Sunday, December 8, 2013
What's true today is a lie tomorrow.
As Obama lauds Nelson Mandela, he leaves another freedom fighter, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning languishing in one of his jails -- for the next 35 years. Complete and utter hypocrisy.
While the U.S. (rightly) falls in love with Mandela all over again, it is conveniently forgotten that until mid-2008 our government had him on the terrorist watch list. Complete and utter hypocrisy.
What's true today is a lie tomorrow.
Friday, December 6, 2013
|Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013|
Nelson Mandela has left us but he'll always be here.
His legacy is monumental; his story an inspiration for countless generations to come.
We all know about his courage and his kindness. Goodness knows the media will cover his story beyond thoroughly. So, in perhaps a slightly "niche perspective," I'd like to take just a moment to talk about his toughness -- specifically his mental toughness.
Nobody who has ever achieved anything that the Establishment was opposed to managed it without a big reserve of mental toughness. Martin Luther King knew he was going to be assassinated, and Malcolm X had a pretty fair clue too. Dan and Phillip Berrigan did jail time with a smile as very active objectors to the Vietnam War (invasion). Noam Chomsky is vilified every day of his life. Emma Goldman was castigated, jailed, and deported. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. Gandhi, Zapata, John Brown. The list goes on and on, back through history, at home and abroad.
Mandela served a total of 28 years in South African prisons for fighting an apartheid government. Twenty-eight years that involved harsh confinement, hard labor, and physical and mental abuse. Many of us would buckle under that kind of torture: go mad, commit suicide, or simply die. Mandela not only survived, he went on to become the president of his nation, put the sword to apartheid, and become one of history's greatest advocates for peace.
And in nearly every photograph you see of Mandela in his post-prison days, he's smiling. Perhaps that's the secret: keep the light of joy burning inside you regardless of what you're subjected to. Mandela knew how precious time was and that time spent in bitterness was time thrown away.
So I'd like to salute this iron man of peace. This strong yet gentle man.
They pass this way but once.
Take care and take heart,
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|You Get the Idea|
The government sequester that has resulted in so much hardship for so many families and individuals is indefensible in an era when the rich have tax havens and the financial crisis didn't see one culprit go to jail.
On December 12, there will be a mass call-in to members of Congress calling for an end to the sequester. CLICK HERE to sign the pledge to make the call on the 12th and to get more information. This is economic piracy that affects us all and we must fight back!
THIS LINK will take you to a page of Huffington Post stories from earlier in the year that deal with the sequester.
Please also take a moment to sign this CODEPINK online petition calling on Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to stop calling for tighter sanctions on Iran and instead support the current diplomatic process being undertaken with that country.
Two simple things you can do that could make a whole lot of difference.
Thanks in advance!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Nielsen, the company that studies consumers and conducts media ratings so they can help capitalists find the right suckers, (yeah, those scumbags), just released a new report on media usage in the U.S.: and you can trust it because these people really want to know what's going on so that the money will tumble in.
Here are the major findings, in terms of how many hours the average American spends on each medium activity each week:
-- Television still leads the field comfortably, with Americans spending over 35 hours per week slobbering over their flatscreens.
-- Radio is next with 14 hours.
-- The Internet or computers come in at 5.1 hours.
-- Video on the Internet and gaming come in at 1.5 hours.
-- Video on mobile and DVDs total 1.3 hours.
Four quick observations:
1. These bastards are going to find ways to suck us in and advertise in every corner of every medium until our heads are so saturated with jingles and catch phrases that we either mutate into vegetative form, or we blow our brains out.
2. If you're watching 35 hours of TV a week, or even in that ballpark -- or you're listening to that much radio -- commercials and all, I hate to say it but you're on the self-made-moron conveyor belt.
3. Holy shit! We're idiots!
4. If you're a TV junkie, get off your butt and do something bloody meaningful!
This is junk food for healthy brains. And like junk food, I suggest you just hit the drive-thru occasionally -- if at all. Otherwise, your mental degradation is your own responsibility.
PS: And the next time I hear someone say, "But it's a really good show!" I'm gonna go John-Belushi-samurai-chef on them and, like Bill Hicks, scream uncontrollably, "NO IT'S FUCKING NOT!"
|Hey, nobody's forcing you to watch the crap!|
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Congratulations to everyone at CODEPINK on the recent, highly successful drones summit in Washington DC over the weekend. Now here's the latest article from CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin....
Drone strikes in Pakistan: Reapers of their own destruction
By Medea Benjamin
"We will put pressure on America, and our protest will continue if drone attacks are not stopped," said an angry Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party, the PTI (the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf). He was speaking on Saturday, November 23, to a crowd of over 10,000 protesters who blocked the highway used by NATO supply trucks taking goods in and out of Afghanistan. The latest protests in Pakistan show that even when the US hits its mark, as in the case of the last two strikes in Pakistan that killed key leaders of two extremist cells, they’re still counterproductive.
Most Pakistanis reject the Taliban and other extremists. But they also reject the American drones that violate their sovereignty and operate with impunity. The Pakistani resistance, along with growing opposition within the United States, has had an impact: the number of Predator and Reaper drones strikes in Pakistan has been steadily declining, from a high of 122 in 2010 to 48 in 2012, and even fewer this year.
But the strikes have not stopped, and each strike now receives greater scrutiny and opposition. This is the case of the two attacks that took place in November.
On November 1 a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone killed Hakimullah Mehsud and at least four others. Mehsud was head of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a group responsible for the killing of thousands in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban also claimed responsibility for the failed bomb plot at New York's Times Square in 2010, and was connected with the killing of seven CIA employees in Afghanistan in 2009.
The Pakistani government was incensed by the drone attack. They certainly had no love for Hakimullah Mehsud, but Pakistani negotiators had been carefully working for months to bring the TTP militants to the negotiating table to end more than a decade of violence. In fact, the peace talks were scheduled to begin the very next day, November 2.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan charged that the drone attack that killed Mehsud also blew up the government's efforts at negotiations, and that peace talks could not move forward until there was an end to drone attacks in Pakistan.
But the CIA, which carries out the strikes in Pakistan, ignored the Pakistani government’s wishes and launched another strike on Thursday, November 21. This time the missiles hit a religious seminary, killing at least six people and wounding eight. Among the dead were militants belonging to the Haqqani network, including senior leader Ahmad Jan. The Haqqani network used to be part of the U.S.-backed forces fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The U.S. accuses the Haqqani network of orchestrating the 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed 16 people, and an assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital the same year that killed more than 20.
The November 23 attack was particularly embarrassing for the Pakistani government because it came just one day after foreign minister Sartaj Aziz told parliament the US had agreed to suspend drone attacks while the Pakistani government was in peace talks with the Taliban.
This strike brought a particularly visceral reaction because unlike the hundreds of other strikes in Pakistan that have taken place in the tribal territories, it occurred in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province which is controlled by the staunchly anti-drone political party, the PTI.
At the Saturday rally, PTI leader Imran Khan threatened to organize a long-term blockade of the NATO supply route. Any prolonged disruption of the key route in the KP province could disrupt the U.S. plans to remove troops, weapons and equipment from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
This is not an empty threat. The Pakistani government shut down supply routes for seven months after an American helicopter attack accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and only reopened them after the U.S. apologized.
Imran Khan also used the rally to attack Prime Minister Sharif’s government for failing to force the Americans to halt drone strikes. Sharif has been outspoken against the strikes, even during the election campaign. After becoming prime minister in June, he publicly ordered the military to end its policy of “condemning drones in public while being complicit in them.” During an October meeting in Washington with President Obama, Sharif reiterated his belief that drone strikes were counterproductive and should end.
But Sharif’s ability to force Washington’s hand is constrained by finances: his government relies on $1.6 billion in US aid and is dependent on US support for the $6.7 billion International Monetary Fund loan package it just signed. The government’s inability to stop the drone attacks makes it look weak and subservient to US interests, undermining Pakistan’s fragile democracy.
The two drone strikes in November show that these attacks don’t just kill and maim individuals. They also blow up peace talks. They weaken democratically elected governments. They sabotage bilateral relations. They sow hatred and resentment.
In response, the world community is rising up with mass demonstrations in Pakistan, solidarity protests in London, and hundreds gathering at the 2013 Drone Summit in Washington DC. The 10-year drone-induced killing spree has unleashed the seeds of its own destruction: a nonviolent resistance movement.
I just found out -- thanks to the white ribbon on Google's home page -- that today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
This is something that affects so many women, all around the globe. And more often than not it goes unremedied and unpunished.
Apart from physical violence, many women are subject to psychological, economic, and social violence. In some countries women are restricted in what they can say and do, and where they can go. They amount to little more than chattels. We know about this -- and so does our government -- and yet it goes on. And try finding a corporation that refuses to do business with a country that treats its women like fourth-class citizens!
But even here in our "modern" United States, women still earn less than men and face more challenges and biases, despite the significant changes that began with the courageous Women's Movement of the 60s. Even in such image-conscious institutions like the military, sexual assault on women (and to a lesser extent, men) is out of control. And in the vast majority of cases it is ignored or covered up at all levels of command.
On a personal level, there are women very close to my own life who have faced terrible brutality at the hands of men. Why? I cannot understand anyone inflicting this kind of pain. And many of you will understand when I say that one shares in the suffering of women you know and love who have been battered, deprived, owned, raped, trafficked, and injured. Or, in many instances, killed.
I wish I could say I was shocked to learn that up to 70% of women experience violence in their lifetime*. Sadly, I was not. There is just too much evidence, too much written, too many women with horror stories to tell, to not realize that this despicable savagery is prevalent.
Go to this United Nations page to learn more, see interview clips, and find out what action you might take. Go to this United Nations page for a basic overview of violence against women and to learn about Orange Day.
Let's remember, that in changing the world at its roots, this is the kind of serious problem we could virtually stamp out. In the meantime, it is our responsibility to fight violence against women. More than that, we should relearn our sense of respect for that half of the world's population that make up our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and lovers.
Take care... of all women,
* Source: United Nations
PS: If you want to connect with a politically active group of brave and assertive women, go to CODEPINK's website.