Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo - reputedly “Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriter,” who went on to be one of the Hollywood Ten and help break Tinseltown’s Blacklist - is arguably one of the two greatest antiwar novels to emerge out of World War I, the other being German WWI veteran Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 All Quiet On the Western Front (the 1930 screen adaptation won the Best Picture Oscar, while Lewis Milestone scored the Best Director Academy Award, with the film receiving two other nominations). Trumbo’s title is derived from the gung-ho ballad “Over There”, which begins:


“Johnnie, get your gun
Get your gun, get your gun
Take it on the run
On the run, on the run…”


The 1917 propaganda song continues:


“Johnnie, get your gun
Get your gun, get your gun
Johnnie show the Hun
Who's a son of a gun
Hoist the flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle do or die…”


The refrain in George M. Cohan’s popular (if immoral) morale booster, recorded by Enrico Caruso among others, is still remembered:


White man in a bandanna and yellow shirt yelling and holding a sign that reads Concentration Camps 4 Kids with lots of question marks

From Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns:
The Trump administration has proposed changes in regulations that would allow the U.S. government to detain immigrant children and families indefinitely.  The administration's proposal would curtail minimum standards for how to care for children held in federal custody – standards set by a court agreement that has guided U.S. policy on the treatment of such children for more than two decades. 

A Trumpist victory this November 6 could strike a terrible blow to American democracy, and to our ability to survive on this planet.

I will vote…but that clearly is not enough for those of us hoping to avoid a Trump takeover in this country.

So I will also be a poll worker.

And I’ll do whatever I can to make sure our fellow citizens are registered, that we’re allowed to vote, and that our votes will be counted


Two more years of Trump control over both Houses of Congress, the White House, the judiciary and so many state and local governments could easily mean the end of any popular voice in the way our nation is run.

When I first sat down to write this week’s article, I could only think of two or three stories worthy of mention. I had fallen behind with my email newsletters, and family commitments drastically reduced my already limited time spent on social media and various websites. As I quickly caught up with the news and did my research, I realized last week was full of stories on which people needed to be informed. I spoke to friends and family who do not have a consistent interest in politics and they were all surprised by most of what happened last week. Had I not subscribed to multiple political news emails, been acquainted with many activists, and had the time to do my research, I would have had no idea what was going on in this country.

Unforgettable. That’s the best word to describe Joan Baez’s recent show in Cleveland. The setlist consisted of socially conscious songs spanning nearly 60 years and topics from the Civil Rights movement to women’s rights and labor activism. Her voice was as clear and beautiful as it was at Woodstock and she surrounded herself with gifted musicians and singers. As sonically pleasing as the concert was, it was so much more.

Big brick building with rounded top and lots of people out front and words on it Nationwide Arena

Wednesday, October 17, 11am
Studio 35, 3055 Indianola Ave.

This is a press conference to kick off a coalition, Advocates for Responsible Taxation (ART). ART is a coalition of community leaders and organizers.  ART is a grass roots consortium that includes the Green Party, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, inner-city organizers, and corporations that oppose the proposed ticket tax for another arena bailout.

The ticket tax is being proposed to apply to all tickets and memberships in the city of Columbus with a large percentage to be paid for another bail out of nationwide arena.  ART. is opposed to imposing another tax on the citizens of central Ohio for the bailout of Nationwide Arena.  Making citizens pay more taxes for Nationwide Arena should be a decision left in the hands of the voters. 

Think about the implications of this. If all you have to do is make a complaint and the next day the headlines are ‘Someone is unethical,’ think about what’s going to happen to politics in Vermont…. It seems suspect to me that a powerful political organization makes a complaint during October of an election year.

– Vermont Governor Phil Scott, Republican, at press conference October 5

efore you start feeling sorry for the governor of Vermont, whose comment above is fundamentally deceitful, you should probably be aware that he is being criticized for an arrangement he created for his own benefit.  

With thousands killed and millions on the brink of starvation, the war in Yemen has led to what human rights experts have called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” And the United States is helping to fuel it.  For over three years, the US has contributed to the devastation wrought by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen by refueling aircraft, selling weapons, and sharing intelligence—all without Congressional approval.   Luckily, there’s a movement pushing back. A bipartisan group of representatives led by Ro Khanna, Mark Pocan, and Thomas Massie recently introduced a bill that would invoke the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to end US support for the war.

One should not sell bombs to a government that abuses human rights, which means murders a man without using one of the bombs.

If Saudi Arabia had murdered a man using a bomb, it would be fine to sell Saudi Arabia more bombs.

But Saudi Arabia murdered with a non-bomb weapon, and so shouldn’t have bombs anymore.

One should, in fact, bomb people whose government abuses human rights, which means murders children without using bombs.

Syria allegedly killed children using chemical weapons, and so Syrian men, women, and children should be bombed.

Killing millions of people in wars, year after year, as long as it’s with bombs, is justifiable because the Good War was justifiable because although the war killed some 80 million people, about 13 million of them were killed in German camps which doesn’t really count as war and is therefore not justifiable, especially for 6 to 9 million of them, although those are precisely the ones who could have been very easily spared by permitting Germany to expel them, something none of the governments whose warmaking justifies all future wars would agree to.



Remarks at Fellowship Hall at Berkeley, Calif., October 13, 2018.

Video here.

Slogans and headlines and haikus and other short combinations of words are tricky things. I wrote a book looking at many of the themes in how people commonly talk about war, and I found them all without exception — and the marketing campaigns before, during, and after every past war without exception — to be dishonest. So I called the book War Is A Lie. And then people who misunderstood my meaning started insisting to me that I was wrong, that war really does exist.


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