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by normanb

A Very Disappointing “Peace” & “Justice” “Coalition” “Attempt”

8:04 am in Uncategorized by normanb

A Very Disappointing “Peace” & “Justice” “Coalition” “Attempt” — by NormanB (“Deviations from the Norm”)

 

 

I just came from a meeting. At the Friends Meeting House. A political meeting. Of radicals, so to speak. The local Left, showing up in Northampton, Mass. Peace and justice issues. Thirty-five or so activists. Real dedicated people.

You know, it’s impressive and inspiring to see and hear dedicated activists who’ve worked hard through many decades, and even through the Obama years, unflinching. (Let’s see, just a minute, let me do the math…) Okay: I’m 57; and I was one of the youngest people in the room. Someone quoted the completely non-commercial songwriter Charlie King (who wrote the legendary Vaguely Reminiscent of the Sixties), and nobody even asked “Charlie who?” But, something was missing. Why were so few young people there?

There was an Election Tuesday. President Obama was reelected. Here in Massachusetts, voters replaced pliable incumbent Republican Scott Brown with hawkish Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Massachusetts also saw one of the nation’s biggest landslides Tuesday:

In a binding Referendum, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly Legalized Medical Marijuana, voting 63%-37% in favor of the new law, which takes effect in early 2013. In a previous Election, the state voted by a similar margin to instruct all of its elected representatives to work to Legalize Marijuana. Massachusetts US Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren said (in her Debate against Brown) that on this issue she will defy the will of the people who elected her, and will refuse to strive for Marijuana Legalization.

Because of that, I couldn’t vote for her, I mean, if she’s going to snub our democratic process and not protect our Rights, well, as George Wither wrote 400 years ago in Shall I Wasting in Despair, “…But if she be not so for me, What care I how fair she be?”

Back to the meeting: There were several cool people there, and some important Progressive organizations were represented. Jill Stein’s 2010 Gubernatorial running mate Rick Purcell was one of the speakers. Former Political Prisoner Paki Wieland was there, fresh from her courageous trip to Pakistan to witness Obama’s Coward Drone Murder regime for herself. (At least it wasn’t like in Bahrain, where Obama’s thugs detained her immediately before one of Bahrain’s infamous ‘Torture-the-protesters’ crackdowns in March.)

The Murderous Obama-backed Fascist Khalifa regime was then running, and now continues to run Genocide programs (Pogroms) against Bahrain’s Shi’a Muslim majority, and against its South Asian Slaves (which far outnumber the citizens). The Obama Government’s Genocidal Murders in Bahrain are often carried out with Poison Gas paid for by US taxpayers. Hurry, hurry, don’t look, walk fast, nothing to see here.

It’s the deplorable, anti-Semitic Genocide in Bahrain that gets more noticed in the limited news coverage; but most reporters don’t use the words Genocide or Pogrom – though the more honest ones do. (Google it if you care to.) Yes, it’s the horrific anti-Semitic Genocide that gets the more notice, because the Semitic Arabs are citizens and they’re protesting; however, I think the anti-Slave Genocide is just as bad. But, maybe that’s just me.

In fact, I don’t even think they should have Slaves. I think it was Archie Bunker who said of Slavery “I was never for that!” Me too neither, but you know, I’d like to take it a step further even than Archie was willing to go: I just don’t think that the US should arm Genocidal Slave states at all. Maybe that’s just me. And that’s even if they give the President lots of money, I still say No Pogroms. No Poison Gas to killers. Just Say No!

So, back to the meeting. We were all pretty happy about the ‘Budget-For-All’ non-binding Referendum that passed overwhelmingly – 87% in Northampton, and 86% in neighboring Amherst. Such bills passed in many towns in Western Mass, and in Vermont. It’s basically Green Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s Green New Deal (but without Dr. Stein’s understanding of Hemp’s place in our economy and environment): The Referendum advises that money now going to the Military and giant capitalists should instead be spent locally, hiring the jobless, manufacturing the things we need, addressing the environment; and, taking the money out of politics – thus getting rid of Citizens United.

We’re against Nuclear weapons, against war in Iran and Afghanistan. Hopefully against the war in Syria, too, but no one said that. (I hope that people aren’t now considering Syria ‘the good war,’ like Afghanistan before it.)

We’re against Drones, very much. We’re seeing that Obama is already putting Medicare and Social Security on the Fiscal Cliff for his Grand Bargain with his Republican cronies (even though, in the Vice Presidential Debate, Joe Biden revealed that Obama is lying about one reported part of that Grand Bargain, and that Military cuts are not really on the table as Obama has repeatedly claimed): In the Debate, Paul Ryan challenged Biden on the issue, asserting that cutting the Military arbitrarily is completely irresponsible. Biden hushed him up immediately saying “We’re not gonna do that” [cut Military spending].

A speaker at our meeting pointed out that Obama has already offered to cut twice as much from the social safety net as is cut from the Military. On how we might attain Jill Stein’s goal of Medicare For All, and the Budget-For-All, Richard Purcell quoted Jill Stein: “It doesn’t take an army [to organize for political change], if you start a street at a time.”

Many people at the meeting said that they wanted to form a broader coalition. Amid all the praise for the success on non-binding Referendums, there were calls of “Let’s do some binding Referendums!” (Or is it Referenda?)

The highlight of the event, as far as I’m concerned, was when 93-year-old peace and anti-Nuclear activist Frances Crowe called for a national General Strike. Nobody said nothin’! So she explained a scenario wherein lots people would simultaneously not work or drive on a Sunday afternoon. The audience looked very confused. Then she came to her point. She lamented that in Italy people just stayed out on strike nationwide for five raging days, but here, we couldn’t even get a few people to strike for just part of a Sunday afternoon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Crowe

Frances, and several others there, noted that Obama had quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s words on getting Progressive change accomplished: “‘Now, make me do it.’” We intend to make him. Please help.

Frances, Paki, and Rick were brilliant, and the other speakers were good too. Even the guy from Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). He said that social issues showed a Progressive victory in this Election. He mentioned Gay Rights. He did not mention Marijuana. He bragged that his organization had not endorsed Obama in 2008 or in 2012. He glowed over the electoral victories Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, and the ever-popular Alan Grayson. He said he did not like Warren’s pin-headed jingoistic Militarism, but that they had worked something out. Then he went on to name some prominent members of Congress’s Progressive Caucus.

(Elizabeth Warren is a rabid war monger on Iran, inferring [when she endorsed throwing "all Military options" on the table] that the United States should consider such a Genocidal move as Nuclear Bombing Iran’s Nuclear facilities, even though that would set much of the country on fire, and would kill many US servicemen in Bahrain and Afghanistan – the latter because it is downwind from Iran, via the jet stream upper air current. I hope that Warren and Obama don’t Dirty-Bomb our own troops. Jet stream phenomena, by the way, also show that Warren and Obama are lying in their claim that Iran would shoot Nukes at Israel if it ever had them: Iran is downwind from Israel: They’d be Dirty-Bombing themselves!)

And there were other names dropped at the meeting too. I had to take exception eventually, when I finally got my chance to say a few words. Someone mentioned our state’s senior Senator John Kerry, who was directly involved in the most viewed public Torture video in history [up to that time]. Yes, John “Taser Torture” Kerry is our US Senator, as disturbing as that is. I was once Tortured until my back was broken. I don’t like Torturers. If you don’t remember the incident, let me refresh your memory:

John “T.T.” Kerry was speaking at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He was taking questions. A student asked Kerry embarrassing questions, including one about his lodge-brotherhood with his Presidential Election opponent George W. Bush: Kerry and the Bushes belong to Yale University’s ghoulish homoerotic Skull & Bones secret society (believed by many people in Florida to be a devil-worshipping cult). Apparent Democratic Party shills started to shout the young man down. Cops started brutalizing him and arresting him. A cowardly policeman stepped forward and aimed a Torture device at the student.

“Don’t Tase me, bro!” the Torture victim pleaded. Incredibly, even though the incident was before large group of witnesses, and on widely circulated video, the Torturer was not arrested. Incredibly, though he was once said to have courage, Senator Kerry did not speak up for the Torture victim. Incredibly, the University blackmailed the student, threatening him with the loss of his college education – everything but the loans – the University in violation the law forced the Torture victim to apologize to his Torturer, and to the cowardly crooked politician too. UF has done a lot of good in history, but it should lose its certification over its criminal Conspiratorial participation in Torture. University officials should be turned over to the Hague in Holland, for War Crimes prosecution. (But I didn’t tell the Quakers all that.)

 

 

None of those Torturers has been arrested. So much for Bushbama’s lie “We don’t Torture.” Incredibly, the cowardly Senator Kerry has not yet apologized for his role in the Torture of Andrew Meyer, and for Meyer’s ordeal as a Political Prisoner. What an incredible disgrace to our Commonwealth and country, what a disgrace to the human race is John Taser Torture Kerry! Why are there not loud protests everywhere he goes?!

Yeah, so I mentioned Kerry’s part in the Torture at the meeting, to dead silence. The PDA guy had already mentioned Kerry voting for war twice. Said that they had found some common ground, though. And don’t get me started on Kerry’s fake climate protection bill. http://my.firedoglake.com/normanb/2010/05/14/massachusetts-is-embarrassed-humiliated-by-senator-kerrys-disgraceful-climate-fraud-bill/

And I pointed out that most of those “Progressive” Democrats now in the Caucus in Congress that he’d just named had recently Covered Up for our criminal Attorney General Eric Holder’s Operation Fast and Furious, which smuggled assault weapons to the notorious Zetas Cartel in Mexico. Some of the assault weapons Holder’s F&F smuggled to Mexico got smuggled back to the US, and used to Murder Law Enforcement.

And Holder and Obama have Conspired in Hate Crimes against Skin Cancer patients, thousands of whom will die this year. But active ingredients in Marijuana kill Cancer cells, and with a stroke of his pen, Obama could give Skin Cancer patients access to Rick Simpson Oil, simply by removing MJ from Schedule 1, which he can do at any time as an Executive Order. If you’ve never seen the photographic evidence that it works, I recommend seeing it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBSc6TOb-Y and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy66MUZP538&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnFJYxCx7zk&feature=related

So there was no reaction to Frances Crowe’s call for a General Strike, no reaction to Kerry Torture, no reaction to so-called “Progressive” Democrats sold us out on Eric Holder, lying that the Congressional investigation was a “Witch Hunt.” A Congressional Committee subpoenaed Holder but he [and Obama] refused to honor the subpoena, just like the Bush Administration. That’s crooked, and it’s Fascism. In the last couple of months, Ron Paul, Rocky Anderson, and Cornel West have all publicly called President Barack Obama “Fascist.”

And there was no reaction to the information about our President and Attorney General – the nation’s two highest ranking Law Enforcement officials – and their Fascist refusal to answer a subpoena, and their Hate Crimes against medical patients. Hate Crime against Skin Cancer patients. That seems pretty bad to me. (One would think that someone would rationalize some conscience-easing by saying ‘Hey, that’s not Hate Crime,’ or something.)(I’d like to see Human Rights extended even to the people who will die if they don’t get Rick Simpson Oil for their Skin Cancer, even though they’d technically be using a Marijuana product – albeit one that doesn’t get people high.) Seems pretty bad to me, but maybe that’s just me: Obama-Holder Hate Crimes against Skin Cancer patients.

Still no reaction. But my main message was about the landslide. These people and groups at the meeting were (I thought) trying to build a broader coalition. Some had suggested that they go for binding Referendums in the future. (Or is it Referenda?) So, here, in the Marijuana movement, we just put together a coalition that includes 63% of the voters in the state. We are less than a dozen small-s socialists and Rainbow hippies who did the leg work for years, proving with hundreds of Public Policy Questions put before Massachusetts voters town-by-town that we could carry just about exactly 63% of the vote.

Looking for a broader coalition? Broader than 63% may not be possible anywhere. We carried every ethnic group by a landslide. We carried Gays and Straits. We carried Freaks and Straits. We carried Democrats and Republicans and Independents and Blacks and Whites and Hispanics and college students, lots of college students. Our percentage was even higher among young voters. Looking for an economically revolutionary binding Resolution? We just passed one by a Super Majority. The group took no interest.

Man, was that frustrating! One person came up to me afterward and noted that my sound advice on coalition building unfortunately fell on deaf ears. Frances Crowe may have been the only person there who actually had deaf ears, but the others were faking it pretty good.

It is unfortunate: The Republicans are going after the Marijuana demographic, and they might get it. Republicans have now taken over what much of what the the public perceives and the pro-Marijuana Party, the Libertarians, it seems: In 2008, Right-wing Republican Bob Barr supposedly turned over a new leaf and campaigned for the Libertarian nomination. He got it, but here in Massachusetts, the state Libertarian Party refused to recognize Republican Barr. The Mass Lib Party ran George Phillies instead.

But this year, Gary Johnson, the former Republican Governor of New Mexico, got the full Libertarian Presidential nomination, even here. The Republicans have taken over the Libertarian Party, and Libertarian nominee Johnson got three times as many votes as Green Party candidate Jill Stein. So, lots of Marijuana smokers don’t vote, perceiving that the Democrats and the Republicans are all against their Civil Rights, and that Progressive organizations are indifferent to our Rights. And caring about Rights but not our Rights makes the organizations seem much less sincere, and even a little hypocritical.

To counter that argument, one of the speakers said to me privately that probably everyone in the room had voted for the bill. But that’s not the same thing as working for it. That’s not the same as joining the coalition. Not quite the same as really caring fully. Someone there mentioned the Occupy movement, which of course had some old people, but mainly young. And we here in the room were mainly old. And Marijuana voters are mainly young. In Massachusetts, without Marijuana voters, what can this movement’s chant be? I’ve got one: “We Are The Thirty-Seven Per Cent!”

And as if that weren’t frustrating enough, as I walked away from the Friends Meeting House on this warm and sunny, touristy afternoon in downtown Northampton, I ran into a friend, an award-winning investigative documentary filmmaker. Everybody here at FireDogLake.com is familiar with dirt on Bush that this man has uncovered, and the memes he generated therefrom. A brilliant writer. Tremendous activist. I told him about my frustration, trying to Left-orient people who’d thought they were already Left enough, but (to my mind) may have overlooked some important facts.

I told him my disdain for Obama ordering Murders and then pardoning himself for it, noting that self-pardons are illegitimate everywhere. He said that people take it too easy on Obama, and that he is one of them. He even used the term Liberal, referring to the President. I had to correct him. He feebly tried to argue back, but facts are facts. If the President or the King or the Dictator orders someone killed, then, by definition we’re living in a Fascist country.

And the President ordering Murders and then self-pardoning is not Liberal. And I had to correct him again. No Liberals condone Presidents ordering Murder. Fascism is not Liberalism.

That exchange was troubling, too. Even a little stressful. We smiled and cordially parted company. Luckily, 4:20 pm was approaching, time for meds. I ducked away to an undisclosed location and began to toke up. Right away something happened to restore my faith in humanity. A couple of young voters came walking along with a guitar. When they saw me, one of them said “We won!” I didn’t know if they smelled the pot, or recognized my face, or what. As they walked up to me, one of them asked “Aren’t you Norm?” (It’s a small town.)

We introduced ourselves and toked up together and talked about the Election. “There’s gonna be 35 Dispensaries.” “At least 14, one in each county” I told them, having read the text of the new law. As we walked away from the scene of the crime, we continued to discuss the election. “Can’t wait till March!” “Obama sucks, though.” “Yeah, Obama sucks.”

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You see, the point is: We’ve already got 63% of the voters on our side: That means, in two years, if we hang together and put up a Full Legalization binding Referendum, then in 2014 we Marijuana voters can pick both our new Governor, and a new US Senator to replace our current Taser Torture Senator.

by normanb

An American Jewess In Israel: Reflections on War, Peace and Justice in the Middle East

11:42 am in Uncategorized by normanb

An American Jewess In Israel: Reflections on War, Peace and Justice in the Middle East — by Rachel Neulander

In response to recent events I cry out against the same old injustices I was always taught to decry. It is an essential expression of my Americanness and my Jewishness to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and for peace and justice in the Middle East.

Our computer is antique and halt in many ways, we don’t have an OS current enough to be able to view the debate about Jewish Americans’ feelings about Israel’s current actions, but as an American Jew I feel a strong need to weigh in.

I visited Israel as a young woman with an interest in having a place to call home, a place of return, a tribe, a family, a country not Nixon’s shameful America to belong to. The land itself was absolutely beautiful. I felt a love and attachment for it that deepened as I lived and worked as a volunteer on a small kibbutz there for half a year. As a young volunteer I was being encouraged by the Jewish agency that had arranged my passage there to remain in the country, make aliya, that is, emigrate, or, literally, ascend to the holy land. I was urged to establish Israeli citizenship, serve two years in the army and in turn receive a first rate education and embark on a professional life in the modern society of the land of my ancestors. But the longer I lived and traveled within the embattled boundaries of Eretz Yisrael, the more its multiple schisms and paradoxes troubled me and made me question the wisdom of choosing to emigrate.

But who doesn’t want a homeland? Who doesn’t love the feeling of being welcome and related to everybody around, who wouldn’t want to be home among family, living freely, safely and in peace? I was in Israel in the mid 1970′s. I could find no peace movement there then. To even mention peace then was considered hopelessly naive and ignorant, totally unrealistic. The whole country was feverishly engaged in bitter warfare. Having sent spouses, sons, daughters into the fray, every family, Arab or Jewish, religious or not at all, had lost loved ones in the ongoing conflicts and every individual, regardless of creed or ethnicity, bore the haunted, driven mark of a soul aggrieved and permanently besieged.

There were pockets and oases of peace, there were Arabs and Jews working shoulder to shoulder on the land, neighboring villages that seemingly got along cordially and co-operatively enough. But everyone knew, and felt, that the land was not at peace. We volunteers from other countries had to understand the news blackouts were to protect the country’s troops on maneuvers, in truth I knew very little about the war’s progress except that I saw almost no unarmed people my age during my entire stay in the country. Very little was ever spoken about the actual war. Young armed men and women in uniform would appear at odd hours of the night at the kibbutz, on brief leave to visit their parents till dawn and then they’d disappear again, hitchhiking back to who knows which forsaken border. We were supposed to get used to the sonic boom of the bomber planes flying overhead as we worked the citrus orchards and many hardly hesitated or even looked up as they passed. We put the children of the kibbutz to bed in concrete bunkers underground for safety at night, wondering silently what it might be like for those children to emerge one bright morning and find the adults’ above ground cottages blown to pieces. I marveled at the outward stoicism of Israeli women, or sabras, told that sabra meant like the desert fruit, hard and prickly without, sweet and tender within, but as I lived and worked there among them I found not so much tenderness in these battle-scarred woman warriors, but much unspoken pain, numbness, a haunted emptiness, shock, post traumatic bursts of throttled rage and much guilt, sadness and confusion. And to a disgraceful degree the men I met were bombastic churls. Not all, some fine intellectuals, a dashing journalist and some hippy trippy mystics in Jerusalem were notable exceptions, but the norms for Israeli male behavior were, from the point of view of a young American feminist, simply gross and appalling. After a night of seemingly innocent fun at a tourist bar with a gallant, flirty jeepload of Israeli soldiers two young American women I knew were viciously gang raped by those young soldiers, threatened, at machine-gunpoint with death if they reported the crime. Such is life in wartime.

Who can claim that any army is not guilty of the systematic dehumanizing and psychological brutalizing of young soldiers? Who doesn’t know of the horrific impact of soldiers on the land and on women and children in wartime? I came back to America not because I thought America’s political system was superior or that the war we then were engaged in made any more sense or was more justified in any ethical way than the Arab Israeli conflicts.

I came back because I needed peace desperately, and I needed other people who saw things like me, with whom to strive, having seen what I had seen with my own eyes in Israel, against war, to question and to protest the politics, the policies, the deadly assumptions and delusions that persist in the minds of closely related peoples permanently locked in violent, hideous wars. Because in Israel it came home to me how closely related we all really are, how alike in our dearest dreams and our worst nightmares, and how wrong, in that light, it is for us to hate and to kill one another. In America at the time there was an active, growing response to the ravages of our unjust war, a peace movement, a civil rights movement, an environmental movement, a human rights movement. All of these seemed vitally connected to me, and I needed, after half a year in embattled Israel, to come home to other people like me, who could not and would not shut out the noise of war, and who would work all our lives to champion for peace.

As a Jewess who identifies strongly as such with all I was taught as a child that it means to be Jewish, it’s impossible for me to condone what my people themselves have known and suffered… such travesties, about which we’ve said, as a nation, never again… ghettoization.. apartheid… the walling off of communities… besiegement… blockade and genocide… Unconscionable! How can I find this insane re enactment of all I was taught to cry out against acceptable, merely because some thoroughly corrupted governments (my own and Israel’s) pretend these things are not wrong , in the face of the world’s compassionate and deeply outraged response??? Palestinian children in Gaza, the little kaftanned Bedouin kids I played with in the Sinai desert, the Pashtun babies in Afghanistan for that matter, the children aboard the humanitarian flotilla or the babies my friends who are young parents now, when they bring them to me to cuddle and enjoy, all look exactly alike to me, exactly like the babies I’d kiss goodnight and sing to sleep in the underground bunkers of Kibbutz Hamapil.