Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dark Ages America

I periodically recommend books that I feel are superior in their ability to illuminate and give us perceptive on the situation we currently find ourselves in. Dark Ages America is just such a book. Morris Berman paints a rather bleak but thoughtful and well researched analysis of the condition and the current direction of the United States. Historians now recognize that the fall of Rome, and the subsequent onset of the Dark Ages in Europe cannot be ascribed to any single cause. The truth is that Rome no longer knew how to live; its decline was the result of a general malaise and structural weakness that grew over time. In Dark Ages America, Morris Berman argues that much the same can be said of the United States today. As religion triumphs over reason, and democracy turns into plutocracy, the nation has entered a phase in its historical development from which there is no return.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11: A day of Remembrance and Perspective

On the eve of what will be a carefully orchestrated corporate media propaganda event. It is important to keep things in perspective. Yes, 9/11 was a horrible event. The killing of over 3000 innocent people, many of them Americans, is worth a day of remembrance.

As we begin this day of remembrance and mourn our fallen countryman, let us also mourn for the people of another country. Let us mourn for all those who have died in Iraq. The civilian death toll in Iraq now equals each month, the death toll from the 9/11 attacks.

We all know how losing 3000 of our countryman made us feel. We all know how it affected us, how it touched us. Imagine if we lost 3000 of our people each month. How would we feel?

Compared to the United States, Iraq is a small country. Iraq’s current population is estimated at 26,783,383. A civilian death rate of 3000 a month, translates to nearly 36,000 fatalities a year. The United States has a population that is estimated at 298,444,215. If in the United States, we had the same percentage of monthly deaths, relative to our population, 33,428 Americans would lose their lives every month.

So has we remember the victims of 9/11 and how that tragedy changed our lives, imagine how it would feel to be an Iraqi. Imagine how it would feel to lose 33,428 of your countryman every month.

As we enter the 5th Anniversary, of the spilling of American blood on American soil, let us not forget the river of blood, which still flows in Iraq. Let us not forget the ocean of tears that fall each day in Iraq. And finally, let us never forget who is responsible for this nightmare in Iraq.

Monday, September 04, 2006

How labor won its day

The corporate media will not even mention the history behind Labor Day. We can't know where we are going, if we don't know where we have come from. Please take the time to read:

How labor won its day
By Patricia K. Zacharias / The Detroit News

History has almost forgotten Peter McGuire, an Irish-American cabinet maker and pioneer unionist who proposed a day dedicated to all who labor. Old records describe him as a red-headed, fiery, eloquent leader of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.
The Father of Labor Day, Peter J. McGuire of New York City, in 1882 introduced the idea for the holiday.

McGuire introduced his idea formally at a meeting of the Central Labor Union on May 18,1882. "Let us have, a festive day during which a parade through the streets of the city would permit public tribute to American Industry," he said. The following September New York workers staged a parade up Broadway to Union Square. Few, if any, workers got the day off. Most were warned against marching in the parade with the threat of getting fired. Despite the warning, more than 10,000 workers showed up for the march. Led by mounted police, bricklayers in white aprons paraded with a band playing "Killarney." The marchers passed a reviewing stand crowded with Knights of Labor: a holiday was born. McGuire's holiday moved across the country as slowly as did recognition of the rights of the working man. Read entire article here.

For a download of an early Labor Day parade, by Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1904, click here. It shows a parade through bunting-draped streets, probably in the town of Leominster, Mass. First, a decorated grandstand bearing the banner "Leominster heartily greets its guests" is seen, and then the camera pans to the street where the parade is to be photographed.

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