Sunday, September 30, 2007
One of my earliest memories, one which may or may not be apocryphal (like so much memory), is of burning my hand touching a hot stove. My mother had been trying to keep me away, but being curious, I kept heading back, and finally my father said, “leave him ... if he won’t listen, he’ll learn the hard way.” And so I did.
So much of growing up is a process of making mistakes and, hopefully, learning from them. When young, inexperienced, riding the rising crest of hormones and buoyed on that stubborn indestructability of youth, recklessness and experimentation is part of our development. Except, in this country, if you’re a white kid you have a lot more freedom to fail, to break rules. Boys will be boys, the adults cleaning up the mess will say.
IF you are white.
Of course, how many mistakes you are allowed to make is impacted by your social class, by what role you play in your town or school, but white boys grow up knowing that there is a certain amount that we’ll get away with.
After all, most of us will get with the program, settle down, maybe join the military or get a business degree and eventually learn to vote Republican. It’s expected. “He’s a nice young man, he just made a mistake.” It’s a refrain repeated by parents and lawyers over and over again, and it often works, especially if you’re a rich white kid, or a student athlete, or top of your class. Rape, drug arrests, speeding, minor shoplifting charges, fights ... same thing, over and over again.
If you are white.
I look back at the stupid risks I took, the near misses, the warnings and tickets I got from cops, and I sometimes wonder how I got away with not hurting myself, or someone else. How many teachers gave me another chance despite my mouthing off, my surly challenges to the prescribed lessons, the coaches and professors who shrugged off my stubborn resistance to their input and stuck with me? I think of the two times I was laid off in times of economic trouble, the bad choices I made during those times of stress, the amount of help that family, friends and strangers gave me as I got my feet back under me. Partly because I’m smart, partly because I can make a case for myself, thanks to the education I received, partly because eventually I tried harder despite depression and despair over things I’d lost.
Partly, I have to admit, because I’m white.
In this country, it’s a ticket to a little slack, some space to stumble and fall. Some of us get a little more of that space, but we all get just a little more.
I can’t imagine what it’s like putting up with the crap that black men and boys put up with, the low tolerances they get from the world around them. The wrong cop pulls you over, the wrong teacher dislikes your attitude, and paths are cut off, doors are closed. The wrong judge or prosecutor, and a ticket or slap on the wrist becomes prison and a record. I can’t imagine, with my temper, what it’s like navigating a country with the history of blood-soaked injustice that the US has, the decades of unfair lending and unfair availability of decent housing. I can’t imagine being forced to go through metal detectors, surrounded by adults who expect the worst, or at least very little, from me as I go to school. I can’t imagine what it’s like to hear from supposed town leaders that a noose hanging from a tree branch is a PRANK, not a terrorist threat. I can’t imagine ... not really.
I’m a white man in a white country, a stubbornly white country, full of white people who refuse to look in the mirror, to look honestly not just at history, but to look at the nation around them now, the people who can’t see injustice when it’s right in front of their face, people who think that it’s a miracle that black people eat civilly at a restaurant, or that the only reason a protest didn’t become violent was because their imaginary friend intervened to “prevent a disaster.”
I can’t imagine, but I can look around me and see that white people keep making the same mistakes, only if you keep doing it over and over again, and you don’t learn, it becomes hard to see the overt and subversive racism as a mistake, but rather as something deliberate.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Little to Celebrate
No, no picture here of that majestic edifice that is Little Rock Central. That huge building, an echo of a past when Americans believed in a public square, even though it was a public square limited to those of one race. A past that our politicians and our society set about the business of destroying right after our courts stepped up and said “enough", this country responded in kind with hatred and division.
You could almost hear the outrage: “Share, you want us to share?!?!”
“Fuck you,” said the majority, and the dismantlement of not only education, but of civil government itself, began apace.
What exactly are we celebrating today? THIS?!?!:
Within two weeks, whatever pockets of goodwill the black students initially encountered had evaporated. Instead, a distinct minority of segregationist students—estimates vary between 50 and 200—set the tone, intimidating all the others (few labels were more noxious than “nigger lover") into silence. Their campaign of unremitting but largely clandestine harassment was abetted by school officials who, fearful of making things even worse, ignored all but the most flagrant offenders. The black students, already scattered, became almost entirely isolated, none more than Elizabeth. In classes, she was made to sit by herself, always at the back, often with no one nearby. In the corridors, there was always a space around her. Even the few white children she knew steered clear: Please don’t let them know you know me, their eyes seemed to plead. Only during the last class of the day—speech—did she encounter any friendly faces: two, fellow students named Ken Reinhardt and Ann Williams. “I can still see how she looked that [first] day,” Ann Williams Wedaman recalls. “Nobody needs to be that lonely.” A few other students did speak to her, it was true, but only to hear what “it” sounded like.
Less than a week into school, Mrs. Huckaby later wrote, Elizabeth came into her office “red-eyed, her handkerchief in a damp ball in her hands.” The harassment was so bad that she wanted to go home early. But things only got worse, as the disciplinary files, in the collection of Mrs. Huckaby’s papers at the University of Arkansas, reveal. Sometime in October: Elizabeth hit with a shower of sharpened pencils. October 28: Elizabeth shoved in hall. November 20: Elizabeth jostled in gym. November 21: Elizabeth hit with paper clip. December 10: Elizabeth kicked. December 18: Elizabeth punched. January 10: Elizabeth shoved on the stairs. January 14: Elizabeth knocked flat. January 22: Elizabeth spat upon. January 29: Elizabeth attacked with spitballs. January 31: Elizabeth asks grandfather to take her home after girls serenade her with humiliating songs in gym class. February 4: Elizabeth has soda bottle thrown at her. February 14: Elizabeth attacked with rock-filled snowballs. March 7: Elizabeth hit by egg. March 12: Elizabeth hit by tomato. “She said that except for some broken glass thrown at her during lunch, she really had had a wonderful day,” Mrs. Huckaby wrote at one point, apparently with a straight face.
under the protection of federal troops.
That brave sacrifice was “honored” by decades of white flight, by the adoption of schemes to defund public education with school vouchers, by an increasing reliance upon standardized testing (the literal literacy tests of current education), by the majority culture finding one excuse after another to prove that integration doesn’t work.
There is little to celebrate. From the HBO doc, excerpted on Democracy Now:
MINNIJEAN BROWN-TRICKEY: So imagine, just for the heck of it, imagine what it feels like, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, to sit here and watch this class configure itself. If you look at, for instance, Little Rock today, we still line up on two sides of color. And if we keep on saying and talking about and doing the same things that we’ve been doing forever, we’re going to stay the same. And I’m really sorry for us.
She continues with Amy Goodman:
AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what it was like coming back to school after fifty years, Minnijean?
MINNIJEAN BROWN-TRICKEY: Coming back to school and watching children sit on two sides of the room, black kids, white kids—the number of other ethnicities is low at Central High—to come into a room and see that broke my heart. But I decided my heart was broken because they didn’t know better. They hadn’t been told better. They were doing what we’ve sort of prepared them to do over time. So, in a way, everybody says, “Well, you know, those kids have a responsibility,” and I don’t blame the kids. They know little about the desegregation crisis. They have little understanding or knowledge of all the movements that have taken place in this country. So, in fact, they’re behaving as they should, with being miseducated, uneducated and somehow diminished in their ability to think about these issues.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, as we’ve been reporting on the Jena Six in Louisiana—and it’s not just in the South.
MINNIJEAN BROWN-TRICKEY: Right.
JUAN GONZALEZ: I reported in the Daily News just yesterday of an extreme racial bias incident that happened right here in New York City on September 11th, where an entire basketball team, the Manhattan Community College basketball team, leaving practice on September 11th, was attacked by a mob of whites twice. Several of them, including their coach, beaten as they were yelling “Slavery time!” and “N---er!” to the group—to the students. And the police ended up arresting some of the whites finally, but not charging them with anything other than misdemeanor assault. And now the coach and the team are attempting to demand hate crime charges against these folks, and they feel that the police department is underplaying it, quite the opposite of what’s happening in Jena.
So when you see these incidents occurring and involving students in the North and the South, what’s your sense of what was accomplished by all of the battles that occurred in the ’50s and the ’60s?
MINNIJEAN BROWN-TRICKEY: That’s an amazing question, and I really don’t have the answer. But when I see these young men and the film they made, I know that there was a shift in consciousness, in that they thought deeply about some of these issues. So, obviously, it’s had great impact.
A shift in consciousness ... but so little has really changed.
It’s a wonderful doc (just watched it), but heartbreaking, and it drives home ...
We pat ourselves on the back for falling so short. We hoot and holler and pound our chests in joy over an event that we resisted when it happened, an event we refused to learn anything from.
There is little to celebrate, but if we were an honest and good people we would use this anniversary to learn, to understand that our political elite took that opportunity and squandered it, demogogued it, betrayed that young woman and her fellow students, hopeful and brave young men and women who ran a gauntlet to give us an opportunity to repent, to repair a national crime, to cure a cancer that eats at this body politic. Yes, some of them went on to success in their lives, but the children behind them were confronted with a scorched earth education policy, and a culture that celebrates failure and exaggerates differences, rather than celebrating diversity and addressing failures.
There is little to celebrate today.
Monday, September 24, 2007
“Actually we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demagogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such like. To call this a society of free peoples is blasphemous. What have we to offer the world besides the superabundant loot which we recklessly plunder from the earth under the maniacal delusion that this insane activity represents progress and enlightenment?” - Henry Miller
I suppose we’re all supposed to be impressed by the passionate protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at that Ivy League institution of higher learning in Morningside Heights. What bravery was on display, jeering a small little demogogue, proud owner of an all-but powerless office. Way to speak truth to power, Columbia students!
When pressed about the harsh treatment of women, homosexuals and academics who challenge Iran’s government, Ahmadinejad painted a rosy picture, saying, “Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom,” he said.
He elicited laughter and boos from the audience at Columbia University when he said, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals, like in your country."
While you’re all getting your job-training tickets punched by academic leaders who talk out of both sides of their mouths, be proud that you’ve strenthened the political hand of that little rightist back home, all while you continue to stand quietly by as our own homegrown bigots and nutjobs run this country into the ground, turn civil rights back to an earlier century and put the lie to all of the fine, pretty words you let wash over you so you can pass your tests.
Protest when you’re told it’s okay to protest. Jeer at your fellow citizens who protest the real crimes that are affecting this country, snicker at the dirty hippies, laugh and cheer when they’re dragged out and arrested, tased and beaten.
What a small, petty little banana republic this country is ... people frothing at the mouth at nonexistent threats while this country’s future is robbed and citizens’ rights are whittled away.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The New Southern Strategy
To look at the Republican Party now, as it exists since Nixon’s odious Southern Strategy and stunts like Reagan announcing his candidacy in Philadelphia, MS, it’s hard to believe that the party was once led by a President who freed blacks from slavery, a party that got it’s start championing abolition.
Now we’ve got a new version, a party that is eager to turn its back on historical allies. The American Vichy Democrat party has made it clear in two successive Presidential elections that it will do nothing to protect black American’s right to vote. They have been rolling over for corporate lobbyists since Clinton and the DLC took over the party, pushing through NAFTA and so many other anti-labor measures, and they’re doing it again.
And of course women and LBGT citizens have to face being sold out as well, as Clinton and Obama and Edwards and the rest kowtow to Religious zealotry:
Oct. 1, 2007 issue - Richard land had never met one-on-one with a chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Tennessee evangelist, an influential force in the Southern Baptist Convention, generally views such people as adversaries, if not enemies. So consider his surprise when, at a non-partisan leadership conference over the New Year’s holiday, Howard Dean leaned in and said he’d love to get together for a private chat. Land agreed to meet for coffee at a downtown Washington hotel. He was wary: “I brought a witness,” he jokes now. Dean was there to chip away at Land’s loyalty to the GOP, and strangely, Land found himself warming to the liberal Democrat. Among other things, he admired Dean’s frugality. “He hauled his own suitcase around, and the Capitol Hill Suites isn’t exactly fancy,” Land tells NEWSWEEK. “I was impressed.” More important, the two men had something to talk about, and did so cordially. “Dean told me how the Democrats were pro-life in that they wanted a country in which abortion was rare. I said, ‘I agree, but we disagree how to get there.’ Still, it was certainly a change in tone."
For the Democrats, it’s a change in tactics as well—an audacious, if not quixotic, effort to win over a constituency that has been solidly Republican for a quarter century. Dean and other Democratic strategists hope to take advantage of deepening discontent with the GOP among some evangelicals. As a movement, conservative Christians have yet to get fired up about any of the leading Republican presidential candidates. There was a brief wave of enthusiasm for Fred Thompson, but that may be ebbing. One of the nation’s most influential evangelicals, James Dobson, wrote a scathing e-mail about Thompson, obtained by the Associated Press last week, in which he objected to the candidate’s opposition to a constitutional marriage amendment and said Thompson had “no passion, no zeal.” Meanwhile, Mitt Romney suffers among some evangelicals because of bias against his Mormon faith. Front runner Rudy Giuliani leaves conservative Christians particularly cold. “If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate the pro-choice Giuliani, that will give the Democratic Party license to hunt for evangelical votes,” says Land, who has been contacted by both the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns. “I don’t know how successful they’ll be, but at least they’ll have that license."
We have all been raised with the fairy tale that politics is about movements, that it’s about people fighting for causes, but more often than not it’s about betraying some group of dupes who think that they have champions in a group of people eager to sell them out.
Clinton, Obama and John Edwards all have senior staffers in charge of reaching out to religious groups. “There’s a lot of common ground here with evangelicals on the genocide in Darfur, ending human trafficking and making sure that religious liberty is not static around the world,” says Burns Strider, director of faith-based operations for the Clinton campaign. (By contrast, talking to evangelicals in 2004 was considered “a waste of resources,” says Mara Vanderslice, who was hired by John Kerry only eight months before Election Day to reach out to the faith community.) Obama’s national director of religious affairs, Joshua DuBois, says he has contacted more than 75 evangelical leaders since he joined the campaign on its first day. Speaking at an AIDS conference sponsored by the evangelical Rick Warren last year, Obama talked about contraception as a strategy to fight the disease, and “there was a standing ovation,” says DuBois. The campaign has hosted more than two dozen “faith and politics” forums in New Hampshire and Iowa and is planning more for South Carolina.
Can the Democrats really become the party of the fundamentalist faithful? By playing footsie with Democrats, at least some evangelicals may be aiming to provoke GOP leaders into giving them more attention. Christian conservatives complain regularly that the Republican Party doesn’t hew to their agenda, but they’ve almost always pulled the red levers in the end. “We’re still kind of frozen in the twilight zone with many of the Republican candidates,” says Tony Perkins, who heads the conservative Family Research Council. “If the Democrats follow through with substantive policy initiatives that reflect their newfound faith, they could make headway. But it’s got to be more than just talk.” Darkly, he warns there is always the option of “a third-party candidate for president.” That’s a signal to both parties: show us some love ... or else.
The line in there about how the Christian conservatives have almost always pulled the red levers in the end is bullshit, of course, and the operative word is “almost”. The Religious right withheld their votes many times as they took over the party, selectively of course, but Time wants to sell that ongoing lie about how the American theofascists became part of the far-right coalition that took over the Republican Party, because NO ONE wants the left, women and labor and blacks and hispanics and workers and the poor to figure out the power they have ... to withhold the vote.
The Donklephants will sell out women, sell out gays, sell out workers, sell out immigrants, sell out blacks ... they’ve been doing it for a while, and it will only get worse. They have conned all of you, and now they’re out looking for fresh marks, pretty certain that you’ll keep coming back for the snake oil while they rebottle it as holy water for people who hate you.
Courting Evangelicals is akin to courting southern racists. It is the last logical step in the takeover of the party by Bubba and his ambitious wife, the last step to serve their corporate masters by enabling more of that good old opiate of the masses.
Walk away from them. Withhold your vote. Better to let them lose and build something new to fight the right, because like the Republicans embracing the racists in betrayal of their founding principles, the Donklephants will continue to betray the very victories that gave them reborn relevance as a political party, and their loving embrace of rightwing evangelical superstition is the last sign that they are too far gone to work with from within.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Shout "Fire" in a Burning Country
The issues raised by the tasering in Florida are merely an expansion of an issue that many minorities in this country face daily ... a militarized police force dealing out violent and brutish thuggery on American citizens. There is an echo from the sixties in that incident, that the police are attacking “free" speech while drunk on the power they have because of the “wars” on drugs and “terror”, as the authorities then attacked the hippies and yippies and peaceniks as resistance spread, protests inspired by the bravery of the civil rights movement and black power movements.
One thing that struck me about the videos of the incident was the tone of disbelief in Andrew Meyer’s voice as the cops silenced him, picked him up, threw him to the ground and then attacked him with the stun gun. Believe me, there are plenty of Americans who AREN’T surprised when authorities abuse their authority. Take the details from the website where I grabbed the photo above:
In any event, Alonzo Washington describes the significance of the case clearly:
And I think that’s probably the message that the second photo gets across more effectively given that the guy being slammed down on a car hood, choked and humiliated wasn’t arrested and wasn’t holding drugs.
Humiliation, degradation, physical pain and even death are meted out by “law" enforcement agents in this country daily, and many of it’s victims aren’t as surprised by it as I think Mr. Meyer was. After the initial brutality, far too many minority Americas will be confronted by a “justice” system that is all too eager to trump up charges and then robbing them of their freedom and rights as citizens in numbers far exceeding their percentage of the total population.
That police and other uniformed, (and “undercover") officers feel increasingly safe to act so brutally, in front of so many witnesses, is only a sign that us cozy middle class white folks should have payed more attention when our fellow citizens were crying for help, screaming for justice. It is especially ironic that Mr. Meyer was confronted with this brutal reality while trying to protest the Donklephant’s Presidential nominee for his outrageous betrayal of minority voters after the last election. It’s past time that more attention be paid to the expansion of police powers and use of violence that has been going on, and devasting minority neighborhoods, for far too long.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
- Abbie Hoffman
SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years. - Sedition Act - APPROVED, July 14, 1798.
We’re never as overt as President Adams and his allies were back in the day ... the ewe-ess-of-AY circa two-oh-oh-seven is all about jackbooted thugs governing through intimidation and walled off “free-speech” zones in these Philip K. Dickian times. Do YOU want to be the “wackjob” on You Tube getting brutalized, even if you know you might win the lawsuit, even if you might even want to cash in later? Maybe you’re not willing to be the guy being jumped on while a US Senator makes a joke about your experience with “free speech”.
- JF Kerry
Do YOU want to be THAT guy in a country where so-called “liberals” are eager to say:
As a rule, I try to give the police the benefit of the doubt. They’re there to ensure Kerry’s safety. A student got unruly, and refused to cooperate. Given those circumstances, it seems entirely reasonable to me that he be escorted from the room. There were five or six armed officers dealing with one unarmed student — it shouldn’t have been too tough to remove him. (UNRULY ... he ASKED SOME QUESTIONS AND RAISED HIS VOICE!)
What is Kerry? A Lord of feudal times, you know, like one of the rulers in that Empire and subject to that King we fought a War of Independence to escape? Is he a God, or a Saint, or some other elevated personage that shouldn’t be confronted, shouldn’t be questioned? As posted at Brad Blog:
The blurry-ish video version of the incident seen at right, shows the entire statement and questions asked by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. He was waving the recently released paperback version of investigative journalist Greg Palast’s Armed Madhouse and recommend the book to Kerry before asking him about his early concession to the 2004 Presidential Election.
“He says you won the 2004 Election, isn’t that amazing?,” proclaimed Meyer referring to Palast’s claims in the book. The 21-year-old student continued on to speak about “multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio on the day of the election” and “electronic voting machines in Volusia County, Florida that counted backwards.”
“So amidst all of these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day?,” he asked as security guards surrounded him. “How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? In this book, it says there were five million votes that were suppressed. Didn’t you want to be President?!”
Kerry is heard earlier in Meyer’s statement acknowledging that he has the book and that he’s “already read it.” Though we’ve seen the incident now on all of the cable news channels, several times, we’ve not seen any of them show the actual statement and questions being asked by Meyer.
“We warned you: ‘Armed Madhouse’ is a dangerous book,” writes the sardonic New York Times best-selling author (and occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Contributor), in an article posted to his website earlier today.
Before being dragged off, Meyer was able to get out additional question about Impeachment of George W. Bush and whether or not Kerry was a member of Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society.
“Kerry, true to character, stood immobile,” writes Palast.
“The Washington Post reported only that Meyers was holding a ‘mysterious yellow book.’ VERY mysterious,” notes Palast, adding “I must admit I feel some appreciation for Meyers, especially because, even while he was being shot with untold amps of electricity, until he was handcuffed, he would not let go of his mysterious yellow book."
Don’t stand out, don’t question, don’t protest ... don’t confront any figure of “authoritay” who stands before you, clad in tailored suit, official uniform or rent-a-cop costume. Adult, child or old woman, don’t raise your voice, don’t question, don’t act as a FREE CITIZEN rather than a subject/consumer/partymember/sharecropper.
(Sketch by Franklin McMahon / September 17, 2007)
Question a Donklephant, question a Republican, question a drone at a big box store, and you will get tased, dragged off, arrested, beaten ... and all over the media and the blogs everyone assumes that the campus rent-a-cops had a RIGHT to detain a citizen asking a US Senator a POLITICAL question.
Is this what we want to be? Have we fallen so far that “opposition” can’t be theatrical, can’t make a point, can’t be loud, can’t be rude, can’t ...
Is THIS what freedom means in 21st Century America? Is “civility” SO important to us, tooling around in our SUVs on our subsidized highways as “our” troops slaughter people for cheap fuel, that rude questions can’t be raised… is THIS what we are?
Our government locks up countless numbers of people for minor offences. Our government allows one of our oldest cities to drown. Our government warps our foreign policy to suit the fossil-fuels industry, the arms industry, a small oppressive state in Middle East ... it puts citizens after profits, after the protection of business plans, after the demands of the captains of capital, and we’re threatened, our uniformed protectors must exert violence upon, people who ask questions?
Why does EVERYONE leap to the defense of cops, rent-a-version or otherwise? Thugs in uniform, sanctioned gangs, a perhaps-necessary evil, but when they attack citizens who raise questions, or who question corporations, or who raise questions of conscience, then why are we so eager to defend them? Uniformed agents of violence should be questioned first ... they aren’t sainted either. When they act in our name their actions reflect upon us as a people.
There are too few questions being asked in this country. There is too much conformity when it comes to real issues. The laughter coming out of that crowd when the thugs lift that young man up and bodily carry him away from the microphone FOR ASKING A QUESTION reflect poorly on a people born in a country that was itself born in the fires of nasty, confrontational debate, a country where an overreaching President Adams payed for the Alien and Sedition Acts with the forfeture of his office, driven out by publishers and speakers who refused to be silenced.
Friday, September 14, 2007
LSF Review: In The Valley of Elah
The best American film of 2007 thus far opened today and has inspired me to write a quick review in the hopes that people might see it when it opens near you. The film In The Valley of Elah deals with a recent story of a missing soldier just home from Iraq and what happens when his father searches for him. I saw the story on 60 Minutes (or one of the similar news shows) and while there is no ‘inspired by...’ tagline I recognized the incident and it played close to how I remembered it. That isn’t necessarily here nor there but it’s good to know in case it crosses your mind after seeing it.
Tommy Lee Jones gives a stellar performance, easily the best of his distinguished career as the father. Jones’ face looks ready to be added to Mount Rushmore and his work in this film is towering. The other main roles are played by Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon, both wonderful as always. The writing and direction by Paul Haggis is flawless, you realize you are in steady hands very early on and there are no missteps here. Kudos to everyone, and there will be a plethora of awards for this great film.
I don’t want to give away plot or much more, but this film is a must-see and is easily the most important film this year, if there is a better one then I can’t wait to see it. I’m still reeling from the whole experience and was profoundly affected by this work of art. There have been many great documentaries about America and this heinous war but this is the first great narrative film. I encourage everyone to see it and bring along as many family members and friends to spread the word. This powerful film deserves the widest audience possible.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
"Flying" On a Beautiful September Morning
to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable - Chalmers Johnson
Thanks to Supervixen over at Marisacat’s place, I have this Living Colour video to post about what happened six years ago. I’m at a loss for words myself. All I can remember and think to say about living in NYC on that day is how blue the sky was, how quiet the city was, how everybody pulled together on my block in grief.
All of the flag waving, the politicians’ piously talking about heroism and healing, the solemn graphics on the infotainment programs ... it all misses the point. It’s a point that we didn’t learn on that day, responding to pointless deaths by murdering more innocents in return in two countries, one a victim of the zealots who attacked us, the other a former ally which had nothing to do with it.
Hopes and dreams were murdered, human beings were murdered, innocents were murdered to deliver a point from one group of exploitive violent zealots to another group of exploitive violent zealots.
to get to the parking-lot,
I’m writing this little song,
on my way down,
never in my life,
have i felt a heat so hot,
i had to get out.
the sky’s so clear the sun is shining…
fate has given me wings,
such a terrible funny thing.
she glanced out the window,
oh my god,
her room it went away,
just not the way i planned.
the sky’s so clear the sun is shining…
fate has given me wings,
such a terrible funny thing,
to get to the parking-lot,
I’m writing this little song,
on my way down.
the sky’s so clear the sun is shining…
fate has given me wings,
such a terrible funny thing,
such a funny thing…
such a terrible funny thing...
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Witness Within Empire
To the extent that we continue to bear political responsibility, I’ll argue that it has mostly to do with calling things by their true names and seeing them truly. - Who is IOZ
Those of us who consider ourselves humanists or pacifists or whatever ... labels in a country with as little genuine debate as this one has have little value ... are confronted increasingly with feelings of despair. The economic, political and academic elites have plainly decided in a more overt empire, and any idea of change in the near-term is a pipe dream (a figure of speech that is, itself, rooted in an earlier empire).
Who is IOZ again:
... those of us living in twenty-first century America should pause, for we can see clearly how difficult it is to halt the progress of national wrongdoing from within. The subversion of domestic institutions is a geologic process, and often unstoppable and unfixable. You can’t fill a canyon with dirt once it’s been carved. You can’t pile rocks to stop the wearing down of mountains. On one hand it’s true that none of us has done enough to act in opposition to our government. On the other hand, it’s true that there was little we really could have done. We can look at the history of Germany and see, finally, that despite the thousand lynchpin moments in the rise of the Nazis, there was at last a certain inevitability to it, and what was required at last was the destruction of the nation and its government by foreign powers in war.
Our current dark path was embarked upon long ago. It’s cliché to quote Nietzsche on gazing, abysses and becoming one, but the extreme mirroring this country did when confronting communism has culminated in an fascist empire without analogue in world history. A sizable minority decided that godlessness needed to be fought with extreme theocracy and that only completely unfettered free-market capitalism could defeat centralized state control.
Naomi Klein’s new book comes out in a week, and Harpers has just posted for subscribers an article based upon it that will be on newstands soon. She sums up where we are, that what this warped response to a now-dead threat has led us to what she calls disaster capitalism:
The disaster-capitalism complex does not deliberately scheme to create the cataclysms on which it feeds (though Iraq may be a notable exception), but there is plenty of evidence that its component industries work very hard indeed to make sure that current disastrous trends continue unchallenged. Large oil companies have bankrolled the climate-change-denial movement for years; ExxonMobil alone has spent an estimated $19 million on the crusade over the past decade. Although the phenomenon is well known, the interplay between disaster contractors and elite opinion makers is far less understood. Several influential Washington think tanks—including the National Institute for Public Policy and the Center for Security Policy—are heavily funded by weapons and homeland-security contractors, which profit directly from these institutes’ ceaseless portrayal of the world as a dark and menacing place, its troubles responsive only to force. The homeland-security sector is also becoming increasingly integrated with media corporations, a development that has Orwellian implications. In 2004 the digital-communications giant LexisNexis paid $775 million for Seisint, a data-mining company that works closely on surveillance with federal and state agencies. That same year, General Electric, which owns NBC, purchased InVision, the major producer of controversial high-tech bomb-detection devices used in airports and other public spaces.
We will destroy governments, then hire mercenary corporations to arm, manage, secure and fight in them. Our years of rapacious growth and waste have led to more and more ecological instability, and we will fund and protect those self-same firms to go in and offer “aid” when disaster strikes. We’ve taken the imperialism that once used organizations like the Dutch East India Company and modernized it into a more virulent network of interlocking commercial powerhouses, quasi-government entities seemingly above any law, and able to define for themselves what constitutes order.
Klein in the Guardian:
In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that “only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change”. When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the “tyranny of the status quo”. A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once”, this is one of Friedman’s most lasting legacies.
Seen through the lens of this doctrine, the past 35 years look very different. Some of the most infamous human rights violations of this era, which have tended to be viewed as sadistic acts carried out by anti-democratic regimes, were in fact either committed with the intent of terrorising the public or actively harnessed to prepare the ground for radical free-market “reforms”. In China in 1989, it was the shock of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the arrests of tens of thousands that freed the Communist party to convert much of the country into a sprawling export zone, staffed with workers too terrified to demand their rights. The Falklands war in 1982 served a similar purpose for Margaret Thatcher: the disorder resulting from the war allowed her to crush the striking miners and to launch the first privatisation frenzy in a western democracy.
The bottom line is that, for economic shock therapy to be applied without restraint, some sort of additional collective trauma has always been required. Friedman’s economic model is capable of being partially imposed under democracy - the US under Reagan being the best example - but for the vision to be implemented in its complete form, authoritarian or quasi-authoritarian conditions are required.
Our current regime, our current wars, our impending ones ... all of these are the elements of the final program to implement Friedman’s dream. A final economic solution, so to speak.
Throughout my schooling I’d run into the phrase “good germans", usually said with a shake of the head and a clucking of the tongue, yet here we are, within OUR empire, an empire that has been around far longer than we care to admit, and which has committed many crimes of its own. As Chalmers Johnson wrote in Blowback, page 7:
I believe the profligate waste of our resources on irrelevant weapons systems and the Asian economic meltdown, as well as the continuous trail of military “accidents” and of terrorist attacks on American installations and embassies, are all portents of a twenty-first-century crisis in America’s informal empire, an empire based on the projection of military power to every corner of the world and the use of American capital and markets to force global economic integration on our terms, at whatever costs for others. To predict the future is an undertaking no thoughtful person would rush to embrace. What form our imperial crisis is likely to take years or even decades from now is, of course, impossible to know. But history indicates that, sooner or later, empires do reach such moments, and it seems reasonable to assume that we will miraculously escape that fate. (It’s important to note that this passage was published in 2000, BEFORE we became even more monstrous, before Afghanistan and Iraq and Katrina.)
Here we are, in the belly of the beast, both witnesses and collaborators. Sneering at the good germans now has a different feeling, knowing the risk one takes to stand up to the grinding power of an imperial power that will suck its people dry to fuel expansion and exploitation. Which brings us back to IOZ, continuing on the quote excerpted at the very beginning of this post:
That is what I try to do, but not for the sake of posterity (I hardly expect, in a few hundred years, to be IOZ, the great dissident writer of the early American empire), nor do I make the effort out of anything resembling revolutionary sentiment. People speak of today’s concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, but what’s far more significant, though not unrelated, is the concentration of force. I have no desire to get myself killed, or to get anyone else killed, or to get anyone I know spirited off to a secret prison, simply to spite the drab, vicious autocracy that I despise. If there is a reason to keep talking about these things, it is to remain sane, and if we keep talking to each other, it’s to maintain what modest bonds of friendship, community, and gallows humor remain to us. Some people console themselves with the idea that humor and friendship are themselves revolutionary acts. These people are called toweringly masturbatory egotists. I maintain only that the Soviet Union, for one, showed the tenuousness of the modern imperial project, and I plan to keep smirking so that if the whole rotten tree bows and cracks in a stiff wind sometime in the next half-century or so, I’ll be well-prepared to break into a smile.
So it’s a careful dance here, to oppose and call things by their proper name, while not becoming meat for the grinder. Things are likely to turn uglier before they get better, and if our victims do strike back, they’re more likely to hit someone in the crossfire than they are one of the elites in their security cordons and armored limosines. We are just one of the subjects, no more valuable, and easily as expendable, as any of the poor and brown we’re slaughtering around the world.
If other empires were symbolized by the Roman Eagle, by the hobnailed jackboot, by hammer-and-sickle, perhaps ours should be represented by the vulture, picking the bones clean of the planet, of other cultures, of people’s dreams and hopes for their future.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
So, this is what passes for conservative values these days. A pastor turned governor turned would-be President, talks about “honor” to justify continued slaughter, continued theft, continued imperial destruction:
MR. HUCKABEE: We have to continue the surge. And let me explain why, Chris. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me. If I picked something off the shelf of the store and I broke it, I bought it.
I learned don’t pick something off the shelf I can’t afford to buy.
Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away because something is at stake. Senator McCain made a great point, and let me make this clear. If there’s anybody on this stage that understands the word honor, I’ve got to say Senator McCain understands that word—(applause, cheers)—because he has given his country a sacrifice the rest of us don’t even comprehend. (Continued applause.)
And on this issue, when he says we can’t leave until we’ve left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion that historians can have, but we’re there. We bought it because we broke it. We’ve got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUME: Go ahead. You wanted to respond? He just addressed you; you go ahead and respond. (Continued applause.)
REP. PAUL: The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservative hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible. We shouldn’t punish them. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUCKABEE: Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America. (Cheers.)
REP. PAUL: No. When we make a mistake—(interrupted by applause)—when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake! (Cheers, applause.)
MR. HUCKABEE: And that’s what we do on the floor of the—
REP. PAUL: No! We’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole for our party!
We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy, and we have to wake up to this fact.
MR. HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important to the Republican Party.
We can’t LOSE OUR HONOR?
The honor we don’t even live up to with our OWN, Governor?
Do you mean this HONOR?
Main Entry: 1hon·or
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French onur, honur, from Latin honos, honor
1 a : good name or public esteem : REPUTATION b : a showing of usually merited respect : RECOGNITION
Do we have anything passing for a good name any longer?
Or perhaps you mean THIS definition, Pastor?
8 a : a keen sense of ethical conduct : INTEGRITY
b : one’s word given as a guarantee of performance
Can you, with a straight face, claim that we live up to that meaning of honor?
Honor is more than saving face, Governor, as Representative Paul rightly pointed out in response. Honor is more than merely claiming ... well, the honor. Honor, like respect, is earned. Honor is born out of sacrifice for a greater cause. Honor doesn’t come from robbing from the future to pay for power now. Honor doesn’t come from slaughtering civilians from above. It doesn’t include threatening widening destruction. The honorable DO NOT refuse to stop their crimes in order to make themselves feel better.
There is no honor in what we do now as a nation, as there was no honor in our slaughter of the original inhabitants of this continent, of our enslavement of Africans, in our invasions of Mexico or Nicaragua or the Phillipines or our other invasions, occupations and slaughters. There is no more honor in what we do now than there was in our firebombing of civilian centers in Europe and Japan, in our unleashing of nuclear weapons on civilians living in a nation ready to surrender.
There is no honor in imposing our will, violence, fire and death-dealing on people who refuse to knuckle under to our demands. There is no honor in the conqueror, the bully, the murderer.
We destroyed our honor long ago, Governor. The best we can hope now is to make amends, to offer reparations, to beg forgiveness.
Sadly, judging by the cheers that your words garnered, the celebrations all such words have always roused in this dishonest nation, we will do none of those things, and we will continue to dishonor what we offer empty reverence to, what we claim to represent.
There was another man of your God who spoke of honor once, Pastor Huckabee. He said:
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.
Substitute “Iraq” for “Vietnam” and his words still ring true. He was vilified for those words in his time. Our country likes to pretend that he never tried to teach us about the deadly ties between our arrogance, our warmongering, our Empire, to all of the crimes we commit as a society here and abroad. He said them, and he was right. More right than you, Governor-would-be-President, hack and panderer to jingoists. Dr. King concluded:
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
You fancy yourself a man of your God, Governor, but those there, over forty years ago, were REAL words that would guide us back to regaining our stained honor.
Honor? You, sir, don’t know the meaning of the word.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Parody or CNN?
This makes me laugh, cry and scream. In our savage country, only the most disturbing humor does justice to just how fucked up we are.
Missing Girl Probably Raped
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Central High School in Little Rock on Sept. 4, 1957. - Corbis
Fifty years ago ... can you believe it’s been that long? Looking around at the abandonment of our cities, our public schools, an entire city, it feels like so little has changed from this:
Sept. 3: Judge Ronald Davies orders desegregation to start Sept. 4, while Gov. Faubus orders the National Guard to remain at Central.
Sept. 4: Nine black students attempt to enter Central High School, but are turned away by the National Guard. One of the nine, Elizabeth Eckford, does not have a telephone and so was not notified ahead of time of the change in plans. She arrives alone at the school to face the Guardsmen alone. She is able to reach a bus stop bench and Mrs. Grace Lorch, a white woman, stays with her and boards the bus with her to help take her to her mother’s school.
You can listen to Elizabeth Eckford’s first day here. You can read more about that day here. It’s horrible. I wish I could say that more of America’s white (and shrinking) majority wasn’t still living down to the ugliness in that mob, but they are. They’re quieter about it ... no mobs, just two political parties all over this country who’ve bled public schools dry, disinvested in our cities, built a brutal and growing prison system and is now turning it’s hatred on another group of hated, darker “others".
Again I’m going to make one of my leaps, tying together things that our political leaders insist are separate issues, but racism and classism and imperialism and militarizing our police and rapacious capitalism are all boulders in one landslide, stripping this country bare of its soul, a soul that motivated that brave young woman to confront that mob to access what she deserved as a HUMAN BEING.
But I also don’t think that that’s just us, that that’s something ingrown with us. I think it has an external agenda. I think that that work that our government did in the ’60s to destroy the organizations of that era, I don’t think that work ever stopped. And I think we’ve got to discover how they control us, how they keep us acting like reformists and liberals, how they keep us from taking risks. I mean, it’s amazing, with all this devastation and the thousands of people they killed intentionally—and we knew they did it—ain’t nobody really mad, ain’t nobody went crazy and blew up something, set something on fire. I’m not advocating it, but it’s just ironic that it ain’t happened. How is this possible? How is it possible that people who lead radical organizations, their greatest solution is how to lobby the state or the Congress or the senator or the…?
We keep thinking that the government will act with justice, despite that it’s shown over and over again that it won’t. Schools in this country, not just the south, are an abomination. That young woman, and others like her, and all the people who marched and organized and worked in the courts and on the streets have, as their reward, fifty years later, schools and cities and industries that are destroyed. I’m utterly convinced that our current political parties have worked together to destroy those things in response to the small victories for social justice those long decades ago. They did it in response to the demands from people like those now who’re most like those ugly, shouting people in the photo above, the same ugly faces that scream along with the rightwing television and radio now.
We all need to realize that destroying the lives of some of our fellow citizens is our responsibility. We need to realize that where our brother goes, we will eventually follow. As Mr. Mohammed notes, we will be forced to learn eventually by circumstance, as the system in this country eventually grinds more and more people under implodes, as it has imploded in the past, driven by greed and racism and exploitation and division:
You know, I hate to say this, but I really think that time is going to have to heal us. The greatest—the greatest periods of history in America—I don’t know if this is true of the world, but it’s definitely true here—is when everybody was in trouble, and somebody saved us .
When the Civil War hit, the whole country was just in shambles, and the slave rebels, those who had been part of the rebel movement before the Civil War, stepped up and won the war for them in exchange for a Reconstruction program, one of the most beautiful periods in history, the Reconstruction period, thirteen years before they threw us back in slavery almost.
The next beautiful period is the Depression. Everybody got scared. The stock market crashed, and everybody saw a little poverty for a minute, and we came out of that wanting everybody to have jobs, everybody to have an education and medical care and housing. That’s where public housing comes from, that’s where Social Security comes from, that’s where the eight-hour day comes from, that’s where the hospitals, the Charity hospitals come from—all the stuff we are dismantling now, because we have forgotten what it’s like to suffer as a mass.
So what we do in New Orleans, we isolated the poor of us, the darkest of us, to kill, to literally—we abandoned them. We were ready to let them die at the hands of a hurricane that we knew and hoped was coming. This country did that with knowledge. With knowledge. That’s how folks—
So what has to happen? Something has to happen to remind human beings that we can all suffer, every last one of us—they’ve seen this—because those have been the periods when we most did the best as human beings in this country. So something catastrophic has to happen inside of America that affects the entire mass to wake up our humanity, to pay attention to those who are the most oppressed.
AMY GOODMAN: And you don’t think the attacks on 9/11, followed by Hurricane Katrina, did that?
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: Wasn’t enough. Too many rich people, too many people making money. The CEOs’ $346 million-a-year salary, can you imagine some poo-poo like that?
We destroy things, then privatize them, then allow connected con men to suckle at the government teat while providing degraded services, then we blame government. It’s happening in the Gulf, not just the Gulf of Mexico, but the bloody other one too. Guns and fraud, not butter and books.
CURTIS MUHAMMAD: I think it’s another form of slavery. It’s another way to isolate the very poor and the very dire, so that genocide is possible. I think we are involved in a genocidal mode in this country for particularly young black males right now, and I think very poor black folks are very vulnerable to it. So I think this hurricane was an opportunity to do it. They just missed it.
I think we need a whole re-education in this country. We didn’t—we missed it when we watched the automation of the cotton picker thirty or forty years ago. We missed the fact that three, four, five million people were still on cotton plantations and tobacco plantations and sugarcane plantations who had been there since slavery, never reading, never writing, knowing nothing about society, was dumped all at once, within one-and-a-half decades, into the major cities of the country. Something like one-fifth of our population had just come off the plantations in 1965, ’70. And those are they who are the super poor, who are uneducated, that this country do not want to invest in educating. I mean, there’s some stuff going on among us that we just have not taken the time to look at.
Fifty years, and what do we have to show for those struggles then? Is it going to take a hard rain to fall on ALL of us before we wake up, before we have the courage of Elizabeth Eckford and the other eight students in Arkansas fifty years ago? It sure looks like it.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Spend Your Scrip at the Company Store
You think you’re a citizen? You think you have the right to go where you please, that companies are there to serve YOU? I’m seeing more and more reports like this that suggest otherwise:
Today I was arrested by the Brooklyn, Ohio police department. It all started when I refused to show my receipt to the loss prevention employee at Circuit City, and it ended when a police officer arrested me for refusing to provide my driver’s license.
There are two interesting stories in one which I thought would be of interest to Boing Boing readers. The first involves the loss prevention employee physically preventing my egress from the property. The second story involves my right as a U.S. citizen to not have to show my papers when asked. (Despite having verbally identified myself, the officer arrested me for failing to provide a driver’s license while standing on a sidewalk.)
The scary thing is that most of your fellow “citizens” accept this state of affairs, and current interpretations of the law side with the legal “person”, the corporation, over your rights. You are, after all, on private property!
Do a thought experiment here. If YOU have someone in your home, say a workman or building manager, how far do you think you’d get if you demanded to see inside their toolbox before you allowed them to leave? If you called the cops while detaining Bob the plumber, how do you think the cops would react to you physically restraining him and preventing his freedom of movement?
To bad for you that your legal personhood isn’t as carefully protected as non-natural persons’ “rights”. Too bad for you that your personhood is increasingly secondary to the weight of authority and corporate hegemony.
As corporate power expands and individual liberties disappear, the dollar may become more and more like company scrip and the places we shop, owned by conglomerates with their tentacles reaching into wider and broader nets of disparate businesses, become little more than branches of the company store.
Many of the applications of security exist NOT to protect you and others, but to protect property and control movement. Police forces and private security place the maintenance of business plans and physical goods over human life.
While many would respond to these assertions with a snicker, insisting that mountains are being erected from molehills, the attitudes underlying the restraint and arrest of that man at Circuit City and other places, and the growing web of public and private “security” are of a piece. The assumption falls on the side of the agents of the corporation. You are a defacto suspect.
We’ve forgotten that corporations are creations of the people through the state, turning that on its head, making the state and the people servants of these golem. They originally existed to help us organize economic activity, to foster growth and stability while lowering risk and legal exposure. Now they do just the opposite, stifling growth and stability as they mindlessly (through their agents), pursue their business plans and maximum profit.
As we confront an employment climate where many stay in underpaying jobs to preserve their healthcare coverage, as employers check your credit reports and the government shares lists of people with companies in the name of “security”, we must face the idea that we’re moving toward a country where most of us have no more freedom of movement or economic opportunity than miners did at the old company stores. The dollar is scrip, printed as needed to meet the demands of capitalists and their non-living creations.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Might As Well
Who are we kidding? We’ve shredded our political system, destroyed our educational system, handed over nearly everything to corporate power ... we have a two-party system in name only. We are international outlaws. Our military and government murder for empire. We lie, cheat, steal and demand that others do as we say, not as we petulantly do. We vote for morons, thieves, self-loathing closet cases and religious fanatics. This Aussie (and they are so much like us, only more athletic) has a solution that seems to be what far-too-many Americans want. Hell, we’ve backed into fascism in all-but name as it is anyway. Why not be honest about it?
hat tip to Brad Blog
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Clear the Ground
I can think of several worthless “leaders” in government who should take take Senator Warner’s words to heart:
Mr. Warner, 80, made his announcement in a nostalgic speech at the University of Virginia, where he had attended law school. He thanked the voters for his 30 years in the Senate, and said it was time to step aside in 2008.
In a letter to constituents, Mr. Warner quoted another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson: “There is a fullness of time when men should go, and not occupy too long the ground to which others have the right to advance.”
Let’s start with Harry Reid, who wouldn’t know good sense if it walked up and punched him below the belt of his Everlasts. He knows that leaders lead by conceding to their opponents at the beginning of a fight.
Saying the coming weeks will be “one of the last opportunities” to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq. Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said he will encourage new coalitions. "There is no reason that this be Democrat versus Republican," he said.
Isn’t that WHY there are opposing parties? Apparently not, as he “wisely” continued:
"I don’t think we have to think that our way is the only way,” Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. “I’m not saying, ‘Republicans, do what we want to do.’ Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."
Time for you to go, old man. You know ONLY compromise, ONLY appeasement, ONLY covering your own ass rather than trying to put your opponents on their’s.
Cozy insiders who’ve held the same job for decades, who’ve become removed from demands for change. Deaf to demands which, in the case of Conyers, he once made himself, need to step aside when they become more interested in the cozy relationship with their opponents than they are in working for justice.
Time to clear the ground, gentlemen.
Images edited using Motivator