Fetishizing Violence: Mass Shootings To Violent Uprisings

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy.com. This week on Act Out! you may not want to politicize mass shootings but they – like everything else in this life – is already political. Adding on to last week’s show on white male dethronement, Marine veteran and community organizer Vince Emanuele joins us to take a look at the issue of America’s violent culture and how it affects the ENTIRE political spectrum – and indeed, what that means for the left as we battle the empire.

A Chapter In A Declining Empire

US Military and CIA adventurism

BY Greg Godels (Zoltan Zigedy) for ZZs Blog. Those familiar with the history of Cold War US repression are not surprised by liberal complicity in the anti-Russia madness today. It should be no surprise that the liberals and the petty-bourgeois left betray the truth, make common cause with the forces of hate, distrust, and prejudice. In times of crisis, that’s what they too often do. Outside of a few notable voices, liberal/left intellectuals are buying the anti-Russia frenzy. Despite the fact that US security services have an unbroken record of lies and manipulations, they are today manufactured to be the saviors of US “democracy.” The entertainment industry has cast “deep throat” Mark Felt– a crazed, disgruntled FBI official, bitter because he didn’t inherit the directorship from J. Edgar Hoover– as the hero of the Watergate debacle. Industry moguls stretch credulity to portray him as the courageous forerunner of the sleazy James Comey. How quickly the liberals have forgotten the shame of 2003, when a ruling class-induced frenzy of lies and distortions prompted an unprovoked US invasion of a sovereign country.

US Topping Polls Of ‘Greatest Threat To World Peace’

Military Did Someone Order Freedom

By Shane Quinn for the Duran. Last week Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro described the United States as, “the most criminal empire in the history of mankind”. Whether such a statement is true, one cannot deny the US has repeatedly topped polls of international opinion on the subject: Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today? Time and again the global community have overwhelmingly voted the US as “the greatest threat” to their existence. In one such WIN/Gallup poll from less than four years ago, the US garnered three times the votes of second-place Pakistan. Such decisive results are hardly reported in the Western mainstream, it would be ill-advised to inform unsuspecting Westerners of useless facts – instead they are disappeared down George Orwell’s memory hole. As a consequence of the predictable survey results, perhaps the question should be framed rather differently – “How can nations be secured in the face of the US threat?”

The Hypocrisy Of The Bi-Partisan Congress On Militarism

From blackagendareport.com

By Ann Garrison for Black Agenda Report – Supporters of the British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn marched through London streets on Saturday, July 1st, from the BBC headquarters to the Parliament Building at Westminster. The London- based Independent reports that tens of thousands joined the “Not One More Day” march against the Conservative Tory government and its austerity policies. They carried signs that read “Tories Out,” “No to Islamophobia, No to War,” “Cut War, Not Welfare,” and “Austerity is the New Terror. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the crowd upon their arrival outside Parliament. “What this election campaign, this anti-austerity movement, this current mood in British politics has done is unleashed the ideas and the imagination, unleashed that day-to-day conversation on every street corner, every café, and every pub of how differently this country could be run. The Tories are in retreat. Austerity is in retreat. The economic arguments of austerity are in retreat. It’s those of social justice, of unity, of people coming together to oppose racism and all those that would divide us that are the ones that are moving forward.”

Residents Block Construction Vehicles From THAAD Deployment Site

THAAD protest April 2017

By Staff for Zoom In Korea. At 8 am on March 29, construction vehicles attempted to drive through the village of Soseong-ri to enter the deployment site for the THAAD missile system. The vehicles were reportedly carrying equipment used for geological surveys, possibly for the purpose of conducting an environmental impact assessment of the site. At approximately 8:30am, village residents and Won Buddhist ministers blocked the vehicles from going any farther by holding a sit-in protest in the middle of the road. Close to 9:00am, hundreds of police officers surrounded the village residents and ordered them to disperse. The residents, however, stood their ground, and tensions with the police lasted for one hour. At noon, the construction vehicles attempted yet again to pass through the village, but the residents quickly resumed their sit-in protest to block them. By about 1:30pm, all police and construction vehicles, unable to gain entry, retreated from the village. At 2:00pm, the village residents held their weekly Wednesday protest rally at the Soseong-ri village center.

Drone Resisters Acquitted, Juror Tells Them: 'Keep Doing It'

Upstate Drone Action

By Staff for Institute for Public Accuracy. Four drone resisters, James Ricks, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, and Ed Kinane, from the 2015 big books action were found innocent of all charges at 11 p.m. at the Dewitt Town Court. After deliberating for only about a half hour, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Applause erupted in the courtroom upon the jurors’ announcement of the verdict. The four were charged with obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, and trespass and faced a year in jail. Following the rendering of the verdict, a juror approached Brian Hynes and said ‘I really support what you are doing. Keep doing it.’ “During the trial, Brian Hynes told the jury, “This is not a case about contested facts, this is a case about contested meanings.” Hynes went on to explain to the jury that they could, in the words of the 4th Circuit of Appeals, acquit for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion.

Kingdom Of The Unjust

Saudi Arabian military from MirrorSpectrum

By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Kingdom of the Unjust; a sit down with activist & author Medea Benjamin about her latest book and how US/Saudi ties perpetuate human rights violations. Saudi Arabia was left off Trump’s Muslim Ban despite the fact that they regularly invest in terrorist organizations, despite being home to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers and indeed despite being the founders of Wahabbism, the perversion of Islam that both ISIS and Al Qaeda follow. So, what gives? In her book and our conversation, Medea Benjamin discusses the inner workings of the Kingdom – from the grotesque treatment of women and immigrant workers to the extremist brand of Islam that perpetuates hate and war in the region. She also outlines our ties to the country, going back to an agreement made over black gold and military protection in the 1940s. In the present day, our ties continue to hold, despite the fact that we only receive 13% of our oil from Saudi Arabia. In lieu of that, we get monstrous military contracts that bolster our war machine, our 1% and their human rights violating wars like the current one in Yemen.

Newsletter - Time To Ask Who We Are

It's Our Future

By Margaret Flower and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The United States has reached a turning point. Where we turn is dependent on what we do as people to determine our future. Neither of the major political parties are going to adequately solve the crises we face. This is a time to examine and discuss some fundamental issues: who we are and who we want to be. Out of crises come opportunities to put bold solutions in place. We are calling for a People’s Agenda. We have the power to make changes in this country that completely alter the course of our nation and the world. We can say no to genocide against Native Americans. We can end systemic racism. We can demand respect for the human rights of all people. We can promote peace and prosperity for all. We can solve the climate crisis. It is up to us and how we organize in our communities. At the heart of the success of popular movements is what we have advocated – the building of a broad and diverse unified movement that is active and has built national consensus for the changes we wish to see.

Reporter Recounts Arrest, Prison Stay After Baton Rouge Protest

Savage_ArmoredVehicle

By Karen Savage for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — For a few seconds on July 10, the ear-splitting police noisemaker — referred to as an LRAD — and the chants demanding justice for Alton Sterling awkwardly paused at exactly the same moment. I closed my eyes in relief. As if on cue, a lone cicada cried out from the tree above, the insect’s call piercing the air, but not the tension. With my eyes closed and the cicada’s solo still echoing through the sweltering heat of a Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge, I saw neat bungalows, crape myrtles and longleaf pine trees. I imagined a crawfish boil, kids on bikes, grandmothers with church hats. But when I opened my eyes, we were still surrounded on three sides by an army of militarized police. Officers still gripped automatic weapons, still wore gas masks and bulletproof vests, still held tear gas cylinders ready to be fired.

Will Militarism Of Police Continue?

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/JONATHAN BACHMAN/FILE PHOTO

BY Julia Edwards for Reuters – The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters on Thursday. Shortly after the recent shooting deaths of police officers, President Barack Obama agreed to review each banned item, the two law enforcement leaders said. That could result in changes to the ban imposed in May 2015 on the transfer of some equipment from the military to police…

The People's Caravan From Cleveland RNC To Philadelphia DNC

The People's Caravan

By Staff for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. There are three major defining factors of this moment: white rage and misogyny escalated by the presidential elections; extractive dig-burn-dump economies promoted by politicians; and rising militarism at home & abroad applauded by the electorate. We believe that no matter who becomes the next US president, these growing norms will have serious long-term implications for Black, Latin@, Arab and Muslim peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Asian & Pacific Islander, working class White folks, women and trans people… long after the next president is elected. We are building a diverse and interconnected movement that has the roots we need to weather the storms our communities face and change the systems that cause us harm. This July 2016, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) is organizing a People’s Caravan from Cleveland to Philadelphia of 40-50 frontline community leaders from the US and Honduras.

Time To Rethink NATO

Obama speaking at NATO meeting

By Medea Benjamin and Alice Slater for the Hill. Donald Trump angered the D.C. establishment when he said that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, may be obsolete and the U.S. should reassess its spending on the alliance. Hillary Clinton has used Trump’s comments as another example that he is a dangerous, loose cannon. But Trump has brought up an issue worth exploring and this month, when NATO will hold its Annual Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8-9, is an excellent opportunity to do so. Indeed, activists are planning to show up on in Warsaw during the Summit and in New York City there will be a demonstration on July 9 in Times Square. The time has come to spread the word about the dangerous mischief NATO is causing on Russia’s border. With the recent breakup of the old paradigm after the UK just left the European Union, there may be a new opening for change. It has been reported that Germany and France have been talking about ending the sanctions on Russia imposed after the Ukraine events and are now recommending a less aggressive posture for NATO. America too, could do its share to make good on the UN promise to “end the scourge of war” by ratcheting down the hostilities towards Russia and working for the abolition of NATO. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump supporter to recognize that it is time to rethink NATO.

US Funding Of Honduran Security Forces Puts Blood On Our Hands

As always in Honduras, the police were on hand, guarding the INFOP Center where the Electoral Tribunal is operating from.  Buses of people coming to the mobilization from Olancho and the northern part of the country were detained by the authorities and prevented from arriving.  The drivers of the buses were said to have been threatened with having their registration taken away if they continued to Tegucigalpa.

By John James Conyers, Jr., Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Marcy Kaptur, Jan Schakowsky and Jose E Serrano for the Guardian. Until the Honduran government protects human rights and holds its security forces responsible for their crimes, the US should not be working with its police and military. As long as the United States funds Honduran security forces without demanding justice for those threatened, tortured and killed, the US has blood on its hands. It’s time to suspend all police and military aid to Honduras. Enough is enough – it’s past time to suspend the aid and instruct the US Treasury department to vote no on all loans from multilateral development banks to security forces in Honduras. The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR 5474) would suspend those funds – and prohibit international loans providing for security assistance – from being dispersed unless Honduras makes serious inroads to addressing blatant human rights violations by police and military forces.

Newsletter: Memorial Day Lesson - End War

We say No to War sign seen at a 2007 anti-war protest. (Photo by Thiago Santos on flickr)

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Memorial Day has become a holiday that celebrates war and treats soldiers as heroes, rather than respecting its roots as a day to mourn the personal costs of war. Instead of being a time of reflection on the truth about wars, the US Empire’s war culture is on full display over the Memorial Day weekend perpetuating the myths that being in the military is both patriotic and heroic, when in truth many US wars are unnecessary and violate international law. It is up to us to examine the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and work toward ending war as a tool of foreign policy. Instead of repeating the mantra that war is good or patriotic, let’s have an honest discussion about the reasons behind wars and the damage that wars wreak in numerous ways. It is time for all of us to build a people’s movement for a world without war.

Thousands Protest As Japanese Gov Ushers In New Age Of Militarism

Demonstrators protest against the new security law as they rally outside the Diet building in Tokyo. (Photo: AFP)

By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Thousands of anti-war protesters rallied outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Tuesday, railing against the Japanese government’s new so-called security law which marks a historic departure from the country’s decades-long pacifism. The controversial “war legislation,” a package of bills that passed parliament in September and took effect on Tuesday, reinterprets Article 9 of the country’s Constitution, which renounced war as a means to settle international disputes following World War II.