Jan 20 2010
Jan 14 2010
Democracy Now spotlighted a documentary on the growing white supremacist movement in America. I watched it a few days ago. Two days after I watched it, the earthquake in Haiti happened.
Last night I woke up at about 3am and couldn’t stop thinking about something I remembered hearing in that documentary. I just watched it again to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, and yup, there it was. 14:24 to 14:38.
“We’ve got to look at a bigger picture than just the narrow problem of racist violence. They’re a constant pressure on the racial fault line in American life. They want to set dynamite on that fault line.”
Here. Watch it for yourself.
“They want to set dynamite on that fault line.”
Bloggers covering the situation have related how Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s people – very poor, very BROWN people – have no means to protect themselves. They have no autonomous intelligence or military. Brazilian peacekeepers patrol the border between their country and the Dominican Republic. Our country turns them back.
Now, hundreds of thousands of these innocent, very poor, very BROWN people… are dead.
I’m sorry. I just keep hearing that sentence ringing in my ears, over and over again.
“They want to set dynamite on that fault line.”
Jan 12 2010
There will be a protest on February 3rd against the Patriot Act, which Congress did NOT allow to sunset at the end of 2009:
With three provisions of the PATRIOT Act set to expire at the end of 2009, the House and Senate rejected a proposal, the JUSTICE Act, that would have added long overdue civil liberties protections to the many controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Other competing bills simply renewed the provisions without consideration for their significant toll on the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Americans.
Instead of passing any of these bills, Congress voted late last month to renew the expiring provisions for 60 days. Now, with calls emerging to demand even more power to monitor and spy on Americans of all walks of life, we must demand that Congress uphold our Constitution and protect our rights. As the Constitution once again finds itself with few allies in Washington, Congress is about to resuscitate a cornerstone of the domestic surveillance regime and shred what little remains of constitutional privacy.
If you are interested in participating in this protest, you can find out more here.
So while we have another 60 days of fascist surveillance in the US, it would seem that Canada’s Prime Minister has managed to shut down Parliament until March 3rd. Meanwhile, another shady security multinational with a rather poor track record is being brought in to provide security for the Olympics.
Verint, a (cough ahem) Melville, Long Island based multinational corporation (surprised? Me? Ummm… NOT!), provided faulty “security” in London during the 7/7 bombing. None of the surveillance cameras provided by this company were working shortly before and during the attack on London’s subways. They all experienced a well-timed, mysterious “outage”.
Verint was also providing “security” at the originating airports for the flights involved in the 9/11 attacks.
The Canadian Government will not be in session during the Vancouver Olympics. If a terrorist attack occurs while their government is suspended, there will be no precedent for how to respond.
This is all very clever. Elements within the United States who would want to provide genuine security for this event are rendered ineffective by the fact that the event isn’t happening within our borders. Other elements inside the United States whose primary interests are JOB security have been successful in procuring a 60 day window to continue their illegal, unconstitutional operations – and they are in place to ensure that via a major false flag attack at the Olympics, combined with conveniently timed and unaccountable “incompetence” from supposedly trusted sources, they would allowed to continue their fascist policies indefinitely. And the Canadian Prime Minister has adroitly moved the entire rest of the Canadian Government conveniently out of the way.
Ignoring this now? You might not be ignoring it later.
Jan 10 2010
I was sitting in a German beer festival tent a couple of whiles back when somewhat randomly, the brass oompah band struck up a melody and all present raised their glasses and began singing. None of us knew German, and what we all thought was very weird was the shortness of the little song. It was all, “DOO DA-DOO!” “Sing a few words!” Done! It tended to happen at random – sometimes the bands would play it during a set of other songs, and sometimes just in the middle of a long period of silence. We American noobs did not get it.
As the years went on and our knowledge of German grew a buddy of mine, Jesus Portillo guessed in his typical wiseass way that they were singing “Ein brotchen, ein brotchen!”, referring to the little dinner rolls that came with most German meals.
By then we all knew that what they were actually singing was “Ein prosit, ein prosit, gemutlicheit!”, which roughly translates to something like “A toast, a toast, to fellowship!”
Gemutlicheit is actually a lot more than fellowship or a happy party vibe. It has it’s foundations in a Northern European custom documented in pre-Christian lore as gastfriður – Guest-Joy, or gast-griður – Guest Peace. Today it is commonly referred to as gastfreundschaft or gastfreundlichkeit.
In a land where the weather can kill you, HOSPITALITY IS SACRED. So it has been for millenia, and so it is today.
To protect another person from the elements, even if he is your sworn enemy, is a holy act. To create shelters from the cold where warring tribes can be guaranteed a peaceful place to eat and sleep is the foundation of our civilization. This is why small, empty mountain lodges randomly dot the hillsides in the Alps, stocked with cots, blankets, first aid supplies, small amounts of food, water and firewood. The use of dogs to find lost travelers in these mountains predates Saint Bernard by many a century. This is the source of the catchphrases, “Check your weapons at the door.” “Take it outside.” Grendel is considered a monster for his murders by anyone familiar with the story, but even more so among Scandinavians and Germans for his violation of guest-frith, a custom which anyone who has felt the winters of Northern Europe comes away with in their very bones.
One of the reasons Christianity assimilated itself so well into the Germanic and Scandinavian cultures was that the sacrament of Communion – the sharing of food and drink as a holy act – was something the native Northern Europeans INSTANTLY and FULLY understood.
The Havamal, the Sayings of Odin the High One, is one of the most ancient and sacred sections of Heathen Lore. The very first four verses show the importance of sacred hospitality to followers of the pre-Christian faith.
Gáttir allar Before one would advance áðr gangi fram through each doorway, um skoðask skyli one must look about um skygnask skyli and peer around, því at óvíst because one can't know er at vita for sure hvar óvinir where enemies sitja á fleti fyrir sit in the hall beforehand. Gefendr heilir Greetings to the hosts, gestr er inn kominn a guest is come. hvar skal sitja sjá? where must this one sit? Mjök er bráðr He is very impatient, sá er bröndum skal the one who must sit on the firewood, síns um freista frama to test his luck. Elds er þörf There is need of fire þeims inn er kominn for him who is come in ok á kné kalinn with cold knees; matar ok váða food and clothes es manni þörf this man needs þeims hefir um fjall farit who has journeyed on the mountainside. Vats er þörf There is need of water, þeims til verðar kømr for the one who comes for a meal, þerru ok þjóðlaðar of towel and friendly intonation; góðs um œðis of good disposition, ef sér geta mætti if he can get it, orðs ok endrþögu of speech and silence in return.
There are homeless day laborers living along the railroad tracks and highways of Long Island. Most of them are undocumented immigrants. They have nowhere else to stay. People donate clothing to them but they have no place to store it, and I find it rotting all over the woods in plastic bags. They eat over open fires from pots and pans and drink from vessels creatively acquired from the local bars and restaurants.
As I came across evidence of their living in the woods while looking for bottles and cans this summer, sometimes I would rescue what I could of the clothing and wash it. Once I found one of them, sleeping under a plastic tarp. He spoke pretty fair English but was afraid of me, didn’t want any help and wouldn’t tell me his name. It can be pretty scary – you never know if these folks are out there because they might be mentally ill or on drugs, and I always carry a knife just in case. And they don’t know who the heck YOU are either, which is totally understandable. But no one should have to live like this, especially in the killing cold. Not never, people. Not never.
So today I find myself putting together a little care package for them. I found a backpack in the woods at a park this summer that apparently some thief had hidden there after stealing whatever was inside (probably a laptop from the looks of it). These guys need stuff like backpacks to store the few goods they have and keep them from rotting in the elements, so I’m going to give it to one of them. I’ve got some canned goods in there that we can afford to donate. And I’m making bread.
Back when we didn’t have much to eat ourselves, I scored a ten dollar bread machine from a local garage sale. I kept us alive with that thing for months. Making bread is a lot cheaper than buying it these days. This country still has the ability to feed the world if you play it right. We still don’t have a lot of money for food, but for ingredients worth about $20 I can make enough bread to feed a lot of these homeless guys.
It’s time this Heathen showed these right wing fascist “Christians”, these racist white pseudo-supremacists who for all their prating about the “folk soul” and the “master race” can’t even remember something as fundamental as the custom of sacred hospitality, how it’s really done.
Ein brotchen, ein brotchen… gemutlicheit. Thank you, Jesus Portillo.
As for the other Jesus, well, you’ll have to work a bit, pal, given the evident values of your numerous so-called “followers” on Long Island, to show me what I should be thankful for from you.
Photo: James Carbone, Newsday
Now, I have no case of the ass with Christians in general, just the ones who don’t practice what they preach. So I have to give credit where it’s due. Newsday reports that there’s a guy in a church in Glen Head who is collecting money and donated goods for these guys. But the funny thing about that is that I can’t propagate the information here with a direct link because you need to be a paid subscriber to Newsday in order to read the story. Interesting, no? Well I think this news needs to get the hell out there anyway, so here are the details for those who might be interested in helping out too:
January 9, 2010 By WILLIAM MURPHY email@example.com
People can donate goods or money for the homeless day laborers living in the woods in Huntington Station, the Rev. Allan Ramirez said Saturday.
Sleeping bags, gloves, hats, heavy socks and other winter wear can be left on the rear porch of the Brookville Reformed Church – where Ramirez is pastor – at 2 Brookville Rd., Glen Head, NY 11545.
Checks can be made payable to the Brookville Reformed Church with a notation that the money be used for the homeless people, Ramirez said.
Ramirez said he has already given out about 200 sets of thermal underwear, and no more of those items are needed.
Jan 07 2010
Stories that rail at members of the Obama administration for refusing to go along with the script of the latest episode of “Security Theater” lend credence to the not-so-hidden false flag agenda behind the timing of the Mighty Underwear Warrior’s performance art.
Obama’s noisome and insane predecessor was praised by these same morons for exhorting us to “go shopping” after 9/11 and for staying in a classroom reading “The Pet Goat” to them while the attacks were going on; indeed, his own Secretary of State brought shallow governmental insincerity to new lows by refusing to let Hurricane Katrina get in the way of her 5th Avenue search for designer shoes.
Given the difference in death tolls between the combined events of Katrina and 9/11 and those resulting from Deadly Captain Underpants, these paid propagandist shills who make a pretense of calling themselves journalists really should STFU.
Jan 02 2010
Hatred is your name, O beast
Who pursues the quick-moving light in the night
Hatred drives you forth to consume
That which you could never control
Which brings hope and guidance to those below
Romance and magic, and tides, and life
You know you could never match the great honor
That Mani pays to his sister Sunna
He brings Her light to where She can not fare
You live only to slay Him for it
Hatred is all that you are, O beast
Slavering fangs at the heels of the Moon-god
An endless shadow to His guiding light
The thought floods your veins like the sweetest mead
All your seething envy could end this day
If you finally take the Moon-god’s life!
Obsessed with the chase, you near your prize
With a furious leap, you seize the rider
And those below watch in awe and fear
As Mani’s blood fills the sky
Hatred is your downfall, O beast
Now as the hot wolf-blood takes you
Into pride and a lust for destruction
Beserk rage and fury your only love,
Your howling sends ice down spines
Revel in the pain of your vanquished prey
Claim credit for all of His agony
Bay with insensate joy at your triumph
And bellow in bestial rage at the Gods,
That Ragnarok is soon come!
Hatred is all you have left, O beast
For you should have been using your mighty jaws
For something other than howling!
The ways of hatred are foolish at best
Love, light and truth long outlast the unworthy
Cool was His smile and unheard were His steps
As you robbed yourself of the killing blow,
For while you exulted in your hateful victory
The hard-won prize has escaped!
Wise, silent Mani has slipped away
And the Norns shall weave for another day…
Dec 30 2009
The New York Times, responding to a coordinated call for their editors to cover the story of the Gaza Freedom March, has done so. The Washington Post has responded to a similar call by posting a more generic and sanitized Reuters version, but there’s more comprehensive coverage from Democracy Now (including an exclusive interview with Roger Waters – Code Pink meets Pink Floyd!) and Dandelion Salad, who in addition with Democracy Now have broken the story in the US that 100 marchers will be allowed access into Gaza. The marchers categorically rejected this deal as a group and insist that the entire group of 1362 activists be allowed to enter Gaza, although it was left up to individuals whether to proceed into Gaza, and some did so. Medea Benjamin clarifies:
The deal that we made with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to send a 100-person delegation found itself on rapidly shifting ground this morning. While last night the Steering Committee approved of the plan, by the early hours of the morning it had determined by a majority vote that it did not think the smaller group was a good idea. The buses went ahead with loading, but during the process word came that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry had announced to the press a very different version of the deal. Their characterization was that they had “selected” the 100 people because they were the only truly peaceful members of the delegation, which was entirely false – the group was selected on short notice to represent all nations and affinity groups as proportionately as possible. Some people got off the bus, others did not.
The buses went ahead, carrying individuals who felt compelled to travel to Gaza. The Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee encourages everyone to follow their hearts and act in good faith and love toward one another in these trying times. We will march, as coalition of nations worldwide, tomorrow here in Cairo.
Jewish Voice for Peace states that Hedy Epstein, the 85 year old Holocaust survivor and peace activist, announced that she is beginning a hunger strike in Cairo today as a response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the Gaza Freedom March participants into Gaza. Democracy Now has a short interview with Hedy in their coverage of the story. She is also featured in the NY Times photo.
Raw video from the protesters is available here.
photo: Nancy Mancias
The primary march/action is scheduled for tomorrow. The increased scrutiny from the world community is moving things in a positive direction, but the marchers aren’t all the way there yet. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! KEEP CALLING AND FAXING!
Egyptian Embassy in Cairo:
Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC:
Main phone: 202.895.5400
Press & Information office phone: 202.667.3402
Dec 25 2009
Right now, 1362 activist marchers are attempting to get into Gaza from Egypt with humanitarian aid (food and medical supplies) and toys for children.
The Egyptian government has closed the border and will not allow anyone through. CodePink is one of the organizations supporting the march, and has requested that people who want to show support call the Egyptian Embassies both in Cairo and/or Washington DC. Desiree is there with beanie babies for the children. Desiree and Liz got back to me 24 hours ago and said no, they are still not in.
Here are the numbers to call.
Egyptian Embassy in Cairo:
Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC:
Main phone: 202.895.5400
Press & Information office phone: 202.667.3402
One year after Israeli invasion of Gaza, world leaders fail to act but global citizens step forward
One year ago, the brutal Israeli 22-day invasion of the Gaza Strip shocked the world, leaving some 1,400 people dead, thousands more wounded, as well as hospitals, schools, prisons, UN facilities, factories, agricultural processing plants and some 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed.
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion, the plight of the people of Gaza continues unabated:
· Despite pledges of money for reconstruction, Israel refuses to allow in the machinery necessary to clear the rubble or the materials needed to rebuild–banning cement, gravel, wood, pipes, glass, steel bars, aluminum and tar. Many who were made homeless during the bombing are still living in tents amidst the onset of another cold winter. Desperate, some are reverting to the ancient techniques of building homes made of mud.
· Trade depends on an elaborate system of illicit and dangerous tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. The goods brought in are expensive, but they are the lifeline for the 1.5 million people who live under siege. The Israelis periodically bomb the tunnels, the Egyptians inject them with gas, and now, with U.S. technology and funds, Egypt is building a wall descending 70 feet into the ground to seal up the only trade route the inhabitants of Gaza have with the outside world.
· Recent restrictions on the transfer of gas resources into Gaza have left many without adequate means to cook or provide heating as winter deepens. The Ministry of Health says that several hospitals lack the gas supplies to provide adequate hygiene for their patients. Similar restrictions on the movement of industrial fuel into the Strip have forced Gaza’s sole power plant to drastically limit the amount of electricity.
· Water and sewage infrastructure has reached a crisis point, with tons of raw sewage pumped daily into the Mediterranean. Amnesty International recently deemed that 90 to 95 person of the water available to Gaza’s inhabitants was unfit for human consumption, and 60 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s residents have only irregular access to water. Repairs to Gaza’s overburdened sewage and water networks are largely prevented by the blockade.
· The once-steady flow abroad of many hundreds of students a year, often to pursue postgraduate studies in Western universities, has slowed to a trickle. Israel is not even allowing students from Gaza to study in the West Bank.
· Attempts at hold Israel accountable for crimes committed during the invasion have been thwarted. The September 2009 Goldstone Report recommended that if Israel and Hamas did not investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes, the case should be referred to the International Criminal Court. But US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and the U.S. Congress, condemned the report, assuring that it will not be brought before the U.N. Security Council.
In a report released on December 22 called Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses, a group of 16 humanitarian organizations detailed the ongoing suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people from Israel’s invasion and ongoing siege. “It is not only Israel that has failed the people of Gaza with a blockade that punishes everybody living there for the acts of a few,” said Jeremy Hobbs Oxfam International Executive Director. “World powers have also failed and even betrayed Gaza’s ordinary citizens.”
While international governments and UN institutions have failed their obligations, global citizens and civil society organizations have stepped forward. The past year has seen the mushrooming of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aimed at Israel. South African dockworkers refused to offload an Israeli ZIM Lines ship in February; the British bank BlackRock divested from Lev Leviev settlement projects on the occupied Palestinian territory; the Norwegian government pension fund withdrew its investments in the Israeli military contractor Elbit Systems; following the lead of South African, Irish and Scottish trade union federations, Britain’s 6.5-million member labor federation, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), called for a consumer-led boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel, specifically targeting settlement products; and Hampshire College decided to divest from several companies profiting from the Occupation.
Another group making waves is Free Gaza, which has broken the siege by bringing shipments of aid by boat. Sometimes their boats have miraculously managed to sail from Cyprus to Gaza without Israeli interference. On their last effort, however, their boat was illegally intercepted on the high seas by the Israeli Navy.
Viva Palestina, a group led by British MP George Galloway, organized a massive convoy of material aid to Gaza in a month after the attack, using public pressure to force the Egyptian government to let the convoy pass through the Rafah crossing. They sent another caravan of aid in July, and to mark the one year anniversary, Viva Palestina is bringing 210 trucks and 450 activists laden with massive quantities of humanitarian aid. It is unclear whether or not the Egyptian government will let them in.
Another creative initiative is the Gaza Freedom March. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, the Gaza Freedom March was designed to mark the one-year anniversary with a massive march to the Israeli border. Some 1,350 international participants from 43 countries are setting out for Gaza via Egypt to join with thousands of local people for the march. On the Israeli side of the border, Israelis and Palestinians will gather to join the call for an end to the siege. While the Egyptian government is refusing give permission for the international delegation to enter Gaza, the group is challenging that decision with thousands of phone calls to Egyptian embassies worldwide. They are also organizing solidarity actions in cities all over the world.
The Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, noting the world community’s failure to help the people of Gaza, cited the Gaza Freedom March and the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as “the only meaningful current challenge to Israel’s violations of its obligations as the Occupying Power of the Gaza Strip under the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter.”
As the year-end brings horrifying memories to the Palestinians in Gaza, we hope they recognize that grassroots groups the world over are not only thinking of them, but actively organizing to lift the siege that makes their lives so difficult.
Medea Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is cofounder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange.
Please help them out and call today to urge the Egyptian government to LET THEM IN! Peace and prosperity for ALL!
Dec 18 2009
The time has come, hasn’t it? Who wants to? There are enough of us in and around the NYC area that this can and should happen.
Figured I’d toss the option out there. People are saying we need to organize, and I agree. Let’s be about it.
Who dares to lift frosty libations in T3H R34L W0RLD(tm) (giggle) with the little Eileen?
F2F needs to start happening if we want to become a serious force for good and for change.
Suggestions for places to have it welcome.