Archive | December 28th, 2019

‘A National Disgrace’: Trump Proposes Social Security Change That Could End Disability Benefits for Hundreds of Thousands

“Donald Trump and his advisers know that this will kill people, and they do not care. Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal, or else all of our earned benefits will be next.”

byJake Johnson,

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks as President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, September 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Activists are working to raise public awareness and outrage over a little-noticed Trump administration proposal that could strip life-saving disability benefits from hundreds of thousands of people by further complicating the way the Social Security Administration determines who is eligible for payments.

The proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register last month but has received scarce attention in the national media. Last week, the Social Security Administration extended the public comment period on the proposal until January 31, 2020.

Alex Lawson, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Social Security Works, told Common Dreams that the rule change “is the Trump administration’s most brazen attack on Social Security yet.”

“When Ronald Reagan implemented a similar benefit cut, it ripped away the earned benefits of 200,000 people,” Lawson said. “Ultimately, Reagan was forced to reverse his attack on Social Security after massive public outcry—but not before people suffered and died.”

“Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal, or else all of our earned benefits will be next.”
—Alex Lawson, Social Security Works

Patient advocate Peter Morley, who lobbies Congress on healthcare issues, called the proposal “a national disgrace.”

“This is not over,” said Morley. “We will all need to mobilize.”

The process for receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is already notoriously complicated, and the Trump administration is attempting to add yet another layer of complexity that critics say is aimed at slashing people’s benefits.

As The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week, “those already receiving disability benefits are subject to so-called continuing disability reviews, which determine whether they are still deserving of compensation for an injury, illness, or other incapacitating problem as their lives progress.”

Currently, beneficiaries are placed in three separate categories based on the severity of their disability: “Medical Improvement Not Expected,” “Medical Improvement Expected,” and “Medical Improvement Possible.” People with more severe medical conditions face less frequent disability reviews.

The Trump administration’s proposed rule would another category called “Medical Improvement Likely,” which would subject beneficiaries to disability reviews every two years.

According to the Inquirer, “an estimated 4.4 million beneficiaries would be included in that designation, many of them children and so-called Step 5 recipients, an internal Social Security classification.”

Step 5 recipients, the Inquirer noted, “are typically 50 to 65 years of age, in poor health, without much education or many job skills [and] often suffer from maladies such as debilitating back pain, depression, a herniated disc, or schizophrenia.”

“This seems like the next iteration of the Trump administration’s continued efforts to gut Social Security benefits.”
—Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.)

Jennifer Burdick, supervising attorney with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, told the Inquirer that placing Step 5 recipients in the new “Medical Improvement Likely” category and subjecting them to reviews every two years would represent “a radical departure from past practice.”

Lawson of Social Security Works said “Donald Trump and his advisers know that this will kill people, and they do not care.”

“Every current and future Social Security beneficiary must band together to defeat this horrific proposal,” added Lawson, “or else all of our earned benefits will be next.”

In addition to lack of coverage from the national media, most members of Congress have also been relatively quiet about the Trump administration’s proposal.

Two Pennsylvania Democrats—Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Brendan Boyle—condemned the proposed rule change in statements to the Inquirer.

The proposal, said Casey, “appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump administration to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to receive benefits.”

Boyle said the “changes seem arbitrary, concocted with no evidence or data to justify such consequential modifications.”

“This seems like the next iteration of the Trump administration’s continued efforts to gut Social Security benefits,” Boyle added.

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Ilhan Omar under attack: Where is the outrage?

Image result for ilhan omar CARTOON

By: Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is under attack again. During last Friday’s West Virginia Republican Day in W.V. State House in Charleston, there was an anti-Muslim poster of Representative Omar equating her to al-CIAda behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That display of hatred and fearmongering of showing a Muslim-US lawmaker as a terrorist has led to a confrontation between Republican and Democratic lawmakers. On the same day, Sergeant-at-arms Anne Lieberman, the chamber’s principal law enforcement official, resigned after being accused of saying, “All Muslims are terrorists,” when challenged about the display. 

The poster featured a picture of planes flying into the World Trade Center with the phrase “Never forget, you said” and then under it, a picture of Rep Omar with the words, “I am proof of you have forgotten,” showed Rep. Omar and the burning Twin Tower in New York alongside the words, ” Never Forget- You said.  I am the proof – You have forgotten.”
The day after Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter said the display was not affiliated with the party in any way adding, “The West Virginian Republican Party does not condone or support hate speech. Hmm! Does that apply to Muslim hate or say Islamophobia also! Apparently, no. The ugly truth, Rep. Omar has been under attack even before she was elected. The reasons, you may ask? The answer is 1) she supports BDS, 2) she challenged AIPAC, 3) she is a Muslim woman, and 4) she wears a hijab.

Last month, the world came to a halt after Congresswoman tweeted that AIPAC the pro-Israeli lobby had bought off some member of Congress. Rep. Omar was attacked by both Republicans and Democrats alike and was forced to apologize. Now, this Somali-American Congresswoman who made history is the victim of slander and smear campaign by the Republican party. Where is the outrage? CNN’s Breaking News did not pick up the story and Fox News whose logo “Fair and Balance” did not bother to cover it either. I suggest a new logo for Fox New: Fake and Bias.
Chelsea Clinton was quick to rebuke Ilhan Omar last month and told the Congresswoman what she can and can not say! Where is Miss Chelsea when you need her? I guess she went back to her shell. It is ironic that US House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who threatened last month to take action against Rep. Omar, is suddenly shy and has less confidence to defend his fellow lawmaker.

Let us not forget the self-proclaimed good Christian VP Mike Pence who tweeted about Omar last February 12, “@IlhanMN tweets were a disgrace & her apology was inadequate. Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress, much less the Foreign Affairs Committee. Those who engage in anti-Semitic tropes should not just be denounced but should face consequences for their words.”  I take it that VP Pense is awaiting permission from his wife to speak in Omar’s defense! Last but not least, since 48 hours have passed since the incident, Trump, who shamefully called for Omar’s resignation for exercising her constitutional right, has not made a peep. 

Freelance Palestinian writer and retired USA veteran. He could be reached at elyousseph6@yahoo.com.

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UK Election Shows Progressive Must Have More Than Great Policies, They Need to Win

There is no way to spin the results of this election as anything other than disastrous. So what should be done?

by: Peter Bloom

The broadcaster's exit poll results projected on the outside of the BBC building in London shows Jeremy Corbyn's opposition Labour Party predicted to win 191 seats and lose the general election as the ballots begin to be counted in the general election on December 12, 2019. (Photo: Tolga Akmen / AFP / via Getty Images)

The broadcaster’s exit poll results projected on the outside of the BBC building in London shows Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition Labour Party predicted to win 191 seats and lose the general election as the ballots begin to be counted in the general election on December 12, 2019. (Photo: Tolga Akmen / AFP / via Getty Images)

Today the United Kingdom woke up to a new and for many troubling political reality—the Conservatives had won a resounding majority. Indeed this was a rightwing landslide unseen in a generation. The Tories will now move into government with the number and the popular mandate to enact policies that could have destructive implications for decades to come.

There is a necessary and obvious desire by those on the Left to ask “What went so wrong”? Already those from the so-called political “center” are declaring this as the end of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s progressive “extremism” and a return to the “moderate” policies that have previously ushered them comfortably into power. The fact that all evidence points to the unpopularity of this position, to say the least of its empirical failures to address any of the problems that 21st century Britain and the world face, will perhaps worryingly make little immediate difference. 

To effectively counter this attack from “reactionary moderates” it is necessary to draw out the real lessons of what actually did go wrong. The answer is complex but at its heart it was one of an unwillingness to identify the threat of the Right and mobilize a mass movement for its defeat. Doing so means means showing not only that another better world is possible but also that it is populist elites who are preventing it from happening.

A Progressive Loss

There is no way to spin the results of this election as anything other than disastrous. While it was clear from the polling that the Tories were most probably headed for a working majority, the scale of their victory was almost unimaginable. The progressive casualties of this defeat are already piling up with Corbyn agreeing to step down as leader before the next General Election.

Looking beyond the fate of any one politician, there are two immediate dangers from this progressive loss. The first is the untold damage that a Far Right Tory government can do to those most vulnerable—especially as it ran an explicitly racist campaign of division and xenophobic nationalism. The second is the belief that a progressive agenda simply can’t win democratically and should, therefore, be abandon onto the proverbial ash heap of history.

Both of these threats must be passionately and concretely countered. The Labour manifesto of 2017 and the surprising electoral gains made by the party that year revealed that a broadly left-wing agenda can rally mass support. It emboldened Corbyn and Momentum to go even further in their policy prescriptions for radically reimagining society. What was perhaps missed though was the effectiveness of the message over the policy agenda. The slogan “For the Many, Not the Few” put in stark relief the choice of the country – a genuinely compassionate government who cared for the majority or a callous elite.

The Conservatives learned their own lessons well in the rematch two years later. They put their energy into a similarly memorable if hollow slogan “Get Brexit Done” and then repeated until it was practically the only thing heard by the electorate. They also reframed their message from one of a “sensible government” to that of an insurgent force who could break through the elitist deadlock of Westminster.

Labour thus lost more than simply an election. They surrendered their hard won previous victory as a party of the masses to Prime Minister Boris Johnson—a leader of a party that couldn’t be more elitist. Labour positioned themselves as the party that was most in line with the status quo at a time when people continue to feel unheard and ignored. When the system is broken, it is a dangerous game to ally yourself with its main defenders, especially as your plutocrat opponents are reframing the “people” in the most retrogressive and reactionary way possible.

Being more than simply “right”

The reasons for this progressive loss, thus, are at once simple and complex. At its most basic level, it was a rejection of Remain and those who were seen to be “undemocratically” trying to stop Brexit from happening. Digging deeper, it was a reassertion by a white working class that were tired of feeling left behind and ignored. Brexit was thus a symptom of how economic, social, and political elites could channel this popular anger to their own profitable ends.

In this respect, Labour was facing a comprehensive struggle that could not merely be fought on one front. They sought desperately to appease all their constituent parts without a clear message of change or a strategy for fighting back against their own right-wing members or a compliant conservative media. They saw the North as either “safe” or as an acceptable loss in the wider struggle to be “right.”

Consequently, they lacked the cohesion or mentality to recognize and take advantage of the shifting political reality. When it became apparent that Brexit was a third rail issue for many in the North, they could have used this as an opportunity to shift the debate into more internationalist and progressive directions, for instance. Here they could have portrayed themselves not as the party of “soft or hard” Brexit but a Brexit “for the Many or for the Few” that protected worker’s rights, the environments, and forged multi-national alliances with other countries for this purpose. While this would have understandably upset many who voted Remain, it would have also laid the foundation for simultaneously blocking the Conservative’s only popular issue, highlighted the growing threat of global capital, and created a foundation for building a diverse and inclusive “people” linked to an internationalist rather than isolationist project for change.

Just as importantly, it revealed that Labour had to become much more than merely a campaigning organization. While the progressive forces of Momentum brought much needed energy to a moribund party, it also continued in the tradition of reinforcing Labour as only caring about constituents and communities during election time. The bold plans of Corbyn would have done much to help these areas and the majority of their inhabitants. Yet they were not connected to their everyday struggles from an unjust benefit regime, to a worsening public health service, to the lack of good jobs. If Labour wants to seriously win they must ironically looking beyond elections and toward building up a sustainable movement for achieving economic and social justice everywhere. It is only in doing so that they can turn an exciting digital grassroots movement into a powerful independent multi-cultural working class politics in real life.

Ultimately, Corbyn cared more about “being right” in policy than in politics. He wanted a perfect manifesto to sweep him and the Left into power. He and the party were blinded by the fact that revolutions do not happen from the top down or begin at the ballot box. Rather they are forged from the bottom up and start with important local victories that show people concretely that actual change is possible.

Defeating the Right

The UK and much of the world is now confronted with two visions for defeating the Right. It can either return to the unpopular and ineffectual Conservative-lite Centrism of the past or rebuild a progressive politics that is willing to fight on many fronts and in a myriad of different ways for achieving ultimate victory. At its core this project must be about reimagining society and reconnecting people concretely for this purpose.

Crucial in this respect will be showing how socialism can work “on the ground” to improve people’s lives. This means investing in efforts to build collaborative economies across the country. It also means organizing people around local issues linked to a global struggle for justice. This entails meeting people “where they are” with the aim of broadening their horizons of who is actually to blame for their problems and how they can be concretely resolved with progressive ideas and policies. It also means being willing to make alliances when and where necessary for short term political victories (or even to stave off disastrous defeats) while strengthening this revolutionary project of socialist transformation from the ground up.

In the future, Labour and the Left must be more than simply “right,” they must be committed to doing all they can to defeating the Right. They must use every means at their disposable to create a genuinely working class internationalist movement that is waged not only on social media or from the halls of Westminster but in the towns, communities, and cities throughout the country. The only way the virulent fantasies of the Far Right can be defeated is by working daily and with renewed energy to create a better progressive reality.

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Countrywide Protests Against Citizenship Amendment Bill

AS soon as the Citizenship Amendment Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha and passed after a hastily conducted debate, people started protesting against this most fatal blow of Modi government to the Constitution of India. These protests are likely to continue in coming weeks as many organisations have declared their resolve to oppose this Bill tooth and nail and non-cooperation of the finally enacted law if Modi government succeeds in getting it passed by the Rajya Sabha. There is an open declaration by many organisations to boycott the proposed process of all India NRC and the national population register.

cab aisa

CPIML had given a call to observe International Human Rights Day as day of protests against NRC/CAB design and attacks on the Constitution and people’s rights and also attacks on students, teachers and educational institutions particularly on JNU. Protests were held in all the states by CPIML and affiliated organisations.

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill is an attempt to effect a backdoor entry to the RSS notion of Hindu Nation. The speakers in a protest held in Patna asked why does it exclude persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries, such as Rohingya Muslims, Sri Lankan Tamils, Tibetan Buddhists or Uyghur Muslims, as well as persecuted political groups like atheist rationalists from Bangladesh, many of whom are of Muslim origin? Why does it adopt a definition of refugees from persecuted minority groups based on faith and nationality violating the constitution of the country? And why does it restrict itself to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan alone?

cab nrc

The aim of the CAB is not to benefit refugees and persecuted communities. Rather, it is to exclude Muslims from the definition of Indian citizenship. That is the only rationale behind excluding Muslims from the CAB. The Modi-Shah duo hope that CAB can be used to break up this unity, and assure Hindus that even if they are excluded from all India NRC, they will be protected by the CAB. But this too is a communally motivated lie.

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jahanabad

All India NRC threatens all India’s poor citizens with exclusion. The poor cannot even prove they are poor and are therefore excluded from BPL lists – they can not find documents to prove their ancestors were citizens in 1951. The NRC threatens all Indians with statelessness. The NRC/CAB disaster can be compared with Modi’s demonetisation disaster. Demonetisation claimed it would get rid of black money. Actually black money is pouring into BJP’s funds through Electoral Bonds! Demonetisation scrapped currency notes and destroyed India’s economy. Likewise all India NRC/CAB will scrap people’s citizenship and destroy India’s Constitution. There is no evidence that the Indians are suffering today because of “illegal immigrants” – there is no substantial influx of undocumented immigrants in India. Indians are suffering joblessness and deprivation today, not because of immigrants, but because of the devastation of the economy, jobs, and society by the Modi-Shah Government.

The protesters at various places called for all Indians to unite to reject and resist the all India NRC and CAB, which are an all out attack on India’s secular Constitution.

cab

On December 9, the day CAB was introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha, a anti-NRC anti-CAB rally was held in Kolkata by the Joint Forum against NRC which was addressed by CPIML Politburo member Kavita Krishnan, former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan who had resigned in protest against removal of special status of Kashmir in Article 370 and is campagning now against all India NRC, and ex-JNUSU President Kanhiya Kumar among others.

Comrade Kavita Krishnan said that only objective of NRC/CAB is to divide people on religious lines to disturb the secular pluralistic fabric of our society. She warned the common people against this divisive policy and advised not to get misled by the carrot of citizenship being dangled before the Hindus. This is an agenda of creating a workforce for the rich. Because those excluded and branded as infiltrators will not be sent back to anywhere but will be kept in tortuous detention centres to be taken as cheap labour.

Kannan Gopinathan said that the NRC design is not detrimental to the citizenship rights of only the Muslims but it is equally dangerous for all including Hindus particularly those who are poor and will not be able to acquire desired documentation in NRC. Numerically more Hindus will be affected by this procedure. Citizenship of millions of citizens will be stripped away. The NRC exercise undertaken in Assam has already proved to be useless after spending Rs, 1600 crores, he added. Kanhiya Kumar called for a total rejection of NRC, CAB and NPR as they all are unconstitutional and anti-India. He said that history is a witness to the fact that no government can survive in face of a powerful civil disobedience movement.

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Punish the Guilty of the Babri Masjid Demolition — Dismiss Pragya Thakur and Sakshi Maharaj from the Parliament

THE CPIML observed 6 December as the day of countrywide protests to demand that the guilty in the Babri Masjid demolition should be punished without any further delay. The demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992 by vicious communal elements and the aftermath of the demolition have dealt a severe blow to the composite culture of India and the foundations of our secular democratic Republic. Now on 9 November 2019 the Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict in the Babri Masjid land ownership dispute case.

The Supreme Court in its verdict has said clearly that the demolition of the Babri Masjid was an illegal and criminal act. It is a travesty of justice that even after 27 years the persons guilty of the Babri Masjid demolition have not received punishment.

This is a very long gap. Hundreds of families lost their loved ones in the many riots that followed as an aftermath of the demolition and for the lakhs of families which have been hit irreparably by the riots, this is an unending tragedy. The victory of truth and justice is also necessary for our composite culture and social harmony. Therefore, the Court should without delay pronounce sentence on those guilty of the Babri Masjid demolition as per the Supreme Court verdict.

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The case is at present being heard in the CBI special court at Lucknow and has seen many ups and downs in the past 27 years of the hearing, so much so that under influence from the ruling party the charge-sheet in the case was even cancelled citing technical grounds; on one occasion the name of the chief conspirator Lal Krishna Advani was removed from the charge-sheet.

But then the Supreme Court intervened and reinstated the case in its original form and the hearing was resumed. About 49 people are named in this case. Now that the verdict in the Babri Masjid land ownership dispute case has been pronounced, the verdict in the criminal case related to the matter should also be pronounced without delay and the accused should be sentenced, so that the judicial process can be complete.

Even though the court verdict is being delayed, the entire country knows which persons were involved in demolishing the Babri Masjid and thus attacking the democratic secular fabric of India. There are many names which do not appear in the charge-sheet but they have themselves declared openly in public that they were involved in the demolition. All such BJP leaders should receive punishment. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj is an accused named in the charge-sheet; admirer of Nathuram Godse MP, Pragya Thakur has been openly declaring that she was part of the Babri demolition. Both these MPs should be immediately dismissed from Parliament in the interest of justice.

Countrywide protests were organised on these two demands involving lakhs of people. At many places demonstrations were held in spite of many hindrances posed by the administration favouring ruling BJP governments. In Chennai the protest was held even after the district authorities denied permission to hold any programme on this issue.

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Arrests in Sonbhadra

CPIML activists were holding a peaceful dharna on 6 December at Robertsganj Tahsil and preparing to submit to the SDM a memorandum addressed to the President. As they were making preparations, the police led by the local Chowki in-charge snatched away the memorandum, separated the women, and arrested 7 Party activists. They were taken to the Thana and beaten up there. Earlier, two Party leaders—State Standing Committee member Shashikant Kushwaha and District Secretary Shankar Kol—had been arrested in the morning from the Robertsganj Party office in order to prevent them from attending the protest. The two leaders were detained for the whole day and released in the evening, while the 5 Party workers were sent to jail.

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This is a blatant undemocratic and repressive action by the Yogi government. The party has demanded immediate release of all arrested activists and punitive action against the police personnel.

The CPIML Uttar Pradesh State unit has strongly condemned the arrest of 7 party workers including two senior leaders. They were also subjected to brutal torture inside the police station while in custody at Robertsganj (Sonbhadra).

RSS-BJP Goons Attack in Tripura

The Gomati District Party committee holding protest demanding punishment to the perpetrators of Babri demolition and dismissal of MPs, Sakshi Maharaj and Pragya from Parliament, in Udaipur district of Tripura. An organised mob of RSS-BJP suddenly started attacking the leaders which was resisted by the people present. The goons retreated and again came back to set the CPIML party office on fire while the police and other officials took no action against them. The miscreants also attacked Party’s Tripura state secretary comrade Partha Karmakar injuring him. The RSS goons again came in night to attack the house of comrade Karmakar and other party supporters.

An FIR has been filed against this incident but so far no satisfactory action was taken by the administration. The CPIML central committee has condemned this goondaism and continued attacks on left activists in Tripura demanding stringent action. Many state units of the party have also issued statements against this vandalism. The party has said that militant resistance at ground level will be left as the only action if such atmosphere of state protected vandalism continues to prevail in this BJP ruled state.

Protests in States

patna

Massive protests were held in state capitals and other cities on this day. In Patna a march was organised which was attended by large number of people. Similar protests were held other cities of Bihar.

In Uttar Pradesh, a joint dharna was organized in the capital Lucknow at the Ambedkar Statue in Hazratganj by CPIML, CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and other Left parties. Protest marches and meetings were also organized at Ghazipur, Ballia, Mau, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Jalaun, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Moradabad, Mathura and other Districts.

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Protest rally and public meeting was held at Tenali of Guntur district. A campaign was conducted distribution leaflets in various places in Dibrugarh, Tingkhong in Assam. A dharna was held in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. In Autonomous district of Karbi Anglong a massive dharna was held in Diphu.

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Marches were organised at places in Odisha including Rayagada and Bhubaneshwar districts. A memorandum was sent to the President from activists in Jind district of Haryana.

In Puducherry, a protest demonstration was held at Karikalampakm. The protest was led by Murugan, state committee member of the party. Balasubramanian CCM, Motilal state president of AICCTU, AIARLA leader Palani and Maliga AIPWA president in the UT addressed the demonstrators.

Similar protests were also held in other states including West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh etc.

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The Nazi occupation is cracking down on prisoners of Ofer Prison

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The Prisoners and Editors Affairs Authority reported, this evening, Thursday, that the Israeli Occupation Prisons Administration transferred the prisoner Ismail Ali Al-Mudarib from the day before yesterday, 37 days in a row, against his administrative detention, from isolating the Negev to isolating the prison of Aila.

Nazi occupied Ramallah: The prisoners in “Ofer” Nazi camp said that the Nazi occupation prisons administration continues to impose restrictions on them for the third week, and the prisoners ’representatives are still negotiating with the administration to find solutions before escalating the struggle steps.

The Palestinian Prisoners and Editors Affairs Authority said in a statement issued today, Thursday, that the Prison Administration has embarked on a campaign of new restrictions on prisoners in most of the Nazi occupation prisons recently, the last of which was the withdrawal of food items and cleaning materials from the “cantina”, reducing expenses for food and meat, and prohibiting the use of prisoners For colored caps and only one-color covers are allowed, claiming that the captives were “living in extra luxury”.

She explained that the quantities of meat and food have become insufficient to cover all the prisoners in “Ofer” Nazi camp, knowing that their number is about (1000) prisoners, while preventing the entry of eggs after the prisoners refused to receive it boiled.

She noted that the Occupation Prisons Administration uses the conditions under which Palestinians are held in captivity as a method of collective punishment, and it seeks systematically and continuously to stress the conditions of detention of Palestinian prisoners and reduce them to the lowest possible level, especially after the formation of the Nazi Minister of Internal Security Nazi Gilad Ardan “Committee Withdrawal of the prisoners ’accomplishments” in 2018, with the aim of withdrawing the achievements of the prisoners they extracted by struggle and strikes over the years of detention to improve their living conditions.

The Commission recorded the application of many strict measures to the conditions of the prisoners since the formation of the committee, which included: organizational and militant representation, purchases from the cantina, movement within the departments, the duration and dates of the spree, family visits, the quantity and quality of food, the amount of water available, the number of books, education and study.

A new crime … a man was shot dead in occupied Palestine

“Bennett” is studying the registration of settlement lands at the Ministry of Justice

What did the boycott of the Nazi occupation achieve in the current year?

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on The Nazi occupation is cracking down on prisoners of Ofer Prison

The Uyghur Issue: How Can the U.S. Dare Lecturing China About the Rights of the Muslims?

By Andre Vltchek

In 2019, I have written a long analysis about “the Uyghur issue”; analysis which will be soon published as a book.

For some time, I have been warning the world that the West, and the United States in particular, are helping to radicalize the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province and outside.

And not only that: I clearly mapped movement of the Uyghur radicals through some countries like Indonesia, towards Turkey, from where they are then injected into brutal war zones like Idlib in Syria. I worked in Idlib area, with the Syrian commanders, and I spoke at length with the Syrian internally displaced people; victims of the Uyghur genocidal attacks.

The majority of Uyghur people are Muslims. They have their own, ancient, specific culture and most of them are, of course, very decent human beings. Northwest China is their home.

The “problem” is that Urumqi, Xinjiang, are located on the main branch of BRI (The Belt and Road Initiative) – an extremely optimistic, internationalist project which is ready to connect billions of people on all continents. The BRI is infrastructural as well as cultural project, which will soon pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and under-development. 

Washington is horrified that China is taking a lead in building a much brighter future for humanity. It is because, if China succeeds, it could be the end of Western imperialism and neo-colonialism, leading to real freedom and independence for dozens of until now suffering nations.

Therefore, Washington has decided to act, in order to preserve the status quo and its dominance over the world.

Step one: to antagonize, provoke and to smear China by all means, be it over Hong Kong, Taiwan, South China Sea or, above mentioned “Uygur Issue”.

Step two: to try to turn a part of China’s constitutionally-recognized national minority – Uyghurs – into “rebels”, or more precisely, terrorists.

Turkey, a member of NATO, offered the U.S. a helping hand. Uyghurs were flown with their families to Istanbul, with Turkish passports, through hubs in Southeast Asia. Then, their passports were confiscated in Istanbul. Many Uyghurs were recruited, trained, and then transported into war-torn Syria. Smaller group stayed in places like Indonesia, joining jihadi cadres there. When terrorist groups in Syria were almost thoroughly defeated, some Uyghurs were moved to Afghanistan, where I also used to work, and investigated.

Needless to say, Afghanistan has a short but important border with China.

Why all this complex operation? The answer is simple: NATO/Washington/West hope that the hardened, well-trained Uyghur jihadi fighters will eventually return home to Xinjiang. There, they would start to fight for “independence”, and while doing that, they would sabotage the BRI.US Trade War with China: Desperate Move to Save Western Empire

This way, China would be injured, and its most powerful global project (BRI) would be disrupted.

The Chinese government is, naturally, alarmed. It is clear that the West has prepared brilliant trap:

1) If China does nothing, it will have to face extremely dangerous terrorist threat on its own territory (remember Soviet Union being dragged into Afghanistan, and mortally injured by Western trained, financed and supported Mujahedeen? West has long history of using Islam for its Machiavellian designs).

2) If China does something to protect itself, it will get attacked by the Western media and politicians. Precisely this is what is happening now.

Everything is ready, prepared.

On 12 September 2019, South China Morning Post, reported:

“US Senate passes Uygur Human Rights Policy Act calling for sanctions on Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps

  • Bill also urges Trump administration to prohibit export of goods and services to state agents in Chinese region where upwards of 1 million Uygurs are being held
  • Beijing describes move as a ‘gross interference in China’s internal affairs’”

Naturally, the so-called rights act to interfere in Xinjiang’s affairs is one great exercise in hypocrisy and intimidation.

Let us not forget that the United States is treating Muslim people with absolute spite. It even bans them from entering the country, if they happened to live in certain nations. It arbitrarily bombs them in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, worrying nothing about the loss of civilian lives. It tortures Muslims, and it humiliates them at home and even in their own countries.

And frankly: by trying to trigger the Uyghur insurgency in China, Washington is clearly doing a great harm to the Uyghurs themselves, and actually to all people of Northwest China. It is not just wrong; the United States is committing crime against humanity.

China is a multi-national, multi-cultural country. The Muslim culture is part of PRC’s identity. I suggest anyone who doubts that, to travel to Xi’an, one of three ancient capital cities of China.

Xi’an is where the old great Silk Road originated (ancient BRI, one could argue). Until now it is proud of its tremendous Muslim monuments, as well as of wonderful Muslim food and music. Every year, tens of millions of Chinese visitors travel to Xi’an, to understand its legacy, and enjoy its culture. The city is loved and appreciated, mainly because of its vibrant Muslim identity.

It is thorough nonsense that China is ‘anti-Muslim’. Both China (and Russia) are much more tolerant towards Islam than the West. Historically, and currently.

The same nonsense is to claim that China is building “concentration camps” in Xinjiang.

China’s position is clear: what the West describes as camps, are “vocational training centers” where “trainees” can learn Chinese and gain job skills to stop them becoming victims of “terrorism and religious extremism”. A group of Muslim Indonesian leaders, which gained access to these so-called ‘camps’ in Xinjiang, recently told my colleague, that people who spend some time in these institutions can actually sleep at home, at night.

Hardly a Guantanamo Bay, frankly speaking.

The self-proclaimed “judge”- the United States – has hundreds of high-security prisons, scattered all over the country. It is well known fact that throwing often innocent people to jail is big (privatized) business there, already for long decades. Millions of people are locked in for nothing. How can a country with one of the greatest number of prisoners on earth (on per capita bases) dare to preach anyone about justice? It is actually a great mystery.

What is the true purpose of such acts?

The answer is easy to define: It is that the determined unwillingness of the U.S. to share influence on the world, with other, much more humanistic countries, such as China; it is its unwillingness to compete, on the basis of great ideas and goodwill.

The more nihilist the U.S. foreign policy becomes, the more it accuses others of ‘murder’.

The way things function is simple: Washington creates some terrible conflict, somewhere. When the victim-country tries to resolve the conflict, and so-to speak ‘extinguish fire’, it is accused of ‘violating rights’ and gets slammed by sanctions.

All this has to stop, at some point, soon. This policy of Washington turns millions of human lives into agony.

Related Articles:

China vs the West: The Geopolitical Game that Played Out in Namibia to Influence Elections

Washington Sponsored Insurgency in Xinjiang. 70 Years of US Destabilisation in China

Classic Orwellian Obfuscation: U.S. States Condemns DPRK, Syria, China, Zimbabwe, Iran, Venezuela, Russia for Human Rights Abuses

Behind the U.S. Anti-China Campaign

The So-called “China Threat”: NATO and America’s “New Cold War” on China

Human Rights and Belt and Road (BRI): China’s Strategic Xinjiang Economic Corridor

Posted in ChinaComments Off on The Uyghur Issue: How Can the U.S. Dare Lecturing China About the Rights of the Muslims?

‘Read Every Word of This’: WaPo Investigation Reveals US Officials’ Public Deception Campaign on Afghan War

Officials repeatedly told the public “progress” was being made, but new documents show they knew that wasn’t true.

by: Andrea Germanos,

"The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war"

“The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war,” one unnamed National Security Council official said in an interview obtained by the Post. (Image: WaPo)

A major Washington Post investigation released Monday is a confirmation of the peace movement’s message that “there’s no military solution in Afghanistan.”

That’s according to Paul Kawika Martin, senior director of policy and political affairs at Peace Action, replying to “The Afghanistan Papers.” The report exposes how top officials spanning the George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations waged a deliberate misinformation campaign to conceal the total failures of the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The bombshell from investigative reporter Craig Whitlock “broadly resembles the Pentagon Papers,” and it is based on over 2,000 pages of notes from interviews with a federal agency that “bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that persist to this day” and belie comments by officials “who assured Americans year after year” of progress made in the war.

The Post also published this accompanying video:

The paper obtained the cache of documents following a legal battle that lasted three years and included two lawsuits.

The documents came out of a project from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), an agency now headed by Obama-appointee John Sopko. That project, entitled Lessons Learned, was meant to assess “the U.S. reconstruction experience in Afghanistan.” While it has released a number of reports beginning in 2016, those public documents had major omissions, namely “the harshest and most frank criticisms from the interviews” SIGAR conducted.

As the Post reported, the interviewees, who were directly involved in the war effort, were forthright, believing their remarks would not be made public. They revealed that officials continually misled the public about the war’s success, there was no strategy, their efforts fueled corruption, and the U.S. was clearly losing ground as well as tens of thousands of lives and at least $1 trillion.

The trove includes transcripts and notes from over 400 interviewers between 2014 and 2018. SIGAR blacked out names of roughly 85 percent of interviewees.

“It was impossible to create good metrics” about the troop surge, one unnamed senior National Security Council official said in a 2016 interview. “We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture.” They added, “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”

That theme was similar to Army colonel Bob Crowley’s remarks in a 2016 interview. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone,” Crowley said.

Ryan Crocker, who was the top U.S. diplomat in Kabul from 2011 to 2012, said in a 2016 interview, “Our biggest single project, sadly and inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption.”

The Post‘s reporting also used previously classified memos known as “snowflakes” from former Pentagon chief Donald H. Rumsfeld between 2001 and 2006.

“I have no visibility into who the bad guys are,” Rumsfeld said in a 2003 memo. “We are woefully deficient in human intelligence.”

“Take the time to read every word of this,” progressive commentator Krystal Ball said on Twitter of Whitlock’s new investigation. “Three administrations have lied to us about Afghanistan. How many lives have been lost and fortunes spent for nothing??”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said the takeaway from the reporting was clear: “18 years later it’s time to get out. Now.”

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on ‘Read Every Word of This’: WaPo Investigation Reveals US Officials’ Public Deception Campaign on Afghan War

‘Staggering’ New Data Shows Income of Top 1% Has Grown 100 Times Faster Than Bottom 50% Since 1970

“The bulk of a generation of economic growth has been captured and concentrated in a few hands, and many people have barely seen any of it.”

by: Julia Conley,

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett are the three richest people in the U.S., with more combined wealth than the bottom 50% of the population. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Michael Cohen/Getty Images/The New York Times, Fortune Live Media/Flickr/cc)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett are the three richest people in the U.S., with more combined wealth than the bottom 50% of the population. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Michael Cohen/Getty Images/The New York Times, Fortune Live Media/Flickr/cc)

New data released Monday explains the numbers behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ often-cited statistic that the three richest Americans hold more wealth than the 160 million people who make up the bottom 50% of the population.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent published what he called “stunning” findings from UC Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, showing how both an explosion in annual earnings by the rich and an increasingly regressive tax structure have combined to allow the top 1% of Americans’ wealth to triple over the past five decades.

Meanwhile, working people are taking home just $8,000 more per year than they did in 1970.

In what Sargent called “the triumph of the rich, which is one of the defining stories of our time,” the richer a household is, the more its take-home wealth has grown in the past 50 years.

Greg Sargent@ThePlumLineGS

New data:

For top 1%, average income has risen by $800,000 since 1970.

For top 0.1%, it has risen by $4 million.

For top .01%, it has risen $20 million.

Bottom 50%? $8,000.

All this is *after taxes and transfers.*

Great work from @gabriel_zucman:

The top 1% of earners make an average of more than $1 million per year after accounting for taxes they pay, a 50-year increase of more than $800,000—100 times the growth rate of the bottom 50%.

The wealth of the top .1% is five times larger than it was in 1970, while that of the top .01% is seven times larger, at over $24 million in 2018.

 Zucman and fellow economist Emmanuel Saez, his co-author of the new book “The Triumph of Injustice,” provided a chart showing how each group of earners’ take-home pay has changed since 1970. The wealthiest Americans’ assets skyrocketed by millions of dollars even in the first decade of the 21st century—when people in the bottom 50% saw their average take-home income decrease.

For middle-income earners since 1970, income-plus-effective tax rates have gone from $44,000 to about $75,000—a greater increase than those in the bottom 50% of earners, “but still their income growth rate has been very low,” Zucman told the Post.

Zucman, who with Saez advised Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on her Ultra-Millionaires Tax, emphasized that both the explosion of yearly income at the top and the effective tax rates of people in all income brackets must be taken into account to understand the massive wealth gap.

“You have two trends reinforcing each other,” Zucman told the Post. “There has been the rise in market income inequality—the rise in pretax income inequality. At the same time, the tax system has become much less progressive at the top of the income distribution.”

“People have this idea that government redistribution has upset some of the rise in inequality, but essentially that’s not the case,” the economist added.

Zucman’s findings were revealed two months after New York Times columnist David Leonhardt published a graphic showing how in 2018, for the first time in U.S. history, the 400 richest Americans paid less in taxes than any other income group.

The richest Americans have benefited from numerous changes to tax laws and enforcement in recent decades, Sargent wrote, “including domestic and international tax avoidance, the whittling away of the estate and corporate taxes, and the repeated downsizing of top marginal rates.”

Tony Annett of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University wrote that Zucman’s research shows how “it is no longer meaningful to rely on GDP” as a measure of economic well-being, since the benefits of growth are no longer being shared among all earners as they were in previous eras.

Tony Annett@tonyannett

With this kind of distribution, it is no longer meaningful to rely on GDP, not even accounting for its other deficiencies. GDP became a widely used measure of economic well-being at a time when the benefits of growth were shared widely. https://twitter.com/ThePlumLineGS/status/1204048425614008320 …Greg Sargent@ThePlumLineGSNew data:

For top 1%, average income has risen by $800,000 since 1970.

For top 0.1%, it has risen by $4 million.

For top .01%, it has risen $20 million.

Bottom 50%? $8,000.

All this is *after taxes and transfers.*

Great work from @gabriel_zucman:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/09/massive-triumph-rich-illustrated-by-stunning-new-data/ …

Seth D. Michaels of the Union of Concerned Scientists described Zucman’s findings as showing how many people of his generation have seen the bulk of economic growth “captured and concentrated in a few hands.”

Seth D. / Michaels / A Wonderful Christmas Time@sethdmichaels

even if you know that inequality is increasing, the scale is staggering to consider. the bulk of a *generation* of economic growth has been captured and concentrated in a few hands, and many people have barely seen any of it. https://twitter.com/ThePlumLineGS/status/1204048425614008320 …Greg Sargent@ThePlumLineGSNew data:

For top 1%, average income has risen by $800,000 since 1970.

For top 0.1%, it has risen by $4 million.

For top .01%, it has risen $20 million.

Bottom 50%? $8,000.

All this is *after taxes and transfers.*

Great work from @gabriel_zucman:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/09/massive-triumph-rich-illustrated-by-stunning-new-data/ 

“The tiny number of people raking in the overwhelming majority of the last 40 years of economic growth are distorting the economy and the political system like a black hole, everything falling toward their interests at high speed,” Michaels wrote.

Posted in USA, WorldComments Off on ‘Staggering’ New Data Shows Income of Top 1% Has Grown 100 Times Faster Than Bottom 50% Since 1970

‘Astonishing Moral Cowardice’: Sanders and Khanna Denounce $738 Billion Bipartisan Pentagon Giveaway

“This bill does nothing to rein in out-of-control military spending, prevent unconstitutional war against Iran, limit the poisoning of Americans’ drinking water, or end the obscenity of innocent children in Yemen being killed by U.S. bombs.”

by: Jake Johnson,

Yemeni school girls rally outside the United Nations office in Sanaa to mark the universal Children’s Day on November 20, 2019. (Photo: Mohammed Huwais/AFP via Getty Images)

After House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Monday on a massive annual military spending measure, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna condemned the bipartisan compromise as “a bill of astonishing moral cowardice” that will hand the Pentagon $738 billion in 2020 while doing nothing to end U.S. complicity in Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen.

“There is no pressing reason for Congress to shower Trump, his Saudi friends, and the Pentagon contractors of the military-industrial complex with this $738-billion taxpayer giveaway right now.” 
—Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ro Khanna

“Congress should have used this National Defense Authorization Act to stop our endless wars,” Sanders and Khanna said in a joint statement late Monday. “Instead, this bill does nothing to rein in out-of-control military spending, prevent unconstitutional war against Iran, limit the poisoning of Americans’ drinking water, or end the obscenity of innocent children in Yemen being killed by U.S. bombs.”

The two progressives noted that the tens of billions of dollars in additional Pentagon spending under the 2020 NDAA would be “more than enough to fund tuition-free public college across America.”

Sanders and Khanna added:

Voters would be appalled to know that instead of seizing the opportunity to end illegal U.S. participation in the horrific Saudi-led bombings of Yemen, Congress will continue to fund Trump’s unconstitutional war, which threatens to kill 24 million Yemenis facing starvation and disease. Americans will be furious to learn that Congress refused to protect Americans from being poisoned by toxic PFAS chemicals polluting their drinking water.

Every member of Congress should vote against this measure. There is no pressing reason for Congress to shower Trump, his Saudi friends, and the Pentagon contractors of the military-industrial complex with this $738-billion taxpayer giveaway right now. We owe it to the American people to go back to the drawing board. Congress must say no.

As Common Dreams reported last month, Sanders and Khanna led an effort to include amendments to the NDAA that would cut off U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bombings in Yemen, which have fueled the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

“This is nothing more than a massive giveaway to the Saudi and Emirati governments, corporate interests, and the military-industrial complex.”
—Kate Kizer, Win Without War

But during negotiations with the Senate, the House agreed to strike from the final NDAA a provision that would have suspended the sale of U.S. air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for one year. No other amendments to end U.S. complicity in Yemen were included in the measure, which could receive a vote in the House as soon as Wednesday.

House-backed provisions to stop Trump from attacking Iran and reverse the president’s transgender military ban were also cut out of the final version of the 2020 NDAA.

The House did agree to create a “Space Force”—a move long supported by Trump—in exchange for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers.

Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, said “it looks like the House got completely rolled on every single policy issue.”

“The bill left the House authorizing a ton of money plus important restrictions on nuclear weapons and war policy. Comes back with all the money and zero policy,” Cirincione tweeted late Monday. “I support parental leave for federal workers but, seriously, this is a domestic policy issue.  What is it doing on a Pentagon spending bill? Was this the leadership’s call? They have a lot of explaining to do on why they caved on every single national security policy. Looks weak.”

Win Without War policy director Kate Kizer said the final NDAA shows “Dems can’t negotiate themselves out of a paper bag.”

“This is nothing more than a massive giveaway to the Saudi and Emirati governments, corporate interests, and the military-industrial complex,” Kizer said. “Any member worth their salt must vote no.”

Posted in USA, IranComments Off on ‘Astonishing Moral Cowardice’: Sanders and Khanna Denounce $738 Billion Bipartisan Pentagon Giveaway

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