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Why Do Ethics Classes Fantasize About Murder So Much?

At a post-screening discussion where I questioned the director of Eye in the Sky about the disconnect between his drone-kill movie and reality, he launched into a bunch of thought-experiment stuff of the sort I've tried to avoid since finishing my master's in philosophy. Mostly I've avoided hanging out with torture supporters.

If this were a philosophy paper I would now tell you that I am going to show that consequentialism is the most useful ethical framework. Then I would show you that. Then I would tell you I'd just shown you that. And the annoyingness would be only beginning. Luckily, I'm out of school and have told you my central concern in the headline.

Consequentialism, the idea that we should base our actions on the good or bad of the expected consequences, has always been very troubling to philosophy professors, possibly because of some of these reasons:

> It leaves ethics up to humans without any sort of pseudo-divine guidance.

> It means otherwise brilliant people like Immanuel Kant were quite wrong.

> Concluding that consequentialism is the way to go would eliminate the entire academic discipline of debating what is the way to go.

Focus: New York and the Closed Primary System - Apr 13, 2016


Early primary deadlines frustrate New Yorkers left unable to vote, 2.9 million not registered Democrats or Republicans as of April - Guardian


New York election officials worry about crush of ineligible voters, their phone bank is flooded with people who want to vote but can't - WNYW


Independents make last-ditch effort to vote In NY's primary - Gothamist


College students flock to see Bernie Sanders, but can they vote for him? - buffalonews.com


New York's closed primary could be Bernie Sanders' Achilles' heel - MSNBC


Could New York's closed primary cost Bernie Sanders? - globalcomment.com


NY State Assembly Bill A9661: Motion to make NY primary an open primary which permits persons registered, but not enrolled in a party, to vote - nysenate.gov


A guide to the Clinton-Sanders New York primary, by region - POLITICO


An early tableau of the New York primary - counterpunch.org


Prospects are bright for Hillary Clinton in closed primaries ahead - CSMonitor.com


Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon against Bernie Sanders: Democratic voters - The Washington Post


The fight for open primaries - openprimaries.org


'This system is so rigged': Sanders won 8 of the 9 past primary contests by double digits but Hillary got more delegates factoring in superdelegates - Salon.com


Consultant: Superdelegate system is ‘cushy patronage' - The Daily Caller


VIDEO: Dark money, lobbyists serving as superdelegates could decide the 2016 race - Democracy Now!


Clinton aide: Sanders 'trying to rig the system' by wooing superdelegates - CNNPolitics.com


Some Democrats accuse Sanders supporters of harassing convention delegates - Washington Post


How Bernie pitches to superdelegates, Sanders' efforts to woo party elites are meeting with mixed success - POLITICO


What would happen if superdelegates had to vote for the candidate who won their state? - The Washington Post

 

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Donald Trump blasts 'crooked shenanigans' in primary process - AP


Donald Trump rages against the machine, issues a dire warning to his supporters: You're getting ripped off - CNN


VIDEO: Trump: The system is rigged, it's crooked - YouTube


Colorado protest planned after Trump loss - usatoday.com


Donald Trump confirms that his children will not be voting for him in New York - The Independent


Donald Trump's support deeper than it looks - POLITICO


POLL: Donald Trump wins in ‘Real New Yorker’ category - WSJ


POLL (Associated Press/GfK): GOP voters think candidate with most votes should win nomination - CBS News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Clinton has a delegate lead thanks to 6 Deep South states: The Democratic Convention Pledged Delegates Story Nobody Talks About

By Dave Lindorff

 

Bernie Sanders is behind Hillary Clinton in the number of pledged delegates he has amassed over the course of just under two and a half weeks of primaries and caucuses. Her advantage in pledged delegates has fallen over the last month and a half from a high point of just over 300 to a current 213.

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, A Mother Confronts the Wounded Ego of the Century

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Talk Nation Radio: Gregory Shupak on the Case Against Bombing ISIS

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-gregory-shupak-on-the-case-against-bombing-isis

Dr. Gregory Shupak has a PhD in Literary Studies and teaches Media Studies at the University of Guelph in Toronto. He is an activist and a fiction writer and his political analysis appears regularly on Jacobin, Middle East Eye, and elsewhere.He discusses these topics:

"The Case Against Bombing ISIS"

and

"Abolish the Military"

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Ten Revealing War Lies

Read the initial remarks as an article at teleSUR.

Introducing IOGCC: The Most Powerful Oil and Gas Lobby You’ve Never Heard Of

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) is far from a household name, but a new investigation published by InsideClimate News' Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Lisa Song may have just put what is likely the most powerful oil and gas lobbying node you've never heard of on the map.

Image Credit: Google Maps

The problem’s that Clinton IS qualified for president: Is Bernie’s ‘Political Revolution’ the Real Thing or a Pathetic Joke?

By Dave Lindorff

 

Bernie Sanders had a shining moment last week at a massive rally in Philadelphia at the Temple University Liacouras Sports Center. The high point came when he mentioned that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, had implied that he was “not qualified” to be president -- a charge that she has continued to make in a tense campaign for the April 19 Democratic primary in New York state.

Tomgram: William Hartung, What a Waste, the U.S. Military

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

New poem by ThisCantBeHappening! resident poet Gary Lindorff: 'We are not all in the same boat'

If the 5% disappeared

And the 95% became the 100%

There would be a tomorrow.

We could buy maybe another hundred years

Ending Human Violence is a Task for Each of Us

Do you think that ending human violence is impossible? Do you believe that even aiming to do so is unrealistic? Well, you might be right. But you might also be interested to know that there are a lot of people around the world who are committed to trying. And, if you think the aim is worthwhile, you could be one of them.

Focus: New York and the Closed Primary System - Apr 11, 2016


New York's primary is ‘closed shut' to certain voters, experts say its rules prevent people from voting for their preferred candidate - ThinkProgress


The ‘wacky’ delegate rules: a New York primary primer - The Buffalo News


NY election boards inundated with calls from voters “pissed off" about registration issues - Gothamist


New York election fraud? Voters have reported problems with their registrations - Heavy.com


Can New York change to an open primary election? Voters are pushing for the State to set new rules before April 19 - Heavy.com


Protest NY's closed primary: event set for Thursday, April 14 at 12 PM at NYC City Hall - facebook.com


Two of Trump’s kids will not be voting for their father during New York’s closed primary because they missed the October deadline to register for a political party - TheBlaze.com

 

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Trump: Primary process 'corrupt' on both Republican and Democratic sides - TheHill


VIDEO: Trump complaining about the primary process: Whether it’s me, or whether it’s Bernie Sanders... the system is corrupt - Reuters


Ordinary primary voters feel sidelined, it turns out that the world’s foremost democracy is not so purely democratic - New York Times


Closed primaries threaten our democratic ideals, a political parties’ stranglehold on the system - centralfloridafuture.com


ARCHIVE: Why Trump wins: Open primaries, maybe? - nbc.com


ARCHIVE: A stolen election: Without closed primaries, early voting system and archaic registration rules, Bernie Sanders wins - The News Hub


ARCHIVE: Bernie Sanders won Michigan due to an “open” primary. What does this mean for Hillary Clinton? - dailynewsbin.com


ARCHIVE: Arizona’s closed primary part of reason for long lines - AP


ARCHIVE: Sick of political parties, unaffiliated voters are changing politics - NPR


LIST: Presidential primary or caucus type (closed or open) by State - FairVote


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: Hillary Clinton and Campaign Finance - Apr 8, 2016


How 'Citizens United' Is helping Hillary Clinton's White House bid: Report - NBC News


REPORT (Full version): How ‘Citizens United’ is helping Hillary Clinton win the White House - Center for Public Integrity


Inside Hillary Clinton's big-money cavalry, More than a dozen groups are boosting her presidential effort - Center for Public Integrity


POLL (Ipsos): 50% think Clinton relies on super PACs and big money too much while 18% think it is right - Center for Public Integrity


POLL (Ipsos): Campaign finance full results, including all presidential candidates - Center for Public Integrity


RADIO: Interview with The Center for Public Integrity senior reporter Dave Levinthal: Clinton camp taking mega money from Super PACs - wben.com 


See how much the 2016 presidential candidates have raised so far - Center for Public Integrity


Pro-Hillary Clinton PAC spending on TV and radio ads surges (GRAPHS) - AdAge


2016 presidential campaign on track to become most expensive, surpassing $1 billion - Washington Times


How Hillary Clinton bought the loyalty of 33 State Democratic parties - counterpunch.org


Dem House super-PAC reserves $12M in TV airtime - TheHill


Union Effort to Create Super PAC Stalls - WSJ


Understanding political committees, 101 - Center for Public Integrity

 

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Wall St is pretty certain Clinton will be president, institutional investors and online prediction markets rate the presidential candidates - CNBC


Hillary Clinton fundraiser hosted by all-star cast of financial regulators who joined Wall Street - theintercept.com


Sanders: Clinton ‘hustling money from the wealthy and the powerful' - POLITICO


Sanders links Clinton to Panama Papers scandal - Bernie Sanders


Bernie Sanders outlines plan to pare down big banks - WSJ


GE CEO op-ed: Bernie Sanders says we’re ‘destroying the moral fabric’ of America. He’s wrong. - The Washington Post


Shaky foundations: The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends -  Harper's Magazine


Oil Companies donated to Clinton Foundation while lobbying State Department during her tenure - ibtimes.com


Emails show Clinton intervened on behalf of tax avoiding corporate crony Corning Inc. - The Daily Caller


FBI director James Comey: No rush to finish Hillary Clinton email probe before convention - POLITICO


Why is the FBI so slow on Clinton e-mail probe? An investigation that drags on past the convention, into the fall, is more than a partisan concern. It’s unfair to the country as a whole. - Boston Globe


State Department lawyers want to limit the questions to ask former Clinton aides about her private email system and are dead set against Hillary testifying - The Daily Beast


#HillarySoQualified gets hijacked, used against Clinton - NY Daily News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

Something’s happening in the presidential race: Clinton’s Crumbling, Bernie’s Surging ‘Political Revolution’ is in the Air

By Dave Lindorff


            Philadelphia -- Something “YUGE” is happening in the Democratic presidential campaign, and perhaps in the broader American body politic. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but like that feeling of your neck hairs rising off your skin as a big thunderstorm approaches, you know it’s big and it’s coming.

Tomgram: Rory Fanning, Talking to the Young in a World That Will Never Truly Be "Postwar"

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

New TCBH! poem: 'Fishing the Red Herring'

We were at Shelby’s at the bar and Jeff,

Who was watching Fox News,

Slams down his empty bottle

And says,

I’m so sick of hearing about damn red herrings

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Presidential Wars

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Focus: Syria News - Apr 5, 2016


Syrian opposition says no place for Assad in Syria, ahead of a meeting in Saudi Arabia before the third round of Geneva negotiations - alaraby.co.uk


Hijab: Syrian opposition will not go further in the negotiations unless a transitional governing body formed without Assad and his clique - etilaf


Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee warns truce on verge of total collapse - etilaf


Syria opposition says US 'ambiguity' on Assad future is very damaging - AFP


Obama vetoed 50 plans by the CIA to engineer the downfall of the Assad regime in Syria: former agent - The Telegraph


No compromise with US over fate of Syria President Assad: senior Russian diplomat - RT


Russia ships more equipment to Syria than it removes - Business Insider


Video of military convoy new evidence Russia not pulling out of Syria (VIDEOS) - Fox News


Russian aircraft carrier to go to Mediterranean Sea carrying new fighters: source - TASS

 

Missile corvette joins Russian naval group in Mediterranean - TASS

 

Russia's Mi-28N helicopter's combat debut is Syria - TASS


Russia’s secret weapon of the Islamic State war: Mi-28 attack helicopter - The Daily Beast


Russian nuclear ballistic missile "Iskander" spotted in Syria - Zero Hedge


Moscow's campaign in Syria leads to arms sale windfall, Russian weapons exports expected to receive $6bn boost as result of ‘marketing effect’ of bombing - The Guardian

 

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Ceasefire broken: Over the weekend Nusra Front with other Islamist groups and US-armed FSA rebels attack Syrian army in Aleppo - LA Times


Nusra Front and other armed groups attacks positions of Syrian army, Kurds on Monday: Russian Defense Ministry - TASS


Groups breaking ceasefire in Aleppo included Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, FSA Division 13, Turkestani Islamic Party, Levant Brigade - Juan Cole


Eight Hezbollah fighters killed in Aleppo clashes over weekend - THE DAILY STAR


Three senior Iranian officers killed in confrontations with Syrian rebels in Aleppo - ARA News


VIDEO: Syrian rebels mount offensive against government forces in Aleppo - Al Jazeera


VIDEO (Arabic) - Syrian rebels’ footage of the operations in Aleppo - YouTube


VIDEO (Arabic): Free Syrian Army units moving into Khalidyah village - YouTube

 

VIDEO: State Department: U.S. unsure of ceasefire violations but Assad is the biggest violator - YouTube


Two senior intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command say the military has forced them out of their jobs because of their skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria - The Daily Beast

 

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U.S. behind strike that killed Nusra Front's prominent leader Abu Firas: officials - Reuters


U.S weighs more special ops for Syria - CNNPolitics.com


Russia, U.S. discussing coordination to liberate Syria's Raqqa: Interfax - Reuters


Putin's Russian air force bombing Islamic State effectively, Pentagon concedes - Washington Times


DoD Report: Operations against Islamic State costing average of $11.4M per day - cnsnews.com


After Palmyra Syrian troops take another Islamic State-controlled town, Qaryatain is crucial for securing oil and gas pipelines and for blocking militant supply routes - AP


Destruction, razed monastery left behind by Islamic State in Syria town Qaryatain (PHOTOS) - AP


Syria: About 40 bodies reportedly found in mass grave in Palmyra, 23 of them women and children - FOX 11 Los Angeles


Islamic State fights back in Deir Zor, advances on Syrian airbase - ARA News


Islamic state militants use mustard gas in attack on Deir Zor airport: Syrian state TV - Reuters


Islamic State executes and crucify eight people in Syria's Raqqa for deserting its ranks or violating regulations - ARA News


Russian UN envoy says Turkey is key supplier of weapons to Islamic State - TASS


Turkish officers recruiting fighters for Nusra Front in Syria: Russian Defense Ministry - sputniknews.com


Erdogan uses closed-door meeting to blast Obama administration, the Turkish president says that the White House is wrong to back the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State - Foreign Policy


Syrian Kurds proceed with federal structures despite Turkish threats - Al-Monitor


Turkish court releases all 96 Islamic State suspects who are now on trial - clarionproject.org

 

US orders diplomatic, military families out of south Turkey due to 'increased threats from terrorist groups' - AP


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

 

Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, Flashpoint for the Planet

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

CIA ‘K-9 test’ gone wrong or something else?: Plastic Explosives Found in School Bus Engine Compartment by school's mechanic

By Dave Lindorff

 

            What on earth was the CIA doing putting plastic high explosive charges on school buses and in hidden places in a Virginia public school in a “test” of K-9 dogs reportedly belonging to the Agency itself?

 

Focus: Pew Poll on Campaign Issues, Values and How Life Has Changed in the U.S. - Apr 2, 2016

 

Note: Only 30 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters say that the primary process has been a good way of determining "the best-qualified nominees.” Among Clinton voters 37 percent have a positive opinion of the primary and among Sanders voters 25 percent. The Independents, which account for the majority of the voters, were not polled as a separate group; I guess that, given the limited role assigned to them by the primary system, their percentage would be even lower than the Democrats.


POLL (Pew Research Full results): Campaign exposes fissures over issues, values and how life has changed in the U.S. - Pew Research Center


POLL (Pew Research): A poll that asks about 'people like you' shows why Americans are voting the way they are - Quartz


STATS (Pew Research): 10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S. and the world - Pew Research Center


POLL (Pew Research): Democratic voters more dissatisfied with primary than Republicans - The Weekly Standard


POLL (Pew Research): Republicans, especially Trump supporters, see free trade deals as bad for U.S. - Pew Research Center


POLL (Pew Research): Most U.S. voters view immigrants positively. Most Trump voters don’t. - The Washington Post


POLL (Pew Research): Support for border wall with Mexico drops to … 38/58 - Hot Air


POLL (Pew Research): Poll shows most Americans oppose bans on Muslims - The Arab Daily News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: NATO, Russia and Donald Trump - Apr 1, 2016


US sending thousands more armed troops and heavy weaponry to Eastern Europe in response to 'aggressive Russia’ - VICE


Official news release: Eucom announces European Reassurance Initiative implementation plan - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE


NATO to switch defense doctrine from 'assurance to deterrence' in E. Europe: Eucom chief Breedlove - GlobalPost


Remarks from the Eucom chief General Breedlove in Riga, Latvia - United States European Command


NATO commander Breedlove calls for return to service of U-2 spy plane to help conduct surveillance on a resurgent Russia - The Independent


First Look at $3.4 billion in weapons the US is sending to NATO - The Fiscal Times


NATO reaches agreement With Kiev on military reforms - sputniknews.com


NATO says Russian forces in Syria complicate crisis - sputniknews.com


Russia envoy: Moscow won't passively watch US military build-up in Europe - TASS


Get ready, NATO: Russia's cold war T-72 tank is set for a big upgrade - The National Interest Blog


ARCHIVE: Pentagon chief Carter: Russia top global threat to U.S. - News.Az


ARCHIVE: The Pentagon's secret foreign aid budget, U.S. sends billions to foreign militaries each year - Politico

 

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Terrorism and North Korea dominate Nuclear Security Summit in Washington - NBC News


Kremlin: Russia skips Nuclear Security Summit over lack of cooperation with partners - TASS


Russia’s absence from the Nuclear Security Summit raises questions about the international community’s ability to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, say analysts - VOA


Will the Nuclear Security Summit help stop terrorists from getting the bomb? - The National Interest Blog


America's nuclear weapons in Europe are the nuclear elephant in the room - VICE News

 

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Pentagon: Donald Trump is wrong, NATO is not 'very obsolete’ - TheHill


VIDEO (and transcript): Trump: NATO is obsolete and expensive, doesn't have the right countries in it to fight terrorism - RealClearPolitics


Trump adviser Page has deep ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom, says his close relations with Russian business are a strength - Bloomberg Politics


Trump adviser Page criticized what he considers American aggression toward Russia, compared U.S.-Russia policy to slavery - freebeacon.com


Clinton blasts Trump over NATO comments - Business Insider


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton on NATO: "If Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin" - YouTube

 

Patrick Buchanan op-ed: Trump is right about NATO - WND


Is it time for America to quit NATO? - The National Interest Blog


Donald Trump highlights debate over NATO's relevancy, interview with two experts - NPR


How did NATO survive the Cold War? NATO's transformation after the Cold War from 1989 to the present, lecture by acting NATO spokesman Jamie Shea -  NATO


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: Donald Trump and the Polls - Mar 30, 2016


POLL (NBC News/SurveyMonkey): Trump nearly at 50 percent support among Republicans nationally, holds 21-point lead - NBC News


POLL: NBC News/SurveyMonkey weekly election tracking full results - scribd.com


POLL (Public Policy Polling): Trump Most Acceptable Candidate to GOP - Public Policy Polling


POLL (Rasmussen Reports): 84% of likely Republican voters think Trump is likely to win their party’s nomination - Rasmussen Reports


POLL (Monmouth University): Most Republicans want the GOP to unite behind Trump - Washington Examiner


POLL (Quinnipiac and YouGov/Huffington Post): New polls cast doubts on anti-Trump movement - PJ Media


POLL (Morning Consult): Voters, especially women, push Donald Trump to 49% on national security after Brussels terror attacks - People's Pundit


POLL: In New York poll Trump leads Cruz by 33 points - Examiner.com


POLL: New poll shows Trump leading Cruz in California by 7 points - KCRA Home


POLL: Kasich trails Trump by 3 points in latest Pennsylvania poll - Examiner.com


POLL: Trump and Cruz in tight race in Wisconsin - Realclear Politics


Donald Trump berates Scott Walker for not raising taxes in Wisconsin, 'he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things' - The Guardian


Donald Trump Is bringing message of jobs and trade to Paul Ryan's hometown in Wisconsin - The New York Times


Portraits beyond the polls: who’s really voting for Trump, two reports from RAND Presidential Election Panel and the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics - Yahoo News


Trump signals he’s ready to fight for every delegate, his legal team would soon file its formal complaint over 10 Louisiana delegates - Bloomberg Politics


The vast majority of Republican politicians aren't even trying to stop Donald Trump - Vox


Trump, Cruz and Kasich back away from their pledge to support GOP nominee (VIDEOS) - CNNPolitics.com


VIDEO (Full): CNN Republican Town Hall: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich - YouTube


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Israeli War Lies Fall As Corporate Media Falls

A new film narrated by Roger Waters, The Occupation of the American Mind, traces the rise of Israeli war propaganda in the United States. This propaganda, which has skillfully swayed U.S. public opinion in support of Israeli wars and occupations, has in fact been not so much a matter of skill as a matter of control.

The U.S. corporate media has obeyed the Israeli propaganda office, because the U.S. government has done so, and the U.S. corporate media generally obeys the U.S. government. How much the U.S. government's stance is shaped by its own independent, albeit perverse, interests, and how much by Israeli propagandizing and corruption is one question. But the U.S. corporate media's lockdown on criticism of Israeli wars is only a slight variation on its coverage of U.S. wars.

What happens when you take the control away? When young people in the United States get their news from the internet and foreign media, their support for Israeli wars and occupations plummets. Backers of Israeli wars find it necessary to start trying to ban criticism on U.S. college campuses. Just as young people have overwhelmingly backed Bernie Sanders despite corporate media opposition, those who avoid the corporate media are able to back justice for Palestinians (and often to a much greater extent than Sanders does).

When informed people in the United States hear about international opposition to Israeli crimes, they are hardly shocked, and might just yawn. But Fox News reports shock, outrage, and disbelief in its staff:

"You can't make it up. UN names democratic Israel as world's top human rights violator"!

Fox wants enemies, and thus reports in this way on a story that much of the U.S. media will likely ignore or downplay. If most corporate media consumers in the United States learned that Israel was viewed by the world as a top abuser of human rights, they would react approximately like Fox News.

One of the great services that The Occupation of the American Mind provides is that it shows us footage of news coverage of Israeli wars in the United States and, in great contrast, in Europe. In Europe we see Palestinian voices included, and we see false claims questioned by tough grilling of Israeli officials. In the United States we see top U.S. officials of both political parties, and top media figures parroting over and over again the same exact words dictated by Israeli propagandists or their U.S. advisers.

This film is good for beginners who've never escaped their televisions before, in that it provides a basic history of Zionism and the Nakba. But it quickly turns to a particular subject that should intrigue the better informed as well, namely the rise of Israeli propaganda since 1982. We see footage of U.S. network TV news readers reporting honestly and straightforwardly on Israeli bombing of Lebanon, and on Israeli facilitated massacres in refugee camps -- and showing footage of the carnage.

In 1984 the American Jewish Congress held a meeting in Jerusalem on "hasbara" (propaganda, war lies) chaired by a U.S. advertiser who had made "tastes great / less filling" ads for Miller Light beer. In 2009 Frank Luntz produced the Israel Project's 2009 Global Language Dictionary. These efforts are not kept secret. In fact, a television show in Israel similar to Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" is called "The Ambassador," and it challenges contestants to do the best job of selling Israeli war crimes as being justified or admirable. The acceptance of such a show is itself terrific hasbara, of course, as it suggests that concocting excuses for killing people is justifiable and admirable.

The central lie of Israeli war propaganda is also the most effective lie in the United States and the focus of the first chapter of my book War Is A Lie, namely the lie that wars are defensive. Just as the U.S. corporate media engages in blowback denial with September 11 or Brussels, it tells us that Palestinian resistance is spontaneous irrational aggression, unprovoked and inexplicable except by understanding Palestinians as less than human. In the U.S. corporate media, the Palestinians always started it, and Israel is always acting in defense, even when it's aggressively bombing civilians as it was doing in 1982 when U.S. media voices had not yet been properly trained.

The undercurrent to the "defense" lies is the justification of revenge, which threads through all war propaganda, even that for U.S. wars, which has often tended in recent years to emphasize a lie of "humanitarianism" in which a war that is also supposedly defensive and a last resort is somehow also a benefit to people it is rescuing. Israel has not used that line, and it's worth noting that the U.S. government has found it ineffective in reaching more than a sliver of the U.S. population.

It would be humorous if it weren't so blood-soaked to watch U.S. politicians and pundits parrot specific Israeli military talking points over and over. The 1988 Hamas Charter, long since disavowed by the Hamas leadership, is quoted over and over again, like the mistranslation of then-Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and with identical words in both cases, while the actual platform of the Likud Party is never mentioned. The lie that Israel freed Gaza in 2005 is repeated so many times a Gazan might start to believe it.

When Israel broke a ceasefire on the day of the 2008 U.S. elections and then claimed the Palestinians had done so, the facts were available, but the lie was endlessly repeated on U.S. television. We see footage in The Occupation of the American Mind of a European journalist confronting an Israeli official with an Israeli report acknowledging the truth, but nothing like that on U.S. corporate newsertainment networks.

Phrases like "rockets raining down" and "what would you do?" and "what would the U.S. do?" are chanted like mantras. Sadly, we know what the U.S. would do in response to blowback. We know what it has been doing for the past 15 years.

The chief difference in U.S. discourse between propaganda for Israeli wars and for U.S. wars (other than awareness of where the weapons came from -- the United States in both cases) is the difference between "anti-American" and "anti-Semitic." In the film we see Ted Cruz object to criticizing Israel because of the holocaust. Any criticism of Israel is defined as anti-Semitic.

There have been times in U.S. history when any war criticism earned one the title "anti-American." Currently it is far more likely to earn you the title of "peacenik who would have opposed World War II" -- with World War II falsely understood as having been fought for the Jews who in fact the U.S. government refused to allow in and certainly didn't give a damn about. Thus, advocating civilized conflict resolution in the United States circles back to a charge of "anti-Semitism" as well.

As the corporate media's dominance crumbles, so potentially does all of this nonsense. And the first to fall may be U.S. support for Israeli wars. That opposition to U.S. wars lags behind among U.S. youth may suggest a certain power to the label of "anti-American" after all, or rather an internalized nationalism that hardly needs name-calling to prop it up. But any failure of war propaganda advances the total failure of war propaganda, if we can keep organizing, keep educating, keep BDSing, keep the internet open, and go watch The Occupation of the American Mind.

David Swanson's book War Is A Lie: Second Edition will be published April 5, 2016.

U.S. State Department: Don't Hurt ISIS

So Many Enemies, So Little Logic
By David Swanson, teleSUR

Islamic State Group fighters

The U.S. State Department does not want the government of Syria to defeat or weaken ISIS, at least not if doing so means any sort of gain for the Syrian government. Watching a recent video of a State Department spokesperson speaking on that subject might confuse some U.S. war supporters. I doubt many residents of Palmyra, Virginia, or Palmyra, Pennsylvania, or Palmyra, New York could give a coherent account of the U.S. government's position on which enemy should control the ancient Palmyra in Syria.

The U.S. government has been arming Al Qaeda in Syria. I doubt many people in the United States, of whatever political extraction, could explain why. In my experience, having just begun a tour of speaking events, very few in the United States can even name the seven nations that President Barack Obama has bragged about bombing, much less explain which parties he is or is not bombing in those countries. No nation in the history of the world has had so many enemies to keep track of as the United States has now, and bothered so little about doing so.

The particular problem with Syria is that the U.S. government has prioritized one enemy, whom it has utterly failed to scare the U.S. public with, while the U.S. government has made a distant second priority of attacking another enemy that most people in the United States are so terrified of they can hardly think straight. Consider what changed between 2013 and 2014. In 2013, President Obama was prepared to heavily bomb the Syrian government. But he did not claim that the Syrian government wanted to attack the United States, or even to attack a handful of white people from the United States. Instead he argued, unpersuasively, that he knew who was responsible for killing Syrians with chemical weapons. This was in the midst of a war in which thousands were dying on all sides from all kinds of weapons. The outrage over a particular type of weapon, the dubious claims, and the eagerness to overthrow a government, were all too close to U.S. memories of the 2003 attack on Iraq.

Congress Members in 2013 found themselves at public events confronted with the question of why the U.S. would overthrow a government in a war on the same side as al Qaeda. Were they going to start another Iraq War? U.S. and British public pressure reversed Obama's decision. But U.S. opinion was even more against arming proxies, and a new CIA report said that doing so had never worked, yet that was the approach Obama went with. The overthrow, which Hillary Clinton still says should have happened, would have quickly created the chaos and terror that Obama set about developing slowly.

In 2014, Obama was able to step up direct U.S. military action in Syria and Iraq with virtually no resistance from the public. What had changed? People had heard about videos of ISIS killing white people with knives. It didn't seem to matter that jumping into the war against ISIS was the opposite side from what Obama had said in 2013 the U.S. needed to join. It didn't even seem to matter that the U.S. clearly intended to join in both sides. Nothing related to logic or sense mattered in the least. ISIS had done a little bit of what U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and elsewhere did routinely, and had done it to Americans. And a fictional group, even scarier, the Khorasan Group, was coming to get us, ISIS was slipping across the border from Mexico and Canada, if we didn't do something really big and brutal we were all going to die.

That being why the U.S. public finally said yes to open-ended war again -- after really not falling for the lies about a humanitarian rescue in Libya, or not caring -- the U.S. public naturally assumes that the U.S. government has prioritized destroying the evil dark force of Islamic Terror. It hasn't. The U.S. government says to itself, in its little-noticed reports, that ISIS is no threat to the United States. It knows perfectly well, and its top commanders blurt it out upon retirement, that attacking terrorists only strengthens their forces. The U.S. priority remains overthrowing the Syrian government, ruining that country, and creating chaos. Here's part of that project: U.S.-backed troops in Syria fighting other U.S. backed troops in Syria. That's not incompetence if the goal is to destroy a nation, as it seems to be in Hillary Clinton's emails - (the following is a draft of this article):

"The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. ... Iran's nuclear program and Syria's civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about -- but cannot talk about -- is losing their nuclear monopoly. ... It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security."

ISIS, Al Qaeda, and terrorism are far better tools for marketing wars than communism ever was, because they can be imagined using knives rather than nukes, and because terrorism can never collapse and vanish. If (counterproductively) attacking groups like al Qaeda were what motivated the wars, the United States would not be aiding Saudi Arabia in slaughtering the people of Yemen and increasing the power of Al Qaeda there. If peace were the goal, the U.S. would not be sending troops back into Iraq to use the same actions that destroyed that country to supposedly fix it. If winning particular sides of wars were the main objective, the United States would not have served as the primary funding for both sides in Afghanistan for all these years, with decades more planned.

Why did Senator Harry Truman say the United States should help either the Germans or the Russians, whichever side was losing? Why did President Ronald Reagan back Iraq against Iran and also Iran against Iraq? Why could fighters on both sides in Libya exchange parts for their weapons? Because two goals that outweigh all others for the U.S. government often align in the cause of sheer destruction and death. One is U.S. domination of the globe, and all other peoples be damned. The second is arms sales. No matter who's winning and who's dying, the weapons makers profit, and the majority of weapons in the Middle East have been shipped there from the United States. Peace would cut into those profits horribly.

Blowback Denial, Climate Denial, and Apocalypse

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

Sanders Trump 6f237

Last week Donald Trump suggested something Bernie Sanders would never dare: getting rid of NATO. I took some time to read people's comments and tweets online about it, and a huge number seemed to believe that NATO and the U.S. military have been performing a service for Europe, and that it's time for Europe to pay its own bills. But will someone explain to me what the service is?

The United States dragged NATO into a -- thus far -- over-14-year-long war on the people of Afghanistan that has turned a country in poor shape into hell on earth, compounding the damage inflicted by U.S. (and Soviet) policies since the 1970s.

The United States dragged European nations into a disastrous war in Iraq in 2003, without NATO. But when Belgium allowed a prosecution of U.S. commander in Iraq Tommy Franks to move forward, Donald Rumsfeld threatened to move NATO headquarters out of Brussels. Franks' apparent crimes suddenly became part of a noble and legal humanitarian effort.

The United States and France used NATO to destroy Libya in 2011 and proliferate weapons across the region. The United States and Turkey have been compounding the chaos by generating reasons for NATO to exist in Syria. And perhaps NATO headquarters views the wars that created ISIS, and the U.S. support for Al Qaeda in Syria in just those terms. But to an ordinary observer, a war on terrorism that continues to increase terrorism has a fundamental flaw.

Former CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief Michael Scheuer says the more the U.S. fights terrorism the more it creates terrorism. U.S. Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014, says blowing people up with missiles is generating more blowback, not less. The CIA's own report says drone killing is counterproductive. Admiral Dennis Blair, the former director of National Intelligence, says the same. Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says drone strikes could be undermining long-term efforts: "We're seeing that blowback. If you're trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you're going to upset people even if they're not targeted." Dozens of just retired top officials agree.

So, it seems, does much of the public in Europe, which turns out protests of NATO meetings, as well as wars, of a size rarely seen in the United States. When the U.S. military builds new bases in Italy, the protests are so huge they've toppled local and national governments. It was a vote of the House of Commons in London not to bomb Syria in 2013 that helped reverse President Obama's decision to do so. To tell the people of Europe that they must start taking responsibility to pay a greater share of the bill for killing Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, and Syrians, and for generating the blowback that sets off bombs in their train stations and airports, and for creating the refugee crises they face might prove just a step too far into the realm of delusion.

Thinking this way requires blowback denial, the Trumpian belief that Muslims do evil things because they are Muslims. The U.S. government knows better. George W. Bush's own Pentagon concluded that nobody hated us "for our freedoms" but rather they hated bombs and occupying armies, and free weapons and support for Israel's wars. One wishes it were needless to say that such motivations don't excuse acts of murder, but knowledge of such motivations puts additional blood on the hands of those continuing to generate them while engaging in blowback denial.

Climate denial is not so very different. Just as every anti-western terrorist says they're outraged by the bombs and bases and armies and buzzing drones, every scientific study says unnecessary and wasteful human activities (first among them: war making) are pushing the earth's ecosystem toward collapse. Yet billions of people fail to shut every thing down until basic policies are altered. And many fail to do anything at all to resist environmental devastation, by means of denying to themselves that it is real.

Clearly, the human species evolved to favor relatively short-term localized thinking. While more Americans are killed by dumb accidents, pollution, or toddlers with guns than by foreign terrorists with knives, the latter danger dominates all public policy thinking. While the earth is at severe risk of environmental or nuclear holocaust, the weather looks nice outside today and all the bears and leopards seem to have long since been killed off, so what's your worry?

When humans killed off those animals millennia ago, they replaced them with gods. Now humans pray to those gods rather than thinking. Now they wish for what they'd like and call it a prediction. Now they vote for hope and change and call it progress. And this habit of wishful thinking may be at the root of the greatest threats to end us all.

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

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