Bulletin N° 951
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (Book Summary) - Minute Book Report
The Jungle (in 31 chapters)
by Upton Sinclair
The Jungle is a 1906 novel by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). The novel portrays the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities<
“Upton Sinclair conceived The Jungle as a political game-changer, a book that would get people talking and instigate some major reforms. The book certainly did both of those things—but for reasons that its author didn’t quite expect. Grab a barf bag and join us as we take a fresh look at Sinclair’s gut-wrenching magnum opus.”
-From “10 Things You Should Know About Upton Sinclair's The Jungle,” by Mark Mancini
Subject: "The times they are a-changin’."
January 10, 2021
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
I had the pleasure of teaching with Dr. Joel Kovel (1936-2018) at San Diego State University in 1987. He was an extremely interesting thinker who had engaged in several careers: as Director of Residency Training, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, from 1977 till 1983, where he was also Professor of Psychiatry from 1979–1986; from 1980 to 1985, he was an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research teaching theories of Marxism and Freud; in 1986, he abandoned the field of Psychiatry, and taught political science and communications as a visiting professor in San Diego, California; in 1988, he was appointed Alger Hiss Chair of Social Studies, a non-tenured position, at Bard College which he occupied until and 2009. Kovel claimed his termination at Bard was due to his critique of Zionism, to which the college president, Leon Botstein, responded that, such an accusation “insults not only your intelligence but the intelligence of your readers.”
The book in question, Overcoming Zionism, Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, was published in 2007 by Pluto Press, and contains 247 pages of text, 32 pages citing 246 notes and 168 references, as well as an index of 10 pages with more than 400 entries. This work is organized into three sections, comprising a total of ten chapters. The first section, “Coming to Zion,” contains three chapters; the second, “The Jewish State,” is comprised of five chapters; while the final section, “Zionism Overcome,” contains chapters 9 and 10 in which the author argues against the “two-state solution” and in favor of a “secular and universal democracy for Israel/Palestine.”
In the first part of this study, after a lengthy Prologue in which Kovel (who was raised in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York) examines his motivations and personal influences, he begins by discussing the ontology of Jewish identity and common errors which have had disastrous results. By offering a brief description of the historical context of the Jewish religion, as it evolved over time, Kovel offers an analysis of the origins of the Jewish “sense of separateness.”
The Judaic way of being begins with a leap of negative logic. Among the social formations of the ancient world there emerged a grouping of hill tribes whose identity was based upon refusing to be like the others. It called itself Israelite, and the notion of separateness remained, to appear throughout the Pentatuech, the five books of its chronicle, which collectively became the Torah, Judaism’s precious affirmation of its history and being. In the fourth Book, Numbers, the seer Balaam announces the theme directly: Behold, it is a people dwelling apart, not counting itself among the nations. The ancient Israelites were the only people who refused to grant validity to the gods of their neighbors, in contrast to what Ronald Hendel has called the ‘basic cultural translatability in the ancient Near East,’ in which peoples would freely borrow spiritual motifs from each other. By affirming apartness, the tribes developed a sharply internalized identity whose spiritual reflex was to become the God, Yahweh. Thus they became the ‘Tribes of Yahweh,’ a title given to them by the Liberation theologist and historian Norman Gottwald, who saw in the Israelites’ struggles with the principalities of the time a discovery of the possibility of emancipation. This is plainly true.
But so is the converse: Becoming a people apart, with a godhead to match, may help account for the extraordinary durability of the Jewish identity, but it also equipped it with an enduring sense of conflict, both within itself and with other nations, and can lead to domination as well as emancipation. There is no mystery to this. Paraphrasing John Donne, we are none of us an island, thus no people can really live apart, no matter how high they build separation walls. Those who try to do so only aggravate history. They are the splinters under the skin of humanity.
Looking at the matter a bit more closely, we see the existential choice to live as a ‘people apart’ to be a launching point for a dialectic, whose further development was shaped, first, by the kinds of reactions others would have to them, and then by the counter-reactions of Israelites (later under names such as Hebrews, Jews and Israelis) in order to adapt to others. This sets into motion that process of struggle and self-definition, which makes Jewish history so interesting and varied, but also so troubled. The process could undergo lulls for considerable periods of equilibrium during which Jews were reasonably comfortable in the larger world; it could burst into spasms of terrible persecution, massacre and exile when things became destabilized; it could take forms known as ‘homelessness,’ ‘rootlessness,’ ‘cosmopolitanism;’ etc., at various points; it would allow them to play an essential role in navigating the universal alienator we call money, and so help to bring about capitalism, and it could also cause them to develop pockets of deep and dark atavisms through isolation and withdrawal from the world. We find the origins of the malaise called antisemitism in this dialectic; and we also find the reaction to antisemitism known as Zionism.
The theological reflex of being a people apart is known as the Covenant, a kind of promise bestowed by Yahweh upon his people, and first encountered in Genesis with respect to Abraham, the original Patriarch:
‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
The Covenant is a very conditional promise, as Abraham discovered when Yahweh asked for the sacrifice of his son Isaac as a sign of loyalty. The Old Testament is seeded with passages in which the God of the Hebrews scolds his people and threatens to bring about every kind of calamity should they disobey or forget him. We see a variation in Psalm 137’s imprecation to ‘let my right hand wither’ if the Jew forgets Jerusalem – which, turned around, means that the power to wreak vengeance, in today’s world, the power of the IDF, will be restored once Jerusalem is remembered, or what comes to the same thing, if Yahweh is obeyed. Yahweh was the internal reflex of the apartness of the Israelites, and the peculiar mode of organization of their moral world made the Jewish people into the original guilt culture. Guilt is not the same, however, as recognition of wrongdoing or taking of responsibility to bring about change. That is its overcoming. Too often, it becomes a signal calling for the replacement of responsibility with blame and accusation, and the repetition of wrongdoing, as we explore below.
The contrast between the Covenant between ancient Israel and its God, on the one hand, and animistic or Asian religions, on the other, could not be starker. In these latter, voices abound but as a plurality that is distinct from, yet continuous with, the sensuously lived world. For Judaic being there is one voice, male and dissociated from any image, in other words, abstracted from the sensuous world, and experienced as a harsh command. The voice is of God, but it is also of the inner self, and of the tribe as well, whose separateness from other peoples – heathen and idolators – is ever more sharply inscribed. Obedience to a peremptory guilt-inducing inner voice is a distinctive aspect of Judaic being, both a product a apartness and a reinforcement for apartness. It leads to a kind of moral universe where the dictates of the tribe and those of the universal deity can be conflated, especially under circumstances in which the larger society enforces the separation of Jews from others by law or persecution. When this happens, as was the case not infrequently in the long period of wandering know as the Diaspora which followed the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome, then being apart and being chosen as exceptional became one and the same; spiritual greatness and collective narcissism flow together. Under the conditions of ghettoization that characterized the Diaspora, the ethical world can readily become organized tribally. Now the potentials for universality by monotheism are squandered and the cycle of vengeance prevails. For if one’s ethical reference point is the tribal unit, then all others are devalued, and one no longer belongs to humanity but sets oneself over humanity. The other is no longer a full person, but a thing-like repository of barbarous impulse, devoid of history and moral weight and suitable to be dashed against the rocks. The dilemma is to haunt Zionism once its state formed and its logic of conquest put Jews in the driver’s seat. But it is much older than Zionism.
To repeat, Judaic being can conduce to universality and bring forth emancipation. We should regard this as its priceless potential, if not always a legacy.(pp.19-22)
Further into the first chapter, “A People Apart,” the author turns to examine some of the contradictions embodied in antisemitism.
Abrahamic Judaism was carried out against a backdrop of tribal hill culture; but the Prophet Isaiah, and all the prophets to come, contended with a state society and its class distinctions. Hence prophetic-emancipatory Judaism is necessarily revolutionary with regard to state power.
Isaiah was the greatest Old Testament prophet; but the greatest prophet of all, and the one whose advent he prophesied, was Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was authentically Jewish and yet a breaking point in the history of Judaism, which becomes defined thereafter by those Jews who did not follow him. Jesus was that Jew who made the Covenant universal by dissolving its tribal shell and extending it to all humanity. All spirit-forms are given shape by the concrete world in which they appear, even as they shape that world. By the time of Jesus the tribal world of Hebrew origins had become a mythic backdrop to a world of Roman imperialism, militarism, and religion served through the Second Temple. Universalism under these conditions, therefore, had to incorporate those who lived under empire and worshipped under the imperially derived authority of the Temple. These included the marginalized masses, to whose fate Jesus directed himself. He spoke to, of, and for the beggars, the whores, the rabble, the outcasts, the underlings, the nothings. His message was crafted to keep state authorities at bay by rendering unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s. But toward the moneyed classes, and toward the Temple hierarchy, Jesus was ruthless. He understood the exploitation of labor and of spirit, he understood how priestly authority could manipulate religious law to create mystery and alienate spirit, and how priests could be in league with money-lenders.
And so Jesus was asking for trouble, and got it. The political mapping of the time between Rome and the various factions of Jews is complex and does not concern us here. However, as a spiritual teacher, Jesus was obliged to clash with the Temple’s monopoly over spirituality, as well as with Rome. The Passion of Christ is the chronicle of this world-transforming event. His constituency was the Jewish masses, very numerous at the time, and his antagonists were the rich and their Temple hierarchy. Consequently, he was done in by an alliance of wealthy, Sadducee Jews and the priests whose spiritual monopoly he threatened, while the Roman authorities looked on in continual worriment over htier obstreperous Jewish subjects.
Out of the welter of factions and events, there arose that half-truth, which became the germ of the most durable of delusions, that the Jews killed Jesus. Certainly, Jews played an important role in the death of Jesus – but those who did were members of the class structure threatened by his radical message. This is the key point, perpetually buried under the blather surrounding antisemitism. The generalization of this specific moment into a blood-curse on a whole people has been one of the more pernicious turn of events to have afflicted humanity for two reasons: the grief it gave to Jews over the centuries as accusation persisted in an undercurrent of hatred toward them within Christendom; and by the way it was explained to occlude Jesus’ racially emancipatory message – because Christ must perennially be crucified so that the world may continue on its tracks. The instrument of these baleful changes was the nucleus of what we know today as antisemitism – or what may also be called, judaeophobia, which is its phenomenological core, a kind of primal fear-and-loathing of the Jew qua Jew.(pp.23-24)
Kovel goes on to expose a common epistemological error concerning the history of Judaism.
Alas, many commentators, and chief among them the ideologues of Zionism, insist on keeping up the ridiculous and demeaning charade that Jews, being the most spiritually/ethically advanced people, that is the Chosen Ones, have been essentially innocent of all charges concocted by antisemites. Thus Howard Fast, a popular writer of strongly left-leaning convictions, wrote in his The Jews, the Story of a People: ‘Such despair and agony as the Jewish people had to endure over the past thousand years is the result, not of what they are, but of what the Christian world has inflicted upon them.’ In other words, who the Jews are is to be simply defined by what has been done to them, as thought they had no internal relationship to their persecutions, nor made any use of it for their own purposes. This is as logically defective as anti-Semitism itself. More recently, Marvin Perry and Frederick Schweitzer have written in their Antisemitism: Myth and Hate from Antiquity to the Present, that ‘Antisemitism has very little to do with the actually behavior of Jews or the strictures of their highly ethical religion – indeed antisemites usually are totally ignorant of the rich tradition of rabbinical writings that discuss, often wisely and insightfully, biblical themes and Jewish laws….’ By proclaiming the essential innocence and moral purity of the Jews, this inversion of the antisemitic complex reinstalls the tribalist notion of ‘a people apart,’ and reinforces it with the perennial Jewish character traits of dwelling within the notion of suffering and being persecuted, and coordinated with this, having a superior ethical stature. It in fact denies the humanity of Jews be refusing to look at their reciprocal relations with others?’
To diagnose the malady of anti-Semitism, one need to distinguish the empirical facticity of a remark about Jews from its logical content and phenomenological structure, that is, the inner state of being from which it is launched.(p.25)
At the end of this discussion, Kovel arrives at “a vexing question”: namely, “is this statement about Jews a concrete one, or is it made as a proposition about an underlying general essence of Jewishness?”
The method here is strictly historical; that is, is one looking at concretely situated people subject to the whole range of historical determinations and recognizable therefore as living individuals? Or do we encounter them as pasteboard figures carrying about some sign of Jewishness – avariciousness, cunning, etc. – and essentially standing in for that?
The phenomenological inquiry is more difficult, but only because it requires some knowledge of the state of mind from which the judgment of Jews proceeds. Chiefly, this consists of being able to determine the affect with which the judgment is made, and whether it is deeply felt and enduing as well as hateful. If the answer to these questions is affirmative this tells us that antisemitism is going on and that it is an effort to deal with a lesion in the being of he who launches the charge against the Jew; the accusation against Jews itself is no more then than a cloak to cover up this relationship, thought needless to add, often enough highly destructive. In this respect, Jewishness is a statement about something unresolved in the self of the antisemite.(pp.25-26)
Kovel then turns to discuss the all too human foibles which appeared in the Jewish population at the time they lived under extreme stress during the long Diaspora.
One would be hard put to say which of the three Abrahamic religions has most betrayed its prophets. All have a lot to answer for, nor can any degree of explanation as to why this was done take away the stain of the doing. In the case of interest here, that of the People Apart, Perry and Schweitzer’s propagandistic evocation of the ‘rich tradition of rabbinical writings that discuss, often wisely and insightfully biblical themes and Jewish laws,’ deserves some scrutiny. This is quite a tall tale in view of the very checkered record of classical Judaism under the influence of the Rabbinate who replaced the priestly class of antiquity during the long Diaspora – and whose important relationships to modern Israel we take up in sole detail below. There is needless to say, much spiritual and aesthetic wealth in the rabbinical tradition. But there is also a lot of dross, and beyond that, things weird and frankly destructive. What else can be expected in so great a range of enclosed and weak societies surrounded by a hostile world and presided over by a male authority system?
The great Israel Shahak, fearless critic of Zionism, made a study of the odd results of this system as it took hold in Europe from the medieval to the early modern period. Here is something of what he learned:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>that according to the Talmud (that is, the teachings of the rabbis), ‘Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources that mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the Talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.’ Other, more popular accounts accuse Jesus of witchcraft; the very name is ‘a symbol for all that is abominable, ….’
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Jews are forbidden to praise gentiles; rather are they asked to utter curses when passing by gentile cemeteries, or large gatherings of gentiles. Similarly, they are not to give gentiles gifts, while being directed to charge gentiles maximum interest in their money-lending activities.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Sexual intercourse between Jewish men and gentile women is not considered adultery but bestiality, since gentile women are not considered human and are therefore incapable of matrimony. This does not let the gentile woman off the hook. She must be executed even if raped: ‘If a Jew has coitus with a gentile woman [writes one authority who shall be discussed below], whether she be a child of three or an adult, whether married or unmarried, and even if he is a minor only nine years old and one day – because he had willful coitus with her, she must be killed, as is the case with a beast, because through her a Jew got into trouble. ‘The Jew himself must be flogged, as befits one who has had sex with a beast.
In sum, the dark record of antisemitism includes not just the racist-imposed sufferings of Jews but the imprint of certain counter-racisms. The presence of these and similar startements should not be used to label Judaism as such, or even its orthodox proponents. They are only parts of a much more complex whole. But they are also parts that can be seized under particular circumstances, including those pertaining to the history of Zionism, which has incorporated them in ways we discuss below in order to advance the notion of Jewish exceptionalism in a malignant form.(pp.26-27)
He goes on to give a modern example of Zionist prejudices extending from this medieval period.
Rabbi Abraham Kook the Elder (1865-1935), an important figure in the Zionist tradition and “revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism … said ‘The difference between a Jewish soul and (the souls of non-Jews … is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.’”Similarly, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the adored leader of the Lubovitcher Hassidim, writes that
“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person comes from the common expression; ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world …”
From which it follows logically, in the words of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh in the Jewish Week of April 1996, that ‘If every single cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, and is thus part of God, then every strand of DNA is a part of God. Therefore, there is something special about Jewish DNA.’
This kind of thinking is laced through the Talmud and other documents of the Halakhah, the foundation of Jewish Law and the cement of traditional Jewish identity and society. The contradictions become particularly sever around the question of the saving of gentile lives by Jewish physicians. It is inscribed, for example, in the Talmudic maxim that ‘Gentiles are neither to be lifted [out of a well into which they may have fallen] nor hauled down into it.’ The Hppocratic Oath – product of the Hellenism that discomfited Jews in the three centuries directly before the Common Era – prescribes that the doctor try to save all human life irrespective of the identity of the person who happens to be alive. This however runs afoul of the classical Jewish percept that the difference between Jews and non-Jews is greater than that between humans and cattle, and that therefore non-Jews are not human. Given the primacy of rabbinical authority in traditional Jewish society, then, it should come as no surprise to read the following:
“As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war …, there death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written [Lev: 19-16]: ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ – but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow . . . .”
It does however come as a surprise to learn that the author of these jarring words is none other than Moses Maimonides – who also wrote the passage above about putting to death gentile women with whom Jewish men have had sexual relations, along with others in this vein. Maimonides!? The most revered and prodigiously learned of Jews, physician to the court of the great Saladin (who is exempt from the prohibition of treatment, as the kind of authority a prudent Jew would not want to cross), the contemporary of St Francis and his moral equivalent for the Jewish people, and one of the greatest of those medieval Aristotelians whose intellectual synthesis points the way for the Age of Science and Reason.
The contribution of Maimonides to the practice of withholding medical treatment to gentiles resurfaced in the infamous case of Baruch Goldstein, an immigrant physician from Brooklyn who massacred 29 Muslims (wounding 100 others) at prayer in the Patriarch’s Cave in Hebron on February 25, 1994. Submerged in the history of this sensational event is the prior story of Goldstein as a doctor in the Israeli army, where he repeatedly breached military regulations by refusing to treat Arab soldiers and was more than once reassigned on this basis. Two things stand out in this episode: first, that though Goldstein repeatedly violated direct military orders, he was never court-martialed, evidently because of protection by higher-ups fearing adverse publicity by Israel’s ultra-right religious parties. And second, when confronted with refusal to treat a wounded Arab, Goldstein declared : ‘I am not willing to treat any non-Jew. I recognize as legitimate only two [religious] authorities: Maimonides and [Meir] Kahane.’
It is therefore not possible to dismiss the moral oddities of the Halakhah as a mere peccadillo. As extreme as he may have been Baruch Goldstein certainly mattered within Israel, as shown by his elevation to the status of a heroic martyr after his death, and more generally, by the remarkable rise in the status and influence of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel. It follows that the two names, Moses Maimonides and Meir Kahane, the former a veritable saint and the latter as violent a figure as has ever appeared in Jewish history, are drawn together by the logic of Zionism, which has rooted itself, for reasons we now explore, in the most archaic and vengeance-ridden strata of Judaic being in order to advance a thoroughly modern agenda.(pp.29-31)
Overcoming Zionism, by Dr. Joel Kevel, is a thought-provoking book, and the author’s multidisciplinary approach to this topic is complemented by his fine-tuned analytical mind and his intimate familiarity with the dialectical materialist method which he skillfully employs to uncover many new insights into this subject. As a Marxist Humanist, he steadfastly refuses to demonize any of the participants in this human drama, and we come away with a better understanding of who we are and how we got to be this way.
The 18 + items below include articles and essays that reflect the turbulence of our times, as well as the pervasive ruling-class cynicism which seeks to naturalize social class relationships of inequality that are worsening every day. Paradoxically, the worse this crisis becomes, the more transparent the hypocrisy, and the more conscious the population becomes that they have been deceived - tricked into collaborating with their oppressors. The material reality begins to speak for itself and bad faith and empty rhetoric stands to be judged in all its shame by all of us who are working for the formation of community and for self-protection against capitalist greed and the ideologies of class enslavement for private privilege.
Professeur honoraire de l'Université Grenoble-Alpes
Ancien Directeur de Researches
Université de Paris-Nanterre
Director of The Center for the Advanced Study
of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
What #ForceTheVote Tells Us About The Democrat Party
with Jimmy Dore
Top U.S. & World Headlines
January 8, 2021
with Amy Goodman
"The Terrorist Attack Is NOT Over"
with Michael Moore
America's existential crisis
with Chris Hedges and Cornel West
DC Rage: “More Coming Unless Basic Economic Changes Made”
with Richard Wolff
“Insurrection was predictable”
by David Sirota
“Woman shot in the neck in the Washington Capitol Building Protests | Trump Supporters”
Top U.S. & World Headlines
January 7, 2021
with Amy Goodman
"Proud Boys run wild while police stand by (again)"
“Unprecedented Moment”: Far-Right Forces Swarm D.C. to Back Overturning Election, Egged On by Trump
with Amy Goodman
Thousands who refuse to accept President Trump’s 2020 election loss to Joe Biden are protesting in Washington, D.C., as Congress meets to count the Electoral College votes and certify the results. Mayor Muriel Bowser has called in the National Guard ahead of the protests, after anti-democracy protesters clashed with police near Black Lives Matter Plaza. Police arrested six people on charges that include bringing illegal guns to the city. National security reporter William Arkin says it is “an unprecedented moment,” with the sitting president actively encouraging the unrest. We also speak with Jason Wilson, an investigative journalist who tracks the political right and extremist movements, who says the Trump presidency has seen a startling merger of the GOP with the far right. “There’s not really a sharp dividing line between violent, far-right street activists and the supporters of the president in Congress,” says Wilson.
Medea Benjamin on Twitter: "Unbelievable!!! Police actually opened the barricades to let the protesters into the Capitol! They must be fired.
Every one of them."
“No More Excuses For Democrats -- AOC Pivots Messaging”
with Jimmy Dore
Watch: ‘#FraudSquad’ on YouTube
with Jimmy Dore
AOC's False Accusations Against #ForceTheVote Activists
with Jimmy Dore
“AOC Deletes Tweet -- Betrays Her Own Campaign Promises #FraudSquad”
with Jimmy Dore
“Krystal Ball is CORRECT About The Left's Response To #ForceTheVote”
with Jimmy Dore
Meet the pseudo-left imperialists fighting against universal healthcare
with Dan Cohen
Comedian Jimmy Dore has exposed a collection of self-styled leaders of progressive media as imperialist hacks joined at the hip with the Democratic Party and NATO.
This video report originally appeared at Behind The Headlines.
Only a “Transformational” Electoral Politics is Useful
with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
Evidence Mounts of a Capitol Hill False Flag
by Stephen Lendman
America’s road to hell is paved with diabolical intentions. 9/11 changed everything — followed last year by unleashing The Great Reset war on humanity (sponsored by the World Economic Forum) and Wednesday, January 6 orchestrated Capitol Hill violence.
“Capitol Stormed by Protestors! Trump's Twitter Suspended!”
with Jimmy Dore
Force The Vote! We demand that every progressive in Congress refuse to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House until she publicly pledges to bring Medicare for all to the floor of the House for a vote in January: https://forcethevote.org/
Assange Wins. The Cost: The Crushing of Press Freedom, The Labelling of Dissent as Mental Illness
by Jonathan Cook
From: WSWS Free Assange Newsletter
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2021
Subject: UK judge rules against US extradition: Release Julian Assange now!
Let’s Be Absolutely Clear What’s At Stake In The Assange Case
by Caitlin Johnstone
“Journalists angered by Assange ruling”
with Chris Hedges
Stimulus Checks, Larry Summers, plus Mark Crispin Miller on “Academic Freedom”
with Mark Crispin Miller
Stop Watching Propaganda - #PropagandaWatch
with James Corbett
“NEWS FROM UNDERGROUND”
by Mark Crispin Miller
“Untaught History: 1871” https://youtu.be/LwFpOO90LH0
Red Pill Your Friends: 2020 in Review
Something Strange Is Happening to Our DNA
Red Pill Your Friends: The Human Farmers
Billionaires Became ONE TRILLION DOLLARS Richer
with really graceful
FLASHBACK: “Contagion” – Film, Literature and the New World Order (September 2014)
with James Corbett
with James Corbett
HISTORIC VACCINE DEBATE: RFK JR. VS. DERSHOWITZ ON FORCED VACCINATION OF AMERICANS
with Robert Kennedy Jr. and Alan Dershowitz
Capitalism Covid-19 = Mass Death in US
with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
“The US health system has failed utterly and completely to protect the people” in this country, said veteran activist Sara Flounders, co-editor with Lee Siu Hin of the new, 50-writer anthology “Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of Covid-19 in China and the US.” The US accounts for a quarter of the world’s infections and a third of deaths, a catastrophe due to “the cost of health care for profit, of no national health care, and no national coordination,” said Flounders, who notes that the US “does not lack infrastructure in police, in the military, and in prisons.”
Glenn Greenwald: Big Tech is censoring Covid debate
with Freddie Sayers and Glenn Greenwald
Techno-Tyranny: How The US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Fulfill An Orwellian Vision
by Whitney Webb
Last year, a government commission called for the US to adopt an AI-driven mass surveillance system far beyond that used in any other country in order to ensure American hegemony in artificial intelligence. Now, many of the “obstacles” they had cited as preventing its implementation are rapidly being removed under the guise of combating the coronavirus crisis.
Covid-19 catch-22: Regime-change policies come packed with
US pandemic relief
by Alexander Rubinstein and Jeb Sprague
The US Congress’ $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill was packaged with $1.4 trillion in omnibus spending that includes tens of billions for war, weapons, and regime change abroad, from anti-Russia and anti-China initiatives to $3.3 billion for Israel’s military.
Pandemic Reveals Crisis of US Imperialism
with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
“I think what we are looking at is a severely wounded, crippled US imperialism as the chief hegemon of world capitalism,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The coronavirus epidemic “brought the crisis of this economy into bold relief,” said Yeshitela, while China continued its rise “as a major contending force that was rapidly overtaking the US economy – and most of Europe,” as well.
Bill Gates 'stunned' by pace of scientific advances, says 2021 will be better than 2020; shares details about Covid, vaccines in detailed blogpost
Bill Gates hopes to spend much of his time in 2021 talking with leaders around the world about both climate change and Covid-19.
“How billionaires prevent
with Krystal Ball and Anand Giridharadas
Blackwater's Erik Prince: Iraq, privatising wars, and Trump
with Mehdi Hasan
Lead FBI investigator in Blackwater case likens Iraq massacre to My Lai
by The Guardian
Iran Demands South Korea Unfreeze $7BN In Assets While It Detains Tanker Crew
Iran, China ready for war
‘at any second’
with Rick Sanchez
Iran's spokesman at the United Nations says the US is "appearing to set traps and provocations to provide an excuse to initiate armed conflict" in the final days of the Trump administration. He emphasized that Tehran is ready to meet such a challenge. Meanwhile, South Korea is sending troops to the Persian Gulf in response to Tehran's seizure of a South Korean ship for violating "environmental laws" in its territorial waters. Is a new war in Iran imminent? RT America's Alex Mihailovich reports. Then former naval intelligence officer John Jordan and former UK MP George Galloway share their insights. (3:01)
After Trump leaves, US and Israeli aggression against Iran remains
by Aaron Maté
Debate : “Iran & US - who's the aggressor?”
with Former naval intelligence officer John Jordan and former UK MP George Galloway
The Legacy of General Qassem Soleimani: A Woman's Perspective
by Zohreh Kharazmi
Why invent conspiracies when you have the neocons starting
the Iraq war
by Philip Weiss
The D.C. Political Monopoly Just Does Not Get It
by Richard Wolff
2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran
by Alan Macleod
The Real Reason Why Blackstone Is Courting The Pentagon
by Whitney Webb
The sudden push by Wall Street’s largest private equity firm to heavily lobby the Pentagon and State Department for largely unspecified reasons is part of an increasingly visible conflict within the U.S. establishment regarding how to handle the Artificial Intelligence “arms race.”
AFRICOM Causes Humanitarian Crises on Two Continents
with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
Under the guise of helping fight the Boko Haram, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has helped the French-speaking West African government of Cameroon wage war against its English-speaking population, causing thousands to flee to Mexico in hopes of emigrating to the United States, said Joe Penny, a reporter for The Intercept. “There are now camps of people living at the [US] border with next to no resources,” including large numbers of Cameroonians, as well as Haitians, said Penny, author of an article titled “Cameroonian Asylum-Seekers at the Border are Fleeing a US-Backed Military.”
Joe Biden should end the US pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons
by Desmond Tutu
Every recent US administration has performed a perverse ritual as it has come into office. All have agreed to undermine US law by signing secret letters stipulating they will not acknowledge something everyone knows: that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal.
Part of the reason for this is to stop people focusing on Israel’s capacity to turn dozens of cities to dust. This failure to face up to the threat posed by Israel’s horrific arsenal gives its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a sense of power and impunity, allowing Israel to dictate terms to others.
But one other effect of the US administration’s ostrich approach is that it avoids invoking the US’s own laws, which call for an end to taxpayer largesse for nuclear weapons proliferators.
How Nas Daily whitewashes
by Tamara Nassar and Ali Abunimah
“Medical Apartheid”: Israeli Vaccine Drive Excludes Millions of Palestinians in Occupied Territories
with Mustafa Barghouti
The Johns Hopkins, CDC Plan to Mask Medical Experimentation on Minorities as “Racial Justice”
by Jeremy Loffredo and Whitney Webb
What is the human cost to
China's economic miracle?
with Mehdi Hasan
In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges Charles Liu, Senior Fellow at Peking University, seasoned Chinese entrepreneur and informal adviser to the Chinese government, on Xi Jinping’s record in power so far, the government’s crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, and what role for China if it becomes the 21st century’s military and economic superpower. With the presidential term limit abolished in 2018, critics say that Chinese President Xi Jinping appears to be paving the way to being able to stay in power for life, but Charles Liu, founder of Hao Capital, disputes this. Separately, despite lower-than-predicted growth, China is still growing substantially and is set to become the world’s biggest economy. But the economic boom has been paired with an increase in state surveillance and crackdowns on dissent, as well as the repression of the Muslim Uighur minority. So at what cost has China’s economic miracle come? And what’s the future for civil liberties of the Chinese people? In recent years China has also increased its military spending while some Chinese officials have been ratcheting up their militaristic rhetoric, raising fears of direct military confrontation with the United States.
On this Head to Head episode filmed at the Oxford Union, we challenge Charles Liu on all these topics, ask him whether the Chinese economy has hit a wall, and whether China’s neighbours should dismiss their fears as his country builds up its military and extends its global reach. We are joined by a panel of three experts: Andreas Fulda - China Specialist at Asia Research Institute and Assistant Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham. Victor Gao - Vice President of the Beijing based Center for China and Globalization and former interpreter for the late President Deng Xiaoping. Steve Tsang - Professor and Director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London.
Is China Eclipsing the USA as the World's Superpower?
with Richard Wolff
“A Hard Look at Rent and Rent Seeking”
with Michael Hudson & Pepe Escobar
Polarization, Then a Crash: the Rentier Economy
with Michael Hudson
“Financialization and Deindustrialization”
with Michael Hudson
“How 'Progressive' Biden's Economic Team is Not”
with Richard Wolff
Prof Wolff comments on some of the selections of Biden's cabinet that are being labeled as "progressive," specifically Janet Yellen, Jared Bernstein, and Heather Boushey. He says they know something about the fundamental problems and flaws of American capitalism, but are ideologically blinded to the solution. He says they are good people, well-intentioned, but they long ago accepted the rules of what can and cannot be said, what can and cannot be done policy wise, and they love being "realistic." He believes their policies will take some of the edge off of the many painful aspects of capitalism, but will not address root causes. "If you want to do something about burgeoning inequality, don't nip around at the edges."
The Freedom Struggle in 2020: Angela Davis on Protests, Defunding Police & Toppling Racist Statues
We are all we’ve got: Why mutual aid is more critical than ever
with Kim Brown
Mumia: Fear of Socialism
with Mumia Abu Jama
Stephen F. Cohen on Russia's democratization and how US meddling undermines it
by Aaron Maté
US govt-sponsored website Bellingcat disrupts MH17 trial in Netherlands
by Eric van de Beek
'Devastating Effects' of CA Prop 22 Begin as Albertsons Stores Move to Replace Unionized Drivers With Gig
by Kenny Stancil,
Much hope but little gain
by Josh Ruebner
Biden’s Victory Was Hardly a Win for “Democracy.” It Was Another Win for the 1%.
by Rajko Koundzic
The American Money Tree: The Untold Story of US Aid to Israel
by Ramzy Baroud
The anti-Palestinian racists attacking Raphael Warnock
Rabbi Ilan Feldman has gone on the offensive against US Senate candidate Raphael Warnock without Atlanta media examining his own anti-Palestinian connections and baggage. (via YouTube)
by Michael F. Brown
Over the last few weeks, Reverend Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate for one of Georgia’s US Senate seats, has abandoned his support for Palestinian rights.
I have painstakingly documented his collapse under Israel lobby pressure.
But what do we know about those pressuring him?
So far, we know that following his rapid reversals, Warnock was endorsed by the political action committee of Democratic Majority for Israel.
DMFI recently wrote members of Congress excusing Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
The lobby group approvingly cited Regavim, a right-wing settler group connected to Bezalel Smotrich, a member of Israel’s parliament who supports segregation and expulsion for Palestinians – ideas that have been called potentially genocidal by Daniel Blatman, a prominent Israeli scholar of the Holocaust.
In 2015 Smotrich claimed God commanded Jews not to sell homes to Arabs.
“I believe in God’s words,” Smotrich stated. “I prefer that Jews make a living and wouldn’t sell a house to Arabs.”
And now, we know that Ilan Feldman, a rabbi for Atlanta’s Congregation Beth Jacob, is leading the charge against Warnock.
Feldman and three other rabbis criticized Warnock’s Israel-related views in a December letter the Coalition for Jewish Values sent to Warnock.
This is a right-wing organization that aims to combat the influence of “American liberal Jewish movements” and “left-wing ideologues.”
The Coalition for Jewish Values recently attacked Jewish Voice for Peace for hosting a panel of speakers who condemned anti-Semitism, but refused to equate activism for Palestinian rights with anti-Jewish bigotry.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the group’s managing director, has defended Israel’s Nation-State law that enshrines superior rights for Jews over Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Legal advocates say the law violates international prohibitions on apartheid.
Menken’s comments should lead Warnock to push back rather than continue to knuckle under on equal rights for Palestinians.
Instead, Warnock has rapidly been moving in Menken’s direction.
Rabbi Ilan Feldman
Warnock is also moving in the direction of Rabbi Ilan Feldman.
In a 2017 speech Feldman gave about the 1967 War, not once did he stop to consider the legal or moral implications of Israel’s 50 years of control since then over the lives of Palestinians and Syrians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.
He argued that “millions of Jews were again threatened by annihilation while the world postured and did absolutely nothing.”
This rewriting of history ignores the basic fact that Israel started the war with a surprise attack on Egypt. Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan later admitted that the taking of the Golan Heights was fueled by a lust for more land.
During the war, Israel forced out more Palestinians, as it had in 1948, and decades later Israel’s occupations continue to inflict horrific harm on Palestinians and neighboring countries and their populations.
Just days after Israel occupied East Jerusalem, Israel ethnically cleansed the ancient Moroccan Quarter – destroying within days over 100 houses, a centuries-old mosque and by 1969 other treasures – in order to create what is now the Western Wall Plaza.
But Feldman remembered entering occupied East Jerusalem as a child. He called it “unbelievably thrilling” and recalled without remorse “bulldozers bulldozing down all those old houses.”
In Feldman’s talk, Palestinians don’t even warrant naming.
Feldman, Congregation Beth Jacob’s senior rabbi, is closely connected to Rabbi Yitzchok Tendler, the executive director.
Tendler is also a co-founder of Young Jewish Conservatives.
Rabbi Ben Packer, his co-founder, routinely incites unhinged bigotry against Palestinians and activists for Palestinian rights. Packer supports Meir Kahane, a racist who demanded the wholesale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Kahane’s affiliated organizations – including Kach and offshoot Kahane Chai – are designated as terrorist organizations by the US State Department.
Congregation Beth Jacob’s website obscures Tendler’s connection to Young Jewish Conservatives and Packer by stating he “serves as executive director of a national grassroots pro-Israel organization.”
This is very likely Young Jewish Conservatives, where Tendler is listed as a co-founder and director.
Tendler and Packer, as documented by The Electronic Intifada, have cultivated right-wing politicians such as Congressman Dan Crenshaw in their work with Young Jewish Conservatives.
Palestine in Pictures: December 2020 | The Electronic Intifada
‘They took everything from me’: Israel destroyed his house. A month later they shot and paralyzed his son.
by Yumna Patel
Video: Not even allowed to live in a cave | The Electronic Intifada
Israel is threatening to wipe a Palestinian village off the map.
Farasin, in the occupied West Bank near Jenin, has 200 residents.
It is located in Area C – the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control according to the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
While Jewish settlers are allowed to build freely, Israel bars virtually all new construction in Area C by Palestinians.
Despite owning the land, Palestinians have no choice but to build without Israeli permits. They live in constant fear that their homes will be demolished and that they will face fines.
Israel’s Civil Administration, the bureaucratic arm of its military occupation, ordered the demolition of Ahmad Amarneh’s small home in the village as he was building it.
Amarneh then moved to one of the village’s historic caves, “because it does not require an Israeli permit, or so I thought,” he told The Electronic Intifada.
In July, Israeli occupation forces ordered Amarneh to leave the cave.
“I had exactly 96 hours to evacuate,” he said.
Since he did not do any new construction, Amarneh thought he was safe from Israel’s demolitions.
“I didn’t build a villa or a house. I didn’t build anything, not even a tent. I found something that already existed, built by nature, and I lived in it,” Amarneh said.
“And now they say it’s not allowed and that they will destroy it. I feel incredibly sad.”
Mohammed Amarneh, another village resident, experienced two Israeli demolitions in two years.
“The feeling is indescribable because there’s no justice,” Mohammed told The Electronic Intifada.
“Any settler whose father and grandfather are unknown can come and live here in outposts that cover 1,000 square meters, while I’m forbidden from building on even 10 square meters,” he continued.
“I can’t even build a bathroom in my house.”
Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Goes Uninterrupted, But Is Europe Finally Taking Notice?
by Miko Peled
Video: Palestinian puppeteers bring theater to Gaza
with Mahdi Karira
“Forbidden Weapons” Used Against Gaza Strip Palestinians. Israel Deliberately Targets Palestinian Civilians
by Dr. Zuhair Sabbagh
The following research article will explore three forbidden weapons that were and are still being used against the Palestinian civilians of the besieged Gaza Strip.
“An Israeli Blitzkrieg" Signs Point to Imminent Israeli Military Action in Yemen
by Ahmed Abdulkareem
The Political Case for Boycotts
with Richard Wolff
The Corbett Report Archives
From: PDF By Marc Pilisuk
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2021
Subject: 📄 "Report from iron mountain" by Marc Pilisuk
A Pandemic of Insanity
by Arthur Firstenberg
We have a pandemic, all right, but it is a pandemic of insanity, not COVID-19. The world — the entire world, not just a few people or a few countries or a few cultures — has forgotten what life is. Life is community.
You see them everywhere. Men and women walking down the street, all of them with masks on their faces and cell phones in their hands. People jogging, with masks covering their faces and cell phones in their hands. Mothers wheeling their babies with one hand, holding a cell phone in the other hand, with a mask covering their face.
The world has gone insane.
Back in May, the President of Tanzania announced that a goat, a quail, and a papaya had tested positive for COVID-19. People did not stop eating papayas. But when farmed minks began testing positive, the response has been to kill them all.
After a few minks in the Netherlands tested positive in April, 570,000 minks were slaughtered. Minks started testing positive and being killed in Denmark in June, and on November 4, Denmark announced it would destroy the rest of its 17 million minks. Sanity finally broke out in that country, and the eradication campaign stopped after only 2.5 million minks were slaughtered. But minks have also been killed in Spain, Sweden, Greece, France, and the United States.
Lions, tigers and leopards in zoos have tested positive.
People have been testing their dogs and cats, and lo and behold, some of them have tested positive, and on May 6, the Centers for Disease Control created a webpage titled “What to Do if Your Pet Tests Positive for the Virus that Causes COVID-19.”
This is what you are supposed to do: “Isolate the pet from everyone else, including other pets.” “Keep your pet at least 6 feet away from other pets and people.”
“If you have a private backyard where your dog can go to the bathroom, do not take them for walks.” But, the CDC warns, “Do not wipe or bathe your pet with… hand sanitizer,” and “Do not try to put a mask on your pet.”
It is becoming obvious that no matter what you test — minks, lions, dogs, papayas, people, or anything else — you will get positive results, and that the results mean nothing. Just wait until someone tests a cow. Kill all the cows, and no more meat or dairy products! Vaccinate every pet and farm animal in the world! Do contact tracing for every pet that comes in contact with an infected pet!
We have a pandemic, all right, but it is a pandemic of insanity, not COVID-19. The world — the entire world, not just a few people or a few countries or a few cultures — has forgotten what life is. Life is community. It is social contact, touching, breathing, sharing. It is oxygen. People are dying because their masks are making them hypoxic. Cancer cells thrive in the absence of oxygen. . . . .
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence defies Trump, says he will not reject electoral college vote
by ICH & Agencies
Congress convened Wednesday for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the electoral college vote won by Joe Biden, in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's relentless effort to overturn the election and cling to the White House.
The typically routine proceeding was anything but, as Trump mounts his desperate attempt to stay in office. Trump's Republican allies in the House and Senate planned to object to the election results, heeding supporters' pleas to "fight for Trump" as the president himself staged a huge rally outside the White House. The fight is tearing the Republican Party apart.
The last-gasp effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the November results. Biden, who won the electoral college 306-232, is to be inaugurated Jan. 20.
Still, Trump vowed he would "never concede" and urged the massive crowd to march to the Capitol where hundreds had already gathered under tight security.
From: Cat McGuire [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, January 09, 2021
Subject: Eyewitness account -- I was in Washington Jan 6
After the fact, seeing what is being said compared to what I saw and wrote in my account here, it is 100% clear to me that the EXTREME reverse interpretation of what happened on Jan 6 is an outright fascistic plot to thoroughly undermine the process of doing a legal determination of the actual election 2020 votes.
Ask yourself, was it a mob riot or a legal protest? The lack of police was meant to draw Trump supporters in to be extras in a propaganda script all set up to disseminate an exquisitely-produced visual lie.
I was at the Washington, D.C. “Save America” rally by Cat McGuire
Another good account – 7 minute video
Man who entered Capitol building tells his story
with James Corbett
Welcome to #SolutionsWatch, a new regular podcast series from The Corbett Report that seeks to examine the movements, technologies, activities and philosophies that purport to provide solutions to the problems that we face and to highlight the work of activists who are making a difference. Let’s work together to make the world a better place.]