Monday, December 28, 2015

Losing My Religion for Equality -- Jimmy Carter


Very Heartening!

Original:  http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html?stb=fb

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.
At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.
 
It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.
I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

OBSERVER
Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

Friday, December 18, 2015

DRONE STRIKE - United States TERRORISM - Creech Air Force Base -- SHUT IT DOWN!



https://youtu.be/enRbp51pVSI

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Vigil for Bethlehem this Sunday, Dec. 20th @ 1pm at Benaroya Hall (200 University St., Seattle)

Please join us this Sunday to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people. 
 
Voices for Palestine will be distributing "O Little Town of Bethlehem " cards to guests attending a performance of Handel's Messiah at Benaroya Hall.
 
We are planning to meet in front of Benaroya Hall at 1:00 PM. Please join us! 
What: Vigil for Bethlehem
Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street • Seattle, WA 98101 
When: Sunday Dec. 20 at 1:00 PM
See you there!
 
Amin Odeh 
“STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT~ EVEN IF YOU ARE STANDING ALONE

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Paris Deal: Epic Fail On A Planetary Scale"--We Must Continue to Mobilize



https://www.popularresistance.org/paris-deal-epic-fail-on-a-planetary-scale/

EXCERPT:

Dallas Goldtooth agrees:
‘The decision-makers of the world can’t make the changes that we want. It’s on us as people to make that change. And we’re already seeing the power of the people. Look at North America – the Keystone XL pipeline was taken down because of people organizing. It wasn’t the governments who made that choice, it was the ranchers and farmers, the Indigenous peoples on the frontline in the heartland of America that made that choice, and the politicians adjusted accordingly.’
People shouldn’t be surprised that the deal is bad, Goldtooth says. ‘Industry has heavily influenced these negotiations. We have nation states who are dependent on a fossil fuel economy influencing these negotiations. Grassroots people who are advocating for the alternatives are not allowed in those negotiations. So we shouldn’t be surprised. Instead we are using this moment to reinvigorate our base, to continue forward demanding climate justice, and to show the world, show the countries, show the corporations what people can do when we unite for climate justice.’

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Late John Trudell "Bombs Over Baghdad" and Remembrances of His Life



https://youtu.be/id1NajQg7mU

"Dancers of death ...  enjoying blood and oil cocktails"

Please go to Climate Crocks website to learn more about what we have lost in the amazing John Trudell:  http://climatecrocks.com/2015/12/13/music-break-john-trudell-bombs-over-baghdad/

Second video there has John's thoughts regarding "Modern Humans Are Walking Dead" -- not hard to believe the truth in that statement these days.

Here is a very revealing trailer for a movie ("Trudell") made about him: 



https://youtu.be/ejYeZmq61dg

from the PBS Independent Lens documentary blog:

One of his last messages, as per his family, was “I want people to remember me as they remember me,” and on his Facebook page a member of Trudell’s family posted this simple goodbye:
“My ride showed up.”
“Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life.”
John Trudell
February 15, 1946 – December 8, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Climate Matters: in Conversation with Paul Beckwith: "We're in Trouble."



https://youtu.be/uY9RSRlHJZ4

What Every American Needs to Know About Radical Islam



https://youtu.be/UZC4Hruo3lY

Monday, December 07, 2015

"Obama’s Speech, Translated into Candor" -- Norman Solomon


ORIGINAL AT:
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/12/07/obamas-speech-translated-candor

Here is a condensed version of President Obama's speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night, unofficially translated into plain English: 

I kind of realize we can’t kill our way out of this conflict with ISIL, but in the short term hopefully we can kill our way out of the danger of a Republican victory in the presidential race next year.

As a practical matter, the current hysteria needs guidance, not a sense of proportion along the lines of what the New York Times just mentioned in passing: “The death toll from jihadist terrorism on American soil since the Sept. 11 attacks—45 people—is about the same as the 48 killed in terrorist attacks motivated by white supremacist and other right-wing extremist ideologies.... And both tolls are tiny compared with the tally of conventional murders, more than 200,000 over the same period.”

While I’m urging some gun control, that certainly doesn’t apply to the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs and their underlings have passed all the background checks they need by virtue of getting to put on a uniform of the United States Armed Forces.

As much as we must denounce the use of any guns that point at us, we must continue to laud the brave men and women who point guns for us -- and who fire missiles at terrorists and possible terrorists and sometimes unfortunately at wedding parties or misidentified vehicles or teenagers posthumously classified as “militants” after signature strikes or children who get in the way.

We can’t see ourselves in the folks we kill. But I know that we see ourselves with friends and co­workers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris.

Also I know we don’t see ourselves in the blameless individuals who have been beheaded by our ally Saudi Arabia, which has executed 150 people this year mostly by cutting off their heads with swords.

Nor should we bother to see ourselves in the people the Saudi government is slaughtering with airstrikes in Yemen on a daily basis. We sell the Saudis many billions of dollars worth of weapons that make the killings in San Bernardino look smaller than puny. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. 

I gave a lofty major speech a couple of years ago about how a democratic society can’t have perpetual war. I like to talk about such sugary ideals; a spoonful helps the doublethink medicine go down.

Let me now say a word about what we should not do. We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. The United States of America has colossal air power—and we’re going to use it. No muss, little fuss: except for people under the bombs, now being utilized at such a fast pace that the warhead supply chain is stretched thin.

Yes, we’re escalating a bit on the ground too, with hundreds of special operations forces going into Syria despite my numerous public statements—adding up to more than a dozen since August 2013—that American troops would not be sent to Syria. Likewise we’ve got several thousand soldiers in Iraq, five years after I solemnly announced that “the American combat mission in Iraq has ended.” 

But here’s the main thing: In the Middle East, the USA will be number one in dropping bombs and firing missiles. Lots of them! It’s true that we keep making enemies faster than we can possibly kill them, but that’s the nature of the beast.

In Afghanistan too. At the end of last year I ceremoniously proclaimed that “the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion” and the United States “will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan.” But within 10 months I changed course and declared that 5,500 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan into 2017.

Midway through this fall—even before the terrorist attacks in Paris—the United States had launched an average of about 50 airstrikes per week in Syria during the previous year, and the New York Times reported that the U.S. military was preparing “to intensify airstrikes against the Islamic State” on Syrian territory.
And according to official Pentagon figures, the U.S.-led aerial bombing in Iraq has topped 4,500 airstrikes in the last year—approaching an average rate of 100 per week.

Our military will hunt down terrorist plotters where they are plotting against us. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out some of the latest ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. I’ve got to tell you that these actions will defeat ISIL, but I’ve got to not tell you that the airstrikes will kill a lot of civilians while launching new cycles of what gave rise to ISIL in the first place—inflaming rage and grief while serving as a powerful recruitment tool for people to take up arms against us.

In the name of defeating terrorist forces, our air war has the effect of recruiting for them. Meanwhile, in Syria, our obsession with regime change has propelled us into closely aligning with extremist jihadi fighters. They sure appreciate the large quantities of our weapons that end up in their arsenals.

You don’t expect this policy to make a lot of sense, do you?

Friday, December 04, 2015

"The Grave" -- Don McLean (Vietnam War)



https://youtu.be/cLoO4NihyzU

WHERE DID THIS SONG COME FROM?  NEVER HEARD IT AT THAT TIME.

HAUNTING.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"A Wall is Just a Wall" Chicago Organizes Against Police Violence and Criminalization -- Mariame Kaba



https://youtu.be/4Ir289JZgRQ

Very inspiring.  Saw quick pic of Rasmea Odeh, political prisoner supported by Chicago community.

From video:  Young Black people will liberate us!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

"UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth" -- Indigenous Peoples from the Americas in Paris



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Dallas Goldtooth +33 75 1413 823 USA: 708 515 6158 dallas@ienearth.org
Kandi Mossett +33 75 1414 195 mhawea@gmail.com

UN Paris Accord could end up being a Crime against Humanity and Mother Earth

November 30, 2015 (Paris) – Indigenous Peoples from the Americas attending the United Nations World Climate Summit in Paris warn that the Paris climate accord will harm their rights, lands and environment and do nothing to address climate change.

“We are here in Paris to tell the world that not only will the anticipated Paris Accord not address climate change, it will make it worst because it will promote false solutions and not keep fossil fuels from being extracted and burned. The Paris COP21 is not about reaching a legally binding agreement on cutting greenhouse gases. In fact, the Paris Accord may turn out to be a crime against humanity and Mother Earth,” according to Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network based in Minnesota on Turtle Island also known as the United States. Goldtooth recently won the Gandhi Peace Award.

According to Crystal Lameman of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, Canada “After 21 years of these climate conferences, our First Nation wants to be hopeful this agreement truly stops a history of CO2lonialism and business-as-usual with expansion of fossil fuel exploitation on and near indigenous territories. We are here to protect, defend and renew our Mother Earth, not to rubber stamp an agreement that allows polluters to continue to burn the planet. False solutions such as carbon trading, carbon offsets, agrofuels and nuclear energy will probably be the basis of the Paris Accord and the so-called decarbonization of the global economy. False solutions to climate change instead of solving the climate crisis, are resulting in land grabs, human rights violations and will allow global warming to spiral out of control.” Lameman is featured in the film, “This Changes Everything” directed by Avi Lewis and based on the book by Naomi Klein.

Indigenous leaders throughout the world are particularly concerned about REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a United Nations carbon offset mechanism that uses forests, agriculture and many other ecosystems as sponges for northern industrialized countries pollution instead of reducing emissions at source.

“Our world is melting. Climate change and global warming is a reality in my home,” says Allison Akootchook Warden from Kaktovik, a village in the Alaska arctic. “The failure of the United States, Canada and world leaders to take real action to address the climate crisis violates our rights. The draft Paris Accord is full of carbon market mechanisms that are already causing harm to the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Circle.”

Kandi Mossett, Tribal Citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nations in North Dakota and campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network, whose home is surrounded by coal-fired power plants and inundated with fracking and flaring of natural gas states, “The current US Clean Power Plan allows the US to continue with carbon trading schemes such as REDD+ designed to allow more extraction and combustion of fossil fuels for a profit.  The whole concept is a false solution to the climate crisis because it allows the US to buy up “carbon credits” often on Indigenous lands in other countries while simultaneously destroying Indigenous homelands in the US essentially making us sacrifice zones for the good of the economy; Indigenous peoples are not expendable and will not sit idly by and allow this desecration to continue without a fight.”

According to the Global Alliance against REDD, “Instead of cutting CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, the UN, the US, the EU, China, Norway and climate criminals like BP, Total, Shell, Chevron, Air France and BHP Billiton are pushing a false solution to climate change called REDD.”

According to Nnimmo Bassey, co-coordinator of the No REDD in Africa Network, “REDD may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is new form of colonialism. We demand that states and corporations stop privatizing nature!”

Original from Friends of Peltier Blog:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"November 29: International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" -- by Zeina Azzam

In my opinion, the UN's initial failure to protect Palestine set the pattern for its actions ever since -- Linda

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zeina-azzam/november-29-international_b_8666560.html
On November 29, 1947, after Great Britain--the mandatory power in Palestine--had asked the United Nations to meet in a special session to discuss the "problem of Palestine," the General Assembly passed Resolution 181 (II) to end the British mandate by August 1, 1948. The centerpiece of this historic resolution, however, was to partition Palestine and call for the establishment, after a transition period, of "Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem."
This United Nations decision unleashed a catastrophe whose reverberations Palestinians continue to experience until today. Three-quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs--who were the majority of the population of historic Palestine--fled for their lives after experiencing or learning of massacres by Zionist paramilitary organizations, or were expelled from their homes during the ensuing Arab-Israeli war of 1948. By the 1949 armistice, the original partition lines had shifted violently so that Israel's footprint became much larger than envisioned by theproposed partition plan--it was accorded 55 percent by the plan, but seized an additional 23 percent of Palestinian territory. At present, the drastically reduced Palestinian land continues to be occupied by the Israeli military and Jerusalem is occupied and divided with Israel controlling and limiting access to religious sites. Palestinians originally displaced during the Nakba (the Arabic word for Catastrophe--what the Palestinians call the 1948 war when they lost their homeland) are still prevented from exercising the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel. And contrary to the resolution (and to the Fourth Geneva Convention) Israel has expropriated additional vast tracts of Palestinian territory for its own use and especially for the building and transfer of its own Israeli citizens to illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Thirty years after the UN partition plan, the General Assembly passed a new resolution proclaiming an annual observation, on November 29th, to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The particular date, the UN notes, "was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people... Of the two States to be created under this resolution, only one, Israel, has so far come into being."
UN Resolutions 32/40 (1977), 34/65 (1979), and subsequent General Assembly mandates enshrine the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Observances at UN offices in New York, Geneva, and Vienna include special bulletins, cultural events, and meetings that feature high level speakers, such as the UN Secretary-General and the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council, as well as messages from the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The United Nations describes the day as providing 
"an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remained unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced."
The fact is that this historic dislocation has resulted in a massive diaspora for the Palestinian people living in the Palestinian territories, Israel, Arab countries, and beyond. The total population of Palestinians numbered about 11.8 million as of the end of 2013, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. This figure comprises 4.5 million in Palestine, 1.4 million in Israel, 5.2 million in Arab countries, and approximately 665,000 in other countries throughout the world.
In November of 2012, exactly 65 years after the UN's partition plan, the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to grant Palestine non-member observer state status at the United Nations. The report of the Secretary-General, one of the documents used to consider this vote, ended with the following words: 
"As Secretary-General, I will continue to ensure that the United Nations works towards the establishment of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace with a secure Israel in the framework of a comprehensive regional settlement consistent with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1860 (2009), and in accordance with the Quartet road map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the principle of land for peace."
Despite numerous declarations and resolutions by the United Nationsconcerning Israel and Palestine, the status of the Palestinian people remains unresolved, precarious, and unjust. They have not attained their rights to "self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced." In fact, about half of the world's Palestinian population continues to live as refugees and in exile. Those who are citizens of Israel are treated as second class citizens, while those in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem live under various levels of repressive military occupation and witness, daily, the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. 
Although UN member states have tried since the late forties to propose and gain support for resolutions that push for Palestinian human and national rights, their efforts have largely been derailed, particularly in the form of vetoes by powerful members such as the United States. At the same time, it is also important to remember that many UN agencies, especially UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees), have played a crucial role in providing assistance to the refugees since 1950; UNRWA continues to serve as a lifeline to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People honors all those who have struggled for Palestinian independence and all the Palestinians who have lived and died in wars, under occupation, as refugees, and in exile.
Zeina Azzam is executive director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. The views expressed are her own.

Friday, November 27, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter Repurposes Seattle's Black Friday


Really glad to see #FreeLeonardPeltier represented here.
And Free All Political Prisoners.  #FreeAlbertWoodfox!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Eric Burdon - "Mother Earth"



https://youtu.be/u5BdG0NmP74


When it all is up,
You’ve got to go back to Mother Earth

Day of Mourning Statement from Leonard Peltier, 40 Years A Political Prisoner of the USA. Shame on America!


Original at:  https://gem.godaddy.com/p/c6c7f6?fe=1&pact=34928433861

November 26, 2015 - Day of Mourning
Brothers and Sisters,
It makes my heart happy to know so many of you are keeping this Day of Mourning event going.
I hear there is going to be a National Geographic movie this month called "Saints and Strangers" about the REAL Thanksgiving. I want you to know that I believe… I KNOW this has only come about from your continued protest and determination to expose what really happened. But, damn, huh has it ever taken so long! :( Let’s hope this film DOES tell the truth. I, for one, thank you very much, as this is what it was and is all about—getting the real history told about the genocide that was committed against us as a race of people and against our Nations. If we don't do this, then it can and will happen again until we have all been exterminated.
I'm so proud of you young People out there too, all over the country, standing up for our Nations and taking over because some of us can no longer get out there to stand by your sides—or to stand there with you and shake your hands.
February 6, 2016, will make it 40 straight years in here. Under the laws I was indicted with, a life term was seven years. I have served over six life sentences! As you know, I was sentenced to only two. To Native Peoples this is also not surprising. In fact, this is something that happens on a regular basis throughout Indian Country. And, as always, this is not acceptable to us. So we protest, and we protest some more.
Over the last four decades, I have been supported by people of all backgrounds, races, and religions. As we approach the one-year mark on President Obama’s remaining time in office, it is crucial for my survival that everyone who has ever supported my release to please contact my official Committee that works on my behalf, and coordinate and organize with them.
In 2008, when asked about my case, then Senator Obama supposedly said, “Show me the support." If all of you dedicate some of your time in 2016 to support my bid for clemency, I believe this President has the courage to do the right thing and let me go home.
Remember, too, that we have brothers and sisters who are themselves wrongfully incarcerated, and I ask that we all coordinate to put an end to these injustices.
I wish I could lie to you and tell you I'm doing O.K., but that would not be fair to you. Today, I have another call out to the prison clinic. I guess some of the results must have come back from my last blood work. I know I'm not feeling very well. It seems as if there are so many things wrong with me… I don't know what to do or say to you, or even where to start. Hell, I cannot even sit for any length of time. When I get up my plexis area hurts so bad, I cannot walk but very slowly and while hanging on to someone for support. But after a few steps I'm O.K. So I move right along with the crowd. :) But those first few steps are awfully painful. I asked for a cushion, but was told they don't have any here—and to make one myself from a blanket. Well, news flash. I did this and every time I did they took it away. Yep, for some reason this is illegal. Then I have to deal with the other medical problems. So, yeah, this is my Sundance. But you know what? You’re all worth it and I would not hesitate to suffer for any of you again and again.
Well, I better end this before you get bored with me. :) So, again, thank you—all of you—for being decent loving human beings.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse…
Doksha,
Leonard Peltier

Leonard counts on supporters like you!
Mail donations to ILPDC, PO Box 24, Hillsboro, OR 97123

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Unbreakable Spirit of Gilmore Homes -- Thanks to @therealnews



https://youtu.be/_voz87idko0

I'M WITH EDDIE CONWAY, WHO SAYS IN THIS VIDEO HE DOESN'T CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING.  IT'S A DAY TO THINK ABOUT THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF AMERICA AND WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM.

Sly & the FAMILY Stone -- 1968 - "Everyday People - Dance To The Music" -- From My Family to Yours



https://youtu.be/6q1vAa0br0w

JUST REALIZED THAT CYNTHIA ROBINSON, THE TRUMPET PLAYER OF THE BAND, PASSED AWAY MONDAY.  WHAT A LEGACY SHE LEAVES WITH HER BANDMATES!  FAREWELL, CYNTHIA.  WE WILL DANCE TO THE MUSIC!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Merchants of Menace: How US Arms Sales are Fueling Middle East Wars" (from Counterpunch) by William Hartung


Link to original:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/20/merchants-of-menace-how-us-arms-sales-are-fueling-middle-east-wars/
armsales
The recent surge in U.S. arms transfers to the Middle East is part of an unprecedented boom in major U.S. arms sales that has been presided over by the Obama administration.
The majority of the Obama administration’s major arms sales have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia topping the list with over $49 billion in new agreements. This is particularly troubling given the complex array of conflicts raging throughout the region, and given the Saudi regime’s use of U.S.-supplied weaponry in its military intervention in Yemen.
The Obama administration has made arms sales a central tool of its foreign policy, in part as a way of exerting military influence without having to put “boots on the ground” in large numbers, as the Bush administration did in Iraq—with disastrous consequences.
The Obama administration’s push for more Mideast arms sales has been a bonanza for U.S. weapons contractors, who have made increased exports a primary goal as Pentagon spending levels off.  Not only do foreign sales boost company profits, but they also help keep open production lines that would otherwise have to close due to declining orders from the Pentagon.
For example, earlier this year it was reported that Boeing had concluded a deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait, which will extend the life of the program for another year or more beyond its current projected end date of early 2017. Similarly, the General Dynamics M-1 tank has been surviving on a combination of Congressional add-ons and a deal for tanks and tank upgrades for Saudi Arabia.
But it’s not just about money. U.S.-supplied arms are fueling conflict in the region. The most troubling recent sales is a deal in the works that would supply $1 billion or more in bombs and missiles for the Saudi Air Force, again for use in the Yemen war.
The use of U.S.-supplied helicopters, combat aircraft, bombs, and missiles in Yemen has contributed to the humanitarian catastrophe there. A recent attack on a wedding party that killed more than 130 people is just the latest example of the indiscriminate bombing that has resulted in the majority of the more than 2,300 civilian deaths caused by the war.  [I didn't realize the number of people Saudi  killed in Yemen was almost identical to the number IS killed in Paris.  Linda]  
The bombing has been coupled with a naval blockade that has led to a situation in which four out of five people in Yemen are now in need of humanitarian aid.  An estimated 12.9 million people in Yemen are considered food insecure, and more than 1.2 million children are suffering from moderate to acute malnutrition and half a million are severely malnourished, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. There is a risk of mass starvation if the conflict is allowed to proceed on its current course.
Evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International indicates that this includes the use of U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen.
Cluster bombs are indiscriminate weapons that are the subject of an international treaty banning their use—a treaty that unfortunately has not been signed up to by either the United States or Saudi Arabia.
Things have gotten so out of hand that it is quite possible that U.S.-supplied arms have made their way into the hands of all parties to the conflict in Yemen.  As indicated above, U.S. arms are being used by Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti ground and air forces that are intervening in Yemen, and some weapons may haaudive been lost to either the Houthis or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Yemeni military has split down the middle, with forces loyal to former Yemeni president Saleh making common cause with the Houthis while others have taken the side of the Saudis and former President Hadi.  Both factions have been on the receiving end of U.S. arms transfers and military training in recent years.  Statistics gathered by the Security Assistance Monitor indicate that Yemeni forces received or have been offered over $900 million in U.S. military and police aid since 2009.
Concern about the U.S. role in facilitating the Saudi bombing campaign is growing. Oxfam America has called on the United States to “withdraw its support to the [Saudi-led] coalition including the transfer of arms to belligerent parties, publicly demand the free flow of commercial goods into all ports, and rally support at the United Nations Security Council for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire and inclusive political process to bring an end to the war.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has raised questions as to what U.S. responsibility may be for Saudi actions, and whether the bombings violate the U.S law that bears his name. The Leahy Law “prohibits the United States from providing assistance to any foreign military or police unit if there is credible information that such unit has committed grave human rights violations with impunity.”
And a letter to President Obama organized by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Ted Lieu (D-CA) urged the president to make “greater efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Yemen and achieve a diplomatic solution to the conflict.”
The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen needs to stop.  Stopping U.S. military support for the Saudi effort is a good place to start.
William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and a senior adviser to the Security Assistance Monitor and a columnist for the Americas Program.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Clemency for Leonard Peltier -- These People Are Asking Pres. Obama. Will You?



https://youtu.be/LuYaf-iNHCk

Paris Attacks and Climate Change Push Us to Fix a World of Broken Systems -- Nafeez Ahmed [EXCELLENT!]



ORIGINAL ARTICLE:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/paris-attacks-and-climate-change-push-us-to-fix-a-world-of-broken-systems-20151119

EXCERPT:

State sponsors

Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Today’s Zamanreported that the Turkish government “has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil.”
A senior Western official familiar with a large cache of intelligence obtained this summer told the Guardian that “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now ‘undeniable.’”
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2014, Gen. Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham whether he knew of “any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL.” Gen. Dempsey replied: “I know major Arab allies who fund them.”
In other words, the most senior U.S. military official at the time had confirmed that ISIS was being funded by the very same “major Arab allies” that had just joined the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition—these include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait, which for the last four years have funneled billions of dollars to largely extremist rebels in Syria, with Western support.
Which begs the question as to why Western leaders determined to “destroy” ISIS are avoiding the most significant factor of all: the material infrastructure of ISIS’ emergence in the context of ongoing Gulf and Turkish state support for Islamist militancy in the region.
There are many explanations, but one perhaps stands out: oil.
Pipelines
“Most of the foreign belligerents in the war in Syria are gas-exporting countries with interests in one of the two competing pipeline projects that seek to cross Syrian territory to deliver either Qatari or Iranian gas to Europe,” wrote professor Mitchell Orenstein of Harvard University in Foreign Affairs, the journal of Washington, D.C.’s, Council on Foreign Relations.
In 2009, Qatar had proposed a pipeline to send its gas northwest via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria to Turkey. According to Orenstein, Assad “refused to sign the plan” under pressure from “Russia, which did not want to see its position in European gas markets undermined."
Instead, Russia put its weight behind “an alternative Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline that would pump Iranian gas from the same field out via Syrian ports.”
Then in 2011, the Arab Spring protests erupted. By July, Assad signed a preliminary agreement for a $10 billion Russia-backed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline agreement.
Later that year, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel ramped up covert assistance to rebel factions in Syria to elicit the collapse of Assad’s regime from within.
“The United States … supports the Qatari pipeline as a way to balance Iran and diversify Europe’s gas supplies away from Russia,” explained Orenstein in Foreign Affairs.

Collapse

Assad’s repression of his own people was exploited by foreign powers to fan the flames of this proxy war for black gold. But the popular discontent was amplified by deeper systemic factors.
In Syria, climate-induced droughts over the preceding decade had ravaged agriculture, forcing more than a million poor Sunni farmers to seek employment in the Alawite-dominated coastal cities.
Globally, climate-induced extreme weather had triggered a string of crop failures in major food basket regions, driving global food prices up. The price spikes made staple foods like bread too expensive for the poor majority in many Arab countries, Syria among them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Max Blumenthal: Palestine's Rebellion, Israel's Fascism" -- Abby Martin & The Empire Files



https://youtu.be/z_-_KvTQJMw

THIS VIDEO ENDS WITH THE WORDS:

"PALESTINE WILL BE FREE"

"Outrage at Paris Attacks Masks our Racism" -- Jonathan Cook


Original article at http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-11-14/outrage-at-paris-attacks-masks-our-racism/

[The Australian Article Jonathan refers to is linked at the bottom of this article.]

An article in the Australian publication New Matilda gets to the real point about last night’s attacks in Paris – one that no one wants to talk about. What westerners feel right now is a powerful and very selective outrage that identifies with the suffering of people “like us”. We mourn the deaths in Paris while not even noticing those killed in Lebanon a day earlier and almost certainly by the same fanatics that launched the attacks in France.
Lots of westerners like to dismiss such observations as “whataboutery”. It is natural, they say, to care more about people we know and who are similar to us. That knee-jerk reaction may be comforting, but it is precisely the problem.

After all, what drives our selective outrage if not selective compassion? But our selective compassion is what got us into this mess in the first place. As Europeans we have always viewed ourselves as fully human, but seen those in the Middle East and much of the rest of the world as slightly less than human, and not quite as deserving of our sympathy. It is such feelings that allowed Europe to colonise, abuse and exploit brown people.

The historic racism that we Europeans are all too ready now to acknowledge, and that we understand fed western colonialism, is not a thing of the past. It still thrives deep in our souls. Where once we felt the white man’s burden, we now feel his outrage. Both depend on the same arrogance, and the same ascription of lesser human qualities to those we see as different from us.

We are still trying to civilise brown people. We still think we have the right to change them, bend them to our will, improve them by force. We still want to lecture them, condemn them, threaten them, overturn their elections, arm their oppressive leaders, plunder their resources.

And after we have destroyed their societies, we expect to be able to shut our borders to them as they make desperate journeys to find some peace, some safety away from the war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere we either created directly or supported with our money and arms.

Our racism has not changed. It is alive and creating new justifications for our selective compassion every day.

What has changed is that technological advances have made weapons of death and destruction ever easier and cheaper to acquire. Those we once oppressed with impunity and far from our homes, out of sight, can now find us and give us a taste of our own medicine.

If we want to stop the attacks, and avoid turning our own societies into the oppressive dictatorships we have supported across much of the rest of the globe, then we need to stop interfering, pillaging, manipulating and abusing. And we have to start by refusing to allow ourselves to identify more with the victims in Paris than those in Beirut. If we were really as civilised as we believe, we would understand that both are equally deserving of our compassion.


Some Observations about the Carnage in Paris -- As'ad AbuKhalil at Angry Arab News Service


FROM ANGRY ARAB NEWS SERVICE  -  As'ad AbuKhalil


1) ISIS has gone on the offensive: in ten days, they downed a Russian civilian airliner, massacred Hazara Shi`ites in Afghanistan, bombed the southern suburbs of Beirut and now Paris.
2) Western governments: US and France in particular along with their Saudi,Qatari, and Turkish allies are directly responsible for the rise and expansion of ISIS through their policies in Syria which cuddled and nurtured ISIS and its sister terrorist organizations.
3) there is no way on earth to stem the menace of ISIS and Al-Qa`idah like organizations without going to the source, in Saudi Arabia which is the official headquarters of the Ibn Taymiyyah's terrorist interpretation of Islam.
4) Ibn Taymiyyah is the one thinker/theologian who has inspired and guided the deeds and thoughts of terrorists striking in the name of Islam.
5) Western governments AND media have been rather cynically silent about victims of ISIS terrorism if the civilian victims happen to be categorized as "enemies".  Western governments AND media (look at the dispatches from Times and Post over the last 4 years about Syria) have consistently ignored and even cheered sectarian massacres of Syrian and Lebanese civilians if seems as being perpetrated by foes of the Syrian regime. 
6) Just as ISIS and Al-Qa`idah brought terrorism to the heart of the West, Western governments have also been exporting death and destruction to the Middle East and North Africa: from Mali to Libya to Egypt to Sudan to Somalia to Syria to Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan.  Terrorism has been inflicted on people in those countries by the terrorism of ISIS and Al-Qa`idah and by the bombs and rockets and drones of Western governments.
7) All Arabs today have noticed something that can't be ignored: how ISIS and Al-Qa`idah terrorists travel the world to inflict their terrorism by yet spare Israel and its interests.  The relationship between the Israeli Zionist occupation entity and Nusrah Front--the official branch of Al-Qa`idah in Syria--is not a secret anymore.
8) ISIS can't be defeated from the air as long as Western governments and their Gulf and Turkish allies assist it on the ground, directly or indirectly.
9) Just as Western powers created and nurtured the precursor of Al-Qa`idah in Afghanistan in order to defeat the communist regime there, those same powers have created and nurtured a cocktail of the worst Middle East terrorists ever in Syria in the hope that they would bring down the Syrian regime.
10) the story of ISIS terrorism began with not only the invasion of Iraq and its repercussions in 2003 but also with the creation of a vast save haven for Islamist terrorism in Libya.  Libya was the biggest gift to Jihadi terrorism since the fall of the Taliban.
11) US and France have been creating the culture of terrorism in the region (along with GCC regimes) but creating a reckless and terrorist haven in Syria in the name of fighting for "democracy and secularism"--in the stupid language of John Kerry--by making dubious distinctions between various terrorists in Syria through making allies with Nusrah Front there and its affiliates. 
12) The myth of moderate Syrian rebels in Syria has to be discarded.  The remnants of Free Syrian Army units are basically ISIS in the waiting. 
13) Western correspondents in Beirut who are in charge of covering the Syrian savage war are all guilty (with the exception of Patrick Cockburn) for misinforming their leaders and misguiding them.  They have been ignoring AND JUSTIFYING the scores of car bombs and war crimes by Syrian rebels in Syria and Lebanon because those crimes fit into their struggle against the Syrian regime.
14) Western human right organizations are also guilty for creating a culture of bogus human rights rhetoric which belittled and even justified the war crimes of Syrian rebels (see the latest human rights report by HRW on placing Alawite women in cages).
15) French policy under the socialist government has even elevated the relationship with the Saudi and Qatari regimes--the two governments which more than anyone have sponsored and armed and financed the cocktail of the most dangerous terrorists in Syria.
16) It is high time that Western governments give up on their policies and wars in Syria not to preserve the Syrian regime (as Iran and Russia would like) but to exclude from the future of Syria both sides of war criminals there. 
17) I don't like Bashshar Al-Asad one bit and I wanted the overthrow of that regime since 1976 when its army invaded Lebanon and smashed my dreams of a progressive leftist revolution in Lebanon, but who can now disagree with the warnings given by him three years ago that those terrorists that they are helping will one day strike in the heart of Europe? Syrian regime supporters are today all over reproducing those remarks and reairing them.
18) The Saudi and Qatari regime media (Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya in particular but others as well) have created a culture of terrorism in which crimes against civilians who happen to be Shi`ites or Alawites or Christians or Sunnis who reside in "regime dominated areas of Syria" are justified on a daily basis.  Just yesterday, after the bombs of the southern suburbs both Saudi and Qatari regime media provided ample justifications and rationalization for the crimes and lionized the terrorists who perpetrated them.  This culture of terrorism is responsible climate in which crimes of Paris take place. 
19) Western governments can't have it both ways: they can't continue to support gulf regimes and arming them while claiming to want to fight terrroism.
20) US and Western governments and media are responsible for the selective denunciations and condemnations culture: they are silent about the daily crimes against the Palestinian civilian population by key West ally, the terrorist state of Israel.
21) Arabs/Muslims and Westerners can't get to reach a common understanding against all manners of terrorism as long as Western governments and Arab regimes continue to be selective in condemnation of terrorism.
22) Western support for dictatorships in the Arab world are responsible in many ways for the creation of ISIS and those terrorist groups.
23) terrorist groups in the Middle East have been used and misused by local regimes and Western powers and Israel for many decades.
24) Yes, the Iraq invasion of 2003 has proven to be exactly what Jacque Chirac has warned it would be: a dangerous pandora's box.
25) Obama has really not deviated from the dangerous policies of Bush and his expansion of wars in the Middle East fueled the rise of ISIS.
26) The Islam of Arab regimes is a dangerous and conservative Islam.  It can't be changed by the military commanders of Western powers but it can be changed by the people of the region if they are allowed to choose and think freely: but neither the West nor the Arab regimes want the Arabs to think freely. Al-Azhar University has become through bribes a tool for the Saudi Wahhabi regime.
27) It is not sectarian to declare Saudi Wahhabi doctrine as the official doctrine of Jihadi terrorism.  Wahhabiyyah is not a sect: it is a school of fanatical terrorist thought and practice.
28)  How does Western powers fight ISIS? They foolishly rely on a royal buffoon in Jordan and on the UAE regime to engage in promoting a kinder Islam in social media. The fools in DC who think that those potentates have any standing among the young Muslims need to have their heads examined.
29) Western powers and media are all hypocrites: they still cheer or cover up the war crimes of ISIS and Nusrah in Syria if the affected victims happen to reside in Syrian regime controlled areas.
30) there should be a categorical end to external support of ALL Syrian rebels and to the Syrian regime by all sides.
31) there is more but I have to run.
32) Oh, also: why does the media coverage make these massacres West-versus-Islam when many of the victims in Paris would most likely include many Muslims and when ISIS in the Middle East kill more Muslims than non-Muslims, despite the fact that members of US Congress only see Jews and Christians as victims but not Muslims.