Rage for Aleppo and Syria

By Stanley Heller

They say that generals usually prepare for the last war.  This has happened to the peace movement, too.  The anti-war coalitions in the U.S. and UK are acting as if this was 2003 and everyone needed to focus on Western imperial adventures.  Instead circumstances are quite different.  The main carnage right now has little to do with “the Empire”.  A dictator from a family dynasty is using his entire military, every weapon the country owns, to bring a nation to heel.  He’s assisted (and in some ways commanded) by foreign powers, one semi-fascist, the other a theocracy.  The larger anti-war organizations and coalitions have nothing to say or bleat, “Our main responsibility is to criticize our own government’s abuses” or airily call for all foreign forces to stop intervening while refusing to condemn the barrel bombs or the obliteration of hospitals.  (There are also the unspeakable organizations licking the dictator’s boot in the name of  “anti-imperialism”.)

Half a million people have died because the Assad gang is determined to hold on no matter what. The Russians are blowing up whole blocks in Aleppo, systematically destroying medical facilities and White Helmet rescue facilities.  Assad has hundreds of thousands of people under siege. Palestinians refugees from camps like Yarmouk are exiled once again. The “world community” has fed refugees, but is paralyzed about action within Syria.  The U.N. airdrops food to only one city, the Assad run Deir al-Zour surrounded by ISIS.  Worse they’ve been sending aid money right into the pockets of members of the regime.

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U.S. Green Platform Mentions the Word “Syria”

After five years of revolution, unrelenting savage attacks by Assad’s military, and massive foreign intervention by Russia and Iran (and to a far lesser extent by the U.S., the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies), the Green Party platform has finally included the word “Syria” in its platform.

Here is the section.  It’s in D. Foreign Policy:

  1. Kurdistan

The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group in the world that is without an independent state. As a result, Kurdish people have historically suffered persecution and injustice. The Kurdish people have been besieged to the point of a current humanitarian crisis in towns such as Kobani, Syria. The GPUS expresses solidarity for and affirms the right to self-determination, self-defense, communal autonomy, freedom from persecution, and release of political prisoners for the Kurdish population.

That’s it. There’s no call for the Russia stop bombing hospitals or that Iran withdraw its troops and its Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghan Shia buddies, no support for the U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding the Assad regime stop a whole host of crimes. No suggestion that Israel should take back the Palestinians that were exiled in Syria.  There’s not even a suggestion that the U.S. and its allies should stop bombing the country and airdrop food.


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A Challenge to the Green Party on Syria


by Stanley Heller

August 4.  The uprising and fighting in Syria have gone on for over five years and your platform doesn’t say a word about it.  Delegates to this weekend’s convention, how about adding these five sentences?

  1. We stand with the Arab revolutions and uprisings for democracy that started in Tunisia and Egypt
  1. Syrians have a right to reject the Assad dynasty
  1. We support the democratic forces in Syria against all reactionary killers from Assad to ISIS to al-Qaeda and others
  1. We demand that the great powers abide by the promises to airdrop food and supplies to Syrian areas under siege as of June 1, 2016 #DropFoodNotBombs
  1. We denounce any deal by the U.S. government with Russia that makes cooperation against ISIS dependent on giving Assad, Russia and Iran a free hand to crush the Syrian uprising

This should fit in perfectly with your principles, but I admit it may be a hard sell.  It conflicts with the reigning Conspiracist worldview on the Left that everything is the fault of the U.S. including Syria. On the face of it Russia and Iran (and plenty of other countries outside the NATO orbit) are grasping capitalist powers on the make, but in the Conspracist worldview they’re all just poor victims of imperialism and if they appear to stomp on their own citizens or some other nation it’s really a U.S. plot.

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Not One Word from Hillary about Syria Either


July 29. As I predicted Hillary Clinton had nothing to say about Syria in her HISTORIC (by law we have to add that adjective) acceptance speech last night.  Not a single phrase of sympathy for the people suffering under siege or bombardment.  Not a word about refugees and certainly nothing about the United Nations demands on the Assad gang.

There are a number of people who look only at words she and Kaine once said about support for a “no-fly” zone and think she supports the Syrian people.  This is a naïve view of American politics.  Yes, she and Kaine are happy to support military measures everywhere particularly where the Israeli government thinks it will benefit, but she won’t stick her neck out an inch for suffering Syrian people.

Just look at the words in the  Democratic Party platform that HER people put through on Syria (without objection from Sanders people BTW).  These are the exact words: “Syria  The Syrian crisis is heartbreaking and dangerous, and its impact is threatening the region, Europe, and beyond. Donald Trump would inflame the conflict by alienating our allies, inexplicably allowing ISIS to expand in Syria, and potentially starting a wider war. This is a reckless approach. Democrats will instead root out ISIS and other terrorist groups and bring together the moderate Syrian opposition, international community, and our regional allies to reach a negotiated political transition that ends Assad’s rule. Given the immense scale of human suffering in Syria, it is also imperative that we lead the international community in providing greater humanitarian assistance to the civilian victims of war in Syria and Iraq, especially displaced refugees.”  p.42  It is nothing more or less than the current Obama policy.  Nothing in there at all to think that Clinton isn’t trying to work out some deal with Putin.  #DropFoodNotBombs   #ExposeDirtyDeals  Continue reading

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Bernie Sanders’ Lousy Speech

By Stanley Heller

July 28.  I won’t bother criticizing Bernie Sanders for endorsing Hillary.  He said he’d do it all along, endorse the winner of the Democratic Party primaries.  It was only the willfully blind who thought he was going to stage a walk out and start a new party or join with the Greens.  I will criticize him for the way he did it, though, becoming a Hillary “yes-man” and throwing overboard the best of what he stood for.

His big moment was speech at the Democratic Convention, covered live by the major networks.  It was his big chance to give HIS message.  The prepared text is here

First let’s talk about what he didn’t mention.  The biggest thing is Palestine.  Bernie had a terrible record on Palestine coming into the campaign. In the decades he was in Congress he never engaged in any meaningful criticism of Israeli. In 2014 as Israel wiped out hundreds of children in Gaza Bernie was an Israeli government apologist.   We forget because he did change. He was smart enough to see that among his base the rights of Palestinians are a big issue so he made some statements criticizing Israel.  In April of this year he said Israel’s attacks on Gaza were “disproportionate”.  He gave a Palestinian and hijab wearing Palestinian Linda Sarsour a visible part of his campaign.  He appointed Jim Zogby and Cornel West as his reps on the Democratic Platform committee. They were given leeway to push for something on Palestine though Clinton’s people refused any compromise.  The platform on Palestine/Israel is awful and explicitly condemns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (see page 49). Continue reading

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Big Greens and Nuclear Power Embraces: What the WSJ Got Right

by Dan Fischer

Writing for the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Miranda Spencer leveled strong charges against a June 16th Wall Street Journal article by reporter Amy Harder. Harder’s original article reported that some of America’s largest environmental groups were softening their traditional opposition to nuclear power and that this change was “lowering one of the biggest political hurdles facing the nuclear power industry.”

Miranda Spencer’s June 24th response for FAIR, “WSJ Fakes a Green Shift Toward Nuclear Power,” argues that the alleged shift amounts to little more than the WSJ editors’ wishful thinking: “In publishing this piece as edited, perhaps it is telling a story it wishes were true.”

However, Spencer and her publisher FAIR engage in more than their own share of wishful thinking. They fail to point their critical lens at the quick-to-compromise “Big Green” groups, who have long been constrained by funding from elite donors and foundations. In the words of environmental historian Mark Dowie, the Big Greens “carefully avoid challenging the power structures and relationships that have the most profound environmental impacts.” Continue reading

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To defeat Hitler Vote for Hindenburg! –  “Lesser Evil” Voting Then and Now


By Stanley Heller

In 1932 in Germany there were four national elections including two for the powerful position of president. The two leading candidates for president of Germany were Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg. Today when we hear the word Hindenburg we think of the zeppelin with that name that burned in New Jersey in 1937, but Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was a very famous man for decades in Germany.  During “the Great War”, which we now call World War I, he was Chief of the General Staff of the German army. In the last years of the war he was in effect military dictator of Germany.  The German revolution ousted the Kaiser from power, but the leaders of the SPD (the very big German socialist party which supported the war) allied with counterrevolutionary forces and after massacres of the revolutionary Left made Germany into a capitalist republic.  Hindenburg, who should have been in disgrace for his failed war leadership, came through the period with his reputation unscathed.

Longstory short.  The SPD steadily weakens. Hindenburg is elected President of Germany in 1925. The Great Depression hits Germany like a hammer and the Nazis go from getting 3% of the vote in 1928 to 18% in 1930.  Their goons are running the streets. The German communists (KPD) follow the orders of Soviet ruler Joe Stalin to totally go it alone.  They claim that the SPD were just another kind of fascist, “social fascists”  For its part the SPD refuses to work with the communists.  In 1932 Hindenberg runs for reelection, the KPD runs its own candidate and the SPD supports Hindenburg as the “lesser of two evils”.

Most people will agree that Hitler was the ultimate evil, so Hindenburg was certainly “lesser”, but the SPD strategy did not work as planned. Hindenburg won the April 1932 run-off presidential with a solid 53% of the vote. “Mission accomplished” or so the SPD thought. Hindenburg stayed in office and he continued to choose the Chancellors and cabinet. However, the string of men he picked totally failed to rescue the German economy. Then Hindenburg made a fateful decision.  In January 1933 he appointed Adolph Hitler as chancellor in a deal that gave the Nazis only 3 of the 11 cabinet positions.  This was thought all that would be needed to keep Hitler under control.  Brilliant plan. Hindenburg was putty in Hitler’s hands.  Within two months Hitler had bullied Hindenburg to sign an “Enabling” Act” which gave the Nazi leader dictatorial powers.

So what has this got to do with today?  Well, we have a candidate running for president who a lot of people have compared to Hitler.  And we have as his opponent a woman who Continue reading

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A Generation to the Left of Bernie Sanders?

by Dan Fischer

As Noam Chomsky has noted, the social democratic positions of Bernie Sanders are “quite strongly supported by the general public, and have been for a long time.” Chomsky could have gone much further, had he focused on the views of the country’s largest voting-age generation, the millennials. Not only are pluralities or majorities of millennials as left-leaning as Sanders on core campaign issues—considering health care a right,distrusting Wall Street, defending Roe v. Wade—but on some critical issues such as climate change and nuclear weapons, they actually stand wellto the left of Sanders.

These facts are easy to find in recent and reputable polls, including an April survey by Harvard’s Institute of Politics of more than three thousand 18 to 29 year-olds, and a poll of a thousand 18 to 34 year-olds conducted in January by Ipsos Public Affairs, commissioned by USA Today and Rock the Vote.

The findings make clear: Compared with mainstream millennials, Sanders is an environmental fraud, a Dr. Strangelove-style warmonger, and the NSA’s right-hand man.

Sanders the Reactionary

On climate change, the Sanders plan sticks close to Hillary Clinton’s corporate-friendly formula. He’d have America powered by “80 percent clean energy sources by 2050.” That’s the same target as Clinton’s, and it corresponds to a dangerous 2-degree Celsius temperature rise, a death sentence for the world’s coastal cities, which would be threatened with submersion from rising seas this century according to leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen.

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The Biggest Revelation in the “Panama Papers”

April 5.  The most important service done by the releasing of the “Panama Papers” is not revealing the names of the big shots hiding money in banks where they pay no taxes. Better it makes very public the fact that trillions and trillions of dollars are hidden away from the tax man and employees by the super rich.  The whining by the 1% that companies “can’t afford” raises or that taxes would “soak the rich” and kill the “golden goose” are shown to be spectacular lies.

It’s known for many years that trillions are kept “offshore”, but the writing of the tax experts never got that much attention. The term “offshore” applies to money supposedly invested in little island nations that charge little or no taxes for people to park their money there.  I say supposedly because lots of the money is actually being “managed” right in the U.S. with the overseas account as a fig leaf of foreign ownership.

Back in 2012 James S. Henry, former director of economic research for McKinsey and Company gave this estimate of the amount of money being held “offshore”:

“A significant fraction of global private financial wealth — by our estimates, at least $21 to $32 trillion as of 2010 — has been invested virtually tax free through the world’s still expanding black hole of more than 80 “offshore” secrecy jurisdictions. We believe this range to be conservative…”

Gabriel Zucman worked at the numbers a different way in his 2015 book “The Hidden Wealth of Nations” and came up with a much lower, but still amazing $7.6 trillion in hidden money. The book was widely and positively reviewed.  Henry and another hidden money researcher John Christensen say the number is “way too low”. They make a good case.

At any rate the amount of money hidden away by the really rich is really, really enormous. So when they say they can’t pay you can safely and precisely say, “Bull$**&”!

Here’s a mini-booklet on the subject from a couple of years ago here.  It doesn’t even have to be updated.

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Chris Hedges on Saudi Arabia and the Elections

chris hedges at saudi summit

Video of Hedges talk

CODEPINK last weekend had over 250 at a conference they called the “Saudi Summit” to examine the awful record of America’s oldest Middle East ally.

On March 6, Chris Hedges addressed the gathering. Chris Hedges is an author, activist, and former Middle East Bureau chief for the New York Times.  He calls for BDS, boycott, divestment and sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

More video of the conference at “The Real News”


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You Can’t Make a Revolution in a Counter-Revolutionary Party – Jill Stein

Video of her talk in Portland, CT 2/13/2016

jill stein in portland2

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Constructive if Harsh Criticism of Parts of Stein’s Speech

Feb. 14. Some observations about Jill Stein’s talk yesterday in CT.  The crowd of about 30-40 was about 1/3 people in their twenties, almost no minorities, no “Middle Eastern” people that I noticed.  She said the Democratic Party officials would deny the nomination to Sanders and hoped this would lead to a lot of interest in the Green Party.

She spent a lot of time on “student debt”, calling for the debt to be forgiven.  Very good.  Also a lot of time on the Saudis which was excellent, except she seemed to go overboard.  She says “We know who funded 9/11, that was coming from the Saudis”.  This sounds like she’s saying the Saudi government financed the attack.  No proof of this astounding charge. Very discrediting.  Though she talked generally about Saudi mischief making she didn’t talk about their attack on Yemen.  She didn’t talk about Palestine/Israel until I brought it up in the questions.

She used the “Green New Deal” a couple of times. That might have been refreshing in 2012, but not today. Bernie talks about “socialism” and “revolution”. I know it’s mostly empty rhetoric on his part, but “Green New Deal” was tried and it’s time to move on. As she says we’re living through a global “emergency”.  We don’t need just a different “deal”. Suggest “Ecosocialism” or “Eco-revolution”.

I raised a number of points in my questions. 1) that Senator Murphy had called for halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of Yemen and that the Green Party should help lead the anti-war fight there. 2) I mentioned the court case in CA that was expected to be found against public employee unions and called for the Green Party to lead the charge against it (the meeting was held before news of the death of Justice Scalia.  That may change things.) 3) that the CT AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling for BDS against Israel and asking what she thought of that 4) that I was disturbed with her position on Russia calling for “collaborative dialogue” with Putin’s government.
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Sanders in Debate with Clinton Asks Saudis to Put “Skin” in Game

Again Bernie Sanders calls for the bigoted, cruel, imperial Saudi and Qatari
regimes to take the lead in solving things in the Middle East.

“And one point I want to make here that is not made very often, you have
incredibly wealthy countries in that region, countries like Saudi Arabia, countries
like Qatar. Qatar happens to be the largest — wealthiest country per capita in the
world. They have got to start putting in some skin in the game and not just ask the
United States to do it.” – from the 1/17 debate

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New York Values – You Got a Problem with That?


for more pictures

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Is the Obama Cheap Money Boom Over?

So what’s Plan B?

headlines jan 15 2016

headlines from Bloomberg.com  1/15/2016


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Obama Left Out “Union” in His Last State of the Union

As a member of the American Federation of Teachers since 1969 I looked over the #SOTU speech to see what he had to say about unions and worker rights.

Well, in his (thankfully last) State of the Union speech Obama didn’t say the words “trade union” or “labor” or suggest that workers should join unions. He had nothing to say about labor legislation. He said nothing about Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the court suit that could weaken all public employee unions.

He did his best to boost the Trans Pacific Partnership job killing treaty, though.

Obama didn’t  say a word about Flint, Michigan where an un-elected official (forced on the city by a Republican governor) changed the water supply to the city and poisoned all the citizens.

Yet he spent a lot of time bragging how many bombs he dropped, as if Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen aren’t all disasters.

I understand they let an AFL-CIO officer into the gallery. Whoop-dee-do.

You know at one time working in elections was just a supplement to collective bargaining and strikes. Now it’s all that unions do.

How many of our current labor leaders have even been on strike?

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Stocks Drop Another 588 Points…Move Along…Nothing to See Here

girl on bull

The stockbrokers and newscasters put on their happy faces and tell the hoi poloi to stay calm, and to not sell off their stocks as the values crash.   On the other hand the big players are selling.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be a rout.  And some are making lot of money.  They saw this crash (sorry, I mean “correction”) coming and sold short.  That means they bought stocks on one date and agree to pay for it at a certain time in the future (when hopefully for them) the price is way down.  A number of hedge fund managers made out like bandits betting stocks would go down.

Irresponsible credit like subprime mortgages brought on the Great Recession.  Rather than fight it with jobs programs like FDR in the ‘30’s, or something even more radical,  Obama had the Federal Reserve open the spigot charging the big banks 0% for prime loans.  Eventually things picked up.  But the banksters and titans of coporate America didn’t invest all of the loans in new factories and machines, not by a long shot.  Last week Pam and Russ Martens of the site Wall Street on Parade wrote:

“Corporations have issued a stunning $9.3 trillion in bonds since the beginning of 2009. The major beneficiary of this debt binge has been the stock market rather than investment in modernizing the plant, equipment or new hires to make the company more competitive for the future. Bond proceeds frequently ended up buying back shares or boosting dividends, thus elevating the stock market on the back of heavier debt levels on corporate balance sheets.”

In other words the execs had the company borrow cheap money to buy back stock to raise its price so they could personally get richer.  Whatever.

Now it’s quite possible this all could be a kerfuffle with no lasting effect.  Stocks have crashed plenty of times in the past and then come right back.  This time it looks a little more real.  China’s economy is having real trouble.  Production and retail sales are slowing.  The Communist Party went long on stocks and bonds and their response to the crash is to send worker pension funds into the breach.

How does a falling stock market affect the “real” business of buying and selling?  Well, for one thing all those people who invested in stocks because banks were offering 0.000001% interest rates go into shock and stop buying refrigerators, cars, IPhones and the like.  Some companies who gambled in stocks go belly up…and so it starts.

Next Time Do it Right

Sooner or later there will be another crash, recession, depression or some other name that the big shots think is not too frightening.  Hopefully some clear thinking people will realize that neither another blank check to the banks nor the populist nostrums offered by Bernie Sanders and his ilk will do the trick.

We need to get rid of capitalism.  We need to replace it with eco-socialism, a planned economy based on 100% renewable energy with full workplace democracy.  All the rest is a diversion as we run out of time, as the clock ticks down and climate catastrophe is locked in and humanity is screwed.



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Joe Say Go (to War with Iran)

I got my job2Lieberman Wants You

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Six Memes To Convince Senator Blumenthal to Support the Iran Deal



You’re welcome to use

in what universesend them to war

billionaire's ads2stringent  religious fanatics2 overthrowing the iranian government

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Woman Starts “Tree-Sit” to Protest Spectra Pipeline

May 19, 2015

Contact: Sherrie Anne Andre, 401-474-7666

     Nick Katkevich, 401-572-8148nick@fangtogether.org

Social Service Advocate Launches Tree-Sit to Prevent Pipeline Construction

BURRILLVILLE, RI – A local woman launched a tree sit at the edge of a gas compressor station in Burrillville this morning to prevent its proposed expansion. The station, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, pressurizes and moves gas along the “Algonquin” Pipeline. Spectra is planning to nearly double the capacity of the compressor station as part of the highly protested “AIM” pipeline expansion project.

Sherrie Anne Andre, a member of FANG (Fighting Against Naturals Gas), and a Rhode Island native is holding the tree-sit “indefinitely”. The sit is aimed at preventing the tree clearing necessary for constructing the addition to the compressor station.

Andre is occupying a platform that is suspended 60 feet high on a tree located just yards away from the existing gas compressor station. A banner hanging from the platform reads “Spectra’s Toxins are Trespassing on Our Bodies, #StopSpectra”, highlighting the health impacts that residents face during the extraction, transportation and burning of fracked-gas.

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