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Daddy, Where Do Taxes Come From?

I'll tell you when you get a little older.

But I want to know.

Well, I'll tell you where taxes come from in other countries, OK? They come from the idea that if we all pool our resources we can better acquire things like schools, hospitals, parks, trains, you know, things that belong to everybody.

But what about our country?

Well, in our country we pay for private schools if we want good schools, and we all buy something called health insurance to take care of us if we get sick, and a teeny bit of our taxes goes to parks and trains, but we don't have very many of those, and we pay for some of them with local taxes. We pay local taxes, state taxes, and national taxes, and lots of other fees. We pay as much in taxes as people in those other countries, but our taxes are different. They come from a different place, and we'll talk about it when you're a little bit bigger.

Why? Why can't I know now?

Talk Nation Radio: John Horgan on the End of War

John Horgan discusses his new book "The End of War," and the scientific evidence that war can be ended. Horgan is a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. A former senior writer at Scientific American (1986-1997), he has also written for The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Discover, The London Times, The Times Literary Supplement, New Scientist, and other publications around the world. He writes regular columns for Scientific American online, the Chronicle of Higher Education and BBC Knowledge Magazine and does video chats for 

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

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Liberals Cry Out: Tax the Rich! Fund More Wars!

The shout of the Occupy movement, at least in D.C., has been "End the Wars, Tax the Rich!" in that order and in combination.  Over half of federal discretionary spending goes to the war machine.  We ought to fix that problem first, and then fix the problem that our overlords aren't actually paying their fair share of the taxes.  My friend Leah Bolger is about to face a possible sentence of months in prison for having taken this message to the Super Committee.  Remember them?

As We Ruin Our Kids' Planet, They Take Us to Court

Here in the land of the free lunch and the home of the instant gratification, most people make a huge deal out of children's rights or fetuses' rights, or occasionally both.  Which is extremely bizarre -- crazier perhaps than bombing houses in Afghanistan to protect the rights of the women inside them.  Because we're engaged in the deliberate and knowing process of slowly and irreversibly rendering the whole damn planet uninhabitable.  If not our children, then their children will be forced to live in a desert or move to the North Pole if we don't quickly change our ways -- and possibly even if we do.  And if we don't change our ways, the approach we take to the coming crisis will make fascism look like summer camp. 

Heard the One About the Peace Activist on the Titanic?

As we mark the 100-year anniversary of the unsinkable Titanic sinking, we should recall both the good and bad of that long-forgotten world of 1912.  Were an unbelievably expensive means of luxury travel between the United States and Europe invented today, there would be no reason to expect peace activists to be found among the passengers.  But it is not at all surprising that among the first-class passengers on the world's largest ship in 1912 was a well-known advocate of peace.  This is what Wikipedia has to say about him:

"William Thomas Stead (5 July 1849 – 15 April 1912) was an English journalist and editor who, as one of the early pioneers of investigative journalism, became one of the most controversial figures of the Victorian era. . . .

Talk Nation Radio: Rocky Anderson on His Campaign for President

Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party candidate for U.S. president.  He explains why he's running and what he thinks we need to do to get our country headed in a more just and peaceful direction.  Rocky's website is

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

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Catching Rachel Maddow's Drift

People who know better gave Rachel Maddow's new book unqualified praise in blurbs on the dust jacket. Maybe they see more good than bad in the book, which is called "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power."  That's a fair assessment.  I'd love for a hundred million Americans or so who never read books to read this one.  It wouldn't be the first book I'd pick, but it would probably do a lot more good than harm. 

New York City Tuesday Night: David Swanson, John Horgan, Jackson Lears, Mark Crispin Miller: Peace in Age of Empire

News from Underground: "Imagining Peace in an Age of Empire"

WHEN: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 7:00 p.m. 
WHERE: McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince St, New York, N.Y. 10012-3309

Free and Open to Public and Media

David Swanson (When the World Outlawed War), John Horgan (The End of War), and Jackson Lears (Rebirth of a Nation) will talk about war and the need to stop it. The conversation will be moderated by Mark Crispin Miller.

Miller, a professor at NYU and author of many books on politics and cultural history, hosts News from Underground, a monthly series at McNally Jackson. In these tense times, there are many topics of extreme importance that the corporate media tends to ignore or misreport; the panel discussions of News from Underground are here to deal honestly with these forbidden issues.

The Statues in Our Public Spaces Lie

There are lies of omission as well as commission, and the statues in Charlottesville, Va. -- typical of other towns -- do both.  We have statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, a generic Confederate soldier, George Rogers Clark, Lewis and Clark (with Sacagawea kneeling like their dog), and on City Hall a triptych with Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.  We have a monument to the War on Vietnam.  And that's it.

Here are some things not memorialized in any major statue or monument in Charlottesville: Queen Charlotte, for whom the town is named; any individual or generic native member of the people who lived here before the Europeans; any individual or generic settler or farmer or merchant or slave.  There is no commemoration of the genocide of the native races or the enslavement of Africans.  There is no individual or generic recognition of those who struggled against and ended slavery, those who advanced human rights following the Civil War, or those who took great risks to end Jim Crow.  There is no individual or generic recognition of those who struggled for labor rights, children's rights, women's suffrage, environmental protection, educational advancements, or peace.  There is no recognition of police officers, firefighters, or of those who have pioneered the nonviolent tools that during the past century have proved so much more useful than wars in changing the world for the better.  Charlottesville is a university town that has been home to brilliant and influential educators, authors, artists, scientists, and athletes.  They are not recognized individually or generically.  There is no park and statue for Edgar Allen Poe or William Faulkner.  Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Dave Matthews Band and many others have made music that enriched a lot of lives, but none of them apparently have ended enough lives through violence to get themselves so much as a little plaque.  Sam Shepard, Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange and many other wonderful performers have either lived too recently or failed to slaughter enough Indians.

PHOTO: Occupy at Lee Park, Source

The dominant thrust of the statues in our public spaces suggests that the core of our history can be condensed into a five-year period of war a century and a half ago.  Our public spaces tell us that the only thing worthy of commemoration since that horrific episode was the senseless slaughter of millions of Vietnamese.  The history books in our schools play the same game as our public statues, jumping from war to war, as if nothing useful or interesting happened in between.  We glorify a war because it ended slavery, even though most nations ended slavery without wars.  And then we celebrate only the side of the war that was defending slavery.  We prop up heroes who were not from Charlottesville because of their connection to that war.  We ignore the fact that many people from Charlottesville have done the world more good than Robert E. Lee did, and that in many cases they have done so with courage to be surpassed by no one.  It is not easy to face angry racists nonviolently.  It takes courage, determination, and discipline.  It builds solidarity, character, and public spirit.  It carries with it everything positive about war, without the negative.

Charlottesville City Council Member Kristin Szakos recently raised the possibility of adding or removing some public statues in our town.  Here are some of the resulting comments from a local television news website.  Despite such websites filtering out the ugliest comments, see if you can detect an unpleasant theme or two:

"Yes, it is time to replace these racist Confederate statues with statues of Jesse and Al, Farrakhan, Reverend Wright, and of course, The Chosen One, the Omnipotent, the Apologizer-in-Chief Himself; Barack Hussein-as-salaam-alaikum Obama; mmm, mmm, mmmm!"

"Szakos, it's something called part of this area's history. You want to replace it with a statue of Farrakhan? About 620,000 people died in the War between the States. Almost all of them were white."

"while we're at it lets have a discussion about tearing down monticello and replacing it with a statue of TJ and Sally making love to each other under a rainbow, then we can dig up all the confederate tombstones in the area and replace them with statues of city council members, wasting so much money in the process that they will have to assess your property at five times it's actual value to pay for it all."

"more tax money to tear it down!! maybe barrack hussein can send some 'relief money' our way to help us get a newer, more friendly statue. Hey, maybe we can just get a large stone constitution!!!"

"Lets remove all statues related to Thomas Jefferson and replace them with statues of George Jefferson. Then we can have a sing along to 'Movin On Up'."

"Maybe blacks and whites alike figured out slavery was more economically viable than Obamanomics and it's welfare state?"

"Replace the statues with figures of people that have been arrested over 50 times, live in public housing, pay no taxes and serve as a reminder of what Charlottesville now wants to put on a pedestal."

"I guess they can put up a monument for Ralph Sampson or Arthur Ashe to appease everyone."

"Those vermin must be booted out of the USA. Kikc 'em to Hungary The thing is - Hungary doesn't want that sort of vermin either. The Hungarians sre slowly but surely removing the fangs of the Nation Wrecking International Bankster Vampiyres - and I mean J E W S - out of their National throats. "The Federal Reserve" is a Rothschilds J E W fiat debt counterfierting scam. The Hungarians are removing them - so they won't want this vermin either. FYI Co mu nism is STRAIGHT outta the Talmud."

It may surprise you to know that Szakos is white, and that she made no mention of Farrakhan or any of the rest of this nonsense.  One commenter on that site actually said they'd planned to speak against Szakos' proposal but had changed their mind after seeing so much bigotry from other commenters.  Another comment, I think, hit the nail on the head, albeit unintentionally:

"Denial of this community's ancestors does not -- and will never -- cause them to simply disappear."

Really?  Most decades, most movements, most ethnic groups, most areas of intellectual endeavor, the work it took to bring about almost every social advancement: these have simply disappeared from our conceptions of our local history.  Nothing causes information to disappear like refusing to talk about it. 

The local newspaper, the Daily Progress, ran this article and this editorial on the topic.  The editorial defends the propriety of discussing the possibilities, defends the idea of adding more statues, but insists that the existing Confederate statues remain.  And on the topic of adding more statues, the editorialists wonder:

"Is there a modern philanthropist out there who would balance Mr. McIntire's commemorations of the Confederacy? Who will step up?"

Mr. McIntire is the rich guy who created some of the existing statues and parks (one of them on condition that it include a school for white children).  That we rely on the super-wealthy to determine what we memorialize from our past ought to cause even those who believe we're treating the past correctly to stop and question that assumption. 

If we were not nationally dumping over a trillion dollars a year into war-making, we could build new parks and statues with public money and public decision-making.  But nothing keeps the war dollars flowing like the war-glorification in our public spaces.  President Kennedy said that until the conscientious objector receives the respect and prestige of the soldier war will go on.  But even if we defunded it a teeny bit, we could use a teeny bit of the savings to honor those we most appreciate from Charlottesville and beyond.  In my ideal fantasy, we would begin the process of choosing individuals or movements to honor by reading the late historian Howard Zinn, and in the end we would be wise enough to include a little statue of him somewhere, not god-like super-sized on a horse, but life-like, the same size as the rest of us, the same size as our young people who must understand their own potential for greatness.

Why We Should Outgrow "Diversity of Tactics" Before Protesting NATO

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda  has nothing on its website about using nonviolence, supporting nonviolence, or opposing violence.

The G8 and NATO Protest also has nothing like that, but does have this:

"As we plan our actions and tactics, we will take care to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics."

A month ago I blogged that I would not endorse Occupy the RNC or DNC because both groups were refusing to state that they opposed violence.

Occupy the RNC has now put this on its website:

"We are not organizing actions, especially violent ones. That would just be stupid. We exist to provide information and facilitate logistics for people resisting the RNC."

Not how I would have put it.  Nor would I have added:

"Don't fuck with us. We'll sue you."

But foreswearing violence and calling it stupid is enough for me.  I wish Occupy DNC could bring itself to do as much.  Better yet, just add "We oppose violence and will not use it."

That would be ideal, smart, strategic, and beneficial to the movement.

When the cops start a riot in Chicago on May 20th, raise your hand if you think CNN will base its coverage on your Youtube of what really happened and ignore that statement above about "space between divergent tactics."

Back in November, some good activists working with Occupy Wall Street wrote:

"‘Diversity of tactics’ becomes an easy way to avoid wrestling with questions of strategy and accountability. It lets us off the hook from doing the hard work of debating our positions and coming to agreements about how we want to act together. It becomes a code for ‘anything goes,’ and makes it impossible for our movements to hold anyone accountable for their actions."

In other words, it's not consensus.  It's minority rule.  Most of us favor an openly nonviolent movement, publicly commited to nonviolence.  When I question organizers of these protests, they practically scream that that is indeed what they favor, but that they want to be inclusive and not allow the 1% to divide us.  Is destroying us better than dividing us?  Is scaring away the majority of the 99% a price worth paying to be inclusive of 10 people who want to smash windows and 2 guys who want to smash police officers?  What about the openness lost by embracing tactics that require secrecy?

"The Occupy movement includes people from a broad diversity of backgrounds, life experiences and political philosophies. Some of us want to reform the system and some of us want to tear it down and replace it with something better. Our one great point of agreement is our call for transparency and accountability. We stand against the corrupt institutions that broker power behind closed doors. We call to account the financial manipulators that have bilked billions out of the poor and the middle classes.

"Just as we call for accountability and transparency, we ourselves must be accountable and transparent. Some tactics are incompatible with those goals, even if in other situations they might be useful, honorable or appropriate. We can’t be transparent behind masks. We can’t be accountable for actions we run away from. We can’t maintain the security culture necessary for planning and carrying out attacks on property and also maintain the openness that can continue to invite in a true diversity of new people. We can’t make alliances with groups from impacted communities, such as immigrants, if we can’t make agreements about what tactics we will employ in any given action.

"The framework that might best serve the Occupy movement is one of strategic nonviolent direct action. Within that framework, Occupy groups would make clear agreements about which tactics to use for a given action. This frame is strategic—it makes no moral judgments about whether or not violence is ever appropriate, it does not demand we commit ourselves to a lifetime of Gandhian pacifism, but it says, ‘This is how we agree to act together at this time.’ It is active, not passive. It seeks to create a dilemma for the opposition, and to dramatize the difference between our values and theirs.

"Strategic nonviolent direct action has powerful advantages:

"We make agreements about what types of action we will take, and hold one another accountable for keeping them. Making agreements is empowering. If I know what to expect in an action, I can make a choice about whether or not to participate. While we can never know nor control how the police will react, we can make choices about what types of action we stand behind personally and are willing to answer for. We don’t place unwilling people in the position of being held responsible for acts they did not commit and do not support.

"In the process of coming to agreements, we listen to each other’s differing viewpoints. We don’t avoid disagreements within our group, but learn to debate freely, passionately, and respectfully.

"We organize openly, without fear, because we stand behind our actions. We may break laws in service to the higher laws of conscience. We don’t seek punishment nor admit the right of the system to punish us, but we face the potential consequences for our actions with courage and pride.

"Because we organize openly, we can invite new people into our movement and it can continue to grow. As soon as we institute a security culture in the midst of a mass movement, the movement begins to close in upon itself and to shrink.

"Holding to a framework of nonviolent direct action does not make us ‘safe.’ We can’t control what the police do and they need no direct provocation to attack us. But it does let us make clear decisions about what kinds of actions we put ourselves at risk for.

"Nonviolent direct action creates dilemmas for the opposition, and clearly dramatizes the difference between the corrupt values of the system and the values we stand for. Their institutions enshrine greed while we give away food, offer shelter, treat each person with generosity. They silence dissent while we value every voice. They employ violence to maintain their system while we counter it with the sheer courage of our presence.

"Lack of agreements privileges the young over the old, the loud voices over the soft, the fast over the slow, the able-bodied over those with disabilities, the citizen over the immigrant, white folks over people of color, those who can do damage and flee the scene over those who are left to face the consequences.

"Lack of agreements and lack of accountability leaves us wide open to provocateurs and agents. Not everyone who wears a mask or breaks a window is a provocateur. Many people clearly believe that property damage is a strong way to challenge the system. And masks have an honorable history from the anti-fascist movement in Germany and the Zapatista movement in Mexico, who said “We wear our masks to be seen.”

"But a mask and a lack of clear expectations create a perfect opening for those who do not have the best interests of the movement at heart, for agents and provocateurs who can never be held to account. As well, the fear of provocateurs itself sows suspicion and undercuts our ability to openly organize and grow.

"A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action makes it easy to reject provocation. We know what we’ve agreed to—and anyone urging other courses of action can be reminded of those agreements or rejected.

"We hold one another accountable not by force or control, ours or the systems, but by the power of our united opinion and our willingness to stand behind, speak for, and act to defend our agreements.

"A framework of strategic nonviolent direct action agreements allows us to continue to invite in new people, and to let them make clear choices about what kinds of tactics and actions they are asked to support.

"There’s plenty of room in this struggle for a diversity of movements and a diversity of organizing and actions. Some may choose strict Gandhian nonviolence, others may choose fight-back resistance. But for the Occupy movement, strategic nonviolent direct action is a framework that will allow us to grow in diversity and power."

Between now and May 20th in Chicago would be an ideal time to spread understanding of this.

Talk Nation Radio: When a War Veteran Tortures His Daughter, and She Survives

Michelle Brown survived a childhood of ongoing abuse and torture at the hands of her father.  She is the author of "This Girl's Life: Being the Child of a War Veteran." Brown discusses her experience, her understanding of what caused it, and her advice to others.

The image at right from the book's cover shows the author with her husband.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

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The Drone



Listen to the endless steady droning

To the buzzing almost moaning

Of the invisible unmanned plane,

The imminent howling pain,

Or is it death?

Or will that omnipotent thing refrain?

Will the humans who make it kill

Change their minds and make it stop?

     It buzzes still!

It's the sound of murder unseen,

The sound of the dying of the American dream,

The relentless sound of streets unclean

Full of homeless people and limousines.

It is the sound of the war machine.

It is the sound of an empire drowning.

The Shifting Strategies of Empire

Remarks at the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) Conference:

President Obama this week declared the war on Iraq to be an honorable success that has given us a brighter future. Are you fired up? Ready to go?

Eric Holder this month explained that it's legal for a president to kill anyone anywhere, or to imprison them, or to spy on them. I started to get upset about this, but then I remembered that Holder is a Democrat. That made me feel much better.

Governor of Maine Sticks Out Tongue at Constituents - Guess Why

Governor of Maine Sticks Out Tongue at Constituents

Gov. Paul LePage of Maine sticks out his tongue at his constituents.

Photo credit: Peter Woodruff

Here's why:

Why I'm Now Endorsing Occupy the RNC

Three weeks ago I blogged that I would not endorse Occupy the RNC or DNC because both groups were refusing to state that they opposed violence.

Occupy the RNC has now put this on its website:

"We are not organizing actions, especially violent ones. That would just be stupid. We exist to provide information and facilitate logistics for people resisting the RNC."

Not how I would have put it.  Nor would I have added:

"Don't fuck with us. We'll sue you."

But foreswearing violence and calling it stupid is enough for me.  I wish Occupy DNC could bring itself to do as much.  Better yet, just add "We oppose violence and will not use it."

Robots Kill, But the Blood Is on Our Hands

In her spare time, between nonstop peace activism and leading international exchanges, Medea Benjamin has somehow managed to write the best book yet on the most inhuman form of war yet.  The book is called "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."  The foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich and a form to pre-order the book are here.

Even if you've been reading everything you could about drones, attending peace conferences, and protesting in the lobbies of drone companies like General Atomics, you will learn a great deal from this book.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that even if you "pilot" drones from a desk for a living you will learn a great deal from this book.  And if you have not been paying attention to drones, then you really need to read this book.

Many Americans first heard about "unmanned aerial vehicles" as weapons when Colin Powell told the United Nations in 2003 that Iraq might use them to attack the United States.  This turned out to be a projection as well as a lie.  It was, of course, the United States that used drones, among other weapons, to attack Iraq for nine years, and the U.S. drones are still in the skies of Iraq today, as well in the skies of many other countries.

Would You Stop a Friend from Destroying the Earth?

What would you do if someone had a button that could destroy the earth and they were walking across the room to push it?  Would you stand in the way?  Would you talk them out of it?  Would you sit by and watch, maybe make a sarcastic remark or two?  What if the button might destroy the earth or might just destroy part of it?  What if it might leave most of the earth intact but kill millions of people, but what if you had no way of being sure how far the destruction would spread? 

Here is an animation made by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the damage a strike on Iran would likely cause, including the death of three million people.

Here is a New York Times article on what would likely happen next, including a war at least regional in scope and involving the United States.

The information used in the animation above and reported by the New York Times as well comes from that peacenik hippie source of antiwar propaganda: the Pentagon, the same institution that says Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

Here's a lot more information on what attacking Iran would involve.

United for Peace and Justice has created a place where we can pledge not to sit by and watch:

Here's the pledge:

"If the United States applies increased sanctions, invades, bombs, sends combat troops or drones, or otherwise significantly escalates its intervention in Iran or the region directly or through support of its allies, I pledge to join with others to engage in acts of legal protest and/or nonviolent civil disobedience to prevent or halt the death and destruction which U.S. military actions would cause to the people of Iran, the Middle East, our communities at home, and the planet itself."

When you take the pledge you can choose to commit to legal protest (is protesting still legal? who knew?) or nonviolent civil resistance (or "disobedience").  I encourage you to do both:

Samantha Miller of Military Families Speak Out, who helped organize the pledge, told me, "Ten years of war have taken a serious toll on service members and their families.  Frequent deployments and lack of access to mental health care have left military communities in a precarious situation, with 18 veterans committing suicide every day.  We need to end the war in Afghanistan and take care of our veterans, not start new wars."

Medea Benjamin, cofounder Code Pink and Global Exchange, said "Right now, our government is hearing from the 1 percent who are gunning for a war with Iran. We, the 99%, must raise our voices and let our government know just how profoundly committed we are to stopping another catastrophic war. That's why I'm taking the pledge."

Imagine if 99 percent of us, or even 10 percent of us, took this pledge and followed through.  We would prevent this war and every other war to come.  War would be a thing of the past.

If we do not act, our species could end up becoming the thing of the past. 

Let's choose survival and peace.

Talk Nation Radio: The Power of Theater to End Militarism

Antiwar playwrite Karen Malpede, whose play Another Life is the focus of a Festival of Conscience now running in Brooklyn, N.Y., explains the development of drama as katharsis for antiwar veterans in ancient Greece and the power that the theater has to oppose militarism today.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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No Justice Without Peace


By David Swanson,  Remarks at Left Forum

Last night in New York City, by my unscientific estimate, two-thirds of the people on the streets had alcohol in them.  A young man celebrating his wedding engagement was stabbed to death.  A party a third floor apartment to collapse into the second floor.  And the NYPD was busy beating the only sober people in town, the nonviolent activists at Occupy Wall Street.  When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Louisiana National Guard was busy killing people in Iraq.  We've done something worse than get our priorities wrong when we've moved resources to harming people rather than helping people.

Elections: What Are They Good For?

By David Swanson, Remarks at Left Forum

I think two opposing trends have been at work in U.S. history. One is that of allowing more people to vote. This is an ongoing struggle, of course, but in some significant sense we've allowed poor people and women and non-white people and young people to vote. The other trend, which has really developed more recently, is that we've made voting less and less meaningful. Of course it was never as meaningful as many people imagine. But we've legalized bribery, we've banished third parties and independents, we've gerrymandered most Congressional districts into meaningless general elections and left one party or the other to exercise great influence over any primary. Rarely does any incumbent lose, and rarely does a candidate without the most money win. Extremely rare is a winning candidate who lacks some major financial backing. Rarer still is a candidate who even promises to pursue majority positions on most major issues, or who convincingly commits to following the will of the public over the will of the party. Most Congress members are pawns in a government with two partisan voices, not the voices of 535 individual representatives and senators. Rare, as well, is any possibility in a close primary or general election of verifying the accuracy of a vote count.

Nine Years Later: More Shocked, Less Awed

By David Swanson, Remarks at the Left Forum

When I lived in New York 20 years ago, the United States was beginning a 20-year war on Iraq. We protested at the United Nations. The Miami Herald depicted Saddam Hussein as a giant fanged spider attacking the United States. Hussein was frequently compared to Adolf Hitler. On October 9, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl told a U.S. congressional committee that she’d seen Iraqi soldiers take 15 babies out of an incubator in a Kuwaiti hospital and leave them on the cold floor to die. Some congress members, including the late Tom Lantos (D., Calif.), knew but did not tell the U.S. public that the girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, that she’d been coached by a major U.S. public relations company paid by the Kuwaiti government, and that there was no other evidence for the story. President George H. W. Bush used the dead babies story 10 times in the next 40 days, and seven senators used it in the Senate debate on whether to approve military action. The Kuwaiti disinformation campaign for the Gulf War would be successfully reprised by Iraqi groups favoring the overthrow of the Iraqi government twelve years later.

3-Hour Military Test Secretly Administered in Thousands of High Schools

Pat Elder of the National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy ( explains how the U.S. military gets away with requiring students in thousands of U.S. high schools to take a 3-hour career inventory test with the results going straight to recruiters without students' or parents' knowledge.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities


Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not self-enforcing,

Whereas statement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and supposedly inalienable rights of all members of the human family achieves little without a struggle against greed, injustice, tyranny, and war,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights could not have resulted in the barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of humankind without the cowardice, laziness, apathy, and blind obedience of well-meaning but unengaged spectators,

Whereas proclaiming as the highest aspiration of the common people the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want doesn't actually produce such a world,

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

(Invite David Swanson to your town!)


April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
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April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
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April 14, Bellingham, WA, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, evening

April 15, Seattle, WA

April 16 Portland, OR




Other Events Here.


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