• Category Archives Violence
  • NAACP: A Man Was Lynched Yesterday, And The Day Before That, Too

    a man was lynched yesterday
    “A man was lynched yesterday.” (Photo: NAACP)

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
    only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Darkness.

    Light.

    Justice.

    Peace.

    Love.

    Five officers killed in Dallas.

    Five.

    One sniper. Acting alone. While many, many #BlackLivesMatter activists marched peacefully.

    Before that, however, the many lives lost in the African American community at the hands of law enforcement, which gave rise, finally, to #BlackLivesMatter.

    We do not condone violence against African Americans.

    We do not condone violence against police.

    The overwhelming majority of African Americans want peace.

    The overwhelming majority of police want peace.

    The overwhelming majority of people want peace.

    What sense can we make of the State of the Union? What is happening to us? Is this 1968 again?

    Activists stormed the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and were met with brutality by police. Why did they not storm the GOP convention that year?

    Because they knew the GOP would not listen anyhow.

    A mere 12 years later, Ronald Reagan bowed down to “states rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where, in 1964, civil rights workers had been murdered.

    Ronald Reagan was calculating, the “great communicator,” remember?

    He knew what he was doing. He knew to whom he was speaking. The Southern Strategy was alive and strong with this one.

    The GOP has been stoking the fires of the Southern Strategy for decades. And the chickens have come home to roost. Talk about buyer’s remorse. Watch, as GOP leaders try, so desperately try, to distance themselves from Donald Trump. But many of these same leaders vowed, when President Barack Obama was elected, that they would not work with him at all.

    And they spent the better part of eight years fighting each and every thing President Obama proposed, said, didn’t say.

    Whatever.

    From the moment that then-Senator Barack Obama declared his intention to run for POTUS, the number of hate groups in the United States began to grow. In 2011, for the first time ever, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that the number of hate groups in this country topped 1,000.

    Their number continues to grow.

    And, now, with membership in the KKK growing, America’s oldest, most infamous hate group, we watch in horror.

    For your consideration, from the NAACP:

    Activists created the NAACP more than a century ago to fight racialized violence.

    Then, we called it “lynching.” Today, we call it “police brutality,” but the effect is still the same — our lives are in danger. Endangered by some of the very people who are called to protect and serve us. We are all tense, angry, devastated, and grieving.

    We grieve for Alton Sterling. We grieve for Philando Castile. And we grieve with the rest of the country over the senseless loss of lives in Dallas, too — because the execution of police officers does not end the execution of black Americans, and it will not put us on the path to change.

    What will put us on the path to justice is the passage of the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (LETIA) and the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA). Radical reform of policing practices, policies, and laws at all levels must be made — immediately — because the current system is taking too many lives.

    We can take small solace in the fact that the outrage over this 21st century form of lynching is not isolated to the black community. Americans of all races and ethnicities are fighting to put an end to the epidemic of violence — gun violence in particular — in this country. Now is the time to come together as one in grief, in protest, and in pursuit of real, measurable change.

    As an organization, we are doing everything we can to ensure justice is served, but we can’t do it alone. Stand in solidarity with your fellow activists, hand in hand with your community. Contact your elected officials to demand life-saving reforms to a broken system.

    We can — and must — put an end to this together.

    Cornell William Brooks
    President and CEO

    And, we remind ourselves again:

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
    only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


  • Netanyahu Derailed: Blames Palestinians for the Holocaust (Video)

    Netanyahu is off the rails, blaming the Palestinians for Hitler’s Shoah, which lead to the death of six million Jews and five million others.

    From the New York Times:

    Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech to the Zionist Congress on Tuesday night that “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,” according to a transcript provided by his office. The prime minister said that the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, protested to Hitler that “they’ll all come here,” referring to Palestine.

    “ ‘So what should I do with them?’ ” Mr. Netanyahu quoted Hitler as asking Mr. Husseini. “He said, ‘Burn them.’ ”

    Prof. Meir Litvak, a historian at Tel Aviv University, called the speech “a lie” and “a disgrace.” Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, a specialist of German history at Hebrew University, said, “With this, Netanyahu joins a long line of people that we would call Holocaust deniers.”


  • Watch: Kill Bill and Everyone Else: Spoofing ISIS

    From Abby Zimet, staff writer at Common Dreams:

    Arguing that "belittlement is your enemy’s greatest fear," several Muslim activists have taken on the risky strategy of using satire as a weapon against the supremely unfunny atrocities of ISIS. Taking to the same social media platforms that ISIS uses to recruit and propaganidize, their campaigns range from mock ISIS Movies – The Hills Have Alis, ISIS Doubtfire, My Best Friend’s 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Wedding, Crouching Caliph Hidden Sheikh, Monsters Inc, No Country for Old Men, Or Young Men, Or Women and Children – and TV shows – Everybody loves Abu Bakr Baghdadi, How I Behead Your Mother – to ads, videos and entire Onion-like news stories.

    Wow.


  • Phyllis Bennis: Violating International Law in Gaza

    water systems damaged in Gaza
    Numerous water systems and wells have been badly damaged in the airstrikes, limiting the water supply to the people of Gaza. (Photo: flickr / cc / Mohammed Al Baba/Oxfam)

    As Israel’s assault claims the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children, there’s no doubt that it’s a form of collective punishment.

    As Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip rages on, ceasefires come and go. Most last just long enough for Palestinians to dig out the dead from beneath their collapsed houses, get the injured to overcrowded and under-resourced hospitals, and seek enough food and water to last through the next round of airstrikes.

    “There is nothing left but stones,” Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer quoted an old woman saying as she searched desperately through the rubble of what had been her home.

    Casualties are soaring. By late July, Israel had killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, at least 73 percent of them civilians including hundreds of children. Fifty-six Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have died too.

    July 28 poll shows 86.5 percent of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. Yet we continue to hear that Israelis want peace.

    It’s true that at least some of them do. An Israeli protest in Tel Aviv brought 5,000 people into the street. That’s good — though a far cry from the 400,000 who poured into the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon back in 1982.

    And when a young Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and tortured to death — burned alive — in Jerusalem after the bodies of the three kidnapped young Israeli settlers were found, many Israelis tried to distance themselves from the horrific crime. “In our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.

    But in fact, there is a place for those who call for murder — at the highest political and military levels of Israeli society.

    Meet Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament. She belongs to Israel Home, a far-right party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. She issued on Facebook what amounts to a call to commit genocide, by deliberately killing Palestinians, including women, children, and old people.

    “The entire Palestinian people is the enemy,” Shaked posted. “In wars, the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

    The Knesset member went on to say that the mothers of Palestinians killed should follow their dead sons to Hell: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

    Her language reminds me of a chapter in our own history — the genocidal Indian Wars. U.S. military leaders had called on their troops to wipe out all the Native Americans andCol. John Chivington was asked on the eve of the Sand Creek Massacre about killing Cheyenne children. “Kill and scalp all, big and little, nits make lice,” he replied.

    Shaked’s comments also echo the words of an Israeli colonel who testified under oath at the wrongful death trial of Rachel Corrie, a young U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored bulldozer in Gaza. “In a war zone there are no civilians,” said the military officer — who was responsible for training Israeli soldiers to serve in the occupied territories.

    There’s no question that Hamas’ primitive rockets violate international law. They can’t be accurately aimed at military targets. But that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under international law as the occupying power in Gaza.

    Israel has the region’s strongest military, the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, and the unconditional backing of the United States. Its assault on Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions. Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.

    Israeli officials know full well that the best way to protect their citizens is to implement a real ceasefire — a breakthrough that would require opening Gaza’s borders. Some of them also know the best way to keep their citizens safe long term is by ending the occupation altogether. Problem is, not enough of them will admit it.

    U.S. taxpayers also have a stake in this conflict because Washington keeps sending Israel billions of our tax dollars and refuses to push Tel Aviv to stop violating international law.

    For real peace, both of those things must change.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

    Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.  Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A PrimerUnderstanding the U.S.-Iran Crisis: A PrimerEnding the Iraq War: A Primer, and most recently Ending the Us War in Afghanistan: A Primer. If you want to receive her talking points and articles on a regular basis, click here and choose "New Internationalism." You can find her on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/PhyllisBennis


  • The Science of Arousal and Rape: Popular Science

    Worth your time to drop over here and read this article.

    An excerpt:

    Rape is not always violent. Some survivors surrender to protect themselves or their loved ones. Some are intoxicated, drugged, physically or mentally incapacitated, or in a position without power. Some (doubly horribly) are children. Rape does not always include penile penetration. Some rapists are married to their victims. Some rapists are women. Some women rape men. And sometimes, in the middle of an act that is always a violation, a rape survivor will experience increasingly intense physical sensations leading to climax – an orgasm.

    Judges, juries, prosecutors, all in the legal system need to be aware. An orgasm during rape does not imply consent. In fact, it only makes the shame greater.

    Worth your time.


  • Palestine: A Land Forgotten; Isreal: The One Forgetting

    Peace in Palestine!

    Palestine.

    How much thought have you given Palestine recently?

    We live in a country (USA! USA!) where celebrity news trumps news of the suffering in the world. News of the starving in the world. News of those still facing genocide. Still facing abuse. Still lacking basic human rights.

    And we thrive to news of celebrity arrests, as if they matter one damn.

    At all.

    Had lunch with a now old friend, my friend is very young (comparable to my scalp line), but very, very wise.

    And very empathetic.

    My friend just returned from a half-month trip to Israel and Palestine (notice I’m naming them separately, as the two separate states the are, should be, shall be, Insha’Allah.

    God willing, that is.

    I will share with you in this space some of the amazing, alarming, and jaw-dropping things I learned from my friend today.

    Israel, the state (not all Israelis, not all Jews), but Israel is persecuting the Palestinians.

    And this must be stopped.

    Did you know, for example, that Israel controls all water and electricity into Palestinian regions?

    And, did you know, that Israel frequentlly cuts off all water and electricity if one Palestinian “misbehaves?”

    Did you know that it is illegal for an Israeli to enter Palestine? Did you know that, on average, Israel demolishes four Palestinian home a day?

    Did you know that Israel will not do trash pick-up in any region inhabited by Muslims, whether in the Old City, or Palestine?

    Did you know that the Israeli government then uses that reality to refer to the Palestinians as filthy, dirty animals?

    In short, did you know that Israel, to put it mildly, discriminates against the Palestinians, that the officials of the Israeli state refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists.”

    Did you know that, at the Dome of the Rock, Israeli soldiers guard the entrance, allowing only a certain number of Muslims to enter each day to pray?

    And did you know that Palestinians just want to live?

    To own property?

    To build homes (which is illegal now)?

    To be human?

    Thank you to my friend.

    More to follow.

    Insha’Allah.


  • Dogs Against Romney: Mitt Really Really Abused the Family Dog Seamus

    Mitt Romney tied his dog Seamus to the roof of a car for a family vacation.

    The dog got sick.

    Romney hosed down the dog and went on.

    Abuse? You bet.

    In response to a query on this Chris Wallace at Fox News, Romney says, "This is a completely air-tight kennel on the top of our car."

    If the kennel was "air-tight," how did the "brown liquid" pour from the dog’s kennel atop the wagon?

    For more information:


  • Ron Paul’s Views Finding Support Among White Nationalists

    Ron Paul with white Supremacists Don and Derek Black
    Ron Paul with white Supremacists Don and Derek Black

    Ron Paul says he “wouldn’t be happy” with support from the white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied to his support, but he will not disavow their support, saying, “They’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say.”

    So Ron Paul will accept support from Neo-Nazis. He simply won’t endorse anthing they say, except, of course, that, for whatever reason, they support Ron Paul.

    From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

    The American Free Press, which markets books such as “The Invention of the Jewish People” and “March of the Titans: A History of the White Race,” is urging its subscribers to help it send hundreds of copies of Ron Paul’s collected speeches to voters in New Hampshire. The book, it promises, will “Help Dr. Ron Paul Win the GOP Nomination in 2012!”

    Don Black, the director of the white nationalist website Stormfront, said in an interview that dozens of his members were volunteering for Mr. Paul’s campaign, and a site forum titled “Why is Ron Paul such a favorite here?” has no fewer than 24 pages of comments.

    “I understand he wins many fans because his monetary policy would hurt Jews,” read one. Far right groups like the Militia of Montana say they are rooting for him as a stalwart against government tyranny.


  • Holy Sh*t: Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants Who Aided Bin Laden Raid

    The lede for this one goes to the New York Times, from the caption used for the picture above:

    Instead of going after those who helped Osama bin Laden to live in this Abbottabad compound, Pakistan arrested those who assisted in the raid that killed him.

    Oh, shit.

    From the New York Times:

    Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

    Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

    At a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael J. Morell, the deputy C.I.A. director, to rate Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of 1 to 10. 

    “Three,” Mr. Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange.  

    The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

    Pakistan is no ally of the United States of America.

    More.


  • We Must All Protect Gay Youth from Suicide

    This is just too, too sad.

    From Judy Shepard:

    Our family, and the staff and board at the Matthew Shepard Foundation, are all deeply saddened by the devastating report of at least the fourth gay or gay-perceived teen to commit suicide in this country in the last month.

    Reports say that Tyler Clementi, 18, leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge near his New Jersey college campus after a roommate allegedly broadcast him in a same-sex encounter behind closed doors in his dorm room, and apparently invited others, via Twitter, to view it online. Regardless of his roommate’s alleged tweet, Tyler had apparently made no statement about his own sexual orientation. I’m sure we will all learn more about this terrible tragedy as legal proceedings unfold, but the contempt and disregard behind such an invasion of privacy seems clear. In the meantime, we send our thoughts and prayers to Tyler’s family as they mourn their loss.

    In the last month there has been a shocking series of teen suicides linked to bullying, taunting, and general disrespect regarding sexual orientation, in every corner of America. Just a few days ago, Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in Tehachapi, Calif., passed away after 10 days on life support after he hanged himself. Police say he had been mercilessly taunted by fellow students over his perceived sexual orientation.

    Billy Lucas, 15, hanged himself a few weeks ago at his Indiana home after years of reported harassment by students who judged him to be gay. Asher Brown, a 13-year-old in Harris, TX, who had recently come out, took his life with a gun after, his parents say, their efforts to alert school officials to ongoing bullying were not acted upon.

    Many Americans also learned this week about Tyler Wilson, an 11-year-old boy in Ohio who decided to join a cheerleading squad that had been all-female. As a gymnast, he was interested in the athletic elements of cheering. He was taunted with homophobic remarks and had his arm broken by two schoolmates who apparently assumed him to be gay. He told “Good Morning America” that since returning to school, he’s been threatened with having his other arm broken, too.

    Our young people deserve better than to go to schools where they are treated this way. We have to make schools a safe place for our youth to prepare for their futures, not be confronted with threats, intimidation or routine disrespect.

    Quite simply, we are calling one more time for all Americans to stand up and speak out against taunting, invasion of privacy, violence and discrimination against these youth by their peers, and asking everyone in a position of authority in their schools and communities to step forward and provide safe spaces and support services for LGBT youth or those who are simply targeted for discrimination because others assume they are gay. There can never be enough love and acceptance for these young people as they seek to live openly as their true selves and find their role in society.

    Suicide is a complicated problem and it is too easy to casually blame it on a single factor in a young person’s life, but it is clear that mistreatment by others has a tremendously negative effect on a young person’s sense of self worth and colors how he or she sees the world around them. Parents, educators and peers in the community need to be vigilant to the warning signs of suicide and other self-destructive behaviors in the young people in their lives, and help them find resources to be healthy and productive. We urge any LGBT youth contemplating suicide to immediately reach out to The Trevor Project, day or night, at (866) 4-U-TREVOR [866-488-7386].

    Judy Shepard

    President, Matthew Shepard Foundation Board of Directors

    She’s right. And those of us who work with youth must find the courage to help them where they are, accept and love them as they are.