You are hereBlogs / davidswanson's blog

davidswanson's blog


Who's Been Right and Who's Been Wrong

From 1856 to 1860 Elihu Burritt promoted a plan to prevent civil war through compensated emancipation, or the purchase and liberation of slaves by the government, an example that the English had set in the West Indies.  Burritt traveled constantly, all over the country, speaking.  He organized a mass convention that was held in Cleveland.  He lined up prominent supporters.  He edited newsletters. 

And he was right.  England had freed its slaves in the Caribbean without a war.  Russia had freed its serfs without a war.  Slave owners in the U.S. South would almost certainly have preferred a pile of money to five years of hell, the deaths of loved ones, the burning and destruction of their property, and the uncompensated emancipation that followed, not to mention the century and a half of bitter resentment that followed that.  And not only the slave owners would have preferred the way of peace; it's not as if they did the killing and dying.

What does being right get you? Forgotten.  Who's ever heard of Elihu Burritt?

In 1862 four peace activists, including Eliza P. Gurney, met with Abraham Lincoln in the White House.  Lincoln, with tears running down his face, told them that he wished there had been no war, and that he would end it immediately if he could, but that he was merely a helpless instrument in the hands of his "Heavenly Father" who no doubt had some high purpose for all the suffering.  Lincoln carried a comforting letter from Gurney in his pocket when he was shot three years later. 

What comfort did Lincoln's superstition bring to three-quarters of a million dead and wounded?  What comfort did it bring to Burritt, who had known how to avoid the war and been forced to watch it proceed along with all the fools who supposed it "unavoidable"?  What comfort did it bring to centuries of students cruelly propagandized in elementary schools from that day to this with the idea that slavery can only be ended with war?

In 1885, U.S. peace activists prevented the Atlanta, a ship loaded with arms and munitions, from departing Philadelphia for Cuba.  They appealed to the governments in Washington and Madrid to submit their disputes to arbitration.  In 1896, the Universal Peace Union urged the Spanish government to give the Cubans their autonomy and withdraw all troops, while opposing any U.S. military intervention.  In 1898, the Pen and Sword, edited by D. R. Coude in Chicago, urged the President and Congress not to be "played for suckers" by yellow journalists out to sell more newspapers at the cost of launching a war.  Coude documented the lies and deceptions that had been moving the nation toward war. 

Peace activists flooded Washington with telegrams and letters insisting that the matter of the Maine be submitted to arbitration.  But many who favored peace in the abstract abandoned it, as is the custom, in the concrete.  "Though I hate war per se," wrote Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "I am glad that it has come in this instance.  I would like to see Spain swept from the face of the earth."  If that statement makes you think of what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said of Israel, it's worth remembering that he actually never said that, but that good U.S. liberals have said it of many nations over and over again for centuries now.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Theodore Roosevelt, and President McKinley were wrong, wrong to go to war, wrong to lust for genocide, and wrong to imagine they could wipe Spain off the earth.  D. R. Coude was right.  And who has ever heard of D. R. Coude?  Google hasn't.

In 1915, Jane Addams met with President Wilson and urged him to offer mediation to Europe.  Wilson praised the peace terms drafted by the Hague conference held by women for peace.  He received 10,000 telegrams from women asking him to act.  Historians believe that had he acted in 1915 or early in 1916 he might very well have helped bring the Great War to an end under circumstances that would have furthered a far more durable peace than the one made eventually at Versailles.  Wilson did act on the advice of Addams, and of his Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, but not until it was too late.  The Germans did not trust a mediator who had been aiding the British war effort.

What good is being right?  As early as 1935, U.S. peace activists were marching against U.S. provocations of Japan.  Can you imagine anyone more forgotten than they are?  It's almost treasonous to know about them.

But consider this.  During the U.S. civil war, pressure from peace activists forced a dispute between the U.S. and Britain to arbitration and away from conflict.  They did the same in 1869, leading to momentum in Washington and Europe for treaties of arbitration.  Among those celebrating progress in 1869 was Elihu Burritt.  Peace activists similarly prevented war with Mexico 20 years later and again advanced the cause of peaceful dispute resolution.  Peace groups in Europe helped prevent a war between France and Germany in the early years of the 20th century.  And in 1926 -1927 U.S. peace activists again helped forestall war with Mexico.  At the same time, they built support for the Kellogg-Briand Pact that in 1928 banned war and proved immediately useful in halting war in Manchuria, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

The education of the U.S. public by peace activists before and after World War I, led to the situation in the 1930s when 62% of college students rejected the idea that a bigger Navy would make them safer and 16% said they would refuse to fight even if the United States were invaded.  In 1935, the New York Herald-Tribune's Institute of Public Opinion found that 75% of voters wanted a public referendum before any war could be launched, and 71% opposed joining in any war with other countries to "enforce the peace." 

Nuclear bombs have not been dropped in our wars since World War II.  The United States has not attacked Iran yet.  Israeli troops have refused direct orders to prepare to attack Iran.  The victories are never advertised.  But neither are the failures.  Silence is the strongest supporter of war.  In both victories and failures, it's worth knowing the facts and considering: Who has been right every time?  And who, in contrast, make up the full roster of experts on network and cable TV?*

*For further reading, pick up "Peace Or War: The American Struggle 1636-1936" by Merle Curti from which almost every incident in this article has been lifted.

Audio: Daniel Ellsberg and David Swanson Debate Voting for Obama

Here's audio of a debate between myself and Dan Ellsberg on whether and how to vote from Lila Garrett's KPFK show "Connect the Dots."

MP3

Swing State Pickup Lines

Hi. You're beautiful. And I don't give a damn who you're voting for.

Seriously?

Which part?

You don't give a damn who I'm voting for?

I swear on the Fourth Amendment.

We don't have that amendment anymore.

You know that?

Yes.  What's the catch?  Which hack are you hocking?

None of them.  I'm serious.

For real?  What planet are you from? Scratch that. Will you marry me and what planet are you from?

I'm not entirely sure.

Which part?

I'm not sure what planet I'm from, and of course I'll marry you.  Now I do want to ask you one thing.

I knew it!  I want a prenuptial agreement.

No. No. I want to tell you something about me and ask you if you can understand it.  I want to know if you can understand why I'm not voting for Obama.

But I don't care why.  

You don't?

OK, let me guess.  He's less evil than Romney but less evil is still evil, and you don't want to be evil, and you just haven't managed to grasp that the more evil candidate is even more evil?

Good guess, but … completely wrong.  You have to remember here that I'm not a blithering idiot.  I know it's hard, but try.  In fact, I'm willing to suggest that lesser evilism is a truism, requiring exactly zero cerebral exertion to comprehend.  The more evil candidate will do more evil.  Got it.  But I'm still not voting for the less evil one.

OK, I have another guess.

I'm listening.

You want the more evil candidate to win because you imagine it will create the sort of mass resistance that will turn the country completely around, whereas the less evil guy will just keep boiling us slowly like frogs.

Now that's slander.

How can it be slander when it's a guess?

Of the frogs, I mean.  If you heat a pot the frog jumps out, and if you drop him in an already boiling pot he cooks.  It's all backwards because frogs are just not as stupid as humans.  We like to imagine . . .

So you DO want to make Romney president!

No.  I do not want to make Romney president.  Not to create mass resistance.  Not to make it easier for President Hillary to put the final nail in our national coffin four years hence.  Not because I'm mad at Obama and he hurt my wittle feelings.  Not for any reason.

OK, I've got it.

You've got it?

Yeah, you're not going to vote at all because that way you're sending a message to the whole corrupt system that it sucks and you don't.

Um, we've got almost 100 million people trying that, and it hasn't sent anybody so much as a postcard yet.

All right.  Let me think.

By all means.  I'm not the thought police.

I'm thinking.

I can see that.

OK.  This is it.  You believe that Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson or some other hopeless candidate is our last true hope.  You think they can win, or could theoretically win, or might begin to build a party that could theoretically someday win, or something like that.

That's five guesses.

We don't waste time in swing states.

Well, they're all wrong.  They're so far off Diebold couldn't count them.  They're not in the same ballpark.  Those guesses are about as close to right as …

OK, so this isn't fair, because the answer is some crazy thing having to do with that other planet you're from or something.  It's not fair unless it's something I know about.

You know about it.

Yeah, well, I call.

Are we playing poker?

Yeah, and I call.  What have you got?

What are we playing for?

Beer.

Beer?  Are you, or are you not, better off than you were four beers ago?

I am.

All right.  Here's the deal.  

It's too late to deal.  I call.

All right.  All right.  You know how we're always supposed to vote for the lesser evil candidate, but then four years later they're both more evil?  

I guess.

You know how last time the lesser evil candidate was for taxing the rich and ending wars and fixing NAFTA and restoring the rule of law and protecting civil liberties and tackling climate change and passing the Employee Free Choice Act, and this time the lesser evil candidate is for cutting Social Security and Medicare and spying without warrants and letting the CIA and Special Forces kill people every day and expanding NAFTA to the whole damn world and establishing an assassination program for men women and children and imprisoning people forever without charge or trial and drilling more oil?

Well, yeah, when you put it that way.

No, I'm not putting it that way.  Remember, I'm agreeing that the more evil guy is more evil.  We've been there, done that, right?

Right, so … ?

OK, so if we vote for the lesser evil guy every time but then the two choices are both more evil, there must be something else we should be doing.  And I have an idea what it is.  And we can't do it if we're doing lesser evil voting.  So, I don't want Obama to win.  I don't want Romney to win.  I don't imagine that Stein or Anderson can win.  I don't think the outcome of the election can send a message.  I'm not interested in the outcome at all, because I'm more interested in whether the people of this country are doing this other thing I have in mind, and it just so happens that the only way they can do it is if they are the kind of people who vote for Stein or Anderson.

So, you want Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson?

No.  I voted for Stein.  Anderson is great too.  I don't give a rat's derriere whether they get 1% or 20%, except as a side effect.  I'm not interested in them, although I like them both.  I'm interested in the millions of people who are going to vote or not vote and in what kind of people they are.

Who cares what kind of people they are if Romney ruins their country.

He can't.  He can't do it if they're the kind of people I have in mind.  And either Obama or Romney will do it, perhaps at slightly different speeds, if people allow them to.

I don't understand.

OK, well, let me try to explain.  It's hard to put into a sound byte.  Change comes from broad-based popular movements that impact the entire culture.  This is how we got civil and political rights, how we got workplace rights and environmental protections -- such as they are.  Everything worth achieving has been achieved by educating, organizing, inspiring, and pressuring the government, and not by picking the right portion of the government to reelect, cheer for, and withhold all criticism from.  Now, you can say you want to vote for the lesser evil person while simultaneously protesting him, but it doesn't work that way.  Most people's minds and most popular organizations devote themselves to lesser evilism on a permanent basis, not just the week of an election.  Obama in 2009 told the big environmentalist groups not to talk about climate change, and most of them haven't mentioned it since, even in the midst of a hurricane.  One group mentioned it and declared that the tar sands pipeline would be Obama's test, but the price for failing the test is having that group and its members vote for Obama's reelection a little less cheerfully.  Obama told the unions and advocacy groups not to say "single-payer healthcare" and they obeyed, forbidding mention of it at their rallies, asking instead for a mysterious "public option" that was then of course denied them.  You'd think it would be hard for people to sell out this way, especially in non-election years, but they help themselves along by the art of selective information consumption.  Most -- not all, but most -- Obama voters have managed not to know about drone wars or kill lists or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  And, of course, it's extra hard to engage in serious activism while unaware what's going on.  By activism I mean educating, organizing, rallying, marching, lobbying, reporting, editorializing, inspiring, blockading, boycotting, interrupting, mocking, replacing, and nonviolently resisting evil policies in the thousands and thousands of ways available to nonviolent activists.  Someone said to me yesterday: "But Martin Luther King Jr. didn't start a third party."  Of course he didn't.  Neither am I.  I wouldn't have wanted him to.  I wouldn't want you to.  But he also didn't sell out to an existing party.  He didn't endorse and campaign for candidates.  He didn't tell anyone that voting was the only tool available, because -- of course -- voting comes far down the list of tools that have proven effective through history.  And when the voting system is as corrupted as ours is now, the only way to render it even more useless is to promise half the candidates that you will strive to annoy them throughout their terms but never ever vote against them (unless it's in a non-swing-state and in small enough numbers not to matter), and if they'll let you come to meetings at the White House you'll see what you can do about not annoying them either.  Latinos threatened not to vote for Obama and won some immigration reforms.  Labor unions threatened to bend over, and Obama kicked their ass.  Is this beginning to make sense?

So, you think activism is more important than elections and you really mean it?  So when elections get in the way of activism you want people to change their electoral behavior in whatever way will make them better activists, regardless of what happens in the election?

Exactly!  Is that marriage thing still on the table?

Uh huh.  You know what I was thinking?

No.

Remember when the peace movement was big several years ago?  I mean, not super big, but big enough to be noticed?

Yeah.

And then the Democrats came into Congress and into the White House, and it dried up, right?

Yeah.

Well, what if it hadn't?  What if it had kept growing?  What if everything that went into electing Obama the first time had gone into the peace movement?  What if the Nobel Committee in its infinite wisdom had given a peace prize to the peace movement?  What if the peace movement had a billion dollars and a gazillion volunteer hours to work with?  Wouldn't that have been worth more than having Obama instead of McCain?  Wouldn't that have made both McCain and Obama better or replaced them with better people and led to a choice anyway of the lesser evil candidate who would have been even less evil?  Or if it didn't, but the movement continued to grow, wouldn't it stand a chance of turning things dramatically around in the coming years, unlike Dr. 47% or Captain Drone Warrior if left to their own devices?

You actually understand this!  Now I have to ask what planet you are from.

No, let me ask you something.

OK.

Did you call this "Swing State Pickup Lines" because "Why Can't You Morons Get This Stuff Through Your Thick Skulls" sounded less attractive?  

Maybe.

Abortion and War

I'd like to quote for you some of the very best bits of William Blum's new book, "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy," but I'd end up quoting most of the book and the entire chapter on capitalism.  So you're just going to have to get your own copy.

But let me quote one little section for you here.  Blum reviews state laws requiring that women considering abortions be told that they are about to end a human life.  Regardless of your view of such laws, Blum thinks it is worth noting that no such information is provided to women or men when they sign up to join the U.S. military.  So, he proposes requiring that each would-be recruit be read this statement:

"The United States is at war [this statement is always factually correct].  You will likely be sent to a battlefield where you will be expected to do your best to terminate the lives of whole, separate, unique, living human beings you know nothing about and who have never done you or your country any harm.  You may in the process lose an arm or a leg.  Or your life.  If you come home alive and with all your body parts intact, there's a good chance you will be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Do not expect the government to provide you particularly good care for that, or any care at all.  In any case, you may wind up physically abusing your spouse and children and/or others, killing various individuals, abusing drugs and/or alcohol, and having an increased risk of suicide ideation or suicide.  No matter how bad a condition you may be in, the government may send you back to the battlefield for another tour of duty.  They call this 'stop-loss.'  And don't ever ask any of your officers what we're fighting for.  Even the generals don't know.  In fact, the generals especially don't know.  They would never have reached their high position if they had been able to go beyond the propaganda we're all fed, the same propaganda that has influenced you to come to this office."

A while back I made a video along these same lines:


Pick Any of These Books

Choose any book below and have it signed by the author to you or to a person you plan to give it to.  It will be signed and mailed to you right away.

Talk Nation Radio: Mike Elk on Employers Telling Workers How to Vote

Mike Elk of In These Times discusses this new / old twist on "democracy".

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_20121031.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

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

Respectable Murderers: An Open Letter to Dan Ellsberg

Dear Dan,

You and I are getting ready to tape a debate on the question of whether to vote for Obama (in "swing states"). It will air on Lila Garrett's "Connect the Dots" show on KPFK next Monday. I'm looking forward to it, if for no other reason, because I think our public discourse lacks much serious debate between people who respect each other's intentions. I have nothing but respect for you and believe you mean nothing but the best in advocating votes for Obama. You honestly believe I was catastrophically wrong to vote for Jill Stein in Virginia, as I've done, and I honestly believe you are horrendously misguided to be expending your valuable energy trying to get others to vote for Obama. And yet we'll be friends through this and regardless of whether one or both of us ever change our minds.

An hour debate will also be a refreshing change from the usual sound byte simplification of the media, and yet not necessarily sufficient. So, let me tell you a couple of stories.

Veterans Plan Armistice Day Events in Over 50 U.S. Cities

Veterans for Peace chapters across the nation are meeting in major cities to celebrate the original Armistice Day as was done at the end of World War I, when the world came together in realization that war is so horrible we must end it now.  

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:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20121024.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

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:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20121010.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

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

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.