Rouge Forum Dispatch: Empire and the Earth: Incompatible

We Say Fight Back!

We’re Mad as Hell and We are going to go outside and yell Words Like ‘Fetus’ and ‘Science,’ and ‘Evidence-based!’

The Department of Health and Human Services tried to play down on Saturday a report that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been barred from using seven words or phrases, including “science-based,” “fetus,” “transgender” and “vulnerable,” in agency budget documents.  www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/health/cdc-trump-banned-words.html?_r=1

 

Preserving the Memory of the Vietnam War, CSPAN interviews Drew Pearson (journalist who predicted US would lose in 1964 and cameraman Hirashaki)

www.c-span.org/video/?435634-2/on-frontlines-television-war

How the British Communist Dutt responded to Rosa Luxemburg’s 1918 criticism of the Russian Revolution

…Her instinct, therefore, made her write, firstly, to justify the Bolshevik leaders for correctly understanding the historical necessity for a proletarian dictatorship in Russia, completing the bourgeois revolution and laying the foundation of the transition period into Socialism, and, secondly, to warn the proletariat of the West against slavishly copying the exact form of that dictatorship, which owing to the tragic isolation of Russia, was developing under most difficult circumstances, and was therefore no criterion for other countries.

If one reads this booklet therefore carefully, one can see that Rosa Luxemburg possessed a breadth of view and a historical insight which makes contemptible to-day the quarrellings of German Majority Socialists, Communists, Independents, and the followers of Paul Levi over the interpretation of her views for their narrow party ends.

She commences her work by justifying the seizure of power in October, 1917, by Lenin and Trotsky, and by ridiculing Kautsky and the Mensheviks, who maintained that an unripe agrarian land like Russia must pass through an unadulterated process of capitalist development before the working class can aspire to power. “The service which the Russian Bolsheviks have rendered to history,” she writes, “has been that they have proclaimed a tactic and followed it with iron consequence, which alone could have saved the Russian Revolution and have driven it forward. The real situation in Russia in the summer of 1917 was narrowed down to the alternatives—victory of the counter-revolution or dictatorship of the proletariat—Kaledin or Lenin.” By these words Luxemburg shows herself as the protagonist of the theory which she herself developed in such detail in her Accumulation of Capital, and which has become the sharp dividing line between the Communist and the non-Communist view of the world revolution.

Rosa Luxemburg’s most serious criticism of the tactics of the Russian Bolsheviks is concentrated on two points—their failure after the October revolution to make fuller use of the Constituent Assembly, and their conversion of the whole apparatus of the revolutionary State into an annexe of the Russian Communist Party, whereby all criticism and Press freedom necessarily went by the board. She argues thus: The Constituent Assembly, elected in December, 1917, was a farce, because it was elected on old lists, which no longer reflected the political life of the country. But why did not the Bolsheviks order a fresh election on new lists and let the Assembly sit alongside of the Soviets? To the argument of Trotsky1 that a. Parliamentary Assembly is necessarily a clumsy body, which cannot reflect changes of public opinion in times of revolution, she replies by instancing the Long Parliament and the Great Convention of the French Revolution, which sat for years and correctly reflected these changes. The democratic Parliament, she maintained, if watched over by Soviets, may become a great means for educating the masses in the period of the dictatorship….http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2014/05/09/how-british-communists-responded-rosa-luxemburgs-1918-criticism-russian-revolution

 

The Dawn of Detroit

Professor Tiya Miles talked about her book The Dawn of Detroit, in which she examines the role that slavery played in the early history of Detroit.   www.c-span.org/video/?434434-1/the-dawn-detroit

Ex-Soldier Tells Us Who The Real Enemy Is

"We know that our enemies are not other poor people abroad. Our enemies are the people that laid us off from our jobs, that denied us healthcare, that make it impossible to get an education. Our enemies are not in the poorest countries on the planet, but right here in the richest one."You can follow Mike on Twitter:https://twitter.com/mikeprysner

Posted by The Peace Report on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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Training

😂🤣😋

Posted by Impeach Trump, Impeach Pence, Keep Impeaching on Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Little Red Schoolhouse

Claremont Native American Fellowship

Through a partnership with the US Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education, Claremont Graduate University will award selected Native Americans with a generous support package to help them earn a California preliminary K-12 teaching credential and master’s in education in as little as 15 months.

The fellowship provides selected Native American students with full tuition support and a stipend for living expenses, in addition to a year of mentoring once they complete the program, so that they emerge as teachers prepared with the skills needed to promote educational excellence in their communities.  www.cgu.edu/school/school-of-educational-studies/teacher-education/native-american-fellowship/

The Learning Curve: Eight of the State’s Most Segregated Schools Are in San Diego but nothing to do with capitalism and empire

Eight schools in San Diego Unified make the list of the most racially segregated schools in the state. But there hasn’t exactly been a critical mass of parents pushing for more integrated schools. More often, parents who aren’t happy with their assigned neighborhood schools speak with their feet.

That San Diego Unified schools are segregated by race and class isn’t news to educators or those familiar with the district. In 1977, a Superior Court judge found 23 schools in the district were racially segregated to the point they demanded intervention. The judge ordered the district to desegregate and allowed it to come up with a plan to do so voluntarily.

When we looked at those schools two years ago, however, nearly all of the ones on the original list – with one possible exception – were still segregated by race and class. And over the past 10 years, the San Diego Unified school board has dramatically scaled back integration efforts.

In 2011, the school board launched a plan to create a quality school in every neighborhood and keep kids in their assigned schools. In the past seven years, the district has nearly halved the number of students who have access to school buses – the mechanism that largely makes integration possible.

The more interesting question, perhaps, is the degree to which any of this matters to the school board or to the public.  www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/learning-curve-eight-states-segregated-schools-san-diego/

The International Hot War of the Rich on the Poor

How ISIS Produced Its Cruel Arsenal on an Industrial Scale (Sun Tzu: “Feed on the Enemy”)

Late this spring, Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State in Mosul discovered three unfired rocket-propelled grenades with an unusual feature — a heavy liquid sloshing inside their warheads. Tests later found that the warheads contained a crude blister agent resembling sulfur mustard, a banned chemical weapon intended to burn a victim’s skin and respiratory tract.

The improvised chemical rockets were the latest in a procession of weapons developed by the Islamic State during a jihadist arms-manufacturing spree without recent analogue.

Irregular fighting forces, with limited access to global arms markets, routinely manufacture their own weapons. But the Islamic State took the practice to new levels, with outputs “unlike anything we’ve ever seen” from a nonstate force, said Solomon H. Black, a State Department official who tracks and analyzes weapons.

Humanitarian de-miners, former military explosive ordnance disposal technicians and arms analysts working in areas captured from the Islamic State provided The New York Times with dozens of reports and scores of photographs and drawings detailing weapons that the militant organization has developed since 2014, when it established a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

The records show the work of a jihadist hive mind — a system of armaments production that combined research and development, mass production and organized distribution to amplify the militant organization’s endurance and power.  www.nytimes.com/2017/12/10/world/middleeast/isis-bombs.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r&_r=0

NATO troops drill for war on a Cold-War scale (video within)

Eight hundred American and NATO soldiers, attack helicopters and tank busters are deployed in a military exercise of extraordinary complexity in Poland, preparing for trench warfare against an army with a level of sophistication the U.S. military hasn’t seen in decades. Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote reports on the most recent of the tit-for-tat exercises between NATO and Russia…..

These infantrymen are less than an hour’s drive away from Russian troops. NATO stationed them here after Russia intervened in Ukraine.

The scenario, the Russian army has just seized a strip of land in one of the Baltic countries, just like it did in Ukraine. The difference this time is, it’s a NATO country and the U.S. Army intends to take it back.  www.pbs.org/newshour/show/after-russias-ukraine-incursion-nato-troops-drill-for-war-on-a-cold-war-scale

F-22 fighter jet

Syria war: US says flares fired at Russian jets

US fighter planes fired warning flares after Russian jets entered an agreed non-conflict area over Syria, the US defence department says.

The two Russian Su-25s flew east of the Euphrates River and into US-designated air space on Wednesday, the Pentagon said.

One of the US F-22 jets was nearly involved in a mid-air collision with a Russian plane, according to the US.

However, the Russian defence ministry has denied the US account.

In a statement it said the two Su-25s had been escorting a humanitarian convoy near a town beside the Euphrates when they were approached by the two F-22 jets.  www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42358150

This ‘New’ US Plan In Afghanistan Sure Sounds A Lot Like A Failed Strategy We Tried In Vietnam

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For months now, U.S. leadership has been working with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to stand up a new “territorial force” to fend off Taliban elements on the local level. The new security force would consist of “self-defence units of locally recruited men serving in their own villages… to stabilise areas cleared by regular security forces and establish law and order,” as The Guardian puts it.

It’s easy to see why the United States would want to start from scratch on provincial security in Afghanistan, seeing as the Kabul government actually controls 15% less territory now than two years ago, according to the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. And it’s intuitive to want to put local tribes in control of their own security — less work for Americans, and less fertile territory for the bad guys. In theory.

The trouble with intuitive ideas is they’ve probably been tried before, to poor effect. In this case, the “Afghanistan Territorial Forces” model sure sounds a lot like a gambit we tried in Vietnam: the Regional Forces and Popular Forces, or “Ruff Puffs,” as the friendly media described them during the war.

The idea was this: Stand up villagers to defend their villages from infiltration by the Viet Cong. Nearly half a million villagers were enlisted in thousands of companies for the effort, which was as big as the rest of the South Vietnamese army at the time. The Ruff Puffs were extolled by U.S. public affairs officers as heroes. One U.S. major in 1970 extolled them as “gutsy little fellows,” according to the New York Times, before he added that “acts of terrorism by the Vietcong are ‘a primary indicator that the enemy is weak because if the enemy was strong enough it wouldn’t be necessary.’” (Sound familiar, Iraq/Afghan vets?)

Anyway, you can figure out how that plan went in Vietnam. Plenty of U.S. advisors warned early on that the Ruff Puffs’ power to prevent communist infiltration of the villages was a fiction. “Their time and effort is largely spent in making sure the province chief, usually [a Vietnamese] lieutenant colonel, is kept safely out of harm’s way,” Marine counterinsurgency expert Lt. Col. William Corson wrote in The Betrayal, his stinging 1968 critique of the U.S. strategy in Vietnam. “The result of the failure of the RF to carry their share of the load is not only increased American casualties but also the unnecessary added expense to the American taxpayer who must underwrite their performance.”

That sounds uncannily like criticism we’ve heard about Afghanistan   taskandpurpose.com/new-us-plan-afghanistan-sounds-lot-like-old-failed-vietnam-strategy/

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At the U.N. Tillerson called on China and Russia to go beyond U.N.-mandated economic sanctions. He said North Korean laborers were toiling in “slave-like conditions” in Russia for wages used to fund nuclear weapons, while China was still allowing crude oil to flow into North Korean refineries.

North Korea has conducted more than 20 ballistic missile tests during 2017 and its most powerful nuclear explosion to date. Its more recent missile test in late November fired a projectile that experts say could carry a nuclear warhead to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Tillerson said the North’s growing capabilities were a “direct threat to our security and the security of the entire world. We do not regard this claim as an empty threat.”

He said U.S. does not want war, but “will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression.” He said “our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution.”  www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-tillerson-backtracks-on-offer-of-unconditional-north-korea-talks

Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program–please come and take the ruling classes..

In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.

Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.

For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring, deep within the building’s maze.

The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.

The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.  www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/us/politics/pentagon-program-ufo-harry-reid.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

The International Economic War of the Rich on the Poor

UN shocked by level of poverty in Alabama: ‘We haven’t seen this in the first world’

The US state of Alabamawhich is holding a much-watched special election – has some of the worst conditions of poverty in the developed world, according to a visiting United Nations official.

Philip Alston, whose job takes him around the planet to look at conditions of extreme poverty, said some of the things he saw in parts of Alabama so-called Black Belt, particularly in regard to sewage disposal, were unprecedented in the West.

“I think it’s very uncommon in the first world. This is not a sight that one normally sees,” said Philip Alston, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. “I’d have to say that I haven’t seen this.”

Mr Alston made his comments to AL.com while touring parts of Butler County and Lowndes County, where he met a man who had unreliable electricity and a septic tank that no longer worked.

People in the region frequently suffer from E. Coli and hookworm, a disease associated with extreme poverty and which was thought to have been eradicated in the US more than 100 years ago but which was recently found to persist in pockets of Lowndes County, located just 20 miles from the state capital, Montgomery, where many residents are too poor to afford a septic system and make their own sewer lines using PVC piping. The lines run from the people’s homes some 30ft above the ground before emptying into ditches or waste ground.  www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/alabama-black-belt-un-poverty-expert-extreme-developed-country-sewage-crisis-roy-moore-philip-alston-a8105886.html

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

The UN’s Philip Alston is an expert on deprivation – and he wants to know why 41m Americans are living in poverty. The Guardian joined him on a special two-week mission into the dark heart of the world’s richest nation

We are in Los Angeles, in the heart of one of America’s wealthiest cities, and General Dogon, dressed in black, is our tour guide. Alongside him strolls another tall man, grey-haired and sprucely decked out in jeans and suit jacket. Professor Philip Alston is an Australian academic with a formal title: UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

General Dogon, himself a veteran of these Skid Row streets, strides along, stepping over a dead rat without comment and skirting round a body wrapped in a worn orange blanket lying on the sidewalk.

The two men carry on for block after block after block of tatty tents and improvised tarpaulin shelters. Men and women are gathered outside the structures, squatting or sleeping, some in groups, most alone like extras in a low-budget dystopian movie.

We come to an intersection, which is when General Dogon stops and presents his guest with the choice. He points straight ahead to the end of the street, where the glistening skyscrapers of downtown LA rise up in a promise of divine riches.

Heaven.

Then he turns to the right, revealing the “black power” tattoo on his neck, and leads our gaze back into Skid Row bang in the center of LA’s downtown. That way lies 50 blocks of concentrated human humiliation. A nightmare in plain view, in the city of dreams….

So begins a two-week journey into the dark side of the American Dream. The spotlight of the UN monitor, an independent arbiter of human rights standards across the globe, has fallen on this occasion on the US, culminating on Friday with the release of his initial report in Washington.

His fact-finding mission into the richest nation the world has ever known has led him to investigate the tragedy at its core: the 41 million people who officially live in poverty.

Of those, nine million have zero cash income – they do not receive a cent in sustenance.

Alston’s epic journey has taken him from coast to coast, deprivation to deprivation.  www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur

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The Emergence of Fascism as a Popular Mass Movement and The War on Reason

The office in Tijuana has been especially under pressure in recent months, given the city’s record homicide numbers. As of Wednesday, the Baja California Attorney General’s Office reported 1,647 homicides in the city-with 47 of those this month. This far exceeds last year’s record-breaking year of 910 homicides. www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/sd-me-tijuana-medical-examiner-20171212-story.html

Solidarity for Never

Earlier traitors, the SACP’s Mandela and Slovo

South Africa ANC election: How will the sellouts and SACP Rip off the people this time around?

South Africa’s future is set to be decided this weekend as its ruling party, the African National Congress, meets to elect its new leader.

Thousands of delegates from across South Africa will gather at the conference centre in Johannesburg where they are to choose between two candidates: the bookies’ favourite, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, and Jacob Zuma’s choice, his ex-wife and party loyalist, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Whoever is chosen is likely to go on to become the next president of South Africa when Mr Zuma stands down in 2019.

The decision comes at a time when the country is at a crossroads. The ANC has ruled the country for 23 years since the end of the apartheid system and there are signs voters may finally have tired of the party….

“The South African economy is still very unequal and it is still very racialised” and has “not really recovered from the 2007-8 financial crisis”, he said.

Under Mr Zuma’s watch unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, has remained high and the lives of the poor black majority have not improved as dramatically as many would like.

The President, who came to power in 2009, is currently facing 783 criminal charges, which are mostly to do with corruption.  www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/south-africa-anc-elections-candidates-zuma-votes-date-when-explained-a8113551.html

 

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Labor leader Mickey Kasparian accused in lawsuit of sexual assault, seeking foursome
Joshua Stewart

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, a woman has accused San Diego labor leader Mickey Kasparian of sexual assault. It’s the latest in a series of accusations of inappropriate behavior against the influential union boss and the first allegation of forced sexual contact. Kasparian, 59, denies
www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/politics/sd-me-kasparian-lawsuit-20171214-story.html#nt=oft12aH-2la1

Exec charged in UAW training center probe leaves GM

A top labor executive for General Motors Co. charged with criminal corruption connected to the Fiat Chrysler-United Auto Workers joint training center is no longer employed by GM.

A GM spokesman confirmed Friday that Alphons Iacobelli — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s top labor negotiator before his abrupt departure in the summer of 2015 — had left GM, but declined to comment further on the executive’s departure. It’s not clear whether Iacobelli, who joined GM after leaving Fiat Chrysler, was fired. Iacobelli originally was suspended from his duties at GM.  www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/general-motors/2017/12/15/exec-uaw-scandal-leave-gm/108636442/

Spy versus Spy

A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan

The C.I.A. declined to comment on its expanded role in Afghanistan, which will put more lower-level Taliban militants in its cross hairs. But the mission is a tacit acknowledgment that to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table — a key component of Mr. Trump’s strategy for the country — the United States will need to aggressively fight the insurgents…

“The American people don’t mind if there are C.I.A. teams waging a covert war there,” said Ken Stiles, a former agency counterterrorism officer. “They mind if there’s 50,000 U.S. troops there.” www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/world/asia/cia-expanding-taliban-fight-afghanistan.html?_r=0

The Magical Mystery Tour

Catholic Church Singled Out In Australian Sex Abuse Report

The bronze statue of Cardinal Moran stands by the entrance of St. Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney, Australia.

Nina Dermawan#145440/Moment Editorial/Getty Images

In a far-reaching report on child sex abuse in Australia, a government commission is recommending that the country’s Catholic Church lift its celibacy requirement for diocesan clergy and be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession.

Those are among the 400 recommendations contained in the 17-volume final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which is wrapping up a five-year investigation – the longest in Australia’s history.

“We have concluded that there were catastrophic failures of leadership of Catholic Church authorities over many decades,” the report said.

The Australian reports: “More than 15,000 people contacted the commission to share their experiences of abuse, more than 8,000 of them spoke personally with the commissioner about the trauma it caused, and approximately 2,500 cases have now been referred to police.”  www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/12/15/571013476/catholic-church-singled-out-in-australian-sex-abuse-report

The Best and Worst Things in the History of the World

Grace Slick and Abbie Hoffman Tried to Stone Nixon

Ms. Slick, a singer in the band Jefferson Airplane, was from a Republican Bay Area family. She had attended Finch in 1957, years before she became an anti-establishment pop star famous for “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love.” She brought Mr. Hoffman as her White House date and planned, she later claimed, to dose Richard Nixon’s tea with LSD stowed in her fingernail. Security guards recognized Mr. Hoffman from an F.B.I. watch list and barred them both at the gate.  www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/style/finch-college-women-upper-east-side-alumni.html?_r=0

Canadian Dance Moves

This is great 😂What's your favourite dance move?

Posted by Only In Canada on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom? American journalism follow suit….

A president who’d all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes: Our view

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/12/12/trump-lows-ever-hit-rock-bottom-editorials-debates/945947001/

So Long

Istvan Meszaros–1930-2017  (Here is a link to a brief essay  monthlyreview.org/2017/12/01/capitals-historic-circle-is-closing/ )

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