You are hereBlogs / davidswanson's blog

davidswanson's blog


War and Peace in Trump Time: A World Beyond Arlington

Remarks in Arlington, Va., January 29, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Thank you for inviting me. Thank you to Archer Heinzen for setting this up. Of course I wouldn't have come had I known UVA's basketball team would be playing Villanova at 1 o'clock. I'm kidding, but I'll catch it on the radio or watch the replay without the commercials. And when I do I can guarantee only this: the announcer will thank U.S. troops for watching from 175 countries, and nobody will wonder whether 174 wouldn't be just about enough.

I wish I could also guarantee that UVA will win, but this is where sports monkeys around with rational thinking. I don't actually have any say over whether UVA wins. So I can turn my wish into a prediction "We will win" and then declare that "we" won as if I'd been involved. Or let's say that UVA blows it. Then I can remark that "we" decided to keep London Perrantes in the game even though he had a sprained wrist and the flu and had just lost one leg in a car accident, even though the obvious fact is that were I really the coach I would never have done that, just as -- if I fully controlled the U.S. government -- I wouldn't actually spend a trillion dollars a year on war preparations.

Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed?

Here's why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.

But that's already established beyond any doubt. China's state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower. It is also a major lender to Trump. Its rent payments and its loans put Trump in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Every building approval, extension of credit, tax break, subsidy, or waiver of normal rules that Trump's businesses get from numerous foreign governments, state governments, and the U.S. government define him as quintessentially impeachable.

So, if the point is just to document corruption by Trump, why reach and stretch for a speculative possibility, when you've got a solid case sitting in your lap?

Be Glad the White House Comment Line Is Closed

The White House comment phone line directs people to kindly go away and think about what losers they are. Oops, sorry, I mean it directs people not to leave any comments. Instead it says to use a White House web form or to send a message through a White House Facebook account (which has no messaging capability). I'm not inclined to use the web form, because I doubt anyone reads it and I'd rather not be added to a White House email list.

If I'm going to publish a comment to the White House elsewhere, maybe I'll submit it through their website form too. But what I need is a place to post my comments publicly and then tweet them @POTUS.

So I've created http://commentstotrump.org Anybody can post any comment to Trump there that they like. It's public and uncensored. Using it does not put you on any email list or provide your information to anyone. It's just an automated website that displays comments as they come in. All I expect to do is perhaps create more categories for the comments as new topics arise.

Here's a taste of what people have posted there, for Trump, thus far:

Please do not repeal the affordable health care act before replacing it with something even better. It should be something that is similar to what other advanced countries have, namely Universal Healthcare system.

Stop Obama's policy of drone murder.

Do not continue it, please.

Drones make us judge, jury and executioner.

No one, NO ONE is advocating for abortion.  No one celebrates them.  The issue is just this:  whose body do YOU have the right to control?  Your own.  Well, my body is mine and I have the right to control it.  Even if some monstrous male rapes and impregnates me.  When I am eleven years old.  What I do in such a case is not in your power to decide.  

If the right to decide when/if pregnancy is to occur belongs to both parents (man and woman in most cases), then the right to terminate a forced pregnancy or one that endangers the life of the mother belongs to the person doing the carrying.  Not to the beast who impregnated her.

To think otherwise is to put the welfare of the molester before that of the victim.  And if you can concede in this one case, then a total ban on abortion is illogical.

I wish you ONE pregnancy to enlarge your understanding of this most sacred responsibility.  I love my children with all my being but were your sperm in my uterus making one more child I assure you I would jump down a flight of stairs rather than bring your offspring to term.  You are an offense to your gender and your lack of understanding or compassion for the act of motherhood is revolting.  May you be ever childless for you have no compassion. 

Purge toxic leadership from the military.  

Donald Trump is absolutely correct:  The Election Was Rigged.  However, he absolutely lied when he said that between 3 and 5 million "illegals" cast votes in the election.  The election was "rigged" because of the many states which have passed laws designed to restrict voter access -- primarily aimed at the poor and people of color.  The election was "rigged" by the use of "cross-check" which inappropriately removed properly registered voters from the roles [see Greg Palast's most recent book].  The election was possibly "rigged" by the use of voting machines whose software is proprietary and not available for review.

Overt lying by the President for the sole purpose of self-agrandizement, lying which places into question a major hallmark of a democratic society, should be sufficient to label this narcisistic psychopathic con artist as unfit for office.

Nominate an Educator for Secretary of Education

Not a billionaire contributor who has not attended, and whose children have not attended, public schools. 

Shut down firing ranges and marksmanship programs affiliated with JROTC programs in the nation's high schools.  

Not too sure this is a good idea to go ahead with this project at this time, considering the controversy over it, at the present time, in North Dakota. We have plenty of oil. In fact, we are awash in the stuff at the present time. In order to keep a modicum of peace, put it on the shelf, for now, and maybe consider it some time down the road, if oil is needed.

OMG! The Keystone and DAPL pipelines are the last things we need if the earth is to survive climate change. The fossils need to stay in the ground. Reverse this terrible act immediately!

GMO foods are developed to withstand high doses of toxic pesticides, some of which have been linked to cancer.  In order to safeguard the health of Federal workers and to avoid exorbitant  health care costs, the President should sign an executive order mandating that all food purchased by the US Government be GMO free.

How high is the atmosphere? I will give it to you, 60 miles, beyond that is considered outer space. You can't breath above 15,000 feet. That's only about 3 miles . There are how many people breathing and making use of available energy sources? 

I'm sure you can do even better. Have at it: http://commentstotrump.org

Talk Nation Radio: Sarah Van Gelder on The Revolution Where You Live

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-sarah-van-gelder-on-the-revolution-where-you-live

As co-founder and executive director of Yes! Magazine, Sarah van Gelder leads the framing and development of each issue of Yes! and writes a column introducing each issue. Sarah blogs at Yes! and Huffington Post, writes articles and does interviews for Yes! Magazine, and speaks on leading-edge innovations that show that another world is not only possible, it is being created. Her new book is called The Revolution Where You Live: Stories From a 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

The War Horror Has Begun

Here we are on Day 5 of the Donald Trump presidency, and he's got "special" forces of the U.S. military in two-thirds of the world's nations. He's engaged in serious occupation and/or bombing campaigns in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. He just sent malicious robot airplanes armed with missiles to blow to pieces a bunch of vaguely-identified but never indicted "criminals" in Yemen. Their body parts were widely scattered and their loved ones devastated. The injured writhed in agony.

We made it through a presidential campaign in which a debate moderator asked if a candidate would be willing to kill thousands of innocent children, and in which Donald Trump promised to "kill their families" and "steal their oil." And here we are on Trump's very first Terror Tuesday, and he's already in possession of the most expensive and extensive military machine ever seen on earth. His speed is remarkable. Already he has troops in 175 nations (and announcers are thanking them for watching sporting events as if it were all just normal).

A "Terror Tuesday," for those who haven't yet heard, is a day on which a president goes through a list of men, women, and children and picks which ones to have murdered. Don't ask me where this tradition came from. The point is that it now belongs to President Trump, should he choose to make use of it. President Trump, need I remind you, is a Republican.

But various subordinates of the president have been authorized, or perhaps authorized themselves, to order drone murders. Those that occurred yesterday in Yemen were quite likely carried out without any involvement from Donald Trump, other than his responsibility under the Constitution for what his subordinates do.

Trump, in fact, was engaged in bombing the hell out of Mosul, Iraq, and parts of Libya as well, on the very day he was inaugurated, and even before he was inaugurated. He's got 8,000 troops plus mercenaries, contractors, and allied troops adding up to over 40,000 people occupying Afghanistan -- a war that his predecessor had ended. And he had this force in place even before inauguration. He's got a major war underway in Iraq, another war famously ended by the guy who came before him. And this war, too, he started even before showing up in Washington.

Trump even went in person to the CIA on Day 1 and announced that the United States should have somehow stolen all of Iraq's oil and might still do so. This created massive confusion among the journalists and approximately 8 members of the public who heard about it, because of course the U.S. military is in Iraq on the side of the Iraqi people (just don't ask them) and so it would be nonsensical for the U.S. to attack Iraq.

Trump and those around him have also threatened war with China over the South China Sea, although when a journalist tried to get Trump's press secretary to commit to it on Day 4, he declined.

Oddly, much of this new war horror show has passed without notice, as though it were somehow just a continuation of acceptable norms. What has horrified the press corps, however, is the danger that peace might break out in Syria, and further hostilities risking World War III with Russia might be delayed. Liberals are also quite upset that Trump might question claims coming out of the CIA.

So it's not as though the public is completely failing to react to the new horrors of war. One might even go so far as to say that wide swaths of the U.S. public are behaving on the model of a Nobel Peace laureate.

The So-Called Intelligence So-Called Community's Dumb Isolated View of the Future

Thank you to Tom Engelhardt for pointing out that the people who couldn't predict the end of the Soviet Union, the crimes of 9-11, the decency of numerous whistleblowers, the election of Donald Trump, the likelihood that utilities in Vermont would point out that they had not been hacked by Russians, or -- I'm willing to bet -- the timing of rush hour in Northern Virginia, have just predicted the shape of the future of everything. Of course they've gotten it all ridiculously wrong, but they have revealed things about themselves rather than about the world in the process.

Many of us would list climate chaos and nuclear war as the big dangers to avoid. The "community" of U.S. spies lists: "the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics" as examples of dangers the future holds. These people may be paid billions of dollars by us primarily to keep secrets, but they don't keep their contempt for democracy secret very well.

They do admit to the obvious: "For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War." But they don't actually mean that this might be for the better. They interpret it as a catastrophic victory for barbarians. Here's their very next sentence: "So, too, perhaps is the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II." Dethroning the United States does not, of course, guarantee anarchy. It could mean more respect for rules than before. But belief in the inevitability of anarchy might help make it more likely as it motivates U.S. behaviors. That's why these "intelligence" people are not just useless but dangerous.

So here's what I think

Why Impeach Donald Trump

By David Swanson, FireDonaldTrump.org

What are the grounds for impeachment?

They will likely be piling up rapidly. President Trump did use Day 1 to advise the CIA that the United States should have stolen all of Iraq's oil. But here is a place to start. We already have a president who is violating two clauses in the U.S. Constitution, one forbidding any gifts or benefits from foreign governments, the other forbidding the same from the U.S. government or any U.S. state. This is the result of Donald Trump refusing to separate himself from major business interests as past presidents have done. Those interests will also inevitably involve Trump in violating the STOCK Act which forbids the use of non-public government information to make a private profit.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: "The President ... shall not receive ... any other emolument from the United States, or any of them." This means that the President cannot receive personal financial gains from the United States government or from the governments of any of the 50 states while he is president. This restriction is absolute and cannot be waived by Congress. Trump is already in violation of it and will be more so with every law, rule, regulation, enforcement, or lack thereof that his subordinates, Congress, or any agency of the federal government enacts to the benefit of Trump's businesses and possessions.

For example, Trump's lease of the Old Post Office Building violates an explicit clause in the General Services Administration lease contract which states: "No ... elected official of the Government of the United States ... shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom." The GSA's failure to enforce that contract is an unconstitutional benefit to Trump.

Talk Nation Radio: Antonia Juhasz on Tillerson, Trump, and Oil

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-antonia-juhasz-on-tillerson-trump-and-oil

Antonia Juhasz is an energy analyst, author, and investigative reporter. She recently wrote a profile of Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for In These Times magazine. We discuss Tillerson and the oil spill he floated in on. See also:
http://www.antoniajuhasz.net

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Imagine the Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Peace

The idea has been floated and endlessly reintroduced in legislation since the founding of the United States of creating a Department of Peace. These efforts even resulted in 1986 in the creation of the USI”P” — the U.S. Institute of “Peace” which this week held events with Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Madeleine Albright, Chuck Hagel, William Perry, Stephen Hadley, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Rice, John Kerry, and Michael Flynn, and which in 2015 rejected proposals from the peace movement to have anything to do with advocating for peace. So the push to create a Department of Peace rolls on, generally ignoring the existence of the USI”P.”

I try to imagine what a senate confirmation hearing would look like for a nominee for Secretary of Peace. I picture the nominee being rolled in by his attendants and the questioning beginning something like this:

Talk Nation Radio: Millions Lose Their Minds Over Russia

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-millions-lose-their-minds-over-russia

This week on Talk Nation Radio: millions of Americans lose their everloving minds over unproven accusations against Russia, the ACLU and CAIR publish claim that war on Iraq has been to protect the U.S. Bill of Rights, and a torture report gets buried.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Allegations Against Russia Less Credible Every Day

The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple "reports" aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. What has been made is the case for writing your own news coverage. The "reports" from the "intelligence community" are no lengthier than the New York Times and Washington Post articles about them. Why not just read the reports and cut out the middle-person?

The New York Times calls the latest report "damning and surprisingly detailed" before later admitting in the same "news" article that the report "contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions." A quick glance at the report itself would have made clear to you that it did not pretend to present a shred of evidence that Russia hacked emails or served as a source for WikiLeaks. Yet Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared the evidence in this evidence-free report "overwhelming." What should progressives believe, the best Congresswoman we've got or our own lying eyes?

Why Release the Torture Report Now

A young man was tortured in Chicago this week. It wasn’t an act of the Chicago police. It was live streamed on Facebook. And the President of the United States declared it an horrific hate crime.

The President did not advise “looking forward” rather than enforcing the law. Nor did he hold open the possibility that the crime might have served some higher purpose. In fact, he didn’t excuse the crime in any way that might help recommend it for imitation by others.

Yet this same president has forbidden the prosecution of U.S. government torturers for the past 8 years and has now seen fit to keep a four-year-old Senate report on their torture secret for at least 12 years more.

Yes, Positivity, Pangloss, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Populism

Eight years ago Yes! Magazine published a political platform of progressive policies, along with polling showing strong majority support for each proposal. Now, eight years later, we can show almost total failure to advance any of the proposals, most of which were focused on the U.S. federal government.

Where there have been any small successes, they have mostly come at the state or local level or outside the United States. New York State just took a step toward free college and Washington State toward shutting down fossil fuels while everyone was watching Donald Trump's twitter feed. Most of the world's nations are working on a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons from the earth, while Obama's government has invested heavily in new nukes and (far more offensively, I'm told) Trump has tweeted about them.

The general federal-level failure in the United States is very clearly because the U.S. government in Washington D.C. is a financially corrupted and anti-democratic structure, and because the U.S. public is generally disinclined to hold it accountable. The United States enjoys remarkably less activism than many other countries, and suffers as a result.

A huge reason for the activism shortage is partisan loyalty. Of that minority of people who will do anything at all, many will only make demands of or protest members of one political party. For the other party all is forgiven. And most policy positions are utterly expendable at the slightest shift in the party line. Witness the current Democratic fever for believing the CIA on faith and desiring hostility toward Russia.

Talk Nation Radio: Dave Webb on Keeping Weapons and Nuclear Power Out of Space

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-dave-webb-on-keeping-weapons-and-nuclear-power-out-of-space

Dave Webb is a member of the World Beyond War Coordinating Committee and chair of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and well as Vice President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: http://space4peace.org

Webb is an Emeritus Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Leeds Beckett University (previously  Leeds Metropolitan University). Webb has been involved in the campaign to scrap the UK Trident nuclear weapons system and has also focused on campaigning to close two U.S. bases in Yorkshire (where he lives) – Fylingdales (a missile defence radar base) and Menwith Hill (the huge NSA spy base).

We discuss the upcoming 25th Annual Global Network Conference & Protest: "Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense & the Weaponization of Space" to be held on April 7-9, 2017, in Huntsville, Alabama: http://space4peace.org

 

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump

To many Democrats for whom killing a million people in Iraq just didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and who considered Obama's bombing of eight nations and the creation of the drone murder program to be praiseworthy, Trump will be impeachable on Day 1.

Indeed Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. Here's a "progressive" Democrat:

"In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. ... By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy."

There's a bit of a nod there -- in the word "investigations" -- to the lack of any evidence that Russia manipulated any U.S. election, yet that manipulation is stated as fact, and a failure to support further sanctions as punishment for it becomes "aid and comfort." What level of punishment exactly constitutes the absence of aid and comfort? And how does that level of punishment compare with the level likely to produce war or nuclear holocaust? Who knows.

Failure to sufficiently punish a foreign government, even for an actual proven offense, has never been a high crime and misdemeanor. The United States is in fact bound by the Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the United Nations Charter to take any such dispute to arbitration and to settle it by pacific means. But that would require producing some evidence rather than mere allegations. Lawless "punishment" is much easier.

But further evidence can emerge to counter the claim. The lack of evidence for the claim can weigh ever more heavily on public opinion. And the dangers of creating further hostility with Russia can enter the consciousness of additional people.

Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate the U.S. Constitution in terms of not only foreign but also domestic corruption. That's a perfectly overwhelming case for impeachment and removal from office that doesn't require opposing a single incident of mass murder or offending a single Pentagon contractor.

Beyond that, Trump is becoming president after election day intimidation, the partisan-based removal of voters from the rolls, and opposition to attempting to count paper ballots where they existed. He's arriving with the stated policies of unconstitutionally discriminating against Muslims, murdering families, stealing oil, torturing, and proliferating nuclear weapons.

In other words, Donald Trump will be from Day 1 an impeachable president, and Democrats will have already spent months building their campaign around the one thing that won't work. Imagine what will happen after all their hearings and press conferences, when their supporters find out that they aren't even accusing Vladimir Putin of hacking into election machines, that in fact they are accusing unknown individuals of hacking into Democrats' emails, and that they are then vaguely speculating that those individuals could have been sources for WikiLeaks, thereby informing the U.S. public of what was quite obvious and ought to have been widely reported for the good of the U.S. government, namely that the DNC rigged its primary.

By the time the Democrats beat themselves to the floor with this charade, more facts will likely have come out regarding WikiLeaks' actual source(s), and more hostility will likely have been stirred up with Russia. The war hawks have already got Trump talking up nuclear escalation.

Luckily there is an ace in the hole. There is something else that Democrats will be eager to hold Trump accountable for. And give Trump a month and he'll produce it. I'm referring, of course, to that greatest fear of Our Beloved Founding Fathers, the ultimate high crime and misdemeanor: the presidential sex scandal.

ACLU & CAIR Use Gold Star Father to Claim War on Iraq Was for Bill of Rights

Are you old enough to remember when liberal groups openly admitted that the war on Iraq was illegal and fraudulent, based on oil and profit and sadism?

Well, can you recall when the proponents of the war claimed it was a defense against nonexistent ties to terrorists and nonexistent weapons?

Even if you've wiped those memories, let me assure you, NOBODY ever claimed that attacking and destroying Iraq was necessary to protect civil liberties in the United States (which have been seriously eroded during the course of the war).

Yet, in recent months the generic defense of murdering large numbers of people far away has taken over as the explanation for the war on Iraq.

The ACLU on Friday used the voice of my fellow Charlottesvillian Khizr Khan to claim that attacking Iraq was done "in defense of our country's ideals."

To Weapons Dealers, Laws Are Decorative Holiday Ornaments

You might be forgiven for imagining that laws are serious things. When you violate them, you can be locked in a cage for decades. That’s not true for big-time weapons dealers like the U.S. government.

Two years after the creation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the news is that it’s failing in Yemen. I’m hard pressed to see why it isn’t, thus far, failing everywhere. The weapons dealers keep dealing weapons by the tens of billions of dollars exactly as if nothing has changed.

Here (courtesy of the CIA-funded Amazon data cloud) is the key text of the treaty:

“. . . A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms . . . if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party . . . .”

The dominant weapons dealer, the U.S. government, has not ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. The second-place dealer in instruments of death, Russia, has not either. Neither has China. Certainly France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have ratified it, but they seem to have little difficulty ignoring it. They’ve even ratified the convention on cluster bombs but, at least in the case of the UK, ignore that one too. (The U.S. has temporarily paused its sales of cluster bombs, but not ratified the treaty.)

And another 87 nations have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, none of which do any significant weapons dealing on the scale of the top 6, but plenty of which violate the treaty in their own small ways.

The U.S. has very similar laws on its own books already and long has. Ignoring them, or taking advantage of the ability to waive them, has become routine. The United States is far and away the biggest seller of weapons, giver of weapons, producer of weapons, buyer of weapons, deliverer of weapons to poor countries, and deliverer of weapons to the Middle East. It sells or gives weapons to all types of nations just as if no restrictions applied. Yet, here are some U.S. laws almost pretty enough to frame on the wall:

“No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. . . .

“. . . Of the amounts made available to the Department of Defense, none may be used for any training, equipment, or other assistance for a unit of a foreign security force if the Secretary of Defense has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

And there’s this one:

“The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. . . .”

This one may actually have been written with the assistance of medical marijuana:

“No [weaponry] shall be sold or leased by the United States Government under this chapter to any country or international organization . . . unless —

(1) the President finds that the furnishing . . . to such country or international organization will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace. . . .”

This may come as shocking news, but none of the weapons sales made by the United States or any other nation thus far in the history of the world has promoted world peace. None has reduced — on the contrary, all have increased — terrorism. All have constituted gross violations of human rights. All have been transferred with knowledge that they would be used against civilians and in violation of international laws. Here are a few of those laws:

The Hague Convention of 1899:

“. . . the Signatory Powers agree to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences. In case of serious disagreement or conflict, before an appeal to arms, the Signatory Powers agree to have recourse, as far as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more friendly Powers.”

The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”

The United Nations Charter:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. . . .”

The United States has temporarily halted some of its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, while continuing others and continuing to actively wage war alongside Saudi Arabia against the people of Yemen. This is no more or less a violation of law and morality than U.S. weapons sales to Iraq or South Korea or (gifts to) Israel or the United States itself. No amount of lawyerly rejiggering of terminology, selective definition of “terrorism,” or narrowing of what counts as a “human right” can change that.

Yet the shoplifters go to jail while the weapons dealers walk free. None of the death dealing nations solves or even strives to solve its disputes by pacific means any more than every heroin user is a model citizen, yet the weapons — like the drugs — keep flowing.

The International Criminal Court denies itself the right to prosecute the crime of war (only “war crimes”) or to challenge the U.N.’s dominant powers (coincidentally the world’s major weapons dealers) or to prosecute crimes by non-members of the ICC committed in the territories of non-members. Yet when Barack Obama drone-murders people in the Philippines (a member), the ICC is silent. And in Afghanistan (another member) it suggests that it might someday see fit to open a prosecution.

Obviously the answer to this charade is not utter lawlessness. Here are some partial answers:

Tell the ICC to prosecute all criminals equally.

Build pressure for divestment from weapons dealers.

Tell the next U.S. president we’ll stand for no more wars.

Join a movement to replace war with wiser behaviors.

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

From all around the globe, nearly 50,000 people have signed this statement:

I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.

Anyone inclined to can sign it here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/individual

In each of 143 countries, somewhere between 1 and several thousand people have signed. The purpose of the statement is to begin organizing a truly global movement. But certain countries are missing. Let’s resolve to add them to the map in 2017.

Obviously there exists at least one person in Venezuela and in Cuba and in Honduras and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who wants to end all war. As in most countries, it is likely that most people in those countries want to do so. But who will be the first to put their name down?

Organizations can sign too, and several hundred have done so at: http://worldbeyondwar.org/organization

Can we find signers who will sign online or on hardcopy in Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara, Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, Chad, Angola?

What about in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, North Korea, or Papua New Guinea?

Beyond adding a single signer in each of these places, we want to add volunteer leaders who will join the global coordination of educational and activist efforts to rid our species of the disease of militarism before it rids the planet of us.

In 143 countries people have already signed and in a growing list have become active. World Beyond War now has country coordinators all over the world and is hiring paid staff to begin in January and work with them to accelerate our growth and intensify our activities.

Do you know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Do you know anyone who might know anyone who might know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Can you bring sign up sheets to any events you organize or attend in 2017 and ask everyone to sign, then mail them in (or photograph and email them in)? This is how we’ll grow. And this growth combined with the power of our message will change the world.

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-richard-cahan-on-the-forced-removal-and-incarceration-of-japanese-americans

Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows and Richard Nickel’s Chicago. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums.

We discuss the new photo book co-authored by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith.

Those standards are gone.

The common wisdom that Vladimir Putin hacked into Democratic and Republican emails and fed the Democratic ones to WikiLeaks which delegitimized an otherwise legitimate election, is not based on any public evidence, and none is asked for by most believers.

The premise that possessing weapons justifies being attacked was patently absurd in 2003. The U.S. openly possessed all the weapons it claimed Iraq had. The premise that (further) exposing a rigged primary harms, rather than facilitating, election integrity, is strictly nuts in 2016. WikiLeaks and any source(s) deserve our thanks.

But the standard of evidence has been altered. It's certainly possible the Russian government hacked the emails. It's even possible that Russia was the source for WikiLeaks, and that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are deluded or lying, that Bill Binney is mistaken, and that all the anomalies in the claims of Russian hacking can be explained away. But the expectation that some sort of evidence should be produced no longer exists.

One reason for this is that during the Obama years wars were launched without public debates and marketing campaigns. Continuing and escalating the war on Afghanistan was simply done, without discussion. Continuing war on Iraq -- which still continues -- was done without requiring any of the pretenses used to escalate it in 2003. Launching hundreds of mini-wars in the form of drone murders took public debate out of the picture by definition, just as the presidential possession of a nuclear button has aided the decades-long re-imagining of Congress as a group of court jesters.

When Obama has made unproven and implausible claims about looming massacres in Libya or Iraq, or chemical weapons use in Syria, or airplanes shot down in Ukraine, or coups in Ukraine, or "moderate" terrorists, or Iranian nukes, or drone war success in Yemen, or the nature or legality of drone murders, there has been no general request for evidence. Even with the claims about Syrian chemical weapons in 2013, the public and Congress said no to escalating the war in a visible manner, but did not focus on demanding evidence for claims.

Enter Trump, professing a desire to (continue to) "kill their families" and to "steal their oil," and gone is any rationale for making any dubious claims in need of any evidence. If the Trumpists will believe in millions of repeat voters just because he says so, the anti-Trumpists will believe any anti-Trump-and-Russia story just because the CIA says so.

This thinking is not necessarily conscious and explicit. Those intent on taking the CIA on faith remain proud of considering the evidence of climate change. But when you combine anti-Trump with pro-Hillary plus xenophobia plus the demonization of Putin, some people lose all perspective. And when the past 13 years have been spent eroding the idea that a public case against a foreign target should include evidence, the sale is made quite easily.

So, yes, I miss the days of Dubya. I miss the days when the U.S. government pretended not to torture. The President "Elect" now promises to torture. Why? Because President Obama forbade prosecution of the crime of torture, allowed torture to continue, outsourced much of it, and replaced a lot of the torture program with a new murder program (using drones). And because the U.S. media pretended that torture had been legal under Bush and was somehow made illegal by an Obama "executive order," which is not a law.

I miss the days when lawless prisons like Guantanamo that kept people imprisoned without charge or conviction were deemed shameful and worthy of abolition. These Obama supposedly legalized with another "executive order." Now Trump says he'll pack the prisons.

I miss the days when unconstitutional mass surveillance, or mass deportations, or the rewriting of laws by presidents was illicit and scandalous. Now these things are generally accepted. So here's my question to good liberal Americans:

How is not impeaching Bush working out for you?

Letting Bush's impeachable offenses slide almost required letting Obama's slide, as there was such overlap. But now you've created a presidency of truly imperial power.

The point of impeaching and removing Bush would not have been to make Dick Cheney president, any more than the point of studying history is that your school has assigned that class to the football coach.

The point of impeaching Bush would have been to create a President Cheney in fear of being impeached, followed by other presidents in fear of being impeached.

Why can basketball announcers grasp that Duke's Allen Grayson might not be tripping opponents this year if he'd been suspended for a game or two when he did it last year, but political analysts can't grasp that if Bush had been impeached, or even an effort made to impeach him, we might not now -- like India -- have a twitter-loving right-wing nationalist preparing to create Muslim registries and enforced flag worship?

So, here's an idea. We can't go back in time. But we can start now. Trump is going to violate the Constitutional bans on domestic and foreign presents and "emoluments" on day one, and likely begin piling up original as well as familiar impeachable offenses during his first week.

But just as the only conceivable way to get Trump into office was to nominate Hillary Clinton, the surest way to derail an impeachment campaign against Trump will be to load it down with dubious claims about Russia.

See if you can predict what the Democrats will do.

Talk Nation Radio: Vincent Emanuele on Wars for Oil Companies; Robert Alvarez on Department of Energy for Nuclear Weapons

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-vincent-emanuele-on-wars-for-oil-robert-alvarez-on-dept-of-energy-for-nukes

Vincent Emanuele joined the United States Marine Corps as a squad automatic machine gunner in 2002. After two combat-deployments in Iraq, he refused orders for a third and immediately began organizing with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

In 2008, Vince testified to Congress at the Winter Soldier Hearings on Capitol Hill, where he provided detailed accounts of war crimes, atrocities, drug abuse and sexual assault within the military.

See https://www.facebook.com/vincentjr.emanuele

Emanuele is just back from Standing Rock and discusses environmental and antiwar strategy. This show contains the second half of a discussion begun last week.

Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Strategic International Studies. He is considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on civilian and military nuclear programs.

Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Between 1988 and 1993, Mr. Alvarez served on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator John Glenn (D-OH).

His work has appeared in Ambio, Science and Global Security, Science, the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Issues in Science and Technology (the magazine of the National Academy of Sciences), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and other publications. Mr. Alvarez won the John Barlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism and has been featured on CBS
“60 minutes,” the PBS NOVA show, NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times, and several documentary films.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

What Racist Registries Look Like

A new large photo book has just been published called Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

People who support creating a Muslim registry should take a look. Here are the victims before, in their small farms and their LA mansions. Here they are being forcibly removed. Here they are incarcerated. Here is what was done to their homes in their absence. Here they are in the camps, prisoners for nothing, and after their release.

To this day, no proof has ever been produced that any Japanese American planned to assist Japan in war against the United States in any way. Nor was there reason to think so at the time. Instead there was open admission of racist and greedy motivations on the part of government officials and white farmers respectively.

These photographs were the U.S. government's own documentation of its crime, and the hired photographers included Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others with the talent to capture stories in stills. The accompanying text by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams expands one's understanding.

In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started.

In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by J. Edgar Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion.

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Julie Varughese

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

 

Ads:

Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on Ca-Dress.com

Buy Books

Get Gear

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.