Zionists want a Lilliputian Holy Roman Empire

What I like best about Zionists is how cogently they press the case for a Lilliputian, Jewish version of the Holy Roman Empire where the state religion was Catholicism. There’s so little one can say to defend an atavism like the amalgam of feudalism & religion. It’s tough enough for moochocrats across Europe to pull off the combo of feudalism with popular democracy. Feudalism used to be incompatible with capitalism too but neoliberalism is changing all that. It’s hard to tell which century we’re living in. You look one way, it’s the catastrophe of modern capitalism; you look the other way, you’re staring at the Middle Ages.

Since cogency is beyond possibility, Zionists, so regrettably for the English language, resort to rants & it must be said they come up with some beasties. My blog is besieged by Zionist nut cases & because I don’t engage with them their rants become quite lyrical with desperation. This is the latest gem:

“Poor Mary. Scribbling away all by her lonesome in some tiny hobble of a rat hole in poor ass Texas. Loathed by most who know her, all she has left to fill her time is penning nasty, hate-filled rants that basically say the same thing over & over again: Wherever there is poverty & injustice around the world, capitalism & the USA are at fault. Kill the beast, kill the beast huh Mary? Piggy would be terrified, I’m sure, of your Ralph-esque unrelenting bitter savagery.But we are not. Most assuredly. You don’t want peace. Your kind want your vision of justice meted out, Auschwitz style.

As if anyone cares. As if anyone is listening. As if Mary isn’t going a little more stark raving mad with every pathetic diatribe. Your “work” is a textbook definition of what wasted energy looks like. Enjoy the howling!”

Let me just say in closing, I have no idea who Piggy & Ralph are & I take great umbrage at the suggestion I live in a rat hole. I let the rats out daily to join the pigs for a stroll around our own little corner of “poor ass Texas.”

US Justice Department couldn’t find injustice if it bit them in the ass

Remember when Attorney General Eric Holder marched into Ferguson after the murder of Michael Brown promising a Justice Department investigation? I pointed out that after nearly three years, they still hadn’t finished their investigation of George Zimmerman for the February 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin & that both investigations were likely to dead end. Don’t call me Nostradamus. You live long enough you know the score on US criminal justice for Blacks, Latinos, women. Hell it’s tough enough to win in small claims court if you’re the litigant with lower social status.

Tuesday, the Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to establish that Zimmerman “willfully deprived Martin of his civil rights or killed him because of his race.” No surprise, but what an outrage & travesty of justice that a vigilante can walk away scot-free from murder. Again.

About a week ago, the big talker Holder announced that a decision is imminent on the murder of Michael Brown & that another investigation will be conducted over a pattern of racist discrimination by the Ferguson Police Department if they do not agree to make changes on their own. It’s not clear how he’ll swing it, but they will of course find insufficient evidence against the cop, Darren Wilson. The maneuver here is how to clear Wilson & at the same time impugn the police department. And then find a way to get the department off the hook. Tricky, but they’ll pull it off.

2014 Oxford study says being poor is unpleasant

A 2014 Oxford University study concluded that half the world’s poor are so deprived they should be classified as “destitute.” The study was done in the poorest countries so if they include the US & Europe, that figure will increase just like poverty has.

Of course the study hinges on what defines “destitution” & thus it parses the facets of deprivation–what they call the “multidimensional” features, like access to food, health care, education, sanitation, housing. Well at least they didn’t use the World Bank standard of US $1 a day as a measure. Though one can imagine they’re looking at the exact same people.

The study claims that generally the situation has improved for the poor due to poverty reduction programs & economic growth. Oh really? Could they name some of those poverty programs & describe what they’ve accomplished? And can they parse again (since they’re so good at it) to tell us who’s deriving the benefits of economic growth? Are a lot of people earning more than $2 a day now (although it takes a lot more than that just to eat anywhere in the world)? Do they have a pot to piss in now rather than have to take a whiz outside?

But what about all those millions of child workers? The millions of desperate immigrants? The over 2 billion homeless & slum dwellers? Are things looking up for them too? Or are they the “destitute” ones?

The report identified the countries where the progress in “reducing destitution” is being registered: Ethiopia, Niger, Ghana, Bolivia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nepal, Haiti, Bangladesh, & Zambia. Could they review that multidimensional thing for us again because we can’t tell if it’s cognitive dissonance on the part of Oxford or us that makes that assertion seem burlesque. And grotesque.

We don’t want to start class warfare over a study we can use as ammunition against neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, but maybe rich people shouldn’t be the ones to do the parsing. Especially if they think the difference between poverty & destitution is a piss pot rather than an al fresco whiz.

Private prisons are hell holes for undocumented immigrants

Willacy prison (Al Jazeera) Feb 25 2015

Last Saturday, local TV stations were filled with excited reports about a prison “riot” in Raymondville, Texas about 40 miles from the US-Mexican border. The newscasts were presented from the point of view of law enforcement since local & state police were there along with the FBI & Drug Enforcement Agency. Images were of prisoners in the yard shaking down fences & the only explanation offered was inmates were discontent with medical care.

It wasn’t mentioned in the reports, but the tented facility gave it away as a prison for undocumented immigrants, some arrested for alleged drug crimes but most for repeatedly crossing the border after deportation. Immigration infractions used to be treated legally as civil misdemeanors but are now criminalized & account for 87% of the massive increase of Latinos in the federal prison system.

One of the things driving criminalization of immigration is the development of a second-class private prison industry & the cash nexus between US immigration officials, municipalities where the prisons are built, & the corporations that profit from a large prison population. Officials who play ball with the corporations & feed prisoners into the system rather than deport them can move from government jobs paying a couple hundred thousand bucks a year to one in the private prison system paying over a million. But they don’t just feed long-term prisoners into the system; they turn a blind eye to egregious, monstrous human rights crimes in the prisons.

There have been years of condemnations of these private prisons all over the US–especially those warehousing undocumented immigrants. Conditions are barbaric. The Raymondville facility is nicknamed “Ritmo” because of its affinities with Guantanamo torture center. An ACLU investigation reported overcrowding, filth, roaches & vermin, stinking filthy, backed-up toilets, raw sewage in dormitories from toilet overflow, racist verbal abuse, physical abuse, including excessive solitary confinement, & deaths from lack of medical care. There is no medical staff on site to handle routine injuries & maladies, accidents, infections & diseases contracted from the filth & sewage, or emergency treatment. There is almost a complete absence of due process & prisoners can look forward to years of this kind of barbaric treatment.

The big concern for immigration, municipal, law, & prison officials was public exposure of these atrocities that could cut off the money machine from treating undocumented immigrants like beasts. The media is fully aware of this criminality & chose to turn its back on human beings suffering the unbearable. They dummied up, neglecting to even mention conditions or that the prisoners were undocumented immigrants so that public outrage would be blunted in a border region with thousands of undocumented & considerable political affinity with them.

The US prison system is one of the most bloated in the world & it is no accident that a huge percentage of them are Black & Latino, including undocumented immigrants & Black & Latino kids framed up for minor offenses. As austerity cutbacks & unemployment bear down harder on those populations, rebellion is going to become more organized, less compromised with the Democratic Party, & will pose a considerable threat to the status quo. People can stop looking for the savior from among privileged white men. This is the population that will produce those leaders because these are the people who know the full weight of racist & misogynist oppression.

L.D. Barkley was a 21-year-old spokesperson for mostly Black prisoners during the 1971 uprising against the same conditions at Attica prison in New York State. He wrote: “We are men! We are not beasts & we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace—that means each & every one of us here—has set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization & disregard for the lives of the prisoners here & throughout the United States….What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”

When New York State troopers retook the prison, they sought Barkley out & took him out by shooting him in the back. But his powerful words should ring out as our anthem to stand against the racism, inhumanity, & degradation of US immigration policy & profiteering at the expense of other human beings.

Our fullest solidarity with the prisoners at Ritmo who have now been moved & dispersed. Many of them are being subjected to torture for this uprising. Our regrets we are not yet strong enough to stay the hand of racist hatred & anti-immigration policy. But your protest was not in vain because now the barbarism stands exposed.

(Photo of Raymondville prison from Al Jazeera)

The “Mona Lisa of Afghanistan” arrested as undocumented immigrant

Mona Lisa of Afghanistan  Feb 26 2015

The renowned image of the “Mona Lisa of Afghanistan” from the cover of National Geographic in 1985 has been replaced with a copy of her mug shot from Pakistani immigration authorities. In 1984 when the iconic photo was taken, Sharbat Gula lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan, a refugee from the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Her parents had both been killed in Soviet bombing when she was 6-years-old & her grandmother & siblings walked across the mountains to get to the refugee camp in Pakistan.

Steve McCurry, the photographer, made quite a mythological travelogue out of his 17-year search to identify & locate her after she left the refugee camp & returned to Afghanistan–where she married & had kids. When McCurry located her, he asked if she had ever felt safe & she answered, “No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace & order.”

Now Pakistani authorities in Peshawar, Pakistan have detained Gula for questioning for obtaining immigration papers using a false identity. She’s one of an estimated 23,000 undocumented Afghan immigrants in Pakistan nailed for false papers. Of the 2.5 million Afghan refugees, only 1.5 million are registered; the rest are undocumented & these are being especially targeted for deportation. This is all part of Pakistan’s several-year campaign to drive refugees back to Afghanistan since US & Pakistani bombing have created millions of Pakistani refugees & there is no place to house more.

Human Rights Watch still cannot bring itself to condemn the US-NATO war in Afghanistan or drone bombing in Pakistan, but this week it issued a report criticizing Pakistan for forcibly expelling an estimated 33,000 Afghan refugees & for the crackdown & scapegoating of Afghans after the December 2014 massacre of schoolchildren by the Pakistani Taliban. The crackdown includes harassment, intimidation, beatings, & evictions from their homes by police in an acceleration of the campaign to deport Afghans back to likely homelessness, starvation, unemployment, war, & occupation.

This has gone on long enough! There are spring antiwar protests against the US-NATO wars. Grab a placard demanding “US out of Afghanistan!” “US out of Iraq!” & hit the streets.

(Photos by Steve McCurry)

Burn baby burn!

London firefighters (Dan Kitwood:Getty Images) Feb 25 2015

The austerity hustlers might want to think twice about slashing the pensions of firefighters. Here they’re protesting cutbacks to their pensions in London, England. This is only a 24-hour strike with a little fire display. Next time they may burn down Parliament. After that, they’re heading for Buckingham & may take out the whole empire. A lot of people around the world have their hopes pinned on that.

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/GettyImages)

Sign petition to participate in cultural boycott of Israel

 

The English singer & UNICEF ambassador, Robbie Williams is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this coming May. UNICEF claims its mission is to provide humanitarian assistance to women & children in poor countries. So apparently there’s a disconnect & Williams doesn’t know that just 45 miles away in Gaza, Israel killed & maimed hundreds of women & children in the siege last summer & made thousands homeless.

An Israeli concert promotion site said that since his career is “not quite in the superstardom ranks” anymore it was the perfect time for Williams to “rake in a few shekels from star-hungry fans.” We prefer to think the best of performers & think he’d want to know about Israeli ethnic cleansing. We can’t imagine the exorbitant fees paid to lure artists to Israel would reduce a humanitarian ambassador to venality & unseemly groveling for money. After all, he’s an artist, not a street monkey on a string, right?

Please sign & share this petition as part of the cultural boycott of Israel which is having a powerful impact.

https://www.change.org/p/robbie-williams-unicef-children-s-ambassador-please-don-t-play-tel-aviv-2015

New Hillary Clinton same as the old

CBS news reported that Hillary Clinton’s PR firm is coaching her to accent her “soft, feminine side” so she began chatting in homey style about her pregnancy, being a grandmother, challenging the “glass ceiling.” Previously they claim she tryed to downplay gender. Is it just me or is the old wooden androgynous Hillary indistinguishable from the new wooden feminine Hillary? She still talks like she has a pole stuck up her ass.

And as a postscript, whatever happened to politics in presidential campaigns?

Israel opens dams to flood Gaza and then claims it has no dams. How did they make the desert bloom?

Gaza flooding (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa:AP) Feb 25 2015

Last Sunday, media reported accusations from an official in Gaza that Israel opened “a number of dams” near the border with Gaza, flooding the Gaza Valley after a severe winter storm & causing many Palestinian families to evacuate along with damage to farmland. To Israel’s enormous disgrace, the story evoked outrage but not surprise. Israeli shame is blunted by the power of US support.

Soon enough, Zionist publications went ballistic (it appears their emotional apparatus is stuck in that mode) reporting Israeli claims that it has no dams in southern Israel. Most media immediately retracted the report as false.

Once again we witness the investigative shambology of modern media. Shambology enters the English language as of this post signifying a potpourri of false authority combined with canned news full of hearsay, half-truths, mysticism, baloney. You get the picture.
It should be easy enough to find out if there are any dams in Israel that could impact Gaza & they would not have to be on the border to do so. Can’t the reporters at least look at a map, query officials from Gaza & Israel about the locations, do that thing reporters are supposed to do, i.e., snoop around & ask questions? After all Israel already has an entire catalog of war & human rights crimes to account for so why add several more counts?

From what one can learn there are in fact no monstrous Hoover-type dams in Israel. But there are smaller ones including the Yeruham Dam (roughly 40 miles from Gaza) used for flood control, irrigation, & water supply. The dam is on a tributary of the HaBesor Stream which flows directly through the Gaza Valley & spills into the Mediterranean Sea.

Do we know as fact that Israel opened the dam? No we don’t. Is it possible? It’s more than likely. Is it verifiable? Absolutely. But only if reporters will do the work & then only if it is seen fit to print.

(Photo of flooding in Gaza by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/AP)

Speech I gave at veteran event in Minneapolis to raise funds for Winter Soldier Investigation 2007

With all the odious revelations and trials of military “kill teams”, it’s important to recall that it is US government policy indoctrinating young people in racism which turns them into war criminals. When they return to civilian life they, their families, and American society pay a price in PTSD, addiction, mental illness, homelessness, incarceration, suicide, violence. The antiwar movement and its veteran participants do not glorify soldiers; nor do we vilify them. These are excerpts from a talk I gave in Minneapolis at a meeting where veterans and military families protested the wars.

Of the many important participants in the antiwar movement—students, churches, women, civil rights groups, unions—there is one constituency with a towering moral authority no one disputes, and that is the veterans and active duty Gis. Their opposition to war cuts, like nothing else can, through the patriotic jingoism, racism and lies that justify war. That’s why the proponents of war are so relentless in trying to create antipathy between veterans and the antiwar movement. Everyone’s heard the story about Vietnam vets being met at airports by taunting and spitting protestors? This ugliest of slanders is intended to alienate people from the antiwar movement, in particular to isolate and demoralize veterans with misgivings or opposition to the war. It gives them no place to go for support.

In the early antiwar movement there was some confusion and discussion about the value of reaching out to veterans and Gis—but no one ever saw them as the enemies of peace; some doubted they could overcome the military brainwashing or stand up to the harassment they would certainly receive. That confusion decisively ended when hundreds and eventually thousands of vets and Gis began organizing against the war and made their opposition public with newspapers, petitions, and demonstrations and they approached the antiwar movement for collaboration and support.

Without the support of a mass civilian antiwar movement they were subject to intimidation, court martial, prison time, and often charges of mutiny or desertion in time of war, which carry a maximum penalty of death. You may not know that all of this was true in the first Iraq war in the early 90s. Black and Latino soldiers played a major part in this resistance because they were so outraged at the racism of the war against the Arab peoples.

As a result of our collaboration, defense campaigns were waged and demonstrations held to keep Gis from being prosecuted and jailed. We marched with veterans reaching out to soldiers and to support those victimized for exercising their legal right to oppose the war.

The respect we have for these brothers and sisters in the antiwar movement is signified by the fact that even today all marches are led off by contingents of veteran’s and Gis because they are a direct rebuke to the demagogues calling racist wars a fight for freedom and democracy. Thousands have been inspired and persuaded to oppose the war by their public speeches and protests

Many of the veterans who have been involved in this work for now more than 40 years are here tonight. They’re probably too modest to stand up and identify themselves but I think we should tip our hats to them and express our respect and gratitude for the remarkable contributions they have made to advancing civil liberties, the causes of peace and antiracism, and to making this a suitable world for human beings to live and love in.