Thursday, January 21, 2010

A real MLK day

Fortunately, Dr. King told us exactly what a real MLK day would look like. (From his speach at Riverside Church in NYC, 1967 ...

"It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood. "

When we see that, then we'll know its really MLK day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's news? has this story up on its site.

Green Zone mortared, says eyewitness from Aswat Al-Iraq, an Iraqi newspaper.

Spent some time searching on CNN for coverage of the same story. Can't find any mention at all. Near as I can tell, the last mention of a mortar attack on the Green zone in Baghdad is when a shell landed during VP Biden's visit last year. I guess with his press entourage there, they couldn't ignore that attack. But they most certainly have ignored this latest attack.

Do you think things have calmed down in Iraq? Or is it just that the American corporate news has stopped broadcasting any reports of violence from Iraq? If things have calmed down, as the impression we get from corporate news would have us believe, then why do we still need 130,000 troops there?

Monday, January 18, 2010


Of course, what's happened there is horrible.  If there were any people who less needed a disaster, surely it was the poor of Haiti.  Over the weekend, there were of course constant ads on TV from all of the Red Cross' corporate partners asking that I give to the Red Cross.  I'm not comfortable doing that.  After 9-11, the Red Cross raised a ton of money, and gave only a small percentage of that to the victims.  After Katrina, I heard too many stories from people who were in New Orleans giving aid that the Red Cross stayed out in the (white) suburbs and wouldn't enter the city.

But, a dislike of the American Red Cross is no reason not to help. So, here's a list I found of other groups that are doing aid for Haiti in its time of need.  Personally, I like the American Friends Service Committee, but there are lots of other choices here.  Even the Red Cross is on this list if you so choose.

Interaction members respond to the earthquake in Haiti

Anarchist have organized "Mutual Aid Disaster Relief in Haiti"  If this stems out of the Common Ground collective effort in post-Katrina New Orleans, then they probably deserve support.

Also, via CounterPunch, a report from on the scene with regard to what is, and isn't, happening to aid the survivors of this horrible earthquake. The Rescue Operation's Priorities in Haiti by Nelson Valdes.

First, the foreign aid teams "rescued" and took out of the country the non-Haitians, particularly the Europeans, Americans and assorted other tourists. The Voice of America on Jan. 16 reported: "In the last day or so the United States and French governments have started running passenger flights out of the country [Haiti] for evacuees from those countries. People line up and wait for a plane to arrive so they can leave Haiti and leave behind what is a very difficult, traumatic experience for many." [1]

Second, five days have gone by without any real significant distribution of medical supplies, food or water to the neediest people.

The facts indicate clear priorities: the Haitians are not first in line. In fact, the rescuers seem to have a widespread fear of the poor and desperate Haitians. A Scottish reporter said, "aid workers in Haiti today called for more security amid fears of attacks by increasingly desperate earthquake survivors." [2]

Yet, the Haitians have been extraordinarily patient despite the fact that their world has collapsed around them.

Of course, for wealthy western tourists, life continues as usual. After all, one couldn't let a tragic disaster interfere with one's holidays, now could one.

Cruise ships still find a Haitian berth
by Robert Booth of the Guardian (UK).

Sixty miles from Haiti's devastated earthquake zone, luxury liners dock at private beaches where passengers enjoy jetski rides, parasailing and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks.

Also ....
The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion? by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research

“The International Community Must Let President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Return to Haiti”
by By Ansel Herz on NarcoNews