Month: August, 2015
Big Bernie Bump In Iowa, And A Stealth Theocrat On The Republican Side
worker | August 31, 2015 | 8:53 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

Dear Friends and Activists,

Just as we predicted, serious presidential contender Bernie Sanders
continues to make strides. Already leading in New Hampshire, the
latest Iowa poll shows him now within 7 points. And it’s still just
the end of August.

At our end, we just sailed past 10,000 bumper stickers shipped with
the “Money Out, BERNIE In!” text that you voted on and chose in our
instant run-off poll. And we’ll have another mail bag out the door by

Please post this link anywhere you can, and let people know all they
have to do to get a free sticker is submit the form.

Single Bernie stickers:

And if you like the free sticker you already got, and can kick in a
little something nominal to get a bulk pack to spread them around
even faster, here is the link for that.

Bulk Bernie Stickers:

There is also news on the Republican side in Iowa. Though Trump still
leads there, Ben Carson is now a respectably strong second.

This is easy to understand. Carson is a closet theocrat, and is
harvesting all the evangelical voters.

When Carson was asked recently if he thought the Bible took
precedence over the Constitution . . . there was a very awkward
silence, and then he completely evaded the question by saying it
would depend on what part of the Bible you were talking about.

Wrong answer. NO part of the Bible supercedes the Constitution in our
government. That’s what the Establishment Clause in the first article
of our Bill of Rights is all about. The president is sworn to uphold
and defend the Constitution, not some particular Bible. Ben Carson
should join the clergy instead.

But this kind of thing is like a 100 decibel dog whistle for the
faith-based voter. They don’t mind Sharia law as long as it is their
Sharia.Carson is a theocrat alright, but not even honest enough to
admit it in public.

Indeed, by reserving the right to pick and choose what parts of the
Bible (and from which one) to enforce over the Constitution, Carson
is apparently setting himself up to be the religious arbiter in

In other words . . . God. Which is precisely why we have an
Establishment Clause in the first place, to keep people with
political power in our country from playing God over the rest of us.

You may forward this message to any friends who would find it

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Witnesses to the benefits of Heberprot-P
worker | August 30, 2015 | 4:30 pm | Cuba, Health Care, political struggle | Comments closed

Witnesses to the benefits of Heberprot-P

Over 43,700 patients have benefited from the medicine in Cuba, together with more than 160,000 across Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe
About 3% of diabetes patients suffer a diabetic foot ulcer at some point in their life, Dr. Yanisel Campos notes. Photo: Yusmary Romero Cruz
ARTEMISA, CUBA.—Alina and Yanisel know just how it feels to see a patient benefit from treatment. This doctor and nurse receive numerous patients every week at the Angiology department of the Tomás Romay University Polyclinic.
Both have repeatedly witnessed the benefits of Heberprot-P, a drug developed by scientists at the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), which is already well-known, especially for those suffering from diabetes mellitus.
Prescribed to treat diabetic foot ulcers, the medicine is applied directly to the wound through intralesional infiltration. “The product accelerates the healing of ulcers and stimulates the epidermal growth factor receptor, which is deficient in these patients,” Dr. Yanisel Campos explains, coordinator of the Comprehensive Care Program for Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers (PAIPUD) in this province.
Silvia Cándida Fuentes is 73 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes some five years ago. This is the first time she is having Heberprot-P applied. “They apply it every three days, for two weeks, because I pricked my foot with a wire, it got bad and I couldn’t stand on it,” she explains.
“It’s a great drug, but were it not for the love and affection with which both the doctor and the nurse care for us, the effects wouldn’t be as good; and they are very rigorous. Family support is also essential.”
Meanwhile, Arminda Blain has benefited from the treatment four times, as one of the first patients when the program began. “It has always been effective and speedy for me,” the 86 year old states.
Experts note that diabetes mellitus is currently the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, and according to the International Diabetes Federation, and these ulcers are the most feared complication of the disease.
“Cuba has included the Herberprot-P treatment as part of its basic medical stock since 2007 and a program of national scope began to cover hospitals and institutes. Consultations using Herberprot-P take place in over 370 institutions,” Yahima Chacón, a promoter of the CIGB in the province, notes.
According to a report by the Center, over 43,700 patients have benefited from the medicine in Cuba, together with more than 160,000 across Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. Herberprot-P is registered in over 23 countries.
This year, efforts are being made in Artemisa province to increase the number of patients benefiting from the treatment, in comparison to 2014.
Since the program’s inception over a thousand patients have benefited in the province, with just 4.6% requiring a major amputation. Across the world, an amputation is performed every 30 seconds, half of which could be avoided with the adequate treatment.
Shocking videos show 3 year old girl making Nazi salutes, pledging to ‘knife Russians’
worker | August 30, 2015 | 4:26 pm | political struggle, Russia | Comments closed

Shocking videos show 3yo girl making Nazi salutes, pledging to ‘knife Russians’
© Russia Insider
Isn’t it adorable to watch an enthusiastic toddler doing what her big brother asks her to? Probably not, if she is making Nazi salutes, saying she would gladly knife Russians or impersonating an Islamist fighter brandishing a big knife in her hand.

There are at least two provocative videos with the girl, who is called Marianna by the man who took the footage, posted on social networks. The first was published in mid-June but passed largely unnoticed by the western mainstream media. The second, released this week, merited reporting in British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Mirror.

In the videos, the lively, joyful girl wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt is shown yelping “I will cut Rusnia” [a derogatory term for Russians] encouraged by the cameraman. She is also giving the notorious Nazi salute, stretching up her arm and saying “Seig Heil!” for the camera.

In the second video, she does what she does in front of various Nazi symbols shown on a computer monitor. Those include a Ukrainian flag with a swastika on a white circle on it.

The latest piece also has fragments of the little girl impersonating an Islamist fighter, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” the phrase that is used by all Muslims to pronounce their faith but mostly associated by the Western public with Islamist terrorism. In that part, the computer screen shows the flag of terrorist group Islamic State and IS promotional footage.

READ MORE: Neo-Nazi summer camp: Ukrainian kids taught to shoot AKs by Azov battalion members (PHOTOS)

The videos originate from a social network page of a man calling himself Mikola Makhno, most likely a pseudonym, considering that he shares his surname with Nestor Makhno, the famous Ukrainian anarchist and communist military commander, who took control of large parts of Ukrainian territory after the Russian Empire was shattered by the Bolshevik revolution.

Mikola Makhno is believed to be Marianna’s brother and claims to be a Ukrainian nationalist with ties to the Ukrainian security forces. On his social network page, he claimed he made the videos to show Russians that “there is a new generation growing in Ukraine, bred on the war and hatred of Katsaps [another degenerative term for Russians] and in 10 years it will wipe out the Katsaps.”

The hate videos sparked widespread condemnation online. The use of a small child in propaganda was compared by some commentators to what the Islamic State does. A video purported to be produced by ISIS showed a baby-faced boy beheading a stuffed bear.

Both Ukrainian videos were viewed by hundreds of thousands of people before they were taken down by the network.

Iran Hopes to Open Credit Lines in Russia
worker | August 30, 2015 | 4:20 pm | Economy, political struggle, Russia | Comments closed

Iranian Vice President Sorena Sattari said that Tehran hopes to open credit lines in Russia in order to develop closer trade relations.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Tehran hopes to open credit lines in Russia in order to develop closer trade relations, Iranian Vice President Sorena Sattari told the Russian Kommersant daily.

“At first, the main thing is to sort out the interaction of the banking systems and open credit lines. This would create the necessary basis for the development of trade-economic cooperation between our countries,” Sattari said in the interview with the newspaper, published on Friday.

According to Sattari, the lack of clarify on the issue of credit lines is the main stumbling block in the progressing cooperation between Iran and Russia.

“We discussed this issue in detail with Russia’s minister of industry and trade [Denis Manturov]. The talks were very constructive. We hope for a positive outcome on this issue,” Iran’s vice president told Kommersant.

The July agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 countries — the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China, and Germany – freed Iran of economic restrictions in exchange for assurances that it will not seek to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the lifting of sanctions against Iran would eliminate all barriers for trade and economic cooperation between Iran and Russia.

In 2014 Iran’s exports to Russia amounted to $355 million, while total trade turnover reached some $1.7 billion.

Read more:

Is Bernie Sanders a communist?
worker | August 28, 2015 | 7:47 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

Is Bernie Sanders a communist?


By James Thompson


The Bernie Sanders campaign has ignited a great deal of excitement among people of conscience in the United States. Many people are impressed with his progressive ideas suggesting that the US needs to narrow the gap in income between the wealthy and poor working people. Many people are impressed with Sen. Sanders’ support of unions and his position on reducing the military budget. Many people are impressed with Sen. Sanders’ support of expanding and strengthening the social network in the USA.


Do these left leaning positions mean that Sen. Sanders is a communist? Many people are asking this very question.


In order to answer this question, it is important to do some clarification. Although it is widely assumed that the term “communist” implies a monolithic ideology with little or no deviation. Nothing could be further from the truth.


It turns out that communists have historically been involved in never-ending internal ideological struggle. This struggle usually revolves around how much capitalism should be tolerated in a socialist system. In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin advocated that very little capitalism should be tolerated. On the other hand, Leon Trotsky advocated more inclusion of capitalism.


Many European countries currently could be characterized as “Social Democratic.” Left parties within these countries call themselves “socialists.” Social Democratic parties within these countries typically do not oppose capitalism, or imperialism. They generally advocate for a strengthening and expansion of the social network. This is a concept which is met with tremendous hostility in the United States. However, in Europe, once in office, Social Democratic Parties are as harsh as their Conservative Party counterparts and typically advocate stark austerity for working people. It is important to note that they never advocate any austerity for the bourgeoisie.


Mr. Sanders is not opposed to capitalism or imperialism. He does advocate an expansion of the social network and a narrowing of the income inequality in the USA. He is positive about unions and wants to reduce the military budget. No one knows whether this will play in Peoria.


Although many communist parties around the world have embraced social democracy, to many communists this is a perversion of what communists stand for.


Clearly, Sen. Sanders falls in the ballpark of the European Social Democrats. To many people on the left, his views are a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt that his positions are very different from the likes of George Bush, Donald Trump and other right-wing demagogues. However, he does not advocate austerity for the bourgeoisie nor does he advocate an end to imperialist wars.


So the answer to the question “Is Bernie Sanders a communist?” is an unequivocal “NO!”


One defining feature of communist ideology is the goal of raising the working class to the status of the ruling class. Communists believe that the current bourgeois democracy in the United States should be replaced with a workers’ democracy. Communists are opposed to imperialist wars and the oppression of any sector of society. These are not positions that are advocated by Sen. Sanders or any other bourgeois politician.


However, some communists are not fools and realize that the bourgeoisie has been very effective in minimizing the political power of working people in the United States of America. Communists typically realize that not even working people advocate the elevation of their class to the position of the ruling class in the USA.


Many communists are in agreement with Mr. Sanders on narrowing the income gap, expanding the social network and reducing the military budget. However, this does not make Mr. Sanders a communist. Many communists recognize that the reforms that Mr. Sanders advocates would reduce the misery of the working class. Since communists are the indefatigable allies of the working class, we are happy when reforms are implemented which help working people. However, we recognize that reforms do not solve the plight of working people.


So, the reforms advocated by Sen. Sanders, although considered radical by many on the right, would only provide temporary and limited relief for the working class. These reforms might elevate the culture and society in the USA so that it would be closer to that achieved by European countries. However, these reforms could in no way be considered “communist” or even “socialist.”


It is important to remember that there is no viable Communist or Socialist party in the United States. Lenin urged the working class to engage in political struggle in all its forms. Electoral struggle is one means of struggle readily available to working people. Many communists are supporting Bernie Sanders because they realize that at this time he is the most progressive candidate among those who have any chance of winning the oval office. Although some members of the Houston Communist Party support Bernie Sanders, this is an individual decision. The Houston Communist Party does not and will not endorse Bernie Sanders for the office of President of the United States. However, we won’t shed any tears if he wins.


Bernie Sanders Update: Plan for Enormous D.C. Rally Gains Steam (excerpt)
worker | August 28, 2015 | 6:45 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed
      Comment          Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 10.16.22 AMEnough is Enough Rally Facebook group. (Photo: Screenshot/ Facebook) Here is the latest news about the Facebook-driven grassroots movement proposing a huge march on Washington this fall to support the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): I wrote in a column on Monday that advocates for the D.C. rally planned to present the idea to the Sanders campaign when their Facebook page collecting RSVP’s for the event reached 100,000. The number of Sanders supporters who RSVP’d rose from 87,000 on Monday to 100,000 by mid-week and by Friday morning had climbed to 108,000. The grassroots activists spearheading the D.C. rally proposal formally presented the idea to the Sanders presidential campaign in a conference call late Wednesday. After the conference call, Charlie Ryan, a leading organizer of the movement to hold the Washington rally, told me: “I thought the call went well. There was interest in learning what the vision for the event is, what benefits we see from such an event and enthusiasm for our efforts but they weren’t in a position to make any commitments.” As this column is published Friday morning the Sanders campaign has not yet signed on to embrace the proposal but movement organizers are optimistic and the 100,000-plus people who have already RSVP’d to attend the rally have good reason to be excited. Attendance would almost certainly rise well into six figures which would make this rally the largest campaign event, by far, for any candidate running in 2016.
Bernie’s foreign policy bad for everyone concerned
worker | August 28, 2015 | 6:39 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention

There’s an old joke about two elderly men at a Catskill resort. One complains: “The food here is horrible.” The other vigorously agrees: “Yeah, I know — and the portions are so damn small!”

Several writers have noted that Bernie Sanders has been scant in terms of his foreign policy — small portions.

But a thornier problem is that the little that he has articulated in terms of foreign policy — the foreign policy issue that he’s been most passionate about really — is extremely regressive and incredibly dangerous. That issue is the role of Saudi Arabia. Sanders has actually pushed for the repressive regime to engage in more intervention in the Mideast.

In discussing ISIS, Sanders invariably has talked about Saudi Arabia being the solution. It’s couched in language that seems somewhat critical, but the upshot is we need more Saudi influence and intervention in the region. In effect, more and bigger proxy wars, which have already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands in Syria and could even further rip apart Iraq and Libya.

He’s said this repeatedly — and prominently. In February with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

“This war is a battle for the soul of Islam and it’s going to have to be the Muslim countries who are stepping up. These are billionaire families all over that region. They’ve got to get their hands dirty. They’ve got to get their troops on the ground. They’ve got to win that war with our support. We cannot be leading the effort.”

What? Why should a U.S. progressive be calling for more intervention by the Saudi monarchy? Really, we want Saudi troops in Syria and Iraq and Libya and who knows where else? You’d think that perhaps someone like Sanders would say that we have to break our decades-long backing of the corrupt Saudi regime — but no, he wants to dramatically accelerate it.

Even worse, after the Saudis started bombing Yemen with U.S. government backing earlier this year, killing thousands and leading to what the UN is now calling a “humanitarian catastrophe,” and suffering that is “almost incomprehensible,” Sanders continued. In another interview again with Wolf Blitzer in May, Sanders did correctly note that as a result of the Iraq invasion, “we’ve destabilized the region, we’ve given rise to Al-Qaeda, ISIS.” But then he actually called for more intervention:

“What we need now, and this is not easy stuff, I think the President is trying, you need to bring together an international coalition, Wolf, led by the Muslim countries themselves! Saudi Arabia is the third largest military budget in the world they’re going to have to get their hands dirty in this fight. We should be supporting, but at the end of the day this is fight over what Islam is about, the soul of Islam, we should support those countries taking on ISIS.”

Progressives in the U.S. are supposed to look toward the Saudi monarchy to save the soul of Islam? The Saudis have pushed the teachings of the Wahabism sect and have been deforming Islam for decades. This actually helped give rise to ISIS and Al Qaeda. It’s a little like Bernie Sanders saying that the Koch Brothers need to get more involved in U.S. politics, they need to “get their hands dirty.”

But if your point is to build up the next stage of the U.S. government’s horrific role in the Mideast, it kind of makes sense. The U.S. government helped ensure the Saudis would dominate the Arabian Peninsula from the formation of the nation state of Saudi Arabia — a nation named after a family. In return, the Saudis had the U.S. take the lead in extracting oil there and favored investing funds from their oil wealth largely in the West over building up the region, what the activist scholar Eqbal Ahmed called separating the material wealth of the Mideast from the mass of the people of the region. Saudi Arabia buys U.S. weapons to further solidify the “relationship” and to ensure its military dominance.

The Saudis and other Gulf monarchies deformed the Arab uprisings, which transformed oppressive but basically secular and minimally populist regimes into failed states, giving rise to groups like ISIS and allowing Saudi Arabia to largely call the shots in the region. What has happened in the Mideast since the ouster of Mubarak and the so-called Arab uprisings is that the Saudis have been strengthened. Both the Tunisian and Yemeni dictators fled to Saudi Arabia. Mubarak himself was urged not to resign by the Saudis, and the Saudis are now the main backers of the military regime in Cairo.

Why is Sanders doing this? Is there a domestic constituency called “Americans for Saudi Domination of the Arab World”? Well, yes and no. It would obviously play well in the general public to say: “We’ve got to stop backing dictatorships like the Saudis. They behead people, they are tyrannical. They have a system of male guardianship. Why the hell are they an ally?”

But Sanders is unwilling to break with the U.S.-Saudi alliance that has done such damage to both the Arab people and the American people. Now, we have a full-fledged Israeli-Saudi alliance and it must be music to the ears of pro-Israeli journalists like Wolf Blitzer for Sanders to be calling for U.S. backing of further Saudi domination.

Some have argued that Sanders’ candidacy is very valuable — that win or lose, he’s putting the issue of income inequality front and center. But if the candidacy is to be lauded for raising issues of economic inequality, educate the public and galvanize around that that, it’s fair to ask how the candidacy is also deforming public discussion on other crucial issues. If the position of the most prominent “progressive” on the national stage is for more Saudi intervention, what does that do to public understanding of the Mideast and dialogue between people in the U.S. and in Muslim countries?

If the U.S. further subcontracts the Mideast to the Saudi regime, the setbacks and disappointments for peace and justice in the Mideast during the Obama years will be small potatoes in comparison. If the Mideast continues to deform, largely because of U.S. policies backing Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel, all the other things Sanders is talking about regarding economic inequality are arguably out the window. He himself has noted that “wars drain investment at home.”

Or does Sanders think it’s all good if he can set up a scheme whereby the Saudis pay the bills and use their own troops for Mideast wars that the U.S. government backs? Martin Luther King in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech referred to the wars taking funds from the war on poverty as a “demonic destructive suction tube.” But he also referred to just looking at the funding as a “facile” connection, listing several other, deeper, reasons based on other moral grounds for opposing war. But Sanders rarely touches on those other reasons. It’s as though we’ve learned nothing about blowback since 9/11.

Contrast Sanders’ call for an escalation in Saudi Arabia’s proxy wars with what insurgent Jeremy Corbyn — who’s campaign to lead the Labor Party in the UK has caught fire — is saying. He’s been challenging the British establishment about arming the Saudis: “Will the Minister assure me that the anti-corruption laws will apply to arms deals and to British arms exports? Will they involve forensic examination of any supposed corruption that has gone on between arms sales and regimes in other parts of the world rather than suspending Serious Fraud Office inquiries, as in the case of an investigation into the Al-Yamamah arms contract with Saudi Arabia?” See a section on Corbyn’s website on Saudi Arabia and video of his remarks at the House of Parliament just last month, with Corbyn relentlessly raising questions of human rights violations by the Saudi regime.

Instead of adopting Corbyn’s human rights perspective, Sanders has used Saudi Arabia’s massive military spending to argue that it should further dominate the region. Unexamined is how it got that way. Unexamined is the $60 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that Obama signed off on in 2010. The BBC reports, Saudi “Prince Turki al-Faisal called for ‘a unified military force, a clear chain of command’ at a high level regional security conference in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.”

So Sanders and Saudi planners seem to be working toward the same ends, as though war by an autocratic state in a critical region can be expected to breed good outcomes. Sanders doesn’t seem to take money from Lockheed Martin — though he’s backed their F-35, slated to be based in Vermont — but his stance on Saudi Arabia must bring a smile to the faces of bigwigs there.

The Black Lives Matter movement has moved Sanders to “say the names” of Sandra Bland and others who are victims of police violence. Those striving for peace and justice around the world need to do the same regarding Sanders and U.S. foreign policy.

Sam Husseini is founder of the website