Sunday, September 27, 2015

PNN - Falling Leaves



AntiWar News
On Monday, the Air Force Times, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of over 65,000 subscribers who include active, reserve and retired U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and general military personnel and their families, published the advertisement below, carrying a message from 54 veterans urging U.S. drone pilots to refuse to follow orders to fly surveillance and attack missions, citing international law. reports:
In addition to Iraq Veterans Against the War,, Veterans for Peace and World Can’t Wait, the ad is supported by: Code Pink; Mennonite 1040 for Peace Committee; War Is a and and many people who contributed on GoFundMe and in response to appeals at the annual Kateri and Veterans for Peace conferences. …

The ad comes at a time of increasing drone surveillance and attack missions, which are now underway in Syria as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report indicates that other areas under drone surveillance and potential places of attack include: “Iran, North Africa, the Trans-Sahel (West Africa), Levant region (includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey as well as Syria), Gulf States and territorial waters.”

In addition to Iraq Veterans Against the War,, Veterans for Peace and World Can’t Wait, the ad is supported by: Code Pink; Mennonite 1040 for Peace Committee; War Is a and and many people who contributed on GoFundMe and in response to appeals at the annual Kateri and Veterans for Peace conferences. …

The ad comes at a time of increasing drone surveillance and attack missions, which are now underway in Syria as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report indicates that other areas under drone surveillance and potential places of attack include: “Iran, North Africa, the Trans-Sahel (West Africa), Levant region (includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey as well as Syria), Gulf States and territorial waters.”

2. POPE TELLS THE TRUTH: Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war.

3. Jebby steps in it again -
Today's dog-bites-man story is that Jeb! Bush said something really stupid. Again.
Jeb! says Pope Francis should keep his climate views to himself because he's not a scientist. HuffPo: "Jeb: Pope Shouldn't Discuss Climate Change Because He's 'Not A Scientist'":
"Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said he disagrees with Pope Francis' call to fight climate change and thinks the pope should not delve into the issue because he 'is not a scientist.'
"'He's not a scientist, he's a religious leader,' Bush said, according to a video posted by the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge."
But the Pope actually is a scientist. He is a chemical engineer with a Master's degree from the University of Buenos Aires.

4. If you think there world isn’t paying attention to issues of Climate Change and Pollution even the World of High Fashion has taken a stand
- On Catwalks in the Capitals of Fashionistas - there has been a response
new FASHION CONSCIOUS BREATHING MASKS - So not only can you dress fashionably but in the high fashion capitals you can breath safely with a high fashion designer face mask! - Breathe in HIGH STYLE

 significant amount of synthetic clothing fibers have been found inside fish caught off the Northern California coast and ending up on local dinner plates, according to a new study by environmental scientists at UC Davis.
About a quarter of the 64 fish purchased at fish markets in Half Moon Bay and Princeton and analyzed for the study turned out to have bits of synthetic clothing in their guts, said lead researcher Chelsea Rochman, of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The study, published Thursday in the journal of Scientific Reports, came on the heels of research by the San Francisco Estuary Institute that found the surface of San Francisco Bay to be heavily contaminated with plastic microbeads from cosmetics and plastic fibers from clothing.

In the UC Davis study, scientists randomly bought locally-caught fish at markets and dissected their guts at a laboratory in Davis. Plastic clothing fibers were found in the guts of about one-fourth of the smelt, anchovy, rockfish, bass, salmon, sanddab, cod and oysters.

Inadequate filtering by home laundry users and sewage treatment plants is suspected of being the source of the contamination, Rochman said.
“This shows we have a waste management problem that is coming back to haunt us,” Rochman said.

Plastic fibers, Rochman said, were only one of many contaminants that get inside fish and were probably less hazardous than mercury, PCBs and other known fish contaminants.

“This study doesn’t make me afraid of eating fish,” said Rochman, a fish fan who dined on oysters twice last week. “The health benefits outweigh the hazards of my being cotaminated with microplastics.”

The scientists also analyzed fish purchased at a market in Indonesia and found that they were contaminated with plasic debris fragments but not with synthetic fibers.

A study released Wednesday by the San Francisco Estuary Insitute found that the San Francisco Bay is hundreds of times more contaminated than the Great Lakes with small plastic particles from cosmetics and synthetic clothing. The report also found the small microbeads and other pollutants are gobbled up by fish, whose guts contain far more of the toxic stuff than their fellow Great Lakes fish.

In January, researchers took water samples from different spots in San Francisco Bay and analyzed the results. They found that the waters of the South Bay contained 2.6 million microplastic particles of 5 millimeters or smaller per square mile, compared with 285,000 in Lake Erie, 13,000 in Lake Superior and 7,800 in Lake Huron.

The two studies were released shortly after the California legislature passed a bill to regulate microplastics in cosmetics. That bill is awaiting action by the governor.

6. Florida Fracking Summit Oct 27th & 28
Fort Meyers, 9831 Interstate Commerce Drive
Fort Meyers, FL 33913

Come to Florida’s first Fracking Summit to learn the potential risks involved and what can be done.  Expert speakers from around the U.S. will be addressing the effects of unconventional oil extraction on air, land, water, and human health.  Other topics covered will include current oil and gas laws, examples of local government  actions, and the future of “fracking” in Florida. Get your questions answered!


Still 0.88 MBq/km2 of Cs-134/137 falls in Tokyo monthly

According to NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority), Tokyo still has fallout from Fukushima nuclear plant.

From their report released on 8/31/2015, 0.88 MBq/km2 of Cs-134/137 falls onto Tokyo this July. The sampling location was Shinjuku.

The comparable data on Fukushima prefecture is not listed on the same report for some reason.

However the reading of Tokyo includes Cesium-134 at the significant level to prove this is from Fukushima plant.

In Miyagi prefecture, where is in the North of Fukushima prefecture, the fallout level is 0.55 MBq/km2. The fallout density in Tokyo is higher than Miyagi prefecture.

Other nuclide density is not reported.

8. (5 Billion Bq) of Strontium-90 flows to the sea every single day

5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the Pacific on the daily basis in 2014. Tepco announced in the press conference of 8/25/2014.

This is due to the contaminated water overflowing from the seaside of Reactor 1 ~ 4 to Fukushima plant port.

They also announced 2 Billion Bq of Cesium-137 and 1 Billion Bq of Tritium flow to the sea every single day as well.

Fukushima plant port is not separated from the Pacific. Discharged nuclide naturally spreads to the sea.

9. Cs-134/137 Measured in Tokyo tap-water

According to MHLH (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), Cs-134/137 has been detected from tap-water of Tokyo since October of 2014. The data is from October 2014 to March 2015. The newer result hasn’t been announced yet.

The sample was collected from the tap of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health in Shinjuku.

The density was from 0.00178 to 0.003 Bq/Kg. Cs-134 was detected to prove it is from Fukushima plant.

The analysis was implemented by NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority).

All the other analyses were carried out by Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks or municipal governments and the lowest detectable amount was over 0.5 Bq/kg to show none of the actual readings.

10. The highest I-131 density of this year detected in 2 Fukushima sewage plants

According to Fukushima sewage public corporation, this July over 1,000 Bq/Kg of Iodine-131 was detected in dry sewage sludge. The sewage plant is located in Da-te District of Fukushima prefecture.

High level of I-131 was measured this May, however this reading of July is the highest density of this year. (cf, Significant level of I-131 detected from dry sludge of Fukushima sewage plant after rain in May [URL])

I-131 was detected from the samples collected from 7/9/2015 to 7/29/2015.

The highest reading was 1,038.4 Bq/Kg of 7/11/2015. The highest density of Cs-134 was also detected, which was 44 Bq/Kg the same day. It rained on 7/8/2015 but the precipitation was only 10.5 mm.

Also in another sewage plant in Koriyama city, 889 Bq/Kg of I-131 was detected from dry sewage sludge. This is also the highest reading of this plant. I-131 kept on being detected for 15 days of this July.

11. The Pope Goes to Prison in America

Pope Francis arrived in Washington today, snarling traffic and drawing some 300,000 people into the city. I’m excited that the Pope, who has called out capitalism for its indifference to the poor, and who has reached out to gay Catholics, has come to the United States. But I’m even more excited about his follow-on trip to Philadelphia, where he’s going to meet with prisoners in Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.

It’s one thing for Barack Obama to visit a prison and talk about wanting to commute the draconian sentences of federal prisoners with drug convictions (which he has not yet done, incidentally). It’s an entirely different thing for the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics to get a first-hand look at how our country’s prisons violate the civil and human rights of their prisoners. The only shame is that His Holiness won’t see one of America’s private prisons.

The United States is not the only country in the world with private, for-profit prisons, although it certainly has the most, and it has the worst. The American Civil Liberties Union in 2013, for example, filed a civil lawsuit against the State of Mississippi, which, although not known for its enlightened treatment of its citizens and others these past 200 years, still must respect the Constitution, whether its elected officials want to or not. Indeed, the 83-page complaint details evidence of “beatings, rape, robbery, and riots,” and says that the prison, which houses the mentally ill almost exclusively, routinely denies prisoners access to medication and psychiatric care.

The prison, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is run by the privately-owned, Utah-based Management & Training Corporation, an innocuously-named company that profits on the misery of human beings, is so overwhelmingly infested with rats that prisoners capture them, keep them as pets, and use them as currency. A company spokesman told The Huffington Post at the time the suit was filed that the company had made great improvements in the prison over the previous 10 months. I can’t even fathom the thought of what conditions must have been like 10 months earlier.

After blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and being sentenced to 30 months in prison, I went directly to the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania, rather than to a private prison. But some of my cellmates did go to private prisons. 

They told me stories of 200 men sharing a single toilet – with a broken toilet seat – at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange, Virginia. They talked about being starved as punishment for talking back to a guard at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. And they talked about two televisions for 200 men at the Kit Carson Correctional Center in Colorado, which resulted in fistfights every hour to decide which shows to watch. They talked about the arbitrary use of solitary confinement as a punishment for virtually every infraction, real and imagined, despite the fact that the United Nations has declared the use of solitary confinement in the United States as “cruel and unusual punishment” and as a violation of basic human rights.

But most importantly, they talked about denying prisoners the most basic levels of medical care and medication, especially for mentally ill prisoners. In a case in March, a prisoner with a degenerative spinal disorder in Fresno, California, accused for-profit prison medical provider Corizon of taking away his wheelchair because he had filed a complaint about the prison doctor. Corizon had settled another suit this year filed by the family of a prisoner who became paralyzed while under Corizon’s care. The Corizon doctor had written “faker” in the prisoner’s file, and he was not given medical treatment until it was too late to treat him. These are just two of dozens of lawsuits filed against Corizon.

Twenty states so far have contracted with private prisons. Even the federal government avails itself of private prison beds and transportation centers. For many prisoners, being sent to a private prison is a death sentence. These facilities have no incentive to spend any money at all on maintenance, recreation, or medical and mental health care. Indeed, they have an incentive not to. They are answerable to their shareholders, and their goal is not to rehabilitate anybody.  It’s to make a profit.

So, what evil capitalists are making money on this human misery? You might be surprised. The country’s two largest for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. But according to Prison Legal News magazine, most stockholders are not individual investors. They are banks, mutual funds, and private equity firms, including public pensions. Indeed, just the public employee retirement systems and teachers retirement systems of 19 states account for 2.6 million shares of CCA and 1.1 million shares of GEO for a total investment of some $114 million. 

The Pope has a chance next week to take President Obama and Congress to the woodshed for allowing these human rights violations to become the norm in the U.S. prison system. Nobody should make a profit from human misery. It’s un-American. And it’s definitely not Christian.

12. The Monarchy of Saudi Arabia has been selected to head key UN human rights panel 

Outrage after U.S. ally 'beheadings-are-us' Saudi Arabia selected to head key UN human rights panel --Anger after Saudi Arabia 'chosen to head key UN human rights panel' --UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said the appointment, made in June, went unreported until now | 20 Sept 2015 | The United Nations is coming under fire for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role even though the Kingdom has "arguably the worst record in the world" on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents. Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi -- sentenced to 1000 lashes for blogging about free speech -- say that the appointment is "scandalous" and means that "oil trumps human rights". The Saudis' bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a "macabre spike" in the use of capital punishment, including [hundreds

13. Invisivible Hand of the Free Market draws a straight flush 

Drug Goes From $13.50 to $750 Overnight
Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC CEO Martin Shkreli discusses why the company increased the price of a drug from $13.50 to $750 a tablet. No apologies.


PNN - News Director Rick Spisak and Political Columnist Brook Hines welcome District 83rd Candidate Crystal Lucas, UK Progressive Commentator Denis Campbell and Karina Veaudry Landscape Architect and Planner.
Cystal Lucas will discuss her candidacy for District 83 and explain her concerns and discuss the work she has undertaken to protect the environment.
UK Progressive Publisher and Producer and Editor of the Three Muckrakers on iTunes will discuss the contemporary political scene in Europe, the UK and Wales. He will also explain his candidacy for the Welsh Assembly.
And our final guest this week will be Karina Veaudry a Lanscape Architect who has been one of the leading voices opposing the largest development in Florida history - as she explains it - this will be the “Largest Development in U.S. Approved Last Night” - “21 square mile development approved  wipes out ecological corridor in Florida” the "Deseret Ranches"
Tune In Sunday 9/27/15 - 7pm (Eastern)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

PNN - Peace Work

PNN 9/20/15

Brook Hines
of the Democratic Progressive Caucus  / Orange Squeeze

Luis Cuevas
Executive Director of Progressive Push

Sue Thompson
Photojournalist from Global Peace Network

Renee Shaker
Writer/Essayist and Economic Researcher

Gwen Holden Barry
Producer of Here be Monsters

Lori Price 

Meredith Ockman 
SE Regional Director N.O.W.

Anita Steward 
Soil and Water Board

Round Table ……………….7:55pm

Tax Policy - (republican priorities vs bernie/hillary)
Voting Integrity [paperless / outdates / hackable]
Legislative Scofflaws [gerrymandering]
European Refugees [libya / iraq / afghanistan / kurdistan / yemen & syria]
European Refugees - [strain on european solidarity / borderless europe]
European Refugees - [economic impact / rise of xenophobia / racism]
European Refugees - [American & British response]
Ukraine and NATO - [destabilizing Russia / Ukraine / Eastern Europe / Baltic States]
US - Syria / Iraq / Libya / Yemen [invisible foreign policy  military or diplomatic ?]
Iran Treaty Update - republican don’t want lunch or treaties
North Korea Up Armoring - food policy or???
Japan forced to renounce Peace - restart armies & nuclear plants?
When will the West confront the Poisoning of the Pacific from Fukushima?
Senator Sanders and Labour’s Corbyn (Bernies Shadow Cabinet anyone?)
DWS and Democratic Debates - is one enough are four, three too many?
Will the next next democratic president be able to put some steel in the EPA spine?
Will the next republican president gut EPA?
Will OBAMA Post presidency look more like (Reagan or Carter model)
Whither Planned Parenthood - fundraiser & devastation for young American families
Drone Policy of the Candidates? domestic and foreign ?
Drones over Montana? What impact - armed drones in US Skies
MS Windows 10 and ANTI-PRIVACY Defaults

PNN's News Director Rick Spisak brings together an amazing array of Progressive Journalists and writers to analyze issues of the day

TUNE IN Sunday 9/20/15 7-9pm (Eastern)  or Anytime

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PNN - Sun Flower (Sept. 13th)

RWS, Producer Editor, News Director
Brook Hines, Political Commentator & Investigative Journalist
Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-editor of which has a campaign to stop the TPP and other job-and-climate-killing international agreements and as a candidate for US Senate in Maryland.
Susan Glickman, Executive Director for the Southern Alliance for Energy
Democratic House Leader Mark Pafford Florida Legislator
Mari-Lynn Evans, Writer Director Producer Blood on the Mountain

1. Sweet Deal
After decades of boosting food prices for American consumers, undermining foreign aid programs and polluting the Everglades, the sugar industry appears to be gumming up a brand-new project.
The U.S. government's sugar-support program — which has made the price of domestic sugar almost double that of the world price — is said to be a sticking point in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The proposed trade deal, potentially affecting 40 percent of the global economy, is stalled in part by “the calls of Australia and other nations for the U.S. to loosen a quota system that protects domestic suppliers while making the product more expensive for consumers,” according to a recent Bloomberg News article.
It's just one more reason to end the support system that began during the Great Depression and is kept alive by the sugar lobby's constant contributions to powerful politicians.
The federal program limits domestic production of cane and beet sugar, restricts foreign imports, places a floor under growers' prices and requires the government to buy crop surpluses — those that the industry can't sell for a profit — which the government then sells at a loss to the ethanol industry.
The program protects the incomes of sugar producers at the expense of consumers and the environment.
The higher domestic price raises the cost of any food containing sugar — from bread to cereal to ketchup — at an overall cost to consumers of an estimated $3.7 billion a year. It also costs thousands of jobs as food manufacturers move jobs to countries where they can pay the lower world price for sugar.

Earlier today, backers of a state constitutional amendment that aims to make solar power more affordable for consumers argued their case before the state supreme court.

The court has to approve the language of the amendment — making sure that it does what it says it will do and only that — in order for it to get on the 2016 ballot.

The initiative is called Floridians for Solar Choice. The Solar Choice amendment would embed in the state constitution the ability for solar power companies to install panels on homes and businesses and sell some of the power that's generated back to that home or business. In theory, this makes solar power more affordable for many who can't afford to buy and install their own solar panels.

Florida is one of four states that does not already allow this. Renewable energy advocates will tell you this is so because the system is absolutely rigged; major utilities in the state have an incredible amount of influence over legislators as well as the Public Service Commission, which is supposed to be keeping the industry in check but really isn't.

Advocates for Solar Choice, who come from all parts of the political spectrum, say utilities have monopolies in their service areas, and that needs to change. Supporters have said a constitutional amendment accomplishing this end isn't ideal; they would have preferred to seek expansion of solar power via state lawmakers. But the vast majority of lawmakers, as mentioned above, are beholden to utility companies, and thereby have ignored solar advocates' previous attempts to change the policy.

"[We] believe that voters should decide whether to remove a barrier that currently blocks access to clean, renewable solar power," said Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, in a media release on Monday. "This issue has been brought to our legislature many times and has fallen on deaf ears. The citizens of Florida are taking it to the ballot box for much needed action as we await the Court’s decision.”

Meanwhile, the utility and fossil fuel industries have given tons of supportdirectly or indirectly, to a competing amendment initiative, the Consumers for Smart Solar

proposal, which would literally enshrine the utility-favoring status quo in the constitution. Those pushing this amendment admit their proposal is in direct response to Solar Choice, which they're attempting to characterize as "shady" and a giveaway to "big, out of state solar companies." They claim the proposal will hurt consumers and local government.

Susan Glickman, director of the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said none of this is true.

“The solar choice amendment doesn't require anyone to do anything," she said. "There's no mandates, there's no subsidies. It just allows for the choice, that if someone wants to buy electricity from someone other than their utility, they have that opportunity.”

Glickman told CL last week she doesn't see Consumers for Smart Solar even making it onto the ballot. Despite a slick Web site outlining its arguments, a formidable PR blitz and the enlistment of respected former lawmaker Dick Batchelor, she said, its sole purpose is to confuse and mislead voters, thereby siphoning petition signatures from the Solar Choice effort, which, if approved by the supreme court, would need more than half a million more signatures to get onto the ballot.

"[They] have a ton of money that they get from ratepayers to spend to confuse people and argue against the ratepayers' own interests. That's what's happening here. They are busy trying to build power plants and put major assets in their rate base when the cost of solar has come down exponentially,” she said. 

She said such an effort to confuse voters "would be laughable if it wasn't so scary."

"They're just doing it to make it harder to gather signatures," Glickman said. "They are paying twice the going rate for petition gatherers and asking people to sign a noncompete. So they're trying to make the process of getting the signatures more difficult...If there's a cynical way to thwart the solar choice initiative that is so popular, they will do that and the utilities have all the money in the world to fund an operation like that and they've done it.”

Sarah Bascom of Bascom LLC, the public relations firm Consumers for Smart Solar hired to respond to such criticisms, denied the effort is a tactical ploy to keep Solar Choice off the ballot, instead calling it an "important policy initiative."

3. Anti-War
If you have seen the movie Forrest Gump (1994), you probably remember the quote, "life is like a box of chocolates." Actually, the film is a box of propaganda, especially when it comes to how it portrays the antiwar movement.
The movie is populated by caricatures: flag-wearing hippies, militant and sexist Black Panthers and airheaded, would-be feminists. Forrest, a charming simpleton, never has a meaningful or specific discussion of the Vietnam War. But his sideways encounters with antiwar activists leave the distinct impression that the movement was wasteful, annoying, insignificant and possibly unethical. For viewers who will go no further to investigate any other perspective, Forrest Gump serves as a main cultural and political lesson on the 1960s, creating disdain and hostility toward the antiwar movement. It is but one example of a sustained and multipronged effort to do so.

The truth is that the antiwar movement fomented and channeled opposition to the war, both from ordinary people and elites. Over time, the war became the anchor issue for activists, journalists and politicians. Vietnam was the first televised war, but television alone did not create opposition to the war. As Susan Sontag pointed out, the TV showed the war, but TV viewers saw those images through the interpretive lens that the antiwar movement created through their struggles and protests.

Between 1965 and 1968, Lyndon Johnson relied on the draft to build the number of US troops in battle from 100,000 to 500,000. Draft resistance and conscientious objection became a key strategy of antiwar activists. The draft resulted in disproportionate numbers of working-class, Black and Latino men fighting and dying in Vietnam. These inequities further enraged antiwar activists, who then targeted the race and class bias of draft deferments. Richard Nixon lowered overall troop numbers in part to defuse opposition to the draft. In 1973, the draft ended and was replaced by an all-volunteer service.
Working alongside Black people in the civil rights movement in the South provided a crucial learning experience for the young, mostly white university students who would later join the antiwar movement. Hundreds were recruited to join the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project; in their poignant letters home, they describe transformative, eye-opening moments confronting institutionalized white racism and state-sponsored violence. The connections between Jim Crow in the South and the US war in Vietnam were not lost on them. One white project volunteer asked a Justice Department official: "How is it that the government can protect the Vietnamese from the Vietcong, and the same government will not accept the moral responsibility of protecting the people of Mississippi?"
The antiwar movement is generally treated as white turf, yet people of color - Black, Latino/Chicano, Native/Indigenous and Asian - also actively opposed the war. In the late 1950s, leaders including Ella Baker and Bayard Rustin connected US racial justice issues to anticolonial struggles in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Later, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) clarified the links between "the suppression of Blacks' political rights and the continued violence in the South as part of the larger US war against nonwhites, including Vietnam."
In April 1967, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful speech against the war, denouncing the United States as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world." A New York Times editorial headlined "Dr. King's Error" denounced the speech. As explained in Death of a King by Tavis Smiley, other establishment figures and institutions piled on. Even some of King's allies thought he was putting the civil rights movement in jeopardy. One year later to the day, he was assassinated. And today the United States is still "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world."
By looking at the Vietnam War as part of an extended arc of US imperialism in Asia, we surface the historic and material connection between US wars and Asian-American populations. Yet many people continue to ignore Asian-American participation in the antiwar movement. Actually, the Vietnam War provided a catalyst for a pan-ethnic Asian-American social consciousness. For example, Philip Vera Cruz was a leader of the Filipino farmworkers, and a key organizer in the Delano grape boycott of 1965. By speaking up at an antiwar rally organized by Asian-American activists, Vera Cruz helped to solidify a feeling of a shared racial bond.

Chinese, Japanese and Filipino Americans who served as soldiers in the war saw themselves in the faces of the so-called "enemy." They personally experienced the contradiction between their status as US citizens, and the way their battalions treated them - sometimes as target practice. Indeed, the racism directed against Vietnamese people during the war served as a wake-up call that propelled many Asian Americans - students, intellectuals, laborers and cultural workers - to embrace Vietnam as a symbol of "third world" peoples and struggles all over the world.
Toward the end of the war, at least 2,000 Vietnamese foreign students based on various US campuses organized themselves into the Union of Vietnamese. Their antiwar position crystalized after the 1972 murder of Nguyen Thai Binh, a student of fishery at the University of Washington. On graduation day, Binh walked across the stage, shed his black gown and revealed a demand to stop the war, written in his own blood. He was then deported to South Vietnam. At the airport in Saigon, he was shot dead. His death spurred his peers to hold a memorial for him and to form alliances with other US liberation struggles.
The first large-scale protests organized against the war by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) were triggered by President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 air bombing campaign called Operation Rolling Thunder. Like all social movements, this one grew in phases. The phases involved: selecting and framing the issues, establishing decision-making processes, developing expertise, finding a common denominator among many conflicting viewpoints, attacking dominant values and assumptions, and sustaining participation. Sometimes, the goal was to mobilize public opinion about a specific aspect of the war or the draft; at other times, it was to provoke a response from policy makers at the highest levels of the government. Always, the ultimate aim was to stop the bombing, negotiate for peace and end the war.
While the movement is generally portrayed by its protests, there was far more to it than that. This book offers an extensive discussion of the People's Peace Treaty, a remarkable story of people's diplomacy that even Melvin Small - a skeptic when it comes to the achievements of the antiwar movement - describes as "the most innovative approach to ending the war." Fed up with the glacial pace of negotiations led by the older generation, the student organizers of the People's Peace Treaty took matters into their own hands. The simple and direct language they crafted for ending the war came about as they met face-to-face and discussed together across the United States, South Vietnam and North Vietnam. The authors of this section speak from direct experience, a perspective on the People's Peace Treaty that has never been published as far as we know.
As the nation learned more and more about the scope and brutality of military operations - not only in Vietnam but in Laos and Cambodia as well - skepticism, mistrust of the US government's reports on the war and outright opposition grew larger still.
Increasingly, that opposition penetrated the military itself. An accomplished journalist for The Washington Post and author of Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation (2002), Myra MacPherson toured Vietnam in 2013 with five US veterans, ex-soldiers who now live in Vietnam. In Chapter 9, she tells the stories of this "band of brothers in peace" - a poet, an ex-cop, a former gang member, a psychiatric social worker and a former aid to a US senator. Today, each is dedicated in his own way to dealing with the most painful legacies of the war, including widespread contamination from Agent Orange. Their examples shine a new light on the ideals of military service, and on the patriotism and brotherly love that is often touted as a sustaining force among troops in combat in Vietnam.
As the war dragged on, the Vietnamese were so effective on the battlefield and the opposition became so intense within the United States that the US government was compelled to open the formal peace talks that ultimately resulted in the Paris Peace Accords, which was signed in 1973. To some, then and now, it might seem that escalating opposition to the war was some accidental mood shift. The People Make the Peace shows otherwise. Relating their own personal experiences as leaders of the antiwar movement, the authors in this book offer firsthand and concrete examples of innovative strategies and tactics they devised to express public opposition to the war and to challenge the war-makers' version of what the war was about and how well it was going.

4. NEW SFWMD head

Though Gov. Rick Scott's office would not confirm it, South Florida Water Management District chief executive Blake Guillory will be out of the job next week, replaced with the governor's former general counsel, Peter Antonacci.
Daniel DeLisi, the district's $135,000-a-year chief of staff, tendered his resignation or was fired this week. DeLisi, remember, a former SFWMD board member, was hired over 53 other candidates in March 2013, five days after he resigned his board seat.
How do I know this? From a whole bunch of unnamed sources, sadly. By Thursday afternoon it had become the worst kept secret in Tallahassee.
Other than Guillory himself, who swore up and down Thursday morning that my phone call was the first he'd heard of his impending dismissal, not a soul would go on the record for this story. Every one of the people I talked to said they feared retribution from the governor's office.
Details nevertheless are consistent to a fault; the story is circulating among the highest level of players in the capital. And as rumors go, consider this the take-it-to-the-bank variety. 
Apparently Guillory, 54, is being axed because he failed to sell the governor's tax-cut message to SFWMD board members in July. Members believed in the need for the district's $754 million budget plan. 
This is the agency, remember, that collects taxes from 16 counties, guards against South Florida flooding and leads Everglades restoration. It is the largest, busiest and most intricately employed of all five water management districts in Florida. Its budget has been under pressure since 2011, when the district cut nearly 400 employees. And what members did in July is decide they couldn't afford to cut property taxes by 8 percent.
Guillory apparently was supposed to script the July meeting and the vote by preparing board members -- all of them, Scott appointees -- to go the governor's tax-cut way. Only, he didn't do that. Or if he did, it didn't work.
After the vote a Scott office spokesman, sounding a little like Tom Hagen in "The Godfather," told the media, "The governor is very disappointed." 
No horse head under the covers for Guillory. But he can expect a pink slip or an invitation to step away of his own volition after a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. 
Now what?
Well, when something like this happens, you like to hope you're going to get an upgrade. But Gray Robinson's Peter Antonacci -- great lawyer maybe, zero water management creds -- is no upgrade.
Though Antonacci has less water management experience than Guillory had coming in, they do have something in common: Both are accomplished hired guns.
In 2013 Guillory was the executive director of the smaller Southwest Florida Water Management District. His claim to fame there was slashing staff. Even before he started at SFWMD, Guillory had sent two of his deputy executive directors and the agency's longtime attorney packing, and then demoted a third deputy director. He went on to dump another 150 employees. 
When Melissa Meeker abruptly resigned as chief exec of the SFWMD, Guillory let the governor know he was available, and voila.
In case you haven't noticed, under Scott, water management district directors have been chosen not on their ability as water managers, but on their willingness to slash and burn budgets and staffs and then sweep the resultant problems under the rug. This, of course, is besides agreeing to take directon from the governor and the Department of Environmenal Protection rather than their boards. It's the bond that Guillory and Antonacci share.
Antonacci can claim a very accomplished legal career in the state capital. He served a number of governors starting with Bob Graham. In 2012, Scott appointed him general counsel to the governor, making him Scott’s primary adviser on the appointment of trial and appellate court judges as well as judicial nominating commissioners throughout the state. It's a position he held until earlier this year.   
It was Antonacci in the background pulling the strings for the Scott administration, gutting the St. Johns River Water Management District of senior staff, effecting a purge that left the simultaneous and unexplained departures of four executives from the agency that protects Central Florida's wetlands, rivers and aquifer. If you include the executive director, it was five senior St. Johns River WMD people -- all made gone. 
Those are Antonacci's water management credentials.
Without a doubt, the moves weakened the St. Johns region's environmental safeguards, but strengthening them was never his mission.
One more problem with Antonacci: His significant other is Anne Longman, of Lewis, Longman & Walker PA. Longman's firm represents the Seminole Tribe of Florida and does environmental and water law work for SFWMD. It will be interesting to hear how he gets around what looks like conflicts of interest the size of a small canyon.
I did try to get this story -- any part of it -- on the record. Here's how my phone calls went: 1) Guillory denied knowing a thing about his tanking job, even though he's been talking around about Antonacci wanting it for the last two weeks; 2) neither Antonacci nor Longman returned my calls, even after I left a detailed message why I was calling; 3) the governor's office first sent me back to the water management district, which didn't call me back; then Communications Director Jackie Schutz emailed me this statement: "We have no announcements on this board and we will definitely keep you posted when we do."
In fairness to everyone involved, a word of explanation:
Water management districts are not state agencies and until 2010 enjoyed autonomy with their governing boards and the Department of Environmental Protection overseeing them. Then along came the Charlie Crist/U.S. Sugar deal, when the SFWMD board members of the day were throwing around land purchase money, proposing expenditures in never-been-heard-of-before amounts. The Legislature and governor panicked. My point is, the state's overreach we see today is a direct outgrowth of that one broken "deal."
But let me make myself clear.  Florida's water management districts -- particularly SFWMD, biggest and most complex -- need to be run by real water managers, managers who know how to hire and inspire and keep good staff, who won't "economize away" the brightest and best. It grieves me to see how many outstanding, knowledgeable staff have left SFWMD particularly in the last year.  
Meanwhile, those problems getting swept under the rug don't go away. The health and safety of millions of Floridians -- let alone the successful completion of Everglades restoration -- are all at issue. 

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

5. Fukushima leaks hundreds of tons of radioactive water after Typhoon Etau busts drainage system | 11 Sept 2015 | Flooding from Typhoon Etau has caused new leaks of contaminatedradiation-tainted water to flow from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean. The incident came after a rush of water overwhelmed the site's drainage pumps. Tokyo Electric Power CO. (TEPCO) informed the public today that hundreds of tons of radioactive water had leaked from the facility, but maintained that the incident posed no risk to the environment. [?!?]

6.  Tropical storm causes a river to burst its banks in Japan, flushing radiation water from Fukushima into the sea | 10 Sept 2015 | More than 100,000 people have been evacuated and thousands of properties destroyed, after rare torrential rains saw a major river burst its banks north of Tokyo in Japan on Thursday. A further 800,000 people across eastern Japan have been advised to evacuate after officials issued pre-dawn warnings of unusually harsh rainfall to 5 million people. Dramatic footage shows people being plucked from their homes minutes before a tsunami-like wall of muddy water gushing from the Kinugawa river in Joso, carry their houses downstream. The huge rains also exacerbated a contaminated radioactive water problem at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant as it overwhelmed the site's drainage pumps, sending radiation-tainted water into the ocean.

7. Nuclear 'regulators' drop cancer risk study | 08 Sept 2015 | Federal nuclear energy regulators [sic] have decided to end a study they had started to determine the risks of cancer near nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which had hired the National Academy of Sciences to conduct the study, said Tuesday that it determined that the cost and time of the second phase of its research would be too high given the agency's budget restraints.

8. French court confirms Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning | 10 Sept 2015 | A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company's Lasso weedkiller. The decision by an appeal court in Lyon, southeast France, confirmed the initial judgment, the first such case heard in court in France, that ruled Monsanto was "responsible" for the intoxication and ordered the company to "fully compensate" grain grower Paul Francois. Monsanto's lawyer said the U.S. biotech company [eco-terrorists] would take the case to France's highest appeal court.

9. WikiLeaks' Assange: 'US empire' planned to overthrow Syrian govt years before uprising | 09 Sept 2015 | WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has opened up about his new book, 'The WikiLeaks Files,' speaking about the 'US empire' and telling RT's 'Going Underground' program that Washington had plans to overthrow Syria's government long before the 2011 uprising began. Speaking to RT, Assange referred to the chapter on Syria, which goes back to 2006. In that chapter is a cable from US Ambassador William Roebuck, who was stationed in Damascus, which apparently discusses a plan for the overthrow of the Assad government in Syria.

PNN Voices in the Sun
News Director Rick Spisak welcomes Political Commentator Brook Hines brings her latest Investigative Report. 

We will have a special appearance by Florida Democratic Leader Mark Pafford on recent Legislative Activity.

We welcome Political Activist and Physician Dr. Margaret Flowers co-editor of which has a campaign to stop the TPP and other job-and-climate-killing international agreements and as a candidate for US Senate in Maryland.

Then we'll talk with Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy on the latest twist in the Solar Power Question in FL.

We will also hear from Mari-Lynn Evans on the premiere of her new film, Blood on the Mountain a film about the impact of the Coal Industry in Appalachia

TUNE IN Sunday 9/13/15 - 7pm - 9pm (Eastern)

Katherine Albrecht - Microsofts Treachery with Windows 10

LOWDOWN on Windows 10

Sunday, September 06, 2015

PNN - The Trump-ette Echoes

PNN 9/6/15

Brook Hines
Thorne Dreyer
Prof Wendy Lynn Lee
Katie Singer 

1. The administrative law judge just issued a final ruling that the amended Sewer Chapter in our comp plan IS IN COMPLIANCE with state law.
It's a big win for the river.
No more package plants!
No 10,000 gpd septic tanks"
Martin County will again have the best rules in the state for preventing new development on septic tanks from polluting our waterways.
Thanks to all of you who helped.
You might want to thank Commissioners Heard, SWcott and Fielding for their support in adopting AND defending the amendment.

2. The Government's Hypocrisy on Hacked Information
By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News
01 September 15

ike many Americans, I’ve been amused over the past couple of weeks by news of the Ashley Madison hack. I frankly don’t care if I know anybody who had signed up on the adultery website, and I’ve not looked at any of the several websites that claim to allow people to be able to search the site’s members. It’s none of my business who is cheating on his or her spouse, it doesn’t affect me in any way, and I have more important things to worry about.
One thing does bother me, though. It actually bothers me very much. And that is the government’s hypocrisy when it comes to hacked information. Legally, hacked information is stolen property. I was working on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff when Chelsea Manning leaked thousands of classified cables to Wikileaks. Within days, Senate staffers received instructions that we were not to access Wikileaks from a Senate computer. The information had been stolen, our security officers said, so we were to leave it alone. Don’t search it, read it, or even look at it.
Indeed, when State Department whistleblower Peter van Buren wrote a post on his personal blog that included a link to a document on Wikileaks, the State Department sought to have him prosecuted. Van Buren was also stripped of his security clearance and banned from State Department headquarters. The State Department investigators’ case was simply that the Wikileaks information was stolen, and so Van Buren had committed a crime. (He was finally vindicated and allowed to retire.)
So why is the Ashley Madison information being treated differently? For example, Fox News reported that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter “confirmed the Pentagon was looking into the list of people who used military email addresses.” Carter went on to say that “the [uniformed] services are looking into it [Pentagon employees using Ashley Madison] as well they should be.” It seems to me that what the secretary is suggesting is that his investigators are in possession of stolen property and that they are using it freely. That’s a crime.
Similarly, investigators at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are questioning employees who signed up for Ashley Madison using a DHS email. That was a stupid thing to do, certainly, but DHS investigators don’t have any legal right to even look at the hacked Ashley Madison data, let alone to use it in an investigation. Again, possession of stolen property is a crime.
A friend of mine is a security investigator in a major federal department. She told me last week that her department’s leadership has ordered her to interview every employee who signed up for Ashley Madison using a department email account. This has caused her several problems. First, she acknowledges the fact that she is now in possession of stolen property. If the FBI wanted to target her, they could. (And take it from my own first-hand experience – if the FBI wants to get you, they’re going to get you.)
Second, she has found that many of the email addresses were used by people other than their owners. For example, let’s say some sap wants to create an Ashley Madison account. He has no intention of actually cheating, but he wants to peruse the listings. He’s a voyeur. So he registers on the site. When the site asks for an email address, he types one in that he saw on a business card – yours – that he may have found on the ground, on the internet, on Facebook, wherever. You’ve never heard of Ashley Madison, but now your work email is associated with it. Still, the point is that the government doesn’t have the legal right to question you about this, when the information they’re using is stolen in the first place.
If the government is going to be consistent, it can do two things, in my view. It can either drop all of these witch-hunt investigations into federal employees with Ashley Madison accounts right now, or it can release from prison immediately a federal inmate named Barrett Brown.
Never heard of Barrett Brown? Brown is a federal prisoner doing more than five years on a whole bunch of trumped-up charges. The feds accused Brown of being associated with the hacker group Anonymous. That’s not a crime, so the FBI arrested him for allegedly threatening an FBI agent in a YouTube video. I watched that video. The “threat” was akin to the Vietnam War protestor who was arrested for threatening to vomit on President Johnson. It made me want to reach out to the aggrieved FBI agent and tell him to “grow up.”
Anyway, after Brown was locked up pending trial, for the safety of the public, of course, the Justice Department added another dozen felony charges stemming from an email Brown sent with a link to data that had been hacked from the Stratfor private intelligence analysis firm. He didn’t steal the data. He just emailed a link to it. Brown ended up taking a plea offer and is currently serving 63 months in prison.
That leads us back to the intrepid investigators in the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and elsewhere. They’re breaking the law. They should stop doing that. And if they’re not going to stop doing that, the courts should toss Barrett Brown’s sentence. Of course, consistency and fairness are not something our government is known for. I won’t hold my breath.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
John Kiriakou is an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies. He is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

3. Court: We Can't Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Don't Know Whose Data Was Collected
By Jenna McLaughlin, The Intercept
30 August 15

n Friday, an appeals court overturned a U.S. District Court decision last May that had declared that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was beyond the authorization of the law. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit kicked the matter back to the lower court for additional deliberation.
The decision did not declare the NSA’s program, which was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, to have been legal or constitutional. Rather, it focused on a technicality: a majority opinion that the plaintiffs in the case could not actually prove that the metadata program swept up their own phone records. Therefore, the plaintiffs, the court declared, did not have standing to sue.
“Plaintiffs claim to suffer injury from government collection of records from their telecommunications provider relating to their calls. But plaintiffs are subscribers of Verizon Wireless, not of Verizon Business Network Services, Inc.—the sole provider that the government has acknowledged targeting for bulk collection,” wrote Judge Stephen F. Williams.
“Today’s ruling is merely a procedural decision,” said Alexander Abdo, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued against the program at the U.S. District Court. “Only one appeals court has weighed in on the merits of the program, and it ruled the government’s collection of Americans’ call records was not only unlawful but ‘unprecedented and unwarranted.’”
Despite Friday’s decision, the bulk collection program will end later this year in accordance with the USA Freedom Act, passed by Congress in June.
The NSA previously argued that its massive collection of telephony metadata was legal because the records met the legal standard of being “relevant to an authorized investigation.”
In the May decision, Judge Gerald E. Lynch described the government’s interpretation of the word “relevant” as “extremely generous” and “unprecedented and unwarranted,” saying that the program had serious constitutional concerns and was ultimately illegal. However, the court did not order the program’s closure, because Congress was due to debate on the USA Freedom Act within a month’s time.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court granted the NSA an extension through November to shutter the program, a provision which was included in the USA Freedom Act. After that the NSA will no longer be able to hoover up phone metadata without a warrant.
Therefore, the overturned ruling declaring the program illegal doesn’t have much practical effect.
But according to some civil liberties experts, it does say a lot about the power of the NSA to avoid scrutiny. Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, called the ruling “a potent illustration of how excessive secrecy and stringent standing requirements effectively immunize intelligence programs from meaningful, adversarial constitutional review.”
Dorsey & Witney lawyer Robert Cattanach, a former trial attorney for the Department of Justice, points out that it will be practically impossible to force the NSA to disclose whether or not it did sweep up the plaintiff’s data. “The Government is almost certain to deny any access to the specifics of a classified program through discovery, creating the likelihood of a standoff between the plaintiffs and the government, with the court left to rule based on conjecture about what really happened,” he wrote in a statement sent to The Intercept.
Circuit Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown summarized the problem facing the court: “Excessive secrecy limits needed criticism and debate. Effective secrecy ensures the perpetuation of our institutions.”
So the decision did not necessarily indicate the NSA won, as media outlets today were quick to proclaim. It simply challenged a specific assertion, that the plaintiffs’ own metadata was collected — a matter of fact that will likely never be known for sure.
4.  Fracking Literature Handouts
Penn State University is requiring all incoming freshmen to read the pro-fracking book, The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World , by Russell Gold for its Penn State Reads program. Some students will win cash prizes for the essays they submit on what they've learned. Gold will then spend a couple of days on campus in October, meeting with students and lecturing.

At a time when other universities are divesting of fossil fuels, Penn State is glorifying an extractive technology that is contributing to climate change and harming Pennsylvanians and our environment in the process. 

Will you join me in telling Penn State to scrap The Boom from its reading program and break its ties to the fossil fuel industry for good by signing and sharing my petition?

Hundreds of you have already signed and shared my petition. Thank you!  

I'm working with some Penn State alumni to draft a sign-on letter to accompany the petition. If you studied at Penn State and would like to sign the letter when it's finalized or participate in a call-in day or other action we may consider, please email me at

5. NationalTEPCO begins pumping up groundwater before dumping in ocean

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday began pumping up groundwater from wells around the reactor buildings as part of its plan to dump it into the ocean after treatment.
The plan is aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Tokyo Electric Power Co. says radiation levels in the groundwater are much lower than in the highly toxic water being pooled inside the reactor buildings, adding it will discharge it only after confirming it does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowable limit.
Even so, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture had long opposed the plan amid concerns over pollution of the ocean and marine products. They approved it last week on condition that the government and TEPCO continue paying compensation to them for as long as the nuclear crisis continues to cause damage to their business, among other requirements.
TEPCO now plans to dump some 4,000 tons of already-decontaminated groundwater, which was pumped up on a trial basis last year, in mid-September in the first such release.
The amount of radioactive water at the plant is increasing every day, as some 300 tons per day of groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the 2011 nuclear disaster.
With the latest plan to cope with toxic water buildup, TEPCO and the government expects the amount of groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings to be halved.
TEPCO has been struggling to resolve the problem of toxic water buildup for more than four years, with radiation leakages into the environment still occurring frequently.
The company is also behind schedule on a project to build a huge underground ice wall, another key measure to prevent radioactive water from further increasing at the site.
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Japanese parliament building on Sunday, August 30 to reject plans put forth by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that would see an aggressive expansion of the nation’s armed forces despite a long-standing constitutional mandate for a “defense only” military posture.

The enormous crowd, estimated by organizers as more than 120,000 people, is opposing a set of bills moving through the country’s legislature which would allow the country’s military to engage in overseas fighting and ratchet up spending on new weapons systems.

Despite loud public protest against the plan, Abe has continued to defend the plan. Demonstrators carried banners reading “Peace Not War” and “Abe, Quit!”

As the Asahi Shimbum reports:

In one of the largest postwar demonstrations in Japan, tens of thousands of protesters swarmed in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on Aug. 30 to oppose the Abe administration’s contentious security legislation. Following a wave of weekly protests near the Diet building in recent months, rally organizers had worked to mobilize 100,000 participants from across the nation.

Amid the gloomy and rainy weather, protesters held up placards and banners and chanted slogans against the legislation, which is being pushed through the Diet. A huge banner hanging from dozens of balloons read: “Abe, Quit!”

Opponents blasted the security bills on concerns that they would drag Japan into unwanted conflicts overseas.

Organized by a union of three different anti-war citizens’ groups, the Japan Times reports Sunday’s rally was arguably the most massive in a string of similar protests in recent months.

The Times spoke with several people in the massive crowd who rejected Abe’s arguments that Japan must return to a war footing more than half a century after the carnage that resulted from the Second World War:

Yamada, who at 5 years old witnessed the Great Tokyo Air Raid in 1945, said he was still haunted by the horrifying scene in which his neighbors in the Ryogoku area of northeast Tokyo jumped into the Sumida River in a desperate bid to escape the deadly blast and ensuing inferno.

“With the advance of technologies (over the past seven decades), war is likely to be more deadly than it used to be,” Yamada said. “In this age of nuclear weapons, you will never know how massive a death toll is going to be. The danger is far bigger than before. “We should never let it happen again,” he added.

A 38-year-old mother, who only gave her first name, Naoko, said she was worried about possible consequences of the bills that her children would have to face.

The bills, which she said ran counter to the pacifist policies Japan has adhered to over the past 70 years, could see her children embroiled in wars.

“Instead of enacting such pro-war bills, I want Japan to exert leadership roles in facilitating world peace as has done (since World War II),” she said.

Translator Hiromi Miyasaka, 49, said she resented the way the government was trying to steamroll the bills into enactment despite widespread public concerns.

“The way the government brushes aside public worries . . . it’s as though Japan is slipping back into its pre-World War II state,” she said.