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Audio: Chris Moore and David Swanson on War

PITTSBURGH (NEWSRADIO 1020 KDKA) — KDKA Radio’s Chris Moore spoke with David Swanson about his views on what war really is.

Swanson is the author of “War is a Lie” and expresses his views on how wars really could have been avoided.

The Media Is a Curable Disease

Rupert Murdoch, who got his start in business marketing rats and manure, has chosen to deny Italy access to a television network that has presented critical coverage of both Murdoch and of leading Italian media baron and prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. The network, Current TV, is the project of a man identified in Italy primarily as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore.

PROTEST LEADERS ARRESTED ON JEJU ISLAND FOR BLOCKING NAVY BASE CONSTRUCTION

By Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

This morning I received an urgent message (see below) from Jeju Island, South Korea saying that yesterday eight leaders of the protest effort against construction of a Navy base had been arrested. Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi was one of those arrested - her second time in recent months.

Gangjeong village resident Professor Yang Yoon-Mo is now in his 45th day of his hunger strike while in jail for trying to block a construction truck. He has vowed to die in jail unless base construction is halted.

Republicans in Congress to Crown Obama King

In what will come as a shock to the Tea Party and yet probably not rival the recent royal wedding in London for viewership, Republican Congressman Buck McKeon and Republican Senator John McCain plan to crown President Barack Obama King of America. They're not kidding, and this is no stunt.

Here's what noted Republican Abraham Lincoln once wrote on the subject:

"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us" but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don't." The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."

But what if you can create laws that violate the Constitution, and then obey those laws, the Constitution be damned? And what if being a Republican today means striving to expand presidential power as far as possible -- in fact beyond the power ever held by any king? And what if being a Democrat today means the very same thing?

Then you get something like H.R.1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, and in particular Section 1034:

"Congress affirms that--
(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
(2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);
(3) the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who--
(A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
(B) have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and
(4) the President's authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities."

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. This language would put into law the perilous policies now acted upon outside of the law. President Obama's war in Libya is absolutely unconstitutional, and nobody is about to do anything about that; so perhaps this doesn't matter. But with this language on the books, Obama and every future president would be able to legally, albeit unconstitutionally, justify launching any war at pleasure.

This new "legal" language would get presidents around the restrictions of the War Powers Resolution, which does not permit unauthorized wars when the United States has not been attacked, which requires the reporting of information to Congress that, in the case of Libya, has not been reported, and which only permits wars -- when it does permit wars -- for 60 days, a deadline that has now been reached in Libya. According to the War Powers Resolution:

"The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to
(1) a declaration of war,
(2) specific statutory authorization, or
(3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

In addition:

"The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations."

In the case of Libya, Obama carefully avoided any consultation with Congress but took the time to consult with just about everybody else around the world.

The War Powers Resolution also requires that:

"[T]he President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth --
(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;
(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and
(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement."

Obama's report to Congress on Libya fell short of A and B and did not even attempt C.

When it comes to the now-surpassed 60-day-limit, the law is clear:

"Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 1543 (a)(1) of this title, whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress
(1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces,
(2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or
(3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States."

The War Powers Act, in allowing 60-day unconstitutional wars is itself, of course, a step back from the Constitution as its authors, most readers, and President Lincoln have understood it. The Constitution devotes Article I to bestowing the vast majority of governmental power on Congress, including here:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; . . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

In tiny little Article II, the U.S. Constitution establishes the duties of the president:

"[H]e shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

What else shall he do?

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

Let's go to constitutional scholar, Barack Hussein Obama for an explanation of this supreme law of the land:

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." -- candidate Barack Obama, December, 2007.

"No more ignoring the law when it's inconvenient. That is not who we are . . . . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers." -- candidate Barack Obama, August 1, 2007.

Louder Than Words

If you like the idea of an independent online force for peace and social justice, join us now.

This video is the first in a series -- intended to generate independent progressive activism in the run up to the 2012 Presidential election and beyond.

RootsAction is part of a growing grassroots movement to push the President and Congress to address pressing economic and war issues -- and to invest in jobs, green energy, schools, housing and education.

We will not be silent as Congress and the President continue to squander billions of dollars on foreign wars, causing destruction and hatred overseas while failing to meet the needs of the vast majority of people in our country.

We will not stand by as people lose their jobs and homes due to Wall Street schemes abetted by both major parties.

We will not give the Obama administration a pass as it continues many of the same policies that sparked loud protests under the Bush White House.

We will take action -- independent of both party leaderships.

RootsAction has been strongly endorsed by such respected, independent-minded progressives as Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and Coleen Rowley.

We'd love it if you would join us now.

I think Harry Belafonte found useful historical perspective this week when he told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

And when you ask me about Barack Obama, it is exactly what happened to Kennedy. We, the American people, made the history of that time come to another place by our passion and our commitment to change. What is saddened -- what is sad for this moment is that there is no force, no energy, of popular voice, popular rebellion, popular upheaval, no champion for radical thought at the table of the discourse. And as a consequence, Barack Obama has nothing to listen to, except his detractors and those who help pave the way to his own personal comfort with power -- power contained, power misdirected, power not fully engaged. And it is our task to no longer have expectations of him, unless we have forced him to the table and he still resists us. And if he does that, then we know what else we have to do, is to make change completely. But I think he plays the game that he plays because he sees no threat from evidencing concerns for the poor. He sees no threat from evidencing a deeper concern for the needs of black people, as such. He feels no great threat from evidencing a greater policy towards the international community, for expressing thoughts that criticize the American position on things and turns that around. Until we do that, I think we’ll be forever disappointed in what that administration will deliver.

AMY GOODMAN: And to those who say, "If you want President Obama re-elected, you will undermine him if you criticize him; and consider the alternative"?

HARRY BELAFONTE: I think we will not only undermine him, but undermine the hopes of this nation, if we don’t criticize him. Absence of protest in the times of this kind of national crisis -- Theodore Roosevelt once said, "When tyranny takes over the national agenda, it is that time that the voices of protest must be awakened. And if you don’t raise your voice in protest, you are a patriotic traitor." And I believe that patriotism is betrayed by those voices that are not heard. Those who would detract you from that fact are those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Nothing will happen but good for Barack Obama and the United States of America, and indeed the world, if everybody stepped to the table and said, "This is the course we must be on."

Let's change that situation.

Let's be the force that brings the needs of those who are struggling to the table.

The President will present more words in a speech today, as his wars rage on. Will you join us in preparing to insist on something louder than words?

Let's start by spreading this video everywhere.

Support Killing People or Lose Your Job

"Ban the bombers are afraid of a fight
"Peace hurts business and that ain't right
"How do I know? I read it in the Daily News"
--Tom Paxton

PBS (the P stands for "Pure" I think) is concerned that if the U.S. government stops funding the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. economy will crash:

"An executive at a small defense contractor recently joked to me, 'Afghanistan is our business plan.' I asked him what he would do if the war ended. He stared at me for a moment and said, 'Well, then I hope we invade Libya.'"

PBS Is Worried US Economy Can't Survive Ending the Afghanistan War

Read this if you can stand it.

What it's missing of course is the obvious solution to both our public debt and our actual economic problems, coupled with the obvious solution to our foreign relations disabilities: Move the money from the military to peaceful industries, end the warmaking, boost the economy, increase revenue.

Russian TV Covers Charlottesville, Va., Military Industrial Complex

The industry we used to have in the United States:

What a job fair looks like now in Charlottesville:

Discussing the situation:

While the Complex likes to threaten job loss and no doubt eliminates jobs in some places but not others, the overall military budget is bigger this year than last year, as has been true for many years, and it has nearly doubled in the past decade.

A conference on the topic is planned for Charlottesville:
http://micat50cville.org

Will California's 36th District Vote for War or Peace This Week?

Please phone someone in Los Angeles now and tell them to vote and volunteer for Marcy Winograd tomorrow.

Here's why:

Here's the footage discussed above:

Two-thirds of America wants the war on Afghanistan ended. Veterans for Peace asked the candidates in this Tuesday's special election to sign a commitment not to fund more war. Marcy Winograd agreed to sign. Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen made up lame excuses for not signing. Watch the videos above.

Here's who lives in the 36th district:
http://winogradforcongress.com/2011/map

Here's Marcy's site:
http://winogradforcongress.com/2011

PS to LA Peace Activists who are not backing Marcy: please, no whining about your warmonger representative if Marcy loses, and no claiming they don't represent you.

60 More Days in Libya: Obama Does Bush Lawyers Proud

Now we know why Obama has gone to such outrageous lengths to keep Bush's lawyers out of prison, claiming powers of secrecy and immunity beyond Cheney's wildest dreams and pressuring foreign nations to clamp down on any outbreaks of law enforcement.

If the Bush lawyers who "legalized" aggressive war, lawless imprisonment, and torture were not consulted on how to keep the war in Libya going in perpetuity, they were certainly the inspiration for the latest White House brainstorming session.

Remember when Alberto Gonzales claimed that the U.S. Constitution gives no one the right to habeas corpus by merely asserting that if you had that right it could not be taken away? Amateur work.

Remember when John Yoo and Jay Bybee explained that a man tortured but never tried had no rights due to his guilt? Child's play.

An Obama Move on Libya That'd Make Dubya and His Lawyers Proud

Check this out. Obama is pretending to partially comply with the War Powers Act in Libya. He thinks he gets a 60-day pass for undeclared war, but the 60 days runs out next week. Among the ideas to weasel around this: PAUSE the war for a minute and then start with a fresh 60 days. Dubya would be proud. John Yoo will probably claim credit.

http://tinyurl.com/3cxqce3

Congressman Jim McGovern Promises a Public Whip List of Congress Members Who Will Vote No on Any More War $

I've been asking for a congress member to do this for years. This is the first time one has said they would.

http://twitter.com/#!/RepMcGovern/status/68772828631146496

I tweeted this: Will you form a public whip list of members who will vote against any more war $? If not, why not?

@RepMcGovern tweeted: @davidcnswanson We're working on putting a list together now.

Good news indeed.

Afghanistan: war without end?

The Guardian

Obama promised no open-ended occupation – and to draw down forces from July. A 2.5% cut is hardly an encouraging start

General David Petraeus, commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, greets Robert Gates
General David Petraeus, commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, greets US defence secretary Robert Gates upon his arrival in Kabul, March 2011. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

Afghanistan was supposed to be the campaign promise that President Barack Obama actually kept. He said he would escalate that war, and sure enough he did. Is he now going back on promises he's made as president, by proposing to withdraw 2.5% of US forces in July?

Here are the relevant 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'm confident that the withdrawal will be significant. People will say this is a real process of transition; this is not just a token gesture." – President Barack Obama, 15 April 2011

"In July of 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out, bet on it." – Vice President Joe Biden, quoted in Jonathan Alter's The Promise

But let's first review how we got here. When loyal Democrats heard candidate Obama say he would escalate the war as president, they mistakenly understood him to say he would end it. Progressive bloggers have planned a panel for next month to discuss their disappointment with this "broken promise" that was actually kept.

READ THE REST AT THE GUARDIAN

United Airlines Apologizes for Celebrating the Killing of Bin Laden

When a United Airlines pilot of a flight I was on celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden, and I blogged about it, my friend Emily Levy urged me to complain to the airline. So I did. Here's their response, followed by what I had sent them.

Dear Mr. Swanson:

Thank you for contacting us. We are currently experiencing a high volume of emails, and I offer my apology for the delayed response to your message.

I am very sorry to hear that our pilot vocalized his personal opinion with the passenger’s onboard flight 210 on May 1, 2011. It is definitely a personal opinion on the reaction or outcome of the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed. Please accept my sincere apology. I have shared your comments to the onboard flight manager so he can take appropriate action to prevent this from reoccurring.

On another note, your email was so interesting it prompted me to continue on to read your website and blog.

Harvey Wasserman on How We'll Survive and Succeed

TRANSCRIPT:

DAVID SWANSON: Okay, we’re recording, this is David Swanson, I’m speaking with Harvey Wasserman, long time wonderful activist, author, author among other of wonderful books of "Solartopia," and Harvey, you were emailing me yesterday a little bit about success stories. Do you want to elaborate?

The Athens Human Rights Festival Is May 14-15 -- See You There!

AHRF

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

ahrf 2

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.ahrf 3

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.

NY Times Takes on Pentagon Spending With Two Hands Tied Behind Its Back

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.

This World and the World Without War

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.

World History Quiz: Only 1 Question

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.

Any guesses?
You can phone a friend or ask the audience.

Audio of Radio Show That Read Full Text of "Killing Resolves Nothing"

From Samaa Elibyari, Host / Producer
Caravan, CKUT 90.3 Fm (Montreal)
Community /McGill campus radio
http://www.ckut.ca

LISTEN HERE.

What Osama bin Laden, Troy Davis, and You Have in Common

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?

Osama Bin Lynched

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.

Audio: Susie Madrak and David Swanson

Listen to internet radio with Jay Ackroyd on Blog Talk Radio

Listen to Ex-CIA Officer Tell Me Killing Bin Laden Was Cleaner Than Capturing Him

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.

Attachment Size
steiner_11_5_3_seg1.mp3 13.25 MB

"Killing Resolves Nothing" in German

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.

Why a Dog Is More Qualified for Congress Than Robert Hurt

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.

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