Tag Archive: slavery

Nov 02 2017

There Is No Compromise on Slavery

Every reasonable American, who hasn’t been brainwashed by the bigots who still celebrate the Confederacy and the Civil War, knows that war was fought over slavery. To suggest otherwise is just flat out bigotry. On Monday, White House Chief of Staff General (ret.) John F. Kelly appeared on the premier of right wing host Laura …

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May 24 2017

Is An End To This War In Sight?

I’m not talking about Afghanistan or Iraq, although it would be nice if we had a president that could keep his word about ending these conflicts. No, I speak of the War Between the States, the US Civil War that is still raging on in many states one hundred fifty two years after General Robert …

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Jul 03 2015

Take Down That Flag

It took the deaths of nine people in a church by a white supremacist to wake people, organizations, businesses, state and local governments that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of treason and racism. In South Carolina, where the shooting occurred, the state legislature is slow to move on taking the flag down from the state capital grounds where it flies padlocked to the top of the pole. They are debating to debate. One person decided that not to wait for the defenders of treason and hate. So with a little help from her friends, Bree Newsome, a 30 year old black film maker song writer, did what no one else had the courage, or decency, to do, she climbed the pole and took the flag down.

Ms. Newsome and her friend, James Tyson, was arrested and released on bail. They could face up to three yers in jail and a $5000 fine, She and Mr, Tyson, spoke with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman about the reasons they took this action.

Their action came 10 days after Dylann Roof, who embraced the Confederate flag, allegedly massacred nine African-American churchgoers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

From atop the flagpole, Bree Newsome said, “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!” Newsome explained her choice of words. “In one of those nights where I was pondering, ‘Have I completely lost my mind in doing this?’ I read the story of David and Goliath, and David says to Goliath, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, and I come against you in the name of the Lord,’ and that, for me as a black woman in America, that’s what that moment felt like, because I come from a historically completely disempowered place,” Newsome said. “And so I think that’s why it was so powerful to a lot of people, especially to black women, to see me up there holding that flag in that way.”



Transcript can be read here

Jan 19 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 1.19.15

I have 3 articles for your morning perusal that are kind of on the darker side of things. It’s Monday, so I’m more morose anyway, lol.

First, a decent Oped on Terrorists:

Are All Terrorists Muslims? It’s Not Even Close

Obviously, there are people who sincerely view themselves as Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. We Muslims can make the case that their actions are not based on any part of the faith but on their own political agenda. But they are Muslims, no denying that.

However, and this will probably shock many, so you might want to take a breath: Overwhelmingly, those who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe aren’t Muslims. Let’s give that a moment to sink in.

Jump!

Oct 12 2014

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

It always puzzled me why schools continue to teach historical myths as factual. One of the bigger myths that is taught to American school children is about the Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. In an article at Common Dreams, author and historian William Loren Katz lays bare the real story and it isn’t pretty.

Christopher Columbus Driven by Ill Winds

Columbus’s Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were driven across the Atlantic by the same ill winds that from 1095 to 1272 launched nine Eruopean Crusades to capture Moslem Jerusalem. Defeated and humiliated the invaders suffered staggering human losses, left royal treasuries depleted, and convinced Christian leaders to only pay lip service to another try.

Except for Christopher Columbus. Born Christopher Colon this ambitious Genoese craved adventure, was given to religious mysticism to the point he accepted God’s personal command to free the Holy Land. He also saw God’s hand in cloud formations, splashing waves, and distant stars, and had read a religious book that convinced him the world would end in 150 years. He claimed at sea he once saw three mermaids dancing on waves, and was sure in distant lands he would meet men with tails or heads of dogs. God had chosen him specifically to see Christianity victorious “throughout the universe.” And he would follow His command to convert or destroy Moslems, Jews and other non-believers. Columbus’s earliest sea experiences were as a youth serving on Portuguese slave-trading ships along Africa’s Atlantic coast. He learned men, women and children could be captured and sold for enormous profits. With enough slaves and gold, even a lowly Columbus could finally end the infidel grip on Holy Land. [..]

Columbus’s voyage eastward to seek the riches of Asia has been called the momentous journey in history. To him it was only first step toward his larger goal. After five weeks in the Atlantic, his food supplies running low and lying to grumbling crewmen he was not a man lost at sea, Columbus stumbled on an island in the Bahamas named Guanahani. On the morning of October 12, 1492 with a crew in heavy armor bearing swords and muskets, he left the Santa Maria for the sunny shore and a military and nationalist mission. He planted Spain’s flag in the soil, took “possession of the said island for the king and queen,” and renamed it San Salvador. “With fifty men your Highness would hold them all in subjection and do with them all that you could wish,” he wrote in his Diary. The Admiral was applying the new European “doctrine of discovery” that granted its merchant adventurers the right to claim distant lands and their inhabitants. Papal bulls of the time also divided “discovered” lands between Spain and Portugal, and in 1494 the Vatican specifically drew a line dividing the Americas – and the slave trade – between these seafaring powers.

Columbus and his expedition was also a product of Spain’s painful “final solution.” Since 711 Spain’s Moslem Arab rulers shared their cultural wealth with and practiced toleration of the country’s diverse citizenry. Catholics, Jews and Moslems lived peacefully with neighbors, as Spain became a world center of books and learning.

Then Catholic King Ferdinand of Castille and Queen Isabella marshaled an army to impose Christan rule. Castillian soldiers charged into battle with the cry “Santiago Matamoros” or “Kill the Moors.” By January 1492 Christian soldiers stood poised for victory and an era of ethnic cleansing.

The article goes onto to describe how Columbus and his men were welcomed and responded with treachery. Columbus’ voyages were the opening salvo in what would become a holocaust across the North and South American continents that continued for over 300 years. It is time that we stopped celebrating this slaughter. On Monday, celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, also known as Native American Day and learn the real history of America’s discovery and about the culture of its native people.

Oct 20 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: What Is Capitalism? Part I by Le Gauchiste

There have appeared in this space several thought-provoking attempts to define capitalism, including here see and here see:. Although this might seem to some a mere academic exercise, nothing could be further from the truth: to be effective, activism to change, transform or overthrow any human construction must be rooted in a thorough and accurate understanding thereof.

This is especially important when discussing capitalism, both because its pervasive ubiquity creates a familiarity that masquerades as understanding and because the defenders of the system work tirelessly to spew lies about its virtues. Even more treacherous than the increasingly strained defenses of the system by modern conservatives are the ideological productions of modern liberals who claim a desire to reform capitalism or ameliorate those of its consequences they don’t like.

The key problem is that liberals and conservatives share the same basic understanding of capitalism, which is rooted in the neo-classical revolution in mainstream economics that occurred in the late 19th century. On this view, capitalism is a “natural” system arising from and based on market exchanges between buyers and sellers of commodities, which are assumed to maximize “efficiency” (defined in terms of allowing “supply” and “demand” to set market-clearing prices) and human happiness (defined as the total dollar value of market commodities bought and sold (GDP), regardless of what needs they meet or how they are distributed among the population).

Thus the neo-classical view (like the classical political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo that preceded it) is fundamentally ahistorical: capitalism is understood not as a historically specific constellation of economic relations, but rather as the result of encouraging the supposedly natural human tendency to engage in market transactions on a competitive basis with the goal of maximizing profit.

Even worse, the neo-classical assumption that the “market” is a naturally occurring phenomenon forces it to posit an Ideal Type Market-characterized by virtually unrestrained good-faith buying and selling backed up by rules to enforce the terms of transactions-against which historical social formations are measured by the degree to which they approximate the Ideal Type and can be called “capitalistic.” In this view there is of course no room for understanding how the historical economies of pre-capitalist social formations worked on their own terms, because those terms are assumed ab initio to represent flaws, deviations from the Ideal Type that maximizes happiness.

And therein lies the reason that neo-classical economics provides an unstable intellectual foundation for capitalist reformism that unavoidably undermines any case for change, because all such reforms involve straying from the Ideal Type Market. That is why, in televised “debates” about regulation between conservatives and liberals, when the former extol the virtues of the market and call for “non-interference,” the latter start off the same way (Obama does this all the time) and then suddenly pivot to an argument that some specific reform represents an exception to the free market rule. Conservatives thus always come off as more intellectually consistent while liberals seem (and in fact are) intellectually muddled and confused-even when “the facts” seem to stand in their favor.

We, however, are Anti-capitalists, and we need an understanding of capitalism that historicizes it as a system with a definite beginning and, therefore, a possible end.

Jun 26 2012

Antonin Scalia Cites Southern Slave Laws

In his dissenting opinion on the Arizona v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia went on a politically motivated rant that was directed at President Obama’s directive that would allow 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are under 30 came here as children to legally remain in the US. Not only was Scalia’s partisan political rant an embarrassment for the Court, it was factually wrong and racist.

First the facts that Scalia misrepresented and skewed. The Justice made this statement (pdf):

After this case was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30. If an individual unlawfully present in the United States

   “• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;

   “• has continuously resided in the United States for at least five years . . . ,

   “• is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education develop­ment certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran . . . ,

   “• has not been convicted of a [serious crime]; and

   “• is not above the age of thirty,” . . . .

   The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conduct­ing as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the nonen­forcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement.

Part of the President’s reasoning for this order is the fact that congress has failed to provide the the $285 billion cost of deporting every illegal immigrant currently in the US and decided to use the limited resources available by focusing on undocumented immigrants who commit serious offenses and shifting resources away from college students and veterans. Scalia’s math is a bit off by some 600,000 more immigrants than is estimated to be affected by the President’s new policy.

Now to the really egregious racist spew that relied on racist Post Civil War laws that prohibited freed slaves from moving into Southern States:

Notwithstanding “[t]he myth of an era of unrestricted immigration” in the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted crimi­nals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks. State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration

This is comes on the heels of Scalia’s defense of tortute, his dismissal of the execution of innocent people at the hands of the states and his homophobia and his inability to distinguish legal arguments from political talking points

Scalia doesn’t seem to care that in his dotage he is sounding increasingly unhinged and more and more like a right wing talk radio host. Even Chief Justice Roberts should be embarrassed by this racist bile. If Scalia can’t control himself, he should be removed from the Court, if he doesn’t have the good sense to remove himself into retirement.  

Apr 02 2012

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Emergency Alert-OWS Occupies the US. Congress

Reprinted from: Daily Kos

In an unprecedented move, we are delaying the publication of our regular Anti-capitalist meet-up diary to bring you a special report.  Four hours ago, several hundred US citizens and residents, reportedly members of OWS (Occupy Wall Street), occupied both chambers of the United States Congress.

Corporate media sources have refused to report the event until control can be reestablished by authorities. However, according to Al Gazeera, who just started running a live stream an hour ago, the occupiers entered both houses and forced the Senate into the House of Representatives Chamber for a joint session.  We can only speculate whether the occupiers used guns to force the Senators into the Chamber or simply took over using the force of their numbers. We understand they dismantled the microphones in the chamber and began a General Assembly using the human microphone.

May 01 2011

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – So, Who’s the Hair Apparent Now? (Special Appeal)

Crossposted at Daily Kos  and Docudharma



GOP Hair Apparent by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

:: ::

Note: Sections 1-4 contain dozens of additional editorial cartoons and commentary.  I’m not sure why but I was getting the below error when trying to post the complete diary.  Check out the remaining portions of the diary at Daily Kos.

java.sql.SQLException: Incorrect string value: ‘xC2x8CxC2xA9=1…’ for column ‘extendedText’ at row 1

Sep 30 2010

State Killing: Howling At The Moon

Can you hear that? That’s me, howling. It’s not complicated why. Last night I started to write a blog post, in fact, this blog post. I had maybe 500 words typed into the box and then I moved the mouse and the next thing I knew, poof, there was nada, zilch, nothing. All gone. Totally vaporized. That’s when I started howling. I continue even now.

The blog post, well, this blog post is/was about state killing. There have been two horrendous, macabre executions in the last weeks. Let me briefly recall them for you before I move on to what I think might be my point.