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

By Alfredo Lopez and Jackie Smith


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

The Sacrifice of an American Gladiator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total run time: 29:00

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Tomgram: William Astore, The End of Air Power?

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

By John Grant


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

Focus: Russia - June 21, 2016

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

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

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

US Nato general fears rapid Russian troop deployments - BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

European ministers wrestle with future of Russia sanctions - WSJ

Likely sanctions renewal on Russia welcomed by US allies -

US senators press EU to renew Russian sanctions -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Prefacing remarks: My dealer writes to thank me

for letting them fix the airbag on my Suby Outback.

Apparently I was driving my car for many years with

a defective airbag that was a potentially lethal weapon.

A Critique of Human Society since the Neolithic Revolution

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

Syria News - June 19, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why the Islamic State Is Weaker Than It Seems - Stratfor

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Dave Lindorff


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

Focus: Russia - June 18, 2016

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

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

Russian economy overcomes recession: Putin - RT Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western leaders, CEOs visit Russia amid sanctions fatigue - AP

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gorbachev Disagrees With Obama on Nukes

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

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

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

Unreported Mass Killing Leaves Thousands Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Linn Washington, Jr.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orlando Killer's Secret Shared by Other Terrorists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

POLL: Saudis strongly prefer Clinton over Trump - Arutz Sheva

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

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

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

RADIO: Interview with Roger Stone on Huma Abedin -  Breitbart

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia and weapons manufactures -

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

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

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

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


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

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

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

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

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Tick... Tick... Tick...

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

Talking About Forgiveness

By David Swanson

An atheist's sermon on Luke 7: 36-50 delivered at Saint Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 12, 2016.

Forgiveness is a universal need, among those of us who are not religious and among believers in every religion on earth. We must forgive each other our differences, and we must forgive much more difficult occurrences.

Some things we can forgive easily -- by which, of course, I mean eliminating resentment from our hearts, not granting an eternal reward. If someone kissed my feet and poured oil on them and begged me to forgive her, frankly, I would have a harder time forgiving the kisses and oil than forgiving her a life of prostitution -- which is, after all, not an act of cruelty toward me but the violation of a taboo into which she was likely compelled by hardship.

But to forgive men who were torturing and killing me on a cross? That I would be very unlikely to succeed at, especially as my nearing end -- in the absence of a crowd to influence -- might convince me of the pointlessness of making my last thought a magnanimous one. As long as I live, however, I intend to work on forgiveness.

If our culture truly developed the habit of forgiveness, it would dramatically improve our personal lives. It would also make wars impossible, which would further dramatically improve our personal lives. I think we have to forgive both those who we think have wronged us personally, and those whom our government has told us to hate, both at home and abroad.

I suspect I could find well over 100 million Christians in the United States who do not hate the men who crucified Jesus, but who do hate and would be highly offended at the idea of forgiving Adolf Hitler.

When John Kerry says that Bashar al Assad is Hitler, does that help you feel forgiving toward Assad? When Hillary Clinton says that Vladimir Putin is Hitler, does that help you relate to Putin as a human being? When ISIS cuts a man's throat with a knife, does your culture expect of you forgiveness or vengeance?

Forgiveness is not the only approach one can take to curing war fever, and not the one I usually try.

Usually the case that's made for a war involves specific lies that can be exposed, such as lies about who used chemical weapons in Syria or who shot down an airplane in Ukraine.

Usually there is a great deal of hypocrisy one can point to. Was Assad already Hitler when he was torturing people for the CIA, or did he become Hitler by defying the U.S. government? Was Putin already Hitler before he refused to join in the 2003 attack on Iraq? If a particular ruler who has fallen out of favor is Hitler, what about all the brutal dictators whom the United States is arming and supporting? Are they all Hitler too?

Usually there is aggression by the United States that can be pointed to. The U.S. has aimed to overthrow the Syrian government for years and avoided negotiations for the nonviolent removal of Assad in favor of a violent overthrow believed to be imminent year after year. The U.S. has pulled out of arms reduction treaties with Russia, expanded NATO to its border, facilitated a coup in Ukraine, launched war games along the Russian border, put ships in the Black and Baltic Seas, moved more nukes into Europe, begun talking about smaller, more "usable" nukes, and set up missile bases in Romania and (under construction) in Poland. Imagine if Russia had done these things in North America.

Usually one can point out that no matter how evil a foreign ruler is, a war will kill large numbers of people unfortunate enough to be ruled by him -- people who are innocent of his crimes.

But what if we tried the approach of forgiveness? Can one forgive ISIS its horrors? And would doing so result in free reign for more such horrors, or in their reduction or elimination?

The first question is easy. Yes, you can forgive ISIS its horrors. At least some people can. I feel no hatred toward ISIS. There are people who lost loved ones on 9/11 who quickly began advocating against any vengeful war. There are people who've lost loved ones to small-scale murder and opposed cruel punishment of the guilty party, even coming to know and care for the murderer. There are cultures that treat injustice as something in need of reconciliation rather than retribution.

Of course, the fact that others can do it doesn't mean that you can or should do it. But it's worth recognizing how right were those family members of 9/11 victims who opposed war. Now several hundred times as many people have been killed, and the hatred toward the United States that contributed to 9/11 has been multiplied accordingly. A global war on terrorism has predictably and indisputably increased terrorism.

If we take a deep breath and think seriously, we can also recognize that the resentment that calls out for forgiveness is not rational. Toddlers with guns kill more people in the United States than do foreign terrorists. But we don't hate toddlers. We don't bomb toddlers and whoever's near them. We don't think of toddlers as inherently evil or backward or belonging to the wrong religion. We forgive them instantly, without struggle. It's not their fault the guns were left lying around.

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

Do they? Remember, Jesus said they did not. He said, forgive them for they know not what they do. How could they possibly know what they are doing when they do things like what they have done?

When U.S. officials retire and quickly blurt out that U.S. efforts are creating more enemies than they are killing, it becomes clear that attacking ISIS is counterproductive. It also becomes clear that at least some people engaged in it know that. But they also know what advances their careers, what provides for their families, what pleases their associates, and what benefits a certain sector of the U.S. economy. And they can always hold out hope that perhaps the next war will be the one that finally works. Do they really know what they do? How could they?

When President Obama sent a missile from a drone to blow up an American boy from Colorado named Abdulrahman al Awlaki, one should not imagine that his head or the heads of those seated too close to him remained on their bodies. That this boy wasn't killed with a knife shouldn't make his killing any more or less forgivable. We should desire no revenge against Barack Obama or John Brennan. But we should not limit our outraged demand for truth, restorative justice, and the replacement of murderous with peaceful public policies.

A U.S. Air Force officer recently said that a tool that would allow dropping food accurately to starving people in Syria would not be used for such a purely humanitarian operation because it costs $60,000. Yet the U.S. military is blowing through tens of billions of dollars on killing people there, and hundreds of billions of dollars every year on maintaining the ability to do the same all over the world. We've got CIA-trained troops in Syria fighting Pentagon-trained troops in Syria, and -- as a matter of principle -- we can't spend money on preventing starvation.

Imagine living in Iraq or Syria and reading that. Imagine reading the comments of Congress members who support militarism because it supposedly provides jobs. Imagine living under a constantly buzzing drone in Yemen, no longer allowing your children to go to school or to go outside the house at all.

Now imagine forgiving the United States government. Imagine bringing yourself to see what looks like massive evil as in fact bureaucratic mishaps, systemic momentum, partisan blindness, and manufactured unawareness. Could you, as an Iraqi, forgive? I've seen Iraqis do it.

We in the United States can forgive the Pentagon. Can we forgive ISIS? And if not, why not? Can we forgive Saudis who look and sound like, and who support, ISIS, but who our televisions tell us are good loyal allies? If so, is it because we haven't seen Saudi victims of beheading or because of what those victims look like? If not, is it because of what Saudis look like?

If forgiveness came naturally to us, if we could do it immediately for ISIS, and therefore instantly for the neighbor who makes too much noise or votes for the wrong candidate, then marketing campaigns for wars would not work. Neither would campaigns to pack more Americans into prisons.

Forgiveness would not eliminate conflict, but it would render conflicts civil and nonviolent -- exactly what the peace movement of the 1920s had in mind when it moved Frank Kellogg of St. Paul, Minnesota, to create the treaty that bans all war.

This afternoon at 2 p.m. we are going to be dedicating a peace pole here on the grounds of this church. With permanent war ever present in our culture, we badly need such physical reminders of peace. We need peace in ourselves and in our families. But we need to be wary of the attitude taken by a school board member in Virginia who said he'd support a celebration of peace as long as everyone understood he wasn't opposing any wars. We need reminders that peace begins with the abolition of war. I hope you'll join us.

NEWS FLASH!: With 5 Million Votes Still Uncounted in the Democratic Primary, Sanders Could Still Win California!

By Dave Lindorff


FLASH! The Los Angeles Times, actually a Hillary Clinton backer, reports that not 3.6 million votes, as reported on election night, but 8 million votes were actually cast in the California Democratic primary -- a turnout of 47%. According to the Times article, the Secretary of State of California, Alex Padilla, concedes that 2.5 million of those votes, mostly mail-in ballots from young people and hispanic voters, both backers of Sanders, have been counted, and another 2 million have yet to be counted by local county officials.

"Modern Warfare Destroys Your Brain" in More Ways Than One

The most likely way to die in a U.S. war, by far, is to live in the country that the United States is attacking. But the most likely way in which a U.S. participant in a war will die is by suicide.

There are a couple of widely observed top causes of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returning from recent wars deeply disturbed in their minds. One is having been near an explosion. Another, which has been around longer than explosions have, is having killed, having nearly died, having seen blood and gore and suffering, having imposed death and suffering on innocents, having seen comrades die in agony, exacerbated in many cases by having lost faith in the sales pitch that launched the war -- in other words, the horror of war making.

The first of those two causes might be called traumatic brain injury, the other mental anguish or moral injury. But, in fact, both are physical events in a brain. And, in fact, both impact thoughts and emotions.  That scientists have a hard time observing moral injury in brains is a shortcoming of scientists that ought not to start us imagining that mental activity isn't physical or that physical brain activity isn't mental (and therefore that one is serious, while the other is sort of silly).

Here's a New York Times headline from Friday: "What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological?" The article that follows the headline seems to mean by this question two things:

1) What if by focusing on troops having been near explosions we are able to distract attention away from the suffering induced by conditioning thinking human beings to mindlessly commit horrific acts?

2) What if having been near explosions impacts brains in a way that scientists happen to have figured out how to observe in a brain?

The answer to number 1 should be: We are not going to limit our brains to the New York Times as a source of information. Based on recent experience, including acts the Times has apologized for or retracted, that would be a sure way to create more modern warfare, thereby destroying more brains, risking a vicious cycle of war and destruction.

The answer to number 2 should be: Did you think the damage wasn't real because scientists hadn't found it in their microscopes yet? Did you think it was literally in soldiers' hearts? Did you think it was floating in the non-physical ether somewhere? Here's the New York Times:

"Perl's findings, published in the scientific journal The Lancet Neurology, may represent the key to a medical mystery first glimpsed a century ago in the trenches of World War I. It was first known as shell shock, then combat fatigue and finally PTSD, and in each case, it was almost universally understood as a psychic rather than a physical affliction. Only in the past decade or so did an elite group of neurologists, physicists and senior officers begin pushing back at a military leadership that had long told recruits with these wounds to 'deal with it,' fed them pills and sent them back into battle."

So, if the combination of afflictions that soldiers suffered from could not be observed by a neurologist, then they were all faking? They were suffering depression and panic attacks and nightmares in order to trick us? Or the wounds were real but necessarily minor, something to be "dealt with"? And -- importantly, there is a second implication here -- if the injury arose not from an explosion but from having stabbed to death a poor kid drafted into a different army, then it was not worthy of any concern important enough to outweigh the desirability of ignoring such matters.

Here's the New York Times in its own words: "Much of what has passed for emotional trauma may be reinterpreted, and many veterans may step forward to demand recognition of an injury that cannot be definitively diagnosed until after death. There will be calls for more research, for drug trials, for better helmets and for expanded veteran care. But these palliatives are unlikely to erase the crude message that lurks, unavoidable, behind Perl's discovery: Modern warfare destroys your brain."

Apparently the collective brain power of those of us who haven't joined the military suffers as well. Here we are faced with the understanding -- slanted and constrained though it may be -- that warfare destroys your brain; and yet we are meant to suppose that the only possible consequences of that realization are outcries for better medical care, better helmets, etc.

Allow me to suggest one other proposal: ending all warfare.

After Keystone XL: TransCanada Building North American Fracked Gas Pipeline Empire

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Though President Barack Obama and his State Department nixed the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in November, the Canadian pipeline company giant has continued the fight in a federal lawsuit in Houston,  claiming the Obama Administration does not have the authority to deny a presidential pipeline permit on the basis claimed that he did.

Emails: US Senator Turned Exxon Lobbyist Limits Access to Public University-Based Archives

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Emails and documents obtained from Oklahoma State University (OSU) under the state's open records law depict an arrangement in which former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) donated his U.S. Senate papers to OSU, a public university, but still maintains full control of the papers and who gets permission to view them. 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Fox in Hen House: Online Auctions For Public Lands Oil and Gas Bids May Be Industry-Owned, Run

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

If the recent past serves as prologue, then online leasing of oil and gas on U.S. federal lands may resemble the proverbial fox guarding the hen house, with one eBay-like company in particular standing to profiteer from the industry's proposed e-bidding scheme.

Image Credit: Willis Nowell | Flickr

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