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Lila Garrett hosts CONNECT THE DOTS with Bob Filner, David Swanson, Jeff Norman

Listen on Monday 7-8 a.m. PT: http://kpfk.org


Democratic Congressman Bob Filner:  Why after 10 yrs of fighting for the progressive agenda in Congress is he leaving to run for Mayor of San Diego?
 
Author David Swanson:  What chilling cuts can we expect from in the Debt Ceiling Deal?  Is a major depression inevitable?  Is the movement  to challenge Obama in the Primary gaining momentum?  
 
Jeff Norman Exec Dir of Veteran Project describes the shut out of homeless vets from their own facility by the Veteran’s Administration. Is that facility being privatized?

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Truman Lied, Hundreds of Thousands Died

On August 6, 1945, President Harry S Truman announced: "Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T.  It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British 'Grand Slam' which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare."

When Truman lied to America that Hiroshima was a military base rather than a city full of civilians, people no doubt wanted to believe him. Who would want the shame of belonging to the nation that commits a whole new kind of atrocity? (Will naming lower Manhattan "ground zero" erase the guilt?)  And when we learned the truth, we wanted and still want desperately to believe that war is peace, that violence is salvation, that our government dropped nuclear bombs in order to save lives, or at least to save American lives.

Come to the Conference on the Constitutional Convention

I'm excited to be speaking at an important conference upcoming at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass.  I'd like to invite you to attend (at no charge).   It's called the Conference on the Constitutional Convention, and more info can be found at http://conconcon.org

From both the Right and the Left, citizens are increasingly coming to recognize that our Republic does not work as our Framers intended.  Reform of any kind is stalled by those who profit from the status quo.

The Framers created the Article V Constitutional Convention as a way to escape captured government: If two-thirds of the state legislatures pass resolutions calling for a convention, then all sides will have the opportunity to argue for the changes they believe will restore or advance our Republic. Any amendment proposed must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states to become law.

On September 24th and 25th, people from across America and across the political spectrum will convene at Harvard University to discuss the advisability and feasibility of organizing towards a Constitutional Convention.

The conference's lead organizers include proponents and opponents of an Article V convention and we actively encourage the participation of those who support a convention, those who are ambivalent, and those who oppose holding a convention at all.  The conference is sponsored by Harvard, the left-leaning Change Congress, and the right-leaning Tea Party Patriots; it's being co-chaired by Change Congress's Larry Lessig and the Tea Party Patriots' Mark Meckler.  You can review the agenda and register -- for free for the time being -- at http://conconcon.org

Thanks so much, and we hope to see you in September.

--David Swanson

P.S. The conference is open to the general public, so please forward widely.

Enormous Cuts in Military Spending? Read the Fine Print

In this age of austerity, all the politicians are talking about the need for spending cuts. But when it comes to shared burdens and slashed budgets, don’t expect the Pentagon to start holding bake sales, despite what you may have heard about reductions to its obscenely bloated funding.

Three Strikes Against the Empire

October2011: Three Strikes Against the Empire

Joint Solidarity Statement by the October2011 Movement, the National Catholic Worker Gathering and SOA Watch South Florida/ SouthCom Watch

Grassroots resistance actions are being coordinated around the country in early October. Three efforts in particular share common cause:

  • The October2011 Movement in Washington, DC to decry the start of the eleventh year of war on the people of Afghanistan and the onset of the federal austerity budget, and to stand up to corporate rule and militarism;
  • The National Catholic Worker Movement and Nevada Desert Experience to demonstrate at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada where armed drone aircraft are headquartered and controlled on their "hunter-killer" missions around the world, and at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly the Nevada Test Site) where various experiments are conducted which perpetuate the US nuclear arsenal;
  • School of the Americas Watch South Florida / SouthCom Watch to march to the new headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom) outside of Miami, Florida, which is responsible for all U.S. military operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Our struggles are interconnected and we organize in solidarity with each other.

The nonviolent resistance actions in Washington, DC will start on October 6, 2011, on the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Thousands of people have pledged to gather on that day, to nonviolently resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. Nonviolent direct actions at the NNSS and at Creech AFB are going to take place on October 9 at the culmination of the 3 day Catholic Worker gathering, also being coordinated with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space's annual Keep Space for Peace Week, October 1 to 8. The march on the U.S. Southern Command, with the intention to close it down and to reclaim the sacred land for the peoples of the Americas, will also take place on October 9, 2011.

These actions are united in the effort to build a world in which the values of justice, cooperation, and respect for the earth are upheld. We believe that people power and grassroots organizing are essential for achieving lasting socio-political change.

October2011 Movement, october2011.org
Margaret Flowers, 202-688-2444 / 518-543-6920
Pete Perry, 202-631-0974

National Catholic Worker Gathering, www.lvcw.org
John or Katie, Las Vegas Catholic Worker, 702-647-0728
Jim or Megan, Nevada Desert Experience, 702-646-4814

SOA Watch South Florida / SouthCom Watch, SOAW.org/southcom
Linda Belgrave, 305-801-8245
Ray Del Papa, 754-423-0051


How would you spend the federal budget?

budgetTime to take out the good ol' fashioned paper and pen and create your budget. As George Lakoff once wrote, a budget is a value document. So enter numbers based on your values. When you're done, scroll down to compare your budget with the one governing United States federal spending.

Directions: Enter a percentage of the budget that you would spend on each of these six broad categories.  (If you're feeling industrious, fill in each little line item.)  Make sure the total equals 100%.

FRIENDLY FOREIGN RELATIONS____%

Economic development aid to select foreign countries, medical aid to poor nations, and development aid to poor nations, the Peace Corps, and disaster relief abroad: ____%
State Department: ____%
United Nations, peacekeeping, weapons nonproliferation: ____%

HOSTILE FOREIGN RELATIONS____%

Military and Homeland Security Department and military "aid" to other nations: ____%
Current wars: ____%
Veterans' benefits: ____%

SUSTAINABLE POLICIES____%

Job training, mass transit, and a jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure and mass transit: ____%
Management of public lands: ____%
Pollution control and Renewable energy research: ____%
Subsidies to small farmers: ____%

EDUCATION AND RESEARCH____%

Elementary and secondary education, and higher education, and special education for students with disabilities: ____%
Medical research: ____%
Scientific research: ____%
Nasa: ____%

BASIC GOVERNANCE____%

Law enforcement and federal prisons: ____%
Housing for the poor and elderly: ____%
Paying off national debt: ____%

BIG AGRICULTURE AND BIG TRANSPORTATION____%

Airports and railroads and highways: ____%
Subsidies to big agriculture: ____%______

______

Now compare what you did with what the White House projects for 2015.

Stop Hoping! Start Changing!

"Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment." -Friedrich Nietzsche

Had enough hope yet?

Had enough waiting, praying, expecting, wishing you actually believed it but pretending you just might, anticipating the let-down, taking in the impact of disappointment, betrayal, humiliation, and powerlessness, and finally, time after time, smashing your forehead into a concrete wall that had always been standing there as big as day?

Had enough of a steadily growing military, more wars than ever before, assassination as an instrument of national policy, the stripping away of civil liberties, and nothing to show for it but a prize that Henry Kissinger got too?

Who Should Challenge Obama in 2012?

The majority of U.S. citizens favor protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; taxing the rich; cutting military spending; and protecting the environment. We don't have a candidate . . . yet. Potential candidates supported on this site will be notified and encouraged to run.

Debt Is A Crisis

What if the imminent banging of Uncle Sam's skull into the looming debt ceiling isn't a crisis, but the very concept of debt is?  The debt ceiling has been lifted numerous times without fanfare or fainting spells.  All we face this week is a fabricated opportunity to gut social programs and trusts under the guise of a phony crisis and a discourse constricted to exclude taxation of the wealthy or cuts to the war machine.

But what if more deficit spending isn't a safe answer?  I am completely aware that those who want to ruin this country by defunding everything but Wall Street and wars are opposed to deficit spending.  I am familiar with the notion that the Great Depression required deficit spending in order to boost the real economy, after which the government's books could be more readily put in order.  I don't imagine that a nation is the same thing as a household or any such simpletonian hooey.  And yet…

If Bush or Giuliani Had Been Stoltenberg

The murder spree in Norway was apparently the work of a Norwegian, not a group of foreigners, and for various other reasons the comparison is not exact.  Nonetheless, it's tempting to wonder how many people would still be alive today if George W. Bush or Rudy Giuliani had spoken after the 9-11 attacks as Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg just did. 

 

You'll recall that Bush immediately spoke of a "war against terrorism," claimed to have been attacked for being a beacon of freedom, announced that we were all filled with anger, and decreed that we would make no distinction between terrorists and "those who harbored them."  "The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" he promised.

 

Now take a 60-second tour of an alternative universe by substituting "the United States" for "Norway" in Stoltenberg's remarks:

 

Even Birds Have Withdrawn From Afghanistan

Comparing the brain sizes of migratory birds and U.S. presidents may not help explain this one.  Birds have been avoiding Afghanistan for some years now.  Afghans with higher educations have been leaving for decades.  War profiteers, and occupation profiteers, and "reconstruction" profiteers seem to know their way out.  But imperial rulers, whether British or Soviet or U.S., seem utterly incapable of withdrawing other people's kids from Afghan wars until no other option remains.

 

Afghan Judges Accuse U.S. of War Crimes

I recently sat down for 90 minutes to speak with six Afghan judges, all of them women, and an English-Dari interpreter, a man.  They spoke to me as individuals.  They aren't preparing any investigations or indictments.  The relevance of their being judges is that they know the law.  They've studied international law, and they were visiting the United States to learn about our legal and political systems.  They believe the United States is guilty of war crimes.

 

I was the one who raised the subject.  I pointed to Italian convictions of CIA agents for kidnapping, Spanish investigations of U.S. officials for torture, etc., and asked what these judges' views were on international law violations, universal jurisdiction, and what appear to be clear crimes committed by the United States in Afghanistan.

 

Salon.com Censors Criticism of Israel and Democrats

Salon.com deleted these paragraphs:

After witnessing Israel's brutal assault of Gaza in 2008, many peace activists also joined the movement for human right and justice in Israel and Palestine, engaging in campaigns to boycott and divest from the occupation, organizing boats and caravans to break through the crippling blockade of Gaza, providing support to non-violent actions against home demolitions and the “apartheid wall” in the West Bank, and challenging the stranglehold that pro-Israel lobbies have on U.S. policy.

Finally, we have been busy trying to insert the anti-war message in the broader movements for social and economic justice. While our message is sometimes rebuffed or marginalized in activities closely linked to the Democratic Party, at every major rally for jobs, civil rights or corporate responsibility, you’ll find anti-war activists.

from this article. Was there some good reason for this?  Was one of the paragraphs just to accompany the other that Salon.com really didn't want?  Or did it really not want both of them? 

This "editing" job goes some way toward answering the question under discussion: why is the peace movement held back?

Our Schools Look Like Our Government

A government that works for Wall Street and a war machine will sooner or later create schools that work for the same ends.

Here's a vicious cycle: rather than funding good schools, we fund the military and its recruiters.  Then we lower the qualifications for teachers as long as the applicants have participated in wars.  We funnel the same "Troops to Teachers" applicants into "public charter schools" too, even though we're paying them public dollars.  And we move the whole program from the Department of Education to the Department of "Defense".  That was President Barack Obama's idea.  Do you like it?  Pretty creative, huh?  One step ahead of those teapartiers!

Balance the Budget on the Backs of Billionaires

By David Swanson, RootsAction.org

The wealthiest nation on earth is not actually obliged to starve our senior citizens.  We don't need a military 670% more expensive than the next largest one on earth.  We don't need to fund health insurance corporations instead of healthcare.  And we don't need tax breaks for billionaires.  In fact, we don't need billionaires.  That's the message RootsAction is taking to Congress.

Tell the World: War Is A Crime

War Is A Crime Fitted T-Shirt

Wars are costly, murderous, immoral, environmentally catastrophic, ruinous to civil liberties and representative government, fatal to honest communications, and . . . illegal. Tell the world with this cool gear from the new War Is A Crime shop.
 
http://www.cafepress.com/warisacrime

Image supplied by Jacob AnikulapoWar Is A Crime Sigg Water Bottle 1.0L

War Is A Crime Aluminum Photo Keychain

War Is A Crime 3" Lapel Sticker (48 pk)

Move the Budget Debate to One of Those Democracies We're Bombing into Place

Imagine how radically different the current debate over the Giant Debt Ceiling Monster would look if we moved it to one of those nations we're bombing into a democracy. Imagine us all still U.S. residents with the same views we have now, but imagine that our representatives in Washington, D.C., were obliged to give a damn what we thought.

Prisoners Have Nothing to Gain By Eating

Prisoners risking death by refusing food in the Pelican Bay supermax, and those hunger striking in solidarity in prisons around California are a judgment of our sickness. "The degree of civilization in a society," said Dostoyevsky, "can be judged by entering its prisons."

Civilization is something we no longer seem to aspire to. The United States locks up more people and a greater percentage of its people than anyone else. We lock them in training centers for anger and violence. We subject them to rape, assault, humiliation, and isolation. We throw the innocent in with the guilty, the young with the old, the nonviolent with the violent, the hopeful with those who've lost all interest in life.

Audio: 'West media flippant on govt. foul-ups'

From Press TV

AUDIO HERE

The West's mainstream media outlets easily ignore serious government issues and only magnify diversionary stories and celebrity scandals, says David Swanson, an author and co-founder of Warisacrime.org.

“When it comes to investigating the claims of national governments and the arguments for wars based on blatant lies, these same media outlets act as dutiful stenographers," David Swanson told Press TV's U.S. Desk in a Sunday interview.

“So it really is giving a quite distorted picture of an aggressive reportorial organization that when it comes to matter of importance...it really isn't," the author of "War Is A Lie" added.

Swanson made a reference to the recent phone hacking scandal by a subsidiary newspaper of media magnate Rupert Murdoch and said that such issues receive media coverage in certain areas such as when a celebrity's phone is for instance also hacked in the scandal.

However, he said, "I just would much prefer that they (Murdoch) were prosecuted for the crimes of selling illegal wars, something that he openly confesses to and doesn't result in the same sort of scandal."

RG/KA/DB

Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson

Book Review by Gar Smith

It’s a good sign when the testimonials on the back of a 440-page autobiography include the likes of Noam Chomsky, Ed Asner and Martin Sheen. But that only hints at the praise directed at S. Brian Willson’s long-awaited memoir. The testimonials continue on the inside — for another seven pages — and include plaudits from Cindy Sheehan, William Blum, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Solomon, Peter Dale Scott, Cynthia McKinney and Country Joe McDonald.

This whopping epic (published by Oakland’s feisty PM Press) tells the story of a Vietnam-era soldier who entered the war as a red-blooded small-town recruit and emerged as a die-hard dissident, driven to expose and oppose not only warfare in general but also the US’ unique role in spreading military terror around the world.

Willson returned home to become a leading war resister — a man whose dogged determination to confront the war machine lead him to fast on the steps of the US capital and eventually cost him both legs — severed on September 1, 1987, when he was run over by an ammunitions-filled locomotive on the first day of a nonviolent protest on the railroad tracks leading to the Concord Weapons Station.

READ THE REST AT Berkeley Daily Planet.

Murdoch Has Blood on His Hands

Nailing Rupert Murdoch for his employees' phone tapping or bribery would be a little like bringing down Al Capone for tax fraud, or George W. Bush for torture. I'd be glad to see it happen but there'd still be something perverse about it.

I remember how outraged Americans were in 2005 learning about our government's warrantless spying, or for that matter how furious some of my compatriots become when a census form expects them to reveal how many bathrooms are in their home.

I'm entirely supportive of outrage. I just have larger crimes in mind. Specifically this:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
"Article 20
"1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law."

The Fox News Channel is endless propaganda for war, and various other deadly policies. As Robin Beste points out,

House defund Libya war

LISTEN: Black Agenda Radio with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, on the Progressive Radio Network – Week of July 11, 2011

Anti-War Forces Weak in the House

David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime, calls congressional efforts to halt President Obama’s war on Libya a “huge muddle.” A bid to defund the Libya operation failed by 199 to 229, and legislation to cut off money for the war in Afghanistan garnered only 97 votes.

I think you really have somewhere around 97 members of the House that are really serious about ending wars,” says Swanson. “You have 199 who will put up some kind of pretense,” but at least half of them are not really serious.

Dems and Labor: A Suicide Pact

Labor gives money and manpower to Democratic politicians, who then vote like servants of huge corporations, according to a commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. The “murder-suicide” nature of the pact is exemplified by the National Education Association’s (NEA) early endorsement of President Obama’s reelection, despite the administration’s relentless attacks on public school teachers.

Arnie Duncan “Racist” and “Insane”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared that Detroit will have “no viable future” as a community if it doesn’t buckle under to Obama’s draconian “Race to the Top” program of high stakes testing, teacher insecurity, and forced charterization. That’s “insane,” says Tom Stephens, a Detroit lawyer and activist, adding, “I thought it was clearly a racist statement” that Duncan would have never directed against a predominantly white city.

Fear” and “Panic” Among School Teachers

Delegates to the National Education Association’s Chicago convention voted down a proposal to demand that Arne Duncan be fired. Among those on the losing side was Joyce Schon, of the Equal Opportunity Now Caucus of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. “There was too much fear, too much panic, and too much lack of confidence in their own power and their own abilities to stand up for their own dignity and for the future of their students,” says Schon.

Victory for Affirmative Action in Michigan

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 2, the measure that outlawed affirmative action in Michigan public education, is unconstitutional. George Washington, representing the BAMN-affiliated Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, argued that Proposition 2 created “a separate and unequal system of political rights. Every group in Michigan can petition to the University of Michigan for special admission programs to benefit their members except racial minorities.” In effect, says Atty. Washington, Proposition 2 created a category of citizen with less rights than others.

It’s Race, Stupid

For more than 60 years, Black unemployment levels have been stuck at roughly twice that of whites. The grim ratio persists in good times and in bad across three generations. Andy Kroll, who wrote the article “The 60-Year Unemployment Scandal,” found that neither educational disparities nor de-industrialization nor other “race-neutral” factors explained the gap. In the end, “it comes down to discrimination in hiring and racism,” says Kroll.

The Texas chain-dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. at the hands of three white men shocked the nation, in 1998. An award-winning documentary on the victim, titled “Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd, Jr.” is now available on Amazon.com, says the film's creator, Eligah “Ricky” Jason. “This documentary focuses on Byrd as a person. It puts a face on the man.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

Going Neutral on Obama? Not on a Moving Train!

How often have we been told that we can't have a serious nonviolent movement resisting our government's destructive path as long as the Democrats are better than the Republicans?

How often have we been told that we can't back third-party candidates as long as the Democrats are better than the Republicans?

This week has seen an inordinate number of realizations that the Democrats are as bad as or worse than the Republicans. And what has the response been?

Activist groups are proposing not to donate money to President Barack Obama. Some have even suggested declining to volunteer for him. Most responses have been even weaker than that. Citizens have transformed themselves into pundits and announced that Obama will not be reelected.

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