Monday, July 28, 2014

Poverty, conflict man-made constructs

Extreme Poverty
Mexico
Central America
U.S. destruction, destabilization, displacement of peoples of the Americas
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

Central American Presidents this week meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington: Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala; Juan Orlando Hernandez, Honduras; Salvador Sanchez Ceren, El Salvador

Press TV reporting under July 21, 2014 headline -- Denying child refugees ignores shared history

Under the guise of the Cold War, successive U.S. administrations provided more than $1 billion of aid to these repressive governments. The United Nations estimates that 75,000 people were killed in El Salvador and more than 200,000 in Guatemala, as the militaries conducted ‘dirty wars’ against their own people. Since the aftermath of the civil wars, the United States has imposed ‘free trade’ policies on Central America. This has flooded these much smaller economies with U.S. imports, which have displaced farmers and workers, while enriching foreign corporations and local elites. With the implementation of the Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement in 2006, economic distress has accelerated. As a result, hundreds of thousands of small farming families and urban poor have been pushed to migrate north to find work.

A
 couple of weeks ago as a created crisis became headline-acute Democracy Now spoke with Professor Dana Frank and focused particularly on one of the Central American countries and its questionable leadership and collusion with U.S. leaders.

President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández who is meeting with the U.S. president sailed into office earlier this year on the criminal overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya. Amy Goodman recalled Zelaya’s words in her 2011 interview with him. In translation, Zelaya said:

Poverty in
Honduras
The U.S. State Department has always denied, and they continue to deny, any ties with the coup d’état.

Manuel Zelaya
Honduras

overthrown
Nevertheless, all of the proof incriminates the U.S. government. And all of the actions that were taken by the de facto regime, or the golpista (coup) regime, which are those who carried out the coup, and it is to make favor of the industrial policies and the military policies and the financial policies of the United States in Honduras.

Goodman asked Dana Frank about the responsibility of the United States, particularly under the leadership of foreign secretary Hillary Clinton and chief executive Barack Obama. Juan Orlando Hernández, the new president, who came into power in January 2014, Frank said:

Juan Orlando Hernandez
Honduras

coup 
government
…was a major backer of the criminal coup when he was president and was head of a key committee in the Honduran Congress.

A year and a half ago, as president of the Honduran Congress, [he] illegally overthrew part of the Supreme Court

Americans in poverty
…He illegally was part of naming a new attorney general loyal to him last summer, named to an illegal five-year term.

He built his campaign not around cleaning up the police, but a new military police that is expanding the militarization of Honduran society; that military police itself is committing serious human rights abuses, including, recently, in May, beating up and jailing the most prominent advocate for children in Honduras.
Slums
Central America

The U.S. White House and Foreign Office legitimated “the coup government” as an equal partner [listen to the echoes of U.S. foreign relations patterns in Libya, Egypt and other African countries, in the Middle East’s Syria and Palestine, in Eastern Europe’s Ukraine] to the ousted presidency—“in fact, as a superior partner,” Frank said.

The Obama government “treated Zelaya like a bad child for trying to return to his own country” and announced, even before the votes were counted, “that they would recognize the outcome of the illegitimate November elections.”

C
 onsequences of criminally cruel policies
More crime, unrest, discontent, poverty, migration 

Poverty in South America
“When we talk about the fleeing gangs and violence,” Dana Frank said, “it is also this tremendous poverty.”

Poverty “doesn’t just happen.” Poverty “is a direct result of policies of both the Honduran government and the U.S. government, including privatizations, mass layoffs of government workers; and, in Honduras, a new law now permanent that breaks up full-time jobs and makes them part-time and ineligible for unionization, a living wage, and the national health services.”

Franks says “a lot of these economic policies are driven by U.S.-funded lending organizations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, which itself is funding the corrupt Honduran police. The Central American Free Trade Agreement is the other piece of this.

Otto Perez Molina
Guatemala
“Like NAFTA did for the U.S. and Mexico,” the CAFTA “opens the door to this open competition” between small producers in agriculture and small manufacturers; and the result is that “jobs are disappearing.”
Half of America in poverty

This is “not like it, tragically, just happened-- nor is it “like people are [saying] ‘Let’s go have the American dream’” – the situation “is a direct result of very conscious policies by the U.S. and Honduran governments.”

P
  overty is driving the people to flee their homelands.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren
El Salvador
“There are almost no jobs for young people,” Frank says. “We are talking about starving to death—that’s the alternative—or being driven into gangs with tremendous sexual violence.”

The needlessly dire situation in Honduras, she despairs in understatement, “is very, very tragic.”

Press TV’s report is absolutely right. We cannot detach North America’s patterns in relations, its history with Central America from conditions in the Americas and arrivals of Central American refugees in the United States of America.

A
century and a half later the words still ring true: 

“We cannot escape history,” Lincoln said.  
“We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.”




Sources and notes

 “U.S. Turns Back on Child Migrants After Its Policies in Guatemala, Honduras Sowed Seeds of Crisis,” July 17, 2014,
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/17/us_turns_back_on_child_migrants

Dr. Dana Frank is a writer and researcher on Central American issues and politics, Professor of History at the University of California-Santa Cruz, and author of Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America

“Denying child refugees ignores shared history” Press TV reporting on July 21, 2014,
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/21/372150/us-should-shelter-immigrant-children/

We can’t detach this history from the arrival of Central American refugees to the United States. We need to provide refuge for the children arriving from Central America. Sending them back to the countries they are fleeing is contrary to the generous ethos of this country. It also ignores the current and long-term causes of this migration, and the misbegotten U.S. policies that have helped fuel it. In recent years, the drug war has flared out of control in Central America. While the majority of drug consumption occurs in the United States, the bulk of the violence takes place in Central America.

Honduran politician and businessman, current President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado (often written as JOH, b. October 28, 1968, Gracias, Lempira) is a member of the National Party of Honduras and was President of the National Congress of Honduras between January 2010 and June 2013 but left his responsibilities in the Congress to campaign for the country’s presidency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Orlando_Hern%C3%A1ndez

Guatemalan politician, retired military officer, current President of Guatemala (January 14, 2012- ), Otto Fernando Pérez Molina (b. December 1, 1950), before entering politics was Director of Military Intelligence, Presidential Chief of Staff under President Ramiro de Leon Carpio, and chief representative of the military for the Guatemalan Peace Accords. During his presidency, he has called for the legalization of drugs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Perez_Molina

Salvadoran politician and current President of El Salvador (2014- ), Salvador Sánchez Cerén (b. June 18, 1944) was the country’s vice president (2009-2014). In his bid for the presidency, he ran as candidate of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_S%C3%A1nchez_Cer%C3%A9n

Abraham Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress --  Concluding Remarks, Washington, D.C., December 1, 1862 [excerpt], http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/congress.htm

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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Duty to expose wastrels, fraudsters, abusers

Whistle blowing legitimated, legislated, elevated 1778-2014
Editing by Carolyn Bennett 
…Resolved, That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge [Continental Congress in the eighteenth century.]  
Let there be no mistake, I was downgraded in performance and removed because I did my job too well…My removal serves to clarify that the power structure will no longer tolerate efforts to curb contract abuse. 
Regardless, I still believe that Integrity in Government is not an option, but an obligation -- Bunnatine ‘Bunny’ Greenhouse, Army Corps of Engineers Chief Procurement Officer [U.S. Federal government twentieth-twenty-first centuries] 
A
pproaching “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” declared by the U.S. Senate last year as the 30th day of July, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) -- a non-profit, non-partisan group “dedicated to protecting employees’ lawful disclosure of waste, fraud, and abuse --remembers an earlier mandate enacted by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778.
“In honor of ‘National Whistleblower Appreciation Day,’” Jane Wilmoth writes, “we call upon the President of the United States and all public institutions in the United States… to widely publish the words enacted” in 1778 and …
 …to publicly celebrate the courage and sacrifices whistleblowers have made to American democracy.
Attorney Mary Jane Wilmoth is Program Director and Co-treasurer with the National Whistleblowers Center. Her work extends to the 1990s when she began at the center as its first Public Interest Law Fellow. Wilmoth has been an instrumental figure in defending whistleblower rights in complex matters before major federal agencies such as Environmental Protection and Labor.

The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) sponsors advocacy, education, and assistance projects in a variety of program areas. Its public services include an online resource center on whistleblower rights, a speaker’s bureau of national experts and former whistleblowers, and a national attorney referral service operated by the NWC’s sister group, the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (NWLDEF).

American Whistleblower Tour
Rutgers University-Newark 2012
"Tale of Two Female Whistleblowers":
Susan Wood
Cathy Harris, U.S. Customs
Susan Wood, FDA

“In 2005, after five years at her position at the FDA as Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health, Dr. Susan Wood realized that politics was playing a heavy role in what should have been a public health decision. Once it became clear to her that the controversial Plan-B pill (a ‘morning after’ contraceptive) was being wrongly delayed for approval due to political reasons, she resigned her position on the principle that the FDA should exclusively exist to serve public health."  

Dr. Wood then went on a U.S. speaking tour, telling her story and voicing her concerns about the state of U.S. public health policy.
Cathy Harris


Former Senior Inspector for the U.S. Customs Service (USCS) at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (the busiest in the world) Cathy Harris disclosed to the media the USCS practice of discriminatory racial profiling. She verified her suspicions that women of African descent were wrongfully targeted for detention and strip searches as possible drug couriers. 

Harris’s “revelations resulted in a damning GAO study of USCS profiling practices” followed by “federal legislation to reform these unconstitutional practices.”


Americans Who Tell the Truth has highlighted
Whistleblower Bunnatine ‘Bunny’ Greenhouse

In 1998,  Bunnatine ‘Bunny’ Greenhouse obtained a promotion to the Senior Executive Service of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the Corps' top level civilian rank. 
In the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2001, a bid from the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) came across Greenhouse’s desk. The contract was being pushed as an “emergency” no-bid, no-competition contract that would last two to five years. Bunny noted that there was no compelling emergency that could reasonably last for five years, and that extending a contract for more than one year was intended to block competition. She sent the bid back with a series of notes, while stating that the contract be approved for no more than one year of ‘emergency’ status.

Behind her back, the Corps gave KBR a waiver, essentially going around Greenhouse to award the contract. Greenhouse complained about the inappropriate contract within the Corps, and then took it to Congress. She insisted that only a level playing field would enable small businesses, as well as large contractors, to bid competitively for contracts. When the Corps found out Greenhouse intended to speak to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee about the allegations in 2005, she was informed that it would not be ‘in her best interests.’ 
Bunnatine ‘Bunny’ Greenhouse
“Greenshouse stated that she was simply doing her job by refusing to bend the rules for well-connected companies, which is why she refused to ratify what she deemed an ‘irregular procurement.’ (A later investigation and audit by the Pentagon would find that KBR had possibly billed the government for more than $60 billion in excess fuel charges in Iraq.)…
  
“After the allegations of fraud went public, other pieces of the story began to come to light. Greenhouse had encountered other forms of hostility in her career.…In July 2011, the Washington U.S. District Court awarded Greenhouse $970,000 in lost wages and damages. In statements before Congress and to the press, Greenhouse presented a consistent and clear message about her actions as a government whistleblower.”

Refusing to accept accolades, she “reminded the public that she was simply doing her job. Bunnatine ‘Bunny’ Greenhouse “describes her actions as patriotic” and calls for a federal whistleblower protection act so that civilians are freed to “uphold the public trust.”


Sources and notes

Library of Congress Journals of The Continental Congress 1774-1789; Edited from Original Records in the Library of Congress by Worthington Chauncey Ford, Chief in the Division of Manuscripts, Volume Xl, 1778, Report in the Papers of The Continental Congress, No. 136, II, folio 427.

American Whistleblower Tour, http://myemail.constantcontact.com/American-Whistleblower-Tour.html?soid=1104247795966&aid=GTTIRe68IKQ
Americans who tell the truth, http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/bunny-greenhouse

“Special Offer In Honor of National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” by Mary Jane Wilmoth, July 23, 2014, http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2014/07/articles/news/events/special-offer-in-honor-of-national-whistleblower-appreciation-day/

National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) and National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (NWLDEF) links:
http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63&Itemid=75

http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=42

http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1199&Itemid=124

The Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right & Protecting Yourself - 3ED, http://nwc-store.auctivacommerce.com/The-Whistleblowers-Handbook-A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Doing-Whats-Right-Protecting-Yourself-3ED-P1807746.aspx

http://nwc-store.auctivacommerce.com/Default.aspx


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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Credible Voices declare Palestine Besieged Not Forever

“Only extreme arrogance” believes a beleaguered people will forever tolerate 
intolerable cruelty
Editing by Carolyn Bennett
  
What we are doing in the Middle East and against the peoples of these great lands falls far short of America’s promise as a great nation. Outstanding political activist Hanan Ashrawi says what many others think. “So far, the United States has not lived up to any expectations. …   

As they (the United States) should be on the side of genuine peace and human rights, everything we have seen from the United States has been fully supportive to Israel and the Israeli violence and occupation against Palestinians.

 Ismail Haniyeh

Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
“The demands of our people are clear,” Ismail
Haniyeh says. “The aggression must be stopped, and a guarantee should be given [that] it would not be repeated.

“This unjust blockade that our Palestinian people are living in… the blockade must be lifted.”

Ismail Haniyeh was born in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ismail Haniyeh’s parents became refugees after fleeing their homes, which were located close to what is now Ashkelon, Israel.  He attended United Nations-run schools and in 1987, graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza with a degree in Arabic literature.

Redress

I
   n an interview with U.S. interviewers on Sunday July 20, 2014, Hanan Ashrawi said that she cannot take the “language,” “the propaganda,” “the mantra that Israel has a right to defend itself.

“Against whom,” she asks: “Against innocent civilians? More than 80 children torn to bits-- Is this self-defense?” These, she said, “are war crimes being committed before the world, before the eyes of the whole world and I just cannot understand how people sit back and say [it is] self-defense.”

Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian legislator, activist, scholar, Member of the PLO Executive Committee
Palestinians to UN
International Criminal Court in The Hague
International Court for Justice at UN

International Criminal Court
Two years ago Hanan Ashrawi spoke of Israeli crimes, the prosecution of these crimes, justice for Palestinians and their self-determination.

“If Israel is not guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity, then it has no reason to worry and to fear the International Criminal Court and International Court for Justice. 

“…The attack on Gaza indicates that finally we do need to deal with the real causes. We need a real solution. We don’t need ceasefires and we don’t need bandage treatments. It is time that the Palestinians gain their freedom and their right to self-determination.”

Going to the United Nations, “we do not believe can in any way be misconstrued as being unilateral; it is not. It is a commitment to international law and to responsibility as an equal player on the international arena and if there are to be negotiations then this would form the basis of negotiations because international law should be the basis of negotiations -- something Israel has rejected and Netanyahu has refused to acknowledge. That means that Israel will be a neighbor negotiating with a state and occupying another state, rather than pretending that our territory is up for grasp or is  only disputed.”

“We don’t have unrealistic expectations, we know the occupation will not disappear, we know that there might be certain consequences because Israel or the U.S. feels that they have to punish us.… Lately Canada feels like it has to outdo Israel in terms of its positions; they are also threatening to cut aid and relations.… [However]

As we are moving ahead, Israel and the U.S. and a handful of countries will find themselves on the wrong side of morality, justice, and on the wrong side of the law ….

“Hopefully, [the United States] will grasp the opportunity quickly to show that they can rectify their position and undo a serious mistake that has undermined the American standing and interest throughout the region, and that they can demonstrate that they really are for those principles that they say they support in the ‘Arab spring’ and yet they deny us as Palestinians those principles and rights.”

Hon. Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi is author of Anthology of Palestinian Literature (ed); The Modern Palestinian Short Story: An Introduction to Practical Criticism; Contemporary Palestinian Literature under Occupation; Contemporary Palestinian Poetry and Fiction; Literary Translation: Theory and Practice; This Side of Peace: A Personal Account.

Her activism extends to the early 1970s. Ashrawi serves on advisory boards of the World Bank Middle East and North Africa (MENA), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the International Human Rights Council and others. She received academic (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) credentials at the American University of Beirut and the University of Virginia (USA).

Beleaguered Forever?

T

oday, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman asked what constitutes the siege of Gaza. “When you talk about the siege,” she said, “it is not something that’s covered very much in the United States.  Can you just elaborate more fully what you mean when Palestinians say ‘lift the siege.’?” Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who is an Egyptian-born journalist and Democracy Now correspondent answered.

Palestinians can’t get in or out of Gaza.
They are prevented by Israel.
They are prevented by Egypt-- which largely executes U.S. and Israeli policy.

Foods, basic goods, the right to import and export, all of these things are [prohibited]

This has devastated Gaza’s economy. It has devastated people’s lives. People feel trapped. They often speak of how they live in the biggest open-air prison in the world.

Even access to the sea, fishermen cannot go out more than a couple of kilometers (2 kilometers are equivalent to 1.2 miles) to go fish, where Israeli warships await them.

This war exacerbates all those effects, he said.
You feel [and] hear drones in the air. You hear the booms of the ships.

Even if you wanted to leave, you couldn’t. Even if journalists wanted to leave today, they couldn’t. Erez crossing was closed, the border with Israel, and the Egyptian border is closed, as well. There are no shelters.

Walled out and walled in

Wikipedia notes: “Entry into the Gaza Strip by land is through five crossing points: the northern Erez Crossing into Israel, the southern Rafah Crossing into Egypt, and the eastern Karni Crossing used only for cargo. Other cargo crossing points are the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the border with Egypt and the Sufa Crossing farther north.”  [To attempt passage for goods and services, tunnels have been built.]

“The Israel−Gaza barrier is a border barrier first constructed by Israel in 1994 between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The barrier was extended in 2005 to cover the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt (the Egypt-Gaza barrier). The fence-- made up of wire fencing with posts, sensors and buffer zones on lands bordering Israel, and concrete and steel walls on lands bordering Egypt-- runs along the entire land border of the Gaza Strip.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Gaza_Strip_barrier]

Sharif Abdel Kouddous continues

There is no air defense system, no sirens [to alert the people]. There is nowhere to run. You don’t know where is safe.

People are dying inside their homes and inside hospitals—not from their wounds, but from being bombed and wounded again by the Israeli military.

Sharif Abdel Kouddous is an Egyptian-American journalist based in Cairo, a correspondent for Democracy Now and a fellow with the Nation Institute (USA). Before his current position, according to a Wikipedia article, “Kouddous was an investment banker in the leveraged buyout division of Bank of America and volunteered with Democracy Now then became a full-time DN producer and occasional correspondent and co-host. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharif_Abdel_Kouddous]


Cruelty not forever endured

Also in interview today on Democracy Now was Israel-born Gideon Levy who marveled at what the Israeli siege of Gaza did or did not accomplish. “Any siege can be broken for certain purposes,” he said, “but the siege breaks the people of Gaza and pushes them again and again to the corner --to the corner of violence and to the corner of desperation.”

“Israel has to react and has to defend itself, but,” Levy, directing a series of questions to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asks “Where did it start?

[Did] those rockets fall on our heads just by chance?  
[Is] there no context to this?
[Was there not] the breaking of the political negotiations by the Israelis refusing to release some few veteran prisoners?

[Was there] not a war declared on Hamas in the West Bank after the kidnap and the murder of three Israeli youngsters, arresting 500 Hamas activists who were not involved in this kidnap?
Gideon Levy

Did Israel not stop the salaries—stop the transfer of the salaries to 40,000 Hamas workers, employees in Gaza?

What did Israel think?

Wasn’t Israel against the [Fatah-Hamas] unity government?

Did Israel think that all this will pass like nothing and Hamas will accept everything?

 “I have news,” Levy concludes, “Those who believe that nothing will happen were either extremely arrogant or blind or both.”

Gideon Levy was born in Tel Aviv, the son of Heinz Loewy, who had been born Czechoslovakia and had fled the Nazis in 1939. In 1974, Levy was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces and served as a reporter for Israel Army Radio. He later was an aide to then Israeli Labor Party leader, Shimon Peres. IN the early 1980s, he began his work as a journalist with the Israeli daily Haaretz and he is quoted saying it is here that his views on Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians began changing. Today Gideon Levy is credited with being an Israeli journalist who writes opinion pieces and a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz that often focus on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Levy]. Today Levy told Amy Goodman that he has to have security around him because his life is often threatened because of his writings.



Sources and notes

Ismail Haniyeh translation excerpted at Democracy Now July 22, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/22/what_does_hamas_really_want_israeli

“Ashrawi: Israel Commits War Crimes in Gaza: RAMALLAH, July 21, 2014 (WAFA) - PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi described during a TV interview the Israeli killing of Palestinians in Gaza as ‘war crimes’ and a ‘deliberate massacre.’” http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=25948


“Ashrawi: Voting for Palestine, is Voting for Justice and Peace” by: Tala Al-Rimawi,
 http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=21195

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi speaking Ramallah, November 28, 2012 (WAFA)

“‘A Place of Indescribable Loss’: As Ceasefire Talks Begin, Israel Bombs Hospital, Mosques and Homes,” July 22, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/22/a_place_of_indescribable_loss_as


“What Does Hamas Really Want? Israeli Journalist Gideon Levy on Ending the Crippling Blockade of Gaza,” July 22, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/22/what_does_hamas_really_want_israeli

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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Way Forward Peace through Ceasefire, Dialogue--Mairead Corrigan Maguire

Peace People Call for Fair Response to Palestinians
Maired Corrigan Maguire's words
Excerpt, editing for TIN by 
Carolyn Bennett

T

he Palestinian people have issued a call (we must answer)  for the support of the world’s people, asking us to stand with them.


Palestinians point out that the United Nations Security Council (permanent members U.S. UK, China, Russia, France) paralyzed by the United States will not send an observer mission so they have appealed for peace observers to go to Palestine to tell the world what is really happening to their people under Israeli military occupation. 
·     Western Leaders and mainstream media have come up with disingenuous statements repeating Israeli disinformation and blaming the Palestinian victims. 
·     Biased against Palestinians, these leaders and media outlets continue to tell the Israeli narrative. 
·     If Palestinians and Israelis, indeed the Middle East region are to be saved and to move toward peace, it is time that Israeli propaganda be shown for what it is – war propaganda. 
·    This is not an Israeli fight to stop Hamas-- who are not the aggressors. 

·      Israel has answered every occasion for dialogue with military attacks on Palestinian civilians. 
·     Israel has chosen land [grabs] and continues to annex Palestinian land, demolishing Palestinian homes. 
·      The war Israel is waging on Gaza is not about self-defense. 
·      The war Israel is waging is not about destroying Hamas; it is a war about complete control over a territory and a people and it is being conducted with complete disregard for human life. 
·      It is a war aimed at destroying the resilience of the Palestinian people whilst, all the time, illegally confiscating their land. 

P
Maired Corrigan Maguire
eace is possible.

An immediate ceasefire together with dialogue is the only way forward.

We owe it to our
Palestinian and Israeli brothers and Sisters who are working for peace and a nonviolent solution to answer their call …. Let us together as civil community around the world continue and increase our efforts to demand mainstream media talk about the real issues and reach out to all people of conscience in Europe and in the United States and elsewhere to support the Palestinians in their struggle for human rights and International law.
  

Sources and notes

“MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE CALLS UPON BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION AND mainstream western media to end bias against Palestinians and [end] their [media’s] lack of impartiality against Palestinians and in their reporting of Middle East conflicts.


“She called on the BBC, and world media to give factual, fair and balanced reporting in order that people can be informed and not continue to be subjected to Israeli propaganda. Maguire also called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue ‘as the only way forward.’” Mairead Corrigan Maguire is in Peace People press release July 14, 2014, http://www.peacepeople.com/?p=456


U
pdate on Israel's massacre in Gaza

RT: “Israeli tank strikes on Gaza hospital kill 4, scores injured – medics,” July 21, 2014, RT, http://rt.com/news/174408-israel-hospital-strike-gaza/

The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) death toll from the hostilities in Gaza has risen to 25, with seven Israeli soldiers killed in the last 24 hours (Haaretz). Since the operation began 14 days ago, the death toll in Gaza has reached 508 with 3,130 wounded.

Press TV: “Israeli forces killing Gazans with lethal shells: Rights group,” July 21, 2014, http://www.presstv.com/section/3510202.html

Medics say some Palestinians in the besieged enclave have been wounded by a new type of weapon that even doctors with previous experience in war zones do not recognize. Israel had also used depleted-uranium and white phosphorus shells in the besieged region during their previous assaults. This is while Israeli tanks and warplanes keep pounding the besieged enclave. At least 78 Palestinians were killed on Monday alone. 
This brings to 549 the total death toll from 14 days of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Over 3,000 Palestinians have also been injured in the onslaught. The majority of victims have been civilians--including women, children, and the elderly. 
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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Long way from 1776 promise─ Kishore

Equality and the Fourth of July
Editing, excerpt, brief commentary for TIN by Carolyn Bennett

This is why the greatness of papers and people of the past must be perceived as promise, potential, seed awaiting our fulfillment on behalf of all people──not merely for the Jeffersons and Madisons, or even the Lincolns and Douglasses. Joseph Kishore writes poignantly, powerfully, truthfully on the wish and reality of America this July 4th.

“The Declaration of Independence marked a major turning point in history, not only for the people of what would become the United States of America, but for the entire world. In announcing their irrevocable break from the British monarchy, the founders sought to realize in practice the great progressive conceptions of the Enlightenment.” But “The American Revolution,” he says, “was a bourgeois democratic revolution. Neither it nor those who led it could transcend the social conditions of the day. As such, the historical event could not live up to the ideals that its greatest proponents laid out. Nevertheless, the American Revolution—and, in particular, the Declaration of Independence—resonated in every subsequent progressive episode in American history. Indeed, it was to ‘the proposition that all men are created equal’ that [America’s sixteenth president] Abraham Lincoln [1861-1865] would refer four score and seven years later in delivering his famous address on the battlefield at Gettysburg in the midst of the Civil War to abolish the barbaric institution of slavery—the Second American Revolution.”

Inequality faces Do-nothingism

Existing today is recklessness, a rabid madness assailing the social, political and cultural well-being of America (and not only America) as leaders and a partnering cabal makes a mockery of principles seeded in the great declaration of 1776.

Amid disastrous conditions, Joseph Kishore continues, “There are vague, insubstantial and insincere calls for ‘something’ to be done; some among the wealthy speak nervously of ‘pitchforks’ on the horizon.” But the something rising from any quarter amounts to nothing. Faced with a massive growth of social inequality, official discussions around this phenomenon are virtually silent on “the fundamental cause of inequality, capitalism.”

Within the framework of the existing political and economic system in the United States, Kishore says nothing can nor will be done “to reverse the ever-more extreme concentration of wealth.”

Patrician/Fraudster-class rules

“…The aristocratic principle has been reborn,” Kishore says; and “if the current rulers could, they would reestablish titles and ranks of nobility, the official proclamations of privilege—and no doubt there are some who are already conspiring to do so.” 

A U.S. president becomes a multi-millionaire solely on the basis of his political career. The Congress of the United States is populated by scores of multi-millionaires. On the nine-judge U.S. Supreme Court sits eight multi-millionaires. Media, paid millions annually for their faithful service, peddles propaganda that serves the interests of the state and the corporate-financial elite; and the “American aristocracy grows rich largely through financial fraud.”

No aspect of American policy escapes the aristocratic principle. “Globally, it finds expression in unrelenting militarism, a criminal foreign policy based on plunder and conquest. With increasingly reckless abandon, the American ruling class has launched a series of wars, leaving disaster and chaos in its wake. More than ten years after the invasion of Iraq laid waste to one of the most advanced societies in the Middle East, U.S. troops, drones and military aircraft are once again heading back—even as [Washington] stokes war with Russia over Ukraine and China over energy-rich regions in the South Pacific.”

Answering the begging question what to do, Kishore concludes, “The fight for social equality today requires the conscious struggle to put an end to capitalism and establish a socialist system based on public ownership.” He says “it is the international working class that [must be] the true inheritor of the egalitarian ideals and revolutionary traditions” called to mind on Independence Day USA. 

Promise awaits fulfillment

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all …  are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among [us], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.…”


Sources

“Equality and the Fourth of July,” Joseph Kishore at World Socialist Web Site, July 4, 2014, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/07/04/pers-j04.html

Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, in Congress, July 4, 1776


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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

“Schizophrenic Individualism”: Lonely Connection

Children near open sewer
 large slum
Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya 
In search of “Solidarity,” credible kindness
Excerpting, minor editing by Carolyn Bennett

In her article in “Chronicle of a Mess Foretold,” author and journalist Silvia Swinden writes,  “The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aka U.S.-EU ‘Free’ Trade Agreement) continue hurtling toward their coveted objective:

…to create the largest “free” trade zone ever seen in the world, in reality the largest U.S. and Multinational Corporations area of total control.

Nation states will be powerless to defend themselves (see Argentina v Vulture funds dress rehearsal in the news this week).

"Shock and Awe"
U.S. in Iraq
“China and Russia [are] negotiating the formation of a bloc to slow down this new advance of predatory capitalism. They are even talking about dropping the dollar as the international exchange currency for oil and for the accumulation of reserves.

“We know how that went when Saddam Hussein (sold Iraq’s oil in Euros) and [Muammar al-] Qaddafi (wanted to establish the Gold Dinar to sell Libya’s oil) went that way.

Anti-U.S. demonstration
in Libya
“So it is not surprising that Russia and China want to look big and powerful (in this case there are WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and they will not be hidden, rather likely they will be shown prominently) if the U.S. begins to make noises about ‘protecting human rights’ or ‘bringing democracy’ to their citizens.

“This advance of the neoliberal agenda was not lost to Silo [Argentine writer, philosopher and founder of the Humanist Movement] who in 1991 wrote his ‘First Letter to my Friends’ …. It is interesting to review it," she says, "not only because of its insights about the history of economic power and violence but also because it contains a fresh point of view about the new sensitivity that is developing and the way, a nonviolent way, it can be the basis for an alternative way … ── through reconstruction of the social fabric carried out by simultaneous personal and social change.”
 
This is an excerpt from Swinden’s posting of Silo’s 1991 First Letter to my Friends

“History demonstrates that peoples have advanced when they have demanded their rights from the established powers, and that social progress has clearly not been the result of some automatic trickle down’ of the wealth accumulated by one sector of society.… 

 “The regionalization of markets, like the demands for local and ethnic autonomy, underscores the disintegration of the nation state.… Since economic processes reflect human intentions and interests, in light of events, we see nothing to support the belief that those with control over the well-being of humanity are concerned with overcoming the difficulties of others less privileged than themselves.…”

Protests al-Assy Square
 Hama, Syria 2011

C
hange, Relationships among People

Protests Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt 2011


“Our companions at work, school, in sports—even old friends—have all taken on the character of competitors.… 
Anti-war 
Never before has the world been so closely interconnected, yet each day individuals experience a more anguishing lack of communication. 
Never before have urban centers been more populous, yet people speak of their ‘loneliness.’ 
 Never before have people needed human warmth so much as now, but any approach to another in a spirit of kindness and help elicits only suspicion.
Protests
Algiers, Algeria, 2011
 “This is the predicament to which our hapless people [have] been abandoned, each isolated individual being led to believe in the greatest unhappiness that he or she has something important to lose—an ethereal ‘something’ that is coveted by all the rest of humanity!”


H
uman Change

“In sharp contrast to other times, so full of empty phrases meant only to garner external recognition ──today people are beginning to find value in humble and deeply felt work, work done not to enhance one’s self-image, but rather to change oneself and bring about change in one’s immediate environment of family, work, and friendship.

“Those who truly care for people do not disdain this work done without fanfare, this work that proves so incomprehensible to those opportunists who were formed in an earlier landscape of leaders and masses—a landscape in which they learned well how to use others to catapult themselves to society’s heights.

Anti-war 
“When a person comes to the realization that schizophrenic individualism is a dead end,

…when they openly communicate what they are thinking and what they are doing to everyone they know without the ridiculous fear of not being understood,

…when they approach others not as some anonymous mass but with a real interest in each person,

Protests Jordan
…when they encourage teamwork in both the interchange of ideas and the realization of common projects,

…when they clearly demonstrate the need to spread this task of rebuilding the social fabric that others have destroyed,

Iran 1979
…when they feel that even the most ‘unimportant’ person is of greater human quality than some heartless individual whom circumstance has elevated to what is, for now, the pinnacle of success—

“When all this happens, it is because within this person

A.N.S.W.E.R. USA
destiny has once again begun to speak, the destiny that has moved entire peoples along their best evolutionary path, 

the destiny that has been so many times distorted and so many times forgotten, but is always reencountered in the twists and turns of history.

Arab Spring

Sources and notes

“Chronicle of a mess foretold: TTIP and TPP seen from Silo’s 1991 letter,” posted by Silvia Swinden, June 21, 2014, in Humanism and Spirituality, International, International issues, Nonviolence, http://www.pressenza.com/2014/06/chronicle-mess-foretold-ttip-tpp-seen-silos-1991-letter/

Dr. Silvia Swinden is Pressenza London Bureau Chief, retired Forensic Psychiatrist and Coordinator of the World Centre for Humanist Studies in the United Kingdom. She is also author of From Monkey Sapiens to Homo Intentional: The Phenomenology of the Nonviolent Revolution (Adonis & Abbey, London 2006), http://www.dw.de/swinden-dr-silvia/a-17629952

Silo

Argentine writer, philosopher and founder of the Humanist Movement, Silo (pseudonym of Mario Luis Rodríguez Cobos) gave speeches and wrote books, short stories, articles and studies related to politics, society, psychology, spirituality and other topics. His years January 6, 1938 – September 16, 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Rodr%C3%ADguez_Cobos

Images:

Children near open sewer in Kibera, a large Nairobi, Kenya, slum
Protests (center streaked) in al-Assy Square, Hama (Hamah), central Syria 2011
Protests with flag streamer Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt

Protests (between buildings) Algiers, Algeria

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Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

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