Even though most people know Norfolk, Virginia as the home of the largest American naval base in the world, NOB Norfolk, in this greater area known as Hampton Roads, which is inundated with other military bases, schools and commands as well, there is still great diversity of opinions and peoples, even within military ranks. On little notice today, Dec. 30, some thirty protesters began gathering at 4:30 PM in front of the City Hall complex at the corner of St Paul Blvd and City Hall Avenue to speak out against the Israeli assault on Gaza. They were still going strong at nightfall when I left around 6:00 PM. I interviewed four of them during the protest. The 4th interview was with Chris Towne of Norfolk, a member of Amnesty International who has been to the West Bank several times as a member, as well, of Holy Land Trust.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Even though most people know Norfolk, Virginia as the home of the largest American naval base in the world, NOB Norfolk, in this greater area known as Hampton Roads, which is inundated with other military bases, schools and commands as well, there is still great diversity of opinions and peoples, even within military ranks. On little notice today, Dec. 30, some thirty protesters began gathering at 4:30 PM in front of the City Hall complex at the corner of St Paul Blvd and City Hall Avenue to speak out against the Israeli assault on Gaza. They were still going strong at nightfall when I left around 6:00 PM. I interviewed four of them during the protest. The 3rd interview was with Reverend Pamela Anne Bro from Virginia Beach, also a minister in Virginia Beach.
Even though most people outside Virginia know Norfolk, Virginia as the home of the largest American naval base in the world, NOB Norfolk, in this greater area known as Hampton Roads, which is inundated with other military bases, schools and commands as well, there is still great diversity of opinions and peoples, even within military ranks. On little notice today, Dec. 30, some thirty protesters began gathering at 4:30 PM in front of the City Hall complex at the corner of St Paul Blvd and City Hall Avenue to speak out against the Israeli assault on Gaza. They were still going strong at nightfall when I left around 6:00 PM. I interviewed four of them during the protest. The 2nd interview was with Joe Filipowski from Norfolk, who went into considerable depth of analysis about not only Israeli, but American foreign policy.
Even though most people outside Virginia know Norfolk, Virginia as the home of the largest American naval base in the world, NOB Norfolk, in this greater area known as Hampton Roads, which is inundated with other military bases, schools and commands as well, there is still great diversity of opinions and peoples, even within military ranks. On little notice today, Dec. 30, some thirty protesters began gathering at 4:30 PM in front of the City Hall complex at the corner of St Paul Blvd and City Hall Avenue to speak out against the Israeli assault on Gaza. They were still going strong at nightfall when I left around 6:00 PM. I interviewed four of them during the protest. The first interview was with Jerry Tenney from nearby Smithfield.
Monday, December 29, 2008
27 December 2008
The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
Those violations include:
Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.
Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.
Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.
Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza's besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.
Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right, neither as the Occupying Power nor as a sovereign state, to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response. I note that Israel's escalating military assaults have not made Israeli civilians safer; to the contrary, the one Israeli killed today after the upsurge of Israeli violence is the first in over a year.
Israel has also ignored recent Hamas' diplomatic initiatives to reestablish the truce or ceasefire since its expiration on 26 December.
The Israeli airstrikes today, and the catastrophic human toll that they caused, challenge those countries that have been and remain complicit, either directly or indirectly, in Israel's violations of international law. That complicity includes those countries knowingly providing the military equipment including warplanes and missiles used in these illegal attacks, as well as those countries who have supported and participated in the siege of Gaza that itself has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move on an emergency basis not only to condemn Israel's serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Must Watch video. Already a million hits!
In many ways, the Palestinians are to the Israelis what the Helots were to the Spartans in ancient Greece, conquered, exploited people whom we have praised in history for having the character to at least rebel against their conditions. The Palestinians, however, don't even have the privilege of being called state-owned serfs, but de facto serfs without a state, treated more like dogs by the Israelis than as humans, particularly by brazen Israeli settlers, who often beat them or even shoot them on their own land.
Why is it, then, that when Palestinians rebel against their conditions, the so-called civilized Western world sides with their oppressors time and time again? Any answers?
Anyway, here is a little history lesson about Helots in Greece:
Helots: class of unfree peasants in Spartan society, who may be defined as state-owned serfs.
In Antiquity, all humans were unequal. Citizenship was a privilege; magistracies were usually reserved for men; not everyone was allowed to serve in the army; the right to marry was restricted; not everybody was permitted to own land; certain professions were considered to be vulgar; and nearly every society had at least one class of people who were not their own masters. They were unfree. The idea that all members of society are equal for the law, have identical rights and are free, simply did not exist.
Spartan society was no exception to this rule. Like other towns in ancient Greece, all people belonged to different groups, and there was a class of unfree laborers, the helots. Typically, they were peasants, but they are sometimes found in other sectors of Spartan society (as servants at home, guards, and grooms), and although they were believed to be ethnically different from the Spartan elite, they could be emancipated and enter the world of the free-born.
None of this is unique, and ancient and modern authors have found it very difficult to define helotism, because it was not considered to be an ordinary type of unfree labor. Unlike the slaves in Athens, helots had families and communities of their own, and they were no private property. Therefore, Pausanias calls them "slaves of the commonwealth". Strabo of Amasia says they were "some sort of public slaves", and other authors say they were a category between slaves and free people. Perhaps the best approach is to leave the niceties for what they are, and simply define helots as a class of unfree laborers.
Probably, helotism is a very ancient category; it may even be a survival from Mycenean times. It has been assumed that when the Dorians conquered Laconia (the southeast of the Peloponnese), they reduced the native population to the status of helots. An argument for this theory is that the word heilôtes may be related to a verb that means "capture". On the other hand, the Dorian invasion is poorly understood, and it is perhaps unwise to use a poorly understood phenomenon to explain another poorly understood phenomenon.
Whatever the origins of helotism and its relation to slavery, it is reasonably certain that when the Spartans conquered Messenia in the southwest of the Peloponnese (probably in the eighth or seventh century), the native population became helots. They were forced to work on the land and had to give the fruits to the Spartans. However, their communities were left intact and they were allowed to have their own religious ceremonies. They still had an identity as Messenians, must have defined themselves as a repressed class, and hoped to liberate themselves. Writing much later, Xenophon stated that helots would gladly eat their masters raw, and several revolts of Messenian helots have been recorded.
In fact, the creation of a great number of helots in Messenia caused great problems and led to the introduction of a strict military discipline among the Spartans, who became a specialized military class. They had to be permanently on their guard, and it is not surprising, therefore, that their magistrates (the ephors) declared war upon the Messenians every year. If a member of the Spartan elite happened to kill a helot, it was not considered to be murder but an act of war. Other acts of violence and terror are recorded, and it seems that Spartan society as a whole suffered from a permanent fear of a helot rebellion. Probably, the helots outnumbered their masters by some seven to one.
On the other hand, there was also a more kind policy towards the helots, as if to appease them. Helots always could dream of being emancipated, and we know that the Spartan government did indeed sometimes liberate groups of helots. They were known as neodamôdeis and had the right to serve in the Spartan army, which also meant that they shared in the spoils. Former helots are also recorded as rowers.
The system collapsed in the fourth century. In 371, the Theban commander Epaminondas defeated the Spartans at Leuctra, and later, he invaded the Peloponnese, where he liberated the helots of Messenia. The helots of Laconia appear to have been emancipated later by the reformer kings Cleomenes III (235-222) and Nabis (207-192).
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Why wasn't Michael Connell placed in protective custody? This was the man who allegedly knew where the bodies were buried to insure Bush could steal the elections and make it into the White House 2x.
Rove, Cheney, and Bush are feverishly rewriting history. If there is any justice in America these three crooks and other leaders in the Bush administration will be held to account in a court of law for numerous charges ranging from war crimes to stealing our national elections.
It's Time for Us to Fight for Single Payee Health Insurance that covers EVERY American. Don't fall for the Fat Cats latest scheme--forcing us to pay private corporations to provide us health care IS INSANE and violates ANY sense of the "free market theory" that corporate Fat Cats use in their class war. We need to strive to become the healthcare system that is number one in QUALITY not COST.
Having worked in the medical field as a service provider AND also being a consumer of health care I want to be part of a single payee health insurance system because I want higher quality healthcar and a better price.
Contact your elected officials today and tell them to support HR 676
GIVE AMERICA A GIFT.
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY FOR HR 676, Single-Payer Healthcare
Monday, December 22, 2008
Go here to get info on this vital issue. Contact your elected officials AND Senator Edward Kennedy. Speak out....the time is now.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
...if President-elect Obama truly believes in our equality and that his vision of "One America" includes us, and yet won't withdraw his invitation to Rev. Warren, there is something he can do to show that he is the ardent supporter of LGBT equality he claims.
Mr. Obama can and should immediately:
1. Invite one of the multitude of amazing LGBT faith leaders to join Reverend Warren onstage and allow for an additional invocation, showing the world that many LGBT people are people of faith and that we are a part of the faith community.
2. Announce that he will move forward comprehensive legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity -- and provide equality in rights and benefits for same-sex couples -- in his first year in office. Not piecemeal but the whole kit and caboodle.
We have the most LGBT-friendly Congress in decades, and there is no time like the present to end discrimination once and for all.
We can live in a nation that treats every one of its citizens with fairness, equality, and dignity. Yes, we can.
It would be wonderful if Obama stands up for what he has promised--positive changes and an inclusive not exclusive government. It would be wonderful to celebrate the inauguration of our 44th President. Many folks who donated their time and money are hoping they will be able to join the inaugural celebration.
So now the ball is in Obama's court. Let's hope he makes a game winning play.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Obama has now chosen to hurl a major disrespectful insult to his progressive supporters by inviting a preacher of hate to be his spiritual representative at his inauguration. Obama is using inclusiveness as his excuse to embrace and elevate a preacher of hate to the center of his inaugural event. This should have been a moment of UNITY and CELEBRATION. Instead Obama continues to EXCLUDE his progressive base.
So there will be NO inauguration celebration for the progressives who worked hard to get this politician posing as a change agent into office. A politician who EXCLUDES progressives and ELEVATES people who preach hate to powerful positions is not inclusive.
Inclusiveness is NOT an excuse for such outrageous actions that sell out your supporters again and again.
Hopefully Obama will stop EXCLUDING progressive supporters and disrespecting folks who simply want equal rights by elevating preachers of hate. Unfortunately I am seeing CHANGINESS masquerading as change.
It's time for some truth telling. Obama is NOT inclusive when he EXCLUDES PROGRESSIVES from his cabinet and his administration. Obama is supporting hate when he elevates a preacher of hate and conveys a high position of status to Rick Warren.
BO's judgement is stinking to high heaven. All of us who support equal rights should be angry with this horrible choice to embrace a preacher of hate.
FUBO!! I will fly the FUBO flag until you show some respect to the LGBT and progressive community.....Buzz....Buzz....Buzz....
FOX NEWS continues to broadcast hateful propaganda. The Iraqi's are ingrates because they are NOT grateful that Bush/Cheney invaded their country illegally and killed (at the best estimates) 600 thousand to 1 million Iraqi men, women and children? Get REAL FOX News and Juan Williams.
More Americans would be showing GW Bush and CHENEY their own disgust IF the corporate media gave a fair and balanced view which would include broadcasting the fact that Spain's prime minister met with George Bush approximately one month BEFORE Bush's illegal invasion to broker a deal---Saddam Hussein was willing to leave Iraq with his family, one billion dollars and information on WMD....the info on WMD was the paperwork that showed that George Bush's father supplied Iraq with the famous WMD that Hussein used on his own people. Saddam figured that this info would keep him safe from the George Bush's vendetta against him.
Now who's the ingrate? Juan Williams I hereby award you the title "ULTIMATE UGLY AMERICAN" of 2008. Maybe someone will invent another award tailor made for corporate mouthpieces like Juan Williams--the Ultimate Media Whore.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Today Code Pink is showing their soles in Lafayette Park across form the White House.
Since many of us can't drop everything at a moment's notice and drive up to DC to participate in person here's how you can speak out about Bush's outrageous indifference and incompetence at home and abroad.....
Mail your old shoes to George W. Bush at any (or all) of these addresses.
At the White House:
George W. Bush
1600 Pensylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
The George W. Bush Presidential Library
6425 Boaz Lane
Dallas, TX 75205
And Finally at his new Preston Hollow Address:
George W. Bush
10141 Daria Pl
Dallas, TX 75229
Friday, December 12, 2008
Sharon performing an awesome sword dance, one of the entertainers highlighted in the playlist, which you can watch by clicking here.
For all of you who attended this year’s Fair Trade Festival on December 7 and 8 at the Five Points Community Farm Market in Norfolk on Church Street between 25th and 26th Streets, for those who couldn’t and wish they did, and even for those who have never even heard of the Festival or Market, here is a playlist I developed from some of the great entertainment Saturday, Dec 7, with some very fine belly dancing and a hot band to boot.
I shot this with my little Kodak digital camera and it did pretty good. There was some sound distortion, not too bad, although the Hot Boudin Brothers singer’s voice is really better than it sounds in my videos. Some day I will get one of those fancy and expensive video cameras and really get some professional sound recordings.
The Farm Market of course sells locally grown produce as well as a bevy of other nourishing products, and they love to host wonderful events like this Festival. You can check out their website at http://www.5ptsfarmmarket.org/.
A fair trade festival, by the way, for anyone who doesn't know, is a festival where products grown or crafted for certifiably equitable wages from around the world are showcased and sold, the idea being to offer a market to those companies who compensate their workers or contractors fairly, as opposed to many businesses who exploit and abuse employees as if they were chattel.
The video displayed here is the lead off for the playlist. Again, to watch the entire playlist, click here. It should cycle automatically ffrom video to video.
Enjoy the show.