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Racist School Closings Are The Fruit Of Pentagon Greed


Infographic by Katie Falkenberg, CODEPINK Denver

#BecauseofBradleyManning We Know That Truth Telling Is Dangerous #FreeBrad


#BecauseofBradleyManning We Know Truth Telling Is Dangerous #FreeBrad


The U.S. government and its corporate masters lashed out (again) at young soldier Bradley Manning today, with court martial Judge Denise Lind handing down a sentence of 35 years. He's already been detained for 1,294 days, and tormented plenty, but none of his punishment can change the fact that the information Manning provided changed history forever.

Keeping Wikileaks founder Julian Assange under house arrest at Ecuador's embassy in London will not halt the changes already underway. Information wants to be free, and Assange already helped Manning free a lot of it; historians thank them both.

Similarly, hours of airport detention of journalist Laura Poitras or of David Miranda, working as a courier between Poirtras and his partner, journalist Glenn Greenwald, cannot change the fact that the information they shared from NSA leaker Edward Snowden has changed history.

And will continue to do so.

Governments may fulminate, threaten, and symbolically smash hard drives containing leaked material (do they even know how digital information works? one has to wonder). They may ground airplanes hoping the faint of heart will cower before them, but real journalists respond by becoming even more determined to see that the truth gets out.

"I believe the public has a right to know"
—Alexa O'Brien, journalist and unofficial civilian transcriber of the Bradley Manning trial

Here's something to know: NSA surveillance now in place can monitor about 75% of all Internet activity, as reported by mainstream news organization Reuters here.

Here's something else to know: the NSA is funded from the Pentagon budget, which gobbled up about 57% of the federal budget for 2013 and looks to do the same for 2014.

A place governments historically run into trouble is that they don't believe the public has a right to know, but they still insist that the public pay for what they can't know about. Like war crimes and dragnet spying, to give just two examples.

Tax revolt anyone?


Update: Manning has since admitted that he leaked the Collateral Murder video of war crimes in Iraq.

#FreeBrad Hall Of Shame: Lamo, Obama, Choike, Lind, Showman, et al.

 “We are a nation of laws.  We don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates.  He [Bradley Manning] broke the law!” – President Obama, speaking on April 21, 2011 in San Francisco.

How broke do we have to be to cut military budget?


by Lisa Savage and Janet Weil

The omnibus military spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)  rolled out of the House Armed Services Committee pulling a trailer load of amendments and barreling down an increasingly potholed road. In the same week as news broke of massive school closings in Chicago and Philadelphia for lack of funding, only two members of the committee, California representatives Jackie Speier and John Garamendi, had the presence of mind to vote “no” on $637.5 billion more for drones, nukes, and missile “defense” in FY2014.

Afghanistan Drawdown, 20 More Years Of War


Source: Afghan Women's Writing Project "A Mother Expecting Still"
In order to reduce the number of boots on the ground in Afghanistan, the Pentagon asked Congress for $9.6 billion of its allowance to be moved from one budget line to another. They asked permission to shift funds away from research and weapons purchases to instead “support funding shortfalls” in transportation, due to the high cost of removing from landlocked, mountainous Afghanistan. The Pentagon is reluctant to run short on funds for fuel, engaged as it is in the business of maintaining the largest carbon footprint on the planet.
But lest you make the mistake of thinking that withdrawal of many troops from Afghanistan means the war is over, a Pentagon official testifying to the Senate Armed Services committee said that the current war on terrorism could continue for ten, or maybe even twenty, more years. Also, now battlefields are chosen by "the enemy" and thus can and do keep cropping up in all sorts of unlikely places -- even Boston.
Downsizing the occupation consists of relying more and more on drones, or flying killer robots, and less and less on soldiers. Our mammoth fortified “embassy” in Kabul isnearly complete, Pepsi is building a new bottling plant there, and our imperial ambitions are leaning toward Africa while simultaneously pivoting to the Pacific. Look for more request for advances on the Pentagon's allowance.
What chaos do we leave in our wake as we "exit" Afghanistan? Every major news outlet (all owned by a few corporations, all headed by wealthy white men) participates in churning out the falsehoods that conceal the weeping of the bereaved in Kabul and Kandahar -- so that people in North America cannot hear them. 

Here, for example, is the New York Times reporting on negotiation of the devilish details of the "strategic partnership agreement" for post-2014:

"The Afghanistan Marathon" by Dennis Serdel


Photo source: Huffington Post / "Afghanistan: NATO Air Strike Kills 11 Children" April 8, 2013
The following poem was written by Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, Purple Heart; United Auto Workers GM Retiree. It is re-published here with his permission. I added the graphics.

Afghanistan Marathon

It is the Afghanistan Marathon
Runners Race beginning in Lashkar
Gah in Helmand Province
& ending In Kabul so the US
Dictator Stooge Karzai could crown
the Winners.
The first bunch to take off
were Afghanistan Civilians, then off
went the Afghanistan Fake Soldiers,
coming up behind them were
the Taliban with all kinds of weapons,
then after that, the American Soldiers
were bringing up the rear.
The air & the road was so Hot
that Human Beings handed out
Water in cups to the Runners.
Half way in the Marathon
the Taliban set up IED's
in the pressure cooker race
& took off some of the American Soldier's
legs, killed three & wounded
more, they had to be choppered
out to the hospital & it really made
the US Top Brass mad
because they had bets on which
Army Unit would win,
So they sent two drones to cripple
the Taliban & it worked as the US
Soldiers passed the Taliban,
Arms, Legs lay everywhere.
The Afghanistan Fake Soldiers
began shooting the American Soldiers
until the US Air Force took some of them
out as the Rest tore off their Uniforms
& Ran & Escaped back to their War Lords,
Who were Not happy, because they
had bets on the Winners too.
Three quarters of the way,
the American Soldiers set up an ambush
& killed & crippled the
rest of the Taliban
but the damn Civilians who started
out First, were getting Closer & Closer
to the Finish Line
So at the last minute, the US Air Force
sent so many drones in
that they killed all the Civilians,
arms, legs, heads cut off
lay everywhere
& the Winners were the US Mountain
Infantry who found it easy to run
at Sea Level where the air was thick
but the bastard Karzai
said they cheated & would Not
make them the Winners & would Not
give them their Trophies
But he gave them to the few remaining
Taliban Patriots on the long bloody road
& Kept the Winners Money that
the Americans gave him for Himself
instead of the Winners.
The American Brass
were so mad, that they sent a 100 drones
out to kill any Afghanistans who were
at Funerals in the next few days
burying their Dead & then they'll bury more.
This Long Afghanistan Marathon War
has killed so many Afghanistan Children
Mothers, Fathers, GrandFathers / Mothers
for All these years, they can only Estimate
how many Died, it's in many thousands.
But at least we know
how many, American Soldiers
have been killed so far,
it's a Marathon,
an Afghanistan War Marathon
supposed to end next year
or the year after that,
no one seems to know
where the Finish Line is.

Written by Human Being Dennis Serdel for Military Resistance

Cost of War in Afghanistan at the moment of publication:

Feminist War Hawks vs. Feminist Values



We live in times of great paradox, designed to fool most of the people almost all of the time.

Elections swing on women's reproductive rights, and the candidate who broadcasts that he is the most favorable to those rights has a kill list and signs laws on behalf of the biggest anti-life corporation on the planet, Monsanto. His signature acts in office thus far: selling out health care reform so that his campaign contributors may profit, promoting women in combat (actually, they will now receive combat pay since they've already been in combat for quite a while now), sending killer robots around the globe to terrorize civilian populations, and imprisoning truth teller Bradley Manning for over 1,000 days without a trial. This from a constitutional law professor.

A Maine wise woman, the activist and artist Natasha Mayers, recently appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the Maine legislature. She was there to support a bill requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before using drones to conduct surveillance, and she was wearing a top hat covered all over with eyes. She was ordered to take off her hat in order to be allowed to stay in the hearing room. All those eyes looking at the Judiciary Committee members apparently made them uncomfortable.

The Things They Carry: Heroes and Their Medals


Another kid from Maine died in Afghanistan. 

Here's how my hometown paper reported it.


My paper, along with the papers of record in the state capital Augusta and in our state's largest city, Portland, is owned by S. Donald Sussman, the husband of our representative on the House Armed Service Committee, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

Forgetting To Remember Afghanistan In School

Cost of War in Afghanistan


#MainePolitics: Alliance For The Common Good Is In The House!

photo credit: Dawn Eve York, Occupy Maine

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Forgetting Fukushima

I had a dream in early summer, one I suspect I'll always remember. I was the passenger in a car with an old high school friend at the wheel, which might explain why he was humping my leg and I was pushing him away in the opening scene. Next the car began to roll forward carelessly, and I perceived that we were at the edge of a grand canyon vista of reddish layers of earth, eroded, beautiful and vast. I called out in alarm and my classmate applied the brake; he wasn't much concerned, he had it under control.

Countering the U.S./NATO Narrative About "Protecting" Afghan Women

Just as I was writing this post came word that a regional head of women's affairs in Afghanistan had been assassinated.

In 10 years security conditions have worsened for Afghan women

Tree nursery worker, Surkhrud --  Source: AfghanistanSamsortya.o

by Dr. Mariam Raqib 

Have Afghan women made "progress" under NATO?

Amnesty International ran ads and sent a letter signed by Madeline Albright supporting the absurd claim signed by the heads of state at the NATO summit in Chicago: “In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”

Recent facts to the contrary include:

Why I Heckled Tony Blair, War Criminal, at Colby College Graduation

If you woke on a beautiful spring Sunday in May on a pond in Maine, what would you do? A canoe ride on water as smooth as glass, and breakfast on the deck, perhaps -- followed by disrupting international war criminal Tony Blair at Colby College graduation in Waterville!

#OccupyAugusta Maine Response to Eviction Notice: Occupy Governor's Mansion Grounds

Occupy Augusta Maine received an ultimatum similar to those being issued by spokesmen for the 1% to Occupy encampments around the U.S.: apply for a day permit by Mon 11/28, or be evicted from Capitol Park.

Follow the Money

My local newspaper in central Maine outdid itself today in shameless catering to the all powerful military industrial complex, fielding an Op-Ed piece titled "Navy's needs have priority over more local issues."

Apparently General Dynamics doing business as Bath Iron Works, the largest employer in my state, fell behind in the construction schedule of the latest nuclear capable Aegis destroyer ship. Now the Navy wants to launch the destroyer asap.

What's the rush? Profits need to start gushing into campaign coffers as election season approaches? Because of the need to dredge the river in order to get the ship from the port of Bath, Maine to the coast, local people are upset about the environmental harm to the river. Dredging prior to launching a large ship is apparently done in winter most of the time, when many of the living organisms are dormant.

DREAM workhorse for military funding??

I see where the DREAM act has become attached to the FY11 "defense" funding bill in the senate.

Just like the congress had education funding attached to the last war supplemental funding bill a few months ago. So orgs like my union could send out bulletins pushing members to call their rep or senator urging passage of the bill. Many members click without knowing much about the piece of legislation and certainly without being told that they are urging passage of the largest "defense" funding bill in history. Deception is a complicated game.

How to fix the economy

by Kayla Starr, CODEPINK Local Coordinator North Bay (Marin & Sonoma Counties), California

Two years after the economic crisis began, 25 million Americans are jobless or under-employed. Unknown numbers have stopped looking for jobs and are not accounted for in this number. And the numbers are growing, not shrinking.

This is a negative multiplier on the economy. If families can't pay their bills, their mortgages become delinquent; mortgage delinquencies keep rising), their credit card bills go unpaid (we're seeing a notable rise in credit card defaults), and they can't afford to buy anything other than necessities (hence auto sales have plummeted, new homes sales are down, and retail sales are in the pits).

As a result, more and more businesses lay off workers (or refrain from adding them) because they can't sell the goods and services they produce.

CLOSED: a photo essay

Mark and I went around Maine documenting elementary schools that had been closed at the end of last school year due to budget cuts. We also photographed some closed businesses that failed recently. The slideshow we created is linked below. Bring Our War $$ Home!

Bring Our War $$ Home speech at VFP convention, Portland, Maine

BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME speech for rally at VFP 25th, Portland 8/29/10

Thank you. I feel grateful to Veterans for Peace for their 25 years of organizing, and for bringing us all together here today. I feel grateful to all of you for making time and space in your life to be here today.

I am the daughter of a veteran, granddaughter of two veterans. My grandfather who was among the first troops to enter Nagasaki after the nuclear attack on that city and its civilian population never spoke of it. My other grandfather who lay injured on a battlefield in France in November of 1918 told my father, who passed it on to me and my siblings: “There are no good wars. Don't believe them when they say so. War is not the solution to anything.” No one in my generation of my family enlisted; no one in the next generation of my family has enlisted either. Thank you to the veterans with the courage to tell the truth.

$1 Trillion and counting -- what didn't get funded?

The tally for combined price tags of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached $1 trillion this year (if you can stand it, check the madly running counter here and note that we've added $38 billion to that figure already). It's such a large number, it's hard to relate to it.

Mark and I decided to come at it from a different direction by documenting some of the things that did not get funded while borrowing for more war spending raged on. We drove around photographing elementary schools closed for lack of funds at the end of the '09-10 school year.

On our travels we spent the night at some of Maine's state park campgrounds, where newish facilities to shower and wash dishes had signs thanking the state's voters for approving a bond issue that made the construction possible. This represents borrowed $ to be paid back by state taxes that increase rather than decrease quality of life.

BRING OUR WAR $$ HOME: How's the war economy working for you?

August 17, 2010 at 04:21:19 for OpEdNews

Is the U.S. really leaving Iraq? And will we be at war with Iran soon? While still mired in Afghanistan?

While the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will be reduced from a high of 165,000, many of those will be redeployed to Afghanistan. And after Aug 31 there will still be 50,000 troops left in Iraq, at five huge "enduring bases" and an Embassy the size of Vatican City. Plus approximately 75,000 contractors.

Aside from whether you consider this a withdrawal or not, what do you suppose the price tag is? Can the U.S. afford this level of military operations around the globe indefinitely? Congress just voted to borrow another $37 billion for next year's cost of wars while the war in Afghanistan alone costs about $48,000 a minute.

Bravest Man I Know

How much courage does it take to give the speech that Ethan McCord gave at the Albany National Peace Conference in July?

In it he talked about the day of the events shown in the Wikileaks video "Collateral Murder" which he witnessed from the ground as a soldier pulling bleeding children from the rescue van where their dad lay dying. He walked us, step by step, through the video and explained what was happening. He told us: "If this video disgusts you, it should. It happens daily."

I met Ethan in Albany when he spoke briefly at the opening news conference with Joe Lombardo, Kathy Kelly, Medea Benjamin, Dahlia Wasfi, and Dr. Margaret Flowers. It was clearly difficult to talk about something that had happened years ago but that he says he lives with every day.

Rebuild America, or Bomb Afghanistan? Bring our war $$ home!

The current war in Afghanistan costs in excess of $48,000 a minute.

Meanwhile, a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is talking about cuts to Social Security, Medicare and the home mortgage deduction to address the nation's growing budget deficit.

An educational technician I worked with told me that after her father died, her mother depended on SS to raise her and her siblings. “We would never have made it without that monthly check,” she said, but was too scared to write a letter to the editor about it for fear of repercussions from her employer.

The average cost to deploy a soldier to Afghanistan for a year is $1,000,000. It has more than tripled since '01, mostly because of for-profit contractors. Current data indicate there are more contractors in Afghanistan than troops (and their deaths go largely unreported).


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