Monday, August 24, 2015


(Chart is near the bottom of the page)

The sheer hypocrisy of the U.S. pressuring Iran over its nuclear policies is beyond audacious.

Iran essentially hasn't done anything wrong, while the U.S. is an atomic giant. And never mind America supporting the U.N. so that it can mediate such matters, because then the U.S. might be held accountable for its actions. Better to undermine the international body.

And then there's Israel, the U.S.'s regional sub-bully, led by an absolute madman. No rules for them either, despite being armed to the teeth by Uncle Sam. Instead they cry wolf that, should Iran actually try and get a nuclear weapon, it spells Armageddon. Twisted logic in the extreme.

Anyway, here's a graphic I found that sums the issue up nicely:

The way the U.S. and Israel behave, nuclear war very well could get us before climate change does. Once again, it's up to us, in huge numbers, to bring pressure to bear on our sick government.

Take care,

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


All some people need to keep toeing the line in life is to tell themselves, "That's just the way it is."

It's a "cop out." It's also the brainwash we're fed from birth: "Respect authority," "Get a good job," "Don't make waves," "Do what your boss tells you," "That's just the way it is." I suppose that's one way to get from the cradle to the grave, but it isn't really living.

So I'm calling bullshit. In a non-dictatorial society, the "1 percent" need more "subtle" means than force to control the masses. Propaganda, indoctrination, an anemic education system. Each generation is battered and brainwashed into submission and they pass it on to their kids, who have those instructions reinforced by society's ongoing indoctrination.

We are supposed to be passive consumers. Playing the game and staying in line. No matter that most of the wealth flows up -- and doesn't trickle down. No matter that most people struggle with bills month to month, or don't know where their next meal is coming from. No matter that the majority of us have little or no net worth. Those are "good things" for the "powers that be" because they make us even more desperate to comply, to not lose our jobs, to keep the pittance coming in, to survive.

Well, that isn't going to change unless we make it change. Unless we have the guts to network, both inside the workplace and outside the workplace, and use strength in numbers to insist on being treated and compensated like real human beings with real needs and responsibilities.

This is not easy to do. You have to challenge the system to change the system. But the system is designed to bite back. You aren't supposed to question a "superior" at work outside of certain prescribed and accepted parameters. The herd gets unsettled if you do that. It takes courage. But, unfortunately, there is no way to make this world a better place for all of us without courage and risk. And so it has always been.

As Frederick Douglass (sic) famously said in 1857: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress...Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." *

Don't be afraid of the big bad wolves. They huff and puff a lot but are basically cowards propped up by their own little piece of power. Don't be afraid that you are in a minority, even if it is a minority of one. The right thing is the right thing, and if you see that something is wrong you have a moral responsibility to act on it. 

If such actions were never taken there would still be horrific casualty rates in factories and mines. Women and minorities wouldn't have the vote. If you are aware of injustice and leave it to others to raise their voices and take the risks, you are worse than a coward, you are also a parasite.

It is understandable that someone barely getting by is reluctant to risk losing the crumbs the Establishment throws them. That's why you must reach out to others. Strength in numbers. Walmart is one of the most corrupt corporations on the planet; almost legendary for its abuse of its workers. But in recent years Walmart workers have banded together, made the problem more public, and won some victories. It's still far from an ideal situation, but it's a courageous start.

The world has to change or perish. Science tells us that. So who are you? What are you? And what will you do?

The future -- and the quality of your own life and conscience -- await your decision.

Adrian   Conventions, fear
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. - See more at:
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. - See more at:
* You can read the entire, wonderful speech by Frederick Douglass here.

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. - See more at:

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Jimmy Carter: Done some good, done a hell of a lot of bad

So Jimmy Carter announces that he has cancer and all the handkerchiefs come out.

I'm guessing that this is because people only think of him as the aging gentleman diplomat of recent decades. They don't know -- or have forgotten -- about Carter's record as president. It seems that the popular image of Prez Carter is of a nice-guy, benign fool who tried hard but just couldn't get it up in the White House.

Somehow, they don't stop to think about fact that he was the first fundamentalist president -- at least in living memory. And when you get one of the most powerful people in the world talking to an imaginary man in the sky, that's reason enough to worry. But did you know these things about the peanut farmer president?... 

East Timor:
Inaugurated 13 months after Indonesia’s December 1975 invasion of East Timor, Carter stepped up U.S. military aid to the Jakarta regime as it continued to murder Timorese civilians. By the time Carter left office, about 200,000 people had been slaughtered. As the Indonesian atrocities increased to a level of really near-genocide, the U.S. aid under Carter increased. It reached a peak in 1978 as the atrocities peaked.

For President Jimmy Carter, human rights were "the soul of our foreign policy." 

Robert Pastor, Carter's national security advisor for Latin America, explained some important distinctions between rights and policy: Regretfully, the administration had to support Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza's regime, and when that proved impossible, to maintain the U.S.-trained National Guard even after it had been massacring the population "with a brutality a nation usually reserves for its enemy," killing some 40,000 people.

To Pastor, the reason is elementary: "The United States did not want to control Nicaragua or the other nations of the region, but it also did not want developments to get out of control. It wanted Nicaraguans to act independently, except when doing so would affect U.S. interests adversely." 

Despotic allies — from Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines to the Shah of Iran — received support from President Carter. Which makes Carter himself a tyrant.

El Salvador:
In El Salvador, the Carter administration provided key military aid to a brutal regime.  

One commentator's appraisal:
From Latin America to East Africa, Petras wrote, Carter functioned as "a hard-nosed defender of repressive state apparatuses, a willing consort to electoral frauds, an accomplice to U.S. Embassy efforts to abort popular democratic outcomes, and a one-sided mediator."

Dominican Republic:
Observing the 1990 election in the Dominican Republic, Carter ignored fraud that resulted in the paper-thin victory margin of incumbent president Joaquin Balaguer. Announcing that Balaguer’s bogus win was valid, Carter used his prestige to give international legitimacy to the stolen election — and set the stage for a rerun, when Balaguer again used fraud to win re-election.

In December 1990, Carter traveled to Haiti, where he labored to undercut Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the final days of the presidential race. According to a top Aristide aide, Carter predicted that Aristide would lose, and urged him to concede defeat. (He ended up winning 67 percent of the vote.)

Since then, Carter has developed a warm regard for Haiti’s bloodthirsty armed forces. Returning from a recent mission to Port-au-Prince, Carter actually expressed doubt that the Haitian military was guilty of human rights violations.

That is only a partial list of the Carter Crimes. 

I don't wish cancer on anybody. I've seen it up close and it is a terrible disease that not enough is being done about. But illness and diplomacy in retirement do not absolve Carter of the mass misery he was at least a party to.

So hold the tears and remember the real victims.

Take care,

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


What does it say about us that countless people buy expensive gym memberships, but wherever you see stairs and an escalator side by side, hardly anyone takes the stairs?

Take care,

Sunday, August 9, 2015


"If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."  -- Mark Twain

Friday, August 7, 2015


Our politicians fiddle while the world burns.

Okay okay: Obama has made his climate announcement. But for me it's nowhere near enough and, as he presented it, sounds very vague and quite deferential to the states, and the energy companies, and just about any player with any clout whatsoever. Sounds like another tangle to nowhere.

And of course the timelines are nuts. It's always "... five years til we have a meeting to discuss if we'll have a conference to discuss..." Still, if anything can be squeezed through the D.C. shitcloud, sure, take it. It's just pathetic in the extreme the way climate policy is not evolving.

But if you want a real sense of the urgency that's needed inside the Beltway, these are the words to heed:

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from [current levels] to at most 350 ppm.”
Dr. James Hansen (former head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the most respected climatologists in the world).

And when Obama released his climate plan on Monday, Hansen also had this to say:
“The actions are practically worthless. They do nothing to attack the fundamental problem.”

For a very good summary of this state of emergency, with excellent citations, GO HERE.

Fight on!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


10 Steps to Wean US Foreign Policy Off Militarism
By Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK

President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn’t stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress.

US progressives who are delighted to see some progress on the diplomatic front should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US policy towards one that is based on respect, cooperation, and diplomacy, including the following:

1. Reduce Military Spending, Build a Peace Economy
None of the presidential candidates has been calling for a significant reduction in the bloated military budget that eats up half the discretionary funds in the US budget. They should. How else can we find the funds needed to invest in key areas such as sustainable energy projects, infrastructure, care for veterans, education, or affordable housing? The US must move away from a war economy to a peace economy, including a major transition program for workers to move from military- to peace-based jobs.

2. Expand the Use of Diplomacy
The US should extend the policies started under the Obama Administration of making peace with Cuba and Iran to other conflict areas of the world, including the unresolved conflict on the Korean peninsula where an Armistice Agreement from 1953 needs to be replaced with a Peace Treaty. The US should stop dumping more weapons into the Middle East, and instead focus on political resolutions to the wars in Syria and Iraq. The same is true for the Israel-Palestine conflict, where the US should stop arming Israel and stop protecting Israel from being held accountable for its actions at UN bodies.

3. Abide by International Law - No Unauthorized Wars
The US should cease the practice of launching wars not authorized by Congress or the United Nations. It should stop extrajudicial killings, including the use of weaponized drones, and support a global treaty banning these weapons systems.

4. Work Toward A Nuclear-Free, Peaceful World
While the US is pushing Iran to abide by its obligations under the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT), it has not carried out its own obligations with respect to cutting its US nuclear arsenal. The US should hold Israel accountable for its illegal nuclear weapons and promote a nuclear-free world. It should stop intimidating Russia, including putting an end to NATO expansion on its borders and removing the missile defense systems from Europe.

5. Promote Women in Peacemaking
After many years of struggling to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that calls for the full involvement of women in preventing, resolving, and recovering from conflict, the US should put more focus on implementing this resolution. If women had been represented at the Syria peace talks, for example, they might have made progress; instead, the only ones at the table were men with guns—not a great recipe for peace.

6. Close Overseas Military Bases
The United States spends at least $100 billion a year on over 800 bases in 70 nations, not counting permanent ongoing trainings and exercises. Many of these bases are in countries where they are not welcomed and have caused friction with the local communities. The US military should close all foreign military bases and use our soldiers to protect us here at home.

7. Observe US Law Prohibiting the Sale of Weapons to Human Rights Violators
Weapons manufacturing and sales are big business in the US, and those who profit from these sales are always trying to stop the US from implementing its own laws prohibiting weapons sales to human rights abusers. The largest US weapons deal in human history is with the repressive regime of Saudi Arabia; US taxpayers foot the over 1 billion-dollar-bill to arm the barbaric Egyptian regime that came to power in a coup. And the list goes on. The US should stop the practice of giving or selling weapons to countries that are human rights violators. Period.

8. End the Militarization of Police Departments and Borders
The militarization we see overseas, with the US engaged in endless war, is reflected in the arming of police in US communities and border regions. Military weapons such as tanks and grenade launchers should have no place in domestic law enforcement. The US should end the policy of transferring military-grade weaponry and surveillance equipment from the military to local police department and stop the massive militarization of our borders.

9. Stop Illegal Detention of Prisoners in Guantanamo and Elsewhere, Hold Torturers Accountable The US post-9/11 history of torture and indefinite detention is reprehensible. Even today, over half of the remaining prisoners in the Guantanamo prison have been cleared for release by various US agencies but they are still being held after 13 years! The cleared prisoners should be released immediately and the others should be given trials in federal courts. And the US personnel and advisors responsible for the torture should be charged and tried in a court of law. The Guantanamo prison should be shut down and the base returned to the Cuban people.

10. Respect Whistleblowers--and Our Privacy
The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president. The US government should recognize the value of whistleblowers in serving the best interests of the public. Whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning should be pardoned. And the US should put an end to the myriad programs of mass surveillance, including the bulk collection of personal data.

While some sectors of our society benefit from excessive militarism, the majority of Americans don’t. Election season is a good time to let people running for office know that America would be safer and more prosperous if it stopped seeking enemies overseas and instead focused on building a peaceful foreign policy and a peace-based domestic economy.

Medea Benjamin is a co-founder of CODEPINK. This article was originally published by TeleSUR.