Archive for March, 2009

Neoliberalism, Education and the Politics of Disposability

March 30, 2009

an absolute must read from Henry A. Giroux


Kunstler: Full Commanding Denial

March 23, 2009

Obama “may perfectly represent the majority who elected him . . . because he also appears to be in full commanding denial of the realities overtaking our American experience.”

To The Editor, Boston Globe

March 21, 2009

I do hope e-mail is able to achieve greater results than trying to reach your staff reporter John C. Drake. On March 13, in the Metro section, Mr. Drake pointed out the political quandary confronting candidates for mayor, specifically Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, if they wereto march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston because of the prohibition on gay groups’ participation.

As a long term supporter of gay rights, or rather citizens’ rights, I was somewhat elated the Globe found such a quandary “newsworthy.” However, I was less than elated when considering that for six years, since the initiation of the illegal war against Iraq, it was not considered noteworthy that any voice for peace in South Boston is likewise prohibited from participation in the parade. This includes such organizations as Code Pink, Mothers and Fathers Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, South Boston Residents for peace, and many others. More perplexing is the fact that such discrimination has been reported on in all newspapers since 2003, and was a the subject of a column by Kevin Cullen in the Globe as late as 2008.

Moreover, the political establishment, and specifically Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, have been appealed to over the years, and asked that they not endorse such discrimination by perhaps emulating the practice of Mayor Menino who refuses to march in the parade. Such
appeals have been to no avail, and indeed the parade has over the years become increasingly militaristic and a platform of promotion of the idea that “war” is the only antidote for international distress.

Apparently Mr. Yoon did suffer some consequence upon objection to Mr. Hurley in the past (Mr. Hurley, despite attribution to the Allied War Veterans, unilaterally approves/disapproves participation) by being placed “a bit after the horses that pooped in front of me,” but found the energy to high-step the obstacle. And, Mr. Flaherty dismisses the quandary with the observation “I march in all the parades. You name it, I march in it.” One has to wonder what might take place were the Ku Klux Klan to participate.

Tragically, this parade has become a matter of city-wide concern because of drunkenness of youth in attendance, has cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in policing this “private affair,” and has cleverly become the scapegoat for politicians failing their obligation to uphold the public good and the rights of its citizens, while enjoying extensive photo-ops and the fruits of a financial piggybank free of any accountability.

In South Boston, the word “peace” has lost all meaning, and is in fact a dirty word in a community which is a bountiful hunting ground for disenfranchised youth who will serve and die in the armed forces – a fate the children of politicians will not endure.

Were Paul Harvey still alive, I cannot help but wonder if he would not seek out “The Rest of the Story.” This story extends to the very heart of governance in this community and exemplifies the spinelessness of its political establishment. Mr. Yoon and Mr. Flaherty, are no profiles in courage – which certainly begs a recount of the behavior of our Congressional Representative, the most ardent supporter of the war, and the behavior of our State Senator when asked by the mother of a soldier in Iraq to speak at the breakfast in 2007 – she was manhandled from the hall.

Your story operated to provide a cover for politicians who have supported a war in which over 4,000 of our young men and women have died, and countless numbers physically and mentally maimed. .

As a subscriber to both the Globe and New York Times, I am moved to ask why, and for a response.

Thank you.

Anthony F. Flaherty
South Boston Residents for Peace
South Boston, Ma.

Where Is The Revolution?

March 20, 2009

It is difficult to write anything these days about what is happening in this country. Obama was projected to be pretty useless, but what he is up to is simply nauseating. He is a liar and a hypocrite and is clearly interested only in continuing the transfer of the nation’s wealth to the already rich.

I honestly don’t see anything which can bring about the changes that the people need in order to survive other than taking to the streets, overthrowing the government, and establishing a non-capitalist economy. Otherwise, to quote an old Marine Corps description of events, it’s like “shoveling shit against the tide.”

for a succinct description of the present, see Cockburn’s latest column in Counterpunch:


re: Bill Moyers and Simon Johnson

March 11, 2009

i think both moyers and johnson are living in a make-believe world and have no idea of what reality is. 1) they both, at least overtly, accept the fiction that this is a democracy, astounded that we are threatened by an oligarchy. i mean, duh, the u.s. was founded as an oligarchy and is currently in an advanced stage of totalitarianism. 2) they are talking about a “recession” even though unemployment is already over 17% (25% in the great depression) and clearly heading up at an increasing rate. i recall a comment james kunstler made fairly recently, to the effect that what’s coming is going to make the 1930’s look like your grandmother’s yard sale. they seem to have no clue that this is something new and that none of the old economic theories is applicable. (incidentally, i doubt that any capitalist economist is competent to even comment on what is happening and going to happen.) 3) they are concerned with getting the economy back on track and re-becoming a viable democratic capitalist empire. i do not think there is the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of that, not to mention the fact that capitalism and democracy are are totally incompatible. there is no hint that they even think of such things as global warming, the end of oil, overpopulation. the destruction of the environment.

johnson takes it as a matter of fact that “I think we agree, everyone agrees, we don’t want the government to run banks in this country.” he and the rest of the oligarchy don’t want that; i sure do.

“The bankers think we’re chumps. . . We have leadership that can handle this.” who? just for kicks, i wish he had tried to name even one.

“That is factually inaccurate, in my opinion,” says johnson, because he hasn’t the balls to say geithner lied.

additionally, i think the stimulus program as passed by congress is not digging our hole deeper, but the first shovelfuls of our interment.


Dear Mr. President

March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on your election, which I deem to be some indication that the Grace of God may be operative during the dark night of this nation’s soul.

I am writing to provide you with a “heads up” in the event you are invited to speak by satellite to an assemblage at the Boston Convention Center celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 15, 2009. If such an invitation is forthcoming, I would urge you to heed the words of your friend Harry Belafonte and choose “what is morally right over what is politically expedient,” and pass on the occasion.

Your advisers should be aware that the assembly precedes a parade which bars any voice for peace from participation — without exception. Alleging that it is a “private affair,” and based upon an immoral decision of the Supreme Court, Military Families Speak Out, Code Pink, Citizens for an Informed Community, South Boston Residents for Peace, Veterans for Peace, and countless other organizations which advocate peace and an end to war are unilaterally denied representation. What is more disturbing is the fact that at the preceding assembly virtually the entire political establishment of Massachusetts – most of whom ashamedly supported the Bush doctrine covertly and overtly — through silence endorse such discrimination against veterans who have suffered the consequences of war and advocate peace.

Furthermore, the parade has historically discriminated against those holding minority positions, gays and lesbians, and peace activists to such an extent that even the Mayor of the City of Boston chooses not to march. The parade is overwhelmingly militaristic, in the main featuring brigades of children enlisted in JROTC mainly from deprived inner-city neighborhoods. A million suburban spectators enthusiastically applaud their presence, unfortunately comfortable in the knowledge it will not be their children who will suffer conscription and exposure to shot and shell. No voice is raised objecting to the distortion of the minds of children subject to sophisticated jingoism, and carefully taught that war is the only alternative to global conflict.

While the local Congressional Representative, a strong supporter of the war, reluctantly acknowledged in 2005 that “the reasons for the war were bogus,” he enjoys the lack of media broadcast of his change in position, and cleverly supports no sunshine activity for the children exposed to war propaganda.

The history of this occasion is replete with political chicanery, and is in fact an insult to the Irish forebears of South Boston who fled Ireland when England unleashed a mercenary army of prisoners — the Black and Tans — to rob the people of their lands. Barring voices for peace is an insult to peoples of Irish heritage by a political establishment which has lost its roots, and a shameful example of the “swill of discrimination,” tantamount to the exclusion of Jews and Blacks from the Country Club. It may well be “legal” — but as you know, it is no longer fashionable — at least outside South Boston.

I am a retired naval officer, decorated for combat in Vietnam. I returned to this community over 30 years ago to silence and very little support for veterans beyond the establishment of memorials providing photo-ops for politicians who in the main benefit from the racket we call “war.” South Boston is a community of fear with respect to speaking out against war, and a island of hypocrisy displaying yellow metallic bands advocating “Support Our Troops.” Support of our troops means not sending them into combat for lies, and bringing them home with the assurance of jobs, education, and medical care. It means the end of lies to children — too often the canon fodder insuring the comfort and aggrandizement of the elite.

I would urge you not to endorse this celebration of mendacity which your predecessor heartily endorsed at the behest of pseudo-democrats. Mr. President, it is time for a change. You represent the heart and soul of the voiceless in our society. You are our voice — a voice that should not be politically manipulated to endorse discrimination.

Very respectfully,

Anthony F. Flaherty, LT, USN, Ret
South Boston, MA

Kunstler’s Latest Post

March 9, 2009

“None of these banks are going to survive another six months anyway, so the basic blackmail motif that the whole money system will collapse if ransoms are not paid is a bluff that has to be called sooner or later in any case.”

Paul Krugman: Behind the Curve

March 9, 2009

. . . So here’s the picture that scares me: It’s September 2009, the unemployment rate has passed 9 percent, and despite the early round of stimulus spending it’s still headed up. Mr. Obama finally concedes that a bigger stimulus is needed.

But he can’t get his new plan through Congress because approval for his economic policies has plummeted, partly because his policies are seen to have failed, partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts. And as a result, the recession rages on, unchecked.

O.K., that’s a warning, not a prediction. But economic policy is falling behind the curve, and there’s a real, growing danger that it will never catch up.

St. Patrick Would Weep

March 2, 2009

Due in no small way to the silent complicity of the press and both local and state politicos, on March 15th, 2009, at a cost to the city of many thousands of dollars providing security to contain public drunkenness, hundreds of minority children, in the main those who endure poverty, abuse, crime, and violence in their everyday lives, will march in JROTC brigades, similar to the Hitler Youth Corps, before a million spectators — many middle class parents urging their children to wave flags, comfortable it is these “other” children who will be the future deranged veterans homeless in the streets.

Concurrently, at the Convention Center, at memorial services, in churches and barrooms, pious sentiments will be expressed urging “Support of the Troops,” while voices with a message of “peace” are barred from participating, and would in fact be stoned outside churches were they to hold a sign advocating such. Such is the mandate of a “wacko” society, appropriately dictated in Birmingham North — South Boston — a society ignoring its Irish Heritage where once upon a time schools opened, rather than closed, with such monies, simply because they once were “other.” Only in America……and sadly, yes proudly, in South Boston. St. Patrick would weep!