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The World Will End in Fire

The World Will End in Fire

Proclaiming that the end is nigh has now become the labor of the very opposite of a deluded religious devotee. And the question framed by Robert Frost of whether the world will end in fire or ice is no longer in dispute. The world will soon end in fire, possibly the fire of the Pentagon’s “usable” nuclear weapons, certainly the fire of anthropogenic climate collapse. Not only will the world not end in ice, but the vanishing of ice from the earth is helping to rapidly render this planet uninhabitable for humans and many other species.

As we observe up-close in Dahr Jamail’s new book The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, great masses of ice are melting away. Glacier National Park will soon lack any glaciers. Greenland, that ice-covered land falsely labeled green and distorted by northern prejudice to appear larger than Africa on most western maps, is being transformed into something you can spray through a hose . . . or drown in. Ice that most of us have never seen, but upon which our lives depend, is disappearing, not just quickly, but at a rate that is constantly becoming quicker, and even quicker, and quicker still.

The permafrost in the Arctic, Jamail tells us, is thawing and releasing methane, and could at any moment release methane equivalent to several times the total carbon dioxide released by humans ever. Barring that catastrophe, the feedback loops or vicious cycles are real and underestimated. When the glaciers melt, the streams warm up or dry up, ecosystems collapse, forests burn, and the glaciers melt more. By 2015, forests in California had become climate polluters rather than CO2 reducers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Earth Over the Brink

Earth Over the Brink

Glacier National Park is drip drip dripping into a puddle.

People and companies and governments are cutting down trees to burn them to save the planet from global warming, mixing the sacrificial trees with oh-so-clean coal, and in Detroit with tires, and in North Carolina with chicken shit.

Others are hacking down old forests to grow marijuana where it’s least likely to be found: another great benefit of drug prohibition.

Over 95% of California’s wild game was mercilessly slaughtered between 1865 and 1890.

Ted Turner is liberating the remnants of the bison in the American West on the model of the liberation of Baghdad: they end up $18 a plate.

Ranchers are luring wolves with sheep carcasses and tracking wolves’ radio collars like a Saudi hit squad tracking a journalist, before playing American Sniper.

Endangered species are being hunted just as viciously by lobbyists.

Pine beetles, not planted by the nefarious Chinese, but by the warming temperature understood by the national jackass in chief to be a Chinese lie, are costing such magnificent creatures as the grizzly bears the pine nuts they need. Nuts. Giant grizzly bears need little nuts, while puny humans devastate the planet raising livestock to feed their appetite for bloody flesh.

Water is rapidly being drained away from the ground and from the rivers to produce the bloody-flesh junk-food.

People are putting their bodies in the tops of trees, facing chain saws and sleep-deprivation that lead to plummeting.

People are swinging from the rafters of auditoriums and clinging to the outsides of buildings to break through the corporatespeak.

Trees and boats and houses are being sent flying in vicious storms; city blocks are being obliterated with only indirect assistance from the Pentagon.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders

Open Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders

On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, over 100 U.S. scholars, intellectuals, and activists published the open letter to Senator Bernie Sanders below and invited others to add their names to it. Sanders was working to force a new Senate vote on ending, or at least reducing, U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. Signers of the letter below wished to encourage such steps and, in fact, to urge Sanders toward far greater opposition to militarism and support for peace.

On Tuesday, Senator Sanders had published a new book, Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance. The book contains 38 sections, of which one addresses foreign policy but lays out no concrete proposals. On Tuesday evening Sanders spoke for an hour at George Washington University, aired live on C-Span 2. He discussed a variety of topics, but never mentioned foreign policy — until a questioner asked him for a progressive foreign policy, and Senator Sanders gave a 2-minute response focused on Yemen, for which he received possibly the loudest applause of the evening.

Read the letter and add your name: https://worldbeyondwar.org/bernie

Text of the Letter:

We write to you as U.S. residents with great respect for your domestic policies.

We support the position of more than 25,000 people who signed a petition during your presidential campaign urging you to take on militarism.

We believe that Dr. King was correct to assert that racism, extreme materialism, and militarism needed to be challenged together rather than separately, and that this remains true.

We believe this is not only practical advice, but a moral imperative, and — not coincidentally — good electoral politics.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Else You Can Do

What Else You Can Do

You’ve been radically misled to believe that the only thing, or the most important thing, or one of the super important things you can do is vote. Voting in a functioning democracy would be a fairly important thing to do, but wouldn’t somehow eliminate the thousands of important things that would also need doing. Voting in a broken democracy is a mildly important thing to do, for the reasons you know by heart, but also for this reason: Seeing so many people so eager to do something alerts everyone else to the fact that you give a damn.

“I’ve been waiting two years to do something!” This remark, common on Tuesday, must sound joyous to many ears. But if you study history and notice that change comes primarily from organizing, educating, protesting, marching, disrupting, disobeying, and creating things anew, and if you’ve spent the past many years trying to get more people to do those things, then all the “All I can do is vote, oh helpless me” comments may have you pulling your hair out.

There are circumstances in which you can do very little. We are moving in that direction. But we are not there. We are still able to speak, write, assemble, and agitate — and vote. I have to think that more of us would do more if we recognized the gravity of the situation. The planet’s climate can no longer be saved, but the agony can be slowed and eased. Nuclear apocalypse is closer than ever before, but can be averted. Fascism can be undone, but not without actions that extend far beyond voting.

I’m not against elections.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Regulating Apocalypse

Regulating Apocalypse

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”
“Don’t be such a purist!”
“Be strategic!”
“Do what’s possible!”
“You can’t deny reality / human nature / religious text.”

The phrases used to oppose proposals for major change haven’t changed much for centuries, in both meanings of that phrase. No doubt these sayings sound better in certain circumstances than others, depending on the details. But in general, I find that they sound worse since the status quo locked in the climate collapse, and since the risk of nuclear catastrophe reached it’s current record high and rapidly climbing position.

I’ve just read a new book called War, Law, and Humanity by James Crossland that looks at efforts to regulate or end war from the 1850s up through the beginning of the 1900s. One strain of thought was that war needed to be eliminated and replaced with nonviolent arbitration. Another was that war needed to be regulated, doctors and nurses admitted onto battlefields, standards upheld for the treatment of prisoners, particular weapons banned, etc. The peace advocates were mocked as dreamers. The humanizers were the “realists.”

One must now write history from a nonexistent future. History cannot actually judge anything or anyone because it will not exist any longer in the brains of any living homo sapiens. But we can, pre-extinction, imagine our way forward and look back. If we end in nuclear holocaust, will those who tried to end war still have been silly dreamers? Or will world government or mandatory arbitration or disarmament sound slightly less goofy if the alternative that peace advocates identified for many decades as apocalypse turns out to be apocalypse?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

There Is No Good Kind of Nationalism

Trump is for nationalism. So the “Resistance” is predictably for . . . wait for it . . . the right kind of nationalism — or nationalism worn properly, as The Week advises. The problem isn’t nationalism, The Hill informs us, it’s phony nationalism and spurious nationalism, or as the Washington Post explains along with CNN, the problem is actually white nationalism. Of course, white nationalism is a problem, but not just because it’s white — also because of the nationalism. Unless you read Esquire which comes up with the oh-so-novel pronouncement that nationalism is indeed bad, but patriotism is good.

Excuse me. I’m sorry. This is why the Resistance doesn’t resist. This is why people offering flags and manure win. The loyal opposition is offering smaller flags, manure, and air fresheners.

What’s wrong with nationalism, you ask. Can’t I love a location? Can’t I care for my loved ones? Must I hate babies and apple pie? What is wrong with you?

Well, if you love your town why not try out townism? Does your town have a flag? An anthem? Can you perform the proper rituals? Why not? You’re not a traitor, are you? Did Putin hire you to tear up treaties with Russia, and sanction Russia, and take over markets from . . . oh, forget it.

Do you love your state? Your region? Your continent? Well why aren’t you insisting on all of those isms? I’ll tell you why. Because they aren’t needed. It’s not that they aren’t needed because those levels of collective identity aren’t associated with war machines. Rather it is that nationalism consists of association with a war machine, identification with that war machine, and belief that you and your war machine are superior to others.

Well, can’t that be a harmless private matter?

Some have seriously tried to make that case, and I’ve found it completely unconvincing.[i]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nobody to Vote For

Nobody to Vote For

When I say there is nobody to vote for, I don’t just mean the familiar complaint that the candidates may be different shades of evil but are all too evil to support, that the earth’s climate does not recover one iota because some even worse policy has been averted, that sadistic bombings and humanitarian bombings actually look identical. I do mean all of that. But I also mean that candidates are campaigning as and being presented as nothing, as empty figures with no positions on anything.

What is the most common foreign policy position on the websites of Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress? Quick! It’s not hard! You got it? You’re wrong. It was a trick question. Most of their websites do not admit to the existence of 96% of humanity in any way shape or form — although one can infer that the world must exist, because so many of them express such deep love for veterans.

Numerous resources claim to fill the gap, but like private weather profiteers regurgitating federal data, they mostly just pick out bits of the almost nothing coming from the candidates and re-package it as Useful Voter Information. The Campus Election Engagement Project has nothing on Virginia’s Fifth District Congressional race, and on the Virginia race for U.S. Senate it has next to nothing.  In a nod to the existence of the earth, it tells us the candidates’ positions on the Iran nuclear agreement, plus three questions on the environment. But the fact that one of the two candidates’ whole schtick is hatred of immigrants, glorification of racism, and fascistic devotion to Trump doesn’t come up in the predictable policy questions. Nor does the duplicity of the other guy’s constant support for presidential war-making, while claiming to oppose it, make the cut.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canadian Leftist Militarism Leaves Decency Behind

Canadian Leftist Militarism Leaves Decency Behind

If one were to travel north through North America, with the seasons or the change in climate, harvesting crops of patriotic warmongering, the biggest drop in crop yield might come around the Mason Dixon Line, not the Canadian border.

Yves Engler’s new book, Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada’s Foreign Policy proposes to provide 10% of the explanation for why many Canadians suffer under the delusion that their nation’s government is a benevolent force in the world — with the other 90% having come in an earlier book on propaganda.

Canada participates in numerous U.S.-led wars and coups. Usually Canada’s role is so minor that one cannot imagine its removal making much of a difference, except that the principle impact is in fact one of propaganda. The United States is a bit less of a rogue for every co-conspiring junior partner it drags along. Canada is a fairly reliable participant, and one that boosts the use of both NATO and the United Nations as cover for crime.

In the United States, traditional barbaric justifications for war are overwhelmingly dominant in motivating the largest portion of the population that supports any war, with humanitarian fantasies playing a minor role. In Canada, the humanitarian claims seem to be required by a slightly larger percentage of the population, and Canada has developed those claims accordingly, making itself a leading promoter of “peace keeping” as a euphemism for war making, and of R2P (the responsibility to protect) as an excuse to destroy places like Libya.

I would very much prefer a policy called war keeping that used peaceful means, to war under the label “peace keeping.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Intelligence Community Is Neither

The Intelligence Community Is Neither

At the big “Treason Summit” “Russopocalypse” “Catastrovent” on Monday, journalist Sam Husseini tried to ask a question about banning nuclear weapons, and was physically hauled out of the room by officials from the “Land of Press Freedom,” Finland. Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter was permitted to ask a perfectly respectable question pushing a blatant lie that risks nuclear war. Yay for press freedom!

The AP reporter claimed that “every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that” the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election of 2016. In fact, the report that this common lie always refers to was concocted by a group of “hand-picked” (James Clapper’s description) people from three agencies out of 18 or so. The three were the NSA, FBI, and CIA — none of which ever, ever lie or get things wrong, ever. The INR and DIA were excluded along with all the others.

That’s why the Associated Press told a lie. Here’s why it’s a blatant and dangerous lie. The same report didn’t conclude a damn thing. It just “assessed,” which is a weasel word for guessed. Of the three agencies involved, two assessed with high and one with moderate confidence that Russia did something or other to benefit Trump. Whether that something was revealing to the public the DNC’s slanting of its primary against Bernie Sanders we are not told. We are also not offered any evidence for whatever it was. We are also not told Trump was involved in it, or offered any degree of assessment of that, much less any evidence. We are also not given any claim that informing us about the DNC’s shenanigans, or any other actions, had any impact on the outcome of the election. We also are not presented any case that keeping the rigging of primaries secret from the public is essential to the sanctity and freedom of our democracy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Silicon Valley Will Not Save You from the Surveillance State

Silicon Valley Will Not Save You from the Surveillance State

There was something quite odd about the very welcome news that some Google employees were objecting to a military contract, namely all the other Google military contracts. My sense of the oddness of this was heightened by reading Yasha Levine’s new book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.

I invited Levine on my radio show (it will air in the coming weeks) and asked him what he thought was motivating the revolt over at Google. Were they objecting to a particular kind of weapon, in the manner that some people rather bizarrely object to drones only if they are automated but not if a human pushes the murder button? Were they actually clueless about their own company?

Levine’s answer requires investigation but certainly makes an interesting hypothesis. He said that all during the Obama years, the tech press and community aired no concerns whatsoever about militarism, whereas since the arrival of Trump such talk is to be heard and read. Levine maintains that Google employees do not object to militarism, they object to Trumpian militarism.

I had hoped for and wrongly predicted this phenomenon in the general public the moment Trump gained the throne. Is it possible that it’s finally begun, but begun in Silicon Valley?

Levine’s book describes Google and other internet corporations as major military and spy contractors from the beginning. Google partnered with Lockheed Martin on parts of the war on Iraq and is a major partner of the military, the CIA, the NSA, etc. Surveillance Valley goes back to the post-WWII origins of today’s military madness. Military experiments as preparation for war, “field tested” in Vietnam, and supported by President Kennedy as appropriately hi-tech and modern, were actually war and developed into one of the worst wars ever seen. Vietnam was mass-surveilled — or the attempt was made and foiled with bags of urine and other low-tech tricks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Murder Incorporated

Murder Incorporated

Murder Incorporated is a three-book series by Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria, which I can highly recommend based on the first book. The other two are not out yet.

Book One, “Dreaming of Empire,” is a critique of U.S. imperialism, a debunking of U.S. nationalist myths, a corrective or alternative history of the U.S. nation. Politically, a book like this would never be permitted in U.S. schools, and it’s clearly not aimed at clearing that hurdle. It uses curse words, which would provide a handy excuse for keeping it out. It’s also not straight history. It’s part chronological, part theme-based. It mixes historical accounts with pop-culture, with quotations from scholars, historical sources, and analysts interviewed by the authors.

Dreaming of Empire also does not try to leave the past in the past. Instead it proposes to explain current wars, the weaponization of outer space, and the rhetoric of contemporary U.S. politics through a myth-busting hard look at the past. And there’s little the U.S. public needs more. Indeed the authors seem to have concentrated on topics around which damaging myths have been constructed, including the glories and goodness of the Founding Fathers.

Reading here in Charlottesville, I’m struck by the extent to which local boys, Jefferson and Monroe (and the latter’s “Doctrine”), dominate this story. I wonder how many people realize that when a participant in a fascist rally here last summer drove his car into a woman and killed her, he was in that moment driving past the location of James Monroe’s first house here. I’m sure it’s more people than realize that Charlottesville is not a hotbed for fascists (they mostly come from elsewhere) but is a town that was founded by and which still prominently honors fascists avant la lettre.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Else Canadians Should Be Sorry For — Besides Burning the White House

What Else Canadians Should Be Sorry For — Besides Burning the White House

Six-years after the British landing at Jamestown, with the settlers struggling to survive and hardly managing to get their own local genocide underway, these new Virginians hired mercenaries to attack Acadia and (fail to) drive the French out of what they considered their continent.

The colonies that would become the United States decided to take over Canada in 1690 (and failed, again).

They got the British to help them in 1711 (and failed, yet again).

General Braddock and Colonel Washington tried again in 1755 (and still failed, except in the ethnic cleansing perpetrated and the driving out of the Acadians and the Native Americans).

The British and U.S. attacked in 1758 and took away a Canadian fort, renamed it Pittsburgh, and eventually built a giant stadium across the river dedicated to the glorification of ketchup.

George Washington sent troops led by Benedict Arnold to attack Canada yet again in 1775.

An early draft of the U.S. Constitution provided for the inclusion of Canada, despite Canada’s lack of interest in being included.

Benjamin Franklin asked the British to hand Canada over during negotiations for the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Just imagine what that might have done for Canadian healthcare and gun laws! Or don’t imagine it. Britain did hand over Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana. (At least they know they’re free!)

In 1812 the U.S. proposed to march into Canada and be welcomed as liberators. They weren’t. But the Canadians didn’t burn the White House. That was done by British troops that included men recently escaped from U.S. slavery. Killing some of those escapees is celebrated in the U.S. National Anthem, as is the fact that during a battle in which people died, a flag survived.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Enough is Enough. The Time Has Come to BDS the US.

Enough is Enough. The Time Has Come to BDS the US.

People, organizations, and governments around the world, and people and organizations in the United States, need to stand up at long last and nonviolently resist the lawless behavior of the rogue U.S. government.

The recent U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran is not an aberration. It parallels the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and numerous other disarmament agreements, the U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court, its record-setting use of the veto in the United Nations Security Council, and its unique status outside the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Paris Climate Agreement (which it withdrew from) and other fundamental treaties. Of the United Nations’ 18 major human rights treaties, the United States is party to 5, fewer than any other nation on earth, except Bhutan (4), and tied with Malaysia, Myanmar, and South Sudan, a country torn by warfare since its creation in 2011.

There is a reason that most countries polled in December 2013 by Gallup called the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world, and why Pew found that viewpoint increased in 2017. Since World War II, the United States military has killed or helped kill some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 84 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries.

In military spending (over $1,200 billion per year) and weapons dealing, the U.S. government has no peer. Only 19 other nations on earth spend more than $10 billion per year. Seventeen of them are U.S. allies and weapons customers.

The U.S. government is directly responsible for policies that make the United States, by various measures, the worst destroyer of the world’s natural environment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The Case Against Iraqing Iran

The Case Against Iraqing Iran

The case against Iraqing Iran includes the following points:

Threatening war is a violation of the U.N. Charter.

Waging war is a violation of the U.N. Charter and of the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

Waging war without Congress is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Have you seen Iraq lately?

Have you seen the entire region?

Have you seen Afghanistan? Libya? Syria? Yemen? Pakistan? Somalia?

War supporters said the U.S. urgently needed to attack Iran in 2007. It did not attack. The claims turned out to be lies. Even a National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 pushed back and admitted that Iran had no nuclear weapons program.

Having a nuclear weapons program is not a justification for war, legally, morally, or practically. The United States has nuclear weapons and no one would be justified in attacking the United States.

Dick and Liz Cheney’s book, Exceptional, tell us we must see a “moral difference between an Iranian nuclear weapon and an American one.” Must we, really? Either risks further proliferation, accidental use, use by a crazed leader, mass death and destruction, environmental disaster, retaliatory escalation, and apocalypse. One of those two nations has nuclear weapons, has used nuclear weapons, has provided the other with plans for nuclear weapons, has a policy of first-use of nuclear weapons, has leadership that sanctions the possession of nuclear weapons, and has frequently threated to use nuclear weapons. I don’t think those facts would make a nuclear weapon in the hands of the other country the least bit moral, but also not the least bit more immoral. Let’s focus on seeing an empirical difference between an Iranian nuclear weapon and an American one. One exists. The other doesn’t.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

76 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

76 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies

Donald Trump is tweeting about a particular spot in Hawaii. He visited it recently on his way to threaten war in Asia. It’s a big feature this week in lots of U.S. magazines and newspapers. It has a lovely name that sounds like murder and blood because Japanese airplanes engaged in large-scale murder there in 1941: Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Day today is like Columbus Day 50 years ago. That is to say: most people still believe the hype. The myths are still maintained in their blissful unquestioned state. “New Pearl Harbors” are longed for by war makers, claimed, and exploited. Yet the original Pearl Harbor remains the most popular U.S. argument for all things military, including the long-delayed remilitarization of Japan — not to mention the WWII internment of Japanese Americans as a model for targeting other groups today. Believers in Pearl Harbor imagine for their mythical event, in contrast to today, a greater U.S. innocence, a purer victimhood, a higher contrast of good and evil, and a total necessity of defensive war making.

The facts do not support the mythology. The United States government did not need to make Japan a junior partner in imperialism, did not need to fuel an arms race, did not need to support Nazism and fascism (as some of the biggest U.S. corporations did right through the war), did not need to provoke Japan, did not need to join the war in Asia or Europe, and was not surprised by the attack on Pearl Harbor. For support of each of these statements, keep reading.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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