Thursday, June 30, 2016

Due on the 4th of July by Cindy Sheehan

Unlike my friends Ron Kovic and S. Brian Willson (both Vietnam Vets cum war protesters), my mother always shared with me that I was due to be born on the 4th of July, but held out (after three days of hard, excruciating labor--she always reminded me) until the 10th.

When I was young, I always thought of the fireworks, food, and family fun of the 4th of July as a pre-celebration of my birthday, less than a week later. At that time, I was always a little upset that I wasn't born on the 4th, but now, why would I want to share anything with the government of the nation of my birth? Once, I reluctantly shared with it my oldest son, and before Casey was ordered to join a brutal occupying force in the not-independent nation of Iraq, he was abused and misused and molded into cannon fodder and eventually killed in a war based on lies and for the profit of a few. That didn't turn out well for him, or our family.

The 4th of July is called, "Independence Day," right? But independence for whom?  

Certainly, the very few who profit off of war and Wall Street; prisons; pharmaceuticals; paying low wages with little benefits; oil extraction; and the Imperial Police State in general, enjoy financial independence and also enjoy excessive protection of the law and Constitution, all to guarantee that their financial independence continues. What about those of us who don't profit off of death and misery--well, we are the victims of it and struggle daily to just keep our noses above drowning. With a growing income gap and with millions of homeless in this country, many fall through the huge cracks in the almost non-existent social infrastructure here in the "Land of the Free" and are definitely slaves to working hard for bare survival.

Here in this "bastion" of "freedom" there is a higher rate and number of incarcerated than in the entire world. Why does the US jail so
many of its citizens? Are we a country of naughty children that need to be "taught a lesson?" Or is it because the Prison Industrial Complex own politicians and judges alike and someone(s) are getting really wealthy? And/or is it because corporations have access and the legal right to the slave labor of prisoners?

What about the right to be independent of medical debt and the
struggle to be healthy? HMOs, health insurance companies, big pharma and so-called "natural" cure peddlers are definitely enjoying this right, but what about the rest of us? Obama"care" has still left tens of millions of us uninsured and underinsured and people are going broke to this day with medical bills and are devastated with the unrelenting stress of insufficient healthcare and little support for prevention or for families who are struggling with a serious illness. 

With the little "independence" we have within the borders of the US, how about those innocent unfortunates whose countries and communities are being occupied, bombed, or otherwise torn by Imperial violence? I had an exchange with an active duty soldier recently who said that he only goes where the "American people send" him and that he is "defending" me and the US. This is exactly what I answered to him: 

"BTW, there're many other ways people can "serve" their fellow human beings besides being "hired guns for Capitalism" (Smedley Butler). I really don't think you understand the dynamics. The reason we protest the wars is because we (Americans or others) DO NOT SUPPORT the decisions to send the military to invade and occupy innocent people. And, don't talk about your great service to me, I did NOT ask you to do it and I don't support your choice to do so. My son was killed in Iraq, so I think I understand a little of what I am saying. I didn't support his choice to go, either, and he said, "I don't want to go, but I have to." He didn't have to and his life was stolen from him by the war criminals."

With this ignominious list of wars that the US has waged in its bloody history, I think I can safely say that on July 4, 1776, the Founders declared their (and subsequently, our) independence from Peace. 

Well, the US must be free, because every so often (too often?), the US holds "free elections." Many people have said, "If elections really changed things, they would make them illegal." I say, "If elections really changed things for the better, then things would be better, because the US has held thousands of elections." Obviously, elections DO NOT bring independence to the working and poor classes, because those classes keep on expanding as we are cartwheeling to another presidential election. Am I the only one who noticed that the Sanders' supporters have only cried "election fraud" in the states were Sanders lost? One of the key demands of the Sanders' campaign was "open primaries." Well, he knew perfectly well the "lay of the land" before he joined the War Party to campaign to be its candidate for POTUS. Besides, are open primaries really more democratic than allowing members of each party to select their own candidate for the general elections? What's the use of having parties anyway? The twin parties of War and Wall Street don't bring freedom to the 99%, they bring more oppression and division and more opportunity for corruption and fraud.

Even so-called environmentalists like Al Gore are profiting off the destruction of survivability on our only planet---we in the working and poor classes can conserve as much water and recycle as much aluminum and plastic as we are able, but the corporations and Military Industrial Complex pollute our water and air and use limited resources at an alarming rate. 

Being born on the 10th of July, I can't sing any songs about being a "Yankee Doodle Dandy," (thank goodness) but through a random accident of birth, I am relieved that I don't share the day of my entry into dependence as a citizen of the US with the "birth" of the most brutal Empire in history; which was built on the bones of genocide and the violence and immorality of forced slave labor.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sometimes there is no Justice by Anthony Freda

Sometimes there is no justice.
Sometimes, men and women abuse their power and lie us into needless wars with impunity.

Sometimes, a corrupt establishment and complicit media succeed in covering up theses war crimes instead of exposing them.

Sometimes, the two-tiered 'just-us" system fills the prisons with poor criminals and protects the rich and powerful criminals.

Sometimes, as Aesop wrote, "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to high office."

Sometimes, there is no justice, there is only war and blood and death.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL, USA) Statement on/at DNC

Bernie Sanders Has Taught

Dear Friends,

There is only one best place for U.S. social justice activists to be protesting in July 2016 —
in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.
Here’s why.

1.    The outstanding feature of the 2016 Presidential Primary has been the voters’ angry rejection of Wall Street’s Republican and Democratic candidates, “the Republicrats.” Remember the odds-on favorites at the beginning? Jeb Bush amassed a fortune in early big money yet was swatted away by the wrath of the Republican voters. Hillary Clinton, too, would have been dispatched by the Bernie Sanders Campaign, with its outstanding domestic program addressing the needs of the 99 percent of us. But, of the two wings of the Republicrats who rule politically on behalf of Wall Street, it is the Democratic Party that is the main brake on social justice movements fighting against Wall Street, against monopoly capitalism and imperialism. The Democratic Party is the main political gatekeeper for the System.

2.    Our Wall Street rulers will not allow the U.S. citizens to vote them out of power and wipe out their obscene and criminal private profit through the ballot box! Indeed, as unrest and dissatisfaction increases among the U.S. population, the line between the military and the police has become increasingly blurred. Wall Street controls the increasingly militarized domestic police apparatus as well as the U.S. military itself, armed with the most powerful weapons of mass destruction in world history and produced by the U.S. military-industrial complex, which has its own impact on U.S. domestic politics.

3.    The Democratic Party apparatus headed by DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz conspired to deliver the Presidential nomination to Wall Street’s candidate, Hillary Clinton. Rather than maximize the opportunity of tens of millions of dollars worth of free exposure of their candidates and message like the Republican Party did, the DNC sponsored the minimum number of TV debates and held them at times when there would be low viewer turnout. Moreover, they used their even more anti-democratic rules than those of the Republican Party, especially the so-called “super delegates,” to mobilize for Clinton. Throughout the Presidential primary campaign, they counted “committed” super delegate votes as if they had already been cast to give the public the false impression that Clinton was beating Sanders badly. These official votes appeared in newspapers, on TV and throughout the media every time there was a state primary vote. The DNC miscounted ballots and manipulated state caucuses. They got the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, i.e. staffers, lobbyists and a small percentage of the actual Black Congress members, to endorse Clinton before the South Carolina primary, highlighted by John Lewis’ lies about Clinton’s role during the Civil Rights era when she supported Barry Goldwater during the very period when Goldwater opposed the Voting Rights Act! And in conjunction with the monopoly capitalist-controlled media, CNN et al., they concocted out of nothing a “news story” that Clinton had achieved “an historic victory,” the night before the California primary. Were the California votes ever counted at all?!

4.    President Barack Obama, one of Wall Street’s most valuable presidents ever, has now openly declared his loyalty to Wall Street’s chief remaining candidate by endorsing Hillary Clinton as “the best prepared candidate for president in U.S. history.” Her preparation includes the following: Clinton has taken huge bribes/ “speaking fees” from the likes of Goldman Sachs, the biggest Wall Street winner in the current economic crisis thanks to the George W. Bush and Obama Regimes.  As Secretary of State, Clinton helped to oust President Zelaya of Honduras and then helped Obama to prevent the elected President’s return. She  helped lead Obama’s colonialist war on Libya, under the Qaddafi Regime, the most successful country on the African continent and now a ruined nation-state. And, with blood on her hands, in true white supremacist fashion, she infamously declared, regarding the cold-blooded murder of Qaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died!” Indeed, Clinton is well prepared to take the helm of the U.S. Empire.

5.    What about the Trump menace? In style and substance, Donald Trump is a fascist politician in the classic Adolph Hitler and “National Socialist” (Nazi) sense. This billionaire’s angry campaign combines demagogic populist rhetoric proclaiming that the system is rigged against the majority of us, on the one hand, with chauvinistic hatred toward Latino immigrants, Muslim religious believers, Afro-American citizens and many other “non-white American” ethnic groups here and around the world, on the other. He argues further that because of his immense personal wealth, he is “independent” of the Wall Street rulers. Regarding the U.S. Empire in decline, he promises to “make America great again.”

As Georgi Dimitrov, the leader of the Communist International who heroically and successfully defied and exposed Hitlerite Fascism, and then helped the Soviet Union lead in the defeat of  world fascism in World War II, taught: “It is in the interests of the most reactionary circles of the bourgeoisie that fascism intercepts the disappointed masses who desert the old bourgeois parties. But it impresses these masses by the vehemence of its attacks on the  bourgeois governments and its irreconcilable attitude to the old bourgeois parties.” Indeed, as the masses began to rally to Bernie Sanders’ social-democratic domestic program against Wall Street, the monopoly capitalist-dominated mass media gave unprecedented coverage to every grunt and rant of Trump, magnifying his “anger against the system.” And Trump’s rants were even angrier than Sanders, who had committed from the outset to support the successful Democratic candidate, and whose campaign was only minimally covered, especially given the huge crowds Sanders was gathering throughout the primaries.

But Trump’s similarities to Hitler and German fascism of the 1930’s does not automatically make him the main political target who must be stopped at all costs at this particular historical moment. Fascism comes to power through different paths as shown, for example, in the experience of Fascist Italy as compared to Nazi Germany. Dimitrov observed that, “Bourgeois governments usually pass through a number of preliminary stages and adopt a number of reactionary measures which directly facilitate the accession to power of fascism. Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but, on the contrary, facilitates that victory.”

6.    Clinton, the Democrat, is the absolute worst candidate to support “against Trump.” As a loyal tool of Wall Street, Clinton will not educate the voters against the financial oligarchy but will apologize and cover up for Wall Street. Coupled with her Democratic Party rhetoric, this will only enrage the voters all the more, moving them further into the Trump camp. It was precisely Sanders’ focus on the rigged Wall Street economy and politics that allowed his candidacy to thrive against all odds. With Sanders out of the race the same old “Republicrat” rhetoric will provide new fuel to the Trump fire.

7.    Moreover, a Clinton/Wall Street victory, while temporarily slowing down the accelerating process of advancing fascism immediately following the election, over the longer run will both fuel its development and drive it into underground independent fascist political formations. As Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in President Reagan’s first term and an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, observed, “The president can do whatever he wants as long as he justifies it as ‘national security.’ The president’s part of the government, the unaccountable executive branch, is supreme. This is the legacy of the Bush/Cheney regime, and this criminal regime continues under Obama. America’s ‘war on terror,’ a fabrication, has resurrected the unaccountable dungeon of the Middle Ages and the raw tyranny that prevailed prior to the Magna Carta.” (VDARE.COM, 9-2-10) Indeed, U.S. Fascism has significantly advanced on the shoulders of every U.S. president at least from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama.

*    We need to organize to oppose the drive toward fascism in the USA—including defense of the Afro-American people against police brutality and Latino immigrants against ICE raids and against increased militarization of the domestic police and U.S. society.

*    We need to stay in the streets and continue to fight for the Sanders Campaign platform demands. And, unlike Sanders, we need to be there to protest the Obama-led U.S. imperialist wars, including the current wars throughout the Middle East.

*    We need to involve our newly organized political groupings in Referenda campaigns on Sanders Campaign-type issues like single-payer universal healthcare, defense of the environment and breaking up the big banks, and run independent candidates in local elections around the country.

*    We need to expose and isolate the Democratic Party and work to build an anti-fascist labor/oppressed nationalities Third Party. A Sanders run for President, independent of the Democratic Party, would help lay a basis for such a mass-based party now.

*    We need to make “a political revolution.” If you are serious about a political revolution leading to socialism, we would love to hear from you.

-Issued June, 2016 by the
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (USA)

Contact us at:     Boxholder, 607 Boylston St., Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA  02116  USA

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Obama Loves Guns! by Anthony Freda

So long as they are used to enforce imperial control of the citizenry.

Obama says semi-automatic weapons belong on a battlefield. 

OK,  then why is he arming a record number of NON-Defense Department Federal Officers with firearms, (Including arming IRS agents with AR-15s)

Do we live on a battlefield?

Officers with arrest-and-firearm authority has tripled since 1996 to 200,000 and now exceeds the number of US Marines. (182,000)

The Obama administration also brokered more arms deals than any administration of the past 70 years, Republican or Democratic. 

Some of those weapons were delivered to terror groups and are being used against US troops. 

Maybe his control should start with Self control.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

'Activism': The lies we have to tell ourselves | Mickey Z.

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote an article that opened with this, um, “anecdote”:
As part of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Summer Disobedience School, I was marching with my fellow occupiers through Times Square in early June 2012. While skirting the edge of the demo to take photos, I passed a group of young men in business attire. On the surface, they appeared "mainstream" -- right out of Central Casting, in fact.
One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march -- the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. "What are they doing?" he pondered aloud. The largest man in the group -- his face pinched into an expression of scorn -- bellowed: "I'll tell you what they should be doing. They should be looking for a fuckin' job."
He looked so self-satisfied with his parroting of the corporate media line that I couldn't help taking him down a notch. I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away -- directly in his line of sight -- and glared into his eyes. 
When he looked at me and saw my "99%" button and the Red Square affixed to my t-shirt, Alpha Male was suddenly confronted with the uncomfortable reality that those he was mocking weren't the skinny hippie pacifists he'd read all about on the interwebs.
His eyes met mine and I held my squinty stare. In a matter of seconds, his self-confidence waned and he diverted his gaze downwards. (#winning) With a smirk, I turned and moved off to catch up with my OWS tribe.

Pardon me while I curl into the fetal position and weep in shame for the next three hours. 
I can still recall how unabashedly excited I was to participate in the event described above (and so many others like it) but now -- armed with four-plus years of painful but essential hindsight -- it makes me cringe that my exuberance tricked me into thinking we were doing anything even remotely effective or “making a difference.” 

Before I can allow myself to simply look back with a sense of nostalgia at a fun afternoon with some upbeat folks who, um, occupied my life for a brief moment in time, I must first expose, address, and own up to the arrogance and denial on display that afternoon.

What we were doing… 

I’ve already wasted enough ink on the “get a job” canard so let’s instead focus on the extreme validity of the first dude-bro’s question: “What are they doing?” Think about it. Why wouldn’t he or anyone be puzzled? There was literally no rational reason why passers-by would understand the show we were putting on for ourselves (and the cops).

If you asked me “What are you doing?” at the time, I likely would’ve spouted off a whole lot of nonsense about “revolution.” Ask me now though. Please. Ask me now about OWS and its various spin-offs and spectacles.

Even better, if I could somehow track down the guy who confusedly wondered what we were doing that Saturday afternoon in Times Square four summers ago, here’s some of what I’d tell him: 
We were entertaining ourselves. Mic checks, hand signals, carefully crafted performances, a ridiculous overemphasis on “outsmarting” the “pigs,” and virtually no perception of or interest in what might potentially lure in mainstream New Yorkers. This counterproductive tendency to perform for each other progressed rapidly and virtually guaranteed failure. 

We were doing in ZERO outreach. I can remember commenting on how curious and interested the tourists in Times Square appeared to be about us and the issues we were raising. What the fuck was I thinking? Of course they watched and took photos and videos. That’s what tourists do! They weren’t becoming “woke af.”* Just the other day, while standing near the entrance to Bryant Park, I witnessed two homeless men in a screaming match that almost became violent. Glancing around, I saw tourists staring at them and filming them with the exact same facial expressions as those watching my “OWS Tribe” in the exact same spot four years earlier. 

We were engaging in the classic “take the streets” nonsense. It takes an incredible amount of denial and privilege for a mostly white crowd of “activists” to taunt cops, disobey street-related laws, and perceive such silliness as rebellion. Meanwhile, on the same day described above, when the march reached Bryant Park, the NYPD predictably singled out a black man from the crowd. He was stopped and frisked right in front of us. We chanted and took photos and “showed our solidarity” with people of color and when he was let go without being arrested, we also managed to convince ourselves that somehow, his freedom was thanks to the presence of OWS. (insert deep sigh here)
Photo credit: Mickey Z.

We were congratulating ourselves afterwards. Once inside Bryant Park, the “occupiers” broke into small groups to analyze that day’s event and discuss “important issues” (student debt, radical theory, and yes: stop and frisk!) -- as if anything we were doing could have even an iota of impact beyond our echo chamber. Meanwhile, a different set of on-lookers took photos of what must’ve appeared as a freak show. 

We were partaking in a social media ego-fest. I don’t have a smart phone but many, many others were uploading images and videos in “real time,” all day. Later, folks like me got busy posting photos and videos, tagging, sharing, and creating yet another insular circle jerk of delusion. #winning!

We were wasting our own precious time and energy. As I documented in this article, despite all the smoke and mirrors, nothing of sustained value has been accomplished by OWS and its offshoots since September 17, 2011. Really. Please. READ THIS ARTICLE. For now, I’ll offer a snippet: 
“The damage is relentless and ongoing and impervious to Occupy-related tactics and self-perception. None of our exhibitionist acting out or our Instagram selfies or our clever memes or our accumulation of social media notifications or our sign waving and petition signing and drum banging got us any closer to the root causes and certainly no where near to creating sustainable social change.”
“What are they doing?” that bewildered bro begged. Since it would be far too flattering to simply say “nothing” (“worse than nothing” = way more accurate), please allow me to amend the cringeworthy recollection with which I began:
One man was clearly confused by the boisterous march -- the signs, the drummers, the costumes, and so much more. "What are they doing?" he pondered aloud. So, I stopped walking, positioned myself about three feet away -- directly in his line of sight -- and replied: “We’re doing what ‘activists’ do, of course. We’re willfully lying to ourselves. What does it look like we’re doing?”

Repeat after me: The people united will never be defeated!
* From Mickey: A popular slang (woke as fuck)
Mickey Z. is currently writing his fourteenth book, How to Lose Friends & Influence Nobody: My Life as an “Activist.” In the meantime, he can be found here.
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“Activism”: The lies we have to tell ourselves by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at


The Soapbox Presents: Talk Nation Radio with David Swanson (Guest: Peter Kuznick)

Talk Nation Radio: Peter Kuznick on Untold Nuclear History and No War 2016

Peter Kuznick is Professor of History at American University, and author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America, co-author with Akira Kimura of Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives, co-author with Yuki Tanaka of Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power, and co-editor with James Gilbert of Rethinking Cold War Culture. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, which he directs. In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian’s celebratory display of the Enola Gay. He and filmmaker Oliver Stone co-authored the 12 part Showtime documentary film series and book both titled The Untold History of the United States. Kunick will be screening an episode of that program and speaking at the No War 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.:
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!


On Speaking Truth to Empire Dan Yaseen interviews Steve Lendman, an author, a progressive blogger and an internet radio host. He writes on vital international and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues. His website is:  

On Speaking Truth to Empire Dan Yaseen interviews Steve Lendman, an author, a progressive blogger and an internet radio host. He writes on vital international and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues. His website is:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) (SOAPBOX PODCAST

The Soapbox
June 19, 2016 


This week, Cindy chats with two organizers of
WoLF Fest, a festival which is a 
"Radical Feminist Festival for Womyn"

 Learn how being a radical feminist is NOT transphobic and what would a world without male supremacy would look like.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Soapbox Presents Talk Nation Radio with David Swanson and his guest, Sandy Davies

Talk Nation Radio: Sandy Davies on Asking World's Help in Resisting U.S. Crimes

Nicolas J "Sandy" Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, with a preface by Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz. He also wrote the chapter on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President, and a chapter titled "Crime By America: No Accountability, No Justice, No Peace" in a new book, Crime and Punishment in America, due out in the fall of 2016. He writes regularly about U.S. aggression and war crimes for Consortium News, and other alternative media outlets. He served as an issue team leader on war and peace issues for Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and he drafted Roots Action's current "Appeal from U.S. to World" to ask foreign governments to come together and stand up for international law in the face of systematic U.S. aggression and war crimes.


Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.

Producer: David Swanson.

Music by Duke Ellington.
Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Dramedy of US (S)Electoral Politics in Four Parts by Cindy Sheehan

Prelude: Pre- Candidate "A" floats the electoral air-biscuit of a possible quest for the nomination of their (in the interest of not typing "his/her" I will use the vague, "their") political party: let's go with the Dems for the purpose of this piece.

The Anticipatory Interlude: The liberal Democrats who have felt increasingly at odds with the war president, but similarly not with the war party, grow ecstatic and social media is all a-twiiter (pun intended) with memes and petitions glorifying Candidate A's progressive qualifications to make a run and form a "political revolution." ("There's nothing new under the sun.") An exploratory committee is formed and the most crucial fundraising ability and online link is put into place.

The Play's the Thing: After much anticipation and angst, Candidate A announces their intention to run for the nomination and the social interwebs go into paroxysm of orgasmic joy and the donations roll into Candidate A's coffers by the millions. Candidate A must be viable, right? They are receiving so much money and literally thousands of memes have been produced.

(Tension arrives) Oh, jeez, here they come: the Predictable Purists who in true spoil-sport fashion point out the flaws in Candidate A, which are huge, but must be false, because didn't the Predictable Purist see the meme that touted the peace credentials of Candidate A? Why do these Negative Nancy's and Pessimistic Pete's have to be so dad-gummed inflexible--can't they see Candidate A only is saying certain things to get the nomination and once A wins, they will do the right thing that's been in their hearts all along, no matter how Sanders, (oops, I mean A) voted in a couple of decades of political life? 

Gosh, then comes the actual primaries and for the first time in recorded history there is massive voter fraud in the states where A loses, but, naturally, no fraud where A wins. 

Even though A's revolution is the acceptable kind with promises that can never be kept in real life, Negative Nancy admits that A ran the hardest race they could without actually challenging the establishment's choice in any kind of constructively hard way. Even though A's "revolutionaries" claim that he has "class," Negative Nancy and Pessimistic Pete really know that he lacks political courage, or even the will to truly challenge the Empire. So, by California's primary in June, A and company are the only ones that don't know A is finished.

Dramedy's Ending: A makes a dramatic speech in prime-time where A promises to "fight for the people" all the way to the DNC convention where A has already promised to capitulate and collaborate with A's (pretend) enemy. It would be Ready for Prime Time Comedy, if it weren't so scary.

A's followers go into paroxysms of grief and rage for about 48 hours all over the social interwebs and then most will fall in behind their "Castro of Capital Hill" and dutifully vote for the candidate of Wall Street and the War Machine because who the hell do Nancy  and Pete want to win, anyway, the Republican?

Vote, rinse, repeat; and the beat goes on.

Do you remember your first anti-war protest? | Mickey Z.

   A female demonstrator offers a flower to military police on guard at the Pentagon during an anti-Vietnam demonstration. Arlington, Virginia, USA, 21 October 1967. By S.Sgt. Albert R. Simpson. Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. U.S. Army Audiovisual Center.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
June  12, 2016
Even as a young child, I understood:
  1. The war in Vietnam was becoming increasingly unpopular
  2. Being on TV is a really big deal to most people
So, it was while hanging out on the stoop with my grade school friends -- just two blocks from the 59th Street Bridge, connecting Queens to the east side of Manhattan -- that I hatched a cynical scheme to (supposedly) capitalize on the above two facts.

About six of us staged our very own anti-war protest amidst the high volume of motor vehicles streaming down Crescent Street on their way to the city (Queens may be one of New York’s five boroughs, but for us, only Manhattan is and will ever be “the city”).

Mimicking the images we saw nightly on our black-and-white TV sets, we made rudimentary signs and posters. One of my fellow subversives wasn’t a regular on the block. He was a little older than me, perhaps a classmate of my big sister. I can’t remember his full name but I do recall that his last name was Castro and that he later became notorious for ending up in the hospital after attempting to ride a motorized mini-bike down a flight of concrete steps.

By the time I was in my teens, I heard a rumor that Castro had died during the commission of a crime. Considering how many of my childhood friends ended up in jail or dying young, this was a rumor to take at face value.

Anyway, I can still see Castro’s chastened expression when I scolded him for a misspelling on his sign: “SPOT THE WAR!” it read.

I insisted he correct it (as if it really mattered). With or without proofreading, we enthusiastically held up our protest posters to passing cars and trucks and yelled “stop the war” until our pre-pubescent voices grew hoarse.

“Someone will call the news,” I promised, “and we’ll all be on TV tonight.”

Our children’s crusade lasted maybe 20 minutes. When it neither ended the war nor landed us on TV, we got bored. One by one, we heard our mothers’ voices calling us to dinner from different windows in the tenement building looming above us. Hunger trumped revolution, and the experiment was over. I don’t believe any of us ever mentioned it again.

All the necessary lessons were right there in front of me, so many years ago, but I wasn’t ready to learn. Not even close. Nope, that part would only happen after decades had passed, many other wars were waged, and I could finally recognize street “activism” for what it really is.

Today, that same anti-war “demo” (or rally or protest or march or whatever) would’ve had its own social media event page. It would’ve been livestreamed. And it would’ve been deemed a “success” if it garnered even one of us a kick-ass profile pic for which we could use the caption: #warrior.
Lessons finally learned.

Mickey Z. can be found here.
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Do you remember your first anti-war protest? by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Dakotah's Pick: Eugene Puryear and Mass Incarceration (SOAPBOX JUNE 12, 2016)

June 12, 2016

This week, I believe I caught a bit of a late spring cold from my grandchildren, so we are presenting a replay of one of the hundreds of archived shows.

Dakotah Lilly is a faithful Soapbox listener and a friend of mine who just graduated from high school and has contributed a couple of pieces to The Soapbox blog himself. I asked Dakotah to pick one of his favorite shows to replay this week.

Dakota's Pick:

Shackled and Chained with my guest: Eugene Puryear from 
October 6, 2013
Eugene and I chatted about the racism of mass incarceration here in the USA.
(Good choice, Dakota!)

Relevant links:

Cindy Sheehan, National Antiwar Leader, Announces Support for Sept. 9 Incarcerated / Enslaved Worker Shut Down

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cindy Sheehan, National Antiwar Leader, Announces Support for Sept. 9 Incarcerated / Enslaved Worker Shut Down

The following statement of support has been offered by Cindy Sheehan, a national leader of anti-war struggle in the United States ever since her son Casey Sheehan's life was cut short on the battlefields of Iraq.  Cindy writes regularly and conducts audio interviews on her site Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox. 

Sample Tweet:
Join Cindy Sheehan-support Sep9 natl day-end enslavement of incarcerated #DecarcerateNJ 

Cindy Sheehan's Statement:

As a resident of California, a one time vice presidential candidate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket and a one time Gubernatorial candidate challenging Governor Brown – I pledge my solidarity to the September 9 multi-state work stoppage being organized as a non-violent protest against enslavement in the US prison system. 
The United States incarcerates its own people at a rate that is 4 times the rate as the rest of the countries on the planet.  Yet whenever the US decides to start bombing another country – slaughtering civilians – it fraudulently invokes the word “freedom”.  This word is devoid of all meaning when invoked by the elected officials that govern the US – the incarceration leader of the world.  Accompanying every occupation is the construction of new prisons and the takeover of the existing ones and converting them to torture chambers – the likes of Abu Graib in Iraq and the facility at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, not to mention the illegal detention facility in Guantanamo.  The crimes against humanity that have occurred in these facilities – only some of which have come to the surface – belies any claim of bringing freedom to the counties the US bombs.
While many believe that enslavement was eliminated in the United States, we need to continue to point out that the 13th. Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly states:
 “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
So when the 13th. Amendment passed, it became illegal to breed the enslaved for the purposes of enslaving the offspring and to import kidnapped enslaved men and women and children from Africa.  Instead it became necessary only to arrest and convict to replenish the supply of free labor – perhaps a less costly means of refreshing the supply of free labor providers.
Throughout the history of the US, enslaved laborers have performed tasks, including those tasks needed to run the prison facilities: the performance of government functions (not just license plate manufacture) as well as contracting out to business and private industry.  Today the arrangement is sophisticated with incarcerated enslaved laborers handling everything from making hamburger patties for McDonalds, boxing electronics for Microsoft, telemarketing for Verizon and many, many other tasks for private industry and government.
California itself has been for decades under court order to reduce the prison rolls due to the inhumane treatment of its incarcerated men and women because of prison overcrowding.  Governor Brown continues to fight against the court mandates – his latest scheme is to create a boondoggle of hoops prisoners will have to go through to get released.  At one point in its arguments against mandated release, the Brown Administration actually complained of possible financial hardship to the state should it have to hire fire fighters instead of using enslaved prisoners in that role to control the rampant forest fires in the state.
Now there is word that brave men and women who are incarcerated and enslaved in the United States from states like Alabama and Mississippi and several other states are calling for a national work stoppage on September 9.  That date is of particular significance since it is the 45th. Anniversary of the Attica State prison uprising that led to a massacre of 39 prisoners and guards at that facility – a massacre that was ordered by New York Governor Rockefeller.
What the prisoner leaders are organizing is a non-violent work stoppage – as they put it they are ending their own enslavement by refusing to work as enslaved.
Meanwhile on the outside, in New Jersey and Alabama and other places around the country, advocates of justice, decarcerators, prison reform advocates and prison abolitionists are organizing activities in solidarity with the work stoppage.  In NJ, the organizations Decarcerate the Garden State and Peoples Organization for Progress are supporting the demands of the prisoners to end the enslavement of the incarcerated and at the same time pressing other demands like freedom for all political prisoners, a 50% reduction in the state’s prison population and improved conditions in NJ facilities.   The ‘outside’ solidarity should be a model for similar actions across the country – here in California we can demand compliance with the court ordered reduction in the prison rolls once and for all.
I declare my support for the September 9 non-violent work stoppage of the prisoners and urge Inside – Outside unity and encourage people to support the efforts of Decarcerate the Garden State, People’s Organization for Progress and other advocacy groups that are organizing solidarity events on the outside as well as groups like Free Alabama Movement that are organizing the work stoppage on the inside.  Let September 9 be the beginning of a new era where we build unity with our incarcerated brothers, sisters and children and send a clear message to the politicians of both political parties.  The politicians want everyone to believe that they are against mass incarceration – but somehow year after year refuse to address the issue in any significant way.
September 9th will also prove to be a timely date to raise these issues – so close to the nation’s presidential election.  A resounding set of actions across the country on that date would send a message that we are not allowing important issues to be drowned out by the media obsession with campaigns.
                For details, you can read the call to action from Decarcerate the Garden State and Peoples Organization for Progress at this link: