Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Robert “Fighting Bob” M. La Follette
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
On April 19, 1810 (200 years ago), Simon Bolivar(the "George Washington of South America") declared independence from Spain in Caracas, Vz, and started to formulate "Gran Colombia" which was his vision for peace and economic growth for the entire continent of South America.
Being an admirer of the American revolution--where colonists in North America defeated the British to form a united nation that had a common language, religion and customs--Bolivar sought to copy that model in South America.
For about 12 years Gran Colombia was a republic that encompassed a great part of the territory of northern South America and part of southern Central America during the years 1819 to 1831. The present day nations of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama and part of Costa Rica were part of this republic of which Bolivar was president.
Most of the Europeans were kicked off of the continent and South America has become a continent of 15 different nations with about 400 million people. For centuries, South America (and Central America) has been a chessboard for geo-political strategies and a region where the U.S. has laid illegitimate claim and has used for economic dumping, pillage, and robbery. The CIA has liberally used the tools of coup and assassination to destabilize the regions against true participatory democracy and the U.S. has supported more than a few evil despots there.
Separately, the countries of South America, are either ineffectual against "il Imperio" to the north, or using their very weakness to align with the U.S. (Colombia) against regional neighbors, thinking such an alliance will bring strength and prosperity. Traditionally, bad things happen in such alliances.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez Frias, was elected from the people to lead Venezuela. In 1999, a new Constitution was written and ratified by the people which instituted the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and President Chavez has dedicated his political career and life to a new Bolivarian Revolution. For Chavez this revolution has several stated goals:
- Venezuelan economic and political sovereignty (anti-imperialism).
- Grassroots political participation of the population via popular votes and referendums (participatory democracy).
- Economic self-sufficiency (in food, consumer durables, etc...).
- Instilling in people a national ethic of patriotic service.
- Equitable distribution of Venezuela's vast oil revenues.
- Eliminating corruption.
Learning about this grass-roots revolution was the driving force that led me back to Venezuela this past February. The U.S. has plagued the Americas with misery, and we up here in The Empire are beginning to acutely feel what other peoples of the world have felt: economic oppression and the theft of liberty; exploiting the terms, "democracy, freedom, and liberty," so much so that many of us up here believe that the Slavery of imperialistic-capitalistic-militaristic society is this mythic "freedom."
Besides Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution, he is also trying to use the ideals of Simon Bolivar to unite Latin America for economic strength and security. He formed ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas) which has eight member nations from Latin America now. Recently in Cancun, an alternative to the U.S. dominated Organization of American States (without the U.S. and Canada) was discussed.
Thomas Jefferson, a man whom Simon Bolivar (although he was anti-slavery) held in high-esteem, once said: "God forbid we should be 20 years without such a rebellion...the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
Our republic is dying on the vine due to the (sometimes deliberate and stubborn) ignorance and lethargy of We the People. In this day of Corporate Ascendancy over our government and other institutions that corrupt our lives, we should be rebelling more, and blindly obeying these systems less.
The revolution in Venezuela has been achieved in a relatively peaceful manner. There has been some unfortunate bloodshed, but I have talked to many people there who have and will defend the revolution with their own lives. Also, in Venezuela I was impressed by the sharing of power between the people and their government--which, to many, truly feels like a government "by and for" its people and not "by and for" the Corporatocracy.
We are working on a movie called Todos Somos Americanos (We are all Americans) that seeks not only to dispel the ugly and false rumors about Chavez, Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution, but is also attempting to inspire people in our country to a healthy, peaceful, people's revolution.
To pre-order your copy of Todos Somos Americanos, go here.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Anyway, this general subject of robotic warfare is very interesting to me. Recently, in a very ironic move, I was ejected from a Congressional hearing about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles when I was actually there to listen to the testimony. Just because I had a small sign reading, “Drones kill kids,” poised on my chest was no reason to kick me out. I was being quiet and had no intention of disrupting, as I informed the Congressman’s aide—but I got removed, anyway.
This particular topic of “Real American Values” is also very interesting. I guess, before we go any further, we should define two terms in the talk.
“Robotic warfare” is the subject of this conference and there are many people speaking here who are far more qualified to give you a technical briefing. I have mainly concentrated by opposition around UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), but I have seen ground based robotics at work, too.
According to a news story, dated July 16, 2009, Robotic Technology is working on a “long-range/long endurance” robot that will dine on human flesh. Instead of calling this one “ZOMBIE,” its working title is the: ENERGETICALLY AUTONOMOUS TACTICAL ROBOT, or EATR for short. Can you imagine an unstoppable monster attacking your neighborhood and eating anything that moves?
Now here comes the part where something a little less concrete needs to be defined: “Real American Values.” Hmm—how do we do that? Are there “values” that can be applied consistently across the length and breadth of this beautiful country of ours (and trust me, it is beautiful—I have crossed the length and breadth just this week—from California to the Southern Tier of New York State and back and from California to Dallas and then up here to Oregon)?
Well, the “values” of the group that are here exercising their freedom of speech to protest against this conference (and particularly me), seem to be decidedly contrary to the principles of we who are assembled here, today.
Firstly, how is our new-ish president faring with this issue—especially with the use of UAV’s?
Well, from 2004 to the end of 2008, there were 23 US drone strikes in Pakistan. On January 23, 2009, the brand-spanking new and “improved” resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave authorized his first lethal strike in Pakistan—killing about 30 people.
Since that day, just 16 months ago, 75 more terror strikes have hit Pakistan. These UAV strikes in Pakistan are performed by our CIA with cooperation with the Pakistani military and mostly launched from airbases within Pakistan.
Pakistan is now like the Wild West and our SlayStation program of Murder by Joystick is greatly enhancing this destabilization—yet many people on the American “left” still support the actions of the Nobel Laureate.
Currently, some “Real American Values” are that one life of a US troop is worth the lives about 200 innocent men, women and children, if we take a baseline of 5000 American troops killed and one million civilians—which are both low estimates.
These “Real American Values” also presume that our troops should be fighting in Iraq OR Afghanistan and that the murdering of the occupants of the tribal regions in Afghanistan/Pakistan is justified because somehow these poor and oppressed people might hop a plane over here to strangle one of us in our sleep.
Another thing is that as with this phony “War on Terror,” the very use of drone technology is a system of terror. Every innocent child that is killed; or every woman or old person that has his/her life prematurely stolen, creates hatred towards the U.S. How can anybody be so intellectually impaired, or propagandized (or shall we say “Fox-agandized) to the point that this is not just so fundamentally understood? How can one be so blinded by hatred, or fear to not recognize that humans have a primal need to NOT be occupied and an even more primal need to protect his/her family or community?
To illustrate my point about the willful and stubborn ignorance of the American news-o-tainment consumer, I want to tell you about an email that I received the other day.
After the usual rightwing salutation of “Hey Moron,” Jerry went on to tell me that UAVs don’t kill people and they don’t even carry weapons! I usually don’t even reply to such stupidity, but a reply that took a few seconds with pictures and articles proved my point and I haven’t heard from him since.
On the day my son was killed in Iraq, eight US troops were killed and over one thousand inhabitants of Sadr City, Baghdad. I am now being attacked using the despicable argument that if the US Army had been using UAVs the day my son was dead, he may still be alive. Like the 58,000 US troops during the Vietnam war crime that were that were covered with fighter jets and helicopters and were slaughtered anyway? I would trade places with Casey if I could, but this argument ignores the fact that this country, the one that is supposed to have values, sent him to die in a completely illegal and fully immoral war based on lies.
Casey was also killed in retaliation for Blackwater’s war crimes and for torture in Abu Ghraib—are these American “Values?”
The argument that the use of UAVs saves the lives of American Troops is one that can’t be supported, anyway.
Just one example occurred at the end of 2009, when our attention was being diverted to Tiger Woods and the Crotch Bomber, eight CIA agents were executed on a military base in Khost Province, Afghanistan in direct retaliation for drone bombings in Pakistan.
As with the tragedy of 9-11 most Americans would believe that this attack came out of the blue and was neither expected nor justified—it’s a cycle of violence that can more often than not, be traced right back to the US Empire.
Tragically, although there are some people in this country who abhor killing whether the person killed is brown, black, yellow, or white; Christian, Muslim, Jew or otherwise; most of our fellow citizens are either pathetically apathetic, or lack critical reasoning skills, like our friends who are here to protest us.
If we define “Real American Values” in a realistic way, then “YES” Robotic Warfare conforms to those values. Values where “the other” is held in, not only low esteem, but as less than human. Values where the conquest of land, resources, or wealth is the reason for such demonization of people so their slaughter will conform to our “superiority complex” ideas of “Mom, flag, apple pie and Chevrolet.” Ask our First People about “Real American Values,” if you can find one.
Millions of people have been killed directly, or indirectly by the murderous psychopathology of this US Empire—to me, using robotics, real troops, or dropping bombs from airplanes are all actions of a morally bankrupt nation with very few values.
Now, if you define “Real American Values” as those values that are totally based on myth, then “NO” Robotic Warfare is not in alignment with them.
You know these Mythic Values that I am talking about! The one that says that the US is a force for good in the world—the one that says that the US avoids “collateral damage—the one that says that we always fight fair, and after the fight, we ride off into the sunset with the pretty girl by our side.
Have we ever been this country? In my humble opinion a country built with forced slave labor and expanded on the virtual genocide of an original population was NEVER a country that had positive values.
How do we convince 80-90% of our fellow Americans that if we kill innocent people, the problem is worse? How do we convince these same people that we ARE killing innocent people?
After a couple of centuries of American Exceptionalism, the task is not easy, but I think the use of remotely controlled weapons should ring particularly cowardly if we the people declare that we do have “Values.”
This conference and the resulting “controversy” is a good start—and you know what our friends in Arabic countries say: “How do you eat an elephant—one bite at a time.”
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Here at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, we are noted for bringing truth-tellers to your airwaves.
Today is not an exception.
Beginning at 2PM (and available forever thereafter), we have an in-depth interview with returning guest: Eva Golinger.
Eva is a Venezuelan-American who lives in Venezuela and is an investigative journalist who has uncovered some damning facts about US meddling in Venezuelan politics.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO LISTEN TO LAST WEEK'S SHOW WITH LEGEND, DANIEL ELLSBERG!
There are several ways to support this courageous show that is constantly in the face of US Empire.
We are busy working on our documentary, Todos Somos Americanos, and we are hoping to release it in June.
You can pre-order your copy today by clicking on the image below.
We are currently working on a preview that should be ready soon so we can begin to offer sponsorships--more details to come!
Order your copy of Myth America II: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution by clicking on the Robbers below!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Come Out and Meet Cindy This Week:
Thursday, April 8:
10:30 a.m. - Press conference will be
held at the St. Francis of Assisi church
1031 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY. (Room 104 - School Building)
12:00 Noon - Pot Luck luncheon for press conference attendees, committee members and local peace group leaders - Location: St. Francis church hall
3 - 5 pm - Book signing at River Read Books, Court St. Binghamton
7 - 9 pm - Presentation at Binghamton University - Lecture Hall 8 - Open to Community
For more information on Binghamton events contact: George McAnaman - email@example.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 09
12 NOON to 2PM
Email Jack Gilroy for details:
7 p.m. – Words & Music for Peace – First United Methodist Church, 53 McKinley Avenue, Endicott, NY. This event will include a talk by Cindy with Q & A, folk music by Janet Burgan and a performance by Expressive Drumming. The community is invited. Refreshments and Book signing
SATURDAY, APRIL 1OTH:
7 - 9 Evening Event - Women's Community Building - 100 W. Seneca St. Open to the Public
For more information on Ithaca events Contact:
Bob Nape - 607-592-7692 or
Andrea Levine - 908-461-8491
Listen to the Soapbox
Sunday's guest, available 2pm Pacific Time is
hero: Daniel Ellsberg
Read Cindy's New Blog:
Take This Empire and Shove It!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
“Listen, I can't get involved. I've got work to do. It's not that I like the Empire; I hate it. But there's nothing I can do about it right now... It's all such a long way from here.”
Luke Skywalker in Star Wars
Dear Reader—raise your hand if you don’t know that atrocities happen in war. Now put your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
Psychologist, Robert Jay Lifton, who is a pioneer in the study of what drives otherwise “normal” human beings to commit war crimes calls war: “an atrocity-producing situation.” Atrocities have been committed in every war since the beginning of time, and the sad thing is the barbarity hasn’t decreased. Recently a US soldier tried to justify to me committing atrocities because the "British did it to the Native Americans" in the French-Indian War. This soldier was essentially agreeing with Lifton.
Since war is an atrocity in the first place, war crimes will be committed, period. In many of my speeches soon after Casey was killed, I used to call war “a failure of imagination.” Now I know that’s crap—war is imagined by and for the war machine and gladly perpetrated by its toady elected officials and promoted by its toady media.
This week, several things have upset me about our genocidal foreign policy, but I can’t decide what upsets me more—the genocidal foreign policy or the fact that most of my fellow USAins are sheeple who blindly follow (or not follow) whoever is infecting the Oval Office depending on whether that person has a (D) or an (R) behind his name.
I have spoke in dozens of venues since Obama was inaugurated promoting my e-book: Myth America: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution. Everywhere I speak, someone will ask me this question, and it is almost always this exact question, worded in almost the exact same way: “I didn’t agree with George Bush getting us into these wars, but don’t you agree that we have to stay in Afghanistan to protect the women?” When I ask the person if he/she believed that propaganda when Bush was infesting the Oval Office, he/she says with 100% regularity: “No.” And of course, Afghan women were Mrs. George (43) Bush’s greatest cause. Now we have “peace” groups parroting the same line. Sheeple live in Red AND Blue states. The Robber Class counts on at least ½ of the public being in full compliance with its crimes, that’s why they get away with these crimes on a daily basis.
How’s this for “protecting women?” On February 12th, US Special Forces attacked a home near Gardez and in that attack three women were killed. Two of the women were pregnant. Our military claimed that the women were stabbed to death before the US raid, but the truth finally came out—US Special Forces who subsequently tried to dig the bullets out of the women to hide their hideous crimes killed them, too. Cover up—the specialty of The Empire and The Pope. How can we believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Stainly McChrystalMeth much less that the US is “minimizing” civilian deaths?
At the end of last year, eight Afghan students in Ghazi Khan were handcuffed and executed by US troops. Presumably, these eight students were sons of Afghan women—and where is the righteous anger in this country over our military executing school children? I guess if Tiger Woods would keep Little Tiger in his pants, our toady media might report these outrages—but probably not. When I hear about our troops raping 14 year-old girls in Iraq, or executing Afghan schoolboys, I want to burn something down—but I would rightfully be considered “crazy” if I gave into that temporary impulse—while some US troops (in not-so-isolated incidents) behave like sociopathic maniacs and we don't consider them crazy at all and, in fact, we are supposed to “support" them.
And what about this Cult of Troop Worship? Even the antiwar movement is so careful to not criticize anything The Troops do. We are constantly admonished to “hate the war, but love the warrior.” I am sorry, but I don’t even like that word, “warrior.” It implies that our children join the military to commit war crimes, but we all know that most of our children join for education benefits, or health insurance. “Warrior” also implies that we live in a War State—which we do—but the antiwar movement does not have to use the nomenclature of The Empire. Most of us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, but when our young people become The Troops they receive a thorough brainwashing and get sent off to murder and rape children and pregnant women. Our kids become hired goons for imperial greed—more like victims of a system that neglects everyone’s essential needs, than heroes.
The second bit of news yesterday (not covered in the toady media because Tiger and Little Tiger held a press conference) was the video of The Troops in Iraq slaughtering two Reuter’s journalists, the man who tried to save one of them, and ten others. Oh, and The Troops laughed about it and shot up a van filled with children, seriously wounding two of them. The Troops that did this were in a helicopter, and The Troops that rushed up in a HUMVEE are shown intentionally running over the victims (more laughter). These atrocities happened in 2007 and Reuters has been trying to get the video (shot from the Apache helicopter’s gun sights) for two years now. Wikileaks courageously de-crypted the video and posted it. Warning—it is horrible to watch what The Troops do to these people. Previously, the military’s investigation into these atrocities was ruled as “following rules of engagement.” Which is probably not a lie, since it seems like there are no rules of engagement that protect civilians from The Troops and The Empire.
There have been reports of war crimes for years—from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to Bagram; and from Falluja to Haditha to Marja—the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are totally and completely war crimes. The Nuremburg war crimes tribunals stated that wars of aggression are: "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Anyone involved in these war crimes from President to Private must be prosecuted—that includes the new regime—killing is not okay, even if the killer is a Democrat.
This Empire has lost what little of its mind that it had left after the syphilitic Bush years. The Empire is literally living on borrowed time. The expensive occupations, the expansion of Empire into South America, the new threats of sanctions against Iran, the continued and unwavering support of Israel, the increase (66% over the Bush years) in drone bombings, hellfire missiles raining down in Yemen, presidential targeting of American citizens abroad, yadda, yadda, yadda—will lead to the eventual downfall of the American Empire. It always happens and it will happen this time, too.
What can we do about an Empire that is so many noodles short of a full casserole, but divorce ourselves from it? Can we do a full-frontal attack against a psychopath that has nukes? Can we do what the president of Afghanistan recently threatened—join the resistance? I know for sure what doesn’t work—marching around in circles and shaking our fists at empty buildings on the weekend in Washington, DC—or spending a weekend as a “guest” of the DC criminal justice system.
“Only the little people pay taxes.”
I haven’t paid my income taxes since my son was killed in Iraq in 2004. I am ashamed that I ever paid taxes to fund the crimes of this Empire. I started paying taxes around 1974 and this Empire was embroiled in crimes then as it was before and has been ever since. Get this, in 2009, Exxon, a multi-national billion-dollar crime syndicate paid zero dollars in income taxes!
Some years since 2004, I have made enough to be required to file, most years my reportable income has been way below the filing level. I rarely even receive letters from the IRS. However, I would rather go to prison than know that one of my dollars went to pay for the murder, torture, false imprisonment, or oppression of one person here or abroad.
Think of it this way—what if St. Obama himself walked up to you and asked you to write him a check for two-grand so he could have money to buy a water board, or other torture apparatus, or for bullets, or for one square inch of a bomber? Would you do it? Some of you might, but most of you wouldn’t.
There are many ways to be war tax resisters and there are a handful of us doing it. If more of us who really believed in peaceful conflict resolution did it that would be a far more effective and more courageous way of opposing this Empire than marching in circles.
If we don’t come up with more creative solutions to the violence of this Empire, more and more innocent people will suffer.
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
From War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Butler
I think as an antiwar-peace community, the only way we can “Support the Troops” is by working as hard as we can to make sure none of our children become The Troops.
If you can’t come to DC to take part in our Civil Resistance efforts for Summer Camp OUT NOW, I suggest the you pour all of your efforts into doing counter-recruitment.
There are so many good organizations doing this work that you can help, or support with donations.
No “warriors,” no wars.
These are just two of the ways that we can Take This Empire and Shove It—there are many more suggestions in my e-book, Myth America: 20 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
“Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and the effects they provide have emerged as one of the most "in demand" capabilities the USAF provides the Joint Force. The attributes of persistence, endurance, efficiency, and connectivity are proven force multipliers across the spectrum of global Joint military operations.”
USAF UAS FLIGHT PLAN 2009-2047
Don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of “Manned Aircraft Systems” raining down bombs on civilians, but the idea of Murder by Joystick with the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (UAS,) is especially sickening to me.
UAS, more commonly known as “drones,” are controlled from thousands of miles away and are increasingly becoming the new wave of the Air Force. The Air Force was recently devastated by Congress cutting off funding for the obsolete F22 fighter jet and is very excited about its robotic killers.
Even the names of drones are monstrous, such as: Predator and Reaper—The Grim Reaper drone—choosing who lives or who dies from an air conditioned bunker at Creech Air Force base thousands of miles away from the bombing site:
Thousands of miles away from the carnage;
Thousands of miles away from the screaming and dying;
Light years away from morality and compassion.
With reports stating that, from the top down, the US military is filled with Christian zealots, I wonder who "authorizes" Murder by Joystick? Does the 6th Commandment say: “Thou shalt not murder; unless you can pretend you’re playing a video game?” The mass murder of the 21st century couldn’t have been even remotely conceived of a few millennia ago.
War has become more deadly to persons but increasingly more depersonalized. Today, needless civilian deaths outweigh unnecessary military deaths by a 5 to 1 ratio, but are still referred to as: “Collateral damage.” Our military has become even further depersonalized by the utilization of paid mercenaries.
Not only is this kind of warfare taking a toll on civilians, but also military chaplains have reported that some of the “pilots” who control these weapons are having crises of conscience. Being me, I can’t conceive of sitting in a comfy room and dropping bombs on children, then going home to eat dinner with my children, or attend their Scouting meetings or sporting events. It is uplifting to know that some of our troops have consciences—I wish more would start to refuse these repugnant orders.
The Pentagon recently confirmed that even though US troops are moving out of Iraq, they would be replaced--sometimes by a two to one ratio--by mercenaries from such places as Uganda. This jaded nation of ours barely cares about the soldiers that are dying, how much less will we care about foreign paid mercenary killers and whether they have the right equipment or not?
The US Central Intelligence Agency collaborates with the Pakistani government to execute political enemies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, claiming that “al Qaeda” or “Taliban” leaders are being killed, when that is not the reality at all. While the government in Islamabad gives lip service to condemning CIA drone attacks, some of the drones are being launched from such airfields in Pakistan as Shamsi.
Currently the US is waging two undeclared wars with pre-emptive attacks in Yemen and promising tougher sanctions in Iran. US drones have been spotted over Venezuelan airspace. I predict that the escalating use of UAS’s will just make it easier to wage, not only illegal wars, but un-Constitutional wars, as well.
In US culture today, it’s just a short trip from the violent games on PlayStation and other video systems, to actually killing people with Slay-stations. We parents must be more proactive in banning violent games from our households.
SlayStation's game, Murder by Joystick, is just further moral bankruptcy from the Military Industrial Complex that, according to the UAF Flight Plan, is salivating and looking forward to the day when drones—using artificial intelligence—will carry nuclear weapons and won't need any direction from humans at all.
2047 is the target date for total Armageddon by UAS.
Note: When Bush was president there were 24 drone attacks in Pakistan from 2004-2008. In the 15 months that Obama has been president, there have been 72 attacks. Where’s the change?
© Islam Times