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Mothers Day Is A Day For Peace, Hey Hey LBJ, Why Are You Back Today? Spain On The March

May 13th, 2012 - by:

Happy Mother’s Day: Remembering My Mom, Ruth Lisa Schechter, American Poet. Read her work here.

My New Book Out Now From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

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The Barely Known History of Mother’s Day Here’s Another Take from A Nation of Change.

Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870

The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. Despite having penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier, Howe had become so distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War that she called on Mother’s to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their Sons killing the Sons of other Mothers. With the following, she called for an international Mother’s Day celebrating peace and motherhood:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.

“We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace
.

The Rise & Fall of Howe’s Mother’s Day

At one point Howe even proposed converting July 4th into Mother’s Day, in order to dedicate the nation’s anniversary to peace. Eventually, however, June 2nd was designated for the celebration. In 1873 women’s groups in 18 North American cities observed this new Mother’s holiday. Howe initially funded many of these celebrations, but most of them died out once she stopped footing the bill. The city of Boston, however, would continue celebrating Howe’s holiday for 10 more years.

Top News

Yahoo: Masses of chanting “indignant” activists poured into the streets across Spain on Saturday in a vast show of strength one year on from igniting a global protest against economic injustice. There were tens of thousands involved. Here’s the BBC Report.

Wall Street Protests Slated For Times Square on May 15

Dissector Essay on AlJazeera: Hey, Hey LBJ, Why Did You Come Back Today?

When faced with the possibility of a reactionary conservative White House, radicals may vote for a ‘less bad’ liberal.

New York, NY – Back in 1964, I was a student activist, a sympathizer of Students for a Democratic Society, and a full time civil rights movement organizer. We were “movement people”, just as Occupy Wall Street is today, suspicious of, and hostile to, the Democratic Party – which was then dominated by pro-segregationist Dixiecrats from the south and the new president from Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Some of us were still mourning for JFK, but we knew in our heart of hearts that even he operated more on political calculation than conscience and compassion. He had deepened our involvement in Vietnam, although there is evidence that he was looking for a way out.

We all suspected his killing in Dallas was more than it appeared to be, and that a cover-up was assassinating the truth of what happened, just as he had been assassinated. I later directed a film, Beyond JFK, based on Oliver Stone’s movie, laying out all the conspiracy theories.

President Lyndon Johnson is back in the spotlight, thanks to the publication of the fourth volume of Robert Caro’s masterful and massive biography covering LBJ’s Passage of Power. There’s no detail left unexamined.

Caro is more partial to studying the power of political personalities than to examining the structures of power in our society that C Wright Mills wrote about in The Power Elite or that William Donhoff examines in his Who Rules America, now in its eighth printing.

Read The Rest on AlJazeera.com

NYT: Tea Party Targets Senate

Other Views
•Firedog Lake: The Protests in Chicago: Will Go On

•AlJazeera: Face It—The US economy is Socialist

•†he Atlantic: Only Amateurs Can Preserve Democracy

•NYT: Student Loans Weighing Down A Generation

•AP: JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon’s Reputation Shredded

•The Atlantic: JP Morgan Outlook Downgraded By Fitch

•Vanity Fair on Goldman Sachs: Blood On The Water

•Forbes: How Employer-Sponsored Insurance Drives Up Health Costs≈

Yes Men Press Release: DALLAS PARTY ENDS BADLY FOR U.S. TRADE REPS AND FEDERAL AGENTS


Dozens of rogue “delegates” disrupt Trans-Pacific Partnership gala with “award,” “mic check,” mass toilet paper replacement, projection

Two dozen rogue “delegates” disrupted the corporate-sponsored welcome gala for the high-stakes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations yesterday with a fake award ceremony and “mic check.” Other activists, meanwhile, replaced hundreds of rolls of toilet paper (TP) throughout the conference venue with more informative versions, and projected a message on the venue’s facade.

The first action began when a smartly-dressed man approached the podium immediately after the gala’s keynote speech by Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative and former mayor of Dallas. The man (local puppeteer David Goodwin) introduced himself as “Git Haversall,” president of the “Texas Corporate Power Partnership,” and announced he was giving Kirk and other U.S. trade negotiators the “2012 Corporate Power Tool Award,” which “Haversall’s” partner held aloft.

The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and “Haversall” continued: “I’d like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right.”

At that point, the host of the reception took the microphone back and announced that the evening’s formal programming had concluded. But Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.

Other News:

•Iranian president: No need to take up arms against Israel

Note: Many of the analysts I’ve read say that the so-called Iranian threats Against the existence of the State of Israel were a mistranslation and fabrication, fodder for orchestrated propaganda.

•Raw Story: Cuba’s Raul Castro backs gay rights says daughter

•Daily Beast: Dalai Lama: Agents Tried to Poison Me

Media Shows Contempt For Working Class

•John Russo, Center for Working-Class StudiesMedia Hostile to Workers: Talking with the Press about the Working Class

Over the last three months, I have done interviews with and provided assistance to dozens of national and international reporters about various working-class issues, including the American Dream, manufacturing, education, the recession, displaced workers, local and international trade, and, of course, white working-class voting patterns.

A few weeks ago, George Packer, staff reporter for The New Yorker, was a visiting scholar at the Center for Working-Class Studies, doing research on book project, and he spoke as part of our annual lecture series. So, obviously, I have been thinking a lot about journalists and reporting on the working class.

Packer titled his lecture, Do Journalist Care About the Working Class? His response was basically, “No!” He argued that the American public is more concerned about celebrity and success stories that often reinforce the American Dream. While job loss affects people of all classes these days, readers seem more interested in stories about hedge fund managers losing half their fortune than in profiles of manufacturing or service workers losing their jobs. In part, these attitudes reflect the confusion most Americans have about class. When asked the open-ended question, “what class do you belong to,” most Americans say they are middle class. But if given four options — lower, working, middle, and upper class — about 45% choose working class, and about the same percentage identify themselves as middle class.

Packer also points out that hard-nosed, urban, ethnic, and street-smart reporters like Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, or Mike Barnacle, many of whom had working-class roots, have been replaced by metro journalists, most with college degrees, who identify themselves as professionals and spend most of their time with people like themselves. Packer quotes Pulitizer Prize winning columnist, Connie Schultz, who has noted that, especially in big cities, reporters have increasingly become privileged by their professional education, social connections, and access to internships and have become a “self-perpetuating” class. As a result, journalists don’t have contacts among the working class or much sense of working-class life and culture. Add to this unsympathetic editors who are more interested in selling upscale readership to advertisers, and journalists these days have natural hesitancy to pursue working-class stories.

Put differently, as I heard as a panelist at a Society of Professional Journalists Conference say, there is a high degree of self-censorship among journalists themselves.

In the end, Packer suggested that the recession and the centrality of white working-class voting in electoral politics have made the working class more interesting to some newspapers. I can attest to that, but if my recent interviews are any indication, reporters are generally confused about who is working class, and they don’t understand the political and economic views of the working class.

Most journalists covering electoral politics define the working class as those without a college education. That definition is widely used, not only by reporters but also by some scholars and political analysts, in part because it’s easy to measure. I caution reporters that if they use this definition, then the working class seems to be shrinking as more people attend college. While some commentators have suggested that this shift makes the working class less important politically, I argue that this is simply a statistical shift. These days, many working-class people have at least some college education, and the working class continues to matter in American politics. In part because of that, I try to help journalists understand why class is not just a matter of education. It also has to do with occupation, income, wealth, and – among the hardest aspects to measure – culture.

At the same time, I remind reporters that class is not the only identity that might affect how people view political candidates and issues. For example, white working-class men might well view economic and policy issues differently from white working-class women or black working-class men. I also try to help journalists understand that the working-class varies politically by region and state, in part because other issues, like race and types of employment, shape working-class cultures. When we add religious affiliations and social values, things become even more complicated, but that’s the point. I want to encourage reporters to get beyond their assumptions and stereotypes when they write about working-class voters and issues.

Journalists often ask me to explain why the working class supports Republicans, a pattern that seems to go against their own economic interests. It’s true that a majority of white working-class voters has only supported a Democrat in a presidential election once in the last 50 years, voting for Johnson in 1964, so this isn’t a new phenomenon. We can’t even tie it to the so-called “Reagan Democrats” of the 1980s. A number of historians and political scientists have studied this trend, but rather than focus on theories about why the working class votes for Republicans, I point out that the trend is shifting. White working-class support for Republicans has been dropping in the northeast, the Great Lakes region, and the far west, and it will probably drop further — because of Republican policy formulations. For example, Republicans want to cut the deficit by slashing entitlements, but many working-class voters believe that such cuts would have a disproportionate impact on them. While the Republicans put down the Occupy movement, many in the working class, both conservatives and liberals, support its economic and social populism and agree with its claims about injustice, unfairness, and inequality.

Packer is right, both that today’s journalists don’t really understand the working class and that the economy and the election mean that reporters will have to cover the working class anyway. One of the goals of the Center for Working-Class Studies is to help journalists do a better job of telling working-class stories. I think we’ve had some influence, largely because we take the time to do more than answer a few questions. We meet with reporters, help them make contact with other sources, take them around Youngstown, and discuss what they hear from area workers and what the statistics about employment, class identity, and political perspectives really mean.

We all complain about and critique media coverage of class issues. If we want the media to do a better job, more of us need to be willing to talk with journalists. When the phone rings and reporter asks you to comment on how the recession is affecting the working class, or why white working-class people support certain candidates, or how working-class students will be affected by interest rates on college loans, don’t duck. Take the time to not only answer the question but also, when necessary, challenge the reporter’s assumptions and help him or her understand the working class more fully. Think of it as teachable moment.

The Atlantic: The Gray Lady’s Photographic Memory

For More Media Analysis, Visit and Join Mediachannel.

BBC: Study links biodiversity and language loss

Again, Happy Mother’s Day To All Who Celebrate It. Comments welcome to dissector@mediachannel.org

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