Homegrown Terrorism in America

Cesar SayocThe bomb suspect’s van was plastered with Trump stickers.

FBI got this man Cesar Sayoc for his suspected role in the bomb plot across the U.S. According to FBI, Cesar mailed explosives to a number of Democratic leaders including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as media.

Trump admitted his Republican Party is in trouble because of this scandal — contrary to what his far right politicians, think tanks, and media tried to cook up. Far right wanted to portray it as a left wing conspiracy just on the eve of November elections.

But who is responsible for such unprecedented violence and hate?

A large caravan of migrants — men, women, and children — are traveling from Honduras through Mexico, to reach the U.S. borders. Trump sent border security forces to control the massive migration.

Trump praised a Republican politician who body slammed and hurt a journalist from The Guardian.

White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are openly throwing violent threats.

Unbelievable as they may sound, this is all happening right in front of our eyes, here in America. A nation of millions of peace-loving, sane, hard working people — of all races, colors, religions and lifestyles — is turning upside down.

I have lived in the U.S. for thirty three years, first as a foreign student with little knowledge about the country, and then as an activist, educator, writer and political analyst for nearly twenty five years — with lots of knowledge and insight about America.

I have never seen such a massive turmoil. The country is truly falling apart.

Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, has very quickly destroyed the social, economic, and political fabric of this country. Through his 24/7 hateful, anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-poor violent lies and rhetoric, he has encouraged the forces of bigotry, racism and misogyny, and turned them loose.

He has encouraged those evil forces all over the world, including India. He has energized them. Hate groups have rapidly increased in number, in just a couple of years.

This man who sent explosives to Democratic politicians and media organizations is the newest, scariest result of this homegrown terrorism.

I hope and pray that the America I have known in my three decades here — the sane, educated, open-minded American people who believe in inclusion, fraternity, diversity, tolerance and peace — wakes up, and stops this homegrown terror.

God help us understand the gravity of the situation, and act upon it.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Long Island, New York

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Is Trump the Ultimate Doomsday Clock for Humanity?

Trump 1Think about it. Verify with your real-life experience.

Every time you hit the road here in America, you quickly find out how angry and obnoxious people are. Obviously not all of them, but a very large number. And it happens on a daily basis: you just need to pay attention.

You drive a car following all the rules carefully, and suddenly somebody is passing you in high speed, honking at you, because guess what — you’re driving at 30mph on a 30mph road, and that too, a school zone in school hours. They (mostly men, but some women too) would pass you on an incoming lane to cut into your lane, roll down their window, and hurl words that are filthy, and full of hate. And it makes you sad and depressed that people insult you and hurt you even though you’re innocent. You feel even more sad and depressed if you have your family and children with you, and the exhibition of obscene, violent ego happens in front of them.

There are many other real-life examples of this arrogance and “I live for me only and I don’t give a sh.t about you” attitude. I just used one, because it happened again today. Reflecting on it, you travel to any other country — practically any country across the world — and you quickly find out how much calmer and saner people are. People actually care for each other, and especially for women and children. There is a perceptible sense of humanity.

Why is it so different here in USA? My quick analysis is that (1) people are extremely stressed and on edge here, because of the unstable, anti-people economic situation that makes them continuously rat-racing for survival; (2) people have grown up to be rabidly individualistic (thanks Ayn Rand and her cohorts), where care for the larger society is totally absent: practically, outside of some labor unions and immigrant communities (and dubious cult groups), there is no society left at all; and (3) the deeply-ingrained American lifestyle of “bigger, higher, and faster” — which is manifest in people’s zeal to buy big cars, speed recklessly, and grab anything possible as quickly as possible.

Add to it the 24/7 media exhibition of violent movies, car chases, gun worshipping, extreme video games, and drug use — and you know the background.

America was different: saner, calmer, and humane before this “We are the best in the world, and you better follow my rules, or else” violently egotistic, arrogant lifestyle took over the society.

And now with this man in the highest seat of power, through corporate media’s relentless advertising of his obscenity, illiteracy, zero respect for anybody who doesn’t look like him, and violent muscle-flexing (let alone womanizing), ordinary Americans are learning fast that this is how you become more popular and more powerful. People not just in America, but around the world — crazy for quick success at any cost — are emulating him and his group of people who thrive on spreading hate, and telling lies.

The world was already a dangerous place to live for ordinary, peaceful, law-abiding people like us, before he took over. Now, with every single day he is in power, humanity is closing in for a total destruction. The Doomsday Clock is ticking very close to midnight — when human civilization ceases to exist.
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Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
September 26, 2018

Doomsday Clock

The Legal vs. Illegal Immigrant Debate

TEASER-no-blacks-no-irish-no-dogs

Let’s have some fact checking on the “Illegal vs Legal” Immigration debate. That is, let those of us who want to check facts, and not go by hearsay and propaganda.
Trump is using his white supremacist, racist violent politics against immigrants, and even some of our union members are falling for it. Here’ss some quick points for those who care to read and think.

(1) Immigration does not happen overnight; nobody wants to leave their country unless they are desperate. I wouldn’t have left India to come to America, had I not been desperate.

(2) Find out what our ruling class has done in Mexico and across the world to drive this exodus from Mexico. Check out what Clinton’s NAFTA did to destroy Mexico’s economy.

(3) Illegal or paperless immigrants do not fit in one box: for example there are 185 types of visa to enter and remain in USA, and countless people are trying for 10, 20 or 30 years to get papers. Their children were born and grew up here.

(4) Even today, crossing the U.S. border without papers is not a criminal offense. It is a civil offense. There is no criminality involved.

(5) It’s not the poor immigrants that you should go after; catch the real criminals who are forcing these people to come, and then exploiting them as slaves. Private prison industry is making billions in profit by jailing poor blacks and undocumented immigrants.

(6) All immigrants pay taxes: sales taxes, and even pay income taxes and Social Security deductions (literally billions of dollars each year). In many cases, these income taxes are stolen by their unscrupulous American employers using forged IDs.

(7) About the history of immigration in America (in case anybody is interested to know history), check out this short video. Quickly, you’ll find out how “illegal” most of American ancestors were with no English speaking abilities.

(8) Trump and his white supremacist, racist people in power are using the immigrants as scapegoats to cover up their own evil acts.

(9) All the anti-union people have joined hands on this game including Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation, NRA, KKK, and more.

Etc. Etc. Etc. All fact, and no hearsay or rumor.

At the end of the day, if you are afraid that immigrants take away your jobs, don’t worry, White America was built on genocide, war, violence, slavery, and racism. They even had publicly posted signs such as “No Dogs or Irish or blacks Allowed.”

Let alone signs such as “Whites Only. No Spanish or Mexican.”

Look, you’re not reading or learning: you are just falling for the traps the 1 percent created for you, to keep us divided and hateful. It serves their purpose, and not yours or mine. What is the difference between what your ancestors faced and what these immigrants are facing now?

Thank you for thinking.

The vast country of America is falling apart, and just like India, hate, bigotry and violence have taken over.

Extremism on one hand, and deliberate ignorance on the other have conquered America and India — the two countries I know.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Whites only sign

That Hate Killing in Kansas

hatecrimes

Wow!!

I never realized the extent of hate, ignorance and illiteracy in this “best country in the world” until I posted that NYT article on how a white man shot and killed an Indian engineer in a Kansas pub, shouting racist words, and how another white man took a bullet trying to save him.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Hindu student from India, told his wife America was the best country to live in. He was killed by a racist in America. The man said he wanted to drive out all Middle-Eastern men. Of course, geography and history are not two subjects racists in America like or care about. Or, religion. Or, the world.

I forgot to change the privacy setting from public to friends, and boy oh boy, hate is spilling over the toilet seat. I mean, Trump has given a new meaning to America and the world.

This is what I wrote on Facebook.

Indian idiots (especially Modi fanatics) who voted for Trump will downplay this incident. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Trump’s racism and hate have brought out the worst in America, and all immigrants — Muslim or not — are paying a heavy price.

An Indian engineer (a Hindu) was killed in Kansas City last night by a white racist, perhaps a supporter of Trump.

Silver lining of the story: another white man tried to save the victim, and took a bullet to his chest. That’s the side of America I want to know, and live for.

Here’s the original New York Times story with a short video. The link is at https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000004952609/kansas-shooting-survivor-were-all-humans.html?smid=fb-share

I want to thank Ian, the white American man, who said, “We are all humans.” That is the United States of America I know.

Not Trump’s hateful, racist America.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Fifteen Years of 9/11: Have We Progressed?

freedom-towerNot that fifteen years of 9/11 is anything different from fourteen years, or sixteen. It is just a number.

For those who lost their loved ones on that fateful day here in New York, their pain and sorrow will remain exactly the same. We — those who were lucky not to go through their traumas — will not understand how intense their bereavement is.

I personally know at least five or six different friends and families who have never been able to escape from their loss. They have done their best to move on. Some of them have moved on, assuming tasks that others would not have the courage or energy to perform.

Adele Welty lost her firefighter son on September 11, 2001. But she did not cringe in fear. She did not preach violence against violence. Instead, she and some of her friends such as Valerie Lucznikowska established a group called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, and went from place to place — both in the U.S. and across the world including Afghanistan and Iraq — to promote peace. These are leaders who showed me how peace and tolerance vis-a-vis war and violence is the only answer.

But unlike them, a vast number of Americans have not been able to understand peace. They have not tried to understand the reasons behind terrorism, and they have not tried to understand the global game of war, repression and economic exploitation, promoted and perpetuated by war corporations, military complexes, their politicians, think tanks, and media. They have misplaced their anger, and the war-mongering people in power have made this world a much more dangerous and violent place to live, much more so than what it was before 9/11/2001.

What we see in ISIS, Boko Haram, Jamat Islami or other extremist-terror groups now, we could not even imagine them until we began to hear about Taliban or Al Qaeda, really after the 9/11 terror took place. Yet, no serious media or government discussion happened ever as to explain where these groups came from, who gave them funding, political and military support, and how these terror groups recruited so many young men and women — people who are ready to kill any number of innocent people, anywhere in the world?

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, has prolonged the war in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in a way no other U.S. president has ever done. Even though U.S. media do not want to report it this way, but even the New York Times, a staunchly pro-Democratic, pro-status quo mouthpiece of corporate America had to admit that “Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.” 

It is extremely unlikely that Hillary Clinton, if and when elected president, will do anything different from what Obama has done over his eight years. And on the other hand, Donald Trump who is perhaps not going to be the next U.S. president (I do hope not), will unleash new reign of global warfare, causing massive, new bloodshed. A pro-peace Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein candidacy is now a dream vanished in thin air, thanks to the manipulative election game in the U.S., one that few people understand or pay attention to.

On the home front, within America, hate crimes are on the rise again. Even here in New York City, a so-called safe refuge for immigrants, just in the past couple of weeks, two Muslim priests were shot and killed, followed by a sixty-year-old Muslim woman knifed to death. Their belongings were not taken, and they were all wearing traditional garbs, making it all but certain that these were acts of hate crime.

We — those of us who worked on the ground against anti-immigrant hate crimes after 9/11 — have seen the ugly face of racism, bigotry and violence. We have seen how innocent lives were taken away, and their families were shattered. We have seen how innocent men were taken from their homes at gunpoint, and detained and deported. We have seen how places like Midwood, Brooklyn — aka Little Pakistan — looked like a ghost town, with many of the men taken away and put in prison, and their wives and children eventually leaving America. Their dreams for a better, safe future ended there, summarily.

We are going to observe fifteen years of 9/11 — the tragedies and terror. Let us question ourselves: have we learned anything from our experience in these fifteen years?

Have we progressed as human beings?

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

aunt-nypd-stabbed-queens

Another innocent life fell victim of hate and violence. Here in New York. August, 2016.

Photo Courtesy: pix11.com

How to Kill A Mockingbird in 2015

Mockinbird

In the movie To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch famously said:

“I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house, and that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit ’em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Today, November 29, we are going to remember Haider Rizvi, a dear brother, who left us suddenly exactly a month ago.

I’m not sure how many people will show up, and I couldn’t afford to do anything bigger than this event at a small Coney Island Avenue restaurant basement here in Brooklyn. But I wanted to organize this event, with help from some other friends for a couple of reasons.

One, Haider and I shared a few things in life. We were both first-generation immigrants here in USA, immigrants who did not prioritize money unlike most other immigrants especially from the Indian subcontinent.

We both rejected wealth as the ultimate measure of success. And we both knew that we were forced to leave our home countries, because our present and past rulers and British colonizing powers through their cruel and corrupt acts made our lives impossible.

We were both victims of the cruel, bloody partition, and we both suffered from that trauma — all our lives. I know some of my family members were destitute, being forcibly uprooted from Lahore and Dhaka. I know Haider’s family went through similar experiences. I could never visit Harappa and Mahenjodaro, which are my history too.

Haider Rizvi rejected and refused to accept the partition. So did I. We never believed in power’s forced boundaries, to keep people divided.

Haider and I were both victims of powers back there, and then as politically conscious and poetically inclined people, we were not treated by the powers here in America, the way we felt we should have been treated. After long, difficult struggles, wasting our health and other pleasures of life, we achieved success in our own fields, although the success was much more intellectual than economic — a fact that made us feel ostracized in our own immigrant communities here and also people we left back there.

And the second reason to organize today’s event is that I did want to make friends with more Indian, Pakistani, American and European men and women who would come together, and use his memory to work for peace, and a global environment of love, friendship and solidarity.

Today’s event is not a big United Nations general assembly. It’s a small event at a Brooklyn taxi drivers’ diner. But we couldn’t care less. We will create a sense of global togetherness out of this basement.

I hope you join us physically, and I hope you join us in spirit. Our resolve for love and peace is real.

Please, please, do not let them kill the mockingbird.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Haider

Trump Won’t Be President. But…

Trump CNNDonald Trump knows he can’t be the next American president. America is not that intellectually advanced, but still, it has come a long way from the old days of hate, bigotry and fascism.

When Trump says he wants to ban all Muslims from coming to U.S., he kills his chances even more.

Really, Trump knows he doesn’t have any serious chances. People who are supporting him now are supporting his hate speech and message of bigotry, paranoia and exclusion. But nobody knows it better than Trump himself that he has zero knowledge about how the world turns, how tax is collected, how roads are paved, and how barbers run their unisex shops across America. For that matter, he never visited a barber shop in years.

Trump never read history or geography or science or arts books…none of his colleagues did. He never paid taxes…none of the American one percent did in recent years, especially since Reagan. He never drove on the road…in fact, his class only rode the helicopter from Wall Street straight up to their New Jersey, Connecticut or Rhode Island mansions.helicopter

That is how their world turns…as we’ve seen on soap operas and Hollywood. Their lives are fantastical and frivolous. I would give it an F. If you look carefully at his face, you know that he knows he is an F.

And again, we all know Trump never went to a barber shop. In fact, he has the most unkempt hair that we have seen in recent years. It’s shameful.

But here on this blog, we don’t talk about shamefully unkempt hair. Or, Hillary Clinton’s $600 hair. Here, we talk about more serious and important things.

Six months ago, I said this to my labor union students [paraphrasing]:

“Trump will not be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, and he knows it. But he is doing what he has been asked to do: move an already right-wing media discussion to an even further right, and the 2016 campaign will be fought within that narrow, right-wing, hate and war spectrum. All else will be excluded. That is the plan.”

Let’s go global for a second, given this is a globalized economy today, and elections are not local either. They are global. Monsanto farmer suicides in India can make it an election debate issue between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

In USA and India, the two largest “democracies” in the world, the one percent is doing precisely this, what we call distraction from the 99 percent’s bread and butter issues, and putting spotlight on sensational issues. That is the plan.

India cartoon
In India, suddenly, beef eating or not has become a nationwide media market sell. As if India and its one billion poor people have solved all their problems with poverty, hunger, malnourishment, diseases, environment pollution, illiteracy, or unemployment. Women in India found equality and respect. Film stars — especially the billionaires — suddenly find out that India is so intolerant that they may have to leave the country. 

In USA, Trump and Kruz and Carson and Huckabee and Bush the juniormost president-to-be all want to tell us how tough we must be, and how evil Muslims and Latinos are. Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. When that didn’t go very well, ISIS came along to help. Now, it’s all about terror and ISIS and Mali and the imminent threat to American security and American way of life.

(Without telling us who and what created ISIS and Mali in the first place, that is. Hillary won’t talk about Libya and Mali. Bush  and New York Times and Judith Miller won’t talk about Iraq, Syria and ISIS.)

Trump and all other Republicans candidates are now saying that Muslims are all evil, as “thousands and thousands of Muslims cheered” when the World Trade Center towers came down on 9/11. Now, we must mark and tag and label each and every Muslim in America, Trump said.

(This tagging sounds familiar too…just go back on history a few decades.)

income inequality

And American big media — New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, PBS, NBC, ABC and CBS, plus the right wing nuts on their TV and radio shows — have all decided that the 2016 elections should not and must not have any discussion on subjects such as the unprecedented income inequality in America, the hidden, massive unemployment, the anti-labor treaties such as Obama’s TPP (or Clinton’s NAFTA), or global movements such as the ones on climate change or women’s equality. No more debate on police brutality and Black Lives Matter. No discussion no more on immigration reform.

climate-changeThey have succeeded. It is very likely that Bush or Cruz from the Republican side and Hillary Clinton and Blue Dog Democrats from their side will be made the candidates for another four years of dumb charade, aka presidential elections.

Serious people who talk about serious issues — like Bernie Sanders — will be officially ostracized and excluded. Unless Bernie’s people can bring in so much pressure that DNC has no choice but to nominate him.

Noam Chomsky once said,“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

That is the plan. Trump and Cruz, with help from Hillary and Obama, are moving the spectrum of the election debate to far right.

New York Times and Washington Post and CNN and NBC are making sure that is where the “lively debate” stays.

Just think about it.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Chomsky debate spectrum