Media is giving Trump hell about his glib admiration for General John Pershing’s war crimes against Moro Muslims in the US expedition in the Philippines (1899-1913). They claim it’s a myth that Pershing executed them with bullets dipped in pig blood or buried them with pigs in violation of Muslim religious beliefs. We don’t know if he did those particular crimes since US war crimes during colonial expeditions were unreported. They were also the norm. They didn’t even have international laws to shake the naughty finger about it. It is a certainty that Pershing ordered monstrous crimes against the Moro to humiliate them, violate their religious beliefs, torture them before executing them. That’s what kind of guy he was. That’s what colonialism was all about.

The old boy got his training by leading several expeditions in the wars to exterminate American Indians from the Dakotas to California. He was in several US wars at the height of its outright colonial period including in Cuba for the Spanish-American war; in the Philippines for the Moro Rebellion; in the Russo-Japanese war; in the expedition against Pancho Villa & the Mexican Revolution; & he was in WW1, a war fought between the US & European countries over colonial partition of the world. It’s not irrelevant that Pershing maintained strict segregation policies in the US Army during the war.

The only reason media is making a stink about Trump’s comments is not because they’re complete lies about Pershing but because Trump openly admires US war crimes which media insists never happen.

Will more parents encourage their kids to join the army under Trump? Will young people, especially Black & Latino kids, trust Trump’s judgement enough to join the army after his support for white supremacists? Things may be looking up.

A recent segment on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC showcased KKK demonstrations in Jamaica, in the Queens borough of NYC during the 1920s. At one such protest, 1,000 hooded Klansmen marched & in the melee that followed one of those arrested was Fred Trump, father of Donald. Maddow showed his arrest booking sheet on air.

Those who engineered Trump’s dominance in the 2016 election must have vetted him & must have known about his familial ties to American fascism & white supremacy. If Maddow’s investigators could find that out, so could those behind Trump. They don’t just let anyone walk into the presidency. Not that it’s an entirely orchestrated event but it isn’t a free-for-all either. They bet on the wrong ass. He has the amorality but not the intellectual or political capacity to pull off a dramatic shift to the right in US politics. Maybe he’s worth keeping around for a while. Bumbling becomes him & we now know more about how corrupt the US government is than we did before.

(Thanks to Joel Greenberg for the info about Maddow’s show)

The brilliant Minneapolis lawyer who defended me pro bono in a week-long trial in 2000 (for protesting experimenting on live animals) also defended mentally ill clients accused of crimes, including violent crimes, on a pro bono basis. He told me ‘If they can railroad them, they can railroad anyone. It’s my way to defend civil liberties.”

He was a low-key kind of guy who schmoozed & chatted amiably with the prosecutors & policemen called to testify against me which I thought was fraternizing with the enemy. But when they came to testify, it appeared the police were on my side, not the prosecutions, & the prosecutors seemed as pleased at losing as I was at winning. The only one left out of the schmoozing was the undercover FBI agent whose testimony against me was belied by videos of her acting up during the protest while the same videos showed me just walking peacefully down the street. You learn life lessons where you least expect.

A curious phenomenon associated with oppression is the names by which the oppressed are called. That’s as true for women & the disabled as it is for Blacks, Latinos, American Indians up & down the Americas, the oppressed castes in India, & other oppressed peoples. Part of the problem is that the oppressors develop an entire vocabulary of hate names so that even today people stumble over what to call people.

In my lifetime, Blacks have been called Negros, coloreds, the n-word & hundreds of other degrading names. Black came out of the civil rights & Black power movements only to be replaced much later with African-American. To my mind, African-American is a term that makes no sense (they don’t call people like me Irish or German-American) but is an attempt to distance politically from the associations with Black power & Black is beautiful. A Black coworker of my generation once said, ‘they keep changing our names to trick us into thinking something has changed for the better.’

Every history of American Indians has a de rigueur introduction about what term the author will use–whether Indian, Indigenous, Native American. On this, we can follow the lead of American Indian activists who refer to themselves as Indians regardless of its historical misnomer by Christopher Columbus, not the founder of the Americas but the executioner of millions of Indians. Many American Indian tribes have actually had to reclaim their original tribal names because they were renamed by the colonizers.

Those of Latino ancestry are also called Hispanics or Chicano with an entire vocabulary of hate names. Same of course for women & for oppressed castes in India. Who can keep up with the terms of abuse? It is up to the oppressed to decide what they want to be called, what they consider respectful. But as my beloved & deceased brother Paul, who was called a “retard” all his life, once said: “I don’t know if they’re called Latinos or Hispanics but it doesn’t matter. We’re all just human beings.”

Does anyone remember US media ever coming out so strongly for Black civil & human rights, against Confederate crap, in defense of civil rights protesters? Not in my lifetime. We’ve been put through hell with the Trump presidency which has emboldened fascists & white supremacists. But in their attempts to bring him down, media has provided some education about the realities of racist oppression in this country.

They are however bringing on historians & compromised Black commentators trying damn hard to distinguish between Confederate general & slave owner Robert E. Lee & revolutionary war general & slave owner George Washington. That’s part of the same historical tradition that glorifies Abraham Lincoln for his role in ending slavery but neglects his role in exterminating millions of American Indians. To uproot the foundations of racist oppression, we have to stop these historical equivocations, double-talk & deceits.

In the long run, American history will have to be rewritten & retaught so we understand what the hell really happened & how we got to be where we are. That work was begun by scholars in the Black, Latino, & American Indian history programs that came out of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. There’s a long road ahead in correcting the historical record but it begins with tearing down those ugly-assed monuments to the Confederacy & including the statues of Washington & Lincoln. We can respect them for their contributions without whitewashing their monstrous crimes against Blacks & Indians.

Cucumber rescue (Aasif Shafi) Aug 19 2017

A brilliant piece of satire by photojournalist Aasif Shafi:

“Indian security force personals rescuing cucumbers from vegetable fields near encounter site at Awreene village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district. It seems they were more worried about the safety of cucumbers than anything else. As per last reports, several such cucumbers were rescued and later on consumed with full guard of honour including 21 rounds of gun salute and standing ovation. Meanwhile,these brave soldiers were nominated for National award with immediate effect.”

#cucumber #Awreene #encounter #gunfight —

Kashmiri photojournalists are among the best working today.Those who follow photojournalism know there is almost no war coverage anywhere, partially because it’s so dangerous & the death & murder rate of journalists sky high; partly because of political repression of journalists not embedded up the butts of the military as in Syria & US wars; partly because of editorial decisions by media to censor to reflect their political stance on an issue & blunt opposition to the wars, occupations, & genocides.

The Kashmiri photojournalists are working in an occupation zone under extremely repressive conditions. A few years ago, one went off for the day to cover a story & returned to find Indian troops had surrounded his home & terrorized his wife & small child whilst he was gone. But they continue their work & publish on social media as an indispensable venue where others can learn about their freedom struggle. Nothing but admirable. Keep them in your prayers.

A retired general said 30 US military bases are named after Confederate officers. He may have misspoken–or not. But it’s been known for a while that ten US Army bases are named after nine Confederate generals & one colonel who was also a state leader of the KKK.

Like the Confederate monuments, the bases were named in the early part of the 20th century long after the Civil War but also after Black Reconstruction had been decisively defeated & in the period of widespread racist violence, including Jim Crow laws in the South (apartheid), lynchings, & campaigns associating Blacks with cocaine use to whip up hysteria against them.

A few years ago, Army officials said they has no intention of renaming the bases because each was “named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history” & because the bases were named “in the spirit of reconciliation, not division.” The US Army has no idea what kind of reconciliation is coming due with those bases. There are millions who don’t just want them renamed but instead razed to the ground.

Don’t understand people’s objections to calling out Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, & the new schnook on the block, Sam Hamad, as Zionists. That is not an epithet of abuse to defame someone; it is the accurate political designation for someone who supports the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish-only state based on the ideology of Zionism. There is a false distinction made between those called left Zionists who support that state on the original 1948 borders, & those considered hawkish Zionists who support such a state on the 1967 borders created by military occupation, now leaving Palestinians with bantustates sectioned by apartheid walls which the Oslo Accords are systematically & forcibly expropriating into the state of Israel

One’s discomfort with calling Chomsky & Finkelstein Zionists is because of the genuine contributions they have made to exposing the egregious problems of Israeli colonialism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing–though neither of them have been among my most cogent teachers who were Palestinians & Jews (including Israelis, socialists, & some killed in the holocaust)–all of them uncompromising about the political character of Israel as a settler-colonial state.

Hamad is an uninformed rookie who denies Israeli apartheid so isn’t the stature of Chomsky & Finkelstein who do see the problems & lay them out cogently–though both are becoming more compromised, even snide, as they note with concern the impact of BDS in building support for Palestinians which they believe will undermine the state of Israel. All three oppose BDS & exhibit disturbing contempt toward Palestinians. They propose the pipe dream of a Jewish-only state & dismiss the Palestinian vision of a democratic, secular state where Jews & Palestinians live as brothers & sisters as they did before the Zionist occupation of Palestine.

The point of making these distinctions is not to vilify these men but to understand where they’re coming from, why their hedges & compromises, why their disdain & active opposition for BDS–which is a very different political, more conservative perspective than Palestinians & Jews who call for a unitary, democratic state & make no bones or equivocations about it. These guys are committed Zionists who just want to get rid of the bad parts because they don’t understand there is nothing salvageable in Zionism, a rightwing, racist, supremacist ideology that wants to cash in on colonialism for Jews rather than be part of the broader struggle against racism & colonialism in the interests of all humanity. If they are averse to investigate or come to grips with the realities which defy Palestinian self-determination, we are not obligated to play along with them so as not to hurt their feelings or because they’re hotshots & a wannabe in the broader movement. Our commitment is to Palestinian self-determination, not stroking the wounded egos of misguided activists.