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Breaking Free of the NRA


Some Republicans in purple states are now backing gun safety laws to advance their political careers.



Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, US News you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.


 21, 2016 | When we look back at this election season, we will no doubt remember it as the one that broke all the political rules. The reasons for that characterization are too varied to recite, but there's one more historians should add to the list: 2016 is the year that the politics changed on guns.

It's long been an article of faith in our political system – especially for Republicans – that crossing the National Rifle Association is the quickest ticket out of office. Politicians in red and purple states have lived under constant threat of facing debilitating electoral attacks if they did not pledge 100 percent loyalty to the NRA. And this looming threat stymied progress at the federal level even on reasonable gun laws that 9 in 10 Americans support, like keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.

Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Contributor, is vice president for social policy and politics for Third Way, a centrist think tank that offers fresh thinking and modern solutions to the most challenging problems in U.S. public policy

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Series | Veterans for Peace Action Alert, Part 3- US "War On Terror" in the Middle East and Afghanistan

  • Our focus this week: US "War On Terror" in the Middle East and Afghanistan
  • We all know #PeaceIsPossible and working together we will bring about the world we seek, a world without war.
  • Help Us Put Peace Back In The Conversation!
  • Third in a Series


Veterans for Peace (VFP) VFP Submission Notice: Between now and November 8th, the Nation will be caught up in a frenzy of debates, campaign ads, and political commentary.  Raising the visibility of veterans working for peace is more important than ever.  In what has become a polarizing global climate, Veterans For Peace has a unique opportunity to highlight that #PeaceIsPossible.  We can and must use every venue to share our experiences and help people understand that war is not the answer.

Every week, from now until the election, Veterans For Peace will release a list of questions for the presidential candidates, and we want your help.  

October 21, 2016 | Our focus this week: US "War On Terror" in the Middle East and Afghanistan

  • This week two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, bringing the total U.S. deaths in Afghanistan to 2386. Fifteen years after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban are resurgent in many parts of the country. What is the withdrawal plan for the U.S. military to finally withdraw our troops from Afghanistan? 
  • Also this week, at least one U.S. soldier has been killed in the battle to retake Mosul from ISIL in Iraq, bringing the total U.S. combat deaths in Iraq to 4506 and there have been thousands of Iraqi deaths.  Hundreds of U.S. troops are involved in this operation, in spite of President Obama’s pledge that there would be “no boots on the ground” in Iraq. What is your timetable for removing ALL troops from Iraq and how do you plan to be accountable to that timetable?
  • The humanitarian crisis in Syria is at an all time high.  The UN Humanitarian Chief has called it a “stain on the world’s collective conscious”.  The U.S. has done little to accept refugees from the region.  What is your plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees accepted into the United States? 
  • We know that enforcing a  “No Fly Zone” is a serious escalation of the conflict and often requires the destruction of another country’s air force and air defenses. Do you believe a no fly zone is necessary in Syria? How do you plan on enforcing a no fly zone? What is your plan to push diplomatic solutions in Syria to avoid escalation of the war?
  • The drone campaign in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan has been devastating to the populations of these countries, as figures indicate that the vast majority of the victims of these attacks are civilians.  The UN has also voiced serious opposition to the legality of these drone attacks.  There are now former drone operators who are coming forward challenging the ways in which drones are used by the US.
  • Submit your own question to the candidates about nuclear weapons!
  • Help Us Put Peace Back In The Conversation!



Send the above questions to each of the Presidential Candidates:

Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Jill Stein
Gary Johnson

Tweet to the Presidential candidates.  Make sure to use #PeaceIsPossible.

Hillary Clinton:  @HillaryClinton
Donald Trump:  @realDonaldTrump
Jill Stein: @DrJillStein
Gary Johnson: @GovGaryJohnson

• Find your local presidential campaign office and deliver the questionnaire in person.

The people of the world are crying out for a path different than the one we are on today. You are not fooled by those who are leading us down a path of division and hate.  We all know #PeaceIsPossible and working together we will bring about the world we seek, a world without war.

Previously in This Series

Part 2- US Military and Foreign Policy in Korea

Part 1- Nuclear Weapons and Their Use

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The Great Leap Backward: America’s Illegal Wars on the World

  • Neither military nor economic war on the sovereignty of nations has yielded anything close to a stable, prosperous, and peaceful world. It had delivered death, destruction, debt, market crises, tidal waves of refugees and displaced persons, and concentrated masses of wealth in a few but powerful hands.
  • Related: You Must Be Kidding!

Luciana Bohne, CounterPunch   May 13, 2016 | Can we face it in this election season? America is a weapons factory, the White House a war room, and the president the manager of the neoliberal conspiracy to recolonize the planet. It exports war and mass poverty. On the economic front, usurious neoliberalism; on the military front, illegal wars. These are the trenches of America’s battle for world domination in the 21st century.

If not stopped, it will be a short century.

Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

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You Must Be Kidding! Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

  • War, Peace, and Absurdity
  • Adventures in an American World of Frustration
  • Related: Why the US Can’t Break Its Addiction to War 


Tomgram: Nick Turse, Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars,h_316,al_c,q_75,usm_0.50_1.20_0.00/25f54d_0b3f03a501c24802b7a7f2a0e3f8eba0.jpg

  • If you’ve ever wondered how those inside the planet’s self-proclaimed mightiest military force assess their handiwork over these last 15 (or for that matter 50) years, it’s fortunately no longer necessary to guess. Thanks to TomDispatch’s Nick Turse, we now have a document from within that military which will answer your every question on war, American-style, even if those answers beg questions all their own.
  • Related: You Must Be Kidding!

Nick Turse, 27, 2016 | It’s the timing that should amaze us (were anyone to think about it for 30 seconds). Let’s start with the conflict in Afghanistan, now regularly described as the longest war in American history.  It began on October 7, 2001, and will soon reach its 15th “anniversary.” Think of it as the stepchild of America’s first Afghan War (against the Soviets), a largely CIA affair which lasted from 1979 to 1989.  Considered a major victory, leading as it did to the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, it also devastated Afghanistan and created close to the full cast of characters for America’s second Afghan War.  In reality, you could say that Washington has conducted a quarter-century-plus of warfare there (with a decade off).  And in the Pentagon, they’re already talking about that war's possible extension well into the 2020s.

And then, of course, there’s Iraq.  Where even to begin to count?  You could start perhaps with the military aid and assistance that Washington gave Saddam Hussein in the eight-year war that followed his invasion of Iran in 1980, including crucial information that the Iraqis could use to target Iranian troops with their chemical weapons.  Or you could start with that victory of all victories, the first Gulf War of 1991, in which the U.S. military crushed Saddam’s troops in Kuwait, showed off the snazzy techno-abilities of the mightiest force on the planet... and er, um... somehow didn’t unseat the Iraqi ruler, leading to years of no-fly-zone air war until that second, ultimate victory, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which led to... er, um... a disastrous occupation, various insurgencies, and finally the withdrawal of American forces in 2011 before... er, um... the Islamic State emerged triumphantly to smash the American-trained Iraqi army, taking over major cities, and establishing its “caliphate.”  That, of course, led to America’s third Iraq War (or is it the fourth?), still ongoing.  In other words, at least a quarter-century of conflict and possibly more with no end in sight.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch, a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His book Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa recently received an American Book Award. His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan

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Related: If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

You Must Be Kidding! Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch 

  • War, Peace, and Absurdity
  • Adventures in an American World of Frustration
  • Related: Why the US Can’t Break Its Addiction to War 


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