10. Recognizing that a problem that has grown severe in other countries could grow severe in the United States would require thinking of the United States as existing in the same world, susceptible to the same forces, as everyone else. A willingness to recognize that would have led to earlier action and wiser action more coordinated with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the United States is supposed to be exceptional.
It’s often hard to report on U.S. politics and government with a straight face. It’s even harder to report on the usual reporting on U.S. politics and government with a straight face. So much of it is beyond the reach of parody. Yet it also opens up opportunities to shock people with basic facts.
Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.
Elections, I think most of us can agree, usually bring out the idiocy, superficiality, and illogic in everyone who can muster any. Imagine supporting, as many did, Sanders and then Trump because they were both “outsiders.” On Tuesday, I heard somebody on CNN announce that Sanders and Klobuchar were both “change candidates” (because you’d have to change every bit of the platform of one of them to match that of the other?). Tokenism no longer embarrasses voters or even the candidates who openly campaign on it. When voters are asked on television how they choose a candidate, they talk about temperament, personality, debating skills, and intelligence.
“Both war and murder are crimes. It is a crime under Iraqi law to murder someone in Iraq, just as under U.S. law to murder someone here. It is a crime under international law to commit war in Iraq just as it would be in the United States. War is murder by military. Murder is war without military. The legal and moral distinction between murder and war is not and should not be what people suppose. And the distinction should not be a question of who the victims are.”
South Korea cannot choose to make peace with North Korea without the consent of a foreign power that keeps thirty thousand troops in South Korea, makes South Korea pay much of the cost of housing them, commands the South Korean military in war, holds veto power at the United Nations, and is not accountable to the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice.
Roger Hallam is of course right in his short book, Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse. While some portion of humanity heaps scorn on the victims of the fossil fuel propaganda who deny climate science, only a much smaller portion points out the equally delusional and disastrous denial of the need for nonviolent revolution.
Updated: Nov. 28, 2019
I’ve had the displeasure to watch some hours of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry. It’s an excruciating spectacle, alternately boring, confusing, and infuriating.
Some are inclined to recognize that Trumpies are dwelling in an alternative universe in which neither climate collapse nor nuclear apocalypse is a concern but terrifying wild hoards of Muslim Hondurans are skipping and dancing into the Fatherland armed with gang symbols, deadly rocks, and socialistic tendencies.
Jeffrey Sterling is a former CIA case officer who was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and was in federal prison in Colorado. Prior to this program, as far as we know, Sterling had not been asked whether he believes the stated purpose of the program he worked on. Does he really think the purpose of giving obviously flawed nuclear bomb-part plans to Iran was to slow down a nuclear weapons program that may not even have existed? Or does he believe the purpose was to plant evidence on the government of Iran? Listen to his answer.
Updated: Sept. 10, 2019 added the audio
August 27, 2019, remarks, Chicago
Happy Kellogg-Briand Pact Day! As you all know, but most people do not, the Peace Pact was signed 91 years ago today. And, as you all probably know, but most people do not, the inspiration and vision and endless labor behind it came from a mass movement begun and led, not by Mr. Kellogg or Monsieur Briand but by a lawyer from Chicago named Salmon Oliver Levinson. You could point that out to Minnesotans from Frank Kellogg’s Twin Cities if, of course, any of them had ever heard of Frank Kellogg.
Ed Mays on Aug 12, 2019
David Swanson gave this keynote address to a gathering of peace activists at the annual Ground Zero Hiroshima/Nagasaki Weekend marking the 74th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombing. The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo WA was established in 1977, just as the Bangor Trident Submarine Base was being built, and sits on land directly adjacent to the base. The actual keynote title was: “The Myths, the Silence, and the Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons in Existence.”