The gallery keeps getting larger and larger…added are five more new rad-left propaganda images. Use as one revolutionary sees fit.
The ugly head that conflates the criticism of Israel’s actions towards the dislodged people of Palestine with anti-Semitism, has risen again. And most of it surrounds a few statements from a Muslim-refugee, who wears a head scarf within the Capitol building, representing Minnesota’s 5th District, Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Rep. Omar is a freshmen Rep who has joined the caucus of new female House members setting the U.S. political and cultural norms on fire. Along with others, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rep, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), she supports new progressive proposals like the Green New Deal and the BDS movement. But what really caught the ire of Republicans and most Democratic leaders, are a few comments that Omar made recently criticizing Israel. For example, referring to AIPAC,
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. And I want to ask, Why is it ok for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby … that is influencing policy
(PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )
Statements like these have people screaming anti-Semitism. They say Omar is reinforcing anti-Semitic tropes, such as that Jews have dual-loyalty to both America and Israel, and that Jews are controlling the world with their money. But this couldn’t be more untrue. A criticism of lobbying groups such as AIPAC, and America’s fanatical loyalty to Israel, are true concerns. In the U.S., if you say or do anything out of line regarding Israel’s foreign policy, you are labelled as a bigot towards Jews.
Now, we know that the blind allegiance to Israel is based on three reasons:
- Zionism (Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisraʾel, “the Land of Israel”) is exceptionally strong among American Christians, and especially Evangelicals. They believe that the second-coming of Christ will not take place until Jews return to their homeland in Palestine.
- Secondly, according to In These Times, America got mixed up in the Cold War in the region when most Arab states were loyal to the U.S.S.R.
- And lastly, according to Chomsky (Who Rules The World, 2016), Israel serves as an available landing station for American forces if their were to be a catastrophic conflict in the Mid-East.
It has nothing to do with all that nonsense about being the only democratic state in the Middle East, or having some sort of special relationship between us and Israel.
In conclusion, another quote from the ITT’s March 4th piece sums it up in one statement:
“…(F)alse accusations of anti-Semitism—usually linked to criticism of Israel or Israel’s supporters in the United States—are on the rise as well. And we need to be clear: It is not anti-Semitic to support Palestinian rights, demand a change in U.S. policy towards Israel, expose the kind of pressure that the pro-Israel lobby brings to bear on elected officials, or call out Israel’s violations of human rights and international law. “
( PHYLLIS BENNIS, In These Times, March 4th, 2019,
Why False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Ilhan Omar Are So Harmful )
So get out there to support Rep. Omar, support the BDS movement, and form an activist group in your locality to contribute to the cause. And remember, critiques of Israeli crimes against humanity do not equate you with being anti-Semitic. That’s just a convenient and false construction used to silence the cries of the Palestinians. Don’t let it stop you. You are not a white supremacist.
As in agreement with our far-leftist brothers, Sparking The Left supports the persecuted Palestinians in their battle against the occupying and murderous state of Israel. The reasons are too many to begin with here, but the below video investigation by the New York Times into a medic’s shooting death at the Gaza/Israeli border, should be a start. We profess our support for the Palestinian people, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, or those living as refugees outside of those borders. Israel is running an apartheid regime and has established a ghetto in the Gaza Strip.
As you watch this story, be aware that it has gone completely uncovered by the mainstream media outside of the Video Investigation Team at the NYT. Why? For any sense of empathy towards any citizen of Gaza is too far left off the spectrum of acceptable dialogue to be engaged in by most corporate media.
Stand With Us!!!
Any time someone expresses any criticism of Israel’s criminal actions towards the Palestinians, they are labeled as anti-Semite.
This is how AIPAC wants to keep it, too.
As the peaceful negotiations over a nuclear deal with Iran happily make their way to a resolution, many opponents of the current deal (or any deal with Iran) raise irrelevant alarm bells over some of the rhetoric that emanates from the Iranian leadership. A recent example was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s agreement with a crowd chanting “Death to America” during one of his public appearances and the ensuing backlash from Western opponents over the situation. While it may not be the most pleasing thing to hear, it should be taken for what it is in the grand scheme of things: empty rhetoric to please his people and nothing more.
In fact, if we were to step back from the situation and look at it objectively, it’s a perfectly rational thing for him to say. It’s what leaders and politicians do. They talk tough and make promises they have no intention or capability of keeping in order to keep their people behind them. What would it look like if he did anything else? What would he be saying? I’m guessing it would go something like:
“People of Iran. This is your Supreme Leader announcing to you that we will be letting the U.S. and Israel run our country however they please. I know. I know. They were directly involved in the military overthrow of our democratically elected leader in 1953 and installed a ruthless dictatorship that we had to overthrow. They were also responsible for the Stuxnet cyber attack, an action one of these countries has officially and hypocritically declared is an act of war. But we can totally trust them now and I’m sure we will be the best run Western colony in the history of the world!”
Yeah, it would be completely ridiculous.
But hey, let’s remember that all spoken rhetoric eventually comes true. Just look at all the things Iranian leaders have said in the past and then carried out that have been 100% prophetic, such as “Death to Russia”, “Death to England”, “Death to France”, “Death to Israel”, and “Death to Saddam” (not Iraq). Oh, the overwhelming nostalgia! Remember France before Iran destroyed it? So much culture and fancy paintings. It was almost like being in modern day Paris!
The point is, rhetoric is just talk and it should be expected to be tough and reflect a self-interest for whoever is speaking. The actions Iran is taking by negotiating with the P5+1 and seeking a peaceful resolution is what truly matters. And just to drive the point home that Khamenei’s rhetoric should not be taken too literally, here are some more examples from history of rhetoric that either never came true or did not match the actions taken by the speaker.
Fidel Castro, former Cuban President
I propose the immediate launching of a nuclear strike on the United States. (1992)
Yes, remember the Cuban nuclear missile strike on Florida in the ’90s? The radiation hit some counties so hard they lost the ability to properly count votes in presidential elections.
Nikita Khrushchev, former Soviet Premier
Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will dig you in. (We will bury you.) (Remark to Western ambassadors, 1956)
It’s really unfortunate Western society was buried by Communist Russia in the 1950s. But look at the bright side, comrades. At least we all got really cool furry hats!
John McCain, former Maverick and current regretter of vice-presidential choices
That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, ‘Bomb Iran’. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah… (2007)
Really a missed opportunity here, folks. Think of all the money the military industrial complex has missed out on with him losing in ’08. There’s always 2016!
Hugo Chavez, former president of Venezuela
Let’s save the human race, let’s finish off the U.S. empire. (2006)
Coincidentally, he said this while in Iran. Now we know where they got it from. Peer pressure!
Ronald Reagan, former U.S. president
President Rios Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment…I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice. (1982)
Uncle Ronny was clearly a great judge of character. Montt was, at the time, in the process of committing genocide in his own country, a crime he would eventually be found guilty for conducting (he is currently awaiting a new trial after the conviction was overturned in what appears to be a scheme to keep him out of prison until he dies). Nicely done, Mr. Reagan!
Kim Jong-Il, former Supreme Leader of North Korea
I’m an Internet expert too. (2007)
No…just, no. Kim was a bit of a recluse, as most know, but the state-run news agency did release direct statements that threatened to “wipe out” the United States while he was in charge. Just another successfully unsuccessful bit of rhetoric.
Mother Nature, current ruler of Pangea
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men… (continues)
The quote is kind of long and is still being spoken. But she’s getting pretty close to the end and I’m assuming what happens when she is done speaking is going to be pretty ugly for her constituents…
Richard Nixon, former U.S. president
I did not wait for my inauguration to begin my quest for peace (in Vietnam). (1969)
An absolute lie. We now know that Nixon actually sabotaged peace talks with Vietnam in 1968 while still a candidate for the presidency and did so to help his own political campaign at home. Just a disgusting moment in history.
The point of all this is to simply note that rhetoric can frequently mean little while the actions of the speaker can be something very different. This reality should be particularly considered in the case of Iran as they have been logically talking tough against the West at times but, according to U.S. and Israeli intelligence, shut down their nuclear weapons program years ago. We should always remember that the phrase “all politics is local” doesn’t just apply to the United States and it should be no surprise when we hear some foreign leaders score points with their people by taking shots at us. In fact, if you don’t expect that to happen, you should really tone down the hubris a bit.
Bottom line, Iran has come to the negotiating table and is making a deal. If the GOP warfare queens in Congress decide to kill the deal and the situation eventually disintegrates into military actions, the blood of every American and Iranian that dies will be on their hands and history should properly place the blame squarely on each and every politician that turned away from peace.
Money, money, money, dru-ugs…and guns. I forget how that song goes.
- GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio lays out his economic plan for the country and it’s all kinds of terrible. Nothing overly surprising in the plan as it’s a giveaway to the wealthy and will hurt the poor and middle-class, like most GOP proposals. Tax cuts for corporations, elimination of dividends and capital gains tax, and cuts to Medicare and Social Security to pay for it. Please keep trumping that idea around so everyone is clear about what you want to do to us. I’m sure that presidential run will go great, Senator Nochanceinhell!
- In economic inequality news, David Geffen donates $100 million to Lincoln Center. It’s great he wants to make such a donation to the arts but it’s hard to ignore the economic disparity when these donations are made at the same time the wages of the majority have stagnated for so many decades. It must be nice to donate the equivalent of 6631 minimum wage earners’ combined yearly salaries in one shot. The donation is great but it does help exemplify the huge difference between the have-everythings and the have-littles.
- An appeals court has upheld a California city’s ban on gun magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. A small victory for commonsense gun policy but the case will go through more appeals as gun nuts desperately beg for an increase in the size of their magazines. Blah blah blah penis joke. Bob Loblaw penis joke. Blah blah blah penis joke. Moving on.
- Heroin death rates in the United States have quadrupled since 2000. So odd it is happening. It’s almost as if the market has been flooded with more heroin from the people who grow the most heroin in the world since the year 2000 for some reason. I wonder how that happened?
The article is filled with good information until the end when this quote appears:
David G. Evans, of the Drug-Free America Foundation, blames the use of less-harmful drugs for the uptick in heroin use.
“I think heroin deaths are going up in part because the attitude has changed towards marijuana,” he said. “Kids now think marijuana is a medicine so it’s okay to use it. You get involved in a drug culture, you get high, you get addicted, one drug just seems like the other, and I think that’s a big part of it.”
Ah, the good ole Gateway Theory. Hasn’t that myth been killed enough by academics to never bother quoting in a serious article on drug use? It’s like finding a fossil fuel funded climate denying scientist to quote in a climate change article. We’re better than that now, aren’t we?
- Palestinian president Abbas calls Israel gangsters over the tax dollars they are holding from the Palestinian people. If you read the article closely, it clearly maps out how this situation could easily (and will likely) devolve into more violence due to Israel’s horrendous action. Israel will then “mow the lawn” again and kill more innocent Palestinians in the name of their security, despite the fact they will have caused the situation to begin in the first place.
Already many of the PA’s 140,000 civil servants have had their pay cut by around 40 percent…
Gosh, why would 140k people be angry about their pay being cut nearly in half by an occupying government that just killed more than 2,000 of their people? But remember everyone, it’s Israel that is being treated terribly by the Palestinians and not the other way around. Just listen to their leader. If Netanyahu wasn’t busy lying about the non-existent nuclear threat of Iran, he would be able to lie to you about the threat of Palestinians.
Can’t avoid the impending Iran deal and the circus now around it but more good news on gay marriage.
- Climate change was a contributing factor to the war inside Syria. This has been suggested before but now a team of scientists put together a report explaining this fact for the world to understand. They also mention refugees arriving from Iraq as a contributing factor (who caused that again?). But it’s cool everybody because all we have to do is send senile Senator Inhofe over to Syria with a few snowballs and this whole mess will be cleared up quickly. Peace is on the way!
- Netanyahu’s lies are starting to sink him. A great video on AJA appeared today giving you 5 things he will refuse to admit when he testifies to Congress and is worth watching to give you a quick version of why we should barely pay attention to him. The Intercept also put together a good piece pointing out the many times he has “cried wolf” over the years. Both pieces mention his testimony to Congress about Iraq’s advanced nuclear technology in 2002. Listening to Netanyahu about other country’s nuclear ambitions is like listening to idiot preachers continually predicting the end of the world. No matter how many times these tools are wrong, the foolish still think they speak the truth.
- John Boehner is one of the foolish and can’t hide it. Boehner defended his invite to Netanyahu by stating “Congress wants to support Israel and wants to hear what a trusted ally has to say”. Yes, because Bibi has no way of transmitting his message to Congress in any other way than to give a speech there during an Israeli election year. No one will put a camera on him or a microphone in front of his mouth. Poor fella. It was like he was a ghost prior to giving his speech. By the way, Mr. Speaker. What is the cost of this versus, say, a conference call with Bibi? I mean, you guys are fiscal conservatives so this is the cheaper route, correct?
- Iran is and has been a rational actor throughout all of this and there is no evidence they are pursuing a nuclear weapon. An excellent read from The Atlantic focusing on this reality but one section is worth quoting here and should be constantly noted about the situation:
That’s why the Bush administration’s 2007 National Intelligence Estimate said Iran is “guided by a cost-benefit approach.” It’s why Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in 2012 that “we are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor.” It’s why Benny Gantz, then head of the Israel Defense Forces, declared the same year that “the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people.” It’s why Meir Dagan, the longtime head of Israel’s intelligence agency, called the Iranian regime “rational” in an interview with 60 Minutes. And it’s why Ron Burgess, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress that “the agency assesses Iran is unlikely to initiate or provoke a conflict.” Could all these men, who analyze intelligence about Iran for a living, be wrong?
- Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage has been struck down by the courts. Another state is added to the ranks of those on the right side of history. I guess they wanted to be able to say they legalized gay marriage prior to the Supreme Court legalizing it across the nation this coming June. No reason, at this point, to be a state that has to be drug kicking and screaming across the finish line by the federal government.
A little bit of good news and a lot of bad…
- Nearly 80% of the voters in Chicago supported publicly financed campaigns. When put to a public vote, this issue leaves little doubt where many stand on the idea that speech is money and where it belongs in our political campaigns. Most of us want it out and want the corruption that comes along with it gone as well. A Gallup poll showed half of the country was in favor of this in 2013, a number very likely to continue growing as the explosion in spending by outside groups who can hide their donors also continues. Of course, Congress would have to bite the hand that feeds their family members 6-figure salaries to run their campaigns in order for this to change, which means it certainly won’t in the foreseeable future.
- Worker productivity grew 74% in the past 40 years while wages only grew 9%. Because that is totally fair. It’s true that part of the increase is due to technology but the disparity is still startling. Considering the incredible increase in income inequality over the same period, it’s pretty obvious the average American is getting the shaft. It’s also obvious which political party’s ideology is most responsible for this outcome. But hey, voting against gay marriage, climate change, and abortion has worked out really well, hasn’t it?
- The sea level north of New York City rose over 5 inches in 2009-2010. The article states it was a “1-850 year event” and it’s likely we’ll see this type of thing more often. And, since it’s an article from an international media source, it doesn’t bother digging up a climate change denier paid by the fossil fuel industry to refute the reality. So refreshing when media accepts scientific consensus and doesn’t play to the least knowledgeable among us.
- If you live in the U.S. then no, you shouldn’t be very afraid of terrorists. An excellent op-ed in The Guardian by a couple of academics noting the recent change in political discourse about terrorism in the U.S. by mostly the Obama administration. In short, if you live here and aren’t traveling to dangerous locales, you are almost certainly not going to die at the hands of a terrorist. And you probably shouldn’t hand over your freedoms and privacy at home in the name of fighting the so-called “War on Terror”.
It is astounding that these utterances – “blindingly obvious” as security specialist Bruce Schneier puts it – appear to mark the first time any officials in the United States have had the notion and the courage to say so in public.
Speaking of terrorism…
- A Palestinian mosque was torched by an Israeli terrorist group. Not that there will be much outrage in the American media over nefarious Israeli actions, such as the shooting death of a 19-year old college student by the Israeli military the day before, as noted in the article. And it’s not like these Israeli terrorist groups have just started up or are carrying out their first attack on Palestinians:
Hebrew graffiti was scrawled on the walls, including “Revenge for the Land of Zion” and “Price Tag,” a phrase used by Israeli nationalists linked to hundreds of attacks on Palestinian targets since 2008. Some attacks have also targeted Israeli military posts. (Emphasis added)
Which begs the question, will the Israeli military kill over 2,000 people, mostly civilians and children, to get back at these groups like they did to Gaza last summer? I mean, these groups are attacking the Israeli military and “hiding behind civilian targets”, aren’t they? And that clearly doesn’t matter when it comes to bombing populations as they’ve shown in the past, right? What’s the difference? Amazing how the double-standards look when they are revealed.
Lies and income inequality, oh my!
- Israel is lying about the West’s negotiations with Iran. Not exactly shocking but this sums it up nicely:
(U.S.) State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that there was a “selective sharing” of information.
“I think it’s safe to say that not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate reflection of the details of the talks,” she said.
But, hey. It’s Israel. I’m sure they’ve never lied about anything in the past, particularly when they’ve claimed they needed to “mow the lawn” in Gaza. And, honestly, does anyone think they care if they get caught in a lie? It’s not like they’ve had to pay for any of the more vicious acts, like the despicable war crimes they’ve committed against the Palestinians.
- Speaking of lying, a new report by the U.S. Army War College finds “‘dishonesty and deception’ among Army personnel is common, often encouraged to maintain a false sense of integrity.” This isn’t overly shocking in terms of the psychological aspect but the word “encouraged” should be a little disheartening in the sense that this suggests it’s a top-down action. The integrity part begins at the top and, if it isn’t being displayed by the highest ranks, it’s not surprising when those in the lower ranks take things like torture even farther than the rules state. This is the reason why holding those at the top accountable for their despicable orders is so important.
- Middle-class wages dipped again last year, but the story isn’t all bad. If we push our elected officials to intervene with the right legislative actions, things can get better:
Still, wage trends last year underscore that policy makers can do a lot to boost workers’ pay. Take the rise in wages for the country’s lowest-paid workers, which the EPI says is proof that policy changes are positively impacting American families. Those states that raised their minimum wages last year — including New York, Florida and California — witnessed a pay gain of 1.6 percent for the lowest-paid workers, compared with a 0.3 percent increase for those without a rise in a state’s baseline pay.
Just another example of how the government can do things to reduce the dangerous levels of economic inequality in the U.S., something the voters want as pointed out next.
- 60% or more Americans want higher minimum wages, paid sick leave, and requirements for time off after the birth of a child. As inequality continues to get worse, these numbers will just continue to grow over time. The question now becomes, how high will they have to get before change will come? I’m sure Congress will consider all of these quickly since it’s filled with so many middle-class workers that have no sick time and will soon be having children…
- Walmart will be hiking wages to $10 per hour a year from now. Yes, you read that right. Income inequality has gotten so out of control that one of its biggest villains is giving in to the pressure. Soon, Walmart employees will be able to climb the economic ladder from desperate poverty to just regular poverty. Walmart’s stock price took a hit today because of the announcement since doing even the slightest thing to help the 99% really angers the 1%. Remember folks, capitalism is not about the wealthy exploiting the poor!*
*Statement approved and paid for by Exploiters of the 99% of America.
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
And what in the spectrum of acceptable opinion has been so strictly limited regarding American foreign policy? The opinions on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.
In America, within those limits the Israeli’s are just defending themselves from rabid savages, infected with Jihad, bent on slaughtering every non-Muslim around the globe. And the acceptable, lively debate is between with what and with how much force should the Israeli’s use.
But maybe something is changing.
The Associated Press (AP) on Friday reported on an investigation they conducted into the homes bombed by Israeli jet-fighters during the Summer’s “50-day” war. The AP investigated the vast majority of home-bombing sites, interviewed witnesses, collected death certificates, and worked with both Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups. And, amazingly, it is a damning report on Israeli actions so well thought-out and thorough it is impossible not to be struck by the findings. Here are some:
– Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.
– In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.
– Among those killed were 96 confirmed or suspected militants – or just over 11 percent of the total – though the actual number could be higher since armed groups have not released detailed casualty lists.
– The remainder of the 240 dead were males between the ages of 16 and 59 whose names did not appear in connection with militant groups on searches of websites or on street posters honoring fighters.
Unlike other coverage found in the American mainstream media, the report gives hard numbers and anecdotes from survivors and witnesses explaining the disregard for Gazan life shown by the Israelis. The piece also discusses the nature of the war crimes committed by the Israelis and how they break international law, as did, it seems, Hamas with their rocket attacks.
But that’s beside the point.
The issue here, in this post, is not the tragic and maddening findings but the fact that a major and extremely respectable American media outlet reported outside of the spectrum.
Rise up over the study’s findings. Applaud and champion those who exposed them.