Tag: David Swanson

Warning to War Supporters

DAVID SWANSON – 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 can have your own mechanic check them out:

Recalling the Lessons of Wisconsin

DAVID SWANSON – 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, and discussing the film collectively upon its conclusion. For all the flaws in Wisconsin’s activism in 2011 and since, other states haven’t even come close — most have a great deal to learn.

Planning for a Day of Peace

DAVID SWANSON – We need our governments to begin planning for a day of peace. Instead of investing everything in planning for war, preparing for war, and proliferating enough weapons to fuel plenty of wars, governments could invest in alternatives to war, nonviolent means of conflict resolution, moves toward justice that reduce conflict, international standards of law that make negotiations and diplomacy effective.

The Climate Is Invading the Earth!

DAVID SWANSON – If an alien invader with a face were attacking the earth, the difficulties that governments have getting populations to support wars on other humans would be multiplied a thousand fold. The most common response to officials calling some petty foreign despot “a new Hitler” would shift from “yeah, right” to “who cares?” The people of the world would unite in common defense against the hostile alien.

The Art of Satyagraha (Gandhian Nonviolence)

David Swanson – Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that’s rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu’s to be. That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler’s first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.

If War Was Funded Like College Tuition

DAVID SWANSON – If wisdom about the counter-productive results of militarism spread, if nonviolent alternatives were learned, if free college had a positive impact on our collective intellect, and if the fact that we could end global poverty or halt global warming for a fraction of current military spending leaked out, who knows? Maybe militarism would fail in the free market.

What Do World’s Two Biggest Dangers Have in Common?

DAVID SWANSON – War and environmental destruction don’t just overlap in how they’re thought and talked about. They don’t just promote each other through mutually reinforcing notions of machismo and domination. The connection is much deeper and more direct. War and preparations for war, including weapons testing, are themselves among the greatest destroyers of our environment.

Taking the War Activists to Task

DAVID SWANSON – War activists, like peace activists, push for an agenda. We don’t think of them as activists because they rotate in and out of government positions, receive huge amounts of funding, have access to big media, and get meetings with top officials just by asking — without having to generate a protest first.

World Has No Idea How U.S. Decides on Wars

DAVID SWANSON – This, dear world, is more or less how the world’s largest-ever killing machine operates. It turns its eyes away from the machine’s work and, if pushed, debates the care of the machine itself — maintaining more or less complete obliviousness to the horrors the machine produces in those far away places where you live and die.

Thermonuclear Monarchy and Revolution

DAVID SWANSON – Do nuclear weapons, by the nature of their technology, violate the U.S. Constitution? Do they violate the basic social contract and all possibility of self-governance? Thus argues a new book called Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom by Elaine Scarry. It’s not unheard of for people to see out-of-control nuclear spending as a symptom of out-of-control military spending, itself a symptom of government corruption, legalized bribery, and a militaristic culture. Scarry’s argument suggests a reversal: the root of all this evil is not the almighty dollar but the almighty bomb.

The Mythological Basis of Foreign Policy

DAVID SWANSON – War gains support and acceptance from widespread belief in false information, and the accumulation of false information into generally false concepts or myths about war. This is good news, because it means we are not intractably divided by ideology or worldview. Rather, we will find more widespread agreement about war if we can just achieve more widespread awareness of accurate information.

Public Interest Groups Propose a Budget for People, Peace and Planet

PRESS RELEASE FROM ROOTS ACTION & OTHER GROUPS – (December 10, 2013, Washington, DC). Representatives from a broad coalition including over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups called upon Congressional leaders Tuesday to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs by cutting runaway, dangerous military spending by 25 to 50%.

Staying in Afghanistan is the Wrong Course for the U.S.

DAVID SWANSON – When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He escalated to over 100,000 troops, plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later. Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more President Obama’s war than President Bush’s. Now the White House is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until “2024 and beyond.”

Opposition to Iraq War May Save Syria

DAVID SWANSON – Evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” is “no slam dunk,” U.S. officials are saying this time around, reversing the claim made about Iraq by then-CIA director George Tenet. Opposition to a U.S.-led attack on Syria is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, drawing its strength from public awareness that the case made for attacking Iraq had holes in it.

Landmine Foe’s Book Reveals Winning Strategy

DAVID SWANSON – Jody Williams’ new book is called My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, and it’s a remarkable story by a remarkable person. It’s also a very well-told autobiography, including in the early childhood chapters in which there are few hints of the activism to come. One could read this book and come away thinking “Anyone really could win the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Bradley Manning Wins Peace Prize

DAVID SWANSON – U.S. whistleblower and international hero Bradley Manning has just been awarded the 2013 Sean MacBride Peace Award by the International Peace Bureau, itself a former recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which Manning is a nominee this year.

TPP: The Terrible Plutocratic Plan

DAVID SWANSON – Like most of you I do not spend my life studying trade agreements, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is disturbing enough to make me devote a little time to it, and I hope you will do the same and get your neighbors to do the same and get them to get their friends to do the same — as soon as possible.

Mayors Call for Nuclear Abolition

DAVID SWANSON – Congress can’t break 10 percent approval. Obama’s arms shipments to Syria just crack 10 percent, with 11 percent approval. Over 80 percent of Americans in more polls than I can count say over and over again that the government is broken and does not represent us. But when the mayors of the cities of the United States get together nationally one begins to see positions taken, at least rhetorically, that resemble government of, by, or for the people.

The Foodopoly: Too Big to Eat

DAVID SWANSON – We’ve come to understand that the banks are too big to fail, too big to take to trial, too big not to let them write our public policy, too big not to reward them for ruining our economy. Why have we come to understand that?

How to Not Fix the Filibuster

DAVID SWANSON – Leaving the 41-senator filibuster in place but requiring that they run their mouths (and some of us have to listen) is not exactly the kind of Change most of us Hope for. Nor is it supported by the Constitution, any other law, any treaty, any rule necessary to the functioning of our government, anything or anyone we just voted for, or any public opinion poll. The proper thing to do with the filibuster is to eliminate it, which 51 senators can do at the start of the session if they see fit. I know you’ve been told they can’t, but keep reading.

10,000 Americans Thank Italy for Convicting CIA Agents

DAVID SWANSON – Almost 10,000 Americans have sent messages to the Italian Embassy in Washington thanking Italy’s high court for upholding the conviction of 23 Americans (22 CIA officers and one military official) for the offense of kidnapping a man off the street in Milan on February 17, 2003, and shipping him to Egypt to be brutally tortured.

It’s Us or the Nukes

DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years — so far.

Will the 2012 Presidential Election Be Stolen?

DAVID SWANSON – I’ve been trying (with virtually no success) to get everyone to drop the election obsession and focus on activism designed around policy changes, not personality changes. I want those policy changes to include stripping presidents of imperial powers. I don’t see as much difference between the two available choices as most people; I see each as a different shade of disaster. I don’t get distressed by the thought of people “spoiling” an election by voting for a legitimately good candidate like Jill Stein. Besides, won’t Romney lose by a landslide if he doesn’t tape his mouth shut during the coming weeks?

Victory: War-o-tainment Show Ends

DAVID SWANSON – Fifty thousand members of RootsAction.org signed a petition at http://StarsEarnStripes.org protesting NBC’s war-is-fun “reality” show co-hosted by former general Wesley Clark. Activists in New York have held a weekly protest and delivered the petitions. The final protest is at 5 p.m. this evening (Sept. 3) on the north side of W. 49th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City.

Why Even Failed Activism Succeeds

DAVID SWANSON – Almost every account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which a government was been spying on and infiltrating activist groups. And almost every such account includes belated discoveries of the extent to which government officials were influenced by activist groups even while pretending to ignore popular pressure.

Your 1040 Tax Form Lies to You

DAVID SWANSON –
Pick up a copy of a 1040EZ US income tax form with all the instructions, particularly pages 36-37. Here are those two pages in a PDF. You’ll discover that the U.S. government only spends 22% of its money on “National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs.” The form admits that you could leave out the “foreign affairs” part and still be at 21%. However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 54% of the budget going to the military.

Congressman Obey’s Path to Peace

DAVID SWANSON: Congressman David Obey (D., Wis.) is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He’s in charge of spending our money. For years he spent it on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without any resistance. Until last October, Obey maintained that spending hundreds of billions of our dollars on wars was something he just had no choice about.

We Were Arrested for Speaking

DAVID SWANSON: The president was holding a press conference inside the White House fence with a bunch of doctors who oppose serious healthcare reform. Donna Smith, star of Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, was standing next to me and telling me that every patient who had appeared in that movie had determined that the healthcare…