Suicide rates soar among oppressed youth around the world

The resistance of the oppressed must surely be hell on earth, especially when the persecution is unremitting & if they stand alone without international solidarity for decades on end–like Palestinians & Kashmiris. There is another side to Intifada that receives too little attention but highlights the absolute imperative of building active solidarity.

In both Gaza & Kashmir, suicide rates among the young are soaring & appear to be directly related to the political conditions. It would actually be idiotic to suggest otherwise.

It’s very much to the point that suicide rates among Black teens in the US are also dramatically rising. It has long been epidemic among Native American teens. Latino teens may have a lower rate of suicide but they have a higher rate of playing with the idea & higher reported rates of feeling sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness.

This is not the world our children deserve. We have to mobilize the big battalions of international solidarity.

The GOP debate: a confederacy of asses

Watching the GOP candidates debate, you see they’re deranged, vicious, small-minded, stupid, racist up to their eyeballs. You compare that to the two Democrats outdoing each other with the populist thing. Then you realize the barbaric phase of capitalism is running out of options & it’s reflected in the crisis of leadership because it has no solutions to the problems it creates. All of the proposed solutions are at the expense of working people, especially refugees & immigrants.

If there’s a better explanation for this fiasco, please don’t hesitate to elaborate it.

Lesser evil going into overdrive; resorts to lies

Lesser evil rationalizations are going into overdrive. If people want to vote for Sanders, just do it with pride & without apology. That’s your democratic right. There’s no need to lie your ass off about his views on Israeli apartheid. And anyway, that is not the only issue he stinks on. He is rotten on immigration rights & publicly said undocumented immigrants threaten the integrity of the nation-state. That’s an artful expression of xenophobia. He is absolutely deplorable on war, pretending he’s against some of them but always voting appropriations.

Own up to it if you support him. Don’t be bullied. Stand by your own judgements & convictions. But for heaven’s sake, stop misrepresenting what he stands for. It just has to be said that if you oppose Israeli apartheid & also support him, you are wallowing in contradictions of the kind you should be uncomfortable about.

Fifth anniversary of Bahrain’s “Arab Spring” commemorated with protests

Bahraini protester (AP Photo:Hasan Jamali)  Feb 12 2016

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of Bahrain’s “Arab Spring” uprising in 2011. Bahrain is a small country but strategically located & sponsors the US Fifth Fleet–which partially explains the ferocity of the monarchical regime against democracy protesters & its ability to draw on allies like Saudi Arabia, the US, & UK to crush the uprising.

In 2012, Hamad al-Khalifa, the king of Bahrain (& client of Amal Clooney), hired John Yates, a corrupt UK cop famous for his use of wire-tapping & police surveillance, & John Timoney, a US cop notorious for militarized methods against peaceful protestors (rubber bullets, tasers, concussion grenades, pepper spray, tear gas, electrified riot shields, baton charges). Ostensibly these two thugs were hired to reform police & military to conform to “international policing standards” after Bahrain was cited by an international commission for using excessive force, torture, summary execution, & countless other human rights crimes to crush the democracy movement. Clooney’s defense of al-Khalifa was against the condemnations of the international commission.

The UK has been involved in Bahraini military & intelligence training for decades. Along with Yates, a team from Scotland Yard trained & directed the police force & trained Saudi national guards deployed against protestors in Bahrain in 2012. The UK has a long history of orchestrating police violence in Bahrain–from 1966 to 1998, Ian Henderson, a former British colonial officer led Bahrain’s secret police, gaining the sobriquet, “Butcher of Bahrain” because of the extreme kinds of torture used against thousands of dissidents, including children. Repeated calls for the UK to prosecute Henderson under international law have been ignored because of Britain’s close ties with the Bahraini dictatorship.

Both the US & UK have economic, political, military, & strategic interests in Bahrain which conflict with the democratic needs of the Bahraini people. That’s why the US under Obama & UK continue to stand by the murderous regime with armaments, combat vehicles & helicopters, communications equipment, a missile system, & a training role in the use of death squads. The US & UK claim the weaponry is for Bahrain’s external defense but Bahrain is not a country under military siege by outside armies; it is a regime conducting an all-out war against it’s own people.

With such logistical support, the regime has been emboldened to escalate violence & repression; they use special force units to target & round up human rights activists; death squads; torture (without doubt, the CIA is there training torturers), beatings, kidnappings, disappearances (including of children); indiscriminate but methodical use of pellet guns (like India uses in Kashmir) & tear gas in residential areas (termed “carpet gassing”) resulting in maiming, blinding, deaths; incarceration; house raids; road check points for routine stops, searches, & intimidation.

Standing up against all that is what makes the Bahraini democracy movement so extraordinary & such a beacon of defiance against tyranny. Here a young man at a protest today in Sitra (one of several all over the country) is holding off against riot police in front of a wall of posters with the image of dissident Saudi cleric Nimr al-Nimr who spoke out for democracy against the Saudi regime & was one of 47 people beheaded on January 2nd this year.

Bahraini protesters pelted armored vehicles & police jeeps with paint bombs, stones & petrol bombs but the US & UK-trained police moved in with tear gas to violently disperse the protest.

Our deepest respect & fullest solidarity with the democracy movement of Bahrain.

(Photo by Hasan Jamali/AP)

George Clooney doing diplomacy again; makes ass of self again

Clooney with Merkel (Reuters) Feb 13 2016

George Clooney has made a name for himself as an affable prankster. Why doesn’t he stick to what he does best? Why does a guy who spends most of his time looking pretty think he’s believable as an activist for justice? But every few years, he puts aside celebrity shindigs to grandstand around something political. This is where things get hairy for George, where he either gets in over his head or exposes that he’s not so affable after all when it comes to politics.

Usually, he comes on the scene lobbying for the US to send troops against Sudan to save Darfur. He’s always escorted on those occasions by John Prendergast, a nefarious US (probably CIA) operative in Africa. They both testify in Congress & Clooney gets arrested at a protest of himself, Prendergast, & a few movie extras–then he goes back to red carpet affairs where he’s most at home.

Now George accompanied Amal Clooney & David Miliband to Berlin to meet with Angela Merkel & discuss refugees & the work of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Amal Clooney is always promoted as a human rights lawyer but her legal resume is quite a mixed bag. She has a few prominent human rights cases but mostly she’s on the wrong side of human rights. She came to prominence defending Enron; most egregiously, she defended the king of Bahrain whilst he was brutally, monstrously crushing the Bahraini uprising. For those who witnessed that extraordinary uprising for democracy so violently crushed, her defense of the king is more than enough condemnation for one lifetime.

David Miliband heads up the IRC–speaking of nefarious. It’s a front group for unspecified establishment malevolence. The board of directors includes Timothy F. Geithner (a protégé of Henry Kissinger & the Obama official who presided over the Wall Street bank bailouts). Its trustees include Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell (the war crimes of those four need no elaboration); Elie Wiesel (who publicly accused parents in Gaza of using their children as human shields to justify Israel’s carpet bombing siege in 2014); magnates from JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, including Felix Rohatyn (who presided over the dismantling of social services in NYC during the 1970s) & James Wolfensohn (past president of the World Bank who dismantled social services on several continents); & the usual cosmetic array of celebrities like Clooney.

Too harsh on George? If he ever abandons his nefarious allies like Prendergast & the IRC & if he ever speaks out against US wars or takes a stand with Black youth against police violence, we can reconsider our contempt. Until then, he’s either a fool or a shill for the power elite. We don’t like to insult people’s intelligence, so it’s likely the latter.

Of course, the real question here is, what is the IRC up to with its phony concern about refugees? If the front group had any real concern, it would be denouncing NATO for sending warships against unarmed refugees in plastic dinghies & demanding the EU open the borders. Anything short of that is collusion.

(Photo of the Clooneys & Merkel from Reuters)

 

The political cesspool of the Democratic Party

Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem (Getty Images)

Kissinger and Clinton

Madeline Albright apologized for saying women who don’t support Clinton deserve a special place in hell. Who gives a rat’s ass! There’s nothing she could ever say that would excuse her for what she said about the children of Iraq.

Bernie Sanders nailed Clinton last night for her political friendship with Kissinger. But when you support the Democratic Party, that’s the dilemma since it includes a few smooth-talkers like Sanders but more war-makers like Albright, Obama, & the Clintons. Incidentally, Steinem’s primary political mission remains stumping for the Democratic Party every election. She apparently remains untroubled by the unsavory associations. Conclusions can be drawn from that.

To photo is Steinem & Albright; bottom photo is Kissinger  & Clinton (who Steinem is stumping for)

(Photographer unidentified)

The historic imperative of our era: rebuild the international antiwar movement

I’ve been a participant in the antiwar movement since 1966–now fifty years. I’m not alone; the US antiwar movement today is sustained by the activism of my generation who cannot reconcile to US militarism & its barbaric wars. That’s likely true around the world because in the Vietnam War era, antiwar activity was massive & international.

For decades, on a moment’s notice, thousands could be mobilized to protest military escalations. That prevailed throughout the 1980s & the US proxy wars in Central America but declined dramatically after the Gulf War began in 1990. To my mind that decline has never been sufficiently evaluated politically to understand why. But as an activist who watched the process, I think it has to do, at least in part, with the overwhelming savagery employed by the US military against Iraq. It was terrifying & it may have daunted the fighting spirit of many activists.

Now we are again faced with terrifying & daunting savagery as NATO deploys warships against unarmed refugees in dinghies; with bombers from several nations over Iraq & Syria; with periodic Israeli carpet bombing sieges over Gaza. The 14-year war in Afghanistan has inured us to wars as a permanent fixture of life on planet Earth.

But the only reason that savagery escalates is because there has been no countervailing & international political opposition like existed against the Vietnam War. It is the most imperative political mission of our era to rebuild that movement which was comprised of students, women, Blacks, Latinos, church groups, trade union members, LGBT activists, liberals, communists, socialists, young, old. We cannot stand daunted & let the war-makers tear this planet asunder.

My political generation was taught by our elders that war is a clarion call, a priority to which every other political commitment is subordinate. We learned to integrate our activities into the antiwar movement: as example, contingents of women marched to express the special concerns of women about war; contingents of Black & Latino activists marched because they understood the racism of war.

It is time to rebuild that movement–if necessary, one placard at a time. War is not an abstraction nor a tertiary issue to those sustaining the bombing. Some claim there is no antiwar movement because cynicism allows them to sit on their duffs deploring the state of the human race. If there is no antiwar movement in your area, take initiatives to make it happen. Find allies because they do exist. Everywhere there have always been men & women of good will who deplore war & are willing to take a stand against it.

Rep. John Lewis endorses Clinton by lying through his ass

John Lewis (D-Ga) with Congressional Black Caucus

It’s not in the official history books of the US Civil Rights Movement nor certainly is it reported in media, but the Democratic Party (DP) pulled the same maneuver with that movement as it did with the women’s movement: it’s operatives worked tirelessly, often ruthlessly, to railroad independent political action into the death grip of the DP & turn it into an electoral apparatus rather than an activist movement. The DP succeeded–& the civil rights movement ended long before it had achieved solid ground in ending racist oppression.

Uncompromising Black activists allied in the Black Power movement were hounded by FBI & police. Many ended up in jail on frame-up charges; some were outright murdered; some fled to other countries.

One of those who moved seamlessly from leadership of the Civil Rights Movement to the DP was John Lewis, a Democratic US Representative from Georgia since 1986. Lewis became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1963; was a Freedom Rider; spoke at the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech; led the demonstration known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Lewis has a chest full of medals from his service to the DP, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama He belongs to the Congressional Black Caucus, & sits on important Congressional caucuses–like the one on road safety & another on COPD, the lung disease. Talk about taming a tiger!

His service to the republic is primarily keeping Black voters within the political stranglehold of the DP: making sure they register to vote but making damn sure they don’t protest. Though he played a leading role in the Civil Rights Movement, his response to Black Lives Matter has been primarily to chide them to ‘understand the way of peace & nonviolence’.

There’s no record of opposition by Lewis when the Clinton presidency continued the so-called “war on drugs,” which was always a war on the Black community, especially the youth–to prevent any re-emergence of civil rights activity. Martial law was employed in the Black community & thousands of young Black teens were executed or ended up with life sentences for smoking marijuana. But not a peep out of our man Lewis. Was he too busy monitoring road safety & making the lecture circuit on COPD?

Now Lewis has entered the presidential campaign to endorse Clinton. He’s sure to be rewarded lavishly for that & might even end up on the board of the Clinton Foundation. But to reap that munificence, he had to lie through his teeth–which is probably old hat for him now. He actually stood before media & said he’d never seen Bernie Sanders in the Civil Rights Movement but he had seen both Clintons. Talk about degrading yourself for a little largesse! But of course, once you sell your soul, it isn’t worth much any more.

Far be it from principled political people to endorse Sanders as president because he marched for civil rights in the 1960s. But Lewis is making an ass of himself by claiming that he, as a central figure in the movement, remembers who he did & did not see in crowds of thousands of civil rights protesters. The Clintons were unknown entities–especially in progressive circles & the social movements. They were elitists who functioned politically as elitists & shunned political protest.

In the 1960s, Hillary was still in her Barry Goldwater period. Goldwater was a US senator who called Martin Luther King, Jr. a “demagogue,” opposed the Freedom Rides & sit-ins, & voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling it a dire threat to Blacks that would create a police state. Goldwater was called “a hopeless captive of the lunatic calculating right-wing extremists” by baseball legend & civil rights activist Jackie Robinson. MLK, Jr. said if Goldwater was elected, the nation would erupt into “violence & riots, the like of which we have never seen before.” So at what point does Lewis claim he saw her marching for civil rights? Did he recognize her after she became first lady?

Photo is John Lewis with members of the Congressional Black Caucus at press conference endorsing Clinton.

{PS: Lewis never saw me either, but I was there.}

Trudeau sends Canadian warship for NATO fleet to Aegean to stop refugees

Caveat of the day: never trust a politician, especially one who runs a country belonging to NATO. That’s like trusting horse manure not to smell.

Justin Trudeau, who takes smarmy to new depths, made a big photo op spectacle of greeting Syrian refugees at the airport. Now he’s deployed a Canadian warship in the NATO fleet headed to the Aegean Sea to stand off plastic dinghies carrying refugees, including children, elderly, infirm, & disabled.

The new Trudeau just like the old Harper–only sleazier.

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