Category Archives: Current Affairs

After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

An instant video is circulating on Facebook today, advocating a ban on the Confederate Flag. (Don’t know if non-FB readers can see it, but give it a try.)
Some good Quakers and others have hailed the video and its call. But I’m not one of them. No, I am not a friend of that flag. I’d be happy to see it removed from the SC capitol grounds.

But trying to ban the Confederate flag is a distracting, dumb idea.

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A Neo-Confederate bumper sticker, on sale at “Dixie Republic” in western South Carolina. The shop used to be called “Dixie Outpost”; but like the movement it serves, it has grown bolder. More samples of its merchandise are below. http://dixierepublic.com/

Continue reading After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See

The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See — Pass It On If You Agree

<< Obama’s new and ‘nimble’ anti-Isis strategy met with scepticism on all sides >>

From the Guardian
It remains unclear how over 450 additional troops would overcome the central problem to the training effort in Iraq: a lack of recruits to train.
The idea was to “be more nimble, because, clearly, this is a nimble enemy”, said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.
The announcement was greeted with indifference and scepticism in Iraq, where efforts to arm local Sunnis opposed to Isis have foundered and training programmes by the US have made little progress in producing disciplined Sunni fighters capable of challenging the militant group.
“The increase doesn’t have an effect,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar and expert on Isis. “It is a weak step to reduce pressure from the media.”

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Continue reading The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See

BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

Let’s talk briefly about water versus almonds.

M-n-M-Almonds-Bag
A big bag of M&M Almonds, just shy of 16 ounces. At approximately 8 almonds per ounce, that comes to about 128 almonds in the bag. Almond production –almost all of which is from California — takes about one GALLON of water per EVERY single almond, or about 128 GALLONS of water for this one bag. (That equals about 64 gallon jugs of Nestles bottled water for each 16 ounce bag of nuts..) And estimates are that almond production ALONE makes up ten percent of ALL California water use — that’s about 3.8 BILLION gallons of water EVERY DAY, 365 days a year. And Besides BIG Almonds, BIG Agriculture accounts for 80 percent of ALL water use in California — about One TRILLION-Gallons PLUS per year.

Continue reading BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

The first “favorable” articles I ever read about homosexuality and bisexuality  were in WIN Magazine, a radical pacifist journal, in its “gay liberation issue” of November 15, 1969. (“Gay liberation” was a brand-new coinage then.)

I still remember how the “coming out” (yet another new phrase for me) story of and by David McReynolds, who was then the main staff member of the War Resisters League {WRL}, hit me like a series of physical blows.

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Continue reading Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?

Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?

At Guilford College in Greensboro NC, the hullabaloo over graduation has died down. And now, a grim summer has begun.

Specifically, the passing out of diplomas was followed by the passing out of pink slips, to 52 staff and faculty. That’s thirteen percent of Guilford’s 400 employees, almost one in seven.

Sweetbriar-RIP-2 Continue reading Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?

May 4 –What a Day — Part One

May 4 –What a Day — Part One

A visit to Kent State University has been on my Bucket list for a long time. About 48 years, in fact. Two weeks ago, it finally happened, with the help of good friends Henry Bloom & Mar Malkin.

It was, at long last, a warm welcome spring day in northern Ohio. KSU students were taking advantage of it by hanging hammocks between the trees, as can be seen beyond the marker: lounging, reading, cuddling. Why not? Leave this sad history to the trickle of gawking geezers. Continue reading May 4 –What a Day — Part One

Nope, Nestle’s Is NOT The California Drought Devil

Nope, Nestle’s Is NOT The California Drought Devil

I keep seeing this meme popping up on social media, blaming the California drought on Nestle’s bottled water operations in the state.

That’s nonsense, and I plead with readers who are tempted to re-post it, to pause and reconsider. And maybe send this one on instead.

The anti-Nestle campaign’s exploitation the California drought is so bogus it would be laughable, if there weren’t more serious matters at stake.

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Continue reading Nope, Nestle’s Is NOT The California Drought Devil

Moral Monday & Retro Nonviolence Is Back (Again)

Moral Monday & Retro Nonviolence Is Back (Again)

There’s some recent activist experience here in North Carolina that I think relevant to current discussion about protests and tactics, among Quakers and othersMoral-Monday-bust-4-text

The Moral Monday protest campaign, aimed at the reactionary NC legislature and its stick-it-to-everybody-but-the-rich program, was by many measures, quite successful in its first season of actions, in the spring and summer of 2013.

Continue reading Moral Monday & Retro Nonviolence Is Back (Again)

Cut The Badass Baloney About Baltimore

Cut The Badass Baloney About Baltimore

As reliably as dawn over Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor, after last night’s rioting in Baltimore, here comes the puffing and posturing.

The kind that galls me the most is the “leftist” cheering for those who were burning and looting, both the celebration of such as “legitimate violence” (mainly from “militant” black commentators), and from the white cheerleaders the tired “I’m too PC to tell oppressed people to be nonviolent, and besides it’s only ‘property’ [BTW none of which happens to be mine]” meme. (And, duh, it was not only “property.”) You can sometimes even hear this from Quakers, who should know better.

It’s all BS. In fact there were plenty of nonviolent black people on the Baltimore streets last night, doing their level best to protect other people of color, and black-owned (or black servicing) shops and property.

They didn’t need any tut-tut exhortations from this old white fart about the superiority of nonviolence to do it. Furthermore, in doing so they made no excuses for the violent racist system that produces such episodes as surely as cop gunshots in the back killed Walter Scott in South Carolina, and something not-yet clear broke Freddie Gray’s back in a Baltimore cop car. Not one compromising excuse.

And still, several of them gave better speeches about nonviolence than any I could have memorized from Dr. King.

They did it, also, with their butts right there on the pavement.

Not just preachers either, tho I give top props to any clergyperson or public official who was out there walking the talk.

 Like for instance City Councilman Nick Mosby, who didn’t put up with the crap of a Fox News reporter who only wanted reinforcement for the racist frames and reflexes of the Fox audience. (If you doubt this, read the comments under the clip.)

Nick-Mosby-vs-Fox-News-04-27-2015
Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby has no patience with violence — and runs out of patience for Fox News stereotyping and race-baiting.

 But the most impressive declarations I heard about nonviolence coming out of Baltimore last night were from gang members, in fact from frequently feuding groups including the Crips, Bloods, and the Black Guerilla Family.

But they were made to a local TV reporter, and aren’t getting out except via social media. (Pass it on!)

A coalition of gang members gave a stunning interview to an enterprising local news reporter, one who was willing to listen. Watch it here, white people, {about six minutes} and prepare to have thy minds blown.

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Gang members: Violence and looting only serve those who are after us and hurt our neighborhoods.

 Dig it: “I understand what’s going on (the violence), but I don’t agree with it.” “It [the violence] just confirms what they [cops, rightwingers] say about us.”

What do I have to teach them about tactics and what Dr. King said fifty years ago?? They got the key message.

Oh, wait: there is one thing: Guys, pay no attention to online poseurs urging you to tear up your neighborhoods and hurt your brothers and sisters. Whether white or black, they are peddling nothing but trouble for you and yours. And for me too.

Oh — you already knew that? Of course. Don’t mind me.

[Shout out to Guli Fager, who is doing the right indy journalistic thing, digging out and posting the unseen reports and unheard voices beyond the “establishment” media’s echo chambers.]

We leave you now with this postcard from Langston Hughes, who said it all as well more than 50 years ago.

Harlem (aka “Baltimore”, etc)

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