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Disconnecting the dots on Israel-Palestine: Is apartheid only a crime when committed against blacks?

Apartheid in Palestina
Most of the world supported the struggle of African Americans against Jim Crow during the Freedom Movement. Most of the progressive black leadership in this country spoke out against the apartheid regime, advocating boycotts, divestment, sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Where are they today on apartheid Israel?

On Tuesday, November 20, Chicago congressman Danny K. Davis addressed a rally, apparently supporting the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza. I wasn't there and did not hear his remarks. I'm sure he didn't say "Israeli apartheid is fine with me, and so are the blockades and bombings of Gaza." Doubtless he deployed the standard bipartisan phrases about Israel's "right to defend itself", though no such right is accorded Palestinians, and found a way to use the word "peace" in a couple of sentences.

Congressman Davis is no fool. He's well aware of the massive asymmetry of practiced violence and the means to do violence in Israel-Palestine. He knows the Israelis possess US made F-16s and a vast array of American-made and licensed weapons. He voted to give much of it to them. Congressman Davis knows they have attack helicopters, hundreds of tanks, prisons and torture chambers filled to bursting, and nuclear weapons aimed at many capitals in the region, while the Hamas "missiles" are little more than unguided flying garbage cans. Davis knows there are laws disallowing marriages between Israeli Jews and Arabs, and that many roads in Israel-Palestine are for Israeli Jews only, while Palestinians are forced to drive or walk rutted, boulder-strewn paths blocked arbitrary Israeli checkpoints every few kilometers in every direction. He knows that retired archbishop Desmond Tutu is among the South Africans who have pronounced Israel's version of apartheid as more thorough, more brutal and more systematic than what they saw in their home country back in the day.


New therapy treats patients with death experience

© blog.lib.umn.edu
A special psychotherapy service that lets people experience death is gaining popularity in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province.

More than 1,000 people have tried this special psychotherapy - being brought back from "death" to life - the Shenyang Evening News reported on Nov 20.

People who suffer from psychological problems or heavy pressure can be "reborn" by simulating death with the help of psychologists, according to Tang Yulong, a consultant of a psychological counseling center.

There is a coffin in a 5-square-meter "death experience room" at the center.

According to Tang, someone using the therapy should write down his or her last words before lying in a coffin covered by a white cloth, and "the deceased" can hear the dirge. Five minutes later, a sound of a baby crying will break the "serene time", and the consultant will open the coffin with a festive song.


TV news anchors resign on air

A pair of local TV news anchors had a surprise for viewers at the end of their 6 p.m. newscast on Tuesday: They're quitting.

Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio, anchors for ABC's WVII affiliate in Bangor, Maine, announced their joint resignations, citing a dispute with management over journalistic practices.

"And finally tonight, this will be Tony and my final show together right here on ABC 7," Michaels told viewers. "The last six years have been an interesting and enjoyable time for us as we have been the longest-running news team in Bangor."

"On behalf of Cindy and me, we have loved every moment bringing the news to you," Consiglio said. "Some recent developments have come to our attention, though, and departing together is the best alternative."

Comment: One might wonder how management can be uninvolved while still making great changes.


Gaza: Shifa hospital calls for urgent medical supplies

Gaza hospitals
Press Release - The Palestinian Ministry of Health condemns in the strongest terms the continued Israeli outrages against the citizenry of Gaza.

The death toll since 14 November stands at 137, with 1200 injured. 42% of the dead are women, children, and elderly, who also make up 59% of the injured.

The victims of these attacks have been struck down sleeping in their own homes, children have been killed while playing in their garden, adults while driving their cars or motorcycles, shopping at the market, worshipping at the mosque, and going about their lawful work.

Some families have been almost entirely annihilated, such as the Al Dallo family. 19 families have suffered in excess of two deaths, including the Al Dallo family (8 dead, 3 injured), the Abo Zoor family (2, plus 20 injured), the Hejazi family (3, plus one critically injured) while others such as the Salah family suffered large numbers of injuries (8, plus 22 injuries in surrounding families.)

Family homes, schools, clinics, police stations, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, government offices, sports stadiums, parks have all been hit - no facet of Gaza life has been left unscathed by the deliberate targeting of civilian sites and services by the inhuman Israeli aggressors.

Che Guevara

Catalan leader decries 'dirty war' in nationhood battle

Catalonia's leader Artur Mas, pictured here on November 18
Catalonia's leader accused the Spanish ruling party on Tuesday of waging an "all-out dirty war" to derail his campaign for nationhood ahead of weekend elections.

Days before snap elections on November 25, Artur Mas denied as "libel and slander" a newspaper's allegations that he had a Swiss bank account beyond the reach of the taxman.

Mas's nationalist alliance, Convergence and Union, has sued for libel against the conservative daily El Mundo, which published the allegations citing a police report, he said.

In open defiance of Madrid, the Catalan political chief is promising voters a referendum on self-determination as he fights for an absolute majority in the region of 7.5 million people.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier denied Mas' allegations that the state was behind the allegations in an effort to destroy him and derail his plan to make Catalonia a sovereign state.

Take 2

Elmo actor quits due to second sex scandal

© Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Kevin Clash had been the puppeteer of Elmo.
Puppeteer Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo on Sesame Street" for the better part of the last three decades, resigned Tuesday amid allegations of a second sexual relationship with a teenage boy. The development was as much a blow for Clash, whose name was unknown to most Americans until the scandal broke, as for Sesame Street, the beloved children's program that in recent months has become a political football.

Clash's departure came as a lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a New York federal court accusing the puppeteer of sexual behavior with a 15-year-old boy. The plaintiff, Cecil Singleton, now a 24-year-old college student, is seeking more than $5 million in damages. In the lawsuit, Singleton claims that Clash met the then-teenager on a gay chat line and that the two later met for sex. Clash could not be reached for comment about the lawsuit.

Che Guevara

Spain health workers vent fury at austerity measures

Spain protests
© AP
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against government-imposed austerity measures and labor reforms in the public health care sector, in Madrid on Sunday, Nov. 18. Demonstrators denounced budget cuts and privatizations in the latest protest against deeply unpopular austerity measures.

Madrid -- Tens of thousands of Spanish doctors, nurses and hospital staff marched through the capital Madrid on Sunday to denounce budget cuts and privatizations, the latest protest against deeply unpopular austerity measures.

Dressed in white, the protesters chanted "Public health!" and "Health is a right. We are going to fight."

Many demonstrators in Madrid wore small "For Sale" signs on their coats.

The health sector has been hard hit by the austerity policies implemented by the rightwing government of Mariano Rajoy, which is trying to cut the public deficit in the eurozone's fourth largest economy.

And health sector staff have already hit back.

For several weeks, staff have occupied about 20 hospitals in Madrid and the surrounding area to protest the regional government's decision to privatize six facilities as part of budget cuts planned for 2013.


TV crew making fishing show in Gulf of Mexico capture deadly fireball on tape as oil rig explodes

Following Friday's explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, one worker has been confirmed dead and another man is still missing.Four workers are recovering from burns at the Baton Rouge Medical Center, Louisiana.The incident was recorded in dramatic style by fisherman and a camera crew recording a show for Sport Fishing Television.

Warning: This video contains explicit language

Red Flag

Walmart asks judge to stop Black Friday protests

A pro-union website is promoting walkouts and protests at Walmart stores, and the company has filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board to stop it.

© UFCW Local 400
Protesters gather outside of a Walmart store near the company's headquarters in Bentonville, AR.
The site, MakingChangeAtWalmart.org, encourages employees of the retail giant to join Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). The group had about 30,000 Facebook followers and 2,600 Twitter followers by Monday night.

The charge filed by the company Nov. 16 claims OUR Walmart is illegally acting as an agent or affiliate of United Food and Commercial Workers, which the union disputes.

The board is expected to rule on the claim quickly, according to Bloomberg Business Week.

The company wants a judgement to stop protests that would disrupt shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping times of the year for retailers.

Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, told The Nation that employees asked the company to do something about the union's "publicity stunts."

The website claims it is unfair for workers and their families to have the store open Thanksgiving Day.

Also, demonstrations are expected to take place nationwide Thursday. However, some Walmart employees already began protesting the company's policies.

In addition to a repeal of the Thanksgiving opening, employees at stores and distribution centers are asking for a minimum hourly wage of $13 and an increase in full-time employment.

Workers are asking for more affordable healthcare as well, after Walmart decided to reduce its contribution to the employee insurance plan. Premium costs for the workers are expected to increase by as much as 36 percent.


We will NOT go down in Gaza tonight!

A blinding flash of white light
Lit up the sky over Gaza tonight
People running for cover
Not knowing whether they're dead or alive

They came with their tanks and their planes
With ravaging fiery flames
And nothing remains
Just a voice rising up in the smoky haze