Saturday, March 10, 2018

Killing far away and not readily viewable

GUEST: David Swanson, prominent activist and author of numerous books including Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, War Is a Lie, and War No More: The Case for Abolition, talks about his latest focus, billboards opposing drone assassinations and US war crimes.

Billboards opposing drone wars

How to get people to realize how wrong it is to fly drones into other countries and kill selected individuals or groups? Maybe it is billboards like the ones David Swanson and World Beyond War are putting up.

But we are a numb people, mostly immune to the terrible things our military does in the rest of the world. Like school shootings, we only lift our eyes once in a while from our routine of jobs and children and cutting the front lawn.

Chelsie Manning paid a terrible price for showing us the wanton murders our soldiers were committing in Iraq. You can't look at it and go right back to the lawn.

Collateral Murder: U.S. Apache helicopters killing journalists in Iraq

David didn't think much of my question about drones murdering American citizens (a cleric and a few weeks later, his teenage son). His response that all lives matter sort of misses the point. The rights of US citizens, guaranteed by our Constitution, mean something to most Americans. I think it is a good way to bring attention to drone killings in general. As long as the killing is far away and not readily viewable, Americans have trouble focusing on universal human rights. But we understand due process when it comes to our own rights. Killing an American for his written opinions, and then murdering his son without a trial, on secret evidence, is a violation of citizens' rights that go back to the Magna Carta of 1215:
NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.
It is the basis for our belief in and support of our own government. What a shame to discount these rights of the governed in favor of a vague statement about all of humanity. If we want to change the way American's think about war, we must start with what moves them the most. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

We support your brave resistance to occupation

Ahed Tamimi
HaSharon Prison
Ben Yahuda
PO Box 7
40 330 Israel

Dear Ahed,

You have support all over the world, from citizens of so many nations who realize what racism and apartheid mean. But I wanted to assure you that many people of the Hudson Valley, New York support your brave resistance to occupation and oppression. 

We are not in your cell, of course. Our houses have not been broken into and members of our family arrested or shot. Nobody is building settlements on land that belongs to us. We aren't excluded from roads based on our ethnicity or religious beliefs. Our license plates aren't color coded so that we can be discriminated against. We aren't threatened daily by tear gas and rubber bullets when we peacefully assemble to state our grievances. And our 16 year old daughters don't get sent to prison for slapping back when hit in the face by a soldier.  

Your father gave a talk in Woodstock, and we have had other Palestinians speakers over the years. We have also listened to Israeli soldiers, members of Breaking the Silence who talked openly of what occupation does to a soldier's sense of morality. One described the purposeful mistreatment of Palestinian teenagers, handcuffing them and making them sit blindfolded for long periods of time. We know, of course, that Palestinian teens are often sent to Israeli prisons where they are routinely tortured. A Palestinian man spent several years in our community and at times revealed his brutal prison experience as a teenager. 

We in the Hudson Valley stand with you. We are Christians, Jews and Muslims who are working together to boycott the apartheid state of Israel.

Fred Nagel

Friday, March 2, 2018

The last empire on earth

GUEST: Brook Nam, local peace activist and member of the Friends Committee on National Legislation FCNL, talks about her native country, Korea, its history of occupation, and the evolving threat of war.

Thanks to Brook Nam for being on Activist Radio and talking about her country.

In a way, the Korean War is very similar to the Vietnam War. Both were imperial invasions and occupations, with a thin veneer of democratic platitudes for the American public. In truth, both wars were slaughters of the native inhabitants: three million in Korea, and three million in Vietnam. In addition, the bombs and the poisons that were used to invade and conquer both countries remain to this day, wounding and sickening the population even further.

I spent a year in Korea myself, in the Seventh Infantry Division. Our base was only a few miles from where Brook Nam was born. Our experiences have helped us understand the role the US has played in the world since WWII. It is not a pretty reality, for the empire has a sordid history of war crimes in Third World countries. 

Can the American public mature enough to end our fascination with militarism and global pillage? Or is the American Empire destined to be the last one on earth, bringing to a close the age of homo sapiens? 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ralph Nader served the same purpose

GUEST: Luma Nichol, longtime socialist, feminist, queer activist, and writer for the Freedom Socialist Newspaper, talks about her current organizing against the resurgent far right in California.
Impeachment, Is It a Solution

Luma Nichol doesn't think much of impeachment. The problem, she implies, is the entire system. The Dems love to talk about Russia. That means that they don't have to change their pro-corpoate values.

It only takes a step back to realize that the demonizing of Russian is an old Democratic Party strategy. Ralph Nader served the same purpose. As  long as loyal Dems were able to focus their hatred on some external villain, they could go on cheating the working people of this country, ignoring the party's racist support of Black oppression, expanding the prison industrial complex, and waging new wars abroad. Impeachment will not change either political party, and Luma's arguments are very persuasive.

Time to read some Sartre

GUEST: Bshara Nassar, founder of the Nakba Museum Project as well as the Museum of The Palestinian People, talks about his current project, using art and artists to bring an awareness of the history and struggle of the Palestinian people.

Museum of the Palestinian People

Mshara Nassar is advocating for both Palestinian rights and for human dignity. His traveling art exhibit makes both points, and includes music as well as the spoken word.

Occupying countries reduce those occupied to the status of animals. That is why Israel is one of the most racist countries in the world. In fact, it may explain why there is such persistent racism in our own land. We invade and occupy any number of Third World Countries. We use our drones to kill in even more. No wonder we have a madman in the White House, and a military aching for more nuclear weapons.

Time to read some Sartre:

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The epitaph of the American Dream

GUEST: Pia Gallegos, longtime civil rights attorney and Democratic Party State Committee member, talks about the research she contributed to a report called "Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis."

"Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis."

Pia Gallegos is right on the money. The Democratic Party is addicted to campaign contributions from the fat cats, and in no mood to give up the gravy train. Rather than talk about programs and laws that would help working people who might have voted for them, the Dems talk incessantly about the Russian influence in the last election. That way the party doesn't have to change anything.

Eli and I talked after the interview about how the Democratic Party is like the loser in professional wrestling. The fights are all scams, like our electoral politics. The very rich and the corporations are the winner of every match. The Dems take the falls, and both parties can go kicking and screaming into the next election cycle. They all end up multi-millionaires, so who cares anyway?

The empire is waging war all over the world. At home democracy is on life support. The madman in the White House preaches war, like all leaders of fascist states before they fall. The epitaph of the American Dream.

Until all Palestinians are let out of jail

GUEST: Miko Peled, author and son of the famous Israeli General Matti Peled and the grandson of a signer of the Israeli declaration of independence, talks about his newly published book, Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five, as well as his book signing in the Hudson Valley on Friday, Feb 9 starting at 7 pm at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore in Saugerties.

Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five

This interview caused me a lot of sadness. I guess for all our talk about the racist criminal justice system, it took five Palestinian men going to jail for collecting charity funds to make me realize that my country rarely puts justice first.

If you are Black or Muslim there just isn't much fairness in our system. Two of the men face over sixty years in a federal penitentiary, leaving their families forever. What kind of a social order does that?

Perhaps the people at the top are willing to do anything for money and power. That is when the system needs radical change. I just don't know if the hapless, money addicted Democratic Party is up to it.

In his book signing, Miko said, "These men will not be freed until all Palestinians are let out of jail." That will only happen when the US stops supporting apartheid Israel and our Middle Eastern colony falls.

Free, free Palestine.