Sunday, January 30, 2011

Get Off Mubarek's Fence, Obama!

The people of Egypt are working to unseat a murderous dictator who has long been armed and supported by the U.S. government at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Mubarak has installed as vice president the man who has overseen the torture of U.S. prisoners at the behest of the U.S. government.

This will not do. Mubarak and his appointees must go, and the people of Egypt must be left free to elect their leaders.

Many myths about what this means are dispelled by this recording of a conversation on Friday with an activist in Cairo: audio.

Readers, please contact the White House and encourage President Obama to take the side of Egypt's people and urge the Egyptian military to refuse illegal orders to attack civilians.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Party of Abraham Lincoln Is No More

From Abraham Lincoln's first State Of The Union on December 3, 1861:
In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither class--neither work for others nor have others working for them. In most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families--wives, sons, and daughters--work for themselves on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

.....Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life. Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.
The GOP has morphed into social Darwinism.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Julian Assange on Bradley Manning

In an exclusive interview with msnbc’s Cenk Uygur, the WikiLeaks chief denies that he conspired to commit espionage with U.S. Army Specialist Bradley Manning, asserting that such claims are “absolute nonsense.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Republican Plays the Racist Card Face-Up

Speaking of the 'unborn' on the C(hristian)NS network, Ex-Senator Rick Santorum, openly said, what is contemporaneously spoken of only in code:
The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer -- is that human life a person under the constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say 'now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'
I'd say that this ol' boy was holding trump in his hand for some time. So, I got nothin' to say.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Would Martin Have Said?

In the decades since civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated, we’ve seen some pretty brazen appropriations of his legacy.

But Pentagonistas have topped even the most outrageous of these.

Last Thursday, Jeh C. Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department, at a commemoration of King’s legacy asked and answered his own question:

I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.

..... I draw the Good Samaritan parallel to our own servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, away from the comfort of conventional jobs, their families and their homes. [They] have made the conscious decision to travel a dangerous road and personally stop and administer aid to those who want peace, freedom and a better place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in defense of the American people. Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness -- the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.
No, they can't get away with this: sanitizing this bad war with their sanitized Martin Luther King: MLK would have said of BHO's Afghanistan-Pakistan project the same thing he said about LBJ's Vietnam-Cambodia project: that it is counter-productive of American national interests. 

I'll let the un-sanitized Dr. King speak for himself:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

General Petreaus' Potemkin Strategy

According to the myth, Russian minister Grigory Potemkin directed the erection of fake settlements to fool Russian Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787. According to this story, Potemkin, who led the Crimean military campaign, had hollow facades of villages constructed along the desolate banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the monarch and her travel party with the value of her new conquests, thus enhancing his standing in the empress' eyes.

Flash forward to the 21st Century. Now we have the Pentagon's project in Afghanistan: a transplant of Western parliamentary democracy into medieval Afghanistan. This project is starting its 11th year.

The newest wrinkle in this Panglosian adventure is an effort to graph on to Afghanistan an international corporate presence.

According to a fantastic (my carefully chosen adjective) article in Business Week magazine, General David H. Petraeus is inviting international corporations such as, General Electric, Daimler, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Honeywell International and Boeing for more than a Pentagon-funded look-see. He's trying to sell corporate bosses on Afghanistan as a virginal investors' land of opportunity.

Never mind the protracted violence, embedded corruption, absent infrastructure and 90% illiteracy that afflicts Afghanistan.

I'm not sayin' - just askin' - if we ought not to take a huge chunk out of the Pentagon's elective budget and apply those extra investment dollars stateside?