“Higher Ground” — world musicians perform together

From Playing For Change

This video is from our second album, “PFC2: Songs Around The World.” “Higher Ground” is a song that speaks of the perseverance it takes to reach a higher consciousness. Let’s all keep trying together, one heart and one song at a time until we all reach the Higher Ground.

Short video: U.S. is sending new, very destructive nuclear B61-12 warheads to Europe without public knowledge or consent

From ICAN

This short animated video explains about the new nuclear warhead the United States is delivering to Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey without the people’s knowledge or consent. Spread the word and help get these weapons of mass destruction out of Europe and build momentum for these countries to join the treaty banning nuclear weapons instead.

From International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
https://www.icanw.org/

As many of you know, there are new US nuclear weapons which POLITICO announced [1] could be delivered to US host countries – Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, as soon as December, replacing the current weapons stationed in those countries. 

The B61-12 warhead is a more advanced warhead from the ones currently stationed in countries hosting US nuclear weapons. It has different yields,[2] from 0.3kt to 50kt, but could be even more destructive if detonated underground, increasing its yield to up to 1,250kt, 83 times the size of Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons.

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The Empire Has No Clothes – America’s Blindness to Its Imperial Nuclear Aggression

I grew up thinking our country stood on the highest of moral ground. But there it is, the first and only nation in the world to actually use nuclear weapons and do so against civilian targets (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the same nation that spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined (including Russia and China) — our nation — acknowledging, if not boasting, that it might throw the first nuclear punch in an international fistfight.

From the Independent

Scott Fina (second from right) and others have gathered outside the Vandenberg military base to protest the U.S. nuclear arsenal for many years

by Scott Fina
December 3, 2022

I’m part of a small group of people who protest our nation’s nuclear weapons program at Vandenberg Space Force Base on the Central Coast of California. Monthly, we gather on the shoulder of the Pacific Coast Highway, aka Highway 1, just outside the base’s main gate. We are a collection of grey-haired and wrinkled folks committed to nonviolence.

We protest at Vandenberg because the U.S. tests its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system at the base. It periodically fires unarmed ICBMs 4,200 miles across the Pacific to tiny Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Vandenberg also trains the missileers who are responsible for launching U.S. nuclear armed ICBMs in an actual conflict.

Generally, the base security soldiers have stood by watching us, or ignored us. We have over the years, however, had our troubling interactions with them. Most of us have been arrested at some point, several of us have been imprisoned, and one of us landed before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Objective observers could find the optics of these moments comical. Visualize aged Ewoks holding peace posters, standing up to and then being carted off by stormtroopers armed with semiautomatic weapons (to borrow imagery from George Lucas).

These days we mostly stand quietly, looking into the faces of motorists on Highway 1. It can be monotonous. To pass the time, I survey motorists’ reactions. I compare the number who point a middle finger at us with the number who display the two-fingered peace sign.

Surprisingly, the number of motorists flashing peace signs has been increasing, and these motorists greatly outnumbers middle fingers as the Russian-Ukrainian war continues. They seem to see something our government does not, something strikingly obvious to other governments around the world but our own is blind to: American nuclear aggression.

I came upon a blatant manifestation of this blindness while researching the size and formidableness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It’s in plain view on the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) website: a content section titled “America’s Nuclear Triad.” Go there to be treated to a glitzy, multimedia, virtual tour of our nation’s capacity to hurl nuclear bombs across the globe from land, sea, and air.

The DoD website strikes me as part video game, part action movie, and part testosterone booster. It boldly acknowledges that our nation deploys 400 nuclear armed ICBMs in underground silos, 14 Trident submarines collectively carrying 240 nuclear “missiles with multiple, independently targeted warheads,” and 60 long-range nuclear-capable bomber jets, forming “the most flexible leg of the [nuclear weapons] triad, capable of providing massive firepower in a short time anywhere on the globe, even through the most advanced defenses.”

I initially questioned the website’s authenticity; its presentation goes well beyond transparency, like strutting exhibitionism. A statement at the top of the website, however, notes it officially belongs to the U.S. government and provides a link to prove it.

I then wondered if some DoD techies got high one night and altered the webpage to see what kind of a rise they could get out of people, such as the leaders of Iran and North Korea.

One statement in the “sea” section of the website astounded me: “Ballistic missile submarines … are on constant patrol with enough firepower to make just one [submarine] … the sixth most powerful nuclear power in the world.”

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Silence is not golden

From Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

On the street again today
with my sign ‘No war with Russia – Stop NATO’,
an hour in heart of downtown Brunswick 
seven of us
15-20% of cars gave positive response,
only saw two outright negatives.
Lots of strong honks by truckers

Most people just stare straight ahead
locked in fear, brainwashed,
depressed,
politically ignorant.
Long ago surrendered their 
soul and nation
to the corporate neo-con oligarchs.

Cynthia brought her banner along,
great Chomsky quote.
It must be seen more often,
many cars honked as they passed it by.
Clear truth.

My thinking is being on the street
gives permission
to skeptics of US-NATO war mongering,
more confidence to share their doubts
with others.

The US is led by psychopaths,
terrorists, liars, agents of hell.
They are charting a dark course
to endless chaos
and neo-feudalism.

We must be more courageous
and public
with our free-will 
to critique
our sorry-ass 
so-called governments.

http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2022_10_23_archive.html
http://www.space4peace.org/

Putin’s conundrum

From Global Research

By Mike Whitney
December 16, 2022

The primary purpose of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is to deceptively “rebrand” the offensive use of nuclear weapons as a justifiable act of defense. The new criteria for using these lethal WMD has been deliberately maligned with the clear intention of providing Washington with a green light for their use and proliferation. Accordingly, US foreign policy warhawks have established the institutional and ideological framework needed to launch a nuclear war without fear of legal reprisal. These arduous preparations were carried out with one objective in mind, to preserve America’s steadily-eroding position in the global order through the application of extreme violence.

Vladimir Putin is worried. Very worried.

In a recent press conference, the Russian President expressed his concern that the United States might be planning a nuclear strike on Russia. Naturally, Putin did not state the matter in such crude terms, but his comments left little doubt that that’s what he was talking about. Here’s part of what he said:

The United States has a theory of a ‘preventive strike’…Now they are developing a system for a ‘disarming strike’. What does that mean? It means striking at control centres with modern high-tech weapons to destroy the opponent’s ability to counterattack.”

Why would Putin waste time on the various theories circulating among foreign policy wonks in the United States if he wasn’t concerned that these ideas were actionable?

The only explanation is that Putin is worried, and the reason he is worried is because he knows that these ideas (preemption and ‘disarming strike’) hold-sway among the elite cadres of powerbrokers who decide these matters in Washington. Putin probably realizes that there is a sizable constituency in Washington that support the use of nuclear weapons and who believe they are essential to preserving the “rules-based order”. In short, Putin believes these ideas are “actionable” which is why he expressed concern.

So, let’s think about the point Putin is trying to make. He’s saying that the US tacitly supports a preemptive “first strike” policy, that is, if the US feels sufficiently threatened, then it claims the right to launch nuclear missiles at an enemy whether that enemy has attacked the United States or not.

Does that sound reasonable to you?

And what about Russia; does Russia support the same policy?

No, it doesn’t. Russia’s Nuclear Doctrine explicitly precludes the first use of nukes. Russia will not launch a first strike. Period. Russia will only use Nuclear weapons in retaliation and only in the event that the nation faces an ‘existential threat’. In other words, Russia will only use nuclear weapons as a last resort.

US Nuclear Doctrine is the polar opposite of Russia’s because the US will not abandon its support for a first strike. And what’s more troubling, is that US Doctrine has been so grossly expanded that could be construed to include almost anything. For example, according to the recently-released Nuclear Posture Review(NPR), nuclear weapons can be used: “in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.”

Chew on that for a minute. That could include anything from a serious threat to national security to the sudden emergence of economic rival. Are we going to nuke Beijing because their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to be bigger than America’s within the decade?

We can’t answer that, but it certainly meets the NPR’s grossly expanded criteria.

Can you see why Putin might be concerned about all this? Can you see why Biden’s unwillingness to jettison the “first strike” policy might make Washington’s adversaries a bit nervous? Can you see why these new watered-down standards for the use of nuclear weapons might send up red flags in Capitols around the world?

Putin wants people to know what’s going on. That’s why he’s speaking-out at public venues. He wants everyone to know that the United States no longer regards its nuclear arsenal as purely defensive. It is now seen as an essential instrument for preserving the “rules-based order”. Can you see that?

And this is just part of what Putin said in a very short press conference. He also said this:

Now they (the US) are developing a system for a ‘disarming strike’. What does that mean? It means striking at control centres with modern high-tech weapons to destroy the opponent’s ability to counterattack.”

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Putin attempting to prevent a repeat of the Clinton-Yeltsin destruction of Russia

From Global Research

Clinton was selected to be president precisely because he is a high-level psychopath able to usher neoliberal policies.

By Kurt Nimmo
December 16, 2022

In September, former president Bill Clinton said Russia did not go into Ukraine to prevent NATO expansion. “The former president said the U.S. and NATO never meant to threaten Russia and that the nations of Eastern Europe had a right to live in security after decades of being dominated by Russia,” Politico reported at the time.[1]

No mention of Clinton’s betrayal of Russia. Or that of George H.W. Bush, James Baker, and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. All had promised NATO would not push its troops up against Russia’s border, an obvious national security threat for Russia. It does not have similar troops and war materiel lined up against the borders of Canada and Mexico.

In a speech delivered in 2007, well before the current crisis, Vladimir Putin “reserved his bitterest complaints… for the US drive to expand Nato into former Soviet eastern Europe and for the plans to deploy parts of the missile shield in central Europe. ‘Why do you need to move your military infrastructure to our borders?’” he asked. [2]

I’m not sure why Putin posed this as a question. It’s obvious, even here in the Land of Psychopathic Lies, that the USG and its NATO attack dog have long hungered to destroy Russia and turn it into another Libya in the bloody wake of Obama and NATO’s vicious attack and assassination of the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadaffi.

There is but one reason for this: the elimination of any competitor to the neoliberal order. Clinton, a skilled pathological liar and model psychopath, set the stage for what we are now witnessing.

“Americans generally have no idea what life was like for Russians during the 1990s. They naively assume that because Russia swiftly adopted capitalism, the result was great economic prosperity. The reality was quite different,” writes Caleb Maupin.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin took office and dramatically re-organized Russia’s economy on free market [neoliberal] lines. When Bill Clinton was elected as President of the United States, it was widely understood that Yeltsin was “Clinton’s man.” According to the US Bureau of Public Affairs, Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton were very close. The official US government website states: “Clinton was strongly inclined not only to like Yeltsin but also to support his policies, in particular, his commitment to Russian democracy.” US President Bill Clinton met with Boris Yeltsin 18 times while he was in office.

I doubt Clinton was “close” to Yeltsin. Psychopaths are unable to form “close” relationships. Yeltsin, a notorious drunk and buffoon, was manipulated by Clinton, and the Russian people paid for his befuddled compliance.

Maupin notes that a mere 6% of Russians approved of Yeltsin’s USG-contrived economic “reforms.” According to the US Bureau of Public Affairs, “at the time, and periodically throughout his term in office, Yeltsin faced growing opposition at home to his efforts to liberalize the economy and enact democratic reforms in Russia.”

And rightly so. The USG, World Bank, and IMF imposed “reforms” resulted in not the establishment of a free market paradise, but rather a huge catastrophe. US Senator Bill Bradley explained it this way: “30% unemployment, rampant inflation, pensions gone, savings gone, 30 or 40 years… it’s all gone. No jobs. A few people doing very well, who bought all assets from the state, but the average person, no.”

In “The Shock Doctrine,” Naomi Klein writes how between 1991 and 1998 “more than 80 percent of Russian farms had gone bankrupt and roughly seventy thousand state factories had closed creating an epidemic of unemployment.” This resulted in 74 million Russians living below the poverty level. Klein adds “25 percent of Russians—almost 37 million people—lived in poverty described as ‘desperate.’”

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U.S. spends 50% of world’s military expenditures to control foreign policy of nations, DoD fails another audit

From Global Research

End the Empire!
By Eric Zuesse
December 12, 2022

Currently, the U.S. has exactly 900 military bases in foreign countries, in addition to the 749 bases inside the U.S. itself. The U.S. Government minimizes and tries to hide this reality from the public.

Furthermore, although the U.S. is officially estimated to spend around 36% of the entire world’s military expenditures, the actual figure is around 50% of the world’s military expenditures, and the added approximately 14% is being paid-out through federal U.S. Departments other than the ‘Defense’ Department, so as to make the total U.S. figure appear to be only 36% of the global total. Moreover: on November 15th, the U.S. Department of ‘Defense’ announced that “The results of the fifth annual DOD [Department Of Defense] wide financial audit will be a disclaimer of opinion for DOD” and used other such obtuse phraseology, so that the reality that — as one of the very few published news-reports that was based on it headlined optimistically — “Defense Department fails another audit, but makes progress”[1], and it opened:

The Defense Department has failed its fifth-ever audit, unable to account for more than half of its assets, but the effort is being viewed as a “teachable moment,” according to its chief financial officer.

After 1,600 auditors combed through DOD’s $3.5 trillion in assets and $3.7 trillion in liabilities, officials found that the department couldn’t account for about 61 percent of its assets, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Tuesday.

Neither the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, nor AP, reported it, at all. Nor did anyone report that ONLY the U.S. Aggression (or ‘Defense’) Department fails — and repeatedly fails — its audit-attempts. All other Departments pass their audits. This attempt, which had hired 1,600 independent auditors, failed for the same reason as before: the audit-team refused to sign findings, because where or to whom most of the money is going can’t be traced. But the public don’t know how corrupt or otherwise bad the U.S. military actually is; so, at least ever since the year 2000, the most respected “institution” of all, by the American people, is “The military.”[2] It’s a great PR success.

READ MORE — How did America become Ruled by its Military-industrial complex?

There is only a single empire remaining in the world: the U.S.-and-allied empire. It relies upon the U.S. military. U.S.-and-allied media have been serving it well.

On 1 December 2019, The Conversation.com headlined “Why does the US pay so much for the defense of its allies? 5 questions answered”, and said:

1. What’s in it for the US?

The U.S. currently has approximately 174,000 active-duty personnel deployed to overseas locations in approximately 140 countries. The Department of Defense Comptroller’s Office estimates the total cost of overseas bases and deployments at US$24.4 billion in fiscal year 2020. These figures generally exclude the costs of ongoing combat operations.

When stronger countries provide security for weaker countries, they receive non-material benefits in return.

For example, the weaker country may sacrifice control over their foreign policy.

To “sacrifice control over their foreign policy” is to be a vassal-nation, or ‘ally’, of the imperial power. It’s to serve the imperial power’s billionaires — to give them control over the vassal nation. That’s to “sacrifice” a lot. The imperial power’s billionaires benefit enormously. So, their media serve it. Here’s why that is being allowed:

U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formulated his concept of, and named, “the United Nations,” during his conversations with the UK Empire’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Newfoundland Canada during 9-11 August 1941, because FDR discovered there that he and Churchill had very different aims for what the post-WW-II world should be like: Churchill insisting upon continuation of empires, and FDR insisting upon the end of all empires and the ultimate replacement of them by a “United Nations” that would possess the exclusive authority, and means, to make and to enforce international laws — the laws that would govern not in national (domestic) matters — but ONLY in international matters.

FDR was convinced that the WW-I-era League of Nations had failed because it was partisan between nations and excluded some, and that the thing that had caused both World Wars was conflicts between empires — it was, regarding both WW I and WW II, wars between imperialistic gangs of nations. Whereas Churchill wanted post-WW-II to be ruled globally by a joint UK-U.S. empire, FDR wanted post-WW-II to be ruled globally by a democratic U.N. that would respect and preserve the individual independence of each and every nation and thus there would no longer be any “imperial” countries (such as the English Empire, and the French Empire), but instead there would be only independent nations and no master-slave relationship any longer existing between an imperial country and its vassal nations or ‘allies’.

It was to be an international democracy of nations; and, in this international global democracy, no nation would possess any right to demand of any other nation compliance with its own internal (domestic) values and laws.

Whereas FDR’s vision was for a further implementation of the Westphalian Principle — that the difference between national laws and international laws must always be honored and adhered-to — Churchill, like all imperialists, rejected the Westphalian Principle. FDR’s successor, Harry S. Truman, starting on 25 July 1945, committed America to Churchill’s vision, and within two years of becoming President, he replaced FDR’s entire Cabinet and advisors, so as to build the coming U.S./UK all-inclusive global empire and to eviscerate FDR’s intended U.N. — which therefore became the weak U.N. we have today. The only way to prevent WW III is to implement FDR’s vision, of a global democracy of nations, but it can’t be done without first cancelling those 900 foreign U.S. military bases. The empire — empire itself — must end. FDR was right; Truman was wrong.

*

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s new book is AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Eric Zuesse, Global Research, 2022

https://www.globalresearch.ca/end-us-empire/5802058 — has links to sources

[1] archive.ph/Z2J0U — The Hill: Defense Department fails another audit, but makes progress

[2] news.gallup(dot)com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx — Gallup poll: Confidence in Institutions

U.S. “Defense” bill includes massive military land grab in Nevada

From Center for Biological Diversity,

Defense Bill Includes Massive Military Land Grab in Nevada
Navy to Seize Control of Hundreds of Thousands of Acres of Public Land

December 7, 2022

RENO, Nev.— The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act released Tuesday night by the House Rules Committee contains provisions that would enable an enormous military land grab in Nevada.[1]

Despite celebrations by the environmental justice community about the omission of Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting reform deal from the bill, the must-pass legislation does include a long-sought-after expansion of Naval Air Station Fallon in central Nevada. This provision would allow the Navy to gain complete or partial control of more than 500,000 acres of public land for bombing ranges and military exercise areas.

The public lands of central Nevada that would be turned into a military training area feature towering snow-capped mountain ranges and broad, sagebrush-filled basins. They’re rich in wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, golden eagles and greater sage-grouse.

“This is a dark day for the public lands and wildlife of central Nevada,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m outraged that Nevada’s senators are helping the military seize control of hundreds of thousands of acres of irreplaceable public land.”

The expansion would entail a significant increase in military airplane activity above Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, an essential stopover on the Pacific flyway and a Western Hemispheric shorebird reserve. The refuge is dense with bald eagles, tundra swans and shorebirds such as American avocets and long-billed dowitchers. The increased overflights will disturb the birds as they stop to rest on their long migrations.

The bill also includes a backdoor authorization for the Dixie Valley water grab, a proposed project that would suck water out of remote Dixie Valley and pipe it 50 miles to Fallon to fuel unsustainable growth. This project was recently cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a factor contributing to the endangered species listing of the Dixie Valley toad.

“Sen. Cortez Masto and Sen. Rosen have sold out Nevada’s public lands and wildlife,” said Donnelly. “They talk the talk about conservation, but when push comes to shove, they’re apparently willing to sacrifice our shared national heritage on the altar of the ever-expanding military-industrial complex.”

biologicaldiversity(dot)org/w/news/press-releases/defense-bill-includes-massive-military-land-grab-in-nevada-2022-12-07/

Also posted at

https://www.globalresearch.ca/defense-bill-includes-massive-military-land-grab-nevada/5802100

[1] cortezmasto(dot)senate(dot)gov/news/press-releases/cortez-masto-nevada-delegation-secure-expansion-of-the-navys-fallon-range-training-complex-in-ndaa-bill-text