Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri: Kicking The Horse Some More

I was going to let the topic rest, but three recent articles on the topic have forced me to make another comment. Let me start with one I saw on Counterpunch.

Dr. Teresa Whitehurst wrote a piece entitled "We're Walking Right into a Trap
Misleading Shiavo Polls Blind Progressives for New Stealth Campaign"
to so embodies the problem with "liberals":

By siding with her husband, we shoot ourselves in the foot in two ways: (1) we are reinforcing patriarchal nuclear family values as ensconced in the conservative circles ("when you marry, you leave your family and cleave to your spouse") and in the US legal system, wherein the spouse automatically has more authority over the incapacitated individual than his or her family of origin, and (2) we willingly give up all claims to supporting real "family values" (the extended family, not just the Dobson/Falwell nuclear family) such that we lay ourselves open to inaccurate but persuasive charges that we're "anti-family".

Progressives have been conspicuously silent regarding the family's suffering, and most won't even consider her parents' claims that Terri might not want to be starved to death, even in her present condition. The radical right, however, is busy endearing itself to the public-all those millions of average Joes who get all their news from TV, and are watching Terri's withering little body, sad face, desperate parents and the conservative leaders lending them sympathy and support. For the viewing public, I'm afraid it's Michael Schiavo, the man who's forcing his will on Terri and her family, who's speaking for us, and for liberal/progressive values.

Come election time, the masses will remember who's who. If we don't speak up and speak up now, here's the equation that millions of voters will remember at the polling booth, just as the Bush administration hopes: Sympathetic to dying woman and her family=Conservatives. Unsympathetic to dying woman and her family=Liberals.

While I don't disagree with her general conclusion that every attempt will be made to "Sympathetic to dying woman and her family=Conservatives. Unsympathetic to dying woman and her family=Liberals. " the problem with her piece is that she offers absolutely no position for "liberals." Hers is take all sides which, as we saw in the last election translates into "take no sides." But let me address the issues of the above paragraph:

Dr. Whitehurst supposes that by siding with Mr. Shiavo, we are upholding a patriarchal nuclear family setting. This is pure rubbish. What we are doing is upholding the law that ones spouse, be they male or female has the legal authority to make medical decisions for their spouse. That is not patriarchy. We are not saying that only husbands should be able to speak for thier wives. Dr. Whitehurst would like for the law to allow evverybody that the patient is related to to be able to make decisions on behalf of the patient. How rediculous is that? Perhaps Dr. Whitehurst does not understand that it is assumed, by the law, that ones spouse would have had discussions about life, death and possible medical care with the person the actually co-habitate and likely share children and monies with. The person they are most likely to depend upon for extended medical care should that be neccessary. It is also given that the spouse probably knows things about their partner that parents never ever knew. I mean I know parents that think their grown children aren't haveing sex. So it is laughable to the point of absurdity to suggest that by upholding the law that gives equal power to either spouse is "Patriarchal" but that must be the "feminist" speaking.

On the issue of the extended family,. how far should we take the powers of extended family? What if each member has wildly differing views on what should be done? Who triumphs? I wouldn't want to see that litigation at all. No, it is a wise choice to have clear lines of sucession and deliniation as to who legally can speak for an incapacitated patient. This way everybody knows their place and we have some kind of order.

So what should so called "liberals" be doing> They should be pounding the public with facts. Everybody and their momma has an opionion about what is going on, but very few are medical professionals. Even fewer know that such decisions are made everyday across the country. The "Liberals" ought to be buying air time to air videos on the subject, perhaps a documentary on all the steps that have been taken and how the case got to where it is. Lastly Liberals have the unique opportunity for standing up for "law and order" a bread and butter issue foor Republicans and many conservative groups. They should be constantly barraging the public of the spectre of government intervention in all parts of thier lives, They should be pounding the American "ideal" of government non-interference in personal lives. Lastly, anywhere a "liberal" gets on a talkshow with the opposition, they should ask the oppposition if they would trade places wiith Terri Shiavo. They should suggest that for the duration of the program that the opposition be strapped to a chair and forbidden to speak or move. This would, in my opinion show just how hypocritical these people are.

Basically it comes down to this: This is a legal issue, not a medical one. It is about the respect for indiviidual rights and the right of individuals to make legal decisions without interferences from government or religious authorities. Period.

The next piece I need to address is one announcing that Jesse Jackson will be visiting Terri Shiavo at the hospice that she is in, at the request of the Schindler family. Now I understand that Jesse Jackson is a reverend may probably has issues with the removal of the feeding tube. He has every right to go where he wants and say what he likes. However, given his background I think it is a mistake to make a press conference out of this. I think it will be an even bigger mistake if he attempts to do the "for black folks.." speech. This has to be the first time that I am in agreement with my peers who dislike the "Head Negro" phenomenon. This is a bad thing to do IMHO.

However one person is probably tickled pink by this action. The person I speak of is Mychal Masie who has clearly taken the side of law breaking and imposition one groups opinions over another. Says Massie:

The Terri Schiavo case is not about a right to life or a right to death; it is about a right to humanity, protection under the law and morality. These basic provisions having been denied her, Florida, indeed America, becomes no better than the societal sewers of the world that sanction indiscriminate euthanasia.

Damn right this is not about right to life of right to death. Damn right it is about right to humanity and protection under the law and morality. I mean at first glance you'd think Massie understands. This is about Terri telling her husband that she would not want to be in that condition in perpetuity and he, having the legal right to represent her, carrying out that wish. Had that wish been to do any and everything that would be her right under the law too AND her husband would be legally bound to honor that. On the Morality issue. Who's Morals? Muslim Morals? Buddhist Morals? Oh I forgot, if you're not a Christian you HAVE NO MORALS worth considering! Imaging that,. This Negro, whome under the Dread Scott decision , had no rights that any white man should honor, is now arguing that anyone who does not have "Christian Values" ought to have their rights ignored. The Irony!

Continue Massie:

We have been led to believe that our system of government protects the innocent, the helpless and that our laws are humane and moral. Terri Schiavo has shown us that such is not the case. Judge Greer has shown us the intolerable inflexibility of the courts toward all but the corrupt.

No Mr. Massie The government does not protect the innocent. It actually passes laws that allow for innocents to be jailed without representation and without being charged with a crime. It has passed legislation allowing people who would go bankrupt to remain in debt for as long as they live. It is considering cutting Social Security to the Baby Boom generation. I could go on, but I don't think Massie is quite interested in that conversation. He's merely mouthing off what his white conservative masters tell him to, so the lack of logic on his part is somewhat forgivable. And he attacks Greer who reviewed more medical evidence than Massie has the capacity to understand and made a ruling based on facts. Not Bible stories. Not that which he wished was the case, but the actual facts. I mean if only all law was practiced that way. But Massey believes that's being corrupt. Imagine that! Following the rules is corrupt. Breaking the rules in not corrupt. And the world is flat too.

Of course when the argument holds no water then you make things personal (Oh I guess I fell into that too....ha haaaa):

It is hard too argue in favor of morality in law when what amounts to a former spouse, a man with a common-law wife and two children some 15 years after the fact, is given standing to make life-and-death decisions despite there being capable, willing parents. How can this man be common-law married to one woman yet still make decisions for Terri, whom he has not divorced? Is that not tantamount to bigamy? At the very least is it not a direct conflict of interest?

Oh first of all, Terri has been in her state for 14 years. The first three Mr Shiavo worked with terris parents to get treatment so how is it that Massie gets 15 years? That would mean that Massie is trying to imply that Mr Shiavo was having an affair before the stroke (or whatever that was). I mean that's some seriously wrong math. But of course Massie does not state why Mr. Schiavo won't divorce his wife and give them custody of terri: He said he made an oath to his wife and planned to keep it. I mean in a society that has a 50% divorce rate, you'd think we'd applaud Mr. Schiavo for keeping his vows. He has also stated (the validity of which we can never know) that the parents of Terri are considering removing her limbs as a means of 'reviving" terri. If true that would truely be gruesome.

The next point that Massie makes, which takes up the bulk of his argument is about pet abuse laws.I tell you what. I agree that there are some really dumb pet laws on the books and that in some cases you can do things to people that could land you in jail if you did them to an animal. I say change those laws. But in reality it has nothing to do with this case. It is a red herring, like many other arguments out there.

Well it's been real folks.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Critiquing The "Left"

On These pages I have spent a lot of time critiquing the right, expecially those so called "Black Conservatives" who for the most part are simple mouthpieces for their white suitors. However, This publication is not partisan and though it has less ideological issues with the left, or more specifically the black left. This week I stumbled across an article discussing the indictment of Orlando, FL. mayor Buddy Dyer. Now why is this worthy of critique? Well last year Bob Herbert an Op Ed columnist for the NY Times wrote a piece about the FBI harrassing elderly black voters. It turns out that a large part of why FBI agents had shown up at the doors of elderly black voters was because Essie Thomas, who runs a non-profit organization that collects absentee ballots from African Americans, took payment from Dyer's campaign to the tune of $10,000. In the State of Florida it is illegal to pay for the collection of ballots. I wont even get into the partisan issues that could arise for the non-profit. Why is this an issue. Well the way Herbert had framed the issue it appeared as if we simply had FBI members rolling into black homes and intimidating people with the flimsiest of reasons. But in fact they had a very good reason to be seeking out potential witnesses and leads. If anyone should be at fault here it would be Essie Thomas who should have known not to take any money for his activities. The thing that gets me here is that When Armstrong Williams got caught out there accepting cash to promote the Bush agenda, the so called "Liberal Press" killed him. As far as I know what Armstrong William did was not Illegal. Un-ethical, but not illegal. In the case of Essie Thomas, there may have been laws broken. For this reason alone the issue should have been written about in a way more clear manner. There is enough fact twisting and convenient leaving out of facts done by the right it does us no good too be doing the same thing. Admittedly I could have researched the subject myself, but if I can't trust my comrades in arms to be open and honest with thier info then we have a serious problem.

Now onto issue two. Erik Dyson has written an entire book critiquing the commentary of Bill Cosby. I haven't read it, nor do I plan to but I did run a across an interview in the NY Times entitled: Bill Cosby's Not Funny

Says Dyson:

Your new book is a rhetorical screed against Bill Cosby, and the title alone is not exactly subtle: ''Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?''

When a comedian throws a pie in the face of a powerful person, it's funny. When he throws a pie in the face of a homeless mother with three kids, that's not very funny.

Ok. I'm not sure where Dyson is getting his facts from but I don't recall Bill Cosby throwing pies (literal or otherwise) at homeless people. But as documented here at Garvey's Ghost, quite a few people have taken to putting words into Bill Cosby's mouth and it would appear that Dyson is attenmpting to shove an entire book in there.

You're referring to Cosby's recent harangue about lower-income black people, whom he faults for neglecting their children, wasting money on expensive sneakers and glamorizing ghetto culture.

It's his Blame-the-Poor Tour. He should pick on someone in his own class. If he had come out swinging at Condi Rice or Colin Powell, they could defend themselves. But he's beating up on poor black people, the most vulnerable people in this nation. And why jump on them?

I've heard this argument from a few people. I'm not going to say what Cosby should or should not have said. We could write many columns about what we wish so and so would have or should have said, but I'm not going to go there. What I do think however, is that this "why not" arguement reminds me of a kid who's mad at his parents for punishing him for doind something that some other sibling appears to have gotten away with. I mean sheeeeeeeeet, If you want to have a go at Colin Powel or Condi, by all means write a book or two about them. There is plenty of material. But to waste time on Cosby over statements he didn't even make? Sounds like a waste of time to me.

On the other hand, many of us feel that his comments represent an admirable attempt at self-criticism and apply not only to blacks but also to whites in a consumer culture that has run amok.

Here's the irony: Mr. Cosby has been a supreme pitchman for American corporate capitalism for nearly 40 years. Had he come along now, he himself might have been promoting some gym shoes.

Cosby has pitched what exactly? Jello, Jello Pudding. That's about all I can recall. There are no Cosby Ads for Alcohol or Cigarettes (well you cant do the latter legally). There are no shots of Cosby selling Jeans like they were drug paraphenalia (ahem --50 cent--ahem). No Cosby BMW, Mercedes or Lexus Ads. There are no Cosby "Obey your thirst" ads. Cosby has only, to my knowledge pushed a snack (a low fat, low sugar snack at that). I hardly think that qualifies Cosby as a pushers of American capitalism. I mean surely Dyson could spedn his time writing a book about blacks who really push Corporate Capitalism, such as Bob Johnson and most MC's with varied vehicles, clothes and jewelry flaunted for the viewer who is admonished to be Ghetto Fabulous and "keep it real", "shine", "Bling" etc. ad neauseum.

I actually found your book alarmingly unbalanced. How can you write 200-plus pages on Bill Cosby without detailing the millions of dollars he has donated to colleges and other good causes?

I think I mention his $20 million gift to Spelman College. It's a well-known fact. There's no need to repeat it.

But he has given to so many other black causes.

There's a dark underside to philanthropy. People who give a bunch of money are deferred to, even when they are wrong. The emperor cannot be shown to have no clothes.

Oh never mind the millions to a black University. Question for Mr. Dyson, exactly which Black College do you teach for? Oh what scholarships have you given out to students? Oh? I thought as much. While I certainly agree that people can be deferential to those who have money (and want it), But one can disagree with Bill Cosby, or anyone else without belittling their achievements and philanthropy. In fact I thought the whole bone of contention here was the 'unneccesary" be litting of people. I guess I got that one wrong.

You, yourself, as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, know that Cosby's following is hardly based on his wealth. Why do you think the black middle class has been so moved by his call for individual responsibility?

Of course, taken in one sense, a lot of what he said we can agree with. None of us want our children to be murderers or thieves. But Cosby never acknowledges that most poor blacks don't have a choice about these things.

Here is why the black conservative movement is growing (despite the claims of some). Most poor blacks don't have a choice about being murderers and thieves? What? What are we on autopilot? Some kind of Murder or Theif gene that poor blacks have that is absent in other populations? Or maybe the poor, regardless of race have some predisposition to violence. Oh the Klan would love this. Or perhaps Dyson is trotting out the perenial excuse of systematic racism. You know the racism that every two bit thug can tell you about but still goes head long into anyways. I remember watching an episode of Like It Is with Gill Noble and he was discussing the growing crime problem in Hempstead NY. A part of his show was interviewing gang members who discussed how these gangs were "family" and how there's a code about not snitching and bus' first cause.... Their excuse for not going to school? Too crowded. Old building and the occasional " History not relevant to us." Hey if you want to look for an excuse not to go to school there are all kinds of excuses but let's make it plain. They didn't feel like it. They decided to not go to school. They decided to not do homework and the list of decisions goes on. This is not to minimize the very real inequities between affluent school distriicts and those in urban areas. This is not to excuse the poor representation of blacks in history, but they act like they are or were the first people born and going to school. Each of us has been there before them and made our way through and they are expected to do the same while we who went through prepare a place for them on the other side or help them through, wherever our skills and abilities place us. But lets not go giving excuses and dis-empower our kids.

So, then, how much do you think individual will counts for our success or failure in life?

I don't believe in that kind of American John Wayne individualism where people pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Someone changed your diapers. And if that's the case, you ain't self-made.

Mr. Cosby does not believe in the John Wayne individualism either. At least that is not apparent in his speeches. In the last speech I witnessed ( on TV) Cosby urged the audience members to embrace the children and to support them any how they can. At the same time he urged the kids to do their part. That's what Cosby and those of us who agree with him are about. We'll help you out but you got to put in dues. Those dies are what we refer to as the bootstraps.

In recovery programs the very first step is to admit you have a problem. Can you imagine if AA programs allowed the attendees to get up and say: "I'm an alcoholic and the reason I'm an alcoholic is because Budweiser and Coors keeps making beers. It's also the fault of the Liquor store owner and the bar owner. I cannot do anything to change my ways until the Beer companies stop producing beer and the bars and liquor stores are closed."

That's not acceptible in AA meeting firstly because it removes responsibility for charging your behaviors to external forces. Furthermore it depends upon the highly unlikely action that Beer companies will stop making beer.

Similarly we dealing with White Supremacy will not get anywhere by expecting it to just stop and "chill out." So to carry on as if we will somehow talk it down and that will solve all our problems (and mannah will fall from the sky too!!) is really a waste of time. In fact I believe it is the act of people who really don't want to do the hard task of building and maintaining instutions that will counter the forces of White Supremacy. After all, just like in Churches, once a person has "testified", "witnessed" and "repented" they are highly likely to go out and do the same sins again. The testifying" merely provided an emotional outlet. But back to the subject at hand.

So called Black Liberals are going to have to do better than the stuff described above. Our enemies are well organized, well funded and driven. Sloppiness on our part will be costly.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

The insanity of it all

Today I read an Op-Ed piece by David Brooks that simply got under my skin. In his piece entitled Morality and Reality Mr. Broooks has the gall to assert that so called "liberals" on the issue of Terri Shiavo have "no morals":

What begins as an appealing notion - that life and death are joined by a continuum - becomes vapid mush, because we are all invited to punt when it comes time to do the hard job of standing up for common principles, arguing right and wrong, and judging those who make bad decisions.

You end up exactly where many liberals ended up this week, trying to shift arguments away from morality and on to process...

Then, if social conservatives tried to push their moral claims, you'd find liberals accusing them of turning this country into a theocracy - which is an effort to cast all moral arguments beyond the realm of polite conversation.

Once moral argument is abandoned, there are no ethical checks, no universal standards, and everything is left to the convenience and sentiments of the individual survivors.

That such commentary made it's way past editorial review is beyond me but someone needs to respond to such nonsense and I'm going to do it.

This piece is full of blatant red herrings and completely mistates the true position of those of us mis-labeled "liberal" (Whatever that should mean). First let me deal with the issue of "santity of life."

At no point do we who support Mr Schiavo, claim that Terri Schiavo has a "right to die." Indeed our argument is simple and draws it's authority from the very founding principles on which the United States was organized on ( aside from that little slavery thing). That principle is that the Federal Government (nor the states) can willy nilly run up into the private lives of individuals and dictate what they can and cannot do. Furthermore that ones life, liberty and property is ones own, the state cannot take or interfere with any of the aforementioned without Due Process of Law. Specifically extending this position is the issue of patients rights. A patient has the right to refuse any and all treatment. Furthermore, law has alwahys recognized that the spouse has rights when it comes to medical decisions in the case the patient is unable to communicate. Thus we have the legal reason why this entire process as it is now is illegal and Unconstitutional.

Furthermore, the Religious Right and its "Anti-Abortion" wing has claimed this issue as thier own. They claim that just as a fetus cannot speak for itself a ABBD (All But Brain Dead) person also is like a fetus that must be accorded "legal protection" agains "Murder." This specious argument falls flat on it's face in the face of reality. Fetuses can be expected to develop into fully functioning persons. That is their prognosis is for improvement towards "normalcy." In the case of the ABBD, the prognosis is simply "More of the same." The same being sleep, wake,sleep, wake. Eyes open, mouth open, moan, sleep, wake,....death. In fact was it not for human intervention Terri Shiavo would simply not be alive today. So the religious argument that this is a moral isssue falls flat. Terri's continued "Survival" is a product of mans insistence on playing God. That is not a discussion tha Mr. Brooks wants to have either.

The last "sanctity argumenty" that has been trotted out is that of disabled people. There they were, in thier wheelchairs, discussing how they felt that society will throw them away. Who told them that? Being wheelchair bound is far different from being ABBD. Even Christopher Reeve had more life and more potential for life than Terri does. The disabled groups did a further diservice to thier message by comparing those of us in favour of limiting government interference to Hitler and the concentration camps. When posted a movie which compared Bush to Hitler, the Republicans had them for lunch. I see no such outrage from the Republicans now. BUt of course they are good for being two faced and dealing in double standards.

Let's move to the medical issues. Of late Terri's parents have attempted to hoodwik the public by saying that Terri spoke and said 'I want." I now see that a great many people in the public, or at least in certain segments of the public are extremely stupid. Someone who has not spoken anything for 14 years suddenly spoke. What part of "higher brain functions not there" don't people understand? In order to speak one must hav access to th area of the brain that holds our vocabulary. Then we must access the area ( most likely the same, I'm not a brain specialist) that allows us to form sentances. Then we must access the part of the brain that regulates the movement of the mouth, the lungs to force breath in the manner in which we do when we speak. Furthermore, in order to say anything in response to verbal stimuli, we must first comprehend that which we heard which adds a whole other level of complexity and neccessary processes to the ones mentioned before. Since Terri Shiavo has been unable to speak, not even responses to pinching (I'm assuming that she's been tested for pain responses since those are the easiest to illicit, if not a cruel meanns of illiciting a response) Why would anyone even believe that somehow she is now speaking simple sentances when she hasn't even said "OW!"

So exactly what is the position of those of us who are on the side of Mr. Shiavo? Simple, Each individual has the right to determine what is and is not done to or on thier bodies. If a person wishes to be in a vegetative state for 14 + years and they told thier spouse as much. End of discussion. It happens so long as the hospital is willing to do so. If someone does not want to be a vegetable for 14 years then that should be respected by the hospital. The State should have absolutely no say in the matter. The real danger is that someone in government gets the idea that life is so "sacred" that someone with Cancer or other medically treatable disease will find themselves in a position where they cannot refuse that treatment. Mr. Brooks fails to see the issue for what it is: An issue of individual liberty, even the liberty to choose to end "life sustaining" medical treatment. This brings me right back to the Church-State issue. This is clearly a conflict of Church and State because those in support of Terri's Family make thier claims on religious grounds. and those grounds are Christian grounds (mostly, I haven't spoken with each and every one of them). By passing this law, motivated by religion, the state has endorsed a religious position despite the fact that most Christians are against the state doing so. What other religion based edicts should we expect in the future? Who knows, but with the mainstream press unwilling to challenge these people and expose them for what they are. With a judiciary that does not have the balls to stand up and indict legislators and executives who are clearly abusing their positions, we should expect a whole mess of religiously inspired laws to regulate the activities of the rest of us.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ghandi:Racist Pig

Today I had the honor of reading an article that completely dispelled any and all respect that I had for one Mohatmas Ghandi. For those unfamiliar with this man, he was a leader of the Indian resistance to British rule and a major influence on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his formulation of non-violent confrontation theory and practice as seen in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Indeed in many "Liberal circles" Ghandi is a hero. Well today in, An Indian website, is an article that damn near made me fall out my seat. The article, entitled Caste in the Middle by Agneya Panja contains the following:

A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir. [1]...

Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of a raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.[3]...

We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.[7]...

The whole affair is as much a disgrace to the Indian community as it is to the British Empire. The British rulers take us to be so lowly and ignorant that they assume that, like the Kaffirs who can be pleased with toys and pins, we can also be fobbed off with trinkets.[13]

There is much more of this and I encourage all readers to take a nice look at the article.

So there we have it. Ghandi:White Supremacist Pig.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Cuba Conspiracy

Long time followers of "The Ghost" know that we are huge supporters of the Chavez regime in Venezuela as well as being against the illegal embargo of Cuba by the US. In our zeal to support Chavez and in our euphoria over his re-election this past August we were blinded by what is now a clear plan by the US to destabilize both countries. Over at CounterPunch James Petras gives us the rundown in an article entitled :Fateful Quadrangle

US strategy toward destroying the Cuban revolution is increasingly following a "two step" approach: first overthrow the Chavez government in Venezuela, cut off the energy supply and trade links and then proceed toward economic strangulation and military attack. The "two step" strategy against Cuba, involves the elaboration of a calibrated action plan to overthrow the Chavez government.

The US strategy against Cuba involves a joint US-Colombian attack of Venezuela backed by internal terrorists and the ruling class. This indirect attack on Cuba, involves complex, external preparation in cooperation with Colombia. First of all Washington and Uribe have greatly strengthened military bases surrounding the Venezuelan border. Secondly "trial military incursions" involving both Colombian military and paramilitary forces occur on a regular basis ­ testing Venezuelan defenses. In 2004 six Venezuelan soldiers were killed, a number of Venezuelan officials were bribed to kidnap a Colombian resistance leader and numerous cross border attacks killing and kidnapping Colombian refugees took place in Venezuela. Thirdly the US has provided nearly $3 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, tripled the size of its armed forces (to over 275,000), greatly increased its air force combat units (helicopters, fighter bombers), provided advanced military technology and several thousand official and "contracted" military specialists. Fourthly Washington has recruited the Gutierrez regime in Ecuador, invaded Haiti, established military bases in Peru and the Dominican Republic, and has engaged in navy maneuvers just off the Venezuelan coast in preparation for a military attack.Fifthly Colombia (under US tutelage) signed a joint military-intelligence cooperation agreement on December 18, 2004 with the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense, providing the US with "inside information" and serving as a possible source of infiltration of the Venezuelan Armed Forces to counter pro-Cuban officers.

Now some casual reader will think this to be unthinkable, but is it? Lets look at the recent history in Venzuela where the now Secretary of State Condi Rice professed her support of the coup makers (so much for Democratically elected governments), shortly after they briefly took over the government in Venezuela. Condi et al were soon to be disappointed when the people put thier man back into office. Now why on earth would the US administration openly support a coup? Well it's not the first time. Recall that Saddam Hussien came to power with US Guns and a Coup in Iraq. So clearly when their is some political objective, Coups are ok. What is more surprising but now completely understandable is the mention of Haiti. The "local" military apparatus that operated to remove Aristide from power was trained in the Dominican Republic. So now we see why there needs to be a "friendly" nation on that end. Now the question is why would the US go after Venezuela and Chavez who has stated numerous times that he will keep normal oil business (which is what the US is really interested in that country for) with the US? The answer is here:

The Chavez regime provides Cuba with petrol at subsidized prices in exchange for Cuba providing a vast health and education program for the poor of Venezuela. The Cuban-Venezuelan political and economic ties have undercut US efforts to force the Caribbean and Latin American countries to break with Cuba. As a result of past and present failed policies of directly attacking Cuba, the Bush administration has turned toward destroying Cuba's strategic alliance with the Chavez regime.

Imagine that. Venezuela actually does business with Cuba, which instead of exporting death to countries, exports doctors, and surely doctors with more sense than those in the US Senate and Congress, and less of a God Complex as well.

Things are going to get very ugly soon.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Teri Shiavo and You

Even though most Americans polled, and I mean upwards on 70% indicate that they would not want to be kept alive in a vegitative state. Even though upwards of 80% do not agree that the State should interfere with their medical wishes as expressed to a husband wife or other confident or legally appointed person, the Congress and Senate are posed to attempt to pass legislation that would allow the Federal Government to bypass the wishes of Terri Schiavo as expressed to her husband, and force the medical facilites to re-insert a "feeding tube" in order to keep Terri alive. That is that her bodily functions may continue even though she cannot do anything even remotely approximating "living."

Folks. That is a huge problem. The issue is not whether you agree with whether Teri should or should no be given nutrients through a tube. It is about the intrusion of the government into your private life and the right of a patient to refuse medical care and/or to instruct someone on ones wishes in the case that you cannot verbalize those wishes yourself.

It is contradictory that a set of people who claim that they want government "off the backs of the people." to use the very same government to impose the wishes of a few so called Christians, who aren't even related to the persons who are directly affected by this case. This is EXACTLY why I have repeatedly stated my objections to the increasing influence of Church and state. It is clear from the "talking points" circulated by Republicans that this is about the so called "Right to Lifers" and "Conservive Christian" agenda and NOT about the rule of law or respect for the Constitution.

Says the President of Family Research Council:
"Today it's Terri, tomorrow it's another disabled person," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of many groups pushing Congress to act. "We've tolerated abortion in this country for the last 30 years, and now we're talking about eliminating those who cannot speak for themselves."

How is it that terri could not speak for herself? She told her husband what she wanted. They had this talk. This combined with the fact that he is her legal guardian and therefor has the legal and moral right to speak on her behalf.

And lest you think that leaving a Living Will will help you, think again. NightLine, on Friday showed that there are increasing cases where living wills are being ignored by medical staff. Never mind that YOU wrote it. You had it notarized. Someone can still force you onto some machine or leave you alive but non-functional for the rest of your life (and so long as you can recieve nutrients, water and respiration, you can live as long you your telomeres last).

And don't you think for a minute that it will stop at Teri. Should this piece of garbage pass do you think these people will stop at dictating your health care?

So again, it doesn't really matter which side of the fence you are on regarding the specifics of feeding tube removal. You should be very very concerned when the state steps in on a private family matter.

Oh and for the record, Should I be put into a vegetative state I want all forms of artificial life support removed after 36 hours have past.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Social Security "Fix"

Last time I posted on Social Security I admitted that I had used the wrong information to bolster my case. That is I neglected to include the mandatory spending that the Social Security Administration must do and only compared the discretionary spending of that department and the budget for the DOD. But anyways let me move from critique mode to "solution mode."

I don't know if SS will run short but lets assume it will. If it will and we asssume that "personal accounts" will close the gap then lets run with that thought for a minute. First we should reject the substitution of "personal accounts" for regular SS deductions. Why? Because as has been said before that merely guts the program by diverting funds away from SS, which will surely kill it before (and if) the Baby Boomers do. Instead I suggest that the Fed offer "private accounts" in addition to the SS Deductions. That is, let the taxpayer "opt in" for having an additional deductions from their account. This should be along the lines of what is done in NJ. What workers for the State of NJ have to do is give no less than 5% of thier gross pay to a retirement account (403b). That is in addition to what is taken for SS. So lets' make this nationwide. The Federal Government will take 'bids" by different investment houses to "service" these accounts. The reason for this is for my next proposal. Since the Fed is going to make business for these companies and requiring the tax payer to take a risk, the FED should guarantee the principal amount deducted from the taxpayers paycheck. The principal should be tax deductible if it loses and be subject to normal IRA type taxes on gains.

In this way the tax payer is protected against "market forces" of the Enron persuasion in the form of tax credits and the government can be satisfied that it has increased "SS" funding without "imposing" a tax.
The Credit Game
The Credit game just got a whole lot more dangerous. Already Credit Card companies are able to base your interest rate based on payment histories on other accounts you have. The reasoning being that if one slow pays or no pays on one account then you are more likely to slow or no pay on their account. Now congress, with the help of 18 Democrats, passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 which does neither. Can't say I don't understand why 18 Democrats would vote for this act but they found themselves in a little pickle: Would you want to be running a re-election campaign against well funded and well organized Republicans and an advertisement shows up claiming that Joe or Jane Democrat voted against the Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

So what does this "Consumer Protection Act" do? Arianna Huffington summarises it for us in an article entitled Open Fire On U.S. Consumers:

So what does the bill do? It makes it harder for average people to file for bankruptcy protection; it makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers child support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited amount of value in homes and asset protection trusts; it makes it more difficult for small businesses to reorganize, while opening new loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide misleading information; and it does nothing to reign in lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable crises. Even in failure, ordinary Americans do not get a level playing field.

So black folks, who are clustered in the low end of the middle class, the very portion that is most vulnerable to these things (the poor already get "stuck" by the credit game), are going to have to be more wise in their handling of money. What is more problematic for us is:

Indeed, a recent study by Harvard University found that half of last year's 1.6 million bankruptcies were the result of crushing medical bills. Put another way: Every 30 seconds, someone in this country files for bankruptcy in the wake of a serious illness. How's that for a shocking stat? Here's another: Three-quarters of the so-called medically bankrupt had health insurance. It just wasn't enough to cover the dramatic rise in health-care costs.

Of course we know that black folks suffer disproportionatly from certain medical issues, some of which are self -inflicted (Soul Food). Thus it will be black folks who suffer the most from these "consumer protection" rules. Of course there are also millions of white folks who will also suffer from these new "protections" but seeing as how they put these fools in office in contradiction to thier own personal interests....

Haiti: The Misleadership Continues

Last year I wrote on how I departed with my peers on the issue of US intervention in Sudan. My position then as it is now, is that such interventions do not address the base issue of self-hate among the peoples in the countries. My position is that taking the long look at history wherever the European has gone and "intervened" in the internal affairs of African countries, there has been a high level of dependancy and a decreased willingness among the parties to reslove their own conflicts in the interests of all. Instead "leaders" do whatever they think the "intercessor" will like (or let them get away with). The common people usually see right through this and become disgruntled eventually leading to yet another "miltary crisis" of some kind. Of course when the regime tries to "protect" itself up rises a couple of "opposition parties" who are clandestinely supported by the same "interventioners" who cause more conflict. At no point does anyone really realize that the so called opposition have no plans for the people, but rather plans on getting into office and the money that goes with it.

Last year we saw this in Haiti with the overthrow of President Aristide by the "opposition." now we see this from a report in the Sun Sentiinel:

Violence is rampant with more than 400 people slain since September because of political instability. United Nations forces are unable to maintain peace.

"The only hope I have now for the country is that somebody will take it over and run it for us," said Kathy Holley, a Pembroke Pines resident who participated last year in South Florida demonstrations against ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. "We have to be the most unlucky country in the world. No matter what we do, we can't get the country together."

When 500 prisoners escaped from the National Penitentiary on Feb. 19, many Haitians called for Latortue's resignation. Some were the same people who called for the removal of Aristide a year ago.

Again we have yet another set of people who having supported the removal of the democratically elected President, now wish to have "someone" take over the country. The descendants of those who were first among the enslaved Africans to throw of Slavery and found the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere, now wish for "someone else" to take over. Well let's be real here. Haiti has been taken over for cheap labour. But only some of these clueless Negroes are just now beginning to realize just how stupid they have been:

But Lucy Orlando, a Haitian American activist living in Weston, said she borrowed money against her house last year to finance bus trips to New York and Washington, D.C., for demonstrations calling for the ouster of Aristide. She thought the country would have made more progress by now.

"I feel very depressed and very disgusted about what's going on in Haiti right now," she said. "I don't call it freedom or liberation. It's condemnation because Haiti is worse than before."


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Garvey Smear Campaign Afoot?

Today I stumbled across an Article entitled Slain or Silenced which discusses a posiible murder plot involving Marcus Garvey and one Rev. James Walker Hood Eason.


"Eason Tells Police He's a Witness Against Marcus Garvey," reads a Jan. 2, 1923, headline in The Times-Picayune. In follow-up stories on Jan. 4 and 5, filed while Eason lingered at Charity Hospital, talking to police and reporters, the newspaper reported the link even more explicitly.

Eason "stated after the shooting that he is positive the assailants were sent to kill him in order to prevent his testifying against Marcus Garvey," the Jan. 4 story read. At the time, Garvey was under a federal indictment in New York on mail fraud charges related to fund raising with his movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

the article makes for an interesting read and indeed any information that shedds more light on the UNIA is welcome by us here at Garvey's Ghost, but there were a few items written that were simply untrue or misleading so we wrote the following to the author and paper:

It was with great interest that I read your article entitled "Slain or Silenced". However I found that there were misleading or inncorrect information contained in the article and wish to provide a correction that I hope makes it's way into the paper.

You stated:
"The flamboyant Garvey was in his day as powerful and high-profile as any African-American in the land. Convinced that black Americans would never achieve justice in the United States, he originated and led a "Back to Africa" campaign and, combining entrepreneurialism with political fervor, numbered among his many business interests a shipping line -- Black Star -- to transport his people back to their homeland."


"The two men became close friends and allies, and Eason's existing connections with educated, well-to-do African-Americans on the East Coast turned into a money bonanza for the UNIA and Garvey's Black Star Line, the vessels that would return black people to a new nation in their ancestral homeland."

The UNIA, Universal Negro Improvement Association, was not a simple "Back To Africa" Campaign aimed squarely at African Americans. It was an internation organization that Aimed to improve the conditions of "Negroes" all over the world including the Caribbean, South and Central America and Africa itself. Garvey never said that the purpose of his organization (The UNIA) or the Black Star Line Co. was to transport black people to their homeland. The Black Star Line inc. was in fact an corporation with the intent of carrying out international trade. In fact the SS Frederick Douglass, the First Ship of the Black Star Line inc. made a food delivery between islands in the Caribbean.

Garvey's own words on the intent of the UNIA can be found in his book "Philosphies and Opinions" where he states that he encourafed blacks in any country they found themselves to take advantage of every opportunity that they found there. He also believed that the status of blacks would be directly linked to the ability of Africa to be organized under a powerful and independent nation.

Clearly with this information you can understand how your statement is misleading the public as to the goals and aims of the UNIA and Marcus Garvey.

Thank you

Sondjata K. Olatunji
Proprietor: Garvey's Ghost Weblog

Some other interesting claims made by the woman doing the investigating, Sitamon Youssef are:

"He told the U.S. attorney in New York he would testify, but that he had to honor a speaking commitment in New Orleans," Youssef said. "That's why he came down here, and that's where Garvey sent his assassins."

The chief hitman, according to Youssef's theory, was one Esau Ramus, whom Garvey gave $75, a train ticket to New Orleans and, Youssef said, orders that Eason not make it back to New York.

Ramus, along with two accomplices, attended a speech Eason made at the Second Baptist Church on First and Freret streets, and then shot him as he left, at about 10 p.m. The accomplices' names are in the record, identified in The Times-Picayune of Jan. 4.

The story said William Shakespeare, considered the "chief of police" of the United Negro Improvement Association, and Fred Dyer, a member of the "force," were arrested on Iberville Street and accused of shooting Eason.

The story -- and Garvey's possible connection to the shooting -- apparently ended there, until Youssef began sifting the record. Academic training made her want the truth, but Youssef said she has grown enormously impressed by Eason and believes that his memory deserves mention.

Hmmm..It's interesting that someone who was so down with the "movement" would then turn up on a givernment witness list. From what we know of the Garvey mail Fraud case a great many individuals had their hands out for UNIA money so it will be interesting to see how much Eason may have been in for. We do know that while the supposed 'money bonanza" happened Rev Eason was:

At one UNIA convention in New York City, Eason was elected the "leader of American Negroes," a ceremonial post that carried with it a diplomatic residence in Washington.

I'm sure he had little problem with the DC house payed on the "bonanza" money. But what is also interesting here is that though the "assasins" were arrested it appears so far that they had not been convicted of the crime. Why not? Clearly if the Government could show that the "assasins" had worked on the Behalf of the UNIA then the Government could have gone after that organization and shut it down. They did not. Or perhaps Eason could have been a backup case for the government in case it's incredibly feeble mail fraud case failed to ensnare Garvey.

Ultimately what bothered me most about the article was:

"He believed in the fatherhood of God, he was a good Christian and a patriotic American," she said.

So? Let me get this straight, we're discussing a Pan-Africanist who was a Christian himself and trying to rehabilitate Eason by claiming that he was a "A Ptriotic American?" Just what kind of Patriotic American was he when he was rolling with the UNIA? And if he was such a "Patriotic American" that makes me suspect that he was a plant, one of many.

Again, It will be interesting to see how this piays out. Anything that makes the record clear is welcome to me good or bad.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Nation Building or Sunday School?

Taking a break from multiple projects I needed to write this. Last saturday night/ Sunday morning I watched The State of Black America on C-SPAN which was hosted by Tavis Smiley and featured a number of prominent and well known black folks such as Al Sharpton, Cornel West and Louis Farrakhan.
While much of the discussion featured Stuff We've Heard Before (tm). I was bothered by the centrality that religion, specifically Christianity, played in the discussion. This centrality was highlighted by two things that happened:

a) Cornell West suggested that as a Christian he had a right to critique a [Christian] leader "In the name of Jesus." and

b) Farrakha's "suggestion" that 'we" sit down with the Bible and learn how to learn from it (or teach from it) "properly."

Now on the first issue, I had to ask, why is it that a critique can only come from another Christian "in the name of Jesus"? If we are discussing Black issues then anyone with a vested interest in, and bonafides in struggle should be able to level any researched and fact based critique at any figure, be they Christian, Muslim or whatever. On the second point: I am all for "correctly teaching the Bible." So long as that correct teaching starts with the Khemetic texts from which it is based. However, it would be foolish and indeed destructive to black culture to make the Bible the basis of some kind of political movement in the Black community. In fact I would say it would be a mistake for any religious text to be the basis of mobilization. We have ample evidence of what irrational "God told me so", leadership can do when taken to it's extreme.

Malcolm X pointed out that the best means for us to organize is on the basis of what we have in common. And that what we have in common is being victimized by White Supremacists. He correctly pointed out that leaving our religion 'in our closets" would prevent belief based disagreements from occuring. Already we see how Conservative Christians are using their "common ground" with Black Christians in order to splinter them off on issues that have next to nothing to do with the black communities. For example, There are black ministers who rail against homosexuality and use that as a reason to support Bush and others, Yet they have churches full of homosexual men and women. They also have people who are known fornicators and adulterers and yet they don't have shit to say about that. I know of many churches with such persons in leadership positions, where the dirt of thier leaders and members of the flock are known and tolerated. Fact is, if you can't keep your house in order, you have no business trying to sell us on your show.

But perhaps this only bothers me as a non-Christian and non-Muslim (which in black communities are almost the same thing). I'm sorry that Tavis, decided to play to his audiences prejudices and let the whole religion thing slide. I would not have done so, but who am I?