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We're years behind Tunisia and Egypt in public understanding of how government of, by, and for the people works, but some in the United States have been inspired and begun forming a path that has real potential. In New York City, students, academics, activists, and workers have joined together to resist the global-national-local agenda of plutocracy being pushed by Mayor Bloomberg.
The numbers are small, but the alliance joining workers with students important. And the approach is exactly right. This group is attempting to interfere with the work of City Hall until City Hall comes to represent the people of New York City. And they are attempting to do this, not for an hour or a day, but until they are satisfied that the tide is turning in a better direction.
See this blog: http://bloombergvillenow.org
And this one: http://nocutsny.wordpress.com
And this one: http://www.nycisnot4sale.com
When a national television program this week needed to find a spokesperson for the right of presidents to launch wars without congressional authorization, it turned -- to the great shame of us University of Virginia alumni -- to Robert Turner. He is the co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law.
The arguments made to "legalize" war, torture, warrantless spying, and other crimes by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and their gang are looking rational, well-reasoned, and impeccably researched in comparison with Obama's latest "legalization" of the Libya War.
Here's the key section from Wednesday's report to Congress:
"In addition, the bill eliminates the 'Youth Media Campaign,' prohibits funds for the EOP to prepare “signing statements,” which has been used in the past to undermine or circumvent laws passed by Congress, and requires reports on the costs and regulatory burdens caused by the flawed Dodd-Frank financial legislation."
On Wednesday in federal court, 10 members of the U.S. Congress sued President Obama in an attempt to end U.S. involvement in a war in Libya.
These are the plaintiffs: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Dan Burton (R-IN).
According to a statement from Congressman Kucinich:
Pentagon Washington Post has yet to mention Section 1034 of the Defense Authorization Act of 2012, but you can expect it -- if it passes the Senate -- to show up in many a future editorial, as it will give presidents the "legal" (although unconstitutional) power to launch and continue wars, something the Washington Post adores. A Post editorial on Monday demanded that no withdrawal of troops be made from Afghanistan. Never mind these promises:
"After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home … [O]ur troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended – because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own." – President Barack Obama, 1 December 2009
I ran into some of your employees, John, at Boston Logan airport, believe it or not. In fact, I had no choice but to run into them or I couldn't get home.
Now, I had just flown from London to Boston without blowing up the airplane, and in fact the Heathrow coppers have their own Insecurity Theater similar to yours. But that didn't matter. I couldn't continue on to our nation's corporate headquarters on the Potomac without being further treated as a mass-murderer, as all my compatriots so happily submit to. One has to wonder if some people actually take it as a sick compliment in some sort of dark fantasy.
LONDON -- Before long public pressure might just lead Britain to drop out of participation in US wars, a move that would seriously damage future pretenses of acting as an international coalition.
I've spent the past few days here in London talking with leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, sitting in on a weekly planning meeting, and attending a day-long conference on building opposition to the Afghanistan and Libya wars. This movement is strong, smart, well-organized, and eager to work with other peace movements around the world.
Remarks from a plenary at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here, and for having invited me to a similar conference five years ago. Maybe in 2016 we can meet under better circumstances. I'm especially glad to have come back to Europe because George W. Bush can no longer do so. He recently canceled a trip to Switzerland because an indictment for torture awaited him there.
It is an honor to speak together with Tony Benn, Lindsey German, Sanasino Al-Yemen, Mohammed Kozbar, and George Galloway, whose wonderful TV show I was on yesterday.
Remarks from a session at the Stop the War Coalition's June 11, 2011, conference in London on "Afghanistan and the War on Terror: 10 Years On."
I want to thank the Stop the War Coalition and Lindsey German in particular for having invited me here. And it is an honor to speak together with Steve Bell and Kevin Ovenden, and I'm sorry Joe Glenton was unable to be here. Kevin and I will be on "The Real Deal" with George Galloway tomorrow, so please watch.
Afghanistan was supposed to be the campaign promise that President Barack Obama actually kept. He said he would escalate that war and enlarge the military and strike into Pakistan, and sure enough he did. But he made another promise since the election that we actually want him to keep, and he's going to violate it before the next election. Clearly we need an activist force apart from elections to address this.
By David Swanson
Opening Remarks at a Dialogue With Islam.
I want to thank Shahinoor Ali and http://dialoguewithislam.org for inviting me and I'm honored to speak together with Dr. Azzam Tamami.
I don't know about the West, but I have some thoughts on the United States. I recently flew from California to Washington, D.C., and when the plane landed, the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.
Set aside for a moment the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being -- which despite the pilot's prompting nobody on the plane did. In purely Realpolitik terms, killing prominent individuals whom we've previously supported has never resolved anything.
I, Robert Gates, resign my position as Secretary of Defense of the United States of America with deep regret for actions that do not reflect my true values. For decades I have experienced a steady lapse of judgment for which I accept full responsibility. I lied about the strength of the Soviet Union and failed to see its collapse coming. I lied about abandoning Afghanistan and went on funding terrorists. I've been lying about cutting the military budget while actually increasing it. I've pushed for war escalations and fought against withdrawals. I'm sincerely sorry for these mistakes. I apologize to those my actions have killed, wounded, disemboweled, traumatized, or driven suicidal. Above all I apologize to my wife.
They're libertarian, I'm leftist. They want to close all public schools, I want to create a massive jobs program in green energy. And yet I tell you this:
Support http://antiwar.com because I need it to turn to for news on our wars
Go there right now and tell me if you've ever seen a more convenient, comprehensive, and compelling source of news on our numerous ongoing wars.
Antiwar.com needs our support in order to keep doing what it's doing, including Antiwar Radio.
Give them a hand!
The New York Times has this headline:
"Steeper Pullout Is Raised as Option for Afghanistan"
over an article that takes what was earlier reported as a possible withdrawl of 5,000 troops and contractors (or 2.5% of the 200,000 in Afghanistan) and reduces it to:
"3,000 to 5,000 troops."
I am assuming that actually means troops AND contractors, rather than troops plus a similar number of contractors as well.
According to the NY Times, the withdrawal in July could be EVEN MORE that that. Wow! But no number is given. Instead the idea of withdrawing a mere 30,000 is pushed off into the distant future as an ultimate goal.
When other nations' governments go off track, their people do something about it. In Tunisia and Egypt people have nonviolently claimed power in a way that has inspired Americans in Wisconsin and other states, as well as the people of Spain and the rest of the world.
Washington, D.C., is the weakest point in our democracy, without which state-level reform cannot succeed. Most Americans want our wars ended, our corporations and billionaires taxed, and our rights expanded rather than curtailed. We want our money invested in jobs and green energy, not a global military that can't stop itself. Our government in Washington goes in the opposite direction, opposing popular will on these major issues, regardless of personality or party.
UPDATE: HRes292 passed. HCR51 failed.
The U.S. House of Representatives today will vote on two resolutions.
H.C.R. 51 sponsored by Dennis Kucinich would -- if also passed by the Senate -- have the force of law and end the Libya War. If this does not pass, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said on the floor this morning, there are no circumstances in which a president will not be able to go to war at his/her whim.
Fearing that Kucinich's resolution might pass, Speaker John Boehner has introduced H.Res. 292, a toothless resolution that would not carry any force and not even go to the Senate for a vote. This resolution admits that the war is unauthorized but does not end it or even suggest ending it.
Congress members are speaking in support of congressional power but bowing to partisan power and presidential power. They need to hear from you.
Call (202) 224-3121
Tell your representative you want a lawmaker, not a court jester.
Speaker of the House John Boehner is expected to bring to a vote on Friday a remarkable resolution called H. Res. 292. This document restores a damaged U.S. Constitution to its full glory in much the way that a spray-on sunless tanning product could restore a collaterally damaged victim who had been liberated by white phosphorous.
Boehner has delayed a vote on a straightforward resolution (H.C.R. 51) that would end U.S. war in Libya. Here's the full text:
"Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution."
Yes, yes, poverty exists, just as war does, and the two feed off each other. When I titled a book "War Is A Lie" I meant that the justifications offered for wars were false and that the idea that we must always have wars is false. Our government doesn't market new poverty campaigns in the same way it does wars. It markets campaigns to dismantle healthcare and pension systems or to eliminate foreign aid or to restrict organizing rights. But our culture pushes the false notion that poverty must always be with us.
If the U.S. Constitution says one thing, a treaty ratified by the United States says another, a law passed by Congress yet another, and another law passed by Congress another thing still, while a signing statement radically changes that last law but itself differs with an executive order, all of which statements of law conflict with a number of memos drafted by the Office of Legal Council (some secret and some leaked), but a President has announced that the law is something completely different from all of this, and in practice the government defies all of the above including the presidential announcement . . . in such a case, the obvious but possibly pointless question arises: what's legal?
The above theoretical example of legal confusion sounds extreme, but it is not far off the actual situation with regard to some of our most important public policies. Take the example of U.S. warmaking in Libya. Is that legal?
It is a crime to learn about a crime and not report it.
The Libya War is a crime.
The White House / Pentagon has pressured Congress to delay voting on ending the Libya War and to instead sit through a secret briefing about that crime.
Those who do so and stay silent become accomplices.
Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the recent Middle-East speech of Barak Obama many now feel this is a ‘new chapter’ in US diplomacy in the Muslim World. How realistic are these positive expectations or have we been on this road before?
To discuss these and other issues Dialogue With Islam has invited the following distinguished panel:
David Swanson (US Author and activist)
Sir David Blatherwick (former ambassorder of Egypt)
Dr Azzam Tamami (Director of the Islamic Institute of Political thought)
Tickets are £1 by reservation - Limited seats ( or £2 at the door)
Please note this is to cover the hiring of the venue; no profits are made from this event
Please text on 07956 411558
Date: Friday 10th June 2011
Venue: Jagonari Centre
183-185 Whitechapel Road,
Nearest Tube: Whitechapel Station and Aldgate East.
Memorial Day is nice, I suppose. Veterans Day is all right. Patriots Day can be fun. Yellow Ribbon Day's not bad. But you will be pleased to hear that on Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted, in pure bipartisan harmony, to add the following gem to the big war-funding, war-expanding, bill that now goes to the Senate:
"The President shall designate a day entitled a National Day of Honor to celebrate members of the Armed Forces who are returning from deployment in support of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat areas."
Catchy, ain't it? I can't wait to find out what day the President will so designate. I do hope it's my birthday, but I'm not trying to be greedy -- I know you all just had the same thought. While, oddly, not a single newspaper took notice, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Dem., Texas) proposed this historic bit of legislation on the floor of the House on Thursday thusly:
Here's George Will asking why the left does not demand Obama's impeachment for illegal war in Libya. Sure, one answer is that there's NOBODY in Congress, not one single member of any party, even pretending to be inclined to impeach Obama for this. But another answer is that Obama belongs to the Good Party, and if he belonged to the Bad Party then we would be obliged to object to illegal wars.
Get off your asses, people, and back Kucinich's resolution next week to end the war on Libya. And if it fails, then ramp up our demands. If the Senate goes along with the House next week, and if Obama does not veto the bill (as of course he does not want to do) then a new law will override the War Powers Act and "legalize" illegal wars. But the Constitution will remain rotting there in the National Archives. And the Constitution is a higher law than the Forever War Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
Watch for announcements of serious actions to be taken in October, but do not wait.