Saturday, June 12, 2021

CANNIBALIZING THE EARTH

Now that our planet is up to 441 ppm, the highest level since  between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, we take a look at the many ways humans cannibalize the Earth. This week we look at one of these issues: cannibalizing people.  In subsequent issues we hope to look at other areas such as forestry, mining, agriculture, pastoralism, militarization, and war, all of it propped up by the Capitalist system of “unlimited growth.” 

 

A recent Chris Hedges article, “Dying for an I-Phone” points out that because most products now reaching the U.S. are manufactured in China, which has a rock-bottom system to exploit factory workers, including same-sex dormitories, obligations to pay for rent and food, overtime work, and abandonment when their working life ends, it has reduced the bargaining power of workers globally and especially in the U.S. His allegation suggests that, if conditions for the U.S. worker are ever to improve, off-shoring will have to become a thing of the past. Perhaps this image, featured in the article, says more than a thousand words:

 


The U.S. Congress still can’t kick the habit of expecting people in U.S. prisons to work for free.  And by denying workers a minimum wage of $15, which if it were to become a reality, would still not afford them a livable wage, Congress effectively consigns minimum wage workers to indentured servitude. And Congress is still unable even to consider the notion that the right to  health and housing might be a human right!

 

But perhaps the best example of raw cannibalism rests on the report just released by ProPublica via a FOIA request, that the ultra rich, people like Bezos, Gates, Buffet,  and Bloomberg, find ways around the tax code that permits them to pay no taxes whatsoever. So for example, the world’s richest man, Bezos, paid nothing in 2007 and 2011. Right behind him, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg never paid any tax. Carl Icahn, famous for insider trading, remained tax-free two years running. And for three consecutive years Soros avoided paying any tax.

 

These titans benefit from tax-payer-funded infrastructure, roads, bridges,  communication lines, internet access, public transportation bringing their workers to their plants and campuses and so forth, but all feel free not to support it. Their wealth accumulates from the exploding value of their assets, both stock and property. Such gains are only taxable when they are sold. Over a four-year period (2014-2918) the richest of them paid an average tax of 3.4% on their gains.

 

Meantime, during these same years, working middle class Americans saw their net worth grow on average by about $65,000 after taxes, most of it the result of real estate appreciation. In 2016, the average net worth of White families was $171,000, whereas Black families, and Hispanic families fared less well, their net assets being valued at $17,150 and $20,070 respectively.  The White family had 8 times the wealth of the typical Black family, and five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. But for minimum wage workers receiving $7.25 an hour, with no deductions, their yearly salary of $15,080.00 is subject to .062 yearly tax, or $934.91.  They live from paycheck to paycheck. For the multibillion-dollar titans such a tax rate would require them to pay $62,000. per every million dollars earned.

 

That Big Men like Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates, Soros et al pay nothing is visible.  It is visible now in the millions of people having to live in tents along railroad rights of way throughout the United States.  It is visible in the over 100 tents now raised in People’s Park in Berkeley.  This houseless phenomenon is directly owing to the financial gaming of the Big Guys,—which is a good reason to boycott them—and  their apparent inability to give a fig for their fellow human beings. It results in a taxation shortfall in the trillions of dollars.

 

But The Lords of Greed are probably not any more blameworthy than the U.S. tax code itself which provides all the loopholes by which these Big Men manage to buy their second yachts, and elude the tax collector in financial maneuvers all of which are perfectly legal. Talk of a wealth tax has now entered the conversation but well you may ask what are the probabilities that the government will plug up these loop holes by revising the tax code any time soon.

 

Mondragon workers built Bilbao's Gugggenheim Museum roof

Happily, there is push back starting in 1956 with the Mondragon Cooperative located in Spain’s Basque Country which now consists of 102 federated cooperatives, with branches in 31 other countries, and a total of more than ,80,000 workers. Unlike the pay gap we observe in  the United States where CEOs are paid upwards of 100 times what the lowliest worker earns, at Mondragon managers are paid only 6 times as much as the lowest wage group of the cooperative, fostering an ambience of democracy and solidarity. Absenteeism is half as low as in ordinary companies, and productivity—wait— is  8 % higher. In the United States the cooperative movement has spread to the City of Cleveland, to credit unions, agricultural, purchasing, and housing coops, including such firms as REI, Sunkist, Ocean Spray, Land o’ lakes, Organic Valley and others. Worldwide, coops represent over $3 trillion in turnover and 12.6 million in employment, with over a billion people in total membership. As the New York Times put it, co-ops soften capitalism’s rough edges.  Worker ownership guarantees that all that sweat equity goes to a better cause than enriching the boss.  Workers get treated with dignity, and they get to reap the economic benefits.

 

 

 


 

TAX the super-rich.

 

OPPOSE the Senate compromise letting the super rich get away without tax hikes which the rest of us pay.

 

DEMAND corporations pay for major infrastructure deal.

 

FIGHT rural income inequality.

 


 

First time ever: Climate Justice!!! is on the G 7 agenda.

 

UN representative denounce potential forced expulsion of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem homes as violation of international law.

 

European Parliament endorses vaccine patent waiver.

 

Greek workers have ben e protesting the right-wing New Democracy attempt to enshrine a 10-hour work day into law, and limit the right to strike.

 

Penally Camp in the UK where hundreds of asylum seekers were held in deplorable conditions has closed.

 

British ex-minister Alan Duncan reveals ;Israeli control’ of UK foreign affairs.

 

Socialist teacher Pedro Castillo takes lead in Peruvian election, which Fujimori is still trying to steal.

 

AMLO’s Morena party wins in Mexican midterms.

 

Nicaragua stops U.S. from buying this year’s elections.

 

Israeli-chartered ship leaves Oakland after picket lines keep it from being worked all day.

 

Israel’s detention of journalist, and Palestinian activists in Sheikh Jarrah draws global condemnation.

 

In Mexico indigenous mobilization defends Sierra Tarahumara 

 

Off to a bad start with Biden’s snubbing Putin, summit advocates call for no “first use“ and an end to the nuclear arms race.

 

Puerto Rican unions to hold biggest national strike since 2019.

 

Three first nations protect old growth in Vancouver Island’s Fairy Creek.

 

Supremes uphold lower court’s  null decision rendering GOP-backed HB 1413 void for violating public employees’ rights to collective bargaining.

 

Biden aims to restore endangered species protections #45 gutted.

 

Biden administration threatens to sue Texas over Abbotts’ cynical attack on asylum-seeking children, altho Biden continues to deport them.

 

Biden administration scraps #45 rule to kick  3 million off food stamps.

 

U.S. lifts some Iran sanctions amid stalled nuclear talks.

 

Friends Committee on Legislation joins more than 100 national organizations in signing a letter to Biden urging him to block delivery of $735 million in weapons to Israel.

 

Thousands set to protest this weekend in support of Palestine.

 

Conservationists applaud Biden plan reversing #45 attack on Tongass National Forest.

 

Progressives in Congress warn Biden against cutting green energy  from infrastructure package.

 

Demand for accountability grows as over 200,000 people urge DOJ to create special task force investigating #45.

 

House Dems press Biden to support major investment in global vaccine supply.

 

House panel takes valuable step reversing catastrophic methane rule.

 

The administration announces that the DOJ is formally changing its leak investigation policy to ban seizures of reporters’ phone and email records in an effort to uncover their sources.

 

Progressives demand floor debate on pro-Democracy bill.

 

Ro Khanna introduces bill allowing states to carve path toward Medicare for All.

 

Poor People’s Campaign to march against Manchin obstructionism in W. Va.

 

Amnesty says paltry G7 climate plans are a ‘devastating mass-scale assault on human rights.’

 

Health campaigners rage against EU effort to undermine WTO patent waiver on COVID vaccines.

 

Ahead of summit 200+ global leaders call on G7 nations to help vaccinate the world’s poor.

 

Sunrise Movement calls on Biden to stop compromising with GOP on climate.

 

Ahead of key summit, 350+ groups and 10+ economists tell G 7 nations to stop funding fossil fuels.

 

Tlaib co-sponsors Norton antinuclear bill, making 6th Rep to co-sponsor HR 2850.

 

Now the big boys at the Pentagon are at it again: With his latest revelation, 90-year- old Daniel Elsberg demonstrates that following U.S. nuclear bombing of China Eisenhower and Dulles were willing to accept retaliatory Soviet nuclear attack on Taiwan.

 

EPA workers demand removal of fossil fuel stocks from their retirement plans.

 

FBI probes allegation Dejoy used illegal scheme to rise as GOP megadonor.

 

NARAL pro-choice America celebrates reintroduction of Women’s Health Protection Act.

 

International leaders join call to end all legal barriers to abortion.

 

US justice groups release blueprint to end the torture of solitary confinement.

 

Immigrants will no longer be subjected to the deplorable conditions of detention at the Butler County Jail in Hamilton.

 

Co-op Ride in New York City allows you to ditch Uber for a driver-owned rideshare app.

 

Coping with 441 ppm: Thousands of water protectors gather for largest resistance yet as Enbridge accelerates pipe construction.

 

Trans Mountain Argo Group insurer to cut ties with the pipeline company.

 

After 10 years resistance, climate movement wins over Keystone tar sands pipeline. Pressure now builds for Biden to kill Line 3.

 

200 continue to occupy Enbridge Matting near Mississippi headwaters over night exercising their treaty rights.

 

Court halts drilling on  630 square miles of federal oil leases in key sage-grouse habitat.

 

50+ groups across U.S. Northwest unveil green new deal vision for  region’s vital forests.

 

Health advocates welcome formal WTO talks to suspend COVID vaccine patents.

 

WTO considers COVID vaccine access waiver for poor countries.

 

Woman who recorded George Floyd’s murder receives honorary Pullitzer.

 

Illinois to become first state to bar police from lying to minors held under investigation.

 

New Michigan bill targets qualified immunity as compromise federal bill inches closer.

 

Floridians defy DeSantis’s Jim Crow voter suppression law.

 

Maine lawmakers pass landmark fossil fuel divestment bill.

 

New Jersey governor announces closure of women’s prison plagued by sexual violence.

 

Poor People’s Campaign plans moral march on Manchin.

 

Civil rights leaders and W. Va. miners turn up heat on Manchin.

 

Oregon Repub that tried to coordinate Capitol attack expelled from legislature.

 

Union vote authorizes strike at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls.

 

Labor unions rally behind California’s zero-emissions climate plan.

 

California’s Gov. Newsom signs executive order ordering independent investigation of death row prisoner Kevin Cooper’s case.

 

Poll indicates voters care more about ending endless wars than confronting ‘enemies.’

 

Poll shows 83% Americans believe ‘war on drug’ to be a bust.

 

Puerto Rican workers resist privatization of energy.

 

Democrats finally notch a win in Texas.

 

Barbara Lee introduces bill helping Vietnamese victims of agent orange.

 

Rep Betty McCollum bill H.R. 2590 would prohibit U.S. military aid from being sued to demolish homes, annex Palestinian land, or imprison Palestinian children.

 

After more than a year of protests, Washing State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced felony charges against three Tacoma cops for the brutal murder of Black resident Manuel Ellis.

 

For the first time in 40 years, members of Painters  Local 10 strike in Portland.

 

BDS gains momentum as protesters at Port of Oakland declare win in Israeli cargo boycott. Seattle follows suit.

 

Newly formed Block the Boat N.Y. coalition organizes protest against Zim Tarragona, schedule to arrive Port of N.Y.-N.J. last week.

 

Native American tribe reacquires island off Maine stolen by the U.S. government more than 100 years ago.

 

In the Sunbelt, young climate activists push cities to cut emissions, whether their mayors listen or not.

 

Twin Cities youth speak out on violence and make their voices heard.

 

City of Berkeley and an indigenous group files an appeal to block housing development on an Ohlone burial site.

 

N.Y. Dems advance bill banning gerrymandering by county governments.

 

Maya Wiley consolidates progressive support in N.Y.C. mayoral race.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

COMPLICITY

Despite my lack of training as an ethicist, I know complicity when I see it, to wit: $735 million additional dollars in U.S. weaponry aid given to Israel, a nation-by-fiat, that is in fact a settler colony with a genocidal instinct baked into it as it aims to clear more and more land for settlement, regardless of who else might happen to live there.

 

Despite massive demonstrations around the world, both in major cities in the U.S. and abroad in solidarity with Palestinians living in occupied Israeli territory, the Biden administration quietly managed to transfer $735 million of military aid, in addition to the $3.8 billion ponied up yearly by U.S. taxpayers which beleaguered Israeli PM, Netanyahoo immediately crowed was the U.S. endorsement of that country's apartheid regime.

 

Netanyahoo happens to be under fire, facing trial for corruption and an election season where he faces defeat after twelve years of his murderous  administration. That he may have ordered this latest Nakba as a distraction may be disputed, but certainly he has benefitted from its smokescreen.

 

People who live in this country, some of whom still care deeply about what happens to other people, many of whom do not resemble them, know the Biden administration could have ended this Nakba the day it began. Instead, it has brought us the gift of nausea with which we are forced to live day by day. We are complicit as long as we tolerate an administration that walks in the footsteps of all our warmongering, foreign-dictator-propping administrations before it.

 

 


We are also at dire risk of seeing those dictator-chickens come home to roost. They may not necessarily wear rows of medals on elaborate uniforms; dictators are also known to favor pin striped suits.

 


 

DEMAND Biden hold Israel’s apartheid government accountable        

 

SIGN ON to Boycott & Divest

 

DONATE to deliver essential supplies to Palestinian elders in Gaza and West Bank.

 


 

UN opens Israeli war crimes probe following war on Gaza, calls for embargo.

 

China to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Palestine.

 

Outrage over Israel’s human rights violations fuels global BDS movement.

 

Bennett receives support from party to join govt. that will oust Netanyahoo.

 

Chile is reborn: a political earthquake emerges from the streets.

 

Mexican Supreme Court rules in favor of Humún Mayan community.

 

Ireland supports landmark motion to condemn Israel ‘de facto annexation’ of Palestine.

 

In UK activists shut down second Israeli arms factory in a week.

 

200,000 protest against Israel in London.

 

Despite massive losses, Palestinians have altered the course of history.

 

In Netherlands court rules shell must cut CO2 emissions 45% by 2030.

 

Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Founder Satyarthi, a Nobel winner urges world leaders to waive vaccine patents.

 

Across India, protestors mark six months historic farmers’ agitation.

 

Welsh court rules Government has a duty to protect the young from the harms of climate change.

 

Qatar sends rare disease drug to Iran amid U.S. sanctions.

 

Workers at Canada’s steel giant ArcelorMittal go on strike.

 

Canada’s Trudeau orders flags lowered for indigenous childrens’ remains found at site of residential school in British Columbia.

 

UK university students demand end to university complicity with Israeli Apartheid.

 

UK animal rights group blockades McDonalds.

 

Hundreds of musicians in UK and U.S. sign onto BDS letter.

 

CPJ calls for immediate release of seriously ill Egyptian journalist Gamal Al-Gamal.

 

Environmentalists warn Biden not to abandon climate plans to appease GOP.

 

Dockworkers boycott Israeli ships until total liberation of Palestine.

 

Activists delay Israeli ship Volans trying to dock in Port of Oakland.

 

U.S. Jews increasingly breaking with Israel to support Palestinian liberation.

 

Sanders calls for ‘hard look’ at billions in annual U.S. military air to Israel.

 

Not fast enough department: As frustration grows over GOP obstruction, progressives intensify demands to kill filibuster,

 

500+ former Biden campaign staffers urge president to denounce Israeli violence.

 

Biden EPA reverses #45 ‘secret science’ rule.

 

Climate activists want $10 trillion for infrastructure.

 

Bill saying #NoMuslimBanEver passes the House.

 

Senate Finance Committee advances clear energy for America Act with $12,000 electric vehicle credit.

 

Tech workers at Google, Apple and show solidarity with Palestinians.

 

Tech corporations Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s parent Company Alphabet face rising pressure from shareholder activists.

 

In ’seismic shift for big oil’ activist investors score surprise win with ExxonMobil board seats.

 

Kristen Clark confirmed.

 

Dems reintroduce SANE Act to slash $73 billion from ‘insane’ spending on nuclear arsenal.

 

Fed up with GOP games, Dems say they’re ready to move ahead on legislation.

 

Warren bill would nearly triple IRS budget to go after wealthy tax cheats.

 

Warren and progressives mount major push to break up Facebook and Amazon.

 

Warren slams Jamie Dimon over overdraft fees amid pandemic/

Sanders says no way to $10 billion taxpayer handout to Bezos’ space company.

 

‘Stop monopoly madness’: Biden urged to block Amazon’s $8.5 billion purchase of MGM.

 

DC AG sues Amazon for alleged monopolistic price-fixing.

 

Rashida Tlaib demands social media companies stop censoring Palestinians.

 

Advocates hail ruling striking down ‘unconstitutional’ Georgia anti-BDS law.

 

San Francisco teachers union endorses BDS mission.

 

Growing International movement calls for a “people’s vaccine.”

 

Advocates applaud state AG’s call for review of proposed ‘cancer alley’ petrochemical plant.

 

Human Rights Watch categorizes Israel as an apartheid state guilty of ‘crimes against humanity.’

 

New York State legislature introduces “Dignity Not Detention Act” to end ICE detention.

 

Washington Spectator major exposé reveals how state health authority downplayed Wi-Fi health risks to school kids and omitted scientific research showing harm.

 

Marijuana legalization profits boom for state governments.

 

Georgia-based disability rights groups join fight against Georgia’s anti-voter law S.B. 202.

 

DA drops charge against N. Carolina reporter arrested wile covering march to polls.

 

Decrying ‘catastrophic harm’ ACLU files challenge against Arkansas transgender healthcare ban.

 

Economic study shows why ‘saving the planet’ is not a jobs killer.

 

Paterson N.J. activists push to invest in community, not police.

 

Restaurant workers say they won’t return to work without a living wage.

 

Snowden hails court ruling as progress on acknowledging ‘devastation’ of mass surveillance.

 

Both fishing and environmental groups join Winnemem Wintu tribe opposing Shasta Dam raise.

Friday, May 21, 2021

When is a Ceasefire Not a Ceasefire?

Brokered by Egypt to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine, a ceasefire was announced to the world to go into full force and effect at 2 AM May 21st. To celebrate, Israel attacked the worshippers in this Friday’s mosque at Al Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest places, using stun grenades and gas bombs, wounding at least 20 worshippers.

 

More sophistry than ceasefire, this Have-Your-Cake-and-Eat-It kind of dodge is one of Israel’s favorite gambits.

 

Every year Israel receives $3.8 billion from the U.S. in military aid. Additionally Biden has asked for $735 million more, allowing Israel to purchase weapons with the money the U.S. gives them. (Does this sound to you like a touch of onanism?)

 

Let’s see what your tax dollars bought in this latest war (which the media whitewashes as “clashes”):

 

World Press, Aljazeera  and Associated Press multi story al-Jalaa building in Gaza completely destroyed.

 

•Some 243 Palestinians slaughtered, including at least 66 children in just 11 days..

 

Wounding at least 6,300 Palestinians.

 

•74 Government buildings, 3 mosques, 66 schools, 16,800 housing units destroyed, displacing more than 120,000 Palestinians who are now homeless.

 

•Eviction of 13 long established families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood., who are now homeless.

 

It’s a lot of bang for your buck (what Netanyahoo hails as “exceptional success”):

 

News building goes down in flames


 

Gaza house destroyed, people displaced



 

Gaza housing units destroyed


6-year-old-child rescued from collapsing building


If you share my views, you might prefer your tax dollars go to more life-sustaining line items such as schools, hospitals, after-school playgrounds, the arts such as music, dance, theater, visual art, etc. healthcare, housing for the homeless., and other benefits that restore meaning and dignity to human life.

 


 

BLOCK military aid to Israel.

 

RESPECT Palestinian Human Rights.

 

BAR all military aid that enables human rights abuses.

 

DEMAND Biden hold Israel’s apartheid govt. responsible.

 

BEND your congresspersons’ ears to cut off all aid to Israel.

 

DONATE to provide food, hygiene kits to Gaza..

 

 


 


Canadian activists pour ‘river of blood’ on Israeli Consulate Steps to symbolize devastation across Palestine.

 

U.S.-made bombs (only product U.S. still makes) are devastating Gaza’: Sanders resolution aims to block $735 million weapons sale to Israel.

 

Arab Resource and Organizing Center cheers at turning Zim ship away from Oakland Port.

 

Italian dockers stop arms shipment to Israel in solidarity with Palestine.

 

Committee to Protect Journalists accuses Israel of ‘shutting down’ Gaza coverage  by bombing media outlets.

 

Ocasio-Cortez unveils resolution to block $735 million U.S. weapons sale to Israel.

 

Tlaib confront Biden over ‘unconditional support’ for Israel amid Gaza atrocities.

 

Markey’s office calls on Israel to seek an immediate cease fire in response to Israel’s plans to deploy ground troops.

 

Sanders: U.S. must take a hard look at nearly $4 billion in annual military aid to Israel.

 

Coalition pressures key Dem Gregory Meeks to back resolution blocking arms sale to Israel.

 

Amnesty calls on Biden to end ‘outrageous’ U.S. weapons sales to Colombia amid police repression.

 

100+ groups condemn Israel violence in East Jerusalem and Gaza.

 

State Department spokesperson under fire for ‘spineless’ refusal to condemn Israel’s killing of children in Gaza.

 

These are not ‘clashes’: Media slammed for coverage amid deadly IDF attacks on Gaza.

 

Protests across Israel signal growing Palestinian solidarity.

 

Since Truman first backed Israel, U.S. Jews have proved they are not a monolith.

 

Dems citing ‘thuggish and Orwellian abuses of power’ demand DOJ end practice of spying on journalists.

 

Thanks to Dems, administration announces monthly checks to parent to start July 15,

 

Splintering the right,  Chilean voters elect progressive alliance to re-write Pinochet-era constitution.

 

Aussie youth target PM Morrison at Climate Strikes because ‘he only serves the fossil fuels industry. 

 

Lawmakers push Biden to end public financing for ‘dangerous’ fossil fuel projects overseas.

 

Gov. Inslee signs far-reaching plastic pollution bill.

 

Sunrise and RISE St, James Rally to demand Biden stand up to environmental racism, revoke Formosa Plastics permit and provide good jobs to all.

 

Scientists disrupt opening day of Shell-sponsored ‘our future planet.’

 

Conservations celebrate federal introduction of ‘Extinction Prevention Act.’

 

Following years of pressure from investors, businesses, diplomats, and organizations, the IEA finally released its first-ever scenario aligned with the 1.5-degree goal, taking away a huge shield from the fossil fuel industry, effectively nixing fossil fuel extraction.

 

Peace advocates urge Congress to divert Pentagon dollars after Afghan withdrawal towards social uplift, climate emergency.

 

Indigenous climate leaders launch national effort to demand Biden ‘stop #45 pipelines.’

 

Families of missing and murdered indigenous people gather in Seattle for day of prayer.

 

Activists push for charges to be dropped ag. demonstrators for Black lives.

 

Colorado bill could convene study of police protest response.

 

Nearly two-thirds of W. V, voters support citizenship for young undocumented immigrants.

 

ICE detention center shuttered following repeated allegations of medical misconduct.

 

Biden administration pledges probe after report of unaccompanied kids being left stranded in buses overnight.

 

 

To ‘end the absurdity’ of wasteful military spending, Sanders introduces bill to audit the Pentagon.

 

Amazon extends moratorium on police use of facial recognition software.

 

Mayor of Jackson, MI apologizes for 170 police killings amid student protest.

 

IESO (Ontario) outlines plans to look at a gas plant phase-out.

 

Food an d Water Watch sues EPA to protect waterways from factory farm pollution.

 

Biden EPA reveals prior approval of Monsanto roundup failed to account for risks to monarchs and other endangered species and drift harm to farmers.

 

State Department ends policy that denied citizenship to children born abroad to same-sex couples.

 

Sanders AOC join McDonald’s workers to demand $15 minimum wage amid nationwide strike.

 

Largest nurses union condemns CDC rollback on COVID protection guidance.

 

The American Families Plan will make Affordable Care Act subsidies permanent, ensuring that millions can keep their health care, and top 1% tax payers will pay for it.

 

Police not allowed to participate in Denver PrideFEst.

 

Oakland Anti-police Terror Project helps de-escalate potentially deadly situation in East Oakland.

 

Grocery store owner declares his store ‘apartheid-free zone.’

 

Dolphin mom, perhaps grieving death of her own pup, adopts a whale calf.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Gaza Burns While "Rome" Dithers

Last week the UK’s Guardian expressed shame over what it called “the worst error of judgment,” namely the British 1917 Balfour declaration guaranteeing Jews a right to a “homeland.”  It may not have been the error in judgment the Guardian alleges.  The strain of anti-Semitism in Britain runs strong and deep, dating from the arrival in England of those Jews fleeing Eastern European persecutions even before the Middle Ages, and reflected in some of their names: the Anglicized St. James (Sint Yames) and Disraeli.  They were different, they wore enormous cartwheel sable hats, they spoke Polish, Yiddish, Lithuanian, God knows what other abominable languages, and they smelled of garlic. (You don’t have to be Jewish to love garlic! But if you do, you are certainly not British.)

 

The world of 1917 belonged to an era in which settler colonialism had not yet been exhausted, and what better place to rid England of its Jews than a tiny enclave in the Middle East, a region that would be chopped up into the pieces of post World War I Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. It hardly made a difference at the time because it was all on paper anyway.

 

Fast forward to now: the Israeli bombing of the Gaza headquarters of World Press, Associated Press and Al Jazeera, indicating that Israel needs to censor anything coming out of the Occupied Territories that might look atrocious to the outside world, including the massed crowds of delusionals dancing in jubilation at the slaughter outside the Jerusalem wailing wall, including the posting of a fake 2020 video from Syria to justify its bombing campaign. In war it’s better to keep the country’s delusionals under wraps, and to preserve the perceptions of foreign born delusionals that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” voiced by the U. S. president and others in high office; to somehow minimize the slaughter of some 109 Gazans, including 28 children,  the wounding of 62l, the eviction of 13 families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood (it’s important to understand that over many generations old Palestinian families never move), the invasion, tear gassing, and use of live ammunition at Al Aqsa Mosque where Palestinians were observing the last day of Ramadan, the destruction by bombing of 350 housing units, displacing some 500 families,  and the use by members of the IDF of the knee-to-neck maneuver that murdered George Floyd.

 

 58,000 Palestinians displaced by Israel bombs

Palestinians remained undeterred. Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers observed Eid al Fitr at Al Aqsa and then rallied in its courtyards in solidarity with the Gazan resistance. Abroad, Palestinian unionists are building international solidarity. The resistance has fired 1,000 rockets into Israel, most falling into the desert, but the asymmetry of this war has been described as “shooting fish in a barrel” by Juan Cole writing for Informed Comment. (This particular article includes important statistical background on the occupation.) 

 

On April 27 Human Rights watch released its over 200 page report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution” pegged on the 1998 Rome Statute, the race-based order through which Israel “governs” the Jewish and Palestinian population, which allegedly amounts to Apartheid.  More than ever, the time for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions has come, and that is exactly why Boris Johnson, the UK’s version of #45, is intent on banning public bodies from launching any boycott campaign. 

 

Some 20 years ago both Israeli and Palestinian representatives joined forces in Madrid to start a “peace process” laying down the groundwork for a “two-state Solution.” But as the bombs rain down on Gaza, that solution seems even farther beyond grasp. The carnage is aided and abetted by the U.S. Our very own Democratic president is rumored to have blocked a UN cease fire resolution, and trumpets the  bromide that “Israel has a right to exist,” ignoring the hot war that is now taking place there. I used to think that the blind support of AIPAC in this country had to do with serious blackmail, namely U.S. complicity in the events of 9-11. It seems gonadly pitiful to imagine that Jeffrey Epstein’s honey pot operation here in N.Y.C. and the Caribbean, may be playing a bigger role.

 

 


DONATE to Gaza Emergency Relief Fund.

 

REFUSE to pay for genocide and ethnic cleansing.

 

BLOCK bucks to Israel now.

 

CALL for ceasefire in Gaza.

 

STOP Netanyahoo in his tracks.

 

WHISPER in Biden’s ear.

 

ADVOCATE for Palestinian Human Rights!

 

 

 


 

Israeli writers, academics warn ICC not to trust Israel investigating its war crimes.

 

Rebellion  sweeps Colombia despite deadly repression.

 

Hundreds mobilize to stop arrest of immigrant neighbors in Glasgow.

 

400+ COVID survivors, academics, and advocacy groups push Boris Johnson to back vaccine patent waiver.

 

Globally, climate and indigenous protesters across 4 continents pressure banks funding line 3

 

Government of Papua New Guinea cracks down on logging companies.

 

Hundreds of Jewish New Yorkers hold Shabbat at Senator Schumer’s to demand U.S.  end military funding to Israel.

 

Sanders says Biden must pick ambassador who won’t blindly back right-wing Israeli govt.

 

Progressive groups demand Biden appoint chair who will end fed’s funding of ‘climate destruction.’

 

Center for Food Safety sues NIH over unlawfully keeping  secret federal funding of research creating new, more virulent pandemic viruses.

 

Several Dems urge U.S. to act against Israel’s ‘abhorrent’ East Jerusalem evictions.

 

Chairman Sanders announces Senate Budget Committee hearing on wasteful Pentagon spending.

 

Sanders urges labor secretary to protect jobless benefits as GOP governors race to cut them off.

 

A call for ‘spending that saves lives rather than ends them’: the Vaccines before Missiles Act proposed by Sen. Markey and Rep Khanna, would transfer funds from the GBSB project to universal coronavirus vaccine and capacity to confront other biohazards development.

 

House Dems reintroduce bill ending racist exclusion of  farmworkers from national labor law.

 

California trial of universal basic income inspires more  cities to follow suit.

 

Fight for $15, undeterred by McDonald’s raises only for those workers in stores directly owned by McDonald’s, says U.S. strike still on for May 19.

 

Nurses in Massachusetts wage the longest current strike in the U.S. to demand hospital provide adequate nurse-patient ratios.

 

Activist confronts defense industry CEO for company’s role in war crimes.

 

Following backlash, Biden says he will raise refugee cap to 62,500.

 

‘Where’s the outrage, POTUS?’ Tlaib demands U.S. action as Israeli forces assault Al-Aqsa.

 

Biden HHS reverses #45 attack on healthcare protections for transgender people.

 

‘Generation on fire’: Sunrise Movement activists march 400 miles from NO to Houston.

 

Cyberattack-induced shutdown of major U.S. pipeline renews call for clean energy.

 

Ending 83 years of racist exclusion, Washington farmworkers celebrate new overtime pay law.

 

Yaqui Indians of Sonora, denied any government redress for corporate incursion onto their scared lands, dig up pipeline and sell it for scrap.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Fixing Pandemic-level U.S. Racism: a Matter for Law or Re-education

(Note: Art Matters:  Murals depicted below were painted on the plywood boarded up store fronts in Minneapolis following the cop murder of George Floyd.)

 

 

The U.S.A. history of policing, so-called “law enforcement,” starts with slave patrols, home-style militias dedicated to catching runaway slaves, and returning them to their “owners.” With such roots, can “law enforcement” ever be reformed?

And, now that  law “enforcement” has become the war at home is reform even possible?

 

1033 is the name of the war-come-home in pilot cities like Minneapolis and Portland, both of which are fully occupied 24/7 by our domestic armed forces known as national guard and municipal police. It is the name ascribed to the federal program which allows municipal police forces to buy “surplus” battle-grade equipment such as tanks, half tracks, armored vehicles, and sound canons, prompting police to morph from “serve and protect”  (the wealth of others) to a fully militarized force. The Pentagon has funneled more than $7.4 billion worth of military weaponry to domestic law enforcement throughout the U.S.  Provide the appropriate costume, and  the actor learns to swagger.  So too with police.

 


 

To bring 1033 to a city near you two forces were at work in tandem. The first, the insatiable  need for profits by America’s good-for-business  great portfolio booster,  the munitions industry; the second, by our apartheid bedfellow Israel which for the past two decades has been using its armed forces (the IDF) to inculcate our own municipal police both here at home and abroad in Israel in the refinements of “crowd” control like “accidental” shootings, kneecappings, beatings, arrests, and kidnappings, all in response to peaceful demonstrators. These methods are useful in Israel which aims to steal more and more Arab land for proliferating Zionist settler communities; and in the U.S. which needs to deter resistant protest wherever it crops up, whether in response to a knee to neck cop murder in Minneapolis (George Floyd), or a police shooting In Columbus, Ohio, which just happens to have occurred as the Chauvin guilty verdict was handed down.

 


 

I quote from an April 25 bulletin issued by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network: “Testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the depraved murder of George Floyd began on March 29. In the 19 days that followed, police in the U.S. killed at least 64 people, with Black and Latino people representing more than half.” 

 

 


 

Moments before the verdict came in, 15-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was killed  by police in Columbus, Ohio. That same morning, Mario Gonzales was killed by police in Alameda, CA, and the following morning, police shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. in the small town of Elizabeth City, N.C.

 

 


 

Following the murder of George Floyd, caught on camera by a courageous teenager, anti-police-terror demonstrations are occurring nationwide. “My daddy has changed the world,” proclaimed George Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter. His brother, Philonise, reported receiving messages of support from well wishers throughout the world.  Black Lives Matter proponents are declaring that the unwillingness of Americans to accept cop lynchings any longer is the culmination of the BLM movement.  But nowhere is the press reporting that the backlash, as it is experienced in Minneapolis is terrorizing the black community as KKKers and their sympathizers move in from around the country, threatening Black-owned small businesses, and private citizens who fear for their lives.

 

 


A recent analysis by the Movement to Stop Mass Incarceration takes a hard look at The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (JPA), calling its role an effort “to diffuse the righteous anger and rebellion against the brutality and murder by the police, and [to] protect politically the same system that the pigs protect violently.” Although it purports to bar the use of chokeholds, they have been used with impunity for the past 28 years in N.Y.C., despite there being 1,100 complaints about their use to the civilian review board, which dismissed all but ten.  A chokehold was used to kill Eric Garner, but the only person arrested was Ramsey Orta who took the video of the killing.

 


JPA purports to bar no knock warrants, but it still permits “quick-knock” warrants. All cops have to do is knock and shout “police“ before breaking down a door. JPA purports to end cop militarization, ending the 1033 program. But  the DOD has already distributed some 7.4 billons in weapons of war to 8000 police departments nationwide. And it allows armored vehicles to continue to be transferred if the Secretary of Defense “considers it necessary.” JAP purports to end qualified immunity, which makes it difficult to sue cops for violations of people’s civil rights. In the past ten years cities have paid billions to settle  such lawsuits and consider it just the cost of doing business.  JPA aims to increase federal supervision of municipal police to discourage racial profiling, a broadening of policies already in existence, and which can lead to “consent decrees.” Under such a decree the LAPD boasted that in 2019 it had only killed 12 people, down from 25 in 2015. But its use of batons in this same period increased by 38%, resulting in fewer murders, but increased beatings.

 


 

Had the JPA been designed to really mean business, ending the victimization of POC, its terms would have been air tight. 

 

The big question really has to do with culture.  If we recognize that culturally, racism is deeply embedded in the United States, we need to question whether the law is the appropriate modality to encounter it.

 

As things now stand, the question remains, how can the “law” be a little bit pregnant and still be the law?

 

Tonite’s headline:  Police go missing as Proud Boys shut down park in Oregon for armed far-right rally

 

 

 


 

DEMAND DOJ act to hold all law enforcement accountable.

 

URGE Congress to implement police “reforms” to stop extra-judicial executions.

 

PASS the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

 

SIGN petition to all U.S. mayors to defund police, reallocate funds to serve communities.

 

DONATE to 16 Black-led organizations working to end racism and oppression.

 

SIGN petition addressed to john  Kerry to connect militarism and the climate crisis.

 

PROHIBIT military ‘aid’ to Israel

 

CEASE Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians from E. Jerusalem.

 

DONATE to support The Intercept’s investigation of police crack downs on demonstrators.

 

 

 


 

Venezuela reiterates its commitment to human rights and justice.

 

Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council , Cairo Institute for Human Rights, and Habitat International Coalition submit joint submission to UN special rapporteur over Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid.

 

Jordan releases note of protest against Israel attacks in al-Aqsa mosque.

 

UK court acquit Extinction  Rebellion ‘in emergency break glass’ demonstrators.

 

Human Rights Watch  designates Israel’s crimes as apartheid.

 

Human Rights experts denounce Israel violence, confiscation of homes in E. Jerusalem as violation of international law.

 

Warning of threat to ‘humanity and the natural world’ Hawaii state legislature becomes first in U.S. to declare climate emergency.

 

‘We need to act now’: study reveals glaciers melting at unprecedented pace.

 

Climate experts applaud as U.S. govt. approves largest offshore wind farm in nation’s history.

 

In ‘critical and doable first step,’ EPA proposes phasedown of climate super-pollutants, delivering huge health and climate benefits..

 

80 organizations decry U.S. pressure to derail Mexico’s banning of  glyphosate and GMO corn.

 

New Washington law prevents seabed mining.

 

Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson orders release of secret memo in which Barr laid out his decision not to prosecute #45.

 

Biden supports suspension of COVID vaccine patents.

 

In ‘huge step toward justice,’ Biden cancels #45 border wall projects using diverted funds.

 

Biden officially raises refugee  admissions cap to 62,500 following intense blowbacks.

 

Senate votes to repeal #45 rule helping predatory lenders trap people in debt.

 

Dingell and Markey introduce $10 trillion THRIVE Act to tackle ‘our biggest emergencies.’

 

Warren, Sanders propose permanently expanding food stamps for college students.

 

Sanders slams holy Pentagon for ‘waste, fraud *& abuse,’ vows more stringent oversight.

 

House Dems call on chamber’s appropriations chair to defund flawed and racist ICE policy that allows local law enforcement to act like mass deportation agents.

 

Over 50 Dems support $8 billion fund for USPS to electrify its fleet.

 

Confirming GOP fears, poll shows For the People Act is popular with GOP voters.

 

In major progressive win, former CFPB chief Richard Cordray tapped to oversee federal student loans.

 

National lawyers guild urges Biden to align U.S. Israel-Palestine policy with international law.

 

Under pressure Biden back COVID vaccine patent waiver.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says ‘yes’ to ‘narrow’ patent waivers.

 

Biden’s Labor Dept. withdraws #45-era independent contractor rule.

 

Despite weeks of union –busting, workers at Imperfect Foods vote to unionize.

 

As hiring undershoots expectations, Biden urged to go big with $10 trillion jobs plan.

 

Amidst calls to audit super rich,  Yellen says tax dodging could cost U.S. $7 trillion over next 10 years.

 

Rejected in 1941, Richard Wright’s novel, The Man Who Lived Underground depicting graphic descriptions of police brutality, has just been published.

 

The four Minneapolis cops charged have been charged with federal civil rights crimes in George Floyd case.

 

Ohio judge has to force Columbus police not to brutalize nonviolent protesters.

 

Drivers forced to drive around Extinction Rebellion protesters in Swansea, Wales.

 

Sanders, Dems push for free school meals bill.

 

Hope for critically ill COVID patients with advent of new drug leronlimab.

 

Number of unaccompanied kids in harmful border facilities has dropped nearly 90% since March.

 

Families separated since late 2017 to be reunited in U.S. this week, Biden administration announces.

 

With just 4 migrant families to reunite, ACLU calls for citizenship and no future separations.

 

Demanding papers, not crumbs, undocumented immigrants risk arrest outside Biden White House.

 

Military spouse deported by previous administration to return home.

On May day, gig workers organize an intersectional movement.

 

N.J. landlord sues to end lease with private prison company that jails immigrants at property.

 

As world economic conditions deteriorate, immigrants come to the rescue.

 

‘Keep your promise’: Any Barkan urges Biden to support COVID vaccine patent waiver.

 

Third round of COVID relief checks led to largest monthly rise in household income since 1959.

 

Green groups sue army corps of engineers over nationwide pipeline permit.

 

Supporters rally for Steven Donziger as Chevron’s trial aimed at silencing critics begins.

 

Michigan orders closure of pipelines in escalating dispute with CAnada.

 

Mountain Valley Pipeline protester blocks truck and locks himself to truck’s underside.

 

Women run 415 miles to protest Mountain Valley Pipeline.

 

Calls for Biden to stop Enbridge Line 3 continue unabated.

 

Indigenous Rights groups join MI Gov. Whitmer in demanding shutdown of Enbridge Line 5.

 

Congress introduces corporate tax transarency legislation to support informed investor decisions.

 

Shareholders demand Dominion Energy clean up its reporting.

 

98% of shareholders want GE to take climate action.

 

Whistleblower groups push Congress for stronger whistleblower protections in AML Act.

 

Coalition mobilizes to protect billions of WhatsApp users from Facebook’s privacy invasion.

 

44 attorneys general call on Zuck to nix plan for Instagram for kids in rare bipartisan rebuke.

 

Huntington W.V. community flooded with opioids takes big pharm to  court in landmark trial.

 

Lakota Law sues South Dakota over voter suppression.

 

Mijente joins lawsuit with other organizations and Black congregations in Georgia to stop SB2020 anti-voter bill in its tracks.

 

NRA’s lawsuit-dodging strategy backfire as TX judge dismisses bankruptcy claims.

 

California tells Nestlé to cease and desist its free water-pumping activities on federal land.

 

Demonstrators against Trident nuclear weapons in Bangor ME block main entrance to base.