Monday, September 1, 2014
It was a respectful dialogue, and that is one of the things I love about my bridge community.
My friend Fang's sign can only be partially seen here but says in full:
By carrying this sign, he is creating a space for the discussion to happen. For a long time he had a sign that said D.U. = WAR CRIME but most of his audience didn't know what D.U. stood for and probably just read it as Duh. So maybe stupidity = war crime?
Which bring us to ISIS. Click through to Vimeo to watch this video on the confusing situation where the US first arms militants like ISIS and then subsequently bombs them. Or, if you prefer text to video, you might want to read Edward Snowden's latest revelation, documents showing that Israel's spy agency Mossad trained ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, aided by the CIA and Britain's M-16.
Pentagon Hymn, the shores of Tripoli from MarkFiore on Vimeo.
Our ten year old grandson told us that he loves his new teacher, that she is young, that she told them about ISIS and what bad guys they are, and that she mentioned that in 5th grade they would be studying the Bill of Rights. Then she mentioned that people standing on the bridge every week in a nearby town is an example of the First Amendment. Our grandson raised his hand and told her some of those people were his grandparents.
I worry when I hear that kids are going back to school learning about ISIS, but not Ferguson. (Maybe she'll cover that, too, who knows?) I've seen news reports that some school administrators are telling their teachers "change the subject" if Ferguson comes up. I'm sure many educators will ignore that particular directive.
Others have put forth a hash tag #FergusonSyllabus to help organize material to teach about racism in the USA, police brutality, and let us hope some lively debate on whether racist policing is a standalone problem or part of a larger class war in which people of color are far more likely to be low income than white people are. And how white racism sows confusion.
The more confusing, the better for our corporate masters. How do you explain ISIS to 5th graders -- and still keep your job? Maybe Irony Guard would help.
Today is Labor Day when educators everywhere rest an extra day and write lesson plans. Will they be teaching that organizers called for people to stop driving at 4:30pm today and use emergency blinkers for 4 1/2 minutes in solidarity with the demand that Police Officer Darren Wilson be charged and tried for the death of Michael Brown?
Because Ferguson. Everywhere. Now.
Morgan Bradley (left) asks school girls what they plan to be when they grow up as protesters demonstrated against the police shooting of Michael Brown at the Ferguson police station on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Photo by Robert Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Popular Resistance "Over 1,000 Protest In Ferguson, Call For Highway Shutdown Monday"
Thursday, August 14, 2014
|Photo from our drive home from the "public meeting"|
(I would have liked to be in Ferguson, Missouri -- but instead watched the I Am Mike Brown livestream. Huge peaceful crowds, mad honking in support, and when police begin driving through crowds running their sirens the whole crowd turns toward them, raising both hands to protest racist police brutality.)
Now the Pentagon, at my expense and yours, brings around a lame presentation with scores of highly paid men, some government employees but even more Pentagon contractors. As you enter the room you are pounced on by salesmen who try to steer you through a series of stations with exciting videos of missiles flying through the air and charts of how well the interceptor missiles perform in perfectly flat deserts.
There is a lot of emphasis on "you getting your questions answered."
Mark and I were sharing flyers that offered six basic objections to a missile site in Rangeley (thanks Bruce Gagnon):
1) Ground-based mid-course missile defense systems have not proven themselves to work effectively thus deployment is way premature assuming one could make a case they were even needed.
2) Huge waste of tax payer dollars. To which I added: bringourwardollarshome.org
3) Missile defense systems are destabilizing and fuel new arms race – particularly with Russia & China.
4) Pentagon often says these systems are needed to protect against Iran & North Korea but neither have nuclear weapons delivery systems capable of reaching continental US (Iran does not even have a nuclear weapon). In reality these systems are aimed at Russia & China.
5) Missile defense systems are key elements in US first-strike attack planning – they are the ‘shield’ to be used after a US first-strike attack is launched. The US Space Command has been war gaming such attacks for years.
6) The environmental degradation to the mountains east of Rangeley, and the impacts on wildlife, are totally unacceptable. The idea of driving 55-foot long interceptor missiles from Bangor to the Rangeley area on country roads is ludicrous.
Because we had done our own research, we weren't really there to gather information from the military on its own project. That would have been like relying on a car salesman to get all you needed to know before buying a car.
For example, though the missiles supposedly are to defend the U.S. from threats from Iran and North Korea, none of the guys in dress uniforms could tell my husband how far it is from Rangeley to Iran.
The event had the feel of a recruiting opportunity, but all the young people were missing (UMF is still on summer break).
If you wanted to leave comments they had a court reporter hired to record you and then transcribe them. You could also write them out on paper.
One of the sales guys steered me toward talking to Sen. Angus King's regional representative, who said he could express no opinions but was there to listen and bring my comments back. After I spoke he gave me his card and asked me to "articulate my views" in an email, which he would forward.
I went downstairs toward the sound of laughter to see if I could hand out some more flyers. Found some custodians who were glad to talk about the missiles and each wanted a flyer. One said she remembered the big public hearing a couple of years ago about the environmental impact of low-flying Mass. Air National Guard planes training over our area. You won that one, she noted.
I'm pretty sure that's why the missile boys hired a PR firm to create an event called a public meeting but designed instead as a trade show. The meeting part meant "us meeting you and telling you what we want you to know."
Almost no one we spoke to on the street in Farmington later knew anything about the proposed missile site. Everyone seemed glad to get a flyer.
|Ridgely Fuller of CODEPINK sharing a flyer for Maine's Peace Walk coming up Oct 11.|
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
|Source: Mondoweiss "Israel, your brand is tanking"|
Carolyn Cole photo for LA Times of Ahmed Wady mourning a friend in makeshift graveyard in Gaza City
As Israel's image plummets around the world those still in the Zionist bubble -- for instance, the U.S. Congress -- continue applauding the vicious attack on Gaza that is turning the tide of public opinion. In disgusting outpourings of support for violence against Palestinian civilians, both the House and the Senate have shamed themselves. Yup, even the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and Sen. Bernie Saunders (I) have Israel's back and agreed to send even more ammo and weapons. And President Obama signed the bill.
Beltway unanimous agreement on anything would be incomprehensible were it not for the knowledge that the $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel each year is taxpayer supported corporate welfare for weapons manufacturers that make huge campaign contributions to candidates each year: Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, Elbit Systems Ltd., Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Gruman and Raytheon.
And then there is AIPAC, a cleverly designed front for various Zionist political donors. Maine Senator Susan Collins is heavily involved with them and, not coincidentally, in leading the call for more support of Israel's racist violence. Here's a video I made yesterday of some of her constituents in her Portland, Maine office reading the names of the children Israel has killed in Gaza since July 7. Word to Senator Collins: we will not be silent.
Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Seymour Melman among others warned of the threat of Fascist Zionist Menachim Begin's "Freedom" Party via the New York Times in 1948.
Letter That Albert Einstein Sent to the New York Times
1948, Protesting the Visit of Menachem Begin
Nowadays the NYT is wholly captive to the Zionist narrative, as this video made by their Jerusalem bureau chief Judi Rudoren's husband amply demonstrates.
And, this just in:
Saturday, August 2, 2014
|A Ku Klux Klan procession in Maine in 1923. The KKK in Maine targeted immigrants, Catholics and Jews.|
I thought studying genocides like the Holocaust was supposed to help humans become less racist? This was to have worked by exposing the ugliness that racism entails. Instead, it seems to make certain adherents even more blatantly racist as long as they're convinced that they're on the "right" side.
Then again, it's probably more a case of the super wealthy buying public opinion by catering the the lowest impulses of human beings: fear, xenophobia, and the tendency to look for scapegoats when things aren't going so well.
|Source: "This Armed Militia Is Protecting The Border From Central American Children"|
BuzzFeed article by Adrian Carrasquillo giving photo credit to Blaine Cooper TX/Patriots Information Hotline
As public opinion against the Zionist project shifts in the face of brutal attacks on civilians in the open air prison pen that is Gaza under siege, there is immediate pushback in the form of name calling. One cannot post a tweet sympathetic to Palestinians without drawing nasty (often paid) commenters and the accusation of anti-Semitism. If the person posting is Jewish and has turned against the apartheid policies of Israel, the nasty backlash accuses them of being self-hating. Jewish critics of Israel are an especially big threat because the claim of Zionists to speak for all Jews is the shakiest premise and the one most in need of vigorous defense.
Mainstream media outlets continue their collusion in propping up that particular lie. Here in Portland, Maine a Gaza support rally that drew 150 immigrants, students and ordinary citizens was characterized by Maine Public Broadcast Network as a shouting match between Zionists and rally goers. That's after a screaming Zionist showed up and began spouting hateful invective.
Challenged on MPBN's biased coverage, CEO Mark Vogelzang responded:
I wanted to let you know that this was a very short news piece within Maine Things Considered that our radio newscaster cited from the account published in the Portland Press Herald. We did not have an MPBN reporter on the scene. Here is the text of the story.
—-(Portland) -- Portland Police stepped in to separate a man and his son carrying an Israeli flag and a sign condemning Hamas from a crowd that had gathered in Monument Square to denounce Israel for the ongoing violence in Gaza. The Portland Press Herald reports that this is the third pro-Palestinian protest in Portland in three weeks. The paper says protesters argued loudly with the man before police intervened. ---
We have covered recent protests in Portland, and plan to cover the Seeds of Peace camp next weekend. I hope this is helpful.
|Gaza support rally, Portland, Maine July 25, 2014. Photo credit: Pat Taub|
Whether it's racism for profit or racism as a nativist ideology, it's just as ugly and just as dangerous to the future peace of the world.
Monday, July 14, 2014
|Source: Organizing Notes "Message from Ukraine" -- worth a read (trigger warning).|
We U.S. taxpayers now find ourselves in the fearful state of supporting both neo-Nazis in Ukraine and Zionist fascists in Israel.
At home, death is just a gun shot away.
Citizens brandishing weapons are permitted to roam our streets, sometimes threatening children made refugees by violence and poverty in Central America,
|Source: Breitbart "Leaked images reveal children warehoused in crowded US cells, border patrol overwhelmed"|
|Source: The Daily Banter|
whilst bullies scream at low income women seeking health care services. Rapists are protected rather than prosecuted by authorities at our universities. Corporations who profit by raping Earth are given a free ride as their media outlets pump out lies packaged as news to confound the masses.
Hitler’s propagandist Leni Riefenstahl noted that her work succeeded due to the “submissive void” of the German people, “especially the intelligentsia.”
How did this become our way of life?
The U.S. as a nation founded on settlement, genocide and slavery will reap what it sows -- while the fear engendered by projecting hate onto our fellow human beings works to keep us ignorant.
|Source: RT "Allan Sørensen, the Middle Eastern correspondent for the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad, said that he took the image on Wednesday in Sderot, a city about two kilometers from Gaza."|
This season of Israeli youth cheering the bombing of trapped civilians in Gaza while the world watches soccer matches that displaced tens of thousands of poor people in Brazil makes for a strange vacation.
I've been in Australia as images of children torn apart by bombs I helped pay for scroll across the screen of my self-harvested news. People I've met in Oz are no more informed than my fellow Americans, relying as they do on corporations for cues on where to pay attention.
|Source: Electronic Intifada "Urgent call from Gaza civil society: act now!"|
Or, in the case of the alternative types I usually find myself among, eschewing television or news of any sort for cultural pursuits that dull the sounds of screaming coming from next door.
An uneasy few noticed as Article 9 of Japan's constitution crumbled and the former imperial rapists of east Asia began to remilitarize at the behest of their best buddy the U.S.
A handful of Australians were shocked to hear their prime minister greet the visiting prime minister of Japan with the claim that "We admired the skill and the sense of honor that [Japanese imperial troops] brought to their task.” Some attribute Australia's support of U.S. 21st century foreign wars to the perception that the Yanks saved them from Japan's imperial war machine right on their very own shores, and Australians’ fear of their inability to defend themselves as European settlers far from home. European settlers who shot the aboriginal peoples of Australia on sight as "vermin" according to a few appalled observers.
My good friend Janet Weil recommended I read Hope Into Practice: Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears, a book by Penny Rosenwasser about the struggle to rise above fear as a defining force. When I see Janet soon we'll discuss Rosenwasser's finding that she and the other members of the Jewish diaspora were raised on the constant fear of their own violent death. I think this will shed some light on a question my own students raised this year as we considered history and current events: how can Zionists as survivors of the Nazi Holocaust project so much violence and suffering onto Palestinians?
And I would add the questions, how can so many other Jews (not all by any means) remain silent about it? And how can the U.S. support this?
The same way they can support fascist militias slaughtering civilians in Kiev, dear children. Amid fear -- and fear-engendered ignorance -- for all.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
I would boycott Hobby Lobby, the corporation that won its Supreme Court case to be able to deny birth control health coverage to its female employees, but I've never shopped there in my life (guess what -- I never will).
Ironically, it's a craft store chain with an enormous female customer base. Hobby Lobby could be the perfect test case for the power of non-cooperation because if every woman who shops there stopped, the chain would be forced to close in a matter of weeks, possibly days.
Many will see this landmark court case as evidence that electing liberals is super important because of whom they appoint to SCOTUS. In the puppet show that is U.S. electoral "democracy" the SCOTUS, POTUS and Congressional players are deployed to mimic balance of power while the super wealthy corporate interests behind them all continue to amass fortunes and squeeze the rest of us into our austerity boxes.
I see the Hobby Lobby debacle as prima facie evidence that corporate health care is the ultimate oxymoron, because corporations are about profit and health is about, well, health. Most every rich country on the planet figured this out decades ago.
Us? We got the "Affordable" Health Care Act to further enrich the nasty health insurance corporations that wrecked our system in the first place.
Dr. Margaret Flowers was one of eight sheros who stood up in the Senate hearings that kicked off crafting what conservatives vilify as "Obamacare" without allowing a voice at the table for the option most doctors and citizens wanted: single payer. After being dragged out of the hearing at the direction of its chair, corporate rent boy Sen. Max Baucus, Dr. Flowers went on to lead a movement for popular resistance to government of, by and for corporations.
Or, one could say, by rich men.
...of the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, 198 were women, or 8 percent of the total. (Bloomberg study)In case you needed any more evidence that rule by patriarchs is not healthy for children and other living things, the U.S. maternal mortality rate has doubled in the past 25 years while the newborn mortality rate for babies born in the U.S. is higher than that of any other wealthy country.
For an explanation of why these basic health metrics continue declining, I suggest reading Birth Matters by midwife educator and pioneer Ina May Gaskin. It is one of the most thought-provoking public policy analysis books I've read in recent years. An excerpt:
We now find ourselves in a situation in the US and in many other parts of the world where women are increasingly being denied what is perhaps the most powerful and primal experience a woman can have: the right the give birth without the use of medical interventions unless these prove necessary. Women have been taught to believe that they must sacrifice themselves in important ways in order to have a baby -- that the greater good for the baby means that the mother must submit herself to greater risk, even if that means a C-section for which there is no medical reason.Why, you may ask, would a woman have a C-section for no medical reason? For-profit health care strikes again: the price differential is about $20,000.
But Gaskin looks a lot deeper into why a system of "health" would systematically disempower half the people it serves.
And that's the most hopeful thing about the Hobby Lobby decision. It may just be the catalyst that sets off a mass movement of women in the U.S. unwilling to see their daughters and granddaughters crushed under the juggernaut of for-profit medical care and government. All the women in this country would need to do to claim their power and stand up to corporate government would be to stop supporting it. If all of us did this together, suddenly, the system would crumble.
|CODEPINK's Alli McCracken in action outside the Supreme Court, which has a huge buffer zone to keep protestors away from its doors -- but denied Planned Parenthood clinics the same protection in another bad decision last week.|
Sunday, June 29, 2014
|June 28, 2014 Boat Rally at Henoko. Via Masami Mel Kawamura/Okinawa Outreach. Photo: Toyozato Tomoyuki|
While some people are born into resistance, others wake up later in life. Check out this amazing testimony from an Israeli American woman on how and why she finally stopped letting Zionist wool be pulled over her eyes:
Thanks to Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss for this interview. Some of its salient points, as quoted in the article that accompanies the video:
"[Palestinians] are oppressed terrible. They are tortured. They are imprisoned for no reason. Their land is stolen. What is going on there is a pogrom."
"[American Jews] do such a harm… They don’t understand that they are fooled by the Zionists. There is no connection between Judaism and Zionism. The Zionists just use Jews. Jews are so naive… They don’t know what Israel is. Israel is a monster.”
Maine activist Regis Tremblay -- whose great film on Jeju Island resistance has met with international acclaim -- posted this news of South Korean resistance to corporate takeover of their ancestral lands.
This has to be one of the most amazing non-violent protests ever. Elderly Korean grandmothers, naked and bare-breasted down to their panties, chained together in a trench covered by a makeshift tarp, along with nuns, are hauled away by hundreds of police. This happened today [June 11] in the town of Miryang, South Korea. The people have been protesting the construction of massive electrical transmission lines and towers through their town. These people, mostly women and nuns give hope to the rest of the world, and silent Americans, that non-violent direct action works and scares the crap out of the corporate state.I could go on all day with news of brave resistance, but I'll conclude with this one very, very close to home.
Detroit as a city was gutted when its industries were killed by Clinton's NAFTA giveaway to the wealthy, then declared bankruptcy and had an "emergency manager" appointed by Michigan's governor during the second Obama administration. What could go wrong?
Thousands of families unable to make their payment to the water district are having their water cut off. WTF?? Here's a quote from a resident:
"Our water bill is $250 /month & we owe about $3K this yr. The only thing we using is water for cooking/washing up" -Highland Park residentHere's what people are organizing to do about it:
How you can support while the struggle is still a few steps away from your tap or backyard paradise? Help get the word out.