Archive for the ‘No wars!’ Category

Updates, successes, and events

March 21, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
2:58 PM (1 hour ago)

Hi everybody,

We got my city council here in Charlottesville, Va., to pass a resolution last night telling Congress to move money from the military to human and environmental needs instead of the reverse. Try this at home! Let me know if you need help!

I’ve signed on for a trip to Russia in May to meet with activists, authors, others in Moscow. But of course it’s going to cost more than I’d been told, and I’m flat broke. If you can help, please donate. Thank you to those who already have!

I’m also headed to speak in these places:
March 23 Charlottesville VA – Syria, Yemen, and U.S. Warmaking

April 3 New York – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

Apr 4 Washington DC – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

April 8: Huntsville, Alabama: 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

April 13: David Swanson speaking in Boston, Mass.

April 22: David Swanson speaking in Burlington, Vermont

June 16-18: David Swanson and many others speaking at United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) annual conference in Richmond, Va.

August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.

Find more events here.

Also I’m one of the instructors in an online course you may want to sign up for:

Before April 10: Sign up for Online Course: War Abolition 101

Here’s some recent writing, etc.:

City of Charlottesville Passes Resolution Asking Congress to Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not Military Expansion

Trump’s Budget Counts on Us to Be Dumber Than He

Mike Signer: Profile in Cowardice

Russia Conspiracists Claim to Possess Reality

Talk Nation Radio: William Geimer on Why Canada Should Stay Out of Other People’s Wars

Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump

Listen to Black Agenda Report Radio

Help “The End of War” Win

City to Vote on Resolution Opposing Trump’s Budget

The Problem With the CIA and Drones

Talk Nation Radio: Ellen Schrecker on McCarthyism Then and Now

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, Day Two: David Swanson

Deep state & MSM hysteria

Charlottesville to vote on resolution urging Congress to fund human and environmental needs, not more militarism

Is Advocating Humane Policies Inhumane?

Talk Nation Radio: Tressie McMillan Cottom on For-Profit Colleges and the Society That Produces Them

I confess to meeting with the Russian ambassador in Charlottesville

Audio from Event in Arlington in January

Audio: From Canadian Radio

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

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

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Upcoming Awesome Events Everywhere

March 20, 2017

 

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org 

2:54 PM (8 hours ago)

 
 
 
 
Let us know about any event you’re planning. We’ll list it on our events page, and in the calendar on the right side of this website. And we’ll email everyone on our list who lives in your area asking them to attend.

Resources with which to create an event.

Calendar of important peace holidays.

Events list:

2017

Mar 12 – Apr 8 – Leverett, MA to Washington DC – Walk for Sanctuary and a Demilitarized World

Mar 13 – Dublin, Ireland – MEETING ON THE REFUGEE CRISIS at DIT, Dublin

Mar 16 – Sunset Pointe, FL – Central Florida Chapter of World Beyond War Organizing Meeting

Mar 17 – Boston – Meet and Greet Discussion: creating a vision for a Boston World Beyond War chapter

Mar 18 – Supporting People’s Actions to Empower Women at the Margins

Mar 19 – Fordham U, NYC – Sustainability through Overcoming Violence: Restoring Earth; Respecting Women

Mar 19 – New York – U.S. Invasion of Iraq 14th Anniversary demonstration

Mar 19 – Barrington, RI – A potluck lunch, workshops & sing along

Mar 19 – Richmond, VA – Richmond Green Party Anti War Rally

Mar 19 – London UK and everywhere – Fly Kites Not Drones – Sunday 19th March 2017 International Action ALL DAY

March 20 Charlottesville VA – 7 p.m. City Council Meeting: Support Resolution Urging Congress to Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not More Military Spending

Mar 21 – St. Paul, MN – World Storytelling Day 2017

Mar 21 – Chicago, IL – World Beyond War Chicago Chapter Meeting

Mar 23 – Charlottesville, VA – Syria, Yemen, and U.S. Warmaking in the Middle East – Discussion with Gabe Huck, Theresa Kubasak, Sheila Carapico, and David Swanson

Mar 25 – London – Global Terrorism: The Peace Movement Response

Mar 26 – Corte Madera CA – Book talk by David Hartsough and Norman Solomon

Mar 26-Aug 9 – Buchel Nuclear Base, Germany: Büchel is everywhere – nuclear-free now!

Mar 27-31 – New York – Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Negotiations (part 1)

Mar 31-April 1 – Ann Arbor – Rotary World Peace Conference, Ann Arbor

Apr 1 – Bath, Maine – Christening of the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer, Thomas Hudner

Apr 2 – Chicago – Beyond Vietnam: Revisiting King’s Radical Revolution of Values

April 3 – New York – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

Apr 4 – Washington DC – MLK+50 AWAKE – Meet, learn, march to, and vigil at White House

Apr 4 – Washington DC – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

Apr 6-7 – PNND 2017 Assembly in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Apr 7-9 – Huntsville, Alabama: Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense and the Weaponization of Space 25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest

Apr 7-13 – Nevada Desert Experience – Sacred Peace Walk 2017

Apr 9 – Chicago, IL – World Beyond War: Politics Beyond Partisanship

April 10 – June 5 WORLD BEYOND WAR ONLINE COURSE: WAR ABOLITION 101: HOW WE CREATE A PEACEFUL WORLD

Apr 13 – Boston – World Beyond War director and author David Swanson to speak in Boston

Apr 15-28 – Global Days of Action on Military Spending

Apr 17 – Northampton, MA – pat*RIOT’s day march in massachusetts

Apr 18 – Tax Day – Veterans For Peace annual leafletting on the cost of the military in the US Discretionary Budget

Apr 20-23 – Philadelphia, PA – Waging Peace: AFSC’s Summit for Peace and Justice

Apr 22 – Winooski, VT – Conference – Building A World Beyond War: What Will It Take?

April 22 – National & Local & Global Marches for Science on Earth Day 2017

Apr 23-28 – Peace Witness in a time of Endless War

Apr 23-29 – Indian Springs, Nevada: 3rd Annual Shut Down Creech Air Force Base

Apr 29 – People’s Climate March on Washington

May 1 – May Day – Events for Immigrants’ Rights

May 4-6 – Guantanano, Cuba – Program of the Fifth Peace Seminar and for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases

May 5-6 – San Diego, CA – The First Mobilization Conference on Social Movements and Protest: Nonviolent Strategies and the State

May 20-27 – Raleigh to DC – Sam’s Ride for Peace – Affirm the Challenge; Ride a Mile

May 21-24 – Washington DC – Alliance for Nuclear Accountability DC Days 2017

May 24-25 – Brussels – Protests against NATO at NATO Summit 2017

May 25 – San Francisco – Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

May 29 – 2017 Memorial Day Event – Letters to The Wall

Jun 2-4 – John Jay College, NYC: Left Forum 2017

Jun 15-July 7 – New York – Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Negotiations (part 2)

Jun 16-18 – United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) annual conference in Richmond, Va.

Jun 18 – New York – Women’s March to Ban the Bomb

Jul 8-16 – Scotland: Coulport Disarmament Camp 2017 by Trident Ploughshares

Jul 27-30 – Chicago – WILPF US 33rd Triennial Congress 2017 in Chicago

Aug 2-6: Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., including Peace and Democracy Conference organized by World Beyond War

Aug 3-9 – Hiroshima & Nagasaki, Japan – 2017 World Conference against A and H Bombs

Aug 9-13 Veterans For Peace Convention at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Ill. The convention theme is “Education Not Militarization.”

Aug 27-Sept 2 – Innsbruck, Austria: International Institute on Peace Education: Aesthetic Peaces

Sep 3-7 – University of York, UK: 2017 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War World Congress in the UK

Oct 7 The 16th anniversary of attack on Afghanistan

Oct 19-22 – Kansas City, MO: Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I Through Today

Oct 25-28 – Birmingham, AL – Moving from Civil Rights to Human Rights – Peace and Justice Studies Association 2017 Annual Meeting

Let us know about any event you’re planning.

If you’d like to help plan events, email events@worldbeyondwar.org

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

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Democracy Convention: unified movement!

March 19, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
11:10 AM (12 hours ago)

World Beyond War and our allies are planning an incredible Peace and Democracy Conference for this August 2-6 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Even better, this will be one of ten overlapping and integrated conferences aimed at building a unified movement for change.

Check out the planning, get involved, and register with an earlybird discount to attend at https://www.DemocracyConvention.org

Send us ideas for the Peace and Democracy Conference. An initial outline of what we’re planning is below (subject to change, including based on your input).
There will be time in this schedule to participate in the other nine conferences, and some of these events will be co-sponsored by two conferences. We are lining up the best speakers and workshop leaders on the following topics. Please let us know speakers and topics you think we should include.

Aug 2 evening: Peace Media.
Aug 2 evening: Peace Education.
Aug 3 morning: Peace Culture. Outgrowing nationalism, materialism, machismo, and exceptionalism.
Aug 3 morning: The Case for War Abolition. Why we can and must end our greatest crime.
Aug 3 afternoon: Peacenvironmentalism. One movement, indivisible.
Aug 3 afternoon: Overcoming Racism and Militarism.
Aug 3 evening: Military Spending Does Even More Damage Than Militaries.
Aug 3 evening: Hole in the Ground, dramatic reading.
Aug 3 evening, off-site: Flyering re Frank Kellogg on Kellogg Blvd.
Aug 4 morning: Divestment from Weapons Dealers.
Aug 4 morning: Replacing War Systems with Peace Systems.
Aug 4 afternoon: Local Resistance to Militarized Police, Military Recruiters.
Aug 4 afternoon: Building Local Power for Peace.
Aug 4 evening: Building Alliances Across Borders.
Aug 4 evening: Nonviolence Training.
Aug 5 morning: Acting Through Local Governments.
Aug 5 afternoon: Ending the Nuclear Nightmare.
Aug 5 evening: Opposing the Latest Wars and Those to Come.
Aug 5 tea ceremony.
Aug 6 early morning Hiroshima event.
Aug 6 morning: Lobbying Officials Who’ve Been Paid Not to Listen.
Aug 6 morning: Law vs War.
Aug 6 afternoon: What If the People Could Choose Peace?
Aug 6 afternoon: Global Governance Beyond Nations.
Aug 6 evening: Peace Honors, Celebrations, Holidays, and What the Nobel Peace Prize Was Supposed to Be.

Check out the planning, get involved, and register with an earlybird discount to attend at https://wwwDemocracyConvention.org
Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

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War Abolition 101: How We Create a Peaceful World

March 15, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
11:31 AM (9 hours ago)

War Abolition 101: How We Create a Peaceful World

Register for Online Course: How to Get to a World Beyond War

Sign up here.

How can we make the best argument for shifting from war to peace? How can we become more effective advocates and activists for ending particular wars, ending all wars, pursuing disarmament, and creating systems that maintain peace? Here’s a chance to learn from World Beyond War experts as part of a study group and to do so at your own schedule.

The course will be taught April 10 to June 5, 2017. Prior to the start date, you will be sent a link to a new website and means to access the course. Each week, an instructor will provide text and video, and interact with participants in a chat room. Each week, an instructor will assign an optional written assignment, and will return the assignment to the student with detailed feedback. Submissions and feedback can be shared with everyone taking the course or kept private between a student and the instructor, at the student’s choice.

The cost of the course is the same for someone completing all, some, or none of the assignments.

A certificate will be provided to those who complete all assignments.

Sign up here.

Course Outline and Instructors:

April 10 War can be ended — David Swanson

April 17 War is immoral — Bob Fantina

April 24 War destroys freedom — Barry Sweeney

May 1 War destroys nature — Leah Bolger

May 8 War endangers — Mary Dean

May 15 War impoverishes and wastes — Brian Terrell

May 22 There are alternatives to war / What is an Alternative Global Security System? — Tony Jenkins

May 29 War Will Not Go Away Unless We Make It / How to organize for Peace & Justice — David Swanson and Mary Dean

Sign up here.

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

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Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?

February 16, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
8:16 PM (2 hours ago)

Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5448
For the past decade, the standard procedure for big coalition rallies and marches in Washington D.C. has been to gather together organizations representing labor, the environment, women’s rights, anti-racism, anti-bigotry of all sorts, and a wide array of liberal causes, including demands to fund this, that, and the other, and to halt the concentration of wealth.

At that point, some of us in the peace movement will generally begin lobbying the PEP (progressive except for peace) organizers to notice that the military is swallowing up enough money every month to fund all their wishes 100 times over for a year, that the biggest destroyer of the natural environment is the military, that war fuels and is fueled by racism while stripping our rights and militarizing our police and creating refugees.

When we give up on trying to explain the relevance of our society’s biggest project to the work of reforming our society, we generally point out that peace is popular, that it adds a mere 5 characters to a thousand-word laundry list of causes, and that we can mobilize peace groups to take part if peace is included.

Often this works. Several big coalition efforts have eventually conceded and included peace in some token way in their platforms. This success is most likely when the coalition’s organizing is most democratic (with a small d). So, Occupy, obviously, ended up including a demand for peace despite its primary focus on a certain type of war profiteers: bankers.

Other movements include a truly well informed analysis with no help from any lobbying that I’ve had to be part of. The Black Lives Matter platform is better on war and peace than most statements from the peace movement itself. Some advocates for refugees also seem to follow logic in opposing the wars that create more refugees.

Other big coalition actions simply will not include any preference for peace over war. This seems to be most likely to happen when the organizations involved are most Democratic (with a capital D). The Women’s March backs many other causes, but uses the word peace without suggesting any preference for peace: “We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.” There is also, one might note, no justice or equity for anybody living under bombs.

Here’s a coalition currently trying to decide whether it dare say the word peace: https://peoplesclimate.org.

This group is planning a big march for the climate and many other unrelated causes, such as the right to organize unions, on April 29. Organizers claim some relationship among all the causes. But, of course, there isn’t really an obvious direct connection between protecting the climate and protecting gay rights or the rights of workers. They may all be good causes and all involve kindness and humility, but they can be won separately or together.

Peace is different. One cannot, in fact, protect the climate while allowing the military to drain away the funding needed for that task, dumping it into operations that consume more petroleum than any other and which lead the way in poisoning water, land, and air. Nor can a climate march credibly claim, as this one does, to be marching for “everything we love” and refuse to name peace, unless it loves war or is undecided between or uninterested in the benefits of mass murder versus those of nonviolent cooperation.

Here’s a petition you can sign to gently nudge the People’s Climate March in the right direction. Please do so soon, because they’re making a decision.

The struggle to save the climate faces other hurdles in addition to loyalty to militarism. I mean, beyond the mammoth greed and corruption and misinformation and laziness, there are other unnecessary handicaps put in place even by those who mean well. A big one is partisanship. When Republicans have finally proposed a carbon tax, many on the left simply won’t consider it, won’t even tackle the problem of making it actually work fairly and honestly and aggressively enough to succeed. Perhaps because some of the supporters seem untrustworthy. Or perhaps because some of the supporters likely don’t believe you need labor unions in order to tax carbon.

And which ones would you need, the ones advocating for more pipelines or the ones working in other fields?

Scientists, too, are planning to march on Washington. The scientific consensus on war has been around as long as that on climate change. But what about the popular acceptance? What about the appreciation among grant-writing foundations? What do the labor unions and big environmental groups feel about it? These are the important questions, I’m afraid, even for a scientists’ march.

But I appreciate the scientific method enough to hope my hypothesis is proven wrong.

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

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x

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
8:16 PM (2 hours ago)

to me
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5448
For the past decade, the standard procedure for big coalition rallies and marches in Washington D.C. has been to gather together organizations representing labor, the environment, women’s rights, anti-racism, anti-bigotry of all sorts, and a wide array of liberal causes, including demands to fund this, that, and the other, and to halt the concentration of wealth.

At that point, some of us in the peace movement will generally begin lobbying the PEP (progressive except for peace) organizers to notice that the military is swallowing up enough money every month to fund all their wishes 100 times over for a year, that the biggest destroyer of the natural environment is the military, that war fuels and is fueled by racism while stripping our rights and militarizing our police and creating refugees.

When we give up on trying to explain the relevance of our society’s biggest project to the work of reforming our society, we generally point out that peace is popular, that it adds a mere 5 characters to a thousand-word laundry list of causes, and that we can mobilize peace groups to take part if peace is included.

Often this works. Several big coalition efforts have eventually conceded and included peace in some token way in their platforms. This success is most likely when the coalition’s organizing is most democratic (with a small d). So, Occupy, obviously, ended up including a demand for peace despite its primary focus on a certain type of war profiteers: bankers.

Other movements include a truly well informed analysis with no help from any lobbying that I’ve had to be part of. The Black Lives Matter platform is better on war and peace than most statements from the peace movement itself. Some advocates for refugees also seem to follow logic in opposing the wars that create more refugees.

Other big coalition actions simply will not include any preference for peace over war. This seems to be most likely to happen when the organizations involved are most Democratic (with a capital D). The Women’s March backs many other causes, but uses the word peace without suggesting any preference for peace: “We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.” There is also, one might note, no justice or equity for anybody living under bombs.

Here’s a coalition currently trying to decide whether it dare say the word peace: https://peoplesclimate.org.

This group is planning a big march for the climate and many other unrelated causes, such as the right to organize unions, on April 29. Organizers claim some relationship among all the causes. But, of course, there isn’t really an obvious direct connection between protecting the climate and protecting gay rights or the rights of workers. They may all be good causes and all involve kindness and humility, but they can be won separately or together.

Peace is different. One cannot, in fact, protect the climate while allowing the military to drain away the funding needed for that task, dumping it into operations that consume more petroleum than any other and which lead the way in poisoning water, land, and air. Nor can a climate march credibly claim, as this one does, to be marching for “everything we love” and refuse to name peace, unless it loves war or is undecided between or uninterested in the benefits of mass murder versus those of nonviolent cooperation.

Here’s a petition you can sign to gently nudge the People’s Climate March in the right direction. Please do so soon, because they’re making a decision.

The struggle to save the climate faces other hurdles in addition to loyalty to militarism. I mean, beyond the mammoth greed and corruption and misinformation and laziness, there are other unnecessary handicaps put in place even by those who mean well. A big one is partisanship. When Republicans have finally proposed a carbon tax, many on the left simply won’t consider it, won’t even tackle the problem of making it actually work fairly and honestly and aggressively enough to succeed. Perhaps because some of the supporters seem untrustworthy. Or perhaps because some of the supporters likely don’t believe you need labor unions in order to tax carbon.

And which ones would you need, the ones advocating for more pipelines or the ones working in other fields?

Scientists, too, are planning to march on Washington. The scientific consensus on war has been around as long as that on climate change. But what about the popular acceptance? What about the appreciation among grant-writing foundations? What do the labor unions and big environmental groups feel about it? These are the important questions, I’m afraid, even for a scientists’ march.

But I appreciate the scientific method enough to hope my hypothesis is proven wrong.

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

If you were forwarded this email please sign up at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/activism-alerts-from-david-swanson.

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

Comment: Of course not. Paradigm shift from ego to eco is essential.

A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact Is An Even Better Idea Than Its Author Thinks

February 5, 2017

OpEdNews Op Eds 2/4/2017 at 04:21:59

By David Swanson Follow Me on Twitter Message David Swanson Permalink
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A Georgetown Law professor named David Koplow has drafted what he calls a Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact. In an article proposing it, Koplow does something all too rare, he recognizes some of the merits of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But he misses others of those merits, as I described them in my 2011 book When The World Outlawed War.

Koplow acknowledges the cultural shift that the pact was central to, that shifted common understanding of war from something that just happens like the weather to something that can be controlled, should be abolished, and would henceforth be illegal. He acknowledges the role of the pact in motivating trials (albeit one-sided trials) for the crime of war following World War II.

But Koplow also does something that I imagine any U.S. law professor must be expected to do. I have yet to find one who doesn’t. He declares that the pact “silently” includes language that it does not actually include, language opening up a loophole for defensive war. While Britain and France added reservations to the treaty, other nations ratified it as it is written. The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee produced a statement interpreting the treaty, but not actually modifying the treaty. Japan did the same. That committee statement interprets the existence of a loophole for defensive war. The pact itself does not contain it and would not have been created, signed, or ratified had it done so.

The actual text of the treaty is superior to the United Nations Charter in not containing two loopholes, one for defensive wars and the other for UN-authorized wars. And contrary to what Koplow claims, but consistent with the facts of the matter that he relates, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is still law. That this makes numerous recent wars illegal is not so significant, as most — if not all — of those wars fail to fit into the UN Charter’s loopholes. But the existence of those loopholes allows endless claims to legality that muddy what would be clear waters if we looked to the peace pact instead of to the UN Charter.

Of course intent is often taken to override actual text. If the people who created the pact intended it to silently allow defensive war, then it allows defensive war, according to this theory. But did they? That all depends on who counts as being those people. Koplow only mentions one of them, Senator William Borah. In fact, Koplow drastically understates Borah’s role. Following the lead of the Outlawry movement and intense lobbying by its leaders, Borah had publicly promoted outlawing war for years before the pact came up for a vote, and he had been instrumental in making sure that it did. On November 26, 1927, Borah had written this in the New York Times:

“I do not think peace plans which turn upon the question of an ‘aggressor nation’ are workable. An aggressor nation is a delusive and wholly impracticable proposition as a factor in any peace plan.” Borah, agreeing with the widespread understanding of the Outlawrists, believed that in any war each side would label the other the aggressor, and that through ultimatums and provocations any side could make another into the aggressor. “I would not support a peace plan,” Borah wrote, “which recognized war as legitimate at any time or under any circumstances.” Having learned from the creators of outlawry, Borah tutored Kellogg and Coolidge, even overcoming the hurdle created by the latter’s belief that outlawing war would be unconstitutional.

But in what exactly did Borah tutor them? Surely not in what appears to every living U.S. law professor in 2017 utter nonsense or a suicide pact? Yes, in fact, in just that. And I’m not sure either Kellogg or Coolidge ever understood it to any greater extent than this: the public demand for it was a hurricane. But here’s what it was, and why those who come around to praising the Kellogg Briand Pact seem more intent on burying it. Outlawry was opposed to the entire institution of war on the model of opposition to dueling — which, outlawrists pointed out, had not been replaced by defensive dueling, but by abolition of the whole barbaric institution. Once you sanction some wars, you motivate preparation for wars, and that moves you toward wars of all kinds. The Outlawrists had grasped this even before Dwight Eisenhower had been part of a chemical weapons attack on World War I veterans in the streets of D.C., much less made any farewell addresses.

But if you ban all war, the Outlawrists grasped, you end up eliminating the need for any war. You organize nonviolent systems of conflict resolution. You create the rule of law. You mobilize a reverse arms race. Peace Studies Departments have largely grasped this just in recent years. Peace activists had it down in the 1920s. And they insisted on their vision in the treaty that they wrote, that they negotiated, that they lobbied for, and that they passed — against the very will of many of the Senators ratifying it. Si vis pacem, para pacem. Koplow quotes this inscription from the pen used to sign the treaty. If you want peace, prepare for peace. That people actually meant that in 1928 is beyond common understanding in 2017. Yet it is down in writing in both the text of the treaty and the many texts of the movement that created it. Banning all war was the intention and is the law.

So why should we, as Koplow proposes, create a brand new treaty, modeled on Kellogg-Briand, but banning only nuclear war? Well, first of all, doing so would not legally or otherwise cancel the existing Kellogg-Briand Pact, which is universally ignored by that tiny number of people who’ve ever heard of it. On the contrary, creating a nuclear KBP would bring attention to the existence of the total KBP. Ending all nuclear war would be a powerful step in the direction of ending all war, would quite possibly keep our species in existence long enough to do so, and would point our thinking in just the right direction.

The treaty as Koplow has drafted it would not be in any conflict with a treaty banning nuclear weapons, but might be a treaty that nuclear nations would sign and ratify, and it would be stronger than simply a commitment not to be the first to use nukes. As drafted, the Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact goes beyond mirroring the language of the KBP to finesse the defensive question and many others. It’s well thought out, and I recommend reading it. Buried toward the end of the draft treaty is a requirement to accelerate efforts toward total nuclear disarmament. I think passing such a ban on only nuclear war would actually accelerate the abolition of all war, and might just do so via creating awareness that all war has been illegal for 88 years.

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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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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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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?

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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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Sole Control of the Use of Our Nuclear Weapons

December 3, 2016

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A mushroom cloud. (photo: Medium)

Sole Control of the Use of Our Nuclear Weapons
By Ronnie Dugger, Reader Supported News
02 December 16

he American president decides entirely alone whether to explode our nation’s nuclear weapons on foreign targets. This has been true ever since President Truman ordered the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not of a third Japanese city because of, he said in a cabinet meeting, “all those kids.” Strategy and targeting are worked out in advance under the president’s control. Like every president since Truman, President-elect Donald Trump will soon be our elected dictator over our atom-splitting bombs.

The other seven more-and-less democracies and one dictatorship that are nuclear-armed vary in their arrangements for who fires off their nuclear weapons. In Russia, whose chief on-media propagandist now brags that his country can reduce the United States to ashes, President Vladimir Putin, the defense minister, and the chief of the general staff share control over the nation’s nuclear codes. In Pakistan also three persons, the prime minister, the president, and a third person who is not identified, must agree on it before launching their nuclear bombs. If the British prime minister can’t do it, two of her deputies can. The heads of state in China, India, France, and Israel control their nations’ nuclear warheads, as presumably the dictator of North Korea does too.

Last March a senior fellow in foreign policy at the respected Brookings Institution, Michael E. O’Hanlon, focused on this solitary power of the American president “to kill tens or hundreds of millions” of people and proposed that the awesome fact should be focused on and changed.

On the use of nuclear weapons in war, O’Hanlon wrote, the U.S. “needs additional checks and balances” and “a model” that we should share with other nuclear-armed nations. He proposed the president should be required to consult in advance with leaders of Congress, and he provisionally suggested requiring approval of such use by a majority of six other officials, the House Speaker, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and the majority and minority leaders of both chambers.

O’Hanlon explained that the U.S. president “can, in theory, launch nuclear warfare by personal decision – without any checks or balances” and added that “a President could push the button all by himself or herself, legally- and constitutionally-speaking.” If the secretary of Defense, the chief of the Strategic Command, or lower-down military personnel, charged to carry out a president’s order to launch nuclear bombs, refused to do it, O’Hanlon wrote, that would be “open insubordination, subject to dismissal and court-martial.”

The War Powers Act of 1973 requires Congressional approval of a president’s military action within 60 days of its inception, but if that action was nuclear bombs, after two months millions, even billions, could be dead.

It is unlikely, O’Hanlon wrote, but we “could have a mentally ill President who chose to do the unthinkable,” with “the possibility of completely intentional nuclear war initiated by a psychotic, schizophrenic, or otherwise unbalanced leader. Again, for all his barbs and insults and affected anger, Trump is likely not such a person. But his candidacy is enough to at least raise the salience of the question.”

President-elect Trump, soon to have sole total authority over the use of the nation’s 4,500 nuclear weapons – many more than a thousand of them on hair-trigger launch-on-warning alert – has been thinking intensely about nuclear weapons for at least four decades and has five clearly-declared convictions concerning them.

One, Trump believes nuclear weapons and their proliferation are the most important issue in the world. “[I]t’s unthinkable, the power,” he says. “The biggest risk for this world or this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons.”

Two, for him the strong taboo against more nations getting nuclear weapons no longer holds: South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia should probably – it would be OK with him – get national nuclear arsenals of their own. Speaking about South Korea and Japan he said, “If they do, they do. Good luck. Enjoy yourselves, folks.” Japan will do it whether we like it or not, in his opinion, and, he said this year, “I would rather have Japan have some form of defense or even offense against that maniac who runs North Korea,” the president, Kim Jong-un.

Three, campaigning for president, he said he does not want to be the one to detonate nuclear weapons first and that only as “an absolute last step” would he order the military to fire them off. But he added, “I’m never going to rule anything out,” and, as for other nations, “at a minimum I want them to think maybe we would use them.”

Four, Trump believes that deterrence theory, the mutual-assured-destruction foundation of the 20th century nuclear arms race, does not prevent nuclear war among rival lesser nuclear-armed nations as it has between the U.S. and Russia. When he was 38, in 1987, he told reporter Ron Rosenbaum, “The deterrence of mutual assured destruction that prevents the United States and the USSR from nuking each other won’t work on the level of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange. Or a madman dictator with a briefcase-bomb team. The only answer,” he advocated passionately, “is for the Big Two [the U.S. and the Soviet Union then] to make a deal now to step in and prevent the next generation of nations about to go nuclear from doing so. By whatever means necessary.”

As I reported on Reader Supported News last July 15th, approaching his 40th year Trump seriously wanted to be the chief United States negotiator with the Soviet Union to make that deal. His plan was to sell the USSR his idea and proposal that, via trade maneuvers by the U.S. and Soviet “retaliation,” the “Big Two” should gang up on lesser nuclear nations to coerce and force them to give up their nuclear weapons. “You do whatever is necessary,” he said, “so these people will have riots in the street, so they can’t get water, so they can’t get Band-Aids, so they can’t get food. Because that’s the only thing that’s going to do it – the people, the riots.” He said his plan applied against France, too, if France would not give up its nuclear bombs.

Five, Trump, running for president, said that nuclear weapons are going to be used now in the present world. “We’re dealing with people in the world that would use [nuclear weapons], OK?” he told the board of The New York Times. “You have many people that would use it right now in this world.” Characterizing North Korea’s Kim as “like a maniac” and “a madman,” Trump said this year Kim “is sick enough” to use his nuclear weapons.

Yet Trump also has said he is willing to meet with Kim, and he declared during a policy conference he had with his now-chief strategist Steve Bannon last December that if he was elected, he would have U.S. citizens who were imprisoned in North Korea back on American shores before his swearing-in.

It would seem as a logical matter that because of Trump’s fifth conviction that nuclear weapons will be used, if as president he comes into a war-potential situation with another nuclear-armed nation other than Russia or perhaps China, he is likelier than he would be without that conviction to launch U.S. nuclear weapons first against that adversary, thinking that if he did not, the adversary nation well might launch them against us first.

Beyond that, during his campaign Trump displayed and enacted his lifelong rule to always seek revenge; his impulsiveness and quickness to anger; his apparent indifference to the pain he causes others; and his huge ego, his statement that just about meant that on foreign policy he confers most respectfully with himself. These and related considerations led some prominent citizens to exclaim that he should not get his hands on the nuclear codes.

But, Six, Trump also said in passing this year on his way to becoming the most powerful person on earth next January that bad things will happen for us with nuclear weapons “if we don’t eliminate them.” That, too, is in his mind. Let’s go bold and call this his sixth line of thought about all the nuclear warheads.

One Man With All Humanity at His Mercy

Who controls our nuclear arsenal is so important for the continuing life and existence of humanity, I suggest, for my part, that President Obama and the Congress now meeting in its final session, and if and as necessary then President Trump and the new Congress next year, take up this subject to have the launching of our nuclear arsenal not for only the president to decide, but rather for the control to belong to the collective deciding power of a small group of our national leaders.

Concerning those who defend limiting to the one person the power to kill millions of us and possibly escalate us into the end of humanity, in self-defense we citizens, as if channeling the Captain of the Good Ship Enterprise, should tell Congress and the president of this new plan, “Make it so.”

Barack Obama, the most powerful person on earth for seven more weeks, as surprised as most are who is the new president, could and I dare to say should himself simply by presidential executive order distribute his present control over nuclear weapons among a group of five or seven including himself and in a day or a few have created a communications system for them, setting a high example and precedent for his successors. He and Trump have an evidently civil relationship; Obama could handle this with him politely (as if politeness has any business here).

For an example alternative to Brookings fellow O’Hanlon’s postulation of a five-person nuclear control group, the permanent committee on the nuclear arsenal might, after reflection and debate, be composed of five, the president, the speaker of the House, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and one majority or minority leader of each chamber chosen to accomplish a balance in those two between the two main parties.

Or, a Republican Congress might want a permanent committee of the president, the vice-president, the speaker, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If, say to achieve bipartisanship adding one of the majority or minority leaders of both chambers balanced as to parties, there would be a permanent committee of seven, or if all four of those, nine. The leaders and Congress could in good faith just work this out together and make it law.

Since our detonation of our nuclear weapons on cities, nations, or “military targets” (but not ones like Truman said Hiroshima was!) for a tactical or otherwise limited purpose can readily escalate into the end of life on the earth, it seems to me the decision to launch nuclear weapons should require the unanimous agreement of the members of a permanent committee who can be consulted in time. The president and Congress might compromise, if necessary, on requiring 4 out of 5, or 5 or 6 out of 7 … on which, humanity in the cosmos might depend.

In my opinion all members of the permanent committee (what the communists used to call the presidium) governing our nuclear arsenal should justly be legally required, in fidelity to their primary human duty to humanity, to submit their personal autonomy and tranquility to being continuously connected all to each other by fail-safe-as-possible secure communication.

Something like this would also provide a practical, although ethically monstrous assistance for the president’s unbelievable ethical problem if suddenly his national security adviser told him (or, soon, her) that a nuclear attack from X direction, according to our possibly hacked messages from NORAD, is about to explode upon us: the problem of his or her 10 or 15 or so minutes to decide whether to retaliate by mass murder, slaughtering and maiming many millions of totally innocent people as ostensibly ruling deterrence-theory requires and we have cross-our-hearts promised.

The president being commander-in-chief, if all the president’s nuclear presidium members contacted have approved a launch of H-bombs to retaliate and the president is alive and able, then at that final point only the president could give that order, or, the president alone retaining the ultimate power not to commit the mass murder of millions in indefensible before-our-deaths revenge, the president could decide to not retaliate.

This is one form of the rising danger we are all in.

No attention has been given in media I have seen to O’Hanlon’s Brookings posting calling for limitations on the president’s sole control of nuclear weapons, but two years ago the subject was considered publicly to a limited extent in some reviews of W.W. Norton’s remarkable book, Thermonuclear Monarchy, Choosing Between Democracy and Doom, by Elaine Scarry, a professor of ethics and value at Harvard University.

Scarry’s basic theme is that nuclear weapons, in matters concerning them, have in reality abolished Congress and therefore American democracy. She contends that the specific and unqualified requirement in the Constitution that only Congress declare war and its Second Amendment postulating citizens’ right to take up arms in militias to defend the country mean that given the nature of nuclear weapons the only constitutional remedy against them is to abolish them.

H-bombs, “designed to be fired by a small number of persons,” are, Scarry wrote, “the literal technology for killing entire populations at will,” and “the essential feature” of the technology is that “it locates in the hands of a solitary person the power to kill millions of people,” “the capacity to annihilate all the peoples on earth.” The president has “genocidal injuring power at his personal disposal through nuclear weapons…. [T]he people of earth … can be dispatched all at a blow.”

Comprehending, somehow, the total destructive power in the U.S. nuclear arsenal directly bears on whether control over it should be held by only one person. By Scarry’s “conservative” estimates, Obama now personally controls and next January 20th President-elect Trump will personally control the more than one billion tons of equivalent TNT-blastpower that is in our nuclear warheads.

The Harvard professor writes that each one of our U.S. Trident nuclear-armed submarines carries eight times the total blastpower exploded by all the sides in World War II. Each sub has the power of 4,000 Hiroshima-power blasts in 24 missiles containing between 8 and 17 warheads. Any one of the subs can “destroy the people of an entire continent,” there are seven continents, and we have 14 Tridents.

Under the one person’s control, as Scarry writes “we own,” in the pointed-outward tubes in our Trident fleet, 3,100 nuclear warheads with a total blastpower of 273 million tons of TNT, in our land-based ICBM warheads we own another 503 million tons of TNT blast, and then in our nuclear warheads for our bombers we own another 410 million tons of TNT power; in all, we together own about 1,186 million tons of TNT blastpower.

How whimsical and how weird this God-like power is, handed over to one person just because he’s or she’s won our presidency! Since early 1963 the nuclear briefcase, the “football” containing the nuclear codes for the use of only the president, has been carried continuously by an officer in the room the president is in or an adjacent one, as Scarry reports. It is always near the president, including when he is traveling, except for some freak incidents. When President Carter, who once sent his codes to the cleaners in a suit jacket, went rafting in Idaho, another raft followed his down the river with an officer on it carrying the briefcase. When Ronald Reagan was shot, a car containing an officer carrying the codes followed him to the hospital. President Clinton, who sometimes, anyway, kept the codes attached to his credit cards with a rubber band, lost them for several months and didn’t tell the Pentagon.

Does it matter, this one-person power of launch-and-gone? If citizens realized how often since Hiroshima we have been close to again attacking other nations with our nuclear weapons they would know that it really does. Scarry reports that since 1945 our presidents have frequently considered using them, although the official admissions of this don’t reach the public for several decades.

Eisenhower left instructions to officers that if he was out of communication they were to launch nuclear weapons if we came under attack whether nuclear or conventional. Twice he considered launching them himself, over the Taiwan Straits, 1954, and the Berlin crisis, 1959. President Kennedy considered their use three times (40 years after Kennedy’s murder, Robert McNamara said the U.S. came “three times within a hair’s breadth of nuclear war with the Soviet Union”). President Johnson considered a nuclear attack on China to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. President Nixon advocated to Henry Kissinger that the U.S. should use nuclear bombs in the Vietnam War, and, he said 13 years after his presidency, he contemplated using them three other times and not about Vietnam.

As Scarry also points out, only John Kennedy brought the people in on these nuclear-weapons-and-considering-their-use close calls. From since about Reagan, but also earlier, much top-secret truth about our slick missiles of mass death is yet to be made available to the people by their government. If the people knew what they should, they might at least think about the case for pluralizing control of our nuclear arsenal.

7 Weeks, 4 Years … Perry: “Time Is Not on Our Side”

In the later sixties, having dinner for about six in a tiny White House dining room that faces onto Lafayette Square, I sitting by President Johnson, I said to him that, since he had said publicly that in the first half-hour of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear exchange 40 million people would die, what were we reporters supposed to tell the people out there (gesturing leftward to the square) about it?

After a silence, the president said he knew exactly what I was asking (which, in my guarded intent, was, would he himself actually fire off our nuclear weapons?). After telling a long story about how a little Brown & Root airplane he was on made it bouncingly through a lightning storm back down to earth, and he woke up as they landed, he grew angry that I had asked him about this – you and you liberals who don’t have all the secret facts! – and then suddenly in his rising rage he shouted at me, “I’m the one who has to mash the button!” as he mashed his stiffened thumb down in the air bending rightward almost to the floor.

Reportedly President Nixon was preoccupied with his power over the nuclear weapons. A historian has recorded that Nixon told Senator Alan Cranston, “Why, I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead.”

Reliable journalistic sources recorded that Nixon ordered a tactical nuclear strike against North Vietnam which Kissinger had the Joint Chiefs of Staff stop until Nixon sobered up overnight. During Arab nations’ war on Israel in October 1972 the Soviet Union appeared to be planning to come in on the side of the Arabs. One night the one man didn’t do. USSR premier Leonid Brezhnev sent Nixon a threatening message. Nixon was deemed by those near him too drunk asleep to awaken, and in the morning his inner circle sent Brezhnev a threatening reply signed as if by Nixon, who was in fact dead-drunk asleep. Brezhnev backed off.

In another case with Nixon at least three high officials intervened, perhaps at risk of their prosecution if Nixon had so chosen, to check him. A few weeks before Nixon resigned his secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, ordered the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that any emergency order coming from Nixon had to be shown to Schlesinger before it was acted on.

President Reagan, after having called the USSR an evil empire, pivoted sharply by his 1984 State of the Union address in which he said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought…. [W]ould it not be better to do away with [nuclear weapons] entirely?” He and Mikhail Gorbachev almost did that, but failed.

Since then Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, in their 2002 and 2010 official nuclear policy documents, explicitly declared that the U.S. may make first use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances, which of course the U.S. would define. The U.S. arsenal now contains or is to contain new nuclear weapons that are smaller to make them “more usable,” including one, the B61-12, that is called “dial-a-yield” because the sender of it can adjust it to explode at any of four different levels of destruction.

Russia and the U.S. together have about 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Putin has declared Russia will use its stock of them if necessary to preserve the existence of the state. Showing increased interest in them for battlefield combat, Russian officials indicated they are prepared to use them, and first, whether or not it is a nuclear threat that they are under.

William J. Perry, the secretary of Defense under President Clinton, has now dedicated the rest of his life to educating and arousing the people to the rapidly rising danger of nuclear war. Perry warns in his revelatory new book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, published by Stanford University Press, that “time is not on our side.”

Thus do we Americans, all of us but one, find ourselves concerning the 4,500 nuclear weapons we own still totally inert in the hands of our presidents, one after the other, in this new world of mass murder by codes, because one man commanding in battle and war came down to us through centuries, tribal chiefs, kings, emperors, presidents. This became the way of war because the side whose fighters were commanded by the one brave and shrewder man often won or his forces survived to fight again. Our evolved genetic instinct to follow one man in battle and war is very deep. It is now also obsolete because our nuclear weapons are not for battles or wars but for mass murders and for the first time in our history can and may kill us all.

No one person in any nation on earth should have the sole power to decide alone to launch nuclear weapons in the name and authority of the country he or she is of. Perhaps in this next seven weeks and the ensuing administration we can face down in our own nation those who, perhaps seeing this subject as a political ploy against Trump, will want to continue giving just one person among us the power to end life on earth. Changing this horror in the United States, by Obama or Trump or Congress or all of them, could become a first step to changing it in the world.

Ronnie Dugger received the George Polk career award for journalism in 2012. Founding editor of The Texas Observer, he has published biographical books about Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, other books about Hiroshima and universities, articles for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other periodicals, and is now in Austin writing a book about nuclear war. ronniedugger@gmail.com
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

——————-

Comment: This is the most urgently solution-requiring issue by mankind – actually and eventually by everyone (deluded by ego fiction and destroying eco). Where is the equality of all men, while a man can annihilate not only men, but all life forms? We must awaken to the fiction of “sovereign state, self, etc.” in the truth/ethic of the interdependent and intertwined life-world!!!

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

November 29, 2016

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
6:12 PM (4 hours ago)

Please read my response to the Washington Post’s labeling non-corporate viewpoints “Russian propaganda”:

How I Produce Fake News for Russia

While Russia has, in fact, failed to ever pay me a dime for anything, so — for the most part — have all the outlets I’ve written for that the Washington Post has smeared. I depend for my work on generous support from you. Please donate what you can.
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Another $11.6 Billion for Obama/Trump Wars? Hell No!

John Heuer Was a Tremendous Advocate of Peace

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Now Is the High Time to Cooperate for Peace, Not to Complain for Pandemonium

November 9, 2016

Now We Can Finally Get to Work

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5341

Dear Democrats,

Are you finding yourselves suddenly a bit doubtful of the wisdom of drone wars? Presidential wars without Congress? Massive investment in new, smaller, “more usable” nuclear weapons? The expansion of bases across Africa and Asia? Are you disturbed by the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen? Can total surveillance and the persecution of whistleblowers hit a point where they’ve gone too far? Is the new Cold War with Russia looking less than ideal now? How about the militarization of U.S. police: is it time to consider alternatives to that?

I hear you. I’m with you. Let’s build a movement together to end the madness of constantly overthrowing governments with bombs. Let’s propose nonviolent alternatives to a culture gone mad with war. Let’s end the mindset that creates war in the first place.

We have opportunities as well as dangers. A President Trump is unpredictable. He wants to proliferate nuclear weapons, bomb people, kill people, stir up hatred of people, and increase yet further military spending. But he also said the new Cold War was a bad idea. He said he wanted to end NATO, not to mention NAFTA, as well as breaking the habit of overthrowing countries left and right. Trump seems to immediately back off such positions under the slightest pressure. Will he adhere to them under massive pressure from across the political spectrum? It’s worth a try.

We have an opportunity to build a movement that includes a focus on and participation from refugees/immigrants. We have a chance to create opposition to racist wars and racism at home. We may just discover that what’s left of the U.S. labor movement is suddenly more open to opposing wars. Environmental groups may find a willingness to oppose the world’s top destroyer of the environment: the U.S. military. Civil liberties groups may at long last be willing to take on the militarism that creates the atrocities they oppose. We have to work for such a broader movement. We have to build on the trend of protesting the national anthem and make it a trend of actively resisting the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.

I know you’re feeling a little beat down at the moment. You shouldn’t. You had a winning candidate in Bernie Sanders. Your party cheated him out of the nomination. All that stuff you tell yourselves about encouraging demographic trends and the better positions of young people is all true. You just looked for love in all the wrong places. Running an unpopular candidate in a broken election system is not the way to change the world. Even a working election system would not be the central means by which to improve anything. There’s no getting back the mountains of money and energy invested in this election. But activism is an unlimited resource. Directing your energies now in more strategic directions can inspire others who in turn can re-inspire you.

Dear Republicans,

Your outsider is threatening insiderness. He’s got the same tribe of DC corporate lobbyists planning his nominations that Hillary Clinton had lined up for hers. Can we resist that trend? Can we insist that the wars be ended? Can those moments of off-the-cuff honesty about dinosaurs like NATO be turned into actual action? Donald Trump took a lot of heat for proposing to be fair to Palestinians as well as Israelis, and he backed off fast. Can we encourage him to stand behind that initial inclination?

Can we stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and end NAFTA as well? We heard a million speeches about how bad NAFTA is. How about actually ending it? Can we stop the looming war supplemental spending bill? Can we put a swift halt to efforts in Congress to repeal the right to sue Saudi Arabia and other nations for their wars and lesser acts of terrorism?

How about all that well deserved disgust with the corporate media? Can we actually break up that cartel and allow opportunities for media entrepreneurs?

Dear United States,

Donald Trump admitted we had a broken election system and for a while pretended that he would operate outside of it by funding his own campaign. It’s time to actually fix it. It’s time to end the system of legalized bribery, fund elections, make registration automatic, make election day a holiday, end gerrymandering, eliminate the electoral college, create the right to vote, create the public hand-counting of paper ballots at every polling place, and create ranked choice voting as Maine just did.

Voter suppression efforts in this year’s elections should be prosecuted in each state. And any indications of fraud in vote counting by machines should be investigated. We should take the opportunity created by all the McCarthyist nonsense allegations of Russian interference to get rid of unverifiable voting.

There are also areas in which localities and states, as well as international organizations and alliances, must now step up to take the lead. First and foremost is investing in a serious effort to avoid climate catastrophe. Second is addressing inequality that has surpassed the Middle Ages: both taxing the overclass and upholding the underclass must be pursued creatively. Mass incarceration and militarized police are problems that states can solve.

But we can advance a positive agenda across the board by understanding this election in the way that much of the world will understand it: as a vote against endless war. Let’s end the wars, end the weapons dealing, close the bases, and cut the $1 trillion a year going into the military. Hell, why not demand that a businessman president for the first time ever audit the Pentagon and find out what it’s spending money on?

Dear World,

We apologize for having elected President Trump as well as for nearly electing President Clinton. Many of you believe we defeated the representative of the enlightenment in favor of the sexist racist buffoon. This may be a good thing. Or at least it may be preferable to your eight-year-long delusion that President Obama was a man of peace and justice.

I hate to break it to you, but the United States government has been intent on dominating the rest of you since the day it was formed. If electing an obnoxious president helps you understand that, so much the better. Stop joining in U.S. “humanitarian wars” please. They never were humanitarian, and if you can recognize that now, so much the better. The new guy openly wants to “steal their oil.” So did the last several presidents, although none of them said so. Are we awake now?

Shut down the U.S. bases in your country. They represent your subservience to Donald Trump. Close them.

Want to save the earth’s climate? Build a nonviolent movement that resists destructive agendas coming out of the United States.

Want to uphold the rule of law, diplomacy, aid, decency, and humanitarianism? Stop making exceptions for U.S. crimes. Tell the International Criminal Court to indict a non-African. Prosecute the crime and crimes of war in your own courts. Stop cooperating in the surrounding and threatening of Russia, China, and Iran. Clinton wanted to send weapons to Ukraine and bomb Syria. Make sure Trump doesn’t. Make peace in Ukraine and Syria before January.

It’s time that we all began treating the institution of war as the unacceptable vestige of barbarism that it can appear when given an openly racist, sexist, bigoted face. We have the ability to use nonviolent tools to direct the world where we want it to go. We have to stop believing the two big lies: that we are generally powerless, and that our only power lies in elections. Let’s finally get active. Let’s start by ending war making.

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