Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Events to mark WWI, MLK, nuke ban treaty

March 30, 2017

 
 
 

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

2:00 PM (3 hours ago)

 

 
 
 
 
 
April 4, 2017, marks 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to enter World War I, and 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke against war on Vietnam. Treaty negotiations are underway in New York to ban nuclear weapons. We’ve planned events with fantastic speakers to consider all of these topics.

Join us in New York City on April 3.

Join us in Washington DC on April 4 or watch the live video from anywhere.

To go more in-depth, sign up for our online course in War Abolition 101. It starts on April 10.

Join David Swanson in Cambridge, Mass., on April 13, and in Burlington, Vt., on April 22.

Here are lots more events happening all over the world.

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Has Van Jones Lost His Mind, Or Are Sane People Missing the Point?    

March 4, 2017

 

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

Mar 1 (3 days ago)

 
 

A few brand new articles and shows below for your enjoyment.

A big thank you to everyone who donated so I can visit Russia. I’ve committed to going, though still haven’t raised enough. I’ll report on the trip as soon as it happens (in May).

–David

Has Van Jones Lost His Mind, Or Are Sane People Missing the Point?

A Sample City Resolution to Resist and Overcome

Our Causes Are Connected, Our Movements Should Be Too

Trump reverses ‘costly, failed war’ rhetoric; gives Pentagon a raise

Nancy Pelosi: Resister Without a Clue. A 10 point rant.

This Is Not Your Grandparents’ Resistance

Talk Nation Radio: Michael Kazin on the Peace Activists Who Warned Against World War I

The Choice Trump’s Budget Creates

Can Canada Get Out of the War Business?

Open Guantanamo!

100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War

Talk Nation Radio: L.A. Kauffman on Direct Action

Ukraine on Fire

Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters

Trump vs. Spies

Which Washington Crimes Matter Most?

Love Beyond Flags: Nothing More Beautiful

http://davidswanson.org

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Impeach Jeff Sessions

March 4, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
Mar 2 (2 days ago)

Petition launched in support of impeaching Jeff Sessions.

Be among the first to sign:

http://www.impeachjeffsessions.org

Please help spread the word.

Share this link: http://impeachjeffsessions.org

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“Mysterious cancer” killing sea lions along US West Coast — Bones turning to “mush”

March 2, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

“Mysterious cancer” killing sea lions along US West Coast — Bones turning to “mush” — “Inside there’s just masses of yellow, cancerous tissue” — Animals dying at “alarming rates” (VIDEO)
Posted: 01 Mar 2017 07:15 PM PST

Morbid Inequality: Now Just SIX Men Have as Much Wealth as Half the World’s Population

February 26, 2017

Published on
Monday, February 20, 2017
by Common Dreams

byPaul Buchheit
37 Comments

“Inequality is extreme and pathological and getting worse every year,” writes Paul Buchheit. (Photo: Austin Kirk/flickr/cc)
Yes, inequality is getting worse every year. In early 2016 Oxfam reported that just 62 individuals had the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity. About a year later Oxfam reported that just 8 men had the same wealth as the world’s bottom half. Based on the same methodology and data sources used by Oxfam, that number is now down to 6.

How to account for the dramatic increase in the most flagrant and perverse of extreme inequalities? Two well-documented reasons: (1) The poorest half (and more) of the world has continued to lose wealth; and (2) The VERY richest individuals — especially the top thousand or so — continue to add billions of dollars to their massive fortunes.

Inequality deniers and apologists say the Oxfam methodology is flawed, but they’re missing the big picture. Whether it’s 6 individuals or 62 or 1,000 doesn’t really matter. The data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (GWD) and the Forbes Billionaire List provide the best available tools to make it clear that inequality is extreme and pathological and getting worse every year.

How It’s Gone from 62 to 6 in One Year

As of 02/17/17, the world’s 6 richest individuals (all men) had $412 billion. Tables 2-4 and 3-4 of the 2016 GWD reveal that the poorest five deciles of the world population own just .16% of the $256 trillion in global wealth, or $410 billion. That latter figure is based on mid-2016 data, but since then the status of the bottom 50% has not improved, and has in fact likely worsened, as both global debt and global inequality have increased.

Just a year ago, on 03/01/16, the world’s 6 richest men had $343 billion. They’re the same men today, although slightly rearranged as they play “king of the hill”: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Amancio Ortega, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim Helu (with Larry Ellison jockeying for position). The wealth of these six men increased by $69 billion in just one year.

Just a year ago, according to the 2015 GWD, the poorest five deciles of the world population owned much more than today, close to $1.5 trillion. What happened? It’s very clear: the world’s richest 10% (mostly the richest 1%) gained nearly $4 trillion while every other segment of the global population lost wealth.

That’s worth a second look. The world’s total wealth is about $256 trillion, and in JUST ONE YEAR the richest 10% drained nearly $4 trillion away from the rest of civilization.

It’s Not Just the Bottom Half: A 500-Seat Auditorium Could Hold As Much Wealth as 70% of the World’s Population

According to the Forbes Billionaire List, the world’s richest 500 individuals have $4.73 trillion in wealth. Tables 2-4 and 3-4 of the GWD reveal that the poorest seven deciles of the world population own just 1.86% of the $256 trillion in global wealth, or $4.76 trillion. That’s over two-thirds of all the people on earth. That means 5,000,000,000 people — FIVE BILLION people — have, on average, and after debt is figured in, about a thousand dollars each in home and property and savings.

In the U.S., the Forbes 400 Own as Much as 3/5 of the American People

The bottom 60% of Americans, according to Table 6-5 in the GWD, own 3 percent of the nation’s $85 trillion in total wealth, or $2.55 trillion. The Forbes 400 owned $2.4 trillion in October 2016, and that’s been steadily increasing.

So as apologists like the National Review refer to “a growing upper-middle class” of people earning over $100,000 a year, they’re inadvertently offering an explanation for the demise of the middle class: Some are moving up, way up; many others are dropping to the lower-middle-class or below. The once sizable and stable middle of America is splitting into two.

The Deniers Are Lurking

The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby calls the Oxfam analysis “irrelevant.” Reuters contributor Felix Salmon calls it a “silly stat.”

Jacoby’s column includes some stunning assertions. He says, “Just as capitalism made it possible for Gates, Zuckerberg, and the others to reach the highest rung on the economic ladder, it is making it possible for billions of men and women to climb up from the lowest rung. Oxfam’s billionaires are richer than they used to be. So is almost everyone else.” And he quotes writer Johan Norberg: “Poverty as we know it is disappearing from our planet.”

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Billions moving up? Almost everyone getting richer? Poverty disappearing?

While we keep hearing about the world “climbing out of poverty,” much of the alleged improvement is due to rapid economic growth in China and creative math on the part of the UN. And yes, many Americans have negative wealth because of debt. A human being doesn’t have to live in a third-world slum to be impoverished.

Yet as inequality ravages the American and world economies, denial grows right along with it. Cato’s Michael Tanner suggests that “even if inequality were growing as fast as critics claim, it would not necessarily be a problem.” George Will, of course, agrees. But like the other deniers, they all protest too much as they try to explain away reality.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Paul Buchheit
screen_shot_2017-01-23_at_8.39.57_am.pngPaul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago. His latest book is, Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income. He is also founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul [at] UsAgainstGreed [dot] org.

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‘Mystery’: Radiation spikes being detected in many countries

February 21, 2017

Latest Headlines from ENENews

‘Mystery’: Radiation spikes being detected in many countries — US military secretly deploys ‘nuclear sniffer’ aircraft — Radioactivity levels quadrupled — Officials: Iodine-131 is “proof of rather recent release… the origin of which is still unknown”
Posted: 20 Feb 2017 01:57 AM PST

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

February 6, 2017

n-tepco-a-20170203-870x330

Based on image analysis, a two-meter hole has been found in the metal grate under a pressure vessel in reactor No. 2’s containment vessels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. | TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY HOLDINGS INC. / VIA KYODO
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KYODO, STAFF REPORT
FEB 3, 2017
ARTICLE HISTORY
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The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the triple core meltdown in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said.

Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core.

The high figure indicates that some of the melted fuel that escaped the pressure vessel is nearby.

At 530 sieverts, a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tepco grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors crippled by the March 2011 disaster.

Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.

The hole could have been caused when the fuel escaped the pressure vessel after the mega-quake and massive tsunami triggered a station blackout that crippled the plant’s ability to cool the reactors.

The searing radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds the previous high of 73 sieverts per hour at the reactor.

Tepco said it calculated the figure by analyzing the electronic noise in the camera images caused by the radiation. This estimation method has a margin of error of plus or minus 30 percent, it said.

An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

According to the institute, 4 sieverts of radiation exposure would kill 1 in 2 people.

Experts say 1,000 millisieverts, or 1 sievert, could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while exposure to doses above 100 millisieverts increases the risk of cancer.

According to Tepco, readings of surface radiation on parts used inside a normally operating pressure vessel can reach several thousands sieverts per hour.

The discovery spells difficulty of removing the fuel debris to decommission at the plant. The government and Tepco hope to locate the fuel and start removing it in 2021.

In the coming weeks, the utility plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.

For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot takes into the interior because of the hole in the grating.

Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.

That is because it is designed to withstand exposure of up to 1,000 sieverts. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could run for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means it would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.

Tepco has been probing reactor 2’s containment vessel since last week.

On Monday, it found a black mass deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel. The images, captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm the same day, showed part of the grating was missing. Further analysis found the 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.

If the deposits are confirmed to be melted fuel, it would be the first time the utility has found any of it at the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns.

The world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 triggered core meltdowns in reactors 1 through 3. Portions of the core in each reactor are believed to have melted through their pressure vessels and pooled at the bottom of their containment vessels.

The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high to check it.

Meanwhile, a nuclear research organization unveiled on Friday a robot that will be tasked with surveying reactor 1 at the complex.

Tepco plans to send the robot into reactor 1 in March, while its survey plan for reactor 2 remains unclear because of the high radiation levels.

The stick-like robot is 70 cm long and equipped with a camera, according to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning.

During a robotic survey in April 2015, the operator found no major obstacles in the path planned in reactor 1 but found water accumulating in the basement.

In the upcoming survey, it hopes to examine the water by deploying a camera and a radiation sensor.

“Confirming the conditions inside the reactor is a first step toward decommissioning,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said in a news conference Friday.

“While difficult tasks and unexpected matters may arise, we will mobilize all of Japan’s technological capabilities to steadily implement decommissioning work and rebuild Fukushima,” he added.

The Next Step in Caring

January 31, 2017


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David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
9:29 AM (2 hours ago)

to me
The Next Step in Caring

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5429

Airport resistance is the biggest step forward by the U.S. public in years.

Why do I say that? Because this is unfunded, largely unpartisan activism that is largely selfless, largely focused on helping unknown strangers, driven by compassion and love, not political ideology, greed, or vengeance, and in line with activism around the globe. It’s also targeted at the location of the harm, directly resisting the injustice, and achieving immediate partial successes, including very meaningful successes for certain individuals. It’s gaining support from people never before engaged in any activism. And it shows no signs of any significant undesirable side-effects. This is a movement to be built on, and I have an idea what a next step should be.

Of course it is not at all uncommon for people to selflessly act for strangers. Much of the charity industry is driven by that sort of generosity year after year. But activist organizations are constantly telling themselves that this is not the case, for example that ending the bombing of distant unknown families can only be accomplished by advertising the financial cost of it or instituting a draft or making known the harm to veterans of the military doing the bombing. Yet when the peace movement in the United States has been stronger, in the 1920s in particular and also in the 1960s, acting on behalf of others has been central, as it was to the first big activist campaign, that begun against the slave trade in London, and as it has been in countless campaigns. Working to protect the natural environment is work for future generations. You can’t get more selfless or enlightened than that.

But what’s unique about this moment of sympathy and solidarity with refugees from nations the United States has bombed (plus Iran which it has gone after in other ways) is that it runs counter to U.S. government propaganda, it replaces fear with courage, hatred with love. This isn’t just love stepping into a void. This is a transformation into love from its opposite. This is why I think another major step might be possible.

When I listen to people interviewed at New York protests, or look at the signs they bring to the White House and to airports around the country, I’m struck by the expressions of love and concern for others, more than by the presence of partisanship or hatred for Donald Trump (though it certainly is a factor). And I’m bowled over by the widespread recognition of the lesson from history of the damage done to European Jews by U.S. immigration policy. Protesters’ signs indicate an awareness that Jewish refugees were rejected by the West, that Western governments met and refused to accept their mass eviction from Germany, that the U.S. Coast Guard chased a ship away from Miami many of whose passengers later died in the camps, that Anne Frank’s visa application was rejected by the U.S. State Department. I had no idea people knew these things, much less learned and applied a lesson from them.

Of course, some protesters have personal connections to those put at risk by Trump’s Muslim ban (and that’s what it is, based on his campaign promises and his renaming of the Global War on [of] Terrorism to the Fight Against Radical Islamism). And others find ways to identify themselves with those at risk, such as: “We’re a nation of immigrants. My great-grandparents were immigrants.” But this doesn’t make the movement less altruistic. Identifying with people in some way, even as fellow human beings, is a common part of coming to care about them and to act for or with them.

There are indications that this sentiment is not limited to those protesting and resisting at airports. The ACLU has never raised more money before. And check out this tweet:

John Paul Farmer @johnpaulfarmer

I’m 20 minutes from landing at JFK. Pilot just warned us about delays due to #NoBan protests at T4. The passengers’ response? Applause.

There are also protests happening around the world, outside of the United States, allowing us to build a global movement against global injustices even when those injustices are headquartered in Washington, D.C. And in Washington D.C. and around the U.S. we see unprecedented resistance from an Acting Attorney General and from judges — a group that seemed to be mostly asleep for the past 16 years.

And Canada, which has resisted U.S. wars, aided those enslaved, given shelter to conscientious objectors, and protected people from all variety of U.S. injustice for centuries, stepped up too:

Justin Trudeau @JustinTrudeau

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

There are elements of partisanship in this uprising that could hold it back, and of nationalism as well. Some liberals are not so much concerned about human cruelty as about Trump disrespecting their sacred U.S. military. Where were these crowds when President Barack Obama was setting records for deportations, or when he was bombing the nations that Trump is now banning refugees from, or when he was purporting to create the presidential power to do what Trump is now doing?

Our task is not to erase mistakes of the recent past but not to focus on them either. Our task is to move forward with what we now have. And I think the way forward involves taking one additional major step beyond where the resistance is right now. Once people have come to resist injustices to refugees from wars, to identify with them, to contemplate lives lived in horror of immigration police, to consider the suffering of family members in distant lands suddenly blocked from visiting their loved ones, it seems to be a quite achievable step to begin opposing dropping bombs on those family members. If you’re going to oppose harm to refugees, why not oppose the destruction of their homes that makes them refugees in the first place? If you are willing to question government fear-mongering, you are ready to question the government dogma that says more weapons sales and more bombs and more troops will make things better rather than worse.

If that step is taken, then this becomes a movement that cares not only about that fraction of suffering populations that finds some tenuous connection to U.S. shores, but about that whole 96% of humanity that lacks any such connection. Then we really have something new under the sun. Then we really transform U.S. policy. Then the trillion dollars a year wasted on preparing for more wars can be cut into a little bit to fund human and environmental needs beyond our wildest imaginings.

I was heartened by this recent tweet:

Yaroslav Trofimov @yarotrof

Number of US citizens who traveled to Iraq, Syria to kills locals on behalf of ISIS: 250. Syrians or Iraqis who carried out attacks in US: 0

I replied:

David Swanson @davidcnswanson

What about number who went there to kill locals on behalf of US military?

photo by Ted Majdosz

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Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

January 21, 2017

David Swanson via WarIsACrime.org david@davidswanson.org via sg.actionnetwork.org
Jan 19 (2 days ago)

to me
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

By David Swanson
http://davidswanson.org/node/5416

Here I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need more democratic perspectives. Here are six.

1. Get active around policy not personality. And try to nudge newly active or re-activated people in that direction. To take one example of thousands, we should be cheering more loudly for the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. And we should have raised a lot more hell than we did over the idea of locking her up to begin with — and Obama’s pronouncing her guilty before his subordinates tried her — and over all the other whistleblowers still in cages or facing persecution. More support for not bombing Syria in 2013, and more condemnation for arming proxies instead. More — hell, any — support for Trump deescalating hostility with Russia, and more opposition to his proposals to “kill their families” and “steal their oil.”

2. Recognize that the crisis is not new. It’s just ever more urgent, with environmental or nuclear apocalypse threatening. Obama increased military spending, dropped more bombs on Iraq than Bush did, still occupies Afghanistan, is now helping to destroy Mosul, and radically expanded presidential war powers for his successors. Each president does a lot more harm than good. Each should be protested and resisted and impeached and removed — but for good reasons, of which there are always plenty, not for bad ones.

3. Promote a positive vision. We can move toward a better future in which reduced or eliminated military spending makes possible what we don’t now even try to dream of.

4. Go local and global. Build power in towns, cities, states, and through alliances across borders. The latter is crucial for avoiding war and protecting the planet.

5. Take on Washington too, but recognize what we are up against. The activism that may have saved Chelsea Manning, delayed the bombing of Syria, prevented as of yet a war on Iran, and led to Trump campaigning on the idea that attacking Iraq and Libya was stupid, could do more if it knew its own strength. But the wars have now gone secret, outsourced, privatized, and taken to the skies rather than the ground. The lies have become slicker too, though that may be about to change. We have to up our game. A nuclear war is not one that can be criticized after it starts on the grounds that it costs too much money or hurts someone sympathetic or because the people nuked are not showing gratitude. We are also up against a permanent government sending troops to Russia’s border, facilitating a coup in Ukraine, sabotaging peace in Syria, and making recent accusations against Russia that have in some cases proven false and in no case yet been proven true.

6. Resort to the most powerful tool: nonviolence. You cannot expect violence to work on children, even presidential children. It does not educate or control. Children need attention, positive when they do right and negative when they do wrong. The CIA, “Homeland-” “Security,” and “Democrats” are effectively telling Trump that he can only be loved or respected if he joins in spitting in the face of a nuclear armed government. The people who found the one candidate who could lose to Trump are finding the one way to oppose his agenda that will fall apart under scrutiny if it doesn’t kill us all first. Let’s have no more partisanship. No more cults of or against personalities.

We need principles. Policies. Peace.

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2017 Peace Essay Contest

January 17, 2017

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

10:01 AM (24 minutes ago)

2017 Peace Essay Contest

The West Suburban (Chicago) Faith-Based Peace Coalition is sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. Essays have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1. To enter the contest send a Peace Essay
Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]

2. In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2017 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3. By May 15, 2017 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

Some examples of impact:

The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
A member of Congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
A newspaper includes a KBP story.
A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.
We will announce the winners at a festive event honoring the 89th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2017.

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