Friday, March 30, 2012

#AfghanistanTuesday - Top Tweets - Mar 27

Weekly tweeting about Afghanistan has been quiet for a while. No more! On March 27, #AfghanistanTuesday jumped back to life as people started to think and talk seriously about the coming Nato summit in Chicago.

These are some of the #AfghanistanTuesday tweets from Tuesday, March 27, 2012, that were most highly retweeted:

Antiwar Movement
From @thurnandtaxis: Can't imagine a US antiwar movement? What abt the movement from 53% to 69% opposition to Afghan war since Nov. (NYT/CBS) #AfghanistanTuesday

From @Scarry: #OBAMA MUST NOT HAVE GOTTEN THE MEMO. US support for #Afghanistan #War plummets #AfghanistanTuesday #antiwar #peace

NATO in Chicago
From @OccupyChicago: MT @MidwestAntiwar What will YOU tell #NATO when they're in #Chicago? DEMILITARIZE #Afghanistan! #AfghanistanTuesday #ChicagoSpring #OChi

From @ComeHomeAmerica: On #AfghanistanTuesday, Tell NATO to DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan

Out of Afghanistan
From @lebatailleur: 10+ years of occupation is 10+ years too many-we need to get out of #Afghanistan #AfghanistanTuesday

From @JodieEmery: GET OUT OF THERE! War=Death! “@Antiwar2: Three NATO Soldiers Killed by Afghan Security Forces #AfghanistanTuesday”

From @lebatailleur: Killing others by pushing buttons miles and miles away is despicable. End the drone war, US out of #Afghanistan #AfghanistanTuesday

From @WarDronesOn: hey #AfghanistanTuesday tweeps, join us in DC April 28-29 for #DroneSummit RT

The Civilian Deaths and Injury
From @info_from_vcnv: Obama’s #Afghanistan Massacre Deniers #AfghanistanTuesday

From @aishaf786: Stop the Wars, because there is enough death in the world without the ones caused by humans in unnecessary wars! #AfghanistanTuesday #Iraq

The Real Nuclear Threat
From @Zwicky3: BBC News - Which countries have nuclear weapons? #nuclear #radiation #war #endwar #AfghanistanTuesday

PLUS . . . Check out the master list of #AfghanistanTuesday blog posts!

A Nobel Laureate Message for Chicago?

Four weeks before the leaders of the City of Chicago roll out the red carpet for the leaders of the military alliance that dominates the world -- NATO -- they will be using a line-up of Nobel Peace Prize laureates to legitimize the way they are associating our city with the forces of power and violence.


The following Nobel Peace Prize laureates and laureate organizations have agreed to come to Chicago April 23-25 for the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates:

President Mikhail Gorbachev – Russia (@mgorbachev)
Professor Muhammad Yunus – Bangladesh (@yunus_centre)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Tibet (@dalailama)
President Frederik Willem de Klerk – South Africa
Mrs. Mairead Corrigan Maguire – Northern Ireland - DECLINED INVITATION - April 16, 2012
President Jimmy Carter – United States (@cartercenter)
President Óscar Arias Sánchez – Costa Rica (@oariascr)
Ms. Tawakkol Karman – Yemen (@tawakkolkarman)
Dr. Shirin Ebadi – Iran
Professor Jody Williams – United States
President Lech Wałęsa – Poland

American Friends Service Committee (@afsc_org)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (@climate_science)
International Committee of the Red Cross (@icrc_english)
International Peace Bureau (@IntlPeaceBureau)
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (@IPPNW)
United Nations/Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs
PUGWASH Conferences
Amnesty International (@amnesty)
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (@minefreeworld)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (@refugees)
Médecins Sans Frontières (@msf_usa)
United Nations Children’s Fund (@UNICEF)

(See original list on the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates website.)

Chicago expects Nobel Peace Prize laureates to live up to the honor they have been given. (And Chicago is not afraid to tell a lapsed Nobel Peace Prize laureate to shape up.)

What message will the invited group of laureates bring when they come?

Some people believe that the Nobel Peace Prize laureates should decline the invitation to come to Chicago, to prevent the leaders of the City of Chicago from using them to legitimize the NATO summit. I disagree. I believe that it is precisely by coming to Chicago and speaking out against militarism that they can make the greatest contribution.

What message do you think the Nobel Peace Prize laureates should bring to Chicago?

Related posts

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize winner from Ireland, has declined the invitation to come to Chicago, saying "I cannot ... in good conscience, be part of a Partnership with the US State Government (NATO)."

(See Nobels in Chicago: Mairead Maguire Declines to Play Along )

NOW THEREFORE, by the power vested in me, and on account of the actions on the part of the recipient today described, as well as others, I hereby declare the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize award to Barack H. Obama officially revoked.

(See Obama Nobel Peace Prize - REVOKED! )

"In whom and in what should we be putting our faith?" If not in Manning -- and the Manning Principle -- then in whom, and in what?

(See The Path to Peace: Why Not the Manning Way?)

Other related links

October 26, 2014 - "Peace Prize Laureates Urge Disclosure on U.S. Torture" by Charlie Savage in The New York Times: "The joint letter was organized by two of the laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and former President José Ramos-Horta of East Timor . . . . Other laureates who signed the letter include Mohammad ElBaradei of Egypt, who was awarded the Peace Prize in 2005; Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, 2011; Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh, 2006; Óscar Arias Sanchez, Costa Rica, 1987; John Hume, Northern Ireland, 1998; F. W. de Klerk, South Africa, 1993; Jody Williams, United States, 1997; Bishop Carlos X. Belo, East Timor, 1996; Betty Williams, Northern Ireland, 1976; and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentina, 1980."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Occupy Palm Sunday! in Logan Square

Contact: Joe Scarry
Pastor Erik Christensen (St. Luke's Logan Square)
Pastor Bruce Ray (Kimball Avenue Evangelical Church)
Pastor Ramon Nieves (Humboldt Avenue United Methodist)

Sun April 1
11:45 Congregations March to Logan Square Monument
12:00 Arrival at Logan Square Monument (Kedzie/Logan/Milwaukee)
12:30 Speakers & Potluck

See full PHOTO GALLERY below!

Four Chicago Congregations Converge in Logan Square to Occupy Palm Sunday!

Chicago 3/29 -- Members of congregations from across Logan Square and Humboldt Park will be processing from their respective houses of worship to the Logan Square monument at the end of services on April 1 to Occupy Palm Sunday! Participants will be singing and chanting songs of protest and praise as they occupy the green space at Kedzie, Milwaukee and Logan Boulevard.
The event will feature a series of teach-ins on topics reflecting the real needs of our neighbors in Logan Square and the ministries of our congregations. Specifically, we’ll be presenting news, information and opportunities for service and advocacy on matters of healthcare, housing, hunger and immigration. Community members are encouraged to attend, and bring a dish to share. All are welcome at this public event, regardless of faith background or religious identification.

Sponsoring congregations:
First Lutheran Church
Humboldt Park United Methodist
Kimball Avenue Evangelical Church
St. Luke's Logan Square

Endorsing organizations:
Occupy the Northwest Side

"Join" on the Facebook event page for Occupy Palm Sunday! in Logan Square
Read details of the program for Occupy Palm Sunday! in Logan Square


Scarry Thoughts: Occupy Palm Sunday!
Scarry Thoughts: WWJD? Occupy!
The Messenger: Occupy Palm Sunday!
Scarry Thoughts: Occupy Food Justice!
CBS Chicago: Logan Square Residents ‘Occupy Palm Sunday’ To Call For Immigration Reform


Members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square process to the Occupy Palm Sunday! event

WELCOME! Pastor Bruce Ray from Kimball Avenue Church at Occupy Palm Sunday

Jesus Loves Immigrants! Members of Humboldt Park United Methodist, together with seminarian Bill Novak and Pastor Ramon Nieves

Laura Leon from St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square talking about the need to provide health care for all

Singing around the Logan Square Eagle at Occupy Palm Sunday! - Pastor Ramon Nieves, Pastor Erik Christensen, seminarian Francisco Herrera, members of their congregations, and other members of the Logan Square community

Andy Willis from Kimball Avenue Church on the need to provide shelter for all!

Joe Scarry from St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square: Occupy Food Justice!

Occupy Palm Sunday! poster art: Andrew Willis
Photos: FJJ

Related posts

Think back on everything that has happened in the last year. Is it time for things to quiet down? To have a "nice" spring? To sit back and be entertained by the usual presidential campaign circus?

(See Occupy Palm Sunday in 2016)

God's old covenant with his people -- the Old Testament -- looked like this: "Here's the deal: You be loyal to me, and I'll make sure the earth produces enough food for you." Jesus came along to say: "Here's the new deal: God loves you enough that there's enough for everybody, AND he's given you what you need to figure out how to share it." (Dios nos ama suficiente y hay suficiente para todos, y el nos hay dado lo que necesitamos pero nuestros tenemos que encontratr la manera de compartirio.) That is the new covenant -- the New Testament.

(See Occupy Food Justice!)

I've been thinking about the Occupy movement and what it has to do with Christian witness. The conclusion I've come to is: a lot! In fact, I think it's central to our understanding of what Christ's life and death meant.

(See Occupy Palm Sunday! )

One place I've focused my activism is my church community. Last fall, at the time of the Afghanistan invasion anniversary, I posed the question, "Where is the Church?" In the weeks and months that followed, I realized that I, myself, had to be part of the solution of giving direction to the Church.

(See Obama? NO! Activism? YES! )

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts Before Holy Week: Talk About the Passion

Back in the days before Google and Youtube and Wikipedia, people used to devote hours to trying to decipher the lyrics to songs by R.E.M.

Personally, I was always intrigued by a pair of songs that ran directly from one to the other on the album Eponymous. Since the second of the two songs -- "Talk About the Passion" -- had pretty simple lyrics, it didn't take me long to pick out one key phrase: "not everyone can carry the weight of the world." It slowly started to dawn on me that R.E.M. wasn't talking about "passion" (or, I should say, they weren't talking about talking about "passion") -- though it would seem pretty reasonable to expect a rock group to be singing about love (if not sex).

R.E.M. was talking about (and talking about talking about) "the Passion (of Jesus)."

The song's lyrics alternated between "talking about the passion" and "carrying the weight of the world," over and over again. It was as if to say, "This is something we are going to keep working through, again and again, until we come to grips with it."

It seemed to me that, in the song, Michael Stipe was singing "Pull me in ..." -- though I now understand that the lyric is "Combien ..." Indeed, the song did pull me in ... just as the story of Jesus, and talking about the story of Jesus, pulled me in, and continues to pull me in.

I became confirmed in my belief that R.E.M. was talking about the Passion when I realized that the song that preceded "Talk About the Passion" was called "Gardening at Night." I started to wonder, "Who gardens at night, anyway?" It occurred to me that people do sometimes have significant experiences in gardens at night -- I guess you could call that "gardening at night"; Jesus probably had the most well-known "gardening at night" experience of anyone.

I couldn't really make out the lyrics to that song, but the way the cheery introduction transitioned into the plaintive movement of the verse itself -- and especially the way the airy minor seventh chords and sustained fourths resolved -- it just felt like they were talking about Gethsemane.

Looking at the printed lyrics today, I remember the ones that jumped out at me at the time: "They said it couldn't be arranged" ... "not to see the sun" ... "They should know" .. "it must be time" ... "didn't seem to be too real" .... It seemed to fit .... And indeed: "Somewhere it must be time for penitence."

* * * * *
At our adult Sunday school class at St. Luke's Logan Square last week, we talked about the account of Gethsemane. We recognized that this was the story of someone who found himself at a critical juncture, and was having second thoughts, and longed to just know what the right thing to do was.

We shared stories about our own "Gethsemane" moments - those times when we were in real need and we reached out for reassurance from God ... and God was silent. (Is this perhaps what R.E.M. meant by "empty prayer"?)

It was helpful to talk about those "Gethsemane" moments with others: it's much easier to accept Christ's Passion as our own -- to say, "pull me in" -- when we don't feel like we're carrying that weight all by ourselves.

And talking with others helps locate the intense passion -- the emotions -- in the different parts of the Passion story. Where, after all, is the greatest pain in that story? Is it on the cross? Or in the garden?

* * * * *

These days, I'm not sure the "official" accounts of songs like "Gardening at Night" and "Talk About the Passion" tally with my idea of what they're about. I heard them -- and continue to hear them -- as accounts of the experience of Jesus at the hardest time in his life, the time when he felt most poignantly human. Is that what Wikipedia says these songs are really about? Is that what the lyrics really mean, when read in their entirety?

Does it matter? Listen to "Gardening at Night" and "Talk About the Passion" for yourself. I think you'll tell me I was right.

Are you ready for a little "gardening at night"?

* * * * *

Read the Wikipedia entry for "Gardening at Night"
Read the Wikipedia entry for "Talk About the Passion


Gardening At Night
(Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe - retrieved from

I see your money on the floor, I felt the pocket change.
Though all the feelings that broke through that door
just didn't seem to be too real.
The yard is nothing but a fence, the sun just hurts my eyes.
Somewhere it must be time for penitence. Gardening at night is never where.
Gardening at night. Gardening at night. Gardening at night.

The neighbors go to bed at ten.
Call the prayer line for a change.
The charge is changing every month.
They said it couldn't be arranged.

We ankled up the garbage sound, but they were busy in the rows.
We fell up, not to see the sun, gardening at night just didn't grow.
I see your money on the floor, I felt the pocket change.
Though all the feelings that broke through that door
just didn't seem to be too real.
Gardening at night. Gardening at night. Gardening at night

Your sister said that you're too young.
They should know they've been there twice.
The call was 2 and 51.
They said it couldn't be arranged.

I see your money on the floor, I felt the pocket change.
Though all the feelings that broke through that door
just didn't seem to be too real.
We ankled up the garbage sound, but they were busy in the rows.
We fell up not to see the sun, gardening at night just didn't grow.
Gardening at night. Gardening at night. Gardening at night

Talk About the Passion
(Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe - retrieved from Lyrics007)

Empty prayer, empty mouths combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths talk about the passion
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world

Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

Empty prayer, empty mouths combien reaction
Empty prayer, empty mouths talk about the passion
Combien, combien, combien de temps?

Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Not everyone can carry the weight of the world
Combien, combien, combien de temps?

Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion
Talk about the passion

Image: A Squirrel in Babylon
* * * * *

Related posts

Faced with chorus of voices saying, "Isn't it time for you to tone it down? Can't you be more reasonable? What is it you want, anyway?" Jesus kept right on doing what he was doing. And that was a sign to us about how to live our lives . . . .

(See WWJD? Occupy! )

I believe when Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine and said "Remember me this way," he was much more interested in encouraging us to keep having conversations -- conversations that really matter -- with others . . . and finding ways to be in relationship with our neighbors  . . . all the while reminding us "never underestimate the power of food"  . . .

(See Get Outside Your Comfort Zone and Have A Conversation Today (Welcome to the Ministry))  

The Gospels are full of provocations to confront this paradox: people are forever saving up and guarding against a future that is never going to come, while throwing away the present that they do have. ("You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" Luke 12:20)

(See Edward J. Snowden: The 365-Day Man )

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chicago Protests Murder of Trayvon

Below are images of the demonstration in Chicago last night (Friday, March 23, 2012) to protest the murder in Florida of Trayvon Martin. (Photos courtesy FJJ.)

"We are more than moving targets!"
"We demand justice for Trayvon Martin!"

STOLEN LIVES: Killed by Police / Chicago 2007-11

"Justice for Trayvon Martin! Jail Zimmerman Now!"

"I am Trayvon Martin! We want justice NOW!"
"Black, hoodie, skittles, iced tea: Please Don't Shoot ME George!"

"Your son is our son"

Related posts

On January 1, 2012, Chicagoans protests the shooting of Michael Pleasance.

(See Police Violence in Chicago )

The State's Attorney for the Chicago area finally got around to bringing a charge against a police officer who shot and killed a citizen. Why, I wondered, didn't Anita Alvarez charge him with murder?

Then I remembered my Chicago vocabulary lesson.

(See Chicago Vocabulary Lesson: "Overcharging" and "Undercharging" )

A campaign exists to bring about a democratically-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Chicago. The campaign would involve the people in electing the watchers of the police, and put the ultimate control of (and responsibility for) the police in the hands of the citizens of Chicago.

(See Does a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) need to be part of a "new plan of Chicago"? )

On #AfghanistanTuesday, Tell NATO to DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan

For months, people working to end the war in Afghanistan have joined together every week to share information and spread the word on #AfghanistanTuesday using Twitter.

With the NATO summit in Chicago just weeks away, now is the time to get EVERYBODY joining the weekly #AfghanistanTuesday virtual demonstrations.

Feb 21, 2012: #OccupyChicago Don't let #NATO *leave* 
#Chicago until it agrees to DEMILITARIZE #Afghanistan!

What will you be talking about on #AfghanistanTuesday? There's so much to be done, even as the U.S. and its NATO allies entertain sanguine talk about withdrawing combat troops and lull their respective populations into ever deeper states of groggy inattention.

Just think about what it would take to truly DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan:

Drones are a plague that dash any hope of peace -- not just in Afghanistan, but everywhere in the world. If you only do one thing on #AfghanistanTuesday, please dig into this problem and try to find a way to be part of the resistance to drones.

Tweet with the tag(s): #drones ... #warcrimes

The U.S. and NATO have created a detention mess in Afghanistan that has all the inhumane and lawless features of Guantanamo but is about 100 times as large. You can be part of the movement to end indefinite detetention and torture, and restore rule of law and due process.

Tweet with the tag(s): #Bagram ... #Guantanamo ... #indefinitedetention ... #closeGITMO ... #torture ... #habeas ... #dueprocess ... #humanrights

Part and parcel of the U.S./NATO "nation-building" model in Afghanistan is the reliance of vast numbers of security contractors. These contractors -- really thinly disguised mercenaries -- are uncontrollable and lawless, and impose a layer of violence and menace on Afghanistan society that goes surpasses that created by the military.

Tweet with the tag(s): #mercenaries ... #contractors

The biggest lie of the U.S./NATO endgame in Afghanistan is that the trouble ends when combat troops leave; the remaining presence will "just" be "trainers." As anyone familiar with the U.S. interference in Latin America and the legacy of pain and death of the School of the Americas knows, U.S./NATO training operations threaten to propel the agony in Afghanistan for at least another generation.

Tweet with the tag(s): #SOA ... #specialforces

The late Chalmers Johnson made it clear that the proliferation of over 700 military bases is the fundamental way that U.S. militarism is propelled in the world. Despite the talk of withdrawal of combat troops, the U.S./NATO base infrastructure in Afghanistan is an enormous obstacle to the decrease in militarization there.

Tweet with the tag(s): #baseworld

Start your #AfghanistanTuesday tweeting NOW!

Related posts

It's not enough to just pull U.S. combat troops out of Afghanistan - we need to ground the drones, clear the prisons we've filled with detainees, remove the bases, get rid of the contractors, stop the training activities -- DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan!

(See DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan)

You don't need to be in Chicago to protest NATO. I'm asking everybody -- and especially everyone who has ever participated in #AfghanistanTuesday -- to help protest NATO from wherever they are. We want to build a crescendo of opposition that culminates in a clear message to NATO on May 20/21 when they meet in Chicago: #DEMILITARIZEafghanistan!

(See #DEMILITARIZEafghanistan )

Weekly tweeting about Afghanistan has been quiet for a while. No more! On March 27, #AfghanistanTuesday jumped back to life as people started to think and talk seriously about the coming Nato summit in Chicago.

(See #AfghanistanTuesday - Top Tweets - Mar 27 )

Thursday, March 22, 2012

U.S. War-Mongering: STOP! Now, or Be Estopped Later

The antiwar movement needs to recognize that it is being heard -- that it is forcing concessions, however small -- and it should take encouragement from this to redouble its efforts to engage in ever-stronger resistance to U.S. war-making.

Stand with the people
World Can't Wait
(Photo courtesy FJJ)

An important report appeared on Tuesday. The March 20, 2012, New York Times reported on U.S. war exercises that recently took place ("U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran"). In the course of the report, the following statement was made:
Officials said that, under the chain of events in the war game, Iran believed that Israel and the United States were partners in any strike against Iranian nuclear sites and therefore considered American military forces in the Persian Gulf as complicit in the attack.
In other words, "We can't allow it to appear as if we're working in concert with Israel against Iran, because if and when Israel does attack Iran, we will have no place to hide from the Iranian retaliation."

This is a principle in law known as "estoppel" -- which boils down to the idea that you are guilty along with those you associate with, if you allow them to assert that you are backing them up. And the importance of estoppel is this: if you want to make sure that you are not "estopped" later from asserting your innocence -- that you are not left "holding the bag" -- you need to get out in public NOW and convince the world that you, in fact, stand for something different. No weasel words, no nuance: LOUD AND CLEAR, AGAIN AND AGAIN!

And so we see reports of the U.S. and Israel drawing increasingly clear lines between their positions, the U.S. insisting on diplomacy with Iran during the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, and now Ehud Barak admitting that Israel now knows that the U.S. doesn't back them in an attack any time soon.

This is not to say that the threats against Iran are over -- not by a long shot. It is a small but important step back from the brink.

Were the "No Iran War!" forces -- broadcasting their messages in marches, teach-ins, publications, and social media -- solely responsible for this small step back from war? No -- there were complicated and contradictory forces at work -- but the anti-war movement was certainly a big part of this development and needs to recognize its power.

Is it time to rest? No - it's time to recognize that this is what it feels like to have an impact - and now REALLY turn up the volume!

Related posts

What if the rest of the world suddenly found itself in a different position?  What if the rest of the world had a button in front of them, and by pressing that button, they could make the United States vanish? Would they say, "We must never, ever press this button; no, we will just continue to implore the United States to eliminate the weapons that threaten our destruction" ? Or would the rest of the world say, "This is our only salvation" ?

(See 360 Degree Feedback in New York (2014 NPT Prepcom and How the World Views the United States) )

We all wish to be judged by our good intentions. But the way people know us is through our actions. So ... what do people in the Muslim world know about us here in the United States?

(See They'll Know Us By Our Actions)

Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

(See Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who Will Be Taking On NATO In Chicago?

Many entities have already started the work of taking on the NATO war-makers when they are in Chicago. Below is a list of some of the most prominent: please support their efforts ... keep up with them on Twitter ... and please make a SPECIAL effort to help us get the word out every Tuesday on #AfghanistanTuesday!

CodePink and Drones
National Nurses United
Network for a NATO-Free Future
Occupy Chicago Week of Action
StopNATO News
Voices for Creative Nonviolence

...PLUS: Selected Posts on NATO in Chicago

People working to end the war in Afghanistan join together on Twitter every week to share information and spread the word on #AfghanistanTuesday. In the days leading up to the NATO summit, they will be using Twitter to make sure everybody knows about the need to DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan: no more drones, no more detention, no more mercenaries or contractors, no trainers, no bases .... Learn more about the #AfghanistanTuesday campaign to DEMILITARIZE Afghanistan.

People’s Summit on May 12-13; Sunday, May 20, 2012: Noon rally at Daley Plaza, then march to McCormick Place (permitted). Full information on the Cangate website.

Code Pink will hold a conference in Washington, D.C., on April 28-29, to build resistance to drone warfare, to be followed by activities during the NATO summit in Chicago. (See full drones conference description.) (See all CodePink protest activity in Chicago during the NATO summit.)

Afghanistan and Iraq veterans from around the country will converge in Chicago on May 20th to march to the NATO summit and ceremoniously return their medals to NATO generals. See details of the March for Justice and Reconciliation.

"With world leaders of the G-8 nations fleeing the U.S.’ third largest city by moving their May summit to the rural woods outside Washington, the nation’s largest nurses union will bring Camp David and the G-8 summit back to Chicago for a special event on Friday, May 18. With the help of Robin Hood’s band of merry women and men, National Nurses United, joined by healthcare, labor and other community activists, and guests from other G-8 nations, will reconstruct Camp David in Chicago and conduct a search for the absent G-8 leaders." See details of the March for Justice and Reconciliation.

The Network for a NATO Free Future is a coalition of peace, faith and economic justice groups hosting a Counter-Summit for Peace & Economic Justice at the time of the NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago May 18-19, 2012.
See details of the Counter-Summit for Peace & Economic Justice.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has a compiled a calendar of non-violence training throughout the Chicago area in the run-up to the NATO summit.

Occupy Chicago is calling a week of action to protest the agendas of war and poverty that NATO and G8 impose. See main Facebook event page for Occupy Chicago Week of Action

OccupyNATOChicago (@OccupyTheG8)
Publishing a daily compilation of Twitter postings and announcements in the run-up to NATO in Chicago: The OccupyNATOChicago Daily

Rick Rozoff publishes the fullest available collection of posts about all things NATO: "StopNATO is a continuation of an e-mail mailing list started in 1999. Its main purpose is to document and oppose global militarist trends and an expanding theater of war that began in the Balkans in the 1990s and has since expanded into South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It provides daily news and analysis from sources around the world to that end and literary and musical contributions also aimed at opposing war and promoting peace." See StopNATO

May 1 through May 19 - marching and speaking through southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. At A Global Crossroads: Turn Against War will last for about 2 weeks leading up to the summit in Chicago.
We propose a different agenda for The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): immediately end your drone strikes, dismantle the NATO-ISAF armed mission in Afghanistan, and end your diplomatic and financial support for Hamid Karzai and the warlords in the National Assembly. Finally, we hold NATO responsible for providing reparations to the Afghans commensurate to the destruction caused by the Afghanistan War since NATO assumed command of the ISAF operation in 2003. These reparations must be dispersed by an independent body and might take the form of food aid, water filtration, public housing, public infrastructure projects, etc.

Why We Protest the NATO Summit by Buddy Bell
Resistance Builds to NATO's Threat of Permanent War and Nuclear Dominance by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn

* * * * *
Chicago skyline from: Travel Tourism website
NATO protest courtesy FJJ.

See Flashback: Protesting NATO in Chicago - May, 2012

More related posts

It all started with the October 8, 2011, march against the Afghanistan War in Chicago headed "US/NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW!"

(See Chicago Antiwar March - October 8, 2011 )

Many of the people and organizations that were involved in the protests against NATO in Chicagocontinue to work together today -- for instance, on the campaign to shut down Guantanamo.

(See We Need YOU! Support the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo )

An important outgrowth of the antiwar movement rekindled by the protests against NATO is the World Beyond War project.

The 2012 NATO protests were followed by large campaigns against drone killing by the US and NATO in 2013 and 2014.

(See April Days of Action Against Drones: HIGHLIGHTS! )

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finance's Unholy Trinity of Permawar: Goldman, Bloomberg, and the CME

Last week, just as I was completing an explanation of how financial trading firms are the biggest beneficiaries of our system of "permawar," the financial firm sitting at the pinnacle of the industry woke up to find one of its young stars poking it in the eye. "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off," wrote Greg Smith, in a public letter of resignation that ran in the New York Times on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, entitled, "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs."

Critics of Goldman Sachs surely enjoyed seeing the firm get its comeuppance, though on close reading it became clear that Smith wasn't really criticizing what Goldman stands for, just the fact that it had gotten a bit off course. "Make the client the focal point of your business again," Smith wrote. The problem, according to Smith, is that "people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client's goals."

When I stopped to think about this, I realized that Smith wasn't criticizing the underlying problem that I see - the reliance of financial trading firms on "vol" (volatility) for profits, and their resultant addiction to global strife. In Smith's (and Smith's idealized Goldman's) worldview, it's "us and our client against the world," even if the world is going down the tubes.

And when you realize that, you realize that once a firm's credo becomes "anything for the client, and the rest of the world be damned," it's only a short step to saying, "And, while we're at it, screw the client, too!"

The really difficult thing is a for a firm -- hell, for a person! -- to take a step back and say, "What needs to be done here to make the world a better place? What's the right thing for society?" It is the lack of this behavior that forms the basis of permawar.

I found it notable that Mayor Bloomberg made a consolation call on Goldman after its diem horribilis. This, of course, is the Mayor Bloomberg who made his fortune through the introduction of the "Bloomberg terminal" into financial trading operations -- an analytic tool that revolutionized the field of trading by giving everybody the tools to profit from the "vol"! (The Bloomberg terminal didn't do anything that a first year finance student didn't already know how to do with a slide rule and graph paper; it just did it instantaneously, fueling an entire industry of trading in risk instruments.)

And that's what gives Bloomberg pride of place up alongside Goldman Sachs in the permawar pantheon: he made his fortune on the "vol." (As one observer commented, "These are his people, and he felt their pain.") Only one other entity can even come close to these two, and it's the exchange that made risk hedges into the most highly tradeable instruments possible - namely, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), with its interest rate futures and other, increasingly exotic, instruments. Make no mistake: without interest rate futures, the CME would still be a backwater, relying on trades in milk and pork bellies; it wouldn't be a terribly interesting place, and it certainly wouldn't have gone public a few years ago! Interest rate futures are a way for an enormous number of people to play the "vol" connected to our government's military-budget-driven debt and world instability.

If you have any doubt about the connection between permawar and this unholy trinity -- Goldman, Bloomberg, and the CME -- ask yourself these questions:
  • Do you think Goldman Sachs' proprietary trading operations would be more or less profitable if there wasn't a war leading the news headlines every day and roiling the markets?
  • If peace broke out in the Middle East, would that make oil prices more or less predictable? What would that do to trading profits related to energy and all the other downstream aspects of the world economy, including interest rates?
  • If U.S. military spending was brought under control, would that make U.S. Treasury borrowing more or less difficult? Would this make interest rates more or less stable? Would this lead to more or less trading in interest rate futures?

Let's face it - it would be a pretty boring -- and unprofitable! -- world without U.S. war-making.

Still wondering if the connection between permawar and the unholy trinity is real? For the doubters among you, consider the magnitude of their political contributions:

That's millions every year from just these three entities. And it's all going to solidify the power of the people who have the final say-so to keep permawar, well, permanent! (Unless, of course, you imagine they are making those contributions in order to urge politicians to reduce defense spending and end U.S. military adventures abroad . . . .)

It's important to recognize that Goldman, Bloomberg, and the CME -- and ALL of the entities and individuals that profit from the "vol" -- can live with more or less taxation, or more or less regulation, or more or less business-friendly legislation. The one thing they can't live with? Peace . . . .
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Goldman trading area from Business Insider
Bloomberg terminal from Quora
CME traders from The Guardian ("Traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor react to the latest announcement from the US Federal Reserve.")

Related posts

More than anyone else, the beneficiaries of permawar are the politicians who thrive on the power to make and control wars. The number one prime beneficiary is the President, as well as presidential aspirants. But it doesn't end there . . . .

(See J'ACCUSE: The Beneficiaries of Permawar )

To many people, the relationship between finance and war is obvious: banks finance the military-industrial complex. In my opinion, however, that misses the point. Banks finance everything (in our society); so why, in particular is it so desirable to have all these ongoing wars?

(See Why Permawar? It's All About the "Vol" .... )