I had intended to write something more elaborate, but then Baltimore happened. Here is my front garden, a few days ago. It's improved now!
See how discouraging mud season can be? My whole front garden is covered by what the passing plows throw up: That ginormous chunk of tar in the foreground, and then sand all over everything. Fortunately, the town does not use salt, or else the soil would be destroyed! And that box at top right? Read more about In the garden: Spring is here
NOTE Meditating changing the headline to "Baltimore: Day One." Nah. Let's be optimistic.
I'd hoped to re-introduce myself a bit more gracefully, but needs must. My Twitter list exploded, so a quick sitrep. Times are when I posted the info, not when the event described occurred. I'll go back and link in a bit after I survey matters:
UPDATE on Baltimore. From various sources I read:
1) Very heavy police presence today, including county police in addition to Baltimore’s. (This is often a very bad sign, since poor coordination between different forces leads to violence, certainly during Occupy Oakland.)
2) Incident where high schoolers
pepper-sprayed tear-gassed on leaving school.
3) Clash between police and protesters after Freddie Gray funeral.
4) Hotels in Baltimore area being booked (implication: Those who can getting out/and or influx of protesters).
5) Family members tweeting advice on how to get out.
6) Tactical vehicles said to have been spotted.
7) Maryland governor [Hogan] declares state of emergency [[8:06PM]. This might not end well. Will be interesting to find out what people see from the windows of the Acela — which passes through Baltimore — tomorrow.
"This afternoon, a group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers. Right now, we have seven officers that have serious injuries, including broken bones, and one officer who is unconscious," Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters.
Maybe. We'll have to see.
"This is not OK," Kowalczyk said. "You're going to see tear gas. You're going to see pepper balls. We're going to use appropriate methods to ensure that we're able to preserve the safety of that community."
Rocks, bricks. Pray god that's all.
Just to declare my priors, I'm an advocate of strategic non-violence. I'm not a Ghandian; I want to win, and I think that's the best way to get 80% of the population on "our side," without creating the conditions for "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." I'm also not a "worse is better" guy, i.e., I don't think "sharpening the contradictions" is always all to the good; I think worse is worse.
All that said, I liked what the son of the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, John Angelos (!) had to say in USA Today (!!), though in my book the first paragraph is a bit dogmatic:
Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.
That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.
The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.
Now to round up some sourcing... My views evolve as I go, so cum grano salis.. . Read more about Baltimore
Indicting the Trans – Pacific Partnership: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!
To really appreciate what a travesty the TPP is, and the scandal of the failure of our Congress to reject it, and the “Fast Track Authority“ sought for it, out of hand, I'm going to list 23 negative consequences that would likely follow from it. Any one of these, would, by itself be sufficient for any representative of the people, Senator or Congressperson, to vote to kill it. I'll offer this list in the form of stanzas appropriate for a chant, except for the starting point in the list.
The tune of the chant that might be used is the tune used for Dayenu, the passover seder chant in which Dayenu means “It would have been sufficient,” where the reference is to all the things the almighty is purported to have done for the Israelites on their way out of Egypt and during their wanderings in the Sinai. I'm sure the President is familiar with this chant since he has had seders at the White House more than once. I'm also sure that he never envisioned using Dayenu to highlight the horrors of one of his favorite projects, the passage of “Fast Track Authority,” the TPP, and other “free trade” agreements such as the TTIP, and the TISA, all of which would get “Fast Track Authority” if the present bill passes. Read more about Indicting the Trans – Pacific Partnership: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!
Right now the US fulfills the three essential conditions for monetary sovereignty: 1) it issues its own non-convertible currency, 2) which it allows to float on international currency markets; and 3) it owes no debts in any currency other than dollars. Because it is monetarily sovereign, and can always meet its obligations the US can never be forced into insolvency.
It can become insolvent due to Congressional decisions such as failing to raise or repeal the debt ceiling, or Executive decisions such as failing to use its platinum coin minting authority to fill the public purse and then pay its bills once it has reached the debt ceiling. But again, it cannot be forced into solvency by external financial or economic factors that are beyond the control of the Federal Government (including the Congress). Read more about How Can Our Senators and Representatives Vote for Giving Away Our Monetary Sovereignty?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, . . .
This, of course, is from the Declaration of Independence, one of the sacred texts of American politics and political theory. When the consent of the governed is superceded, or is not given due to force or manipulation, then that is tyranny and illegitimate, because no powers of such a government are or can be just.
So, let's ask, based on what we know about the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement from leaks of current drafts, and also based on the proposed procedures for enacting it, and those for exiting the agreement, is it true that the TPP, if passed, would have the consent of the governed and hence be legitimate? Or would it be an instance of imposition of tyranny on the American people and also on the people of other signatory nations? Read more about Consent of the Governed: Stop the Emerging TPP Tyranny!
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, will speak at the S.C. Democratic Party’s convention Saturday.
(This diary can be viewed as a follow-up to a previous diary of mine, From Space, Nobody Can Hear Your Anti-TPP Public Screams (all 22 of them)) Read more about From space, nobody can hear your upcoming AFL-CIO anti-TPP Screams (all 4 of them)
From Kentucky of all places:
'RTW' clown car seems to be shedding its wheels
By BERRY CRAIG
It looks like the wheels have come off the scab-built “right to work” clown car.
The union-busters predicted 30 counties would pass RTW ordinances by the end of January, according to Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.
The victims of the shooting spree included a 9 year old, a 20 year old aspiring medical student and his mother, a 46 year old dermatologist, a 52 year old car dealer, a 47 year old truck driver, a 12 year old, a 52 year old businessman, a 77 year old gardener, a passenger on a bus, and a 54 blacksmith commuting to work on his motorcycle. Read more about A Litmus Test on Empathy
Cannonfire has an excellent post on eating on food stamps. I agree with him, it was nice that Gwennyth Paltrow at least tried to imagine what it would be like to live on food stamps. It is nice to see rich people with an agenda that goes beyond more tax breaks for me, so kudos to Paltrow for at least trying. However, I disagree with his solution. Read more about Rice and beans
I'm watching Yanis Varoufakis' interview with Joseph Stiglitz here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY3Qxm6BoUI#t=541
I know Yanis is probably a Marxist. I've read Marx, but I've never understood why he was so sure capitalism would devour itself. But watching this, I'm pretty sure the problem is that if one profits, another is indebted. And that's the deal with the Eurozone now. Read more about I think I get Marx's basic idea about capitalism
You are what you vote for. If you vote for horrible people like Chris Chistie, Andrew Cuomo, or Rahm Emanuel you get horrible government. Seriously, all of these characters wracked up horrible records, that should have gotten them bounced out by a landslide, instead they have been reelected. Even if the competing candidates may not have been FDR, that is no excuse. All of these crooks should have sunk like lead.
We just have to elect better people, that is all there is to it. Read more about Why we can't have nice things