I say the cat has better initial stability but worse ultimate stability.
Which is better in a seaway?
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06 October 2016 - 06:37 AM
I say the cat has better initial stability but worse ultimate stability.
Which is better in a seaway?
29 September 2016 - 07:43 AM
Posted By Thomas Ruffin Jr.
June 29, 2015
Recently, I suggested to my colleagues in the National Conference of Black Lawyers that, as president of the United States, President Barack Obama proved to be a hypocrite and a “lowlife, handkerchief head politician”. When I characterized President Obama in this fashion, two colleagues, Attorneys Ron Isaac and Ajamu Sankofa, reprimanded me by saying that I should not resort to name-calling and that, in many respects, President Obama’s work as president improved the lives of black people and many others. A third colleague, Attorney Terry Price, asked me to explain my reasons for my “ugly opinion” regarding the president.
In my response, I expressed appreciation for the moral courage with which Ajamu and Ron responded to my criticism of President Obama. In my view, their reprimands exhibited their heartfelt love and respect for others, including President Barack Obama. Similarly, I made clear that I humbly respected the question posed by Attorney Terry Price; that question being, “Why … hold such a[n] ugly opinion about the President?”. With that said, I want to be perfectly clear in this published statement about the president. Like a black person selling dangerous and addictive narcotics to his or her black neighbors, like a black person robbing or murdering black people, and like Clarence Pendleton (now deceased), Justice Clarence Thomas, and Armstrong Williams, President Barak Obama is a traitor to his race.
Indeed, while he carries on the business of the United States presidency with poise and competence, President Obama holds himself out during the lame duck period of his presidency as though he worked assiduously over the last six and one-half years for the uplift of black people and the poor. That pretense on the part of President Obama is hypocritical and, in my view, inexcusable. To be sure, the president’s administration deliberately conducted itself over the last six and one-half years as though President Obama owed no obligation, moral or otherwise, to black people (or to other oppressed peoples) that would be any different from the obligations owed by one of Obama’s white predecessors. In other words, President Obama considers himself identical with John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush when it comes to Obama’s political and moral obligations as president. If that be the case, then why elect a black man or black woman president?
To be sure, President Obama worked since his election in 2008 for several noteworthy causes:
(1) the reinforcement and the greater enrichment of the billionaires and their multinational financial institutions on Wall Street;
(2) the furtherance of President George W. Bush’s effort to conquer, directly or indirectly, the vast petroleum reserves, the vast natural gas reserves, and the major water routes in and around north Africa and southwest Asia;
(3) the protection and the empowerment of the racially bigoted and genocidal state of Israel;
(4) the political enslavement and hence the cultural and economic genocide of the Palestinian people;
(5) the enrichment of U.S. health insurers and U.S. pharmaceutical companies; and
(6) the modernization of the racially bigoted status quo in the U.S. police state and its imperialist military regime.
Under President Obama, the United States, along with the United Kingdom, targeted Zimbabwe for regime change. When Obama pursued this course against Zimbabwe, he followed a policy adopted years earlier by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and endorsed by President George W. Bush. Under Bush and Obama, the British-American policy of regime change in Zimbabwe aimed to benefit white capital that invested extraordinary sums of money before 1980 in Ian Smith’s racially bigoted Rhodesian police state. Hence, President Obama supported in 2009 the United Kingdom’s unilateral decision about a decade earlier to terminate its subsidies for the “willing buyer, willing seller” program — a program which enabled the black majority in Zimbabwe to buy their land from the racist white minority who, before the end of the Zimbabwean civil war in 1980, owned almost all of the arable and mineral rich land in Zimbabwe. The “willing buyer, willing seller” program resulted from a peace treaty negotiated from September through December 1979 by the Zimbabwean national liberation movement, the United Kingdom (as the former colonial regime claiming at least nominal rule over the peoples of Zimbabwe), and the erstwhile white minority government of Rhodesia. In essence, President Obama supported the white capitalist faction that strove to disgorge sovereign power from the nationalist regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Obama, like Tony Blair before him, labeled President Mugabe a tyrant when in fact the United States and Britain simply wanted to displace Mugabe’s protective nationalist state and maintain exclusive white capital dominion over large tracts of arable Zimbabwean land.
In like fashion, President Obama stood for other injustices against formerly colonized peoples. For example, under President Obama, the United States completed George Bush’s conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan, while also furthering the U.S. military incursion into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria. Under President Obama, the United States organized an insidiously bigoted embargo against the economy of Iran, so as to crush its research and investments in nuclear energy. This happened while the United States protected Israel’s nuclear armaments (which pose a genocidal threat to Arab peoples in southwest Asia and to African and Arab peoples in north Africa). Under President Obama, the United States imposed extraordinary political and economic pressure against the Venezuelan people’s experiment with economic egalitarianism, against the Cuban people’s experiment with a morally conscious socialism, against the Iranian people’s experiment with revolutionary Shi’a nationalism, and with the Colombian people’s rebellion against tyranny.
As for the president’s work here in the United States, I am displeased with his determined effort to ignore the fundamental needs of black people and the poor. During Obama’s presidency, the racially bigoted American police state murdered scores of unarmed black men, women, and children, with many of these atrocities recorded by video cameras for the world to see.
Moreover, during Obama’s presidency, white vigilante murder of black people, whether pretending to be legitimate as with the heinous murder in February 2012 of Trayvon Martin, or whether brazenly illegal as with the slaughter less than ten days ago of nine A.M.E. parishioners in their church in Charleston, South Carolina, became a new blood sport. In fact, white police (and sometimes black police) appear to be “hunting” for the opportunity to kill unarmed black people. Meanwhile, a few white civilians find a delusional need to defend themselves with deadly force against unarmed black people who happen to be walking home from a convenience store (Trayvon Martin), who happen to be at church studying the Bible (the “Mother Emmanuel” Nine), or who seek neighborly assistance after a car accident (19-year-old Renisha McBride who died outside Detroit in November 2013 of a gunshot wound to the back of her head). In essence, white nationalism posits today a new form of legalized lynching. As a counterpoint, President Obama responds with nothing of material significance except to eulogize nine of these unwitting martyrs’ deaths during a nationally televised funeral.
Like all of you, including Ajamu, Ron, and Terry, I understand that we, as black people, live under a racially bigoted regime of white capital supremacy, a genocidal regime of enormous power that evolves for its benefit, but that never disintegrates on its own accord. However, after scores of black men were tortured in Chicago by white police who tortured black men for more than two decades with impunity while Barack Obama represented many of these black men in the Illinois state senate, and while thousands of black people live today in prison, with many facing execution, for crimes they never committed or after being convicted in racially bigoted tribunals that President Obama never condemned, we make a horrible mistake by excusing Obama for failing at a job he volunteered to do: and that is, to enforce the constitutional precept of “equal protection of the law” for all people, including black and poor people, not just for the benefit of a rich and privileged white constituency. In my view, we make a horrible mistake by accepting from Obama his uniquely gifted form of tokenism while he gives the power of the U.S. presidency to tyrannical regimes in Saudi Arabia and Israel, to capitalist elites who benefitted from court-ordered injunctions against the “Occupiers”, and to state prisons where black men make up a disproportionate number of those on death row or otherwise incarcerated.
During most of his first two years as president, Obama fought mightily for health care reform that enriched health care insurers and multinational pharmaceutical companies. During that period, he also “bailed out” billionaires and their agents on Wall Street, including the opportunist Maurice “Hank” Greenberg of A.I.G. Moreover, President Obama’s first two years in office showcased his expansion of the U.S. military’s dominion over much of southwest Asia and northern Africa. Although I referred to these achievements earlier, I restate them here for a reason. During most of Obama’s first two years in office, he enjoyed the benefit of a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, while also enjoying the benefit of a legislative majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. With those majorities, Obama could have mobilized a substantial reform of federal sentencing and habeas corpus. That majority could also have legislated immigration reform, so as to protect immigrants from unjust deportation. In fact, with his congressional majority during his first two years in office, President Obama could have pushed effectively for legislative relief for historically black colleges and universities, so as to establish a long term program for the uplift of the black nation, both in the United States and abroad.
But none of that took place. Instead, the president boasted, though, I admit as a joke, that he was a distant cousin of Dick Cheney. In this and other ways, President Obama made a determined effort to identify himself as part of middle class white America. Yet, he always followed Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s example of solicitously serving the interests of America’s wealthy elite. In contrast, racially bigoted electioneering in southern and midwestern states employed police state tactics that barred thousands of black voters from exercising their franchise in the 2010 elections. Moreover, as an early test of Obama’s administration, Oakland police murdered Oscar Grant, with this racially bigoted lynching videotaped by scores of witnesses on New Year’s morning in 2009. Similarly, the Israeli Defense Force wreaked genocidal death and destruction in Gaza for at least a month leading up to Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009. When the Israeli Defense Force decimated the population in Gaza, and when Oakland police murdered Oscar Grant, President Obama did nothing. Of course, I dare not ignore President Obama’s disturbing refusal to ask the Georgia Board of Pardon and Parole to stay the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, a wrongfully convicted black man whom Georgia poisoned to death in September 2011, doing so after seven of nine witnesses recanted their trial testimony against Mr. Davis. To be clear, a few of these witnesses swore under oath that white police officers forced them to testify falsely against Troy Davis at his capital murder trial. Despite this injustice, Obama did nothing to save Troy Davis from being executed. With this history of President Obama’s failure to intervene against racially bigoted injustice, I see little reason to praise the president.
Indeed, with a legacy such as this, Obama deserves to be recognized for what he is: a president no different fundamentally from his white predecessors. If we honestly examine the presidencies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and all the rest, we see that they managed and served a racially bigoted system of white capital supremacy. This system, and especially the regime that put it to work, made modest changes over the years in its form, in its operations, in its constituency, and, occasionally, as time passed, in the skin color of a few of its leaders. Nevertheless, the system remained intact, with its dominion continuously over our people. Indeed, the system today practices torture and subtle police state rule here in the United States, doing so somewhat differently from its practice generations ago during slavery and lynch law. Meanwhile, the mass incarceration of America’s black and poor constitutes a modern-day form of slavery. Yet, in the midst of this seeming apocalypse, President Obama encourages our withdrawal from the following struggles: the fight for human rights, the fight for true egalitarianism, and the righteous struggle for revolutionary change. Instead, he espouses, like Rush Limbaugh, an allegiance to “American exceptionalism”. He does this not simply as the U.S. president. In other words, he promotes American exceptionalism while cowardly refusing to push for genuine legislative reform that would right the wrongs listed in this statement.
With these observations in mind, I stand by my original characterization of the president. As I stated earlier, I acknowledge his charm and his competence as a leader of the U.S. police state. However, I condemn him for his charade at pretending to be concerned about the plight of black people and the poor. If truly concerned about us, where has that concern been hiding during his six and one-half years as president? Similarly, where was that concern effectively exhibited during his career in the Illinois legislature, that is to say, while Detective Jon Burge and his cohort in the Chicago Police Department tortured black men in the South Side of Chicago and forced them to confess to murders they never committed? If truly concerned about us as black people, then why has President Obama ignored the political prisoners who should be freed for rebelling against American injustice? Cannot at least one of these federally convicted political prisoners, such as Veronza Bowers, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Mondo we Langa, Ed Poindexter, Thomas Manning, Leonard Peltier, or Dr. Mutulu Shakur, be pardoned? If concerned about our suffering at the hands of the American police state, then when will Obama call for legislative reform that reverses the racially bigoted sentencing and penal policies of the “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996″ and the “Sentencing Reform Act of 1984″?
I see none of that in Obama’s future as president. However, if he offers these reforms to Congress, the effort will be late and grossly ineffective. To be sure, he neglected the chance to enact these reforms during his first two years in office — when he benefited from a congressional majority. As it is, my respect for the man as a shrewd and extraordinarily successful politician does not blind my view of the moral quality of his work. President Obama did very little for black people, as well as for others, who needed his help the most. In that respect, he stands today before black people as a traitor to his race.
Thomas Ruffin, Jr. is a lawyer in Washington, D.C.
08 September 2016 - 07:19 AM
SEPTEMBER 7, 2016
We normally think of colonizers as large countries, and the colonized as smaller and weaker nations. But this is not always the case. Colonization does not require occupation. It merely requires the subjugation of the colonized. With ambition, superior information and calculation, and the right mindset, smaller nations can (and have in the past) colonized and dominated larger and nominally more powerful countries.
India was successfully colonized by tiny Britain in the 18th century. The vehicle for colonization was the East India Company. It was only after the Indian mutiny that Britain acted directly and sent in troops to establish the British Raj. For the next 200 years India was drained of its wealth, its economy was restructured to support England’s needs and global ambitions, and its people militarized to fight and die on behalf of the British crown. The Indian leaders who remained were willing participants in this venture; those who felt otherwise were destroyed or marginalized.
In a similar vein, Israel today is in the process of colonizing the United States, which is vital to its global projection and exercise of power. The steps Israel is taking are visible to all (as was the case with British designs on India) and yet it is remarkably difficult to connect the dots while such a takeover is in process. Or, to do anything about it.
Colonization does not mean total control of everything
It means total control of what matters. The British were interested in Indian wealth, and a standing army of Indians willing to die for their wars. They couldn’t care less about India’s internal petty politics that did not directly or indirectly impact their mission. An effective “divide and conquer” strategy pit Indians against each other and discouraged any kind of coordinated response, or sedition. The British leveraged their “outsider advantage” to objectively collect data with which to calculate and coordinate which Indian princes to support in battles, and which to connive with. Like pieces on a chessboard, Indian leaders exhausted themselves through internal battles, and were prevailed to seek cover provided by the British. Small amounts of leverage can change outcomes (as the Israeli lobby AIPAC has shown, in its path to dominating Congress and regional/local US politics), and over the years the British were able control and align India to the British crown. Less than 10,000 English controlled colonial India, which at that time had a population of 300 million.
It is instructive to note that while there were relatively few white Englishmen, a class of local “brown sahibs” was developed, to actually run things. This elite class was educated in English ways, and rewarded monetarily and through social stature. Britain was too small a country to ultimately matter by itself, but by leveraging India the English could pursue their global ambitions. India was the “Jewel in the (British) Crown”.
Today, Israel has effective control of US policy in the Mideast, and similar goals. Much has already been written about Israel’s control of Congress. Israel is now edging towards control over the US Executive Branch, with both presidential candidates supported by billionaires whose #1 agenda is Israel (Saban and Adelson). The Supreme Court will be one-third Jewish, and justices have community ties and families. As Israel demonstrated through its successful intimidation of Judge Goldstone, jurists are human and everyone has their price.
Israel’s “occupation force” in the US has long included AIPAC as well as the dense network of community organizations at the State and local levels. Through relationships that have been developed over years and with unlimited funds at their disposal, the “Israel Lobby” ensures that votes go the right way, and that opponents are squashed when Israel demands unity. In 2003 at the onset of George Bush’s Iraq war this occupation force was multiplied through the inclusion of Christian Zionists.
Critics of the Israel Lobby are marginalized by whatever means available, including being called anti-Semitic.
The Lobby has been effective in securing massive aid packages for Israel even though Israel’s per-capita GDP exceeds that of several European nations. Israeli insiders permeate the US government, and it is US policy that there be “no light” between the countries so that where Israel is concerned there is no debate. Israel’s top priorities are the top priorities of the US. There are of course instances where this does not happen (such as, Iran) but the direction points to a tighter colonial noose in the years ahead.
The media matters: establishing beliefs and narratives
The colonizer must be a “Sacred Object” above criticism or objective review, and dangerous critics must be either destroyed or marginalized. No Englishman in India spoke of the mother country and its ways with anything other than reverence, even though during periods of the British Raj England was in turmoil. Within England there was a free press and active debate; but this was not permitted in India, about Britain. The only acceptable posture was that of reverence.
Today Israel has a free press, and it is easy to read translations of the Hebrew language press. Israeli commentators compare Netanyahu to Hitler, Israel is called a racist apartheid state based on evidence, and the extreme violence against and ongoing abuse of Palestinians is well documented. But, these same conversations are forbidden in the US. No newspaper would report them, nor are they permitted in polite company. Transgressors are labeled anti-Semitic, whether Jewish or not.
In the US today, boycotts are seen as a permitted non-violent form of free speech. Citizens have the right to boycott whatever they want from wherever they want without risk of penalty. The sole exception is Israel.
The British conquests were “for God and country”, and therefore justified. The British were superior, the natives inferior. This setup the moral justification for the mayhem wrought by the British as they colonized Asia and the Mideast. At that time, all men were not born equal, and it took the US Constitution to establish that self-evident fact.
Israel is seeking to revert to those days, by acting as though Arab lives are inferior, and (more recently) promoting Islamophobia to serve their Christian Zionism wing. In 2003, uber Zionist Bernard Lewis posed as “Arab expert” and advised president Bush that the only language Arabs understood was force. This helped to justify the attack on Iraq, as part of a neocon plan to “creatively destroy” the sovereign Arab states in Israel’s neighborhood, to facilitate Israel’s dominance. The Nazis at Nuremberg were shown greater respect than Saddam and his Ba’at leadership, and the contempt for Arabs was in full display.
Today, Israeli Jews are in the process of destroying Palestinian society and erasing Palestinian culture, with impunity. Churches and mosques are both being destroyed, though Israel would prefer to keep the spotlight on mosques, to fan a religious war between Islam on one side, and Christians and Jews on the other.
While the Israeli press records and debates Israel’s bad behavior, Americans are forbidden to publicly debate Israeli behavior critically.
Three Recent Examples:
1/ During the Congressional debate around the Iran deal president Obama had negotiated, Senator Chuck Schumer said he would vote “against”…not because of any independent analysis, but because this is what Netanyahu wanted. In other words, he publically said that he would follow the Israeli prime ministers’ direction, over that of his own president. Because, as he said, he was “guardian of Israel”.
A sitting US senator proclaimed allegiance to a foreign country, and nobody asked him to resign!
2/ The Israeli Prime Minister addresses the full US Congress to lobby against the Iran nuclear deal. When the deal does go through, Israel demands more US aid! And, is likely to get it. One can try various definitions of “blackmail” to see which one fits.
The US president is impotent in dealing with Israel. The so-called “pro Israel lobby” effectively functions like an agent of Israel. The Israel lobby is playing the role of the East India Company, in Britain’s colonization of India.
3/ The Israel Lobby interferes massively in US foreign policy in the region. The “mainstream” media such as NYT spins events to reflect Israel’s views (bureau chiefs are typically Jewish and resident in Israel). The Iraq war cost $1 trillion+ and cost thousands of US lives, created ISIS, and was pushed by the Lobby. Israel benefits from the distraction.
The colonization of the US by Israel is becoming increasingly explicit. It is now increasingly seen as “normal” to have a double standard: one for Israel, another for the rest of the world. The boycott-Israel movement is an example of that: you can boycott anything or anyone, but not Israel. This is true power, and the face of colonization.
08 September 2016 - 07:04 AM
05 September 2016 - 08:56 PM
Pay for private-sector workers has barely budged over the past three and a half decades. In fact, for men in the private sector who lack a college degree and do not belong to a labor union, real wages today are substantially lowerthan they were in the late 1970s.
In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment. Unions, especially in industries and regions where they are strong, help boost the wages of all workers by establishing pay and benefit standards that many nonunion firms adopt. But this union boost to nonunion pay has weakened as the share of private-sector workers in a union has fallen from 1 in 3 in the 1950s to about 1 in 20 today.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2016
SEPTEMBER 5, 2016
Labor Day Blues
As my late friend, zoology professor Mark Rowland, liked to say when addressing the emotional issue of pro-life vs. pro-choice: “Some people see the uterus as half-empty, and others see it as half-full.” That mordant, binary sentiment could apply to the current state of organized labor.
According to some observers, the once vaunted American labor movement is either already dead or is in the process of dying a hideous death. Granted, these pessimistic observers consist largely of sheltered academics, Chamber of Commerce officers, and Michigan Republicans.
But other, more optimistic observers happily note that, with 14.8 million people belonging to unions (11-percent of the workforce), the U.S. labor movement is still a vital—if unfocussed and demoralized—force to be reckoned with.
Do the math. If the National Rifle Association (NRA), with a membership of barely 5 million, can strike terror in the hearts of America’s lawmakers, surely 14.8 million union workers have the ability to make some noise.
Union people will tell you that there are two legislative moves required to level the playing field. The first is passage of the EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act), which would make “card check” the law of the land, effectively eliminating the bureaucratic morass and stalling tactics regularly used by management.
While hypocritical businessmen pretend that, like the powdered wig set of the 18th century, they abhor Big Government, when it comes to workers being allowed to freely join a union, they beg the feds to intervene, beg them to step in and make joining a union as complicated a procedure as becoming a U.S. citizen.
And this isn’t an ideological or constitutional issue for these profit-takers; it’s an economic one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), the average weekly wage for a union employee is $980, and the average weekly wage for a non-union worker is $776. Simple as that.
The second thing is repeal of half the provisions in the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act (including prohibition of secondary boycotts and sympathy strikes). This anti-labor law, passed over the veto of President Truman, defanged the 1935 National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act), ushered in the toxic phenomenon of “right to work” states, and rendered organized labor more or less powerless by cutting its nuts off.
Beginning in the late 1970s, in response to the implementation of UAW “emergency concessions,” and continuing into the early 1980s, when President Reagan declared “open season” on organized labor by firing more than 11,000 PATCO workers (air traffic controllers), union activists have been engaged in a lively debate over how best to spend AFL-CIO funds. One thing the House of Labor has plenty of is money.
While some people want to see the lion’s share of AFL-CIO discretionary spending used for national organizing drives, others want to see it spent on stuff like advertising, community awareness, “education” and political donations.
Not that the Democrats have done organized labor any favors lately, but I’ve always favored the political donation route. Consider: If reactionary, draconian laws were what crippled us, then progressive, labor-friendly laws must be what makes us whole.
An officer with an International that must remain nameless, once suggested a crazy idea. Given that the AFL-CIO spent an estimated $50 million trying (and failing) to organize Wal-Mart, and given that lobbyists and donors are the mother’s milk of politics, and given that money has already poisoned the well, the AFL-CIO should consider bribery.
They should identify 50 congressmen who could a make difference in the outcome of critical labor votes and then have a bag man discreetly deliver each of them $200,000 in cash. Don’t call it a “bribe.” Call it a “donation.”
Donations of $200,000 to 40 key House members and 10 key senators would amount to $10 million, which the AFL-CIO could easily afford. It’s clean, it’s quick, and it beats the hell out of wasting money on futile Wal-Mart campaigns. In return, unfair labor laws are repealed and the American worker is given a fighting chance.
Let’s not get all self-righteous. After all, isn’t this how the military-industrial complex functions? Hasn’t the Saudi royal family, going all the way back to FDR, donated millions of dollars to the U.S. to gain preferential treatment? As Tom Hagen said to Santino Corleone, “It’s business, Sonny!”