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.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ammunition for the carnage

GUEST: Robert Gelbach, co-chair of the JVP chapter in New Haven, retired Professor of Political Science at Southern Connecticut State University, and member of JVP’s Academic Advisory Council, talks about boycott and the changing opinions of Jewish Americans.

Robert is a very good spokesperson for Jewish Voice for Peace. He stands for human rights for all people, the antithesis of human rights for some and not for others. The state of Israel is built on Jewish supremacy, and all its laws and policing reflect this. It is an apartheid state, a fact recognized by almost every other country in the world.

Progressive except for Palestine (PEP) refers to many supposedly "liberal" Zionists. Liberals are often in the lead when it comes to protecting Black rights, LGBTQ rights or immigrant rights. But when the spotlight turns to apartheid Israel, all bets are off and they are back to quoting the Old Testament about God favoring one people.

I think Jewish Voice for Peace is at its best when it exposes this rank hypocrisy. Not the hypocrisy of right wing Christians who preach the coming of Jesus when all Jews are in the Holy Land. I don't understand that at all. It seems that religion often makes people stupid; it requires that "leap of faith" than makes them into lemmings headed for the cliff. Reason doesn't play much part.

Some Christians and Jewish Zionists have something to gain by stealing land and resources from someone else. America has something to gain from its vicious little colony in the Middle East. American weapon makers have something to gain from supplying ammunition for the carnage. A few are making out like bandits. The rest are blind.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Before apartheid Israel comes to define America

GUEST: Dr. Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, talks about his most recent report, "Historical Landmarks in the Hundred Years' War on Palestine."

The shame that is Israel has been around for 100 years. Defining characteristics include racism, apartheid, and colonialism. So what are the chances that the United States, which has never acknowledged its own genocide of Native Americans nor the criminality of slavery and Jim Crow, will ever recognize or take responsibility for the oppression of millions of Palestinians? 

That is the central question that surrounds all genocides, and Palestine is no exception. However terribly Israel treats its five million subjugated people, it is the United States that makes it all possible. The Israeli colony is just part of an empire that few in this country even acknowledge

Dr. Khalidi looks at the long picture. Israel cannot forever be an apartheid state. The world has progressed too far to allow something like that to happen. The Palestinian people are immensely resourceful and they aren't leaving. Israel will have to resort to a Nazi like Holocaust to get rid of them. If that were to happen, the United States will have become a fascist state, the Third Reich of the twenty first century. 

The battle is here at home; apartheid Israel must be stopped before it comes to define America.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Protectors of peace


Take my blood. Take my death shroud and
The remnants of my body.
Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely. 
Send them to the world, To the judges and
To the people of conscience,
Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded. 
And let them bear the guilty burden, before the world,
Of this innocent soul.
Let them bear the burden, before their children and before history,
Of this wasted, sinless soul,
Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors of peace." 

-Jumah al Dossari, who was brutally tortured, sexually assaulted, and held three and a half years in solitary confinement. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 with no charges against him.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Vets are the canaries in the coal mine

GUEST: Ken Churchill, creator of the American Homeless Land Model campaign to set aside public land for citizens and US veterans without shelter, will talk about some of his recent successes in small towns across the country.

Good ideas about helping our nation's homeless population are hard to find. There are so many people without any resources, especially in our major cities. America has become accustomed to seeing them, as we have become accustomed to so many other of our society's failures.

Ken's idea is to grant them land where they can build small homes for themselves and create functioning communities. It is worth a try, of course. Like Occupy however, these communities will have some basic problems. The homeless are often mentally ill, and not able to function in a working system. Many times homeless people are also addicted, further complicating life in such an encampment. 

Perhaps Occupy would have run its course, if it hadn't been violently dismantled by Obama and the fascist police he unleashed. We just don't know how resistance communities do over the long haul.

Maybe the problem isn't just a lack of buildable land. The distribution of wealth within our society is the most unequal of any developed country in the world. Perhaps the fault lies in the fact that marginalized people are often the ones fighting the empire's wars. When they return home, they don't have the skills or the contacts to keep them off the streets. In addition, vets are often traumatized by their experiences killing civilians in the Third World to protect US profits. Depression and addiction often follow. 

So is it the $700 billion we spend on war each year that puts tens of thousands of vets on the street? If our country gave them what it did returning vets in 1945, homelessness would be much less on an issue. Moreover, if our country decided to return to being a democracy, perhaps the rest would follow.  We have an empire, controlled by greedy billionaires who have learned how to squeeze the last bit of money from those in our country who are not filth rich. Maybe homeless vets are the canaries in the coal mine.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rainbow Race

GUEST: Rivera Sun, author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other novels, cohost of Love and Revolution Radio, and trainer in nonviolent campaigns, talks about applying Gandhi's ideas to the fight for Net Neutrality. 
Love (and Revolution) Radio

Rivera Sun offered our listeners some interesting alternatives to the two corporate party rule that we have now. One party gives the corporations all they want, while mouthing support for the working class. The other party gives corporation all they want, while using racism to stir up support from its white, Christian base.

Corporations are very happy, as are the people who own them. The 1% got close to 80% of the huge tax breaks just passed, meaning that so many of the programs that benefit middle America will be cut or done away with. Think Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, healthcare for tens of millions.

All the Democrats in power can talk about is the Russian conspiracy. That's just fine for their corporate backers. In fact, the system works very well for the billionaires, while the rest of us get robbed.

Enter people like Rivera Sun, whose ideas go back to the 1960's. Establish resistance communities, create movements that defy the corporate parties, and don't be afraid to think big. We are all coming to realize that the system we have now is not only grossly unfair, but is suicidal for our very future on this earth. Time to think big, and join the resistance. At this point, what do we have to lose?

I did this program in a snowstorm. The radio studio at Vassar College was empty. It was just me and the blizzard winds I could see from the third floor window. It made me think about the many ideas for social justice. Our species is endlessly creative. In the dead of winter, we can think about the birth of a new social movement that puts humanity above greed and violence. We will evolve in time to save our Rainbow Race.

One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
- Pete Seeger