We will be nonviolently shutting down buildings and offices and hallways and streets. – David Swanson
Oct. 6 marks the end of the first decade of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the beginning of a nonviolent action that may make D.C.’s Freedom Plaza feel a bit like Egypt’s Tahrir Square. “Thousands and thousands of people have pledged to be there, and not for one day,” said author and activist David Swanson, who is helping organize the event as part of October 2011.
As he stood outside the White House on Sept. 3, the final day of the two-week mass civil disobedience against the Keystone XL pipeline, Swanson discussed the upcoming action, which will see protesters camping out day and night at Freedom Plaza.
We’ll make the same persuasive arguments that we always make about the agenda that everybody has: taxing the wealthy, ending the wars, cutting the military, saving the environment, creating jobs. But we’ll do so with actions that take inspiration from the Arab Spring and countries around the world where people try to interfere with what their government is doing, not just speak to it. We will be nonviolently shutting down buildings and offices and hallways and streets.
While the action has been organized by individuals, there are more than 100 organizations supporting it. October 2011 lists “Fifteen Core Issues the Country Must Face,” including: corporatism; wars and militarism; worker rights and jobs; criminal justice and prisons; healthcare; education and housing.
Swanson noted a paradox plaguing the U.S. political process: Americans are quick to criticize their government, but reluctant to take constructive steps to make it better.
[There are] millions of Americans who are able to say: “The system is broken.” “The government is not working for us.” “The government is completely corrupted.” But [then they also say], “How dare you shut it down?” Somehow, too many Americans think that’s an approach you take toward evil, non-American governments, [but not] the American government [which] is sacred, even though it’s “completely broken” and “corrupt” and “working for Wall Street” and “screwing us all.”
Somehow, if we can get over that hump of loyalty to the government, of loyalty to a party, and have people say, “We are the sovereigns of this nation [and] it’s We The People in whose name the Constitution was written,” then we’ll have a movement. It won’t accomplish everything this year, but it will be started.
Reflections on the 9/11 attacks are important and moving. But most overlook the enduring legacy of the attacks, in the form of the vastly greater damage done to American principles over the past decade. Whether in the context of surveillance, torture, or the congressional cowardice that has enabled them, our leaders have sullied the legacy of an America that once inspired the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, citizens and guests, welcome. Recent polls show that two out of three Americans think that our government is going in the wrong direction. Many of us feel confused and conflicted, not knowing what or who to believe. Surrounded by a fog of deceit we long for some beacon of clarity. We feel the storms of war thundering before us, blowing away our rights with the gale winds of fear, and burning down the edifice of our morality with the lightening fires of hate. Yet this human tragedy is as old as war itself; but fought now with weapons newly spawned in the laboratories of devastation.
America must come to realize that the fog of lies and the storms of war are our own creation - our creation of our own destruction. And they have a history. They have a direction. They have a conclusion. To find the clarity to guide us in a different direction we recall the past so as not to repeat its deadly conclusion. We evoke the past to foresee the future; ever mindful that it is we who choose the direction and bring it into being and nurture it.
Tonight we evoke three leaders who have shaped our history.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Walter Brasch has written dozens of columns, human interest stories, and investigative articles about 9/11 and its effects. He was one of the first to write about the PATRIOT Act violating civil liberties and parts of the Constitution. He was one of the first, using extensive investigation techniques and inside information, to question the statements from the Bush–Cheney Administration about the reasons for the impending invasion of Iraq. This column, written about a month after 9/11 shows the hypocrisy of some American business, and suggests if they wish to be patriotic they might wish to do more for their workers.]
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 nears, many ex-Bush administration officials who approved torture in the “war on terror” and botched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are back in the spotlight taking bows from appreciative audiences in tightly controlled settings.
Back in my native New York on Thursday afternoon, I was bolstered by a scene of what I call real New Yorkers (along with tourists and honking cab drivers) joining in a protest of the adulation bestowed on torture lawyer John Yoo at the swank University Club off Fifth Avenue.
What became gradually and reassuringly clear is that New York continues to be a tale of two cities. And those whom my grandmother used to call “the swells” remain a loud but increasingly transparent minority.
President-Elect Obama’s advisers feared in 2008 that authorities would “revolt” and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a law school dean who served as one of Obama’s top transition advisers.
I've admired David Swanson for a number of years. He's one of the most active progressive activists I know — indeed, both astonishingly productive and absolutely on message. Since he gets out and about all the time, and I don't, it was a real treat to hear his sense of where things stand politically, and his advice regarding what people should be doing. (Think getting arrested.) Thanks, David!! Total runtime thirty six minutes. Āctum est dē rēpūblicā.
On February 9, New York Times writer Jennifer Medina headlined, "Charges Against Muslim Students Prompt Debate Over Free Speech," saying:
On February 8, 11 Muslim students interrupted Israeli ambassador Michael Oren's University of California-Irvine speech, criticizing him and Israeli injustice. In fact, they exercised their fundamental First Amendment right doing so.
(Washington, DC) Stratfor Global Intelligence just published an essay announcing that the nation's rulers have conducted a "successful war" on terror following the events of 9/11. The author, CEO and Stratfor founder, George Friedman, dressed up the standard Bush - Cheney justification for the past ten years of foreign misadventures and domestic decline:
"…one of the most extraordinary facts of the war that begin on 9/11 was that there have been no more successful major attacks on the United States." George Friedman, September 6
This is a weekend to remember the victims of the global war OF Terror. With the 24/7 news cycle that ignores the harrowing crimes committed based on the tragedy of 9/11; many are left alienated if they do not agree with the official narrative. The past 10 years have brought death and destruction to Iraq and Afghanistan, the burial of the truth, and the demolition of whole cultures. Now is the time to connect with our friends and send a message to the world that these crimes are not in our names.
Let's re-commit to this community of resistance, join it by becoming a sustainer and let's spend the weekend talking with others about what the past 10 years have meant for the people of the world and the difference World Can't Wait makes.
For the month of September, as the eyes of the country are turned to 9/11 and people are asked to once again channel their grief into support for unending war, we are returning to the history of this movement - which has always, from the start, held that American lives are not more valuable than other human beings. Please join in helping make this message, this movement, and a better future possible, through sustaining World Can't Wait today.
In the summer of 2005, people were starting to come out of their 6 month long depression over the outcome of the 2004 election. It was somewhat of a struggle to get people to stop blaming Bush voters, and grasp and grapple with the depravity of the Bush program, and the fact that two aggressive wars had been launched on the basis of lies.
Here's a way to make this work within a Democratic Primary or in the general election of 2012.
Nobody can just announce that they are running in the general election as a candidate of the people, of peace, of justice, of decency, because all the corporate media would want to talk about was Spoilerdom.
And running instead in only non-swing-states, or asking voters in swing states to swap their votes with people in non-swing-states, would lead to only that same conversation about Spoilers and the mechanics of theatrical electioneering.
Just what is it we're being told to "never forget" as we remember the events of 10 years ago? Looking back at what the Bush regime did at the time:
CBS News reported that, on the afternoon of 9/11/01, Donald Rumsfeld ordered the military to draw up plans to attack Iraq. "Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
How about this, directed at any nation or person who would question means taken by the United States in response by George Bush, September 20, 2001: "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
If I told you I would support women's rights as long as I didn't have to oppose rape, you’d think I needed lessons in both logic and basic human decency. If I said I would favor freedom as long as I didn't have to be against slavery, you might start backing away slowly.
Yet on September 1st, in a statement that's anything but out of the ordinary, the Daily Progress reported Charlottesville School Board Member Ned Michie's objection to a resolution in support of events celebrating the International Day of Peace:
"I'm all in favor of peace and non-violence," Michie said, "but, for instance… to the extent that any of the events are really sort of anti-war events, I'm not necessarily comfortable with supporting that."
It's a funny thing about peace and war: you really do have to choose between them. They don't mix any better than freedom and slavery. You can't favor peace without opposing war. In fact, you can't support peace without opposing the machinery that makes wars likely. And that machinery is all over Charlottesville, where it provides many local residents with jobs.
We are given figures in the multi multi billions spent on the wars of choice and the so called 'homeland security', but there are huge amounts, in the multi billions, not known or labeled top secret and blacked out in government reports on the rapid growth of intelligence within government and the added private contractors and the costs of that growth. As pointed out in the 'PBS Frontline' report, below, what has it accomplish over all these years, especially as to the main mission after 9/11 and finally getting bin Laden, found through intelligence of a small group and carried out by a small group of 'special forces'.
Israeli Oppression Continues While Talking Peace - by Stephen Lendman
No wonder Palestinians want and deserve statehood, as well as full UN membership to be able to seek World Court redress, and be able to sue under Genocide Convention provisions, and why not.
Israel's lawless hypocrisy is shameless given what goes on daily - bombings, killings, mass arrests, settlement expansions, dispossessions, and other civil and human rights abuses on an ongoing basis. More on that below.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, like Jeanette Rankin before her, bravely stood alone in Congress against a vote for war, the vote in 2001 for the so-called Authorization to Use Military Force, a Constitutionally dubious passing of the war decision buck to President Bush and his successors. A majority of Americans now believes that the Afghanistan War that followed that authorization never should have been begun and should, in fact, be ended. So, the Congresswoman, along with initial cosponsors Jones, Woolsey, Grijalva, Conyers, and Honda, is offering us a second chance, a chance to get our response to 9-11 right, to restore war powers to the Congress, and to impose the will of the people on that body.
Congresswoman Lee has sent her colleagues this letter, which we should each send them ourselves by email, fax, phone, carrier pigeon, and by nailing it to their cathedral doors:
"Please join me as an original cosponsor of the 'Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act of 2011.' This legislation repeals the joint resolution providing overly-broad authorization to the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against those involved in attacking our nation and to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.
"This broad authorization of force has had far-reaching implications which shake the very foundations of our great nation and democracy. It has been used to justify warrantless surveillance and wiretapping activities, indefinite detention practices that fly in the face of our constitutional values, extrajudicial targeted-killing operations, and an ever-growing and indefinite pursuit of an ill-defined enemy abroad.
"We must repeal this authorization for use of military force, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and re-focus our energy and efforts into those actions which truly improve our national security, including developing emerging economies and diplomatic efforts. Please join me as an original cosponsor of this legislation to remove this overly-broad blank check for war anytime, anywhere.
The legislation itself is shorter than the above letter, powerful in its simplicity, approaching in fact the populist wisdom of the long-forgotten Kellogg-Briand Pact, and offering far more than a technical readjustment within a government rotten to its core. At the risk of revitalizing the utterly discredited and poisonous notions of hope and change, I would suggest that this bill offers the nearest possible approximation of the time-altering repeal, not of a law, but of the past decade of collective insanity and self-righteous mass-murder. Read this carefully:
To repeal Public Law 107–40. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Ms. LEE of California introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on _______ A BILL To repeal Public Law 107–40. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force’’.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDING. Congress finds that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note), signed into law on September 18, 2001, has been used to justify a broad and open-ended authorization for the use of military force and such an interpretation is inconsistent with the authority of Congress to declare war and make all laws for executing powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.
SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PUBLIC LAW 107–40. Effective 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.
The AUMF is to be repealed here for two reasons: because Congress is Constitutionally bound to decide matters of war and cannot legally hand off that responsibility to its executive, and because Congresswoman Lee's tearful predictions when she stood alone against this madness a decade ago, and was subsequently obliged to hire security protection, have been proved right; the Authorization has been used and abused to an ever greater extent as an aggrandizement of executive power and a justification for the erosion of our civil liberties. This proposal comes on the heels of a successful public push by RootsAction.org, the ACLU, and others to strip out of the 2012 Defense Authorization Act language that would have radically expanded, rather than repealed, the 2001 AUMF.
Of course, the sponsorship of this proposal by a handful of Congress Members, any number of them capable of losing their spine at the command of their parties' leaders, does not suggest the likelihood of quick passage. But it does give a somewhat floundering peace movement a point around which to rally, educate, organize, and pressure. Rather than joining Congressional progressives in lobbying the 12-member Super Congress, even for top priorities like ending the wars and moving the money to human needs, rather than focusing purely on appealing to an all-powerful president to end particular wars (important as that is), we have an opportunity here to shift the country away from both the idea of presidential war making and the idea, recognized now even by the Washington Post, of war without end, war as normality, with peace having become the state of affairs requiring particular justification.
As popular movements begin to bring nonviolent resistance to Washington, D.C., including this October ( http://october2011.org ) perhaps one appropriate measure would be the shutting down of the congressional offices of each member who has not yet joined the good Congresswoman from Oakland on this bill -- a step I'm sure she would never recommend to us and which it is not her role to recommend to us, but a step which morality requires of us as clearly as the blood of our innocent victims is crying out from continents day after day.
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