New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration

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The Real News Network has the interview New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration of David Bacon.

DESVARIEUX: But, David, if you do agree with that premise that you propose, you know, people deserve a decent life, what should we as Americans be focusing our attention on if we really want to deal with this influx of children from Central America? What specific policy should we be pushing our lawmakers to be fighting for?

BACON: Well, I think that we need to stop, for instance, negotiating trade treaties which basically deepen the poverty that exists in Mexico, Central America, and other countries. You know, this administration has negotiated and put into effect three trade treaties. We could go all the way back to the North American Free Trade Agreement that was negotiated by the first president Bush and then signed by Clinton, as a result of which 8 million people came from Mexico to the United States because people really had no alternative if they needed to survive. So that’s one thing that we could do is we could have a much fairer trade regime that existed for the benefit of ordinary people, little people on the ground, rather than for large U.S. corporations.

But I think also that we have to decriminalize migration, decriminalize the movement of people. Instead of seeing that or instead of thinking that the answer to people crossing borders is to put people in prison or to fire them from their jobs or deport them, we need to treat people as we would ourselves expect to be treated as human beings. So I think both of those things are the real alternatives: the decriminalization of migration, and also taking a look at root causes and at least trying to stop doing–do the things that are causing people to lack any alternatives to leaving home in order to survive.

The previous post Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too) is apropos here. I think this is all about asking the right questions.

I just wonder when will we start to ask of proposed free trade treaties what is the cost in increased immigration to this county of refugees from the countries with which we sign these treaties?

Yes, a treaty may improve trade so that corporations (that are not people) will prosper, but what is the impact on people (who seek refuge)?

Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too)

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Thanks to Sarah Clark for posting a link to the article Three Questions to Ask During a War (and During Peacetime, Too).

The novelist Ursula LeGuin wrote, “There are no right answers to wrong questions.” Responsible education, responsible leadership, and frankly responsible personhood, begins with taking the time to carefully consider the questions we’re asking.

This is an article worth reading again and again over time.  That is why I prefer to post them on my blog rather than only on Facebook.  On my blog, I can search for a post, whereas on Facebook, they tend to be lost after a short time.

I may not live up to things in the above article, but they are something to which I aspire.

The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts

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The UK Independent has the article The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those “who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted with approval for saying that it is “time for someone to ask Hamas: what exactly are YOU doing to bring prosperity to your people”. The hypocrisy of this beggars belief: it is the seven-year-old Israeli economic siege that has reduced the Gaza to poverty and misery.

On every occasion, the presentation of events by Israeli spokesmen is geared to giving Americans and Europeans the impression that Israel wants peace with the Palestinians and is prepared to compromise to achieve this, when all the evidence is that it does not. Though it was not intended as such, few more revealing studies have been written about modern Israel in times of war and peace.

Well, it works for Republicans in the US, why not for Israel? I guess what drives some of us to dislike and distrust Benjamin Netanyahu so much is that he acts so much like a US Tea Partier that he drives us around the bend.  We think of him as a “compassionate occupier” just as George Bush was a “compassionate conservative”.

In Gaza-Israel Coverage, The New York Times Purveys Pro-War Propaganda on Page One

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I only saw the Truth Out article In Gaza-Israel Coverage, The New York Times Purveys Pro-War Propaganda on Page One just now though it was published Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:42.

The ITIC July 8, 2014, report, “News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (July 2 – 8, 2014),” states: “For the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense [November 2012], Hamas participated in and claimed responsibility for rocket fire [on July 7, 2014].”

Thus, Hamas rocket fire only restarted on July 7 after a 19-month cease-fire. As we will see, this was nearly a month after Israeli forces launched massive military operations in the West Bank and Gaza starting on June 12. But those Israeli military operations were not the only provocation.

If I had seen this article earlier today, I could have saved myself the effort of doing the research for my previous blog post Some Recent History On The Israeli Chicken and the Gaza Egg.

Although it is important to understand the feelings and motivations of the protagonists, the exact lies or truths told by either side are not as important as finding a way out of this mess.

In trying to figure out what could motivate Hamas to retaliate against Israel even knowing that they are going to take a pounding for such retaliation, I could only figure that they at least could feel they were doing something rather than just acquiescing to these unjust punishments.  What didn’t dawn on me then was  they might decide that if Israel is going to attack no matter what they do, they might as well make Israel pay  for it.  Of course that just means that we US tax payers are going to pay for it too, since we supply money and arms to Israel.  Our military/industrial complex must love this gift that keeps on giving.

Some Recent History On The Israeli Chicken and the Gaza Egg

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At this point in the conflict figuring out who is responding to whom is like  trying to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg.  (That’s a metaphor.  I don’t want to start a discussion on chickens and eggs.)

What brings this thought to mind is The Real News Network interview Is Israeli Public Opinion Turning after 700 Palestinian Deaths?  The following quote is what struck me:

TARACHANSKY: Well, I have to remind our viewers a little bit of the timeline of this escalation, this little war. Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip throughout its entire operation “bring back our boys” in the West Bank. So while they were looking for those who kidnapped these three teenagers in the West Bank, they began bombing Gaza intensely for two weeks, long before the war ever started.

By the time Hamas actually decided to respond, two weeks had passed.

I decided to do a little useless research to see if this statement could be corroborated.  I label the research as useless because no matter what I find it won’t change anybody’s attitude about anything.  So the rest of this story is only for people with useless, idle curiosity.

To put a meaning and a date to “bring back our boys”, I found The Jerusalem Post has the June 14, 2014 article ‘Bring Back Our Boys’ campaign inspires hope.

Launched by the University of Haifa Ambassadors Network, the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has gone viral, receiving up to 2,800 tweets per hour according to, a media analytics website.

From the article, I infer the kidnapping occurred Thursday night, June 12, 2014.

Then I tried to pinpoint Israel’s first attack on Gaza in this latest series.  I found the July 1, 2014 Reuters article  Israel bombs Gaza sites hours after bodies of Israeli teens found.

What is the connection between the Gaza bombing and the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys in the West Bank?  Here is one interpretation.

New York Magazine has the article  It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All [Updated]

Israeli police Mickey Rosenfeld tells me men who killed 3 Israeli teens def lone cell, hamas affiliated but not operating under leadership. Seems to contradict the line from Netanyahu government.
Israeli police spokes Mickey Rosenfeld also said if kidnapping had been ordered by Hamas leadership, they’d have known about it in advance.

The Daily Star in Lebanon has the article Hamas not complicit in teens’ kidnap: Israeli police July 26.

BEIRUT: The Israeli Police Foreign Press Spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, appears to have falsified the Israeli government’s claim that Hamas was responsible for the killing of three Israeli settler teens in June, by saying responsibility lies with a lone cell that operated without the complicity of Hamas’ leadership.
At the time Israeli authorities placed the blame squarely on Hamas, with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu saying “They were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by animals in human form. Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.”Friday however, there appeared to be break in the official line when BBC journalist Jon Donnison tweeted a series of statements he attributed to the Israeli Police Foreign Press Spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld.

Jon Donnison is the source of the quote in The New York Magazine quote above.  So the blame on Gaza seems to have come from the mouth of Benyamin Netantahu.  The first retaliation on Gaza for the act that they did not commit came no later than July 1, 2014.

When did the rocket attacks from Gaza start?  The history of rocket attacks is documented on a blog site idfblog, in the article Rocket Attacks on Israel From the Gaza Strip. Whether or not this site is an authoritative site from the Israeli Defense Force or not, I have not researched.

Wikipedia has List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2014. Since there are rockets from Gaza off and on almost daily, you have to interpret the data to decide when the retaliation might have started.  I’d say the escalation began around July 7 with 80 attacks.  The source for the number 80 is a retweet from “IDFSpokesperson”. I think the 80 actually happened on July 6 according to the retweet.

If you believe any of this, then it seems that the Gaza rocket attack starting on July 6 is a retaliation for an Israeli bombing of Gaza no later than July 1.  So, if you believe this, does it make any difference to you?  No, I thought not.

DOJ Trains AUSAs to Chase Mice While Lions Roam the Campsite

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New Economic Perspectives has the article DOJ Trains AUSAs to Chase Mice While Lions Roam the Campsite by William K. Black.

According to the article, Attorney general Eric Holder appointed Benjamin Wagner as the Department Of Justice’s leader on mortgage fraud.

Black cites a quote from Wagner.

“Benjamin Wagner, a U.S. Attorney who is actively prosecuting mortgage fraud cases in Sacramento, Calif., points out that banks lose money when a loan turns out to be fraudulent. ‘It doesn’t make any sense to me that they would be deliberately defrauding themselves,’ Wagner said.”

If you don’t understand why this statement makes Wagner a totally inept leader on mortgage fraud, then you need to read the article.

Wagner makes the Supreme Court mistake.  Corporations are not  people.  People commit fraud to line their own pockets, not necessarily the pockets of the corporation for which they work.  If a top criminal attorney can understand the crime of  embezzlement, then he ought to be able to understand that “control fraud” is one way to commit that crime.  If it makes no sense to him, you have to wonder if he was sleeping during that lecture in law school.

Does this ignorance of how crime is committed go all the way up the chain of command through Eric Holder and on to President Obama?  That is what makes no sense to me.  I am still mystified as to how these smart people are willing to let themselves appear so dumb.

Maybe these politicians aren’t so dumb after all.  The majority of voters don’t seem to have figured out the magnitude of the crimes these people are allowing to go unpunished.

Cover-up in the Air – What Would Reagan Do?

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The Daily Show has the video segment “Cover-up in the Air – What Would Reagan Do?”

The Daily Kos article has, Jon Stewart exposes GOP lies about Reagan’s response to downed airliner, this excerpt from the video.

Yes, Reagan was in deep mourning for losing the final 12% of his vacation. In fact, in 1988, when the U.S. accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner, also under Reagan’s watch, Reagan refused to end that vacation early.

And by the way, America was so torn up about shooting down that plane, that the commander of the ship who did it later received a medal for his service. I believe it was called the silver….

I used to hate it when Tim Russert had a standard operating procedure of carrying out interviews based on gotcha clips and quotes from the interviewee’s past. In this case, the gotcha seemed worthwhile for refreshing people’s memories.

Ironically, Chris Wallace is the one with the memory. He actually seems to care that he once had pretense of being a reporter. I wonder if the Faux Hoise panel will even remember what Chris Wallace had to say.

Watch: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Emotional Speech on Child Migrants

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Mother Jones has the article Watch: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Emotional Speech on Child Migrants.

“My faith teaches,” he said, fighting back tears, “that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him but rather love him as yourself.”

in the Mother Jones article, the video they include starts at about the 5 minute mark of the YouTube video below.

There is nothing I could say that would be better than what is said in this video.

Military device used on Detroit protest against #WaterShutoffs

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The Daily Kos has the article Military device used on Detroit protest against #WaterShutoffs.

A LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) was used to disperse a rally at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 2:43pm. There has been previous use of an LRAD in Detroit on May 1, 2012 when Occupy Detroit gathered on the public sidewalk outside Grand Circus Park after park closing hours of 10pm. The use in 2012 was as a public address. The use in 2014 was to cause distress to those hearing the sound.

You can hear the sound emitted in the video footage at 50 minutes into this clip (the final minute of the clip). Those who were on the platform to speak felt vibration throughout their body and some clutched at their chest during the deployment which last about 2 minutes.

How do you think the Supreme Court would rule on First Amendment consequences of using this device?  Freedom of speech does not guarantee that you will have eardrums after you speak. Ears are not for speaking. They will probably permit the use of this device, so Massachusetts is probably free to use this on abortion protesters.  It will be especially effective when the demonstrators stand closer than 30 feet to the people who are tying to get into a Planned Parenthood Clinic.

Enough of that.  What about the issue that was being protested?

Volunteers with the Peoples Water Board Coalition have heard from residents of rental properties that were not notified by their landlords of high water bills that resulted in water being turned off. It is inappropriate for people to have water – a human need – removed without notice. Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) have contracted Homrich (a demolition company) to perform up to 3,000 shutoffs per week. Addresses are listed with no information about occupants of the locations being shutoff. Elders and families with small children are all treated the same. If the property is on the list it gets shutoff and those affected are told to come to a water payment center to work out arrangements. Thousands of Detroiters have experienced their water being turned off for at least 24 hours. Hundreds have been found that have had no water service for months. Sanitation concerns around the city are increasing.

Well, I think the oligarchs may have finally found out what they can do to start a rebellion.  Cutting off peoples’ access to water ought to rile them.

Run, Warren, Run! Draft Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016

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The campaign to draft Elizabeth Warren to run for President has a catchy tune that I am sure everybody will be humming in just a few days. ;-)

Our campaign to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for President in 2016 is gaining huge momentum. Warren came to Netroots Nation in Detroit and #ReadyForWarren was there to greet her in style alongside thousands of grassroots progressives.

Americans of all stripes are calling for a leader who will fight for an America that works for all of us, not only the wealthy and the well-connected. Join us.

Filmed at Netroots Nation 2014 in Detroit, MI. Song written and performed by Jessie Murphy & friends. Video produced, directed, and edited by The Self Agency.

You can sign the petition to draft Warren.