Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Time to quit Afghanistan is NOW 1-2-2019


2, January 2019               Time to quit Afghanistan is NOW

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to hunt down and kill members of al-Qaeda and destroy their safe haven in an operation dubbed ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’.  What a grotesque name for a war that has gone so badly.

Hundreds of coalition forces and thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians have died and the Taliban insurgency has become emboldened, occupying large swaths of land in rural areas and terrifying  Kabul with IED’s and suicide bombers. Kabul is so dangerous that US personnel are forbidden to drive the 2 miles from the local airport to the US embassy but instructed to use helicopters to land onto the embassy roof. American troops stay behind in steel-reinforced concrete walls to protect themselves.

The CIA admits that it is partially defraying cost of operations by transporting “poppy seed drugs” on American planes generating about $50 billion annually.

According to Brown University, ‘Cost of War Project’ the Afghan war could exceed $2 trillion in this mother of all quagmires. American leaders stubbornly refuse to learn the lessons of prior conflicts. It has recently come to light that General Westmorland was seeking permission to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam!

It is obscene that all this money and human capital is being used to prop up an unstable and highly corrupt government. The ongoing conflict is an ethnic and sectarian conflict with Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras fighting to exercise control over the same piece of geography.

The legacy of Afghanistan mirrors other wars, Vietnam, Iraq and countless other conflicts, a humiliating defeat stemming from the arrogance of American military power and politicians who repeatedly mislead the American public. We continue to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam, which we devastated with napalm, Agent Orange, carpet bombing and multiple Mai Lai atrocities. The time to exit Afghanistan is NOW. For more go to, http://callforsocialjustice.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Free speech under assault 12-26-2018


26, December 2018                 Free speech under assault

In yet another assault on America’s bedrock principles of freedom of speech and political dissent, a new legislative proposal would impose severe civil and criminal penalties on US companies that participate in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) supporting Palestinian rights opposing Israel’s policies and the occupation of the West Bank.

Professor Marc Lamont Hill of Temple University and a contributing commentator at CNN, spoke at the United Nations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in support of Palestinian Rights and a free Palestine.  CNN immediately fired him for his comments.  His call for a single state where all citizens could enjoy the same rights with their Jewish brothers and sisters was interpreted as a dog whistle for violence and a direct threat to the very existence of Israel.

CNN’s action makes a complete mockery of their claim to be “fair and balanced”. Jewish Voice for Peace excoriated CNN’s actions for silencing Dr. Hill while allowing Rick Santorum to vent his racist claims that there are 'no “Palestinians in the West Bank!”

As a further example of Israel’s reach, a long time Palestinian-American speech pathologist in Austin, Texas lost her job after failing to take an oath of allegiance to Israel.

An increasing number of American Jews oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in the occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.

As Michael Bloomberg's famously said, “if you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea.”

Combat veterans who recently spent an extended visit to Israel were appalled what they saw. They witnessed daily degradation, intimidation, and abuse of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation forces. If the American people, and especially our politicians, were able to spend any time in Palestine, and witness the truth for themselves, America's blind allegiance to Israel would come to an end. In the meantime more and more of our tax dollars are being squandered propping up an apartheid Israel.


Monday, December 10, 2018

President ‘41 George Herbert Walker Bush 12-10-2018


10, December 2018          President ‘41 George Herbert Walker Bush


 The 41st President H.W. Bush has been lionized by the media in wall to wall coverage   espousing his professional skills and high moral character. If one compares him to the present occupant of the White House, this is certainly a true statement. He also deserved credit for standing up to the NRA and AIPAC. However, to make a better assessment of his contributions to America and the world, we need to drill deeper into his presidency.


The following is a brief history of ‘41.

INVASION OF PANAMA


In late 1989, ‘41 ordered the invasion of Panama to arrest its leader, General Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking.  This was the same man who was formerly on the CIA payroll. In a classic overkill, the U.S. unleashed 24,000 troops equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the New York City Police Department. An estimated 3,000 Panamanians died in the attack. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Washington to pay massive reparations to Panama for its illegal invasion.  


WAR ON DRUGS


During his tenure 41’ dramatically launched a war on drugs laced with overt racism.  In a carefully orchestrated media blitz, ’41 held up a bag of cocaine which he claimed was found just outside the White House, a visual prop, orchestrated by US federal agents! Mass incarceration followed disproportionately, impacting young black men.  Republicans like Rand Paul, and Chris Christie later admitted that the drug war was an utter failure.


USING RACISM TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE


In the brutal presidential campaign of 1988, ‘41 used an appalling racist ad. depicting his rival, Dukakis to be weak on crime and responsible for the brutal rape and murder by Willie Horton while he was furloughed from prison. Lee Atwater, a top aide to ’41, apologized on his deathbed for the racist ad. which catapulted ’41 to the White House. It was considered to be the most racist ad, in US history.


CLIMATE CHANGE & THE SUPRME COURT


‘41was dismissive on the impact of climate change, famously saying, “The American way of life is not up for negotiation.” He nominated Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas even after Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill.


INVASION OF IRAQ


In August 2000 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait illegally, in violation of international law. What is generally unknown is ‘41’s US ambassador to Kuwait. Glaspie told Saddam Hussein just weeks before the invasion, that America had no strong opinion on his border dispute with Kuwait. This was interpreted by Hussein as a green light for the invasion. But following the invasion, ’41 changed his mind claiming America’s intervention was necessary to defend Saudi Arabia. This proved to be totally false. Many of ’41 political detractors believed the invasion was meticulously choreographed to enhance ‘41’s reelection prospects.


To justify the invasion, the ’41 team launched a massive propaganda effort to win over hearts and minds to make them feel good about the “shock and awe” which was to follow demonstrating US military might.  The pièce de résistance. was led by General Schwarzkopf, CENTCOM, Pete Williams of the Pentagon and the Bush administration.  A staged weeping Kuwaiti, NAYIRAH AL-SABAH, appeared on all the major networks claiming that Saddam’s troops had thrown out babies from incubators. It turned out the young girl, SABAH, was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador who had been coached by the US public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, who were working for the Kuwaiti government. The propaganda was so effective that even Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch believed the fictional tale and repeated the false story.   


 IRANGATE


In one of ’41 final act, he granted pardons to six former Reagan officials who were involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, when the Reagan administration secretly sold arms to Iran to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras ignoring a congressional ban on providing aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. This was the most egregious scandal in US history. It is sad commentary that Reagan escaped impeachment for aiding and abetting a foreign adversary. Bush escaped liability for his role in the pardons scandal, claiming he was “out of the loop,” even though other participants and a paper trail suggested he was lying. So much for the media’s depiction of a “thoroughly decent man who believed in civility who did not believe in rancor who wanted, to unify all Americans,” RIP.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

India’s Caste System 11-21-2018


21 November 2018                              India’s Caste System


The New York Times published the gruesome story of a low cast Dalit bludgeoned by upper-caste hoodlums who then held him down and made deep cuts in his scalp. The Dalit, Sardar Singh Jatav, suffered severe injuries ended up in a government hospital in Gwalior. His crime? Wearing a turban.


Dalits are considered to be outcastes or untouchables. 


Much like Donald Trump, Narendra Modi and the RSS have unleashed the worst excesses of caste politics.


What is even more appalling is the “laissez-faire” attitude of the diaspora and population at large who have chosen to remain in mute silence. According to the latest crime statistics, the assaults on low caste Indians are dramatically on the rise. They are humiliated tortured, disfigured and murdered in alarming numbers.  A few recent examples:


A 14-year-old Dalit Girl was beheaded by an upper-caste man in deference to his wife’s wishes.


A Dalit scavenger was gagged, bound and fatally whipped. Another Dalit was killed for riding a horse. 


Dalits are so reviled that they must drop their gaze when passing higher castes and are confined to drinking from separate drinking taps much like the Jim Crow American south.


The violence is intended to deliver a strong message that despite India’s notable progress and growing affluence, its social order remains deeply entrenched. This is a failure of law enforcement to uphold the Indian Constitution which bans caste discrimination.


A few brave voices are speaking out. Ayatthi Ramaiah, a sociology professor in Mumbai admitted that “we have a mental illness”. India may be a rising global power, but has fossilized into a spiritual God Centered midget. Surely God doesn’t condone such savagery”.  If such behavior violates God’s laws, why is such behavior, tolerated?


Dalits can expect no justice from the authorities who are usually from a higher caste. I urge readers to denounce the cancer of caste-ism in Indian society.





Wednesday, November 14, 2018

California Fires 11-14-2018


14, November 2018                        California Fires

After innocent lives perished and hundreds more reported missing in California’s raging infernos, President Trump responded with a nasty tweet blaming California of poor management of its forests.

Mr. Trump is clearly unaware, that most of the California fires started on federal lands which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. President Trump, you need to direct your ire at your own federal agency before you waggle your finger at California. Stop trying to settle political scores and send help to the victims of these devastating fires. Your stubborn denial of climate change is a contributing factor. This is yet another example of your ignorance and poor leadership.

Stop squandering our tax money by sending troops to the southern border on a mythical mission to stop a caravan of “terrorists”. Drape the “lady of liberty” – she has no relevance under your administration.

Finally, I would like to remind you that California is a ‘donor state.’ It pays far more in taxes to D.C. than it receives in federal spending.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Jim Acosta 11-12-2018


12, November 2018                             Jim Acosta                       

President Trump vented anger and racism at reporters in his recent press conference. Fuming over the loss of the House he went on to attack Jim Acosta revoking his press credentials when he was unwilling to respond to his questions. Acting like the head of a banana republic, choking with anger he insulted the intelligence and credentials of Acosta, a highly respected reporter from CNN and went on to insult African-Americans reporters with a racial tirade.


The White House then doctored a video claiming Acosta assaulted an intern to justify revocation of his White House pass. Acosta’s statement, “Pardon me, ma’am,” was not included in the video Sanders presented. White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, and her boss have consistently shown disdain for the truth. Sanders has lost all credibility with the press corps and should resign.

This is the latest example of “fake news” coming from the White House.

I urge the White House Press corps to respond in solidarity with Acosta and other reporters who were the target of the president’s insults. Members of Congress and the press must stand up to the president’s appalling abuse of power.






Thursday, November 8, 2018

Election post-mortem 11-8-2018


8, November 2018                       Election post-mortem         


The Republican Party hooked their wagons to Donald Trump and took a shellacking in the House. A visibly shaken and irritable president cut-off and snarled at reporters injecting some of hackneyed expressions to boot.


Imposing massive voter suppression, gerrymandering, limiting hours of operation at polling boots and targeting Democrats with hateful racist messages won notable victories in the Senate in rural states.


Independent thinkers all but vanished from the Republican Party choosing to exit with their spines intact.


The public should now brace themselves for the presidential campaign of 2020 which will be a repeat performance of the last two years punctuated with anger, division laced with mega doses of fear and perhaps violence. A no holds barred campaign will likely continue to entertain Trump’s base and drive them into a perpetual frenzy. The black hole of Trump will draw in all his sycophants and negate independent thinkers.


Julian E. Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University, reflected on the somber mood of the nation, ““Trump’s tapped into something really powerful and really ugly in the American electorate and it’s going to be hard to put that back into the bottle.”


George Will summed up the ebb and flow of the election in his usual eloquent style, “political antibodies have strengthen the nation’s immune system.”

Strap on your seat belts it’s going to be another roller coaster ride.