Tag Archives: slavery

Clowns? Jokers? You ever feel like you’re stuck in the middle?

It’s the distraction (our entertainment) that has us stuck!!! The jokers and clowns are empowered by our collective ignorance.

 

As I watch the city government in Richmond Virginia, lead by an African-American mayor, disrespect the memory of the American slave in a way that Holocaust descendants would never disrespect the memories of their ancestors, I think. This is the fruit of a collective ignorance which facilitates comparison of American slavery, in grand acts of public trivialization, to mandatory health care access (in the case of Dr. Ben “Americans-use-too-much-healthcare” Carson) or to the national debt (from Sarah “you-can-actually see-Russia-from-land-here-in-Alaska” Palin). In the minds of “I-built-this” American, the self-made person (I mean who needs God or grace anyway?), it is perfectly logical, in the minds of the history-illiterate, to link slavery to health care or to say slavery is like the national debt. American history, as we are taught it, plays up the image of colonial America as the land of the persecuted-taxation-without-representation Christians even as it down plays the foundation of the independence America felt compelled to declare from Great Britain, an independence borne aloft on the scarred backs of black men and women. Peering back at the past would show how ludicrous the notion of unassisted-by-government wealth creation like comparing health care or the national debt to slavery really is. It was government which made wealth accumulation possible.  Without laws and the apparatus (can you say government) to ensure their application and maintenance the following would not have been possible.

“Slavery led to great wealth not only in England but in the

Chesapeake as well: “In the middle of the seventeenth century … the

richest 10 percent of the families owned roughly 40 percent of the

wealth, a figure that was to approach 70 percent by the eve of

independence.”80 Studying inventories of planters’ estates, Menard

notes that “slaves accounted for only 20 percent of inventorial wealth

in the seventeenth century … but nearly 60 percent by the 1720s and

65 percent in the 1740s.”81 Slave labor was the central source of

Chesapeake wealth and capital. The best-known Chesapeake

entrepreneur, Thomas Jefferson, owned about 200 enslaved workers

in the year of the Declaration of Independence; fifty years later, in the

year of his death, he owned more than that.82 Howsoever some leaders

of the revolution might philosophize about the Rights of Man and

liberty for all, they took care not to apply such doctrines to the

enslaved workers they owned.”

~ A Short History of American Capitalism

by Meyer Weinberg

 

 

It is the nation’s collective, seemingly hermetically-sealed ignorance which gives us a middleclass and underclass enslaved by miseducation and sedated by entertainment. We just don’t seem to get it. While the CONNINGservatives are telling us that government is the problem, they are using the government to write rules that increase their wealth even while they call many who vote for them lazy 47%ers, takers. How do you know that our government, that is to say the structure given to us by the lobbyists who write the laws while I play fantasy football or keep up with the Kardashians or attend a Tea Party rally carrying an Obama-is-a-socialist-witch-doctor-from-Kenya poster decrying government hands on my Social Security, our government (a system of laws with the apparatus to ensure their application and maintenance) is committed to doing things which have as a by-product, the maintenance and increase of a permanent underclass? In the latest regression, the corporatists sold the public a bill of goods called NAFTA and watched as Mexicans, pushed out of farming at home by American agri-business, fled their country for work in America even as they, the corporatists, exported middle-class jobs and kept profits offshore. And somehow we believe that baseball diamonds in Richmond, Va. and, in the case of Mississippi, outlet malls are the answer to our economic woes.

Of course the corporatists, the Citizens United crowd, would have you believe that these are the forces (producing job exportation and profit offshoring) of globalization at work, the forces that have Americans scrambling for jobs at baseball stadiums or outlet malls and for foreign investment for manufacturing by Siemens and Toyota and Yokohama as defined benefit plans disappear and conservatives seek to cut food assistance programs and resist Medicaid expansion. The narrative says that we, the American public, just need more education so that we can profit from the globalization trends and that Obamacare is ruining our economy. The irony is those foreigners from whom we beg for investment subsidize education better (Japanese doctors don’t have nearly the education debt that American doctors have) and have excellent universal health care. Contrary to what the CONNINGservatives preach, I guess that stuff, universal health care, doesn’t kill jobs after all. The jobs don’t die; they multiply because of the foreign facsimiles of Obamacare; Universal healthcare countries even send jobs all the way overseas to America. What they, the American corporatists, make sure we never hear much about or at least what that attempt to make sure is crowded out off our consciousness by their Think Tanks and talk industry, when we aren’t trying to see who gets voted off the island next or wins the Amazing Race, what is pushed from our field of vision, what is flooded from our cognizance is how the Germans have 200 insurance plans (nonprofit entities that pay medical bills not dividends) and they have insurance even when they are unemployed. While attacking the Affordable Care Act, you’ll never learn that Germans, to whom southern governors go begging for plant investments, make certain that their workers have great input into corporate decisions with works councils, the co-determined board, and wage-setting institutions. Of course the lethargic, infantile American Labor movement would finally grow up and do the American public a great service if it adopted some of these concepts.  But even the American Labor Movement appears to be as trickle-down, top-down oriented, and untrusting of truly democratic functioning with real leadership rotation. 

 

No, you see if things like these were widely known and taught we’d laugh, the joker, John Boehner off the podium when he says that America had the best health care delivery system in the world before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and he would be forced to help improve healthcare access which is substandard instead of running interference for the health insurance industry. We’d laughed at the clown, the mayor of Richmond, and tell him to advocate for a national development plan where certain industries are nurtured the way the Korean’s and others nurtured industries to improve the living standards of their countrymen. But target the plans to the areas “left-behind” so that we can reduce the “takers” in America and increase the number of Americans participating in the production processes in the country. That would be true patriotism.

One thing is evident by the language and focus of these two “economic” leaders, the clown on the left and the joke on the right, is whether it’s the Mayor in Richmond Virginia or the Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives, offense is not easily achieved in America where it is entertainment which is truly the opiate of the people.

Palin: ‘This isn’t racist,’ but debt is ‘like slavery’

We have John McCain, a post George W Bush (who never found WMD’s and didn’t read the Bin-Laden-determined-to-attack PDB) Republican, who was grasping at straws in an effort to win an election, to thank for this, Sarah I-can-see-Alaska-from-my-backyard Palin. Only in Republican, CONNEDservative, America could owing the Chinese (Chinese investors are owed 9.8 percent of US debt.) be compared to this:

Is this what Sarah Palin means by owing money to China?

 

The YouTube account may not be available but you can look for the HBO special “Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives or you can read this

If as the article states “Alaska’s free stuff — Medicare, Social Security, roads — was being paid for by taking money from the rest of the country,” then won’t that make her and her family some of those whom Mitt Romney referred to as “takers”that is if “The state-owned oil resources return to each resident a certain amount of money each year, under the Alaska Permanent Fund?”  And if Mitt Romney can hide his money in Cayman Island and Swiss bank accounts, even as he runs for President, doesn’t that mean that the borrowing required to pay the “takers” has to be greater to make up for the untaxed-Tony-Soprano-styled-stashed lucre?  If American corporations, needing protection and assistance from the American State Department and American military and America’s military posture abroad can keep profits offshore and avoid taxation doesn’t that make them takers?  I mean I never saw the bill that the American government sent to that shipping company for the Somali pirates that we killed. 

And I wonder what would the outrage had been if Palin had compared owing money to the Japanese to being interned in Nazi concentration camps?  And this brings us to the point of thinking how some Americans trivialize slavery as if the American public is desensitized to the point that the national debt can be compared to this:

slavery[1]

The national debt, a lot of which is attributable not to true national defense but to policing the world, is now seen by today’s Republicans, in a veiled appeal to Ayn-Randian self-interest, the way Lincoln felt about slavery?

“I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites — causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty — criticising [sic] the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

-Abraham Lincoln

 

Palin: ‘This isn’t racist,’ but debt is ‘like slavery’

Slavery defined – giving a child to her father

Only in the mind of a conservative, Thomas Sowell, would uniting a child with its father be compared with an institution which, among many horrors, was responsible for separating children from their parents, slavery. In the mind of a conservative, a father, soldier Dusten Brown, who had second thoughts (“within two weeks, he changed his mind and began petitioning for custody”) about giving his daughter up for adoption and sued for custody, is ruining his “child’s life.” Mr. Sowell even draws on the Solomon-child-splitting threat scenario to cast the father as a villain. And a law, ICWA, which would allow this is merely protecting a “tribe’s turf.” This despite the fact that, by Mr. Sowell’s admission, “in the past, Indian children were wantonly wrested from their Indian parents and sent off to be raised by non-Indians.” In an effort to lambast Mr. Brown, Mr. Sowell who seems to have a problem with Indians who want their children to know about Indian culture, resorts to giving figures on the number of Indian children in foster care and lamenting how people won’t adopt Indian children if they may be forced to give them up. But if Mr. Sowell were really concerned about the “welfare of a flesh-and-blood human being,” he would do well to train some of his fire on laws like the one in South Carolina which “ends a father’s paternity rights when he has not provided pre-birth support or taken steps to be a father before and shortly after birth.” Wealth and speed should not be deciding factors in cases like this. One could get the notion that “Indian children were wantonly wrested from their Indian parents and sent off to be raised by non-Indians.”