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.

Get Rid of Corporate Rule! Direct TV Parody Compilation

Get rid of corporate rule!

The full campaign spoofing the Direct TV commercials, produced by Acronym TV for Move To Amend. All six spots, each about 30 seconds, are included here in this single video. 

Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr, and Directed by Trainor, these spots aim to hijack a popular meme to shine a seriously unserious light on the issues of corporate personhood and money as free speech. 

Move to Amend is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of individuals committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people, not corporate interests.

We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

Over 300,00 people have signed the Move To Amend statement that states:
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights. 

Links to each video as a stand-alone piece are below. We encourage you to share these far and wide.

Move To Amend, Direct TV Parody Campaign:
Don’t Be A Naked Hulk http://bit.ly/1eMqmeQ
Don’t Do Interpretive Street Corner Dance http://bit.ly/IKi65g
Don’t Miss The Supermodel Love Letter http://bit.ly/19fbNwm
Don’t Get Ducked Taped To A Chair In The Yardhttp://bit.ly/1g3IG7b
Don’t Do Cats http://bit.ly/1bdJL8P
Don’t Be A Loser With No One At Your Birthdayhttp://bit.ly/18YCOI2

Move To Amend’s Direct TV Parody Compilation
Written by Lee Camp and Dennis Trainor, Jr
Directed by Dennis Trainor, Jr.
Editing, graphics, keying and color correction by AJ Russo
Associate Producer Christopher Webb
Costumes Lara de Bruijn

Corporate personhood, Supreme court, Super Bowl Ad, Super Bowl parody ad, Super Bowl spoof commercial, Douche waffle, Douche Waffles, Money free speech, corporations are not people, corporate personhood, Lee camp, Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV, parody, satire, comedy, spoof, Direct TV, Move To Amend, Amend the constitution, Legalize Democracy, End Corporate Rule.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: Crowd-funding Campaign

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s crowdfunding campaign, “Cops Lead Drug War Victims on  Journey for Peace.” 

Making use of the footage shot during 2012’s Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity, LEAP is producing a documentary filmabout the law enforcers who led a caravan of drug war victims across the United States in a campaign to acknowledge the devastation created by Mexico’s war on drugs. 

LEAP’s mission was to supplement the victims’ testimony with law enforcement voices bearing personal witness to the harms and wasteful futility of the War on Drugs here in the United States.

LEAP journalists Dean Becker and Sam Sabzehzar joined with filmmakers from Mexico and around the world to document the emotional testimonies of the victims and police throughout the 27-city tour, shooting more than 500 hours of unedited video.

This moving story of law enforcement coming together with drug war survivors reveals a truth about the value of ending the violence generated by drug prohibition.

We write to request your help in two ways.

1. Would you make a gift of at least $25 today to support this film’s production?  

2. Would you invite at least 10 friends to join this effort with you and make a gift by sharing the link (www.tiny.cc/leap_film)? 

We have the film. We have the story. You have the funds to help us edit, translate, score and finish a documentary that will draw attention to the grief caused by the war on drugs around the world. 

As a LEAP supporter, your contributions are truly what sustain our efforts. Please help us to complete this film and educate the public on the dire need for an end to drug prohibition. 

Thank you, 

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibtion

I Don’t Trust the Government with All This

Wow.

This has been going on for quite some time.

I don’t trust the government with all this.

Not. At. All.

From the New York Times:

The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.

Read more here.

‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Repealed, And The President Says, “Thanks.”

President Barack Obama

The following was sent from President Barack Obama after the United States Senate voted to repeal the infamous "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and allow our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to serve in our military with a clean conscience, no longer forced to hide or lie.

President Obama fulfills yet another campaign promise.

From the President of the United States:

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to Organizing for America’s letter?

I will make sure these messages are delivered — you can also add a comment about what the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" means to you.

As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another — the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

Today, I’m proud that we took these fights on.

Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal possible:

http://my.barackobama.com/Repealed

Thank you,

Barack

I clicked and thanked Congress. Amen to that all day long.

NAACP Takes It Up A Notch Against Tea Party

The NAACP today stepped up it’s criticism of what the organization perceives as "racist acts of Tea Party protesters." In an email to members today, President and CEO of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization asked Americans to unify and "stop the racism."

From Ben Jealous at the NAACP:

We are not backing down.

Yesterday, the NAACP passed a resolution condemning the racist acts of Tea Party protesters. The backlash from the Tea Party has been furious.

But we are not an organization that shies away from controversy. The NAACP was founded on hope, not hate — and we will not stand idly by as racists work to divide our nation.

Add your name to our pledge to unify America and stop the racism:

http://action.naacp.org/PledgeToStopHate

The NAACP does not have a problem with the Tea Party, nor its existence. We have a problem with their acceptance and their welcoming of prejudice into their organization.

And in case there is any misunderstanding about what defines racism, let me be clear.

In March, racial slurs were hurled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they passed by a Tea Party health care protest in Washington, DC. Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver was spat on. People at the rally held signs covered in bigotry.

That is racism. That is racism filled with hate, ignorance and acts of violence. And we will not stand for it.

We are calling on all Americans to stand for the values that have made our country the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sign the pledge now:

http://action.naacp.org/PledgeToStopHate

The past year has been one of major triumphs and major setbacks in the fight for racial equality. But we will not let bigotry silence us.

We are one people. We are one nation. And we are all NAACP Americans.

Thank you for your support,

Ben Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP

Federal Law Against Same-Sex Couples Ruled Unconstitutional

From our friends at the ACLU via ENEWSPF:

In two related cases, a federal district court in Massachusetts has ruled that critical portions of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violate the federal Constitution. In striking down the section of the statute that bars federal legal protections to legally married same-sex couples, Judge Joseph Tauro found that the law violates states’ rights to define marriage and violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause by treating married same-sex couples differently from married different-sex couples. Prior to the passage of DOMA, the federal government always recognized the states’ right to define marriage. The cases were brought by the Massachusetts attorney general and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

A bill is currently pending in the House of Representatives that would repeal DOMA and respect state marriages by providing federal protections for married same-sex couples. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that, once the federal government recognizes the marriage of a same-sex couple, it would continue to recognize that marriage even if the couple moved to another state that would not have allowed the couple to marry in the first place.

The following can be attributed to James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project:

"Today’s decision is an important step forward for marriage for same-sex couples. There are thousands of same-sex couples lawfully married in the five states and Washington, DC that currently allow them the freedom to marry. Today’s ruling recognizes that the federal government has literally no justification for refusing to respect those marriages.

"To finish the job, Congress should pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which is pending in Congress and would completely repeal DOMA. We applaud this decision and congratulate GLAD and the Massachusetts attorney general for their work in bringing the cases."

This is good news for all of us who hope for true equality in this country. We are very happy for all of our GLBT friends.

One day, this will all seem oh-so-silly.

DOMA has got to go.

Best Unintentionally Sexual Right-Wing Headline Evah: ‘Congress bows to gay agenda…’

Kudos to Eric Smith for catching this headline from the American Family Association:

Congress bows to gay agenda, repeals ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Congress has given in to pressure from gay activists and the White House and voted to repeal the "don’t ask, don’t tell" ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military…

And I’m just amazed the variety of categories I was able apply to put this tiny blog post.

Yup.

Rand Paul Says Discrimination by Businesses is ‘Free Speech’

Rand Paul

Oh yes he did.

From Change.org:

As the standard bearer for the Tea Party crowd, it’s no surprise that Rand Paul likes his taxes small, and his government even smaller. But his recent comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act are calling into question whether the hero of Tea Party activists nationwide believes it’s OK for private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.

Asked by the Louisville Courier Journal whether he was supportive of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — you know, the piece of legislation that ended institutional racism in the United States — Paul told the paper that while he was supportive of some of the provisions in the Civil Rights Act, he took issue with the Act’s requiring all businesses (public and private) to adopt anti-racism policies.

"I abhor racism," Paul said. "but at the same time I believe in private ownership."

In other words, according to Rand Paul, private businesses like Wendy’s, Aetna, Comcast, the local furniture store down the street from you, or your neighborhood grocery store should be allowed to refuse service to people who are black, Latin@, gay, lesbian, transgender, Buddhist, female, Asian or any other sort of characteristic that individual business owners might not be cool with.

Which brings us to Rand Paul’s new campaign slogan: If you wish it was 1860 again, vote for Rand Paul this November.

Read more “Rand Paul Says Discrimination by Businesses is ‘Free Speech’”