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When other nations' governments go off track, their people do something about it. In Tunisia and Egypt people have nonviolently claimed power in a way that has inspired Americans in Wisconsin and other states, as well as the people of Spain and the rest of the world.
Washington, D.C., is the weakest point in our democracy, without which state-level reform cannot succeed. Most Americans want our wars ended, our corporations and billionaires taxed, and our rights expanded rather than curtailed. We want our money invested in jobs and green energy, not a global military that can't stop itself. Our government in Washington goes in the opposite direction, opposing popular will on these major issues, regardless of personality or party.
Eight years ago, Donald Rumsfeld asked Jim Haynes whether they should seek new legislation on detainee treatment "so we get off the hook legally." Rumsfeld's request and Haynes' response are here: PDF.
Haynes admitted that legislation could "reduce arbitrariness" but warned that by asking for legislation a precedent would be set for future presidents. In addition, Haynes cautioned, legislation might "limit the President's ability . . . to gather intelligence from those detained at GTMO."
U.S. newspapers sometimes print what they call the total death count from one or more of our wars, and all the dead who are listed are Americans. They aren't all the Americans. They don't include contractors or suicides or various other categories of dead Americans. They certainly don't include those who died for lack of basic needs while we dumped half of our public treasury into wars.
From David Swanson:
I'm looking forward to speaking at the Athens Human Rights Festival in Athens, Ga., on May 14 and 15, 2011.
I'm also looking forward to hearing the great line-up of speakers, poets, singers, and musicians.
Here's the schedule.
This festival began in 1979 to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Kent State murders. That first year, Gene Guerrero (Director - Georgia American Civil Liberties Union) urged students to oppose the reinstatement of the draft. Attorney Hue Henry criticized UGA President Fred Davison's "pattern of arrogance" and supported the Free Speech Task Force's lawsuit against the Board of Regents' policy of preventing students from addressing Board meetings. Gary Appelson (Athenians for Clean Energy) appealed for unity to fight nuclear power. Promoting solar energy, Appelson said, "We think we are free to go to war and to interfere in the Middle East. Americans are oil junkies." Tommy Jordan played acoustic guitar and has performed at every festival since.
At the 1981 festival, Dave Dellinger warned, "If the world is going to survive, the resurgence of the peace movement must continue," and Elton Manzione (Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Grass Roots Organizing Workshop - GROW) spoke from his experience as a Navy SEAL.
The history of the Athens Human Rights Festival is one of relentless support for human rights, including the rights of humans targeted by the United States military.
This is an example to most U.S. human rights groups.
And the music makes this event an example for most activist productions. This is the revolution with the music.
I hope to see you there:
SATURDAY May 14th 10 a.m. to midnight
SUNDAY 2 pm to 10 pm
College Square, Athens, Ga.
Rain or Shine.
Upcoming public events:
Saturday, April 30, 2011
3:15 - 5:15 pm Book signing at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books ( http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks ), at the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace ( http://www.icujp.org ) booth, Booth 921.
University of Southern California
7:30 - 9:30 pm "The Costs of War" with David Swanson, Chris Hedges, Paul Chappell, and Lewis Logan, moderated by Ameena Mirza Qazi.
United University Church at the University of Southern California
817 W 34th St, Los Angeles, CA
1. More Americans learned much more of the information that Ellsberg made public.
2. It was always assumed that Ellsberg would have a trial (as of course he did), whereas I see no reason to assume Manning ever will. (I'm almost alone in this, but - hey - it's my list.)
3. They tried to kill Ellsberg but did not torture him.
4. Ellsberg was out on personal recognizance, while Manning has been held in an isolated 6x12 cell for the better part of a year.
5. We had a relatively good commmunications system back then.
6. We had a Congress.
7. We had relatively good courts, and courts outside the military were in play.
8. The info Ellsberg leaked was more top secret than Manning's and known to a handful of people, not the crowds of loyal drones with access to Manning's who did nothing.
9. Nixon didn't have Democratic Party Immunity.
10. Ellsberg, now in his 80s, is known to be saner and sharper than most living humans, while Bradley Manning's mental health is now, as a result of his torture at the hands of Obama's Marine Corps, very much in doubt.
Spain is pursuing a case against former top U.S. officials who authorized the use of torture, including David Addington, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. U.S. activist groups have been encouraging Spain in this endeavor.
Sweden banned censorship and guaranteed free speech in 1766, 10 years before the Declaration of Independence in the American British colonies, and -- apart from shameful episodes of caving in to dictatorships and Nazis -- has pretty well kept it in place.
Sweden banned the death penalty and has not used it since 1910.
Now, Sweden has an opportunity to punish the speech of a Nobel Peace Prize nominee with the death penalty by extraditing Julian Assange to the United States to be put on trial.
Dear Sweden, what will you do? You've led the way toward civility. You've banned not only the death penalty but violence up to and including spanking. You gave refuge to Denmark's Jews. You gave birth to my grandfather. Usually I look to you for leadership.