The Watering Hole; Friday February 20 2015; The Politics of War, the Price of Resistance

From the ‘I couldn’t have said it better myself Department’ — excerpts from a political speech by a presidential candidate:

It is extremely dangerous to exercise the constitutional right of free speech in a country fighting to make democracy safe in the world. . . .

These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to [aristocratic] rule in the United Sates. No wonder Sam Johnson declared that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” He must have had this Wall Street gentry in mind, or at least their prototypes, for in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people . . .

Every solitary one of these aristocratic conspirators and would-be murderers claims to be an arch-patriot; every one of them insists that war is being waged to make the world safe for democracy. What humbug! What rot! What false pretense! These autocrats, these tyrants, these red-handed robbers and murderers, the ‘patriots,’ while the men who have the courage to stand face to face with them, speak the truth, and fight for their exploited victims – they are the disloyalists and traitors. If this be true, I want to take my place side by side with the traitors in this fight.

Do not worry over the charge of treason to your masters, but be concerned about the treason that involves yourselves. Be true to yourself and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on Earth.

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war.

The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell.

The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.

Those words are from a speech given nearly 97 years ago — on June 16, 1918 — by Eugene V. Debs to a ‘crowd’ of about 1200 people in Canton Ohio. Words from that very speech were later used by the government against Debs, to make the case that he had violated the espionage Act of 1917. His crime: “obstructing” the draft and recruitment for the war in Europe (World War I). He was tried, convicted, then sentenced on November 18, 1918 to ten years in prison. At his sentence hearing, he said:

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Debs was incarcerated on April 13, 1919, in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, Atlanta Georgia; undeterred, he ran for President — from prison — in 1920, and received nearly a million write-in votes.

So now it’s February 20, 2015, and when one reads Eugene Debs’ words from 1918 it appears that not much has changed. There are still wars, “declared,” as always, by the “master class,” wars that are still fought by the “subject class” and are “waged for conquest and plunder.”

The beat goes on with but one noticeable difference: none of today’s presidential candidates have as yet been imprisoned for resisting the demands of the financial and political elite — for plunder, conquest and power. For profit.

I guess that’s progress.



50 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday February 20 2015; The Politics of War, the Price of Resistance

  1. “The beat goes on with but one noticeable difference: none of today’s presidential candidates have as yet been imprisoned for resisting the demands of the financial and political elite — for plunder, conquest and power. For profit.”

    I beg to differ. Cindy Sheehan, who started the contemporary anti-war movement, has both run for president and been incarcerated for protesting.

    • She made it to jail a time or two for a day or two, but no prison time, right? And of course, Rick Perry has already been indicted and charged, but not tried, convicted, and sentenced. Yet.

  2. Here’s a legitimate candidate for the Nutcase Of The Month award:

    Larry Klayman: Obama Can’t Swear To The Constitution Because He’s A Muslim

    “He thinks like a Muslim, he believes that he is a Muslim, he obviously does worship the Koran. He obviously is in fact biased against people who are not of his claimed religion and otherwise.”

    “Given the fact that the president is a Muslim at heart and half-Muslim by birth, he can’t even swear to the Constitution because you have to swear on the Holy Bible of Judeo-Christians,” he explained. “This president obviously believes in Sharia law, and as a result he has no respect for this Constitution, which was founded by our founding fathers under Judeo-Christian principles.”

    “Let’s be blunt, and I don’t mean this in a racist way, but if he had been Richard Nixon and he had been Caucasian, he would have been gone by now.”

    • “Kennedy can’t swear to the Constitution, he’s a Catholic, he thinks like a Catholic…. ” – yawn, racist/bigotted bastards sound the same no matter what the year.

  3. 1 year after 100 people were shot and killed in Kyev’s Independence square the day that Ukrainians threw off their Russian mafia puppet, the scale of the cowardice of the West in the face of Russia is absolutely clear:

    Angela “Frau Von Ribbentrop” Merkel and Francois “Marshall Petain” Hollande washed their hands of the Ukranians, the vast majority of whom even in the east and south wish to remain part of Ukraine.

    Here’s how he did it, by splitting France and Germany off from, UK and US and from the EU as a whole, isolating the views of the Baltic States and Poland

    And as the BBC reports that ‘government’ and ‘rebel’ forces are not holding to the ‘ceasefire’ (in what way is this a civil war? – it’s a Russian INVASION) – NATO and Ukraine all report that another convoy of Russian tanks and troops has just crossed the border in the south and is heading for the port city of Mariupol, the next logical target. Putin is again in flagrant violation of the agreement signed last week in Minsk to ‘withdraw all foreign troops’ – but he still says there are none but ‘vacationing volunteers’ there (with their fully armed T72s somehow?).

    The bitterness of this betrayal, which is now on a par to the partitioning of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and then Poland in 1939 is here to read

    I can only believe that the West and the corporate media has *deliberately* conspired to paint this conflict as a ‘civil war’ and is refusing to call it as it is – because the financial consequences of confronting Russia directly are potentially devastating (note the absolute refusal by any in the West to call this an ‘invasion’ – as the diplomatic consequences are important at UN).

    I am lining to my post from a year ago here “Occupy Ukraine?”… just to remind myself what promise last year held and if I really saw this coming …. at all. My friend in Kyev did, I didn’t believe her. 30 days later Crimea was taken over by the Russians.

    Who did the shooting that day in February? The Ukrainians have published their report – the murders of Feb 20th happened on the orders of Putin, allegedly of course

    Europe has forgotten what happens to appeasers.

    • It’s probably fair to say that no matter the situation anywhere in the world, the ONLY THING that counts anymore is MONEY. I assume, for example, that Ukraine is not oil rich or rich in any other way, so why should anyone care? Iraq, Iran, otoh, have lots of oil, ergo . . .

      Simplistic POV? Yes indeed. But show me a case where principle alone counts, where there’s no profit potential, and where the so-called Western World responds for solely humanitarian reasons, and I’ll listen closely.

    • The more Putin gets his way, the more he’ll take. This has to stop with a credible threat of military retaliation. Like Finland invading Estonia. With US Tanks. Fat chance.

    • In Rudy’s recent anti-Obama diatribe, he was quoted as saying, “I don’t hear from him what I heard from Harry Truman, what I heard from Bill Clinton, what I heard from Jimmy Carter, which is these wonderful words about what a great country we are, what an exceptional country we are.”

      Problem is, “we” are no longer either of the above — not since January of 1981 when “we” voted ourselves a political soliloquy beneath the right-wing’s Fascist boot heel. There was hope in 2008 that we had managed to climb out of the pit, but that hope dimmed once again in 2010, and today, the light has been turned off yet another time, perhaps for good.

      If Giuliani and others should ever care to look America’s failure straight in the eye, a mirror is the only tool they’ll ever need.

  4. MSNBC Source: ‘The Goal Is To Move Away From Left-wing TV’

    “Everybody in the food chain from top to bottom understands that the Olbermann era is over,” said an MSNBC source.

    “Going left was a brilliant strategy while it lasted and made hundreds of millions of dollars for Comcast, but now it doesn’t work any more…The goal is to move away from left-wing TV.”

    There’s a lot more money in lies, after all, and money defines success — and everything else, for that matter.

    • They’re never going to beat Fox for the right wing viewers.

      When breaking news happens, CNN’s ratings go up but nobody extra tunes in to watch MSNBC.

      They had a niche catering to the left, and every move away from that has cost them viewers. Pretty soon, they’ll be competing with Headline News and Nancy Grace, and be getting their ass kicked. In fact, I think the move away from the left was deliberate, so ratings would tank, giving them the excuse to make changes.

      • If Comcast cared about MSNBC’s ratings they would move it next to Fox in the basic package. If Comcast didn’t carry Fox or if Fox were to falter on its own after Rupert dies then MSNBC will be positioned to be the new rightwing channel. Morning Mud can be the new O’Lielly and Mika can replace Elizabeth on the couch I don’t think she’s qualified to replace Megyn.

      • Dear G. Orwell,

        Not only did I read you book, I found it to be a remarkable blueprint for implementing my personal agenda of tanking countries and making hideous fortunes from the blood of others.
        You would have made a valuable consultant at the Halliburton Corporation.


        Dick Cheney

    • “We can rush you your opinion in 2 days, with free-shipping, America, for $19.99!

      But wait! Act now and you can have *two* opinions – we will throw in one for free so you pay no more than $19.99 for two great opinions of your very own!

      And as an extra reward, we will add to your order a FREE. yes FREE copy of Jeb Bush’s road to the presidency – “Fool me three times – the Bush Family fucks America again.

      Call 1-800- plutocracy NOW! – that’s 1-800-plutocracy – call NOW!”

    • Pride of country keeps them alive! It is awful they must create, from memory, the beauty that was once in the country of their birth.

  5. We’re getting this year’s biggest snow today. Work already called an hour ago and cancelled 2nd shift. Hopefully, I get my vacation time back.

  6. What a shame she’ll have to mingle with the people…in jail!

    Ex-Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell sentenced to 1 year

    …”I would ask in your sentence today that you consider the punishment I’ve already received,” she said. “My marriage is broken, my family is hurting and my reputation is in shatters.”

    But the judge called the case “puzzling and bizarre,” saying there appeared to be two Maureen McDonnells — the loving mother and devoted wife and the first lady “who belittled and terrorized employees” at the Executive Mansion.

  7. I have a question for the community. Has anyone heard what percentage of the cops who have recently shot unarmed people are former military? The woman who shot the 17 year old girl in Colorado was identified as a “former MP” so at least on is. What about the rest? Some of them? Most or them? All of them?

    Just curious.

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