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Let's Back All Moderates in Syria and the World

I've come around in favor of backing all moderates. The question appeared to me for a long time as a difficult one. Should one give anti-aircraft weaponry, for example, to al Qaeda fighters in Syria in order to better combat ISIS (which could some day develop the airplane)?

The answer is yes, if, and only if, those fighters are moderates.

Now, who's a moderate? Some people get confused on this part, but it's not really that difficult to get straight. Fighters who want to blow up buildings and airplanes and cars and pedestrians and playgrounds can be either moderates or extremists, since war has nothing to do with their categorization. After all, we're picking which people to arm in the war.

Also, the question of whom a fighter is fighting for or against is completely irrelevant. The CIA and the Department of Defense have armed and trained forces that are fighting against each other in Syria. Obviously, both are moderate.

The answer to "Who is a moderate?" actually comes down to this: What sort of an ideal world would they like to see in the future, and is there anyone else who would like to see some sort of world that sucks worse than theirs? That's it. Simple. And you have to keep it simple. Don't go looking into whether they're actually creating that ideal world. That's not relevant. Both the moderates and the extremists are obviously creating a world of death, injury, trauma, bitterness, vengeance, rubble, starvation, and toxic pollution. The moderates, again, are the ones who are doing this while envisioning a utopia that's not as grotesque as someone else's.

This is also why I'm routing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs. All the teams dribble and pass (well, except Oklahoma City) and shoot. But if you survey the players as to what sort of society they'd like to live in, the Cleveland players have the best answers -- or at least that's what my 18 intelligence agencies guess without actually, you know, asking them.

I believe we should be applying this policy to rapists as well. Just as fighters in a war all murder people, rapists all rape. But some of them must be moderates, and those are the ones we should support. We just need to determine their political ideologies. The same goes, I think, for sweatshop owners, and ought to be a guide to ethical investment and shopping. One need only keep up on the political views of the new owners after every sale.

The U.S. government has been distributing military weapons to local police forces in a rather haphazard manner heretofore. Some have asked that police departments that murder too many unarmed citizens not receive free military weapons any longer. This misses the point entirely. The departments that should be cut off are those whose members envision the worst future society.

You see the universality of this? All things in moderation, as the saying goes.

I'm personally delighted to have discovered this guide to life's difficult decisions. I plan to use it in voting come November, and to abandon all active thought processes immediately.

Talk Nation Radio: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: U.S. Was Always at War

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-roxanne-dunbar-ortiz-us-was-always-at-war

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has taught in the Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, and including An Indigenous People's History of the United States.

She discusses the idea that President Obama is the longest serving war president.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Obama is not first president at permanent war

The New York Times recently claimed, and peace advocates repeated, that President Barack Obama will be the first U.S. president to have been at war for two complete four-year terms. It's also become common to refer to the current U.S. war on Afghanistan as the longest U.S. war ever. These ideas fit well with the universal activist demand that we return to the time of peace or the age of justice or the wisdom of the Founding Fathers or the era before superdelegates.

This is all based on a fundamental misunderstanding of history, and of its uses and abuses for life. You cannot "take back our country!" because you never had it. There is no age of peace or justice to be returned to. The United States has been at war since before it was a United States, and formed itself as such in part in order to expand its western wars.

One value of history is in fact to recognize how much better or worse or simply different things have been in other times and places. But the purpose of that is not to restore some better time. All past times thus far, each taken as a whole, have been horrendously awful. The purpose is to facilitate the rejection of the silly idea that we're stuck with whatever we happen to have in the way of a lifestyle at the moment.

One can always find specific ways in which things were once better. Bush used to lie to Congress and get authorizations for wars. Obama just goes to war. But both are awful. The desire to end war was common in the 1920s. Now it's unthinkable for millions of U.S. citizens. But both frames of mind lacked an effective path to peace.

One can always find specific ways in which things were once worse. The war on Vietnam and neighboring nations killed some 6 million people. The latest U.S. wars may have killed less than half of that. Teddy Roosevelt marketed wars as desirable means of building character and slaughtering lesser races. Barack Obama markets wars as philanthropic assistance to the places being bombed. But both kill just the same.

In the perspective of the recent past, we should not be looking at Obama as the longest war president, but rather as a president who has added his bit to the normalization of war, to the restoration of permanent war as routine and unquestionable. It's not the length of his wars that stands out, but the number of them: seven significant wars that we know of, the 2001 AUMF used and misused for military actions in 14 countries, "special" forces active in 75 countries, troops permanently stationed in 175 countries -- and all of this with very little public or Congressional involvement or even awareness.

Targeted and not-so-targeted assassinations, coups, and counter-insurgency operations stretch through the entire history of the United States, as do decades-long wars. To understand this, we have to begin thinking of Native Americans as real people, so that wars against them count as real wars. A good way to do this is by listening to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Read her book, An Indigenous People's History of the United States, or catch her interview on this week's Talk Nation Radio.

Dunbar-Ortiz tells a story of endless genocidal war that employed settlers and their militias against the native people of North America in a manner not unlike Israel's use of settlers against the Palestinians. The first law created by the United States was the Northwest Ordinance, a "blueprint for gobbling up the British-protected Indian Territory." According to Dunbar-Ortiz, "documented policies of genocide on the part of U.S. administrations can be identified in at least four distinct periods: the Jacksonian era of forced removal; the California gold rush in Northern California; the Post-Civil War era of the so-called Indian wars in the Great Plains; and the 1950s termination period."

Some of the settlers of the United States had previously settled Ireland, where the British had paid rewards for Irish heads and body parts, just as they would for Indian scalps. The United States for many years sought out immigrants who could settle on native land. The war on Mexico was not the first foreign war of the United States. The U.S. had attacked numerous Indian nations. Mexico was just one more in that string. With the land now filled, attitudes toward immigrants and toward the rest of the globe have shifted. "Indian Country," in the dialect of the U.S. military, refers to distant lands to be attacked with dozens of weapons named for Native American nations.

John Yoo justified lawless imprisonment, now evolved into lawless murder by drone, with the ancient Roman concept of homo sacer, a person who must obey the government but whom the government or anyone else may kill. Yoo referred to past U.S. Supreme Court opinions upholding this category for Native Americans. The Indian was the original "terrorist."

The United States did not go to war after reaching California. Rather it simply continued the war it had been in from the start. The United States didn't wage war for decades because of a communist threat and then for additional decades because of a terrorist threat. Rather, lies about Crazy Horse on the warpath (while he was in a reservation) evolved into lies about missile gaps which evolved into lies about incubators, WMDs, and Libyan Viagra.

None of this makes war unendable. We can end it tomorrow if we choose. The unimaginative can check the history of other parts of the world that have engaged in war far less or not at all. But we will not bring the U.S. corner of the world under control until after we recognize what the problem is.

Hey Kids! Try Collateral Damage at Home

One day a couple of weeks ago I was reading Saint Augustine while driving to the local convenience store, and I accidentally drove right through the front glass wall of the store, smashing up some shelves of junk food. After I'd made my purchases, a police officer stopped me and asked if I'd intended to drive into the store. "Oh, not at all," I replied. "I intended to get here as quickly as possible while also educating myself as quickly as possible. I knew I might crash, of course, but that wasn't part of my intention."

"Well," the cop replied. "Where should we send the check for your car repair?"

"I'll let you know," I replied, a bit annoyed by the hassle.

My brother in law repaired my car for not much more than $100,000, and all it still needed was to be repainted. So, I took a giant paint sprayer with me. I parked the car in front of my neighbor's house, the one with the loud dog. When I'd finished painting the car, there was a rough shape of its profile on the front of my neighbor's house, surrounded by fresh purple paint. I pinned a note to the door letting him know that my intention had been only to paint the car and not his house.

The new collateral damage laws we've been living under for the past year have really been working out great, as far as I'm concerned. We don't let it get out of hand, though. Only property damage is excusable using bullshit medieval arguments about what we "really intended" and what we "merely knew was going to happen." Damage or death to people or animals is not included in the law.

I've heard tell, though, that there is another world somewhere in which, believe it or not, the exact opposite is true. In that world, if I were to damage someone's property and pull out a load of horse manure about "just intentions" or "proportional collateral damage," I'd be punished for the destruction I'd caused and possibly locked up for my delusional state of mind.

But, in stark contrast, if I were to blow up some poor guy who dressed suspiciously with a missile from a drone, even though 8 other guys who dressed acceptably were standing next to him, well that'd be totally cool. Or if I were to bomb an entire city flat because its people were suffering under the rule of a brutal dictator I'd stopped supporting and arming last month, that'd just be good patriotic citizenship.

Now, I'm not going to swear to you that this crazy world exists, but I have reports on it from numerous credible sources. I even have recent reports from several people that an ancient institution in this world -- they call it the Catholic Church -- is dropping its support for using "collateral damage" to excuse murder, while the rest of the society is just going ahead with mindlessly accepting it anyway, even without the support of its original devious devisers.

Regardless, however, of whether such a place is real, the manner in which its customs shock us should wake us up to the possibility that our own might shock someone else, and that we should never accept traditional customs without thinking them through for ourselves.

A Friendly Critique of the Break Free Climate Actions

I have enjoyed reading accounts and seeing photos of those committed and courageous climate activists who participated in the recent Break Free from Fossil Fuels actions conducted at various locations in 13 countries from 4-15 May 2016. See 'Break Free from Fossil Fuels'.

Focus: The Democratic National Convention - May 21, 2016


Sanders supporters secure rally permit near Democratic convention in Philadelphia - WSJ


Philadelphia approves four massive pro-Bernie Sanders rallies during DNC - NBC 10 Philadelphia


Bernie Sanders delegates prepare for Philadelphia convention fight - Fortune


Democratic insiders: Convention could be 'a rough ride' - POLITICO


Democrats consider new rules to avoid convention chaos - NBC News


DNC to offer Sanders a convention concession - Washington Post

 

Army of Sanders supporters fuming over Wasserman Schultz - TheHill


Liberal pundits blame Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not Bernie Sanders, for Democrats’ division - The Washington Post


ARCHIVE: DNC chair wants to exclude independents from Dem primaries - Washington Examiner


Nancy Pelosi calls out DNC on superdelegates, says party should ‘revisit’ rules so it doesn’t ‘undermine’ Democratic process - TheBlaze.com


#NeverHillary gathers momentum: 63,000 Bernie Sanders supporters sign online campaign promising not to vote for Clinton - Inquisitr

 

Sanders Camp: millions have ‘growing doubts' about Clinton campaign - TPM


VIDEO: Bernie Sanders: 'The Democratic Party has to make an important decision and I say to them: Open the doors. Let the people in!’ - YouTube

 

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POLL: Democrats say continued primary campaign isn't hurting the party - CBS News


POLL: Most Democrats say continued campaign not hurting the party - Gallup


POLL: 55% of all adult voters, including independents, have an unfavorable view of Clinton against just 39% with a favorable one while 37% are unfavorable to Sanders and 48% favorable - Gallup


Primary results indicate independents craving for more choices, electorate more anti-establishment in open primaries than closed ones - IVN


Polling expert: Independents in primaries would make Sanders the next President - Political People Blog


Big challenge for Sanders to get California independents to vote - capradio.org


Nonpartisan voters face hurdles in California presidential primary - The Sacramento Bee


Report: Bernie Sanders seeks California win to gain ‘maximum political power’ at Democratic convention - Hot Air


Hillary Clinton ducking final debate with Bernie Sanders in California - Washington Times


Clinton fury with Sanders grows - TheHill

 

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton: ‘I will be the nominee.That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.’ - CNN


Sanders out-raises Clinton for the fourth month in a raw, launches microsite on historic fundraising - Bernie Sanders

 

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

Tomgram: Harwood and Stanley, Policing the Dystopia

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

What about violence from the Clinton campaign?

hrcwecame

By Michael Collins

Some rough housing at a Democratic Party convention in Nevada over the weekend shocked party leaders and the mainstream media. The official custodians of propriety demand that Sanders control his followers and denounce their actions. The double standard on this issue is simply appalling since the Clinton campaign represents failed policies that got 350,000 killed and future plans (the “no fly zone” for Syria) that will cost even more lives. (Image)

To be specific, Hillary Clinton’s policies, as secretary of state, helped launch the Libyan regime change operation. To date, 100,000 Libyans are dead due to that foreign policy fiasco. Clinton was the tip of the spear for the “Assad must go” movement resulting in major support for extremist jihadist fighters attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Why? Because Assad didn’t just amble off when then Secretary of State Clinton commanded him to he leave his office and nation. The death toll in Syria is 250,000.

In sum, Hillary Clinton’s past policies and efforts resulted in 350,000 dead people. She is the only remaining presidential candidate with a major death toll.

Focus: Hillary Clinton - May 19, 2016


Clinton aides Mills, Abedin subpoenaed over email; group seeks to depose Clinton - The Washington Post


Judicial Watch announces the schedule for deposition testimony in Clinton email lawsuit - Judicial Watch


Judicial Watch seeks Hillary Clinton testimony - Judicial Watch


VIDEO: Judicial Watch seeks deposition on emails from Hillary Clinton in Federal Court case - Fox News


Why a civil case over emails could hurt Hillary Clinton more than the FBI - TIME


FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton may involve more than her emails: donations given to the Clinton Foundation from foreign entities while she served as secretary of state - Conservative Daily Review


Peter Schweizer: ‘Clinton Cash’ shows how the Clintons ‘monetized public service’; email scandal ‘symptom of the larger problem’ - Breitbart


Peter Schweizer: FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton are required to read ‘Clinton Cash’ as a backgrounder - Breitbart


Lobbyist sought secret favors from Hillary and Huma, David Mercer was paid $25,000 a month by the Turkish government to oppose the Armenian genocide bill - The Daily Caller


Financial analyst alleges major holes in Clinton Foundation records - Washington Examiner


The real Clinton Foundation record is getting exposed - Charles Ortel


Hillary and Bill Clinton made $6.7 million from speeches in 2015 - ABC News


Clinton ups the ante by tapping Goldman aide as economic spokesman - The New York Sun


Another Wall Street fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, former Goldman Sachs executive hosts Clinton in New Jersey - freebeacon.com


New ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee: Hillary Clinton is burden on Democrats candidates (VIDEO) - Washington Times

 

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Top journalist's attorneys rip into FBI for not releasing correspondence with Clinton over emails - Inquisitr


Journalists’s lawyers present FBI with a dilemma In Hillary Clinton email server investigation - The Daily Caller


Text of document filed in court by journalist's attorneys that rips into the DOJ/FBI’s reasoning for withholding Clinton correspondence - LawNewz


Most within the FBI ‘cannot comprehend’ why Clinton investigation has not been concluded, says former district attorney and FBI agent - Inquisitr


Lawmaker predicts FBI will stay silent on Clinton indictment - Washington Examiner


Op-ed: Handling of Clinton probe tarnishes FBI - The Buffalo News


Here are all the ways the FBI director tried not to make news on Hillary Clinton's email probe - huffingtonpost.com


Taxpayer tab for investigating Hillary: over $20 million - americanthinker.com


Documents show Hillary's email technician was underqualified - The Daily Caller


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

Big Oil Group Plots to Exclude Public from Public Lands Bidding, Calls for "eBay"-Style Auctions

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

At the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)'s 2016 meeting in Denver, Colorado this week, a representative from a prominent oil and gas lobbying group advocated that auctions of federal lands should happen online "eBay"-style — a clear attempt to shut the public out of the bidding process for fossil fuel leases on public lands. 

Focus: Donald Trump - May 18, 2016


POLL (NBC News): Trump closing gap with Clinton nationally - Newsmax


POLL (NBC News, Full results): Clinton leads Trump nationally 48 to 45% while Sanders beats Trump by 53 to 41% - NBC News


POLL (Morning Consult): Trump almost pulls even with Clinton leading him by 42 to 40% while Sanders beats Trump 50 to 37% - Morning Consult


POLL: Trump, Clinton tied in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, Sanders performs better against Trump than Clinton in all three states - POLITICO


POLL: Trump beats Clinton by 4%, loses to Sanders by 5%, in Georgia — Atlanta Constitution Journal


POLL: Trump tops Clinton and Sanders in Utah, beats Clinton 43-30% and Sanders 43-37% - utahpolicy.com


POLL: Trump leading Hillary with Hispanic voters - The Daily Caller


POLL (Reuters): Top reason Americans will vote for Trump: 'To stop Clinton' - Reuters


POLL (Military Times): Troops prefer Trump to Clinton by a huge margin - Military Times


POLL (NBC): Eighty-three percent of U.S. CFOs believe Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States - NBC


POLL: Majority supports Sanders-like health care plan - POLITICO


Conservative women: Donald Trump unpredictable, but Hillary Clinton ‘completely predictable,’ 'what a bad candidate' - Breitbart


Unions lean Democratic, but Donald Trump gets members’ attention - The New York Times


Donald Trump borrows from Bernie Sanders’s playbook to woo Democrats - The New York Times


Roger Stone: Trump will win one-third of Bernie Sanders supporters - Breitbart


Trump keeps telling Bernie Sanders to run as an Independent - Business Insider


Trump, Clinton and Sanders face most diverse demographic electorate in history - TheHill


Trump doesn't like his vote totals being compared to Clinton’s, 'I had 17 people to beat—she had one!' - Washington Examiner


Trump rips Hillary for Bill Clinton's 'role' in charge of revitalizing the economy, says he was responsible for NAFTA as the worst economic deal in U.S. history - Business Insider

 

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POLL (NBC News): Majority of Republican voters trust Trump over Ryan to lead party - MSNBC


VIDEO: Ryan says he wants 'real unification over our common principles and policies' with Donald Trump - Reuters


GOP ‘establishment' may get on Trump train - CNN


Trump is forcing the GOP reconsider what is 'conservative', he has crayoned far outside the lines of party orthodoxy - CSMonitor.com


Rabid right winger? Not so fast. Turns out it's not that easy to pigeonhole Donald Trump - theage.com


VIDEO: Scarborough: 'This is not Paul Ryan's party anymore - this is Donald Trump's party' - Breitbart


Why Rupert Murdoch decided to support Trump - NYMag


Sheldon Adelson op-ed: Why I'm endorsing Donald Trump - Chicago Tribune


How Donald Trump made a Wall Street executive kiss his... ring - Vanity Fair


The powerless brokers: Trump’s got the Koch Brothers running away from the general election and leaving their billions at home - Salon.com


How Donald Trump hypnotized America: while talking he uses repetitions to create a stimulus-response effect and to make his simple ideas, labels and attitudes stick - theweek.com


Donald Trump criticizes Washington’s foreign policy elite—with cause - Cato @ Liberty


Donald Trump calls Hillary Clinton ‘trigger happy' as she courts neocons - theintercept.com


Donald Trump condemns Tony Blair for Iraq war ‘disaster' - newsweek.com


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

Talk Nation Radio: Meike Capps-Schubert on U.S. Military Resistance in Germany

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-meike-capps-schubert-on-us-military-resistance-in-germany

Meike Capps-Schubert is the co-founder and current manager of The Clearing Barrel GI-Coffeehouse in Kaiserslautern next to Ramstein Airbase, Germany, the only GI-coffeehouse outside the United States. A long-time peace and justice activist in Germany, Meike is a counselor with the Military Counseling Network e.V. -- the German branch of the GI-rights-hotline, which provides free, confidential, and accurate information on U.S. military regulations and practices to members of the U.S. military, veterans, and their families. She has also helped build critical support for U.S. war resisters in Germany since 2003. Learn more:
http://theclearingbarrel.blogspot.de
http://www.mc-network.de
https://www.betterplace.org/en/projects/5543-the-clearing-barrel-gi-cafe-germany
http://gicoffeehousetour.blogspot.de

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, The Snapchat Version of American Victory

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

Why Set Up a Shell Company in Panama? The Psychology Driving Illicit Financial Flows

A previously little-known law firm called Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama, has recently been exposed as one of the world's major creators of 'shell companies', that is, corporate structures that can be used to hide the ownership of assets. This can be done legally but shell companies of this nature are widely used for illegal purposes such as tax evasion and money laundering of proceeds from criminal activity. See 'Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption: The Panama Papers'.

Virus blinds public to health issues that really matter: Zika Hysteria Spreads Faster than Zika Itself

By Jess Guh, MD


Zika has been described as extraordinary in so many ways. But the only thing that’s really extraordinary about the whole thing is how incredibly dispassionate I am about it.

Just War Lies

With the Catholic Church, of all things, turning against the doctrine that maintains there can be a "just war," it's worth taking a serious look at the thinking behind this medieval doctrine, originally based in the divine powers of kings, concocted by a saint who actually opposed self-defense but supported slavery and believed killing pagans was good for the pagans -- an anachronistic doctrine that to this day still outlines its key terms in Latin.

Laurie Calhoun's book, War and Delusion: A Critical Examination, casts an honest philosopher's eye on the arguments of the "just war" defenders, taking seriously their every bizarre claim, and carefully explaining how they fall short. Having just found this book, here is my updated list of required reading on war abolition:

A Global Security System: An Alternative to War by World Beyond War, 2015.
War: A Crime Against Humanity by Roberto Vivo, 2014.
War and Delusion: A Critical Examination by Laurie Calhoun, 2013.
Shift: The Beginning of War, the Ending of War by Judith Hand, 2013.
The End of War by John Horgan, 2012.
Transition to Peace by Russell Faure-Brac, 2012.
Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace by Douglas Fry, 2009.
Living Beyond War by Winslow Myers, 2009.

These are the criteria Calhoun lists for jus ad bellum:

  • be publicly declared
  • have a reasonable prospect for success
  • be waged only as a last resort
  • be waged by a legitimate authority with right intention, and
  • have a cause both just and proportional (sufficiently grave to warrant the extreme measure of war)

I would add one more as a logical necessity:

  • have a reasonable prospect of being conducted with jus in bello.

These are the criteria Calhoun lists for jus in bello:

  • only proportional means to sound military objectives may be deployed
  • noncombatants are immune from attack
  • enemy soldiers must be respected as human beings, and
  • prisoners of war are to be treated as noncombatants.

There are two problems with these lists. The first is that even if every item were actually met, which has never happened and can never happen, that would not make the mass killing of human beings moral or legal. Imagine if someone created criteria for just slavery or just lynching and then met the criteria; would that satisfy you? The second problem is that the criteria are, as I've mentioned -- just as with President Obama's similar, extra-legal, self-imposed criteria for drone murders -- never actually met.

"Publicly declared" seems like the one item that might actually be met by current and recent wars, but is it? Wars used to be announced before they began, even to be scheduled by mutual agreement of the parties in some cases. Now wars are, at best, announced after the bombs have begun falling and the news become known. Other times, wars are never announced. Enough foreign reporting piles up for diligent news consumers in the United States to discover that their nation is at war, via unmanned drones, with yet another nation. Or a humanitarian rescue operation, such as in Libya, is described as something other than a war, but in a manner that makes clear to the critical observer that yet another governmental overthrow is underway with chaos and human tragedy and ground troops to follow. Or the serious citizen researcher may discover that the U.S. military is helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen, and later discover that the U.S. has introduced ground troops -- but no war is publicly declared. I've asked crowds of peace activists if even they can name the seven nations that the current U.S. president has bombed, and usually nobody can do it. (But ask them if some unspecified wars are just, and lots of hands will shoot upward.)

Focus: Clinton Foundation - May 14, 2016

 

Clinton charity aided Clinton friends, a $2 million commitment arranged by the CGI in 2010 went to a for-profit company - WSJ

 

Clinton charity gives $2M to company owned by Bill’s ‘friend’, a wealthy blond woman rumored to have been his mistress - New York Post


Clinton Foundation rejects allegations it aided Clinton friends - CNN


Donald Trump steps into row over Bill Clinton’s charity helping woman 'dubbed the Energizer' to get cash for her company - Daily Mail


VIDEO: Trump reacts to ‘bombshell' report that Bill Clinton charity gave $2 million to friend's company - Inside Edition


Hit Job: A closer look at the WSJ’s clueless attack on the Clinton Foundation - Inside Philanthropy


Pro Clinton Media Matters: NY Post’s “blond bombshell” story is ripped from pages of National Enquirer - mediamatters.org


VIDEO: Foundation scandal more damaging to Clinton than emails? - Yahoo Finance


Clinton received more than $100 million from Middle East leaders, in addition to another $30 million by two Mideast-based foundations and four billionaires from Saudi Arabia - Examiner.com


More on the Clintons and the Persian Gulf Sheikhs donations - The Daily Caller


Wall Street whistleblower says money missing from the Clinton Foundation - Breitbart


Hillary gave a special State Department post to an ex-fundraiser — even as he was laying the groundwork for a global consulting firm with ties to the Clinton Foundation - POLITICO


Blumenthal: I had a real job at the Clinton Foundation working on educational projects - Washington Examiner


Clinton Foundation takes steps to be rated by charity watchdog, in 2014 Charity Navigator said the foundation was operating with an 'atypical business model' - CNN

 

VIDEO: Charity Navigator CEO Michael Thatcher talks about the Clinton Foundation's rating - CNN

 

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MSNBC look at 'Clinton Cash' doc as it debuts at Cannes on May 16, opens in U.S. on July 24 just before the Democratic National Convention - MSNBC


Clinton Cash: Review after the advance screening of the documentary - TIME


Clinton Cash film aims to cause likely Democratic nominee maximum damage - The Guardian


Donald Trump: ‘Clinton Cash’ Proves Hillary Is ‘Crooked As Hell’ - Breitbart


VIDEO: Trailer: 'Clinton Cash' - Washington Post


Pro-Clinton Media Matters: TIME calls error-ridden book Clinton Cash “heavily researched” - mediamatters.org


A talk with Schweizer, the man behind Clinton Cash documentary - The Daily Caller


RADIO: Schweizer discusses the new “Clinton Cash” documentary - Breitbart News Daily


Schweizer: Uranium deal was ‘win-win-win’ for Clintons, Canadian financiers, Vladimir Putin; ‘losers are the American people’ - Breitbart


VIDEO: Schweizer talks about AP report which identified at least 60 firms and organizations that sponsored Clinton's speeches and lobbied the U.S. government - Fox News


AP Report: Firms that paid for Clinton speeches have US gov't interests - AP


VIDEO: Peter Schweizer speech on ’money and politics' - Government Accountability Institute


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

Fanning fears during London’s mayoral election: Islamophobia on the Rise in England

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

During a casual conversation inside a store on a swanky shopping street located a short distance from London’s fabled Kensington Palace a twenty-something retail clerk said she feels a strange sense of discomfort that she’s never felt before in London, the city where this native of Algeria has lived most of her life.

Focus: NATO and Russia - May 13, 2016


New US missile defense system Aegis Ashore goes live in Russia's back yard - CBS News


NATO press release: Key missile defence site declared operational - NATO


VIDEO: NATO Secretary General at inaugural ceremony of Aegis Ashore, Romania - NATO


VIDEO: Joint press Conference following the Aegis Ashore ceremony - NATO


New NATO supreme commander vows tough line on Russia, says alliance should arm Ukraine - AFP


Commander: NATO needs to be ready to fight Russia ‘tonight' - The Daily Caller


Permanent US armored force in Europe would better deter Russia: NATO commander - Reuters


The U.S. Army’s war over Russia, group of dissenters say they’re overreacting to get a bigger share of the defense budget - POLITICO


Chuck Hagel to next US President: Talk to Putin, Former Defense Secretary warns against ‘cold war buildup’ as NATO deploys in Europe’s eastern flank - atlanticcouncil.org


Poll shows Americans say the U.S. 'should deal with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own', but Washington wants to intervene... everywhere - The Daily Caller


POLL: Key findings on how Americans view the U.S. role in the world - Pew Research Center

 

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

Russia calls new U.S. missile shield in Romania a ‘direct threat' - NBC News


Russia rejects US claims about ‘threat’ of Iran’s missiles - Tasnim News Agency


Russia is taking countermeasures against US missile defense in Europe: Kremlin - TASS

 

Russian media: 5 reasons why US antimissiles in Europe threaten Russia - RT News


Putin: Russia to encourage defense industry enterprises - TASS

 

Putin to hold third meeting on development of Russian defense sector - TASS

 

Putin ally accuses new NATO general of stoking ‘war hysteria' - newsweek.com


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

Tomgram: Engelhardt, They Just Can't Stop Themselves

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

Focus: Democratic National Convention - May 12, 2016

 

Democratic convention hosted by Republican donors, anti-Obamacare lobbyists and Net Neutrality opponents - theintercept.com


NY Democrats selling national convention access to big donors - New York Post


DNC joins arms with Comcast, America's most hated Internet provider, to host Democratic national convention - usuncut.com


After conventions a debt to donors, part and parcel of the creeping corporate buyout of America’s political system - The New York Times


DNC head denies Sanders’s claim of convention favoritism, 'I do not think that Sen. Sanders’s concerns are valid or warranted' - TheHill


Sanders accuses DNC of tipping convention toward Clinton - POLITICO


Sanders’ letter: DNC has forwarded only three of 40 names the Sanders campaign recommended for the key committees while installing Clinton loyalists in leading roles - berniesanders.com


Wall street money: Barney Frank to oversee Democratic platform while running big bank - ibtimes.com


Financial Sector Gives Hillary Clinton a Boost - WSJ


VIDEO: Wall Street donors give Clinton a boost - WSJ


Wall Street befuddled, alarmed by Donald Trump and may turn to Democratic ticket - The Boston Globe


Wealthy Cruz donor pours millions into Clinton campaign - Observer


Hillary forces target Bush donors, Their message to moderate Republicans: She represents your values better than Trump - POLITICO


VIDEO: Trump agrees with Sanders: Clinton 'is totally controlled by Wall Street' - Washington Post


Clinton and Goldman Sachs: Why it matters - The New York Review of Books


Clinton son-in-law’s firm is said to close Greece hedge fund tied to Goldman Sachs after losing nearly 90 percent of its value - NYTimes.com


Hillary Clinton has a lot of donors in the Justice Department, twelve of the 228 contributions were for $2,700 with some in high places - Hot Air


Offshore tax haven leak implicates seven-figure pro-Clinton donor - freebeacon.com


Whose ‘dark money’ flows from offshore accounts into Maine campaigns? - State & Capitol


Hillary Clinton's campaign taps aide tied to 2008 fundraising schemes: Report - Washington Times


Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties, they've gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised - POLITICO


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

How to Oppose the Draft for Women and Not Be Sexist

For the majority of people in the United States who have no idea, yes, draft registration still exists, but only for males. However, the U.S. House of Representatives is interested in adding young women to the rolls. In fact the House Armed "Services" Committee passed such a measure in April, and it is now part of the National "Defense" Authorization Act pending review, amendment, debate, and passage.

An amendment proposed by Congressman Pete Sessions would undo this "progressive" development. Some rightwing groups that consult the Bible for their standards of women's rights also want to stop the extension of "selective service" to all 18 year olds. Some peace activists believe that the key to ending warmaking is actually activating the draft in as big a way as possible. And liberal humanitarian warriors want equal war rights for women. Much of the rest of the world, meanwhile, believes the United States has overdosed on military madness.

Bush-Obama Powers Will Pass to Next President

Remember when coups and assassinations were secretive, when presidents were obliged to go to Congress and tell lies and ask permission for wars, when torture, spying, and lawless imprisonment were illicit, when re-writing laws with signing statements and shutting down legal cases by yelling "state secrets!" was abusive, and when the idea of a president going through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays to pick whom to have murdered would have been deemed an outrage?

All such resistance and outrage is in the past by mutual consent of those in power in Washington, D.C. Whoever becomes the next president of the United States could only unfairly and in violation of established bipartisan precedent be denied the powers of unlimited spying, imprisoning, and killing. That this is little known is largely a symptom of partisanship. Most Democrats still haven't allowed themselves to hear of the kill list. But the widespread ignorance is also a function of media, of what's reported, what's editorialized, what's asked about in campaign debates, and what isn't.

The new book, Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program, from Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, is terrific to see even more for what it represents than for what it actually teaches us. We've already learned the details it includes from the website of the Intercept, and they fit with similar details that have trickled out through numerous sources for years. But the fact that a media outlet is reporting on this topic and framing its concerns in a serious way around the dangerous expansion of presidential and governmental power is encouraging.

The United States is now working on putting into action drone ships and ships of drone planes, but has never worked out how in the world it is legal or moral or helpful to blow people up with missiles all over the earth. Drone wars once declared successful and preferable alternatives to ground wars are predictably evolving into small-scale ground wars, with great potential for escalation, and nobody in any place of power has considered what candidate Obama might have called ending the mindset that starts wars, perhaps by using the rule of law, aid, disarmament, and diplomacy.

I recommend starting The Assassination Complex with the afterword by Glenn Greenwald, because he reminds us of some of Senator and candidate Obama's statements in favor of restoring the rule of law and rejecting President George W. Bush's abuses. What Obama called unacceptable at Guantanamo, he has continued at Guantanamo and elsewhere, but expanded into a program that focuses on murder without "due process" rather than imprisonment without "due process."

"Somehow," writes Greenwald, "it was hideously wrong for George W. Bush to eavesdrop on and imprison suspected terrorists without judicial approval, yet it was perfectly permissible for Obama to assassinate them without due process of any kind." That is in fact a very generous depiction of the drone murder program, as The Assassination Complex also documents that, at least during one time period examined, "nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets." We should think of drones more as random killing machines than as machines killing particular people who are denied the right to a trail by jury but are suspected of something by somebody.

"It is hard," writes Greenwald, "to overstate the conflict between Obama's statements before he became president and his presidential actions." Yes, I suppose so, but it's also hard to overstate the conflict between some of his campaign statements and others of his campaign statements. If he was going to give people a fair hearing before abusing their rights, what are we to make of his campaign promises to start a drone war in Pakistan and escalate the war in Afghanistan? Greenwald is assuming that the right not to be murdered ranks somewhere fairly high alongside the right not to be spied on or imprisoned or tortured. But, in fact, a war-supporting society must understand all rights to have particular protection except the right to stay alive.

The advantage that comes from viewing small-scale drone murders as an escalation of small-scale imprisonment -- that is, as a violation of rights -- really comes when you carry logic one step further and view large-scale killing in war as also a violation of rights, as indeed murder on a larger scale. In fact, among the top areas in which I would add to Greenwald's summary of Obama's expansions of Bush powers are: torture, signing statements, and the creation of new wars of various types.

Obama has made torture a question of policy, not a crime to be prosecuted. Frowning on it and outsourcing it and hushing it up does not deny it to the next president in the way that prosecuting it in court would.

Obama campaigned against rewriting laws with signing statements. Then he proceeded to do just as Bush had done. That Obama has used fewer signing statements is largely due, I think, to the fact that fewer laws have been passed, combined with his creation of the silent signing statement. Remember that Obama announced that he would review Bush's signing statements and decide which to reject and which to keep. That is itself a remarkable power that now passes to the next president, who can keep or reject any of Bush's or Obama's signing statements. But as far as I know, Obama never did actually tell us which of Bush's he was keeping. In fact, Obama announced that he would silently assume any past signing statement to apply to a new and relevant law without restating the signing statement. Obama has also developed the practice of instructing the Office of Legal Counsel to write a memo in place of a law. And he's developed the additional technique of creating self-imposed restrictions, which have the benefit of not being laws at all when he violates them. A key example of this is his standards for whom to kill with drones.

On the question of starting wars, Obama has radically altered what is acceptable. He began a war on Libya without Congress. He told Congress in his last state of the union speech that he would wage a war in Syria with or without them (which statement they applauded). That power, further normalized by all the drone wars, will pass to the next president.

Lawyers have testified to Congress that drone killing is murder and illegal if not part of a war, but perfectly fine if part of a war, and that whether it's part of a war or not depends on secret presidential memos the public hasn't seen. The power to render murder possibly legal, and therefore effectively legal, by declaring the existence of a secret memo, is also a power that passes to the next president.

In reality, there is no way to even remotely begin to legalize drone murders, whether or not part of a war. The seven current U.S. wars that we know of are all illegal under the UN Charter and under the Kellogg-Briand Pact. So, any element of them is also illegal. This is a simple point but a very difficult one for U.S. liberals to grasp, in the context of human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch taking a principled stand against recognizing the illegality of any war.

If, on the other hand, the drone murders are not part of an illegal war, they are still illegal, as murder is illegal everywhere under universal jurisdiction. The defense that a foreign dictator, exiled or otherwise, has granted permission to murder people in his country, so that sovereignty is not violated, misses the basic illegality of murder, not to mention the irony that helping dictators kill their people conflicts rather stunningly with the common U.S. excuse for launching wars of overthrow, namely punishment of a dictator for the ultimate sin of "killing his own people." Sovereignty is also an idea very selectively respected; just ask Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Syria.

Reporter Cora Currier, in The Assassination Complex, looks at Obama's self-imposed, but never met, restrictions on drone murders. Under these non-legal limitations it is required that drone missiles target only people who are "continuing, imminent threats to the American people," and who cannot be captured, and only when there is "near certainty" that no civilians will be killed or injured. Currier points out that Obama approves people for murder for months at a time, rendering dubious the already incoherent idea of a "continuing imminent threat." It's not clear that "capture" is ever a serious option, and it is clear that in many cases it is not. The "near certainty" about not killing civilians is thrown into doubt by the constant killing of civilians and, as Currier points out, by the White House claiming to have had that "near certainty" in a case in which it killed civilians who happened to be American and European, thus requiring some accountability.

Scahill and Greenwald also document in this book that sometimes what is targeting is a cell phone believed to belong to a particular person. That of course provides no "near certainty" that the targeted person is there or that anyone else isn't.

What might begin to restrain this madness? Will those who opposed Bush lawlessness but turned a blind eye to its expansion under Obama find themselves opposing it again? That seems highly unlikely under the best of the three remaining big-party presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders. I can't imagine ever getting a significant number of his supporters to even become aware of his foreign policy, so good is he on domestic issures. With Hillary Clinton the task would be extremely difficult as well, aided only by the likelihood that she would launch truly big-scale wars. With a President Trump, it does seem much more conceivable that millions of people would suddenly find themselves opposing what has been firmly put into place the past 16 years. Whether it would then be too late is a different question.

Hillary's Email Bombshell: Saudi's Financed the Benghazi Attack

By Gar Smith

Bernie Sanders may have been chivalrous when he told a beleaguered Hillary Clinton, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” But when it comes to actually reading some of Clinton’s confidential exchanges, that’s another matter.

In December 2014, Hillary Rodham Clinton began providing the State Department with personal emails sent or received during her tenure as Secretary of State. The final batch was released on February 29, 2016. The entire collection is now posted on the State Department’s Public Reading Room and is searchable via this link.

But the collection is not complete. Clinton admits to having deleted 32,000 emails “deemed private.” Among the missing are a number of politically charged emails sent to Secretary Clinton by a trusted colleague named Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal’s emails were allegedly captured and copied by Marcel Lazar Lehel, an unemployed Romanian taxi driver better known as “Guccifer” and “Small Fume.” In April of this year, Lehel became an instant celebrity after he was identified as the cyber-savvy interloper who had hacked into Clinton’s official email account during her time as Secretary of State. (Lehel was recently awarded an all-expenses-paid trip from a Romanian prison to the US where he will spend his days in an American jail cell under 18-month extradition order.)

Talk Nation Radio: Jean Trounstine and Karter Reed on Murder, Juvenile Injustice, and Redemption

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jean-trounstine-and-karter-reed-on-murder-juvenile-injustice-and-redemption

Jean Trounstine is the author of Boy With a Knife: A Story of Murder, Remorse, and a Prisoner's Fight for Justice.

Karter Reed is the subject of and the author of the Epilogue to the book. He was convicted of murder as a child in an adult court, and was sent to adult prison.

Trounstine and Reed discuss Reed's story and U.S. policies on juvenile crime.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

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https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

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