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"Some years ago, reporting the trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem, I spoke of 'the Banality of evil' and meant with this ... the  phenomenon of evil deeds, committed on a gigantic scale, which could not be traced to any particularity of wickedness, pathology or ideological conviction in the doer, whose only personal distinction was a perhaps extraordinary shallowness...., and the only specific characteristic one could detect on his part as well as in his behavior ... was not stupidity but a curious, quite authentic inability to think."

--Hannah Arendt


Whether political theorist Hannah Arendt was correct in her assessment of Adolf Eichmann--and I am inclined to believe she was duped by his testimony in Jerusalem and hence overstated the extent to which he was an example of the banality of evil--she was onto something important with the concept. For while the idea of the banality of evil may have become at times a cliche and, far worse, a facile evasion of moral responsibility, it nonetheless provides a way to understand how Late Capitalism's Imperialism creates conditions that necessitate self-alienation on the part of the individual as well the social formation as a whole.

Torture doesn't matter anymore, at least not to the Barack Obama administration. Four years ago, John Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, was forced to withdraw his name from consideration to be CIA Director (DCI) because of his public support of--and likely participation in--the Bush administration’s programs of torturing terrorism suspects and/or sending them to foreign prisons to be tortured. Apparently wishing to maintain his anti-torture credentials at the time, Obama appointed Brennan to a White House job that did not require Senate confirmation.

Four years later, his human rights record irretrievably tarnished by the illegal drone assassination program, Obama nominated Brennan--who has been running Obama's drone assassination program from the White House--to be the next DCI. If confirmed, he would succeed Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned following revelations of an extra-marital affair in November 2009.

So, according to Obama, it's okay to kidnap and torture and kill terrorism suspects without even a hint of "due process of law," but if you put your dick in the wrong person, you're unfit to run the CIA.

Obama is, sadly, right: Under the Imperialism of Late Capitalism, only a moral degenerate like John Brennan is fit to run an utterly amoral outfit like the CIA.

By "the Imperialism of Late Capitalism" we mean the forcible opening up of all spatial, ecological and cultural boundaries of peoples and nations to the global flow of capital and goods and services, according to the needs of capital and of Late Capitalism, which itself is wracked by ever-worsening crises that fuel the need for ever-more globalization.

But unlike Barack Obama, whose tolerance for torture and other human rights abuses seems of recent vintage, Brennan's views were warped from a relatively young age. Born to Irish immigrant parents, John Brennan earned a B.A. in Political Science at Fordham University in 1977 and an M.A. in Government with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 1980.

Although Brennan officially joined the CIA in 1980—he tells reporters a story of how his “wanderlust” was piqued by a CIA recruiting ad in the New York Times—some of his activities at Fordham suggest his recruitment dates back to his school days. Bob Keane, a classmate from the 4th grade through sophomore year at Fordham, told reporters that Brennan spent the summer after freshman year in Indonesia with a cousin who was working for the Agency for International Development, and visited Bahrain on the way home. “I wondered if he had even been recruited that early,” mused Keane. In fact, Brennan spent his junior year abroad learning fluent Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, a well-known site for CIA recruitment and training.

At UT, Brennan wrote an M.A. Thesis, “Human Rights: The Case Study of Egypt,” in which he denied the existence of “absolute human rights,” defended censorship in Egypt and indicated an early tolerance for torture. “Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship,” wrote Brennan.

Taking his relativistic view of human rights to its logical conclusion, Brennan argued that

“the fact that absolute human rights do not exist (with the probable exception of freedom from torture) makes the [human rights] analysis subject to innumerable conditional criticisms.” (emphasis added.)
Think about that for a moment: John Brennan wrote that, in his opinion, not only are human rights not absolute, freedom from torture is only a "probable exception"--meaning that at the young age of 25, the Jesuit-educated Brennan was rejecting the 200-year-old anti-torture teachings of the Jesuit-educated Cesare Beccaria, the father of modern penology and human rights, who argued that torture is always wrong. Just a few years after his probable recruitment by the CIA, Brennan's mind was already being warped by the needs of capitalist imperialism.

Working for Bush in the 2000s, Brennan became the embodiment of the banality of evil, helping to facilitate illegal kidnappings and torture in the name of the greater good--in this case so-called "national security." Under Obama, Brennan has become the chief Angel of Death in the White House, selecting which terror suspects are to be murdered via unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere--and then lying about it later, as when he publicly claimed that drone attacks in Pakistan in 2010 did not cause “a single collateral death” when authorities knew better.

But the tragedy here lies with Barack Obama, who is able to make statements about the horrors of the Sandy Hook massacre while blithely raining down equivalent massacres on schoolchildren in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is this banality of evil--Obama's ability to commit evil acts while pretending (to himself and to the world) that he remains a basically decent human being who loves his wife and daughters--that is one of the most corrosive aspects of Late Capitalist Imperialism.

Just as capitalist production alienates the worker, not only from the means of production and the product of his labor, but from his true species-essence as a human being, so too the reproduction of the Late Capitalist system requires acts of moral evil that alienate, not only the doers of these deeds but the entire social formation, from their human essence as creative and moral actors. Because such a reality would be intolerable if faced with honesty, the banality of evil represents a form of social-psychological ideology of denial that perpetuates Late Capitalism and the suffering attendant upon it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 1-)

    "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 Marx was skint - but he had sense Engels lent him the necessary pence What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

    by Le Gauchiste on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 11:40:54 AM PST

  •  And this from DemocracyNow 4 days ago: (15+ / 0-)

    http://www.democracynow.org/...

       

    Days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, John Kiriakou — the first CIA official to be jailed for any reason relating to the torture program — denounces President Obama’s appointment of John Brennan to head the CIA. "I’ve known John Brennan since 1990," Kiriakou says. "I worked directly for John Brennan twice. I think that he is a terrible choice to lead the CIA. I think that it’s time for the CIA to move beyond the ugliness of the post-September 11th regime, and we need someone who is going to respect the Constitution and to not be bogged down by a legacy of torture."

    GUESTS:
    John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and case officer who will soon go to prison for whistleblowing on the CIA’s torture program. He is the author of Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror.

    Jesselyn Radack, attorney for CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou. She is the National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project and a former ethics adviser to the U.S. Department of Justice.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

    by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 11:58:06 AM PST

  •  I almost let this go until you said this: (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    tporky, David54, dannyboy1
    Hidden by:
    Australian2
    But the tragedy here lies with Barack Obama, who is able to make statements about the horrors of the Sandy Hook massacre while blithely raining down equivalent massacres on schoolchildren in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    Because civilian casualties in war are equivalent to deliberately murdering children, and thus FDR and Adolf Hitler, John Kennedy and Pol Pot, George Washington and George Bush are made one and the same.  I almost tolerated this diary because it appeared to come from a place of decency, despite glaring rhetorical excesses in inveighing against the Obama administration, but then with this comment it degenerated into a run-of-the-mill psychotic Greenwaldian denunciation of all past and future human civilizations.  

    Equating civilian casualties in defensive war with the deliberate terrorist massacre of children is the kind of deranged, morally corrupt insanity that is too often allowed to tarnish progressive foreign policy with the psychoses of a fringe cult of pseudo-pacifist hypocrites.  You do in words what Jane Fonda did in publicity stunts.  It's contemptible and intolerable.  This could have been an effective indictment of John Brennan if you had managed to stay rational, but you revealed the actual basis of the diary to be randomly-directed berserker outrage with no sane anchoring, and I won't have you pissing on the Newtown victims with such bullshit.  Maybe you've been staring into the abyss of this subject too long and thus your own moral compass has been fucked beyond repair.  HR'd.  

    Pour yourself into the future.

    by Troubadour on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:12:38 PM PST

    •  The DKos Right has spoken. (16+ / 0-)
      Equating civilian casualties in defensive war
      The US invents a "national" entity out of what would ordinarily be a criminal conspiracy, and goes to another country and kills civilians, with the predictable blowback that about three-quarters of the locals view the US as the enemy.  This is imagined by the DKos Right as "defensive war."
      This could have been an effective indictment of John Brennan if you had managed to stay rational
      In short, leave Obama alooooone!

      "There's nothing heroic about earning profit." -Odo, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nince

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:21:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By the way, you put forth an argument, not that (9+ / 0-)

      I agree with it, but you spent time arguing your points.  

      However you abused your TU status when you HRed it.  You did so only because you disagreed with the diarist.  Not cool at all.

    •  I'd like to think that, had I been around (13+ / 0-)

      when FDR was rounding up Japanese-Americans, I would have spoken up.

      Certainly I would have voted for FDR, I would have supported the New Deal and the War effort.

      Nevertheless, voting for the President, and supporting many of the policies of the President, does not absolve me of the duty to speak up when I know that something the administration is doing is deeply wrong.

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

      by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:29:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Civilian deaths by drone are intentional (10+ / 0-)

      You start off: "Because civilian casualties in war are equivalent to deliberately murdering children, and thus FDR and Adolf Hitler, John Kennedy and Pol Pot, George Washington and George Bush are made one and the same."

      Your words, not mine. I do not agree with the equivalence you assert, and I do not know how you derived that proposition from my essay. These are not "civilian casualties" in the usual sense of so-called "collateral damage," i.e., secondary to the destruction of some military target.

      The drone attacks are deliberately directed at civilians, so civilian casualties are their purpose, and are justified by the erasure of the traditional distinction between military and civilian. So if a school full of kids gets blown up in the process, well that the fault of the victims for being so physically proximate to terrorist suspects.

      But the real indication of where you're coming from lies in your mis-characterization of the US war in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a "defensive war," which is shorthand in International Law circles for justifiable war.

      In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, U.S. action against those who planned and perpetrated the attack was justified under principles of International Law, but 11 years later, the ousting of the Taliban government and the assassination of Osama bin-Laden have attenuated that justification to the point of vanishing. It is no longer, and has not been for some time, a defensive war.

      The only "deranged, morally corrupt insanity" I see here is your defense of a morally indefensible war that uses morally indefensible tactics. Quite simply, you cannot rationally hold, as you do, that an "effective indictment of John Brennan" for support of torture and assassination is possible, but only if Pres. Obama, who has become Brennan's chief patron, is spared criticism.

      By promoting Brennan and running the drone assassination program, Obama participates in the same sort of amorality as Brennan, and they are equally culpable.

      "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 Marx was skint - but he had sense Engels lent him the necessary pence What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

      by Le Gauchiste on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:33:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the reasons for my hr (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueDragon

      Should be obvious but let me know if you would like a more in-depth explanation.

    •  First, you have abused HR powers. (6+ / 0-)

      HRs are not to be used for disagreeing with a diary.

      Second, your use of the term "civilian casualties" deliberately trivialises the illegality of using drone strikes on America citizens who may or may not be supporting terrorists without any form of due process.

      Whether it's a Republican President or a Democratic President doing this, it is a violation of the Constitution:

      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
      Emphasis mine.

      Intellectual honesty is realising that all the powers granted to the Presidency by the Constitution are granted to Republican Presidents as well as Democratic Presidents - and that all the restrictions imposed on the Presidency are imposed on Democratic and Republican Presidents alike.

      As far as I'm concerned about Obama, I consider him a likeable guy whom I agree with on some issues, disagree with on some issues and consider his conduct reprehensible on others. This is one of the latter.

      The fact that Bush started it is no excuse.
      The fact that there is a "war on terror" is no excuse.
      The fact that the MIC is saying it must be done is no excuse.

      Targeting military strikes against US citizens without any form of due process is a violation of the Constitutional right to due process.
      Targeting military strikes against foreign civilians under any circumstances is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

      I do not like the fact that Barack Obama is ordering both of these. But this does not mean he is not doing so. A sane response (as opposed to your denialism and false equivalency) would be to start attempting to effect change. My suggested first step would be to start a White House petition, in order to raise awareness of the problem and to force an official response.

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:37:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You sound like someone who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, JayRaye

      does not appreciate freedom of speech.   Intolerance of other views, different than yours, is not a good virtue.    Remove your idiotic HR.    

    •  You need to get your conflicts right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, TracieLynn, qofdisks

      This isn't defensive war. Al Qaeda doesn't have a uniform or an uniformed army, we are killing Pashtuns with drone strikes double tapping those that help the victims.

      Only someone overemotional over their love for a politician like you always are perversely distorting history to your POV and doesn't really care would equate earlier conflicts you show you don't understand. "defensive war" my ass.

      John Brennan was picked by this administration.

      Actually only your ignorance is contemptible and intolerable. You have a lot of studying to do. You should apologize for the turd you dropped in this diary and for the red baiting Jane Fonda comment.

      I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

      by priceman on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:52:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your distinction between the victims of Sandy Hook (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, TracieLynn, tardis10

      killed by a crazed individual and the children killed by drones in the Middle East as collateral damage in a war begs the question of whether or not our actions in some of these countries are really defensive in nature in a real war or the acts of a crazed country using the paranoid fear exlicited by the neo-con war on terror rhetoric to justify acts equally as senseless as the crazed individuals who conduct mass shootings.

    •  I imagine Mr. Brennan needs no help (6+ / 0-)

      in indicting himself. His own words and behavior- even back in 2009- were enough to disqualify him among Democratic supporters during Mr. Obama's first term. Surely Mr. Brennan gets no free pass considering his actions in the intervening years.

      Also, as others more eloquent have noted here, a policy that deliberately targets people for assassination without charge, without ability to face one's accuser, far from an active battlefield is morally repugnant if not equivalent to murder. The fact that American citizens and their teenaged children (the al-Awlakis) could be killed in such a fashion is, to my mind, a crime that should be prosecuted.

      To this day, there has not even been an effort to justify the death of the sixteen-year American killed by a drone by this Democratic administration. The only statement from an Administration official on the son's death involved belittling the boy's already-killed father.

      So, yes, there's a fair bit of equating that is justified when comparing children's deaths, whether or not they are performed by a Democrat in the White House or America's current enemies. Are they identical? No. But the original poster sure has the right to raise the point.

    •  Crickets on the Drone Toy reviews? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      qofdisks, Joncleir

      Amazon Drone Toy Reviews

      1.0 out of 5 stars Buy two and play "Double-tap the first responders" (as in real life)..., January 8, 2013
      By Lost In The Cosmos - See all my reviews
      This review is from: Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds 1:97 Scale Die Cast United States Military Aircraft - US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator with Display Stand (Dimension: 6" x 3-1/2" x 1") (Toy)
      I'm an Air Force veteran from the inter-Iraq-wars period, and deployed to Saudi Arabia as aircrew on a Reconnaissance aircraft, part of the overall pre-automated system of Command and Control that's been twisted into a rein of robotic terror from the sky over Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, with more nations to be added to the list. Two branches of our National Security complex use this aircraft, the Air Force overtly in Afghanistan subject to the Laws of War, and the CIA in Pakistan and Yemen subject to the whims of the contractors at the controls. It's the CIA that will bomb a wedding, a funeral, a public gathering of elders, if they think or hope to also kill a targeted militant. And they bomb whoever shows up to rescue the wounded, to the point that the Red Cross and other first responders in Pakistan now wait nine hours before assisting at a drone strike site. They also bomb compounds (i.e. a cluster of homes for a traditional extended family) based on patterns of behaviors rather than evidence. By comparison the Air Force's usage of this aircraft is a model of lawfulness and responsibility, but the effect on the civilian populace underneath is equally terrorized and traumatized. Truly among the most shameful things done by our government in our name, and so ironic to learn years that the events of 9/11 were a false flag attack. And look for them to show up in the skies over your town sooner rather than later. I'd sooner buy a child a guillotine play set with detachable heads. Boo!!!
      Would that help bolster your HR?
      •  Emptywheel has more (0+ / 0-)

        Not on Amazon!

        And, as Klaidman’s account makes clear, Rahm Emanuel’s response to killing this young girl and the man she had recently been married off to was to selectively leak information about the killing.

        When they finally took Mehsud out in August 2009, Emanuel celebrated. He had a hawkish side to him, having volunteered with the Israeli Defense Forces as a civilian during the 1991 Gulf War. But above all, Emanuel recognized that the muscular attacks could have a huge political upside for Obama, insulating him against charges that he was weak on terror. “Rahm was transactional about these operational issues,” recalled a senior Pentagon official. “He always wanted to know ‘how’s this going to help my guy,’ the president.”

        Though the program was covert, Emanuel pushed the CIA to publicize its covert successes. When Mehsud was killed, agency public affairs officers anonymously trumpeted their triumph, leaking colorful tidbits to trusted reporters on the intelligence beat. Newspapers described the hit in cinematic detail, including the fact that Mehsud was blown up on the roof of his father-in-law’s compound while his wife was massaging his legs. (88)

        Warrick’s description is almost certainly the one CIA leaked on Rahm’s (and presumably, Panetta’s) orders (as this description makes clear, the CIA told Warrick — contrary to multiple other reports and the detail of the piece itself — that they thought the person on the roof of the building was Humam al-Balawi, the Jordanian doctor we believed at the time to have infiltrated Mehsud’s group on our behalf).

        Will your HR make this right?
  •  Piece cross-published at: (9+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:19:15 PM PST

  •  Having had a Jesuit education at about the same (11+ / 0-)

    time as this fascist and Clarence Thomas (and in CT's case, at the same school), I often ask myself if they just weren't paying attention in the philosophy and theology classes or started college with pre-existing authoritarian biases that they just never opened to critical inspection.   How does a very similar education push one person far to the left but apparently have zero effect or worse on a very similar person. (I came from very conventional, poorly educated Irish Catholic parents.).  A mind is truly a terrible thing to waste.  

    •  Brennan's Jesuit education goes back further (5+ / 0-)

      He attended St. John of the Palisades High School in West New York, NJ, a Jesuit school, and was also educated in parochial schools, though probably not Jesuit ones.

      "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 Marx was skint - but he had sense Engels lent him the necessary pence What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

      by Le Gauchiste on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:47:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Le Gauchiste (10+ / 0-)

    This is a piece long overdue and I am thrilled that you were the one to write this piece. Very well done indeed!

    Just as capitalist production alienates the worker, not only from the means of production and the product of his labor, but from his true species-essence as a human being, so too the reproduction of the Late Capitalist system requires acts of moral evil that alienate, not only the doers of these deeds but the entire social formation, from their human essence as creative and moral actors. Because such a reality would be intolerable if faced with honesty, the banality of evil represents a form of social-psychological ideology of denial that perpetuates Late Capitalism and the suffering attendant upon it.
    I wish that I could have said it as well, thank you!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:29:48 PM PST

  •  ACM Schedule (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, Justina, BlueDragon

    Actually we have no volunteers until the end of February when Geminijen will take the last week and then Annieli at the end of March. So no exaggeration, we need people to help keep this series going. If you think that it is worth it, can you volunteers your thoughts, your information, a report of political activities that you think that people should know about?

    Please respond to this comment if you can write something or send a private message to ny brit expat here on dkos.

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 12:54:50 PM PST

    •  Just a suggestion: (4+ / 0-)

      This might be a good time to act as a study group.

      For example, when there is no diary set for the following week, a study assignment could be given with a link. Lots of resources on line.

      One of the admins could lead the study. It would only take a paragraph and a few study questions to kick off the discussion. The assignment could be in the comments right with the schedule so if folks miss the Meet-up they know where to check.

      Theory, biographies, historical events, lots of interesting subjects to study.

      What do folks think?

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

      by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:21:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is a very good idea ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, BlueDragon, Justina, Geminijen

        does anyone have a good topic that we can read and discuss that can pull together some reading material quickly so that people can be prepared?

        any suggestions? We can then send an email to people on the list so that they can see what we are discussing ...

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:26:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  this is why i suggested the videos (7+ / 0-)

          on Marx.

          did you notice troubadour dropped a hide rate on the tip jar.

          groan.  i want to confront this, but have so little time and energy right now.

          pointing out that obama is nominating this guy is hide rateable???

          Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

          by BlueDragon on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:45:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i didn't read all the comments till now (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, NY brit expat, angel d, Geminijen

            my bad.  i am not fit for posting right now.

            the drone attacks bother me more than anything else obama has done.

            Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

            by BlueDragon on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:50:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am even more worried about the lack of response (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, tardis10

              the people in America to the drone attacks.  Arendt's comment always seemed to me to be not about one individual but the general societal consensus that it is ok for "good men" to do nothing.  Obama is part of the systemn where we expect such behavior in support of American hegemony and imperialism.  But where is the outrage of the citizens?  Where is our outrage?

          •  I don't worry about the hr (7+ / 0-)

            by troubadour; it would be worrying if a large number of other people showed up agreeing with him as that would indicate large numbers of people rejecting the Geneva conventions and the convention on torture rather than addressing this, but so far it is one lone person. There are always people that stick their heads in the sand, think that rules apply to everyone but the US and that their choice of president can do no wrong, but these are not the people that we are trying to talk with.

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:03:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Troubadour didn't hr for pointing out that (0+ / 0-)

            Obama was nominating Brennan. Read his comment.
            Right or wrong on the HR he has a point.
            Personally, I've Hr-ed very few times, and when people HR me, I either don't care and take the HR proudly, or I admit my mistake.
            Ain't a big deal to me.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:14:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Tons of archives to choose from: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, BlueDragon, NY brit expat

          Marxist:
          http://www.marxists.org/

          Wobbly:
          http://www.iww.org/...

          Anarchist:
          http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/...

          to name just a few

          To follow this diary, perhaps, the anti-(imperialist)-war speech by Debs for which he was sent to prison and also the speech that he gave before being  sentenced to prison for giving the (seditious) anti-war speech. (Wasn't there also a Dem President at that time (rhetorical question!):

          http://www.marxists.org/...
          http://www.marxists.org/...
          http://www.marxists.org/...

          But I would study anything along the anti-capitalist line. Studying with a group is much more interesting than studying alone!

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

          by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 01:58:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  any theoretical topic will take some (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueDragon, JayRaye, Geminijen

            time to read ... that may be better for a topic a couple of weeks down the line.  I also feel uncomfortable choosing a topic as clearly this is something that needs to be done jointly.

            Am wondering what would be a good topic, are we coming to an anniversary of a large strike or a movement? That would be a good topic and people can read ... I am even wondering if reading something on reconstruction from Dubois and the failure of the extension of the bourgeois democratic revolution would be good given the Lincoln movie.

            If we wanted something on economics, we can choose part of Capital ... the chapter on primitive accumulation? or something more relevant such as the discussion on concentration and centralisation of capital and crises?

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:44:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  All of these are great topics! (0+ / 0-)

              I think it's fine for a couple of admins to assign a topic, as it would take forever to get feedback from everyone in the group. People can always Kosmail suggestions if they have ideas.

              Theory can be broken down to fit one week.

              Strike/labor struggle 100 year anniversaries (Feb 1913):
              WV UMW strike, massacre at Holly Grove
              IWW Akron Great Rubber Strike
              Merrysville, LS strike & org'r killed
              Patterson Silk Strike
              Mother Jones et all in Military Bastile in WV
                 awaiting court martial
              Battle of Mucklow, WV
              SPA in turmoil: Haywood ousted

              It's better, of course, to have diaries. But assigned readings when we don't have diaries might give us a chance to cover topics we might otherwise miss.

              WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

              by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 04:02:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  PS. I vote for Dubois, something I know very (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Geminijen

                little about & sounds interesting:

                I am even wondering if reading something on reconstruction from Dubois and the failure of the extension of the bourgeois democratic revolution would be good given the Lincoln movie.

                WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: Right-to-Work/Right-to-Live(?)

                by JayRaye on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 04:09:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Dubois's book on reconstruction era (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye, annieli

                  is big and dense and great reading; I do not know if people have easy access to it ... but we can ask people if they are interested.

                  Links for the strikes in WV and the UMW on 100 anniversary would be amazing, so much labour history of that period is not remembered. If we can get a series of links and pictures, we can send them out to people or put them here so that people would be prepared in advance. What was the strike about, who was organising it, what issues involved, what tactics used by the bosses and workers, the outcome ... future actions that this lead to so we can see outcomes that may not be evident from either an immediate success or failure. Support outside the area (e.g., Lawrence had wide ranging support), international solidarity, reactions in the bourgeois press.

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 04:34:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  This would be great. Especially interesting is (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye

                  how the troops which were protecting the 13th-15th amendment rights of blacks in the South during recon-struction were removed in 1877 to fight the stirking workers in the north, effectively ending reconstruction.

              •  I keep on forgetting to tell (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayRaye, annieli

                you (due to my being sick and my brain not perfectly plugged in) that a group on facebook called Bread and Roses: has been quoting from Mary Heaton Vorse's writings ... I don't know if you are on facebook, but it has been amazing ...  http://www.facebook.com/...

                "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                by NY brit expat on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 04:25:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Think we should find something on the dynamics of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye, annieli

              race and class given that it's black history month. i.e, prison industrial complex, drug war, getting rid of public education specifically how race interacts with class in these situations.

  •  Excellent Post, Le Gauchiste! (6+ / 0-)

    With the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, Obama's rank hypocrisy and sheer indecency is fully exposed.  His appointments of Brennan, Geithner, Lew, Mary Jo White and similar servants of  the corrupt capitalist corporations expose the reality of Obama's fundamentally ruthless alliances.

    How ironic that capitalism's most brutal fascist form should flower in the U.S. under the guise of a mild-mannered black constitutional law professor  who so artfully hides behind engaging rhetoric and respectful quotes from Martin Luther King, while routinely violating every single human rights provision contained in our founding document.

    The sheer extent and success of Obama's corporatist scam is so breath-taking as to unbelievable.

    While Brennan may be just another banal foot soldier in capitalism's arsenal of terror, Obama is truly an artist in cloaking its torture and assassination programs  in his velvet gloves.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:10:41 PM PST

  •  Excellent essay,taking this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, jarbyus

    ACM right back to a kind of first principle,(Engels' & Luxemburg's) Socialism or Barbarism. Violence and money are both instruments of control, wielded now without compunction or much examination...and with less consequence redounding to the perpetrators than even they likely expect. The inexorable inevitability of capitalism degenerating & diminishing humanity seems more largely obvious all the time,doesn't it?

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 04:01:25 AM PST

  •  Yesterday's comments (0+ / 0-)

    unavailable for recommendations?  What is up with that?  At least I was able to recommend the diary, which makes me sad, but angry.  A really superb job, Le Gauchiste.

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 06:58:30 PM PST

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