Scott Arboretum. Photo by joanneleon. October, 2012
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News and Opinion
Inauguration 2013: President Obama’s Martin Luther King Jr. moment
When President Barack Obama looks west across the national mall from the Capitol on Monday, his panorama will include the spot to the right where contractors are building the National Museum of African American History and Culture by the foot of the Washington Monument.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial will be to his left, obscured from sight but not from mind.
And, directly in front of him — across a sea of people who come to hear his second inaugural address — Obama will have a view of the Lincoln Memorial, the Doric tribute to the president Obama most identifies with and the backdrop for King’s most famous civil rights speech.
As he takes the oath of office on the federal holiday marking King’s birthday, Obama will place his left hand on a bible once owned by King, an explicit consecration of the often implicit connection between the most prominent leader of the civil rights movement and the first black president.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - April 4, 1967 - Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence
Riverside Church. New York City. April 4, 1967.
MLK's vehement condemnations of US militarism are more relevant than ever
His vital April 4, 1967 speech is a direct repudiation of the sophistry now used to defend US violence and aggression
The civil right achievements of Martin Luther King are quite justly the focus of the annual birthday commemoration of his legacy. But it is remarkable, as I've noted before on this holiday, how completely his vehement anti-war advocacy is ignored when commemorating his life (just as his economic views are). By King's own description, his work against US violence and militarism, not only in Vietnam but generally, was central - indispensable - to his worldview and activism, yet it has been almost completely erased from how he is remembered.
King argued for the centrality of his anti-militarism advocacy most eloquently on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City - exactly one year before the day he was murdered. That extraordinary speech was devoted to answering his critics who had been complaining that his anti-war activism was distracting from his civil rights work ("Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask?"). King, citing seven independent reasons, was adamant that ending US militarism and imperialism was not merely a moral imperative in its own right, but a prerequisite to achieving any meaningful reforms in American domestic life.
In that speech, King called the US government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today", as well as the leading exponent of "the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long" (is there any surprise this has been whitewashed from his legacy?). He emphasized that his condemnations extended far beyond the conflict in Southeast Asia: "the war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit." He insisted that no significant social problem - wealth inequality, gun violence, racial strife - could be resolved while the US remains "a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift" - a recipe, he said, for certain "spiritual death". For that reason, he argued, "it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war." That's because:"If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over."Working against US imperialism was, he said, "the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions." For King, opposing US violence in the world was not optional but obligatory: "We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy . . . ." The entire speech is indescribably compelling and its applicability to contemporary US behavior obvious. I urge everyone who hasn't already done so to take the time to read it.
The Extremist Cult of Capitalism
Capitalism is a cult. It is devoted to the ideals of privatization over the common good, profit over social needs, and control by a small group of people who defy the public's will. The tenets of the cult lead to extremes rather than to compromise. Examples are not hard to find.
1. Extremes of Income
By sitting on their growing investments, the richest five Americans made almost $7 billion each in one year. That's $3,500,000.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour.
2. Extremes of Wealth
The combined net worth of the world's 250 richest individuals is more than the total annual living expenses of almost half the world - three billion people.
Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates
Even if her dream is only dorm-room reverie, China has tens of millions of Ms. Zhangs — bright young people whose aspirations and sheer numbers could become potent economic competition for the West in decades to come.
China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities.
The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe.
Is Mali The Real Target?
What country is the actual target of the French intervention in Mali? There isn't much to win in that country. While their might be some oil and Uranium somewhere in the ground nothing is yet developed. Next door though there is much more to win like fully developed gas and oil fields.
Holy sale, Batman! 1960s Batmobile sells for $4.2 million at auction
Rick Champagne, an Arizona man, purchased the sleak, black car. 'I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car,' he says.
An Arizona man with a special fondness for caped crusader Batman and his sidekick Robin bought the original Batmobile driven in the iconic television series with a bid of $4.2 million at an auction on Saturday.
Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, came away with the black, futuristic two-seater featured in the "Batman" series starring Adam West and Burt Ward from 1966 to 1968, following a flurry of spirited bidding at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction.
The Batmobile is based on a 1955 Lincoln Futura, a concept car built in Italy by the Ford Motor Co.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Or if it were your country getting droned RT @steven_metz "I'd pay closer attn 2 critics of drone strikes if they explained alternative."— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 20, 2013
Palestinian ghettos were always the plan [Amira Hass on Naftali Bennett and the Israeli election] haaretz.com/news/israeli-e…— joseph dana (@ibnezra) January 20, 2013
Mirabile Dictu! Obama Likely to Nominate Mary Jo White to Head SEC: Obama's likely nomination of Mary Jo White t... bit.ly/VEOsAs— Yves Smith (@yvessmith) January 20, 2013
I Was Here (United Nations World Humanitarian Day Performance)
Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?
Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.
Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." ~ Noam Chomsky