Archive for August 28th, 2011

What Would MLK Say?

by lizard

Martin Luther King was connecting some important dots before he was assassinated. In his speech about Vietnam, A Time To Break Silence, he expanded the sphere of oppression, putting the war in the context of US Imperialism.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisors” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.


Barack Obama is in the impossible position of being America’s first black president. Political correctness and the more nuanced, covert forms of racism make any conversation about this nearly impossible to have.

Regardless, I’m going to trudge along by picking up something I dropped in a thread at Intelligent Discontent, in a post about governor hopeful Neil Livingstone “coddling” Gadaffi (as an aside, the attention Pogie has brought to Livingstone’s presence in Montana politics has been much appreciated by this reptile).

Because I often come off as an impractical isolationist, Pogie asserted his position in this comment, then repeated a question I had failed to answer (read the whole the thread, it’s a lively discussion):

I do think the United States has a moral obligation to help prevent mass killings. I think we did the right thing to intervene in Bosnia and the wrong thing to ignore Rwanda and Darfur. Since you didn’t answer my question, is it fair to assume that your position is we should not ever intervene? Did we do the right thing in Bosnia? In Darfur?

my response, though phrased a bit tastelessly, went like this:

Don, “doing the right thing” is just the PR spin for public consumption. if there’s no strategic importance, then this country will be much less likely to commit our national resources to intervention.

intervention in the Balkans resulted in camp Bondsteel. Darfur? meh, just Africans killing Africans.

there’s obviously more to it than just that. this is interesting:

The link I then provided is something I ran across while trying to figure out how to respond, which asks the question Intervention in Libya, why not Darfur?. Here is the part that jumped out at me:

Hamilton says Libya underscores for her how the battle to protect civilians takes place in the realm of global geo-politics. In this case it was the Arab League’s request to the UN Security Council to enforce a no fly zone and protect civilians that made the difference.

“Without that then you would have had China in particular doing what it did in Darfur–and which is its typical position–which is to threaten to veto anything that looks interventionist,” said Hamilton.

“But with the Arab League specifically requesting to the UN Security Council that they do this, I think that led to China agreeing to abstain and let such a strong civilian protection resolution go through.”

The Arab League was willing to forsake Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a way it was never ready to forsake Sudanese President Omar al Bashir. Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says a key motivating factor in the Libya intervention was the widespread desire to see Gaddafi fall.

“The Arab League generally has no love for Gadhafi,” said Knights. “Many of the key players have a strong desire to see Gadhafi fall because of prior disagreements and bitter conflicts that they’ve had with him. Likewise the West has long-lasting grudges against Gadhafi whether they be the U.S., the British, the French.”

With that in mind, this post at Lenin’s Tomb looks at the potential for racially-charged attacks that may be happening in Tripoli as the “rebels” fill the power vacuum:

It’s also true that while the basis for this revolt was and is the manifest injustices and oppressive cruelties of the Qadhafi regime, racism has haunted the revolt from the start, with the early hysterical rumours about “African mercenaries” (hint: Libyans are Africans – they meant black people). Now this racism has fused with the revolution in the most dangerous, ominous way.

Yes, Qadhafi uses mercenaries to kill his opponents – it’s not unknown for him to do this. He may be using some of his networks built up over years of intervention in sub-saharan Africa. But it just so happens that racism operates on real antagonisms. For example, I don’t know or think it inherently important how many of these are black (‘African’), and how many are brown (‘Libyan’, or ‘Arab’), and how many are white (Russian and Ukrainian, one reads) – it only becomes important when you apply a racist ideological frame to the subject. And that frame, having corroborated the harrassment and beating of African and immigrant workers by some rebel forces, and threatening serious “mob violence” against said workers, is now justifying purges against black and immigrant workers, when the revolution had the capacity to end that oppression.

So the Arab League was willing to green light NATO’s “humanitarian” regime change because of old beef, and now sub-Saharan immigrants are facing the possibility of being targeted because of their race by rebel forces. Should any of this bother our first black president? And what would Martin Luther King think of this latest evolution in US imperialism?

Here’s Conn Hallinan echoing the trajectory my thoughts have taken regarding Libya and recent US foreign policy:

Massacres are bad things, but the U.S. has never demonstrated a concern for them unless its interests were at stake. It made up the “massacre” of Kosovo Albanians in order to launch the Yugoslav War, and ended up acquiring one of the largest U.S. bases in the world, Camp Bond Steel. It has resolutely ignored the massacre of Palestinians and Shiites in Bahrain because it is not in Washington’s interests to concern itself with those things. Israel is an ally, and Bahrain hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Cole accepts the fact that Qaddafi would have “massacred” his people, but his evidence for that is thin, and he chooses to completely ignore the deaths and casualties resulting from the NATO bombing.

The U.S. is interested in a “lawful world order.” That would certainly come as a surprise to the Palestinians, the Shiites in the Gulf, and peasants in Colombia who suffer the deprivations of death squads aided by the U.S. (see the Washington Post story of 8/20/11) etc. The U.S, supports international law when it is in its interests to do so, undermines it when it is not, and ignores it when it is inconvenient. I wish Cole were correct but he is not. The record speaks for itself.

Okay, spot on for the NATO alliance, which is exactly the problem. Africa has increasingly become a chess piece in a global competition for resources and cheap labor. It is no accident that the U.S. recently formed an African Command (Africom)—the Libyan War was the organization’s coming out party—and is training troops in countries that border the Sahara. It is already intervening in Somalia, and a recent story in the New York Times about an “al-Qaeda threat” in Northern Nigeria should send a collective chill down all our spines. NATO has already “war gamed” the possibility of intervention in the Gulf of Guinea to insure oil supplies in the advent of “civil disturbances” that might affect the flow of energy resources.

NATO represents western economic and political interests, which rarely coincide with the interests of either the alliance’s own people, or those of the countries it occupies. The Libyan intervention sets a very dangerous precedent for the entire continent, which is why the African Union opposed it. Who will be next?

Barack Obama has used his placement as president to further the goal of US Imperialism, even if that means using NATO to embolden a rebel contingent that possesses within its complex (and loose) associations the potential for racially-targeted violence.

If he was alive today, what would King say to this president? Would he pity him his impossible job? Would he congratulate him for doing his best? Would he council him and speak of forgiveness and say it’s never too late to change course?



P.S. For party loyalists who wish to resurrect hope for 2012, playing the race card is not a good idea.

by problembear

i would like to know what in the hell is up with the US postal service lately? at least here in missoula. a very important piece of correspondence was mailed to my address last week on wednesday from seattle.

now usually, in the past (maybe even the dim past- since i have rarely corresponded using US mail for the past 5 years) first class letters mailed from seattle used to arrive at my house either the next day or one day later.

an equally important letter from the same party took 5 days to reach me back in march. and again it took 4 days to reach me this past july. i am not too worried that the piece is lost since 4-5 days seems normal and monday it will most likely arrive. but still…… if ever a service has convinced me to never use them again for important mail it is the USPS.

the poor mail snail delivers our mail and stuffs it with junk mail virtually every evening. all my other important stuff is handled online- bills, payments, etc. so i usually don’t care when he arrives. but i have noticed that he arrives randomly now from noon to eight thirty (that is in the pm!!!!!)

judging from this one bear’s experience with this agency i believe the wheels are definitely coming off of the USPS.  am i wrong? is this just an odd anomaly concerning our route or are others experiencing late night deliveries too?

am i crazy or is the USPS just falling apart?



by problembear


“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”  — Martin Luther King Jr.

48 years ago today……


I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!3

by jhwygirl

I know I have at least a few readers from the Bozeman area, and since hunting season is coming up I’m hoping that this may be an opportunity to clear out that freezer to help out a well-deserving entity that could use that game meat.

From today’s Missoulian comes a call for game meat by the Montana Raptor Conservation Center located in Bozeman Montana.

No burger jerky or carcasses. There’s a full description of what they can use on their website.

Raptors are magnificent birds. I’ve had the pleasure of close contact, with a rehab specialist, of both golden and bald eagles. I’ve also held orphaned black bear cubs. All have been events I will never forget. Look an eagle in the eye? Have them look at you? It’s moves your soul.

Please help if you can. If you are in the Bozeman area, give your hunting buddies a call too, to see if they need to clear out that freezer. The Montana Raptor Conservation Center phone number is (406) 585-1211. You can also email them by clicking that link.

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