Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truth About Killing Children Is The First Casualty Of 21st Century Wars

Photo credit: Omar Sobhani/Reuters, published by Al Jazeera next to Oct. 28 article "Afghans fear being left out in the cold"
Whether killing children by cold and starvation, as "collateral damage" in drone strikes, by targeted assassination via drone, or for generations to come by poisoning the land, the U.S corporate war machine profits. The moral imbeciles who run the companies draining the Treasury at the expense of young humans everywhere will not stop until one of two things happens: the people rise up and quit cooperating with the system (women's strike anyone?) or Mother Nature swamps the machinery of evil with floodwaters so they grind mercifully to a halt.

I woke up this morning thinking about the epic flooding of Wall St. yesterday by the biggest storm in recorded history. I wondered who would clean up the mess, and I realized that Halliburton or some other war profiteers were probably already wining and dining the people who can award those contracts. Perhaps 2012 will be the turning point where this sort of thing begins to end.

Meanwhile, people with their humanity still intact were busy organizing relief for residents of afflicted boroughs in NYC. Here's a tweet from Occupy Wall St. with directions on how you can help if you're so inclined:
If you're on the Lower E. Side & in need, text us at (646) 580-7473 or visit if you have internet.
Why not warmth? is being organized by the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Voices for Creative Nonviolence as winter approaches. According to Kathy Kelly, who lives in Kabul for a month at a time several times a year, women there can be paid to create comforters, or duvets, that will be distributed to families in need:
 A harsh winter is on its way following last year's January that killed over 100 small Afghan children, 26 of them in Kabul's overflowing refugee camps...If you’d like to help with outreach and fundraising, welcome aboard! Checks can be made payable to Voices for Creative Nonviolence, with “duvet project” written in the Memo section and sent to Voices at VCNV, 1249 West Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640.
One of the many news items that galled me before Hurricane Sandy hit was this report on an Obama administration spin doctor explaining why killing a 16 year old U.S. citizen by drone strike in Yemen was okay.
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was 16 when assassinated by a drone.
From Ryan Grim blogging in Huffpo:
A 16-year-old American boy killed in an Obama administration drone strike "should have [had] a far more responsible father," Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs says in a new video released by the group We Are Change.

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda propagandist killed by a U.S. drone a year ago. But the child was killed in a separate strike some two weeks after his father was killed..."I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don't think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business," Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, told the interviewer from We Are Change, when asked to justify "an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial -- and, he's underage, he's a minor."
 Esquire ran an in-depth piece on the incident if you want to know more: "The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama."

The assertion that it is okay to kill kids if you disagree with their parents' political views has been made before. You may remember Bradley Manning, still in jail for allegedly having leaked via Wikileaks this video of U.S. soldiers shooting down on civilians COMING TO THE RESCUE of other civilians they have just shot. One of the men in the helicopter is heard observing that there are kids in the van they have just shot up. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle," says his buddy. Those kids survived the attack, but their father did not. I guess it was his fault for trying to help Reuters journalists who were injured in a battle.

The moral rot at the heart of the U.S. empire continues to eat away at what's left of our soul.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moms Offer Hope, Call To Action: Lullaby For The Earth

Today I am sharing an inspirational message from my friend Janet Weil's friend, activist Betsy Rose:
Hello Friends!

Green is the perfect color for announcing this beautiful new song/video on parenting and climate change,  "Lullaby For The Earth"-a haunting rewrite of the classic "Hush little baby don't say a word".

Frances Aubrey and I created this video with the intention of convincing people to vote for earth-friendly candidates. The lullaby and accompanying website are nonpartisan, and focus on the moral dimension of our response to climate disruption.

We want 100,000 people to watch this video before the election. Please send it to everyone you know, especially friends and relatives in swing states! Also any environmental lists or websites that would post it.

We hope that the song and images touch your heart, and  activate fresh ideas of ways you can join the powerful grassroots responses to industries and corporations that are threatening the health of our planet, our children, and their children.

The earth we leave our children will be a measure of our love for them. It is time to act, out of love for children and for the earth they’ll inherit.

Yours for a bright future for generations to come!

Betsy Rose

Our world is too dangerous for anything but truth
 And too small for anything but love.

-- Betsy Rose
Paper Crane Music
Berkeley, CA 94709

Saturday, October 20, 2012

9/11/12 Ushers In Phase II Of Endless War On Terror

Children harmed by drone strikes, from "'Lesser-evil' politics demoralize and demobilize progressives: reviewing the failed strategy of the pragmatics" in Liberation News
So the CIA wants more drones, because terror is breaking out all over the place. But maybe the Pentagon will get them instead. So reports the servile Washington Post, with bland reference to death wishes:
"...bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said."
When the names associated as "deciders" with these agencies change in merry-go-round fashion, with Panetta leaving the CIA to head up "defense" while Petraeus switches over from directing the Afghan war to heading up the CIA drone program, does it matter to the average struggling taxpayer which of these powerful, bloated weapon aggregators gets the next shipment of flying killer robots?

The justification for ramping up U.S. bombing of people all over this Earth is, conveniently, the so-called "war on terror." Anyone older than a high school kid remembers how it was launched post 9/11/01, and how not only a whole lot of military hardware got deployed, and people got killed and their lives ruined, but a whole lot of civil liberties supposedly sacrosanct to our form of government got erased, too. Habeus corpus and  the right to not have your phone conversations monitored without a warrant are two that spring to mind.

Democracy Now! coverage of the arrest of Green party candidates trying to enter the debates.
Now, 11 years down that road, how to characterize the binding with plastic of third party candidates for president and vice president Stein and Honkala when they tried to enter a debate held  at a university? FOR 8 HOURS!!!! I guess indefinite detention about covers it.

How is it that self-proclaimed liberals can still support a regime that does shit like that?

Because they are drinking the pap of manufactured news, on a daily basis. The outbreak of violent demonstrations at U.S. embassies thousands of miles apart (London to Indonesia, and a whole lot of places in between) which included the slaying of an actual ambassador and his staff who had mysteriously traveled to an unsecured "consulate" compound in Benghazi, away from the more secure embassy compound in the Libyan capital, is the new 9/11.

Call it 9/11/12. It's a violent and dangerous world. The president has no choice but to bomb people all over the place. It's to keep you safe.

So is giving drones to law enforcement agencies. Because they are so very good at keeping people safe!

How will the government pay for all of it? I did hear that the president announced that Social Security will get an overhaul if he gets re-elected. Maybe some of the money will come from there. Also from Medicare. And cuts to education, social services, and infrastructure repair.
The president and his Democratic allies say that Republicans have put at risk the nation’s defenses. | AP Photo
Just don't cut the weapons manufacturing industry! On that, the false dichotomy of Republicrats and Dempublicans agree.

Austerity, here we come.Infographic: Household Incomes Decline, Poverty Rates Flat - Share This!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

#PowerofWe = You + Me Standing Up For All Of Us

Hey, Bibi, where's the red line on ethnic cleansing? Theft of water rights? Israel's nuclear weapons program?
I am a day late joining in National Blog Action Day which is about right considering I have a full time job, I spent the entire weekend in action with CODEPINK Greater Boston helping to Expose AIPAC at their national summit, and I lost my cell phone one week ago today.
Exposing AIPAC consisted of different actions in solidarity with Palestinian activists in the Boston area, including a teach-in plus distributing cleverly designed faux brochures from the American Israeli Program for Ethnic Cleansing aka AIPEC.

Outside action on Sunday included some of the Occupy participants renting bicycles and circling the Seaport Hotel after a score of state police, Homeland Security guys and Boston PD officers kicked us off the sidewalk because it is "private property, owned by Massport." Probably illegal, but eight people were allowed to continue protesting at the doors while the rest of us were chased off around the block.
At the teach-in with Kristin Szremski of American Muslims for Palestine.
I had a lot of fun helping organizer Ridgely Fuller make posters featuring Mass. Senator Scott Brown posing in the buff for Cosmopolitan because he was one of many politicos coming to the AIPAC summit to pay homage to the big bucks AIPAC pours into campaign coffers.
Back in March when Obama spoke at AIPAC's conference in Washington DC he told them the U.S. relationship with Israel is "sacrosanct." Wow. I guess that means war with Iran, since AIPAC has been beating that drum and stirring up alarm at Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons program in recent months. One of the best signs in Boston (which unfortunately covered me with still wet paint before I realized it) was AIPAC: If you liked Iraq, you will love Iran. That's a reference to the lobbying that led Congress to authorize war against Saddam Hussein and his non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

The #PowerofWe was on display as writers, musicians, academics, journalists, occupiers, protesters, along with Codepink women from Maine and western Massachusetts, joined forces to bring some truth to light. Mainstream media? Absent. But together we, the people, can share energy and real information to effect change.

We are unstoppable, another world is possible!
Photo from March, 2012 in Washington DC Occupy AIPAC.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Three Season Catalog of Stuff Obama Supporters Say

No October surprise here -- the president's apologists keep saying they support him no matter how deep the bullshit gets. Bradley Manning? Dr. Jill Stein? They don't know who you're talking about.

If the president is in favor of nuclear power, fracking and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership then they must be good -- right?

If you're not a terrorist, why should you be worried about the NDAA and indefinite detention?

Why does the president use so many drones to kill people around the globe? To keep you safer. That's all you need to know.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Voices Raised Around The World Tell @BarackObama #NODrones !

It is great when we find ways to break through the propaganda barrier and bring some truth into the people sitting on the couch waiting for the television to tell them what they think.

If we're lucky, a few minutes of truth leak into a long piece on worshipful crowds squealing at the sight of the president's van, as happened in San Francisco at yet another fundraiser on Monday.

If we're really lucky, the spot runs on both the 6pm and 11pm news, and on affiliate stations.

But for this activist, being our own media is every bit as important. Notice how Regis Tremblay's Truth TV coverage of our drone die-ins is both more artistic than mainstream tv coverage, and more revealing of how to do such actions in your community. His voiceover provides context, and instead of showing himself as a talking head, he squeezes in a few more images, keeping the total time under five minutes for a crisp upload that others can help share. What Regis' video above demonstrates most eloquently is the power of teamwork in our quest to bring truth to our fellow citizens.

More great teamwork, by the crew that traveled to march against drones in Pakistan, ably reported in Common Dreams by CODEPINK'S Medea Benjamin and Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy:

Citizen diplomacy in Pakistan’s tribal areas: "You are welcome!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

#NoDrones Actions From #Maine to SF Supporting March in Pakistan

Screen shot of coverage by NBC Channel 13 News available online here.
Around 40 activists and independent media folks joined CODEPINK in Portland, Maine yesterday for an anti-drone action directed by political theater student Phui Yi Kong of Bowdoin College.

The scene above is in front of One Canal Plaza where Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have offices (a private security guard told us to get on the public sidewalk eventually). We proceeded to a busy intersection across from the art museum where President Obama held a ritzy fundraiser protested by Occupy Maine a few months back, and then to his campaign headquarters. That office, which is obscurely located far from downtown, was locked up tight.

No matter, because in San Francisco our rocking CODEPINK sister Kristin was delivering a ground the drones petition with thousands of signatures to the president at a fundraiser there!

Our action in Maine also drew attention to the Waziristan march in Pakistan, where 32 members of a CODEPINK delegation joined thousands of Pakistanis concerned about drones killing civilians there. That effort has gathered extensive international press attention which makes it a success even though the march was turned back at the border of Waziristan by Pakistan army troops.

WMPG and WERU radio plus Occupy Maine TV also covered our street theater in Portland yesterday so more coverage will be along in a day or two.
Screen shot of coverage by NBC Channel 13 News available online here.

Screen shot of coverage by NBC Channel 13 News available online here.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

#NoDrones Killing Civilians! Codepink Marches To Waziristan

Drones are finally flying into view of the mainstream media in the U.S. CNN gave the Codepink-led delegation to Pakistan coverage yesterday, perhaps because the group is going to be brave enough to march into Waziristan, which has seen so many deaths by drone.
"Code Pink, a rights group from the U.S. are in Islamabad to protest U.S. drone attacks in northern Pakistan." Source: CNN
"We are here to say, on behalf of those Americans with a conscience, that we apologize to the people of Pakistan for the killing and suffering" caused by the drones, Medea Benjamin, one of the founders of Code Pink, said at a news conference Thursday in Islamabad.
Of course I love it when my activist allies get some press, but I'm even more thrilled that lately articles on militarized drones make reference to a powerful academic study of how drones have affected people living under their menacing presence.
... a study released last month by Stanford Law School and New York University's School of Law said the drone attacks had killed far more people than the United States acknowledges, traumatized innocent residents and been largely ineffective. Civilians account for a significant portion of those killed, the study said.
Codepink and other anti-drone activists have teamed up with the photogenic Imran Khan, soccer star turned politico, for the march. They've curtailed the route somewhat but still plan to rely on agreements from locals to protect them as about 1,000 people march peacefully to the affected area in Pakistan, a tribal zone on the border with Afghanistan, whose people have suffered their own share of deaths by drone.

You can read news from the march, which begins on Oct 7, the 11th anniversary of the day the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, here. Also take action to reach out with Codepinksters to help some of those injured by drone strikes:
Thanks to all of you who donated so generously to our medical aid fund for survivors of drone attacks.  There’s still time to contribute if you haven’t already. Every dollar counts. Donate here.
Drone shrapnel -- imagine what this does to a child it lands on.