Every reasonable American, who hasn’t been brainwashed by the bigots who still celebrate the Confederacy and the Civil War, knows that war was fought over slavery. To suggest otherwise is just flat out bigotry. On Monday, White House Chief of Staff General (ret.) John F. Kelly appeared on the premier of right wing host Laura …
I’m not talking about Afghanistan or Iraq, although it would be nice if we had a president that could keep his word about ending these conflicts. No, I speak of the War Between the States, the US Civil War that is still raging on in many states one hundred fifty two years after General Robert …
It took the deaths of nine people in a church by a white supremacist to wake people, organizations, businesses, state and local governments that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of treason and racism. In South Carolina, where the shooting occurred, the state legislature is slow to move on taking the flag down from the state capital grounds where it flies padlocked to the top of the pole. They are debating to debate. One person decided that not to wait for the defenders of treason and hate. So with a little help from her friends, Bree Newsome, a 30 year old black film maker song writer, did what no one else had the courage, or decency, to do, she climbed the pole and took the flag down.
Ms. Newsome and her friend, James Tyson, was arrested and released on bail. They could face up to three yers in jail and a $5000 fine, She and Mr, Tyson, spoke with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman about the reasons they took this action.
Their action came 10 days after Dylann Roof, who embraced the Confederate flag, allegedly massacred nine African-American churchgoers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
From atop the flagpole, Bree Newsome said, “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!” Newsome explained her choice of words. “In one of those nights where I was pondering, ‘Have I completely lost my mind in doing this?’ I read the story of David and Goliath, and David says to Goliath, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, and I come against you in the name of the Lord,’ and that, for me as a black woman in America, that’s what that moment felt like, because I come from a historically completely disempowered place,” Newsome said. “And so I think that’s why it was so powerful to a lot of people, especially to black women, to see me up there holding that flag in that way.”
Transcript can be read here
I have 3 articles for your morning perusal that are kind of on the darker side of things. It’s Monday, so I’m more morose anyway, lol.
First, a decent Oped on Terrorists:
Obviously, there are people who sincerely view themselves as Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. We Muslims can make the case that their actions are not based on any part of the faith but on their own political agenda. But they are Muslims, no denying that.
However, and this will probably shock many, so you might want to take a breath: Overwhelmingly, those who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe aren’t Muslims. Let’s give that a moment to sink in.
It always puzzled me why schools continue to teach historical myths as factual. One of the bigger myths that is taught to American school children is about the Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. In an article at Common Dreams, author and historian William Loren Katz lays bare the real story and it isn’t pretty.
Columbus’s Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were driven across the Atlantic by the same ill winds that from 1095 to 1272 launched nine Eruopean Crusades to capture Moslem Jerusalem. Defeated and humiliated the invaders suffered staggering human losses, left royal treasuries depleted, and convinced Christian leaders to only pay lip service to another try.
Except for Christopher Columbus. Born Christopher Colon this ambitious Genoese craved adventure, was given to religious mysticism to the point he accepted God’s personal command to free the Holy Land. He also saw God’s hand in cloud formations, splashing waves, and distant stars, and had read a religious book that convinced him the world would end in 150 years. He claimed at sea he once saw three mermaids dancing on waves, and was sure in distant lands he would meet men with tails or heads of dogs. God had chosen him specifically to see Christianity victorious “throughout the universe.” And he would follow His command to convert or destroy Moslems, Jews and other non-believers. Columbus’s earliest sea experiences were as a youth serving on Portuguese slave-trading ships along Africa’s Atlantic coast. He learned men, women and children could be captured and sold for enormous profits. With enough slaves and gold, even a lowly Columbus could finally end the infidel grip on Holy Land. [..]
Columbus’s voyage eastward to seek the riches of Asia has been called the momentous journey in history. To him it was only first step toward his larger goal. After five weeks in the Atlantic, his food supplies running low and lying to grumbling crewmen he was not a man lost at sea, Columbus stumbled on an island in the Bahamas named Guanahani. On the morning of October 12, 1492 with a crew in heavy armor bearing swords and muskets, he left the Santa Maria for the sunny shore and a military and nationalist mission. He planted Spain’s flag in the soil, took “possession of the said island for the king and queen,” and renamed it San Salvador. “With fifty men your Highness would hold them all in subjection and do with them all that you could wish,” he wrote in his Diary. The Admiral was applying the new European “doctrine of discovery” that granted its merchant adventurers the right to claim distant lands and their inhabitants. Papal bulls of the time also divided “discovered” lands between Spain and Portugal, and in 1494 the Vatican specifically drew a line dividing the Americas – and the slave trade – between these seafaring powers.
Columbus and his expedition was also a product of Spain’s painful “final solution.” Since 711 Spain’s Moslem Arab rulers shared their cultural wealth with and practiced toleration of the country’s diverse citizenry. Catholics, Jews and Moslems lived peacefully with neighbors, as Spain became a world center of books and learning.
Then Catholic King Ferdinand of Castille and Queen Isabella marshaled an army to impose Christan rule. Castillian soldiers charged into battle with the cry “Santiago Matamoros” or “Kill the Moors.” By January 1492 Christian soldiers stood poised for victory and an era of ethnic cleansing.
The article goes onto to describe how Columbus and his men were welcomed and responded with treachery. Columbus’ voyages were the opening salvo in what would become a holocaust across the North and South American continents that continued for over 300 years. It is time that we stopped celebrating this slaughter. On Monday, celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, also known as Native American Day and learn the real history of America’s discovery and about the culture of its native people.
There have appeared in this space several thought-provoking attempts to define capitalism, including here (see http://www.dailykos.com/story/… and here (see: http://www.dailykos.com/story/… Although this might seem to some a mere academic exercise, nothing could be further from the truth: to be effective, activism to change, transform or overthrow any human construction must be rooted in a thorough and accurate understanding thereof.
This is especially important when discussing capitalism, both because its pervasive ubiquity creates a familiarity that masquerades as understanding and because the defenders of the system work tirelessly to spew lies about its virtues. Even more treacherous than the increasingly strained defenses of the system by modern conservatives are the ideological productions of modern liberals who claim a desire to reform capitalism or ameliorate those of its consequences they don’t like.
The key problem is that liberals and conservatives share the same basic understanding of capitalism, which is rooted in the neo-classical revolution in mainstream economics that occurred in the late 19th century. On this view, capitalism is a “natural” system arising from and based on market exchanges between buyers and sellers of commodities, which are assumed to maximize “efficiency” (defined in terms of allowing “supply” and “demand” to set market-clearing prices) and human happiness (defined as the total dollar value of market commodities bought and sold (GDP), regardless of what needs they meet or how they are distributed among the population).
Thus the neo-classical view (like the classical political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo that preceded it) is fundamentally ahistorical: capitalism is understood not as a historically specific constellation of economic relations, but rather as the result of encouraging the supposedly natural human tendency to engage in market transactions on a competitive basis with the goal of maximizing profit.
Even worse, the neo-classical assumption that the “market” is a naturally occurring phenomenon forces it to posit an Ideal Type Market-characterized by virtually unrestrained good-faith buying and selling backed up by rules to enforce the terms of transactions-against which historical social formations are measured by the degree to which they approximate the Ideal Type and can be called “capitalistic.” In this view there is of course no room for understanding how the historical economies of pre-capitalist social formations worked on their own terms, because those terms are assumed ab initio to represent flaws, deviations from the Ideal Type that maximizes happiness.
And therein lies the reason that neo-classical economics provides an unstable intellectual foundation for capitalist reformism that unavoidably undermines any case for change, because all such reforms involve straying from the Ideal Type Market. That is why, in televised “debates” about regulation between conservatives and liberals, when the former extol the virtues of the market and call for “non-interference,” the latter start off the same way (Obama does this all the time) and then suddenly pivot to an argument that some specific reform represents an exception to the free market rule. Conservatives thus always come off as more intellectually consistent while liberals seem (and in fact are) intellectually muddled and confused-even when “the facts” seem to stand in their favor.
We, however, are Anti-capitalists, and we need an understanding of capitalism that historicizes it as a system with a definite beginning and, therefore, a possible end.
In his dissenting opinion on the Arizona v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went on a politically motivated rant that was directed at President Obama’s directive that would allow 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are under 30 came here as children to legally remain in the US. Not only was Scalia’s partisan political rant an embarrassment for the Court, it was factually wrong and racist.
After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30. If an individual unlawfully present in the United States
“• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
“• has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years . . . ,
“• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran . . . ,
“• has not been convicted of a [serious crime]; and
“• is not above the age of thirty,” . . . .
The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conducting as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the nonenforcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement.
Part of the President’s reasoning for this order is the fact that congress has failed to provide the the $285 billion cost of deporting every illegal immigrant currently in the US and decided to use the limited resources available by focusing on undocumented immigrants who commit serious offenses and shifting resources away from college students and veterans. Scalia’s math is a bit off by some 600,000 more immigrants than is estimated to be affected by the President’s new policy.
Now to the really egregious racist spew that relied on racist Post Civil War laws that prohibited freed slaves from moving into Southern States:
Notwithstanding “[t]he myth of an era of unrestricted immigration” in the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted criminals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks. State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration
This is comes on the heels of Scalia’s defense of tortute, his dismissal of the execution of innocent people at the hands of the states and his homophobia and his inability to distinguish legal arguments from political talking points
Scalia doesn’t seem to care that in his dotage he is sounding increasingly unhinged and more and more like a right wing talk radio host. Even Chief Justice Roberts should be embarrassed by this racist bile. If Scalia can’t control himself, he should be removed from the Court, if he doesn’t have the good sense to remove himself into retirement.
(cross-posted at firefly-dreaming)
that as the nation commences its celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. – Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. – And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
– John Hancock
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
that we have continually retrogressed back to the point that necessitated the Declaration of Independence in the first place!
Hard to say “Happy 4th of July!” But have a good day anyway!
Right now! Today, Wednesday, March 18, 2011.
Note: Sections 1-4 contain dozens of additional editorial cartoons and commentary. I’m not sure why but I was getting the below error when trying to post the complete diary. Check out the remaining portions of the diary at Daily Kos.
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If there is ever to be any effective pushback against the hegemony of capital, we will need bases of power, organized expressions of sustained popular resistance to exploitation and repression. The contemporary political landscape of neoliberal media message management, social atomization and political alienation can seem harsh and desolate for those of us looking for direction, for effective means of participation and expression of solidarity.
Today I’ll take a look at the struggle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for some measure of justice and dignity in the fruit and vegetable fields of Florida, their history, the impressive solidarity network they have built, some recent victories, and some ongoing and upcoming efforts and actions that offer us all an opportunity to participate in solidarity.
2011 marks the sesquicentennial of the start of the American Civil War. On New Year’s Day 150 years ago, South Carolina had already seceded from the United States and the next months would see ten more states secede from the Union, the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the formation of the Confederate States of America, and the start of the war.
Historian Susan Schulten wrote about the 1860 Census and map showing American slavery in The New York Times last month. The United States Coast Survey used the 1860 Census data, the last time the federal government counted the slave population, to produce two maps illustrating slave population – one of Virginia and the other of the entire South.
The map depicts each county’s slave population, with “the darker the shading, the higher the number of slaves”, which is a “visually arresting way to see the range of slavery across the South without having to read a single data point,” she writes. It was popular with President Lincoln and the American public after its publication. It was sold throughout the war “for the benefit of the sick and wounded soldiers.”