The limits of “scum”: epithets are not analyses

I’m not one for using language like “scum” to describe even the worst political lowlifes (like Dershowitz, the Clintons, & Netanpsycho), war criminals (the list is too long to itemize), or child & women traffickers (again, like Dershowitz & maybe Clinton). I object to it not because they deserve a more elevated description for what they are, because they don’t, but because it dehumanizes & substitutes epithet for analysis. It’s no longer just an epithet but an alibi for unspeakable criminality. A dirt-ball just can’t help themselves. But those creeps can.

Many prefer the more direct route to excoriation, which works when you’re preaching to the choir, but not with others who are critical-minded & need analyses. For the latter, it’s better to lay out the brief against them & let their crimes indict & hang them in the annals of politics & history.

My objection is not from a dispassionate regard of their crimes (I can hardly bear to think about them) but a desire to nail them for their crimes. We can’t control if they go to hell but we can shame them for the suffering they’ve imposed on so many.

Israel in Hebron: myth-making and colonialism

Israeli soldiers in Hebron (Mussa Qawasma:Reuters) Mar 7 2015

These Israeli soldiers are in the West Bank city of Hebron taking photos “during clashes with Palestinian stone-throwers.” If you didn’t know the score & just relied on media, you’d think Palestinians frequently erupted into bouts of senseless stone-throwing & the Israeli military had to occupy these uncivilized barbarians & beat them back with tear gas & high-powered rifles.

Could it be the Palestinians they’re taking surveillance photos of (they certainly aren’t taking selfies) are again protesting the occupation of Hebron; the closure of Shuhada Street, an important market center closed to all Palestinian pedestrian & vehicular access since 2000; the attempts to claim the city as a historic holy site in Judaism based on Zionist fairy tales?

There are 250,000 Palestinian residents with historic & familial roots in Hebron & somewhere between 500 & 850 Zionist settlers from all over Kingdom Come speaking different languages. And still Israel’s godless leaders claim Jewish history in Hebron goes back to the Old Testament written somewhere around the 2nd century BCE. You have to have rocks in your head to make such a claim. And even bigger rocks to believe them.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin visited Hebron last month for a ceremony at the “Hebron Heritage Museum” trying to establish that Biblical claim as something other than nonsense. If the claim has even a shred of validity, Americans of Irish ancestry can lay claim to the Rhineland from whence our ancestors came.

The museum is also to commemorate Jews massacred in Hebron in 1929. Zionists completely misrepresent that horrific event to make Palestinians seem like savages when it was a result of Zionist colonization that intentionally fomented conflict between Jews & Palestinians who long lived in the area in harmony. Descendants of the Hebron Jews who lost family in that violence have publicly repudiated Zionist claims & have described how Jews were sheltered & rescued by Muslim neighbors.

There was a more recent massacre in 1994 when the American settler Baruch Goldstein, a fevered Zionist, murdered 29 Palestinian men & boys praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque, a site which Zionist myth-makers claim is the burial site of Biblical patriarchs. Yeah sure.

Palestinians greeted Rivlin, not with rocks, but with placards saying “Rivlin is not welcome,” “No occupation,” & “Open Shuhada Street.”

And now we know, by Obama’s own admission in a recent press release, that his regime is bankrolling this myth-making apparatus & settler project. He stated forthrightly (something we’re not accustomed to from him) that the US donated $140 million to transport Zionist immigrants to Israel. The money is used for transportation, transitional housing when they arrive, & Hebrew language programs. So all that hand-wringing over Israeli settlements for the credulous media is nothing but show.

Please note the graffiti on the stone: “Welcome to apartheid.”

(Photo by Mussa Qawasma/Reuters)

Protests against Sweet Micky in Haiti

Haiti protest (Hector Retamal:AFP:Getty Images) Mar 6 2015

Some peoples deserve a special place in history because of their refusal to be broken even when it looks like they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. Their political spirit is something to behold. Those peoples would certainly include Palestinians & Haitians–though many others come to mind. Protests in Haiti have been going on for three months to bring down the corrupt, venal regime of Michel Martelly who has been ruling by decree since January after parliament was dissolved.

Sweet Micky, as he used to be known, was a pop singer who often performed in diapers & ran a nightclub patronized by army officers & members of Haiti’s ruling elite. He wasn’t just another party animal though; in his youth he was a member of the Tonton Macoutes, a death squad under dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier who was responsible for the death & torture of thousands of Haitians & who made his money in trafficking drugs & body parts from dead Haitians–thereby turning his monstrous crimes into a profitable enterprise.

Micky was closely identified with the 1991 military coup that ousted democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide & he socialized with members of FRAPH, a paramilitary death squad orchestrated by the CIA against the Aristide regime & who engaged in gang rapes & murder.

The Obama regime spent nearly $15 million to get Micky elected in 2010 & he received another $6 million from an anonymous donor in Florida–& still it required massive election fraud to get him elected. But where there’s a will, there’s palms to grease or threats to make. Hillary Clinton herself flew to Haiti to ensure Martelly came out top dog in all the wrangling over fraud. Martelly refuses to say who funded his campaign since he may need US special forces to evacuate him some day.

To show their commitment to popular democracy, the UN occupying army in Haiti & US State Department ignore the massive protests & continue to stand by Micky. He’s probably worth a few laughs, does everything they tell him, & doesn’t squawk about that cholera epidemic.

Haitians are also continuing protests against fuel increases. More than six million Haitians (about 60% of the population) live on less than two dollars a day, according to the World Bank, but petrol is $4.25 a gallon. You’d have to work half the week to buy one lousy gallon. Micky’s regime lets the US plunder & then tries to solve the problems created on the backs of working people.

Last month when bus drivers went on a 2-day strike, media was filled with concern about the resentment felt by Haitians. Many Haitians are too poor to own their own autos so workers & school children were stranded without public transportation. It’s just so curious that in concern for passengers getting to work & school media never mentioned that fuel prices affect the cost of housing; lower fuel prices are to everyone’s advantage so those stranded passengers might not be as put out as media claims. That’s why along with bouncing Micky out on his ear Haitians are demonstrating to get the fuel prices cut in half.

After the 2010 earthquake, price gouging on necessary items, including gasoline, water, food, was through the roof–in the midst of devastation. There wasn’t a fuel shortage in Port-au-Prince but prices tripled from pre-earthquake levels. When media cries crocodile tears over the inconvenience suffered by Haitians, they aren’t thinking about the same Haitians as the rest of us.

(Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture worth a thousand condemnations of zoos and circuses

Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Center (Chris O'Meara:AP)

It isn’t necessary to utter a word of condemnation against the treatment of elephants in the circus. One only need post this photo of a languishing elephant in his pen at the sarcastically named Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida. The circus says it will phase out its elephant acts by 2018. What’s wrong with today?

Comparing the loving treatment of orphaned & rescued elephants in animal rescue reserves in places like Kenya & even Kentucky to this monstrosity of so-called conservation highlights the immense crimes committed against these magnificent animals in the name of entertainment.

Close down the zoos! Shut down the circuses until they release the animals to shelter!

(Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP)

The widows of Vrindavan defy misogynist traditions and celebrate Holi

Holi festival (Ahmad Masood:Reuters) Mar 6 2015

This woman lives in a widow’s shelter at Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, India. Like everywhere, India is a country riddled with prejudices against women & reportedly widows are isolated & shunned & expected to renounce earthly joys. They do not normally celebrate Holi, a spring festival also known as the festival of colors or of love, which is rooted in Hinduism but now celebrated all around the world.

There are many photos every year of the wonderful Holi celebrations but this one taken at the widow’s shelter stands out for her beauty & the defiance of the widows by bringing holi happiness into their own lives.

(Photo by Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

Male “women’s rights activists,” my ass!

Afghanistan Mar 5 2015

Media is circulating this photo of a group of 20 male “Afghan women’s rights activists” who donned burqas & marched through Kabul claiming solidarity with Afghan women as part of International Women’s Day next Sunday.

Burqas play a big role in Islamophobic propaganda worldwide & have come to symbolize the oppression of women under Islam & under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The Taliban forced women to wear burqas in public during their rule until in 2001 UN-NATO marines & drone bombers moved in to “liberate” women with that beauty salon in downtown Kabul. Now when they’re killed by bombers at least they have their nails done.

The “Afghan women’s rights activists,” who are from a group called Afghan Peace Volunteers (likely a fly-by-night operation) blew their cover by carrying signs reading “Don’t tell women what to wear; you should cover your eyes”. One of the participants stopped giggling long enough to say, “One of the best ways to understand how women feel is to walk around & wear a burqa.” Several said the burqa felt “like a prison.”

It’s been 14 years now since US-NATO marines “liberated” Afghan women so it’s about time they stopped blaming the Taliban for everything. It’s also about time they stopped speaking for Afghan women. If & when Afghan women decide not to veil is entirely up to them. The problem is not the burqa that covers their heads but the bombs raining down on them. War must surely be the first concern of women rather than their wardrobes so why aren’t the “Afghan women’s rights activists” marching against that!? And why couldn’t they get any oppressed burqa wearers yearning to be free to join their charade?

A 2013 UN report noted that most domestic violence against women goes underreported, especially in rural areas. Actually the massive violence against women from the US-NATO occupation goes entirely unreported.

A 16-year-old veiled schoolgirl named Medina Ali who was watching the little parade succinctly expressed the affront: “We don’t need anyone to defend our rights. This is just a foreign project to create a bad image for the burqa & Afghanistan. They’re trying to make those of us who cover our faces feel bad.” Amen, sister! You have the right to wear whatever the hell you want. We don’t care what you wear.
US-NATO out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq!

(Photo by Mohammed Ismail/Reuters)

The US Justice Department bails out of justice–again.

We wish it came as a shock that the US Justice Department today cleared Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown. It was as predictable as the sun rising in the east & setting in the west. Though the courts should not be ignored, justice for Michael Brown will be won in the streets.

The Justice Department issued a second report accusing the Ferguson police department of racism & routine violation of the Bill of Rights for Black residents by stopping residents for “driving while Black”, arrests without probable cause, & excessive force. They cited seven racist emails from police & court officials–one saying Obama would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years” & another describing Obama as a chimpanzee. That’s the kind of political environment Darren Wilson operated in & they still couldn’t find any cause for alarm!? He followed police procedure all the way? They didn’t object to that travesty of a grand jury? Yeah right!

Let’s be frank: the US Justice Department shames a country that declares itself a democracy, where an unarmed kid is considered a threat against an armed cop. We need an independent investigation of the Justice Department & we need to throw the bums out.

The Michael Brown report:…/department-of-justic…/1436/
The Ferguson Police Department report:…/department-of-justic…/1435/

Creating a world suitable for children is our historic mission

Umesh Solanski photo

This beautiful child with her classmates is Prashasani Pusham, a school girl from an Adivasi village in India. In the irrational world of racism, caste, & class she is considered inferior. Her sweet little face can be an inspiration to us to make this world suitable for children to live & love in.

The photographer is Umesh Solanki, a free lance journalist who also makes documentaries about Dalit, Adivasi, & Other Backward Castes in India–not as an anthropologist but as an advocate.

The healthcare and burial rituals of neoliberalism

Ebola Mar 4 2015

One of the most inspiring things about neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, is the dignity it affords the sick & dying. Often people denied medical care who get sick are just dumped in unmarked, mass graves like they were landfill & not human beings with feelings, dreams, kids, people who love them & will miss them. To neoliberalism they’re just chattel & offal of no consequence whatsoever.

Our deepest regrets we are not yet able to restrain plunder but that day will come & the sound of justice will be thunderous.
This man is a victim of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa & this photo won an international award for 2014.

(Photo by Pete Muller/National Geographic)