Archive | June 12th, 2020

Global Warming is Nuclear War

by MANUEL GARCÍA, JR.

Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

The average global surface temperature rose by 1°C during the 110 years between 1910 and 2020.

During the 50 years between 1910 and 1960, the average global temperature rose by 0.25°C, an average rate-of-increase of 0.005°C/year. Another 0.25°C of biosphere heating occurred during the 25 years between 1960 and 1985, a rate-of-rise of 0.010°C/year. During the 20 year span between 1985 and 2005 another 0.25°C of temperature was added, a rate-of-rise of 0.0125°C/year. During the 15 year span from 2005 to 2020 another 0.25°C of temperature rise occurred, with an average rate-of-rise of 0.0167°C/year.

While the average temperature rise of 0.25°C was the same for each of the four intervals, the first (between 1910 and 1960) required 45.5% of the 110 years between 1910 and 2020; the second (between 1960 and 1985) only required 22.7% of the 110 years; the third (between 1985 and 2005) required the smaller fraction of 18.2% of the 110 years; and the most recent period (between 2005 and 2020) took the smallest fraction of 13.6% of the 110 years.

Given that a 1°C rise of the temperature of Earth’s Biosphere (EB) is the equivalent of it absorbing, as heat, the energy yield of 109 billion Hiroshima atomic bomb explosions, we could imagine the EB being bombarded by an average of 1 billion Hiroshima bombs per year between 1910 and 2020 (within 109 year-long intervals). If that yearly bombardment were done uniformly, it could represent 2 Hiroshima bomb explosions per square kilometer of the Earth’s surface once during the year; or it could represent one Hiroshima bomb explosion per day in each 186 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface, for a worldwide bombing rate of 2.74 million/day. Global warming is very serious!

Let’s refine this analogy so it reflects the acceleration of global warming since 1910.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1910 and 1960 would represent a bombing rate of 545 million/year; or 1.5 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 342 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1960 and 1985 would represent a bombing rate of 1.09 billion/year; or 3 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 171 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1985 and 2005 would represent a bombing rate of 1.36 billion/year; or 3.73 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 137 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 2005 and 2020 would represent a bombing rate of 1.82 billion/year; or 5 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 103 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The heating rate for the 1°C temperature rise of the EB since 1910, averaged on a yearly basis, was 5.725×10^24 Joules/110years, or 5.2×10^22 Joules/year, or 1.65×10^15 Watts of continuous heating. This rate of heat storage by the EB (into the oceans) is only 0.827% of the continuous “heat glow” given off as infrared radiation by the EB (mainly at the Earth’s surface), which is 1.994×10^17 Watts at a temperature of 288.16°K (Kelvin degrees; an absolute temperature of 288.16°K = 15°C+273.16°C; absolute zero temperature occurs at -273.16°C).

If we were to imagine impulsively infusing the EB with the same amount of energy, by a regular series of “heat explosions” each of energy release equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb, then the 1 billion explosions per year (the 109 year average) would have to occur at a rate of 31.7 per second.

Atomic bombs release their energy explosively within 1 microsecond, representing a radiated power of 5.25×10^19 Watts for an energy release equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb yield (5.25×10^13 Joules). In this hypothetical exercise, I am lumping all the atomic bomb explosive yield into heat, but in real atomic explosions energy is released in a variety of forms: heat, nuclear radiation (gamma rays, energetic neutrons, X-rays, radioactive material) and blast pressure. The energy forms emitted by atomic bomb explosions ultimately heat the materials they impact and migrate through, and this is why I lump all of the bomb yield as heat.

An explosion sphere with a 56.4 centimeter diameter (22.2 inches) radiating heat at 5.25×10^19 Watts during a burst time of 1 microsecond would present a 1m^2 surface area at a temperature of 5,516,325°K = 5,516,051°C. Imagine 32 of these popping into existence at random points around the world during every second of the day and night since 109 years ago. We would certainly consider that form of global warming a crisis deserving our attention.

Because the invisible low temperature heat glow style of global warming that we actually experience does not rudely punctuate our lives with random blasts of such intense X-ray conveyed heat that any human standing nearby would simultaneously be vaporized while the molecules of that vapor were atomized and those atoms stripped of all of their electrons down to the atomic cores, we ignore it. But the heating effect on the biosphere is energetically equivalent to what we are causing with our greenhouse gas and pollution emissions.

Thermodynamically, we have greenhouse gas-bombed out of existence the pristine biosphere and its habitable climate that first cradled and nurtured the infancy of our species 2000 centuries ago, and then fed and protected the development and growth of that fragile chimera we call “civilization,” which our potentates have been proudly boasting about for at least 8,000 years. And we’re still bombing, now at an ever increasing rate.

All of the numbers quoted here come out of the results described in my report “A Simple Model of Global Warming” that I produced to help me understand quantitatively the interplay of the major physical effects that produces global warming. I invite both the scientists and the poets among you to consider it.

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Beating Swords to Plowshares

by: KATHY KELLY

Photograph Source: Neptuul – CC BY-SA 3.0

Inscribed on a wall across from the United Nations in New York City are ancient words of incalculable yearning:

“They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.” – Isaiah 2:4

I’ve stood with activists in front of that same wall singing Down by the Riverside, a song promising we’ll lay down our swords and shields, -“and study war no more, no more.”

In memorably eloquent words spoken after the onset of COVID-19, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, had this message for the world:

“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown….. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes. End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”

Some of my closest friends now await sentencing for having embraced the call, quite literally, to “beat swords into plowshares.” They entered a U.S. naval base which is the home port to “one of the largest known collections of nuclear weaponry in the world.” The Kings Bay Nuclear Naval Station in St. Mary’s, GA operates a fleet of Trident nuclear submarines. On April 4, 2018, Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta and Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. prayed, poured blood, spray painted messages against nuclear weapons, hammered on a replica of a nuclear weapon, hung banners and waited to be arrested.

Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest, has been locked up in the Glynn County Detention Center ever since the night the seven entered Kings Bay Naval Station. Now beginning his third year in jail, he writes that his cramped, dingy quarters are “a 21st Century monastery.” He prays, reads, listens, learns and writes. The Glynn County jail will only allow correspondence that uses 3 x 6 pre-stamped post cards. Steve has mastered the art of condensing his thoughts into short messages. “Nuclear weapons will not go away by themselves,” he says.

Steve’s co-defendants have served varying lengths of time in the Glynn County jail and several had to wear ankle monitors, something like wearing leg irons, during home confinement. The six now await sentencing. Liz McAllister’s telephonic hearing will be held on June 8th. The others expect to appear in the Glynn County Courthouse on June 29 and 30. They face years in prison.

In October of 2019, a jury found the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 guilty of destruction and depredation of government property, trespassing, and conspiracy. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled that the jury wouldn’t be allowed to hear expert witnesses or learn what motivated each of the seven to nonviolently resist nuclear weapons. She ruled out faith-based testimony.

In 2003, the Sisters of St. Brigid of Kildare, Ireland asked me to speak at a retreat for people whose faith-based convictions motivated them to nonviolently resist the impending U.S. war against Iraq. During the retreat I listened to concerns of five people who felt they were ready to risk their lives and futures, and might want to join our Iraq Peace Team in Baghdad. But when I returned to Baghdad, I learned they had instead committed a Plowshares action at Shannon airport. Parked on the tarmac there was a U.S. Navy warplane. Ireland is a neutral country, and the activists believed they were justified in trying to prevent Ireland’s airport from being used to stage a belligerent war, in Iraq, against civilians already beleaguered by earlier U.S. attacks and 13 years of economic sanctions. Entering the Shannon airport, they easily reached a U.S. Navy warplane, and they hammered on it. Harry Browne writes about the action in a book called Hammered by the Irish. Fortunately, they were represented by extremely talented lawyers. One of them, Mr. Nix, (since deceased) has been referred to as the last of the great Irish orators. The judge wouldn’t allow expert witnesses, and in fact the only defense witness she would allow to speak was me since the five said they resolved to take action after hearing me speak at their retreat. She also declared there would be no faith-based testimony in her courtroom. Although she insisted war was not going to be put on trial, she had to comply with Irish law which allows lawyers to say anything they want in the final summation. Near the end of the trial, Mr. Nix rose to speak. He assured the judge and jury that the greatest pacifist of all time was Jesus of Nazareth and the greatest pacifist document ever written was the Sermon on the Mount, “and,” he said, “I’m about to read it to you right now!” Finishing the beatitudes, he pointed to the defendants and described them as people who didn’t practice their faith as though they were at the delicatessen, choosing a bit of this or rejecting that. “They believe in their faith!” he said. Then his tone changed as he reminisced about how happy he’d felt, recently, listening to children at play in a park near his home. The children chased the geese up a hill and then the geese chased the children downhill. What could be more beautiful than the sound of children at play? Then he began telling about children in Lebanon whose parents had taken them for a dip in the park the previous day. His face suddenly seemed to glower as he roared out that children were dying in a pool of their own blood. He described an Israeli missile blasting into the swimming hole, killing the children. And then it was as though he was putting all of us on trial. “Would you not try, if you could, to stop a Hezbollah missile from slamming into southern Israel? Would you not try, if you could, to stop an Israeli missile from slamming into a swimming hole in Lebanon? The question isn’t: did these five have a lawful excuse to do what they did! The question is: what’s our excuse not to do more?! What will rise ye?!

The jury acquitted the five on all five counts. The lawyers had been able to skillfully introduce a necessity defense. In U.S. courts, during many dozens of Plowshares trials, the defendants are next to never allowed to invoke the necessity defense, to argue that they needed to act in order to prevent a greater harm. The laws protect those who develop, store, sell and use weapons. Those who call for disarmament and try to sound an alarm regarding the omnicidal consequences of nuclear weapons are tried narrowly on issues of property damage and trespass.

Riots have broken out in cities across the United States as protesters have vented frustrated rage following the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes. Some observers have rushed to judge the protesters, highlighting the irrationality of looting and burning buildings in their own neighborhoods, ruining places that might even provide services or jobs. Yet what could be more self-defeating and irrational, during the midst of a pandemic while climate catastrophes threaten planetary survival, than the action of spending more money on nuclear weapons and possibly conducting nuclear bomb tests. Why squander resources on military capacity to burn other people’s homes and cities, through use of nuclear and conventional weapons?

The prophet Isaiah’s vision arouses action on the part of people longing to build a better world. Mr. Nix’s questions should be ours today, earnestly asking “who are the criminals?”

“The question isn’t: did the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have a lawful excuse to do what they did. The question is, what’s our excuse not to do more? What will rise us?”

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In Defense of Antifa*

by RON JACOBS

Since Donald Trump and his sycophantic henchman Bill Barr decided to label the movement known as Antifa a terrorist organization, people across the political spectrum are resurrecting their antipathy towards the phenomenon. This cacophony of charges and misconceptions has once again put this amorphous manifestation in the spotlight. The last time most people had even heard of them was after some of its adherents shut down one of the last speeches by an alt-right luminary on a college campus. It was because of Antifa’s success in chasing fascists and their allies from colleges that it faded into the ether where all dead news stories go. Because police in the US don’t seem to be able to stop killing unarmed Black people and the Trumpists decision to go after anti-fascists again, Antifa is back. Along with their return comes aa chorus of criticism.

Antifa is once again being attacked by elements of the right, elements of the Left and the center. Those on the right see an anarchist anti-capitalist bogeyman. The critics on the left see nihilism and a misunderstanding of the definition of fascism. Those in the liberal/conservative center see an undefinable and unquantifiable element in the body politic that prefers violence to debate and vandalism to voting. All of these criticisms are both wrong and right. Precisely because it is not an organized group and has no politics beyond challenging those it considers fascists or very sympathetic to fascism, Antifa opens itself to these and other misunderstandings. There is no single spokesperson or committee to defend and explain it. Because it so loosely defined, it opens itself up to multiple definitions, many of which are lies.

As a person who defends Antifa (and identifies as an anti-fascist, among other things), I have been told by people that Antifa is a government plot, a bunch of rich punks who like to break things, a group of people who substitute punching people for a political program, and the reason Donald Trump will win re-election. Furthermore, people have told me that Antifa go after ordinary people by confusing right wing populists with fascism and that, while Trump is a populist, he is not a fascist. My response to this is that there were certainly many Germans, Italians and Spaniards who were their nation’s version of populist in the 1930s who never thought their support for Hitler, Mussolini or Franco would lead to the debacle it did. In other words, knowing this, why should we wait for fascists to show us what real fascism is if we can shut them down before that?

Right wing populists are much closer to fascism then they are to anything else. My understanding of history is that many fascist sympathizers in Europe and the US in the 1930s considered themselves populist in their politics. Once they realized the nature of those leading them, it was too late to turn back even if they had wanted to. Fascism is the ultimate realization of capitalism. It does not stand in opposition to any manifestation of that system. Neoliberalism is a step closer to the realization of fascism. Even though the meaning of Trumpism in relation to fascism continues to be debated, the fact remains that the US is considerably more authoritarian than it was even four years ago. That isn’t to say that it was not authoritarian prior to Trump’s entrance into the White House—of course it was. Indeed, the rise of the politics Trump represents would not be possible without the history that preceded his presidency. However, Trumpism is unique in the history of authoritarian rule in the USA in that it revolves around a single human—Donald Trump.

For those who have been paying attention, the Trumpistss have been taking plays right out of the classic fascist textbook. A few examples of this are:

1. Gleichshaltung–replacing bureaucrats and other officials with Trumpistss (or leaving the positions blank so Trumpistss can invoke policies favoring right wing capitalists (mostly)

2. Going after unions and workers in general

3. Naming immigrants as the other and criminalizing their existence

4. Provoking political, ethnic, gender and racial divisions…..you get the picture…

Has Antifa made mistakes?  Of course they have. After all, it’s through praxis, not pontificating, that one learns what works best. In virtually every human endeavor, one learns much from their mistakes.  Hell, when it comes to leftish movements, the movement behind the Sanders campaign made a few mistakes itself. They were arguably more consequential than any made by Antifa. However, like the Sanders campaign, Antifa has had its share of successes too. Perhaps the greatest one is that invitations to alt-right and fascist speakers to speak on university and college campuses greatly diminished (even prior to Covid shutdowns) since the Antifa campaign to shut them down began.

Folks running under the Antifa banners are first and foremost against fascists and white supremacists. This includes people like Charles Murray and David Duke and the tiki torchbearers in Charlottesville. It includes Proud Boys and neo-nazis, Donald Trump and racist cops. The unfortunate (for some) truth is that sometimes, you gotta’ fight fascists if you want to fight fascsim. Vigils don’t make them go away. In today’s climate, when fascist sympathizers (if not outright fascists) are sprinkled throughout the national government, various state governments and throughout most every type of law enforcement, disavowing Antifa and labeling it as criminal helps the most reactionary elements of the state consolidate their control. You may not like their tactics, but these folks are allies. The idea that they might be infiltrated is of course true, but who does more harm? An infiltrated bunch of leftists and anarchists or a bunch of liberals spouting the same garbage as the president, the justice department and other rightist politicians attempting to enhance the police state.

————————————————-

* Antifa (United States)

Antifa (/ænˈtiːfə, ˈæntiˌfɑː/)  is a far-left anti-fascist political movement in the United States comprising a diverse array of autonomous groups that aim to achieve their objectives through the use of both non-violent and violent action rather than through policy reform. Antifa political activists engage in protest tactics such as digital activism and militancy, sometimes involving property damagephysical violence and harassment, against fascistsracists and those on the far-right.

Individuals involved in the movement tend to hold anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist views, subscribing to a range of left-wing ideologies such as anarchismcommunismMarxismsocial democracy and socialism. Both the name antifa and the logo with two flags representing anarchism and communism are derived from the German Antifa movement.

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Mob violence and police brutality result from a morally bankrupt America

Illustration on disconnection from God and human cruelty by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

 By: Tony Perkins 

Police brutality and mob violence spring from the same fountain.

The disturbing video of a veteran police officer kneeling on the neck of a subdued suspect and, thereafter, the spreading wave of violence and looting in the name of George Floyd are painful. Yet these things are not surprising.

As one who served as a police officer for over a decade on the street, I would say that if the department approved of the tactic of kneeling on the neck of a man who was handcuffed and on the ground, there are bigger problems in Minneapolis than Derek Chauvin. The failure of the other officers to intervene would suggest this type of brutality is pervasive. That is not to say that there are a lot of bad cops in Minneapolis, it just says they have an administration that tolerates the abuse of power.

The abuse of power, disregard for human life, and the wanton destruction and uncontrolled rage we are witnessing in cities across our country, all flow from a society that is rapidly losing a sense of right and wrong, of transcendent truth. This truth deficit means justice will not be equal because it is determined by the position you hold or the zip code in which you reside.   

This loss of a moral consensus is not a new development; what’s happened is that it has reached a crisis point. The foundation of America’s shared morality has been under steady assault for over half a century. Leftists will convulse with disdain and rage at this assertion, but let the mockers mock.  

For over 50 years, we’ve systematically removed God from public life, the belief that He holds all people accountable for their actions, and that He has the authority to do so because He is the Creator. He made us and the laws that govern creation. He gave us those laws not to crush our freedom but to place it within wise boundaries. 

Freedom does not mean the right to do whatever one wants. It means that we have the power to choose a good path, one with guiderails that lead and protect us. When we tear those guiderails down, chaos ensues. The kind of chaos we’re now seeing, as legitimate protest turns not only to the destruction of businesses and other private property but to the endangerment of human life itself and the wounding of our nation’s soul.

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Pompeo: U.S. Could Make Moves Against International Criminal Court In “Coming Days”

Matthew Petti,

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States will “push back” against the “corrupt” International Criminal Court in the coming days.

Pompeo has slammed the international tribunal over its inquiries into U.S. actions in Afghanistan and Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories. His Monday comments, on a podcast hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, hinted that the United States could retaliate soon.

“You’ll see in the coming days a series of announcements not just from the State Department, from all across the United States government, that attempt to push back against what the ICC is up to,” he said. “I think that the ICC and the world will see that we are determined to prevent having Americans and our friends and allies in Israel and elsewhere hauled in by this corrupt ICC.”

The ICC gave a green light in March to investigate U.S. forces in Afghanistan for “acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” allegedly committed in 2003 and 2004.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, also recommended last month that the court charge Israeli forces for alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories, which Israel captured in 1967 and intends to annex with U.S. support.

Pompeo emphasized that the United States and Israel are not party to the 1998 treaty that created the court. Both countries had signed it at first but withdrew before it could take effect.

The ICC has convicted former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, Congolese rebel leaders Germain Katanga and Thomas Lubanga, and Malian rebel leader Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi for war crimes.

It also has 23 open cases in ten conflicts around the world.

The probe into the Afghan war—which applies to both U.S. forces and the Taliban rebels—would be the first ever prosecution of U.S. troops by the ICC.

“I think the whole world can see this isn’t what the ICC was set up for. It was about rogue regimes,” Pompeo had told Fox and Friends in March. “Not institutions like America. When somebody gets it wrong here, we hold our own accountable. We always have. We always will.”

Pompeo has also faced bipartisan pressure to shield Israel from any ICC prosecution. Hundreds of legislators from both houses of Congress signed letters on May 13 calling on the Secretary of State to prevent “politicization” and “misuse” of the ICC in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Germany, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Hungary, Uganda, and the Czech Republic have also urged the ICC to drop its investigations of Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the ICC a “rare strategic threat” at a cabinet meeting last month.

The disagreement hinges on whether Palestine is an independent state. The Palestinian Authority, which governs part of the Palestinian territories, joined the ICC in 2015, and has filed several complaints against Israel.

Pompeo wrote on May 15 that the United States does “not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership.”

But the ICC has defended its efforts as a professional law enforcement investigation.

“Fact: my Office is executing its mandate concerning Palestine situation [sic] with utmost professionalism, independence & objectivity in strict conformity with the [1998 treaty],” Bensouda wrote on social media last month. “Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is simply misled & unfounded.”

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Trump has reached the ‘mad emperor’ stage, and it’s terrifying to behold

By: Richard Wolffe

He incites violence from the safety of a bunker, then orders peaceful people tear-gassed for the sake of a surreal photo op @richardwolffedc

Donald Trump holds a Bible for a photo outside St John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House on Monday, after protestors were cleared from the area
 Donald Trump holds a Bible for a photo outside St John’s church across Lafayette Park from the White House on Monday, after protesters were cleared from the area. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Writing from a Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King Jr famously told his anxious fellow clergymen that his non-violent protests would force those in power to negotiate for racial justice. “The time is always ripe to do right,” he wrote. 

On an early summer evening, two generations later, Donald Trump walked out of the White House, where he’d been hiding in a bunker. Military police had just fired teargas and flash grenades at peaceful protesters to clear his path, so that he could wave a Bible in front of a boarded church. 

For Trump, the time is always ripe to throw kerosene on his own dumpster fire. 

In the week since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers, Trump has watched and tweeted helplessly as the nation he pretends to lead has reached its breaking point. After decades of supposedly legal police beatings and murders, the protests have swept America’s cities more quickly than even coronavirus. 

This is no coincidence of timing. In other crises, in other eras, there have been presidents who understood their most basic duty: to calm the violence and protect the people. In this crisis, however, we have a president who built his entire political career as a gold-painted tower to incite violence.

We were told, by Trump’s supporters four years ago, that we should have taken him seriously but not literally. As it happened, it was entirely appropriate to take him literally, as a serious threat to the rule of law.

 As the George Floyd protests continue, let’s be clear where the violence is coming from

During his 2016 campaign, he encouraged his supporters to assault protesters. “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK,” he said on the day of the Iowa caucuses. “I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.” Later in Las Vegas, he said the security guards were too gentle with another protester. “I’d like to punch him in the face,” he said

Sure enough, a protester was sucker-punched on his way out of a rally the following month. 

No wonder Trump was sued for incitement to riot by three protesters who were assaulted as they left one of his rallies in Kentucky. The case ultimately failed, but only after a judge ruled that Trump recklessly incited violence against an African American woman by a crowd that included known members of hate groups. 

So when he stood, as president, and told a crowd of police officers to be violent with arrested citizens, it wasn’t some weird joke or misstatement, no matter what his aides claimed afterwards. “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see ’em thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ 

“I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they’ve been made to protect the criminal,” he added. “Totally made to protect the criminal. Not the officers. You do something wrong, you’re in more jeopardy than they are.” 

Trump was happily inciting police violence a year after charges were dropped against several Baltimore officers who somehow allowed Freddie Gray to die of severe neck injuries in the back of their paddy wagon.

Then again, Trump took out a full-page ad calling for the death penalty for the five boys and young men wrongfully arrested as the Central Park Five in 1989. Just last year he refused to apologise for his racist incitement in that case. 

Trump can no more end today’s violence than he can manage a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, or create the jobs that will rescue more than 40 million unemployed. 

Faced with a threefold crisis of racial, health and economic disasters, we have a three-year-old in the Oval Office. 

Our get-tough president started his day by telling the nation’s governors that the world was laughing at them – a recurring nightmare that he loves to project on to everyone else. 

“You have to dominate or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks,” he declared, speaking as something of a world-class jerk. “You have to arrest and try people,” he said of the protesters that he called “terrorists”.

One of the Democratic governor-jerks decided to draw the line at Trump’s rhetoric. “I need to say that people are feeling real pain out there and we’ve got to have national leadership in calling for calm and making sure that we’re addressing the concerns of the legitimate peaceful protesters,” said JB Pritzker of Illinois, during a conference call between the president and state governors. “That will help us to bring order.” 

“OK well thank you very much, JB,” our infant-in-chief reportedly responded. “I don’t like your rhetoric much either because I watched it with respect to the coronavirus, and I don’t like your rhetoric much either. I think you could’ve done a much better job, frankly.” 

Yeah. And he probably smells too. 

Later in the day, Trump demonstrated to the world that he had learned precisely nothing in his three and a half years in charge of the world’s most diverse nation. 

“I am your president of law and order,” he said in the Rose Garden, as thousands of Americans protested against the nation’s agents of law and order. Trump said he would mobilise “all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting” to protect “your second amendment rights”. 

If you’ve missed all the protesters seizing weapons from NRA members, you’re not alone. That last bit was a call to arms for every vigilante to escalate the violence. We have somehow devolved from dog whistle to foghorn politics.

There is no end of Republican arsonists who have happily torched their lifelong support for states’ rights and their diehard opposition to an all-powerful central government. 

Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas tweeted that the protesters – he prefers to call them terrorists – should face combat troops on American streets. “Let’s see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they’re facing off with the 101st Airborne Division,” he wrote of the Screaming Eagles, who actually killed real fascists in the D-Day landings. 

Never mind the actual law of the land that expressly prohibits the US military from domestic law enforcement, unless a state governor requests it. 

This is a president that cannot decide if he’s serious about shooting looters and protesters or just warning that they might get accidentally shot. “It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement,” Trump helpfully explained on Friday, before spending the weekend threatening them with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons”.

That was a day before he said his administration “will always stand against violence, mayhem and disorder”.

Confused? That’s the point of this endlessly corrupted story where the aggressor is a peace-loving victim, and the victim is a hateful aggressor.

When he wrote his legendary letter, King was sitting in jail after marching in defiance of a ban against anti-segregation protests. The man who is now a national icon was jailed just one month before the city’s police chief set fire hoses and dogs on children who were also defying the ban.

“More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will,” King wrote. “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Trump has used his time in the White House far more effectively than anyone could have imagined. He ignored the dead and dying in Puerto Rico and brutalised the children at the border. He ignored the dead and dying in the pandemic and wants to brutalise the protesters in our cities.

In five months, the good people can end both his hateful words and their own appalling silence.

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump has reached the ‘mad emperor’ stage, and it’s terrifying to behold

Concerns spread that tensions between Gaza and ‘Israel’ may erupt into war

By: Al-Orjwan Shurrab

This week marked the latest flare-up in the exchange of rockets and missiles between Israeli forces and resistance factions in Gaza. The Israeli army attacked what it called a Hamas “observation post” Thursday night, and a rocket from the Strip followed the next day. Both Israeli and Palestinian observers are speculating about a possible war, even though no one seems to want it. 

“Although neither Hamas nor Israel seeks an escalation, the Gaza rocket launches and Israeli retaliations makes the scenario of a coming war more likely,” wrote Avi Issacharoff for the Israeli Walla website.

The last “episode” in the exchange occurred January 13, when Israel targeted a tunnel under construction along the Gaza-Israel border—much like the attack that began the escalation in late October. In that incident, 12 men affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad were killed when Israeli forces destroyed another tunnel. In response, rockets were fired into Israel by Islamic Jihad and Salafi factions, which operate independently of Hamas.

However, while Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli minister of defense, told another Israeli newspaper he knows Hamas does not desire a new war, he declared his forces will attack three to four sites in the Gaza Strip for every rocket fired.  

“Israel is aware of the fact that Hamas is not responsible for the firing of rockets, but it is trying to force Hamas to enter a new confrontation,” observed Saleh al-Naami, a Palestinian journalist and expert on Israeli affairs. “Israel uses rockets fired from Gaza to justify its bombardments of Qassam and Hamas positions in order to maintain its policy of deterrence.” 

Al-Naami added that although Hamas is trying to avoid a confrontation, and thus preserve the ongoing attempt at reconciliation with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA), it cannot control all of the parties involved. In part, this is because the PA now is responsible for Gaza under the fledgling unity government. In addition, he said, Hamas would pay a heavy price in internal support if it did not respond to Israeli bombardments.

Al-Naami believes Israel also is not ready for another war with Hamas, since it is preoccupied with Iran and protection of its northern border. The only parties that will benefit from this escalation, al-Naami concluded, are Palestinian factions who want to undermine the attempted reconciliation between the two main parties.

Speaking at the Herzliya conference in Israel this month, Gadi Eizenkot, chief of general staff for the Israeli military, called the escalation with Hamas irresponsible. He noted that the poverty of the 2 million residents in the Gaza Strip compares poorly with the notable prosperity in the Israeli settlements.

To date, 25 Gazans have suffered moderate to serious injuries from the Israeli bombardments, and another three men were killed, according to the Ministry of Health. 

Two of the fatalities were Mahmoud al-Autl, 29, and Mohammed El-Safadi, 25—resistance fighters who were killed in an Israeli attack in the eastern Gaza Strip December 9 in retaliation for a rocket launch that caused no injuries.

“Mahmoud never told us about his work with Al-Qassam Brigades (the military arm of Hamas). But I’m a mother. I felt what he didn’t say, and I was always afraid of losing him,” al-Autl’s mother said. “I never thought of preventing him from doing his duty toward this land. All mothers love their children, but if we prevent our children from protecting the land, who else will resist and free Palestine?”

Al-Autl graduated from university with a degree in education. However, he couldn’t get a job in the field. Instead, the youngest son in a relatively poor family worked with his father to sell home appliances. Although no one in his family claimed an affiliation to a political party, he joined Al-Qassam in 2009, working in a field control unit that maintains security for the Gaza border with Israel and works to prevent extremists from firing rockets. Al-Autl is survived by a wife and a son.

In contrast, Mohammed El-Safadi joined the Qassam Brigades to follow in the footsteps of his brother, who was killed in 2011.  When he was accepted into the Qassam’s field control unit after the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza, it was the happiest moment in his life, several friends said.

“Mohammed loved us,” Mohammed’s sister, Farhana, said. “But several months before his death, I felt he was about to be killed, just as Mahmoud [his brother] was.”

El-Safadi lived with his mother; his father died when he was young. He studied management in college and worked for three months for the government, but was not paid.  He is survived by a wife and a 1-year-old child.

It has been a week since Israel last bombed a tunnel and there has been no rocket fire from the Strip, indicating that Hamas has re-imposed restraint on the small Salafist groups. However, no one knows how long that will last. In addition, Adnan Abu Amer, another Gaza expert on Israeli affairs, believes Hamas may be forced into more direct acts of resistance as the people become tire of protesting the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital; to date, no change in that decision has occurred. Instead, Hamas may look to other tactics to keep the issue center stage.

Another concern, said Abu Amer, is that Hamas may begin to see a strategic advantage in allowing tensions with Israel to escalate. As economic conditions continue to worsen in Gaza, making life more difficult for residents, politicians may try direct the people’s anger at Israel instead of their struggling government.

As if anticipating an unwanted war, Israeli officials have said they are working to destroy all of the tunnels from Gaza by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, work continues on the “underground wall,” separating Gaza from Israel—scheduled to effectively be complete by the end of this year. This means, however, that Israel won’t want escalation until it finishes.

Ultimately, though, said Abu Amer, everything is pointing in one direction—and while it may not be full-out war, it could look a lot like it.- See more at: https://wearenotnumbers.org/home/Story/Concerns_spread_that_tensions_between_Gaza_and_Israel_may_erupt_into_war

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Concerns spread that tensions between Gaza and ‘Israel’ may erupt into war

The murder of a role model

By: Al-Orjwan Shurrab

Razan al-Najjar, volunteer nurse killed by Israeli snipers

I received news of her murder just as my family was sitting down to have iftar, the meal that breaks our fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. My brother saw the news on Facebook and suddenly stated, as if talking to himself, “Razan has been killed.”

I had not met her personally, although I wish I had. But I was familiar with her name and face; I had seen her many times on local TV because she was the first female to volunteer as a paramedic on the front lines of the Great Return March. She had not even studied at university because her family couldn’t afford it. So instead, the 21-year-old Razan took a course in first-aid so she could be of service. According to one of the paramedics I talked to later, she was among the first to run to help wounded protesters—even before her male counterparts. Twice, she fainted due to gas inhalation and, on April 13, she broke her wrist after falling while running to attend to one of the injured.

And that is what she was doing when she was shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper. She was 100 meters (about half a mile) from the border evacuating a patient. In my mind’s eye, I see her wearing her white coat, with red stains symbolizing the futile hope of Palestinians hoping for freedom who have been protesting since March 30.

Razan al-Najjar was one of 119 Palestinian protesters killed to date by Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza border since the beginning of the Great Return March. The day she was killed was her 10th protest while serving as a field nurse.

I didn’t know her personally, but I feel as if I did. No words can describe the deep sorrow in my heart. Food has no taste for me now, and I think even life has lost its taste. I have started to question every conviction I have about life. Why was such a selfless person be killed for no reason, while the whole world watched?

Whenever I receive news of a murder, injury or an explosion in Gaza, I post it on my Facebook page to spread the news and expose as many people in the world as possible to the reality of the Israeli occupation. I sort of feel like it’s my duty. But this time was different. I didn’t want to share the news, to mingle it with the other bloody news on my page. I wanted to keep all of the feelings inside my heart, where I am keeping her memories.

Our reaction to Razan’s death flies in the face of those who think we revel in martyrdom. All they need to do watch the video of her mother holding her daughter’s headscarf. Or to witness the tears of people who had never met her but knew of her noble work on the border.

And then there are those critics who say Muslim women are suppressed and oppressed. Razan’s presence on the front lines, carrying the injured and working alongside her male colleagues, shouldering responsibility for the lives of a “nation” (as she described it)—this puts to shame those who stereotype us.

Why must Palestinians keep saying, “She is a paramedic, not a terrorist; he is a young boy and poses no threat to Israeli snipers; he is an old man and is just holding the Palestinian flag; she is a woman and protesting peacefully”?  I am sick of having to say, “we are not terrorists,” while the actual terrorists paint themselves as victims. But you know, the loss of Razan is so much more important than the accusations behind these questions; I’m done with defending ourselves against such racism and ignorance. The answers are clear to those who truly care about the complexities of the truth.

Fortunately, death has not yet been up close and personal for me; none of the murdered has been a relative or a loved one. Still, I feel as if I knew Razan—like she was a sister even.

A while after the news broke, I texted a friend just to share what I felt. The response I got was, “The whole city mourns her loss. Men, women and children are crying. I was at the market to buy some food for iftar when I heard the news. It was all everyone was talking about.”

The way most of the world talks about her murder, though, reminds me of the coverage of the killing of Wesal Sheikh; the media merely posted her photo with the caption, “The first female martyr.” That’s it? That’s all her life is worth? And do not they not know that once we start counting, the numbers will increase? Now we await the third and the fourth female martyr.- See more at: https://wearenotnumbers.org/home/Story/492

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human RightsComments Off on The murder of a role model

Wuhan examined 6.5 million people from Corona in 10 days

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

In just 10 days, the Chinese city of Wuhan has successfully tested nearly two-thirds of its 11 million population with Corona virus tests, as a way to ensure that it is free of the deadly virus that has spread to the world from this city.

According to the Health Commission of Wuhan, the center of Hubei Province in central China, the city has conducted more than 6.5 million tests for the Corona virus within 10 days.

In a post on its website, the Commission asked any person who had not yet been examined to apply and be subject to the end of Tuesday.

No new cases of the virus, the cause of the Covid-19 epidemic, have been reported since the 10-day campaign began, although the results of some people who did not show symptoms were positive.

Before the campaign, the city had tested and examined more than 3 million people, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

And the authorities in the city are seeking to examine all its residents after a series of new cases raised fears of a second wave of infection, especially after discovering a group of 6 cases in one residential complex.

Posted in China, HealthComments Off on Wuhan examined 6.5 million people from Corona in 10 days

Don’t Call Me Ishmael; Don’t Call Me Israel — Call Me One Democratic State!

By: Rima Najjar

Israel

“Who excavates Muslim Palestinian graves and mosques in [Palestine’s] depopulated towns and why?”, asks Haifa-based Palestinian advocate Jehad Abu-Rayya.

“Recently,” he goes on, “these desecrations have been on the increase — In the village of Beit Jibreen, in the village of Al-Lajjun, in the village of Amwas, in the village of Al-Ghabisiya, village of Hittin — and these are only a few of such attempts before Israel implements its [Trump’s] plan [in reference to the forthcoming annexation of parts of the West Bank]. This list does not include the demolition, desecration, and erosion of [Palestinian] graves and shrines in Jaffa, Safed, Ain Hud, Sindiyana and others.”

Jehad Abu Raya’s post of his article (من ينبش القبور والمساجد في البلدات المهجرة ولماذا؟) on Facebook generated outrage and comments such as the following translated from Arabic:

“They are afraid of history, afraid of Mujahideen, even in their graves, because they are thieves, and the thief is always in fear and does not feel safe. Even in my town, there were excavations inside the shrine and mausoleum of Abu al-Hija. They excavate and place a small plaque and write on it their history and in the future they say this shrine is about us Jews and goes back in history for such and such a year. Beware those who counterfeit history.”

“There is a big difference between robbing graves and digging graves to conceal history. Grave robbers are thieves looking for valuables to pilfer, a sin against God; the deliberate destruction and concealment of history, such as what happened in the cemetery and the depopulated village of Benechir at the bottom of the Carmel Mountains in Haifa [is another matter].”

“This is a new old file. We, a group of tour guides, have noticed through our tours and visits to these sites that the matter has worsened and has become disturbing, as it is a blatant violation of the sanctity of holy sites and Islamic cemeteries. And if the perpetrators are seemingly unknown, then the purpose behind the deed reveals the truth.”

“Of course, they are not able to erase us, so they erase our ancestors.”

“They stole the country and made the people homeless — no morality and no conscience.”

As one of the comments above states, this ongoing erasure of Muslim and Palestinian history and presence in Israel is “a new old file”:

Speaking at a closed discussion in the summer of 1967, a conversation published in 1968 in the Israeli journal De’ot (‘Opinions’), Israel Eldad (Sheib) says:

I have always said that the deepest and the profoundest hope symbolizing redemption is the re-building of the [Jewish] Temple … then it is obvious that those mosques [al-Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa] will have, one way or another, to disappear one of these days … Had it not been for Deir Yassin — half a million Arabs would be living in the state of Israel [in 1948]. The state of Israel would not have existed. We must not disregard this with full awareness of the responsibility involved. All wars are cruel. There is no way out of that. This country will either be Eretz Israel with an absolute Jewish majority and a small Arab minority, or Eretz Ishmael, and Jewish emigration will begin again if we do not expel the Arabs one way or another.

The ongoing desecrations and erasures of Muslim mosques and grave sites described by Jehad Abu Rayya are simply a manifestation of Israel’s very existence. Israel was established as a Jewish state. It was not intended as a state for all its citizens. Rather it was, and is, a state for Jews — i.e., every Jew throughout the world is a potential citizen; Palestinian Arabs and their heritage must be erased or excluded for such a Jewish state to “exist”.

In 1950, the Knesset passed two laws, the Law of Return (“Every Jew has a right to immigrate to the country”) and the Absentee Property Law [‘Absentee’, as in forcibly driven out and dispossessed]. These laws, along with Israel’s Nationality Law of 1952, defined the state’s Jewish character.

Despite the above, Palestinian right of return is universally recognized in international law and repeated UN resolutions beginning with Res 194 (III), 11 Dec 1948.

It is important to note here by way of highlighting Israel’s and Zionism’s racist character that, as Uri Davis writes, it is

not only the Palestinian non-Jew — first and foremost the Palestinian Arab ‘absentee’ — who is excluded from his or her right to undisputed citizenship [in Israel]. Large categories of Jews are similarly excluded: Jewish bastards, Jewish persons born to non-Jewish mothers, Jewish persons born to Jewish mothers who converted to another religion, and non-Jews converted to Judaism by conservative or reform rabbis (only the Jewish Orthodox conversion procedure is effectively recognized in Israel).

The Black Lives Matter movement and current uprising against racism has resonated in Western and post-colonial societies worldwide. Political Zionism is a racist ideology. It shares a common view with secular anti-Jewish racism on the existential status of Jewish minorities in Gentile communities — that the Jew cannot be, by definition, an equal citizen and a free individual in a non-Jewish society (not because of inferiority or sin, but because Jews have a special status). For the political Zionist, Jewish society must also be segregated in Palestine, renamed by the Zionist as Eretz Israel. Thus Anti-Palestinian Arab racism and Israeli apartheid both originate in the Zionist ideology of the Jewish state.

The Times of Israel report that “Israel could easily destroy Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque, but emphatically does not want to, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,” is far from reassuring.

Don’t call me Ishmael [Ismail]; don’t call me Israel — call me one democratic state.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Don’t Call Me Ishmael; Don’t Call Me Israel — Call Me One Democratic State!

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