Author Archives: DavidSwanson

No More Khirbet Khizehs

“Fields that would never be harvested, plantations that would never be irrigated, paths that would become desolate. A sense of destruction and worthlessness. An image of thistles and brambles everywhere, a desolate tawniness, a braying wilderness. And already from those … Continue reading

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Putin Shot Down a Plane! Putin Shot Down a … What? Never Mind

Search for “Malaysian Airlines Flight 17″ on the New York Times website and you’ll find a page promoting three articles from July, two hyping the idea that Russia did it and one just focused on the horror of it. Below … Continue reading

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The Case Against Re-Banning Torture Yet Again

Senator Ron Wyden has a petition up at MoveOn.org that reads “Right now, torture is banned because of President Obama’s executive order. It’s time for Congress to pass a law banning torture, by all agencies, so that a future president … Continue reading

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We’re Not Exceptional, We’re Isolated

This weekend I participated in an interesting exercise. A group of activists staged a debate in which some of us argued that peace and environmental and economic justice are possible, while another group argued against us. The latter group professed … Continue reading

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Torture “Architect” Mistaken in Claim Nobody’s Punished for Drone Murders

A psychologist who played a key role in a U.S. torture program said on a video yesterday that torture was excusable because blowing up families with a drone is worse (and nobody’s punished for that). Well, of course the existence … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Warren Could Use Some Elizabeth Peacen

Why people want to become fans of a senator rather than pushing senators to serve the public is beyond me. Why people want to distract and drain away two years of activism, with the planet in such peril, fantasizing about … Continue reading

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Plutocrats for Peace: The Nobel-Carnegie Model

“Dear Fredrik, Last Friday I went to an event organized by the Carnegie Corporation on the anniversary of the end of WWI. I was struck by how similar Andrew Carnegie’s ideas, as well as his philanthropy, were to Alfred Nobel’s. … Continue reading

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Rand Paul Declares a Non-War War

Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to Declare war on ISIS. Some, like Bruce Fein, are willing to ignore the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact, and write as if a war would be legal if Congress would just declare … Continue reading

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Silver Linings in Rolling Stone Rape Fiasco

Rolling Stone alleged a gang rape at UVA and now doubts its own report. I have no knowledge of the matter. Maybe the victim was completely honest. Maybe she was largely honest but too drunk, or just too traumatized, to … Continue reading

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Golden Age of Pearl Harbor

As we read Ulysses on Bloomsday every June 16th (or we should if we don’t) I think that every December 7th should not only commemorate the Great Law of 1682 that banned war in Pennsylvania but also mark Pearl Harbor, … Continue reading

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Israel’s Secret

Here in Virginia, U.S.A., I’m aware that the native people were murdered, driven out, and moved westward. But my personal connection to that crime is weak, and frankly I’m too busy trying to rein in my government’s current abuses to … Continue reading

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There Goes Virginia’s Climate

A snowstorm is the ideal time to write about climate disruption, as it allows us to immediately set-aside the cartoonish claim that if any spot on earth isn’t warmer than it was yesterday then all is well. The following things … Continue reading

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Mark Udall and the Unspeakable

President Obama, who is just now un-ending again the ending of the endless war on Afghanistan, has never made a secret of taking direction from the military, CIA, and NSA. He’s escalated wars that generals had publicly insisted he escalate. … Continue reading

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Torturer on the Ballot

Michigan’s First Congressional District is cold enough to freeze spit. Half of it is disconnected from the rest of Michigan and tacked onto the top of Wisconsin. A bit of it is further north than that, but rumored to be … Continue reading

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Who Says Ferguson Can’t End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something … Continue reading

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No Anti-War Voices on TV — Well, Sort of

Here’s FAIR’s excellent report on pro-war bias in the corporate media, and here’s Peter Hart describing it well on Democracy Now: I’d love to see a complete report of all the corporate media coverage for the whole lead-up to Iraq … Continue reading

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Watch Schooling the World, Stop Schooling the World

It’s becoming slightly more common in the Western industrialized world to propose radical cultural change away from consumerism and environmental destruction. It’s not hard to find people making the case that in fact nothing else can save us. But we … Continue reading

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Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates

Some news of more resistance in Okinawa from Hiroshi Taka: “I am writing this email to all the friends who have sent warm messages of solidarity to the people of Okinawa, who fought for a military base-free, peaceful Okinawa in … Continue reading

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Watchers of the Sky Falls in a Pit

The United States is a society incapable of producing a major documentary film opposing the institution of war and explicitly advocating its abolition. If it did so, the major corporate media outlets would not sing such a film’s praises. Yet … Continue reading

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The World Gets the Wars Americans Deserve

Having been on the road, I have two brilliant insights to report. 1. No matter what sort of fascist state were ever established in this part of the world, Amtrak would never get the trains to run on time. 2. … Continue reading

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How Is a Prison Like a War?

The similarities between mass incarceration and mass murder have been haunting me for a while, and I now find myself inspired by Maya Schenwar’s excellent new book Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do … Continue reading

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No to Republibama Government

A case can be made that democracy worked in this month’s U.S. midterm elections, while representative democracy failed miserably. On ballot initiatives all across the country, people in so-called red and blue states voted for raising the minimum wage, banning … Continue reading

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We Must Always Have War Because Magic

This advertisement for permanent war appeared in my local newspaper today. By pointing out this fact I am neither opposing working with religious groups that favor peace nor asserting that Martin Luther King Jr. was a warmonger. But religious peace … Continue reading

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Valor, Remembrance, and Complicity

November 11th in the United States is marked and marred by a holiday that relatively recently had its name changed to “Veterans Day” and its purpose converted and perverted into celebrating war. This year a “Concert for Valor” will be … Continue reading

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Free College or Another New War?

Noting that U.S. college costs have gone up 500% since 1985, the Washington Post recommends seven countries where U.S. students can go to college for free without bothering to learn the language of the natives or anything so primitive. These … Continue reading

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Things, Not People, You Can Vote For

“Vote. It’s the American thing to do!” read an email I received yesterday. Actually it’s the just-about-anywhere-else thing to do. U.S. voters lead the world in staying home and not bothering. There are three schools of thought as to why, … Continue reading

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Which Is Worse, a Libertarian or a Humanitarian-Warrior?

Is it worse to put into Congress or the White House someone who wants to end wars and dismantle much of the military but also wants to abolish Social Security and Medicare and the Department of Education and several other … Continue reading

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57 Candidates and Nothing On

I was lucky to attend a debate among the candidates for Congress from Virginia’s Fifth District just before game 7 of the world series. This was the kind of event you can write about while drinking beer and yelling at … Continue reading

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No More Wars on Anything

Searching new articles on ye olde internets the past couple of days for the word “war,” I turned up roughly equal uses of “war” to refer to wars and to refer to other things entirely. Apparently there is a war … Continue reading

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U.S. Sends Planes Armed With Depleted Uranium to Middle East

The U.S. Air Force says it is not halting its use of Depleted Uranium weapons, has recently sent them to the Middle East, and is prepared to use them. A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the … Continue reading

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Israeli Chooses “Honorable Life” Over Joining Military

Danielle Yaor is 19, Israeli, and refusing to take part in the Israeli military. She is one of 150 who have committed themselves, thus far, to this position: We, citizens of the state of Israel, are designated for army service. … Continue reading

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The Conscience of a Moderate

Angels by the River: A Memoir by James Gustave Speth is pleasantly written but painful to read. Speth knew about the dangers of global warming before the majority of today’s climate change deniers were born. He was an advisor to … Continue reading

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War Culture

According to a book by George Williston called This Tribe of Mine: A Story of Anglo Saxon Viking Culture in America, the United States wages eternal war because of its cultural roots in the Germanic tribes that invaded, conquered, ethnically … Continue reading

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Everything Wrong With Liberalism in One Image Found on FaceBook

Here’s a fairly typical image of a sort that constantly clogs up my FaceBook page. I take it to be the full and open expression of someone or some group’s honest outlook. I don’t think they’d identify themselves at the … Continue reading

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Public Says No to Silencing Prisoners’ Speech

I would not have guessed that people cared so much and so well about U.S. prisoners. The Governor of Pennsylvania is expected to sign into law a dangerous precedent that we all need to speak out against and put a … Continue reading

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On Killing Trayvons

This Wednesday is a day of action that some are calling a national day of action against police brutality, with others adding “and mass incarceration,” and I’d like to add “and war” and make it global rather than national. This … Continue reading

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Shadow Facts About Shadow Government

Tom Engelhardt keeps churning out great books by collecting his posts from TomDispatch.com. His latest book, Shadow Government, is essential reading. Of the ten essays included, eight are on basically the same topic, resulting in some repetition and even some … Continue reading

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A Different War-Is-Good-For-Us Argument

It seems like we just got through dealing with the argument that war is good for us because it brings peace. And along comes a very different twist, combined with some interesting insights. Here’s a blog post by Joshua Holland … Continue reading

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Pranking the CIA: The New Get-Rich-Quick Story

When New York Times reporter James Risen published his previous book, State of War, the Times ended its delay of over a year and published his article on warrantless spying rather than be scooped by the book. The Times claimed … Continue reading

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Again the Peace Prize Not for Peace

The Nobel Peace Prize is required by Alfred Nobel’s will, which created it, to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies … Continue reading

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Urgent: Right-Left Alliance Needed to Stop This War!

By David Swanson, originally published by Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Last year, public pressure played a big role in stopping US missile strikes on Syria. The biggest difference between then and now was that televisions weren’t telling … Continue reading

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Thoughts of a Beheaded Head

Dostoievski once had a character imagine what a head would think if for some seconds it were aware of having been cut off by an executioner’s guillotine, or if somehow it were aware for a full minute, or even for … Continue reading

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Operation Odysseus’ Butcher Shop

The phrase “war myths” these days is generally taken to mean such nonsense as that war will make us safe, or civilians won’t be killed, or surgical strikes will kill more enemies than they produce, or prosperity and freedom will … Continue reading

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Beyond 935 Lies

Charles Lewis’ book, 935 Lies, would make a fine introduction to reality for anyone who believes the U.S. government usually means well or corporations tend to tell the truth in the free market. And it would make an excellent introduction … Continue reading

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First 13 Years in Afghanistan Big Success, Next 10 Promise Joy and Prosperity

Here comes another October 7th, time once again for celebrating the International Day of Wars-Start-Easy-But-They’re-a-Bitch-to-End. That is, if we can spare a few moments away from celebrating the new wars we’re starting. On this date 13 years ago, the United … Continue reading

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The New War, the Forever War, and a World Beyond War

October 3, 2014 — A statement on the current and enduring crisis, by the coordinating committee of WorldBeyondWar.org This statement as PDF.   SUMMARY The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social … Continue reading

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Imagine There’re No Countries

A serious case has been made repeatedly by unknown scholars and globally celebrated geniuses for well over a century that a likely step toward abolishing war would be instituting some form of global government. Yet the peace movement barely mentions … Continue reading

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A Good End Date for the New War: Today

What I’ve seen of public events, demonstrations, and protests of the latest U.S. war — just like the larger and more immediately effective public resistance 12 months ago — has been aimed, remarkably enough, at ending the war and opposing … Continue reading

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When We’re All Musteites

We won’t necessarily know what a Musteite is, but I’m inclined to think it would help if we did. I’m using the word to mean “having a certain affinity for the politics of A.J. Muste.” I had people tell me … Continue reading

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Parliament and Congress Have No Power to Legalize War

Congress has fled town to avoid voting for or against a new war. Many of the big donors to Congressional campaigns would want Yes votes. Many voters would want No votes, if not immediately, then as soon as the panic … Continue reading

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A National Call: Save Civilian Education

SaveCivilianEducation.org Signers listed at bottom Over the last several decades, the Pentagon,conservative forces, and corporations have been systematically working to expand their presence in the K-12 learning environment and in public universities. The combined impact of the military, conservative think … Continue reading

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I Was Surprised to Find Myself on MSNBC Talking Peace

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ISIS, Weapons Makers, Thugs Benefit from Bombing

President Obama is bombing the opposite side in Syria from the side he swore we needed to attack one year ago, and those pleased by this declare that he is “doing something.” U.S. polls suggest that the same people recognize … Continue reading

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ISIS: Bush Was Right

Finally, somebody commenting on the state of Iraq thinks George W. Bush got something right. Turns out it’s ISIS. In the new hour-long ISIS-produced film about how nice it is to die for ISIS — Flames of War: Fighting Has … Continue reading

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Turn Left for Earth

I appreciate that there’s more happening than just a march for the climate today on the International Day of Peace, and I get the idea that keeping the safe and obedient march-to-nowhere separate from protests actually at the United Nations … Continue reading

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House Bans War Powers Resolution Actions

The U.S. House of Representatives has not just left town, but prior to leaving passed a rule preventing any member from using the War Powers Resolution to force Congress to return and vote on war. Here’s a video of Congressman … Continue reading

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Killed by Congressional Cowardice

We tend to think of war as resulting from an excess of aggression or disorderliness or rebellion. Western academics hunt in the genes of foreigners and study chimpanzees to find the root of the nastiness. But one would be hard … Continue reading

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If ISIS Were Really a Movie

ISIS has created a movie preview for the coming war, a war it eagerly wants Washington to take part in. The White House and Congress would like to oblige, as long as the movie can be a short one, on … Continue reading

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43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes

War, our leaders tell us, is needed to make the world a better place. Well, maybe not so much for the 43 million people who’ve been driven out of their homes and remain in a precarious state as internally displaced … Continue reading

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Laughing Our Way to Destruction

If members of the U.S. public were ever to wonder what the other 95% of humanity thinks about them, would it be better to break that harsh truth to them gently or just to blurt it out? I’m going to … Continue reading

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After New York: Rally for Peace and Climate in DC

An interactive townhall discussion of how we get to peace Speakers: Andy Shallal, Barbara Wien, David Swanson, and YOU When: Monday, September 22, 11:30-1:30 Where: SIS Founders Room, American University 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, DC 20016 Food and drink … Continue reading

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James Foley Is Not a War Ad

To the extent that the U.S. public is newly, and probably momentarily, accepting of war — an extent that is wildly exaggerated, but still real — it is because of videos of beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. When … Continue reading

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A Paradigm For Peace

Raise your hand if you weren’t surprised when fancy films of beheadings resulted in bombings? Keep your hand up if you weren’t shocked when bombings resulted in more brutality and beheadings? Is it possible we need a radically different way … Continue reading

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Warning to War Supporters

I know you mean well. I know you think you’ve found a bargain that nobody else noticed hidden in a back corner of the used car lot. Let me warn you: it’s a clunker. Here, I’ll list the defects. You … Continue reading

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Video: Russell Brand Reads My Article on ISIS Outloud

What to do about ISIS.

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Peace Ecology

With serendipitous timing, as a big march for the climate, and various related events, are planned on and around the International Day of Peace, Randall Amster has just published an important book called Peace Ecology. This book bridges divides that … Continue reading

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Is There Still Hope for Peace in Ukraine?

By Patrick Boylan, Pressenza Berlin, 1961 (photomontage) The Ukrainian government, like Israel in Gaza, relentlessly goes on bombing residential areas in the eastern regions “to kill the terrorists hiding out there” (but also the civilians living there). The separatists, called … Continue reading

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Want to Do More Than March for the Climate? Here’s How.

This is from National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance: Dear Friends, As part of Campaign Nonviolence  (which has over 150 actions scheduled across the country the week of September 21-27) NCNR is organizing an action of nonviolent civil resistance at the White House on … Continue reading

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Society as a Failed Experiment

There’s little dispute among social scientists that most of our major public programs are counter-productive on their own terms. There is also little analysis of this phenomenon as a pattern in need of an explanation and a solution. Prisons are … Continue reading

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Iraq Has WMDs and Russia Has Invaded

How did they imagine they’d get away with it, claiming that Iraq had vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and even nuclear weapons? Defectors had made clear the chemical and biological weapons (some of them provided by the United … Continue reading

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A New Calendar of Holidays

A new calendar of peace holidays has just been published. And none too soon, if you’ve noticed the epidemic of military holidays around us. I can understand that Catholics have a saint for every day of the year. And I’m … Continue reading

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Monty Python State Department

Scene:  A cafe.  One table is occupied by a group of Vikings wearing horned helmets. Whenever the word “war” is repeated, they begin singing and/or chanting. A man and woman enter.  The man is played by Eric Idle, the woman … Continue reading

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So, I Asked the Russian Ambassador What He Thinks of NATO

The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador … Continue reading

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Losing Losers and the Pentagon That Hires Them

At the 200th anniversary of the jackasses of 1812 getting the U.S. capital burned by the British in 1814, I found myself watching a new film by Rory Kennedy called Last Days in Vietnam. This film covers the moment of … Continue reading

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War in the Hundred Acre Woods

In the 1920s and 1930s, anybody who was anybody tried to figure out how to rid the world of war. Collectively, I’d say they got three-quarters of the way to an answer. But from 1945 to 2014, they’ve been ignored … Continue reading

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Peacenvironmentalism

Remarks at North Carolina Peace Action Event in Raleigh, N.C., August 23, 2014. Thank you for inviting me, and thank you to North Carolina Peace Action, and to John Heuer whom I consider a tireless selfless and inspired peacemaker himself.  … Continue reading

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Demand Swells for Straight Answers on Plane in Ukraine

A long list of prominent individuals has signed, a number of organizations will be promoting next week, and you can be one of the first to sign right now, a petition titled “Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash … Continue reading

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Causes of War Krugman Overlooked

While I’m working on a campaign to abolish war, it’s helpful and appreciated that a columnist for one of the most effective war promoting institutions in the world, the New York Times, on Sunday mused aloud about why in the … Continue reading

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Videos: How Do We Get to Peace? With David Swanson, Jill Stein, Kristin Christman, and Steve Breyman

The 16th annual Kateri Peace Conference in Fonda, N.Y., was organized around these three quotations of Buckminster Fuller: “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new … Continue reading

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Local Police and Much Else Will Be Militarized As Long As Federal Government Is

“Groups on the ground in St. Louis are calling for nationwide solidarity actions in support of Justice for Mike Brown and the end of police and extrajudicial killings everywhere.” As they should. And we should all join in. But “nationwide” … Continue reading

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Audio: The Iraq Debate — David Swanson and Brad Friedman

Isn’t this a good war, Brad Friedman asks David Swanson. Listen to this clip: http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_140813_150002friedman.MP3 Starts around 7:30

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Top 9 Reasons to Stop Bombing Iraq

1. It’s not a rescue mission.  The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs.  The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of “advisors” (trained … Continue reading

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Stop the Smart Wars

Remarks at event for WorldBeyondWar.org in Washington, D.C., on August 9, 2014. Welcome.  I’m going to say a few words and then introduce each of our other speakers, who will each speak for 10 minutes or less, and then we’ll … Continue reading

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Back in Iraq, Jack

President Obama may want us to sympathize with patriotic torturers, he may turn on whistleblowers like a flesh-eating zombie, he may have lost all ability to think an authentic thought, but I will say this for him: He knows how … Continue reading

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Nixon’s Treason Now Acknowledged

A George Will column this week, reviewing a book by Ken Hughes called Chasing Shadows, mentions almost in passing that presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon secretly sabotaged peace talks that appeared likely to end the war on Vietnam until he … Continue reading

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We Won’t Forget Wisconsin

A new film called Wisconsin Rising is screening around the country, the subject, of course, being the activism surrounding the mass occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol in 2011.  I recommend attending a planned screening or setting up a new one, … Continue reading

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If a Genocide Falls in the Forest

There’s a wide and mysterious chasm between the stated intentions of the Israeli government as depicted by the U.S. media and what the Israeli government has been doing in Gaza, even as recounted in the U.S. media. With the morgues … Continue reading

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Finally, Fake News Done Right

John Oliver is what I always wished Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert would be.  In fact, he’s what I always wished Ted Koppel or Jim Lehrer would be. With so many people getting their news from comedians, the distinction between … Continue reading

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Guess Who Cheers When Cease-Fires Collapse

Among those who cheer when a cease-fire ends and killing resumes are those who want more Palestinians slaughtered as a form of mass punishment for fictional offenses.  Also among those cheering are certain mainstream U.S. newspaper columnists.  In fact, at … Continue reading

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Should Israel Teach the Holocaust Less?

Humans almost invariably imagine humans to be far more imaginative and original than they are. But most of our ideas come from (often imperfect and improvised) imitation. And even more powerful than our tendency to imitate is our inability to … Continue reading

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On August 9 in DC: An Evening for a World Beyond War

http://bit.ly/wbw-dc   PLEASE SIGN UP ON FACEBOOKhttp://bit.ly/wbw-dc An Evening for a World Beyond Warhttp://WorldBeyondWar.orgSaturday August 9, 20146:00 – 8:00 p.m.Busboys and Poets5th and K Streets NWWashington, D.C. A fundraising event for a global campaign to end all war. Suggested donation: … Continue reading

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If We Dislike War Like We Dislike Cancer

War and cancer are among our leading causes of human death around the world.  They can’t be strictly separated and compared since war is a major cause of cancer, as is war preparation.  (And a small fraction of the U.S. … Continue reading

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War in Our Collective Imagination

Remarks at Veterans For Peace Convention, Asheville, NC, July 27, 2014. I started seeing graphics pop up on social media sites this past week that said about Gaza: “It’s not war. It’s murder.”  So I started asking people what exactly … Continue reading

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On August 9 in DC: An Evening for a World Beyond War

  PLEASE SIGN UP ON FACEBOOKhttp://bit.ly/wbw-dc An Evening for a World Beyond Warhttp://WorldBeyondWar.orgSaturday August 9, 20146:00 – 8:00 p.m.Busboys and Poets5th and K Streets NWWashington, D.C. A fundraising event for a global campaign to end all war. Suggested donation: $15 … Continue reading

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The Palestinian Right and the American Left

Chris Hedges says that Palestinians have the right to self-defense in the form of rockets, without including any consideration of whether the rockets make the Palestinians more or less defended.  There is, after all, a reasonable argument that the rockets … Continue reading

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This Is the Israeli Military Calling: Civilizing War Has Failed

Probably the biggest news story of 1928 was the war-making nations of the world coming together on August 27th and legally outlawing war.  It’s a story that’s not told in our history books, but it’s not secret CIA history.  There … Continue reading

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DRONES: Free Online Screening

There’s a chance to watch DRONES, the movie, online on July 30th and then to join a discussion with filmmakers and experts.  There’s a preview video below. The movie’s website is at http://dronesthefilm.com and the free screening is at http://demandprogress.tv/drones … Continue reading

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Planning for a Day of Peace

A few years back, prior to the International Day of Peace on September 21st, a school board member here in Virginia said that he would back a resolution marking that day as long as everyone understood that in doing so … Continue reading

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Worth Fighting For?

I was not sure I would like a book called Worth Fighting For by a former soldier who walked across the United States to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation.  The website of that foundation celebrates military “service” and … Continue reading

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If Iraq Were in Central America

Just as in discussions of bombing nations for women’s rights it’s hard to bring up the subject of the right not to be bombed, in discussions of shipping so-called illegal children away from the border where you’ve been terrorizing them … Continue reading

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