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A Good End Date for the New War Is Today

What I've seen of public events, demonstrations, and protests of the latest U.S. war -- just like the larger and more immediately effective public resistance 12 months ago -- has been aimed, remarkably enough, at ending the war and opposing the policies of those engaging in it, and first among them the U.S. President.

What I've seen of inside-the-Beltway-style peace lobby groups' strategy has been aimed, predictably enough, at setting a good end date for the new war and barring the use of U.S. ground troops.

Both approaches are represented by voluminous discussions on listserves, so I feel like I know a good sample of each far more intimately than I might ideally wish. They parallel rejection and support of lesser-evil voting, and are largely made by those who reject and accept the importance of lesser-evil voting. However, many who accept lesser-evilism in the polling booth do not accept it here. And I think they have a point.

If you vote for a decent candidate and he or she loses, an argument can be made that you've "wasted" your vote. But if you advocate for an immediate end to a war, and a Congress that is hearing from the President that the war should last three years, bans continuation of the war beyond a year-and-a-half, then an argument can be made that you helped frame the compromise. In any case, it would be difficult to make a persuasive case that your activism was wasted. If, on the other hand, you found out that some Congress members were interested in a 1-year limit, and you lobbied for just that, and then Congress enacted a 2-year limit, what could you be said to have accomplished?

Here's my basic contention: Congress knows how to compromise. We don't have to pre-compromise for them. (How'd that work out on healthcare?) (How'd that ever work out?) And when we do pre-compromise for them (such as the time AFSCME banned "single-payer" signs from "public option" rallies, so as to simulate public demand for what "progressive" Congress members were pretending to already want) we give significant support and respectability to some serious outrages (such as privatized for-profit health insurance, but also such as bombing Iraq yet again and bombing the opposite side in Syria that was to be bombed a year ago and while arming that same side, which -- if we're honest about it -- is madness.

How many years of madness will be best, is an insane question. It's not a question around which to organize protests, demonstrations, nonviolent actions, lobbying, education, communication, or any other sort of movement building.

But isn't 2 years of war better than 3? And how are you going to get Congress members to limit it to 2 years if you've called them lunatics?

Of course 2 years is better than 3. But less than 2 is even better, and Congress is going to compromise as far as it dares, and knows perfectly well how to do so without help from us.  Is there really evidence to imagine that Senators and Congress members shape their policies around who's most polite to them? Certainly they determine who's invited to meetings on Capitol Hill on that basis, but is being in those meetings our top priority? Does it do the most for us? And can't we still get some people into those meetings by calling mass murder "mass murder" while keeping open every opportunity for the funders and sanctioners of mass murder to oppose and stop it?

We need sit-ins in Congressional offices and protests on Capitol Hill. To a much lesser extent, we need discussions with Congress members and staffers. To the extent that different people must pursue those two tactics, the question will always remain whether mass public organizing should be guided by people who think like the former group or like the latter.

My position comes from the expectation that "support the troops" propaganda and the inevitably worsened situation after a year or two will make the struggle to then end a previously time-limited war harder, rather than easier -- easier only if the public has come to its sense in the meantime.  My position comes from the fact that there are already U.S. troops in Iraq and the belief that we're going to get them home sooner if we don't play along with the pretense that they aren't there or aren't there for combat. My concern is for human life, and when you prioritize an air war over a ground war -- and when the "anti-war" movement does that -- you risk creating a great, rather than a smaller, number of deaths, albeit non-U.S. deaths.

Now, the lobbyists' need to be polite to Congress can be a helpful guide to all protesters. While moral condemnation and humorous mockery can be useful tools, so can Gandhian respect for those who must be won over. But the demand of a peace movement must be for peace and alternatives to war.  When the missile strikes were stopped a year ago, the arming of ISIS-and-friends proceeded anyway, and no useful policy was pursued instead of the missiles. The U.S. had decided to do nothing, as if that were the only other option. Effectively we'd put an end date on the U.S. staying out, as doing nothing was guaranteed not to resolve the problem.

A good end-date for this war is today. A good date to begin useful aid and diplomacy and arms embargoes and reparations is tomorrow. We have to change the conversation to those topics, instead of focusing on the question of how much mass-murdering madness is the appropriate amount. Not because we want it to continue for eternity if it can't be ended now, but because it will end sooner and be less likely to be repeated if we confront it for what it is.

We've been so strategic over the past decade that everybody in the United States knows the war on Iraq cost U.S. lives and money, but most have only the vaguest idea of how it destroyed Iraq and how many people it killed. As a direct result, nobody knows where ISIS came from, and not enough people are fully aware of the high probability that the bombing will strengthen ISIS -- which may be why ISIS openly asks for it in its 1-hour film.

How much insanity should we demand on our posters and signs and online petitions and letters to editors: not another drop.

Freedom’s just another word: US Launches Wars and Backs Coups in the Name of Democracy, but Won’t Back Real Democracy Activists

By Dave Lindorff


The US claims to be supporting democracy from Ukraine to Cuba, and from Somalia to Iraq, often by bombing the alleged opposition, or by supporting proxy wars and subversion. But one place where real democracy activists are battling against the forces of repression they are curiously getting no backing from the United States: Hong Kong.

When We're All Musteites

We won't necessarily know what a Musteite is, but I'm inclined to think it would help if we did. I'm using the word to mean "having a certain affinity for the politics of A.J. Muste."

I had people tell me I was a Musteite when I had at best the vaguest notion of who A.J. Muste had been. I could tell it was a compliment, and from the context I took it to mean that I was someone who wanted to end war. I guess I sort of brushed that off as not much of a compliment. Why should it be considered either particularly praiseworthy or outlandishly radical to want to end war? When someone wants to utterly and completely end rape or child abuse or slavery or some other evil, we don't call them extremist radicals or praise them as saints. Why is war different?

The possibility that war might not be different, that it might be wholly abolished, could very well be a thought that I picked up third-hand from A.J. Muste, as so many of us have picked up so much from him, whether we know it or not. His influence is all over our notions of labor and organizing and civil rights and peace activism. His new biography, American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century by Leilah Danielson is well worth reading, and has given me a new affection for Muste despite the book's own rather affection-free approach.

Martin Luther King Jr. told an earlier Muste biographer, Nat Hentoff, "The current emphasis on nonviolent direct action in the race relations field is due more to A.J. than to anyone else in the country." It is also widely acknowledged that without Muste there would not have been formed such a broad coalition against the war on Vietnam. Activists in India have called him "the American Gandhi."

The American Gandhi was born in 1885 and immigrated with his family at age 6 from Holland to Michigan. He studied in Holland, Michigan, the same town that we read about in the first few pages of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and at a college later heavily funded by the Prince Family, from which Blackwater sprang. The stories of both Muste and Prince begin with Dutch Calvinism and end up as wildly apart as imaginable. At the risk of offending Christian admirers of either man, I think neither story -- and neither life -- would have suffered had the religion been left out.

Muste would have disagreed with me, of course, as some form of religion was central to his thinking during much of his life. By the time of World War I he was a preacher and a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). He opposed war in 1916 when opposing war was acceptable.  And when most of the rest of the country fell in line behind Woodrow Wilson and obediently loved war in 1917, Muste didn't change. He opposed war and conscription. He supported the struggle for civil liberties, always under attack during wars. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed by Muste's FOR colleagues in 1917 to treat symptoms of war, just as it does today. Muste refused to preach in support of war and was obliged to resigned from his church, stating in his resignation letter that the church should be focused on creating "the spiritual conditions that should stop the war and render all wars unthinkable." Muste became a volunteer with the ACLU advocating for conscientious objectors and others persecuted for war opposition in New England. He also became a Quaker.

In 1919 Muste found himself the leader of a strike of 30,000 textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, learning on the job -- and on the picket line, where he was arrested and assaulted by police, but returned immediately to the line. By the time the struggle was won, Muste was general secretary of the newly formed Amalgamated Textile Workers of America. Two years later, he was directing Brookwood Labor College outside of Katonah, New York. By the mid-1920s, as Brookwood succeeded, Muste had become a leader of the progressive labor movement nationwide. At the same time, he served on the executive committee of the national FOR from 1926-1929 as well as on the national committee of the ACLU. Brookwood struggled to bridge many divides until the American Federation of Labor destroyed it with attacks from the right, aided a bit with attacks from the left by the Communists. Muste labored on for labor, forming the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, and organizing in the South, but "if we are to have morale in the labor movement," he said, "we must have a degree of unity, and, if we are to have that, it follows, for one thing, that we cannot spend all our time in controversy and fighting with each other -- maybe 99 per cent of the time, but not quite 100 per cent."

Muste's biographer follows that same 99 percent formula for a number of chapters, covering the infighting of the activists, the organizing of the unemployed, the forming of the American Workers Party in 1933, and in 1934 the Auto-Lite strike in Toledo, Ohio, that led to the formation of the United Auto Workers. The unemployed, joining in the strike on behalf of the workers, were critical to success, and their commitment to do so may have helped the workers decide to strike in the first place.  Muste was central to all of this and to progressive opposition to fascism during these years. The sit-down strike at Goodyear in Akron was led by former students of Muste.

Muste sought to prioritize the struggle for racial justice and to apply Gandhian techniques, insisting on changes in culture, not just government. "If we are to have a new world," he said, "we must have new men; if you want a revolution, you must be revolutionized." In 1940, Muste became national secretary of FOR and launched a Gandhian campaign against segregation, bringing on new staff including James Farmer and Bayard Rustin, and helping to found the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The nonviolent actions that many associate with the 1950s and 1960s began in the 1940s. A Journey of Reconciliation predated the Freedom Rides by 14 years.

Muste predicted the rise of the Military Industrial Complex and the militarized adventurism of the post-World War II United States in 1941. Somewhere beyond the comprehension of most Americans, and even his biographer, Muste found the wisdom to continue opposing war during a second world war, advocating instead for nonviolent defense and a peaceful, cooperative, and generous foreign policy, defending the rights of Japanese Americans, and once again opposing a widespread assault on civil liberties.  "If I can't love Hitler, I can't love at all," said Muste, articulating the widespread commonsense that one should love one's enemies, but doing so in the primary case in which virtually everyone else, to this day, advocates for the goodness of all-out vicious violence and hatred.

Of course, those who had opposed World War I and the horrible settlement that concluded it, and the fueling of fascism for years -- and who could see what the end of World War II would bring, and who saw the potential in Gandhian techniques -- must have had a harder time than most in accepting that war was inevitable and World War II justified.

Muste, I am sure, took no satisfaction in watching the U.S. government create a cold war and a global empire in line with his own prediction. Muste continued to push back against the entire institution of war, remarking that, "the very means nations use to provide themselves with apparent or temporary 'defense' and 'security' constitute the greatest obstacle to the attainment of genuine or permanent collective security. They want international machinery so that the atomic armaments race may cease; but the atomic armaments race has to stop or the goal of the world order recedes beyond human reach."

It was in this period, 1948-1951 that MLK Jr. was attending Crozer Theological Seminary, attending speeches by, and reading books by, Muste, who would later advise him in his own work, and who would play a key role in urging civil rights leaders to oppose the war on Vietnam. Muste worked with the American Friends Service Committee, and many other organizations, including the Committee to Stop the H-Bomb Tests, which would become the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE); and the World Peace Brigade.

Muste warned against a U.S. war on Vietnam in 1954. He led opposition to it in 1964. He struggled with great success to broaden the anti-war coalition in 1965. At the same time, he struggled against the strategy of watering down war opposition in an attempt to find broader appeal. He believed that "polarization" brought "contradictions and differences" to the surface and allowed for the possibility of greater success. Muste chaired the November 8 Mobilization Committee (MOBE) in 1966, planning a massive action in April 1967. But upon returning from a trip to Vietnam in February, giving talks about the trip, and staying up all night drafting the announcement of the April demonstration, he began to complain of back pain and did not live much longer.

He did not see King's speech at Riverside Church on April 4. He did not see the mass mobilization or the numerous funerals and memorials to himself. He did not see the war ended. He did not see the war machine and war planning continue as if little had been learned. He did not see the retreat from economic fairness and progressive activism during the decades to come. But A.J. Muste had been there before. He'd seen the upsurges of the 1920s and 1930s and lived to help bring about the peace movement of the 1960s. When, in 2013, public pressure helped stop a missile attack on Syria, but nothing positive took its place, and a missile attack was launched a year later against the opposite side in the Syrian war, Muste would not have been shocked. His cause was not the prevention of a particular war but the elimination of the institution of war, the cause also of the new campaign in 2014 World Beyond War.

What can we learn from someone like Muste who persevered long enough to see some, but not all, of his radical ideas go mainstream? He didn't bother with elections or even voting. He prioritized nonviolent direct action. He sought to form the broadest possible coalition, including with people who disagreed with him and with each other on fundamental questions but who agreed on the important matter at hand. Yet he sought to keep those coalitions uncompromising on matters of the greatest importance. He sought to advance their goals as a moral cause and to win over opponents by intellect and emotion, not force. He worked to change world views. He worked to build global movements, not just local or national. And, of course, he sought to end war, not just to replace one war with a different one. That meant struggling against a particular war, but doing so in the manner best aimed at reducing or abolishing the machinery behind it.

I'm not, after all, a very good Musteite. I agree with much, but not all. I reject his religious motivations. And of course I'm not much like A.J. Muste, lacking his skills, interests, abilities, and accomplishments. But I do feel close to him and appreciate more than ever being called a Musteite.  And I appreciate that A.J. Muste and millions of people who appreciated his work in one way or another passed it on to me. Muste's influence on people everyone knows, like Martin Luther King, Jr., and people who influenced people everyone knows, like Bayard Rustin, was significant. He worked with people still active in the peace movement like David McReynolds and Tom Hayden. He worked with James Rorty, father of one of my college professors, Richard Rorty. He spent time at Union Theological Seminary, where my parents studied. He lived on the same block, if not building, where I lived for a while at 103rd Street and West End Avenue in New York, and Muste was apparently married to a wonderful woman named Anne who went by Anna, as am I. So, I like the guy. But what gives me hope is the extent to which Musteism exists in our culture as a whole, and the possibility that someday we will all be Musteites.

TSA and DHS, making a list, checking it twice

We've only been saying it for years. 
 
In the United States of Homeland, the government keeps lists.

Syria News - Sep 28, 2014


In Syria, airstrikes carried out against Islamic State in battle for Kobane - The Washington Post


VIDEO: F 15E Strike on IS Compound near Kobane, Syria - YouTube


VIDEO: Hagel Answers CNN Jim Sciutto Question on Kobane - YouTube


MAP: Evolution of front-line since the beginning of IS offensive on Sept 15, Closest front is now about 5 km from Kobane city - LiveLeak


Cheering Kurdish forces engage IS militants in dramatic firefight in Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border (VIDEO, PHOTOS) - Daily Mail


Islamic State deployed all its Syrian forces around Kurdish Kobani town: YPG - ekurd


Interview with Syrian Kurdish YPG spokesperson - ekurd.net


200 Turkish intellectuals call for help to Kobane - hurriyetdailynews.com


The Defense of Kobani - Middle East Forum


Syria air strikes: US-led coalition attacks IS positions in Homs and Raqqa - The Independent


Syrian civilians in Raqqa cheer U.S. bombing - usatoday.com


VIDEO (Full): Hagel and Dempsey Brief Nation On IS Strikes - Neon Tommy


Iraq, Syria Conflicts to Require More Money, Hagel Says - Bloomberg


US Training Teams Arrive in Saudi Arabia - VOA


US launching complex operation to train, arm Syrian rebels amid airstrikes - Fox News


Rice meets Syrian opposition at White House - Yahoo News UK


VIDEO: Islamic State Member Warns of NYC Attack In Exclusive Interview - VICE News


How to Cut Off ISIS Terror Tycoons - The Daily Beast


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No-fly and safe zone, Turkey's priorities in Syria: Erdogan - turkishweekly.net


US denies Ankara’s demand to establish fly-zone over Syria - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Erdogan says Turkish troops could be used in Syria - Reuters


CHP leader: We don’t want Turkish soldiers in foreign lands - hurriyetdailynews


Hundreds of Kurds break through Turkey border to join anti-IS fight - AFP


VIDEO: Kurds clash with Turkish security forces at the border - euronews


PHOTOS: Hundreds of Kurds break through Turkey border to join anti-IS fight - Daily Mail


People turning back from Kobanê were attacked by Turkish soldiers while crossing a mined area at the border - ANF


Turkish troops open fire on Kobanê border, allegedly 1 dead and 2 wounded - ANF


Turkish soldiers open fire on YPG vehicle - ANF


Turkish soldiers deny entrance from Kobanê to a group of people including journalists and representatives of political parties - ANF


Wounded IS members taken to Kilis for treatment, in addition to Urfa and Antep - ANF


Allegation of a new shipment of weapons to IS on the Turkish border - ANF


Deputy prime minister denies claim Turkish aid agency backs IS - todayszaman.com


UN Security Council issues subtle warning to Turkey - Al-Monitor


This Site Tracks the Guns Going Into Syria - Defense One

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Tackling the Climate Catastrophe Strategically

If you like to ask or beg your oppressor to go easy on you, then you do not need to read this article. And if you like to do what makes you feel good at the time, irrespective of its strategic impact, then this article is not for you either. My interest in tackling violence, in whatever form it takes, has always been to take action myself that leaves the perpetrator powerless (but, hopefully, a convert too). I also like to be strategic so that the impact of my action is long-lasting (in fact, preferably permanent) and structurally reduces the violence in our world. Here’s how I work.

Parliament and Congress Have No Power to Legalize War

Congress has fled town to avoid voting for or against a new war. Many of the big donors to Congressional campaigns would want Yes votes. Many voters would want No votes, if not immediately, then as soon as the panic induced by the beheading videos wears off, which could be within the next month. Better to just avoid displeasing anyone -- other than people who notice you running away.

The standard for legal-ish cosmopolitan respectability in the U.S. now has become getting five kings and dictators to say their on your side as you start bombing a new country.

But the British Parliament is still at the level of believing an actual vote by a legislature is appropriate.  Do Americans remember that their beloved founding fathers put war powers in the hands of the legislature because of the ugly history of royal wars in Britain? Times have changed.

But if we want to actually comply with the law, we have to admit that neither Parliament nor Congress has the power to legalize attacking Syria. This is because both the U.S. and the U.K. are parties to the United Nations Charter, which bans war with very narrow exceptions -- exceptions that have not been in any way met.

And if you want to get really serious about laws, the Kellogg-Briand Pact has never been repealed, the U.S. and U.K. are parties to it, and it bans all war without exception.

Now, you can interpret the Kellogg-Briand Pact to allow self-defense because the right to military self-defense, even when it's unlikely to actually work, is just so obvious to your way of thinking. And the U.N. Charter explicitly allows military self-defense. But here's the problem: There's nothing defensive about attacking Syria, and President Obama himself described it as "offense" in an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC.

Another word for "offense" is aggression, which the Nuremberg tribunal called "essentially an evil thing . . .  the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Asked about Congress's responsibilities on Tuesday, Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) claimed that presidents could fight defensive wars without Congress but needed Congressional authorizations for offensive ones.  In fact, offensive wars are not legal by any common understanding. Asked, then, about international law, at an event at the Center for American Progress, Kaine reportedly said that bombing Syria, as distinct from Iraq, was "complicated" and that he was not sure "how they would do that, perhaps using principles of self-defense or defending Iraq against other threats. I think we'll find out more about what the administration says about that after the UN General Assembly," he said.

Only in America. Only the White House gets to invent legal rationale for blatant crimes, with the law makers and enforcers prepared to accept the rationale before they hear it.

Prior to the U.N. meeting, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power wrote to the U.N. arguing that it is legal for the United States to attack Syria because it is legal for Iraq to defend itself. By this logic, if Canada experienced a violent rebellion, it would be legal for China to attack the United States.

It's fun to pretend that the rule of law doesn't matter to you because you have all the weapons. It's fun to take two-month vacations from Washington. Just don't count on everyone voting you back next year.

Syria News - Sep 26, 2014


PYD leader warns about Kobani genocide, asks the international community to arm YPG fighters or at least sell them weapons - BAS NEWS


YPG calls for airstrikes to protect Kobani, “Although IS heavy weapons are visible to everyone, they have not yet been targeted” - BAS NEWS


Text of the YPG press statement: if US coalition helps Kurds in Kobani they will provide intel on IS positions - Pieter Van Ostaeyen on Twitter


Besieged Kurds in Syria and Iraq see the United States' bombing campaign against the Islamic State as a good start, but not enough - foreignpolicy


Kurds say they pushed back Islamic State in northern Syria - Reuters


Islamic State Would Tighten Its Rule in Eastern Syria by Capturing Kobane - Businessweek


VIDEO: The Islamic State use heavy weapons to kill Kurdish fighters in Syria - YouTube


VIDEO: Kurd refugees in Turkey return to Syria to fight IS group - usatoday.com


President Barzani: Peshmerga didn’t have a Way to Enter Kobani - BAS NEWS


Turkey party leaders going to Kobani border to support the Kurds - ANF


Who’s Fighting IS? Kurdish Forces in the Regional Conflict - Bipartisan Policy Center


Woman uses hidden camera to expose life in Raqqa under Islamic State (VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


Militant in Syria beheading videos identified: FBI - Reuters


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Kurds see Turkey impeding Islamic State fight - AP


Turkey's Kurds Warn Ankara's Syria Policy Threatens Peace Process - VOA


Exclusive: PKK military commander threatens to resume war with Turkey - Al-Monitor


VIDEO: PYD Claims Erdogan Regime in Ankara is in Bed with Terrorist Groups in Syria - YouTube


Turkey deploys tanks on its borders to control refugees from Syria, hold back Kurds trying to go in the opposite direction to fight IS - Daily Mail


VIDEO: Turkish tanks cross the border under IS flag, into areas held by the terrorist group - ANF


Turkey mulls security zone along Syria border - Al-Monitor


Turkey Prevents Humanitarian Aid From Iraqi Kurds Reaching Kobani - freerepublic.com


VIDEO: Kurdistan Regional Government sends 12 aid trucks to Kobani - CİHAN


Thousands of IS members allegedly crossed border from Turkey a day before the attack on Kobani began - ANF


Erdoğan to discuss Turkish involvement in IS strikes with cabinet, official says it is “unlikely that Turkey, its airspace, or the Incirlik Air Base would be used by coalition forces” - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


VIDEO: Turkey’s President Erdogan statement at the U.N. - NYTimes.com


Obama calls President Erdoğan to discuss IS, Syria - Yahoo News


Turkey's possible role in anti-IS coalition dominates Erdoğan-Biden meeting - CİHAN


US embassy issues security warning for personnel in Turkey, warns Americans of risk of attacks in Turkey Eastern and Southeastern provinces near the borders with Syria and Iraq - Stripes


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U.S. says airstrikes have crippled most oil refineries seized by Islamic State in Syria - The Washington Post


VIDEO: In press briefing Pentagon says Syrian refinery airstrikes believed to be successful - Yahoo News


VIDEO: Airstrikes Target IS Oil Refineries - DoDNEWS


MAP: Location of the IS controlled oil refineries in eastern Syria hit by the US and its Arab allies - theguardian.com


Pentagon puts ISIS costs at $7M to $10M per day - TheHill


Pentagon: No evidence that airstrikes killed civilians despite reports - LA Times


U.S. Reassured Syria’s Assad in Back-Channel Message - Bloomberg


Assad exploits airstrikes to sweep through 40 villages - The Times


Syrian government says it's retaken key city Adra near Damascus - LA Times


Syrian rebel groups unite to fight IS, say the strikes must also hit Assad's forces - CNN.com


[The now sidelined] Supreme Military Council (SMC) condemns US-led strikes in Syria as only benefiting the regime - Charles Lister on Twitter


Syria: Suqur al-Sham of the Islamic Front condemns U.S. airstrikes - Aymenn J Al-Tamimi on Twitter


IF's Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawheed , Liwa al-Haq , Islamic Union (Non-IF) release statement against strikes in Syria - SyriaConflictMonitor on Twitter


US-backed Forqat 13 issues statement condemning US-led airstrikes as “aimed at weakening the revolution” in Syria - Charles Lister on Twitter


Key Aleppo FSA faction Jaish al-Mujahideen say strikes are “a conspiracy vs. the Syria revolution - Charles Lister on Twitter

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Going, going, gone, but let’s not forget him: Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder Leaves Office

By Dave Lindorff


Good riddance!


Eric Holder has announced that he is leaving his post of Attorney General, which he has sullied and degraded for six years.


A National Call: Save Civilian Education

SaveCivilianEducation.org

Signers listed at bottom

The militarization of our schoolsOver the last several decades, the Pentagon,conservative forces, and corporations have been systematically working to expand their presence in the K-12 learning environment and in public universities. The combined impact of the military, conservative think tanks and foundations,  and of corporatization of our public educational systems has eroded the basic democratic concept of civilian public education.   It is a trend that, if allowed to continue, will weaken the primacy of civilian rule and, ultimately, our country’s commitment to democratic ideals.

The signers of this statement believe it is urgent for all advocates of social justice, peace and the environment to recognize the dangerous nature of this problem and confront it with deliberate action.

THE THREAT TO CIVILIAN EDUCATION

The most aggressive outside effort to use the school system to teach an ideology with ominous long-term implications for society comes from the military establishment. Over the last two decades, with relatively little media coverage or public outcry, the Pentagon’s involvement in schools and students’ lives has grown exponentially. Now, for example:

  • Every school day, at least half a million high school students attend Junior ROTC classes to receive instruction from retired officers who are handpicked by the Pentagon to teach its own version of history and civics. These students are assigned “ranks” and conditioned to believe that military and civilian values are similar, with the implication that unquestioning obedience to authority is therefore a feature of good citizenship.
  • Armed forces academies are being established in some public schools (Chicago now has eight), where all students are given a heavy dose of military culture and values.
  • A network of military-related programs is spreading in hundreds of elementary and middle schools. Examples are the Young Marines and Starbase programs, and military programs that sneak into schools under the cloak of Science / Technology / Engineering / Math (STEM) education.
  • Military recruiters are trained to pursue “school ownership” as their goal (see: Army School Recruiting Program Handbook). Their frequent presence in classrooms, lunch areas and at assemblies has the effect of popularizing military values, soldiering and, ultimately, war.
  • Since 2001, federal law has overridden civilian school autonomy and family privacy when it comes to releasing student contact information to the military. Additionally, each year thousands of schools allow the military to administer its entrance exam — the ASVAB — to 10th-12th graders, allowing recruiters to bypass laws protecting parental rights and the privacy of minors and gain access to personal information on hundreds of thousands of students.

THE THREAT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

Efforts by groups outside the school system to inject conservatism and corporate values into the learning process have been going on for a number of years. In a recent example of right-wing educational intervention, The New York Times reported that tea party groups, using lesson plans and coloring books, have been pushing schools to “teach a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, where the federal government is a creeping and unwelcome presence in the lives of freedom-loving Americans.” (See:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/us/constitution-has-its-day-amid-a-struggle-for-its-spirit.html )

Corporations have been projecting their influence in schools with devices like Channel One, a closed-circuit TV program that broadcasts commercial content daily to captive student audiences in 8,000 schools. Some companies have succeeded in convincing schools to sign exclusive contracts for pizza, soft drinks and other products, with the goal of teaching early brand loyalty to children. A National Education Policy Center report issued in November 2011 documents the various ways in which business/school partnerships are harming children educationally by channeling student thinking “into a corporate-friendly track” and stunting their ability to think critically. (See: http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/schoolhouse-commercialism-2011 )

The development of this corporate-friendly track dovetails with a radical corporate agenda to dismantle America’s public education system. States across the country are slashing educational spending, outsourcing public teacher jobs, curbing collective-bargaining rights, and marginalizing teachers’ unions. There is a proliferation of charter and “cyber” schools that promote private sector involvement and a push toward for-profit schools where the compensation paid to private management companies is tied directly to student performance on standardized assessments.  The cumulative effect is the creation of institutions that cultivate a simplistic ideology that merges consumerism with subservience. (See: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/michigan-privatize-public-education )

The corporatization of education via charter schools and the administration sector growth at universities is another troubling trend for public education.  Diane Ravitch’s book Reign of Error ( http://www.npr.org/2013/09/27/225748846/diane-ravitch-rebukes-education-activists-reign-of-error ) and Henry A. Giroux’s newest book, Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education,  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22548-henry-giroux-beyond-neoliberal-miseducation ) give pointers to the doubtful role of corporate values in public education. 

Why is this happening?  Giroux notes that “Chris Hedges, the former New York Times correspondent, appeared on Democracy Now! in 2012 and told host Amy Goodman the federal government spends some $600 billion a year on education—“and the corporations want it.”

There are also some organizations supporting efforts to introduce history and civics lessons from a progressive perspective, such as the Howard Zinn Education Project (https://zinnedproject.org ) and Rethinking Schools ( http://www.rethinkingschools.org ). And a small movement is working against Channel One and the commercialization of the school environment (e.g., http://www.commercialalert.org/issues/education and ( http://www.obligation.org ).

STOPPING THESE THREATS

There is reason to be hopeful about reversing this trend if we look, for example, at some of the successes in grassroots efforts to curb militarism in schools. In 2009, a coalition of high school students, parents and teachers in the very conservative, military-dominated city of San Diego succeeded in getting their elected school board to shut down JROTC firing ranges at eleven high schools. Two years later, the same coalition got the school board to pass a policy significantly limiting military recruiting in all of its schools. Though such initiatives are relatively few in number, similar victories have been won in other school districts and on the state level in Hawaii and Maryland.

There are also some organizations supporting efforts to introduce history and civics lessons from a progressive perspective, such as the Zinn Education Project (www.zinnedproject.org) and Rethinking Schools (www.rethinkingschools.org). And a small movement is working against Channel One and the commercialization of the school environment (e.g., http://www.commercialalert.org/issues/education/ and http://www.obligation.org/ ).

As promising and effective as these efforts are, they pale in comparison to the massive scale of what groups on the other side of the political spectrum are proactively doing in the educational environment to preserve the influence of conservatism, militarism and corporate power.

It is time for progressive organizations, foundations and media to confront this and become equally involved in the educational system. It is especially important that more organizations unite to oppose the growing intrusion of the Pentagon in K-12 schools and universities. Restoring the primacy of critical thinking and democratic values in our culture cannot be done without stopping the militarization and corporate takeover of public education.

Michael Albert
Z Magazine

Pat Alviso
Southern California
Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)

Marc Becker
Co-chair,
Historians Against the War

Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor,
Rethinking Schools

Peter Bohmer
Faculty in political economy,
Evergreen State College

Bill Branson
VVAW National Office

Noam Chomsky
Professor, Retired, MIT

Michelle Cohen
Project Great Futures,
Los Angeles, CA

Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA Ambassador
of Peace, Naperville, IL

Pat Elder
National Coalition to
Protect Student Privacy

Margaret Flowers
Co-director,
It’s Our Economy 

Libby Frank
Northwest Suburban Peace
& Education Project,
Arlington Hts., IL

Hannah Frisch
Civilian Soldier
Alliance

Kathy Gilberd
National Lawyers Guild
Military Law Task Force

Henry Armand Giroux
Professor, McMaster
University

Frank Goetz
Director, West Surburban
Faith Based Peace Coalition,
Wheaton, Il

Tom Hayden
Activist, Author,
Teacher

Arlene Inouye
Treasurer, United Teachers
of Los Angeles

Iraq Veterans Against
the War (IVAW)
National Office,
New York City

Rick Jahnkow
Project on Youth and
Non-Military Opportunities,
Encinitas, CA

Jerry Lembcke
Emeritus Professor,
Holy Cross College

Jorge Mariscal
Professor, Univ. of
California San Diego

Patrick McCann
National VFP President,
Montgomery County (MD)
Education Association
Board Member

Stephen McNeil
American Friends
Service Committee
San Francisco

Carlos Muñoz
Professor Emeritus
UC Berkeley Ethnic
Studies Dept.

Michael Nagler
President, Metta Center
for Nonviolence

Jim O’Brien
Co-chair, Historians
Against the War

Isidro Ortiz
Professor, San Diego
State University

Jesus Palafox
American Friends Service
Committee, Chicago

Pablo Paredes
AFSC 67 Sueños

Michael Parenti, Ph.D.
Author & lecturer

Bill Scheurer
Executive Director
of On Earth Peace,
Stop Recruiting Kids
Campaign

Cindy Sheehan
Peace and Social
Justice Activist

Joanne Sheehan
New England Regional
War Resisters League

Mary Shesgreen
Chair, Fox Valley Citizens
for Peace & Justice,
Elgin, IL

Sam Smith
Fellowship of
Reconciliation,
Chicago

Kristin Stoneking
Executive Director
Fellowship of
Reconciliation USA

David Swanson
World Beyond War

Chris Venn
San Pedro Neighbors for
Peace & Justice,
San Pedro, CA

Veterans for Peace
National Office,
St. Louis, MO

Veterans for Peace
Chicago Chapter

Vietnam Veterans
Against the War
National Office,
Champaign, IL

Amy Wagner
YA-YA Network
(Youth Activists-Youth
Allies), New York City

Harvey Wasserman
Activist

West Suburban
Faith-based
PEACE Coalition
Wheaton, IL

Colonel Ann Wright,
Retired U.S. Army/
Army Reserves

Mickey Z.
Author of Occupy
this Book: Mickey Z.
on Activism

Kevin Zeese
Co-director,
It’s Our Economy

Open invitation to
additional
Endorsements

Save the Climate or Save Capitalism? | #FloodWallStreet Dispatch

Originally posted at AcronymTV

An exclusive Acronym TV dispatch from the Flood Wall Street day of action, featuring exclusive footage, analysis, and interviews with Adam Clayton Muller (Idle No More), Tim DeChristopher (Peaceful Uprising), Andy Bichlbaum (The Yes Men), Arun Gupta (Counterpunch), and Flood Wall Street organizer Goldi Guerra.

***
The positive momentum generated by the People’s Climate Parade spilled over into a massive direct action on Monday.

Talk Nation Radio: Dave Lindorff on Ukraine and Why This Can't Be Happening

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-dave-lindorff-on-ukraine-and-why-this-cant-be-happening

Award-winning investigative reporter Dave Lindorff has been raking the journalistic muck now for 40 years. A regular columnist for Counterpunch, he has also written for BusinessWeek, the Nation, Extra!, Treasury & Risk, and Rolling Stone. Lindorff is the founder of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

 

Is Ireland Backing the Bombing of Syria?

by Shannonwatch

 

On Sept 1st 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said “the invasion of Ukraine is against international law & must stop” (RTE News). He made no reference to role of NATO as one of the root causes of the Ukraine conflict.

 

oiljets-260x260On 22nd September 2014, the United States and its allies launched air strikes in Syria using warplanes, armed drones, and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

 

Syria News - Sep 24, 2014


Exclusive: United States defends the legality of Syria airstrikes in letter to U.N. chief - Reuters


Text of Samantha Power' letter to UN chief saying strikes in Syria are legal - NYTimes.com


UN chief welcomes airstrikes in Syria - Yahoo News


VIDEO: President Obama Delivers a Statement on Airstrikes in Syria - YouTube


Obama thanks Arab nations for joining Syria strikes - Yahoo News


Arab coalition behind Syria strikes is diplomatic coup - usatoday


Syrian rebels angry that strikes hit al Qaida ally but not Assad - McClatchy DC


Kurds welcome air strikes on Islamic State, curse Turkey's absence accusing it of supporting the Sunni Muslim terrorists - Reuters


U.S. Informed Syria Of Impending Airstrikes Against Islamic State Militants, Assad Backs All International Efforts To Fight Terrorism - Yahoo News


Exclusive: U.S. told Iran of intent to strike Islamic State in Syria - Reuters


Iran's President Rouhani: US-Led Coalition's Airstrikes Illegal, Should've Been OK'd by Syria - ABC News


Hezbollah leader opposes U.S.-led action in Syria - Yahoo News


Russia: airstrikes must be agreed with Syria or will fuel tension - Yahoo News


Turkey mulls military role against IS, but has so far not committed to the U.S.-led coalition - huffingtonpost.com


Again Erdogan asks UN for no-fly zone over Syria - yenisafak.com


PM Davutoğlu slams Kerry's remarks expressing concern over Turkey's willingness to help to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State - todayszaman.com


Turkey government to submit motions to Parliament seeking authorization to send troops to Iraq and Syria against possible security threats - todayszaman.com


Britain close to joining U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State - Reuters


France not to join U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State in Syria - Reuters


China says it supports international efforts to crack down on terrorism, sees parallels at home - VOA


Japan sides with U.S. over airstrikes in Syria, Kishida tells Kerry - The Japan Times


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

U.S. hit 8 bases tied to al Qaida affiliate in Syria, 14 belonging to Islamic State - McClatchy DC


U.S. Reports Significant Damage in Syria Strikes Against Buildings and Infrastructure Used for Command and Control by Jihadists - WSJ


VIDEO: Pentagon Briefing on Airstrikes in Syria - Bloomberg


MAP: Map of Airstrikes in Syria - Juliane Meyer on Twitter


These Are the Weapons the U.S. Is Using to Attack IS - TIME


Arab role in US coalition: Jordan: 4 F15s, Saudi/UAE: 4 F16s, Bahrain: 2 F16s, Qatar: 2 Mirage 2000s that did not drop ordinance - Jenan Moussa on Twitter


CENTCOM releases videos showing airstrikes on Islamic State facilities in Syria (VIDEOS) - Threat Matrix


VIDEO: Analyzing CENTCOM Gunsight Videos of the Precision Targeted Airstrikes in Syria - ABC News


VIDEO: US Navy launches Tomahawk missile strikes on IS targets - U.S. Navy on Twitter


Videos and Photographs Claim to Show Civilians Killed by US Led Air Strikes in Syria (VIDEOS) - bellingcat


The Kurdistan Regional Government calls on the US to expand its airstrikes to protect Kurds in the town of Kobani - BAS NEWS


US should bomb IS positions on the Kobani front: YPG - The Kurdistan Tribune


Kurdish PYD leader Salih Muslim holds Turkey responsible for fate of Kobani, says Turkey is not allowing reinforcements from the PKK across its borders - Al-Monitor


Kurdish PYD leader Salih Muslim informed me YPG were facing at least 50 IS tanks in the current offensive around Kobani - Michael Stephens on Twitter


Revealed: the Islamic State 'cabinet', from finance minister to suicide bomb deployer - Telegraph


Leadership of Free Syrian Army Dismissed by the Syrian National Coalition - Latin American Herald Tribune

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

ISIS, Weapons Makers, Thugs Benefit from This Crime

President Obama is bombing the opposite side in Syria from the side he swore we needed to attack one year ago, and those pleased by this declare that he is "doing something."

U.S. polls suggest that the same people recognize that this something will make the U.S. more likely to be attacked and nonetheless favor this action. This is unthinking fear produced by slick beheading videos for audiences too distracted to notice that the Iraqi government, Saudi government and numerous other U.S. friends and allies behead. And are we to imagine that when Obama kills a 16 year old American and the 6 kids near him his head remains intact? Should we pretend that the people being killed by U.S. missiles right now aren't losing their heads?

This action is illegal under the UN Charter, Kellogg-Briand Pact, and U.S. Constitution. This action is immoral as it fuels violence that needs to be reduced. This action is knowingly, maddeningly counterproductive, guaranteed to build hostility to the United States, which is already so hated that ISIS openly advocates for a U.S. attack on it. This action by this White House is what ISIS wants and what weapons makers want. It is not what the people of Syria or Iraq or the world want. It further shreds the rule of law while dumping gasoline on a fire of U.S. creation.

What's needed is, contrary to what your television suggests, not to "do nothing" or love beheadings. What's needed is an arms embargo. The U.S. ships 79% of the weapons shipped to the Middle East, not counting the weapons of the U.S. military. An arms embargo could be 79% successful with just one country participating, and others could certainly be brought to do so.

What's needed is actual aid on a massive scale, restitution to the people of the region for the crimes of the U.S. government. An aid program sufficient to make the United States beloved rather than hated would cost a lot less money than the missiles and bombs for which price seems to be no concern at all.

What's needed is diplomacy. The U.S. government is happy to talk with Syria or Iran or Russia when the object is war. Why can it not talk to them when the object is peace?

Our Constitutional scholar Nobel peace laureate no-dumb-wars end-the-mindset president will be protested today at the White House and at his appearance in New York, and should be protested everywhere he goes.

Congress members should not know a moment's peace, but should be taught that cowardice is not a campaign strategy. None who voted for weapons to Syria should be returned to Washington next year.

War as a first resort, as our biggest public program, as the be all and end all of U.S. foreign policy is a form of insanity that has no redeeming feature. War is our top destroyer of the natural environment, of the economy, of civil liberties, of self-governance, and of morality. This is a case of a doctor trying to cure the world while suffering from a deadly and highly infectious disease that in his own mind is the epitome of health.

You can't cure war fever with more war. You can only get to peace through peace.

Stop the bombing.

Syria/Iraq News - Sep 23, 2014


U.S. And Five Arab Countries Begin Airstrikes Against Islamic State In Syria, Pentagon Says - huffingtonpost.com


VIDEO: White House Press Briefing: Josh Earnest concerned about 'destabilizing impact' of Syrian refugees - YouTube


Kurds: We want the international community to impose an exclusion zone around Kobane to protect it from the IS militants - Rudaw


Peshmerga ministry cannot send forces to Syria, calls for airstrikes againt Islamic State: Jabar Yawar - Kurdpress News Aganecy


Syrian opposition urges airstrikes against Islamic State - THE DAILY STAR


130,000 Syrian refugees fleeing Islamic State seek refuge in Turkey - Fox News


VIDEO: Islamic State advance in Syria sparks 'refugee wave' in Turkey - YouTube


Öcalan calls for mass mobilisation against Islamic State’s attacks - ANF


PYD leader: "Kobane will only fall if everyone there is killed!” - Kurdish Question


As masses seek refuge in Turkey, Kurdish fighters rush back to Syria - CSMonitor.com


VIDEO: Hundreds of Kurds crossing Turkish border, going back to defend Kobane - YouTube


VIDEO: More PKK units arrive in Kobane - YouTube


As Europeans Flock to Syria and Iraq to Join the Islamic State, Some Kurds Make the Same Trip to Go Fight Them - VICE News


Syrian Kurds say they halted Islamic State advance near Kobane - The Guardian


Thousands protest IS's Kobane siege in Istanbul, show solidarity with Kurds - todayszaman.com


VIDEO: Thousands protest IS's Kobane siege in Istanbul, show solidarity with Kurds - CİHAN


Kurdish solidarity protest in front of United Nations to draw attention to the attacks by IS - ANF


Kurdish MPs from Turkey in Hunger Strike at UN for Kobane - Rudaw


EU Politicians Appeal for Military Aid to Syrian Kurds - Rudaw


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

Turkey Bars Kurds From Entering Syria to Fight Islamic State - Bloomberg


VIDEO: Clashes with Turkish troops at the border as Kurds flock to assist their brethren in Syria - euronews


VIDEO: Turkish soldiers demolish tents built by Kurdish refugees and fighters from Kobane - LiveLeak.com


People allegedly shot with live ammunition at Kobanê border - ANF


Turkey accused of colluding with Islamic State to oppose Syrian Kurds and Assad following surprise release of 49 hostages - independent.co.uk


Islamic State appears to have released Turkish hostages in exchange for key figures of the group - todayszaman.com


Erdoğan confirms bargaining with IS, allegedly 1,500 IS terrorists went by train to Syria via Turkey 3 days before the hostages were released - ANF


Islamic State: 'Turkey has indirectly recognised the Islamic State’ - ANF


Islamic State: 'Turkey fed us' - turkafile.com


Islamic State members wounded in Syria receive treatment in Turkey hospital originally established for the treatment of Islamic Front militants - ANF


Turkish nurse says she's tired of treating IS terrorists - LiveLeak.com


Is Turkey A Reliable Partner In The Fight Against ISIS? - THE ISIS STUDY GROUP


CIA stops spying on friendly nations in Europe, except Turkey - todayszaman.com


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

Islamic State spokesman al Adnani threatens the anti-IS coalition in new speech - Threat Matrix


VIDEO (Arabic): Islamic State Spoksman al Adnani Sends a Message to the World - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT (English): Islamic State spokesman' new speech - ia601400.us.archive.org


Islamic State Spokesman: “We do not fight Kurds because they are Kurds. Rather we fight the disbelievers among them” - BAS NEWS


Sources: IS allegedly executes group’s Kurdish members for refusing to join the military campaign - Rudaw


IS Allegedly Kills 300 Iraqi Troops with Chlorine Gas - teleSUR


VIDEO (Arabic): Islamic State allegedly kills 300 Iraqi soldiers in chlorine gas attack - lbcgroup.tv


Iraq said to foil Islamic State chemical attack - The Times of Israel


14 IS militants killed as their chlorine gas rocket explodes - Business Standard News


Disguised Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops, capture scores - AP


Oil-rich Kirkuk in Iraq's north fears attack by Islamic State - LA Times


US airstrikes in Iraq expand to Kirkuk area - Threat Matrix


VIDEO: IS recruiting children to join its force - Al Jazeera


PHOTO: Post is very disturbing !!! Pic shows IS making CHILDREN behead people - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Stop the Bombing: Bravery in an Evil Cause Is Evil

By David Swanson

There will be a protest of the new war at 10 a.m. Tuesday in front of the White House. Some thoughts on the context of this latest decision to bomb yet another country are below.

Following a screening of Phil Donahue's film Body of War in Washington, D.C., on Monday, during which the United States began illegally bombing Syria, Donahue engaged in an interesting exchange with one of those audience members who asks a question and a dozen follow-up questions.

Donahue had belittled drone pilots as sitting at desks with cups of coffee. This member of the audience shouted out that that was unfair, that drone pilots were often engaged in perfectly legitimate murders, and that drone pilots were serving their country just the same as the U.S. Army veteran who is the focus of the film.

The film and its director treat this Army veteran as having honorably served a worthy cause even while describing the war as unjustified and a horrible decision. So, if a ground troop in an immoral illegal war is to be thanked and honored, not just respected and sympathized with, why not thank and honor drone pilots?

Donahue's response to this sort of logic was that the drone pilot is less brave.

At the end of an exchange on that theme, Donahue reached a conclusion that ranked various types of troops based on their levels of bravery, and possibly also of suffering. That last point ran into trouble, as the questioner pointed out the PTSD rates among drone pilots who do in fact sometimes see their victims more than do troops who are physically closer to the action.

But bravery remained standing at the end of the discussion as a contributor to the level of morality.

In my view, this is madness, as Bill Maher lost his job for pointing out. Nobody was braver or more immoral than the 911 terrorists. Bravery in a good cause is admirable. Bravery in an indifferent cause is aesthetically nice, but morally indifferent. And bravery in an evil cause is evil. I made this case to Donahue after the event, and he said that he actually agreed with me.

The idea that bravery redeems participation in evil is war-thinking. Participation in evil can be understood and sympathized with but not redeemed.

Another audience member on Monday evening pointed out something useful about U.S. polling: Americans believe that bombing Syria will make attacks on the United States more likely (indeed, experts agree and history seems to solidly confirm it) and at the very same time, Americans believe that Syria should be bombed.

A willingness to endanger one's self and family and neighbors and millions of people in order to be tough is an irrational and apparently macho position.

This culture of machismo is not without humanity, but that humanity is horribly misinformed. We're not told by the big corporate media about the 95% of deaths in U.S. wars that are the deaths of non-Americans. 

The brilliant Peter Kuznick pointed out at Monday's event that as states require women to watch movies about fetuses before having abortions, they could require people to watch Body of War before wars.  I wish they would. It's a powerful movie. But there's been no Ludlow Amendment and people don't get to vote on wars. And we're now being sold a war on the claim that it won't kill Americans.  If we don't acquire the knowledge that wars also kill non-Americans and that non-Americans matter, we'll be susceptible to manipulation into the idea that a war is a character choice, a matter of expressing and demonstrating bravery.

Following discussion of the film on Monday, we heard stories of bravery in noble causes from five whistleblowers who had put their lives and welfare at risk to advance peace, justice, public safety, the rule of law, and honest government. Their names are Jesselyn Radack, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Thomas Drake, William Binney, and Kirk Wiebe. They talked about morality, not machismo. Here's video of them in Baltimore on Sunday.

A sixth speaker on the topic of speaking out was Phil Donahue, who lost his job at MSNBC for dissenting from war fever in 2003. He heartily denounced the dishonesty and sycophancy of corporate media on Monday. He also came back to the topic of bravery, rightly pointing to the five panelists next to him as the highest examples of moral courage.

Now there's a useful phrase:moral courage. Let's celebrate only that kind.

I spoke at an event Monday morning at American U. at which I asked people to raise their hands if they thought war was good for us and character building, or if they thought some wars were necessary, or if they thought all war was unjustified. The crowd was roughly evenly split between the last two choices. Not a single person accepted the notion (popular 100 years back) that war is good for us. But this unscientific poll was conducted in a room of peace studies students and opponents of war. What would the whole U.S. public say?

After the event I spoke with Medea Benjamin about the just-begun bombing campaign, and she remarked, "This is exactly what ISIL wants. They're trying to get the U.S. involved in a war. There are already U.S. troops in combat and this will mean more. We shouldn't fall into the trap of another immoral and unwinnable war."

Medea and I will be protesting this new war at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in front of the White House along with National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.  We encourage you to join us or to demonstrate locally. Your Congress members and Senators have fled Washington in order to pretend the blood is not on their hands. Take your message of peace to them where they can be found.

ISIS: Bush Was Right

Finally, somebody commenting on the state of Iraq thinks George W. Bush got something right. Turns out it's ISIS. In the new hour-long ISIS-produced film about how nice it is to die for ISIS -- Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun -- Bush is quoted: "You are with us or against us." Video shows him saying "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." A graphic in the upper corner of the screen reads: "Bush spoke the truth, although he's a liar."

What truth does ISIS think Bush spoke? The Manichean truth that there are two groups of people on earth with nothing in common between them and a shared dedication to annihilate each other. Of course, the notion that they have nothing in common is delusional. They have almost everything in common: their belief in violence, their monotheism, their stupidity, their desire for a U.S. war in the Middle East.

"In the face of the dark wave of the crusader force..." begins the ISIS movie.

"This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while," said Bush.

ISIS shows Obama as well as Bush and denounces both as liars, including rejecting Obama's lie that he won't send combat troops to Iraq. As even a number of U.S. Senators and Congress Members have pointed out, the 1600 troops he's already sent are trained and equipped for nothing other than combat, and a pilot in a plane is engaged in combat. 

But ISIS wants more.  This film is not aimed at provoking the United States the way the beheading films were. It's far too long and boring for Americans to watch.

(Why did ISIS make a full-length movie? Because they couldn't find an editor.)

This film is aimed at recruiting fighters. ISIS claims to be fighting the United States, to have long been the core of the resistance to the United States, and to be defeating troops armed with U.S. weapons. (ISIS never mentions that its own "beloved" weapons come from various infidels, including the U.S.) Here's the ISIS pitch to recruits:

Join us in fighting the evil empire. If you die you'll go to paradise. The afterlife is far longer and more important than this life. "Unshakable faith" is the "most effective weapon of war." Come join "Allah's soldiers" and experience courage, excitement, vengeance, adrenaline, the thrill of victory, and martyrdom. Never mind that our movie is so boring, the fighting is really fun, and Allah is guiding our RPGs!

Of course, ISIS is mistaken. God does not have time to be guiding their RPGs when he's busy making sure the football team that prays the loudest wins each game. And of course Obama has told us that "No religion condones the killing of innocents," forgetting that all the religions of Moses contain this teaching: "Kill every male among the little ones and Kill every woman that has known man by lying with him. But all the women children that have not known a man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves" -- forgetting in fact that all of these religions have violent and peaceful traditions but venerate as holy ancient texts from a barbaric age and teach as essential the idea that there is another magical world that matters more than this one whose climate we are destroying. Sing it, soldiers!

Here's the ISIS pitch to the U.S. government:

We will accept only victory or death, just like Patrick Henry, and we will fight you. Fighting you builds our movement because people hate you so much after the past decades of your attacks. We have no doubt that you are stupid enough to fight us if we keep insulting you.

Here's their pitch to opponents:

Oppose us, and we will make you dig your own grave on camera, because we are so courageous and brave that we wear masks to hide out faces and shoot anybody we don't know how to talk to.

Here's their pitch to Hollywood:

We've got dramatic potential. Sure, make us the bad guys, but put us on the silver screen. We're not as slick and convincing as a White House video news release aired by an "independent" media outlet, but we're way more dramatic. We only have a narrator, no actual characters, but we're still more entertaining than C-Span, and the weapons makers are going to absolutely love us -- just check with them about funding. Then die, you faithless dogs.

Turn Left for Earth

I appreciate that there's more happening than just a march for the climate today on the International Day of Peace, and I get the idea that keeping the safe and obedient march-to-nowhere separate from protests actually at the United Nations where our corporate overlords are determining the rate of the earth's demise is intended to please all of the people some of the time, but I can't help wishing that the march would just turn left instead of right when it reaches 42nd Street, in order to march to the United Nations rather than to nowhere.

This is not a radical idea. A nonviolent protest march expressing popular opinion should be allowed to march to the place it is protesting. The idea that insisting on that constitutes something radical or extremist bewilders me. The New York Times refers to "protest or terror groups" as a category of people, but has a protest group ever engaged in terrorizing and has a terrorist ever joined a protest? Would protesting the United Nations at the United Nations somehow be an act of violence, perhaps purely because it would be an act of disobedience? You've got to be kidding me.

I'm in favor of mixed-use protests, not just urban developments. Don't just let the conservative marchers know about opportunities for more direct protest, but get them involved. Take a safe march to a resistance action, where its size will keep it safe and its members will be energized. Let the crowd demonstrate within sight and sound of the people it is petitioning for a redress of grievances, and let those who are ready join in disruptive protest actions.

Of course turning left in order to go where needed makes a nice metaphor for what our whole culture must do if it is to cease destroying the earth's climate. Paul Krugman figured out this week that green energy pays for itself, but he seems to imagine that therefore it will be created, as if the corrupting influence of the fossil fuel profiteers just doesn't exist. We need to turn so far left that we abandon such naiveté, stop yammering about transition fuels, abandon all talk of "peak oil" as if existing oil isn't sufficient to kill us all, and forswear all pointless pursuit of the political "center."

Naomi Klein's new book does a much better job of identifying the corrupting influence of profiteers. She also points out that the sooner we act to slow down climate change the less radical our actions will need to be. The longer we wait to take meaningful action, the more drastic our actions will have to be when we finally do something. Green energy, Klein's book makes clear for anyone who was unaware, is not failing in a marketplace. It is being killed by political corruption, loan conditions, corporate trade agreements, penalties and disincentives, and the subsidies given to the fossil fuel corporations.

Klein notes that activist movements around trade and climate have, oddly, progressed while virtually ignoring each other. Klein comes closer than most environmentalists to not ignoring another big question, that of war. The military is the elephant in the room in terms of both economics and climate destruction, but is largely ignored by activists and the broader public.

In a common delusion, the government tells the truth about war, and war is worth giving up freedoms for, but scientists lie about the climate and do so in order to (somehow) attack our freedoms. In other words, the fears of bureaucrats and of limits to plutocracy are strong but perhaps not as strong as the fear of terrorists. And the fear of bureaucrats is augmented by a fear of being insignificant, because when nuclear energy or geo-engineering is proposed as a solution, those who like those ideas also see their recognition of the climate crisis increase.

When Klein mentions the military, she first proposes that the weapons companies pay their fair share toward climate protection, and then proposes (along with a bunch of other good ideas) cutting the military by 25% -- while calling that proposal "the toughest sell." The U.S. military budget has doubled in the past decade. The idea that it can't be seriously cut is ridiculous. It is not a question of selling the idea to the public. Go back and look at the public's preferred solutions to the supposed financial crisis in Congress a few years back. The problem is in the corruption of the U.S. government.

Elsewhere Klein says that large public sector expenditures will be needed to save the climate, but surely not as large as the military. So why talk about increasing, rather than changing, expenditures? And then again, elsewhere, Klein says what we need is "wartime levels of spending," even though base military spending is about 10 times as much as war spending. Klein also cites a study suggesting that $1.9 trillion a year, or exactly what the planet now spends on war preparations, would solve the climate and various other crises and human needs.

Congress members have skipped town in order to avoid voting on war. You can find them in their districts. November 6th will be the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The two movements named in this holiday should be combined and our actions should escalate. A slight left turn won't be enough to save us.

Ten Acres & A Yard Tractor: Plowing Under The Great Kansas Corpone Revolution

By Michael Caddell


North Jefferson County, Kansas -- The Sept. 6, 2014 Kansas State Fair debates in Hutchinson, with a maximum arena crowd of 2500, had satellite trucks linked to MSNBC, CNN and reporters from as far away as New York. Certainly proof something was happening in Kansas, but for too many in the state that “something” remains unknown.


House Bans War Powers Resolution Actions

The U.S. House of Representatives has not just left town, but prior to leaving passed a rule preventing any member from using the War Powers Resolution to force Congress to return and vote on war.

Here's a video of Congressman Jim McGovern denouncing the rule (or read the transcript here):

If you watch the video, following Rep. McGovern's remarks two of his colleagues run their mouths. The first is Congressman Pete Sessions nonsensically replying to McGovern. The second is Congresswoman Virginia Foxx on an unrelated topic. If you jump ahead to 10:25 McGovern replies to Sessions. It's well worth watching.

In addition, Congressman McGovern and five other Democrats and six Republicans have asked Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote on war. Here's their letter: PDF.

Syria News - Sep 20, 2014


In major assault Islamic State fighters seize Kurdish villages in Syria, attacking with U.S. tanks and heavy weapons captured in Mosul - VOA


Syrian Kurd forces withdraw from around 60 villages: monitor - THE DAILY STAR


The northern Syrian city of Kobane under heavy siege by Islamic State militants for the third consecutive day (VIDEOS) - The Long War Journal


Kurds warn of genocide in key city Kobane under siege - The Times


Thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing Islamic State group cross into Turkey - AP


An Exclusive Interview with Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem About Ongoing Islamic State Attacks - Kurdish Question


Kurdish PYD leader Muslim: Whoever is going to do something for Kobane must do it now - ekurd


Kurds call for US air strikes, ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city Kobane under Islamic State siege - The Independent


As Global Efforts Galvanize in Iraq, Syrian Kurds Left Alone Against IS - Rudaw


PKK Appeals to Kurds in Turkey to Fight for Kobane - Rudaw


Kurdish President Barzani: 'Use Every Means' to Protect City of Kobane - NBC News.com


VIDEO: 1000s of Syrians attempt to escape to Turkey amid Islamic State attacks - PressTV


PHOTOS: Islamic State wave of terror drives thousands of frightened Kurdish families over Turkish border - Daily Mail


VIDEO: Tension and tear gas as Turkey deals with Kurdish refugee crisis - Reuters


VIDEO: Kurdish YPG fighters vs Islamic State Terrorists in Kobane - YouTube


VIDEO: Latest video from Kobane, Kurdish YPG fighting Islamic State - LiveLeak.com


VIDEO: IS under heavy attack by YPG at night in Kobane - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Republicans, Democrats, War and Corporate Profits

            In 1969, at the height of the U.S. war against Vietnam, Edwin Starr recorded a song called ‘War’, that reached number one on the charts. Among the lyrics are these:

War: What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!

            Much as one would like to believe these simple lyrics, there are facts that belie them. In a report from the Financial Times from March of 2013, it is stated that private contractors earned at least a whopping $139 billion dollars from the U.S. war against Iraq up to that time, and that total is ever increasing. Kellogg, Brown and Root, a former subsidiary of Haliburton, the company once run by former Vice President Dick Cheney, the architect of this war, earned nearly $40 billion.

Killed by Congressional Cowardice

We tend to think of war as resulting from an excess of aggression or disorderliness or rebellion. Western academics hunt in the genes of foreigners and study chimpanzees to find the root of the nastiness.

But one would be hard press to count the number of people who have lost their lives to an excess of cowardice in the halls of the United States Congress. "This chamber reeks of blood," said Senator George McGovern, who would have been shocked anew this week.

On Constitution Day, the House of Representatives -- followed the next day by the Senate -- decided to put off until after the next U.S. elections in November any possible consideration of the new U.S. war already underway in Iraq and Syria, but voted in the meantime to approve of shipping weapons over to Syria to fuel the violence.

Here's a website that tells you how your Representative and Senators voted and lets you send them an appropriate message with one click.

Said Congressman Jim McDermott, who voted No: "This amendment, which is valid only through early December, serves as nothing more than a faux authorization designed to get Congress through the election season.  Moreover, it addresses only one aspect of the strategy the President outlined last week.  That is not a responsible way to conduct public policy."

So, the President announced a three-year war, based on no timetable anyone has produced other than that of U.S. presidential elections. And Congress declared that it would consider looking into the matter after the next Congressional election.  But it's not as if we don't all know that they are allowing the war to go on and worsen each and every day. Numerous Congress members denounce Congress for what they themselves call a shameful act of cowardice. But which of them are protesting their "leadership"? Which of them are moving a discharge petition to force a vote? Which of them are using the War Powers Resolution to compel a vote regardless of what the "leadership" wants?

Back on the 25th of July the House overwhelmingly passed the McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution which required the President to seek Congressional authorization before sending troops to Iraq. The President went ahead and ignored that. Will Congress cut off the funding? Censure? Impeach? Nope. Congress voted to approve weapons and training for Syrians who are closely allied with the forces Obama is already waging an air and ground war against in Iraq.

Senator Tim Kaine had been leading the charge to demand that Congress vote before any new war. (As noted, the House did, and the Senate did not follow suit.) Now Kaine says a discussion of that following the U.S. Congressional elections will be sufficient. Until then, the United States will fuel the violence on both sides of a complex war, while repeating incessantly "There is no military solution" and deploying the military and military weaponry in a counterproductive effort to find a solution.

Remarked Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who voted No on weapons to Syria: "The consequences of this vote will be a further expansion of a war currently taking place and our further involvement in a sectarian war. . . . What is missing from this debate is the political, economic, diplomatic and regionally-led solutions that will ultimately be the tools for security in the region and for any potential future threats to the United States."

Also missing was an organized opposition. Republicans voted yes and no, as did Democrats, as did the so-called Progressive Caucus, as did the Black Caucus. These people need to hear the message that cowardice is not a campaign strategy. They must be confronted with the demand that they stop this war, just as they were a year ago, when scary ISIS videos weren't manipulating Americans into once again doing the bidding of terrorists who gain strength from U.S. attacks.  A year ago we spoke up. We confronted Congress members at town hall meetings. We stopped them.

Now they've literally cut and run. They're taking a two-month vacation in order to pretend they have nothing to do with the escalating violence. They need to hear from us in person. But we can start by sending them a note to let them know what we think.

Remember, their duty is not to vote approval for a new war, which will then somehow make everything OK. Their duty is to uphold the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the U.N. Charter, the wisdom of most of the world, the lessons of the past decade, and basic common decency by stopping the war.

Last Days in Vietnam in Norfolk

Wednesday, Oct 15 at 7:15pm at Naro Cinema in Norfolk VA

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LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM  Award-winning independent filmmaker Rory Kennedy’s new film chronicles a story few of us have heard before. During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The prospect of an official evacuation of the remaining Americans and their South Vietnamese allies becomes hopelessly delayed by Congressional gridlock and a delusional U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. (98 mins)
 

David Swanson will return to speak at the Naro from his home in Charlottesville. He is a nationally renowned journalist, teacher, peace activist, and author of War Is A Lie, When The World Outlawed War, and War No More: The Case For Abolition.

 

Visit http://narocinema.com

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