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War Meat

The most patriotic Fourth of July celebration I've ever been to was not in Washington, D.C., but at a little lake in Virginia. We were picnicking on the shore of the lake along with about 75 not very close friends and family. This was a few years ago. I must have been 8 years old.

The lake was packed with boats almost the way the Beltway gets packed with cars, but this fact wasn't slowing them down.  The boats were mostly, if not all, decorated with red, white, and blue, and mostly, if not all, had motors and were using them.  Predictably enough, every once in a while two boats would collide.  It sounded like the end of a car crash, without the screeching before it.

The first time two boats crashed into each other, my Dad jumped into panic mode, ready to call 911, eager to coordinate a rescue, but my Uncle and some other grownups standing around waved him off.  This was normal, they said. Everyone would be all right.  "Are you sure?" asked my Dad. He seemed worried, but by about the third crash he didn't even look up.

It was about 90 degrees out in the bright sun of early afternoon when the fireworks started.  There was a floating platform out in the lake, and a bunch of kids on it began setting off fireworks that were no doubt smaller than those on the National Mall but really didn't seem it.  Some of the boats slowed down to watch, but watched from as close as immediately against the platform.

You should know that my Mom has always been horrified of fireworks.  When they began going off in the daytime, she assumed something was wrong.  And when it was kids, some of them younger than I, setting them off, she -- in her turn -- went into panic mode.  She was quickly reassured by all around her that nothing was amiss.  I'll admit I thought this was all pretty cool.

But when a little boy on the fireworks platform began screaming as if in horrible pain, I started to worry.  The fireworks continued, uninterrupted, but there was a bunch of hurried movement, and a few minutes later a man carried a boy up the grass away from the lake, blood dripping from his arm, which was wrapped in what looked like an American flag.  The kid had "just lost a pinky" everyone said, and had some "minor burns."

Not one to make a public fuss, my Mom spoke quietly to me, but more seriously than I can ever recall: "Don't ever go near fireworks. Do you understand?"

I said that I did, and it was actually true.  I did. 

Uncles and others were firing up grills when the fireworks finally stopped and the sound of boats motoring and crunching into each other returned.  I was actually feeling hungry.  Nobody had consumed anything yet, except soda or beer. 

As soon as the smoke had all cleared from the sky, the air show began.  There was a buzzing noise that drowned out all the boat motors.  A shadow passed over our picnic table.  A predator drone, flying very low and carrying two very visible Hellfire missiles, circled over the lake.  Drunk guys started telling their girlfriends that the drone was going to blow some people up, so that when it turned toward us there was lots of screaming, followed by uproarious laughter.

Luckily, the drone finally left without firing.  I wish it hadn't.  Left, I mean.  As soon as it was gone, all concentration seemed to focus on food preparation.  I've never been much of a meat eater, and there appeared to be nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers.  I asked one of my cousins if there were any veggie-dogs and he acted like I'd said something rude.  "Only other thing is war meat," he said.  Whatever that meant.

I found out soon enough.  The man at the grill by our table shouted for everyone to listen up.  He pulled a metal container, like a large curved lunchbox, out of a freezer.  "Are you ready?" he asked.  For what, I did not know, but everyone nodded.  "One," he said.  "Two. One. Two. Three. Four." And our whole table started singing the Star Spangled Banner, and I mean bad enough to make a dog cry in agony, which a couple of them did. 

When the song was finally over, the man opened the metal container like he was opening a birthday present.  People started asking, "What'd we get? What'd we get?" The man pulled a big red chunk of raw meat out with his hand and said, "Pakistani." And after a pause, "Again."  He seemed a bit disappointed, but then quickly seemed overwhelmed with pleasure.  "Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" our whole little bunch started shouting.  Although how the chunk of flesh had actually been identified or recognized I couldn't tell.

"Pakistani!" "Pakistani!" Other tables were shouting it too.  Word was passed up and down the picnic grounds, tables telling each other what they'd received.  The tally seemed to include almost entirely Pakistani meat, with one or two Yemeni, a few Afghans, and a Libyan.  But then a rumor spread that actually caused a hush.  One table at the far end of the area, down around a curve in the lake, had apparently been so fortunate as to pull out a piece of "U.S. troop."

"This is a really sick joke!" my Dad said, turning to our table from my Mom, to whom he had apparently been talking and who was apparently crying.  "This needs to end right now," my Dad said quite firmly and impressively.  But people didn't respond the way I hoped.  They just edged away from me and my parents. "What's the matter with you?" a woman asked.  There was a lot of whispering.  I heard the words "pacifist" and "socialist."

Then a big commotion in the parking lot up the hill took attention away.  There were lights of numerous police cars.  A crowd of people clumped closely together began drifting in our general direction, stopping at each picnic table for a moment or two before moving on.  As they drew closer they took on the look of a celebrity encircled by body guards and swarmed by paparazzi.  Then a strangely familiar voice was saying "Good afternoon! How are you all doing this fine day?"

And there was President Obama, grinning and shaking hands.  Our crowd seemed delighted and respectful, but not at all surprised.  However, one guy spoke up kind of loudly: "I hear we're not having any more wars next year, Mr. President."

Obama turned on him, not unlike that predator drone turning toward us, and with a somewhat similar reaction.  "That's all right," he said.  "That's all right.  Let me repeat a principle I put forward at the outset of my presidency.  Let me be clear.  The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it -- when our people are threatened, when our livelihood is at stake, or when the security of our allies is in danger."

The President grinned as though he were in possession of a wonderful secret. "Let me let you in on something," he said, almost whispering. "We've got troops permanently stationed in 175 countries. Our people can be threatened any time we want." He laughed and glanced around appreciating the knowing nods and smiles. "So, how's the meat?"

Ireland: Case Dismissed – Peace Activists Have No Charges to Answer

This is a crosspost from www.news-beacon-ireland.info

 

by Shannonwatch.org

 

published on Shannonwatch 2 June 2014
republished here under the term of Fair Use

 

justiceOn Tuesday May 27th, two members of Shannonwatch appeared in Ennis District Court to answer a charge under the Public Order Act, Section 8. This related to an incident that took place on October 13th 2013.

 

Philippines: U.S. Troops, Go Home!

Renato M. Reyes, Jr. (pictured at right) is secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). He has been with the organization since 2001. He was also the founding chair of the youth group Anakbayan in 1998. He blogs here and was involved in protests when U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited the Philippines. I asked him about it.

Was Obama unwelcomed in the Philippines?

The PH government rolled out the red carpet for Obama. In the streets however, thousands marched to protest Obama’s PH visit. The protests were aimed at the unequal relations between the US and the Philippines, in particular, US military intervention and economic impositions such as the TPPA. The visit also coincided with the signing of a new agreement called the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which would bring back US military facilities in the Philippines.

What happened?

We had a two day protest, the first was a march near the Presidential Palace where we burned a giant effigy of Obama on a chariot and Aquino as his running dog. There were protests in different parts of the country as well. On the second day, we marched near the US embassy where we were met by a phalanx of policemen. The police used their shields and water cannons to disperse the protesters but we stood our ground. It was our indignation regarding the signing of the EDCA.

What agreement have the governments signed?

The EDCA is an agreement that allows US forces to use our PH facilities, to build their own facilities within these facilities and to preposition their equipment in PH territory. These facilities will function as bases where US forces can station troops as well as deploy troops and weapons systems such as armed drones. The EDCA is consistent with the US strategic rebalancing towards Asia, and is in furtherance of US economic and security interests in the region.

What do people of the Philippines think about it?

There are different opinions. Some welcome the EDCA thinking that it would help the Philippines against China’s incursions. They wrongly believe that the EDCA will result in the modernization of the PH armed forces. Those in the mass movement are very critical of the EDCA. Lawmakers from the Senate and Lower House have also raised serious objections. Two petitions have been filed before the PH supreme court questioning the EDCA. Lawyers, academicians, lawmakers, church people and activists have united to oppose the EDCA.

How is a dispute with China over some islands being used here?

The dispute with China is being exploited by the US to justify its permanent military presence in the Philippines. The US gives the false assurance that it would support the Philippines in the event of an armed attack by China. When Obama was confronted with this question during his PH visit, he avoided answering it and instead claimed that the US was interested in cooperating with China. The US is not likely going to war with the US due to the disputed areas in the West PH Sea. The US uses the Philippines as a footstool in Asia but would not come to the aid of the Philippines. The PH government meanwhile shows utter mendicancy and puppetry when it thinks that its sovereignty can be upheld through a foreign power.

I like to think of the Philippines, along with Ecuador, as a success story, a place that told the U.S. military to get out (in 1991) -- how did that happen and what has happened since? How is this connected to U.S. military presence back to 1898?

The Filipino people have a long history of resistance to US colonial occupation and neo-colonial domination. The resistance includes armed struggle against US colonialism and currently, neo-colonialism.

The Filipino people struggled for decades against the presence of US bases and were finally successful in 1991 when the PH senate rejected a new basing treaty. The US basing agreement was so lopsided in favor of the US and constituted an affront to our sovereignty. The treaty rejection was possible only because there was a strong mass movement that campaigned for several decades.

Are you working with people opposed to bases in Okinawa, Jeju Island, elsewhere?

We are in solidarity with the anti-bases groups in Okinawa, Jeju, Australia and Korea. We have joined actions in opposition to the construction of new bases as well as the abuses of the US troops. We are part of the Ban the Bases global network which shares information and conducts campaigns on bases issues.

I'm speaking with the Mayor of Nago City, Okinawaw, who was elected to stop a base and is coming to the United States to try to stop it. What would you like me to say to him?

To the people of Okinawa, we are in solidarity with you. Never give up the struggle to boot out foreign bases. A nation cannot be truly free if foreign troops continue to be stationed on its shores.

What would you like to say to the people of the United States?

To the American people, do not let your taxes be spent for war and occupation, for US bases and intervention. Please support the campaign to shut down these bases and to get the US troops out of Asia and other continents.

Philippines climate chief Naderev Yeb Sano made a plea to the world? Is that effort connected with the effort against bases? Do these movements work together?

I met Yeb Sano when we were in the university during the 90’s. His plea may not be directly related to the bases movement. However, there are many environmental groups campaigning against the bases, including for compensation for the environmental damage wrought by US forces in their former bases in Subic and Clark as well as the recent destruction of a part of the Tubbataha Reef.

You are a musician: How does that fit into your activism?

I’ve been playing music since I was seven. I play the piano, guitar, blues harp or harmonica and the ukulele. Music is another outlet where we can express ourselves and help amplify the message to a broader audience. We did a series of recording two years ago when a friend got arrested in a remote province. We called it Prison Sessions, and we did videos of our sessions. We used the recordings to raise awareness of the plight of political prisoners and imprisoned artists. My friend was eventually released after two years of detention. We now play during events…outside the jail of course.

Ukraine News - June 4, 2014


Obama announces $1 billion program to boost military presence in Eastern Europe - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Barack Obama earmarks1 billion dollars to boost US military presence in Europe - Telegraph


U.S. presses NATO allies to raise defence spending after Ukraine - Reuters


More US base consolidations on the way in Europe - Stripes


U.S. reaffirms: No weapons will go to Ukraine - usatoday


US To Send Advisers To Assess Ukraine's Defense Reform Needs - rttnews.com


NATO to bolster defence in eastern Europe - Al Jazeera English


NATO To Finalize a package to reform and modernize Ukraine's armed forces - rferl.org


Ukraine receives only non-lethal weapons from NATO countries: defense minister - ITAR-TASS


Another NATO Vessel to Enter Black Sea Next Week – Military Source - RIA Novosti


Russia to reorganise troops to counter NATO activities - zeenews


Moscow slams Ukraine military attacks coinciding with top US defense official visit to Kiev - RT News


POLL: Putin Forever? Russian President's Ratings Skyrocket Over Ukraine - rferl.org


POLL: International Relations scholars oppose military assistance in Ukraine, military aid to Egypt - William & Mary


EU asks Bulgaria to stop work on Gazprom's South Stream pipeline - Reuters


South Stream Dragged into Russia-Ukraine Gas Spat as Rhetoric Spikes - The Moscow Times


Gazprom ready to complete South Stream without international finance - RT Business


Naftogaz, Gazprom discussing gas price at $350-380 for April 2014 through June 2015 - nrcu.gov.ua


POLL: Less than half of Ukrainians support economic aid from the West - Pew Research Center


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Ukrainian forces in fierce clash with pro-Russian separatists in rebel-held city Slavyansk- The Washington Post


Ukrainian soldier killed in offensive against pro-Russian rebels in Slavyansk - theguardian.com


Turchinov orders to look at imposing martial law in Donetsk, Lugansk regions - ITAR-TASS


Slavyansk separatists claim to have shot down Ukraine army plane, one helicopter and several tanks - The Voice of Russia


181 people killed, 293 injured in Kiev military op in eastern Ukraine: Prosecutor General - RT News


OSCE relocates observers from Donetsk and Luhansk regions for security reasons - ITAR-TASS


VIDEO: Dispatch from Donetsk: Ukrainian nationals, pro-Moscow rebels battle in flashpoint city Slavyansk - Fox News


VIDEO: Ukrainian army shells Slavyansk residential area, 3 civilians killed - YouTube


VIDEO: Death and despair in Slavyansk after Ukraine army shelling - YouTube


VIDEO: Slavyansk women & children shelter in basements from Kiev military op - YouTube


VIDEO: Kids evacuated from Slavyansk, E.Ukraine to escape Kiev's shelling - YouTube


Ukraine army shells hit an hospital in Slavyansk (VIDEO) - RT


VIDEO: Moment when a MANPAD hit a ukrainian helicopter in Slavyansk - LiveLeak.com


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OSCE Confirms: Luhansk Deaths Caused by Airstrikes - Antiwar.com


VIDEO: OSCE confirms fatal attack on Lugansk admin building was air raid - YouTube


Ukraine opposition calls for international probe in fatal Luhansk air strikes - turkishweekly.net


Confirmed: Ukrainian air force fired over 150 missiles at Lugansk, bombed admin HQ (VIDEO) - RT News


Kiev’s Lugansk botched air strike fuels the rebellion in east Ukraine - The Times


A Guide To The Separatist Leaders Of Eastern Ukraine - rferl.org


Interview with Alexander Borodai, the self-declared prime minister of eastern Ukraine’s secessionist Donetsk People’s Republic - ft.com


Ukrainian Protesters Won't Leave Kiev's Maidan Despite New Government, It Is Still Occupied and It's Become a Darker, More Dangerous Place Lately - New Republic


9 People Arrested in Connection With Shooting Of Kharkiv's Jewish Mayor Kernes - JP Updates


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Lee Camp Interview: “Redacted Tonight Is The Daily Show With Sharper Teeth”

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

Lee Camp sits down for an interview with Dennis Trainor, Jr. to discuss his new 30-munite weekly comedy show on RT, Redacted Tonight.

Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil.

Who Are the Real Traitors on Afghanistan?

The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale

June 3, 2014

Editor Note:  The right-wing media is denouncing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a “deserter” who wasn’t worth ransoming from the Taliban, but the real villains are the architects of the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars who frivolously put the many Bergdahls in harm’s way.

By Ray McGovern

For me, the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl affair brings back angry memories of how, in 2009, President Barack Obama caved in to be-medaled and be-ribboned generals like David Petraeus and ordered a modified-limited-hangout-type “surge” of 33,000 troops into Afghanistan. Consequential cowardice at work – trading lives for political advantage – as bad as it gets.

Talk Nation Radio: Michael Nagler's Nonviolence Handbook

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-michael-naglers-nonviolence-handbook

The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action by Michael Nagler has just been published. We speak with the author. Nagler is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. He cofounded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley, where he is professor emeritus of classics and comparative literature.
See: http://mettacenter.org
And: http://michaelnagler.net

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

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://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Ukraine News - June 3, 2014


Separatists Storm Border Post in Eastern Ukraine - NYTimes.com


Negotiations between militia and Ukraine border post command come to deadlock - ITAR-TASS


Russia-Ukraine border checkpoints become a new frontline in the battle to wrest control of the country's east - GlobalPost


Guns and fighters seep through Ukraine's porous Russian border - theguardian.com


At Ukraine’s Perilous Border, Law Is Dispensed by Men in Masks - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: Five dead in assault on border command centre in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine - euronews


VIDEO: Ukraine border guards camp attacked in Luhansk - BBC


VIDEO: Lugansk: Separatists Storms Ukraine Border Post - YouTube


VIDEO: Raw video of pro-autonomy militia in Lugansk border base battle - YouTube


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Atleast five killed in admin HQ blast as fighter jets deployed to Lugansk, Ukraine (VIDEOS) - RT News


VIDEO: Ukrainian Su-25 bombing civilians by unguided rockets in Lugansk - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: CCTV Captures SU-25 Rocket Attack in Central Lugansk - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: Luhansk - Casualties after the airstrike (6 videos) - LiveLeak.com


Pro-Russia Troops Take Symbol of Ukraine Uprising, Vostok Battalion evicts the ragtag band of locals who had occupied the Donetsk regional administration building - NYTimes.com


More foreign fighters break cover among Ukraine separatists, Battalion Vostok - or the East Battalion - is a heavily armed, well-organized fighting group - Reuters


Vostok Battalion, A Powerful New Player In Eastern Ukraine - rferl.org


VIDEO: The Vostok Battalion taking control of anti-Ukraine Donbas insurgency - YouTube


VIDEO: The Vostok Battalion, a Kremlin-backed faction in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, has ousted local Ukrainian separatists from the regional administration building - YouTube


VIDEO: Vostok Battalion detain looters in Donetsk - YouTube


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Russia Calls UN Meeting to Seek Ukraine Cease-Fire - ABC News


West criticizes Russian draft resolution on Ukraine - Yahoo News


U.S. Reiterates $18 Million Aid to Ukraine After 400-Man Border Attack - Hit & Run - Reason.com


Russia, NATO trade accusations over Ukraine crisis - Reuters


NATO Ministers To Review Response to Ukraine Crisis - defensenews.com


Secretary General sets out NATO’s position on Russia-Ukraine crisis - NATO


Russia to take necessary measures if NATO military potential comes closer to its borders - envoy - The Voice of Russia


UOSCE Ukraine monitors lose contact with second team - CBC News


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Russia's Gazprom Gets Paid By Ukraine - Forbes


Russia satisfied with first gas payment from Ukraine — energy minister - ITAR-TASS


Russia’s Gazprom ready to reduce gas price for Ukraine not only through lower export duty - ITAR-TASS


Russia Gives Ukraine More Time to Pay for Natural Gas - NYTimes.com


Ukraine indefinitely delays signing Association Agreement with EU - MINA


Ukraine’s GDP to drop by 5% in 2014 – Fitch - RT Business


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Memorial for Civic Activist John Judge Sustains His Legacy

Memorial for Civic Activist John Judge Sustains His Legacy

 

Two hundred admirers of the late civic activist and historical researcher John P. Judge fostered his legacy during a memorial service May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

 

Former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D), a next door neighbor and close friend, described Judge as an extraordinary truth-seeker in the spirit of the ancient Diogenes. And, Kucinich continued, "what better place for it than Washington, DC -- the capital of smoke and mirrors?"

 

Does War Have a Future?

National officials certainly assume that war has a future.  According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, world military expenditures totaled nearly $1.75 trillion in 2013.  Although, after accounting for inflation, this is a slight decrease over the preceding year, many countries increased their military spending significantly, including China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.  Indeed, 23 countries doubled their military spending between 2004 and 2013.  None, of course, came anywhere near to matching the military spending of the United States, which, at $640 billion, accounted for 37 percent of 2013’s global military expenditures.  Furthermore, all the nuclear weapons nations are currently “modernizing” their nuclear arsenals.

Juvenile Prison: $5 Billion for Child Abuse

Every juvenile prison must be immediately closed and all of its prisoners freed.

Oh. Oh. Oh! That sounds too drastic and simplistic and revolutionary.

We talk about being reformist or revolutionary as if it were a personality choice. Yet we also talk about being scientific, about being reality-based. Unlike reactionary climate-denying racist creationists we claim, most of us, to recognize such phenomena as climate change and to act on them (leave aside for the moment whether we're really acting appropriately on that one).

The science has long been crystal clear: juvenile prisons are worse than nothing.  They increase rather than reducing crime.  In our failure to abolish them, we -- and not the children we torture -- are the seemingly hopeless recidivists.  

We spend in the United States $88,000 on average per year to lock a child up, compared to $10,652 to educate a child.  We have over 66,000 children locked up, 87% of them boys, and our police arrest 2 million juveniles each year.

A recent longitudinal study of 35,000 young offenders found that those who are locked up are over twice as likely to be locked up as adults compared to those who committed similar offenses and came from similar backgrounds but were given an alternative penalty or were just not arrested.  In some states over 80% of those locked up as kids will be convicted of later crimes.  Studies have found that, more than family difficulties or gang membership or any other factor, the best predictor of criminality is whether someone has been imprisoned in what amount to factories for crime.

Well, but then, isn't the best predictor the initial commission of a crime that led to the initial incarceration? Actually, no.  Eighty to 90% of teenagers in the United States commit illegal acts that could land them behind bars.  Most of those put behind bars are put there for minor, nonviolent offenses. A third of all teenagers have even committed a somewhat serious crime, but most are never arrested, much less imprisoned.  Almost all grow out of it.

If the minority of young people whose lives are ruined by prison were selected randomly, we might be a bit more likely to do something about it.  Anyone who is a parent and finds out what happens in juvenile prisons must be highly unlikely to tolerate their continued existence unless convinced that only other people's children will be locked up. And in fact, it is highly disproportionately kids from poor neighborhoods and with darker skin who get locked up.  A non-white child is far more likely to be arrested for the same act than a white child, far more likely to be charged and detained, far more likely to be sentenced to prison, and far more likely to be given a longer sentence. 

In fact, the idea that sub-human monsters, of whatever race, must be made to suffer and must be kept away from the rest of us, is the leading candidate as a major explanation of the continuation of juvenile imprisonment.  If the goal were preventing crime, the prisons are worse than nothing.  We've tried alternatives within the prison system, and found that reforms help but can only go so far.  We've tried alternatives outside of the prison system, and found them far superior in results. We've even seen states shut down lots of juvenile prisons, primarily because of the financial cost, and seen the benefits in cost savings, in the lives of young people, and in reduced crime rates.  But other states don't follow suit, and the states making the cuts need only see a rise in revenue to begin rebuilding the torture palaces.

The lessons are of course obtainable from abroad as well.  The U.S. locks kids up at a higher rate than any other nation.  The next closest is South Africa, which locks up children at one-fifth the rate of the U.S.  While the United States slowly, reluctantly, begins to stop throwing away packaging, it remains intent on throwing away people.  For many who accept disproven ways of thinking, setting those 66,000 children free would make us less safe, just as cutting the military or disbanding it would endanger us all.  These are powerful myths, but the evidence overwhelmingly disproves them.  If our rural communities went back to farming food instead of prisoners, we would all be better off.

Much of what is routinely done to tens of thousands of youths in the United States would be illegal if done to prisoners of war.  Torture in these houses of "correction" is the norm, not the exception.  Isolation is the central abuse, combined with food deprivation, assault, rape, temperature extremes, deprivation of medical care, deprivation of education, sadistic exercises in humiliation, forced nudity, stress positions, piling on, attacks by dogs, and of course indefinite detention without criminal conviction.  These practices have been transferred to international prisoners after becoming routine for U.S. prisoners, including juveniles.  And, while much of the abuse comes from other prisoners, most of it is committed by guards -- or, excuse me, "correctional officers."

This disastrous system seems in dire need of reform, and the idea that it can be reformed is quite tempting.  Children's bodies are dug up behind an institution in Florida. A judge in Pennsylvania gets caught taking bribes to send more kids to hell.  A sexual assault scandal in Texas gets big enough to make the news.  Kids hog-tied and left outside in freezing weather in Arkansas create some waves.  But the scandals are everywhere.  A review found only 8 states where there was not conclusive evidence of system-wide mistreatment.  And the scandals have been there for a century and a half.  The reforms have been needed and been worked on since day one.  They are not what's needed.  Children need love and companionship, safety and trust, respect and encouragement.  They are even worse equipped to survive imprisonment than adults.  Locked up kids commit suicide at a far higher rate than others, nearly rivaling that of war veterans.  These facts are continually reconfirmed by new science, but they and the failure of juvenile prisons have been known practically since the invention of juvenile prisons. 

Solitary confinement greatly increases suicide rates, and yet is used as a punishment for the offense of being suicidal.  This is not a nifty contradiction to be examined in a master's thesis.  Rather, it is part of a process that fundamentally destroys our young people, a process which we pretend improves them. 

Or do we? Polls suggest that we, the public, in fact understand the madness of government child-abuse currently engaged in to the tune of $5 billion.  The public prefers rehabilitation and treatment and is willing to pay higher taxes for those approaches, even though they actually cost less.  We test this, prove it, and then don't act on it -- or at least our government doesn't act on it.  Oregon tried an experiment in Deschutes County, giving the county the money it would have taken to lock kids up and requiring the county to pay the bill for any kid that did end up locked up.  The county spent the money on prevention, neighborhood programs, community services.  In a year, the number of children sent into the fortresses of misery and horror dropped by 72%.

Everything I've just claimed, and much more, is documented in a new book by Nell Bernstein called Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison.  This book includes numerous personal stories, countless examples, endless studies, and all the evidence anyone claiming to base policy on reality would need to become a "radical" when it comes to the malfunctioning of juvenile prisons.  Bernstein looks at the worst and the best of the institutions.  The best remains far from good enough.  The best remains worse than nothing at all.  Improving the mass abuse of children is not pragmatic; it's immoral.  It's like being in favor of the war on Libya because the war on Iraq was worse; doing so requires averting one's eyes from the state Libya is in. 

Burning Down the House should be taught in our schools.  Maybe free young people would find the power to speak up on behalf of their imprisoned fellows, if they knew.  Maybe parents, if sufficiently intent on discarding both sadism and racism, would act if they heard it from their children. 

There is a hurdle to be overcome, however, higher than the false belief that injustice only happens to those who deserve it, or the corruption of our misrepresentative government by profiteers, or the cooption of the corporate media by the government.  The hurdle is this: everything that's wrong with prisons for children is also wrong with prisons for adults.  If we stop thinking about imprisoned children the way that we must think in order to allow their imprisonment, we'll be in danger of ceasing to think about imprisoned adults the way we must to allow their imprisonment.  Are we willing to risk that danger? I certainly hope so.

http://youtu.be/rXrJE1iDhh8

Racist School Closings Are The Fruit Of Pentagon Greed

 

Infographic by Katie Falkenberg, CODEPINK Denver

Like Madoff telling a bum to get a job: After Running from his Anti-War Past, Kerry Tells Snowden ‘Man Up’ and Face Trial in US

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Our prissy Secretary of State John Kerry, hair carefully coiffed for his interview, told NBC’s Brian Williams last week that fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should “man up” and return to the US to “stand in our system of justice and make his case.”

ND Treasurer: Red Carpet Rollout for Gen. Petraeus Fracking Field Trip "Not Unusual"

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt has responded to DeSmogBlog's investigation of the Bakken Shale basin fracking field trip her office facilitated for former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, who now works at the Manhattan-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)

David Petraeus Kelly Schmidt

Just Say Yes: Amber Lyon on Radical Transformation Through Psychedelics

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Discussed in this episode:Ayahuasca as a Cure for Amber Lyon’s PTSD, Psilocybin as a Possible Cure for Dennis Trainor Jr.’s ‘Anger Issues’, Reset.Me, Corruption at CNN, BP Oil Spill, Saving the World Through Self Improvement, DMT, LSD, Indie Media, The Healing Power of Psychedelics

http://youtu.be/j91CMGdIz94

Libya News - May 30, 2014


Rogue Libyan General Resumes Airstrikes Near Benghazi Against Islamist Militants (VIDEO) - VOA


Libya standoff emerges as premier refuses to yield to successor - Reuters


Rival cabinets meet in Libya political chaos, polls to be held June 25 as planned - Yahoo News


Analysis: GNC,-Maetig-versus-Haftar - Al-Ahram Weekly


Current alignment of Libyan militias in response to Haftar - TRAC


Pro-Islamist militia attack Libya interior ministry unit as chaos deepens - unyanews.tv


Head of the militants controlling oil ports: We will not recognise the government of Meitik - middleeastmonitor


Thousands across Libya march in support of a renegade general’s campaign against Islamist militias - The Washington Post


Libya's Haftar hails electoral win by Egypt's Sisi - Anadolu Agency


Statement (English): Declaration by the Conference of Tribes of Libya - tortillaconsal.com


VIDEO (Arabic): Al-Azizia conference of Libyan tribes and cities releases 15 points road map for Future Libya - thevoiceoflibya.com


Oil Outages Cost Libya $17.8 Billion, Rebels seeking more regional autonomy have kept the majority of oil exports shut in Eastern Libya -  NASDAQ.com


Libya Disorder Dealing Harmful Blow to Oil and Gas Exploration - ibtimes.co.uk


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Obama’s $5 Billion Counterterrorism Fund Already in Trouble in Congress - The Daily Beast


Terror’s Front: Obama says local groups pose “the most direct threat” to the United States and its interests, especially abroad  - NYTimes.com


French, American and Algerian special forces sent to the south of Libya to attack terrorist networks - The Times


Africa: Laboratory and Battleground for Pentagon's 21st Century Warfare - RIA Novosti


Pentagon to use drones to speed response times in sensitive hot spots like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya - Washington Times


Libya, Mali chaos alarms neighbours, Experts and military officers from eight African countries wrap up a five-day conference in Algiers focused on Sahel-Saharan security - Magharebia


AU to cooperate with Arab League to resolve Libyan crisis - 4-Traders


Egypt's FM dicusses Libyan and Syrian crises with Algerian PM - Ahram Online


Statement: Fahmy Calls the Foreign Ministers of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League to discuss the latest developments in Libya - Egypt Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Crisis alert level 3 raised in Libya urging Filipinos to leave - philstar.com


10 Chadians killed in southern Libya - GlobalPost


Islamist Gunmen in West Tunisia Attack Interior Minister’s Home, Killing 4 Guards - NYTimes.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Don’t Be Fooled By “Conspiracy Theory” Smears

Don’t Be Fooled By “Conspiracy Theory” Smears

US “Dirty” Wars, Targeted Killing & Secret Operations Supercede Military Occupations – But Are Still Illegitimate

 Join us at the Left Forum, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St, New York City on Sunday, June 1, 10:00 - 11:50 am to hear this panel on US dirty wars, especially drone warfare. It not only will provide historical background and context to the issues facing us and the world today, it is action-oriented, grappling with how to challenge how people think. Come, participate and help plan mass action to stop the crimes of your government.

Vast Surveillance of Whole Populations: The NSA Revelations One Year Out

 Join us at the Left Forum, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St, New York City on Saturday 5/31/2014, 12:00 - 1:50 pm to hear hear this panel on vast surveillance. The US government collects billions of bytes of “metadata” on phone calls, emails, bank traffic, text messaging, chats -- content, recipients, etc. – storing everything for future use, if not needed immediately. Edward Snowden and others in the field say the amount of data collected doubles every two years. The ramifications of this data collection and storage process goes beyond issues of civil liberties and abstract rights.

Imperialist Wars & Global Ecological Degradation

Join us at the Left Forum, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St, New York City on Saturday 5/31/2014 at 5:00 to 6:45pm to hear this panel on imperialism and ecological devastation. It not only will provide historical background and context to these issues facing us and the world today, it is action-oriented, grappling with how to challenge how people think. Share this with your friends, family, and colleagues!

Bringing CUNY into the US War Machine – Students and Faculty Rise Up

Come to the Left Forum -5/31 & 6/1/2014 -in New York City to hear World Can't Wait/War Criminals Watch empowering 4 panels. Share this widely and invite all your friends, fellow & sister workers and family! Our first panel, Sat. 5/31- 3:20-4:50 pm is on CUNY students present struggle to shut down its restored ROTC after 40 years off campus & end Gen David Petraeus' tenure at CUNY. 

Global Protests Say Shut Down Guantanamo - End Indefinite Detention

By Debra Sweet       ALERT:  Ominous action taken in the U.S. is a Senate vote this week to authorize Obama to move all the 154 prisoners to prisons in the   would allow Obama the claim that he has “closed” Guantanamo, while creating a terrible precedent of holding prisoners indefinitely and without charge, and possibly trying those few they have charged in sham military commission trials, within the U.S. Some of the prisoners' attorneys say that disappearing them into the hellhole of mass incarceration here would make it even harder to get them freed, even though many have already been cleared for release.

Ukraine News - May 29, 2014


VIDEO: The battle for Donetsk airport: Ukrainian separatists suffer heavy losses - euronews


VIDEO: Donetsk morgue overflowing after Ukrainian military offensive - RT


VIDEO: A truck carrying corpses to the Donetsk morgue - YouTube


VIDEO: Separatists in Donetsk refuse to concede - euronews


VIDEO: Pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk fear government troops will launch attack on city, prepare for assault - euronews


Miners rally in favour of separatists in eastern Ukraine - Reuters


VIDEO: Donetsk miners call on Ukranian ‘occupiers’ to leave region - euronews


Luhansk Rebels Send Reinforcements to Donetsk - The Moscow Times


Ukraine forces suffer new losses in a rebel raid on their barracks in the flashpoint Lugansk region - Sky News


80 Ukrainian soldiers surrender to self-defense forces in Lugansk - RT News


Lugansk Republic institutes commission for compensating damage to victims of operation - ITAR-TASS


Ukraine's Lugansk plans to hold parliamentary elections in Sept. - GlobalPost


In east Ukraine, arms maker walks fine line between Kiev and Moscow - The Globe and Mail


Ukraine crisis: who commited murder at the Maidan? Parliamentary Commission in Kiev rejects claims that Yanukovych police unit was to blame for killings that led to change of power - Telegraph


After the Ukrainian Elections, a Look at Far-Right Political Movements - The Blue Review


Right Sector militants ask Kiev to arm them with heavy weapons - The Voice of Russia


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Obama signals reset in US foreign policy, urges against 'military adventures' - Fox News


VIDEO: President Obama Speaks to West Point Graduates - The White House


TRANSCRIPT: President Obama’s Commencement Address at West Point - NYTimes.com


Russia to help Kiev establish dialogue with southeast if it ends military op: UN envoy - RT News


Ukraine PM calls on Russia to block guerrillas crossing the Russian border into Ukraine" - Reuters


Chechen fighters among ranks of rebel militants in Ukraine, self-appointed mayor says - Fox News


VIDEO: Battalion Vostok convoy moves in Donetsk, said to include fighters from the northern Caucasus - YouTube


VIDEO: Russian Mercenaries in Donetsk: Chechen leader Kadyrov denies sending troops to Ukraine - YouTube


Kiev adopts draft agreement on Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian brigade of armed forces - ITAR-TASS


Ischinger mulls OSCE Ukraine pullout, Poroshenko sees 'state of war' - DW.DE


Russia's Gazprom says Ukraine will owe $5.2 billion as of June 7 - chicagotribune.com


Russia may grant gas price discount to Ukraine, but contract revision not on agenda - ITAR-TASS


EU to help Ukraine find $10 bln to pay Russia for gas: newspaper - The Voice of Russia


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle@gmail.com

Afghan Elections: Pick Your Poison

No human being wants to be ruled by their people's murderers. Forgiveness through restorative justice may be possible, but being ruled by murderers is asking for too much.

Yet, that seems to be the Hobson's choice behind the Afghan presidential election, which is into its run-off between Dr. Abdullah / Mohaqiq's team and Dr. Ashraf Ghani / General Dostum's team, neither team having won more than 50% of balloted votes in the first round.

Both teams have members who are warlords accused of human rights abuses, as reported by the New York Times, including Dr. Abdullah Abdullah's running mate, Mohammed Mohaqiq, and General Dostum, who is Dr. Ashraf Ghani's vice-presidential candidate.  

General Dostum, allegedly on the CIA's payroll in the past, apologized for his past war crimes when he registered as Dr. Ashraf Ghani's vice-presidential candidate. One of those crimes is the Dasht-e-Leili massacre which occurred in the fall of 2001. New York Times and Newsweek investigations alleged that hundreds or even thousands of surrendering pro-Taliban prisoners died of thirst, hunger and gunshots when they were stuffed into shipping containers for transport to an Afghan prison.

Both presidential hopefuls in the run-off elections on June 14th have already vowed to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, which President Obama mentioned in his surprise visit to Bagram Air Base in Kabul, not even bothering to visit President Karzai who declined to visit him at Bagram.

Article 7 of the Bilateral Security Agreement, states that, "Afghanistan hereby authorizes United States forces to control entry to agreed facilities and areas that have been provided for United States forces' exclusive use…" and also that "Afghanistan shall provide all agreed facilities and areas without charge to United States forces."

Article 13 includes this: "Afghanistan ... agrees that the United States shall have the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction over such persons in respect of any criminal or civil offenses committed in the territory of Afghanistan."

It is understandable that President Karzai isn't willing to sign the agreement. It may leave a disastrous legacy.

I asked an activist who has been working in Afghanistan for ten years what he thought about the run-off in Afghanistan's elections. "Many Afghans, and people all over the world, are getting more and more cynical about elections," he told me. "And they should be, because how did our psyche become conditioned to accept that by electing corrupt, selfish, proud, wealthy and violent elites every four or five years, our ordinary lives will be changed? Our planet is exasperatingly unequal and militarized. To place in power the ones who continue this status quo is bizarre."

Bizarre, yet disturbingly familiar.

Mess in Ukraine is Catalyst for Closer Sino-Russian Ties: a BIG DEAL

Premature US Victory-Dancing on Ukraine

May 28, 2014

Editor Comment:  The post-coup election of a pro-Western politician as president of Ukraine – and the escalating slaughter of lightly armed anti-coup rebels in the east – have created a celebratory mood in Official Washington, but the victory dance may be premature, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Washington’s role in the coup d’etat in Kiev on Feb. 22 has brought the U.S. a Pyrrhic victory, with the West claiming control of Ukraine albeit with a shaky grip that still requires the crushing of anti-coup rebels in the east. But the high-fiving may be short-lived once the full consequences of the putsch become clear.

Talk Nation Radio: Peace Movement to Gather in Sarajevo

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-peace-movement-to-gather-in-sarajevo

From June 6 to 9, the peace movement from around the world will gather in Sarajevo. See http://PeaceEventSarajevo2014.eu We speak with one of the planners of this event, Reiner Braun.

Reiner Braun is based in Berlin, Germany. He is the Executive Director of Scientists for Peace and Sustainability and the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility. Since 2004 Reiner Braun has been working for various projects related to the Einstein year at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and for the Max Planck Society. Since 2006 he has been the Executive Director of the German branch and since 2012 of the full International Association Of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. He is project manager of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (or Federation of German Scientists), the German Pugwash group.  And since Septmber 2013 he has been Co-president of the International Peace Bureau and one of the speakers of the German peace mouvement.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

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

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Cure Our Collective Insanity

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

note: This is an episode clip. The full episode, The Healing Power of Psychedelics, will publish at Acronym TV on Thursday, May 29.

Amber Lyon, 3-time Emmy award winning journalist, describes how her work as a journalist covering social justice issues lead to her suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and how experience with Ayahuasca cured her of the disorder and led to a radical spiritual and career shift.

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