Open thread for night owls: Martin Luther King’s pilloried ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speech turns 50

Here’s an excerpt from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech to Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam—“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence”—delivered 50 years ago, April 4, 1967, at the Riverside Church in New York. In it, he warned against the “deadly triplets” of racism, militarism, and materialism:

[…] The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality [applause], and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. [sustained applause] So such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. [applause] War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy [applause], realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low [Audience:] (Yes); the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. […]

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“We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity.” 
                   ~Fred Hampton, “Power Anywhere Where There’s People” speech delivered at Olivet Church, Chicago, February 1969

TWEET OF THE DAY

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Imagine being so insecure that getting elected President doesn’t even make a dent in your inferiority complex. https://t.co/pA77tKII6W

— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) April 3, 2017

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—Scott Walker’s administration gave a state job and a 26% raise to the son of a major supporter:

Wisconsin Republicans claim that their state is broke, and have used that claim to justify stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights. And yet, even though they claim to be broke, Scott Walker’s administration just gave a state job, and a 26% raise, to the son of a major supporter who has no college degree, no relevant experience, and two drunk driving convictions. JS Online:>

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

Ah, a state job with a big salary and a huge raise. You don’t need a degree, relevant experience, a clean criminal record, or even a formal application.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounds up weekend news, including the fire emoji-inspiring LAT editorials & several GOP in Disarray pieces. Is Kushner right for the every job? Law firm that whitewashed Trump’s “divestment” roasted. Were “Bernie Bros” really Russian bots?

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Noisa’s “Get Deaded” Receives Heavy Dubstep Remix From Moody Good

The grimy bass remixes of Noisia’s single “Get Deaded” keep on coming. A few days ago, Bassnectar unleashed his own rework of the track and now Moody Good has dropped his remix of the original song. It’s been a while since the UK producer has released a track and he simply crushed this one.

His filthy dubstep sound design is next level and he puts his skills on full display in his latest output. Hopefully this means we’ll be seeing a lot more Moody Good music in the near future. The producer completely reimagines the track, taking the focus away from the percussion and onto the lead dubstep synth instead. He also flawlessly incorporates vocal chops into the drop. Listen to it below and enjoy!

Noisia – Get Deaded (Moody Good Remix) | Pre-Order

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NY Leads 10-State Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over Stalled Pollution Rules

Ten states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over stalled energy efficiency rules aimed at reducing pollution.

The action, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, accuses the U.S. Department of Energy of violating federal law by halting the implementation of national energy efficiency standards for major appliances like air conditioners, ceiling fans and freezers.

Schneiderman slammed the Trump administration for blocking the standards, saying they would eliminate 292 million tons of carbon dioxide and save consumers nearly $24 billion in energy costs.

“This is yet another example of how the Trump administration’s pollute-first energy policy has real and harmful impacts on the public health, environment and pocketbooks of New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a statement. 

Joining New York in the lawsuit are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and New York City.

The new standards, created under Barack Obama’s administration, were scheduled to go into effect March 20, but the Trump administration delayed their implementation until Sept. 30. The Department of Energy said the delay was “non-substantive” and that “seeking public input” would be “contrary to the public interest,” according to Schneiderman, who called the move illegal.

The suit specifically accuses the department, and its secretary Rick Perry, of violating the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Administrative Procedures Act in stalling the implementation of standards for ceiling fans. The same group of states, plus Maryland, are sending a 60-day notice regarding standards for other products, such as commercial boilers and power-supply equipment, according to Schneiderman’s office. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the new standards a “win-win for consumers and the environment” and urged Perry to implement them “without further delay.”

The suit marks the latest showdown between Schneiderman and President Donald Trump. A judge recently approved a $25 million payout from Trump to settle a civil suit by Schneiderman and two class action suits accusing Trump University of fraud. (Trump will be able to write off the settlement against whatever taxes he pays; students will have to pay income taxes on the payoffs, notes Forbes.)

Schneiderman also shut down the Trump Foundation last year after he uncovered a number of questionable practices, including a political donation by the foundation to the campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was considering joining Schneiderman’s lawsuit against Trump University.

The New York attorney general recently hired a top public corruption expert from the office of ousted New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara to track the Trump administration.

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