“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”
— Irish orator John Philpot Curran (1790)
Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most important and radical political activists of the 20th century. Not “civil rights figures.” Not “African American leaders.” Not “non-violent reformists.” When I say “radical political activist,” that is exactly what I mean. The scope of his vision for a better world was wide in breadth and deep in root. In his 13 short years of public activism, he (and his many allies) courageously addressed issues of race, class, materialism, war, moral culture, sex, and religion. The medicine Dr. King prescribed for each of these interrelated topics was bitter and centered around a “radical revolution of values" (video here).
On this blog, I’ve noted modern culture’s attempt to retroactively "speak for" and water down Dr. King’s truly radical politics several times. This impulse to memorialize and canonize Dr. King and his ideas is so strong, you might think we as a people had actually consummated his vision for a better America. Sadly, I suspect the true reason to be much more banal; that is, we memorialize because “it is easier to build monuments than to make a better world.”
Well. Today is once again Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I thought I’d use the occasion for a somewhat novel purpose. Instead of focusing on the richness of Dr. King’s activism, I’d like to share a singular example of how this nation’s federal government thanked him for his efforts at peaceful democratic change. The following is from the excellent website “Letters of Note.”
In November of 1964, fearful of his connection to the Communist Partythrough Stanley Levison, the FBI anonymously sent Martin Luther King the following threatening letter, along with a cassette that contained allegedly incriminating audio recordings of King with women in various hotel rooms — the fruits of a 9 month surveillance project headed by William C. Sullivan.Unsurprisingly, King saw the strongly worded letter as an invitation for him to take his own life, as did an official investigation in 1976 which concluded that the letter “clearly implied that suicide would be a suitable course of action for Dr. King.”Transcript follows, free of most redactions.







KING,In view of your low grade… I will not dignify your name with either a Mr. or a Reverend or a Dr. And, your last name calls to mind only the type of King such as King Henry the VIII… King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes. White people in this country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure they don’t have one at this time anywhere near your equal. You are no clergyman and you know it. I repeat you are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. You could not believe in God… Clearly you don’t believe in any personal moral principles. King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. We will now have to depend on our older leaders like Wilkins, a man of character and thank God we have others like him. But you are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done. No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself… I repeat — no person can argue successfully against facts… Satan could not do more. What incredible evilness… King you are done. The American public, the church organizations that have been helping — Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do it (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significance). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.







Dr. King was not perfect, no man can be; but he was brave and righteous, which few even attempt. Let’s take this moment to remember not only his beautiful vision for the way-the-world-could-be, but also the wretched way the world-as-it-was thanked him for his efforts.  Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most important and radical political activists of the 20th century. Not “civil rights figures.” Not “African American leaders.” Not “non-violent reformists.” When I say “radical political activist,” that is exactly what I mean. The scope of his vision for a better world was wide in breadth and deep in root. In his 13 short years of public activism, he (and his many allies) courageously addressed issues of race, class, materialism, war, moral culture, sex, and religion. The medicine Dr. King prescribed for each of these interrelated topics was bitter and centered around a “radical revolution of values" (video here).
On this blog, I’ve noted modern culture’s attempt to retroactively "speak for" and water down Dr. King’s truly radical politics several times. This impulse to memorialize and canonize Dr. King and his ideas is so strong, you might think we as a people had actually consummated his vision for a better America. Sadly, I suspect the true reason to be much more banal; that is, we memorialize because “it is easier to build monuments than to make a better world.”
Well. Today is once again Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I thought I’d use the occasion for a somewhat novel purpose. Instead of focusing on the richness of Dr. King’s activism, I’d like to share a singular example of how this nation’s federal government thanked him for his efforts at peaceful democratic change. The following is from the excellent website “Letters of Note.”
In November of 1964, fearful of his connection to the Communist Partythrough Stanley Levison, the FBI anonymously sent Martin Luther King the following threatening letter, along with a cassette that contained allegedly incriminating audio recordings of King with women in various hotel rooms — the fruits of a 9 month surveillance project headed by William C. Sullivan.Unsurprisingly, King saw the strongly worded letter as an invitation for him to take his own life, as did an official investigation in 1976 which concluded that the letter “clearly implied that suicide would be a suitable course of action for Dr. King.”Transcript follows, free of most redactions.







KING,In view of your low grade… I will not dignify your name with either a Mr. or a Reverend or a Dr. And, your last name calls to mind only the type of King such as King Henry the VIII… King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes. White people in this country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure they don’t have one at this time anywhere near your equal. You are no clergyman and you know it. I repeat you are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. You could not believe in God… Clearly you don’t believe in any personal moral principles. King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. We will now have to depend on our older leaders like Wilkins, a man of character and thank God we have others like him. But you are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done. No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself… I repeat — no person can argue successfully against facts… Satan could not do more. What incredible evilness… King you are done. The American public, the church organizations that have been helping — Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do it (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significance). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.







Dr. King was not perfect, no man can be; but he was brave and righteous, which few even attempt. Let’s take this moment to remember not only his beautiful vision for the way-the-world-could-be, but also the wretched way the world-as-it-was thanked him for his efforts. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most important and radical political activists of the 20th century. Not “civil rights figures.” Not “African American leaders.” Not “non-violent reformists.” When I say “radical political activist,” that is exactly what I mean. The scope of his vision for a better world was wide in breadth and deep in root. In his 13 short years of public activism, he (and his many allies) courageously addressed issues of race, class, materialism, war, moral culture, sex, and religion. The medicine Dr. King prescribed for each of these interrelated topics was bitter and centered around a “radical revolution of values(video here).

On this blog, I’ve noted modern culture’s attempt to retroactively "speak for" and water down Dr. King’s truly radical politics several times. This impulse to memorialize and canonize Dr. King and his ideas is so strong, you might think we as a people had actually consummated his vision for a better America. Sadly, I suspect the true reason to be much more banal; that is, we memorialize because “it is easier to build monuments than to make a better world.”

Well. Today is once again Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I thought I’d use the occasion for a somewhat novel purpose. Instead of focusing on the richness of Dr. King’s activism, I’d like to share a singular example of how this nation’s federal government thanked him for his efforts at peaceful democratic change. The following is from the excellent website “Letters of Note.”

In November of 1964, fearful of his connection to the Communist Partythrough Stanley Levison, the FBI anonymously sent Martin Luther King the following threatening letter, along with a cassette that contained allegedly incriminating audio recordings of King with women in various hotel rooms — the fruits of a 9 month surveillance project headed by William C. Sullivan.

Unsurprisingly, King saw the strongly worded letter as an invitation for him to take his own life, as did an official investigation in 1976 which concluded that the letter “clearly implied that suicide would be a suitable course of action for Dr. King.”

Transcript follows, free of most redactions.

KING,

In view of your low grade… I will not dignify your name with either a Mr. or a Reverend or a Dr. And, your last name calls to mind only the type of King such as King Henry the VIII… 

King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes. White people in this country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure they don’t have one at this time anywhere near your equal. You are no clergyman and you know it. I repeat you are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. You could not believe in God… Clearly you don’t believe in any personal moral principles. 

King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. We will now have to depend on our older leaders like Wilkins, a man of character and thank God we have others like him. But you are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done. 

No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself… I repeat — no person can argue successfully against facts… Satan could not do more. What incredible evilness… King you are done. 

The American public, the church organizations that have been helping — Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. 

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do it (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significance). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.

Dr. King was not perfect, no man can be; but he was brave and righteous, which few even attempt. Let’s take this moment to remember not only his beautiful vision for the way-the-world-could-be, but also the wretched way the world-as-it-was thanked him for his efforts. 

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

James Madison, “Federalist #51” (via politicalprof)

ataxiwardance: I feel compelled to complete the rest of this excellent, but oft misconstrued, quote:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

James Madison is my spirit animal.

think-progress:

Although a majority of the Senate voted to repeal tax breaks for the big five oil companies, the 51-47 vote fell short of the 60 needed.

Hahaha. I love how achieving Cloture (3/5th of the full Senate) is now functionally equivalent with a majority. GO DEMOCRACY.

(via anarcho-queer)

Just finished an interview with BU Today about Constitution in the Classroom

I think I came off as a radical agitator!

I’m not entirely ashamed of that!

‎’Gasland’ director Joshua Fox arrested filming House panel

February 1, 20124:37 p.m.


At the behest of the Republican leadership of a House of Representatives subcommittee, Capitol Police arrested Joshua Fox, the maker of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland,” when he tried on Wednesday to film a subcommittee hearing on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method used to tap oil and gas reservoirs. … 

Congressional hearings are open to the public. Anyone with a cellphone camera could record the proceedings, as a video on Huffington Post of Fox’s arrest shows.

House Democrats and civil libertarians lambasted the arrest. “I have served in the House of Representatives since 1992, and I had the privilege of chairing the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. In all that time, I cannot recall a chair of any committee or subcommittee having ever ordered the removal of a person who was filming a committee proceeding and not being disruptive, whether or not that person was accredited,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “The proceedings of the House are open to the public because we are the People’s House.”

manicchill:

Lawyer Defending South Carolina’s Voter ID Law Thinks the Department of Justice is Biased Against White People | TPM Muckraker

South Carolina officials plan to file suit against the federal government because the Justice Department stopped the state from implementing a voter ID law that the state’s own statistics showed would have a disparate impact on non-white voters. Fighting on their behalf will be a former DOJ official who claimed that the Civil Rights Division is opposed to protecting the civil rights of whites and who defended the Bush-era politicalization of the division by Bradley Schlozman as an effort to “diversify.”

South Carolina has hired former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates, who defied DOJ’s instructions and testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights during the Republican-led probe into the infamous New Black Panther Party case, a spokesman for the South Carolina attorney general’s office told The State newspaper.

Former colleagues said that Coates had an ideological conversion after an African-American woman was chosen over him as deputy section chief in July of 2000.

Read More

(image courtesy of Main Justice)

I know this might not get the blood boiling as much as other electoral issues but voter suppression is something that has always driven me insane with rage. Unfortunately, voter suppression is also something with a long and proud history in these United States. It doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere either. Just changing forms. Read this brief overview from the Brennan Center for Justice (like Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr.) on how over five million voters will find exercising their fundamental democratic right either more difficult or impossible in 2012. And yes, to the surprise of no one, these voters will be disproportional minority and impoverished populations.

(via manicchill)

No more corporate personhood in LA

‎”Thanks to ground work by the U.S. Green Party, the wave of Occupy Wall Street empowerment and Human Rights Alert, today, Los Angeles became the first major U.S. city to vote against corporate personhood and call for a Constitutional Amendment asserting corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not free speech. The vote was unanimous.

The unanimous vote was witnessed in Council chambers packed by a standing room only crowd of hundreds of people as well as a overflow room filled to capacity by enthusiastic supporters.

The action is in response to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that supposedly gave corporations same 1st Amendment protections as people and allows them to spend unlimited funds on campaign finance.

Mary Beth Fielder, Move To Amend - LA founder, who spearheaded bringing the resolution to the LA City Council said, “It’s a great day for Los Angeles and it’s a great day for the United States of America.”

"I hope this is the vote heard around the world and that it will inspire other who want to reclaim our democracy to begin organizing in their communities. Together we can build the grassroots support we need to actually amend our constitution." 

There are no restrictions on directors of the Federal Reserve Board from communicating concerns about their respective banks to the staff of the Federal Reserve.

Many of the Federal Reserve’s board of directors own stock or work directly for banks that are supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve. These board members oversee the Federal Reserve’s operations including salary and personnel decisions.

Under current regulations, Fed directors who are employed by the banking industry or own stock in financial institutions can participate in decisions involving how much interest to charge to financial institutions receiving Fed loans; and the approval or disapproval of Federal Reserve credit to healthy banks and banks in “hazardous” condition.

The Federal Reserve does not publicly disclose its conflict of interest regulations or when it grants waivers to its conflict of interest regulations.

Quelle Surprise! GAO Finds the Fed is a Club of Backscratching, Well Connected, White Bankers « naked capitalism

Given the three paragraphs above the 4th, I shudder to think what the Fed might actually consider a “conflict of interest.”

(via shorterexcerpts)

(via shorterexcerpts)