Archive | March 24th, 2018





The Western Media is going berserk over the situation in the Eastern Ghouta.  The propaganda is reaching a shrill crescendo indicating hysterics.  Or, more likely, it is coordinated to prepare public opinion for a more obscene type of Western response to staged propaganda endemic to any area where the so-called “White Helmets” are found.  No Western media reports are coming out of ‘Afreen which is being bombarded daily by America’s allies, the Turks.  No, it’s only the Ghouta where America’s and NATO’s terrorist allies are facing annihilation.  Little or no information is being published decrying the Saudi-inspired carnage in Yemen.

It is obvious that the Tiger Forces will not be unleashed until the terrorist groups, Alqaeda, Hay’at Tahreer Al-Shaam, Jaysh Al-Islam, Faylaq Al-Rahmaan and others who are not included in the cease fire brokered by Moscow, have been pounded into a fugue state.  Maj. Gen. Suhayl Al-Hassan has reportedly been depressed by Dr. Assad’s unwillingness to commit to total victory in Ghouta – some sources claiming he was greeted with much affection by the president but was told to hold back until the “political” atmosphere improved.  Actually, none of that is true.  General Al-Hassan has been given wide latitude in deciding when to make the big push, and, he has evidently opted to continue the softening process in order to conserve his own assets and the lives of his men.  More importantly, General Al-Hassan has to take into account the lives of innocent civilians who are now being put in cages to be used as human shields.  Muhammad ‘Alloosh, a war criminal par excellence, has ordered his apes to build a thousand cages to stop the air assault.

Based on information I have gleaned from my sources, the assault has begun as a probing maneuver to test the defenses of the entrenched rats. Some western sources have estimated the number of rodents inside the Ghouta to be in the thousands with many having gained substantial skill in terrorizing the population.  Other sources put the number of vermin at just below one thousand.  My source cannot give out the number but says it is very “manageable”. Whatever the case, if the defensive lines are as weak as they appear and the arsenal at the disposal of the rodents has been depleted with little opportunity for rearming due to the fact that the Ghouta is now surrounded, then, in that case, the operation should last only a few weeks due to the presence of around 400,000 civilians.

From the responses to many of the MSM articles, it is clear nobody believes the Western-Zionist narrative.  Almost everyone writing comments accuse the MSM of disseminating pure propaganda.  Judging also from the number of comments to articles about Syria and contrasting them to the number of comments on other subjects more germane to American domestic politics, it can be concluded that very few people are following the events in Syria.  What I am getting at is that the MSM has failed miserably in rousting the Western public from its languor. It is apparent Syria does not have the same attraction as the Super Bowl or Florida massacres.

Muhammad ‘Alloosh knows he has no place to go but Hell.  Like, ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini, his footsteps are sullied with the blood of thousands of innocent civilians and government soldiers.  Once dead, both will enter the oblivion they richly deserve; and as time goes by, they might get the suspicion that Allah is not on their side – and that, maybe, just maybe, the fiery Hades promised to temporal sinners in the Qur’an could be expanded to accommodate them and their minions.

The T-72 tanks are revving up and preparing to move very soon in what will be a slow, step-by-step, invasion designed to conserve the lives of soldiers and civilians.  The Saraab 2 anti-TOW toppling device is much-improved rendering the American-manufactured anti-armor platform useless against tanks of the Tiger Forces.  Syrian soldiers are battle-hardened and superbly trained by the terrain over which they have bobbed for close to seven years.  This is the time of reckoning when the cannibals infesting the Ghouta must start to write their farewell letters to their noisome relatives in Chechnya, Sinkiang or Albania or any of the other nations that produced them – United States, France,  Britain, Germany or Saudi Arabia, inter alia.

The Zionist Apartheid State, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, England and Kuwait, are horrified at the possibility of losing the Ghouta to the government.  Once the Ghouta is freed from the stench of Wahhabist chimpanzees, the Syrian Army, now over a half million strong (if you count in the militias) will be freed up to deal with Idlib and put to death the plans of Bandar bin Sultaan whose is head is literally ripe for the plucking.  The United States is clearly on board and is joining in the clamor and clangor to upset Syria’s plans to extirpate the terrorist menace.  Why?

Because Russia and Iran have won.  For Iran, it is the gas pipeline, the Fatimid Crescent and the unimpeded access to Hizbollah and Palestine.  For Russia, it’s the dream of a port on the Mediterranean and the airbase at Humaymeem.  Despite decades of Syrian loyalty to Moscow, never has there been a Syrian government willing to lease a port and a land base for one hundred years.  America’s failure to blunt the growth of this new alliance:  Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, Syria and Lebanon is hanging around the neo-con heads like an albatross….. or dangling over them like the Sword of Damocles.  Zionists are united in pursuing a policy of complete hopelessness in order to assuage their own hurt feelings.  They simply will not accept their own failures and are determined to bully the CIA into another miserable foreign adventure.

Unable to stir the passions of the American public into supporting another foreign war, they have resolved to use the media as a substitute for the noisy demonstrations of which they fantasized in order to urge military action to stop the inevitable rise of the new alliance.  With failure after failure, we can only assume that the terrorists of Al-Ghouta are numbered.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: TANGLED WEB IN THE EAST GHOUTA



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The Tiger Forces, backed by HZB and other militias approved by the Syrian government, are poised to finish their work in the East Ghouta in a mere 5 days.  Muhammad ‘Alloosh, the gangster-like boss ofJaysh Al-Islam, can see the writing on the wall.  It is hard enough to keep his savages in a state of acceptable morale when the Ghouta has been cleft in twain, but much harder when Saudi money is not coming, tunnels are all destroyed, civilians are in open revolt and the Saraab 2 anti-anti-tank system has been working superbly.  Nothing in the terrorist arsenal is effective against the Saraab once installed on a T-72 tank.  They might as well use spitballs.

‘Alloosh has reportedly been inundated with demands that he end the torture by negotiating a withdrawal from the Ghouta.  My source in Damascus informs me that the Russian government has a negotiating team on the ground in the capital tasked with ridding the area of these parasites.  The offer is the same as all others:  the terrorists will board buses provided by the Syrian government and the safety of those withdrawing with their families is guaranteed by Moscow.  It has worked splendidly in the past.  They will be redirected to Idlib where they can bask in the glory and resplendence of ‘Abdullah Al-Muhaysini.

UPDATE:  Thirteen terrorists have left on green buses this morning in Damascus with their families and carrying only light weapons.  They would first pass through the Al-WaafideenCrossing on their way to Idlib.

We can also confirm the total delousing of Bayt Sawwaa.

Once the Ghouta was divided in half by the Tiger Forces, the terrorists had no ability to communicate with one another.  They had no ability to reinforce.  Moreover, the ferocity of the attack by seasoned soldiers bristling with new arms dashed any hopes these cannibals may have had to blunt the operation.  Forget the incessant bombings; it was the appearance of inevitable defeat which caused the terrorist ranks to collapse.  If any of these cockroaches believed that God was on their side, they have been thoroughly disabused of that fantasy by the facts on the ground and the unstoppable momentum of the Tiger Force juggernaut.

Already, right-wing German politicians are counting the days before Syrian refugees go back to their homeland.  A delegation from the AfP arrived and departed Damascus after meeting with Syrian officials.  Needless to say, they were vilified by terrorist-supporting Merkel-rodents, but, it appears the German people see a bright side to the trip and to its results. It’s a different world today than it was 7 years ago.

Still, the lying Western Media persists in repeating the self-same mantras about the Syrian government.  And the people in the West continue to reject the narrative coming from Washington, Berlin, Paris, London and Tel Aviv.  Despite the overwhelming hostility being shown by ordinary citizens in the West to the MSM’s blatantly propagandistic story line, the editorial boards of the NYT, WP, ABC, NBC, BBC, CBS, Der Spiegel, inter alia, continue the programmatic lies about the government and the army of Syria.  But, it’s just not working.

The Turk invasion, which caught the MSM by surprise, is a challenge for these purveyors of yellowreportage.  They just don’t know what to do about NATO member Turkey attacking the “heroic” Kurdish forces.  But, the Turks are not doing very well.  They have had to purchase equipment from the Ukraine, of all places, to protect their armored vehicles.  According to Wael, (based on anecdotal evidence), the Kurdish forces have been hitting Turk armored units very hard, causing a great deal of damage to their main battle tanks.  What has slowed down the Turk onslaught is not the care and concern Ankara has for civilians, it is the disturbing intelligence coming in that is portraying a final battle in which Turkey may lose up to 50% of its equipment.  And with close to 2,000 reinforcements coming in from Eastern Syria, the Turks must know there are many more losses to come.

In the northern battle near ‘Afreen, Kurdish and Syrian forces killed one of the main leaders of the White Helmets, one Jamaal Haafizh, an actual member of the Nusra criminal organization.  He was put to death in Dayr Sawwaan while fighting for Turkey against the Kurdish and Syrian forces.  May he burn in an eternal Hell.

In any case, the voices from the West are becoming shriller.  Without any ability to change the course of events today, the evil British regime, and the clueless Trump administration, have to simply plan for a future in the Middle East devoid of their influence and power.  All this began when Vlad decided to send in the troops in September 2015, a moment of signal importance in the history of the world.

Alexander Ajay sends me this nice, concise article about the White Helmet fraud and Heather Nauert’s nauseating performances:

U.S. army admits that Russia has won in Syria:

Vanessa continues to drive nails into the helmets of the terrorists with this excellent article:

White Helmets Exploit Children to ‘Manufacture Consent’ for ‘Humanitarian’ War in Syria

Ghassan Kadi answers the question:  How far can America be pushed?  Interesting view into the future:

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria: CANNIBALS NEGOTIATE SURRENDER

Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)


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(15 – 21 March 2018)

  • Nazi forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

–      37 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children and a photojournalist, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Nazi forces conducted 83 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 limited ones into the Gaza Strip.

–        104 civilians, including 16 children and 2 women, were arrested in the West Bank.

–        49 of them, including 9 children and a woman, were arrested in Jerusalem.


  • Nazi forces continued to open fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.


  • Nazi warplanes launched a missile at Beit Hanoun Services Club stadium in the northern Gaza Strip.
  • Nazi settlers continued their attacks in the West Bank.

–        Nazi Jewish settlers wrote racial slogans in Hizamh village and attacked farmers and shepherds in Hebron and Ramallah.


  • Nazi authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

–        Two Palestinians were forced to self-demolish their houses in Silwan and al-Mokaber villages.


  • 10 Shooting incidents were reported against the Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Sea, but no casualties were reported.


  • Nazi forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 11th consecutive year.

–        Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians.

–        Two patients’ companions and an officer at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were arrested at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Nazi  forces arrested 4 Palestinian civilians at the military checkpoints in the West Bank.


The full report is available online at:


Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

The Future of the Jews

More of the Past?

It is strange: Jews have been disliked everywhere and in all times. The dislike appears in odd places. I was astonished to find that my Nepalese trekking guides were intensely hostile to Jews. They said that Jews (actually Israelis in most cases I think, but the Nepalese do not seem to make the distinction) were loud, demanding, and always trying to force down the guides’ fees. Historically the hostility has often been powerful and, not infrequently, murderous. Jews have been expelled from country after country, excluded from polite society, subjected to quotas,and required to live in certain regions. Why?

How much anti-Jewish hostility is there today in America? A lot? A little? Is it negligible? Potentially explosive? It is hard to tell because disliking Jews is often a firing offense, and a controlled press makes discussion impossible. A clue can perhaps be found in the comments sections of political websites where, protected by anonymity, commenters are often bitterly anti-Jewish. But then, these comments may, or may not, be the work of a few cranks.

Today there appear news stories about growing hostility on campuses, that Jews are fleeing Paris because of increased or more openly expressed dislike, or that the German Right, never fond of Jews, gains strength.

Since the dislike has existed for at least two thousand years, there must be some enduring reason or reasons. What?

One I think is the Space Alien Effect. It is human nature to dislike people different from oneself. This fact runs against today’s cult of diversity, which accounts for the disastrous reality of American life, but a glance around the world reveals that diversity causes most of the planet’s troubles: Sunni and Shia, Jew and Muslim, Tutsi and Hutu, black, white and brown in America, Tamil and Sinhalese; Turks and Kurds; Turks and Armenians; Thais and Muslims, Germans and Jews. Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, on and on for a very long list of religious, ethnic, and racial differences. Diversity is nobody’s strength.

Diversity often disappears through assimilation. Today people named O’Toole and Libertini may be proud of their ancestry, but they think of themselves as American, not as Irish and Italian. So do others. Thus hostility to them, once intense, has vanished.

Jews do not assimilate. Yes, they speak the same language, wear the same clothes, and peck at smartphones like everyone else. Yet they think of themselves as Jews. So, therefore, does everyone else. While there is no legal or moral reason why they should not so think of themselves, there are consequences: Human nature is what it is, regardless of whether we think it should be.

Specifically, Jews are always Them. We are Us. We are aware that Feinstein is Jewish as we are not aware that O’Malley is Irish–because he isn’t. Difference alone doesn’t cause antagonism. but makes it much more likely.

Worse–and this has caused millions of deaths–Jews are often successful. It doesn’t matter whether the success arises from superior intelligence, greater drive, collusion, or the will of Yahweh. It happens. Thus the pattern repeated over and over and over down the ages. Jews prosper, become rich, gain power sometimes abused, and become arrogant. If Christians did this–Bill Gates, or the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age–they would be resented as individuals perhaps, not as an ethnicity. But Jews are Them. The surrounding population feels colonized–by Them, by Space Aliens, by internal foreigners–and deeply resents it. As noted, the reaction may take the form of ostracism, enforced quotas, confinement to the Pale of Settlement, expulsion from the country, ghastly pogroms, or Auschwitz.

Hitler’s complaints against the Jews were along usual lines, that Jews controlled German culture, finance, academia, and the media. These are also things said in America today today on the internet against Jews . Whether these criticisms are true, fair, justified, or make sense does not matter. What matters is that people feel, or can easily be made to feel, controlled, by Them. Making a list of powerful Jews is sufficient and, with the internet, easy.

The dislike is profoundly visceral, not rational, tapping into deep wells of instinct that make little sense–which doesn’t matter. This can be seen in the wild disproportion between offense given and reaction. How do you get rationally in Germany from growlings in beer halls, “There are too damn many Jews in everything,” to “We should kill all the Jews”?

Them, not Us. It makes little obvious sense to say that Jews are not Americans. Bob Dylan isn’t an American? Lauren Bacall? Yet this is clearly how anti-Jewish commenters on the web see it. Them, not Us. It is a matter of limbic tribalism, which does not map well onto legal principles.

The hostility is often to Jews more as a metaphysical category than as actual people. Many who loathe Jews have little contact with them. Ask, “What have Jews actually done to you? Hacked your bank account? Gypped you out of your house? Shot your dog?” and the answer will likely be, “Nothing.” Rachel Cohen, the dentist next door in Peoria, is not easily envisioned as trying to destroy America, impose communism, or wreck the currency. Thus, “some of my best friends…but….” While the Jews one actually knows probably are not bad people, or at most annoying, The Jews collectively are a sort of ominous barely visible miasma. (For the record, no American Jew has ever harmed me, and many have helped me in what I humorously call “my career.” Coupla girlfriends, too.)

Importantly, Jewish presence is seen as Jewish conspiracy. Four Jews on the Supreme Court? From two percent of the population? My God, they must be up to something. A conspiracy, doubtless. But a conspiracy to do what? A candidate theory, correct as it happens, is that Jews as a people do anything and everything they can to advance the fortunes of Israel. But on the Supreme Court…how? Other suggestions are a desire to destroy the white race (including themselves?), to bring America down (why?), to wreck the international monetary system (why?), or to impose a Zionist world empire. Most of these make between little and no sense, which doesn’t matter. Jews don’t actually have to sacrifice Christian children to die for it. They just have to be thought to do so.

It is interesting that these usually nonexistent Jewish conspiracies get enduring attention while other, demonstrably real, conspiracies do not arouse similar ire. For example, the Koch brothers, who are not Jewish, have funded and led a massive and disguised campaign to subvert American politics for the benefit of big business. The arms industry bribes, suborns, and finagles to get the government to buy hugely expensive weapons. The FBI was recently caught trying to prevent the election of Donald Trump. The Clintons are crooked as kite string in a ceiling fan. So why do Jewish conspiracies, sometimes real but, more usually, imagined, get attention on the web?

The Space Alien Effect. Jews are Them. We are Us. Both know it.

The importance of this tribalism should not be underestimated. I once walked down Main Street in Farmville, Virginia, a small town in the Southside, with a friend. He said–I forget how the subject came up–with some bitterness, “The Jews own everything on Main Street. Just like they do everywhere.” He pointed to Rose’s, a perfectly ordinary department store. It did nothing wrong or even interesting. But it was Jewish. That was enough.

Them, not Us. The Presbyterian owners of a store actually engaged in gouging would have been resented as individuals, not as a tribe. The Jews.

Power and wealth are not necessary to engender slaughter. Mere difference, specifically not being Christian, has often been enough. History is littered with examples, of which Jews are well aware. When the First Crusade took Jerusalem in 1099, the Christian armies immediately burned the synagogue with the Jews inside. Why? The Jews had no part in the war, which was between Muslims and Christians.

This explains why Jews do not like Christianity, though the antipathy typically is (wisely) disguised as a principled adherence to the invented constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. Note that while Americans think of the Holocaust as something the Germans did (I do) to Jews it can look like just another attack by a Christian country (Poland, Russia, England, the Baltics, and so on.) A Jewish friend once expressed the attitude as sometimes being, “Look what they have done to us. We can do anything we want to them.”

Here we encounter the unfortunate human tendency to blame entire groups for what a few members did. For example, the Jews killed Christ. “(Gosh, Rachel, you don’t look old enough.”) Or whites enslaved blacks. Actually, no one in the United States has been a slave, or owned one, for a century and a half. Most of liberal politics would wither to nothing if we accepted that people cannot be guilty of things they did not do.

It is not necessarily wise to be seen as trying to eliminate a majority religion.

Note that a people, though living always among others, can maintain characteristic over long periods. Recently I was reading Las Novelas Ejemplares of Cervantes, specifically La Gitnailla, which means very approximately The Little Gypsy Girl. It begins,

“Parece que los gitanos y gitanas solamente nacieron en el mundo para ser ladrones: nacen de padres ladrones, críanse con ladrones, estudian para ladrones y, finalmente, salen con ser ladrones corrientes.”

“It appears that gypsies are born only to be thieves. They are born as thieves, raised among thieves, study to be thieves, and finally end by being common thieves.”

Cervantes died in 1616, which makes the story over 400 years old. Yet this description of gypsies is their reputation today, very much supported by police files.They haven’t assimilated, and they haven’t changed. Jews of course have never been associated with burglary or picking pockets, but the passage makes clear that peoples can maintain characteristics over centurions.

Jews with remarkable consistency have been described for centuries as smart, greedy, combative, clannish, “pushy,” exploitative, and arrogant. This is how I hear them described in Mexico, where I live. (I think of these as Middle Eastern traits, but never mind.) Then there is chutzpah. which in practice seems to mean “brashly walking over other people.” It can leave others feeling bulldozed, defeated, used. This bruising of the ego, of self-respect, arouses a hostility all out of proportion to actual damage done. It is, or so I think, a major cause of dislike for Jews. Such descriptions are dismissed today as stereotypes. A stereotype is just the aggregate observation of many people over time.

Of course the evidence does not always support a particular explanation for avisible effect. A Jewish friend says, “We’re no more greedy than anyone else. We’re just good businessmen so we make money.” Those with money are usually described as greedy. I don’t think I have ever met a greedy Jew, though I have met many who were very careful with money. It doesn’t matter whether you really are greedy only that people think you are.

Chutzpah: When I was seven we lived in Arlington, Virginia, next to the Furmans, recently someone said, of Hell’s Kitchen, which I didn’t know what was. The Furmans were by no means bad people. One day Mrs. Furman came over and gave my mother a hard time because my little brother, five was playing with a kid across the street instead of little Andrew Furman. Mom had done nothing to influence my brother’s choice of friends. She, a quietly genteel woman from the Southside of Virginia, was horrified by the aggressiveness. She told me of this decades later, so it clearly made a bad impression. Thereafter, Them were not our kind of people. Small things can produce lifelong dislike.

In sum, Jews seem alien, smarter than others and far more aggressive than Christians, whom they seem to trample. Christians feel that they cannot compete, that they are outsmarted at every turn, or at least pushed around, and made victims. This bruising of the ego sets off irrational, serious hostility. It is the attitude of blacks toward whites, for the same reasons.

Finally there is Israel, the albatross around the Jewish neck, making it impossible for Jews quietly to be more or less normal Americans. To Jews Israel is of immense and understandable importance, but this enthusiasm brings up charges of dual loyalty or, often, loyalty exclusively to Israel. The truth of this doesn’t matter. It looks true, which is enough. Does Rachel the Jewish dentist in Peoria back Israel? To what extent? What does she think of Israeli behavior? We don’t know. We know that Jewish lobbies like AIPAC and the Neocons back Israel one hundred percent. And they control American Mid-Eastern policy. This is much noted on the Web.

Jewish backing for Israel requires emotional contortions since Israel is everything liberals, to include Jews, profess to hate, being racist–just now it is expelling blacks–religiously exclusive, an apartheid state, militaristic, and brutal in its treatment of Arabs. This I suspect bothers some Jews, but assuredly is a grave PR problem for the country. But then, as a small coastal enclave in a part of the world intensely hostile to it, a sort of second Crusader Kingdom, it is hard to see what choices it has. If it becomes democratic or allows extensive intermarriage, for example, it will quickly cease to be a Jewish state, and there is no way to rule nicely over a sea of people who want to kill you.

Is there a possibility of active anti-semitism in America? Yes. Why is America immune to a dislike that has influenced all of history?

Yet at the moment, no. No overt expression will soon occur, and perhaps never will. But the classic preliminary conditions exist and grow. The appearance of Jewish power is strong. Four of nine justices of the Supreme Court, a majority of Ivy presidents, CEOs of television networks. Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sergei Brin co-founder of Google. the New York Times, Time-Warner, Disney, much of Hollywood, huge parts of retail, most of the big publishing houses in New York. Anyone who has worked in Washington knows that Jewish control of Congress and the media is near absolute. The list could go on for pages. Things like this create a propagandist’s paradise..If America’s tight control over expression ever slipped, a would-be Adolf with Google searches could come up with a shocking list.

A rational person might ask, “So what?” Do the Supreme Court’s Jewish justices make Jewish decisions–whatever that might mean? Or do they vote like any four NPR listeners chosen at random? Did Mark Zuckerberg do anything underhanded? Or was he a very bright Jewish kid who had an idea and the strength of character to push it into existence? Does Schultz of Starbucks do something evil, or does he, like, you know, sell reasonably good coffee at a reasonable price?

It doesn’t matter. They are there, so they must be conspiring. And their influence is becoming more obvious, as with Trump’s subservience (as seen by much of the world) to Israel in planning to move the embassy.

People who think they are defending Jews will point to Jewish contributions to nearly everything–science, music, math, technology, literature, charity, medicine, support for symphonies. These contributions are real and immense. With respect to anti-Jewish politics, they are also irrelevant or worse. Since the hostility to Jews rests largely on their excessive presence (again, in the eyes of the anti-Jewish) pointing to their intellectual contributions just increases the dislike. It emphasizes both the Jewish presence and apparent superiority.

Happy, prosperous societies seldom form lynch mobs. When things break down, when hope wanes, expectations fall, and near-desperation sets in, explosions come. Today the United States quite arguably heads into a Weimar-like future of chaos and social violence. This may sound crazy…but is it? Nobody thought such a highly civilized country as Germany capable of Treblinka.

America is not really stable. Political animosity runs high, racial hostility is great and growing, standards of living fall, offshoring and automation leave the young with nowhere for their lives to go. Wealth goes rapidly from the many to the few and what was the working class falls into drugs and anomie. The wars never end. Infrastructure ages and falls behind that of more advanced nations. Anger grows. As the pie shrinks, someone will have to get less pie.

It is hard to see how this can continue forever. My guess is that the fighting–”unrest” is the polite term–will break out first between white and black. Whites are quiescent now, but see their lives worsening and their world deteriorating. The kneelers in the NFL, the rioters in Ferguson are much more visible than Jews.

But if unrest starts, someone will say “Wall Street!” and that will mean “the Jews,” and all the rest will follow. Whether any of it makes sense will not matter in the least.

Let us hope I am crazy. But it is not, I think, the way to bet.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Future of the Jews

What the Alt-Right Gets Wrong About Jews


For many on the alt-right, every grievance is, at root, about Jews. Andrew Anglin, host of the most popular alt-right/neo-Nazi website, explains: “the only thing in our movement that really matters [is] anti-Semitism.” If only the Jews were gone, he argues, the white race, freed from bondage, would immediately overcome all of its problems. Where does this attitude come from?

Jews are a conspicuous people, small in number but large in footprint. As Mark Twain wrote in 1899:

”If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race….Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk….What is the secret of his immortality?”

For many people throughout history, the answer to Twain’s question was simple: Jews conspire among themselves to dominate and disadvantage gentiles. This answer fell out of fashion, at least in polite society, after World War II. Since the 1990s, however, the conspiratorial account of Jewish prominence has taken on a new, more meretricious form in the work of (now retired) California State University, Long Beach psychologist Kevin MacDonald, known affectionately among alt-righters as “KMac.” According to Richard Spencer, the inventor of the term “alt-right” and unofficial leader of the movement: “There is no man on the planet who has done more for the understanding of the pole around which the world revolves than Kevin MacDonald.” And: “KMac…may be the most essential man in our movement in terms of thought leader[ship].” To understand the alt-right’s anti-Semitism, we must understand MacDonald’s ideas, particularly as outlined in his most influential book, The Culture of Critique.

According to MacDonald, Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy.” Jews possess both genetic and cultural adaptations (including, on the genetic side, high IQ and ethnocentrism) that allow them to develop successful intellectual movements that undermine gentile society and promote their own group continuity. “Jewish intellectual movements,” MacDonald argues, are led by charismatic figures analogous to rabbis. They attack white nationalism while promoting Jewish nationalism, and use pseudoscience to “pathologize” anti-Semitism, which in reality is a justified response to “Jewish aggression.” According to MacDonald, Jewish intellectual movements include Freudianism, Frankfurt School critical theory, and multiculturalism. These movements, MacDonald claims, taught white gentiles to reject ethnocentrism and accept high levels of nonwhite immigration to their countries while tolerating Jewishethnocentrism and racially restrictive immigration policies in Israel.

MacDonald’s theory and the anti-Semitism of many on the alt-right are largely reactions to the perceived liberalism of Jews. One of us (Cofnas) has just published an academic paper that examines MacDonald’s most influential bookThe Culture of Critique, and finds that it is chock full of misrepresented sources, cherry-picked facts, and egregious distortions of history. MacDonald and the alt-righters are, nevertheless, correct that many liberal leaders over the last hundred years have been Jewish. We’d like to offer an explanation for this phenomenon, as well as determine whether Jewish liberalism is the cause or the result of anti-Semitism.

A Historical Perspective

People who learned everything they know about history from MacDonald’s books may be under the impression that traditional gentile society was marked by “hierarchic harmony” (his term) before Jews began their intellectual assault after the Enlightenment. This is a gross distortion of history. Gentile radicals have been around for centuries, doing exactly what MacDonald thinks is characteristic of Jews. Consider Edmund Burke’s comments on European (gentile) radicals at the time of the French Revolution:

Nor is it in these clubs alone that the public measures are deformed into monsters. They undergo a previous distortion in academies, intended as so many seminaries for these clubs, which are set up in all the places of public resort. In these meetings of all sorts every counsel, in proportion as it is daring and violent and perfidious, is taken for the mark of superior genius. Humanity and compassion are ridiculed as the fruits of superstition and ignorance. Tenderness to individuals is considered as treason to the public.

The French Revolution itself was an entirely successful movement to overturn whatever “hierarchic harmony” had existed in France, and it was led by gentiles and inspired by gentile philosophers. (Many of the gentile philosophers who laid the groundwork for the Revolution, such as Voltaire, were committed anti-Semites.) Radical French thinkers like Rousseau are completely ignored by MacDonald.

MacDonald analyzes the Frankfurt School in great detail and argues that the ideology of the school was constructed to advance Jewish interests by promoting nonwhite immigration and in general undermining white culture. (MacDonald does not mention that, incidentally, many of the Frankfurt School’s fiercest critics were Jews, like Karl Popper, who mocked their work as pseudoscience.) But French existentialism was a movement that was analogous to the Frankfurt School in every important respect…except that the leaders—Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus—were white gentiles.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in Beijing, 1955
Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in Beijing, 1955

Sartre was a leading critic of France and America, and strongly supported nonwhite immigrants in France. The French existentialists produced radical critiques of traditional gentile society and, like the Frankfurt School, advanced pseudoscientific ideas (making demonstrably false claims about human nature and refusing to subject these claims to any test).

It is easy to find gentiles independently developing ideas virtually identical to those promoted by “Jewish intellectual movements.” MacDonald quotes Foucault’s statement: “If I had known about the Frankfurt School in time, I would have been saved a great deal of work. I would not have said a certain amount of nonsense and would not have taken so many false trails trying not to get lost, when the Frankfurt School had already cleared the way.” For MacDonald, this shows how influential the Jewish-dominated Frankfurt School was. But it also reflects the fact that, while the gentile Foucault was influenced by the Frankfurt School, he was independently thinking along the same tracks.

Still, in the past hundred years or so Jews have clearly been overrepresented among the leaders of liberal movements. They were overrepresented among communist leaders and revolutionaries, among prominent immigration advocates, and so on. Even if liberalism is not the Jewish invention that MacDonald claims it is, we still should explain why Jews appear to be disproportionately attracted to it. And is anti-Semitism a response to Jewish liberalism?—or could it be the other way around?

IQ, Persecution, and Political Identity

Mark Twain’s explanation for Jewish intellectual prominence was that “Jews have the best average brain of any people in the world.” Though they make up far less than one percent of the world’s population, Jews have comprised more than half of all world chess champions, about a quarter of Fields medalists in mathematics, and more than a fifth of all Nobel Prize winners. Social scientists have found that Ashkenazi Jews score, on average, around 110-112 on IQ tests (compared to a mean of 100).

Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending argue that high Ashkenazi IQ evolved during the Middle Ages in Europe due to gene-culture co-evolution. Prohibited from entering many blue-collar occupations like farming, Jews turned to finance, particularly money lending, to survive. Records from around the year 1270, for example, report that almost 80 percent of adult male Jews in Roussillon (what is today southern France) made their living as money lenders. Finance requires a relatively high level of verbal and mathematical intelligence, and the hypothesis is that Jews who could not cut it in business tended to drop out of the community or starve.

On Cochran, Hardy, and Harpending’s thesis, these restrictive conditions selected for verbal and mathematical intelligence, not for the ability to engage in the sort of conspiracy against gentiles described by MacDonald. If Cochran et al. are right, we would expect Jews to be overrepresented in science and in the leadership of political movements, as these are both cognitively demanding activities. There is no particular reason to expect Jews to be overrepresented only in liberal movements.

David Horowitz
David Horowitz

Indeed, MacDonald and other anti-Semites largely ignore the fact that Jews have been conspicuously overrepresented among the leadership of all sorts of right-wing movements: anti-communists like Herman Kahn, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller; libertarians like Milton and David Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Robert Nozick, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner; traditional conservatives like Allan Bloom, David Horowitz, and Richard Posner; and Donald Trump’s senior policy advisor and perhaps the most influential anti-immigration activist in the United States, Stephen Miller.

But MacDonald seems to be right that Jews were disproportionately involved in radical leftist political movements in the twentieth century, and in the US Jews tend to vote Democrat. We think this can be explained by the high average IQ of Jews in combination with their being a persecuted minority, which has tended to push them toward political views that emphasize social toleration and the free movement of people. In other words, MacDonald reverses the correct order of causation: rather than Jews inviting persecution by advocating cosmopolitan policies that thwart the interests of Europeans, Jews advocated cosmopolitanism as a predictable response to persecution.

Persecution of Jews began for religious reasons in the Middle Ages and morphed into political persecution as Jews began to climb the social ladder, and political leaders saw them as a useful out-group to use as a scapegoat for people’s economic and social woes. For example, when Italian traders inadvertently brought the Black Plague from Asia to Europe, thousands of Jews were murdered in retaliation when Christian peasants decided that the Jews had deliberately infected them.

Fettmilch Riot: The plundering of the Judengasse (Jewry) in Frankfurt on August 22, 1614
Fettmilch Riot: The plundering of the Judengasse (Jewry) in Frankfurt on August 22, 1614

George Orwell understood the psychological benefits of directing disdain toward an out-group in order to foster social cohesion among an in-group. In his great novel,Nineteen Eighty-Four, he gives the character who would receive “two minutes of hate” every day among the proletarians a Jewish name: Goldstein. It is obvious why. Orwell’s implication was that the Soviet Union and other regimes were capitalizing on a human need to have some group to hate in order to foster loyalty and obedience to the leader of the in-group.

There is some evidence in political psychology for a correlation between high IQ and liberal political beliefs. So we might suspect that Ashkenazi Jews, with the highest average IQ in the world, would lean liberal. Interestingly, though, IQ correlates positively with classical liberalism, which emphasizes both social and economic liberty. This seems to be because those with higher intelligence tend to exhibit personality traits like openness to experience and tolerance for different ways of living. But those with higher IQ are more likely to support free-market economic policies (“liberalism” in the old sense of the word). Intelligence is required to understand how trade can be a positive sum game, and how order can emerge from individuals freely interacting with one another.

There are also obvious historical reasons why Jews would tend to gravitate toward liberal and cosmopolitan political philosophies that emphasize the protection of minority rights. In the early twentieth century, socialists rejected natural human hierarchies and urged persecuted minorities to overthrow their oppressors. To many Jews, socialism meant doing away with the legal and social barriers they had faced for more than a millennium. While socialist societies didn’t live up to their promises in practice, the values they espoused were easy for Jews to identify with. The Holocaust reinforced the feeling among Jews that nationalistic movements were dangerous, and that salvation lay in liberal cosmopolitanism.

Can MacDonald Save His Theory?

Popper’s famous criterion to distinguish science from non-science was “falsifiability.” Any legitimate scientific theory, he said, should specify some state of the world which, if it is observed, would make us logically compelled to reject the theory. One of the problems with Popper’s criterion is that there is no such thing as falsification in the strong sense that he envisaged. Any theory can be salvaged in the face of any evidence, though this may require some fanciful theorizing. In practice, we just have to use our judgement to decide which of the competing theories we are considering explains our observations in the most sensible way. As far as MacDonald goes, no single one of the numerous factual errors documented in Cofnas’s paper can be said to “falsify” his theory. Nor can any single example of right-wing Jews or radical gentiles. We just have to use our judgment to decide whether his conspiracy theory is a better explanation of Jewish liberalism than the simpler high-IQ-plus-persecution theory that we advocate.

No amount of evidence can disprove a theory. But as the influential Jewish philosophers of science Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos argued, eventually the number of ad hoc assumptions we have to make in order to sustain a theory in the face of counterexamples becomes so large that the theory shows itself to have no predictive or explanatory value. Maybe MacDonald has an ad hoc explanation for why the most liberal countries in Europe, which in the past few years accepted the largest number of immigrants relative to their population—Sweden and Germany—have a very small number of Jews. Maybe he has another ad hoc explanation for why Jews like Noam Chomsky are the world’s leading critics of Israel. And for why gentiles who were not under the influence of Jews, like Rousseau and Sartre and countless others over the past couple thousand years, have been political radicals. As to whether these ad hocexplanations are convincing, we will have to use our judgment.

We don’t think MacDonald will be able to rescue his hypothesis, built as it is on misrepresented sources and distortions. But for some dishonest alt-right leaders, the literal truth of his ideas is probably not that important. They need an enemy to unify their movement. There is no more convenient a people to play this role than Jews.

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Second Arrest in 3 Days, PCHR Denounces Arrest of Patient’s Companion by the Israeli Forces at Beit Hanoun Crossing


Image result for Nazi Arrest Jewish Patient CARTOON

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns that Nazi forces stationed at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing continued to apply the policy of arresting patients and their companions when traveling for treatment in the Zionist or Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.  The latest was arrest of a patient’s companion from the Gaza Strip yesterday after summoning him for a security interview with the Nazi authorities in Beit Hanoun Crossing.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, at approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 18 March 2018, the Nazi forces stationed in Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Eyad ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (42) from Al-Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza City after the Nazi authorities summoned him for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing.  Ba’loushah was summoned for the interview after he applied for a permit to cross the Beit Hanoun Crossing as a companion for his father, who is a cancer patient referred for treatment in Hadasa ‘Ein Karem Hospital in the Nazi state.

Rami ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (44), brother of the arrested civilian, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“On Sunday, 18 March 2018, my brother, Eyad ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (42) headed for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing after the Medical Coordination Department informed him via a text message sent to his cell phone on Thursday, 15 March 2018, that the Israeli authorities asked him for the interview.  The request for the interview came to examine the possibility of giving him a permit to travel via Beit Hanoun Crossing in order to accompany my father, ‘Omer Ibrahim Ba’loushah (68), who suffers from throat cancer and was referred for treatment in Hadasa ‘Ein Karem Hospital two weeks ago.  After waiting for my brother to come back from the crossing for hours, we tried to call him but his cellphone was off.  At approximately 20:30 on the same day, the General Authority of Civil Affairs (GACA) in Gaza City called to inform us that my brother Eyad was arrested by the Israeli intelligence and taken to an investigation center in Israel without clarifying the reasons behind his arrest.”

Previously, on Thursday, 15 March 2018, the Nazi army stationed in Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Na’im Mohammed Hussein Kotkot (44) from Jabalia refugee camp after the Nazi army summoned him for a security interview in Beit Hanoun Crossing.  Kotkot was summoned for the interview after he applied for a permit

to cross the Beit Hanoun Crossing as a companion for his son, who is a patient suffering blood disorders and was referred for treatment in Augusta Victoria Hospital “al-Motale’a” in occupied Jerusalem.

PCHR reiterates its strong condemnation of the Nazi policy to arrest patients and their companions at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing and calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the international organizations, particularly the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to practice pressure immediately on the Nazi authorities to stop this inhuman and unjustifiable policy.  PCHR also calls for serious action to facilitate the movement and travel of patients from the Gaza Strip to the hospitals in Israel or the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem especially that continuing to apply this policy endangers the life of hundreds of patients in the Gaza Strip and deprives them of receiving the proper medical treatment for their serious diseases that cannot be remedied in the Gaza Strip hospitals.

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The Racist Origin of the Second Amendment and the Rise of Black Gun Ownership

Two members of the Black Panther Party are met on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, May 2, 1967, by Police Lt. Ernest Holloway, who informs them they will be allowed to keep their weapons as long as they cause no trouble and do not disturb the peace. Earlier several members had entered the Assembly chambers and had their guns taken away.

Two members of the Black Panther Party are met on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, May 2, 1967, by Police Lt. Ernest Holloway, who informs them they will be allowed to keep their weapons as long as they cause no trouble and do not disturb the peace. Earlier several members had entered the Assembly chambers and had their guns taken away.

Siwatu-Salama Ra, 26, will likely spend the next two years in a Michigan prison. In early February, a Wayne County jury found the six-months pregnant Black mother of a toddler guilty of felonious assault and felony firearm possession. She was sentenced last week.

Outside her mother’s Detroit home last summer, she pulled a gun on a neighbor, who Ra says used her vehicle to hit her car with Ra’s 2-year-old daughter inside, and then tried to “run over” her and her mother. The firearm was not discharged, in fact, Ra alleged the gun was not even loaded. Her attorneys argued that her actions were in self-defense. An appeal is underway.

Ra is a Concealed Pistol License holder. Her case — which centers on self-defense with a firearm in a Stand Your Ground state — is happening during a national debate over gun laws and the Second Amendment, which states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The debate over an individual’s right to bear arms was reignited since last month’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took 17 lives, has been framed as yet another partisan conflict that has divided the country. Those on the right support the Second Amendment, and those on the left are calling for either its repeal, or tighter gun control. But the reality is more nuanced: some on the right support gun law reform, and some on the left support the Second Amendment.

In particular, many people of color say they have good reason to be protective of their right to bear arms.

NOTE: An ongoing court case against Yafeuh Balogun’s brother, Christopher Daniels, could become the first prosecution of someone tracked as a so-called “Black Identity Extremist” in the US. See Truthout’s coverage for more on that story.

In Dallas, Texas, Yafeuh Balogun describes himself as being “on the left side of things” even though in 2008 he co-founded Guerrilla Mainframe, a political organization that supports the Second Amendment and the basic right to defend yourself. Guerrilla Mainframe is also a community organization that provides programs for food, clothing and shelter, health and wellness, and self-defense, which includes firearms safety and training. It is part of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, a coalition of several organizations with a common goal of educating and arming African American communities to “defend themselves against police brutality and fratricide.”

“I think a lot of people, especially African Americans, are really starting to wake up to the idea of self-defense, especially when we have a megalomanic like Donald Trump in office.”

Balogun seems to be correct. Gun sales, and gun club memberships among African Americans have gone up since the election of Trump, whose campaign was backed by the National Rifle Association. However, gun sales in the overall population have gone down since the election.

After the Parkland shooting, corporations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, and Walmart raised the minimum age for firearm sales from 18 to 21. The Florida Legislature also raised the state age for gun purchases to 21. But reform advocates don’t think that goes far enough. They’re calling for a ban of assault rifles, such as the AR-15, which has been a weapon of choice for mass shooters. Some are even calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Balogun doesn’t think banning assault weapons will stop the violence — mass shootings, or otherwise. “It is the culture, the political climate, [racism, capitalism, imperialism, sexism/genderism, and anti-immigrant policies] in America that creates the violence. America has always been a very violent place from its inception. So, banning assault weapons does not cure it.”

And he may be right, according to historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

Dunbar-Ortiz writes in her new book, Loaded: A Disarming of the Second Amendment, “While gun-rights proponents are hard-pressed to offer a legitimate reason for civilians to own assault weapons, they are used in a very small proportion of gun crimes. Most crimes involve ordinary handguns.”

The type of gun, Dunbar-Ortiz asserts, is not the problem. The problem is that people want to interpret the Second Amendment as being about more than individual rights.

Total gun deaths in the United States average around 37,000 a year, she writes, “with two-thirds of those deaths being suicide, leaving 12,000 homicides, a thousand of those at the hands of police.” Mass shootings, although horrible enough, account for only 2 percent of gun killings annually.

In an interview, Dunbar-Ortiz explained that the right to have a gun comes from the Bill of Rights. “And the Bill of Rights is about individual rights,” which at the time it was written meant the rights of White men who needed guns to dominate slaves and Native Americans.

There’s a misconception that the Second Amendment is about state’s rights and arming a military. It’s not, she says. The establishment of a standing army is in the Constitution. The establishment of formal militias, which became the modern-day National Guard, is in the body of the Constitution — it’s constitutional law, she adds. Collective rights are already in the Constitution.

“So the Bill of Rights is the right for each individual to practice whatever religion they want, freedom of speech, and so forth. And to arm themselves.” There was a period in time, she said, when it was against the law for the new settlers not to carry a weapon.

“But it doesn’t work for freedom movements,” said Dunbar-Ortiz. “It was created for domination of people of color — for slave patrols, and militias to kill Indians. So, it still has that element”: Now it is used to criminalize people of color, she said.

Throughout history, gun control laws have been used against people of color as a tool to invite brutal state responses. Consider the Black Panthers who armed themselves, the Native Americans who fought in the Battle of Wounded Knee, Black Lives Matter protesters, the Standing Rock uprising.

We’ve witnessed it more recently for individuals like Philando Castile, who was killed by a fearful police officer in 2016 for legally having a firearm during a traffic stop.

In 2012, a Black Florida woman, Marissa Alexander, was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun at her estranged husband who she said was attacking her. She had a permit for the gun. Since her release last year after serving five years, she has sided with Florida Republicans and become an advocate for gun ownership and stand-your-ground defenses.

In fact, many Black people are against tighter gun laws because those laws, even more so than drug laws, continue to be used disproportionately to put them into the criminal system.

According to the 2009 report Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the US Criminal Justice System, Black people are arrested for weapons crimes at a rate 4.4 times higher than White people. FBI data for 2016 shows weapons violations at the city, state, and federal level were used to arrest Black people 42 percent of the time, and White people 56 percent. Black people make up 13 percent of the population.

Chanel Tillman of the Black Gun Owners Association in Jacksonville, Florida, said she could only imagine the horrors for people of color if gun laws were reformed.

“If they can remove firearms like that from the masses, that basically…takes them away from us,” Tillman said. “And honestly, I think that’s the biggest part of it [for us]. You can guarantee that there will be some kind of loophole that will affect Black and Brown people more than anybody else.”

Our motto is “Stay armed. Live free.” If you take our guns from us, she said, we are no longer free. “Then they are free to do whatever they want to us, and we have no way to protect ourselves.”

Tillman co-founded the Jacksonville chapter last September, and it now has 32 members.

She said she’s aware the origin of the Second Amendment was to arm White people against people of color and also understands Dunbar-Ortiz’s position that we’re not really “free” if we have to carry guns to protect us.

But, she said, “why worry, if you know you have the ability to protect yourself? You don’t have to worry about it. You just have to be proactive and ready when the time comes.”

And this is the message the national Black Gun Owners Association shares with its membership of 10,000 legal gun owners. Its one-year anniversary is in April.

“Safety and protection of family, that’s the biggest thing. And making sure we’re aware of our rights.” Firearm safety and tactical training are part of what members receive, too, she said, and someone to look out for them.

The association is not a political organization, she said, but exists for their community “to get an understanding of firearm safety and obtain proper training with people who look like them and share the same concerns as them for our people.”

Gun ownership among Black people is about the same things as for White People, she says. “Protection of self, family and property. Gun ownership has always been taught as a pseudoscience for Blacks because of slavery and Jim Crow. We aren’t here to hurt anyone, but protecting our own will come first.”

“We just want people like us to know there are gun advocate groups that are here for them,” she said. “The NRA comes out when things happen to White people, but when things happen to Black people you don’t hear from the NRA,” she said. “So, we’re hoping to bridge that gap. Somebody to stand for us when there’s a gun crime against one of us.”

Meanwhile, Detroit attorney Desiree Ferguson, who is advising on the appeal for Siwatu-Salama Ra’s Second Amendment defense, expects an uphill battle.

Appeals take a long time, and there’s a good probability that Ra could have served the two years by the time there’s a resolution. The hope, Ferguson said, lies with the governor’s office and a possible pardon or commutation. She is also hoping to get Ra released on bond pending the appeal “so that she can be with her family when she gives birth. And not have to be immediately severed from her newborn baby.”

What is certain is that gun control and Second Amendment debates do not clearly line up as left-right issues, and many people of color are faced with uneasy support for a civil right that began as a way to oppress them.

Author Dunbar-Ortiz says, if more people on the left understood the history of the Second Amendment and how it’s been used against people of color, she doubts they would support it.

“They don’t need the Second Amendment to justify self-defense. That’s an international human right. That’s a basic human right.”

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A Torturer at the Top: Why Gina Haspel’s CIA Appointment Will Spur Torture at All Levels


By Robert James Parsons, Truthout | Interview

Anti-torture activists protest the Republican National Convention outside the Minnesota State Capitol August 31, 2008, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gina Haspell, the Trump nominee to head the CIA, has been directly involved in torture. (Photo: Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

Anti-torture activists protest the Republican National Convention outside the Minnesota State Capitol August 31, 2008, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gina Haspell, the Trump nominee to head the CIA, has been directly involved in torture. (Photo: Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

Trump’s decision to nominate Gina Haspel — a US intelligence officer whose direct involvement in torture has been copiously documented in the Senate torture report and beyond — to head the CIA has provoked expressions of horror and outrage among human rights workers worldwide.

Truthout asked Gerald Staberock, the secretary general of the Geneva-based World Organisation Against Torture (most commonly known by its French acronym OMCT), one of the world’s foremost organizations tracking torture and opposing its use, to share his analysis of this week’s announcement.

You said in an official OMCT statement: “The appointment of a person against whom there is serious evidence having responsibility over serious international crimes, including torture and enforced disappearance, is truly shocking.” Nobody from the United States has been disturbed in the least way for being involved in — much less carrying out — torture. In view of that, isn’t Gina Haspel better described as “the rule” than a shocking exception?

Gerald Staberock: Indeed, the normalcy with which this appointment is received is deeply disturbing. For many of us outside, the American dream was not only about making it to be rich, but about values. An American dream without values is not possible, it would be reduced to greed.

But of course, we also have seen another America. I think about the many generals that spoke out about torture. I firmly believe that intelligence is vital to counter the threats in the world, but intelligent intelligence, not torturing intelligence.

Nobody is likely to speak out against torture if her/his very boss has been responsible for such a crime.

I am convinced that many — even within the US intelligence community — reject torture and consider it antithetical to their profession, which involves helping to understand threats, defining strategies to counter them. They know and understand that torture only makes terrorism great, feeds into its causes. And many also know how lucky they are not to have ended up before courts during the Bush period. I doubt that there is much appetite to get close to this red line once again.

But the problem, apart from the torturer being a criminal — and it is rarely positive for any institution to be led by a criminal — is that nobody is likely to speak out against torture if her/his very boss has been responsible for such a crime.

The appointment of such a person in that sense is poison to the integrity of an institution or profession — it is far more than just “a bad choice.”

President Obama and his two attorneys general steadfastly refused to prosecute anybody for torture. Under international law, does this not make them complicit — equally guilty — for, in effect, endorsing torture? And does this not also extend to Donald Trump and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions? Can you imagine arrest warrants being issued for these people?

I am not asking Mr. Obama or even Mr. Trump to decide on the prosecution. It is none of their business. It is not a political choice. It is about, “the law is the law.” I expect prosecutors to say, “This is torture — this is a crime. I investigate to bring to justice.” Criminal law is not dependent on who is the perpetrator — and this is why we must have an independent judiciary. But why did this not happen in the US? Does it not tell us something about the ethics in certain areas of the legal profession, or about a lack of courage and independence?

Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights based in Berlin, in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, spoke of intending to push for an arrest warrant for Gina Haspel so that, if she came to Germany, she could be arrested. Could you comment on this as well as on the possibility of such a thing happening to others, for example from the Bush administration, even at this late date?

I think this is an important element: many from the Bush period have to be careful in their travel.

In fact, I believe some do already constrain themselves, but they won’t say so. Even George W. Bush had to cancel a visit to Geneva back in 2010.

What happened is beyond denial, and there is even more information coming out as we speak. The point is: the US would be the primary state to prosecute, but it is unwilling or incapable.

So, while the appetite for prosecution may be limited in many prosecution services in Europe where the US is concerned, the policies and abuses are on the record. They can be difficult for an independent prosecutor to ignore. In fact, the more time passes, the more likely I see such prosecutions happening.

Regarding the US being the primary state to prosecute, can you explain the situation in reference to the International Convention against Torture, which the United States has ratified, and the status of torture in international law as a crime against humanity?

The very essence — or an important element — of the Convention is that the crime of torture is a universal crime according to the Convention. Any state may establish jurisdiction over a torturer, even if the torture did not happen on its territory. Torture is also a war crime if it is part of a war and can be a crime against humanity. So, if the evidence is strong, it may be difficult to look the other way. So, any of Haspel’s travel will be a risk — or a major embarrassment for a European country.

What can you tell us about the last appearance by the United States before the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) to report on its efforts to comply with the provisions of the International Convention against Torture, which it has ratified?

The United Nations Committee Against Torture is the primary universal expert body dealing with more than 150 countries and their laws and policies against torture in light of the Convention. The Committee was for long led by Claudio Grossman, dean of the American University’s law school, and has today an American vice chair, Felice Gaer. It is globally a tremendously important body. The US had — like any other country — to report back under the Bush period when its legal advisers were trying to pervert the interpretations of the Convention to say that kidnapping, keeping detained persons without telling anybody, is not a disappearance, and that torture is not torture. Luckily, we saw an attitude shift during the Obama administration when the US was called again to report. But one thing despite some improvements is very clear: you cannot claim that you fully comply with the legal and moral obligation that torture can never be justified if you at the same time do everything to ensure impunity. This was the central message of the CAT’s recommendations after the meeting with the United States delegation. And it remains as valid today as back then.

But what about those who have gone on to prestigious careers in academia and business? Why are there no threats of arrest warrants against them?

Under the law it is clear that all those who tortured, aided and abetted, including those responsible for setting up the policy, are liable under the law. And this is not about politics, it is about the law. So, this whole story does not start nor end with Gina Haspel. Getting international arrest warrants is a very difficult business, especially when you deal with a powerful government. There is overwhelming evidence of what the policies were, whom they targeted, etc., but it is of course, more difficult to establish individual criminal responsibility of an intelligence community that by definition opposes transparency like nothing else.

US torture has a massive impact on torture policies across the world.

And indeed, I think we have to show that torturers cannot simply go on with their lives, take reputable jobs as if nothing happened. If you have blood on your hands you should not be allowed to pursue an academic career.

But there is one point I feel strongly about — also in relation to the Obama administration. One of the first things I should have expected was that all those who said no, who rejected torture within the system, be rehabilitated, honored. I am speaking of the Alberto Moras of this world and many more. This would also have sent a strong message to the system. Unfortunately, this opportunity — even more important than punishing people and much easier to do — was missed.

Peter van Buren, a former United States Foreign Service officer, writing at the end of 2012, stated emphatically: “Torture is, however, invariably about shame and vengeance, humiliation, power, and control.” In concluding the article, he says that “we are torturers and unless we awaken to confront the nightmare of what we are continuing to become, it will eventually transform and so consume us.” Could you comment — and elaborate — on both statements from your perspective as head of the OMCT?

I think those are important points, torture is always about a dangerous ‘me and the other’ — whatever the other is — terror suspects, dissident, a different class, caste — whatever. And it is about destroying a person. This is why torture is much more than a simple physical assault. Torture survivors will deal all their life with the consequences because somebody tried to destroy their personality.

And we do often ignore the long-term consequences for our security, for an institutional culture and ethics. As absolute power corrupts, so does torture. It corrupts our institutions and the rule of law. It changes who we are.

What about the United States’ use of psychologists to make the torture “more effective”?

This is one of the most troublesome elements for me in this whole chapter. People with training to help, to cure, put their energy, their imagination and creativity into making people suffer! It could not be more anti-ethical. But it is not completely new — think about the doctors of the Argentinian junta who assisted the torture program. We have also heard similar accounts about doctors (mainly guest workers from Asia) who have such roles in some Arab countries.

Finally, what is the OMCT’s overall take on this subject?

The OMCT believes that torture is never acceptable, and we fight for justice wherever it happens. There is no right for the US to be different. There is no “America first” in terms of being excepted from the call for justice. To the contrary, US torture has a massive impact on torture policies across the world. You cannot imagine in how many senior government meetings I hear that the US, too, is torturing and not bringing anybody to justice. The Bush administration delivered a blow to some of the most fundamental values and norms. It is a long-term battle to repair it, one that cannot be done with Americans doing this for America.

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As Facebook Ire Grows, Senator Says Zuckerberg “Ought to Be Subpoenaed”


By Jake JohnsonCommon Dreams 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook's F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017 at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference on April 18, 2017, at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

As the damning details of Facebook’s largest-ever data breach at the hands of pro-Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica continue to pour in — and as the social media giant’s share price continues to plummet as a result — Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday called on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to “testify under oath” before Congress to explain why his company took so long to notify users that their information had been compromised.

“Zuckerberg ought to be subpoenaed to testify if he won’t do it voluntarily,” Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters late Monday, echoing demands of other lawmakers. “He owes it to the American people who ought to be deeply disappointed by the conflicting and disparate explanations that have been offered.”

Blumenthal’s request comes amid growing calls — both in the US and overseas — for Zuckerberg to answer for his company’s failure to ban Cambridge Analytica in 2015, when the platform first discovered that the personal information of millions had been harvested in violation of company policy.

Since details of Cambridge Analytica’s exploitation of Facebook were published by the New York Times and the Observer over the weekend, the social media giant has downplayed the incident, argued that it doesn’t constitute a data breach at all, and maintained that Cambridge Analytica is solely to blame for the improper harvesting of personal data.

But privacy advocates have argued that while Cambridge Analytica should be held accountable for its actions, Facebook cannot be let off the hook.

“Facebook really only has itself to blame for this mess. Even with tweaks, the company has consistently privileged data collection and monetization over user privacy,” argued The New Republic’s Alex Shephard in an article on Tuesday. “This has allowed it to become one of the most powerful and valuable corporations on the planet. But it has also made it the perfect platform for shady influence campaigns. Of course, the biggest problem with this scandal isn’t that Cambridge Analytica is shady — it’s that Facebook is.”

As the Observer noted in its explosive report on Saturday, Facebook “failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.”

In a letter (pdf) to Zuckerberg — who has yet to make a public statement about the incident — delivered on Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) highlighted “the ease with which Cambridge Analytica was able to exploit Facebook’s default privacy settings for profit and political gain” and demanded to know how many similar incidents have occured over the past decade.

This breach, Wyden wrote, “throws into question not only the prudence and desirability of Facebook’s business practices and the dangers of monetizing consumers’ private information, but also raises serious concerns about the role Facebook played in facilitating and permitting the covert collection and misuse of consumer information.”

“With little oversight — and no meaningful intervention from Facebook — Cambridge Analytica was able to use Facebook-developed and marketed tools to weaponize detailed psychological profiles against tens of millions of Americans,” Wyden concluded. “With this in mind, I ask that you provide further information on Facebook’s role in this incident and the overall awareness your company maintains into third-party collection and use of Facebook user data.”

Posted in USA, MediaComments Off on As Facebook Ire Grows, Senator Says Zuckerberg “Ought to Be Subpoenaed”

The Fast Food Labor Movement Has Gone Global


Image result for Fast Food Labor Movement CARTOON

By Rebecca VallasOff-Kilter | Interview

“Many people are angered by the cruelties of the twenty-first-century economy. And their fury has fueled worldwide protest. Simultaneously, and almost everywhere, low-wage workers and small farmers began to revolt: in New York City restaurants, laundries, and warehouses, in Western Cape wineries and the garment shops of Phnom Penh, in Southern California Walmarts, and the big hotels of Providence, Oslo, Karachi, and Abuja. As capital has globalized, so has the labor movement. Marches, strikes, protests, and sit-ins from Tampa to Mali have changed the global conversation about workers’ rights.” So writes Annelise Orleck in her new book We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages  —  which, as she explains on this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, tells the story behind the growing global labor movement through workers’ eyes.

Next, earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that the Trump administration is preparing to go nuclear on immigration by ending the US’s family-based immigration system as we know it, and effectively imposing an income test to keep out low-income and working-class immigrants. Draft rules underway would massively expand a wonky-sounding provision in immigration law which is used to deny legal status to immigrants considered likely to become a so-called “public charge” (read: one of Mitt Romney’s 47%). To cut through the jargon, Rebecca talks with Shawn Fremstad, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress  —  and a huge nerd when it comes to the intersection of immigration and public benefits  —  and Hidetaka Hirota, a professor of history at City College of New York and author of Expelling the Poor, which looks at the US’s long history of keeping out immigrants who come from poverty.


Rebecca Vallas: Welcome to Off Kilter, the show about poverty, inequality and everything they intersect with powered by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. I’m your host Rebecca Vallas. Many people are angered by the cruelities of the 21st century economy and their fury has fueled world wide protest. As capital has globalized, so has the labor movement. Marches, strikes, protests and sit ins from Tampa to Mali have changed the global conversation about workers rights. So write Annelise Orleck in her new book We Are All Fast Food Workers Now. She joins me by phone to discuss her new book which is coming out next week. Annelise, thanks so much for joining the show.

Annelise Orleck: Thank you for having me on.

So just to kick us off, why did you decide to write this book? And I would love to hear you also tell a little bit of the story of how you did the research for it because it’s not exactly your traditional piece of scholarship.

Orleck: OK, I decided to write the book, there were a couple of moments that really electrified me and made me realize that I had to do it. The first was as an old labor historian I was involved in helping to organize the commemorative events around the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York. This was 2011 and a number of us who were doing the organizing felt that it would be, it’s incumbent upon us to not pretend that this was this long ago event that change everything and that everyone’s lives were better and it was nothing that again. I think in fact, what we knew was that although Triangle was a line in the sand and did transform American government’s relationship to regulating the workplace, that since the economy had begun to globalize and since many of the laws passed after Triangle started to be eroded that there were many workers in dangerous industries today. So we consciously invited them to the commemoration and one was the leader of the Bangladesh garment workers movement, Kalpona Akter, one of the major leaders. And she came to Cooper Union where we were holding the event in commemoration of the great 1909 uprising by many of the young women garment workers who would be also affected by the Triangle fire two years later and she walked up on the stage and she said, “In Bangladeshi it’s not 2011, it’s 1911.”

That line really stuck in my mind. Of course my first reaction to that line was wow, globalization has sparked this race to the bottom and workers in Bangladeshi are making clothes under the same condition that workers in the US did 100 years earlier. But what I realized very quickly and what’s sparked this research and what got reinforced during the research was that this is true here, it’s true all over the world. In the last 30, 40 years the conditions for workers in terms of safety, in terms of length of hours that they work, in terms of what their paychecks can by, have eroded to the point that for millions and millions of working people around the world, they are left in conditions similar to what workers in New York at the Triangle Factory were dealing with 100 years ago. So that was the first thing that sparked me to want to look deeper into the conditions for working people today around the world and the US and then the second was a conversation I had 4 years later on the anniversary of the fire also in Tampa, Florida where I just had begun, it was of my very first interviews with Fight for 15 activists and we got to our seats in a Cuban café in west Tampa and around the table were fast food workers calling in, skyping in we had home health care workers because they couldn’t get off work because they work many of them 120 hours a week with really frail clients. So they couldn’t even be there but I spoke to them via skype and phone and then adjunct professors and graduate students, graduate student teachers. And I said to them this is not your average working class solidarity. As an old labor historian I’m really interested in how college professors come to be organizing with fast food workers. And one of the adjuncts actually a graduate student still, Keegan Shepherd said they tried to make us believe that with our advanced degrees that we’re something special. And that if we just stay quiet and keep our nose to the grindstone we will eventually get good tenure track jobs. But those jobs don’t exist anymore so the truth is that’s just a lie to keep us quiet. We are all fast food workers now.

And so that line, like it’s not 2011, it’s 1911 really sparked me to do more research and that issue is this issue of contractualization as the Philippine workers that I met called it. Contractualization means everyone is a contractor, nobody is an employee anymore. That’s what we call the gig economy. And gig economy is kind of this cheerful name, it sounds very entrepreneurial but what I soon realized as I did the research is that it’s an end run around the labor protections that followed triangle and that came with the New Deal and that it means that those who are contractors, you don’t have to pay them overtime if you work them longer than a certain number of hours and minimum wage laws don’t necessarily apply and safety laws don’t necessarily apply, all of the protections that workers had fought so hard so in the early twentieth century no longer applied. So that is the theme, these two issues going back 100 years and the turning of everybody into an independent contractor instead of an employee. Those things really drove me.

And then there was a third theme which was in 2014 I noticed was this amazing international day of action, a walkout by fast food workers and they were, I found one little story about Manila workers for McDonalds and [INAUDIBLE] and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Manila, pulling each other out of the shop for the strike by having this singing, dancinig line of workers singing their own words to theme song of Disney’s animated hit “Frozen”. And I thought this is really interesting. This is a different kind of movement. So from there I began to research and one of the things I did, you asked about the research itself. One of the things I realized is that they could pull of these global actions because of social media. Kalpona Akter told me a story about Bangladeshi garment workers on their cell phones. She said we’re near china so we have cheap smart phones and people may not have clean water to drink but they have phones. And she had this image of a Bangladeshi worker in the shop looking at an image of, on her phone, a video on her phone of Cambodian garment workers winning an increase in their minimum wage and their celebrations. And she saw the worker smiling, and it became clear, Massimo Frattini who organizes some of these global actions for a union called IUF, International Union of Food, Hotel and Farm workers and she saw images of workers in Europe looking at images of Fight for 15 actions in the United States also on their phones.

So I realized that cell phones and social media could unite these people in ways that were much harder to do, despite all the rhetoric of internationalism 100 years ago, but I also, it’s how I found them. I started facebooking people, I started messaging people I didn’t know on social media and people wrote me back and eventually I traveled and was able to meet people in different parts of the world through this highly unlikely way of getting in touch. And so the way the movement is joined through modern media is also the way that I was able to reach people. It was a remarkable process. I was everywhere. I was interviewing people in the middle of protests, mass marches in the middle of the street, in union halls all around the world, I rode on the back of motorcycles to this consciousness raising group for Cambodian garment workers in the outskirts of Phnom Penh so no it was not, it wasn’t a normal way of doing an academic book but as I say in the author’s note in the beginning, this isn’t a normal academic book. I’m a historian but this is kind of a history of now and that’s how I went about it.

So a lot of the time when there are conversations going on about low wages, poverty, low wage work, the frame is very much about there being a class of other people who this is a problem for and maybe some people feel bad for them and feel like those other people deserve higher wages but the central thesis really of your book and it is embodied in the title as you are describing, we are all fast food workers now, it really gets into and I’m going to use your words, a very different frame and one that comes out of both the people you met but also the data about who low wages affect. And are holding back. In the first chapter you write, quote, “This is not a story about other people. It is our story, a history of our times.” I would love to hear you talk a little bit about how you came to that view of this set of issues and the people who are impacted by the stories that you’re telling.

Orleck: Well again, both the people I interviewed were different than I expected. As an academic I saw what was happening to my profession, I saw what was happening to journalists I knew and I saw what was happening in every different kind of profession which was that this mid-20th century idea of working for decades for the same company and having a pension, and having possibilities for mobility in that company, those are gone. There started to be articles about how people under 30 change jobs every two years and at first those articles suggested that that was something that somehow they were restless, they were more restless than older generations. And it became clear to me as I spoke to people for example in the Philippines where half the workforce is under 30, people there want jobs that can support them but people are not getting jobs that can support them. And so this one academic I interviewed in Tampa but also people I interviewed in the Philippines, everyone’s got two and three jobs. So this is from fast food workers all the way up to people with advanced degrees. And so when I began to get into the data more fully it became clear that majorities of people, I begin the book with this, a majority of American workers, this is not just in other parts of the world are not making enough to support themselves. And so that’s why everybody’s got a second job, last Labor Day there were all these radio stories about how young people all have these gigs on the side and again, the implication is you’re waiting tables to earn a living but in fact you’re really an actor to use a cliché example. But in fact, it’s because nobody an earn enough in one job anymore and that’s part of this new system and so in many parts of the world campaigning to change that is a big part of what they do, these young workers in the Philippines are constantly trying to pass legislation that mandates that after a certain number of months or years of working at a job you have to be classified as an employee and then you have to be covered under labor laws.

We were starting to make some progress on that in the United States as well but with the new Trump appointed National Labor Relations Board some of the good decisions that were passed in the last couple of years may not be long for this world but people are trying to get those at a city level and the county levels and so there’ve been some good legislation passed in New York City last summer around some of these issues, around scheduling, that you have to be given your schedule two weeks in advance instead of on demand scheduling where you call at the last minute and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have childcare, you have to go into work right then. All these kinds of things are a result of this new economy and the end run around labor protections for workers in this country and around the world.

You were starting to talk about some of the similarities that might be surprising to people listening right now between say a fast food worker and an adjunct professor and the struggles that they’re facing. There’s been a lot of attention paid in the United States to the Fight for 15 movement to fast food organizing in particular in the United States. But your research tells a much bigger story that doesn’t just cut across industries but it also cuts across borders and that really starts to tell remarkable and really highlight remarkable parallels between what low wage workers in the united states are facing and what their counterparts oversea are facing as we’ve seen an emergences of a global labor movement as you’ve been describing. One of the stories I would really love to hear you tell because it really stuck with me from the book was Blue Rainor, a McDonalds worker from Tampa, Florida who ended up finding out he has a lot in common with some folks in Brazil.

Orleck: Yeah, three summers ago Blue got an invitation in the mail that really surprised him. It was from the Human Rights Commission of the Brazil Federal Senate. What had happened is that the workers for Arcos Dorados, “golden arches” in Portuguese, the Brazilian McDonalds affiliate had been calling attention to the ways in which they felt McDonalds restaurants all across the country had been evading federal labor laws, driving wages down, driving safety conditions down in some of the ways that I’ve just been talking about and so they had been suing McDonalds in court and indeed they won some of the largest fines for violations of labor laws that Brazilian courts had ever awarded but they also convinced the Brazilian senate to invite people from other parts of the world, both fast food workers and other kinds of low wage workers and also elected officials to discuss this question of whether or not McDonalds which is the second largest private employer in the world. Wal-Mart is the only larger private employer and larger than them are only the US and Chinese militaries so these are vast employers and they wanted people to testify about the ways in which these employers, particularly McDonalds in that case had done the same kinds of things in countries around the world, driven down wages, made workers less safe, hurt unionization.

And what they found, so Blue went and he testified and while he was there he met workers from around the world and so he tells one story that kind of still gives me chills and it’s a story of meeting a worker from Japan who also worked for McDonalds and they rolled up their sleeves and they had a line of burns in exactly the same places. And Benedict Morrilo who is the fast food worker from Manilia rolled up his sleeves and he had burns in exactly the same places. And the Blue said he heard these stories and it was his story. It was this guy who was trying to go to college and who had so much wage theft, so much, it was a dispute as Benedict Morrilo said every single time you had to ask for your wages. So much wage theft that they had to drop out of college and Blue said wow, this is my story. And Benedict used the word “McBrothers,” that they really were. They had these burns because all these McDonalds around the world, you had to turn around orders in 90 seconds and in all these McDonalds around the world, you had to reach across boiling oil to get those orders turned around in 90 seconds and so these burns and these experiences made them realize how bonded they were.

And there were people from two score countries there in Brazil that summer and it was really quite remarkable, the kinds of similarities that they found and you’ve got in the fast food workers movement, you’ve got people travelling all over the world talking to other people. So in New York, in 2014 before the global day of action Naquashila Grand, a Kentucky Fried Chicken worker from Brooklyn met with a worker from Thailand but also from Denmark and so she realized that some workers had it worse, some workers had it better. But they were all part of the same global corporation and the only way you could make a corporation with that kind of power feel your movement was to organize transnationally.

Another theme that cuts across borders that you explore and that there is some really lovely language that I’d love for you to share with us from some of the activists that you spoke with. But really concerns how the activists were talking about here that workers are talking about here are not just fighting for higher wages, yes that’s a big part of what they’re fighting for. But that they’re also fighting for freedom and for respect. And that these are words that activists that you spoke with for the book gave a very specific meaning. What is the significant of freedom and respect as the activists fighting for these concepts, what do they mean?

Orleck: Well for them, they’re responding to some of this rhetoric about how capitalism is the only system under which we have freedom and neoliberal capitalism even better, freedom from regulations and freedom from all the things that limit the pursuit of shareholder value. For them, they say we want freedom too, we want freedom from sexual violence in the workplace and that’s a major issue driving this movement because the majority of the workers involved in it and a majority of the low wage workers around the world are women. So freedom from sexual violence in the workplace, freedom from the ways in which employers degrade and diminish them. Freedom from the hazards that can cost them their lives and for many of these workers, especially for garment workers in Bangladeshi and other parts of the world and the Philippines, earning a living once again as in the days of Triangle can cost you your life and has cost thousands their lives. So they want freedom from that risk and they want freedom to have the things that they used to have before the era of IMF and World Bank restrictions on poor countries demanding the privatization of public services. They want clean water, they want free water, they was free or affordable health care, they want free education, they have a very definite definition of freedom, a very different one from the neoliberal definition.

And then in terms of respect, that is the word you hear over and over again. The Wal-Mart workers movement, those workers have gathered under the banner of something called Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart, OUR Wal-Mart. Denise Barlage one of their chief organizers has said, we’re not asking to be rich. We just want to be treated like human beings. That’s what she means by respect. And as far as the Pilipino, the young Pilipino fast food workers organization, their union is actually called R-E-S-P-E-C-T Fast Food Workers Alliance. And they like to sing and dance as part of their protests and this 23 year old former musical theater student who choreographers their protests says they sing and dance really fast, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, we’ll tell you what it means to me. And then they will make clear, a living wage, freedom from abuse in the work place. And freedom to pursue the kinds of lives they can’t if they’re basically in a slave labor situation as many of the farm workers that I talk to were in. so one of the other bits of language that I use in the book is the slogan of the berry pickers in Baja, California who struck by the tens of thousands, more than 50,000 in 2015 and their slogan was “Somos trabajadores, no somos esclavos”. We’re workers, we’re not slaves and that distinction was really, really important for them as for farm workers in South Africa when they struck by the thousands in 2012 so the language of freedom and the difference between being a wage worker and a slave is potent for workers organizing right now as it was for the Lawrence, Massachusetts mill workers in the 1830s, we are back in the 19th century again and again.

I mean, a related concept here that you also explore and this is especially in your discussion about hotel housekeepers in the issue of being invisible. The invisibility of what service workers do and I want to read a quote from one of the activists that you spoke with about the challenges that hotel housekeepers face and they’re organizing and trying to raise up the need for raised wages as well as of the other things we’ve been talking about in terms of job quality, respect, freedom and this activist says, “When customers leave a hotel room, many of them must think that there is a fairy who comes and cleans or they don’t think about it at all. In either case they have no idea how punishing the work is, how hard it is on workers’ bodies, making people see that it’s a human being who cleans your room, that’s the first step to change.” So really talking about how to make invisible, visible and how does that play into what these movements are taking on and what types of strategies they’re using to achieve their ends?

Orleck: So that was a quote from Massimo Frattini who is this organizer, he was a Milan hotel worker and now he works at this tiny little crowded office in Geneva, organizing these global actions by fast food workers and hotel workers and so one of the things that hotel workers do is literally make themselves visible by coming out of the hotel, one of my favorite actions was done by Cambridge, Massachusetts hotel workers who were trying to unionize a Double Tree in Harvard Square. And they had a bed making demonstration in Harvard Square in the fall of 2014 where they actually had students and passersby, faculty, people in this consummately liberal city of Cambridge, Massachusetts try to make a bed the way hotel beds are made everyday. And so people understood the exhaustion, they understood how difficult it was and how weird, not necessarily comfortable ways you have to stretch your body in order to make the beds that way and so that was a key event. And so those are the kinds of things that workers have done. The tomato workers, the Coalition of Immokalee workers from Florida who pioneered this really brilliant new strategy in labor organizing which is trying to target the big buyers, not your immediate employers but the people who buy most of the products you make and garment workers are doing this now, and farmworkers are doing. Anyway, they had what they called truth tours and they brought these fieldworkers out of the field and they travelled back and forth across the United States for years and years showing up in front of fast food restaurants and having workers themselves talk about what goes on in the fields.

And that’s been really crucial because in the fresh produce revolution, I mean who wanted to ask why suddenly there were beautiful berries or tomatoes in stores all year long? I mean it’s so great, we can have rasberries on the cereal every morning all year long. Nobody wanted to ask and so that’s been really crucial to this movement is garment workers who say, show up in front of the Children’s Place where clothing was made in the Tagrine factory where 112 workers died from a fire in 2012, showing up and saying we are the people who make these clothes. Our injuries made your beautiful little children’s clothes. So that has been really, really crucial part of what these movements have had to do. And again, social media has made it easier for them to do it because unions globally unions, many of them formed about a century ago on the language of internationalism have used what resources they have to help workers fly around the world and speak out and meet each other but also it doesn’t take much to upload a photo. You can upload a photo on the web and send it around the world and that’s what many of these workers are also doing.

So in the last couple of minutes that I have with you, where does the Fight for 15 movement go from here and I ask that both in light of the tremendous growth of the movement, the globalization of the movement, but also, you were just alluding to this in your previous answer, the attacks that are moving forward with alarming speed on unions and really the basic foundation of collective bargaining in this country.

Orleck: Well I’m not going to pretend that the struggle is not an uphill battle. I do want to say there’s been tremendous success and I noted in the book that right after the election when there were these civil disobedience actions in 300 cities across the country, studies revealed that in fact these workers had won for themselves in just four years, this is just in the US, $61 billion in wage increases which was 12 times what congress had given them the last time they raised the federal minimum wage in 2007 and so there’s a lot of success and wages have gone up many, many times in Bangladesh and in Cambodia and for South Africa farm workers and even Baja, California farmer workers. So there have been tremendous successes. The battles are rough and I think the two ways forward that I think are really exciting and hopeful are these. One is this strategy of targeting buyers at the top. And so the most recent victory there was a relatively small one but a significant one by dairy workers in Vermont targeting Ben and Jerry’s. And so the conditions for these dairy workers on farms were horrible. They were living in unheated barns and school buses through the Vermont winter, they were working in unsafe conditions, one of their workers was killed by a piece of unsafe machinery but they knew that the farmers in a time of falling milk prices just like factory owners for garment workers, the garment factory owners couldn’t necessarily afford the kinds of changes they wanted. So these dairy workers targeted Ben and Jerry’s and ultimately after years of battling they got Ben and Jerry’s to sign on to this milk with dignity plan and it’s the same as the tomato workers getting the fast food chains and even Wal-Mart to sign onto this fair food plan and what they do, it means the big buyers will pay a little more and they will pay a premium to safe workplaces, to workplaces that do not have, that have zero tolerance for sexual violence to workplaces that allow the workers to unionize, to workplaces that allow inspection of the workplace by inspectors chosen by the workers themselves.

And this is the same strategy that was use in the Bangladesh fire and safety accord. That’s probably the biggest example of it. 225 global clothing retailers after the horrible Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed 1,200 workers and injured another 2,500, it was the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry. This coalition of consumers and union activists and women workers around the world and responsible corporations ultimately convinced these global brands that it was in their interest to sign onto the Bangladesh fire and safety accord which said that they would pay a little more to raise the wages of workers, to allow inspection of these factories for safety violations and for the repair of these safety violations and that they would if they fell short on these promises open themselves to being sued in their own countries. Kalpona Akter believes that from an average of 200 workers a year dying in the Bangladeshi garment industry, in 2017 none died. And she believes that’s directly attributable to the repairs being made by the accord. So this model I think is a really hopeful one and it’s calls for a coalition between workers, consumers and responsible corporate leaders. And so I think that’s one really important direction to go that even Trump’s NLRB can’t do an end run around.

And the other is this really interesting idea by the Los Angeles Alliance for New Economy. They were pioneers in the living wage legislation that swept the country since they passed the first one in Los Angeles in the 90s. Well one was in Baltimore but they passed a more expansive one. And they have said that not only is it great to focus on city governments because they’re most progressive governments by and large in our country right now. But also they buy a lot of stuff, in particular mass transit and so they have started to make deals. They make deals with Los Angeles, New York and Chicago transit authorities who were purchasing new subway trains, buses, trucks and the deal was that when companies were bidding for the contracts to make those mass transit vehicles that the city was procuring, that they would have to promise to make at least a significant portion of them in the city. That they would have to hire people for whom there had been obstacles to well paid employment, women of color, ex-vets, ex-cons, and that they would have to allow these jobs to be unionized and allow unions to provide training.

So those are three of the biggest labor markets in the country, they’re continuing to try to make these procurement deals around the country. Obama’s Department of Labor they convinced to sign on, obviously the Trump Department of Labor has rescinded that. That doesn’t matter. They’re still doing these negotiations with cities across the country and I think that these are just two examples of hopeful futures. Worker co-operatives which are spreading across the country is another. And I think, I will choose to be hopeful because I think there are a lot of exciting things happening, even in these dark times and it really is because of this momentum that this global labor movement and that Fight for 15 and OUR Wal-Mart and other low-wage workers movements in the US have built.

I’ve been speaking with Annelise Orleck, she’s a professor of history at Dartmouth College and her most recent book which we’ve been discussing is called “We Are All Fast Food Workers Now.” Annelise thank you so much for taking the time and for this really important work. I have to say I particularly enjoyed the individual stories of all of the activists that you met. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Orleck: Well they inspired me, I’m glad they moved you, I hope they moved other people.

Don’t go away, more Off Kilter after the break, I’m Rebecca Vallas.


You’re listening to Off Kilter, I’m Rebecca Vallas. Earlier this month, leaked documents revealed that the Trump administration is preparing to go nuclear on immigration by ending the US’s family based immigration system as we know it and effectively imposing an income test to keep out low-income and working class immigrants. Draft rules underway that were obtained by Vox as well as other news outlets would massively expand a wonky sounding provision in immigration law which is used to deny legal status to immigrants considered likely to become a so-called public charge, or put differently one of Mitt Romney’s famous 47%. To cut through the jargon I’m joined by my colleague Shawn Fremstad, he’s a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and perhaps chief nerd when it comes to the intersection of immigration and public benefits and I’m also joined by phone by Hidetaka Hirota. He’s a professor of history at the City College of New York. He’s also the author of “Expelling the Poor” which looks at the US’s long history of keeping out immigrants who come from poverty. Thanks to you both for joining the show.

Shawn Fremstad: Thank you.

Hidetaka Hirota: Thank you.

So Shawn Fremstad, going first to you. What is the Trump administration considering in this moment? What do we know about the rules that they’re working on from the leaks?

Fremstad: Sure. So as we all know this is not a very pro-immigrant administration. They’re talking out the nation of immigrant language from the actual motto of the immigration service, what used to be known as the INS. Here what we know is that they really are doing a stealth campaign using this longstanding public charge provision in immigration law, rewriting that in a way that would become much more restrictive. It’s really a stealth way I think of it to get into, do as much as they can to undermine the family based immigration system we have and really target working class immigrants from low income countries, from Mexico, from so-called shithole country.

I was going to say it if you didn’t.

Fremstad: This is very much I think what it’s aiming at. If you’re somebody who is coming from one of these countries, black, brown, as Professor Hirota will talk about this was a thing that affected the Irish in previous terms but it’s very much about keeping out poor immigrants. So the basic thing this is a rewriting of a rule. It’s a longstanding rule. What it meant historically and certainly has been interpreted and is still interpreted today is that you’re a public charge if you’re somebody who is basically going to become completely dependent on welfare cash type benefits or institutionalized for long term care with Medicaid. So it’s really someone who is not working, not able to work and doesn’t have anybody else supporting them and really they’re totally, primarily dependent on benefits. So it’s a very limited thing, especially in the United States. We have such a limited system of you can’t just go and get on benefits without being severely disabled, without being elderly, et. cetera. So that’s how the rule has been interpreted, it’s been interpreted in different ways but that’s kind of the core of the interpretation.

So what the administration is saying, it’s no longer going to be primarily dependent and unworking, it’s are you going to be low-income? Are you going to be below median income I think is almost a way of saying it. What they say is they’ll weigh it heavily in your favor if you have 250% of poverty as an income which is basically, we’re getting around median earnings for a white male worker in the United States. So coming in with a lot of income potential to pass this public charge test and another thing they’re doing here, they’re saying, they have a long list of benefits that if you’re likely to access them after being admitted to the United States as a green card, as a lawful immigrant, those are the kind of things that will be held against you. So they go so far, this is quite radical, the Premium Tax Credit that was part of the ACA, Obamacare, which goes up to 400% of poverty, so that’s really for many families that’s a middle class benefit. That would not be something that quote, unquote “makes you a public charge”. You could be working full time making a good salary and the only issue is you’re not getting health care from an employer and you need to access this.

Things like Headstart, Pell grants, it’s an extraordinary list.

Even the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Fremstad: Yes. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, so it’s a long list of program legal immigrants often are eligible for in the United States and goes far beyond any conception of what this is about.

And to get a little bit more into the weeds just to help people understand how this is going to play out in practice, under current policy officials can only consider the use of cash assistance which is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that helps almost nobody in this country at this point anymore. Just one in four poor families with children are even helped by this paltry program, that’s where things stand currently. And what Trump’s new rules would do if this leak ends up being what we see from this policy, would be to include a whole set of other programs in that kind of consideration. You mentioned Headstart, you mentioned health insurance through the ACA, CHIP but also nutrition assistance, also nutrition assistance for pregnant women and infants which is the WIC program. Nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program formerly called food stamps, housing assistance, home heating assistance, transit vouchers, the list goes on and one.

Fremstad: It’s pretty much the kitchen sink.

So now help us understand how this is actually going to look in practice. This is not just about hey, you look like someone who might turn to these program, this also has real consequences for families, immigrant families who are currently but who may be looking to reunite with their loved ones and family members who aren’t here.

Fremstad: Right, exactly, this public charge test comes up in two broad scenarios. One is you’re a family member here in the United States, you want to bring over a family member and get a family based visa for them. They are subject to this public charge test so they have to meet that before you can get the visa. So it’s if that person looks like somebody who might get any of these benefits, then the public charge test could be used to exclude them under this radical rewrite. The other situation is there are a lot of people in the United States, some of them are undocumented, some are here under different lawful statuses, they don’t have an official green card perhaps but they have children in the household who are US citizens, the child is getting Medicaid because they’re eligible as US citizens. The child is getting SNAP or WIC. Now if mom or dad who are say, don’t have green cards are seeking to adjust status to get their green card the test can be applied to them too and the mere fact that they got food stamps or Medicaid or other benefits for that child can be effectively used against them. So I think there’s a potential to, I mean it’s really a potential both to keep people out who haven’t come to the United States but also to penalize people who are here now who are, been parts of communities and make it more difficult, not only make it more difficult for them to adjust their status to a lawful status but also I think make them much less likely to turn to programs that could help in terms of their child’s healthy development, education, et. cetera.

Professor Hirota, bringin you in, effectively barring entry to immigrants who come from poor or low income backgrounds, this is something that you’ve termed “poverty based immigration control” a phrase that I think perfectly sums this up. This isn’t new, in many ways this has become something of a time honored tradition in the United States. Tell us a little bit of the history of this public charge provision that Shawn’s been describing and how it fits into the country’s broader history of keeping out immigrants for economic reasons.

Hirota: Sure, the public charge clause has a really long history in the US and the whole origins can be really found in the colonial period. During the colonial time, British settlers essentially brought their mother countries poor law, which essentially prohibited the entry of transient beggars into the community and the poor law also had the system of banishing the transient beggar,that is the poor people who did not belong to the community beyond the boundary of the community. And this kind of poor law was eventually inherited by states after the American Revolution and when a large number of immigrants, impoverished Irish immigrants arrived in the US over the first half of the 19th century, these laws eventually developed into immigration laws. State immigration laws in the Atlantic seaboard states particularly in New York and Massachusetts so Americans first immigration law really originated from poor law which is a state law in New York and Massachusetts really targeted against the influx of impoverished Irish immigrants and especially in Massachusetts the primary purpose of the immigration law was the deportation of the destitute Irish immigrants already in the US back to Europe. And in the late 19th century these poor laws, immigration laws, economics based immigration laws in the Atlantic seaboard states developed into the nation’s first national immigration law and that’s the Immigration Act of 1882 and this law along with the Chinese exclusion law of 1882, really laid the foundation for the subsequent national immigration law. And the anti-poverty clause, likely to become public charge laws remained in national immigration laws. So the point law is that the anti-poverty sentiment was really deeply integrated into the American system of selecting immigrants and this has a longer history than we think.

Fremstad: One thing I would add too, I think it’s interesting, in some ways, right, it was about poverty, keeping poor people out. But a lot of people, it also what I think the Trump administration is doing is extending it far beyond even those historical, was very discriminatory. There’s also a bit of this it feels like with the Chinese exclusion act that was actually aimed at laborers, working people. So I think there’s a part of this where it’s way beyond even historical conceptions of poverty. The other part of the interesting thing I think about the history here, in different nativist periods this has been interpreted in different ways to target different communities. So in the 30s refugees from Nazi Germany became targeted. In some periods it’s been quote, unquote “degenerates” people based on sexual orientation so it’s kind of been, since it’s such a, nobody says public charge in real language today. It’s an archaic, ancient term and it kind of gets filled with whatever the animus is today.

Hirota: I would also like to add that a central feature of this likely to become public charge laws is massive discretionary power of the inspecting officer. This very adjective, “likely,” blurs the whole definition of this likelihood, the definition of public charge. And after all, the inspecting officers have tremendous power to determine who could be entered and who should be expelled thanks to this vague clause. So what happened is of course back in the mid 19th century precisely because of the Anglo-American officers, anti-ethnic, anti-Irish prejudice, Irish suffered disproportionately because of this clause compared to other immigrant groups like Germans. And in the early 20th century for example, Asian immigrants like Japanese and South Asians were targeted for this clause, disproportionately once again compared to European immigrants. And one of the important episodes that I know is that there were middle class Japanese immigrants with some cash and they did not appear likely to become a public charge at all from economic point of view but then the officers excluded them as a potential paupers on the grounds that in America, racism was too strong so that these immigrants would gain employment therefore despite the possession of potential cash and middle class appearance they were deemed likely to become public charge. So the whole clause can operate with very strong racist dimensions and this also applies to the Trump administration’s proposed new rule. The use of public benefits itself did not automatically necessarily make immigrants deportable or ineligible for future visa applications. The point is that the Department of Homeland Security could use the previous years of public benefits as a negative conservation, as grounds for denying visa applications. So the new rule would not apply to immigrants equally. The officers could have very strong discretionary power, assert discretionary power in decided whose visas can be renewable, acceptable by using, by manipulating this likely to become public charge rule.

And that’s obviously something that we’ve also seen a lot of attention paid to in the past several weeks but also months as a tax from the Trump administration on immigrants and immigrant communities have continued to move forward at just truly alarming speed all kinds of discretion on the part of low level immigration officers and bureaucrats to interpret and enforce policies and laws which opens up all kinds of space for discrimination and prejudice just like you’ve been describing. But I want to ask what is possibly a stupid question to both of you but that feels to me to be really at the core of this entire discussion and this entire history that you’ve been shared, Professor Hirota. Historically haven’t most immigrants come to the United States seeking a better economic live for themselves and for their children and if that is indeed true as I believe it to be, how do we square the idea of give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses with policies that explicit and not just policies but an entire culture underpinning them, as you’ve been describing, both of them, that explicitly seeks to keep out immigrants who come from poverty? And Shawn, I’ll go first to you.

Fremstad: It’s a great question; I think part of the story here is it gets back to this issue of discrimination. In Professor Hirota’s book there were differences even among states. So you had New York was actually more welcoming I think if I remember it than Massachusetts and they saw more of a role for actually helping people transition. And I think there’s also questions about if you’re not an Irish Catholic immigrant but maybe you’re a working class immigrant from some other more quote unquote, white place in Europe at the time. You probably got in so I think it’s a lot about stereotypes and concepts and it has always been the case that millions of poor and tired and huddled, I think that has been a reality. But there’s also been this other reality at the same time always operating alongside of it. I think what strikes me most about this is they don’t even want to have, again getting back to the removing the nation of immigrants language from the CIS, the immigration service motto, this is like a really beyond or kind of return to a very different kind of nativism.

Professor Hirota.

Hirota: Sure, two things. First of all, on the one hand it is true that the United States has had a relatively liberal immigration policy compared to some other countries and that’s why US has been one of the biggest receivers of global migrants over the past centuries. But the problem was that liberal immigration policy did not apply to immigrants on equal terms. There was internal discrimination against immigrants, even among impoverished immigrants and of course apparently Europeans enjoy the more liberal policy than Asians and other immigrants even within the system that discriminates against the poor so that I think this inequality in this immigration system that’s a fundamental problem. And then secondly, this whole theme, give me your tired, poor, this Emma Lazarus poem it was conceived very accepted by the American general public very poorly even back then. It was a really idealistic sentiment that Lazarus described. The American public sentiment back then was much more restrictive and exclusive when the poem was introduced in the last 19th century. And so the biggest irony with the poem is that even though now it became very famous but this popularity was more like a twentieth century product. When it was written in the late 19th century, it was almost like forgotten and ignored by the American public it went so against the general sentiment in American society. So that’s a very sad part of that poem.

Shawn, in the last minute or so that I have with both of you how do we expect this to move forward in the weeks ahead, what should we be watching, what we understand that the Trump administration is likely to use a formal rule making process to move this policy forward. What should we be watching for and how should folks get involved with if they want to try to stop this from becoming the policy of the land?

Fremstad: Right, so right now it’s still in a draft form but we think it will show up, it gets published in what’s called the Federal Register as a proposal, as a proposed rule probably in the next 30 to 60 days. And that will first, this is an opportunity to formerly comment but that will be I think an important point to really lift this up and focus. I think it’s been very under the radar so far because it isn’t out there officially and there’s so much else going on right now. So I think watch for that. I think it’s always a good time to be connected with people doing immigrant advocacy work and making sure that this agenda is on also. I think there’s a lot of education that needs to be done. The impact of this will be particularly harsh on people with disabilities, it will be particularly harsh on again, people coming from places like Mexico, will be particularly harsh on people who are undocumented but have citizen family members here but just a lot of important work to be doing advocacy and organizing wise in the months to come.

And we’re seeing chilling effects playing out in communities across this country with immigrant families, actually going into social services office and saying stop my food stamps, stop my kid’s Headstart, whatever it is because I’m afraid this is exposing my family to danger and perhaps the risk of being split up.

Fremstad: And I think at this point people should not panic, one important thing to know is that the draft version of the rule says it will be prospective so it’s looking forward if you had received these benefits in the past we’re not going to count that. So there is some time I would not just immediately, but making sure you’re educated, you’re in touch with immigrant advocacy organization who can tell you more about this is important.

Well as the National Immigration Law Center has put it and I think these are probably the right words to end on with a heavy and truly demoralizing topic, no longer, if this policy goes into effect, no longer would we be the country that serves as a beacon for the world’s dreamers and strivers. Instead America’s doors would be open only the the highest bidder. I’ve been speaking with Shawn Fremstad, he’s a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and as I said before one of the chief nerds when it comes to public benefits and immigration. And Professor Hidetaka Hirota is a professor of history at City College of New York, he’s also the author of the new book which looks at the US’s long history of keeping out immigrants who come from poverty. Professor Hirota and Shawn, thank you so much for joining the show.

Fremstad: Thank you.

Hirota: Thank you.

And that does it for this week’s episode of Off Kilter, powered by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. I’m your host, Rebecca Vallas, the show is produced each week by Will Urquhart. Find us on Facebook and Twitter @offkiltershow and you can find us on the airwaves on the Progressive Voices Network and the WeAct Radio Network or anytime as a podcast on iTunes. See you next week.






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