Blogs

Nov
22

Talk Nation Radio: Greg Palast on Stripping 7 Million Voters from Rolls, Swinging Election

Tag: Elections, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-greg-palast-on-stripping-7-million-voters-from-rolls-swinging-election

Greg Palast is an investigative reporter, whose news-breaking stories appear on BBC Television and in The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine. Palast has released a new movie: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, based on his books. Palast says that the recent U.S. election was in fact rigged. We discuss how.

See http://GregPalast.com

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

Nov
21

James Mattis Is a Secretary of Offense

Tag: Peace and War

Donald Trump says he wants to stop overthrowing governments and turn toward peace. But not only does he also say he wants to increase the military spending that produces more wars, but he’s considering for Secretary of so-called Defense someone whose entire outlook is offensive in every sense of the word.

Here’s James Mattis in his own words:

“So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

Of course any wars continued or launched will be packaged as “last resorts” and “necessary evils” and so forth. But this guy will be drooling for blood with the glee of a sadist. War is his drug, or what Donald Trump would call his “sneaking into women’s dressing rooms.” Here’s Mattis:

“There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

Not only is war the force that gives Mattis’s life meaning, but it’s his ideology, his worldview, his delusion in which the counterproductive can be seen as effective. Here’s Mattis:

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Surely peace is at hand!

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” That’s how Mattis states what Theodore Roosevelt and every president since have acted on.

Only, one gets the impression that Mattis added the part about politeness because he isn’t. What he is, is a true believer in the irredeemability of designated enemies. There shall be no destroying an enemy by making him your friend for Mattis. He maintains:

“It is mostly a matter of wills. Whose will is going to break first? Ours or the enemy’s?”

And that enemy is by necessity, then, not human but subhuman prey:

“Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down.”

Mattis explains this as a matter of simple observation:

“There are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

That’s a belief of U.S. culture, of U.S. movies, of U.S. books, of U.S. games. But when you make it the belief of the Secretary of War after giving presidents the power to kill anybody they like, you’re going to see a lot of people getting shot. And no, none of them need to be.

Nov
21

Dear Mr. Trump, About Your 29 Ideas

Tag: Political Ideas

Regarding your 29 proposals, here's a bit more than just the ranking you asked for. I'll start with the best:

7. Announce our official withdrawal from the TPP.

That's my favorite. Wonderful! We don't need any more trade agreements that empower corporations over governments and impose unpopular laws on people. Good riddance! Don't replace it with something worse, please!

8. Renegotiate NAFTA into terms that protect the American worker.

This could be a great one. I'm not clear why you wouldn't just tear up the treaty you've repeatedly called one of the worst treaties in history. You could negotiate bilateral agreements with other nations. There's no actual need for NAFTA. But if you're going to first try to renegotiate it, the U.S. worker needs the right to organize, among other rights. The workers of Canada and Mexico need to be considered. As does the natural environment that we and our kids all have to live in.

5. Introduce an infrastructure package to modernize our country.

This, too, could be terrific. Or it could be disastrous. Modernized countries have fast electric trains, solar and wind energy, pedestrian and bicycle paths, electric car chargers, sustainable agriculture, free hospitals for all human beings, and architecture that leans more toward the beautiful than the monumental. We could use more schools and parks, more farmers' markets, more urban gardens, and more places to vote. All of these dreams and much more could be easily achieved, even while radically boosting foreign aid, if the U.S. were to either cut military spending or tax billionaires or both. But you want to increase military spending and cut taxes on billionaires. Even if your idea of modernized infrastructure is coal mines and oil wells and highways, you have no way to pay for it -- thank goodness. And don't forget: the people who voted for you are obsessed with the debt, so don't even try that route.

20. Enact a five-year ban on White House and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

This is good, as far as it goes. Why not 10 years both before and after? And why just lobbyists? Why not anyone profiting financially from a sector governed by the relevant government position? And why just the White House and Congress? Why not all government departments and agencies? Putting an oil profiteer in charge of the EPA is not solved by the fact that the EPA isn't in the White House.

25. Reform the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to provide proper treatment to America’s forgotten heroes.

This sounds good, if you actually mean it. But let's not call them heroes. Let's call them brave people who were abused by some of those recent wars you properly denounced during the campaign -- though you supported them when it mattered most.

Nov
20

Registering Japanese Americans Is Precedent Only for Crime

Tag: Race Relations

Since World War I and the initiative of J. Edgar Hoover, and right up through all the no-fly and terrorist-watch lists of today, the U.S. government has kept unconstitutional lists of people, largely or in part on the basis of their national or ethnic heritage or their political activism. These lists were part of the process of interning in camps Germans and German-Americans during World Wars I and II, and Japanese-Americans and Japanese during World War II.

In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started. In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion. Yet, on December 7, 1941, FDR issued a proclamation stripping Japanese in the United States of rights (and the very next day for Germans and Italians). On January 14, 1942, FDR proclaimed in another proclamation that enemy aliens could be put in internment camps. On February 19, 1942, he ordered the internment of citizens and non-citizens alike.

Roosevelt had secretly ordered the creation of a list by Henry Field of Japanese and Japanese Americans on November 26, 1941.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this action, but those rulings were vacated in the 1980s when it was learned that the government had withheld relevant information from the court, and -- perhaps more importantly -- when World War II and its accompanying hysteria were long over. A 1943 government report had been altered; the original version had admitted that there had not been a lack of time to provide Japanese Americans due process; rather, it asserted, there is simply no way to determine the loyalty of such people, who must be kept away from the coats of the United States for the duration of the war.

From 1980 to 1983 a Congressional commission studied the history and concluded that Japanese-Americans and Japanese had been locked up in camps, not due to any evidence of a threat, but on the basis of racism and bigotry. The commission recommended $20,000 in reparations to each victim. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing those reparations payments, and apologizing to the victims. This law acknowledged "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" as the factors that motivated the crime.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed a law appropriating more finds for reparations payments. On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor he issued another formal apology, which included this claim: "The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated."

In 2000, a memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., that includes, carved in stone, these words:

The lessons learned must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.

--attributed to Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Congressman and Senator

In 2001, Congress passed a law making 10 of the camps historical landmarks and stating that "places like Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain, Topaz, Amache, Jerome, and Rohwer will forever stand as reminders that this nation failed in its most sacred duty to protect its citizens against prejudice, greed, and political expediency."

This is on the memorial in DC to the Japanese internment camps. pic.twitter.com/n3Kq5QmPnf

— David Swanson (@davidcnswanson) November 18, 2016

Nov
18

Born on Home Plate

Remember the satirical "Billionaires for Bush" protesters? Around this time in 2008 I asked them to become Oligarchs for Obama, and they refused. But I predict Tycoons for Trump will be born this month. Inequality, like war and climate destruction, has its face now.

Chuck Collins' book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good, presents the problem of inequality as well as any I've seen. Collins was born into wealth, gave it away, but still refers to himself as one of the wealthy, perhaps because of all the lasting privileges wealth brought him. Collins sites other examples, as well, of the wealthy putting their wealth to better use than hoarding.

Collins explains how a lot of philanthropy is, however, counterproductive, benefitting those least in need of it. He argues for a popular movement to create progressive taxation and progressive restraints on income. But he also makes a case for appealing to one percenters for solidarity, rather than demonizing them -- apparently because this has proven to work better but also because it's too late for anything else. Wealth has been so concentrated that without defections at the top it will never be truly shared again.

Nov
18

Michael Flynn Should Remember Truths He Blurted Out Last Year

Tag: Peace and War

Michael Flynn, expected to advise Donald Trump on counterproductive killing operations misleading labeled "national security," is generally depicted as a lawless torturer and assassin. But, whether for partisan reasons or otherwise, he's a lawless torturer and assassin who has blurted out some truths he shouldn't be allowed to forget.

For example:

"Lt. Gen. Flynn, who since leaving the DIA has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, charges that the White House relies heavily on drone strikes for reasons of expediency, rather than effectiveness. 'We’ve tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that "we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts" and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours,' Flynn said. 'And you know what? It doesn't matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.'"

Or even more clearly:

"When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict."

warsuppweb
Nov
17

Another $11.6 Billion for Obama/Trump Wars? Hell No!

Tag: Peace and War

President Obama waited until after the election last week to propose an unpopular idea. He asked Congress for $11.6 billion extra — outside the huge existing military budget — for wars. Here’s his letter including all the gory details. Please read it yourself when you begin to hope that I’m making up some of what follows.

This massive pile of money, equivalent to the annual spending that the United Nations says could end the lack of clean drinking water globally, adds between 1% and 2% to U.S. military spending — but is by itself more than the entire military budget of all but 14 other nations on earth, 12 of which top-spending nations are U.S. allies.

Nov
16

John Heuer Was a Tremendous Advocate of Peace

Tag: Peace and War

I knew John Heuer was elderly from the day I met him, years ago, and came to know him as one of the most dedicated advocates of peace on earth. Losing him is a blow. He was youthful, vibrant, recently married, and intent on ridding the world of pointless mass slaughter. John was active in every organization and independently. He advanced nonviolent action, lobbying, education, and inspiration.

John wrote this four years ago:

Dear young citizens,

First, I want to congratulate you on your many accomplishments.  Second, I want to counsel you on your roles as citizens.

When I graduated 8th grade in 1960, citizens could not vote until they were 21.  Boys could be drafted into the army and sent to war at age 18, but they could not fully participate as citizens, including engagement in public, democratic decisions about whether or not the nation should send our boys to war.  This travesty was somewhat remedied by passage of the 26th amendment to the US Constitution in 1971, granting the right to vote to 18 year-olds.

I say “somewhat” a remedy, because the issue of the rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties of citizens under the age of 18 have not been addressed.  It is these rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties about which I write today:  Your citizenship.

As rising 9th graders, you are well aware that your education is, as yet, incomplete.  But it will come as a surprise to many and a shock to some to learn that your education has contained deep strains of fraud, about who actually runs our government and how.  Here are three examples:

OLF – The US Navy proposed construction of “Outlying Landing Fields” (OLF) in wildlife sanctuaries near North Carolina’s east coast, in order to practice landings and take-offs for military aircraft.  Public outcry caused the Navy to scuttle these plans.

Sonar Training Field off the Florida—Georgia coast.  The Navy has proposed designating hundreds of square miles of Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the southern US for submarine sonar training, despite opposition of environmental groups which point out that these areas are breeding grounds for whales, and that high frequency sonar is known to drive marine mammals insane.  The US Supreme Court overruled the environmentalists with the judgment that, while there could be incidental injury, there was also a lack of proof that the sonar testing area would threaten any species’ extinction.

$185 Billion Dollars is what our government proposes to spend in the next 10 years to modernize our nuclear weapons arsenal.  It is difficult to measure (or imagine) $185 Billion, but it would pay for a lot of school lunches, teachers’ salaries and school nurses.  Besides, what business do we have maintaining a military arsenal designed to incinerate cities?

When you consider these government programs, you have to wonder if our government has gone mad, and what we, as citizens, of all ages, can do about it.

Why don’t we hear more about these grave assaults on planet earth and this terrible squander of our wealth?  The fact is that the agents that propose these travesties are the same ones that often own our newspapers and write your textbooks.

So, what are we to do?  One of the 1st steps, I think, is for you to understand that the wealth being squandered and the planet being desecrated belongs to you, your generation, your children, grand children and posterity.

The 2nd step is to realize, however painfully, that your parents and grandparents have failed to establish your legacy of peaceful nations living together on an abundant earth.

The 3rd is to exercise your rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties of your citizenship to carefully study your local resources in order to propose a reconfiguration of those resources to meet the needs of your community, and to engage your peers in an earnest identification of those needs.  Start with identifying the military footprint in your district and discuss how much, if any, that investment enhances the security of your community, and how redirecting that investment could improve the security of your community.  Use your networking capabilities not just for socializing, but for building solidarity among your peers.  Use that solidarity to demand a school curriculum that addresses the needs of your community or create your own curriculum.

Finally, a word about citizenship.  Many of you go to school with non-citizens of the USA.  Please recognize them as guests, and afford them as much hospitality as you can.  Remember, your US citizenship may be established by the Constitution and subsequent laws, but we are all world citizens by virtue of our birth.

Nov
16

The Skeletons in Keith Ellison's Display Case

Tag: Elections

Congressman Keith Ellison, candidate of progressive Democrats and many regressive Democrats for chair of the Democratic National Committee eagerly urged the illegal and disastrous violent overthrow of the government of Libya in 2011, which he celebrated as a success despite what it meant for the rule of law, despite all the death and suffering, despite the predictable instability and weapons proliferation to follow.

Ellison moved on to pushing, and using his perch as co-chair of the Progressive Caucus to push, for a similar war on Syria. For years now he has advocated for the illegal and murderous creation of no fly zones and "safe zones" -- what Hillary Clinton admitted only to Goldman Sachs would require that you "kill a lot of Syrians." Ellison was an early backer of bombing Syria in 2013. He met with peace activists but rejected their appeal.

Back in 2007, before Ellison's leadership, the Congressional Progressive Caucus had helped organize 90 Congress members to commit to voting against war funding.  Most of them turned around and voted for war funding. That ridiculous disappointment was a high point for the CPC.

Since then, the CPC's commitments -- such as to vote against corporate healthcare -- have hardly been taken seriously, and so it's hardly been news when most members have gone back on their commitments.

But in recent years, the CPC has shifted away from even pretending to take a stand on things, and instead moved toward issuing statements full of non-committal rhetoric. Some began referring to it as the Congressional Progressive Statement Caucus.

Yet even that standard must be looked back to with nostalgia when it comes to Co-Chair Ellison's rhetoric on war. He promotes misinformation about protecting innocent people in Libya and Syria and uses those claims to justify war making. This is exactly what the war makers were looking for in funding Hillary Clinton for President. Should the Democratic National Committee now give it to them in the form of Ellison as Chair?

Of course there are differences between Clinton and Ellison. He hasn't been around long enough to do nearly as much damage, and he's legitimately better than Clinton in many ways. He introduced legislation in the Minnesota State Legislature to urge the impeachment of George W. Bush. He dropped support for that once elected to Congress but did sign onto impeaching Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. He has voted against war funding, more than once. He has asked Obama to end the war on Afghanistan. He was against rewriting laws with signing statements, at least while Bush was president. It's conceivable that he no longer, post-Bernie, throws a fit if called a socialist. And on domestic issues there's no comparison: Ellison is excellent by Democratic standards.

But is that good enough? Does empowering someone who is a Muslim erase all concern over bombing Muslims and turning their nations into hell?

This is the best the Democrats have, we're told. But putting an active member of Congress into another fulltime job is not ideal. And the Democrats have unemployed figures like war-advocate Howard Dean crawling out into the spot lights.

Who would I propose instead? The first name that comes to mind (and I have not discussed this with him, it's possible he has no interest, and he certainly wouldn't sanction my criticizing of Ellison) is Dennis Kucinich. You want change? Hope even? Try him.

Nov
15

Talk Nation Radio: Jonathan Simon on How Machines May Have Counted Our Votes Wrong

Tag: Elections, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-jonathan-simon-on-how-machines-may-have-counted-our-votes-wrong

Jonathan Simon is author of CODE RED: Computerized Election Theft and The New American Century. He serves as Executive Director of Election Defense Alliance (www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org), a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore observable vote counting and electoral integrity as the basis of American democracy. In addition to CODE RED, Dr. Simon has published, both individually and in collaboration, numerous papers related to various aspects of election forensics and election integrity. We discuss the counting of votes in last week's U.S. elections.

The CODE RED website is www.CODERED2016.com.

Total run time: 29:00

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

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

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

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

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