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Party's Over, Quarter Billion Dollars on Bernie, Now What?

Well meaning people just spent a quarter billion dollars on the Bernie Sanders campaign which continues operations while its candidate says he will vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Let's put that in a little perspective. Iraqis fleeing Fallujah yet again, as wars that Hillary Clinton pushed for roll on, are in need, according to the United Nations, of $17.5 million for survival.

I work for an organization opposing war, called World Beyond War, which runs on less than $50,000 a year. Many good organizations pursuing just what this world needs run on less than that, but you could fund 5,000 organizations at the level of World Beyond War's current funding for what's been spent on Bernie.

Has Sanders for President been a wise investment or not?

Certainly Bernie's campaign inspired people. But I see no reason not to expect most of them to become despondent and despairing now that it's over. If past experience with failed and successful campaigns alike is any guide, that's where we're headed.

Certainly Bernie's campaign educated people. But it's reasonable to assume that establishing or expanding major new media outlets to the tune of $250,000,000 would have educated people too, and that they might have gone on providing the same funding next year and the year after, if their interest were in education rather than election. (First Look Media, publisher of The Intercept, was created with just that amount, but not to all be spent in one year.)

Certainly Bernie should go on trying to somehow make the Democrats' Platform (which, if the past is any guide, they will ignore anyway) slightly less rightwing and disastrous.

It's unclear that investing in Bernie was a reasonable gamble toward winning something more. The rigged nature of the election was clear from the start. Bernie's commitment to promote Hillary Clinton in the end was clear from the start. And her commitment to warmongering, environment destroying, oligarchy enhancing policies was clear from the start.

What else could have been done or could be done now or could be done next time? No, of course you should not vote for the fascist golfer clown. Yes, of course you should vote for Jill Stein. But the system is as rigged against her as it was against Sanders.

Let me ask the question a different way. Why is it that corporations will now take a public stand for LGBTQ rights? Why will even a conscience-free corporate hack like Hillary Clinton defend LGBTQ rights she used to oppose? The primary answer is that activists changed the culture. The role of voting in their work was minimal. As Emma Goldman said, if voting ever changed anything they'd ban it. As Howard Zinn said, it matters less who's sitting in the White House than who's doing the sit ins.

Why so down on elections? I'm in favor of them! I think we should have one some day! That will require some of these changes that cannot be voted in under the broken system that lacks them: public funding of elections, no bribery, free air time for candidates, automatic voter registration, open debates and ballots, no gerrymandering, hand-counted paper ballots, international monitors, no electoral college, no delegates, no superdelegates, and a three-month election season with a bit of actual governing before the next one.

If I were drafting a party platform, it would add to those the following: take military spending back to 2001 levels, tax corporations and billionaires at 1960 levels, restore the minimum wage to its 1968 level, and guarantee everyone top-quality free education preschool through college, healthcare, job training as needed, vacation, family leave, retirement, transportation, childcare, clean energy, public parks, sustainable agriculture, and significant aid to the rest of the world. Yes, that's Bernie's platform, or could have been if he'd been willing to mention cutting military spending or investing in foreign aid. It's also Scandinavia's reality. But a party platform is not the most important place for these commitments.

The place for our passion and even our "unity" is not in a political party that destroys everything we hold dear and calls our continued subservience "unity." We have 60% of the U.S. public that simply cannot stand Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. That may increase as we're forced to endure more and more of the pair of them. If all of those people, or even half of them, backed Jill Stein she might win. But that requires imagining a fair system of elections and of communications that does not exist.

And what if she were elected president? Or what if Bernie Sanders were elected president? We'd still be up against a corrupt communications system, an ill-informed public, a reactionary Congress, a medieval Supreme Court, and the absence of a major independent movement for change. It's good to see Congress Members staging a sit-in to demand that other Congress Members back some ridiculously weak if not counterproductive gun control measures, but what we need is a massive movement of independent people sitting in and surrounding the Capitol until both parties act on the basic lessons learned around the world: ban the guns and stop bombing people.

Does that sound dreamy and utopian? The point is not to expect it to succeed entirely and immediately. The point is that the most strategic way to achieve a partial, compromised solution is to build momentum for a real fix. When your best Congress Members are openly bragging that their opening negotiating demand is for the very least that could possibly be done, the predictable result is less than that. When people fall in behind those so-called public servants, failure is guaranteed.

So what should we do? Even if you believe in dumping most of your energy and money into a broken election system, please consider saving a little for independent activism. We should organize, educate, march, rally, protest, sit-in, disrupt, create alternatives, create media, and find local, state, regional, and international solutions.

Here's one example of what I'm working on. World Beyond War is planning an event called No War 2016 that will happen in Washington, D.C., in September and involve panels, workshops, and nonviolent civil resistance. Speakers will include Dennis Kucinich, Kathy Kelly, Miriam Pemberton, David Vine, Kozue Akibayashi, Harvey Wasserman, Jeff Bachman, Peter Kuznick, Medea Benjamin, Maurice Carney, David Swanson, Leah Bolger, David Hartsough, Pat Elder, John Dear, Mel Duncan, Kimberley Phillips, Ira Helfand, Darakshan Raja, Bill Fletcher Jr., Lindsey German, Maria Santelli, Mark Engler, Maja Groff, Robert Fantina, Barbara Wien, Jodie Evans, Odile Hugonot Haber, Gar Alperovitz, Sam Husseini, Christopher Simpson, Brenna Gautam, Kent Shifferd, Patrick Hiller, Mubarak Awad, Michelle Kwak, John Washburn, Bruce Gagnon, David Cortright, Michael McPhearson, and Sharon Tennison (none of whom necessarily agrees with me on anything in this essay, and some of whom certainly disagree passionately).

We can help you plan a conference or a nonviolent action or both in your part of the world, and you can find lots of events here. I particularly recommend sit-ins in Congressional offices now, pointing to Congress's willingness to use the same tactic itself, and pointing the media to your own live video feed of your own teach-in on the floor of the plush office of your senator or misrepresentative.

The truth is that we have far more power than we're told, we just don't have it where we're told to look for it.

Intel Vets Take The State Dept. 51" to Task

 

 

 

 


Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless’

 

 

 

 

Editor Note: A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Obama to resist the “reckless” call for a wider Syrian war from 51 State Department officials in a recent “dissent memo.”

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Subject:  Beware Foggy Bottom Dissent

Focus: Brexit - June 25, 2016


Brexit: Worries about excessive migration to the U.K.overshadowed fears of the economic fallout of leaving the European bloc - Bloomberg


This is how immigration fueled the Brexit result - The National Interest Blog


Fear of immigration drove the Brexit victory – not immigration itself - The Guardian


POLL: Just ahead of the EU referendum, concern about immigration rose by 10 percentage points - Ipsos MORI


Brexit, explained in one chart: British voters push back against a huge surge in immigration that’s taken place over the past decade - Vox


Brexit: UK Immigration by the numbers - The Post Newspaper


Immigration pushes UK population to 65 million - The Times & The Sunday Times


EU referendum: How the results compare to the UK's educated, old and immigrant populations - telegraph.co.uk


Brexit: What next for immigration after the EU referendum? - newsweek.com


David Cameron, Britain's Prime Minister, to step down after Brexit vote - NBC News


Jeremy Corbyn faces calls to resign from Labour MPs over disastrous referendum campaign - The Independent


VIDEO: Jeremy Corbyn says he wont resign despite Brexit result - ibtimes.co.in


Brexit: New Labour should have listened to 'racist' immigration concerns years ago, As years passed and migration soared those who spoke up were dismissed - ibtimes.co.u

 

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Trump cites immigration anger as driving factor in 'Brexit' vote – and beyond - Fox News


VIDEO: Trump: Brits have voted to take their country back - Fox News


TRANSCRIPT: Donald Trump’s Brexit press conference - The Washington Post


Donald J. Trump Statement Regarding British Referendum on E.U. Membership - Donald J Trump for President


How Trump benefits from Brexit - Yahoo Finance


Hillary Clinton camp says Trump’s ‘Brexit’ remarks show he’s unfit for White House - WSJ


Hillary Clinton statement on Brexit vote - hillaryclinton.com


Bernie Sanders on Brexit: ‘The global economy is not working for everybody’ - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: Sanders on Brexit: The ‘global economy is not working for everybody' - YouTube


Joe Biden, in a speech in Ireland, warns against blaming immigrants for unrest - LA Times


Joint statement by Schulz, Tusk, Rutte and Juncker on UK referendum outcome - uroparl.europa.eu


From trade to migration - how Brexit may hit the EU economy - Reuters


Brexit to hit German economy hard: business groups - MarketWatch


Brexit sparks calls for more EU exits, world leaders react to EU referendum result - btimes.com


Voters in Sweden, Denmark and Greece demand their say on 'broken' Europe - Daily Mail Online


Swiss say Brexit vote complicates its EU immigration talks - Yahoo Finance UK


Putin on Brexit: UK citizens' choice resulted from the British authorities' 'arrogance and a shallow approach to solving pivotal issues’ - RT News


The British Brexit vote is awful news for China - Quartz


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

How IOGCC-Spawned Lawsuit Overturning BLM Fracking Regulations on Public Lands

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In a ruling on the Obama Administration's proposed regulations of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on U.S. public lands, U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl — a President Obama appointee — struck down the rules as an illegal violation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. 

 Photo Credit: WildEarth Guardians | Flickr

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics... and U.S. Africa Command

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

Internet divide issues persist: An Emancipation Proclamation for the Digital Age

By Alfredo Lopez and Jackie Smith

 

We just celebrated "Juneteenth" (the start of the end of slavery in the U.S.) amid tumultuous and sometimes confusing politics and what appears to be an increase in racist mobilization. For internet activists the situation begs the question: what, at this moment in our history, is the relationship between technology and black people?

The Sacrifice of an American Gladiator

Dan Ireland's The Ultimate Arena: The Sacrifice of an American Gladiator is a fictionalized account, speculative in some of the details, but true in all the major facts, to the story of Pat Tillman. Any Good American who "supports the troops" has a duty to read this book, as it recounts the life and death of just about the only troop in recent years to be given a face and a name, if not a voice, by the U.S. media.

The most disturbing question raised for me by this story, as by news reports of the actual events, is unrelated to the killing of Tillman or the lying about it. My question is this: How could this larger-than-life, super-inquisitive, amateur ethicist and philosopher, raised in a uniquely intellectually stimulating and morally instructive family have come to the conclusion that it was a good idea to sign up for participation in mass murder? And secondarily: How, after concluding that he'd been duped and was engaged in purely destructive mass killing, could the same independent rebel have decided it was his moral duty to continue with it, even though he had the ability to easily stop?

This is not a question wholly unique to the case of Tillman. Many of the best veteran advocates for ending war were once among the most passionate believers in the goodness of what they'd signed up to do. But at least in some cases they had grown up in rightwing households. Tillman apparently had not.

Of course, I don't know in detail what Tillman's real childhood and adolescence were. In Ireland's account Tillman had a veteran uncle whose story ought to have turned Tillman against war but in fact -- as is very often the case -- did not completely do so. In Ireland's account Tillman was taught to use violence in personal relations and did so almost routinely.

What we can accept as established fact, however, is that one can grow up in the United States, succeed in school all the way through college, participate in a well-rounded range of activities, and never once encounter a history of war resistance, an argument for war abolition, an ethics class addressing the question of war, a consideration of the illegality of war, or the existence of a peace movement. Tillman, like many veterans I've met, very likely discovered all of these things only after joining the military. For him, in a unique way, but as for many others, that was too late.

In Ireland's account, the financial corruption and opportunism of U.S. wars turned Tillman against them. There's no similar account in the book of the human suffering of mass murder turning him against what he was doing. We are supposed to understand, and as far as we know this is true, that Tillman was prepared to speak against the wars, that he did speak to his fellow troops against the wars, but that he never threatened to set down his weapon or even considered the possibility of doing so.

This fits with the normalization of war that allows people to admire a man for giving up a big football contract to participate in war, and to accept that he became -- like a congressman who votes over and over to fund a war while criticizing it -- an opponent of a war he was participating in.

The most intriguing question raised by Ireland's book is: What could have been? Would Tillman have campaigned for public office, winning votes from war supporters while laying out an antiwar platform? Or would it have been more of an "antiwar" platform, tweaking the imperial machine around the edges?

The power of such an account lies not in these questions, however, but in the fact that hits you like a pro defensive back: each of the millions of deaths brought about by recent wars has been an immense loss, a tragedy, a horror that no words could ever justify.

Talk Nation Radio: Peter Kuznick on Untold Nuclear History and No War 2016

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-peter-kuznick-on-untold-nuclear-history-and-no-war-2016

Peter Kuznick is Professor of History at American University, and author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America, co-author with Akira Kimura of  Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives, co-author with Yuki Tanaka of Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power, and co-editor with James Gilbert of Rethinking Cold War Culture. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which he directs. In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian’s celebratory display of the Enola Gay. He and filmmaker Oliver Stone co-authored the 12 part Showtime documentary film series and book both titled The Untold History of the United States. Kunick will be screening an episode of that program and speaking at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.: http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2016

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

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

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

Tomgram: William Astore, The End of Air Power?

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

Barbarism, civilization and modern politics: PTSD as a Political Football in a Hobbesian Age

By John Grant

 

If our wars were to make killers of all combat soldiers, rather than men who have killed, civilian life would be endangered for generations or, in fact, made impossible.

Focus: Russia - June 21, 2016


Germany's foreign minister accuses NATO of ‘warmongering' over Russia, criticizes military exercises in Eastern Europe - RFERL


NATO’s chief brushes aside comments from Germany’s foreign minister saying both military, political approach needed toward Russia - RFERL


U.S. Navy officials say European exercises not 'sabre-rattling', but necessary steps to deter aggressive Russian maritime expansion - Reuters


US Nato general fears rapid Russian troop deployments - BBC News


NATO targets Russia ‘threat' in July summit - Daily Express


German foreign minister suggests European split over Moscow, Merkel ally rebuffs his NATO criticism - NASDAQ.com


Russia won’t be invading NATO countries, Germany shouldn’t help start a new arms race: former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder - RT News


NATO launches anti-submarine warfare exercise in Norwegian Sea - NATO


NATO jets in Baltics scrambled twice last week to escort Russian warplanes - baltictimes.com


NATO battalions on Russian borders could easily grow into larger contingent: Russian analyst - Sputnik


Defense secretary Carter hails US alliances amid Trump criticism that the U.S. 'cannot afford to police the entire world’ - TheHill


Pentagon chief Carter: 'Next month when I accompany President Obama to the NATO Summit in Warsaw, we all need to do more to deter and defend against Russian aggression' - Sputnik


Carter confirms new NATO battalions on eastern flank - IHS Jane's 360


Is the Pentagon hyping the Russia threat? Some officials are inflating it in an effort to boost the Defense Department’s budget - The American Conservative


Joe Biden rips Donald Trump's foreign policy: 'Embracing Putin at a time of renewed Russian aggression I believe will call into question America's longstanding commitment to Europe' - CNN


Top Russian politician hails Trump’s Washington invite of Putin as ‘common sense' - newsweek.com


She isn’t president yet, but Russia already hates Hillary Clinton - Observer

 

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EU to extend Russia sanctions until the end of the year, divided over next steps - Reuters


European ministers wrestle with future of Russia sanctions - WSJ


Likely sanctions renewal on Russia welcomed by US allies - defensenews.com


US senators press EU to renew Russian sanctions - defensenews.com


NATO's Stoltenberg: EU sanctions on Russia should remain - Reuters


Germany's Steinmeier favors gradual phasing-out of Russia sanctions - Reuters


Time to send ‘strong signal of accommodation’ to Russia and gradually lift sanctions: Austrian FM - RT News


Germany supports Russia's initiative on Nord Stream-2: Russian Energy Minister - TASS


Putin seeks to include China, India, Iran in fledgling Eurasian Union - Forbes


China, Russia expected to sign multibillion dollar high-speed rail deal during Putin’s visit to Beijing - South China Morning Post


Moscow starts developing heavy engine for joint Chinese-Russian airliner - TASS

 

Work on Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter autonomous from 3rd countries: deputy PM - TASS


Putin said to weigh $11-billion Rosneft sale to China, India - worldoil.com


Key economic policy players in the rival Kremlin camps - Daily Mail Online


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


Total Recall: New poem by ThisCantBeHappening! resident poet Gary Lindorff

(Prefacing remarks: My dealer writes to thank me

for letting them fix the airbag on my Suby Outback.

Apparently I was driving my car for many years with

a defective airbag that was a potentially lethal weapon.

A Critique of Human Society since the Neolithic Revolution

There is a long history of social critics and progressive thinkers offering critiques of human society.

Syria News - June 19, 2016


U.S. backed Kurdish and Arab forces advance two km from center of Islamic state-held Manbij: source - Reuters


US Special Forces active in Manbij offensive, says YPG official - Rudaw


Islamic State mounts fierce defence of besieged Syrian bastion Manbij, launches a wave of suicide and car bombings - Daily Mail


Hundreds of Kurdish villagers near Manbij taken by ISIS as human shield - Rudaw


SDF forces break ISIS defense lines and reach trapped civilians in Manbij (VIDEO) - Rudaw


ISIS extremists execute whole family for trying to escape Manbij city - ARA News


'I felt liberated': Syrian girl reveals joy removing niqab after US backed Syrian forces expel ISIS - Reuters


Kurdish commander: ISIS no longer able to cross the border, send terrorists from Syria to the outside world - ARA News


Federal plan for Syrian Kurdistan advances with U.S.-backed forces - ekurd


Syrian government forces impose heavy losses on ISIS military hardware in Raqqa province - alalam.ir


UN human rights panel concludes ISIS is committing genocide against Yazidis - United Nations News Centre


REPORT: “They came to destroy”: ISIS crimes against the Yazidis - UN Human Rights Council

 

Why the Islamic State Is Weaker Than It Seems - Stratfor


ARCHIVE: Islamic State sees sharp drop in its revenue - Jerusalem Post

 

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Russia bombs U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near Jordan border - CNNPolitics.com


Images suggest that Russia cluster-bombed U.S.-backed Syrian fighters - The Washington Post


Pentagon chief Carter hits Russia for attacking U.S.-backed Syrian rebels - AP


U.S. seeks answers over Russian strikes on Syrian rebels - Reuters


Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on U.S.-Russia Video Conference - U.S. Department of Defense


Russian defense minister meets Assad, inspects Khmeimim airbase in Syria (VIDEO) - RT News


Russia says Syria campaign death toll moves into double figures - THE DAILY STAR


Syrian rebel groups, including Nusra Front, capture government-held areas, dozens dead - ABC News


Islamist group kills seven members of a Kurdish family in Aleppo (VIDEO) - Rudaw


Syrian forces stop al-Nusra Front offensive near Turkish border - Sputnik


Iran’s Qods Force general vows to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last jihadist is killed - The Long War Journal


John Kerry is said to side with diplomats’ critical memo on Syria - The New York Times


Brain-dead diplomats: Why did 51 American State Dept. officials ‘dissent' against Obama and call for bombing Syria? - Alternet


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

What about cops?: Ban Assault Weapons, But for Police Too, Not Just Civilians

By Dave Lindorff

 

A few years ago, I contacted my local police department asking them to send an officer over to put down a doe that had been hit by a car on the street in front of my house. She had suffered a left front and right rear leg break but had somehow flopped herself well into the yard and was on the ground suffering. When a cop arrived, and began to approach her with his pistol I warned him off, saying the deer would hurt herself more trying to get away.

Focus: Russia - June 18, 2016


Putin calls on Europe to improve ties despite sanctions, 'we are willing to meet our European partners halfway' - AP


Putin: Russia ready to lift sanctions first, if certain that EU will follow suit - RT News


Russian economy overcomes recession: Putin - RT Business


Putin repeats praise of Trump for his comments on improving relations between Russia and the US, says he's a 'bright' person - POLITICO


VIDEO (and transcript): Putin speech at the Plenary session of St Petersburg International Economic Forum - President of Russia


VIDEO: Putin talks to world news agencies at St. Petersburg Economic Forum - YouTube


Putin hosts top EU official for talks in rare visit, Juncker says EU-Russia ties not broken beyond repair and must be mended - AP


Speech by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum - europa.eu


U.S. State Dept official confident EU will continue to back Russia sanctions, 'this is the price we all need to pay if we're to successfully resist Russian aggression' - rferl.org


VIDEO: U.S. State Dept official confident EU will continue to back Russia sanctions - YouTube


Ukraine furious over remarks on Russia by U.N. chief Ban - Reuters


Western leaders, CEOs visit Russia amid sanctions fatigue - AP


Calls for EU-Russia free trade agreement echo at St. Petersburg Forum - Sputnik


Italian leader Renzi wants to boost ties with Russia, says Europe and Russia share same values - ABC News


Foreign investment in Russia doubles despite sanctions, West Europeans lead - Russia Beyond The Headlines


To the first, the spoils - Western investors venture back to Russia - Reuters

 

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Russia assails NATO's move to deploy troops near its border - AP


NATO military rotation in Eastern Europe poses threat to Russia: Envoy - Sputnik


NATO war games In Poland get Russia's attention - NPR


Russia's position regarding missile defense, NATO ignored: Putin - Sputnik


Russian lawmaker says US missile defense system deployment in Japan to affect security - TASS


Russia to watch US and NATO military activities in Black Sea: Grushko - TASS


US to Russia: We're staying in the Black Sea - Business Insider


‘I don’t need war’: Bulgarian PM rules out joining NATO flotilla in Black Sea - RT News


NATO watches warily as Russia conducts snap combat readiness test - Sputnik

 

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Putin: New elections, not forced regime change, key for ending Syrian civil war - Fox News


Putin hopes US can convince Syrian opposition to talk with Damascus  -Sputnik


Russia failed to heed U.S. call to stop targeting Syrian rebels: U.S. - Reuters


Lavrov accuses US of sparing al-Qaeda's branch to topple Assad - Telegraph


State Department officials call for U.S. military action against Assad regime - CNNPolitics.com


Obama, despite dissent on Syria, not shifting toward strikes on Assad - Reuters


Diplomats’ dissent on Syria is a signal to their former boss Hillary Clinton - Bloomberg Politics


Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir rips White House on Syria - CNNPolitics.com


Erdogan sends letter to Putin, hopes for improved ties with Russia - Sputnik


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

 

Gorbachev Disagrees With Obama on Nukes

Mikhail Gorbachev and Barack Obama have radically different views on what is involved in doing away with nuclear weapons.

Reading Gorbachev's new book, The New Russia, is a bit disappointing, but it contains some key insights. It may also be a cure for insomnia; it's no page turner. It's part decades-long diary and travelogue, part petty self-aggrandizement (by someone in no need), and part ill-informed conservatism.

Gorby claims that Obama "honoured his promise to withdraw from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." In fact, both are still raging, the never completed withdrawal from Iraq fell wildly short of the campaign-promise schedule, and Obama actually promised to escalate in Afghanistan, which he did, tripling the U.S. presence and making that war primarily his own in terms of deaths, days, and dollars. The fact that smart well-informed people abroad, like Gorbachev, fall for common U.S. myths is an indication of how very difficult foreign relations can be.

Unreported Mass Killing Leaves Thousands Dead

In what's being called the worst mass killing by the United States in the past six months, numerous mentally disturbed individuals, with the extensive backing of a well-financed terrorist organization, and support from a growing circle of allied gang members, have gruesomely slaughtered 1,110 to 1,558 innocent men, women, and children.

This incident, which has left shocked and speechless a handful of people who've heard and thought about it, took place between December 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016, during which interval the killers got off 4,087 airstrikes, including 3,010 over Iraq and 1,077 over Syria.

Aiding and abetting the slaughter, and now also being sought by law enforcement, are France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, and Canada. In what is widely understood as an appeal for judicial mercy, Canada has expressed remorse. None of the other alleged perpetrators has done so. Several have openly acknowledged their participation, including by displaying the gang symbol of a U.S. flag tattooed on their glutei maximi.

An offshoot terrorist group said to have been inspired by the United States and going by the name of "Russia," during the same period has brutally murdered 2,792 to 3,451 innocents using similar techniques apparently copied from those of the U.S. gang.

Despite being well documented, these murders have gone largely unreported in U.S. media outlets working overtime to focus on a smaller slaughter in Orlando, Florida. The death counts are imprecise but highly selective, as they intentionally exclude all casualties deemed to be those of combatants.

In a coincidental connection, the Orlando killer blamed the U.S. bombings in Iraq and Syria for his own murderous rampage.

Adding to the bizarre connections, members of the U.S. public have been heard blaming the Orlando slaughter for additional airstrikes to come.

Commented an alien in a ship approaching the planet earth: "Reverse engines! Get us out of here! Let's try back in 10 years and see if anyone is left."

Supreme Hypocrisy in Pennsylvania: US High Court Opens Door to New Appeal by Mumia Abu-Jamal of His 1982 Conviction

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

One unintended consequence of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a death penalty case that rebuked actions of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice and prosecutors in Philadelphia for conflict of interest was to open a new avenue for activist-journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal to appeal his own 1982 murder conviction in a trial that was tainted by the same exact type of conflict of interest.

Brexit Violence Deeply Rooted, With Lessons for U.S.

On Thursday, in a political move more typical of the United States than Europe, a member of the British Parliament was murdered. She was an opponent of Brexit (Britain exiting the European Union), and her murderer reportedly shouted "Britain First!"

There is a case to be made, on the one hand, that exiting the EU is actually the move away from violence. There are many areas, from banking to farming to militarism, that motivate Norway and Iceland to stay out, for all the right reasons, including resistance to war making -- as with Sweden's and Switzerland's staying out of NATO. I was rooting for Scotland's departure from the UK in the name of peace and disarmament, and looked forward to U.S. nukes and NATO being kicked out of that beautiful country.

The European Union has become the civilian arm of NATO, expanding ever nearer Russia at the insistence of the United States, which -- believe it or not -- is not actually a European nation at all. Were Norway to join the EU, that could mean trouble for Norway's fair and humane economy. But Britain? Britain is a drag on the EU, there at the insistence of the United States which needs puppet-veto power over any European moves toward independence, peace, environmental sustainability, or economic fairness. The EU's influence on Britain is largely to the benefit of the Brits.

There is perhaps a stronger case to be made that exiting the EU would be a move toward violence. This is the case for the EU as a model of peacemaking. For this argument I refer you to a new book by Vijay Mehta called Peace Beyond Borders: How the EU Brought Peace to Europe and How Exporting It Would End Conflicts Around the World. Let me make very clear that I think Mehta wildly exaggerates his case. Far more important to ending war in the world, I believe, are a number of other factors, the top two being: (1) Get the rich countries, led by the U.S. and Europe, to stop selling weapons to the world, and (2) Get the rich countries, led by the U.S. and Europe, to stop bombing, invading, and occupying poor countries.

The EU's supposed 70 years of peace leaves out massive warmaking abroad, as well as wars in Yugoslavia. The case for the EU's bringing of peace and prosperity has to explain Norwegian and Icelandic peace and prosperity as tangential effects of the EU's orbit. Bestowing a Nobel Prize on a leading warmaking region of the world, a prize meant to fund disarmament activists given to the EU which could fund itself by buying a bit less weaponry -- that was an insult to the world and to Alfred Nobel's will.

But, within its proper scope, there is nonetheless a major point to be made. Europe was for centuries the leading hotspot for war as well as its leading exporter. For an unprecedented 71 years Europe has been almost exclusively an exporter of war. The idea of a war within Europe is now almost unthinkable. Mehta argues that we ought to try thinking it, because a few slips could quickly bring it back again. Mehta credits the EU with having made peace normal through 10 mechanisms. I would add to these, of course, fear of nuclear holocaust, and cultural trends away from war acceptance. But here are the mechanisms:

Tomgram: Andrew Cockburn, Victory Assured on the Military's Main Battlefield -- Washington

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

Orlando Killer's Secret Shared by Other Terrorists

As with becoming a whistleblower or an activist or an artist there must be numerous reasons why any individual becomes a terrorist -- whether military, contract, or independent. Various irrational hatreds and fears (and promises of paradise after death) and the ready availability of weaponry certainly play roles.

But did you know that every single foreign terrorist in the United States in recent decades, plus domestic terrorists claiming foreign motivations, plus numerous poor suckers set up and stung by the FBI, plus every foreign terrorist organization that has claimed or been blamed for attempted or successful anti-U.S. terrorism have all claimed the same motivation? I'm not aware of a single exception.

If one of them claimed to be motivated by the needs of Martians, we might set that aside as crazy. If every single one of them claimed to be acting on behalf of Martians, we would at least get curious about why they said that, even if we doubted Martians' existence. But every single one of them says something much more believable. And yet what they say seems to be a secret despite being readily available information.

ISIS and U.S. Weaponry: At Home and Abroad

When someone commits mass murder in the United States and is tied, however significantly, to a foreign terrorist group, there remains a section of the U.S. population willing to recognize and point out that no ideology, fit of hatred, or mental derangement can do the same damage without high-tech weaponry that it does with it. Why does this understanding vanish into the ether of ignorance and apathy at the water's edge?

ISIS videos display U.S. guns, U.S. Humvees, U.S. weaponry of all sorts. The profits and political corruption that bring those weapons into existence are the same as those that litter the United States with guns. Shouldn't we be bothered by both?

The same politicians who claim they'd like to restrict U.S. gun sales have flooded the world markets with the weaponry of mass slaughter. President Obama's administration has approved more weapons sales abroad than any other administration since World War II. Over 60 percent of those weapons have been sold to the Middle East. Add to that total huge quantities of U.S. weapons in the hands of the United States or its proxies in the Middle East -- or formerly in their hands but seized by ISIS.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, all states that had donated to the Clinton Foundation. Saudi Arabia had chipped in at least $10 million, and Boeing added another $900,000 as Secretary Clinton made it her mission to get Saudi Arabia the planes with which it would attack Yemen.

In the past five years, the United States has sold weapons to at least 96 countries. As of 2011 the United States accounted for 79% of the value of transfer agreements to ship weapons to governments in the Middle East, 79% also to poor nations around the world, and 77% of the value of total agreements to ship weapons to other countries, according to the Congressional Research Service. By 2014, those percentages had dropped a bit but remained over 50%.

In 2013, the big war profiteers spent $65 million lobbying Congress. There's a big headline when the National Rifle Association spends $3 million. We ask if black lives matter. In addition, do foreign lives matter?

Toddlers with guns kill more people in the United States than do foreign terrorists -- even adding in domestic terrorists somehow tied to foreign ideas. But we don't hate toddlers. We don't bomb toddlers and whoever's near them. We don't think of toddlers as inherently evil or backward or belonging to the wrong religion. We forgive them instantly, without struggle. It's not their fault the guns were left lying around.

But is it the fault of ISIS that Iraq was destroyed? That Libya was thrown into chaos? That the region was flooded with U.S.-made weapons? That future ISIS leaders were tortured in U.S. camps? That life was made into a nightmare? Maybe not, but it is their fault they murder people. They are adults. They know what they are doing.

True enough. But could they do it without the weapons?

On the domestic scene, we are able to recognize that other nations have conflict, hatred, and crime, but that -- in the absence of all the guns -- the crimes do less damage. Australia got rid of its guns following a killing less deadly than Orlando. Now a gun in Australia costs more than anyone would be likely to get out of an armed robbery. Now Australia has no mass killings, apart from its participation in U.S. wars.

On the foreign scene, can we recognize that regions armed to the teeth with U.S. weapons, wars with U.S. weapons on both sides, and CIA and Pentagon proxies fighting each other in Syria are not the inevitable result of backwardness in Arab culture, but rather the result of giving free rein to merchants of death?

Focus: Saudi Arabia and Hillary Clinton - June 14, 2016

 

Powerful Saudi prince to meet Obama, amid policy differences with the United States over the war in Syria and relations with Iran - Reuters


Here’s who Saudi Arabia wants as the next US president: Clinton - NBC


POLL: Saudis strongly prefer Clinton over Trump - Arutz Sheva


Deleted official report says Saudi funding Hillary Clinton election - Middle East Eye


Roger Stone on Clinton aide Huma Abedin: 'Do we have a Saudi spy in our midst? Do we have a terrorist agent?' - POLITICO


Roger Stone: It's time America got some answers about Huma Abedin - Breitbart


RADIO: Interview with Roger Stone on Huma Abedin -  Breitbart


Podesta firm with close Clinton ties lobbied for Islamic Bank accused of financing terrorism - The Daily Caller


ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton financier Podesta is lobbying for Saudi Arabia - The Daily Caller


ARCHIVE: Saudi government has vast network of PR, lobby firms in U.S. - The Washington Post

 

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

Clinton calls for the Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis and others 'to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations' - freebeacon.com


Donald Trump demands that Clinton Foundation return $25 million from Saudis - POLITICO


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Mook dodges question on Saudi donations to Clinton Foundation - freebeacon.com


Family close to Saudi royals pump millions into Clinton Foundation, Democratic coffers - freebeacon.com


Persian gulf sheikhs gave Bill and Hillary $100 Million - The Daily Caller


Revealed: The State Department’s hidden Hillary donors - The Daily Beast


ARCHIVE: Clinton Foundation donors got weapons deals from Hillary Clinton's State Department - ibtimes.com


ARCHIVE: While Saudi Arabia poured cash into the Clinton Foundation, Hillary's State Department armed Saudi Arabia to the teeth - FPIF


ARCHIVE: Emails show Hillary Clinton aides celebrating F-15 sales to Saudi Arabia: 'Good news' - theintercept.com


ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia and weapons manufactures - dailykos.com


ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton on Saudi execution of 47 including prominent Shiite cleric: Not 'a smart decision', but she still calls Saudi Arabia a ‘friend' - Washington Examiner


ARCHIVE: Missing Clinton e-mail claims 'Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia' financed Benghazi attacks - Zero Hedge


ARCHIVE: McCain-linked nonprofit received $1 million from Saudi Arabia - Bloomberg Politics


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

 

Documents: Before Rightward Rebrand, an MSNBC 'Lean Forward' to Promote Fracking

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Cable TV network MSNBC has made headlines in recent days for apparently moving away from its "Lean Foward" progressive brand, catering instead to a more center-to-right-leaning crowd. 

"People might start accusing us of leaning too far to the right," the station says in a new advertisement featuring MSNBC's conservative personalities — an array of Republican identities such as Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt and Ben Ginsberg. 

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