Activism, Immigration, Refugees, Uncategorized

Do What You Can For Refugees

Here is a list (from Think Progress) of some protests going on throughout the country against the fascist Trump’s illegal & immoral executive order banning refugees & migrants from the nations of Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia, all nations the US has bombed, invaded, or sanctioned. Do what you can: if marching or protesting is not your thing, write or create art, or call your congressperson, spread information through your social media or blog, volunteer to help refugees, or donate to a reputable charity helping refugees, like the UN Refugee agency  (https://donate.unhcr.org/us-en/redirect/). Do what you can.

Atlanta, Georgia

January 29, 4–6 p.m.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport
https://www.facebook.com/events/370576413312630/?active_tab=about

Bloomington, Indiana

January 29, 4–5 p.m.
Court House Lawn
https://www.facebook.com/events/141181763054369/

Boston, Massachusetts

January 29, 1–3 p.m.
Copley Square
https://www.facebook.com/events/1808560036070492/

Canton, New York

January 29, 12 p.m. — 1:30 p.m.
Park St. and Main St.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1877987165813906/

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

January 29, 12 p.m. — 2 p.m.
Peace and Justice Plaza
https://www.facebook.com/events/1830257140581355/

Chicago, Illinois

January 28, happening now
O’Hare International Airport

Denver, Colorado

January 28, 5–7 p.m.
Denver International Airport
https://www.facebook.com/events/1416101161753999/

Detroit, Michigan

January 29, 3 p.m.
Hamtramck City Hall
https://www.facebook.com/events/1754583231524900/

January 29, 4–6 p.m.
DTW- Macnamara Termial- Intl Arrivals
https://www.facebook.com/events/959584757476881/

Houston, Texas

January 28, 7 p.m.
IAH Terminal E
https://www.facebook.com/events/771992316298993/

January 29, 1–4 p.m.
Discovery Green
https://www.facebook.com/events/386770058353091/#

Louisville, Kentucky

January 29, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office
https://www.facebook.com/events/175651122918583/

Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 28, happening now
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport
https://www.facebook.com/events/1626807780957019/

January 31, 4:30–6 p.m.
Minneapolis Federal Building
https://www.facebook.com/events/294911630924576/

Newark, New Jersey

January 28, happening now
Newark Liberty International Airport

January 28, 5–8 p.m.
LAX, Tom Bradley International Terminal
https://www.facebook.com/events/1655523898074718/

January 29, 1–4 p.m.
LAX, Tom Bradley International Terminal
https://www.facebook.com/events/1876148372629363/

Nashville, Tennessee

January 29, 3–4:30 p.m.
Sen. Bob Corker’s office
https://www.facebook.com/events/1782511105404931/

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Middle East

Fire on the Euphrates

14euphrates3_600

Let’s do it

bomb bomb

bomb again

and drop the pretense of

change

Hope the endless someday

reaches

some sort of conclusion

but don’t count on it

Tomahawks strike Raqqah

Sparks fly and

The Euphrates is set on fire

Strike like Mongols

from the air

leave nothing to chance

or well enough alone

every nightmare of the West

must be soothed by 10,000

Muslim lives

Rome one the Potomac

535 fiddlers under a slave wrought dome

One fool sitting on a leather throne

Let me be clear

We the people have plenty to fear

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Activism, poetry, War

Failing Towards Right

Gandhi_Salt_March

If there is warfare or if there is peace
I’ll stand for the people forced on their knees
For profit, pleasure assaulted and beat

There’s nothing moral in shots to the head
In making sure those we hate are all dead
There’s nothing a gun screams that cannot be said

Words are the weapons that kill over time
Schemes planted find their fruition in crime
Horrors inspired by prayer books and rhymes

The truly evil can look quite benign
With faces that look like yours or like mine
Not what the devil would seem to design

Remember my friends that hate is a mirror
Reflecting our own pain and deepest fears
Charge sin to others and end up in arrears

Success may seem to be rooted in might
There is nothing wrong in failing towards right
Losing the battle but learning to fight

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Syria, Syrian Civil War

Santayana’s Nightmare: The West in Syria

armyarmy

Yours not to reason why; 
Yours but to do and die. —Alfred Lord Tennyson

George Santayana is perhaps the most over-quoted man in the history of the written word. The quote in question is of course his admonition that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  The philosopher and social critic probably never actually wrote or said this but the sentiment has always been embraced by those afraid of great men and great movements making the same tragic missteps that have plagued human history since the beginning of time. It is easy to take the quote at face value, and it is an almost impossible proposition to prove or disprove. But what if we turn its logic on its head…What if those who are tasked to remember the past refuse to do so? What if they refuse to acknowledge that the past even happened? What if they are not condemned by impartial fate and bad study habits but by a deliberate pursuit of into the future the ideas that have always benefited those in power over those without it?

Today President Barack Obama has committed the US to arming the rebel forces fighting the Assad regime. The regime has “crossed” the dreaded and media lionized “red line” marking the use of Chemical weapons against the rebels fighting his regime. 150 people have been confirmed killed by chemical weapons used by the Assad regime. And while my heart goes out to these poor people who died at the hand of this brutal dictator they are only 150 0f the at least 93,000 (and probably much higher) who have died since the war began in 2011. This is put into better perspective when we realize that the UN has confirmed that the rebels, principally the Free Syrian Army and the Islamist groups that support and fight with them, have also used chemical weapons against their foes. No one has clean hands in this horrid war but we have decided once again that a dictator in the middle east with scary weapons is not to be tolerated.

The irony of course is that Assad was up until the mid to late late 00’s one of the USA’s biggest allies in the region. The current President Assad and his father in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were supported by the CIA and the US government. Of course Assad is also supported by Iran and Islamists in Lebanon and this fact is not lost on a defense establishment on the Left and the Right that despises the Iranian regime and would like to see Israel strengthened at their expense. The European Union, or what is left of it, has dropped its arms embargo against the Syrian Rebels and now plans to send weapons along with the USA. Russia of course remains the lone holdout in favor of the Assad cause. At least they are honest about their naked ambitions in the region.

So once again the US prepares to arm an insurgency movement against a dictator they (The USA and Europe) helped to create and maintain. The insurgents themselves are not consulted, we have “connections” in the FSA and in the Syrian opposition in exile who let us know that we are wanted and indeed required in Syria. The US media has of course, with few exceptions, jumped on board the war-wagon and made the FSA and the Islamists and Kurds they work with look like the undisputed heroes in the conflict. We are told by sages like John McCain and Eliot Engel that the rebels are to be trusted and we must do everything we can in order to destroy the man we helped create, Assad. There is much to profit from war in Syria; the weapons manufacturers will be raking in cash hand over fist and the “think tanks” and “peace organizations” will once more have attention and money lavished upon them to deal with the inevitable conflagration that will result. It is also worth noting that the oil monopoly known as the Sunni “Gulf States” (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar) will be very pleased with a change of leadership, or at least continuing Shi’a/Alawite chaos in the region. Who benefits from a western intervention in Syria? Far too many people, and that is the real problem.

We have a system where those who are given, or who take, power over military matters of life and death make decisions in the dark and after consulting with their corporate masters. As long as this is the case the “right” to remember and apply the lessons of the past to future action will always err on the side of conflict and war. The small group of men and women who run our system have much to gain and little to lose in a full on war in Syria. It will not be their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who fight and die supporting the rebels in Syria. The people will not be the ones who benefit from the booty that comes from any conflict the West tales part in. It will be the same plutocrats and politicians who will be  pontificating and laughing all the way to the bank. Eugene Debs said regarding another war in another time War makes possible all such crimes and outrages. And war comes in spite of the people.” We are told that the best way to prevent conflict, or rather conflict that would inconvenience or scare westerners, is to arm those who we have decided are the ‘good guys’. This idea that guns and bullets equal peace is not new. It has been with us since at least the Mexican War and has led us into conflict after needless conflict from Korea to Panama to Iraq. War is peace. Peace is, out of necessity, war.

Rest assured it will not end with “arming the rebels” . It never does. This is how every American war begins. Those arms will not be arriving in Syria alone; they will come with CIA and military “advisers” who will train and assist them in their fight. This will put them in the middle of the conflict and in harms way. As soon as one of these “advisers” is hurt or dies we will up the ante and spiral into yet another self-justifying imperialist adventure in Asia.

So what is to be done? There are few options available to us besides civil disobedience, continued reasoned debate, protest and strike. We will do what we always do when we are forced to fight for the elites a conflict we do not want or understand. We must take back the political system that allows for such war mongering. We must dismantle a political system that sees both parties benefiting from endless conflict and gives unlimited power to a few greedy, ill-advised and foolish individuals and corporations. If we do not create a new system divorced from corporate and political control and power we will continue to fight “wars for peace” that have no real point besides profit and no end to be seen. If we go to war once more we only have ourselves and our complacency to blame. Santyana’s erroneous quote will only be put to rest when we, the People and Workers of the World, Unite against war and in favor of true peace!

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Alawite, Arab Spring, Kurds, Middle East, Syria, Syrian Civil War, Violence, War, War Crimes

Syria: Edge of Disaster?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/23/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE8610SH20120823

The link above is to a wonderful and insightful article from Reuters International on the conflict in Syria and how it is spreading throughout the region. Please read it either before or after your read my post.

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The conflict that started in Syria between the Alawite dominated Assad regime and the Sunni majority rebels and Free Syrian Army is fast turning into a regional war that pits Alawite minority ruling class once supported by the imperial powers and the Sunni majorities in these nations. I believe that the social and political revolutions known collectively as “The Arab Spring”, sparked by the self immolation of a  fruit vendor in Tunisia and spreading across the Arab world, has opened up long festering wounds. The mass of Sunni denizens of this region, long mistreated and ignored by the western and imperial powers and the Shi’ite and Alawite minorities who were given and took power, have finally found their voice and are acting out against what they see as a regimes and forces that are inherently hostile to their interests. This is taking the form of revolutions, protests and uprisings against the governments, but also against innocent members of these “ruling” minorities. The situation is explosive, and getting more so every day.

The Kurds also seem to be seeing an opportunity here and are throwing in with the Alawites in Syria, while the Turks are siding with the Sunni. Fighting in Lebanon has broken out and scores of civilians and soldiers have died as neighborhoods begin to tear themselves apart along ethnic and religious lines. US and France seem to be getting close to getting involved, and the Russians are still doing the “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” shtick. All the while anywhere from 10,000-30,000+ have been killed in the fighting, many of the  dead civilians. Turkey has really wanted a reason to crack down on the Kurds and the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) and the Kurdish rebels helping, or at least not hindering, the Assad’s Syrian Army in their border conflict is giving them just that reason. Of course there is no love lost between Turkey and Syria, nor between the latter and Lebanon.

The US of course has regional interests (cough cough Israel and Turkey cough cough) and really does not want to see another ethnic powder keg go off a la the Iraqi Civil War (ironic, given that powder keg was set off by US interference in the region) but is also concerned about the proliferation and use of bio and chemical weapons by the Assad regime. US President Barack Obama surprised many with his tough words on WMD’s and a promise to use military force if their use is even threatened. All the while the UN is desperately trying to remain relevant in the situation after the dismal failure of the Kofi Annan peace mission (undermined by Russian and US intransigence and posturing and general UN ineptitude).

I have no idea how this will all end up, but I do have a strong feeling that this intranational conflict is about to become a violent international one. Who will blink first? Will Assad’s Syria, backed by Iran’s Shi’ite mullahs and Kurdish nationalists, fall into a pitched conflict with Turkey and it’s NATO allies? I have a feeling that this once unimaginable situation becomes more likely every day the violence continues. Stay tuned.

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