Friday, November 28, 2008
"He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."
No, that is not a headline ripped from a Saturday Night Live routine. A human being was killed by frenzied shoppers at a Wal-Mart located in Valley Stream, New York. Photos of the mad rush can be seen here.
Too bad shoppers didn't know that today is Buy Nothing Day. The day after Thanksgiving is an opportunity to digest the previous day's meal. It is a day to contemplate and reflect on the amount of credit card debt you already have. It is a day to stay as far away from stores as possible.
The reasons for boycotting post Thanksgiving shopping are numerous. When you celebrate Buy Nothing Day you are simultaneously giving consumerism the finger, saving money, and decreasing consumption of worthless crap that destroys the environment. Now it turns out you may be saving your life too.
Join up with Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping and get yourself some salvation. Then say a prayer for the poor man who not only had the misfortune of working at Wal-Mart, but dying there too.
I am concerned that reaction to this awful tragedy will be racist. All of the shoppers in the photos I saw were black. I certainly hope that we are not singled out for condemnation. Consumerism is a sickness maintained by propaganda fed to us all on a constant basis. Here in New York City ads can be seen on top of taxis, inside subway cars, outside of subway cars and on giant screens at bus stops and subway entrances. There is literally no way to escape them.
The behavior of people who ignored risks to their own safety in pursuit of cheap crap made in China should be put in its proper context. We have been turned into drones who work and buy and don't stop to think about anything other than working or buying. I hope that a needed discussion of the overt and covert messages we get to keep spending will not turn into a story of so-called pathologies unique only to black people.
Wal-Mart should not escape blame either. There was clearly no security at the store and employees and shoppers alike were in danger. But then again, Wal-Mart never spends more than it has to. Better think twice about rushing to the store next year. Don't fall for Black Friday propaganda. Observe Buy Nothing Day instead.
Monday, November 10, 2008
"Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?"
"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
"I've always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted . . . "
Lawrence Summers, Clinton and possible Obama administration Treasury Secretary
Friday, November 07, 2008
Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, terrorist
As I pointed out yesterday, Rahm Emanuel's devotion to neo-con, pro-war foreign policy nearly cost Democrats the majority in the November 2006 elections. I should have also pointed out that his father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, was a terrorist. The president's chief of staff is the child of a terrorist.
Emanuel senior was a member of the Irgun, the group that blew up the King David hotel in Jerusalem and murdered Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948. Dad is very proud of his son and proud that he will be helping out Israel in his new position.
" 'Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House.' The Ma'ariv article also quoted Dr. Emanuel as saying that his son spends most summers visiting in Tel Aviv, and that he speaks Hebrew, but not fluently."
Should Jews worry about an Obama presidency? I guess not, although the rest of us ought to.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
That was fast. Less than 24 hours after Barack Obama won the presidential election, he proved his detractors right. Change is an empty slogan for Obama, a marketing ploy used to make fatigued and grateful Democrats disbelieve their own eyes, ears and memories. While an official announcement has yet to be made, it appears that Congressman Rahm Emanuel will be named White House chief of staff.
Emanuel is Chair of the democrats Congressional Campaign Committee and has been credited with engineering the 2006 return to the majority. Yet the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in spite of Emanuel's strategy, not because of it. John Walsh (scroll down for story) explained it all in Counterpunch back in November 2006.
"Long ago Rahm chose 22 key races, open or Republican seats, where Dems might win. By any reasonable criteria, all the candidates chosen by Rahm, save perhaps for one, were pro-war as is Emanuel himself. In two cases Rahm had to put in considerable dollars and effort in the primaries to drive out antiwar candidates. He drove out Cegelis in Illinois's 6th CD, at the cost of one million dollars, in favor of Tammy ("Stay the course") Duckworth who lost in the general election. In California's 11th CD primary, Emanuel backed the prowar Steven Filson who lost to the antiwar candidate, Jerry McNerney, who went on to win in the general election."
Looking at all 22 candidates hand-picked by Rahm, we find that 13 were defeated, and only 8 won! (3) (One is still undecided.) [Note: 9 eventually won] And remember that this was the year of the Democratic tsunami and that Rahm's favorites were handsomely financed by the DCCC. Tammy Duckworth, for example, was infused with $3 million and was backed in the primary by HRC, Barack Obama, John Kerry, etc. The Dems have picked up 28 seats so far, maybe more. So out of that 28, Rahm's choices accounted for 8 [Note: 9]! Since the Dems only needed 15 seats to win the House, Rahm's efforts were completely unnecessary. Had the campaign rested on Rahm's choices, there would have been only 8 or 9 new seats, and the Dems would have lost. In fact, Rahm's efforts were probably counterproductive for the Dems since the great majority of voters were antiwar and they were voting primarily on the issue of the war (60% according to CNN). But Rahm's candidates were not antiwar. So Rahm Emanuel nearly seized defeat from the jaws of victory."
At Black Agenda Report we have been saying all year long that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were "political twins." Now that Obama has won, it looks like Clinton administration retreads will be his top advisers and cabinet members. Lawrence Summers may be headed to the Treasury department and Emanuel will be Obama's second in command.
I'm sorry to burst the bubbles of those of you who wept in ecstasy just two days ago, but the truth is still the truth. Obama's chief of staff is a pro-war democrat who couldn't figure out how to beat republicans when the voters had turned against them. His appointment is a signal not only that endless war will remain on the table, but that the choice of Obama over Clinton was a meaningless one. Obama is smarter and savier than Hillary Clinton and he used those skills to be favored by more big money people than she was. That is why he is the president elect.
Face it. There will still be a Clinton in the White House. The people at the top of the establishment pyramid will always be friends. Nothing changes among the power elite. They are the biggest cynics on earth and they don't believe most of what they tell us. Obama and Bill Clinton will be thick as thieves and triangulation will still be the order of the day. If it weren't, Emanuel's name would not be atop the adviser rumor mill.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
When I went to my polling place here in Harlem I witnessed something I had never seen before. There was a line stretching out the door, down the block and around the corner. Fortunately the poll workers did an excellent job of managing the crowd and it took me no longer to vote than it did in any other presidential election year.
It was a strange day for the Obama non-fan. We were definitely left out of a very big party. It was quite moving to see people who were obviously first time voters. They were excited and engaged about the political process, some for the first time in their lives. It is good to know that it is still possible for people to be newly energized. Hopefully they can be energized to do something truly useful in the future. I don't know how they would explain their feelings, but it is certain that by voting for Obama they were upholding war and theft on a grand scale.
I know that Green party candidate Cynthia McKinney got at least one vote in New York City yesterday. I used to say that living in a solid blue state made my third and fourth and fifth party votes justifiable. Now I say that I will only vote for peace candidates. If I lived in Ohio, the swing state where I was born, I still would have voted for her. I will never again cast a vote for a war criminal. That conviction means I am disenfranchised. My vote will never count and I can only play the role of spoiler. I no longer care. I can't pretend that America's aggression around the world can be dismissed if it is carried out by the lesser of two evils.
So what do we have to look forward to? Read Black Agenda Report and find out.
"We have learned that this generation will have to learn from damn near scratch what a real social movement looks like - which will be doubly hard, since they have been misled to believe that this year's frenzied electioneering was actually a "movement." Now it is over, and one Black man is moving - into the White House, having never promised his Black supporters a single thing of significance. But of course, hardly anyone Black made any demands of Obama."
Sad but true. I fear that the situation will continue. Obama can get away with anything, and that makes him a truly dangerous man. Black America lives vicariously through him, asking and getting nothing in return. White progressives are likewise silent.
"I'll give Obama this much -- his campaign has been one of the most brilliantly conceived and cynically executed appeals I've ever seen. His propaganda team has ably exploited people's desire for HOPE and CHANGE, offering them empty platitudes which they can fill with any fantasy they choose. Even when Obama baldly states whose interests he actually serves, his followers either don't care or pretend not to hear. Besides, they bleat when pushed, Obama will be pressured to do the right thing should he stray too far from liberal concerns. The fact that he already has done this shows that claim to be as empty as Obama's speeches. The idea that libs are going to shift from genuflection to lighting fires under Obama's feet is preposterous, but fully in line with the general fantasia."
Dennis Perrin is absolutely correct. Progressives aren't interested in saying anything. I know because I used to be just like them. When Bill Clinton was president I was overjoyed to see a democrat in the White House. I excused almost everything he did because I thought that support was the only way to keep republicans at bay.
It takes one to know one. Obamites will say nothing if he bails out thieving banks or starts new wars. It will be a sad day when black Americans , ordinarily the group who opposed the empire, fall in line and make excuses. It will be a day to grieve when people who took to the streets to opposed the occupation of Iraq excuse Obama's continuation of that violation of international law and human rights.
Much of the joy comes from relief that the republicans are gone. Ding dong the witch is dead. The Bush years have been a nightmare and we are waking up from the terror.
Now we have a man in the White House who can hide his criminality with intellect and good marketing. Because he is the big money candidate the press will protect him as much as they protected Bush. McCain got the shaft because his party had fallen out of favor. Their brand is dead right now. Otherwise he would have gotten the kid glove treatment like Bush did for so long.
Stay tuned. So much is changing in the world right now. The economic meltdown has not hit bottom and new wars are in the planning stages. We will see what supposedly good people are made of.