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We Halve a Dream

January 18, 2010

On this holiday in the era of “Hoping for Change”, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream has not been realized and I’d venture that far fewer than half of changes King proposed for a more equitable society are even on the table for consideration. King did not just want a country where people of different ethic backgrounds would treat each other kindly, he wanted Justice. He knew that integration alone would not solve the gross inequalities he saw all around. He wanted a country where the playing field was truly level and the benefits of society could be enjoyed by all and not just a privileged few. He wanted a country where the poor were not used as fodder for the war machine which robs us all of our means of sustenance and our basic human decency. He wanted a country where the people didn’t simply defer to the leaders who sought to perpetuate inequalities, but stood up on their hind legs and challenged them through disobedience .

So while we may have elected – and I say “may” because who really knows who has won any election in recent years when the votes are cast on machines whose results can’t be verified – the first black president of this country, this president has used his great power to continue shoveling the wealth of a nation to the same wealthy, predominately white oligarchs who have enjoyed the fruits of others’ labor for generations.

End the wars in the Middle East? Still have more to start first Obama tells us.

Justice for those in the previous administration who left the Constitution in tatters? Better to move on Obama tells us.

A national health care plan that covers everybody equally? Just not possible in this country Obama tells us.

Aid to the poor and downtrodden? Not until we’ve taken care of the bankers first and that’s going to take some time Obama tells us.

If I have to hear this man on the TV later tonight invoking the name of Martin Luther King Jr. for any reason whatsoever I think I’m going to puke.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    January 18, 2010 1:04 pm

    Missed this one when it first came out. Here’s Helen Thomas having the temerity to actually ask our leaders “Why do they hate us?”.

    She didn’t get an answer, but on a related note, maybe, just maybe, things like this are why. I was a bit incredulous when reading that piece that Obama would really task W and Bubba with bringing aid to Haiti since the two of them and Poppy had done so much to make sure democracy would not take hold in that nation. Looked around a little bit and yup, it’s true.

    Brings to mind the quote I saw from Malcolm X in this Chris Hedges piece on MLK today – Turning King’s Dream Into a Nightmare.

    “You can’t drive a knife into a man’s back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.”

    Except that’s exactly what the US is trying to do in Haiti and in so many other places where the US is “helping”. And yet so many still wonder why they hate us.

  2. cometman permalink*
    January 18, 2010 1:17 pm

    The Harper’s subscribers among our vast readership may have already seen this piece about Aafia Siddiqui who is facing attempted murder charges in conjunction with the war on terra, but Counterpunch has reprinted it today as Siddiqui’s trial begins this week and I think it bears repeating. This is truly one of the most bizarre stories I have seen in quite some time and you have to read the whole thing to really get the flavor of it. There are so many contradictory accounts that nobody seems to know exactly what happened to this woman or where she’s been or whether she ever pulled a gun on anyone, or if they do they aren’t talking. This snippet sums the story up well:

    Perhaps the most believable account came from Ali Hasan, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, whom I visited at his home in Lahore. “My professional view,” he said, “is they’re all lying. Siddiqui’s family is lying, the husband is lying, the Pakistanis are lying, the Americans are lying, for all I know the kids are lying. And because they’re all lying the truth is probably twenty times stranger than we all know.”

  3. artemis54 permalink
    January 18, 2010 10:44 pm

    Hmm. Rachel Maddow is stealing my comments for her show ideas again – on Hatian debt today.

    I’ve warned her aobut this a couple times now.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 19, 2010 7:34 am

      Ha! Maddow and I are tight. She signed a book for me once. I’ll see what I can do :P

  4. triv33 permalink
    January 19, 2010 6:22 am

    Oh, this is good. I love Taibbi.

    • Stemella permalink*
      January 19, 2010 6:34 am

      Wow. Wow.

      Awesome Taibbitude there. He slayed Brooks and rightly so.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 19, 2010 9:36 am

      That was sweet. Thanks for starting the morning off with a chuckle.

      Here’s some more funny stuff in case anyone missed it. Hadn’t been following the details of the Mass special senate election except to see that Coakley was falling behind. Jon Stewart gave some details last night and then ripped the Dems a new one.

      Really????? She didn’t know Curt Schilling was a Red Sox player and thought he was a Yankee? The guy who pitched probably the most famous game in the Boston area in the last 100 fucking years????? And her campaign can’t even spell the name of the state right in her own TV ads????!?!?!?!

      • artemis54 permalink
        January 19, 2010 10:37 am

        Stewart was hilarious. “Lower the bar for Democrats? How about if we just lay it on the ground so you can trip over it?”

        I thought the most telling quote from Coakley was when she said what do expect me to do? Stand outside Fenway park in the rain and shake hands?

        Yeah, dumbshit, and if need be twirl a baton, wear a chicken suit, sing happy birthday. Sounds like she really deserves to lose, although probably not as much as Brown. I still would love to see her win just to jam it in the faces of all these pundits.

        • cometman permalink*
          January 19, 2010 10:55 am

          From Stewart’s clip at least it sounds like she’s barely interested in running. Having been to Fenway on numerous occasions, it’s not as if it’s just a bunch of drunken locals hanging around outside – people love the Red Sox and EVERYBODY goes to those games, not just from all over the state but from all over New England and beyond. The new ownership has gone to great lengths to advertise the team and has practically gift wrapped Fenway as the perfect place for any politician from the area who might be looking to do a little meet and greet. Dumbshit indeed.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    January 19, 2010 6:25 am

    Nice post. Obama did make a speech and not only invoked MLK but compared himself to him, chastising those who would want more change than he was able to give, just like the kumquats chastising some people for wanting their pony. Obama tried to wrap himself in a flag of humility and humanity with his ever eloquent words, but compared to the actions, many noted in your post, they are ever empty rhetoric.

    I’ve been out of commission with illness for a few days and I have to go out for the next few days and earn my keep. I’ll check in when I can. Thanks for posting a new one.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 19, 2010 7:39 am

      Figures. All these clowns who conveniently forget what the man actually said still like to wrap themselves up in a little MLK once a year.

      Sounds like Obama and the demotards may have another excuse to throw at people who thought we might have some changes after that special election in Mass today.

      Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

  6. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 7:48 am

    This article caught my eye for a couple reasons.

    First in touches on the jellyfish population expanding due to global warming which is something that’s been documented for a while but you don’t really hear much about.

    But according to the Associated Press, the jellyfish population is rising. The news service reports, “Scientists believe climate change — the warming of oceans — has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes.”

    Second, it brings up one more attempt by our leadership to sell us down the river regarding an amendment vote coming up this week.

    And next week, Senator Reid will allow a vote on an amendment to the legislation lifting the Federal debt ceiling. Proposed by Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, it would block the enforcement funding of the Environmental Protection Agency, giving free rein to the coal industry and other big polluters to ignore the Clean Air Act.

    Have to keep an eye out to see how this one goes. But considering the ineptitude of the Dems, I suspect this amendment which Reid was probably not even required to allow a vote on will pass with the help of the Blue Dog types.

  7. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 10:09 am

    More lawlessness – FBI broke law for years in phone record searches.

    The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

    ~snip~

    A Justice Department inspector general’s report due out this month is expected to conclude that the FBI frequently violated the law with its emergency requests, bureau officials confirmed.

    So they broke the law and the Justice Department knows it. What are they going to do about it? Read a little further and we get the obligatory “9-11 changed everything” reference to make sure people know that although laws were broken it was for their own good, and then later there’s a vague assurance that the FBI isn’t doing the bad stuff anymore.

    FBI officials said they are confident that the safeguards enacted in 2007 have ended the problems.

    That being the case, my guess is that nobody is going to do jack about holding the lawbreakers to account.

  8. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 11:05 am

    Here something interesting about symbiosis – researchers have found that fig trees seem to “punish” wasps who lay eggs on the plant without pollinating it.

    Figs and the wasps that pollinate them present one of biologists’ favorite examples of a beneficial relationship between two different species. In exchange for the pollination service provided by the wasp, the fig fruit provides room and board for the wasp’s developing young. However, wasps do not always pollinate the fig. Fig trees “punish” these “cheaters” by dropping unpollinated fruit, killing the wasp’s offspring inside, report researchers working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

    ~snip~

    Some wasp species passively carry pollen that sticks to their bodies. Others actively collect pollen in special pouches. Jandér evaluated the ability of six different fig tree-fig wasp species pairs to regulate cheating. She introduced either a single pollen-free wasp, or a wasp carrying pollen, into a mesh bag containing an unpollinated The wasps entered the figs to lay their eggs. Jandér found that trees often dropped unpollinated figs before young wasps could mature.

    “This is really about the all-too-human theme of crime and punishment. We found that in actively pollinated fig species — when wasps expend time and energy to collect and deposit pollen– wasps that did not provide the basic service of pollination were sanctioned. However, in passively pollinated species — when the wasps do not need to make an effort to pollinate–sanctions were absent,” said Allen Herre, STRI staff scientist.

    Pretty fascinating although the article doesn’t mention whether fig trees also drop unpollinated fruit that does not contain wasp larvae. Seems like having that info would give a better idea whether dropping fruit which kills a wasp is actually “deliberate” on the fig’s part. Checked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute website too and it didn’t mention that either.

  9. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 11:17 am

    Jeebus H Sniper Rifling Xrist! – U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret ‘Jesus’ Bible Codes.

    Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

    The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.

    ~snip~

    Trijicon confirmed to ABCNews.com that it adds the biblical codes to the sights sold to the U.S. military. Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions “have always been there” and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them.

    Uh, pretty sure it is against the law there Tommy Boy. Not to mention the fact that I don’t remember any references in that Bible of yours about whose heads Jeebus wanted to have blown off.

  10. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 1:23 pm

    This could be a big one. Remember those Guantanamo prisoners who supposedly hung themselves in their cells just to make Uncle Sugar look bad a few years ago? Turns out that really wasn’t the case. Probably doesn’t come as too much of surprise in and of itself, now Scott Horton has written a report documenting the episode complete with many named sources (imagine that!) who worked at Gitmo and were eyewitnesses to part of the events that occurred on the night of the deaths. Harper’s is making this story available online a month before the issue it will appear in goes to print so evidently they wanted to make sure the word got out.

    Looks like these prisoners were murdered at Gitmo in a previously unknown “black site” located there and then the military brass went to work covering it up. Not only did they concoct the suicide story but when the bodies were delivered to the men’s families they were not in such hot shape. Because their throats had been cut out.

    Some of the guards came forward to report what they’d seen and eventually one got a lawyer and took his story to the Justice Dept. Justice thanked them for not going to the media first and then proceeded with the whitewash.

    Now it’s in the media. I hope every last one of the motherfuckers who are named in this article who ordered the torture of men who were likely innocent and caused their deaths suffers tenfold for every bit of damage they have done. These people truly are monsters.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 20, 2010 9:34 am

      More from Horton on these revelations including a pretty good smackdown of one of the colonels who is trying to deny all of it and a video from his appearance on Maddow’s show.

  11. cometman permalink*
    January 19, 2010 8:44 pm

    Martha Croakley.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 19, 2010 9:04 pm

      Dkos darling Jim Webb: Suspend the Senate until Brown is seated. Hell why stop there Jim? Why not just suspend it until there is a GOP majority of 51? That’s all it takes for Republican rule, since Webb, Reid and all the other pussies won’t raise any fuss.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 20, 2010 8:12 am

        Funny, I don’t remember Webb being so concerned when it took months to get Al Franken seated due to republican obstruction. And in that case the results were verified by a hand-counted recount.

        Seems like Coakley could barely wait to concede this race. She caved in before 10:00 PM before all the precincts had even reported and this despite the fact that the election was far from a landslide, was held on bullshit machines, and Coakley’s own campaign had reported ballots being pre-marked for Smith earlier in the day.

        And of course,there were no exit polls.

        So who really won the election? We’ll never know and Coakley doesn’t seem to care.

        Ain’t democracy just grand?

        • triv33 permalink
          January 20, 2010 8:21 am

          I saw that!!! It was as if she was happy to concede. A big Whiskey Tango Foxtrot on that noise. What is it with these Dems? No fight in them what-so-ever. I said, hey, pull a Coleman, why the hell not? But, noooo. Capitulation is the order of the day.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 20, 2010 8:44 am

        More dithering. Barney Frank also wants to respect “the democratic process” and doesn’t want to be in a rush to pass any health care legislation.

        “I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform. Because I do not think that the country would be well served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of this process.”

        Now I really don’t want the monstrosity these clowns have concocted to pass, but hiding behind the “democratic process” is beyond the pale. If these idiots had any respect for “the democratic process” they wouldn’t have allowed the election to have happened with no way to verify the results in the first place. Not to mention the fact that Obama promised that any hearings would be made public and then went and met with health insurance industry people behind closed doors. And now we’re supposed to believe that Frank and Webb and the rest care about the “democratic process”. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

        Howard Dean throws a shot across the bow saying that there were other ways the Dems could have passed reform without whining about 60 votes – Bush would have had healthcare a long time ago.

  12. triv33 permalink
    January 20, 2010 8:15 am

    I almost didn’t go to bed last night. Somebody on the internet was wrong, you see and I had the temerity to suggest that progressive voters were disenfranchised by policies that were not progressive rather than any kind of “loose lips sink ships” blather written on a blog. What the hell is wrong with me????

    • cometman permalink*
      January 20, 2010 8:49 am

      Ha! I just ran across something similar written by a reformed Jeebus guy who’s seen the light and now wants to stop the republicans he helped for so many years. Can’t tell if it’s supposed to be sarcastic or not, but it sure seems like he’s blaming the “liberal purists” for Smith’s “win” yesterday. I guess the complete (and predictable) ineptness of the Democrats had nothing to do with it.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 20, 2010 8:57 am

      This guy has it about right if you ask me – Obama Finally Gets His Victory For Bipartisanship.

      The President’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters he had sent packing twice in a row in the name of “bipartisanship,” and his refusal ever to utter the words “I am a Democrat” and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy — and hence competing parties — for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility.

      What happens if you refuse to lay the blame for the destruction of our economy on anyone — particularly the party, leaders, and ideology that were in power for the last 8 years and were responsible for it? What happens if you fail to “brand” what has happened as the Bush Depression or the Republican Depression or the natural result of the ideology of unregulated greed, the way FDR branded the Great Depression as Hoover’s Depression and created a Democratic majority for 50 years and a new vision of what effective government can do? What happens when you fail to offer and continually reinforce a narrative about what has happened, who caused it, and how you’re going to fix it that Americans understand, that makes them angry, that makes them hopeful, and that makes them committed to you and your policies during the tough times that will inevitably lie ahead?

      The answer was obvious a year ago, and it is even more obvious today: Voters will come to blame you for not having solved a problem you didn’t create, and you will allow the other side to create an alternative narrative for what’s happened (government spending, deficits, big government, socialism) that will stick. And it will particularly stick if you make no efforts to prevent it from starting or sticking.

      I want Howard Dean. Especially if he gets off his ass and breaks from the Democrats. Can’t be any worse than what we’ve already got.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 20, 2010 9:50 am

        Some sanity from Glenn greenwald regarding those who are trying to blame oh-so-powerful left (who haven’t gotten a goddamned thing they wanted in decades) for Coakley’s loss.

        The very idea that an administration run by Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and staffed with centrists, Wall Street mavens, and former Bush officials — and a Congress beholden to Blue Dogs and Lieberdems — has been captive “to the Left” is so patently false that everyone should be too embarrassed to utter it. For better or worse, the Democratic strategy has long been and still is to steer clear of their leftist base and instead govern as “pragmatists” and centrists — which means keeping the permanent Washington factions pleased. That strategy may or not be politically shrewd, but it is just a fact that the dreaded “Left” has gotten very little of what it wanted the entire year. Is there anyone who actually believes that “The Left” is in control of anything, let alone the Democratic Party?

        The more I read about all this today, it almost seems as if the Democrats purposefully booted this campaign so they could have an excuse for moving further towards the republicans, which is what so many of them wanted to begin with. I’d much rather watch “Paint Your Wagon” or something. That sort of ridiculous theatre is much more entertaining.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 20, 2010 10:55 am

      And a little more from Chris Floyd weighing in on yesterday’s election.

      It is not just Obama’s agenda, of course. It is the agenda of the Democratic Party: war, empire, and corporate profit über alles. Is this really worth defending, even with a held nose? Yet progressives and liberals will continue to insist that, bad as it is, we’ve got to keep supporting the Democratic Party – because there is no alternative, because otherwise, Tea Party torture mavens like Scott Brown or Sarah Palin will get elected.

      ~snip~

      Oh, but there’s no choice, we are told, with earnest handwringing, by our leading progressives. Third parties are not viable in our system, we are informed by our savvy progressive realists; there can be no effective political movement outside the two main parties. Indeed, no less than Digby herself has declared that the only alternative to working with this closed system (which means, in practice, supporting the Democratic Party) is violent revolution: “Pick up your muskets, kids, or STFU.”

      And so this is what we’ve come to. This is the “progressive” answer to any genuine, non-violent rejection of the Democratic faction’s agenda of war and greed: “Shut the fuck up.” My, wouldn’t Martin Luther King Jr. be delighted with that? Wouldn’t Thomas Jefferson revel in such delicious eloquence, such deep thought?

      ~snip~

      But there comes a time when you must face the truth – or be lost to truth forever. There comes a time to recognize that the Democratic Party and Republican Party are part of the same corrupted entity. There comes a time to recognize that the Democratic Party’s agenda is not only ruinous in itself, unworthy of the support of anyone who cares about justice, peace, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – it is also empowering those very same loathsome and dangerous Republicans. There comes a time for even the most partisan tribalist (and I have been one) to accept the hard judgment of reality: that the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the solution.

      To say that there is no alternative to supporting this locked-in, closed-off, two-faction system of war and greed is an act of craven surrender to that system. To dismiss all hope for forging genuine alternatives to this system — whether these be other political parties or more general movements aiming not for political power but for broader changes in social consciousness — is a counsel of despair. It condemns us, and the world, to yet another generation of violence, chaos and corruption, another long, long journey away from the light. It is, as noted above, a recipe for disaster in every way.

      But if you want more Scott Browns in power, then by all means, keep pushing that Democratic agenda. You’ll soon have Scott Browns and Sarah Palins running out of your ears.

      To me, this is the crux of the issue that Democratic party apologists fail to realize – we cannot simply keep supporting one corrupt party which supports the oligarchy with a wink and a nod just because the other party looks more corrupt when they exchange the winks for a sneer. Either way, we are approaching the point where people have nothing left to lose, and when that happens history shows us that people get violent. Or to put it in the words of somebody the apologists are familiar with, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Right now it’s the Democrats who are failing to heed the words of JFK and making peaceful change impossible. If it continues it will not end well for anybody.

  13. artemis54 permalink
    January 20, 2010 9:00 am

    Ah, what exquisite timing: Black flag hoisted at dkos!

    Note the typical idiocy of dovsomethingorother and upraters that don’t or won’t recognize the difference between anarchy and chaos. This is your “progressive” movement with no historical memory.

  14. cometman permalink*
    January 20, 2010 10:25 am

    Nevermore? The Poe Toaster is a no-show.

    Edgar Allan Poe would have turned 201 yesterday, but the mysterious stranger who has marked the birth of the author for the last 60 years failed to show up at his grave.

    Every year since 1949, the stranger – known locally as the Poe Toaster – has left three roses and a half-bottle of cognac on Poe’s grave in Baltimore on his birthday.

  15. cometman permalink*
    January 20, 2010 11:00 am

    Think I’ve gotten the railing against the overall stupidity of our political process out of my system for today :) So here’s some levity via Pharyngula. Bwaaaahahahahaha!!

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 20, 2010 12:41 pm

      Before you go:

      Obama abdicates, appoints Beefcake Brown head of caretaker government

      What a fucking turkey Obama is. He expects someone to support him, when he won’t even support himself? Nice knowin ya Barack.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 20, 2010 1:07 pm

        Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh! Don’t know what else to do except laugh when I read things like this:

        “It is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn’t true,” he [Obama] said.

        Too bad he can’t bring himself to tell us which parts are true and which aren’t. Pretty sure the part about requiring people to buy corporate insurance which will inevitably get even more expensive since there are no cost controls would be the “fear mongering” that is in fact true. Of course if he bothered to debunk the claims of socialism which aren’t true he would then kinda have to admit that he’s doing a favor for the plutocrats at the expense of the rest of us.

        Only question left is can he sing it as well as Robert Plant.

  16. cometman permalink*
    January 20, 2010 12:57 pm

    Good one posted at naked capitalism today. The author points out that while Obama and his supporters may liken him to FDR trying to turn the country around, FDR he ain’t – He’s Hoover.

  17. cometman permalink*
    January 20, 2010 1:23 pm

    Pirates get paid.

    Somali pirates on Monday freed the Greek supertanker Maran Centaurus, one of the largest ships ever hijacked, after a plane dropped a record ransom on the deck.

    ~snip~

    At least seven million dollars are believed to have been dropped from a small plane directly onto the deck of the oil-laden juggernaut and another two million dollars paid in cash transfer.

    And I thought the Greeks were all out of drachmas

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