Walk AWAY … From the Edge!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

This article refers to Tom Englehardt’s Tom Dispatch piece “Was 11/8 a New 9/11?: The Election That Changed Everything and Could Prove History’s Deal-Breaker” which was re-published in Common Dreams.


Englehardt’s comments and dire scenarios of planetary demise are well-founded, if frightening.

Some ESSENTIALS are missing from his focus, however.

If ANYTHING can be done at all to alter this, we MUST begin with a knowledge that this has been coming for quite some time, and that the Trump Zoo of Non-believers is just the latest version of a story we have been UNWILLING to SEE all along … literally for decades!

• Trump is the fruit … not the seed!

For years I have been fond of saying that …
• the Republicans march us like lemmings over a cliff’s edge to planetary disaster.
… whereas, …
• the Democrats would have us hold hands, march us “over the river and through the woods” — singing Kumbaya — yet take us to the edge of the very same cliff … only somewhat later — so maybe we feel a bit better about it.

… but, of course, …
• the ONLY SANE answer is: “WALK AWAY FROM THE EDGE!”

It is not so funny anymore. If anything, the Trump Phenomenon just makes our Colossal Historical Hubris much more palpable. But it was COMING ANYWAY … whether R’s or D’s were in charge, … since our TRUE BOSSES and Decision-Makers are really UNELECTED Corporatists with a Pathological ROI-Mindset … and with NO regard for the concepts of democracy, compassion, people … or planet.

Avoiding this dire scenario required MUCH MORE than avoiding a Trump victory in 2016 … and most Americans STILL do not get that!!!

We must move in new directions … and as soon as possible. One group offering some serious precautions, warnings … AND available solutions to multiple problems is the Green Party.  While not the only answer, they have been consistently repeating the ESSENCE of this larger message … for over two DECADES!! As a non-corporate-funded group, they have, for all sorts of reasons, been … unable … or prevented … or both … from having their QUITE CORRECT Basic Messages being either heard or understood by the general public!

Beyond their own internal squabbling, there have been very active forces on the outside using Electoral Deceptive Practices and Falsehoods, lack of media coverage, outright media lies, ballot access rules, … and more … to stop and to silence ALL 3rd parties and Voices of Reason in this COUNTRY!!! That is a blatantly anti-democratic and unconstitutional slap in The People’s face!

Basically, if it makes sense or sheds light on the Truth, it will most likely NOT make it into the “News.”

One glaring example: The continual  prohibition of True Debates which must include all qualified voices. That is symbolic of our self-imposed deafness and blindness.

Democracy has been distorted and dying here for quite some time.

Face it! This already IS an Authoritarian State, … even if the ownership details have yet to be worked out.

A People-Centered MAJORITY exists … now!

One of the greatest IRONIES here, is that 2016, in truth, displayed the First Big Wave of People-Centered Thinking and Action seen for many decades in the U.S.

— In fact, 2016 is NOT best represented by the supposed “huge wave of dark-matter Fascism” led by Trump. Not even close! It may SEEM that way at first glance, but that is false.

SANDERS’ huge Public Successes and receptivity featuring our Future — the Millennials — along with Jill Stein and others’ messages, combine to HIGHLIGHT this tremendous People’s Agenda … for Progress! Education, Healthcare, Climate-sustainability, safe air, water & food, justice, infrastructure repair, fair elections … and more! People DO Want Change … and are READY for CHANGE.

It is the DUOPOLY … led by BOTH Republicans and Democrats (who thoroughly sabotaged the progressive Sanders Phenomenon), that fight and hide this Truth, ultimately leading us all to a more blind Trumpist Version of Planetary Suicide. But BOTH establishment parties were and are taking us THERE.

Within the Duopoly … there is no answer!

FACE IT! This is not merely opinion anymore … it is TIME to FACE it … Or FAIL!

UNTIL we understand this, any solutions we attempt will be FRUITLESS!

Killing the Messenger … a Few Thoughts

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

On June 28th, progressive news site Common Dreams made an unusual plea for operating cost donations. They are running short in their latest campaign, and indicate that at least some of the more typical “larger” donations have fallen off … because the donors were unhappy with … the treatment CD had given their favorite candidate, … Hillary.

CD published this as a story/plea with the title “Killing the Messenger” … thus our own title. There is a link to the original article below.

Given how the Hillary campaign has treated ANYTHING modestly “progressive” during this “election cycle” — and especially after the antics of their Platform Committee this week, trashing all crucial progressive proposals. I just found it necessary to send their editor a letter on the situation in which Common Dreams finds itself. My letter follows:


Dear Editor and CD staff,

It is a shame that you find yourself in this position. I read your message and wish I could personally help more at this moment … .

Nevertheless I felt I wished to comment on what you have shown, to help find the most appropriate solutions.

You say you seem to have lost some of your “larger” donors, a number of whom have written you complaining about your coverage of Bernie and lack of support for Hillary — if I understand correctly.

This is bad. Bad for you … and thus bad for those of us who turn to you.

However, it is no coincidence that “larger” donors may favor Hillary. Nor is it a coincidence that they would berate or attack you for having favored a candidate favoring a People’s Agenda. This is EXACTLY what Hillary Democrats have done to the Sanders campaign from the get-go. They oppose his policy ideas, his reasoning, his supporters, his campaign in general … ACT to HARM our ability to see and incorporate a New Agenda of actual democracy in our nation … AND they make threats.

There is a perfect parallel in today’s ragged political scheme. People are pressured to vote AGAINST, not FOR. Much of the pressure comes from economic origins. CD has been more than lax on 3rd party coverage, even when it fits clearly into your stated goals. Jill Stein, now polling at 7% for example, is getting more coverage on CNN and DN! than on your site. Bias always exists in any situation and is hard to avoid completely, but now, I fear, you are seeing the results of some biases being thrown back into your face.

Democrats who wish to “control” their impressions in the progressive public, now seem to be doing what they did to Sanders, et. al., … to you.

They PRESUME that if you are to get their money, you are to reflect THEIR thinking and politics, and celebrate THEIR candidate … even if there are thousands of reasons her agenda, partners, and goals have NOTHING to do with your publication. This past week of solid BETRAYALS to progressive policies brought to the Platform Committee of the Democratic Party only reinforces the immense gap between their Lip Service PR and a continual LACK of interest and willingness to address the needs of working America: dealing with minimum wage, universal healthcare, education costs, fracking, climate, TPP, etc.

They desire to act like Republican Light for their sponsors … with no blame or recriminations from anyone. Beyond hypocrisy.

They seem to have but ONE message for America today: CLICK your heels because of Donald Trump … then shut up and vote.

I can feel your pain in terms of donations, but these people — in SPITE of what they may think — do not OWN you just because they can muster “larger” donations. That seems to be how they see the world. Common Dreams does not.

You must find ways to succeed, that do not succumb to this kind of blackmail which frighteningly has largely become the Democratic modus operandi. Right now they are applying this kind of blackmail to … the ENTIRE nation. We ALL suffer. We must ALL find solutions. We must ALL refuse … to CAVE IN.

The original article:  http://commondreams.org/killing-messenger 

Severe distortion over “patriotism.”

Monday, December 26th, 2011

“Severe” is actually mild. Those that overuse the term, like to define it for the rest of us. It is past time for the 99% to re-appropriate our own vocabulary, and use it as we  see fit to describe a world of living beings, not just of things and territories.

I’d first like to make clear these thoughts on the Manning “case” that Prof. Cohn writes about:

What MORE could you do FOR your country than expose the lies and deceit meted out by usurping power brokers at the top.

ALL the talk about the Founding Fathers, freedom, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so on which functioned as a socio-political “glue” and Narrative for over 2 centuries, is personified by the selfless acts of Bradley Manning, a man to be respected, admired, emulated — and FREED.

common_dreams-logo

Published on Sunday, December 25, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Bradley Manning: A Hero, Not a Traitor

by Marjorie Cohn

The end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq coincided with Bradley Manning’s military hearing to determine whether he will face court-martial for exposing U.S. war crimes by leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents to Wikileaks. In fact, there is a connection between the leaks and U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

When he announced that the last U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, President Barack Obama declared the nine-year war a “success” and “an extraordinary achievement.” He failed to mention why he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. He didn’t say that it was built on lies about mushroom clouds and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama didn’t cite the Bush administration’s “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq,” drawn up months before 9/11, about which Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that actual plans “were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it – complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals – carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also defended the war in Iraq, making the preposterous claim that, “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” including the loss of American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”

The price that Panetta claims is worth it includes the deaths of nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It includes untold numbers wounded – with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and suicides, as well as nearly $1 trillion that could have prevented the economic disaster at home.

The price of the Iraq war also includes thousands of men who have been subjected to torture and abuse in places like Abu Ghraib prison. It includes the 2005 Haditha Massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians execution-style. It includes the Fallujah Massacre, in which U.S. forces killed 736 people, at least 60% of them women and children. It includes other war crimes committed by American troops in Qaim, Taal Al Jal, Mukaradeeb, Mahmudiya, Hamdaniyah, Samarra, Salahuddin, and Ishaqi.

The price of that war includes two men killed by the Army’s Lethal Warriors in Al Doura, Iraq, with no evidence that they were insurgents or posed a threat. One man’s brains were removed from his head and another man’s face was skinned after he was killed by Lethal Warriors. U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow Lethal Warriors in Al Doura. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which have been released by Pulse TV and Maverick Media in the new video by Cindy Piester, “On the Dark Side in Al Doura – A Soldier in the Shadows.” [http://vimeo.com/33755968]. CBS reported obtaining an Army document from the Criminal Investigation Command suggestive of an investigation into these war crimes allegations. The Army’s conclusion was that the “offense of War Crimes did not occur.”

One of the things Manning is alleged to have leaked is the “Collateral Murder” video which depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and killed. A U.S. tank drove over one body, cutting the man in half.

The actions of American soldiers shown in that video amount to war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit targeting civilians, preventing the rescue of the wounded, and defacing dead bodies.

Obama proudly took credit for ending U.S. military involvement in Iraq. But he had tried for months to extend it beyond the December 31, 2011 deadline his predecessor negotiated with the Iraqi government. Negotiations between Obama and the Iraqi government broke down when Iraq refused to grant criminal and civil immunity to U.S. troops.

It was after seeing evidence of war crimes such as those depicted in “Collateral Murder” and the “Iraq War Logs,” also allegedly leaked by Manning, that the Iraqis refused to immunize U.S. forces from prosecution for their future crimes. When I spoke with Tariq Aqrawi, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, at a recent international human rights film festival in Vienna, he told me that if they granted immunity to Americans, they would have to do the same for other countries as well.

Manning faces more than 30 charges, including “aiding the enemy” and violations of the Espionage Act, which carry the death penalty. After a seven day hearing, during which the prosecution presented evidence that Manning leaked cables and documents, there was no evidence that leaked information imperiled national security or that Manning intended to aid the enemy with his actions.

On the contrary, in an online chat attributed to Manning, he wrote, “If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

He went on to say, “God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.“

Manning has been held for 19 months in military custody. During the first nine months, he was kept in solitary confinement, which is considered torture as it can lead to hallucinations, catatonia and suicide. He was humiliated by being stripped naked and paraded before other inmates.

The U.S. government considers Manning one of America’s most dangerous traitors. Months ago, Obama spoke of Manning as if he had been proved guilty, saying, “he broke the law.” But Manning has not been tried, and is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. If Manning had committed war crimes instead of exposing them, he would be a free man today. If he had murdered civilians and skinned them alive, he would not be facing the death penalty.

Besides helping to end the Iraq war, the leaked cables helped spark the Arab Spring. When people in Tunisia read cables revealing corruption by the ruling family there, they took to the streets.

If Manning did what he is accused of doing, he should not be tried as a criminal. He should be hailed as a national hero, much like Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers helped to expose the government’s lies and end the Vietnam War.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy secretary general for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd). Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, is now available. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.comArticle printed from www.CommonDreams.org

Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/25