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Cato the Elder. a Roman senator and historian, once remarked: “Cessation of work is not accompanied by cessation of expenses.” For centuries, retirees have been aware of this unfortunate fact, which led them to demand and, in many cases, secure old age pensions to help provide financial security during their “golden years.” But as indicated in a recently-released report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the financial security of retiring corporate CEOs is far, far greater than the financial security of average Americans.
The War I Survived Was Vietnam: Collected Writings of a Veteran and Antiwar Activist
When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith.
The common wisdom that Vladimir Putin hacked into Democratic and Republican emails and fed the Democratic ones to WikiLeaks which delegitimized an otherwise legitimate election, is not based on any public evidence, and none is asked for by most believers.
The premise that possessing weapons justifies being attacked was patently absurd in 2003. The U.S. openly possessed all the weapons it claimed Iraq had. The premise that (further) exposing a rigged primary harms, rather than facilitating, election integrity, is strictly nuts in 2016. WikiLeaks and any source(s) deserve our thanks.
But the standard of evidence has been altered. It's certainly possible the Russian government hacked the emails. It's even possible that Russia was the source for WikiLeaks, and that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are deluded or lying, that Bill Binney is mistaken, and that all the anomalies in the claims of Russian hacking can be explained away. But the expectation that some sort of evidence should be produced no longer exists.
One reason for this is that during the Obama years wars were launched without public debates and marketing campaigns. Continuing and escalating the war on Afghanistan was simply done, without discussion. Continuing war on Iraq -- which still continues -- was done without requiring any of the pretenses used to escalate it in 2003. Launching hundreds of mini-wars in the form of drone murders took public debate out of the picture by definition, just as the presidential possession of a nuclear button has aided the decades-long re-imagining of Congress as a group of court jesters.
When Obama has made unproven and implausible claims about looming massacres in Libya or Iraq, or chemical weapons use in Syria, or airplanes shot down in Ukraine, or coups in Ukraine, or "moderate" terrorists, or Iranian nukes, or drone war success in Yemen, or the nature or legality of drone murders, there has been no general request for evidence. Even with the claims about Syrian chemical weapons in 2013, the public and Congress said no to escalating the war in a visible manner, but did not focus on demanding evidence for claims.
Enter Trump, professing a desire to (continue to) "kill their families" and to "steal their oil," and gone is any rationale for making any dubious claims in need of any evidence. If the Trumpists will believe in millions of repeat voters just because he says so, the anti-Trumpists will believe any anti-Trump-and-Russia story just because the CIA says so.
This thinking is not necessarily conscious and explicit. Those intent on taking the CIA on faith remain proud of considering the evidence of climate change. But when you combine anti-Trump with pro-Hillary plus xenophobia plus the demonization of Putin, some people lose all perspective. And when the past 13 years have been spent eroding the idea that a public case against a foreign target should include evidence, the sale is made quite easily.
So, yes, I miss the days of Dubya. I miss the days when the U.S. government pretended not to torture. The President "Elect" now promises to torture. Why? Because President Obama forbade prosecution of the crime of torture, allowed torture to continue, outsourced much of it, and replaced a lot of the torture program with a new murder program (using drones). And because the U.S. media pretended that torture had been legal under Bush and was somehow made illegal by an Obama "executive order," which is not a law.
I miss the days when lawless prisons like Guantanamo that kept people imprisoned without charge or conviction were deemed shameful and worthy of abolition. These Obama supposedly legalized with another "executive order." Now Trump says he'll pack the prisons.
I miss the days when unconstitutional mass surveillance, or mass deportations, or the rewriting of laws by presidents was illicit and scandalous. Now these things are generally accepted. So here's my question to good liberal Americans:
Letting Bush's impeachable offenses slide almost required letting Obama's slide, as there was such overlap. But now you've created a presidency of truly imperial power.
The point of impeaching and removing Bush would not have been to make Dick Cheney president, any more than the point of studying history is that your school has assigned that class to the football coach.
The point of impeaching Bush would have been to create a President Cheney in fear of being impeached, followed by other presidents in fear of being impeached.
Why can basketball announcers grasp that Duke's Allen Grayson might not be tripping opponents this year if he'd been suspended for a game or two when he did it last year, but political analysts can't grasp that if Bush had been impeached, or even an effort made to impeach him, we might not now -- like India -- have a twitter-loving right-wing nationalist preparing to create Muslim registries and enforced flag worship?
So, here's an idea. We can't go back in time. But we can start now. Trump is going to violate the Constitutional bans on domestic and foreign presents and "emoluments" on day one, and likely begin piling up original as well as familiar impeachable offenses during his first week.
But just as the only conceivable way to get Trump into office was to nominate Hillary Clinton, the surest way to derail an impeachment campaign against Trump will be to load it down with dubious claims about Russia.
See if you can predict what the Democrats will do.
Vincent Emanuele joined the United States Marine Corps as a squad automatic machine gunner in 2002. After two combat-deployments in Iraq, he refused orders for a third and immediately began organizing with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
In 2008, Vince testified to Congress at the Winter Soldier Hearings on Capitol Hill, where he provided detailed accounts of war crimes, atrocities, drug abuse and sexual assault within the military.
Emanuele is just back from Standing Rock and discusses environmental and antiwar strategy. This show contains the second half of a discussion begun last week.
Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and an Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Strategic International Studies. He is considered one of the nation’s preeminent experts on civilian and military nuclear programs.
Between 1993 and 1999, Mr. Alvarez served as Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Between 1988 and 1993, Mr. Alvarez served on the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator John Glenn (D-OH).
His work has appeared in Ambio, Science and Global Security, Science, the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Issues in Science and Technology (the magazine of the National Academy of Sciences), the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Technology Review, the Washington Post, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post and other publications. Mr. Alvarez won the John Barlow Martin Award for Public Interest Journalism and has been featured on CBS “60 minutes,” the PBS NOVA show, NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times, and several documentary films.
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Governments go to pretty low tricks to silent dissent--curtailing ones travel to neighboring countries and now stopping social security checks.
First, in 2005 and 2006 it was the Bush administration putting some of us protesting Bush’s war on Iraq on the National Crime Information Data base. Yes, we had been arrested for failure to comply with orders to move from the fence in front of the White House during protests against the war on Iraq, torture at Guantanamo and other US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan or refusing to end protests by sitting in ditches at Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch. But these were misdemeanors, not felonies, yet we were put on the FBI’s international crime list, a list for felony violations.
Fortunately, Canada is the only country that seems to use the list-and they use it to deny entry into Canada. At the request of Canadian parliamentarians to challenge Canada’s compliance with the Bush administration’s political retaliation list, I made another trip to Canada to test it and was expelled from Canada in 2007. The Canadian immigration officer told me as he was putting me unceremoniously on the flight back to the U.S. “An expulsion is not as bad as being deported. At least each time you want to attempt to come into Canada, you can undergo 3-5 hours of interrogation answering the same questions as the last time you attempted to enter and you might get an exemption to the expulsion. With a deportation, you will never get in.” Over the past six years, I have gone through the lengthy interrogation twice and was given a 24-hour exemption to the expulsion on one occasion when accompanied by a Canadian parliamentarian and a Canadian Broadcasting TV crew filming the event and the second time a 2-day exemption in order to speak at several Canadian universities.
The West Suburban (Chicago, Ill. U.S.) Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. As in the previous year’s contest, essays will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:
A new large photo book has just been published called Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II.
People who support creating a Muslim registry should take a look. Here are the victims before, in their small farms and their LA mansions. Here they are being forcibly removed. Here they are incarcerated. Here is what was done to their homes in their absence. Here they are in the camps, prisoners for nothing, and after their release.
To this day, no proof has ever been produced that any Japanese American planned to assist Japan in war against the United States in any way. Nor was there reason to think so at the time. Instead there was open admission of racist and greedy motivations on the part of government officials and white farmers respectively.
These photographs were the U.S. government's own documentation of its crime, and the hired photographers included Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others with the talent to capture stories in stills. The accompanying text by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams expands one's understanding.
In 1936 President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation by the Office of Naval Intelligence of a list of Japanese-Americans who would be the "first to be placed in a concentration camp" once a war could be started.
In 1939 FDR ordered the ONI and the FBI to create a larger "custodial detention index" of primarily Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, renamed and continued as the "security index" by J. Edgar Hoover after Attorney General Francis Biddle ordered it shut down.
The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required all non-citizen adults to register with the government. In early 1941 FDR commissioned a study of West coast Japanese-Americans, which concluded that they were no threat at all. He commissioned another study that reached the same conclusion.
The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:
Note: I am a believer in the European Union. I think that it is an historical development, a political experiment to be replicated regionally in other parts of the world. Nowadays it is suffering difficulties like any emerging reality but it will ultimately succeed. As the 2016 has been a crisis year for the EU, the 2017 may set a relaunch of the initiative with new elections and changes looming.
Jamani Montague is a student activist at Emory University, studying International Studies and Environmental Science. Her research interests include race theory, prison ecology, comparative politics and eco-colonialism. Jamani is the Prison Advocacy Coordinator for RootsAction.org, where she works closely with prisoners, the media, and legal activists to bring civil and environmental justice to those behind bars. She plans to pursue a PhD in Environmental Health Studies and eventually teach in universities and prisons.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWarand campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He blogs at DavidSwansonand WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Leah is an activist working on challenging U.S. militarism in the Middle East. She focuses on ending U.S. complicity in Israeli apartheid to make way for Palestinian liberation. She hopes to chip away steadily at the military industrial complex until that day when activists have all the resources they need and the military needs to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.
Miriam Pemberton is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She directs its Peace Economy Transitions Project which focuses on helping to build the foundations of a postwar economy at the federal, state and local levels. She co-chairs the Budget Priorities Working Group, the principal information-sharing collaboration of U.S. NGOs working on reducing Pentagon spending.
In addition to articles and opeds, her publications include two report series. “Military vs. Climate Security” compares federal spending on the two security domains, and argues for a shift of security resources toward mitigating climate change. “A Unified Security Budget for the United States” examined the balance of spending on military forces, homeland security and non-military foreign engagement and argues for a rebalanced security budget.
With William Hartung of the New America Foundation, she is co-editor of the book Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm Publishers, 2008). Formerly she was editor, researcher and finally director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.