Democracy and the whimper of rebellion

(First posted in April 2016, during primary elections)

If we allow ourselves to be courted by politicians whose past performances prove they are impotent and prone to acquiesce to the status quo of the corporate state, we choose to be a victim of the flirtatious advances of narcissistic functionaries who always perform best for the highest bidders.  This is not a democracy; it is oligarchy.

The fact is that, for now, we exercise a meaningless vote every couple of years. It is a relic, an indication that in some distant past, if not a mythical rendition of it, that keeps the oligarchy on track. It assures the citizenry that the elite — the corporate boards and billionaire class  — are acting with their consent and approval. It quietens any whimper of rebellion and marginalizes the steady dissent of the few.

The path to democracy is not the way of the ballot box. It is, rather, a forceful and constant confrontation with the wealthy beneficiaries of the oligarchy.

Will Hillary Clinton lead the opposition against Israel’s illegal occupation?

Getting Israel out of Palestinian territories, and subsequently negotiating a solution to the eternal stalemate, will require arbitrators, like the U.S., to be sure-footed and committed to principles of social justice and democratic ideals.  It is not apparent that any of the 2016 presidential candidates are especially qualified to lead this process.

Particularly troubling is the duplicity of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who seems most eager to wear the mantel of experience with the issues that prohibit a peace process.

Sandy Tolan, in her article for Truthdig, points to some of Clinton’s statements as cause for voters to be concerned about her potential actions as President:

I hereby present you with the 2016 campaign’s Best of Clinton:

  • A promise to invite Netanyahu to the White House “during my first month in office” in order to “reaffirm” the “unbreakable bond with Israel”—no matter the prime minister’s attempts to embarrass and undermine President Obama by trying to scuttle the Iran deal. Or worse, Netanyahu’s devastation of Gaza during the summer of 2014, in which 521 children died, 108,000 Gazans lost their homes, 18,000 buildings were badly damaged or destroyed, and Israel’s destructive power, compared to all the rockets launched by Hamas, was an estimated 1,500 to 1.
  • Virtual silence on the settlement issue in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2016 conference. During the event, even Biden—he of the “absolute, total, unvarnished” support for Israel—decried the “steady and systematic process of expanding settlements.” By contrast, Clinton’s speech, a “symphony of craven, delusional pandering,” as Slate’s Michelle Goldberg put it, mentioned settlements only in the context of protecting Israel against its own violation of international law.
  • An attack on Donald Trump from the right by denouncing Trump’s once-expressed wish to remain “neutral” over Israel/Palestine. “We need steady hands, not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday, and who-knows-what on Wednesday, because everything’s negotiable,” Clinton told the AIPAC gathering.
  • Unilateral condemnation of recent Palestinian aggression that has killed 28 Israelis. “Israel faces brutal terrorist stabbings, shootings and vehicle attacks at home,” she said at AIPAC. “Palestinian leaders need to stop inciting violence.” Yet she had not one word for the 188 Palestinians killed during the same period, some of them in extrajudicial executions by the Israeli military, including here, here and here. Nor did she utter the word “occupation,” under which Palestinians have been living for nearly half a century, and which has created a Jim Crow-like inequality that reminded then-Archbishop Desmond Tutu of apartheid South Africa.
  • Equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, largely through condemnation of BDS(Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), a nonviolent movement to confront Israel’s human rights abuses through direct economic and political pressure. (Would she prefer suicide bombers and rockets?) Never mind that the relatively modest movement has been endorsed by an assortment of international trade unions, scholarly associations,church groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and Tutu himself. At the root of BDS, Clinton hints darkly, is anti-Semitism. “At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world,” Clinton wrote in a letter to donor Haim Saban, “we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.”

 

It is evident that Clinton will not seriously contribute to the peace process but will continue down the path that leads the U.S. into more wars and less justice for Palestinians.

The American public needs to be much wiser than its leaders, more outspoken and more politically active to turn the tide toward peace and away from imperialistic enterprise in the Middle East.

Top five tweets

The five tweets that have received the largest audience from my Twitter account over the past two weeks:

Palestine (topic/keyword)
“Clinton aims to silence free speech and legitimate criticism of Israel” #Palestine http://buff.ly/1X2u22a
Cites an article published on Truthdig, by Sandy Tolan, “A Kiss Was Just A Kiss: Hillary Clinton’s March to the Radical Right on Israel
Tolan shows the shifting positions of Hillary Clinton with regard to Israel, Netanyahu, and her sympathy for the Palestinian cause. A great read for anyone who is still wondering how Clinton will handle Israel, the Middle East, and particularly the occupation of Palestine by the Israelis.

Organic (hashtag)
Monsanto Profits Drop Twenty-Five Percent Again as Farmers, Individuals Go #Organic http://buff.ly/1XmD5uO
Links to an article by the same title from the Centre for Research on Globalization by Mike Barrett, crediting consumer awareness of Monsanto’s use of GMOs in their agricultural products as the reason for Monsanto’s decline in profitability.

Environment (topic and hashtag)
Monsanto Is Suing California for Telling the Truth About Its Chemicals #environment @kemba722 http://buff.ly/1UOu0NX
This was a retweet I posted about Monsanto suing the state of California for placing Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate on its toxic chemicals list. The article cited by @kemba722 is located here.

Racial Injustice, #racism #education (topic and hashtags)
STUDY: White Teachers Often Expect Black Students to Fail #racism #education http://buff.ly/1SFbkwc
Published on “Colorlines” (Race Forward), by Kenrya Rankin, the article cites a study by the Johns Hopkins University, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, that finds that teachers have lower expectations of black students and that these lower expectations are self-fulfilling in many instances.

Palestine, #Gaza (topic and hashtags)
Israeli Navy Opens Fire On Gaza Fishing Boats; Army Invades Lands In Central #Gaza #palestine http://buff.ly/1qgPdmG
Cites an article by the International Middle East Media Center reporting on clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in occupied lands.

Healthy planet, healthy life: benefits of veganism

There are many reasons why people should consider a vegan diet and lifestyle, one of which has been emphasized in my Twitter posts, that is, the negative effects of a carnivorous diet on the planet and its accelerating impact on climate change.

In the past, I have emphasized another strong reason for going vegan, that is, the health benefits of the plant-based diet. Heavily influenced by the work of Thomas Campbell and the China Study, I have become convinced by the data, as well as my own experience of improved health, after adopting a strictly vegan diet.

However, though these are two excellent reasons for going vegan with a diet, at the very root of the vegan cause is the obvious, and most compelling, argument to be made, that is, the abject cruelty and immoral slaughter of animals for human consumption.

And, it is not only the slaughter that is egregious, but also the production activities of the enormous agricultural industry that is charged with the cruel duty of meeting the carnivores’ growing demand for more meat.

Horrendous living conditions, animal diseases, rampant use of antibiotics in food production, government complicity in the blatant disregard for animal well-being and its own regulations, all are contributors to the moral decline of the human appetite.

“Veganism” is sometimes viewed as trendy and sexy, while both weird and marginal to human behavior. But, at its core, it is a moral cause that is both healthful and neighborly to all of the inhabitants of the only planet we have.

 

Practical Tips for the Whistleblower | The Law Offices of Daniel Feder | San Francisco, California

Excellent tips on how to protect oneself against retaliation and/or loss of job if “whistleblowing” may be in your future.  See link below excerpt.

Whistleblowers are responsible for uncovering 43 percent of all corporate and government fraud, according to a Price Waterhouse study. This is more than all of the fraud uncovered by law enforcement and outside auditors combined. So, whistleblowing plays an important role in keeping corporations honest, and rooting out the bad guys and ladies from society.

via Practical Tips for the Whistleblower | The Law Offices of Daniel Feder | San Francisco, California