Monday, January 20, 2014

If Dr. King was in Fact a "Republican", I Too Can Entertain Some Fantasies: Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Space Alien? If Dr. King was a Porn Star, What Would He Have Chosen For a Stage Name?

Chauncey DeVega has kindly allow me to repost his tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. today. Visit his blog at

If Dr. King was in Fact a "Republican", I Too Can Entertain Some Fantasies: Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Space Alien? If Dr. King was a Porn Star, What Would He Have Chosen For a Stage Name?

by Chauncey DeVega

Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is a prime moment for the type of empty hagiographies that come to typify "great" men and women who have been accepted in America's pantheon of public heroes.

Consequently, Brother King is an empty vessel where his radical politics, and how he was one of the most unpopular people in the United States at the time of his murder, can be erased and filled with lies.

In the worst and most dishonest example, for Republicans, the radical Dr. King who was in reality a Democratic Socialist, can be remade as a type of conservative who would support their anti-poor, and anti-black and brown agenda.

For Democrats, Dr. King is viewed as one of the their team--because they are the de facto political organization which best (for what that is worth) represents the political interests of people of color, the working and middle classes, and those who are disgusted by an America that nakedly and publicly embraces corporate power and the agenda served by the plutocracy.

In reality, Dr. King would be disgusted with the Democratic Party, as it is just the more Left-wing of a two party political system that is stridently conservative, and neither serves the public interest nor the public good.

Moreover, Brother King was not beholden to either political party. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Republicans in especially low regard. To that point, he wrote:
The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade.
Senator Goldwater had neither the concern nor the comprehension necessary to grapple with this problem of poverty in the fashion that the historical moment dictated. On the urgent issue of civil rights, Senator Goldwater represented a philosophy that was morally indefensible and socially suicidal. While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.
For me, Dr. King was a living and breathing person. He was not perfect. He was a dreamer. Dr. King was flawed. And he was not a saint.

We ought not to worship Dr. King. To do so, is a betrayal of one of the primary lessons taught to us by his life: flawed people can do great things. The search for perfection in our heroes is a lazy out that does the selfish work of making the common citizen immune and separate from sharing responsibility for the public good.

In all, the search for great men and great women to do the work of making society better supports the status quo. Social change is looking at us in the mirror everyday. Most Americans, across the color line, because of the peculiarities of group dynamics and the collective action problem, assume that someone else will effect positive social change. Power wins, and always has, through such reasoning.

If Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can be remade by the White Right and other intellectually dishonest white racists--and their black and brown self-hating allies--as a "Republican", then we should be able to entertain other radical acts of imagination too. In keeping with the Tea Party GOP and its media's lies about Dr. King, there ought not to be any boundaries on our fanciful thinking about that American titan.

Why should empirical reality limit how we discuss, think about, and locate Brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in American (and world) history? If he means everything and nothing, and this determination can be made based solely on our own personal agenda and priors, then let's have some fun. Why should the facts limit any discussion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy?

Some questions then...

1. What would Dr. King have said to extraterrestrials had they publicly arrived on Earth while he was alive? Would he make for a good emissary for the American people--and humanity--to alien civilizations?
2. A question: Was Dr. King a space alien? Perhaps he was not of this world?
3. If Dr. King was a professional wrestler, what would his finishing move have been? Of course, I vote for the "I have a Dream" sleeper hold.
4. If Dr. King was a adult film star, what would he have chosen for a stage name?

MLKJ is a my kind of hero. It would we wrong to hero-worship him as he was a flawed man - as we all are. But as far as his activism, civil rights, social justice and anti-war movements went, he got it all right. By far and away the greatest American of the 20th century, he has paved the way forward for the next major social wave. Today, we are all Martin Luther King Jr.
In speaking once about how he wished to be remembered after his death, King stated:
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. --
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


by Maxwell


I am not kidding...

Unemployment, by the old method of calculation, has already topped 14%. By early next year, it will be above 18%. 5 million people will start to run out of unemployment benefits. Mortgage defaults are accelerating and are now joined by defaults in other kinds of consumer debt while real estate prices continue to fall, credit remains frozen and interest rates refuse to fall despite a 1% prime rate. Meanwhile, retirement accounts have been nearly halved by the current crisis and upwards of 12 million people have no way to retire at all under the current conditions.

In response, one of the most amazing resurrections in modern history is taking place. Keynes is back. Shot, stabbed, burned, choked, hung, electrified and drawn and quartered... finely diced into a thousand pieces and buried at a thousand different grave plots... exorcised more thoroughly than old Rasputin himself... yet, the old carcass RISES, little worse for the wear... and this overnight, literally at the first hint of trouble in the freedom-loving-freedom-giving-free-as-heck markets.

Not to worry. In the interim, the new government of "Hope" is being assembled. The realities of politics require that it govern from the “center” (just as those same realities required that it talk from the “center”, and primary from the “center”, and run for election from the “center”). Nevertheless, the “economics” of the University of Chicago are left behind, along with Reverend Wright. The new government will be “center” Keynesian: competent regulation of the Bush bailouts, the extension of the bailouts to the auto industry (and, perhaps others), a new “stimulus” package, extended unemployment benefits, and jaw-boning the Europeans.

Is that all?

Well, it is a “living” program and… The transition team nervously eyes the “real” Keynesians and the radical left.

Finally, finally, finally… the “real” Keynesians are heard from. The “Nobel” economist and neo-Keynesian, Joseph Stiglitz, writes a feature article for the November, 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, hardly an academic journal. The piece begins, “When the American economy enters a downturn, you often hear the experts debating whether it is likely to be V-shaped (short and sharp) or U-shaped (longer but milder). Today, the American economy may be entering a downturn that is best described as L-shaped. It is in a very low place indeed, and likely to remain there for some time to come. Virtually all the indicators look grim.”

Stiglitz then goes on to explain, in excruciating detail, the depth of the crisis and the indictment of the usual suspects responsible for it. By the time he gets to his prescription, the reader is expecting John Maynard himself to materialize. In a finale entitled, “What Is To Be Done”, the echoes, not just of Keynes, but of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and Cherneshevsky and even Lenin could be invoked.

Instead: “… there are ways of thoughtfully shaping policy that can walk a fine line and help us get out of our current predicament. Spending money on needed investments—infrastructure, education, technology—will yield double dividends. It will increase incomes today while laying the foundations for future employment and economic growth. Investments in energy efficiency will pay triple dividends—yielding environmental benefits in addition to the short- and long-run economic benefits.

The federal government needs to give a hand to states and localities—their tax revenues are plummeting, and without help they will face costly cutbacks in investment and in basic human services. The poor will suffer today, and growth will suffer tomorrow. The big advantage of a program to make up for the shortfall in the revenues of states and localities is that it would provide money in the amounts needed: if the economy recovers quickly, the shortfall will be small; if the downturn is long, as I fear will be the case, the shortfall will be large.”

Of all of it, only “infrastructure” and state and local “investment” have any immediate impact at all, and that by way of a “trickle down” more obscure than Reagan could ever have dared. The Keynesian New New Deal is filling potholes?


What about CCC and NRA and FERA and RFC and AAA and PWA and TVA and an Economic Bill of Rights? Come to think of it, forget all that. What about jobs, debt forgiveness, an end to evictions, nationalization of strategic industries, prosecution of economic criminals, guaranteed retirement accounts and the immediate elimination of two thirds of the defense budget?


The “Nobel” economist and neo-Keynesian, Paul Krugman, travels the circuit of all of the major news shows. The implicit criticism of the Obama administration is apparent. What is needed is not just an immediate stimulus but a “massive” one, as much as another $600 billion. Where should it go? “Infrastructure”, channeled primarily through Public Works projects stalled for lack of funding.

Pork plus potholes…

Naomi Klein at the Miami Book Fair. Economic reality filled the hall and shaped the conversation of shocking economic crisis. After the most radical criticism of the current powers that be, Klein turned to her proposals, to be achieved by pressuring the Obama administration. She stated categorically that every crisis was also an “opportunity”. She reported approvingly of the Gordon Brown Labor government who, through negotiating “pressure”, forced the bailout-needy British banks to pay a 10% dividend, versus the 5% that the corrupt U.S. treasury got from its petitioners. Anything else?


Pressure plus potholes…

Bernie Sanders, Teddy Kennedy, Thom Hartmann, John Kerry, Rachel Maddow, Russ Feingold, Henry Waxman, Warren Buffet, Randi Rhodes, Bill Richardson, John Conyers, Ralph Nader, Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren…

F**king potholes.

And that is it… all of it.