James Bovard’s latest book is free on Amazon on December 14 and 15.
Freedom Frauds is the only political book on Amazon that combines hitchhiking, torture, Syria, Afghanistan, police shootings, & Civil War atrocities. It begins with the story of my antiwar awakening from a long bus ride with a down-and-out veteran who never recovered from killing an innocent south Vietnamese girl. Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats have embraced foreign wars on the flimsiest pretexts, usually championed by media coverage that ignores the carnage inflicted on foreign civilians. But the US government remains far more adept at killing foreigners than protecting Americans.
Once again, the USA leads the world in weapons sales, notes SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The 100 biggest arms producers accounted for $375 billion in weapons sales in 2016, with US firms having by far the largest share at $217 billion. That’s right: the US accounts for roughly 58% of the global arms trade. We’re #1! We’re #1!
Not only do we arm our friends but our foes as well, notes FP: Foreign Policy, which has the following SitRep (situation report) for today:
U.S. weapons used by ISIS. A new report from Conflict Armament Research, a U.K.-based weapons tracking group, outlines in fascinating detail the industrial-scale weapons manufacturing capabilities the Islamic State boasted of in its prime… But what might be most notable are the American-supplied weapons found amid the ruins – the aftermath of secretive American efforts to provide small rebel groups with anti-tank rockets and other guided munitions. The transfer of the rockets, purchased from European countries, violated end-user agreements signed by the United States pledging not to transfer the weapons to third parties. In some cases, it took only a few weeks for the weapons to end up in the hands of Islamic State fighters after being delivered to allegedly friendly forces.
Let’s face it: $217 billion is an enormous amount of money, and the weapons trade is enormously profitable to the US. America’s wars are not coming to an end anytime soon: there’s simply too much money being made on manufacturing and selling war.
Possibly, just possibly, a new momentum for direct US-North Korea discussions is developing. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided some of it when, in a talk at the Atlantic Council December 12, he for the first time proposed talks without preconditions – a significant departure from previous remarks, echoed by other senior US officials, in which he insisted on North Korea’s cessation of weapons tests and lowering of tensions before any kind of talks might begin.
Tillerson’s proposal was almost a plea to Pyongyang to respond to an opening, perhaps in recognition that other US officials have lately suggested that time is running out before the US makes a military response to North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile tests. Here’s what Tillerson said:
We’ve said from the diplomatic side, we’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk. We are ready to have the first meeting without precondition. Let’s just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want. Talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table, if that’s what you are excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face, and then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map of what we might be willing to work towards.
Author and prominent peace educator Paul Chappell observed that he had 12 years of math through calculus II, and yet uses only a fraction of his math skills in daily life. He graduated from high school, however, illiterate in peace, literacy he desperately needed and has dedicated his life to cultivating, disseminating and incorporating into educational curricula.
The author’s childhood was filled with trauma. As a mixed race, Korean/African-American/white child growing up in Alabama, he felt himself a racial outcast. By high school, as he readily admits, he was full of rage. But in an act of survival at the age of 19, he made a solemn commitment to transform himself. He reflects with irony and regret that "the education system had not given me a single hour of training to help me understand the nature of rage. … In fact, much of what I learned in school taught me to suppress my empathy and conscience and to view purpose in the narrow context of accumulating material wealth."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told an audience at the Atlantic Council this week that the US is ready for direct talks with North Korea without preconditions. This seems to be a major shift for the Trump Administration, however the US president’s spokesperson insisted US policy has not changed. What’s going on here? We have a few theories. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: