Joni Scully & Gladys McKenzie: lifelong Minnesota activists for social transformation

Gladys and Joni 2016

The woman on the left is my older sister Joni and on the right is Gladys McKenzie at a reunion of those who organized the union at the University of Minnesota. Joni began political activism in the civil rights movement in the mid-60s & drew me into it. She has been active in women’s rights, the antiwar movement, civil rights (including for Native Americans), & other causes. After visiting me in NYC where I was active, she once got me temporarily disowned by my mother after telling her we marched for gay rights. She is more a Sanders kind of socialist. Browbeating her out of that perspective hasn’t proven fruitful. She remains a profoundly political woman.

Gladys is also a lifelong activist & socialist. Most notably, she organized the Minnesota contingents to a major abortion rights national march in Washington, DC in the 80s which drew nearly a million people; headed up the successful union drive at the U of M & remained an active trade union leader until retirement; & generally plays a leading role in the left movement in Minnesota politics.

Joni will be 75 years old in a few months; Gladys who recently retired is still a kid. We should take a moment to tip our hats to their lifetime commitment to social transformation.

The good news in the Clinton/Drumpf run-off is that for decades the overwhelming majority of eligible US voters don’t bother to register & are otherwise engaged during elections. The two jamokes became candidates on the votes of a tiny minority of people–the most misguided elements in our society.

The bad news is the majority of eligible US voters don’t do anything else political either. They’re like bumps on a log.

But that will change. US history shows that working people are reluctant to action. But when they move, they move massively & decisively. And they don’t settle for lesser evil.

UN disgraces itself again & removes murderous Saudi-led bombing coalition from child rights black list

Children in Sana'a, Yemen (Mohammed Huwais:AFP:Getty Images) June 16 2016

You wouldn’t know from this beguiling photo of children in Sana’a, Yemen that the Saudi-led, US & UK-backed coalition is still bombing Yemen to smithereens. Saudi officials claim they’ve been bombing for over a year now “to bring peace & stability” to Yemen–probably the same reason they behead dissidents in Saudi Arabia.

What is not reported, except as an aside, is that yesterday children demonstrated outside UN offices in Sana’a because on Monday the UN, at the direction of Ban Ki-moon, removed the Saudi-led bombing coalition from a UN child rights blacklist after the Saudi regime complained of its inclusion.

The UN report on children & armed conflict, released last Thursday, claimed the bombing coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths & injuries in Yemen last year (killing 510 & wounding 667) & for half of the attacks on schools & hospitals. Only half? Who else could have done it? Overall, 6,000 civilians have been bombed to death.

Ban Ki-moon, who also disgraced himself in the bombing of Gaza 2014, claims there will be a review of the charges. During that review they will find several reasons to withdraw the allegations.

There is no alternative but to rebuild the international antiwar movement & demand “end the bombing of Yemen.”

(Photo by Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

George Bush: dead or alive?

Bush- dead or alive June 16 2014

Reposting this from June 16 2014. Before you denounce me for cruelty do remember that satire (what some call a smart mouth) is the genre of the oppressed:

They say you ought not to make fun of dead people but that’s an old saying from feudal days when doing so could get you beheaded. Under capitalism, the practice of pissing & dancing on graves became common. Under neoliberal capitalism, when the world is run by creeps like Henry Kissinger, Omar Suleiman, Ariel Sharon, Augusto Pinochet, the two Clintons, & the mutant clan of Bushes, ridicule is the only thing that sustains in our darkest hours since the courts won’t let us near them to extract justice.

They made a big deal about Bush Sr. skydiving on his 90th birthday. What they didn’t tell us is they strapped his corpse to some military special forces guy who they had to pay big bucks since no one else could tolerate the stench.

The obituary for the old boy has long been written, just waiting for the day of delivery. But judging from the decay evidenced here it’s several months belated.

(Photo by Robert F. Bukaty/AP taken by a long-range zoom lens since Bukaty wasn’t paid to stand the stench)

The modern form of a witch’s hex is a Facebook block button. Hail to them both for dispensing nuisances with the flick of a wrist.

Israel new ally of Russia in Syrian military debacle

Bombing in Idlib, Syria ( REUTERS:Ammar Abdullah) June 16 2016

What are we to make of the report that in a state visit to Russia last week Netanyahu asked Putin to let Israeli aircraft fly freely in Syria & Lebanon?

Ze’ev Elkin, the Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said Russia runs the forces in Syria, not the US: “Therefore, if we wanted free aviation for our aerial forces in Lebanon & Syria & if we wanted to maintain the security & political interests of Israeli citizens, the Russians are our target.”

Does that mean that despite denials by Russian & Assad officials, in fact it is Russian warplanes bombing civilians, hospitals, refugee camps in Syria with barrel bombs & white phosphorus?

What are we to make of US Pentagon claims that it doesn’t know if Russia & Syria are bombing Syria? All those infrared cameras & surveillance sensors & drones, all the Pentagon boasting that it has killed more than 120 ISIS leaders using that equipment & they don’t know who is bombing? Is there a sustained equipment failure? Or do we detect some kind of collusion? Some whopping problems with the several conflicting narratives about what he hell is going on in Syria?

The left & libertarians are divided now. Both want the chimera of “humanitarian intervention”–some on the side of Assad & Russia & others on the side of the US & its allies. Are they even certain those are two opposing sides? The entry of Israel into this killing field as an ally of Russia makes that a suspect proposition. Or is Israel, which receives billions in military aid from the US now operating as a free agent? Because if it operates as an opponent of the US in Syria, the US only has to pull the plug on that aid.

It’s an idiotic pipe dream to think bombers competing in the air are the solution to the violence of Assad or to the spread of ISIS. It’s a scenario that will massively increase barbarism against civilians & aggravate the possibilities for a region-wide war. What’s not to get about that?

Photo is a civil defense member carrying an injured girl after an airstrike in Idlib, Syria. If the prevailing narratives are believable, the bombers could only be piloted by evil fairies from outer space.

The only way to defend the Syrian people is to rebuild the international antiwar movement which does not just mean massive protests around the world but shutting down the machinery of militarism as was done by the anti-Vietnam War movement.

(Photo by Ammar Abdullah/Reuters)