Refugees to Greece increase nearly 8,000 people in two days

UNHCR chart

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has been keeping a daily count of refugees in the Mediterranean. FRONTEX, the EU policing agency against immigrants & refugees, also keeps a count but admits it’s completely unreliable. On Friday, the UN agency said 50,668 refugees had entered Greece so far this year; today they report 58,547–almost 8,000 people more in two days. The drowning toll is now 309 people, including children.

Now here’s what’s curious: the number of refugees from the north African coast to Italy hasn’t changed in that same time. What’s more curious is that the number has remained steady at only 3,850 people. So little information, so many questions. Like how has FRONTEX stopped the movement of refugees from Africa? Are refugees still drowning on that route? What about the refugee centers on Lampedusa & Malta? What about those trying to cross to Spain from Morocco? Has the Spanish government’s new security law clamping down on democratic rights & on refugees put an end to that movement of refugees?

Shouldn’t the UN refugee agency be more forthcoming, more informative? Maybe they don’t give a damn about those refugees, but we do.

(Photo is graphic from UNHCR chart)

No fools like old fools for lesser evil politics: Chomsky & Cornel West Endorse Bernie Sanders

Yes, it’s regrettably true that Cornel West & Noam Chomsky have both endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. There’s a lot you could say about that but let it suffice to say, shame on them for lacking any sense of political principles when it comes to elections. They both influence a lot of people & are modeling the politics of compromise & corruption.

What about Palestinians? What about immigrants & refugees? What about those US wars? What about standing with those on the receiving end of US treachery even during elections?

Let them not again cry foul, we’ve been fooled, when the new Democrat turns out to be just like the old.

Hillary Clinton, Haim Saban & the corruption of US electoral politics

Sabans & H. Clinton 2003

Despite the corruption of Hillary Clinton & her political & financial entanglements with Wall Street, she is playing the populist card like a virtuoso. That’s what you get when a campaign is orchestrated by PR firms. It’s a debasement of politics that citizens are treated like consumers rather than citizens in a democratic republic.

Clinton knows how this country is run better than any other candidate. That’s not a recommendation but a condemnation. She understands what the issue of Israel means to the geopolitical schemes of those who really run this country. Israel is a touchstone for US foreign policy because it is the linchpin to US control over the Middle East. What is at stake is not just oil but democracy in the entire region. Bankrolling & arming Israel against Palestinians & the tyrannous Arab regimes against their own citizens is not an episodic feature of US policy but the heart of its colonial policies involving the CIA, coups, occupations, wars. That’s why Clinton is the chosen candidate of Zionist ideologues in the US.

One of those ideologues is billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, a guy with dual Israeli-US citizenship. Saban owns Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the US; Fusion, a TV channel, as a joint venture with Disney; The Root, a well-established Black news website; & he has just purchased The Onion, the satiric website.

Media commentators claim Saban’s purchase of these news sources is to broaden appeal to “millennials” & to become more multicultural. Such commentators are playing stupid about Saban’s motives which he does not disguise. He boasts that he’s a one-issue guy: Israel. He’s explained without an ounce of coyness that his strategy to influence American politics includes three things: political donations, establishing think tanks, & controlling media sources. It’s a three-pronged approach, not mutually exclusive.

Saban wants Clinton elected president because he knows that as president of the US she will be as committed to Israel as she was while NY senator & US Secretary of State & as committed as Bill Clinton was during his tenure in the White House. That’s why Saban has donated millions to Clinton’s campaign, to the Democratic Party, & to the Clinton Foundation. It’s called buying influence–& it should be illegal because it violates every standard of democracy & electoral integrity.

In September 2014, the New York Times published an investigative report about how foreign countries buy political influence through Washington think tanks. One of the most influential think tanks in Washington is the Brookings Institute. Saban is not only a trustee for Brookings but in 2002 he founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy as an adjunct to the institute.

But the plot sickens & Saban’s connections to the Clintons & to US foreign policy are exposed as a labyrinth of deceits. Martin Indyk is the vice president & Director for Foreign Policy at Brookings. Indyk’s resume includes deputy research director for AIPAC (the Israeli lobby); US ambassador to Israel under Bill Clinton; Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs under Bill Clinton; US Special Envoy for the fraudulent 2013-2014 Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under the Obama administration.

Lesser evil voters have to confront this reality & of course the problem is, given the undemocratic way US elections are set up, they have no place to go to choose a candidate based on political principles–especially Palestinian solidarity. It’s a dilemma & the only way to solve it is to eschew lesser-evilism & to do what Eugene Victor Debs said: ‘vote for what you want & not get it rather than vote for you don’t want & get it.’

This photo from 2003 is Clinton, then senator from NY, with Cheryl & Haim Saban at the dedication of the Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital in LA. Their nefarious connections go back a long way, This is what influence peddling looks like, not what democracy looks like.

(Photo by Bob Riha Jr/WireImage)

Bernie Sanders campaign exposes fault lines of lesser evil politics

I’m taken aback by the number of committed Palestinian supporters promoting Bernie Sanders . It’s tough to come to grips with but you can’t have it both ways in politics. You can’t do lesser-evil if it means supporting a candidate who will maintain the status quo of support for Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing. At some point political principles have to prevail over an expedience that gets you nowhere.

If you don’t know what to do with a wasted vote for Sanders or Clinton, use the political energy to build BDS & the antiwar movement.

One of the arts of politics is knowing when to save your breath

Many may think we should engage in discussions with the anti-immigration crowd & other right-wingers who come to my wall, usually over issues of racism & immigration. But one of the arts of politics is knowing when to save your breath.

You can’t reason people out of deeply held prejudices & idiocies; you can’t talk them down from racism & hate. I tried to do that for years until I understood reason was insufficient. The haters just use those go-arounds to hone their epithetical skills & you work your adrenalin into a lather for nothing.

That’s what social movements & power politics are all about. Political power, like civil rights & women’s rights movements, can teach overnight what years of debates can’t get through thick skulls.

I’m a great respecter of discussions that go somewhere & among those who share a common vision of human solidarity. Intellectual wrangling & pissing contests with right-wingers is not that.