March 2016 Archives

Notes From a 'Perfectionist'

"When 'Berniebros' attack it can be disturbing," notes Paul Street. "It's been a bracing experience to be told by older white male leftists that I (no spring chicken myself) am some kind of 'ultra-radical purist' attached to 'abstract notions of perfection' (just a few of the charges I've gotten from Sanders supporters via e-mail) because I have refused to align myself with a United States Democratic Party presidential candidate - Bernie Sanders - who:

*Calls Edward Snowden a criminal and Hugo Chavez (a social democrat) a 'dead communist dictator'.

*Embraces Barack Obama's arch-terrorist drone war.

*Falsely claims to have been independent of the Democratic Party prior to the current presidential campaign.

*Supports the reckless U.S. provocation of Russia in Eastern Europe.

*Calls for the arch-reactionary and fundamentalist Islam-sponsoring state of Saudi Arabia to step up its already mass-murderous military role in the Middle East

*Helped rationalize Israel's criminal mass killings of Palestinian children in Gaza (over the opposition of properly nauseated peace activists in his home town of Burlington, Vermont).

*Backed the Clinton administration's criminal and unnecessary bombing of Serbia.

*Has worked to undermine third party politics in Vermont.

*Called police to arrest activists occupying his Burlington, Vermont Congressional office to protest 'Bomber Bernie' Serbia policy.

*Called police (when Sanders was Burlington's mayor and at the leftmost stage of his political career) to arrest peace activists occupying an industrial plant owned by the leading, blood-soaked military contractor General Electric.

*Pushed and voted for the mass-murderous and wasteful F-35 jet program (a classic Pentagon boondoggle) because it meant 'jobs for Vermont'.

*Calls the racist British imperialist Winston Churchill (who embraced the racist gassing of Arabs) his favorite non-American leader in world history (he could at least have said Nelson Mandela).

*Backs the standardized testing mania that has wreaked such terrible havoc on schools and children.

*Dilutes the radical tradition, mocking his purported hero Eugene Debs by (among other things) calling himself a socialist while embracing private, for-profit ownership of the means of production and distribution.

*Voted for the racist-mass-incarcerationist 1994 federal crime bill - a reactionary $30 billion measure that 'created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces' (Michelle Alexander).

*Fails to call for the giant rollback of the United States' gargantuan 'defense' (Empire) budget his progressive domestic social agenda requires.

*Leaves the Pentagon system almost completely without criticism when asked how he would pay for good things like single-payer health insurance.

*Says that we should learn from Denmark and other significantly social-democratic Scandinavian countries without bothering to note that those nations have tiny military budgets.

*Has repeatedly referred to the cynical corporatist and arch-imperial war hawk Hillary Clinton as his 'good friend'.

*Dismisses Black calls for reparations as 'divisive', as though centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, ghettoization, and stigmatization aren't worthy of any specific acknowledgement or remedy (Michelle Alexander).

*Absurdly refers to the arch-corporatist and ridiculously complicated Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a good first step on the path to single payer (to Medicare for All).

*Aligns himself with the National Rifle Association against the parents of children murdered by an assault weapon-wielding maniac in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

*Fails to advance a serious and substantive attack on the longstanding racism, corporate-neoliberalism, and imperialism of the Clintons, thereby calling into question the sincerity and resoluteness of his claim to represent a left-progressive challenge to the long rightward drift of the Democratic party.

*Repeatedly and absurdly suggests that the U.S. wasn't a corporate- and high finance-ruled plutocracy until the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.

*Badly over-focuses on plutocratic campaign funding (a very real anti-democratic problem, of course) as the source of the nation's ongoing subservience to big capital.

*Fails to exploit Hillary Clinton's very real e-mail and Benghazi scandals, leaving them to the Republican right and questioning thereby the seriousness of his declared goal of capturing the Democratic nomination.

*Promises in advance to back the 'eventual Democratic Party presidential nominee' (Hillary) without conditions, without demanding anything as the price of his Lesser Evilist loyalty."

"It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama," adds John Pilger in another post, "As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies - just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about 'hope'... 

"In the US, Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she's nominated. He, too, has voted for America's use of violence against countries when he thinks it's 'right'. He says Obama has done 'a great job'... 

"Where are those who will shatter the silence?"

"Reform" Is In the Air...

What we Need is Visible Opposition to U.S. War for Empire from people living in this country.  

Millions of Americans reproach their government for failure to secure access to basic necessities -- housing, education and healthcare -- for a purposeful life. Fundamental dynamics of the capitalist economic system have created a desperate situation for growing numbers of the dispossessed, across the globe. 

Presidential candidates from all parties promise a bigger piece of the proverbial American pie. But redistribution of imperial spoils, to whatever extent that would even be possible in the United States, would placate privileged recipients at unconscionable cost to humanity. 
The search for a "kinder" capitalism is fraught with contradiction: a system of privation is inequitable by definition. It requires deliberate obfuscation of the terms of engagement -- socialized production vs private appropriation -- and a presumption of innocence to the forces employed to secure U.S. hegemony.

Take President Obama's weapon of choice. It's hard to imagine a more brutal vehicle for extrajudiciary executions than unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). "Targeted killings through drones are war crimes," writes Daniele Archibugi, a director at the Italian National Research Council (CNR), and professor of innovation, governance and public policy at Birkbeck College. "The first thing to do is a direct appeal to the individuals that are using drones. These individuals should be clearly informed that they are committing war crimes for which they may be individually responsible." 

Photo: assembling a predator drone out of the box in about two hours, 2012. Wikicommons/ Sgt.Ken Scar. Public domain.   

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, CIA drone strikes in Afghanistan have killed between 1,300 and 1,800 people, at least 61 of them civilians. In Pakistan, as many as 4,000 people have been killed in drone strikes, between 420 and 965 of them civilians. And in Yemen, more than 500 people have been killed by U.S. drones, with 65 to 101 of them civilians.

Presidential candidates promise more of the same. World Can't Wait continues the struggle to STOP THE CRIMES OF YOUR GOVERNMENT, undeterred by electoral politics, with mass education and resistance in the streets. Your support is essential to guarantee a visible challenge to business-as-usual.

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When push comes to shove, Bernie Sanders is expected to stump for the "Democratic Party rattrap."

"There's going to be no reluctance on his part" if Clinton wins, Sanders' chief strategist, Tad Devine, told RandySF. "He has said that Hillary Clinton is extremely well qualified to be president. Meanwhile, he's competing, and it's going to go all the way to the end of the primaries." 

"In unusually candid remarks, President Obama privately told a group of Democratic donors last Friday that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was nearing the point at which his campaign against Hillary Clinton would end, and that the party must soon come together to back her," confirmed a White House official. 

"Your future is not up for for election and your dreams will not fit into the ballot box," posits a Facebook announcement. "You are outraged by the police murdering over a thousand people in the past year and the highest rate of incarceration this world has ever seen. You are outraged by the drone bombing of seven countries and the US fanning the flames of war across the Middle East and around the world. You are outraged by the dehumanization and degradation of women at the center of American politics and culture. This past year has made clear to millions that you will not be able to vote for the interests of the people of the world. Come November, the blatant fascism of Donald trump will be one of your options in the voting booth, but fundamental human rights will not be. Your choices have been chosen for you." 

The Whole Damn System is Guilty. It is time to demand more. 

Uniquely American Fascism

"An American-style fascist movement would hardly be a precise copy of either the German or the Italian models, or even of the parties currently building far-right movements in France, Hungary, Greece, and elsewhere... It would undoubtedly be a uniquely American creation," warns investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss. "Whether or not Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination or is elected president, for the gathering members of his grassroots coalition, he's certainly shown what can, indeed, happen here."
10314003_1698087147111819_2858830631505242847_n.jpgRepublicans wink at racism. Democrats condemn violent rhetoric and call for "unity". 

Retired educator Jack Gerson calls for mass movement against Donald Trump -- in the streets:

Bernie Sanders' "political revolution" is explicitly about registering more people into the Democratic party and getting out the vote for him. But Trump and the forces that are assembling under his banner won't be stopped primarily by electoral means. They will only be stopped in the way that they were last night.

By standing up in force, and fighting back, protesters have already sent shock waves across the nation.
ILWU Local 10, the longshore union, is stopping work on May Day, Sunday May 1st, to protest racist police violence. There will be an organizing meeting for labor and the community at 6PM on Tuesday March 22 at Local 10 @ 400 North Point St., San Francisco. Please be there. We are expecting to have an even larger turnout than the 3,000 participants last year.

In solidarity,
Jack [Heyman]
This weekend marks the 13th anniversary of 'Shock and Awe', the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Bombings and economic sanctions were responsible for an estimated 1 million deaths, with another 4.5 million civilians displaced, 1-2 million widows, and 5 million orphans. Healthcare, clean water, functioning schools and jobs remain elusive.

US intervention left what had been a relatively secular country split along sectarian lines, with a weak puppet government and a huge opening for Islamic fundamentalists to push for religious rule.

The devastation begun under the Bush regime has grown and spread under the Obama administration. The US has not been able to impose its will as planned, and the US war OF terror continues.

"No doubt there are many things that distinguish the United States -- not least the enormity of its military budget, and its global network of military bases," writes Vassar College professor Joseph Nevins. "But as the documentary film Drone makes painfully clear, it is the government's ability to kill at a distance -- with impunity and with widespread support, or at least resignation, of the citizenry -- that also 'makes us different'. 

"Remotely piloted aircraft, what are popularly known as drones, allow the Pentagon and the US intelligence apparatus to track and monitor individuals from afar with little risk," he adds. "It also allows the Pentagon to engage in what is effectively a global assassination program with little domestic cost."

Say NO to Monsters in the Sky. Join the resistance at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada for the second annual SHUT DOWN CREECH! March 27-April 2, 2016. 

Bernie Sanders depicts himself a democratic socialist, but too few people know what that means. Journalist Dan Arel reflects on what Sander's ideology is, and isn't, here. Be careful what you wish for.

The Trump rally in Chicago yesterday was the first at which there may have been as many protesters as supporters, reports REUTERS. The cancellation followed an appearance by Trump in St. Louis during which protests forced him to halt his speech repeatedly.

Trump delivers a hideous vision of American triumphalism that must be stopped in its tracks. He must be repudiated in the court of public opinion -- and with determined visible resistance in the streets. The Change We Need is Not on the Ballot.

Justice For Our Lives Project

White privilege manifests a proclivity to police terror, unsuccessfully challenged in a San Francisco federal courtroom yesterday, where four killer cops dodged civil reparation for the murder of Alex Nieto. Blue on Black crime threatens the lives of our dwindling population of people of color inhabiting the un-fair City by the Bay.

"Justice For Our Lives" is a portrait series of individuals from marginalized communities who have lost their lives due to police violence and other forms of oppression as a result of racism in our injustice system. In recent years we have witnessed an increase of police violence and killings in which justice is never served. 

These images are meant to depict each life in an honorable manner and to call attention to the ongoing issue of police terrorism against black and brown, undocumented, LGTBQ, and mentally ill lives to make the connection between these different struggles that are fighting to overcome police violence and impunity. 

"Justice For Our Lives" designs are available for free to download and share online. You are encouraged to get creative with the designs, print, and distribute them at demonstrations, in classrooms, art galleries, as street art, and anywhere else that will force people to remember the names, faces, and the stories behind each person who has been killed by state sponsored terrorism. 
"Were Martians possessed of a sense of irony, ours might also wonder at the spectacle of a government that kills hundreds of thousands of innocents in the course of endless wars suggesting that the real blood-on-their-hands culprits are the people blowing the whistle, and not the politicians forever blowing the war trumpets," posits Barry Eisler, whose latest novel,The God's Eye View navigates the subject of government surveillance (free livestream discussion tonight, March 3).

The former intelligence officer, former technology lawyer, former startup executive, and current full-time thriller writer challenges the "oath of secrecy" around the crimes of our government: "rather than focusing on the fantasy problem of what might happen if more secrets were revealed, shouldn't we be focusing on the real problem of what is happening because too many secrets are being created?"

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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