Jun
12

St. Paul, Minn. -- War Is A Lie

Tag: War Is A Lie

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Jun
12

Talking About Forgiveness

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson

An atheist's sermon on Luke 7: 36-50 delivered at Saint Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 12, 2016.

Forgiveness is a universal need, among those of us who are not religious and among believers in every religion on earth. We must forgive each other our differences, and we must forgive much more difficult occurrences.

Some things we can forgive easily -- by which, of course, I mean eliminating resentment from our hearts, not granting an eternal reward. If someone kissed my feet and poured oil on them and begged me to forgive her, frankly, I would have a harder time forgiving the kisses and oil than forgiving her a life of prostitution -- which is, after all, not an act of cruelty toward me but the violation of a taboo into which she was likely compelled by hardship.

But to forgive men who were torturing and killing me on a cross? That I would be very unlikely to succeed at, especially as my nearing end -- in the absence of a crowd to influence -- might convince me of the pointlessness of making my last thought a magnanimous one. As long as I live, however, I intend to work on forgiveness.

If our culture truly developed the habit of forgiveness, it would dramatically improve our personal lives. It would also make wars impossible, which would further dramatically improve our personal lives. I think we have to forgive both those who we think have wronged us personally, and those whom our government has told us to hate, both at home and abroad.

I suspect I could find well over 100 million Christians in the United States who do not hate the men who crucified Jesus, but who do hate and would be highly offended at the idea of forgiving Adolf Hitler.

Jun
11

"Modern Warfare Destroys Your Brain" in More Ways Than One

Tag: Media, Peace and War

The most likely way to die in a U.S. war, by far, is to live in the country that the United States is attacking. But the most likely way in which a U.S. participant in a war will die is by suicide.

There are a couple of widely observed top causes of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returning from recent wars deeply disturbed in their minds. One is having been near an explosion. Another, which has been around longer than explosions have, is having killed, having nearly died, having seen blood and gore and suffering, having imposed death and suffering on innocents, having seen comrades die in agony, exacerbated in many cases by having lost faith in the sales pitch that launched the war -- in other words, the horror of war making.

Jun
09

"Flag Day Has Been Canceled!"

Tag: Culture and Society, Peace and War

If that headline sounds a bit like "God Is Dead" to you, you just might be from the United States. Only what the people who live in this one country of the American hemisphere call "an American" carries that variety of flag passion. If, on the other hand, you find watching paint dry more engaging than the suspense of waiting for the next Flag Day, you just might be a candidate for citizen of the world.

In fact, I think Flag Day needs to be canceled. It's not a holiday that the government, much less the military, much less the rest of the United States, actually takes off work. It's rumored, in fact, that any socialistic interruption in work schedules would be offensive to the flag herself.

Jun
07

Talk Nation Radio: Ahmed Salah on Masterminding the Egyptian Revolution

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas, Talk Nation Radio

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-ahmed-salah-on-masterminding-the-egyptian-revolution

Ahmed Salah is an Egyptian democracy activist. He was a co-leader of three of Egypt’s most prominent protest movements—Kefaya, Youth for Change, and the April 6th Movement—and a principal organizer of the Egyptian Revolution. In 2013, he re­ceived the Champion of Justice Award from the Center for Justice and Accountability. His book is called You Are Under Arrest for Masterminding the Egyptian Revolution.

Total run time: 29:00

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

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Jun
07

Beauty Contestants Now for World War, not World Peace

Tag: Culture and Society, Peace and War

Even within what Dr. King called the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, there used to be one constituency you could count on to speak up for world peace: beauty contestants.

No more. And the switch has produced no scandal. Last year, when Miss Italy said she wished she could live during World War II, survivors of that worst ever horror that humanity has inflicted on itself, and other people of normal intelligence in Italy, were scandalized.

But when a soon-to-be Miss USA recently praised the U.S. military as a member of it, as a participant in it, despite the world's view that the U.S. military is the greatest threat to peace in the world, the U.S. media adored this new development.

Jun
07

Rhapsody of a Superdelegate

Tag: Elections

(Going to California with an aching in my heart)

 

Spent my days with a woman unkind

Paid my dues and renounced all that was mine

Made up my mind to make a new start

Going to California with an aching in my heart

Someone told me there's a man out there

With massive crowds and white unruly hair

Took my chances on money and fame

Believe em when they tell you the Clintons are all the same

The shit was deep and the lies were bold

Took me till tomorrow to finally feel the cold

I hear an oligarchy start to tremble and shake

As the people who've been screwed begin to wake

Seems that the power elite

Got a bern on the toes, and the higher it goes

I think it might be smoking

Wait in a line, if you get there in time

You can vote without shame and your head held high

To find a queen who wants to be king

They say she launches wars and cries and sings... la la la

Ride away fast before new lies can dawn

Tryin' to vote for someting that's never yet quite been born

Standing on the ruins of past Democrat dreams

Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems...

Jun
03

Lessons for Peace from Back in the USSR

Tag: Culture and Society, Peace and War, Political Ideas

In the early 1980s almost nobody from the United States traveled to the Soviet Union or vice versa. The Soviets wouldn't let anybody out, and good Americans were disinclined to visit the Evil Empire. But a woman in California named Sharon Tennison took the threat of nuclear war with the seriousness it deserved and still deserves. She got a group of friends together and asked the Russian consulate for permission to visit Russia, make friends, and learn.

Russia said fine. The U.S. government, in the form of the FBI and USAID, told them not to go, warned that they would not be permitted to move freely once there, and generally communicated that they, the U.S. government employees, had internalized their own propaganda. Tennison and company went anyway, had a wonderful experience, and spoke at events with slide shows upon their return, thus attracting many more people for the next trip.

Now it was Tennison's turn to brief the flabbergasted and ignorant U.S. government staff who had virtually no actual knowledge of Russia beyond what she gave them. This was back in the day when President Ronald "Is this a film or reality?" Reagan said that 20 million dead Americans would be acceptable in a war. Yet the so-called intelligence so-called community didn't know its assets from its elbows. War as a "last resort" was being considered without having considered literally any other resorts. Someone had to step in, and Sharon Tennison decided she'd try.

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