February 18, 2016

Each BDS campaign represents more nails in its coffin

GUEST: Minnie-Bruce Pratt, member of the International Action Center and Palestine Solidarity Collective, talks about the NY State anti-BDS legislation that threatens all of our First Amendment rights for freedom of speech.

This was a taped interview, since Minnie-Bruce Pratt couldn't do the interview live. We were able to get more people in on this interview, however. In total we had six people doing the conference call.

The NY State anti-BDS legislation is the worst assault on the First Amendment since the McCarthy Era, when thousands were fired from their jobs by FBI pressure on their employers. Back then people were branded as Communist, even though proof was usually lacking. And why shouldn't a person express a point of view, or belong to a political party without fear of being blacklisted? At stake was the First Amendment freedom of expression.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But just because the Bill of Rights says we have these freedoms, doesn't insure that we actually do. Today it is big money from the Israel Lobby threatening to turn our country into a totalitarian state. The US gives close to four billion a year to apartheid Israel, and the money seeps back to corrupt our political system.

Most of our politicians are in the pocket of one special interest group or another. But very few of our state and national representatives are free from the Israel Lobby. The New York State Senate and Assembly seem more than willing to betray our Constitutional freedoms for a ride on the apartheid gravy train.

Minnie-Bruce Pratt brought up another point, the tight integration between our nation's military, industrial complex and Israeli weapons makers. Think drones, the type that Israel produces and tests on UN schools in Gaza. Where else in the world could a weapons manufacturer target and slaughter 550 school children?

The clock is ticking on this pariah state, and each BDS campaign represents more nails in its coffin. 

February 14, 2016

Golden Cafe

GUEST: Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. and outspoken supporter of Palestinian human rights, talks about his speaking tours as President of Minsters for Racial, Social and Economic Justice.

It hasn't been easy being a Black minister and talking about human rights for all people. My brother sent me Rev. Graylan's story from a Rochester paper, how he was invited and then disinvited from giving a talk at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, all because he supports the rights of Palestinians.

Rev. Hagler wouldn't have it any other way. The racism and murder facing the Palestinian people looks very much like the racism directed at African Americans over the last century. Apartheid in Israel is a mirror held up to see Jim Crow in the American Empire. Whenever people are treated as less than human, the results are the same. Suffering and resistance. 

Rev. Hagler ended up speaking at a number of locations in Rochester as a result of his poor treatment by the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and he drew overflowing crowds. His message is that resistance to the Israeli Lobby is growing, and that people are tired of the endless use of anti-Semitism to cover up the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Religion can be a way to achieve justice for all people. Of course, it can also be used to justify the crimes and greed of a specific ethnic group. A Golden Cafe to lead people away from the path of God.

February 8, 2016

Changing alliances and widespread butchery

Guests: Tarak Kauff, board member for Veterans For Peace, and Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, discuss their trip to Jeju Island and Okinawa to protest the building of new US military bases there. (Due to a streaming failure, this show only includes the above interview.)

The streaming of WVKR was done this week, so only the prerecorded interview is on our website. 

But its a very good interview, in that it combines real dedication to civil disobedience linked with a growing awareness of the immensity of the American Empire. Here were Veteran For Peace activists putting themselves on the line to support two communities that do not want huge military bases in their midst: Jeju Island, Korea and Okinawa, Japan.

Both islands have long histories of resisting foreign invasions and occupations. The US is just the latest foreign army to claim the right to build bases and wage wars from their territories. This time, it is the American Empire trying to strangle China's access to the seas, the famous "pivot to the East" that our Noble Peace Prize President is so ready to brag about.

Having been in Korea for a year at one such massive base, I am all too aware of the price Koreans pay for military occupation. The US has a long and bloody history in Korea, taking over from the Japanese after World War II. But our country never stopped killing leftist "subversives," as any look at recent Korean history will show you. It is a testament to the propagandist strength our our media that more American citizens don't know this history.

Why don't you learn about it? http://www.democracynow.org/2008/8/7/south_korea_commission_probes_civilian_massacres

Moreover, take a moment to think about the 800 US bases around the world. In effect, the US has never stopped fighting World War II. It was too lucrative for our military, industrial complex to give up. What we see is Orwell's concept of perpetual war, with changing alliances and widespread butchery in the Third World.