Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump at the Al Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan on Thursday. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
Which is why his endorsement of a Clinton presidency is wrong-headed and dangerous. The strategy of voting for the 'lesser evil' of our winner-take-all democracy takes us to the brink of nuclear war.
Hillary Clinton's no fly zone policy for Syria virtually guarantees an air war with Russia. "Right now, Senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia," responded General Joseph Dunford to a question from Senator Roger Wicker during testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. "That is a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I'm not going to make."
"To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we're not putting our pilots at risk - you're going to kill a lot of Syrians," Clinton admitted.
The head of Russia's news agency has warned the United States that any "impudent behaviour" towards Moscow could have "nuclear" implications.
"American presidents have anointed themselves with the power to wage war, unilaterally kill Americans, torture prisoners, strip citizens of their rights, arrest and detain citizens indefinitely, carry out warrantless spying on Americans, and erect their own secretive, shadow government...
Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead lists the powers that will be inherited by the next CEO of U.S. imperialism.
Trump or Clinton? Your vote for either of these candidates won't stop the abuse of presidential power amassed by each successive president, concludes Whitehead. "Presidents don't give up power. Executive orders don't expire at the end of each presidential term."
Restoration of the rule of law Whitehead calls for will require "an end to the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements as a means of getting around Congress and the courts."
And the collective determination of masses of people to stop the crimes of this government.
"[Will] Bunch hit on one of the main reasons why I find tasering to be such an important issue," wrote digby about the tasering of Phillies fan Steve Consalvi in 2010. "It's not just the use of the device itself which is awful enough. It's what it symbolizes -- the unraveling of 200 years of accumulated progress toward civil liberties and human rights. This instrument of pain is being used on everything from kids to bed-ridden grandmothers without regard to guilt or innocence or danger to the populace and the police... legalization of torture and indefinite detention normalizes behaviors that our leaders would have been much too afraid to admit to doing in the past (think Obama's powers to kill with impunity)."
The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services report released today recommends 272 changes for a police force (SFPD) that murders unarmed civilians, including distribution of electronic stun guns (Tasers) to officers.
How many times must we say NO to Tasers? The last thing we need are additional weapons for police to employ against the people they are supposed to protect.
Culpability for the legacy of damaged minds at the hands of interrogators at Guantanamo extends to sponsors of what a California Law Review calls "a flawed and eccentric historical theory [that] came to underpin the government's conduct of war and foreign policy," including and particularly Berkeley Law.
Not only is the professor still walking around free, the University of California fawns over law school employee John Yoo, criminal proponent for lawless detention policy that resulted in the torture and death of scores of illegally held prisoners of U.S. war of terror on the Middle East.
"The acts of torture that John Yoo and other Bush administration officials so proudly defend are nothing less than war crimes that, in the absence of accountability, continue to undermine the United States' claim to respect the rule of law," Physicians for Human Rights adviser Vincent Iacopino commented, in response to Yoo's continued defense of the indefensible.
Universities, think-tanks, lobbying firms and corporations provide safe-harbor for Yoo and his ilk. U.S. leaders look after their own.
But they also face resistance from students and parents, alumni and a few faculty members disparage, and communities at large attempt to legislate remedy. It is our responsibility to call out criminals and enablers alike.
Our mission, in concert with people of conscience across the country, is to prosecute key officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Indict John Yoo and his sponsors:
Saturday, October 29
Boalt Hall, Room 105
215 Bancroft Way
"Torture Memos" author John Yoo Belongs in Prison, Not Mentoring the Next Generation of Lawyers and Judges. Please contact World Can't Wait to tell us how you want to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alarming changes that Barack Obama sees over the horizon are already here, report
Ryan Devereaux and Alex Emmons for The Intercept. An early draft of Obama's memoirs wrestles with the legacy of an imperial presidency -- and places the blame for executive overreach squarely on Congress.
'Troubled' that future presidents willrun with his criminal drone program (both candidates for the White House promise to intensify the use of military force abroad), "Obama acknowledges this problem, that future presidents will be empowered to kill globally, and in secret. What he doesn't acknowledge is how much of a role his administration had in making that a bizarre normal," says Naureen Shah, director of national security and human rights at Amnesty International.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," wrote philosopher George Santayana. We urge former Obama supporters to keep that in mind while making plans to protest the January inauguration of another monster-in-chief.
Hurricane Matthew is more likely to shut down the U.S.'s Guantanamo naval base than Obama, reports teleSUR. "We might have a shot at witnessing the hurricane doing what U.S. President Barack Obama failed to do while in office for eight long years: close Guantanamo prison."
Notably absent from the mandatory evacuation of "all non-essential personnel" -- and their pets -- are the 61 remaining prisoners, who will "shelter in place." Landfall of the storm is expected late Tuesday night.
The base last took a significant hit during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 when the storm tore up the war court compound called Camp Justice.
When the President says so. Deployment of 600 more troops to Iraq is "consistent with Mr. Obama's policy not to commit American ground forces again in Iraq," says the White House.
Really? Seven years after "ending" the war, with over one million Iraqi deaths attributed to the conflict, characterization of U.S. intervention in Iraq as humanitarian aid begs belief.
As does the double-speak of "just law" the President uses to rationalize crimes against humanity. But "whatever the reasons for going to war, or continuing to conduct that war, they do not necessarily justify drone strikes, extraordinary renditions, or any other method of warfare," wrote Joe Boyle at BBC News.
Obama admitted as much: "Perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this [Nobel 'War Is Peace'] prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two [now 7] wars," said Obama, accepting his medal. But don't expect a change of heart. The President "doesn't look back" on the crimes of his government.
The man who rode into office on anti-Iraq war sentiment "is now forced to act in the only way he and the Empire he presides over know how," wrote Dennis Loo, member of the Steering Committee of World Can't Wait. "Killing and more killing. Lying and more lying. Destroying and more destroying. Fear mongering and more fear mongering."
We can expect more of the same from today's aspirants to leadership of the U.S. warfare state. Donald Trump pledges to deploy up to 30,000 American troops to the Middle East. Hillary Clinton never met a war she didn't want. Bernie Sanders would redistribute the spoils of capitalist plunder. Gary Johnson isn't sure where Aleppo is. Jill Stein thinks war costs too much, in dollars and lives. She calls for a foreign policy that "goes back to the drawing board."
But the change we need is not on the ballot. It is on those of us who care about people, the future of humanity and the planet, to act together to stop endless wars for empire.
"If he wants to close Guantánamo, he can," the freed (if you conflate forced migration with liberty) prisoner sends a message to the American people. "He can now. Now. He can give order, close Guantánamo. He can close Guantánamo. But he coward. He can't take this decision, because he scared. But Guantánamo supposed to close, should be closed, Guantánamo, because Guantánamo, that's not good for the United States. Never."
"Riyadh has signed a contract with Chinese firm Chengdu for an unspecified number of Pterodactyl drones," writes reporter David Axe. "Now the Saudis have killer drones, too.
"As far as killer drones go, the Pterodactyl probably isn't terribly sophisticated--its sensors are certainly less capable than U.S.-made models--and that can mean the difference between life and death for innocent people caught in the crossfire as flying robots hunt militants on the ground."
But greater accuracy doesn't mitigate the universally damning murder by drone of anyone, civilians or designated terrorists. Government-sponsored assassinations are never justified.
As Snowden supporters campaign for his exoneration, we should acknowledge that he did nothing wrong. Whistle-blowing is not a crime.
"Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists--for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," commented Snowden in an interview with the Guardian.
Former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, has ended her hunger strike and will get gender affirming surgery, reports Alex Emmons at The Intercept.
Among the files the whistleblower leaked was a gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
Chase Strangio, Manning's lawyer with the ACLU, issued the following statement:
"This is a monumental day for Chelsea, who can now enjoy some peace knowing that critically needed medical care is forthcoming. This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea as it is for so many transgender people -- in and out of prison -- who are systemically denied treatment solely because they are transgender. Thankfully the government has recognized its constitutional obligation to provide Chelsea with the medical care that she needs and we hope that they will act without delay to ensure that her suffering does not needlessly continue."
Manning still faces a hearing on September 20 concerning charges related to her suicide attempt.
"Our grief is not a call for war," messaged a grouping of artists drawn together by the events of September 11th, 2001. Once again, it's time for those who share this same sensibility -- all of us who want a better world -- to cry out in protest: All this has not been done in our names! We rededicate ourselves to resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it. The U.S. must end these wars now!
9/11 Memorial Museum director Alice Greenwald bemoans the intractable disposition of Islamic fundamentalists to terrorist acts, but argues that something we have full control over is how the U.S. responds to those threats. Hold her to task. If you live in the Bay Area, join us in a PEACE walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Millions of teenagers in this country have now suffered 15 years of aggressive solicitation for indentured service to American triumphalism. "A child born on September 11, 2001, is now only a couple of years away from being able to sign on as a pilot in the air wars that began just after her birth," notes Tom Engelhardt. "There are reasonable odds that her child, born several years from now, might be entering junior high school when those conflicts officially become America's Thirty Years' War."
This Sunday, rebuke displays of allegiance to an illegitimate system appended to 9/11 memorials. All life is sacred, and American lives are not more valuable than others.
It's no secret that government leaders conspire to advance U.S. hegemony in the Middle East with their illicit 'war on terror' response to the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. That horrific event advanced the criminal program of your government, sacrificing liberty to a false promise of security:
Wars of aggression, unjust occupations, and the use of drones, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians around the world;
Mass surveillance on whole populations, with intent to chill protest and dissent;
Indefinite detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other sites including torturing hunger strikers with force-feeding;
Incarceration of over 2.4 million people in the United States, mainly Black and Latino, a program with genocidal impact against these groups; and
Torture, intimidation and prosecution of whistleblowers while covering up for those responsible for crimes against humanity.
9/11 marks 15 years since the attack on the World Trade Center became justification for U.S. wars of aggression on people in at least 7 countries. None of which attacked the United States. Yet as many as 2 million people have been killed, and many millions displaced by U.S. military interventions, occupations, bombings and targeted killing.
It is on us, the millions of people living in this country, acting together with people around the world, to stand up, tell the truth, and say no to these crimes. We draw inspiration from and stand with Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, the hunger strikers at Guantanamo and domestic U.S. prisons, and other courageous resisters who have illuminated the truth about what this government does.
The wars for empire continue and are at the heart of the flood of refugees risking their lives to escape war zones of the Middle East and Africa. Many students are returning to school with increased consciousness of the injustices of empire and the U.S. military in particular - see wearenotyoursoldiers.org.
Tomorrow's PEACE vigil sponsored by codepink4peace.org, sfbaycantwait.net and occupysf.net. Join us most Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30pm, McKesson (BART) Plaza, Montgomery & Market Street, San Francisco.
"In the last few years, the Black Lives Matter movement has again made police shootings an urgent political issue," says Wayne State professor John Patrick Leary. "Protesters have taken to the streets demanding accountability for cops and justice for their victims. And police have responded in an idiom of banalities and prevarications, often aided by the press...
Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem Friday night because the 49ers quarterback refused to "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppressed black people and people of color," reports NFL Media's Steve Wyche.
"It would be selfish on my part to look the other way," added Kaepernick. "There are bodies in the street and people [police officers] getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick joins other athletes, like NBA's Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, in raising awareness to issues affecting minorities in the U.S.
I can't get this photo out of my mind, or the fact that U.S. presidential contenders promise more of the same.
How can anyone sponsor this horror with a vote for Clinton or Trump? It's not OK with me; I suspect not with you. Shame on pretenders to moral righteousness over who's the "less evil" candidate. This is what American intervention looks like. It ain't pretty, it ain't acceptable, and it must be condemned.
"There can be no doubt that Donald Trump is a contemptible and dangerous character. But these facts don't make business as usual -- that is, the realities we currently face -- any less contemptible," writes Jake Johnson, Words of Dissent...
"Chelsea Manning is still in prison, along with Jeffrey Sterling and other whistleblowers; drones are still killing and maiming innocents; Palestinians are still suffering under an illegal and brutal occupation; immigrants are still being detained in private detention facilities; black and Latino communities are still being exploited and brutalized; corporate America still has a tight grip on the political process; climate change is still wreaking havoc; inequality is still soaring."
"This is what your country is. This is what your country always has been. Donald Trump doesn't make America ugly; Donald Trump reveals its ugliness to people who are too comfortable to want to hear it," summarizes Fredrik deBoer.
"If you dress somebody up like they're at war, if you give them training as if they are at war, well then you can expect that they're going to act like killers on the battlefield," says Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford. "And that is the way they act."