Daily Archives: June 7, 2011

Amina Abdallah


Sometimes the scale of an atrocity like what is now going on in Syria is so large that it requires a single person whose fate becomes the only accessible measure of it. For me, that person is Amina Abdallah, who blogs as “A Gay Girl in Damascus.” She has already once escaped arrest and almost certain murder at the hands of Syrian security forces. She was abducted today. Please call or write the Syrian Embassy in Ottawa and let them know you are looking out for her. We cannot save everyone from these thugs, but we can let them know we would if we could.

46 Cartier St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1J3

(613) 569-5556


A worldwide list of Syrian embassies here.

Quote of the Day: “Resistance to Civil Government”


An excerpt from Thoreau’s Resistance to Civil Government: “A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.”

I hope I am not overreaching here, but since Michael has invoked civil disobedience, it seems like an apt occasion to quote Thoreau. This passage from Resistance to Civil Government (1849), I think, applies here, mutatis mutandis:

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote. …

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

Corporate Tax Rates / Credits

Here’s a chart to illustrate just how grotesque the situation has become with regard to corporate taxation. General Electric, for example, does not pay income taxes. General Electric receives tax credits. It got $3.2 billion’s worth last year alone. But, of course, it is asking its unionized workers to take pay cuts.

(Chart from ThinkProgress via forbes.com)