Author Archives: DavidSwanson

The Weak Tough Sell of the Iran Deal

Airing on PBS on September 12 will be an interview I watched taped at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia on August 28 with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State who played the key role in … Continue reading

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War: Legal to Criminal and Back Again

Remarks in Chicago on the 87th anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, August 27, 2015. Thank you very much for inviting me here and thank you to Kathy Kelly for everything she does and thank you to Frank Goetz and everyone … Continue reading

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Seven Ways Racism Is Built In

1. WEALTH GAP: The playing field is not level. The median wealth of a white household in the United States is over 13 times that of a black household, and the gap is widening. Most black households have less than … Continue reading

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US withholding Chilcot Inquiry docs as they may discourage future wars US is interested in

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The Rise of the Permanent Prisoners of War

If someone has had the good fortune not to encounter the world of U.S. police and prisons, and the misfortune to learn about the world from U.S. schools, entertainment, and “news” media, a great place to start understanding one of … Continue reading

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Which U.S. Senators Really Want War on Iran — An Update

This is an update to “Which U.S. Senators Want War on Iran.” I’ve found there isn’t really any way to touch on this topic without misunderstanding, but here’s a try. Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program or threatened … Continue reading

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Environmentalist Writer Claims Military Saves Lives

Jeremy Deaton seems to be a fine writer on the subject of climate change right up until he stumbles across the propaganda of the U.S. military. I highlight this as the latest example of something that is so typical as … Continue reading

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When $8.5 Trillion is Chump Change

Three cheers for Reuters pointing out that the Pentagon can’t explain what it did with $8.5 trillion that taxpayers gave it between 1996 and 2013. Three trillion cheers for a blogger who is pointing out that this fact renders many … Continue reading

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Most Disgusting Game Ever

No, I’m not referring to the U.S. election. I’m referring to “Bycatch.” The name refers not to fish accidentally caught and killed while trying to catch and kill other fish, but to humans murdered in a game in which the … Continue reading

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Redemption Remains

It is possible for people to behave well in a crisis. It is possible for people to maintain their dedication to good and kindness in the face of fear and horrific loss. The loved one of a murder victim can … Continue reading

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Corporate Media Crap Coverage of Sanders Is Norm

There are now articles about the predictable fluff BS horserace personality lifestyle crap coverage by the corporate media of the Bernie Sanders for president campaign (and articles about the predictable non-coverage of the Jill Stein for president campaign). I wish … Continue reading

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Mark Warner Hides From Virginia Public

Senator Mark Warner’s staff says he’s holding only unannounced, closed-door meetings in Virginia this summer. It’s a good thing he doesn’t have a job that requires knowing what the people of Virginia think about anything. Virginians can click here to … Continue reading

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Could a Plant Win a Presidential Debate?

I don’t mean an infiltrator planted in a nefarious plot to throw an election. I mean a green, soil-rooted, leafy plant. I’ve been reading Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola. … Continue reading

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70 Years of Korean War

After marking the destruction of Nagasaki and the police-murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9th, Americans have options for what to commemorate on August 10th. I’m inclined to think that August 10th should be formally recognized as Gulf … Continue reading

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Which U.S. Senators Want War on Iran

Let’s do the count: Senators rallying and whipping their colleagues to support the Iran agreement: 0. Senators admitting that Iran has had no nuclear weapons program and has never threatened or been a threat to the United States: 0. Senators … Continue reading

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Bernie Talks Militarism But Says Nothing New

Yes, I think the election season is a disastrously overlong distraction. If people’s interest in it can be used to get them to ask their heroes to lead on important matters — such as asking Bernie Sanders to rally the … Continue reading

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Gareth Porter: Obama’s Promoting Iran Agreement with One Hand Tied Behind Back

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Grave of Man Who Outlawed War Found in Chicago

Thanks to David Karcher and Frank Goetz and the staff at Oak Woods Cemetery, the grave of Salmon Oliver Levinson has been found: It’s not that it had been lost so much as that nobody had looked for it. Various … Continue reading

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Hiroshima-Nagasaki: 70-Year Nuclear Explosions Not Done Yet

By David Swanson, Telesur This August 6th and 9th millions of people will mark the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in those cities and at events around the world. Some will celebrate the recent deal … Continue reading

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U.S. Movies and T.V. Shows Have U.S. Army Ratings

The U.S. Army and Air Force public relations offices have responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by releasing huge lists of movies and television shows that they have assessed and, at least in many cases, sought to influence. … Continue reading

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Why Won’t Bernie Talk About War?

If your local city or town government spent 54% of its funds on an immoral, disastrous, and unpopular project, and your brave, populist, socialist candidate for mayor virtually never acknowledged its existence, would you think something was wrong? Would his … Continue reading

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Chicago’s unknown hero of peace

By David Swanson, Guest columnist, The Daily Herald In its 1929 Man of the Year article, Time magazine acknowledged that many readers would believe Secretary of State Frank Kellogg the right choice, as probably the top news story of 1928 … Continue reading

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Iran Deal Prevents Naked Muslim Ray Gun

Nukes get all the attention, but the fact is that intense inspections of Iranian facilities will also prevent Iran from developing a ray gun that causes your clothes to vanish and your brain to convert to Islam. No, there is … Continue reading

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Viet Nam a Half Century Later

Jimmy Carter called a war waged in Vietnam by the United States — a war that killed 60,000 Americans and 4,000,000 Vietnamese, without burning down a single U.S. town or forest — “mutual” damage. Ronald Reagan called it a “noble” … Continue reading

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Israel Sees Nazism in Mirror it Mistakes for Window

Israel is trying to expel the population of a village for the crime of not being Jewish, the same crime for which Israel bombs the people of Gaza for a month or so every few years and blockades them in … Continue reading

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Hey, I Have an Idea Where They Can Stick the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia campaigned on green energy (and I hear some people may have believed him, though I haven’t met one) and then immediately backed the proposed construction of a giant fracked-gas pipeline through the mountains and farms … Continue reading

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George Clooney Opposes War Profiteering While African

George Clooney is being paid by the world’s top two war profiteers, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, to oppose war profiteering by Africans disloyal to the U.S. government’s agenda. Way back yonder before World War II, war profiteering was widely frowned on … Continue reading

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Jon Stewart Blew Last Chance to Ask Obama a Question

Jon Stewart interviewed President Obama for the last time and told jokes instead of asking questions. If Stewart retires, where will we find someone willing to let Obama spew nonsense at such length unchallenged? I discussed Obama’s interview on RT … Continue reading

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Panem et Presidential Elections

I know you like the elephants and the acrobats, but we really do not have time for this. The U.S. presidential election is very far away. There’s a measurable rise in the ocean, the construction of numerous new military bases, … Continue reading

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Clinton Days Are Here Again!

See if you can spot the mistake in this activist email I received recently: “In 2001, the Clinton Administration handed George Bush peace, prosperity, and record budget surpluses. Eight years later, Bush handed Barack Obama two disastrous wars and a … Continue reading

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Yall Are Talking About War Wrong

Former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lt. General Michael Flynn has joined the ranks of the many recently retired officials openly admitting that what the U.S. military does generates dangers rather than reducing them. (Flynn didn’t explicitly … Continue reading

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NBC Dares Mention Climate in Spread of Lyme Disease, But Not Who Created Lyme Disease

Climate change is apparently encouraging the spread of Lyme disease, and a report by NBC News dares to say so. This may seem like a fresh breath of honest sanity in a media context in which even the weather reports … Continue reading

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AIPAC: Anti-Iranian Propaganda at Congress

AIPAC’s statement on Iran inspires me to make a graphic: Here’s AIPAC’s statement: “AIPAC Statement on Proposed Iran Nuclear Agreement“AIPAC has consistently supported diplomatic efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Except when lobbying for ever greater sanctions that would … Continue reading

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My Congressman Is Wrong On Iran and Yours Might Be Too

For the United States to sit and talk and come to an agreement with a nation it has been antagonizing and demonizing since the dictator it installed in 1953 was overthrown in 1979 is historic and, I hope, precedent setting. … Continue reading

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ISIS Crisis Exegesis

Talking with Iran has made the war profiteers and their servants sad and the rest of the world happy. Perhaps the novel idea of negotiating rather than killing will be carried over to several other parts of the world. Mainstream … Continue reading

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What Are Foreign Military Bases For?

If you’re like most people in the United States, you have a vague awareness that the U.S. military keeps lots of troops permanently stationed on foreign bases around the world. But have you ever wondered and really investigated to find … Continue reading

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Read Mumia

Yes, I also want to say Free Mumia. In fact, I want to say Free all the prisoners. Turn the prison holding Mumia Abu-Jamal into a school and make him dean. And if you won’t free all the prisoners, free … Continue reading

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Document Shows CIA Reaction to Finding No WMD in Iraq

By David Swanson, teleSUR The National Security Archive has posted several newly available documents, one of them an account by Charles Duelfer of the search he led in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, with a staff of 1,700 and … Continue reading

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Call for Sanity on Sixtieth Anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto

Sixty years after Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell issued their manifesto about the growing threat of world war, the globe continues to face the prospect of nuclear annihilation — coupled with the looming threat of climate change. Sign the new … Continue reading

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Peace Lessons

I just read what may be the best introduction to peace studies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Peace Lessons, and is a new book by Timothy Braatz. It’s not too fast or too slow, neither obscure nor boring. It does … Continue reading

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How Can This Still Be Happening in Our World?

How does war impact people who believe in it? What does it do to people who live through it? How does it feel to begin to doubt it? SanctuaryThePlay.com This play is a flood of sensations streaming out of the … Continue reading

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Killing Crabs and Arabs

I lead a sheltered life. Apart from visiting Afghanistan once during a war, the closest I come to danger is in sports, and the closest I come to violence is in emailed death threats from war fanatics — and even … Continue reading

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Mapping Military Madness: 2015 Update

Once again this year, the clear winner, in not just women’s soccer and incarceration, but also in militarism, is the United States of America, sweeping nearly every category of military insanity with seemingly effortless ease. Find all of last year’s … Continue reading

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Out of Whack

Obamacare is the name given a law that says you must buy overpriced private health insurance from companies that fund election campaigns. Yes, it’s got some lipstick on it, but compared to a civilized healthcare system like other wealthy nations … Continue reading

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The 51-Day Genocide

Max Blumenthal’s latest book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, tells a powerful story powerfully well. I can think of a few other terms that accurately characterize the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza in addition to “war,” … Continue reading

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Iraqi Voices Are Screaming from Far Away

Iraqis were attempting the nonviolent overthrow of their dictator prior to his violent overthrow by the United States in 2003. When U.S. troops began to ease up on their liberating and democracy-spreading in 2008, and during the Arab Spring of … Continue reading

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How to Stop the TPP

The House and Senate have rammed through Fast Track. Here are the senators who voted for Fast Track: http://1.usa.gov/1GtAdTH And the House members who voted for Fast Track: http://1.usa.gov/1GAl1TT We always said this would virtually guarantee passage of the Trans-Pacific … Continue reading

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Resistance in Honduras Alive and Jumping

June 28 will mark 6 years since the U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras took the people’s government away from them. Thousands of people are still in the streets every week demanding that the wrongful president step down. “Whoever’s not jumping … Continue reading

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Public Didn’t See Last Two World Wars Coming Either

Books about how World War I started, and to a lesser degree how World War II started, have tended in recent years to explain that these wars didn’t actually come as a surprise, because top government officials saw them coming … Continue reading

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The Coup

The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations deals with such an engaging topic that even this new book can’t really make it boring, hard as it seems to try. When asked what historical figure I … Continue reading

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The Four Horses Asses of the TPP Apocalypse

Congress members are often pressured in how to vote by the moneyed interests that buy their television ads, which in turn persuade the media to “cover” them nicely and dumb people to vote for them. But more often they are … Continue reading

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U.S. House Debates and Votes Down Withdrawal from Iraq/Syria

Wednesday afternoon, by a vote of 288-139 with one voting “present” and five not voting (roll call of who voted which way is here) the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a resolution (H.Con.Res.55) that would have required the President … Continue reading

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Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance

I’m not sure if there’s been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I’m confident there’s not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs … Continue reading

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Human Experimentation: a CIA Habit

The Guardian on Monday made public a CIA document allowing the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.” Human what? At Guantanamo, the CIA gave huge doses of the terror-inducing drug mefloquine to … Continue reading

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Pentagon Admits War Is Illegal

The Pentagon has just published 1,204 pages on how it thinks you can behave legally during a war. Looking through this “Law of War Manual” at various hot topics, one finds some atrocities excused as acceptable (cluster bombs, nuclear bombs) … Continue reading

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The Last Jeb Killed for Slavery, The Last Bush Killed for Oil

Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I’ve been collecting the evidence that … Continue reading

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The Financialization of Fiction, and Vice Versa

The Utopia of Rules by David Graeber is an engaging riff on the theme of bureaucracy and the BS people think about it. “De-regulation,” of finances, Graeber points out, creates more rules, paperwork, and bureaucrats, apparently because what happens is … Continue reading

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Senator Pushes Edge of Skin-Tight Envelope

Democratic-Party-based activist groups are urging each other to praise and support Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat, Connecticut) for laying out a better-than-average foreign policy and setting up a website at http://chanceforpeace.org. Murphy’s position would be considered militarist in the extreme outside … Continue reading

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The Bravery of Vince Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi, generally noted as the prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, is dead. Vince had a remarkable skill as a prosecutor and a public speaker. He could be very persuasive. He could set aside everything but … Continue reading

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A View From the Other 96%

Exposing Lies of Empire by Andre Vltchek is an 800-page tour of the world between 2012 and 2015 without a Western tour guide. It ought to make you spitting-mad furious, then grateful for the enlightenment, and then ready to get … Continue reading

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Film: Costa Rica Abolished its Military, Never Regretted it

The forthcoming film, A Bold Peace: Costa Rica’s Path of Demilitarization, should be given every possible means of support and promotion. After all, it documents the blatant violation of laws of physics, human nature, and economics, as understood in the … Continue reading

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Where Would Jesus Live?

If Jesus lived in Galilee in recent decades he would live in a world alive with Palestinian traditions clinging to a long-rooted history but struggling through the aftermath of the never-ended ethnic-cleansing operation that spiked in 1948. Hatim Kanaaneh has … Continue reading

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Our Chance to Aid and Encourage Whistleblowers

We would know much less about what our governments do were it not for those who are part of our governments until something becomes too horrible for their moral threshold, and who see a means available to inform the public. … Continue reading

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Is Al Jazeera Trying to Be CNN or Fox?

Some weeks back I got a call from Al Jazeera wanting me to be on a show, but insisting that I couldn’t do it from a local studio via satellite or from my computer via Skype. No, I would have … Continue reading

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China Lobby Pre-WWII, Israel Lobby Pre-WWIII

By David Swanson The history of catastrophically murderous and stupid warfare that the United States can memorialize on Memorial Day dates back to Day 1 and earlier, begins with the genocide of the native inhabitants of the land, the invasions … Continue reading

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The 16 Core Progressive Policies, Really?

Salvatore Babones’ proposals in Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America are not bad, assuming a progressive agenda can limit itself to one nation. But these sorts of proposals tend to be — and this one is … Continue reading

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On the U.S. Killing of Two Children in Syria

The U.S. military admitted on Thursday to killing two girls in Syria. If a target of U.S. aggression can be alleged to have killed children, especially with the wrong kind of weapon, that is used as grounds for war. War … Continue reading

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If U.S. Military Spending Returned to 2001 Level

The House of Representatives has headed out of town to memorialize wars without managing to achieve agreement with the Senate on reauthorizing some of the most abusive “temporary” measures of the PATRIOT Act. Three cheers for Congressional vacations! What if … Continue reading

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Being Pro-Voice

The abortion debates is the last place I would have looked for inspiration in methods of handling the major political and social problems of the world. Politically I’ve always thought of abortion — the topic of abortion, that is — … Continue reading

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War Speaks Every Language But Never Knows What to Say to Frogs

Alice Walker explains this line, “Though war speaks every language it never knows what to say to frogs” in the opening of her beautiful book, Why War Is Never a Good Idea, illustrated by Stefano Vitale, thus: War speaks every … Continue reading

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What’s Baddawi?

On October 29, 1948, the Israeli terrorist group Irgun ethnically cleansed the village of Safsaf in Palestine, lining some 70 men up, shooting them, dumping them in a ditch, and raping three girls. Among the survivors who fled to Lebanon … Continue reading

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Top 10 Activist Errors

The number one error, engaged in by the majority of people, is failing to be an activist. The world’s going to hell, countless situations can be easily improved, lives can be saved, and most people just sit there and do … Continue reading

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Populist Except for Pentagon

Katrina vanden Heuvel says there’s an emerging populist agenda. Of course populist agendas tend to emerge in times of demobilization for election distraction — that is to say, in moments when huge political party and NGO resources are being dumped … Continue reading

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In Convicting Jeff Sterling, CIA Revealed More Than It Accused Him of Revealing

Some Americans have heard of New York Times reporter and book author James Risen and his refusal to expose a source. But, because most reports on that matter scrupulously avoided the subject of what it was Risen had reported, relatively … Continue reading

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The No More War Movement

Remarks at UNAC Conference, May 8, 2015. This week I read an article by someone I have a lot of respect for and who I know to mean well, and who wrote about being a part of something called “the … Continue reading

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Fast Track the Good Stuff

The U.S. Senate has been very concerned not to let peace with Iran slip into place too easily, even while a new war in Iraq and Syria proceeds without the formal pretense of Congress “authorizing” or rejecting it. Both houses … Continue reading

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Watching Shadows of Liberty

A powerful new film on what’s wrong with the U.S. media is now being screened around the country. It’s called Shadows of Liberty and you can set up a screening of it as part of an upcoming international week of … Continue reading

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Invest in Activism, Not Bernie Sanders

Yes, Bernie Sanders would be a far superior president to Hillary Clinton. That requires a bit of elaboration. Something I just scraped off my shoe would be a far superior president to Hillary Clinton, but Sanders would actually be good … Continue reading

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Grand Canyon Sized Outrage Over Plans for Grand Canyon

“What a horrible idea! Leave this magnificent place as nature made it!” — Mikell Werder “NO! NO! NO! Leave our natural wonder ALONE!” — cathy blaivas RootsAction.org has posted a lot of petitions, but most have not gathered 30,000 signatures … Continue reading

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A Preview of Coming Wars: Do Black Lives Matter in Africa?

Reading Nick Turse’s new book, Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, raises the question of whether black lives in Africa matter to the U.S. military any more than black lives in the United States matter to … Continue reading

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A Better Way to Read the First Amendment

Madison’s Music: On Reading the First Amendment, a new book by Burt Neuborne, at first appears an unlikely work to serve much purpose today. Who wants to celebrate slave owner James Madison’s view of freedom as embodied in a long … Continue reading

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Understanding the Suffering War Brings

Remarks at Houston Peace and Justice Center Conference on April 25, 2015. I hope to be brief enough to leave lots of time for questions after I talk. I know that most of you are probably exceptions to what I’m … Continue reading

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Gradual Injustice

Chris Woods’ excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from … Continue reading

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The Decline and Fall of the United States

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To … Continue reading

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And the Slow Parade of Fears

Remarks at Physicians for Social Responsibility annual event in Baltimore, Md., April 18, 2015. Video. It is an honor to be asked to speak to a group of people doing as much strategic and principled good as you, not to … Continue reading

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Getting the Cure Right for a Sick Democracy

Here’s what I think we need: No private election spending. Free media air time on our air waves for candidates qualified by signature gathering. Public financing, ballot access, and debate access for candidates qualified by signature gathering. No gerrymandering. Hand-counted … Continue reading

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I Just Asked Erik Prince To Stop Bribing Politicians

“It’s bad enough to be creating more profit incentive for war,” I told former head of Blackwater Erik Prince, “but you recycle part of the profits as bribes for more war in the form of so-called campaign contributions. You yourself … Continue reading

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Drone Victims Take Germany to Court for Abetting U.S. Murders

Andreas Schüller is an attorney on the staff of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. He is the lead attorney on a suit being brought by ECCHR and Reprieve against the German government on behalf of three Yemeni … Continue reading

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Oh Hell, Hillary

I just did a radio show in South Africa on the topic of Hillary Clinton. Perhaps they won’t air it since I told them it was a non-story about something long since underway being “launched,” but a story the U.S. … Continue reading

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Peace: More Normal and Wonderful Than We Think

Remarks at Michigan Pax Christi annual state conference, April 11, 2015. Video. How might we get to a world that doesn’t plan and produce wars but lives at peace economically, environmentally, culturally, and legally? How might we switch to systems … Continue reading

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War: It’s Human Nature only if Collective Suicide is Natural

Remarks at Michigan Pax Christi annual state conference, April 11, 2015. Video. Thank you for having me here. I know a lot of people have been involved in planning this event. Thank you! I’m going to try this morning to … Continue reading

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Locals Protest, Sabotage U.S. Navy Base Construction in Desert in Sicily

There’s a popular movement in Sicily called No MUOS. MUOS means Mobile User Objective System. It’s a satellite communications system created by the U.S. Navy. The primary contractor and profiteer building the satellite equipment at the U.S. Navy base in … Continue reading

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Lower Drinking Age, Raise Killing Age

The United States sends people to kill and die in war that it doesn’t trust with a beer. It trains police in war skills to assault young people it suspects of going near beer. Here’s an idea: Drink At 18, … Continue reading

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Canada, Do Not Follow U.S. Into Permawar

By David Swanson and Robert Fantina Oh Canada, to thine own self be true, not to thine heavily militarized neighbor. Robin Williams called you a nice apartment over a meth lab for a reason, and now you’re bringing the drugs … Continue reading

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Television Commercial in California Asks Drone Pilots to Stop Killing

This may be a first: a television ad campaign in a U.S. state capitol appealing to someone to stop murdering human beings who have, in most cases, already been born. A new 15-second television ad, a variation on one that’s … Continue reading

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Stop Smoking the Democrack

By Cindy Sheehan and David Swanson The U.S. government is toying with a war with nuclear Russia while already waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, having done severe damage to Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Military spending is climbing ever … Continue reading

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Can Anne Hathaway Help End the Mindset That Creates Wars?

“If others have their will Ann hath a way. By cock, she was to blame. She put the comether on him, sweet and twentysix. The greyeyed goddess who bends over the boy Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the … Continue reading

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Top 10 Reasons Bill Maher Is Not “Our Best Weapon Against ISIS”

10. This sort of argument for debunking Islam in the media as the best way to “defeat” ISIS/ISIL misses the fact that ISIS recruits from the United States make up almost certainly much less than 1% of recruits, so that … Continue reading

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The Russian Military Asked Me to Publish Its Propaganda

On Friday, March 20th, I spoke at the University of the District of Columbia Law School in Washington, D.C., as part of a series of teach-ins about peace organized by SpringRising.org. While there, a young man in a suit with … Continue reading

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Opposing War With a Smile

Remarks at teach-in at Spring Rising event March 20, 2015, UDC Law School. Note: Rally at White House is noon, March 21. More times than I can count, after I’ve given a speech about war and peace without tears in … Continue reading

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