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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Quaker And The Gadget

A Quaker reflects on his father's involvement in the Manhattan Project.  It's not clear to me if dad was a Friend himself, but I will note once again that some of us do, in fact, get involved in wars in various ways, because anybody can get to the point where evil seems impossible overcome without violence. 

ntodd

August 12, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Monday, August 10, 2015

#MoreThanMLK

The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and we will continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; we are.

 - Gandhi (1982)

Just a friendly reminder that there's more to nonviolent struggle than what Gandhi or King did.  We can take inspiration from their work, but I hear tell there's at least 198 different methods of attacking unjust systems.  Please make a note of it.

ntodd

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

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

#AllTensionMatters

I'd prefer the word 'demonstrator' here, but whatevs:

Moments after Sanders took the stage at Westlake Park, two women and one man climbed the stage and confronted the Democratic presidential candidate, demanding a chance to speak. 
 
After several moments of confusion and confrontation, an event organizer took the microphone and said the protesters would be allowed to speak before Sanders. Some in the crowd booed. 
 
One protester, who identified herself as Marissa Johnson, began by saying, “I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is — with all of its progressives — but you’ve already done that for me. Thank you.”
 
Johnson spoke, among other things, about police violence in Seattle, mentioning a federal investigation into the city's law enforcement that resulted in the appointment of a monitor to make sure Seattle police were complying with the terms set forth by the Justice Department.
 
“Bernie says that he’s all about the people and about grassroots. The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is Black Lives Matter,” she added.
 
She then mentioned the anniversary event that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement — the shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. last year.
 
Johnson requested four-and-a-half minutes of silence from the crowd, to honor the four-and-a-half hours Brown allegedly laid dead in the street after being killed.
 
Some in the crowd jeered the protesters and yelled “get off the stage,” but others replied “let her talk.”
 
At times, shouts of “arrest her” were audible.
 
After the four-and-a-half minutes, protesters did not relinquish the stage. 
 
"If you care about Black Lives Matter, as you say you do, you will hold Bernie Sanders specifically accountable for his actions," Johnson continued. 
 
She mentioned a similar interruption by Black Lives Matter activists during the annual progressive NetRoots Nation gathering. Protestors flooded the stage early on in the event and shouted down Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley as well as Sanders.
 
"Bernie, you were confronted at NetRoots at by black women," Johnson said before adding, "you have yet to put out a criminal justice reform package like O’Malley did."
 
After the protesters and organizers continued the confrontation on stage, Sanders waved to the crowd and walked off the stage.
 
He entered the crowd to greet supporters, who chanted his name as he shook hands.
 
The event, entitled "Social Security Works," was organized to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Seattle council-member Kshama Sawant spoke earlier at the event.

Does this make you uncomfortable?  Good.  Change doesn't come from comfort, it comes from people creating tension.  The question now is: what are we and Bernie going to do so demonstrators don't have to interrupt political rallies to get attention (and I don't mean increasing security screening)?

ntodd

August 8, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Protest Does Work Redux

Public opinion and the status quo concede nothing without a demand:

Nearly one year after Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a new poll shows a growing number of people believe there's much to be done before black lives will be valued as much as others.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe changes are needed to give African-Americans equal rights, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday.

That's up from 46 percent in a Pew poll just last year, before Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, setting off a series of demonstrations and fueling the Black Lives Matter movement. 

So much for "they're burning down their own cities and setting back the movement!"

ntodd

August 6, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Nuke The Nips

They're just vermin, amirite?

By 1945, most Americans didn’t care that the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not committed Japan’s war crimes. American wartime culture had for years drawn on a long history of “yellow peril” racism to paint the Japanese not just as inhuman, but as subhuman. As Truman put it in his diary, it was a country full of “savages” — “ruthless, merciless, and fanatic” people so loyal to the emperor that every man, woman, and child would fight to the bitter end. In these years, magazines routinelydepicted Japanese as monkeys, apes, insects, and vermin. Given such a foe, so went the prevailing view, there were no true “civilians” and nothing short of near extermination, or at least a powerful demonstration of America’s willingness to proceed down that path, could ever force their surrender. As Admiral William “Bull” Halsey said in a 1944 press conference, “The only good Jap is a Jap who’s been dead six months.”

In the years after World War II, the most virulent expressions of race hatred diminished, but not the widespread idea that the atomic bombs had been required to end the war, eliminating the need to invade the Japanese home islands where, it was confidently claimed, tooth-and-nail combat would cause enormous losses on both sides. The deadliest weapon in history, the one that opened the path to future Armageddon, had therefore saved lives. That was the stripped down mantra that provided the broadest and most enduring support for the introduction of nuclear warfare. By the time Truman, in retirement, published his memoir in 1955, he was ready to claim with some specificity that an invasion of Japan would have killed half-a-million Americans and at least as many Japanese.

Over the years, the ever-increasing number of lives those two A-bombs “saved” became a kind of sacred numerology. By 1991, for instance, President George H.W. Bush, praising Truman for his “tough, calculating decision,” claimed that those bombs had “spared millions of American lives.” By then, an atomic massacre had long been transformed into a mercy killing that prevented far greater suffering and slaughter.

Truman went to his grave insisting that he never had a single regret or a moment’s doubt about his decision. Certainly, in the key weeks leading up to August 6, 1945, the record offers no evidence that he gave serious consideration to any alternative.

I still can't condemn it for taking place in that racist time and context.  I find everything about the only nuclear attacks ever to be repulsive (not to mention unnecessary), same as slavery, the theft of native lands, etc.  The important thing is to not deny our history, and what we learn from it so as to treat our fellow human beings better going forward.

ntodd

August 5, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Protest Does Work

On Ferguson:

[A] community that had felt abused by the authorities for years erupted. Vandalism broke out, along with peaceful protests, and militarized police departments aggressively cracked down. The clashes attracted international news coverage. Riots and protests injured numerous people and caused extensive property damage. The controversy surrounding Brown's killing and the police response left the community reeling.

But the protests, in many ways, worked. Those abusive municipal court practices, which many residents said had fueled widespread disrespect for authority, are being reined in. And the outcry spread far beyond the Midwest. In many ways, the Ferguson protests changed America.

You won't believe what happened next...

ntodd

August 5, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

BDS Scares Clinton, Et Al

The Hill: Is boycott a bad word?

Our Framers: hell no.

ntodd

July 30, 2015 in Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Arc Of History Bends Toward A Little Less Racist Brutality

To be fair, pepper spraying black people standing up for their basic rights is a bit of progress from shooting them to death and nailing them with fire hoses.  And hey, it's not like the cop is herding the protesters into ovens like Obama is doing with the Jews.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Protest Never Works

Exhibit A:

Twenty-five years ago this weekend, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, officially outlawing discrimination against disabled people in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and government services. The law was a long time coming: Activists had fought for decades against unequal access to jobs and exclusion from public schools. But the ADA might never have gotten to President George H.W. Bush's desk were it not for a group of activists in wheelchairs who took matters into their own hands earlier that year.

On March 12, 1990, hundreds of people with disabilities gathered at the foot of the Capitol building in Washington to protest the bill's slow movement through Congress. Dozens left behind their wheelchairs, got down on their hands and knees, and began pulling themselves slowly up the 83 steps toward the building's west entrance, as if daring the politicians inside to continue ignoring all the barriers they faced. Among the climbers was Jennifer Keelan, an eight-year-old from Denver with cerebral palsy. "I'll take all night if I have to!" she yelled while dragging herself higher and higher.

The Capitol Crawl, as it became known, made national headlines and pushed lawmakers to pass the ADA into law. When Bush finally signed the landmark bill, it was seen as one of the country's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation to date.

Also, too, once you win, there's no need to keep fighting.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Norwegian Resistance To Nazis

Okay, so this is one of those "I wish I knew more about that shit" posts.  I've seen On This Date thingies talk about a "Norwegian Manifesto" in 1942 calling for nonviolent resistance against Nazification, but I can find no original documents anywhere about it.

Many types of effective nonviolent methods were brought to bear during the entire occupation, but I'm wicked curious about this singular document that is mentioned all over the place with no deets.  If anybody knows anything, I'd appreciate a lead...

ntodd

July 25, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

BREAKING: Code Pink Shakes Hands With Warlord!

Truth be told, Medea is quite diminutive, though I'm not sure why that had to be included in this report.

ntodd

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

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The World Is A Little Darker Today

Very sad to read this last night:

Henderson County sheriff’s deputies are investigating after an unresponsive man was found unresponsive in a pond at the Transformus Festival.

Emergency responders arrived at the Watagnee Trail in the Horse Shoe community around 2 p.m. Sunday, according to Capt. Frank Stout.

Efforts to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful.

The man, identified as Jay Houston Marx, 35, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, Stout said.

Jay was such an energetic, passionate man--he reminded me of Mario Savio--doing great work to bring a little light into the world.  I am shocked and grieve his passing.  Pax.

ntodd

July 21, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Why BooMan Is Wrong

Because the relationship between social justice activists and politicians is inherently asymmetrical.  The ones on stage are privileged.  The people dying in the streets and those fighting to prevent more dying in the streets are not.

It's a "both sides do it" formulation that is too clever by half (Howard Thurman notwithstanding).

ntodd

July 20, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (3)

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bernie Burned

A bit disappointing:

Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders were interrupted by “Black Lives Matter” protesters during a town hall style segment at Netroots Nation in Phoenix on Saturday. The former Maryland Governor and current Vermont Senator, as well as moderator Jose Antonio Vargas, seemed caught off guard at times, as they attempted to simultaneously respond to the protesters while also discussing other topics.

Black Alliance for Just Immigration national coordinator Tia Oso, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors each briefly occupied the stage to draw attention to critical issues related to structural racism in America. Cullors acknowledged that while she took no pleasure in shutting down the discussion between Vargas and O’Malley, she felt compelled to, because she contended:

We are in a state of emergency. If you do not feel that emergency, then you are not human. I want to hear concrete action plans.

When pressed for concrete answers, O’Malley and Sanders both seemed to stumble a bit.
...
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had the opportunity to address the concerns of the “Black lives matter” protesters. Unfortunately, rather than seizing upon the moment to give voice to their concerns, Sanders began by saying:

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let me talk about what I want to talk about for a moment.

...Sanders drew loud applause when he proclaimed that we should “invest in jobs and education, not jails and incarceration”, but other than that, he mostly floundered in front of the demonstrators.

At one point, a flustered Sanders added that “of course black lives matter” but then he went on to add “but if you don’t want me to be here…” and he looked prepared to exit early. Vargas was able to keep Sanders from departing and he asked the Senator a few more questions. Sanders articulated much of his policy agenda, but a lot of what he said was unrelated to the core issues of concern to the “Black lives matter” protesters.

Given my history of disruption, I certainly can't criticize the tactics, though I'm not entirely sure that was the best application or timing.  You know, it takes all kinds, and maybe the protest will at least be a smack in the head that progressives--candidates, activists, voters--apparently need.

So one hopes that Bernie will learn from this and consider how he'd address the real concerns of #BlackLivesMatter.  His stumble here doesn't disqualify him from where I sit--no more than his support of F-35s in BTV, or other places where we don't see eye-to-eye--because a president can't really be perfectly everything to everybody.  Imma still vote for him in the primary.

But he wasn't just tone deaf.  Bernie failed to engage with a fairly significant problem across our entire nation, which is not something to petulantly walk off the stage for.   He'd damn well better work on this.

ntodd

Adding a reply I made to a friend's FB comment:

I didn't want to whitesplain (yet here I go). Anyway, this is kinda why I didn't think their disruption was the best application or timing. You generally protest against people who have been resistant to change, and have the greatest power to prevent it. I think Bernie can win, but he ain't the front runner, and while he hasn't been forging ahead in #BLM, it's not like he has refused to do anything. Might be better to approach him gently first through more standard channels, then if there's no movement, protest.

That said, it's not wrong to use this tactic even in contexts where it might not be entirely effective. I do not believe in the "set the movement back" trope in the slightest. It's a matter of where you want to expend your energy vs the potential for quicker/better outcomes.

Now that this happened, I expect Bernie to take a breath, be prepared to better listen, and consider how a white guy who represents a white state can work for justice in this arena. It ain't all about healthcare and jobs.

July 19, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (7)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Peace For A Time

Noz has good insight:

The current round of negotiations came about because other countries, notably the European countries who have had a lot of trade with Iran, agreed to impose harsh sanctions on Iran too. The Europeans only signed on because they understood the sanction regime was designed to bring Iran to the table to negotiate a nuclear deal. And it worked! Iran came to the table and negotiated a deal.

If the U.S. Congress rejects the deal, the European sanctions will end. Because Europe has such business ties to Iran, they will not tolerate harsh sanctions with no end date. Again, the Europeans are only doing this because they understand the sanctions to be a temporary arrangement until a more permanent deal is negotiated. Without the possibility of a permanent deal, European resolve will crumble and they will go back to doing business with Iran. American sanctions will stay, but thanks to decades without any trade between the U.S. and Iran, the unilateral American sanctions will go back to being just as ineffective as they were for years before the Europeans signed on.

In other words, if Congress rejects the deal with Iran the likely result will not be a better deal, it will be a worse deal. The sanctions that Iran actually cares about will be lifted without any inspections or limits on Iranian nuclear capabilities.

Jaw-jaw worked where war-war would not.

ntodd

July 15, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Discord

Iran:

Even with the world powers in agreement, Obama now must sell the virtues of the deal to skeptical lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Congress has 60 days to assess the accord and decide whether to pursue legislation imposing new sanctions on Iran or prevent Obama from suspending existing ones.

The president renewed his vow to veto any such legislation and urged lawmakers to consider the repercussions of their actions. He painted a grim scenario in which the rest of the world struck its own nuclear deals with Iran, leaving the U.S. isolated. And without the limitations and verifications included in the deal announced Tuesday, Obama said he or a future U.S. president would be more likely to face a decision about using U.S. military action to prevent Iran from building a bomb.

Reminds me of the furor over Jay's Treaty.

ntodd

July 14, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, July 03, 2015

Quaker Patriots

Friends JournalThe Challenge of Celebrating Historical Wars.

Every year the Friends meeting in Trenton, N.J., faces a challenge. Trenton is the site where two battles took place around Christmas 1776, changing the course of the Revolutionary War, and every year the city turns out to celebrate the anniversary of these battles. Preceded, as in 1776, by George Washington’s famous winter crossing of the Delaware River, the battle anniversary gives Trenton a delectable keystone for its tourism and economic development enterprise. During Patriots’ Week, December 26–31, the local calendar fills with demonstrations of marching, cannons blasting, muskets shooting, reenactments of the Delaware crossing and the two battles, feasting, dancing, a colonial tea, a march of Pennsylvania regiments from Philadelphia through Trenton to the Princeton battlefield, and more. Arts, history, civic, municipal, and business organizations collaborate to create nonstop festivity. As the hotel fills with guests, the city fills with pride in the fact that, as King George III’s advisors lamented at war’s end, “all our hopes were blasted by that unhappy affair at Trenton.”

Much of the festival happens at Trenton’s Old Barracks Museum, a handsomely restored historic site from the French and Indian War (1754–1763) that is the city’s most popular downtown historic destination. Old Barracks, along with Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church (1748) and Old Eagle Tavern (1765, now abandoned), are three of the four buildings from 1776 that remain today. The fourth is the Trenton Friends Meeting House, which was built in 1739.

Because we occupy one of the four original buildings, and because, as Friends, we care deeply about and work hard to promote the well-being of this post-industrial city, the meeting today finds itself caught between its civic commitment to Trenton and its principled witness against war. Like our eighteenth-century ancestors, we worry that silence in the face of, or absence from, this great civic celebration might foster suspicions about our loyalty. So rather than stand aside, we create special programs each year that support the Patriots’ Week festival, honoring Trenton’s history while also holding up our witness against militarism.

There's always especially been tension for Friends when "good" wars are waged, and some choose to fight whilst others maintain Witness against violence.  Ain't easy either way.

ntodd

July 3, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Next On The Kelly File: Aung San Suu Kyi Is No Saint, Either

Indeed, Gandhi was a weirdo, MLK fucked around, and even Good People have their blinders.

I'd submit that it's a deliberate ploy to set up strawmen saints so when their inevitable flaws are inevitably exposed, their movements can inevitably be dismissed.

ntodd

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June 14, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Who Tore Down The Wall?

Indeed, Reagan said lots of things.  But it takes the People to do the heavy lifting.  It weren't Ronnie's Mighty Cock what won the Cold War...

ntodd

PS--To be more specific, Nonviolent People actually do the heavy lifting.

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

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Outside Agitators Suck

Yup, elites manipulate people into hating people trying to change things to help people.

ntodd

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