Thursday, August 18, 2011

TWO BLOGS BY STEPHEN LENDMAN. We do not always agree but he is VERY smart and on most things we concurRick Perry: Extremist White America's Evangelical Hope
.... a rogue's gallery of Republican aspirants, looking more like a police lineup than legitimate candidates for any office, let alone the nation's highest - with one exception, Ron Paul, ignored by America's media for the following reasons:

(1) He advocates abolishing the Federal Reserve, owned and run by Wall Street. In fact, several times in Congress, he introduced the Federal Reserve Abolition Act. With no co-sponsors, no further action followed.

Yet, restoring sound money and a healthy economy requires Fed abolition, returning money creation power to the US Treasury as the Constitution mandates (Article I, Section 8).

(2) He also wants squandering America's resources on imperial wars ended, using the nation's wealth instead for productive economic growth.

(3) In addition, he opposes police state laws like the USA Patriot Act, though not for all the right reasons. Key for him is loss of personal privacy.

(4) While advocating free trade, he's against NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and other one-sided FTAs, serving special interests, not everyone equitably.

(5) He calls the war on drugs "costly and ineffective, while creating terrible violent crime." True enough, but it's much worse, largely responsible for creating the world's largest gulag, mostly filled with nonviolent inmates, deserving reprimands and perhaps fines at most, not prison time.

At the same time, as a libertarian, he believes government's only role is to respect, protect, and defend personal freedoms.

As the Libertarian Party's Preamble advocates, everyone should retain "sovereign(ty) over their own lives," not "sacrifice (it) for the benefit of others."

In other words, government's responsibility for universal healthcare, education, and other essential services is incompatible with personal freedom. Everyone should be on their own to provide them, even though millions, through no fault of their own, can't.

In contrast, progressives define freedom and responsibility differently, believing government must assure equity, social justice, and safety net protections for society's least advantaged. Throwing them overboard can't be tolerated.

Rick Perry - George Bush on Steroids?

Who can know, but be concerned. Texas-based commentator Molly Ivans (1944 - 2007) called him "despicable" and much more. Ridiculing him as "Gov. Goodhair," she compared him to George Bush, saying, "O Please, Dear God, Not Another One," quoting a country song.

She railed against his appointing an Enron executive head of Texas' Public Utilities Commission. In return "the next day" came a $25,000 thank you check, signed by former Chairman/CEO Ken Lay, infamous for being behind one of the nation's greatest ever financial scandals.

She denounced his "spectacular failure on public schools by convincing Texans that gay marriage was a horrible threat to us all." At the same time, he tried "to disguise" the decrepit state of public schools "by proposing that we teach creationism in biology classes," not math fundamentals, good English, literacy and computer skills, and real history and political science, omitting any reference to religion that has no place in public education.

She also hammered him in other articles, exposing an extremist governor not fit for any public office, let alone the nation's highest that should chill everyone at the possibility, except his lunatic fringe supporters and big-monied backers, assured of substantial returns on investments with him as president.

On August 13, he announced his candidacy in South Carolina, not Texas, knowing angry mobs would confront him, saying:

America "is the last great hope of mankind....Socialist systems (deliver) misery and stagnation....Americans (are) not defined as class....'Spreading the wealth' punishes success....(B)ig-government policies have prolonged our national misery....It is time to get America working again."

Besides mischaracterizing his dismal pro-business, anti-populist record as governor, his rhetoric concealed extremist positions he'll force on all Americans the way he did to Texans, including Christian fascism. More on that below.

Right Wing Watch.com lists some of his allies, including:

(1) The American Family Association, endorsing censorship and advocacy against women's and LGBT rights.

(2) The International House of Prayer, wanting Jews to become Christians and opposing abortion and LGBT rights among other extremist positions.

(3) The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, known for calling gay rights activists "intolerant," "hateful," "vile," "spiteful," and "pawns" of Satan.

(4) The Response, another extremist religious group.

(5) Rev. John Hagee, a preacher and practitioner of Christian fascism.

(6) James Dobson, a replica of Hagee, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two prominent extremist hate groups.

(7) David Barton, "a self-proclaimed historian known (for reinventing history) and the Bible to justify right-wing positions."

(8) Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist.

(9) Loren Cunningham, co-founder of the radical "Seven Mountains Dominionist."

(10) Doug Stringer, "who blamed American secularism (and) acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks."

(11) Che Ahn, John Hagee's mentor who compared "the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery," and others also endorsing the same ideological extremism.

With these type allies and financial backers, be concerned, very concerned.

Perry for President

Perry's web site (richperry.org) calls him "a true conservative," omitting how he defined that as governor, serving Big Monied Texans at the expense of all others, what he'll replicate nationally as president.

Besides his religious ideologue allies, he also stacked his campaign team with neocon advisers and Tea Party extremists, likely endorsing his belief that:

"We are now confronted with the rise of new economic and military powerhouses in China and India, as well as a Russia that is increasingly aggressive and troublesome to its neighbors and former satellite nations that are struggling to maintain their relatively newfound independence."

As a result, he added: "(T)he United States must be prepared for the ramifications of shifting balances of power," stopping just short of endorsing war.

A racist uber-hawk, he presided over 230 executions since December 2000, more than any other modern governor. At the same time, he refused to admit the possibility that anyone put to death was innocent, despite over 130 exonerated inmates since 1973, including 12 in Texas, besides known and unknown others unjustly facing execution.

His college academic record also raises concerns, an August 5 Huffington Post article headlining, "Rick Perry's College Transcript: A Lot of Cs and Ds," saying:

"A source in Texas (supplied) transcripts of his years at Texas A&M University." It showed less than classroom distinction. "While he later became a student leader, he had to get out of academic probation to do so."

His D grades were in economics, Shakespeare, and veterinary anatomy. He flunked organic chemistry. A classmate called A&M not "exactly Harvard on the Brazos River," adding:

"This was not the brightest guy around. We always kind of laughed. He was always kind of a joke."

His office "did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post." Perhaps potential supporters should demand it, besides holding him accountable for his dismal record as governor.

An August 14 HuffPost article explained more, headlined: "Rick Perry's Record in Texas May Not Convince Latino Voters," saying:

Texas is 38% Latino, including many undocumented ones through no fault of their own. Perry opposes amnesty. He's "argued for (using) National Guard, military-style special ops and (drones) with high-tech cameras" to monitor border areas.

His administration "spent over $400 million since 2005 on border security programs." He supports "valid residency documents from driver's license applicants," who aren't US citizens. He opposes state "sanctuary cities," wants voters required to show photo IDs at polls, and "local police (required to) comply with federal immigration laws."

Civic and Hispanic leaders oppose these policies, arguing they'll escalate intimidation and anti-Latino discrimination. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called Perry's initiatives "easily the most anti-Latino agenda in more than a generation, without shame."

Many agree with Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Gray that Perry "needs a pink slip, not a promotion (because) he's been a disaster as governor and would make an even worse president."

Besides his pro-business, pro-war, racist agenda, he embraces religious extremism, breaching the inviolable separation of church and state, the Constitution's Article II, Section 6 stating:

"The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable."

In other words, religion in any form, may not engage in or interfere with affairs of state, and vice versa under the First Amendment, guaranteeing the right to free exercise of religion.

With leaders like Rick Perry, expect the religion/state firewall to be naplamed as a practitioner of Christian fascism. Broadly defined, it embraces extremist political, economic, social and religious ideology falsely called conservative.

Sociologist Sara Diamond wrote extensively on the rise of America's right wing groups, including in her "Roads to Dominion," in which she traced various movements over the past 50 years, identifying four types:

1. Anti-communist conservatives, including the Christian Right's moral traditionalists.

2. Racist right-wing groups, including the KKK, other segregationist groups, and the paramilitary white supremacist movement.

3. The Christian Right with its evangelical roots, and

4. Neoconservatives with roots during the Cold War under Republicans and Democrats.

Not entirely monolithic, these groups share common views with regard to the economy, the nation state in the global context (military and geopolitical), and moral norms relating to race and gender.

They also advocate free-market capitalism, anticommunism (now anything left of center), US global military hegemony, traditional morality, superiority of native-born white male Christian Americans, and the traditional nuclear family.

Moreover, they cloak their ideology in Christianity and patriotism to gain political power they claim God sanctions, giving moral legitimacy, even to steal from the poor, give to the rich, and wage war.

As a result, these ideologues are morally and politically indefensible, toxic and dangerous. They also embrace:

-- racial hatred;

-- white Christian supremacy;

-- blind adoration and obedience to leaders, discouraging free and independent thought;

-- male gender dominance;

-- LGBT hatred;

-- disdain for non-believers and rational intellectual inquiry;

-- calling debate apostasy;

-- opposing abortion but hypocritically supporting capital punishment, including for LGBTs, abortionists, Muslim "terrorists," and "heretics;"

-- advocating militarism, war and apocalyptic violence;

-- abolishing public education and government involvement in all social services;

-- proselytizing others to become believers;

-- rejecting secular humanist notions of reason, ethics, morality, social equity and justice;

-- capitalizing on human pain, suffering, disillusion, dislocation, and despair felt by millions to build a mass movement of servile, unthinking followers;

-- advocating Christian fascism based on predatory capitalism, militarism, and intolerance of democratic freedoms; and

-- fanatically supporting Israel for all the wrong reasons, though it's hard to find any right ones, given its out-of-control lawlessness and danger as a global menace like America, especially if run by Christian fascists like Perry.

If elected, he'll use his ideology as a crusade to wage war on democratic values, social justice, rule of law principles, and peace even more than they've already been desecrated.

As a result, America now is unfit to live in. Perhaps under Perry, so will planet earth. What better reason to shun and denounce him. But much more is needed to save the soul of a lost nation.

Begin by rejecting the corrupted two-party duopoly, run by warmongering kleptocrats, damning the public interest for their own. Vote independent or not at all.

Voting for any Republican or Democrat - for president, Congress, state or local office - is wasting it, defiling your own welfare. Unless duopoly power ends, Americans won't be free, safe or equitably treated.

Now's the time to start abolishing what's wrecking the country and planet earth. The alternative is perishing with it - under Perry, Obama or anyone representing either party.

They're beholden to a higher power, America's monied interests so far having everything their own way. Survival depends on replacing them before it's too late to matter.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 1:32 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Falsified Major Media Reports on Libya

Falsified Major Media Reports on Libya - by Stephen Lendman

Major media specialize in what they do best: truth inversion (aka bad fiction), not doing what journalists are supposed to do - their job, especially covering imperial wars for dominance and rich spoils.

With Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) falling apart and rebel forces in disarray, today's headlines belie the truth, reported by independent "un-in-bed-with" journalists and other sources.

On August 16, Lizzie Phelan's Libya diary "clear(ed) up the latest media rubbish on Libya," saying:

Gaddafi forces liberated the "hitherto rebel-held" town of Misrata. "Last night, the Libyan army moved into the center of the city, and now the rebels are trapped between Misrata and Tawergha."

About three-fourths of the city, including its port, is secured, "which was a lifeline" for shipping rebels arms and other supplies.

At a press conference attended by around 200 tribes (including the four largest comprising half the population), Libya's media spokesman, Dr. Moussa Ibrahim, confirmed it.

Th major four, including Wafalla, Tarhouna, Zlitan and Washafana, all support Gaddafi.

"The tribal leaders also confirmed that Zawiya and Sorman are secure, in contrast to (falsified) claims by (in bed with) foreign reporters in Tripoli and Djerba (Tunisia) that they have been taken by the rebels."

In addition, claims that rebels control Ghuriyan are untrue. Ongoing clashes there continue.

Major media reports lie, although pockets of rebel resistance remain. Nonetheless, they're "isolated and surrounded by the Libyan army and tribes."

Falsified major media reports stand in stark contrast to "Libyan tribes who, of course, know their land with great intimacy."

It's clear media bosses want Libyans demoralized to think all is lost so give up. In addition, NATO's "been desperately trying to secure some victory before August 17 (Ramadan's 17th day), a very important date in the Islamic calendar.

On Ramadan's 17th day in 624 AD in the Islamic calendar, the Prophet Muhammad won an important Battle of Badr victory in present day Saudi Arabia. It was a key turning point against his opponents.

Fast-forwarding to today, major media sources falsify reports "to create confusion and panic on the ground." I

n an August 15 telephone address to supporters massed in Green Square, Gaddafi "reasserted his calls for the Libyan people to remain steadfast in defeating NATO's allies on the ground and NATO itself."

Phelan also said unconfirmed reports say rebel commander Khalifa Hefter was captured, the former army officer turned CIA asset, having formerly lived near its Langley, VA headquarters since the early 1990s.

If true, it'll will create more disarray among TNC leaders, perhaps better described as the gang that can't shoot or get their stories straight.

"So the media war goes on," said Phelan, on the ground in Tripoli, reporting important truths on her Lizzie's Liberation site, accessed through the following link:

http://lizziesliberation.wordpress.com/

Contrasting Falsified Major Media Reports

The vulgarity of lying needs no comment. Doing it for a living is beyond reproach. It doesn't deter takers, however, like New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim headlining, "A Top Libyan Official Appears to Defect, as Rebels Defend Recent Gains," saying:

Interior Minister Nassr al-Mabrouk "landed in Cairo in a private plane with nine family members who were traveling on tourist visas....The defection would signal a new crack in the Qaddafi government...."

Fact check:

Al-Mabrouk didn't defect as widely reported. He left for an operation in Cairo, saying he stands firmly with Gaddafi. It's unsurprising he'd want family members with him for support.

Kirkpatrick and Fahim continued saying, "(R)ebels, emboldened by their gains in recent days, are losing incentive to make concessions."

Fact check:

Falsified rebel gains are, in fact, unreported losses and disarray. Moreover, without NATO air support, they'd have been routed months ago. Air cover also gave NATO a chance to slaughter and injure thousands of Libyan civilians, as well as cause horrific mass destruction, related to imperial, not military, aims.

Both Times writers also reported rebel claims of having Tripoli surrounded as well as key supply lines cut off. None of it is true, but fact-checking isn't part of Times writers' job description - just reporting accounts ordered by their bosses.

From Tripoli, independent journalist/Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya explained in a morning email:

"The insurgency was defeated in Misurata. NATO responded with massive bombing. One route is controlled. Zawiya and Sorman have not fallen. There have been attacks on the route. They are trying to cut the supply routes off" but haven't succeeded.

On August 15, Washington Post writer Leila Fadel was no better than other accounts headlining, "Gaddafi isolated as rebels advance, aide flies to Cairo," falsifying the same agitprop as their Times counterparts, claiming rebels have "a stranglehold on the Libyan capital, Tripoli."

London Guardian writers are also complicit, headlining the following August 15 and 16 stories, better described as media lies:

August 15: "Libya's interior minister flies to Egypt in apparent defection"

August 15: "Libyan rebels enter oil town where decisive battle may yet be fought"

Fact check: Zawiya was referred to, securely controlled by Gaddafi's forces.

August 15: "No stalemate in Libya - the writing is on the wall for Gaddafi"

August 16: "Libya shows signs of slipping from Muammar Gaddafi's grasp"

August 16: "Live Syria, Libya and Middle East unrest - live updates," many, in fact, falsified like others.

Al Zajeera is also complicit in misreporting on Libya. On August 16, it headlined, "Libyan rebels push to isolate Tripoli," sounding more like CNN, Fox News, and The New York Times than legitimate journalists.

The report repeated the same misinformation about isolating Tripoli, controlling most of Zawiya, and other distortions.

An earlier August 12 report claimed "Fleeing Libyans say Gaddafi regime crumbling" as rebels advance toward the capital. Again untrue.

Al Jazeera, of course, is based in, funded by, and controlled by Qatar, a coalition NATO partner against Libya, its armed forces supporting rebels on the ground.

As a result, it reports lack credibility and should be avoided. Angry Arab editor As'ad AbuKhalil says they're "like watching MSNBC after being purchased by Murdoch."

Of course, it's worthless under its current owner, Comcast, and previous one, General Electric, especially on issues of war and peace, as well as lawless US imperialism.

A Final Comment

The battle for Libya continues. Overwhelming numbers support Gaddafi and want their country free from imperial control. They're also prepared to fight for it, knowing the unacceptable alternative - colonization, pillaging, loss of freedom, and perhaps their lives.

What better reasons to resist than those!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:56 AM
Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness

Daily Rogue State Israeli Lawlessness - by Stephen Lendman

It begs the question why Israelis put up with lawless governance harming them as well as Palestinians. When will weeks of social injustice outrage arouse them to embrace universal equity?

Why haven't Martin Luther King's words hit home that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." In Israel and Occupied Palestine, Arabs and Jews both are harmed. Injustice to anyone denies it to all.

Since the 1980s, destructive neoliberalism plagued Israel like the West. A race to the bottom followed, producing social injustice, inequality, and growing human need. Israelis finally reacted, demanding change, at the same time showing a hint of solidarity with Arab citizens, far more gravely impacted than themselves.

It's high time that spirit addressed 44 years of Occupied Palestinian torment. Permitting that to go on betrays core Judaic tenets. In their own time of need, will Jews embrace the universal struggle for justice everywhere, especially a few kilometers from their own backyard. Turning a blind eye to that injustice no longer can be tolerated.

What's now ongoing bears witness. Overnight, Israeli jets bombed Gaza, killing at least one resident and wounding seven or more others (including a child) in a series of lawless raids.

Gaza's medical emergency spokesperson, Adham Abu Salmiyya, said three residents were seriously injured after Israel bombed the Al Zeitoun neighborhood, Rafah tunnel areas, and an alleged Al Qassam Brigades training center in Gaza City's At-Tuffah community.

Further attacks struck eastern Khan Younis, causing extensive damage but no injuries. Israel targets Gaza regularly by air, land and sea, falsely claiming self-defense every time. It long ago rang hollow.

Imagine if instead Israeli neighborhoods were bombed regularly, killing innocent civilians? Western leaders would express outrage in response.

In contrast, when Palestinians are killed, it goes unnoticed, notably by major media sources more focused on supporting NATO aggression, slaughtering people in the name of "liberating" them.

The hypocrisy is stark and galling, yet commonplace backing wrong over right. The horrors need volumes to explain.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli forces also razed Palestinian farmland south of Hebron, bulldozing fruit trees belonging to several Palestinian families. At the same time, several Hebron neighborhoods were raided. In addition, residents of Yatta, Tarqomia, and other Palestinian communities face regular Israeli incursions, harassing and aiming to displace them.

Israel Welcomes Glenn Beck

On August 14, Israel National News writer Tzvi Ben Gadalyahu headlined, "Israel Rolls Out Red Carpet for Glenn Beck" ahead of his "Restoring Courage" tour in Jerusalem, saying:

He scrapped plans to hold it at the Temple Mount after being warned about Muslim outrage. Instead, he'll hold two Jerusalem events, "at the Davidson Center at the southern edge of the Western Wall and the other in Safra Square," near municipal offices and city hall.

A previous article explained Beck's demagoguery, right wing extremism, and racism, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009/09/glenn-becks-demagoguery-right-wing.html

No longer on Fox News, he continues his hatemongering diatribes against disadvantaged minorities, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and anyone to the left of his views, meaning he'll fit right in among Israeli extremists who arranged his visit.

Beck claims it's "time to Stand and Restore Courage. We ask those of you who value freedom honor and faith to travel to Israel and stand with Glenn Beck and leaders from around the world with one united voice."

Palestinians, anti-war activists, and opponents of Israel's illegal occupation aren't invited. Nor were they included on a July Beck visit when extremist Knesset members let him address the Aliyah and Absorption Committee, saying he came "to speak the truth" about efforts to delegitimize Israel.

He also claimed PA demands exacerbate anti-Semitism that's "going through the roof," when US and European studies show it in steep decline.

Now he's back, endorsed by Rev. John Hagee, a fellow demagogue, supporting racial hatred, white Christian supremacy, imperial wars, apocalyptic violence, gay bashing, male gender dominance, and fanatically wanting Israel exclusively for Jews.

They're a matched set, Hagee writing Beck, saying:

"I'm writing to express my strong support for the Restoring Courage events to be held in Israel....Those of us who love Israel (see) especially ominous thunder clap to come down in September, when the (UN) will most likely support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood."

He falsely claimed the General Assembly has no power to do it, at the same time railing against "the symbolic impact" he called "extremely dangerous."

"I look forward to seeing you" in Israel, he said, "the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in an eternal covenant that is binding to this day."

Hagee knows because God told him so, communicating directly he apparently believes. So do his parishioners sadly and other followers of his demagogic hatemongering misinterpretation of vital truths.

New Settlement Units Announced

In 2004, America's United Methodist Church stood firm against "confiscat(ing) Palestinian land for construction of settlements and the building of a separation wall."

It also expressed opposition to other Israeli abuses, including "intensified closures, curfews, dehumanizing check points, home demolitions, uprooted trees, bulldozed fields....confiscation of Palestinian land and water....targeted assassinations," and other Israeli occupation abuses.

In recent days, Israel announced thousands of new settlement units, defiant of international law, and a vital need for new construction in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities, not Occupied Palestine, to relieve a severe housing shortage, causing prices to skyrocket.

Many human rights organizations express similar views, including opposition to settlement developments, stealing Palestinian land for exclusive Jewish use.

No matter. On August 15, 277 West Bank Ariel units were approved. Earlier, 500 others were announced in Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumin, Ariel, and Kiryat Sefer.

In early August, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said 930 more are planned for East Jerusalem's Har Homa C and 42 public buildings in Har Homa B, as well as extensive accompanying infrastructure.

On August 11, thousands more were announced - 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, 2,000 in Givat Hamatos, and 700 in Pisgat Zeev. "This would bring (total East Jerusalem approvals) to over 5,200, and counting, in August alone."

In 121 illegal settlements and nearly 100 outposts, around 300,000 settlers populate the West Bank, another 200,000 in East Jerusalem, and the numbers keep growing.

As a result, over 42% of choice West Bank land and large parts of East Jerusalem have been stolen by successive Israeli governments, claiming they want peace.

Compounded by his duplicitous rhetoric overall, Obama (like his predecessors) stands firmly in support, reiterating America's "unbreakable" bond with Israel, including its most lawless acts.

According to PCHR and other human rights organizations, as long as international community leaders grant Israel impunity, Palestinian justice will lose out.

Will socially oppressed Israeli Jews finally take note and say No More!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:52 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Netanyahu Spurns Social Justice Demands

Netanyahu Spurns Social Justice Demands - by Stephen Lendman

Unaffordable housing prices ignited mass social justice protests in Israel. At issue is settlement developments at the expense of other construction, creating a supply/demand imbalance enough to cause prices to skyrocket. Israelis demand that issue be addressed responsibly.

In response, Netanyahu's government announced thousands of illegal new West Bank/East Jerusalem settlement units on stolen Palestinian land, harming them grievously. At the same time, he arrogantly ignored the urgency of addressing serious shortages in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities.

In addition, Israel's Knesset passed a controversial housing bill despite popular protests against it. It calls for solving Israel's housing crisis by expanding West Bank settlements, defiantly avoiding what's needed.

It also called for quick action to expedite construction of 50,000 apartments, circumventing planning commissions that take time to decide. Doing so, however, will exacerbate Israel's housing crisis, making an intolerable situation worse.

Since protests began, Netanyahu signaled no meaningful change, saying "solutions (must be) economically sound." In other words, business as usual will continue, papered over with minor cosmetic concessions sure to ignite greater anger sooner or later.

In early August, he appointed Professor Manual Trajtenberg to head a 14-member "panel for socioeconomic change," saying its "recommendations will reflect the need to maintain fiscal responsibility in the state budge. Such responsibility is especially necessary at a time of economic uncertainty," signaling minimal changes at best, far less than vitally needed and demanded.

Neoliberally constructed, Trajtenberg's panel will conduct discussions, propose solutions, and present them to Israel's socioeconomic cabinet (composed of establishment figures headed by neoliberal finance minister Yuval Steinitz) by late September.

In late October, Steinitz will present his own recommendations to Netanhayu, who'll review them and deliver a final proposal to Israel's cabinet by early November, giving officials enough time to let street protests subside. Or so they hope to get away with minimal changes, if any.

Trajtenberg's Socioeconomic Change Panel

Besides himself and Steinitz, the panel includes senior government officials, including:

Eyal Gabai: Netanyahu's Director-General

Eugene Kandel: National Economic Council head

Gal Hershkovitz: Finance Ministry's budget chief

Avi Simhon: Finance Ministry's senior economic advisor

Michal Abadi-Boiangiu: Finance Ministry's accountant-general

Esther Dominisini: National Insurance Institute's director-general

Shlomi Frizet: Antitrust Authority's chief economist

Karnit Flug: Bank of Israel's deputy governor

Other members include:

Professor Yoram Gabby: Israeli tax expert

Shahar Cohen: entrepreneur

Professor Pnina Klein: 2011 Israel Education Prize Laureate

Professor Rafi Melnik: Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center vice president

Professor Tali Regev: economist

Panel advisors include other establishment figures from government ministries, related agencies and think tanks.

Panel head Trajtenberg also is an establishment figure, formerly Netanyahu's National Economic Council head, appointed in 2006 by Ehud Olmert.

An economist, he heads Israel's Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education. Without explaining whether he favors change, he calls himself "a fervent Zionist who devoted three years of his life to bringing Jews to Israel, an Israeli patriot with a South American soul, and a doctorate in economics from Harvard."

At the same time, he worries about Israel's commission system, saying it's set up to kill, not solve, issues, which begs the question why he agreed to get involved in the first place, knowing it's an exercise in futility.

In fact, he said "(A)nother panel with all the familiar faces will be no good here. Unless the political leadership unites behind the recommendations, it won't work."

Knowing he won't succeed, nonetheless, he came on board adding, "we must take the risk," that may, in fact, be rhetoric, not conviction.

At the same time, he's a possible/perhaps likely choice to become the Bank of Israel's next governor when his Planning and Budgeting chairmanship term expires in a year, replacing Stanley Fischer, head of Israel's central bank since 2005.

No social democrat need apply. Of course, Netanyahu didn't appoint him socioeconomic change head to become one.

Perhaps it's why protest leaders have their own expert panel, separate from Trajtenberg's, knowing any government commission will spurn them. In fact, some of its members openly endorse non-cooperation with Netanyahu's appointees.

Composed of 60 academic and public figures, it's divided into nine sub-units, coordinated by Education Professor Yossi Yonah and Professor Avia Spivak, a curious choice, having been a former Bank of Israel deputy governor.

Some units have already held working sessions. Others will do so shortly. Each will handle priorities in their field of expertise. Within weeks, they'll present their conclusions and demands.

A public statement said:

"(R)ecent statements of senior ministers suggest that the government does not understand what is happening here. Those who look down on the protest and surround themselves with tycoons do not understand the depth of the revulsion at the economic processes they have led, which enrich the rich at the expense of the rest of the public. This method has created enormous gaps, greed and deteriorating public services, education, welfare and health."

It added that "the demands of the public today are for fundamental change in the method, not just some improvements in it. The Trajtenberg committee, whose mandate and scope for maneuvering have not been publicized, does not appear to be capable of leading such change."

Of course, it was appointed to prevent it, a sham smokescreen for business as usual.

Alternate panel sub-unit heads include:

Professor Yossi Ze'ira: economic issues

Emily Silverman: housing and transportation

Professor Yitzhak Gal-Nur: public administration

Professor Ya'akov Kashti and Rabbi Shay Piron: education

Professor Danny Filc: healthcare

Nadia Ismail: employment

Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer: legal issues

Professor Bilha Tadher: social security issues

Professor Yossi Yonah: "fundamentals of a policy of social justice"

On August 14, New York Times writer Stephen Farrell headlined, "Israeli Leader Vows Fiscal Reform but No Quick Fixes," saying:

On Sunday, Netanyahu "tempered a promise to find 'concrete solutions' to demonstrators' concerns with a warning that the global financial crisis precluded quick change," saying:

"We know one thing: We want to find solutions that are economically sound. For if we end up bankrupt or face economic collapse, a reality in which some of Europe's leading economies find themselves in today, we will solve neither the economic problems nor the social ones."

Fact check:

During dire economic times, going it slow is counterproductive and destructive, assuring worse, not improved conditions. Moreover, doing little, nothing, or forcing austerity when stimulus is needed assures disaster.

When times are tough, pump priming is critical to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. At all times, moreover, just democratic societies are mandated to provide essential social services to all its citizens, including education, healthcare, housing help, and welfare for their least advantaged.

In contrast, neoliberal states like Israel, America, Britain and others serve wealth and power interests only, spurning their social obligations altogether, disingenuously saying it's for the greater good.

Netanyahu lied urging "financial responsibility alongside social sensitivity," when he favors the former only but won't say.

As a result, achieving social justice requires protest leaders accepting nothing less, or as Haifa University student Adi Gross said:

"These protests are not going to stop before a (just)," solution is found," and social worker Suhair Halabi added:

"Nobody is free until everybody is free," saying also "(w)e are fighting a national and a class battle" too important to lose.

Going for broke is crucial. It's critical that spirit and energy driving it not be lost. Otherwise, the battle for social justice will be, letting an historic moment pass unfulfilled.

A Final Comment

Working cooperatively with Netanyahu's government, municipal authorities began harassing protest encampments, forcibly trying to disrupt them by dismantling tent cities.

In fact, inspectors issued eviction notices in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina plaza, and confiscated the symbolic guillotine erected on Rothschild Boulevard. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) strongly condemned the move, saying mayors are trying to "push the police to silence the protest."

ACRI attorney Avner Punchuk added:

"(T)he role of the police is to protect freedom of expression, not to pander to mayors and municipal authorities, who have their own agendas, while using unreasonable excuses for eviction such as the expected Palestinian declaration of statehood in September."

ACRI is providing legal help to end harassment, at times successful, but this struggle has a long way to go with major hurdles to overcome.

Protesters now face municipal officers tearing down tents, other encampments, signs and confiscating equipment to crush resistance - representing an extremist right-wing government determined to spurn them.

Knowing what they're up against, Israelis vow to stay the course. No matter how many victories are won, social justice struggles never end because dark force plotting never quits, devising new ways to undermine or regain lost ground.

As a result, it's vital to keep the spirit for change alive, never letting it wane because doing so assures defeat. Winning social justice isn't easy, quick or enough. Keeping it is key.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:55 AM
Economic End Times

Economic End Times - by Stephen Lendman

Despite a deepening global depression, establishment economists are in denial. On June 9, the Wall Street Journal said those surveyed expected slow, steady growth through 2011, despite high US unemployment, a housing depression, European sovereign debt in crisis, and the unreported insolvency of major French and other banks.

On June 8, testifying before the House Budget Committee, Fed chairman Bernanke fantasized about 3.5% US growth through 2011, stopping just short of ruling out the possibility of recession he called "unlikely."

And in 2007, when equity and housing bubbles peaked, neither he or Greenspan expressed alarm, destroying their credibility in the process.

Based on an early August survey, establishment (in bed with Wall Street) economists now put the chance of "another" downturn at 30%, compared to 15% in May, expecting 2.5% growth over the next year.

Some, in fact were sanguine, calling America's economy strong, attributing negative views to a crisis of confidence, not hard reality, signaled by the August 4 shot across the bow market rout.

Despite a predictable rebound, it signified much worse to come because conditions are dire getting worse. Even manipulated data show enough to sound alarms, highlighted by economists like David Rosenberg.

On August 15, he expressed surprise about so "little reaction to the shocking US consumer sentiment data that were released on Friday - the worst since the tail end of the Jimmy Carter recession era in 1980."

Moreover, consumer spending is weak even with suspect upward revisions. In addition, "(n)ew mortgage and refinancing loan volumes fell 19% in Q2 to" a three-year low. Further, auto buying plans declined to a decade low, likely headed much lower as economic conditions deteriorate. Other big ticket buying plans also dropped to 2008-09 depths when the economy falling off a cliff seemed possible.

In fact, growth indicators overall are rapidly heading south at a time they're already woefully weak. There's no end to decline in sight. Remarkably, negative household assessments of government policy hit record lows, surpassing the depths of the early 1980s recession and Watergate.

As a result, Rosenberg called the US economy "recession-bound, expecting" even manipulated data to show negative Q 3 growth, followed by greater contraction in Q 4 and 2012 Q 1.

"(P)ractically every major variable is" negative. "We are past the point of no return....I can understand the innate need to be hopeful," he said, but it's impossible to dispute reality.

Weakness and imbalances are extreme. American and European sovereign debt are overextended and troubled. "Anyone who thinks this gets contained (especially in Europe) slept through the last financial crisis after Lehman failed."

And when weak economies beg for stimulus, austerity is force-fed, assuring far greater economic pain. It's coming, will deepen and persist because policy measures are opposite of what's needed.

Commenting on the August 4 market rout, Rosenberg said nearly always it signals downturns. Western economies are fundamentally weak. Unlike earlier times when the Fed could cut interest rates, it now relies on "untested methods to underpin investor confidence and the economy."

And if America's economy plunges, so do others even deeper. Hunker down believes Rosenberg and independent economists believing the worst is yet to come.

Other Respected Views

Economist Michael Hudson is unequivocal explaining a debt deflation caused Depression. The game is over. The global ponzi scheme ran its course. Papering over conditions only works so long before hitting a wall. Tunnel vision assures trouble. Wrecking economies to save banks is lunacy, and forced austerity when stimulus is needed guarantees disaster. It's not a matter of if, just when, how deep and protracted.

Economist Paul Craig Roberts, trends analyst Gerald Celente, and others worry whether Washington will choose greater war to distract public attention from economic distress. In 2009, in fact, Celente warned about the oldest trick in the book, saying:

"Given the pattern of governments to parlay egregious failures into mega-failures, the classic trend they follow, when all else fails, is to take their nation to war."

In 2011, he called it a worrisome wild card, perhaps preceded by a major 9/11 type false flag to enlist public support.

Bet on it, in fact, if conditions become bad enough, public anger grows, and Obama's approval rating crashes ahead of the 2012 election. War based on heightened fear is how to raise it perhaps high enough to win.

Highly respect analyst Jeremy Grantham began his August letter to investors headlined, "Danger: Children at Play" with a "Stop Press Addendum," saying:

"My worst fears about the potential loss of confidence in our leaders, institutions, and 'capitalism itself' are being realized. We have been digging this hole for a long time. We really must be serious in our attempts to resuscitate the 'average (number of) hour(s) worked' and the fortunes of the average worker."

"Walking across the Boston Common this morning, I came to realize that the unpalatable (to me) option of some debt forgiveness on mortgages looks increasingly to be necessary as well as tax changes" he discussed in his report.

"To go further, if we mean to prosper long term, I am sure we need to act to make debt less attractive to everybody: it really is a snare and a delusion" to think otherwise.

Calling America's Congress "dysfunctional," he said it has to decide between two bad choices:

-- austerity to kill demand when the economy is on its knees; or

-- do nothing, risk default, compromise the integrity of the dollar and send "a powerful signal to the world that the US, at least for now," is past its prime.

In fact, growing numbers acknowledge that reality. "Come to think of it," said Grantham, "the choice was between a technical default and looking like a Banana Republic (or) technical blackmail and looking" like the same thing. "Just different bananas perhaps."

Overall he sees hard times, "lean years." Any pretense otherwise "is beyond wishful thinking or weak math skills. It is either childish or gross and cynical politics: that is to say, even worse politics than usual."

With balanced budgets mathematically impossible without major politically unpalatable policy changes, the alternative is "kicking an enormous can down the road" for even greater predictable disaster.

It's the equivalent of not dealing with a metastasizing cancer until the patient dies or is too far gone to save.

Adding his own grim assessment, Grantham said if we keep "drift(ing) around rudderless, if we don't develop some real (nowhere in sight) leadership soon, then seven lean years may be the least of" America's woes.

Commenting on the August 4 market rout, he added that it "always (has a) disturbing habit of ignoring the obvious and ignoring it some more, until, in the blink of an eye, it doesn't."

On August 4, it blinked, making "risk avoidance....a good idea," Grantham believes that may be his polite way of saying watch out! I warned you! There's no visible light at the end of this tunnel, getting increasingly darker. Watch out indeed.

In fact, a deepening global Depression just began. It'll last years before ending, and cause grave harm to billions worldwide, not responsible for their leaders' malfeasance, especially those domiciled on Wall Street, complicit with political puppets in Washington they own.

Moreover, the greater pain caused, the more they benefit like their Western counterparts, wrecking their economies for personal gain.

No wonder astute analysts like Grantham expressed lack of confidence in America's leaders, disgust with a "dysfunctional Congress," and questioned "capitalism itself," perhaps self-destructing as he wrote.

For billions of global victims, it can't happen a moment too soon, if it isn't already too late to help.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:44 AM
Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for August 18, 20 and 21, 2011

The Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for August 18, 20 and 21, 2011

Thursday, August 18 at 10AM US Central time: James Petras

Petras is Binghamton University, New York Professor Emeritus, a noted figure on the left, a distinguished Latin American expert, and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles.

He's also a consummate scholar and prolific writer of hundreds of articles and dozens of books, including his latest titled, "The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack."

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Saturday, August 20 at noon US Central time: John Kozy

Kozy is a retired philosophy professor, now writing on social, political and economic issues. He taught for many years and has been writing for many more.

Visit his web site at www.jkozy.com

His latest writing will be discussed.

Sunday, August 21 at noon US Central time: Ellen Brown

Brown is a civil litigation attorney, distinguished author, and frequent writer on financial issues. A new edition of her important book, "Web of Debt," is a brilliant analysis of the private banking system, how it usurped money creation power, and how we can get it back.

She also heads the Public Banking Institute (PBI), an initiative to return money power to the people where it belongs.

Brown's latest writing will be discussed.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:43 AM
Monday, August 15, 2011
New York Times Disinformation, Denial and Suppressing Vital Truths

New York Times Disinformation, Denial and Suppressing Vital Truths - by Stephen Lendman

America's "newspaper of record" makes painful reading for alternative media consumers, knowledgeable about what Times correspondents, opinion contributors and editorial writers misreport, conceal, or lie outrageously about.

For example, writer CJ Chivers' August 12 "Notes From the Front Lines" piece practically lionized cutthroat rebels, embedded with them to present their point of view only, saying:

"Just who are the rebels who have taken up arms against (Gaddafi), and how do they fight?" Instead of explaining accurately, Chivers discusses a battle, reading more like bad fiction than reality, pitting recruited NATO killers against a sitting government most Libyans support and will fight to save it.

But don't expect Chivers to explain. Instead, he enlists reader sympathy for a wounded insurgent, saying:

"Rebels fire rifles to suppress (Gaddafi's) soldiers...One of the rebels - his name is Hamid Shwaili - falls. He calls for help. Other rebels at a nearby building fire machine guns....as the wounded man's friends drag him back up (an) alley, to what appears to have been a small garage, where doctors try to administer immediate aid."

"Near death, Mr. Shwaili is soon rushed to an ambulance, bound for a hospital, no doubt."

Wringing maximum emotion from his readers, he highlighted his bloodstained clothing and "dark puddle" near where he fell, saying "you will see his blood loss has been extreme."

But there's more, saying Shwaili "was an unemployed mechanic caught up in the turmoil for Libya's future, and met his end holding a rifle in a battle for Misurata's once quiet streets."

It's to arouse maximum support for a lawless insurgency to provide Washington with another imperial trophy, at the expense of all Libyans, including most damn fool paramilitaries fighting for the wrong side. But don't expect Chivers to explain, reporting like others "in bed with" NATO for their livelihoods, instead of telling the truth. Their job description prohibits it.

In his very lengthy piece, Chivers presents a scenario right out of a Pentagon-funded Hollywood sound stage, complete with photos from the firefight video, including Shwaili (or a convenient stand-in) calling for help on the ground.

Completing his account, he also lionized the filmmaker, a man named Liohn, praising his courage for "put(ting) himself into the midst of the fighting to make this record."

Or did he invent it to enlist support for NATO, a destructive missile aimed at the heart of free people everywhere, never for defense and democratic principles.

It wasn't discussed or Liohn's paymaster, ensconced at Pentagon high-command headquarters in Washington or its NATO Brussels office, depriving Americans of vitally needed revenue for homeland needs by spending it for death and destruction.

Not a mention in Chivers' pure propaganda piece, reading like bad fiction.

Neither did Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Chivers again headlining, "Tribal Rifts Threaten to Undermine Libya Uprising," pretending its a nobel cause instead of a lawless Pentagon-backed insurgency, saying:

"(T)he six-month-old rebel uprising against (Gaddafi) is showing signs of sliding from a struggle to overthrow an autocrat into a murkier contest between factions and tribes....The infighting could also erode support for the rebels among members of the NATO alliance."

In fact, rebel forces are in disarray. The corrupted National Transitional Council (NTC) leadership is falling apart. Its head, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a shameless opportunist, sacked his entire executive committee, and rebel assassins murdered their field commander, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis and two of his aides for allegedly holding reconciliation talks with Gaddafi officials.

Yet Kirkpatrick and Chivers said rebels "sought to maintain a clean image to portray themselves as fighting to establish a secular democracy," but infighting "could disintegrate into (counterproductive) tribal tensions...."

Moreover, they're harming "the moral clarity of six months ago, when (Gaddafi) forces were bearing down on Benghazi and he was threatening to wipe out anyone who dared oppose him there...."

In fact, Gaddafi didn't incite hostilities. He responded to them, saying repeatedly he wants peace, reconciliation, and a united Libya. Moreover, he said if rebels laid down their arms, they'd be no recriminations.

His offers, however, went unanswered or spurned because NATO wants war, death and destruction, its usual scheme against every country it attacks, intending to rape and pillage them one by one or in multiples.

Kirkpatrick and Chivers were silent, instead quoting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, acknowledging "disturbing" infighting, but saying TNC leaders (themselves in disarray) took swift steps to correct things.

At the same time, an unnamed Obama official expressed doubts, saying: "I think the jury is out on how unified the command will be" after Jalil sacked his entire executive committee, a clear sign of rebel leadership trouble.

Kirkpatrick and Chivers, however, stressed alleged Gaddafi crimes, saying to "re-establish control of the capital" he never lost, his forces "fir(ed) live ammunition into unarmed crowds, as the (in bed with) International Criminal Court attested," based on Western corporate media reports, not non-existant hard evidence.

"The rebel leadership in Benghazi (unconfirmed reports say they fled for their safety) continue to insist that it can reconcile the differences among Libyan factions and tribes. (Moreover, TNC leaders) pledged to form a new broadly representative unity government based in Tripoli if (Gaddafi) leaves power."

In fact, no such plan exists because Washington and its NATO partners intend to carve up the Libyan corpse profitably, at the expense of ordinary Libyans they'll exploit, not help, if gain control.

Excluding that reality, Kirkpatrick and Chivers blame Gaddafi, maligning him more by quoting Professor Diederik Vandewalle, "a Libya expert," saying:

"(T)he real tragedy of (his) system....leaves virtually everyone open to retribution."

Then hammering him more with Cambridge University's George Joffe (another "Libya expert") saying, "(T)he longer this struggle continues, the more likely and bitter that will become."

Reality on the ground is far different than what Times writers, other corporate hacks, and complicit "experts" report - seeing one thing firsthand or through their own analysis, then reporting another for their bosses (or sworn mandates), wanting no part of the truth.

A Final Comment

Another Times article also missed the mark, written by Ravi Somaiya headlined, "After British Riots, Conflicting Answers as to 'Why,' " saying:

National debate "puzzle(s) over what drove even some previously law-abiding people to steal. (It's) divided people into predictable camps."

Prime Minister David Cameron called it "mindless violence and thuggery," despite knowing what's going on but won't say. Others accurately blame a "culture of greed and impunity," as well as festering social injustice, also omiting what's key and unreported anywhere in the mainstream as expected.

Somaiya also quoted so-called experts, providing the usual explanations, stopping short of what's most important. For example, social psychologist Clifford Stott said bystanders often blame police, not rioters, and Pamela Rutledge noted that hammers can be used "to build something or destroy it. It's just a tool."

Somaiya's article left unmentioned what readers most need to know. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/riots-across-britain-perhaps-more-than.html

Indeed it's about poverty, unemployment, inequality, and social injustice, but much more. It's about:

-- Big Money orchestrating everything;

-- preventing Blacks, Whites, and other deprived groups from uniting powerfully for a common cause;

-- inciting race and class wars to divide and subdue;

-- using provocateurs to ignite them;

-- having complicit media report regime friendly accounts; and

-- destroying things because it's more profitable than building productively.

It's also about testing command and control systems for eventual larger riots as economic conditions grow more intolerable, as well as diverting public attention from conditions harming their welfare.

Moreover, it's about weakening resistance to state repression supporting corporate, not popular, interests and causing serious human consequences in the process. It's about wrong over right and keeping people from knowing what's really going on and why.

It's about a far more sinister type social injustice than most observers realize. It's why exposing and denouncing it is vital, so people harmed can fight back for what government won't address otherwise.

It's their only chance to get out from under the repressive yoke suffocating them. What more important reason to react than that!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:54 AM
Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue

Israeli Social Justice Protests Continue - by Stephen Lendman

Ongoing since mid-July, America's media hardly notice, but indeed care as evidenced by their silence to suppress mass outrage over longstanding social injustice Israelis want changed.

What US print and broadcast media won't report, Israeli and other sources cover extensively, because what's ongoing is too significant to ignore. Happening at the same time across the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere, it's just a matter of time before it erupts in America, most often a late bloomer.

However, when intolerable conditions reach a breaking point, people react, and without redress, do it violently.

So far in Israel, mass outrage has been contained. How much longer is at issue under a government that spurns them. It's much like in America where the corrupted two-party duopoly serves wealth and power only, ignoring growing need that sooner or later will explode.

It's high time it happened sooner before distress conditions surge past intolerable to uncontainable, because of shocking unaddressed levels of rising poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and human misery - a ticking bomb revolutions are made of.

Trends analyst Gerald Celente believes neoliberalized Industrial Revolution policies can't work in the new century, saying:

"It's not just Model T economics that's outmoded, so are our approaches to education, politics and yes, the military. The old adage (that) 'Generals fight the last war' is as valid as ever. While the technology may have changed, the mindset hasn't."

So while old unwinnable wars rage, new ones start, drag on endlessly, draining the federal treasury, at the expense of public need and good government.

Celente believes direct democracy is essential, saying:

"The government/political 'system' in place in America, and throughout much of the world, is obsolete and irreparable. The inept generals masterminding lost-cause wars are (matched) by (corrupt) senators and representatives in Congress."

As a result, representative democracy "is a cruel sham; it's neither 'representative' nor 'democratic,' and people are" wising up to it as evidenced by poll numbers.

Therein lies the possibility for change, "real change, not Obama (Netanyahu/Cameron/Sarkozy/Merkel, Berlusconi/Papandreou et al) change."

Others explained it wisely earlier, including Victor Hugo, saying:

"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."

Grassroots direct democracy representing everyone "has come for the entire world (says Celente) to wrest power from the hands of ruling political mobs and put it into the hands of the public."

Let them decide, not corrupted corporate bosses, militarists, lobbyists and their puppet political tools. Shifting to this type system Celente calls a "Global Game Changer."

Is it possible? Indeed, when enough people cooperatively make it happen through disruptive power too strong to contain.

Weeks of protests across Israel show it, symbolized by an August 11 guillotine on display in the center of Tel Aviv's tent city.

There on Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv's Park Avenue, it was the center of attention, signifying public anger perhaps too great to contain without meaningful redress. So far, it's not forthcoming from a government that doesn't give a damn about ordinary people, the same mindset as in America.

On August 13, Haaretz headlined, "Tens of thousands take to Israel's streets as social protests move out of Tel Aviv," saying:

Saturday night, people turned out en masse in Haifa, Be'er Sheva, Afula, Eilat, Rosh Pina, Nahariya, Dimona, Modi'in, Petah Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Hod Hasharon, Netanya, Beit She'an, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and elsewhere for what they've been demanding for weeks.

Haifa activist Yossi Baruch addressed thousands, saying:

"They tell us we don't have focus, but we are super focused and know exactly what we want. We want there to be a welfare state here, and a welfare state is not just a slogan. It means free education for every boy and girl" from pre-school through PhDs.

"A welfare state is (also) a place where its citizens receive fair wages," get free or low-cost healthcare, other social benefits, and have caring officials who provide them.

"This is a long-range struggle, and it doesn't matter if Bibi falls in a week, a month or a year," he said. "Bibi will fall. So will (Yuval) Steinitz (Israel's finance minister), and so will (Avigdor) Lieberman," Israel's fascist foreign minister/deputy prime minister.

Activist Dror Israel put it another way, saying:

"We are not against a specific person. We're against a policy. We are for a welfare state" that serves all Israelis, not just its privileged few like in America, Britain, and other most other countries.

Arab citizens called for mutual cooperation. In fact, crowds cheered Hamoudi Hujeirat saying, "We are one people."

Raja Za'atara, from the disadvantaged Arab Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, said, "In the Wadi, not many people eat cottage cheese," referring to one of the protest symbols because of its high price. "But a hungry child is a hungry child," he said, "and it doesn't matter if he is Arab or Jewish. This struggle gives hope to everyone."

In fact, social injustice affects all Israeli workers. However, Arabs (one-fifth of the population) are especially impacted, treated more like fifth column threats than citizens.

At the same time, hope never dies when enough people believe. Addressing Haifa thousands in Arabic, writer Sami Michael said:

"At age 85, it's hard to be optimistic, but the younger generation today makes me feel optimistic. Today the public is showing for the first time a connection between classes, between cities and villages, between Arabs and Jews, and I don't remember anything like this in Haifa," or elsewhere across Israel.

"The impact of the Middle East" arrived, he added. Echoes for change now reverberating across Israel. It remains to be seen whether government repression will confront them, and if so, how they'll react.

So far, they've been steadfastly protesting, many camping out in tent cities, giving up the comforts of home, that even if humble are preferable to living on streets, even in solidarity for reinforcement.

It's too soon to know, but hopefully that energy won't wane. It's crucial to have any chance for success.

A Final Comment

In a new policy paper, Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth discuss "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919 - 2009," showing they go hand in hand, saying:

Evidence "show(s) a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not a key factor."

"While autocracies and democracies show a broadly similar response to budget cuts," less unrest results when executive power is constrained. Quite the opposite, however, when leaders and parliaments are in sync, as in America, the Middle East, Europe and Israel.

Other analysts also say austerity yields trouble, showing up in protests, riots, strikes, violence and revolutions if public rage exceeds the tipping point, making it uncontainable.

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz envisions IMF riots, saying "the whole cauldron blows up" after IMF financial terrorism "squeezes the last pound of blood out of" troubled nations.

Economist Kenneth Rogoff says high US unemployment and out-of-control debt sooner or later trigger serious "social unrest from the income disparities" they create, adding the Obama administration has "no clue."

Neither does Netanyahu, European leaders and numerous others, heading their nations for serious unrest - or worse.

Gerald Celente's been warning about it for years, saying:

"When people lose everything and have nothing else to lose, they lose it."

Indeed, and it may be coming to a nearby neighborhood or right in their own backyard. Bet on it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:50 AM
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Dire State of America's Children

Dire State of of America's Children - by Stephen Lendman

A new Children's Defense Fund (CDF) report shows the dire state of children in America today. Titled, "The State of America's Children: 2011," it can be accessed in full through the following link:

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/state-of-americas-2011.pdf

Focusing mainly on 2008 - 2010, it ranked America among industrialized countries "investing in and protecting children" as follows:

First in GDP

First in billionaires

First in prison population size

First in health expenditures

First in student expenditures

First in military expenditures, technology, and global wars

First in weapons exports

17th in reading scores

22nd in low birthweight rates

23rd in science scores

30th in infant mortality rates

31st in math scores

31st in wealth gap between rich and poor

Last in relative child poverty

Last in adolescent birth rates (ages 15 - 19)

Last in protecting children from gun violence

Only America and Somalia (with no legally constituted government because America ravaged it with war, poverty and starvation) haven't ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other disturbing information includes:

Every second a public school student is suspended.

Every eight seconds a high school student drops out.

Every 18 seconds an unwed mother gives birth.

Every 20 seconds a public school student is corporally punished.

Every 21 seconds a child is arrested.

Every 34 seconds a child is born in poverty.

Every 42 seconds a baby is born without health insurance.

Every 42 seconds a child is abused or neglected.

Every minute a teenage mother gives birth.

Every two minutes a low birthweight child is born.

Every four minutes a child is arrested for illegal drug possession.

Every eight minutes a child is arrested for committing violence.

Every 18 minutes a baby dies before age one.

Every 45 minutes an accident kills a child or teen.

Every three hours a child is shot and killed.

Every five hours a child or teen commits suicide.

Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect.

Every 16 hours a mother dies from childbirth or pregnancy complications.

Moreover, growing hunger, homelessness, and nutritional deficiencies contribute most to low birth weight, infant mortality, and poor health. At issue is political Washington's indifference.

America's greatest national security threat results from not investing in and educating every child. Most in all racial and income groups, and nearly 80% of public school Black and Hispanic children can't read or do math at fourth, eighth or 12th grade level standards, among those who haven't dropped out.

It shows as the rage to privatize grows, focusing on bottom line priorities, not teaching or caring about children matter.

Families today in America are "more fragile as jobs are lost, unemployment compensation has been reduced, public assistance and public health programs restrict access, housing foreclosures continue and affordable housing becomes scarcer."

States spend three times more per prisoner than per public school student. Child poverty increased by almost 10% between 2008 and 2009, and keeps growing. In 2009, over 20% of children were impoverished, the number rising annually.

With Main Street America mired in Depression, children are falling further behind in poverty, health, education, abuse, neglect, and early childhood development.

Black children face "the worse crisis since slavery." Hispanics and Native American ones aren't far behind. Notably children of color constitute almost 45% of our youth population. In 2019, they'll be a majority. Yet they've been marginalized and deprived "on virtually every measure of child well-being" and development.

Children need help but aren't getting it. Programs to support and develop them have been cut back, including:

-- TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997; benefits today, in fact, cover only 58% of what they did when the program began;

-- Medicaid;

-- CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program);

-- the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant;

-- WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children);

-- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program);

-- the National School Lunch Program;

-- Early Head Start and Head Start (providing comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low income children and families);

-- Child Care and Development Block Grant;

-- Title I Education Program for Disadvantaged Children;

-- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs;

-- Pell Grant aid for college tuitions;

-- Social Services Block Grant; and

-- other programs facing federal cuts from Washington's rage to control America's national debt on the backs of society's least advantaged, elderly, and disabled; moreover, investing more on new generations to "protect our nation's economic future" has been sacrificed.

Policies in place for poor and disadvantaged children are on the chopping block for continued cuts. In fact, political Washington wants America's entire social contract eliminated to provide more funds for imperial wars and corporate handouts. That future awaits children now growing up.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:56 AM
Israeli Persecution of Palestinian Children

Israeli Persecution of Palestinian Children - by Stephen Lendman

Repeatedly in many ways, the real Israel belies the myth of a free, open, democratic state. In fact, the very notion is ludicrous even to growing numbers of fed up Israelis, voting with their feet and leaving.

As a result, it's no exaggeration calling Israel a failed state, a topic Noam Chomsky addressed in one of his many books.

Titled "Failed States," he listed characteristics they all share, including:

-- their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and other forms of harm;

-- their abrogation of rule of law standards;

-- their lawless belligerent pursuits; and

-- if democracies, their policy deficiencies, exposing a serious "democratic deficit."

Evaluating America honestly, he said "we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of 'failed states' right at home." It's as true for Israel, a democracy in name only.

Its treatment of Muslims is especially appalling, notably children, the topic of this article, based on a July 19 Defence for Children International Palestine Section (DCIP) report.

Covering the period January 1 through June 30, 2011, it's titled, "In their own words: A report on the situation facing Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military court system." It follows previous reports on how Israel abuses young children as lawlessly as adults, violating international law in multiple ways.

Each year, about 700 West Bank children are arrested, interrogated, detained, and prosecuted in Israeli military courts. Since 2000 alone, around 7,500 have been affected, facing torture, ill-treatment and other forms of abuse during the entire arrest/transfer/interrogation process.

Belligerent soldiers usually raid homes late at night. Young children are arrested, blindfolded, hands tied painfully, and taken to detention centers. Physical and verbal abuse are common. Reasons for arrest are seldom given, and parents aren't told where their children are held. The entire process is lawless, no different than in a police state.

During interrogations, family members and lawyers aren't present, nor are audio/video recordings made for independent oversight. Moreover, children aren't told their rights because they have none, in Occupied Palestine or in custody. As a result, they're isolated, intimidated, physically assaulted, and forced to sign confessions, at times in Hebrew they don't understand.

Afterwards they're brought to military court. Bail most often is denied. Children as young as 12 (sometimes younger) are affected, and most plead guilty when innocent because it's "the quickest way out of the system."

In September 2009, a juvenile military court was established, though few practices differentiate them from adult ones. Two or three children are brought there together in brown prison attire, legs chained around their ankles and handcuffed. Hand restraints are removed in court, then replaced when leaving.

DCIP based its report on 45 sworn testimonies, also referencing other relevant sources, including media and NGO information. Another 16 sworn East Jerusalem affidavits were also collected, to be covered in a separate report.

Citing international laws, numerous past articles explained that torture is prohibited at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions. Nonetheless, it's official Israeli policy, even against children. A previous article discussed it, accessed through the following link:

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/

Against Palestinians, even children, torture and other forms of abuse are commonplace. Of the 45 cases studied, two were children aged 11 or younger, one was 12, 22 were 14 or 15, and 22 were 16 or 17. Twenty-eight of them were accused of stone-throwing. Under Military Order 1651, Section 221, it's punishable as follows:

-- against people or property, it carries a maximum 10 year penalty; for children aged 13 or younger, it's six months; and

-- throwing stones or other objects against moving vehicles brings up to 20 years imprisonment; for children 13 or younger, it's six months.

In fact, children most often get sentences ranging from two weeks to 10 months. However, none should get 10 minutes or ever have be arrested and prosecuted. In detention, they're subjected to the following:

Hand ties - 98%

Blindfolds - 91%

Physical violence - 87%

Detention inside Israel in violation of Fourth Geneva's Article 76 - 76%

Confession during interrogation - 69%

Arrested between midnight and 5:00AM - 62%

Verbal abuse - 60%

Strip searched - 56%

Threatened - 38%

Taken to detention on vehicle's floor (a painful process sometimes taking hours) - 33%

Signed/shown documents in Hebrew - 29%

Held in solitary confinement (from one to 20 days) - 9%

In all 45 cases examined, children experienced multiple form of abuse. It reveals a systematic pattern of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in violation of the UN Convention against Torture, Geneva's Common Article 3, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, prohibiting the above practices.

Khaled H (age 16) said:

"At around 2:00 AM, I was sleeping in the same room as my brother....I woke up to a noise coming from the door of the room. Then, the door opened and many soldiers stormed the room. One of them approached me and punched me hard in the head."

In custody during interrogations, most children are blindfolded and have their hands painfully tied, usually behind their back. Some reported extreme pain. Others said said their circulation was cut off, causing their hands to swell and turn blue. Most were held this way for hours. Some reported their feet also shackled.

Othman H (aged 17) said:

After entering his home, "soldiers took me downstairs to the first floor....One of them tied my hands behind my back with one set of plastic cords, and tightened them. He also blindfolded me. They took me out and forced me to stop near a military truck near the house. While I was standing there, one of them hit me so hard in my testicles (that) I felt much pain."

Mohammad H (age 17) said his hands were so tightly bound, he "screamed in pain and asked them to loosen them, but they started shouting and ordering me to 'shut up and don't talk.' "

Malek S. (age 16) said when his hand restraints were removed, "pieces of flesh came off and my wrists started bleeding." When ordered to confess, he said he had "nothing to confess to," after which his interrogator "went crazy and started screaming. He started slapping me and kicking me. He even grabbed my head and slammed it against the metal wall of the room where we were. My forehead swelled and I felt my hands bleeding because of the pressure."

Typical violence includes punching, slapping, pushing and kicking, often hard enough to cause extreme pain. Children reported multiple incidents throughout their arrest/transfer/interrogation process.

Testimonies reveal a combination of physical violence, threats and verbal abuse, at times of a sexual nature or bringing a menacing dog into the interrogation room.

A Final Comment

From January 2001 to late 2010, 645 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators, alleging torture, ill-treatment and other forms of abuse. The Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Department "did not conduct a single criminal investigation."

When it comes to Palestinian rights, including young children, Israel is an anything goes society, committing vile abuses with impunity.

Two years after Cast Lead's mass slaughter and destruction, two soldiers were convicted of credit card fraud, two others for using a nine-year-old boy as a human shield. Only the defrauders served prison time. The others got suspended sentences, letting them off scot free.

Moreover, on January 27, 2011, despite Lt. Col. Omri Burberg's conviction for shooting a bound and blindfolded detainee, a military court refused to imprison him, even though prosecutors recommended it.

Settlements also adversely affect Palestinian children. Clear evidence shows arrests and ill-treatment result from living close to them.

The cumulative effect of abusive practices, especially against young children, constitutes torture under international law. Whether mild or extreme, it's absolutely prohibited criminal behavior.

Against Palestinians, however, it's standard practice. In fact, Israel's ISA gets carte blanche authority to abuse with impunity, even kill that sometimes happens.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:39 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Riots Across Britain: Perhaps More than Meets the Eye

Riots Across Britain: Perhaps More than Meets the Eye - by Stephen Lendman

A previous article said the following:

On August 6, rioting began in Tottenham, North London after police shot and killed Mark Duggan, a 29-year old father of four. It triggered other outbreaks on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in Brixton, Enfield, Walthamstow, Islington, Hackney, Croydon, Lewisham, Peckham, Clapham, Ealing, central London, and Birmingham, Britain's second largest city.

They also spread to Liverpool, Manchester, and elsewhere as raging anger set Britain ablaze.

Observers attribute public anger to unemployment, poverty, inequality, and overall social injustice, but perhaps more is also involved. More on that below.

In response, Prime Minister David Cameron responded arrogantly, saying riots were unconnected to police shooting Mark Duggan on August 4, despite evidence of a pre-planned operation, more sinister perhaps than just killing another Black youth.

Addressing Parliament on August 11, Cameron said:

Riots are "criminality pure and simple. And there is absolutely no excuse for it....We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets. And we will do whatever it takes to restore law and order and to rebuild our communities."

"It is completely wrong to say there is any justifiable causal link" between Duggan's killing and street riots. "It is simply preposterous for anyone to suggest" it relates to him. "(I)t was about theft," not outrage, he claimed.

"As I have made clear, nothing should be off the table. Every contingency is being looked at. The police are already authorized to use baton rounds." Water cannons, rubber bullets, and other harsh measures were approved.

Consideration is also being given to deploying military forces and shutting down social media. In short, police will be given full discretion to do whatever it takes to restore order. "(T)here will be no complacency."

Cameron, of course, avoided culpability by blaming victims, the usual tactic used to shift debate away from where it belongs. Instead blame:

-- decades of destructive neoliberalism;

-- an unacceptable new normal;

-- appalling wealth disparities;

-- a corrupt political/corporate nexus;

-- imperial wars benefitting profiteers, not people;

-- grand theft on an unimaginable scale; and

-- disdain for human need, causing a loss of public trust and rage because things keep getting worse, not better.

Perhaps also, however much more is involved beyond reacting violently to festering social injustice.

Appearing on Russia Today, Michael Ruppert offered a thought provoking analysis, saying:

"I am extremely suspicious that there is deliberate provocateurism, undertaken by industrialized governments," especially America, Britain and other Western states, "to provoke race riots. And I'm really worried that's what's happening."

"The patterns are very disturbing," especially inflammatory media coverage, heightening tensions. "It suggests that 'they' really want to trigger unrest. The 'they' is anyone in service of the infinite growth monetary paradigm."

"That would be the banks, the oil companies. That would be the absolutely corrupt financial institutions." They trigger unrest "because it's more profitable to destroy things now in this infinite growth paradigm."

"It's infinitely more profitable to kill than save. It's just the reality of the world we live in."

In Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler explained it saying, there's "much more money to be made in the destruction of civilization than in building it up."

In America's wars, profiteers benefit enormously from mass destruction, reaping lucrative contracts to rebuild.

In Britain, "(t)here's a very suspicious pattern to the way the riots are breaking out....One of the primary incentives or directives or interests of the establishment of putting down (US) civil unrest in the sixties was to prevent any alliance between Blacks and Whites."

"And they went to any lengths possible to create tension, and that's what I see happening" across Britain. Moreover, "the civil unrest we see around the world," including the so-called Arab Spring, "has nothing to do with Arab, Black or White. This is a generational revolution."

It's about young people with "no hope, no future, who understand that civilization is collapsing around them, and they're frustrated beyond belief."

However, violence is the wrong tactic. "There's a better way to fight the beast that's doing this."

Cui bono also is at issue. "These (events) are being used as test runs to test command and control systems for (eventual) larger riots."

"They (also) want to incite further civil unrest because that will serve as a distraction from the economic chaos. It's a diversion from what's really causing all this suffering around the world right now."

In fact, war, especially nuclear war "is the ultimate diversion. All wars....come from a place where there's nothing to go to economically to cover up your economic mistakes" or malfeasance.

"The only way to fight (back) is to withdraw any investments you have in any financial instruments anywhere in the world. Stop feeding" the beast. Starve it by opting out, "because once you invest in it, you want to keep it alive. You have a (vested) interest in what is killing the planet," and ultimately your own welfare.

Catherine Austin Fitts recommends local financial permacultures, saying:

Everywhere, "people and local institutions have financial capital, typically retirement capital or various kinds of savings and reserves." Instead of investing them in "centralized institutions and financial centers," use them for community "permaculture developments and the businesses that supply them."

The more development becomes local, "the easier it will be for people to withdraw" savings from destructive centralized institutions. In other words, build local self-sufficiency, free from government/corporate predation, benefitting wealth and power at the expense of ordinary people.

Fight them by going local. People have real power if they use it. Directing financial resources away from destructive institutions weakens them in ways they can't contest.

Opting out can make a dramatic difference if growing numbers do it, benefitting while defeating the beast that's destroying them. It can't happen easily or quickly, but good solutions have potential to spread.

Key is getting started, taking it step by step, and uniting with others to build self-sustaining communities, free from financial predators. They're criminally tied to Washington and other centralized governments, harming ordinary people and planet earth for their own benefit.

Self-preservation is possible with enough commitment to try. The potential rewards are too significant not to, and what better time than now to start.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 12:40 AM
Congressional Junkets to Israel

Congressional Junkets to Israel - by Stephen Lendman

Eighty-one House members, one fifth of the chamber, will visit Israel during the traditional summer recess, instead of addressing festering local issues at home during the nation's gravest economic crisis too serious to ignore.

Arriving first were 26 Democrats together, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD). Another 55 Republicans will follow in two groups, including 47 freshmen.

Heading each are House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and House Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA). Spouses are also going at an estimated cost of $8,000, including business-class flights, first-class hotels, meals, transportation, side trips, guides and incidentals.

Red carpet treatment is assured along with considerable pro-Israeli messaging, especially for new incoming freshmen. They'll meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, as well as PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Legitimate Hamas leaders are excluded.

Their entire week is choreographed and full, from early morning to late evening, including breakfast and dinner speakers, as well as meetings with other government officials.

For security reasons, their schedule isn't known, but while there, they'll get walking tours of Jerusalem's Old City, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall or Kotel), as well as visits to Masada, the Dead Sea, Holocaust memorial, Golan, Lebanese border, and Tel Aviv, with moments to relax by the Mediterranean.

Most of all, they'll get intensive pro-Israeli messaging to assure one-sided support, reinforced by party leaders back home. At the same time, out of sight and mind will be:

-- daily Israeli state terror;

-- its planes bombing Gaza;

-- extreme unaddressed needs of over 1.6 million besieged people;

-- fishermen interdicted and, at times, shot at sea;

-- Israeli snipers murdering farmers in their fields;

-- regular security force incursions into Palestinian communities;

-- almost daily arrests, detentions, and horrific treatment in Israeli prisons;

-- children beaten and arrested;

-- peaceful protests attacked viciously;

-- bulldozed homes and dispossessed residents;

-- Israel's Separation Wall, stealing about 12% of Palestinian land when completed; and

-- severe repression, poverty, and misery of millions of Palestinians whose only offense is not being Jewish.

Whether or not they know or care, If Americans Knew Executive Director Alison Weir said not every congressional member is enthused about going. One congressional wife, in fact, who's been there before, said she and her husband never before experienced such pressure.

Another representative's staff member said those invited had no choice. If they don't go, AIPAC will target them for removal, and most likely succeed. "The staffer said that the Israel Lobby is far too powerful to ignore and that American voters have no knowledge of what's going on" because major media reports won't say.

The Jerusalem Post covered this story. So did Lebanon's Daily Star, other foreign media, Commentary magazine, and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, explaining the elaborately planned "dog and pony show" messaging.

In contrast, it was practically ignored by America's corporate media, including The New York Times. The Washington Post discussed it on page 13, omitting important details.

It's typical of how America's media diss their regulars, excluding everything they most need to know.

At issue is why congressional members are in Israel or heading there shortly, on expense-paid week-long junkets, funded by an AIPAC affiliate - the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF).

Created in 1990, its web site says it "provides grant monies to educate opinion leaders about the US-Israel relationship, to expand public awareness about issues affecting the Middle East and to encourage participation in public affairs, especially by students on college campuses where anti-Israeli propaganda is rampant."

In fact, nowhere in the world is pro-Israeli propaganda more scandalously intense than in America, especially from distorted one-sided major media reports, leaving Palestinian issues entirely excluded.

Mondoweiss co-editor Philip Weiss said pro-Israeli "liberal foundations" fund organizations like AIPAC and its AIEF spinoff. For example, the Kimmel Center gave AIEF $3.5 million in recent years, according to its Form 990 filings.

Weiss said his research "shows that AIEF is getting tons of money from the same people who fund good liberal institutions," including universities, the arts, and issue-oriented groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and ACLU.

AIEF also gets generous contributions from right-wing organizations. "And that's the point," says Weiss. "When you" examine who's paying for one-fifth of the House to visit Israel, it's coming from rich and powerful pro-Israeli foundations, "know(ing) which side their bread is buttered on," wanting Congress in tow supporting them.

At a time when millions of Americans are in dire need, Weir noted how angry they might be to learn that Congress gives tiny Israel "over $8 million per day of American tax money" during the nation's greatest ever economic Depression when all available resources should stay at home helping them and ending it.

It's why America's media are silent, betraying their loyalists instead of serving them, especially on war and peace, corporatism, lawlessness, domestic repression, and all issues affecting Israel.

It's why everyone needs alternative sources to stay informed and join the fight for justice. It's the only way possible to get it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.



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