely unconnected to whether they will "spoil"), and not that your one vote will put them over the top, or that the votes of others you recruit will do the trick. The reason to vote and campaign for a good candidate is that we need to build an independent movement that's honest, that doesn't self-censor, and that supports candidates or elected officials who come to us -- rather than us running to them. We also need a movement that makes reform of our electoral system a central part of our agenda. It is very hard to work for electoral reform properly if we are devoting ourselves to acting within the broken system. The Swing States are where the action is. Backing good platforms in the 38 states from which all candidates and journalists have fled misses huge opportunities. A national movement devoted to protecting lesser-evil officials in Swing States will behave as a fan-club for those officials in-between elections in every single state. And the fact is that electoral work for lesser-evil candidates drains huge amounts of time and energy away from other projects for the Ellsbergs among us, no matter how much good activism they do for three years out of four.

We desperately need automatic voter registration, just as we have automatic war draft registration. Door knocking could then be done on behalf of peace and justice, which -- after all -- are far more popular than any Duopoly candidate. We need to break out of the notion that electoral busy-work created by anti-democratic legislators counts as activism -- and in fact amounts to the complete array of possible activism. We need access to vote, access to placing names on ballots, access to media, and to debates. We need free air time for qualified candidates (for a limited time period!), a ban on private spending, an end to the electoral college, and verifiable counting of paper ballots where they are cast. We won't vote ourselves any of these things. We will only compel them through the true array of activist tools: educating, organizing, communicating, boycotting, blockading, marching, rallying, interrupting, mocking, mobilizing, inspiring, shaming, and struggling our way forward. Women did not vote themselves the right to vote. Nobody elected us workplace rights, environmental protections, or a safety net. We moved the whole country through policy-based movements that often involved moving third- and fourth-party candidates.

I once turned down a chance to run as a Veep candidate on a truly great ticket, primarily because I want to redirect attention away from personality-change politics to policy-change politics. But I had other reasons. I didn't want to offend half my friends and allies. Again, people are not rational about this. They take sides, identify with those sides, and passionately oppose the other sides in a mental space that does not divide itself along state lines. Additionally, I confess, I didn't want to make myself unemployable in an activist world where I know of no organizations with any funding that agree with what I've written above. But just imagine if that ceased for a moment to be the case. Imagine if the labor movement, cast aside by President Obama like a cheap mistress, didn't respond by dumping more hard-earned pay than ever into his election effort. Imagine if well-meaning people and groups took one election cycle off. The money saved could create a television network, a newspaper, a team of investigative journalists, and a grassroots organization, all of them dedicated from here on out to a nation in which every person has the right to a living wage, full education, full healthcare, a sustainable environment, peace, and civil rights. Wouldn't that be worth something? Wouldn't it have been valuable to have those things when Bush was president? Wouldn't it even -- admit it -- have been nice to have those things these past four years?

In my view, the severity of the militaristic and climate crises we face recommend my strategy over lesser-evil voting.  I'm not proposing utopia.  I'm proposing merely daring to to dream of human survival.

There's a Real Debate With Debating in It Next Tuesday

Next Tuesday, October 23rd, 9 p.m. ET, there will be a different sort of presidential debate.  It'll be in Chicago, hosted by http://freeandequal.org and I'll be there in Chicago covering it for Al Jazeera.  Six candidates have been invited to participate, and four have accepted: Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Gary Johnson, and Virgil Goode.  The moderator will be Larry King.  You can submit questions here.

I know we've all thrilled to the body-language and tone analysis that has followed the debates between the guy who favors 12 more years in Afghanistan, imprisonment without trial, lower corporate tax rates, for-profit health insurance, assassinations, corporate trade pacts, imprisonment without trial, oil and coal and nuclear power, charter schools, a military budget outpacing the rest of the world combined, and an ongoing "war" on drugs, . . . and the other guy who favors all of those exact same things.

I know it's been tantalizing, in a grotesque I-can't-stop-staring sort of way, to watch debates that don't mention climate change or drone victims or poverty or the possibility of prosecuting mortgage fraud or torture or war, or the alternatives that exist to military spending and tax breaks for our oligarchs -- alternatives like free education, green energy, infrastructure, transportation, and housing.

Yes, yes, there are differences between Romney and Obama.  But imagine if, when you'd finished cheering Obama for accusing Romney of opposing coal pollution (gotcha!), your brain had to wrap itself around a third candidate -- someone with a serious proposal to stop burning coal?  Sure, Obama is less enthusiastic about massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare than Romney is, but imagine if the two of them had to answer to someone who spoke for the rest of us, pointed out the advantages of lifting the cap on payroll taxes so that the wealthy could start funding Social Security at the same rate as the rest of us, and advocated expanding Medicare to all who want it -- someone who swore not to allow any cuts -- even backdoor cuts -- to these successful programs?

A relatively small number of us have seen a facsimile of that kind of debate by watching the coverage on Democracy Now! But the non-corporate candidates have not had the same amount of time to speak as the two participating in the corporate-sponsored Debate Commission self-parody.  Nor have the locked-out candidates been able to address the two moneyed candidates directly.  And they've been asked the same alternate-universe questions asked by the corporate moderators: "What will you sacrifice on the altar of deficit reduction?" Et cetera.

I know. I know. Larry King is no Amy Goodman.  But if Larry King is given good questions to ask, he'll ask them.  And his approach of avoiding knowing anything before an interview actually works well for an audience -- if, as I hope, there is one -- that has never before heard of the Works Progress Administration and doesn't know that military spending lowers employment.

There should, in fact, be far more debate among the four candidates taking part than there is between the two media-approved gentlemen. 

Jill Stein is a fantastic candidate.  I've spoken with her a number of times during this campaign, and am more impressed each time.  She stands with majority opinion against wars and waste and corporate welfare, for green energy, education, nonprofit health coverage, and full-employment.  She tried to enter the corporate debate this past Tuesday and was arrested for her trouble.  She was handcuffed to a chair for 8 hours, and if you hear how powerful and popular her proposals are you'll have a good guess as to why.

I'm hoping that Stein pushes Rocky Anderson a little on his limited acceptance of militarism.  He's no Bush-Obama-Romney.  He'd cut the military significantly (at least half the Pentagon's budget) and scale back the global cowboy killing, but that's a very low hurdle.  Without a clear vision of why war is never acceptable, we won't move our nation and the world decisively away from it.  That being said, I know Rocky and consider him a tremendous candidate with courage, integrity, and experience.  He'd make an excellent president, especially if we had a Congress, and a media.

Gary Johnson will be the newest to me.  He's a Libertarian and tends to agree with me by opposing every horrible thing governments do and to disagree with me by opposing every useful thing governments do.  I'm eager to see that worldview go up against Stein and Anderson.  I'm hoping for something more enlightening than the he-said / he-said squabbles between Romney and Obama in which we are asked to choose between someone who blames anti-U.S. sentiment on a stupid movie and someone who blames it on unfathomable ingratitude for our benevolent invasions and occupations. There's truth in Johnson's opposition to centralized national control of schools and many other things, just as there's truth in Stein's desire to provide schools with adequate funding currently wasted on prisons and highways and weapons.

All four of these candidates will be less imperialistic than Obama or Romney, but not all of them will be less exceptionalistic.  My former congressman Virgil Goode will bring the racism and the xenophobia full throttle.  It's his answer to every question.  I'd love to see one of the other candidates ask if Goode understands the history of U.S. wars generating immigration and U.S. capitalists demanding more immigration.  Goode will try to play the Libertarian, but those of us in his district who kept asking him in vain to stop funding wars know different.

Of course, Goode was bumped out by Tom Perriello riding Obama's '04 '08 coattails, and Perriello funded every war he could, only without any public opposition to speak of due to his being a Democrat.  He lasted one term, and peace protests of his Republican successor Robert Hurt have been minimal since the wars are either now Obama's and therefore good or are imagined not to exist at all.  This district in South-Central Virginia has been swept by the same wave of ignorance that is washing over the rest of the nation.

Not everything will be on the table on Tuesday.  All four of these candidates, like virtually everyone else in the country (and even the New York Times now), will oppose some truly crazy ideas, like more years in Afghanistan.  We leave those to the "good" and "bad" pair of often indistinguishable candidates that we so cherish our right to choose between.

I'm not asking anyone to think their way out of lesser-evil voting in swing states -- at least not anyone who truly understands and acts on the understanding that independent activism around policy changes is far more important than electoral campaigning for personality changes.  But I do encourage watching this alternative debate.  And if you watch it on Al Jazeera I promise not to devote my commentary to the candidates' body language and facial expressions.

Talk Nation Radio: Kucinich Says Failure to Impeach Bush Has Allowed Obama to Intensify Bush's Policies

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who led failed efforts to impeach then President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney, says that failure to hold them accountable has allowed the continuation and intensification of their war policies under President Obama.  Kucinich believes that, more than anything else, a truth and reconcilation process is needed.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20121017.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

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

IRAN, SYRIA AND THE U.S. - Event in Charlottesville, Va

Propaganda in the U.S. media is very real. In an attempt to counteract its effects and to offer the Charlottesville public a deeper understanding of the situation in the Middle East, Random Row Books has invited several local experts to give their take on the continuing volatility in that region.

Wednesday, October 24th beginning at 7 PM

at Random Row Books

Helena Cobban is a British-American writer and researcher on international relations, with special interests in the Middle East, the international system, and transitional justice. In March 2010, she founded Just World Publishing.

W. Scott Harrop currently teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Culture at UVA, with Iran as his area of expertise.

David Swanson is a local author and activist at the forefront of the peace movement in America. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to New York for the U.N. talks, David was one of several activists who had dinner with the Iranian president. His most recent books are War is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He also hosts Talk Nation Radio.

Roy Hange pastors Charlottesville Mennonite Church and has worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. He has taught faith-based peacebuilding courses at EMU and UVA.

Three Peace Events in the Bay Area, November 10-11, 2012

November 10, 2:00 p.m., Walnut Creek
David Swanson
Mt. Diablo Peace Center, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 - (925) 933-7850 - http://mtdpc.org
Free and open to the public.

Sunday, November 11, 1:30-4:30 p.m. San Francisco
Medea Benjamin, Cindy Sheehan, and David Swanson
On the traditional Armistice Day, the War and Law League (WALL),
http://warandlaw.org, presents a forum on the theme, "U.S. Wars -- Are They Lawful?" Admission is free. The forum, highlighting WALL's biennial general meeting, is endorsed by the S.F. American Friends Service Committee and East Bay Peace Action. Main Public Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street at Grove Street, San Francisco, CA, near Civic Center BART/Muni station.

November 11, 7:00 p.m. Marin County
Medea Benjamin and David Swanson
"Stopping War: The Next One?  Forever? -- An Armistice Day Instead of Veterans Day Event"
Sponsor: Marin Peace & Justice Coalition.  Co-sponsors: Social Justice Center of Marin and Community Media Center of Marin.
Olney Hall, College of Marin, 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA
Admission $10 (No one turned away for lack of funds).

****

About the speakers at these three events:

David Swanson will sign books including "War Is A Lie," "When the World Outlawed War," "The Military Industrial Complex at 50," and his new children's book "Tube World." Swanson blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.

Medea Benjamin is Co-Founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange and author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."

Cindy Sheehan is a gold star mother, peace activist, host of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, and author of "Revolution: A Love Story."

Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

Yes, indeed, it is a little-acknowledged feat of miraculous life-saving power that Europe has not gone to war with itself -- other than that whole Yugoslavia thing -- since World War II.  It's as clear a demonstration as anything that people can choose to stop fighting.  It's a testament to the pre-war peace efforts that criminalized war, the post-war prosecutions of the brand new crime of making war, the reconstruction of the Marshall Plan, and ... and something else a little less noble, and much less Nobel-worthy.

Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Fredrik Heffermehl has been leading a valuable effort to compel the Nobel committee to abide by the will. Now they've outdone themselves in their movement in the other direction. 

Europe is not a person.  It has not during the past year -- which is the requirement -- or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.  Ask Libya.  Ask Syria.  Check with Afghanistan.  See what Iraq thinks.  Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world. 

There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones

Now the Nobelites have almost guaranteed themselves a second-ever pro-war peace-prize acceptance speech.  If you don't recall who gave the first one, I'll tell you after the U.S. election when you might be better able to hear me.

What a disgrace that the Nobel peace prize needs alternative awards that don't go to warmongers.  What a further shame that even those don't always go to people who measure up to Nobel's will.

Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war? 

The West is so in love with itself that many will imagine this award a success.  Surely Europe not going to war with itself is more important that Europe going to war with the rest of the world!  Imagine how many white people might have died if Europe had kept its warmaking to itself.  By directing the threat of war outward and engaging in humanitarian wars and philanthropic wars, Europe has taken us beyond naive war abolition and into an era of powerful possibilities. Oh, and some dark people died.  But we're looking at the Big Picture.

Does this not frighten anyone?

Talk Nation Radio: How Did NATO Go Global?

How did NATO eveolve from a regional and theoretically defensive institution into a global and aggressive power?  We speak with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, author of the new book "The Globalization of NATO."

Here's a review.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Embed on your own site with this code:

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

Citizen Diplomacy May Save Us Yet

For as long as there's been a United States of America, its private citizens have done some of its best diplomacy.  In 1798 Dr. George Logan eased tensions between France and this country.  He got a law named for him, criminalizing such services, but nobody's ever been prosecuted under it -- probably because the crime prosecuted would itself be the act of crime prevention.

One of my favorite cases, recounted in When the World Outlawed War, involved James Shotwell, who worked for the Carnegie Endowment for Peace (created by Andrew Carnegie to work exclusively on abolishing war, and currently working on everything but). 

In 1927, Shotwell drafted a public statement for the Foreign Minister of France proposing to the United States the creation of a treaty criminalizing war.  When few took notice, Shotwell's colleague Nicholas Murray Butler wrote a response to the Foreign Minister in the New York Times.  These two ventriloquists' public diplomacy resulted in a treaty banning war to which the United States, France, and 79 other nations are party today. (Ssh! Don't tell them.)

Whether they're meeting with the president of Iran, as many of us did last month, or bringing downed U.S. pilots home from Vietnam, peace activists speak for and relate to the vast majority of every country, which always favors peace.  At RootsAction.org we've recently encouraged Spain and Italy in their investigations and prosecutions of U.S. torturers, letting those nations know that we, too, support the rule of law, even when our own government does not.

Some of the most important work of citizen diplomacy that's been done in a long time, I suspect, is the trip recently organized by Code Pink that took nearly 40 U.S. peace activists to Pakistan.  They met with elected officials, tribal leaders, drone victims whose existence the U.S. government denies, and with the U.S. Ambassador.  They brought with them petitions signed by many thousands of Americans.  They brought world attention to U.S. drone murders in Pakistan.  And they brought awareness to many Pakistanis that we in the United States do not all passively accept the slaughter of their neighbors and loved ones.  The Foreign Minister of Pakistan recently said that drone strikes are the top cause of anti-Americanism in Pakistan.  While the U.S. ambassador is still struggling with step 1 (admitting he has a problem), citizens are bridging international divides.

If we look at the State Department depicted by its own cables released through WikiLeaks, we see a sales office for U.S. weapons companies, a bully for the Pentagon, and a hotbed of corruption scheming against the principle of honest representative government in nations around the world.  We're working on our own step 1 with regard to what our government has become.  And our greatest assistance in that regard has come from the Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, who by all rights should be announced this week as the winner of that prize, Bradley Manning

There are 231 nominees, and I don't know who they all are.  I suspect that few if any have done remotely as much as Manning to earn a Nobel Peace Prize. 

Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."  Peace congresses (having nothing to do with the U.S. Congress) were understood, in that age, as conferences that would bring together both peace activists and important members of national governments.  The "abolition of armies" actually meant what it said.  Most Nobel peace laureates, after the very early years of the award's history, have not worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies.  Many would adamantly denounce the very idea, as Barack Obama did in his acceptance speech.

We know the most limited information about Bradley Manning's intentions, but what we know does not conflict with the actions credited to him.  Most other nominees are almost certainly either individuals and organizations that have done good humanitarian work unrelated to abolishing war, or in fact warmongers of great notoriety.  There are, of course, thousands of people doing tremendous work around the world toward the abolition of war.  I just don't expect them to be among the nominees.

Code Pink should be considered next year, following its work in Pakistan and elsewhere to end drone wars.  A dozen other groups merit similar consideration.  Members of Veterans For Peace, which I write press releases for when I can keep up with the work being done, this week took part in the anti-drone march in Pakistan (hesitating not at all in the face of threats from the Taliban), recruited active-duty soldiers in Washington State to refuse to deploy to Afghanistan, went to jail in New York nonviolently demonstrating against war, sailed on an aid ship to Gaza expected to be met by the Israeli military next week, and planned an upcoming trip to Iran, among other actions.  Not a terribly atypical week.

Our government doesn't talk to others, takes great pride in not talking to others, and assassinates rather than trying alleged criminals in court where they'd have to be spoken to.  But we have a government of the people even when our government is of the oligarchs.  Sending pizzas to Tahrir Square has done far more good than sending tear gas. We have the ability and the responsibility not to let a government that doesn't speak for us, speak for us.

David Swanson Speaking in Asheville, NC

New South Network of War Resisters is organizing with co-sponsorship of  VFP 099  and the Nonviolent Direct Action Trainers of Occupy Asheville.
 

“Nothing More Evil: Confronting the Military Industrial Complex

An evening with author, activist and speaker David Swanson

October 26, 2012

7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Rooftop Room, Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, Asheville, NC

Sign up now on FaceBook

"Our times cry out for a smart, witty and courageous Populist who hasn’t forgotten how to play offense.  Luckily we have David Swanson."  —Mike Ferner, Veterans For Peace.

"David Swanson is an antidote to the toxins of complacency and evasion. He insists on rousing the sleepwalkers, confronting the deadly prevaricators and shining a bright light on possibilities for a truly better world."  —Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy.

Swanson's books include:

War is a Lie! and When the World Outlawed War, and Editor of The Military Industrial Complex at 50

See:  davidswanson.org

Free and open to the public!

We'll pass the hat. Help if you can with speaker stipend & travel costs.

Sponsored by:

New South Network of War Resisters Action, Collaboration & Training in Organized Nonviolence

 Co-Sponsored by:

Nonviolent Direct Action Trainers of Occupy Asheville; Veterans for Peace 099,  & NC Peace Action.

New South Network of War Resisters
Action, Collaboration & Training In Organized Nonviolence
P.O. Box 2551
Asheville, NC  28802
828-301-6683

ACTION South
Stories and photos of Southeast activists at work building a regionally sustained
and locally informed movement from the ground up.

Cari Italiani, aiutateci a combattere la tortura in Usa

English version below.

MicroMega

Con la condanna degli agenti della Cia coinvolti nell'illegale sequestro dell'imam Abu Omar il sistema giudiziario italiano ha dimostrato che davvero la legge può essere “uguale per tutti”. Ora, quasi diecimila cittadini americani chiedono all'Italia di andare oltre.

di David Swanson*, traduzione di Patrick Boylan

Quasi diecimila americani hanno già inviato i loro ringraziamenti all'Ambasciata italiana a Washington in seguito alle condanne definitive inflitte in Italia dalla Cassazione, lo scorso 19 settembre, ai 23 agenti della Cia rei di aver rapito l'ex imam di Milano il 17 febbraio, 2003, e di averlo mandato in Egitto per essere interrogato sotto tortura. Noi di RootsAction.org, movimento di cittadinanza tra i più attivi negli USA, abbiamo promosso una raccolta di ringraziamenti per dire al governo italiano che esiste un'America felice della sentenza della Cassazione e che ora vuole l'estradizione in Italia dei 23 condannati che altrimenti continuerebbero a vivere liberi e impuniti negli Stati Uniti.

New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World

http://davidswanson.org/tubeworld

New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World

Tube World is the first children's book by David Swanson, author of several nonfiction adult books. The illustrations for Tube World are by Shane Burke.

Parents: Have your kids been tired in the morning?  Have you found wet bathing suits in their beds?  Do they know things about far-away places that you didn’t teach them and they didn’t learn in school?  Do children visiting your town from halfway around the world always seem to be friends with your kids, and to only be around during certain hours of the day?  You won’t believe the explanation, but your kids might grin and wink at each other if you read it to them.

Kids: Did you know the center of the Earth was hollow?  Do you know the words that can take you there, if you’re under the covers in your swimming suit and prepared for the trip?  Can you imagine traveling anywhere in the world where there’s a swimming pool — and being home again in time for breakfast?  If you haven’t been to Tube World yet, this book will tell you the secrets you need to know.  And it will tell you about some children who discovered Tube World and used it to make the whole world a better place.

Buy the PDF, EPUB (iPad, Nook, etc.), or MOBI (Kindle) from Ebookit.

The paperback has been published in two versions, one with slightly better color, slightly better paper, and a dramatically higher price.

Buy the standard paperback from Amazon,

(If you order from Amazon it will ship right away even if Amazon says it won't ship for weeks; it is print-on-demand.)

Buy the premium paperback from Amazon,

Your local independent bookstore can order the book through Ingram.

Anyone can order the book in bulk at the lowest possible price right here.

Buy PDF, Audio, EPUB, or Kindle for $8 right here:

http://davidswanson.org/tubeworld

Advance Praise for Tube World:

“This book will make you laugh till water comes out your ears!”--Wesley

“This story is super flibba garibbidy schmibbadie libbidie awesome, mostly!”--Travis

“The best part is we saved 2,000 islands and pretty much the whole world in our swimming suits!”--Hallie

About Shane Burke:
Shane Burke lives in Denver Colorado and has been drawing and painting since he could hold a pencil. He took private art lessons when he was young and began winning awards and contests by the age of seven. His first big commission came at age nine when he created artwork for a billboard near his home town of Tracy California. His greatest influences came from his grandfather and elementary school teachers. He loved watching his grandfather paint landscapes and wanted to be just like him. Shane is a creative day dreamer and at complete peace when putting ink to paper.  You can see more of Shane's work at www.beezink.com

Where Is War Making Taking Us?

Remarks at the New Hampshire Peace Action 30th Anniversary Celebration in Concord, NH, October 5, 2012.

First of all, congratulations on 30 years! Give yourselves some applause.

I should tell you now that I don't trust anyone over 30, so your time is running out quickly here.

George Bush the Murderer: The Movie

A new movie has just been released based on Vincent Bugliosi's book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder."  Bugliosi, of course, prosecuted Charles Manson and authored best sellers about Manson's guilt, O.J. Simpson's guilt, and Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt.  Whether we all agree with all of those conclusions, it is worth noting that each book was reviewed and considered by the biggest U.S. newspapers and television networks.  When Bugliosi wrote a book about George W. Bush's guilt, something we're almost all united on, the corporate media shut it out.  Will the same fate greet this movie?

I hope not.  In the book, and in this new movie, Bugliosi makes a devastating, well documented case that President George W. Bush is guilty of the murder of U.S. soldiers as a result of the lies he told to justify the invasion of Iraq, and can be prosecuted by any state attorney general in the country, or by any county prosecutor from a jurisdiction where a U.S. soldier lived prior to being killed in Iraq. 

In the movie, we watch Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz remark that if presidents had to live in fear of their actions being scrutinized for criminality that would have a huge impact on their behavior.  Dershowitz means this as somehow a negative thing.  Bugliosi points out that that is exactly the point: we ought to deter criminal behavior in presidents.

Bugliosi's argument for prosecution is simple. Bush wanted a war with Iraq. He had to show that a preemptive invasion of Iraq was justified. To do this Iraq had to be an imminent threat to the United States. There were two major problems. Bush couldn't prove any connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. More importantly, Bush's own 2002 classified intelligence estimate found that Saddam was not an imminent threat to the United States. Bush simply reversed the findings of the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, and sent men and women off to fight a fraudulent and unnecessary war, knowing full well that some of them would come home in boxes.

The facts are not in dispute.  Bush chose to send US troops into Iraq. He did not do so in self-defense or as a last resort or under an international mandate, but rather went out of his way to concoct false motives for war and to rush its launching. By sending troops into war, Bush was knowingly and needlessly but certainly condemning some of them to death. The Iraqis who killed those soldiers in predictable and legally justifiable defense of their country fall into the legal category of "third-party innocent agent." This does not mean they are innocent, but rather that their actions do nothing to lessen the guilt of George W. Bush as murderer of those soldiers. Bugliosi calls this the "vicarious liability rule of conspiracy."

Bugliosi explains:

"In other words, if Bush personally killed an American soldier, he would be guilty of murder. Under the law, he cannot immunize himself from his criminal responsibility by causing a third party to do the killing. He's still responsible. George Bush cannot sit safely in his Oval Office in Washington, D.C., while young American soldiers fighting his war are being blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Iraq, and wash his hands of all culpability. It's not quite that easy. He could only do this if he did not take this nation into war under false pretenses. If he did, which the evidence overwhelmingly shows, he is criminally responsible for the thousands of American deaths in Iraq."

In addition, Bugliosi argues, Bush could be found guilty of murder under the rule of "aiding and abetting," because he instigated the killing of American soldiers by ordering the invasion of Iraq.

Did Bush have "malice aforethought"? Yes, according to Bugliosi. We convict people of murder for driving 100 mph through a school zone and hitting a child, or for blowing up a building while unaware that someone is inside. These are cases where the murderer does not know he is committing murder but where he is reckless enough to take an unreasonable risk of doing so. In Bush's case, he absolutely knew that invading Iraq would involve U.S. casualties, and yet he ordered the invasion, thereby acting with the intent that American soldiers be killed.

Bugliosi strengthens this argument by pointing out that we often convict people of murder for accidental killings that occur in the act of committing other felonies:

"A robber, for instance, was convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule where, as he was leaving the store in which he had robbed the owner, he told the owner not to say a word or he'd be harmed, and fired into the ceiling to scare the owner. The shot, after two or three ricochets, pierced the head of the owner, killing him. In fact, the felony-murder rule applies even where the defendant is not the killer! There have been cases where the proprietor of the store fired at a robber, missed him and hit and killed a customer. And the robber was convicted of first degree murder of the customer."

Bugliosi missed an opportunity here to further strengthen his case by noting that in the act of ordering the invasion of Iraq, Bush was committing a number of felonies. When Bush submitted his March 18, 2003, letter and report to the United States Congress providing reasons for attacking Iraq, he violated the federal anti-conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. - 371, which makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose..."; and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. - 1001, which makes it a felony to issue knowingly and willfully false statements to the United States Congress. Bush also committed a felony by misappropriating funds to secretly begin the invasion prior to this date.

Bugliosi notes that there is no statute of limitations for murder. Bush could be prosecuted by any future federal prosecutor who had the nerve to do so and could do so while keeping his or her job. But Bugliosi writes that a state attorney general or any district attorney in any city or county could bring a murder charge against Bush for any soldiers from that state or county who lost their lives in Iraq. And not just Bush, but Cheney, Rice, et alia. Bugliosi provides some truly talented proposals for questioning Bush in court and adds:

"I would be more than happy, if requested, to consult with any prosecutor who decides to prosecute Bush in preparation of additional cross-examination questions for him to face on the witness stand. I believe the cross-examination would be such that they'd have to carry the arrogant son of privilege off the stand on a stretcher."

I know the same offer to assist stands from former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, author of "United States versus George W. Bush et al.," who also appears in the film.

Bugliosi believes he's found the one true way to bring Bush to justice.  I think numerous avenues lie open, and that what is lacking is the will.  But the statutes of limitations are running out on many crimes, narrowing the field for prosecution.  Only those torture cases that resulted in death, for example, can now be prosecuted without running up against the statutes of limitations.

The root of warfare, I believe, is the valuing of U.S. lives over the lives of others.  So it is unfortunate that Bugliosi's approach encourages that, even if unintentionally. Bugliosi does not see any legal case to try Bush for the murders of Iraqis, but he also openly admits that he cares more about the deaths of Americans. Bugliosi repeatedly cites the figure 100,000, or "over 100,000" as the number of Iraqi deaths, but never indicates where he came up with that number or how he ignores the fact that every serious study has placed the count above a million.  Even if Bugliosi sees no way to prosecute Bush for the murder of Iraqis, he does not seem to have considered the possibility that U.S. troops are guilty of those murders.  The U.S. troops in this story (and, sadly, it is thus far just a story, not a prosecution) play exclusively the role of victim.  The legal and moral reality assigns them multiple roles.

I don't think it hurts Bugliosi's legal case, but I doubt that most Congress members believed Bush's lies about Iraq.  At the very least, they were as reckless as he was.  And I think there is a fundamental problem with Bugliosi's belief that there was something unique about Bush lying us into a war in Iraq.  It has been firmly established that the U.S. invaded Mexico, that there was no evidence to tie Spain to the sinking of the Maine, that the troops and weapons on the Lusitania were public knowledge, that FDR told numerous lies about Japan and Germany, that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened, that the Taliban was willing to hand bin Laden over to a third nation to be tried, etc.  The belief that Iraq was a first led me to correct the record with a book called War Is A Lie.

Because I know war lies are not unusual, I may value deterrence more highly.  I also do not thirst, as Bugliosi does, for anger and vengeance against "evil monsters."  But Bugliosi, too, argues for deterrence as a central motivation, so it's interesting to see what the lack of deterrence has already wrought.  President Obama continued Bush's wars, including the one in Iraq.  President Obama has an open policy of murder including weekly Tuesday reviews of the names of victims.  The evidence is abundant.  Bugliosi promises in the movie that he would treat a Democrat exactly the same way he treats Bush.  I sure hope so.

Here's a radio interview I did with Bugliosi.

Here's a preview of the movie:

Debate Analysis Avoids the Donkey in the Room

 

We're told Obama messed up the debate last night because of a bad format, bad camera angles, and bad coaches, and because it was his anniversary.  Never mind that four years ago he could talk about closing Gitmo, ending the very mindset that gets us into wars, providing universal healthcare, restoring the rule of law, reforming NAFTA, creating the right to organize in the workplace, ending the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. 

You can blame his failure to actually attempt any of those things on the Republicans or Rahm Emanuel or his dog Bo, but all the post-debate analysis ignores the real way in which Obama must now debate with one hand tied behind his back.

Talk Nation Radio: Slow Democracy Is Better Democracy

Susan Clark discusses her new book, authored with Woden Teachout, "Slow Democracy: Rediscovering Community, Bringing Decision Making Back Home."  It's a rich and persuasive argument against centralization and privatization, and for the advantages of local democracy with real powers of self governance.

Here's a review.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20121003.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

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

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