The Weekly Watch
Dreams and Nightmares
U.S. actions are a nightmare. Imprisoning Chelsea because she refuses to testify against Julian (who they have incarcerated and are torturing in the UK's Guantanamo like prison). Truth tellers must be stopped! Venezuela's U.S. puppet and pretend president must deliver all of that oil to our corporations and those of our vassal states. We ignore international law, yet again, and raid their embassy in DC. Israel and Saudi Arabia push us into a war with Iran....a guaranteed disaster in waiting. More children murdered this week in Yemen with U.S. assistance and bombs. More Palestinians murdered by Israelis as they protest their open air prison. We are a shameful nation bent on death and destruction for the profit of those who have more than they can possibly use. Killing one another isn't enough...the entire ecosystem is at risk to satiate our oil (and profit) addiction. It is a nightmare.
And yet, people still dream of a better future... and create new systems... and build new structures in harmony with the biosphere. People dream of a more equitable society and are discussing what a positive future might look like. Young people continue to pressure the politicians and elite to move toward a green future. Can they create a dream within the nightmares?
Who do we think we are? Truly. The latest reports that the Trump administration is considering plans for deploying 120,000 troops to the Middle East – presumably to strike Iran – demonstrates how Washington’s foreign policy has finally gone off the rails....
The United States is preparing for an aggressive, illegal, and unwarranted war against another sovereign power thousands of miles from its shores. Again! All true citizens should be beyond appalled and screaming dissent from the rooftops.
“Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.”
Now Who is the Threat?
But actually, this map vastly understates the case. It shows only a few of the estimated 450 US military bases and outposts in Afghanistan, e.g. And it does not show drone bases, of which the US has 60 around the world.
Iran has 150 billion barrels in petroleum reserves, among the largest reserves in the world, but they cannot be exploited by US corporations because of Israel lobby-inspired US congressional sanctions on Iran. . Likely the most important US objection to the Iranian civilian nuclear enrichment program is that it could give Iran “nuclear latency,” the ability to construct a bomb quickly if it seemed to Tehran that the US planned to attack. That is, the real objection in Washington to Iranian nuclear know-how is that it makes Iraq-style regime change impossible and so puts Iranian petroleum out of reach of Houston for the foreseeable future. This consideration is likely the real reason that Washington does not, so to speak, go ballistic about North Korea and Pakistan having actual nuclear warheads, but like to has a fainting spell at the very idea of Iran enriching uranium to 3.5 percent (a bomb takes 95%). North Korea and Pakistan don’t have oil.
Trump bragged on Twitter that “Iran can have no idea what is actually going on.” Later in the day, he was talking to real estate agents and said it was “probably a good thing” that Iran has no understanding of his policy toward them.
This all seems to verify Iran’s official position that the US is not approaching them in an honest manner. Administration offers of talks and threats of war are all built around a deliberate policy of making sure Iran, and for that matter the American public, have no idea what the president’s real intentions are.
The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily.....
So while the Iraqi Prime Minister is warning the US that they can’t use Iraq to launch a war on Iran, the US is browbeating Iraq over its government-aligned Shi’ite militias, and doing everything they can to try to portray that Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government as effectively in league with the Iranians, and subsequently a threat to US interests. No matter what happens, it seems certain US-Iraqi ties will suffer for it.
The Arab News, a major English-language Saudi Arabian newspaper owned by Saudi Prince Turki bin Salman (brother of crown prince Mohamed bin Salman) has long been treated as virtually an official government mouthpiece. This is becoming particularly important Thursday, as
This ally just beheaded 37 people for being dissidents, and media fails to tell the story.
The U.S. has taken so many measures just in the last year or two to move towards a war with Iran, starting with pulling out of the nuclear deal, designating the Iran Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, trying to get the Iranian oil exports down to zero, creating chaos in the Iranian economy. And of course, Iran is going to prepare itself for what looks like an attack. And this also can be put on John Bolton, who has been calling for an attack on Iran since before he ever got into the administration.
again. We are seeing a repeat of what happened in Iraq with lies, misinterpretations not only being put out by this administration, but being echoed by the mainstream media, including The New York Times. MEDEA BENJAMIN
Medea sits down with Chris Hedges for a great discussion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW-SjxsGHOI (28 min)
...it is clear John Bolton wrote an op-ed at New York Times calling for attacking Iran, bombing Iran as the only option, as he said. He was allied with the terrorist group of Iranian terrorist group MEK. He gave lecture. He invited them to rule Iran. He called for regime change. Therefore, everyone knows what is the strategy and the mindset and the plan of Ambassador John Bolton.
Second, the fact is that the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for many years has been pushing the U.S. to attack Iran. He has huge influence at White House. You remember when President Trump withdrew from Iran nuclear deal. Some days later, Bibi Netanyahu said, “I asked him to leave the JCPOA.” The Iranian nuclear deal. “It was me who made him to depart from the deal.” After President Trump designated Iranian army as a terrorist group, again, Bibi Netanyahu publicly said, “It was me who asked President Trump to designate Iranian army as a terrorist group.”
Trump and Bolton’s strategy is to bait Iran into a war Bolton’s wanted for twenty years - says Trita Parsi, President of the NIAC
We have amnesia, and too quickly forget lessons we never fully learned.
...and a military industrial complex gone cancerous.
If all the hidden parts are added together, the true military budget would be close to $1.25 trillion, says William Hartung of the Center for International Policy...
The Pentagon’s own Defense Business Board did a study a couple of years ago that said that they could save $25 billion a year if they just got rid of excessive bureaucracy, people doing the same jobs, that sort of thing. Then, related to that, the Pentagon hires 600,000 private contractors, almost as many as they hire civilian employees inside the government. If you got rid of 100,000 of those, you had only half a million, you’d save $20 billion a year. Then there’s things like spending $8,000 on a helicopter part that’s worth $500 and there’s been a big scandal just this week, a company named TransDigm with huge overcharges on spare parts, that has gotten some attention in Congress and the press. Those are the kinds of things and, of course, cost overruns— the F-35 fighter plane being the biggest example. It’s going to cost $1.4 trillion over its lifetime and a lot of that is much higher than what they originally said, both for the procurement of it and also for operating it.
Venezuela has been in the U.S. sights for decades.
The United States government and the Venezuelan oligarchy first tried to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution in 2002. Great hope in Chávez prevented a discredited oligarchy from victory. Oil revenues then allowed Chávez to build up pillars of support for the revolution. But the depletion of the oil prices from 2009 threatened the Bolivarian process.
After more than a month of living in the Venezuelan embassy, DC police and secret service broke open the doors to arrest for activists who had been staying in the embassy to protect it against an opposition take-over. The move sets a dangerous precedent, says Medea Benjamin
The attorney representing the Embassy Protection Activists who were arrested yesterday by US federal police has said the invasion of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC is an outrageous violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic practice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoD7O9nx7IA (1 min)
This article examines the backgrounds of the individuals, the platforms they use to disseminate their message, and the tactics they have employed to clamor for an embassy seizure that violates international law. It also addresses how they may stand to benefit directly from an escalation of Washington’s hybrid war and a potential regime-change scenario in Venezuela.
Jorge Arreaza's Message To The US: This Is The Moment For Diplomacy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThbpzT7N61w (1 min)
After months of stalemate, the Venezuelan government has announced that they are now negotiating with the opposition, with talks ongoing in Norway. The talks were quickly denounced by the US, who is not participating.
Opposition leader María Corina Machado, a key figure in the US coup plot, admitted that Venezuela “is not a dictatorship” and only international “humanitarian intervention” can topple Maduro.
Chelsea and Julian...heroes of our time.
“Based on my refusal to answer questions two months ago the grand jury is trying to compel me to testify,” Manning told reporters. "They sent me into confinement, so I got released last week. And here I am today with the same subpoena, or a different subpoena with the same questions. Ultimately this is an attempt to place me back in confinement,” Manning said.
“How long are you prepared to do this?” a reporter asked.
“Forever,” Manning said.
After 30 days in jail, Manning will be charged $500 dollars each day for refusing to testify. After 60 days, the fine will go up to $1,000 dollars a day. This could mean Manning is in jail and fined for being there and not cooperating for up to 18 months—the duration of the grand jury's term.
“The American government relies on the informed consent of the governed, and the free press is the vigorous mechanism to keep us informed. It is a point of pride for this administration to be publicly hostile to the press,” she added. “It is up to the press to stand up for themselves, to stand up for the practice of journalism, and to stand up for Chelsea in the same manner she has consistently stood up for the press.”
So refuse to testify and it's off to jail and you must pay $1000/day for the privilege. What a just equitable society.
Following his expulsion from the Ecuadorean Embassy and subsequent arrest by British police, Julian Assange faced multiple court hearings, resulting in him being sentenced to 50 weeks in the super-max Belmarsh Prison and facing the prospect of extradition to the US.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QzUzjMmRLk (8 min)
We’ve focussed on lies the social media, but not those in the mainstream media. I want to point out the brazen hypocrisy of World Press Freedom day being hosted by the UK government at this dark time. Julian Assange is being persecuted by war criminals and the corrupt that he exposed are still sitting in positions of power in the government on both sides of the aisle, as well as within much of the media, Imaging the precedent that Trump is setting, that any country can extradite a foreign journalist or publisher and make them subject to draconian laws, possibly the death penalty, just because they published truth about that government’s war crimes. Imagine if that state is Saudi Arabia.
This is the defining issue of this generation - #FreeAssange
Patrick Henningsen is an independent analyst, public speaker and founder and managing editor of the successful independent news and media analysis website 21st Century Wire.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYZPkjO1jtY (9 min)
It was the film "Collateral Murder" (embedded in the link) that began the targeting of Julian. “The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.”
Three months after it published the “Collateral Murder” video, WikiLeaks on July 25, 2010 released a cache of secret U.S. documents on the war in Afghanistan. It revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, among other revelations. The publication of the Afghan War Diaries helped set the U.S. government on a collision course with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that ultimately led to his arrest last month.
Machon: "Assange will be punished instead of the ones who committed war crimes"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hCj01idca8 (1.5 min)
I now realize how little we can do in our democracy. If you look at what has happened to high-profile whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and an important publisher like Assange, who had the courage to publish these important revelations, what did your democracy do to save them, to treat them in a human way? Chelsea Manning was put in prison for seven years, where she tried to commit suicide twice. Now she is back in prison. Edward Snowden was forced to leave the U.S. Julian Assange has spent nine years in detainment and no one did anything. We were reporting, we were denouncing, we were exposing how seriously his health was declining. Nothing happened. - Stefania Maurizi
Around a million species—perhaps an eighth of all plant and animal species on Earth—are in danger of going extinct, many within a matter of decades, according the report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APKkpw2070A (3 min)
Dreams of a just society...
Most people know capitalism is unjust. Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara says he wrote The Socialist Manifesto to lay out an alternative. In part 2, Bhaskar Sunkara explains what socialism could actually look like in the United States.
Dreams of a sustainable ecosystem
Climate action is our number one priority in European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL). We do not see it as a stand-alone struggle; it includes struggles for decent jobs, high living standards and gender and racial equality. We oppose policies that subordinate essential natural resources of life and common goods, like water, energy, air, a clean environment and health, to the forces of profit-seeking. We fight against capitalism, neoliberal policies and corporate capture.
Translated from the cautious wording of scientific studies conducted under the auspices of the United Nations, the issue confronting humanity is the incapability of dealing with ecological catastrophe under the present regime: an economy based on private profit and a world divided into antagonistic nation-states. The problem is capitalism as a global system.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APKkpw2070A (3 min)
Movements pushing for 100% renewables are gaining momentum. Stanford's Mark Z. Jacobson says we have the technology to get there.
XR just keeps on keeping on with actions around the world...and country after country declaring a Climate Emergency.
Nearly every country in the world except the United States took a historic step to curb plastic waste last week, when more than 180 nations agreed to add plastic to the Basel Convention, a treaty that regulates the movement of hazardous materials between countries. The U.S. is one of just two countries that has not ratified the 30 year-old treaty. During negotiations last week in Geneva,
Creating our own reality
Here's a NZ couple with the dream of building an Earthship. An interesting adventure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVcUJ6h4q5M (45 min)
This inspiring off-grid homesteading family lives in a renovated stone earthship. They grow their own food, collect rainwater, use solar power, have composting toilets, and they have a pond that filters their grey water. On top of living an eco friendly lifestyle, they dedicate their work to important projects like urban gardening and promoting industrial hemp as "Hempbassadors."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9jRYHpeAk0 (14 min)
Here's a young couple that jumped into homesteading and have found the struggle rewarding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gce_zPWb7I (17 min)
Not everyone has property. Here's a productive quarter acre. Our garden is smaller.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KpZ5wX47ok (25 min tour)
Building a green world one home, one community at a time...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ctkh1nkwcE (3.5 min trailer)
https://www.discoverpermaculture.com/video-1-pdc-2018 (40 min film plus 3 others)
Regenerative agriculture is an ecological approach to agriculture that enables natural systems & functions to not just be renewed, but also to do the renewing: to self-organise back to healthy function, a radical idea of empowering and not controlling nature. In this talk, Charlie Massy OA draws on his decades of farming experience and research to propose new ways of farming that don't harm the land and the planet in the way industrial agricultural practices can.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et8YKBivhaE (18 min)
I've posted this before, but if you missed it ....
Unbroken Grounds explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis. It explores four areas of agriculture that aim to change our relationship to the land and oceans. Most of our food is produced using methods that reduce biodiversity, decimate soil and contribute to climate change. We believe our food can and should be a part of the solution to the environmental crisis – grown, harvested and produced in ways that restore our land, water and wildlife. The film tells the story of four groups that are pioneers in the fields of regenerative agriculture, regenerative grazing, diversified crop development and restorative fishing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ezkp7Cteys (26 min)
We can Dream of a better world...
Holding on to your dream while being aware of our national nightmare(s) isn't easy. The horrors of our country's actions can be paralyzing. Alabama is a political nightmare. Largely owned and operated by the Koch brothers forest empire. ALEC creates the legislation that our purchased legislators promote. It isn't just the dark ages abortion law that passed this week, but school privatization, privatized prisons full of mainly people of color that cost more than our schools, environmental destruction and chemical farming, and a state constitution created for and by aristocrats. And yet this state is the most biologically and geologically diverse with more miles of navigable rivers than any other (except maybe California). There are more species of trees on 80 mile long Lookout Mountain than the entire continent of Europe. Dreams and nightmares intricately entwined.
I watch the change politically and in our natural system. The woods thrush used to fill our morning sounds. Whippoorwill chimed in during the evenings. But coyotes came in and began preying on these ground nesting species. They have become rarities. The nature of nature is change. Bears have become more common here too. Animals, plants, fellow humans, all show us the nature of ourselves and communities.
Can we forge our dreams amid the disaster of our national nightmares?
The answer my friends is blowing in the wind...
I look forward to your stories and comments amid our dreams and nightmares....