Beyond Hope: Rebuilding the Democratic Party from the Ground Up

The Democratic Party is beyond hope: We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening


June 23, 2017

 

With the Democratic Party in the hands of Neoliberals and third parties kept off ballots,
progressives need a mass movement strategy.

 

With the Democratic Party in the hands of Neoliberals and third parties kept off ballots, progressives need a mass movement stra

The failure of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to capture the vacant House seat left in a suburban Atlanta district by the Trump nomination of Republican Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services shows the disastrous state of the Democratic Party.

So beholden is that party to corporate interests that it cannot put up or support any candidate who is willing to challenge its neoliberal paradigm.

The 30-year-old Ossoff tried to win by appealing to the so called “moderate middle” of voters, offering vague promises of economic growth and challenges to President Trump’s policies — for example his attack on the Obama administration’s so-called Affordable Care Act. It was a stupid campaign approach, especially for a special election, when voter turnouts are typically very low and voter enthusiasm is the key.

 

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Just Us? Rejecting Western Pretensions to the Rule of Law

Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice

by Andre Vltchek  - Dissident Voice


June 22nd, 2017

There is a small courthouse from the ‘British era’, standing right in the center of Hong Kong. It is neat, well-built, remarkably organized and some would even say – elegant.

Earlier this year I visited there with an Afghan-British lawyer, who had been touring East Asia for several months. Hong Kong was her last destination; afterwards she was planning to return home to London.

The Orient clearly confused and overwhelmed her, and no matter how ‘anti-imperialist’ she tried to look, most of her references were clearly going back to the adoptive homeland – the United Kingdom.

“It looks like England,” she exclaimed when standing in the middle of Hong Kong. There was clearly excitement and nostalgia in her voice.

To cheer her up even more, I took her to the courthouse. My good intentions backfired: as we were leaving, she uttered words that I expected but also feared for quite some time:

You know, there are actually many good things that can be said about the British legal system.

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Fact-Free Fun with Canadian Foreign Policy

Truth-free, Fact-free Foreign Policy

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice


June 16th, 2017

Lies, distortions and self-serving obfuscations are to be expected when political and business leaders discuss far away places.

In a recent Toronto Star column Rick Salutin observed that “foreign policy is a truth-free, fact-free zone. When leaders speak on domestic issues, citizens at least have points of reference to check them against. On foreign affairs they blather freely.”

Salutin vividly captures an important dynamic of political life. What do most Canadians know about our government’s actions in Afghanistan or Haiti? Most of us have never been to those countries and don’t know anyone living there, from there or even who’ve been there. We are heavily dependent on media and politicians’ portrayals.

But, as I detail in A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, international correspondents generally take their cue from the foreign policy establishment or diplomats in the field.

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Yves Engler, Mazin Qumsiyeh, Christina Nikolic June 21st, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


June 21, 2017

Welcome to the first day of Summer here in the green and pleasant climes of the western reaches of the country for now called Canada; where the people go about their business, never fearing the sudden eruption of distantly-fired Tomahawk missiles, helicopter-delivered barrel-bombs, gas rocket attacks, or rat-a-tat-tat of automatic gunfire.

Despite the placid demeanor of the place and people within though, it is not a perfect peace.

Two weeks ago, Canadians were reminded of the true peril that lay just beneath the deceptively calm surface of our civic existence with the release of 2017's Defence Policy Review, a document my first guest describes as including: "a significant increase in lethal fighter jets and secretive special forces, as well as enhancing offensive cyber-attack capabilities and purchasing armed drones."

Not to mention a massive minimum expenditure increase of more than $62 billion over the next twenty years.

 

Listen. Hear.

Yves Engler is a Montréal-based activist, lecturer, and author whose book titles include: ‘The Ugly Canadian — Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy,’ ‘Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping — The Truth May Hurt,’ ‘The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy,’ ‘Canada in Africa — 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation,’ and his latest, ‘A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation.’ In a recent Rabble.ca article, Engler called for opposition to both the spirit and specifics of the so-called "Trudeau Doctrine" but is there anyone left around here to do so?

Yves Engler in the first half.

And; as the World, thanks to the muscular military mentality so elegantly elucidated by our princely PM's Foreign Affairs ministry, hurtles towards an Armageddon-like conflagration in the Middle East, there are still people imploring we clever hominids take heed the better angels of our nature and move the species clear, away from abyss' rim.

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh is founder of the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University, past chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, and a tireless social justice campaigner whose main civic interests lie in media activism and public education. To that end, he has given hundreds of talks around the world, and is even now in the middle of a tour of the United States encompassing Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Texas, from where we'll reach him today. Mazin’s e-book on human rights activism, ‘Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle,’ is available from his website, Qumsiyeh.org.

Mazin Qumsiyeh talking to Americans in the second half.

And; horticultural guru and intrepid green entrepreneur, Christina Nikolic will join us at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events update, bringing us up to speed with some of the good things planned in and around our town for the coming week. But first, Yves Engler and who's left to complain about Canadian militarism?

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

 

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US Downing of Syrian Jet Draws Warnings from Russia, Syrian Government

NUDGING TO WAR: U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Army Fighter Jet

by 21st Century Wire


June 19, 2017

 

Yesterday a US F/A-18E Super Hornet reportedly shot down a Syrian Army SU-22 jet near the village of Rasafah, south of Raqqa. Washington claims it was an act of ‘collective self-defense’ because the Syrian jet had dropped bombs “near US-backed forces.”

Syrian officials in Damascus deny US claims, stating their plane was downed while conducting a strike on an ISIS position. Damascus described the US “act of aggression” in Syria airspace as an “attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies… in fighting terrorism across its territory.” Adding,

 

“This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the [ISIS] terrorist group.”
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Handel's Jim Crow Iron Fist in Georgia's 6th Congressional District

Democracy Now reporter assaulted for exposing Jim Crow tactics in Ossoff-Handel race

by Greg Palast for the Thom Hartmann Show and Democracy Now!


June 15, 2017

I was in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to investigate strange doings in the race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel (who received an endorsement—and kiss on the lips—from President Trump). Handel was happy as a Smurf doll when I asked her if the Democrats were stealing the election. ("They’re pulling out all the stops!!")

But when I asked about Republican Jim Crow tactics I’d uncovered, it got real ugly. First, a deep-fry-bloated goon jumped between me and the candidate then pushed me backwards. A second grabbed my arm while a third started muscling me around. Wow! And only because I asked—quite politely—if in her prior post as Georgia’s Secretary of State, she’d cleansed the voter rolls of voters of color.
 

 

Watch the 8-minute broadcast—and get a full blast of weird.

 

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"Training" a Kinder Genocide Hand in Yemen

Feed the Hungry, Treat the Sick: A Crucial Training

by Kathy Kelly - CounterPunch


June 16, 2017

On June 15, 2017, the New York Times reported that the government of Saudi Arabia aims to ease the concerns of some U.S. legislators over U.S. weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis plan to engage in “a $750 million multiyear training program through the American military to help prevent the accidental killing of civilians in the Saudi-led air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.”

Since entering the war in Yemen, in March of 2015, the Saudi coalition’s airstrikes, with U.S. assistance, have destroyed bridges, roads, factories, farms, food trucks, animals, water infrastructure, and agricultural banks across the north, while imposing a blockade on the territory. For a country heavily dependent on foreign food aid, that means starving the people. At least seven million people suffer now from severe acute malnourishment.


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Corbyn Triumph Draws Mea Culpas (for now) From a Chastened British Media

The Breaking of the Corporate Media Monopoly

by Media Lens


June 15, 2017
 

Last week, Jeremy Corbyn humbled the entire political and corporate media commentariat. With a little help from Britain's student population. And with a little help from thousands of media activists. Without doubt this was one of the most astonishing results in UK political history.

Dismissed by all corporate political pundits, including the clutch of withered fig leaves at the Guardian, reviled by scores of his own Blairite MPs (see here), Corbyn 'increased Labour's share of the vote by more than any other of the party's election leaders since 1945' with 'the biggest swing since... shortly after the Second World War'.

He won a larger share of the vote than Tony Blair in 2005. Corbyn achieved this without resorting to angry lefty ranting. His focus was on kindness, compassion, sharing, inclusivity and forgiveness. This approach held up a crystal-clear mirror to the ugly, self-interested cynicism of the Tory party, and transformed the endless brickbats into flowers of praise.

On Twitter, John Prescott disclosed that when Rupert Murdoch saw the exit poll 'he stormed out of the room'. As ever, while the generals made good their escape, front-line troops were less fortunate. Outfought by Team Corbyn, out-thought by social media activists, outnumbered in the polls, many commentators had no option but to fall on their microphones and keyboards. LBC radio presenter Iain Dale led the way:

 

'Let me be the first to say, I got it wrong, wholly wrong. I should have listened more to my callers who have been phoning into my show day after day, week after week.'
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Things to Come: Obligations from a Stolen Future Due

Things to Come

by James Kunstler - Clusterfuck Nation

 
June 12, 2017

As our politicos creep deeper into a legalistic wilderness hunting for phantoms of Russian collusion, nobody pays attention to the most dangerous force in American life: the unraveling financialization of the economy.

Financialization is what happens when the people-in-charge “create” colossal sums of “money” out of nothing — by issuing loans, a.k.a. debt — and then cream off stupendous profits from the asset bubbles, interest rate arbitrages, and other opportunities for swindling that the artificial wealth presents.

It was a kind of magic trick that produced monuments of concentrated personal wealth for a few and left the rest of the population drowning in obligations from a stolen future. The future is now upon us.

Financialization expressed itself in other interesting ways, for instance the amazing renovation of New York City (Brooklyn especially). It didn’t happen just because Generation X was repulsed by the boring suburbs it grew up in and longed for a life of artisanal cocktails.

It happened because financialization concentrated immense wealth geographically in the very few places where its activities took place — not just New York but San Francisco, Washington, and Boston — and could support luxuries like craft food and brews.

 

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Tyler Shipley, Peggy Mason, Christina Nikolic June 14th, 2017

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


June 14, 2017

Nearly eight years have passed since the sweltering summer's night commandos of the Honduran armed forces bent on treason stormed the presidential residence in Tegucigalpa, seizing a pajama-clad President, before whisking him to a waiting plane.

It was, according to conspirator, Colonel Bayardo,

"A fast operation...over in minutes." And one, he reassures, with "no injuries, no deaths."

That may have been true for the operation to abduct Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, but injuries perpetrated and deaths suffered at the hands of the coupsters have proven grievous and numerous since.

Listen. Hear.

Tyler Shipley is Professor of Culture, Society and Commerce at Humber College's Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, and Associate Fellow at the Centre for Research on Latin American and the Caribbean, or CERLAC, whose first book, 'Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras' is fresh off the Between the Lines press.

Tyler Shipley in the first half.

And; last week, in conjunction with the government's release of the Defence Policy Review, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland addressed both the House of Parliament, and Canadian households on CBC's flagship news program, The National, explaining the planned direction of the country's foreign policy in the foreseeable future. Neither performance was well received by Ceasefire.ca.

The Ottawa-based public policy research and advocacy offshoot of the Rideau Institute blasted the government's announcement of significant increases in military spending, saying their budget lacks credibility and is not affordable. They also accuse the move to dramatically increase military spending succumbs to recent statements by, and pressure tactics of, US President, Donald Trump.

Peggy Mason is President of the Rideau Institute, an independent think tank that focuses on bringing a progressive voice to Canada's foreign and defence policies. Issues of interest for the Institute range from nuclear disarmament to the centrality of UN conflict resolution.

Peggy Mason and a more muscular understanding of Canada's place in the World in the second half.

And; horticultural guru and intrepid green entrepreneur, Christina Nikolic will join us at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events update, bringing us up to speed with some of the good things planned in and around our town for the coming week. But first, Tyler Shipley and the Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras.

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: https://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

 

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An Effort to Rehabilitate Israel's International Reputation at the UN

Inside the US fight to fix Israel’s global standing

by Jonathan Cook


8 June 2017

 

US and Israel lead a campaign of intimidation against the UN to forcibly rehabilitate Israel’s international standing


Al Jazeera - The Trump administration is using unprecedented threats and financial “blackmail” against the United Nations and its agencies to end their focus on human rights abuses by Israel, according to analysts and Palestinian leaders.

They accuse the United States of joining Israel in a campaign of intimidation against the UN secretariat and member states to forcibly rehabilitate Israel’s international standing.

The offensive comes after the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had faced several years of criticism in diplomatic circles for refusing to engage in a peace process with the Palestinians.

An early indication of the new campaign’s success, analysts noted, was the election last week of Danny Danon as a vice-president of the UN’s main representative forum, the General Assembly. Danon has been Israel’s ambassador to the UN since 2015.

He is known as an arch-opponent of the two-state solution and, before heading to the UN in New York, had repeatedly called for Israel to annex most of the West Bank.

 

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Pacific Front: Washington's Jihadi Pipeline

Washington’s “Jihadi Express”: Indonesia – Afghanistan – Syria – Philippines

by Andre Vltchek - 21st Century Wire


June 9, 2017

It was late at night but the new Terminal 3 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta was still bustling with families and friends waiting for their loved ones returning from abroad.

My friend Noor Huda Ismail was just arriving from Singapore, and I decided to pick him up and discuss ‘certain issues’ with him in the car, on the way to the capital. Lately he and I were busy, awfully busy, and a one-hour journey seemed to be the most appropriate setting for the exchange of at least some essential ideas and information.

Huda could easily pass for the most knowledgeable Indonesian “expert on terrorism”; a Muslim man who grew up and was educated in the madrasahs that have produced some of the most notorious jihadi cadres in the country. Later he became the man who managed to ‘get away’ from the extremism, to study, and to finally become a respected filmmaker and a thinker.

 

Poster of radical FPI in Jakarta.
(Photo: Andre Vltchek)


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