June 12th: Remembering the Pulse Massacre

Two years ago the Supreme Court closed the Obergefell v. Hodges case in a 5-4 decision guaranteeing the right to marry to same-sex couples federally. It was a day of peak national pride for me. The federal government had really gotten something right and there was so much radiant joy, from the rainbow spotlights on the Obama White House to a gay coworker of mine whose face beamed as soon as the topic came up, to one of my friends here who put it perfectly, “Isn’t it just better when everyone is included?”.

A year later Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse Nightclub killing 49 and injuring 53 — the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history.  It strikes a demoralizing contrast to the previous year’s supreme court decision.  This wasn’t a random target. Mateen chose the Pulse because it was a gay club and there’s evidence to suggest that he struggled with unrealized or latent homosexuality, which is often expressed as fear or hatred towards homosexuals. This day is a reminder that homophobia is not victimless.

Remembering the Victims of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando, Orlando Sentinel



Weekly Update

Middle East and North Africa

Cholera Death Toll Tops 849 in War-Torn Yemen as U.S. Backed Saudi Assault Continues, Democracy Now!

In Yemen, a civilian is dying nearly every hour from a massive cholera outbreak, as the ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign and naval blockade has devastated the country’s health, sanitation and water systems. The World Health Organization says the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has now reached 101,820 and continues to rise, accounting for 859 deaths. Yemen’s healthcare system is also on the verge of collapse as many hospitals have shut down because of the ongoing U.S.-backed Saudi war. Only 45 percent of Yemen’s hospitals are still operational.

Karbala suicide bombing: 30 killed in Iraq terror attack, Bethan McKernan, The Independent

At least 30 people have been killed in a suicide bombing south of Baghdad, Iraqi officials have said, in an attack claimed by Isis.

The female assailant blew herself up on Friday in Musayab, just east of the holy Shia city of Karbala, killing 30 civilians and wounding another 35.

U.S.-led Forces Accused of Using White Phosphorus in Syria and Iraq, Dan MacGuill, Snopes

On 8 June 2017, the citizen-journalist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently posted a video on Twitter showing what looks like white phosphorus munitions exploding over what the group said was a Raqqa neighborhood:






Today Trump lost in another ruling on his travel ban targeting majority Muslim countries in both the US Court of Appeals 4th and 9th circuits:

Trump Loses Travel Ban Ruling in Appeals Court, Adam Liptak, The New York Times

The two courts employed different reasoning to arrive at the same basic conclusion. The Fourth Circuit said the revised executive order violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.

The Ninth Circuit, by contrast, rested its conclusions on statutory grounds. It said Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority Congress granted him in making national security judgments in the realm of immigration without adequate justification.

A story co-published by ProPublica and the New York Times investigates Trump’s son-in-law and go-to for peace in the Middle East Jared Kushner’s maltreatment of tenants.

The Beleagured Tenants of ‘Kushnerville’, Alec MacGillis, ProPublica

Tenants in more than a dozen Baltimore-area rental complexes complain about a property owner who they say leaves their homes in disrepair, humiliates late-paying renters and often sues them when they try to move out. Few of them know that their landlord is the president’s son-in-law.

Jeremy Corbyn

When Theresa May and the Tories called for a three-year-early snap election, they were polling well and looked to strengthen their hold on the House of Commons heading into Brexit negotiations. It didn’t turn out as planned. Despite being maligned by the neoliberal/Blairite faction of his own party, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led the party to a substantial victory Friday, taking enough seats to end the Conservative Party’s majority, resulting in a hung parliament.

Why Corbyn Won, Bhaskar Sunkara, Jacobin

Labour’s surge confirms what the Left has long argued: people like an honest defense of public goods. Labour’s manifesto was sweeping — its most socialist in decades. It was a straightforward document, calling for nationalization of key utilities, access to education, housing, and health services for all, and measures to redistribute income from corporations and the rich to ordinary people.

Jeremy Corbyn is Leading the Left out of the Wilderness and Toward Power, Mehdi Hassan, The Intercept

Corbyn has showed how it is possible for progressives to build a coalition between the young, people of color and cosmopolitan liberals on the one hand and, yes, those dreaded white working class communities on the other. It is a fiction to claim that leaders on the left must choose between them, or play one marginalized group off against another. White ex-UKIP voters in the north of the country returned to Labour last week in their hundreds of thousands.

Jeremy Corbyn (FULL) Interview on Andrew Marr (11/06/17 – BBC News









JPTV: The People’s Summit and the Premiere of the Nina Turner Show

People’s Summit:

Justice Visionaries and Visions of Justice







Ben Jealous — Former NAACP president running for governor in Maryland




And of course, Bernie Sanders was the headliner


Nina Turner Show premieres with Bernie Sanders







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JP124: June 5th

Scroll some of column A, scroll all of column B


(Rainbow ice cream cones to celebrate the passage of marriage equality in Taiwan, Nadine Kirchner, Creative Boom)


Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 2.11.58 PM.png

Military Reports — June 2017

June 1st – June 2nd 2017
Iraq 13 strikes (12,821-12,833)
Syria 19 strikes +5*  (9,094- 9,117)
Confirmed actions: US

Weekly Roundup

Spoiler of the week: The great slanderer, our dear leader Donald Trump is exploiting this weekend’s London massacre in order to promote his unconstitutional and ill-conceived travel ban on 6 majority Muslim countries. In characteristic repugnance, the American president took to Twitter in order to berate Mayor of London Sadik Khan by taking a quote from a recent address out of context:

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reson to be alarmed!'”

Spoiler alert: Mayor Khan was referring to the increased police presence in the city stating:

“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. . . you will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this.”

What Trump and Duterte said privately about the North Korean Nuclear Threat, Jeremy Scahill, Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim, The Intercept

Part 2

“We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has times 20, but we don’t want to use it,” Trump told Duterte. (In fact, the U.S. has 6,800 nuclear warheads and North Korea is thought to have about 10.) “You will be in good shape,” he added.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte joke that his soldiers can rape women under martial law, Elizabeth Elizalde, New York Daily News

“If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible, just do your job I will take care of the rest,” Duterte said, according to a transcript cited by The Guardian.

He then said if any of his men were to rape three women, he would claim responsibility.

Rainbow ice cream cone artwork celebrates Taiwan’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, Katy Cowan, Creative Boom

Earlier this month, Taiwan’s top judges ruled in favour of gay marriage, paving the way for the country to become the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions. In celebration of this cultural shift, artist and designer Alexandra Plesner has created Series 1 (Culturescape) – a rainbow coloured ice cream cone artwork, reflecting the set of beliefs, practices and ideas that program us to see and function in the world.

German foreign minster says Trump has made the West ‘weaker’ with destructive policies, Jason Silverstein, New York Daily News

“Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk,” Gabriel said.

“The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union. The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker.”

Brazilian diplomats criticize Temer over protest crackdown, Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press

Several dozen protesters were injured and several news organization captured images of military police firing live rounds at protesters. After scenes of vandalism, Temer issued a decree to use troops to protect public buildings in Brasilia, a measure that was criticized by a Supreme Court justice and key leaders of Congress. The president, whose popularity has fallen into the single digits, said it was a necessary measure to block anarchists that trashed the government area, but he withdrew the soldiers.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike in Israeli Jails Ends, Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury, Haaretz

According to Palestinian official Jamal Mohsin, “the strike ended after 41 days and following struggle, steadfastness and long negotiations, including with the leaders of the strike headed by Marwan Barghouti.”

Haaretz has learned that over the past two weeks senior officials from the Shin Bet security service met with senior Palestinian officials and discussed with them the prisoners’ demands. The meetings showed that the defense establishment was intending to meet some of the prisoners’ demands and improve their conditions. However, the Shin Bet demanded that the hunger strike end first.

Thousands rally in Morocco for release of Zefzafi and ending corruption, Middle East Eye

Thousands of young people clashed with riot police in northern Morocco on Friday night, following a general strike called for by activists demanding the release of a protest leader.

Nasser Zefzafi, who emerged as the head of the grassroots al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or “Popular Movement,” was arrested on Monday after three days on the run.

Death toll rises to 206, 68 still missing, DailyMirror

The death toll from the adverse weather conditions in the country had risen to 206 last evening while 68 persons were still said to be missing,disaster Management Centre said yesterday. The highest number of deaths were reported from Ratnapura-84, while 63 deaths were reported from Kalutara, 31 in Matara, 05 in Hambantota, 15 in Galle and 04 in Kegalle.

Motherhood is Complex and So Am I, Rachel Siemens, Man Repeller

The longer I’m a parent, the less of an identity I have other than mom.” I found that quote on a private Facebook group for moms. I read it on occasion for its eyebrow-raising, hyper-granola content. Like, reusable-toilet-paper levels of granola. It was in response to a question a woman had posted about not having anything to talk about with her husband after having kids. Other commenters sympathized, some even responding along the lines of not caring if you’re boring to other adults as long as you’re superheros to your kids. This is a notion I wholly reject. It’s possible to be both a functional, intellectual being and an invested parent.


About a month ago I heard some Animal Collective for the first time in a while and have been on a kick since. Couple of my favorites for ya:

Who could win a rabbit, Sung Tongs, Animal Collective (Lyrics)

Banshee Beat, Feels, Animal Collective (Lyrics)

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JP124: Howard Wallace


(Picture from: 7 Union Heroes to Remember)

Howard Wallace

(Susan Edgar, Beyond Chron)

As he moved into the 1960s, Howard’s broad involvement included most of the movements of that era. He joined the ranks of the anti-Vietnam War, helping to found Denver’s Stop the War Committee, and organizing an international defense campaign for Lt. Henry Howe who was court-martialed and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge from the military and a year’s hard labor for attending a 1965 antiwar demonstration. He supported Chicano rights through his work with the New Hispano Party in 1966 and his efforts against police brutality in the Mexican-American community, which united African Americans and Chicanos over several years.

He also joined the Denver branch of the Socialist Workers Party. In 1962 Howard was involved in organizing the Denver Fair Play for Cuba Committee., and in 1965 he was the SWP candidate for the Denver School Board. He remained a member of the SWP until the mid-seventies, when he left over the party’s reluctance to take on LGBT issues. . . . Continue reading

Weekly Roundup

Trump Called Rodrigo Duterte to Congratulate Him on His Murderous Drug War. “You Are Doing an Amazing Job.”, Jeremy Scahill, Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim, The Intercept

Part 1

IN A PHONE CALL from the White House late last month, U.S. President Donald Trump heaped praise on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, one of the world’s most murderous heads of state, for doing what Trump called an “unbelievable job” in his war on drugs. Trump offered an unqualified endorsement of Duterte’s bloody extermination campaign against suspected drug dealers and users, which has included open calls for extrajudicial murders and promises of pardons and immunity for the killers

Two Stabbed to Death Protecting Muslim Woman in Portland, Emma Henderson, The Daily Beast

A stabbing in Portland, Ore. on Friday has left two people dead and one person injured. The three victims were stabbed by a man after they tried to stop him from yelling anti-Muslim and racist remarks at passengers on the MAX train.

We must look to the past, not Isis, for the true meaning of Islam, Robert Fisk, The Independent

Emir Abdelkader was a Muslim, Sufi, sheikh, humanist, protector of his people against Western barbarism, protector of Christians against Muslim barbarism, so noble that Abe Lincoln sent him a pair of Colt pistols

Tunisia protester ‘accidentally’ killed in south, AFP, Daily Mail

A young protester was killed Monday after a national guard vehicle “accidentally” ran him over in south Tunisia, raising fears of mounting social unrest in a region rocked by weeks of protest.

Tulsi Gabbard Condemns Saudi Arabia Arms SaleBig Island Video News

The $110 billion deal, signed today overseas, does not sit well with the Hawaii Congresswoman who is pushing for a bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act

Tulsi Gabbard is Not Your Friend, Branko Marcetic, Jacobin

Tulsi Gabbard is hailed as a progressive champion. But her views on Islam and support for far-right leaders suggest otherwise.

Oil spill costs Marion thousands in cleanup, Evie Allen, WSIL ABC 3

MARION — An oil spill in a Marion creek taught folks an important environmental lesson.

Marion City leaders say an employee at a local business caused a serious oil spill in the city’s West End Creek. City workers found gallons of oil in the water and along its banks just north of the town’s sewage treatment plant.

This Virtual Reality Experience Shows what Facing Abortion Clinic Protesters Is Really Like — And It’s Making an Impact, Emma McGowan, Bustle

At abortion clinics across the country, women and their companions are faced with harassment — and sometimes even physical violence — as they try to access safe and legal abortions. Protesters range from Catholics silently doing the rosary to members of anti-choice groups and churches who scream, call names, and may even attempt to physically block clinic access. It’s a horrifying situation for people who are often already going through a really hard time, but it’s a situation that you can’t truly understand unless you’ve been in it yourself. Until now



Planned Parenthood produced a virtual reality video showing what women face on their way to getting an abortion. It uses actual audio from outside an abortion clinic

That newly elected Rep. Gianforte assaulted a reporter is inexcusable; far beyond the pale. Listen to how his supporters respond to this apology. It’s clear they don’t think he did anything wrong. That is disturbing. President Trump has called the media “the enemy of the American people”.

Director of US Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney questioned by Senator Sanders over CBO report on Trump Budget

Barbara Ehrenreich on the toxic culture of Optimism, The School of Life: Sunday Sermons



To close my labor-themed month, I’m posting an old favorite of mine, “Soup is good food” by the Dead Kennedys, which is about the great downsizing that began in the 1980s.

…thank you for scrolling