Sunday, April 29, 2018

May Day for Worker's Solidiarity (SOAPBOX PODCAST APRIL 29, 2018)

April 29, 2018




GUEST: JON JETER

Jon Jeter

TOPIC: The labor movement, race, and the sell out of workers by big labor

Jon Jeter is a published book author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent on two continents, as well as a former radio and television producer for Chicago Public Media’s “This American Life.”  

Jeter now writes for MintPressNews 


With Golden Opportunity in Coming Elections, Will Democrats Rediscover a Soul?

by Jon Jeter, with quotes from Cindy Sheehan

 

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CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX 

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Dear Salafist Wahhabist Apologists by (guest blogger) Paul Larudee / April 22nd, 2018

Dear Salafist Wahhabist Apologists

Your head chopper heroes are apparently not what Syrians have in mind when they think of democratic revolution.

Mehdi Hasan (MH) can hardly be blamed for the ignorance that he displays in his Intercept article, “Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians.”  He has apparently never been to Syria, doesn’t often do research on Syria, and gets his information from proponents of a single point of view, representing a bunch of idealists that want to usher in their idea of a liberal democracy in Syria, without benefit of electoral niceties until their power is already ironclad.  What’s wrong with this picture?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start by deconstructing the absurdities and the language in the MH article.

Thankfully, MH has spared us the need to deconstruct the absurd accusation that the Syrian armed forces have used chemical weapons.  He apparently accepts that they don’t need to, that there is no benefit in using them, so why would they? OK, then who did? Cui bono? Easy answer.  The motive of the promoters of destruction in Syria is to create a pretext for the US and its partners to bomb, invade and establish a no-fly zone; i.e., to directly take on the Syrian government and its allies.  These war criminals include the neoconservative cabal in the US, the Zionist and Israeli proponents of using the US to fight Israel’s perceived enemies, and the Saudi and Qatari adventurists backing the Project for a New Salafist Paradise.  These are the same players who brought us Iraq I and II, Libya, Afghanistan forever, Somalia and Yemen.  What more could we wish for?

So let us move on to the MH complaint about barrel bombs. What is the complaint, exactly?  Are they more horrible than other types of bombs? Is it OK to use bombs manufactured in western munitions factories for delivery by jet airplanes but not ones manufactured in Syria and delivered by helicopter?  Never mind.  It’s a great opportunity for MH to use the hyped term “BARREL BOMB” in order to enrage and terrify an undiscerning readership.

But what about all the civilian casualties, and isn’t the Syrian army to blame?  Well, no, ISIS and the pseudonymous al-Qaeda affiliates are quite happy to post videos of their stonings, beheadings, crucifixions and immolations, so we know the army can’t be the only ones.  In fact, given the summary executions of non-Muslims in territories “liberated” from the government, is there any reason to think that the forces fighting the Syrian government are responsible for fewer civilian deaths? I myself met refugees who had fled up to 70 km over the mountains in the dead of winter to Latakia in March, 2013 with no more than the clothes on their back.  No one knows how many children and old people died.

Aircraft? The anti-government fighters don’t have them, do they? No, but they seem to be quite resourceful in eliminating innocent human lives nonetheless.  An example is the at least 10,000 civilians that have lost their lives in Damascus due to mortars and “hell cannons” (which also use “barrel bombs”) since the start of the hostilities.  Other examples include the withering four-year siege of the Shiite towns of Foua and Kafraya near Idlib and the unrelenting bombardment via “hell cannon” of the city of Aleppo from the enclave of East Aleppo until it was finally recovered by government forces in late 2016.
On the other hand, for those (unlike MH and the mainstream media), who consider evidence to be relevant, there is a plethora available to show that the Syrian army has been unusually respectful of civilian life. The claim is that Syria and its Russian allies have obliterated entire neighborhoods, raining bombs on the civilian population.  The facts are somewhat at odds with this description.

First, there are the civilian casualties themselves.  The UN stopped keeping casualty statistics in early 2016, but even the anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights concedes that less that 1/3 of all casualties are civilians.  No other war on record has had such a low ratio. By comparison, 2/3 were civilian casualties in Vietnam, WWII and most other wars.

Second, the Syrian army liberation of Homs, Aleppo and other areas has followed a typical progression that is quite the opposite of “just kill them all”.  First, the army surrounds the area and lays siege. At this point, if the army wants to flatten the area and bring an end to the resistance there, it has the perfect means to do so.  But it does not.  Instead, it positions relief supplies at the perimeter and makes them available without prejudice to the inhabitants.  It also offers sanctuary to all who wish to leave.  Amazingly, this includes even the fighters.  Syrian fighters willing to lay down their arms are offered amnesty.  But many are not initially willing to accept amnesty, and many are not Syrian.  To these, the government offers safe passage to other parts of Syria under opposition control, even permitting the fighters to keep their small arms.
If they refuse, the siege and the fighting continue, often for more than a year, and bombing is often a part of the campaign, especially toward the end, after multiple unilateral ceasefires from the government side, to try to conclude a peaceful end, as in Aleppo.  The bombing is typically in the least inhabited areas, in order to remove cover for fighters, so that the army will incur fewer casualties when it goes in.  The strategy doesn’t always work, but the low ratio of civilian casualties is a testimony to its relative success.

Why does the Syrian government do this?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just level the entire area, civilians and all, and be rid of the fighters once and for all?

Not really.  The government is aware that families are split, with some fighting on one side and some on another. One of the reasons so many Syrians remain loyal to the government is that it is seeking to protect all Syrians on all sides, with the intention of regaining their allegiance.  The government also recognizes that many of the opposition fighters are, in effect, mercenaries, for whom fighting is a way to put food on the table when there are no other sources of income.  Such fighters are not really enemies, just desperate people.  Given an opportunity, they will easily return to the government side.

Then there are the hyped bombing casualty statistics. As I pointed out in 2015, even if we accept the statistics of the highly biased anti-government Human Rights Watch, the number of casualties per bomb is only two, including combatants.  If we apply the ratio of civilian deaths, that is less than one civilian casualty per bomb, a clear indication that the Syrian air force is being far more respectful of civilians than the US was, for example, in its bombing of Raqqah, where twice as many civilians as fighters were killed.

But MH is slamming a position that nobody holds. The number of “leftists” that consider Bashar al-Assad a hero is infinitesimal. There may be many Syrians who do, but that is not who MH is referring to.  MH is misinterpreting the actions of some journalists (including “leftists”) to correct distortions and false information as defense of Assad.  Perhaps the distinction is too subtle for him, but an aversion to disinformation and lynch mob mentality is not the same as being pro-Assad.  It’s not very helpful to say, on the one hand, that you oppose intervention in Syria, and then take all your (false) information from pro-intervention sources.  In that case the interventionists will applaud your non-intervention stance.

Those of us whom MH accuses of being pro-Assad are nothing of the sort.  We believe that Syrian sovereignty and territory should be fully respected (as MH also claims to believe), but we think it is important to counter the fake news and propaganda that are being used to justify the invasion of Syria.  MH is in love with fake news.  He prefers not to mention the killing of police in the uprisings that he describes as “peaceful demonstrations”. He prefers to cherry-pick the opinions of Syrian refugees in Germany rather than the views of the vast majority of refugees (displaced persons) who evacuated to government areas without leaving Syria.  He produces the Human Rights Watch report on 50,000 morgue photos but not the deconstruction by investigator Rick Sterling. And he repeats the al-Qaeda claim and false film footage that Madaya was starving and in need when it was, in fact, sitting on a mountain of aid supplies being denied by the fighters themselves to the population.

If MH can’t see the difference between being pro-Assad and not falling for interventionist propaganda, that’s his problem.  

What’s astonishing is the number of “leftists” that rail against interventionism but base their views on the drivel purveyed by the interventionists themselves in the mainstream media, and that originates from propaganda mills like the White Helmets, the Aleppo/Ghouta Media Center and other lavishly funded set designers for warmongers. If MH is not an interventionist, he’s nevertheless making their case for them.

Email
Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement. Read other articles by Paul.

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SPEAKING TRUTH TO EMPIRE (APRIL 2018 EDITION)





 On Speaking Truth to Empire on KFCF 88.1 FM independently owned and locally operated since 1975 in Fresno, Dan Yaseen interviews John Whitehead, an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization. His website is: www.rutherford.org They will discuss gun violence, militarization of police and constitution free America.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Is "Antiwar Democrat" an Oxymoron? (SOAPBOX PODCAST 4/22/18)

April 22, 2018


Guest: Sarah Smith
(antiwar candidate for Congress)*
Topic: Is there room for an antiwar voice in the Democrat Party?

This week Cindy chats with anti-imperialist candidate for Congress in Washington State's 9th district about if it's possible
to be such a thing as an anti-imperialist Democrat.

Will the Democrat party move left, or will it be left behind?



*This interview cannot be construed as an endorsement for 
Sarah's campaign due to the non-profit status of 
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox.

***

CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX 

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Friday, April 20, 2018

CNN STINKS by Anthony Freda

CNN STINKS
by 
Anthony Freda
 
 
CNN is infamous for lying us into wars with unconfirmed propaganda and at the same time mocking alternative media outlets questioning dubious official narratives.
 
The masters of fake news have out done themselves by showing a reporter inhaling objects supposedly exposed to deadly chemical weaponry.
 
The mainstream media is actively hostile to the president on nearly every issue, but they have finally found something he is doing that they can embrace.
 
The warmongering, corporate media love war. Their war promotion campaigns are essential components of the war machine. 
 
Intelligence agencies manufacture scenarios which provide a moral pretext to military aggression, and an incurious or controlled press sell these specious arguments to a distracted public.

From FAIR:

A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war. 
 
This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing (FAIR.org, 4/11/17). The single paper of dissent from last year, the Houston Chronicle, didn’t publish an editorial on last week’s bombing.
Seven of the top 10 newspapers by circulation—USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Washington Postsupported the airstrikes. The New York Daily News and San Jose Mercury News offered no opinion, while the New York Times (4/13/18) was ambiguous—mostly lamenting the lack of congressional approval, but not saying that this meant the strikes were illegal or unwise. “Legislation should…set limits on a president’s ability to wage war against states like Syria,” is the Times’ conclusion. A complete list of editorials on the airstrikes can be viewed here
Video footage shows a CNN reporter visiting victims of the Douma chemical weapons attack and then sniffing their belongings, prompting some to question why the woman chose to inhale possibly dangerous substances.

“There’s definitely something that stings,” comments CNN’s Arwa Damon as she sniffs a backpack that belongs to a child who was caught up in the chemical weapons attack.

“The smell is still quite strong, maybe these were the things they weren’t able to wash,” she subsequently states.

Towards the end of the report, Damon suggests that the air strikes launched on Syria were not enough and that more intervention is necessary.

The clip is rendered even more bizarre by the fact that sarin gas, which CNN itself reported was used in the chemical weapons attack, is odorless and could not be detected by smelling objects.
Why Damon has apparently no concerns about inhaling substances used in a chemical weapons attack is also unclear.

Respondents on CNN’s YouTube channel questioned why the reporter was trying to inhale chemical weapons.

“Take another whiff of that potentially chemical covered backpack,” remarked one.

“Sniffing a backpack contaminated by Sarin gas would kill you,” added another.

“Make sure we save some of the chemical laced clothes for when CNN comes and smells them. We don’t want people thinking this entire event was a hoax or anything,” joked another.
 
Sarin, or NATO designation GB (G-series, 'B'), is a highly toxic synthetic organophosphorus compound.[5] A colorless, odorless liquid, it is used as a chemical weapon due to its extreme potency as a nerve agent. Exposure is lethal even at very low concentrations, where death can occur within one to ten minutes after direct inhalation of a lethal dose,[6][7] due to suffocation from lung muscle paralysis, unless antidotes are quickly administered.[5] People who absorb a non-lethal dose, but do not receive immediate medical treatment, may suffer permanent neurological damage.

Something stinks indeed, and it is not just the stuff this idiotic reporter is sniffing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQoTWhwoPoo

Anthony Freda
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

***

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sorry, Not Sorry: Open Letter to Babs Bush (Ca 2005) by Cindy Sheehan


So the wife of one war criminal and mother of others has died at the very ripe old age of 92--according to the establishment media and political oligarchy, we are supposed to be remembering a "plainspoken political icon" (LA Slimes, April 17, 2018) instead of the Wicked Witch of War Criminals.

I think it's incumbent upon we in the 99% to recall the devastating remarks she made on Good Morning America on the eve of the war that killed my son:

"Why should we hear about body bags and death? It's not relevant. Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
Or her callous disregard for Katrina refugees: 

Death does not confer respectability on such a privileged and cold-hearted life. She and her killer spouse reportedly played golf the day after their young daughter died from leukemia. This kind of behavior cannot be made up: It's deplorable and reprehensible. Maybe the death of such a one should not be celebrated, but neither should we weep. The Bush's wealth and the wealth of the other oligarchs can be proven to be ill-gotten by the exploitation of the rest of us and they should be resented, not worshiped.

The only reason I bring her death up now, is not for the one solitary death of one of the political oligarchy, but because of what she represents: the pinnacle of diseased capitalism and imperialism. Like the indigenous people of the USA said, "we kill one soldier, and 100 others arise." The ideology of death and destruction that the life of Barbara Bush represented must be vigorously and militantly opposed, but first we have to be real and not pretend to be sad about something we are not, or should not waste our beautiful minds on.

Before I post the Open Letter I wrote to her in 2005, let's see what other members of the political oligarchy are saying about her demise:

From the Nouveau Oligarchs, the Obamas:




 

From the "savior" of the people,  Bernie Sanders:





From, ew, Hillary Clinton:




 

Democrat 1%ers like Pelosi are falling all over themselves to praise the Wicked Witch of War Criminals: 



***

Open Letter to Barbara Bush from Cindy Sheehan
(ca. 2005) 
(Reprinted without edits--my writing has become more polished over the years and my political ideology has become more sophisticated, but my heart is still the same).


 November 25, 2005

Dear Barbara,

On April 4, 2004, your oldest child killed my oldest child, Casey Austin Sheehan.

Unlike your oldest child, my son was a marvelous person who joined the military to serve his country and to try and make the world a better place. Casey didn’t want to go to Iraq, but he knew his duty. 

Your son went AWOL from a glamour unit. George couldn’t even handle the Alabama Air National Guard. Casey joined the Army before your son became commander in chief. We all know that your son was thinking of invading Iraq as early as 1999. Casey was a dead man before George even became president, and before he joined the Army in May 2000.

I raised Casey and my other children to use their words to solve problems and conflicts. I told my four children from the time that they were small that it is always wrong to kick, bite, hit, scratch, pull hair, etc. If the smaller children couldn’t find the words to solve their conflicts without violence, I always encouraged them to find a mediator like a parent, older sibling, or teacher to help them find the words.

Did you teach George to use his words and not violence to solve his problems? It doesn’t appear so. 

Did you teach him that killing other people for power and oil is always wrong? Obviously you did not. I also used to wash my children’s mouth out with soap on the rare occasion that they lied… did you do that to George? Can you do it now? He has lied and he is still lying. Saddam did not have WMDs or ties with al-Qaeda and the Downing Street Memoranda prove that your son knew this before he invaded Iraq.
On August 3rd, 2005, your son said that he killed my son and other brave and honorable Americans for a “noble cause.” Well, Barbara, mother to mother, that angered me. I don’t consider invading and occupying another country that was a proven non-threat to the USA is a noble cause. I don’t think invading a country, killing its innocent citizens, and ruining the infrastructure to make your family and other merchants of death even richer is a noble cause.
So I went down to Crawford in August to ask your son what noble cause he killed my son for. He wouldn’t speak with me. I think that showed bad manners. Do you think a president, even if it is your son, should be so inaccessible to his employers? Especially one of his bosses whose life George has devastated?
I have been to the White House several times since August to try and meet with George and I am going back to Crawford this week. Do you think you could call him and ask him to do the right thing and bring the troops home from this illegal and immoral war that he so carelessly started? I hear you are one of the few people he still talks to. He won’t speak to his father, who knew the difficulties and impossibilities of going into Iraq, and so didn’t go there in your family's first Gulf War. If you won’t tell him to bring the troops home, would you at least urge him to meet with me?
You said this in 2003, a little more than a year before my dear, sweet Casey was killed by your son’s actions:
“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” (Good Morning America, March 18, 2003)
Now I have something to tell you, Barbara. I didn’t want to hear about deaths or body bags either. On April 04, 2004, twp Army officers came to my house to tell me that Casey had been killed in Iraq. I fell on the floor screaming, begging the cruel Angel of Death to take me too. But the Angel of Death that took my son is your son.
Casey came home in a flag-draped coffin on April 10th. I used to have a beautiful mind too. Now my mind is filled with images of his beautiful body in his casket and memories of burying my brave and honest boy before his life really began. Casey’s beautiful mind was ended by an insurgent’s bullet to his brain, but your son might as well have pulled the trigger.
Besides encouraging your son to have some honesty and courage and to finally do the right thing, don’t you think you owe me and every other Gold Star parent an apology for the cruel and careless remark you made?
 
Your son’s amazingly ignorant, arrogant, and reckless policies in Iraq are responsible for so much sorrow and trouble in this world.
Can you make him stop? Do it before more mothers’ lives are needlessly and cruelly ruined. There have been too many, American and Iraqi, worldwide already.

 
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A MAY DAY 2018 Greeting and Salute from Ray Light and Cindy Sheehan




Click for ROL, USA BLOG
-Issued by the Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA)-

A MAY DAY 2018 Greeting and Salute
to the High School Youth Protesting Violence in Public Schools and Communities Across the USA
--- from Ray Light and Cindy Sheehan ---

We are encouraged that tens of thousands of high school youth left their schools and took to the streets to protest the fact that, even in school, our youth, holding the future of our country in their hands, are not safe from an epidemic of violence that is sweeping across the USA. The youth are finally beginning to get the message, the wisdom, that  Martin Luther King, Jr.  had come to realize and courageously shared in the year before his assassination fifty years ago: “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world  today [is] my own government.” (MLK Speech at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967)

Many thousands of Afro-American youth, Latinos and other youth of color and many white youth had already realized that their lives are not being sufficiently protected, defended, nurtured and cherished by the current adults  among the 99% who make U.S. society run. But, seduced by the phony democratic rhetoric of slick and demagogic and lying (mostly Democratic Party) politicians, almost all the youth bought the idea that the U.S. monopoly capitalist system was the best political-economic system possible and that somehow they as individuals would get through OK. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, this big lie even infected the Afro-American and Latino youth, with their mass incarceration and dead-end jobs and with the epidemic of internal community violence as well as police occupation violence.  

*****

On Valentine's Day this year, a 19 year-old murdered 17 students and school personnel at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. It was just the latest in the epidemic of mass school shootings in the USA in recent years. This Valentine's Day Massacre showed the real murderous heart of this country and it was a heartbreaking discovery for many!

In 2016 Parkland, FL, a city of 31 thousand, had been voted “Florida's safest city.” It was a privileged city with a privileged youth. And yet -- it “could happen here!” Indeed, after six decades of U.S. imperialist global hegemony and the creation of “an Evil Empire,” it is only “natural” that the USA would be the most violent country on earth. In the tragedy's aftermath, Parkland, Florida's high school students recognized that the powers that be in the USA do not care about them. Even more disturbing, they recognized that their parents and adult family members and community leaders were too compromised to really fight the powers that be, even in defense of their own children!

For, after President Trump bragged in his campaign that he could shoot someone down in cold blood and still be elected, becoming a cheerleader for the epidemic of violence as well as for stirring chauvinist ethnic enmity, he had indeed been elected by these adults. So, too, the “Republicrats,” the Democrats and Republicans elected to the U.S. Congress, clearly showed their unwillingness to stand up to the National Rifle Association, the NRA, and the gun manufacturers behind them. And they refused to resist the massive bribery and corruption associated with the military-industrial complex and its interconnection with imperialist war abroad and the militarization of U.S. society at home.

Now, in the aftermath of Parkland's tragedy, many high school youth of the USA have expressed some initial “independence” from the two corporate political parties that represent the Wall Street ruling class and its global U.S. Empire and this includes the Trump Empire too. While this is extremely positive, in reality, it is only a baby step politically.

Let's remember that, after Republican George W. Bush unleashed the U.S. war of terror on the world in the name of avenging the Twin Towers, it was the Democratic Barack Obama Regime that retained Bush's Secretary of Defense and continued Bush's terror war.  Obama/Clinton carried out the barbaric overthrow of the Gadafi Regime in Libya, the first major U.S. military incursion against the peoples of the African continent. Yet, many of the youth now designated as “leaders” of this spontaneous upsurge are spouting the Democratic Party line,  trying to channel all this justified outrage into the dead-end street of voting for Democrats in the Fall.


*****

A tremendous mobilization of Afro-American youth in the Black Lives Matter Movement rose up all over the USA after the unprovoked murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida and then the powerful emergence of the Ferguson, Missouri movement following the police murder of Michael Brown. And the Black Lives Matter Movement certainly laid the basis for the massive protest of high school youth of all ethnicities following the Valentine's Day Massacre in Parkland, FL. But the Black Lives Matter Movement never linked up with the oppressed peoples of the rest of the world against the U.S. government's imperialist wars on the peoples of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. It never took to heart Martin Luther King's wisdom and courage in opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam: “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is] my own government.”

So, Afro-American youth, living in desperate conditions and with meager prospects for the future continued to join the U.S. military, the international force that is policing, occupying and oppressing the peoples of color all over the rest of the world. And, where hired, they continued to join the local police forces directly oppressing/occupying their own communities, police departments oftentimes armed with military weapons given outright to them by the bloated U.S. military that has so much money that it cannot spend it fast enough.

With the new upsurge of high school youth against violence, it is time to take the step to discourage participation in the armed services, which are also the main source of domestic police recruits and to reject and oppose Wall Street's imperialist wars, the most important source of the violence that afflicts our society from top to bottom.

*****

Image result for may day images
MAY DAY celebrates the solidarity of the working people of every nation of the world. Led by the international working class, it is a celebration of human solidarity, of LOVE for humanity. Together with The Revolutionary Organization of Labor-USA we invite and encourage the awakening high school youth of the USA to join the nearest celebration of MAY DAY by labor unions, anti-imperialist organizations and/or revolutionary working class organizations in your area.

In the Spirit of May Day-
Let's Oppose U.S.-led imperialist wars abroad and the epidemic of violence at home!
Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!
We Have Nothing to Lose But Our Chains – We Have a World to Win!

*****


ISSUED By The Revolutionary Organization of Labor-USA
Boxholder, 607 Boylston Street, Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA 02116 USA



The People Say "No" to Trump's War Expansion (Cindy Sheehan on Loud and Clear)

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html

On April 13, Cindy Sheehan appeared on Loud and Clear with
Brian Becker and John Kiriakou to discuss
the worsening (US engineered) crisis in Syria. 

CLICK LINK BELOW TO LISTEN

https://www.spreaker.com/user/radiosputnik/the-people-say-no-to-trump-s-war-drive


To address the urgent need to stop a war on Syria, Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist and journalist whose son Casey was killed during the Iraq War, and Gerry Condon, the president of Veterans for Peace, a Vietnam-era veteran, and a war resister who spent six years in Sweden and Canada after refusing orders in Vietnam, join the show.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Women's March on the Pentagon: CIndy Speaks in Huntington, LI. (SOAPBOX PODCAST APRIL 15, 2018)

April 15, 2018



This week, we hear from the Executive Producer and Host of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, Cindy herself.

Recently, Cindy was on a tour of the eastern part of the US to promote and organize for 


Her talk in Huntington, Long Island was recorded and we present it here.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cindy Sheehan's Statement for Spring Action Against War





Dear comrades, brothers and sisters, and friends,

I am sorry I was not able to attend this important event today—-I just got home from a 10 day organizing trip for the Women’s March on the Pentagon (scheduled for October 21st later this year) and on the final day of the trip in Lancaster PA, I fell down and banged myself up.

As you all probably know, the US is involved in imperialist wars of aggression in seven countries and has about 1000 military bases in over 140 countries: if that’s not an evil empire I don’t know what is.

The organizers for the Women’s March on the Pentagon, of which I am the chair, believe that a new antiwar movement that is a-partisan and against both wings of the War Bird in Congress and the White House urgently needs to arise.

Barack Obama, who bragged about “being good at killing” took the two wars of the Bush-Cheney regime and turned them into seven, because he was not just an imperialist, but an over-achieving imperialist. For the most part, during the Obama years, there was little movement in the movement, with even Democrat lawmakers going along with his crimes.

Now Trump is proving his imperialist credentials to the neocons and generals in his regime and the world is suffering from the seeds of destruction sown by global imperialism led by the US war machine. Imperialist wars of aggression are illegal and immoral no matter if Congress gets a chance to debate and vote on them or not. Not one act of aggression the US is currently engaged in is for “national security,” and, in fact, brings insecurity, poverty, and environmental destruction here in the US and abroad.

The movement needs to catch up from over eight years of dormancy and I hope the protests this weekend can be the launching pad for a rebirth that is a principled and non-partisan struggle against imperialism that is not just another get out the vote energy for Democrats but with righteous demands to end all imperialist wars of aggression by the US and the US’s partners in crime: Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other murderous regimes.

Please go to marchonpentagon.com for more information about the Women’s March on the Pentagon.

Thank you to UNAC for its strong call to action and the Bay Area organizers for making this happen!

In struggle together to peace, justice, environmental sustainability and economic equality. 


CINDY SHEEHAN


 ***

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Monday, April 2, 2018

We Condemn the Zionist Massacre in Gaza Statement from the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

We Condemn the Zionist Massacre in Gaza
Statement from the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
 
Photo: Khalli Hamra
We Condemn the Zionist Massacre in Gaza
 
March 31, 2018.
 
Fort the last 42 years, every March 30 Land Day is commemorated by the Palestinian people. It is the day in which 6 demonstrators were assassinated for opposing the occupation in 1976. This Friday hundreds of thousands of their children, youth, elderly and the people in general peacefully demonstrated in the great March of Return.
 
They gathered by setting up tents as close as possible to the dividing line of the Gaza Strip and other Palestine territories occupied since 1948. In the demonstration only Palestinian flags were displayed; the unifying symbol reaffirming their commitment of struggle for the return of all refugees to their homes and their lands. At the same time the people gathered in different zones and occupied regions of the West Bank, which were repressed by the Zionist Israeli army.
 
In a unanimous decision of the heroic Palestinian people, in consensus expressed by the National Coordination Committee for the commemorative marches of Land Day and the Return, they decided to organize all of them starting the same day that would extend until May 15 with the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Al Nakba catastrophe that marked the beginning of the Zionist occupation in 1948, where 800,000 Palestinians were expelled from their own lands and 450 homes were destroyed.
 
On the first day of the demonstration as the size grew the fascist Israeli government and its army of occupation (IDF), opened fire committing what can only be considered a massacre against civilians. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 16 Palestinians were assassinated and more than 1400 were wounded, many of whom are now struggling for their lives, given the precarious situation of the hospitals, that lack medicine and basic medical supplies due to the occupation and the blockade of the Gaza Strip. A situation that has converted it into the world's largest open air prison.
 
The Palestinians assassinated were between 20 and 35 years of age. They are: Bader Alsabagh, Omar Samur, Muhamad Abu Omar, Ahmad Abu Awda, Yihad Farina, Ibrahim Abu Shaar, Abdelfatah Abdelnabi, Mahmud Rahmi, Abdelcader Alhawagri, Sari Abu Awda, Hamdan Abu Amsha, Yihad Abu Gamuz, Naji Abu Hagir, Muhamad Al Najar, Amin Abu Moamar.

The International Committee denounces the complicit silence of the United States and the European Union of the Passover massacre by Israel against the Palestinian people. We know it would of never taken place without the OK from the Trump Administration making the U.S. just as guilty as Israel in this massacre. We reiterate the strongest condemnation to the occupation and the ferocious repression that the people of Gaza face and we call on all social movements, political, judicial and human rights organizations to express a public outcry and stand in solidarity with the mourning families and the Palestinian people.
 
Please share this video showing IDF snipers firing on men praying and drones dropping nerve gas on the demonstrators.
 
http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/WhatsApp-Video-2018-03-31-at-11.39.00.mp4?_=1 
 
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, March 31, 2018
International Committee  for Peace, Justice and Dignity
510-219-0092 | info@
TheInternationalCommittee.org | Website

War is not a "Single Issue" by guest blogger Daniel Martin

War is not a "Single Issue "
by Guest Blogger
Daniel Martin




I would like to call attention to a fallacy that I often hear:  the notion that war is a “single issue”.  The statement is often made as a qualifier for support of politicians or parties, despite their objectionable stances on war.  “I am against war, but I am not a single issue voter.”  Have you ever made this argument, or heard someone make it?

If the first paragraph has already taken you out of your comfort zone, please allow me to qualify something.  This essay is not about for whom you should or shouldn’t vote.  Nor are any presumptions made about the efficacy of your vote, in and of itself.  No grand solutions are presented here on how to fix our democracy/oligarchy, or whether we even have the optimal form of government in place.  The purpose here is merely to advocate for an honest conversation about war that doesn’t minimize it or compartmentalize it as a “single issue.”  This would be a great starting point if we are to make actual progress.  Because, to the extent many consider opposing war a part of the “progressive” package, it should be cross-ideological, and there is nothing truly progressive about a single-issue mentality toward it. 

First off, how can we consider the manner in which we treat the rest of the world a single issue?  Isn’t this fostering a mentality of American exceptionalism and the very “us vs. them” thinking that perpetuates our worldwide imperialism?
  
Can you imagine a statement that goes:  “I oppose sanctions against the already starving North Korean people, and I oppose violent regime change in Syria, and I advocate diplomacy with Iran and Russia, and I oppose drone bombing because it has been known to kill 90% innocent civilians, and I oppose dealing arms to the Saudis and our intervention in Yemen, and I prefer moving away from a war-based economy and oppose the Congressional approval of Trump’s record military budget...but I’m not a single-issue voter”?   

There are two main points encompassed here: 

1) It’s about so much more than the actual act of war itself.  It’s about the harmful domestic effects of our preparations for war, and the power structure behind it.  We’ll come back to this. 

2) Aside from the fact that foreign policy involves many different countries, there is a whole spectrum of aggression opposed within the antiwar cause.  This can range from sanctions (commonly regarded as a more passive tool towards regime change, designed to starve a nation into turning on its own leaders...remember the over half million Iraqi deaths in the 90’s, about which Secretary Albright famously said were “worth it”?), to proxy wars involving American funding and weapons, to direct war involving Americans doing the shooting and bomb dropping.     

Part of the problem may be that so many Americans really only consider the last of those options to be a “real war.”  Like with our scarcely-protested drone bombing policy, the less we know about it the less it seems real.  The further distance we are put from it, and the more we are shielded from the very real horrors of the bombings, the greater luxury we have of not having to ask the questions:  

1) why are we bombing there in the first place, 2) how many innocent people are we really killing?, and 3) is this really benefiting us, or stamping out terrorism?

Perhaps many are comfortable entrusting the government to answer these questions for us.  Whether it’s Obama, Trump, or his generals, again, it requires a faith in American exceptionalism to believe that these individuals have the right to determine who merits extrajudicial assassination by way of our drone “kill list”...or for what civilian populations it is “worth it” to try and force regime change.  It is certainly easier to allow our leaders and their sanctioned media pundits to think for us.  And maybe part of the problem is that foreign affairs can indeed be complicated.  Getting a good grasp can require a bit of paying attention and consumption of different news sources.  But while foreign conflicts are complex, this should not be confused with the question of whether we should militarily intervene, which is not complicated at all.  “It’s Complicated” is not a valid argument for war, as elaborated here.  

Additionally, a person can claim to be antiwar and express sincere empathy for people of other countries.  But empathy alone is not good enough--in fact, it is often taken advantage of by the war machine and used for consent.  A perfect example is with the Syria conflict.  Did you view Aleppo as a loss or a liberation?  How many times were you made aware by our media about civilian death and destruction at the hands of Syrian government forces, versus at the hands of “moderate” rebels (whom we normally label as “terrorists”) supported by us?  Did you know that some journalists have found The White Helmets “humanitarian” work to be staged, and have found the group to be a psy op orchestrated by the same forces that are fighting for regime change in Syria?  Of course, you would have had no reason to consider any of this if 1) you never considered Syria a separate issue in and of itself, and 2) your only knowledge of the conflict is from Western mainstream media.

But Syria is just the latest in a spree of foreign affairs where our empathy is being manipulated into support for, or at least lukewarm opposition to, war under the banner of “humanitarian intervention”.  Exactly as was done with Iraq and Libya.  Dictators are depicted as caricatures of evil and we are made to hate them and believe their people will “welcome us as liberators.”  Concurrently dishonest intelligence reports, like that of Saddam having weapons of mass destruction, are peddled to the point where they are popularly accepted as fact--until after it is too late.  For some reason the public fails to see parallels in subsequent claims against dictators who stand nothing to gain from really stupid and sadistic acts...like with the popular belief that Assad was the culprit behind chemical attacks on his own people, or more recently, that Putin ordered poisonings in the U.K.   

The point is, no one lumping these different affairs together as a single issue will ever be able to analyze any one of them with any subtlety, and they may struggle with the concept of manufactured consent.  They can say they disagree with the contrary-to-mainstream version of Syrian or Russian-related events put forth by the likes of Craig Murray, John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley, or Seymour Hersh, but their level of disengagement will give them little ground to stand on.   
But even if we were to cynically cast aside empathy for the rest of the world, there would be much to consider about war’s effects purely on Americans here in the mainland.  The second half of this essay is about what a pervasive impact on our domestic landscape war has.  Let’s start with a quote from President Eisenhower:

“Making one heavy bomber meant sacrificing 30 modern schools or two fully equipped hospitals, or two electric power plants.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed 8,000 people.  This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”
This in a nutshell emphasizes how central war is to addressing so many of our issues.  To what extent can we expect our government to properly fund our schools, fix our health care system, prioritize social services and safety nets, and maintain or repair our infrastructure, before addressing the very rampant militarization of it?  Let’s break this down further.  

 The antiwar cause is about addressing government waste and corporate greed
 

Consider that the wars since 2001 have cost us $43 trillion. A 2017 report by the Department of Defense estimates that the wars in Afghan­istan, Iraq and Syria alone had cost each U.S. taxpayer nearly $7,500 up to that point. The President recently approved “the largest military budget in history”, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis. These figures should anger both fiscal conservatives who oppose this level of government spending, and progressives who want to see more money directed towards social programs and safety nets. 

Some might argue that this spending is necessary for national defense, and that if we are going to wage war, we need to do whatever it takes to give ourselves the best chance to “win”. But what does it mean to “win”, and who is really winning besides the corporate war profiteers? A 2017 article in The Nation, “Here’s Where Your Tax Dollars for ‘Defense’ Are Really Going,” reports that nearly half of the over $600 billion DOD’s 2016 budget was spent in the form of contract awards to corporations. It goes on to demonstrate how a shockingly low amount of this goes toward actual “defense.”

Smedley Butler, decorated Marine Corps Major General and author of "War Is A Racket", also suggests corporations are the primary beneficiaries: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. . . . And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

The antiwar cause is about the economy
 

Some might argue that moving away from a war based economy is too radical an idea. After all, the military industrial complex does employ a lot of people, as discussed above. However, the Nation article also cites a 2011 University of Massachusetts study noting that “military spending is the worst way to create jobs … Putting the same money into any other area—from infrastructure to transportation to alternative energy to health care or education—creates up to twice as many jobs as military spending does.”

It’s not that we can’t have a strong military, it’s that we have allowed military spending to reach unnecessary and harmful levels, at the behest of the corporations who profit from it and the neoconservatives whose spectacularly wrong ideology create the constant incentive for war. (The article “What’s a Neoconservative?” does a good job explaining the difference between “conservatives who believe in a strong national defense and neoconservatives who believe in policing the world under the guise of national defense.”). With greater militarization unfortunately comes greater incentivizing of war. And is this really in the best interest of those who serve?
 

The antiwar cause is about support for our troops
 

Anyone concerned about poverty should contemplate that wars are traditionally fought by the poor for the benefit of the rich. Many who serve are lacking in other opportunities. So what is the best way to help them? One is to create other, less dangerous, more economy-stimulating opportunities for them, as described above. The other is to oppose wars that we don’t need to be fighting, so that those who do serve are not unnecessarily put in harm’s way. If we do our homework, we will find this to be all of our current wars. This includes the ones fought remotely with drones, where the effects of blowback ultimately create more enemies, subjecting our troops to further danger in the long run. Our brave servicemen and women deserve more attention paid to these matters which can determine life or death for them. Can you imagine saying to a Gold Star parent that war is a “single issue”?

The antiwar cause is about protecting the environment
 

Not everyone agrees about the best way to address climate change. But almost everyone agrees that pollution is bad. Our military is the biggest polluter in the world. Most Americans are not aware of the devastating lasting effects of depleted uranium ammunition, as a result of our wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, among others. And most are not aware of the cost of our nuclear tests right here at home. I encourage you to click on any of these links to read more.
 

The antiwar cause is about discernment of news
 

A recent tweet from independent journalist Abby Martin sums it up: “The Iraq War woke me up to how the media acts as an arm of the US government to sell imperial wars & reinforce world dominance. I couldn’t believe reporters repeated every lie the Bush admin told about why we needed to invade countries at random & start a global ‘war on terror’.”
 

We’ve talked about how media manipulates our empathy. But a recent Intercept article, “How The New York Times Is Making War With Iran More Likely”, also explains how think tanks, politicians, and especially media, work to keep us from exercising something called “cognitive empathy”, basically the ability to put yourself into someone else's place, and see their perspective.
 

“Mass media propaganda is the single greatest obstacle to meaningful change,” writes Caitlin Johnstone. “Mass media propaganda is why things don’t get better and keep getting worse.” This is true of both our domestic problems and foreign relations. The point being, how we process media is crucial to all issues, and cynicism of mainstream media is a healthy byproduct of devotion to the antiwar cause, which will in turn help us see a number of issues more clearly. But if it seems too daunting to navigate the sea of news, propaganda, empathy and cognitive empathy, I have outlined some basic guiding principles in my article “Gatekeepers and Starting Points”. 

The antiwar cause is about international solidarity
  
The above points are solely about how Americans can benefit from opposing war, but I would like to circle back and emphasize that the cause is about protecting civilians around the world. In other words, yes it’s in our own best interest, but it’s also just the right thing to do. Of course, there are those who will believe a given intervention is putting us in solidarity with the people of the nation in question. Please consider what is at stake, and what a significant thing this is to get wrong. The burden of proof will always be on the war-making interventionists and those who insist we have to “do something” via an aggressive act. Have they truly tried reaching out to the people of that country? Have they truly tried cognitive empathy?


There are yet more issues not mentioned here, let alone in mainstream media, that have a connection to our wars, like our opioid crisis.  But to wrap things up, here is an excerpt from a fantastic article, “March for our lives and the rest of the world’s”, by Riva Enteen, who draws a connection between our problem of mass shootings and our top-down culture of gun violence starting at the Pentagon:  
“The US is by far the largest arms dealer in the world, and it's common knowledge that some of the weapons get into the hands of the ‘bad guys.’ Until we stop the plague of endless war that began after 9-11, guns will be the norm, and they will be on our streets as well as the streets of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and all the African nations now occupied by AFRICOM, the US Africa Command. At the same time, our missiles will rain down on innocents in the name of specious ‘humanitarian intervention’ and stopping terrorism."
We need an anti-war movement, regardless of which duopoly party is in power. The lesser of two evils is the evil of two lessers. If we want peace in our streets, schools, movie theaters and music clubs, and those in other countries around the planet, we must march against war to affirm life. That’s a march for our lives that we desperately need. “

She goes on to urge participation in the October 20-21 Women’s March on the Pentagon, and related local actions, which this author very much supports. But in the meantime, we can advance the antiwar cause by speaking honestly about it and giving it its proper due. We cannot solve all of the world’s problems, but ending war is a gateway to opening the possibilities of solving many of our own. But at the end of the day, the fact that widespread death and destruction are at stake is the most important reason to have this be our paramount focus. Is there anything more final? Is there any bigger cause to be undertaken, or should we continue to label it a “single issue”?




Daniel Martin is a peace activist, musician, and rock journalist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  His antiwar writings have been published on Counterpunch.org, The American Conservative, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, and GreenPagesNews.org.   Follow him on Twitter @MartysInvasion.