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Another step backward for Humanity: International court gives stamp of approval to mass murder and torture

8:12 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Cross post from IfLizWereQueen


I read about a disturbing war crimes ruling this morning in Der Spiegal regarding an international court ruling on Friday that Germany cannot be held liable for paying reparations to descendants of victims of a massacre perpetrated during World War II in Italy.   No doubt both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the USA are rejoicing in this verdict as it has implications for them as well.

This means that  people in Afghanistan or Ethiopia, in the Balkans or in Libya, will not be able to take countries to court whose soldiers committed war crimes on their soil. It is a situation that governments everywhere wanted to avoid.

This means that the USA will get away with the war crimes that they have committed all over the world–especially those of the past 20 years under the leadership of both Bushes, Clinton and Obama.



The Fosse Ardeatine massacre was a mass execution carried out in Rome on 24 March 1944 by German occupation troops during the Second World War as a reprisal for a partisan attack conducted on the previous day in central Rome.

a total of 335 Italian the prisoners were taken, five in excess of the 320 called for. On March 24, led by SS officers Erich Priebke and Karl Hass, they were transported to the Ardeatine caves in truckloads and then, in groups of five, put to death inside the caves.

Since the killing squad mostly consisted of officers who had never killed before, Kappler had ordered several cases of cognac delivered to the caves to calm their nerves. The officers were ordered to lead the doomed prisoners into the caves with their hands tied behind their backs and then have them kneel down so that the soldiers could place a bullet directly into the cerebellum, ensuring that no more than one bullet would be needed per prisoner. MORE AT WIKI


Note from ILWQ:  No justice for the victims of Fallujah and Bagram.  It is up to individuals like you and me to remember and tell their stories.  We have leaders like Bill Clinton who don’t even bother to convene a cabinet meeting as over 850,000 human beings are hacked to death with machetes in Rwanda. We have leaders like George Bush who turns his back while the US military extract revenge on innocent civilians in Fallujah.  Our current president oversees drone attacks that kill civilians and doesn’t even bother to apologize for it.

For those who care about the truth can view  ”Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre”–a documentary film by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta.  The film documents the use of chemical weapons and alleges indiscriminate use of violence against civilians and children by military forces of the USA in the city of Fallujah in Iraq during the Fallujah Offensive of November 2004.

Interviews with American ex-military personnel who claimed to have been involved in the Fallujah offensive back up the case for the use of weapons by the United States, while reporters who were stationed in Iraq discuss the American government’s attempts to suppress the news by covert means.

Then there are the Bagram torture and prisoner abuse cases. In 2005, The New York Times obtained a 2,000-page United States Army report concerning the homicides of two unarmed civilian Afghan prisoners by U.S. armed forces in 2002 at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility (also Bagram Collection Point or B.C.P.) in Bagram, Afghanistan. The prisoners, Habibullah and Dilawar, were chained to the ceiling and beaten, which caused their deaths. Military coroners ruled that both the prisoners’ deaths were homicides. Autopsies revealed severe trauma to both prisoners’ legs, describing the trauma as comparable to being run over by a bus. Seven soldiers were charged.

The drawing is from WIKI Commons showing a sketch by Thomas V. Curtis, a former Reserve M.P. sergeant, showing how Dilawar was allegedly chained to the ceiling of his cell.

Why Newt Gingrich is the Great White Hope for the Republicans

7:21 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Cross Post from IfLizWereQueen

I’m not at all surprised by Gingrich’s rise in the polls.  The American People realize that it will take a bold, intelligent leader to make things better–someone who is willing to shake things up in a big way.  And at the moment, that’s more than either Obama or Romney seem to realize.  You need to take their pulses to determine if either of  them are still breathing.

The USA is not likely to  get better fast enough to save a lot of drowning people without a bold leader with bold, specific, new and credible solutions who  is able to stand up to the establishment and fight for the 99%.

Many Americans I talk to believe that it will take someone who is a fighter and a screamer like Lyndon Johnson who is willing to make waves and crack heads–perhaps someone a little crazy and grandiose–not some pious religious fanatic like Rick Santorum who criticized Gingrich for being grandiose and not a Wall Street yes man like Obama who gives away the farm even before negotiation have begun as he did with health care insurance and certainly not someone like Mitt Romney, an avowed plutocrat.

The tepid leadership of Barack Obama has been great for Wall Street investors as many of them have more than doubled their wealth (including Congressional members) over the past three years. However, his leadership and his hand selected,  Harvard and Yale graduated Wall Street groomed cabinet and administration have not been nearly enough for the 99%. His campaign team still don’t get it because they have surrounded themselves with people who  agree with them–people who like them belong to the Wall Street invested 1%.

The tepid leadership of a mealy-mouthed private equity plutocrat like Mitt Romney certainly would not be enough.  After all, why vote for someone who looks so much like the current President we have–especially in his unabashed support of Wall Street.  The people realize this and that is why Romney is losing South Carolina with its 9.9% unemployment and why Gingrich is winning.


Gingrich Needs to Work on His Solutions for the USA

But if he wants to win, Gingrich is going to have to do a lot better than offer Associates Degrees for unemployed workers as he suggested in one of  the debates:  He is going to have to be able to offer the unemployed jobs that pay a living wage.

The problem in the USA is not lack of education, nor is it an unwillingness for Americans to go to work.  Ask a friend of mine who holds a Masters degree and is working as a checker at a WalMart in Houston.  Ask any one of the 1,000 people who last fall applied for four jobs at a McDonalds.  I’m sure there were several hundred of them who even had four year degrees.  Tell me how an Associates degree is going to help them obtain a non-existent job.


Gingrich and Clinton’s welfare reform act was one of the cruelest examples of “bipartisan” leadership in the history of our nation and few Americans realize what really happened.  Gingrich is going to have to do better than offer solutions such as his and Clinton’s Welfare Reform Act.  Peter Edelman, a Clinton appointee was so disgusted over the injustice of this bill that he resigned over it, calling the bill  the worst thing that Clinton had ever done [ Rwanda must have slipped his mind and of course this was before the "Bank Modernization Act of 1999".]

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) was passed August 22, 1996–just in time for Clinton’s presidential campaign that year. PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.  TANF put a time limit on poverty.  It gave the poor parents (usually just one parent in these families) assistance for 2 years.  After that, if they didn’t have a job–tough luck.  No more help.  The rug is jerked out from beneath them.  This is justice?  This is humanity?

Making people work instead of keeping them on the dole sounds great and fair and few Americans including me would argue that..  However if there are no jobs to be had, what the hell good is an education and what are these parents going to do. Even more basic, what are their children going to eat?

At the beginning of his first term Bill Clinton passed NAFTA (with the assistance of Rahm Emmanuel shoving it down the throats of reluctant Congressional members).  Then throughout the Clinton presidency, they turned a blind eye as Wall Street cooked the books and inflated the value of stocks–particularly for all the newly formed dot com tech companies.  Clinton’s parting gift to the 1% and Wall Street investors was the deregulation of the  financial system of the USA with the “Bank Modernization Act of 1999″.

But back to the “welfare reform” and its time line.  USA Trade agreements like NAFTA hit the people of the other countries hardest first.  There is lag time in the USA, a lull before the American people feel the full brunt of such one-sided agreements for the rich of both countries.  Within the first two years after the passage of NAFTA, the Mexican corn farmers were decimated.  They could not complete with the heavily subsidized USA corporations such as ADM and Cargill.  As the Mexican corn farmers failed, so did hundreds of other cottage industries whose prosperity depended on the corn farmer.  Within two years inflation had gone through the roof and thousands of Mexicans were out of work.  They did what all citizens of a nation do when they are displaced by war, famine or unfair trade agreements that decimate their local economies:  They migrate.  From 1996 to 2000 the illegal immigrant population in the USA swelled from just under 2 million (which it had been for almost 10 years) upwards to estimates as high as 15 million.

TANF became active in 1997–just in time for the USA to start feeling the full impact of NAFTA in our own country.  It is estimated by most reliable sources that by 1998 NAFTA had resulted in the loss of over 2 million jobs for Americans.  Then the crash of the dot com bubble brought more job losses.  So here these people are, mostly young women with children under the age of five with their training and associates degrees but no jobs to be had.


Newt’s not going to win by regurgitating solutions from the 1990′s–or if he does, he is not going to make any more difference for the 99% than Obama has.

We’ve been living with an administration for three years who have been reliving the Clinton solutions from the 1990′s so we already know that doesn’t work.


American Autumn and Van Jones: He needs to fade into the background

9:57 am in Uncategorized by Liz Berry

Cross Post from IfLizWereQueen

It’s Not About Party Politics or Money or “Leaders.”  It’s about participation of the majority.

I just visited a site titled “nation of change” and I will tell you all of the things that are wrong with this site.

1.  It puts money first. First of all as part of its banner across the top of the home page we have “Stand Up to Corporate Power”.  This is good, but just beneath it we see:  ”We have raised $7,075 of our $25,000 Fall fundraising goal.  Make a tax-deductible donation to Nationofchange”  and then underneath it in large letters DONATE NOW.

This is the typical  Democrat/Republican Wall Street approach:  Money first. Give the money to the leaders and then they will decide how it will be spent.  This is part of the broken machine of our government.  Real change is NOT going to result from the side who raises the most money.  Real change is going to come from the MAJORITY who decide on their own and contribute what it is they have to offer–people like the individual citizens I saw yesterday at Occupy Dallas handing out homemade breakfast burritos that they made at home.  Individual citizens–not sponsored by some corporation–handing out extra bottles of water that they had brought to the gathering to share with others.  That is the spirit that will allow the majority to take back our government.

The Nation of Change site is just more of the same in a different wrapper.

2.  The site glorifies one leader, Van Jones.

Again, America does not need one hero telling the rest of us what to do.  We need many heros.  All of us must step up to the plate and become heroes.  No one person should be front and center in this democratic movement.

3,  It promotes Warren Buffett as a supporter of  the people–one of the biggest Wall Street fakes on the planet. If we are looking to ANY corporate CEO for our salvation, we are in trouble.  Buffett is a master of Newspeak.  If he really meant what he said about taxing the rich, five years ago when he first made the comparison of his tax status to that of his administrative assistant, he would have quit using tax loopholes and off shore accounts and would have started paying the full 35% of his income in taxes that he should pay.

One of Buffett’s companies, Clayton Homes is being sued in the USA for providing FEMA with formaldehyde-laced trailers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  How about that?  Poison the victims of Katrina.  But if you think that is bad, hang onto your St. Christopher medals.  Bill Clinton’s Foundation bought many of these contaminated trailers from Clayton Homes and had them shipped to Haiti to serve as school houses for children.  The legal suit was already in effect prior to the purchase so it’s not like they didn’t know.

4.  It uses the typical divisive politics of Washington of pitting political ideologies against each other. Here is a quote from Van Jones:  I think everybody should hold onto your seats. October is going to be the turning point when it comes to the “Progressive Fight-Back.”

This is not about Progressives against the Tea Party.  This fight is not a Democrat or a Republican fight.  This fight is not a Tea Party or a Progressive fight.  That is EXACTLY how the rich and powerful minority have wielded control over the majority for years.  Divide and Conquer.  Pit the majority against itself.

To Win, we the people must unite and overwhelm the plutocrats on Wall Street and in Washington.  Putting a label of “progressive” on the movement is one sure-fire way to kill it.  We need all members of the majority with us on this and that includes the Tea Party majority as well.  Yesterday at Occupy Dallas we all stood shoulder to shoulder, Tea Party and Progressives; Democrats and Republicans–all united against the machine of the wealth minority.

2012 should be the year of generics.  Citizens from the majority (non-millionaires, non-Wall Street investors) should rise up in every Congressional District in the nation and take over the House of Representatives.


Van Jones is just another opportunist who is no different from those who came before him.