Archive | April 20th, 2020

Nazi regime now occupies 85% of historic Palestine

Israeli force block roads in the West Bank on 18 September, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Nazi force block roads in the West Bank on 18 September 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Nazi regime now occupies at least 85 per cent of the total area of historic Palestine, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has confirmed. The Palestinians control less than 15 per cent under strict Nazi restrictions.

The PCBS issued the details in a report to mark Palestine Land Day on 30 March. It pointed out that Jewish migrants from overseas now account for a third of the population of the colonial-settler state.

According to the report, there were 13 million Palestinians by the end of 2019. Of these, 5 million are in the occupied Palestinian territories while 1,597,000 live in the land occupied since 1948. Around 6 million Palestinians live in other Arab countries, with 727,000 in the wider diaspora around the world.

The report explained that the Nazi occupation authorities have used the Oslo division of the Palestinian West Bank into areas A, B and C in order to strengthen their control over the territory. Area C, which makes up 76 per cent of the occupied land, is under Nazi security and administrative control.

The PCBS pointed out that Israel has demolished 678 Palestinian facilities in the occupied West Bank, including 251 residential buildings. The 600 military checkpoints and barricades at the entrances of Palestinian cities, towns and villages are turning the West Bank into a series of barely connected cantons, it added.

The Nazi regime also imposes restrictions or prevents Palestinians from using certain roads in the occupied West Bank in order to give free access to Nazi Jewish settlers whose presence in the territory is illegal under international law. Seven streets in the centre of Hebron alone are limited to Jews only in what is traditionally a Palestinian area.

In Gaza, the Israelis have created a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the nominal border fence. The zone was created on agricultural land which is no longer available for Palestinian farmers to use. Moreover, it takes up an incredible 25 per cent of the total area of the Gaza Strip.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi regime now occupies 85% of historic Palestine

تحرير العالم من الأوربيين

EU map after Brexit - Maproom


📝 عبدالعليم شداد

*-الأوربيون شعب يتكون من عدد من الإثنيات العرقية المختلفة، ووفقا لدراسة ألمانية نشرت في العام 2002 يبلغ مجموع هذه الإثنيات نحو 87 إثنية أو شعب, منها عدد 33 هي إثنيات كبيرة وتشكل الغالبية في بلدانها ومن أهمها: (الروس, الألمان, الفرنسيين, الإنجليز, الإيطاليين, الأوكرانيين, الأسبان والبرتغال).*

-وجميعهم تجمعهم ثقافة واحدة تقوم على (التراث المسيحي اليهودي).

-وهذا المصطلح شائع جدا حاليا في العالم الغربي وهو يشير الي الرابطة المشتركة بين اليهود والمسيحيين، وأنهما يكوِّنان شيئا واحداً.

*-فالتراث اليهودي المسيحي من المكونات الرئيسية للحضارة الغربية، فالمسيحيون يقدسون التوراة، والتي يطلقون عليها اسم العهد القديم الذي يشكل القسم الأول من الكتاب المقدس لدى المسيحيين في حين يعتبر العهد الجديد القسم الثاني منه, وفيما مضي اتسمت العلاقة بين اليهود والمسيحيين بالتقلب، ولكنها في القرون الاخيرة تحولت للتحالف بعد نشوء الصهيونية المسيحية في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية التي تدعم قيام إسرائيل لأسباب دينية، حيث تأثرت البروتستانتية باليهودية كثيرا.*
🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺
-وعموما فان ثقافة الأوربيين تقوم على (الديانة المسيحية) والحضارة ( الرومانية – اليونانية).

-للأوربيين صفة مميزة اتصفوا بها منذ قديم الزمان وتميزوا بها عن بقية شعوب العالم وهي:
*(القسوة الشديدة) لدرجة جعلت التعذيب والقتل عندهم نوعا من التسلية:*

١-فحلبة الموت الرومانية (الكولسيوم) في وسط روما كانت هي مصدر التسلية والترفيه لكل المجتمع رجالا ونساء وأطفالا، فالأسرة بكاملها كانت تحضر إليها لمشاهدة الأسود المفترسة التي يتم تجويعها ثم إطلاقها على الأسرى الذين يتم إدخالهم إلى الحلبة مع زوجاتهم وأطفالهم فتلتهمهم الأسود الجائعة وتقطعهم إربا وسط ضحكات واستمتاع الحضور.

٢-كما كانوا يجبرون أسراهم على أن يتقاتلوا فيما بينهم فيجبر الصديق على قتل صديقه.

٣-وكانت مسابقات المبارزة التي تنتهي بالموت هي اللعبة الأكثر شعبية لدى الجماهير الأوروبية الرومانية القديمة.

*٤-ولهذا نجد أن الحروب التي يقتل فيها الملايين كانت أمرا متكرر الحدوث بينهم.*

٥-مثال تلك الحروب الأوربية حرب الثلاثين عاما التي قتل فيها ما يزيد عن الأحد عشر مليون شخص ونقص فيها سكان ألمانيا من عشرين مليونا إلى ثلاثة عشر مليون، ونتج عن ذلك نقص كبير في عدد الرجال فجعلوا تعدد الزوجات إجباريا.

٦-وفي حروب نابليون قتل أكثر من ستة ملايين إنسان.

٧-وفي حرب السنوات السبع بين بريطانيا وفرنسا قتل ما يزيد عن الأربعة عشر مليون إنسان.

٨-وفي الحرب الأهلية الروسية قتل ما يزيد عن التسعة ملايين.

٩-وفي حروب فرنسا الدينية قتل نحو أربعة ملايين.

١٠-وفي الحرب العالمية الأولى التي بدأت بين النمسا وصربيا قتل ما يزيد عن العشرين مليون إنسان.

١١-وفي الحرب العالمية الثانية التي بدأت باجتياح ألمانيا لبولندا قتل نحو خمسة وثمانين مليون إنسان.

*-والحروب والمجازر الأوربية أكبر من أن تحصى في هذه المقالة، وكلها حروب ومجازر دموية مروعة يتم القتل والتعذيب فيها بوسائل رهيبة لا تخطر على بال، مثال ذلك:*

– التمشيط بأمشاط الحديد, واستخدام النشر بالمنشار, وسحق العظام بآلات ضاغطة، واستخدام الأسياخ المحمية على النار، وتمزيق الأرجل، وفسخ الفك، كما استخدموا مقلاع الثدي لخلع أثداء النساء من جذورها، والتابوت الحديدي، وكرسي محاكم التفتيش الذي يحتوي على مسامير في كل نقطة منه.

*-وعندما خرج الأوربيون بقسوتهم هذه إلى العالم أحدثوا دمارا وخرابا هائلا للبشرية.*

١-فعندما اتجهوا غربا إلى أمريكا مسحوا سكانها من على وجه الأرض مستخدمين أبشع الوسائل التي لا تخطر على عقل بشر.

-ومن ذلك أنهم كانوا يقدمون مئات البطاطين الملوثة بجراثيم الجدري والسل والكوليرا كهدايا للسكان الأصليين لتحصدهم دون أدني جهد وقد قتلوا بذلك الملايين من السكان الأصليين خلال عقود قليلة.

-كما عملوا جوائز مالية لمن يأتي برأس أحد السكان الأصليين من الرجال أو النساء أو الأطفال مما جعل الصيادين ينتشرون في أرجاء القارة الأمريكية يجلبون الرؤوس بأعداد هائلة، ثم اقتصر الأمر على فروة الرأس ليسهل عليهم الحمل.

*- وقد اصبح الكثير من الصيادين يفتخرون بأن أحذيتهم مصنوعة من جلود البشر.*

– وقد تطور الأمر وأصبحت هناك حفلات للسلخ والتمثيل يحضرها كبار المسؤولين الأوربيين.

*- فأبادوا أكثر من مئة مليون من السكان الأصليين في أمريكا, والنتيجة تغيير كامل لسكان أمريكا ليحل محلهم الأوربيون.*

*- فكل دول أمريكا الشمالية والجنوبية اليوم يملكها الأوربيون بإثنياتهم المختلفة:*

-فالبرازيليون هم برتغال وأسبان.
-والأرجنتينيون هم أسبان وإيطاليون.
– ونجد أن معظم سكان أمريكا الجنوبية هم أسبان إضافة للإثنيات الأوربية الأخرى خاصة في تشيلي, الأورغواي, كولومبيا, فنزويلا، وغيرها.

*٢-وعندما اتجه الأوربيون نحو أفريقيا حولوا (الرق) إلى تجارة مثل (تجارة الماشية)، فقد كانت الحكومات الأوروبية هي التي تحتكر تجارته، وتضع القواعد المنظمة لهذه التجارة، وكانت أسهم شركات تجارة العبيد هي الأعلى ربحا, وبعد تحرير تلك التجارة والسماح للشركات الخاصة بالعمل في هذا المجال أصبحت تلك الشركات تصدر كميات مهولة من الأفارقة إلى الدول الأوربية ومستعمراتها في كل أنحاء العالم.*

-فالشركات الفرنسية لوحدها كانت ترسل ما لا يقل عن المئة ألف أفريقي سنويا إلى المناطق التابعة لفرنسا في أمريكا.

– أضف إلى ذلك الشركات الأسبانية والإنجليزية والتجار الإيطاليين والألمان والبرتغال وغيرهم, ويقدر عدد الأفارقة الذين تم إرسالهم إلى الأميركتين بالملايين, وكل ذلك كان عملا مقبولا تصدر له الحكومات الأوربية التصاريح اللازمة ويستثمر فيه الشعب أمواله من خلال شرائه لأسهم هذه الشركات.

*ما سبق هو ما فعله الأوربيون في أمريكا وأفريقيا.*

*٣-أما في آسيا فقد فعلوا شيئا عجيبا فقد كانت الحكومات الأوربية تتاجر في المخدرات !!* فقد صدرت بريطانيا أول شحنة من المخدرات إلى الصين في العام 1781 وبعد أن بدأت مشاكل الإدمان تظهر على الشعب الصيني أصدر إمبراطور الصين أول مرسوم بتحريم استيراد المخدرات فأرسلت بريطانيا وفرنسا سفنهما وجنودهما إلى الصين لإجبارها على فتح أبوابها لتجارة المخدرات بالقوة,

و استطاعوا أن يهزموا الصين ودخلوا بكين ومن ثم أجبروها على توقيع اتفاقية (تيان جين) في عام‏1858‏ بين الصين والأوربيين ممثلين في كل من (بريطانيا وفرنسا‏ والولايات المتحدة وروسيا) وفي هذه الاتفاقية تم تحديد الأفيون بصفة خاصة من بين البضائع المسموح باستيرادها, كما تم إلزامها في هذه الاتفاقية بالسماح بنشر المسيحية في الصين, وكان من ثمار هذه الاتفاقية أن ارتفع عدد المدمنين في الصين من مليوني مدمن عام 1850م ليصل إلى 120 مليوناً سنة 1878م, واستمر العمل بهذه الاتفاقية حتى العام 1911.

*-إن ما سبق ذكره يمثل عرضا موجزا لطبيعة بشرية تأصلت فيها القسوة بأبشع صورها لم تنجح في تغييرها المدنية والتحضر، فالذي يعف أن يفعله الإنسان الجاهل المتخلف يفعله الأوربي المتحضر,*

٤-ففي التاريخ المعاصر شهدنا مجازر البوسنة التي قتل فيها نحو 300 ألف مسلم واغتصبت فيها نحو 60 ألف امرأة وطفلة مسلمة، وهجّر نحو مليون ونصف مسلم, و استمرت المجازر لنحو 4 سنوات هدم الصرب فيها أكثر من 800 مسجد بعضها يعود بناؤه إلى القرن السادس عشر، وأحرقوا مكتبة سراييفو التاريخية, و وضع الصرب آلاف المسلمين في معسكرات اعتقال، وعذبوهم وجوعوهم حتى أصبحوا هياكل عظمية,

*ولعل أبشع ما حدث كان هو مجزرة (سربرنتيشا) الشهيرة التي حاصرها الصرب لمدة سنتين ولما لم يستطيعوا أن يدخلوها بالرغم من تجويعها طلبوا من أهلها تسليم أسلحتهم مقابل الأمان، وبعد أن سلموا أسلحتهم انقضوا عليهم وعزلوا الذكور عن الإناث، وجمعوا 12,000 من الذكور( صبياناً ورجالاً) فذبحوهم جميعاً طعنا بالسكاكين، ومثلوا بهم أبشع تمثيل، وذلك في مرأى من القوات الهولندية المسؤولة من حماية المدينة.*

*٥-ومن أبشع ما قام به الأوربيون قبل سنوات ما حدث في العراق من تعذيب بشع قامت به القوات الأمريكية* (80% من الأمريكان في الأصل هم إنجليز وإيرلنديين وألمان) فقد تفجرت الفضيحة في العام 2004 فقد قاموا بعمليات قتل واغتصاب وانتهاكات رهيبة في سجن أبوغريب، حيث تمت عمليات اغتصاب منظمة للنساء، وهتك لأعراض الرجال، إضافة إلى استخدام الكهرباء والكلاب وكافة وسائل التعذيب، فقد مارس الجنود الأميركيون 13 طريقة في تعذيب السجناء العراقيين تبدأ من الصفع على الوجه والضرب، وتنتهي بالاعتداء الجنسي، واللواط، وترك السجناء والسجينات عرايا لعدة أيام، وإجبار المعتقلين العرايا الرجال على ارتداء ملابس داخلية نسائية، والضغط على السجناء لإجبارهم على ممارسة أفعال جنسية شاذة وتصويرها بالفيديو، كما كانوا يجبرون السجناء العرايا على التكدس فوق بعضهم البعض.

*-لقد كانت ثمرة الحروب الأوربية خارج أوروبا أن أصبحوا (هم العالم), وذلك بامتلاكهم لمعظم الأراضي اليابسة في العالم, فهم اليوم يملكون أمريكا الشمالية والجنوبية بعدما أبادوا سكانها الأصليين, ويملكون أستراليا بعد إبادة سكانها كذلك, ويملكون شمال قارة آسيا بكامله، حيث تمتد روسيا من شرق أوروبا لتلتقي مع أمريكا (ما لا يعرفه الناس أن المسافة بين أمريكا وروسيا أقل من أربع كيلومترات),*

-فالإنجليز الذين يحكمون بريطانيا يملكون 16 دولة أخرى، بالرغم من أنها مسجلة كدول ذات سيادة، ولكنها مع ذلك تقع تحت سيادة التاج البريطاني، وتسمى أقاليم ما وراء البحار البريطانية، أشهرها كندا وأستراليا وجامايكا.

-كما أن للفرنسيين أراضي شاسعة حول العالم تشكل ١٣ اقليما موزعة في قارات العالم المختلفة، وتسمى أقاليم ما وراء البحار الفرنسية.

-ولك أن تعلم أن دولة صغيرة، وشعب صغير مثل الدنمارك أصبح يمتلك مناطق خارج أوروبا أكبر من دولته بعشرات المرات، مثل غرينلاند، وجزر الفاو.

*-وبذلك أصبح الأوربيون يملكون مساحات هائلة تفوق حاجتهم بأضعاف كثيرة, معظمها من أغنى المناطق في العالم، وبذلك فهم يمتلكون كميات مهولة من الثروات التي لا تنضب, وحققوا مقدارا من الرفاهية غير مسبوق على مدار التاريخ؛ بسيطرتهم على العالم.*

*-وما زالوا يعملون على إكمال سيطرتهم على العالم، من خلال إنشائهم لأكبر حزب سياسي لا ديني في العالم:* (منظمة البناؤون الأحرار) التي ينتمي إليها الكثير من قادة دول العالم، وكبار رجال المال والأعمال، والإعلام فيه، ومنهم كثيرون في السودان مندسون في مؤسسات الدولة.

-كل هذا الانتشار الرهيب نتج عنه استلاب كامل لعقولنا, فعندما ينظر أحدنا للناس في أوروبا أو أمريكا أو آسيا أو أستراليا، ويجدهم يلبسون نفس اللبس، ويأكلون نفس الأكل، ويلعبون نفس اللعبة: يظن أن عليه أن يفعل مثلهم؛ باعتبار أن هذا ما يفعله كل العالم، ولا يعلم أنهم (نفس الناس) الذين يحملون نفس الثقافة في كل هذه القارات.

*-فأصبحت عقولنا أسيرة لهم, نجري خلفهم، ونحتمي بهم من بعضهم, هم يستغلوننا عندما يتنافسون فيما بينهم، أو تختلف وجهات نظرهم في قضايا تخصهم، فيضغطون على بعضهم بدعم هذا أو ذاك.*

-فنحن في أمس الحاجة لأن نحرر عقولنا التي أصبحت لا تسمع ولا تبصر إلا ما يرونه, وهذا هو التحرير الذي نعنيه في هذه المقالة, تحريرا لا يشبه تحريرهم الذي يقوم على الإبادة الجماعية، وسحق الآخر واستئصاله، فنحن نتبع لدين كرم الإنسان ورفع من قدره, دين جعل تحرير العبيد عبادة, وفي الحرب منع قتل النساء والأطفال, وأوجب حسن معاملة الأسير: *(وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا),* دين كان رسوله يقول لأصحابه في الحرب: *( انطلقوا باسم الله, لا تقتلوا شيخا فانيا, ولا طفلا صغيرا, ولا امرأة ….),* ويقول: *(استوصوا بالأسارى خيرا) ,*

*-فهلا حررنا عقولنا وأفكارنا من سيطرة الأوربيين؛ لننشر رسالتنا: رسالة الخير والسلام

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Whether or Not AIPAC Is a “Hate Group,” It Should Register as a Foreign Agent

ALLAN C. BROWNFELD

Hannah Recht (l), Lauren Maunus and other members of IfNotNow hand out information to people attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, March 1, 2020. (MARVIN JOSEPH/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2020, pp. 26-27

By Allan C. Brownfeld

REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM (D-MN) called the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) a “hate group” after it placed ads on Facebook which implied that McCollum and other members of Congress who had defended the rights of Palestinians were worse than the terrorist group ISIS.

McCollum declared: “as a member of Congress and the vice-chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I believe defending human rights and freedom are foundational to international security and our democracy. The struggle to promote human dignity inevitably results in confronting entrenched forces determined to dehumanize, debase and demonize individuals or even entire populations to maintain dominance and an unjust status quo. Hate is used as a weapon to incite and silence dissent. Unfortunately, this is my experience with AIPAC.”

In explaining why he was not attending this year’s AIPAC conference, Sen. Bernie Sanders declared: “The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people. I am concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

In a column headlined, “AIPAC Makes Sanders’ Point for Him,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank writes: “AIPAC and Netanyahu seemed intent on proving Sanders’ point. As the conference opened…Netanyahu, speaking to the group via satellite…derided the Palestinians as ‘the pampered children of the international community.’ The AIPAC audience applauded….Netanyahu told AIPAC he was moving forward with plans to annex Palestinian territory—-a move that would make the long sought two-state solution all but impossible.”

In what many considered a direct effort to influence the American presidential election, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon declared: “We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a racist is either a liar, an ignorant fool, or both.”

In Milbank’s view, “AIPAC…finds itself not only at odds with Democrats, but also with most American Jews, instead of its tradition of representing strong, broad support for Israel, AIPAC is becoming about as bipartisan as the National Rifle Association. Even Netanyahu reportedly regards AIPAC as just another right-wing American interest group. ‘We don’t need AIPAC anymore,’ Netanyahu reportedly told one of his advisers. ‘We have enough support in the United States from the evangelicals. I’d happily give up on AIPAC if we didn’t need to counteract J Street,’ a liberal pro-Israel group.

Writing in The Forward, Batya Ungar-Sargon, in an article titled, “How AIPAC Proved Bernie Right,” notes, “I had never before been in the same room as a person who has defended genocide…until the AIPAC policy conference. Words like apartheid and genocide and ethnic cleansing are often thrown around in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… But it wasn’t a defender of Israeli war crimes, real or imagined, who was hosted by AIPAC. It was someone from a different context entirely.

“In July of 1995, 8,000 Muslims were murdered in Srebrenica in what the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia deemed a genocide. Under the command of Ratko Mladić, a Serbian paramilitary unit killed thousands and thousands…Aleksander Vučić was then serving as Minister of Information. He imposed fines for journalists who opposed the government and banned foreign TV networks. The Serbian media he oversaw was accused of justifying atrocities and demonizing ethnic minorities….Vučić has reinvented himself…and has been serving as president of Serbia since 2017…AIPAC welcomed the Serbian President to address its 18,000 delegates.”

Over the years there have been frequent calls for AIPAC to register as a foreign agent. In the 1970s, Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR), then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued that this should be done, as have other U.S. foreign policy and intelligence analysts.

In April 2005, AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman were fired from AIPAC amid an FBI investigation into whether they passed classified international security information to Israel. They were later indicted for illegally conspiring to gather and disclose classified information to Israel. AIPAC agreed to pay the legal fees for Weissman’s defense through appeal if necessary, but charges were ultimately dropped.

In May 2005, the Justice Department announced that Lawrence Franklin, a U.S. Air Force Reserve Colonel working as a Department of Defense analyst in the Pentagon, had been arrested and charged by the FBI with providing classified international defense information to Israel. The 6-count criminal complaint identified AIPAC by name. Franklin pleaded guilty to turning over classified material to both AIPAC and an Israeli government official. He was sentenced to almost three years in prison.

Respected Jewish commentator Peter Beinart said of AIPAC, “In reality, they are not independent of the Israeli government. When Netanyahu came out against the Iran deal, AIPAC did not have an independent choice of whether it was going to or not. It pretty much has to kowtow to the Israeli government all the time.”

According to journalist Connie Bruck, AIPAC has been able to “deliver the support of Congress” to prevent any president who wants to negotiate with Israel from using the multi-billion dollar packages of military aid that go to Israel each year as leverage for passing the spending and taking away this strongest negotiating chit.

AIPAC has helped to make Israel the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since the end of World War ll. It now receives more than $3.8 billion in aid yearly. As a result of AIPAC’s efforts, this aid includes numerous provisions that are not available to other American allies.

According to the Congressional Research Service, these provisions include providing aid “as all grant cash transfers, not designated for particular projects, and transferred as a lump sum in the first month of the fiscal year, instead of in installments. Israel is allowed to spend about a quarter of the military aid for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and services…rather than in the U.S.”

An important reason for AIPAC’s influence is that it markets itself as representing American Jewish opinion. In fact, most American Jews disagree with its embrace of total support for Israel as its governments steadily move away from democracy. A recent Pew Center poll showed that only 38 percent of American Jews believe that the Israeli government is seriously pursuing peace, while 44 percent believe that the continued construction of settlements in the occupied territories damages Israel’s national security.

Increasingly, young Jewish activists are separating themselves from AIPAC. In March the Washington Post reported, “…the activists represent a new generation of Israel critics that differs with the pro-peace movement of the 1990s.That earlier movement focused on a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict…The new groups are the product of the post-millennial liberal politics, with antipathy for nationalism of all kinds and a hunger to tear down the entire system of money in politics.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, which formed in 2007 as a liberal but still pro-Zionist alternative to AIPAC, declares: “What we said was: ‘There’s another way to be pro-Israel, you don’t have to support whatever the Israeli government does.’” According to the Washington Post, “Younger groups are saying: ‘You don’t have to be pro-Israel, you should be pro-human rights, and everyone should have a state.’”

This year’s anti-AIPAC campaign was led by the Jewish group IfNotNow. A few days after members of IfNotNow videotaped themselves confronting former Vice President Joe Biden about AIPAC’s opposition to the 2015 U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, Biden said he would go to the conference “to convince them to change their position.” In the end, Biden sent a video message, telling delegates that Israel’s annexation plans and settlement activities were “choking hopes for peace.”

The idea that supporting the Israeli government’s policies is the way to attract Jewish voters has no basis in reality. J Street recently asked Jewish voters to name their two most important issues. Just 4 percent chose Israel. The same survey found that 65 percent said they were somewhat or very attached to Israel. The American Jewish Committee’s 2015 poll found a similar result.

The views of most American Jews were never represented by AIPAC and at the present time, AIPAC speaks only for a small minority, which embraces the occupation and the Israeli government itself. It may have become what many, such as Rep. McCollum, call it, “a hate group.” That it should register as a foreign agent of the government of Israel is increasingly clear. We should not permit it to pretend that it, in any way, speaks for millions of American Jews whose opinions are far different and who embrace human rights and equality for men and women of every nation and faith, in particular the Palestinians.

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Coronavirus: Gaza Joins International Panic

MOHAMMED OMER

Palestinians work on the production line of sterilizing gel at a cleaning materials factory in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, March 17. Gaza authorities declared a new set of precautionary measures amid concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus in the coastal enclave. (MAJDI FATHI/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2020, pp. 8-9

Gaza on the Ground

By Mohammed Omer

MORE THAN 180 COUNTRIES have already reported cases of novel coronavirus—from China, Italy, South Korea, Iran and Japan—and all are struggling to deal with the deadly virus. Less visible in the headlines is that it has also hit the West Bank, Israel and Egypt. In this pandemic virus, Gaza is not an exception.

Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Gaza was suffering from the lack of medical supplies and medicines, due to the harsh Israeli blockade. With only 3,000 remaining hospital beds available to the 2 million people living under military occupation, Gaza doctors dread the onslaught of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The United Nations has issued repeated warnings about the collapsing Gaza health system resulting from the 13-year siege and repeated Israeli military assaults. Now, Gaza is panicking as it is facing the deadly virus with primitive equipment and ill-equipped hospitals.

As of this writing, Gaza has 12 confirmed cases. The enclave also lacks sufficient testing kits, with Israel providing just 200 kits in March. At the same time, Israel boasted that its Mossad intelligence service was able to procure 500,000 test kits from undisclosed nation(s).

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has already enforced the medical isolation for 1,400 Gazans suspected of having contracted the virus from their travels to Egypt, the West Bank and Israel. The continuing outbreak of the COVID-19, in the West Bank has raised a number of concerns and dilemmas among people in Gaza about how to contain the virus if it spreads. Policemen began inspecting passengers at Rafah Crossing with Egypt, but appear with simple masks that provide no protection to travelers or police officers. In mid-March, the Gaza Ministry of Health turned a school East of Rafah into a quarantine space for incoming Gazans who have been to Egypt.

“We are not safe—there is no system put into place,” says Majed Taha, father of four children, who decided to stop his kids going to school even before the official decision came to close all schools in Gaza.

“Gaza is the worst place to have such deadly coronavirus—hospitals are simply not ready,” he added. Even under normal circumstances, “it takes months to wait for a surgical intervention in Gaza.”

Recently, B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, spoke of an unprecedented health crisis in the besieged Gaza as the barely functioning hospitals desperately tried to deal with the thousands of injuries resulting from the “Great March of Return.” Desperate young people have been demonstrating every Friday on the Gaza side of the dividing fence with Israel since March 2018, protesting the closure, unemployment, and shortages of goods and opportunities. An estimated 190 people have been killed and more than 9,300 have been injured, including 6,106 injured by snipers leading to life-changing wounds in many.

The U.S. cut in all aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)—the organization dedicated to assisting Palestinian refugees—has made the situation even more acute than any time before. The United Nations has declared that Gaza health care is at “breaking point.”  

In March 2019, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Jamie McGoldrick warned of “chronic power outages, gaps in critical services, including mental health and psychosocial support, and shortages of essential medicines and supplies.”

Meanwhile, Qatar has pledged $10 million to help Gazans deal with the coronavirus outbreak and the World Bank has transferred a grant of $7 million to Palestinians to address the coronavirus crisis.

Unable to access goods, Gaza is experiencing a lack of protective gear for hospital medical teams as well as testing kits. Even hydrogen peroxide is currently banned from entering Gaza. The Strip only has 60 breathing machines, which are vital for treating serious cases of the virus. There is also a limited number of qualified staff members to deal with the crisis. No one knows if the pledged assistance will translate into immediate actions. If history is any indication, the answer is no.

On March 19, Michael Lynk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, said he is worried about the potential impact of the novel coronavirus on Gaza due to its collapsing health system. He urged Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to live up to their international legal responsibilities.

“I am particularly worried about the potential impact of COVID-19 on Gaza. Its health care system was collapsing even before the pandemic,” said Lynk.

“Its stocks of essential drugs are chronically low. Its natural sources of drinkable water are largely contaminated. Its electrical system provides sporadic power. Deep poverty amid appalling socio-economic conditions is prevalent throughout the Strip,” he added.

“Coronavirus is a death sentence to all of us here in Gaza,” says Nida’a Abu Saleem, a 21-year-old student.

“Being locked in a cage, we thought we were protected, but in fact, one patient is all it takes to put 2 million at risk,” she added. “The one thing that I know for sure, is that with the coronavirus outbreak becoming a global concern—Gaza will remain in the margins, without much media attention.  

“We never made a choice to live in a cage, and we should not die in that cage either,” she concluded.

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Prisons are Super-Spreaders of the Coronavirus: Free Palestinians and Americans

DELINDA C. HANLEY

Palestinians, wearing protective masks amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus and waving national flags, take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails outside the U.N. High Commissioner’s offices in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, March 16. Protesters called for the release of children, elderly and ill prisoners. (SAID KHATIB/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 2020, pp. 12-13

Special Report

By Delinda C. Hanley

AMERICANS CONCERNED ABOUT “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 infections around the country are beginning to release elderly and frail prisoners. There are more than 7,000 overcrowded prisons, jails and detention centers in the U.S., employing half a million workers who are also at risk. According to a report from Prison Policy Initiative, there are nearly 2.3 million people incarcerated in federal, state and local prisons, jails and other correctional facilities in the United States—the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, whose memoir inspired a popular American Netflix series, published a plea to free prisoners in the March 31 Washington Post: “Our nation’s prisons and jails will soon become uncontrollable super-spreaders of this pandemic—and the reach will extend beyond their walls and barbed wire fences…an outbreak will overwhelm nearby health-care facilities, which are often in already underserved, rural communities.”

As for releasing elderly and ill prisoners, Kerman argues that they pose very low public safety risks because seniors have some of the lowest recidivism levels of all former inmates. Kerman also suggests the release of many of the 555,000 people in jail awaiting trial who can’t afford to post bail and home confinement for people serving short terms for minor nonviolent crimes. There are 48,000 kids incarcerated in U.S. juvenile prisons and immigrant detention centers on any given day that Kerman urges should be reunited with their families or sent to safer settings immediately.

Palestinians are also concerned about the danger of coronavirus to prisoners crammed together in squalid Israeli prisons. About 5,700 Palestinians are believed to be held in 23 Israeli prisons including 186 children, 41 women and scores of elderly people.

On March 19, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) called on Israeli authorities to take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees: “Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with limited access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP.”

At least three Israeli prison guards have contracted the virus and others have not been tested in both the Ofer and Nitsan jails, where there are hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. On April 1, a newly released Palestinian prisoner tested positive for the coronavirus. That same day, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, the Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat) and other organizations launched a petition calling for Israel to release more than 1,000 prisoners, including women, children and the sick. Palestinian organizations as well as the Cairo-based League of Arab States called on all relevant international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to intervene and pressure the Israeli authorities to provide necessary medical care and implement precautionary measures to prevent any further cases of coronavirus.

In prison, practicing social distancing is nearly impossible, one Israeli inmate told Haaretz in an article published on March 23. “How can you stay two meters apart when you’re nine in a room? Everything is very crowded, toilets and showers too, and the hygiene level is very low,” he said. “We got soap twice in a month. They promised more, but they haven’t brought in any.”

Palestinian prisoners have it much worse—even before the pandemic hit Israel’s notorious prisons. Ramzy Baroud helped prisoners tell their inspiring stories in his recent book, These Chains Will Be Broken, available from Middle East Books and More. Readers come to know and admire the individuals who stood up for their rights or just happened to be in the wrong place and are trapped for months or decades awaiting justice.

A prison guard poured boiling water over Wafa’s hand when she begged for a cup of tea. Wafa adopted a cat who—to the lonely prisoner’s delight—gave birth. When guards discovered her secret friends they poisoned and stomped on the little family.

Dareen, 33, charged with inciting violence by publishing a poem on social media, spent 97 days in prison and another nearly three years under house arrest, only to be jailed again for another five months. During her incarceration she fell and broke her leg. After enduring hours of pain she was finally treated at a hospital. She wrote, “As the prison vehicle began moving, I thought to myself: one foot broken, another tied to a metal chair; my hands cuffed as I sit inside a cage that feels like a mobile grave, and all that for writing a poem condemning the occupation.” (When she returned to her cell she penned another poem!)

Dima, a 12-year-old, was accused of trying to stab an armed illegal settler—a story she insisted he had fabricated. After serving two and a half months, she was suddenly released after an interrogator told her the previous day she had received a life sentence.

Hilal joined the resistance after his younger brother was deliberately run over by a Jewish settler, and another was drowned by an Israeli extremist. Arrested when he was 20, Hilal was released when he was 46. During his incarceration Hilal read 3,000 books, learned 16 different languages, and taught English and Hebrew to hundreds of his fellow prisoners. During one prison raid, guards confiscated all the works he had translated and hoped to publish one day.

These are just some of the stories Baroud gathered to tell readers about Palestinian prisoners. Detainees like these, who have endured so much, now risk contracting COVID-19. Israelis don’t really care about Palestinian prisoners, but perhaps Piper Kerman and other Americans will exert international pressure to set them free.

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THE U.S. ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE NAZI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Coronavirus: Gaza Joins International PanicMohammed Omer

Palestinians Would Die for the Israeli Kind of LockdownGideon Levy

Prisons are Super-Spreaders of the Coronavirus: Free Palestinians and AmericansDelinda C. Hanley

A Deadly Combination in Iran: Coronavirus and Sanctions—Two Views—Eli Clifton, Marmar Kabir

No to Xenophobia: Stand Up 4 Human Rights and DignityDr. Ali Qleibo

Pro-Israel Bullying is Failing at Home, But is it Paying Dividends Abroad?Dale Sprusansky

Poll: Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?Grant F. Smith

Whether or Not AIPAC Is a “Hate Group,” It Should Register as a Foreign AgentAllan C. Brownfeld

Trump’s “Peace” Plan Threatens to Revoke Citizenship of Palestinian Arab IsraelisJonathan Cook

U.N. Resolutions Keep Israel from Getting Clear Title to Looted LandIan Williams

Israel: Never Missing an OpportunityWalter L. Hixson

Canadian Activists Challenge Adoption of Problematic Anti-Semitism DefinitionCandice Bodnaruk

Arab and Muslim American Voters Endorse Candidates Who Fight For Justice—Two Views—Dr. James Zogby, Amer Zahr

In Israeli Politics, the Watchword Is: The Jewish Race Before All ElseOdeh Bisharat

 Measures Following Soleimani’s ­Assassination Continue to Move Through Congress—Shirl McArthur

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Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Nazi U.N.-Designated Human Rights Violator

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Israeli U.N.-Designated Human Rights Violator Energix Pushes Workers to Finish First Solar Utility in Virginia

By: ANT F. SMITH

City of Chesapeake Municipal Center, where the city council issued a special zoning exemption to Energix in 2017 and a building permit in 2019.

By Grant Smith

Unofficial video of the Caden Energix Hickory construction site.


At high noon on a blustery day, morning shift construction workers driving cars, SUVs and pickup trucks gingerly navigated their way out of the pothole-lined Ballantine Road construction site and onto Battlefield Boulevard. The afternoon shift workers parked in front of the access gate and made their way into the enormous fenced off field full of roaring excavators and massive shipping containers. Other workers were packed into vehicles parked in the middle of the road waiting their turn.

The temporary stay-at-home orders issued by Virginia’s governor on March 12 and 23 shuttered most state industries except select “critical” retailers and construction works. Slated to produce up to 32 megawatts of power, the Caden Energix Hickory utility scale solar energy array now appears to be nearing completion. Metal supports stand at the ready for solar panel installation. The electricity that the $23 million site will produce is not desperately needed by Virginia. But as the first of at least seven planned utility-scale generators, its smooth launch is vital to parent company Energix Renewable Energies, Ltd., headquartered in Israel. (See a map of all announced Energix sites in Virginia).

In Virginia, counties mostly regulate utility scale solar energy facilities through permit processes. However, Caden Energix Hickory received both a special zoning exemption to build on 154 acres of farmland and its  building permit from the nearby City of Chesapeake. The Virginia Israel Advisory Board, which operates as a taxpayer-funded Virginia state government export promotion council exclusively for Israeli companies, code-named the massive Energix infrastructure building effort “Project Turbine.” The name may be a reference to Energix’s 155-megawatt wind turbine facility it built in 2015 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The American Friends Service Committee in 2019 claimed Energix was “reportedly using questionable methods in obtaining access to the land from its indigenous Syrian-Druze owners, and in violation of international law.”

Outside Virginia, Energix is no stranger to building its facilities on other people’s land and undermining surrounding communities. The independent research center, Who Profits, wrote in its 2017 “Greenwashing the Occupation” report that Energix built and operated its five-megawatt Meitarim Solar Field in the Israeli occupied Jordan Valley on 98,749 square meters of Palestinian land. Who Profits documented Palestinian villages in the surrounding Mount Hebron area were “suffering from forcible displacement, demolitions, lack of basic services and overall economic strangulation.” Many Palestinians cannot buy electricity nor are they allowed to own or operate solar for their own use. This corporate culture of impunity landed Energix in hot water.

In February, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights  designated Energix as a “Category G” human rights violator. Energix is considered by the U.N. to be among other similar businesses that benefit commercially from the use of natural resources located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

As a company traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Energix must periodically issue updates about its energy business. In reports written in Hebrew, Energix considers Israeli occupied territories simply to be “unregulated” land free for the taking. This rogue view has recently been bolstered by the Trump administration. In November, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that, “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate…the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981. The global community regards it as illegally occupied territory. But two weeks before Israel’s March 2019 elections, President Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the region.

Virginia courts may present Palestinian and Syrian victims of Energix’s overseas expansions and land seizures an opportunity to test those legal theories. Revenue flows from Energix projects in Virginia are sure to be a bountiful as well as tempting target for overseas litigants with American lawyers dedicated to untangling the web of multiple limited liability companies Energix uses to operate in Virginia.

At Hickory Solar Farm, American construction workers appeared to face the same disregard that Energix exhibits toward Palestinians and Syrians that stand in its way. Workers on the vast construction site operating machinery and installing equipment could follow the “social distancing” protocols federal and state officials recommend to stem the spread of COVID-19. But those sheltering from the elements in vehicles parked at the entrance to the Caden Energix Hickory gate weren’t so fortunate. With nowhere else to go for meals or rest breaks, groups of two, four and five workers could be observed packed inside their vehicles, rocked by the wind—far too close for comfort, let alone safety.

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Roaming Charges: The Condition Our Condition Is In

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Still from Masque of the Red Death (Dir. Roger Corman, 1964).

+ I was sick for much of February. Really sick. Fever. Sore throat. Aching joints. A persistent cough that was, as they say about the heat in Arizona, dry. In Oregon, we’re used to getting the “winter bugs.” But this was different. Nastier. Unrelenting. Plus, I’d spent most of the month in Los Angeles not in the misty, frigid Northwest. It was impossible to sleep, hard to concentrate enough to work. Once I thought I’d kicked, it roared back, even fiercer.  Was it COVID? I wonder now. It will be helpful to know for sure the, as Kenny Rogers put it, condition my condition is in. Do I now have antibodies? Can I walk around unmasked, help out at a food bank, take care of relatives, see the grandkids. Or am I, at 61, still in a high risk sector who could pick up the COVID-19 virus from the cardboard on a Wine.com delivery left on the porch, wander around asymptomatic for a couple of weeks, then collapse from kidney or heart failure, as so many are doing in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans. There ought to be a test. There probably is a test. But good luck getting it here in Oregon, where our governor promised 20,000 tests, got her hands on 10,000 and hasn’t been using those. She gave 140 ventilators to New York, to national acclaim, without knowing the true extent of the pandemic in her own state. So, I remain one of the untested, the uncounted, the unknown.

+ According to a report in Science Daily, only 6% of COVID-19 cases have been detected worldwide, meaning that the actual number of cases is already in the 10s of millions.

+ Percentage of COVID-19 cases in Oregon who are Hispanic: 18; Percentage of Oregon population made up Hispanics: 13.

+ In a report for the Portland Tribune by my old friend Nick Budnick, he quotes Charles Rynerson, interim director of Population Research Center at Portland State University on the disturbing implications of this disparity:  “Considering that Hispanics in Oregon tend to be younger than the general population, and COVID-19 tends to hit older people the hardest, “the disparity … is really even greater. You would expect there to be even fewer cases than the 13 percent state distribution.”

+  To date, 34% of deaths from coronavirus in NYC are Latino. Latinos make up about 27 percent of New York City’s population.

+ Racial breakdown of those who have died from COVID-19 in Louisiana…

+ With about 37% of California patients identified by race, here is a breakdown of infections statewide:

– Latino 30%
– Asian 14%
– Black 6%

Here is a breakdown of deaths on which the state had racial data:

– Latino 29%
– Asian 16%
– Black 3%

+ I talked to an old friend from college who lives in Brooklyn early this week. She was crying two minutes into our conversation. She held her phone out the window, “You hear that! You hear the sirens?” I did. Several screaming at once. “They don’t stop. They don’t fucking stop, Jeff.”

+ And where are all those ambulances going? According to New York City Fire Department data obtained by The Daily Beast, EMTs  have reported 2,192 “dead-on-arrival” calls over the last two weeks. On average, the department handled about 453 of those calls over the same period last year. That data also showed that the number of cardiac or respiratory arrest calls has exploded, from 20 to 30 a day at the end of March and the beginning of April in 2019, to 322 on one day in April in 2020—with more than 100 calls every day since March 28. While 30 to 50 percent of those calls ended in a death in 2019, more than 50 percent of those calls have ended in a death every day since March 22 this year, with the percentage steadily rising to 75 percent as of April 5.

+ Barge Out Your Dead….A barge could be seen arriving at Hart Island on Thursday morning with a refrigerated truck aboard containing about two dozen bodies, which were then buried in Potters Field by contract laborers. The bodies come in 25 a day, five days a week now. The island is being prepared to house as many as 4,000 bodies in some 40 refrigerated trucks. While Randall Island to the south is being used to house more refrigerated trucks to carry bodies out of Manhattan.

+ Remember when the Trumpers and the Israelis started smearing Iran after revealing satellite images of some burial pits outside the city of Qom?

+ Camus: “Actually the most striking feature of our funerals was their speed. Formalities had been whittled down, and, generally speaking, all elaborate ceremonial suppressed. The plague victim died away from his family and the customary vigil beside the dead body was forbidden, with the result that a person dying in the evening spent the night alone, and those who died in the daytime were promptly buried. Needless to say, the family was notified, but in most cases, since the deceased had lived with them, its members were in quarantine and thus immobilized.”

+ Speaking of Camus, I read last night in the Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee that Truman Capote claimed that he had had an affair with Camus. Then I recalled this morning Gore Vidal’s essay on the Lies of Truman Capote, which included Capote’s lie about sleeping with Camus, the lie about about seducing Andre Gide and the lie about being pursued by Vidal…!

+ I think I remember this right: Vidal said Capote’s one singular contribution to American letters was “raising lying into an art….a minor art.”

+ Total U.S. coronavirus tally at the end of each Friday. As Andrew Yang would say: MATH…

• Jan 17 — 0
• Jan 24 — 2
• Jan 31 — 7
• Feb 7 — 12
• Feb 14 — 15
• Feb 21 — 30
• Feb 28 — 65
• Mar 6 — 310
• Mar 13 — 2,224
• Mar 20 — 17,962
• Mar 27 — 102,636
• April 3 — 275,000
• April 10 —500,000  and counting…

+ We keep hearing from the Open Up America Chorus that COVID-19 is just like the flu, which “kills more people.” This “all-cause” mortality chart from the NY Times of deaths in NYC going back prior to 9/11 puts the lie to that argument…It also suggests that the corona death count is much higher than has been officially reported. There’s a lot of “excess” mortality.

+ Between March 15 and April 4, 16.8 million workers applied for unemployment insurance (UI), according to new Department of Labor data, which means that in the last three weeks alone, more than one-in-10 workers have applied for UI benefits….

+ The chasm between the haves and the rest of us widens each week the crisis goes on…

+ Even the New York Times is capable of the seeing the writing on the subway walls:  “Overall, the richest 0.1 percent of American households own 19.6 percent of the nation’s total wealth, up from 15.9 percent in 2005 and 7.4 percent in 1980. The richest 0.1 percent now have the same combined net worth as the bottom 85 percent.” And it’s only going to get worse..

+ In Oregon, more than one-third of the new unemployment claims are coming from people laid-off from the “leisure and hospitality” sector.

+ Q. What would say to newly unemployed Americans who fear the economy won’t just bounce back?

Trump: “Well I think the economy is going to do very well. Now that’s just my feeling. It’s a strong feeling. I’ve had good, proper feelings about a lot of things over the years.”

+ Over to you Gang of Four…

+ Trump’s daily rants are streams in search of consciousness.

+ Even so, the Democrats are being outflanked by some of the most rightwing people in Congress: For example, GOP Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri) has just proposed a Denmark-style plan where the US government pays 80% of worker wages. “Beginning immediately, the federal gov should cover 80% of wages for workers at any US biz, up to the nat’l median wage, until this emergency is over.”

+ And right on cue, Trump followed up with this: “Student loan payments have been waived for six months, and we’ll discuss it after that. May go further.”

+ Does this waiver apply only to federal student loans or private, as well? Will interest continue to accumulate? Who knows. With Trump the devil’s always in the fine print and the fine print is obscured behind an NDA. But he’s outflanking the hell out of Biden…

+ The White House got the first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on January 3, this was followed by 70 days of Trump and FoxNews treating it like a hoax (except when it came to their stock trades)….

+ Walter Shaub: “I do not understand the federal government collecting taxes from us, using that money to buy medical supplies from the private sector, then giving the supplies to the private sector so the private sector can rip off states that have to purchase the supplies with more tax dollars.”

+ In New York, a nurse treated patients for three days after she started displaying COVID-19 symptoms, but still couldn’t get a test from her own hospital. While down in Georgia, a nurse was denied a test after treating a patient who died.

+ The lack of COVID testing in California, which is incessantly boasting about how it has fended off the virus, is shameful. The richest state in the union has tested a LOWER percentage of its population (3,673 per 1 million) than the Covid-denialist state of Georgia (3,767). A reckoning may be coming out West…

+ Floridians with COVID-19 traveled to 48 states and all but one continent before being tested for the virus. How many of them stayed at Mar-a-Lago?

+ Q. “How can the administration discuss the possibility of reopening the country when the administration does not have an adequate nationwide testing system for this virus? Don’t you need a nationwide testing system for the virus before you reopen?”

TRUMP: “No.”

+ Most of the quarantine assumptions assume an incubation period of 14 days. But at least 12% of cases are now showing an incubation period of more than 14 days…Best laid plans.

+ It’s possible that at least 50% of actual COVID deaths are not being reported as such. Here’s some sobering data out of Chicago…

+ There are reports from hospitals across the country that the Feds are seizing masks and other COVID-19-related supplies without a word of explanation. Can someone please find out what the hell is going on?

+ Pence says that federal support for community-based coronavirus testing sites will end Friday. These sites will instead be managed by local officials. You’re on your own, now, people…

+ Timothy Snyder: “The plan seems to be to not count the dead in Republican counties and not count the vote in Democratic ones.”

+ Trump cares about the troops, except when he activated the National Guard on orders that last 30 days, which put them one day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE to cover them.

+ My question is: who died so Boris could live to preside over more people dying?

+ Boris Johnson: “I shook hands with everybody.”

+ Trump says Boris Johnson will pull through because he’s “tough.” If he pulls through, it will be because he’s getting the best medical care in Britain, probably at the expense of some poorer person who is in a more fraught condition as a result of the unconscionable decisions made by BoJo’s government.

+ It is now predicted that the UK will account for 40% of all COVID deaths in Europe, with a peak of nearly 3,000 deaths a day expected. The analysts assert that discussions over “herd immunity” led to a delay in the UK introducing physical distancing measures…

+ We hear over and over again that Trump is the most dangerous president in history, therefore anyone, even an incoherent old codger and segregationist hiding out in his basement, has to be better than the Evil One. But surely if there’s one ironclad rule of American politics it’s that the current US president is always the most dangerous president in history, with shiny new instruments of mass death at their disposal. The history of our Republic demonstrates that presidents only get more dangerous, not less…

+ Alexis Isabel pretty much sums up our current political predicament…

+ Coming Soon in Odorama: Scratch and Sniff: the Joe Biden Story. (When select theaters reopen.)

+ Did Sanders consult the Sandernistas on his surrender to the babbling racist neoliberal in the basement? Or did he make the call on his own, as he did during the 2016 convention, blindsiding his most devoted troops once more…

+ There’s always been some inexplicable mutual affection between Bernie and Biden that I’ve never really understood. It sure wasn’t there with Hillary, who he chastised and scolded to the convention. Perhaps they bonded through their obscene votes for the Clinton Crime Bill. That kind of transgression tends to bring even the most unlikely co-conspirators together…

+ Sanders on Biden: “He’s not going to adopt my platform. I got that, alright? But if he can move in that direction, I think people will say you know what, this is a guy I think who we should support and would support.”

You say you want a Revolution©, well ya know
That isn’t what I really meant
You say you want to end student debt
Put that $18 contribution toward your rent
You say you want free health care
Ain’t gonna to happen any more
But if you go carrying pix of Creepy Joe
We can do it over again in 2024

+ Sanders confirmed to Chris Hayes on MSDNC, what many of us suspected, that it was Obama who played the role negotiator, smooth-talking Sanders into disarming, walking away from his movement with his hands above his head and coming back in from the cold…

+ So what were terms of Sanders’ surrender? Did he exchange his donor list for Obama’s kill list?

+ That’s Obama for you, stuck neck-deep in the bullshit he left behind, wishing he was on a billionaire’s yacht off the Grenadines, as a plague ravages the black and brown communities of the US and millions of others discover their “ObamaCare” coverage is worthless when you really need it…

+ Is Obama Bernie’s Corn Pop?

+ Yet, surely the reason for Sanders to stay in the race until the virtual DNC convention was the same reason he was in the race to begin with: not to win (in this party) but to force the Dems to confront their rigid opposition to M4A as their own voters go bankrupt and fall dead around them.

+ The Vichy Party of the USA (Democrats) is spicing up the Vichyssoise this week with a few sprinkles of hung-out-to-dried Sandernista seasoning …

+ These people really are DEPLORABLE. Less than an hour after Bernie Sanders said he was ending his campaign, dozens of staffers who worked for Clinton 4 years ago received a link to a Zoom video call scheduled for 4 p.m: “Invitation: Bye, bye Bernard (HFA celebration toast)”…

+ Somebody speculated that Sanders was in the running to become Biden’s VP candidate, which, of course, given Biden’s pledge to name a female running mate, would require Bernie to transition to Bernadette…thus introducing the Four Tops to a new generation of Motown-deprived listeners…

+ When the Zapatistas finally nudged the Sup aside, it was the women who became the driving force of the movement (and perhaps always were). Who will lead the Sandernistas now that Sanders has twice led the Revolution© back into the arms of the neoliberal party it was trying to overturn? Not AOC, surely, who made her pact with centrists in the DNC a couple of weeks before Bernie’s ultimate capitulation…

+ The Revolution© is yours for the taking, Britney. Seize the day!

+ Leave it to Jacobin magazine to play the “hope card”  after Sanders got smoked by a weaker, underfunded opponent not even his own supporters are enthused about. If there’s “hope” it’s not with the Democrats, who responded to HRC’s loss by nominating someone to her right, a rapist who “pals around” with segregationists….

+ Bernie, I had a sheepdog for 12 years. I know sheepdogs. Sheepdogs have been friends of mine. They run all day and all night. Senator, you’re no sheepdog…

+ Elliot Sperber: “Looking forward to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren joining forces to elect the guy who’ll veto Medicare for all.”

+ Here’s Trump trolling Obama, Biden & the Dems: “It amazes me that President Obama hasn’t supported Sleepy Joe. It just hasn’t happened. When’s it going to happen? When is it going to happen? Why is it — he knows something that you don’t know. I think I know but you don’t know.”

+ So which Rice is Biden more likely to pick for Veep, Susan or Condoleezza?

+ Ideologically, they’re pretty much of a toss up, but Condi does have an oil tanker named after her and she can play the piano in the background during those awkward moments when Biden suffers little bouts of aphasia while delivering his convention acceptance speech from his basement…

+ Others are predicting that Biden will pick the person Trump refers to as “that woman,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She’s young, she’s female, she’s more articulate than Biden and she’s so corporate-friendly she have might been manufactured by a 3-D printer at the DLC: her dad ran Blue Cross/Blue Shield and her first call after winning the primary was to the GOP Lt. Gov. asking him for a list of his max donors….

+ How pathetic is Biden to have just secured the nomination, only to see that his own party prefers someone else (Andrew Cuomo), someone who, until a mere two weeks ago, was almost universally hated by every one who’d ever met him?

+ You wanted virus suppression and got voter suppression (and a new virus vector) instead…

+ When politicians say piously that thousands have died for the right to vote, I didn’t realize they were talking about the people forced to go to the polls today in Wisconsin…

+ I can see standing in line all day, as you risk contracting a lung-devouring virus, to vote to end cash bail, legalize marijuana, outlaw the death penalty, raise the minimum wage…but to vote for Joe Biden? In a primary?

+ You go to the polls in Wisconsin and then have to wait 10 days to see the results…to see if you tested positive for Coronavirus.

+ Dennis Perrin on John Lewis’ endorsement of Biden: “How long are you considered a Civil Rights Giant when you spend your later years endorsing racists and segregationists?”

+ John Lewis’ “iconography” gets more tarnished with each election, although his centrist impulses where there from the beginning, revealed in his feud with Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) over the leadership of SNCC…

+ Stupidity is really all they have to offer and, unlike with ventilators or masks or tests, they’ve got an endless supply for your consumption…

+ Biden: Do it for Corn Pop!

+ Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that their former commander Capt. Brett Crozier — who warned of dangerous conditions on the ship — was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in command…He was greeted by boos and profanities from the crew, which now includes more than 400 members who have tested positive COVID.

+ Trump on Navy Capt. Brett Crozier,  fired for pleading for more help for his carrier: “He wrote a letter. The letter was a 5-page letter from a captain… I don’t think that’s appropriate. I thought it looked terrible. … I thought it was terrible what he did. This isn’t a class in literature.”

+ A case study in the internalization of fascism: Acting Secretary of the Navy Modly called the Washington Post’s David Ignatius (the spy whisperer) at 1 am to explain why he fired Capt. Crozier, saying he wanted to act before Trump did, knowing that his predecessor was fired for getting “crossways with the president. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

+ Modly should have been made to walk the plank, but he meekly slithered away, with Trump saying, “I didn’t know the guy.”

+ Now doctors and nurses are going to get “Croziered”: HCA, the largest healthcare system in the US, told doctors and nurses it will fire them for speaking publicly about coronavirus, according to a leaked email.

+ Trump really, really loves the death penalty...Why, he’s the Crucifixion Santa. Ho, ho, ho!

+ What do you think he got Melania for a Good Friday present? Gold-plated Crown of Thorns? A new set of platinum nails?

+ The “China Virus” and the “Kung Flu,” seemed like desperate, juvenile bids to deflect from the transparent failures of the American government (Dem & GOP). But we all should have learned by now to never underestimate the racism of the American electorate…

+ 77% blame China for coronavirus including more than two-thirds (67%) of Democrats

+ 71% say American companies should pull back manufacturing in China

+ 69% support Trump’s tougher trade policies with China

+ 54% say China should pay reparations

+ But it turns out that the strain of the virus that is now chewing its way through New York originated in Europenot China.

+ In the early weeks, Singapore seemed to have a handle on COVID-19. Things have changed…

+ If you thought the Willie Horton ad was the most racist political commercial you’d ever seen, check out what Paul Broun is running on Georgia TV stations in an attempt to scare his way back into congress…

Marcus Baram@mbaram

How to try to win election by stoking fear amid the COVID-19 crisis:

Former Georgia Rep. Paul Broun who is running to return to Congress just released an ad warning that “in uncertain times like these,” it’s important to protect yourself against “looting hordes from Atlanta”4,4437:50 PM – Apr 7, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy5,643 people are talking about this

+ America’s worst (living) economist, Arthur “The Curve” Laffer, is being considered by Trump as new Plague Economy Tsar…Laffer’s solution has always been to pour acid on a burn patient and let the banks abscond with the death benefits…

+ The Pentagon has been ordered to stop reporting the number of COVID-19 cases in the military. But the first public map of the outbreaks on military bases show it everywhere and spreading. How soon before we see an outbreak of fragging again?

+ With crew on four aircraft carriers testing positive for COVID-19, the Navy is fast  becoming a biological weapon….

USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS Ronald Reagan
USS Nimitz
USS Carl Vinson

+ Next Trump Pardon? The convicted former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli, known as “Pharma Bro,” wants to get out of prison so he can help research a treatment for the coronavirus, Shkreli’s lawyer pleaded on Tuesday…

+ Enterprises that shouldn’t survive Covid-19

1. Private health insurance
2. Private-equity-owned health care services & hospitals
3. Factory farms
4. Pay-day loans
5. Cruise lines
6. Private prisons
7. Drug companies
8. Spring break
9. Republican Party
10. Democratic Party

+ Remember when Mitchell and his cohort histrionically squealed that offering people government health care was the equivalent of sending them before death panels? Now he’s the troubadour of euthanasia by government neglect…

+ SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I want life back to normal, can you fix that in a simple way?

BILL O’REILLY: Oh man I wish I could, you know?

HANNITY: Oh, me too.

O’REILLY: But we’re making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he’s — he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody. The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that.

HANNITY: You’re gonna get — hold on, you’re going to get hammered for that.

O’REILLY: Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.

+ Simple man or simpleton?

+ Molly Jong-Fast: “No one ever thinks they’ll be in the part of the herd that gets culled.”

+ The outbreak will never be as bad as it could have been until that moment when you awaken briefly to feel them intubating your own throat.

+ By refusing to test Arabs, Israeli is embarking on its own version of the Tuskegee “Experiment”, as applied to an entire population…

+ Just another closet case, outed by God…Israeli health minister, Yaakov Litzman, who had previously blamed homosexuals for spreading the COVID-19 virus, has now tested positive for COVID.

+ Every single state would have 700 additional ventilators, 6,000 more ICU beds, 3,000 additional nurses and 1,500 additional doctors, if we simply stopped funding nuclear weapons and instead spent the money on pandemic relief…

+ Trump won’t wear a mask, but will take his magic elixir: “I’ll say it again: what do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it. But it’s their choice and it’s their doctor’s choice, or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine. Try it, if you like.”

+ Altered skin tone, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, all side-effects of chloroquine. So Trump’s been taking this stuff for decades, right?

“Chloroquine had an array of side effects including anemia and damage to the retina and liver. It turned the skin yellow, so reliably that some American spies infiltrating Japanese-controlled China took quinacrine to make their Caucasian skin appear more like that of Asians. More importantly for our purposes, it caused mood changes and hallucinations, and 0.1-1.5 percent of persons taking it had psychotic reactions which could last several weeks (likely not a desirable quality in the practice of spy-craft)….”

+ Before a now discredited story on hydroxychloroquine was even published, a lawyer, who falsely claimed an affiliation with Stanford University, showed up on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to declare the results: a “100% cure rate against coronavirus.”

+ A new study suggests that combining Metformin, a drug taken by many diabetics, with hydroxychloroquine – the drug that Trump’s been hyping for days, against the advice of Dr. Fauci and others – could be fatal.

+ Pizzagate Alert! Trump donor Joseph Pizza, whose wife Lauren was serenaded by Trump at Mar-a-Lago, runs a pharmaceutical company that sells hydroxychloroquine sulfate, the primary active ingredient of Plaquenil…

+ As reported earlier in the week by the New York Times, Trump also has a financial interest, through a mutual fund, in Sanofi, a top manufacturer of the drug.

+ Looks like Kim is going to have to write Don another love letter to set him straight about a few things, including unapproved medicines and miracle cures

+ The contradictions of capitalism in one screenshot. Over to you, Britney…

+ I hope you’ll considering kicking in a few bucks to help the TDU fight win COVID19 health and safety protections for UPS workers.  Here’s the GoFundMe page for this vital campaign.

+ Scenes from Idaho-ho-ho…

+ Lawmaker calls for defiance of mandates
+  Easter services may have 1,000 people
+ Ammon Bundy proclaims: “I want the virus,” holds meetings, vows to defend those who rebel
+ Angry doctor: They have “relinquished their claim to a ventilator”

+ Yet another pastor who denounced the Coronavirus ‘hysteria’ has died. This one after attending Mardi Gras.

+ Last year, Anthony Fauci told the Intercept’s Nick Turse that wild conspiracy theories about Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo were fueling violence against healthcare workers. Today, wild conspiracy theories about COVID-19 in the US have fueled death threats against Fauci.

+ Stephanie Grisham, who didn’t hold a single press briefing, is out as Trump’s press secretary replaced by Kayleigh McEnany, who said this on Feb. 25: “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.”

+ Coronavirus cases in Florida are growing faster than in New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Georgia and Michigan. Florida is on pace for 30,000 cases in a week if the rate doesn’t slow…

+ We’re gonna party like it’s COVID-1999….Alton, Illinois mayor sends police to raid COVID parties, who discover the mayor’s own wife attending one of them…

+ Congress, which remains on its mysterious recess, unwilling even to give itself the authority to conduct hearings and votes remotely, is proving day-by-day it is not an essential service.

+ COVID-19 strikes are breaking out across the country. You can follow them here on this Strike Wave map prepared by Payday Report.

+ Some hospitals are so desperate for protective masks that they are scrounging them from auto body shops and nail salons, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. At east one hospital is making its own hand sanitizer by mixing gel used for ultrasounds with alcohol from a nearby distillery.

+ When confronted with the report, Trump called it “another fake dossier” and attacked the IG as a Trump-hating, Obama appointee. “It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word ‘inspector general,’ really? It’s wrong. Well where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name? So give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?”

+ Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general whose name is on the report, is a career official who entered her current role in January but has been with HHS since 1999. She has served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

+ Epidemiologist Dany Aqato on COVID-19 in Gaza/Palestine: ” It will be a disaster. We’re talking about two million people living under a blockade enclosed in a total geographic area of 365 square kilometers (226 square miles) with high population density.”

+ Anthony Swain, an inmate in one of Miami’s horrid jails: “I am trying my best to take care of myself in the midst of this pandemic, no different from you, no different from any other human being. But it’s impossible to do that at this jail. Corrections treats us like we are the scum of the earth, like we don’t deserve protection. The cell is filthy and we have no access to hygiene products. Today [on April 3rd] I had to make a mask out of my yellow sock and an elastic string from my catheter bag. We are crowded together with no space between us. We inmates are scared.”

+ The situation at Alameda County’s Santa Rita jail: there was 1 positive COVID-19 test on 4/4, 3 more on Tuesday, by Weds there were 11. “We can expect with the that trajectory that there’s going to be a massive coronavirus] outbreak in Santa Rita Jail,” attorney Yolanda Huang.

+ Illinois banned the death penalty, but Chicago has found a way to institute capital punishment by other means, for people who are simply too poor to afford bail: 350 cases of COVID-19 in the Cook County jail. Where’s BB King when you need him?

+ Michael Tyson, who died of coronavirus on Sunday, was jailed on Rikers Island for an alleged technical violation of parole. Meaning he did not commit a crime, but missed a meeting or violated curfew or tested positive for marijuana.

+ Another win for the American Death Cult: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has voted 2-1 to lift the preliminary injunction against the federal executions. The decision is 88 pages with a per curiam judgment (without majority reasoning) and three individual opinions.

+ Andrea Pitzer: “A thing I learned researching concentration camp history was how often governments doing deliberate harm to citizens & residents became a regular part of society, while everyone else slept & woke & felt afraid & went about their lives hoping nothing bad would happen to them.”

+ Scotland is releasing people early who are near the end of a prison sentence and this article notes the public supports the effort. I’m sure our own “Scots-Irish” country would feel the same way…It’s the politicians and the prison-industrial complex they’ve constructed and profit from stand in the way.

+ Same old story in Indian Country: the Trump administration has ruled that tribal casino workers (who have long Trump’s competitors) are ineligible for payroll help during the COVID-19 crisis.

+ The Navajo Nation now has more COVID cases than half a dozen states and more than thousands of counties nationwide.

+ Make America Turtle Island Again!

+ U.S. has “expelled” nearly 10,000 migrants (bypassing normal immigration process) since March 21 under CDC public health order…

+ The Oregon Food Bank says it could start running short on supplies as soon as two weeks from now. “I’m seeing a humanitarian crisis,” says Scott Kerman, executive director of Blanchet House, which serves meals to homeless people in the Old Town District. “I don’t believe I’m using that term with any sense of hyperbole.”

+ Women overall are 16 points more likely than men to say coronavirus-related worry or stress has negatively impacted their mental health…

+ As of Thursday evening, 9 London bus drivers have died of COVID-19, making London bus drivers 4.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the general population.

+ Meanwhile, in NYC a staggering 41 transit workers have already died from COVID-19, and many, many more remain in serious condition.

+ Lindsey Graham is pushing for a global ban on “wet markets.” As disgusting as “wet markets” are, the Covid-19 virus likely spilled over to humans at one of the industrial pig “farms” in Hubei province, not the Wuhan market. Lindsey Graham and co. could start by shutting down the factory farms in the Carolinas…

+ Low and middle income countries, many of them in the Global South, are scheduled to pay over $1 trillion in external debt service this year. Cancelling these debts payments would allow them to redirect funds to crucial public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t count on it happening…

+ Yanis Varoufakis: “Italy et al buckled. They accepted ESM loans that will lead to stringent austerity next year, pitiful EIB business loans, a pseudo-federal unemployment re-insurance scheme, plus a few crumbs of philanthropy. In return they committed to permanent depression.”

+ No bread? Let them eat crackers, says Silveria Jacobs Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.

+ If you want to follow the course of the virus, and its political, economic consequences for the people of India, there’s no better resources than the reporting being done by the good folks at PARI, where the view is ground up, from the fields, the villages and the workplace. Here’s a link to their searing coverage.

+ COVID-19 is expected to kill between 11,000 and 22,000 people in the coming months in Canada, but a new report from the Canadian Health Ministry argues that with poor containment measures, it could kill more than 300,000…

+ Dr. Trump: “Zinc. They say zinc. You should add zinc. Now this all has to be recommended by doctors. But they say zinc. I want to throw that out there.”

+ Trump’s ego is so fragile, so in need of constant stroking, that even his own ceaseless self-glorification doesn’t satisfy him. But then has he ever really satisfied anyone? Over to you, Stormy Daniels…

+ I have a recurrent dream about a Trump presser where the only two reporters in the room are Hunter Thompson and Lester Bangs, both hyped on some speed-cocktail the good Doc cooked up in the barn back in Woody Creek, eagerly awaiting the first insult from Trump, whereupon they rush the podium and reenact the last scene in the Bacchae. Has anyone else had this dream?

+ There have been more than 80 confirmed COVID cases at a Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls. People are working almost shoulder to shoulder inside these slaughterhouses. Many of these plants are going to be COVID disaster zones…Close the factory farms, shutter the slaughterhouses!

+ These places have been death houses since the days of Upton Sinclair. I went undercover inside an IBP plant years ago. It was the most horrifying place I’ve ever been, outside of the Nevada Test Site and Hanford.

+ 96%: amount airline travel has dropped amid coronavirus pandemic…

+ Q. Are you arguing to let airlines fail, for example?

Chamath Palihapitiya: Yes.

CNBC@CNBC

The U.S. shouldn’t bail out billionaires and hedge funds during the coronavirus pandemic, Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya says. “Who cares? Let them get wiped out.” https://cnb.cx/2Rpmjkh 50.7K7:55 PM – Apr 9, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy21.1K people are talking about this

+ We know that there are a few CounterPunch sewing circles out there making masks and donating them to friends, grocery workers, delivery workers, hospital, homeless shelters and others. Priti Gualati Cox, who many of you will recognize for her writings on CounterPunch, has come up with a pattern for a fabric face mask that has step-by-step photo-instructions on how to make a hand-stitched mask and is designed for those who don’t have sewing machines at home. Here’s a link to the pattern.

+ The Hippie Pope: “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”

+ In the past century, species have been wiped out at a pace 100 times greater than the natural rate of extinction. As many as one million species are at risk of going extinct in the coming decades because of climate change and shrinking biodiversity.

+ Just what we need for COVID-ravaged lungs in the PNW this summer: big wildfires burning from July until the November rains put them out, just in time for the expected winter resurgence of COVID-19…

+ Meanwhile, the Midwest is bracing for spring flooding that could put many out of their homes or in need of aid. But as agencies divert manpower and resources to the COVID-19 pandemic, many worry that few resources in these strapped state will be left for the displaced.

+ It’s now estimated that even the smallest increase in air pollution could spike Covid-19 death rates by 15%.

+ Coal companies are furiously lobbying to use COVID as an excuse to stop payments into the Black Lung Fund, that provides essential medical care for more than 25,000 sick miners. “The burden should be on the coal operators. They come in our state, they mine our coal, they fill their pockets up, they declare bankruptcy. They leave with all the cash, and there’s no money to pay the miners,” David Bounds, 72, retired coal operator with black lung disease so severe he can’t climb three steps without gasping for breath.

+ The coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man. — John Prine

+ The shale oil industry, which has ravaged so much of the Interior and Rocky Mountain West over the last 20 years, is now in a state of complete collapse, as busted as it has ever been. Now banks are preparing to seize the assets of these ruined companies with the idea of entering the oil & gas business themselves, which, hopefully, will take them down as well. Good riddance. Don’t come back…

+ Eduardo Galeano: “The worst violators of nature and human rights never go to jail. They hold the keys.”

+ Climate change is threatening Columbia spotted frogs in Utah. Spread of the deadly chytrid fungus has been linked to global warming, and then there’s hotter days and more intense episodes of drought.

+ Oregon’s forests are closed to hiking, but wide open for eco-butchery…

+ Kafka: “The Messiah will only come when he is no longer necessary. He will only come after his arrival. He will come, not on the last day, but on the very last day.”

+ It was a blow to learn that the great right fielder for the Detroit Tigers, Al Kaline, had. One of my first gloves was an “Al Kaline” model, which I managed to get him to autograph at the old Victory Field in Indianapolis (now destroyed but still to be seen in John Sayles’ Eight Men Out), when the Tigers played an exhibition game there against the White Sox in 1967. Kaline always seemed a likeable curiosity to me, a relic from another era of baseball transposed into the new age of Aaron, Clemente, Robertson, Banks, and Gibson.

+ In one day, four people in Portland were cited for driving 100 or more miles per hour “over the posted speed limit.”

+ I’m sure there must be some evil motherfuckers dying of this stinking virus but all I can see is the daily toll that’s being taken from the best among us: teachers, transit workers, nurses, grocery workers, doctors, warehouse workers, EMTs, musicians…

+ New Orleans suffered a crushing blow this week with the death of Ronald Lewis from COVID-19, who not only survived Katrina but kept the culture of the Lower Ninth Ward alive with his House of Dance and Feathers Museum down on Tupelo Street.

+ Some deaths ignite the latent rage of the our times. John Prine’s does for me. If I saw Prine play 10 times, I saw him play 20, always sharp, funny, timeless yet right on top of and usually skewering our cultural and political moment…There’s a great void in the counterforce.

+ JazzTimes has compiled a list of musicians felled by COVID…

+ This Constitutional Moment brought to you by Diebold, “We cast, count and recalibrate the votes, so you don’t have to…”

President Trump: “I think mail-in voting is horrible, it’s corrupt.”

Reporter: “You voted by mail in Florida’s election last month, didn’t you?”

Trump: “Sure. I can vote by mail”

Reporter: “How do you reconcile with that?”

Trump: “Because I’m allowed to.”

+ “Cuomosexual” is a term that needs to be put in the tumbril and sped to the nearest guillotine before the infection spreads…

+ 30 years ago this week, broadcast television changed “forever” when Twin Peaks aired. Then two years later reverted to an even duller version of what it had been before…

Log lady (Catherine Coulson), Twin Peaks.

+ Apparently, there’s a Law & Order marathon going on (isn’t there always?) and last night they showed an episode (Vaya Con Dios) from 2000, where Jerry Orbach is rummaging through a murder victim’s PO box & starts reading the mail, “The Nation, Covert Action Quarterly, CounterPunch.” The episode involved the murder of a Chilean dissident. One of the producers was a CP subscriber & called that morning to let us know we’d be featured. I relayed the news to Cockburn, who couldn’t watch it because he, typically, hadn’t paid his cable bill in six months. We got more new subscribers from that episode than we did from any direct mailing …

I saw so much I broke my mind…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Toward Forever: Radical Reflections on History and Art
Tony McKenna
(Zero)

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs
Jennifer Finney Boylan
(Celadon)

The Way Home: Tales From a Life Without Technology
Mark Boyle
(OneWorld)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

It is What It is
Thundercat
(Brainfeeder)

While Looking Up
Jimmy Greene
(Mack Avenue)

LibertyDayna Stephens
(Contagious)

Apocalypse From Now On

“Apocalypse is now a long-running serial: not ‘Apocalypse Now’ but ‘Apocalypse From Now On.’ Apocalypse has become an event that is happening and not happening. It may be that some of the most feared events, like those involving the irreparable ruin of the environment, have already happened. But we don’t know it yet, because the standards have changed. Or because we do not have the right indices for measuring the catastrophe. Or simply because this is a catastrophe in slow motion. Or feels as if it is in slow motion, because we know about it, can anticipate it; and now have to wait for it to happen, to catch up with what we think we know.” (Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors)

Posted in USAComments Off on Roaming Charges: The Condition Our Condition Is In

Wet Markets and Wild Longings

by LEE HALL

Photograph Source: Seniju – CC BY 2.0

It’s early April ― peak lockdown in the United States ― and Anthony Fauci is chastising China over wet markets. “It just boggles my mind,” Dr. Fauci said, “when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface that we don’t just shut it down.”

Fauci wants the rest of the world to “lean with a lot of pressure on those countries” where street markets tout dead and live animals to be eaten. Lindsey Graham urged senators to push Beijing. In a garbled tweet, Sen. Graham opined: “Bringing wild and exotic animals to open markets to interact with humans and other food supplies is both crazy and dangerous.” Notably, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation’s secretary general Jinfeng Zhou has also pressed for a wet market ban, invoking animal conservation as well as human health.

Now, what of the “human-animal interfaces” in our slaughterhouses? What of the butchers, the ranchers, the hunters dragging half-dead deer, ducks and foxes out of the woods? Absolutely, stop the wet markets. But unless you happen to be vegan, don’t forget to take the log out of your own eye.

I went to a Red Cross site to give blood this week, but was told to leave without donating. Turns out I’m in a “deferral” category, having spent more than three months in Britain between 1980 and 1996. It’s related to mad cow and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. I might have eaten spinal cord or brain tissue from infected cattle. I became vegan in England, so this whole thing is richly ironic for me. If we were all vegan, mad cow disease wouldn’t be a thing. Nor, presumably, would COVID-19.

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, Socrates thought, most people would be content to pick up that portion they originally put down, and go on with their lives. Yet we freely shift misfortune onto other animals in the effort to shrink our collective heap. The initial phase of making a vaccine for COVID-19, a zoonotic disease, involves trafficking mice to labs. Hear me out. Not only are we shifting our burdens to other beings here; we’re using the lab animal market to save us from a sickness which, we think, came from the street animal market.

Can’t we ever transcend exploitation? “But they’re only mice” is not a great argument. And they’re not only mice. In other COVID-19 laboratory news, The Daily Beast reports a $1,840,000 deal between the NIH and the traders of nonhuman primates.

Social Distancing From the Habitats of Others

Can quarantine mean ending our invasions of nature? Can social distancing mean refraining from invading the forests that still remain? Even the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest haven’t escaped COVID-19. Researchers are worried that the world’s dwindling populations of nonhuman great apes are also vulnerable, and some want to ban habituation practices for eco-tourism. Why on Earth do we feel the need to “habituate” other apes in the first place? Their land is their home — not our entertainment option.

What about the positive things we can do? Infections change as climates do. What can we do to avert the next catastrophe? Believe me, going vegan is a whole lot easier than hoarding packages of frozen food, running out of toilet paper, wearing masks, checking the death counts, canceling funerals and losing our jobs. On the positive side, vegan living is:

* Low-carbon and resource-frugal.

* A direct way to nourish ourselves with plants, rather than processing crops through the environmentally devastating, unhealthful practice of animal husbandry.

* A great way to help shrink the marine dead zones, by reducing the pollution of animal farm run-off.

Can we transcend the culture of confinement? Can the human apes find ways to stop hoarding wealth? Will we learn to share the prosperity we get at our environment’s expense — undoing incentives to extract and store? Because real “affluence” is not a reservoir; it’s something that flows. And real “resilience” in the face of health and environmental crises must involve asking deep questions about why our modern crises emerge.

So, on we go. As my friend Maggie writes from Trenton: “Scary but not unexpected times. Yes indeed, this is a warning shot.” Things will never return to a 2019 version of normalcy. We’re all going to be living differently. No time like the present to make real, root-level changes.

Posted in USAComments Off on Wet Markets and Wild Longings

Capitalism, the State Religion

by ROB URIE

Photograph Source: su-ch – CC BY 2.0

With Old Testament locusts and plagues re-emerging for the late capitalist era, one could be forgiven for imagining that an avenging God has been awakened. As the virus winds its way into the nooks and crannies of modernity, innocents are being sacrificed at the altar of ‘the economy’ while the lunatic circus in the New York – D.C. corridor prattles on about stock prices and miracle cures amidst the carnage. The ratio of Dow points to body count measures the distance from the outer ring to a precise location in hell.

The deeply instantiated ideology of better living through capitalist technocracy is coming face-to-face with its religious underpinnings in government without governing, in the fantasy that markets will save us. While it would be foolish to underestimate the near-heroic ignorance and incompetence of Donald Trump, he is but a vessel for the state religion, not its cause. As inconvenient as this may be for business folk, political party bosses and the hopeful, it is when we emerge from the current crisis that the environmental reckoning will be upon us.

A slightly interesting question is what passes for competence in the upper rungs of public self-service? While it would be both right and just if Mr. Trump were charged with negligent homicide for his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, he did so using the same logic that motivated the Wall Street bailouts, the ACA (Obamacare) and the TPP (Tans-Pacific Partnership). It seems that in D.C.-world, America is a capitalist country. This carries with it a logical hierarchy in which people are an afterthought.

A screenshot of a social media postDescription automatically generated

Graph: The American solution to the coronavirus pandemic is to rescue the stock market. There are few virus test kits, little protective equipment and not nearly enough ventilators, but stock prices are rising thanks to the Federal Reserve. Most stocks are owned by corporate executives and oligarchs. It is a large component of their wealth. This is why raising stock prices is a priority for both Republican and Democratic administrations. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

As the powers that be consider when to reopen ‘the economy,’ they never closed the one that matters to the rich. Rising stock prices are a talisman in the capitalist religion. With $4.5 trillion in new money dedicated to refilling the bank accounts of the rich versus $1.5 trillion for annoying and death-adjacent humans, who says government priorities are misplaced? And in contrast to the economic arcana put forward to explain their movements, stock prices are rising because the Federal Reserve is financing their rise.

Lest the listing of D and R program failures together seem a case of orpples, of comparing apples to oranges, report after report from early-mid March had Donald Trump and his senior aides touting market-based solutions to the provision of virus test kits, protective equipment and ventilators. That the WHO (World Health Organization) offered the Trump administration a virus test that worked apparently wasn’t good enough. The administration went with a CDC test that didn’t work as it touted patented tests made by private corporations to protect profits.

A screenshot of a cell phoneDescription automatically generated

Graph: In 2018, the U.S. spent two and one-half times the OECD average on healthcare per person and still had the lowest life expectancy and the highest rate of preventable deaths. This is years after Obamacare was passed, meaning that it didn’t fix the healthcare system. Lest this not be clear, more people die every year from this broken healthcare system than have died in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic to date (4/7/20). Teal is government spending; orange is private, and blue is out-of-pocket. Source: commonwealthfund.org.

The Wall Street-Chamber of Commerce funded claim that the economy can be quickly reopened is potentially homicidal in the sense that it is the fact that it has been partially closed that will have caused new infections to level off. The conceptual challenge appears to be that a pandemic is a process, not a moment in time. For instance, optimists claimed early on that the mortality rate in the UK was an inexplicably low 1.4%. In fact, it takes some weeks to die from Covid-19, meaning that they weren’t considering the progression of the illness. As of this writing, the mortality rate in the UK is a bit over 10% (5,373 dead / 51,608 infected), making it a mid-level plague.

The distinction between essential and non-essential workers also poses a conceptual challenge in that essential workers appear to be the most expendable. Employers have excluded themselves from the obligation to protect them from infection under the capitalist canard that work is voluntarily undertaken. The get-back-to-work crowd proclaims the economic necessity of working while the political class rains $4.5 trillion in bailouts down on corporate executives and oligarchs. Whither the stock prices of the guillotine makers?

With large numbers of human beings languishing in prison, the American political leadership apparently distinguishes them from concentration camps through active versus passive extermination. Forcibly keeping people in close proximity to one another in a pandemic allows them to die without having been actively murdered, goes the theory. Were this distinction applied to the political leadership or corporate boards of directors, such ‘passive’ murder would be front page news. It’s past time to empty the prisons.

As predictable as the sun rising in the east are the defenses of capitalism being put forward by in-the-process-of-being-bailed-out bankers and corporate executives. In fact, the Ayn Rand institute was founded and funded by bankers who were ‘forcibly’ bailed out by the Federal government in 2009. The nature of the force used? They were offered the money and they said ‘yes.’ Social Security and Medicare recipient Rand, like her sole-mate (sic) Friedrich Hayek, would have been proud.

For those unschooled in the precise nature of this American hypocrisy, right-wing economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman joined philosopher Karl Popper to found neoliberalism as ‘pragmatic’ capitalism following WWII. Capitalism is the one true religion, goes the theory, and so whatever actions are needed to support it are pragmatic. The paradox of having the Federal government support ‘free markets’ is that doing so means that they are neither free nor markets.

While oligarch Trump is more likely than not up to the task, the Obama administration’s bailouts set a high bar in terms of institutional corruption and government bias toward ruling class interests. The automaker bailouts codified the tiered wage structure that executives had demanded to cut labor costs as they paid themselves multi-million dollar bonuses. This took place while AIG, the recipient of the largest corporate bailout in history, was paying multi-million dollars bonuses to the executives who sank the company by writing ‘risk-free’ insurance policies.

While Donald Trump is blameworthy in many respects, his actions regarding the coronavirus pandemic follow the American playbook of protecting the rich while letting the chips fall where they may for the rest of us. The U.S. has long had a much higher child mortality rate than first world countries. And it is the health outcomes of the working class and poor that bring broad measures like life expectancy down and preventable deaths up. The only noticeable difference that Obamacare made is that the compensation of health insurance executives went up after it was passed.

This ties to the Trump administration’s abysmal response to the coronavirus pandemic in that letting poor and working people die from preventable illnesses has been the American way since the so-called founding. Again, more people have died from preventable illnesses every year since Obamacare was passed than have died from the pandemic to date.

In the U.S., the pandemic began with professional class travelers who brought the disease back with them from abroad. While this is ultimately incidental, they can afford social distancing while ‘essential’ workers can’t. Reports that black and Hispanic workers are disproportionately dying from Covid-19 racialize the economic conditions that explain this outcome. These same ‘essential’ workers are experiencing high child mortality rates, declining life expectancies and premature deaths from preventable illnesses.

The U.S. has the money and the resources to ameliorate the economic impact of the pandemic. But it is using them to boost stock prices, bail out Wall Street, buy the corporate debt of companies that issued too much of it to enrich their executives, and to save the favored industries of the oligarchs. Social distancing costs too much in lost profits, so it will more likely than not be ended early. In the American religion, ‘the economy’ exists outside of human considerations.

A central strand of the defense of capitalism comes through country comparisons. Germany is capitalist, the U.S. is capitalist, and these have had dramatically different mortality rates from the coronavirus pandemic. So how can capitalism be blamed for the bad outcomes? The U.S. has a Gini coefficient— a measure of income inequality, of 45.1 compared with Germany at 31.7, so how can they both be considered capitalist? The Gini coefficient is directly relevant through class-based healthcare provision in the U.S. system.

Again, the U.S. child mortality rate is 6.5 per 1,000 versus Germany at 3.8. The U.S. has a third world child mortality rate and Germany has a first world rate. This relationship holds along most measures of healthcare outcomes. Where it doesn’t hold is with cost— the U.S. system is far more expensive per capita than Germany’s. More pronounced class divisions in the U.S. determine who receives adequate care and who doesn’t.

The argument can be made after the corporate bailouts of 2009, and now 2020, that the U.S. isn’t capitalist. The serial rescues of the rich, corporations and industries from failure weren’t guided by official state policy in the sense of promoting an economic program except inasmuch as the agenda is to keep those in power, in power. Additionally, the U.S. isn’t a ‘mixed economy’ of distinctly public and private institutions in that the Federal government is keeping private corporations on life support without it being articulated policy or defining cases of need before they occur.

The term ‘state capitalism’ can be applied to both the U.S. and China. The central difference is that the Chinese communist party maintains political control over Chinese corporations, while U.S. based corporations substantially control the American political system. Political theory recognizes the U.S. system as state corporatism, better known in the twentieth century as Italian style fascism. The term is applied descriptively, not pejoratively.

The American healthcare system was crafted by corporations for their own benefit. The balance of power between hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment makers and health insurers doesn’t include a public service component. Since Obamacare was passed, these industries have been consolidating against one another, not to improve the healthcare system. Healthcare is an afterthought when profits are the motive.

Capitalism is an ideology premised in not being ideological. It ties Barack Obama’s pragmatism to Donald Trump’s belief in markets. If Mr. Obama didn’t believe in markets, he never would have saved Wall Street. But by saving Wall Street, he proved that he doesn’t believe in markets. What is pragmatic about the rich always and everywhere being the primary beneficiaries of government bailouts? There is nothing prima facie pragmatic about it. But it always is the case. Welcome to the state religion.

Finally, with Bernie Sanders exiting the race for the Democratic nomination, the Democrat’s gambit that Joe Biden can beat Donald Trump is about to be put to the test. It seems that three and one half years of the contrived idiocy of Russiagate— the last vestige of which was just abandoned by Robert Mueller’s investigators, was to repeat the losing strategy of 2016. Handing Donald Trump a second term seems risky to me. We might have a pandemic or something that requires a functioning government. But Democrats seem determined to do so. God help the rest of us.

Posted in USAComments Off on Capitalism, the State Religion

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