Sunday, August 13, 2017

Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville by David Swanson (reposted)

Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville
By David Swanson



ORIGINAL POST:
http://davidswanson.org/top-10-misconceptions-about-charlottesville


 
1. Let’s start with the obvious. Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, are actually two completely different places in the world. The flood of concern and good wishes for those of us here in Charlottesville is wonderful and much appreciated. That people can watch TV news about Charlottesville, remember that I live in Charlottesville, and send me their kind greetings addressed to the people of Charlotte is an indication of how common the confusion is. It’s not badly taken; I have nothing against Charlotte. It’s just a different place, seventeen times the size. Charlottesville is a small town with the University of Virginia, a pedestrian downtown street, and very few monuments. The three located right downtown are for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Confederacy. Neither Lee nor Jackson had anything to do with Charlottesville, and their statues were put up in whites-only parks in the 1920s.

2. The racists who have begun coming to Charlottesville to campaign for governor, garner attention, threaten violence, engage in violence, and commit murder are almost all from outside Charlottesville, and extremely unwelcome here. Charlottesville is a slightly left-of-center, Democratic Party area. Most people don’t rally for good causes or against bad ones. Most people don’t want the Lee statue taken down. (Or at least they didn’t until it became a gathering point for neo-Confederates.) Most people want other memorials added to public space to diversify. And most people don’t want white supremacists coming to town with their hatred and their violence.

3. Armed attacks are not covered by the First Amendment. I can and have argued at length for the strategic — never mind legal — need to respect odious free speech, and — more importantly — to respect and build bridges of understanding to the troubled people preaching hatred. But the human right to free speech is not found in a gun or a torch or a can of pepper spray any more than in corporate advertising. When we hold peace rallies in U.S. cities we are sometimes forbidden to bring posters on wooden poles. We have to use hollow cardboard tubes to hold up our signs, because — you know — advocates of nonviolence can be so violent. Yet racist, nationalist, white supremacist agitators are allowed to bring an arsenal with which to attack the general public and counter-demonstrators! Whatever that is, it is not free speech. I’d be willing to say it’s closer to enabling terrorism. All media habits of “balance” and “even handedness” become lies when respect for rights, and blame for deaths and injuries, are based on the notion that premeditated violence and threats of violence and the carrying of weapons are not worth noticing.

4. Charlottesville’s mayor voted against taking down the Lee statue, even if he now sounds on NBC News as if it had been his idea. Seen from a certain angle, that’s progress. I want people to get on board with the idea of taking down all racist monuments and all war monuments, and this one is both. But it is a misconception to imagine that the decision to take down General Lee came from the top or that it came without extensive public input. It’s true that City Council member Kristin Szakos publicly proposed the dominance of our public space by Confederate statues as a problem, and that City Council member Wes Bellamy pushed for that. But it was the national movement of Black Lives Matter, and local activism, that created the demand in the first place, as well as making Bellamy a member of City Council. The City held very lengthy and public and extensive hearings and gathering of facts and views. A Blue Ribbon Commission produced a report. And when the City Council voted to take down Lee (but leave up Jackson) it did so because City Council Member Bob Fenwick joined Szakos and Bellamy in a 3-2 vote, in which Mayor Mike Signer was on the losing and cowardly side. Because that is typical of him, we should be wary of fale perceptions of him as a leader, until he really becomes one. It’s possible that had he shown the leadership of the Mayor of New Orleans in taking down statues and explaining why, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

5. The military and militarized police are not here to protect you. An armed force on the streets and in the air of Charlottesville crashed a helicopter, tragically killing two people. But what else did it accomplish? It heightened tensions. It reduced turnout by those opposed to violence and racism. Its aggression toward anti-racists following the KKK rally in July contributed to fears of what it would do this time. The Charlottesville police do not need the mine-resistant vehicle they keep in their garage, because we do not have land mines. We do not need our skies filled — including on the Friday before the rally — with military helicopters. We do not need tanks on our streets for godsake. We need to disarm those seeking to exercise their First Amendment Rights, not arm someone else. The helicopter never should have crashed because it never should have flown. And every individual who assaulted and threatened people with pepper spray, torches, sticks, fists, or an automobile, should have been welcomed to nonviolently, without guns or other weaponry, speak their mind — and to meet and converse with those opposing their views.

6. The events in Charlottesville, like foreign and domestic emoluments, additional forms of financial corruption, Muslim bans, illegal wars, threats to North Korea, voter intimidation, environmental destruction, and sexual assault, make up yet another article of impeachment for Donald Trump awaiting only the awakening of a House of Representatives. Incitement of acts of violence is a crime, and it is certainly a high-crime-and-misdemeanor, the Constitutional phrase refering to an abuse of power that may or may not be criminal. Donald Trump went out of his way to persuade racists that they were free to engage in their racism openly. Numerous racists, including some of those who have been active in Charlottesville, have openly communicated their understanding of that presidential permission. Those sitting silently by in this moment are condoning racism. So are those not advocating for impeachment and removal. Yes I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction. I’m further aware that the D.C. Democratic leadership makes Mayor Signer’s cynicism look like child’s play, and that Nancy Pelosi wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can “oppose” him. But I’m not asking you to believe he’s going to be impeached without your doing anything. I’m asking you to compel his impeachment.

7. The answer to racist violence is not anti-racist violence or passivism, and the idea that those are the only two choices is ridiculous. Charlottesville’s and the United States’ resistance to racism would be far stronger with disciplined nonviolence. The behavior of a few anti-racists in July allowed the corporate media to depict the KKK as victims. There is nothing the alt-right crowd longs for more in this moment than some act of violence against them that would permit pundits to start trumpeting the need for liberals to be more tolerant of racists, and to proclaim that the real problem is those reckless radicals who want to tear down statues. We need nonviolent activism, and we need a thousand times more of it. We need to initiate the next rally in Charlottesville ourselves.

8. Tearing down statues is not opposing history. Charlottesville has three Confederate war statues, two (pro) genocide of the Native Americans statues, one World War I statue, one Vietnam War memorial, one statue of Thomas Jefferson (whose words and deeds, I’m sorry to say, agreed almost entirely with the latest racists), and one statue of Homer (poet of war). And that’s it. We have no memorials, whether monumental statuary or otherwise, to a single educator, artist, musician, athlete, author, or activst, nothing for Native American history, slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, or ANYTHING ELSE. Almost all of our history is missing. Putting up a giant statue for racism and war is not a step for history. Taking it down is not a blow to history. It could be a step forward, in fact. Even the renaming of Lee Park as Emancipation Park is educational. Creating a memorial to emancipation, and one to civil rights, and one to school integration, and one to peace would be more so.

9. The Lee statue is still there, not because racists rally around it, but because legislators glorify war. While neither side has any interest in opposing or even particularly in promoting war, and while the national and local media have gone through endless contortions to avoid mentioning it, the court case holding up the removal of Robert E. Lee and the horse he never rode in on is about war glorification. A state law that may or may not apply to this statue forbids taking down war memorials in Virginia. For fair and balanced free-speech advocates I should note that no similar law forbids taking down peace monuments. Also there really aren’t any to take down if you wanted to. This is a symptom of a culture that has come to accept endless war and the militarization of local police, and to report on rallies of “white nationalists” without ever considering that there may be a problem with both of those words.

10. As I’ve written in recent months, many sympathizers with the racist cause are understandable. This is a quite different thing from being acceptable or praise worthy. To say that someone is understandable is to say that you can understand them. They’re not monsters acting on inexplicable subhuman impulses any more than do the people they hate or the people against whom the United States wages wars typically behave that way. These racists live in one of the most unequal societies ever known, and they don’t live at the top of it. They hear about endless efforts to alleviate injustice toward all sorts of wronged groups that don’t include them. They notice the cultural acceptability in comedy shows and elsewhere of mocking white people. They seek a group identity. They seek others to blame. They seek others to place beneath themselves. And they hear hardly a peep out of Washington D.C. about creating universal rights and supports for everyone, as in Scandinavia. Instead they hear that hatred and violence and racism come with the Presidential seal of approval.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Young Radicals vs The Empire (Soapbox Podcast: 8/13/17)

August 12, 2017






GUESTS: DAKOTAH LILLY
CALEB MAUPIN

TOPICS: TRUTH ABOUT VENEZUELA AND NORTH KOREA

This week, Cindy chats with two young activists about the (US caused) troubling situations in Venezuela and
the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK).

Dakotah Lilly is a student and blogger for Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and
Caleb Maupin is a journalist for RT.

Dakotah

Caleb

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Americans fear North Korea, but have no idea where it is.



Caleb, man on the street!

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

$12 for 12 Years of Dedicated Struggle!

August 6, 2017

Today marks the 12th Anniversary of
Cindy Sheehan's historic march down
Prairie Chapel road and more than
12 years of Cindy's dedicated and tireless
activism against the US Empire.

If you are able, please donate $12 to
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
 to help her stay 

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html

  or send check/money order to:

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, LLC
PO Box 6264
Vacaville, CA 95696 

Rebuilding the Antiwar Movement in the USA: Remarks by Cindy Sheehan to Fightback Conferece in Toronto

by
Cindy Sheehan

On August 6th, 2005, I and about six-dozen other activists marched down Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, TX to confront then president George Bush about why my son, and so many others, had to die in Iraq. A few days earlier, I had heard him say that my son and the other US troops who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan died for a "Noble Cause." I was determined to confront Bush and force him to define what was that "noble cause?"

 "What Noble Cause?" became the rallying call of the antiwar movement that summer and the month long peace vigil we held in Crawford at Camp Casey (named for my son) sparked a renewed interest in antiwar activism not just in the US, but around the world.

 I was an activist neophyte in those days and unbeknownst to me, forces loyal to the Democrat party (in fact, a few Dem elected officials) came out to Camp Casey that summer to redirect the righteous anger against Bush and his wars into just another Get Out The Vote for Democrats and, in fact, in 2006, Nancy Pelosi and her branch of the War Party soared to victory on the backs of the antiwar movement, then promptly stabbed us in those same backs. Even Pelosi promised me in '05 and '06 that if I, and the power of the movement, helped get Democrats back in the majority in the 2006 midterm elections, they would help up "end the wars."

 The 2006 midterm elections in the US seriously damaged the antiwar movement because the same forces that came to Camp Casey in the summer of 2005, now forbade non-partisan forces in the antiwar movement to hold large marches in Washington DC because we would "embarrass the Democrats."

 This is essentially the problem with any movement in the US, but especially an antiwar/anti-Empire movement: most people who are "woke" here in the US, are only "woke" as far as they think that their wing of the War Bird, either Democrat or Republican, is better and that if only we could get Candidate A elected, or get one of the wings of the War Bird back in power in Congress, then things would be better. Of course, I understand that sentiment because that's where I was a decade ago.

 So, with that brief history of why we are essentially screwed in the movement and why billions of people on this planet are in danger of losing their homes, limbs, and even lives by the viciousness of the US Empire, the answer to rebuilding an antiwar/anti-Empire movement in the US is to dump the Democrats: #DemExit. It's not about being part of the imperialist Bernie Sanders' "Our Revolution" movement, which is not my revolution, your revolution, or the revolution of oppressed peoples around the world, but a "revolution" only as far as another failed and wrong tactic to GOTV for Democrats. In fact, I hear from very reliable sources who went to the recent badly and dishonestly named, "People's Summit" in Chicago that there was not one mention of the wars and how if any positive social changes are to be made, the Empire must not just be overcome, but crushed to dust.

Why just the Dump the Democrats? Well, the one thing I was hopeful about when Trump was selected by the capitalists and imperialists who are really in charge of the US, was that maybe now, people would protest the continuing US wars. Of course, Republicans mostly don't even pretend to be against Empire or capitalism, but most Democrats do fake oppose wars.

 However, even though there have been some large protests since Trump was selected, there have been no significant antiwar protests.

That's why I was so pleased to be invited to this event---for me, to be legitimate revolutionaries, we must, obviously be opposed to the US Empire, police state violence, other repressions, and capitalism. Democrats do so-called wedge issues very well. Both wings of the War Bird know how to whip up hysteria and inflame fear over social divides, but they are similarly also very good about using the bourgeois media to distract us from the core issue: the United States of America murders, in cold blood, people every day and the imperial wars are not only illegal, immoral, and unnecessary, but they are racist and very profitable for the imperialists.

 So, comrades, I am very interested in continuing this conversation.

 Bottom-line, workers of the US are murdering workers of the rest of the world at the behest of the so-called ruling class. It has been so since the beginning of time. A true revolution also strives to build international working-class consciousness and solidarity and we must refuse to be hired thugs for the capitalists.

 Empires always collapse under the weight of their own decadence and unsupportable extension of murder and mayhem. As revolutionaries, we must do everything we can on a daily basis to hasten the day when the US empire joins the rest in that cesspool of history.

I am profoundly sorry that I could not join you this weekend and I send my greetings and hope that you all have a productive conference, and like I said before, that we continue this very urgent conversation.

 Cindy Sheehan

Vacaville, CA

August 4, 2017





 

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REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION OF LABOR, USA #103 JULY-AUGUST 2017

NEWSLETTER # 103

ARTICLES:

Wall Street’s Dilemma

The Trump Family Empire versus
the United States Empire

by RAY LIGHT
 ***

POSTSCRIPT:

STALIN AS THE ANTI-AUTOCRAT,
THE ANTI-TRUMP —
Beautifully expressed in Pablo Neruda’s wondrous poem
 ***

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward

by CINDY SHEEHAN
 

***
Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution:
The October Revolution and the National Question

by RAY LIGHT
***

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward by CINDY SHEEHAN (FROM ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #103)

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward

by CINDY SHEEHAN




Since my son Casey was killed in Iraq on 04/04/04, I have consistently taken steps to remove myself from the government of the USA: I stopped paying income taxes (how can I fund more murder after I essentially funded the murder of my own son?); I sold my car; dumped my house; and vocally oppose just about everything America does. Unfortunately, I still have a US passport and I feel like, not only do I want to live in California, my surviving children (5th generation Californians) and my five grandchildren (6th generation Californians) live here, so I feel I need to live here.

Also, why should I be forced to “love it (the US) or leave it?” Mostly, almost all the people who can afford to be so mobile and move around the world are the people who create untenable living conditions for the rest of us.

Having written the above, you can imagine that I was extremely excited when I saw that there was a renewed interest in California Independence! I quickly contacted leadership of the movement and became involved myself and am now on the board of the California Freedom Coalition.

On May 19, 2017 about two-dozen of us joyfully, yet with a sense of gravitas, filed paperwork in Sacramento at the office of the Attorney General to put California Independence in front of Californians in the form of a ballot initiative. Currently, we are awaiting approval from the AG of California to begin collecting signatures.

As with the first American Revolution in 1776 (an effort which few colonists supported, at first, so the “Patriots” also had to wage a battle to win the “fence-sitters” over), it has become “self-evident” to some of us here in California that the US government (USG), way across the country in Washington, DC does not represent us, or our values, in anywhere near a competent, or even, humane way. We feel like we are treated as vassals to unrestrained capitalism and war.

Even California’s federal contingent that are sent to DC by the people of the state are a club of millionaires who have lost touch with California and the average Californian. How else are reps like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Nancy Pelosi (D) able to constantly vote for wars, war funding, and work diligently to protect the out of control US regime and corporate interests?

While California is one of the leading economies in the world, there is still an appalling unemployment and homeless problem. Following the trajectory of the US, California’s good, manufacturing jobs have fled for greener pastures and what’s left for us: service jobs or the military. Californians send billions to the USG to support US military adventurism, and while we mostly don’t support the wars, our young people and families pay the highest and irredeemable prices in war deaths, injuries, and the deepest cut: suicide.

If left in the Republic of California, what we here in the state could do with our human, natural, and financial resources, is almost limitless.

I grew up in a California that took education and enrichment of its young people seriously! Compared to when my own children started public school in California and everything extra was fee-based, the teaching of the “three r’s” was exemplary, and the subjects that make a student well-rounded like music, theater, art, summer school, field trips, and driver’s ed were free and accessible to everyone.

Also, quite extra-ordinarily, state colleges and universities were tuition-free up until the Ronnie Raygun era. Our energy is extremely left-wing and, regarding education, we only want what we had before: fully-funded and quality public school education.

Similarly, the potential of a free California to lead the world in peace, education (the wealthy state of California consistently rates in the bottom 10% in education in the US), meaningful and full-employment with good wages and benefits, sustainable energy production, clean agriculture, clean water, clean air, etc.


We, the patriots and matriots of Californian Independence not only want a healthier country to live in, we also feel that if California does become independent from the bloody US Empire, it would ultimately deal a death blow to that Empire. Without California, the US will have to scale back its sick habit of regime change/carnage around the world, or perish. I would rather have the US voluntarily follow California on a much more peaceful and sensible path for humanity, but if it perishes, that is fine, too. Anything to stop the Empire’s reign of terror around the world.

This is in no way a rightwing “Free State of Jefferson” movement (CalSplit vs. CalExit) that seeks to add another state to a nation that has, beyond a shadow of any doubt, demonstrated its psychopathic tendencies. We don’t advocate for an independent California to further separate the rich and the poor, but to retain the beautiful diverse nature of our state; and to elevate everyone in equality and prosperity (some people will have to de-elevate, but, that’s only a matter of time, too).

We in the movement also recognize that under a complete Democratic majority since Jerry Brown was re-elected as Governor in 2010, that few things have improved for we the people. Brown and the other Democrats seem to be in the back pockets of big oil, big pharma, private prisons, charter schools, and war profiteers. The Democrat majority in Sacramento (every state office and majorities in both the Senate and legislature) allows the US Empire to maintain at least 50 military installations in California and California leads the nation in the export of death and destruction in the form of aerospace and defense industries. A free California could lead the world in re-tooling industries to (for example) create and maintain sustainable, clean forms of energy production and other healthy endeavors.

Consequently, this is also not a “liberal” initiative that only wants to skedaddle because Trump is the current CEO of Murder, Inc; only to return to again beg for scraps from our “master’s” table when a Democrat once again assumes that position. This is a bi-partisan effort that strives to leave the divisions of the US behind and join together as Californians of all demographics to put the power and future of California where it rightfully belongs: in our hands and in our communities.

To succeed, this effort must be diverse, wide-reaching, inclusive and we must be able to unite all workers against two common enemies: capitalism and it’s decaying, end-state, Imperialism, which are embodied in the United States of America.

I was honored to be asked to sign the “California Declaration of Independence,” and the significance of this was not lost on any of us.

We are working hard for success and we all know that it will happen and it will be good for everyone (except the 1%, at first), but we wondered how did the signers of the Declaration of Independence feel on the sweltering day (it was also hot in Sacramento on 19 May) of 4 July, 1776? I am sure, like we, they were optimistic, excited, and a little fearful of what terror would be unleashed by the major Empire of that day.

Nothing can be achieved without people willing to take the risks of ridicule, demonization, marginalization, or worse. We won’t become free until we demand freedom. As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass stated in 1857, “power concedes nothing without a demand.”

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, we must emulate the courage of the leaders and workers of that righteous struggle. Some things are worth fighting for and the very future of sustainable life on this planet is the very thing we believe this initiative will foster. 
________________________________________________________________________________
FROM ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #103

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Seymour Hersh Says Russia was NOT Source of DNC Hack by Anthony Freda

The mainstream media is completely blacklisting any mention of the bombshell revelations by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich, in which Hersh explained how Rich was Wikileaks’ source for the DNC leak and how the “Russian hacking” story was completely concocted by former CIA director John Brennan.

In an audio tape obtained by Big League Politics, Hersh says he saw an FBI report leaked to him by an insider which confirms that Rich had contacted Wikileaks with sample emails from the DNC leak and asked for payment for the full data dump.

“All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said ‘I want money.’ Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox,” he said. They got access to the DropBox,” added Hersh.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author said Seth Rich first contacted Wikileaks in late Spring of last year and that the DNC later tried to cover up the truth by inventing the story that Russia had hacked their systems and that this was part of a disinformation operation overseen by former CIA director John Brennan.

Hersh acknowledges that the former DNC staffer was concerned for his safety.

“The word was passed, according to the NSA report, he also shared this DropBox with a couple of friends, so that ‘if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems,’” said Hersh. “WikiLeaks got access before he was killed.”

Almost 24 hours after this bombshell story and not one single mainstream media outlet has covered the issue, despite a Wikileaks tweet of the Hersh audio receiving over 4,000 retweets.
Scott Ritter, the man who was crucified for exposing the establishment lies that proved the pretexts to the Iraq War has also expressed doubts about the veracity of the mainstream narrative claiming Russia hacked the DNC emails.

Friday, August 4, 2017

3 big lies about North Korea by the ANSWER COALITION

 3 big lies about North Korea by the ANSWER COALITION

 

Link to original post 

 

Lie #1: North Korea constantly threatens and provokes the United States

The truth: Every year, the United States carries out massive “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” military exercises alongside South Korean forces that simulate the invasion of the North. Labelled “war games” by the corporate media, these drills are understood for what they are by North Korea (also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK): a menacing reminder that the United States could launch a war and destroy their country at any moment. This year, the U.S. military went even further and held a nuclear bombing drill, where a U.S. strategic bomber flew right up to the border between North and South Korea as practice for a possible nuclear attack on the North.
Unlike the United States, North Korea has never launched a war of aggression against any country. The United States claims that North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, five years after the division of the country at the end of World War II. This was a civil war inside of Korea similar to the civil war that was waged between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, which was also divided by “great powers” at the end of World War II. The U.S. military is by far the largest and most powerful in human history, but the North Korean military’s budget is smaller than the New York Police Department’s. The notion that the DPRK is threatening the superpower United States is outrageous.

Lie #2: North Korea is a “rogue state” led by a madman who clings to nuclear weapons and refuses to negotiate

The truth: The DPRK suspended its nuclear weapons program in the 1990s as a direct consequence of a negotiated agreement with the United States. The United States failed to live up to its side of the agreement to provide substitute energy sources to replace North Korea’s nuclear power program. The United States expected that the North Korean government would collapse following the implosion of its socialist allies in the USSR and elsewhere. The DPRK ultimately decided to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) only after George W. Bush in January 2002 declared North Korea, Iran and Iraq an “Axis of Evil” while the United States prepared to carry out an invasion of Iraq -- which it did in the next 15 months.
It was under those circumstances that the DPRK decided to resume its nuclear weapons program. The DPRK cites the example of what the United States and its allies did both in Iraq and in the bombing of Libya in 2011, and the overthrow of both governments as absolute proof that it is folly for a targeted government to disarm itself in the face of the Pentagon war machine.
The DPRK is acting rationally and in self-defense. Although you would never know it from the U.S. media, the DPRK has offered to suspend its nuclear weapons program and missile tests in exchange for a suspension or moratorium of U.S. war exercises that simulate an invasion and destruction of the country. The United States, under both Obama and Trump, has immediately refused this offer and continues the propaganda that the DPRK is the “provocateur.”

Lie #3: The Korean War has been over for more than 60 years

The truth: The United States is technically still at war against the DPRK. In 1953, the United States and the DPRK signed an armistice agreement -- not a peace treaty. This is essentially a long-term ceasefire that leaves the two sides technically still at war. A core demand shared by both anti-war activists the world over and North Korea is for a peace treaty, but the U.S. government stubbornly refuses. Instead, it maintains a standing force of about 30,000 soldiers in the South.
The last time the United States was invaded by a foreign power was the War of 1812, but for Koreans the memory of war is very fresh. During the Korean War, approximately 4 to 5 million Korean people lost their lives, and the North was entirely leveled. U.S. bomber pilots complained that there were simply no structures left to strike. The North had to be completely rebuilt from scratch after the end of the war.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Peace Heroes and War Zeros (SOAPBOX PODCAST JULY 30, 2017)

July 30, 2017




Guest: Michael Knox
Topic: Peace Heroes

This week, Cindy interviews Michael Knox, founder of the 
US Peace Memorial



Michael D. Knox chairs the US Peace Memorial Foundation which directs a nationwide effort to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial as a national monument in Washington, DC.  Knox believes that "these educational projects help move the United States toward a culture of peace, as we recognize the thoughtful and courageous Americans who have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts.  We celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and to work for peace.”  See “World Peace: A First Step” at www.uspeacememorial.org/WorldPeace.htm  

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: California Approves Autonomy Initiative for Signature Gathering









FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2017

Steve Gonzales
California Freedom Coalition
steve@CalFreeCo.org

California Approves Autonomy Initiative for 
Signature Gathering

San Jose, CAThe Attorney General of California has released the circulating title and summary for Initiative 17-0005, California’s Future: A Path to Independence. The state’s assigned title and summary is as follows:

CALIFORNIA AUTONOMY FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. 
Repeals provision in California Constitution stating California is an inseparable part of the United States. Directs Governor, in consultation with those members of Congress who represent California, to negotiate continually greater autonomy from federal government, up to and including agreement establishing California as a fully independent country, provided voters agree to revise the California Constitution. Creates new state commission to research and make recommendations on ways of increasing California’s autonomy and independence.


The proponents now have 180 days to collect 585,407 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the Nov 2018 ballot.

Proponents of the initiative argue that California’s relationship with the United States is almost a textbook case of taxation without representation. “The U.S. government siphons off billions of dollars a year from California’s economy with very little positive impact for its citizens. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our schools are failing, and our tax dollars are instead being used to bomb people in other countries. It is time that Californians take back control of our own tax dollars and invest in our entire state,” said Steve Gonzales, President of the California Freedom Coalition (CFC).

California voters are more underrepresented now than voters in any state at any point in American history. The Electoral College, two Senators per state, and a strongly gerrymandered House of Representatives has had the cumulative effect of reducing the value of a Californian vote to a mere fraction of that cast by individuals in other states. “In very real terms we are second-class voters in the United States,” said Tim Vollmer, Chief Strategist of the CFC. “This was made vividly clear in the 2016 election when three million of our votes were deemed irrelevant and secondary compared with tens of thousands of votes cast in other states.”

In addition to calling for ever greater autonomy from the current U.S. federal system, the initiative calls for reforms within California’s own system of government. “This initiative will spur California to get its own act together and organize itself in a way that befits a modern democracy,” said Dave Marin, Director of Research and Policy. “Our elected officials in Sacramento and on the local level are the only real political representation that we Californians have. It is time for them to take this role far more seriously and to bring California into the 21st Century.”

“It is time that everyone recognizes that it’s not acceptable to discount Californians' votes. California is more than a state of the U.S.; it's a nation, and it should act like one. This initiative will direct the State to make further progress on this front,” said Neil Longhurst, Chief Financial Officer of the CFC.

The proponents of the initiative are adamant that it is not designed to politically antagonize or abandon other regions of the U.S. Rather, it is aimed to start a necessary reordering of a political process that no longer works. “Some people argue that the Electoral College is necessary to protect the political participation of small and rural states. However, the answer to that problem cannot be the near total disenfranchisement of voters in the larger states,” says Vollmer. “We need a national consensus to fix this growing crisis of political underrepresentation and we feel this initiative is an important and necessary step in that direction.”

About The California Freedom Coalition: The CFC is a not for profit, non-partisan organization that was formed to educate and advocate for the voting rights of California. We are a grassroots organization dedicated to ensuring that California and its nearly 40 million citizens and residents have a truly proportionate voice and vote in electing a national government that reflects their values, intentions and expectations. Please visit our website at calfreeco.org.


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