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Protest Petraeus at the Waldorf Astoria, NYC 11/18/14

Gen. Petraeus will be back and so will we!

This time around, he will be the honorary conversant at a benefit of Youth, I.N.C.

6:30 PM
Cocktail Reception and Live Entertainment
7:00 PM    
Feature Presentation
8:00 PM
Private Dinner for Youth, I.N.C. Guests

PETRAEUS-mug

Depleted Uranium & Other Demented U.S. Weapons

Because antiwar activists and medical humanitarians are pushing the issue, the United Nations will be discussing the U.S. use of depleted uranium in weapons, particularly in Iraq, even as the U.S. military makes plans to use them again in the new campaign of bombings. We call your attention to these developments.  Our friend Dr. Mozhgan Savabiesfahani, a toxicologist, is studying the environmental destruction of Iraq during the U.S.

Why is General Petraeus Afraid of Being Questioned?

Last Thursday evening, at the 92nd Street & in Manhattan — which has a reputation for being a center of culture and freedom of expression — Ray McGovern (the outspoken anti-war activist and former CIA analyst) was confronted by name and denied entry to an event where General David Petraeus was speaking.  Very quickly after being blocked by 92nd Street Y security, Ray was injured by the NYPD, arrested, held overnight in Central Booking (formerly known as The Tombs), and charged with "criminal trespass" in the third degree, and "resisting arrest."

Ray McGovern

Syria News - Nov 6, 2014


Obama to seek authorization from Congress for Islamic State fight - Reuters


Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL in Kobane - Defense.gov


VIDEO: Two Huge Explosions in Kobane Target ISIL Positions - NBC News.com


Peshmerga fighters 'heavily shelling’ Islamic State in Kobane: commander - Kurdish Institute of Paris


VIDEO: First footage of peshmerga in action inside Kobane! Here they are firing Katyusha at ISIS - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


Interview with commander on the Kobane battle: ‘YPG acting with the Peshmerga like a single army’ - ANF


Peshmerga: more military reinforcements left Erbil on Monday heading to Kobane - ARA News


Turkey says it received no demand for more peshmerga fighters in Kobani - todayszaman.com


Turkish military angered by Ankara’s peshmerga move - Al-Monitor


POLL: Like Turkey’s Erdogan, most Turks disapprove of helping Kobane - Rudaw


KRG to Open Offices in Rojava Cantons - BAS NEWS


YPG commander: Islamic State Stops Attacks in Kobani - BAS NEWS


YPG and Islamic State Group Maneuver beyond Kobani - teleSUR


5 villages and 23 hamlets liberated by YPG in Serêkaniyê - ANF


Islamic State releases 93 Syrian Kurds: monitor - Yahoo News UK


Some Kurds help Islamic State with terrain, language in battle for Kobani - Fox News


Kobane official calls for more outside help to defeat Islamic State, thanks the United States and the Iraqi Peshmerga - Rudaw


Syrian Kurdish leader notes change in West’s attitudes, says PYD ''is no longer seen as a terrorist organization’’ - turkishweekly.net


Syria: Islamic State Tortured Kobani Child Hostages - Human Rights Watch


Islamic State warns Kurdish female fighters face forced marriage - Al Arabiya News


Islamic State Looks To Mediterranean To Continue Oil Operations - oilprice.com


Syria army retakes gas fields from Islamic State jihadists: activists - THE DAILY STAR


Exclusive: Washington cuts funds for investigating Bashar al-Assad's war crimes, while is stepping up funding to collect evidence of war crimes in Iraq by the Islamic State - foreignpolicy


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

Pentagon Confirms Militant Group Al-Nusra Has Gained Ground In Syria, Doesn't View Events As 'Major Setback' - KMBZ


US considers expanded airstrikes in Syria against al-Nusra - TheHill


US-Trained Syrian Rebels Defect to Al-Qaeda, Surrender Weapons - breitbart.com


VIDEO: Nusra Front captures US made weapons in Idlib - YouTube


Al Qaeda militants mass near key Bab al-Hawa border crossing, important supply route for fighters in Syria - Toronto Star


Al-Qaeda’s Bid for Power in Northwest Syria - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Leader of Syria Al-Qaeda wing threatens strikes against Hezbollah in Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


AUDIO (Arabic): First al-Nusra leader Joulani interview for months. Explains why Nusra attacked SRF leader Maarouf & who helped - Joshua Landis on Twitter


In audio message Joulani says the 'international coalition/alliance' is intending to destroy Jabhat al-Nusra & 'Jamaat ad-Dawla' [Islamic State] - Aymenn J Al-Tamimi on Twitter


DOD, Coalition Working Out Details for Syrian Opposition Training Program - Defense.gov


VIDEO: Plan to Train and Equip Syrian Opposition Forces Progresses - DoD Videos


TRANSCRIPT: Department of Defense Press Briefing by Rear Adm. Kirby - Defense.gov


VIDEO: John Kirby Briefs Pentagon Press Corps - DoDNEWS Videos


France urges anti-IS coalition to help Aleppo rebels holdout against Assad - Yahoo News


Turkey warns of threat to Aleppo from Assad, fears new refugee influx - turkishweekly.net


Turkish border attacks work of Assad spies in FSA, Syrian opposition commander claims - todayszaman.com

 

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

Hot tub poll shows Republicans don’t like their politicians: Election Night Wasn’t a GOP Victory, It was a Democratic Rout

By Dave Lindorff


The sclerotic Democratic Party was trounced yet again yesterday, as Republicans outdid projections and appear to have taken at least seven Senate seats away from the Democrats, giving them control of the both houses of Congress. 


Valor, Remembrance, and Complicity

November 11th in the United States is marked and marred by a holiday that relatively recently had its name changed to "Veterans Day" and its purpose converted and perverted into celebrating war. This year a "Concert for Valor" will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

In the box at right is a blurb from the concert website. "Thank you for your service" and "Support the troops" are phrases used to get people to support wars without thinking about whether they should be supporting wars. Notice that you're supposed to thank veterans first and ask them which war they were in and what they did in it afterwards. What if you oppose war? Or what if you oppose some wars and some tactics?

Here's the disgusted response to the Concert for Valor from a veteran who's sick of being thanked for his so-called service:

"There is no question that we should honor people who fight for justice and liberty. Many veterans enlisted in the military thinking that they were indeed serving a noble cause, and it’s no lie to say that they fought with valor for their brothers and sisters to their left and right. Unfortunately, good intentions at this stage are no substitute for good politics. The war on terror is going into its 14th year.  If you really want to talk about “awareness raising,” it’s years past the time when anyone here should be able to pretend that our 18-year-olds are going off to kill and die for good reason. How about a couple of concerts to make that point?"

I'm going to repeat here something I said in War Is A Lie:

Random House defines a hero as follows (and defines heroine the same way, substituting “woman” for “man”):

“1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

“2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child. . . .

“4. Classical Mythology.

“a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.”

Courage or ability. Brave deeds and noble qualities. There is something more here than merely courage and bravery, merely facing up to fear and danger. But what? A hero is regarded as a model or ideal. Clearly someone who bravely jumped out a 20-story window would not meet that definition, even if their bravery was as brave as brave could be. Clearly heroism must require bravery of a sort that people regard as a model for themselves and others. It must include prowess and beneficence. That is, the bravery can’t just be bravery; it must also be good and kind. Jumping out a window does not qualify. The question, then, is whether killing and dying in wars should qualify as good and kind. Nobody doubts that it’s courageous and brave. But is it as good a model as that of the man arrested this week for the crime of giving food to the hungry?

If you look up “bravery” in the dictionary, by the way, you’ll find “courage” and “valor.” Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary defines “valor” as

“a soldierly compound of vanity, duty, and the gambler’s hope.

‘Why have you halted?’ roared the commander of a division at Chickamauga, who had ordered a charge: ‘move forward, sir, at once.’

‘General,’ said the commander of the delinquent brigade, ‘I am persuaded that any further display of valor by my troops will bring them into collision with the enemy.’”

But would such valor be good and kind or destructive and foolhardy? Bierce had himself been a Union soldier at Chickamauga and had come away disgusted. Many years later, when it had become possible to publish stories about the Civil War that didn’t glow with the holy glory of militarism, Bierce published a story called “Chickamauga” in 1889 in the San Francisco Examiner that makes participating in such a battle appear the most grotesquely evil and horrifying deed one could ever do. Many soldiers have since told similar tales.

It’s curious that war, something consistently recounted as ugly and horrible, should qualify its participants for glory. Of course, the glory doesn’t last. Mentally disturbed veterans are kicked aside in our society. In fact, in dozens of cases documented between 2007 and 2010, soldiers who had been deemed physically and psychologically fit and welcomed into the military, performed “honorably,” and had no recorded history of psychological problems. Then, upon being wounded, the same formerly healthy soldiers were diagnosed with a pre-existing personality disorder, discharged, and denied treatment for their wounds. One soldier was locked in a closet until he agreed to sign a statement that he had a pre-existing disorder — a procedure the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee called “torture.”

Active duty troops, the real ones, are not treated by the military or society with particular reverence or respect. But the mythical, generic “troop” is a secular saint purely because of his or her willingness to rush off and die in the very same sort of mindless murderous orgy that ants regularly engage in. Yes, ants. Those teeny little pests with brains the size of . . . well, the size of something smaller than an ant: they wage war. And they’re better at it than we are.

Ants wage long and complex wars with extensive organization and unmatched determination, or what we might call “valor.” They are absolutely loyal to the cause in a way that no patriotic humans can match: “It’d be like having an American flag tattooed to you at birth,” ecologist and photojournalist Mark Moffett told Wired magazine. Ants will kill other ants without flinching. Ants will make the “ultimate sacrifice” with no hesitation. Ants will proceed with their mission rather than stop to help a wounded warrior.

The ants who go to the front, where they kill and die first, are the smallest and weakest ones. They are sacrificed as part of a winning strategy. “In some ant armies, there can be millions of expendable troops sweeping forward in a dense swarm that’s up to 100 feet wide.” In one of Moffett’s photos, which shows “the marauder ant in Malaysia, several of the weak ants are being sliced in half by a larger enemy termite with black, scissor-like jaws.” What would Pericles say at their funeral?

“According to Moffett, we might actually learn a thing or two from how ants wage war. For one, ant armies operate with precise organization despite a lack of central command.” And no wars would be complete without some lying: “Like humans, ants can try to outwit foes with cheats and lies.” In another photo, “two ants face off in an effort to prove their superiority — which, in this ant species, is designated by physical height. But the wily ant on the right is standing on a pebble to gain a solid inch over his nemesis.”  Would honest Abe approve?

In fact, ants are such dedicated warriors that they can even fight civil wars that make that little skirmish between the North and South look like touch football. A parasitic wasp, Ichneumon eumerus, can dose an ant nest with a chemical secretion that causes the ants to fight a civil war, half the nest against the other half.  Imagine if we had such a drug for humans, a sort of a prescription-strength Fox News. If we dosed the nation, would all the resulting warriors be heroes or just half of them? Are the ants heroes? And if they are not, is it because of what they are doing or purely because of what they are thinking about what they are doing? And what if the drug makes them think they are risking their lives for the benefit of future life on earth or to keep the anthill safe for democracy?

Here ends the War Is A Lie excerpt. Are ants too hard to relate to? What about children. What if a teacher persuaded a bunch of 8 years olds, rather than 18 year olds to fight and kill and risk dying for a supposedly great and noble cause? Wouldn't the teacher be a criminal guilty of mass-murder? And what about everyone else complicit in a process of preparing the children for war -- including perhaps uniformed and be-medalled officers coming into Kindergartens, as in fact happens in reality? Isn't the difference with 18 year olds that we have a tendency to hold them responsible, at least in part, as well as whoever instigates the killing spree? Whether we should or not need not be decided, for us to decide to treat veterans with humanity while utterly rejecting any celebration of what they've done.

Here's CODEPINK planning a protest of the Concert for Valor. I urge you to join in.

I also encourage you to keep in mind and spread understanding of the history of November 11th. Again, I'm going to repeat, and modify, something I've said in a previous November:

Ninety-six years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, fighting ceased in the "war to end all wars." The war brought a new scale of death, the flu, prohibition, the Espionage Act, the foundations of World War II, the crushing of progressive political movements, the institution of flag worship, the beginning of pledges of allegiance in schools and the national anthem at sporting events. It brought everything but peace.

Thirty million soldiers had been killed or wounded and another seven million had been taken captive during World War I.  Never before had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter, with tens of thousands falling in a day to machine guns and poison gas.  After the war, more and more truth began to overtake the lies, but whether people still believed or now resented the pro-war propaganda, virtually every person in the United States wanted to see no more of war ever again.  Posters of Jesus shooting at Germans were left behind as the churches along with everyone else now said that war was wrong.  Al Jolson wrote in 1920 to President Harding:

"The weary world is waiting for
Peace forevermore
So take away the gun
From every mother's son
And put an end to war."

Congress passed an Armistice Day resolution calling for "exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding … inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples." Later, Congress added that November 11th was to be "a day dedicated to the cause of world peace."

While the ending of warfare was celebrated every November 11th, veterans were treated no better than they are today.  When 17,000 veterans plus their families and friends marched on Washington in 1932 to demand their bonuses, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and other heroes of the next big war to come attacked the veterans, including by engaging in that greatest of evils with which Saddam Hussein would be endlessly charged: "using chemical weapons on their own people."  The weapons they used, just like Hussein's, originated in the U.S. of A.

It was only after another war, an even worse war, a war that has in many ways never ended to this day, that Congress, following still another now forgotten war -- this one on Korea -- changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954.  And it was six-and-a-half years later that Eisenhower warned us that the military industrial complex would completely corrupt our society. 

Veterans Day is no longer, for most people, a day to cheer the elimination of war or even to aspire to its abolition.  Veterans Day is not even a day on which to mourn or to question why suicide is the top killer of U.S. troops or why so many veterans have no houses at all in a nation in which one high-tech robber baron monopolist is hoarding $66 billion, and 400 of his closest friends have more money than half the country.  It's not even a day to honestly, if sadistically, celebrate the fact that virtually all the victims of U.S. wars are non-Americans, that our so-called wars have become one-sided slaughters.  Instead, it is a day on which to believe that war is beautiful and good.  Towns and cities and corporations and sports leagues call it "military appreciation day" or "troop appreciation week" or "genocide glorification month."  OK, I made up that last one.  Just checking if you're paying attention.

Veterans For Peace has created a new tradition in recent years of returning to the celebration of Armistice Day. They even offer a tool kit so you can do the same.

In the UK, Veterans For Peace are marking what is still called Remembrance Day, and Remembrance Sunday on November 9th, with white poppies and peace banners in opposition to the British government's pro-war slant on remembering World War I.

In North Carolina, a veteran has come up with his own way of making every day Remembrance Day. But it's the celebrators of war that seem to be guiding the cultural trends. Here's the frequency of use of the word "valor" according to Google:

Bruce Springsteen will be performing at the Concert for Valor. He once wrote this lyric: "Two faces have I." Here's one that I'm willing to bet won't be on display: "Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed," Springsteen warns in the video below before declaring war good for absolutely nothing.

You'll need lots of information, Springsteen advises potential draftees or recruits. If you don't find lots of information at the Concert for Valor, you might try this teach in that evening at the Washington Peace Center.

Myth of the "English Speaking Peoples" a.k.a the UK-USA "Special Relationship"

By Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

Whether one is critical of the alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States or in favour of the so-called "Special Relationship" it is perceived to be an amicable, natural and trans-historical partnership between two nations who share the same language and whose global interests are more or less the same. Over the last fifteen years these two nations assumed the lead in their continuing support of the colonialist state of Israel and waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and calling for more military intervention in Syria and Iran. So it is no surprise that many find it hard to accept that this alliance is a recent advent rooted in geo-political exigencies of the historical moment at hand. British imperialism was animus, if not outright antithetical, in the first 150 years of the Republic.     

Writing, if not gloating, in the midst of the American civil war in the nineteenth century, the future British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury (a.k.a. Robert Cecil) heralded not only the end of the United States of America but democracy itself or as he referred to it the "evil of universal suffrage."[1] American democracy and the vaunted republic he gleefully boasted were not only a failed experiment and a busted flush but the "most ignominious failure the world had ever seen." It had become, in our esteemed Lord's eyes, what today would be referred to derogatively and pejoratively, as a 'failed state'.

The main reason for this inevitable failure according to Cecil was that the United States had rejected and overthrown its natural leaders, i.e. the British establishment. As such they are now richly "reaping a harvest that was sown as far back as the time of Jefferson." The Americans had substituted genuine leadership for a dreamer's theory (the works of Thomas Jefferson) and more so, in the present climate, Abraham Lincoln was an "ass", an incompetent and "the most conspicuous cause of the present calamities."[2]

Another British Minister, William Gladstone too had little time for Lincoln and came out in support of the Southern Confederacy. The Gladstone family had become wealthy largely owing to the family's slave camps in Jamaica and William's maiden speech in parliament was a defence of the family business which arose from the slave trading port of Liverpool. Although William Gladstone represented constituents in the family's native parliamentary seat of Midlothian, Scotland, his father had represented Liverpool in Parliament.[3]

Talk Nation Radio: Jeff Cohen on media no-fly zones, killing the messenger, getting big stories wrong

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jeff-cohen-on-media-no-fly-zones-killing-the-messenger

Jeff Cohen discusses the state of the media today. Cohen is director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. Cohen founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986, and cofounded the online activist group RootsAction.org in 2011. He's the author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. His website is at jeffcohen.org

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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New Poem by ThisCantBeHappening!'s resident poet Gary Lindorff: Black River

Ebola, “Black River”,

Thank-you for giving your name

To a killer virus.

Those scientists, those doctors,

The ones who discovered the germ,

They looked at a map

Free College or Another New War?

Noting that U.S. college costs have gone up 500% since 1985, the Washington Post recommends seven countries where U.S. students can go to college for free without bothering to learn the language of the natives or anything so primitive.

These are nations with less wealth than the United States has, but which make college free or nearly free, both for citizens and for dangerous illegals visiting their Homelands.

How do they do it?

Three of them have a higher top tax rate than the United States has, but four of them don't.

What does the United States spend its money on that these other countries do not? What is the largest public program in the United States? What makes up over 50% of federal discretionary spending in the United States?

If you said "war," it's possible you were educated in a fine foreign country.

A comprehensive calculation of U.S. military spending puts it at over $1 trillion a year. The International Institute for Strategic Studies puts it at $645.7 billion in 2012. Using that smaller number, let's compare the seven nations where Americans can find their human right to an education respected:

France $48.1 billion or 7.4% of U.S.
Germany $40.4 billion or 6.3% of U.S.
Brazil $35.3 billion or 5.5% of U.S.
Norway $6.9 billion or 1.1% of U.S.
Sweden $5.8 billion or 0.9% of U.S.
Finland $3.6 billion or 0.6% of U.S.
Slovenia $0.6 billion or 0.1% of U.S.

Oh, but those are smaller countries. Well, let's compare military spending per capita:

United States $2,057
Norway $1,455 or 71% of U.S.
France $733 or 35% of U.S.
Finland $683 or 33% of U.S.
Sweden $636 or 31% of U.S.
Germany $496 or 24% of U.S.
Slovenia $284 or 14% of U.S.
Brazil $177 or 9% of U.S.

It's worth noting that in wealth per capita, Norway is wealthier than the United States. It still spends significantly less per capita on war preparations. The others all spend between 9% and 35%.

Now, you may be a believer in militarism, and you may be shouting right about now: "The United States provides these other nations' warmaking needs for them. When Germany or France has to destroy Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya, who does the heavy lifting?"

Or you may be an opponent of militarism, and you may be thinking about its many additional costs. Not only does the United States pay the most in dollars, but it generates the most hatred, kills the most people, does the most damage to the natural environment, and loses the most freedoms in the process.

Either way, the point is that these other countries have chosen education, while the United States has chosen a project that perhaps a well-educated populace would support, but we don't have any way to test that theory, and it doesn't look like we're going to any time soon.

We have a choice before us: free college or more war?

Federal Reserve Policy Keeps Fracking Bubble Afloat and That May Change Soon

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In August 2005, the U.S. Congress and then-President George W. Bush blessed the oil and gas industry with a game-changer: the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Act exempted the industry from federal regulatory enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Things, Not People, You Can Vote For

"Vote. It's the American thing to do!" read an email I received yesterday. Actually it's the just-about-anywhere-else thing to do. U.S. voters lead the world in staying home and not bothering.

There are three schools of thought as to why, all of which I think are largely correct.

1. They don't make it easy. Americans, in many cases, have to work long hours in unlivable cities, go through a hassle to register to vote, wait in long lines, produce photo IDs, and get past intimidation, scams, and fraudulent removal from voter rolls.

2.  Americans are idiots. This explanation is not always thought through, but the U.S. public is constantly indoctrinated with a belief in its own powerlessness, informed that action will make no difference, and distracted from civic engagement by bread and circuses.

3. There's nobody on the ballot worth voting for. The districts have been gerrymandered. The media, the debates, and the ballot-access rules all favor the incumbent or, at best, the two corporate political parties. The candidates flooding the airwaves with often quite accurate negative advertisements about how awful their opponents are have been bribed to hold similarly awful positions by the extremely wealthy interests paying for the show.  And your vote for the greater or lesser evil of the two similar candidates is often counted on a completely unverifiable machine. Why bother?

Well, one trick that candidates and parties have come up with to get more people into voting booths is the public initiative or referendum. If people can vote to make a direct decision on something they're passionate about, many of them will also go ahead and vote for the candidates whose platforms are infinitesimally closer to their own positions. Thus you have Democrats and Republicans supporting placing measures on the ballot that they believe will attract either more Democrats or more Republicans.

In 2004, Floridians put a minimum wage vote on the ballot, meant both to raise the minimum wage and to elect Democrats. But John Kerry opposed Florida's minimum wage initiative. Floridians (assuming, based totally on faith, that the count was accurate) rejected Kerry while, of course, passing the minimum wage. So, as a trick to win votes for candidates, this tool requires candidates who aren't bigger idiots than voters are. But as a positive development on its own, the referenda and initiatives on ballots around the country today offer good reason to vote in some places.

Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, San Francisco, and Oakland will almost certainly raise (that is restore lost value to) the minimum wage.

Alaska, Florida, Oregon, Washington, D.C.; Guam; South Portland, Maine; Lewiston, Maine; and lots of localities in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Mexico will vote on various forms of marijuana legalization.

In 50 localities in Wisconsin and in countless others across the country, people will vote for funding for schools.

In Illinois, voters can vote to tax all income over $1 million an additional 3 percent to fund schools.

Localities in California, Ohio, and Texas will have the opportunity to ban fracking by popular vote.

In Washington state and elsewhere, voters can vote to impose background checks on gun purchases. Betting on passage, the gun companies are urging people (criminals in particular, I guess) to buy now before it's too late.

So, my recommendation is to check out what things, if any, rather than people, you have a chance to vote for. By all means, stop being an idiot who imagines activism is pointless. But don't jump to the conclusion that voting is one of the top priorities. Check whether there isn't perhaps something actually worth voting for, or a way to make there be such a thing next time.

Ukraine News - Nov 4, 2014

 

Alexander Zakharchenko named prime minister of eastern Ukraine after 'election' - Telegraph


Igor Plotnitsky wins self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic head elections - TASS


Miner's son, Lenin fan win separatist Ukraine votes - Yahoo News


High turnout in separatist Ukraine vote, Ukrainian separatists say (VIDEO) - CNN.com


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Long queues to vote in Luhansk Republic - YouTube


Donetsk, Luhansk say ready to hold an equitable dialogue with Kiev and to restore relations with Ukrainian regions - TASS


Text of the joint statement by the Donetsk, Luhansk republics - Interfax


Ukraine needs to change strategy in east after rebel vote: Poroshenko - Reuters


Address by the President of Ukraine - Official web-site of President of Ukraine


Despite provocations, the diplomatic path of resolution remains the priority for the Ukrainian authorities - Petro Poroshenko on Twitter


VIDEO (Ukrainian): Appeal of Petro Poroshenko regarding to the formation of a coalition in Parliament and the pseudo-elections at Donbass - ukrstream.tv


Kiev ready to buy coal from self-proclaimed republics in Donbass: official - RT Business


2 soldiers killed by car bomb a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol - GlobalPost


VIDEO: Car Bomb Attack on Mariupol Ukraine Checkpoint - YouTube


Heavy Shelling In Donetsk As Fighting Renews - Interpreter_Mag


Ukrainian Soldiers At Checkpoint 31 Receive Ultimatum From Separatist Fighters - Interpreter_Mag


OSCE says its drone fired at in Ukraine, U.S. blames rebels - Yahoo News


OSCE Statement On Attack On Monitoring Drone - Interpreter_Mag


Bodies of 286 Women Discovered, 400 Listed Missing in East Ukraine: Zakharchenko - RIA Novosti


Europe remembers victims of Odessa massacre (VIDEOS) - RT News


'People's Court' In Separatist-Held Alchevsk Issue Death Sentence By Show Of Hands (VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag


VIDEO: Ukraine’s rebels open school doors to Russian education - euronews


Ukraine's Maria Zarring with 34k breasts named Russia's top 'natural beauty’ (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


PHOTOS: Meet the busty Russian model at the centre of Ukraine propaganda claims - Irish Mirror Online


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Russia says it respects separatist vote but stops short of recognising Donetsk and Luhansk as independent, calls for talks with Kiev - Guardian


Minsk Agreements Implementation Possible After Donbas Elections: Russian Official - RIA Novosti


Russia urges Kiev not to conduct military operation in south-east of Ukraine - TASS


Russia blocks UN statement on Ukraine vote - skynews.com


'Russian' Troops Surge Into Ukraine As Donetsk And Luhansk Elections Reveal Winners - ibtimes.com


NATO: 300 Russian Troops in Eastern Ukraine Train Rebels - Military.com


Russia's border with Ukraine completely porous: NATO general - TODAYonline


In the last 24 hours the flight of 3 Russian reconnaissance Su-24 over Azov and Kerch Strait, IL-20 over the Black Sea were observed - NSDC of Ukraine on Twitter


Russian Aid Convoy Of Vehicles Enter Ukraine Through Donetsk Border - rttnews.com


Ukraine unaware of contents of Russia's 5th 'humanitarian convoy’: NSDC - interfax.com


Russian Emergencies Ministry preparing 6th humanitarian convoy for Donbass - TASS


Russian Hackers Target NATO, Ukraine And Others: ISight - Business Insider


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US blasts contested elections in Ukraine - TheHill


Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Illegal Separatist Elections in Eastern Ukraine - The White House


Elections in eastern Ukraine no reason to bring Russian troops into Ukraine: White House - TASS


EU blasts Russia over Ukraine separatist vote - GlobalPost


Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ in Eastern Ukraine - European Commission


UN says elections in eastern Ukraine violate Minsk agreements - TASS


Russia Threatened With More Sanctions After Backing Vote - Businessweek


Ruble Weakens as Ukraine Rebel Elections Spur Sanctions Concern - Businessweek


Iron Sword 2014: NATO stages massive military drill in Lithuania - RT News


Guided-missile destroyer USS Ross to Enter the Black Sea - U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet

 

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

Which Is Worse, a Libertarian or a Humanitarian-Warrior?

Is it worse to put into Congress or the White House someone who wants to end wars and dismantle much of the military but also wants to abolish Social Security and Medicare and the Department of Education and several other departments they have trouble remembering the names of, OR someone who just wants to slightly trim all of those departments around the edges while waging countless wars all over the world in the name of every heretofore imagined human right other than the right not to get blown up with a missile?

Can dismantling the military without investing in diplomacy and aid and cooperative conflict resolution actually avoid wars? Can a country that continues waging wars at every opportunity actually avoid abolishing domestic services? I would hope that everyone would be willing to reject both libertarians and humanitarian-warriors even when it means rejecting both the Republican and the Democratic Parties. I would also hope that each of those parties would begin to recognize the danger they are in and change their ways.

Democrats should consider this: States within the United States are developing better and worse wages, labor standards, environmental standards, healthcare systems, schools, and civil liberties. The Washington Post is advising people on which foreign nations to go to college in for free -- nations that both tax wealth and invest between 0 and 4 percent of the U.S. level in militarism. A federal government that stopped putting a trillion dollars a year into wars and war preparations, with all the accompanying death, trauma, destruction, environmental damage, and loss of liberties, begins to look like a decent tradeoff for a federal government ending lots of other things it does, from its very minimal security net to massive investment in fossil fuels and highways. Of course it's still a horrible tradeoff, especially if you live in one of the more backward states, as I do. But it begins to look like less of a horrible tradeoff, I think, as we come to realize that representative democracy can work at the state and local levels, and the major crises of climate and war can only be solved at the global level, while the national government we have is too big to handle our local needs and is itself the leading opponent of peace and sustainability on earth.

With that in mind, consider a leading face of the Democratic Party: Hillary Clinton. She's openly corrupted by war profiteers. She was too corrupt to investigate Watergate. Wall Street Republicans back her, and she believes in "representing banks." She'd be willing to "obliterate" Iran. She laughed gleefully about killing Gadaffi and bringing Libya into the liberated state of hell it's now in, with violence having spilled into neighboring nations since. She threw her support and her vote behind attacking Iraq in 2003. She is a leading militarist and authoritarian who turned the State Department into a war-making machine pushing weapons and fracking on the world, and she supports the surveillance state. There's a strong feminist argument against her. The pull of superior domestic rhetoric is strong, but not everyone will see a candidate who backed a war that killed a million dark-skinned Iraqis as the anti-racist candidate.

Republicans should consider this: Your star senator, Rand Paul, can be relied on to talk complete sense about the madness of war, right up until people get scared by beheading videos, and then he's in favor of the madness of war, if still so far short of all-out backing of war-on-the-world as to horrify the Washington Post. He has backed cancelling all foreign aid, except for military foreign "aid" up to $5 billion, mostly in free weapons for Israel. He used to favor serious cuts to military spending, but hasn't acted on that and now has John McCain's support as a good "centrist." He supports racist policies while hoping not to be seen doing so, and was against the Civil Rights Act before he was for it. He thinks kids should drive 10 miles to find a good school or get educated online.

Everyone should consider this: Candidates like the above two are so horrible, and end up moving ever closer to each other's positions, that the real choice is between them and someone decent. If the choice ever really arises between a libertarian who opposes war (many self-identified libertarians love war and are only against peaceful spending) and a humanitarian warrior with something to offer domestically (many humanitarian warriors don't have much of an upside elsewhere) it could shake up some people's blind partisanship. By why wait? Why not shake it up now? Why not start now investing energy in activism rather than elections, including activism to reform elections and how they are funded? Why not start now voting for candidates we don't have to hold our noses for? Six years into the Obama presidency, we have peace groups -- not all of them, thank goodness -- but we have peace groups putting everything into electing Democrats, after which they plan to oppose advocating for peace, instead backing limited war. It isn't the lesser-evil voting that kills us; it's the lesser-evil thinking that somehow never gets left behind in the voting booth.

On The List

By Kathy Kelly

Kabul—Yesterday, in the Afghan Peace Volunteers' (APVs') “Borderfree Center”here in Kabul, I heard someone banging on the front gate and hurried downstairs to open it. As it happened, I was the only one at the Center that morning. Outside the gate stood two women with their burkas pushed back.

They had come a long way on foot. Reza Gul, the younger of the two, told me, as they stepped into our front yard, that they had walked for an hour and a half through Kabul to reach us. Zahro, the older woman, smiled and asked that I please put both of them on “the list.” Both women were desperate for the APVs to include them in “The Duvet Project,”which would allow them, for a few months, to provide for their families by making heavy blankets, called duvets.

These heavy quilts, stuffed with wool, can make the difference between life and death during Kabul’s extremely harsh winters. For the past two winters, the APVs have relied on women in their local area to manufacture thousands of duvets which are then distributed free of charge. The women are paid a living wage for their labor.

Last winter, 60 women, 20 from each of Afghanistan's three main ethnic groups, made, between them, 3,000 duvets for Kabul's poorest, all in the name of practicing nonviolent solutions for Afghanistan.

It’s a good project. Along with bringing needed warmth to destitute families, it invites people from different walks of life to work together. And, in a society where women have few if any economic opportunities, the women’s earnings help put food on the table and shoes on their children’s feet.

But each year, many women have not been included in the project. As in years past, it’s likely that Zahro and Reza Gul will be part of a steady stream of women who come to the door, refuse to leave, and insistently beg us to understand their desperation. Some will shout, many will break down in tears. Very few will go away without having sat in the courtyard or stood helplessly outside the gate for several hours.

Zahro and Reza Gul patiently listened to my fumbling attempts, in their Dari language, to explain that I was useless in this situation. Zahro then pointed to her arms and legs, telling me she had pains. She tilted her head back and listed the other troubles she faced, but occasionally she’d stop and flash me a lovely, kind smile. She knew I understood very little of what she was saying. Beneath her scarf wisps of grey were showing. It was surely hard for her to contemplate walking back to Barchi without succeeding in her appeal to be placed on the list. Eventually, she sat down on the ground, in a corner just inside the gate, covered her eyes with her scarf, and began to cry. 

She told me her family has no food. 

Sonia and Marzia, the young women assembling the list, had hiked earlier that morning up a nearby mountainside to visit families, mainly widows and orphans, as part of a survey

to assure that the women who are paid to make the duvets are among those in most acute need.

Finally, our young friend Sonia returned from her surveying trip. I excused myself, knowing that a Westerner’s presence can confuse things.

Later that afternoon, when I returned from running an errand, two more women wearing burkas were sitting downstairs; several more were upstairs. They will come, constantly, persistently, desperately.

I wish they could knock on the gates of the Pentagon, and refuse to go away.

Actually, they have something in common with U.S. military generals who won’t go away either. The Pentagon has requested $58.6 billion, for Fiscal Year 2015, to fund U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

When I shared this statistic with young friends here, their eyes widened. How does any group ever spend so much money? What has the U.S. accomplished since it first began bombing, invading and occupying Afghanistan in 2001? The Taliban controls over 70% of the country. Kabul is surrounded by hostile forces. And although the U.S. spent 7.6 billion over 13 years trying to eradicate poppy farming, opiumpoppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit record levels in 2013.

The International Business Times notes that profits from the trade help fund corruptionwithin the country, maintain criminal networks and support the Taliban.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., one of the world’s wealthiest nations, desperate poverty continues to afflict multitudes, especially children. “A 2013 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund noted that, of the 35 economically advanced countries that had been studied, only Romania had a higher percentage of children living in povertythan did the United States.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the basic human rights document which the world's nations agreed upon in the wake of World War II, doesn't only establish the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment (Article 23), a right that Reza Gul and Zahro try so hard to claim; it doesn't only establish the right to a decent standard of living with food and even healthcare (Article 26);  it also establishes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media” (Article 19) – not merely the right to freedom of the press, but the right to receive information necessary to  participation in the life of the society.

U.S. people have a right to learn about people bearing the consequences of U.S. war, but there is scant incentive to exercise this right in a society where militarism is glorified and military spokespeople continually assure the U.S. public that U.S. militarism has improved the lives of women and children in Afghanistan

If people in the U.S. could become knowledgeable and well-educated about the world being shaped in their name, about the lives and hopes being disfigured by U.S. wars and weapons, they might resist pouring crucially needed resources down the rat hole of military spending.

We have a chance to help at least some women here in Kabul. Some of these women won't have to go away. Some will gain the chance to support their families and make a meaningful contribution to meeting the needs of others.

Although the promises held forth by the UDHR are seldom kept, although no nation observes all of the rights listed, nevertheless, everyone is on the list.  Every Afghan women is “born free and equal in dignity and rights,” according to the UDHR, and deserves every listed right.  

For now, the Duvet Project will help those few women the APVs can bring in, and Sonia tells me there is a good chance that Zahro and Reza Gul can be included. If so, they will each earn $2.70 for each duvet they make.

U.S. generals are angling to add an extra 6 billion to the 2015 U.S. “defense” budget.

I welcome a small opportunity to help secure the rights of the women who won’t go away.


Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). While in Kabul, she is a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (ourjourneytosmile.com)

Syria/Iraq News - Nov 2, 2014

 

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga reinforcements arrive in Kobane - Al Jazeera America


VIDEO: Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements arrive in Kobane - YouTube


VIDEO: Peshmerga Handshake with YPG in Kobane - YouTube


Peshmerga in Kobane fire rockets at Islamic State - Al Jazeera English


VIDEO: Breaking: Peshmerga Forces have launched attacks on ISIS in Kobane - Al Jazeera


Iraqi fighters lift spirits in Syria siege town Kobane - Yahoo News


U.S. Launches 10 Air Strikes In Syria, Iraq - huffingtonpost.com


Source inside Kobane: "ISIS couldn't even attack the peshmerga convoy. Coalition planes bombed ISIS heavily as convoy moved in - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


President Barzani: Kobane will not fall to terrorists - Rudaw


Joint message from YPG and Peshmerga for “national army” - ANF


Kobani clashes kill 100 ISIS jihadists in 3 days: monitor - THE DAILY STAR


Al Qaeda group Nusra seizes bastion of Western-backed SRF rebels in Syria's Idlib region - Reuters


Islamic State and Nusra Front, former rivals, team up against SRF rebels in Idlib - UPI.com


Syria rebels deploy peacekeepers in Idlib - THE DAILY STAR


Al- Nusra Front's proposals to stop fighting with the SRF - Syrian Observatory For Human Rights


VIDEO: SRF’s Jamal Marouf explains why he withdrew from Jabal al-Zawiya, Idlib after Nusra takeover yesterday - Twitter


Aleppo ‘at risk’ after FSA fighters were sent to Kobane: Commander - hurriyetdailynews


U.S. Spying on Syria Yields Bonus: Intelligence on Islamic State - WSJ


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Global day for Kobani: Thousands march to support Kurds’ fight against Islamic State (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - RT News


VIDEO: Kurds worldwide march in solidarity with Kobani - YouTube


Thousands protest in Turkey to show solidarity with Kobane Kurds - Yahoo!7


PHOTO: Kurds rally in Amed, Turkey - Twitter


Erdogan decries coalition's focus on Kobane, says nations fighting IS should turn attention to areas other than the Kurdish town - Al Jazeera


Kurds protest at Erdogan visit to Paris - ekurd


PHOTO: Kurds rally in Paris - Twitter


Putin: Turkey is governed by a demagogue dictator who supports terrorists - AWDNews


Erdogan’s new $350 mln palace draws controversy - Al Arabiya News


VIDEO: Kurdish demonstration for Kobane in Frankfurt - YouTube


VIDEO: Solidarity with Kobane Demonstration - Manchester - YouTube


VIDEO: Kurdish demonstration for Kobane in Toronto - YouTube


European Parliament to host Kobanê conference - ANF


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ISIS militants line up, kill 50 tribesmen and women in Iraq town - Fox News


PHOTO: Islamic State kills 50 tribesmen and women in Iraq town - LiveLeak.com


Iraq: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Prison Inmates, Mostly Shiites - Human Rights Watch


VIDEO: Survivors of ISIS massacre tell their stories for the first time - LiveLeak.com


US condemns ISIS “depravity” in alleged executions, amid reports of discoveries of mass graves and the slaying of Sunni Muslim tribesmen - Rudaw


Grim Fate Awaits Women, Girls Captured by Islamic State Group - VOA


VIDEO: “Whoever wants to sell, I’ll buy” - ISIS fighters excitedly discuss buying Yazidi women - Charles Lister on Twitter


Foreign Fighters Are Flooding Into Iraq and Syria to Join the Islamic State: UN - VICE News


ISIS advertising for skilled professionals to man its failing oil fields - Daily Mail Online

 

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

Ukraine News - Oct 31, 2014

 

East Ukraine separatists hold vote to gain legitimacy, promise normalcy - Reuters


Eastern Ukraine: EU deplores Russian support for ‘elections’ in self-proclaimed ‘republics’ - enpi-info.eu


Poroshenko, Merkel condemn plans to hold 'pseudo-elections' in Donbas on November 2 - interfax.com


VIDEO: Ukraine’s Poroshenko condemns 'pseudo elections' in east - YouTube


Central Europe, Britain oppose Ukraine rebel vote - Daily Mail Online


UN Chief Condemns Planned Separatist Election іn E. Ukraine - VOA


Moscow criticizes West for its refusal to recognize rebel-organized elections in Ukraine - AP


VIDEO: Moscow will recognise rebel elections in east Ukraine - YouTube


Online voting in Donetsk’s elections began yesterday. These are the candidates for PM. Most people only know Zakharchenko (PHOTOS) - Christopher Miller on Twitter


Ukraine Security Council reports rise in Donbas separatists’ military activity - interfax.com


Nine killed in Ukraine battles over the last 24 hours - Business Standard News


East Ukraine's rebels prepare for a long cold war - AFP


Donetsk separatists declare total mobilization of men and woman from 18 to 55 - twitter.com


East Ukraine Demarcation Line Yet to Be Set: Donetsk Separatist Prime Minister - RIA Novosti


Donetsk People's Republic Plans to Take Control of Mariupol: Separatist Prime Minister - RIA Novosti


Mariupol authorities report shelling of Ukrainian positions near town - nrcu.gov.ua


Since September pro-Russian forces intensified their effort to retake the Donetsk International Airport (MAPS) - Washington Post


VIDEO (English): Press-conference of former Donetsk military commander Igor Strelkov - YouTube


VIDEO: Holy hell. Video shows Donetsk rebels brutally beating other rebels, one with allegedly deadly head wound - Christopher Miller on Twitter


Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties - VOA


Ukrainian GDP Plunges 5.1% Amid Deadly Conflict in Nation’s East - Businessweek


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NATO Reports Spike in Russian Military Flights over the Black, Baltic seas and the Atlantic Ocean - AP


NATO Statement on Large-Scale Russian Air Activity in Europe - NATO


NATO Chief: Russia's Actions in Ukraine 'Challenge’ Security - VOA


VIDEO: NATO Chief Stoltenberg says Russia poses 'Euro-Atlantic security challenge' - YouTube


MAP: Just how busy has Russia's air force been over the last few days? - Robert Coalson on Twitter


Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal - Reuters


Russian Humanitarian Aid Convoy to Arrive in Ukraine Wednesday: Emergencies Minister - RIA Novosti


U.S. Urges Russia To Free Jailed Ukrainian Pilot Nadiya Savchenko - rferl.org


VIDEO: State Department’ Psaki: Savchenko Covered By Minsk Accord - YouTube


Russia’s investigators say no grounds for Ukrainian woman pilot’s release from custody - TASS


VIDEO (English): Update on the captured pilot Nadiya Savchenko with Vira Savchenko, Nadiya’s sister - Ukraine Crisis Media Center


POLL: 82% of Russians think that foreign journalists criticises Putin because they want to destroy Russia - Shaun Walker on Twitter


White House Confirms Computer System Cyber Attack - guardianlv.com


Security Firms Tie Russian Government to Utilities Hacks - Bloomberg


VIDEO: Did Russians hack W.H. computer network? - CNN

 

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

Peace Work Because of You

A note from David Swanson:

57 Candidates and Nothing On

I was lucky to attend a debate among the candidates for Congress from Virginia's Fifth District just before game 7 of the world series. This was the kind of event you can write about while drinking beer and yelling at a television with your family. In fact, I'm not sure there's any other way you could write about it.

Here are our choices for the House of Misrepresentatives:

The incumbent Robert Hurt, a fairly typically horrendous Republican, if a bit less of a warmonger than his Democratic predecessor, didn't make a fool of himself at all on Wednesday evening. On the contrary, he disgraced himself by not showing up. Of course, the debate was in the left-leaning corner of a district gerrymandered to keep him in Washington for life, barring a mass movement of a few thousand people for one of his opponents. He would have answered most of the evening's questions as badly or worse than anyone else there, and that's saying something. One of the questions, submitted by me on a 3x5 card, was this:

Roughly 53% of federal discretionary spending goes to militarism. How much should?

I doubt very much that Hurt would have answered the question clearly and directly had he been there.

Ken Hildebrandt, an Independent Green who spoke often if vaguely about cutting the military, answered my question by offering arguments that UFOs had visited Roswell. Asked about climate change, he argued that chem-trails from airplanes are manipulating our weather. Pretty much all the other questions he answered: "Hemp." Hildebrandt is a bit of a mixed bag. He wants progressive taxation but no gun laws. He wants single-payer health coverage but calls it "public option" and claims that life expectancy in the United States is in the 40s. (During the whole debate, neither the moderator nor any candidate ever corrected another's factual errors, and the opportunities were plentiful.) Hildebrandt wants to stop subsidizing Lockheed and Boeing, but has nothing to say on a lot of topics, seems to think the two men sitting next to him would be about as good in office as he would, runs for office every two years as a routine, has a wife running in the next district, and -- less peacefully than one might wish -- calls the incumbent a "monster."

Behind Curtain 2 is Paul Jones, a Libertarian. He said he'd cut military spending in half immediately, that it's not defensive. "Who's going to attack us?" he asks. "It's ludicrous! The reason they would attack us is that we're over there all the time. . . . Nobody ever wins a war." Not bad, huh? He wants to end the surveillance state too. Of course, you had to be there to hear him mumble it all. But here's the downside. He wants that $500,000,000,000 to all go into tax cuts. He also objects to the term "discretionary spending." It's all discretionary, he says, no matter what some politician says (such as in a law putting Social Security out of his government-shrinking reach). Also he'd like to cut most of the rest of the government too, including eliminating a bunch of departments -- although, unlike Rick Perry, he didn't attempt to name any of them. He also wants to pay off the debt, use the free market for healthcare (while assisting the poor) and get immigrants to start paying taxes (huh?). He claims no laws can keep guns from criminals or the mentally ill. He claims that India produces more greenhouse gases than the United States.

Last up is Democrat Lawrence Gaughan. He was the most professional, articulate presence. He said he agreed with the other two gentlemen a lot, but it wasn't clear what he meant. He said he agreed "100%" with Jones on military spending. So, does he want to cut it by 50% right away? Will he introduce a bill to do that? He criticized Hurt for supporting the new war in Iraq. He called the Pentagon a "Department of Offense." But he said repeatedly that he would cut $1 trillion in military spending, which obviously meant $1 trillion over some number of years, probably at best 10 years, which would mean $100 billion a year. He claimed that the Democratic Party opposes war. And he claimed that his pro-war predecessor Tom Perriello is working with President Obama to reduce overseas bases. (All of this with a very straight face.)

That combination of comments makes Gaughan by far the best Democratic or Republican candidate in this district in living memory, but a bit of a question mark in terms of follow through. Hildebrandt said he wouldn't have compromised on "public option." Gaughan said that he both favored "public option" (clearly meaning to say "single payer") and would have sought a "more bi-partisan solution." Wow. Gaughan is not even in DC yet and he's talking as if we're bothered by "gridlock" more than bad healthcare. He wants to tax corporations and billionaires. He mentions "the 1%" a lot. But he favors a "leaner, more efficient government." Hildebrandt mentioned publicly financed elections. Gaughan said he wanted to "get the money out of elections" without saying how. He wants immigrants to have a path to citizenship, and he wants to "tighten borders." He sees the top problem as the concentration of wealth and power, but he sees the root cause of that as low voter turnout (what?). He's for background checks on guns and recognizing the reality of climate change, but one doesn't sense a major push for radical transformation. He talks about saving the climate by creating a better America, not a better planet.

Gaughan said he wasn't taking money from the Democratic Party in Washington. That makes him different from Perriello, who proved very obedient to his "leaders." No doubt the DCCC isn't offering money because they don't think any Democrat has a chance in VA-05. If we were to elect Gaughan, he might not lead Congress toward peace and justice, but he'd come a lot closer to actually meriting the praise that liberal groups gave Perriello, and he just might be answerable to the people who elected him rather than the party that didn't buy his ticket to Washington. A liberal Democratic Party elections group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, is basing its national elect-Democrats work out of Charlottesville, but none of the candidates they're backing are from Virginia.

Prof. Boyle may be wrong, but he may be right: With a Government this Vile and This Secretive We Need to Ask Questions

By Dave Lindorff

A few days ago, I published a short story linking to a PRN.fm radio interview PRN.fm radio interview I did with noted international law attorney Francis Boyle, whom I pointed out was a drafter of the US Biological Weapons and Anti-Terrorism Act passed into law in 1981, which supposedly barred the United States from continuing to keep or to develop new germ warfare weapons.

Boyle told me, on last Wednesday’s radio program “This Can’t Be Happening!,” that he believes the Zaire Ebola strain that is wracking Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea   in west Africa, originally came from one of several BSL4-level bio-research labs operated in those countries and funded by a combination of the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the US Defense Department, perhaps because of testing of Ebola being conducted there, or because of some containment breach. 

No More Wars on Anything

By David Swanson

Searching new articles on ye olde internets the past couple of days for the word "war," I turned up roughly equal uses of "war" to refer to wars and to refer to other things entirely. Apparently there is a war on graft, a propaganda war, a number of price wars, a war of words, a Republican war on women, and a woman who has been breast-feeding and is now suffering from "war-torn nipples."

While a war on women or a war on the poor can involve as much cruelty and suffering as an actual war, it isn't an actual war. It's a different phenomenon, requiring a different set of solutions.

While a war on terror or a war on drugs can include actual war, it is not just actual war, and it is better understood if its components are split apart.

While a cyber war can cause damage, it is a very different creature from a, you know, war war -- different physically, visually, legally, morally, and in terms of measures of prevention.

A war on poverty or racism or any bad thing that we want eliminated is quite different from a war on a nation or a population which, typically, only a certain section of a war's supporters actually wants eliminated.

I don't just mean that other wars fail to compare to war in terms of investment ("If the war on poverty were a real war we'd actually be putting money into it!"). I mean that war is entirely the wrong way, metaphorically or literally, to think about ending poverty.

And I don't just mean that war always fails, although it does. ("The war on terror has brought more terror and the war on drugs has brought more drugs; maybe we should have a war on happiness!") I mean that war is a violent, reckless, irrational lashing out at a problem in order to very noisily make seen than one is "doing something." This is entirely different from trying to develop a world without poverty or without racism or -- for that matter -- without war. You cannot have a war upon the makers of war and expect to get peace out of it.

It is certainly important to recognize who is causing a problem. The 1% is hoarding wealth and imposing poverty. Promoters of sexism are driving sexism. Et cetera. But treating them as war enemies makes no more sense, and will work no better, than your local police treating your public demonstration as an act of terrorism. We don't have to kill the 1% or win them over. We have to win over and engage in strategic nonviolent action with enough people to control our world.

War language in non-war discourse in our culture is not limited to the word "war" but includes the full range of barbaric, counter-productive, advocacy of violence -- serious, metaphorical, and joking. The "war on crime" includes state-sanctioned murder and worse. Wars on abortion doctors and sex offenders and political opponents include state-modeled murder. The state uses murder to relate to other states, as individuals use it to relate to other individuals.

Acceptance of war, of course, makes it easier to use war language in other settings. If war were thought of as something as evil as slavery or rape or child abuse, we wouldn't be so eager to launch a war on cancer (or send soldiers to kill Ebola). But acceptance of the war metaphor throughout our lives must also make it easier to accept actual war. If we have a war on cancer, why in the world not have a war on beheaders? If there's a war on women, why not launch a war to defend every right of women except the right not to be bombed?

I'm proposing that we try thinking differently as well as talking differently, that our foreign policy make use of diplomacy, aid, and the rule of law, rather than mass-murder -- or what might in strategic terms be called terrorism generation; and that our domestic policies follow suit, that we don't just madly attack social ills, but transform the systems that generate them. A war on climate change doesn't sound like it includes a radical reduction in consumerism and capitalism, as it must. It sounds more like a big but token investment in solar panels and perhaps a very shiny train. And a war on climate change is already something the Pentagon is beginning to use to mean actual war on human beings.

So, how should we talk differently? Here's one idea for certain contexts: Instead of engaging in a war on poverty, lets work on the movement to abolish poverty, to end poverty, or to eliminate or overcome poverty, to make poverty a thing of the past. Instead of lamenting a war on women, let's work to expose and put a stop to cruelty, abuse, violence, unfairness, brutality, and discrimination against women. In doing so, we can be more specific about what the problems and solutions are. Instead of a war on graft, let's end political corruption. Instead of a propaganda war, let's expose propaganda and counter it with accurate information and calm, wise understanding. Instead of price wars, market competition. Instead of a war of words, rudeness. I imagine most people can rewrite "war-torn nipples" without much assistance.

A logical place to start, I think, is on a campaign to abolish (not wage war on) war.

Iraq/Syria News - Oct 29, 2014


Pentagon: Iraqi Forces Make Gains Against Islamic State - Defense.gov


Pentagon: Destruction of Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq limits its ability to project power and conduct operations - Defense.gov


VIDEO: Pentagon: Despite the damage of recent airstrikes Islamic State is still able to recruit new fighters - DoDNEWS


VIDEO: John Kirby's Pentagon Press Briefing - DoDNEWS


Iraqi army take down Islamic State flag in Jurf al-Sakhr (PHOTOS, VIDEO) - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: Iraqi army retakes strategic town of Jurf al-Sakhr - YouTube


Kurdish Peshmerga Takes Control of Three Strategic Roads Near Mosul - BAS NEWS


French warplanes bomb Islamic State camp in Iraq - The Long War Journal


Advanced surface-to-air missile thought to have been supplied to Syrian rebels by Qatar against American wishes has been filmed in the hands of IS jihadists in Iraq - Telegraph


Islamic State has a guide to shoot down Apache helicopters with MANPADS - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Does Islamic Statge Have Anti Aircraft Missiles? - YouTube


Suicide bomb kills 27 Shiite fighters near Baghdad (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


Iraq special ops dismantle Islamic State linked cell in Baghdad - Al-Shorfa


Iraq: Abadi agrees to the creation of a 30,000-strong force of volunteers against Islamic State in Anbar -  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


US airdrops aid for Sunnis under Islamic State's aggression in western Iraq: Pentagon - breitbart.com


U.S. official urges allies to combat Islamic State ideology indoctrinating disaffected young Muslims- AP


Anbar tribal campaign aims to destroy Islamic State books - Al-Shorfa


Joint US-UAE task force to choke off Islamic State funding - The National


US war on Islamic State costing $US8.3 million a day - skynews.com


Analysis: A month ago, Islamic State’s advance looked unstoppable. Now it’s been stopped. - Vox


Obama White House did little to stop 'The Rise of ISIS,' says 'Frontline' documentary - Yahoo News


Soufan report offers new detail on scope and scale of Islamic State - Marshable


REPORT: Ordered Chaos: The Structure of The Islamic State - The Soufan Group


Islamic State’s Political-Military Power in Iraq - Combating Terrorism Center at West Point


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Kurdish Peshmerga troops arrive in Turkey en route to fight Islamic State militants in Kobani - AP


VIDEO: Peshmerga head for Syria's Kobane to fight Islamic State - YouTube


Hostage John Cantlie 'news report' video says Islamic State close to taking Kobani - LA Times


VIDEO: Hostage John Cantlie 'news report' video says Islamic State close to taking Kobani - YouTube


Iran accuses Turkey of prolonging civil war in Syria and supporting "terrorist groups"- Yahoo News


Turkey disagrees with US, Russia, Iran on Syria: Erdoğan - hurriyetdailynews


Turkey wants anti-Assad FSA rebels to control Kobane: PM - Yahoo News


Syrian Kurds Reject FSA Involvement in Kobani Battle - SYRIA 360°


Video shows Islamic State fighters talking with Turkish border guards (VIDEO, PHOTOS) - Daily Mail Online


Interview: SPIEGEL ONLINE met up with an Islamic State recruiter in Turkey - SPIEGEL ONLINE


The Secret Life of the Islamic State Chechen Warlord - The Daily Beast


Nusra Front, maybe with Islamic State help, seizes territory from another Syrian rebel group - THE DAILY STAR


U.S. wants Syria rebels to fight IS not Assad, sees them in political not military solution: Asharq al-Awsat newspaper - THE DAILY STAR


Lebanese military foil part of Islamic State-Nusra scheme to establish Islamic emirate - THE DAILY STAR


Lebanon’s pot farmers gear up for a fight with Islamic State - The Washington Post

 

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

Twelve Nobel Prize Winners Call Nobel Prize Winner Obama To Release Report on Torture

As 12 Nobel Peace Prize winners call on Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama to release the long-awaited report on torture that the Senate conducted, and the Obama administration debates codifying key aspects of Bush doctrine which allowed torture on foreign soil, it's worthwhile to analyze why this has continued to be such a unsolvable problem for the rulers of the U.S.

Sai asks for help once again in fighting TSA abuse

 

Another friend of the blog, a man named Sai, is routinely harassed by the TSA. He’s not only an ally in the fight against TSA abuse but a sharp and dogged crusader. We’ve written about him several times. Now Sai needs our help again, so if you can offer it, please do. Here’s the email he recently sent me, which I have his permission to publish:

U.S. Sends Planes Armed with Depleted Uranium to Middle East

There's a version of this story at Al Jazeera.

The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them.

A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). "Weight for weight and by number of rounds more 30mm PGU-14B ammo has been used than any other round," said ICBUW coordinator Doug Weir, referring to ammunition used by A-10s, as compared to DU ammunition used by tanks.

Public affairs superintendent Master Sgt. Darin L. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing told me that the A-10s now in the Middle East along with "300 of our finest airmen" have been sent there on a deployment planned for the past two years and have not been assigned to take part in the current fighting in Iraq or Syria, but "that could change at any moment."

The crews will load PGU-14 depleted uranium rounds into their 30mm Gatling cannons and use them as needed, said Hubble. "If the need is to explode something -- for example a tank -- they will be used."

Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, "There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed."

On Thursday, several nations, including Iraq, spoke to the United Nations First Committee, against the use of Depleted Uranium and in support of studying and mitigating the damage in already contaminated areas. A non-binding resolution is expected to be voted on by the Committee this week, urging nations that have used DU to provide information on locations targeted. A number of organizations are delivering a petition to U.S. officials this week urging them not to oppose the resolution.

In 2012 a resolution on DU was supported by 155 nations and opposed by just the UK, U.S., France, and Israel. Several nations have banned DU, and in June Iraq proposed a global treaty banning it -- a step also supported by the European and Latin American Parliaments.

Wright said that the U.S. military is "addressing concerns on the use of DU by investigating other types of materials for possible use in munitions, but with some mixed results. Tungsten has some limitations in its functionality in armor-piercing munitions, as well as some health concerns based on the results of animal research on some tungsten-containing alloys. Research is continuing in this area to find an alternative to DU that is more readily accepted by the public, and also performs satisfactorily in munitions."

"I fear DU is this generation's Agent Orange," U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott told me. "There has been a sizable increase in childhood leukemia and birth defects in Iraq since the Gulf War and our subsequent invasion in 2003. DU munitions were used in both those conflicts. There are also grave suggestions that DU weapons have caused serious health issues for our Iraq War veterans. I seriously question the use of these weapons until the U.S. military conducts a full investigation into the effect of DU weapon residue on human beings."

Doug Weir of ICBUW said renewed use of DU in Iraq would be "a propaganda coup for ISIS." His and other organizations opposed to DU are guardedly watching a possible U.S. shift away from DU, which the U.S. military said it did not use in Libya in 2011. Master Sgt. Hubble of the 122nd Fighter Wing believes that was simply a tactical decision. But public pressure had been brought to bear by activists and allied nations' parliaments, and by a UK commitment not to use DU.

DU is classed as a Group 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and evidence of health damage produced by its use is extensive. The damage is compounded, Jeena Shah at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) told me, when the nation that uses DU refuses to identify locations targeted. Contamination enters soil and water. Contaminated scrap metal is used in factories or made into cooking pots or played with by children.

CCR and Iraq Veterans Against the War have filed a Freedom of Information Act Request in an attempt to learn the locations targeted in Iraq during and after the 1991 and 2003 assaults. The UK and the Netherlands have revealed targeted locations, Shah pointed out, as did NATO following DU use in the Balkans. And the United States has revealed locations it targeted with cluster munitions. So why not now?

"For years," Shah said, "the U.S. has denied a relationship between DU and health problems in civilians and veterans. Studies of UK veterans are highly suggestive of a connection. The U.S. doesn't want studies done." In addition, the United States has used DU in civilian areas and identifying those locations could suggest violations of Geneva Conventions.

Iraqi doctors will be testifying on the damage done by DU before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commissionin Washington, D.C., in December.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration said on Thursday that it will be spending $1.6 million to try to identify atrocities committed in Iraq . . . by ISIS.

Ukraine News - Oct 28, 2014


Ukraine's Pro-Western Parties Win Parliamentary Elections, Open Coalition Talks - rferl.org


With 75.% of the Votes Counted Popular Front Edges Ahead of Poroshenko Bloc, Svoboda Out in Ukraine's Parliamentary Elections - Interpreter_Mag


OSCE observers give Ukraine election a clean bill of health - Reuters


VIDEO: OSCE Says Ukraine Elections 'Free And Fair' - rferl.org


OSCE full statement on the Ukraine elections - OSCE


Pro-Russian Separatists spurn polls in Ukraine -AFP


'Party of War’ Winning Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections: Donesk Separatist Prime Minister - RIA Novosti


Kharkiv, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk regions prefer Russia leaning Opposition Bloc - interfax.com


CHART: How the Donbass voted: Opposition Bloc 33.30% Petro Poroshenko Bloc 19.20% Communist Party 10.00% Popular Front 6.90% Samopomich 6.60% - twitter.com


Turnout in parliamentary polls in south-eastern Ukraine reached 41%, 11% lower than in other regions: CEC - TASS


Analysis: Pro-Western election will not heal Ukraine's divisions, Poroshenko will have to compromise with Yatsenyuk which advocates a tougher line with Russia and separatists - dpa news


Right Sector leader winning in his one-seat constituency in Dnipropetrovsk region - TASS


Detained Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko Loses Appeal in Russia, Expects Seat in Ukrainian Parliament - Interpreter_Mag


Two government soldiers killed in ambush on Ukrainian checkpoint in Lugansk, artillery shelling in Mariupol - APA


Heavy shelling breaks out near Donetsk after Ukraine poll - DW.DE


VIDEO (Russian): Separatist forces vow to continue fighting for Donetsk airport - YouTube


Russian crooner Kobzon sings with separatist leader Zakharchenko in Donetsk - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Zakharchenko Sings with Joseph Kobzon - YouTube


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

Lavrov: Russia ready to recognize Ukrainian parliamentary election results - TASS


Lavrov: Russia Hopes Ukraine Authorities Adopt Peaceful Approach in Dealing with the Separatists - RIA Novosti


Lavrov: Moscow to recognize results of Nov 2 elections held by separatists in Luhansk, Donetsk People’s Republics - TASS


Obama charges Russia with interference in Ukraine elections, says U.S. will not recognize the Nov 2 elections in separatist areas - Washington Times


Statement by the President on Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine - The White House


Ruble Drops as Pro-EU Groups Win Ukraine - Businessweek


Russia economy slows as Ukraine crisis bites: official data - Yahoo News


UBS Executive: Sanctions Pain on Russia Has Only Just Begun - WSJ


Russian Brain Drain Saps Talent as Sanctions Hit Financing - Bloomberg


Russian Military On The Move On The Ukrainian Side Of The Donetsk Border (PHOTO, VIDEO) - Interpreter_Mag


Russia bringing in new batches of volunteer-mercenaries at Donetsk airport? (VIDEOS, PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war


Russian Uragan/Smerch/Tornado team caught on satellite images in Donetsk? (PHOTOS) - Ukraine@war


Was Ukraine shelled with Smerch rockets from Russian territory? - Ukraine@war


Poland planning a major realignment of its military structure because of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine - ABC News


Exclusive: US Embassy in Moscow Faces Cold War-Era Harassment - ABC News


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

Drilling Deeper: New Report Casts Doubt on Fracking Production Numbers

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Post Carbon Institute has published a report and multiple related resources calling into question the production statistics touted by promoters of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)

By calculating the production numbers on a well-by-well basis for shale gas and tight oil fields throughout the U.S., Post Carbon concludes that the future of fracking is not nearly as bright as industry cheerleaders suggest. The report, “Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom,” authored by Post Carbon fellow J. David Hughes, updates an earlier report he authored for Post Carbon in 2012.

Hughes analyzed the production stats for seven tight oil basins and seven gas basins, which account for 88-percent and 89-percent of current shale gas production.

Among the key findings: 

-By 2040, production rates from the Bakken Shale and Eagle Ford Shale will be less than a tenth of that projected by the Energy Department. For the top three shale gas fields — the Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford and Bakken — production rates from these plays will be about a third of the EIA forecast.

-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale oil basins measured for the report range from an astounding 60-percent to 91-percent. That means over those three years, the amount of oil coming out of the wells decreases by that percentage. This translates to 43-percent to 64-percent of their estimated ultimate recovery dug out during the first three years of the well's existence.

-Four of the seven shale gas basins are already in terminal decline in terms of their well productivity: the Haynesville Shale, Fayetteville Shale, Woodford Shale and Barnett Shale.

-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale gas basins measured for the report ranges between 74-percent to 82-percent. 

-The average annual decline rates in the seven shale gas basins examined equals between 23-percent and 49-percent. Translation: between one-quarter and one-half of all production in each basin must be replaced annually just to keep running at the same pace on the drilling treadmill and keep getting the same amount of gas out of the earth.

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