Political Ideas

Jul
11

U.S. Plans to Saturate Globe With Weapons

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

My headline above is a plain English translation of this Pentagonspeak found in a Reuters headline today: "Demand for U.S. arms exports set to keep growing, official says."

As the United States and NATO antagonize Russia, and pressure NATO members to buy more weapons, and showcase U.S. weapons in numerous wars, and use every carrot and stick in the State Department to market U.S. weapons, an "official" who happens to have been located at a giant weapons trade show predicts that of its own accord "demand" for weaponry is going to grow. Here's Reuters' first sentence:

"International demand for U.S. weapons systems is expected to continue growing in coming years, a senior U.S. Air Force official said on Sunday, citing strong interest in unmanned systems, munitions and fighter jets."

Thus is the proliferation of drones around the world spun as something positive, along with bombs and jets. And thus is it spun as something that simply results from the quality and desirability of the products.

Quick, which five nations do you most want murdering their enemies with missiles from drones over the United States?

eyes
Jun
28

What is a Global Citizenry, and Can It Save Us?

Tag: Political Ideas

First published in The Humanist.

Headlines this past spring claimed that for the first time ever, more than half of poll respondents around the world said they saw themselves more as global citizens than as citizens of a country. What did they mean in saying that?

First of all, to lower the heart rate of certain U.S. readers we should state that they clearly didn’t mean they’d sworn loyalty to a secret global government for the period of time until the Dark Side crushes all light from the Force, or until Mom, apple pie, and sacred national sovereignty expire in the satanic flames of internationalism. How do I know this? For one thing, something that a majority of the planet is aware of is the opposite of a secret. More importantly, what’s at issue here are the poll respondents’ attitudes, not their situations. In many nations the responses were almost evenly split; half the people weren’t wrong, they were just differently minded.

Still, what did they mean?

Jun
27

The Supreme Court Just Legalized Bribery

Tag: Political Ideas

This was my warning back in January:

How the Supreme Court Could Legalize Direct Bribery: An Innocent Behind Bars, A Guilty Man Free

It gives me far too little pleasure to note that this has now happened.

Jun
27

Have a Chilcot Fourth of July

Tag: Impeachment, Peace and War, Political Ideas, Prosecution

This Fourth of July, U.S. war makers will be drinking fermented grain, grilling dead flesh, traumatizing veterans with colorful explosions, and thanking their lucky stars and campaign contributors that they don't live in rotten old England. And I don't mean because of King George III. I'm talking about the Chilcot Inquiry.

Jun
16

Brexit Violence Deeply Rooted, With Lessons for U.S.

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas, Public Policy

On Thursday, in a political move more typical of the United States than Europe, a member of the British Parliament was murdered. She was an opponent of Brexit (Britain exiting the European Union), and her murderer reportedly shouted "Britain First!"

Jun
15

We Should Be More Viking

Tag: Book and Movie Reviews, Political Ideas, Public Budgets

A birth lottery winner, or a chooser behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance, today would likely end up not as a U.S. billionaire's child (much less a random U.S. child), but as a child in Scandinavia. That is, whether you're looking for higher happiness, life-expectancy, health, education, safety, and quality of life, or you're looking for environmental sustainability, social justice, and relations of peace and generosity with the rest of the world, the model today is the land of the Vikings' descendants.

Traditionally it has not been popular in the United States to emulate others. Books on how Europe is better than here don't always fly off U.S. shelves. Michael Moore's latest movie is not his highest grossing. On the other hand, Senator Bernie Sanders made the Scandinavian model the core of his surprisingly successful campaign. Many voices were quick to tell him that his socialism doesn't work in theory. He was quick to reply that it has nonetheless been proven to work in practice.

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
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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