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Saturday, January 19, 2019

RUSSIAN HEROES












Texas Republican calls Trump's border crisis a "myth"




The largest single group of migrants ever to cross into the U.S. tunneled under the border wall near San Luis, Arizona, on Monday! https://www.axios.com/texas-republican-will-hurd-calls-bord…
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AXIOS.COM
Will Hurd says a border wall is "the most expensive and least effective way to do border security."



Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), whose district shares 820 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico, told Rolling Stone that the border crisis Trump speaks of is a "myth," and that his wall is the "most expensive and least effective way to do border security."
Details: Hurd said using eminent domain to take land for the border wall would impact 1,000 Texas property owners and that building a wall is “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.” Hurd believes that the $67 billion of drugs coming into the country does amount to a "crisis," but said that the U.S. should do more to combat the root causes of illegal immigration by working closely with Mexico and countries in Central America plagued by "violence and lack of economic opportunities."

https://www.axios.com/texas-republican-will-hurd-calls-border-crisis-myth-ec078ec4-1487-47b2-9ea7-9aa0148c3371.html





The War on BDS: How Israel’s Agenda Became a US Priority




Christo Meyer shared a link to the group: BDS Israel.

This coming Monday, our country (the USA) is supposedly celebrating the memory and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who advocated for, and demonstrated the utility of peaceful methods of protest - especially the use of boycotts to raise awareness of political and civil inequities. I hope my fellow American citizens recognize the hypocrisy demonstrated by our current President and national legislators who have shown an eagerness to outlaw the use of boycotts to draw attention to the mistreatment of the Palestinian people by the racist Israeli government. The global BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement is attempting to peacefully educate the world in order to cause civil changes within the homeland of these Palestinian people, just as the previous anti-apartheid boycott movement pressured the South African government to finally restore civil and democratic rights to the majority black African population within that nation's borders. Sadly, almost all of our American political class has succumbed to pressure from the extremely strong and global, pro-Israeli lobby. This is evidenced by our national politicians eagerness to attend and speak at the annual Israeli lobby's (AIPAC) convention. Do we see our politicians from both major political parties rushing to attend conventions organized to support any other nation in the world? This sycophantic support is further evidenced by Israel annually being awarded the greatest amount of foreign aid that these politicians dispense despite its small size, economic prosperity, and complete lack of value to the American citizenry. (And despite existing American laws that forbid any U.S. foreign aid distribution to country's maintaining nuclear weapons that fail to sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.) If you value being an American citizen, I hope you will reject voting for any politician that is so beholden to a foreign country that they will try to tell us who we can and cannot boycott.This coming Monday, our country (the USA) is supposedly celebrating the memory and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who advocated for, and demonstrated the utility of peaceful methods of protest - especially the use of boycotts to raise awareness of political and civil inequities. I hope my fellow American citizens recognize the hypocrisy demonstrated by our current President and national legislators who have shown an eagerness to outlaw the use of boycotts to draw attention to the mistreatment of the Palestinian people by the racist Israeli government. The global BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement is attempting to peacefully educate the world in order to cause civil changes within the homeland of these Palestinian people, just as the previous anti-apartheid boycott movement pressured the South African government to finally restore civil and democratic rights to the majority black African population within that nation's borders. Sadly, almost all of our American political class has succumbed to pressure from the extremely strong and global, pro-Israeli lobby. This is evidenced by our national politicians eagerness to attend and speak at the annual Israeli lobby's (AIPAC) convention. Do we see our politicians from both major political parties rushing to attend conventions organized to support any other nation in the world? This sycophantic support is further evidenced by Israel annually being awarded the greatest amount of foreign aid that these politicians dispense despite its small size, economic prosperity, and complete lack of value to the American citizenry. (And despite existing American laws that forbid any U.S. foreign aid distribution to country's maintaining nuclear weapons that fail to sign the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.) If you value being an American citizen, I hope you will reject voting for any politician that is so beholden to a foreign country that they will try to tell us who we can and cannot boycott.
MINTPRESSNEWS.COM
Cheered on by AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies, the US Congress is now leading Israel's war on Palestinians and their supporters.



The War on BDS: How Israel’s Agenda Became a US Priority


The Israeli-US war declared on the Palestinian boycott movement is coming to a head, culminating in a well-orchestrated effort aimed at suffocating any form of tangible protest of the ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestine.
But an Israeli ‘victory’, even with blind US government support, is still too elusive if at all guaranteed. Killing unarmed protesters at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel is often whitewashed as Israel ‘defending itself’. However, legislating unconstitutional laws against the rights of ordinary people to boycott a state that practices war crimes might not be an easy endeavor.
The fact that 26 US states have already passed legislation or some form of condemnation of the civil act of boycott, as championed in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) should, in fact, raise more awareness of the iniquitous Israeli influence on the United States, rather than actually thwarting BDS.

The US Senate first bill of 2019 (S.B.1) titled: “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019” called on state and local governments to withhold contracts from any individual or business entity that boycotts Israel.
The bill was defeated, which is a promising sign. However, it must be noted as profound, if not altogether outrageous, that a country that is subsisting in a government shutdown and political crisis would find it both compelling and necessary to push for such a law in defense of a foreign country.
The bill will reappear again, of course. Alas, Americans should now get used to the idea that Israel’s priorities, however skewed and irrational in defense of its illegal military occupation of Palestine, will become the main rally cry for the US government for years to come.
While such a notion has proved true in the past, never before did ordinary Americans find themselves the main target in the political agenda of the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even the mere protest of this agenda is being shunned. Iconic US civil rights activist, Angela Davis, 74, deservingly celebrated for her contribution to American society for decades, was denied an award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute because of her defense of Palestinians and support of BDS.
This witch-hunt, which has now reached the most admired intellectuals of American society is affecting ordinary citizens everywhere as well, which is an alarming development in Israel’s unchecked power in the United States.
But how did Israel and its supporters acquire such disproportionate influence over the US government and society as a whole?
In short, the Lobby.
Cheered on by American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other pro-Israel lobbies, the US Congress is now leading the Israeli war on Palestinians and their supporters. In the process, they are attempting to demolish the very core of American democratic values.
The build-up to this particular battle, which will certainly be accentuated in 2019, began when AIPAC declared in its “2017 Lobbying Agenda” (PDF) that criminalizing the boycott of Israel is a top priority.
Cuomo  | BDS | Israel
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs a first-in-the-nation Executive Order directing the divestment of public funds supporting BDS against Israel. Kevin P. Coughlin | Office of Governor Cuomo
The US Congress, which has historically proven subservient to the Israeli government and its lobbies, enthusiastically embraced AIPAC’s efforts. This resulted in the Senate Bill S.720, also known as the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act”, which aimed to ban the boycott of Israel and its illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
The bill almost immediately gained the support of 48 Senators and 234 House members. Unsurprisingly, it was drafted mostly by AIPAC itself.
Punishment for those who violate the proposed law ranged from $250,000 to $1 million and 10 years imprisonment.
Anti-Palestinian measures in the US are nothing new. In fact, ardent support for Israel and the complete disregard for Palestinians is the only aspect which Democrats and Republicans have in common. It will remain to be seen if the inclusion of progressive and Muslim women in this current House lineup will change or at least challenge that reality.
For now, the sad truth is that the very individuals who were meant to guard the Constitution are the ones openly violating it. The First Amendment to the US Constitution has been the pillar in defense of the people’s right to free speech, freedom of the press, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.
This right has, however, often been curtailed when it applies to Israel. The Center for Constitutional Rights refers to this fact as “The Palestine Exception“.
Dire as it may seem, there is something positive in this. For many years, it has been wrongly perceived that Israel’s solicitation of American support against Palestinians and Arabs is by no means a foreign country meddling or interfering in the US political system or undermining US democracy.
However, the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” is the most egregious of such interventions, for it strikes down the First Amendment, the very foundation of American democracy, by using America’s own legislators as its executors.
But none of this will succeed because simply put, noble ideas cannot be defeated.
Moreover, for Israel, this is a new kind of battle, one which it is foolishly attempting to fight using the traditional tactics of threats and intimidation and backed by blind US support.
The more the lobby tries to defeat BDS the more it exposes itself and its stranglehold on the American government and media.
Israel is no student of history. It has learned nothing from the experience of the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. It is no surprise that Israel remained the last supporter of the Apartheid regime in that country before it fell.
For true champions of human rights, regardless of their race, religion or citizenship, this is their moment as no meaningful change ever occurs without people being united in struggle and sacrifice.
Top Photo | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, March 6, 2018, in Washington. Jose Luis Magana | AP
Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.
Source | MEMO
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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.
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What the ‘Irish famine’ genocide teaches us about Palestine











MONDOWEISS.NET
The British took advantage of the potato famine to try to halve the population of 



 on 








A few evenings ago I watched the 2018 film, Black 47. It tells of the Irish Famine through the story of one traumatized Irish returned soldier. The main character, Martin Feeney (played by the young Australian actor James Frecheville), returns to Ireland from India (another British colony) after fighting for the Empire, only to find the devastation brought on Ireland by the British colonizers, enforced by the very same army he fought for.
This film is painfully well made in every way and is not easy to watch, but watching it honors the memory of the victims and ensures we do not forget crimes against humanity. The film’s main story is fictional and so are the characters. But the context in which the story unfolds, the time and events of the Irish Famine, are devastatingly real.
One of the most important messages from this film is that big historical events that affect a lot of people are not some abstract thing that happens ‘out there’ that has nothing to do with us. Everything that happens to human beings is personal both to victims and perpetrators, albeit in different ways. For those looking at significant historical events from outside or from the distance of time, it can be too easy to perceive them in the abstract. In fact, the way history is written and taught makes it too easy for all of us to view things with detachment. This film warns us against that. It makes history personal.
The victims of the famine were people, human beings like us. We don’t have to know them personally to be able to put ourselves in their shoes. What would it be like to be so poor that you have nothing, to have no shoes, no warm clothes, to not be able to feed yourself and your children, to watch your children die of starvation? How frightening and how desperate would this be? We all know what it feels to be afraid. We all know what desperation feels like, even if we have never experienced the particular conditions the film shows.
What would it be like to be stripped to the bare bones of survival because of the deliberate and calculating actions of someone more powerful than you who views you with contempt because of who you are? What would it be like to be treated like you are piece of garbage, a nothing, by someone who is so much more powerful than you that he can do anything he wants to you? It isn’t that hard to imagine and right now this is life and reality for many people around the world, including the Palestinian people. There are degrees of suffering, yes, but in my profession, we do not compare suffering. Every human being’s suffering matters to them and those around them and it should matter to all of us.
The events between 1845 and 1849 that devastated Ireland are called the ‘Irish Famine’. This is a descriptive title, and yes there was a terrible famine. But such a title makes it sound like this was an unavoidable natural disaster, a force of nature, when it was anything but. The so-called ‘Irish Famine’ was really a genocide committed with intent by the colonizing British Empire. It saw millions die of starvation, disease and exposure and millions leave Ireland never to return.


Britain took advantage of a natural disaster that caused a devastating failure of potato crops not only in Ireland but elsewhere in Europe to reduce the population of Ireland and break its resistance to British colonial rule. The potato blight that swept through Ireland left millions starving. The genocide saw the Brits ship food out of Ireland deliberately, while the local people were starving. Starving people were cold-heartedly evicted out of their dwellings into the harsh and cold countryside because they were too poor to pay rent to well-nourished English and English-sponsored landlords who stole and colonized Irish land and lived in comfort and warmth. Millions, entire families, were made homeless for no reason at all and no fault of their own. They were victims of the cruelty of the ruling classes of an Empire that wanted their land. They were thrown out with nothing, starving and barefoot like useless bits of rubbish with nothing to eat, and many died.

Britain felt contempt for the indigenous Irish. It chose not to see them as fellow human beings. Charles Trevelyan, the assistant secretary to the Treasury who was effectively in charge of Famine relief in Ireland said:
“The judgment of God sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson, that calamity must not be too much mitigated . . . the real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.” (From Tim Pat Coogan. *The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy*. 2013)
This quote does not need interpretation. It speaks for itself. Dehumanization is a common tactic all colonizers and settler-colonizers have been using throughout human history. All colonizers and genocidal regimes convince themselves (and all the bystanders out there) that they are not committing any crime, that in killing millions of their fellow human beings they are in fact doing something virtuous, essential and even godly. It is necessary to dehumanize victims so the job of harming, killing and displacing them is not only made easier but is in fact possible at all. Most people would not harm one another when they feel empathy and relate to each other’s experience. Colonizers do a good job convincing large sections of their own population and outsiders to turn off the empathy switch. They would not be able to carry out atrocities otherwise.
Britain managed to reduce the indigenous population of Ireland by half, and even after the worst of it was over, the population of Ireland kept declining. Britain did fail in the end. Ireland eventually freed itself from British colonialism in 1937, just under a century after the famine genocide. The entire journey however took hundreds of years of ongoing resistance to horrible cruelty, brutality, injustice, internal divisions fostered by the colonizers, a civil war and an unbelievable amount of suffering of an untold number of people.
Halving the population of a country that you colonize is one effective way to try to prevent resistance. The British ruling classes wanted Ireland not for natural resources but for strategic advantage. But regardless of the reasons that might lead one group of people to invade the land of another, colonizers and settler-colonizers are always abusive and parasitical opportunists. They invade, they take over, they turn people against one another, they suck the land and its population dry, they steal from and discard the host, or at least try to.
We see one such case unfolding in Palestine right in front of our noses and no one is doing anything about it. Most of the world looks on as it always has done. It views what is being done to the Palestinians either with the indifference of detachment, or with contempt toward the victims fueled by the choice to believe the perpetrators’ (predictable) dehumanizing propaganda. The perpetrator, the exclusively Jewish state of Israel created by the Zionist movement – itself a product of the colonialist mindset of 19th Century Europe – is still, incredibly, perceived as legitimate rather than as the crime that it is. It is as if we have learned absolutely nothing from history.
It took this long for such a painful, uncompromising and realistic film to be made about one of the many crimes of British colonialism in Ireland. I wonder when someone will finally make a film like this about the Nakba.

Avigail
About Avigail Abarbanel
Avigail Abarbanel was born and raised in Israel. She moved to Australia in 1991 and now lives in the north of Scotland. She works as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor in private practice and is an activist for Palestinian rights. She is the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).
Other posts by .











https://mondoweiss.net/2019/01/genocide-teaches-palestine/

Matt Taibbi | Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending?






Reader Supported News
19 January 19
It's Live on the HomePage Now:
Reader Supported News


Matt Taibbi | Has the Government Legalized Secret Defense Spending? 
Aerial view of the Pentagon building. (photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images)
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
Taibbi writes: "October 4th, 2018, was a busy news day. The fight over Brett Kavanuagh's Supreme Court nomination dominated the cycle."
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Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)
Robert Mueller. (photo: NBC)

Mueller's Office Denies BuzzFeed Report That Trump Told Cohen to Lie About Moscow Project
Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian, The Washington Post
Excerpt: "Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's office on Friday denied an explosive report by BuzzFeed News that his investigators had gathered evidence showing President Trump directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a prospective business deal in Moscow."
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Jason Van Dyke. (photo: Antonio Perez/Getty Images)
Jason Van Dyke. (photo: Antonio Perez/Getty Images)

Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison for Murdering Laquan McDonald
Alan Pyke, ThinkProgress
Pyke writes: "Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months in prison for the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2014, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Friday evening."
READ MORE

No More Deaths volunteers. (photo: Matt Nager)
No More Deaths volunteers. (photo: Matt Nager)

Arizona: Four Women Convicted After Leaving Food and Water in Desert for Migrants
Associated Press
Excerpt: "A federal judge has found four women guilty of entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit as they sought to place food and water in the Arizona desert for migrants."
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Women protesting against Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)
Women protesting against Donald Trump. (photo: Getty Images)

Women's March 2019: Thousands to Protest Across US
teleSUR
Excerpt: "Two years after filling the streets of U.S. cities to protest the start of Donald Trump's presidency, women will march again this weekend to try to build political pressure against him ahead of the 2020 elections."
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Since their 1994 uprising, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has been a global reference for revolutionary movements. (photo: NP)
Since their 1994 uprising, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has been a global reference for revolutionary movements. (photo: NP)

A Spark of Hope: The Ongoing Lessons of the Zapatista Revolution 25 Years On
Hilary Klein, NACLA
Klein writes: "January 1, 2019 marked 25 years since the Zapatistas captured the world's imagination with their brief but audacious uprising to demand justice and democracy for Indigenous peasants in southern Mexico."
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A green sea turtle, one of the animals whose population has increased because of Endangered Species Act protections. (photo: Mark Sullivan/NOAA)
A green sea turtle, one of the animals whose population has increased because of Endangered Species Act protections. (photo: Mark Sullivan/NOAA)

Marine Mammals and Turtles Protected by the Endangered Species Act Are Bouncing Back
Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch
Rosane writes: "The Endangered Species Act works. That's the conclusion of a peer-reviewed study undertaken by scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity and published in PLOS ONE Wednesday."
READ MORE