Yes. We Are Extremely Dangerous to THEIR Version of “Democracy”

A participatory public, a viable community of engaged citizens working toward building a more informed citizenry, is the greatest threat to what they see as “their democracy”  What they fear most perhaps is the public coming to understand their their version of “democracy” isn’t actually democracy at all.

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Facebook labels Palestinian journalism “hate speech”

from Electronic Intifada

Facebook is defending its decision to shut down the page of a major Palestinian news outlet, describing the action as a move against “hate speech.”

On Saturday, the social media giant closed without warning the page of the Safa Palestinian Press Agency, which had 1.3 million followers, as well as Safa’s account on the photo sharing site Instagram.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Media Association condemned Facebook’s widening assault on the free speech of Palestinian journalists, calling it “clear submission to the policies and dictates of the Israeli occupation which is pursuing Palestinian activists on the basis of their political views and intellectual positions and issuing prison sentences against them.”

But Facebook is justifying the removal of Safa’s account. “This page was correctly removed for violating our community standards,” a company spokesperson emailed The Electronic Intifada Monday evening. “There is no room for hate speech or incitement of violence on our platform.”…

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Facebook’s latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists and activists began several weeks ago, after Israeli occupation forces extrajudicially executed Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a man Israel claims was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in early January.

Israeli lawmakers also discussed how to suppress online content, including getting Facebook to take down images of Jarrar.

Since the beginning of the year, Haaretz says, citing an unnamed Palestinian activist who monitors the issue, about 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists and journalists have been closed by the company…

[read more here]

Ukraine’s future Nazi leader?

from Oriental Review

Today’s Ukraine is painfully reminiscent of Germany in the 1920s: poor governance on the heels of a lost war, which – added to the sense of betrayed hopes and the sharp decline in average incomes coupled with rising prices – is all driving a critical mass of the Ukrainian population toward an overwhelming feeling of desperation. A demand from the public for a “strong hand” – a new, authoritarian ruler – is rapidly coalescing, due to their dissatisfaction with President Poroshenko and all the other jokers they’ve been dealt from that shabby deck of political cards.

And a man like that already exists in this destitute and disintegrating country. Andriy Biletsky, the commander of the Azov Battalion who is known to his comrades-in-arms as the “White Führer,” is making an ever-bigger name for himself in the Ukrainian parliament.

He makes no secret of his views – in his 2014 program declaration “Ukrainian racial social nationalism is the core of ideology of ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ organization” he expressed himself quite bluntly: Our nation’s historical mission at this critical juncture is to lead the global White Race in its final crusade for its survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.

He was drawn to Nazi ideology while still a university student. In the early 2000s, while studying in the history department of the National University of Kharkov, he wrote a paper on the activities of the collaborationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army during World War II. Later, as this student of history and amateur boxer put it, “preference was given to the creation, rather than the study of history, and to fighting in the streets instead of in boxing rings.” In the 1990’s and 2000’s, as he moved toward the formation of his own nationalist organizations, such as Patriot of Ukraine (founded jointly with the current chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy) and later the Azov Battalion, Biletsky managed to have a hand in almost every far-right group in Ukraine: the Stepan Bandera Tryzub, the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and Svoboda (Freedom) party. Now he also leads the Social-National Assembly, an umbrella group for a number of racist and neo-Nazi Ukrainian organizations. He himself has claimed to have had first-hand involvement in what are known as direct actions, i.e., military and terrorist operations…

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The Larger Constitutional Issues At Play in the Alex Wubbels Case

If we don’t hold police departments and officers accountable when they treat the least of our society as if they have no constitutional rights it is inevitable they will end up treating everyone the same way. And this case is simply a glimpse into that disturbing truth.

links available after the break

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Arrest of University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels (Thank God Trump is Giving These Guys Grenade Launchers. WCPGW?)

by Scott Creighton

So basically the story here goes something like this:

the Salt Lake City Police Department got into a high speed chase with a suspect of some kind who was driving a truck. That truck wrecked into another truck and the suspect died at the site. The innocent victim in the second truck, collateral damage as it were, was severely burned and fell into a coma before being transported to the hospital. Upon the police getting there to said hospital, Detective Jeff Payne of the department’s blood draw unit demanded he be allowed to draw blood from the comatose innocent victim of the crash… I suppose so he couldn’t later sue the Salt Lake City Police Department for wrongful injury. You see, if Det. Payne had gotten a hold of the victim’s blood, then he could run off and run his own ‘special test’ and determine the guy was under the influence and therefore NOT ENTITLED TO SUE THE DEPARTMENT.

Nurse Alex Wubbels was the head nurse in charge at the ER that day and she told Det. Fascist “no” he couldn’t take this VICTIM”S blood so he could do his “special test” to it and “find” the victim was under the influence.

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The Moral Equivalency Question: Justifying Violence Against People Who THINK THE WRONG WAY

The Nazis, the REAL Nazis, rounded up people who THOUGHT THE WRONG WAY and they justified that action to the public in a myriad of ways. One of which was they were destabilizing the country and presented a threat to the German people. Today the “moral equivalency” propaganda is doing the same exact thing. Ironic? No. Deliberate.

First they came for the alt-Right, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a protectionist.

Then they came for the Bernie-bros, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the bloggers and Youtubers and I did not speak out—
Because I didn’t have opinions of my own and didn’t dare think for myself.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

links available after the break

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U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

(Talk about “collusion”)

from The Intercept

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing t-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 Senators – 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats – want to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: anyone guilty of violating its prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 Lobbying Agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing Senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

A similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It already has amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members –  Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King – along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time

This pernicious bill highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress – across party and ideological lines – finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government

AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit of Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?..

[read more here]