Wishful thinking & cognitive dissonance about Bernie Sanders’ politics

Sanders in NY debate

For many people, the earth moved when Bernie Sanders said “We are gonna have to treat the Palestinian people with respect & dignity.” But it only shows the poverty of political thinking in the US when people laud that rhetorical sentiment & ignore his preceding comment suggesting Palestinians are terrorists. He said, “Of course Israel has a right not only to defend themselves but to live in peace & security without fear of terrorist attacks. That is not a debate.”

In case it’s not absolutely clear to Sanders, Israel is not defending itself against Palestinian terrorists when it razes homes & playgrounds in the West Bank to make room for Zionist settlers from all over Kingdom Come; when it summarily executes dozens of Palestinians & plants knives on them; when it kidnaps & incarcerates hundreds of kids who it tortures in its gulag; when it bombs homes, schools, hospitals, mosques & marketplaces to smithereens in Gaza; when it destroys tunnels for smuggling in foods, medicines, supplies necessary to human life in Gaza. Any concession on that score is absolutely unacceptable.

It’s a problem when people only hear what they want to hear & tune out the rest. It’s a political malady combining wishful thinking & cognitive dissonance. But the problem isn’t really what Sanders did & did not say or mean. Rather it’s our understanding of what the office of US president stands for & whose interests does it serve. The earth will finally move when people begin to understand the elementary truth that the president presides for corporations & bankers, not for working people.

(Photo of Sanders is screen shot from video of debate)

There’s no complaint department to whoever organizes Lexulous, the online game akin to Scrabble & which can be played on FB. But it doesn’t use standard Scrabble guidelines regarding proper nouns (which are not allowed in Scrabble) & often uses French & Spanish words in the English version. One can live with that, but most outrageously it allows the use of jew & jewing as verbs. Those words can’t even be found nowadays in respectable dictionaries.

Does anyone know who are behind Lexulous so a complaint can be lodged?

Please take a moment to sign this petition about human rights crimes in Kashmir

https://www.change.org/p/un-human-rights-council-investigate-india-for-human-rights-violations-in-kashmir?recruiter=48473387&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Please take a moment to sign & share this petition. We need to besiege the Indian government with such petitions to expose its brutal occupation of Kashmir & rally international support for justice & self-determination in Kashmir.

Indian troops close down human rights group’s office in Srinagar, Kashmir

JKCCS office siege 4:16:2016 (from FB wall of Khurram Parvez)

This is the scene earlier today when police laid siege to the offices of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which had organized a press conference where family members of the young girl sexually assaulted by Indian armed forces in Handwara could address the media.

Indian police prevented journalists from entering the office, prevented staff members of JKCSS from leaving, & banned the press conference. It isn’t certain if the complete internet blockade in Kashmir is still in force.

Nothing exposes the criminality of the Indian occupation more than the denial of democratic rights & the shutdown of access to journalists & social media.

End the occupation! India out of Kashmir! Long live Kashmiri self-determination.

(Photo from FB wall of Khurram Parvez, a staff member of JKCCS)

Another massive antiwar march in Sana’a, Yemen

Antiwar march in Sana'a,  Yemen 4:15:2016

Millions of Yemenis hit the streets on March 26th to protest one year of massive Saudi-led, US & UK-backed bombing which has created a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, including child starvation, where more than 82% of the population now needs some form of humanitarian aid & critical infrastructure has been destroyed. There was barely a peep in media about the protests.

This is the scene today in Sana’a demanding an end to the war against Yemen. There was no media coverage at all but only a photo of flooding in north Yemen. The flooding is newsworthy but since they don’t report massive flooding dislocating millions of people in countries around the world, it’s curious that the Yemen flooding caught media attention. The flooding is significant for sure, but the over one year of carpet bombing is more significant because with a devastated infrastructure, the flooding damage is even more catastrophic. Antiwar protests of millions whilst the bombing goes on are of monumental political importance & again there wasn’t a peep in media about them.

Our deepest respect & solidarity with the Yemeni protests. Long live the Yemeni uprising!

End the war against Yemen!

(Photo is from twitter feed of Yemeni activist Hisham Al-Omeisy)

Polls, which are anyway tendentious things to manipulate public opinion, claim Clinton is way ahead of Sanders in NY state. It’s not a backhanded endorsement of Sanders to ask how it’s possible that Clinton is slated to win NY when Sanders drew a crowd of over 15,000 people. Clinton spends most of her time at elite, upscale fundraisers with bouncers to keep the plebeians out. So how does she lead the race? Do only Wall Street bankers register & vote?

Cable news programs have been nattering on for days trying to undo the exposures now evident to anyone paying attention that primary elections are an eclectic mess run differently from one state to another, signifying something different in each state; that the game is rigged with this superdelegates scam; & that American electoral democracy is something of a fraud.

How will the prestige of the presidency ever recover from this election campaign? Is it possible the “left” will finally catch up with most working people & recognize a charade when they see one?

The legal team from Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) are being denied access to the 16-year-old minor girl who alleged sexual assault against an Indian soldier. She, along with her aunt & father, are being held in police custody without having committed a crime.

Perhaps Kashmiri & Indian friends can suggest what we from around the world can do to put pressure on the Indian government? We could start a petition & circulate it widely on social media. Petitions are part of educating & can be very effective. We could also start a FB page & twitter up a storm.

What do people think?

Tears Don’t Dry In Kashmir

I’m not particularly vainglorious but I am proud that one of my posts on Kashmir was published in Countercurrents. The only downside is that now I’ll have to consider cleaning up my language. No more epithets which so easily roll off my tongue.

All such inconsequentials aside, what’s wonderful is that more people around the world will read about the Indian occupation, hopefully begin to investigate & understand it, & begin to extend active solidarity with the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.

http://www.countercurrents.org/scully130416.htm

Bernie Sanders’ equivocations on Israel catching up with his supporters

 

Mary Scully's photo.

 

Bernie Sanders is getting caught in his contradictions on the issue of Israel–only showing once again that you can’t play both sides of the street when it comes to apartheid & colonialism. Many Palestinian supporters will willing to let him try but Israel & its Zionist acolytes would have no part of his equivocations.

A few days ago the Sanders campaign announced they had hired Simone Zimmerman, a J Street activist, as the Jewish outreach director. J Street is a pro-Israel group that supports a bantustate solution for Palestinians & actively opposes BDS. It’s essentially the AIPAC of liberal Zionism. They don’t like the excesses of the Israeli government–like carpet bombing of Gaza–but are in full accord with a Jewish-only state & with the entire colonial project of Zionism which necessitates ethnic cleansing.

Zimmerman is a left Zionist of the J Street tradition who opposes Israel’s occupation & actively opposed the carnage in Gaza in 2014. She is also untypically willing to engage in debate with BDS activists. So if Sanders is going to play both sides of the street to get the nomination, Zimmerman is a good person to have on staff.

But only two days after her appointment was announced, Zimmerman was suspended by the Sanders campaign because the Washington Free Beacon, a sketchy news website, unearthed a FB post she wrote in March 2015 that was critical of Netanyahu. She wrote: “Bibi Netanyahu is an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative asshole. He is the embodiment of the ugliest national hubris & tone-deafness towards the international community….Fuck you, Bibi, for daring to insist that you legitimately represent even a fraction of the Jews in this world.” She went on to say he “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people.” She later edited out a few of the expletives & vulgarities though it wasn’t those which offended Zionists but her critical views of Bibi-ass.

The appointment of Zimmerman brought out the big guns of the US Zionist establishment, including Abe Foxman, formerly a hot shot in the Anti-Defamation League, & Ronald S. Lauder, head of the Estee Lauder cosmetic company (a target of BDS) & president of the World Jewish Congress (one of the biggest & most influential Zionist groups in the world)–who both called on Sanders to fire her.

This fiasco illustrates the Catch-22 of lesser evil politics. As the crisis of modern capitalism deepens & broadens, as the crisis of leadership becomes more acute for the ruling elite & more importantly for working people, it isn’t possible to play both sides of the street if you want to serve justice & social transformation. Principled, uncompromising politics are required for that.

Photo is Sanders trying to sweat out his contradictions.

(Photo from AP)

The Zionist politics of Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone & Shimon Peres in 2006 (Maan News.Moti Milrod)

Sharon Stone is the latest celebrity to cancel a film project in Mississippi because of the state’s recently passed anti-LGBT law. Consistency appears to be as big a challenge for her in politics as it is in acting since for years she has flaunted her relationship with apartheid Israel.

She grandstands frequent visits to Israel under the guise of humanitarianism, visiting children in hospitals & sitting on panels with Robert De Niro & other know-nothings to discuss peace in the Middle East. To show her sophisticated grasp of the issues of colonialism, apartheid, & ethnic cleansing, she said: “I look at the absence of peace as a fatal disease. If we get into the deep-rooted history of the conflict, we’ll never see peace, & that’s fatal.” Theoretically very akin to Clinton’s, “Hamas provokes Israel. They often pretend to have people in civilian garb acting as though they are civilians who are Hamas fighters.”

Stone is a Buddhist (of sorts) but her 13-year-old son conducted his bar mitzva at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. She may feign some sort of emotional attachment to Israel but in most cases you scratch that sentimentality stuff & you find money-grubbing or rightwing commitments. It’s almost an iron law of rotten politics.

Photo is obligatory photo op with Shimon Peres from Stone’s 2006 visit to Israel.

(Photo from Maan News by Moti Milrod)

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