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City to Vote on Resolution Opposing Trump's Budget

Charlottesville, Va., City Council has on its agenda for Monday, March 20th, a vote on a resolution opposing President Donald Trump's proposal to shift $54 billion from human and environmental needs to military spending. The resolution calls on Congress to shift funds in the opposite direction.

The resolution is endorsed by Charlottesville Veterans For Peace, Charlottesville Amnesty International, World Beyond War, Just World Books, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, Candidate for Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Fogel, Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible Charlottesville, heARTful Action, Together Cville, Clergy and Laity United for Peace and Justice.

Trump's budget proposal would cut the Environmental Protection Agency by 31%, the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13%, the State Department by 28%, the Department of Agriculture by 21%, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 100%, the Institute of Museum and Library Services by 100%, and the National Endowment for the Arts by 100%.

Military spending would rise by $54 billion to something over 60% of discretionary spending, a percentage not seen since the Cold War. Then, according to reports, Trump will ask for $33 billion more off-the-books as a supplemental budget for the current (not the next) fiscal year for the military to spend on programs that candidate Trump denounced such as the F-35, and including $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to spend building a wall and detaining and deporting immigrants. Assuming a similar future supplement to the fiscal year 2018 budget, actual discretionary spending could see over 65% go to militarism.

Trump's budget proposal does not fund any of the infrastructure he promised during his election campaign.

"The Sierra Club supports full funding of the Environmental Protection Agency so that it can adequately protect communities through enforcement of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and other important laws," said John Cruickshank, Chair of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club.

"We cannot look away any longer. Last week ground troops entered Syria and the press barely mentioned it. The week before, Pathfinders returned from combat in Africa. Who knew we are fighting in Africa? We have military deployed to over 150 countries. How many countries are there?" asked Daniel Saint of the Charlottesville chapter of Veterans For Peace. "President Obama, in his last State of the Union Address, proudly claimed that the United States spends more than the next eight countries combined--China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, India, Germany, and Japan. Combined! Now Trump wants to dramatically expand adding another $54 billion. It costs $12 thousand to drill a well bringing fresh water to a village with no clean source of drinking water. For just the budget increase proposed by Trump, we could provide 4.5 million new wells across Africa, India and Latin America. Imagine if children from around the world grew up with a vision of the United States as bringing clean drinking water rather than bomb fragments stamped 'made in the USA.' Would our children and grandchildren be safer with new fresh wells or more nuclear weapons?"

"Indivisible Charlottesville, along with thousands of Indivisible organizations across America, is committed to resisting the Trump administration's efforts to reverse the progress of the last century, and to building a diverse country that can face the challenges of the next one," said David Singerman. "Trump plans to destroy the programs that let Virginians drink clean water, breathe clean air, live in affordable housing, attend some of the world's best universities, and sleep without fear of chemical and industrial accidents. He would do this in order to pile money into what's already the strongest military in history, and in order to cruelly build walls across our borders and end aid programs that give succor to the most vulnerable people in the world."

"Not only is the military the wrong place to put more money," said David Swanson, director of World Beyond War, "but nobody can even say where all that money goes. The Department of so-called Defense, which President Trump says has created a hornet's nest of the Middle East, is the one department never audited."

"We have knownfor many years that the Department's business practices are archaic and wasteful, and its inability to pass a clean audit is a longstanding travesty," Chairs John McCain (R-AZ) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees said recently in a joint statement. "The reason these problems persist is simple: a failure of leadership and a lack of accountability."

"If we can stop a Muslim ban," added Swanson, "we can stop an immoral budget too!"

A CNN poll on March 1-4 asked for opinions on this proposal: "Increase military spending by cutting funding for the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other non-defense agencies." Nationally, 58% disapproved, and 41% approved. 

Charlottesville provides an example of how federal budget priorities are out of line with popular opinion. Using the calculations of the National Priorities Project at CostofWar.com, "Every hour, taxpayers in Charlottesville, Virginia are paying $12,258 for Department of Defense in 2016." That's $107.4 million in a year. Much of military spending is in other departments. The National Priorities Project provides the numbers for a few of them: $4.1 million from Charlottesville for nuclear weapons, $2.6 million for weapons for foreign governments, $12.6 million for "homeland security," and $6.9 million for the 2016 off-the-books extra slush fund. That's $133.6 million, not counting various other expenses, and not counting the extra $54 billion or an additional $30 billion, which would bring the cost to Charlottesville up by another $16 million to $149.6 million.

According to National Priorities Project, that is enough money to provide 1,850 Elementary School Teachers for 1 Year, or 2,019 Clean Energy Jobs Created for 1 Year, or 2,692 Infrastructure Jobs Created for 1 Year, or 1,496 Jobs with Supports Created in High Poverty Communities for 1 Year, or 16,788 Head Start Slots for Children for 1 Year, or 14,479 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for 1 Year, or 4,504 Scholarships for University Students for 4 Years, or 6,431 Students Receiving Pell Grants of $5,815 for 4 Years, or 63,103 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for 1 Year, or 168,519 Households with Wind Power for 1 Year, or 42,024 Adults Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for 1 Year, or 104,093 Households with Solar Electricity for 1 Year. Each of these items is more than Charlottesville, which does not have 104,093 households, could possibly use.

The resolution drafted for Charlottesville's City Council follows:

PROPOSED RESOLUTION

Whereas Mayor Mike Signer has declared Charlottesville a capital of resistance to the administration of President Donald Trump.[i]

Whereas President Trump has proposed to move $54 billion from human and environmental spending at home and abroad to military spending[ii], bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending[iii],

Whereas part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees[iv],

Whereas President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer[v],

Whereas fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college[vi], end hunger and starvation on earth[vii], convert the U.S. to clean energy[viii], provide clean drinking water everywhere it's needed on the planet[ix], build fast trains between all major U.S. cities[x], and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it[xi],

Whereas even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid[xii],

Whereas a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world[xiii],

Whereas a United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world,

Whereas our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,

Whereas the military is itself the greatest consumer of petroleum we have[xiv],

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program[xv],

Be it therefore resolved that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.

 


[i] "Signer Declares City a 'Capital of Resistance' Against Trump, Daily Progress, January 31, 2017, http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/politics/signer-declares-city-a-capital-of-resistance-against-trump/article_12108161-fccd-53bb-89e4-b7d5dc8494e0.html

[ii] "Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending," The New York Times, February 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/us/politics/trump-budget-military.html?_r=0

[iii] This does not include another 6% for the discretionary portion of veterans' care. For a breakdown of discretionary spending in the 2015 budget from the National Priorities Project, see https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states

[iv] "43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes," World Beyond War, http://worldbeyondwar.org/43-million-people-kicked-homes / "Europe's Refugee Crisis Was Made in America,"The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/europes-refugee-crisis-was-made-in-america

[v] On February 27, 2017, Trump said, "Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we've spent in the Middle East . . . and we're nowhere, actually if you think about it we're less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there's not even a contest . . .  we have a hornet's nest . . . ." http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/02/27/trump_we_spent_6_trillion_in_middle_east_and_we_are_less_than_nowhere_far_worse_than_16_years_ago.html

[vi] "Free College: We Can Afford It," The Washington Post, May 1, 2012, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/free-college-we-can-afford-it/2012/05/01/gIQAeFeltT_story.html?utm_term=.9cc6fea3d693

[vii] "The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger," Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index.html

[viii] "Clean Energy Transition Is A $25 Trillion Free Lunch," Clean Technica, https://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/03/clean-energy-transition-is-a-25-trillion-free-lunch / See also: http://www.solutionaryrail.org

[ix] "Clean Water for a Healthy World," UN Environment Program, http://www.unwater.org/wwd10/downloads/WWD2010_LOWRES_BROCHURE_EN.pdf

[x] "Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries," The World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/07/10/cost-of-high-speed-rail-in-china-one-third-lower-than-in-other-countries

[xi] Non-military U.S. foreign aid is approximately $25 billion, meaning that President Trump would need to cut it by over 200% to find the $54 billion he proposes to add to military spending

[xii] Letter to Congressional leaders, February 27, 2017, http://www.usglc.org/downloads/2017/02/FY18_International_Affairs_Budget_House_Senate.pdf

[xiii] See http://www.wingia.com/en/services/about_the_end_of_year_survey/global_results/7/33

[xiv] "Fight Climate Change, Not Wars," Naomi Klein, http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2009/12/fight-climate-change-not-wars

[xv] "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update," Political Economy Research Institute, https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/449-the-u-s-employment-effects-of-military-and-domestic-spending-priorities-2011-update

Uh-Oh, there goes the Democrats’ 'Russia Did It' campaign: WikiLeaks’ Latest CIA Data Dump Undermines Case Against Russia Electi

By Dave Lindorff

 

The so-called Deep State and Democratic Party campaign to demonize Russia for allegedly "hacking the US election," and delivering the country into the hands of Donald Trump suffered a huge and probably mortal blow this week with the release by WikiLeaks of over 7000 secret CIA documents disclosing secret CIA hacking technologies.

Paving the way for a new progressive party?: Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Democratic Party leadership, both in the Democratic National Committee and in Congress, is full of bad ideas these days, and they’re risking disaster because of it.

The Choice Trump’s Budget Creates

Trump proposes to increase U.S. military spending by $54 billion, and to take that $54 billion out of the other portions of the above budget, including in particular, he says, foreign aid. If you can’t find foreign aid on the chart above, that’s because it is a portion of that little dark green slice called International Affairs. To take $54 billion out of foreign aid, you would have to cut foreign aid by approximately 200 percent.

Alternative math!

But let’s not focus on the $54 billion. The blue section above (in the 2015 budget) is already 54% of discretionary spending (that is, 54% of all the money that the U.S. government chooses what to do with every year). It’s already 60% if you add in Veterans’ Benefits. (We should take care of everyone, of course, but we wouldn’t have to take care of amputations and brain injuries from wars if we stopped having the wars.) Trump wants to shift another 5% to the military, boosting that total to 65%.

Now I’d like to show you a ski slope that Denmark is opening on the roof of a clean power plant — a clean power plant that cost 0.06% of Trump’s military budget.

Trump’s pretense that he’s going to just screw the no-good foreigners by taking $54 billion out of foreign aid is misleading on many levels. First, that kind of money just isn’t there. Second, foreign aid actually makes the United States safer, unlike all the “defense” spending that endangers us. Third, the $700 billion that Trump wants to borrow and blow on militarism every year would not only get us close in 8 years to wasting directly (without considering missed opportunities, interest payments, etc.) the same $6 trillion that Trump laments blowing on recent failed wars (unlike his imaginary successful wars), but that same $700 billion is more than enough to transform domestic and foreign spending alike.

Resume inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice

By Dave Lindorff

 

In the annals of human conflict, the Gulf War of 1991, when the US dispatched half a million troops and a huge armada of ships, planes and tanks into the desert south of Iraq and Kuwait and then crushed Iraqi forces in both those countries in a six-week blitz from Jan. 17-Feb. 28, surely has to rank as one of the most one-sided wars since Hitler’s Wehrmacht marched through Holland in four days in 1940.

In search of a Trumpian reality: On Killers and Bullshitters

By John Grant

 

* NOTE: The term bullshit is used here in the sense established by Harvard philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt in his little gem of a book titled On Bullshit, which opens with: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit."

Hoist on his own petard: NSC Head Flynn Was Brought Down By the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build

By Davd Lindorff

            A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world.  Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies-- all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.

            Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.

            His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!).  Because clearly Flynn was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador -- communications that are now widely circulating in complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.

            Talk about someone being hoist upon his own petard!

            You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?

            But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of shadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”

            And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” -- the permanent power structure the really runs things in the US -- which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3452

Mapping the War Machine

Republished from a multipage article at http://worldbeyondwar.org/mapwar

When it comes to understanding wars, for some people, a picture of the dead or of the injured or of the traumatized or of those made refugees can be worth ten million words. And, for at least some of us, a picture of where war is in the world can be worth at least a thousand.

What follows are two dozen pictures mapping war and militarism and the struggle for peace overlaid on a global image of nations. These are drawn from — and you can create your own with — an online tool for mapping militarism published by World Beyond War at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. This tool has just been updated with new data. On many of the maps at that link, unlike with the static images that follow, you can scroll back in time to see changes over recent years.

By laying some important facts about war on the map, we’re able to recognize some ideas that rarely make it into prose. Here are a few examples:

  • The war in Afghanistan and the foreign occupation of Afghanistan have officially ended, but a map of the nations with troops still occupying Afghanistan still looks like NATO colonialism.
  • The list of locations of severe wars changes from year to year but sticks to a certain region of the world — a region in which none of the major producers of the weapons of war and few of the big spenders on war can be found — but from which the bulk of refugees flee and in which the biggest concentration of that violence labeled “terrorism” germinates, these being two of war’s many tragic consequences.
  • The United States dominates the war business, the sale of weapons to other nations, the sale of weapons to poor nations, the sale of weapons to the Middle East, the deployment of troops abroad, spending on its own military, and the number of wars engaged in.
  • Only Russia is anywhere close to the U.S. in weapons dealing, and this pair of countries nearly splits the vast majority of the nuclear weapons possessed on earth.
  • Efforts toward peace and disarmament are widespread and coming largely from the less-armed, less bellicose parts of the world, but not entirely.
  • And those governments that are otherwise doing well by the world tend to be those not engaged in warfare (“humanitarian” warfare or otherwise).

The presentation that follows can also be found as a “prezi” (a variation on what’s more commonly called a powerpoint and used to be called a slide show). You can grab the prezi for your own use at the World Beyond War events resources page.

WHICH NATIONS HAVE TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN?

As noted in a petition to end the war in Afghanistan, which you are welcome to sign, the U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That’s 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country, 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

The sources for all the data in all the maps are noted on the map tool at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. In this case, the source in NATO, which claims 6,941 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The slightly higher 8,000 figure comes from the U.S. commander in December expressing a hope to reduce the troop number to 8,400 by January 20.

Take a look at where the troops occupying Afghanistan all come from. It’s NATO plus the U.S.’s kangaroo sidekick down under plus 120 Mongolians. It’s the world’s self-appointed but generally resented policemen and a few hired security guards. Here’s an argument that they are doing more harm than good.

#Zumwalt12: More Harmful To Agree To Pay Federal Income Tax Than It Is To Choose To Refuse

Jason Rawn being arrested in Bath June 18, 2016 (photo: Regis Tremblay)
 

The youngest member of the Zumwalt 12 is Jason Rawn, a Maine permaculture worker and dedicated international peace activist. Jason has traveled to Jeju Island in South Korea to stand with villagers resisting the destruction of their traditional fishing and farming economy by a naval port for ships like the Zumwalt destroyer, and to Okinawa to stand with people resisting U.S. military bases there.

The So-Called Intelligence So-Called Community's Dumb Isolated View of the Future

Thank you to Tom Engelhardt for pointing out that the people who couldn't predict the end of the Soviet Union, the crimes of 9-11, the decency of numerous whistleblowers, the election of Donald Trump, the likelihood that utilities in Vermont would point out that they had not been hacked by Russians, or -- I'm willing to bet -- the timing of rush hour in Northern Virginia, have just predicted the shape of the future of everything. Of course they've gotten it all ridiculously wrong, but they have revealed things about themselves rather than about the world in the process.

Many of us would list climate chaos and nuclear war as the big dangers to avoid. The "community" of U.S. spies lists: "the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics" as examples of dangers the future holds. These people may be paid billions of dollars by us primarily to keep secrets, but they don't keep their contempt for democracy secret very well.

They do admit to the obvious: "For better and worse, the emerging global landscape is drawing to a close an era of American dominance following the Cold War." But they don't actually mean that this might be for the better. They interpret it as a catastrophic victory for barbarians. Here's their very next sentence: "So, too, perhaps is the rules-based international order that emerged after World War II." Dethroning the United States does not, of course, guarantee anarchy. It could mean more respect for rules than before. But belief in the inevitability of anarchy might help make it more likely as it motivates U.S. behaviors. That's why these "intelligence" people are not just useless but dangerous.

Focus: The Pentagon - Jan 10, 2017

 

F-35 needs rigorous Trump team review, Pentagon tester says citing its 'well-documented deficiencies in critical combat capabilities’ - Bloomberg


DOT&E FY2016 Annual Report: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - DOT&E


F-35 delayed — again — despite CEO's promise to Trump - Washington Examiner


Letter of Sen. McCain to Lockheed Martin CEO on the new F-35 delay - mccain.senate.gov


The most expensive F-35 variant has hit another major snag that could take years to fix, due to its nose gear during catapult-assisted takeoffs - SFGate


The Navy's F-35 may need a new landing gear - popularmechanics.com


Recent F-35 fire unrelated to previous problems: General - Defensetech


Cancel plans to purchase additional F-35 joint strike fighters and instead purchase F-16s and F/A-18s - Congressional Budget Office


Trump should cancel the failed F-35 fighter jet program, it 'showcases all that is wrong about our military's vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system’ - National Review


Blog: It's past time to kill the F-35, Stairway Press has just published a book about it - AmericanThinker


Could Trump really replace the F-35 with a Super Hornet? - popularmechanics.com


'One our adversaries should fear': US Air Force General Pleus describes how the F-35 is above and beyond the competition - Business Insider


Super Hornet ‘not interchangable' with F-35, says US Air Force Secretary - defensenews.com


F-35 pilot: 'Preposterous' to think an F-18 could do the the F-35's job - Business Insider


F-35 pilot: The common conception of dogfighting is way off, and the F-35 can excel at it - Business Insider


U.S. Air Force pilot: F-35 could beat Russia's stealth PAK-FA or China's J-31 in a fight - The National Interest Blog


This is how the F-35 is being tested against Russian and Chinese air defenses - wearethemighty.com


The F-35 Stealth Fighter has a super gun that can fire an insane 3,300 round per minute - The National Interest Blog


Marine Corps deploys first F-35 squadron to Japan: 'A true force multiplier' - Washington Times


Marine Corps F-35B integrates with NIFC-CA - Intercepts cruise missile target - Scout


Lockheed Martin's F-35: The U.S. Navy's secret missile defense system? - The National Interest Blog


America's military has a big problem: It's dead broke - The National Interest


Appeals court rules no transparency on Pentagon's top contractors - yahoo.com


Restoring America’s defenses: A Memo to the President-elect by Director of Central Intelligence (nominee) Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence (nominee) Coates - American Spectator


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


More Clapp-trap: Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The Russian hacking hysteria in the US media and, surprisingly, among educated liberals (who should know better after years of government lies and deceit, particularly about foreign affairs), is becoming increasingly embarrassing.

To Weapons Dealers, Laws Are Decorative Holiday Ornaments

You might be forgiven for imagining that laws are serious things. When you violate them, you can be locked in a cage for decades. That’s not true for big-time weapons dealers like the U.S. government.

Two years after the creation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the news is that it’s failing in Yemen. I’m hard pressed to see why it isn’t, thus far, failing everywhere. The weapons dealers keep dealing weapons by the tens of billions of dollars exactly as if nothing has changed.

Here (courtesy of the CIA-funded Amazon data cloud) is the key text of the treaty:

“. . . A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms . . . if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party . . . .”

The dominant weapons dealer, the U.S. government, has not ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. The second-place dealer in instruments of death, Russia, has not either. Neither has China. Certainly France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have ratified it, but they seem to have little difficulty ignoring it. They’ve even ratified the convention on cluster bombs but, at least in the case of the UK, ignore that one too. (The U.S. has temporarily paused its sales of cluster bombs, but not ratified the treaty.)

And another 87 nations have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty, none of which do any significant weapons dealing on the scale of the top 6, but plenty of which violate the treaty in their own small ways.

The U.S. has very similar laws on its own books already and long has. Ignoring them, or taking advantage of the ability to waive them, has become routine. The United States is far and away the biggest seller of weapons, giver of weapons, producer of weapons, buyer of weapons, deliverer of weapons to poor countries, and deliverer of weapons to the Middle East. It sells or gives weapons to all types of nations just as if no restrictions applied. Yet, here are some U.S. laws almost pretty enough to frame on the wall:

“No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. . . .

“. . . Of the amounts made available to the Department of Defense, none may be used for any training, equipment, or other assistance for a unit of a foreign security force if the Secretary of Defense has credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

And there’s this one:

“The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. . . .”

This one may actually have been written with the assistance of medical marijuana:

“No [weaponry] shall be sold or leased by the United States Government under this chapter to any country or international organization . . . unless —

(1) the President finds that the furnishing . . . to such country or international organization will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace. . . .”

This may come as shocking news, but none of the weapons sales made by the United States or any other nation thus far in the history of the world has promoted world peace. None has reduced — on the contrary, all have increased — terrorism. All have constituted gross violations of human rights. All have been transferred with knowledge that they would be used against civilians and in violation of international laws. Here are a few of those laws:

The Hague Convention of 1899:

“. . . the Signatory Powers agree to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences. In case of serious disagreement or conflict, before an appeal to arms, the Signatory Powers agree to have recourse, as far as circumstances allow, to the good offices or mediation of one or more friendly Powers.”

The Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928:

“The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”

The United Nations Charter:

“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. . . .”

The United States has temporarily halted some of its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, while continuing others and continuing to actively wage war alongside Saudi Arabia against the people of Yemen. This is no more or less a violation of law and morality than U.S. weapons sales to Iraq or South Korea or (gifts to) Israel or the United States itself. No amount of lawyerly rejiggering of terminology, selective definition of “terrorism,” or narrowing of what counts as a “human right” can change that.

Yet the shoplifters go to jail while the weapons dealers walk free. None of the death dealing nations solves or even strives to solve its disputes by pacific means any more than every heroin user is a model citizen, yet the weapons — like the drugs — keep flowing.

The International Criminal Court denies itself the right to prosecute the crime of war (only “war crimes”) or to challenge the U.N.’s dominant powers (coincidentally the world’s major weapons dealers) or to prosecute crimes by non-members of the ICC committed in the territories of non-members. Yet when Barack Obama drone-murders people in the Philippines (a member), the ICC is silent. And in Afghanistan (another member) it suggests that it might someday see fit to open a prosecution.

Obviously the answer to this charade is not utter lawlessness. Here are some partial answers:

Tell the ICC to prosecute all criminals equally.

Build pressure for divestment from weapons dealers.

Tell the next U.S. president we’ll stand for no more wars.

Join a movement to replace war with wiser behaviors.

Book review/essay: Morally Surviving America’s War on Vietnam

By Johhn Grant

 

The War I Survived Was Vietnam: Collected Writings of a Veteran and Antiwar Activist

Focus: The Pentagon - Dec 20, 2016


McCain slams $13B in Pentagon spending in latest waste report - TheHill


REPORT: America’s Most Wasted - mccain.senate.gov


General fires back at Trump: F-35 ‘not out of control’ (just needs another half billion to finish flight testing) - Defense One


F-35 chief: Loose bracket sparked fire on Marine Corps plane - defensenews.com


F-35's $400K helmet still blinds pilots on night flights - DoD Buzz


The F-35: What’s left to fix? - Aviation Week


Expert: Military becomes overly dependent on expensive weapons systems at the expense of lower-cost, perhaps more effective alternative, F-35 costs $40,000 per hour to fly - Bloomberg


F-16 designer: Applauds Trump, says each F-35 ‘harms American air power’ - Sputnik


VIDEO: F-35 pilot interview; Why did F35 lost to F16 - YouTube


Despite problems, F-35’s first test pilot still believes in the stealth fighter - Fresno Bee


Northrop's new combat drone could outclass Boeing F/A-18, Lockheed F-35 -- The Motley Fool


Unilateral negotiations still in play for F-35 contract with Lockheed Martin  - flightglobal.com


Lockheed Martin wins contract for F-35 logistics - Pacific Coast Business Times


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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James: F-35s likely heading to Europe in Summer 2017 to help NATO deter Russian aggression - Breaking Defense


The F-35 gets a big win as Israel scores $38 Billion in US military aid - The Fiscal Times


Is the F-35 deal a dud for Israel? - israelrising.com


New photos of Russian T-50 stealth fighter: Sputnik says 'the T-50 have superior maneuverability compared to the F-35, travels at a 30% higher speed with a range over 2,000 miles farther’ - CNN


US senior defense analyst says the Russia new stealth fighter T-50 'will lose every engagement' against U.S. F-35 and F-22 stealth fighters - daytondailynews.com


F-35 meet Russia’s stealth fighter T-50 - JewishPress.com


America’s F-35 fighter jet vs China’s J-20: A comparison - Business Insider


China’s J-20 ‘stealth’ fighter is inferior to the US F-35, lets slip Chinese expert - Chinatopix


Special battle of stealth fighters: F-35 vs China J-31 & Russia T-50 - Scout


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


Talk Nation Radio: Vincent Emanuele on Wars for Oil Companies; Robert Alvarez on Department of Energy for Nuclear Weapons

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-vincent-emanuele-on-wars-for-oil-robert-alvarez-on-dept-of-energy-for-nukes

Vincent Emanuele joined the United States Marine Corps as a squad automatic machine gunner in 2002. After two combat-deployments in Iraq, he refused orders for a third and immediately began organizing with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

In 2008, Vince testified to Congress at the Winter Soldier Hearings on Capitol Hill, where he provided detailed accounts of war crimes, atrocities, drug abuse and sexual assault within the military.

See https://www.facebook.com/vincentjr.emanuele

Emanuele is just back from Standing Rock and discusses environmental and antiwar strategy. This show contains the second half of a discussion begun last week.

Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Strategic International Studies. He is considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on civilian and military nuclear programs.

Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Between 1988 and 1993, Mr. Alvarez served on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator John Glenn (D-OH).

His work has appeared in Ambio, Science and Global Security, Science, the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Issues in Science and Technology (the magazine of the National Academy of Sciences), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and other publications. Mr. Alvarez won the John Barlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism and has been featured on CBS
“60 minutes,” the PBS NOVA show, NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times, and several documentary films.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

VIDEO: Militarizing Police and a Policelike Military

C-Span Video is here.

Speakers:

Jamani Montague

ProfPhoto (1).jpg

Jamani Montague is a student activist at Emory University, studying International Studies and Environmental Science. Her research interests include race theory, prison ecology, comparative politics and eco-colonialism. Jamani is the Prison Advocacy Coordinator for RootsAction.org, where she works closely with prisoners, the media, and legal activists to bring civil and environmental justice to those behind bars. She plans to pursue a PhD in Environmental Health Studies and eventually teach in universities and prisons.

 

David Swanson

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

 

Leah Muskin-Pierret

Leah is an activist working on challenging U.S. militarism in the Middle East. She focuses on ending U.S. complicity in Israeli apartheid to make way for Palestinian liberation. She hopes to chip away steadily at the military industrial complex until that day when activists have all the resources they need and the military needs to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Miriam Pemberton
Miriam Pemberton

Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She directs its Peace Economy Transitions Project which focuses on helping to build the foundations of a postwar economy at the federal, state and local levels. She co-chairs the Budget Priorities Working Group, the principal information-sharing collaboration of U.S. NGOs working on reducing Pentagon spending.

In addition to articles and opeds, her publications include two report series. “Military vs. Climate Security” compares federal spending on the two security domains, and argues for a shift of security resources toward mitigating climate change. “A Unified Security Budget for the United States” examined the balance of spending on military forces, homeland security and non-military foreign engagement and argues for a rebalanced security budget.

With William Hartung of the New America Foundation, she is co-editor of the book Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Publishers, 2008). Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Focus: The Pentagon - Dec 12, 2016


Trump targets F-35 program in latest dig on defense spending, The pilot's helmet alone could cost around $400,000 - WSJ


Government-spending watchdogs praise Trump for taking aim at F-35, the ‘plane that ate the Pentagon’ - newsweek.com


Trump floats lifetime ban on defense firms hiring military procurement officials, Met with deep skepticism within the U.S. defense establishment - Reuters


Trump attack on Lockheed Martin foreshadows war on defense industry, transition spokesman says 'we look to come up with better deals' - Reuters


Lockheed Martin says company already cut F-35 costs - Reuters


Lockheed shares fall after Trump tweets about F-35 jet costs - CBS News


Defense ETFs are under fire from Trump - ETF Trends


Defense experts warn of 'disaster' for Britain after Donald Trump suggests undoing 'out of control' F-35 fighter jet project - Telegraph


F-35 jets bound for Israel grounded due to their inability to take off in bad weather - CNNPolitics.com


'F-35s will help U.S. and Israel air forces operate more jointly and more effectively. Together, we will dominate the skies' - U.S. Dept of Defense on Twitter


Misleading F-35 answers drafted by Pentagon, testing chief says - Bloomberg


Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report - TheHill


Letter of House Oversight Committee members to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Pentagon waste report - oversight.house.gov


U.S. GAO Report: Defense Business Transformation: DOD Should Improve Its Planning with and Performance Monitoring of the Military Departments - U.S. GAO


Congress creates new DoD Chief Management Officer, whose primary job will be overseeing and reforming DoD headquarters functions - FederalNewsRadio.com


Final NDAA trims civilian and military jobs in DoD - FederalNewsRadio.com


DoD stuck with too many acquisition reforms and not enough staff - FederalNewsRadio.com


Pentagon taking a more serious look at off-the-shelf technology, Buy technology that is already available rather than spend money a new one - nationaldefensemagazine.org


Washington Post editorial: The Pentagon can’t afford to sweep spending under the rug - The Washington Post


Senate passes annual defense policy bill, sending it to Obama for his signature - The Boston Globe


Ashton Carter essay: The Pentagon must think outside of its five-sided box - The National Interest


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

Focus: The Pentagon - Dec 6, 2016


Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste, almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget spent on overhead and office operations - Washington Post

 

REPORT: The Defense Business Board’s 2015 study on how the Pentagon could save $125 billion - Washington Post


Congress wants hearing on Pentagon wasteful spending charges - TheHill


Chaffetz: Congress will ‘absolutely’ look at $125B in waste at Pentagon - TheHill


Pentagon plays down report on cost-cutting study, says it lacked 'specific, actionable recommendations appropriate to the department' - AP


Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work: 'There is this meme that we’re some bloated giant organization, though there is a little bit of truth in that … I think it vastly overstates what’s really going on' - Daily Caller


Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s response to The Washington Post - Washington Post


Defense Business Board recommends a 'disciplined effort to rein in costs and overhead’ at the Pentagon and warns against marginal piecemeal cuts, change must come as a result of 'major surgery’ - (ASMC)


REPORT: Focusing a Transition, Challenges Facing the New Administration: A report by the Defense Business Board - FederalNewsRadio.com


VIDEO: Defense Business Board's Bayer on transition priorities for the Trump administration - Defense & Aerospace Report


Donald Trump Pentagon pick Mattis made nearly $1,000,000 on board of defense contractor - ibtimes.com


ARCHIVE: Auditor finds U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, it lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up - Reuters


ARCHIVE: Donald Trump denounces wasteful Pentagon spending, vows great defense w/no additional spending - Reason.com

 

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Citing high cost, Trump says Boeing’s contract to build Air Force One should be canceled - The Washington Post


VIDEO: Trump accuses Boeing of doing a little bit of a number with new Air Force One - YouTube


Boeing said to offer talks on Air Force One after Trump tweets - Bloomberg Politics


White House: New Air Force One will benefit future presidents - TheHill


Pentagon chief arms buyer 'hopeful' that Lockheed F-35 block buy will proceed, it covers purchases of more than 400 aircraft - Reuters


F-35 crisis as Pentagon’s top weapon testing official warns plan to put unfinished $400bn fighters into service puts pilots at 'significant risk' - Daily Mail Online


Congress calls for a war games 'flyoff' between 40 year old A-10 and new F-35 jets - Daily Mail Online


Air Force grounds ‘combat ready’ F-35 over coolant line flaw - Bloomberg Politics


Yet another F-35 fighter catches fire, The incident did at least two million dollars in damage - popularmechanics.com


When pork flies: The F-35, the Pentagon’s $1.1 trillion flying money pit, is (sort of) ready for duty - Salon.com


The Pentagon is planning a new super rival to the troubled F-35 - The Fiscal Times

 

House lawmakers push for more F-35 funding in FY17 budget - defensenews.com


ARCHIVE: Flawed F-35 is too big to kill, it counts 1,300 suppliers in 45 states supporting 133,000 jobs - Bloomberg


Pentagon's top tester: Littoral ships 'have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission' - Washington Examiner


Acquisition Chief: Littoral Combat Ship program ‘broke' the Navy, is costing taxpayers billions more than budgeted - Military.com


VIDEO: Congressional hearing focuses Navy's use of Littoral Combat Ships - C-SPAN.org


Navy's troubled Littoral Combat Ship at crossroads, GAO says - Stripes


REPORT: Littoral Combat Ship and Frigate: Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions - U.S. GAO


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


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