Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine (a review by Bill Roller)

Review by Bill Roller of Daniel Ellsberg's book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner    
                  It’s Midnight in America


            There was a game that children in the southern Midwest played

during the early days of the Cold War. It was called, “What Time is it Mr. Fox?”  It was a version of “tag” and went something like this. We children gathered at the brick wall in the school yard. One of us was given the role of “Mr. Fox”, and that child faced the brick wall, hands on the wall and eyes closed. As the rest of us approached the wall slowly, one step at a time, we asked, “What time is it, Mr. Fox?”  Mr. Fox replied

“Five-thirty” and we took another step forward.

The American War in Yemen by Rajan Menon

[Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com for sharing this article with Tikkun readers on yet another sin of the U.S. government--our participation in the mass killing of Yemenites. --Rabbi Michael Lerner  rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com ]
The American War in Yemen
by Rajan Menon

Introduction by Tom Engelhardt: It was the rarest of graphics in the American news media: a CNN map in which recent Saudi air strikes in Yemen were represented by little yellow explosions. Below them were the number of civilians killed (“97,” “155,” “unknown casualties”) and, below those, the names of the makers of the weapons that had done the killing (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics). In fact, in the nearly three decades since the Soviet Union imploded, U.S. weapons makers have had a remarkable grip on the global arms trade (latest figure: 34% of all arms sales) and regularly sold their weaponry into places that were hell storms of conflict, particularly the Middle East. Nonetheless, remarkably little thought is given here to how snugly death and destruction in distant lands fit with these glory days of U.S. weapons makers, their soaring profits and rising stock prices.

Disobedience Here Below

Joint Sermon: Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman & Rabbi Alana Alpert
Sept. 10th, 2019Ordained from Hebrew College of Boston in 2014, Rabbi Alana Alpert serves a dual position as rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah and Director of Detroit Jews for Justice. Because they have been working closely together on the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign, she invited Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann to share the teaching for Rosh Hashanah. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Bill is a non-violent activist, author, and United Methodist pastor recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit. What follows are their remarks for the day.

Religion is Emotional Therapy by Stephen T. Asma

[Editor's Note: At a moment when religion is being blamed for Trumpism, it is good to hear some alternative perspectives. While the perspective presented is different from some of the reasons a portion of our readership embrace a wide variety of spiritually progressive religions (and many do not embrace any religion), it nevertheless deserves to be given serious attention.--Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun . rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com]

Religion is Emotional Therapy
by  Stephen T. Asma

Religious extremism comes in many forms. Sometimes it clings to arcane doctrines despite mountains of scientific evidence. Such was the case during the famous Scopes Monkey trial of 1925. John Scopes was slapped with a $100 fine for teaching evolution in Dayton Tennessee, violating a law making it a misdemeanor to “teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” Even though Scopes lost the trial, his defense attorney Clarence Darrow successfully put prosecutor William Jennings Bryan on the stand and demonstrated the tortured and impossible logic of scriptural literalism.

The “Good Faith” of the Usurpers –pre Rosh Hashanah reflections by Aryeh Cohen


This past week the Jerusalem District Court decided that the Mitzpeh Kramim settlement—which no one denies was built on private Palestinian land, and no one contests that that land was taken from the original Palestinian owners by extra-legal means—can remain in the hands of the current settler residents. The reason the court gave was that the deal that was made between the settlers and the World Zionist Organization, who had been given ownership over the land by the army, was executed in “good faith”—tom lev in Hebrew, pure or whole heart. “Good faith” as we shall see, is nothing more than a legal term of art rather than a phrase which describes the actual intentions of any of the parties between the initial Palestinian owners and the current Jewish settler owners. It being the week before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the idea of good faith or pure heart is in the front of peoples’ minds. Maimonides in his Laws of Repentance writes: “Anyone who confesses verbally but does not commit in their heart to abandon [their previous actions], behold this is like one who ritually immerses [in a mikveh for purification purposes] and is holding vermin [which is radically impure] in their hand, and the immersion is not effective until they throw the vermin away.” This powerful illustration sets in stark relief the type of “good faith” that the court was satisfied with.

Palestinians Facing the Normalization Dilemma by Yoav Peck


by Yoav Peck

With the death of Uri Avneri, we have lost one of our bravest and clearest voices. I knew Uri and liked him, we met several times in the last few years. In one of his last written statements, Uri writes: "We must decide who we are, what we want, where we belong. Otherwise we will be condemned to a permanent state of impermanence." In this neighborhood, impermanence is a pretty permanent state of affairs.

Palestinians Fearing “Normalization” of the Occupation–A critical perspective by Yoav Peck of the Sulha Peace Project

For 18 years, the Sulha Peace Project has brought together Palestinians from across the territories with Israelis from around the country, in order to hold people-to-people dialogue and solidarity-building. Of late, many of our Palestinian activists have endured harsh anti-normalization criticism from their friends and relatives, and some have been dragged into long, humiliating interrogations at the hands of Palestinian security. The director of a site where we held a recent gathering was harassed by the Palestinian Authority for renting us space. As we rumble into the 62nd year of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, it may be useful to revisit the contention, strident in various sectors of the Palestinian public, that cooperation with Israelis represents “normalization” (tatbiyah) and is thus forbidden. How is normalization defined?

Homage to the Syrian Revolution by Andrew Heintz

Tikkun Editor's Note: Tikkun does not have a position on the issues raised by the Syrian revolution, except to say that we oppose all violence and know that the forces seeking to replace Syrian dictator Assad were committed to non-violence until Assad starting torturing and killing them. We welcome critiques of the perspective put forward by Andrew Heintz below. Homage to the Syrian Revolution
The American Left has had an ongoing war of words about what to do about Syria. The result has illuminated the consequences of groupthink and dogmatic anti-imperial absolutism. It has been heartbreaking to witness so-called leftists refuse to recognize the sadistic brutality of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Dr. Jerome Segal forms Bread and Roses Party


A new political party has been formed in Maryland, ahead of the November elections. It’s being spearheaded by philosopher Dr. Jerome Segal, a conflict resolution expert at the University of Maryland, who received over 20,000 votes in his run against Ben Cardin in the Democratic Senate Primary in June.  

Earlier this week, Segal submitted 19,500 petitions signed by Maryland residents to the state Board of Elections, in support of the establishment of the socialist “Bread and Roses” party. Under state law, ten thousand signatures are required to organize a political party.  

Segal spent more than $1.4 million on his campaign against Cardin in the Senate primary.