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Annual Conference of Pax Christi Michigan

Annual State Conference of Pax Christi Michigan
Saturday, April 11, 2015
St. John Fisher University Chapel - Auburn Hills, MI

Register Here.

Pax Christi Michigan is honored to welcome author, activist, radio host, and journalist David Swanson to be our keynote speaker. His books advocate the abolition of war and its replacement by a culture of peace. He is a frequent public speaker, radio and TV guest, columnist and reporter, and an online presence via his blogs at davidswanson.org and warisacrime.org (originally AfterDowningStreet.org).

During the past year, Swanson has been instrumental in creating and has served as director of a new global nonprofit organization called World Beyond War. Thousands of people from 105 nations have signed a pledge at that website in recent months, indicating their desire to work to eliminate all war.  World Beyond War has begun working to advance understanding of the possibility, necessity, and desirability of ending all war. The arguments made closely parallel those of Swanson's book, War No More, the Case for Abolition.

Swanson hosts Talk Nation Radio, a weekly program syndicated to many radio stations, advancing the causes of disarmament, diplomacy, and peace. He has been an organizer of numerous events, conferences, rallies, and protests, including the 2006 Camp Democracy and the 2011 "Occupation" of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., as well as the 2011 conference on the Military Industrial Complex at 50 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 Swanson's books include:
    Killing is Not A Way of Life (December 2014)
    When the World Outlawed War (2011) -- named by Ralph Nader as one of the six books everyone should read.
    War Is A Lie (2010) -- widely praised best-selling classic.
    The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush (2008) -- Swanson wrote the introduction, as well as organized a team of writers to draft the articles for then-U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

David is currently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  We are indeed fortunate to have David as our keynote speaker.

Also featuring...Elliott Adams on "International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as a Tool for Ending War"

We struggle to end war and to create justice. Yet many of us do not realize that the Nuremberg Principles and international law give us tools to do just that. We view international law as some distant or abstract thing, but it is in fact part of our domestic law. And we do not understand that we are an important part of making it work.

Elliott Adams was a paratrooper in Vietnam and President of Veterans For Peace. He spent over 15 years in elected public office. He has dedicated his life to ending war. For this work he has demonstrated in the streets, testified before the U.S. Congress Judiciary Committee, been arrested and jailed. This talk grows out of Elliott's time in court defending himself from being arrested for exercising his Constitutional right to petition the government for redress from illegal wars.

The 2015 Purple Ribbon for Peace Award will be presented to Nancy and Rick “Doc” Peters. The Peters have been leaders of Pax Christi Muskegon for several years and served on the PCM State Council for 6 years; Rick serving as secretary and Nancy as the board facilitator.

Our 2015 Young Adult Peacemaker Award - Tera Warn She helped plan and facilitate the Young Peace Activists State Conference workshops.  She also served as co-chair of the State Council with Hugh Conahan and then chair for one year until she left to spend a semester attending language school in Ecuador and experiencing the people and culture. She returned briefly to the Council before graduating from MSU and then working in Iquitos, Peru for an afterschool tutoring program that served low income/at-risk children.


St. John Fisher University Chapel
3665 Walton Boulevard
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Emerg. Phone: 517-214-9490
Handicapper accessible

The main keynote presentations will take place in the sanctuary (i.e., wooden pews).  If you think you need it, feel free to BYOC:  Bring Your Own Cushion
$40 fee includes conference, breakfast, & lunch

Register Here.

Talk Nation Radio: Brian Terrell: Anti-Drone-War-Movement Is Growing

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-brian-terrell-anti-drone-war-movement-is-growing

Brian Terrell discusses a recent major protest of drone murders at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and the state of the anti-drone-war movement. Brian is a co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and event coordinator for the Nevada Desert Experience. He lives on a Catholic Worker farm in Maloy, Iowa. From this farm, Brian travels, speaking and acting with various communities working for peace. Two years ago he was serving a six month prison sentence for protesting drone killing from Whiteman Air force Base in Missouri, and this past month he returned from a visit to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

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

Iran News - Mar 31, 2015


POLL: Clear majority of Americans supports nuclear deal with Iran - The Washington Post


POLL: Most Americans Say Congress Should Have Final Authority Over Nuclear Deal - Pew Research Center


With or Without Iran Deal, Obama Faces Fight With Congress - Bloomberg Politics


Will Senate Democrats really help kill an Obama nuclear deal with Iran? - The Washington Post


More Harmful than Helpful: The U.S. Senate Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 - Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation


Netanyahu: The dangerous accord which is being negotiated in Lausanne confirms our concerns and even worse - Yahoo News


McConnell, in Israel, shares Netanyahu’s concerns about Iran nuke deal - McClatchy DC


Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance - The Independent


Arab nations alarmed by prospect of US nuclear deal with Iran - The Guardian


How France Became an Iran Hawk - Foreign Policy


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Slow economy could prompt Iran to take nuclear deal - The Washington Post


Iran Riches Coveted by Big Oil After Decades of Conflict - Bloomberg Business


Nuclear Deal Could Drive Foreign Investors to Iran Stocks - WSJ


Rouhani to Merkel: Any Nuclear Deal Must End in Lifting Sanctions - Islamic Invitation Turkey


Dem: 'Sanctions will be tightened' if no Iran deal - TheHill


Russia, China oppose UNSC automatic imposition of sanctions proposed by US and Europe if Iran violates the deal - Business Standard News


The sanctions on Iran are already falling apart - Business Insider


Iran nuclear talks: What are the sanctions on Iran? - BBC News


Factbox: Sanctions on Iran’s oil sector - Reuters


Oil Declines as Potential Iran Nuclear Deal Seen Boosting Glut (VIDEO) - Bloomberg Business


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Where the Iran nuclear talks stand: the gaps as crunch time arrives - AP


Here's a guide to the key terms and major concerns animating the Iran nuclear talks - CNN


Iranian conservatives say they're getting a bad deal - Al-Monitor


IAEA Wants 'Snap Inspections' as Part of Iran Nuclear Deal - Breitbart


Watchdog group: We could detect an Iranian nuclear test - CNN


White House denies reports of Iran balking on nuclear shipments - Washington Times


Does Iran Have Secret Nukes in North Korea? - The Daily Beast


Negotiating Issue: Preventing Proliferation Assistance between Iran and other Proliferant States or Entities - isis-online.org


Opinion: How to Know if the Iran Deal Is a Good Deal - huffingtonpost.com


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Who Are the Nuclear Scofflaws?

Given all the frothing by hawkish U.S. Senators about Iran’s possible development of nuclear weapons, one might think that Iran was violating the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But it’s not.  The NPT, signed by 190 nations and in effect since 1970, is a treaty in which the non-nuclear nations agreed to forgo developing nuclear weapons and the nuclear nations agreed to divest themselves of their nuclear weapons.  It also granted nations the right to develop peaceful nuclear power.  The current negotiations in which Iran is engaged with other nations are merely designed to guarantee that Iran, which signed the NPT, does not cross the line from developing nuclear power to developing nuclear weapons.

Selective case of ‘standing on principle’: PA’s Top Lawyer Defends Illegal Law Silencing Prisoners and Jouralists Who Cover Them

By Linn Washington, Jr.


In July 2013 Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane made a bold move when she refused to defend a Pennsylvania state law in federal court that banned same-sex marriage. Terming that ban “wholly unconstitutional,” Kane declared that ethical directives applicable to lawyers barred her from defending a "legally indefensible" law.

Leaked doc proves what we’ve been saying for years: TSA is nuts

Everyone's been sending me the article from First Look/The Intercept about the latest "confidential" TSA document.

The article in question is titled "Exclusive: TSA's Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists." Okay, yes, it's exclusive in that the reporters actually got their hands on a document that outlines the TSA's so-called behavior detection procedures. But we've been writing about these procedures for years now, calling attention to their inanity, fraud, and complete lack of scientific support.

Vykom: Strategic Nonviolent Action Against Untouchability

Why does nonviolent action work? And how good was Mohandas K. Gandhi as a nonviolent strategist? If you want high quality evidence in your search for answers to these two questions then I encourage you to read Professor Mary E. King’s latest book on the struggle against untouchability, unapproachability and unseeability in the south Indian village of Vykom during the 1920s. See ‘Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change’.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - Mar 30, 2015

 

RNC on Clinton: 'Even Nixon didn't destroy the tapes' - TheHill


RNC Statement On Hillary Clinton Erasing All Emails From Her Secret Server - GOP


Statement by Chairman Gowdy: Congress will need to speak with Clinton about her decision to delete emails - Select Committee on Benghazi


Letter by Clinton's Counsel David Kendall stating that Clinton wiped server clean, deleted all emails - Select Committee on Benghazi


Statement by Cummings on letter from Clinton’s counsel: it is time for Republicans to stop a 'political charade' - Select Committee on Benghazi


New probe into Clinton's Muslim assistant Huma Abedin started by Senate - Examiner.com

 

Kerry orders State Department review of records retention amid Clinton email controversy - Fox News

 

Republican National Committee criticizes Clinton Foundation donors, some of whom also have links to Bush family - Sun Sentinel

 

RNC Statement On The Clinton Foundation’s Shady Foreign $$ - GOP

 

Senator’s questions over Clinton Foundation Nigerian donor spark GOP infighting - Fox News

 

Clinton family facing RICO racketeering case filed in federal court in Florida - Examiner.com

 

Fiorina Likely GOP Presidential Candidate, Attacks Clinton - ABC News

 

VIDEO: Chris Wallace Asks Carly Fiorina About Hillary Clinton & Running In 2016 - Fox News Sunday

 

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POLL: Hillary Clinton favorability down 12 points since November 2013: poll - Washington Times


VIDEO: CBS Poll Shows Email Scandal Taking A Toll On Hillary Clinton - CBS


POLL: Who would Americans consider voting for in 2016? - CBS News


O'Malley: Democrats shouldn't coronate Hillary Clinton - Baltimore Sun

 

VIDEO: Former Gov. Martin O'Malley on ABC's This Week - YouTube

 

Clinton Hiring Raises Question About Future Openings -

 

Clinton Hiring Raises Question About Future Openings - NYTimes.com

 

Musical about Bill, Hillary Clinton to make off-Broadway debut - CBS News

 

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Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network - ProPublica


Hillary, Benghazi, and Those Troublesome E-mails - Breitbart


ARCHIVE: Benghazi attack was preventable: Senate panel - NY Daily News

 

ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton's State Department cut security in Libya before deadly terror attacks, Sen. Ron Johnson says - PolitiFact Wisconsin

 

ARCHIVE: Trail of Benghazi security lapses leads to State Department senior leadership, records show - Fox News

 

ARCHIVE: On Benghazi, Hillary Clinton and Four Dead Americans - Breitbart

 

ARCHIVE: Fallen SEAL's Father: Hillary Told Me 'We're Going Arrest ... The Man That Made The Video' - Breitbart

 

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

 

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Stop Smoking the Democrack

Picture

By Cindy Sheehan and David Swanson

 The U.S. government is toying with a war with nuclear Russia while already waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, having done severe damage to Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Military spending is climbing ever higher. Presidential war powers are ever more extreme. The proliferation of nuclear technology is combining with the ease and secrecy of drone wars to raise the risk of a Dr. Strangelove finish to the human species. And, let's face it, you had more time to give a damn when the president was a Republican.

 The top means by which war kills is the diversion of unfathomable piles of money away from life-saving initiatives. That spending continues without pause. President Obama and most of Congress want it increased even more next year. The Congressional Progressive Caucus just put out a budget that made no mention of military spending but -- if you searched through the numbers -- was proposing to cut it by 1% ($13 billion of $1.3 trillion in spending across several departments). We're talking about the single item that takes up over half of discretionary spending. One or two percent of it could make U.S. college education free, or end starvation on earth. A bigger slice could take on climate protection. Everyone across the inch-wide chasm of the political divide in Washington prefers to see the militarism continue. Of 100 senators, 100 favor sanctions on Iran. Bipartisanship is alive and well when it comes to war promotion.

The top risk from war is nuclear holocaust. That danger continues to grow with active U.S. assistance. The second worst thing a U.S. president can do about war is grab more war powers and pass them on to all future presidents. In that regard, President Obama has outdone President Bush. Lying to Congress is now totally routine: Congress and the United Nations can simply be ignored. Secrecy has mushroomed. President Obama picks out men, women, and children to murder from a list on Tuesdays. The public, the Congress, and the courts have no say and often no knowledge. President Obama has dramatically increased U.S. weapons sales abroad -- the U.S. being far and away the top supplier of weapons to regions that the U.S. public thinks of as inherently violent. 

While Obama's body count doesn't yet begin to approach Bush's in terms of people directly and violently killed, that's not a standard that will get us to survival, much less peace and prosperity.

Why do so many people think of the political party that lied the United States into two world wars, the Korean war, the war on Vietnam, the Kosovo war, the Libya war, and the war on ISIS -- the party that dropped the nukes on Japan -- as a party for peace?

Why do longtime war advocates like Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton get a pass? What benefit from making Hillary president could outweigh shutting down the peace movement for 4 or 8 years?

Hillary was instrumental in persuading her husband to bomb the former Yugoslavia against the will of Congress. She pushed for the 2003 attack on Iraq and the 2011 attack on Libya. She tried to get a U.S. war on Syria going in 2013. She pushed for the Obama-era escalation in Afghanistan -- a war that is now more Obama's than Bush's by every measure.

Hillary has urged Iran to be aware that she could "obliterate" it. She has giggled with pleasure at having killed Muamar Gadaffi. She's hawkish on Ukraine.

What can be done?

Tell people you know what warmaking has become, because someday the president will be a Republican and they'll grow outraged.

Give up on the idea of bestowing royal tokenism on every deserving demographic before the planet's trashed. We don't have that kind of time to work with.

Oregon has just made voter registration automatic, and California is proposing the same. Devote yourself to making sure that your state does likewise, and refuse to any longer think of registering people to vote as useful activism or to waste your time doing it.

Rather than giving a blank check to war mongering for the next nearly two years and then possibly beginning to object, save us all the suffering and pretend the president right now is Dick Cheney. Protest accordingly.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc Casey Sheehan who was murdered in Iraq on 04/04/04 by the US Empire and has become a non-flinching and uncompromising peace activist and host of her own podcast: Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and Editor in Chief of the Soapbox People's Network.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

17 Years and still brutal and corrupt: Feds Rediscover Police Brutality in City of Brotherly Love...er...in Beat City

By Linn Washington, Jr.


The report slammed the Philadelphia Police Department for its historically flawed use of fatal force, directed primarily at non-whites, underscoring a repeated finding that Philadelphia’s Police Department has long owned one of the worst reputations of any police department in the United States.

Can Anne Hathaway Help End the Mindset That Creates Wars?

"If others have their will Ann hath a way. By cock, she was to blame. She put the comether on him, sweet and twentysix. The greyeyed goddess who bends over the boy Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the swelling act, is a boldfaced Stratford wench who tumbles in a cornfield a lover younger than herself." —James Joyce

Can it matter that a famous actress will play a drone pilot on stage in New York and play it as a troubled murderer with an updated effort to wash out the damn spot of blood on her famous hands?

With permanent war declared the norm and entirely acceptable, only a generation removed from wisdom and understanding, hadn't we better hope so?

April 7 to May 17, Anne Hathaway stars in Grounded. I've read the script, or at least an earlier version of the script, and believe this could make the difference that's needed.

Of course this other movie about a troubled drone pilot has come and gone.

Real life troubled drone pilots have tried to be heard.

The patterns of stress and suicide have been documented. Moral injury and post-traumatic stress plague the desk-bound flight-suited pilots at Creech Air Force Base where the commander told a reporter he was surprised by and unable to meet the demand for counselors and chaplains.

One proposed solution is allowing a drone pilot to instruct a computerized personality, like Siri in iPhones, to do the killing for him or her. A better solution might be to deprive President Obama of that trick. When he goes through his Tuesday list of men, women, and children and picks which ones to have murdered, he doesn't have to do the murdering. Presidents spend countless hours visiting all kinds of workplaces and taking part in all variety of ceremonies; why not require that they take a brief shift at the drone joystick when the victim has been spotted and fire the missile themselves, and watch the body parts scatter themselves, and see the little children who were in the wrong place blown to bits themselves, and feel the sweat and the guilt themselves?

Perhaps the next best thing will be seeing a celebrity, whom people imagine they know, play the role of drone pilot on stage. Anne Hathaway has acted in many films and plays but is familiar even to people who've seen none of them. Seeing her in Grounded has the potential to cause people to engage in the activity that seems the absolute hardest to provoke, namely thinking.

Grounded won't give you the statistics on how most of the people murdered with drones are no threat to the United States at all, or how drone murders are producing more enemies than they kill, or how the idea that a drone war on Yemen is better than another kind of war falls apart when you realize that the drone war replaced no war at all and has now predictably generated a ground war as, in fact, some of us predicted it would.

Grounded won't tell you that most drone victims are traumatized by the constant threat of instant death with no possible defense. But it will show us what that godlike power does to those who use it. The problem with drone murders is not the distance or the lack of bravery and risk; the problem is the murdering of people. Drone pilots see their victims in new ways, via video, and see them for days or weeks before murdering them.

The transition from mass-murderer to civilian living peacefully in a society that forbids murder must happen every single day for a drone pilot who drives home to sleep. One can imagine how disorienting the shift must be. It should become equally jarring for those of us who live peaceful lives and then read about the latest murders in our names by distant flying robot death machines.

Here's one way to help if you're anywhere near New York: attend the play and while you're there, collect signatures on this petition: BanWeaponizedDrones.org.

Yemen News - Mar 27, 2015


Saudi Arabia threatens ground invasion of Yemen - Telegraph


Yemen conflict poised to escalate as Egypt prepares to send in troops - The Guardian


GCC statement: Gulf countries respond to Yemen developments - The National


VIDEO: Saudi Arabia-led coalition strikes at Houthi targets in Yemen - YouTube


Sudan confirms joining Saudi-led Yemen operation providing ground troops as well as warplanes - Yahoo News


Turkey's Erdogan Turkey expresses support for anti-Houthi operation in Yemen, says can't tolerate Iran bid to dominate Middle East - Daily Mail Online


Arab League pledges full support for Saudi-led campaign in Yemen - Yahoo News


Arab foreign ministers agree on joint military force: Arab League chief - Yahoo News


Saudi Ambassador: Iran Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah Advising Yemen Rebels - ABC News


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Yemen Rebels Protest Saudi-led Airstrikes - VOA


VIDEO: Houthi protesters denounce Saudi Arabia over airstrikes - YouTube


Houthi Official: Yemen Strikes By Saudi Arabia Will Set Off 'Wide War’ - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO (English): Houthi spokesman: `This aggression unlawful and unjustifiable` - YouTube


Thousands of Houthis Concentrated Along Yemen-Saudi Border - Sputnik International


Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh seen pulling strings as rebels advance - Yahoo News


Houthi Leader Abdul Malik Al Houthi: The Shiite Thorn on Yemen’s side - albawabaeg.com


Houthi Who?: The History of Houthi Alliances - Foreign Affairs


VIDEO (Documentary): The Rise of the Houthis - journeyman.tv


ARCHIVE: The Huthi Ascent to Power - Middle East Institute


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U.S. Backs Saudi-Led Yemeni Bombing With Logistics, Spying - Bloomberg Business


Officials: Saudi-led action in Yemen relied heavily on U.S. intelligence - The Washington Post


US weighs tanker and radar planes for Saudi Yemen op - Business Standard News


Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Situation in Yemen - The White House


The United States favors a negotiated solution in Yemen but understands Saudi concerns that led to military action: State Dept - yahoo.com


How U.S. weapons will play a huge role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen - The Washington Post


Two U.S. Warships Ready to Respond if Needed in Yemen - nationalreview.com


Pentagon loses track of $500 million in weapons, equipment given to Yemen - The Washington Post


Iran-backed rebels loot Yemen files about U.S. spy operations - LA Times


EU's Mogherini says military action not a solution in Yemen - Yahoo News


Statement of the EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini on the situation in Yemen - European Union


Russia's Putin to Iran: Immediate ceasefire needed in Yemen - Yahoo News


Comment by the Russia Foreign Ministry on the situation in Yemen - MFA of Russia


China urges all Yemeni parties involved to resolve the dispute through political dialogue - Yahoo News


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Yemen war clouds raise dangers for top oil shipping route - Reuters


Why Bombing the 39th Biggest Oil Producer Is Roiling Markets - Washington Post


Oil leaps 5 percent, most in a month, on air strikes in Yemen - Reuters


US doesn’t want to see a threat to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait that could affect the security of the Suez Canal - The National


U.S. will work to ensure Bab-el-Mandeb strait remains open: U.S. general - Yahoo News

 

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

 

To unsubscribe reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

 

Timeline: U.S. War Crimes & Resistance from People Living in the U.S. 2001–2015

Some of us remember what it was like to mobilize protest against the Bush regime right after 9/11. It's important to remember that even relatively small groups of dedicated people can have a disproportionate impact at times — and that things can change quickly for the better, and for the worse.

U.S. Wars of Aggression and Islamic Jihad:

Raed Jarrar speaking at U.S. Wars of Aggression and Islamic Jihad: What is the Danger, and How Should the Anti-war Movement Respond? 

Spring Rising held a six-part Teach-In last week in Washington.  Here is a dramatic talk by Raed Jarrar, who is of Iraqi and Palestinian descent, as he says, from Sunni and Shiite parents, making him a “Sushi.” Raed works for the American Friends Service Committee as Policy Impact Coordinator.

U.S. Wars of Aggression and Islamic Jihad:

Raed Jarrar speaking at U.S. Wars of Aggression and Islamic Jihad: What is the Danger, and How Should the Anti-war Movement Respond? 

Spring Rising held a six-part Teach-In last week in Washington.  Here is a dramatic talk by Raed Jarrar, who is of Iraqi and Palestinian descent, as he says, from Sunni and Shiite parents, making him a “Sushi.” Raed works for the American Friends Service Committee as Policy Impact Coordinator.

A world gone mad: Fear of Terrorism is Making Us Crazy, Especially in the US

By Dave Lindorff


When I lived in China, there was a story going ‘round about a China Airlines flight in which both the pilot and the co-pilot had left the cockpit and then, on their return, found the door locked. They reportedly got a fire ax, and with the whole planeload of freaked out passengers watching, started wailing at the door. The co-pilot then turned, and seeing the panic developing, calmly drew the curtain across the aisle, hiding their work from view. The axe bashing continued until they broke the latch and got back to the controls. 

Top 10 Reasons Bill Maher Is Not "Our Best Weapon Against ISIS"

10. This sort of argument for debunking Islam in the media as the best way to "defeat" ISIS/ISIL misses the fact that ISIS recruits from the United States make up almost certainly much less than 1% of recruits, so that 99% of the problem, even on its own terms, remains completely unsolved.

9. Even if failure to expose Islam and other religions as ancient myths lacking basis in reality were a significant cause of people joining ISIS, it would not approach the primary cause without which ISIS would not exist, namely U.S. violence in the Middle East. Explaining to would-be ISIS martyrs that there aren't really 72 virgins and isn't really a heaven couldn't possibly do as much to reduce ISIS recruitment as explaining to active and would-be members of the U.S. military that arming and bombing and drone-striking distant lands doesn't actually protect the United States but rather generates so much hostility against it that groups like ISIS produce full-length films imploring the U.S. military to attack it.

8. Of course religion is often a huge part of what motivates members of the U.S. military as well. Congressman Sam Johnson has introduced the "Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015," to force cadets at the Air Force Academy to say "so help me God" in their oaths. Ted Cruz just announced his campaign for the U.S. presidency at Liberty University, where students learn to drone-murder for Jesus. What is "our best weapon" against that?

7. U.S. recruits to ISIS enamored of Muslim martyrdom could just as well have risked their lives preaching Islam in Alabama. Why choose to risk their lives attacking U.S. troops? The reason is not simply a variety of Islam. Rather it is alienation from the United States. Anwar Al-Awlaki was plenty Muslim when he supported U.S. wars. It was U.S. racism, bigotry, brutality, and militarism that drove him into opposition to the U.S. -- which tragically took the form of advocating violence.

6. Bill Maher pushes racism and bigotry, even concentration camps. The idea that such attitudes are the best response to Islamic hostility and violence is outrageously naive. Were Maher advocating inclusiveness and community at home and abroad, I might take seriously the idea that he was helping.

5. Who is the group to which "Our" is applied in the phrase "our best weapon"? As a human I want an answer to ISIS that works for people in the United States, Europe, Iraq, Syria, and the rest of that region, including Sunnis, and including members of ISIS. The idea that a new war on ISIS is going to repair the damage of the previous wars, which created ISIS, is sadly delusional (but if it leads President Obama to make peace with Iran, I'll take that result gratefully).

4. What is the "weapon" in "our best weapon"? When speech is understood as a weapon it ceases to be useful as speech. Religion is declining in the West and even in the United States, but thinking of those still clinging to it as wartime enemies is exactly the wrong way to advance that process. Thinking of an actual war that has numerous motivations as a struggle over religious beliefs will, likely as not, cause those sympathetic to one side or the other to adopt those beliefs or to hold them more firmly.

3. Highlighting stories of a small number of would-be U.S. recruits is propaganda aimed at instilling fear and suggesting a local presence and an actual threat from what is after all a small and very distant group of people.

2. Such propaganda hides actual motivations and causes. Causes hidden include: past wars on Iraq, sectarian divisions created by those wars, poverty and desperation, regional power grabs, international power grabs, the flow of weapons into the region (largely from the United States), the brutality and cruelty and incompetence of the government of Iraq, the weapons and trainers provided by the United States to the "moderate" groups that cease to be moderate or that surrender to those that are not. Motivations include: rage, hunger, fear, the desire for revenge, the desire to see the United States leave the region, the desire to achieve power or safety or riches, the profit motives of the weapons sellers and oil barons, and the belief that violence can be used to end violence.

1. Hiding the primary problems keeps us from seeing the primary solutions. Each of these steps would work wonders compared to telling U.S. television viewers that Islam isn't true: Ceasing to ship weapons to the region; urging an arms embargo on all parties; negotiating a ceasefire with all regional parties including Iran and Russia; sending in a major contingent of nonviolent peaceworkers and human shields, independent journalists, aid workers, and nonviolent activist trainers; providing reparations and aid on a Marshall Plan scale; negotiating a WMD-free Middle East. If those steps were being taken well, I'd be all for finding time to critique religions.

New poem by TCBH! poet in residence Gary Lindorff: This is the Planet

By Gary Lindorff

 

A bear saves a crow from drowning.
A baboon and a dog and a deer frolic in a field.
A little girl feeds the crows
And receives gifts from them in exchange.

This is the planet we are living on,
Not that other one that we are beating up.

Israel/Iran News - Mar 25, 2015


Obama: Recent Remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu Dim Hope for End to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - ABC News


VIDEO: Obama: Recent remarks by Prime Minister Netanyahu dim hope for a negotiated two-state solution (Part 1) - POLITICO


VIDEO: Obama: My dispute with Netanyahu is a policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and the region (Part 2) - You Tube


At the J-Street Conference White House Chief of Staff McDonough Says the Israeli Occupation 'Must End' - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Obama’s Chief Of Staff McDonough To J-Street Conference: Israel’s “Occupation That Has Lasted 50-Years Must End" - YouTube


VIDEO: Obama’s Chief Of Staff McDonough: Netanyahu comments 'very troubling' - YouTube


VIDEO: Obama Staff Chief McDonough's Full Speech to J Street's Conference - YouTube


U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro Says Obama Administration Reevaluating Policy Toward Israel - huffingtonpost.com


James Baker to J-Street: Netanyahu Wrong on Iran, Palestinians - newsmax.com


Jeb Bush ‘disagrees’ with James Baker’s position on Israel - The Washington Post


Netanyahu’s Reelection Pushes J Street to Move the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict to the United Nations - Forward.com


At J-Street conference, chief Palestinian negotiator Erekat rejects Israeli claims that there is no partner for peace - timesofisrael.com


Tensions among U.S. Jews over Israel on display as Hillel leader pulls out of J-Street speech - The Washington Post


J Street U Students March on Hillel - Algemeiner.com


Analysis: Netanyahu may seek unity government as needed cure for a divided Israel - Fox News


Netanyahu Won the Israeli Election by Stealing Conservative Votes from Other Conservative Parties, Not Liberal Ones - huffingtonpost.com


Arab Leaders In Israel Turn Down Netanyahu's Apology - huffingtonpost.com


Abbas meets with Joint Arab List members, praises Arab vote - Israel News, Ynetnews


Gaza women take up arms for next Israel war - The Times


Israeli group's documentary accuses Hamas of training child soldiers - Fox News

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

Israel reportedly spied on Iran nuclear talks in effort to lobby Congress against deal - Fox News


VIDEO: Obama: U.S. briefs Israel on Iran nuclear talks, there will be "significant transparency" as the U.S. works a deal - Washington Post


Israeli minister warns French against 'bad accord' with Iran - Yahoo Maktoob News


In a letter 367 House members warn Obama on Iran - TheHill


Text of the letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress - House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats


U.S. Senate will vote on sanctions bill if there is no Iran deal - Reuters


As Cotton speaks, Code Pink activists surround him over Iran letter - arkansasonline.com


VIDEO: Code Pink interrupts Tom Cotton's Iran speech - POLITICO.com


Arab Press Harshly Criticizes Obama Administration On Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Accuses Him Of Turning Its Back On Arab Friends, Leading Region To Disaster - Right Side News


Top Iranians signal support for a nuclear deal - LA Times


Will R&D agreement seal the Iran deal? - Al-Monitor


Iran isn’t providing needed access or information, IAEA says - The Washington Post


VIDEO: IAEA chief calls for beefed up verification of Iran’s nuclear program - PBS


Iran Criticizes IAEA Snap Inspection Demand - VOA


Oil prices could fall further if Iran nuclear deal is reached - Vox


Progress in Iran talks puts oil traders on edge - FT.com

 

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America and Iran 'taking part in joint military operations in Iraq', US providing intelligence from air to Iran-backed attack on Tikrit - Telegraph


US mulls air strikes for Tikrit offensive in which Iran has played a prominent role: Official - AFP


Iraq request for U.S.-led Tikrit air strikes ‘imminent': diplomat - Reuters


Ahead of nuclear deal Iran expands regional 'empire' from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen - Reuters


Yemen is latest in string of victories for Iran - usatoday.com


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Talk Nation Radio: Margaret Flowers on Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-margaret-flowers-on-stopping-the-trans-pacific-partnership

Margaret Flowers is a Maryland pediatrician who currently serves as co-director of PopularResistance.org and is co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio. She has been fighting to stop fast track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership for more than three years. We discuss upcoming efforts to block passage of the TPP.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Tsarnaev defense fails to ask hardest questions

Defense team for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, (L-R) Miriam Conrad, Judy Clarke and Timothy Watkins walk into the federal courthouse.

Making enemies by droning on and on: It’s Guilt that has US Military and Embassy Staff Fleeing Yemen Like Scared Rats

By Dave Lindorff


I’m the first to admit that I don’t know all that much about Yemen, or about the Houthi rebels who have taken control of Sana’a, the ancient Arab country’s capital, leading to the hasty evacuation of all US military forces (some 250 Special Forces personnel and the staff of the US embassy) from that country located at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. 


A Liberal Lawyer Gives Up on Preventing Murder

Rosa Brooks' article in Foreign Policy is called "There is no such thing as peacetime." Brooks is a law professor who has testified before Congress to the effect that if a drone war is labeled a proper war then blowing children apart with missiles is legal, but that if it's not properly a war then the same action is murder.

Rosa Brooks has apparently come to see the problem with that distinction. How can a secret presidential memo in a drawer somewhere, that she and her colleagues have empowered to determine whether of not an action is part of a war, actually decide on the legitimacy of sending hellfire missiles into houses and restaurants, the behavior of futuristic gangsters on steroids?

But Brooks' solution is not to call murder murder and seek to end it. Rather she proposes to eliminate the distinction between wartime laws and peacetime laws by merging them, so that some of what's illegal in peacetime is just always illegal, and some of what gets a pass in wartime just always gets a pass (she actually only mentions the latter in any specifics). I suppose any simplifying proposal from a lawyer is a noble one, as it does eliminate work for the legal profession. But this is not a proposal to uphold the rule of law or to empower people with legal self-governance. This is a proposal to give up, to throw in the towel on civilization, to accept war as the norm, and to treat murder as a policy in need of constant monitoring and tweaking with reforms around the edges.

"A decade and a half after 9/11," Brooks writes, "the war on terror continues to open new fronts from Syria to Libya to Nigeria. And it's hard to see this changing under a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush administration. Perpetual war is unlikely to end in our lifetimes." If that knocked you down, please get back up and consider what's so flooringly awful about it. Because the U.S. government is waging endless war, we shouldn't try to stop it. Because it is proposing for its highest profile office for two years from now various hacks who will continue the permawar, we shouldn't try to stop it for two years or the next four or ever again.

"For much of human history," Brooks claims, "war has been the norm and peace has been the exception, though Americans have been largely blind to this reality. Foreign attacks on U.S. soil have been few and far between, and for most of U.S. history, the country's wars have been fought by a small and highly professionalized military, making them largely invisible to the bulk of the American population. . . . [A]s legal historian Mary Dudziak notes in her fine book War Time, 'It is only through forgetting the small wars that so much of American history is remembered as peacetime.'"

Yes but it is only through shortsightedness that U.S. writers can ignore the other 95 percent of humanity which is represented by governments that do not wage war to anywhere near the extent that Washington does -- as well as ignoring the 95% of human existence that was pre-history and pre-war. War has been sporadic in human existence since its creation, more absent than present. Nations that have known war have abandoned it. Japan is currently trying to maintain its second lengthy period of peace. War is not the norm in most countries. The proliferation of drones may, however, help it become so. That war is becoming the norm is an idea promoted even by the United Nations' reports on drones. The policy of drone murder in the United States has been allowed to remove war from public, legislative, judicial, or international oversight. The choice before us is whether to accept that and attempt the truly quixotic task of mitigating the damage, or whether to reject it as entirely unacceptable.

Brooks presents the contrast between war and peace standards quite well: "The police, for instance, can't just decide to bomb an apartment building in which suspected criminals lie sleeping, and they can't write off the deaths of innocent people as 'collateral damage.' In peacetime, the intentional destruction of private property and severe restrictions on individual liberties are also impermissible. Wartime turns these rules upside down. Actions that are considered both immoral and illegal in peacetime are permissible — even praiseworthy — in wartime."

But isn't it right to consider murder immoral and illegal? When the drone murders are stripped of the protection of "wartime" flags and music, doesn't it become obvious that they are counterproductive on their own terms as well as damaging to their victims, to our civil liberties, to the rule of law? Not to Brooks who wants to "develop better mechanisms to prevent arbitrariness, mistake, and abuse in targeted killings." Listen to that language. Try to distinguish an abusive from a non-abusive targeted killing, I dare you. I don't think it can be done in under 6 years of law school, and even then trouble sleeping at night might result.

Should we do away with the difference between laws of war and peace? Of course we should. But that means that the people in Guantanamo should have rights, not that you should lose yours. That means that people living far away should have rights, not that the local police should get to kill you with their war weapons. That means an end to secret torture prisons abroad, not the opening of new ones in Chicago. There should be one set of laws and it should include the nations' laws against murder. It should include the Kellogg-Briand Pact. It should include the U.N. Charter until a better institution replaces the U.N. It should include universal support for an independent International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court that prosecutes the crime of war, not just "war crimes."

The drones buzzing around the French nuclear plants seem to bother Brooks less than they do me. Perhaps the growing nuclear danger that lies in the proliferation of nuclear energy and weaponry can make the point. The reality is not that there is no such thing as peace time, but rather that there is no such thing as wartime. If permawar is allowed to continue, the human species that dumps $2 trillion into this greatest environmental destroyer every year, rather than into useful protection against real dangers, will cease to exist.

The Russian Military Asked Me to Publish Its Propaganda

On Friday, March 20th, I spoke at the University of the District of Columbia Law School in Washington, D.C., as part of a series of teach-ins about peace organized by SpringRising.org. While there, a young man in a suit with a Russian accent approached me. He gave me his card, which says at the top "Embassy of the Russian Federation." It identifies him as a Major and as The Air Attaché Assistant. His name: Alexsei G. Padalko. The card includes the address of the Russian Embassy in Washington, two phone numbers, a fax number, and a gmail email address. His name appears on lists of diplomats on the websites of the Russian Embassy and the U.S. State Department.

Alexsei bought one of my books, which I signed, but he said he had another he hadn't brought with him and wanted signed, and he wanted to discuss working together for peace. I said I'd meet him the next day at a coffee shop. When we met, he began talking about having information about Ukraine. He wanted to slip me articles already written and pay me to publish them under my name. He claimed a personal interest in peace and a desire to keep this secret from his employers. It was fine to email him, he said, but he'd have to give me the articles in person. I told him that I would not post articles as by me if not by me, and I would not post them with a pseudonym for someone working for the Russian (or American or any other) military, but if he wanted to give me information to report on under my name in articles I researched with multiple sources, I would keep the confidentiality of any source entirely. I, of course, had told him I wouldn't take any money for anything. And he didn't explain where the money would have come from. He said the information was not secret. He had no interest in using secret email. Nothing was less than above board, he said. But then why the secrecy? And who would be writing the articles? (This man's English was not up to the job.) I told him what I considered proper journalistic behavior and he expressed surprise and concern that I would bring up journalism since I was a blogger. Apparently a blogger is someone you can feed propaganda to, while a journalist is someone who's out to get you. I tried to tell him I was actually interested in communicating the facts about Ukraine to the U.S. public and that I thought that doing so would benefit both Russia and peace. We parted with the understanding that I would email him a time to meet in Washington, and that he would give me information that I could use as a reporter.

I gave it some thought. I could not believe that he was acting against the wishes of his employers. Where was the money to have come from? Who was writing the articles? Why so openly give me his card and meet with me? And what would he want known in the interests of peace that his employers wouldn't? No, he was doing his job. I decided that I would avoid any of the secrecy, and if he wanted to tell me anything that I could report he could do that openly. I would, of course, seek to confirm it with other sources, give the State Department its chance to comment, and report it.

Later that same day I emailed him this:

"Alexsei,

"I'd like to write an article on Ukraine that includes Russian points of view, regarding any of the following: the history of NATO expansion, the coup, Malaysian Flight 17, Crimea, recent conflict, U.S. and NATO allegations, possible peaceful resolution.

"If you or anyone you know can provide any perspective on the matter, please just email or call."

He replied:

"No problem, deal"

Late that night, I wrote:

"Also, would Ambassador Kislyak like to explain Russia's view of Ukraine on a radio show that airs on lots of stations? See http://TalkNationRadio.org I'm the host, and the shows are pre-recorded by telephone at the guest's convenience. An interview can be anywhere from 1 to 28 minutes. I recommend 28 minutes. I would simply ask him for his view of the situation in Ukraine and let him talk. You can just let me know a day and a time and a phone number."

Alexsei has not yet replied to that offer.

Now, I'd like to call the Russian Embassy's main number and ask to be connected to Alexsei and make sure it's the same person. But a friend warns me that doing so produces "meta-data" to be used in framing people with crimes. And I don't seriously doubt the man's identity.

I write this in order to protect myself from any misunderstanding or frame-up, and in order to offer my unsolicited advice to the Russian government: My friends, independent media and small media outlets that are interested in the truth and in considering your points of view are in that position because of their honesty. When you approach them with secrecy and money you ruin the opportunity to have information shared in a credible and effective way. I and countless other bloggers and freelancers who could never bring ourselves to write the Pentagon propaganda that passes for journalism in major U.S. newspapers are not on your team. We're on the side of truth and the side of peace.

Many of us are well aware of the lie that NATO and the U.S. told Russia upon the reunification of Germany to the effect that NATO would not expand eastward. We're outraged by the expansion to your borders. We condemn the U.S.-backed violent coup in Kiev. We denounce the Nazi and foreign-imposed government of Ukraine. We oppose the U.S. arms shipments, the U.S. "National Guard" now guarding the wrong nation, the war games, the baseless characterizations of Russia's behavior, the lies about your aggression.

But you can't fix lies about your aggression by behaving aggressively. If the truth is on your side, don't imagine that it can't be reported and understood at least by some.

I'm aware that most of the military commentators in U.S. media outlets are in the pay of the U.S. military or its private contractors or their think tanks. I'm aware that matters of life and death cause rash decisions. But I encourage you to openly publish your views and to send them to me and anyone else open to them. I encourage you to place guests on my and other radio shows. Don't give those who have twisted reality beyond recognition an excuse to accuse you of the same.

Iran News - Mar 23, 2015

 

Obama said Iranian negotiators have made concessions in nuclear talks, though not enough to seal an agreement - Bloomberg


In Video, Obama Address Iranian Youth in Celebration of the Persian New Year - NYTimes.com


VIDEO (Persian subtitles): Obama's address to the Iranian people in celebration of the Persian New Year - YouTube


Obama urges release of US prisoners in Iran - TheHill

 

Kerry to Iran: It's Time for Tough Decisions on Nuclear Program - VOA

 

CIA head: U.S. intel has 'robust' knowledge of Iran nuclear capabilities, Warns of ‘tremendous' consequences if it decides to develop nuclear weapons - CNN.com

 

Lawmakers on Both Sides Push to Cut Funding for Iran Nuclear Deal - newsmax.com

 

AIPAC, Netanyahu Sabotaging Iran Deal - American Free Press

 

Text of Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 Approved by the Senate Committee - GovTrack.us

 

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Iran President Rouhani says all nuclear issues can be resolved - kashmirmonitor.in


As crowd chants 'Death to America,' Khamenei backs nuclear talks - LA Times


UN sanctions emerge as possible Iran talks 'deal breaker' - Yahoo News


Draft Nuclear Agreement To Cut Iran's Centrifuges By 40%, At 6,000 For Decade - AP


France balks at the US-Iranian deal on five counts – not least with an eye on its Gulf ties - DEBKAfile

 

Israel reaches out to France about preventing what it considers an unfavourable nuclear deal with Iran - Reuters

 

Netanyahu: Israel May Accept Some Iran Centrifuges - Arutz Sheva

 

Saudi Arabia Says It Will Want Same Enrichment Rights as Iran if Nuclear Deal is Done - VICE News

 

Covert sabotage of Iran unlikely to end with nuclear deal - NYTimes.com

 

How a Nuclear Deal With Iran Could Affect Gas Prices - Boston.com

 

--------------------------------------------------

Tikrit assault stalls as Obama withholds U.S. airstrikes to avoid Iran ties, analysts say - Washington Times


CIA Director: Iran general ‘destabilizing' efforts in Iraq as he advises Shiite militias battling Islamic State in the Tikrit offensive - ABC News


Iran general in Iraq 'whenever we need': Shiite militia chief - THE DAILY STAR


VIDEO: Iran Military & Iraq battle for Tikrit - PBS


US trains Iraqi forces as battle for Tikrit continues - Fox News

 

Petraeus: Iran, Not ISIS, Poses Most Significant Threat to Iraq - breitbart.com

 

The Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy war is heating up in Yemen - Business Insider

 

Pakistan Declines to Join Saudi Arabia's Anti-Iran Alliance - US News

 

U.N. Monitor Says Iran Is Worsening on Rights, Executions on the Rise - NYTimes.com

 

Saudi Arabia: Unprecedented spike in death penalty, half of the executions carried out so far this year were for drug-related offences - Amnesty International

 

Learn 10 brutal facts about Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record - Amnesty International

 

A rare look inside a Saudi prison that showers terrorists with perks - The Washington Post 

 

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

 

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Focus: Hillary Clinton - Mar 21, 2015


Trey Gowdy to Hillary Clinton lawyer: Turn over server to third party - POLITICO


Trey Gowdy Threatens Possible House Action if Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Hand Over Her Server - TheBlaze.com


Text of the letter Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Gowdy sent to Clinton’s attorney - benghazi.house.gov


VIDEO: Chairman Of Benghazi Committee Ask Hillary Clinton To Release Servers Or Else - YouTube


State Department: No record of Clinton signing 'separation' form stating she turned over all official documents upon leaving office - Fox News


Emails sought of nearly a dozen U.S. State Department workers under Clinton - Reuters


U.S. State Dept. archives fewer emails than previously disclosed - Reuters


Hillary Clinton's State Department wanted to cut back on email saving duties - POLITICO


National Archives, union press State Department for answers over Clinton email - Fox News


It Could Take Up to 30 Years for Hillary Clinton’s Emails to Reach the National Archives - GovExec.com


Feds argue they had no duty under FOIA to search Hillary Clinton's emails - POLITICO


Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? - Washington Times


Clinton's Keystone XL emails sought, ties to TransCanada lobbyist hit - WashingtonExaminer.com


Delay of Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Haunts Hillary Clinton, a Very Well-Heeled Donor May Have Influenced That Policy - PJ Tatler


Report: Hillary's Email Server Was in Danger of Being Hacked - newsmax.com


Expert: Clinton Emails Could Have Been Compromised By Third-Party Spam-Filtering Company - The Daily Caller


Exclusive: Jailed hacker Guccifer boasts, “I used to read [Clinton’s] memos… and then do the gardening” - PandoDaily


POLL: Hillary Clinton Support Down 15 Points Among Democratic Voters, Many Democrats Want Independent Email Probe - Reuters


POLL: 54% Think Democrats Should Run A Fresh Face in 2016 - Rasmussen Report


VIDEO: Strong Clinton Supporters Are Worried About The Email Scandal - YouTube


Pelosi: GOP Will Investigate Clinton ‘Whether It’s Her Emails Or Hair’ - CBS


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Clinton Foundation donors while Hillary was Secretary of State had ties to foreign governments, report says - Fox News


Exclusive: Despite Hillary Clinton promise, charity did not disclose donors - Reuters


Rand Paul: Foreign donations to Clinton Foundation ‘thinly veiled bribes’, Hillary should return money from 'abusers of women's rights' - POLITICO


VIDEO: Rand Paul Urges Clinton to Return Foreign Money - YouTube


We asked Clinton donors why they gave. Here's what they said - WashingtonExaminer.com


How the Clintons’ Haiti development plans succeed — and disappoint - The Washington Post


The Clinton Foundation and Haiti Contracts - WSJ


VIDEO: Haitians protest outside Clinton Foundation in New York over alleged loss of “billions of dollars” meant to help rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake - Washington Free Beacon


Role of Hillary Clinton’s brother in Haiti gold mine raises eyebrows - The Washington Post


Hillary Clinton's Brother Defends Haiti Gold Mine Deal: 'I Raise Money for a Lot of People' - Breitbart


That time Bill and Hillary Clinton went to a voodoo ceremony in Haiti - The Washington Post


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Politicians Could Use ‘Camp For Adults’ to Foster Bipartisanship, Hillary Clinton Says at the American Camp Association Conference  - CBS


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton: We Really Need Camps for Adults, There is 'Fun Deficit' in America - YouTube


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Full Keynote Speech to the American Camp Association Conference - YouTube


Hillary Clinton’s ‘fun deficit’ is a real problem for poor kids - The Washington Post


Hillary’s Speaking Fee Could Cost Non-Profit The Camp Association 10 Percent Of Its Budget - townhall.com


Hillary Clinton's unanswered questions on marriage equality - MSNBC


Hillary Clinton and the case of Chen Guangcheng, the blind dissident says Clinton’s State Department pressured him to take a bad deal with the Chinese government - POLITICO


Hillary supporters launch ‘Bill for First Lady’ ad campaign (VIDEO) - New York Post


Welcome to the Clintons’ $11 Million Dollar Mansion in New York State - UFP NEWS


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Opposing War With a Smile

Remarks at teach-in at Spring Rising event March 20, 2015, UDC Law School. Note: Rally at White House is noon, March 21.

More times than I can count, after I've given a speech about war and peace without tears in my eyes I've afterward been either blamed or credited with optimism. As in "What the hell are you so optimistic about?" or "Oh, I'm so glad you're optimistic." So, as our local Nobel Laureate would say, let me be clear: I am not an advocate for optimism, have no respect for it, and as a matter of fact deeply despise it. I once interviewed a real expert on both nuclear dangers and environmental collapse, someone I truly respect and learn from, and asked him if he thought we'd survive these twin dangers. Yes, he declared, no question. Why? Because, he said, if you watch movies they always end happily. I don't mean that as the unconscious explanation of his confidence. I mean that's what he said and repeated when I questioned him disbelievingly. Because Hollywood, not to mention novels, plays, cartoons, etc., tends to have happy endings, at least in our culture, so will our species. What? That, to me, is about as logical as Samantha Powers' claim that bombing Iraq will work out better if we pay less attention to how bombing Libya worked out. If Hollywood is an accurate portrayal of reality, then torture works, violence rarely traumatizes, and high-speed car chases through city squares rarely hurt anybody. Are we at the point of openly encouraging each other to be idiots? That's how I view optimism.

Now, when I oppose a U.S. war on ISIS, I'm generally accused of supporting an ISIS war on the United States. After all, if you're against one side you must be for the other side. So, when I oppose optimism, I'm generally accused of supporting pessimism. And yet, in reality, I view pessimism as optimism's evil mutant twin. And I view the knowing spreading of pessimism as treason against the universe. This is because I don't think one should work to prevent death and suffering for the purpose of enjoying success. When you do that, you end up working for peace only in those cases where success is guaranteed or highly likely to arrive fast. Now, I find struggling for peace and justice highly rewarding, but that has nothing to do with the occasional successes, the expectations of success, or of course the lucrative salaries. I find struggling for peace and justice an end in itself, as Camus' Sisyphus found rolling the rock up the hill a joyful fulfillment.

Optimism and pessimism seem rather beside the point, and a bit self-indulgent. And by that I do not mean that we should act without strategic consideration of most likely routes to success. What other way to act is there? If we can lessen the damage on one particular war ever so slightly, we absolutely must do so even if we'd rather be painting a detailed picture of what a world without the institution of war would look like. The choice between demanding alternatives to war, as two of the four witnesses at a Congressional Progressive Caucus event did this week, and urging a properly civilized and limited war as the other two witnesses did, is a strategic choice, not a question of personality or emotional preference or zodiacal sign. If we don't present alternatives, the logic of war-or-nothing will land us in war up to our necks.

I've met thousands of peace activists over the past many years, and I wouldn't wish away a single one of them. We need each to bring a thousand more into the movement. But I find that I, as a proselytizing atheist who longs for a world beyond religion as well as war, often tend to have the most appreciation for the religiously driven peace activists, and I believe we usually have the most to learn from them. Why would this be? Well, for one thing, they tend not to be driven by optimism or pessimism but by something else, which they might call God's distaste for war and I might interpret as their own distaste for war. In addition, they're not typically as driven by partisanship, but rather by that purer opposition to war. And further, they're not as likely to oppose a particular war while favoring others, but to see opposing one war as a step on the path to ending all wars. On top of which, they are likely to make a moral argument against killing the people who make up over 95% of the victims of U.S. wars, namely the people who live where the wars are fought.

And here's why I prefer that approach despite rejecting as archaic its fundamental premise: I think it's the most likely to work. A U.S. war was prevented in 2013 because too many people thought it sounded too much like the war that began in 2003. But no alternative was pursued because we hadn't communicated the possibility of taking an alternative approach to the world. So the masters of war bided their time, fueled the war with trainers and weapons, and launched the same war, albeit on the opposite side of the conflict, in 2014 when the propaganda was right. By that I mean the beheading videos, which were much like the beheadings done by Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies, but these ones were used to manufacture consent for a military solution to a problem that everyone admits has no military solution although it does have a military origin.

When we wait for the right war, the right war always comes. And it is always the wrong choice.

War has a lot of new weapons these days. Who can tell me the single way in which war kills the most people? Just shout it out.

If you said through taking needed resources away from human needs you are correct, and if there's any justice we'll get President Obama's Nobel Prize transferred to you, because you've now done more than he has to earn it.

We like to get upset about the financial cost of war budgets. Yet the routine military budget, which is somehow considered non-war is typically 10 times the war budget. The solution to this is not an audit, not ending the slush-fund use of the war budget, and not ending the manufacture of weapons that don't work. The weapons that don't work are far preferable to the weapons that do work -- I mean if you're on the side of the victims rather than the executioners. The world spends about $2 trillion on war preparations each year, and the United States alone spends half of that. Meanwhile tens of billions could solve starvation, clean water, and other enormous problems, not just in a particular crisis zone but globally. That choice of how to spend unfathomable amounts of money is the top way war kills.

When we buy TV ads as one organization has just done, supporting diplomacy with Iran but falsely implying that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon and threatening to use it, and stating that the danger in a war on Iran is that Americans might die, we like to think we're being strategic. After all, people are selfish and stupid, and one must appeal to their selfishness and stupidity. I don't think so. If Iran were really trying to build a nuke and kill us all (including themselves of course) I'd be scared and lean toward distrust and be more likely to urge a tough approach. If a war to prevent the total destruction of Israel could really be prevented by risking a handful of U.S. deaths, I'd consider that brave and noble -- and I'd feel obliged to sign up. It matters when our rhetoric and the facts we tell and the facts we don't tell guide people away from the action we propose.

By the way, the new year in Iran begins at 6:45 and we apologize to anyone who couldn't be here for that reason. Sadly, there is a holiday for a different group of people any day we choose, and we have to schedule things as best we can.

Let's go back to 2013 for a moment. People and groups favoring peace, or at least a time-out from war, argued, in some cases, that investing in U.S. schools and roads and parks would be preferable to wasting our money on $2 million missiles for Syria. Smart and strategic, right? Appeal to selfishness in order to prevent what Seymour Hersh later exposed as a massive campaign to destroy Syria from the air. But humanitarian warriors were given an opening and they jumped through it. We must bomb Syria because we care about the Syrians, they said. Rejecting the argument that Iraqis had failed to be grateful for the destruction of Iraq, they proposed a generous and magnanimous, even friendly, launching of missiles into Syria for the good of the Syrians, and opposed that to the greed of people who wanted more, more, more at home -- isolationist irresponsible first-world ostriches. But of course wars cost very little compared to the base military budget that Congress now wants to increase to record heights, and yet even the war budgets could fund massive investment in human needs both at home and abroad. Why choose? And why allow a debate to go on in ignorance of the fact that non-Americans die in wars, thousands and thousands of them, women, men, children, and infants?

A week ago, the Washington Post ran a column claiming that a war on Iran was the best choice. Imagine the firestorm if they'd said that racism or rape or child abuse or cruelty to cats was the best choice. Nobody would have said "They print lots of columns against torturing kittens, would you stifle debate by censoring one column in support?" Some things are rightly put beyond the realm of acceptable behavior. Not war. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch put out a report on events of last August 31st when U.S. and Iraqi air strikes "drove ISIS forces away from the town" of Amerli. No doubt, many people died and were maimed and traumatized (also known as terrorized) by those "air strikes," but that's just part of war, which it wouldn't be ethical for Human Rights Watch to question. What concerns Human Rights Watch is what began on September 1st. About 6,000 fighters for the Iraqi government and various militias moved in, with their U.S. weaponry. They destroyed villages. They demolished homes, businesses, mosques, and public buildings. They looted. They burned. They abducted. In fact they behaved exactly as troops taught to hate and murder certain groups of people had behaved in every previously recorded war. Human Rights Watch recommends that Iraq disband the militias and care for the refugees who have fled their wrath, while holding "accountable" those responsible for the documented violations of the "laws of war." Human Rights Watch wants the United States to establish "reform benchmarks." That ought to do it. The possibility of ending participation in the war, creating an arms embargo, negotiating a ceasefire, and redirecting ALL energy into aid and restitution doesn't arise in reports on the proper and civilized if illusory conduct of mass murder.

What if we're trying to fix something that can't be fixed? What if we're asking rapists to wear condoms? Are there not things that should be ended rather than mended because they cannot be mended? Think of fossil fuel use or health insurance corporations or the death penalty or the prison complex or the United States Senate. If your children don't recite the pledge of allegiance will they be in danger of devoting their lives to the Soviet Union? Does altering the hand position to look less Nazi make the pledge non-fascist? Don't some things outlast their usefulness? The Bible verses cited to prove that climate change isn't real may have once served a purpose. Perhaps war did too.

The Strategy Committee of World Beyond War, led by Kent Shifferd, has produced a document that I have learned a lot from. It's called A Global Security System: An Alternative to War, and it begins thus:

"In On Violence, Hannah Arendt wrote that the reason warfare is still with us is not a death wish of our species nor some instinct of aggression, '. . . but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.' The Alternative Global Security System we describe here is the substitute. The goal of this document is to gather into one place, in the briefest form possible, everything one needs to know to work toward an end to war by replacing it with an Alternative Global Security System in contrast to the failed system of national security."

When we look at a rational proposal like this new book from World Beyond War, our first reaction should not be to choose optimism or pessimism. Many people look at the relentless presence of war despite all rational arguments and resign themselves to the idea that humans are driven by primitive primate inclinations. The problem with pessimism is not about whether its adherents are right or wrong on some analysis, it is that they turn their analysis into defeatism. This is the process that blaming things on biology is part of. For the vast majority of the existence of the human species there was zero war. War, which for millennia was closer to a game of football than to a nuclear strike, has been sporadically and rarely present. Most countries are not at war most of the time, and most people take no part. In many countries, large majorities say they would never take part in fighting for their country. War requires more conditioning than any other behavior, and the results are more damage to participants than from any other behavior. Not one single person has ever suffered PTSD from war deprivation. And we pick this institution to excuse as inevitable and natural?

No, the case made in A Global Security System is that war cannot result from an individual's or a group's emotional inclinations. It requires long-term investment, planning, and preparation. And if we prepare for other means of avoiding and resolving conflicts then we will end up using those means. If we create a culture of peace, develop peace journalism, invest in peace planning, support systems of global law and dispute resolution, disarm the world of which the United States is the leading armer, send in peaceworkers rather than bombs, negotiate ceasefires rather than military alliances -- if we strengthen and reform and ultimately replace international structures with global, democratic, and nonviolent means of solving our problems, war will go the way of blood feuds, dueling, and colored bathrooms.

Big changes will be needed in our politics, our economy, our energy use, our culture, and in the stories we tell each other about the world. But these changes can come step-by-step and advance self-aware toward complete replacement of the war system with a peace system. Attempting such a change, which is in some ways well underway already, can hardly be less sensible than the knowing failure of war. A few weeks ago Time Magazine featured a debate on the war on ISIS. One side argued for U.S. ground troops while admitting it probably wouldn't solve anything. The other side argued for U.S. bombs and local troops, while admitting that it probably wouldn't work. This is beyond attempting the same thing and expecting a different result. This is attempting the same thing and expecting the same disastrous result.

We can do better.

Takin’ it to the streets (and voting booth)!: Time to Demand Medicare for All and Social Security Benefits We Can Live On!

By Dave Lindorff

 

With Republicans now in control of both houses of Congress, the current president already on record as supported cuts in Social Security and Medicare, and all signs pointing to the likelihood that the 2016 election could bring us either a neo-liberal or a neo-conservative president, and an increasingly Republican-dominated Congress, it’s time for an aggressive mass movement built around defending and expanding both those critical public funding programs.

Poetry of Sorrow and Hope

David Krieger’s new book of poems―Wake Up!―shows us that poetry engaged with world affairs can be very powerful.

In a brief introduction to the book, Krieger―the president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the author of several previous volumes of poetry―remarks that people who write poetry after Auschwitz, as well as after Hiroshima, Nagasaki, wars, and threats of universal death, must not only “confront the ugliness of human brutality,” but “express the heart’s longing for peace and reveal its grief at our loss of decency.”  He adds:  “They must uncover the truth of who we are . . . and who we could become.”  In this slender volume, Krieger succeeds brilliantly at this task.

Speaking Events

2015

August 27, Chicago

September 22, DC

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