Saturday, October 01, 2011

Home Safe

Friends Larry Kershner, Doug and Jody Mackey returned safely from three weeks in Afghanistan. If you've not read their blog, I recommend that you do so. You will get an unvarnished view of the hope and despair that is Afghan society these days.

The most notable image from their trip for me is their account of joining the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers picking up litter in Bamiyan Peace Park (September 24). Other Afghans would be surprised because "Westerners never pick up trash here."

Most disturbing image:
Last night two of the local police armed with rifles walked into my room without knocking. They just looked around and then left. Again they didn't appear menacing. Very curious.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Speaking on Behalf of My Client

Why does it not surprise me that even lobbyists have lobbyists?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Class Counter-Warfare

The Washington Post used the "C" word--Class--today. The word appeared in an opinion piece by Sally Kohn, "President Obama shouldn't be Afraid of a little class warfare".
Between 1979 and 2007, the income gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the poorest 40 percent more than tripled. Today, the richest 10 percent of Americans control two-thirds of the nation’s wealth, while, according to recently released census data, average Americans saw their real incomes decline by 2.3 percent in 2010. Though our economy grew in 2009 and 2010, 88 percent of the increase in real national income went to corporate profits, one study found. Only 1 percent went to wages and salaries for working people. ...[A]ccording to the CIA, income inequality in the United States is greater than in Yemen.

Kohn makes a strong argument, noting that class warfare and tactics have been common on behalf of wealth. She even offers suggestions for direct resistance to an economy that oppresses the majority to the favor of the few. Resistance and non-cooperation are not typically among alternatives discussed in the mainstream media. Good on the Post for running the column even if they're almost two years behind Ted Rall.

We don't talk much about class in America but when it comes to economics, there are two classes: have and have not. America's genius has been that we've always believed we were heading toward "have" and away from "have not". Americans could dismiss class as non-existent in an open, free economy such as ours. Even if we weren't yet economically secure we could expect to be so.

No more. America's wealth and prosperity were built on much of North America's vast the vast land and mineral resources, compounded by the advantage of being the only functioning industrial economy in the world at the end of WWII, which also left the US with most of the world's money. That prosperity was broadly shared for a few decades but as Kohn points out, prosperity has been pretty one-sided for the last few decades.

Kohn notes that resistance can take many forms and offers some suggestions. Think of resistance simply as non-cooperation and opting out wherever possible and opportunities for self-empowerment increase greatly.

Walt Whitman has the key: Resist much, obey little.

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