The ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Won’t Lead To Peace

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By Medea Benjamin. “I’m really very good at war. I love war, in a certain way,” bragged candidate Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa. This is the same Donald Trump who avoided the Vietnam draft by claiming a bone spur in his foot, a medical problem that never kept him off the tennis courts or golf courses, and miraculously healed on its own. But with the escalation of US military involvement in Syria, the record number of drone attacks in Yemen, more US troops being sent to the Middle East and, now, the dropping of a massive bomb in Afghanistan, it looks like Trump may indeed love war. Or at least, love “playing” war. In Syria, Trump went for 59 Tomahawk missiles. Now, in Afghanistan, he has opted for a “super weapon”, the second largest of the US military’s non-nuclear bombs. This 21,600-pound explosive, never before used in combat, was used to blast a bunch of tunnels and caves in an Afghan province near the border of Pakistan.

Newsletter: Syrian Missile Attack, An Opportunity To Challenge Militarism

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The US attack on Syria, in reaction to the unproven allegations that President Assad used chemical weapons on the people of Syria, was not a surprise. It took President Trump a few days of discussions with his military advisers to decide to use the tactic of bombing a military target with 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. The Russians were given advance warning, personnel and some equipment were removed from the site and because a majority of Tomahawks missed their target, very little damage was done to the site. There are reports of Syrian aircraft flying out of the facility after the bombing. But damage was done to cities nearby the site and at least 25 civilians were killed, including 8 children and dozens were injured. This was an illegal act of war under international law.

US Has 200K Troops Active In 177 Countries

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By Jeff Desjardins for Visual Capitalist – There was no shortage of cuts proposed in Trump’s budget for 2018, which was released earlier this week. However, one of the few departments that did not receive a haircut was the Department of Defense. If the proposed budget ultimately passes in Congress, the DoD would be allocated an extra $54 billion in federal funding – a 10% increase that would be one of the largest one-year defense budget increases in American History. To put the proposed increase in context, the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Meanwhile, the additional $54 billion is about the size of the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget. With over half of all U.S. discretionary spending being put towards the military each year, the U.S. is able to have extensive operations both at home and abroad. Our chart for this week breaks down military personnel based on the latest numbers released by the DoD on February 27, 2017. In total, excluding civilian support staff, there are about 2.1 million troops.

The Protesting Priest

Frank Cordaro, Catholic Workers, Iowa, the protesting priest. Photo by Hannah Little

By Angela Ufheil for Urban Plains. Each year, the Andrews Air Force Base hosts an open house. Thousands visit the Maryland base to see the latest in aircraft technology. Pilots perform aerial stunts. Soldiers give talks. And in 1998, five activists, known as the Gods of Metal Plowshares Five, attacked a military bomber. An interpretation of Roman Catholicism allows for the destruction of property in the name of pacifism. That’s where the Plowshares movement came from. The movement aligned with Frank’s goals perfectly. When the first Plowshares action took place in 1980 — a group of eight damaged a nuclear warhead and poured blood onto documents and files — Frank knew he’d one day participate. Most Plowshares protests involved active resistance to war. In this case, active resistance isn’t just writing letters and making a few calls. It means trespassing on military property. It means pouring blood. It means breaking things.

Newsletter: Being Prepared To Turn Crisis To Our Advantage

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the Trump administration floundering and the movement opposed to him expanding, we need to be prepared for a possible shock doctrine moment, whether intentional or not, that could be used to unify the country around an unpopular president and shut down political dissent. If a crisis occurs, we need to use it, not to unify behind the President, but to rapidly explain how the crisis is part of the failed government policies of both parties, that it is a systemic problem of which Trump is a symptom and that the crisis means the movement must expand. If we succeed we will advance our cause even in a crisis whether it is self-created, provoked or blow back. We will not only blunt the potential of a Reichstag moment but turn it to our advantage to serve transformation of the nation. If we are to succeed, we must start preparing now. Those who are prepared for crisis, do best when it occurs.

Newsletter: Protest Is Working & Growing

Resist banner flies over the Donald Trump White House by Greenpeace.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. People are recognizing that they have power to protest in a lot of areas. Some see the potential for protest at work, such as the resistance and non-cooperation among federal workers. And, many are planning on building toward a general strike, something unheard of in US history. State officials are even talking about protesting by not paying federal taxes. Early in the Trump era, protest is working and the potential ahead is for an even larger resistance movement. The dysfunctional nature of government will add to protest movements, making the country ungovernable. We can defeat the oligarchy, as currently represented by Trump, but which began long before him, by remaining independent of the corporate parties and fighting for the changes we need.

Newsletter: The Problem Isn’t Trump, It’s Bigger

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The awakening of mass protests against Donald Trump’s executive orders and appointments could become a real movement, but it must realize a critically important point: Trump is not the problem, the system is. Illusion of Democracy hides oligarchyTrump is a symptom of a long-term trend of a failing democracy that is too closely tied to Wall Street and the war machine. Both the Republican and Democratic parties are part of this failed system that does not represent the people of the United States. We are all working to build a mass movement for economic, racial and environmental justice that is bigger than Donald Trump. As the extremist actions of the Trump administration are put in place we need to remember that extremism for the wealthy, for war and ignoring of environmental catastrophe is consistent with the actions of all recent presidents and the leadership of both corporate parties.

America Dropped 26,171 Bombs In 2016. Bloody End To Obama's Reign

‘One bombing technique that President Obama championed is drone strikes.’ Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

By Medea Benjamin for The Guardian – Most Americans would probably be astounded to realize that the president who has been painted by Washington pundits as a reluctant warrior has actually been a hawk. The Iran nuclear deal, a herculean achievement, and the opening of diplomatic relations with Cuba unfortunately stand alone as President Obama’s successful uses of diplomacy over hostility. While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W Bush’s wars, he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in US history. He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

SYRIA: US Peace Council Responds To Anti-War Movement

US Peace Council delegation meets with President Assad of Syria.

By Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire. At the end of July 2016 the US Peace Council delegation entered Syria to meet with members of the elected Syrian government and opposition party members living inside Syria as opposed to those who have lived outside Syria since the beginning of the US allied war against Syria that was being fomented long before 2011. Upon their return the delegates reported on what they had seen and heard with powerful honesty and integrity. They emphasized the need to lift the economic sanctions being imposed upon the “Syrian Government” by the US and EU NATO member states. These sanctions were seen to be collectively punishing the Syrian people first and foremost across all sectors including the crucial health and education sectors. They also focused on the cessation of the illegal US military intervention both direct and by proxy terrorist forces that are marauding across Syria and massacring the Syrian people in their tens of thousands at the behest of the US, NATO members, the Gulf States and of course Israel.

Newsletter: #NoHoneymoon, A Presidency Of Protest

Stage on first day of Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Place, October 2011.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The task of the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice is much bigger than the presidential election. Our job is to build people power to ensure that no matter who is the next president, the people’s voices are heard and our demands are part of the political agenda. We urge organizers and advocates across the nation to begin to plan a campaign beginning in early 2017 and carrying on through the inauguration to ensure that right from the beginning the people’s voices are a dominant narrative. The #NoHoneymoon campaign will take various forms in communities across the country. Talk to your networks of activists and plan what would work best in your community. The creativity and energy that comes from diverse leadership has surprised the nation before and can do so again.

Daniel Berrigan Dead At 94

Daniel Berrigan in wheel chair

From a variety of sources on the death of Daniel Berrigan: We are bereft. We are so sad. We are aching and wrung out. Our bodies are tired as Dan’s was—after a hip fracture, repeated infections, prolonged frailty. And we are so grateful: for the excellent and conscientious care Dan received at Murray Weigel, for his long life and considerable gifts, for his grace in each of our lives, for his courage and witness and prodigious vocabulary. Dan taught us that every person is a miracle, every person has a story, every person is worthy of respect.

25 Drone Protesters Arrested In Blockades At Gates To Creech AFB

Shut down Creech angels face-off with police March 2016

By Shut Down Creech. Anti-drone protesters executed waves of multiple non-violent peaceful actions at Creech Air Force Base throughout the morning last Friday, April 1, with the intent of interrupting the drone killing activities that take place there. Creech AFB, in southern Nevada, is the primary Command Center for the CIA’s and President Obama’s Drone Assassination program. At the most heavily used eastern gate, a total of 13 people were arrested in 4 separate actions. After military personnel re-opened the main base gate in the later morning after the 1st action there, three more waves of blockades occurred. The 3rd and 4th waves breeched a barricade near the gate and continued to block the road, ultimately stalling gate operations for nearly an hour totally, counting all actions at that gate. Another 4 were arrested at a 2nd gate. The first incident at the eastern gate occurred at approximately 7:00 AM when a group of six children and eight adults all dressed as angels, performed a mock drone attack on a funeral.

Newsletter - A Peek At Empire

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. It’s impacts are all around us, but it is rarely mentioned. What is it? Empire, and it’s time to bring it out of the shadows. We take a peek at the history of US Empire and how it continues to grow and be all-consuming today. The Empire Economy plunders our national treasury and robs us of jobs, education, healthcare and a future while serving transnational corporations. The US military is the biggest single user of fossil fuels which pollutes the planet and worsens the climate crisis. Our ‘American Way of War’ targets the basic necessities of life like power stations, hospitals and water plants for destruction and turns peaceful people against each other causing chaos and creating a vacuum for extremism and aggression against the US. The Pentagon cannot be audited but demands more every year. The war culture pervades our society.

Activists Entering Drone Base With Loaf Of Bread Arrested

Kathy Kelly (left) holds the memorial flag of an 8-year old who was killed in a US drone attack. photo by KGNU News

By Joy First for the National Coalition for Creative Nonviolence. On February 23rd, two peace activists with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Brian Terrell and Kathy Kelly, were arrested when they attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to drone operators at Volk Field, an Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin, which trains pilots to operate Shadow Drones over other countries. Voices activists have lived alongside ordinary people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Gaza. People who can’t flee from drone surveillance and attacks have good reason to fear people from the U.S., but instead they have broken bread with Kelly and Terrell and have welcomed opportunities for deepened mutual understanding. Kelly and Terrell carried the loaf of bread to signify the worth of relying on words rather than weapons.

The American Empire: Murder Inc.

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By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Terror, intimidation and violence are the glue that holds empire together. Aerial bombardment, drone and missile attacks, artillery and mortar strikes, targeted assassinations, massacres, the detention of tens of thousands, death squad killings, torture, wholesale surveillance, extraordinary renditions, curfews, propaganda, a loss of civil liberties and pliant political puppets are the grist of our wars and proxy wars. Countries we seek to dominate, from Indonesia and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, are intimately familiar with these brutal mechanisms of control. But the reality of empire rarely reaches the American public.