Category Archives: News

The quality of barbarism is not strained

Tsipras, Merkel & Italian guy (Geert Vanden Wijngaert:AP) June 26 2015

We trust Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras understands the quality of neoliberal mercy is not strained by conviviality. When EU politicians whoop it up with you & put their arms around your neck, it’s more akin to a noose than a gesture of solidarity which they’re incapable of feeling.

Greece & its “creditors” are engaged in negotiations for more euros to save the country from bankruptcy. The only way to save Greece from continuing crises is not to bargain with bankers & creditors but to mobilize Greek working people & give the old heave-ho to the EU & IMF.

The two noose-bearers here with Tsipras are the Italian PM Matteo Renzi & German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

The Jewish-only state and African refugees

Eritrean refugee in Israel (Baz Ratner:Reuters) June 26 2015

This woman is an Eritrean refugee protesting outside the meeting of a European Union (EU) delegation near Tel Aviv, Israel. (Apparently the EU doesn’t honor the boycott of Israeli apartheid though it could just as well have met in Belgium.) The media caption said “Eritrean migrants living in Israel” were calling on the EU to act on the recent 500-page UN report citing the Eritrean government for systematic use of extrajudicial killing, torture, rape, indefinite national service & forced labor. She is demonstrating a torture technique used in Eritrea.

Actually, there are an estimated 45,000 Eritreans & Sudanese who sought political sanctuary in Israel while others flee across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The UN report said countries should provide refuge to Eritreans & establish procedures for incorporating them into society. Is Israel as a Jewish-only state exempted from UN guidelines & ancient human practices of sanctuary? Does Zionist exceptionalism allow Israel to continue jailing Eritreans & other African refugees & deporting them to Uganda & Rwanda to elude accusations of barbaric immigration policies? These are the sarcasms of Israeli immigration policy which continues to recruit Jews from around the world for aliyah & resettlement but denies refuge to those fleeing war & persecution.

Immigration is a human right & Israel is no exception. Open the borders! Stop deporting refugees!

Build the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel (BDS)!

(Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Refugee camp in France called the “jungle”?

Calais refugee camp ( Michel Spingler:AP) June 26 2015

The Guardian-UK, that bastion of progressive media, posted this photo of a camp set up by immigrants in Calais, France where they’re gathering to make their way without papers through the Channel Tunnel to Britain. The caption read: “Migrants walk past a shelter at a makeshift camp known as the jungle.” Known by whom as the jungle? Certainly not the immigrants.

One stands aghast at the primitive social Darwinism of the Guardian. If they’re going to resurrect jungle as a metaphor for savage & subhuman, let’s take a look at the officials of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism. Let’s take a look at the US government & its savage wars; at the European Union (EU) letting thousands of refugees drown in the sea & leaving thousands of Rohingya drifting in death ships without sending aid; at Israel bombing Gaza into smithereens; at the EU & IMF trying to bleed the people of Greece to make an interest payment on a loan. Now we’re talking savage!

We apologize to our brothers & sisters for the primitive idiocy & ugliness of our so-called leaders. We welcome you in the hopes you can join us & kick their asses from here to Kingdom Come.

(Photo by Michel Spingler/AP)

Lindsey Graham: they don’t come dumber

Lindsey Graham (AP:Bill clark) June 25 2015

Lindsey Graham, the US senator from South Carolina, usually looks like he’s half in the wrapper & when he opens his mouth to speak he emits sounds more often smothered in the nether regions–& just as unseemly. But even if he hung off the sauce our man is a loser in the battle of wits & proof-positive that racism makes you stupid.

Last week he claimed the murder of nine Black worshippers was an attack on Christianity. Yesterday in a speech about the massacre on the Senate floor where the chamber is usually half-asleep, he said, “That’s Mideast hate. That’s something I didn’t think we had here but apparently we do.”

Media says he’s known for his bluntness. Actually he’s known for his idiocies. At an AIPAC meeting last month he said “everything that starts with ‘al’ in the Middle East is bad news,” referring to the Arabic word for “the.”

Boneheads like Graham show the power of wealth & privilege in US politics because on a fast food job, he’d be the guy scraping swill.

(Photo of Graham by Bill Clark/AP)

Will Southern Poverty Law Center answer questions about its relationship to Shurat HaDin, the Mossad law firm?

Am I the only progressive who considers the “hate crime” designation ambiguous & deeply problematic? Surely I’m not the only one who thinks that before the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) starts raising money around Charleston it has some questions to answer about its association with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a Zionist zealot & the Israeli who founded Shurat HaDin law center which recently won a case against the Palestinian Authority in a NYC court.

Shurat HaDin has connections to the Israeli government & engages in what they call “lawfare,” bringing suits on behalf of ‘terror victims’ against “Islamic & Arab groups engaged in terror attacks”–that is, Palestinian groups, their political leaders, & who they consider the financial patrons. There are reports they are preparing legal actions against BDS groups.

One disturbing fact is Darshan-Leitner’s admission in an interview that she was schooled personally by the SPLC. This is not the first time the SPLC has been accused of facilitating Zionist projects. They have been criticized publicly for identifying antisemitism with anti-Zionism & have not refuted that criticism.

Shurat HaDin models its strategy on the SPLC strategy of bankrupting who they define as hate groups, like the KKK. But the question is, what gives SPLC the authority to define who is a hate group if they cannot distinguish between antisemitism & anti-Zionism? If their commitment is to Israel, will they eventually place BDS groups on their hate list? And if Shurat HaDin can file suit in US courts against Palestinian groups, will SPLC file suit in Israel against systemic racism & violence against Ethiopian Israelis & the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?

Zionism integrated into neoliberal barbarism

Gaza children (- Wissam Nassar:Xinhua Press:Corbis) June 24 2015

The Boycott, Divestment, & Sanction movement (BDS) called by Palestinian groups against Israel has played an indispensable role in educating about the conflict & building Palestinian solidarity. But who could have imagined how BDS would expose the fault lines of neoliberalism & the deep connections of Zionism to neoliberalism?

That political connection is not just an affinity, but a political interpenetration going back to the inception of Zionism (in the 19th century). A movement emerged to oppose pogroms & persecution of Jews but it was based on supremacist views & it collaborated with & adopted the political methods of colonial powers like England. The die was cast; there was nowhere to go politically that could overcome such corrupt origins.

It’s disheartening to see the role Zionists play in anti-immigration, eugenics programs, even in feminism where they are pro-militarist for Islamophobic reasons. It’s not because all Zionists are inherently reactionary. It’s the deadly combination of supremacy, elitism, & the quid pro quo of the original Mephistophelean bargain that ties it into the very functioning of neoliberal politics.

The growth of BDS on campuses around the world has exposed the nexus between Zionism & neoliberalism. There are increasing attempts, most notably in Australia, the UK, Canada, & US, to brand & outlaw BDS activities & criticisms of Israel as antisemitism. There are also legislative initiatives in several US states. The most prominent campus initiative now is from Janet Napolitano, formerly US Secretary of Homeland Security & now president of the University of California system. She is campaigning for the UC system to adopt the US State Department’s definition of antisemitism which includes criticism of Israel. The campaign has gone on for a few years now since Zionist groups appear to be targeting the UC system to test out their strategy of criminalizing any criticism of Israel.

The State Department’s definition is cribbed almost wholesale from a definition cooked up in 2005 by Zionist ideologues for the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union (EU). It’s not an official EU definition though Israel & its supporters tout it as such. It includes “demonizing,” “delegitimizing,” & “applying a double-standard to the state of Israel.” It’s a complete affront to the Bill of Rights & freedom of speech. We can criticize our own government but if we sneeze in the direction of Israel, we’re cooked & will be penalized in some unspecified way!? But of course, once criticizing Israel is outlawed, all criticism of the US will be outlawed right after.

As ludicrous as it is, it is also a serious political attack, not just on BDS & Palestinian solidarity, but on civil liberties. We have to ask why criticizing & exposing Israeli apartheid is so pivotal in world politics? And we can eliminate any concern for the welfare of Jews in the considerations. The regimes pushing this stuff don’t care any more about Jews than they do about the African & Middle Eastern refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea or the Rohingya adrift & starving in the Andaman Sea.

Israel serves a purpose in international politics. It’s a military fortress in the Middle East to maintain US & European control. It functions like the repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, & Bahrain & the military junta in Egypt–as bulwarks against democracy. The US can militarize Israel up to its eyeballs but that is not security for Jews; it’s a death trap, as anti-Zionist opponents of Israel have always warned.

That’s what makes the Palestinian struggle so historic, so momentous, so vital to win. Their struggle represents the forces for democracy in the Middle East. That’s what makes BDS so important for them to defeat. When Obama chides Netanyahu or when Netanyahu gets lippy with Obama, it doesn’t represent a new strategic orientation of the US. Netanyahu knows damn well the US will not pull the plug on military equipment because Israel is pivotal to neoliberal prospects in the region.

These are Palestinian children in Gaza City playing in the rubble of buildings destroyed in Operation Ethnic Cleansing last summer. The US supplied the weapons to destroy Gaza, it is part of making sure Gaza is not rebuilt, it is a party to Israeli apartheid & ethnic cleansing because Israel serves its economic & political interests.

When the US & other regimes tie BDS to civil liberties, they expose a neoliberal fault line. There’s no reason in the world to panic. But there is every reason to commit ourselves to building BDS & to educating & broadening support for Palestinians.

(Photo by Wissam Nassar/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

The Confederate is an abomination symbolizing white supremacy: it’s gotta go

Confederate tombstone (Kim Hairston:Baltimore Sun) June 24 2015

In the US, the Confederate flag isn’t just a symbol & the furor over flying it at government buildings is not a distraction from more important civil rights matters like opposing violence against the Black community. The ugly-assed thing has gone through several designs with a preoccupation that it not appear a symbol of truce with Black equality. The reason the damn thing matters is because it is the banner & battle cry of white supremacy which refuses to not only acknowledge defeat in the Civil War but in the ongoing battles for democracy & equality for Blacks.

South Carolina’s politicians are blithering now about how it’s time to remove the flag but they’ve put a legislative process in place against such political eventualities. When the heat over the racist murders of nine people dies down, so will the blitherings & all attempts to remove the flag. The same goes for retailers like Walmart, Sears, eBay, & Amazon which say they’ll remove it from sale. Just till the heat dies down, because for white supremacists it’s now become a hot item & still the symbol of defiance.

And that doesn’t even address the other states that wave the thing or incorporate it into their state flags & license plates–or the hundreds of Confederate monuments all over the South & throughout the US. These monuments are maintained at great expense by organizations like the Daughters of the Confederacy & Sons of Confederate Veterans. The monuments aren’t just intended as shrines or even just gestures of contempt but are part of the ongoing campaigns against Black equality. These creeps are committed to white supremacy.

Protests going on to remove the flag are part of the civil rights & Black power struggle–lest in the future we have to face storm troopers carrying the ugly-assed thing in the streets. We should defeat it now while it’s still just hanging like a piece of stinking, dead, fly-infested meat on a flag pole.

(Photo of Confederate tombstone by Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Immigrants from Africa and Middle East gather in Calais to cross to England

Immigrants at Channel Tunnel (Philippe Huguen:AFP:Getty Images) June 23 2015

This is a group of immigrants in Calais, France near the highway accessing the Channel Tunnel to England where there is a lot of commercial traffic they can hitchhike or stowaway on. The UK foreign office has warned drivers against stowaways but if international solidarity were what it should be, the drivers would be piling them into their lorries.

These immigrants are thus far among the lucky ones who survived crossing the Mediterranean without drowning, managed to evade border patrols & cross the Italian-French border, & escaped the EU naval operations against immigrants that began yesterday. We wish them Godspeed on their journey.

Imagine if all the creativity, tenacity, & organizational brilliance that got them from African & Middle Eastern countries to Calais could be used not for survival but to build a humane world, to address child labor, mass starvation, sweatshops, environmental plunder, inequalities, social divisions & hatreds of every kind. We might not be coming up close on Utopia yet but national borders dividing & isolating peoples from each other would be thought historic monstrosities & school children will study them as historic crimes, marveling at the ancestral foolishness.

Immigration is a human right! Open the borders!

(Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

US government scientists do racist experiments on Black, Puerto Rican, and Japanese-American soldiers in WWII

Rollins Edwards  June 22 2015

NPR just published an exposé about nine secret experiments performed by the US military on 60,000 Black, Japanese-American, & Puerto Rican enlisted soldiers during WWII. There have been previous exposés about US government human experiments, including CIA experiments, from 1940 through 1970. The WWII experiments were all racist-based–as were many of the later ones.

The WWII experiments were with mustard gas which affects a person within seconds, producing burns & irreversible damage, including cancer, chronic skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, eye problems. Mustard gas was first used as a weapon of war by the Germans in WWI so US scientists knew damn well what mustard gas did to human beings: skin blisters, vomiting, blindness, internal & external bleeding, stripping of mucus membranes in the bronchial tubes.

According to NPR, because the experiments were secret, they were not recorded on the men’s military records so they have no proof they went through them. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. They were not volunteers but were ordered or offered incentives to participate. Rollins Edwards, a participant & the man in this photo, said he never questioned the experiments. “Defiance was unthinkable especially for Black soldiers,” he said. “You do what they tell you to do & you ask no questions,”

Participants were also threatened with dishonorable discharge or military prison time if they told & were unable to disclose the cause of their disfiguring & chronic health problems to doctors after they were discharged.

Now here’s the kicker! Given what we already know about human experiments, especially the large number of racist experiments conducted by US government scientists–(that includes Tuskegee, eugenics experiments on Black, Latina, Native American, & disabled women, & on women in Guatemala & Puerto Rico)–NPR should have felt entirely confident asserting the unmitigated racism of these experiments that rival Dr. Josef Mengele & other Nazi scientists in debasement.

Instead, showing the corporate sponsorship to which they dance, NPR pulled its punches. They said we should remember the US & its scientists were preparing for chemical warfare in WWII–as if that justified racist experiments on human beings. They claimed scientists wanted to see if there were variables between how different ethnicities reacted to chemicals & that “at the time” scientists thought Blacks were more resistant.

“At the time” has to be one of the most atrocious & banal excuses for historic crimes ever invented. At the time of these experiments, there was a major political campaign to desegregate the US military. At the time, Black & Puerto Rican soldiers were coming home in body bags, all shot up, missing limbs just like every other soldier. So they can cut the crap on that “at the time” stuff.

Rollins Edwards is here showing the scars from exposure to mustard gas 70 years ago as part of the WWII experiments. He says he has constant itching on his arms & legs which break out in rashes where he was burned. During outbreaks his skin falls off in flakes & he carries a jar of the flakes to show people what happened to him.

(Photo by Amelia Phillips Hale for NPR)

Indian prime minister Modi twists into yoga position of peacemaker

Modi doing yoga (from CNN) June 22 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is here leading 37,000 people in a mass yoga session in Delhi’s Rajpath, an area where protests have been banned. The event is part of the first International Yoga Day called by Modi. Mass yoga sessions were held in several countries including the US & China. The day was built as one to promote “harmony & peace.”

The Chinese government violently suppressed the Falun Gong about 15 years ago for holding similar mass events with qigong, calling it heretical. There are no reports they cracked down on the mass yoga events–though yoga is rooted in Hinduism.

Modi claims he’s a long-time practitioner of yoga–though you wouldn’t know it from his awkward execution of the different postures. Given Modi’s political history & his obvious public relations jaunts to put pogroms against Muslims behind him, we should question what this yoga business is all about. Is it part of the international attempt (which Obama is a part of) to create “Brand Modi”? Modi the man of peace not pogroms?

Maybe it is, as Muslims claim, an attempt to assert the dominance of Hinduism in India & promote a “Hindutva agenda at the cost of India’s secular democratic fabric.” Or is it Modi’s version of Obamacare in a country the World Health Organization ranks as one of the worst healthcare systems in the world (112 out of 190 countries)?

Is it a diversion from political reality like Michelle Obama’s obesity, organic garden, exercise thing? Or does it have associations with tyrannies, like fascism in Germany, where physical fitness became a sign of Aryan supremacy?

Or perhaps it is an attempt by India to reclaim yoga from US & European practitioners who have commercialized the practice, eliminated the spiritual aspects & use it solely as exercise?

Maybe we can get some clues from the 37,000 participants led in stretches, bends, & breathing asanas by Mr. Modi. According to media reports, they were “school children, bureaucrats, & soldiers.” Were they there on command? Will the Indian soldiers participating employ some of those peace-making asanas when they’re on duty in occupied Kashmir? Why did the event have to be locked down with thousands of police & paramilitary troops? Was there any likelihood of the yogis rioting?

Curious minds want to know because we’re awash in skepticism when Narendra Modi gets into the asana of a peacemaker.

(Photo of Modi leading yoga from CNN)