You are browsing the archive for Uncategorized.

Saturday Art: My Poem for Gaza

11:43 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Google map of Gaza

Google map of Gaza

Almost 40 years ago, after showing my girlfriend (now my wife) my latest poem, she diplomatically told me that poetry was perhaps “the least of my many artistic talents.”  Since then, I haven’t written many verses, though I’ve set over 50 by others to song.

However, the ongoing Gaza butchery has shaken me to the core.  I am not alone.  This has been a pivotal event for many others.

How dare this shitty little country, run by audacious ingrates and uncouth boors, dictate a new paradigm for blowing up hospitals?  How dare their ambassadors and spokes-creeps drive more stakes into the heart of what little remains of 21st century ethics and humanitarianism?

On the way to the Anchorage airport Wednesday evening, my wife and I cried as we listened to Democracy Now.  Ms. ET is far less political than me, but the stories of this atrocity cannot pass one by.

My poem is partially derived from the King James Version of the Old Testament books of Lamentations and Hosea.  The quote from Albert Einstein is from an April 1938 speech he gave at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, and is based on my own re-transcription of a long-ago deleted article on it in the New York press.

The poem is for Siun.

Poem for Gaza

Prologue:

Gaza, ancient city by the azure sea,
“How doth this city sit so solitary?

“She that was full of people!
How is she become as a widow,
a mother of countless orphans
and parents with unburied children!”

I.

The prophets warned the kings, the generals, the courtiers,
The scribes, the rabbis, the lesser soldiers and teachers.

Now, let these craven men come before the Lord:
“Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them,
As thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions:
For my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.”

Her courtiers cry out: “Distant Brazil, you be a cultural giant,
A diplomatic dwarf, for daring to condemn our campaign
to make alien hospitals the newest baths of blood.”

Her generals cry out: “World, we demand one child per hour
to satisfy our replacement for YHWH – our Lockheed-HP-Motorola-
Caterpillar-SodaStream Moloch.”

Her rabbis call out: “Scalp their children’s foreskins,
make them trophies to your bravery,
rape their women, steal back their pride, for it is yours.”

Her soldiers call out: “Make your shots count.
Aim at the pregnant woman’s belly and you get two for one.”

Her teachers call out: “There is no Palestine, no Palestinians,
No people there, but rather our land waiting to be sanctified
By our return – when the other is no longer there.”

Her scribes write: “They are lesser beings than we,
Less deserving of life, happiness, health, pride or dignity,
for we are G*d’s chosen, they are scum between our toes.”

Yet G*d senses a flood of falsehoods from these flagrant proclamations:
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel:

“For the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

“By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing rapine,They break out, and blood toucheth blood.

“Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein
Shall languish, with the beasts of the field,and with the fowls of heaven; Yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.”

II.

The prophets of ancient times are to become united
With the prophets of our own. Einstein was the harbinger:

I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs On the basis of living together in peace
Than the creation of a Jewish State.

Apart from practical considerations,
My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism
Resists the idea of a Jewish State,
With borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power,
no matter how modest.

I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain
Especially from the development of a narrow nationalism
within our own ranks,
Against which we have already had to fight strongly,
Even without a Jewish State.

We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period.

A return to a nation in the political sense of the word,
Would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization
of our community
Which we owe to the genius of our prophets.

The harbinger has not yet brought a Messiah,
And his message has been unheeded countless times.

Is the messenger who will bring peace yet among us?
Is it a man or a woman?
How long must we wait?
Read the rest of this entry →

Blatant Racism Toward Israeli Bedouins – The Iron Dirt Dome

8:22 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Sunday, as fighting escalated in the open prison grounds of Gazagrad, a desperate rocket, fired from the internment camp’s interior killed an Israeli Bedouin citizen.  The Association for Human Rights in Israel reports:

In Israel, two civilians have been killed. One was a Bedouin, the 32-year-old Oudi Lafi al-Waj, who lived in an unrecognized village in the Negev (Naqab) desert, near Dimona. Several Bedouin children have also been injured by rocket fire since Israel began ‘Operation Protective Edge.‘ Bedouin villages do not have air raid sirens, nor are they covered by Iron Dome. They also lack bomb shelters. In the wake of al-Waj’s death, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, a non-governmental organization, ‘submitted an urgent request’ this morning to the Israeli High Court for an answer on the petition the organization filed last week requesting that the state provide bomb shelters for the Bedouin. But in a Sunday hearing at Israel’s High Court, the ‘state expressed its position that there is no need to provide additional protective facilities to these communities, and advised the Bedouin residents to protect themselves by lying on the ground,’ ACRI reports. The organization added that ‘officials claimed that protecting the Bedouin villages was a low priority.’ [emphasis added]

Part of the reason these non-Jewish, second-class citizens of the apartheid state are being advised to “lie on the ground” is that if they were to build adequate bomb shelters in their villages, they would most likely be demolished by Israeli police or military forces:

In the State’s formal pleadings to the court, it claimed that the responsibility to provide protective facilities rests primarily on homeowners, but did not refer to the fact that most of the houses in these communities are simple shacks that are particularly vulnerable to damage and provide no protection. They also did not refer to the fact that the current legal situation forbids any construction in these communities and that any construction would be subject to a demolition order. [emphasis added]

Writer Max Blumenthal has been among the most assiduous in gathering evidence of longtime Israeli racism and institutional apartheid policies toward its Bedouin citizens.  A small sample, from February, 2011:

Yesterday morning, the Bedouin village of Al Arakib withstood the 18th pogrom against it by the Jewish National Fund and Israeli riot police. I mentioned in my last post that I would begin promoting actions to hold the Jewish National Fund accountable for violently ethnic cleansing Al Arakib in order to build the GOD TV Forest of Hate. Now here is something everyone who reads this blog (minus the professional hasbara trolls) can and should do: Join the Jewish Voice for Peace call in campaign to demand that the JNF cease demolishing villages like Al Arakib. Tell your local JNF office to stop the pogroms against the indigenous population of the Negev. To be sure, this is a minor action that will probably yield only dismissive responses from JNF representatives, but it is important to apply pressure and get them on the record.

In recent Firedoglake diaries about the ongoing assault on Gaza, several commenters have defended Israeli conduct.  Please show up here, my deluded, Zionist friends, and explain how not providing protection to citizens in harm’s way because of their ethnic background does not constitute blatant and enduring apartheid?

In recent years, village residents and human rights organizations have turned repeatedly to the Ministry of Defence and the Home Front Command to provide protective facilities for these villages. Most of the letters were ignored. One of the responses provided to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel in 2009 explained that while advocacy activities were planned for village residents, there was no intention to provide any protective facilities to any Bedouin communities apart from Rahat [a Bedouin <strike>gated community</strike> forced relocation camp. [emphasis added]

At least Marie Antionette wanted France’s second class citizens to be able to “eat cake.”  The Israeli High Court wants their Bedouin citizens to “eat dirt.”

It will be interesting to see how Israeli policies toward its other second class (i.e. – non-Jewish) citizens are influenced by the pressure of events in the wake of the current criminally disproportionate response to Palestinian rocket barrages.

Metropolitan Opera Censors Masterpiece by Renowned Composer John Adams

12:53 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

An actor leaps through the air on stage as two others in robes watch

A look at a great operatic composer’s most controversial work.

Every serious list of America’s greatest living composers has neo-Romantic post-Minimalist composer John Adams at or near the top. His 2002 commemoration to victims of September 11th, 2001, On the Transmigration of Souls, won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for musical composition. He has won five Grammies for recordings of his work. His most important orchestral works, Short Ride on a Fast Machine,  Harmonielehre, The Chairman Dances and Tromba Lontana are performed on a weekly basis all around the planet by the world’s top orchestras. His three full-scale operas and four other opera-like works are regarded as the most significant contribution to that genre by any American.

His three operas, Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and Dr. Atomic (2005) are all held to be major masterpieces. His unique approach to opera, by basing them on real events and combination of real utterances by historic figures and fictional dialogue are all deep collaborations with poet and playwright Alice Goodman. Although all three are regarded as iconic in terms of the post-Minimalist music Adams created for them, one has stirred controversy because of its subject matter.

Since its premiere, The Death of Klinghoffer has had its detractors. The subject of the opera is the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, and the murder of one of its passengers, the disabled, wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, who was Jewish. The hijackers were members of the Palestine Liberation Front. The Metropolitan Opera has a production of Klinghoffer scheduled for the upcoming season. However, on Tuesday, their management announced they will not broadcast the performances of it, because of “rising anti-Semitism in Europe.” You read that right:

The Met decided to cancel its planned Nov. 15 Live in HD transmission of Klinghoffer to movie theaters and a radio broadcast after discussions with the Anti-Defamation League. The league praised the Met’s decision, saying that ‘while the opera itself is not anti-Semitic, there is a concern the opera could be used in foreign countries to stir up anti-Israel sentiments or as a vehicle to promote anti-Semitism.’

Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said that he remained a champion of the works of Mr. Adams, and that he does not believe the work is anti-Semitic. But he added that he was reacting to the concern among Jews that the live transmission to theaters around the world ‘would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.’

The composer is understandably upset: 

Mr. Adams, one of America’s foremost composers, said that he did not understand why the cinema transmission and radio broadcast were still being canceled if Mr. Gelb and the Anti-Defamation League agreed that the work is not anti-Semitic, though some critics have said otherwise. And he said he had been concerned by what he called ‘the really completely unjust charges’ about his opera, especially by people who have not heard it.

‘The really ironic and sad fact is that the content of this opera is more relevant in 2014 than it was even in 1991, when it was premiered,’ Mr. Adams said. ‘I think the people that are inflamed and upset about its production are people who are intent about trying to control their message. By canceling it, the Met has yielded to that intimidation.’

Mr. Adams, who praised Mr. Gelb’s support of his work and his ‘grit and determination’ to stage ‘Klinghoffer,’ said that he feared that without the global transmission, which is often followed by television broadcasts, many thousands of people would be deprived of the chance to see the work and make up their own minds about it.

‘I’m just afraid that most people will have a sort of Wikipedia opinion about this opera,’ he said. ‘They’ll say, “Oh, that’s the opera that’s been accused of anti-Semitism,” and leave it at that. And that’s really very sad — it’s very hard when something’s been stained with an accusation like that, it’s almost impossible to wash it out.’ [emphasis added]

I have tried to follow the performance history of Death of Klinghoffer since its premiere in 1991. At the time, I was seriously considering writing an opera about Edward Teller’s role in Project Chariot, a late 1950s plan to use four hydrogen bombs to create a new harbor in northwestern Alaska. I wanted to model it somewhat after John Adams’s first opera, Nixon in China, so was interested in how Adams’s voice was developing in his second opera.

All through its history, some individuals and Zionist organizations, and members of the Klinghoffer family have objected to one aspect of the opera or another. The first objection to which Adams responded was his depiction of some of the Klinghoffer’s friends, and his creation of fictional characters to portray them. They were perceived to be caricatures of some sort of Jewish stereotype. Adams deleted the scene. At least two scholarly papers have been written about how this deletion marred the opera’s form and balance.

The most authoritative person to claim the opera is anti-Semitic and romanticizes terrorism is the curmudgeonly Richard Taruskin, now a professor of musicology at Cal Berkeley:

Does The Death of Klinghoffer romanticize the perpetrators of deadly violence toward the innocent? Its creators tacitly acknowledged that it did, when they revised the opera for American consumption after its European premieres in Brussels and Paris. In its original version, the opening ‘Chorus of Exiled Palestinians’ was followed not by a balancing ‘Chorus of Exiled Jews’ but by a scene, now dropped from the score, that showed the Klinghoffers’ suburban neighbors gossiping merrily about their impending cruise (‘The dollar’s up. Good news for the Klinghoffers’) to an accompaniment of hackneyed pop-style music.

That contrast set the vastly unequal terms on which the conflict of Palestinians and Jews would be perceived throughout the opera. The portrayal of suffering Palestinians in the musical language of myth and ritual was immediately juxtaposed with a musically trivial portrayal of contented, materialistic American Jews.

As recently as last winter, the LA Opera pulled out of a co-production of the opera, leaving Long Beach Opera to produce it alone, which was a heavy financial burden for the company.

The most often-performed extract from the opera is a set of choruses, depicting displaced Jews and displaced Palestinians, in turns. They are choral masterpieces. Before September 11th, 2001, the Boston Symphony and chorus had programmed the work to be performed that fall. They cancelled after numerous complaints that the choruses “romanticize terrorists.”

The composer’s responses to criticisms and cancellations over the work’s 23-year history are studies in restraint. The opera is more like an oratorio or passion than what we generally consider an opera to be. More opera-like than most of those by fellow minimalist Philip Glass, Adams really does succeed in having a neutral point of view. Apparently that isn’t enough for some who are upset whenever Palestinians are treated even-handedly in comparison to Israelis or to Jews.

No doubt there will be new developments between now and the November production. Will any of the number of other living Pulitzer Prize winning American composers come to John Adams’s defense? There are at least 30 of them.

Or are they concerned about ruining their futures?

John Adams said he learned that the Metropolitan Opera was scrapping plans to transmit his opera The Death of Klinghoffer to movie theaters around the world when the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, told him on Sunday by telephone that he had gotten ‘unimaginable pressure’ from some Jewish groups that oppose the work. [emphasis added]

The Chorus of the Exiled Palestinians, from Penny Woolcock’s film of the opera:

Photo by Robert Hubert Smith released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.

Doug Fine Discusses His Book, Hemp Bound, At The Booksmith, in Haight-Ashbury

11:10 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Sunday afternoon, I will be hosting author Doug Fine here at the Firedoglake Book Salon. We will be asking him questions about the subject matter of Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution.  Last year, we had him here to discuss the paperback edition of his book on the medical cannabis growing scene in California, Too High to Fail.

His new book concentrates on non-medicinal and recreational uses of hemp, in a variety of industrial applications.  Having read all four of Doug’s books, I regard this as his most important.

Here is an hour-long presentation on the book he gave at The Booksmith, in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District, around April 23rd.  I shopped at The Booksmith on December 21st, while Christmas shopping on my first trip to that historic area since October, 1968.

Netanyahu, Pissed at the Pope for Praying at the Apartheid Wall, Attempts to Humiliate Francis. Twice.

10:36 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

A pontiff who appears to be the most humble in generations might be hard, almost impossible to humiliate.  That didn’t keep the first foreign leader to star in political ads opposing a sitting American President’s re-election efforts from trying, though.

Sunday, Pope Francis made an unscripted stop at a section of the apartheid wall in the Bethlehem shtetl, upon which a message to the pope had been spray-painted.  He stopped his entourage, got out of the popemobile lite he was traveling in, went up to the wall, touched the graffiti.  Then he put his head against the sterile concrete barrier and prayed.

On Monday, in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “demanded” the pontiff make a similar gesture at the Mt. Herzl National Cemetery:

Pope Francis visited a memorial to Jewish victims of terrorism on Monday after Israel demanded the gesture as a counter-weight to his decision to pray at the foot of the giant wall that symbolises the divisions between Palestinians and Israelis.

Israeli officials were angered by the Pope’s impromptu initiative at the separation barrier on which ‘Free Palestine’ was scrawled in graffiti on Sunday, which they felt handed a propaganda victory to the Palestinians, who regard the wall as the ultimate symbol of their subjugation and a potent example of illegal land-grabbing.

There were reports that the Palestinian Authority was planning to have the image of the Pope praying at the barrier made into a postage stamp.

Deciding, in the words of one Israeli official, not to ‘get mad but to get even,’ they strongly suggested to the Vatican that the Pope should pray at the memorial on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, made it plain that the visit to the memorial had been at his instigation.

The pope prayed at a lot of places of enormous significance.  The apartheid wall, the Mt. Herzl Memorial, the Wailing Wall (where he inserted a paper effigy of The Lord’s Prayer, handwritten in Spanish), and at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

Netanyahu’s “don’t get mad, get even” strategy is so facile, so sophomoric, so narcissistic, I don’t even want to go there past citing the event.

The Palestinians in the the West Bank Bantustans are excited that the pope addressed “The State of Palestine,”  something few Western leaders have done so openly or publicly:

Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a Holy Land pilgrimage Sunday, repeatedly backing their statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel’s controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts ‘unacceptable.’

Palestinian officials hailed Francis’ decision to refer to the ‘state of Palestine.’ In its official program, the Vatican referred to President Mahmoud Abbas as the president of the ‘state of Palestine,’ and his Bethlehem office as the ‘presidential palace.’ He pointedly called Abbas a ‘man of peace.’

His call for the President of Israel and head of the Palestinian Authority to join him at his apartment in the Vatican for prayers for peace was accepted:

President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas immediately accepted a surprise invitation by Pope Francis in Bethlehem on Sunday to join him at the Vatican to pray for peace.

He issued his call on the second day of his Middle East trip, in the midst of a large public Mass he celebrated in Manger Square, the site of Jesus’s birth.

‘Here, at the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace. I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer,’ he said.

The pope’s decision to bring the power of prayer into the diplomatic arena comes at a moment when direct negotiations have been suspended and the US-led, nine-month peace process appears to have failed.

Peres and Abbas said they welcome the initiative and appreciate the pontiff’s efforts to achieve peace.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office made no comment on the Vatican invitation.

Netanyahu, however, did make another attempt to either humiliate the pope or befuddle him:

Read the rest of this entry →

Firedoglake Book Salon Preview: The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah

10:13 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Author Ali Abunimah

Please join us Sunday for Ali Abunimah’s The Battle for Justice in Palestine. I’ll be hosting. Of the FDL book salons on the subject of Palestine-Israel that I have hosted, I’m looking forward to this one the most. Ali has been in this battle for a long time. We will get to witness him explain the book’s bold opening sentence, “The Palestinians are winning.” And much more.

I.  2014 is a year seeing rapid changes in how the world views and reacts to relations between Israel and Israelis, and their co-inhabitants, in the so-called “Land Between the River and the Sea.” Terms used to describe Israeli policies and laws, words such as “racist” or “apartheid,” for instance, are quickly gaining more currency, more acceptance. Pushback against use of such terms by ardent Zionists seems to get less traction in the public at large by the day.

The main reason this is the case is simply grounded in abundant examples of racist and apartheid incidents, rules, policies and actions perpetrated daily in that land. The very recent assignment of blame on the breakdown of the Peace Process™ talks supervised by the U.S. State Department, between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Foreign Office on the Israelis, by Secretary of State John Kerry, lead negotiator Martin Indyk and others is unprecedented.

Every week more organizations become leery of dealing with Israel as if everything is normal there. Pension funds divest. Professional associations pass resolutions to cut ties with their Israeli counterparts. Churches pass resolutions of condemnation or divestment, even an unblushing published study guide labeling Zionism as “false theology.” College student government bodies debate the utility of the Global BDS Movement, and vote to participate in it – or not. The list of professional associations of college faculty boycotting Israeli institutions grows monthly. This trend will only accelerate, as Israel is plummeting over the edge, no longer able to hide the true nature of the country’s vision of Jewish supremacy at the expense of non-Jews. Just this Thursday, Israeli Economic Minister Naftali Bennett proposed, once again, to Prime Minister Netanyahu, to annex Area C, 74% of the West Bank:

Bennett has presented his plan in recent weeks to foreign diplomats stationed in the country. The proposal includes removing IDF roadblocks in the territory left under Palestinian control, Areas A and B, as well as investing in infrastructure there and pursuing massive economic development.

Annexing Area C, Bennett has said, will secure Israel’s vital interests by creating a buffer zone for Gush Dan and Jerusalem. It will also preserve Israel’s “vital” national heritage sites.

According to sources close to the Bayit Yehudi leader, he will push forward with the plan regardless of whether Hamas and Fatah implement their unity agreement, and regardless whether Israeli-Palestinian talks start anew. Bennett, according to sources close to him, believes those talks will ultimately fail.

Europe and the United Nations – which have indicated they view Area C as vital for the viability of a future Palestinian state – have in the last few years increasingly focused on shoring up Palestinian development there, including with financial assistance.

This annexation would result in the remainders of Palestine being something that looks like nothing in the world more than the former Bantustans of South Africa: Read the rest of this entry →

Max Blumenthal Shares Lessons from U Michigan Divestment Campaign

7:30 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Max+Blumenthal+in+Anchorage

Author, journalist and videographer Max Blumenthal participated in the debate before the University of Michigan’s Central Government Council, on March 25th, regarding possible divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine, and repression of Palestinian society. He was the leadoff presenter for Michigan Students Allied for Equality. Blumenthal spoke for just under thirty minutes. It is one of the most powerfully passionate speeches I’ve ever heard on Palestinian rights and what that should mean to colleges in the United States, whose investments are intertwined with elements of the illegal occupation by Israel of the West Bank, and with the draconian blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Here is Max Blumenthal’s March 25th presentation:

Today, Mondoweiss carried an essay by Blumenthal, titled “‘A Painful Price’: The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond.” In the article, he describes the intimidation tactics used against some of the student coordinators for Michigan Students Allied for Equality. His findings are somewhat disturbing. In the midst of accusations against a number of the student activists of intimidation, the activists are themselves undergoing organized intimidation tactics:

During SAFE’s week-long sit-in, a close-knit group of pro-Israel students filed a series of incendiary accusations against SAFE members, accusing them in formal reports to university administrators of delivering anti-Semitic tirades laced with antiquated terms like ‘kike’ and ‘dirty Jew.’ At the same time, Facebook profiles belonging to SAFE members were invaded by a mysterious account named ‘ZPC Viper Matrix.‘ Personal information of SAFE members, their families, and Palestine rights supporters across the country including American Studies Association President-elect Lisa Duggan have appeared on the Viper Matrix Facebook page, often in distorted form alongside derogatory comments, prompting several students to cancel their accounts.

Among those who told me their profile photos and personal information were uploaded at the Viper Matrix page was Sharifah Abdallah, a Palestinian member of Loyola University’s Student Government Association who has actively supported Loyola SJP’s divestment campaign. ‘People are scared in my community,’ Abdallah remarked to me. ‘Unlike other Palestinians from the diaspora, we return frequently to our land. So these tactics are designed to silence us by making us afraid that we won’t be allowed back in to Palestine.’

Blumenthal, in his Mondoweiss article, recounts many other intimidation episodes. Please read it. Especially chilling are Blumenthal’s concluding paragraphs:

As divestment resolutions are introduced at new campuses each month, pro-Israel partisans appear determined to introduce more counter-measures. In a recent editorial for the Jerusalem Post, former advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Caroline Glick demanded that universities that allow Palestine solidarity activism on campus ‘pay a painful price.’

‘Only the threat of civil lawsuits, federal investigations of civil rights violations, and alumni threats to withhold gifts will force university administrations to take action against the anti-Semitic thugs that are instituting a reign of terror at university after university,’ Glick wrote.

Declaring Northeastern’s suspension of its SJP chapter to be ‘minimal,’ she called for the mass firing of campus police officers who enforce university rules around Palestine-related events. Finally, Glick demanded that Students for Justice in Palestine be ‘permanently barred from operating on campus.’

Though they are far from realizing their draconian goals, Glick and her allies are setting a clear precedent at Northeastern, Michigan, and beyond.

Wednesday, writer and recent University of California Santa Cruz graduate, Rebecca Pierce, wrote, also at Mondoweiss, about current tactics being deployed by militant expansionist, exceptionalist Zionists, against Middle East Studies programs at American Universities:

On March 19, Louis D. Brandeis Center President Kenneth Marcus keynoted a Washington DC panel organized by the hardline pro-Israel Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). It was titled ‘Politicizing Education: Title VI of the Higher Education Act.’

Speaking from an ornate room in Washington DC’s Russell Senate Office Building, Marcus described the seminar as ‘the first public event inaugurating phase two of Title VI reform.’ Sitting alongside him were Campus Watch Director Winfield Myers, National Review Online columnist Stanley Kurtz and Tammi Rossman Benjamin, Amcha Initiative co-founder and a member of the Brandeis Center Academic Advisory Board. The panel was introduced and moderated by Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET and a member of the Islamophobic Clarion Fund’s advisory board.

Using the seemingly benign terminology of ‘Title VI reform,’ Marcus and his fellow panelists laid out the blueprint for a right-wing pro-Israel attack on federal funding for Middle Eastern studies programs. By using amendments to Title VI of the Higher Education Act that were originally created to police programs deemed too critical of of US foreign policy following 9/11, Marcus and his allies are seeking to pull federal grants from Middle Eastern studies programs they deem overly critical of Israel.

Blumenthal, in his article, describes such tactics as “a desperate but determined fighting retreat.” He is correct in this characterization. In the struggle by students nationwide, in Canada, in the United Kingdom and in Europe, who support Palestinian civil rights, the victories by these activists are growing in number. At the University of Michigan, the student activists failed to get their resolution passed. But each week, more and more campuses are taking up this matter, some with marked success.

Expect the Zionist tactics to get more nasty and desperate by the month.

(Late) Saturday Art: Remembering Rachel Corrie on the 11th Anniversary of Her Murder

8:41 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rachel Corrie - February 2003

I have posted my cantata, The Skies Are Weeping, here before.  It is my 2003-2004 tribute to the memory of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, killed by Israeli thugs in Gaza, during the run-up to the opening of the Iraq invasion, when the world was distracted elsewhere, and Brits and Americans could be murdered callously and with impunity.

Rachel was murdered 11 years ago Sunday.  Remember her.

More information on The Skies Are Weeping.

My denunciation before a joint session of the Alaska Legislature for having written the cantata.

You can donate to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice here.

Author Joe McGinniss Passes

7:52 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Phil+and+Joe+McGinnis

 

From the Washington Post:

NEW YORK — Joe McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in “The Selling of the President 1968” and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster “Fatal Vision,” died Monday at age 71.

McGinniss, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer, died from complications related to his disease. His attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan said he died at a hospital in Worcester, Mass.

I got to first meet Joe in the fall of 2008 (at the time of the above image, taken by my wife, Judy Youngquist), when he came to Alaska right after the presidential election campaign. He was contemplating writing a book about Sarah Palin, and hung out a lot with the Alaska progressive bloggers, who were at that time a close team of colleagues. I had read The Selling of the President, Going to ExtremesFatal Vision, and Blind Faith, and had followed the controversies surrounding the latter books over the years.

We started writing back and forth occasionally, through email.  He often wrote to me after I had posted another installment in my long-running Saradise Lost series of articles.

In the spring of 2010, he came to Wasilla, Alaska, where he moved into a small lakeside house directly adjacent to the Palins’ cult compound. I helped him set up his own security perimeter, with signs, chains, padlocks and other stuff. My dog went over and pissed, possibly pooped on the Palins’ lawn. Joe was disturbed. I wrote about it, and Joe got more disturbed. We ended contact abruptly. The rest of the time he was in Alaska.

He could be prickly. So can I.

By the time he finished his book on Palin, we were back into regular correspondence. He named me or quoted me fairly extensively in The Rogue. Just before publication, McGinniss asked me to promote the book here at Firedoglake‘s book salon. We did that session on September 25, 2011.

Joe told me he was ill fairly early on. He stopped writing back to me sometime last fall. Just last week, I wondered aloud to my wife how he might be doing. And Sunday evening, watching Sarah Palin’s bizarre CPAC rant, I hoped he was enjoying it. It was Palin’s very best truly awful speech yet.

Before The Rogue‘s publication, Palin had already self-destructed after the Tucson massacre of  early January, 2011, when she blathered about critics of her target meme aimed at severely injured U.S. Rep. Gabielle Giffords’ 2012 campaign, as committing “blood libel” against Palin:

)

But Joe’s book was instrumental in putting what should have been the final nails in Palin’s political coffin. Too bad the spikes weren’t crafted in silver, eh?

As Palin re-insinuates herself into the lizard brain of paleo-conservatives, with her Putin putdowns and 8th grade snark, the headline to the New York Times review of The Rogue frames McGinniss’ last project well:

Sarah Palin Could See This Guy From Her House

Glad to have known you, Joe McGinniss.

)

Firedoglake Book Salon Preview: After Legalization: Understanding The Future Of Marijuana Policy, by Jon Walker

4:48 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

On Sunday, I will host Jon Walker, author of the first book to look a decade and a half into a future where cannabis use will be governed by sets of local, state and national regimes that will be quite different from what we now experience or observe. It will be the second time I’ve been able to host discussion here about how government agencies deal with the most irrational element of the generations-old “war on drugs.” Back in December, I hosted author Doug Fine, whose book Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution had just come out in paperback. Fine spent an entire growing season following a single plant from clone to use by a medical marijuana patient. His observations about how one major local polity – California’s Mendocino County – was then (2011) dealing with that county’s most important agricultural product in the face of its legality in the state, but severe illegality in the eyes of the Federal government are fascinating.

Jon Walker’s After Legalization: Understanding The Future Of Marijuana Policy combines detailed knowledge of the past and present stories and issues surrounding cannabis in the United States with a solidly based set of predictions about what the stories and issues will be like in 2030. In the introduction, Walker writes:

This book is written from the perspective of someone in the year 2030 describing what America looks like after federal marijuana legalization has been in place for a few years. It is intended to answer the two big “how” questions: how marijuana will be treated as a legal product, and how this change will come about. I will show in a very tangible way what legalization will mean for regular people and give a detailed explanation for why things may turn out that way.

Later, in his conclusions, Walker writes:

My goal was not just to list what the regulatory issues will be, but also to indicate what political and economic forces are most likely to shape them. I want people to understand who the relevant players will likely be, where the minor legal fights should take place, and what political dynamics will drive the debate. In this way, one can anticipate which leverage points will shape the future.

The author goes about this in a set of chapters titled:

Chapter 1 – Where to Buy

Chapter 2 – What to Buy: Brands, Selection, and Big Marijuana

Chapter 3 – Price

Chapter 4 – Taxes

Chapter 5 – Home Growing

Chapter 6 – Where You Can Smoke

Chapter 7 – Who Is Smoking

Chapter 8 – Impact on Public Health

Chapter 9 – What Becomes of Medical Marijuana

Chapter 10 – Criminal Justice

Chapter 11 – Industrial Hemp

Chapter 12 – How and Why It Happened

There are footnotes and 23 pages of endnotes.

Nobody can predict the future. Walker’s setting of 2030 as the period he envisions makes a lot of sense, though. Near the end of the book, he relates how we get from 2014 to 2030, step by step.

I found the book to be a very accessible and quick read. Walker’s humor showed every bit as much as it does in some of his essays at Firedoglake‘s Just Say Now niche, where he serves as senior policy analyst and editor.

Walker’s look at the future needs to be widely read, particularly by policy makers, law enforcement professionals and politicians. He addresses part of why this is important:

Given marijuana policy reform’s broad popular support and the fact that it has remained weirdly taboo among politicians, the ballot initiative is crucial. In 2013, 52 percent of the country supported marijuana legalization, but only 17 members of the House of Representatives—that is, only 3.9 percent of the chamber—sponsored HR 499, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013.147 This imbalance is a real problem.

It certainly is.

Come join us Sunday at 2:00 pm, Pacific Time, for a lively two hours with the author who has made Just Say Now a vital component of our national battle toward sanity in drug policy reform. I’m looking forward to it.

Discussion over at Book Salon