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Friday, March 27, 2015

Anti Dumb War

As I've said elsewhere, I wish:

“The world is starving for American leadership. But America has an anti-war president,” Boehner said during a press conference. “We have no strategy, overarching strategy to deal with the growing terrorist threat.”

“It’s not just ISIS or al Qaeda and all of their affiliates,” the speaker added. “We’ve got a serious problem facing the world, and America by and large is sitting on the sidelines.”

Never mind the troops remaining in Afghanistan, and hundreds of bases all over the world, and the drone strikes against targets in sovereign countries.  Never mind US operations against ISIS, and Obama's request to Congress for war powers (which makes this a puzzler since they usually get mad at him for doing stuff on his own).

No American president is anti-war.  None, ever.

ntodd

March 27, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Day Of Prayer And Fasting For Indiana

Bobby is a good friend and Friend, but I think misses the mark here:

I am not a fan of boycotts; they rarely work and harm innocent people who depend on the boycotted industry or place.

Part of the point is to harm people in a nonviolent, recoverable way so they see the impact of their (in)action in the face of grave injustice.  And boycotts enjoy a long, effective history.

Anyway, my buddy continues:

However, it would be very un-Quakerly to embarrass the good religious people of Indiana by giving them my gay business or my gay money, so I will not put them in the awkward position of having to accept it as long as this legalized gay-bashing is in place. I’m sure they will understand that I’m doing them a big favor.

It sort of reminds me of this scene from Gandhi.  Yes, I compared a blogger to the Mahatma.

ntodd

March 26, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Commonweal In Christ

It started in Ohio:

In 1894, Jacob S. Coxey, an owner of a sand quarry in Massillon, Ohio, faced difficult financial times as the Panic of 1893 gripped the United States. In protest of the federal government's failure to assist the American populace during this economic downturn, Coxey formed a protest march that became known as "Coxey's Army." The group left Massillon, numbering one hundred men, on Easter Sunday, with the intention of marching to Washington, DC, to demand that the United States government assist the American worker. As the group marched to Washington, hundreds more workers joined it along the route. Coxey claimed that his army would eventually number more than 100,000 men. By the time that the army reached Washington, it numbered only five hundred men.

Upon arriving in Washington, Coxey and his supporters demanded that the federal government immediately assist workers by hiring them to work on public projects such as roads and government buildings. The United States Congress and President Grover Cleveland refused.

The New York Times reported--in a tone one modern chronicler calls "bewildered amusement"--the day before departure:

IN DREAMS HE SEES AN ARMY.; Then Coxey Awakes and Sees Only Fifty Tramps.

MASSILLON, Ohio, March 24 -- Nearly 100 recruits for Coxey's Commonweal Army arrived to-day from different points. Most of them are tramps who camped in the woods surrounding the town during the night. A number of them slept in the lock-up, but were rehersed this morning. Among the arrivals is lass M. McCallum, who represents Mrs. Lease, and who asked permission to have her address the army at Pittsburg, which Coxey refused.
...
It is claimed by Marshal Browne that nearly fifty recruits have arrived in Massillon, but up to last night, none of them had been discovered, and reputable Massillonians asserted that the arrivals were all in the mind of the the “Seer and Prophet” as the Marshal styles himself.  The headquarters of the Commonweal consist of one unfurnished room in a new block in West Main Street, one small desk, which when new, cost $7.25, one small soft-coal stove, one nail keg, two chairs, and one saloon table, which has recently seen some service.  Here the mail is opened every morning, and plans for the great movement are talked over.

The Paper of Record didn't know quite what to make of all this, and it's not clear the particpants did either.  While there was a good bit of energy and a lot of common interest, there doesn't appear to have been a whole lot of cohesion in the so-called army.

For example, here's a story in the Times on April 14COMMONWEALERS NIGH UNTO RIOT.; Marshal Browne Bounced by Coxey's "Unknown" in Maryland.  And then when they arrived in DC on April 30th:

  • COXEY WILL DEFY THE LAW - WILL SPEAK AT THE CAPITOL EVEN IF FORBIDDEN. (April 30)
  • COXEY PLACED UNDER ARREST - The Leader of the Mob of Tramps...May Be Fined or Imprisoned Sixty Days. (May 2)
  • COXEY'S ARMY DWINDLING AWAY - According to the order issued yesterday by the District Commissioners, Gen. Coxley would have to remove his camp by Saturday morning...[he] explained that it would be impossible for him to get his men out on so short notice. (May 10)

None other than Jack London took part in the Western contingent:

A "stiff" is a tramp. It was once my fortune to travel a few weeks with a "push" that numbered two thousand. This was known as "Kelly's Army." Across the wild and woolly West, clear from California, General Kelly and his heroes had captured trains; but they fell down when they crossed the Missouri and went up against the effete East. The East hadn't the slightest intention of giving free transportation to two thousand hoboes. Kelly's Army lay helplessly for some time at Council Bluffs. The day I joined it, made desperate by delay, it marched out to capture a train.
...
Then some local genius solved the problem. We wouldn't walk. Very good. We should ride. From Des Moines to Keokuk on the Mississippi flowed the Des Moines River. This particular stretch of river was three hundred miles long. We could ride on it, said the local genius; and, once equipped with floating stock, we could ride on down the Mississippi to the Ohio, and thence up the Ohio, winding up with a short portage over the mountains to Washington.

Des Moines took up a subscription. Public-spirited citizens contributed several thousand dollars. Lumber, rope, nails, and cotton for calking were bought in large quantities, and on the banks of the Des Moines was inaugurated a tremendous era of shipbuilding. Now the Des Moines is a picayune stream, unduly dignified by the appellation of "river." In our spacious western land it would be called a "creek." The oldest inhabitants shook their heads and said we couldn't make it, that there wasn't enough water to float us. Des Moines didn't care, so long as it got rid of us, and we were such well-fed optimists that we didn't care either.

Pay special attention to what happened when London and 9 others went Galt.  Anyway, being an angry, dispossesed tramp is a lot of work...

ntodd

March 25, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Forces More Powerful


Yesterday's post with Julian Bond made me think of the SNCC, Jim Lawson, and Diane Nash.  So here's an excerpt from A Force More Powerful.

ntodd

March 19, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Adams Would've Gotten Away With It, Too

If it hadn't been for those damned, meddling Quakers:

Logan watched closely as Adams responded to naval maneuvers by the French, who had been made uneasy by unresolved treaty obligations and a new U.S.-Britain pact. Soon, the president was securing increased funds for a U.S. Navy and recalling George Washington in preparation for a ground war.

Disturbed by raging anti-French sentiment in Congress, Logan decided to travel to France, hoping to test the waters for peace with the Directory (the post-Revolutionary council). Once there, he proceeded to do what Quakers do best: He listened. When he came home, he talked about what he had heard - and this perhaps is why historian Edward Channing said Logan did "materially" shift the tide of American public opinion from war to peace.

But while he was gone, Congress had passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which, among other things, made it a crime to criticize the president. And because so many members of Congress regarded Logan's freelance diplomacy as traitorous, the Logan Amendment was attached to the law.

Logan didn't return home empty-handed. He had secured the release of some captured U.S. sailors and carried a list of possible terms for peace negotiators. However, when he arrived in November 1798, he was immediately, if briefly, arrested. He was never prosecuted - not then and not even a few years later, when he tried to keep the peace with England before the War of 1812.

Via Noz.

ntodd

March 18, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Holding Juanita Nelson In The Light


Juanita Nelson on Democracy Now! discussing War Tax Resistance, Civil Rights & Simple Living.

Being absorbed in personal things this week, I failed to notice that Juanita (one of Gram's contemporaries) had died on Monday.  I met her in Deerfield at a WTR gathering several years back, and was very humbled by her life's example.  She blazed with a light that should provide a moral beacon for us all.

ntodd

March 14, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another March

On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi gave some parting remarks at Chandola lake to those who came to see his party off as they began the Salt March:

There were rumours of my arrest last night. God is great, mysterious indeed are His ways. I am here to say good-bye to you. But even if I were in prison, with your strength I could come back...

[B]e prepared to offer yourselves as civil resisters. Let there be no flinching. Your way at present, however, lies homeward; mine straight on to the sea-coast. You cannot accompany me at present, but you will have an opportunity to accompany me in a different sense later. . . .

The purpose of the March and this satyagraha was, in part, to break the British monopoly on salt manufacture through a form of economic non-cooperation (Method 90: Revenue Refusal).  By making their own salt, Indians would deny a small, symbolic amount of tax monies to the Raj in defiance of an unjust law that was part of the larger injustice of occupation.

By itself, that action wouldn't amount to much, so Gandhi had to generate what we'd call buzz today, hence the March.  It generated popular interest in every locality his party passed through, and the media propagated the message far and wide.

Before embarking on this first stage of the satyagraha, Gandhi wrote to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin on March 2:

I know that in embarking on non-violence I shall be running what might fairly be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been won without risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed I know that in embarking on non-violence I shall be running what might fairly be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been won without risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed. 
...
[I]f you cannot see your way to deal with these evils and my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the 11th day of this month,1 I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the salt laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint. As the independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land the beginning will be made with this evil. The wonder is that we have submitted to the cruel monopoly for so long.

It is, I know, open to you to frustrate my design by arresting me. I hope that there will be tens of thousands ready, in a disciplined manner, to take up the work after me, and, in the act of disobeying the Salt Act to lay themselves open to the penalties of a law that should never have disfigured the Statute-book.

It might seem odd at first blush to alert the authorities that you plan on breaking the law, but civil resistance is all about letting the people in power know what you're doing and why.  That way they can either amend their ways or be provoked into counterproductive actions that undermine their authority and give power to the resisters.

A few days before the March ended in Dandi, spoke at a prayer meeting:

Another piece of information that I have received is that the Government intends to use fire-engines to stop us. We have prepared ourselves for death from cannons and guns, compared to which this is nothing. Of course, even with jets of water, the Government can kill us through torture. It is certainly painful. However, you must bear in mind that not one of us will retreat. I do not think the Government will be so cruel, but we must be prepared.

The March arrived at Dandi on April 5:

That I have reached here is in no small measure due to the power of peace and non-violence: that power is universally felt. The Government may, if it wishes, congratulate itself on acting as it has done, for it could have arrested every one of us. In saying that it did not have the courage to arrest this army of peace, we praise it. It felt ashamed to arrest such an army. He is a civilized man who feels ashamed to do anything which his neighbours would disapprove. The Government deserves to be congratulated on not arresting us, even if it desisted only from fear of world opinion.

Tomorrow we shall break the salt tax law. Whether the Government will tolerate that is a different question. It may not tolerate it, but it deserves congratulations on the patience and forbearance it has displayed in regard to this party.

If the civil disobedience movement becomes widespread in the country and the Government tolerates it, the salt law may be taken as abolished. I have no doubt in my mind that the salt tax stood abolished the very moment that the decision to break the salt laws was reached and a few men took the pledge to carry on the movement even at the risk of their lives till swaraj was won.

If the Government tolerates the impending civil disobedience you may take it for certain that the Government, too, has resolved to abolish this tax sooner or later. If they arrest me or my companions tomorrow, I shall not be surprised, I shall certainly not be pained. It would be absurd to be pained if we get something that we have invited on ourselves.

Then on April 6 (as reported by The Bombay Chronicle):

When they made a beginning in the morning he had himself picked up more mud than salt, but after washing and cleaning he could get two tolas of pure quality which was sufficient for his day’s requirements. That was only a beginning but that signified great things.

In an interview, Gandhi suggested everybody ought to engage in this civil disobedience:

Now that a technical or ceremonial breach of the salt law has been committed, it is now open to anyone who would take the risk of prosecution under the salt law to manufacture salt wherever he wishes and wherever it is convenient.

My advice is that a worker should everywhere manufacture salt and where he knows how to prepare clean salt should make use of it and instruct villagers to do likewise, telling the villagers at the same time that he runs the risk of being prosecuted. In other words the villagers should be fully instructed as to the incidence of salt tax and the manner of breaking laws and regulations in connection with it, so as to have the salt tax repealed and it should be made absolutely clear to the villagers that this breach is to be open and in no way stealthy.

This condition being known they may manufacture salt or help themselves to salt manufactured by nature in creeks and pits near the seashore, to use it for themselves and for their cattle and to sell it to those who will buy it, it being well und- erstood that all such people are committing a breach of the salt law and therefore running the risk of prosecution or even without prosecution to be subjected by the so-called salt officers to harassment. Thus the war against salt tax should be continue...

Gandhi was not arrested yet.  That would happen a bit later when the satyagrahis escalated, announcing their nonviolent raid on the Dharasana saltworks.  But this was a real turning point in the struggle, massively mobilizing the Indian people while not alienating more moderate members of the Indian National Congress.

Sometimes big things start with a mere handful of mud...

ntodd

March 12, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Diane Nash Still Defiant And Heroic

Agree wholeheartedly with Anthony:

It is wonderful to read about and hear one of the great heroines of the Civil Rights struggle,  Diane Nash, continuing to witness for the truth and against those who are trying to co-opt the history of civil rights in the form of George W. Bush.  She refused to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge due to his clearly political participation in it.  

Read the whole thing.  Nash rocks.

ntodd

March 9, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The People Power Revolution

Movements frequently gather steam in the wake of violent repression.  People were galvanized, rather  than cowed, by the Boston Massacre, the Amritsar Massacre, and even the Kent State Massacre.  Neither Ninoy Aquino's assassination in 1983 nor the Escalante Massacre in 1985 stemmed a rebellious tide in the Philippines that began on February 22, 1986:

The overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship remains one of the world's more remarkable nonviolent uprisings.  Despite more than a dozen similar successful movements during the subsequent years in South Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, the Philippine "people power" revolution remains one of the most impressive in terms of the numbers of people involved, the level of nonviolent discipline and the way it capture the imagination of observers around the world.

President Ferdinand Marcos, who had ruled under dictatorial powers since 1972, had ordered a snap election in February 1986 as a means of legitimizing his control.  When it became apparent that the election had effectively been stolen, the opposition called for a massive campaign of civil disobedience.  However, in the international media, quotes were placed around the word "nonviolent," implying a dubious assessment, or at the least a skeptical outlook, of the strategy or its significance.  

Even after Marcos fled, there was difficulty in the foreign press in describing exactly what happened.  An editorial in Asiaweek noted that "political scientists will have to come up with new words to describe the four-days' wonder that convulsed Manilia...the whole phenomenon...fits no standard category."  Similarly, on the left, there was widespread skepticism over the prospects of success, prompting Cory Aquino to state that "Those who are prepared to support armed struggles for liberation elsewhere discredit themselves if they obscure the nature of what we are doing peacefully here."

The Filipinos could have reacted completely passively, just accepting the old dictatorship and the games Marcos played in stealing the snap election.  Or they could have opted for violence.  Instead, they doubled their chance of victory by resisting nonviolently:

Our findings [using data on major resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006] show that major nonviolent campaigns have achieved success 53 percent of the time, compared with 26 percent for violent resistance campaigns.

There are two reasons for this success. First, a campaign’s commitment to nonviolent methods enhances its domestic and international legitimacy and encourages more broad-based participation in the resistance, which translates into increased pressure being brought to bear on the target. Recognition of the challenge group’s grievances can translate into greater internal and
external support for that group and alienation of the target regime, undermining the regime’s main sources of political, economic, and even military power.

Second, whereas governments easily justify violent counterattacks against armed insurgents, regime violence against nonviolent movements is more likely to backªre against the regime. Potentially sympathetic publics perceive violent militants as having maximalist or extremist goals beyond accommodation, but they perceive nonviolent resistance groups as less extreme, thereby enhancing their appeal and facilitating the extraction of concessions through bargaining...We assert that nonviolent resistance is a forceful alternative to political violence that can pose effective challenges to democratic and nondemocratic opponents...

There is never a guarantee of success in any endeavor, nor is there such a thing as a risk-free revolution.  Yet I'd rather use a combination of the 198 different NV tactics cataloged by Gene Sharp as part of a strategic nonviolence campaign than picking up the proverbial pitchforks and torches.

Just look at the odds.  Violence dramatically favors the house.  If you if you go with nonviolence most of the time you beat the house and walk away from the table much, much richer.

ntodd

February 22, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quakers And Selma

Friends Journal:

[V]iolence erupts during the first march on March 7 when Alabama State Troopers attack the 600 unarmed civil rights demonstrators; the result is mass chaos and injuries, giving rise to the day’s nickname “Bloody Sunday.” Two days later, a second march took place with more people joining the cause, including clergy and other sympathizers. Later that night, a white group beat and murdered a white activist: James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston who was working for the American Friends Service Committee at the time. Reeb died of head injuries two days later in the hospital; he was 38 years old. The violence of “Bloody Sunday” and of Reeb’s death received much attention from the rest of the country, leading to greater sympathy for and support of the Civil Rights Movement.
...
The April 1, 1965 issue of Friends Journal (published three weeks after the passing of Reeb) includes editorial comments on the impact of the marches and the tragedy of Reeb’s death. The excerpt here speaks to what many in the Quaker community were feeling at the time: shock, shame, and sorrow.

Sometimes it takes a shock like the tragedy of James Reeb to make many of us realize, to our shame, how inadequate is our normal capacity for identification and sharing. For months, for years—for more than a century, in fact—we have been reading and hearing about the grave indignities suffered by Negro American citizens who never have been permitted to enjoy the most fundamental of citizenship’s rights. We have felt vaguely sorry for them, but how seldom have their sufferings moved us to any significant action, even when their search for freedom has brought death!

Why must we need the murder of James Reeb to move us to action? His death (according to John Sullivan, the Service Committee’s executive secretary for New England, where Reeb was working) “stirred the consciences and the moral responsiveness of the highest officials in our land—of the clergy and church people of America, of simple Negro and white men and women who wired, prayed, marched, and wept because of his sacrifice in the human struggle that now goes on without him—but not without his spirit, his memory, and his unfailing determination that justice and right will overcome.”

Yes, sometimes it takes a shock to remind us of our common humanity.  Even Quakers could be complacent while the Other was suffering, until one of our own was swept up in the bloody tide.

And remember when that nice old man called Code Pink 'scum'?  Yeah, it's out of the same playbook as Selma's police commissioner used against people of conscience.  It has been observed, however, that scum rises to the top...

ntodd

February 19, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Apparently She Wasn't Just A Peace Creep

I see, Kayla Mueller is going to be Rachel Corried by the Right.  Oh, what a fine bunch of reubens.

ntodd

February 11, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Peace Creeps Redux

Have any RWNJs called Kayla Mueller a peace creep yet, or is that just so 2006?

Regardless, peace be to her family, and all who knew and loved her.  One hopes someday we'll stop creating conditions in which people like Ms Mueller, the people she helps, and our troops have to endure so much sacrifice.

ntodd

February 10, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, February 08, 2015

Orangeburg


Scarred Justice.

ntodd

February 8, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

"Sympathetic with the efforts of any group to enjoy the rights of equality..."

After Congress passed the proposed 13th Amendment in 1865:

The President signed the joint resolution on the first of February. Somewhat curiously the signing has only one precedent, and that was in spirit and purpose the complete antithesis of the present act. President Buchanan had signed the proposed amendment of 1861, which would make slavery national and perpetual.

But many held that the President's signature was not essential to an act of this kind, and, on the fourth of February, Senator Trumbull offered a resolution, which was agreed to three days later, that the approval was not required by the Constitution ; that it was contrary to the early decision of the Senate and of the Supreme Court; and that the negative of the President applying only to the ordinary cases of legislation, he had nothing to do with propositions to amend the Constitution.

Though thus decided, that the signature of the President to an act of this kind is not required, there was a peculiar fitness in sending the joint resolution to Mr. Lincoln. It may well be believed that he never set his name to a public document with deeper satisfaction.

Seldom in the history of a nation have two men, whose character and capacities are in so marked contrast, been elevated to such vast power as James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. They typify two irreconcilable ideas in human government; ideas fully comprehended in the amendments, to the Constitution, which they signed.

An important step forward.  Yet even after ratification, there obviously was a lot of work left to be done.

That includes the efforts of four North Carolina A&T University students on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, which launched a major activist movement.  One of those brave young men was Franklin E. McCain, Sr (who died in January '14):

There was a little old white lady who was finishing up her coffee at the counter. She strode toward me and I said to myself, “Oh my, someone to spit in my face or slap my face.” I was prepared for it.

But she stands behind Joseph McNeil and me and puts her hands on our shoulders. She said, “Boys, I'm so proud of you. I only regret that you didn't do this 10 years ago.”

That was the biggest boost, morally, that I got that whole day, and probably the biggest boost for me during the entire movement.

But this created a lot of inconvenience which made people mad and unsympathetic to the cause, so they really shouldn't have done it...

ntodd

February 1, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, January 23, 2015

We Have Guided Missiles And Friendly Regimes Who Need More Of Them

Louie connects the dots from nonviolence in Selma to giving weapons away:

See, Louie Gohmert does not watch movies like you or I watch movies. His version contains running commentaries that only Louie Gohmert and certain breeds of dogs can hear.

"People in Egypt know about Dr. King," he continued. "He wanted a peaceful demonstration and they were part of a peaceful demonstration. Unfortunately, radical Islam did not like being removed. They burned churches. They went after Christians. They went after Jews."

This comparison would suggest that white Southern segregationists are the U.S. equivalent of "radical Islam," what with the church burnings and going after peaceful protestors. Louie Gohmert does not think these things through. Ever.

The observation came at the end of a long monologue, in which Gohmert interweaved words of support for Israel, condemnation of Boko Haram, and praise of the military takeover of Egypt's Islamist government by the secular dictator Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

All of which was mere decoration around the real reason for Louie Gohmert's speech on the House floor, which was to explain that Barack Obama is bad for not supporting Egyptian junta leader al-Sisi by giving him more helicopters and tanks. Which is what Martin Luther King, Jr. would have wanted, we presume, or at least it would have made the movie Selma more of a high-budget, Michael Bay affair.

I'm honestly surprised the good Congressman didn't call for sending ground troops to support freedom, just like Dr King did during Vietnam (LBJ never gets any credit for that).

ntodd 

January 23, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, January 19, 2015

To Resist Is To Exist

Over at Raw Story, SEK has a compilation of "12 statements by Martin Luther King Jr. you won’t see conservatives post on Facebook today."  I'll note that #10 is probably one you also won't see most liberals post, either--I even have anecdata about that!

Anyway, I think a fuller context for that one sentence from The Social Organization of Nonviolence (1959) is warranted:

[O]ne must be clear that there are three different views on the subject of violence. One is the approach of pure nonviolence, which cannot readily or easily attract large masses, for it requires extraordinary discipline and courage.

The second is violence exercised in self-defense, which all societies, from the most primitive to the most cultured and civilized, accept as moral and legal. The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi, who sanctioned it for those unable to master pure nonviolence.

The third is the advocacy of violence as a tool of advancement, organized as in warfare, deliberately and consciously. To this tendency many Negroes are being tempted today. There are incalculable perils in this approach. It is not the danger or sacrifice of physical being which is primary, though it cannot be contemplated without a sense of deep concern for human life.

The greatest danger is that it will fail to attract Negroes to a real collective struggle, and will confuse the large uncommitted middle group, which as yet has not supported either side. Further, it will mislead Negroes into the belief that this is the only path and place them as a minority in a position where they confront a far larger adversary than it is possible to defeat in this form of combat.

When the Negro uses force in selfdefense he does not forfeit support-he may even win it, by the courage and selfrespect it reflects. When he seeks to initiate violence he provokes questions about the necessity for it, and inevitably is blamed for its consequences.6

With that as backdrop, now listen to Congressman John Lewis on The Art and Discipline of Nonviolence, as heard on NPR's On Being last week.  There will be a quiz later.

ntodd

January 19, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Monday, January 12, 2015

The People Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

The Power Elite is very upset that some of the People mobilized and interrupted a self-congratulatory gathering after reneging on single-payer promises.  Be more polite, or nothing will ever change!

ntodd

January 12, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ain't Gonna Study Violence No More

I'm sure this will solve everything:

The White House plans a conference next month on efforts to counter violent extremism — in light of this past week's shootings in France, and earlier attacks in Canada and Australia.

The meeting will highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others in the United States and elsewhere to carry out violent acts.

The White House says the Feb. 18 summit will build upon a current U.S. strategy to address the threat of violent extremism. The White House says cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul have taken a leading role as part of their approach to crime prevention and community safety.

Now that he's a lame duck with a Republican Congress, perhaps Obama could also push for a Department of Peace.  This ain't something you figure out in a day-long confab, but requires ongoing study in a different frame from our usual MO of "when all else fails, bomb shit."

ntodd

January 11, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Truce In The War On Xmas

Saw this at RMJ's place:

I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence ... We all went out ... and just stood listening ... All I'd heard for two months ... was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets, ... machinegun fire and distant German voices. But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted 'Merry Christmas', even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.

The words of Alfred Anderson, "last living veteran who'd been present at the 1914 Christmas Truce."

An important conclusion elsewhere:

The 1914 Christmas Truce of one hundred years ago was an extraordinary example of how wars can only continue if soldiers agree to fight. It needs to be honored and celebrated, even if it was only a flash of a moment in time. It represents the potential of human disobedience to insane policies. As German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht proclaimed, General, your tank is a powerful vehicle. It smashes down forests, and crushes a Hundred men. But it has one defect: it needs a driver. If commoners refused en masse to drive the tank of war, the leaders would be left to fight their own battles. They would be brief.

Peace on Earth, goodwill toward Humankind.

ntodd

December 24, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Justice Paused Is Justice Denied

I'm sure he means well:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio implored protesters on Monday to wait until after the funerals of two policemen shot dead in an ambush before resuming rallies that have roiled the city and beyond over the deaths of black men at the hands of police.

But de Blasio's plea was quickly dismissed by several activist groups that vowed to continue protests that have stirred the city daily after grand juries chose not to indict police officers who killed Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

I'd reject the call myself.  While the killer himself had nothing to do with the movement, clearly these murders are part and parcel of our overall struggle for justice and mitigating the cycle of violence.

Certainly the tone and messaging could change to reflect the latest developments, but there's no need to pause the work that needs to be done.

ntodd

December 23, 2014 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack