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Focus: Russia - Feb 9, 2017


Putin calls snap Russia air-raid drill involving 45,000 troops and 150 aircraft this week, 'for a time of war and...to repel aggression' - Independent


S-400 air defense units of Russia's Aerospace Force go on combat alert in snap check - TASS


Moscow air defense spots notional enemy’s strategic bombers in snap check - TASS


NATO buildup in E. Europe and Germany threat to Russian security, increases risk of incidents: Moscow - RT News


Russia says Romania's stance on EU sanctions and decision to host elements of a Nato missile defence system made it a 'clear threat' - Telegraph


U.S. forces arrive in Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania - UPI.com


Baltic states seek more NATO help ahead of a large Russian military exercise planned for September - Reuters


NATO war with Russia: US troops, helicopters deployed to Germany - ibtimes.com


Navy kicks off NATO drills on the Black Sea, Putin's doorstep - navytimes.com


NATO activities in Black Sea region fight against non-existent threats: Moscow - Sputnik


NATO backs Ukraine as clashes surge: deputy chief - AFP


Top House Armed Services Dem to Trump: Give Ukraine weapons - The Daily Caller


Ukraine's domestic conflict no platform for Russia-US deal: Kremlin - Sputnik


Russia's Baltic Sea pipeline scares the life out of Ukraine - Forbes


Is Europe caving to Russia on pipeline politics? - Foreign Policy


Putin ratifies deal to build Turkish stream gas pipeline to southern Europe - rferl.org


Senators urge Trump to get tough on Russia, introduce bill to prevent the President from easing sanctions without congressional approval - CNNPolitics.com


Text of The Russia Sanctions Review Act of 2017 - huffingtonpost.com


Dem pushing House vote on Trump’s alleged business conflicts, Russia ties - TheHill


Moscow readies a new, hard-line ambassador for Washington - Foreign Policy

 

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Russian foreign ministry says ready to cooperate with NATO in Afghanistan: TASS - Reuters


Russia to host conference on Afghanistan, to push for talks with the Taliban and contain 'spillover effects' of Islamic State trying to get a foothold - VOA


Top American commander: Russia 'legitimizing' Taliban to undermine US, NATO - TheHill


General requests thousands more troops to break Afghanistan ‘stalemate' - NPR


Russia sends Syria its largest missile delivery to date, US officials say - Fox News


Former NATO general warns against Russia partnership in Syria - Stripes


Russian diplomat slams as provocation Amnesty International’s report on Syria, stating that thousands were hanged in secret at Saydnaya - TASS


We don't view PKK or YPG as terrorists, Russia says: Report - hurriyetdailynews.com


Russia disagrees with Trump labeling Iran ‘number one terrorist state’ - RT News


Russia promises Israel to keep weapons out of Hezbollah's hands - ynetnews.com


EU reaches out to Russia to broker deal with Libyan general Haftar - The Guardian


French report: What's behind Russia ramping up its military presence in the Mediterranean - Sputnik


Putin expected to take part in Silk Road Summit in Beijing in May - Sputnik


China’s president plans to visit Russia in midyear - TASS


Multiple Russia-China ministerial meetings planned for this year - Sputnik


Ambassador says Trump's administration not going to affect Russia-China relations - TASS


POLL: Half of Russians consider China Moscow's strategic, economic partner - Sputnik


Russia warns other States against interfering in South China Sea dispute: Envoy - Sputnik


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


Good Riddance to Robert E. Lee

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the city of Charlottesville, Va., city council has voted to remove an imposing statue of Robert E. Lee (and the horse he never rode in on) from Lee Park, and to rename and redesign the park.

The statue of this non-Charlottesvillian had been put up in a whites-only park during the 1920s at the whim of an extremely wealthy and racist individual. So, for a representative government to vote, following a very public deliberative process with voluminous and diverse input from city residents is -- if nothing else -- a step toward democracy.

I think it's much more as well. There are two issues at stake here, neither of them dead issues from the past. One is race. The other is war.

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, The Enemies of Our Enemy Are Not Our Friends

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

Mapping the War Machine

Republished from a multipage article at http://worldbeyondwar.org/mapwar

When it comes to understanding wars, for some people, a picture of the dead or of the injured or of the traumatized or of those made refugees can be worth ten million words. And, for at least some of us, a picture of where war is in the world can be worth at least a thousand.

What follows are two dozen pictures mapping war and militarism and the struggle for peace overlaid on a global image of nations. These are drawn from — and you can create your own with — an online tool for mapping militarism published by World Beyond War at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. This tool has just been updated with new data. On many of the maps at that link, unlike with the static images that follow, you can scroll back in time to see changes over recent years.

By laying some important facts about war on the map, we’re able to recognize some ideas that rarely make it into prose. Here are a few examples:

  • The war in Afghanistan and the foreign occupation of Afghanistan have officially ended, but a map of the nations with troops still occupying Afghanistan still looks like NATO colonialism.
  • The list of locations of severe wars changes from year to year but sticks to a certain region of the world — a region in which none of the major producers of the weapons of war and few of the big spenders on war can be found — but from which the bulk of refugees flee and in which the biggest concentration of that violence labeled “terrorism” germinates, these being two of war’s many tragic consequences.
  • The United States dominates the war business, the sale of weapons to other nations, the sale of weapons to poor nations, the sale of weapons to the Middle East, the deployment of troops abroad, spending on its own military, and the number of wars engaged in.
  • Only Russia is anywhere close to the U.S. in weapons dealing, and this pair of countries nearly splits the vast majority of the nuclear weapons possessed on earth.
  • Efforts toward peace and disarmament are widespread and coming largely from the less-armed, less bellicose parts of the world, but not entirely.
  • And those governments that are otherwise doing well by the world tend to be those not engaged in warfare (“humanitarian” warfare or otherwise).

The presentation that follows can also be found as a “prezi” (a variation on what’s more commonly called a powerpoint and used to be called a slide show). You can grab the prezi for your own use at the World Beyond War events resources page.

WHICH NATIONS HAVE TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN?

As noted in a petition to end the war in Afghanistan, which you are welcome to sign, the U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That’s 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country, 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

The sources for all the data in all the maps are noted on the map tool at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. In this case, the source in NATO, which claims 6,941 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The slightly higher 8,000 figure comes from the U.S. commander in December expressing a hope to reduce the troop number to 8,400 by January 20.

Take a look at where the troops occupying Afghanistan all come from. It’s NATO plus the U.S.’s kangaroo sidekick down under plus 120 Mongolians. It’s the world’s self-appointed but generally resented policemen and a few hired security guards. Here’s an argument that they are doing more harm than good.

Talk Nation Radio: John Burroughs on Using Law Against Climate and Nuclear Dangers

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-john-burroughs-on-using-law-against-climate-and-nuclear-dangers

John Burroughs is Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (www.lcnp.org), based in New York City. He represents LCNP in Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review proceedings, the United Nations, and other international forums. He was a member of the Marshall Islands international legal team in its nuclear disarmament cases in the International Court of Justice. He's the author of numerous publications related to nuclear weapons including contributing to a report called The Climate-Nuclear Nexus, which we discuss.

Burrough's publications include: contributor, Unspeakable suffering - the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (2013) (available here); contributor, Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapon Modernization Around the World (2012) (available here); author, The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice (1998). He has also published articles and op-eds in journals and newspapers including Fordham International Law Journal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, the World Policy Journal, and Newsday. He has taught international law as an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, Newark.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Tomgram: Engelhardt, It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's The Donald in the News!

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

Crimes of the Trump Era (a Preview)
The 25/8 News Cycle Is Already Rolling, But the Looting of America Hasn’t Really Begun
By Tom Engelhardt

Tomgram: Ira Chernus, Now Who's The Enemy?

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

Focus: The Yemen Raid (Part 2) - Feb 5, 2017

 

The Yemen raid was a tragedy, and not by accident. Mistakes were made during the conception, planning, decision making and execution of the mission. Trump was ill-advised and, I guess, deeply regrets to have approved the mission. Civilians, including children, were killed and an American soldier died. It was also costly because multiple units were deployed; Harrier jets, Apache helicopter gunships and drones were involved, and a a $70 million MV-22 Osprey destroyed. The fact that an estimated 14 Al Qaeda members were killed does not make a difference. 


The core question is: Do this kind of raids prove effective in defeating Al Qaeda in Yemen? The International Crisis Group says no: "The raid ignores the local political context, to the detriment of an effective counter-terrorism strategy. The tribesmen targeted had links to AQAP/AAS, yet many, if not most of them, were motivated less by AQAP’s international agenda, including targeting the West, and more by a local power struggle." Through the use of social policies Al Qaeda in Yemen has embedded with local tribes who are armed, well-organized and able to collect intelligence and detect drone activities. The US commando found itself surrounded and shot by all sides, to extricate itself called aerial support which, according to the Pentagon, triggered civilian casualties. Raids are perceived by the locals as an unwanted foreign military interference and "the high number of civilian casualties ... are deeply inflammatory and breed anti-American resentment across the Yemeni political spectrum that works to the advantage of AQAP,”


An effective strategy to defeat Al Qaeda in Yemen must address the internal civil war which created a power vacuum. US should stop siding with the Saudi who are conducting an indiscriminate bombing campaign destroying residential areas, hospitals and crowded places. US should act as a neutral peacemaker promoting a negotiated political settlement of the dispute between the Hadi government and the Huthi/Saleh alliance. It is worth to revisit the "Kerry plan” which called for the formation of a national unity government and offered security guarantees to both parties. The conflict will not be resolved by a military victory. It’s the art of diplomacy.


In audio recording Al Qaeda leader in Yemen labels Donald Trump a ‘fool’, says US raids failed - Reuters


AUDIO (Arabic): New message from leader of Al Qaeda‘s Yemen branch in response to the US raid - jihadology.net


Al Qaeda’s propaganda arm releases a statement condemning the recent American counterterrorism operation in Yemen - Long War Journal


Text of the Al Qaeda statement on the US raid  - Long War Journal


Al Qaeda urges followers to hit back at U.S. following Yemen raid, Militants launch attacks on government-held territory - WSJ


A deadly U.S. raid in Yemen reveals strength of al-Qaeda affiliate - The Washington Post


Locals recount what happened the night the U.S. commando raid - LA Times


Deadly U.S. raid may bolster Yemen's al Qaeda: International Crisis Group - Reuters


Military strikes are no simple answer to al-Qaeda’s rise in Yemen - International Crisis Group


REPORT: Yemen’s al-Qaeda: Expanding the base - International Crisis Group


Saudi failures spurred Al Qaeda in Yemen to sharpen its battle tactics - warisboring.com


Yemen Al-Qaeda flays ‘deviant’ Daesh rivals - Arab News


REPORT: Fighting the Long War: The Evolution of al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula - Combating Terrorism Center at West Point


ARCHIVE: Al Qaeda winning hearts and minds over ISIS in Yemen with social services - ibtimes.com


ARCHIVE: Al-Qaeda still making big money from Yemen oil - Breibart


ARCHIVE: AQAP in Southern Yemen: Learning, adapting and growing - Jamestown


ARCHIVE: Obama administration's $1 billion arms deal aids Saudi brutality in Yemen, lawmakers say - Washington Times


ARCHIVE: Attack may push U.S. to reconsider support of Saudi Arabia-led air war in Yemen - LA Times


ARCHIVE: America should quit Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen: The senseless killing must stop - Forbes


#Zumwalt12: More Harmful To Agree To Pay Federal Income Tax Than It Is To Choose To Refuse

Jason Rawn being arrested in Bath June 18, 2016 (photo: Regis Tremblay)
 

The youngest member of the Zumwalt 12 is Jason Rawn, a Maine permaculture worker and dedicated international peace activist. Jason has traveled to Jeju Island in South Korea to stand with villagers resisting the destruction of their traditional fishing and farming economy by a naval port for ships like the Zumwalt destroyer, and to Okinawa to stand with people resisting U.S. military bases there.

A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact Is An Even Better Idea Than Its Author Thinks

A Georgetown Law professor named David Koplow has drafted what he calls a Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact. In an article proposing it, Koplow does something all too rare, he recognizes some of the merits of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But he misses others of those merits, as I described them in my 2011 book When The World Outlawed War.

Koplow acknowledges the cultural shift that the pact was central to, that shifted common understanding of war from something that just happens like the weather to something that can be controlled, should be abolished, and would henceforth be illegal. He acknowledges the role of the pact in motivating trials (albeit one-sided trials) for the crime of war following World War II.

Focus: The Yemen Raid - Feb 3, 2017


'Almost everything went wrong': Inside the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen targeting al Qaeda - NBC News


SEALs knew ‘they were screwed from beginning' In Yemen raid, went into battle anyway - The Daily Caller


SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen raises questions, The first is: What was the rush to mount the raid? - CNN.com


How Donald Trump's first military action went from the Obama White House to deadly raid - CNNPolitics.com


What happened behind the scenes before the Yemen raid? We can’t be sure, but it was not a normal vetting process - Slate


The Yemen raid—What was normal and abnormal about the process with lessons for the future - Just Security


Trump’s first counterterrorism operations and the prior interagency review process - Just Security


Raid in Yemen: Risky from the start and costly in the end - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: What went wrong in the deadly raid on al-Qaida in Yemen? Interview with Sanger of The New York Times and Atwood, director of International Crisis Group - PBS NewsHour


A timeline of events on how the controversial Navy SEAL raid on Yemen was planned and carried out - The Washington Post


House Dem wants briefing on Yemen raid - POLITICO

 

VIDEO: Former Obama official says: Spicer SEAL raid story 'B.S.', Obama administration did not approved the Jan. 28 raid on al Qaeda in Yemen - WSJ


US defends release of 10-year-old video seized in Yemen raid - ABC News


Al Qaida takes three Yemen towns days after US raid - GulfNews.com


Yemen is the first battleground in Trump’s confrontation with Iran - Foreign Policy


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

Focus: Russia and Ukraine - Feb 2, 2017


Putin says the Ukrainian authorities triggered the current surge of tensions in Donbass - TASS


VIDEO: Putin says Ukraine escalated conflict in Donbass - RT News


Ukrainian paramilitary supported by army attacked rebels in East: Peskov, citing Kremlin data - RT News


Foreign Ministry statement on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Donbass - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


Russia UN ambassador Churkin: Kiev trying to find military solution to Donbass conflict - Sputnik


VIDEO: Statement of Russia UN Ambassador Churkin: Violations of the Minsk agreement by Ukraine - YouTube


Recordings of surveillance cameras clearly indicate that clashes were triggered by fire from positions held by the Kiev government troops, Russia's UN ambassador says - TASS


Ukrainian army concentrated troops near Avdiivka for offensive: Separatists - Sputnik


Ukrainian Defense Ministry admits it conducts offensive operations in Donbass, refrains from commenting on the question about the pullback of heavy weapons - TASS


Russia diplomat says OSCE monitors turn blind eye on Ukrainian tanks in Donbass - TASS


VIDEO: BBC reporter films Kiev tanks in residential area on E. Ukraine frontline - RT News


Why Avdiivka is the most vulnerable spot for the Russian-separatist army in Ukraine, The new Ukrainian army positions allow to take the main road under fire control - Euromaidan Press


POLL: Only 14% of Ukrainians trust Poroshenko, 9% the government and 5% the parliament - TASS


POLL (Results): Trust to Ukraine Social Institutions - Kiev International Institute of Sociology


Kiev should give up on the Donbass, As conflict rages again, Ukraine needs to understand that winning the war would be more trouble than it's worth - Foreign Policy


Anxious Ukraine risks escalation in ‘creeping offensive', observers say the Ukrainians appear to be trying to create new facts on the ground - rferl.org


Is Ukraine sabotaging Trump's detente with Russia? It’s hard to see what Putin gains from new fighting, on the other hand Poroshenko has everything to gain - Huffington Post

 

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US administration flirts with softer stance on Russia's conduct in Ukraine - Military.com


State Dept statement on cease-fire violations in Eastern Ukraine - state.gov


US Ambassador Nikki Haley condemns Russia's 'aggressive actions' in Ukraine - AFP


McCain to Trump: Send weapons to Ukraine - TheHill


EU's Tusk says fighting must stop in Ukraine, points to 'Russia's aggression' - rferl.org


Chief Monitor of the OSCE Mission to Ukraine Ambassador Apakan calls for immediate cessation of violence in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area - OSCE


NATO Scraps Ukraine meeting fearing escalation with Russia - themoscowtimes.com


Ukraine's president, Petro Poroshenko, to call for referendum on joining NATO - UPI.com


Berlin authorities suspect that Poroshenko bears responsibility for the deteriorating situation in the east of Ukraine, German Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper wrote - Sputnik


Hungary’s prime minister Orban meets Putin, urges the European Union to repair relations with the Kremlin and lift sanctions - irishtimes.com


POLL: Putin has better reputation in Hungary than Merkel or Trump, survey finds - Hungary Today


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

Tomgram: William Hartung, Investing in the Military (and Little Else)

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

Focus: Donald Trump and Trade - Feb 1, 2017


NAFTA negotiation may start in May after 90 days consultation with businesses: Mexico - Yahoo7 Finance


Mexico says it will negotiate NAFTA changes but won't accept import quotas or new tariff barriers - Fox News


Mexico's Pena Nieto, Canada's Trudeau spoke Monday: Mexico govt - Reuters


Mexico turning its focus on trade with the rest of the world, from Latin America to Europe and Asia: Foreign Affairs Secretary - mexiconewsdaily.com


EU, Mexico pick up trade talk pace as Trump touts tariffs - TheStreet


Mexico seeks to bolster ties with China, attract investment - CCTV News


China-Mexico tie-up to invest $200 mln in Mexican auto plant - Reuters


Trump backlash turns Mexicans against NAFTA - Bloomberg


VIDEO: Why Mexicans think NAFTA should be scrapped entirely - Bloomberg


'Viva Mexico!': Trump wall awakens Mexican patriotism - Yahoo News


Gloom descends on Monterrey, Mexico’s NAFTA capital - WSJ


POLL: Over two-thirds of Mexicans agree with Peña Nieto’s decision to cancel visit with Trump - The Huffington Post


Report: In a 'humiliating' and 'threatening’ tone during a phone call, Trump lambasted Mexico's president and threatened to use military force against the drug trade - Yahoo Finance


U.S., Mexican officials meet in Mexico, discuss security: sources - Reuters


Mexico may halt fight against drugs on US border: former foreign affairs sec - RT America


US State Dept to hire security companies to protect U.S. personnel working at the embassy in Mexico City - TMZ


Fear of Trump move drives remittances to Mexico to record, The increase brings 2016 transfers to $27 billion - Bloomberg


Mexico will send $50 Million to help victims of Trump's deportation agenda - Konbini


Think tank Center for American Progress: Trump's 'vilification' of Mexico will harm US - TheHill


REPORT: Preserving and Strengthening the U.S.-Mexico Relationship – Center for American Progress


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Trump, trade adviser signal displeasure with U.S. 'strong dollar' policy, say Germany, Japan and China engaged in devaluing their currencies - Reuters


Merkel pushes back at Trump team’s accusations on German trade - Bloomberg 


Merkel's spokesman says Germany says it's working at troubled Trump ties - Reuters


German foreign minister heads to Washington amid growing U.S. critiques - Yahoo Finance


German economy minister: Trump′s protectionism a threat to Germany′s economy - DW.COM


Germany's Martin Schulz calls Trump 'un-American' and warns against lifting Russia sanctions - The Independent


Trump protectionism will hurt Germany badly: BDI industry body - Reuters


BMW says will stick to investment plans for Mexico despite Trump threats - Reuters


EU chair Tusk labels Trump a 'threat' as Europeans debate U.S. ties - Reuters


Japan policymakers reject Trump devaluation claims - Reuters


Japan PM: Car trade imbalance not Japan’s fault - The News Wheel


Auto trade key in Abe-Trump talks - The Japan News


Japan eyes U.S. job, investment initiative ahead of Abe-Trump summit - Reuters


With NAFTA under threat, Japanese automakers in Mexico wary of Trump's trade stance - The Japan Times


Report: 3.4 million jobs lost to China - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


REPORT: Growth in U.S.–China trade deficit between 2001 and 2015 cost 3.4 million jobs: Here’s how to rebalance trade and rebuild American manufacturing - Economic Policy Institute


Quebec wants a seat at NAFTA negotiating table - Montreal Gazette

 

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

Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and Me on Super Bowl Sunday

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

The Next Step in Caring

Airport resistance is the biggest step forward by the U.S. public in years.

Why do I say that? Because this is unfunded, largely unpartisan activism that is largely selfless, largely focused on helping unknown strangers, driven by compassion and love, not political ideology, greed, or vengeance, and in line with activism around the globe. It's also targeted at the location of the harm, directly resisting the injustice, and achieving immediate partial successes, including very meaningful successes for certain individuals. It's gaining support from people never before engaged in any activism. And it shows no signs of any significant undesirable side-effects. This is a movement to be built on, and I have an idea what a next step should be.

Of course it is not at all uncommon for people to selflessly act for strangers. Much of the charity industry is driven by that sort of generosity year after year. But activist organizations are constantly telling themselves that this is not the case, for example that ending the bombing of distant unknown families can only be accomplished by advertising the financial cost of it or instituting a draft or making known the harm to veterans of the military doing the bombing. Yet when the peace movement in the United States has been stronger, in the 1920s in particular and also in the 1960s, acting on behalf of others has been central, as it was to the first big activist campaign, that begun against the slave trade in London, and as it has been in countless campaigns. Working to protect the natural environment is work for future generations. You can't get more selfless or enlightened than that.

But what's unique about this moment of sympathy and solidarity with refugees from nations the United States has bombed (plus Iran which it has gone after in other ways) is that it runs counter to U.S. government propaganda, it replaces fear with courage, hatred with love. This isn't just love stepping into a void. This is a transformation into love from its opposite. This is why I think another major step might be possible.

Should We Keep Wasting Money on Missile Defense--or Invest in Something Useful?

When Americans criticize wasteful government spending, they often fail to realize that the biggest sinkhole for public funds is what’s described as “national defense”―a program that, all too often, does little or nothing to defend them.

Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Goldmanizing Donald Trump

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

Open Letter to Donald Trump: End U.S. War in Afghanistan

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.

The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That's 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.

The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is "as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001." There's no reason to believe he won't tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force ...meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.  

The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories of fraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.

But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.

In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it is investigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses -- all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.

Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA."

The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.

We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.

SIGNED BY:
Elliott Adams, Veterans For Peace
Deborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the Top
Rita Archibald, Nonviolence Trainer
Judy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Fred Bially
Barry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy Beale
Toby Blome', Code Pink
Alison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and Occupation
Leah Bolger, World Beyond War
John Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69
Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for Peace
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
Helena Cobban, Just World Books
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Nominee
Jeff Cohen, RootsAction.org
Gerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of Directors
Mary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women Priests
James Eilers, Code Pink Auxiliary
Michael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the War
Melissa Crosby, Black Lives Matter
Nicolas J S Davies, author
Mary Dean, World Beyond War
Thomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness
Jennifer DiZio, UC Berkeley
Maria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women Priests
Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower
Jodie Evans, Code Pink
Joseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
Robert Fantina, World Beyond War
Bill Fletcher Jr., BlackCommentator.com
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Johan Galtung, Founder Trancend Interntional
Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UK
The Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice
Michael Goldstein, The 99 Percent
Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof.com
Will Griffin, The Peace Report
Patty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against  Military Madness, Pax-Salon
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit
Amith Gupta, student, NYU School of Law
Bill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115
Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
David Hartsough, Peaceworkers
Jan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends Meeting
Hayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare Witness
Dud Hendrick, Veterans for Peace
Adam Hochschild, author
Matthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study Group
Martha Hubert, Code Pink San Francisco
Aaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Tony Jenkins, World Beyond War
Sonja Johnson, Women Against Military Madness
Kathy Kelly, Voices For Creative Nonviolence
Gary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness
John Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officer
Dennis Kucinich, former Member of United States Congress
Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University
Barry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of Directors
Paul Leuenberger, Veterans for Peace
Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening
Dave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27
Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Douglas Mackey, Global Days of Listening
Jody Mackey, New Traditions Fair Trade
Mike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
Ben Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Stephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends Meeting
Sherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69
Ken Mayers, Veterans for Peace
Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Cynthia McKinney, former member of United States Congress
Stephen McNeil, American Friends Service Committee
Michael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive Director
Tom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San Jose
Nick Mottern, Knowdrones.com
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NIC
Michael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and President
Carroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122
Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council
Cathe Norman, Veterans for Peace Associate
Tom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60
Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.)
Gareth Porter, journalist, author
Pancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle Farm
John C. Reiger, Veterans For Peace
Denny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counsel
Mike Rufo, Musician
Judith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69
Bill Schwab, Americans for Justice
Julie Searle, Educator
Michael Shaughnessy, educator
Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
Eva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle Farm
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
David Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, Puppeteer
Norman Solomon, RootsAction.org
Melvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist Church
Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidate
David Swanson, World Beyond War
Shelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare Witness
Brian Terrell, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Tiffany Tool, Nonviolent Peaceforce
Chip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends Meeting
Louie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert Experience
Zohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action
Phil Wilayto, the Virginia Defender
Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

(organizations above for identification)

ALSO SIGNED BY:

Creating a Culture of Peace
Mobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver Canada
Popular Resistance
Veterans For Peace
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
World Beyond War

ADD YOUR NAME.

Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works

Nonviolent action is extremely powerful.

Unfortunately, however, activists do not always understand why nonviolence is so powerful and they design ‘direct actions’ that are virtually powerless.

I would like to start by posing two questions. Why is nonviolent action so powerful? And why is using it strategically so transformative?

Focus: The House GOP border tax plan - Jan 29, 2017


Note: The Trump's tariff on Mexican imports should not be confused with the GOP border adjustment tax. While the first aims to save American jobs, the second will hurt the consumers by considerably hiking prices on most, if not all, goods.


Koch Network ready for a fight on the House GOP border adjustment tax - National Review


Letter to the House tax-writing committee on the border adjusted tax - Americans for Prosperity


Koch political network to spend $300M to $400M over 2 years to influence public policy - Fortune.com


Corporate America split over radical Republican import tax plan - FT.com


Exporters forming coalition to support House GOP border tax - TheHill


Small businesses uneasy over border-adjustment tax plan, owners say they may have to raise prices and lay off workers but exporters expect to benefit - WSJ


New border tax proposed by GOP could hike prices on cars, clothes, electronics, gas and more - USA TODAY


Here's how Under Armour can be impacted by the proposed ‘border adjustment tax' - forbes.com


Boeing may have negative tax bill under GOP tax reform, Treasury might write checks to the company - IBD


Border tax ideas roil oil markets, favor Gulf Coast refiners - Reuters


Chevron's CEO, echoing Trump, calls GOP border tax 'complicated' - NBC


GOP border tax may hurt more than Mexico as Asia exports at risk. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea may be hurt the most - Bloomberg,


Steve Forbes hits GOP border tax in WSJ ad - newsmax.com


Steve Forbes' letter to Congressional Republicans on the border adjustment tax - TPA


Steve Forbes' letter to President Trump: Don't let Congressional Republicans wreck your tax plan - forbes.com


U.S. House tax chief: lower tax rates vulnerable without border adjustment - Business Insider


An analysis of the House GOP tax plan - Tax Policy Center


Opinion: Let's bury the idea of a border adjustment tax - IBD


Opinion: Trump right to question GOP tax plan - TheHill


GOP border adjusted taxes and Trump's ‘big border tax' are not the same: Here are four reasons why - forbes.com


Text of the House GOP tax plan: Better way forward on tax reform - House Ways and Means Committee


President Trump announces Manufacturing Jobs Initiative - whitehouse.gov


Dana exec tapped for President’s jobs council - The Blade


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

War and Peace in Trump Time: A World Beyond Arlington

Remarks in Arlington, Va., January 29, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Thank you for inviting me. Thank you to Archer Heinzen for setting this up. Of course I wouldn't have come had I known UVA's basketball team would be playing Villanova at 1 o'clock. I'm kidding, but I'll catch it on the radio or watch the replay without the commercials. And when I do I can guarantee only this: the announcer will thank U.S. troops for watching from 175 countries, and nobody will wonder whether 174 wouldn't be just about enough.

I wish I could also guarantee that UVA will win, but this is where sports monkeys around with rational thinking. I don't actually have any say over whether UVA wins. So I can turn my wish into a prediction "We will win" and then declare that "we" won as if I'd been involved. Or let's say that UVA blows it. Then I can remark that "we" decided to keep London Perrantes in the game even though he had a sprained wrist and the flu and had just lost one leg in a car accident, even though the obvious fact is that were I really the coach I would never have done that, just as -- if I fully controlled the U.S. government -- I wouldn't actually spend a trillion dollars a year on war preparations.

Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed?

Here's why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.

But that's already established beyond any doubt. China's state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower. It is also a major lender to Trump. Its rent payments and its loans put Trump in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Every building approval, extension of credit, tax break, subsidy, or waiver of normal rules that Trump's businesses get from numerous foreign governments, state governments, and the U.S. government define him as quintessentially impeachable.

So, if the point is just to document corruption by Trump, why reach and stretch for a speculative possibility, when you've got a solid case sitting in your lap?

Tomgram: William Astore, A Violent Cesspool of Our Own Making

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

Be Glad the White House Comment Line Is Closed

The White House comment phone line directs people to kindly go away and think about what losers they are. Oops, sorry, I mean it directs people not to leave any comments. Instead it says to use a White House web form or to send a message through a White House Facebook account (which has no messaging capability). I'm not inclined to use the web form, because I doubt anyone reads it and I'd rather not be added to a White House email list.

If I'm going to publish a comment to the White House elsewhere, maybe I'll submit it through their website form too. But what I need is a place to post my comments publicly and then tweet them @POTUS.

So I've created http://commentstotrump.org Anybody can post any comment to Trump there that they like. It's public and uncensored. Using it does not put you on any email list or provide your information to anyone. It's just an automated website that displays comments as they come in. All I expect to do is perhaps create more categories for the comments as new topics arise.

Here's a taste of what people have posted there, for Trump, thus far:

Please do not repeal the affordable health care act before replacing it with something even better. It should be something that is similar to what other advanced countries have, namely Universal Healthcare system.

Stop Obama's policy of drone murder.

Do not continue it, please.

Drones make us judge, jury and executioner.

No one, NO ONE is advocating for abortion.  No one celebrates them.  The issue is just this:  whose body do YOU have the right to control?  Your own.  Well, my body is mine and I have the right to control it.  Even if some monstrous male rapes and impregnates me.  When I am eleven years old.  What I do in such a case is not in your power to decide.  

If the right to decide when/if pregnancy is to occur belongs to both parents (man and woman in most cases), then the right to terminate a forced pregnancy or one that endangers the life of the mother belongs to the person doing the carrying.  Not to the beast who impregnated her.

To think otherwise is to put the welfare of the molester before that of the victim.  And if you can concede in this one case, then a total ban on abortion is illogical.

I wish you ONE pregnancy to enlarge your understanding of this most sacred responsibility.  I love my children with all my being but were your sperm in my uterus making one more child I assure you I would jump down a flight of stairs rather than bring your offspring to term.  You are an offense to your gender and your lack of understanding or compassion for the act of motherhood is revolting.  May you be ever childless for you have no compassion. 

Purge toxic leadership from the military.  

Donald Trump is absolutely correct:  The Election Was Rigged.  However, he absolutely lied when he said that between 3 and 5 million "illegals" cast votes in the election.  The election was "rigged" because of the many states which have passed laws designed to restrict voter access -- primarily aimed at the poor and people of color.  The election was "rigged" by the use of "cross-check" which inappropriately removed properly registered voters from the roles [see Greg Palast's most recent book].  The election was possibly "rigged" by the use of voting machines whose software is proprietary and not available for review.

Overt lying by the President for the sole purpose of self-agrandizement, lying which places into question a major hallmark of a democratic society, should be sufficient to label this narcisistic psychopathic con artist as unfit for office.

Nominate an Educator for Secretary of Education

Not a billionaire contributor who has not attended, and whose children have not attended, public schools. 

Shut down firing ranges and marksmanship programs affiliated with JROTC programs in the nation's high schools.  

Not too sure this is a good idea to go ahead with this project at this time, considering the controversy over it, at the present time, in North Dakota. We have plenty of oil. In fact, we are awash in the stuff at the present time. In order to keep a modicum of peace, put it on the shelf, for now, and maybe consider it some time down the road, if oil is needed.

OMG! The Keystone and DAPL pipelines are the last things we need if the earth is to survive climate change. The fossils need to stay in the ground. Reverse this terrible act immediately!

GMO foods are developed to withstand high doses of toxic pesticides, some of which have been linked to cancer.  In order to safeguard the health of Federal workers and to avoid exorbitant  health care costs, the President should sign an executive order mandating that all food purchased by the US Government be GMO free.

How high is the atmosphere? I will give it to you, 60 miles, beyond that is considered outer space. You can't breath above 15,000 feet. That's only about 3 miles . There are how many people breathing and making use of available energy sources? 

I'm sure you can do even better. Have at it: http://commentstotrump.org

Focus: NAFTA - Jan 24, 2017


Pressured by Trump, Mexico ready to discuss NAFTA rules of origins in U.S. talks - Reuters


Mexico President demands North America stay free-trade zone, announces 10 objectives in talks with U.S. - Bloomberg


VIDEO (Spanish): Las 10 claves de Peña Nieto para negociar con Trump - Univision


Economy minister: Mexico may leave NAFTA if renegotiation unfavorable, 'It's impossible to sell it here at home if there aren't clear benefits for Mexico' - Reuters


Economy minister: Mexico set to 'mirror' policy on any U.S. trade tax change, 'If there is any action that punishes imports to the North American market' - Reuters


Mexico warns US it will not conduct negotiations unless Trump abandons plans to make it pay for border wall construction - Sott.net


Interview with Economy minister Guajardo: Sin beneficios claros ‘no tiene sentido quedarnos’ en el TLC (VIDEO, Spanish)- Televisa News


Interview (Spanish): Habrá “medidas espejo” contra Trump, dice la Secretaría de Economía Guajardo - El Universal


RADIO (Spanish): Todo listo para reunión con el equipo de Donald Trump: Guajardo interview - YouTube


Mexico’s potential weapons if Trump declares war on NAFTA - The New York Times


Trudeau braces for Trump NAFTA gambit with oil-patch huddle - Bloomberg


Trump aide reassures Canada on trade talks, isolating Mexico - Bloomberg


Canada not the focus of Trump's NAFTA talk, Canada ambassador says  - CBC News


Canada to Mexico on NAFTA: you might be on your own - Reuters


Trump-friendly lawmaker: Forget NAFTA, let’s do one-on-one deal with Canada (a country that is not Mexico) - Financial Post

 

NAFTA: GOP leaders fire warning shot to Trump - CNNPolitics.com


President Trump can levy tariffs without Congress - CNN


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

 

Trump meets labor unions leaders: 'We're going to stop the ridiculous trade deals' - LifeZette


AFL-CIO praises President Trump’s move to withdraw from TPP, renegotiate NAFTA - Breibart


Machinists Union ‘heartened' by announcement that the U.S. is withdrawing from the TPP and is seeking to reopen NAFTA - Business Wire


United Steelworkers USW commends Trump decision to withdraw from the TPP; anticipates further action - Yahoo News


Teamsters: Withdrawal from TPP and renegotiating NAFTA the right choice for U.S. trade policy - Teamsters


With new NAFTA terms, Trump wants ‘yuge' min.-wage hike in Mexico - IBD


REPORT: Looking for Local Labor Market Effects of NAFTA - Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press Journals


REPORT: NAFTA and the Gender Wage Gap - University of Michigan


How a Trump tariff could sideswipe US auto industry - AP


Reopening NAFTA could revive debate over what makes a car 'American' - Fox Business


Latest data on automobile manufacturing and trade with Mexico - FXS


The Center for Automotive Research report says Trump trade policies will kill 31,000 car jobs 'If the U.S. were to enact a 35 percent tariff on light vehicles imported from Mexico' - Yahoo Finance


REPORT: NAFTA trade benefits to the automotive industry and potential consequences of withdrawal from the agreement - Center for Automotive Research


Trump move on TPP and NAFTA dismays agricultural groups - agrinews-pubs.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Sarah Van Gelder on The Revolution Where You Live

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-sarah-van-gelder-on-the-revolution-where-you-live

As co-founder and executive director of Yes! Magazine, Sarah van Gelder leads the framing and development of each issue of Yes! and writes a column introducing each issue. Sarah blogs at Yes! and Huffington Post, writes articles and does interviews for Yes! Magazine, and speaks on leading-edge innovations that show that another world is not only possible, it is being created. Her new book is called The Revolution Where You Live: Stories From a 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Tomgram: John Feffer, A Globalism of the 1%

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

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