Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media


I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO_om3iK9kE

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course Democrats.com responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
http://www.democrats.com/boycott-proactiv
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0tgvWxC_6A

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/8/white_house_environmental_adviser_van_jones

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/06/van-jones-resigns/

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/95963/what_will_the_green_economy_look_like/

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/28/van_jones_on_the_green_collar

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061650758/The_Green_Collar_Economy/index.aspx

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/a-petition-against-fox-conservative-host-glenn-beck.aspx

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

http://aan.org/alternative/Aan/index

and alternative monitoring websites.

http://americas.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64380

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

http://www.tacomapjh.org/progressive_news.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | 55 Comments

Learning & Losing Language


On Learning & Losing Language: A Reading List

Photo: Mark

Photo: Mark

Language shapes every facet of our lives—how we communicate, how we act, how we feel. When we can name something, we feel comfort and security (think of the medical diagnosis, the new baby’s name). We feel relief: common gestures while haggling in a marketplace, cognates in a textbook. Without language, we are lost. But what happens when language gets lost—violently uprooted by colonialism, for example, or dissipated in the annals of time? Can language be reclaimed? These six articles explore how language is disseminated, preserved, decoded, and, ultimately, cherished.

1. “How an Artificial Language from 1887 is Finding New Life Online.” (Sam Dean, The Verge, May 2015)

Lernu! When L.L. Zamenhof invented Esperanto in the late 19th century, he hoped it would erase language barriers and bring about world peace. Today, Esperanto is gaining traction in the digital language-learning community due to its enthusiastic adherents, relative simplicity and logical structure.

2. “The Interpreter.” (John Colapinto, The New Yorker, April 2007)

Unrelated to any other extant tongue, and based on just eight consonants and three vowels, Pirahã has one of the simplest sound systems known. Yet it possesses such a complex array of tones, stresses, and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonants altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations.

The Pirahã have no interest in other cultures or modern discoveries, let alone learning other languages. Communication, therefore, has been historically impossible. This is the story of Dan Everett, one of the only non-native people in the world to master the Pirahã language, and how his subsequent knowledge may have groundbreaking ramifications for commonly accepted linguistic theory.

3. “The Most Secretive Book in History.” (Erin McCarthy, Mental Floss, March 2015)

What is the Voynich Manuscript? Is it a code, a cipher or an altogether unknown language? Drawings of plants and hieroglyphs fill its pages, but its origins are murky.

4. “I Read and Write in English, But I Still Dream in Amharic.” (Hannah Giorgis, The Guardian, July 2015)

In this beautiful essay, Hannah Giorgis meditates on her Ethiopian and Eritrean heritage, the inadequacy of English and the author’s responsibility to decolonize their art.

5. “After Centuries of Colonial Violence, a Resurgence of Indigenous Language Learning.” (Jason Coppola, Truthout, August 2015)

“You could reasonably say every single Native American language, including the large ones, are endangered,” said linguist K. David Harrison, a National Geographic fellow teaching at Swarthmore College. “There’s no room for complacency whatsoever.”

In New Zealand, Hana O’Regan integrated Maori customs into her family life—with profound results. In South Dakota, Tipiziwan Tolman teaches Lakota language at the Lakota Language Nest Immersion School. Both women want to help indigenous youth overcome the pernicious effects of white colonialism.

6. “The Real Secret to Learning a Language Online.” (Nithin Coca, The Kernel, August 2015)

Apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone replicate language classes, but Nithin Coca suggests the fastest way to immerse yourself in a new language (besides moving to a foreign country) might be indulging in its media. You heard him: go check out subtitled French (or Korean, or German, or…) television and film.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preserving Borders vs. Preserving People: Death Toll Rises as Refugees Head to Europe Seeking Safety


GUESTS

Joel Millman, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration.

Chiara Montaldo, coordinator with Doctors Without Borders in the Sicilian town of Pozzallo in Italy. She has been providing medical and psychological care to migrants and refugees rescued from boats in the Mediterranean. She recently wrote a piece for The Guardian called “We see more and more unaccompanied children on migrant boats.”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

The European Union has called for emergency talks to address the rapidly growing number of people fleeing to Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 2,500 people are believed to have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe so far this year. On Sunday, 37 people died when a boat capsized off the Libyan coast. This came just days after another boat capsized off the Libyan coast killing more than 200 people. Meanwhile, investigators in Hungary and Austrian authorities are continuing to probe the deaths of 71 people who were found abandoned last week inside a truck on the main highway between Budapest and Vienna. We speak to Joel Millman of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva; Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch; and Dr. Chiara Montaldo of Doctors Without Borders in the Sicilian town of Pozzallo in Italy. She has been providing medical and psychological care to people rescued from boats in the Mediterranean.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The European Union has called for emergency talks to address the rapidly growing number of people fleeing to Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approximately 2,500 people are believed to have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe so far this year. On Sunday, 37 people died when a boat capsized off the Libyan coast. This came just days after another boat capsized off the Libyan coast killing more than 200 people. Meanwhile, investigators in Hungary and Austrian authorities are continuing to probe the deaths of 71 people who were found abandoned last week inside a truck on the main highway between Budapest and Vienna. On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments to take action on the migrant crisis in Europe.

SECRETARYGENERAL BAN KI-MOON: I am horrified and heartbroken as refugees and migrants are losing their lives in the Mediterranean, Europe and beyond. We have seen countless tragedies, most recently the grim discovery of more than 70 people who suffocated inside a truck in Austria. So many people have also drowned in the Mediterranean and also the Andaman Seas. We must understand why people are risking their lives: They are fleeing war, political instability and insecurity to seek a better future.

AMY GOODMAN: Hungary has responded to the situation by building a 109-mile-long razor-wire fence on its southern border. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports scenes of blatant racial profiling at Budapest’s main train station. Authorities allowed white and lighter-skinned people to pass through, but stopped and demanded papers from virtually all darker-skinned people. On Saturday alone, Hungary detained 3,000 people. Over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused Hungary of adopting a, quote, “scandalous” policy toward refugees. He made the remarks during an interview.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAURENT FABIUS: [translated] With regard to all those people who are politically chased out of their country and who are in war-torn countries, we have to be able to welcome them. It’s called the plea for asylum, and every country has to respond to that—France, Germany, others. But when I see certain European countries that do not accept these groups, I find that scandalous.

REPORTER: [translated] Which countries are you speaking about?

FOREIGN MINISTER LAURENT FABIUS: [translated] Particularly countries that are situated in Eastern Europe.

REPORTER: [translated] Hungary, for example, what do you think of what’s going on there?

FOREIGN MINISTER LAURENT FABIUS: [translated] They are extremely harsh. Hungary is part of Europe, which has values. We do not respect those values by putting up fences.

AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the crisis, we’re joined by Joel Millman in Geneva, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration there. And here in New York, Ken Roth is with us, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! We also hope to go to the coast of Sicily, where migrants are pouring in to the coastal towns. But we’re going to start right now in Geneva. Joel Millman, talk about the extent of the crisis. I think it’s one that people in the United States are not very well aware of.

JOEL MILLMAN: Well, we’re up 322,000 seaborne crossings into Europe, principally from Turkey into Greece and from Libya into Italy. This is, with four months to go in this year, 2015, we’re already ahead of where we were last year at the end of August—I’m sorry, where we were for the whole, at 219,000. So we’re 100,000 above that and with another third of the year to go.

These are people that are fleeing principally a handful of countries. Syria is number one, Eritrea, Somalia; now Afghanistan has become very prominent, as well—all people that generally, from those places, would merit consideration for asylum and resettlement. So, the tragedy is that people that would be treated as refugees by Europe under almost any circumstance are risking their lives for the opportunity to petition for something that most countries in the world think they already deserve.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the—what is fueling this mass migration, from Africa, from the Middle East, from around all of the surrounding countries around Europe.

JOEL MILLMAN: Well, we can’t be naïve. I mean, what’s fueling it is the conflict and the stress that’s happening in a few societies. However, it’s the lawlessness of places like Syria and Libya right now that deny Europe and the rest of the world any kind of government partner that they can access to try to control or manage this migration flow. We understand that there are demographic imperatives involved, that Europe has a falling birth rate. There’s a huge demand for cheap labor, skilled and unskilled, and there’s a huge dearth of jobs in the countries where these individuals are coming from. But the fact is, this is not a new condition. This has gone on for decades and had been managed. They’ve been managed with governments that aren’t altogether savory to us, like Gaddafi’s government in Libya. However, in the absence of real authority, criminal gangs have stepped up and opportunistically decided to start trafficking in migrants. Quite a number of these cases are people that may not have intended to go to Europe at all in the first place and have been kidnapped and coerced and stuffed onto boats. So we’ve seen that to a great degree, particularly in Tripoli and the western part of Libya. But, obviously, it’s the inability of any government to control this effectively that’s created the opportunity for lots of criminal gangs. And they’re moving—while the profits are high, they’re moving as many people as they can.

Bourbon Argos Rescue August 2015

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what the Schengen Agreement is?

JOEL MILLMAN: Well, it’s an agreement that is among European countries, not solely those of the European Union, to be able to transit freely throughout the continent. It’s to facilitate tourism and trade, and it’s worked quite well for many decades, principally because, you know, Europeans are very affluent, and they follow rules very well, and, until recently, there wasn’t quite a lot of people coming sort of irregularly—is the term we like to use—from outside Europe. Unfortunately, this is not a system built to make for orderly—you know, orderly transit through Europe when people that aren’t there with documents or aren’t there with valid visas start coming in these numbers. And the numbers are huge, as we discussed.

AMY GOODMAN: Thousands of migrants have sought shelter in a makeshift shantytown in the coastal town of Calais. This is an Afghan refugee named Wahib describing his experience there on the eve of a visit from European officials and French ministers.

WAHIB: Nobody is, like, treating us like as a human being here, you know? Everybody and police are—if you go, like, to city, some police see us, “Hey,” go, “jungle, jungle.” Like, we are human beings, so—they call us “jungle.” You can see that, you know? So, it’s like very embarrassing for me recently. I cannot say about other people, but for me it’s like very embarrassing. It’s just because that our country is not, like, good. It’s—we cannot stay there. There’s a war.

AMY GOODMAN: Joel Millman, if you could respond to what this migrant is saying? Joel Millman, speaking to us by video stream from Geneva, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration.

JOEL MILLMAN: Well, it’s tragic, obviously. The individual that was just interviewed, I mean, he’s an English speaker. It’s not perfect English, but obviously he’s educated. Obviously, he’s made it all the way from Afghanistan to Calais. These are people that show tremendous resolve. Sometimes they have resources, and often they have great education. They’re able—they would be able to thrive, integrate well in any society, particularly in Europe or North America. And yet, you know, regulations and rules against transit are keeping them in countries where their lives are often at risk. And we don’t—we are no longer seeing these people as members of our society and welcome; we’re seeing them as threats, especially if they come from Muslim countries. And it’s true. I mean, they’re reduced to living in squalor, which we think is beneath the dignity of any human being, much less a migrant.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you calling on the European Union to do right now, Joel Millman?

JOEL MILLMAN: Well, mostly to be flexible. I mean, we don’t lobby particularly; we’re not an advocacy group. And we don’t think it’s proper to single Europe out, as many have, as not doing its share. I mean, Europe has taken on a tremendous burden and have done so even though it’s a system that’s shared by 28 countries in the EU, and then, of course, all the other countries not in the EU. They’re trying to find a way to turn what had been a uniform policy into something more flexible, and I think they’ve made pretty good strides. I mean, Germany last week talked about shelving the Dublin rule, which insists that an asylum seeker only accept asylum from the first country he arrives in, which clearly isn’t working. I mean, hundreds of thousands have crossed into Italy in the last two years, and very few of them stay there. They all want to go to northern Europe or Germany or U.K. So, this is the kind of flexibility that we’d like to see more of.

Obviously, we want more resettlement, more resettlement quotas. We want people in Europe to understand that it’s not a zero-sum game between letting them drown, on one hand, or giving them asylum and access to every benefit in the society, on the other. There are many, many solutions in between. I mean, there’s temporary protected status. There’s humanitarian resettlement. There’s all kinds of things that governments have done for decades that only require a little bit of clear thinking and a political will. You know, here at IOM, we often reflect that it was four years ago this summer that the world was faced with the so-called boat people crisis in Southeast Asia. And the speed and the diligence with which countries as far afield as Canada and the U.S., France, Australia, Thailand and others all pitched in and found solutions for millions of people over a very short period of time and resettled them so successfully is something to be inspired by. And, you know, you often feel like, “What’s happened with the world? They used to have solutions for these kind of crises, and now they seem to only have excuses for why they can’t act.” We know we can do better. We know that we will, with time.

AMY GOODMAN: Joel Millman, I want to thank you for being with us, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration, speaking to us by video stream from Geneva, Switzerland. When we come back, we’re going to go to the front line to a coastal town in Sicily, where migrants are pouring in, overwhelming the communities, communities without solutions. We’ll also be joined by the head of Human Rights Watch here in New York, Kenneth Roth. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been listening to the Migrant Choir. This is a collaborative public choral piece that was staged at the Venice Biennale in mid-August this year as part of the Creative Time Summit. Migrants gathered from around the world. They came to Venice, and they sang in front of three countries that have turned immigrants away, in front of Italy, in front of the British Pavilion, as well as in front of the French Pavilion. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue to look at this massive global crisis.

The Mediterranean Sea has become one of the world’s deadliest borders, as more than 340,000 people displaced by war and violence have attempted to reach Europe this year. We go now to the coast of Sicily to Dr. Chiara Montaldo, a coordinator with Doctors Without Borders in Pozzallo, Sicily, Italy, providing medical and psychological care to migrants and refugees rescued from boats in the Mediterranean. She recently wrote apiece for The Guardian called “We see more and more unaccompanied children on migrant boats.”

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Dr. Montaldo. Describe what is happening in just your town alone, in Pozzallo, where you’re working.

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: Yes, good afternoon. What is happening here, we are receiving migrants since almost two years now. And honestly, the condition of the people we receive are worse and worse, not so much for the traveling in the sea, but really for the condition in Libya, in all the migration way before to come here. And the main point where they are now victim of violence is for sure Libya, where all the people that we talk with, they really tell us that now is really the hell. This is the word that they often use to describe Libya, is the “hell.” There is no security. Many people have been really tortured or have been beaten. They come with the wounds and burns. Many women, but also many men, are raped. So, now what we see, unfortunately, are the consequences of the worsening of the situation in Libya. This is clear.

AMY GOODMAN: You retweeted someone writing, “We are alive only because we are not dead.”

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Montaldo, explain.

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: Yeah, most of the people that we are receiving now are really escaping from death. So, why they risk their life in the sea? They know very well now that the sea is like Russian roulette. So, they can die, they know, because now there are more and more shipwreck and tragedies in the sea. But still they keep coming. Why? Because their condition in their own countries are worsening. First of all, Syria, of course, but not only Syria—Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria. So, all these people are really escaping from a situation where the risk of life is really high, higher than the trip in the sea. So that’s why they keep coming. Not only this, because actually we receive people from many different nationalities, but many of them, they were already living in Libya. And now, as I told you, the situation is always worse and worse, so all these people, really, most of them, they come because they don’t have choice, and especially because they don’t have other alternatives to this trip in the sea. So, unfortunately, some of them, they could afford to buy a ticket, if they could, but there is no possibility, because there are no legal way in this moment allowing them to reach safely Europe or any way a safe place.

AMY GOODMAN: The piece, Dr. Montaldo, that you wrote in The Guardian, you write of the chemical burns on the people, especially who were in the hold of the boats. And you write about how the lighter-skinned immigrants will be above, and the darker-skinned immigrants, for example, from Africa, are below, where they’re more likely to get burned, because the immigrants fear that if darker-skinned people are seen, they’re more likely to be turned away.

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: Yeah, yeah, the chemical burn are symptoms that we see quite often, in some type of landing. It means whenever the boat has some problem of fuel leaking. So sometimes the fuel come out, and because they are sit all in the boat, especially in the lower part of the body, the legs, they have these really burn, like a fire burn, but they are caused by the fuel. And sometimes they are really severe. Sometimes we need to admit them. Sometimes we can treat them at the first reception center.

And it is true that, unfortunately, even in the boat, there is a kind of hierarchy. All of them, unfortunately, are desperate, but there is a kind of a different kind of despair, because, unfortunately, even in the boat, there is a first and second class, if we can say like that. And so, the last of the chain, often they have the worst places, the places more dangerous. And we see more and more people who died because they are in the—they stay in the lower part of the boat, which is normally the more—the most dangerous, because they cannot breathe sometimes. The fuel is there, and the gas of the boat—they are there. So, for example, two days ago, one of our team received people survived from this tragedy. Fifty people died because they were in the lower part of the boat. And they were probably without oxygen, and they died. Unfortunately, in these kind of tragedies, the people in the boat, maybe like yesterday, 400 people in the boat, they fight for life. This is normal. This situation put them in a situation where even in between them sometimes there are tension, and everybody try to save their own life.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your message for Europeans who say, “We have too many problems of our own. We have to send these people back,” Dr. Montaldo?

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: Honestly, I think that in front of what we are facing now—people dying, people without alternative—I think that this discussion to send them back, to block our borders are really—for me, they are—we should not discuss about this. We should discuss how to help people who is trying now to save their life. How can we still be here asking ourself should we block them or should not? How can we still be here to think how to protect ourself? I think that all our discussion are to protect ourself. But for me and for my organization, the priority is not protect ourself, is not protect our borders, but to help people who are dying. And they will continue to die if we don’t do anything. And our fences, our barriers and our border are the cause of many of these deaths.

AMY GOODMAN: The issue of what people should be called, aside, of course, from simply “human beings” and “people”—”migrants,” “refugees”—what do they prefer? And do you think they should be granted political asylum?

DR. CHIARA MONTALDO: So, what I think and what we think is that we prefer to call always the people “people,” “human being,” because for us what is important is to provide the care of the people in need, whoever they are, if they are refugees, if they are—whoever they are. So, we always prefer to call people “people,” “human beings.” Then, of course, there are differences, because some of them, they escape from the war; some of them, they escape from extreme poverty; some of them, they are victim of trafficking. So, there are many, many different people and many different reason for which people are escaping now. But, for us, this doesn’t matter. These, for us, are human beings in need, in extreme need, human beings escaping from death, very often, or, anyway, from very dangerous situation. So, yes, we always prefer to call them “human being.”

AMY GOODMAN: We are also joined by Kenneth Roth here in New York, executive director of Human Rights Watch. You have put out numerous reports on the situation of people who are migrating as a result of conflict, persecution, hunger, all the different reasons they do. What do you think has to happen now, Ken?

KENNETH ROTH: Well, Amy, let me first put this in perspective, because, you know, we’re talking about a crisis. And yes, 310,000, 320,000 people are a lot of people. But Europe’s population as a whole is about 500 million. So what we’re talking about, the number of people who have come this year is less than 0.1 percent of Europe’s population. Now, compare that to the United States, where undocumented people in this country are about 11 million. That’s about 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. So, in other words, the U.S. population has completely integrated massive more people, a much larger percentage than Europe is facing. Indeed, the U.S. has built an economy around these people, so that it would be difficult to send them back. We’re having a debate now about a path to citizenship, but realistically, these people are here to stay, and the U.S. has just incorporated them.

So, this is not really a crisis. I mean, Europe is perfectly able to manage integrating 0.1 percent of its population. The problem is, it doesn’t want to—at least some people don’t want to. We’ve seen real leadership. You saw the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, saying—very powerfully speaking for the need to welcome these people. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has also been very outspoken in this regard. So, we are seeing some leadership in Europe, but the right wing, in particular, is demagoguing this issue and is creating real problems, which are not real problems, they’re political problems.

AMY GOODMAN: So what exactly should the European Union do right now?

KENNETH ROTH: Well, it’s important to recognize that a very substantial percentage of these people are refugees. That is to say, they’re fleeing conflict and persecution. Yes, there are some economic migrants among them, but most at least have a right not to be sent back to persecution. And once they land on European soil, they actually have a right to have their asylum claim adjudicated, and if indeed they are found to be refugees, as most of them will be, they’re entitled to stay.

So what Europe needs to do is to stop treating the Mediterranean or the often-dangerous land crossing, stop treating sort of drowning and death, as a way of preserving its borders. It needs to find safe and legal routes for these people who really do need to flee, a way for them to get to Europe without risking their lives. And, you know, we’ve seen modest steps in that direction. If you look at sort of the way Europe has responded to the Mediterranean Sea crossing, when the Italians were in charge, they had something called Mare Nostrum, which very much focused on protecting people. The European Union then took over about a year ago with Operation Triton and put a priority on preserving Europe’s borders over protecting people—until this last spring, when a thousand people died in the course of one week, and then it changed. But I’m not sure if it’s changed enough, because even just this weekend we’ve seen a number of drownings off the Libyan coast. Europe should be patrolling much more aggressively near the Mediterranean coast to try to rescue people as quickly as possible, so they’re not continuing to use drowning as a way of preserving Europe’s borders.

AMY GOODMAN: So what does the United States have to do with it? I mean, you have these massive conflicts that have roiled the globe. Do we have a responsibility here?

KENNETH ROTH: Well, yes. If you look at why people are fleeing—let’s take the Syrians, who are the largest percentage. In an ordinary war, you can get some degree of protection by moving away from the front lines. But in Syria, Assad is dropping barrel bombs in the middle of civilian neighborhoods that happen to be controlled by the opposition. There is no safe place to move in Syria if you’re in opposition-held territory, which is why we have 4 million refugees from Syria today. So one very important thing to do is to go to the root causes of this, to try to put real pressure on Assad to stop barrel-bombing civilians, and to take comparable steps in the other major refugee-producing countries, like Somalia, Eritrea and Afghanistan. You know, let’s not forget why we have this crisis. It’s not that everybody woke up this morning and thought it would be nice to move to Europe. These people are being forced out because of severe conflict and persecution.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you see connections between what we’re seeing in the United States—I mean, you have the Republican rhetoric; you have Donald Trump saying build a wall, Mexicans are rapists, all 11 million undocumented people should be deported; you have Chris Christie saying they should be treated like FedEx packages and tracked. What are the connections you see between what’s happening in the United States and what’s happening in Europe?

KENNETH ROTH: Well, there are commonalities between the right wing in both Europe and the United States. And what this is really about is some sense that the migrants are somehow destroying American culture or European culture, that these societies cannot incorporate the changes that would result from welcoming in, you know, hundreds of thousands or, in some cases in the U.S., millions of people. Now, the United States, in fact, is just fine. In fact, it’s been greatly enriched by the immigration. And it’s not as if American culture is radically different today from what it was, you know, two or three decades ago. It’s not as if American democracy is in jeopardy. But this is nonetheless an argument that the right wing likes to put forward, that the American way of life is in jeopardy. And you see very similar arguments in Europe, aggravated by the fact that so many of these asylum seekers and migrants are Muslims. And there’s this terrifying fear in Europe that, you know, largely Christian Europe is somehow going to changed for the worse because a handful of Muslims are going to come in. And so there is this unfortunate right-wing, racist commonality.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you, Ken Roth, for being with us. I hope you’ll stay, because we’re going to be talking about Egypt soon with Sharif Abdel Kouddous in Cairo, the three Al Jazeera reporters that were just sentenced to three years in prison. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights [Watch] here in New York. And thanks so much to Dr. Chiara Montaldo, who is coordinator with Doctors Without Borders, speaking to us from Pozzallo in Sicily, Italy. Of course, we’ll continue to follow this issue.

from: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/31/preserving_borders_vs_preserving_people_death

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120,000 Protest Push in Japan to Rewrite Peace Constitution


In Japan, as many as 120,000 people took to the streets of Tokyo to protest new legislation to let Japanese troops fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has backed the effort to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution. On Sunday, in one of the largest demonstrations in Japan since World War II, protesters, including Mami Aoji, called for peace and Abe’s resignation.

Mami Aoji: “If I were to describe Japan with one phrase, it would be ‘a peaceful nation.’ But right now, the unimaginable, the unrealistic is happening, where peace is being destroyed. That fear is being cast upon this nation right now.”

Read More : http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/120000-protest-against-security-bills-outside-diet

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Yemen: 36 Civilians Killed by Saudi-Led Strike on Bottling Plant–Meanwhile Saudi-Led Forces Used U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions in Yemen


In Yemen, a Saudi-led airstrike has killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern governorate of Hajjah. Another attack on the Yemeni capital Sana’a hit a house and killed four civilians.

Report: Saudi-Led Forces Used U.S.-Made Cluster Munitions in Yemen

The latest strikes in Yemen come amid new evidence the Saudi-led forces have used cluster munitions in Yemen. Human Rights Watch said it found U.S.-made cluster munition rockets likely used in at least seven attacks in Hajjah governorate between late April and mid-July. Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded, both during the attacks and later, when they picked up unexploded submunitions that detonated. Neither the United States, Saudi Arabia or Yemen have joined the global convention banning the use of cluster munitions.

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American Media Continues to Ignore the Huge Crowds that Bernie Sanders is Drawing but Both Clinton and Donald Trump Are Supporting Some Issues that Bernie Sanders Stands for


 

Sanders Followers are Focusing on Issues not Big Media Polls–kas

What Sanders Lacks In Media Coverage He Makes Up For In Crowd Size

This Story is from Weekend Edition Saturday

4:18

Bernie Sanders is leading the polls in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary race, but Hillary Clinton is still up in the national polls. NPR’s Scott Simon speaks with Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I’m Scott Simon. Donald Trump gets a lot of attention. But the picture on the Democratic side grows interesting, too. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is now ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by seven points, according to the new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday. Hillary Clinton continues to lead the polls nationally and in Iowa – the site of the first caucus. But Senator Sanders is a strong second – hovering above 20 percent. And Vice President Joe Biden – who hasn’t said if he’ll run – is close behind.

Amy Goodman joins us now. She’s host and executive producer of “Democracy Now!” which airs on more than a thousand public radio and television stations and on the web. Last year, she received the I.F. Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nieman Foundation, and she joins us from New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: What do you make of the political landscape so far and, for example, Bernie Sanders’ success, at least in the polls?

GOODMAN: Well, I mean, I think it’s very important, and it also calls for a critique of the mainstream media because you have this candidate, Bernie Sanders, who gets – what? – a half, a third, sometimes a sixth of the coverage of Donald Trump, and, yet, he – Bernie Sanders is drawing crowds that are unprecedented for the Republican or Democratic Parties.

I think this goes to the media’s coverage overall – the lack of coverage, I should say – of actual issues because that’s what’s drawing these crowds, even if they don’t hear about him in the mainstream media.

SIMON: What issues do you think he’s emphasizing that have helped?

GOODMAN: Well, there’s no question that I think the number-one issue is economic inequality, the growing gap between rich – and I’m not going to say poor – but the rich and everyone else. It is not a progressive agenda or a conservative agenda to say, we are dealing in this country now with a kind of inequality that threatens the foundations of our society, and that resonates across the political spectrum.

SIMON: You know, you can’t get through a political conversation these days without mentioning Mr. Trump. And I bring his name up to you because, on Friday, he took out after hedge funds. He’s actually been doing that recently. I have a quote. “The hedge fund guys – they make a fortune; they pay no tax. The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder.” He sounds a lot more like Bernie Sanders than he does the other Republicans.

GOODMAN: Well, you know, Scott, I think that Bernie Sanders is having an effect also on the Republican Party. It’s not lost on any of these candidates, you know, not Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump.

SIMON: Speaking as a citizen and from your experience and base of influence, do you think Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state – now under inquiry by the Justice Department and the FBI – is a legitimate campaign issue?

GOODMAN: You know, I don’t know what has happened, as most Americans at this point don’t really understand what has taken place – what were the rules and laws the time she was secretary of state and what they are now. It is being investigated. It’s not a criminal investigation, but I think we have to wait and see. She understands she has to explain herself. It’s not just about an oppositional press – that the American people are being polled and saying they don’t believe what she’s saying around the issue of email. But, you know, I think an investigation has to be done to really understand exactly what happened.

SIMON: While we have you with us, Amy Goodman, is there an issue that a lot of candidates have ignored, relatively speaking, you’d like to draw our attention to?

GOODMAN: The issue of war, the issue of the so-called free trade agreements, the issue of equality and racial justice – I mean, overall, I would say issues are not really being dealt with in the mainstream media. They are focused on polls. What we have to focus on are issues, because that’s what’s going to determine the direction of this country.

SIMON: Amy Goodman, of “Democracy Now!” Thanks so much for being with us.

GOODMAN: Thanks, Scott.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at http://www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

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Our movement is growing — thanks to you!!!!


Newsletter

Our movement is growing — thanks to you.

Find out about
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for peace and justice
in our latest newsletter

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Dear Kevin-

Jewish Voice for Peace takes risks.

That’s why Dorothy from our Twin-Cities chapter says she’s proud to be a member of JVP.

Read about the risks we’re taking and the fights we’re winning in our September newsletter.

Kevin, you’re making history, together with 200,000 JVP supporters like you. We’re standing hand in hand with allies in ascendant interfaith and multiracial coalitions, and we’re building an unstoppable energy for human rights. We’re taking our message to the streets, and to the halls of power — and we’re being listened to.

There’s a lot to report from the last 3 months alone. We’ve organized tens of thousands of JVP supporters to contact Congress in support of diplomacy, not war. We’ve held events across the country to commemorate the first anniversary of last summer’s brutal attacks on Gaza. And we’ve grown our struggle with new members and chapters in communities and on campuses, across the U.S. and around the world.

JVP is about taking smart, strategic risks that grow our movement for peace and justice even when we’re outspent.

If you have a moment, take a quick look at our September newsletter. I think you’ll be proud of how much we’ve achieved. Together.

Onward — to peace and justice,

Ari Wohlfeiler
Development Director

Donate Now!

Contact Info:

Jewish Voice for Peace
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“Barack Obama: Historian in Chief”


By Robert Shaffer, History News Network, posted August 25
On the use of history to support the Iran deal; the author teaches history at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Shaffer is professor of history at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and editor of the Peace History Society newsletter.  This article is adapted from PHS News, August 2015.  The views expressed here are his alone.

 

Jimmy Carter, to his lasting discredit, engaged in this exchange during a February 13, 1980 press conference, in the midst of the hostage crisis in Iran:

QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think it was proper for the United States to restore the Shah to the throne in 1953 against the popular will within Iran?

THE PRESIDENT. That’s ancient history, and I don’t think it’s appropriate or helpful for me to go into the propriety of something that happened 30 years ago.

On the contrary, acknowledging the historical record – one of the goals of the Iranian militants’ takeover of the U.S. embassy had been to uncover American efforts to support the Shah – might have opened the way for an earlier resolution of the crisis and the lessening of tensions between the U.S. and the new anti-Shah, anti-American government in Teheran.

To his credit, Barack Obama has been more open to historical facts in U.S.-Iranian relations as he seeks to make his case for the proposed deal to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.  Obama has also sought to use historical symbolism in these efforts.

In the course of a wide-ranging interview with influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman published on July 15, 2015, Obama said:

[E]ven with your adversaries, I do think that you have to have the capacity to put yourself occasionally in their shoes, and if you look at Iranian history, the fact is that we had some involvement with overthrowing a democratically elected regime in Iran.  We have had in the past supported Saddam Hussein when we know he used chemical weapons in the war between Iran and Iraq, and so, as a consequence, they have their own security concerns, their own narrative.  It may not be one we agree with…[but] when we are able to see their country and their culture in specific terms, historical terms, as opposed to just applying a broad brush, that’s when you have the possibility at least of some movement.

The phrase “some involvement” in the 1953 coup might be a bit weak, but on the whole this is a remarkable statement from a sitting American President discussing past U.S. relations with a nation widely perceived as a present-day “enemy.”  Indeed, it is perhaps unprecedented.

Obama then delivered his major address on behalf of the agreement, on August 5, at American University in Washington, D.C., very deliberately choosing the site of John F. Kennedy’s June 10, 1963 commencement address at which that other young President announced the start of negotiations with the Soviet Union for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.  JFK also said at American University that the U.S. would take a first tentative step in limiting the arms race by forgoing atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.  Indeed, Obama began his 2015 speech by describing the circumstances the U.S. faced in 1963, at the height of the Cold War, with many calling on Kennedy “to take military action against the Soviets, to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation.”  JFK, instead, moved toward negotiations with the other superpower.  While “not every conflict was averted,” Obama stated, “the world avoided nuclear catastrophe, and we created the time and the space to win the Cold War without firing a shot at the Soviets.”  (Ryan Grim and Jessica Schulberg almost immediately characterized it on Huffington Post as Obama “channeling” JFK.)

There are a few weak spots in this analysis, too – most notably some chronological confusion regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis, a refusal to acknowledge the U.S. role in setting the stage for that crisis, and the omission entirely of the Vietnam War.  Nevertheless, Obama’s recounting of Kennedy’s moves toward diplomacy with the Soviets, which included concessions by the U.S., was generally accurate and effectively mobilized a historical precedent on behalf of the current campaign to convince the American public and enough members of Congress to support the deal negotiated with Iran by the U.S., along with Russia, China, Britain, Germany, France, and the European Union.

Obama, of course, has often sought to “use” history to back up current initiatives; I have jokingly told my students that he must see himself as “historian-in-chief” as well as commander-in-chief.  Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo seeking “a new beginning” in U.S. relations with the Muslim world included passages on Islamic contributions to world civilization that could have been taken from a 21st century World History textbook.  “It was Islam,” Obama observed then, “that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.”  Islamic culture, stated the President, gave the world, among other things, algebra, improved tools of navigation, and a better “understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.”  (The “new beginning” between the U.S. and the Islamic world did not take, to be sure.)

Many historians, along with social justice activists, thrilled to Obama’s alliterative invocation in his Second Inaugural Address to “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall” as signposts along the journey that Americans were still traveling towards equality.

And the President and his advisers very deliberately chose Osawatomie, Kansas, the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 “New Nationalism” speech, as the venue for Obama’s own 2011 speech arguing for a strong federal government role in both economic development and economic justice.  (Present-day Republicans were not swayed by that reminder of long-ago Progressive Republicanism – and one might add, too, that TR himself paid homage to historical symbolism by choosing the site of one of John Brown’s raids as the setting for hisspeech, precisely fifty years after the hanging of the anti-slavery crusader.)

To be sure, Obama has stumbled at times in marshaling historical precedents for his policies, as in his unabashedly “American exceptionalist” argument in September 2013 for military action against Syria.  At that time the President called the U.S. “the anchor of global security” since World War II and as the chief enforcer of “international agreements,” overlooking, among many other transgressions, the insecurity and repression unleashed by U.S. participation in the overthrow of elected governments in Guatemala and Chile, and the flouting of international law when the U.S. mined the harbors of Nicaragua.  But having criticized the President in the past for such lapses, it is especially gratifying now for me to be able to congratulate him on his path-breaking and strategically innovative appeals to the historical record.

Critics of the Iran deal have also “used” history to back up their arguments, most notably that the agreement constitutes “appeasement” with an implacable and aggressive enemy.  The agreement’s strict procedures for monitoring Iran’s research and weapons programs, along with the fact that it is a joint agreement of most of the world’s largest powers, are far removed, to say the least, from what happened in Munich in 1938.  Hitler faced no inspections of his armed forces by outside authorities at that time, and Britain and France did not receive assurances from the U.S. or the Soviet Union that any breach of the agreement by Germany would result in joint sanctions and other punishment.

To give another example of the appeal to history by opponents of the agreement, David Brooks, one of the two resident conservative columnists at the New York Times, tried a different, but equally untenable, tack.  Brooks argued that the deal represented the third major strategic defeat for the U.S. in foreign affairs in the contemporary period, with the other two being the U.S. loss in Vietnam and the disarray in Iraq today after the American invasion.  Brooks attributes these outcomes simply to a failure of will on the part of American leaders and people.  If Obama were more committed, Brooks seemed to conclude, we could end both Iranian nuclear efforts and its repressive regime.

Even aside from its pop psychology premise – this emphasis on winners being hungrier for victory may occasionally work in sports, but rarely to explain the outcome of wars and international diplomacy – Brooks’s historical analysis is flawed from start to finish.  Yes, the U.S. suffered a great defeat in its dealings with Iran, but that defeat came over three decades ago, in 1979, when the Iranian people all but unanimously threw out the U.S.-backed Shah.  That revolution did, in fact, lead to a repressive and misogynist regime which has ruled the nation ever since.  Nevertheless, the identification of the U.S. with the overthrow of Iranian democracy in 1953 and U.S. support for the Shah’s dictatorship for the next quarter-century – as Obama hinted at – means that there is precious little support in Iran for American defeat and humiliation of the current regime.   Indeed, efforts to do so merely strengthen the more repressive elements in Iran.

Moreover, the two other “big U.S. strategic defeats” which Brooks enumerates – the loss in Vietnam and the morass in Iraq – came about in part due to unilateralist actions of the U.S., without support of the United Nations and against the opposition of most of the world’s peoples.  Brooks’s path – continued efforts by the U.S. to bring down the Iranian regime – would be rejected by the other powers which helped negotiate the present agreement, and would leave the U.S. once again isolated in global diplomacy.  Indeed, Brooks’s prescription looks eerily similar to the second Bush administration’s approach to Iraq in 2002-2003, which led directly to the “strategic defeat” which Brooks bemoans.

Among the several sources of opposition to the agreement, Obama and other supporters of the deal have to counter the claims by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and others that the agreement with Iran leaves Israel vulnerable.  Perhaps it would be politically unwise to do so (and admittedly it is a cheap shot), but I wish that the President would invoke our first president’s Farewell Address on this point.  George Washington stated in 1796 (in a phrase probably penned by Alexander Hamilton): “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded…The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

Sure, George Washington was warning against “inveterate antipathy” toward Britain and “habitual fondness” for France, under very different circumstances from today.  But those who say that Obama must bow to Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose conduct continually furnishes proof that he seeks no agreement with the Palestinians – time after time poking the Obama administration in the eye on the issue – can justly be described as wishing to make the U.S. “in some degree a slave” to Israel in foreign affairs.  Given how routinely the Republicans, and especially its Tea Party wing, claim to be pointing to the Founders as their inspiration, Washington’s words might make them squirm as they seemingly place Israel’s interests on the same level (or even above) as our nation’s own.  Moreover, many Republicans consider U.S. participation in United Nations agreements and activities as impinging on American sovereignty; meanwhile, the arguments of AIPAC and friends about the necessity for the U.S. to follow Israel’s lead on Iran looks to me like just such an infringement.

There is another argument about Israel which is related to history and which has received too little attention in this debate.  Israel and its backers state that Iran must abandon its nuclear program altogether, and they demand that Iran open up all facilities to international inspection at any time.  And yet, Israel, which is generally believed to have at least 80 nuclear bombs – the Federation of American Scientists calls it a “public secret” and the Pentagon has released declassified U.S. documents about the Israeli weapons – has never acknowledged such possession, and has never allowed international inspectors of any sort into its nuclear facilities.  The hypocrisy on this score is stunning, and a productive debate on Israeli claims against Iran must include an open reckoning by Israel with the historical facts about its own nuclear weapons.

The “use” of history is perilous at best, and always subject to contention.  President Obama’s refreshing, historically-minded comments provide a clear opening through which we as historians can enter the debate, and the facile and emotional appeals by the opponents of the agreement make it imperative that we do so.

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I believe strongly that when employers treat their employees fairly with good wages and predictable schedules, it fosters a positive work environment.


Kevin,

My name is Caleb Sneeringer, and I worked for Walgreens for six years. I was first hired in 2008 as an assistant manager, and in 2010 I was promoted to executive assistant manager—my first salaried position with Walgreens. I earned a salary of $46,000 and was scheduled for 45 hours a week.

Unfortunately, 45 hours a week quickly turned into 55–70 hours. You see, around the time of my promotion, Walgreens implemented a “no overtime” rule for hourly employees. In my store this and other budget cuts resulted in a loss of approximately 150 hours a week among hourly employees—and their work and responsibilities were shifted to salaried staff. This created a more unpredictable scheduling situation, and many store associates were forced to use SNAP assistance (i.e., food stamps) to meet their basic needs.

Right now, the U.S. Department of Labor is considering an important rule change that would affect salaried workers and overtime pay. If implemented, the overtime salary threshold will be raised from $23,660 to $50,440. For me, my former coworkers at Walgreens, and millions of workers across the country, this rule change will mean the right to receive overtime pay.

I believe strongly that when employers treat their employees fairly with good wages and predictable schedules, it fosters a positive work environment. Please stand with me and the Economic Policy Institute in calling on the Department of Labor to implement new overtime rules—guaranteeing coverage for 13.5 million workers.

I left Walgreens to accept a position at Advance Auto Parts, where I was led to believe I would be valued as an employee. Sadly, my experience was much the same—long hours with no overtime pay.

I strongly support raising the overtime salary threshold. I believe that if we take care of our workers first, business will not only survive, it will thrive. People who believe that business is a casualty of stronger labor regulations haven’t seen what I’ve seen. There is enough money in the corporate bucket and among the top 1 percent of earners to help move workers out of poverty, give them a reasonable 40-hour workweek, and begin rebuilding the middle class.

Please, stand with me and EPI by submitting your comment to the Department of Labor today to support increased wages for millions of workers.

Thank you for fighting for an economy that works for all, not just the top 1 percent.

Sincerely,
Caleb Sneeringer
Former Walgreens store manager

Submit your comment to the DOL
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Predatory hedge funds told Puerto Rico to lay off teachers, cut health care and reduce the minimum wage to pay its debt – and religious leaders are responding by calling for a Jubilee


Header

Kevin –

I’m having a joy attack.

Predatory hedge funds told Puerto Rico to lay off teachers, cut health care and reduce the minimum wage to pay its debt – and religious leaders are responding by calling for aJubilee.

As I send this email, Puerto Rico’s religious leaders are holding a press conference in Old San Juan to call for debt relief and challenge any future austerity policies.

In a statement that will be read at worship services across the island over the next week, the religious community calls for solutions that invest in Puerto Rico’s people, end austerity and directly involve the vulnerable in debt negotiations.

Nearly half of Puerto Rico’s people live in poverty and your support is urgently needed to move the US government to action. Tell Congress, the White House and the Federal Reserve to support debt relief and policies that will grow Puerto Rico’s economy.

Please read and share the action alert in Spanish and English.

Less than two weeks ago, I traveled to Puerto Rico to join the island’s Catholic Archbishop, Roberto González Nieves, the General Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Biblical Society, Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera, and other Jewish and Christian religious leaders as they prepared to call for Jubilee. I met with the Governor, the Member of Congress, the Chamber of Congress and union leaders. Everyone I met with wants a solution that protects Puerto Rico’s people.

In June, the Governor announced that Puerto Rico could no longer pay the $72 billion debt – that’s $20,000 of debt for every man, woman and child on the island. As hundreds of thousands have left in search of a better life, the island loses more tax revenue and families are torn apart. Unfortunately, predatory hedge funds are circling, looking to profit from the crisis. In fact, many of the same hedge funds that attacked Greece, Detroit and Argentina are now swooping down on Puerto Rico.

But today, the religious community calls for an economy that serves and invests in people first. Read their inspiring statement in Spanish or English and please sign our action alert today.

In fact, not only do the island’s major religious leaders call for Jubilee for Puerto Rico – they call for Jubilee and a global bankruptcy process to protect all people – from Grenada to Greece.

Below you will find more resources on Puerto Rico’s crisis and our coverage in National Catholic Repoter, Reuters, TIME, Catholic News Service and Inter Press Service. I am so grateful for your continued partnership as we build an economy that protects all of God’s people.

In Hope,

Eric LeCompte signature

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Read Background information on Puerto Rico’s crisis in Spanish or English

Read a Timeline of Puerto Rico’s Crisis

View our press release featuring the thoughts of Archbishop Roberto González Nieves and General Secretary Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera

Read the Religious Leaders Statement calling for Jubilee in English or Spanish

Take Action in English or Spanish

See the National Catholic Reporter, Reuters, Catholic News Service and Inter Press Service’scoverage of the religious leaders’ statement and Jubilee USA’s efforts

Read Archbishop González Nieves’ TIME Magazine oped calling for a Jubilee for Puerto Rico

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“Palestine Overwhelmed by Illegal American Immigrants”


By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted August 30
The author teaches history at the University of Michigan.

If there were a Palestinian Donald Trump, he’d be fulminating against illegal immigrants swamping the Palestinian West Bank. And he’d be complaining that fully 1 in 6 of these undocumented squatters areAmericans .

Since Americans have trouble understanding the basic facts of the situation, it is worthwhile underscoring that the United Nations General Assembly’s partition plan for British Mandate Palestine in 1947 did notinclude Gaza or the West Bank of the Jordan. Those territories were never awarded to Jewish settlers or later Israelis by any legitimate authority (even the UNGC is not an executive body and the Security Council should have signed off to grant real legitimacy in law). Israel militarily conquered Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 and have by now so altered the ways of life, economy and society of these occupied territories that the Occupation is illegal by the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1949 (designed to prevent atrocities against occupied populations of the sort the Axis carried out during WW II).

It is strictly illegal for the occupying power to attempt to annex occupied territory or to transfer its citizens into militarily occupied territory.Mussolini’s Italy pulled that stunt with the parts of France he occupied during WW II. When you hear that someone has violated the Geneva Convention, that isn’t just an abstract matter. It means that someone is acting the way the dictators acted during the war, because it is that kind of lawless behavior the conventions were attempting to forestall from happening again.

Israel illegally annexed part of the Palestinian West Bank to its district of Jerusalem and then settled it with Israeli squatters. Am I comparing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Mussolini in Menton, France? If the shoe fits . . .

West_Bank_Dec_2012

Outside the territory annexed to Jerusalem, there are at least 350,000 Israeli squatters who have usurped Palestinian land.

This link explains the process of illegal Israeli squatting on and theft of Palestinian land (a process the International Court of Justice ruled is illegal in 2004).

Some 60,000 of the squatters, today’s equivalent of Mussolini’s Black Shirts , are Americans, according to a new study.

Those American politicians like Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, who make exaggerated and untrue statements against undocumented workers in the United States but who defend illegal Israeli immigration into the West Bank, are supreme hypocrites. The Israeli squatters, moreover, are often hostile and aggressive, excluding Palestinians from the townhouses they construct on stolen property.

from: http://www.juancole.com/2015/08/palestine-overwhelmed-immigrants.html

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