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Jimmy Reid: The ‘greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address’

jimmy_reid_ucs_work_in_1971
 
DM pal Tommy Udo reminded me today of this brilliant and inspirational speech by the socialist, trade unionist, politician and writer Jimmy Reid. The whole speech has been posted over at Exile on Moan Street, and my DM comrade Richard Metzger wrote eloquently about Jimmy Reid at the time of his death in 2010.

It’s may be forty years since Reid gave this speech, at his inauguration as Rector of the University of Glasgow, but its inspirational words are still as relevant and much needed today. Back in 1972, Reid’s speech hit resonated across the world, and was published, in its entirety, in the New York Times, where it was described as:

“...the greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”

No hyperbole. This is one of the Great Speeches, and as Richard has previously pointed out “Mandatory Reading”.

Jimmy Reid’s Inaugural Speech as Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1972
 
“Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today. People feel alienated by society. In some intellectual circles it is treated almost as a new phenomenon. It has, however, been with us for years. What I believe is true is that today it is more widespread, more pervasive than ever before. Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.

“Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it. It therefore conditions and colours their social attitudes. Alienation expresses itself in different ways in different people. It is to be found in what our courts often describe as the criminal antisocial behaviour of a section of the community. It is expressed by those young people who want to opt out of society, by drop-outs, the so-called maladjusted, those who seek to escape permanently from the reality of society through intoxicants and narcotics. Of course, it would be wrong to say it was the sole reason for these things. But it is a much greater factor in all of them than is generally recognised.

“Society and its prevailing sense of values leads to another form of alienation. It alienates some from humanity. It partially de-humanises some people, makes them insensitive, ruthless in their handling of fellow human beings, self-centred and grasping. The irony is, they are often considered normal and well-adjusted. It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else. They remind me of the character in the novel, Catch 22, the father of Major Major. He was a farmer in the American Mid-West. He hated suggestions for things like medi-care, social services, unemployment benefits or civil rights. He was, however, an enthusiast for the agricultural policies that paid farmers for not bringing their fields under cultivation. From the money he got for not growing alfalfa he bought more land in order not to grow alfalfa. He became rich. Pilgrims came from all over the state to sit at his feet and learn how to be a successful non-grower of alfalfa. His philosophy was simple. The poor didn’t work hard enough and so they were poor. He believed that the good Lord gave him two strong hands to grab as much as he could for himself. He is a comic figure. But think – have you not met his like here in Britain? Here in Scotland? I have.

“It is easy and tempting to hate such people. However, it is wrong. They are as much products of society, and of a consequence of that society, human alienation, as the poor drop-out. They are losers. They have lost the essential elements of our common humanity. Man is a social being. Real fulfilment for any person lies in service to his fellow men and women. The big challenge to our civilisation is not Oz, a magazine I haven’t seen, let alone read. Nor is it permissiveness, although I agree our society is too permissive. Any society which, for example, permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking. Nor is it moral laxity in the narrow sense that this word is generally employed – although in a sense here we come nearer to the problem. It does involve morality, ethics, and our concept of human values. The challenge we face is that of rooting out anything and everything that distorts and devalues human relations.
 

 
Via Exile on Moan Street, with thanks to Tommy Udo!
 
The rest of Jimmy Reid’s speech, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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56% of American voters would legalize marijuana according to new poll
05.23.2012
07:51 am

Topics:
Drugs
Politics

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis
NORML


Lady Liberty is 420-friendly

The results of a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely nationwide voters, conducted earlier this month, was released yesterday and the results show a surge of support for the legalization of cannabis. The question posed by the pollsters was “Would you favor or oppose legalizing marijuana and regulating it in the similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated today?”

“And the survey says…” that a solid majority support legalized nature.

Via NORML:

The poll affirms, once again, that the tide of public opinion continues to turn in our favor. Fifty-six percent of respondents stated they would support legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner alcohol and tobacco. Only 36% were opposed to the concept and 8% were undecided.

You can view more information about the poll on Rasmussen Reports’ website here.

A previous poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports in April reported that 47% of adults “believe the country should legalize and tax marijuana in order to help solve the nation’s fiscal problems.” Forty-two percent of respondents disagreed, while ten percent were undecided.

In 2011, a nationwide Gallup poll reported that 50 percent of Americans support legalizing the use of cannabis for adults. Forty-six percent of respondents said they opposed the idea.

The 2011 Gallup survey results marked the first time that the polling firm, which has tracked Americans’ attitudes toward marijuana since the late 1960s, reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis than oppose it.

Bear in mind, anything coming from Rasmussen is likely to be suspiciously—and not even that subtly—biased in favor of the GOP. Considering the source, the results of this poll showing a SOLID majority for the first time seems especially promising. That the Obama administration’s record is worse than Bush’s when it comes to prosecuting cannabis offenses, seems all the more galling in this light.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Clone the President: Ronald Reagan blood vial for sale in online auction
05.21.2012
04:37 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Ronald Reagan
Jurassic Park


He’s back?

Imagine some rightwing billionaire buying this and then spending millions having the Gipper cloned.

He vill be raised in a monastery in upper Bavaria, jah, until he is ready to be unveiled and take his rightful place on da vorld stage.

Quick, someone alert Alex Jones!

Via The Washington Times:

The bids are lofty for a vial that once held Ronald Reagan’s blood, now up for grabs at an online British auction house. At the moment, the leading bid is $5,081 for a 5-inch glass vial with “dried blood residue from President Reagan,” drawn from him at George Washington University Hospital after a 1981 assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. A separate hospital form is also included in the package from Guernsey-based PFC Auctions, which also is selling celebrity autographed guitars and a slice of royal wedding cake from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials, among many other things.

And the vial? The slender glass tube with green stopper once belonged to a relative of a Maryland-based laboratory technician who actually analyzed the contents more than three decades ago. The mysterious keeper-of-the-vial held onto it, and eventually informed officials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library of its whereabouts.

After some back and forth, the vial keeper got the green light to sell it, assuring the auctioneer that “everything was OK, National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies … it was simply something that was of no importance at this time, and that I was free to do with whatever I wanted with it.”.

A letter of provenance is included with the listing from the seller:

“These articles have actually been in my family’s possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since. My mother passed away back in November last year [2010] and my father passed away in January 2009. Prior to their passing, they knew that it was the only thing that I wanted with regards to their personal property or money that they accumulated over the years…

“About 3 to 4 months ago, I contacted the Reagan National Library and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements. Prior to hanging up the phone, he said to me, do me a favor, don’t move from where you are, I will call you back within 30 minutes but I have to make a couple of phone calls to seek legal counsel, consult with National Archives, the FBI and other three or four letter agencies that I have heard of. I said am I in any kind of trouble or will there be some black cars/suv’s or helicopters hovering above my home and he said not yet but possibly in the very near future depending on what he learned from the phone calls he had to make. I told him alright, I will not move from where I was sitting and would await his return call. He called back in 25 minutes and said that everything was ok, National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies. Since 30 years had passed by, he thought that it was simply something that was of no importance at this time and that I was free to do with whatever I wanted with it. He then stated that he felt the family would be interested in it being returned to them and if I was interested in doing so to contact him and he would make all of the arrangements. I told him that I didn’t think that was something that I was going to consider, since I had served under Pres. Reagan when he was my Commander in Chief when I was in the ARMY from ’87-’91 and that I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that Pres. Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it.

Classic!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Swear To Tell The Truth’: Excellent documentary on Lenny Bruce


 
Documentarian Richard B. Weide likes to focus on the lives of comedians in his films and in Lenny Bruce he has powerful material to work with. Combining rare archival footage and interviews with Lenny’s mother Sally Marr, ex-wife Honey, daughter Kitty, Paul Krassner, Nat Hentoff and Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth manages to be both richly informative and emotionally engaging. It’s a terrific movie.

With lean narration by Robert De Niro, Weide digs deep into the life of a comedian prophet driven to an early death by drugs and a government hellbent on shutting his mouth. Bruce was a punk Jesus who railed against hypocrisy and injustice with the low key deadliness of a man armed with the truth and a razor blade tongue.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Lib vs. Con: The new Mac vs. PC?
05.18.2012
09:53 am

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
low IQ buffoonery
"Joe the Plumber"


“Why do you bust your butt ‘working’?”

We’re all familiar with the concept of the “low information voter” (a term that can be used interchangeably, and with wanton impunity, of course, with “Fox News viewer” and “your average Depends-wearing, scooter-riding old Tea party fart”).  Without low information voters, the Republicans would have virtually no chance of winning elections. They rely on them as a stalwart voting bloc every time and they never disappoint.

Lately I’ve been wondering if there should be a brand new term coined to describe a voter with even lesser cognitive abilities?

Take this new advertisement for Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s Congressional run in Ohio against popular Democrat Marcy Kaptur. There’s something that is so amazingly… what’s the word I’m looking for… REVEALING, yes, that’s it, revealing about the state of US politics in 2012 captured so perfectly in these succinct 50 seconds.

If this video was made by smart people, it would be brilliant, but since it’s so obviously the work of fucking dolts, it can only be seen and appreciated through that lens, probably. You’d want to believe that people dumb enough to be suckered in by “propaganda” this pitifully stupid wouldn’t even know how to register to vote or even how to acquire a driver’s license, but clearly a sizable amount of the American electorate IS THAT DUMB. So dumb, in fact, that Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher is seen as a freakin’ credible GOP candidate for Congress… I mean… what?

There are so many ridiculous subtexts going on here that anyone with half a brain would just snicker a bit at the tools on their screen who thought this lameness counted as “satire.” BUT, to someone with LESS than half a brain, the obvious Fox News-watching target of this ad, this must be how they see the world around them.

First there is the portly, shiftless, white, middle-aged “hippie” Occupier (who confusingly looks exactly how I picture the average Fox News viewer to look, but never mind that or the even more curious Rod Blagojevich t-shirt he’s wearing!) who mooches off “the system” while biting the hand that writes those sweet, sweet government checks. This lazy leftie bum is juxtaposed against hardworking, conservative “Joe the Plumber,” a man who takes care of business, his family and who pays his taxes, fair and square (despite Wurzelbacher’s own tax troubles, but he’s obviously counting on no one remembering that). 

Which one of them is supposed to be Justin Long and which one is John Hodgman???

And what kind of mongoloid would watch this and think “Hey, Joe the Plumber! That’s who I’ll vote for”???

Unsurprisingly, the dumbest man in the Congress, Colonel Allen West, has endorsed “Joe the Plumber.” (“We stupids gotta stick together” his endorsement communicates, doesn’t it?). It makes you wonder, at what point will the balance tip irrevocably in favor of the really stupid people in this country? When they made all of those cuts to education during the Reagan years, THIS is what the result was, ultimately, that clowns like these two can be considered credible candidates for the United States Congress. The idea that West, a man who makes Sarah Palin seem, well, not so bad, has been bandied about as a VP candidate this year is… well, par for the fucking course, isn’t it?

Devo were right! From George Washington to THIS GUY? Unless the educational system gets turned around quickly, America is fucking doomed.

[I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers from outside of the United States who feel all smug and superior to us that we’ve got the big guns. That is all.]
 

 
Via Wonkette

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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How much money does Mitt Romney REALLY have?
05.17.2012
09:26 am

Topics:
Class War
Politics

Tags:
Mitt Romney


 
Forbes’s Edwin Durgy did the number crunching on the Bain of our existence:

Mitt Romney isn’t the richest person to ever run for President – Ross Perot had him beat by a factor of ten. And if he’s elected, inflation adjustments might favor sprawling plantation owners like Washington and Jefferson, or Kennedy if family assets counted. But there’s no denying that in terms of total dollars a President Romney would be the wealthiest White House occupant ever, and would be even wealthier had he not set aside a trust, now worth $100 million, for his 5 boys. So just how rich is he?

Forbes spent the past month trying to answer that question definitively. The core basis for our valuation comes from Romney himself – specifically, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics disclosure forms, which he filed in August 2007 and August 2011, plus discussions with high-level Romney officials familiar with specific changes to his holdings since that last report. Of course, those disclosures, taken at face value, are about as concrete as a campaign promise, with vague asset ranges (“$1 million to $5 million”) and definitions.

Seeking to remove as much guesswork as possible, we assigned a value to every single asset Mitt and Ann Romney own – 184 in all across the couple’s two blind trusts, IRAs and outright holdings. Our core method: noting the shift in ranges between the 2007 filing, the 2011 filing and now (much of his wealth has been consistently held over the whole period). Comparing which assets changed brackets – or didn’t – with their underlying price fluctuation (or in some cases, a good comparable) over that period, we were able to get better estimates of where each fell in the range. Supplemented by a dozen interviews – from local real estate experts to private equity partners – we get a detailed look at the current state of Mitt’s money, pinpointing his net worth at $230 million, split between 9 different asset classes. Highlights include the sale of nearly all of his individual equities – he sold 71 stocks since his last disclosure – and a big move into cash. He now holds $16 million, up from $1 million in August.

I guess the loot in the off-shore bank accounts and in Switzerland can only be guessed at…

The amazing—even amusing—thing to me is that somewhere north of 40% of likely US voters think that putting a man in charge of the American economy who got obscenely—not to mention ludicrously—wealthy by being one of the most successful corporate raiders and job destroyers in recent memory, is a good idea!

Mitt Romney certainly created a lot of wealth, that’s for sure. FOR HIMSELF.

And $20 million for each of his kids! Think the richest man who would ever be the POTUS is going to advocate raising taxes on his own family’s fortune?

Not a fucking chance that option would be on the table, is there?

We DO live in Idiocracy. How else to parse the notion that 40% of the people who vote would pull the lever for Thurston fucking Howell the IVth???

I realize that it sounds perverse—not to mention terribly, terribly UN-patriotic—but there is a small part of me that hopes for a Romney and GOP victory this year.

Why? Because the man and his party would nail the coffin SHUT on capitalism, that’s why.

Given another four years, the Republicans WILL wreck the place, but good. Bush nearly accomplished it, Romney and crew—for it WILL BE former Bush administration members who would staff a Romney White House—would be sure to finish it off.

What would come next would be… interesting. Not necessary good, but interesting and perhaps necessary.

More details on Romney’s net worth and where he invests: What Mitt Romney Is Really Worth: An Exclusive Analysis Of His Latest Finances (Forbes)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The banks have enslaved us: A 12-year-old girl’s devastating critique of the banking system
05.16.2012
02:06 pm

Topics:
Activism
Class War
Economy
Heroes
Politics

Tags:
Victoria Grant


 
Shove it up your ass, Jamie Dimon!

She’s talking about Canada, but you can more or less just fill in the name of your country and the same eternal truths will apply… A must-see. Truly, a must-see.

A video of 12-year-old Victoria Grant giving a lecture at a recent Public Banking Institute conference has spread via the Internet. In it, Grant talks about the history of the Canadian banking system and the effects of ‘collusion’ between governments and financial institutions. Video courtesy of Public Banking Institute.

For more information see publicbankinginstitute.org or moveourmoney.net.

Via Bloomberg, believe it or not…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Losing My Religion: How Christian conservatives are forcing the young from the faith


 
On a blog post that’s been shared tens of thousands of times in the past few days, Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood writes of how Christianist haters like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and Bryan Fischer are forcing younger Christians to chose between their gay friends and their religion.

From “How to win a culture war and lose a generation”:

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

In the book that documents these findings, titled unChristian, David Kinnaman writes: “The gay issue has become the ‘big one,’ the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation. It is also the dimensions that most clearly demonstrates the unchristian faith to young people today, surfacing in a spate of negative perceptions: judgmental, bigoted, sheltered, right-wingers, hypocritical, insincere, and uncaring. Outsiders say [Christian] hostility toward gays… has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.”

Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends. Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this is one reason why.

Rachel Held Evans has closed comments on her essay, writing “I want to keep this a safe place for conversation.”

You won’t wonder why after you’ve read the responses from some of her supposedly Christian readers…
 

 
Via Dan Savage/Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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New Obama conspiracy theory causes wingnut vs. wingnut rift!


“Red diaper baby” Barack Hussein Obama II plots world domination.

I’ve already blogged here about the zany new Obama conspiracy theory documentary Dreams From My Real Father which puts forth the ludicrous “theory” that President Barack Obama’s father was not a Kenyan goat herder but rather a radical journalist nearly four decades older than his mother who was also an amateur pornographer…

Now the film is causing a rift in the wingnut ranks as “birther queen” dingbat Orly Taitz (and current GOP candidate for one the US Senate seats for California!) accuses WorldNet Daily and author Jerome Corsi (who himself has a lot—everything—riding on the “birther” fantasy) of “working for” someone else. But who?

TPM’s Michael Lester has made a “trash compactor” cut of the film’s kooky highlights (see below).  It’s a doozy. Via TPM:

“Dreams From My Real Father,” a 97-minute film narrated by an Obama impersonator, weaves the narrative that Obama’s grandfather wasn’t a furniture salesman but an undercover CIA agent who convinced Barack Obama Sr. to marry his teenage daughter to hide the fact that she was impregnated by a 55-year-old communist named Frank Marshall Davis.

The fake Obama narrator sets up the tale as the “the story I would have told if I were being honest with you.” Built through archival black and white footage, the film’s disclaimer states that it includes “re-creations of probable events, using reasoned logic, speculation, and approximated conversations in an attempt to provide a cohesive understanding of Obama’s history.”

Using that disclaimer, the filmmakers assert that Obama had a nose job ahead of his 2004 run for Senate, that his mother posed for naked photos when she was five weeks pregnant with him and that Bill Ayers nurtured Obama’s career.

The film is produced by Highway 61 Entertainment, the same company behind “Farewell Israel,” “Atomic Jihad” and the mockumentaries “Elvis Found Alive” and “Paul McCartney Really Is Dead.” Director Joel Gilbert, who has spoken at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), writes columns for FamilySecurityMatters.org, a website run by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.

The film has been favorably reviewed by WND’s Jerome R. Corsi, who wrote an entire book arguing that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake and that he was really born in Kenya and ineligible to be president of the United States.

But the suggestion that Obama really was born in Hawaii and that his father was an American citizen has some conspiracy theorists upset. Birther queen Orly Taitz is troubled by the film because it undermines the theory that Obama’s father had to be a U.S. citizen for him to be a “natural born citizen” (a qualification which would have eliminated several other presidents). WND and Corsi, wrote Taitz, are “trying to kill the case by making up an American citizen father for Obama.”

“Who are they working for? What incentive did they get to do so? Please, tell Corsi and Farah to stop this. Enough and enough,” she wrote.

Wingnut vs. wingnut!

Taitz later posted this on her website:

JEROME CORSI IS DESTROYING THE CASE ON WHICH I WORKED FOR 4 YEARS 24/7/365. HE IS GRATUITOUSLY MAKING UP AN AMERICAN FATHER FOR OBAMA. WHAT IS HIS MOTIVATION TO DO SO? TELL WND AND CORSI TO STOP THIS.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Who’s your REAL daddy?’; The new Obama conspiracy theory, mind-rot at its finest

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Mitt Likes Music’: MC Romney raps


 
The Gregory Brothers auto-tune Romney soundbites and the result is…well, another pretty amusing Gregory Brothers mash-up.

The video is only linkable via the NY Times right now. Looks like The Grey Lady is attempting to give herself a BuzzFeed dye job by jumping on the auto-tuning the news thing…too bad it’s two years too late. Still, it’s fun.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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