Friday, July 23, 2021

Observance of Hiroshima Nagasaki bombings being held August 6 and 8

 

By Christine Sheller, Coordinator IPN

Peace organizations are planning a 2021 observance for the anniversary of the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 76 years ago.  As described below, Des Moines has held an observance of this for four decades.  Thanks to Jeffrey Weiss for writing the press release below.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Deadly Myth of Net Zero

 

By Ed Fallon, reprinted with permission.  First published for Fallon Forum June 24,2021.  You can check out Fallon’s blog and hear the podcast: http://fallonforum.com.

 

Two months ago, The Conversation published a provocative and timely piece written by three climate experts -- James Dyke, Robert Watson, and Wolfgang Knorr. The authors note that, collectively, they have "spent more than 80 years thinking about climate change. Why has it taken us so long to speak out about the obvious dangers of the concept of net zero? In our defense, the premise of net zero is deceptively simple – and we admit that it deceived us.”

Friday, June 25, 2021

Immigration Policy Must Look Beyond the Border

 

By Marisa León-Gómez Sonet

Reprinted with permission.  Originally published for NACLA. https://nacla.org/news/2021/06/08/immigration-policy-must-look-beyond-border

 

In March 2021, over 18,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the U.S. southern border fleeing precarious conditions in Central America. Many policymakers seem to view what is taking place at the border as a “crisis” or “surge” due to so-called “open-border” under President Joe Biden’s administration. However, unaccompanied minors coming to the United States searching for safety should never be viewed as any sort of national security threat.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Remember to Forget the Alamo

 

By David Swanson, reprinted with permission; first printed for World Beyond War

https://davidswanson.org/remember-to-forget-the-alamo/



Mexico once had a problem with a local provincial government promoting illegal immigration from the United States into Mexico in order to engage in the illegal slavery of illegally trafficked people. The locality involved was called Texas. For years, Mexico let Texas get away with its lawlessness and immorality, including not paying taxes, and including killing Mexican soldiers. Then it sent an army to lay down the law. Texans warned each other that soldiers were coming “to give liberty to our slaves, and to make slaves of ourselves” (meaning to end the actual enslavement of anyone and to require that people abide by laws and pay taxes).

The Texans illegally recruited soldiers and money from the United States, but were highly disorganized, divided by the fierce racism of the Anglos toward the Latinos among them, and hampered by the predominance of drunks, nuts, and criminals who had fled to Texas from jams they’d gotten into back in the United States. This crowd of buffoons, ready to fight for slavery, profits, political ambition, and the lack of anything else to do, loaded up a little fort in San Antonio called the Alamo with nearly 200 of themselves, bitterly divided even there between two leaders until one of them drank himself into illness.

As a well-trained Mexican army of a couple of thousand steadily approached, the defenders of slavery and white supremacy tried to recruit larger numbers for their side but failed miserably due to lack of support and lack of belief from people who had come to know some of this crowd’s leaders as habitual liars and trouble makers. The slavery-fighters failed to either destroy or abandon the Alamo until it was too late. They became hopelessly trapped. They tried to surrender and be spared, but the proposal was rejected. Some died fighting. Some surrendered and were killed. Some fled, were captured, and were killed. They almost all ended up dead.

This brilliant accomplishment is one of the proudest points in history for many Texans and people around the United States and beyond, mostly because of a bunch of lies invented to embellish the disaster many years later, chief among them the cynical propaganda products of Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Lyndon Johnson. In this mythology, everyone at the Alamo was white and fighting for freedom against evil dark tyranny, and each and every man chose to fight and die in the face of certain defeat. A new book called Forget the Alamo by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford tells the story.

The Texas Constitution is the only one on earth to guarantee slavery. As Anglos fled the Mexican army, the people they had enslaved fled to the Mexican army and the promise of freedom. This was a real commitment by the Mexican government, but there was nothing saintly about the Mexican army, which slaughtered another 390 Texan soldiers at Goliad just weeks after the massacre at the Alamo. That one of these two atrocities is virtually unknown and the other a highly sacred site and story is mostly an accident of later propaganda.

But even in propaganda immediately following these slaughters, the Alamo seems to have been the more powerful story, though both were used. As in all U.S. war propaganda for centuries, little is more powerful than getting some Americans killed. The story of the Alamo and the cry to remember it quickly sent hundreds of new U.S. recruits, plus weapons and funding, flooding into Texas. The Texans quickly won a big victory and declared themselves an independent nation. Nine years after the Alamo, Texas was a U.S. state.

The following year, the U.S. and Mexico were at war, on the basis of the lies of President Polk, and with U.S. troops hollering “Remember the Alamo!” When the United States, in the course of that war, forced Mexico to give up all of its northern territories, U.S. diplomat Nicholas Trist negotiated most firmly on one point. He wrote to the U.S. Secretary of State: “I assured [the Mexicans] that if it were in their power to offer me the whole territory described in our project, increased ten-fold in value, and, in addition to that, covered a foot thick all over with pure gold, upon the single condition that slavery should be excluded therefrom, I could not entertain the offer for a moment.”

“Remember the Alamo” has been used as a battle cry in the U.S. military for many decades now, was used to justify the horrific war on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, has been a defense of massacres of Mexicans and Latinos by Texas “rangers,” was a focus of Cold War propaganda against the Soviet Union, labor rights, and social welfare, and to this day fuels blind militarism in San Antonio and far beyond.

The authors of Forget the Alamo have done a tremendous job, but I wish they hadn’t followed a quotation of standard Alamo propaganda by writing, “This kind of reactionary stance might have been dismissed as harmless parochialism had it not proven so destructive to the identity of an ethnic group that . . . is poised to become a majority of Texas citizens: Latinos.”

The destructiveness is very real. It’s not just that the Latinos who died at the Alamo alongside the Anglos were erased from the propaganda, leading to the absurd situation in which Latinos demand recognition of past Latinos having been part of that idiotic catastrophe (the self-respect of Hispanic children allegedly dependent on the reading aloud of the names of Tejanos who died on holy ground). It’s also the endless stories the authors found of Latinos in Texas first experiencing bigotry when their school teachers informed their classes that it was their people who had killed Davey Crockett — almost the Texas equivalent of blaming the Jews for killing Jesus Christ. But there would be nothing harmless about war propaganda that failed to fuel bigotry, if such a thing existed.

David Crockett was a famous failed charlatan when he arrived at the Alamo. The fact that he was among those who surrendered and was executed, for decades was held up as evidence of the savagery of the Mexican commander Santa Anna. But Walt Disney decided in the 1950s that Davey Crockett would never have surrendered to Mexicans (or Communists!) which meant that his Christlike status came to depend on the pretense that — unlike Christ — he had gone down fighting.

George W. Bush pushed Alamoloney as heavily as LBJ, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Freedom of Religion in the United States extends de facto to the state religion of war myths. Questioning them is not so much an activity that must align itself with facts, as an act of great offensive rudeness that must apologize for its insensitivity. The use of religious terminology is common in descriptions of the Alamo, and in debates over what to do with the site of it or what to teach children about it. The bizarre beliefs that have been piled on include the belief of British rock musician Phil Collins that he ended a previous life at the Alamo (and that he has photos of the Alamo that capture paranormal glowing orbs). I’d trade the belief that the Pentagon is bravely fending off foreign menaces intent on destroying one’s “freedom” for whatever Phil Collins is thinking any day.

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Please support David Swanson's work by donating at http://davidswanson.org/donate or by check to David Swanson, 513 E Main St #1484, Charlottesville, VA 22902.

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. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Swanson was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook, and sign up for: Activist alerts. Articles. David Swanson news. World Beyond War news. Charlottesville news.

Friday, May 28, 2021

From Gaza: "I Just Want to Live in Peace"

 

From MennoPin (Mennonite Palestine Israel Network);  Reprinted with permission;  First published for MennoPin email list, May 25, 2021

                    

It was morning for us in the United States, but it was early evening in Gaza City. Last Saturday, members of the Fellowship of Hope and MennoPIN were on a Zoom call to the Gaza City YMCA. The biweekly calls are part of MennoPIN’s Gaza Twinning Initiative where Mennonite congregations “twin” with groups in Gaza to share about each other’s lives and to show Gazans that they are cared for, loved and supported by Christians in the United States.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Apartheid Then and Now

 By Eloise Cranke, Reprinted with permission, first printed for MEPEC (Middle East Peace Education Coalition)

A recent webinar, sponsored by UMKR (United Methodists for Kairos Response) and MFSA (Methodist Federation for Social Action) compared apartheid in South Africa with what’s happening in Palestine today. The similarities were striking.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Peace Activists Confront Saudi Propaganda Mill In Des Moines

 By Brian Terrell

On Tuesday, April 13, a dozen people representing Iowa Peace Network, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Catholic Peace Ministry and Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm attempted to visit the offices of public relations and marketing firm LS2group in Des Moines, with a banner that read, “LS2group- DON’T LOBBY for War Crimes and Murder, drop SAUDI ARABIA.”

Friday, April 2, 2021

Statement from UMC Bishop Laurie Haller about recent gun violence

By Iowa United Methodist Church Bishop Laurie Haller

 In response to the recent shootings that killed eight people, including six Asian-Americans, in Atlanta and ten people in Boulder, Bishop Laurie released the following pastoral letter to Dakotas and Iowa United Methodists.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Message from the Most Bombed Nation on Earth

 

Over 900 nuclear bomb tests were conducted on Shoshone territory in the US.  Residents still live with the consequences.

 

By Ian Zabarte; reprinted with permission; printed in “Nukewatch Quarterly” Fall 2020

You never know what is killing you when it is done in secret.

 I watched my uncle suffer from horrible cancer that ate away at his throat and my grandfather die of an auto-immune disease that is known to be caused by exposure to radiation.  They say he had a heart attack, but when your skin falls off, that puts stress on your heart.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Mission Accomplished: The Lie of War; book reviews

By Weldon D. Nisly 

(12 March 2021)

Robert Draper, To Start A War: How the Bush Administration Took America into War (Penguin Press, New York: 2020) 

Daniel A Sjursen, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War
(Heydey, Berkeley, CA: 2020)



The lie of war is the tragic truth of America’s post-9/11 endless war. Two recent books confront the endless lies of endless war waged by the United States. Robert Draper and Danny Sjursen independently critique arguably the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history.