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Richard Mellor / Israeli Jew Talks to Young Palestinians in Gaza
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Today at 06:01:21 PM »
Israeli Jew Talks to Young Palestinians in Gaza



This is from 972 Magazine and it's a heartwarming interview with four Palestinians locked in the largest outdoor prison in the world, Gaza.  The young Israeli Jew talks with them and shares his thoughts as well.  Watching two of them, a young Palestinian man telling him his grandparents are from the town the young Israeli was born in and a young woman telling him she is from the town he is living in presently, Jaffa (Tel Aviv). Neither can go there of course. Imagine being expelled from your home town and not being able to return as foreigners settle there.
Source: Israeli Jew Talks to Young Palestinians in Gaza
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Watch Trump Accuser Corroborate Stormy Daniels' Story in Live Appearance with Prominent Feminist Lawyer



 
 
 



The adult film actor Jessica Drake said she's coming forward now because "women deserve to be heard and believed."


 

Jessice Drake, an adult film actor who has accused President Donald Trump of kissing her without her consent and offering her money for sex, came forward in her first live interview Monday to support Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels.

Clifford, who is also an adult film actor, has said she had an affair with the president in 2006, a story that he denies. She also says that she was once threatened by a man she didn't know to keep quiet about the affair. Clifford was later paid $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement about her relationship with Trump ahead of the 2016 election, and she is now suing to be released from that contract.

Drake told MSNBC's Ari Melber that she can corroborate much of Clifford's story. Drake was accompanied by Gloria Allred, a prominent feminist attorney.

"I'm speaking out now not only to support Stormy but because women deserve to be heard and believed," she said. 

She says she was with Clifford and Trump when the affair first began.

"I was actually present in the room where we were first with Donald, in the hotel room, in Lake Tahoe," she said. Clifford kept Drake up to date about her relationship with Trump, she said. She also said that Clifford later told her multiple times about the threat she received.

In addition, Drake said that the president kissed her without her consent and said he would pay her $10,000 to come up to his room, which she assumed was a request for sex.

Melber noted that this would contradict the president's own words, as recorded by former FBI Director James Comey, that he would never pay for sex. Separately, a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent says that Trump was recorded by the Russians engaging with prostitutes at a hotel in Moscow, a recording which the Kremlin has allegedly used to blackmail Trump.

Watch the clip below:






 

Related Stories


Source: Watch Trump Accuser Corroborate Stormy Daniels' Story in Live Appearance with Prominent Feminist Lawyer
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Inter Press Service - Labour / We Are Migrants: Teasing Italian Taste Buds
« Last post by Inter Press Service on Today at 06:01:15 PM »
We Are Migrants: Teasing Italian Taste Buds

Atik and Said have many things in common. They are both from Bangladesh, both are about the same age, in their thirties and, they are both migrant workers in an Italian restaurant in the heart of Rome, a stone?s throw from Saint Peter?s Basilica. They are not the only migrants working in the food service […]

The post We Are Migrants: Teasing Italian Taste Buds appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Source: We Are Migrants: Teasing Italian Taste Buds
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Richard Mellor / Marx 200: Carney, Bowles and Varoufakis
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Today at 06:00:17 AM »
Marx 200: Carney, Bowles and Varoufakis

by Michael Roberts

As the 200th anniversary of Marx?s birth gets closer, a  host of conferences, articles and books on the legacy of Marx and his  relevance today are emerging ? including my own contribution.  The most interesting was a speech last week by the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney in his homeland of Canada.

In his speech at a ?Growth Summit? to the Public Policy Forum in  Toronto, Carney set out to be provocative and headline catching with a  statement that Marxism could once again become a prominent political  force in the West.  ?The benefits, from a worker?s perspective, from  the first industrial revolution, which began in the latter half of the  18th century, were not felt fully in productivity and wages until the  latter half of the 19th century. If you substitute platforms for textile  mills, machine learning for steam engines, Twitter for the telegraph,  you have exactly the same dynamics as existed 150 years ago (actually 170 years ago ?MR )? when Karl Marx was scribbling the Communist Manifesto.?

Just as the first industrial revolution in early 19th century Britain  led to the collapse of traditional jobs and held down real wages for a  generation in the first two decades of the 19th century, so in this  current Long Depression globally, with the advent of robots and AI, a  new industrial revolution threatens to destroy human labour and  livelihoods.

In 1845, Engels wrote, The condition of the working class in England,  which exposed the misery and poverty engendered by the replacement of  manual skills with machines and kept real incomes stagnant.  Now, says  Carney, Marxism might again be relevant with a new burst of ?capital  bias? (ie a rise in machines relative to human labour power).

Automation may not just destroy millions of jobs.  For all except a  privileged minority of high tech workers, the collapse in the demand for  labour could hold down living standards for decades.

In such a climate, ?Marx and Engels may again become relevant?, said Carney.
Without realising it, Carney was reiterating Marx?s general law of  capitalist accumulation outlined in Volume One of Capital (Chapter 25),  written some 160 years ago, that capitalist accumulation will expand and  promote machines to replace human labour but this will not lead  automatically to higher living standards, less toil and more freedom for  the individual, but mostly to downward pressure on real incomes, not  only of those losing their jobs to machines, but in general.  It would  also lead to more not less toil for those with jobs, while leaving  millions in a state of ?precarious labour? ? a reserve army for capital  to exploit or dispense with as the cycle of accumulation demands. (see  Capital Volume One p782-3 and my new book, pp32-37).

Carney?s view of the robot revolution leading to massive job losses has much empirical backing.  However, as Marx pointed out in Capital, it is not a one-sided collapse  in jobs.  Technology also creates new jobs and raises the productivity  of labour and, depending on the balance of forces in the class struggle  between capital and labour over the value created, real incomes can also  rise.  This happens in periods when profitability is improving and more labour comes into the market.

Of course, this ?happy? side of capitalist accumulation is the one  that mainstream economics likes to promote, contrary to Carney?s  worries.  For example, Paul Ormerod, commented on Carney?s view of the relevance of Marx. You see, Marx ?was  completely wrong on a fundamental issue.  Marx thought, correctly, that  the build up of capital and the advance of technology would create long  term growth in the economy.  However, he believed that the capitalist  class would expropriate all the gains.  Wages would remain close to  subsistence levels ? the ?immiseration of the working class? as he  called it.?

In fact, says Ormerod, ?living standards have boomed for everyone  in the West since the middle of the 19th century.  Leisure hours have  increased dramatically and, far from being sent up chimneys at the age  of three, young people today do not enter the labour force until at  least 18.?  Apparently prosperity is the order of the day:  ?every single instance of an economy which enters into the sustained  economic growth of the market-oriented capitalist economies, from early  19th century England to late 20th century China.  Once this is over, the  fruits of growth become widely shared.?

There are several points here that I have taken up in many previous posts.  First, Marx did not hold to a theory of ?subsistence wage levels?.  As  for the argument that capitalism has taken everybody out of poverty and  reduced toil and misery, it is full of holes.  Note that Ormerod talks  of ?everyone in the West?, thus giving the lie to billions outside ?the West? that remain in poverty by any definitions.  See my detailed posts on the level of poverty globally here.

And contrary to Ormerod?s view (as that of Keynes before him), the rise of technology under capitalism has not led to much reduction in toil.  I have shown that most people in ?the West? continue to have working lives (in hours per year) much as they did in  1880s or the 1930s; they may work less hours per day on average and get  Saturdays and Sundays off (for some), but they still put in over 1800  hours a year and work longer overall (50 years or so).

Ormerod also argues that inequality of incomes and wealth is not  getting worse and labour?s share in national income has stopped falling,  contrary to Carney.  Well, there  is a wealth of evidence that wealth and income inequality is not  improving, both globally between nations and within national economies.

Ormerod is right, however, to question Carney?s one-sided model of  capitalism.  Labour?s share of total value created can rise and fall in  different periods depending on the balance of class forces and impact of  accumulation; and Carney?s own graph shows that real wages did not just  stagnate in the first industrial revolution or now, but also in the  1850s and 1860s; and in the first quarter of the 20th  century.  So there is more to this issue than technology.  The current  stagnation in real wages in the UK and the US is more a product of the  Long Depression of the last ten years than robots or AI, which have  hardly started to have an impact yet (labour productivity growth is low or slowing in most economies).  The profitability of capital itself and the strength of labour in the battle over value created are more relevant.

Unfortunately it is not just mainstream economists who either distort or dismiss Marx?s economic theory.  In an article for Vox, eminent and longstanding Marxist economist Sam Bowles writes on the legacy of Marx?s economic ideas in order to dismiss them.  He agrees with Keynes? view that Capital is ?an  obsolete economic textbook [that is] not only scientifically erroneous  but without interest or application to the modern world? (Keynes 1925). And he agrees with 1960s mainstream economic guru, Paul Samuelson?s judgement that ?From  the viewpoint of pure economic theory, Karl Marx can be regarded as a  minor post-Ricardian?and who in turn was ?the most overrated of  economists? (Samuelson 1962).

Bowles considers that Marx?s labour theory of value was ?pioneering, but inconsistent and outdated?. According to Bowles, Marx?s labour theory of value as a representation  of a general system of exchange and his theory of the tendency of the  profit rate to fall ?did not resolve the outstanding theoretical  problems of his day, but rather anticipated problems that would later be  addressed mathematically.?  Bowles reckons that mainstream  economics, in particular neoclassical marginalism, went on to sort out  Marx?s failures by replacing his value theory.  And this has also led to  dropping the idea of social ownership of the means of production to  replace the capitalist mode. ?Modern public economics, mechanism  design and public choice theory has also challenged the notion ? common  among many latter-day Marxists, though not originating with Marx himself  ? that economic governance without private property and markets could  be a viable system of economic governance.?

Apparently, all that is left of Marx?s legacy is what Bowles calls ?despotism in the workplace?, the exploitive nature of capitalist production; which is not due to the  exploitation of labour power for surplus value; but the ?power  structure? where moguls and managers rule the roost over the worker  serfs.  Thus we are reduced to a political theory (and even that is not  much in common with Marx?s political theory for that matter) as Marx?s  economic ideas are ?outdated? or false.

Well, all Bowles arguments (and those of Keynes and Samuelson) have  been taken up by me in various posts in the past, and more thoroughly in  my new book, Marx 200.  In short, we can show that Marx?s value theory  is logical, consistent and backed empirically.  It even provides a compelling explanation of relative price movements in capitalism, though that is not its main aim.  Its main aim is to show the particular form that the capitalist mode of  production takes in exploiting human labour for profit;  and why that  system of exploitation has inherent contradictions that cannot be  resolved without its abolition.

Moreover, the Marxist critique of capitalism is based on economics  and leads to revolutionary political action; so it is not (just) a moral  critique of ?despotism? in the workplace or anywhere else.  The market  economy (capitalism) cannot deliver the full development of human  potential because despotism in the workplace is a product of the  exploitation of labour by capital.

Yanis Varoufakis recognises this in his long article on Marx and Engels? Manifesto of the Communist Party to promote his new introduction to that masterpiece.  Varoufakis writes a colourful, if over flowery,  article emphasising one great message of Marx and Engels? CM: that  capitalism is the first mode of production that has become global.   Varoufakis sees this process as only being completed with the fall of  the Soviet Union and other ?communist? states that blocked globalisation  until then. That is probably an exaggeration.  Capitalism from the  start aimed to expand globally (as Marx and Engels explain in the CM).   After the end of the depression of the 1870 and 1880s, there was startling expansion of capital worldwide, now named imperialism, based on flows of capital and trade.

While correctly recognising the powerful (happy?) effect of  capitalism globally, Varoufakis also emphasises the dark side: of  alienation, exploitation, imperialism and despotism: ?While  celebrating how globalisation has shifted billions from abject poverty  to relative poverty, venerable western newspapers, Hollywood  personalities, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, bishops and even  multibillionaire financiers all lament some of its less desirable  ramifications: unbearable inequality, brazen greed, climate change, and the hijacking of our parliamentary democracies by bankers and the ultra-rich.?

And, contrary to the conventional mainstream view, Varoufakis argues  that Marx and Engels were right that class struggle under capitalism can  be boiled down to a battle between capital and labour.   ?Society as a whole,? it argues, ?is more and more splitting up into  two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each  other.? As production is mechanised, and the profit margin of the  machine-owners becomes our civilisation?s driving motive, society splits  between non-working shareholders and non-owner wage-workers. As for the  middle class, it is the dinosaur in the room, set for extinction.?

And he sees that capitalism must be replaced, not modified or corrected for its faults.  ?It  is our duty to tear away at the old notion of privately owned means of  production and force a metamorphosis, which must involve the social  ownership of machinery, land and resources.   Only by abolishing private  ownership of the instruments of mass production and replacing it with a  new type of common ownership that works in sync with new technologies,  will we lessen inequality and find collective happiness.?

Varoufakis recognises the ?irrationality? of capitalism as a system for human progress and freedom, but this self-confessed ?erratic Marxist? does not present the material explanation for this irrationality, apart  from growing inequality and inability to use new technology to benefit  all.  Capitalism also suffers from regular and recurrent crises of  production that destroy and waste value created by human labour.  These  crises are of ?overproduction?, unique to capitalism and regularly throw  human development backwards.  This aspect of capitalism?s irrationality  is missing from Varoufakis? article, although it was expressed vividly  by Marx and Engels in the CM.  See the striking passage in CM where Marx and Engels start by explaining ?the need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe? and finishes with ?paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises and diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented?.

And a theory of crises is important.  People can live with rising  inequality, with relative poverty even, even wars etc, as long as, for  them, things improve gradually each year without break.  But gradual  improvement in living standards is not possible because capitalism has  regular and recurrent slumps in production, investment and employment  built into its system, which can last for a generation in depressions ?  as Carney?s graphs show.  That is a fundamental character of  capitalism?s irrationality.

Marx?s economic theories are often trashed or disputed ? fair enough  in a debate for truth.  But when each critical argument is analysed, it  can be found to be weak, in my view.  Marx?s laws of motion of  capitalism: the law of value; the law of accumulation and the law of  profitability still provide the best and most compelling explanation of  capitalism and its inherent contradictions.  And I am leaving out the  great contribution that Marx and Engels made to the understanding of  human historical development ? the materialist conception and the  history of class struggle ? that lie at the basis of human actions. ?Men  make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do  not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances  existing already, given and transmitted from the past.?

As the Manifesto says (and Varoufakis echoes in his article),  capitalism has taken the productive forces of human labour to  unprecedented heights, but dialectically it has also brought new depths  of depravity, exploitation and wars on a global scale.  Marx?s legacy is  to show why that is and why capitalism cannot last if human society is  to go forward to the ?free development of each? as the ?condition for the free development of all?.   Marx?s ideas remain even more relevant in the 21st century than the  19th.  But understanding is not enough.  As the epitaph on Marx?s tomb  in Highgate cemetery, London inscribes from Marx?s Theses on Feuerbach: ?The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it?.
Source: Marx 200: Carney, Bowles and Varoufakis
5
AlterNet / A Lot More of Us Are Committing Serious Crimes Than You Might Think
« Last post by AlterNet on Today at 06:00:13 AM »
A Lot More of Us Are Committing Serious Crimes Than You Might Think



 
 
 



It may not be ?American carnage," but Americans aren?t saints either according to a 2,000 person survey.


During Donald Trump?s inauguration speech, he spoke puzzlingly of "American carnage," a crime wave sweeping the United States that to listen to him, had Americans cowering in their homes, afraid to walk the streets. But the truth, as is usually the case with our 45th president, is somewhat different. The crime rate in the U.S., while slightly higher than past years, is still at a historically low point in modern history.

With this in mind, safehome.org, a home security review website, decided to produce a snapshot of everyday American criminal activities?a nationwide rap sheet if you will. They surveyed over 2,000 Americans to find out who among us has broken the law. The results, if not quite American carnage, are eye-opening.

Most Frequently Committed Crimes

When survey takers were offered a list of several crimes, both major and minor, and asked if they had committed any of them at least once, people answered yes to many of them. The most committed crime was a traffic violation, with 86% of survey participants admitting their guilt to anything from a parking ticket to running a red light to speeding.

Second on the list was downloading music, videos or software illegally, aka copyright infringement. Over three-fourths of the participants?76%?admitted to this crime, which if committed by a large corporation could result in billions of dollars in fines.

Further down the list, over half of the surveyed, 52%, admitted to possessing or using illegal drugs, and an equal number said they used prescription medicines that were not prescribed to them. While many of the crimes they admitted to were minor (urinating in a public place, throwing trash into someone else?s dumpster, littering), one major crime stands out at number 10. Forty percent of participants admitted to driving under the influence, a crime that kills 28 Americans a day and could land the driver in prison.

Top Major Crimes Committed

Most of the most commonly committed crimes are not in the ?carnage? category, but Americans do admit to some major criminal activity. DUI, as noted, is the most egregious crime that is commonly committed, at 40%, but it is not the only one. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said they had driven recklessly; 27% said they had threatened (but not followed through) to hit somebody; and 23% admitted that they knew about someone else?s criminal plans but failed to report their knowledge to the police, making them accomplices.

Other major crimes committed include stealing personal property (18%), physically attacking someone causing injury (17%), selling illegal drugs (16%), and knowingly writing a bad check (10%).

Crimes by Gender

Both men and women equally commit traffic violations, but after that, criminal activity differs between the genders. For instance, 63% of men have peed in a public space, while only 41% of women have stooped to this level. Sixty-one percent of men have trespassed, while only 50% of women have done so. Conversely, 39% of women admitted to shoplifting, while this crime does not even register in the top 10 for male criminal activity. 

Switching it up, 47% of men have made an illegal bet, while women don?t register in the bookie pool. Eighty-two percent of the surveyed men said they had downloaded music, videos or software illegally, while only 69% of women did so. Interestingly, while 55% of the men used or possessed illegal drugs, compared to 49% of women, more women, 54%, admitted to using prescription drugs that were not written for them, then men, at 51%.

All in all, among the top 10 most female-centric crimes vs. male-centric crimes, men admitted their crimes more frequently than women.

Crimes by Religion

Atheists lead the minor crime parade, though the differences are minimal, with 39% admitting to committing minor crimes, followed by Catholics, Jews and Buddhists, all at 36%, and Protestants at 33%. However, in the major crime category, Catholics are the leaders at 13%, almost twice the major crime rate of the last-place Buddhists (at 7%).

In the middle are Protestants and atheists at 10%, and Jews at 8%.

Crimes by Party Affiliation

Not much difference here. Democrats commit more minor crimes, 38% to 36%, but Republicans commit more major crimes, 11% to 10%.

Crimes by Sexual Orientation

Self-identified bisexuals lead the pack in both minor and major crimes, with 41% admitting to minor infractions and 13% admitting to major crimes. Straight people come in at 37% minor and 11% major, followed by gay people at 36% and 9%.

Crimes by Region

At 24.96%, the American South harbored more admitted criminals than any other region in the U.S. But it is close. The lowest number of crime committers is in the East where 23.46% say they are at least minor criminals, followed by the West at 23.86% and the Central States at 24.44%.

Crimes by Association

Seventy-one percent of men say they know someone who has committed a crime, while 65% of women say the same. Twelve percent of men know someone who has committed a major crime, vs. 9% for women. Overall, atheists seem to know the most criminals, with 72% admitting to knowing a criminal, while Jews are the group least likely to know a criminal, at 58%.

However, Jews and Christians tied at 14% when asked if they know a person who has committed a major crime.

What Should Be a Crime?

It isn?t a shock to find that most of the crimes committed by the survey participants were crimes they don?t think should be labeled crimes. Seventy-eight percent do not think dumpster diving should be a crime, while 74% think betting should be legal.

An equal number think repairs or renovations to your home should not require a permit; 70% think it should be legal to be paid for sex, and an almost equal 69% think it should be OK to be the one paying for sex.

Other minor infractions the surveyed think should be legal include throwing trash into some else?s dumpster (68%), being drunk in public (67%), illegal downloads of music, videos and software (66%), peeing in public (66%), and taking someone else?s prescription meds (63%).

By gender, the top crime both men and women think should be legalized is dumpster diving, at 76% and 81% respectively. To the surprise of no one, men think it should be legal to pay for sex, 73%, to 65% of women. And perhaps in response to those long public restroom lines for women, 70% of them think peeing in public should be legal, vs. 62% of men.

See the entire survey.






 

Related Stories


Source: A Lot More of Us Are Committing Serious Crimes Than You Might Think
6
Richard Mellor / Some Thoughts on Space and Time
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Yesterday at 06:02:33 PM »
Some Thoughts on Space and Time

Image Not with the Original Text
I read these brief comments written by a comrade in response to a person who claimed proof of "god". I found it sort of interesting although I have to admit, I don't really understand it, but I know some will.  I'm also aware that with subjects such as these there will be some controversy and different opinions. I am not referring to controversy between religious doctrine (idealism) and science but within the scientific community itself. Anyway, read away.

On the matter of "God" and "creation" (I just posted elsewhere):

Dave Parks, Exeter UK

The Friedmann solution to the Einstein equations of General Relativity  is something I studied in my 2nd year at University. For simplicity here  I will describe the closed model solution - this is where there is  enough matter in the universe for it to eventually collapse under it's  own gravity. A bit like a rocket shot directly upwards but without  enough speed to escape the effects of Earth's gravity - eventually it decelerates and falls back to Earth.

First thing this is a 4-D model. There are two assumptions the universe  is homogeneous and isotropic. Basically made of the same stuff  throughout and in a symmetric or equal way in all directions. Any  localised clumping or asymmetry evens out on a grander scale. Evidence  from microwave background radiation suggests this is a highly reasonable  if not accurate assumption for the early universe.

It is almost  impossible for us humans to visualise 4-D - so we use analogies. For the  closed Friedmann model that analogy is the surface a 3D sphere  representing the whole history and expanse of 4D space-time. The North  pole of this sphere represents T=0 (the Big bang). Time (1D) is  represented by longitude, 3D space is represented by latitude. At this  point the radius of the universe is the extent of the latitude of the  sphere at that point which is also zero. As longitude increases as you  move away from the north pole the size of the universe increase until it  reaches a maximum at the equator. From then on the universe stops  expanding and starts contracting back down to zero size - a "big  crunch".

All points in space and time throughout the entire  history and expanse of the universe are represented on the surface of  this 3D model. This is a finite and bounded model. There is no "edge" -  if you could travel around it you would not fall off the edge. If you  could somehow approach the north pole you would find the region "smooth"   no edges or boundaries. To speak of a minus time here is meaningless.  There is no minus time or time "before". This is to abstract "time " as a  concept separate from relativistic space-time. It is hard to understand  for those who have not studied the maths and physics of Riemann  geometry - non-Euclidean geometry is the reality of the Universe we live  in. Talk of creation and "gods" have to be understood in that context.

Source: Some Thoughts on Space and Time
7
AlterNet / Has Donald Trump Made the World Less Safe for Jews?
« Last post by AlterNet on Yesterday at 06:02:24 PM »
Has Donald Trump Made the World Less Safe for Jews?


The virus of white nationalism is spreading, warns "(((Semitism)))" author Jonathan Weisman.


Earlier this month, a lifetime ago in the Trump administration, an art dealer named Todd Brassner burned to death in a fire at Trump Tower. (The building did not have a sprinkler system on its residential floors because its eponymous owner refused to install one, citing its prohibitive cost). According to the New York Daily News, real estate mogul Trump was less than enamored of Brassner, reportedly referring to his tenant as "that crazy Jew." The scandal barely registered with the American public, but it offered yet another reminder that the Oval Office is still oozing with anti-Semitism, even after the departures of white nationalists like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.

Bigots and bullies have grown emboldened. The Anti-Defamation League tallied 1,986 anti-Semitic attacks in 2017, up 57 percent over the year prior. Schools proved the most common place for these incidents; 457 were perpetrated against children grades K-12. American Jews have not faced the kind of overt persecution that Muslims, African Americans and Latinos have since Trump assumed office, but as Jonathan Weisman warns in his new book, now is no time for diffidence or retreat.

One part memoir, two parts sociological study, (((Semitism))) explores what it means to be Jewish in Trump's America, with all of its inherent possibilities and dangers. (The triple parentheses allude to the so-called alt-right's method of marking Jews on social media for online harassment). Days ahead of a neo-Nazi rally in Newnan, Ga., AlterNet spoke with Weisman over the phone about the rising tide of white nationalism, American Jewish organizations' singular obsession with Israel and the need for Jews across the country to form broad coalitions. The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Jacob Sugarman: You yourself acknowledge that there are other religious and ethnic groups who are even more imperiled by Trump's presidency than American Jews. Why do you think it's important to explore the wave of anti-Semitism his run for office and subsequent election appear to have triggered?

Jonathan Weisman: When white nationalists talk about so-called white genocide, they imagine that white human beings, specifically white men, are being supplanted and driven out by brown people: African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and immigrants more generally. But their mythology also tells them that these brown people are inferior beings, so they summon the Jews as the cause of their demise, the answer to the question, "How could this be happening to us?" It's the Jews, they believe, who are the puppet masters, pulling the strings of the ethnic hordes. You can't separate one group from another, we're all in this together.

The American Jewish community also has a certain amount of power and resources to bear in this fight. If a Jew stands up and screams, "Anti-Semitism," the response is often, "You're just being parochial. There are other people who have it far worse than you. What are you doing?" That's why it's so essential we form alliances with Muslim Americans, immigrants, Latinos and African Americans to denounce all forms of bigotry.

JS: Does Trump pose a unique threat to Jews, or is he simply channeling hatreds that have always been present in American society?

JW: I'm not sure I'd call it a unique threat because the globe goes through spasms of nationalism, and these spasms tend to be bad for Jews. The rise of white nationalism is international, and Trump is proof that it has arrived at the shores of the United States. If you look at [Viktor] Orban's Hungary, or what's happening in Poland, or the last elections in Italy, or Golden Dawn in Greece, you have to think that the virus is spreading. Things are demonstrably worse in Europe than they are in the U.S., but we're at a dangerous moment in history.

JS: I'm glad you brought up Hungary and Poland. Has Trump's victory rekindled anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe?

JW: Absolutely. There's no question that the white nationalists in Europe look at the president as a kindred spirit. They feel they have some momentum, and with Trump in the Oval Office, they no longer have to fear the United States as a bulwark against their movement.

JS: If we can wind back the clock two years, why do you think American Jewish organizations were so tepid in their response to Trump's presidential campaign? Did they fail to recognize the threat he posed?

JW: Over the last 20 years, whether they're liberal outfits like J Street and New Israel Fund or conservative groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition and AIPAC, mainstream Jewish organizations have become obsessed with Israel. To an extent it's understandable, because at least for now, support for Israel may be the one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on. You're not going to get into trouble with potential donors or supporters by focusing on the Israeli cause. But this focus has come almost at the exclusion of domestic politics in the United States. Few realize that the white nationalist movement actually emerged in the later Bush years, after the public had soured on the Iraq War and later with the collapse of the financial system. Conservatives were looking for a new rallying cry. Most people, virtually everybody, ignored the alt-right for eight years. And during that time, American Jews were basically arguing about Israel.

JS: How did the concern of these organizations become so blinkered, and do you believe it has affected their commitment to social justice?

JW: Money is obviously a big part of it, but it's also complacency. The United States from 1960 to 2016 felt like it was on slow but steady trajectory toward a more pluralistic, inclusive and tolerant society. I think these organizations were completely blindsided by this latest surge of nationalism. They had been looking for a cause to rally behind, and Israel offered an obvious one.

JS: At the risk of falling into the same trap, do American Jews have a responsibility to speak out against the recent violence on the Gaza border?

JW: You have to understand that Jews in their late teens and early 20s have grown up experiencing nothing but Likud politics, with no exposure to hope in the Middle East. They don't know an Israel with a Labor or a centrist government. They don't remember the Oslo Accord, and they certainly don't remember the Camp David Accord. On their left, they have the BDS movement, and on their right they have their elders telling them, "Part of your Judaism is bound to your fealty to Israel."

I believe very strongly that if love of Israel is a prerequisite to Jewish identity in this country, then we're going to lose an entire generation. It's probably the biggest threat facing the American Jewish community today?that drift of young Jews away from Judaism because of the demands that Israel puts on them. Jews should be able to embrace their religion and their identity without having to answer to the latest atrocity in Gaza.

JS: Why do you think anti-Semitism and militant Zionism have proven so compatible? At least superficially, Likudniks and an administration that has featured the likes of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka would appear to make for strange bedfellows.

JW: I think the more you study alt-right ideology, the less strange it appears. Unlike the kind of anti-Semitism that you see emerging in the British Labour Party or on the French left, the alt-right is not especially anti-Zionist. They view Israel as a model ethno-state for their own country. There's no incompatibility with white nationalism because they believe Jews have a place to go and should go there.

JS: I have to push back a little bit here. Are you really suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is rife with anti-Semitism?

JW: I wouldn't go so far as to call him an anti-Semite himself, but absolutely, I think anti-Semitism is a real problem in the Labour Party and that Corbyn has been especially reluctant to confront it.

JS: How did Gamergate presage the 2016 election, and why does misogyny so often serve as a gateway drug for overt racism and anti-Semitism?

JW: For most of the decade, members of the alt-right talked to themselves in their own little online ghettos at the National Policy Institute and Taki's Magazine, and then at the Daily Stormer, Stormfront and other neo-nazi publications. Gamergate showed that they could spread their ideology in the chat rooms of 4chan and 8chan, the comment sections of YouTube and eventually on Twitter?that through doxxing, trolling and other tactics, the web could be weaponized. And remember, there was a bridge from one movement to the other. One of the great orchestrators of Gamergate was Milo Yiannopolous, who parlayed his notoriety into an editing gig at Breitbart and later emerged as a celebrity on the alt-right.

I talked to [video game developer] ZoŽ Quinn, and she believes that Gamergate was like a signal flare to white nationalists. They said to themselves, "Oh my God, we can do that too." And it took very little time for the harrassment campaign to turn anti-Semitic, because Quinn's boyfriend was a Yeshiva-educated Jew. Before long, trolls were threatening her with rape and posting photo-shopped images of her covered in semen. 

The entire episode was a trial run for Trump's presidential bid. All of the abuse heaped on Quinn, Brianna Wu and other women video game designers was redirected not just at political journalists on the campaign trail, but the Jews of Whitefish, Montana. (The National Policy Institute is based in Whitefish, as is the mother of alt-right founder, Richard Spencer). As for why misogyny leads to anti-Semitism, I think feelings of sexual frustration or humiliation can be a powerful source of hatred. And hate breeds hate, right?

JS: Donald Trump won't be president forever, even if he wishes he could be, so what hope do we have of mending the hole his political ascent has torn in the social fabric? You advocate for American Jews to assume their place in the public square, but given how insular our media consumption has become, are we sure one still exists?

JW: You know, I actually think it does. I've been doing a lot of traveling to promote the book, and everywhere I go, I'm asked, "What can we do?" I'm a journalist; I'm not a social activist or a community organizer, so my answers are limited. But I think that there's a desire out there to build alliances, and you're seeing it now. I recently spoke to a Jewish organization on Long Island, and its first instinct after a swastika was found scrawled on a local synagogue was to form an interfaith coalition against bigotry. People understand we cannot be a series of atomized organizations standing up for ourselves. I believe we'll remember the age of Trump as a re-emergence of activism on a very local level.

 

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Source: Has Donald Trump Made the World Less Safe for Jews?
8
Richard Mellor / Barbara Bush a "Force for Civil Rights"? Please.
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Yesterday at 06:00:42 AM »
Barbara Bush a "Force for Civil Rights"? Please.

This pouring of admiration and sympathy around the death of Barbara Bush is nauseating. Bloomberg Business Week writes of her: "While generally declining to discuss policy, she was a force in supporting civil rights. And she liked to walk her dog in her bathrobe." No, Martin Luther King was a "force" supporting civil rights, Barbara Bush was not. An example of the "policy" she chose to keep her mouth shut about was the attacks on civil liberty at home. An increase in state security services. The illegal arrest and detention of people without trial. An unprovoked attack using chemical weapons on a Middle East country that forced hundreds of thousands in to refugee status including to Syria and the deaths of more than a million people.

Lying to the American people and the world.

What is there to respect about this matriarch of one of the world's most ruthless, barbaric and powerful ruling class families? And what is so sacred and why should we honor this ridiculous saying that we should not "speak ill of the dead". This matriarch of a ruling family who wandered around with her dog in a bathrobe, a habit the pimp Hugh Hefner was fond of with somewhat different motivations, possesses no qualities a working class person should respect or admire. Please teach your kids not to end up like that.

A friend and I always used to say of our kids, like if one of them was a Jeffrey Dahmer for example, that we'd never disown them, they would always be our son. But we'd say lock him up, he's, sick, he's a threat to society. We would not keep our mouths shut. The war criminal standing next to Barbara Bush killed a lot more people than Dhamer and did it for political and economic gain. He's far worse. And he had the support of all his family.

We could learn a thing about class solidarity from this gang. In that way we should be more like them.
 
Source: Barbara Bush a "Force for Civil Rights"? Please.
9
Conservative Pages Are Still Making Racist Russian Propaganda Posts Go Viral on Facebook


The images include content from banned accounts.


Conservative and pro-Trump Facebook pages, most affiliated with fake news websites, are recycling memes created by the Russian troll companies like the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which the social network has banned from its platform. Media Matters found 24 posts dating back to December 2017 from 11 right-wing pages that contained memes bearing watermarks from Russian troll-run social media accounts. Ten of these posts have earned over 20,000 interactions, with the two most popular crossing 70,000. These 28 posts appear to be Russian propaganda because they contained watermarks of logos from Russian troll-run accounts like South United, most of which pushed racist and anti-immigrant propaganda.

Propaganda from the Russian troll account Secured Borders, which has used violent language to push anti-immigration misinformation related to illegal voting, crime, and welfare, has showed up on conservative pages multiple times. Memes from two other anti-immigration Russian troll accounts, Stop All Invaders and Heart of Texas, have also been recently reposted by conservative pages. A pro-gun meme from Heart of Texas was posted by the blue badge-verified page Chicks on the Right and by the page Cold Dead Hands which, according to its ?About? section, pertains to a pro-gun Texas-based nonprofit group. Propaganda from the pro-Confederate Russian account South United has also been reposted by conservative Facebook pages with memes featuring the Confederate flag. Other Russian troll accounts pushed on Facebook include the pro-gun account Defend the 2nd, a law enforcement account called Back the Badge, and a conservative account Being Patriotic.

Most pages posting such Russian propaganda are connected to or run by fake news and hyperpartisan sites. They include:

 

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Source: Conservative Pages Are Still Making Racist Russian Propaganda Posts Go Viral on Facebook
10
Inter Press Service - Labour / Dreaming of A New Sustainable Economy
« Last post by Inter Press Service on Yesterday at 06:00:32 AM »
Dreaming of A New Sustainable Economy

Officials from around the world came together to create and support a vision for a new, sustainable economy: a bioeconomy. Almost 1000 bioeconomy experts, from former heads of state to civil society leaders, convened in Berlin for the second Global BIoeconomy Summit to discuss best practices and challenges. Already, over 50 countries have begun to […]

The post Dreaming of A New Sustainable Economy appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Source: Dreaming of A New Sustainable Economy
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