Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Friday, December 29, 2006

On Saddam's Death Sentance

I've been light on the Iraq posts because I think that the Iraq war is distracting to the very serious things going on in the African world. Secondly because anyone with 3/5 ofa brain knows that the War (in political terms) is lost. Anyone who has studied colonialism knows that colonialism always falls under its own weight and that Iraq is going to go the same route as Ghana, Algeria, Egypt, etc. Thirdly, the lies told to go into Iraq are so blatant and the violations of international law so blatant that the charging of crimes against humanity against Saddam and not this administration is grand hypocracy. But for those that need an Iraq fix, I would point you to a recent posting over at the DeskRat Chronicles which is an excellent summary of the life and times of Saddam Hussein and why he "needs" to die. Portions of his post references another bloggers post.

saddam was america's boy . he began his career at age 22 as a hitman for cia .
he was part of a cia assassination plot against iraq's leader colonel kassim .
kassim was viewed by the Us as too chummy with the soviets at the time .
kassim also was a populist who wanted to nationalize iraq's oil .
saddam and the other plotters ambushed kassim's car .
saddam was too impatient and blew it by firing too soon.
kassim was only wounded , his driver was killed and saddam had to flee the country.
saddam's cia handlers paid for his apartment in cairo for a year or so until another attempt on kassim succeeded and he was killed .

saddam returned to iraq , rode the coattails of an older cousin or uncle up the ladder of the baath party . ..

The decision to uphold the death sentence of Saddam Hussein by the sham Iraqi appeals court has gained worldwide condemnation, except for the U.S., of course. The court took two days to read 1,500 pages of documents presented by the defense. No court in the world can decipher this number of pages in such a short time, not even a legitimate court...

...I challenge all journalists who advocate the hanging of Saddam Hussein to take a few hours and research reality.
The standard figure of deaths attributed to the Ba'ath regime during the Anfal campaign is 182,000. Why have there not been any bodies found? If 182,000 people were killed, there must be piles and piles of bodies, yet none has appeared.
If 148 people were sentenced to death in 1982 for attempting to assassinate the president of Iraq, why are at least 24 still alive? And, those who were executed received a lengthy and fair trial that lasted about three years. They were fighting on the side of Iran while Iraq was engaged in a war with its eastern neighbor. In the U.S., this would be considered high treason. With Saddam Hussein, it was called mass murder. George Bush himself signed off more execution orders while the governor of Texas than did Saddam in the Dujail case.
If Iraqi military personnel gassed and killed 5,000 Kurds in Halabjah, why were only 300 bodies found? And, why was the gas used to kill the citizens cyanogen, a gas that Iraq did not possess but Iran did? Why have the CIA, the U.S. Army War College, Greenpeace, the main CIA analyst in 1988 (Stephen Pellitiere), the late Jude Waniski, the U.S Marine Corps Historical Report, and various other individuals and organizations blamed Iran for the gassing of the Kurds?

Read the full post here:

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Thoughts on Kwanzaa 2006

I'mma let ya'll in on a secret. Ready? I got a problem with Kwanzaa. I know I know for the past three years I've been out there defending Kwanzaa, but I gots to keep it real. I got a problem with Kwanzaa. My problem is this. I don't think it means what it used to anymore. Maybe I'm being too sensitive but let me give a couple of examples of what I mean.

Two weeks ago I was at a school concert and there were the Channuka songs and the Christmas songs and then this thing they called the 'African Noel" that was purported to be a Kwanzaa song. This feeling went over me that I could best describe as what I presume native Africans who don't know about Kwanzaa feel when they get wind of the celebration: This is just wrong.

See the problem here is that there is no Kwanzaa song as far as I know. Though folk may sing during Kwanzaa celebrations I ain't never ever heard of an African Noel. During this 'African Noel" the only principle of Kwanzaa brought up was Kujichagulia (self-determination). I presume that Kujichagulia and Nia and Imani (self-determination, Purpose and faith respectively) are the "safe" principles that people can discuss without 'guilt' or some sort of racial ill feelings. This is a problem. Kwanzaa's growing popularity is fueled, in my opinion, by making it a safe celebration. If you see mainstream news reports of Kwanzaa celebrations you'll see dancers and drummers and people in "african costumes". You'll see advertisements by major corporations featuring people in gran bubas and walking sticks. Wishing you the best!

See my problem stems from the seriousness I take my ideologies. I left the Christian church because I no longer shared the belief. I stopped attending because I thought it disrespectful to disrupt the services and beliefs of those who chose to believe the way they did. An open forum is one thing but going to the place of worship or celebration when one is not "in the spirit" is, in my opinion, pretty disrespectful.

When I learned of Kwanzaa, I understood it to come out of a culture nationalist tradition. Created by Maulana Karenga my understanding was that Kwanzaa was specifically made to address the cultural alienation that Africans in America have from their ancestral roots as well as to forward a cultural if not political Pan-Africanism among the AA population. It was never meant to be a replacement for any persons religious observations such as Christmas, Ramadan or Hannukah. Instead it was an addition specifically for African-Americans with the hopes of bringing them into a permanent , year round Pan-African ideology. So for example, the use of KiSwahili was used out of the recognition that Swahili is the largest native African language spoken in Africa that is not restricted by country or tribe...largely. The use of Red Black and Green is a direct reference to the Pan-Africanism of Marcus and Amy Garvey thus there can be no Kwanzaa without the discussion and meditation on Pan-Africanism. So to have a Kwanzaa song that is neither Pan-Africanist and attempts to strip Kwanzaa of it's roots is problematic to me.

Thus my problem. See just as I left the Christian church out of respect for those who did believe, I think that people who are latching onto Kwanzaa for reasons other than its intentions ought not participate. Aint no "Father Kwanzaa" aint no "African Noel" Kwanzaa song. If there are Kwanzaa songs, they are freedom rider songs. They are Bob Marley's "Get up Stand up". They are Peter Tosh's "African" They are Public Enemy's " Shut Em Down". No Kwanzaa greeting cards from Hallmark. You're supposed to make this stuff yourself.

Kwanzaa will not be Kwanzaa if the meaning is lost. It's like when the Malcolm X stamp was made in the US. It gave people the excuse to act like they "knew" Malcolm X. Everybody and their momma will tell you how much of a "human rights activist" he was but aint never read his works or studied his life. Similarly I now get non-black people telling me about Kwanzaa.

"Oh it's so nice."
"Oh yes, you know."
"The kids were singing this Kwanzaa song. I mean it was made up but it was so much fun."
"really. Fun you say? And what was the message?"
"oh, well. You know the black kids...."

Yes, Kwanzaa as black kid recognition time. the "you have some culture too" attitude. And I completely understand. The way these schools are and this society is, black folks culture is rap music, slavery and the civil rights movement. Every other group that is here can trace back specific traditions are religions to their home countries except African-Americans. Universally, Black Americans are people without their own and constantly latching onto what other people have, be it religion, dress, food.

So if people can go through Kwanzaa and learn nothing of Pan-Africanism or of African culture of the continent or the Diaspora, then really, what is the point?

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Black Men PSA

Nuthin' lef' to say.

Happy Solstice

Today, well at 7:33 PM EST is the Winter Soltice AKA: The Reason for the Season. One of the great things about blogging for years (going into the 4th year of writing), is that you can start to go back and quote yourself. So for this solstice I will do a nice Sankofa move and pull a Solstice post from 2004:

...Folks there is a good a natural reason why we celebrate Christmas in the week that includes Dec 25. And note I did not say "the" 25th. Those who keep an eye on the length of daylight will know that the week of December 25th in the northern hemisphere is the shortest daylight time of the year. That is called the Winter Soltice. After the week of the 25th the daylight hours begin to lengthen and hence the sun is "reborn" Get it? The S[u]n of God (As depicted in Khemetic theology) is reborn on Christmas. Helloooooooo!...

Read the complete post: Solstice the Reason for the Season

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, December 18, 2006

Signs of Protest

Here is a small photo essay on the protest that occurred in NYC on Saturday Dec. 16, 2006. You will need QuickTime to view this.

Signs of Protest

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, December 11, 2006

Not my "Blood"

after the murder of Sean Bell and the near murder of TA Police in the vicinity, I read reports that the Bloods were seeking "justice" for Mr. Bell. I thought that was a nice joke given that this was coming from, well, the Bloods street gang. I didn't think anyone seriously calling for Justice for Sean Bell or out for the general safety of the black community at large would take the Bloods very seriously.
Unfortunately, The New Black Panther Party has decided to do so inviting them to speak at a rally in front of the 103 precinct where Malik Shabazz thought it wise to get on the microphone and tell the police "kill one of ours and we will kill one of yours."

It is unfortunate that Mr. Shabazz does not quite understand power in that if he was in fact serious about such a thing he would never have announced it. The reason being that by announcing such a thing, should any 103 precinct officer end up murdered, Mr. Shabazz will find himself on the receiving end of an arrest warrant much as the blind cleric Abdur Rahman did after the first World Trade Center bombing.
Secondly, he would have taken a page from the Mafia, and simply had the murder happen. No need for announcements when actions speak very very loudly. So, we know from these two things that Mr. Shabazz is talking junk and posturing for the camera and feeding off of the righteous anger of the crowd. That said, let me get back to the Bloods.

I don't have any problems with black organizations working with gangs or gang members in order to decrease the crime in the black community and rescue our children. None, whatsoever. I do have a problem with providing a platform for these gangs to make fake-ass revolutionary statements and slogans when we all know damn well that gang members, specifically the Bloods and Crips are the cause of much of the violence in NYC and other areas with high black populations. It would have been fine by me if the gang members had come to the stage and taken the microphone to announce that they were going to renounce community violence and drug dealing. It would have been nice to have an apology from representatives of each clique for the violence visited on the various poor communities they live in. That would have been nice.

Instead Shabazz gave these groups a platform to advocate more killing and by announcing an intention to kill police officers, they will have helped increase the tension and climate that will get more people killed. Thank you Mr. Shabazz. Exactly who's payroll are you on?

Look at the picture to the left. This is NOT black power.

Black power is not gang members in gang colors putting their fists in the air. Black power isn't even putting fists in the air. I will put cold hard CASH on a bet that none of the individuals here have read Kwame Ture and Charles Hamililton's Black Power. I'll lay hard cash that none of the pictured individuals have read Kwame Ture's auto biography or even know the definition given to Black Power at it's inception because if they had, they would not be Bloods. It's that simple. Being a part of an organization that kills more black people each year than the entire NYPD is antithetical to the concept of Black Power. Why then would an organization that supposedly supports Black Power allowing a group that is antithetical to black power to be legitimized? That is a good question. While I am appreciative of the work that the NBPP did in New Orleans after the hurricane, it is all to clear that this group is in need of guidance. They should read and re-read the critique that kwame Ture laid down on the Panthers in his autobiography (I'll need to go dig it out because it is very relevant here).

So the only time I want to see a Bloods gang member on stage at a rally is to announce a truce with other sets, and an apology for all past criminal activity and a plan to stop all future criminal activity. That would be the only Black Power thing that the Bloods can do for me and I would prefer that to the criminal prosecution of the police involved. WORD. You heard me. I'd rather the Police that shot Bell to walk, if it meant an end to gang violence. That my friends would be Black Power, until then we may be skin folks, but we ain't "blood". Heard?

Cynthia's Parting Shot

I want to post the official record of Cynthia McKinney's parting shot at el Presidente Bush:

Mr. Speaker:

I come before this body today as a proud American and as a servant of the American people, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Throughout my tenure, I've always tried to speak the truth. It's that commitment that brings me here today.

We have a President who has misgoverned and a Congress that has refused to hold him accountable. It is a grave situation and I believe the stakes for our country are high.

No American is above the law, and if we allow a President to violate, at the most basic and fundamental level, the trust of the people and then continue to govern, without a process for holding him accountable-what does that say about our commitment to the truth? To the Constitution? To our democracy?

The trust of the American people has been broken. And a process must be undertaken to repair this trust. This process must begin with honesty and accountability.

Leading up to our invasion of Iraq, the American people supported this Administration's actions because they believed in our President. They believed he was acting in good faith. They believed that American laws and American values would be respected. That in the weightiness of everything being considered, two values were rock solid-trust and truth.

From mushroom clouds to African yellow cake to aluminum tubes, the American people and this Congress were not presented the facts, but rather were presented a string of untruths, to justify the invasion of Iraq.

President Bush, along with Vice President Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Rice, portrayed to the Congress and to the American people that Iraq represented an imminent threat, culminating with President Bush's claim that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Having used false fear to buy consent-the President then took our country to war.

This has grave consequences for the health of our democracy, for our standing with our allies, and most of all, for the lives of our men and women in the military and their families-who have been asked to make sacrifices-including the ultimate sacrifice-to keep us safe.

Just as we expect our leaders to be truthful, we expect them to abide by the law and respect our courts and judges. Here again, the President failed the American people.

When President Bush signed an executive order authorizing unlawful spying on American citizens, he circumvented the courts, the law, and he violated the separation of powers provided by the Constitution. Once the program was revealed, he then tried to hide the scope of his offense from the American people by making contradictory, untrue statements.

President George W. Bush has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States; he has failed to ensure that senior members of his administration do the same; and he has betrayed the trust of the American people.

With a heavy heart and in the deepest spirit of patriotism, I exercise my duty and responsibility to speak truthfully about what is before us. To shy away from this responsibility would be easier. But I have not been one to travel the easy road. I believe in this country, and in the power of our democracy. I feel the steely conviction of one who will not let the country I love descend into shame; for the fabric of our democracy is at stake.

Some will call this a partisan vendetta, others will say this is an unimportant distraction to the plans of the incoming Congress. But this is not about political gamesmanship.

I am not willing to put any political party before my principles.

This, instead, is about beginning the long road back to regaining the high standards of truth and democracy upon which our great country was founded.

Mr. Speaker:

Under the standards set by the United States Constitution, President Bush-along with Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of State Rice-should be subject to the process of impeachment, and I have filed H. Res. 1106 in the House of Representatives.

To my fellow Americans, as I leave this Congress, it is in your hands-to hold your representatives accountable, and to show those with the courage to stand for what is right, that they do not stand alone.

Thank you.

It is a shame that a congressperson who does their job is being put out of office by spineless black folk in Georgia who were more concerned with media appearances than substance. I would also like to point the readership to the GNN interview with McKinney:

A few days after the Democrats won control Conyers echoed Pelosi’s statement saying, “I am in total agreement with her on this issue … impeachment is off the table.” Last week a spokesperson from Conyers office said that the resolution would not be reintroduced and that the Representative had no intention to pursue the matter...

Mike, an advisor to McKinney, mentions, “Conyers was supposed to have investigations. They were chomping at the bit 6 months ago to do subpoenas.”

McKinney quietly replies, “Now they say they aren’t even going to issue subpoenas.”

Looking up from her papers she takes a deep breath, “I’m going in alone on this one because now it is all about them playing majority politics.”

It would seem that regardless as to whether the whip is being wielded by a white man or a white woman, all these Kneegrows know how to say is: Yassa Boss!

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

White Boy Shot By Police. Why it matters.

When the murder in Jamaica queens occured I wrote about it and said the following:

But what makes this situation even more egregious is the fact that at least two of the bullets fired that morning went into a home, which potentially could have killed a or the resident. Also another shot went into the AirTran station that resulted in two Port Authority police to be cut by flying glass. That shot could have easily killed either one of them. Therefore; not only was the shooting unjustified and in violation of NYPD regulations it was reckless and could have resulted in at least two other deaths of innocent parties. So what was it about the mentality of the police in that location that made them completely disregard the lives of the innocent people in the area?

Which was picked up by the NY Times Empire Zone blog. It is this question, What is the mentality of the police that they think it is OK to kill people. See the issue is larger than the shooting of black men by police. It is about a culture not only in the police departments but in the society itself that does not fully understand the founding document of the US. This lack of clarity regarding the rights of citizens extends from president Bush on down. That the US citizenry is largely unphased by the clear police state they have allowed to grow around them is particularly troublesome. But let me get back to the white boy shot by police.

Back when the PS3 was released to people with way to much time and money to waste a guy was PS3 jacked in NC shortly after purchasing the hard to get gaming system. The police tracked down a suspect to a house on a college campus and went to arrest him. Because the PS3 jacker had used some force to obtain the unit and was apparently armed at the time, the police were of the opinion that the suspect at the time of the warrant serving would be armed and dangerous. Now I'm not going to fault the police for taking precautions and I don't object to the police having firearms to apprehend dangerous people, it should be noted that any and all suspects are just that, suspects. They are, under the law, innocent of any wrong doing until convicted by a jury. Therefore one cannot pass a death sentence on an innocent person which this individual was at the time.

When the officers knocked on the door, the suspect was in the middle of playing a game. He got up to answer the door with the game controller in his hand. The police, trained professionals who apparently have problems discerning a gun from wallets, lighters and now apparently Play Station controlers, shot the suspect to death in his place of residence. Sound familiar? It should.

it is the same rush to judgement and willingness to kill on the part of police that caused this shooting as well as the Bell shooting. This is a problem. Now the police will say that "he should have done x,y or z" to submit to the police and therefore it is the dead man's fault for being killed by trained professionals. Let me lay it out to you this way. By the police's logic if you are in your house, you know, that place that supposedly the state cannot enter without a court order and without announcing themselves, and you are playing a game or whatever, and out of the blue some police barge into your home guns drawn and all and you happen to have a game controller in your hand as you reach for the sky as you've been trained to do when police point weapons at you, you should expect to be shot and killed and yes, it is your fault. Never mind the issue of your innocence or the fact that the police may be at the wrong location. Anyone else see a problem with that? Apparently not too many people do since it has been happening repeatedly with no consequences to the trained professionals involved.

Clearly then the word is out for "law" enforcers that the killing of constitutionally innocent parties is OK or it would not be happening.
See a part of the problem here is the lack of understanding of 'protect and serve" so let me clarify it for some. Police are here to protect innocent people from harm. Since by the constitution all citizens, including suspects are innocent until proven guilty, that means that even the suspect is to be protected. Secondly, Police are here to serve the public, and yes that includes those pesky suspects who I will remind the reader are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers. This means that police are, in situations such as this obligated to protect the live and limb of any suspect who has not attacked them. Let's make sure we are clear here, a police officer who kills someone because he thinks the suspect is going to do them harm, has committed a crime. it's called murder. A police officer who kills a suspect because he thinks the suspect has a gun has committed murder. A police officer who has been shot at can kill a suspect. It's called self defense. Let's be clear here, this is why police have vests, backup, and many other means of determine whether a suspect is dangerous. the citizen has none of these things when confronted with the state monopoly on violence. it is the police officer's job to put themselves in harms way in order to uphold the law. The law is more important than the officer's life. Yes it is. Any law enforcement person who does not understand this should not be in that line of work.

When police fail to understand and respect their duty then we have a reckless armed body of people. When police do not follow procedure they put themselves and the citizenry in danger as was clearly the case in Queens. There were options for the police that morning. The plain clothes officer could have called for backup, given the plates of the vehicle and had it followed and pulled over later. the plain clothed officer could have hung back to see if the party did indeed get a gun and attempted a return. over all the police officer could have waited until an actual crime occurred since the last time I checked claiming to have a gun is not a crime. Not a bright thing to do, but not a crime.

Similarly, in the case of the North Carolina man, the police could have sent a plainclothes officer to the door to ask directions or ask for the suspect in question for whatever reason, thereby determining if he or anyone else in the house was armed. They could have abused the motor vehicle laws (as is regularly done) and given him a parking ticket that required a desk appearance. But no, instead, because the culture of policing is so militarized and reeking with an attitude of "we can do what we want" they went looking for a confrontation. The trained professionals could not even conceive of a means to deal with a constitutionally innocent person other than to barge in locked and loaded and ready to kill.

So ultimately there is no excuse for the police in both cases to not be brought to justice. Any Mayor or Justice department concerned with those pesky rights of citizens ought to be willing and eager to send a message to those in uniform that the blatant disregard of the safety of the public and the rights of citizens will not be tolerated. No race card even needs to be played because all the cards needed to win are already on the table. All that is needed is for those who know how to play the game to do so. if the police get away with either or both of these shootings, then white America may finally be getting the notice that black folks got with the Dred Scott decision:

You have no rights that the court is obliged to recognize.

That should bother a whole lot of people.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ban the C word

Didn't really intend to weigh in on the "N-Word" debate because I think that right now it is about a whole bunch of pontificating people trying to do moral one-up-manship over the word. But let me enter into the record that I am firmly opposed to the banning of the word "Nigger" in any of it's permutations.

I remember when I first picked up the word for casual use. Thinking back, it's pretty funny that it happened at all given that my first memory of having to deal with the word was from the mouth of some white schoolmate who in order to end an argument called me a nigger. Yes she did end the conversation but I can say that given I got to play doctor on her some years later, I can suppose it was a term of "affection".

In truth since I didn't attend a school populated by any more than 3 black students until Junior High I was wholly unaware that black folk actually used the term to refer to each other until I was 11 years old. it came as quite a shock to me but there it was, nigga this, nigga that. It was quite disturbing for me given that up until that point that was the one word I understood black people to despise. Later, the word "nigga" went mainstream, at least for me, when Louise Jefferson of the show The Jeffersons turned to George after one of his usual stupid arguments and said "Nigga Please!" Oh what a day! Nigga done went prime time!

Oh the cat was out the bag for me at that point. Well mostly, No matter how grown I thought I was, Nigga was never used in front of my parents well in my case, parent or any grown relatives. but of all places it became a regular term used by me and my friends at church. Oh yeah, we cought the "My nigga" disease quick and we loved using the phrase. "Oh he my nigga." "Dat my nigga. Dat nigga right der!" and of course "Nigga po-leees!" Like cussin' it was kind of a gateway to being grown. Yeah, I could say Nigga and a few other choice words as well. For a while I picked up the cussin' habit (outside the home) until I decided that I would stop.

It was an interesting situation that got me to stop cussin'. I had promised myself that I would not cuss in front of children, that is younger children. Well one day I was on a bus and cussin' with the friends and spotted a child. I had broken my promise. What was worse to me was that I realized that I could no longer control the words coming out of my mouth. That bothered me. I don't like not being in control of myself. furthermore I found myself to be lacking in eloquence since it was easier to say "fuck", "shit" or some other word instead of actually wracking the brain for another adjective, noun or whatever part of grammar was being substituted by the cuss words. For a time I tried to get a friend of mine to stop too. We put in penalties of 25 cents for each offense. I got rich, as in lunch money rich and he got out.

Not too long after this, NWA came out and all hell broke lose. Nigga was on pressed tapes and Hip Hop was about to take a serious nose dive in the intelligence department and my immersion in the art form would become shallow as I, as an amature musician, one of the last generation to not have a 365/24/7 diet of Clear Channel Hip Hop and one who didn't care to hear all the new extra vulgarity in Hip Hop moved on to other forms of music with more "positive vibrations". I mean LL Cool Jay's "Dear Yvette" Just Ice's "Latoya" and Whodini's "I'm a Ho" was racy enough for me. Heck I could even get down with BDP's "Criminal Minded" but "Fuck the Police?" Not exactly something I could get with.

Even still I never actually rejected the term nigger outright. By the time I had become a full fledged member of the "consciousness" subclass of black folk, I had come to realize that you simply could not delete the word nigger from the national or international vocabulary because it would erase an important aspect of African history. Thus my position was that "Nigger" should be used in historical context. Persons should feel free to use the word when it serves to make a non-insulting, non-threatening point. I cannot imaging a movie on the civil rights movement not having "niggers" as a part of its soundtrack and I don't think it should be bleeped or dropped out. I can't imagine a reading of slave biographies where they referred to each others as "the niggers". But that all assumes that people want to act 'responsibly" with words.

The problem with having this discussion in the US is that whole freedom of speech thing. See I can't really advocate restricting someone's speech because I don't like it not the least because I then open myself up to being censored for the same exact reason. Speech would then be defined by the person with the least amount of skin, backbone or tolerance for other viewpoints. I'm not comfortable with that 'cause I definitely have opinions and the like that a whole mess of people don't like. The problem with "Nigger" and its derivatives is that having been propelled into the mainstream, and in the face of industries with severe double standards and a desire to not be seen as "racist", blacks can be seen on TV calling each other "Niggas" (a derivative of Nigger and coined by African Ancestors with a poor grasp of English and later adopted by southern white folk) but will have "Mother fucker" "Shit" and other expletives bleeped or dropped even though it is clear that many black people do not find the usage of "Nigger" in public in public forums acceptable.

One point brought up whenever this is discussed is that other groups aren't seen in public or public arts such as movies and song, calling each other ethnic or racial insults. This is generally true. I say generally 'cause I really don't watch a lot of other ethnicities media so I can't say definitively whether it happens or not. However; we can suppose one of two things regarding the lack of Wop, Spick, Kike and whatever else is out there, in the media. Either the writers simply do not write those things in OR they are censored by the media companies. While I believe it is a combination of both I think that the former is the real reason for the lack of other. I think that the writers of other groups, specifically white ethnic groups know that their communities will simply not tolerate that kind of material. Ethnic jokes and slurs stay in the group and out of the sight and consumption of the general public as a matter of group pride. But the exceptions are made for blacks because over all, "that's how niggas do." After all the unique place of the black person in America has seen him as entertainment for whites. Most black performances for white audiences depended largely on the black person making fun of himself and his group in order to be successful. In fact if one looks at the history of black presence in American entertainment you will find that after the musician (asked to sing and dance for white dinner guests) the black comic was the means by which blacks could "make it". Where the black person was absent, the black faced white actor would step in. Hence black entertainment in mass media in America exists for the express purpose of "Niggardly" behavior. And no, I don't mean niggardly as defined in the dictionary.

Ultimately the proposition to "ban the N-word" will simply fail because it will be viewed as censorship. In terms of business, the comedy club that bans the usage of the word, will send it's customers to the inevitable place that will allow it. Since the government can't legally proscribe the term's use private companies will continue to choose what they will and will not broadcast and I think that whatever the rule it should apply equally to all ethnic and racial "names". No need to exempt blacks from N-word usage. If black folk don't like the Kramers of the world using the term nigger then black folk need to stop giving license for it's public usage. When others see that black folk take the word seriously then they will respond in kind.

Let me leave you with an alternative to Nigger and it's derivatives. In the nationalist community we have means of distinguishing between different types of black folks. we do this with a couple of words. First we have the African. When we call someone an African that is the highest compliment. It's higher than the common descriptive "black" because a black person under white supremacy who identifies with Africa is a special person. Not to repeat myself but next down the line is black. Close to African but not as strong and can at it's weakest refer to any person of African descent. It doesn't necessarily connote anything other than phenotype. next we come to the interesting names.

Negro. As James Baldwin noted, Negroes, strictly speaking exist only in America. The negro is the creation of the "white man". When a nationalist calls someone a negro, all is not well. A Negro can be of any socio-economic class, but they are identifiable. Next down the line from Negro is "Kneegrow". now phonetically one usually distinguishes the Kneegrow from Negro by the emphasis on "Knee". the Kneegrow is a particular breed of sellout. They are the spineless black folk who such up to white folk in power. They are white folks emissaries if you will. see Negroes may or may not act as direct agents of white power structures and at times are known to have boughts of guilt for some agency they have done on the part of the white power structure. The Kneegrow knows full well that he or she is the antithesis of black folks collective worldview but they don't care. Think Malcolm X's house negro field negro dichotomy: We sick boss!
The last of the categorizations is the "Nigro". Yes the Nigro s the black person who simply has no social graces at all. See we ain't call him a nigger, but the pronounciation on "Nig" makes it real clear what we are talking about. Now there may be many black folk who don't use the term nigger, even in regular conversation but I guarantee that they have used the term Nigro any number of times. No way to mistake that term for some endearment either. So there you have it. A whole set of vocabulary words ripe for the usage on stage and for the Laugh Factory: Fine free.

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, December 04, 2006

Segregation Vs. Separation

So the Supreme Court is gong to decide a case about using race in assigning students to schools in order to achieve some kind of "desegregation". You know, It really gets my blood pressure up to listen to people talk about how and where to send black children in order to get them educated. I'm kind of tired of the ole 1954, "if your kid isn't next to a white kid then they will be damaged for life", type of reasoning that is going on. I simply say: show us the money. Let us be clear here, today in 2006 there are no legally segregated schools. Period. Let all the multi-culti, kumbyaa singin', hand holdin' folks say what they want. They are lying to each and every one of you and they need to be called out.

first off, this is supposed to be a free country. given that it is a free country one can live wherever ones cash can land you. Aside from the fact of red-lining most people want to live around people like them. You want proof of that you look at Queens NY and all the black folk who live there. Look at any "ethnic" neighborhood and you'll see the same thing. It is f&*^% insulting to focus in on black folk and claim that we are "segregated" when the same can be said of any number of communities. However; you never, ever hear about those communities being segregated. The reason for this is that everybody thinks it is their duty to study the "darkies" and manipulate their lives.

So let's get the difference between segregation and separation clear since it appears that even the Supreme Court Justices have a problem understanding the difference. Segregation, in the social sense of the term means a lawful policy of separating people and accommodations by race. This is enforced by institutions and law and affected black people regardless of income. In stark contrast to this is separation. Separation, in the social sense, is when a group voluntarily decides to live, work, whatever with others in that same group. In terms of race that may mean that black students may choose to attend a black college or University in order to avoid the issues and complications found at white colleges. In terms of religion it may be an Evangelical Christian going to a Christian school thereby separating themselves from the secular society in terms of education. All of these examples are not only legal but they are rights guaranteed under the constitution. It's called freedom of association which also means the freedom to NOT associate.

This brings us to the public school system. The public school system is set up so that people go to zoned schools which is convenient and in some way can foster community cohesion by having age sets grow up together. The problem with the public school system is that it is funded from property taxes which means that in a country where income stratification is high, there are vast differences in the money available to public schools in wealthy neighborhoods and those available to poor neighborhoods. This results in a two tier system where the poor often get substandard resources though they often face the hardest circumstances. Due to America's particular history a disproportionate number of African-Americans are poor and therefore find themselves in the bottom of the system.

The solution to this problem is change how public education is funded. It is clear to anyone that the property tax model is not working. Clearly there needs to be a pot that is either split equally across a given state or proportionally to the population of each school in a state. Once that is done you have a means to bring the now poor schools up to par. The other issue is that in poor neighborhoods there are other social issues that impact the schools whether it be cracked out parents, gangs, under-employed parents, housing issues, whatever. Money will have to be spent on programs that address those issues that impact the quality of schooling as well.

Once the structural inequities of the schools are addressed the whole "what race is where" question won't even be a question. If all the schools provide an equal quality education, then the whole "school choice" thing becomes moot. Of course we'll be left with the social experimentalists who insist on telling us where our children ought to go or not to go and further distract black people from working with each other. We know this is the case because any number of black students will tell you outright that going to a black college is "not the real world" despite the numerous black college grads working all over the place in the "real world". But it tells you what the real reason is for spreading black students so that they form minorities in otherwise white school districts:

You will always be in the minority and you will always have to deal with us. Conform or else.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Guns and Butter

You got the Guns and you got the Butta.
The guns be shit that appreciate. Art, investments and such.
Butta. That be shit that Depreciates. Cars, clothes and such.

-Ving Rhames, Baby Boy (Paraphrased)

When I first saw the article on the "Sape's" of the DRC the famous "Guns and Butter" speech by Ving Rhames' Character in Baby Boy jumped to mind.

The DRC is one very poor country. Didn't have to be since it has a great deal of mineral wealth, but thanks to the US and Belgium, it is what it is. When Mobutu left the DRC he left the country with very little cash. The war that took him out fed into another three way war that has caused the death of some 3 million people. So in light of the very real hard work that needs to be done in that country we find this:

In a country where many survive on 30 cents a day, Papy Mosengo is flashing $1,000 worth of designer clothing on his back, from the Dolce & Gabbana cap and Versace stretch shirt to his spotless white Gucci loafers.

"It makes me feel so good to dress this way," the 30-year-old said when asked about such conspicuous consumption in a city beset by unemployment, crime and homelessness. "It makes me feel special."

Special is one word you could use. Full disclosure: I live in a country where people make far more than 30 cent a day and I currently, as of this writing have exactly $92 worth of clothes on right now. So what kind of "special" is this "Pappy" to think that he is impressing any one other than people as dumb and lacking in foresight as himself, by wearing $1,000 dollar outfits so...

He worked eight months at his part-time job at a money-exchange shop to earn enough for the single outfit, one of 30 he owns, so he'll never have to wear the same one twice in a month.

While this idiot is trapesing around like a monkey he is doing the following:

He lets an ex-girlfriend support their

5-year-old son and still lives with his parents, sleeping in a dingy, blue-walled bedroom that is more aptly described as a closet with a mattress.

So while the Chinese will inevitably be building roads, schools and other things for the DRC in the near future this is what some of the "brothers" are doing:

their only money coming from dealing cocaine, opium and marijuana. To whome?

They are one of many Sape gangs in Kinshasa, calling themselves 100 Years War. Rivals in other neighborhoods include Endless War, Europe of 12 and 1,000 Years War.

They don't carry guns and rarely brawl, but occasionally they invade one another's turf, dressed to the nines, of course, in what they call a "Defi de Sape," or fashion challenge.

Think "West Side Story" meets "Zoolander." They flash labels, not knives.

"If we see them walking down our street, we run home, change into our best and come back out to prove that we're not nobodies," said Willy Biselele, 28, a leader of the 100 Years War.

it would appear that the women hold more sense:

"To be honest, I don't really like it. I'd rather he spend the money on something else. Not necessarily me, but on his future."

this whole thing brought to mind a statement made by a person I cannot recall that was along the lines that the African (diaspora included) were too pre-occupied with looking good than with hard work. I am not going to say that the stereotype is true but I will say that in terms of nation building and doing for self, we are falling far far far from the mark.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Crime In Jamaica Queens

So the "undercover" police in New York City have yet again shot up a black man (men). I've been waiting to post on this because I wanted to see what information would come out about this shooting and indeed I am glad I waited. Unlike the Diallo shooting of 1999, the cops in this case ought to be tried for not only for murder but for reckless endangerment.

Let us for a minute leave out the men in the automobile. NY rules in regards to shooting at a vehicle is as follows:

officers can fire only when they or another person is threatened by deadly physical force, but not if that physical force comes from a moving vehicle alone.

So at this point since all evidence shows that even if any occupant in the vehicle had a gun, unless the officer was fired upon they, under regulations cannot shoot at the vehicle. Thus this was, by the cops own words, an unjustified shooting. What were the cops words:

The undercover officer fired the first of 11 shots, yelling, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!”

Notice the cop said "he's got a gun" (leaving aside the fact that no gun was even present). He didn't say anything about being shot at Which would be the only way, under police regulations for the officers to "return" fire.

But what makes this situation even more egregious is the fact that at least two of the bullets fired that morning went into a home, which potentially could have killed a or the resident. Also another shot went into the AirTran station that resulted in two Port Authority police to be cut by flying glass. That shot could have easily killed either one of them. Therefore; not only was the shooting unjustified and in violation of NYPD regulations it was reckless and could have resulted in at least two other deaths of innocent parties. So what was it about the mentality of the police in that location that made them completely disregard the lives of the innocent people in the area?

But getting back to the primary motivation for the shooting the story doesn't make sense we are told:

The undercover detective who fired first had been monitoring the group in the club. Once outside, the detective heard Mr. Guzman say “Yo, get my gun, get my gun,” and head with the others to his car, according to police. The undercover officer followed the group on foot, then positioned himself in front of their car.

According to the person briefed on the accounts, the detective, his police badge around his neck, then pulled out his gun, identified himself as a police officer and ordered the occupants to show their hands. They did not comply, the person said, but instead gunned the car forward, hitting the undercover officer and, seconds later, an unmarked police minivan. The undercover officer fired the first of 11 shots, yelling, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!”

Which has been expanded upon with:

An undercover officer posted inside the Club Kalua, a site of frequent drug, weapon and prostitution complaints in Jamaica, overheard an exchange between a stripper and a man that led the officer to suspect the man was armed, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Saturday. The undercover officer alerted the officers acting as backup outside — there were seven officers in all — about 4 a.m., setting into motion the events to follow later.

Eight men left the club and argued briefly with another man, with one from the group saying, “Yo, get my gun,” Mr. Kelly said.

The eight men apparently split into two groups of four, with one group piling into a Nissan Altima driven by Mr. Bell, Commissioner Kelly said. As an undercover detective who had been following the group on foot approached the vehicle, Mr. Bell drove into him, striking his leg, before plowing into a minivan carrying two backup officers, the commissioner said...

Mr. Kelly said it was unclear whether there was a fourth man in the car and what became of him.

I'm going to forgo commentary on the wisdom of going somewhere where there are drugs and weapons around. However; I am going to assume that the man who got into the verbal altercation at the club knew of the atmosphere there and claimed to have a gun in order to bluff his way out of the situation. The problem here is two fold:

1) The officer assumed that the "suspect" was in fact telling the truth about the alleged gun. This would explain why he claimed "he has a gun" while letting go of 11 rounds.

2) The persons in the car did not believe that the plainclothes officer was in fact a cop (or thought he was on the take). I know that when I was harassed by plainclothes NYPD they did not show their badges so I think that the officer may be lying about the presenting the badge. If the officer involved did show his badge then I will lean towards the shooting victims having a case of "suicide by cop" as it is simply a bad idea to attempt to ram into a cop. Bad idea.

That said, even IF the cop had ID'd himself, by regulation he still cannot shoot at a moving vehicle AND it is reckless to let off 50 shots in a manner that endangers the public. SO in this case, the cops lose regardless.

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Orient Express II

A reader disagreed somewhat with my critique of China's involvement in Angola saying in part:

Here are my questions: Does anything in this transaction reflect negatively on the Chinese? My answer is no. My answer is the Chinese are giving Africa better terms than they would get from Western capital cartels. This transaction reflects positively on the Chinese...

The terms are not perfect but 1- the terms are better than anyone else offered 2- the terms are better than not doing the projects at all.

I think the reader may not have understood my objections about this case. First let me restate my position in regards to the financing itself. The Chinese "Loan" Angola $2.2 billion. most (?) of this money is supposed to go towards infastructure development which includes roads, bridges, school buildings. etc. To do this work, Angola hires Chinese companies (who apparently are paying very poorly) to do the work. In short the Chinese are indirectly putting money to and providing work for Chinese companies. Therefore; the Chinese have basically created a situation whereby Angola is paying the Chinese for development. Let me put it another way:

I loan you 10 bucks. I then have you spend the 10 bucks in my store AND you pay me interest on the 10 bucks I loaned you. Who is coming out ahead?

Now perhaps this is a "better" arrangement than with the IMF and World Bank. Maybe. The reason I say maybe is because for all the Western leanings of said organizations as well as the clear failures of said organizations in places such as Argentina we still don't know how effective the programs could have been because we know that a great deal of monies ended up in Europe. Which brings me to the second objection.

While "condition free" loans sound good to anyone with challenged credit. We as Pan-Africanists must not be swept up in the hysteria and convenience of Europe hating to not see that there needs to be checks on governments and government officials who are corrupt and exploiting these loans for their personal enrichment often at the cost of the very people the "condition free" money is supposed to help. Sure it's good the Chinese are offering competition, but competition is not neccessarily what Africa needs but rather competence.

Lastly I think that the reader takes a unnecessarily bipolar view of the situation. The option here is not between projects and no projects. Rather as a Pan-Africanist it is a means of using such loans to bring full benefits to the continent. As I said in another forum, the projects discussed in the article were not World Trade Center complicated. The skills involved could be found in any Patty store in Flatbush Brooklyn. That is there are any number of black people on the continent and across the diaspora that could do this work. Ultimately I think that the leadership in Angola was being lazy (and possibly corrupt) in this decision making of who did the work in Angola.

So ultimately since Angola is underdeveloped and therefore dependent on somebody for money we know it will have to come from somewhere. My concern here, understanding that reality, is how that money is spent and competence of the government making that decision.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quote of the Year

Baba Fayomin Falade Aworeni: dropped some science on a Ifa group I belong to which I think deserves quote of the year:

I am my child's first god

I won't post the rest of the statement but that statement right there is powerful beyond my ability to even discuss at this point.

Climate Change In Africa

There have been a number of reports about the fact that Africa will be the first to be materially impacted by global warming. There are people fretting about lost livelihoods of nomadic herders and such. Do not count me as one of them. Yes I am very concerned about global warming however I see it as an opportunity for some Africans to change themselves.

Unless you are one of those people that think the world is about 5K years old and man was placed on the planet fully formed, you should know that desertification of North Africa has been going on for quite some time. In fact the Sahara itself used to be green like Kermit the frog. No doubt the change that occurred there forced people to move and adapt and just as then, the climate change and continued desertification is also going to force change. This is a good thing. Part of the problem in Darfur Sudan are the consequences of desertification. Desertification and climate change is going to force Africa to deal with provincialism and tribalism. If groups insist on excluding other groups based on ethicity or other "vague" categories then people are going to die. They will die either by insisting on living a way of life that is simply unsustainable by on the ground realities or they will die in foreigner financed wars for what little arable and grazeable land remains.

Fact is that some countries, the result of colonialism, are not going to be able to feed themselves. That is not a bad thing. The people who live in NYC cannot feed themselves either. They are dependent upon the farms of upstate NY and other parts of the country for food. Similarly countries are going to have to cooperate so that places that can produce food can supply those that cannot and those areas that are no longer capable of supporting large scale agriculture will have to move into other directions. In other cases land is simply going to have to be abandoned.

Now I am fully aware of alternate technologies for growing food in otherwise inhospitable environments but unfortunately negroes are too busy trying to maintain so called "traditional" means of life. Like I mentioned in the "African culture does not spread AIDS" post many people insist that black people in Africa ought to be frozen in time and that if they modernize their practices they are no longer authentically African. It is these people who are extremely dangerous to the African. No species that does not adapt survives. None.

The African facing this dire situation ought not be coddled and "protected" rather this climate change should be used as an opportunity to strike a death blow to provincialism, ethnocentrism and politics by the gun.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Genocide Rememberence Day

Yes all over the US people are going to family gatherings in the name of "Thanks giving" a celebration unique in the US and has initiated many newcomers into the fold. It is an unfortunate "holiday" and I put that in quotes because there is nothing holy about the observation. The Offshoot of the Black Commentator has a very detailed article on why, if anyone truey is opposed to white supremacy, they would simply not observe the holiday.

The English settlers, their ostensibly religious venture backed by a trading company, were glad to discover that they had landed in a virtual cemetery in 1620. Corn still sprouted in the abandoned fields of the Wampanoags, but only a remnant of the local population remained around the fabled Rock. In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop wrote, "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection."


Most of the Wampanoag had died from the smallpox epidemic so when the Pilgrims arrived they found well-cleared fields which they claimed for their own. A Puritan colonist, quoted by Harvard University's Perry Miller, praised the plague that had wiped out the Indians for it was "the wonderful preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ, by his providence for his people's abode in the Western world."

So unless one is in agreement with the above why even observe the day? Well the other reasoning here is that regardless it is good to get together with family. Fair enough. I think that if one insists upon eating far more than your needed caloric intake for one day while millions of people are homeless or near starving, then one should at least make sure that there is some sort of education about this day passed about for everyone to know about.

Just this week I had someone post that if the Arabs put down their arms there would be peace. but if Israel put down it's arms there would be no Israel. I responded:

"If the Native Americans killed the Pilgrims on site there would have been peace."

Think on it.

Technorati Tags: , ,

The Pursuit of Sense

So last night I stumble on a re-run of Oprah's show featuring Will Smith and his role in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. In short, the film, which I intend to see, is about the real life events of Chris Gardner who found himself homeless with his son and eventually overcame the odds to become materially successful. The reason I say materially successful is because if you read is Keppler Speaker bio it reads:

Christopher P. Gardner is the head of his own brokerage firm and lives in a Chicago townhouse -one of his three homes,-with a collection of tailored suites, designer shoes, and Miles Davis albums.

Yes in the celebrity driven mentality of the US. These things are what are important. Not contributions to the poor or other philanthropic activities which could have easily been mentioned as a part of his bio, rather the important thing pointed to here are the bling, because everybody knows that bling is THE definition of success.

It is an inspiring story and regardless of the critiques in this entry I would encourage folks to see the movie or read the book. That said, I need to get back to the point of this post.

On Oprah, and other venues, Will Smith has been saying that "only in America could this happen." This is plain and utter bull. It is unfortunate that many black people (among others) seem to think that the world begins and ends in America. I hate to break Will Smith's bubble and it is unfortunate that Oprah doesn't have either the sense or the inclination to do so, but there are equally inspirational stories in other parts of the World whether it be Japan, England, France, etc.

The other part that bothered me was the overall "bootstrap" mentality that was present in the show, though I cannot say whether it will be so in the movie. The clips show clearly that Gardner not only owed his success to his own fortitude but to the kindness and opportunities extended to him by others. Indeed that is how all people who are successful get that way. There is no I did it on my own. There is I did what I could on my own and I reached out or people reached out to me for the rest. The reason I am stressing this is because the The Black Agenda Report recently blew Oprah's cover in detailing her blatant disrespect of poor women:

For 30 minutes before the show, Oprah's cheerleader worked the audience into a frenzy of hatred against moms on welfare. When the show started, Welfare Warriors member Linda, an Italian American mom with 3 children, was sandwiched between two women who attacked and pitied her. The African American mom on her right claimed to have overcome her “sick dependence on welfare” and bragged about cheating on welfare and allegedly living like a queen. The white woman on her left was not a mom but had once received foodstamps. Both women aggressively condemned Linda for receiving welfare. Throughout the show Oprah alternated between attacking Linda and allowing panel and audience members to attack her. Poor Linda had been prepared to discuss the economic realities of motherwork, the failures of both the US workforce and the child support system, and the Welfare Warriors' mission to create a Government Guaranteed Child Support program (Family Allowance) like those in Europe. But instead Linda was forced to defend her entire life, while Oprah repeatedly demanded “How long have you been on welfare?”


By the time we arrive home, we had received calls from moms on both coasts. They called to warn us about the promos that Oprah was using to advertise her show, during the 24 hours leading up to it: “THEY CALL THEMSELVES WELFARE WARRIORS AND THEY REFUSE TO WORK. SEE OPRAH AT 4.“

So it is clear that Will Smith's commentary is meant to be another "shit on the poor" session by implying that people in dire straights are in such straights purely by their own doing and not because there are other forces at work that not all people can overcome. Simply put we are not all the same and cannot and will not all have the same resilience. It's called human variety. Just as Oprah apparently can't take having children, many others can. Just as some people can run 4 minute miles, many others cannot.

So it would have been nice if Will Smith had used his time and celebrity to bring these issues up during his tenure at the show but instead he decided to play historian and social commentator when he could have left that to those more qualified to do so. Great actor, bad commentator. So we are left still pursuing sense.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ngugi Wa Thiongo Shown Massive Disrespect in Cali

Just caught wind of this over at blacklooks:

Apparently a hotel worker stepped to Thiongo while he was reading the morning paper and told him that he had to leave. When Thiongo asked why he was told that he just had to leave. When the good Professor and author of the must read book Decolonizing the Mind told the worker that they should go to the reception desk, the worker refused and told him it wasn't necessary, he just had to leave.

So if you find yourself in Cali do not patronize the Hotel Vitale. I don't expect these crackers (def: white people who think they can boss black people around, tell them what to do, think, wear, etc and/or use their white privilege to enforce such attitudes to the detriment of black people because they think they have that right as white people) to recognize Thiongo, but to think I can be a paying customer of a hotel and not even afforded the courtesy of verifying my registered presence (since the hotel has claimed that they deal with vagrants of various races) is simply unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robber Barons

Last month I made the mistake of making a late payment on my business credit card. I don't do such thigs often but because I refuse to allow a bank automated withdrawal access to my bank account it means that I am subject to the very human falibility that is forgetting to pay on time. It should be said that I pay much more than the minimum balance so anyone at the bank that is paying attention would realize that a late payment in a year is not a sign of financial instability on my part. I don't usually discuss my financials here because it's outside the realm of this blog. However, this time I need to share because this time I got a small taste of what credit card companies are doing to millions of people who I am sure are in far worse financial shape than I.

You may recall that the congress, with the backing of some Democrats, passed legislation that unlocked the cap on interest rates a credit card company can charge a customer. With the economy going further into the tank for anyone who is not in the upper management of Fortune 1000 companies or own massive stock in said companies, there are millions of Americans who are charged to the hilt. Admittedly many of them are in the situation they are in because of thier own inability to control themselves. However a large percentage of them are in their situations because of medical emergencies that insurance will not cover or worse the person has no insurance at all.

Today I receieved my statement which had the expected late fee and finance charges. I don't complain about late charges and finance charges. After all if you pay late, then expect there to be consequences that could potentially wipe out the gains made on the last payment. Fair enough. As for finance charges; well that's the name of the game. If you are bright you calculate what those charges will be over the life of that balance and plan accordingly. Is it worth paying $1500 a year to maintain a rolling balance? Is that computer worth x amount in interest of x amount of time? Your choice. If you don't like interest, Credit is not the game for you. however; there had been in the law the agreement that whatever the case, your interest rate would not rise above 26%. Anything above that was deemed criminal. Now thanks to congress (Democrats included) that cap is gone.

Yesterday I discovered that my APR was reset to 32+%. That is unacceptable. Try to plug that percentage rate into many online calculators and you will receive an error that the interest rate is too high! Now fortunately because I am "cheap" as some people would put it, I had the means to stick it right back at Citicorp. I paid off the balances on both the personal and business cards AND called them to cancel the accounts. Unfortunately there are people out there who simply do not have the financial means to make such a move. And they will not hear an 'Account specialist" offer to drop their interest rate to 0%. Yes, oddly enough the consumer arm of Citicorp feels that it should be immune to the dumb decisions made by the business arm of that company.

Many years ago I decided to boycott Shell, BP, Exxon and Amco. I did so due to the situation in Nigeria but my Exxon boycott was a specific reaction to the initial price gouging that has occured at it's stations. While I recognize that all of the companies do such things. My point was that a directed boycott of a single company would send a clear messsage to all companies that such actions would not be tolerated by the consumers. Of course Exxon and BP have gone on to make record profits. While the government is unable or unwilling to put the brakes on such profiteering, you the consumer are very much able to put the brakes on them. Similarly with these banks who are dicking consumers with loan shark rates of interest over a single late payment, the consumer can make a difference should they as a group decide not to tolerate such actions and refuse, when they are able, to do business with those who act in such a manner.

Anyway. I had planned on meeting the new year debt free on my personal finances and continue to let the business "pay to play". However this episode is an example of taking a stumbling block and turning it into an opportunity. Now I am debt free across the board. Now that money they were getting in interest will be going towards the The Olatunji Foundation among other things. Citicorp can kiss my ass. yes I know other banks will do the same thing but this is a start. Below is a letter I sent to Citicorp regarding thier blatant thievery:


I have been a customer of Citibank since 1991 when I got my first card with a $200 credit limit. Since then I have used this line of credit and it has grown tremendously. Over the years I have paid bills in person, by mail as well as online. On occasion, as happens to many consumers I have made late payments. I always fully expected that I would be charged late fees and penalties as that is expected. However, I have never, ever seen what I have seen today. Unfortunately I made a late payment last this month on my Cibibusiness card (though not on my Diamond "preferred" card). I have been running a balance on that card and often make more than the minimum payment. Over the past couple of years you have made a small sum in interest payments and the occasional late fee but that account, nor any of my personal accounts have ever been in default, as in, not paid and referred to a third party for collection. furthermore, I have never been anywhere close to 60 days behind on any payment as when such late payments have been discovered by me the online payment is made before the next statement is even prepared.

Today when I opened my statement I saw that the interest rate on my account was 32%. It seems that you have decided to take full advantage of what I consider to be a criminal form of legislation passed by the Republican Congress, to charge interest above 24% which was the cap prior to the passage of the legislation. Aside from the pure criminality of that legislation, I am further insulted as a nearly 20 year customer of yours to be presented with a clear form of economic blackmail for a late payment.

I am sure you and your stockholders are enjoying the spoils that economic havok that such an interest hike wreaks on millions of your customers that you apparently have a dimm view of. I am very much aware of the income generated by even 1 month of such "sharkery" and I choose not to cooperate. Unlike millions of your other customers, I do have the financial means to clean the slate and not co-operate and I am about to exercise that means.

As of this evening all of my Citibank balances will be paid in full I will be canceling each account and you will recieve not a single cent of interest off me again. Like the Civil Rights movement before, I will not patronize a business, or bank that treats me ill.

No thank you
Customer 1991-2006

African Traditions Do Not Spread AIDS!

The NY Times is running an article entitled Traditional Ways Spread AIDS in Africa, Experts Say" In which they attempt to smear various African traditions such as naming ceremonies as major means of HIV transmission. For example:

NKOLONDOGO, Cameroon — When Innocent Zamba Manga was born this summer, doctors advised his mother, Marise, who is H.I.V. positive, not to breast-feed, because nursing can pass the virus that causes AIDS from mother to child. Mother and baby left the hospital with bottles and formula supplied by a Catholic charity.

But the very next week, the proud parents took their baby to the father’s village in the south of Cameroon, to take part in a traditional birth and naming ceremony. Custom required the new mother to nurse little Innocent, so she did. And she continued for two weeks.

Umm the problem is not the 'African traditions" rather than a lack of understanding (or respect) for a medical condition. My attitude here is the same as my position on FGM (so called Female circumcision). The problem in not with the right of passage that such a thing represents and it is a bad idea to abolish such traditions. however, the culture should evolve to the understanding that FGM is not an acceptable means of marking such a passage. Thus my argument is, and has been for many years, that various African customs have not been allowed to modernize as other cultures have done. This is partially because of the "fetishization" of these cultures and the attitude that if they are not "primitive" then they are not authentically African. It is this insistence on "authenticity" that is responsible for the HIV transmission.

Here's another example of a "tradition" that could easily have been sighted in America:

In scarification ceremonies for ethnic identification and cutting for ritual healing, blades are used in sequence again and again.

That could describe just about any Tattoo parlor. The difference is that the practitioners in a Tattoo parlor understand the importance of sanitation and sterilization whereas the latter do not. This is not to say that such knowledge cannot have occurred indigenously as we have the example of the Cesarean section as practiced in Africa prior to colonization and the commentary by European explorers that the indigenous practice of c-section delivery was done in a matter that had a better survival rate than that of Europe of the time and it included the use of disinfectants. The issue is similar to that highlighted in the previous "Orient Express" post where we find that the Centuries of European exploitation and colonization and the later wars have acted to stunt the development of African knowledge. So as the Times points out:

In Africa, there is one medical doctor for every 40,000 people, but one traditional healer for every 500.

But the traditional healers were put in positions where they could not expand their knowledge to the modern situation.

Another important issue is communal breast feeding:

Polygamy is legal in Cameroon, and a chieftain might have 30 or 40 wives, Mr. Biatcha said, because wealthy men routinely marry the wives of male relatives who have died. It is common for the wives — or even friends — to help out by nursing each other’s infants. In fact, it is an essential service if a mother has to go to work or take a trip into the city.

In such a situation education is most important. Just as the women feel the social "need" to help out each other in this manner, they also need to be aware of their status. The challenge is the tap into the community spirit and where it is present work to remove the stigma of being HIV positive which would then remove a huge barrier to finding out one's status as a means of protecting the community.

So to close, I want to stress that one should not think that it is African traditions that are responsible for HIV transmissions. It is clear to anyone looking that many of the traditions discussed here can be seen in any American state (including the sharing of breast milk). What is at the root here is the lack of understanding of the importance of sterilization and the understanding of the disease. It is the lack of education, another by-product of the colonialism that is spreading HIV.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kramer reveals his Cracker

I'll just let the video speak for itself.

Orient Express

The NY Times posted an article regarding China's increasing "investment" in Africa, specifically, Angola. I have been sporadically writing about China's involvement in Africa such as in Sudan, where despite the war, China's oil interests there are well protected. This particular report, China’s African Adventure Is particularly detailed, and sheds some light on what is wrong with this so called "investment."

In November 2003, Angola’s finance minister traveled to China to discuss a financial package. One year later, China announced that it had extended to Angola a $2 billion oil-backed loan, an Angolan specialty in which credit is secured by future oil production — just the kind of risky gimmick the I.M.F. had preached against. China uses its foreign aid as a means to promote opportunities for private investment, and the two countries agreed that Chinese construction companies would build the giant infrastructure projects financed by the loans.

China immediately began to increase its purchase of Angolan oil; by early this year, Angola had replaced Saudi Arabia as its single-largest source of oil. The extent of China’s commitment to Angola became stunningly clear this spring, when Sinopec, a Chinese state-owned energy company, bid $2.2 billion for the right to develop two deep-water blocks — a sum that shattered all previous records anywhere in the world. Sinopec made its investment in partnership with Sonangol. The billions China offered astonished the Western oil companies, which had already explored adjacent areas and had submitted only modest bids.

One should look at this very carefully. China loans Angola $2 billion secured by future oil production. Angola would use a portion of that money on development projects, the rest to disappear into the ether. Of that money going to development projects, Chinese companies get the contracts to do the development. Thus the Chinese have in effect paid the Angolans to pay the Chinese back. Plus interest. based on Oil production that the Angolans largely have little expertise in. How so you say? Check it:

Tu explained that they had been teaching the Angolans technical skills. “We taught them how to mix concrete,” he told me. When I expressed amazement that he had had to impart this skill, concrete being pretty much the only building material used in Angola, Tu said, “They didn’t even know bricklaying.” Apparently, there had been so little building activity until the last few years that even the most basic skills had been lost. Or, alternatively, the Chinese paid so badly that they couldn’t attract qualified workers.

Hence the hollowness of the so called "revolutionaries" who cannot think beyond their own selfish wants that they would decimate the country of modern technocrats and skilled artisans but are quick to teach young men and women how to kill. So bad is this situation that the Chinese are being paid to do just about everything:

I came across a high school being built by a Chinese company. It was Sunday morning, but the project manager, Tu Qingkui, was hard at work. He and the 180 workers he supervised had already built three dormitories to house 265 students (another 500-some-odd would commute) and had framed up the main academic building. Tu and his 30 Chinese employees worked for Sinohydro, one of the world’s largest construction companies; it was, Tu said proudly, responsible for half the work on the Three Gorges Dam. Sinohydro had projects all over Angola and across Africa. Once they were done here, they would move on to the central hospital in Huambo.

No local or continental African company can do this? Not something I even believe. Ultimately the Chinese are in this for themselves. As I said earlier, first they want to the oil. But as a nice side tack they get their loans back by Angola's use of Chinese construction companies. it is a win -win for the Chinese. Ultimately though Angola is going to have to raise the education level in that country it is clear that they are behind by at least 100 years in terms of technical know how. They are set to have elections soon. Hopefully there will be some change.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We Remember Kwame Ture

Eight years ago today, our brother Kwame Ture passed. He was, as some would say, prematurely transitioned, due to prostate cancer though some of us would say that there are two days we cannot avoid: birth and death and that it was simply his time. I can't say that I knew brother Ture personally. I met him exactly one time at Cornel University where he spoke to a small gathering of us. Anyone familiar with Ture knows his signature line..after "ready for revolution": History is made by the masses, this is clear.

I must at this point thank brother KRS One for putting Ture on his seminal album "Edutainment". Were it not for that album I would have not known of Ture at the time I did and I have no clue who I would be now. On that album Ture is heard saying:

History can never be made by one man and we smash this one quickly. History is only made by the masses of the people this is clear. Even a cursory glance at the fallacious presentation of history by the American capitalist system would demonstrate just this.

Take George Washington as bad as he is. Put him in the middle of Valley Forge by himself surrounded by the British, he could do nothing.

Take Martin Luther King as righteous as he is; put him in the middle of Birmingham by himself speaking out against racism; he would be lynched.

but you take this same King, you take this same Washington; put them in Valley Forge put them in Alabama surround them with thousands of people who have the same ideas they do willing to make those ideas reality and the situation changes drastically.

Yes, that was my introduction to Ture. Oddly enough I wouldn't get around to reading Black Power a part of my reading list.

What made me respect Ture more than many people of his era was that I he took liberation seriously. I'm not going to put Ture on a pedestal but one has to respect a man who turns his back on material wealth that he most assuredly would have had had he compromised his principles. When the Portuguese attempted to invade Guinea Ture shows what he was about:

What I really wanted was to go join my unity, retrieve my weapon, get in the trenches, and defend the revolution.

Brother went from organizing in the American south and enduring police brutality to looking to fight for African independence. Not too many black folk from the diaspora can claim such a commitment. Ture prior to his work in the All African Peoples Revolution and cabinet member to Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Ture was a member of SNCC. It was during his tenure there that the issue of Black Power came up. In the recently released book Ready for Revolution Ture recounts what Black Power meant when the term was coined. I think this is instructive for those people who think they know what Black Power is about:

Our experience with the national press has been that where they have managed to escape a meretricious special interest in "Git Whitey" sensationalism and race-war-mongering, individual reporters and commentators have been conditioned by the enveloping racism of the society to the point where they are incapable even of objective observation and reporting of racial incidents, much less the analysis of ideas. But this limitation of vision and perceptions is an inevitable consequence of the dictatorship of definition, interpretation, and consciousness, along with the censorship of history that the society has inflicted upon the Negro--and upon himself.

Our concern for black power addresses itself directly to this problem, the necessity to reclaim our history and our identity from the cultural terrorism and depredation of self-justifying white guilt.

To do this we shall have to struggle for the right to create out own terms through which to define ourselves and our relationship to the society, and to have these terms recognized. This is the first necessity of a free people, and the first right that any oppressor must suspend. The white fathers of American racism knew this-instinctively it seems--as is indicated by the continuous record of the distortion and omission in their dealings with red and black men.

There have been traditionally two communities in America. The white community, which controlled and defined the forms that all institutions within the society would take, and the Negro community, which has been excluded from participation in the power decisions that shaped the society, and has traditionally been dependent upon, and subservient to, the white community.

This has not been accidental. The history of every institution of this society indicates that a major concern in the ordering and structuring of the society has been the maintaining of the Negro community in its condition of dependence and oppression, This has not been on the level of individual acts of discrimination between individual whites against individual Negroes, but as total acts by the white community against the Negro community. Institutional racism

For example, when unknown racists bomb a church and kill four children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city, Birmingham, Alabama, not five but five hundred Negro babies die each year because of a lack of proper food, shelter, and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally, and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and deprivation in the ghetto, that is a function of institutionalized racism. But the society either pretends it doesn't know of this situation, or is incapable of doing anything meaningful about it. And this resistance to doing anything meaningful about conditions in that ghetto comes from the fact that the ghetto is itself a product of a combination of forces and special interests in the white community.

It is more than a figure of speech to say that the Negro community in America is the victim of white imperialism and colonial exploitation. This s in practical economic and political terms true. There are over twenty million black people comprising ten percent of this nation. They for the most part live in well defined areas of the South, and increasingly in the slums of northern and western industrial cities, If one goes into any Negro community, whether it be Jackson, Mississippi, Cambridge, Maryland, or Harlem, New York, one will find that the same combination of political, economic, and social forces at work. The people in the Negro community do not control the resources of that community, its political decisions, its law enforcement, its housing standards; and even the physical ownership of the land, houses, and stores lie outside that community.

It is white power that makes the laws, and it is violent white power in the form of armed white cops that enforce those laws with guns and nightsticks. The vast majority of Negroes in this country live in these captive communities and must endure these conditions of oppression because, and only because, they are black and powerless.


According to the advocates of integration, social justice will be accomplished by "integrating the Negro in to the mainstream of the society from which he has been traditionally excluded." It is very significant that each time I have heard this formulation, it has been in terms of "the Negro," the individual Negro, rather than in terms of the community.

This concept of integration had to be based on the assumption that there was nothing of value in the Negro community and that little of value could be created among Negroes into the surrounding middle-class white community. Thus the goal of the movement for integration was simply to loosen up the restrictions barring the entry of certain Negroes into the white community..only a small select group of Negroes. Its goal was to make the white community accessible to "qualified" Negroes, and presumably each year a few more Negroes armed with their passports--a couple of university degrees--would escape into the middle class America and adopt the attitudes and lifestyles of that group; and one day the Harlems and the Wattses would stand empty, a tribute to the success of integration.

[Note: We would like to note that the concept outlined above has been proven to be prophetic as indeed that is exactly what has happened.]

This is simply neither realistic [note: well actually with the current gentrification of Harlem this is very realistic] nor particularly desirable. You can integrate communities but you assimilate individuals. Even if such a program were possible, its result would be, not to develop the black community as a functional and honorable segment of the total society, with its own cultural identity, life patterns, and institutions, but to abolish it--the final solution to the Negro problem. Marx said that the working class is the first class in history that ever wanted to abolish itself. If one listens to some of our "moderate" Negro leaders, it appears that the American Negro is the first race that ever wished to abolish itself. The fact is that what must be abolished is not the black community, but the dependent colonial status that has been inflicted upon it.

The single aspect of the black power program that has encountered most criticism is this concept of independent organization. This is presented as third-partyism, which has never worked, or a "withdrawal" into "black nationalism and isolationism." If such a program is developed it will not have the effect of isolating the Negro community but the reverse. When the Negro community is able to control local office and negotiate with other groups from a position of organized strength, the possibility of meaningful political alliances on specific issues will be increased.

Let me take the reader to the book Black Power by Ture and Hamilton where Ture addresses black politicians something Mr. Steele Mr Blackwell, and Mr. Swann ought to consider. While I'm at it I'll add that Mr. Charlie (Hugo Chavez has more balls than I) Rangel and John Conyers to the list since the latter will now find themselves in positions where they can exercise a little "black power":

it does not mean merely putting black faces into office. Black visibility is not Black Power. Most of the black politicians around the country today are not examples of Black Power. The power must be that of a community and emanate from there. The black politicians must stop being representatives of downtown machines (ahem! Mr. Conyers), whatever the cost might be in terms of lost patronage and holiday handouts...While we endorse the procedure of group solidarity and identity for the purpose of attaining certain goals in the body politic, this does not mean that black people should strive for the same kinds of rewards (i.e., end results) obtained by the white society. The ultimate values and goals are not domination or exploitation of other groups, but rather an effective share in the total power of the society.

...Racism is not merely the exclusion on the basis of race
[note: Garvey's Ghost's position on racism is clear. I suggest the substitution of the term 'White supremacy" wherever one sees the term racism.] but exclusion for the purpose of subjugating or maintaining subjugation. The goal of the racists is to keep black people at the bottom, arbitrarily and dictatorially, as they have done in this country for over three hundred years. The goal of black self-determination and black self-identity--Black Power-- is full participation in the decision making processes affecting the lives of black people, and recognition of the virtues of themselves as Black people. The black people of this country have not lynched whites, bombed their churches, murdered their children and manipulated laws and institutions to maintain oppression....The goal of Black Power is positive and functional to a free and viable society. No white racist can make this claim.

So today we remember Kwame Ture and remember (or learn) about the incredible dedication this man had to all African people and the extensive personal sacrifices he made on our behalf.

Technorati Tags: , ,