This MLK day, as in years prior, people all over the country will learn that Martin Luther King, Jr. “had a dream” that black children and white children would one day play and go to school together without having to call National Guard to protect them from the red-blooded CONservatives who can’t deal with, among many things, non-white people and/or progress. With the election of our first black President, surely, we are told, King’s dream is now a reality… so much so, that we can can now congratulate ourselves on our evolution by adding the made-in-China MLK statue to the National Mall. Tragically, among the many myths we’re told in America, it’s no surprise that MLK has undergone the standard whitewash from which he’s been transformed from an anti-militarism revolutionary for social & economic justice into an orator who pondered, Rodney King-style platitudes about “why can’t we all just get along?”
On King’s national holiday, our so-called “leaders” from sea to shining sea will give their standard speeches meant to, not rally us to change the structures that create poverty for the many and affluence for the few, but convince us all of the importance of the maintaining of the status quo. “See! We have a bi-racial President! Surely our system must be working.”
As King said himself, “the arch of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” But what he ALSO said was, “The dispossessed of this nation – the poor, both white and Negro – live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.”
Far from criticizing our broken system, they’ll no doubt remind us all of King’s dream that “men,” “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” A palatable phrase our corporate-sponsored government can regularly regurgitate for the masses to swallow, while easily neglecting the message King concentrated on in the last years of his life – economic justice… of which we’ve not even come close to bringing to fruition.
WATCH: Georgetown University’s Christopher Chambers discusses the whitewashing of King’s message:
In fact, income inequality is higher now than when Dr. King died in 1968 and the working class is worse off now than when King organized his first “Poor People’s Campaign,” in which he meant to confront the issues of jobs, income and housing.
Dedrick Muhammad, Senior Director of the NAACP Economic Department and Nicole Kenney, NAACP Economic Program Specialist posted at the NAACP website,
“Dr. King states, ‘There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it.’ We are currently funding three unpopular wars that, like the Vietnam War, are diverting a significant amount of dollars that could be used to aggressively combat poverty and provide opportunities to reclaim the American Dream. It is simply a matter of priorities. Therefore, in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy, let us reevaluate our country’s commitment to the groups Dr. King sacrificed his life to protect- the economically vulnerable and recognize that advancing a strong middle class economy must have progressive policy as the center of the struggle (e.g., social safety net, government investment in opportunity and equity, and progressive taxation on the wealthiest of Americans). Let’s not commemorate Dr. King’s memorial without recommitting ourselves to fulfilling the vision he and so many brave men and women fought for – economic justice for all.”
King said, “We believe the highest patriotism demands the ending of the war and the opening of a bloodless war to final victory over racism and poverty.” Then, as it is now, ensuring that society works for ALL is the highest form of patriotism.
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The Republican Party is no longer a political organization. It’s a cult that’s infiltrated our government and is using its mechanisms to enact a greed centered agenda, while playing games of distraction for the benefit of their dupes. One of those games is a war on women, which includes their non-stop attack on Planned Parenthood. Sometimes, they even admit it.
To illustrate that they’ve passed “useless” and crossed into the realm of “dangerous,” Republicans are now conducting hearings and pushing policy based on the fabrications of deceptively edited videos released by the right wing, misogynist, anti-privacy, “Center for Medical Progress” in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. But… Like all conservative initiatives these days, right wing policies result in exactly the opposite of what they’re publicly promising to achieve. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy Labor Day!
While some enjoying the day off, let’s remember that, not only does everything good about the working class quality of life came as a result of the organized labor movement.
“Let’s get one thing straight…
Employers and Corporations did not feel generous and decide to give you two days off every week to have a social/personal life. (We now call them weekends). Corporations did not just feel like being nice one day and give their employees paid vacations. CEOs didn’t get together in a board room and say “Let’s give our employees more rights at work” or “Maybe there should be laws to limit our power over an employee”.
Virtually ALL the benefits you have at work, whether you work in the public or private sector, all of the benefits and rights you enjoy everyday are there because unions fought hard and long for them against big business who did everything they could to prevent giving you your rights. Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today.
The right-wing attack on unions is nothing more than ignorance and propaganda.
If Republicans would rather support corporations instead of organized groups of workers working to secure a fair work environment A.K.A a union, I ask them to walk the walk as well. Give up every benefit and right that you use that unions are responsible for.”
We math doesn’t lie. The Center For American Progress shows that decline of union membership in America directly tracks the decline of the American middle class.
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The Senator from Wall Street, Chuck Schumer, was one of the illegal Iraq invasion’s most vociferous cheerleaders. Why wouldn’t he be? His fellow warmongering pal, Netanyahu, proclaimed, “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”
Now, he’s opposing the diplomacy that will avoid another war in the Middle East.
“When Bush took office in 2001, Iran had no known centrifuges in operation. Today, Iran is operating about 3,850 centrifuges, with plans to add approximately 3,000, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
…It’s impossible to say whether Iran’s march toward nuclear-weapons capability could have been stopped by diplomacy. But there hasn’t yet been a good test. Because of bitter infighting in the Bush administration, its diplomatic efforts were late in coming and, once launched, have been ineffective.
Confederate Flags, Roads, Schools, Military Installations and Monuments: Tear Down America’s Heritage of Hate
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Before he was America’s most famous traitor, Benedict Arnold earned a reputation for bravery and leadership as a high-ranking officer in the Continental Army. Of his many accomplishments, he helped win the first American victory of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga, where he surprised a sleeping British garrison, captured the fort and obtained much needed artillery for use in future battles.
Arnold was seriously wounded twice in battle, had his horse shot out from under him and nearly lost his leg. Refusing to allow amputation, his leg was crudely set, leaving it 2 inches shorter. After a short time convalescing, he returned to Valley Forge to the cheering of his men.
Arnold’s victory at the battle of Saratoga was instrumental in winning French support for the war, which ensured the colonist’s path to ultimate liberation from the British aristocracy. The French supplied 85% of the gunpowder for Continental Army, so, it’s safe to say, without Benedict Arnold, the war would have been lost.
There is only one monument to Benedict Arnold in the United States – the statue of a boot at Saratoga National Park with an inscription reading, “To the most brilliant soldier of the Continental army.” Commemorating the injury that ended his career on the battlefield, nowhere does the monument bear his name. You see, we don’t erect monuments to traitors. That is… unless the traitor is Southern.
Benedict Arnold did more for the cause of liberty than any Confederate traitor
It can safely be said that Benedict Arnold did more for the cause of liberty than any Confederate traitor. Quite the contrary, while Benedict Arnold was pivotal to the American Revolution’s ultimate triumph, Confederate traitors sought to limit the franchise of freedom by rallying around the worst cause for which any collection of idiots ever gathered – the “states right” to own other human beings.
In his “Cornerstone speech,” Alexander H. Stephens, Vice of the Confederate States, explained,
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea [opposite of “racial equality”- ed]; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
Even back then, every day, was “opposite day” in conservative Bizarro World. In true, conservative, fashion, Stephens calls Northern abolitionists “insane” and “fanatics”, explaining,
“All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning.” He goes on, “One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails.”
For those who still insist on buying conservative revisionist history nullifying the inherent racist ugliness of their treason, please refer them the words of their own Confederate “heroes.”
Confederate monuments are meant to carry a subtext of white supremacy
The Jim Crow South was maintained via a systematic campaign of terrorism that went on for generations. Today, from the Supreme Court rolling back key sections of the Voting Rights Act, to the ongoing Republican voter suppression tactics to a legal system that disproportionately imprisons blacks, then takes away their rights to vote, the disenfranchisement of black Americans – especially in Southern states – continues. This is the Confederate “heritage.” The proliferation of monuments to the Confederacy honors “heritage,” alright – a heritage of white supremacy.
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Hypocrisy is like mother’s milk to the right wing Republicans. Couple that with their unbridled greed, and there’s no low too low for Republicans to sink in order to transform America from a democracy into an oligarchy.
They talk about how much they “love America” while dismantling the egalitarian democratic republic our founders – inspired by the Liberal Age of Enlightenment – fought a revolution to create. In addition to the hypocrisy of faux-patriotism, in direct defiance of the God they pretend to worship, who told them to pray in their closets, Republicans make a public show of religion, while championing every divisive, hateful, inhumane, kiss up/kick down, selfish evil that ever dared masquerade as a political philosophy.
Despite the fact that the Christian Bible Republicans wave like a cudgel sternly warns that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” Republican hypocrites are so self-aggrandizing and greed-centered, they no longer feel the need to hide their corruption. Now they’re turning government solely into an appendage to the affairs of billionaires right out in the cold light of day, confident that the right wing propaganda outlets that blanket this dying democracy from sea to shining sea will assure their victims that it’s all in the name of “freedom.”
CONservatives are abandoning the Sarah Palin bandwagon like greed-centered rats fleeing a sinking sociopath’s ship. With their new-found clarity, Bill Maher is suggesting they should now let go of the other failures they cling to – such as climate change denial and trickle down economics.
Frankly, Maher is being too generous.
Suggesting to Republicans that they abandon their failures assumes they don’t already know how disingenuous it is to cling to them. They’re not stupid, they’re putting on a show to convince the easily-led that that the GOP is trying as best they can to enable an economically-vibrant working class majority. They’re not. Quite the opposite.
“Trickle Down” economics was never meant to create an economically-vibrant working class. It was designed to turn “the Land of the Free” into the “United States of Serfs and Lords.” Like the team that coached Sarah Palin on how to play the part of Vice President in front of America, Republicans know that all they have is a “show.” They are masters of myth, branding and propaganda because they have to be. They even branded their trickle down voodoo, “Supply Side Economics,” to build a facade of legitimacy around it. Then they made up a chart that had no basis in history, reality or arithmetic, called it the “the Laffer curve,” and sent the actor, Ronald Reagan, out on stage to sell it to the dupes.
Here we are 30 plus years later, and the promise of shared prosperity has still not been realized. Although productivity has increased, the wages have stagnated, and all of the gains have gone to the top. Despite the promises, tax cuts have not paid for themselves, instead costing us trillions in revenue… so Republicans are coming for our lifelines. It’s time to recognize that this was all by design.
Former associate professor of information studies at the University of California, Philip Agre, nailed it. He wrote:
“The opposite of conservatism is democracy, and contempt for democracy is a constant thread in the history of conservative argument. Instead, conservatism has argued that society ought to be organized in a hierarchy of orders and classes and controlled by its uppermost hierarchical stratum, the aristocracy.”
Conservative ideology is quite simple, as old as recorded history and can be boiled down to 2 words: CHEAP LABOR – and they won’t stop until the middle class is permanently relegated to status they held in times past – compliant Serf.
One doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too far to glimpse the Republican vision for the future – just turn back the clock to the “gilded age” where super-rich robber barons ran government and lived in opulence while lording over the common people.
In 1932, while discussing wresting the country out of the FIRST Republican Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt suggested, “It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.”
So, let’s not continue to kid ourselves, Republicans aren’t “trying” to do anything but what they’ve always done – concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the wealthy and powerful.
Examples are legion. Recently, despite the fact that it will add 100 billion to deficit they whine about (as a convenient excuse to cut the lifelines of the politically-unconnected poor they suddenly, publically, supposedly care so much about), Paul Ryan proposed another tax break for the wealthy 1%. The Republican Party’s supposed “serious” “budget hawk” has only ever been an agent of oligarchy, with the nerve to whine that poor people are “takers” as he attempts to strip “unearned income” from the burden of taxes. In other words – in Ryan’s world, the intergenerational aristocracy living entirely off their trust funds get free rides on our backs.
Yes, conservatives may long for a 1950’s America for its rigid social and gender mores and racial hierarchies, but not for the progressive New Deal policies that built the greatest middle class the world had ever seen.
I’ve often said that I can’t wait for the day when it’s not possible for the corporate media propaganda to blare loud enough to drown out the misery inflicted by conservative policies and the people finally realize they’ve been played and demand a new progressive era. Then, I wonder if that day will ever arrive.
Recently, Republicans toying with the idea of a presidential run paraded themselves in front of the Koch Brothers, and the corporate media reported this disgraceful assault on democracy as if it were the exact system our founders fought a revolution to entrust to us.
NPR reported that Marco “thirsty for Plutocracy” Rubio assured his plutocratic masters that political spending “is a form of political speech protected under the Constitution.”
[Ted] Cruz brought up Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s harsh attacks on the Koch brothers in Senate floor speeches last year. Reid, then the majority leader, had called the brothers ‘un-American.’
Cruz said Reid’s speeches were ‘grotesque and offensive.’ As audience members applauded, Cruz said the Kochs ‘have stood up for free enterprise principles and endured vilification with equanimity and grace.'” Read the entire NPR account, here.
You see, for all the (made in China) American flag lapel pins they wear, conservatives are the true heirs to the British Loyalists. They are the enemies of democracy and enablers of plutocracy dragging us back to the very system our Founders fought a revolution to escape – namely one where the rich own and run everything while everyone else stays compliantly in their “natural” place, awaiting their rewards in Heaven.
We have been here before. In 1936, during the first Republican Great Depression that followed the first Gilded Age, FDR described, “…privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.” Read the full speech, here.
Roosevelt rightly compared the threat to freedom posed by the new entrenched aristocracy as the latest assault on the experiment in self-governance, birthed in the Liberal Age of Enlightenment, that was always under attack by the powerful and privileged few.
But FDR did not have to contend with unlimited, unfettered, unprecedented legal bribes being poured into the system.
You see, while Fox News lulls right wing dupes into complicity with stories how “American Sniper” Chris Kyle made them “free” by killing citizens of a country that never attacked us, the rest of the world understands what’s really going on – namely, the dream that was American democracy is a sham.
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Dick Cheney, the man who received five deferments from wearing the uniform of this nation because, in his words, he had “better things to do” continues to endanger and disgrace Americans at home and abroad by defending his authorization of a crime against humanity.
As the disgusting secrets of the CIA, Cheney-sanctioned, torture program emerge, Cheney, his co-conspirators, and stupid-and-cowardly-enough-to-vote-Republican supporters continue to attempt to justify their crimes. One justification is that torture “worked.” This, of course, is a bald-faced lie that goes against military training, as well as empirical evidence. The US Army’s Training Manual, states:
The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.
According to the US Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture, the agency’s own records found that torture “was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation.” The CIA itself was aware torture didn’t work, the report states:
… prior to the attacks of September 2001, the CIA itself determined from its own experience with coercive interrogations, that such techniques ‘do not produce intelligence,’ ‘will probably result in false answers,’ and had historically proven to be ineffective.
So what happened? Well, just as Bush “fixed the facts around the policy” of an illegal invasion of a country that didn’t attack us, as the Guardian of the UK reports, “the CIA rounded up dubious experts, and built a research community that was basically divorced from reality.”
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What the loss of a Democratic Senate will mean for our future depends on what President Obama is willing to stand up and fight for.
The corporate media picked a narrative about the election months ago, and they’re hanging on to it like a rabid dog on a chicken wing – and that’s the one about “President Barack Obama’s plummeting approval ratings.” Fact is, though the president’s approval ratings aren’t great, they’re higher than the lowest of any President since John F. Kennedy. Including Republican patron saint Ronald Reagan. Check it out for yourself, here.
But now we watch the corporate media urge the President to move right to “get things done.” Yeah! Push more of the same horrible Republican ideas that crashed the economy twice in 100 years because at least you can say you “got it done.”
The fact is, this election wasn’t a Republican “wave” – it was the triumph of money and apathy. Democrats lost because they didn’t give democrats anything to rally around, running away from a record – and a president – they should be embracing.
Progressive issues won in the deepest of red states. In ballot initiatives, Americans voted for higher minimum wages, legal pot, abortion access, sick pay leave, background checks on gun purchases and fracking bans… and then voted for representatives who stand in the way of all those things.