Saturday, March 31, 2012

How do you say Baltagiyyah in Hebrew?

WB 1
Israeli police on horseback suppress demonstrators near the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem. (Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

Rare enough to be highlighted.

It's not common or ordinary that photos depicting Israeli Occupation forces' abuse of non-violent Palestinian protesters are highlighted in mainstream US media.

A beauty in a Jaffa (Palestine) dress

Already injured, pepper sprayed by the Israeli occupation forces on Land Day

Mahmoud Zaqout, a non-violent protester shot to death by Israeli occupation authorities near the Erez checkpoint in Gaza, Land Day - March 30, 2012.

Chucky, Hillary, or Newt?

Chucky the psycho killer doll looks a lot like Hillary Clinton but you know, he also bears a strong resemblance to Newt Gingrich and I’m wondering if the three were separated at birth.

France: the folly Bergere of electoral politics

We can safely call Psychozy the Newt Gingrich of French politics with a little bit of Herman Cain mixed in. Marx said history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. But in France’s electoral arena, it hasn't even risen to the level of burlesque. As serious contenders for office, we have this creep & that pervert from the IMF who was going to run as a socialist. Here a deranged supporter of Psychozy welcomes him in Guerande. It’s a medieval city so maybe leaded water mains explain her political preferences. (Photo by Michel Euler/AP)

Immigrant rights are human rights

Ethiopian undocumented immigrants in Yemen on the border with Saudi Arabia unable to enter Saudi Arabia for work since the Saudis built a 10-foot high barrier wall & unable to make the long land & sea trek home. In a human rights catastrophe, 15,000 migrants,  including children & mostly from the Horn of Africa, are stranded without food or medical care & forced to sleep outside. Many are suffering from diarrheal diseases, malaria, respiratory infections, snake bites, & exposure from sleeping in the open. Many migrants are extorted for money, murdered, disappeared, raped. Others are suffering from broken limbs, gunshot wounds, & other signs of extreme violence & maltreatment attributed by officials to criminal gangs but just as likely from Yemen security forces who police the border for Saudi Arabia. Immigration rights are human rights. For the oligarchs, globalization means free flowing, cross border exploitation & they respect no impediments like national sovereignty. But when it comes to the human rights of migrants, they hold firm to the sanctity of borders & the nation-state. Such nationalist malarkey is not in the interest of working people. For us, globalization means only one thing: solidarity with other working people wherever they are from & that solidarity & wisdom begins with demanding the borders be opened. These are brothers & sisters, not beasts. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Rhinestone gas masks & social protest

A rhinestone gas mask on the runway at China Fashion Week in Beijing: China’s forays into restoring capitalism come with all the necessary fashion accessories. Or is fashion a Chinese form of samizdat protest against heavily polluted cities & waterways, widespread chemical contamination, mercury pollution from coal plants & carbon emissions that threaten the planet? This fact sheet gives an idea of the massive, widespread, bold scale of environmental protest in China that relies less on metaphor & more on challenging the government's reckless disregard for nature & human welfare:    (Photo by Alexander F. Yuan/AP)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guarding mannequins in Pamplona

Can you think of any better use for riot cops than guarding mannequins!? This guy in Pamplona, Spain is supposed to be tear gassing striking workers but he decided instead to make himself useful. (Photo by Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Another protest "turns violent" when riot cops attack

Protests have been going on across Indonesia almost daily for weeks ahead of the parliamentary vote tomorrow that will raise subsidized fuel prices by one-third. The IMF, in a rare comedic moment, is pushing for the increase saying it’s not the poor but “the middle & high class people” who derive benefit from subsidized fuel prices. After protests “turned violent” when riot cops came at them shooting tear gas, the government deployed 14,000 more riot cops & 8,000 soldiers in Jakarta alone. Protestors appear to be mainly students with the trade unions making little peeps of protest & promising to attend protests. (When? After they’re over?) The psycho cop here is going after student protestors in Jakarta. (Photo by Tatan Syuflana/AP)

Tibetans in exile protest Chinese occupation

Tibetan refugees in India shouting slogans while arrested for protesting the arrival of Chinese president Hu Jintao in New Delhi. He is attending a conference of BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China, & South Africa). BRICS is an alliance of what are called developing or newly industrialized countries distinguished by the immense size of their economies, populations & their influence on global politics--which just goes to show the folly of the term "developing nation". Hu Jintao claims BRICS nations are “defenders & promoters of developing countries & a force for peace.” Tell that to the Tibetans! Or to China's child workers! Or to the small farmers dispossessed around the world in Chinese land grabs! (Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Throw the bums out!

The man in the lower photo is dumpster diving for food in Madrid, Spain (on Tuesday). So now we know why the Spanish unions pulled the work force out for another nationwide general strike (top photo). Spain already has the highest unemployment among the EU countries using the euro. Tomorrow the government presents a 2012 budget incorporating attacks on labor which the EU, IMF, & investors will go over with a fine tooth comb to insure the attacks are harsh enough to bring substantial returns on their investments in Spain. The only question is, “What’s with the one day strikes?” Take them out & keep them out until the government dumpsters the attacks on labor. And then throw the bums out! (Top photo by Juan Medina; bottom photo by Pedro Acosta/AP)

Half a lie & none of the truth

Palestinian schoolchildren in Gaza City do homework by candlelight during a power outage. The LA Times caption to this photo reads, “A political fight between Egypt, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is to blame for fuel shortages that have led to a major electricity crisis in Gaza.” There is indeed a regrettable dispute going on with Egypt over the delivery route & cost of the fuel but the primary reason Gaza has power outages is Israel’s siege. Israel bombed Gaza’s power plant in 2006--an attack Amnesty International called a war crime. The damaged power plant is only partially operative and Israel controls delivery of diesel fuel used to run it. So we have half a lie & none of the truth. Residents of Gaza sustain blackouts lasting up to 18 hours a day & hospitals have been on the verge of disaster for months. Support Palestinians by boycotting Israeli products. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A supremely stupid court

Okay, so I’m listening to the US Supreme Court on the news argue out the health care bill & I’m hearing a bunch of empty-headed schnooks, not legal eagles. Aren’t they supposed to know something called constitutional law or dig around in the Constitution to find something useful there? Or is it as useless a document as it is boring? The lofty debate in the Supreme Court doesn't compare favorably to drunken musings at a corner bar. If they look at the Bill of Rights which they’re trying to dump they’ll find some good arguments for not forcing us to buy insurance we can’t afford or to buy insurance in place of food.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vanity thy name is male!

In another groundbreaking study where science investigates the worthless to conclude the pointless, researchers found that narcissism in men stresses them out. That’s worth a few hurrahs. They made a distinction between unhealthy & healthy narcissism--from entitlement to a presumption of leadership--subtleties that elude most. The researchers are real sharpies even if they’re 50 years behind the women’s movement in finding that social norms of masculinity conform to definitions of narcissism. They measured something called “passive drool” which isn’t what happens when narcissists look in the mirror at themselves (that’s active drool) but what happens when no one other than their mothers recognize their superiority. Call me callous, but why should anyone care that narcissism stresses out self-adoring men when for women it’s a living hell!?

Monday, March 26, 2012

US throws money at grief to muzzle justice

Details of the massacre of 17 Afghans have not been released by the US military & the media shows no interest in determining what actually happened. The Pentagon account of a lone gunman is at odds with accounts of those who witnessed the carnage & claim Bales did not act alone. Details that have been released are piecemeal & in snippets: victims were attacked & murdered in their homes, some were set on fire, the attacks took place in two villages--one north & one south of the military base. Now the US has offered each family $50,000 for each person murdered & $11,000 to each person injured. Full disclosure is required of how they were murdered & what are the extent of the injuries. Is this compensation intended to mute the demands of victims that Bales be tried in the jurisdiction where he committed the crimes instead of on a military base near his family & home? The victim’s families have a right to face the murderer(s), to render testimony & have their voices heard, to see justice done. Removing the trial to Tacoma, Washington is a way to make certain the truth of those crimes will not be exposed. Mohammad Wazir, the parent of a 7-year-old girl murdered in the rampage, has trouble drinking water now because his daughter was shot when she went to get him a drink of water that night. Nine other members of his family have also died & Mr. Wazir & his neighbors say they feel irreparably broken. No amount of money thrown at them will heal the grief. Confronting the perpetrator(s) in a court of law is part of the healing but the US will not allow it since the entire US-NATO occupation will be indicted. Here a young boy prays over the grave of one of the 17 victims on Saturday. By the way, news interviews with Kari Bales denying her husband could commit such atrocities include the mailing address for sending money to Robert Bales’ defense fund--answering the question of why the media is so little concerned with the facts. (AP photo)

Israel severs all contact with the United Nations human rights council

Israel cuts contact with UN rights council, to protest settlements probe
Israel's Foreign Ministry orders envoy to Geneva to ignore all phone calls from rights council commissioner.
By Barak Ravid
" Israel will also bar a fact-finding team dispatched by the council from entering Israel and the West Bank to investigate settlement construction"
Read more

"I'm from there"

Palestinian traditional dresses. (photo: Yousef Shaheen)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hoodies, hijabs, and homicide

Just one month after 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was murdered on the public streets by a vigilante in Sanford, Florida, a 32 year-old Iraqi woman named Shaima Alawadi was beaten to death with a tire iron in her home in San Diego. Alawadi was a Muslim woman who wore the hijab. A note by her body read, “Go back to your own country you terrorist.” Inferior minds, poisoned with racism, have attributed Martin’s death to the hoodie which he was wearing. But attacks on Blacks which focus on their attire extend from the hoodie to how low they hang their pants off their butts, how they wear their baseball caps, & whether or not their garb signifies gang membership--because clothing has become the symbol of racist hatred. The imputation against Muslim women is that they are coerced (since women can’t have religious commitments or ideas of their own) by men & religion to wear the veil. While the dominant culture encourages women to “flaunt it if you’ve got it”, more modest women are vilified as victims &/or terrorists & freedom of religion is reduced to confetti. While the perpetrators of these murders bear full responsibility for their crimes, the media has played a central role in creating hostility & hatred against Blacks & Muslims & in whipping up hysteria against their attire. Every time we see another report or article with such imputations, we should take out our poison pens & make our voices heard & we should protest, as hundreds of thousands are doing now in support of justice for Trayvon Martin. As we have seen with Blacks & the phony war against drugs, with Mexican immigrants in Arizona, with Muslims & the freedom of religion, what is under attack is the Bill of Rights for all of us (or what’s the NDAA all about!?). Defending people’s right to wear whatever the hell they want is a part of defending the Bill of Rights. (Photo on left is Trayvon Martin; woman on right is not Shaima Alawadi)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Immigration is a human right punishable by death

Qurban Ali from Pakistan grieves his son who died after an overcrowded wooden ship carrying asylum seekers to Australia (from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran & Turkey) broke apart in a storm off the coast of Indonesia in December 2011. The boat operated by a people-smuggling operation was carrying more than twice its capacity & was headed for Australia’s Christmas Island. As the ship sank, the crew grabbed the life vests & dinghy & abandoned the passengers, including children. Only 33 passengers out of 250 survived. Mr. Ali is attending the mass burial in a cemetery in East Java, Indonesia (on March 23). This is a well-traveled route for undocumented immigrant workers & asylum seekers since Indonesia is an archipelago of over 18,000 islands & has thousands of miles of un-patrolled coastline. Thousands of people flee US wars which Australia supports with troops; they seek refuge in Australia despite hazardous journeys on rickety, overcrowded boats & Australia’s racist immigration policy which includes long incarceration in crowded, prison-like detention facilities. Australian white supremacists have produced some innovative & racist arguments against undocumented immigrants & asylum seekers: they claim immigrants exacerbate global warming by increasing greenhouse gas emissions & they also have accused asylum seekers of throwing their children overboard to improve their chances for asylum. Greenhouse gas emissions may be increasing in Australia but the most likely source would be the flatulent rhetoric of their racist politicians. (Photo by Trisnadi/AP)

Throw the man a tranquilizer

Reporters can’t say if this is before Biden took his medication or after he had a cup of coffee; either way now we understand his pretzeled way with words & his use of concepts with no meaning. How comforting to know he’s Obama's right hand man. And the left hand man aint much better! (Photo by Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel)

Giddy-up, Padre!

Yesiree bub, it’s really hard to slip anything past Pope Benedict. On his visit to Mexico Friday, he urged Catholics there to resist the temptations of drug traffickers--but that didn’t stop him from having meet & greets with cartel leaders, who have a fiduciary relationship to the church. The cartels even called off trafficking for the day Benedict is in Mexico. Now he’s on his way to Cuba, chiding them along the way that their Marxist ideology no longer corresponds to reality. He much prefers the capitalist way which works so well & lards the parishes in Mexico with drug money. He also chided the Cuban government for repressing political dissent. And that distinguishes itself from the Catholic church how!? Here our man rides in that ridiculous contraption called the Popemobile--an armored vehicle to protect him from the plebeian masses who might not like capitalism as much as he does. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/LATimes)

Massive resistance to tyranny in Bahrain

All recent photojournalist coverage of the Bahrain uprising has consistently shown lone male protestors throwing molotov cocktails--as if this great uprising was now reduced to isolated acts of desperate resistance. Today mass mobilizations took place all over Bahrain marking more than one year of resistance to tyranny. Here thousands of women march in just one city. Solidarity with the courageous freedom fighters of Bahrain!

Numbskulls in hoodies

According to Geraldo Rivera (admittedly not one of even Fox news's best minds): "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was." Here he sits with another numbskull from Fox, Bill O’Reilly--both in hoodies. Hoodies are an indispensable part of everyone's wardrobe. Rivera's comment just shows the low-down idiocy of racism. Feel free to throw horse manure at them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The foxy little owl

This photo should put an end once & for all to the insulting epithet, “bird brain”. In the future, if anyone calls you such a name intending to insult, grin ear to ear, graciously bow, & know that you have been supremely complimented. This foxy little owl was photographed by Mircea Costina in Dobrogea. Romania, & was only spotted after another owl blew it’s cover.

The War on Black Youth

This article was first published in 1992 in a student publication at Harvard University, edited by two student activists who collaborated fruitfully with me in several areas of political work, including antiwar and union work. It was later updated in 2007 for publication in a Black community newspaper in Minneapolis, MN. I repost it here because it addresses the issues leading to the murder of Trayvon Martin and many young Blacks under the guise of fighting drugs and crime.

Continues in Comments section

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What a wonderful world

A bee feeding on the pollen of a cherry blossom tree in Los Angeles, CA. Okay, so you have to go microscopic in LA not to see the pollution but it does show what a magnificent planet we live on. Think of how lovely it will be when we can do a panoramic view & see a world without hatred & war & ugliness but instead filled with human community, solidarity, & joy. (Photo by Frederic J Brown/AFP)

A last ode to World Water Day 2012

Another photo to commemorate World Water Day 2012: a stray dog & herons in the trash-littered River Brahmaputra in Gauhati, India. Lest it be thought India too broke to organize waste management, it has 55 billionaires with a combined worth of over $250 billion. The scale of their greed is incompatible with human & environmental well-being.   (Photo by Anupam Nath/AP)

Immigration is a human right punishable by murder

Family members of Elmer Constantino Castro Andres grieve as they receive his coffin at an air force base in Guatemala City yesterday. The bodies of eleven Guatemalan citizens murdered while migrating to the US were returned to their families from Mexico after DNA testing confirmed their identities. Media accounts differ on whether they were found among a group of 193 immigrants in a mass grave in April 2011 or in a group of 72 found in August 2010, both in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas. Mexican officials say they were killed by members of the Zeta drug cartel. A more likely explanation involves the Mexican military, which acknowledges the deaths of nearly 50,000 Mexican civilians in the drug war which has bagged few drug dealers. May these victims RIP. And may we remember them as we stand in opposition to US & Mexican immigration policy. (Photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP)

The power couple of criminality

It’s hard to imagine a couple that incorporates more criminality than the Clintons. There’s a special place in hell for them for the hell they have created for millions of human beings. If life were fair, they would both be indicted in an international criminal court for countless crimes against humanity. The catastrophe he is orchestrating against the Haitian people alone earns him a special place in the pantheon of low-life thugs & high-class criminals from history who will stoop to anything for personal gain. Her role in preempting women’s rights & attempting to turn that historic struggle into an elite pursuit conducted at expensive conferences earns her a special place, especially since she uses those phony credentials to peddle US war. Yesterday, she spoke at the US-Afghan Women’s Council, an elite group founded by George Bush & Hamid Karzai (two feminists if there ever were), to say the US will not leave Afghanistan if women’s rights there are threatened by the Taliban. This baloney is only meant as sentimental cover for the massacre of 16 Afghan men, women, & children which Clinton says is “personally painful” to her. Who gives a rat’s ass!? The men, women, & children of Afghanistan living as refugees or homeless, those who’ve seen their families massacred, & their homes, fields, schools, hospitals, mosques bombed have made it quite clear they want the US out now. Stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan & demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO troops.

A metaphor for greed

This photo from New Delhi, India was taken just a few months ago & isn’t a metaphor but it sure as hell can be seen as one today on World Water Day 2012. Two young men--presumably homeless--bathe on a water pipe above what is described as a sewage drain but sure looks like a river to me. Countries across the globe have allowed rivers to become floating waste dumps, filled with garbage, emitting clouds of toxic fumes, & stinking like cesspools. The mighty Mississippi River, where I grew up, starts as a clean trickle in northern Minnesota & 100-miles south turns to rancid green & greasy waters you couldn’t put your toe in without pulling back a stump. Time to cut the poetics on this day & get down to business demanding our governments develop & implement programs for cleaning up the messes made by corporations so greedy they’re indifferent to human & environmental welfare. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/AP)

Cut the odes; let's get down to business

Today is World Water Day, a UN commemoration where you tip your hat to water’s virtues. After the poetics are over, it’s time to get down to business & note what predatory economic policies are doing to this indispensable source of all life on Earth. All over the world, Enteromorphia Proliferaso has invaded seashores in a massive body of stringy, slimy, smelly green algae. The invasion in spring last year at Qingdao, in the province of Shandong, China is the mother of them all, covering 440 km (275 miles) of shoreline & a 12,400 sq. km (4,790 sq. mile) expanse of the Yellow Sea. Despite the smell which to lesser minds suggests rancidity, some scientists say it is not toxic & even edible, & vacationers from all over northeastern China continue to swim there. Some scientists are still scratching their heads at where this stuff comes from; other scientists say it is poor management of effluence from fertilizer & sewage into the ocean. It also blocks light, killing fish, crowds out other aquatic plants, & alters animal life by destroying shelter & nesting. As the algae dies & sinks to the seafloor, it generates vast “dead zones” when bacteria digesting the dead algae suck the oxygen out of the seawater. The problem in Shandong became an international concern in 2008 when rafts of algae inundated the shoreline--a sailing venue for the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics. The Chinese government dragooned thousands of fishermen, students, sea patrols, & even the army to clear the algae from the shore for the games & 100,000 tons were removed--lord knows to where. Because this kind of infestation has developed in waterways all over China from neglect of sewage management, the government has pledged a policy of “clean water, blue skies” but the trajectory of Chinese economic development is in the other direction. (Photo via IB Times)

Day of solidarity with Trayvon Martin: join the campaign for justice

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Betty Windsor tips her hat

Isn’t Betty looking spiffy here!? Like a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court. And just so damn out of place. They used to brag the US had no feudal past but you sure wouldn’t know that from the courtly goings-on at the White House or all the deference paid to movie stars. Betty didn’t give her “annus horribilis” speech this time; instead she praised the anus horribilis sitting behind her. She said Phil was her “constant strength & guide” over the decades. So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak: everything she is, & mostly what she isn’t, is all his fault. And I have no problems believing that. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

Protests against IMF-mandated fuel increases

Thousands of people have been protesting across Southeast Asia, Africa, & Europe-- Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Romania, & many other countries against IMF-mandated fuel price increases which will increase the price of other goods, especially basic necessities. Protestors focus on government offices, gas & oil company headquarters & at least in Philippines have duked it out with riot cops. In Indonesia today, thousands protesting at the presidential palace were surrounded by a cordon of more than 15,000 riot police. The protestors carried signs describing the president as “100-percent neoliberal” & calling on unions, students, working people to join the protests. The price increases in Indonesia are scheduled for April 1st & organizers appear to be determined to mobilize massive opposition to them. With such an overwhelming police presence, one wonders why this cop in Jakarta seems to be cowering behind his shield during the protest. (Photo by Mast Irham/EP)

Woman is our name; farming is our game

Since farming is the oldest profession for women & they continue to play a vital role in it globally, there’s a whole other meaning to that “biology is destiny” thing: woman is our name; potatoes & alfalfa are our game! This proud lineage persuaded me I should at least learn to grow a tomato plant without killing it so I signed up for a farming course. The course is mostly women growers who know all about soil analysis, fertilizers, & tilth. Me, not so much. Today, the instructor said peanuts are not nuts but legumes. When I responded with my Rose Nylund/Betty White-like, “Really!?”, she said, “You are amazing” and not in a tone that flattered. I didn’t give her a chance to tap the full depth of my ignorance by asking, “What’s a legume?” Anyway, the soil analyst today discussed long-term damage done to agriculture by pesticides & chemicals & confirmed that nutrient density of organically grown produce is significantly higher than chemically grown produce. There aren’t even earth worms in chemically treated soils & their presence is a sign of organic life. This puts Monsanto & the entire agribusiness industry at odds with agricultural science. Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University, has done research showing connections between nutrient deficiency in soil to human illness (such as Alzheimer’s) & environmental damage. Google our man, Huber, & you can find a raft of useful info. (Photographer of woman farmer not identified)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Caretaker & orphaned baby elephant

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates an elephant orphanage just outside Nairobi, Kenya. The sanctuary cares for elephant calves (& to a small extent, baby rhinos) orphaned sometimes from drought or accident but mostly when ivory poachers kill their mothers. Orphaned elephants who witness the death & dismemberment of their mothers suffer acute trauma & grief & their rehabilitation requires sustained doting & personal care. Under two years of age, they also require hand feedings. At the orphanage, a caretaker watches over each baby 24/7, including in the stable at night. After 2-4 years at the orphanage, the calves are moved to rehabilitation in the Tsavo National Park (150 miles/240 km away near Voi) where they spend another 6-8 years. When they’re ready to live in the wild, they venture out on their own, only to return when they are injured & need help or to introduce their calves to their former caretakers.

Elephants are deeply emotional & loving animals & form intense bonds of love with their rescuers & caretakers. According to the caretakers, the love goes both ways. As one caretaker said, “It’s not for the wages. The more you're with them, the more you satisfy yourself. You just love them." That bond is more than evident here between caretaker & orphan at the Sheldrick orphanage. (Photo by Michael Nichols/National Geographic)

The ugly face of stupid

We have in Charles Murray proof positive that aging does not bring wisdom. Charlie was a meathead 30 years ago and he’s only grown more flatulent with the years. He was a privileged white kid of my generation who went to Harvard & MIT. Somehow this led him to believe he was smart--which this dull-witted boy interpreted as superior--& he attempted to transform the egotistical rush this gave him into a philosophical system. In 1994, he co-authored a shallow & stupid book called, “The Bell Curve”, a racist piece of crap arguing that Blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites. (Regrettably, Harvard has promoted many professorial boneheads holding this view going back over 100 years. It’s an institution training the minions of the oligarchs & they need to be indoctrinated in this rubbish.) Suffice it to say, racists greeted the book with thunderous applause. The toxic & flatulent miasma emitted by this book has not yet cleared & now Charlie has come up with another piece of garbage called, “Coming Apart”, showing that white working people are as stupid as our Black brothers & sisters. Can you dig it!? When you see Charlie interviewed--because rancid ideas are quite the media rage--he almost appears normal; he doesn’t drool or anything. But you will have to resist the impulse to slap the crap out of his ugly face. And btw, Ashley Montagu edited a book called, “Race & IQ” making chopped liver of every imbecilic assertion made in “The Bell Curve”. (Photo of Charlie which you should feel free to turn to the wall or throw horse manure at.)

Migrant humanitarian crisis on Yemen-Saudi Arabia border

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has announced a human rights crisis on the Yemen border with Saudi Arabia where up to 15,000 undocumented immigrants from the Horn of Africa (mostly Ethiopians & Somalis) to Saudi Arabia are stranded--unable to cross the border & unable to return home.The migration route crosses the Bab-el-Mandeb strait between the Horn of Africa & Yemen & travels by land to Saudi Arabia where they hope to find work in agriculture or domestic service. In 2003, Saudi Arabia began construction on a 10-ft high barrier wall of sandbags & concrete-filled pipelines with electronic surveillance equipment to keep migrants from crossing. When the government of Yemen disputed the wall, construction was stopped in 2004 but part of the settlement meant increased policing, harassment, & incarceration of African migrants by Yemen security forces. The scale of the migration is massive because the scale of exploitation & impoverishment in Ethiopia is massive: in 2011, 103,000 African migrants crossed to the border & just in February 2012, over 12,450 mostly Ethiopian migrants crossed. While the IOM (an intergovernmental agency that does more fund raising & policing of migrants than rescue) is making fund appeals for deportation flights from Yemen back to Ethiopia, many migrants are suffering from diarrheal diseases, malaria, respiratory infections, snake bites, & exposure from sleeping in the open. Many migrants are extorted for money, murdered, disappeared, raped. Others are suffering from broken limbs, gunshot wounds, & other signs of extreme violence & maltreatment attributed by officials to human smugglers & criminal gangs.  It is likely Yemen security forces are implicated in this violence against migrants to deter them & keep their end of the bargain with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the Saudi regime is negotiating with Ethiopia for 45,000 new maids, Ethiopia is pledging to help Saudi Arabia fill its labor needs, & also wooing Saudi investors for opportunities in Ethiopian agriculture & mining. Here migrants wait at an IOM transit center to be deported back to Ethiopia. (Photo by Khaled Abdullah)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mexican drug trafficking suspended for pope's visit

This Friday, Pope Benedict is headed for the state of Guanajuato, Mexico (blue state in the middle) to say mass at a statue of Christ erected in defiance by Catholics during a conflict called the Cristero War (1926-29) when they opposed the central government’s attempts--derived from the 1910 Mexican Revolution--to separate church & state. The pope probably wants to reignite that dispute. The news reported that drug cartels announced they will suspend their operations during his visit and speculated it’s because most cartel members are Catholics. A more reasonable explanation is the cartel members will be otherwise engaged picking up the pope at the airport & taking him in their limousines with the other politicians to the mass.

The original sin

The original sin: teaching a child the arts of sycophancy. Those children who will change the world will not bend the knee to power nor defer to higher social status. They will recognize neither but honor only the equality & dignity of all men & women & the superiority of none. (Photo by WPA Pool)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Monsters & victims: the legacy of war

The propaganda offensive is on to defend Robert Bales--the US soldier (& according to villagers, not the only one) who ran amok in Afghanistan massacring 16 men, women, & children--against the Afghan victim's demands for justice. Many articles & news profiles portray him as a prince among men, a helping neighbor, good to the vulnerable, & a puppy lover. The media & his legal line of defense is that he snapped under the stress of multiple deployments--which, by the way, are elected, not conscripted. During the Vietnam War, Seymour Hersh, reporting for the NYTimes on the My Lai massacre of an entire village by US soldiers, toured college campuses laying the blame entirely on Lt. Calley, the officer in charge at the massacre. Antiwar activists challenged Seymour to instead place the blame squarely where it belonged: on the US government which indoctrinates young people with racism, trains them to kill, & sends them into conflict. The families & fellows of Bale’s victims demand justice; they have a right to demand the perpetrator(s) of this crime face them & be prosecuted in their courts, & their demand should be fully supported. But the US will not allow this since what will be put on trial along with Bale & others is the entire US-NATO occupation of their country. Legally, the snapped from multiple deployments defense will work because, in truth, a US court is unlikely to give Bale anything more than a tsk tsk. But politically, this defense hands a weapon to the antiwar movement, particularly the antiwar veterans who are such a vital part of it. The antiwar movement has never taken an adversarial attitude toward soldiers & veterans, regarding them as our brothers & sisters & trying to reach out to them with our antiwar message because their testimony against war has unparalleled & powerful moral authority. In war after war, we have seen returning veterans by the thousands commit suicide, suffer PTSD & other mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries, addiction & violence problems, & represent a disproportionate number of homeless & incarcerated as a result of what they did in war. Under the stress of war, they have seen themselves commit unspeakable acts--war crimes--and they are unable to rebuild trust in themselves shattered by that knowledge. This attempt to defend Bale only backfires on the warmakers & confirms the judgement of antiwar veterans & activists; it condemns US-NATO war policy. War does indeed create monsters; that's why we oppose it. And that’s why it’s time to bring the troops home now. Demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO troops. (The soldier on the left is Robert Bales)

Boycott the Dowlympics 2012

This young mother is a victim of the 1984 Union Carbide explosion of toxic gases in Bhopal, India caused by equipment & safety maintenance neglect. Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) has refused to contain chemical efflux from that explosion for now 26 years which has poisoned the underground water reservoirs. Over 30,000 people still live nearby due to extreme poverty & are forced to drink the contaminated water. This 3 year-old child was born healthy to a gas-affected mother but developed physical & neurological problems in early childhood connected to the contaminated water & probably to her mother’s toxicity. Dow Chemical which now owns Union Carbide has not offered even a small compensation to the second generation of victims of this continuing tragedy. Bhopal victims have been campaigning to get the craven International Olympic Committee & the English government sponsoring the 2012 olympic games to reject Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the Dowlympics but they have steadfastly refused, choosing to side with venality & criminality. To participate in & find ways to support their campaign you can go to their website ( or their page on FB (   (Photo by Alex Masi)

War crimes mount in Afghanistan; antiwar protests must mount in response

That winning hearts & minds thing is really working in Afghanistan. US kill teams, desecrating the dead, disrespecting holy books, torturing animals, & now a massacre where the US won’t even tell the truth about what happened & preempts justice by spiriting the gunman out of the country to Club Fed where a court will give him a spanking for getting caught. A monstrous war crime has been committed & the families & fellows of the 16 men, women, & children massacred & burned have a right to face the perpetrator(s) in a court of law. This is the rubble of US emancipation--& including massive homelessness, starvation, & millions of refugees. The racism & every rancid lying justification for the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan stand exposed. Election years take a beating on antiwar protest when activists focus on electing an antiwar candidate. But the increasing evidence of constant war crimes make independent political protest imperative to demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all US-NATO forces. This Afghan refugee from the war beats on a drum in the squalid quarters where she lives in Pakistan. She cannot be asked to wait any longer without hearing the thunderous voices of international opposition to this war.(Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Afghan parliamentary team says many Americans were involved in massacre in which army accuses one

A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.
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Afghan parliamentary team says many Americans were involved in massacre in which army accuses oneDirectly after the incident, Reuters reported multipl

A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.
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"Another civilian massacre and the savagery of our soldiers"

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The bodies of Afghan civilians loaded into the back of a truck in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district of Kandahar (Photo: AFP)

Nima Shirazi

Nowhere has this vengeance been more tragically demonstrated than Afghanistan and upon an innocent and terrorized civilian population that bares absolutely no responsibility for the events that led the United States to invade and occupy the country over a decade ago.

According to the official U.S. government story, the attacks of September 11, 2001 were carried out by 19 hijackers, none of whom were from Afghanistan. Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and another from Lebanon. None of them lived in Afghanistan. They lived in Hamburg, Germany. They didn't train in Afghanistan, but rather in Sarasota, Florida. They didn't attend flight school in Afghanistan; their school was in Minnesota. The attacks were reportedly planned in many places, including Falls Church, Virginia and Paris, France, but not in Afghanistan.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Palestinian terrorist terrorising a peaceful Israeli soldier with his camera

Madness is not the reason for this massacre

Robert Fisk
I'm getting a bit tired of the "deranged" soldier story. It was predictable, of course. The 38-year-old staff sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, near Kandahar this week had no sooner returned to base than the defence experts and the think-tank boys and girls announced that he was "deranged". Not an evil, wicked, mindless terrorist – which he would be, of course, if he had been an Afghan, especially a Taliban – but merely a guy who went crazy.
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The simple ugly truth of apartheid

The most amazing thing about this damning photo may be the caption: “An Israeli army dog attacks a Palestinian protester during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum.” No mention of Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants or Palestinian rocket squads. Just the truth.  Boycott Israeli products to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice.  (Photo by Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Charlie loves kindergarten

For the first time in my life, I really feel sorry for Charlie. He & Cammy are being taught how to cut paper by a pre-schooler & they’re overwhelmed with giggles & delight. They’ve never done anything all by themselves before. He never knew he could really really do something. With a good job training program, they should be ready for some unskilled jobs soon enough. Cleaning toilets is a good place to begin--just like the rest of us. (Photo by John Stillwell)