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From David Swanson:
I'm looking forward to speaking at the Athens Human Rights Festival in Athens, Ga., on May 14 and 15, 2011.
I'm also looking forward to hearing the great line-up of speakers, poets, singers, and musicians.
Here's the schedule.
This festival began in 1979 to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Kent State murders. That first year, Gene Guerrero (Director - Georgia American Civil Liberties Union) urged students to oppose the reinstatement of the draft. Attorney Hue Henry criticized UGA President Fred Davison's "pattern of arrogance" and supported the Free Speech Task Force's lawsuit against the Board of Regents' policy of preventing students from addressing Board meetings. Gary Appelson (Athenians for Clean Energy) appealed for unity to fight nuclear power. Promoting solar energy, Appelson said, "We think we are free to go to war and to interfere in the Middle East. Americans are oil junkies." Tommy Jordan played acoustic guitar and has performed at every festival since.
At the 1981 festival, Dave Dellinger warned, "If the world is going to survive, the resurgence of the peace movement must continue," and Elton Manzione (Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Grass Roots Organizing Workshop - GROW) spoke from his experience as a Navy SEAL.
The history of the Athens Human Rights Festival is one of relentless support for human rights, including the rights of humans targeted by the United States military.
This is an example to most U.S. human rights groups.
And the music makes this event an example for most activist productions. This is the revolution with the music.
I hope to see you there:
SATURDAY May 14th 10 a.m. to midnight
SUNDAY 2 pm to 10 pm
College Square, Athens, Ga.
Rain or Shine.
The New York Times has posted seven super-short columns on how to cut the U.S. military. All seven seem to support cutting the military in one way or another. That's excellent, and I don't mean to complain, but . . . .
The United States has the largest military in the world. We could cut it by 85% and still have the largest military in the world. And that's without counting all the military spending that we funnel through departments other than the Pentagon, spending that brings our annual total to around $1 trillion.
The New York Times published an op-ed on May 7th by a professor here in Charlottesville, Va., arguing that celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden is actually a good thing, because in so celebrating we are building solidarity with those we view as part of our exclusive group. Implicit in this argument is that we can do no better. Bonding over our common hatred of an outsider is better than no bonding at all, and therefore we should rebrand such hatred as altruism. Or so says psychology professor Jonathan Haidt.
And why? Why was putting the Nazis on trial rather than simply putting bullets in their heads not just an unusual occurrence but a physiological impossibility, something that did not occur because it could not have? Why? Because professor Haidt has read some research on ants, bees, and termites.
This will be a very short pop quiz. Post your answers below.
Who is this person?
He's the most powerful person ever.
He has sole command of the most powerful and profitable military and death squads ever.
He's the most corporate national leader ever.
He spent more money to get into office than anyone else ever.
He is the focus of a huge cult of personality, patriotism, partisanship, and obedience.
He oversees the most high-tech illegal spying apparatus ever.
He engages in lawless imprisonment and torture and assassination.
He depends on extreme secrecy, dishonesty, and immunity.
He's taken part in one of the largest transfers of wealth upward ever.
His opponents tend to be delusional and to be opposing a caricature of him.
His supporters tend to be delusional and to be supporting a caricature of him.
Serious critics tend to be lumped by his opponents with his supporters and by his supporters with his opponents.
There is not a single thing that anyone believes he holds so dear he wouldn't compromise it or sacrifice it, other than his own behind.
You can phone a friend or ask the audience.
So, the United States invaded Mexico, lied about it, killed, raped, pillaged, and stole half the country for the cause of expanding slavery in our growing continental empire. Then a devastated rump Mexico was invaded by the French who wanted their debts repaid, but the Mexicans won a big battle against the French on the Fifth of May, leading Americans to buy several tons of tacos and thousands of gallons of beer every Cinco de Mayo. Viva international solidarity in the land of Might-Makes-Right!
Secularists and Congressman Pete Stark have declared May 5th the Day of Reason, but how many people know that, how many television stations will stand for it, and how many Americans are even pretending to be reasonable?
I'm going to give this speech tonight to a crowd of drunk young people. If I'm not back by morning, ask around if there have been any "Islamic burials."
About 10 years ago a bunch of psychotic killers crashed planes into buildings. A tall skinny guy who took credit said he was protesting the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and US support for Israel's war on Palestinians. That wasn't exactly going to hold up in a court of law as a justification for mass-murder. But the U.S. government had already, before 9-11, turned down offers from the Taliban to put bin Laden on trial in a third country, and it turned those offers down again.
From Marc Steiner Show
May 3, 2011 - Segment 1
The killing of Osama Bin Laden has caused mixed reactions throughout the world, from uproar to near apathy. We will discuss how Bin Laden's death will effect the government and military of the United States.
We are joined by David Swanson, whose most recent book is War is a Lie. He is also the author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.
My article on the killing of Osama bin Laden has landed more positive Emails in my box than perhaps any other. It seems to be making the rounds. Here it is translated into German along with the English original.
Video: Cost of War - Path to Peace: David Swanson, Paul Chappell, Chris Hedges, Lewis Logan, Steve Rhode, Scott Horton
Los Angeles, California
April 30, 2011
Forum sponsored by http://icujp.org
video by Anthony Manousos
The Charlottesville Daily Progress, to its credit, did something that I don't think it or most small-town newspapers have done before, and certainly have not done often: it wrote about the local congress member's position on military spending. Sure it's where half of our income taxes go, but it's hardly ever mentioned.
Hurt told the paper that he wants to cut spending, but not in the military: "I think everybody would agree that national defense is a top priority for our government and really for any government." Does Hurt really think that? Because this is where a dog being better qualified for Congress than Hurt comes in.
Upcoming public events:
Saturday, April 30, 2011
3:15 - 5:15 pm Book signing at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books ( http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks ), at the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace ( http://www.icujp.org ) booth, Booth 921.
University of Southern California
7:30 - 9:30 pm "The Costs of War" with David Swanson, Chris Hedges, Paul Chappell, and Lewis Logan, moderated by Ameena Mirza Qazi.
United University Church at the University of Southern California
817 W 34th St, Los Angeles, CA
Other great events all day at the United University Church at the University of Southern California including:
11 am - noon Youth panel on peace and war
I'm feeling pretty guilty. I hadn't known I was causing billionaires so much suffering. The former co-chair of President Obama's deficit (a.k.a. catfood) commission just asked me during a public event to stop going after rich people. Then he came up to me after the event to make sure I'd gotten the point. He seemed truly worried about it.
In May 2009, Congressmen Eric Cantor (R., Va.) and Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) wrote to President Barack Obama about U.S. policy toward Israel. Their staff sent the letter as a PDF but forgot to change the name of the file to something other than "AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf."
AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a group widely recognized as one of the most effective at lobbying Congress, and a group that consistently promotes the positions of the rightwing party of the Israeli government. AIPAC also has the distinction of having lobbied against accountability for an Israeli attack on a U.S. ship and in favor of leniency for a man convicted of selling U.S. secrets to Israel. In a separate case, six years ago, two AIPAC employees were indicted for obtaining U.S. secrets from a U.S. military employee who pled guilty. After powerful Congress members like Jane Harman (D., Calif.) lobbied on their behalf, the charges were dropped.
Mitt Romney recently criticized "peacetime spending" in an era in which we have numerous wars going and are devoting about half of discretionary spending to wars and the military.
Netroots Nation has just announced 70 panels of progressive commentators. Of those panels, 69 do not discuss the wars or the military, their moral costs, their economic costs, their environmental costs, or their destruction of civil liberties and representative government.
One panel is called "Means to an End: Resolving Conflict in Afghanistan"
One wonders what the end is, and what the means. Here's the panel description:
In December 2009, psychologist Bruce Levine published an article at Alternet called "Are Americans a Broken People?" His timing couldn't have been better. Americans of good will and bad analysis were suffering a severe fit of Obamanation withdrawal. The article was reposted everywhere, commented on endlessly, and responded to voluminously. (This was my response.) Levine has now developed his article into an important book called "Get Up, Stand Up."
1. More Americans learned much more of the information that Ellsberg made public.
2. It was always assumed that Ellsberg would have a trial (as of course he did), whereas I see no reason to assume Manning ever will. (I'm almost alone in this, but - hey - it's my list.)
3. They tried to kill Ellsberg but did not torture him.
4. Ellsberg was out on personal recognizance, while Manning has been held in an isolated 6x12 cell for the better part of a year.
5. We had a relatively good commmunications system back then.
6. We had a Congress.
7. We had relatively good courts, and courts outside the military were in play.
8. The info Ellsberg leaked was more top secret than Manning's and known to a handful of people, not the crowds of loyal drones with access to Manning's who did nothing.
9. Nixon didn't have Democratic Party Immunity.
10. Ellsberg, now in his 80s, is known to be saner and sharper than most living humans, while Bradley Manning's mental health is now, as a result of his torture at the hands of Obama's Marine Corps, very much in doubt.
As in any other U.S. city, things are looking up for Charlottesville, Va., job seekers who don't mind helping to kill tons of people for no good reason. This week's "community job fair" features some prominent members of the Charlottesville community whom we don't usually think of as such.
When I travel the country, people often inform me that their town is a military-industrial town as if that were unusual. I always ask them if they can name a U.S. town that isn't -- in part because nobody has yet been able to, and in part because if someone ever does I might want to move there.
The White House has a handy website to mislead you about your tax dollars at http://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreceipt
It claims that only 26.3% goes to "National Defense". This is similar to the claim in the 1040EZ US income tax form booklet (see pages 36-37). Here are those two pages in a PDF. There the claim is 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%.
The White House website claims to calculate both veterans' expenses and foreign affairs separately and still put "defense" alone at 26.3%.
However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 51% of the budget going to the military.
Every war ever fought has been sold to both sides as a fight between the forces of good and evil. Politicians are willing to tell any lie to ensure the public believe they were in the right and the enemy undeniably in the wrong.
In War is a Lie, anti-war activist David Swanson deconstructs virtually every argument ever put forward in favour of war. Drawing on examples throughout history, including the Second World War and the Iraq War, he shows how politicians will use any excuse not simply to justify war but to continue it after the death toll has long since shown the utter futility of continuing with the bloodshed. and showing how politicians will use any excuse not simply to justify war but to continue it after the death toll have long since shown the utter futility of continuing with the bloodshed.
‘David Swanson despises war and lying, and unmasks them both with rare intelligence. I learn something new on every page.’ Jeff Cohen, founder of Fair and author of Cable News Confidential
David Swanson is the author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union. Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He is cofounder of WarIsACrime.org (formerly afterDowningStreet.org). Swanson was instrumental in exposing the Downing Street Minutes and other evidence of Iraq war lies. He served as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign.
For press, publicity, review copies and interview requests, please contact email@example.com 02070911264
How do you get politicians living off legalized bribery to criminalize bribery? How do you persuade the corporate media to report on the interests of flesh-and-blood, non-corporate people? How do you take over a political party when the only other one allowed to compete is worse? These are not koans, but actual problems with a single solution.
It might seem like there are a million solutions: pass state-level clean election laws, build independent media, build a new party, etc. But the fundamental answer is that when the deck is stacked against you, you insist on a new deck. Power, as Frederick Douglas told us, concedes nothing without a demand. We cannot legislate our way out of plutocracy. Instead, we the people must seize power.
In the wake of the latest revelations of what everyone always knew, the largest press conference in the history of the United States has been planned for tomorrow in the Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington, D.C. The powerful people lining up to apologize for having claimed the ongoing War on Iraq has had nothing to do with oil were deemed too numerous to gather in any indoor facility.
Former Congressman David Obey, who screamed at Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a Democratic caucus meeting for suggesting that oil might be one factor in the war, is currenly on a plane back to Washington to MC the mass apology. The line-up includes each major television, radio, and print news outlet in the United States. Select commentators, columnists, cartoonists, and talking heads of all varieties will represent each organization apologizing.
A year ago BP began filling the Gulf of Mexico with oil.
Last week BP blocked a woman from entering its annual meeting.
Which will prove the bigger mistake?
BP may have chosen the right country to hit with the worst oil disaster in world history. If there's any population that will take seeing its land and water destroyed for corporate profit lying down, it's got to be us. We're split between gratitude and indifference: should we thank BP or just stay out of its way?