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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Impressions of Gaza

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.

My initial impression, after a visit of several days, was amazement, not only at the ability to go on with life, but also at the vibrancy and vitality among young people, particularly at the university, where I spent much of my time at an international conference. But there too one can detect signs that the pressure may become too hard to bear. Reports indicate that among young men there is simmering frustration, recognition that under the US-Israeli occupation the future holds nothing for them. There is only so much that caged animals can endure, and there may be an eruption, perhaps taking ugly forms — offering an opportunity for Israeli and western apologists to self-righteously condemn the people who are culturally backward, as Mitt Romney insightfully explained.

Gaza has the look of a typical third world society, with pockets of wealth surrounded by hideous poverty. It is not, however, “undeveloped.” Rather it is “de-developed,” and very systematically so, to borrow the terms of Sara Roy, the leading academic specialist on Gaza. The Gaza Strip could have become a prosperous Mediterranean region, with rich agriculture and a flourishing fishing industry, marvelous beaches and, as discovered a decade ago, good prospects for extensive natural gas supplies within its territorial waters.

The favorable prospects were aborted in 1948, when the Strip had to absorb a flood of Palestinian refugees who fled in terror or were forcefully expelled from what became Israel, in some cases expelled months after the formal cease-fire.

Sitting in a hotel near the shore, one can hear the machine gun fire of Israeli gunboats driving fishermen out of Gaza’s territorial waters and towards shore, so they are compelled to fish in waters that are heavily polluted because of US-Israeli refusal to allow reconstruction of the sewage and power systems that they destroyed.

 In the Khan Yunis hospital, the director, who is also chief of surgery, describes with anger and passion how even medicines are lacking for relief of suffering patients, as well as simple surgical equipment, leaving doctors helpless and patients in agony. Personal stories add vivid texture to the general disgust one feels at the obscenity of the harsh occupation. One example is the testimony of a young woman who despaired that her father, who would have been proud that she was the first woman in the refugee camp to gain an advanced degree, had “passed away after 6 months of fighting cancer aged 60 years. Israeli occupation denied him a permit to go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. I had to suspend my study, work and life and go to set next to his bed. We all sat including my brother the physician and my sister the pharmacist, all powerless and hopeless watching his suffering. He died during the inhumane blockade of Gaza in summer 2006 with very little access to health service. I think feeling powerless and hopeless is the most killing feeling that human can ever have. It kills the spirit and breaks the heart. You can fight occupation but you cannot fight your feeling of being powerless. You can't even dissolve that feeling.”

Noam Chomsky, November 4, 2012

Complete article: http://chomsky.info/articles/

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rally on Monday Mar 18, Cobo Hall

This Monday, March 18th, Governor Snyder will take the stage at COBO Hall to reassure his friends that his policies have turned around Michigan's economic situation.  At this event, he will paint a picture of Michigan that is very different than what we have all experienced in the last 3 years.

Our allies at We are Michigan are organizing a rally to tell the truth about our economy in Michigan, and talk about how harmful Governor Snyder's policies have been for our middle class in Michigan.

Please join us on Monday March 18th, at 8am at Cobo Hall, for a rally in support of the middle class and in opposition to Governor Snyder, Right to Work, Education Cuts, Taxes on the Middle Class, and giveaways to Governor Snyder's contributors.

If you are interested in attending this event, or getting more information, please RSVP at this link:

Please forward along this email and flyer to your activist networks, we'd love to have a big turnout at COBO on Monday.  With your help, we can take back Michigan in 2014!
 Kevin Hrit<kevin@michigandems.com>

Candidates Needed!

During my campaign to become Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, I talked about the need to retake Michigan and make it the great state that we all know and love.  I said it many times during the campaign, and I truly believe it, a better Michigan starts at the ballot box.

We will not be able to change the direction our state is going without allies in elected positions up and down the ballot.  We need to have strong Democratic voices at every level of government, from local school boards to the highest offices in Lansing and Washington, D.C.

I believe in the politics of addition, and that means adding hundreds of new Democratic elected officials at the federal, state, and local level. We need folks like you across the state to step up and run for office.

Please sign up if you are interested in running for office

Once you fill out the form, our political organizing team will reach out to you in the next month or two to talk about options for you and about candidate trainings in your area.
Join me and let’s get Michigan back on track.

Thank you,
Lon Johnson

Monday, March 4, 2013


We hate to use the word "conspiracy" when it comes to the US government. We think of our government as open, fair, free, and responsive to its citizens. However there are times where  the thought of "conspiracy" cannot be avoided.

JFK Assassination: Us "older" citizens remember it vividly. I was in my freshman year of college, shocked when I heard the words "the president has been shot". With my dorm mates, I watched television for days on end wondering exactly what had happened. How did a single shooter, at such a distance, get off so many shots and cause so much damage? How could Lee Harvey Oswald be killed in the middle of a police station, without telling his motivation, his preparations, whether anyone had assisted him? Did the Warren Commission search for and examine all of the evidence, or did they just ratify the consensus opinion of a single shooter with no assistance?

Who had the motivation to kill JFK? The mob certainly. No other attorney general before or since has gone after organized crime like Robert Kennedy did. That ended when JFK was killed. Also Jack Ruby who killed Oswald had close connections to the mob. People in the military or the CIA may have also had motivation. They may have been angry JFK refused to provide air cover for the "Bay of Pigs" in 1961. They may also have thought JFK showed weakness when he capitulated to the Russians in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. At any rate I still find it hard to believe that a single individual like Oswald could have carried out the assassination.

9/11: All of us remember 9/11. We were horrified not because a plane had hit the World Trade Center, but that after the second plane struck, we knew it was a planned attack. The images of the attack are seared in our memories, as well as the descriptions of the other two planes which were hijacked and destroyed. We accepted readily the description of the "Muslim" attack on our country. We were attacked because they "hate our freedoms" said Bush. The 9/11 Commission blamed the US intelligence community for allowing the attacks, although many in the intelligence community deny it.

Since 9/11, many have examined the events of that day and were left with questions like:

Why wasn't there an attempt by the US Air Force to shoot down the hijacked airliners?

Why are there no video recordings of the attack on the Pentagon? Certainly the surveillance around the Pentagon must be extensive.

Why did the Secret Service allow Bush to complete his elementary school visit, apparently unconcerned about his safety or that of the schoolchildren?

Why hasn't a single person been fired, penalized, or reprimanded for the gross incompetence we witnessed that day?

Why were none of the flight recorders found at the World Trade Center?

Where is all the plane wreckage? There was none at the crash site in Pennsylvania. There was none visible at the Pentagon.

Why did the World Trade Center buildings collapse like they did? The buildings collapsed like it was a controlled demolition.

Why wasn't there a full analysis of the wreckage of the World Trade Center buildings to determine why they collapsed?

 Why did the second building collapse before the first one, which had been burning for 20 minutes longer.

Why did World Trade Center Building 7 collapse even though it was not hit by an airplane?

If there was a conspiracy, who did it? First only the government or a portion of the government could do this, it was too big for anybody else. And if they did it, what was the motivation? Look at what has happened since 9/11: Extensive surveillance of US citizens (The Patriot Act, FISA, NSA wiretapping and spying), Greater powers for the government to interrogate, detain, and kill US and other citizens (renditions, torture, Guantanamo, military tribunals, NDAA, drone strikes), the US in a constant state of war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran). There was an attempt of a fascist coup against FDR in the 30's in retaliation against the New Deal, but I don't think it even compares to this.

For more on 9/11 see: http://www.911myths.com and http://www.911research.com

Sheldon Wolberg