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Tomgram: Engelhardt, Armed Violence in the Homeland

Our Jihadis and Theirs

The Real (Armed) Dangers of American Life
By Tom Engelhardt

Corrupted Coverage: US News Media Still Can’t Get It Right on Race

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

Does the intense news coverage examining the tragic massacre inside a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. and coverage exposing the travesty of the white woman who claims she’s actually black mean the mainstream media has finally ‘got it right’ regarding reporting on race and racism?

Public Didn't See Last Two World Wars Coming Either

Books about how World War I started, and to a lesser degree how World War II started, have tended in recent years to explain that these wars didn’t actually come as a surprise, because top government officials saw them coming for years. But these revised histories admit that the general public was pretty much clueless and shocked.

The fact is that anyone in the know or diligently seeking out the facts could see, in rough outline, the danger of World War I or World War II coming years ahead, just as one can see the threats of environmental collapse and World War III approaching now. But the general public lacked a decent understanding prior to the first two world wars and lacks it now on the looming dangers created by environmental destruction and aggressive flirtation with World War III.

What led to the first two world wars and allowed numerous wise observers to warn of them years ahead, even to warn of World War II immediately upon completion of the treaty that ended World War I? A number of factors ought to be obvious but are generally overlooked:

Russia News - June 20, 2015


Russia 'open to world', will cooperate with West: Putin tells the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum - Yahoo News


VIDEO (English): Putin addresses the plenary session of the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia


TRANSCRIPT (English): Putin addresses the plenary session of the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia


VIDEO: Tonight on PBS: watch Charlie Rose 's conversation with President Putin (link) - Charlie Rose Show on Twitter


Putin: Russian economy has stabilized, now time to focus on the future - Russia Beyond The Headlines


Russian economy shrank by 3.2 % in first five months: minister - The Economic Times


Despite Tensions, U.S. Company Officials Attend Russian Economic Forum - The New York Times


Europeans return to business in St. Petersburg - DW.DE


Greek leader tells Russia he seeks 'new harbors' from European storm - LA Times


Russia and Greece Band Together to Build Turkish Stream Pipeline - The Moscow Times


Putin: Russian pipeline project to help Greece pay its debt - StarTribune.com


EU to extend Russia sanctions to January 2016 - Yahoo News


Russian sanctions to 'cost Europe €100bn' - newsweek.com


Exclusive: Gazprom building global alliance with expanded Shell - Reuters


Russia angered by freezing of accounts in Belgium and France in $50 billion Yukos case - US News


Russia's relationship with China deepens following the fallout from sanctions imposed by the West - cnbc.com


China, Russia boost investment, financial cooperation - Chinadaily.com.cn


Chinese firm to rent Russian land in Siberia for crops - BBC News


Saudi Arabia, Russia sign nuclear power cooperation deal - Reuters

 

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Cold war 2.0? Russia, NATO edge toward high-risk military standoff - CSMonitor.com


NATO: Maneuvers of the New Rapid Response Force in Polish War Games Aimed at Showing Readiness to Russia - VOA


Russia not acting as responsible nuclear power: NATO top commander Breedlove - Reuters


NATO Central and Eastern Europe commander advocates arming Baltic and Eastern Europe to deter Russia - DW.DE


Russia warns Sweden over joining NATO - Business Insider


Norway's NATO Missile Defense Aid Irks Russia - defensenews.com


Putin: Unilateral US withdrawal from ABM treaty pushing Russia toward new arms race - Missile ThreatMissile Threat


Pentagon Building Cruise Missile Shield To Defend US Cities From Russian Cruise Missiles - Defense One


Russia built one of the most alarming anti-aircraft systems in history — and won't say who it's sending it to - Business Insider


How Russia's most advanced military equipment stacks up against NATO's hardware - Business Insider


Russia to Ink Deal to Supply China with 24 Su-35 Fighter Jets - Defense Tech


Russia, China do not create military blocs: Putin - TASS


Report: Russia and China cracked Snowden documents containing details that could allow British and U.S. spies to be identified - The Washington Post


Putin says autonomy for Ukraine's east, amnesty, local elections key for ending conflict - Fox News


Putin reaffirms Russia's support for Syria's Assad - Reuters

 

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What were you doing on your vacation?: Returning Home to the US is to Enter a Police State

By Dave Lindorff


A few weeks ago, I got a vivid comparative look at how far this country has moved towards becoming a police state. The occasion was a brief visit to Montreal, where my wife was to give a harpsichord recital at an early keyboard music conference. 


The Coup

The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations deals with such an engaging topic that even this new book can't really make it boring, hard as it seems to try. When asked what historical figure I would most like to bring back to life and have a talk with I tend to think of Mossadeq, the complex, Gandhian, elected leader, denounced as both Hitler and a communist (as would become part of the standard procedure) and overthrown in an early CIA coup (1953) -- a coup that encouraged dozens more around the globe and led straight to the Iranian revolution and to today's Iranian distrust of the United States. I'm more inclined to believe that current Iranian distrust of the U.S. government is well-merited than blaming it on a long-ago coup implies, but the coup lies at the root of Iranian and worldwide skepticism about generous U.S. intentions.

It's also an interesting fact, supported by this case, that some of the best government actions, taken by any government around the world, have occurred just prior to various U.S.-backed violent coups -- and I include in that category the U.S. New Deal, followed by the unsuccessful Wall Street coup attempt rejected by Smedley Butler. Mossadegh had just done, among other things, these: Slashed the military budget 15%, launched an investigation into weapons deals, retired 135 senior officers, caused the military and police to report to the government rather than to the monarch, slashed stipends to the royal family, restricted the Shah's access to foreign diplomats, transferred the royal estates to the state, and drafted bills to give women the vote and protect the press and the independence of the Supreme Court and taxing extreme wealth by 2% and giving workers healthcare and upping peasants' share of the harvest by 15%. Facing an oil embargo, he cut state salaries, eliminated chauffeured cars for high officials, and restricted luxury imports. All of that was in addition, of course, to the cause of the coup: his insistence on nationalizing the oil from which a British company, and Britain, had been profiting enormously.

British Trash Magna Carta in Bowing to U.S. Diktat on Assange

Friday Marks Julian Assange's 3rd Year Cooped Up in Ecuadorian Embassy

A Reminder From Sunshine Press With Comment By Ray

19 June 2015 marks three years since Mr. Assange, an Australian citizen, entered the embassy of Ecuador in London. He was granted political asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention due the ongoing espionage case against him in the United States. Mr. Assange risks extradition to the US from both the UK and Sweden.

Mr. Assange has been detained--without charge--in prison, under house arrest and in the embassy for nearly five years. He has not seen the sun in three years as the embassy has no outdoor area. ...

Both the UK and Sweden refuse to provide legal or diplomatic assurances not to extradite Mr. Assange to the US (in violation of their obligations under the Refugee Convention), ...

U.S. House Debates and Votes Down Withdrawal from Iraq/Syria

Wednesday afternoon, by a vote of 288-139 with one voting "present" and five not voting (roll call of who voted which way is here) the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a resolution (H.Con.Res.55) that would have required the President to . . .

"remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on or after August 7, 2014, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq and Syria. (1) by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted; or (2) if the President determines that it is not safe to remove such United States Armed Forces before the end of that period, by no later than December 31, 2015, or such earlier date as the President determines that the Armed Forces can safely be removed."

While some number of the 139 yes votes were apparently cast by Congress members wanting a chance to vote yes on more war during the next 30 days or the next 6.5 months, most were presumably cast by Congress members actually favoring withdrawal or wanting to go on record as favoring withdrawal in a vote that stood little chance of succeeding. Almost two years ago now, Congress was compelled by public pressure to indicate its intention to vote no on missile strikes into Syria. Since that time it has refused to vote wars up or down, while allowing them to be launched and waged and escalated.

Of course, votes for wars have a history of pleasing campaign funders and displeasing voters. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, in Wednesday's debate, made clear that she wanted to have the war continue but maintain the right to denounce it as completely ill-conceived. That's why a vote needed to be forced, to put Congress members on record one way or the other, to not let them have it both ways. There are now 288 of them who should be removed from office at the earliest opportunity and, like Hillary Clinton in 2008 and hopefully in the future, blocked in the pursuit of higher office.

Of course, President Barack Obama has made clear that he will wage war with or without Congress, but a vote by Congress to withdraw, and (if needed) perhaps a further vote to cut off funding, and (if needed) perhaps a further vote to impeach, would at the very least be interesting.

The resolution was brought by Reps. Jim McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Walter Jones under the War Powers Resolution, which allows any Congress member to force a debate and vote on any war that a president has launched without legal authorization. Congressman McGovern chose, however, not to use the debate he had forced in the manner in which then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich used to use it, namely as a debate on ending a war. Instead, McGovern framed this as a debate on whether to have a debate.

So, for two hours on Wednesday, proponents of war advocated at length with great passion and fear mongering for more war, while proponents of having a debate advocated procedurally for the proper use of Constitutional war powers and for having a debate. But of course they knew the resolution was very likely to fail, meaning that their debate on whether to have a debate would be all there was in the way of debating.

McGovern also chose to frame the debate defensively, arguing against opponents' assertions that his resolution required withdrawal in 30 days, claiming on the contrary that the resolution gave the President until the end of the year "if he chooses." But, of course, the resolution, quoted above, didn't say "if he chooses" -- rather "if the President determines that it is not safe to remove." McGovern seemed to be admitting that that was nonsense. It's dangerous to leave troops in a war; it's always safe to remove them, but McGovern was prepared to allow Obama to pretend the opposite "if he chooses."

A number of opponents of the resolution, in fact, pretended the opposite on Wednesday, arguing for more war "to protect the troops." Meanwhile another opponent of the resolution, Brad Sherman, argued that the resolution would indeed pull troops out in 30 days because they were in no danger.

The highlights of the debate came when four Congress members spoke against war, and one in particular did so with passion and wisdom. His name was John Lewis. He said that people are "sick and tired of war" and that war only makes matters worse, "Terrorism is not stopped by weapons. Bombs don't end hate." I've asked his office to send me his written remarks and am also hoping they post them here.

The others who spoke against war were Barbara Lee, very briefly, Rick Nolan, also briefly, and Charlie Rangel who pushed myths about the inherent violence of the Middle East and the goodness of past Good Wars, but who also said there was no reason for U.S. troops to be over there, and that ISIS wasn't invading our jobless communities. Rangel was the first to bring war opposition into Wednesday's "debate."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey had on Wednesday in a committee hearing pushed the idea that religious sectarianism had created the disaster that in fact U.S. war-making has created in Iraq. Dempsey also said that there was no military solution, so instead he would use both the U.S. military and arming and training of Iraqis. So now you know what "no military solution" means -- a phrase that has apparently maintained the same relationship to its dictionary definition as "imminent" or "combatant."

Speaking in favor of war on Wednesday were Reps. Ed Royce, Eliot Engel (a believer in well-vetted moderate rebels and possibly the tooth fairy), Vicky Hartzler, Gerald Connolly, Joe Wilson (who seems to think Congress should take orders from military), Brendan Boyle, Lee Zeldin, Ted Poe, George Holding, David Cicilline, Adam Kinzinger (who wants Assad overthrown), Brad Sherman, and Michael McCaul.

Rep. Thomas Massie spoke for Constitutional war powers, but not for or against war. So did Walter Jones and Jim McGovern for that matter. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee wants a war debate, but paints war as philanthropy for its foreign victims, and restraint as greedy self-interest. Rep. Jerrold Nadler says he doesn't know if war should go on but that he and his colleagues should decide if war should go on. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton wants a vote for DC for or against war, but speaks only in praise of war. Rep. Mark Sanford wants a war debate, mentions war's financial cost, but never quite says yes or no to more war.

Royce gave a long pro-war closing after McGovern's quick procedural wishy-washy closing that never actually opposed war.

Royce claimed there was no third option beyond war or doing nothing. Here are some of those missing options.

To email Congress your opinion, click here.


Talk Nation Radio: Waging Peace With David Hartsough

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-waging-peace-with-david-hartsough

David Hartsough is the author, with Joyce Hollyday, of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist. Hartsough is executive director of Peaceworkers, based in San Francisco, and is cofounder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. He is a Quaker and member of the San Francisco Friends Meeting. He has a BA from Howard University and an MA in international relations from Columbia University. Hartsough has been working actively for nonviolent social change and peaceful resolution of conflicts since he met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1956. Over the last fifty years, he has led and been engaged in nonviolent peacemaking in the United States, Kosovo, the former Soviet Union, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Iran, Palestine, Israel, and many other countries. He was also a peace educator and organized nonviolent movements for peace and justice with the American Friends Service Committee for eighteen years. Hartsough has been arrested more than a hundred times for participating in demonstrations. He has worked in the movements for civil rights, against nuclear weapons, to end the Vietnam War, to end the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan and to prevent an attack on Iran. Most recently, David is helping organize World Beyond War, a global movement to end all wars: http://worldbeyondwar.org

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or  LetsTryDemocracy.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance

I'm not sure if there's been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I'm confident there's not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them. The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why, and authors Natylie Baldwin and Kermit Heartsong explain it all quite clearly. Go ahead and tell me there's nothing you're now spending your time on that's less important than this.

This book may very well be the best written one I've read this year. It puts all the relevant facts -- those I knew and many I didn't -- together concisely and with perfect organization. It does it with an informed worldview. It leaves me nothing to complain about at all, which is almost unheard of in my book reviews. I find it refreshing to encounter writers so well-informed who also grasp the significance of their information.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 16, 2015


In another sign Obama's trade agenda is in trouble, House GOP Leaders postpone vote on trade bill - CNNPolitics.com


Three ways GOP could save trade bill after postponing the vote - TheHill


GOP leaders’ plan to save Obamatrade revealed - WND


Nancy Pelosi op-ed: Trade promotion authority on its last legs, we must give workers more leverage and have more open discussion - USA TODAY


Top democratic senator dismisses a vote again on trade promotion authority stripped of worker assistance provisions - VOA


GOP Leadership's Latest Obamatrade Ploy Revealed: Small Business Tax Hike That Violates GOP’s Anti-Tax Pledge - Breibart


Rand Paul: Obamatrade Tax Hikes on Small Businesses Mean Republicans Should Oppose Revival Efforts Via a Tax Increase Hidden Inside the Trade Adjustment Assistance - Breitbart


Ten Bay Area U.S. representatives voted against the bill addressing agreements with European Union and Pacific Rim, Only one supported the bill - Patch


Trans Pacific Partnership: Industries Favoring Trade Agreement Gave 8.6 Times More Money To Lawmakers Than Industries Opposed - IBTimes


REPORT: Industries Supporting Trade Bill Contribute Nearly Nine Times More Than Opposing Industries, Full LIst Of Recipients - Money and Politics


VIDEO (and transcript): Obama's Weekly Address: Stand up for American workers and pass Trade Adjustment Assistance - Your Houston News

 

POLL: Obama's Approval Rating Dips in June, Part of the reason could be because of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal - Latin Post

 

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Hillary Clinton ducks questions on trade deals during New Hampshire visit, dismisses fast track as ‘process issue’ - The Guardian


How Hillary Clinton Gets Around Answering Questions About Fast-Track - NationalJournal.com


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton holds first press conference in NH - MSNBC


Labor buys ‘thank you’ ads for lawmakers who blocked Obama trade pact - The Washington Post


How labor beat Obama on trade — for now - The Washington Post


United Steelworkers Urges Lawmakers on Fast Track 'Do-Over' to Not Flip Votes - USW


Teamsters: House needs to continue stand against fast track - Teamster Nation


International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers: Let’s put the brakes on bad trade deals that ship America’s jobs overseas and lower our wages - Facebook


Here’s How We Can Stop TPP-TPA-TAA aka Obamatrade - Tea Party Nation


Environmental Groups Declare Victory After Trade Package Scuttled on House Floor - Bloomberg BNA


Webb criticizes Obama's lack of transparency on trade - wcfcourier.com


Robert Reich Op-Ed: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Nearly Dead - huffingtonpost.com


Pat Choate Op-Ed: Lies, Damnable Lies and Trade Lies - huffingtonpost.com


Bill Moyers Op-Ed: Fast-Track Derails Democracy - huffingtonpost.com


Lawrence Summers op-ed: Rescuing the free-trade deals - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Larry Summers: TPP crucial to U.S. role in Asia - YouTube

 

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Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency's director to "approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research."

Human what?

At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to prisoners without their consent, as well as the supposed truth serum scopolamine. Former Guantanamo guard Joseph Hickman has documented the CIA's torturing people, sometimes to death, and can find no explanation other than research:

"[Why] were men of little or no value kept under these conditions, and even repeatedly interrogated, months or years after they'd been taken into custody? Even if they'd had any intelligence when they came in, what relevance would it have years later? . . . One answer seemed to lie in the description that Major Generals [Michael] Dunlavey and [Geoffrey] Miller both applied to Gitmo. They called it 'America's battle lab.'"

Non-consensual experimentation on institutionalized children and adults was common in the United States before, during, and even more so after the U.S. and its allies prosecuted Nazis for the practice in 1947, sentencing many to prison and seven to be hanged. The tribunal created the Nuremberg Code, standards for medical practice that were immediately ignored back home. Some American doctors considered it "a good code for barbarians."

The code begins: "Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity." A similar requirement is included in the CIA's rules, but has not been followed, even as doctors have assisted with such torture techniques as waterboarding.

Thus far, the United States has never really accepted the Nuremberg Code. While the code was being created, the U.S. was giving people syphilis in Guatemala. It did the same at Tuskegee. Also during the Nuremberg trial, children at the Pennhurst school in southeastern Pennsylvania were given hepatitis-laced feces to eat.

Other sites of experimentation scandals have included the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in Brooklyn, the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, and Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia. And, of course, the CIA's Project MKUltra (1953-1973) was a smorgasbord of human experimentation. Forced sterilizations of women in California prisons have not ended. Torture by Chicago police has for the first time just resulted in compensation for victims.

If we are, at long last, to put such contemptible behavior behind us, it will require breaking some bad habits.

Congress has busily re-banned torture a number of times in recent years. Now it must drop that charade and instead demand that the Attorney General enforce the anti-torture statute, which made torture a felony before George W. Bush ever became president.

It's good of John Oliver to denounce torture. And he's right to go after the lies told about torture in popular entertainment. But he's also spreading the false idea that it's legal. "We checked," he says, reporting that his crack team of investigators discovered that the only ban on torture is found in an executive order written by President Obama. This is dangerous nonsense. The U.S. was a party to the Anti-Torture Convention and had made torture a felony under the anti-torture statute and the war-crimes statute before George W. Bush ever became president.

Since then, Congress has repeatedly "banned" torture. But, just as the U.N. Charter's ban on war actually legalized certain wars, purporting to replace the total ban in the Kellogg-Briand Pact with a partial ban, these Congressional efforts (such as the Military Commissions Act of 2006) have actually legalized certain cases of torture, replacing (at least in everyone's mind) the total ban already existing in the U.S. Code and in a treaty to which the U.S. is party.

The latest "ban" proposal from Senator McCain and friends, would create exceptions in the form of those in the Army Field Manual, and advocates maintain that step number two would be to reform that manual. But if you skip both steps and acknowledge the existence of the anti-torture statute in the U.S. Code, you're done. The proper task is to press for its enforcement.

Oliver's mistake, like virtually everyone else's, is based on two myths. One, torture began with Bush. Two, torture ended with Bush. On the contrary, torture has been around in the United States and elsewhere for a very long time. So has the practice of banning it. Torture is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In fact, under international law, torture can never be legalized and is always banned.

Myth number two is also wrong. Torture has not ended and won't as long as it's not punished.

An attorney general can be questioned and threatened with impeachment until our laws are enforced. A new website created Monday let's you email Congress to demand that it do just that.

Tomgram: David Vine, "The Forgotten Costs of War in the Middle East"

 This article
 originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

“So What’s Your Question, Larry?”

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH GOVERNOR RICKETTS

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA

 

Killing prisoners through medical neglect: Mumia Attorneys Sue in Federal Court for Prisoners’ Right to Medical Care

By Dave Lindorff


Attorneys from the Abolitionis Law Center in Pennsylvania, an organization defending prisoner rights and challenging the state's penal system, have filed suit in federal court demanding that Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections stop preventing them from even seeing their client, journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, on occasions when he has to be hospitalized for a critical diabetes condition.

Exposing Lies, Telling the Truth

I have just read Andre Vltchek’s new book Exposing Lies of the Empire. Let me tell you something about this book of 800 pages.

Vltchek writes with passion and poetry, describing the true horror experienced by the world at large, living at the gunpoint of the imperial powers, while also describing and drawing you into a world of progress, culture and refinement that exists in some places and, so we are tantalised, might exist elsewhere too and even, perhaps, one day for us all.

Pentagon Admits that War is Illegal

The Pentagon has just published 1,204 pages on how it thinks you can behave legally during a war. Looking through this "Law of War Manual" at various hot topics, one finds some atrocities excused as acceptable (cluster bombs, nuclear bombs) and others rejected as completely disallowed (torture) even when in reality they are routinely engaged in.

Beginning to wonder what the point is of writing out such a lengthy description of laws when someone could just read the laws themselves in less time, I notice that nowhere does this document strengthen any actual law, while in many places it weakens them. It picks and chooses which laws to mention and which to leave out or marginalize in footnotes. It stresses the supposed right to ignore any international law that a nation objected to while that law was being created. It incorporates into the whole scheme the idea of launching wars not only against nations, but against any other entities, and of launching wars in nations with those nations' approval. This paper is a sort of enormous signing statement appended retroactively to all existing laws, indicating which will be adhered to and which disregarded, while attempting to advertise a pattern of legal behavior by the U.S. military as a public relations correction to people's awareness of the actual pattern of lawlessness.

But I think the place to start is with the pretense that war itself is legal. This is what permits three-quarters of this document to exist, devoted as those sections are to proper legal conduct during a war. The Pentagon says that one must fight wars legally whether or not the wars are legal. That is, whether or not you have some legal justification for attacking a country, you must nonetheless meet completely vague standards of proportionality and so forth during the course of the attack -- or of the occupation. There's a large section on the legal conduct of occupations that breezes right past any question of the illegality of maintaining the occupation at all. Here's a typical passage about legal "proportionality": "Attacks using nuclear weapons must not be conducted when the expected incidental harm to civilians is excessive compared to the military advantage expected to be gained." How much "harm" to civilians from nuclear weapons would be "excessive"? The so-called law, once you accept war and then try to regulate its conduct, is in the eye of the sociopathic beholder; there's nothing empirical or enforceable about it.

Courage: Caitlyn Jenner vs. Chelsea Manning

                There has been much talk of late about the courage of Caitlyn Jenner. A recent Vanity Fair cover showed the transformation of former 65-year-old Olympic gold medal winner Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn, an attractive woman who appears to be in her thirties.

                But let us look for a moment at the definition of courage. Merriam-Webster defines it thusly: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”

The Last Jeb Killed for Slavery, The Last Bush Killed for Oil

Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I've been collecting the evidence that Hillary cannot be a lesser evil than any living human, and campaigning for No More Bushes or Clintons. The other is that I only read Jeb Bush: Outed because I've long liked the author, Stephen Goldstein.

People such as Molly Ivins and James Moore gave the U.S. lots of warning, from the wisdom of Texans, before the Supreme Court falsified the 2000 election results in what will always be falsely remembered as the American public electing George W. Bush president. Here comes Goldstein from Florida to warn us about Jeb. I don't see any reason why knowing about Jeb should make us take any interest in the election, as Hillary is just as bad. But I still see a problem with not knowing -- when it's all so easily known.

The Financialization of Fiction, and Vice Versa

The Utopia of Rules by David Graeber is an engaging riff on the theme of bureaucracy and the BS people think about it.

"De-regulation," of finances, Graeber points out, creates more rules, paperwork, and bureaucrats, apparently because what happens is not the equivalent of firing a bunch of factory safety inspectors, but rather the employment of enough bureaucrats to redirect control of wealth from mid-sized companies to giant conglomerates. Yet, just as people imagine criminals to be mostly black or violent, or war to be philanthropic or necessary, or estate taxes to be about family farms, or voter fraud to be impacting elections, or elections to have any value that could possibly be hurt by voter fraud, or a minimum wage to eliminate jobs, or corporate trade agreements to not eliminate jobs, or guns to make us safer, or prisons to "correct" something, or wealth to trickle down, or small-time foreign thugs to constitute a graver threat than a McDonald's diet, what matters is a fiction well told, not any facts.

Career advancement in a bureaucracy, Graeber writes, is based not so much on merit as on the loyalty exhibited by a willingness to pretend that it's based on merit. If you play along with the collective delusion, you're rewarded.

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership - June 12, 2015


Will Dems rescue Obama's trade pact? Backers and foes have no clue if it has enough support to pass on Friday - POLITICO


Anti-Climate Provision Gives Democrats Fresh Reason To Oppose Obama On Trade - huffingtonpost.com


Breitbart News: Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Grows In Face Of Ryan Mistakes - Breitbart


Breitbart News: 34 Courageous Conservatives Wound Obamatrade On Way To Final House Vote - Breitbart


Republicans clash over Obamatrade immigration - WND


Washinton State Rep. Adam Smith Joins Reps. Heck And McDermott In Opposing Fast-Track Trade Bill - KPLU News


Alabama congressmen blast Obama's secret trade agreement - Yellowhammer News


California Rep Garamendi Expresses Strong Opposition to Fast-Track Trade Bill and the Trans-Pacific Partnership “Free Trade Agreement” - California RealEstateRama


Obama's Trade Deals Show He's Out Of Touch With The Real World, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) Says - huffingtonpost.com


Trade debate splits Obama, Chicago Dems - The Washington Post


What Chicago Democrats tell us about President Obama’s problems on trade - The Washington Post


Crucial House vote on trade bill nears with 3 of 6 Louisiana members still undecided - NOLA.com


Oklahoma Vet In Congress Battles Paul Ryan’s Obamatrade In The Trenches - Breitbart


Mo Brooks To Paul Ryan: With China’s Ploy To Join Deal, Make White House Release Obamatrade Text Before Vote - Breitbart


ObamaTrade Secrecy: Log of Which Members of Congress Actually Read Bill in Secret Room Also Private - Breitbart

 

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Left and right line up against fast-track legislation, Tea Party and labor unions say Obama’s trade agenda is undemocratic and secretive - WSJ


Elizabeth Warren Launches Last-Minute Blitz to Stop Trade Bill, Full Text of Her E-mail to Liberal Supporters - Bloomberg Politics


Warren in a conference call organized by Democracy For America and Move On: supporting fast-track would be ‘irresponsible’ - TheHill


Labor chief rebukes Obama on trade in open letter - TheHill


Text of open letter of labor chief to Obama on trade - POLITICO


In a Report AFL-CIO Says Labor Has Been Blocked from Trans-Pacific Partnership Debate (Text of the Report) - Working In These Times


Democrats Call on Administration to Release Confidential Labor Advisory Committee Report - Congressman Mark Pocan


Report: One in Four Jobs in San Diego at Risk with Trade Deal - sandiegofreepress.org


VIDEO: Baltimore Steelworker Invites President Obama to Witness Results of Past Failed Trade Policies - AFL-CIO


Greens slam 'fast track' package over climate concerns - WashingtonExaminer.com


Environmental Groups Unite to Denounce Fast Track Trade Bill - Sierra Club National


Revealed: The Secret Immigration Chapter in Obama's Trade Agreement - Breitbart


Key Provision Of Trade Deal Puts Core Elements Of U.S. Legal System At Risk - huffingtonpost.com

 

Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach: Obama's trade deal is a Trojan horse - MSNBC


Obamatrade! Right-Wing Talk Radio Slams Trans Pacific Partnership - firstlook.org


Bernie Sanders Demands Hillary Clinton Take Trade Stance 'Right Now' - NYTimes.com


Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary and NY Mayor Bill de Blasio Urge Hillary Clinton to Oppose TPP - Observer

 

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

U.S. Shifts Stance on Drug Pricing in Pacific Trade Pact Talks, Wikileaks Document Reveals - NYTimes.com


Leaked Text of the TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks


Trade Deal Targets Medicare, New Leak Reveals - huffingtonpost.com


Secret trade negotiations will undermine Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and push up the cost of medicines - smh.com


New Zealanders' access to affordable medicines could be limited under trade deal secretly negotiated, opposition parties say - NZ Herald News


Analysis by Dr Deborah Gleeson (Australia) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - WikiLeaks


Analysis by Jane Kelsey (New. Zealand) on TPP Transparency for Healthcare Annex - Wikileaks


GayNZ.com Leaked TPPA docs back HIV med concerns - gaynz.com


Rep. Jan Schakowsky: This is a warning for senior citizens: Ongoing trade negotiations could be harmful to your health - huffingtonpost.com


Latest TPP Leak Raises Burning Questions About Implications for U.S. Health Care System - Public Citizen


Memo: Three Burning Questions about the Leaked TPP Transparency Annex and Its Implications for U.S. Health Care - Public Citizen


VIDEO: Backlash Against TPP Grows as Leaked Text Reveals Corporate Control of Public Health, Interview with Maybarduk of Public Citizen and Sifton of Human Rights Watch - Democracy Now!

 

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Senator Pushes Edge of Skin-Tight Envelope

Democratic-Party-based activist groups are urging each other to praise and support Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) for laying out a better-than-average foreign policy and setting up a website at http://chanceforpeace.org.

Murphy's position would be considered militarist in the extreme outside of the United States, but advocates point out how much worse most other U.S. senators' are. 

Tomgram: Jen Marlowe, "They Demolish and We Rebuild"

 There’s an ugliness to war beyond the ugly things war does. There are scars beyond the rough, imperfectly mended flesh of the gunshot wound, beyond the flashback, the startle reflex, the nightmare. War finds peculiar and heinous ways to distort lives, and when children are involved, it can mean a lifetime spent trying to recapture what was, to rebuild what never can be.

Had He Not Been Murdered!

Barack Obama: No Jack Kennedy

Editor Note: A half century ago – at the peak of the Cold War – President Kennedy appealed to humankind’s better nature in a daring overture to Soviet leaders, a gamble that brought bans on nuclear testing and a safer world, a bravery that President Obama can’t seem to muster.

By Ray McGovern

Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” put-down of Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice presidential debate springs to mind on a day on which I cannot help but compare the character of President Barack Obama to that of John Kennedy, the first President under whom I served in the Army and CIA.

The Bravery of Vince Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi, generally noted as the prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, is dead.

Vince had a remarkable skill as a prosecutor and a public speaker. He could be very persuasive. He could set aside everything but the most critical piece of information and then hammer at that piece like a sculptor. In doing so he could reach a wide audience in a persuasive manner without unnecessarily putting anyone off.

Bugliosi fit the profile of a whistleblower. He had long been part of the establishment. He prosecuted criminals. He wrote best-selling books defending insider opinion, claiming Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, O.J. Simpson was guilty, etc. He believed that before George W. Bush no president had ever lied about a war. He believed the U.S. government generally meant well. He considered agnosticism wiser than atheism, because who knows, there could be a god, how can you prove there isn't? He considered revenge an enlightened emotion. In other words, Bugliosi was a reluctant radical.

He had written a condemnation of the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush for the White House. How was he to know that speaking further truth about that same individual would meet a brick wall of bipartisan contempt? He didn't know. He was used to being on television when he published a new book. He was used to glowing reviews, or at least reviews, in major newspapers. But most major newspapers didn't mention Bugliosi's book on prosecuting Bush for the war on Iraq until Bugliosi died this week. The New York Times had run an article on the lack of coverage, but not provided any coverage.

Bugliosi was shut out by corporate power when he suggested prosecuting a president for launching a war (and laid out a powerful legal argument for doing so). It was, in his view, a very mainstream American argument against a brand new horror never seen on the face of the earth before. He said not a word about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who had been murdered; it wasn't part of his legal case on which he focused like a laser. He argued for the prosecution of Bush for the murder of U.S. troops sent to Iraq and killed there. Bugliosi explained:

"A robber, for instance, was convicted of first degree murder under the felony-murder rule where, as he was leaving the store in which he had robbed the owner, he told the owner not to say a word or he'd be harmed, and fired into the ceiling to scare the owner. The shot, after two or three ricochets, pierced the head of the owner, killing him. In fact, the felony-murder rule applies even where the defendant is not the killer! There have been cases where the proprietor of the store fired at a robber, missed him and hit and killed a customer. And the robber was convicted of first degree murder of the customer."

Legally, it's unusual. Morally, it's grotesque. Effectively, it would have ended U.S. wars, prevented the creation of ISIS, left Honduras and Ukraine with their elected governments, kept new bases out of the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Australia, and two dozen African Nations, allowed Libya to live, allowed recovery to begin in Afghanistan, prevented the drone wars that President Obama created in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, and the subsequent Saudi destruction of Yemen, halted shipments of U.S. weapons to Israel, Egypt, and countless Clinton-donor nations, quite possibly spared Gaza two serious attacks, and conceivably have created the momentum to prosecute torture and other lesser crimes rather than continuing the charade of re-banning it over and over.

But none of that was to be. Bugliosi was abandoned by the Democrats who didn't want Bush prosecuted. Bugliosi was forsaken by the corporate media that didn't want war questioned. Bugliosi was ostracized by his own people: prosecutors. He asked for one prosecutor in any place in the U.S. from which a U.S. troop had been sent to Iraq to die. He volunteered to assist that prosecutor for free. Not a single one could be found willing to even try.

The case for ‘courageous restraint’: The Killer Elite, at Home and Abroad

By John Grant


We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

                                                      - George Orwell


Vincent Bugliosi and The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

bugliositextIf we want to deter future presidents from taking this nation to another war under false pretenses, some president in the future that gets a funny thought, I think that deterrence would increase immeasurably if he knew what America did to George Bush, put him on trial for murder, and if he was convicted, of course, the punishment would either be life imprisonment or the imposition of the death penalty.”

Focus: Trans-Pacific Partnership -June 10, 2015

 

GOP aiming for Friday trade vote, but snag remains - POLITICO


Breitbart News: More Republican Opposition To Obamatrade Builds In House, Boehner Losing Momentum - Breitbart


Breitbart News: Obamatrade Support Falling Apart In House Despite Leadership Push - Breitbart


Franken-trade: Opponents are concerned about a governing commission that’s to oversee the Pacific trade deal - Washington Times


Kevin McCarthy Pressured By Republican Conference: What's The Rush On Obamatrade Plans With Its 'Global Governance’ Hidden Inside? - Breitbart


Bipartisan bill would require trade deals to be publicly available before fast-track vote - TheHill


TPP in Focus: TPA Doesn’t Put Congress in the Driver’s Seat - Committee on Ways and Means, Democrats


Rep. Levin on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: House Democrats want a role now  - usatoday.com


Given the huge size of the state’s delegation, California House members could provide the margin of victory or defeat of the fast-track trade bill - POLITICO


On trade, Obama's most loyal allies in the Congressional Black Caucus are abandoning him (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


U.S. trade policy and workers of color, fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership will disproportionately affect people of color - AFLCIO


Top 10 undecided House members to watch on trade - TheHill


Mass. congressmen against international trade agreement - WWLP.com


Arizona Rep. Grijalva: Trade deal bad for seniors, workers alike - tucson.com


For Dems who vote yes on trade, Obama offers help in 2016 - Associated Press


John Kerry & Ash Carter: Congress needs to help American trade grow - usatoday.com


Trade Bill Will Help Negotiators With Farm Issues, Vilsack Says - Bloomberg Business


Motion Picture Association of America Makes Economic Case(s) for TPA - Broadcasting & Cable


Interview with US Trade Representative Michael Froman. What’s actually in Obama’s secret trade deal? - POLITICO


Fast Track to the Corporate Wish List, How the U.S. Trade Representative became Washington's one-stop shop for the corporate trade agenda - prospect.org

 

Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP - Techdirt


Huckabee blasts Obamatrade - WND


Ralph Nader: 10 Reasons the TPP Is Not a 'Progressive' Trade Agreement - huffingtonpost.com


Peru’s story haunts the TPP - TheHill


With trade on Congress’ agenda, just what does the U.S. import and export? - Pew Research Center

 

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

POLL: NBC survey: Two-thirds of Americans say protecting U.S. industries and jobs by limiting imports is more important than free trade - NBC


POLL: Pew survey: Far more say free trade agreements lead to lower wages and job losses in U.S. - Pew Research Center


Labor makes last-ditch effort to stop fast-track trade bill - POLITICO


Unions’ members are using a variety of tactics to pressure Congress to defeat the fast-track trade bill - WSJ


The AFL-CIO Blitzes Important States In Fast-Track Opposition - The Daily Caller


VIDEO: AFLCIO TV ad: American Ingenuity - Stop Fast Track - DC - YouTube


Labor runs ads slamming Rep. Kathleen Rice for backing trade bill - POLITICO


VIDEO: AFL-CIO: Which Kathleen Rice? (Stop Fast Track) - YouTube


Labor and progressive groups to rally against Rice - Newsday


After California Rep. Ami Bera announced he backs fast track bill, activists and labor groups are attacking the Democrat - NationalJournal.com


Labor vows political fallout from Rep. Jim Himes trade stance - The CT Mirror


Unions, Seniors Groups Urge Congress Not To Cut Medicare To Fund Trade Assistance - huffingtonpost.com


The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) demands to stop negotiations and release the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - IndustriALL


Twelve groups to watch in trade fight - TheHill


Doctors Want a Second Opinion on TPP - huffingtonpost.com


Ms. Magazine Editor: Obama's Fast Track Attack on Women - huffingtonpost.com


Tell Congress: Oppose Fast Track for the TPP - EFF Action Center


FFTC Behind Don't "Rubber Stamp" TPA Campaign - Broadcasting & Cable

 

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A View From the Other 96%

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get to work.

The 4% of us humans who have grown up in the United States are taught that our government means well and does good. As we begin to grasp that this isn't always so, we're duly admonished that all governments do evil -- as if we were being simplistic and self-centered to blame Washington for too much.

But take this tour of the world with out nationless friend Andre. We see U.S. medical troops operating on Haitian civilians in the most unsafe conditions, while proper facilities nearby sit unused; these troops are practicing for battlefield surgeries. We see millions slaughtered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at U.S. instigation and with U.S. support. We see U.S. militarism inflicting immeasurable suffering in Somalia. We witness the U.S. training and arming in Turkey of troops from around the Middle East to be sent into Syria to attempt to overthrow another government. We follow the horrors that U.S.-driven militarism, capitalism, and racism have brought to Indonesia, as well as Colombia, the Philippines, and locations around the globe. We investigate the ongoing state of disaster in Iraq and Libya, even the everlasting crisis created by the long-forgotten U.S. war on Panama, and for that matter the ongoing injustice of the century-old German genocide in today's Namibia. We meet the people of occupied Okinawa, and the people of the rest of Asia who view theirs as an evil island hosting threatening U.S. troops. We examine the crushing of popular movements in Egypt, the corruption of four "anchor nations" in four U.S.-created regions of Africa, and the imposition of violent coups in Central America and Ukraine.

Speaking Events

2015

September 22, DC

More Events Here.

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