Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Israeli forces Injure, Detain Several Palestinians in Clashes across West Bank"


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A number of Palestinians were injured, some with live fire, while others were detained by Israeli forces as clashes erupted across the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the 11th day of the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike. 
The clashes came one day before what is supposed to be a Day of Rage on April 28, called for by the Fatah movement, during which Palestinians are expected to clash with Israeli forces in order to show their solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ movement.
Hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have been participating in the hunger strike led by senior Fatah official Marwan Barghouthi since April 17 to protest the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges.
Ramallah district 
Nine Palestinians were injured, including six with live fire and three with rubber-coated steel bullets, during clashes that erupted near the Beit El military checkpoint at the northern entrance of al-Bireh city in the central occupied West Bank.
Locals told Ma’an that one youth was injured with live fire in the stomach and foot, another was injured with two live bullets in the back and leg, while four others with injured with live fire in the legs.
Three youths were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, including one youth with an injury to the face.
Clashes erupted at the checkpoint, located next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces. Palestinian youths threw rocks as soldiers opened live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas on the youth. 
Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians, including an injured youth, on during clashes near the Ofer prison in western Ramallah.
Clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces following a march in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners. 
Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs while youths threw rocks at armed forces. 
Five unidentified Palestinians, one of whom locals said was an injured youth, were assaulted by Israeli forces and taken into Ofer detention center.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of the clashes and detentions. 
Bethlehem district
In the town of Tuqu, located southeast of Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians marched in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.
The march, led by masked youths, went through the streets of the town, with protesters holding signs of support prisoners.
Speeches delivered during the march by town leaders stressed on supporting prisoners and Palestinian national unity.
Youths set fire to tires when the march arrived to the Tuqu municipality and threw rocks at Israeli soldiers deployed in the area.
Clashes erupted in several sites across the town afterwards, with Israeli soldiers opening live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs onto protesters. 
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

Wilkerson: Trump Admin's Iran Talk Sounds Like Bush's Pre-Iraq War [MORE WAR COMING????]

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"New Poll Bernie STILL Most Popular Politician In The Country"--@Jimmy_Dore


"Real News Roundtable: Maddow Response & Liberal Hawkishness on Russia, Iran"

@CarlosLatuff Captures Power of Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike!

CNN on the hunger strike:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

‘On Contact With Chris Hedges’: Putting the War in Syria in Full Context

It’s been more than a week since the Trump administration abruptly switched out of “America first” mode and into intervention mode by dropping 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield. As Chris Hedges and Alternet journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton argue in this episode of “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” the American public has been lacking something very important before—and after—that strike.

Simply put, that would be context. More specifically, it comes down to crucial questions that are not being addressed publicly by members of the U.S. government or the mainstream media. 

Take these questions, for example: What’s the relationship between the regime change in Libya, encouraged and enabled by the Obama administration in 2011, and the ongoing refugee crisis? Or between that crisis and Brexit? Who are the White Helmets? How are all these questions related to the current conflict in Syria, and the role of the U.S. in that conflict? What role do Iran and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Russia, play in Washington’s stance toward Syrian President Bashar Assad?
Hedges opens the discussion by pointing to the contextual vacuum that American media outlets and government officials aren’t in a hurry to fill. He notes how U.S.-backed campaigns for regime change “have a long history.”  

Norton, who reports for Alternet’s Grayzone project with Blumenthal, remarks that there has been “no independent international corroboration” of the official Western account that the Syrian government was behind the alleged lethal gassing of Syrian civilians on April 4, which spurred Trump to order military action.

Blumenthal is blunt as he warns, “If Syria is finally smashed apart, we will see the release of the monster of all monsters.” 

Below, watch Hedges and his guests connect the dots about “The Uncivil War,” as the episode is titled: 

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

White House claims on Syria chemical attack ‘obviously false’ - Prof. Theodor Postol of MIT

"Trump has just given jihadis a thousand reasons to stage fake flag operations"

Even Raging Grannies Can’t Convince Council to Do the Right Thing in Downtown Seattle/South Lake Union Rezone

I'm proud to be one of the Grans in the video here.  

Original article here:

Guest Column by Susanna Lin
It’s a disappointing day for Seattle when the City Council can’t raise the affordable housing requirements for Downtown/South Lake Union developers from 2 to 5%, when other cities with “Mandatory Incentive Zoning” programs set aside 10-30% of their units as affordable. In a time when a record number of people are sleeping on the streets, most of our City Council voted on Monday to give corporate developers, the wealthiest of all city developers and rich enough to build in these areas, a virtual free pass on affordable housing requirements.
The recently enacted incentive zoning program in Seattle is called Mandatory Housing Affordability or MHA.  It gives developers an “incentive” (more potential profit) in the form of extra developable height in exchange for a mandatory requirement that developers set aside some of their units as affordable or pay an in-lieu fee towards affordable housing.  This mandatory requirement only is applied in areas affected by the rezone.  (Lots of technical speak, I know, but keep reading!)Screenshot 2017-04-11 at 10.58.13 PM
During the Full City Council meeting on Monday regarding the Downtown/South Lake Union rezone, Councilmember Lisa Herbold introduced an amendment to try and increase the minimum affordable housing requirement from 2 to 5% of units that developers would have to set aside as affordable.  Still far below other cities with similar programs.  Her amendment would have applied the same formula to the Downtown/SLU rezone as is being applied to the rest of the city.  But only Councilmember Kshama Sawant supported Herbold’s amendment. Once this was disposed of, the full Council then voted 9-0 to approve the upzones.
The crowd that gathered in the City Council chambers on Monday to testify was roughly 50/50 split on asking the Council to pass the rezone without amendments versus urging the Council to support Herbold’s amendment because a 2% affordable housing requirement is not enough! The Raging Grannies were one of the first testifiers and put to song their support for Herbold’s amendment. I recommend you watch it…
Also testifying was City Councilmember candidate Jon Grant.  Grant was also a member of the Mayor’s original Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee.  He reminded us that the “Grand Bargain,” which concedes lucrative upzones to developers in exchange for these meager affordable housing requirements, was not a public process and the formula was never truly scrutinized.  
Grant was the one member of the HALA advisory committee who abstained from a vote because he felt the proposal did not go far enough.  Grant is campaigning on a platform of 25% affordable housing, a far cry from the 2% minimum that was passed earlier this week.  Seriously, even as I’m writing this I still cannot believe that we had to beg City Council to raise the affordable housing “set-aside” to 5% and yet most of the Council still voted to maintain the outrageously low 2% minimum.  (I’m kinda embarrassed for the other big cities to hear about this one.)
The other half of the room supporting the plan with its feebly low housing requirement wore “Seattle For Everyone” stickers.  I understand that many of these testifiers may believe HALA’s promise to make Seattle more affordable and I do commend them for their activism.  But I’m skeptical of the powers behind Seattle For Everyone – a group funded by Vulcan and Vulcan is listed as a supporter on its website.  Vulcan, founded by Paul Allen, just happens to own over a third of South Lake Union properties and some downtown properties, all within the area benefiting from these upzones.
Allen certainly has a few extra dollars lying around that he could devote to affordable housing.  However he (and other downtown developers) would rather put them into a group like Seattle for Everyone.  But of course, he’s just doing this out of his sense of civic duty.  Why he would never support such a group just because they are pushing forward policies that also happen to increase his profits (while keeping his housing requirement and the public’s benefit as low as possible).  I’m sure that is just a coincidence.  
And just to add to the irony of the day, at the end of the meeting president Bruce Harrell and the rest of the Council heard from a group of people who were living in a homeless encampment under the West Seattle bridge which was scheduled to be swept the next day. Sadly, as is often the case, most of these human beings were given no other place to go (please for a moment imagine what this must be like).  Maybe Paul Allen will offer them a spot on his $250 million dollar yacht, it’s named Octopus.  Or maybe I’ll just go throw up now because I’m so disgusted with the wealthy in this city and the majority of our City Councilmembers who have sold out to them.
Susanna Lin is a neighborhood activist, blogger, volunteer, mom, wife, and physical therapist.  All opinions expressed here are her own.  Her writing can also be found on WallyhoodSeattle Fair Growth and Rumblecrash blogs.  In addition to her land use interests, she has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northwestern University and practices in Seattle.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Victory! Maryland's Anti-Boycott Bill is Dead!" #BDS #BDS

Original post at:

Last Monday was Sine Die, the final day of the Maryland General Assembly’s annual legislative session. We are pleased to announce that the Anti-Boycott Bill SB739/HB949 has officially diedThe legislation never even received a single vote in any committee. For the third consecutive year, legislative attacks on supporters of Palestinian human rights failed decisively.

This outcome was not due to any back-door negotiation from insiders in the legislature or because of lobbyist efforts. It was mainly due to legislators (especially Democratic legislators) being convinced that this bill was unconstitutional or they simply disagreed with it's intent. This convincing was largely done by a grassroots statewide movement -- including YOU.

Here are some highlights of our collective actions to defeat SB739/HB949:
  • Legislative Contact: State legislators from all across Maryland collectively received hundreds of emails, calls and visits from their constituents urging them to oppose the Anti-Boycott Bill. Some legislators were even faced with irate voters at their offices or town-hall meetings complaining about their support for this unconstitutional legislation.
  • Lobby Night in Annapolis: While we scheduled a lobby day on very short notice, we were still able to get over a dozen people to drive out to Annapolis to meet with their legislators. We dropped off literature packets to all members of the committees of jurisdiction. These packets explained clearly the goals of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and explained why a rapidly growing community supports it.
  • Testimony in Committees: We had nearly 20 activists testify at each bill hearing (February 28th in the House of Delegates, March 1st in the Senate). We were parents students, faith leaders of all religious backgrounds. Two constituents shared very personal tragedies caused by Israel's occupation. With each person getting three minutes to testify, we had ample time to deliver a robust “Occupation 101 teach-in” which was an opportunity that we couldn’t have otherwise had with our legislators.
  • Media: Not only did we get media coverage, but it was favorable coverage. We had this from the Baltimore Sun.Baltimore Jewish Times ran a story which featured our ally Jodie Zisow-McClean. And we had at least ten letters to the editor published. We are anticipating articles soon in the Huffington Post and about our efforts.
  • Legislators: We had a number of legislator friends who worked on preventing this legislation from getting a vote. Our greatest gratitude goes to Delegate Jimmy Tarlau who was outspoken about his opposition to the Anti-Boycott Bill. Delegate Tarlau powerfully rebutted Delegate Ben Kramer during a radio debate on the Marc Steiner Radio Show.
  • We Became a Community: Some of us Freedom2Boycott activists had been working on this issue over the past three years, while others joined this year. Some spent hours in Annapolis giving testimony while others posted Facebook, made calls or sent money to pay for our website. It all made a difference. And we have evolved into an engaged an highly effective community.

With so many challenges to social justice today, it is important to acknowledge and take time to celebrate those victories in which we have made a difference.

But we also know that a lot of resources will continue to be invested towards attacking the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights. We will continue to remain in touch if there are other threats to our right to boycott. Meanwhile, please know that your contributions are immensely appreciated!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Phil Monsour featuring Rafeef Ziadah - "Ghosts Of Deir Yassin"

"You see that we are rising
Our day is shortly coming"

"Palestine Revolutionary Poet Ahmed Dahbour Passes Away Aged 72"

A commenter on Youtube described the above song as "Palestine calling the Arab World"

from the Palestine Chronicle:
The Palestinian Ministry of Culture said in a statement, “with the passing of Dahbour, Palestine has lost not only one of the giants of literature and Palestinian creativity, but rather a landmark that has always been directed to Palestine.”

"Tulsi Gabbard: This destructive war in Syria, like Iraq & Libya, aims at the regime change..." via @Jimmy_Dore

Tom Hayes - Challenges in Working Against the Israel Lobby -- EXCELLENT! 25 Minutes of Truth

"Syrian Gas Attack is a Lie - 'Stop Your Governments!' - Russia"--Dispute This If You Can (You Can't)"

Saturday, April 08, 2017

"REVEALED: We Are Indeed Solar Geoengineering & It’s A Bad Idea" -- Brilliant @LeeCamp

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Empire Files: Anti-Black Racism Reveals Israel’s White Supremacy @abbymartin

Black Violin - Stereotypes

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Gaza: Israel's War Drums Are Getting Louder"


On Friday, a senior member of Hamas's military wing, Mazen Faqha, was assassinated in the Gaza Strip by armed gunmen. It was an assassination tactic not seen in Gaza for at least a decade.

Faqha was a leading member of Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades in the West Bank. In 2003, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel for his role in planning attacks following Israel's assassination of Salah Shehadeh, then al-Qassam's leader.

Faqha was set free in the prisoner-exchange deal that released Gilad Shalit in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011. He was delivered from prison straight to the Gaza Strip, where he resided until his death.

The timing and the tactic of Faqha's killing raise questions about the possibility of another conflagration between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian factions in Gaza agree unanimously that Israel was behind the assassination. Israel had accused Faqha of planning attacks against it from the occupied West Bankwhile he lived in the coastal enclave. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

Faqha's assassination comes at a critical time.

Hamas recently elected Yahya Sinwar as its leader within the Gaza Strip. Sinwar is a senior military figure within Hamas, and is often described as a hardliner and an ideologue. Having replaced Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's soft-spoken Gaza-based political leader, analysts began speaking of a shift in power within Hamas.

They speculated that Hamas' military wing and its constituency in Gaza was strengthening its influence on the group's decision-making at the expense of the seemingly more pragmatic political wing as well as its external constituency.

Concluding that Sinwar's election has moved Hamas towards a more intransigent military stance is premature. For one thing, the movement-wide elections are still ongoing. Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk are both competing for the top job to replace Khaled Meshaal. Both these leaders are likely to maintain Meshaal's track record of diplomatic engagement.

Hamas still operates a Shura (consultative) system, which ensures there is room to counterbalance intransigent voices. Moreover, Hamas has been actively promoting speculation that it is on the cusp of issuing an updated charter. This document, allegedly, will commit Hamas to an official recognition of the 1967 borders, while withholding recognition of Israel.

This is not a new development.

Nonetheless, this gesture - and the mere act of revising its charter - can be interpreted as a significant sign that Hamas is shifting direction. Most importantly, however, is that Sinwar himself cannot be dismissed as an intransigent ideologue. For many who know him and have engaged with him directly, he is a calculating strategist and a pragmatic thinker.

He is more likely to be the figure to lead Hamas' military wing towards a calculated strategy for reaching the movement's political goals than to pursue fruitless conflagrations with Israel. Improved relations with Egypt and the prospect of reviving ties with Iran, following Sinwar's election, indicate that under his leadership, Hamas in Gaza does not currently desire any major operations that could undermine this trajectory.

This does not mean that a conflagration might not happen. Faqha's seniority would justify retaliation, and Hamas may respond to maintain its legitimacy among its constituents. Concurrently, the opaque manner in which Faqha was assassinated presents Hamas with some flexibility, in terms of how, when and whether to retaliate.

Given Faqha's origins, an attack might well be forthcoming from the West Bank, rather than the Gaza Strip. Similarly, Hamas might choose to focus instead internally and to wage a war on collaborators with Israel who presumably made this attack possible, and who represent a security breach within Hamas.

Hamas' reluctance to move towards an all-out escalation is not shared by Israel. Whether or not Israel was responsible for Faqha's assassination, the government has been actively threatening the ceasefire that has been holding in the Gaza Strip since 2014.

Measures to ease the blockade on Gaza, agreed upon in that ceasefire discussion, are yet to be fully implemented. While some aspects of the blockade have been eased, the number of Gazans allowed to cross the border into or out of Gaza has, in reality, dropped.

The recently released State Comptroller report investigating Israel's actions in Gaza in 2014 has offered a scathing assessment of the country's conduct in the war. It has outlined an absence of any strategy on Israel's part regarding Gaza, an absence of efforts to prevent a war, and the state's lack of preparedness to address the certainty of Gaza's imminent collapse into a humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel's approach towards Gaza remains a dangerous and reactionary stance rooted in the collective punishment of two million Palestinians. Despite warnings from Israel's military establishment about the need to stabilise Gaza or engage with Hamas, Israeli politicians remain committed to their "mowing the lawn" approach.

Rather than lifting the Israeli blockade, they [Israeli politicians] engage in intermittent warfare to maintain Gaza as an isolated and defeated territory. Reminiscent of the months before the 2014 assault, Israeli war drums have been getting louder. Last month, Israel arrested Rafat Nasif, a senior Hamas member, in the West Bank, ostensibly to pressure the movement to enter prisoner exchange negotiations.

Projectiles from Gaza fired in response to such provocations are described as hostile acts that necessitate Israeli "self-defence". Hamas has assumed no responsibility for projectiles from Gaza and has taken significant steps to limit rocket fire. Nonetheless, over the past few months, Israel has been responding with increased ferocity as well as with more provocations. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's defence minister, has asserted that another war with Gaza is now a certainty. 

While an escalation at this point would not benefit Hamas, the same cannot be said for Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing legal and political challenges at home, most obviously from other reinvigorated right-wing politicians such as Naftali Bennett.

A show of force in the Gaza Strip would assuage some of Netanyahu's critics and deflect from their insistence on pursuing Israeli annexationist policies in the West Bank. These calls for annexation have surged now that a friendly American administration is in office.

An assault on Gaza would allow Israel's politicians to test the limits of the Trump administration's support for Israeli military operations in Gaza as well as in its northern borders. It will also elucidate the impact of Sinwar's recent election on Hamas and effectively force Hamas's military wing to be less strategic and more reactionary.

Israeli military actions would undermine any reorientation within Hamas towards a revised charter or other efforts that might indicate pragmatism, a self-fulfilling policy that enables Israel to continue justifying its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"Mowing the lawn" is not just a euphemism, and it is clear that Israel is entertaining another round of fighting on the besieged strip. Such a showdown would be catastrophic for the Gaza Strip. Nothing short of lifting the blockade and moving beyond a military prism for dealing with Gaza would end this cycle of violence, which appears to be rearing its ugly head once more.

Tareq Baconi is the US-based fellow for al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. His book, Hamas: The Politics of Resistance, Entrenchment in Gaza, is forthcoming with Stanford University Press. 
Source: Al Jazeera

Monday, March 27, 2017

Israeli Journalist David Sheen Reports on "Israel + Palestine in the Gilded Age"

Friday, March 24, 2017

"U. S. Military B-O-M-B-S Hospital In S-Y-R-I-A"--@Jimmy_Dore: No One Gives a Shit in U.S. Apparently

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Joy Chuck Berry Got from Performing is Contagious

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Falk launches his new book "Palestine's Horizon Toward a Just Peace"

Friday, March 17, 2017

"The United States of War" -- Great Summary of U.S. Progression into Militarist Capitalist Super Power

One fact included:  Of the first 18 presidents of the United States, 12 owned slaves.  8 of them owned slaves while they were president.  Gee, I wonder why this isn't publicized.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"US Deploys More Troops to Syria to Fight ISIS" -- Vijay Prashad on @therealnews


"CIA Chief Blames Millennials For Vault 7 Leaks!!"--@Jimmy_Dore is right. CLAPPER IS DUMB!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Richard Pryor Nails the Connection Between Racism and Capitalism

"Empire Files: Israeli Army Vet’s Exposé - “I Was the Terrorist”" -- MUST SEE

Friday, March 10, 2017

Standing Rock Banner Takes A (Final?) Turn in Seattle -- March 10, 2017

Doug and I made this for the Raging Grannies to use on freeway overpasses back in the fall of 2016.  After that, it was used many many times by tribes and the group in Seattle.  Seen around the world in news reports.  So glad we made it!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

New Study: Clinton's Attacks On Trump Lost Her Election -- @Jimmy_Dore

NEW PROOF: The Drug War Is All A Sham! -- Pablo Escobar Worked for CIA

Commemorating International Working Women's Day at Othello Station -- March 8, 2017

On Int'l Working Women's Day, 50 people gathered to remember the life of Mai Lin, a casualty of  systemic violence against all women and especially immigrant women of color .  Mai Lin was killed on her way home from work in the Othello neighborhood in 2013.  Also remembered was a trans hair stylist named Dani killed in the same area.

A take back the streets march left flowers at the spot where Mai Lin was found.  We chanted her name alternating with an alert to the neighborhood that these are our streets and will not be surrendered to the violence inherent in the inhumane capitalist system.

Among the groups who organized the event were Got Green and PARISOL.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters: The Revolutionary Life of Lucy Parsons

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Real News Doesn't Side with Russian or American Oligarchs -- Great @PaulJay_TRNN Interview

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Trump Expanding Military Budget $54 Billion-What Else Could That Buy? -- Jimmy Dore


Monday, February 20, 2017

Nobel Lecture by Harold Pinter [America, This Is Your Life]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fascism vs Neoliberalism w/ Chris Hedges -- Weeks Old But VERY PERTINENT

Intel Community Is Sabotaging Trump! - Warns Notable DEMOCRAT

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Dear Outraged Liberals: Trump’s Just Taking Over Where Obama Left Off" -- Mint Press News

Monday, February 13, 2017

We're Literally Killing Ourselves by Not Adopting HR 676, Medicare for All (Enhanced)   [MORE INFO AT THIS LINK]

July, 2013: Economist Gerald Friedman, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Under the single-payer system created by HR 676 [the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.], the U.S. could save an estimated $592 billion annually by slashing the administrative waste associated with the private insurance industry ($476 billion) and reducing pharmaceutical prices to European levels ($116 billion). In 2014, the savings would be enough to cover all 44 million uninsured and upgrade benefits for everyone else.
“Specifically, the savings from a single-payer plan would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to the health system such as expanded coverage, improved benefits, enhanced reimbursement of providers serving indigent patients, and the elimination of co-payments and deductibles in 2014.
“Health care financing in the U.S. is regressive, weighing heaviest on the poor, the working class, and the sick. With the progressive financing plan outlined for HR 676, 95% of all U.S. households would save money.
“HR 676 would also establish a system for future cost control using proven-effective methods such as negotiated fees, global budgets, and capital planning. Over time, reduced health cost inflation over the next decade (“bending the cost curve”) would save $1.8 trillion, making comprehensive health benefits sustainable for future generations.”

Sunday, February 12, 2017

American Income Inequality Perfectly Explained (Mark Blyth Interview)--@Jimmydore

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Seattle Greets Batsheva Dance Company with Boycott Message--End Israel's Occupation of Palestine

Batsheva receives funding from the Israeli gov't to be its Ambassador around the world. 
Voices for Palestine, NWBDS group and other allies spoke with many attendees requesting them to boycott Israel until it ends its brutal occupation of Palestine.

John Pilger: The Hijacking of Feminism

"...What matters to those who wish to control our lives is not the gender we are born with, but the class we serve."

via +WrongKindofGreen 

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters block freeway in Bellingham

Yejide Orunmila: Surviving the White Women's March on Washington

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jeremy Jackson: How We Wrecked the Ocean

Saturday, February 04, 2017

"Unspeakable: the Black Book of Imperial Terrorism" -- Paul Street


American “mainstream” journalists who want to keep their paychecks flowing and their status afloat know they must report current events in a way that respects the taboo status of the nation’s underlying inequality and oppression structures and its savage and relentless imperial criminality. Those topics are understood as off limits, as beyond the narrow parameters of acceptable and polite discussion. They are subjects that serious reporters and commentators have the deeply indoctrinated common sense to avoid.
“We’ve Done Enough as a Country”
An excellent example is a recent CNN report on how U.S. President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban is playing out in the small Vermont city of Rutland.  A CNN reporter spoke to two local players on different sides of the question of whether Syrian refugees should be settled in Rutland.  The first source was the town’s mayor, Chris Louras, who has been leading an effort to make Rutland a refugee resettlement hub that would welcome 25 Syrian families in 2017.  When asked about why he’s been pushing for this, the mayor cited humanitarian concerns (“it’s the right thing to do”) but also (and above all) mentioned economic considerations. Rutland’s unemployment rate of 3 percent is “dangerously low,” making it hard for companies to find workers and thereby inhibiting investment and “growth,” the mayor told CNN.
CNN also featured an interview with Rutland doctor Timothy Cook, a Trump fan and an opponent of the mayor’s refugee resettlement plan. “I think we’ve done enough as a country,” Cook told CNN.  “I’m tapped out and this nation is tapped out. We need to fix our own problems first and then we can reconfigure and see if we can rescue the rest of the world.” Cook naturally supports Trump’s travel ban.
Capitalism 101
It was fine reporting as far as it went but notice what was, to use the title of Chris Hedges’ latest book, Unspeakable. One unmentionable topic was capitalism’s reliance on what Karl Marx called “the reserve army of labor” – a mass of job-seeking unemployed people sufficiently large to keep the price of labor power to guarantee profitable exploitation of the working class. Is it unthinkable that Rutland might consider turning their town into a labor magnet that might attract workers by, say, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour?  Sadly, it probably is because local employers – including the global megacorporation and leading corporate welfare recipient and “defense” contractor General Electric (GE), which employs more than a thousand workers across two Rutland plants – want to keep wages as low as possible in the interest of sustaining an “acceptable” rate of profit.  Grow the “reserve army” and grow the local tax base.
We can be sure Louras doesn’t want to give GE reason to shift its Rutland operations elsewhere in pursuit of cheaper labor. That’s Capitalist Labor Market economics 101 and Corporate Power 102.
Guns v. Butter: Spiritual Death
A second forbidden topic is the role of U.S. militarism in, to use Dr. Cook’s term, “tapping out” America. It is beyond the parameters of acceptable debate and commentary to note that the nation is impoverished thanks in no small part to the massive Pentagon budget (54% of federal discretionary spending), which pays for the global empire that has wreaked havoc, fueled jihadism, and generated massive refugee streams in places like Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Iran (more on this below), all on Trump’s travel ban. It’s a taboo topic in dominant media: the role of the military budget in hollowing out American society from the inside.
Hedges gets this right in the following exchange in Unspeakable, a compilation of interviews with left journalist David Talbot:
Talbot: “[Bernie Sanders] promised to impose much higher taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street speculators.”
Hedges: “Yes, but if we don’t get control of our military spending we are finished…Our infrastructure, our public educational system, our social services – everything is crumbling for a reason, we don’t have money for it.  It is being consumed by the war machine.  And Sanders didn’t touch the military-industrial complex. That would have been political suicide…There will be no socialism until we dismantle imperialism and dramatically sash military spending power.  Martin Luther King understood that.”
And look what happened to Dr. King, who was assassinated (or perhaps executed) exactly one year to the day after giving a celebrated speech in which he made a deep connection between his opposition to poverty and racism at home and his opposition to the U.S. war on Southeast Asia.   In explaining his decision to follow his conscience and speak out against U.S. militarism, King said, “I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such… A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift,” King warned, “is approaching spiritual death” (emphasis added).
Don’t take it just from left radicals past (King) and present (Hedges). In his recent magisterial study of the overlapping “deep state” concentrations of corporate, financial, and governmental power that control American society beneath and beyond the nation’s quadrennial electoral carnivals, the former longtime Republican Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren notes that the U.S. struggles with widespread poverty, rotting infrastructure, inadequate health care, and deficient pubic services (schools, transportation, and more) not because the government lacks money but because too much of its money goes to serve entrenched interests. Top among those interests is the nation’s enormous military-industrial complex, funded by a Pentagon budget that accounts for more than half of U.S. federal discretionary spending and nearly half the world’s military outlay.  As Lofgren notes in his indispensable book The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government (2016):
“Even as commentators decry a broken government that cannot marshal the money, the will, or the competence to repair our roads and bridges, heal our war veterans, or even roll out a health care website, there is always enough money and will, and maybe just a bare minimum of competence to overthrow foreign governments, fight the longest war in U.S. history, and conduct dragnet surveillance over the entire surface of the planet (p.4)…It is as if Hadrian’s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger, even as the city of Rome disintegrated from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills began to crumble.” (p.216)
A Proven History of Terrorism
Also unspeakable is the criminality of what the America Empire – accurately described by Dr. King in 1967 as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” – does abroad.  It is unthinkable that CNN might challenge Dr. Cook’s notion of the U.S. as a nation that tries to “rescue the rest of the world.”
The correction would include confronting Washington’s role in criminally devastating some of the very nations from which Trump has tried to ban travelers and refugees.  Iraq, for one leading example, has been subject to two mass-murderous U.S. invasions along with an intervening decade plus of deadly economic sanctions that have combined to kill millions, maim millions, and displace millions more.
Yemen has been ravaged by joint U.S, and Saudi Arabian air assaults, U.S. Special Forces, and U.S. drone attacks.
Sudan has long been tortured by the U.S., which has played a central in political dissolution and civil war there.
Libya was collapsed with U.S. and NATO bombs, miring that country in civil war and jihad.
Syria has been torn apart by an epically murderous Civil War that Washington has fueled along with the jihadism that the U.S. and its oil-rich Arab state allies and Pakistan have spread there and across the Muslim world.
“During his campaign,” CNN reported when the president announced his travel ban, “Trump vowed to ban Muslim immigrants from countries with a ‘proven history’ of terrorism against the United States or its allies.”
Orwell might have enjoyed that statement in light of the United States’ proven history of mass-murderous Superpower terrorism against the countries Trump has imposed his travel ban against.
Meritorious Service  
Journalists and others looking for such a history might want to go back and review the July 3, 1988 incident in which U.S. Navy warship Vincennes shot down a civilian Iranian airliner (Iranian Air Fight 655) with a guided cruise missile, killing all 300 people on board, 71 of whom were children. This monstrous assault was perpetrated in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.  Six years later, the Navy awarded special commendation medals for “meritorious service” to the Vincennes’ commander, Capt. Will Rogers III and to his weapons systems officer. Lt. Cmdr. Scott E. Lustig.
Iranians are likely recalling that horrendous crime now that Trump is saber-rattling against Teheran. The new fascist president’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has put Iran “officially on notice” that Washington is considering action against it. He says that “we are considering a whole range of options.”  Meanwhile, U.S., British, French, and Australian warships are engaged in provocative “naval exercises” off Iran’s shores.
Highway of Death
Journalists and others looking for proven histories of terrorism might also want to reflect on the hideous carnage wreaked by the U.S. military on Iraq’s notorious “Highway of Death,” where U.S. forces massacred tens of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait on February 26 and 27, 1991. The Lebanese-American journalist Joyce Chediac testified that:
“U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. ‘It was like shooting fish in a barrel,’ said one U.S. pilot. On …miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun…U.S. forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions…. The victims were not offering resistance…it was simply a one-sided massacre of tens of thousands of people who had no ability to fight back or defend.”
According to Wikipedia’s richly sourced account:
“The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s A-6 Intruder aircraft blocked Highway 80, bombarding a massive vehicle column of mostly Iraqi Regular Army forces with Mk-20 Rockeye II cluster bombs, effectively boxing in the Iraqi forces in an enormous traffic jam of sitting targets for subsequent airstrikes…journalist Robert Fisk …‘lost count of the Iraqi corpses crammed into the smoldering wreckage or slumped face down in the sand’ at the main site and [saw] hundreds of corpses strewn up the road all the way to the Iraqi border….Some independent estimates go as high as 10,000 or more casualties (even ‘tens of thousands’).”
“Tempering Qualities of Humility and Restraint”
Truth be told, Uncle Sam was only getting warmed up building its Iraqi and Muslim Body Counts in early 1991. Washington had yet to enforce the economic sanctions that killed at least a million Iraqis or to undertake the 2003 invasion that killed more than a million more and devastated Iraq beyond repair. It had yet to ravage the Iraqi city of Fallujah (more on that below), as it did in 2004, using (among other things) radioactive ordnance that produced an epidemic of child leukemia there. It had yet to launch Barack Obama’s massive drone war across the Muslim world, recently described by Noam Chomsky as “the most extensive global terrorism campaign the world has yet seen.” It had yet to kill thousands upon thousands of innocent villagers and farmers in Afghanistan. It had not yet targeted a Doctors Without Borders hospital for repeated lethal bombing or undertaken the systematic torture and rape of Iraqi and other Muslims, including children, in places like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Bagram Air Force base.
“Our security,” Barack Obama said during his first Inaugural Address, “emanates from the…tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” No responsible “mainstream” U.S. commentators dared to question the Orwellian language of the new president’s speech. Uncle Sam can do no evil in the eyes of properly indoctrinated and/or fearful U.S. media and educational “elites” (coordinators and operatives).
The same deafening media silence was heard when George H.W. Bush said the following less than a year after his airborne armed forces turned vast stretches of a purposely blocked Middle Eastern highway into an epic monument of one-sided imperial criminality: “A world once divided into two armed camps now recognizes one sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America. And they regard this with no dread. For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair and restrained. They trust us to be on the side of decency.”
“The Streets of Fallujah”
As a soon-to-be fully declared presidential candidate, then-U.S. Senator Obama had this to say to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in the fall of 2006:  “The American people have been extraordinarily resolved [in support of the occupation of Iraq, P.S]…They have seen their sons and daughters killed or wounded in the streets of Fallujah” (emphasis added).
It was a spine-chilling selection of locales. Fallujah was the site for colossal U.S. war atrocity by the U.S. military in April and November of 2004. The crimes included the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the targeting even of ambulances and hospitals, and the practical leveling of an entire city. The town was designated for destruction as an example of the awesome state terror promised to those who dared to resist U.S. power. Not surprisingly, Fallujah became a powerful and instant symbol of American imperialism in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It was a deeply provocative and insulting place for Obama to have chosen to highlight American sacrifice and “resolve” in the imperialist occupation of Iraq.
A Shocking Scene
Obama would write his own name in the black book of U.S. imperial terrorism, later telling White House aides that “it turns out I’m pretty good at killing people” while commanding a drone program that became “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times” (Noam Chomsky).  Among the many grisly scenes Obama will carry to his well-heated grave, one occurred early in his presidency in the first week of May 2009, a U.S. air-strike killed more than ten dozen civilians in Bola Boluk, a village in western Afghanistan’s Farah Province. Ninety-three of the dead villagers torn apart by U.S. explosives were children. Just 22 were males 18 years or older. As the New York Times reported:
 “In a phone call played on a loudspeaker on Wednesday to…the Afghan Parliament, the governor of Farah Province, Rohul Amin, said that as many as 130 civilians had been killed, according to a legislator, Mohammad Naim Farahi…. The governor said that the villagers have brought two tractor trailers full of pieces of human bodies to his office to prove the casualties that had occurred…. Everyone was crying…watching that shocking scene.’ Mr. Farahi said he had talked to someone he knew personally who had counted 113 bodies being buried, including…many women and children” (NYT, May 6, 2009).
The initial response of the Obama Pentagon to this horrific incident—one among many mass U.S. aerial civilian killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan beginning in the fall of 2001—was to blame the deaths on “Taliban grenades.” Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” about the loss of innocent life, but the Administration refused to issue an apology or to acknowledge U.S. responsibility. By contrast, Obama had just offered a full apology and fired a White House official for scaring New Yorkers with an ill-advised Air Force One photo-shoot flyover of Manhattan that reminded people there of 9/11.
“Peace prize? He’s a killer.” So said a young Pashtun man to an Al Jazeera English reporter on December 10, 2009—the day Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize. “The man,” the reporter wrote, “spoke from the village of Armal, where a large crowd gathered around the bodies of twelve people, one family from a single home, all killed by U.S. Special Forces during a late-night raid.”
Murdering a Family One at a Time
Five months later, Obama would order the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, the charismatic Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.  The cleric was killed in a September 2011 drone strike “despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime” (Glenn Greenwald), but Obama’s lust for killing al–Awlakis still burned. Two weeks later, a shiny new CIA drone killed the cleric’s 16-year-old and American-born son, Abdulrahman, “along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis.”
It’s nice to hear that Obama has voiced support for the mass protests of Trump’s Muslim travel ban but it’s a hard to believe that he could care less about Muslim lives in light of his bloody foreign policy in the Middle East, northern Africa, and Southwest Asia.
Herr Trump ordered a drone assault and commando raid in Yemen last Sunday. The operation was set up and handed to him by the Obama administration.  It killed 30 people.  Among the murdered: Anwar’s 8-year old daughter, Abdulrahman’s little sister. She bled to death two hours after a U.S. Special Forces warrior shot her in the neck. Call it the orange-haired beast’s first imperial blood, scored with a big assist from the previous Child Killer-in-Chief, Barack Obama.
“What the Hell is Going On
Candidate Trump said that he wanted a Muslim ban “until we can figure out what the Hell is going on” to cause fear and hatred of the United States in the Muslim world. As if there is some mystery about that.
Selective Revulsion
In its breathless coverage of mass protests of a leading American “alt-right” fascist scheduled to speak on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley last Wednesday night, CNN anchors and commentators were horrified to see windows broken and a bonfire started by Black Bloc anarchists. CNN and the rest of the corporate media have yet to convey the slightest hint of revulsion over the Obama-Trump murder of 30 people in Yemen, including many women and children and an 8-year-old girl. Also evading media disgust is the recent escalation of police state violence against the heroic water- and climate-protectors in Standing Rock.
“We’ve Done Enough”
So, yes, Dr. Timothy Cook and CNN, “we’ve done enough as a country” – well, as a murderous empire – not “for” but rather to the Muslim world. With “rescuers” like Uncle Sam, who needed the Third Reich?
“Fix our own problems first”? It might surprise many mass-mediated-mind-marinated Americans to know that transferring taxpayer dollars from the U.S. War Machine (the world’s greatest single institutional planet warmer and carbon-burner, by the way) to the meeting of basic social and civic needs in “the homeland” (lovely imperial term, that) would simultaneously help U.S. and global citizens fix a great problem they share: American militarism and imperialism.
Empire, it is worth recalling, is a great upward distributer of wealth and power, something to keep in mind in a nation (the U.S., that is) where the top thousandth (the 0.1 percent) has as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.  As Noam Chomsky noted in 1969, “There are, to be sure, costs of empire that benefit no one: 50,000 American corpses or the deterioration in the strength of the United States economy relative to its industrial rivals. The costs of empire to the imperial society as a whole may be considerable. These costs, however, are social costs, whereas, say, the profits from overseas investment guaranteed by military success are again highly concentrated in certain special segments of the society. The costs of empire are in general distributed over the society as a whole, while its profits revert to a few within.”
In the meantime, here’s something CNN will never tell Donald Trump, his fan Dr. Cook, and the many Democrats and Republicans who’ve been trained to stick their heads in Orwellian sand on Superpower’s crimes: the simplest and most reliable way to stem the Muslim refugee flow is to stop waging criminal wars against Muslim countries. The vast taxpayer largesse squandered on these unwarranted and racist wars should instead be given to the nations the U.S. and NATO have destroyed – and to addressing social, civic, and environmental needs at home.