Daily Archive: 03/10/2011

Mar 10 2011

Class War Coup d’ Etat: Un-Nation of Laws

Well, the news is already out. Republicans now think they can pass laws with no public debate and without the presence of their Democratic counter-parts. We know why they do this.

Because they can.

Madison Wisconsin is a testing ground for the final battles of the Class War. “How much money and rights can we strip from the People and pass up to the Elites without actual consequence?” They ask themselves, while resting warm, well fed and comfy in their Executive Suites in the jobs the tax payers provide for them. “Eventually all those idiots will grow tired and go home. And, if they get in any way violent? We’ll call them terrorists and use deadly force. They’re broke and hungry, they have to go home sometime, or back to their jobs for whatever pittance we choose to pay them. We can just outlast them.

In Michigan Republicans have decided that they can dissolve local Governments and appoint “Managers” that have every right to dissolve Unions, Contracts and “decide” the budget expenditures with no input from the voters at all.

(Video is a few days old and slanted toward the right)

Why do they think they can do this?

Mar 10 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: What Wisconsin Democrats can teach Washington Democrats

Consider the contrast between two groups of Democrats, in Wisconsin and in the nation’s capital.

Washington Democrats, including President Obama, have allowed conservative Republicans to dominate the budget debate so far. As long as the argument is over who will cut more from federal spending, conservatives win. Voters may think the GOP is going too far, but when it comes to dollar amounts, they know Republicans will always cut more.

In Wisconsin, by contrast, 14 Democrats in the state Senate defined the political argument on their own terms – and they are winning it.

By leaving Madison rather than providing a quorum to pass Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on collective bargaining for public employees, the Wisconsin 14 took a big risk. Yet to the surprise of establishment politicians, voters have sided with the itinerant senators and the unions against a Republican governor who has been successfully portrayed as an inflexible ideologue. And in using questionable tactics to force the antiunion provision through the Senate on Wednesday, Republicans may win a procedural round but lose further ground in public opinion.

Robert Reich: The Birth of the People’s Party

Look at the outrage in Madison, Wisconsin. Look at the crowds in DesMoines, Iowa. Look at the demonstrations in Indiana and Ohio and elswhere around America.

Hear what they’re saying: Stop attacking unions. Stop making scapegoats out of public employees. Stop protecting the super-rich from paying their fair share of the taxes needed to keep our schools running.

Stop gutting the working middle class.

Noam Chomsky: The Cairo-Madison Connection

On Feb. 20, Kamal Abbas, Egyptian union leader and prominent figure in the Jan. 25 movement, sent a message to the “workers of Wisconsin”: “We stand with you as you stood with us.”

Egyptian workers have long fought for fundamental rights denied by the U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak regime. Kamal is right to invoke the solidarity that has long been the driving force of the labor movement worldwide, and to compare their struggles for labor rights and democracy.

The two are closely intertwined. Labor movements have been in the forefront of protecting democracy and human rights and expanding their domains, a primary reason why they are the bane of systems of power, both state and private.

The trajectories of labor struggles in Egypt in the U.S. are heading in opposite directions: toward gaining rights in Egypt, and defending rights under harsh attack in the U.S.

Mar 10 2011

On This Day in History March 10

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 10 is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 296 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, Tibetans band together in revolt, surrounding the summer palace of the Dalai Lama in defiance of Chinese occupation forces.

China’s occupation of Tibet began nearly a decade before, in October 1950, when troops from its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded the country, barely one year after the Communists gained full control of mainland China. The Tibetan government gave into Chinese pressure the following year, signing a treaty that ensured the power of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the country’s spiritual leader, over Tibet’s domestic affairs. Resistance to the Chinese occupation built steadily over the next several years, including a revolt in several areas of eastern Tibet in 1956. By December 1958, rebellion was simmering in Lhasa, the capital, and the PLA command threatened to bomb the city if order was not maintained.

Lhasa Rebellion

On 1 March 1959, an unusual invitation to attend a theatrical performance at the Chinese military headquarters outside Lhasa was extended to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, at the time studying for his lharampa geshe degree, initially postponed the meeting, but the date was eventually set for 10 March. On 9 March, the head of the Dalai Lama’s bodyguard was visited by Chinese army officers. The officers insisted that the Dalai Lama would not be accompanied by his traditional armed escort to the performance, and that no public ceremony for the Dalai Lama’s procession from the palace to the camp should take place, counter to tradition.

According to historian Tsering Shakya, the Chinese government was pressuring the Dalai Lama to attend the People’s Congress in April 1959, in order to repair China’s image with relation to ethnic minorities after the Khampa’s rebellion. On 7 February 1959, a significant day on the Tibetan calendar, the Dalai Lama attended a religious dance, after which the acting representative in Tibet, Tan Guansan, offered the Dalai Lama a chance to see a performance from a dance troupe native to Lhasa at the Norbulingka to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s completion of his lharampa geshe degree. According to the Dalai Lama’s memoirs, the Dalai Lama agreed, but said that the Norbulingka did not have the facilities, and suggested the new auditorium in the PLA headquarters in Lhasa as a more appropriate venue. Neither the Kashag nor the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards were informed of the Dalai Lama’s plans until Chinese officials briefed them on 9 March, one day before the performance was scheduled, and insisted that they would handle the Dalai Lama’s security. Some members of the Kashag were alarmed that were not also invited to lead a customary armed procession, recalling a prophecy that told that the Dalai Lama should not exit his palace.

According to historian Tsering Shakya, some Tibetan government officials feared that plans were being laid for a Chinese abduction of the Dalai Lama, and spread word to that effect amongst the inhabitants of Lhasa. On 10 March, several thousand Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent him from leaving or being removed. The huge crowd had gathered in response to a rumor that the Chinese communists were planning to arrest the Dalai Lama when he went to a cultural performance at the PLA’s headquarters. This marked the beginning of the uprising in Lhasa, though Chinese forces had skirmished with guerrillas outside the city in December of the previous year. Although CCP offcials insisted that the “reactionary upper stratum” in Lhasa was responsible for the rumor, there is no way to identify the precise source. At first, the violence was directed at Tibetan officials perceived not to have protected the Dalai Lama or to be pro-Chinese; attacks on Hans started later. One of the first casualties of mob was a senior lama, Pagbalha Soinam Gyamco, who worked with the PRC as a member of the Preparatory Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, who was killed and his body dragged by a horse in front of the crowd for two kilometres.

On 12 March, protesters appeared in the streets of Lhasa declaring Tibet’s independence. Barricades went up on the streets of Lhasa, and Chinese and Tibetan rebel forces began to fortify positions within and around Lhasa in preparation for conflict. A petition of support for the armed rebels outside the city was taken up, and an appeal for assistance was made to the Indian consul. Chinese and Tibetan troops continued moving into position over the next several days, with Chinese artillery pieces being deployed within range of the Dalai Lama’s summer palace, the Norbulingka. On 15 March, preparations for the Dalai Lama’s evacuation from the city were set in motion, with Tibetan troops being employed to secure an escape route from Lhasa. On 17 March, two artillery shells landed near the Dalai Lama’s palace, triggering his flight into exile. On 19 March the Chinese started to shell the Norbulingka, prompting the full force of the Uprising. According to the freetibet website, on 21 March 800 shells rained down on the palace, including the shelling of the Norbulingka and Lhasa’s major monasteries, slaughtering thousands of Tibetan men, women and children. Combat lasted only about two days, with Tibetan rebel forces being badly outnumbered and poorly armed.

Mar 10 2011

Six In The Morning

Libyan rebels: ‘Why won’t the world help us?’

Protest movement pleads for intervention as Gaddafi’s forces step up counter-attack

By Kim Sengupta in Ras Lanuf Thursday, 10 March 2011

As Colonel Gaddafi’s forces carried out bloody assaults on rebel-held towns yesterday, those on the receiving end of the wrath were increasingly asking a stark question: Why is the West failing to offer help in our desperate time of need?

Two frontline towns held by dissidents came under sustained attack and an oil facility was set ablaze yesterday during ferocious fighting that left dozens dead as Gaddafi forces rolled back military gains of the opposition.

The feeling was growing in opposition ranks that the disorganised and disunited political and military leadership of the protest movement would not withstand for much longer the sustained pressure being applied by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

Mar 10 2011

Wisconsin: Taking Back America

Michael Moore appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show commenting on the aftermath of the stealth, and quite possibly illegal, vote by the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate to remove the right of collective bargaining from state workers. He was so furious that his voice actually broke with the emotion of the moment. Every working person in this country needs to walk out on Friday at 2 PM in your respective time zones and join the people of Wisconsin to take back our country for the people.

Mar 10 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 9, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 10 2011

Walking Away from Omelas

Ursula K. LeGuin, a sorely underappreciated sci-fi writer, wrote a short story in 1974 called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. It’s in pdf, but take five minutes and read it.

Then follow me below the fold.

Mar 10 2011

My Little Town 20010309: Dee Kirkendall

Those of you that read this irregular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I never write about living people except with their express permission, so this installment is about a long dead denizen of Hackett.  I never learnt what Dee’s real first name was; everyone just called him Dee.

He was a deputy sheriff just about forever.  This was in the mid 1960s to around 1980, give or take.  Here is what I remember about him.

Mar 10 2011

On Wisconsin!

I’m enraged.  Wisconsin’s union workers this evening were temporarily outflanked by a legislative maneuver of questionable legality.  And of despicably sleazy intent. The Senate decided that, as everyone in opposition to it has been saying for months, the union busting bill really wasn’t a fiscal measure, the previous pronouncements that it was be damned.  No, it wasn’t a fiscal measure.  It was a union busting measure.  And therefore, the bill didn’t need a quorum in the Senate.  It could pass the Wisconsin Senate with no democrats voting.  Or even appearing.  So there. This wonderfully disingenuous piece of legislative legerdemain has– let’s call it what it is–  temporarily screwed Wisconsin’s public unions by withdrawing their right to bargain collectively.

And now.  And now, amigo@s, comes the real test.  Will the unions and their supporters and the demonstrators and you and I all throw up our hands in defeat and despair and slink home?  Will we say in words or actions, “Oh, we lost, it’s over, let’s just forget about it and move on?”  Or will we stand up now and fight on (nonviolently) with ever renewed dedication to overturn this evil, unpopular, antidemocratic, antiunion measure?

I hope that hundreds of thousands of people show up in Madison tomorrow to demonstrate against Governor Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans.  I hope an equal number will show up in Lansing.  And in Union Square, New York.  And in San Francisco.  And Chicago.  And in every town and city in America that recognizes the dignity of workers and their right to bargain collectively.  I hope the recall efforts will be redoubled.  I hope that the demonstrators inspire a nationwide high school strike tomorrow at 2 pm.  And I hope the demonstrators will invite farmers to show their support, to come to Madison, to ride their tractors to and surround the capitol.  And I hope that across Wisconsin and across America teachers and nurses and garbage collectors and firemen and bureaucrats and policemen will all link arms with other workers, students, progressives, anyone who supports the unions and sees that the withdrawal of public unions’ collective bargaining rights is a step back, a regression into the darkness of the Nineteenth Century.

Yes, I’m enraged.  But I’m also hopeful.  I’m hopeful that we, you and I, amig@s, will not let Walker and the Koch funded Teapublicans get away with this.  I’m hopeful that this is the beginning not of a demonstration, but of an actual, popular movement.  I hope that the movement will continue with increased strength and focus to preserve the rights of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Yes, I’m idealistic.  And maybe pretty unrealistic.  And not particularly practical.  That doesn’t matter.  I believe that what we are about to see is a real change.  Coming from an organic movement.  And that we will now begin in earnest to link arms and stand in Solidarity in the struggle for what I believe is the survival of the middle class.  Here’s John Lennon:

 

cross posted from The Dream Antilles  

Mar 10 2011

Prime Time

The horror.

I’m here to kick your ass, and you know it, and everybody here knows it, and above all, you deserve it. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that this party is about to become a historical fact.

I hate feeling ashamed. I hate where I’m from. I hate watching my friends get everything their hearts desire. I gave into that hatred and I turned on what I believed in. I didn’t have to. You didn’t.

Later-

We’re gonna bring this party up to a nice respectable level. Don’t worry, we’re not gonna hurt anyone. We’re not even gonna touch ’em. We’re just gonna make ’em cry a little, just by lookin’ at ’em.

Dave in repeats from 2/10.  Jon has Aaron Eckhart, Stephen David Brooks (David Broder being unresponsively dead and all).  Conan hosts Paul Rubens, Shane Mauss, and Edmund Morris.

Don’t go mistaking paradise for a pair of long legs.

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