Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain’


Honoring war dead in a nation engaged in endless wars

Monday, May 28th, 2018

A unique take on the often present conflict between public and private, the spoken and unspoken, views on a topic held by individuals is found in the posthumously published works of Mark Twain.

On this Memorial Day in the U.S. we are supposed to reflect on our war dead. The favored public view is to enoble war. But war is messy. Death is ugly. Sadly too many of us may be thinking in our hearts that our “enemies” deserve only death, and not noble endings as do our sons and daughters. Enemies are considered “animals,” sub-humans.

On Memorial Day 2018, we endure the embarrassing acts of a narcissistic president who cannot seem to temporarily shift his focus from self to the selfless volunteers of our military who were killed for their fateful decisions. As he tweeted …

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18 years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

Narcissism aside, we are an aggressive people. Mark Twain captured the vicious aspect of our nature in 1905 as America was beginning its ambitious rise to empire following the Spanish-American war.

The War Prayer

You have heard your servant’s prayer — the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it — that part which the pastor — and also you in your hearts — fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard the words ‘Grant us the victory [in war], O Lord our God!‘ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth into battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended in the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames in summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it —

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

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When victors claim victimhood: “War on the 1%”

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Evidence mounts every week that the American “have-nots” suffer new economic indignities. In our very unequal America (please hold off on the ‘American dream for everyone’ speech), wealth becomes might. The extremely wealthiest 1% benefited from the global recession of 2008. Of the wealth accumulated since then, the 1% won 95% while the bottom 90% of Americans grew poorer.

A disgusting aspect of our new Gilded Age (term coined in the late 19th century by Mark Twain) is the shamelessness of the uber rich. A case in point — Tom Perkins, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is making news with provocative (read hate-filled) comments that taxation is persecution of the rich by progressive akin to Nazi persecution of the Jews and, for extra effect, voting should be the privilege earned only by those who actually pay taxes. The latest outrageous comment was made at the ostensibly “serious” and credible San Francisco Commonwealth Club event titled: War on the 1%

Really? Really? The exploiters are victims??? Sounds like the bully’s faux lament.

Matt Tiabi regularly reports on new financial scams that generate obscene gobs of cash for the inventors while screwing employees of affected companies, and of course, the public.

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Putting Laborers Back Into Labor Day

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Throughout the years we at the WBI have covered Labor Day from the workers’ rights perspective. The holiday is not just for shopping or camping. It’s about honoring people who work. More specifically, as the historical accounts below make clear, it is about emancipating workers from horrific working conditions and doing so collectively, in an organized way. Yes, the union way.

Unions are demonized daily and growing extinct. The attacks are leveled without rebuttal by “journalists” or cowardly politicians who should represent everyone’s interests rather than corporate employers. Media reps are afraid of losing ad dollars. Politicians fear bucking the pro-corporate PACs with the funds to pour into their opponents’ campaign coffers. Unions can only muster 6% of all contributions to politicians. Corporatists control the system.

Income inequality grows in the U.S. The connection between declining unionization rates and inequality is not accidental. They are mutually determinative. That is, the richest among us want to make America a minimum wage nation, while unions ask nothing more than a living wage on which families can provide shelter, food, clothing and education for their children. Somehow, the most greedy have convinced the majority of us that those needs are excessive. That earning a $40,000 wage with benefits and a fixed pension is bankrupting America. Balderdash!!!

So, union-bashers take the weekend off, please. Let’s see how many union folks are featured in media coverage during the one holiday that belongs to them — Labor Day.

For 2012, we collected past postings, including a favorite WBI podcast.

Podcast: Labor Day Message for Working Folks

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Restoring dignity for the underclasses with help from Franklin Roosevelt, Mark Twain (Hal Holbrook), Andrew Cuomo, Harry Chapin.

Read the report cited in the podcast: No Rhyme or Reason: The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture by Andrew Cuomo, then NY State Attorney General

(more…)

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Podcasts, The New America, Unions, WBI Education | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Podcast 9: Labor Day Message for Working Folks

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Podcast 9:

Labor Day Message for Working Folks

Restoring dignity for the underclasses with help from Franklin Roosevelt, Mark Twain (Hal Holbrook), Andrew Cuomo, Harry Chapin.

Read the report cited in the podcast: No Rhyme or Reason: The ‘Heads I Win, Tails You Lose’ Bank Bonus Culture by Andrew Cuomo, NY State Attorney General

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Podcasts | 3 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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