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Archive for the ‘Politics & Society’ Category



Trump using black lives to gain white votes fits America’s long tradition of exploiting black bodies for profit

Aug21

by: on August 21st, 2016 | No Comments »

Donald Trump’s latest pitch to black voters is not actually an effort to make inroads in the African-American community, or to convince more black voters he’s an attractive option. Instead, the effort is about wooing white voters embarrassed by his past racism and bigotry. It’s about giving white, suburban voters the rhetorical cover they need to vote for Trump in November.

It’s why Trump made his appeal to black voters before a mostly white crowd in the mostly white, suburban town of Lansing, Michigan. And it’s why his appeal included the following words:

“What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Denigrating all black Americans as poor, uneducated and unemployed is not a serious recruitment effort. It is, however, a way to paint the African-American community as wholly blighted before a white audience inclined to nod. A white audience which might appreciate Trump’s reaching out to African-Americans as they think, Yeah, why not try something new, you destitute blacks?

Their not voting for Trump becomes their own fault, rather than a response to Trump’s history of racism and bigotry.


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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “Back to Basics: A Politics of Meaning for Education”

Aug17

by: Svi Shapiro on August 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access at www.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Click hereor visit http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Volume 8, No. 1. 1993.

If the Clinton administration wants to succeed in changing America’s education system, it must start by recognizing that the Right’s campaign to “return to basics” contains, at its heart, critical insights into the psychological, moral, and social context in which parents face their own future and that of their children. Although progressives have dismissed the conservative education agenda, citing its dehumanizing prescriptions and its distractions from the real issues, the Right has been able to harness deep-seated human concerns and anxieties to the practices and goals of schooling. As we build our own politics of educational meaning, it becomes imperative for us to take these concerns seriously and to address them in ways that will genuinely enhance the dignity, responsibility, freedom, and opportunities of the young.

Basic Skills: Toward a Curriculum for Survival

One of the rallying cries of those who believe America’s schools are cheating youngsters out of their educational “rights” has been the need to emphasize–or re-emphasize–the “basics.” On the surface, at least, what the basics are seems straightforward: teaching kids how to read, write, and do arithmetic. At one level there is an unassailable sensibleness to this demand: It is debilitating, disempowering, and deeply injurious for any American to lack these skills.

There is in the expectation that schools will instruct children so that they are functionally literate and numerate an obvious logic that is reinforced daily by the experiences of working-class and middle-class parents. To the extent that radical or progressive educators have taken issue with the Right’s version of the argument for the primacy of basics in the schools, they have seemed out of touch with Americans’ everyday concerns, needs, and demands. No agenda for education can possibly succeed if it does not take seriously the importance of teaching reading, writing, and numeracy.


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Featured 30th Anniversary Article: “The Rhetoric of Occupation”

Aug17

by: David Biale on August 17th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the date we have put together a special online anniversary issue that you can access atwww.tikkun.org/tikkunat30. The issue includes articles, like the one featured in this post below, from the first decade of the magazine that are representative of what we have been doing for 30 years. And as another way to mark the occasion, we have temporarily reduced the price of a one-year print subscription to the magazine from $29 to $18. Clickhereor visithttp://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/28103-2to subscribe! Already have one? They also make great gifts!]

From Tikkun Vol. 5, No. 2. 1990.

When I spoke this past November at the Tikkun conference in San Francisco, I began my remarks with an official disclaimer: I was speaking, I said, only for myself – my institutional affiliation was for identification purposes only. One might well ask why I began by stating the obvious. I did so because it is no longer possible to speak out freely on Israel without the risk of incurring venomous wrath and threats, both veiled and unveiled, to one’s very livelihood. There is a witch-hunt abroad in the land and many of us in the Jewish community are the witches.

Let me cite a few cases, taken more or less at random.

- Arthur Waskow is forced to resign from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for advocating the creation of a Palestinian state;

- The Zionist Organization of America maintains files (which it publishes for its members) on American Jews who have taken pro-peace positions such as endorsing the Jewish Peace Lobby and signing ads sponsored by Tikkun

- A branch of the American Jewish Congress loses its funding from a major Jewish foundation because it allows another organization to use a room in order to hear a Palestinian speaker;

- Newspapers in the Bay Area report that the Israeli consul-general has spied on and harassed Jewish educational and communal organizations that have dared to engage in dialogue with the insidious P-people;

- Activists in Friends of Peace Now in Toronto report that they regularly receive death threats whenever they mount any kind of program or demonstration.


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Reader Response: Promoting the Well-Being of Israelis and Palestinians

Aug17

by: Dr. Gerald H Katzman on August 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

[Editor's note: We welcome critiques of articles in Tikkun, and in this case, of one of the many books written by Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner. Rather than respond fully here, Rabbi Lerner will address some of the issues raised in our Spring 2017 issue of Tikkun, which will focus on the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of the West Bank.

Managing Editor's note: As we have noted many times on Tikkun Daily, the articles posted here do not necessarily reflect the official positions or attitudes of Tikkun. You can read our official positions in the editorials in the print versionof Tikkun magazine (available by subscription atwww.tikkun.org/subscribe).The post below is an example of the kind of discourse we rarely publish because it demeans a whole group of people, in this case the 1.5 billion adherents to Islam. The author states, "The religion of Islam must turn away from militancy. Just as Judaism and Christianity have matured and adopted the 'Left Hand of G-d' as the model for proper, praiseworthy human behavior, so must all branches of Islam." The notion that Christianity and Judaism have matured and adopted the approach advocated by Rabbi Lerner's book "The Left Hand of God" would be difficult to substantiate, particularly in light of the Jewish world's support for Israel's treatment of Palestinians and the Christian world's long history of violence (i.e. the crusades and the inquisition), sexism, racism, homophobia, opposition to birth control, and attempts to limit women's rights to control their own bodies. Additionally, the claim that Islam as whole is not equally "mature" is offensive and cannot be proven by referencing the small percentage of Muslims who support violence against other Muslims and non-Muslims. Frankly, all of these kinds of generalizations about any religion, national group, race, gender, etc., are likely to be false or unsupportable, and we normally ban such articles that contain them. It was only because this response specifically critiques our editor's work that we are printing it, because we want to be a model of openness to such critiques, particularly of our editorial leadership and our public stances, in contrast to most magazines and newspapers that rarely allow for this kind of vulnerability - though we would have been much happier to print a critique that didn't have offensive claims against other peoples and religious groups!]

I am happy to reply to Rabbi Michael Lerner’s request that I critique his book Embracing Israel/Palestine. The book clearly represents a well-thought-out and detailed account of factors leading to the present Israeli/Palestinian divide and proposals for solving the many issues that underlie the conflict. I do not pretend to have the detailed knowledge of the area that Rabbi Lerner possesses. However, I do have my own impressions from years of Jewish education, multiple visits to Israel, and pursuing my ‘hobby’ of understanding how children are taught to hate and how to prevent this reprehensible practice.

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The Greatest Show on Earth How Billions of Words, Tweets, Insults, and Polls Blot Out Reality in Campaign 2016

Aug12

by: Tom Engelhardt on August 12th, 2016 | No Comments »

From our ally Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch.com

Yep, it finally happened. Inearly May, after a long, long run, the elephants of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were ushered into retirement in Florida where they will finish their days aidingcancer research. The Greatest Show on Earth was done with its pachyderms. The same might be said about the Republicans after Donald Trump’s version of a GOP convention. Many of them had also been sent, far less gracefully than those circus elephants, into a kind ofenforced retirement(without even cancer research as an excuse). Their former party remained in the none-too-gentle hands of the eternally aggrieved Trump, while the Democrats were left to happily chant “USA! USA!,” march a barking retiredfour-star generaland aformer CIA directoron stage to invoke the indispensable “greatness” of America, and otherwise exhibit the kind of super-patriotism and worship of the military usually associated with… no question about it… the GOP (whose delegates insteadspent their timechantinglock her up!“).

And that’s just to take the tiniest of peeks at a passing moment in what continues to be, without the slightest doubt, the Greatest Show on Earth in 2016.


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An interview with African American scholar Adolph Reed on Bernie Sander’s Campaign and the New Class Politics

Aug12

by: Adolph Reed & Daniel Zamora on August 12th, 2016 | No Comments »

This article was originally published here.

Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was historic. The expectations were, to say the least, modest. One year ago, ex-Obama chief strategist David Axelrod didn’t hesitate to mock his candidacy saying that “people will have a fling with Bernie. Bernie is like a great fun date because you know he’s not going to be around town too long, and I think you’re going to see people flirt with that.”

But, against all odds, within months Sanders would raise over $200 million in small contributions, and win more than thirteen million votes (43 percent of the total) and twenty-three states. Though he fell short of the nomination, Sanders left an impact on a generation of new voters and the political discourse in the country.

What exactly that will mean for the Left and the country’s labor movement remains to be seen. But in an interview for the Belgian journal Etudes Marxistes, Adolph Reed discussed the phenomenon and what it could mean for the future.



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Patriotic Muslim Dad Hails Dead Son’s Participation in US Crime Against Humanity in Muslim Iraq

Aug11

by: Jay Janson on August 11th, 2016 | 7 Comments »

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When she was Senator, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton voted for the US invasion of Iraq, an obvious international crime against humanity that would take the lives of a million and half innocent Muslims, probably half of them children. Last week her nominating Democratic Convention, featured a Muslim father, whose son was killed participating in US crime against Muslim people ranting about what a bad guy her opponent Donald Trump is and praising himself and his son as patriotic, though Trump had spoken out against the illegal and criminal invasion of Iraq.

Here below, are the very terse, concise, precise, unequivocal, brief to the point, clear and easy to understand Nuremberg Principles of International Law, mostly written by Americans, signed on to by all nations and first used to hang a number of Nazi leaders of a Germany, that invaded only some twenty nations – US since has invaded perhaps more than as twice that number.[1] (Few Americans are interested in this comparison)

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The Danger of Excessive Trump Bashing

Aug11

by: Robert Parry on August 11th, 2016 | 3 Comments »

Editor’s note: As a 501-c-3 we do not endorse or oppose any candidate for office or any political party. We do try to present views that are not normally heard in the mainstream media, but we often present ideas with which we disagree if they present perspectives that challenge our thinking or what we perceive to be the dominant thinking in the liberal and progressive world. We have long believed that liberals and progressives emerge stronger when we are forced to grapple with such alternative perspectives.–Rabbi Michael Lerner


Consortium News
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The widespread disdain for Donald Trump and the fear of what his presidency might mean have led to an abandonment of any sense of objectivity by many Trump opponents and, most notably, the “mainstream” U.S. news media. If Trump is for something, it must be bad and must be transformed into one more club to use for hobbling his candidacy.
While that attitude may be understandable given Trump’s frequently feckless and often offensive behavior – he seems not to know basic facts and insults large swaths of the world’s population – this Trump bashing also has dangerous implications because some of his ideas deserve serious debate rather than blanket dismissal.

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Pope Francis and the Changing Catholic Church

Aug10

by: Sarah Asch on August 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

Pope Francis saidin late July that he would never call terrorism “Islamic terrorism” since all religions contain fundamentalist groups. He made the comment in response to questions about a French priest who was targeted and killed in a terrorist attack.

His statement came on the heels of progressive remarks he made in June when he called for the Catholic Church to apologize to the LGBT community for centuries of discrimination. In his efforts to move the church towards a new era of cultural acceptance we should view Pope Francis with as much scrutiny as we would any politically savvy public figure. And whether or not you believe that the Pope is doing his best with a centuries-old system or that he is not moving fast enough on certain issues, we can all agree he is moving. Then the question becomes: how sustainable are these progressive movements after Pope Francis resigns or passes away? After all, Pope Francis changed the tenor of the church pretty quickly after his conservative predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, stepped down at the age of 85. With that in mind, many wonder how far Francis, who is 79 years old, can move the church before he has to hand over the job to somebody else.


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Did the Bomb End the War?

Aug9

by: Ron Hirschbein on August 9th, 2016 | 20 Comments »

“Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of surviving Japanese leaders involved . . . certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bomb had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” –United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific War)

Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima Author: Hiromichi Matsuda

August 6 marks the destruction of Hiroshima and the annual op-ed obeisance to civic mythology. Serious men will echo the conclusion of prominent mainstream historians such as John Gaddis: “Having acquired this awesome weapon, the United States used it against Japan for a simple and straightforward reason: achieve victory, as quickly, as decisively, as economically as possible.” Once again, post hoc arguments will be received wisdom: The Japanese surrendered six days after the bomb destroyed Nagasaki; therefore, the bomb ended the war. Not only that, the bomb was a blessing in disguise: It avoided the need for Operation Olympic – the invasion of Japan that would have taken untold numbers of American and Japanese lives. Revisionist historians – if they’re cited – will reject such reasoning and stress a fact hidden in plain sight: The defeat of Japan was a foregone conclusion prior to August. 67 firebombed cities lay in ruins, and American forces had decimated the Japanese military.

Debate about dropping the bomb should have ended long ago, very long ago, July 1, 1946 to be precise. The implication of the document published on that date, and cited above, is inescapable – the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was gratuitous. The document is not the product of reviled revisionist historians who dare to dispute comforting civic mythology. The sorely neglected, inconvenient truth is found in the official US War Department document just cited: the United States Strategic Bombing Survey: Summary Report (Pacific War). The War Department Survey recounts the anticipated outcome of terrorism with an American accent: “As might be

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