We’ve Got You Covid – Make Your Own Face Mask

Preserve the shop-bought medical masks for health professionals and those who are working with vulnerable groups – you can make your own protection cheaply from recycled materials at home. Here’s how:

‘In the Czech Republic, masks have been compulsory since March 18th. The country has only 2 deaths (as at March 24) and the growth of new cases has flattened, whereas in other parts of Europe the pandemic is largely out of control. How has this happened? One of the key reasons is a massive country-wide community initiative to create and wear home-made masks. In just 10 days the country went from no mask usage to nearly 100% usage, with nearly all the masks made at home with easily accessible materials, like old t-shirts. See https://tiny.cc/masks4all

Longer version:

You can also sew your own masks from cotton bedsheets.

Here’s another sewn version.

Related Links

World COVID-19 updates
Queensland Health current status for COVID-19

Voting Under the Virus

The VillageI leave home, a significant event these days, to vote in the Council elections at the local village hall. The road to the village is very quiet for a Saturday. No problem gaining a park right outside. There’s no usual cheery how to vote card hustlers, just signage and pamphlets to pick up if one hasn’t bothered to ascertain already who are the candidates who will keep our shire maintaining its world class sustainable biosphere status and stop any greedy neolib ‘development’ – I have, of course.

Clutching my own pen, I stride inside the ancient weatherboard dance hall. I’m the only voter inside – there’s four workers at desks to tick one off the electoral roll or scan the posted card, then to hand out the voting sheets, one for the mayoral candidate and the other for councillors. The ceiling fans are going full bore.

In the recyclable cardboard voting cubicle, I make my marks, then glance onto the white backing sheet, where someone has neatly written “Stay Home But Vote?”

Chuckling, I delicately insert my slips into the relevant boxes and march out, straight home to the hand cleanser and accompanying double chorus of “There’s No Toilet Paper Today”, though the husband brought home a 6 pack from the big stupormarket in town this morning.

I wonder how many infections occur pursuant to the exercise of our ‘democratic duty’ today, especially considering the now several contamination events down the coast in our shire around the Ides of March. Et tu, Anna P?

With any luck, our new Council will go easy on ratepayers until the plague has past, when we’ll be safe on the beaches again, visiting our friends and, sob, playing table tennis as usual in the local school hall.

Apoemalypse

Flame Tree

Lostralia

The Not Good Network has crashed again!
What will we do without Netflix and Nintendo?
Stare out the window, gaze at the clouds
Till the kids beg us to read books to them out loud.
We cook up the mince and tear out our hair
And Grandma hides out in her flat downstairs,
What’s the pollies doing except for themselves
While our lives are becoming a living hell,
You’re surplus workers and we don’t need you,
Go get infected in a Centrelink queue,
It’s a brave new world for us all to explore,
And frankly, my dear, that’s no metaphor.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Panic Payback

And there’s nooooo toilet paper again!
Just expensive tissues and paper towels,
The dunnyrollheads are driving us round the bend
And there’s a mighty bellowing in our bowels
That won’t be purged with a wash in the shower,
We’ll have to get up at an ungodly hour
And interview the dunnyroll queue
To ask politely ‘from where are you?’
And if they’re not from round here,
Lock ’em in the loo, till they learn not to fear!

Jinjirrie, March 2020

Under The Coronavolcano

Already I miss the parties, all our friends,
We’re a party for two without foreseeable end,
I ache for ping pong nights with our local group,
Now it’s stay at home or be carried off by hazmat suits.

We’ve been lucky, us two, we always rub by,
Yet with Scummo’s ineptitude we gaze at the sky,
Wondering when humans will be safe outside our place
And we can hug and kiss them again on their face.

Jinjirrie, March 2020

#Scummo Years

For these are now the Scummo years
You can’t eat dirt, you can’t drink fears
Stand up against the ruling class boots
It’s us or them, pull out their roots
Tears only overflow their cup
Never give in, never give up.

Jinjirrie, May 2019

From the bush on the Sunshine Coast, where even the local stupormarket is out of toilet paper again today.

Useful Resources:

WHO COVID19 info
Info on how long the virus survives on different surfaces, the virus half life, how to clean and more.

Zionism and ‘Anti-Semitism’: A Chronicle of a Smear Foretold

With the 2020 Presidential elections fast approaching, the progressive campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining traction. Several interest groups have grown increasingly
anxious of Sanders’ Democratic Socialist agenda, including ruling class Republicans, corporate Democrats and their joint ally – Zionists, both Christian and Jewish.

Sanders and BDS

The ongoing ‘anti-Semitism’ smear of Sanders and his grassroots following has been waged openly at least since last February, regardless of the Senator’s Jewishness and outspoken support for Israel.

The smear has included at its core an attack on his backers Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) as well as activist Linda Sarsour.

The fact these are all women of color, two of them Palestinian, is far from coincidental; Zionism is a white supremacist, settler colonialist project, which is threatened by intersectional alliances disrupting Israel’s divide and rule tactics.

In response to the escalating smear, Sanders penned an editorial outlining his stance on anti-Semitism, Israel and Judaism, which predictably failed to deter the smearers. However, his liberal Zionism and endorsement of the immoral and politically unfeasible apartheid two-state “solution” render him susceptible to ongoing assaults as he repeats Zionist propaganda talking points.

Yet these attacks on Sanders and his followers conceal a campaign in the making for some time; a Zionist strategy devoted to targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as explicitly stated more than 10 years ago at the ‘Global Forum for combating Antisemitism’ and subsequently by ‘The Reut Institute’.

Although not a BDS supporter himself, Sanders has defended the right to engage in the movement and is clearly the best candidate on Palestine in 2020.

Thus, Sanders is targeted relentlessly by Zionist propaganda.

Zionist propaganda fallacies

Also known as ‘hasbara’, Zionist propaganda relies on several fallacies.

First and foremost, a conflation of Zionism with Judaism serves to deflect criticism of Zionist expansionist apartheid policies by means of repeated cycles of aggression and trauma and the agency of imperial enablers, whilst obfuscating the Nakba and Palestinian demands for equality and justice for those living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, within Israel’s 1948 borders, and refugees in the diaspora, who are guaranteed full right of return under international law.

This anti-Semitic conflation is reactionary, promoting right wing politics within the left.

The deliberately concocted manifest destiny connection between Zionism and Judaism thwarts resistance by deeming critique of Zionism and Israeli policies towards Palestinians as an attack on all Jews, ie anti-Semitic. Further, it fragments anti-colonial resistance by reframing a political struggle over land and resources between an occupying force and an occupied people as a “conflict” between two relatively equal parties.

This conflation promotes further tactical, Zionist appropriation and exceptionalization of Jewish victimhood and suffering. Israeli hasbara frames the Nazi Holocaust as a particularly savage genocide in history, which entitles its primary targets – Jews – with a special status among victims. In line with this facade, as exceptional victims, Jews deserve privileges, discounts and allowances. As the constructed “Jewish state”, Israel has been and continues to be the beneficiary of these favors and special relationships, which regularly come at the expense of Indigenous Palestinians. Notably, Zionist revisionism often ignores and diminishes Nazi crimes against other oppressed groups, such as communists and socialists, Roma, disabled people, LGBTQI, and African-Germans.

Zionist hasbara attempts to tarnish anti-colonial anti-Zionism by duplicitously merging it with modern white supremacist anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish religious bigotry, recasting principled leftist resistance to Zionist criminality as part of an ancient and exceptional form of human racism, which supposedly afflicts both left and right political spheres. This essentially anti-Semitic maneuver serves to whitewash Israeli criminality and ongoing collaborations with far-right governments worldwide and attack those who call them out, such as Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Moreover, Zionist historical revisionism facilitates an erroneous presentation of Israel as a ‘normal’ democracy facilitating a left-to-right political milieu, instead of accurately acknowledging the entirety of the Zionist movement, including its “liberal” variety, as inherently reactionary, settler colonialist and genocidal.

Settler colonial projects generally rely on presentation of the desired territory as ’empty land’, along with dehumanization of existing inhabitants as barbarians undeserving of their land, who can thus be dispossessed without qualms in favor of a ‘villa in the jungle’. There is nothing ‘exceptional’ about Israel’s posture which has been marketed by other western settler colonial endeavors to sanitize their own land grabs, slaughter and denial of rights to Indigenous peoples as well as rejection of non-white refugees.

The Liberal flank of Zionism functions to absolve the reactionary essence of the movement and obscure its motivations – expansionism and apartheid. Dishonestly, it presents Zionism as compatible with democratic and progressive values and human rights, fictitiously possessing a true desire for peace, justice and complete integration into the Middle East.

All roads lead to Trump

The manufactured ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign waged against Sanders’ progressive camp began with liberal Zionist instigators in American media and was enthusiastically picked up by corporate Democrats and far-right wingers in Israel and the US, including Donald Trump himself (see here from recent campaign rally).

Significantly, the smear of Rep. Omar and parts of the left as ‘anti-Semitic’ is facilitated by the approval of the flawed and controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which adopts Zionist talking points regarding Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ and which was presaged again as strategic ‘lawfare’ in the Global Policy Forum in 2009.

The scapegoating of Omar by some in the mainstream media and prominent members of her own party provided a convenient backdrop for Trump to sign an unconstitutional Executive Order following his vicious anti-Semitic tirade at the Israeli-American Council National Summit.

This ongoing campaign against Omar, involving a host of dubious sources and social media accounts, has been adopted by key representatives of the Israeli government, such as UN ambassador Danny Danon. Notably, the Zionist portrayal of Omar as an anti-Semite shields real anti-Semites from accountability.

Israel’s racist policies complement Trump’s own xenophobic ambitions, as expressed by his senior policy adviser arch-Zionist Islamophobe Stephen Miller. Consistently, Congresswoman Omar has vocally opposed Stephen Miller’s white supremacy, fomenting further duplicitous accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Defeating the smear

The fallacious ‘anti-Semitism’ accusations lobbed at those criticizing Zionist policies can be attacked successfully by avoiding Zionist propaganda traps and embracing the Palestinian, anti-racist call for BDS, a call which melds co-resistance and anti-colonialism, rejecting political Zionism.

To achieve justice, the focus on Zionist criminality and Israel’s shared settler colonial values and racist behaviors with other western settler colonial projects must persist. And the only relevant choice remains – are you a Zionist or an anti-Zionist? As veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote: “If you remain a Zionist, you can no longer be of the left; if you’re of the left, you can no longer be a Zionist.”

All those who claim to care about Palestinians, including liberal Jews and associated media outlets and organizations who avoid implicating Zionism or directly supporting BDS cannot continue to claim left-wing universalist values while simultaneously serving as the “liberal propaganda wing of the apartheid Zionist regime.

Recognizing Zionism as inherently reactionary is not a “purity test” aimed at excluding activists as recently claimed by Ran Greenstein in a piece for the liberal Zionist 972 Magazine. Rather, it is a necessary first step in attacking duplicitous ‘anti-Semitism’ smears by identifying their tactical origins and impact, rejecting rightwing sabotage of a principled struggle for rights and justice.

The onus of change and accountability is on the oppressor, not for the oppressed to endure. On the road to liberation, only a consistent and unapologetic anti-Zionist framework is effective and congruent with leftist, anti-racist values.

Analysis by Yoav LitvinSource

President of the Declining US Empire

Powell Doctrine

President

Don’t look back, you’re being followed,
on your permanent vacation,
you scowl on every TV screen,
your fantasies divide the nations.
You feed my fear, you make it real,
no freedom in your loaded gun,
tell your old white boys, Donny,
there is nowhere left to run.

The world’s on fire, you let it burn,
fan the flames, there’s no return,
You want it all,
there’s more to learn.

In the silence of the fiery desert
grows a flower, blinding white,
don’t talk to me of limited war,
the battle’s lost on foreign ground.
Shadow boxing in the global village,
watch the old men take their bows,
While everyone awaits your fall
You build a wall to end all walls.

The world’s on fire, you let it burn,
fan the flames, no return,
you want it all,
there’s more to learn.

Lyrics of my song from 1989 are now updated to encompass Trump’s current opportunistic aggression toward Iran, as the archvillain baits and switches public attention away from the impeachment proceedings against him and feeds the fear of the public. When the racist, violent right press the fear button, they are ensuring people vote for the status quo. Works every time.

“I’m really sorry we are living in a world where the president of the biggest so-called superpower still doesn’t know attacking cultural sites is a war crime.” says Iran’s FM Mousavi. Yet since when does Amerikkka care about international law or being held accountable for its copious war crimes? Instead, its past warmongering criminal Presidents are sanitized and sanctified. When you are an empire with full spectrum global dominance, you never have to say you’re sorry for your crimes.

The US Beast serially chooses its scapegoats, playing the old imperial game of balancing the resource-rich Middle East between complete chaos and stability, in order to control oil prices and exercise manifest destiny-fueled imperial prerogative over its bounty, ensuring local dictatorial ruling class hegemony obedient to the US remains to oppress the people and commandeer the profits, with the usual weapons testing on live targets and consequent massive tithes of weapons purchases from the greedy empire and its western cronies, not to mention insuring the continuance of the obscene Pentagon budget, the most significant US economic ‘stimulus’.

Thus, with Syria no longer the focus, it’s Iran’s turn as lead whipping boy once more. This time, may the whole region and indeed, the whole world, unite to expel the imperial Beast and end the gruesome, planet-destroying, warmongering Amerikkkan occupation.

Related Links

Chomsky:

‘Any concerns about Iranian nuclear threats can be overcome by establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, with intensive inspections like those successfully implemented under the JCPOA.

As we have discussed before, this is quite straightforward. Regional support is overwhelming. The Arab states initiated the proposal long ago, and continue to agitate for it, with the strong support of Iran and the former nonaligned countries (G-77, now 132 countries). Europe agrees. In fact, there is only one barrier: the U.S., which regularly vetoes the proposal when it comes up at the review meetings of the Non-Proliferation Treaty countries, most recently by Obama in 2015. The U.S. will not permit inspection of Israel’s enormous nuclear arsenal, or even concede its existence, though it is not in doubt. The reason is simple: under U.S. law (the Symington Amendment), conceding its existence would require terminating all aid to Israel.’

Yoav Litvin: ‘Trump wants all of us to struggle while he repeatedly rapes us.’