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Talk Nation Radio: Sam Pizzigati: What Serious Progressive Taxes Would Look Like

Sam Pizzigati provides perspective on what serious progressive taxation (and labor organizing and populist activism) would look like via the lessons of his new book "The Rich Don't Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph Over Plutocracy That Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970."  Pizzigati is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of http://toomuchonline.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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Neither Grand, Nor a Bargain

Liberal groups have been organizing protests of the looming "grand bargain" (a bargain between two political parties aimed at saving us from the fictional "fiscal cliff" by giving more of our money to the super-rich and the war machine).  But they've been doing so only in Republican Congressional districts and with messages placing all the blame on "the Republicans," thus telegraphing the message that all shall be tolerated if labeled "Democratic." 

We're supposed to be against a bargain, but only against one of the two partners to the bargain.  Any bets on how well that'll work?

The Military Spending Cut Scare

The fearmongering is on.  Here's a typical article, this one from the only daily newspaper in my hometown:

The Socialism of McCain, Graham, Ayotte

From Senator John McCain's website: (slight changes marked)

Washington, D.C.­–U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced the launch of their “Preserving America’s Strength” series of town hall-style meetings in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire highlighting the devastating impacts of the looming defense clean energy and infrastructure cuts now scheduled to take place under budget sequestration next year.

Guess What % of Americans Know Military Spending Is Increasing

And keep guessing some more, because pollsters are unlikely to ask that question.

A year and a half ago, a poll found that Americans drastically underestimate how high U.S. military spending is.

This fits with consistent polling showing slim majority support for cutting military spending, but strong support for major military cuts when the people polled are told what the current budget it.

Talk Nation Radio: Students Hunger Strike for a Living Wage

Hunter Link of the University of Virginia's Living Wage Campaign explains why he and other students stopped eating and why workers at UVA can and should be paid a living wage.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or Radio4All or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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

When the World Outlawed War

When the World Outlawed War Graphic
The Essay Contest.     The Petition.     The book:
 
This is a masterful account of how people in the United States and around the world worked to abolish war as a legitimate act of state policy and won in 1928, outlawing war with a treaty that is still on the books. Swanson's account of the successful work of those who came before us to insist that war be outlawed points us toward new ways of thinking about both war and political activism.  Ralph Nader puts this on his list of 11 books everyone should read.

Buy the paperback at Better World Books, 100Fires, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, other sellers, or your local independent bookstore, which can order it through Ingram.  (The list price is $15.) 

(If you order from Amazon it will ship right away even if Amazon says it won't ship for weeks; it is print-on-demand.)

Or you can get 10 copies for $60, or 50 copies for $200, or more (all with free shipping) here.

Donate free books to nonprofit educational groups here.

Buy the iPad/iPhone version at the iBookstore.

Get any of these versions for $2 right here:

Kindle:  Add to Cart 
Epub:  Add to Cart 
PDF:  Add to Cart 
Audio book (mp3), read by the author:  Add to Cart 

When the World Outlawed War on November 11, 2011, became the first winner in the "Going For A Global Truce" Peace Contest.

"David Swanson is a truth-teller and witness-bearer whose voice and action warrant our attention." — Cornel West.

“David Swanson has written a fascinating account of how peace once became the law of the land, through the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  It is particularly pertinent in the era of the Endless War, by giving encouragement and suggestions of a path forward to those who want to give peace a chance.” — Liz Holtzman, former member of the U.S. Congress.

"David Swanson has done it again with this new book – unearthing history they don’t tell you about in  mainstream media." — Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and author of Cable News Confidential.

"David Swanson brings his laser focus, brilliant writing, and incredible intelligence to bear in this book, where he makes the case that the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a major step -- as yet unrecognized -- on the path towards eliminating war.  He tells a wonderful story, shines light on the unknown peace activists who refused to be deterred by what was considered possible or reasonable, and makes a compelling analogy with slavery -- like war, a worldwide activity deemed unstoppable -- and like war, an immoral crime that must be ended.  I have been active in the antiwar movement from Vietnam through Iraq.  I have done political work for some of the most antiwar candidates of the modern era -- McGovern, Jackson, Nader, Kucinich.  I have marched and petitioned, organized and strategized, and played a part in peace demonstrations from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to London and New York.  And I am a history buff.  But until I read David Swanson's book, I had never heard this story before -- and certainly never understood why it was important." — Steve Cobble, former political director of the National Rainbow Coalition, advisor to Jackson, Nader, and Kucinich presidential campaigns

“Swanson has done it again. This is a masterful account of how Americans and people around the world worked to abolish war as a legitimate act of state policy and won. Swanson’s account of the successful work of those who came before us to insist that war be outlawed compels us today to rethink the cost and morality of cynical or weary inaction in the face of our repeated resort to military threats and warfare to achieve policy goals.” — Jeff Clements, Author of Corporations Are Not People.

"David Swanson's fascinating new history of the development of the much neglected campaign in the 1920s to outlaw war has many lessons for anti-war activists today.  An essential read." — Andrew Burgin, Stop the War Coalition.

"David Swanson predicates his belief that nonviolence can change the world on careful research and historical analysis.  This compelling and wonderfully readable narrative examines pacifist developments in the U.S., dating back to the 1920s. Swanson then examines contemporary anti-war efforts. He writes from a particularly advantageous perspective because he is firmly rooted in plans and actions designed to put an end to war. Drawing from historical examples of success and failure, he help readers imagine achieving the U.N.’s eloquent mandate: 'to eliminate the scourge of war.'" — Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

“From Daybreak to War Is A Lie to When the World Outlawed War to a prodigious number of essays (and that’s just since the ’08 election) David Swanson combines the timeliest scholarship and logical elegance in a call to action: ‘to learn how to enjoy working for the moral good for its own sake.’” — John Heuer, Veterans for Peace.

“One of the best ways to radicalize someone’s thinking is to force the person to look at a cherished ideal in a fundamentally new way. David Swanson does that with War, an ideal cherished by too many Americans. Can the United States ever be weaned from its love affair with war — Endless War? This book provides the background for dealing with that question.” — William Blum, author of Killing Hope, and of Freeing the World to Death.

“How many Americans know that an American peace movement in the 1920s mobilized millions of people, and eventually the U.S. government, to get the world’s major powers to formally renounce war? Or that the Kellogg-Briand Pact is still on the books making our current leaders guilty of the same crime that we hung people for at Nuremberg? It’s time for a little education! David Swanson has written a wonderfully well-documented history of a time when Americans discovered their own power to organize and impact their government on the most vital issue facing the world, then and now: the abolition of war.” — Nicolas Davies, author of  Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

“Polls show a large majority of U.S. citizens oppose current U.S. wars, but many Americans’ reluctance to engage in antiwar activism is in part due to their sense of impotence at having any impact on their own government. This book tells the story of how the highly energized Peace Movement in the 1920s, supported by an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens from every level of society, was able to push politicians into something quite remarkable — the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. The 1920s War Outlawry movement was so popular that most politicians could not afford to oppose it. If any one piece of American history can re-energize the American people to again push their politicians, then this book can do it.” — Bruce E. Levine, author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite.

“‘Ahhh, peace, that would be so nice,’ an Afghan grandmother whispered after recounting how 30 years of war had devastated her family. The world community has failed her miserably, as it has failed so many millions from the Congo to Iraq to Sri Lanka. But David Swanson’s book gives us a glimpse of another possible reality, a world that says no to war. By recounting the heroic efforts of a generation in the 1920s that actually did pass a treaty banning war, Swanson invites us to dream, to scheme and most important, to take action.” — Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK.

“David Swanson is on a mission to end war. In his latest book he brings to life an important story about a time when a national peace movement raged across our nation. The media covered this movement, and members of Congress were active participants. Through this movement a treaty was signed that outlawed war. Sadly today few know about this significant moment in our history, but Swanson’s book will help change that.” — Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

“In an era of what sometimes seems like Orwellian permanent war, David Swanson’s Outlawing War reminds us of those in earlier periods who attempted the unthinkable for many of outlawing war.  It is a timely reminder that nothing is inevitable in the way things are, that extraordinary things can be done, and that movements are not inexorably doomed to fail." — Ben Davis.

Print ISBN 978-0-9830830-9-2

eBook ISBN 9781456605735

Book Talk with David Swanson from William Hughes on Vimeo.

Please post your comments and reviews on book sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., and submit them here.

 

AUDIO: David Swanson and Coy Barefoot Discuss Dick Cheney, War, and Peace

 

Video: David Swanson discusses this book in Charlottesville, Va.

 

Interview of David Swanson by Bruce Levine.

 

Review of the book by Bruce Levine.

 

Chat at Fire Dog Lake Book Salon.


A Sign in Robin Hensel's Yard in Little Falls, MN, Which Only Allows Pro-War Signs:


 


We the 99% Demand a Totally Different Federal Budget

99% Budget

We can fit our demands on a bumpersticker: "Majority Rule" or "People Over Profits" or "Love Not Greed."  But we don't want to.  Our government is doing everything wrong, and we should be allowed to present the full list of grievances.  We can, however, give the world a thousand words' worth in an image, a pie chart to be exact.  Our federal budget funds the wrong things.  We want it to fund the right things.

Here are pie charts produced by some of us members of the 99%: gallery.

Here's where you can make your own: start.

You'll have to register and log in, which prevents spam.  Then you'll have a chance to fill in the percentage of the federal budget that you'd like devoted to various areas.  This budget tool -- the programming for which was done by Karl Anliot -- will let you know if your total adds up to 100%.  You can do this in 60 seconds, but I recommend giving it some thought and really making this into your vision for future activism.

After you create your own ideal budget pie chart, you can compare it with the actual government budget and with the ideal budgets created by the rest of us.  I suspect the biggest gap is going to be between the government and everybody else.  You can also go back in and edit your budget.  You can link to it.  You can facebook it and tweet it.

Below is an image of my ideal federal budget.  I might still change it, but I'm pretty certain of the basics here.  This is discretionary spending, so Social Security and other mandatory spending are not included.  A trust fund into which we pay, trusting that we will be paid back, should never be placed on the chopping block.  Discretionary spending, as the name suggests, is spending over which Congress has discretion each year.

David's Budget

The inner pie chart is broad categories, and the outer layer subcategories for spending.  The yellow-orange area in the lower right is sustainable policies, including job training, mass transit, pollution control, green energy research, etc.  The blue areas include education and research.  The green slices are elements of friendly foreign relations.  The purple is hostile foreign relations, including the military and wars.  The raspberry colored sections cover basic governance, and the little black slice on the right goes to big agriculture and transportation.

Now here's an actual government budget, specifically a budget proposed by the Obama White House for 2015.  The first thing you'll notice is that the military and wars have swallowed everything else.  The rest of the funding areas are all crammed together in teeny little slices over on the right.

White House Budget
The National Priorities Project has produced a very similar pie chart using 2012 numbers, but the numbers used here come from the White House's proposed 2015 budget, also used in this survey which inspired this budget tool.

As much as I sympathize with cries of "jobs not cuts" I wonder if awareness of the state of our budget would lead us to demand that money be moved, that money be cut in one place and added to all the other sectors.  Of course it could also be added to by taxing billionaires and corporations.  But whatever size the pot, our public funds ought to be distributed fairly, humanely, and sustainably.  Perhaps this online tool can help us develop the vision we need moving forward.

Make your own budget here: start.

Rebuild the Dream in the Streets

Remarks at Take Back the Dream conference, October 3, 2011.

For videos of this speech and of remarks by Derrick Crowe and Jo Comerford click here: http://warisacrime.org/content/rebuild-dream-streets

Back around May or June a bunch of us announced plans for this coming Thursday, October 6th, to occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., not for a march or a rally, and not for a day or a weekend, but to create a central space for an ongoing occupation from which we would engage in nonviolent resistance.

Jobs or Wars: We Have to Choose

Register. | Speakers. | Agenda and Location. | Sponsor. | Donate. | Volunteer. | Flyers and PSAs. | Offer Room. | Request Room. | Contact. | Resources

Did you know that redirecting a fraction of our military spending to education, green energy, healthcare, and tax cuts would create a job for every unemployed or underemployed person in the country (including those losing war industry jobs during this conversion)?  It's true.

Did you know we're fighting drone wars that create enemies by killing innocents, in large part because the CIA created a bureaucracy for drone wars and wants to use it? Now you do.

We've got a choice to make between the military industrial complex and our future.  Experts from around the country will help us make it at this conference: http://MIC50.org

Why Register Now:

1. Only if you register ahead of time can you get food at the conference.

2. Only if you register ahead can you pay a discounted rate.

Everyone should pay only what they can afford, even if it's nothing!  But you need to register!

3. Only if you register ahead can we best plan the conference and let you know how to get involved.

So, please assure yourself a spot at this unique event, and register now!