Recent comments

  • Reply to: A Just Cause ≠ A Just War   19 hours 55 min ago
    I think you have to distinguish between jus ad bello and jus in bello. Just as good ends do not justify evil means, nor do evil means corrupt a just cause. Yes, the Allies, including America, committed war crimes in WWII, and yes, the defense attorneys at Nuremberg were right to point out the hypocrisy of the court in not indicting those responsible for those atrocities. This does not, however, mean that those who fought for the Allies without engaging in such atrocities, such as yourself, were fighting an unjust war. Now WWII could certainly have been prevented, but that opportunity was squandered in the aftermath of WWI. Having botched the peace, another war became nigh inevitable. Even so, war might have been averted had Britain and France stood up to Hitler throughout the 1930's instead of appeasing him. Their failure to act emboldened Hitler, and once Germany invaded Poland, there was no alternative to a full-scale war. The Civil War was much the same: the inevitable consequence of half the country asserting a right to own slaves and the other half regarding slavery as an abomination, with no compromise between the two possible, because the Founders failed to abolish slavery at the birth of the Republic. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, even unto the third and fourth generation. The blame for the war rests on those who failed to secure peace when they had the chance, not on those who inherited the consequences. As for the culpability of soldiers for fighting in an unjust war, that depends on whether or not it was reasonable for them to know that the war was unjust. A soldier has a moral duty to know the conditions for a just war, as well as to take all reasonable steps to verify that the war he is being asked to prosecute is indeed just, but doubtless there are circumstances where the leaders of nations convince their people to go to war under pretenses that it is just, while keeping to themselves the truth of the situation. In these cases, the individual soldiers are innocent as long as they abide by jus in bello; the sin rests with the high command for starting an unjust war and deceiving their own people into fighting it.
  • Reply to: Charters Lift Up Some Kids, But What About the Ballast?   1 day 7 hours ago
    And a quick reminder of the first ballast to be cut--children with special needs. My daughter is on the autism spectrum. She *is* bright and hard working and by the way, she knocks our state high stakes tests out of the park. But she needs additional support in the classroom which charters are not generally willing to provide. Even though our family's tax money is taken to pay for charters, they need not admit her, and even if one did it could expel her at any time, for any reason. I will be more open to charters when they are willing to show accountability and stop cherry picking students.
  • Reply to: The Secret Group That Wants to Take Over Your School   1 day 8 hours ago
    The corporatization of everything continues. This is insane. So much money going to the wrong places while schools suffer.
  • Reply to: The Secret Group That Wants to Take Over Your School   1 day 9 hours ago
    What other districts is CRPE in? The ”right sizing” strategy sounds familiar in Seattle...
  • Reply to: States Humiliate the Poor With Food Stamp Crackdown   1 day 10 hours ago
    "...measures, supposedly enacted in the name of cutting waste, fraud, and abuse..." Our government should take measures to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. What's wrong with prohibiting food stamp use at movie theaters, fortune tellers, cruise ships, swimming pools, and liquor stores? .
  • Reply to: The Secret Group That Wants to Take Over Your School   1 day 19 hours ago
    I'm a public education blogger (Seattle Schools Community Forum) and yes, I know CRPE well. Basically, they are a charter school think-tank. Just today, the University of Washington's Evans School on Public Policy is having a panel discussion on charter schools with TWO people from CRPE, one from a charter group, one from another huge charter supporter (Washington Policy Center), one person from a private religious school, and one seemingly lone dissenter, Seattle School Board director, Sue Peters. CPRE is one of those orgs that makes a very good public face for what is basically a lot of brainwashing on charter schools.
  • Reply to: The Secret Group That Wants to Take Over Your School   1 day 22 hours ago
    I am now two meetings into a four-year term as a school board member. While I believe myself to be a person of good will, the School Boards are clearly ripe for a CRPE takeover. People do not vote and candidates do not register for school board elections. In my own election, I was one of only two candidates whose name appeared on the ballot for four open positions. Five additional candidates declared themselves candidates by registering as write-in candidates. The turnout for the election was about 8% of eligible voters. Two write-in candidates were elected by capturing approximately 1.6% of eligible voters. Could CRPE have influenced this election? They absolutely could have. And when CRPE provides funding to a stooge in our district, they will take control of our board. About the only way that I can see school boards like my own remaining able to set policy that views situations as if schools are community assets rather than businesses is if retirees, who have achieved fixed-income independence from needing to think in business terms. The job-maker argument that business is always to be accommodated doesn't play as well among those who no longer seek to have jobs.
  • Reply to: As Police Weaponry Gets More Dangerous, More People Die   2 days 8 hours ago
    Actually Dirty Harry had a 44 magnum. 45's were commonly carried in WWII. The 38 special is an older round, now mostly being used in concealed carry revolvers: a majority of 38's can also fire the 357 magnum round, very nasty, and are carried for just that purpose. The 38 revolver was largely replaced by the 9mm automatic, which was a good way to introduce a modern automatic into policing. The NATO spec handgun is still the 9mm, and still in use. Unfortunately, many cops are going to the 40 caliber or 10+mm handgun, which is totally unnecessary, supposedly, but a blast to shoot. Recently, US cops have been hot to get their hands on 50 caliber or 12.7mm sniper rifles and machine guns. A 30+ lb. 50 caliber machine gun, however, needs to be mounted somewhere solid, like an armored vehicle. In NYC they have been mounting them in helicopters, so they can, maybe, shoot down bad guys in planes. On the other hand NATO soldiers, for accuracy and other logical reasons, continue to use either a 5.56mm or a 7.62mm round. The smaller round is more accurate; the larger is armor piercing The thinking is that if the soldiers, or police, are trained to shoot accurately, there no need for the kinds of weapons our police want to carry in the streets. Perhaps the 147 rounds shot into a car with unarmed people in Cleveland, could have been reduced if the police were better shots, or if they had listened to what they were being told over their radios. At most, four bullets could have taken out the tires.
  • Reply to: 'End of the Nightstick': Chicago Poets Fight Police Violence   2 days 9 hours ago
    Support our efforts through the Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression to enact an ordinance in the Chgo. City Council called Civilian Police Accountability, an elected council in each police district completely separate from the cops, mayor, alderman and states attorney. If we had CPAC 30 years ago, brutes like Burge would have been indicted and convicted and these men wouldn't have been tortured. Go to our website Stop Police Crimes and give us your support. Thanks. We can and will end the tyranny of murderous cops.
  • Reply to: Watching Wisconsin Destroy Public Schools   3 days 31 min ago
    We are destroying generations.



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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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