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Rep. Perriello: I May or May Not Vote for $33 B War Escalation

By David Swanson

Three of us constituents of Congressman Tom Perriello (D., Va.) talked with him for about 45 minutes on Tuesday, asking him to commit to voting against $33 billion to escalate war in Afghanistan. The congressman was polite, intelligent, and knowledgeable. He didn't rant about evil Muslims or Mexicans or anything his predecessor might have done. He even agreed with us on many of the downsides to dumping another $33 billion into escalating a war opposed by a majority of Americans. But he would no more commit to voting against the bill than Virgil Goode would have -- possibly less so. There are libertarian Republicans voting against war funding.

THE QUEEN OF NO SOUL by Sebastian Doggart

Two events, both of which feature a public figure named 2005’s most powerful woman in the world, may go down as the most bizarre of the year. The first took place last Saturday, in San Diego, where Condoleezza Rice was the Distinguished Speaker at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Convention. That’s a very long way from the world-changing press conferences she was commanding at the State Department 18 months ago. The second occasion is one of the weirdest concerts ever conceived, and may spark a firestorm of controversy. Its organizers, the Mann Center of Philadelphia, are marketing $95 seats with this enticement:

"The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin pairs up with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for an evening of classics and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Ms. Rice will enchant us with selections from Mozart and more, and will feature Aretha on vocals... This extraordinary effort is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Don’t miss this amazing duo for one night only!"

Did You Say $33 Billion?

Afghan Escalation Funding 
More War, Fewer Jobs, Poor Excuses
By David Swanson,

Isn’t it time to call what Congress will soon vote on by its right name: war escalation funding?

Early in 2009, President Barack Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan with 21,000 "combat" troops, 13,000 "support" troops, and at least 5,000 mercenaries, without any serious debate in Congress or the corporate media.  The President sent the first 17,000 troops prior to developing any plan for Afghanistan, leaving the impression that escalation was, somehow, an end in itself.  Certainly it didn't accomplish anything else, a conclusion evident in downbeat reports on the Afghan war situation issued this month by both the Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon.

Military Action Does Not "Weaken" Taliban

On the eve of President Karzai's visit there is a debate taking place over whether the Obama administration should support talks with Taliban leaders or wait until military action further "weakens" the Taliban. The problem is, if anything, military action tends to strengthen the Taliban, as it places US forces in the position of the foreign invader which must be driven out, and draws recruits. Overstaying our welcome has resulted in reawakened feelings of national pride among young men who have seen no economic good come out of the American presence. So you work with whoever is around and whoever pays a wage in the invader-driving-out business. It should also be remembered that the word "Taliban" is a very broad term which includes gangs of hungry men who put on the black turban and haul out the old AK just for an excuse to go around robbing people.

Jamie Raskin and Glenn Greenwald Debate Elena Kagan Nomination

Nobody wins this debate, and Greenwald fails to point out Kagan's right-wing tendencies, but Greenwald rightly points out, and Raskin agrees, that we just don't know much about her. This wouldn't be a problem if Congress could be expected to compel her to tell.

Chris Hedges' Hangup on Religion

By David Swanson

Chris Hedges is one of the best, one of the most morally useful, writers we have. He's free of loyalty to political party or dogma. He knows war first hand and describes it without flinching. He's an almost ideal gadfly to our corporatocracy. But he has a hangup on religion that holds him back.

Hedges will tell you that he has no use for fantasies about life after death. He'll profess no interest in gods or prayer or a divine plan or anything of the sort. He's perfectly aware of what lies on the negative side of the balance sheet for religion (or what he would call institutional religion), how it trains blind obedience, how it diminishes the value of life before death, how it shifts responsibility from people to imaginary beings, how it divides groups of people who kill in its name. But when you ask what, then, lies on the positive side of the account for religion that justifies supporting it, Hedges' answers range from slim to silly.

Charlottesville, Va., To Protest Rep. Tom Perriello Funding $33 Billion War Escalation

Brown Bag Lunch Vigil for Peace -- May 19, 2010

VA's 5th District One of Over 100 to Hold Vigils Against War Funding at Congressional Offices on May 19th

WHAT: A mid-day vigil against funding an escalation in Afghanistan, bring your brown-bag lunch
WHERE: Tom Perriello’s Congressional Office 313 2nd Street, SE, Charlottesville, Va.
WHEN: Noon on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sponsored by: Progressive Democrats of America,,, Socialist Party of Central Virginia, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Food Not Bombs, Priority for Community Transportation, Joyful Dissent, Amnesty International, May Day RVA, Virginia Defenders of Freedom, Justice, and Equality

Print Flyer.

Join this event on FaceBook

New Poll: A Majority of Americans Think Afghan War Not Worth Fighting

That's the latest. So, do you think Congress will take that to mean it should FUND AN ESCALATION? Ask your rep!

Video: CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin Speaks Out for Peace

CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin Speaks Out for Peace from William Hughes on Vimeo.

Activists from CODEPINK showed up at John Marshall Park in Washington, D.C., on Saturday May 8, 2010. The were joined briefly by activists fighting for the creation of a national jobs program. CODEPINK was celebrating not only Mother’s Day, but echoing the spirit of Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 Proclamation. Ms. Howe demanded on that Mother’s Day past for the nation to “Disarm, Disarm! Mothers say Disarm!” Medea Benjamin, Cofounder of Code Pink, shared her views about that history and more at today’s event. See CodePink4Peace for background.

Apocalypse Never: Read This Book or Die

By David Swanson

Tad Daley writes, in his new book, "Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World," that he would like his book to have the impact of "Common Sense," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," or "The Jungle." Yeah, buddy, what author wouldn't? But Daley has a unique argument for the moral necessity of sharing his goal and promoting either his book or others like it: our only alternative is the annihilation of all life on earth.

By the time you've read this book, you will in fact be persuaded that if others do not grasp its central points, not just tyranny or slavery or unsafe workplaces will continue, but all trace of humanity and every other life form in the world will be eliminated.

17 Top Economists Back Tough Financial Reform, Denounce New York Times

The New York Times recently reported that “some academics” assert that the Senate financial reform bill now under consideration is misguided, while others disagree. We strongly dispute the article’s central premise: that we don’t know enough about the causes of the crisis.

Many observers anticipated the calamitous effects of radical deregulation as it was occurring. Their warnings only rarely made it into the Times and other major newspapers. We and others warned that deregulation would lead to a fragile, highly-leveraged system of interconnected banks and shadow banks that lacked external checks either in the market or in the government.

That is why we are prepared to support an amended version of the financial reform bill under consideration now in the Senate. Contrary to the assertions in the article, the bill in the Senate, which currently has some effective features, can readily be amended to address key causes of the financial crisis. Here are some specifics:

Crimes Are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them

Email and calls are coming in today. Thanks to Anthony: "i don't know if i say this enough but ... World Can't Wait ROCKS!!!!!!!" and to Gene: "The ad arrived in my mailbox. It looks awesome and reads awesome... It's a great piece of work. Let's do some more!"

The statement, Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them, for which you donated almost $12,000, began appearing in mailboxes in The New York Review of Books on Wednesday. We will be posting comments from people whose names appear in the ad:

Well the Constitution doesn't SAY you have the right not to be threatened with gang rape, does it?

Interrogator: I used false rape claim on detainee Omar Khadr
An interrogator at the Guantánamo Bay hearing for detainee Omar Khadr said he told Khadr about a false rape scenario.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- To get teen terror suspect Omar Khadr to cooperate, a former U.S. Army interrogator testified Thursday, he told the wounded Canadian a "fictitious" tale of an Afghan youth who was gang-raped in an American prison and died.

"We'd tell him about this Afghan who gets sent to an American prison and there's a bunch of big black guys and big Nazis," said the former interrogator, who was since convicted of detainee abuse and was identified in court only as Interrogator No. 1.

American Red Cross Offers Teachers New Curriculum "Exploring Humanitarian Law"

American Red Cross Offers School Curriculum in "Exploring Humanitarian Law"
Excerpted by Chip Yost

The American Red Cross is offering middle and high school teachers a prepared curriculum, "Exploring Humanitarian Law" with 30 hours of activities teachers can mix and match to meet their classroom needs.

According to the website:

Humanitarian law is a body of international law that aims to protect human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent or reduce the suffering and destruction that results from war. All nations are party to the Geneva Conventions, and therefore have a legal obligation to encourage the study of humanitarian law as widely as possible. These laws, together with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, should be viewed as an integral part of today's basic education.

The need for the curriculum is explained by Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, Dean of the Academic Board, United States Military Academy at West Point, who said:

"It is essential to understand and respect the rule of law because that defines what we are about as a nation and the leader of the free world. When others do not respect or follow the law, it is even more important that we remember who we are and what we stand for as a country. The American Red Cross EHL program helps young people understand not only what is legal, but also what is right."

The curriculum aligns with the National Council for the Social Studies' ten thematic strands for secondary education. It offers high-quality materials, including news accounts, photos, letters, videos, case studies and interactive projects bring real events and people to life, helping teachers connect lessons of the past with events of today. It has been introduced in more than 40 countries since 2002. Find the "Exploring Humanitarian Law" curriculum here.

Jumping the Peace Sign on $5 Friday and Giving to Woodstock International

I realize it's not quite Friday yet, but I went ahead and gave my $5 Fridays five dollars to Woodstock International.  Why?  For producing the best newspaper I've seen in . . . well, ever.


Bomb Attempt in NY Possible Result of Drone Strikes in Pakistan and Foreclosures in Connecticut: So We'll INCREASE Both

You know the financial failures. Here come the increased drone crimes, now to kill unknown people in Pakistan in -- get this -- "self defense":

Al Jazeera English:

US to Expand Pakistan Drone Strikes

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been granted approval by the US government to expand drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions in a move to step up military operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, officials have said.

Federal lawyers backed the measures on grounds of self-defence to counter threats the fighters pose to US troops in neighbouring Afghanistan and the United States as a whole, according to authorities.

The US announced on Wednesday that targets will now include low-level combatants, even if their identities are not known.

Barack Obama, the US president, had previously said drone strikes were necessary to "take out high-level terrorist targets". . . .

Dear Congressman Obey, Don't Leave Us the Bill

Congressman David Obey
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4907
(202) 225-3365

Dear Congressman Obey,

In recent years you've expressed your opposition to war spending. I'd like to encourage you to cap off your congressional career by actually refusing to provide the funding for the current escalation in Afghanistan, and by simultaneously introducing a bill to spend $33 billion on green energy jobs, including for former soldiers.

You know better than I do that the power to begin, end, oversee, and control the escalation of wars lies in Congress. That the president has gone ahead with the escalation unfunded cannot legitimate it, and those troops can certainly be turned around and be brought immediately home.

War Is a Crime: New Stickers

I just got 100 of these new stickers in exchange for linking to the place that makes them (see link in left column). So ask me for one when you see me. If there's a big demand, we'll figure out how to sell them or give them away. Feel free to take the graphic and make your own signs, decals, whatever.

Click to enlarge.

Why in the World Is the NAACP Inviting Awful SCOTUS Contender Kagan to Speak?

What good will THIS do?

NAACP Legal Defense Fund to hold
Annual Spring Luncheon & Conversation;
Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be the speaker

Washington, D.C., April 20, 2010 – The annual NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Spring Luncheon & Conversation will be held at the National Press Club on May 12, 2010, at noon.

Elena Kagan, Solicitor General of the United States, will be the featured speaker at the luncheon, which will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of LDF in 1940.

“Ms. Kagan has had an outstanding and exemplary career as a litigator, a scholar and an adviser to presidents, and we are honored to have her as our guest,” says John Payton, President and Director-Counsel of LDF.

Albert Camus: A Stranger No More (Book Review)

By William Hughes

Two authors, Robert Zaretsky and Elizabeth Hawes, have resurrected Albert Camus, the late French Algerian novelist and philosopher, in their just released books. I’m recommending both of their tomes. I think their efforts contribute, in different ways, to enhancing Camus’ literary legacy. Camus’ courageous moralizing against the excesses of the ideologues of his days is timely. Let’s face it, we too live in an era where crazed warmongers are running amuck.

Both Parties Backing Wars and Wall Street, Turnout in Primaries Low for Democrats

Here is how low turnout is for Democratic primaries. I don't know if I can prove that it's because the Democrats HAVEN'T TRIED TO CHANGE A DAMN THING, but that's my leading theory.

Our Journey to Smile! Join In!

Afghan & international youth peace volunteers say that
“Love is How We'll Ask for Peace.”

With love, we ask the 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama to answer the Afghan youth peace message ‘Reconciliation of Civil Hearts’

We are a group of Afghan youth and college students who, together with international volunteers, wish to recover humanity’s smile.
In the midst of war, we wish for non-violence and ordinary peace and and end to violence.
To live.
As ordinary, dignified human beings.
To recover trust and hope. And smile.

Learn more.

Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


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