Friday, April 29, 2011

May Day 2011


This DAY deserves attention in this Blog on militarism, empire, and wars because May Day appeals to global human solidarity in contrast to nationalistic wars that pit worker against worker.    D
May 1
Bragg’s “The Internationale”
May 1, 2011 Events

And now, our annual history lesson for Americans who got the white-washed history lessons in school.
         On May 1st, 1886, labor parties went on strike in Chicago for an eight-hour workday (down from the standard 10 to 16).  Chicago companies (especially the Chicago Tribune) and the local government found the eight-hour workday idea to be ridiculous, and dangerous for the economy.  They conspired to break the strike.
        On May 3rd, during a union rally outside the McCormick Harvester plant, the police fired into the protesters to disperse them.  With two dirty, little agitators killed, and the rest dispersed, the police called the day a success.  The protesters saw it differently.
        The labor leaders organized another meeting on the 4th to protest the severe actions of the police at
Randolph Street
DesPlaines Avenue
.  The police moved in again against the 80,000 workers, but then from the sidelines, a bomb was thrown.  The blast killed one cop instantly and seven others died later.
        The eight speakers and union leaders who organized the meetings were rounded up and put on trial for inspiring violence.  Seven were sentenced to death and the eighth (because he wasn't present) was given fifteen years.  On November 11, 1887, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel were hanged.  Louis Lingg killed himself in his cell earlier in the morning by biting down on a dynamite blasting cap.  Saumel Fielden and Michael Schwab had been commuted to life in prison the previous day.
        The five dead were buried together, and a monument was erected at the German Waldheim Cemetery (now Forest Home Cemetery) to them on June 25, 1893, in a ceremony attended by most of the visitors to the World's Columbian Exposition.  The next day, facing great international criticism, Governor Altgeld commuted the sentences of the two lifers and  the remaining years of Oscar Neebe's fifteen.
        Many (in death) have joined them under the monument, including anarchist Emma Goldman, and singer/unionist Joe Hill.
        The eight-hour workday was finally enacted in 1935.
        Around the world, except here in America, this incident is taught as one of the watershed events in modern history.  Nearly all countries has official observances of this incident on May 1st, the day the struggle began.  They call it Labor Day.
        Here in America, especially Chicago, we officially observe nothing the first week of May except getting plastered on Cinco de Mayo (this year on a Saturday!).  Later, we celebrate the Labor movement in September by sitting on our butts.
 Travis J. Cartwright, Rev.

. This is the updated version of the classic workers' anthem "The Internationale", rewritten in 1990 by Billy Bragg.
Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don't cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing, if you have no rights
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all.

CHORUS: So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We'll live together or we'll die alone
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We've but one Earth on which to live

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armor
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by life and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above.

Every day, FSTV  provides its cutting edge challenges, pushing us to think.  For example, reaching back in time a lttle,  6-25-2007,  "Ecosocialism or Barbarism" by Joel Kovel, a Marxist analysis of capitalism:  Accumulation, competition, creation of surplus value, increasing worker productivity, commodifying everything, overproduction, perpetual expansion of consumption by advertising =  inherently unsustainable system.   OMNI:  for a Culture of Peace through critical thinking.


May Day 2011
 Public Event

Today at 8:00pm - Sunday at 10:00pm


1310 Mission Street
@ 9th
San Francisco, CA

More Info
May Day Festival
CounterPULSE's 6th Anniversary
Fri.-Sun., April 29 - May 1, 8pm

Discount (Artist/Low-income/Student/Senior)*
$40- General Admission
$75- Hot Shot = Free drink and $20 auction credit
$150- VIP = Table for two, free drinks, and $20 auction credit (call 415.626.2060 to reserve)

CounterPULSE celebrates its 6th birthday with their lively May Day festival fundraiser -- three nights of performance designed to echo the different aspects of this eclectic arts space. In one weekend, May Day offers three completely unique evenings of performance, packed with the Bay Area's most exciting dance companies, performance artists, comedians, drag queens, circus artists, and more.

Friday's Dance Extravaganza presents dance fans with a jaw-dropping line up of the Bay Area's hottest dance superstars. Performers include: AXIS Dance Company, Charlotte Moraga, Chris Black, Lizz Roman Dance, Robert Moses Kin, Scott Wells & Dancers, and Zaccho Dance Theater.

Saturday's Cabaret welcomes the Bay Area's phenomenal circus artists, risky and risqué burlesque, and masterful drag. Performers include: The Devil-Ettes, Fou Fou Ha, Honey Mahogany, La Chica Boom, Marina Luna, Natasha Kaluza, Tommy Shephard, Seth Eisen, VivvyAnne ForeverMORE and Mona G. Hawd.

The festival, scheduled to coincide with the people's holiday for justice and celebration, is a lovely reason to come out and champion Bay Area arts and artists by supporting CounterPULSE, a hub for cutting-edge and community-based performance. The event, which is a benefit for the local non-profit, also includes a fabulous silent auction featuring the best of San Francisco's local businesses.

Stacy Poulos
I put your event on Girlpages Network, rock on!

o    Hey all, we're in major prep mode for May Day 2011 and the start of our 2011 home season - Goin' Gaga and Other Dances the first weekend of June! Join us!
Tuesday at 12:10pm

Join the Demonstration!
Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Foley Square
(Between Centre and Lafayette Streets), NYC
May Day is a celebration of international solidarity with roots in the United States. The international workers’ holiday commemorates the day in 1886, when laborers, immigrants, artisans and merchants in Chicago waged a general strike to win the eight-hour work day. It’s a day that recalls both our own immigrant histories and the ongoing struggle for the rights of working people everywhere.
Last year, for the first time in a generation, the New York City labor movement united with immigrants’ rights organizations to organize a demonstration on May Day. This year, a broad coalition of groups is continuing the fight.
Our demand today—for the rights of workers in the face of a rising tide of austerity and anti-immigrant rhetoric—is as urgent and transformative as our predecessors’ demand for the eight-hour day.
The general anti-austerity theme of May Day complements the more specific call of the PSC contract/budget rally on Thursday, May 5th for an end to economic austerity for CUNY, and a restoration of CUNY’s public funding. Join us for both rallies.
Contact Jim Perlstein, chair of PSC’s Solidarity Committee, to let us know you’re coming.
The History of May Day
May Day, the international workers’ holiday, began in the U.S.A. Its roots go back to Chicago, in 1886.

May Day began in the U.S,

After the Civil War, the nation’s factories and mines were growing fast. They employed hundreds of thousands of new immigrants – German, Irish, Mexican, Chinese, and eastern Europeans – and tens of thousands of African Americans who had just won their freedom. Workers toiled 12, 14, and even 16 hours a day, for miserable wages and in dangerous conditions. During frighteningly long depressions, thousands of working-class families couldn’t find work and often starved.
But business owners and the mainstream press blamed this widespread poverty on individual failure – and on the growing number of immigrant and black workers, who they claimed didn’t share traditional “American values.” Unions had to fight this tide of prejudice, racism and mindless worship of “free markets” as they organized workers.
The emerging labor movement united around a demand to shorten the working day to eight hours. One national labor organization called for a nationwide general strike on May 1st, 1886, if Congress did not act to establish an eight-hour day.
1886 was a year of strikes and militant labor action across the country. People called it “the Great Upheaval” – and Chicago was a center of protest. The city was home to a powerful anarchist movement that included Texas-born Albert Parsons, Lucy Parsons (who historians think had both African American and Mexican ancestors) and August Spies (a German immigrant). With thousands of other workers, they prepared to strike for the eight-hour day.
When May 1st dawned, 60,000 Chicago workers went out on strike. Two days later, with the strike gaining momentum, the Chicago police shot two strikers and wounded dozens more at the giant McCormick Reaper Works.
The anarchists organized a demonstration to protest the shootings, on May 4th in Chicago’s
In the chaos and hysteria that followed, the authorities smashed Chicago’s labor movement. The Chicago police arrested anarchist leaders Albert Parsons and August Spies and six others and charged them with murder – even though there was no real evidence against them. They were convicted anyway, and four of them, including Parsons, were hanged in Nov. 1887.
After 1886, workers and labor radicals around the world began celebrating May 1stas a day of international working-class solidarity to demand the eight-hour day. In 1890, huge May Day demonstrations in the U.S., across Europe, and even in Australia and Cuba demanded eight hours. The international labor movement denounced the frame-up of “the Haymarket martyrs” and demanded that those still in prison be freed. (They were pardoned by a pro-labor governor in 1893.)
American business leaders and the mainstream press wanted to distance the U.S. from May Day, because of its radical roots. With business support, in 1894 President Cleveland officially declared the first Monday in September as Labor Day.
Around the world, workers continued to celebrate May Day as International Workers Day. In the United States, especially after the Russian Revolution, this made-in-U.S.A. holiday was denounced as “un-American.” Regular celebrations of May Day continued anyway, notably in New York’s
Today May Day is coming back to the country where it began. Millions of immigrant workers from Latin America, Asia and Africa have come to the United States, bringing their own experience in union struggles. They have always known that May Day is the workers’ day.
As more immigrants join the U.S. working class and organize for their rights, immigration laws have increasingly been used to fire union members and break up union drives . In response, the labor movement started speaking out in support of immigrants’ rights. In 1999 the AFL-CIO called for repealing the anti-immigrant law that makes work a crime. Instead, it called for legal status for the undocumented, reuniting immigrant families, and protecting organizing rights for everyone.
On May 1st, 2006, millions of immigrant workers poured into the streets in the Great American Boycott, walking off the job and marching against anti-immigrant legislation then being considered by Congress. Many unions supported this May Day protest, and others in the years that followed.
Today May Day belongs to us all. We march to demand equal labor rights and jobs for all. We march to carry forward the May Day tradition that began in 1886, and renew it for our new century.
© 2000-2010 PSC/CUNY
61 Broadway, 15th Floor, NYC 10006 | 212-354-1252 | | AFT Local #2334


Military Industrial Complex: From Eisenhower to Obama

Why Obama Gets Four More Years in White House: Ralph Nader

The stars are aligned for Barack Obama’s re-election in November 2012. He won’t join Jimmy Carter to be the second Democrat in 120 years to lose a second term.
Five things are playing in Obama’s favor.

First, the Republicans -- driven by their most conservative members in Congress -- will face a primary with many candidates who will advance harsh ideological positions. Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump and others might as well be on the Democratic National Committee payroll. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s reverse Robin Hood plan to cut more than $6 trillion in spending over a decade will provide the outrage, stoked by a sitting president possessed of verbal discipline.

Second, the Republican governors’ attacks on unions are turning off the swing voters and Reagan Democrats in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Imagine the voter reaction if millions of workers lose their right to collective bargaining, and the impact that cuts in benefits and wages will have on their lives.
Democratic governors, such as Jerry Brown of California, Pat Quinn of Illinois and Andrew Cuomo of New York, are cutting -- but not taking away -- workers’ bargaining rights. This is a politically useful contrast for Obama. Reagan Democrats, who have won many elections for the Republicans, are a big plus for Obama in the contested states.

No Challenge

Third, no candidates are emerging to challenge Obama in the primaries. A discussion of Obama’s forgotten campaign promises and record would have public support among Democrats. Even so, the liberal base has nowhere to go to send a message about war, free-trade agreements, raising the minimum wage or union membership.
Nor does a third party or independent candidacy pose a threat, given the winner-take-all, two-party system.

Fourth, Obama has neutered much of the big corporate lobby’s zeal to defeat him. He decided from the beginning not to prosecute executives from Wall Street banking, brokerage and rating firms. Multinational companies are pleased with Obama’s position on trade, on not disturbing the many corporate subsidies, handouts and giveaways, such as the corn-ethanol subsidy.

Shelters for Wealthy

By 2014, Obamacare will deliver some 30 million subsidized customers to health-insurance companies. The auto industry is forever grateful for its bailout. Obama hasn’t moved on corporate-tax reform, tax shelters for the wealthy, or the preferential capital-gains tax treatment on the 20 percent service fees of hedge fund managers. Don’t forget last December when Obama agreed to extended tax cuts for the rich while the budget deficit gets larger.

The military-industrial complex about which President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his farewell address 50 years ago, is still uncontrollable, leading departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates to express serious concerns. Obama has even surprised George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and his cohort of neocons, who can scarcely believe how militarily aggressive Obama has been on just about every move that liberals used to call impeachable offenses by former President George W. Bush.

Big Business

Then there’s Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric Co., who can attest to Obama’s outreach to big business. GE Capital was bailed out. The company effectively paid no federal income taxes on $14.2 billion in 2010 profit and received a $3.2 billion benefit. Immelt got a $15.5 million pay raise. And in January, Obama appointed him chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness while letting him stay as head of a company receiving many government contracts and having regulation problems with the federal authorities. The corporate state doesn’t get much better than that.

Fifth, since the Republicans have little to offer by way of creating jobs, Obama need only show improvement in macroeconomic indicators, as Ronald Reagan did in 1983-1984, and proceed to showcase all the tax breaks he has signed into law for big and small businesses. Poor Americans who continue to bear the brunt of the recession are hardly going to vote Republican. It will be easy for Obama, with his oratorical skills, to paint the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as obstructionist, especially as he develops an economic plan for his second term.
There remain the Black Swans, events that defy prediction as those in Japan and the Middle East have shown. Handling them with firmness and calmness from the White House is what most people expect of a president. Obama will surely not repeat Bush’s mistakes after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Obama is averse to conflict with corporate power and disarmingly expedient in compromising with Republicans, leaving the latter to argue largely among themselves. The political duopoly lets the tactical Obama use the Bully Pulpit to his political advantage, even if his principles perish. Obama can look forward to four more years in 2012.

(Ralph Nader is the founder of Public Citizen and author of the book “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!” The opinions expressed are his own.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Controlling the Deficit--Bring the Troops Home, Stop Permanent War

President Obama Pledges to Protect Social Security
NOW Calls for Plan that Addresses Real Causes of Deficit
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
April 14, 2011
Thoughtful people are breathing a sigh of relief that President Obama has signaled he understands the federal budget must not be balanced on the backs of those who rely on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- programs that keep millions of women and their families out of poverty and allow seniors in nursing homes a measure of dignity.
Let's remember what caused our deficit to begin with: George W. Bush's unnecessary wars, tax cuts for the wealthiest, and an out-of-control financial sector that wrecked our economy, decimating jobs and the income tax revenues that go along with them. These are the first places anyone -- Democrat, Republican or Very Serious Economist -- should look when setting out to bring the deficit down.
The basic principles for reducing the deficit are really quite simple: Multimillionaires and corporations must pay their fair share of taxes; health care is a fundamental right, not a privilege to be voucherized or block-granted; troops should come home and the military's bloated budget reined in; and creating jobs must be the government's highest priority unless and until the private sector begins to do so.
The National Organization for Women welcomes President Obama's reaffirmation that "Social Security is not the cause of our deficit." In his written statement about how he would reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years, the president opposed privatization or weakening of the Social Security system and confirmed that reform must strengthen the program as well as ensure its long-term solvency. We are reassured by his stand in favor of protecting Social Security in the face of an unrelenting, multi-million dollar disinformation campaign by conservative think tanks, right-wing politicians and deep-pocketed Wall Street interests.
In addition, the president's stated pledge to protect Medicare from House Republican efforts to covert it to a voucher program heads in the right direction. Obama also said that he would not support changing the federal-state funded Medicaid program to a block grant program that would result in reducing support for seniors and persons with disabilities in nursing homes.
Obama said that he will appoint a bipartisan, bicameral panel to produce a detailed plan for deficit reduction by August. Who gets appointed to that panel is a matter of concern to NOW. Late last year the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, chaired by two individuals with a history of hostility to Social Security, released a proposal to drastically reduce Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age to 69.
NOW hopes the president keeps his promise that "we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations" and refuses to make any concessions on Social Security in order to achieve agreement on his deficit-cutting plan. We also hope that in any discussions of reducing the deficit, its real causes -- tax breaks for the wealthy, unnecessary wars and high unemployment -- will receive the attention they deserve.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

US "Exceptionalism" Examined

INDEX TO MAY 25, 2011

From 12-29-10 to 4-26-11.   Latest update: 4-26-11.    Total posts: 783.

This Blog focuses on the US Imperial-Military-Security-Corporate-Pentagon-Congress-White House-Corporate Media Complex

The Pentagon budget this year alone is $600 billion.  The five wars take over $100 billion.  Nuclear weapons billions more.  The VA billions to care for the tens of thousands wounded in past wars.   And the national debt keeps rising.   No wonder towns and states are running low on money!  But the greater wonder is the tiny voice of opposition.  Not a single organization or magazine devoted to exposing the harms of the US Warfare State.  

NYT editorial April 19, 2011:
For too long America’s military spending decisions have been insulated from serious scrutiny or discipline. The result is that more than 50 cents of every dollar of discretionary federal spending now goes to the Pentagon. There is no way to bring the deficit under control without making substantial and rational cuts in that budget.


Afghanistan, Fayetteville Soldier Killed 1-17-11, 3-22
Afghanistan, Film (Rethink)3-23-11, 
Afghanistan, Leave 3-17-11, 4-27, conversion 5-24
Afghanistan, Myths etc.12-30-10, 1-23-11
Afghanistan, Peace Organization 3-18-11
Afghanistan, Sheehan 1-23-11
Afghanistan, War Crimes 5-21-11
Assassination, Drones, Special Ops  12-29-10
Air War, Drones  12-29-10
Alternative Media 3-23-11,
Anti-War 3-20-11, 3-20,
Arms Control Association 4-24-2011,
Bill of Rights 2-19-11
bin Laden killed 5-3-11, 5-4
Blum, William, Empire 1-14-11
Boyle, Francis 4-17-2011
Bush Admin. (prosecute for war crimes) 4-19-2011, 4-25
Capitalism USA (Wall St., see corporations) 4-5-11
Carter, Jimmy 5-6-11
Causes of Wars 3-26-11, 5-8,  Militarists 4-13-11, Absolutists 4-25,
Citizens United v. FEC 2-1-11
Climate see Warming
Conflict Resolution 4-19-2011
COs, “Soldiers of Conscience” 3-15-11
Consequences of Wars 4-9-11,
Consequences: Dissent 4-7-11
Consequences: Rape 4-15-11
Control of Information  12-30-10, 4-20
Corporations 1-6-11, 1-30-11, 2-1-11, 4-20,
Corporations Personhood 3-2-11
Costs of Wars 1-14-11, 4-7, O’s Wars 4-15,
Counter-Recruiting 3-5-11
Cuba 2-5-11
Democracy US: Britain or Rome? 2-16-11
Drones 12-29-10
Education 1-23-11
Egypt, Revolt 1-30-11, 2-10
Eisenhower 4-29-11,
Elections USA 2-1-11
Empire 1-14-11( William Blum), 2-26
Environment and War 1-19-11, 1-20, 3-22
Exceptionalism USA 2-8-11, 4-3
FBI 2-2-11
Fear 1-16-11
Films: Why We Fight 1-31, Uncovered 3-15, Soldiers of Conscience 3-15, Imperialism 2-10,
Fulbright, J William 5-9-11
Gaza Freedom Flotilla 3-5-11
Geneva Conventions 2-19-11
Genocide 4-10-11
Guantanamo 3-5-11, and Obama 3-27
Haiti, Aristide 1-28-11
Hertsgaard, Hot 2-5-11
Historians Against War 3-19-11
Holocaust WWII 4-16-11
Humanism 2-13-11
Imperialism 12-19-10, 3-6 (and nonviolence)
Imperialism, Bases 2-10-11
Imperialism, Films and Books 2-10-11, 2-16 (democracy)
Imperialism, Latin Am.  4-3-11, 4-23 (Guzman film),
Indignation 3-2-11
Information Control 1-26-11, 2-1,
International Criminal Court 3-6-11
Iraqi Resistance Film 3-18-11
Iraq War Film (Sale) 3-23-11
Iraq War (see Imperialism) 3-2-11, 3-13, 3-15 (“Uncovered”), Blood On Our Hands: 3-19 (book), 3-19 (essays)
Israel and Palestine, 1-5-11 (Hobson), 2-22, 3-5
Killing in US Wars 12-29-10,1-9-11; 1-15-11
Killing Civilians; 2-1, 2-17
King, Martin Luther Jr. 1-15-11, 1-19-11
Korten, David, Corporate Rule 1-6-11
Kucinich, Dennis 4-19-2011
Kucinich: Libya 4-3-11,, 5-25,  Dept. of Peace 4-10
Libya 5-2-11, Kucinich 5-25
Luxemberg, Rosa 4-25-11
Lynd/Nuremberg  3-20-11,
Manning, Bradley (see WikiLeaks) 3-6-11, 3-17,
Marshall Plan 2-9-11
May Day 2011, 4-29-11
Media/Nuclear Power 4-17-2011
Media and US Wars 1-11-11, 3-23
Middle East Revolts 4-3-11
Militarism 3-19-11
Military Spending/Budget (see Costs)  3-9-11, 3-13, 4-10, 4-26
Military and Fuel 2-25-11
Military-Industrial Complex (Corporations, Congress, White House) 3-1-11, 4-29, 5-20
Military Industrial Complex: Why We Fight Film 1-31-11
Military Statistics Global 4-16-11
Mother's Day for Peace 5-1-11
Myths Justifying US Wars 1-9-11
National Days 3-11-11, 3-12, 4-3
Nationalism 4-26-11
National Security Myth 1-20-11
National Security State, 1-2-11
Nonviolent Resistance 1-10-11, 2-18 (Sharp), 3-6, 3-10, 3-17, 3-20,
Nuclear Power/Media 4-17-2011,
Nuclear Weapons Film 4-14-11
Nuclear Weapons Protest 3-17-11
Nuclear Weapons Radiation 4-24-11
Nuclear Weapons Newsletter #8 4-11-11
Nuremberg/Lynd 3-20-11
Obama: State of the Union 2011, 1-26-11; 1-31
OMNI History 4-14-11
OMNI vs. Violence, for Culture of Peace 1-4-11
Overpopulation 4-7-11
Pacifism 2-12-11, 4-16,
Pakistan, US Bombing, 1-2-11
Palestinian Peace Hero, 1-1-11
Patriotism 4-11-11
Peace Corps, Marshall Plan 2-9-11
Peace Hero 1-1-11
Peace Movement Day (Armed Forces Day) 5-19-11
Pentagon/Environment 3-22-11
President’s Day 2-17-11
Profiteers 3-23-11,
Public Health and Wars 4-13-11
Public Support for Wars, Germany, US 1-4-11
Radiation Nuclear Weapons 4-24-2011
Rankin, Jeannette 5-18-11
Religion 4-26-11
Ronald Reagan’s Centenary, 1-1-11
Sanders, The Green Zone 1-20-11
Sharp, Gene 2-18-11
Sheehan 1-23-11, 3-20, 4-8, 4-17,
Silence Public and Official  12-29-10, 4-15
Soldier Deaths US 3-22-11,
Sunshine Week (3-13-11) (FOI, WikiLeaks), 3-15-11
Surveillance/Militarism 1-22-11
Syria 5-22-11
Swanson, David, War Is a Lie, 12-31-10, 5-2-11,
Twain’s War Prayer 3-4-11
Terrorism 5-3-11, 5-4
Terrorism (State) 3-22-11
Torture 5-9-11
United Nations 3-9-11
UN Charter 4-24-11,
UN Peacekeepers 3-13-11
USIP 3-13-11, 4-15
Video Underground 2011 1-25-11, 3-22,
Voices Against the War 5-2-11,
Warming, Adaptation 5-6-11
Warming, 350PPM 1-18-11, 2-5, 2-17, 3-3, 5-11
War Crimes/Bush 4-19-11, torture 5-9, Afghanistan 5-21
War Department 3-23-11,
War Monuments 5-16-11
Wars, Causes, Prevention 2-1-11, 2-26, 3-8
Wars, Teaching Against 3-5-11
Wars Unnecessary 3-1-11
Wars and Warming, 2-17-11, 2-22
Why We Fight Film (Military-Industrial) 1-31-11
WikiLeaks Newsletter #4, 1-1-11; #5, 1-21; #6, 2-4; Sunshine 3-13, 3-15; Manning: 3-6, 3-17;  #7 4-10; #8 4-22
WILPF Women’s Intl. League for Peace and Freedom 4-23-11
Women v. Wars, 2-4-11
Women, Sexual Violence 3-6-11
Women International Day 3-4-11
Women: UN SC Res 1325
World Press Freedom Day 4-24-11,
World War II 4-16-11

Two major categories, to be compiled
US NATIONAL SECURITY STATE: Intervention and Invasion Abroad, Police Repression at Home

Cut the Military Budget

New York Times Editorial – “A Rational Budget for the Pentagon”
April 19, 2011

For too long America’s military spending decisions have been insulated from serious scrutiny or discipline. The result is that more than 50 cents of every dollar of discretionary federal spending now goes to the Pentagon. There is no way to bring the deficit under control without making substantial and rational cuts in that budget.

In their budget-cutting zeal, Republicans are demanding harsh sacrifices from the country’s most vulnerable citizens. At the same, they are determined to leave one of the biggest areas of wasteful government spending untouched: the Pentagon budget.
The budget plan they pushed through the House this month would spend $7.5 trillion on the military over the next dozen years. And that does not include the cost of actual war-fighting. The country cannot afford to spend that much, and it doesn’t need to.

The $7.5 trillion was President Obama’s projection, which he has since lowered to $7.1 trillion. Saving $400 billion is better but still not enough, especially since it can be achieved merely by holding annual nonwar-related spending at its current swollen level, adjusted for inflation.

National security is a fundamental responsibility of government. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon has spent without limits and in some cases without sense. Annual budgets, adjusted for inflation, have grown by 50 percent in the past decade. And that is apart from the more than $1 trillion spent on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House and Congress must impose some rationality on this process. Here is a path that could save hundreds of billions of dollars more through 2024:

PERSONNEL Pay and benefits account for nearly half of the basic Pentagon budget. The size of the uniformed services should not be reduced, at least for now. The Pentagon’s civilian work force, currently 650,000, should be cut by up to 10 percent, saving more than $7 billion a year.

We in no way minimize the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. But after years of lagging far behind, military pay is now more than $5,000 a year higher than comparable civilian employment, more than $10,000 a year higher when special allowances and benefits are counted. Freezing noncombat pay for three years would save $3 billion per year. The formula for future increases should be adjusted to incorporate allowances and benefits, saving an additional $5 billion a year. 

Another $4 billion to $6 billion annually could be saved by reasonable increases in annual health insurance premiums for military retirees of working age. Those premiums — currently $460 per family — have been frozen for the past 15 years while health care costs soared.

All told, these changes would save about $20 billion annually or more than $200 billion over the next 12 years.

FORCE STRUCTURE The Pentagon took too long to recognize that today’s wars make more intensive demands on the Army and Marines and less on the Navy and Air Force. Ground forces have been increased, but that needs to be paid for by corresponding reductions at sea and in the air. That shift has already begun but needs to go further. Another $1 billion to $2 billion a year could be saved by reducing the number of aircraft carrier groups from 11 to 10 and associated air wings from 10 to 9.

PROCUREMENT Twenty years after the cold war’s end, the Pentagon is addicted to hugely expensive weapons systems that are poorly suited to current and future military needs. Defense Secretary Robert Gates successfully pressed Congress to end production of the costly Air Force F-22. He now needs to cut way back on the far overbudget F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Far fewer of these are needed to assure American dominance of the skies. Terminating the deeply troubled Marine Corps version of the F-35 and cutting back the Navy and Air Force versions by 50 percent would save $130 billion over the life of the program, with most of those savings achieved in the 2020s. Eliminating the Marine Corps’ costly and accident-prone V-22 Osprey vertical take off and landing aircraft would save another $10 billion to $12 billion. Further savings may be possible by scaling down future orders for the Virginia class nuclear attack submarine and reconsidering the newly vulnerable littoral combat ship.

For too long America’s military spending decisions have been insulated from serious scrutiny or discipline. The result is that more than 50 cents of every dollar of discretionary federal spending now goes to the Pentagon. There is no way to bring the deficit under control without making substantial and rational cuts in that budget.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Cause of Wars: Nationalist and Religious Absolutism

Ideologies of War Newsletter to jbennet       "Death to the Non-Believers: Terroristic Violence and the Meaning of the Holocaust"
by Richard Koenigsberg
For Love of the Father: A Psychoanalytic Study of Religious Terrorism by Ruth Stein
Robert Pinsky—who served as United States Poet Laureate (the nation’s official poet) from 1997-2000—wrote about Stein’s book in The New Yorker as follows: “The four-page, handwritten letter Mohammad Atta left in his luggage is a religious love letter, suffused with serenity and joy. The tone is one of weird love, not rage or hatred. This unsettling perception led Ruth Stein to write For Love of the Father. Stein’s insights are so profound and urgent—her sentences so illuminating understanding of religious terrorism.”
I became attracted to Ruth Stein’s work based on the fact that I’ve been studying a form of radical fundamentalism throughout my life, namely the ideology of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. The object of worship for Hitler was his beloved nation. Hitler declared to his people: “We do not want to have any other God, only Germany” and stated that Deutschland uber Alles (“Germany above all”) was a profession of faith that “fills millions with a greater strength”—with a faith that is “mightier than any earthly might.” Hitler was a profound devotee of his religion: a preacher who sought to persuade the German people to worship as he did.
Long before I was aware of Islamic fundamentalism, the phrase “Death to the non-believers” often passed through my brain as I tried to comprehend the meaning of the Final Solution. It gradually became evident that for Hitler and many Nazis, Jews symbolized a people that did not worship the nation enough; did not embrace the Nazi religion; had doubts about the value of sacrificing one’s life for Germany.
Hitler said, “We are fanatic in our love for our people. We can go as loyally as a dog with those who share our sincerity, but will pursue with fanatical hatred the man who believes that he can play tricks with this love of ours.” Hitler’s hatred was directed toward those whom he believed mocked his love for Germany: refused to share his devotion. Jews were conceived as if infidels: a people who refused to embrace the one true faith; to worship Hitler and Germany. The Holocaust constituted a form of religious terrorism: death to the non-believers.
To comment on this essay, please click here.
It doesn’t matter what the Jews were or what they actually did. In Hitler’s mind and according to his ideology, they had to be eliminated—because of what they symbolized or represented. Jews were conceived as non-believers: a people who lacked faith in Hitler and Germany; doubted the eventual triumph of Nazism; and were skeptical about the value of sacrifice.
As a political movement, Islamic fundamentalism (whatever the former President may have said) cannot be compared with Nazism. However—as I studied Ruth Stein’s writings and the utterances of Bin Laden—it became evident that as a structure of thought, Hitler’s ideology and that of Bin Laden had much in common. My focus here is radical belief systems or fanatic ideologies—how these generate group violence.
To read and/or comment on Dr. Koenigsberg’s previous review-essay “Killing in the Name of Love” (and to read comments by subscribers), click here.
“In our religion,” Bin Laden declared, “We believe that Allah has created us for the purpose of worshipping him.” As Hitler professed absolute faith in Germany, so does Bin Laden profess absolute faith in Allah. What’s more, just as Hitler becomes enraged when he imagines that some do not worship Germany as he does, so does Bin Laden become enraged contemplating the idea of people who do not believe in Allah.
Bin Laden claims that the Quran urges Moslems to “fight for the cause of Allah” and to “kill pagans wherever they are found.” When believers meet unbelievers, they should “smite their neck and fight those who believe not in Allah.” Bin Laden’s rage—his desire to kill—grows out of his wish to punish or destroy infidels—those who do not worship the God that he worships.
Jihad, according to this ideology, is undertaken as a religious obligation. Bin Laden states that Allah has “ordered us to make holy wars” and to fight to see to it that “His word is the highest and uppermost and that of the unbelievers the lowermost.” Bin Laden claims that Allah has “ordered us to make holy wars.” No Moslem may say that he does not want to do jihad in the cause of God because, after all, “Is there any other way to repel the infidels?”
Terroristic violence, in short, grows out of a belief system claiming it is necessary to destroy or punish non-believers. God, Bin Laden says, has ordered Moslems to “carry out jihad and to kill and to fight.” If believers are willing to fight and to kill, then God will “punish non-believers with your hands, help you to victory over them, and heal the hearts of the believers.”
To comment on this essay, please click here.
Holy war, as Ruth Stein puts it, is a “deadly ritual that seeks to annihilate or dominate the other in God’s name.” Terroristic violence is undertaken as a demonstration of the omnipotence of one’s God; in order to persuade others of the power of one’s ideal; and to punish those who refuse to worship the one, true God.
Terroristic violence seeks to compel the Other to submit to the God to which one has oneself submitted. The terrorist seeks to transform Others into sacrificial victims (as the suicide bombers themselves are sacrificial victims). Violent acts are undertaken in the name Allah—in order to demonstrate the depth of one’s devotion and punish those who are insufficiently devoted.
Similarly, the Holocaust was a form of terroristic violence: manifestation of a Holy War whose purpose was to demonstrate the power of Germany and punish those whom (Hitler imagined) did not embrace Nazism and worship the nation as he did. By undertaking the Final Solution, Hitler and the Nazis sought to convey the following idea: “You too must submit—sacrifice your life—to the object to which we have submitted and sacrificed our lives. Just as we have compelled to become obedient unto death, so too must you. You are not exempt from the obligation to die for Germany.”
Genocide was a massive performance or enactment undertaken by Hitler and the Nazis, seeking to persuade others that the German nation was omnipotent (by virtue of its capacity to accomplish even such a radical form of action). It was as if Hitler was saying: “This is what happens to those who doubt the power of Germany and will of the Fuhrer: Death to the non-believers.”

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Prosecute Bush Administration for War and Other Crimes

Rosa Luxemburg

During April 2011 Dick posted 3 items to his Blog, IT’S THE WAR DEPARTMENT.  
1.     A new (selected) edition of Rosa Luxemburg’s letters.   She worked her lifetime for a humane social democracy, opposed nationalism and wars, and specifically WWI, which sent workers to slaughter one another in the names of nations, for which she was imprisoned by the German government.  After the war she was murdered by members of the Freikorps, a paramilitary group that became Hitler’s Brownshirts.   See:  The review in The Guardian below.  And The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by Georg Adler, Peter Hudis, and Annelies Laschitza.  Verso, 2011.  Rev. by Vivian Gornick, “History and Heartbreak,”The Nation (May 2, 2011).  See passage below.
2.     The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).   Founded by Jane Addams, WILPF was always anti-war and continues that work today through its U.S. magazine Peace and Freedom and its many other international activities, with headquarters in Switzerland.
3.     The UN’s Security Council Resolution 1325, which urges all nations and agencies to include women equally in all deliberations affecting women.   This resolution offers a powerful guide to women’s aspirations for equity internationally.

Over the next two decades, Luxemburg wrote books, essays and articles on one aspect of radical politics or another; engaged regularly in long speaking tours across Europe; taught in the party school; and grew into one of the most articulate and influential members of the SPD’s increasingly troublesome left wing. The SPD was, essentially, a theory-driven, centrist party devoted to the workings of its own organization and to the achievement of socialist progress through parliamentary change. Luxemburg, on the other hand, believed heart and soul that capitalism in all its forms had to be eradicated—through nothing less than the spontaneous uprising of rank-and-file workers—if there was ever to be a social democracy. For Luxemburg, the words “general strike” were definitive. For the SPD elite, they were words that sent shudders up the collective spine. It was in fiery opposition to her conservative comrades that she wrote her most insightful works.
Soon, however, the internal splits within international socialism were to become painfully moot, as Europe drifted toward war in 1914, and German, French and Austrian social democrats prepared to support not the international working class but the war effort of their own countries. The mental paralysis of the theoretical socialists was overwhelming, and Luxemburg all but had a nervous breakdown. Along with colleagues Karl Liebknecht and Clara Zetkin, she broke with the SPD and took to speaking out, in loud objection to the war. In 1915 she was arrested (open opposition to the war had become illegal in Germany), and spent the next three years in prison.
She’d been in prison many times before, and it had always been something of a lark—visitors, books, good food, furnished cells—but now the party, in more ways than one, was over. Her hair turned gray and she began to grow confused, not in her mind but in her spirit. Nevertheless, she read—Tolstoy, not Marx—and wrote incessantly. In the summer of 1918, still in prison and now in distress over what was happening in Russia as well as in Europe, she completed a pamphlet called The Russian Revolution, which to this day qualifies as one of the most stirring documents in modern political thought. Luxemburg was a diehard democrat. Never for a moment did she think democracy should be sacrificed to socialism, and in this brief work—the work of one ever mindful of what a human being needs to feel human—she laid out her impassioned insights on the danger to democracy that the Bolshevik Revolution posed.

We all have our heroes and Rosa Luxemburg is within my front rank. I first came across her as a raw, uneducated young worker, desperately trying in a haphazard manner to make sense of the world. Fortunately, by chance I stumbled across Rosa when I liberated from a London book shop J. P. Nettl's biography of the great lady. From then on I immersed myself in her work and in the process learnt much, for here was a revolutionary socialist who understood any lack of democratic accountability by socialists would sound their death toll.
In today's Guardian, Sheila Rowbothan reviews Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by Annelies Laschitza, Georg Adler and Peter Hudis. It is well worth a read and can be found here

Sunday, April 24, 2011

United Nations Charter


Article 1

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

  1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
  2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
  3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
  4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
  1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
  2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
  3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
  4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
  5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
  6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

World Press Freedom Day May 3, 2011

Press freedom is inseparable from the importance of transparency, the freedom of information, the Freedom of Information Act, and the protection of journalists against violence.    The people must be informed if they are to sustain a democracy--of, by, and for the people--, and journalists must be free and protected if they are to fulfill their equally great role for a democracy.  D

US Dept. of State Announcement
Credo Appeal
Local Reporting of Journalists Killed

U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

Press Statement, US Dept. of State

Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC  December 7, 2010

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.
The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.
Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.
The Newseum will host the first two days of events, which will engage a broad array of media professionals, students, and citizen reporters on themes that address the status of new media and internet freedom, and challenges and opportunities faced by media in our rapidly changing world.
The State Department looks forward to working with UNESCO and the U.S. executive committee spearheaded by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation and the many civil society organizations they have brought together in support of the organization of events unfolding in Washington.
For further information regarding World Press Freedom Day Events for program content, please visit the World Press Freedom Facebook page

(from CREDO 11-03-10)
One part of our event could be focusing on areas of world where journalists are especially threatened.
One country is SUDAN.   Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) uses its extensive powers of arrest and detention and its agents’ immunity from prosecution to silence government critics.   The NISS regularly imposes pre-print censorship on Sudanese newspapers and arbitrarily detains and tortures journalists.   (These repressions increased in the lead-up to Sudan’s January referendum.   Check what happened.)
ACTION: Urge Pres. Obama at 202-456-1111 to pressure the Sudanese government to end NISS impunity and to protect journalists.  

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)