You are hereBlogs
By David Swanson, World Beyond War
I recently debated a pro-war professor on the topic “Is war ever necessary?” (video). I argued for abolishing war. And because people like to see successes before doing something, no matter how indisputably possible that thing is, I gave examples of other institutions that have been abolished in the past. One might include such practices as human sacrifice, polygamy, cannibalism, trial by ordeal, blood feuds, dueling, or the death penalty in a list of human institutions that have been largely abolished in some parts of the earth or which people have at least come to understand could be abolished.
Of course, an important example is slavery. But when I claimed that slavery had been abolished, my debate opponent quickly announced that there are more slaves in the world today than there were before foolish activists imagined they were abolishing slavery. This stunning factoid was meant as a lesson to me: Do not try to improve the world. It cannot be done. In fact, it may be counter-productive.
But let’s examine this claim for the 2 minutes necessary to reject it. Let’s look at it globally and then with the inevitable U.S. focus.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
This post is also available in: Italian
In your website http://worldbeyondwar.org/ you say: “We strive to replace a culture of war with one of peace, in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed”. So which role and value can nonviolence have in building such a culture?
Nonviolent action can play at least three roles here.
- It can demonstrate a superior means of resisting tyranny that causes less suffering, is more likely to succeed, and is likely to have a longer lasting success. While most of the examples, such as Tunisia 2011, are of overcoming domestic tyranny, there is a growing list of successful nonviolent resistance actions against foreign invasion and occupation as well — and a growing understanding of how to apply the lessons of domestic nonviolence to resistance to foreign attack.
- It can model a world that has outgrown war. Nations can lead by example, by joining international bodies and treaties, abiding by the rule of law and enforcing it. The International Criminal Court could indict a non-African. The United States which has stopped manufacturing cluster bombs could join the ban on them. Truth and reconciliation commissions could be expanded. Disarmament talks, humanitarian aid on a new scale, and the closure of foreign bases could be the change we want to see.
- Nonviolent protest and resistance tools can be used by activists to resist bases, weapons manufacture, military recruitment, and new wars. We didn’t stop Dal Molin in Vicenza, but we don’t have to accept it. The U.S. military should not be permitted to use facilities in Sicily to murder with drones in Asia and Africa. A year’s service to one’s country should not involve participating in a military. Public and private funds must be divested from weapons companies. Et cetera.
News reports shows that Islamic State is retreating from villages near Mosul but it is digging in the city. It launched waves of suicide bombers, burned sulfur stocks leading to civilian injuries, blowed up the Mosul biggest hotel, used civilians as a human shield and threatened to kill everybody who tried to flee. According to an unconfirmed CNN report Islamic State executed men and boys. The group launched a counterattack in Kirkuk with grenades and suicide bombings to divert attention from their Mosul bastion. These events are troubling signs. It is too early to assess the Mosul offensive but I have strong reservations about the Obama administration anti-terrorism plan and the Clinton plan is even worse.
Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc) and Turkey finance, arm and maybe provide training and logistical support to the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. There is evidence of this support but no U.S. official publicly acknowledges it. Furthermore it is unthinkable that Islamic State was able to build an army and conquer vast territory in Syria and Iraq in a short period of time without foreign support. Gulf states and Turkey have invested hundreds of millions if not billions to fund and arm jihadi terrorism through Muslim institutions, banks, schools and clandestine operations. The U.S. led coalition’s war on terror will go on and on with no end in sight if the flows of money and weapons to Islamic State from these countries are not stopped. And the costs in terms of lives, displacements, destructions, military expenses will grow proportionally. Gulf states and Turkey should be condemned in international forums for their sponsorship of this barbaric terrorism and warned that they will pay a price for doing so. By the way, Turkey is also bombing and killing the U.S. backed Kurdish forces in Syria which are the ones who fought Islamic State successfully.
In my opinion it is not possible to defeat and eradicate Islamic State without the full participation of Russia. A joint U.S.- Russia military command was envisioned in the September agreement which called for the establishment of a Joint Implementation Center to coordinate activities against the Islamic State. This will send a signal to the Islamic State and its sponsors that the world is united and determined to fight terrorism with all its capacities. U.S. should drop the demand that Assad is be removed from power before democratic elections are held in Syria because this is the stumbling block impeding the cooperation with Russia. Today Putin’s spokesman reiterated that demands for Assad’s departure are “thoughtless” and Assad must remain in power to prevent the country by falling into the hands of the jihadists.
A note about the Sirte offensive in Libya that is similar of the Mosul offensive but on a smaller scale. The U.N. designated Libya government, which is located in Tripoli, decided to launch the Sirte offensive against Islamic State without seeking the consent and participation of the Tobruk government, which is the parliament elected by the Libyans. Subsequently the Tobruk government, which has been successful in fighting the jihadists in Benghazi, opposed the Sirte offensive. To this day after a six-month campaign Islamic State militants are surrounded in a district less than one-kilometre square in Sirte. Sheltering in tunnels and improvised bunkers, Islamic State defends itself with snipers, booby-traps and car bombs. More than 500 pro-government Misrata fighters have been killed. Western special forces teams are advising on the ground and since August U.S. has launched more than 300 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte. Overall this military strategy appears to be weak and costly because the Tobruk government did not participate.
By David Swanson, originally published by the Fairbanks Alaska Daily Miner
I would not rank Vladimir Putin high on a list of leaders. If I lived in Russia I'd be working for major reforms in my government, just as I'm doing where I do live, in the United States. I regularly go on Russian media and criticize the Russian government. Russia is illegally and immorally bombing people in Syria, just as the United States is doing in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
But there are Putin Halloween masks for sale in U.S. stores. Time magazine has Putin on the cover accusing him of trying to damage U.S. elections. A Google search for "Hitler Putin" brings back 11 million results. This demonization of a foreign leader should frighten us more than that leader himself.
Wars do not only kill, if they kill at all, a foreign leader. But they do kill large numbers of children, grandparents, mothers, and fathers. They enrage people, endanger us, damage the natural environment, justify the removal of our rights, and divert unfathomable resources from areas where they could have done a world of good.
The actual Adolph Hitler had no plans or ability to invade the United States and was defeated primarily by Russians who lost at least 27 million lives in the process. For over 70 years, since the end of World War II, the United States has bombed dozens of nations, and in every case that I am aware of U.S. officials have labeled a targeted individual "Hitler."
In May the Politico newspaper reported on Pentagon testimony in Congress to the effect that Russia had a superior and threatening military, but followed that with this: "'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock."
Politico then cited a less-than-credible "study" of Russian military superiority and aggression and added: "While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military's influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes."
The United States has overseen the expansion of NATO to Russia's border. The buffer zone of the last Cold War is gone. U.S./NATO missile bases are now in Romania and being built in Poland. The U.S. has organized in Eastern Europe the largest military exercises seen there since World War II. The U.S. role in supporting a violent coup that created an anti-Russian government in Ukraine was exposed before the coup. When the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia, the U.S. media characterized Russian actions that resulted in total casualties of zero as "an invasion of Ukraine."
Without presenting us with any evidence, the U.S. government has accused Russia of shooting down an airplane, of exposing the corruption within the Democratic National Committee (shouldn't we be grateful?), and of somehow sabotaging the upcoming U.S. election. Every atrocity committed by Russia or Syria in Syria is big news. Every U.S. atrocity there is a yawn.
The stakes are high every time the United States overthrows a government. The disasters of Iraq and Libya have fueled the current catastrophes in those countries and Syria and around the region. But the stakes are higher when the United States and Russia confront each other. These are nuclear nations. Russia has announced that it is considering re-opening a base in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in case anyone has forgotten, was one of the many times since the creation of nuclear weapons that humanity has come close to intentionally or accidentally destroying itself.
The nukes are of far greater strength now. And our understanding has grown of how a limited nuclear war anywhere on earth would create a crop-destroying nuclear winter followed by mass starvation. We don't need to take this sort of risk. To avoid it we need to turn away from war. And that means we need to stop using human rights abuses by targeted governments as excuses to bomb people.
We should protect human rights through leadership by example and consistent application of the rule of law. Doing so would then open the United States up to the possibility of opposing human rights abuses by some of the nasty governments that it props up and sells or gives weapons to, beginning perhaps with Saudi Arabia, a monarchy that makes Vladimir Putin look like Mohandas Gandhi.
David Swanson is speaking at the University of Alaska Schaible Auditorium at 7 p.m. on October 22nd. His books include War Is A Lie and War Is Never Just. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
According to the post-debate CNN poll 44% of Independents said that Trump won the debate while 40% said that Clinton won. This is opposite to what all registered voters (including Independents, Democrats and Republicans) said. In the same poll 52% all registered voters said that Clinton won the debate while 39% said that Trump won.
While the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans will not change their mind in the coming weeks about which presidential candidate to vote (unless there are major revelations about Clinton or Trump), many Independents are volatile and still undecided about whom to vote. The post-debate YouGov poll shows that the 61% of voters undecided or selecting third party candidates would choose Trump while only 39% would choose Clinton if they had to choose between the two. Moreover 90% of respondents not voting for or leaning toward Clinton would never vote for Clinton, while 78% of respondents not voting for or leaning toward Trump would never vote for Trump. Independents are a major factor to determine the next U.S. President given the fact that, according to Gallup, they are the largest voting bloc: the percentage of American that identify as Independents are 40%, as Democrats 32% and as Republicans 27%.
In the post debate YouGov poll 48% of all voters nationally vote for Clinton while 44% vote for Trump. In the pre debate Quinnipiac poll 47% of all likely voters vote for Clinton and 40% for Trump while 42% of Independents vote for Trump and 38% for Clinton.
Note: in the YouGov poll, the presidential candidates were virtually tied on most issues discussed in the debate except trade and fairness of U.S. elections. On gun control, 48% say they agree with Clinton versus 47% for Trump. On taxes, 49% pick Clinton against 46% for Trump. On US-Russia relations, Clinton 47%, Trump 46%. On Supreme Court nominations, 48% for Trump and 47% for Clinton. 50% to 47%, more agreed with Trump on immigration. Trump had a more significant lead on trade: 50% to 41%. Similarly, Clinton led by more on the "fairness of U.S. elections" 50% to 39%.
Social Security checks to rise just 0.3% in 2017: Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
By Dave Lindorff
The 2016 Republican presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by the Republicans, the Democrats, Russians, space aliens, or voters. It was rigged by the owners of television networks who believed that giving one candidate far more coverage than others was good for their ratings. The CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said of this decision: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Justifying that choice based on polling gets the chronology backwards, ignores Moonves' actual motivation, and avoids the problem, which is that there ought to be fair coverage for all qualified candidates (and a democratic way to determine who is qualified).
The 2016 Democratic presidential primary was rigged. It wasn't rigged by bankers, misogynists, Russians, Republicans, or computer hackers. It was rigged by the Democratic National Committee and its co-conspirators in the media, many of whom have helpfully confessed (in case it wasn't obvious) in emails leaked from the DNC and from John Podesta. The DNC chose Hillary Clinton and worked hard to make sure that she "won." Nobody has produced a hint of evidence as to who leaked the emails that added unnecessary confirmation of this rigging, but they should be thanked for informing us, whoever they are.
The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of email was as rigged as the non-prosecution of the CEO of Wells Fargo. The U.S. political system is bought and paid for. Without millions of dollars to funnel to television networks for advertising, any candidate is rigged right out of participating. This rigging of the system is not fixed by someone like Donald Trump pretending for a while that he won't take bribes, that he'll spend only his own money, because most people don't have that kind of money to spend. This rigging is not fixed by making someone like Hillary Clinton take her bribes through her family foundation or requiring that her political action committees remain theoretically separate from the campaign they are collaborating hand-in-glove with, because money buys power.
The debates are rigged by a private entity with no official status that calls itself the Commission on Presidential Debates and transforms open debates among multiple candidates into exclusively bipartisan joint appearances with many large and fine points negotiated beforehand.
Masked ISIS fighters taunt allied forces in new video as they patrol the streets of Mosul in battledress declaring America will leave Iraq 'dragging its tail in defeat’ (VIDEO - English Subs) - Daily Mail
Erdogan voicing concern for future of Sunnis in Mosul: 'We have a historical responsibility in Iraq...They say 30,000 Shia militants are coming. They should be prepared for what they will face’ - Al Jazeera
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
To be honest, I’d love to be able to lead a quiet life right now—building things, reading and writing all day, taking long walks with my dog, having time for dinners and vacations with my loved ones.
But to live like that at this moment in time would be to shrug off responsibility for the very world I was busy loving; we’re in a crisis of unimaginable proportions, and the fact that we here in the US can (between terrible storms and terrible droughts) live normal daily lives, doesn’t mean that we aren’t.
I’ve said enough about why I’m doing this: it needs to be done. I feel incredibly privileged to be alive in this moment, when so much is still so beautiful, and there’s still a chance to save it. But for years (decades, for some people) we’ve tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven’t been anything like enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to this Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life.
If others feel the same way, there’s hope for us yet.
My name is Annette Klapstein. I am a retired attorney and the mother of 2 grown children. Three words embody my decision to take action: love, solidarity and responsibility.
It is my job as an older person to step up and put my body on the line to protect my children and all children. Being retired and freed from those obligations, there is nothing more important than insuring a habitable planet for all our children. Our political system has failed to respond to the grave threat of climate change - this is my taking responsibility.
There was a call for International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe this week - this is my prayer and this is my action. My life is only marginally affected by climate change right now, but there are mothers and children around the world in frontline communities - mostly low-income communities of color - who are being drastically affected right now. This is my act of solidarity.
Like mothers everywhere, I act from a deep love for my own children that extends out to all children and young people, and all living beings on this planet. I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail. I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love.
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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
Just a geography question. Or maybe it's a different sort of question.
Do a web search for "USS Mason" and you will find countless "news" reports about how this poor innocent U.S. ship has been fired upon, and fired upon again, and how it has fired back "countermeasures" in self-defense.
But you might stumble onto one article from CNN (don't watch the totally misleading video posted just above the text) that says:
"Officials Saturday night were uncertain about what exactly happened, if there were multiple incoming missiles or if there was a malfunction with the radar detection system on the destroyer."
So, was the poor wittle innocent destroyer fired at or not?
At first glance, Hillary Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs, which she refused to show us but WikiLeaks claims to have now produced the texts of, reveal less blatant hypocrisy or abuse than do the texts of various emails also recently revealed. But take a closer look.
Clinton has famously said that she believes in maintaining a public position on each issue that differs from her private position. Which did she provide to Goldman Sachs?
Yes, Clinton does profess her loyalty to corporate trade agreements, but at the time of her remarks she hadn't yet started (publicly) claiming otherwise.
I think, in fact, that Clinton maintains numerous positions on various issues, and that those she provided to Goldman Sachs were in part her public stances, in part her confidences to co-conspirators, and in part her partisan Democratic case to a room of Republicans as to why they should donate more to her and less to the GOP. This was not the sort of talk she'd have given to labor union executives or human rights professionals or Bernie Sanders delegates. She has a position for every audience.
In the speech transcripts from June 4, 2013, October 29, 2013, and October 19, 2015, Clinton was apparently paid sufficiently to do something she denies most audiences. That is, she took questions that it appears likely she was not secretly briefed on or engaged in negotiations over ahead of time. In part this appears to be the case because some of the questions were lengthy speeches, and in part because her answers were not all the sort of meaningless platitudes that she produces if given time to prepare.
As the evidence mounts that we are fast approaching the final point-of-no-return beyond which it will be impossible to take sufficient effective action to prevent climate catastrophe – see 'The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently' – the evidence of ineffective official responses climbs too. See, for example, 'Climate Con: why a new global deal on aviation emissions is really bad news'.
"People always think something's all true." —Holden Caulfield
When a wonderful program like Democracy Now does a story on the White Helmets in Syria, the problem is not that the White Helmets don't exist, or that they're not rescuing anyone, or that they're actually filmed in Los Angeles -- all of which is ridiculously untrue.
The problem is that the guest who's on Democracy Now to promote the rescuers repeatedly claims that the war in Syria consists of people being slaughtered by Syria and Russia -- and nothing else. And nobody corrects that. There is no mention of people killed by U.S. bombs or by U.S. weapons given to fighters on the ground.
The problem is that the White Helmets' partners, media allies, and funders promote a one-sided story and, far from working for peace, promote an escalation of the war, demanding a "No Fly Zone" from which to work for the overthrow of the government. In fact, the U.S. government gave the White Helmets $23 million with which to work on "transition" to a different government.
It's good media practice to reveal funders. We protest when retired generals go on CNN to push for war without revealing their financial ties to weapons makers. We should protest when promoters of the White Helmets go on TV without revealing that they're funded by Western governments, including the U.S. government which has been pushing for the overthrow of Syria for years.
Now, when the U.S. government funds something good, we ought to celebrate that. A color revolution in someplace like Serbia that develops creative new techniques and nonviolently overthrows a dictator to create a more democratic country is not wholly evil because the U.S. government supported it. But neither should we blind ourselves to that support or its motivations.
And when those motivations, at the highest levels of the U.S. government, appear disreputable, that of course does not tell us the motivations of all the staff people and volunteers involved. The U.S. government's dishonest demonization of someone like Milosevic doesn't make him a beloved and law-abiding leader. The U.S. facilitation of a coup in Ukraine doesn't mean there weren't Ukrainians with good grievances. The world is just not a simple place.
When it comes to Syria we need to recognize that many people in Syria had and have legitimate grievances against their government, and that the United States and allies have been working for many years now to overthrow the Syrian government, and that U.S. actions in Iraq and Libya and Syria have played a huge role in creating the current disaster, and that Russia and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Qatar and Iran and ISIS and al Nusra and other "extremist" mass murderers and "moderate" mass murderers and the United States and Syria have Syrian blood up to their shoulders.
We also need to recognize that there are a lot of people trying to help, trying to make things better. And their good work should not be used, with or without their consent, as propaganda for further escalation of the killing and destruction. The way to peace does not lie through greater war. And greater war is the goal of the organized demonization of one side, of the manufacturing of selective outrage. On the contrary, the way to peace lies through taking a different approach entirely, an approach that faces all of the facts and treats as the enemy, not this side of the war or that side of the war, but the institution of war.
ISIS uses U.S. weapons which the U.S. continues supplying to fighters in Syria who are trying to overthrow the government. Meanwhile Russia is backing the government against those fighters. In that context, the U.S. and Russia are proposing to work together while threatening each other. These are nuclear nations. What we need is not slick demonization of one side through appeals to our humanitarian concerns, but disarmament, cease-fire, and actual aid on a much greater scale.
The spokespeople for the White Helmets say they don't work in government controlled areas because the government will not let them. That may be true. And it may be true because of suspicions that are easy to understand. But it is also probably true that if the White Helmets were making movies of themselves rescuing people on that side of the war, much of their funding would dry up.
Remember that the U.S. government tried to make a case for bombing Syria in 2013 by claiming that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. President Obama claimed to have solid evidence of that, which three years later we still haven't seen. The public prevented that escalation. But a year later, following the release of ISIS videos, the U.S. public put up little resistance to the U.S. entering the war on multiple sides, including the opposite side from what it had advertised for in 2013.
But the U.S. government was stuck with a problem. How to direct the war against Syria when the U.S. public seemed not to be upset about Syria at all but seemed willing to be scared entirely out of its mind about ISIS? For the past two years we've witnessed campaigns aimed at demonizing Assad and Putin. That the White Helmets are saving lives doesn't change the fact that they are part of those campaigns. We need to observe them with open eyes.
There is, after all, a potential for support of the White Helmets to backfire against war mongers. If the general public caught on that nonviolent aid is the decent, effective, noble, and heroic path, perhaps the U.S. government would shift more than a tiny fraction of a percent of its Syria budget to that approach. If actual humanitarian aid and unarmed civilian peacework (and videography) were scaled up and done in an actually neutral manner, war would end -- and the White Helmets would have shown the way.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
Before people had an easy way to see video footage of police murders, headlines crediting the police with just and noble actions couldn’t be effectively questioned.
We’re still back there in the dark ages when it comes to war murders, but we can overcome the lack of quickly shared videos if we choose to. When the headlines celebrate some sort of “victory” in Mosul or anywhere else, we can point out that the videos of people being blown up in their houses would be truly horrific if we had them. This is not, after all, a point on which there can actually be any question.
The police who murder innocents say they serve a grander purpose of maintaining law and order. Watching the videos of what they do eliminates all possibility of taking that seriously.
The war makers say they serve a grander purpose of . . . well, it depends; sometimes it’s also law and order, other times spreading democracy, other times weapons elimination, other times simply revenge. Imagining the videos we aren’t seeing should help us understand why these justifications do not hold up.
The U.S. has, in recent years, bombed Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. None of them is safer, less armed, more democratic, more peaceful, more prosperous, or less of a threat to others. Quite the contrary. “Defeating” ISIS by bombing people will fuel more suffering and violence, just as “defeating” the government of Saddam Hussein fueled ISIS.
Picture a woman in Mosul who lacks permission to go outside without a male guardian. Now picture that woman’s roof collapsing on her and her children with a thunderous crash and a cloud of dust. Is she better off? Do those who love her appreciate her “liberation”? Would the video be allowed on U.S. media outlets unless we shared it on social media as many times as we do a police video?
“One unfortunate incident.” “Collateral damage.” “A few bad apples.”
No. Police murder routinely and with immunity. Wars murder extensively, immorally, counterproductively, and illegally with immunity. There can be good policing. But there cannot be good war making. It’s all illegal under the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The war on terrorism has been increasing terrorism for years. The U.S. government itself admits it has no idea who most of the people are that it murders with drones.
“So you’re on the side of the criminals.” “You must love ISIS.” “Putin LOVER!”
In fact, this childish retort is more common on the question of war and, tragically, is sometimes fueled by a grain of truth. Even so-called peace groups have fallen for the “pick a side” routine on Syria for years. I know people opposed to U.S. war-making in Syria but not to the U.S. providing weapons to others. I know people opposed to both of those things but not to Syrian government war-making with help from Russia and others. I know people opposed to Syrian and Russian war-making but not to anything directed at overthrowing the Syrian government. I know people in favor of war against ISIS but not against Syria. I know people in favor of any war making armed and funded by Saudi Arabia or Qatar or Turkey but not by the United States or Russia. I could list 18 more variations, all from people claiming — as does the Pentagon — to favor peace.
I oppose war in the way I oppose dueling or blood feuds, not by supporting one side. I oppose the U.S.-led arming of Western Asia the way I oppose pushing heroin in poor neighborhoods, not by wanting particular people to get it all. I oppose murder by police or soldiers in the way that I oppose capital punishment — that is: not because videos make my social media browsing unpleasant, but because people’s lives are being taken.
It’s time we put an end to war as if we could see it.
The forthcoming book from creative activist and kayaktivist extraordinaire Bill Moyer and his Backbone Campaign colleagues should remake the United States and limit the oncoming onslaught of climate suffering. It's called Solutionary Rail: A People Powered Campaign to Electrify America's Railroads and Open Corridors to a Clean Energy Future.
Here's the idea. There is huge potential for solar and wind energy in vast open spaces of the United States. There is a need for pathways through which to transmit renewable-produced electricity to where it's needed in big cities and small towns. Meanwhile, under-used railroad lines crisscross the country. As coal and oil use drop, those lines will be even more under-used, unless we change something. Yet, trains are more efficient than trucks even now, and would be much more so if electrified. So, we should run electricity lines along newly-improved railroad lines, and use some of the electricity to cleanly power a lot more trains.
By electrifying rail, you make rail less expensive as well as cleaner. With improvements to tracks you also make it faster. More freight and passengers find their way to rail. More jobs are produced in renewable energy. People living near trains get a cleaner and quieter environment. Traffic is lessened on highways, reducing accidents, deaths, injuries, and wear and tear on the roads. Electric trains cost less, take less maintenance, and last longer. Regenerative braking can produce still more power.
This is a solution to air pollution, but its benefits just keep piling up. Electric rail is like the hemp of infrastructure. Faster, more efficient trains would take freight from trucks and planes, and people from planes and cars. Electric trains start and stop more quickly and can run more closely together than diesel trains. They run better on grades. They can run much faster than current U.S. trains on existing upgraded tracks. Restoring or adding double tracks provides three to four times the capacity of a single track.
Unless you're going all the way across the United States, for any shorter distance trip, a fast train from downtown to downtown is going to look mighty appealing when the alternative is a plane ride that involves: traveling to an exurban airport, being treated like a terrorism suspect, waiting hours, flying to an out-of-the-way city to wait additional hours switching planes, never being sure you'll be on time, buying much more expensive tickets, squeezing into a tiny seat with no chance to walk around, airplane food instead of a dining car, lousy internet, obnoxious announcements, and the knowledge that you're contributing mightily to the destruction of the earth's climate.
The Guy Who Went Viral from Presidential Debate Works for Coal Company Opposed to Climate Regulations
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
After Kenneth Bone asked a question about energy to presidential nominees Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the presidential town hall debate on October 9, he quickly became a viral internet sensation.
That evening at Washington University in St. Louis, Bone asked, "What step will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"
To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)
Russia Reads US Bluster as Sign of War
Editor Note: As U.S. politicians and pundits have fun talking tough about Russia and demonizing President Putin, they are missing signs that Moscow isn’t amused and is preparing for actual conflict.
By Ray McGovern