A test pilot has some very, very bad news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight or to dodge the enemy’s own gunfire, the pilot reported following a day of mock air battles back in January.
“The F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage,” the unnamed pilot wrote in a scathing five-page brief that War Is Boring has obtained. The brief is unclassified but is labeled “for official use only.”
The test pilot’s report is the latest evidence of fundamental problems with the design of the F-35 — which, at a total program cost of more than a trillion dollars, is history’s most expensive weapon…
— Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967
Black lives have always mattered to white America primarily as a source of economic exploitation. And white American authorities have never been particularly squeamish about killing and maiming Black Americans in defense and advance of that exploitation. Untold millions of Black slaves were tortured and murdered so that Southern tobacco, rice, sugar and cotton planters could extract vast quantities of surplus value from them. As the historian Edward Baptist has recently shown, the violence that was systematically inflicted on Blacks in the forced labor camps of U.S. cotton slavery generated much of the economic surplus that drove the United States’ emergence as a modern capitalist and industrial state before the U.S. Civil War.
After reformist experiments under northern Union Army occupation during the Reconstruction era (1866-1877), Black cotton servitude was resurrected across what became known as the Jim Crow South. The last thing that Black ex-slaves wanted to do after slavery was go back to work under white rule in Southern cotton fields. But, as the historical sociologist Stephen Steinberg noted thirty-four years ago,
“Though the Civil War had ended slavery, the underlying economic functions that slavery had served were unchanged, and a surrogate system of compulsory paid labor developed in its place…ex-slaves…were forced to struggle for survival as wage laborers, sharecroppers, and tenant farmers in southern agriculture. Once again, black paid the price and carried the burden of the nation’s need for cheap and abundant cotton.”
Many thousands of Black Americans died at the hands of white terrorists and authorities, both private and public, to keep Black lives yoked to cotton toiling for a pittance or worse under white owners during the long Jim Crow era.
The Northern Black Proletariat
During and after World War One and through the 1960s, northern industrial firms’ demand for cheap labor (and often enough for strikebreakers) combined with the growing mechanization of Southern cotton farming to push and pull millions of Blacks out of the South to work in giant steel mills, packinghouses, auto-assembly plants and other mass-production facilities in northern cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. By 1970, nearly half of the nation’s Black population resided north of the Mason-Dixon Line. This Great Migration was a step toward freedom for Black Americans who escaped the open racial terror and formal segregation and political disenfranchisement of the former slave states.
Still, Black lives mattered to northern white capitalists and authorities mainly as a source of cheap, super-exploited labor…
The book, Slavery By Another Name, is instructive here.
White lives have mattered little more than Black lives to the economic elite. They were given the illusion that they were/are not niggers by reason of there lack of melanin, witness Jay Gould:
“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”
US financier & railroad businessman (1836 – 1892)
In the labor wars between coal miners (including black coal miners) and the mine owners, the miners often wore red bandanas to signify their union membership or sentiment. The unionists were referred to as “rednecks.” So, at a point in time, black people were rednecks. This was an example of blacks and whites uniting to oppose the 1%. Salvation, IMHO, is in achieving that union again. Those rednecks risked all to fight oppression from the mine owners and the government, which was largely controlled (as today) by the 1%…
There’s nothing free about free trade.
The only reason Congress is holding out until Friday to vote on the TPP according to Politico is “They’re trying to resolve a last-minute hangup over aid for workers who lose their jobs to free trade”:
House leaders, confident but not yet certain they have the support to pass sweeping trade legislation, are aiming to bring the package to a floor vote by the end of this week — even as they rush to resolve a last-minute hangup over how to pay for aid to displaced workers.
The vote to grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a massive Pacific Rim trade deal will be extremely tight by all accounts. Senior aides and lawmakers in GOP leadership are intent on scheduling the vote at the moment they believe they have the votes locked up — ideally by Friday, to spare supportive lawmakers the possibility of another weekend of attacks by trade foes back in their districts.
“We’re doing very well, we’re close,” Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who’s been at the forefront of the GOP effort to round up support, said Tuesday of the current vote count. If Republicans want to bring the trade legislation to the floor Friday, they must decide Wednesday. [emphasis added]…
This means Congress is WELL AWARE a lot of people are about to lose their jobs once the TPP that none of us have even gotten to read goes through.
It is no secret that US healthcare corporations have been among, if not the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare: by “socializing” costs and spreading the reimbursement pool over the entire population in the form of a tax, pharmaceutical companies have been able to boost medical product and service costs to unprecedented levels with the help of complicit insurance companies who have subsequently passed through these costs to the consumer, in the process sending the price of biotech and pharma stocks to levels not seen since the dot com bubble.
But when it came to the highly confidential TPP, it was unclear just which corporations were dominant in pulling the strings.
Now thanks to more documents published by Wikileaks, and analyzed by the NYT, it appears that “big pharma” is once again pulling the strings, this time of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which if passed will “empower big pharmaceutical firms to command higher reimbursement rates in the United States and abroad, at the expense of consumers” according to “public health professionals, generic-drug makers and activists opposed to the trade deal.”…