Sunday, May 31, 2020

Meltdown USA ( LOCKDOWN, DAY 72) by Cindy Sheehan

 Meltdown USA
Day 72





As most of you reading this, I had never been in a general quarantine before; so, in this blog on March 19th, I started what I had planned to be a quarantine series called "A Sheltered Life." I quickly learned after a few entries, that above all, sheltering in place (SIP) was super-boring, and I ran out of ways to say nothing.

However, looking back to Day One, I wrote this:

1) The US government and its servants are never going to allow a "good crisis" to "go to waste." Rahm Emanuel---democratic politician




2) The USG and its servants will never tell you the truth and is, in fact, relishing in all of these police state measures they are forcing on us. I don't think we've seen the worst of the measures, unfortunately.




3) STRESS is the number one factor that will lead to chronic or serious illness. For me, to reduce this stress, I am curtailing social media for now and NOT social distancing myself from my close family who shares everything, including germs. A day without grandchildren is like a day without sunshine.




4) Constant arguing about every little damn thing is going to turn us into a nation of bitter trolls. Come out from under that bridge!

Of course, all of my predictions have come true in spades and I am reflecting on Day 72 about how rapid things have declined.

It's 4:01 AM on Day 72 of Melt-Down USA and I cannot go back to sleep. I woke up about 45 minutes ago because I had to use the bathroom and I, unfortunately, looked at my phone and I saw I had a text message---this one was from my daughter Carly who lives in Vallejo, California: 

I know you're asleep so I'm sorry if this wakes you but people here in Vallejo are attacking the police station by our house and the police are firing flash-bangs back at them....It's crazy. 

So, I texted back to her to see if she and her partner were okay, and, she's probably asleep---hopefully, asleep because I haven't heard anything back from her. I tried looking at local news to see if anything was happening, but, unlike L.A., where I grew up, apparently SF Bay Area news doesn't do live coverage of rebellions (I refuse to call them "riots.") *


(* Just heard from Carly, they are fine: 5:18 am)

Vallejo has a sordid history of police brutality against the black community. Before social distancing became a thing that prohibited community gatherings, this item was on a local TV station's website:

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and community members held a "Fight For Our Lives" rally and vigil to remember three black men who were shot and killed in separate incidents in Vallejo by police. All three families are filing lawsuits.

"We are tired of police brutality in the community and not being able to do anything about it lawfully," says Damariee Cole, the nephew of Willie McCoy.

RELATED: Community outraged after man shot, killed by police at Taco Bell drive-thru in Vallejo


Last February, McCoy fell asleep late at night while in the drive-thru at a Vallejo Taco Bell, located in the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane (which is now a Starbucks). When police arrived on scene, one officer allegedly thought McCoy had a gun in his lap and police allegedly fired at him 55 times. Cole believes police had other options.

"What's the protocol when it's a bomb? Do you go approach the car, or do you stand back and use other tactics?" says Cole.


"Given that he was shot 55 times, while essentially asleep, and he was awakened and then shot, that seems that that represents murder," says Buriss. "Part of that case, we are alleging a pattern and history of condoning police misconduct and police shootings."

The vigil also honored two other men, Eric Reason and Ronell Foster.

According to Buriss, Reason was shot in the back and the back of the head by off-duty Richmond Police Sergeant Virgil Thoma in the city of Vallejo, in November of 2019, and a Vallejo police officer shot Foster in the back of the head in February of 2018.



Attorney Melissa Nold says one of the goals of the lawsuit is to bring about a change they haven't been able to get in the past

"It is pretty clear to us, looking at these videos, that crimes have occurred," says Nold. "In the past, the victim's families have been intimidated, ran out of town. That's not going to work this time. Because we are not going to go away."

McCoy's family says they were told that the investigation is on-going.

The Vallejo Police Department and the Solano County District Attorney's office did not return requests for comment.
 As concerned as I am for my daughter and her black partner, I see that like the uprisings after the Rodney King verdict, communities that have been subjected to relentless police brutality with little or no accountability are the most vulnerable to the social unrest after the blatant cop killing of George Floyd. 

Floyd, who reportedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 at a store was killed by a cop that has a long history of police brutality: Derek Chauvin. Chauvin and his buddy cop-onlookers had plenty of time to stop choking Floyd to death and render lifesaving aid. It was a blatant act of cruelty. If it weren't for slimy politicians like now US Senator, Amy Klobuchar, Chauvin would not have even been still on patrol, he would have been in prison after his first incident of brutality. 

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Boy howdy, are they!

I have a few reflections on this: 

First of all, many people are calling the murder of George Floyd a "hoax." I am 100% opposed to that idea. This reasoning says that the ruling-class needed an excuse to place martial law on the country, so, either Floyd is still alive, or his death was pre-meditated and Chauvin will be the scapegoat (even though current charges against him are incredibly mild). Floyd and Tenneseean Breona Taylor (shot 8 times by police that entered the wrong apartment) are just two in a very long, and vicious line of unjustified police killings here in the US, after centuries of forced slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, and the KKK.

Entrenched institutional racism is real, it happens, it's ugly, it needs to stop. 

What is the reason to suspect a "hoax?" The US has descended into this madness of Medical Martial Law with barely a peep from the frightened. What makes anyone think that if it wanted to, the US wouldn't put national curfews or national guard into place to shoot UN-masked people, instead of the historically suspicious masked ones?

Secondly, yes, I am sure that there are infiltrators in the protest groups (there is proof that a white cop in Minneapolis was smashing windows) and white supremacists who want to foment and instigate further trouble, but I call this "9/11 Was an Inside Job" syndrome. While I don't believe the "official story" of 9/11, I also acknowledge that after decades of U.S. brutality in the Middle East, Muslim Arabs had every justification to attack the United States. Also, after centuries of brutality here in the US against the Afro-American peoples, they have every justification to go after the systems of oppression.

Finally, there are the "why destroy your own community?" people. 
The good news about these protests is that there have been legitimate targets like cop shops and state houses attacked. Also, huge corporate chains that oftentimes exploit workers and destroy the intimate business life of "mom and pop" capitalism. The Fred Hampton Institute put this statement out last week: 

You cannot commodify every single aspect of living and then not understand looting as a legitimate form of protest. Looting is the ultimate strike against a system that deems mass-produced objects to be far more precious than life itself. It is humanity begging to be recognized.

The corporate news and the privileged always portray false-shock at people stealing "TVs" and "expensive tennis shoes," but while I was in New Orleans right after Katrina, what I learned from comrades who were right there during the failure of the levies was that it was diapers, formula, bread, toilet paper, sanitation supplies, bleach---you know all those essentials that the Costco Card holders went and hoarded at the beginning of this mess? Because they could afford it, they purchased pallets of essentials leaving no bean behind.



Also, talk about looting! What about the massive transfer of wealth to the already rotted capitalists during this "pandemic?" The top one percent of the one percent have added over 400 billions of wealth to their hoarded ill-gotten gains.

So, let's add up the equation for disaster: 

At least 40 million people have lost their jobs in the U.S.
+
People are not understanding why, if the government forces them to stay home from work or close their businesses, they don't get fully compensated like Wall Street and banks.
+
Millions of high-school/college students are out of school.
+
"Essential" employees like cops are still killing unarmed black people.
+
Centuries of systemic racism are accumulating against that very system.
=
Rebellion 

Trump twitters while Rome burns.

Pacifism is for the comfortable and even self-defense is not understood by those that can SIP in ease and don't have to worry about their next meal, or worry about their son/husband going out to try and get groceries, or run an errand without being murdered by killer cops. They don't understand that liberation from oppression is a hard fought battle and the oppressors are the ones that always wear the riot gear and bring the tear gas and rubber (and real) bullets to protests. Oftentimes these comfortable people shouting "non-violence" are entrenched participants in the systems of oppression.

Because they are frightened, white liberals often like to urgently quote MLK, Jr to shame the righteously rebellious back to order, but even MLK, near the end of his life, was recognizing that the biggest "purveyor" of violence in the world was the USA. 

You can't often kum-bay-yah the bullies to appropriate, non-psychotic behavior. 

Where is all this heading? I don't know. After my head stops spinning from the rapidity of the collapse, maybe I will be able to think straight, but, if there is any good to come out of this, I hope the unrest at home will stop or slow down the imperialism abroad. 

One thing I do know, is that if law enforcement had swiftly done the right thing in Minneapolis and had arrested Chauvin and his accomplices, we would probably not be in the fix we are in right now.

In solidarity with my brothers and sisters out there who are courageously and physically confronting the violent police state, I join in the demands for justice and accountability.

No justice, no peace. 

Know justice, know peace.




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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Don't Forget Palestine (SOAPBOX PODCAST 5/28/2020)

May 28, 2020






TOPIC: ISRAEL/PALESTINE
GLOBAL FASCISM 

GUEST: Bob Fantina

For the 2nd time this week, Cindy welcomes back author/activist Bob Fantina.
Cindy and Bob talk about Israel's continued illegal annexation of the West Bank and the deeper issues of the collaboration between the twin evils of the USA and Israel.

It's important to not allow the fascists and oligarchs to completely distract us from other important topics: like the racist-illegal-colonialist take over of Palestine by the Israelis. 

Bob's Latest Published Book
 
https://www.robertfantina.com/
  CLICK FOR MORE INFO
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Congress is poised to pass far-reaching Israeli wish list

Congress is set to pass its most far-reaching bill related to Israel at the height of a national public health emergency.
 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Propaganda, Lies, and False Flags (Soapbox Podcast 5/25/2020)





May 25, 2020







GUEST: BOB FANTINA
TOPIC: HOW THE U.S. JUSTIFIES IT'S WARS

The United States has been at war for 227 years of it’s 244- year history. It is currently at war in seven countries and its special forces operate in 149 countries. This century-spanning success of warfare has been condensed into a single volume. It details all the major wars of U.S. history, plus many of the minor and mostly forgotten ones.


From the wars against the Native Americans and the War of 1812, through the period when the U.S. became a super power, to the global killing fields of the past 70 years, this book demonstrates how little the playbook has changed over the generations. Propaganda, lies and false flags: these have been the means to bring the country to war, and they will remain so until we wake up to the deception. 


click to order book

Intro by Cindy Sheehan!

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

United We Stand Sessions with Cindy Sheehan




Free & Equal founder Christina Tobin interviews passionate anti-war and environmental activist Cindy Sheehan.

Cindy strives to spread messages of peace, justice, environmental sustainability and economic equality. She will be joining F&E to speak during the United We Stand Tour:
An annual nationwide tour uniting the younger generations with musicians, artists, and thought leaders to encourage local civics participation and inspire people to run for office.

To follow her journey:


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Friday, May 15, 2020

Contract Killers for Empire: The Worsening Situation in Venezuela (SOAPBOX PODCAST 5/15/2020)

May 15, 2020





TOPIC: CONTRACT KILLERS FOR EMPIRE
GUEST: DAKOTAH LILLY 

Dakotah Lilly


For this virus episode of The Soapbox, Cindy and Dakotah talk about the signed contract between the agents of U.S. Empire and contract killers who tried to go to Vz to assassinate the democratically elected president and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Nicolas Maduro.
Please listen! The U.S. is taking the opportunity with the corona issue to continue its underhanded dealing around the world!

‘I’ve never seen a contract for toppling a govt’: Venezuelan VP decries Guaido’s hiring of US mercenaries to Rafael Correa

CLICK HERE TO READ

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Bio-terror, bio-error, or? The of Grave Danger of Bio-warfare (SOAPBOX PODCAST 5/2/2020)

Happy Belated May Day!
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May 2, 2020




TOPIC:

Averting Our Gaze From Biowarfare: Pandemics and Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Guest: Independent journalist, Sam Husseini

 

Averting Our Gaze From Biowarfare: Pandemics and Self-fulfilling Prophecies

by 

Those bastards in their white lab coats
Who experiment with mountain goats
Should leave the universe alone
It’s not their business, not their home
~ John Prine, “Lonesome Friends of Science

People who are dismissing the possibility that the pandemic might have come from a lab – either accidentally from a Wuhan lab or them being effectively framed, as we saw with the 2001 anthrax attacks – are basically risking the future of humanity because they don’t want to have an uncomfortable discussion.

On Feb. 11, I asked Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s Principal Deputy Director, at the National Press Club if it were a “complete coincidence” that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus happened in Wuhan, a center of China’s declared biowarfare/biodefense capacity. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer. In fact, at the end it was remarkably evasive. She wouldn’t answer my follow-up question about whether the claimed “zoonotic origin” precluded the outbreak from being caused pathogens from nature that then could be accidentally leaked from the labs.

But such simple facts are not being given to the public. Take “Democracy Now,” the ostensible flagship broadcast of progressive thought. A search on “Democracy Now” shows that the first time the program mentioned “Wuhan” and “lab” or “laboratory” was on April 6 – to credit “the Wuhan lab that identified the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.” Mainstream outlets at least reported the existence of the lab to their audiences in a somewhat timely manner, even if they distorted the information.

And skew the info they did.

Forbes (3/17/20) published the piece “No, COVID-19 Coronavirus Was Not Bioengineered. Here’s the Research That Debunks That Idea,” which depends on a misreading of a strange and misleading Nature Medicine article to dismiss the notion that it came out of a lab. The Forbes senior contributor on health, Bruce Y. Lee writes: “it’s a lot easier to leak a pocket of air though your butt than a virus from a BSL-4 facility.” Apparently this was supposed to be reassuring.

Similarly CNN (4/6/20) mocked the notion of a lab leak when reassessing the source of the pandemic, describing one possibility being that: “It leaked – like a genie out of a bottle – from a lab in an accident.”

But even a cursory look at the record shows that these labs, where ever they exist, have a lot of accidents – just from 2019, the New York Times (8/5/19) reported: “Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns” regarding Fort Detrick in Maryland: “Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend research at the military’s leading biodefense center.” (The local paper, the Frederick News-Post has provided some coverage, including publishing letters by local activist Barry Kissin who has focused on the issue.)

USA Today had a reporter on this beat, Alison Young, but she left the paper. A sampling of her work:
“Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy” (8/17/14)

“Worker at Tulane possibly exposed to bioterror bacteria” (3/11/15)

“CDC failed to disclose lab incidents with bioterror pathogens to Congress” (6/23/16):

“GAO finds more gaps in oversight of bioterror germs studied in U.S.”: “Government regulators have no idea how often laboratories working with some of the world’s most dangerous viruses and bacteria are failing to fully kill vials of specimens before sending them to other researchers who lack critical gear to protect them against infection, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.” (9/21/16)

“Congress demands details of secret CDC lab incidents revealed by USA TODAY” (1/17/17)

Even since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Nature reported: “Chinese institutes investigate pathogen outbreaks in lab workers.” (12/17/19)

Then, on April 16, “Democracy Now” had Peter Daszak of the earthy crunchy sounding EcoHealth Alliance. It was just after John Roberts of Fox asked Trump about a possible lab origin, because it doesn’t matter what the actual cause of the pandemic is, it matters what Trump says and we have to attack what Trump says because that’s what progressives are supposed to do.

Daszak is an interested party. He has worked with and helped fund the work in Wuhan and he of course dismissed the prospect of lab release in the most patronizing manner possible. The piece was headlined: "’Pure Baloney’: Zoologist Debunks Trump’s COVID-19 Origin Theory, Explains Animal-Human Transmission.” Notice the audience of “Democracy Now” are now told this is “Trump’s theory” – not a concern of many people for months before Trump publicly uttered a word on the subject.

Listeners to “Democracy Now” were not given elementary facts about the history of lab accidents. They were not told that among the policy advisors for EcoHealth Alliance are David Franz, a former commander at Fort Detrick, the main US government biowarefare/biodefense facility, who spoke in 2018 at the right-wing Hudson Institute, and Thomas Geisbert, who is doing biodefense/biowarfare work at Galveston. Its partners include universities as well major corporations like Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive. And it has worked with USAID in funding lab dangerous work in between scientists in the US and in Wuhan.

Daszak of course defended the work without hesitation. They ostensibly are trying to defend against pandemics. This general process involves collecting and even creating dangerous pathogens for the stated purpose of defending against them. They at least got the first part down.

Indeed, to Richard Ebright, at Rutgers University, an eminent scientist and one of the few who scrutinize the well funded biodefense/biowarfare work, this is all incredibly dangerous:. Ebright calls it “Not ‘vaccine research.’ Not research that provides information useful for preventing or combating outbreaks. Just reckless pseudoscientific Indiana-Jones adventurism with high risk of infection of collector, and from there, infection of public.” He also charges that collecting thousands of such viruses is the “Definition of insanity.”

Interestingly, even the researcher Daszak’s group supports at the Wuhan Institute of Virology says that she was initially quite concerned that the lab was the source. Shi Zhengli was profiled by Scientific American, (March 11, 2020) “How China’s ‘Bat Woman’ Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus“: “If coronaviruses were the culprit, she remembers thinking, ‘could they have come from our lab?’ … Shi breathed a sigh of relief when the results came back: none of the sequences matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves. ‘That really took a load off my mind,’ she says. ‘I had not slept a wink for days.'”

She seems more self reflective than Daszak, but why should the world take her word? As Ebright at Rutgers states: “A denial is not a refutation.”

In fact, there is no doubt that Fox and Tom Cotton and others are clearly trying to demonize China and portray Chinese labs are uniquely dangerous. The liberal counter to this is that Chinese labs are great, like US labs. Excluded from this “discussion” is the obvious truth: These labs are all dangerous. There is no meaningful distinction between biowarfare and biodefense The US has effectively spurred a bioweapons arms race, as documented by Francis Boyle in his Biowarfare and Terrorism (2005) and in Preventing a Biological Weapons Arms Race (edited by Susan Wright, 1990).

By not taking on the issue of biowarfare, the left is effectively turning it over to the pro-war right which is weaponizing it against China instead of taking a comprehensive approach to ensure a bioweapons arms race doesn’t continue to threaten humanity.

On Fox, Cotton stated that US labs do work that is “in large part done for preventative purposes,” like “trying to discover vaccines.” In contrast, “China is obviously very secretive about what happens at the Wuhan laboratory.” (FNC 2/16/20) In fact, all countries – largely led by the US – who do this work are secretive. Much of the right-wing coverage in the US on this issue has been led by the reporting of Bill Gertz in the Washington Times whose books include The China Threat: How the People’s Republic Targets America and, from 2019: Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy.

Similarly, Josh Rogin’s reporting in the Washington Post, “State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses” seems very self serving for the US government.

If current dynamics continue, the right-wing will use the issue of biolabs to demonize China, and perhaps other states, without there being any serious scrutiny to bioweapons work by the U.S. and its allies (Israel has not even signed the Biological Weapons Convention).

While some seek to demonize China, others, like David Ignatius of the Washington Post are calling for the US and Chinese governments to work together. As are some Chinese officials. That can be a very dangerous proposition as well. Consider the dynamics of the other major weapon threatening humanity: nuclear weapons. The US and Russia are effectively colluding to maintain their geopolitical power by maintaining their nuclear weapons stockpiles. They have blocked moves toward a nuclear weapons ban – an effort backed at the UN by 122 countries. There was precious little discussion about this issue even though the group behind the effort, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, won the Nobel Peace Prize. I challenged this collusion by asking about it at the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki but was dragged out of the hall, shackled, thrown in the back of a police vehicle and detained for six hours.

Following the 9/11 anthrax attacks, which likely actually originated in US government labs – the US government perversely dramatically escalated its spending on “biodefense” – building more labs all over the country, training hundreds if not thousands of more scientists on working with the planet’s most dangerous pathogens. This is on the order of five billion dollars each year since the anthrax attacks.

On April 21, the Times published the piece “How Scientists Could Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Starts,” about Daszak and friends, complete with fancy graphic, in which the Times states: “Researchers believe they could preemptively create vaccines and drugs to fight a wide range of viral threats – if they can get sufficient funding.”

That is, we still don’t know the if the cause of the pandemic wasn’t this dangerous lab work, but the people doing it – who have gotten a ton of money already – are getting pieces into the New York Times effectively beating down the door for more money.

And Ft. Detrick is about to get what appears to be the biggest and expensive “biodefense” lab ever built in the entire world.
In 2018, the Federal Select Agent Program “received eight reports of loss and 193 reports of a release of a biological select agent or toxin.”

Still sanguine about the labs? Try reading this 2014 paper – “Laboratory Escapes and ‘Self-fulfilling prophecy’ Epidemics” – by Martin Furmanski of the Scientist’s Working Group on Chemical and Biologic Weapons and the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation (versions of it were published at the time in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Slate):
He warned of “The danger to world or regional public health from the escape from microbiology laboratories of pathogens capable of causing pandemics, or Potentially Pandemic Pathogens (PPPs).”

Furmanski documents smallpox accidental release in Britain in the 1970s, which eventually led to the head of the lab committing suicide, Venezuelan equine encephalitis in 1995, foot-and-mouth disease in Britain in 2007 which began “4 kilometers from a biosafety level 4 laboratory.”

More recently, he notes: “SARS has not naturally recurred, but there have been six separate ‘escapes’ from virology labs studying it: one each in Singapore and Taiwan, and in four distinct events at the same laboratory in Beijing.

“It should be emphasized that these examples are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ because they represent laboratory accidents that have actually caused illness outside of the laboratory in the general public environment.

“Public awareness of the 1977 H1N1 pandemic and its likely laboratory origins has been virtually absent. Virologists and public health officials with the appropriate sophistication were quickly aware that a laboratory release was the most likely origin, but they were content not to publicize this, aware that such embarrassing allegations would likely end the then nascent cooperation of Russian and Chinese virologists, which was vital to worldwide influenza surveillance.

“It is hardly reassuring that despite stepwise technical improvements in containment facilities and increased policy demands for biosecurity procedures in the handling of dangerous pathogens, that escapes of these pathogens regularly occur and cause outbreaks in the general environment. Looking at the problem pragmatically, question is not if such escapes will happen in the future, but rather what the pathogen may be and how such an escape will be contained, if indeed it can be contained at all.

“Advances in genetic manipulation now allow the augmentation of virulence and transmissibility in dangerous pathogens, and such experiments have been funded and performed, notably in the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The advisability of performing such experiments at all, and particularly in laboratories placed at universities in heavily populated urban areas, where laboratory personnel who are potentially exposed are in daily contact with a multitude of susceptible and unaware citizens is clearly in question. If such manipulations should be allowed at all, it would seem prudent to conduct them in isolated laboratories where personnel are sequestered from the general public and must undergo a period of ‘exit quarantine’ before re-entering civilian life.”

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist and founder of VotePact.org – which helps break out of the two party bind. His latest personal writings are at http://husseini.posthaven.com/ and tweets at http://twitter.com/samhusseini.

 

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