A Report from the DC Peace Congress

But first, I’d like to say a few words about war and militarism.

This nation was founded on the original sins of genocide and slavery.  In 1967 at Riverside Baptist Church Martin Luther King, Jr. later called the US the largest exporter of violence on the planet, and had called out Amerika for its triple evils of militarism, racism, and capitalism.

NATO and Africom are both really the US, with the NATO think tank the Atlantic Council working with Facebook and likely Google to jettison information that might be anti-war, anti-Imperialist, anti-capitalist, or otherwise not faith-promoting for the War Machine.

This nation is steeped in violence.  There are young adults who’ve never experienced a day when the US wasn’t involved in multiple wars.  The police have been fully militarized (at no cost to them), and are locked and loaded to fire on resistors of any stripe; police kill citizens, even unarmed ones, with almost total impunity. The NYPD po-po have been trained by the IDF for so long that they finally said ‘the heck with it’, and got their own offices in Tel Aviv.

Kids are often raised watching killing cartoons, playing Killing X-box games, and are taught in school and at home to Compete, not Cooperate.  Life’s Zero-sum, baby…and ya better get ready for it early!

‘Diplomacy’ is now all Authoritarian Gunboat Diplomacy, and ‘diplomatic parties’ in Deecee are all about selling weapons of war, often to the worst of the worst criminal regimes on the planet, for instance to Saudi Arabia and Likud Israel, increasingly to Ukraine (both Israel and the US) and Georgia (Montenegro next?) in the proxy wars against…Russia.  And John Bolton recently received a ‘Defender of Israel’ award from the Zionist Organization of America…

The US political class genuflects before Zionism in the most despicable ways, and yes, even Liz Warren (the mid-tem scoreboard reveals massive pro-israel influence on congress-critters).  One begins to wonder who’s the client, who’s the state with regard to Amerika and Israel, under Trump: Amerika and KSA.

And then there are the ‘peace-loving’ DSAs like Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez lavishing praise on war criminals like John McCain posthumously. Pardon Me?

The publicly stated military budget for 2019 requested by Trump’s Pentagon was $639 billion, yet 40 Senate Dems provided their power of the purse to raise it to $716 billion.  The legislationformally titled the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019’.

Past investigations by Nick Turse have found that hidden in other parts of the budget almost double that budget.  The U.S. Department of Defense spent at least $68,624,394,000 on 689 individual contracts during September 2018.  Operating over a thousand known bases globally, the US military’s carbon footprint is vast, although I wasn’t able to find current information as to ‘how vast’ in a quick Bingle.

But no, our Elected Leaders, neither Blue nor Red, seldom even ask how ‘we’ll’ pay for the military budget.  There’s always money for war, but then what’s left of the social safety net is shredded, whether by Grand Bargains or Presidential Edict.  Homelessness is rampant, as are hunger, poverty, and depression in Amerika.  Medicare/Medicaid for all just costs too much, in some cities, even feeding the homeless is illegal, as is scavenging food behind grocery stores. Increasingly cities and states are enacting anti-BDS Israel as criminal.

Vets with PTSD commit mass murders, commit suicide in horrific numbers.  Some mass killers act out their own urban commando dreams (that psychological narrative I’ll leave to Alice Miller and ‘the roots of violence’), proxy wars by the US and arms sales are ubiquitous, there is always a new enemy besides: Russia, which has become a punch-line in jokes.

And of course, NATO was formed first to ‘fight the Soviet menace’, and after the dissolution needed to reform/save itself as ‘Saving the World from the Russian Menace’, as against all sanity and former promises, NATO bases crowd the borders of Russia, and more and more nations are awarded almost-NATO status.

(Amnesty International logo)

Sorry for the long preface, but before I proceed to the report, I’ll ask: When was Amerika NOT waging war over the last millennium? I’d also like to offer this from John Gorka; he says it right, I think.

From Popular Resistance: ‘Peace Congress Calls For Unity Around April 4 NATO Protests’, Nov. 12, 2018  (some outtakes):

“Washington, DC – The Peace Congress, held in place of the Trump Military Parade, brought together more than 100 people seeking to build a more effective peace and justice movement to end the wars at home and abroad. The Peace Congress celebrated their success in helping to stop the Trump military parade and used the opportunity to hold a general assembly to develop a strategy, goals and next steps for action to strengthen the peace and anti-imperialist movement.

The unifying principles of the Peace Congress are:

  1. End U.S. wars at home and abroad.
  2. Create a peace economy that meets the necessities of people and protects the planet.
  3. Respect the self-determination of all people and nations.
  4. Create transformative change by building a movement of movements.

One of the next steps was a call for a unified mobilization around the April 4, 2019 70th Anniversary NATO conference being held in Washington, DC. The Congress called for not only bringing together peace organizations, but also those opposed to racism and oppression and for economic democracy and environmental justice.

April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by the government in 1968 and his Beyond Vietnam speech given one year before his death. Beyond Vietnam called out the triple evils of militarism, racism and capitalism. The Peace Congress unanimously urged groups to put aside their differences and come together to highlight that message, just as we did to stop the Trump military parade.

The Peace Congress endorsed the calls to action issued by Black Alliance for Peace, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) the No Foreign Bases Coalition and World Beyond War. These include educational forums, protests the weekend before the NATO meeting, strategic, confrontational, nonviolent protests on April 4 and a peace festival.

The Peace Congress will work to build a movement of movements to provide a strong response to the militarism of NATO and call for the abolition of this military alliance, which has turned into a tool of offensive military actions rather than one of joint defense.” [snip]

“The Peace Congress agreed that we must build a broad movement of movements that represents the multiple issues impacted by militarism. As annual military spending is now more than 60% of discretionary spending, it impacts all aspects of our lives. The budget should serve the essential needs of the civilian population for health, education, housing, jobs, and income, as well as protect the planet with a transition to a clean energy economy and infrastructure that is more efficient.

In addition to diversity of issues participating in the peace and justice movement, the Peace Congress is going to prioritize the need for racial and age as well as gender diversity. This means empowering youth to be the next generation of leaders and supporting them, particularly when they face oppression as student groups advocating for Palestinian rights are experiencing.

Solemn March Though DC Memorials to Reclaim Armistice Day

In addition to the Peace Congress, veterans groups and military families led a solemn march through the memorials on the mall. They began near the World War II memorial and went to memorials for the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War I. At each memorial, the group placed a wreath. The march showed opposition to war on a day when many people will be visiting memorials commemorating wars on Veterans Day.

Before the march, veterans who served in various wars and military families who have been impacted by war spoke at a rally. They invited allies of these groups who are working for peace to speak as well. Then, the march was led by a single file procession of veterans wearing signs that described the reality of war. There was one person for each of the 20.6 veterans, mostly under 35, who commit suicide each day.

The veterans called for reclaiming the day as Armistice Day, a day to remember the horrors of war and the need for peace.

This is a video of Stacy Bannerman giving her ‘Freedom Medal’ back to George W. Bush at the big doings in Philadelphia to honor…Dubya.

“After the events in DC, some participants went to Philadelphia to join in protests against former President George W. Bush who was receiving an award from former Vice President Joe Biden for his work with veterans. About Face, formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War, organized a protest outside the event, which was joined by other peace activists.”

??? ‘Documents Show the VA Debacle Began Under George W. Bush; The Bush administration was aware of the backlogs and secret waiting lists but failed to fix the problem, mother jones, may 30, 2014

Is it any wonder that so many around the world are experiencing Vertigo?

Now the newsletter hadn’t mentioned nuclear war per se, but that’s the most worrisome form of war to me.  As the bellicosity levels are increasingly ratcheted up toward Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia, NATO and US war games are increasing all over the globe, given the realignments of nations (many nuclear) into defense and trading blocks, plus the fact that Trump pulled the US out of the INF treaty…and Herr T having doubled down on Obomba’s increase of ‘tactical, small-yield survivable’ nuclear warheads…oh, my how fraught the nuclear tensions in the world are now!  (please feel free to nuke that run-on sentence.)

And yet the US and NATO seem to be ground-zero for most of the global nervous breakdowns and vertigo, including the vast numbers of those in diaspora fleeing their home nations from war, starvation, and other US-created hells in ‘our backyard’.  Or is that my bias speaking?

Peace when you can find it; make community with all you can.  Love, respect, and solidarity is all we have to get us through the dark days ahead.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Alligator Ed's picture

Kids are often raised watching killing cartoons, playing Killing X-box games, and are taught in school and at home to Compete, not Cooperate. Life’s Zero-sum, baby…and ya better get ready for it early!

Zero-sum games are those of the elite. Such "gaming" implies winners, who putatively have 1 versus losers who possess "zero". It need not be that way.

It is too facile to alone video games' implied / explicit violence for the apparent non-resurgence of a visible, vocal, and growing anti-war movement. This is a factor. There are others readily at hand and even more reasons discoverable after some digging. To me the situation is analogous, but not identical, to the frog slowly simmering to death in the pot of heating water. Bread and circuses, which is what the public is fed these days (decades really) will not suffice as long as there is almost enough bread to go around. The bread supply is slowly being diminished, so that starvation, both physical and intellectual, is rare enough to appear random. When wide-spread enough, the forced austerity will be recognized--too late.

wd, your essays are thought-provoking, which good essays ought to be. Consider c99 and like surroundings. They are so atypical as to beyond the comprehension of those not determined to understand the mess we're in. Counting all politically-literate conservatives plus politically-literate progressives, the tally likely fails to reach 10% of the population. 10% says Malcolm Glover is the tipping point. Check out the intertubez. Most of the Conservatives are anti-war. Even the pro-trumpets. In fact, many conservatives would desert El Trumpo in a heartbeat if he starts or enlarges more aggressive conflicts. This situation does not apply to any Establishment types, especially Hilbots.

Nice song by John Gorka--I initially thought you might have been taunting us with a Sebastian Gorka diatribe. So. in recognition of your fine musical taste, I am pleased to offer:

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

games and cartoons i hadn't meant 'alone', but as cultural, indoctrinated violence. the same for hollywood and network teevee as similar gladio psyops.

i'm not reading well this time of the evening, but i'm trying to reconcile what you mean by these two sentences:

"wd, your essays are thought-provoking, which good essays ought to be. Consider c99 and like surroundings. They are so atypical as to beyond the comprehension of those not determined to understand the mess we're in."

dunno malcolm glover, but i get why you say the zeitgeist is akin to boiling frogs slowly, as in: scant notice is paid, while a barbeque would command attention. : )

one could argue that it was the draft that was the impetus of the anti-viet nam protests, and i'd agree. esp. that the end of the draft and the 'all-volunteer military' was brilliant. now they can lasso in the rabble poor with signing bonuses, huuuge re-enlistment bonuses, etc. it's hard to see a draft coming back, but i'd not favor it as the same elites would receive deferments, same wars, different days. or something. thanks for the 'war: what is it good for', i'll give you my absolute favorite anti-war viet nam era draft song, peter's best ever, as richie havens said. it always makes me weep. let it serve as tonight's closing lullaby. his father could have been...my father back in the day.

tell the people they are safe now...
hunger stopped him, he lies still in his cell
death has gagged his accusations...
we are free now...we can kill now...

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis I meant Malcolm Gladwell.

A modern draft would present problems unlike the 60s. For instance, how could the military provide separate bathrooms for the 17 recognized genders?

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

and what about your two sentences i'd highlighted? your new diary was far above my academic heft, gator.

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@Alligator Ed The MIC is quite capable of overlooking any, *any* permutations of humans in what used to be called "cannon fodder". They don't care. They will find a way. Quicker than the rest of society as well...
Personally, I think the kids back in the 60's, and the kids today, are alright.

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Big Al's picture

The U.S. has been at war her entire life. But I read somewhere the other day that the U.S. has been at war or invading countries or whatever for about 95% of it's history. So I guess what else is new.

Relative to the unifying principles of the Peace Congress, they're commendable. Maybe to address this machine however we have to address the ideology, the quest for world domination. Because it's more than just the Afghanistan war and the War OF Terror and the Syria war. Those controlling this country are a global menace trying to control the entire planet. That has to be addressed head on imo.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

as well, amigo. whooosh; when i was putting this diary together i'd also thought that while the peace congress must know how their efforts are bound to fail in the short run, and they're planning for more in 2019, 2020 to make sure war and peace are mentioned during the elections...i'd also thought of a quote by chris floyd i keep around:

"But there's nothing else for it. We must keep sounding the alarm, even in the face of almost certain defeat. What else is our humanity worth if we don't do that? And if, in the end, all that we've accomplished is to keep the smallest spark of light alive, to help smuggle it through an age of darkness to some better, brighter time ahead, is that not worth the full measure of struggle?"

your second paragraph i'll try to answer in the morning. quarter moon tonight: lovely, with orion rising in the east by NE by bedtime.

g' night, big al, peace and solidarity.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis thanks for the Floyd quote, I needed that.

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

"Maybe to address this machine however we have to address the ideology, the quest for world domination. Because it's more than just the Afghanistan war and the War OF Terror and the Syria war. Those controlling this country are a global menace trying to control the entire planet. That has to be addressed head on imo." is a worthy construct, and likely there've been vast numbers of books on the subject over time.

related Qs may be: what elements drive empires to begin with? how is wealth related to power? and by now: why does the amerikan Imperium demand to be the sole power on the planet, as a multi-polar world is in fact forming? is that even more evident now that (as some say) that this Empire is in its last throes, acting as a loose cannon with demands on nations that are totally unreasonable?

just on a personal psycho-spiritual level, the conventional theory is that only a person with a vast empty space inside tries to fill it with money instead, even though there's never enough money to fill the void; will more money and possessions fill it? 'but aha! now that my accounts are stashed with lucre, it means i also have Power! i've arrived! what do i do with it, and how to i get more?' well, for too many they become kleptocrats, of course, and join the system in any number of influential ways, from think tanks to NGOs, public office, essentially living in their own bubbles of like-minded comrades.

if they ever had consciences (debatable, of course), they would be subsumed by desires for competing for more power and lucre. once installed in the Elites bubble/s, they believe that it was down to their visions, abilities, work ethos, yada yada, that caused them to rise above the rabble classes, whom they only see peripherally as people to exploit.

while there are competing groupthink ethoi (i just discovered that's the plural of 'ethos'), all those seeking power both politically seem to be pretty much on the same page as the Empire (with the EU puppets and Nato). 'We rule because we were ordained by god to rule!' now with that blue/red belief at the core, even many of those Ds who rail against trump don't really challenge them on his fascism, but his bigotries galore.

the other part ii see working to create hegemonic unity is the media, including hollywood, teevee, and nightly newsOtainment industry. we need enemies, and they collectively provide them for the unwary. ach, how propagandized i've been for most of my life, and only with the advent of the internet have i been able to read some opposing truths of what actually went on in nations considered 'axes of evil', etc.

this is a good example, but there are so many cons we collectively buy about tyrants, ect:

‘The New York Times’ Misleading Story On North Korean Missiles’ ,Leon V. Sigal, 38north.org, November 14, 2018

“Substituting tendentious hyperbole for sound reporting may convince editors to feature a story on page one, but it is a disservice to readers.”

while knowing i didn't get very far on answering that part of your comment, i need to make some toast! ; ) but my Q would be: how do we turn those inclinations around?

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

it used to be said that 'the left' (whatever that is) deigned power; clearly that's not the D team, sliding ever to the right (if linear is correct as an axis) on the most crucial issues.

but considering why this Imperium is a global authoritarian bully (of course even before T's bellicosity and trade sanctions), all we're left with is theorizing as to causes. cultural anthropologists and psychologists have written reams abut it. but these two essays are from 'greater good magazine, science-based insights for a more meaningful life'.

'The Power Paradox'

''Political Primates
Are humans prone to try to dominate or live harmoniously with each other? Christopher Boehm uncovers a seven-million-year-old answer.

or using power for good, not evil, in a nutshell. even if for good, beware; as lord acton said: power corrupts, etc.

Yes magazine always features the projects underway that are good for people and gaia, including cooperatives in many fields. we're told that chirren are hard-wired to cooperate, not compete, but the samplings and video evidence...may not have proven it.

but back to those w/o consciences, attachment theory (failure to bond to a parent or surrogate) might be at play for some, but again for the logical underpinning of violence: i'd head back to alice miller's 'poisnous pedagogy' (being bullied by authoritarians). arthur silber (the power of narrative) has at least one separate site dedicate to her theories and he examines the zeigeist (or did) in those terms. ah, jeez, his cat finally died. and he's been dying for years, always penniless. crap, i sent him more than we could afford a week or so ago. i'd call him a brilliant and moral essayist and...a bit of a crank. ; )

gah, the 'primates' one disses hugo chavez as a cruel dictator, a few others as examples.
'communities are also prone to resist corrupt power', etc.

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mimi's picture

thanks to you and all commentators.

I foresee a huge revolt against all sorts of wars. And because with a saturation of wars all around the globe, there will come the revolt. Actio equals Reactio. As far as I believe that sort of physic's principle will not disappear just because the global empire wants it.

Never give up. And thanks.

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TTTT (too tired to talk)

wendy davis's picture

@mimi

to the gods' ears, mimi. i hope you're right.

on edit: where are my manners, mimi? i'm so glad you're enjoying this discussion.

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The US is still the most influential country in the World and it therefore has the most affect on the state of affairs in the World. Retreating into itself doesn't work because there are quite a few regimes in the World that are more cruel to powerless people than the US and they could easily fill any power vacuums that are created. A Department of Peace would use that responsibility in the right way.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

wendy davis's picture

@Timmethy2.0

campaigning for a cabinet-level Dept. of Peace, too bad hes not gov. of ohio today.

you seem to be saying that the US is a force of good in the world by holding more brutal regimes in check? i wonder if you might name any. i'd agree that saudi arabia is one, but then the US isn't holding KSA in check. Israel is another (see the link in the OP), but again: no checks, just complicity, even with the new 'progressives' elected in the midterms. north korea i'd been lobotomized about all my life; iran as well, as with milocevic in yugoslavia. but it's been to read alternative facts and histories recently, find more of the truth v. need for enemies.

Newly-Elected Progressives Confront AIPAC Test’, As`ad AbuKhalil, consortium news

he low-balls bernie's adherence to israel, but then he may now know better.

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@wendy davis
In international political science. Regardless of people's opinions, the US is the most influential country, and therefore even doing nothing about World affairs is a foreign policy that affects everybody. That's how things have been going back to the Egyptian and Assyrian empires. Imperialism is terrible too. I'm just saying it is impossible for the US, given it's status as a leading Country, to not have an affect whatever it does, so to deal with that we need a Department of Peace. The same goes for China, but I don't see a Department of Peace there.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

wendy davis's picture

@Timmethy2.0

but this nation wishes to be the most influential nation on the planet, *and* loves its Imperial hegemony, what it amerika would conceded to a multi-polar world? End Nato Now! stop trying to run the world by creating enemies! close 900 of the US military bases on the planet! stop using Spooks to create chaos in africa and elsewhere i order to plunder natural resources! okay, polemical, but still true from where i sit.

i got to musing about genocidaires paul kagame and narendra modi who were barred by the state dept. at one time from even entering the country. a few charm offensives by good ad agencies, plus in the latter's case: two tours across amerika with tulsi gabbard, and whooosh, he was resurrected, and is now a friend of the Imperium, the murderous thug (imo, of course).

now china i can't speak intelligently about, although i know pluto's republic often has and does.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

The unifying principles of the Peace Congress are:

1. End U.S. wars at home and abroad.
2. Create a peace economy that meets the necessities of people and protects the planet.
3. Respect the self-determination of all people and nations.
4. Create transformative change by building a movement of movements.

They'll make Earth uninhabitable first. And far too many are still far too willing to bootlick or snitch for the fuckers.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

wendy davis's picture

@The Aspie Corner

i offered chris floyd's estimable quote to big al. they all must see their efforts as nigh on to futile, but reckon they can spark a new Peace Movement of Movements'. but it just might be what floyd intimated: 'ya gotta do what your conscience and humanity make ya do'.

"They'll make Earth uninhabitable first." yes, and maybe by way of nuclear war which might be just ahead of the sixth extinction bake in already, at least as far as i can tell.

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wendy davis's picture

Midterm Results: the War Party Rules’, Danny Haiphong, BAR contributor, 14 Nov 2018
(one outtake)

"The War Party planted military and intelligence candidates in midterm electoral races throughout the country. Stacy Abrams colluded with billionaires like Oprah but said nothing about war in her failed bid to become Governor of Georgia. Beto O’Rourke went a step further in his losing effort to the despicable Ted Cruz by promising the military industrial complex that he would shore up the resources necessary to “win” the six wars that his campaign identified in the global War on Terror. Corporate media outlets such as MSNBCand CNN further silenced the question of war by speaking non-stop about the elections as a “referendum” against Trump. What the corporate media and the Democrats didn’t say was that their “resistance” to Trump has always been a pro-war project.

The midterm elections were a partial success for the Democrat side of the War Party, especially in the House. However, people all over the world will feel no relief. Not one candidate running for War Party seats campaigned to close the eight hundred U.S. military bases that occupy nearly every nation on the planet. The U.S.-backed Saudi war on Yemen continues to starve and murder the people of Yemen with only scant and ineffectual coverage emanating from the New York Times and other corporate media outlets. In fact, the New York Times has made it clear that its opposition to Trump’s plan to increase troop levels at the U.S.-Mexico border is rooted in the principle that those troops should be fighting in wars in the Middle East or elsewhere . Thus, the Democrats do not oppose much of what the Trump Administration stands for, but rather howthe Administration implements its policies."

as with the tankies on twitter, the authors at the world socialist web site burn that the DSAs are ruining the 'socialist' brand/s, of which might be a hundred versions depending on who's talking. shared power from the grassroots up is a definition i like.

‘DSA calls US midterm elections the “rebirth of the American socialist movement”, Genevieve Leigh, 15 November 2018

but as a more radical lefty, i agree with them in many ways, esp. as most walk back their brave campaign promises several at a time just before midterms and even after winning seats.

boy, howdy, is the planet in need of a major psycho-spiritual revolution.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@wendy davis

the answer to the Fermi Paradox.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

wendy davis's picture

@TheOtherMaven

and lol. now i'd had to refresh my memory on the fermi paradox, but as to this:

"The second form of the question is "Why do we see no signs of intelligence elsewhere in the universe?"...one might ask "elsewhere????"

but do tell me what your comment meant? rescue by beings from other worlds?

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@wendy davis

I mean we're going to go extinct from our own stupidity.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

wendy davis's picture

@TheOtherMaven

you right. humans don't begin to deserve this beautiful big blue-green ball of a planet.

thanks for the thought.

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Mark from Queens's picture

War, violence, aggression, and patriarchy are so seeped in our country that most go around completely ignorant of the degree to which it is accepted, assimilated and even venerated.

Russel Brand had a really good conversation (as ever) about a related subject:

"Gabor Maté - Damaged Leaders Rule An Addicted World!"

or for those who prefer a short video clip:

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

wendy davis's picture

@Mark from Queens

i look forward to watching. thank you; i haven't heard brand for a long time.

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