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By David Swanson
Remarks in Boca Raton, Fla., February 26, 2011
I really want to thank Nancy Parker and everyone who helped put this event together. I would have come just to hear the other two speakers. I've learned a lot from Sandy Davies and consider his book required reading for all Americans. And it's an honor to speak together with Ben Ferencz who has been advancing the rule of law since the age when -- more so than not -- the United States was a proponent of international justice.
Today's Palm Beach Post's article about Mr. Ferencz and this event begins with this sentence:
"War is such a widespread force in the world that the very idea of treating it as a crime seems both radical and quaint."
Pick up a copy of a 1040EZ US income tax form with all the instructions, particularly pages 36-37. Here are those two pages in a PDF. You'll discover that the U.S. government only spends 22% of its money on "National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs." The form admits that you could leave out the "foreign affairs" part and still be at 21%.
However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 54% of the budget going to the military.
21% and 54% aren't even close to each other. This is not "good enough for government work." This is our money. What gives?
Here's her website. She's not asking for money yet, but is asking people to sign up and keep informed. She won't spam you. You will want to know what she's doing. Please sign up now!
What: Winograd to Kick Off Campaign for Harman's Vacated Seat
When: Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 am
Where: In front of Fox Drug of Torrance (Old Town), 1327 El Prado, Torrance, 90501
Marcy Winograd, a veteran high school teacher and anti-war activist, will announce her candidacy in the June Special Election in California's 36th congressional district race.
In the recent June, 2010, Democratic Party primary, Winograd received 41% of the vote against now-resigning representative Jane Harman.
Says Winograd, "Our platform, then and now, is Jobs, Not Wars. Each week we spend 2-billion taxpayer dollars on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, while people at home are suffering without adequate jobs, housing, or health care. In Congress, I will fight to put people back to work in productive ways and to protect our social safety net from corporate greed and war profiteering."
Winograd adds, "Now is the time to join the international call for greater democracy, and to restore the people's voice to the people's House."
The founder of Progressive Democrats of America's Los Angeles chapter, Winograd calls herself "the true progressive" in the race.
An educator for fifteen years, Winograd teaches English at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, where she engages her students in civics, journalism, and debate.
Says Winograd, "I am not a career politician, jumping ship in search of a better opportunity. I am a long-time community organizer, rooted in the labor and peace movements. I am here to serve."
Anti-War Activist Enters California Special Election
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Marcy Winograd, an anti-war activist, will join the special election race for California’s 36th district Saturday in Torrance, toward the southern end of the coastal, Los Angeles-area district.
In 2010, Winograd held Rep. Jane Harman to just 59 percent in the Democratic primary. Harman will resign her seat Monday to take over a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Winograd enters a crowded primary field that includes Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D), California Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D) and Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb (R). A handful of other Democrats are expected to run as well.
The top two finishers in the all-party primary will advance to the general. Gov. Jerry Brown has two weeks from Monday to set the date for the special election.
Founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America, Winograd teaches English at Crenshaw High School in South Central Los Angeles.
In a press release, Winograd said her platform would focus on shifting the billions of dollars spent on the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan to domestic issues that need more funding. “In Congress, I will fight to put people back to work in productive ways and to protect our social safety net from corporate greed and war profiteering,” she said.
“I am not a career politician, jumping ship in search of a better opportunity,” Winograd said. “I am a long-time community organizer, rooted in the labor and peace movements. I am here to serve.”
2.24.11 Best-selling author and political analyst David Swanson joins Coy for an extended conversation about the events in Wisconsin. Swanson breaks down the comments made by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during the recent prank call by an imposter claiming to be well known philanthropist and political advocate David Koch. He also addresses the idea of a “class war” which we may or may not be witnessing in the Packer state. Finally, the two discuss the movement right here in Charlottesville to give UVA employees a “living wage.” Be sure to check out his most recent book War is a Lie.
The idea that wars are waged out of humanitarian concern may not at first appear even worthy of response. Wars kill humans. What can be humanitarian about that? But look at the sort of rhetoric that successfully sells new wars:
"This conflict started Aug. 2, when the dictator of Iraq invaded a small and helpless neighbor. Kuwait, a member of the Arab League and a member of the United Nations, was crushed, its people brutalized. Five months ago, Saddam Hussein started this cruel war against Kuwait; tonight, the battle has been joined."
Thus spoke President Bush the Elder upon launching the Gulf War in 1991. He didn't say he wanted to kill people. He said he wanted to liberate helpless victims from their oppressors, an idea that would be considered leftist in domestic politics, but an idea that seems to create genuine support for wars. And here's President Clinton speaking about Yugoslavia eight years later:
In the Great Law. Supposedly. The thing is, I can't find the text online. How GREAT can that law really be? Can anybody find it?
That was the argument made in a U.S. bestseller in 2009 written by a WWII historian whose father had raised the US flag on Iwo Jima. And the Roosevelt he had in mind was Teddy, not Franklin.
Needless to say, although countless people will say it quite angrily in my Email inbox in response to this article, you cannot simply blame an event on actions that occurred years before. A war is started by the people who start that war, in that instant, and there is no way for them to wiggle out of that responsibility. But, as everyone is eager to recognize when the context is more comfortable, all actions have consequences, and those consequences have further consequences. (As a warning that may further temper the vitriol, I would like to point out that Teddy was not a Democrat.)
2.21.11 Best-selling author David Swanson joins Coy to discuss the labor unrest in Wisconsin. Be sure to check out his most recent book War is a Lie.
Michael Nagler tells this story:
UPDATE: Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the World War II Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and founding father of the International Criminal Court, will make an important statement on U.S. foreign policy at an event with David Swanson and Sandy Davies in Boca Raton on Feb. 26, 2011.
David Swanson and Nicolas "Sandy" Davies in South Florida on Feb. 26, 2011
David Swanson will discuss and sign copies of "War Is A Lie".
Sandy Davies will discuss and sign copies of "Blood on Our Hands".
3-5 p.m. Saturday, February 26, 2011
Saint Andrews Estates South Auditorium
6045 Verde Trail South
Boca Raton, FL 33433
PLEASE RSVP to nparker0511 at gmail dot com
Sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America
"While most media continue to ignore the US-installed disaster in Iraq, author Nicolas Davies refuses to do so, and his book 'Blood on our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq' could not be released at a better time. This sweeping work covers US policy in Iraq that spans decades, and is written as a call to action for the US to begin following international law—not just in Iraq, but everywhere. For it was the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq that, more than perhaps anything else, continues to defile what is left of the tattered reputation of the US." -Dahr Jamail
"David Swanson’s War Is A Lie may be the most comprehensive antiwar statement available in the English language." — Kevin Young
"Not since General Smedley Butler's War is a Racket has a simpler, more brilliant, or truer book been published." — Geoffrey Millard
“David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page.” — Jeff Cohen
When a satirist published a phony U.S. government report in 1967 that recommended against allowing peace to ever break out, most people seemed to fall for the prank. Members of the news media were either in on the joke or victims. The copy I have is marked up with a yellow highlighter by someone who grew angrier and angrier through the book's pages. Toward the end, when the authors of the "report" advocated reviving slavery, the previous owner of my copy scrawled "BULL SHIT" in all caps across two pages.
This will be a familiar experience to anyone who has ever used both Twitter and sarcasm. No matter how outrageous the joke, there are those who will take it seriously and who will insist on taking it seriously even after having been let in on the joke. Thus the "Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace" still has believers in its authenticity despite being an obvious prank.
Speaking of Sex: An interview with Christopher Ryan
The psychologist and co-author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality looks at what the evidence says about humans’ “natural” state.
SPECIAL BOOK EXCERPT: War is A Lie
“There has probably never been a war that hasn’t been explained as an absolutely necessary, inevitable, and unavoidable last resort.”
Making Friends in High Places
Three American peace activists meet their young Afghani counterparts.
From THE HUMANIST
If Bradley Manning turns out to be the hero he appears to be, he will not be the first "detained" at Quantico.
In fact, Quantico once locked up the most decorated Marine in history, a Marine who would have been running the Marine Corps rather than getting locked up by it if he had known how to brown-nose the swivel-chair commanders as he called them, a Marine who had helped create Quantico years before, the first senior officer in the U.S. military to be arrested in the 65 years following the Civil War, and a serious fearless principled democratic hero whose heroism had nothing to do with the nasty tasks he took on as a U.S. Marine.
And do you know what they locked him up for? For revealing that Benito Mussolini had run a little girl over in his car and not even stopped.
Also on CounterSpin today, public interest groups and media activists of all stripes lined up to oppose the Comcast-NBC merger. And among the coalition of anti-merger activists was... Bloomberg, the media company owned by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. So what did they want? And did they get it? Journalist Aram Roston took a look at Bloomberg's media policy activism in a new piece for the Nation magazine. He'll join us to talk about it.
Video: Bread and Puppets Circus Explains Everything - With Music, Magic, and Headless People on Stilts
The U.S. Economy:
Bread and Puppets Circus
Random Row Bookstore
Feb 17, 2011
Video by David Swanson
In the wake of WMD-liar Curveball's videotaped confession, Colin Powell is demanding to know why nobody warned him about Curveball's unreliability. The trouble is, they did.
Can you imagine having an opportunity to address the United Nations Security Council about a matter of great global importance, with all the world's media watching, and using it to… well, to make shit up – to lie with a straight face, and with a CIA director propped up behind you, I mean to spew one world-class, for-the-record-books stream of bull, to utter nary a breath without a couple of whoppers in it, and to look like you really mean it all? What gall. What an insult to the entire world that would be.
Colin Powell doesn't have to imagine such a thing. He has to live with it. He did it on February 5, 2003. It's on videotape.
As we approach the 8th anniversary of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, and having just passed the 20th anniversary of another, it's worth reflecting on what's been accomplished through two wars and the intervening sanctions that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright so famously approved of even at the cost of a half million children's lives.
Whether or not one recklessly and misleadingly includes Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid in discussions of the federal discretionary budget, the fact remains that over half of the discretionary budget (of everything other than Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid) is military. The primary talking point coming out of the White House is the need to freeze all non-military discretionary spending. And yet it is difficult to find a progressive analysis of the budget President Obama proposed on Monday that even mentions the existence of the military.
2.14.11 Best-selling non-fiction author David Swanson joins Coy with an update on the revolution in Egypt. Swanson describes just how inspiring the revolution is to civil rights activists around the world. He notes the impact of non-violent training by the citizen activists in the streets of Egypt, and says that method of protest is more effective than military involvement. Along those lines, Swanson comments on the importance of the writings of noted non-violence author Gene Sharp being translated into Arabic. Finally, David gives his analysis of how the events in Egypt will influence American political action. Be sure to check out Swanson’s latest book War Is A Lie.
By David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
On Valentine's Day 2011, yet another U.S. judge agreed with yet another claim that President Obama has the right to protect members of the Bush-Cheney administration from prosecution for torture.
But a coalition of human rights groups spent the day visiting the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Spanish colsulates around the United States to share some love for a country that is working to prosecute former top Bush officials for torture.
Wael Ghonim Forgives and Kisses Soldiers, 60 Minutes Redeems Itself, Power of Internet and of Television Demonstrated
In this age of supposedly fighting against rulers and on behalf of oppressed peoples, the Vietnam War offers an interesting case in which the U.S. policy was to avoid overthrowing the enemy government but to work hard to kill its people. To overthrow the government in Hanoi, it was feared, would draw China or Russia into the war, something the United States hoped to avoid. But destroying the nation ruled by Hanoi was expected to cause it to submit to U.S. rule.
By David Swanson
Obama is seeking to cut off poor people's heat in the winter and AC in the summer, in a move that Bush attempted and saw blocked by ACORN.
This brings a whole new meaning to Obama's "ACORN who? Never met them in my life!" routine when Fox News destroyed the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now with a big assist from Congress.
Let's take a little trip back in time, shall we? All the way baaaaaaaaack to 2003:
While 50 ACORN members were in the Illinois Republican Party headquarters, the phone rang, and an ACORN member answered it "ACORN, Can I help you?"
On the other end, they said, "What, ACORN? Wait a minute, this is the Republican Party in D.C. calling the Republican Party in Illinois."
By David Swanson
Muslims can look back to the classic nonviolent struggle against British empire waged by the Pashtuns from 1930-1934 in what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. The leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgar movement makes every list of campaigns chronicling the development of modern nonviolent activism.
Nonviolence is also the dominant tool of resistance in the Middle East -- resistance to local corruption and to foreign occupation alike. Nonviolence doesn't make it into corporate news reporting very much, and there are two main explanations for that. One, terrorism sells newspapers. Two, democracy threatens corporate power.
By David Swanson
To kneel before the corporate throne of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And here's what he had to say there on Monday.
President Obama again stressed that he wanted to freeze non-war/military spending well into the next president's tenure:
"That's why I've proposed that we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Understand what this means. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and bring this spending -- domestic discretionary spending -- down to the lowest share of our economy since Eisenhower was president. That was a long time ago."
President Obama again pretended that Social Security is breaking a budget that it is not in any way a part of, and that Social Security is in trouble. (In reality the damage he did to it a few months back could be repaired and more by simply requiring people with large incomes to pay in at the same rate as people with small ones):
By David Swanson
What makes the most fantastic and undocumented war-launching and war-prolonging lies credible are differences and prejudices, against others and in favor of our own. Without religious bigotry, racism, and patriotic jingoism, wars would be harder to sell.
Religion has long been a justification for wars, which were fought for gods before they were fought for pharaohs, kings, and emperors. If Barbara Ehrenreich has it right in her book "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War," the earliest precursors to wars were battles against lions, leopards, and other ferocious predators of people. In fact, those predatory beasts may be the base material from which gods were invented — and unmanned drones named (e.g. "the Predator").