Earlier this year, a flea-infested dog showed up at my house &, assuming he was abandoned, I took him in & named him MacDougal, aka, Maxie. He’s a delightful little scoundrel who can’t be trusted for a moment & has made me chase him often.

Yesterday, he figured out a way to escape my barricades & took off up the street. When I caught him, he was three blocks away in someone’s yard. I picked him up & started walking back when a young woman & man came out of the house & said he was their George who’s been missing for four or five months–the time frame I’ve had him.

I told them he had several health issues he was being medicated for, including heart-worms. Of course I couldn’t keep their dog & they seemed quite loving toward him but I asked why they let him run free all over the streets. She didn’t understand my concern. They didn’t even have a fenced-in yard to keep him in.

This morning Maxie/George showed up on my doorstep at 7am & is likely going to do that from now on–claiming two families & having all sorts of fun here with other dogs & at the dog park. The problem is he has to cross a major road to get here & stands a good chance of getting hit.

A rescue friend tells me just to dognap him & quite frankly, for his welfare, I would. But they live three blocks from me. I’m thinking to suggest they let me pick him up in the morning when they leave & let me dogsit him while they’re gone. Send your blessings the little guy’s way & hope they let me.

Misguided British leftists propose staying in European Union

Idomeni refugee camp May 19 2016 (REUTERS:Kostas Tsironis) May 20 2016

The campaign among some British leftists to stay in the European Union is mystifying & only highlights the theoretical degeneration of the left today. What about membership in the EU is so compelling after the austerities imposed on European countries & most wretchedly, after witnessing its military response to refugees from wars & sweatshop economics?

What will forever stand as condemnation of EU politics is its response to refugees, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied children & involving “losing” 10,000 children after they were processed for asylum.

Some say this is a moralistic response to EU criminality & not a political one–as if leftists somehow stand above a concern for human life by their deeper grasp of realpolitik; as if morality is just cheap sentimentality & pandering. If politics are not centered on the welfare of children & of the oppressed, who the hell gives a rat’s ass about your long-winded elaborations of the dialectics of power?

This little guy sitting forlorn at the Idomeni refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian border is the center of world politics because his fate is tied to war, occupation, bombing, & human rights.

(Photo by Kostas Tsironis/Reuters)

Israeli bombing causes thousands of permanent disabilities in Gaza

Disabled men in Gaza (Mohammed Saber:EPA) May 20 2016

These four young men in Gaza lost their legs during Israeli bombing attacks. Which of the many Israeli sieges is not identified. It is estimated that 3,000 of the 11,000 Palestinians injured in the 2014 siege have permanent physical disabilities, including paraplegia, amputations, & permanent hearing loss. More than 1,000 of them are children.

What greater condemnation of Israeli colonialism & ethnic cleansing?

Build & honor the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel. Demand no aid of any kind to Israeli apartheid & colonialism.

(Photo by Mohammed Saber/EPA)

Psychopath Avigdor Lieberman proposed as Netanyahu defense minister

Avigdor Lieberman & Netanyahu

In a move the credulous call shocking, Netanyahu has proposed psychopath Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli defense minister. Exactly what about Netanyahu speaks to political temperance? How can his choice of Lieberman come as a surprise to anyone?

Lieberman was a nightclub bouncer in the former USSR who moved to Israel in 1978 at the age of 20. He now lives in Nokdim, an illegal settlement built on Palestinian land in the West Bank near Bethlehem. He has had a long career as a high-level Israeli politician despite investigations for accepting bribes, corruption, & fishy business dealings. He also has psychopathic anger management problems & assaulted a 12-year-old kid in Nokdim who allegedly hit his son.

He has been considered a polarizing figure in Israeli politics because of his mad-dog rabidity but that is changing as Israeli society moves farther to the right. He actually boasts of his notoriety for rightwing derangement & said, “I’ve always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive.”

Some of Lieberman’s new ideas include: bombing the Aswan Dam because Egypt once supported Yasser Arafat; executing Palestinian members of the Knesset as “terror collaborators”; drowning Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea “since that’s the lowest point in the world”; the execution of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails; a nuclear strike on Gaza; opposing any peace agreement with Palestinians “that will allow the return of even one Palestinian refugee to Israel”; overthrowing the Palestinian Authority; the mass transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel into the Palestinian territories; last year, he proposed beheading Palestinian citizens of Israel who oppose the Jewish-only state.

Lieberman has no military experience that would qualify him as defense minister but when it comes to colonialism & ethnic cleansing, brute force serves where military tactics & strategy do not suffice. And brute force is what Lieberman excels at–not unlike Henry Kissinger, his counterpart in the US.

Now an apparent conundrum remains: last December, Obama condemned Palestinians for “terrorist attacks against Israelis.” In an aside, he urged the Israeli government to bring to justice anyone who commits acts of violence against Palestinians. Violence against Palestinians is Israeli state policy & by appointing Lieberman as defense minister they are making that crystal clear.

So how does Obama find himself not just in league with but bankrolling Saudi Arabia that beheaded 47 political dissidents last January & with Israel whose state policy is genocide & colonialism? Where did Mr. Hope & Changey go wrong!?

Honor & build the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel. Demand no aid of any kind to Israel.

(Photo is Avigdor & Netanyahu in 2012 from Reuters)

This remarkable poem is written by Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani (1923 – 1998). It resonates not just across the killing fields of the Middle East but around the world.

A Lesson In Drawing

My son places his paint box in front of me
and asks me to draw a bird for him.
Into the color gray I dip the brush
and draw a square with locks and bars.
Astonishment fills his eyes:
“… But this is a prison, Father,
Don’t you know, how to draw a bird?”
And I tell him: “Son, forgive me.
I’ve forgotten the shapes of birds.”

My son puts the drawing book in front of me
and asks me to draw a wheatstalk.
I hold the pen
and draw a gun.
My son mocks my ignorance,
“Don’t you know, Father, the difference between a
wheatstalk and a gun?”
I tell him, “Son,
once I used to know the shapes of wheatstalks
the shape of the loaf
the shape of the rose
But in this hardened time
the trees of the forest have joined
the militia men
and the rose wears dull fatigues
In this time of armed wheatstalks
armed birds
armed culture
and armed religion
you can’t buy a loaf
without finding a gun inside
you can’t pluck a rose in the field
without its raising its thorns in your face
you can’t buy a book
that doesn’t explode between your fingers.”

My son sits at the edge of my bed
and asks me to recite a poem,
A tear falls from my eyes onto the pillow.
My son licks it up, astonished, saying:
“But this is a tear, father, not a poem!”
And I tell him:
“When you grow up, my son,
and read the diwan of Arabic poetry
you’ll discover that the word and the tear are twins
and the Arabic poem
is no more than a tear wept by writing fingers.”

My son lays down his pens, his crayon box in
front of me
and asks me to draw a homeland for him.
The brush trembles in my hands
and I sink, weeping.

Thank you to Perveiz Ali for tagging this poem from FB wall Kaafiya – The Poetry Festival)

Someone just shared a post I did a year ago today on the Shah of Iran & the CIA. At the time I had a Facebook friend who worked for a local university department organized & funded by the CIA. He was likely not an agent but he knew who his paymasters were. I kept him as a friend because he was progressive on Israeli apartheid & hoped to work with him in building solidarity here. I’m too old to be so stupid.

When we talked about Palestine, he insisted at great length (he was a windbag) that we denounce Hamas. When we talked about violence against Black youth, he insisted we denounce “extremist elements” in the Black community. But then he had the unbelievable cajones to defend the CIA over & over again.

He had to go. But let me say that before we parted ways, the always brilliant Indira Krishnamurti Pradhan made chopped liver out of him, especially in that discussion on the Shah of Iran. She is truly a gift from social media.

Student & teacher protests against neoliberal education policies in Chile in tenth year

Chilean student protests (REUTERS:Ivan Alvarado) May 19 2016

There has been scant coverage of student protests over education in Chile, maybe because they’re now in their tenth year. Millions of high school & college students as well as teachers have protested since 2011, often in aggressive battles with riot police over the very right to protest. The protester here was arrested on Tuesday during a “reflexive strike of students” called by Chilean student federations making the demands for education reforms that go back a decade.

The education system, which had been universal, free, & public, was privatized & deregulated under the 1974 coup & dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet when Chile became the testing ground for Kissinger & Milton Friedman’s antisocial, scorched earth neoliberal assaults on social & public services. Education became a consumer product, no longer a social right. Those policies remain in place, administered by successive “democratic” regimes after Pinochet.

The protests include tens of thousands of high school students because public education is being replaced by charter schools, a neoliberal method to undermine & destroy public education. Billions of dollars have gone to private schools while public education collapses, especially for working class students.

Education for profit is the norm & in the past decade university tuition has increased 60 percent so that Chilean universities & technical schools are now among the most expensive in the world. Working class kids can no longer afford higher education.

Teachers are involved in the protests because privatizing undermines unions & teacher’s rights, involve larger class sizes, less prep time, less job security–essential conditions of neoliberal education policy.

Protesters want education brought under control of the central government rather than by municipalities. Municipalizing education was a neoliberal strategy & created wide inequalities in education based on unequal funding resources–not unlike segregated education in the US. In fact, one Chilean NGO termed the system “educational apartheid,” among the most unequal education systems in the world.

The current Chilean president Michelle Bachelet is a socialist of the Bernie Sanders/French president François Hollande kind. She was elected in 2014 based on promises of education reform which she didn’t deliver in her first term of office from 2006-2010. In the same way as Hillary Clinton & Sanders, Bachelet played the populist role to the hilt during the election campaign, even promising to trim the sails of neoliberalism. She promised to re-centralize education, make it free again, & financed by corporate taxes.

In February 2015, Bachelet enacted an education reform law full of loopholes, stalling tactics, promises for future programs to correct the problems not addressed. What the legislation doesn’t do is dismantle neoliberal education & replace it with free, universal public education.

Some commentators called the legislation a partial victory in a gradualist approach that shows how popular movements can gradually transform state policy & they elaborated how difficult it is to dismantle the neoliberal model of education. It wasn’t difficult to install the model under Pinochet’s dictatorship so why does dismantling it have to be gradual?

Sometimes social movements do have to accept partial victories; In fact, that’s the norm. But one should not look at a piece of legislation meant to deceive & demobilize the social movement of students & teachers & call it a partial victory when it’s a massive con job.

Student protests against neoliberal education policies are going on in several Latin American countries, not to mention in the US & elsewhere, because they are a weapon of mass destruction lobbed at public education. Universal, free, public education (introduced in the US by Black politicians during Reconstruction in the South) is one of the most important achievements of democratic societies.

Our fullest solidarity with the student & teacher movement in Chile against neoliberal education.

(Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Massive floods & landslides in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka floods ( (Eranga Jayawardena:AP) May 19 2016

Many Facebook friends from Sri Lanka are checking in to let us know they’re safe in the floods & landslides. It sounds absolutely wrenching to go through & must be extremely disorienting.

We send you our heartfelt concern & hope your families & beloved are doing well also.

(These are survivors of a landslide in Elangipitiya village, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Colombo where hundreds of families were reported missing.)

(Photo by Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

How should I respond to this message from a new Facebook friend?

“Mary give ur attention towards other corners of world you only focus on USA.”

I’m nonplussed. And to think he’s got several US military bases sitting right on his ass with nuclear missiles pointed in the same direction!

I just love days like today when I was on a feminist kick-ass spree & no one tried to take me out. Everyone in my way moved aside except the neighbor who I almost ran over. Nothing got accomplished but I felt so damn “empowered.”