But, Mr. Putin, You Just Don't Understand

Tag: Peace and War

Once in a while one of the videos somebody emails me a link to turns out to be well worth watching. Such is this one. In it a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union tries to explain to Vladimir Putin why new U.S. missile bases near the border of Russia should not be understood as threatening. He explains that the motivation in Washington, D.C., is not to threaten Russia but to create jobs. Putin responds that, in that case, the United States could have created jobs in peaceful industries rather than in war.

Putin may or may not be familiar with U.S. economic studies finding that, in fact, the same investment in peaceful industries would create more jobs than does military spending. But he is almost certainly aware that, in U.S. politics, elected officials have, for the better part of a century, only been willing to invest heavily in military jobs and no others. Still, Putin, who may also be familiar with how routine it has become for Congress members to talk about the military as a jobs program, appears in the video a bit surprised that someone would offer that excuse to a foreign government fixed in U.S. sights.

Timothy Skeers who sent me the video link commented: "Maybe Khrushchev should have just told Kennedy he was just trying to create jobs for Soviet citizens when he put those missiles in Cuba." Imagining how that would have played out may help people in the United States to grasp how their elected officials sound to the rest of the world.

That one main motivation for U.S. military expansion in Eastern Europe is "jobs," or rather, profits, is almost openly admitted by the Pentagon. In May the Politico newspaper reported on Pentagon testimony in Congress to the effect that Russia had a superior and threatening military, but followed that with this: "'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock."

Politico then cited a less-than-credible "study" of Russian military superiority and aggression and added:

"While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military's influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes. 'That's news to me,' one of these highly respected officers told me. 'Swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles? Surprisingly lethal tanks? How come this is the first we've heard of it?'"

It's always the retired officials speaking truth to corruption, inlcuding retired Ambassador Jack Matlock in the video. Money and bureaucracy are euphemized as "jobs," and their influence is real but still explains nothing. You can have money and bureaucracy promote peaceful industries. The choice to promote war is not a rational one. In fact, it is well described by a U.S. writer in the New York Times projecting U.S. attitudes onto Russia and Putin:

"The strategic purpose of his wars is war itself. This is true in Ukraine, where territory was a mere pretext, and this is true of Syria, where protecting Mr. Assad and fighting ISIS are pretexts too. Both conflicts are wars with no end in sight because, in Mr. Putin's view, only at war can Russia feel at peace."

This was, in fact, how the New York Times reported last October on the event from which the video linked above is taken. (More here.) I condemn the Russian bombing of Syria all the time, including on Russian media on almost a weekly basis, but if there is a nation that is always at war it is the United States, which backed a right-wing anti-Russia coup in Ukraine and now refers to the Russian response as irrational war-making.

The wisdom of the New York Times writer, like the wisdom of Nuremberg, is selectively applied in a hostile manner, but still wise. The purpose of war is indeed war itself. The justifications are always pretexts.


The Problem with Chanting "USA"

Tag: Elections

These were instructions passed around during the last night of the Wells Fargo Arena Anti-Russia Don't-Say-TPP Call-It-Debt-Free-College-Not-Free-College Democratic Party Extravaganza. Noise Makers were deployed. Lights could be switched off on people as needed. Delegates were prevented from walking out. And chants like "Black Lives Matter" and "Love Is Love" were joined in by the corporatists.

However, if you chanted "Ban Fracking Now," they would chant "Hillary" back at you, as if having Hillary as their beloved leader was better than banning fracking. Also if you chanted "Stop TPP" or "Walk the Walk" you'd be greeted by screams of "Hillary!"

But what if you shouted "No More War"? Wouldn't they join in and try to own that one? Don't Christmas decorations even today still sometimes say "Peace on Earth"? Didn't Tim Kaine pretend in his speech that Woodrow Wilson was a peace maker? Doesn't the Pentagon claim that it kills people for peace? Wouldn't trying to shout down opposition to war be a step too far even for a pro-fracking, pro-corporate-trade, cult of personality?

The response of USA has got to be the worst choice they could have gone with. The poison of nationalism/patriotism is the driving force behind support for mass-murder expeditions. It turns clever shouts into mindless obedience.

Shout this over and over again, out loud: Hey You Ass Hey You Ass Hey You Ass Hey. Not the nicest thing to scream at a retired four-star mass-murderer, but still less repulsive than USA, USA, USA. This was supposed to be a convention marketing a candidate, an incredibly unpopular candidate, as the anti-fascist. Instead it became the convention of militarism, bluster, and blind loyalty to the god of war.


It's Not the Economy, Stupid

Tag: Elections, Peace and War, Political Ideas

The last time a Clinton tried to get into the White House, his campaign motto was "It's the economy, stupid!"

If you engage with peace organizations, you will very quickly be told repeatedly that nobody gives a damn about distant mass murder, and that consequently a smart organizer will talk to them about something local, such as the local impact of the financial burden of war, or perhaps the militarization of the police, or local recruitment, or local environmental damage from military bases, etc., but mostly the financial cost.

The reasoning behind all such thinking is that people are often busy, overworked, overstressed, concerned with their day-to-day struggles, etc., and so, while some of them might occasionally also take a mild interest in the affairs of others in distant corners of the globe, virtually everyone can be appealed to using local community concerns and, in particular, economic concerns related to their own needs and greed.

The evidence that this line of thinking misses something includes the following:


The Democrats' War Within, War at Home, and War Abroad

Tag: Elections

On this episode of "By Any Means Necessary" host Eugene Puryear is joined by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Presidential candidate to talk about the fall out at the DNC over leaked emails exposing their coordination with the Clinton campaign.

And later in the show Eugene is joined by David Swanson, author, activist, and journalist and Reece Chenault, National Coordinator for US Labor Against the War to talk about the Democrats false narrative of supporting the rebuilding of American communities while at the same time supporting foreign war. The group also discusses the current state of the anti-war movement and its intersection with the labor movement within the United States.

Listen here.


Talk Nation Radio: Jill Stein on Why You Should Help Make Her President of the United States

Tag: Political Ideas, Talk Nation Radio

Jill Stein is Green Party candidate for U.S. President. Learn more at

Total run time: 29:00

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

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DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism

Tag: Elections

So, the "neutral" DNC secretly plotted to hurt Bernie Sanders' campaign by getting him asked if he was an atheist. Did the DNC succeed in this? Sanders was in fact asked repeatedly in public fora about his religion. Did the DNC make those questions happen? I don't know. It's worth investigating. The DNC was in touch with Anderson Cooper who asked one of the questions to Bernie, but I've seen no indication they influenced his questions. As I recall, Cooper was himself intent on asking every possible non-policy fluff question he could think of that day.


Rep. Rick Larsen Bases Russia Policy on Myth

Tag: Peace and War

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and an occasional writer at which has covered recent U.S. propaganda re Russia as well as any media outlet out there. Murray has recently returned from a trip to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives which has resumed the sort of U.S.-Russia cultural exchanges that it organized during a previous peak in the cold war.

Murray was invited by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR) to attend and speak at a small meeting in Everett, Washington, with Congressman Rick Larsen on Friday, July 22nd. Here is an account from Murray of how it went:

"I mentioned to Rep. Larsen that I had just returned from Russia with a U.S. delegation, and that all the people in Russia I had spoken with — including teachers, students, journalists, medical doctors, entrepreneurs and war veterans — had no desire for a nuclear war with the United States, but instead expressed the wish for peaceful, normalized relations . . . During our time in Yalta, I had organized a 'swim for peace' with Americans and Russian war vets swimming together in the Black Sea, which had caused quite a stir in local Russian language media. I explained to Rep. Larsen my understanding of why the Russian public is suspicious about U.S. moves in the region (based on what I heard from people there), and why they would expect the United States to be the first to make a unilateral confidence-building measure in the direction of nuclear disarmament. Russians were savvy to the Nuland 'Yats' youtube recording (in which Victoria Nuland is distinctly heard telling U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that 'Yats is the guy' just prior to the regime change in which Arseniy Yatsenyuk became prime minister, and which directly implicated the U.S. in the Ukrainian coup), felt threatened by the recent NATO/Operation Anakonda maneuvers that took place during our delegation's visit, and were extremely concerned about other provocative U.S. moves in the region, including economic sanctions on Russia and Crimea, the latter enacted after a majority of Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia in response to what they saw as outside interference in the affairs of Ukraine."

How did Larsen respond to learning such significant and generally unknown information?


The World Must Support Ireland Against U.S. Wars

Tag: Peace and War

A Letter to Ireland from World Beyond War

Add your name here.

Those of us outside Ireland, and in particular those of us in the United States, have a pressing and urgent responsibility to lend all the support we can to our brothers and sisters in Ireland who are resisting U.S. wars.

Despite Ireland’s officially neutral status and its claim to have not gone to war since its founding in 1922, Ireland allowed the United States to use Shannon Airport during the Gulf War and, as part of the so-called coalition of the willing, during the wars that began in 2001. Between 2002 and the present date, over 2.5 million U.S. troops have passed through Shannon Airport, along with many weapons, and CIA airplanes used to transfer prisoners to places of torture. Casement Aerodrome has also been used. And, despite not being a member of NATO, Ireland has sent troops to participate in the illegal war on Afghanistan.

Under Hague Convention V in force since 1910, and to which the United States has been a party from the start, and which under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is part of the supreme law of the United States, “Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.” Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which both the United States and Ireland are parties, and which has been incorporated into very selectively enforced felonies in the U.S. Code since before George W. Bush left Texas for Washington, D.C., any complicity in torture must be investigated and prosecuted. Under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, to both of which the United States and Ireland have been parties since their creation, the war in Afghanistan and all the other U.S. wars since 2001 have been illegal.

The people of Ireland have a strong tradition of resisting imperialism, dating back even before the 1916 revolution of which this year is the centenary, and they aspire to representative or democratic government. In a 2007 poll, by 58% to 19% they opposed allowing the U.S. military to use Shannon Airport. In a 2013 poll, over 75% supported neutrality. In 2011, a new government of Ireland announced that it would support neutrality, but it did not. Instead it has continued to allow the U.S. military to keep planes and personnel at Shannon Airport, and to bring troops and weapons through on a regular basis, including over 20,000 troops already this year.


Democratic Party Backs Cheating, Lying, and Stealing

Tag: Elections

The Democratic Party, led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz openly rigged its primary system to nominate Hillary Clinton. People who managed to doubt that must now avoid reading the DNC's Nixonian emails with their plots to expose Bernie Sanders as an atheist, push false stories about Bernie delegates throwing chairs, etc.

So the Democrats have decided to not let Wasserman Schultz speak at their convention, and to slightly modify their antidemocratic super delegates system so that beginning four years from now two-thirds of them will be expected to vote in line with the actual voters of their states.

Here's what a real reform would look like: Require that beginning this week any delegate or superdelegate who objects to being used as a pawn in the pretense of democracy switch their vote from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders.


Explaining the Problem with Lesser Evilism

Tag: Elections

According to supporters of Hillary Clinton, anything other than a vote for her is "a vote for Trump," and according to supporters of Donald Trump, anything other than a vote for Trump is "a vote for Hillary." Whether you declare that you will vote for Jill Stein, vote for Gary Johnson, write in LeBron James, swear off elections, move to Canada, commit suicide, or take a job for a corporate media outlet that frowns on participation in democracy, no matter what it is you do, it's "a vote" for the undesired candidate. (Sorry to go morbid with that corporate media option!)

What is the appropriate reply to this?

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