Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday News in late August of 2016

There is the continuation of the civil war in Syria. There is the picture of the five year old Omran Daqneesh. It has been shown in the media and in America plus in Western Europe. It has been distributed by a group aligned with the CIA-backed Islamist “rebels” in Syria. The toddler is dazed in the orange seat of a new and well equipped ambulance. His face is covered in dust. His faced has dried blood which was reportedly cut to his scalp. The video footage shows photographers and videographers record his image and the child is waiting unattended. It is a shame that some people are exploiting the boy’s pain as an excuse to promote more military escalation in Syria. CNN proclaimed the child “the face of Syria’s civil war,” while the anchor-woman theatrically burst into tears recounting his story. The New York Times called him “a symbol of Aleppo’s suffering,” while USA Today published a short editor’s note reading, “This Syrian boy is Omran. Will you pay attention now?” Many in the corporate media want to impose a no fly zone in Syria. Nicholas Kristol of the New York Times is wrong to write in wrong article to conflate the plight of Syria’s children with the death of his family dog. He wanted to invoke the statement of Secretary of State John Kerry that ISIS is engaged in genocide as a rationale for the U.S. to launch cruise missile attacks on the Syrian government. The Syrian government is fighting ISIS. Many want to use the guise of human rights to advance war. We know that since the war on terror started, imperialists wanted to exploit the sufferings of others and as means to promote a new escalation of imperialist violence in the Middle East. What is indisputable is that the feigned concern over this one child is being foisted upon the public with very definite and undeclared political and geo-strategic motives that have nothing to do with protecting the lives of innocent children. They have died by the hundreds of thousands over the last quarter century of US-led invasions, bombings and proxy wars throughout the region. Omran was a victim of war in Aleppo. That is a city where 1/6 of the northern Syrian city’s population lives. It is dominated by U.S.-backed Islamist militias. The most important of these is the Fateh al-Sham Front, which, until last month, called itself the al-Nusra Front and was Al Qaeda’s designated affiliate in Syria. Syrian children killed by the Al Qaeda militia’s “hell cannons,” fired indiscriminately into the government-controlled neighborhoods of western Aleppo, do not have the same effect on the tear ducts of newspaper editorialists and media talking heads. Nor, for that matter, do the images coming out of Yemen of children slaughtered by Saudi airstrikes carried out with US-supplied bombs and the Pentagon’s indispensable logistical support.

The horrific video of US-backed “moderate” Syrian “rebels” sawing off the head of a ten-year-old Palestinian boy likewise provoked no significant outrage. So, the U.S. wants the “rebels” to win. They want the rebels to break the government siege of eastern Aleppo. The Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, is again making significant gains on the ground. Hence, there are the renewed demands for an immediate ceasefire. More far-reaching in its implications is the development of closer collaboration between Russia, Iran, China and Turkey in relation to the five-year-old war for regime-change in Syria. Iran has over the past week allowed Russia to use Iranian bases to attack Syrian targets, while Beijing has announced an increase in military aid to Damascus. Meanwhile, in the wake of last month’s abortive US-backed military coup, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan has sought a rapprochement with both Moscow and Tehran. Of course, Washington views this development as an impediment to its military drive to assert U.S. hegemony over the Middle East and its vast energy reserves. In the years that followed the Persian Gulf War (over 25 years ago), the US imposed punishing sanctions on Iraq that claimed the lives of half a million Iraqi children, about which then-US ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright infamously declared, “The price was worth it.” Subsequent US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have killed hundreds of thousands more. We have seen those use humanitarianism as an excuse to promote the U.S.-backed NATO military strike against Libya, which led to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The consequences of that war are incalculable. With these wars, there is an escalation of the confrontation of the United States against Russia plus China.

The disaster in Louisiana is a serious one. Many homes are destroyed and over 10 people have died as a product of the flooding. Still, the President has not visited the area yet. He has not visited Baton Rouge or any areas where flood damage has existed. I don’t agree with that. He can easily visit the affected areas. This comes 11 years after the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of people are homeless. As the Associated Press noted, “a catastrophic 48-hour torrent of rain … sent thousands of people in Louisiana scrambling for safety and left many wondering how a region accustomed to hurricanes could get caught off guard so badly.” With millions of people living day to day and paycheck to paycheck, resources for the poor are scare while recourses for the rich are abundant. Many people were hastily placed into shelters. The area hit by the flooding is largely rural, with some suburban and exurban development outside Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Louisiana is one of the poorest US states, and has been devastated by budget cuts under both Democratic and Republican state administrations. Roads and bridges are in poor repair—as evidenced by the large number of motorists trapped by flood waters—and emergency services, other than the National Guard, part of the US military, are badly underfunded. The declaration of a federal disaster area has existed in many parishes of Louisiana. Only a relative handful of the residents of the affected area have federal flood insurance—far fewer proportionally than in New Orleans, 10 percent compared to 40 percent. Most of the flood victims will be wiped out, with their homes and property deluged, forced to rebuild from scratch at their own expense. Once again, as during Katrina, working people are being left to their own devices, with no real social safety net to support them. Trillions of dollars sent to the military intelligence apparatus over the course of years while much less money is sent to aid the victims of the flooding in Louisiana. That is why it is necessary to not support austerity. People need resources, skilled emergency responders, and infrastructure to handle flooding situations and any natural disasters. Engineering ought to exist in a higher level in make flood protection stronger.

The swimmers in Rio who walked in the gas station acted immature and wrong on many levels. Their actions disrespected the Brazilian people and any descent American. Ryan Lochte and his teammates said that they were robbed in Rio by people with police uniforms. Now, we know that to be a lie. The truth is that swimmers caused a ruckus in a Brazilian gas station. Lochte damaged property, relieved himself on property, and then he makes up a false story to cover up his own tracks. One teammate was locked in a bathroom. To get the teammate out, they didn’t ask the owners of the gas station for a key or help. They broke down the door, got into an altercation with a gas station security guard, and made up their stories afterwards. They paid for the damage with cash. They manufactured a fake robbery story and went back to the Olympic Village. They had their wallets and items when they said originate that they have been stolen. People are right to call out double standards and white privilege. If black people have done this, we know that they would receive a much more critical response by the media. Brazilian officials wanted to confiscate Lochte’s passport, but he was in America by that time. His teammates were still in Brazil. His teammates admitted to the lying. The International Olympic Committee is now downplaying the incident as just “Let’s give these kids a break.” Those words come from IOC spokesman Mario Andrada. From the IOC spokesman: “I do not regret having apologized. No apologies from him or other athletes are needed. We have to understand that these kids came here to have fun. Let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you make decisions that you later regret. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.” Lochte is not a kid. He is 32. There is no excuse for these swimmers to do their evil actions. They should not only apologize to Brazilians. They ought to be held accountable for their actions.

One of the unsung heroes of America is Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. She was born in Los Angeles, California back in October 5, 1932. She was active in the civil rights movement. She talked with Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She fought against housing discrimination too. Gwen Green also worked in Los Angeles and California to fight for civil rights too. Later, she became the first black woman from the West Coast to be part of Congress in 1973. That was very historical. She told children to never give up. She said: "No matter what is in your way never give up and chase after your dream, with no interference of discouragement." She fought for child care, transportation, equal opportunities for women and minorities, and justice. She continues to fight the good fight today. I honor her sacrifice and courage. I have great respect for Jill Scott and her music. She is a woman who is honest and her songs deal with many topics like love, heartbreak, caring, consciousness, and life in general. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and everyone I know love her music or heard of her music. Recently, she married a man and I congratulate her on her marriage. She is not only a gorgeous black woman, but she has inspired so many people in the world with her words, music, and actions. She gave inspiration to a generation of women to see their inner beauty and to love their human dignity. She has told many truths about relationships and she has always shown love to the Brothers too. We send great respect and love back to Jill Scott. Bless you Sister Jill Scott. Genius was found in Lorraine Hansberry. She was ahead of her time literally. She not only wrote literature and created classic screenplays like Raisin in the Sun. She also was a dedicated civil rights activist. She has many friends like Nina Simone, etc. She communicated with Malcolm X before too. She loved literature and justice. She supported civil rights and the African liberation movements. She advanced policies of justice and human freedom. Her intellectual genius was abundant and her plays represented the realities that black people face everyday. She is always a legend. She taught us that there is nothing wrong with being Young, Black, and Gifted.

RIP Sister Lorraine Hansberry.

By Timothy

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