Peace and War

Jan
28

Does Rachel Maddow Want Russia Bombed?

Tag: Media, Peace and War

Here's why I ask. Maddow devotes many minutes on MSNBC stirring up hatred of Russia in order to establish that there is a vague possibility that President Donald Trump might be corrupted by a foreign government.

But that's already established beyond any doubt. China's state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower. It is also a major lender to Trump. Its rent payments and its loans put Trump in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Every building approval, extension of credit, tax break, subsidy, or waiver of normal rules that Trump's businesses get from numerous foreign governments, state governments, and the U.S. government define him as quintessentially impeachable.

So, if the point is just to document corruption by Trump, why reach and stretch for a speculative possibility, when you've got a solid case sitting in your lap?

Jan
24

The War Horror Has Begun

Tag: Peace and War

Here we are on Day 5 of the Donald Trump presidency, and he's got "special" forces of the U.S. military in two-thirds of the world's nations. He's engaged in serious occupation and/or bombing campaigns in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. He just sent malicious robot airplanes armed with missiles to blow to pieces a bunch of vaguely-identified but never indicted "criminals" in Yemen. Their body parts were widely scattered and their loved ones devastated. The injured writhed in agony.

We made it through a presidential campaign in which a debate moderator asked if a candidate would be willing to kill thousands of innocent children, and in which Donald Trump promised to "kill their families" and "steal their oil." And here we are on Trump's very first Terror Tuesday, and he's already in possession of the most expensive and extensive military machine ever seen on earth. His speed is remarkable. Already he has troops in 175 nations (and announcers are thanking them for watching sporting events as if it were all just normal).

Jan
23

The So-Called Intelligence So-Called Community's Dumb Isolated View of the Future

Tag: Peace and War

Thank you to Tom Engelhardt for pointing out that the people who couldn't predict the end of the Soviet Union, the crimes of 9-11, the decency of numerous whistleblowers, the election of Donald Trump, the likelihood that utilities in Vermont would point out that they had not been hacked by Russians, or -- I'm willing to bet -- the timing of rush hour in Northern Virginia, have just predicted the shape of the future of everything. Of course they've gotten it all ridiculously wrong, but they have revealed things about themselves rather than about the world in the process.

Many of us would list climate chaos and nuclear war as the big dangers to avoid. The "community" of U.S. spies lists: "the Arab Spring, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, and the global rise of populist, anti-establishment politics" as examples of dangers the future holds. These people may be paid billions of dollars by us primarily to keep secrets, but they don't keep their contempt for democracy secret very well.

Jan
20

Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

Here I am in occupied DC. The White House looks like a Green Zone. There was a time when you could walk up to it. Caravans of police cars and black SUVs zoom by with sirens blaring and everyone else forced aside. Do people look outraged? No, they grin and admire. We need more democratic perspectives. Here are six.

1. Get active around policy not personality. And try to nudge newly active or re-activated people in that direction. To take one example of thousands, we should be cheering more loudly for the commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence. And we should have raised a lot more hell than we did over the idea of locking her up to begin with -- and Obama's pronouncing her guilty before his subordinates tried her -- and over all the other whistleblowers still in cages or facing persecution. More support for not bombing Syria in 2013, and more condemnation for arming proxies instead. More -- hell, any -- support for Trump deescalating hostility with Russia, and more opposition to his proposals to "kill their families" and "steal their oil."

Jan
18

Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell

Tag: Peace and War

At the Atlantic Council -- a "think" tank funded by such bastions of democracy as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not to mention that center of peaceful nonviolence NATO -- Samantha Power announced on Tuesday that Russia is a menacing danger to the United States of America and to the rule of law in the world, which statement in fact constituted a menacing danger to the U.S. and to the rule of law in the world.

Power cited the "Russian government’s aggressive and destabilizing actions."

"For years, we have seen Russia take one aggressive and destabilizing action after another. We saw it in March 2014, not long after mass peaceful protests in Ukraine brought to power a government that favored closer ties with Europe, when Russia dispatched its soldiers to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The 'little green men,' as they came to be called, for Russia denied any ties to any of them, rammed through a referendum at the barrel of a gun, which Mr. Putin then used to justify his sham attempted annexation of Crimea."

The "peaceful protests" involved hundreds of casualties, while the "ramming at the barrel of a gun" involved zero. The "peaceful protests" followed the preemptive exposure of U.S. facilitation of a coup. The new government quickly began threatening the rights and lives of ethnic Russians. The annexation of Crimea followed an overwhelming vote, which the United States has never dared to propose be re-done. The annexation was successful. Russia always had troops in Crimea. That it sent in more was to its discredit but legal under its basing agreement.

"We saw it months later in eastern Ukraine, where Russia armed, trained, and fought alongside separatists. Again Russia denied any role in the conflict it manufactured, again flouting the international obligation to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbor."

Russia did not manufacture the conflict. It certainly did not in any major way "fight alongside" the "separatists" -- many of whom were not seeking separation. It's noteworthy that the claims about shooting down an airplane that were so central to this sort of speech for so long have faded away along with the idea that there was evidence to back them up.

Jan
13

The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us

Tag: Peace and War

What do these pieces of evidence tell you?

The United States and Russia each possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on earth many times over.

Pentagon officials say the cold war with Russia is for profit and bureaucracy.

When there was danger of peace breaking out in Syria, the U.S. military acted to prevent it, apparently against the will of President Obama.

The U.S. facilitated a coup in Ukraine, characterized a secession vote in Crimea as an invasion and seizure by force, made unsubstantiated claims about the shooting down of an airplane, opened a missile base in Romania, started building a missile base in Poland, moved more troops and equipment into Eastern Europe than seen since World War II, dropped all pretense that the enemy provoking all this was Iran, and spread the word through endless repetition that Russia was threatening Europe (even though Russia, for all its real crimes and offenses, including bombing Syria, was not threatening Europe).

The U.S. so-called intelligence so-called community put out the word that Russia had hacked Vermont's electricity grid -- a story it had simply made up.

Jan
12

Imagine the Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Peace

Tag: Peace and War

The idea has been floated and endlessly reintroduced in legislation since the founding of the United States of creating a Department of Peace. These efforts even resulted in 1986 in the creation of the USI”P” — the U.S. Institute of “Peace” which this week held events with Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Madeleine Albright, Chuck Hagel, William Perry, Stephen Hadley, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Rice, John Kerry, and Michael Flynn, and which in 2015 rejected proposals from the peace movement to have anything to do with advocating for peace. So the push to create a Department of Peace rolls on, generally ignoring the existence of the USI”P.”

I try to imagine what a senate confirmation hearing would look like for a nominee for Secretary of Peace. I picture the nominee being rolled in by his attendants and the questioning beginning something like this:

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