Militarism

Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).

Amid Accusations of Violence, Some Say National Guard Should No Longer Staff Voting Stations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 4:48am in

The national guard has assisted or plans to assist election workers in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Indiana, raising concerns, especially in communities of color, about law enforcement mixing with the democratic process – a historically fraught relationship. Continue reading

The post Amid Accusations of Violence, Some Say National Guard Should No Longer Staff Voting Stations appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Martin Luther King’s Giant Triplets: Racism, Yes, But What About Militarism and Materialism?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 1:47am in

In April 1967, at New York City’s Riverside Church, Dr. King delivered a sermon that offered a profound diagnosis of the illnesses afflicting the nation. King summoned the nation to “undergo a radical revolution of values” that would transform the United States “from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.” Only through such a revolution, he declared, would we be able to overcome “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.” Continue reading

The post Martin Luther King’s Giant Triplets: Racism, Yes, But What About Militarism and Materialism? appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

How the American Century Ends

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/06/2020 - 2:08am in

We are deep in the age of disappointment on (as Donald Trump has only accentuated) an increasingly disposable planet. Continue reading

The post How the American Century Ends appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

American Exceptionalism: Pandemic Edition

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 4:40pm in

Many Americans bemoan the normalcy before the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until we can get back to normalcy, however, we can do all the things that make America America by using technology.

Highlights of the Biden Presidency

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/05/2020 - 4:56pm in

What will a Joe Biden presidency look like? We should probably assume that it will look a lot like his campaign: virtual, online, filed in remotely from his basement.

As the US Grapples with Coronavirus, Congress Leaps into Action… On a New Military Draft

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 12:26am in

Tags 

News, Militarism

(DavidSwanson.org) — I know it’s stiff competition, but hear me out. The threat of nuclear apocalypse is higher than ever. The threat of irreversible climate collapse is higher than ever and massively contributed to by militarism. The trillions of dollars being dumped into militarism are desperately needed for actual defense against these dangers including spin-off catastrophes like coronavirus. But military jobs and weapons production jobs (producing weapons for dictatorships and so-called democracies around the world; the U.S. handles 80% of the globe’s foreign weapons sales) are being deemed “essential” and actually being boosted with more funding.

Meanwhile, the damage already done and still ongoing from wars and sanctions around the world has rendered the damaged areas at much greater risk of deaths from coronavirus. At the same time, militaries are concentrating their members much as prisons are doing, and are raising the risks for everyone, just as prisons and churches and Florida’s beaches are doing. And the U.S. military is stepping up — I kid you not — it’s face-to-face recruitment efforts in order to concentrate more young people.

What would be the dumbest thing Congress could do in this moment? I mean, other than allowing Trump to remain in office? Surely it would be HR 6415, a bill to force young women to register for a military draft that would force them against their will to kill and die in any war desired by oil corporations or reality-tv dictators, as well as to further expand military recruitment, and further expand JROTC.

Sticking with the theme of honesty and openness, this murderous bill is wrapped in a coating of civic spirit and public service with non-military options that help sell the bill while also helping to normalize mass-murder as just one (albeit the best paid and most heavily marketed) option on a list of humanitarian services that young people can “give back” to the generations that have just about completely fucked them out of a decent world.

Fortunately, there is also a good bill in Congress that does one small piece of what’s needed. HR 5492 would repeal the Selective Service Act.

Barring extremely unlikely actions by courts, Congress has to either abolish draft registration — and isn’t this the moment for such a fit of sanity? — or expand it to women. It’s actually been ruled — and, again, I kid you not — an unconstitutional violation of women’s rights not to force them to sign up to be forced against their will to kill and die. And don’t go imagining for a moment that your good liberal heroes in Congress won’t eagerly give young women that right. Yet — for some reason that I can’t understand — the eight sponsors of HR 6415 seem to include no one who has ever been a leader for women’s rights, only one person who is a woman, yet a whole bunch of promoters of militarism, a number of them heavily funded by weapons dealers.

There is also, just to complicate things, a crowd of aging peaceniks that wants to expand draft registration to women and immediately launch a draft, due to the highly questionable belief that such a step would reduce rather than increase war-making.

A number of tools and resources to help sort through this embarrassing mess are at https://worldbeyondwar.org/repeal/

If you are from the United States, you can click here to quickly email your Representative and your two Senators to urge them to co-sponsor HR 5492, and not HR 6415.

HR 5492 would:

  1. Repeal the Military Selective Service Act (thereby eliminating Presidential authority to order men to register with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft and eliminating criminal penalties for failure or refusal to register);
  2. Abolish the Selective Service System (thereby ending contingency planning by the SSS for the Health Care Personnel Delivery System or any other form of special-skills draft);
  3. Prohibit all other Federal agencies from imposing civil sanctions (denial of federal student financial aid, federally-funded jobs, etc.) for nonregistration or using nonregistration as a basis for other adverse determinations (denial of naturalization as a U.S. citizen, etc.);
  4. “Preempt” (and thereby override and prohibit) all state sanctions for nonregistration (denial of drivers’ licenses, state financial aid, state jobs, etc.); and
  5. Preserve the rights of conscientious objectors under other laws and regulations (such as applicants for reassignment to noncombatant duties or discharge from the military on the basis of conscientious objection).

The United States had an active draft from 1940 to 1973 (except for one year between 1947 and 1948). It also had numerous wars including in Korea and Vietnam. The Vietnam War persisted for many years during the draft, which made the war possible — killing far more people than any U.S. war since. The only reason the war could continue was that the military had a steady stream of draftees.

Wars have usually been facilitated by a draft, not prevented. The drafts in the U.S. civil war (both sides), the two world wars, and the war on Korea did not end those wars, despite being much larger and in some cases fairer than the draft during the U.S. war on Vietnam.

On April 24, 2019, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service heard testimony from Major General John R. Evans, Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command; Mr. James Stewart, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness); and Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Vice Director of Logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all testified that the Selective Service System was important for ensuring and enabling their war-making plans. Stewart said that enacting a draft would show national resolve in support of war-making efforts. John Polowczyk said, “I think that gives us some ability to plan.”

The recommendations of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, which went through a lengthy process of pretending to listen to people that in reality was more of an exercise in push-polling, recently issued recommendations that are mirrored by HR 6415.

Here’s some background:

World BEYOND War: Statement to the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Edward Hasbrouck: Bill Introduced to End Draft Registration

Center on Conscience & War, Code Pink, Committee on Militarism and the Draft, Courage to Resist, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild, Resisters.info, Veterans For Peace, War Resisters League, World BEYOND War: It’s Time to End U.S. Draft Registration Once and for All

Bill Galvin and Maria Santelli, Center on Conscience & War: It is time to abolish draft registration and restore full rights to people of conscience

David Swanson: Draft Registration Will Be Either Ended or Imposed on Women

David Swanson: How to Oppose the Draft for Women and Not Be Sexist

David Swanson: 10 Reasons Why Ending the Draft Helps End War

C.J. Hinke: The Last Draft Dodger: We Still Won’t Go

Rivera Sun: It’s Time. End the Draft Once and for All

Rivera Sun: Women’s Draft? Sign Me Up To Abolish War

Feature photo | Female U.S. Coast Guard swabs recite phrases from the cadet handbook before swearing-in ceremonies, June 27, 2016, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn. Steven Senne | AP

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

The post As the US Grapples with Coronavirus, Congress Leaps into Action… On a New Military Draft appeared first on MintPress News.

5 Things the Government Must Do Now to Avoid Collapse and/or Revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/04/2020 - 6:49am in

London riots - Photos - The Big Picture - Boston.com          The COVID-19 medical and economic crisis remains mostly unaddressed by both the Republican and Democratic parties. They have only passed one piece of legislation that significantly helps workers: supplementing existing state unemployment benefits by $600 per week. Those additional payments expire in four months. Until then many people who are out of work will receive about $1000 a week. If the past is precedent, Congress is likely to renew the law.

            Aside from expanded unemployment checks, the government has been useless.

            Here are the essential basic things Congress and President Trump must do in order to avoid economic collapse, mass starvation, an epidemic of violent crime reminiscent of “A Clockwork Orange” and political unrest up to and including revolution.

            They must do it now.

            A Universal Basic Income is the smartest fastest way to stimulate the economy by keeping money flowing from consumers. Neither political party seems to care enough about the prospect of street riots to pass a UBI. But they need to do it yesterday to avoid catastrophe tomorrow. Flat UBI payments are unfair to people who live in expensive cities and states; the cost of living in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio is half of Manhattan. Weight UBIs according to living costs.

            COVID Care

            At bare minimum, medical treatment for COVID-19 and related ailments (bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.) should be free from a patient’s first test to their last breath in a ventilator. It should be free for everyone: insured, uninsured, homeless, prison inmate, undocumented worker for an obvious reason: if an illegal immigrant contracts the coronavirus, they can transmit it to you. It’s to everyone’s advantage that everyone have access to medical care.

            Theoretically, the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act does that. Not in reality. “Our health care system is a mess and the law does not explicitly prohibit charging you if you go to an out-of-network provider. It also doesn’t address other ‘surprise billing’ problems,” Time reports. Treatment for COVID-19 can easily run $35,000 or more—not only should Americans not have to pay, they can’t pay.

            Whether you go to your physician or urgent care or the ER, no one who suspects she has COVID-19 should be asked for their insurance card. Healthcare providers should bill the federal government.

No leading Republican or Democrat — Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi — wants to do this. Why? Because they’re stupid, crazy or both.

            Draft the Immune

            The Centers for Disease Control are rolling out a pilot program of a testing kit that can show if you have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and thus have the antibodies to resist a repeat infection. Authorities are considering issuing “immunity cards” to citizens who have had COVID-19. The idea is that people who are cleared could return to work. So far so good.

            As much as I’d like to believe that political cartoonists and columnists are essential workers, if I have had and recovered from COVID-19 I could probably be more useful delivering food to the elderly, volunteering at a hospital, or performing some other essential task currently going undone because the person who usually does the job is either sick or home trying to avoid getting sick. Waiting tables could help save my local restaurant.

            The government should retool the Selective Service System to draft recovered COVID-19 victims to perform services needed to help people and restart the economy.

            Ramp up Distance-Learning

            Parents, school children and college students in many cities are finding online instruction to be woefully inadequate at best. The most pressing issue is unequal access to the Internet. This is a huge problem. Fortunately, it’s easily fixable.

            There are about 75 million students in the U.S. 17% don’t have home Internet access. That’s 13 million kids. A Wifi hot spot costs $50 a month. A Chromebook is $300. $4 billion, roughly the cost of occupying Iraq for a week, buys a home computer for everyone who needs one; $10 billion a year covers Wifi access. That’s the worst-case scenario; the government could get a volume discount.

            Unfortunately, neither Democratic nor Republican politicians care about our kids enough to act.

            Rent and Mortgage Holidays

            31% of apartment dwellers failed to pay April rent. Expect that number to soar in May and June. Idiotically, the only relief offered by even the most progressive mainstream politicians is a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Moratoriums end. Courts reopen. When they do, millions of people could be thrown out onto the streets.
            Even if you don’t care about them, think about your own property values. During the 2008-09 economic meltdown, mass foreclosures left millions of homes empty. These eyesores dragged down the values of their neighbors’ homes. We really are in this together.

            People who can’t pay their rent or mortgage shouldn’t have to. And at the end of all this, they shouldn’t bear the burden of accumulated debt, interest or late fees. Congress should declare a rent and mortgage holiday until the end of the crisis.

            To mitigate the hardship on landlords and lenders, real estate and other taxes should be waived during the same period. So should utilities like gas and electricity. Congress should consider a tax credit for property owners. Banks should receive Federal Reserve funding at zero percent.

            So far, no mainstream politician is talking about this.

            A War Holiday

            Secretary-General António Guterres of the United Nations is calling for warring parties in the world to lay down their arms for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” he said, emphasizing the fact that war makes it hard for humanitarian assistance to reach victims of coronavirus.

            War is a tremendous waste of lives, resources and money that could be better spent elsewhere, and that has never been more evident than today. Yet at this writing President Trump has ordered the U.S. Navy off the coast of Venezuela in a classic demonstration of gunboat diplomacy. His administration is continuing Barack Obama’s benighted proxy war in Yemen. American drones are slaughtering innocent people in Somalia.

            This is all monstrous BS and should stop forever but, at minimum, wars of choice can wait until the end of the coronavirus crisis. Yet here again neither party, Democrat or Republican, has endorsed the Secretary-General’s idea.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

Imagining a Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/04/2020 - 11:30pm in

(DavidSwanson.org) — When a few thousand people were murdered on September 11, 2001, I was actually stupid enough – I kid you not – to imagine that the general public would conclude that because massive military forces, nuclear arsenals, and foreign bases had done nothing to prevent and much to provoke those crimes, the U.S. government would need to start scaling back its single biggest expense. By September 12th it was clear that the opposite course would be followed.

Since 2001, we have seen the U.S. government dump over a trillion dollars a year into militarism, and push the rest of the world to expend another trillion dollars a year, much of it on U.S.-made weapons. We’ve seen the creation of permawars, and the normalization of long-distance, push-button murder with drone wars. All of this has generated more terrorism in the name of fighting it. And it has come at the expense of actual defense.

A government agency aimed at actually defending people from actual dangers would cease activities that are counter-productive, that cause major environmental and climate destruction, and that consume resources that could be put to good use. Militarism meets all of those criteria.

Coronavirus will kill many more than a few thousand people, even just in the United States. The death toll there may fall between 200,000 and 2,200,000. That high figure would be 0.6% of the U.S. population, which compares with 0.3% of the U.S. population killed by World War II, or 5.0% of the Iraqi population killed in the war begun in 2003. The low figure of 200,000 would be 67 times the death count from 9-11. Should we expect to see the U.S. government expending $67 trillion a year on health and wellness? Even one sixty-seventh of that, even a mere trillion a year spent where it’s actually useful could work wonders.

Here’s a chart produced by ICAN:

military vs coronavirus spending

Here it is adjusted by me to include all militarism, not just nuclear:

military vs coronavirus spending

The microscopic little virus, just like the men with boxcutters on airplanes, is simply not addressed by military spending. On the contrary, the environmental destruction of militarism and of the dominant global culture as a whole very likely contributes to the mutation and spread of such viruses. Factory farming and carnivorism likely contribute as well. And at least some diseases, such as Lyme and Anthrax, have been spread by military labs doing openly offensive or supposedly defensive work on bioweapons.

A Department of Actual Defense, as opposed to a Department of War renamed Defense, would be looking very hard at the twin dangers of nuclear and climate apocalypse, and the accompanying spin-offs like coronavirus. I don’t mean looking at them with an eye to militarizing borders, getting more oil out of the arctic as the ice melts, demonizing immigrants to sell more weapons, or developing “smaller” and “more usable” nukes. We have all of that sociopathy already. I mean looking at these threats in order to actually defend against them.

The biggest dangers include:

  • poor health, and poor diets and lifestyles that contribute to poor health,
  • particular diseases and ecosystem destruction that contributes to them,
  • poverty and financial insecurity that lead to poor health and to the inability to take necessary steps against a disease like coronavirus,
  • suicide, and the unhappy lives and mental illness and access to guns that contribute,
  • accidents, and the transportation and workplace policies that contribute,

War is a top cause of death where there are wars. Foreign terrorism is nowhere remotely near a top cause of death in nations that wage distant wars.

The disastrous response that we are seeing from the U.S. and other governments to the current disaster should put to rest once and for all the notion that people will automatically become better and wiser once things get bad enough.

Those proclaiming empire over and capitalism dead should get a grip on themselves. Capitalism is thriving, as is empire. A culture that has spent decades preparing to act badly when the COVID-19 hits the fan cannot be made to be acting wisely simply by declaring it so.

But acting disastrously is not inevitable. It’s a choice, albeit a difficult one to change quickly. It’s popular to predict that climate collapse will cause war, but climate collapse can’t cause a war in a culture that doesn’t use war. What causes war, or insider trading and pandemic profiteering, or negligent mass homicide is the preparation of systems designed for those things and for nothing else.

We could prepare a society and a government for positive steps instead. A Department of Actual Defense would need to be global, not national, but a national government could do a cheap imitation of parts of it that would be wild improvements over what we’re seeing now. Such a department might encompass what’s been conceived of as a Department of Peace, an agency aimed at moving from violence to nonviolence. But a Department of Actual Defense would also be dedicated to preventing all major harm.

Imagine if everyone on earth right now had financial security and top medical care. We would all be better off in many ways. That task may sound dreamy or visionary, but it is actually radically smaller than the task of building the militaries that have been built in recent years.

Imagine if climate collapse were being treated like the urgent emergency that coronavirus is now understood to be. Climate collapse should have been treated that way many years ago. The sooner it is, the easier things will be. The later, the harder. Why choose the harder road?

Imagine if the nuclear doomsday clock being closer to midnight than ever before were addressed appropriately, with some hint of interest from human governments in human survival. That’s a project that costs nothing and saves billions — so, feel free to mock it, but not to scream howyagonnapayforit. Nobody screams that for military-sized corporate bailouts anyway.

A Department of Actual Defense would not be a military attacking a different enemy. The problem of disease or illness is one to be addressed as much by improved environment, lifestyle, and diet as by medicine, and by an approach to medicine that attempts all solutions whether or not they resemble “attacking” the “enemy” virus.

A Department of Actual Defense would train pro-environment workers, disaster-relief workers, and suicide-prevention workers in the tasks of protecting the environment, relieving disasters, and preventing suicide, as opposed to training and arming them all to kill large number of people with weapons but then assigning them to other tasks. We don’t need a military redirected but disbanded.

What humanity needs is not a better militarism, but a better humanity.

Feature photo | Texas Army National Guardsmen unpack crates of supplies as they set up a field hospital in response to the new coronavirus crisis at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, March 31, 2020, in Dallas. Photo | The Dallas Morning News via AP

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie and When the World Outlawed War. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

The post Imagining a Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus appeared first on MintPress News.

Why Is Elizabeth Warren Hiring so Many Right Wing Foreign Policy Hacks?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/02/2020 - 6:12pm in

Elizabeth Warren has positioned herself as the progressive alternative to Bernie Sanders. But a list of her foreign policy advisers reads no differently than it would if she were Hillary Clinton.