Remembering Vietnam War Foe Carl Oglesby

After a speech in early 1966 Carl Oglesby signed my membership card in Students for a Democratic Society.

I was honored that he did so and I worked hard to help bring SDS to my campus.

By the end of 1967 his positions seemed reactionary because those of us in the Action Faction of SDS had become far more radical than we were even months prior. Carl became irrelevant as the internal struggle between Progressive Labor Party and the faction that would become Weatherman  clashed through out 1968.

Yet Carl deserves to be honored for his often forgotten role in building SDS into the major movement it became.

From Truth Dig:

By Bob Katz
Posted on Sep 13, 2011

Editor’s note: Author and journalist Bob Katz was a friend and colleague of Carl Oglesby and sent this remembrance, which has been edited for style.

Carl Oglesby, one of the most influential figures of the 1960s counterculture, died Tuesday at his home in Montclair, N.J., after a short illness.

An acclaimed political theorist, orator, playwright, musician and writer, Oglesby served as president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from 1965 to 1966 and played a leading role in the opposition to the Vietnam War. A self-defined “radical centrist” and defense industry technical writer living in suburban Michigan with his wife and children when the war began, he soon became one of its most eloquent foes.

On Nov. 27, 1965, Oglesby gave a speech before tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators in Washington, D.C., that became one of the most important documents to come out of the anti-war movement. According to historian Kirkpatrick Sale: “It was a devastating performance: skilled, moderate, learned and compassionate, but uncompromising, angry, radical and above all persuasive. It drew the only standing ovation of the afternoon.”

After the demise of SDS, Oglesby taught politics at Antioch, Dartmouth College and MIT, and wrote a column for the Boston Phoenix that merged geopolitical theory with his keen interest in the hidden dimensions of the Watergate scandal, the John F. Kennedy assassination and the CIA.

He was the author of several books, including “Containment and Change,” “The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate” and most recently the memoir, “Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement.”

Oglesby is survived by his children, Aron DiBacco, Shay Oglesby-Smith and Caleb, and his partner, Barbara Webster.

Below is an excerpt from the end of his most famous D.C. speech:

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Pope should be tried for crimes against humanity

From The Vatican Insider:

American associations of paedophilia victims have submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. “The Pope and the Curia’s top dogs have covered up the rape of children all across the world.” The Holy See has refused to comment

alessandro speciale
Sept 13, 2011
vatican city

The biggest association of paedophilia victims who have suffered at the hands of members of the Catholic Church has asked the International Criminal Court to try Benedict XVI and the heads of the Roman Curia, for “crimes against humanity.” 

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, presented an 80 page long document to the ICC at The Hague, to show how the Vatican allegedly “tolerated and made possible the systematic and widespread cover up of rapes and sexual crimes against children across the world.”

SNAP, together with the American NGO Center for Constitutional Rights, has asked the ICC for a “declaration of judicial jurisdiction.” In practice, this means, the Court should declare itself authorized to deal with the case, in the light of the proof that “legal action taken on a national level, was not sufficient in preventing the abuse against minors from continuing.”

It is now up to the ICC’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, to decide whether to accept the appeal or not. SNAP hopes that The Hague’s ICC will at least decide to open a preliminary investigation to see whether the case in under their jurisdiction.

The International Criminal Court, an organisation that is independent from the UN, has been operative since July 2002 and according to its constituent treaty, it is called to judge individuals assumed responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide. It can act in cases where a Country’s criminal system is unable to deal with a case, or when it receives a mandate from the Security Council at the United Nations Headquarters, as happened in the case of Muammar Gheddafi and the leaders of the Libyan regime.

The Holy See is not among the 117 Countries that signed the Treaty of Rome which created the Court. 

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Is Poverty a Death Sentence?

From Common Dreams:

by Bernie Sanders
September 14, 2011

The crisis of poverty in America is one of the great moral and economic issues facing our country. It is very rarely talked about in the mainstream media. It gets even less attention in Congress. Why should people care? Many poor people don’t vote. They certainly don’t make large campaign contributions, and they don’t have powerful lobbyists representing their interests.Sanders (I-VT)

Here’s why we all should care. There are 46 million Americans — about one in six — living below the poverty line. That’s the largest number on record, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. About 49.9 million Americans lacked health insurance, the report also said. That number has soared by 13.3 million since 2000.

Moreover, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has both the highest overall poverty rate and the highest childhood poverty rate of any major industrialized country on earth. This comes at a time when the U.S. also has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth with the top 1 percent earning more than the bottom 50 percent.

According to the latest figures from the OECD, 21.6 percent of American children live in poverty. This compares to 3.7 percent in Denmark, 5 percent in Finland, 5.5 percent in Norway 6.9 percent in Slovenia, 7 percent in Sweden, 7.2 percent Hungary, 8.3 percent in Germany, 8.8 percent in the Czech Republic, 9.3 percent in France, 9.4 percent in Switzerland. I suppose we can take some comfort in that our numbers are not quite as bad as Turkey (23.5 percent), Chile (24 percent) and Mexico (25.8 percent).

When we talk about poverty in America, we think about people who may be living in substandard and overcrowded homes or may be homeless. We think about people who live with food insecurity, who may not know how they are going to feed themselves or their kids tomorrow. We think about people who, in cold states like Vermont, may not have enough money to purchase the fuel they need to keep warm in the winter. We think about people who cannot afford health insurance or access to medical care. We think about people who cannot afford an automobile or transportation, and can’t get to their job or the grocery store. We think about senior citizens who may have to make a choice between buying the prescription drugs he or she needs, or purchasing an adequate supply of food.

I want to focus on an enormously important point. And that is that poverty in America today leads not only to anxiety, unhappiness, discomfort and a lack of material goods. It leads to death. Poverty in America today is a death sentence for tens and tens of thousands of our people which is why the high childhood poverty rate in our country is such an outrage.

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An Impeccable Disaster

From The New York Times:

Published: September 11, 2011

On Thursday Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank or E.C.B. — Europe’s equivalent to Ben Bernanke — lost his sang-froid. In response to a question about whether the E.C.B. is becoming a “bad bank” thanks to its purchases of troubled nations’ debt, Mr. Trichet, his voice rising, insisted that his institution has performed “impeccably, impeccably!” as a guardian of price stability.

Indeed it has. And that’s why the euro is now at risk of collapse.

Financial turmoil in Europe is no longer a problem of small, peripheral economies like Greece. What’s under way right now is a full-scale market run on the much larger economies of Spain and Italy. At this point countries in crisis account for about a third of the euro area’s G.D.P., so the common European currency itself is under existential threat.

And all indications are that European leaders are unwilling even to acknowledge the nature of that threat, let alone deal with it effectively.

I’ve complained a lot about the “fiscalization” of economic discourse here in America, the way in which a premature focus on budget deficits turned Washington’s attention away from the ongoing jobs disaster. But we’re not unique in that respect, and in fact the Europeans have been much, much worse.

Listen to many European leaders — especially, but by no means only, the Germans — and you’d think that their continent’s troubles are a simple morality tale of debt and punishment: Governments borrowed too much, now they’re paying the price, and fiscal austerity is the only answer.

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Health care consolidation: the good, the bad and the ugly

From The Washington Post:

Posted by

When the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing Friday morning, there was a weird moment of bipartisan agreement on health policy: increasing consolidation in the health industry is bad for patients.

The three-hour hearing probed the health industry consolidation that has increased for the past two decades or so. As a way to increase market clout, hospitals have been buying up physician practices, insurance plans have been merging and health systems are growing larger. Both the Health Subcommittee’s chair, Republican Rep. Wally Herger, and ranking member, Democratic Rep. Pete Stark, repeatedly warned of the negative impact of health consolidation, with larger market clout leading to increased prices and less choice for patients.

“It is refreshing to see our majority raise concerns about competition in the marketplace and how it may result in outcomes that are bad for consumers and for Medicare,” Stark said at the hearing.

But one potential silver lining of health consolidation went unnoticed: more mergers, particularly in the insurance industry, may drive down coverage costs.

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Review – Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences

From MetaPsychology – Reviews On-line:

Review by Andrew Hirst
Sep 13th 2011

This book caught my eye as it is very similar in aims to another book I have recently been reading in great detail: Adapting Minds by David Buller. Buller tries to demolish both the theoretical underpinnings and several specific experimental paradigms of contemporary evolutionary psychology, and (in general) succeeds. I am always suspicious of psychologists who purport to have an all-encompassing “theory of everything” which explains all human behavior, given the relative infancy of psychology. We may eventually understand the whole gamut of human behavior, of course, but it is unlikely to be for a long, long time.

Brainstorm has a similar scope, although it is attacking a different area of psychology. The primary focus of Brainstorm is demolishing the body of research investigating the effects of prenatal testosterone and estrogen on the brains of fetuses early in development, theorized to have a series of predictable wide-ranging, unchanging effects on people’s eventual behavior and cognition (which Jordan-Young terms “brain organization theory”). There is a lot of evidence ostensibly supporting the hypothesis that prenatal hormone exposures cause permanent masculine or feminine patterns of desire, personality, temperament, and cognition; evidence which is used to explain a huge variety of apparently gender-differentiated behaviors. I say “ostensibly”, because throughout the book, Jordan-Young systematically demolishes the scientific credibility of this research, showing that large mistakes have been made in a) experimental design (studies in this area are primarily “quasi-experiments” in which variables and thus causal direction cannot be properly discovered) , b) interpretations of data (not properly considering alternative interpretations), c) the use of data from older studies in support of recent studies (definitions of masculinity and femininity in older studies are frequently vastly different to their contemporary definitions, yet older studies are still being claimed to support conclusions of recent research), and d) foundational methodological and ideological assumptions underlying much of the research (e.g. there is masculinity and femininity, they are objective and unchanging properties, and it is “right” for men to possess the former, and women to possess the latter). Many of these studies focus on intersex individuals who have experienced unusual hormonal environments in utero, and are sometimes born with ambiguous genitalia and other medical problems. These individuals are ideal candidates for brain organization theory researchers, because they can compare them to same-sex siblings and attempt to isolate behavioral and cognitive changes which may have been caused by prenatal hormones.

This is not just a niche area of research, however. It is of wide public interest/importance. Many of these studies have entered the public consciousness. Simon LeVay’s study in which he claimed to have discovered “The Gay Brain” (LeVay, 1991) was reported widely in both the popular science press and the international press. Furthermore, assumptions relating to the immutable, unchangeable and dichotomous nature of gender are both utilized as part of the studies’ theoretical underpinnings and apparently supported by their data. These assumptions are part of the popular consciousness and damage the way people perceive intersex, transgender, bi-sexual, or homosexual individuals, who are frequently seen as “unnatural” and “wrong” in some way and in need of “fixing”. As she states, “brain organization theory is little more than an elaboration of long-standing folk tales about antagonistic male and female essences and how then connect to antagonistic male and female natures”.

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Rank-and-File Economics: Fighting for a Wage- and Job-Led Recovery

From Dollars and Sense:

By Katherine Sciacchitano
September 13, 2011

Riddle 1: When is a recovery not a recovery?
Answer: When profits are at record levels, corporations are sitting on $1.7 trillion in cash, and unemployment is still at 9.2% and rising.

Riddle 2: When is a stimulus not a stimulus?
Answer: When it’s less than one-fourth the size of the hole in the economy it is intended to fill.

Riddle 3: When will it be possible to rebuild the economy?
Answer: When the U.S. labor movement joins with community and international labor allies to demand global economic development, jobs, and rising wages.

When the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2008, putting jobs first was a no-brainer. Global unions demanded immediate action. The G-20—the group of 20 nations charged with coordinating a global response to the crisis—agreed. Governments rushed to do stimulus spending. The worst was prevented.

Then in the spring of 2010 the Greek debt crisis hit. Markets plummeted. The G-20 pulled back and told countries to cut spending. Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and the U.K. have since enacted austerity packages with drastic spending and wage cuts.

The global jobs crisis is now worse than ever. Between 2007 and 2010, 30 million workers lost their jobs worldwide. In the United States, GDP is falling, jobs have declined since the recovery started, and the unemployment rate is rising again as federal stimulus funds fade and layoffs mount in the states. The Brookings Institution estimates it will take over ten years to return to normal employment levels, even at pre-crisis growth rates. Now, real wages are falling as well.

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Yet Another Wall Street Billionaire Asks Working Americans to Sacrifice — Why Do the Media Still Listen to These Guys?

From Alternet:–_why_do_the_media_still_listen_to_these_guys/

Working America has sacrificed a great deal in the last 40 years, yet wealthy Wall St. CEOs keep asking for more.

By Joshua Holland
September 12, 2011

Working America has sacrificed a great deal in the last 40 years: its share of the national income, its economic security and the dignity that comes with decent health and retirement benefits. Those at the top of the pile have sacrificed nothing – they’re grabbing more income and paying less in taxes today than they did during the mid-century boom years. Yet, we are being asked by those very elites for “shared sacrifice.” The question is, how much “sacrifice” the little guy has to make before the big boys start sharing it.

It’s clear to see how the toxic ideology of Ayn Rand has permeated our political culture, all the way up to America’s well-heeled elites. Whereas the wealthy were once viewed with some scorn as the idle rich, children of privilege who know little about life in the real world, they now claim to have been imbued with innate, almost super-human intelligence and they offer their wealth to prove it. Those claims go largely unchallenged.

But if you look at the discourse proffered by these feral elites, it’s clear that a wingnut with a lot of money is no more rational than the “get a brain, morans” guy of viral fame. Just this week, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, called new banking regulations “un-American.” What did he mean? Who knows? It’s a facile talking point.

Perhaps the best example was an anonymous shot at working people supposedly fired from the bowels of Wall St. last year. “We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money,” the broadly circulated email began.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching third graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America.

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International group pursues the Vatican for ‘crimes against humanity’

From The Irish Examiner:

By Ed Carty
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

AN international clerical abuse survivors group is calling on Irish bishops to release secret files as it pursues the Vatican for crimes against humanity at the Hague.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap) and New York-based rights group Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lodged papers against Pope Benedict XVI in a landmark action in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

They allege the Pope and three senior cardinals in Rome “tolerated and enabled the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes”.

Barbara Blaine, Snap president, said they want clerical sex abuse victims around the world to come forward with additional evidence to back up the complaint.

“Snap wants to prevent even one more child from being raped or sexually assaulted by a priest, and we hope that victims around the world will know today that they are not alone and that it is safe to speak up and report their abuse,” she said.

“We as victims are mobilising across the globe, and every survivor is invited to join us.”

Snap and CCR will be in Dublin as part of a 12-day tour of European cities to highlight their case. They will also visit Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, London, Warsaw, Madrid and Rome.

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