Somehow This Madness Must Cease

It was appropriate today, as we mark the national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, to re-read ‘A Time to Break the Silence,’ his most powerful speech, given on April 4, 1967, just a year before his tragic murder in Memphis. It is a speech that stands the test of time; much of it is as relevant today as it was in 1967, when war was raging in Vietnam. I would urge people to read or listen (link above) to that profound and prophetic speech in its entirety. He said, “There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.” With climate catastrophe and nuclear madness moving at a rapid rate towards a potential apocalypse for all humanity, King’s words resonate with, as he said, “the fierce urgency of now.”

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The African Lion Is Looking For New Predators

The African Lion, the largest military exercise on the African Continent planned and led by the US Army, has begun. It includes land, air, and naval maneuvers in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and adjacent seas – from North Africa to West Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. 8,000 soldiers are taking part in it, half of them is American with about 200 tanks, self-propelled guns, planes, and warships. African Lion 21 is expected to cost $ 24 million and has implications that make it particularly important.

This political move was fundamentally decided in Washington: the African exercise is taking place for the first time in Western Sahara i.e. this year in the territory of the Sahrawi Republic, recognized by over 80 UN States, whose existence Morocco denied and fought against by any means.

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How Portland Police Came to Be Armed With Military-Grade Rifles

AR-15-certified cops store the weapon in their patrol cars. (Sam Gehrke)

For two decades, the Portland Police Bureau has armed its officers with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, the result of a tough-on-crime policy that equipped officers with firearms most people associate more with mass shootings than community policing.

In response to a records request from WW, the bureau revealed last week that it owns 238 Colt AR-15 rifles.

Today, 168 Portland police officers—about 20% of the force—are trained to operate the semi-automatic weapon, which allows for greater accuracy and the ability to shoot with precision from upward of 100 yards, or about a city block away.

That means AR-15 rifle operators outnumber the 146 Portland officers who are certified to respond to mental health crises through the Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team—established following the city’s settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Reclaiming The Radical Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the last years of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rejected duopoly politics and challenged the roots of the crises we face, what he called the triple evils of racism, capitalism and militarism. As many people active in the Civil Rights Movement moved into the Democratic Party, Dr. King taught that the movement must be independent of political parties and be “the conscience” of them. For this, Dr. King was shunned and hated. In this interview from MLK Day in 2015, Kevin Zeese and I spoke with Kymone Freeman, co-founder of We Act Radio in Washington,DC, JasiriX, an activist and artist out of Pittsburgh, PA, and Cat Brooks, an activist in Oakland, CA about the revival of the radical Dr. King and how they are continuing his work in their communities.

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Critical Lessons From Dr. Martin Luther King For These Times

This week, we celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and witness the inauguration of our next president, Joe Biden. This inauguration will be unique, first, for being held during a pandemic and, second, for its heightened security in fear of another attack by Trump supporters. Downtown Washington, DC is normally secured during an inauguration and people must pass through checkpoints to get into the Mall and parade route, but this time is different.

There are 25,000 members of the National Guard on duty in the city to protect the President and Members of Congress. But even this does not guarantee security.

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Martin Luther King’s Revolutionary Dream Deferred

We kill the most beautiful among us—anyone, it seems, who reveals the nastier, brutish elements of American society and has the audacity to imagine, demand even, a better path: peace, unity and tolerance. Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and so many others.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of King’s tragic assassination, and though countless publications will brim with commemorations and retrospectives of this misunderstood icon, most will miss the mark. Long ago co-opted and sanitized by mainstream political figures, the King of memory bears little resemblance to the radical, complex man himself.

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We Can’t Vote ‘Em Out

It doesn’t matter when you read this, the assholes will still be in power. I know that because here in America we can’t vote out the assholes. We can trouble them, scare them, annoy them, and sometimes even pressure them into doing some small thing that’s mildly progressive. 

But we can’t vote out the assholes.

Of course, right now, if you’re a Joe Biden supporter, you’re yelling out loud to your laptop or phone, “That’s not true! We just DID! We just did vote out the assholes!” And I’m not arguing that Donald Trump and his motley squad of parasitic shit stains aren’t awful.

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Colombians Question Deployment Of US Security Forces

Colombian soldiers and military brass have been implicated in a string of human rights violations in recent weeks. On May 1, Semana magazine reported that the Colombian military illegally used U.S. military aid to spy on journalists and human rights defenders, including U.S. citizens. On June 4, Colombian armed forces carried out forced eradication of illicit crops and injured six farmers. On June 25, seven soldiers confessed to gang-raping a 13-year-old Emberá girl in Northern Colombia.

Yet the United States is only deepening its relationship with the Colombian military. On May 28, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) announced the deployment of the U.S. Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) to Colombia to advise and train Colombian units in anti-narcotic missions. Colombians have spoken out against the security agreement, and the U.S. role in the country’s militarized drug policy.

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Bastille Day: Protests As France Gives Tribute To Health Workers

Healthcare staff protested in France as the country celebrated Bastille Day, marked by a ceremony celebrating frontline workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Unions called for demonstrations after they said a new deal that gives a pay rise to health and care workers did not go far enough to help the sector.

Protests for improved wages and investment in public hospitals took place in Paris on Tuesday, where nurses in white coats replaced the usual uniformed soldiers in the capital’s Bastille Day celebration, as the country paid tribute to frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19.

In the 14 July ceremony, medical staff stood silently as lengthy applause rang out over the Place de la Concorde from around 2,000 guests, including Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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The Democrats’ Disastrous, Militarist Climate Plan

Don’t believe for a minute that the Democrats climate plan even means what it says. Its solutions include disastrous scams like “biofuels” and nuclear energy. It proposes no fundamental change in lifestyle, no reduction in personal consumption, and no halt or reduction in eating meat (but renewable energy production on land used for livestock, so that the same land can mitigate the unacknowledged damage it is doing). It offers no proposed federal budget with any major moving of the money to where it’s needed, and no plan to extract any resources from billionaires and corporate giants.

This plan has been criticized for largely ignoring 96% of humanity in order to address a global problem as an isolated country. That’s not quite right. It’s actually a plan built around hostile violence toward the world and the imperative to occupy the world with military forces. Here’s a bit of it:

“The U.S. military is the world’s largest consumer of energy from fossil fuels. Among federal agencies, the Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for 77% of the federal government’s total energy use.”

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On Contact: Patriotism And Dissent With Danny Sjursen

Former Army Major Danny Sjursen, a frequent contributor to Popular Resistance, urges people to consider themselves citizens of humanity and not of a nation.  Sjursen is the author of “Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War” where he defines patriotism as wanting the country to live up to its aspirations, that dissents from the United States when it is wrong. When a country becomes an empire, Sjursen says it is our patriotic duty to dissent.  Sjursen discusses three types of patriotism. Principled participatory patriotism takes the same sense of duty to urge the United States to become a better place that lives up to its values. Even the small numbers of people who take dissent as a role of patriotism have an impact on the direction of the country. Dissenters range across the political spectrum from libertarians to anti-imperialist leftists.

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The US Military Has A Boogaloo Problem

The U.S. military appears to have a brewing boogaloo problem. Active-duty military are flocking to online networks frequented by the anti-government movement, known for its meme culture and Hawaiian shirt-clad adherents, who are often called Boogaloo Bois.

“Boogaloo” is code for civil war, which is the ultimate goal of the movement, and some of its followers trade in memes glorifying violence against federal agents and crack jokes about the impending “Boog.” Recently they’ve become regular fixtures at anti-lockdown and Black Lives Matter protests in states that allow open-carry of military-style firearms.

An analysis of some of the largest private Facebook groups catering to the boogaloo movement found that scores of members self-identified as active-duty military on their personal profiles.

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Racialized Militarism, Peacebuilding And Defunding The Military

As the Canadian government prepares to spend $1 billion on Raytheon missiles and related equipment, award a $19 billion contract for new fighter jets in 2022, and increase spending to $32.7 billion a year on the military by 2026, it is both timely and necessary to have a conversation about peacebuilding and the structures of violence. In this regard, the Canadian Peace Initiative has a campaign to establish a federal Department of Peace. And Eriel Tchekwie Deranger has urged NGOs advocating for a Green New Deal to: “center the destructive intertwined roles of capitalism, consumerism, militarism and colonialism as foundations to the current crisis.”

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ACLU Demands Congressional Probe Into ‘Politically-Motivated’ Attack On Peaceful Protest

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Project, denounced both the nature and the timing of the assault on the unsuspecting demonstrators, given that it happened just as Trump delivered a speech from the Rose Garden in which he threatened tougher police tactics—including use of U.S. military forces—to quell protests in cities nationwide.

“This appears to be grossly unjustified use of a dangerous chemical weapon on protesters and raises serious human rights concerns under international law,” Dakwar said of what transpired in Lafayette Square. “Health experts warned that the use of tear gas can have long-term effects on respiratory function. Elected officials, including Congress, must investigate this politically-motivated and life-threatening use of indiscriminate weapons.”

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Pentagon Ready To Send Troops To Minneapolis If State Asks

The Pentagon said Saturday it was ready to provide military help to authorities scrambling to contain unrest in Minneapolis, where George Floyd’s death has sparked widespread protests, but Gov. Tim Walz has not requested federal troops.

Jonathan Rath Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said several military units have been placed on higher alert “as a prudent planning measure” in case Walz asks for help. The Associated Press first reported on the potential deployments and, citing sources with direct knowledge of the orders, named four locations from which soldiers would be drawn.

Hoffman did not identify the units, but other officials said they are mainly military police. Hoffman said these are units normally on 48-hour recall to support state authorities in the event of crises like natural disasters. They are now on four-hour alert, Hoffman said.

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