Blogs

Mar
22

Talk Nation Radio: Paul Engler on THIS IS AN UPRISING

Tag: Peace and War, Talk Nation Radio

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-paul-engler-on-this-is-an-uprising

Paul Engler is founding director of the Center for the Working Poor and one of the founders of Momentum Training. He is co-author of the new book: This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century.

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

aircraft drops pallets of water and food 959ae
Mar
20

U.S. Air Force's Ability to Deliver Death But Not Food Is A Choice

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

According to news reports, there are areas of Syria where people are literally starving to death, and where the United Nations is attempting to drop food from the air but missing its target so wildly that the food is damaged or simply cannot be found.

A U.S. Air Force expert on dropping food from great heights in high winds has given what most people will take for a technical comment but which is actually a devastating moral condemnation of U.S. and Western governments' priorities:

Obama
Mar
18

Obama's Seven Slaughters: It's a Disease, Not a Doctrine

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson, Telesur

Former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg's "The Obama Doctrine" in The Atlantic presents President Barack Obama's view of his own foreign policy (with input from a few of his close subordinates). Obama views himself as a radical leader in military restraint, in brave resistance to war mongers, and in scaling back excessive fear mongering in U.S. culture.

The U.S. President who has overseen the highest Pentagon budget in history, created drone wars, launched wars against the will of Congress, dramatically expanded foreign arms sales and special operations and the arming of proxies, claimed to be "really good at killing people," and openly bragged about having bombed seven nations that are inhabited largely by dark-skinned Muslims, bolsters his "doctrine" by offering accurate antiwar assessments of Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush's wars. (He essentially admits to Reagan's October Surprise negotiations with Iran that sabotaged the 1980 U.S. elections.) Obama's and Goldberg's discussion of Obama's own wars does not display the same accuracy or wisdom.

Mar
17

Hillary Is A Neocon

Tag: Elections

http://hillaryisaneocon.com

She has the record and the vision

"For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be." —Robert Kagan

"I have a sense that she's one of the more competent members of the current administration and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president." —Dick Cheney

"I've known her for many years now, and I respect her intellect. And she ran the State Department in the most effective way that I've ever seen." —Henry Kissinger

Nobody Beats This Record

She says President Obama was wrong not to launch missile strikes on Syria in 2013. She pushed hard for the overthrow of Qadaffi in 2011. She supported the coup government in Honduras in 2009. She has backed escalation and prolongation of war in Afghanistan. She voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She skillfully promoted the White House justification for the war on Iraq. She does not hesitate to back the use of drones for targeted killing. She has consistently backed the military initiatives of Israel. She was not ashamed to laugh at the killing of Qadaffi. She has not hesitated to warn that she could obliterate Iran. She is not afraid to antagonize Russia. She helped facilitate a military coup in Ukraine. She has the financial support of the arms makers and many of their foreign customers. She waived restrictions at the State Department on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, all states wise enough to donate to the Clinton Foundation. She supported President Bill Clinton's wars and the power of the president to make war without Congress. She has advocated for arming fighters in Syria. She supported a surge in Iraq even before President Bush did.

Further Reading

Neocon Kagan Endorses Hillary Clinton.

Dick Cheney Heaps Praise on Hillary Clinton.

Kissinger: Clinton "Effective" at State.

Wall St. Republicans' Dark Secret.

Hillary Clinton and the Weaponization of the State Department.

Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton's State Department.

The Left Ought to Worry About Hillary Clinton, Hawk and Militarist, in 2016.

Hillary as Hawk.

Hillary the Hawk.

Hillary Clinton Pitched Iraq As "A Business Opportunity" For US Corporations.

For Hillary Clinton and Boeing, a Beneficial Relationship.

 On the NSA, Hillary Clinton Is Either a Fool or a Liar.

Harper’s Magazine urges readers to ‘Stop Hillary! Vote No’.

Videos

http://hillaryisaneocon.com/node/3

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/hillaryisaneocon

Twitter

https://twitter.com/Hillary_Neocon

Take Action

Tell Hillary Clinton to Give Saudi Arabia's $10 Million to Peace Organizations and the People of Yemen.

Come Clean

Tell Hillary Clinton to Stop Lying About Her Iraq Vote.

Promote Democracy Without Bombs

Demand Democratic Superdelegates Represent Their Constituents at the National Convention.

Kick the War Habit

Pledge to Work to End War.

Know anybody who just doesn't get it? Forward this to them!

Mar
17

What No One in the Media Has Asked the Candidates About War

Tag: Elections

If you can get presidential candidates in the Democratic or Republican parties to answer any of these, please let me know.

1. President Obama's 2017 budget proposal, according to the National Priorities Project, devotes 54% of discretionary spending (or $622.6 billion) to militarism. This figure does not include care for veterans or debt payments on past military spending. Is the percentage of discretionary spending now devoted to militarism, as compared to what you would propose for 2018,_______too high,_______too low,_______just right.Approximately what level would you propose? ______________________.

2. The United States budgets approximately $25 billion per year for non-military foreign aid, which is less per capita or in relation to the nation's economy than many other countries. Is the percentage of discretionary spending now devoted to non-military foreign aid, as compared to what you would propose for 2018,_______too high,_______too low,_______just right.Approximately what level would you propose? ______________________.

3. Does the Kellogg-Briand Pact forbid war? _____________________.

4. Does the United Nations Charter forbid war that is neither actually defensive nor authorized by the United Nations Security Council? _________________.

5. Does the U.S. Constitution require a Congressional declaration of war? __________________.

6. Do the anti-torture and war crimes statutes in the U.S. code ban torture? _________________.

7. Does the U.S. Constitution forbid imprisoning people without charge or trial? ________________.

8. The United States is the leading weapons supplier, through sales and gifts, to the Middle East, as to the world. In what ways would you reduce this arms trade?_______________________ _________________ ______________________ _________________________ _________________________ ___________________ _________________ _________________ ____________________.

9. Does the U.S. president have the legal authority to kill people with missiles from drones or manned airplanes or by any other means? Where does that legal authority originate? _____________ ____________ __________ ___________________ _________________ ______________ ___________________ __________________.

10. The United States military has troops in at least 175 countries. Some 800 bases house hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in some 70 foreign nations, not including numerous "trainers" and participants in "non-permanent" exercises that last indefinitely, at a cost over $100 billion a year. Is this,_____ too many,_____ too few,_____ just right.What level would be appropriate? ___________ ________________ ________________ _______________ ____________.

11. Would you end U.S. war making in_____ Afghanistan_____ Iraq_____ Syria_____ Libya_____ Somalia_____ Pakistan_____ Yemen

12. Does the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty require the United States to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control? ________.

13. Would you sign and encourage ratification of,________ the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court________ the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction________ the Convention on Cluster Munitions________ the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity________ the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture________ the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance________ the proposed treaty on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space

14. Should the U.S. government continue to subsidize______ fossil fuels______ nuclear energy

15. How, and how much, would you propose to invest in bringing renewable, green, non-nuclear energy to the United States and the world? ______________ _______________ _____________ ________________ _____________ ________________ ____________ ______________ ___________________ _________________.

Mar
17

Secession, Trump, and the Avoidability of Civil War

Tag: Culture and Society, Peace and War

The Governor of California has joked about building a wall all the way around his state if Donald Trump becomes president of the other 49. Secession would not be a joke had it not been given an undeserved bad name. It would not have that bad name but for our universal acceptance of imperialism and of an overly simplistic history of the U.S. Civil War.

Slavery in the U.S. South was widespread through World War II, Jim Crow through the 1960s, mass incarceration through the current day, and bitterness over the Civil War for the foreseeable future. Had the U.S. avoided civil war through a compromise that restricted slavery to existing slave states, or even through a compromise that allowed its possible expansion, or through simply allowing states to secede without war, the net result might have been good or bad. A few things are certain. The bitterness over the war would not exist, the 700,000 killed and many more injured and the incredible destruction of burned cities and fields would not have happened, and war would not have been glorified during the childhoods of the generation that would launch global U.S. imperialism at the dawn of the 20th century.

Very likely, in addition, slavery would have ended more quickly and more thoroughly than it did. Of course, that cannot be stated with certainty. But a nation half-slave, half-free that sought to work through problems without war would have very likely ended slavery through some form of compensated emancipation fairly quickly, bringing up the rear in a global process of liberation. Two or more smaller nations that sought to avoid war would have very likely also put an end to slavery in the one or more nations maintaining it, in part because of international and economic forces and the absence of a fugitive slave law, but also because smaller nations, all else equal, have an easier time achieving democracy. If we had smaller nations on this continent now, or if we were to choose to in the future, we would see the ability of people to bring popular pressure to bear on the governments soar.

Of course, it's anything but an easy moral question whether 4 million people should be left enslaved another moment, or whether a nation should launch a war that might benefit them, though in the end it actually brought very limited and short-lived gains along with 700,000 killed and numerous disastrous results for decades to come. Not only are the results known only after the war, but the moral question has been invented after the war. Many in the North did not want a war to free slaves. A draft had to finally be created, as in the South as well, to compel people to kill and die. And those in power in Washington, including President-elect Lincoln, did not want war to free the slaves, only to prevent the expansion of slavery westward. When the South would not agree to restricting slavery to its current boundaries, Northern decision makers chose to launch a war over "union" -- preferring slaughter to permitting the South, or some part of it, to leave.

Mark Tooley has published a book called The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War. It may remain a forgotten story for at least four reasons that leap out at me. First, Tooley adds in so much gossip-column fluff on clothes and parties and families and churches that it's almost physically impossible to make it through his book if you're looking only for what happened at the conference; this is truly a shame in a culture that already considers peace boring and war exciting. Second, Tooley concludes that the war was "inevitable" anyway, so why should you care? (And why did he give his book the title he did?) Third, Tooley almost completely overlooks the possibility that was most open to the North, namely allowing the South to leave in peace. Fourth, if you look into the details and consider how easily peace might have been chosen instead of war, you may feel a bit of discomfort in your mind. You may come up against the fact that many nations did end slavery without a civil war, and then have to start questioning whether in fact lots of other wars have also been "inevitable."

A strong case could be made that the peace conference was begun too late. Seven states had already seceded. A conference on peaceful secession before secession, or a conference on a slavery compromise before secession, would have been easier. Oh and, by the way, the entire topic of the conference was slavery, not some other vague cause of "states rights" or anything of the sort. Nonetheless, the conference had numerous chances to reach an agreement, and in the end did reach an agreement -- which Congress tossed aside in favor of war, and which Congress was assisted in tossing aside by some members of the peace conference who quickly badmouthed what they had done and opted for war. Among the latter was former U.S. President John Tyler who had chaired the peace conference before returning to Virginia and denouncing it.

Under consideration at the conference was not primarily slavery in the slave states, and certainly not ending it through compensated emancipation, as would be done in Washington, D.C., and numerous foreign countries. At issue was principally the expansion of slavery into the expanding western empire. Both sides insisted on imperial expansion to such an extent that it was truly beyond debate. If they'd been somehow made content with the current size of the country, that too could have resolved the dispute and averted war. So, in that peculiar sense, the Civil War was a war of empire. Delegates from both Northern and Southern states (quite a crowd of former senators and justices and the like) tended also to assume that their choices were either union or war, not peaceful division. A greater willingness to accept peaceful separation could also have averted war.

Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin sent no delegates. William Lloyd Garrison urged the desirability of war. Peace conference delegate Roger Baldwin of Connecticut advocated no compromise with slavery. Some Southern delegates urged no compromise with freedom, even while whining about threats to their own rights and comforts without a thought for those of the people enslaved in their states. The peace conference dragged on unpeacefully for 19 days, with Congress and the states holding their breath and holding off on actions.

Delegate Reverdy Johnson of Maryland made a case for compromise to both sides, urging the North to accept the deal of the old Missouri Compromise as preferable to the Dred Scott decision's ruling that slavery could spread north of latitude 36°30'. Southern delegates were intent on not just preserving slavery but expanding it westward. President-elect Lincoln met with the peace conference and made clear that he would never stand for that and would prefer war; he would leave slavery alone where it existed but never allow it to expand.

After all variety of proposals were heard and rejected, ultimately a compromise was reached by the peace conference that reinstated the Missouri Compromise, required a majority of slave-state senators to approve of new territory, prohibited Congressional interference with slavery, banned the importation of enslaved people from abroad, and affirmed fugitive slave laws but also allowed for compensation paid to an owner to make an escaped slave free. Arguably this final agreement and other proposals that were rejected all propped up slavery more than simply allowing secession would have. The Senate and House quickly took up the peace conference agreement and rejected it. This was a Congress now missing any representatives from eight states, another reason why acting sooner might have succeeded.

During the course of the conference, some hints at another possible course were heard. General Winfield Scott said that dividing the country into four countries would be a "lesser evil" than war. Senator Salmon Chase of Ohio said, "The thing to be done is to let the South go." Former Massachusetts Governor George Boutwell said that the union should be kept free of slavery or not kept. (But he warned ominously that the South could try to annex Mexico and other land, and block the North's expansion to the Pacific. Again, it was all about empire.) Former New York Congressman Francis Granger raised the example of letting the South go as an act too cruel to be considered (so beneficial, apparently, was union with the North). George Summers of Virginia proposed a new nation of the border states, letting the Deep South and New England do their own things.

Victory, and thereby top praise in the history books, went to those who wanted war, including those who opposed slavery, those who demanded "union," and those who insisted on expanding slavery far and wide.

But when secession is proposed in the future, we should not be rash in rejecting it. If the North had let the South go way back when, both countries might be much better off today. If, after the Civil War, someone had been able to turn the clock back four years, the North might have been very willing to let the South go. The South might also have been very willing to give up slavery, or at least its expansion westward, without the insanity and horror of a war. Secession may be an improvement on what we've got now. There are only so many immigrants Canada is going to take.

Mar
15

Talk Nation Radio: David Cochran on the Abolition of War

Tag: Peace and War, Talk Nation Radio

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-david-cochran-on-the-abolition-of-war

David Carroll Cochran is the author of Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War. He teaches politics and directs the Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He discusses how war might be abolished and what sorts of institutions have been abolished already.

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

Mar
15

Hillary Finally Admits Her Funders Get What They Pay For

Tag: Elections, Peace and War

Hillary Clinton has finally admitted that she creates public policy, deciding life and death for thousands, based on favors that have been done for her. I know you believed that when Saudi Arabia and Boeing put millions into the Clinton Foundation that had zero impact on her crusade to put through major weapons sales by Boeing to Saudi Arabia. I know her secret speeches to Goldman Sachs can't possibly have hinted at her providing any services in return for the big checks. But Hillary herself now says otherwise.

Hillary voted for the 2003 war on Iraq, she explains, because George W. Bush gave her $20 billion to rebuild New York.

Hillary pushed hard for a war on Libya in 2011 because, she claims, the Europeans wanted it, and they had been helping out with the U.S. led project of killing people in Afghanistan.

Hillary made these comments in the midst of a bunch of eye-catching lies, but don't be distracted. Yes it's outrageous that she lies that Saddam Hussein wouldn't give inspectors free rein, and does so just moments before she excuses her promotion of the war by claiming that if Bush had let the inspectors continue their work they would have proven that no weapons existed. Sure it's outlandish that she's still pushing the lie about Qadaffi's plan to "murder his own people." Of course it's disgusting that she suggests Libya is doing all right now. It's perverse that when asked about her fondness for overthrowing governments she shouts "9/11" and "Hitler" and "Rwanda"!

But don't miss the main point. Hillary is confessing that her decisions are based on personal favors, and the world be damned.

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