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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.

In L.A. This Weekend: Swanson, Hedges, Chappell, Garrett

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

Alan Simpson Just Asked Me to Leave Rich People Alone

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.

Is Israel's Right Wing in Eric Cantor's District?

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 and Netroots Nation Agree: It's Peacetime

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:

How Americans Can Get Up and Stand Up

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."

10 Ways Ellsberg and Manning Are Different

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.

Your Local Military Industrial Complex

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.

White House Website Lying About Your Taxes

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.

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