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There are no bad bears: Let's try democracy!

David Swanson is a peace activist and prolific writer whose books include WHEN THE WORLD OUTLAWED WAR; WAR IS A LIE and DAYBREAK: UNDOING THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY AND FORMING A MORE PERFECT UNION.
Swanson is the host of Talk Nation Radio. He helped plan hte nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in 2011. He holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Swanson has worked as a newspaper reporter and as communications director, with jobs including acting as press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org and works for RootsAction.org. Swanson is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet. He will be speaking at Laughing Horse Books, 12 NE 10th Ave (off Burnside), Monday Dec 16, 2013, 7-9 PM.

to read David Swanson's "There are no bad bears. Let's try democracy!" from his blog, click on


There are no bad bears - Dec 13, 2013

When he was a tiny little bear cub, Nelson would scamper over to be close to his mother when he heard any loud noise. When he got a little bigger, if something scared him he would growl. Bigger still, and he would stand up on his hind legs, growl, and wave his paws about. And when he got even bigger than that -- when he began to look like a full-grown bear -- if Nelson heard something that might be dangerous, he would stand calmly still and listen harder.

Nelson's cubhood was a happy one. His mother and the other big bears taught him to run and climb, and how to find the berries that were good and wouldn't make you sick. They taught him how to settle arguments with other bears. Growling was only for show, Nelson's mother always told him.

A bear must never attack another bear
But only growl and attack the air.

She told him that little poem many times.

At the end of each day, Nelson's mother would read him stories before he went to bed in the cave. He especially liked "Goldilocks and the Three Humans." When Nelson got a little bigger his mother sometimes let him listen to stories told to a big circle of bears by the best bear storytellers in those mountains. All of Nelson's friends listened to the stories, so Nelson's mother let him do so too. Nelson found the stories -- full of fights and adventures -- to be tremendously strange but tremendously exciting.

Nelson knew that the bears around him in his woods and mountains were not the only bears in the world. He knew other bears lived far way, and others even farther away on the far side of the world. And yet Nelson was never taught a name for his bears until he was nearly full-grown. And when he was taught the name, it was a name he had heard before in movies and books. The name was: the Good Bears.

Nelson was happy to be a Good Bear, but the Bad Bears worried him. He was told where they lived, and he was horrified at the thought that Bad Bears might come into the Good Bears' area. He imagined what the Bad Bears looked like. They must have horns and scales. Some said the Bad Bears breathed fire. Nelson began to grow afraid again, just as he had been afraid of everything when he had been a tiny cub. And at the same time, Nelson was excited by the idea of the Bad Bears. At any noise, Nelson would jump, his hair would stand up, he would rise and growl and wave his claws through the air fast enough to have ripped through a brick wall had there been a brick wall in the middle of the woods.

There was nothing human in the woods until the day the truck came. Nelson knew nothing of trucks. They hadn't been in any stories. He also knew nothing of guns. So, when the forestry department came to help the bears by drugging them to sleep, inspecting them all over, sticking tags on them, and letting them go again, Nelson only knew that a large and noisy thing was nearby and getting closer. He sprang into action.

While Nelson stood his tallest and roared his loudest at the truck, the truck did not talk back to him or retreat. The truck stopped. A human got out with something in his hands. There was a noise. And then Nelson felt a sharp pain in his left rear leg. Nelson felt dizzy. He was spinning. Or the forest was spinning. Or the clouds were spinning. Nelson heard voices, human voices. They were saying he might be sick. He must be tested. They must help him.

Nelson woke up in a place he'd never seen or imagined. There were huge hard bars on all sides of him, and above him. Nelson roared like mad. Humans came near to his cage but were afraid to come all the way up to it. Nelson's rage and fury were limitless. Nelson nearly went insane with fear and anger and hatred. He roared and roared and smashed himself against the bars. Afterward, he had no idea how long this had lasted. It ended when the cage was loaded onto a truck, taken into the woods, and opened. Nelson was free!

But something was wrong. The trees were not the same as before. The mountains were not the same shape. It was as if the world had been twisted sideways somehow. And then Nelson figured out what had happened. The humans had released him into the wrong woods. They had put him in the land of the Bad Bears. Nelson shook with fear. It was one thing to imagine fighting the Bad Bears with all the Good Bears standing at your side, like in the stories told to bear cubs. It was another thing to be alone, the only Good Bear in a world of vicious Bad Bears seeking to destroy you.

Nelson heard and smelled something. He looked quickly around for a place to hide, but it was too late. A bear was coming close, and the bear had seen him. But Nelson was in luck: this didn't look like a Bad Bear at all. This was another Good Bear just like him. They would be together now, two Good Bears against all of the Bad. "Greetings, fellow Good Bear," growled Nelson. "How did you come to be in these woods?"

"I was born in them," said the bear. "But I haven't met you before. Where do you come from?"

Nelson was confused but answered, "I come from over that ridge and across the next valley, of course. Don't all Good Bears come from there?"

The other bear began to back away slowly and the hair to rise on his back. "You come from the land of the Bad Bears?" he growled. "Are you a Bad Bear then?"

"What are you talking about?" growled Nelson. "Do I look like a Bad Bear? Do I breathe fire? Where are my scales? Where are my horns? I'm a Good Bear, just like you."

"That's true," said the other bear, whose name was Steven. Nelson and Steven relaxed a little and began to trust each other, but both were puzzled and confused. Each of them thought the other must be a Bad Bear, but both could see it wasn't true.

Nelson stayed with Steven's family that night, planning to begin traveling home the next day. In the morning Steven, who did not want Nelson to leave, said he would travel with him, at least half way. And so, the two friends moved quickly through the day and crossed the mountain ridge. And not long after crossing the ridge and beginning down the other side, they heard the most frightening noise in the world. They heard the noise of war coming. They heard it coming from in front of them and behind.

Hundreds of bears were roaring and stomping and screaming and smashing against the trees. They all seemed to have gone insane, a huge line of them moving up from Nelson's woods. And another gigantic group of mad crazy bears ready to kill was coming up the mountains from Steven's home. Nelson and Steven stood perfectly still, listened, smelled, and thought. And they thought well, without even quite knowing they'd done so, and without having to tell each other what to do.

Together, Nelson and Steven raced back to the top of the ridge. They could see the armies of bears advancing up both slopes toward them. Nelson faced the bears from his home. He saw bears he knew, friends and family. "Stop!," he roared. "Who do you think you are attacking?"

"Stop!" roared Steven at his own bear nation. "Who are you coming to kill?"

"The Bad Bears!" said Nelson's countrybears.

"The Bad Bears!" said Steven's bear kin.

"They don't exist," roared Nelson and Steven.

"Look," roared Nelson. "Look at this bear next to me. He is from the land of what you call Bad Bears, but he is just like you and me. His bears have been told that YOU are the Bad Bears. And you know that isn't true."

Steven told his bears the same thing. But meanwhile the bears had been advancing quickly and were nearing the ridgetop. "Look at them," pleaded Nelson and Steven. "Look at them! They're Good Bears the same as you. Bad Bears are only in stories. Things in stories aren't always real. Bear cubs know that! And bear cubs know that growling is only for show. You must never attack another bear, but only growl and attack the air."

The two bear friends were telling whole armies of angry bears what every bear mother had told every one of those bears when they had been young cubs. Some of the bears were roaring like mad at their enemies. Some of the bears were beginning to listen. Some of the bears were stopping and looking carefully at the bears in front of them.

Bears growled, but they didn't attack. They stopped and looked. They understood that Steven and Nelson were right.

Nelson and Steven had stopped a war.

Later, at Nelson's cave, Steven said to his friend, "Do you know why I'm glad you're not really a Bad Bear?"

Nelson nodded. "I do," he said. "Because then I wouldn't exist. And you'd be a Bad Bear too and not exist either."

"Exactly," growled Steven. "There'd be no more bears if we weren't all Good Bears, as of course we are!"

"I'm glad," growled Nelson.

homepage: homepage: http://www.freembtranslations.net
address: address: http://www.therealnews.com

War is a Lie 16.Dec.2013 10:16

John Nichols

David Swanson is the author of the life-giving "War is a Lie."
to read John Nichols' book review from The Nation, November 2010, click on


David Swanson on Ending War 16.Dec.2013 13:06


Hosts Celeste Carey and Cecil Prescod speak with author and radio host David Swanson about how to end and recover from war.

Swanson's latest book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. His previous books include When the World Outlawed War, named by Ralph Nader as one of the six books everyone should read; the best-selling classic War Is A Lie, and Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.

Swanson is the host of Talk Nation Radio. He helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011. Swanson holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org and works for RootsAction.org. Swanson is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet.



Uh, No Thanks 17.Dec.2013 11:12

Democracy Sucks

No Thanks, I think we will keep our Republic and avoid mob rule, thank you very much.

our motto: democracy now 17.Dec.2013 16:12


blues, do you understand the difference between a republic and a democracy? i'll save you the trouble of looking it up: the difference is a constitution which protects any minority within the republic's populace from simply being done away with by any drummed up majority. i doubt your worldview would keep you alive long in a true democracy. so, in lieu of a worthy and selfless caesar, the likes of which the world has never known, it's best to maintain our current republic.

of course i don't suggest this maintenance by means of the republican/democrat political party's reign, nor by any other political gaggle. fascism, our common foe, is not confined by party lines' one-dimensional left/right spectra, and peace, perhaps our common goal, is mobbed to death by these prefab dichotomies which, of course, fascism thrives upon. be careful with words like democracy and republicanism; so often a corruption of language how they get us, killing us with fountain pens. to defend the constitution is to defend the republic, our best shot at peace.

take a listen to this guy talking about war and peace as it pertains historically to this the country and the world at large:

 link to www.dancarlin.com

Republic Is Simply Rule-By-Court 18.Dec.2013 02:52


It's like when some "supreme court" rules in favor of the rich minority against the poor majority.

What else did anyone expect?

Oh, Snap 18.Dec.2013 15:49

Democracy Sucks

Prop 8 comes to mind. Judges sure overruled the voters there, didn't they. Yep, voted for that rich minority, huh. LOL, Blues you are a fucking rube.

slithering along the edge of a straight razor 19.Dec.2013 02:04


blues, i agree powers usurped by the supreme court are key to the people's ruination. in fact our downfall's originating kernel may be the oddly incomplete section of the constitution defining the court's role in our republic. score one there for the federalists, those endlessly relentless incorporated bastards; how were we to know hundreds of years later what minutiae would pan out to achilles our heels? perhaps this is the major conflict of history: the ambitious few trying to coral the sloven masses into some sort of profitable purpose, because what more than mud and bad smells do hippies ever accomplish when left to their own devices? (i'm looking at you woodstock and occupy.)

but these details are the essence of republic maintenance. were we to live by the rule of law, and not the rule of men, the courts would be as inconsequential as whichever janitors we elect to keep the cogs clean. of course we can't trust these servants, what with humanity's inherent hubris and greed, so there's the democratic balancing aspect of the republic, that of the people, comprising the fourth branch of government. but we're also proud and ravenous and lazier than the ambitious politicians kissing our asses to attain positions from which rob us and hand back an occasional pacifying cut of the take.

so what to do? the way i see it is maintain the rule of law, above and beyond the rule of persons and corporations granted personhood. regulate government, trade, and businesses but not individuals on personal issues beyond the realm of law (subjective issues like opinion, marriage equality, guns, drugs, abortion, etc). here the bill of rights works to our advantage, separate but integral to the ratified constitution (score one for the anti-federalists), laying out what explicit tools are granted to us the people and what restraints are laid upon the law's reach. but not to get off the topic of peace, did you listen to that dan carlin podcast yet?

Dear Col. Kurtz ... 19.Dec.2013 23:10

Tracy Mapes

There is no Rule of Law.

Whether You know it or not? ...There are Two Supreme Justices from the Sacramento Area. One, Justice Kennedy from the esteemed McGeorge School of Law, the Other Sonja Sota-Mayor, a Prostitute I knew in the Late 1980's along with a Hole Long list of others that passed through this same Realm and now populate Government, The Media and Entertainment Venues.

There is no Us, It's only Them. Justice has become 'Just Us" and the tired Childish cliche it has become.

You have no Fucking Republic. It's a complete usurpation of the Government, and the sitting President was selected and placed on the Seat's Wait List nearly 20 years before he got there, along with the Army Research Scars on his Scalp to Prove it.

Prostitute, Prisoners, Criminals, Thieves and Murderers backed up by an Entire underworld empire of the Re-Animated Dead. Do You Remember Doner Cards? When the Drug Addicts who signed or didn't sign a Consent Form died on the Operating Table for 10 to 30 seconds, The U.S. Military decided that was a termination of their Personal Rights, and when they woke up, they had Become the People with No Identity and No Future and No Past. They are Your Leaders, Court Personnel, Entertainers an Media.

The Police refer to these People on the Streets as NHI for No Human Involved. And that's exactly how they are treated. This is all backed-up by a System of Carpets to have their pasts swept under. With Complicity of the Sheriff's Department, Police, Law Enforcement, and the County Coroners who sign the Death Certification.

We are Living in a Straight Fucking Hell, and You just haven't been introduced to it yet.

Take Care, Tracy Mapes

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ U.S. Citizen \\\\\\\\\\\\\ WARNING!!!! ////////////
2012 Media Subversion List - Coup D'Etat , Treason USA



any method at all 20.Dec.2013 15:43


tracy, while i can't see any reason sex workers should be demonized out of civic legitimacy, and the citing of army research zombie scars may be more of an indictment on a conspiracy theorist's own balance, yes, i agree rule of law is in shambles. this is certainly something to remedy if our goal is peace. i wouldn't know how to do this without an organized and precise social contract, given our population.

born free and everywhere in chains, the danger any organizing is fascism as it necessarily aggregates strength. and like many with a healthy wariness for this predicament i lean towards personal liberty, personal peace, meaning really i'd like to be largely left alone, with what strength i contribute to remain fundamentally my own. and when contributed, i'd like to see my say, and everybody's say, clearly utilized as intended.

and yes, i write as if this fairytale rule of law existed and i should be duly chastised by reality, but not mocked for refusing defeat. i've seen the horrible things you've seen in the world. i'd like to see a more peaceful world but know this can't come about with force. so i work on building a platform for its existence and advocate a simple orderly (and unobtrusive) republic over a democracy stomping through garden beds like a lynch mob out for the blood of bad bears.

Legitimacy? ...It's Called Racketeering and Organized Corruption. 20.Dec.2013 22:30

Tracy Mapes

Over 150 from the Same God Damned Town.

Including 2 Sitting Presidents, A First Wife, A Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, A Supreme Justice.

You Wonder why the Media won't Report the Truth? These Fuckers replaced Anyone of Importance with People that are indentured for Life to the Entity that put them in Place.

What the Hell happens to all of the Real Journalism Students that spent Years in College to Follow their Dreams? Were they discouraged from the Business? ...Or did they just Introduce them to Heroin Addiction and the Art of Sucking Cocks?

If You can't fathom the Disparity of the First Amendment and the Usurpation of the Entire Republic, you might as well carry on is You Please and pretend it doesn't exist. This Past of mine came back to haunt me and led to the Destruction of a Greater Portion of my Family. They bit a piece of my ass off so deep, I have no other intention than to tear a piece off myself. I've got nothing more to lose.

So you go on and pretend life is a God Damned fucking Flower. And I'll be the One to Spark the Fires of Hell.

Take Care,

-Tracy Mapes

"Prop 8 comes to mind." 22.Dec.2013 15:30


The Supreme Court "protected" gay people.

Well every now and then they must "protect" some odd "minority" other than the Super-Rich.

They have to keep the window dressing clean.

Not that the rest of us will ever be granted any so-called "rights." We will not.

No, we will continue to work for $2.75 an hour.

The gays and lesbians will be thrown under the August conservative bus when their usefulness is worn out.

Unless they are rich, their temporary prop will be kicked out from under them.

Such is the Republican "protection" racket.