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What’s REALLY happening in #Venezuela – from someone who knows

September 26, 2017

Mike Prysner is a former U.S. Army soldier turned documentary-maker, who produces and co-writes The Empire Files for Latin American broadcaster teleSUR English with Abby Martin. He was, until recently, in Venezuela covering the troubles there. Mike generously gave the SKWAWKBOX his time for a lengthy interview from Los Angeles on the real situation in Venezuela from his first-hand experience. What he related is eye-opening.

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Filed Under: Haiti and Latin America
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For the NFL, it was ‘Choose your side Sunday’

September 25, 2017

The 1960s and 1970s saw a hurricane of political athletes: legends like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Curt Flood and Billie Jean King. But nothing, literally nothing, in the history of sports and politics can compare to what happened on Sunday. Expressions of dissent broke out in every single NFL game during the playing of the National Anthem. Some players kneeled, some sat, some raised fists and some linked arms. But all of them were standing in opposition to Donald Trump. Announcers and commentators discussed their actions sympathetically. The booing one might expect from fans was sparse.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Lucy Siale: Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t enough; we have to act like it

September 25, 2017

On Friday, June 16, as soon as she heard that the cop who murdered Philando Castile was acquitted, 16-year-old Lucy Siale posted on Facebook a call for a Black Lives Matter protest the next day, less than 24 hours after the verdict, at Oscar Grant Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. About 400 people came out. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.

Allen Temple homelessness forum reveals Oakland leaders place low priority on housing

September 24, 2017

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf faced heated questions and comments from attendees at a community forum on homelessness held at Allen Temple Baptist Church on Sept. 22. The discussion went from cordial to contentious when the subject of homeless encampment removal was raised. Many residents of the Deep East Oakland neighborhood were angered by perceived inertia on the part of city and county officials regarding the creation of adequate shelter.

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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U.S. budget priorities and healthcare

September 24, 2017

My column last month reported on the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to support HR 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The vote was 344 Yes and 81 No. Seventy-nine percent of our elected representatives in the House voted for “nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Trump requested,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2017.

David Duke campaign contributor Vaughn Miller threatens lawsuit

September 23, 2017

In the face of incontrovertible documentation revealing him to be a campaign contributor to KKK fascist David Duke, wealthy Dallas real estate mogul Vaughn Miller is threatening a lawsuit after being outed as a donor to Duke’s failed 2016 Senate campaign. According to Wikipedia, David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American white nationalist, politician, anti-semitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon and former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

No more fire fighting slave labor

September 22, 2017

As our tortured climate pounds the East with water and leaves much of California tinder dry, Southern California fire season seems to grow worse by the year. And in our growing need for firefighters, California continues the abusive practice of using pennies-an-hour prison labor to fight these fires. About 4,000 California prisoners fight fires for $1 an hour. This is abuse, simply. I want to organize with people everywhere to end all prison slave labor, and to close California private prisons.

Pentagon Human Rights Auxiliary pushes ICC to indict Burundi

September 22, 2017

In October 2016, the tiny East African nation of Burundi made history by raising an independent head against U.S. empire. Its legislature voted to withdraw from membership in the International Criminal Court, a tool that the U.S. and its Western allies use to discipline unruly African leaders – especially those who sign resource extraction contracts with Russia or China and/or those who try to do anything for their own people. The Burundian government fits both descriptions.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s ‘The Vietnam War’ mandates we examine ourselves, our nation

September 21, 2017

“The Vietnam War” provides us a new opportunity to examine the history of the war and to examine ourselves and our nation. Burns’ and Novick’s documentary will be evaluated based on the historiography they employ, the balance and fairness of their approach, whether they give equal weight to the Vietnamese voices as to the American voices, and their objectivity. Let us not forget the Vietnam War. Let us not, in the name of misguided foreign policy, allow the government to send our young men and women abroad to kill and to be killed.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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An open letter to Black America: Rally ‘round Colin Kaepernick

September 20, 2017

My premise is a simple one: Why are we not rallying around Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco football player and quarterback? Colin Kaepernick has earned our love, our trust and support. Colin Kaepernick did what we all should be doing. Colin Kaepernick deserves better. If we do not give it to him, he will not get it. Colin Kaepernick is worthy of emulation. Colin Kaepernick made a supreme sacrifice.

People helping people survive Harvey: Dispatches from Beaumont and Houston

September 16, 2017

I spoke to Jonathan Chartian this morning. Released from prison Dec. 14, 2016, he is confined to his home when not at work, his job suspended since Hurricane Harvey. He is really concerned about the excessive show of police and military presence, which is not protecting the rights of citizens, rather complicating an already volatile situation between Black and Brown people and law enforcement.

San Franciscans push back on Tasers

September 15, 2017

More than 100 people turned out for a community meeting on Tasers Tuesday night, first breaking into small groups of roughly 25 each and then convening in a fiery public comment session that at one point erupted into activists chanting, “No Tasers!” and drowning out Police Commissioner Sonia E. Melara’s calls for order. The Police Commission has voted against the use of Tasers three times in recent years – in 2004 and twice in 2010.

Mercury in retrograde: Las Vegas cops assault NFL star Michael Bennett

September 13, 2017

Las Vegas cops jumped NFL star Michael Bennett, held a gun to his head and threatened to blow it off. How else could they have chosen the perfect target to prove that the U.S. is a racist police state? How else could their police union have followed up with a letter imploring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett for defaming them by telling his story and claiming that the LVPD had racially profiled him? You can’t make this stuff up.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Haiti in crisis: What next after the stolen election?

September 10, 2017

Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, addressed an overflow audience in Oakland in late April. She spoke in the wake of the selection of Haiti’s new president, Jovenel Moise, a right-wing businessman and protégé of former president Michel Martelly, who took office via an electoral process so replete with fraud and voter suppression that opposition forces called it an “electoral coup.”

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Filed Under: Haiti and Latin America
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The new segregation: Antifa redefines ‘Black Lives Matter’

September 10, 2017

I watched a homeless Black man wander between and among these whites with their “Black Lives Matter” signs. They would make no connection between the content of the signs they strutted and the poor human asking for a dollar to buy a Big Mac. But from the point of view of the homeless Black man, who is still asking for a dollar among the self-conceited crowd at the color-blinded rally, neither group – the anti-fascists nor the Fascists – mean anything to him. The signs communicate their indifference.

Kagame cracks down hard in Rwanda, Victoire Ingabire in danger

September 9, 2017

Starvation is the danger Victoire Ingabire is facing now in her seventh year in prison. Starvation! She requires a special diet which has been provided by our staff since her arrest. Two people have been authorized to see her, but they have both been arrested. No one else is allowed to see her. Kagame is facing growing dissent within his own party, his relations with neighbors are souring and his plan to oust Burundi’s leadership has failed. He fears retaliation.

Bill Clinton’s favorite African, Paul Kagame, wins re-election by 99 percent, arrests opponent

September 8, 2017

How much longer can Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, AIPAC and associated Zionist organizations cover for Rwandan President Paul Kagame? How much longer can they claim that he was Rwanda’s savior, that he stopped a genocide recalling the Holocaust, then helped Rwanda rise from the ashes? This week another woman who dared to challenge him for the presidency says he has taken vengeance on her and her family.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C.

September 6, 2017

Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the day dawned bright and sunny, not a hint of the rain that drenched us the evening before. At 10:30 a.m. when I arrived at Freedom Plaza, there were people with posters and event T-shirts and a brother with a bullhorn. Robert King and Albert Woodfox were there in Amend the 13th T-shirts. King was passing out information about the law – the constitutional amendment – that legalizes slavery. Later on, at the rally, he would conclude the event, which lasted about five hours.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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New Abolitionist Movement on the march

September 5, 2017

Aug. 19 at 11:00 a.m., courageous and loving folks in San Jose, Calif., joined with sister marches and rallies throughout the country in support of prisoners’ human rights and amending the 13th. Their courage is found in the rejection of an institution so prevalent and insidious that any criticism can bring a mountain of ridicule and judgment. It is an institution shielded by a centuries old narrative that tells people, “They are not like us,” and consequently, “they” are undeserving of our humanity.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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DACA repeal protest scheduled for early this evening

September 5, 2017

Demonstrators will amass outside the Federal Building in downtown San Francisco to protest the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at 5 p.m. tonight. DACA gave hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants arriving in the U.S. as minors the right to enroll in college, among other privileges typically reserved for citizens. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of the Obama-era executive order this morning in Washington, D.C.

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