Sunday, August 30, 2015

"An American In Syria" by guest blogger John Mesler

An American in Syria

John Mesler
8/30/2015

In 1955 Alcoa was the first big sponsor to drop the Edward R. Murrow Show. Alcoa didn't just make aluminum cans. They made parts for our military fighter jets. Murrow spoke out against the communism fear mongering tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy and eventually more corporations dropped his show. Now those companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, GE, and Honeywell, to name just a few, own the mainstream media TV and papers and decide what "news" we, the American public get to hear. By 1961 we were warned by President Eisenhower about the Military Industrial Complex but not enough of us were paying attention. The truth does eventually get out, however. As I write this piece, recently retired Lt. General Flynn (who also served as chief of the Department Intelligence Agency), admitted that the US has been supporting al-Qaeda with money and weaponry. Isn't that the same group we held responsible for attacking us on 9/11 in the first place?

Has the word "terrorism" simply replaced the word "communism?” Have corporate and government interests finally found a way to keep Americans completely in the dark in order to justify an exponentially increasing defense budget? The numbers indicate that between 20 and 25 cents of every federally taxed dollar goes to the DOD, the largest public employee in the US. Some suggest its double that if you include intelligence spending such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and the National Security Agency (NSA), etc. Even the Senate committees aren't really sure what the NSA budget is. The second largest public employee is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with over 300,000 employees across its 3 branches. Like most Americans I was too busy working and had little reason to doubt the media until I retired at the end of 2011 from my local municipal government job. It was now time to began my own research.

I soon discovered we were hearing half-truths at best and wrote a few articles. Some were published and found their way to Dr. Declan Hayes, an Irish peace activist academic. He read them and was interested in what I had to say.


Dr. Declan Hayes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

SPEAKING TRUTH TO EMPIRE with DAN YASSEEN




On “Speaking Truth to Empire” on KFCF 88.1 Free Speech Radio for Central California. Dan Yaseen interviews Finian Cunningham; he is an author, columnist and a media commentator who was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. Now based in East Africa, he writes extensively on international affairs. His articles appear on many websites; Global Research, Counterpunch, information Clearing House, Veterans News Now and RT.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Confronting Sexism on the Left (SOAPBOX PODCAST 8/23)


CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX
AUGUST 23, 2015






GUESTS: CHERYL BIREN, LISA BLANK,
ANITA STEWART
TOPIC: CONFRONTING SEXISM ON THE LEFT



 This is one of my personally favorite discussions since I started The Soapbox.

I invited these three friends on The Soapbox after they wrote a LETTER to the organization Veterans for Peace asking for clarifications after VFP made a public STATEMENT about transgender. Almost immediately, after I wrote a message of support for the quest of Cheryl, Lisa, and Anita, I was attacked with much vitriol as you will hear in the show.

This is a discussion about radical feminism, queer theory, male supremacy, sexism, transgender politics, sexual assault in the military, and safe spaces for all. 

COMMENTS ON THE LETTER:

As a woman Veteran and a survivor of military sexual assault I am disappointed that Veterans for Peace is refusing to provide a safe place for biological women Veterans. Women Veterans deserve to have their voices and concerns heard. We also need a safe space just for us to help us connect with other biological women veterans that went through similar experiences while serving our nation. 

I was one of the Veterans that helped write the letter but due to fear of retaliation and abuse from those at VFP who are opposed to a safe space for biological women Veterans only I am choosing to remain anonymous. Veterans for Peace seems to care about creating Peace for everybody other than those in their organization who are biological women.



I'm a VfP member. I'm a man who supports, strongly, for a very long time women-determined spaces, for women.

All of us who are war veterans are unwilling participants in male driven wars, all of which , at their most fundamental, are directed at women, their ideas, requirements, desires.  The rest is just excuses and looting.
The fact VfP folded in front of the demands of a small "vanguard" clique once again pushing mens agendas so easily, while resisting for decades the requests of many VfP women and men speaks volumes.... another attack on women's autonomy, spaces, legitimate desires. If you are going to be another combatant in the war on womankind, i'm out. 

Another member of VFP (confirmed)

My name is William Clark. I am a retired Marine Sgt. and a member of Veterans For Peace, The Winter Soldier Chapter, Phoenix, AZ. This is an issue most men and most male dominated organizations would prefer to ignore. Personally, I wish the issue would just go away--- but it won't--- not in my lifetime. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, women have been subjugated by male dominated societies and institutions. I'm a male and part of the problem. I'm working on it, not sure I'll ever change completely- but I'm trying. Veterans For Peace need to address this issue--- now. As long as they sidestep it... they are a part of problem as much as anyone or anything else and will continue to be. I am embarrassed by VFP's neglect concerning this issue. I am proud of the work of the Women's .Alliance and support their efforts. I hope the VFP, an organization I am, in all other regards, proud to be a member of will address this issue.

From a female veteran we know who at one point considered joining VFP:I never became a member of VFP due to problems I had seen in a local chapter. I had heard misogynistic remarks made by some members which also did not make me feel very welcome, especially when I think of why I left the military. It just was not an environment I ever felt completely comfortable with. Having said that, I do think there are some individual members that do good and needed work. Thank you for sharing and taking a brave stand for women.
~Holly




Thank you so much for bravely entering this fractious arena. I support this letter and I support safety for everyone. Ellen Barfield





SUPPORTING ARTICLES:


Governor Cuomo is Afraid of Nipples | Mickey Z.

Photo credit: Mickey Z.Photo credit: Mickey Z.
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust.
Aug. 23, 2015

The Aug .19 Newsday headline blared: CUOMO JOINS IN CALL FOR CRACKDOWN ON TIMES SQUARE’S TOPLESS HUSTLERS

From these 11 words, we can first learn that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn’t know the laws in his home state. (A 1992 decision by New York State's top court ruled women have the legal right to go topless, yet Cuomo recently declared, “I believe it’s illegal.”)

More importantly, we can also learn that Cuomo is afraid of nipples. Female nipples, to be more precise. Wait… who am I kidding? It’s not just fear, it’s hatred. 

Cuomo -- like so, so, so many humans dwelling within the confines of a misogynist, male supremacist, patriarchal dominant culture -- hates women. (As does Newsday.)

Here’s what has everyone so riled up: Women wearing body paint instead of a shirt have joined the countless -- the seemingly incalculable -- characters hitting up tourists in Times Square to take a photo with them for money.

At Newsday, however, this late-stage capitalism tactic is presented as a “proliferation of topless women” (well within their legal rights, I remind you) who are “prowling” Times Square, “hustling” passersby. 

Yeah… those same passersby gleefully lining up for photos.

Side note: No word yet from the corporate media on their feelings about the far more prolific sight of men wearing heavily-muscled costumes of Batman, Superman, etc. “hustling” tourists. (Don’t hold your breath.)

As misogynistic as such reporting is, New York’s governor took things further by labeling the painted women a “symbol of degradation” that is “infringing on legitimate businesses.” The outraged Cuomo called Times Square “a symbol of the renaissance of New York City” and subsequently claimed that a mere handful of women in body paint were denigrating what is “supposed to be a tourist attraction, family-friendly.”

To make certain no one would ever underestimate how much he fears nipples and hates women, the 57-year-old Cuomo dutifully reminded us, “Forty-second Street was a symbol of degradation in New York City and in New York State” -- an area, Newsday chimed in, that “had long been notorious for peep shows, sex shops, and drug dealing.”

So… let’s re-cap: 


It was men who created the urban nightmare of Times Square

It was men who turned Times Square into a rape culture hub of pornography, prostitution, and exploitation. 

It was men who pushed such debasement underground and replaced it with gaudy temples of consumption.

It was and is men who practice necrophilia… but somehow it’s women -- a few of them wearing body paint -- who prowl and infringe and degrade those family values Gov. Cuomo holds so dear to his heart?

NAME THE PROBLEM: The painted women are not the hustlers. They are the superfluous, left adrift by a predatory economic system. The real hustlers are the taxpayer-subsidized corpo-criminals devouring everything in sight. It’s their game so they define the rules; they define freedom (sic) and choice (sic) and what passes for freedom of choice.

“Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us,” wrote Andrea Dworkin. “One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice.”

In such a corrupt and rigged environment, a small group of women made a choice to legally expose their breasts to an increasingly leering and lecherous general population and conveniently, they’ve become the scapegoats. Yes, they made a choice to earn money this way but it was a choice made from an ever-dwindling inventory of options. 

Men too make choices,” Dworkin concluded. “When will they choose not to despise us?”

Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recentlyOccupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.



Creative Commons License
 

"Governor Cuomo is Afraid of Nipples" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
 

Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/governor-cuomo-is-afraid-of-nipples-mickey-z.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vegan Misanthropy is Specieist and Ignores Patriarchy by Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Aug. 20, 2015


Every now and then, goddesses help me, I make the rounds of high- and low-profile vegan and animal rights social media pages. 

Without fail, I am greeted with a wide array of “humans suck” or “I only care about animals” posts. I guess many of these compassionate, ahimsa types take their cues from St. Gary of Misanthropy:




(deep sigh)


Vegans, if you actually want your “movement” to advance beyond intolerable fringe status, it might help to recognize that advocating for human extinction is not the most effective form of outreach. 

In addition, you boast of your anti-speciesist status but, um…you’re publicly and consistently expressing contempt or even hatred for an entire species


Most importantly, though, is what you’re not saying. Yes, the dominant culture is responsible for raining down 24/7 carnage upon all forms of life, but to lump all humans together without analysis or nuance is to ignore the foundation upon which all exploitation, oppression, and violence grows: male supremacy.


Vegans like to pronounce that “speciesism” is the root of all evil but to believe that is to reveal a rather tenuous grip on how the dominant culture was formed and continues to thrive. In other words, writing “humans are a cancer” on a post about animal abuse does not come close to naming the problem: Patriarchy and its two tentacles (white supremacy and capitalism) have unleashed the plague of Male Pattern Violence upon the entire planet. 


The numbers are as shocking as they are real. The violence that rises virtually unchecked from a foundation of male/white/class supremacy and has brought us to the brink of collapse. Thus, recognizing and challenging Male Pattern Violence is the core work of all social justice movements. Without such context, we’re in Titanic/deck chair mode.


Oh, one more thing, vegans: I already mentioned how hating on humans is, by definition, speciesist. But since different types of plants are called “species,” and we happily grow and kill these plants to eat, well…isn’t that textbook speciesism?

Oops, it appears speciesism isn’t actually a thing.


Suggestions for Veganism 2.0:

  • Let go of the speciesism myth
  • Stop alienating potential allies
  • Name the problem
  • Join the bigger struggle

#shifthappens


Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recentlyOccupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

Creative Commons License
 

"Vegan Misanthropy is Speciesist & Ignores Patriarchy" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/vegan-misanthropy-is-speciesist-ignores-patriarchy-

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"What is, Is." by Cindy Sheehan

Andy Sheehan kissing the coffin of Casey Sheehan before it is lowered into the grave

"What is, is"

by Cindy Sheehan
August 16, 2015

Obviously, April 04, 2004 changed my life forever. 

Even if I hadn't become an internationally (in)famous peace activist, I still never would have been the same after my oldest child, my son, Casey was killed in another Imperial war for profit and domination of natural resources.

If a person hasn't had the dreadful experience of being "regretfully" (yeah, right) informed that he/she has unnaturally outlived a child, I will try to explain it to you: it's like having your heart ripped out of your chest, spindled, mutilated, stomped on, yet, somehow, you survive that profound shock. As a mother, I can assure you, dear reader, that childdeath is far more painful than childbirth. 

Anyway, I survived the initial shock and the numbness (and alcohol consumption) that got me through the first week: Casey's body being returned to us in the shipping department of United Airlines in a cardboard box. His funeral detail wasn't even there with us: he was picking up his rental car. I sat on the curb of the loading dock sobbing my eyes out while my oldest child, my love, was being treated like a box of whatever. There was no honor guard, but that is fitting because there is exactly no honor in dying for a bloodthirsty and greedy Empire.

The first year was the toughest for me. There were many times that I wanted to take the entire bottle of sleeping pills that an unenlightened MD had prescribed for me. The only thing preventing me during that darkest of times was my surviving children.

I heard many platitudes from well-meaning, but unintentionally cruel people. "He's in a better place." "You'll see him again." "Time heals all." And, my personal "favorite:" "At least he died doing what he loved." However, the only platitude that really spoke to me during that whole time was, "What is, is."

Because "what is, is" just says it all in three words. No matter how I raged against the fact that Casey was dead and no matter how I raged against the machine that killed him, we (not just I) existed in a certain reality: One where wars were (and still are) being fought; occupations were/are being courageously resisted, and sons and daughters were/are being killed, or maimed for life. 

"What is, is" partially liberated me from the guilt and regrets I was having. As a human with memories and biological urges to protect my children, I can still look back and pick and choose the places I "went wrong" and long for an alternate reality where I made better choices and Casey was still alive. However, that is "stinkin' thinkin'" and an exercise in futility; "what is, is" forced me to look ahead and see what I could do to help others not have to go through what Casey and our family was/is going through.

I have heard from so many people around the world who positively affirm my work. Casey's sacrifice and my reaction to it have changed lives and, if Casey is dead and "what is, is," to me, helping others is our human duty and I feel satisfied that we did/are doing just that.

Now, our family has a new "what is, is" situation. My sister, best friend, and peace-partner, Dede Miller has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I am her primary caregiver and, I don't mind saying (without going into too much detail), it's not that easy. Again, with human nature, we are flooded with platitudes (and much good advice) and with my human nature, I am looking back on the last many years when I tried to get Dede to make healthier lifestyle and dietary choices. I don't know if it would have prevented her cancer, but I know if she followed my pleadings, she would have been much stronger to fight it.

"What is, is" comes back to me, not "water under the bridge." Water is water and how do we know we aren't looking at the same water going under that same bridge? Simply put, now we are existing in a reality where Dede has cancer and where we are put into numerous situations on a daily basis that give us an opportunity to help others who don't have the same access to information and support that we have.

I have been able to share with other cancer patients about the effective (proven) alternative therapies and many times, sitting in an infusion center (chemo or Vitamin C) with others is like having a mini support group and many wonderful interactions have already occurred.

This past week when Dede was undergoing chemo, I walked into the infusion center and looked up and I saw two old friends that I used to go to church with here in Vacaville before Casey was killed. The man is retired military, so, through the grapevine, I had heard that he was extremely upset with my antiwar activism.

As soon as I saw "Bill and Judy," I rushed over and saw that they were sitting with their son and he had been recently diagnosed with liver cancer. We hugged and cried and I was able to give them information about "Radical Remission" and the phone number for our alternative doctor. At that moment, politics didn't matter. The current wars were even further away and we connected in a very real and human way. It was a terrible situation in which to have a reunion, but "what is, is," and I think we found healing and tapped into a universal love for family and each other. Maybe, we'll put on our gloves and spar about politics later, but there is a time for every purpose, turn, turn, turn.

Here I am getting all metaphysical and philosophical, but, cancer is about the most real sh#t we face. It must be dealt with, but one needs to find hope and peace of mind in the midst of each battle. 

While dealing with the cancer and the cancer industrial complex is our current battle, it has also become another way for Dede and I to repay some "karmic" debt for being human, and to help others.

That's who we are; that's what we do. 

Dede and Cindy skipping in Waynesville, MO (Tour de Peace, 2013)





Creative Commons License




Jimmy Carter: Just Like All the Rest | Mickey Z.

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

LINE UP OF WAR CRIMINALS


Aug. 16, 2015

Former president Jimmy Carter recently revealed he’s been diagnosed with cancer, so please let me clarify: this is not an article designed to kick anyone when they’re down or celebrate such a diagnosis for anyone. On the contrary, I wish him well in his journey through the cancer industry.

So, why am I choosing this particular time to address the Carter hagiography?

Well, firstly, he’s back in the news and that means the whitewashing in is full effect -- and with Bernie Sanders currently riding the latest wave of liberal delusion, it’s as dangerous as ever to ignore historical reality. 

Also, when even an anti-TransPacific Partnership (TPP) page is misrepresenting Carter’s record, it’s time to provide context before anyone else lionizes him -- or any Democrat

 Soul Man
 
During the Carter Administration, the United States had a president who claimed that human rights was "the soul of our foreign policy" despite making an agreement with Baby Doc Duvalier to not accept the asylum claims of Haitian refugees. His duplicity, however, was not limited to our hemisphere; Carter also started earning his Nobel Peace Prize in Southeast Asia. 

In Cambodia, the sainted Carter and his national security aide, Zbigniew Brzezinski, made an untiring effort to find peaceful solutions by initiating a joint U.S.-Thai operation in 1979 known as Task Force 80, which for 10 years, propped up the notorious Khmer Rouge under the all-purpose banner of anti-Communism. 

Interestingly, just two years earlier, Carter displayed his deep respect for human rights when he explained how the United States owed no debt to Vietnam. He justified this belief because the "destruction was mutual." (Hmm… do any of you recall being bombarded with napalm and/or Agent Orange?)

Moving further southward in Carter’s efforts to advance democracy and human rights, we have East Timor. This former Portuguese colony was the target of a relentless and murderous assault by Indonesia since Dece. 7, 1975... an assault made possible through the sale of U.S. arms to its loyal client-state, the silent complicity of the American press, and then-Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan's skill at keeping the United Nations uninvolved. 

Upon relieving Gerald Ford -- but strategically retaining the skills of fellow Nobel peacenik Henry Kissinger -- Carter authorized increased military aid to Indonesia in 1977 as the death toll approached 100,000. In short order, over one-third of the East Timorese population (more than 200,000 humans) lost their lives due to war-related starvation, disease, massacres, or atrocities. 

Closer to home, Carter also bared his gentle soul in Central America: As William Blum details, in 1978, the former peanut farmer attempted to create a "moderate" alternative to the Sandinistas through covert CIA support for "the press and labor unions in Nicaragua." After the Sandinistas took power, Blum explains, "Carter authorized the CIA to provide financial and other support to opponents." Also in that region, one of Carter's final acts as president was to order $10 million in military aid and advisors to El Salvador. 

A final glimpse of "international co-operation based on international law" during the Carter Administration brings us to Afghanistan, site of a Soviet invasion in December 1979. It was here that Carter and Brzezinski aligned themselves with staunch anti-Communists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to exploit Islam as a method to arouse the Afghani populace to action. 

With the CIA coordinating the effort, some $40 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars were used to recruit "freedom fighters" like (wait for it) Osama bin Laden. 

The rest, as they say, is history. 

“Least Violent”
 
Was Jimmy Carter, as Chomsky once said, “the least violent of American presidents”? Perhaps. But have our standards dropped to the point where we meticulously rank the criminals who inhabit the White House? Will we ever eschew electoral deceptions and instead recognize and accept and name the big picture problems, e.g. white supremacy, capitalism, male supremacy and Male Pattern Violence?

To paraphrase something I recently wrote: If you think Jimmy Carter was once the answer or you believe Bernie Sanders is now the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on ActivismUntil the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here and hereAnyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
Creative Commons License
"Jimmy Carter: Just Like All the Rest" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/jimmy-carter-just-like-all-the-rest-mickey-z.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Another Mother Bear (Part 2) (SOAPBOX PODCAST/ AUGUST 16, 2015)


GUEST: Leslie Boyd
TOPIC: US DEATH CARE SYSTEM




Leslie

 Today, Cindy again chats with Leslie Boyd.



Leslie's son Michael Danforth died on
April 1, 2008 due to lack of health
insurance and access to quality care.
Leslie has become a healthcare advocate
from her loss and has founded

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Nationalist Faith by Anthony Freda

Why is truth so unpopular?
 
I always naively thought that most people would value and seek out the truth.
I thought that when the lies that took us to Vietnam and Iraq were exposed that people would give a closer and more skeptical inspection of the pretexts that are contrived to 
manufacture our consent to the next war.
 
I thought that people would see through the discredited propaganda techniques used to exploit our fears and atavistic tribal instincts by the war makers.
 
People would surely see the same perverse playbook is used again and again to convince us that the immoral, irrational and counterproductive solution of war is a
moral, rational and effective way to solve problems, right?
As an infamous war maker once said 
'I got it wrong.'

I thought that God and country were separate, but they are merged into a religio-politcal cult in reality.
 
God has sanctified the US as his representative on Earth, and our wars are physical manifestations of his will to root out and destroy the evil-doers.
 
If we must become evil to fight evil, so be it. We have been ordained by God.

We Had to drop the bomb on Japan to end WW2, there was no other way.
We Had to kill 3 million people in Indochina or the commie dominoes would fall.
We Had to invade Iraq and destroy millions of lives and create chaos, because Saddam was bad man.
We Had to decimate Libya and rain havoc on the people, because Gaddafi was bad man.
We Have to eliminate evil in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia because our historical destiny is to kill the devil through endless, holy warfare.
 
Our slaughters are not sins, but devotions to God, and noble, righteous acts of humanitarianism.

To be fair, Every tribe believes They are God's chosen. There are currently 50 wars waging on Earth.
The US is not exceptional in it's nationalist faith, 
only in it's power to physically manifest God's will and spill the blood of his enemies on a global scale.