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Jerusalem Day

  Jerusalem Day

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

In May 1948, Israel's independence was Palestine's Nakba. In June 1967, Jerusalem Day for Jews was Nakba 2.0 for Palestinians.

 

Chicago: Peace Town

A huge crowd gathered for several hours and marched for over two miles in the hot sun to oppose NATO and U.S. wars on Sunday in Chicago.  Finishing the march outside the NATO meeting, numerous U.S. veterans of current wars denounced their previous "service" and threw their medals over the fence, a scene not witnessed since the U.S. war on Vietnam.

This event, with massive turnout and tremendous energy, saw the participation of numerous groups from Chicago and the surrounding area, including students, teachers, and activists on a variety of issues, as well as anti-war activists and Occupiers from around the country and the world.  No one can have been disappointed with the turnout, but it might have been bigger if not for the fear that was spread prior to Sunday.  In the face of that fear, Sunday's action was remarkable.

'Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs,' G-8 Leaders

By Michael Collins
So, now it's an imperative to "promote growth."

The joint statement (full text after the jump) from the G-8 meeting in Chicago documents the utter failure of the very leaders who issued it.  Were they capable leaders with the least knowledge of economic downturns, the statement would not be necessary.  Nevertheless, they deserve some credit for admitting their deficiencies.  Unfortunately, they have no serious solutions.  (Image Banksy)

The joint statement has some weasel words like "We commit to fiscal responsibility" to balance the urgent words about growth and jobs".  That reflects the atavistic positions of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Merkel suffered a huge set back in the Westphalia  state elections with her Christian Democratic Party losing 25% to 50%.  Corporate media maintains that her popularity as a leader is higher than ever.

Her Scrooge faction comrade, PM Cameron is also pushing austerity.  Nobody can pretend that his polling is any better than his party.  The Conservatives were wiped out in local elections and Cameron is going down without a life jacket.

Ending the Mindset That Gets Us into War

 

MAY 20, 2012, MILITARIZED CHICAGO -- Next month in Baltimore they're going to celebrate the War of 1812.  That's what we do with wars.  We say they're the last resort.  We say they're hell.  We say they're for the purpose of eliminating themselves: we fight wars for peace.  Although we never keep peace for wars.  We claim to wage only wars we have been forced into despite all possible effort to find a better way.  And then we celebrate the wars.  We keep the wars going for their own sake after all the excuses we used to get them started have expired.  The WMDs have not been found.  Osama bin Laden's been killed.  Al Qaeda is gone from the country where we're fighting it.  Nobody's threatening Benghazi anymore.  But the wars must go on!  And then we'll celebrate them.  And we'll celebrate the old ones too, the ones that were fought here, the ones that were in their day not quite so heavily painted as last resorts or humanitarian missions. 

 

Last year Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee persuaded Congress to create an Iraq-Afghanistan Wars holiday.  It's on our calendars now along with Loyalty Day (formerly May Day), Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day), Memorial Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Patriots Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and of course September 11th, among many others.  Last week there was an Armed Forces Spouses Appreciation Day.  The military holiday calendar is like the Catholic saints' days now: there's something every day of the year. 

 

But there's no celebration of the times we avoided war. We claim to prefer peace to war, but we don't make heroes of those presidents or Congresses who most avoided war.  In fact, we erase them.  Our history books jump from war to war as if nothing happened in between.  Nobody celebrates 1811, only 1812.  Even the peace movement doesn't celebrate the past decade's prevention, thus far, of a war on Iran.

Life in Occupied Chicago

  Life in Occupied Chicago

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Through Monday, downtown residents live in occupied Chicago. 

 

Secret Service agents, NORTHCOM and National Guard forces, as well as thousands of state and local police seem everywhere.

 

Headlines Reveal Life in Occupied Palestine

  Headlines Reveal Life in Occupied Palestine

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

They also reflect rogue Israeli leadership threatening humanity. More on that below.

 

Gaza remains isolated and besieged. Its health minister said the lives of 404 kidney failure patients are threatened. Enough dialysis "Bloodline" supplies aren't available.

Three NATO Activists Charged with Terror Plot After Posting Video of Police Harassment

Three activists in Chicago for the NATO Summit protests — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — are being charged with a major terrorist plot and "material support for terrorism" after they posted a video of police threatening the three with violence during the NATO summit.  The terror attacks were to include numerous Chicago police stations,  Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building, and Rahm Emanuel’s home in Ravenswood.  The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) contends the charges are fabricated and that the arrests are retaliation.

Chicago Militarized for NATO

  Chicago Militarized for NATO

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Ready or not, NATO arrived on May 19 and 20. Chicago's in virtual lockdown. Residents feel occupied. Building occupants got special instructions.

 

Israeli Police State Crimes

  Israeli Police State Crimes

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Multiple times daily they occur in Occupied Palestine. In the week ending May 16, Palestinian West Bank communities experienced 41 lawless incursions.

 

Numerous arrests followed. Three journalists and three children were targeted. Dozens of peaceful Nakba Day demonstrators were injured. Others were arrested.

Bring on the Beautiful Trouble

Now here's a book that's meant to be used: "Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution" edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell.  The subtitle should be "Try this at home -- but innovate!"  Instead it's "From the people who brought you the Yes Men, Billionaires Against Bush, etc."

Beautiful Trouble is a terrific addition to Gene Sharp's catalog of nonviolent tactics, less comprehensive, more up-to-date, more U.S.-centric, and focused on the artistic and the entertaining. When someone whines about what they can possibly do if it's really true that voting won't fix everything, hand them this book.  When someone proposes violence as the only serious option available, hand them this book.  

Here is a guide to activism that focuses on the serious moral case for fundamental change and on making it fun as hell.  Here is a sophisticated tool for shaping strategies that are both uncompromising and welcoming of newcomers.  

The book is divided into five sections: Tactics, Principles, Theories, Case Studies, and Practitioners.  The section on Tactics is far and away the best, with some of the inspiring tactics further developed in the case studies.  While the book looks like a reference designed to be searched as needed like an encyclopedia (tons of pull quotes and text in cute little boxes, as if laid out for someone with a four-second attention span) it actually reads very well as a book if you focus on the largest font size and just read it straight through.  

Long time activists may find more and more of the material to be familiar as the book progresses, but it is a book that practices what it preaches.  It is open to brand new participants in government of, by, and for the people as well as to those who've been trying to get it right for many years.  For the most part, even the familiar is so well presented and contextualized that people are likely to find new insights in what they thought they already knew.

We always wonder how to welcome war criminals and robber barons to town.  Do we protest?  Do we try to participate in their public events in an approved manner?  Do we hold up posters silently without interrupting?  "Beautiful Trouble" is packed with great approaches to this and other common scenarios.  For example, in 2006, Rainforest Action greeted the CEO of General Motors at the Los Angeles Auto Show by pretending to be emcees, thanking the man for the speech he'd just given about GM's commitment to the environment, and unfurling a giant pledge for him to sign putting his promises in writing.  He then had two bad choices.  He chose to refuse to sign, and the media ran with that story.  

Other great tactics explored include "nonviolent search and seizure," or the theatrical attempt to liberate secret documents to which the public has a right.  Governments are presented with the option of looking secretive and suspicious or exposing what they're up to and revealing themselves as corrupt and destructive.  Successful uses of this tactic are recounted.

Then there's the case of families setting up a childcare center in the office of a public housing official until provided with other means of childcare.  With each such idea, others will appear in the reader's mind.  Why not move a school into the office of a weapons profiteer?  Why not move a library into the office of a war-funding, banker-bailing-out Congress member?  Such variations gain and lose various advantages that this book can help an organizer sort through.

Or there's the case of the teddy bear catapult.  When officials lock themselves inside a fortress (at Camp David, or in Chicago, or anywhere else), a catapult can be a means of sending them a message in which the main message is in fact the medium.  

Other tactics, such as the general strike, are extremely difficult, or -- as with a "debt strike" -- have yet to be successfully pulled off.  

"Beautiful Trouble" is not just a list of colorful actions.  It analyzes the pros and cons, principles involved, potential dangers, and insidious tendencies.  It gives detailed advice on how a tactic should be used most effectively.  It can build your movement more, for example, to not just shout people down but to do so very politely under the banner of a Public Filibuster, insisting on upholding their rights as well as your own.

"Beautiful Trouble" includes an excellent rejection of "diversity of tactics" -- which can become "code for 'anything goes'," as well as an explanation of the power and superior success rate of disciplined strategic nonviolence.

Rather than pretending to list all available types of approaches, the authors (dozens of them, activists all) seek to guide the reader toward a model for inventing and generating new approaches.  Part of theatrical activism, of course, involves tricking the corporate media into covering positions toward which its owners are fundamentally opposed or -- at best -- indifferent.  Even the best of tactics can lose that power simply by having been used before.

The Theories section of the book may be the weakest, as a lot of it amounts to Cliff's Notes versions of well-known intellectuals. And the Practitioners section at the end, which really is just a list of activist groups, leaves much to be desired.  

It's also stunning that an up-to-the-minute book drawing heavily on the Occupy movement and other events of recent years and months contains so many examples of opposing George W. Bush, while Barack Obama gets a single mention -- which comes in an account of the Tar Sands protests in which the wisdom of not polarizing against Obama is explained to us.  Oh, and there's one other mention praising Obama's campaign messaging.

"Beautiful Trouble" discusses the Overton Window and the benefit of pushing for what you really want or even more.  It even offers the example of pushing for single payer if what you want is a "public option."  But groups that did that are missing from the book, while praise goes repeatedly to organizations that blatantly violated that specific advice.  "Beautiful Trouble" even declares the healthcare legislation that failed to include the "public option" a victory. 

An account of "Billionaires for Bush" is followed by an account of misguided (by the book's own advice) healthcare groups "succeeding" in finding some target other than the Democrats in power in Washington to protest, which is followed by another account of random protesters of Bush.  I was a big fan and participant in Billionaires for Bush, but when -- in 2008 -- I asked them why in the world they were shutting down rather than evolving into Oligarchs for Obama they never gave me a straight answer. 

Oddly missing from the book's advice for activist organizing is any warning about the corrupting influence of large, well-funded groups or of partisan politics.

Note that this is a book that dares to go after capitalism and many basic assumptions in our society, a society in which most people already condemn elected officials of both major political parties, so it would be at least a challenge to make a case that criticizing Obama's corruption would have somehow closed the book off to many of its potential readers.

I would also quibble with the happiness of the book's introduction which says:

"The realization is rippling through the ranks that, if deployed thoughtfully, our pranks, stunts, flash mobs and encampments can bring about real shifts in the balance of power."

But the same introduction also says:

"Through the last decade, though we've lost ground on climate, civil liberties, labor rights, and so many other fronts, we've also seen incredible flourishing of creativity and tactical innovation in our movements, both in the streets and online."

That is an extremely odd sentence.  Logically, it could be rewritten:

"Through the last decade, though we've seen incredible flourishing of creativity and tactical innovation in our movements, both in the streets and online, we've also lost ground on climate, civil liberties, labor rights, and so many other fronts."

We are losing.  We are losing badly and we're pretty darn close to Game Over.  And yet we have seen small victories and hints at the possibility of larger ones.  We have learned what tactics work better than others.  In my view, there's not much more useful that anyone could do than to learn from this book, and with independent analysis, as the authors themselves would recommend, go forth and do likewise.

Greece Reflects Growing Economic Turmoil

  Greece Reflects Growing Economic Turmoil

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Straightjacket Eurozone rules trap 17 dissimilar countries. Greece proved most vulnerable. It's cratering under imposed austerity. 

 

It's the epicenter of Europe's deepening economic crisis. Fed up Greeks want change. May 6 parliamentary elections favored anti-austerity candidates.

Ziyad Yaghi: Guilty of Being Muslim in America

  Ziyad Yaghi: Guilty of Being Muslim in America

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Post-9/11, America declared war on Islam. Wars rage abroad. At home, innocent victims are wrongfully charged, prosecuted, convicted by intimidated and pressured juries, and imprisoned.

 

"And Now It's On To Chicago and Let's Win There." Robert F. Kennedy, June 5, 1968

As I traveled this day to Chicago to bear witness to and against an organization wholly culpable for the murder of countless and uncounted persons in the name of war, undaunted power and greed, I recalled words which Bobby Kennedy spoke to the world moments before he too was murdered. Within moments of his death, then presidential candidate Robert Kennedy gave an interview in which he gave extraordinary voice to ordinary people whom the United States was killing in Viet Nam, without cause or reason or care.

Neocons Mount Another Pre-emptive Strike on History

Applying the Six-Day War to Iran

May 17, 2012

Editor Note: America’s neocons continue to beat the drums for war with Iran, brushing aside warnings even from Israeli intelligence veterans. Another part of the propaganda is to merge a future war against Iran with the heroic memories of the Six-Day War nearly 45 years ago, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

With the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War of June 1967 coming early next month, pro-Israel pundits like syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer are again promoting Israel’s faux-narrative on the reasons behind Israel’s decision to attack its neighbors.

113 in House Vote to End War on Afghanistan -- How Many Will Vote Against the NDAA?

Lee amendment for swift withdrawal from Afghanistan falls short in House vote

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced an amendment to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. The amendment would end combat operations at the same time it protects troops by requiring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan could only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.  The amendment did not pass the House (113-303).

“The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “My amendment provided Members of the House the opportunity to stand squarely with the war-weary American people.  I am disappointed that a majority of House Members did not stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan.”

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Lee was joined by 100 Members of the House, including five Republicans, in sending a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan n advance of the NATO summit. 

“Our brave troops have done everything that was asked of them,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “With almost two thousand U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, and many tens of thousands more maimed with injuries both hidden and visible, we must recognize that the boots on the ground strategy in Afghanistan is not working.  After 11 long years of war, I will continue to work to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.”     

###

Today’s House Floor speech: here

Link to letter to President Obama: here

Text of the Lee Amendment:

AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4310, AS REPORTED

OFFERED BY MS. LEE OF CALIFORNIA

At the end of subtitle B of title XII of division A of the bill, add the following:

Sec. 12xx. LIMITATION ON FUNDS FOR OPERATIONS OF THE ARMED FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN.

            (a) IN GENERAL --- Funds made available to carry out this Act for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated an expended only for purpose of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

            (b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION --- Nothing in this section shall be construed –

(1)   To authorize the use of funds for the continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan while carrying out the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan; and

(2)   To prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to any department or agency of the United States to carry out diplomatic efforts or humanitarian, development, or general reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

Rebekah Brooks, Witness for the Prosecution

By Michael Collins

Criminal charges against Rupert Murdoch insider and favorite Rebekah Brooks may be a prelude to looming charges arising out of Brooaks' testimony before the Leveson Inquiry last week.

Crown Prosecution Services charged Brooks, her husband, and four others with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on Tuesday May 15. The alleged conspiracy took place between July 6 and July 19, 2011.

Brooks and the co-conspirators concealed and removed materials sought by police in their investigation of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation subsidiary, News International, according to prosecutors. Brooks resigned as chief executive officer of the subsidiary on July 15, 2011. (Image: SnowViolent)

Brooks' current legal troubles should not obscure the significance of her testimony before the Leveson Inquiry last week. During her several hours on the witness stand, she was confronted with an explosive email that, if true, implicates Conservative Party Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a conspiracy to pervert the British regulatory process in favor of News Corporation's bid to acquire the ten-million-subscriber pay TV company BSkyB.  News Corp owns 39% of the company.  It sought the remaining 61%.

Israel's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons

  Israel's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Israel's long known open secret is its formidable nuclear arsenal. Less is known about its chemical and biological weapons (CBW) capability. More on that below.

 

Syria and Iran in Focus

  Syria and Iran in Focus

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's longstanding agenda targets both countries. Israel wants regional rivals removed. Washington wants independent regimes replaced by pro-Western puppet ones.

 

Dropping Planes, Not Bombs: US Attack on Iran with F-22 Stealth Fighters would be Laughable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The Iranian military must be enjoying the latest spectacle of Pentagon waste and bungling.

 

Only a few weeks ago, the US attempted to ramp up the pressure on Iran by deploying to the Persian Gulf at the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, just across the gulf from Iran, a squadron of the Air Force’s spanking new and never battle-tested supersonic F-22 stealth fighter-bombers.

 

Protest the Crimes of Our Government & NATO in Chicago 5/12-5/21

We’re putting the focus on the victims of the US/NATO wars all week!  Let's keep up the momentum: Spread the word and invite your friends to come along, learn about the crimes of NATO and get involved in the movement to put them to a stop.  We are inviting people everywhere to contribute the names of victims of NATO violence, using the hashtag #NATOvictims. We will recite the names as part of a Memorial for the Victims of US/NATO Wars on May 21, the second day of the NATO Summit. Stay tuned for more details of the event -- to be released shortly.

Talk Nation Radio: Cindy Sheehan on the Venezuelan Constitution as a Model for the United States

Cindy Sheehan discusses the new Venezuelan Constitution as a model for reforming the U.S. Constitution in the direction of greater democratic and economic rights, as well as the politics of Hugo Chavez, and her new book, Revolution: A Love Story.  Cindy Sheehan is a leading U.S. peace actvist, a gold star mother, an author, blogger, and radio host.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Engineer: Christiane Brown.

Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive.org or AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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The Nakba: Before and After

  The Nakba: Before and After

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

May 15 marks Israel's 64th independence day. This year's Jewish calendar commemorated it on April 25. 

 

For Palestinians, May 15 represents 64 years of Nakba suffering. Survivor testimonies bare witness. No words adequately explain their catastrophe. An unnamed Jew said:

Hunger Strike Aftermath

  Hunger Strike Aftermath

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

As they say, it's not over 'till it's over. Palestinian prisoners have been mass hunger striking since April 17. Others began earlier. Some hadn't eaten for two months or longer.

 

US/Israeli Special Relationship

  US/Israeli Special Relationship

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Strategic interests largely benefitting Israel, not shared values, are at issue. Washington doesn't provide the Jewish state more aid than all other nations combined because of historic binding ties.

 

Hunger Strike Ends

  Hunger Strike Deal

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Palestinian hunger strikers redefined courage. Mass willingness to die for justice is unprecedented. 

 

On May 13, they reiterated their dignity or death steadfastness. More on that below.

 

Warmonger and Fearmonger Dianne Feinstein Lives to Spout Another Day

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. She voted for the Patriot Act and has voted for it again every time its reauthorization has come up. Likewise, she has consistently voted against requiring FISA court warrants before the government wiretaps Americans at home or abroad.

So it should come as no surprise that she favors TSA procedures.

FBI Wants Greater Surveillance Powers

  FBI Wants Greater Surveillance Powers

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

FBI Director Robert Mueller wants Congress to enact greater surveillance powers following the false flag underwear bomb plot blamed on Al Qaeda.

 

Israeli and Palestinian Protests

  Israeli and Palestinian Protests

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes continue. Freedom, dignity, and respect for their rights are at issue. Strikers want horrific Israeli prison abuses ended. More on that below.

 

White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

 

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