Archive for December, 2016

We stop at zero: Stop nuclear holocaust!

December 31, 2016

Global Zero Team globalzero@globalzero.org via mail.salsalabs.net
10:36 AM (4 hours ago)

to me
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Dear Friend,

Global Zero is on the frontlines of a grassroots uprising. One that rejects the zealous cynicism that props up nuclear weapons and our leaders’ willingness to use them. One that says without reservation that holding entire nations at risk can no longer be tolerated for the sake of “deterrence” and “security.”

One that insists: We will not be complicit. This cannot be done in our name. It does not have to be this way.

Generations from now, people are going to look back and recall that the greatest advances in the human condition — from the end of apartheid to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to marriage equality and climate justice — were driven by people-powered movements that fought the status quo.

They’ll say the same of nuclear weapons.

With hope,
Derek, Meredith, Mary, Lilly and the rest of the Global Zero team

Donate now and support the fight for zero.
Sent by GLOBAL ZERO | 1342 Florida Avenue NW | Washington, DC 20009 USA

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Noam Chomsky: Trump and Our Resistance

December 30, 2016

023770-chomsky-122816

Noam Chomsky. (photo: Andrew Rusk/Flickr) go to original article

By Jacobin
28 December 16

Noam Chomsky on progressive reform, Fidel Castro, and building resistance under Donald Trump.
s he approaches ninety years old, Noam Chomsky’s bibliography just keeps expanding. Fortunately for the international left, he also continues giving interviews.

Earlier this month, less than a week before his eighty-eighth birthday, Chomsky sat down for a conversation at his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Interviewed by Vaios Triantafyllou, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, Chomsky discussed everything from socialism, human nature, and the Adam Smith to the US president-elect. (The transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

As Donald Trump fills out his Cabinet, Chomsky allows that the future could be one of bigotry and scapegoating. But the choice is still up to us: “Whether that could succeed,” Chomsky says of divide-and-conquer tactics, “depends on the kind of resistance that will be mounted by people just like you.”

How should socialists think about the relationship between reforms that humanize the existing system of production (as proposed by Sanders) and the long-term goal of abolishing capitalism altogether?

Well, first of all we should recognize that, like most terms of political discourse, socialism has more or less lost its meaning. Socialism used to mean something. If you go back far enough, it meant basically control of production by producers, elimination of wage labor, democratization of all spheres of life; production, commerce, education, media, workers’ control in factories, community control of communities, and so on. That was socialism once.

But it hasn’t meant that for a hundred years. In fact, what were called the socialist countries were the most anti-socialist systems in the world. Workers had more rights in the United States and England than they had in Russia, and it was somehow still called socialism.

As far as Bernie Sanders is concerned, he is a decent, honest person, and I supported him. What he means by socialism is New Deal liberalism. In fact, his actual policies would not have been a great surprise to General Eisenhower. The fact that this is called a political revolution is a sign of how far to the right the political spectrum has shifted, mainly in the last thirty years, since the neoliberal programs began to be instituted. What he was calling for was a restoration of something like New Deal liberalism, which is a very good thing.

So, going to your question, I think we should ask: should people who care about human beings, and their lives and concerns, seek to humanize the existing system of production by the means you describe? And the answer is, sure they should do that, that’s better for people.

Should they set out the long-term goal of abolishing capitalist economic organization altogether? Sure, I think so. It’s had its achievements, but it is based on quite brutal assumptions, anti-human assumptions. The very idea that there should be a certain class of people who give orders by virtue of their ownership of wealth and another huge class who take orders and follow them because of their lack of access to wealth and power, that’s unacceptable.

So, sure it should be abolished. But those are not alternatives. Those are things you do together.

One of the main arguments used against socialism is that human nature is by definition selfish and competitive, and hence is only conducive to capitalism. How would you respond?

Bear in mind that capitalism is a tiny period of human society. We never really had capitalism, we always had one or another variant of state capitalism. The reason is capitalism would self-destruct in no time. So the business classes have always demanded strong state intervention to protect the society from the destructive effect of market forces. It’s often business that it’s in the lead, because they don’t want everything destroyed.

So we’ve had one or another form of state capitalism during an extremely brief period of human history, and it tells us essentially nothing about human nature. If you look at human societies and human interactions, you can find anything. You find selfishness, you find altruism, you find sympathy.

Let’s take Adam Smith, the patron saint of capitalism — what did he think? He thought the main human instinct was sympathy. In fact, take a look at the word “invisible hand.” Take a look at the actual way in which he used the phrase. Actually, it’s not hard to find out, because he only used it twice in any relevant sense, once in each of his two major books.

In his one major book, The Wealth of Nations, the phrase appears once, and it appears in what amounts to a critique of neoliberal globalization. What he says is that, if in England, the manufacturers and merchants invested abroad and imported from abroad, they might benefit, but it would be harmful to England. But their commitment to their home country is sufficient, so they are unlikely to do this and therefore, by an invisible hand, England will be saved from the impact of what we call neoliberal globalization. That’s one use.

The other use is in his other major book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (which people don’t read much, but for him it was the major book). Here he is an egalitarian, he believed in equality of outcome, not opportunity. He is an Enlightenment figure, pre-capitalist.

He says, suppose in England, one landowner got most of the land and other people would have nothing to live on. He says it wouldn’t matter much, because the rich landowner, by virtue of his sympathy for other people would distribute resources among them, so that by an invisible hand, we would end up with a pretty egalitarian society. That’s his conception of human nature.

That’s not the way “invisible hand” is used by the people who you took courses with or whose books you read. That shows a difference in doctrine, not in fact, about human nature. What we actually know about human nature is that it has all of these possibilities.

Do you think it’s necessary to sketch out concrete proposals for a future socialist order, creating a solid alternative that appeals to the majority of people?

I think people are interested in authentic long-term socialist goals (which are not what is usually called socialism). They should be thinking through carefully how the projected society should work, not in extensive detail, because a lot of things just have to be learned by experiment, and we don’t know enough to plan societies in detail by any means. But general guidelines could be worked out, and many of the specific problems can be discussed.

And that should just be part of people’s popular consciousness. That’s how a transition to socialism could take place. When it becomes part of the awareness, consciousness, and aspirations of the large majority of the population.

So, take for example one of the major achievements in this direction, maybe the major one: the anarchist revolution in Spain in 1936. There had been decades of preparation for that: in education, in activism and efforts — sometimes beaten back — but when the moment came with the fascist attack, the people had in their minds the way they wanted the society to be organized.

We have seen it in other ways, too. Take, say, Europe’s reconstruction after the Second World War. The Second World War had really devastating effects for much of Europe. But it really didn’t take them very long to reconstruct state capitalist democracies because it was in people’s heads.

There were other parts of the world that were pretty much devastated, and they couldn’t do it. They didn’t have the conceptions in their mind. A lot of it is human consciousness.

Syriza came to power claiming a commitment to socialism. But they ended up cooperating with the European Union, and didn’t step down even after they were forced to implement austerity. How do you think we can avoid a similar outcome in the future?

I think the real tragedy of Greece, aside from the savagery of the European bureaucracy, Brussels bureaucracy, and Northern banks, which was really savage, is the Greek crisis didn’t have to erupt. It could have been taken care of pretty easily at the very beginning.

But it happened, and Syriza came into office with a declared commitment to combat it. In fact they actually called a referendum, which horrified Europe: the idea that people should be allowed to decide something about their own fate is just anathema to European elites — how can democracy even be permitted (even in the country where it was created).

As a result of this criminal act of asking people what they want, Greece was punished even further. The demands of the Troika got much harsher because of the referendum. They were fearing a kind of domino effect — if we pay attention to people’s desires, others might get the same idea, and the plague of democracy might actually spread, so we have to kill it right away at the roots.

Then Syriza did succumb, and ever since then they have done things that I think are quite unacceptable.

You ask how people should respond? By creating something better. It’s not easy, especially when they are isolated. Greece, alone, is in a very vulnerable position. If the Greeks had had support from progressive left and popular forces elsewhere in Europe, they might have been able to resist the demands of the Troika.

What is your opinion of the system Castro created in Cuba after the revolution?

Well, what Castro’s actual goals were, we don’t actually know. He was sharply constrained from the first moment, by a harsh and cruel attack from the reigning superpower.

We have to remember that literally within months after his taking office, the planes from Florida were beginning to bomb Cuba. Within a year, the Eisenhower administration, secretly, but formally, determined [the US would] overthrow the government. Then came the Bay of Pigs invasion. The Kennedy administration was furious about the failure of the invasion, and immediately launched a major terrorist war, economic war that got harsher through the years.

Under these conditions it is kind of amazing that Cuba survived. It is a small island right offshore of a huge superpower which is trying to destroy it, and obviously depended on the United States for survival all of its recent history. But somehow they survived. It was true that it was a dictatorship: a lot of brutality, a lot of political prisoners, a lot of people killed.

Remember, the US attack on Cuba was ideologically presented as necessary to defend ourselves from Russia. As soon as Russia disappeared, the attack got harsher. There was almost no comment on that, but it tells you that the preceding claims were just an outright lie, as of course they were.

If you look at US internal documents, they explain very clearly what the threat of Cuba was. So back in the early ’60s, the State Department described the threat of Cuba as Castro’s successful defiance of US policy, going back to the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine established the claim — they couldn’t implement it at the time, but the claim — to dominate the Western Hemisphere, and Castro was successfully defying that.

That’s not tolerable. It is like somebody saying, let’s have democracy in Greece, and we just can’t tolerate that, so we have to destroy the threat at its roots. Nobody can successfully defy the master of the hemisphere, in fact of the world, hence the savagery.

But the reaction was mixed. There were achievements, like health, literacy, and so on. The internationalism was incredible. There is a reason why Nelson Mandela went to Cuba to praise Castro and thank the Cuban people almost as soon as he got out of jail. That’s a Third World reaction, and they understand it.

Cuba played an enormous role in the liberation of Africa and the overthrow of apartheid — sending doctors and teachers to the poorest places in the world, to Haiti, Pakistan after the earthquake, almost everywhere. The internationalism is just astonishing. I don’t think there has been anything like it in history.

The health achievements were astonishing. Health statistics in Cuba were about like the United States, and take a look at the differences in wealth and power.

On the other hand, there was a harsh dictatorship. So there was both.

Transition to socialism? We cannot even talk about this. The conditions made it impossible, and we don’t know if there was an intention.

In recent years, several movements have sprung up in the US criticizing the current form of social and economic organization. Nevertheless, most of them have united against a common enemy, instead of uniting around a common vision. How should we think about the state of social movements and their ability to unite?

Let’s take the Occupy movement. Occupy was not a movement, it was a tactic. You can’t sit forever in a park near Wall Street. You can’t do it for more than a few months.

It was a tactic I had not predicted. If people had asked me, I would have said, don’t do it.

But it was a great success, an enormous success, with a big impact on people’s thinking, on people’s action. The whole concept of concentration of wealth (1 percent and 99 percent), it was there of course, at the background of people’s understanding, but it became prominent — even became prominent in the mass media (in the Wall Street Journal, for example) — and it led to many forms of activism, it energized people and so on. But it wasn’t a movement.

The Left, in a general sense, is very much atomized. We live in highly atomized societies. People are pretty much alone: it’s you and your iPad.

The major organizing centers, like the labor movement, have been severely weakened, in the United States very severely, by policy. It didn’t happen like a hurricane. Policies have been designed to undermine working-class organization, and the reason is not only that unions fight for workers’ rights, but they also have a democratizing effect. These are institutions in which people without power can get together, support one another, learn about the world, try out their ideas, initiate programs — and that’s dangerous. That’s like a referendum in Greece. It’s dangerous to allow that.

We should recall that during the Second World War and the Depression, there was an upsurge in popular, radical democracy, all over the world. It took different forms, but it was there, everywhere.

In Greece it was the Greek revolution. And it had to be crushed. In countries like Greece, it was crushed by violence. In countries like Italy, where the US/ British forces entered in 1943, it was crushed by attacking and destroying the anti-German partisans and restoring the traditional order. In countries like the United States, it was crushed not by violence — capitalist power doesn’t have that capacity here — but starting in the late ’40s, huge efforts were undertaken to try to undermine and destroy the labor movement. And it went on.

It picked up sharply under Reagan, it picked up again under Clinton, and by now the labor movement is extremely weak (in other countries, it’s taken different forms). But that was one of the institutions which did let people come together to act cooperatively and with mutual support, and others have been pretty much decimated as well.

What can we expect from Donald Trump? Does his rise provide ground for redefining and uniting a socialist movement around a common vision in the United States?

The answer to that is basically up to you and your friends. It really depends on how people, especially young people, react. There are plenty of opportunities, and they could be taken. It is not inevitable by any means.

Just take what is likely to happen. Trump is highly unpredictable. He doesn’t know what he plans. But what might happen, for example, one possible scenario is this: a lot of people who voted for Trump, working-class people, voted for Obama in 2008. They were seduced by the slogans “hope” and “change.” They didn’t get hope, they didn’t get change, they were disillusioned.

This time they voted for another candidate who is calling for hope and change and has promised to deliver all kinds of amazing things. Well, he is not going to deliver them. So, what happens in a couple of years, when he hasn’t delivered them and that same constituency is disillusioned?

What’s very likely is that the power system will do what it typically does under such conditions: try to scapegoat the more vulnerable to say, “Yeah, you haven’t gotten what we promised, and the reason is those worthless people, the Mexicans, the blacks, the Syrian immigrants, the welfare cheats. They are the ones who are destroying everything. Let’s go after them. The gays, they are the ones to blame.”

That could happen. It’s happened over and over in history with pretty ugly consequences. And whether that could succeed depends on the kind of resistance that will be mounted by people just like you. The answer to this question should be directed to you, not to me.

EcoShock Radio Interview- Fukushima Coverup

December 29, 2016

Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 4:00 PM

Dear Friends,

I am transmitting you“ EcoShock Radio Interview- Fukushima Coverup”
sent to me by Mr.Robert Hunziker,an American journalist who has written
many brilliant articles on Fukushima after 3/11.
After listening to it,you will be convinced of the absolute necccesity
for the whole world to cope with the ongoing Fukushima disaster.
This is also the decisive testimony against the Tokyo Olympic 2020.

With warmest regards,
Mitsuhei Murata

From: Robert Hunziker
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 2:14 AM
Subject: EcoShock Radio Interview- Fukushima Coverup

——————-

皆様

福島の実情を度重ねて伝え評価されているRobert Hunziker記者
から寄せられた下記のラジオ・インタビューを伝える英文発信文を
お届けいたします。

福島隠しを厳しく糾弾し、東京五輪はこれに利用されていると
断言しております。いかに報道規制しても限界があることが示されたといえます。
同インタビューを聴取すれば福島は全世界の関与を必要とする地球環境問題である
と思い知らされます。

東芝、電通、もんじゅ等々の問題は、不道徳の永続を許さない天地の摂理の躍動を感じさせます。
大きな動きを感じる所以です。

トモダチ作戦参加米軍兵士による東電に対する訴訟の裁判は日本と米国のいずれで
行われるかで争われておりましたが、米国を主張する米地方裁判所の決定が
米最高裁に支持されたとのことです。

この度の茨木地震は震度7級の地震が福島に発生する可能性を想起させました。
最近浮上しつつある2号機問題が気になります。
最悪の場合東京が住めなくなると言われる問題です。

福島事故の対応に全力で取り組む体制の樹立が急がれます。

皆様のご理解とご支援をお願い申し上げます。

 村田光平
(元駐スイス大使)

(英文発信文)

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

December 29, 2016

OpEdNews Op Eds 12/28/2016 at 03:24:35

By David Swanson Follow Me on Twitter Message David Swanson Permalink
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Related Topic(s): Activist; Events; Militarism; Organize; Organizing; Wars, Add Tags Add to My Group(s)
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From all around the globe, nearly 50,000 people have signed this statement:

I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.

Anyone inclined to can sign it here: http://worldbeyondwar.org/individual

In each of 143 countries, somewhere between 1 and several thousand people have signed. The purpose of the statement is to begin organizing a truly global movement. But certain countries are missing. Let’s resolve to add them to the map in 2017.

Obviously there exists at least one person in Venezuela and in Cuba and in Honduras and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who wants to end all war. As in most countries, it is likely that most people in those countries want to do so. But who will be the first to put their name down?

Organizations can sign too, and several hundred have done so at: http://worldbeyondwar.org/organization

Can we find signers who will sign online or on hardcopy in Algeria, Libya, Western Sahara, Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Liberia, Chad, Angola?

What about in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, North Korea, or Papua New Guinea?

Beyond adding a single signer in each of these places, we want to add volunteer leaders who will join the global coordination of educational and activist efforts to rid our species of the disease of militarism before it rids the planet of us.

In 143 countries people have already signed and in a growing list have become active. World Beyond War now has country coordinators all over the world and is hiring paid staff to begin in January and work with them to accelerate our growth and intensify our activities.

Do you know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

– Advertisement –

Do you know anyone who might know anyone who might know anyone in any of the missing countries? Can you ask them to sign?

Can you bring sign up sheets to any events you organize or attend in 2017 and ask everyone to sign, then mail them in (or photograph and email them in)? This is how we’ll grow. And this growth combined with the power of our message will change the world.” title=”” class=””>

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David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

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For a peaceful 2017

December 28, 2016

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
9:28 PM (2 hours ago)

to me
Here are a few recent items:

Resolved: To Find Peace Advocates in Every Nation

Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

VIDEO: How Will Trump Wield Obama’s Modernized Nukes?

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

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

What Racist Registries Look Like

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

Think Politicians Are Trying to Scare You? You’re Not Paranoid.

AUDIO: Talking Trump Appointments (Starts at Minute 40:00)

VIDEO: Militarizing Police and a Policelike Military

VIDEO: CrossTalk: Mainstream’s Revenge

AUDIO: I was on Black Agenda Radio

Talk Nation Radio: Craig Murray: Russia Didn’t Do It; Vincent Emanuele on Stopping Pipelines and Wars

If Phil Ochs Were Alive, Though I’d Not Wish It on Him

BREAKING: The CIA Never Ever Lies

AUDIO: California Should Secede

Black and Foreign Lives Matter: Ending Gun Violence Requires Ending War

Military Recruiting in the United States, and Planning its Decline and Fall

Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving

Talk Nation Radio: Chip Gibbons on Anti-Russia Committee and Censoring Criticism of Israel

AUDIO: I discuss the nomination of Mattis for Secretary of War War War

New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act

AUDIO: I discussed flag burning on Michael Slate show

Give Wes Bellamy a Break

VIDEO: The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War

75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

Talk Nation Radio: George Lakey on Viking Economics

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

Help me keep working in 2017!

http://davidswanson.org/donate

Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

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Even as Global Trade Dropped, US Arms Sales Boomed in 2015

December 28, 2016

Published on
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
byCommon Dreams

Even as other nations tighten budgets for weapons amid domestic financial concerns, US manages to sell $40 billion in one year
byNadia Prupis, staff writer
usweapons

The weapons included Apache attack helicopters, pictured. (Photo: Defense Images/flickr/cc)
The weapons included Apache attack helicopters, pictured. (Photo: Defense Images/flickr/cc)
The U.S. sold more weapons than any other country in 2015 despite a drop in the global arms trade, according to a new congressional report.

At $40 billion, the U.S. signed more than half of all arms agreements last year, and more than double the next-highest seller, which was France at $15 billion. American weapons sales included bombs, missiles, armored tanks, Apache attack helicopters, F-15 fighter jets, and other items.

The report (pdf) was published by the Congressional Research Service, which conducts national policy analysis for Congress. It looked at conventional arms transfers to developing nations from 2008 to 2015.

Russia sold $11.1 billion, a slight drop from its 2014 count at $11.2 billion. China sold $6 billion, doubling its output from last year.

We need you

The leading buyers, meanwhile, were Qatar, which signed deals to purchase more than $17 billion; Egypt, which signed on for $12 billion; and Saudi Arabia, which purchased more than $8 billion.

Many of those weapons have gone to aid the Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition fighting rebels in Yemen at a high civilian price. As anti-war activist and Common Dreams contributor Medea Benjamin wrote in August, “American weapons are drenched in Yemeni blood.”

2015 also marks the eighth year in a row that the U.S. has led the world in global arms deliveries, even as many other countries cut back on their arms spending over “domestic budget” concerns, as study author Catherine A. Theohary put it.

The Guardian noted on Tuesday that the findings comport with another recent study that found the Obama administration had approved more than $278 billion in eight years, more than double that of the Bush administration, which sold $128.6 billion.

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Under Nuclear Shadow of Trump, Abe’s Pearl Harbor Visit Mixes Business and Penitence

December 28, 2016

Published on
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
byCommon Dreams

Veteran’s peace group issues apology to people of Japan and the world for 1945 nuclear attacks
byLauren McCauley, staff writer

unnamed
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Hono­lulu on Dec. 26, 2016. (Photo: Hugh Gentry/Reuters)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Hono­lulu on Dec. 26, 2016. (Photo: Hugh Gentry/Reuters)
Overshadowed by the threats of a renewed nuclear arms race under incoming President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama made a historic visit to Pearl Harbor on Tuesday in a symbolic show of unity and reconciliation.

Daniel Kritenbrink, Obama’s top Asia adviser in the White House, said the visit was part of an effort to “directly deal with even the most sensitive aspects of our shared history.”

Although Japanese leaders have visited Oahu’s Pearl Harbor before, “Abe will be the first to visit the memorial constructed on the hallowed waters above the sunken USS Arizona,” AP notes, where more than 2,300 Americans died during the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing, spurring U.S. engagement in World War II.

Last spring, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where U.S. forces dropped an atomic bomb, killing 140,000 people and effectively ending the war.

“Abe will not apologize for Pearl Harbor, his government has said. Nor did Obama apologize at Hiroshima in May,” AP noted, which many observers saw as a slight, given the United States’ vast nuclear weapons arsenal.

We need you

Despite the leaders’ unrepentance, national military organization Veterans for Peace issued a statement of atonement on Tuesday to the people of Japan “and to all the people of the world” for U.S.’ usage of nuclear weapons.

“This hugely atrocious crime against humanity should never have happened,” the group stated. “As military veterans who have come to see the tragic futility of war, we promise that we will continue working for peace and disarmament.”

While recognizing “the historic significance” of the two visits, the group says they “continue to be dismayed at the lack of accountability that the U.S. has taken towards unleashing the most devastating attack the world has ever seen.”

To date, the “U.S. remains the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons, of which the side effects are still being felt today, seventy years later,” the veterans note.

Tuesday’s ceremony comes against the troubling backdrop of a potentially renewed nuclear arms race after the president-elect declared on Twitter last week that the U.S. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability,” and later expanded on those comments, saying: “Let it be an arms race.”

What’s more, Washington Post’s David Nakamura adn Brittany Lyte reported Tuesday, “the geopolitical backdrop for the event has been clouded by President-elect Donald Trump’s pugnacious and unpredictable foreign-policy pronouncements. During the campaign, Trump raised alarms in both countries when he questioned the value of the U.S. military’s basing agreements in Japan and suggested the island nation consider developing its own nuclear weapons.”

Abe was the first national leader to visit Trump following his November victory and, according to the Japan Times, the Japanese leader “hopes his trip will be seen favorably by Trump and his advisers as they begin to address the U.S.-Japan relationship.”

As Sheila Smith, a Japan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Post: “What Abe will want to do with Trump is to hug him close, and teach him about Japan and Asia.”

“I suspect they’re holding their breath a little bit,” Smith added. “But I do think in Mr. Abe’s personal visit and his subsequent follow-up, he’s trying to be the ally of choice for Mr. Trump.”

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Talk Nation Radio: Richard Cahan on the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans

December 27, 2016

OpEdNews Op Eds 12/27/2016 at 15:36:15

By David Swanson Follow Me on Twitter Message David Swanson Permalink

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Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored and co-authored more than a dozen books, including Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows and Richard Nickel’s Chicago. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums.
We discuss the new photo book co-authored by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams, Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.

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David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more…)

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“Let it be an arms race:” The Nuclear Nighmare holds the world hostage

December 27, 2016

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
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The Cold War for Kids: Arms Race
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It would take only a few hundred nukes to kill almost all the people on earth, who live on 12% of the landmass. The US has more than enough to annihilate humanity many times over…..more nukes does not mean more safety but more risk.

“A recently declassified document shared by nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein gives the verdict that scientists at the Los Alamos laboratory and test site reached in 1945. They found that “it would require only in the neighborhood of 10 to 100 Supers of this type” to put the human race in peril.”

Today’s bombs are incredibly more lethal. North Korea has deterred attacks with only a handful of nukes, but enough to wipe out Seoul and Tokyo. The beneficiaries of more nukes is the military/industrial complex which trades the risk of annihilation for more profits.

War is a racket (Smedley Butler).Never forget that essential fact.

The CBO has been banned from making a cost estimate on the Nuclear Modernization Act, meaning a blank check for the merchants of death. In all other nuclear nations, nuclear capacity will be increased as a response to an obvious threat.

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DoD Wire
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As a Chrismas present to the world, a few days ago, a man not yet President and lacking popular support, brought into focus the threat of nuclear annihilation in one tweet: “Let it be an arms race.”

This was in response to the game of ego-driven chicken he was playing with Putin who had warned that Russia could not be defeated with nuclear threats, from NATO, the US, or anywhere. I decided to look into the scale of the terror that Trump has unleashed, as tho waking up from one of the recurrent nightmares of my youth that indeed, nuclear war had started. Below I explore the scale of the threat and the rationality of the fear.

One current nuclear bomb has the force of 15,000 kilotons, compared to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which had 15.

So the current active US arsenal of 2000 bombs had this much more force than the first bomb dropped: 2000 x 15000 =30 million kilotons. This is enough to flatten 2 million large cities. This is enough to kill every living thing on earth.

Why would anyone in his right mind think it makes sense to have more capacity?

Here is the kind of “defense” that Trump supporters are promoting (from OEN discussion forum): “These statements about upgrading nuclear arsenals could be jockeying for eventual arms reduction negotiations.”

This brings to mind Einstein’s insight that “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”

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Albert Einstein quotes – Quote Coyote page 2
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Against this insight is the Nixon Madman Theory which Trump has adopted: “I call it the Madman Theory, Bob (Haldeman) . I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, “for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry–and he has his hand on the nuclear button” and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”

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The man who inspires Trump to use the Madman Theory…….

“In October 1969, the Nixon administration indicated to the Soviet Union that “the madman was loose” when the United States military was ordered to full global war readiness alert (unbeknownst to the majority of the American population), and bombers armed with thermonuclear weapons flew patterns near the Soviet border for three consecutive days” Wikipedia

If Trump had been reading history instead of Hitler’s speeches, he might have realized that the Madman theory led only to more slaughter, never to peace.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Santayana

Those who defend state terrorism fail to understand that it is not only the tool of Tyrants but leads to death and destruction.

Why would anyone in his right mind support a man who wants more capacity to destroy the earth not 30 times but more? To argue that this is a “negotiating tactic” is like claiming a man brandishing an assault weapon is negotiating.

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Hiroshima after the bomb
Hiroshima after the bomb
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150,000 died in Hiroshima, almost all women, children, the elderly, and the wounded. Today, we have the power to destroy 2 million Hiroshimas….do we need more?

It is not the people but the new Trump regime which seeks to reverse the decline in nuclear weapons and begin an arms race.

” In a 2002 CCFR survey, 22% of Americans said that the US should never use nuclear weapons under any circumstances, 55% said only in response to a nuclear attack, and 21% said that in certain circumstances, the US should use nuclear weapons even if it has not suffered a nuclear attack. These numbers remained remarkably consistent over the next decade, with replies in 2010 being exactly the same 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll found that 35% most fear a nuclear war putting an end to humanity, compared to 23% who worry about a deadly virus, 15% the Rapture, 15% global warming, and 8% an asteroid hitting the Earth.

And to round out the subject, in a 2010 Pew survey 64% approved of Barack’s Obama’s declaration that the US would never use nuclear weapons against a nation that did not have them, but 30% did not want to take that option off the table” source: Roper Center

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.Storax Sedan. underground nuclear test – July 1962
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Underground test 1962. The next year, JFK signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Three months later, he was murdered.

So a robust majority of Americans do not support first strike or escalating the risk with threats. This highlights the fact that Trump does not represent most people but a minority which includes those who fear the Rapture more than a Nuclear War.

When the minority takes power and promotes programs that the vast majority oppose, that is tyranny. The only responses are revolution…or surrender.

The Roper article reports: ” A look back into history, however, shows that the idea of starting a nuclear war has not always been unthinkable to many Americans.”

The public has changed its view, but tragically, our new leadership is a step backward towards a world at risk of nuclear annihilation.

As I read the latest book about the assassination of JFK (Mary’s Mosaic), I am reminded that one of the reasons the Pentagon and CIA hated Kennedy enough to kill him was that he had rejected two proposals to use nukes, in Vietnam and against Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The US build-up of nukes reached a peak in 1965 with 31,000 When JFK took office, the stockpile was 18,500. He had led the campaign to end nuclear testing and rejecting using nukes except in self-defense.

On August 5, 1963, after more than eight years of difficult negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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JFK MURDER SOLVED
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Three months after the Test Ban Treaty was signed……..the Day that changed history…..all hopes for peace died.

The JFKLibrary reports: “John F. Kennedy had supported a ban on nuclear weapons testing since 1956. He believed a ban would prevent other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons, and took a strong stand on the issue in the 1960 presidential campaign. Once elected, President Kennedy pledged not to resume testing in the air and promised to pursue all diplomatic efforts for a test ban treaty before resuming underground testing. He envisioned the test ban as a first step to nuclear disarmament.”

Three months after signing the Test Ban Treaty, he was murdered.

Months after the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed…………

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52 years later, his dreams have been destroyed by a usurper, whose views contradict the views of the American public and 40 years of de-escalation.

At the time of JFK, the USSR only has 8% the nukes of the US, enough to destroy the planet. Under LBJ the US arsenal doubled which provoked the Soviet Union to quadruple its arsenal.

Trump’s tweet to begin a reversal of the nuclear nightmare is a repudiation of the Start Treaty:The (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994.

The New Start Treaty was signed on 8 April 2010 and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.[1] It is expected to last at least until 2021.”

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New START – Wikipedia
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Obama and Medvedev sign Start II to reduce nuclear arms;in the meantime a one trillion moderniation program (no new nukes but expensive new delivery ssystems and upgrades to existing weapons) has been approved, with a blank check, as the CBO was banned from conducting a cost analysis.

Trump, who ran on improving relations with Russia, has announced he will scrap the the New Start Treaty. Incompetence or insanity? Putin does not want an arms race and continues to cut defense. The friendship is a charade, as both men know.

One knee-jerk tweet by a man who 5 months ago did not know what the nuclear triad is, has destroyed the safety provided by the reduction of nuclear weapons. History teaches us that those who rule without consent, without popular support, must rely on force, intimidation, and lies. One of the most effective ways to short-circuit rational thinking is through fear, or state terrorism. We know have a man, unprepared to take power, who is both irrational, impulsive, and ignorant of nuclear strategy and policy. Fear is used to control the masses by Trump, and by activating this fear, has shown, before taking office, and having already angered China, Russia, and their ally Iran, that he will use the threat of state terrorism, backed up by the “negotiating tactic”: of brandishing a world-ending arsenal, that he is a grave danger to all humanity.

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Putin’s .Modern Love. – The New Yorker
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The question is: who will restrain him. Will Putin’s careful flattery and moderation calm the waters, or will Trump’s provocations only embolden the hard-liners in Russia, whom Putin has so far restrained? Will the majority of Americans who disapprove of Trump stand up or……………….surrender? Will the legacy of our martyred President Kennedy be once more betrayed by a man intent on proving he has the biggest bombs? Enough not only to destroy the enemy (his friend, Putin) but all humanity many times over?

98% of arms races end in war. What are the chances that a nuclear arms race would defy the odds? It assumes rational leaders: do we have a rational leader, a man who would reverse 40 years of policy in a tweet?

Today I awoke not from a nuclear nightmare but to one. Merry Christmas!

(Article changed on December 27, 2016 at 18:20)

retired, working radical egalitarian/libertarian socialist old school independent, vegan, survivor

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Slacktivism for everyone: How keyboard activism is affecting social movements

December 25, 2016

SATURDAY, DEC 24, 2016 04:59 AM CST

Online petitions and other innovative methods to mobilize show of support is changing the civil disobedience game
JENNIFER EARL, THE CONVERSATION SKIP TO COMMENTS
TOPICS: ACTIVISM, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, ONLINE, PROTEST, SOCIAL MOVEMENT, TECHNOLOGY NEWS, NEWS

Slacktivism for everyone: How keyboard activism is affecting social movements
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This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

In 2013, an online petition persuaded a national organization representing high school coaches to develop materials to educate coaches about sexual assault and how they could help reduce assaults by their athletes. Online petitions have changed decisions by major corporations (ask Bank of America about its debit card fees) and affected decisions on policies as diverse as those related to survivors of sexual assault and local photography permitting requirements. Organizing and participating in these campaigns has also been personally meaningful to many.

But, a nostalgia for 1960s activism leads many to assume that “real” protest only happens on the street. Critics assume that classic social movement tactics such as rallies and demonstrations represent the only effective model for collectively pressing for change. Putting your body on the line and doing that collectively for decades is viewed as the only way “people power” works. Engaging online in “slacktivism” is a waste, making what cultural commentator Malcolm Gladwell has called “small change.”

Should protest happen online or in the real world? Wherever people will get engaged.

This amounts to a debate over the “right way” to protest. And it’s bound to heat up: The election of Donald Trump is pushing many people who have not previously engaged in activism to look for ways to get involved; others are redoubling their efforts. People have a range of possible responses, including doing nothing, using online connections to mobilize and publicize support and protesting in the streets – or some combination of tactics.

As a social movement scholar and someone who believes we should leverage all assets in a challenge, I know that much social good can come from mass involvement – and research shows that includes online activism. The key to understanding the promise of what I prefer to call “flash activism” is considering the bigger picture, which includes all those people who care but are at risk of doing nothing.

Most people are apathetic

Social movement scholars have known for decades that most people, even if they agree with an idea, don’t take action to support it. For most people upset by a policy decision or a disturbing news event, the default is not to protest in the streets, but rather to watch others as they do. Getting to the point where someone acts as part of a group is a milestone in itself.

Decades of research show that people will be more willing to engage in activism that is easy, and less costly – emotionally, physically, or financially. For example, more than a million people used social media to “check in” at the Standing Rock Reservation, center of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Far fewer people – just a few thousand – have traveled to the North Dakota camps to brave the arriving winter weather and risk arrest.

Once people are primed to act, it’s important not to discourage them from taking that step, however small. Preliminary findings from my team’s current research suggest that people just beginning to explore activism can be disheartened by bring criticized for doing something wrong. Part of the reason people volunteer is to feel good about themselves and effective about changing the world. Shaming them for making “small change” is a way to reduce numbers of protesters, not to increase them. Shaming can also create a legacy of political inactivity: Turning kids off from involvement now could encourage decades of disengagement.

‘Success’ takes many forms

“Flash activism,” the label I prefer for online protest forms such as online petition, can be effective at influencing targets in specific circumstances. Think of a flash flood, where the debilitating rush of involvement overwhelms a system. Numbers matter. Whether you are a high school coach, Bank of America, the Obama administration or a local council member, an overwhelming flood of signatures, emails and phone calls can be quite persuasive.

Further, all that 1960s-era street-style protest is effective only in certain circumstances. Research shows it can be very good at bringing attention to topics that should be on the public or policymakers’ agenda. But historically protests are less successful at changing entrenched opinions. For instance, once you have an opinion about abortion access, it is fairly difficult for movements to get people to change their views. And, while the protests we are so nostalgic for sometimes succeeded, they also often fail where policy change is concerned.

The glass can be half-full

Online protest is easy, nearly cost-free in democratic nations, and can help drive positive social change. In addition, flash activism can help build stronger movements in the future. If current activists view online support as an asset, rather than with resentment because it is different from “traditional” methods, they can mobilize vast numbers of people.

Take, for example, the “Kony 2012” viral video campaign calling for the arrest of indicted war criminal Joseph Kony. Some hated the campaign; others highlighted its ability to draw attention to an issue many thought Americans wouldn’t care about. Think about the possibilities. Would Planned Parenthood be unhappy if 100 million Americans watched a persuasive short movie on abortion rights as civil rights today, and shared it with friends? Would the effort “matter”; would it help drive the direction of the public conversation about abortion?

And flash activism isn’t necessarily just a one-time game of numbers; MoveOn showed that with a big enough membership base, you could mobilize large numbers repeatedly. People who participate in one online action may join future efforts, or even broaden their involvement in activism. For example, kids who engage in politics online often do other political activities as well.

Many hands make light work

Critics often worry that valuing flash activism will “water down” the meaning of activism. But that misses the point and is counterproductive. The goal of activism is social change, not nostalgia or activism for activism’s sake. Most people who participate in flash activism would not have done more – rather, they would have done nothing at all.

Worse yet, when people denigrate flash activism, they are driving away potential allies. Critics of online efforts no doubt know that not everyone is willing to march or rally – but they miss the important potential for others to take actions that support and actually result in change.

Scholars and advocates alike should stop asking if flash activism matters. We should also stop assuming that offline protest always succeeds. Instead, we should seek out the best ways to achieve specific goals. Sometimes the answer will be an online petition, sometimes it will be civil disobedience and sometimes it will be both – or something else entirely.

The real key for grassroots social change is to engage as many people as possible. That will require flexibility on how engagement occurs. If people want larger and more effective social movements, they should be working to find ways to include everyone who will do anything, not upholding an artificial standard of who is a “real activist” and who is not.

The Conversation

Jennifer Earl, Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona