Dec
09

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

Tag: Peace and War, Public Policy, Race Relations

Happy Human Rights Day, and what ever happened to the right to life?

We need to stop imagining that when wars come home to the land of their creators that the suffering created is something separate from war. And we need to stop imagining that racist cruelty at home doesn't fuel the distant wars.

Imagine a country in which people condemn gun violence and police violence while actively pushing for a new cold war with Russia or urging the bombing of Syria or cheering a string of drone murders and tolerating the expansion of the U.S. military presence to darn near the whole globe. Or a peace movement that condemns foreign drone murders while failing to focus on the higher number of murders creating by U.S. police officers.

Weapons dealing is an integrated global enterprise that feeds on racist, bigoted, violent, and macho ideologies wherever it can find them. Trying to defeat it with separate anti-gun and anti-war movements not united in their work won't succeed. Most of the guns are sold abroad, many of them deployed against U.S. fighters in the wars. Many gun owners' fantasies are closely related to war.

Dec
09

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

Tag: Peace and War

This text is the foreword to a new book by Pat Elder called Military Recruiting in the United States.

Most people in the United States are far from aware of the full extent of military marketing, advertising, and recruitment efforts. We run into movies and comic books and video games and toys and school worksheets and science fairs and television shows and websites all the time that have been funded by and created in collaboration with the U.S. military. But we don’t know it. Or we know it, but we have so internalized the idea that the most expensive and extensive military the earth has ever known is simply normal, that we don’t think of its role in our educational and entertainment systems as in any way questionable. We don’t even think of the military’s marketing as being aimed at recruitment, much less ask each other whether that’s a good thing or being done in a proper way, or whether we ourselves should be forking over some $600 million a year just for the military’s advertising budget.

Dec
08

Virginia's Constitution Needs Improving

Tag: Elections, Political Ideas, Public Policy

Virginia's Constitution is three times as long as the U.S. Constitution (which is notably lacking any serious sections on oyster beds). Virginia's Constitution has also been updated at least three times as much as the U.S. Constitution. But it is now long overdue.

The U.S. Constitution has been updated with 27 amendments and 0 serious revisions through conventions. Virginia's Constitution has been amended many times including through five Constitutional conventions, held in 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, and 1902. From 1776 to 1902 that's one convention every 25 years. Now there hasn't been one for 114 years.

I don't want to revise the Virginia Constitution just for the heck of it, but because it is badly needed. There is much in the Virginia Constitution that needn't be there at all, but that can be to our advantage if it facilitates opening the whole thing to desirable improvements. Some improvements are desirable because of the failure of the federal government to make them.

Dec
06

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

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-chip-gibbons-on-anti-russia-committee-and-censoring-criticism-of-israel

Chip Gibbons is the Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He is also a writer whose work has been featured in Jacobin, Truthout, and Counterpunch. We discuss U.S. Congressional efforts to censor criticism of the Israeli government, and to create a new McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee.

The petition we mention is here.

The account of a sleeping Congress Member we mention is here.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Dec
05

New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in "Intelligence" Act

Tag: Civil Rights, Media, Peace and War

I don't know why we didn't pick playing with live electrical wires and call that "intelligence" instead of the stuff we do. I think I'll stick with calling what the U.S. government does "counter-intelligence." So, here's the latest from the counter-intelligence community.

Section 501 of the Counter Intelligence Act creates a "Committee to Counter Active Measures by the Russian Federation to Exert Covert Influence Over Peoples and Governments."

This is followed by Section 502 which limits Russian and only Russian diplomats in the United States to traveling no more than 25 miles from their offices.

I suspect there may have been a Section 503 in an earlier draft that required CNN to show a photo of Vladimir Putin without his shirt and make fun of him at least once every 4 hours. If so, that section would have been stripped out as unnecessary.

Dec
04

Give Wes Bellamy a Break

Tag: Political Ideas, Race Relations

Charlottesville City Council Member Wes Bellamy is being widely denounced for tweets he tweeted years ago. I think he should be given a break.

I don't know Bellamy well and have not communicated with him about this. I don't support everything he's done even in recent years. I have almost nothing but contempt for the Democratic Party. I don't believe Bellamy deserves more of a break than would anyone else from some other demographic. I don't sympathize in the least with the disgusting things he tweeted.

And yet I find this criticism of him outrageous. And I find it consistent with some disturbing trends that extend well beyond Charlottesville.

Bellamy speaking at a rally on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

1. Privilege

The problem of unfair privilege here is not one of race or class or gender but of age and position. If you grew up before every Spring Break lunacy and adolescent pretense was enshrined forever on the internet (outside of wise European efforts to provide a Right to Be Forgotten), you must be very careful in criticizing those who have grown up since that underappreciated age. If you have not stuck your neck out into the fire of partisan politics, you must give careful consideration to what most-ugly and most-deeply-forgotten thing you would be at risk of becoming known for if you did.

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