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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.


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.


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...


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015



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.


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.


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.


* Twelfth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or we stop feeding the kids! *

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...


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

* Twelfth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or we'll do something very, very bad! *

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.


* Twelfth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or we'll do something very, very bad! *

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

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Saturday, June 06, 2015

"I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me."

Since we're watching Band of Brothers, and I've already posted a clip, I might as well note (again) that in the miniseries' first installment, Sgt Guarnere says of then-Lt Winters:

I like Winters, he's a good man. But when the bullets start flying, I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me.

For this day, I would've used this clip of an ambush in Episode 2 when Wild Bill refuses to wait for Winters' command then denigrates him as a Quaker sotto voce, but embedding was once again disabled.  I also wanted to use this funny clip when Winters disabuses his NCO of the faulty impression, but alas...no embedding.  And I'm too lazy to rip the scenes myself right now.

Anyway, we Friends generally don't want anybody to be fighting for us, either, but a significant number also have been known to join in brawls when they seem particularly just.  Goes to show you never can tell...


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

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Why Quakers Are Practitioners Of Nonviolence

A QuakerSpeak from last year that seems apt on this day (via Anthony).


PS--I hate the term 'pacifist'.

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

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Helpful Response To Baltimore

My favorite:

Collect them all!


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

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Reading The Riot Act

Here are a few items about Bal'mer that haters of justice will refuse to read but still desperately try to rebut:

  • Alternet - The protests are only mysteries to American policymakers and members of the public who live in a state of denial.
  • Salon - We don’t live in an ideal world where oppressors calmly hear out people they oppress before the sh*t hits the fan.
  • Slate - The rioting in Baltimore wasn’t hooliganism. It was a protest against the depredations of the ghetto economy.




May 2, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Long Live The King

Sadly, yes:

There is a ritual that accompanies these moments of protest by black Americans, and the wholly predictable urban unrest that follows the repeated killings of unarmed black people by police.

The high priests of public opinion take to the TV, radio and Internet and summon the memory of Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn black folks who are “rioting,” for the latter are violating the sacred covenant of “nonviolence” that King, as one of America’s greatest leaders and martyrs, supposedly died for.

The man and woman on the street participate in this act of American civil religion as well. They mutter some basic understanding of Dr. King’s dream, spittle an accompanying phrase about the civil rights movement, as they shake their heads in consternation at the violent protests in Baltimore and elsewhere.

The high priests of public opinion on the dais, and those who sit in the pews of Dr. King and the civil rights movement as civil religion, are engaged in futile acts of conjuring. They are trying to channel a weak and flattened memory of a man, one that has been reduced to selling fast food in January and February, made into an onerous statue at Washington’s mall, and reduced to a paragraph that is ripped from a towering speech.

If the legacy of the real Dr. King — his radical politics, vision and challenging words and deeds for an America sick with white supremacy, class inequality, warmongering and hatred for the poor — was properly channeled, it would deafen the chattering classes and broad swaths of the American public.

Been seeing this from the angry right and tut-tutting left.  Good thing I have a post in my back pocket to throw out there every time I confront ignorance...


April 30, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Occupied Territory

To smash something is the ghetto's chronic need.

 - Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin writing in 1966 of Harlem (and Chicago, Detroit, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ferguson, Baltimore...):

[T]he police are simply the hired enemies of this population. They are present to keep the Negro in his place and to protect white business interests, and they have no other function. They are, moreover—even in a country which makes the very grave error of equating ignorance with simplicity—quite stunningly ignorant; and, since they know that they are hated, they are always afraid. One cannot possibly arrive at a more surefire formula for cruelty.

This is why those pious calls to “respect the law,” always to be heard from prominent citizens each time the ghetto explodes, are so obscene. The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer. To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect.

What year is this?


April 29, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's Like Nobody Ever Listens

 I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension."

 - Dr King

What's that you say?  There was yet another isolated instance of a black person being executed without due process?  People taking to the streets again, with some untidiness occurring?

Well then, we should judge them, remind them that it's their fault, and move on in the smug knowledge that the system works for us because we're so righteous.  And don't forget that we're totes committed to their passivity...er, non-violence!

[Y]eah, NV methods might be the "best" to achieve justice in Ferguson and elsewhere (both from a moral and practical perspective), but that's easy for me to say from my privileged position.  I was raised in the Quaker tradition more or less, spent decades learning about NV movements and how to apply NV tactics in a variety of circumstances, and of course benefit from the current power structures rather than being oppressed by them, so don't really know what it's like to suffer from repeated injustices.
[V]iolence is a natural, human response to negative exogenous developments so engaging in NV can be rather hard, which is why it's a tool of the strong and really has to be learned and practiced.  Yes, even Gandhi and King couldn't get everybody to adopt their philosophy, despite all the charisma they brought to bear--both also understood the reasons for violence by the oppressed, and sought to not only educate but foster the conditions where more people could join them.

So the folks in Ferg...uh, Bal'mer should stop with all the property damage and looting that impede social progress!

Property damage and murder have also been significant tools used by whites in denying black social progress.  Property damage and looting have also been significant tools in white political progress.  Property damage and looting have also been significat tools for communicating by the unheard.

It's easy for white dudes--and safe black scolds like Bill Cosby who yell at black kids to pull up their pants as though that's what is wrong with America and if only their pants weren't riding low they'd all have good jobs and political empowerment and never get shot by white dudes--to say rioting is bad and reinforces black stereotypes.  It's easy for white dudes to say that when white dudes who riot are never representative of their demographic and white dudes who kill always have a good reason because of those rioting black thugs and demons and animals.  It's easy for white dudes to say we should trust the system when it consistently and persistently disenfranchises and disrespects and disregards and dispossesses and disillusions black Americans.

It's easy for white dudes to not listen because they're always so busy lecturing.  So it becomes easy for other Americans to use the few tools they have available, when white dudes only want them to be impotent.

I mean, how stupid is it for people to destroy their own neighborhoods?

 It’s bred out of a larger sense of hopelessness, despair, and isolation from mainstream education and economic opportunities. Add to that an overall lack of respectful treatment in the criminal justice system, and not being offered the same economic, housing, and employment opportunities, and the ingredients are all there for a rebellion whenever an incident takes place. And when you’re angry, you’re going to take it out on the closet thing to you, in this case your neighborhood, probably most which you don‘t own anyway.

That's just silly.  This nation was founded on absolutely peaceful protest, and it really behooves today's thugs to sit in silent reflection upon that point.  Right, Martin?

[A] riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened...It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

Sorry, I didn't quite catch that?

 "If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin but he who causes the darkness."

The policy-makers of the white society have caused the darkness. It was they who created the frustrating slums. They perpetuate unemployment and poverty and oppression. Perhaps it is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes, but these are essentially derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.

When asking Negroes to abide by the law let us also declare that the white man does not abide by the law. Day in and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments. He flagrantly violates building codes and housing regulations. His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law. He violates laws on equal employment and education. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society. Negroes live in them, but they do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. And so let us say forthrightly that, if the total slum violations of law by the white man over the years are calculated and compared with the lawbreaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would handily be the white man...

Nah, that can't be right.  The police are merely acting in the only possible manner in the face of thoughtless brutes.

Whew.  Now I feel better.  And I'm sure I'll never have to admonish people to resist properly ever again...


April 28, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack