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‘We’re sorry’: America’s Latest War Crime is the Murderous Destruction of a Hospital in Afghanistan

By Dave Lindorff


            Really? The best that Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama can do after the US bombs and destroys a hospital in Afghanistan, killing 22 people, including 12 volunteer doctors from Doctors Without Borders, is to say, “We’re sorry”?


New TCBH! Poem: 'Grieving and Praying'

Pray for the day
When the gun-god turns to salt
And melts away.
Grieve our helplessness
To change what we believe in.
I had a gun once
With a silver bullet,
A gold bullet,
A diamond bullet.
I loved my gun so much,
I loved the bullets.
I shot the silver bullet into a cloud
And it rained.
I shot the gold bullet into a dream
And it landed on my pillow.
I shot the diamond bullet at a star.
It circled the earth
And it came down
And told me stories.
But I wanted more from my gun and bullets.
I had one more bullet
That was made of clay.
I shot that bullet into the ocean.
It didn’t change a thing.
I threw away my gun.
I turned to the land of my home
And I walked
Toward the far horizon,
Grieving and praying.
           --Gary Lindorff


Syria/Russia News - Oct 8, 2015

Russia says it fired cruise missiles from warships in Caspian sea to Syria provinces of Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib - AP

Syrian troops launch ground offensive backed by Russian airstrikes - The Guardian

VIDEO: Russian Defence Ministry publishes a video featuring a massive 'precision weapon strike' in Syria - Russia Ministry of Defence

Russian warplanes in Syria destroy U.S.-trained rebels' weapons depots: commander - Reuters

Moscow ready to establish contacts with FSA, help it unite forces with Assad against ISIS: Putin - RT News

Syrian rebel commander rejects idea of working with Damascus against Islamic State - Reuters

France dismisses Russian suggestions that Syrian government forces and moderate rebels could join in fighting Islamic State - Reuters

NATO says Russian ground troops in Syria, Turkey's airspace violated again - CNN

Foreign Ministry: No volunteers recruited in Russia to fight in Syria - TASS

Spy Planes, Signal Jammers, and Putin’s High-Tech War in Syria - Foreign Policy

Iraq may request Russian airstrikes: Official - NBC News

Saudi opposition clerics make sectarian call to jihad against Syria's government and its Iranian and Russian backers - Reuters



Pentagon chief: US not cooperating with Russia against Islamic State in Syria, as long as Moscow continues to strike other rebel groups - ABC

VIDEO: Pentagon chief: ‘Don’t listen to Russia, US has not agreed to cooperate in Syria' -

US Rules Out Intelligence Sharing With Russia on Fighting ISIL -

U.S. diverts aircraft to avoid Russian fighter -

Russian jets 'intercept' US predator drones over Syria, officials say 'the Russians flew very close, but did not impede the drone flight’ - Fox News

No decision made on no-fly zone in Syria: U.S. State Department - Reuters

VIDEO: State Department Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 12:40 minute) - YouTube

VIDEO: White House Press Briefing on Syria (starts at 50:30 minute) - YouTube

Washington says Kurds waged an effective war against the Islamic State, distinguishes between the PKK and the YPG - Rudaw

Syria's Kurds Are Contemplating an Aleppo Alliance with Assad and Russia - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Kurds say blood tests show Islamic State used mustard gas in Iraq - Reuters

What an ISIS Chemical Strike Did to One Syrian Family - The New York Times

Nuclear Smugglers Tried Selling Radioactive Materials To ISIS - AP

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

Nobel Foundation Sued Over Peace Prize

A Press Release from the Nobel Peace Prize Watch

RE: Nobel Foundation - lawsuit against misappropriation of funds – violating intended antimilitarist purpose of the Nobel peace prize

The controversy over peace prizes disconnected from the specific peace vision of Alfred Nobel is now coming to a head in a lawsuit initiated by Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate; David Swanson, USA; Jan Oberg, Sweden; and the Nobel Peace Prize Watch. None of the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation had responded when the time limit set in a notice of litigation expired on Tuesday. The plaintiffs have retained attorney Kenneth Lewis, Stockholm, to have the Stockholm City Court declare the prize to the EU an illegal use of the Foundation´s funds. In December 2012 the members of the Board of the Nobel Foundation did not heed protests from four Nobel laureates, Mairead Maguire, Perez Esquivel, Desmond Tutu, and the International Peace Bureau, who in a letter had warned that “The EU is clearly not 'the champion of peace' that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he wrote his will."

Living in a Conflict Zone

I think the last few days have been the first time that I have really felt like I live in the Occupied Territories.  The Wall, the soldiers, the checkpoints, the questions, the stories, the excitement, the feeling that it is dangerous.  Don’t get me wrong the injustice that I have witnessed over the past 6 months is hard to describe and the sadness and oppression all around me is hard to deal with but all of that just seems like nothing now.  Now it feels more like a conflict zone. 

There have been clashes and riots everyday all over the West Bank including in Bethlehem.  The Israelis cleansed the Temple Mount of Muslims last week for a Jewish holiday and there have been settler attacks around the West Bank.  The West Bank is in an uproar.  Meanwhile, Hamas fires rockets to Sderot…the same town I visited a few weeks ago.  There is talk of the third intifada.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership - Oct 6, 2015

TPP deal: US and 11 other countries reach landmark Pacific trade pact - The Guardian

Pacific Deal Rewrites Rules on Trade in Autos, Patented Drugs, Agriculture - Bloomberg Business

Summary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - United States Trade Representative

VIDEO: TPP Atlanta Ministerial Press Conference - United States Trade Representative

The U.S. Official Website On The Trans-Pacific Partnership - United States Trade Representative

Statement by President Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership -

White House: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Boosts Made in America Exports, Supports Higher-Paying American Jobs, and Protects American Workers -

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Regarding the Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership - USDA Newsroom

Statement Of U.S. Conference Of Mayors President On Announcement Of Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Deal - PRNewswire

Trade deal seen as win for tech, apparel, agriculture; negative for pharma, manufacturing - MarketWatch

Most agriculture groups favorable to TPP - Capital Press

Drugmakers say Pacific trade pact to stifle investment in cures, negotiators should have extended protection for 12 years -

Medicines won't be more expensive under Trans-Pacific Partnership: Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull -

Statement of American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association: Trans-Pacific Partnership Protects Public Health from Tobacco Industry Attack -

Trade deal could curb cyber theft, advocates say - TheHill

How Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Impact Hollywood - Variety

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal: US Banks Get Victories In TPP Agreement -

China left out of landmark trade deal, but door is left open for the future - LA Times

S. Korea welcomes TPP agreement, will strive to join mega trade bloc - The Korea Observer



AFL-CIO Statement on TTP: We will evaluate the details carefully and work to defeat this corporate trade deal if it does not measure up -

Statements of Five Union Presidents Opposing TPP Treaty - Talking Union

Bernie Sanders bashes trade deal as 'disastrous' - POLITICO

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Congressional Progressive Caucus

Levin Statement Following Conclusion of TPP Negotiations in Atlanta - Congressman Sandy Levin

Exclusive — Donald Trump Declares War On Obamatrade: ‘Time To Send A Real Businessman’ To White House To End This - Breitbart

Will The Trans-Pacific Partnership Improve Labor Standards? -

Automaker Ford, others say trade deal lacks currency protections -

Statement: Ford Calls for ‘Better Plan’ on Trade -

Domestic Manufacturers' Council Rejects TPP Deal as Inadequate and Harmful to US National Interests -

National Farmers Union Vigorously Opposes TPP Without Currency Manipulation Enforcement - BARN OnAir

White House Says Enviros Love This Trade Pact, But Enviros Say Otherwise -

Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Has Some Environmentalists Celebrating — and Others Crying Foul - VICE News

Sierra Club: Congress Should Reject Polluter-Friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership - Sierra Club National

Friends of the Earth: The U.S. cuts an ugly deal on Trans Pacific trade agreement - Friends of the Earth

Statement by Doctors Without Borders on the Conclusion of TPP Negotiations in Atlanta - Doctors Without Borders

Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel - Electronic Frontier Foundation

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

Can Corporatized Universities Allow Criticism of Israel?

The University of California is seeking to ban criticism of Israel. This is a widespread phenomenon in the United States, as attested by two new reports and cases like that of Steven Salaita, author of Uncivil Rights: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom.

Salaita was fired by the University of Illinois for criticizing Israel on Twitter. Norman Finkelstein had been denied tenure by DePaul University for criticizing Israel. William Robinson was almost driven out at UC Santa Barbara for refusing to "repent" after criticizing Israel. Joseph Massad at Columbia had a similar experience.

Why, in a country that stretches "freedom of speech" to the point of covering the bribery of politicians, should it be acceptable to criticize the United States but not a tiny, distant country only just created in 1948? And why should such censorship reach even into institutions that usually pile "academic freedom" on top of "freedom of speech" as an argument against censorship?

First and foremost, I think, is the nature of Israel. It's a nation practicing apartheid and genocide in the twenty-first century using U.S. funding and weaponry. It can't persuade people of the acceptability of these policies in open debate. It can only continue its crimes by insisting that -- precisely as a government serving one ethnic group only -- any criticism amounts to the threat of apartheid and genocide known as "anti-Semitism."

Second, I think, is the subservience of the contemporary degenerate educational institution, which serves the wealthy donor, not the exploration of human intellect. When wealthy donors demand that "anti-Semitism" be stamped out, so it is. (And how can one object without being "anti-Semitic" or appearing to dispute that there actually is real anti-Semitism in the world and that it is as immoral as hatred of any other group.)

Third, the crackdown on criticizing Israel is a response to the success of such criticism and to the efforts of the BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) movement. Israeli author Manfred Gerstenfeld published openly in the Jerusalem Post a strategy for making an example of a few U.S. professors in order to "diminish the threat of boycotts."

Salaita called his book Uncivil Rights because the accusations of unacceptable speech typically take the form of proclaiming a need to protect civility. Salaita didn't tweet or otherwise communicate anything actually anti-Semitic. He tweeted and otherwise communicated many statements opposing anti-Semitism. But he criticized Israel and cursed at the same time. And to compound the sin, he used humor and sarcasm. Such practices are enough to get you convicted in a U.S. Court of Indignation without any careful examination of whether the sarcastic cursing actually expressed hatred or, on the contrary, expressed justifiable outrage. Reading Salaita's offending tweets in the context of all his other ones exonerates him of anti-Semitism while leaving him clearly guilty of "anti-Semitism," that is: criticizing the Israeli government.

This criticism can take the form of criticizing Israeli settlers. Salaita writes in his book:

"There are nearly half a million Jewish settlers on the West Bank. Their population currently grows at double the rate of other Israelis. They use 90 percent of the West Bank's water; the 3.5 million Palestinians of the territory make due with the remaining 10 percent. They travel on Jewish-only highways while Palestinians wait for hours at checkpoints (with no guarantee of passing through, even when they are injured or giving birth). They regularly assault women and children; some bury alive the natives. They vandalize homes and shops. They run over pedestrians with their cars. They restrict farmers from their land. They squat on hilltops that don't belong to them. They firebomb houses and kill babies. They bring with them a high-tech security force largely composed of conscripts to maintain this hideous apparatus."

One could read even such a longer-than-twitter criticism and imagine certain additions to it. But, reading the whole book from which I've quoted it, would eliminate the possibility of fantasizing that Salaita is, in this passage, advocating vengeance or violence or condemning settlers because of their religion or ethnicity or equating all settlers with each other except in so far as they are part of an operation of ethnic cleansing. Salaita does not excuse either side of the conflict but criticizes the idea that there is a conflict in Palestine with two equal sides:

"Since 2000, Israelis have killed 2,060 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 130 Israeli children. The overall death count during this period is over 9,000 Palestinians and 1,190 Israelis. Israel has violated at least seventy-seven UN resolutions and numerous provisions of the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Israel has imposed hundreds of settlements on the West Bank, while Palestinians inside Israel increasingly are squeezed and continue to be internally displaced. Israel has demolished nearly thirty thousand Palestinian homes as a matter of policy. Palestinians have demolished zero Israeli homes. At present more than six thousand Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons, including children; no Israeli occupies a Palestinian prison."

Salaita wants Palestinian land given back to Palestinians, just as he wants at least some Native American land given back to Native Americans. Such demands, even when they amount to nothing but compliance with existing laws and treaties, seem unreasonable or vengeful to certain readers. But what people imagine education consists of if not the consideration of ideas that at first seem unreasonable is beyond me. And the notion that returning stolen land must involve violence is a notion added to the proposal by the reader.

However, there is at least one area in which Salaita is clearly and openly accepting of violence, and that is the United States military. Salaita wrote a column criticizing "support the troops" propaganda, in which he said, "My wife and I often discuss what our son might grow up to accomplish. A consistent area of disagreement is his possible career choice. She can think of few things worse than him one day joining the military (in any capacity), while I would not object to such a decision."

Think about that. Here is someone making a moral argument for opposing violence in Palestine, and a book-length defense of the importance of this stand outweighing concerns of comfort or politeness. And he wouldn't so much as object to his son joining the United States military. Elsewhere in the book, he notes that U.S. academics "can travel to, say, Tel Aviv University and pal around with racists and war criminals." Think about that. This is an American academic writing this while David Petraeus, John Yoo, Condoleezza Rice, Harold Koh, and dozens of their fellow war criminals teach in U.S. academia, and not without huge controversy about which Salaita cannot have avoided hearing. In response to outrage at his criticism of "support the troops," his then-employer, Virginia Tech, loudly proclaimed its support for the U.S. military.

The U.S. military acts on the belief, as found in the names of its operations and weapons as well as in its extended discussions, that the world is "Indian territory," and that native lives don't matter. A West Point professor recently proposed targeting critics of U.S. militarism with death, not just denial of tenure. And why is such criticism dangerous? Because nothing the U.S. military does to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, or anywhere else is any more defensible than what the Israeli military does with its help -- and I don't think it would take much consideration of the facts for someone like Steven Salaita to realize that.

The Incomprehensible Idea: What Opposing All Wars Means

The world’s two big nuclear militaries are in the same war now in Syria and, if not on opposite sides exactly, certainly not on the same side. A primary, if not the primary, goal of the United States in Syria is overthrowing the Syrian government. A primary, if not the primary, goal of Russia is maintaining the Syrian government. Hostilities are building in each nation toward the other. Republican candidates for president are trying to outdo a certain Democratic candidate for president in bellicosity toward Russia. Forces armed by the U.S. in Syria are eager to shoot down Russian planes. Russia and the U.S. and its allies are clearly unhappy about each other’s flights. Hillary Clinton wants a no-fly zone. Israeli and Russian planes have already come close to fighting. Israel has attacked the base Russia is using, or at least Russia says it has.

To my mind this is more dangerous that the Cuban missile crisis. This is the Cuban missile crisis with way more nukes, way crazier elected officials, numerous state and non-state actors in the mix, an unpredictable civil war underway, a propaganda machine of higher sophistication and extreme corruption, and the public too confused and deluded to impose any sort of positive influence at all.

And when I mock the public I include myself in that. Let me give you an idea of how out of touch I am. I would have thought that every peace activist in the United States would oppose the new development of Russia bombing Syria. We’ve always said, and some of us have even believed, that war was immoral and illegal and unacceptable no matter who did it. We’ve opposed primarily U.S. wars because the U.S. is the primary wager of wars and because we live in the U.S. We’ve always said that if some other nation were to begin adventuring around the world bombing countries we would oppose that too. And some of us meant it. We’ve always argued that bombs kill civilians along with ordinary soldiers stuck on the wrong side. We’ve always pointed to all the evidence that bombs generate more hatred, more violence, more enemies. U.S. bombs, we’ve said, don’t plant flowers of democracy; they plant seeds of violent blowback. Are we now to suppose that Russian bombs are different? Because I couldn’t have been more wrong about how people were going to react.

Many, it turns out, see Russian bombs as imposing law and order, bombing the proper people which the U.S. was failing to do, and resisting the evil warmaking efforts of the United States.

Of course, Russia is supporting a legal government, not a bunch of rebel groups. Of course the United States and every other party involved was on a years-long course of disaster and horror before Russia reached this stage of involvement. But how does supporting a legal government give you a blank check for dropping bombs on people? If Russia had supported the legal government of Egypt by bombing Tahrir Square in 2011 would all the same observers have cheered? Russia has been arming and supporting a brutal murderous government in Syria for years, fueling a proxy war. The United States and its gulf allies have been arming and training and assisting various sides in the war for years now. The constant flow of weapons has been worsening the situation for years. The steady escalation of the violence has been worsening the situation for years. Why wouldn’t it? It always does.

Of course those many “peace” activists who have supported U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian government for years might be expected to possibly denounce Russian bombing. But what about those of us who’ve opposed U.S. imperialism and rejected with indignation all the accusations of being big fans of Bashar al Assad?

I’ve been on Russia TV dozens of times in recent years to denounce U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria. Often RT creates a Youtube video and a text story about the interview afterwards. Last week I was on and they apparently expected me to cheer for the Russian bombs, but I denounced them as well, and the Syrian government as well, along with the United States and its many allies. The interviewer seemed shocked, but it was live — what could they do? I haven’t seen any Youtube. I haven’t had another call from RT yet. (In fairness, I opposed U.S. warmaking on MSNBC over a year ago and have yet to hear from them.)

I was so out of touch on Friday that, even though I expected that line of questioning and that response to my answers from RT, I assumed peace activists all agreed with me. It turns out that many clearly do not, and many others assume the same thing about me that RT did, namely that I must be thrilled that Russia is dropping bombs on Syrians.

When you engage in online activism, and you send out emails to hundreds of thousands of people, you get back quite a variety of responses. One type of response that often gets on my nerves is the why-didn’t-you-mention-my-cause-in-your-email response. It’s just not fun to receive outraged messages that your petition against a corporate trade agreement failed to mention the Citizens United decision, or your campaign to end the war on Afghanistan failed to mention the war on Yemen. These complaints are usually accompanied by accusations of evil intent and corrupt complicity. This phenomenon has been increasing as the wars have been proliferating. And it’s merged with the ages-old tradition of assuming that opposition to one side in a war equals support for the other side. If you don’t want Israelis killing Palestinians then you must want Palestinians killing Israelis. This line of thinking is ubiquitous. So, now I receive angry emails attacking me for supporting Russian bombs in Syria or Syrian bombs in Syria when I send out an email opposing a fracked gas pipeline or denouncing the bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan.

Some wise souls began, immediately upon the commencement of the Russian bombing of Syria, to declare that we must oppose bombing by all sides. I stupidly assumed this went without saying. I ignored constructive criticism that I shouldn’t say anything about anything without opposing the Russian bombing or everyone would conclude I favored it. Huh? Why in the world would they think that? I’ve been working on a set of arguments for the complete abolition of war. Why would I favor war all of a sudden — and the most dangerous development in war in the history of the planet? That’s crazy, I thought. But I was way out of touch.

The idea of opposing all war, though many thousands sign their names onto it, is really not understood by very many, I’m afraid. I think it’s taken as meaningless rhetoric, harmless simplification. Of course they don’t mean all war, they just mean the bad wars, I’ll go ahead and sign that. Deep in the minds of even some of the most dedicated and courageous and principled peace activists lies faith in the power of brute force, reliance on the strategy of a balance of powers, hope that war waged properly by the right parties in the right places can end the improper wars and bring about war’s absence.

I believe I am going to make a list of all active wars, and all parties in them, with the words “I oppose these:” at the top. Of course I oppose secret actions by “special” forces too. I oppose drone murders I’m never told about. And of course I’m holding out hope that drone war opponents will be saddened rather than encouraged when nations other than the United States begin to get caught committing drone murders. Come to think of it, there is no way to create a comprehensive list. You’re just going to have to believe I oppose all war, and I’m just going to have to keep saying so over and over and over. After all, I may not have long left to say it if U.S.-Russian relations continue on the course they’ve charted.

Talk Nation Radio: Maria Santelli on Conscience and War 

Maria Santelli is Executive Director of the Center on Conscience & War, a 75-year old organization founded to provide technical and community support to conscientious objectors to war. Based in Washington, D.C., Santelli has been working for peace and justice since 1996. She discusses conscientious objection and this week's attack on a hospital in Afghanistan.


Read her articles at

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Ruminations of an Afghan Girl Burning to Death in a Hospital Bed

Life is a very jumbled mixture. The pain of it, if you're awake and thinking, brings into your mind the happiest moments you can remember and transforms them into agony unless you resist bitterness with every drop of strength you have left, if not more. Physical pain makes clear-thinking and generous thinking more difficult, until death appears in front of you, and then the physical pain is as nothing.

I know that I'm not supposed to be bitter, and yet that somehow makes it harder not to be. When my father and sister and two cousins were blown into little pieces last year, it was the action of some distant office worker pushing a switch on a remote-controlled airplane. And I'm supposed to believe that they meant well. And this is supposed to make it better. But somehow it makes it worse.

The war that landed me in this hospital in Kunduz, along with all of the screaming men, women, and children around me whose voices have now faded into what I imagine the roar of the ocean must be, this war comes from a distant land that we are told means well. Yet it generates enemies through its horrors. It funds those enemies through its incompetence, corruption, and insistence on buying protection for its occupiers. It fights those enemies with such marvelous weaponry that it kills and kills and kills until many more enemies face it, and it goes on fighting from afar. I'm told the people in America believe the war ended, that it isn't even happening, that it isn't entering Year 15 in four days, while I will never enter Year 14.

I've only known war. I've only heard of peace. Now I will know only the peace of the dead. And I've been told that the dead go on with living somewhere else, but I'm told this by people whose other statements are nothing but lies, so I prefer to wait the endless moments of this hospital burning to the ground with me inside it, and then see for myself.

I understand that I am only an Afghan. I am not an American school student wrongly murdered. I am not an Israeli settler brutally blown up. I'm not a U.S. soldier or a Syrian or Ukrainian who was killed by the wrong side. But this is what makes my bitterness so hard to push back against. I'm an Afghan being bombed for women's rights that I will never ever have a chance to exercise, because I will never ever be a woman. So, I must focus on my gratitude to those who have been kind to me, including those who left this world ahead of me to guide the way.

When I focus on the good in my life intensely, I can shut out any echoes of the evil. I can almost even come back to the evil with a sense of forgiveness and the realization that really, truly, the people who do these things must not know what they are doing. I understand that no one could really begin to understand my experience who isn't me.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 4, 2015

Kremlin claims its strikes destroyed major Islamic State command post and bunker in its ‘capital' Raqqa - LA Times

Air Force decimating terrorist command centers, bunkers, camps, workshops: Russian Defense Ministry - RT


Russia warned U.S. ‘ahead of latest Syria strikes’ - Al Arabiya News

Russia says to step up air strikes in Syria, 'We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity' - Reuters

Russian Air Group in Syria Fully Deployed, Ready to Strike Targets - Sputnik

Russia Deploying Marines to Syria to Guard Airbase -

Inside the Russian airbase in Syria: RT checks out everyday life at Latakia airfield (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - RT News

Russian Navy Positions Itself Off the Coast of Latakia -

Russian military assets in Syria -

US Media: Russia Is Using Old, Dumb Bombs, Making Syria Air War Even More Brutal - The Daily Beast

Russia Media: Despite Video Evidence, Pentagon Slams Moscow for Using 'Dumb Bombs’ - Sputnik

People in different areas in Northern Syria tell me: Russian planes are flying in pairs during bombing raids. Never a plane alone - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Russian Warplanes Have Registered No ISIL Air Defense Activity in Syria - Sputnik

Russian jets kill eight members of Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib, including a media person with the group - Hassan Hassan on Twitter


Russians hit town Ihsem controlled by Jaish alFatah (Nusra, AlQaeda) + Ahrar + others who kicked out FSA Jamal Maruf last year - Jenan Moussa on Twitter

PHOTOS: Al Nusrah Front tweets photos of Russian airstrikes - The Long War Journal

Syria FM urges Russia to send troops to protect Assad from ISIS - NY Daily News



Obama says Putin wrong on Syria but no proxy war between the United States and Russia - AP

Allies demand Russia to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL, immediately cease its attacks on the 'Syrian opposition and civilians' - Reuters

Joint Declaration by France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK and US on the Russian Military Actions in Syria -

Pentagon considering protections for U.S.-trained rebels in Syria if they come under fire by the Russians - CTV News

Clinton joins some Republicans in breaking with Obama on Syria no-fly zone - The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders sides with Obama and against Clinton on no-fly zone in Syria - The Washington Post

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels appeal for antiaircraft missiles - The Washington Post

Syrian opposition rejects UN plan on Syria -

U.S. Syrian Kurdish allies welcome Russian airstrikes in Syria - The Sacramento Bee

Iraqi Kurdish leader urges Russia, U.S. to coordinate in anti-IS fight - Reuters

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel's relationship with Russia is good - Jerusalem Post

Egypt says Russia's intervention in Syria will counter terrorism - Yahoo News

Canada notably absent from coalition criticism of Russian Syria action - The Globe and Mail

Opinion: Deal with Saudis? Why does the US care if Russia bombs al-Qaeda and its Allies in Syria? - Informed Comment

WikiLeaks Cables Portray Saudi Arabia As A Cash Machine For Terrorists - The Guardian

Opinion: Syria, the New York Times and the Mystery of the "Moderate Rebels” -

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

Of scientists and charlatans: Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster

By Robert M. Nelson


Republican presidential aspirants Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum all describe themselves as devout Catholics and, like most Republican candidates, they argue that religion should play an expanded role in American politics and government. However, on matters related to global warming, Messrs. Bush and Rubio both agree with Mr. Santorum, stating that we should, “...leave science to the scientists.”


Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi's Dream


On behalf of those of us who struggle to honor Gandhi's legacy to the world, I would like to wish Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi 'happy birthday!' Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 and had he defied both the assassin's bullet and the aging process, he would have been 146 years old this year.

Hillary Offers Syria a Libyan-Iraqi-Style Paradise

Americans may find Syria a bit confusing. David Petraeus, sainted hero, has proposed arming al Qaeda, organized devil. Vladimir Putin, reincarnated Hitler, is bombing either ISIS or al Qaeda or their friendly democratic allies, but he shouldn't be because he's against overthrowing the Syrian government, also run by Hitler living under the name Assad. Hillary Clinton, liberal socialist, wants to create a no-fly zone, but wouldn't that make it hard to bomb all the scary Muslims? Wait, are we against Assad or the scary Muslims or both? Aaaaaarrrrgghh! How does this make any sense?

Let's start over, shall we?

Some basic facts?

We'll start with the most uncomfortable fact, but one that helps begin to make sense of everything, OK?

The United States military wants to dominate the earth, has "special" forces active in 135 countries, and has troops stationed in some 180 countries. On a map of the world showing nations with no U.S. troops in them, Syria and Iran stand out like sore thumbs, as once-upon-a-time did Iraq and Libya. Syria not only has no U.S. troops; it has Russian troops, and it's friendly toward Iran, which has no U.S. troops. Overthrowing the Syrian government, like Iraq's and Libya's and Iran's, has been on the Pentagon's bucket list for the 21st century. As early as 2006, the U.S. government had people on the ground in Syria working to overthrow the government. With the 2011 Arab Spring, the U.S. thought it saw an opportunity, and helped turn the protests violent.

The Syrian government is awful and murderous. It used to torture people for the U.S. government. It, indeed, attacks "its own citizens" (which is always who governments attack that aren't escapading around the globe attacking other people's citizens, which in fact most governments never do). If every government that attacked its own citizens had to be overthrown, the list would be unending, and could begin with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and various other governments just in that region that the U.S. -- far from overthrowing -- props up, funds, and arms with the weaponry used to commit the attacks. Overthrowing foreign governments and launching wars are in fact illegal acts, and rightly so, regardless of the nature of the governments.

The criminal acts of overthrowing the horrible governments of Iraq and Libya resulted in millions of people being killed, injured, traumatized, and turned into refugees, and the creation of not only worse governments but deadly chaos in those nations and spilling out into the rest of the region. This cannot be a model for what to do to Syria.

Russia should not be arming Syria or bombing Syria. We're so well trained to think in terms of war, that when we hear that one side of a war is in the wrong, we imagine that must be an argument for backing the other side. "You don't want the United States bombing Syria? Then you must want Russia bombing Syria! You must want Assad using his deadly 'barrel bombs'!" In fact, nobody should be arming or bombing anyone in Syria. The United States and numerous allies that have been bombing Syria need to stop. Russia, which has just started, needs to stop. The U.S. media says Russia is bombing where there's no ISIS, although it said ISIS was there a week ago and seems to have forgotten. Russia shouldn't stop bombing because it's bombing the wrong people. There are no right people to bomb. The majority of people who die from bombs are civilians. The majority of people involved with any of the many opposition groups in Syria are opportunists and misguided desperate souls. Every single person in Syria is a person deserving better than a crude "barrel bomb" from a helicopter they hear coming or a far more deadly missile from a foreign jet or drone.

A no fly zone is not a zone in which nobody can fly. It's a zone in which the United States claims the exclusive right to fly and to shoot out of the sky anyone else who tries it, and to bomb out of existence any weaponry that could threaten U.S. planes, along with any people who happen to be anywhere near any suspected weaponry or near any locations accidentally hit in the process. The history of human catastrophes facilitated by humanitarian "no fly" zones includes Iraq and Libya. Hillary Clinton, motivated by interest in Libya's oil, wanted a no fly zone in Libya, urged that it be used to overthrow the government, laughed gleefully about killing Gadaffi, and would prefer that you now not look at Libya too closely. A no fly zone for Syria is a declaration of war on Syria.

Hillary Clinton, just to be clear, is not an office holder. She is a private citizen who ought to be shunned from all public discourse. As Secretary of State, she waived restrictions on shipping weapons to brutal governments if they made large "donations" to her foundation. For that, she should be in prison. Nothing worse will be found, no matter how many of her emails are read in a mad pursuit of more minor but colorful offenses.

In 2013, the Obama Administration demanded the right to send missiles into Syria. The plan, kept private, was a massive bombing campaign that would have leveled Syria and set it on a more rapid course toward utter chaos. Obama made claims about chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government that have never yet been documented, and alleged proof for which fell apart.

The U.S. public helped prevent that attack in 2013 and was, according to polls, even more strongly against arming and training Syrians. So, the CIA and the Pentagon went right ahead with arming and training Syrians. They have had a very hard time recruiting, and have seen their trained and armed troops desert and join other groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS. The U.S. dismissed out of hand a Russian proposal for peace, including Assad stepping down, in 2012, under the delusion that Assad would be quickly overthrown by violence in a manner less advantageous to Russia. That hasn't happened. U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia keep funding and arming ISIS and allied groups. The U.S. keeps arming supposedly "moderate" murderers who supposedly oppose both ISIS and Assad. The various opposition groups keep fighting Assad and each other. And Assad gets support from Russia, and has begun working with Russia, Iran, and Iraq against its opposition / ISIS.

The United States still dreams of overthrowing Assad on the cheap without a massive U.S. occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. The U.S. keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could overthrow Assad, generate lots more hatred of the United States, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

Russia hopes to keep Assad or a Russia-friendly government in power without a massive Russian occupation, and without bombing quite the whole country. Russia keeps fueling the fires that sooner or later could escalate into the kind of war that could put an end to major opposition in the short term, generate hatred of Russia, empower ISIS, and kill millions.

The global threat is, of course, that this could escalate into a war between Russia and the United States.

What can be done? From the U.S. side that's not hard to answer, though it may be hard to accept.

1. Apologize to the people of Iraq and Libya, abandon the overthrow of Syria, apologize to the United Nations for promoting war at the General Assembly.

2. Cease all weapons shipments to the Middle East and pull all U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

3. Launch a massive campaign of no-strings-attached aid as restitution to the region, costing of course many times less than the ongoing militarism.

4. Work to negotiate an arms embargo and a weapons-of-mass-destruction free Middle East, including Israel.

5. Work to cut off the funding to armed groups.

6. Ask the United Nations to convene peace talks with all parties, including the Syrian opposition, including Iraq, including Iran, including Russia, including Turkey, including the Syrian government, but not including nations that are not even located in the region, such as the United States.

Syria/Russia News - Oct 2, 2015


Russian air strikes hit CIA-trained Free Syrian Army rebel faction, commander says - Yahoo Maktoob News

What Is The Free Syrian Army? Russia Targets CIA-Trained Rebels Opposed To Assad Regime -

Geolocated Evidence points to Russian airstrikes on TOW-operating FSA affiliate (VIDEO) - Syria Direct

Russia warplanes target in Syria the Army of Conquest, an alliance that includes Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and CIA-trained FSA factions - VOA

A look at the Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance in Syria - New York Times

Russia admits ISIS is not only target in Syria, says it supports the Syrian armed forces in the struggle with extremist groups - Fiscal Times

Russia does not consider Free Syrian Army a terrorist group, Lavrov says - Reuters

VIDEO: Lavrov speaks at a news conference at the United Nations about Russian airstrikes (Full) - Bloomberg Business

Kremlin officials accuse U.S. of 'war of disinformation' on Syria airstrikes - LA Times

Vladimir Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military - Daily Mail Online

MAPS: Mapping the Battle for Syria: Russian Airstrikes Hit Rebel Areas - The New York Times

Al Qaeda brigade claims attack on Russian forces in Syria - The Long War Journal

Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources - Reuters

Iraq would welcome Russian strikes against Islamic State in Iraq: Iraqi prime minister Abadi - Reuters

VIDEO: Prime Minister Abadi: Iraq welcomes Russia in Islamic State fight - PBS

Syrian Kurdish fighters welcome Russian strikes, demand weapons for anti-IS fight - Middle East Eye

PYD leader: Russia will stop Turkey from intervening in Syria - Al-Monitor


Foreign ministers of Russia and China discuss fight against Islamic State, crisis in Syria - TASS



White House complains to Russians on their airstrikes as 'indiscriminate military operations against the Syrian opposition' - ABC News

U.S. seen unlikely to defend Syrian rebels from Russian strikes - Reuters

Pentagon: US and Russia hold  'cordial and professional’ talks to clear up Syrian airspace, present proposals for minimizing risks - ABC

VIDEO: White House Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria (Starts at 5:15 minute) -

VIDEO: Department Defense Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria -

TRANSCRIPT: Department of Defense Press Briefing on Russian Airstrikes in Syria - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

VIDEO: Russian approach in Syria 'doomed to fail': Pentagon chief - YouTube

U.S. and Russia unlikely to share intelligence on Syria -

Pentagon Worried Iraq Will Share U.S. Intel with Russia -

Lack of targets, not Russians, seen affecting number of US airstrikes in Syria - Stripes

Members of Congress: Leave Syria’s Assad for later in face of Russian offensive, 'The key is to defeat ISIS' - The Washington Post

Republican-led Senate panel opens review of Syria intelligence - Business Insider

Syria conflict: Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists show off weapons allegedly seized from-US trained rebels -

Saudi Arabia demands Russia end Syria raids, criticises Iran -

Erdoğan: Turkey will not allow ’fait accompli situations’ next to its borders, in an apparent reference to Russian air strikes in Syria -


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

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, How Trump Became Trump and What That Means for the Rest of Us

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

The Record U.S. Military Budget

To listen to the Republican candidates' debate last week, one would think that President Obama had slashed the U.S. military budget and left our country defenseless.  Nothing could be farther off the mark.  There are real weaknesses in Obama's foreign policy, but a lack of funding for weapons and war is not one of them.  President Obama has in fact been responsible for the largest U.S. military budget since the Second World War, as is well documented in the U.S.

War Abolition Books Proliferate

When I wrote War Is A Lie in 2010 (second edition coming April 5th!) it was a condemnation of war, but not exactly a manifesto for abolishing it. I wrote that in War No More: The Case for Abolition in 2013. But John Horgan wrote The End of War in 2012. Douglas Fry wrote Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace in 2009. Russell Faure-Brac wrote Transition to Peace in 2012. Winslow Myers wrote Living Beyond War in 2009. Judith Hand wrote Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War in 2013. Colleagues of mine at and I wrote A Global Security System: An Alternative to War in 2015. And I’ve just picked up a copy of Roberto Vivo’s War: A Crime Against Humanity (2014). There are others out there, and others in the works. Some readers may point to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature (2012), although it’s not so much a rallying cry to end war as a misleading claim that war is ending itself. There are other books as well that are more straightforwardly responses to the growth of war abolitionism, such as War: What Is It Good For? by Ian Morris in 2015, which, yes, argues that wars are good for us and shouldn’t be abolished.

There were a lot more war abolition books in the 1920s and 1930s, and of course there was a much bigger peace movement in the 1960s than now, but I think it can safely be argued that a new trend is emerging in opposition to the institution of war, a trend possibly brought on in part by the end of the Cold War and by the 8-year reign of a Republican U.S. President (or was it Vice President?) who engaged in aggressive war with unapologetic rhetoric and extremely careless propaganda. Certainly the end of the (Bill) Clinton years was not greeted by the publication of a pile of books seeking to rid the world of war. Some of the books above are quite explicitly reactions to the George W. Bush wars, some include misguided apologies for the Barack Obama wars, some claim weapons companies can coexist with peace, some suggest that women must end the male scourge of war, some condemn capitalism as a root problem, some are religious, some focus on scientific studies. No two agree with each other on every point. They all — certainly including mine — have flaws.

But the cumulative effect of these books is bound to be more persuasive than any one of them. They all or virtually all point to the current understanding of pre-history as a time free of war, slavery, major agriculture, cities, and other accouterments of “civilization,” although not, of course, free of violence or anger. All of these books recognize war and these other developments as relatively new in human existence and argue that if some can be ended (such as slavery, which few now dispute can be ended) then war can be ended too. All make the case that war since World War II has killed primarily civilians and cannot be morally defended. All make the case that war while nuclear weapons exist risks human annihilation. All argue that developments in peace studies and nonviolent action render war obsolete as a tool for political change. All point to examples of “primitive” and “civilized” cultures choosing to live without war for centuries on end. All point to examples of particular wars being prevented, and ask “If that war could be stopped, why not every war?” All strive to identify some of the factors facilitating war (cultural attitudes, profiteering, corruption, propaganda, etc.) and to propose courses of action that will move us toward abolition.

Roberto Vivo’s book is no exception. Its initial sections are among the best I’ve read on the evitability of war, the evil of war, and the unjustness of war. The whole book is full of intriguing nuggets for further exploration of other authors, ancient Chinese philosophers, and anecdotes from centuries gone by. The third of the four sections of Vivo’s book seemed rather irrelevant to me. We read about George Soros’ late-in-life discovery that self-identified “democracies” use propaganda; yet we read page after page about the development and politics of democracy — always credited ultimately to the ancient Greeks, never the Iroquois. And I think the short section in which Vivo claims that weapons industries can coexist with peace while generating economic benefits ought to address the serious arguments that the weapons industries are actually an economic drain, that restraining them is not easy, that they want their weapons tested and demonstrated, and that they want their weapons eliminated and replaced.

Vivo’s final chapter looks at slavery, torture, and racism as practices that are being ended — or at least we hope so, and I think the arguments used are good ones despite the significant comeback for torture in recent years. Vivo sees part of the solution to war as resting in criminalizing it. He’d like to transform the International Criminal Court into an independent and effective institution with the ability to prosecute what he calls “aggressive war” and what I would call “war.” Vivo accurately identifies the United States government as the major force working against such application of the rule of law. But he writes about the idea of criminalizing war as if it’s never been done, and claims that the effort to prosecute the crime of starting World War I failed because it has always been believed that no single individual could be held accountable for something so enormous.

But in fact roughly half the world is represented by governments that are parties to a treaty banning all war, and it was the existence of this treaty that allowed the United States to claim that war was a crime when it was committed by Germany and Japan (though, for some reason, not when it was committed by the victors of World War II). This treaty, which did not exist when World War I was launched, is called the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and I wrote about it in When the World Outlawed War. Vivo’s nation of Uruguay is not a party to the Pact, but its current president seems just the person to change that. Were Uruguay to send a letter to the U.S. State Department joining the Kellogg-Briand Pact, it would then be a party to it. That’s all that is required. Uruguay might then send a note the following week respectfully urging the United States to comply with the treaty.

Of course, bringing the nations of the world together to create something like the Kellogg-Briand Pact from scratch would work just as well, but no single country could do that alone, and no group of countries could do it in this day and age without some sort of magical powers. The victors of World War II, also known as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, think they have got a good thing going. Why would they choose to put themselves on an equal level with others and ban all war when they can maintain impunity and choose which wars are “defensive” and which are “authorized”?

The secret of Kellogg-Briand is that four of the big five are already on board with banning all war and just need to be reminded of it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Uruguay were to play that role?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if war abolition literature were read, studied, discussed, refined, and acted on?

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Superpower as Victim

Three Exceptional Facts About America
It’s Safe to Be Paranoid in the U.S.
By Tom Engelhardt

The L.A. Times goes to Cuba: OMG! The Food’s So Proletarian, and Pets are Hard to Find

By Rip Rense


The L.A. Times sent one of its managing editors to Cuba a few months ago, to report on the status of the society, culture, etc. Good that they sent a big gun, instead of just a run-of-the-mill reporter. Here are two of the stunning findings from this report. Brace yourself!


Syria/Russia News - Sep 30, 2015

Pentagon readies talks with Russia on Syria military operations - Reuters

Pentagon: Russia 'ready' to launch airstrikes in Syria -

U.S. stops sending new Syria recruits to troubled rebel training program, says it is not suspended but just put on ‘pause’ - Yahoo News

VIDEO: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria -

TRANSCRIPT: Pentagon Press Briefing on Syria -

Dem senator calls on US to suspend Syrian rebel training program - TheHill

Military official: Untrained commander led U.S backed Syrian rebels that gave up equipment to Nusra Front -

Top NATO general: Russians starting to build air defense bubble over Syria, aiming to aid embattled Syrian President Assad - The Washington Post

Pentagon's top Russia official Evelyn Farkas resigns, she has been known to take a hard line on Russia - POLITICO

Obama's Islamic State War Czar John Allen Stepping Down - Bloomberg View

Congressional report: U.S. has 'failed' to stop flow of foreign fighters to ISIS - CNN

REPORT: Text of the Report by the Congressional Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel -



Obama, Putin spar over Syria, clash over the central question of whether Syrian President Assad should retain power - Reuters

VIDEO: Obama UN General Assembly Full Speech - YouTube

TRANSCRIPT: President Obama Speech to the United Nations General Assembly -

VIDEO (and transcript): Putin full speech at UN General Assembly - President of Russia

VIDEO: Lavrov's interview highlights: ’We cannot allow the state of Syria fail, alternative is ISIS caliphate' - YouTube

Lavrov rules out joint command with U.S. in Syria, however stresses that military operations must be coordinated - La Prensa

Russia is trying to coax the US into sharing intel with Iraq, Iran, and Syria in Baghdad - Business Insider

Russian military experts arrive in Iraq -

Russia May Provide Reconnaissance Aircraft for Baghdad Info Center - Sputnik

Moscow hopes list of participants in the anti-ISIS coordination center in Baghdad to grow - TASS


Iraq defends intelligence sharing with Russia, Syria, Iran - AP

Russia establishes seaborne lifeline for Syrian allies - Reuters

VIDEO: Russian navy pours south through Bosphorus, possibly heading to Syria -

France opens war crimes inquiry against Assad regime: sources - Yahoo News

British PM Cameron: Putin Teaming Up with Assad to Defeat ISIS Is a 'Phony Solution’ (VIDEO) - Breitbart

Saudi Arabia says there is 'no future' for Assad in Syria, whether that exit is through politics or by force - The Guardian

Assad is root of Syria crisis, Qatar tells Putin -

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

Three Cheers for Gridlock

That little smoke-filled room where our despair and paranoia incline us to imagine a small number of evil people run the world clearly forgot to keep an eye on the Republican Party.

A popular movement has struggled to stop such looming disasters as the NAFTA-on-steroids Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the ouster of John Boehner as Speaker of the House puts stopping anything into play. While scholarly studies deem the U.S. government to be an oligarchy, based on whom it actually serves, petty partisan squabbling just might come riding to the rescue of democracy -- accidentally of course.

Boehner wasn't insufficiently right-wing for the other Republicans in the House of Representatives, he was just insufficiently obstinate and insufficiently anti-Obama. The new Speaker's mandate will be to oppose to the death anything Obama supports. Obama could publicly throw himself behind keeping Guantanamo open, and the place would be shut by Thursday.

See, from way out yonder beyond the Beltway we sometimes have to squint to see the difference between the two parties. But from their perspective, one party is on a holy mission while the other is evil incarnate. And the minority of Americans who still bother to vote tend to be disproportionately those who also manage to see a big difference between the two parties. So, candidates get elected with the rather stupid mission of first and foremost opposing anything the other party does.

The little-known-fact that usually makes this look like a silly charade but which, if it's taken far enough, could just be our salvation, is that the two parties agree on most of the big stuff. They both want major job-and-environment-destroying corporate trade agreements, for example. They'll scream at each other about abortion but ram those plutocratic deals right through, against any amount of public opposition. Unless, perhaps, they've sworn an oath on what passes for their honor to oppose anything the other party supports.

Now here's where this could get really really good. The majority of what Congress spends money on each year (some 54% of discretionary spending now) is a single item in multiple departments: the military. The global celebration if a U.S. military spending bill were ever blocked would top probably all past human festivals. But how to stop one? A speech by the Pope clearly won't do it. Protesters getting thrown out of committee hearings hasn't done it. Public opinion polls barely register. After 14 years of a particularly disastrous military campaign, Congress seems perfectly content to roll right along. Unless, perhaps, a partisan disagreement can be introduced into the debate. (I'm thinking a Democratic commitment to passing no military spending without full rights for trans-gender soldiers.)

Gridlock is generally lamented by the U.S. media, but when most of what's being done is damaging, we really ought to work to facilitate gridlock. Bailout a bank? No thanks. Subsidize a coal company? I'll pass. Cut taxes on a billionaire? Maybe later.

Of course, this gets us only so far. You can't fantasize about passing good and necessary legislation under gridlock. Congress won't be able to invest in a radical emergency project to save the earth's climate, for example. But if you think that was about to happen, you may want to roll over and stop snoring. Once in a blue moon some smaller piece of desirable legislation comes to a vote. Those would suffer under Congressional gridlock or shutdown. We'd have to work at the state, local, and global levels instead.

But wouldn't it be worth it to be rid of Congress? C-Span could then switch over to live video feeds of police brutality 24-7.

Talk Nation Radio: An Actually Great Candidate 

Mike Ferner is a candidate for mayor of Toledo, Ohio.


Mike Ferner grew up in rural Ohio, working on farms much of his youth.  After 12 years of Catholic education and a head full of John Wayne movies, he enlisted in the Navy right out of high school in 1969.

During three years as a hospital corpsman he nursed hundreds of wounded soldiers returning from Viet Nam, an experience that radicalized him for life starting with his discharge as a conscientious objector.  

Mike has been an independent member of Toledo City Council and a candidate for mayor of his city; an organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); Communications Director for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy and has served as national president of Veterans For Peace.

Just prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, he lived there for a month with a Voices in the Wilderness delegation, returning in 2004 for another two months as an independent journalist and wrote "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq" (Prager 2006).  His activism includes several arrests for “disturbing the war,” including disrupting a session of Congress. 

His current interest is learning how the Populists organized the largest democratic, mass movement in U.S. history and how to apply that to work he’s doing with Move to Amend.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Time to stop bombing and make peace in Syria and Yemen

Explosion from Saudi airstrike on Sanaa, Yemen.

Letter to The Guardian signed by Mark Rylance, Charlotte Church, Len McCluskey, Caroline Lucas MP, Brian Eno, Mairead Maguire, Michael Rosen, Tariq Ali, Clive Lewis MP, many more.

We are gravely concerned at the possibility of a parliamentary decision to bomb Syria. David Cameron is planning such a vote in the House of Commons in the near future. He is doing so in the face of much evidence that such an action would exacerbate the situation it is supposed to solve. Already we have seen the killing of civilians and the exacerbation of a refugee crisis which is largely the product of wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

The US and its allies have dropped 20,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria in the past year, with little effect. We fear that this latest extension of war will only worsen the threat of terrorism, as have the previous wars involving the British government. Cameron is cynically using the refugee crisis to urge more war. He should not be allowed to.

Mark Rylance
Charlotte Church
John Williams
Mairead Maguire Nobel peace laureate
Brian Eno
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite the Union
Christine Shawcroft Labour NEC
Diane Abbott MP
Alice Mahon
Clive Lewis MP
Jenny Tonge
Caroline Lucas MP
Andrew Murray Chair, Stop the War Campaign
Lindsey German Convenor, STWC
Kate Hudson CND
Tariq Ali
John Pilger
Tim Lezard
David Edgar
Alan Gibbons
Andy de la Tour
Michael Rosen
Francesca Martinez
Eugene Skeef
Victoria Brittain
Anders Lustgarten
David Gentleman
David Swanson
Gerry Grehan Peace People Belfast

Split between Europe and the U.S. just got wider!: EU Court Advocate General Deals Severe Blow to NSA Surveillance

By Alfredo Lopez


A legal case, virtually unreported in the U.S., could very well unhinge a major component of this country's surveillance system. In any case, it certainly challenges it.

Mainstreaming the Preferential Option For the Poor: Pope Francis Drops a Bomb on Washington

By John Grant

A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.
                                                             -- Pope Francis speaking to the US Congress

Tomgram: Greg Grandin, Henry of Arabia

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

Speaking Events


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

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