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Star Trek Beyond the Trump GOP Brand of Crisis

Jul25

by: on July 25th, 2016 | No Comments »

After four days of the 2016 Republican doom and gloom be afraid be very afraid convention, after Donald Trump’s forever acceptance speech, I needed to transport myself for a while to another world to live in. I took myself to the movies to see “Star Trek Beyond.” It did not disappoint. The movie made me think about the meaning of leadership, the role of popular culture in our perceptions of reality, and how art imitates life and how life imitates art.

This year marks fifty years since the original Star Trek series made its debut on television. Since then, there have been several television series and movies. The current set of movies made for the big screen tell the story of the original crew of the starship Enterprise from before the series begins. Our favorites – Kirk, Spock, Uhuru, Chekov, Sulu, McCoy, and Scotty – are back in fine form. The movie is self-referential in ways that only true trekkers will notice. However, I was delighted by the references that I did find. The new movie maintains the Star Trek brand of excitement with a touch of philosophical thinking. At the very beginning, we see Kirk trying to offer a gift to an alien people who are deeply suspicious of him and of his motives. His encounter with them is as exasperating as are human encounters with Others who do not want diplomacy on any level.

I started to think about Kirk, the leader of the group. He is now and has always been portrayed as a kind of ubermensch, an over much man, a man of superior abilities. He is courageous, with a devil may care elan that allows him the creative force to break the rules when it suits him or when he thinks it is necessary. He is the combination of the cerebral Spock and the emotional McCoy. He is the tip of the spear, the one who is not afraid to take charge.

Our popular culture has given us many such heroes, the man, usually European but not necessarily, who rides in to save the day. Kirk is another iteration of Superman, Batman, the Lone Ranger, Matt Dillon, Bond, James Bond, James West and others. They have a supporting cast of characters, but usually they are the men who will think their way or fight their way out of trouble and save the town, or world from utter destruction. Women find the over man irresistible, and men are always grateful to see him come and display the courage that they lack.

Is this who Donald Trump thinks he is? Or, is his declaration that the United States is in a state of crisis and that he is the only one who can fix the situation cynicism, a carbon copy of the recent movie “Our brand is Crisis”?

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A NATIONAL LIBERATION – WHERE?

Jul25

by: Jon D. Olsen on July 25th, 2016 | No Comments »

World attention is focused on the long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory by an ever-encroaching Israeli presence which began in 1947. A great deal has been written on this subject and this focus is entirely appropriate. But there is another occupation that has continued for fifty years longer, but which receives scant attention, even among the educated Left. That is the continued occupation of the country called Hawai’i. “Whoa, wait a minute!? The reader will exclaim, “Wasn’t that issue ‘settled’ in 1959 with US. statehood?” That’s what the whole world thought, including most Hawaiians, until Hawaiian scholar-activists began to research the legal and historical details. What they discovered is that both by international law and by US. Constitutional law, the relation that exists is that of prolonged occupation and that the claim to “annexation,” the foundation of the “statehood” claim has no validity whatsoever. Rather, control, but not sovereignty, passed to the US. in 1898, and that sovereignty has remained dormant, like the giant volcano Haleakala on Maui.

 


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Occupation Forces Demolish Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem (again and again and again)

Jul22

by: Curated by Tikkun Staff on July 22nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Editor’s Note:The events described below are part of a consistent pattern by the Israeli government to make life unbearable for the Palestinian people living inside Israel. We receive these kinds of reports every week, and rarely put them up on our website, and are only putting this story on the website to remind our readers that this is happening over and over and over again as the Occupation continues. Those who wonder why random Palestinians living inside Israel sometimes resort to violence (actions we condemn) need only place themselves in the position of those who see or personally experience this kind of violence on behalf of an Israel that shames the Jewish people and desecrates our Torah by calling itself “the Jewish state.” -Rabbi Michael Lerner
 
This piece was originally printed at Ma’an News Agency.
 
Bulldozers escorted by Israeli police and Jerusalem municipality inspectors demolished on Wednesday several Palestinian structures located adjacent to the Atarot settlement industrial park north of Jerusalem, a day after structures were torn down in neighboring Beit Hanina, as well as in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. One of the owners of the structures, Kamal Abu Sneina, told Ma’an that Israeli forces and municipality inspectors deployed into the area and started to tear down his structures while the owners were not present.“When we arrived, we were forced to stay away,” Abu Sneina said, adding that police officers detained him inside a police vehicle while the demolition was carried out.The demolished properties, he said, were two tin shacks, four shipping containers used as stores and offices, in addition to a vehicle, a diesel tank, and two trucks.
 


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After So Much Killing

Jul22

by: Stephen H. Phelps on July 22nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Sometimes, words and more words are not only not enough, they are trouble. They are the trouble. Sometimes, when atrocities slash our eyes open, even if only because the dead was people like us, talking new policies in response to the gash of violence is wrong. It channels energies down the drain of no change. When denial has gripped most of society for generations, every word that proceeds from its mouth, every policy proposed, changes the subject, like an addict trying to talk about who does the dishes when his partner wants at last to tell some truth.

Source: Flickr Creative Commons (Valerie Everett).

What is the sound of the scream, a keening flooding the flatlands with a fury that sends people to higher ground, to moral ground, from which they can see some truth?

A sound like that to amplify the facts of unrelenting murder of black people by police sworn to protect them. A sound to resound above the nightly news of citizens slaughtered by any person equipped with a deviated mind and an assault rifle from the local hardware, or a semi-truck and speed. A sound at once deep and immense enough to answer the murder of police, the most visible symbol of the state – against whom assault is assault on the purpose for which a state exists. What sound?

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Binarity

Jul22

by: Mazin Qumsiyeh on July 22nd, 2016 | No Comments »

Abdullah Issa was a Palestinian child living in Syria (family of refugees after the ethnic cleansing of 1948 by Israel). He was captured and accused of helping the Syrian government. He had injuries and was thought to be also treated for thallasemia. Pictures show the bandaged boy of perhaps 10 or 11 years old with a catheter in his arm. His captives had him in the back of a pick-up truck (perhaps having taken him from his hospital bed). As he pleaded with them they ignored him and directed their message to the camera against Syrian government then slit the throat of this child. The killer militia shouted Allahu Akbar as the boy was mercilessly murdered. This group is funded and/or supported by the governments of the US, Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. They were considered by those four governments as “moderate rebels”.

On the same day that Abdullah was beheaded, a Palestinian boy roughly the same age (Mohyee Sedki Tbakhi) was shot by the Israeli occupation forces. I could not help note the similarity between the two as they looked like twins. As happens, only by intensifying our efforts are we able to cope with such tragedies. Coincidentally I accepted an invitation by the US Consulate in Jerusalem for Independence Day celebration (the event was held July 20th rather than July 4th here). Such trips to Jerusalem (without an Israeli permit) are always painful for me but the contradictions and conflicting emotions here were high. The area is in West Jerusalem long since transformed to a “Jewish city” the only real remnant of Palestinian next to the consulate is a cemetery (Mamilla or Maman Allah). But development is even eating away at that space and what is left of it is treated as a garden park.


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Could Hillary Be Any Worse? Sure, Add Tim Kaine to the Ticket

Jul22

by: David Swanson on July 22nd, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Editor’s Note: Tikkun does not endorse any political candidate. 

Tim Kaine has been consistently ranked as one of the least progressive Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Adding him to the Hillary Clinton ticket would be a kick in the face to Bernie Sanders supporters holding out hopeless hope for some sign of democracy within the Democratic Party.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Source: Flickr (Gage Skidmore).

Kaine was an anti-environmentalist pro-coal governor of Virginia, a supporter of the “right to work” (for less) law restricting union organizing in Virginia, and he is a supporter of corporate trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and including fast-tracking the TPP. An extremely loyal Democrat, he nonetheless criticized Democrats in 2011 for proposing higher taxes on millionaires.

Kaine is the anti-Bernie Sanders on policy and on process. He takes his direction from those in power, not from the public. In a poll of over 250 Sanders delegates to the Democratic National Convention (by the Bernie Delegate Network), only 2.7% of them said they thought Kaine would be an acceptable vice presidential nominee.

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Upcoming Event: Disarm Now: We Stand with Nuclear Survivors for Global Justice

Jul20

by: Tikkun Staff on July 20th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

August 9th will mark the 71st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nakasaki. Activists and concerned citizens will stand with survivors of nuclear weapons and all those harmed by nuclear technology by gathering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, in conjunction with Chain Reaction: a global action for nuclear disarmament, a nonviolent global movement encouraging nuclear disarmament actions by governments and the United Nations.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a branch of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Although managed by the University of California, the lab is under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and has outgrown its status as branch laboratory to become a national resource in nuclear weapons development.

The participants in the Livermore event, called Disarm Now: We Stand with Nuclear Survivors for Global Justice, are scheduled to meet on August 9th at the Livermore lab and demand that the lab cease developing new nuclear weapons for the U.S. arsenal and instead divert funds from their nuclear weapons budget (which makes up 86% of their total funding).

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The Master of the Good Name

Jul20

by: Rodger Kamenetz on July 20th, 2016 | No Comments »

 

The Master of the Good Name

who only lived for prayer,

trembled by the holy ark

because a Name so pure

was more than a body could bear.

 

The Master of the Good Name

saw each word in his prayer

as another Noah’s Ark,

of wings, wild cries and tusks

that he entered in his fear.


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Seeing Donald Trump: How a Sensible Empathic View of Him Can Help Progressives Stop Him

Jul19

by: John H. McFadden on July 19th, 2016 | 5 Comments »

[Editor's note: Tikkun does not endorse or reject any candidate for office or any political party (we are prohibited from doing so by our IRS non-profit status). We do publish on Tikkun Daily and on our website articles from selected boggers and sometimes from submissions directly from our subscribers or members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, usually without comment, but hoping our readers understand that articles on our web or Tikkun Daily do NOT necessarily reflect our editorial stance which you can find ONLY in the editiorials I write in the print edition of the magazine. Nevertheless, because many of our readers are spiritual progressives, the articles on the election on our blog or website can sometimes seem to give more positive attention to one candidates and less for another candidate. For that reason, we want to again urge our readers to write to us with your feelings and thoughts about the presidential candidates and political parties least likely to be predictably what you'd find in Tikkun, in the hopes of having a wider range of views and a wider range of supporters of positions that we editorially oppose. Send those to Ari@tikkun.orgor torabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com(along with a one or two sentence bio and your email and snail mail addresses, please.]

If in this article I do a good job of creating a sensible empathic explanation of Trump’s troubling behavior, I’ll evoke what at first to my fellow critics of him must seem impossible, much less undesirable. I hope to evoke compassion for him as the innocent victim of influences beyond his knowledge and, therefore, his control. But why strive to evoke compassion for horrible people? I believe this compassion-evoking view of any person is more credible than the degrading view held by nearly everyone. Incidentally, I’m one of those haters – Trump disgusts me. But it’s vital, I believe, to at least able to be angry at and feel compassion toward practically everyone.

The practical point of this empathic explanatory view? Perhaps most importantly regarding Trump, we must have a credible view of him and his supporters to plot an effective strategy for preventing him from winning the Presidency. That ought to be unarguable. And empathic explanations make the best sense of people. Of course, Trump may alienate the populace enough to derail his bid, but as of this writing, the polls haven’t tipped against him enough to quiet our worries about the possibility that the perhaps the most dangerous man to every run for this office will win the election, the growing number of Republicans for Hillary notwithstanding.


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The Need for a More Radical Solidarity in the Work for Justice based on Spirituality, Mindfulness, and Self-Care.

Jul19

by: Victor Narro on July 19th, 2016 | No Comments »

You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.

Do not be daunted
by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.

- Rabbi Tarfon in Pirke Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers)

For the past few years, I have ended my classes at UCLA with a reflection with my students about this excerpt from a poem by Rabbi Tarfon and its significance for them. Many of us who work for social justice often work on organizing campaigns with short timelines, with little resources, and moving on all pistons at a grueling 24-7 pace. This extreme pace can consume the important things in life that contribute to a person’s well-being. It’s a kind of martyr’s code that measures a person’s commitment to justice by their willingness to sacrifice personal time, health, and relationships.

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