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VIDEO: Israel’s Violence Builds Solidarity For Gaza

By: Dennis Trainor Jr Tuesday July 29, 2014 3:15 pm

Originally posted at PopularResistance.org

“We are a diverse group of people who have come together against the Israeli occupation and against the massacre. However,” says Kash Nikazmrad, an organizer with Students for Justice in Palestine, “every massacre, every occupation, every act of colonialism always has a mechanism and a supporter. The supporter in this situation has been America.”

Nikazmrad is one of the organizers behind the Los Angeles “Stop The Massacre in Gaza” events.

Judging by the (in)action of Congress, it is hard to dispute Nikazmrad’s claims. When it comes to Israel and Gaza, there is unanimous agreement. As Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss sums up:

The Senate (July 17) unanimously passed a resolution backed by the Israel lobby group AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and saying not a word about Palestinian deaths.

The Hill says that the resolution passed ‘through a unanimous consent agreement.’

‘The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,’ [South Carolina Senator Lindsey] Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday.

The resolution describes Palestinian attacks on Israel as ‘unprovoked’ and says not a word about Palestinian deaths, but speaks of the survival of Israel in urging the dissolution of the unified Palestinian government:

Reaffirms the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel…

Calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

NJ Senator Cory Booker blamed Hamas for the violence:

‘I strongly condemn the heinous attacks being perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Israel. No country should have to live under a constant threat of aggression against its people, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as it defends itself against this shocking violence. My heart goes out to the citizens of Israel and the countless civilians in Gaza caught in this Hamas-initiated violence.’

MJ Rosenberg says it’s all about pro-Israel money, and that Senators have a double standard for US military actions and Israeli ones:

Note that even progressive saints Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders found nothing in this to object to. 

For the record, no U.S. military adventure has had the support of all hundred senators in decades. But, hey, this is Israel. And, more important, this is AIPAC. And cash.

Kash Nikazmrad of Students for Justice in Palestine, joins Dennis on Acronym TV to discuss the growing global resistance to the massacre in Gaza.

ny jews gaza1
***

 

Tuesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Tuesday July 29, 2014 8:25 pm

 

Coelecanth, preserved

“I’m not dead yet!”

Tonight’s video is “The Coelacanth: A Living Fossil” from TED-Ed.

The coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that was mistakenly thought to have gone extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs, has managed to stick around our seas for 360 million years. Erin Eastwood details the surprising “back from the dead” discovery of the coelacanth and explains how this fish’s fins shed light on the evolutionary movement of vertebrates from water to land.

Lesson by Erin Eastwood, animation by James Price for The Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

A group of Satanists are claiming that access to abortion and reproductive health services are part of their deeply-held religious beliefs and therefore members should be exempt from anti-choice laws. Think Progress reports:

The Satanic Temple — a faith community that describes itself as facilitating ‘the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty’ — has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level ‘informed consent’ laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty. ‘Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated “informational” material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,’ a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.

The Satanic Temple, sometimes referred to as “the nicest Satanic cult in the world,” falls somewhere between satire, performance art, and activism. The group says its central mission is to ‘encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.’

[...] Members of the Temple of Satan are encouraging all women who share their belief in medical accuracy to seek their own exemption from these laws, even if they don’t personally identify as Satanists. They’ve drawn up a sample letter to help women talk to their doctors about the issue, as well as created ‘Right to Accurate Medical Information’ t-shirts for purchase.

Thanks to Dana Sayre for this link.

Bonus: “Better finish that novel, because Twitter is watching!” via the AVClub.

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Painting by Numbers

By: David Cox Monday July 28, 2014 2:56 pm

George Orwell had it all wrong you know, rather than a monolithic Big Brother enforcing conformity, there are thousands of Big Brothers. Choirs of angels singing a siren’s song as devil sings along in three-part harmony, in this, the misinformation age. Hosanna, halleluiah! Great news, a great victory for Oceania!

The Huffington Post dedicated its entire front page: “The unemployment rate dipped in June from 6.3 percent in May to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck at full force in the fall of 2008 with the bankruptcy of the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers.”

Bloomberg News called it: “Payroll Surge Fuels Self-Sustaining U.S. Expansion”

224,000 new jobs in May and now, 288,000 in June, with unemployment falling to 6.1 percent! It’s all good, isn’t it? It’s all good, proof positive, the participation rate now stands at 62.8 percent and that’s great, isn’t it? Last June, the participation rate stood at 63.5 percent.

Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. –George Orwell

America’s labor force bulges to 155,694,000 with the addition of 288,000 new jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of unemployed workers fell this month by 325,000, leaving 9,474,000 still unemployed. That’s the keyhole view, the media view, the headline view.  For while the federal government can tell you how many endangered newts might live in a particular stream bed. Their concern for living, breathing and formerly tax paying citizens, isn’t quite as precise. They began as unemployed and when their unemployment benefits expired, they became “marginally attached to the labor force.” From there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to the “discouraged worker” category.

Like a pinball machine, once these unemployed miss that last flipper, they go down a hole and just disappear. They’re Americans who aren’t employed and are no longer counted as unemployed; they just disappear from the labor force, from the headlines and from their government’s concern. 3.8 million Americans are down that hole with 293,000 more circling that dark vortex this month.

Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree.
 –George Orwell

Every new job is a good job, right? If we forget that 19th century cotton planters in the south had achieved full employment. There is what is known as “part-time for economic reasons” it is also known as involuntary part-time and this month the number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons rose by 275,000 to 7,544,000. The numbers who could only find part-time work rose by 111,000 to 2.6 million. It is somehow difficult to explain this self-sustaining economic expansion, when the other 4.5 million Americans are working part-time due to slack work or business conditions.

The number of hours worked by Americans each week is unchanged from a year ago at 34.5 hours. The economy added a 138,000 new construction jobs since last June and that’s down from 142,000 in April. The improvements are incremental, trumpeting 288,000 new jobs is wonderful, if we can forget that for every one of those new jobs this month, 540 unemployed Americans found none.

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink George Orwell

The average retail worker in the US, have seen their paychecks rise by a whopping, nine dollars a week, since last June. Professionals and business services have seen their incomes rise by less than $25.00 per week. Average hourly income has increased this month by six cents per hour, against an annual inflation rate of 2.1 percent.

Chip Ward: Leave It to Beaver(s)

By: Tom Engelhardt Monday July 18, 2011 11:05 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

A happy beaver

Save the beavers, save the earth.

If you want to be unnerved, just pay a visit to the U.S. Drought Monitor and check out its map of the American West with almost all of California stained the deep, distressing shades of red that indicate either “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.  In other words, it could hardly be worse.  California is now in its third year of drought, with no end in sight; state agricultural losses are estimated at $2.2 billion for 2014 alone; most of its reservoirs are less than half full; the Colorado River basin, which supplies water to “about 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in seven states,” including California, is compromised; and California’s first six months of 2014 have been the “hottest ever… nearly five degrees warmer than the twentieth century average.” The drought’s arms extend north through Oregon (“severe”) into Washington, where it’s already been the fire season from hell — and it’s just beginning.  They also reach east through Nevada as far as Utah and straight across the Southwest in various shades of yellow, orange, and deep red.

TomDispatch’s western contingent, environmentalists Chip Ward and William deBuys, have had the stresses of climate change, rising heat, drought, wildfires, desertification, and someday the possible abandonment of parts of the Southwest on their minds (and so on the minds of TD readers) for years now.  These days, the chickens are coming home to roost — but not, it seems, the beavers.  Ward, a Utah environmentalist and the former assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, has long focused not just on how our American world is being ravaged, but on how to protect and restore it.  In today’s post, he offers a reminder that sometimes such restoration can come in small packages and that even the most modest of natural geo-engineering can disturb vested interests. Tom

The Original Geo-Engineers
Or How to Save the Iconic West from the Cow
By Chip Ward

The great novelist Wallace Stegner sorted the conflicting impulses in his beloved American West into two camps. There were the “boomers” who saw the frontier as an opportunity to get rich quick and move on: the conquistadors, the gold miners, the buffalo hunters, the land scalpers, and the dam-building good ol’ boys. They are still with us, trying to drill and frack their way to Easy Street across our public lands. Then there were those Stegner called the “nesters” or “stickers” who came to stay and struggled to understand the land and its needs. Their quest was to become native.

That division between boomers and nesters is, of course, too simple.  All of us have the urge to consume and move on, as well as the urge to nest, so our choices are rarely clear or final. Today, that old struggle in the American West is intensifying as heat-parched, beetle-gnawed forests ignite in annual epic firestorms, reservoirs dry up, and Rocky Mountain snow is ever more stained with blowing desert dust.

The modern version of nesters are the conservationists who try to partner with the ecosystems where they live. Wounded landscapes, for example, can often be restored by unleashing nature’s own self-healing powers. The new nesters understand that you cannot steer and control an ecosystem but you might be able to dance with one.  Sage Sorensen dances with beavers.

Dances with Beavers

The dance floor is my Utah backyard, which, like most backyards out here, is a watershed.  At its top is the Aquarius Plateau, the horizon I see from my deck, a gracefully rolling forest of pines and aspens that stretches for 50 miles to the south, 20 miles wide at its midpoint, and reaches 11,300 feet at its highest ridge.

VIDEO: Hug a Terrorist; Commentary From Jon Snow You’ll Never See In America

By: john in sacramento

These are two, I presume, Palestinian girls who symbolize the actual victims of this massacre

And Jon Snow, from Channel 4 in Britain, with an editorial on what he’s witnessed:

People can say what they will about that Israeli government manufactured terrorist organization. And people can say what they want about the rockets fired from Gaza, but what the rockets actually are in the vast, vast, vast majority of cases are glorified backyard enthusiast type rockets. And not that they won’t harm anyone, it’s about proportion. And not that they don’t have a few larger ones, like the M-302′s. It’s still about proportion, and the true victims.

Stop the massacre!

PS And please, don’t anyone make a blanket determination and conflate the two separate entities; the Israeli Government and all of the people of the Jewish faith in this situation. Because there are many Jews who deplore the actions of the government of Israel.

UN Against War Crimes, US Not So Much

By: williamboardman

Carte Blanche for War Crimes Passes Senate Unanimously

U.S. alone in vote against investigation of crimes against humanity  

The Senate side of the Capitol seen from the exterior

“There is blood on every United States senator’s hands.”

Is there any doubt that Israelis and Palestinians have been committing war crimes and crimes against each other’s humanity for decades?

Objectively, that seems to be a plain fact, with particular relevance to Israel, whose existence was made possible by, among other things, acts of terror. Nowadays Israel objects, with no apparent sense of irony, when Palestinians seeking their own state also resort to acts of terror. Terrorism is a tactic of the relatively weak (as is non-violence) that sometimes seems to produce the desired result, as did Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 that left 91 dead.

Weighing the merits of war criminals on any side is a fool’s game. But those playing this game include almost everyone involved with the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, as each pretends to ride a moral high horse that no longer exists, if it ever did.

Logically enough, under present conditions of mostly indiscriminate killing, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva met in special session to consider this war crimes question on July 23. The council reviewed and later adopted a resolution captioned: “Ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The council issued a four-page assessment of regional conditions and approved one decision:

… to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after…. [emphasis added]

The 47-member council voted 29-1 in favor of the resolution, with 17 members (11 of them European) abstaining. The lone vote against the commission of inquiry was the United States. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are members of the council.

The U.S. opposition to the Human Rights Council investigating violations of international law comes just months after another UN human rights agency issued a report highly critical of more than two dozen human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. Some of these violations continue unabated, such as prisoner treatment at Guantanamo, widespread surveillance of citizens everywhere, drone assassinations, and racial injustice by police and prisons. For the United States, these abuses are all well known and they express basic policy choices. The U.S. Senate provided a recent example.

100 U.S. senators approve Israeli war crimes, in advance

Senate Resolution 498 was introduced by Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on July 10 with 79 co-sponsors and the caption: “Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Shi’ia Army Retakes Tikrit, Kills 300 Sunni ISIS Raiders. Ignored by Corporate MSM

By: TuffsNotEnuff Monday July 28, 2014 6:16 am
ISIS flag

The corporate media look the other way as ISIS kills.

There’s two news stories here. The war in Iraq continues unabated, which will surprise no one. Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham controls northwest Iraq while a regular army organized by Major General Qassim Suleimani focuses on actions at Samarra and Tikrit.  A fresh, modern Battle of Tikrit has been underway for the last five weeks. Tikrit is a test point for ISIS military conquest. Meanwhile back here in The West — and despite continuing phone and shortwave radio access to the combat areas — western corporate media press a story line that the Sunni raiders of ISIS are uniformly triumphant against Shi’ia (or “Shia” or “Shiite”) defenders. Actual combat results are missing from news reports.

[Update: radio in Baghdad had a report Monday that verified ISIS killings have topped 6,000 for the last 3 months.]

Reporting foreign wars has been optional at best for MSM. That has been the situation for 25 years:

– Start with the two big civil wars in the Congo that killed 5-million civilians with not one murmur from the corporate outlets.

– In Central African Republic an ISIS-lookalike operation called Seleka went on an anti-Christian rampage through 2011-2013 that included murdering 30,000 to 50,000 civilians and conquering C.A.R.’s capital city, Bangui, for their leader and not-quite-Caliph Michel Djotodia.

– In Mali, yet another ISIS-lookalike Salafist coalition — al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) plus Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujwa) plus the smaller Ansar Dine — set up shop in the Southern Sahara, an area called the Azawad Desert. They took Timbuktu, the regional capital, in a raid reminiscent of recent events at Mosul in Iraq. Literally nothing of these events appeared in western media until the week after a mix of French Foreign Legion paratroopers, their Special Forces, and Marines retook Timbuktu killing an estimated 130 of the Salafist raiders.

– When the Nigerian Salafist militia called Boko Haram kidnapped 234 Christian school girls in April, 2014, and then several hundred more in other actions, that got a measure of coverage.  Military responses to Boko Haram have received no coverage at all.

Saudi support for ISIS and its clones follows their Salafi / Wahhabist beliefs. This from Patrick Cockburn:

Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: ‘The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.’

Wiping out these Shia and/or Christians is good sport. On a par with Saudi Jew-hating.

Wahhabists vs. Qods Force

But then the plan for Boko Haram and Seleka and ISIS runs into a professional military operation.

Battle of Tikrit
For the Battle of Tikrit, General Suleimani has replicated tactics that proved effective during the Battle of Qusayr in Syria in 2012. His Shi’ia forces started their action by setting up a 10-kilometer perimeter around Tikrit. This effort helped protect the sprawling Saddam palace and the military hospital and other areas where the ISIS raiders had failed to seize control. All the roads and cross-country transit routes were blocked. This Tikrit perimeter force deploys an estimated 5,000 troops in 24/7 assignments with a substantial logistics infrastructure. Temperatures above 110F every day makes the logistics sustainability problem critical. Then the big drive started counterattacking its way to the western areas of Tikrit, beginning last Wednesday, so the perimeter force had to set up to block ISIS retreat.

Obama & Congress Sitting In a Tree, Spending Our Money to Kill Babies

By: Jane Stillwater
Pile of doll heads and parts arranged disturbingly

“Huge black bags of gold, all clearly labeled Dead Baby Fund.”

[Note:  Yes, I know that I should be grateful that John McCain wasn't elected in 2008 because he would have had America in the middle of WW III by now and there probably would have been bunkers and anti-aircraft missile launchers (and also lots of American dead babies) outside my bedroom window instead of just robins, but still...we are already up to our necks in wars, proxy wars and dead babies as it is -- and I'm sick of it.]

President Obama and Congress may hate each other’s guts regarding a whole lot of domestic issues — but with regard to foreign policy, Obama and Congress just can’t kiss each other’s butts fast enough when it comes to agreeing to kill as many babies as humanly possible in as many foreign countries as they possibly can. And ASAP.

Obama and Congress spend American taxpayers’ money on killing babies in foreign lands like there is no tomorrow; as if all our hard-earned money could just magically and automatically replenish itself overnight like some magical ATM that never stops working, an inexhaustible resource that has no limits or end.

“Seven trillion dollars gone forever? No problem. It’ll grow back. The important thing here is to keep producing all those dead babies.” Can’t stop now. There are still a few left alive.

In Haiti, dead babies.  “They all would have died in fifty or sixty years anyway.”

In Ukraine, dead babies.  “But those babies were rebels, clearly red-diaper babies!”

Afghanistan’s dead babies keep piling up like cordwood.  “We thought they were Taliban!  Diapers, not head-cloths?  Nah.”

Dead babies in Iraq, murdered by ISIS, weaponized and trained by Obama and Congress.  “Just collateral damage that got in the way of the oil.  Again.  Pesky babies.”

Dead babies in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and, hopefully, Iran next.  “Those babies possessed WMDs!”

Dead babies in Libya, Egypt, Africa and Palestine.  “Ah, the smell of dead babies in the morning.”  Dead babies in Honduras.  “They won’t be camping at our borders any more — because they will be dead.”

And don’t forget poor bleeding Syria, where Congress and Obama happily released the Kraken, er, ISIS on all kinds of babies that used to be living.  “Those babies were dictators!  They had to go!”

And now Obama and Congress have solemnly shaken hands and agreed that Palestine and Gaza both need more dead babies too. ”The only difference between the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ attack on the USS Liberty and the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ attack on Gaza is that there were no babies on board the USS Liberty. What a waste.”

And even as we speak, Obama and Congress still tirelessly continue to work together, constantly dragging gigantic bags of gold coins over to the Pentagon; hundreds of thousands of black bags that contain over half of all the money that we Americans will ever earn in our lifetimes — huge black bags of gold, all clearly labeled “Dead Baby Fund.”

I want no part of any of this.

Do you?