Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

American Big Man continues

No Oil For Pacifists blog has posted a detailed rebutal to Garvey's Ghost "American Big Man" discussion. I will have a response soon. but I want all readers of the subject to check the site to be sure to have a complete picture of the argument so far.


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RIP Mamma King

Ase-o!

Sondjata
GG

A Muslim Response to the Denmark Cartoons

This topic has really hit a nerve with me as the object of disrespect on both sides and an ardent supporter of free expression, including that which I personaly find offensive.

From The Daily Star:

Here are a few facts we should remember. However offensive any of the 12 cartoons were, they did not incite violence against Muslims. For an example of incitement, though, one must go back a few weeks before the cartoons were published. In August, the Danish authorities withdrew for three months the broadcasting license of a Copenhagen radio station after it called for the extermination of Muslims. Those were real threats and the government protected Muslims - the same government later condemned for not punishing the newspaper that published the cartoons.

Second, the cartoon incident belongs at the very center of the kind of debate that Muslims must have in the European countries where they live - particularly after the Madrid train bombings of 2003 and the London subway bombings of 2005. While right-wing anti-immigration groups whip up Islamophobia in Denmark, Muslim communities wallow in denial over the increasing role of their own extremists.

As just one example, last August Fadi Abdullatif, the spokesman for the Danish branch of the militant Hizb-ut-Tahrir organization, was charged with calling for the killing of members of the Danish government. He distributed leaflets calling on Muslims in Denmark to go to Fallujah in Iraq and fight the Americans, and to kill their own leaders if they obstructed them. Police in Denmark have been on alert since the London bombings, after which at least three extremist Web sites warned that Denmark could be the next target. There are 500 Danish troops working alongside American and British troops in Iraq.

Not only does Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an organization banned in many Muslim countries, have a branch in Denmark, but Abdullatif has a history of calling for violence that he then justifies by referring to freedom of speech - the very notion the Danish newspaper made use of to publish the cartoons. In October 2002, Abdullatif was found guilty of distributing racist propaganda after Hizb-ut-Tahrir handed out leaflets that made threats against Jews by citing verses from the Koran. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence.

Abdullatif used the Koran to justify incitement to violence! And we still wonder why people associate Islam with violence?

Muslims must honestly examine why there is such a huge gap between the way we imagine Islam and our prophet, and the way both are seen by others. Our offended sensibilities must not be limited to the Danish newspaper or the cartoonist, but to those like Fadi Abdullatif whose actions should be regarded as just as offensive to Islam and to our reverence for the prophet. Otherwise, we are all responsible for those Danish cartoons.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Freedom and Muhammad Art

Apparently, unbeknownst to me there has been an uproar caused by a Danish newspaper's publishing of drawings of Muhammed. Islam forbids the graphical rendering of Allah or the Prophet most likely because there was a fear of idol worship. Unfortunately a large number of Muslims think that their rules apply to everyone else. They do not. The Danish paper has since capitulated to an economic boycott by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries as well as numerous death threats against the newspapers. First here are the pictures in question:



Now one may ask. Why post pictures that others may find offensive? Easy answer, an answer to be repeated later is because I have the right to. I am not a Muslim and therefore I am not bound by any Islamic rules regarding anything. Secondly, any, every and all religions should be subject to critique. I believe that the art above makes some very potent moral and ethical points about how Islam has developed.

Second here is a quote from The Brussels Journal:

Islam is no laughing matter. The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten is being protected by security guards and several cartoonists have gone into hiding after the newspaper published a series of twelve cartoons (see them all here, halfway the article) about the prophet Muhammad. According to the Islam it is blasphemous to make images of the prophet. Muslim fundamentalists have threatened to bomb the paper’s offices and kill the cartoonists.

The newspaper published the cartoons when a Danish author complained that he could find no-one to illustrate his book about Muhammad. Jyllands-Posten wondered whether there were more cases of self-censorship regarding Islam in Denmark and asked twelve illustrators to draw the prophet for them. Carsten Juste, the paper’s editor, said the cartoons were a test of whether the threat of Islamic terrorism had limited the freedom of expression in Denmark.

The publication led to outrage among the Muslim immigrants living in Denmark. 5,000 of them took to the streets to protest. Muslim organisations have demanded an apology, but Juste rejects this idea: “We live in a democracy. That’s why we can use all the journalistic methods we want to. Satire is accepted in this country, and you can make caricatures,” he said. The Danish imam Raed Hlayhel reacted with the statement: “This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims. Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world.”

Flemming Rose, the cultural editor at the newspaper, denied that the purpose had been to provoke Muslims. It was simply a reaction to the rising number of situations where artists and writers censored themselves out of fear of radical Islamists, he said. “Religious feelings cannot demand special treatment in a secular society,” he added. “In a democracy one must from time to time accept criticism or becoming a laughingstock.”

The affair, however, has also led to a diplomatic incident. On Thursday the ambassadors of eleven Muslim countries, including Indonesia, a number of Arab states, Pakistan, Iran, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, complained about the cartoons in a letter to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. They say the publication of the cartoons is a “provocation” and demand apologies from the newspaper.

Jyllands-Posten was also included on an al-Qaeda website listing possible terrorist targets. An organisation which calls itself “The Glorious Brigades in Northern Europe” is circulating pictures on the internet which show bombs exploding over pictures of the newspaper and blood flowing over the national flag of Denmark. “The Mujahedeen have numerous targets in Denmark – very soon you all will regret this,” the website says.

Meanwhile in Brussels a young Muslim immigrant published a poster depicting the Virgin Mary with naked breasts. Though the picture has drawn some protest from Catholics (though not from Western embassies, nor from the bishops), this artist need not fear being murdered in the street. On the contrary, he is being subsidised by the Ministry for Culture.


Ok...OK...that was the entire article... I know...sorry. ;-|

I want to point out the highlighted portions:
The Danish imam Raed Hlayhel reacted with the statement: “This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims. Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world.”

Well you know it's really funny how someone who gets to live in a country, though it has it's faults, has pretty much allowed the Imam to live how he wants and to practice his religion how he wants and only asks in return that he respect the other citizens of the country's rights to live as they like. Perhaps the Imam would like to return from whence he came. I mean really If he doesn't like the democracy why stay? Oh yes because:

Meanwhile in Brussels a young Muslim immigrant published a poster depicting the Virgin Mary with naked breasts. Though the picture has drawn some protest from Catholics (though not from Western embassies, nor from the bishops), this artist need not fear being murdered in the street. On the contrary, he is being subsidised by the Ministry for Culture.

Oh yes, He is free to insult anyone elses religion, if he so chooses and not have to worry about his life or economic boycotts. But it's more than that.This question will be dealt with later. Interestingly the young man who painted the virgin Mary with bare breasts has only really gone back to the roots of the Virgin Mary story as found on the Temple of Amen, where a virgin queen suckles the baby Horus. And of course all over Yorubaland one can find bare breasts everywhere. SO the picture was really insulting to whome? himself since it is against Islamic law for a woman to bare herself to any man but her husband.

But I would like to post a rather long post by a reader of the article above because he has a point, a point that I is conceded by very very few in Islamic circles:

"Denmark unlikely front in Islam-West Culture War."
- title of the newspaper article discussed above

This title is already a dead giveaway to what is wrong, so wrong, with the coverage of Islam at The New Duranty Times.

First, why is Denmark an "unlikely front"? Well, because Denmark, it is well understood, behaved well during World War II. And from then on Denmark has been seen, like Holland, as a place of easy-going tolerance, relaxed about religion, mores, and so on. And if Denmark is an "unlikely front" in something (in a minute we'll get to how The New Duranty Times describes that something) it must be because we expect "likely fronts" to be European countries that have historically been seen as less tolerant, less easygoing, not like Denmark at all. Because, you see, the problem is with the European countries themselves, and how they respond -- not with Islam, or with Muslims, and what Islam teaches, and what Muslims believe, and act upon. Denmark is only an "unlikely front" if you think the problem is with the various countries involved. Everywhere Muslims are taught from the same canonical and immutable texts, or inhale the atmsopherics of Islam from other Muslims (not necessary to attend mosque regularly yourself -- it is quite enough to think of yourself as a Muslim, owing your allegiance to Islam, and to the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers).

If The New Duranty Times saw the problem correctly it would have fashioned a different title. If the reporter and editors had recognized the phenomenon of the Jihad to cause Islam everywhere, sooner or later,
"to dominate and not to be dominated" (as a Hadith puts it, and as the entire life of Muhammad insists), if the problems in Denmark posed by Islamic attempts to censor what can and cannot be written or said in Denmark were seen as being of a piece with the various attempts by Muslims, wherever they may be within the Lands of the Infidels (temporarily, as they see it, the Lands of the Infidels), to transform the laws, customs, manners, undertandings, and ability to behave with wonted freeedom, of the indigenous non-Muslims, so that the threats and fury directed by the entire Muslim world at little Denmark, for a dozen cartoons, most of them so mild as to cause one to wonder why anyone could cause a fuss, is no different from the demands made for the wearing of the hijab in French schools, or the removal of all crosses from public places in Italy, or the insistence that the Shari'a law apply to local Muslim communities in Canada, or any number of other such demands, made so insistently, and so outrrageously, and at a time when Muslims are only a small percentage of the population, and held, correctly, in deep and growing suspicion, that one can only wonder how things will be if the percentage of Muslims in the population is permitted to grow, and mosques and madrasas -- almost all supported by money from abroad -- allowed to be built, to spread the doctrines to be found in Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, and that anyone bothering to look into will come away from, if he is an Infidel, with a feeling of dread. For that matter, within those countries firmly under Muslim control, such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq), and precisely to the extent of the fervency of the local Muslims, and their ability to work their will, all local communities of non-Muslims, whether Christians or Hindus or others (no Jews are left, but there are Bahai'a, Buddhists, Sikhs, followers of Confucius, animists, and of course those without any attachment to an organized religion) made to suffer, from discrimination and a feeling of permanent insecurity, all the way to expulsions and attacks on churches and Hindu temples, attacks on church-run schools and hospitals, and any other non-Muslim institutions that can be identified and attacked.


Second, there is the second half of that meretricious title: "Islam-West Culture War." Wrong on both counts. The war of Islam is not against the West, but Against the Rest -- that is, all the Rest of the World, all of the peoples, wherever they are located, and all of the polties, that are not Islamic. The victims include the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains of India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bali, Malaysia. These Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists have always been under assault by Muslims, and only superior power, such as that which the British offered, or superior numbers (Hindus in India today, free of the Muslim military domination) prevent even more assaults. And then there are the Christians of Asia and Africa. Look at what happened in the "Jihad" (Col. Ojukwu's word) against the Christians of Nigeria, which led t the declaration of a free Biafra, smashed by a Muslim army and outside Muslims, including Egyptian air force pilots who strafed and bombed hundreds of Ibo villages. Look at the 1.8 million casualties, murdered or deliberately starved to death, among the non-Muslim Christians and animists of the Sudan. Look at the constant pressure of Muslim Arabs on the blacks of sub-Saharan Africa, sometimes employing quasi-arabized black Muslim tribes to push Islam, or a corrupt leader or two, to promote Islam in countries formerly Christian (see the Ivory Coast, see Togo). Look at the Christians in Pakistan (remember the martyrdom of Bishop John Joseph, remember all the attacks, past and present, on Christian church services, Christian schools, Christian hospitals, individual Christians accused of the capital offense of "blasphemy against Islam"), in Bangladesh (where it is the Hindus bear the brunt of the Muslim persecution and murders), in Indonesia (attacks by Muslims on Christians, and then counter-attacks by the Chrstians in revenge, always descrbed most inaccurately as "communal violence" as if both sides were equally at fault, and the Christians were just as guilty), the attacks by Muslims, especially in the Moluccas, the mass murder of 200,00 Christian East Timorese by Muslim Indonesians, the murders of 600,000 non-Muslim Chinese from 1965-1967, with the Muslim component carefully erased from all reporting, to confrom to mental templates provided by Cold War attitudes. Look at continuing attacks on Hindus in Bali, and Buddhists elsewhwere in the East Indian archipelago. What about them, and what about the Christian villagers decapitated by Muslims in the Philippines -- is this all part of a "culture war," a war fought between "Islam" and "the West." How is the "West" fighting "Islam"? Aside from participating in the largest transfer of wealth in human history, how does the "West" attack "Islam" in Dar al-Islam? How? By mildly suggesting that it wouldn't be a great idea to wipe out Israel? By buying Christian black slaves back from their Arab Muslim masters in Sudan? By trying to create a decent society and nation-state in Iraq, despite the obvious hostility directed at Infidels from the very recipients of such liberation, not to mention the tens of billions being spent by Infidels to make life better for Iraq's Muslims? Or is the war that "the West" is conducting that of protecting Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo (with Infidels bombing fellow Infidels)? Is it the Gulf War, whereby the Muslims of Kuwait were rescued from Saddam Hussein? Is it the almost unlimited access given, until recently, to Western educational instiutitons (here, sign up for this course on nuclear physics, or this one on bacteriology -- go ahead, the Western taxpayers will pay your tuition for such useful coursees), to Western medical care, to Western goods of all kinds, to Western armaments (hundreds of billions of Western armaments), to Western goodwill (here, have 7 acres of land in the midst of Rome, to build the Rome Mosque, or here, we'll sell you this land in Boston at below-market value, or here...fill it in for yourself). Western leaders have been falling all over themselves trying to insist that Islam is a good religion, a religion of peace and tolerance. Just look at what Bush and Blair and Rice have said -- the uninterrupted series of falsehoods about the wonderfulness of Islam, their great respect for Islam, their understanding that Islam has nothing whatever to do with the perceived behavior of Muslims world-wide.

And what about the attacks on Buddhists in Thailand (and Buddhists in Indonesia, wherever they get in the way of Muslims)? What about that? Is that attributable to, or to be subsumed under the idiotic rubric of an "Islam-West Culture War"?

It is not a Culture War. It is Jihad. It is a war no dfiferent in goals from, though conducted by more varied instruments of warfare, than the Jihads that have been waged by the adherents of Islam, following the teachings clearly expressed in Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira (with Muhammad the very model, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, for all Muslims everywhere, whenever such a war was feasible, over 1350 years, from Spain to the East Indies. For as Muhammad declared, "Islam is to dominate and not to be dominated" and that applies to the entire known world. It is a war to be conducted by military means where possible, and by other means when necessary. In Western Europe, at the moment, it is conducted by Da'wa and slow but steady demographic conquest, accompanied by relentless demands made on Infidels to change their own societies, their laws, their customs, their understandings, their ways of doing things, in order to accomodate Muslims. This is not "integration." This is occupation -- Europe is now Muslim-occupied, and as the ranks of the occupiers, who do not wish to integrate with, much less accept the ways of, the locals, but rather to dominate, to subjugate the locals, to transform their societies so that Islam will dominate and Muslims will rule (and it will occur long before Muslims are an absolute majority, as it did all over Dar al-Islam, over the past 1350 years, in a pattern of conquest by a few, and subjugation of many who, over time, became Muslims, for they lost their original identies and histories, and those who were not killed upon conquest, or in intermittent mass violence by Muslims (and there was a good deal of that) were slowly converted, forcibly in the sense that they did so not because of some intellectual or moral wonderfulness of Islam, but rather in order to avoid for themselves and their children the status of dhimmi, that is the state of enduring humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity that was the permanent fate of all non-Muslims under Islam.

Nor is the war of Islam against the West. It is, rather, Against the Rest, All the Rest of the Non-Islamic World. Of course, to call it, as it is not an "Islam-West" War, but a war directed as much against the less powerful, and less challenging, non-Muslims everywhere, from Hindus in India and Pakistan and Bangladesh and Kashmier in Bali, to Buddhists in Bangladesh, and Thailand, and parts of the East Indian archipelago, and Sikhs wherever they may be, so dangerously martial, so deeply hostile to Islam, the very origins of the faith perhaps owing something to the desire to have not merely a warrior caste (Kshatriya), but an entire faith, a literally fighting faith, capable of withstanding the Muslim conquerors, the Muslim invaders, the cruel Muslim masters of most of India.

(This has all been dashed off in one fell and very fast swoop, so there may be repetitions, anacolutha, infelicities of all kind. But the idiocy of The New Duranty Times needs to be exposed right now, without further delay, and I didn't have more than a few minutes. Sorry.)

Posted by: Hugh[sic]


While I'm not entirely concerned with the demographic changes in Europe, nor the forced "assimilation" or "integration" of Muslims in Europe or elsewhere I completely agree that there are some bright ass lines that need to be drawn regarding what non-Muslims are going to accept from Muslims who choose to live with us.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Missions

I was raised Seventh Day Adventist. Part of my Saturdays was listening to and reading stories "from the field." The basic story was about the courageous missionary who went somewhere (usually a place where there was colored people) where the locals (usually natives) "need to know Christ." These locals usually also have some medical emergency that only the missionary can provide. After a while one gets the idea that the entire world outside the states, and Europe was just infested with Sinners in need of salvation. It was pretty good psych therapy. I mean you were a part of this organization saving people world wide. I didn't really notice the racial implications of this because at the time I had no clue. Then I went away to college and read something other than the Bible and science books. When I got back, those missionary stories didn't quite sit with me. I started to see the pattern. By the time I had graduated, I was done with Christianity. Not only had I finally understood that Blacks here gotten it due to the slave trade. I saw it as a tool of mental oppression. I also had found out that Christianity was derived from the Khemtic "Mystery System." So I though why should black folks be trading on a hand me down, deformed version of Egyptian scrolls. I decided to be out. It was later that I "discovered" Ifa and returned to my roots.

Why the trip down memory lane? Well today in the NY Times Magazine there's an article entitled: The Call discuses the antics of a white missionary family in Africa. So we know I object to missionising let me give a few examples why:


But few around Kurungu seemed much interested in their religion. The Samburu faith is monotheistic. It holds its own sacred history in which, I was told, humankind had once been linked to Ngai by a ladder made of leather. Ages ago, a Samburu man, enraged by the death of his herd, cut the ladder, and ever since the people have been disconnected from their deity. Yet when the Samburu spoke to me about Ngai, they evoked not a divinity that is abstract and removed but one that is, though invisible, close at hand, especially on the steep mountains that bound the valley, and most especially on a particular set of ridges and rocky peaks known collectively as Mount Nyiru. This, the tribe's most hallowed mountain, about 9,000 feet high, rises immediately to the west of Kurungu. It looms over the family's backyard. Ngai is up there, taking care of his people. He had granted the Samburu the knowledge of how to survive on cow's blood, Andrea and his crew said. And he was forgiving when the people did wrong. He had placed a spring at the spot where the leather ladder had been cut. The Samburu told me that their religion makes no prediction of a messiah. They didn't seem to feel the need for one.

"Lord," Carrie said, offering grace over lunch one afternoon, before the family set out for a manyatta, where they would deliver jerrycans of water and hold church in the open air, "we pray that the people today thirst not only for water but for your word, Lord."


Let's not discuss the validity of leather ladders. in Ifa we got Chickens spreading earth. Every culture has their mythos. The important point is that the Samburu don't have any concept original sin, as we know it. Nor do the Samburu feel a need for or are looking for a savior. Yet these missionaries want to make the Samburu feel guilty about some "Original Sin" and after that convince them that they need saving. I mean talk about mind jobs. These missionaries feel that since they cannot imagine a world where there is no original sin and no need for a savior, so must the Samburu. And even though the Samburu didn't ask to have them there, and even though the Samburu have shown them great hospitality, these people insist on inferiorizing them.

The next issue brought up and needs discussing is FGM, Female Gential Mutilation, commonly referred to as Female circumcision.

He and Carrie expect the truth to bring more than religious conversion. Once the people have accepted Jesus, they said, they hope to coax them to judge their traditions by the standards of the Gospel. In this way, they plan to inspire - not impose, they stressed - crucial elements of transformation in the culture. They want to elevate the lot of women, to end the ways women are treated as property. And they want to stop the rite of female circumcision, which Carrie and Meghan witnessed for the first time a few months before I arrived, the razoring out of the clitoris that is almost universally practiced among the Samburu. The Mapleses are in Kurungu, Rick said, because "there is unbelievable need."

The Ghost is opposed to FGM, though not the practice of female circumcision. Now that may sound contradictory but it's not. See I view circumcision in males and females in certain African Societies (and elsewhere) as cultural practices that need not be stopped. What needs to happen is a change in what is considered female circumcision. It need not be the mutilating practice that it is. There are indigenous groups who are working to change the practice where it is found in Kenya (and elsewhere) and that is what needs to happen. If the Samburu religion is the source of the practice then it would be best that the change come from within' the religion itself. Just as African slavery was justified using the slavery justified in the Old Testament Bible,the same religion was allowed to change it's position. Similarly the religion of the Samburu , being just as valid a belief system as any other, should be allowed to change as well. But then, that is the point: Valuing the Samburu religion.

It is also wrong to suggest that opposition to FGM is uniquely a Western, Christian idea. For example the Assante of Ghana do not believe it is proper to cut the body. non-Muslim Yoruba of Nigeria also do not practice FGM. Thus as a Pan-Africanist, I would argue to other Africans that the defense of such mutilization is simply not a hallmark of Africanness (Although to be honest we have a long way to go before the Samburu see themselves as a part of an African Community they way I mean it). So yes I agree that there is "unbelievable need" in Africa and among the Samburu, just not the a need for what they are selling.

This is perhaps the most alarming to me:
Her parents did. Rick and Carrie, whose Baptist church in California is deeply evangelical, spoke of receiving signs, affirmations that they were doing the right thing. Over the past century or more, Kenya has been a highly proselytized country; to go by the broad estimates of the U.S. State Department, 70 percent of Kenya's people now avow themselves Christian, with most of the rest divided between Islam and indigenous faiths. The Samburu, a tribe of about 150,000, worship their God, Ngai. Dispatched by a range of Christian agencies and representing a range of denominations, the missionaries strewn among the Samburu have made little progress. Religious statistics about the tribe are scarce; perhaps 2 to 9 percent are Christian. (Almost none are Muslim.)

The Samburu are one of the last to reject foreign religious ideology. But I believe they will fall as the rest did before them. Why?
Who can resist hospitals and other "Western" goodies when Africa's best and brightest go to Europe with their talents and the ones who stay often fall to corruption? Believe me when I say that the real draw to these religions are the material benefits and eventual social benefits of being seen as a member of the dominant belief group (see Assessing dialog post).

Ultimately, if Pan-Africanists were doing there job, they would expose Christianity for what it is and missionaries would have no grounds.
Jesus you say> You must be speaking of Horus!
Ten Commandments you say? You must be speaking of the Negative Confessions!
Virgin Birth? Oh you must have seen that inscription on the Temple of Amen?
Amen? Amen-RA!

Anyway. here's hoping the Samburu keep the faith against these missionaries, whether they be from overseas or duped locals. Let these foreign missionaries go home and get their governments to stop killing people in Iraq. Let them preach to the Haliburtons about the ungodliness of exploiting African labour. Let them, "Pluck the beam out of their own eye."


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Friday, January 27, 2006

Answering Big Man Questions

Be sure to catch the latest on the debate at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/02/american-big-man-part-iv.html

The author of the Nooilforpacifists blog has posted a set of questions or rather issues, he has with The Ghosts, position on Presidents Bush's wiretapping. They are reprinted here in case the comment system goes down:

1) The scope of the President's Constitutional power can not be narrowed by statute. Thus the "purpose of FISA" isn't determinative, it's optional. Assuming the "war powers provision" you mention is Article II, Section 2, it's made superior to statute by virtue of Article VI--otherwise you could amend the Constitution by statute.

Absolutely not. FISA is law. The president MUST put all domestic wiretaps through FISA. The President nor any other arm of government does not have, and never did have the constitutional right to spy on citizens without "due process." This is not a narrowing of constiutional power we are talking about it is an expansion of so called constitutional power. Read the argument as given by the Bush admin. They claim that the AUMF gave the president authority to wiretap. in order to give one must not possess to begin with. This was clearly laid out in the American Big Man post. So point no. 1 is out.

2) The facts here make the connection to criminal procedure -- you cite the presumption of innocence and probable cause -- weak. I agree that such rights are "appropriate" in law enforcement. But the Administration's wiretaps have nothing to do with law enforcement. (And if they do, I already agreed they're illegal.) They're actions as commander in chief, and not necessarily subject to identical limits.

What is terrorism but a set of criminal acts. The US is not going after Osama because he spoke ill of America. The US is after Osama because they believe he masterminded the murder of 3000 innocent people. US citizens thought to be aiding Al-Q are believed to have or to be committing treason; also a crime. So yes this is about law enforcement and as such, presumptions of innocence stand. Mind you, in the past decade or so the public's perception of innocent until proven guilty has become unfashionable, but it is still a constitutional guarantee regardless of how often it is disregarded in practice. The Commander in Cheif also happens to be able to pardon convicted criminals at will. This makes him in a sense over the judiciary since he can overturn a sentance ( much like a governor can). It is this dual ability to command the military and to effect the justice system why FISA is even on the books. This too was dealt with in American Big Man.

3) If the authority is as commander in chief, a test based solely on citizenship makes no sense, as RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said: "Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when the NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they need to hang up when those terrorists dial their sleeper cells in the United States?"

This point makes no sense. In American Big man III I laid out two scenarios in which the NSA or whomever may operate. Both scenarios shows that the NSA or whomever has ample leeway to continue wiretapping while the proper court documents are procured. So this point is completely irrelevant. I also pointed out in American Big Man II that the wiretapping has been used to target non-criminal, non-terrorist related people and organizations. The blogger at Nooilforpacifists has not taken this position up and explained it.

4) National security eavesdropping's old news. Remember, we broke Japanese and German "Enigma" codes, and that knowledge and won WWII. See, e.g., the Battle of Midway. Assuming some of those messages were received here, would that have required a warrant? The threat to America increases when an enemy is in communication with someone located in the U.S. One can't so easily dismiss the position that warrantless national security wiretapping is both necessary and appropriate.

Like the previous point, this is largely irrelevant. The Ghost has already agreed that the executive has the ability to surveil foriegn transmissions. The Ghost has also presupposed that foreign nationals within the US do not enjoy the same constitutional priviledges as citizens or legal residents. Again as pointed out in the scenarios in American Big Man II, there is ample room for continued wiretapping while the relevant warrants were obtained.

5) Even were citizenship the test, it's possible no citizen has been wiretapped, under 8 U.S.C. § 1481: A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality - . . .

(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States.


Again, even if a citizen was suspected of committing treason against the US, it still would have to be proven in a court of law and the presumption of innocence still applies. I cannot imagine that nooilforpacifists believes that anybody can simply be stamped a traitor by the executive (or any other law enforcement official) and lose his or her citizenship just like that? Well I can imagine it but not under the constitution that the country was founded on.

I would also suggest that nooilforpacifists read the entire law quoted. It reads:

(7) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by
force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,
violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of
section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in
violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384
of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down,
or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to
levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a
court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.



So again, There is no legal grounds for the actions of the president.

GG

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mr. Bush: Say Hello To Democracy

Apparently Hamas has won big in the recent elections in Palestine. The Bush administration has stated that it considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization and therefore does not recognize the new government. Well that's interesting. The US has been pushing for so called "Democracy" in the Middle East and in Palestine you just had what has been universally considered a free and fair election (probably fairer and freer than those recently held in the US) and the US decides not to recognize the winners because it has deemed them "terrorists." hmmmm. Interesting. the ANC was considered a terrorist organization in it's "rebel" days. Now it leads the government in South Africa and no one has peep to say about it's past.

In a recent article Fareed Zakaria discussed Illiberal Democracies:

THE AMERICAN diplomat Richard Holbrooke pondered a problem on the eve of the September 1996 elections in Bosnia, which were meant to restore civic life to that ravaged country. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair," he said, and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma." Indeed it is, not just in the former Yugoslavia, but increasingly around the world. Democratically elected regimes, often ones that have been reelected or reaffirmed through referenda, are routinely ignoring constitutional limits on their power and depriving their citizens of basic rights and freedoms. From Peru to the Palestinian Authority, from Sierra Leone to Slovakia, from Pakistan to the Philippines, we see the rise of a disturbing phenomenon in international life -- illiberal democracy.

It has been difficult to recognize this problem because for almost a century in the West, democracy has meant liberal democracy -- a political system marked not only by free and fair elections, but also by the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. In fact, this latter bundle of freedoms -- what might be termed constitutional liberalism -- is theoretically different and historically distinct from democracy. As the political scientist Philippe Schmitter has pointed out, "Liberalism, either as a conception of political liberty, or as a doctrine about economic policy, may have coincided with the rise of democracy. But it has never been immutably or unambiguously linked to its practice." Today the two strands of liberal democracy, interwoven in the Western political fabric, are coming apart in the rest of the world. Democracy is flourishing; constitutional liberalism is not.


This post is not a discussion of Zakaria's thesis but rather a highlight of the fact that the Bush administration and indeed many of the administrations before him were simply not interested in Democracy in the Middle East but rather a certain type of government. That would explain the friendliness to the clearly non-democratic Saudi Arabia and the vile opposition to Hugo Chavez.

On the other hand I find the electoral victory of Hamas to be an interesting turn of events. Back in November of 2004 The Ghost published a blog entry in which we discussed the changes that would need to be made by the Palestinian leadership:

In my admittedly limited understanding of this conflict, the PLO, Hammas et.al have been so focused of the removal of Israel (which will not happen so long as the US is it's military benefactor), that they have not even considered a "plan b." A Palestinian state, however limited can legally purchase arms without legal interferance. a organization with the label "terrorists" cannot. a Palestinian State, however limited can demand that Israel remove illegal settlers. In fact even a limited Palestinian state could 'deport" any settler within it's borders.
The faster the PLO understands that this anti-colonial struggle is militarily unwinable, the faster it can move to "plan b." Hopefully a part of that 'plan b" is an India type move into information technology. Until then, Palestine will contine to be the playground of the Israeli Military and a testing ground for the US military with poor women and children being the primary victims as more prosperous Palestinians move to other countries and live relatively well.


It would seem that Hamas' recent dial down of it's calls for an end to the State of Israel is a step in the direction The Ghost suggested. The US will eventually be forced to deal with Hamas as the duly elected government of the Palestinian people. Hopefully Hamas will spend more time on the social and economic development of Palestine than talking and suicide bombing and killing other Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bush and indeed other White Supremacist types who think they should be dictating the leadership of other countries are to be shown to be the hypocrites that they are. Say hello to democracy. Sometimes it's not what you expect it to look like.





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Monday, January 23, 2006

American Big Man III

Note: subject is continued at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/01/answering-big-man-questions.html

Before reading this post I suggest that the previous posts on this subject be read
American Big Man
American Big Man Part II

Also be sure to catch the latest on the debate at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/02/american-big-man-part-iv.html

Now there are some issues that need to be clarified:

Some people think that objection to Bush's wiretapping is that we think wiretapping of "enemies" or foreign "enemies" is wrong or illegal. Wrong. GG does not oppose the lawful wiretap of foreigners as delineated in the Constitution. GG does not oppose the lawful wiretap of domestic citizens as delineated in the Constitution and ancillary law. The objection is to the idea that domestic citizens can be tapped as if they were foreigners.

While I'm not at all sure how far the U.S. constitution goes as far as protections of foreigners, but U.S. citizens are protected by the constitution primarily that there is a presumption of innocence and a protection against unlawful search and seizure. the purpose of FISA is to make sure that the constitutional rights of US citizens against unlawful search and seizure are upheld. Thus the legal process for what Bush did would have been:

1) NSA records a call originating from outside the US to a US phone number.
2) NSA officials and whatever bosses apply for a FISA warrant. In the meantime they legally tap the line of the US phone number.
3) FISA court looks over the evidence for probable cause and grants or denies the request. If granted, the US phone number remains tapped for the purpose stated on the warrant. If the request is denied the wiretap must ceased.

alternately:

1) The NSA while monitoring the incoming calls of a foreign national picks up a US number.
2) NSA officials and whatever bosses seek a warrant from the FISA court. Meanwhile they tap the number of the person the number is ascribed to as per the PATRIOT Act and the AUMF.
3) FISA court grants the warrant and the tap is continued If the request is denied then the Wiretap must be terminated, but there are other legal means to surveil the citizen without trampling on their Rights. For example, Police can follow any person driving down the street since the street is public property and there are no expectations of privacy.

We've already noted that the FISA court has only denied warrants 4 times since it's inception. So any argument that FISA encumbers the search for terrorists is ridiculous. Furthermore, as noted in the first installment of American Big Man, the AUMF does not grant the executive powers to go around the FISA court. I believe the "necessary and appropriate" statement, being a conjunction, means that the executive can only take all necessary actions that are appropriate (as in the adjective not the verb) meaning legal. We agree with other commentators that the AUMF is very broadly written and having been rushed during an emotional time, was not well thought out.

We note that the Bush administration has steadily avoided having it's questionable activities go to the Supreme Court. We have written here on Garvey's Ghost that we think the Hamdi decision as well as the legally questionable Padilla case.

So in conclusion, we disagree with the Administration that the AUMF authorized domestic wiretaps of American Citizens.
We disagree that the War Powers provision supercedes the FISA requirements.
We think the Bush Admin is full of ka-ka.





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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The African Identity

Back in December I posted my remarks on the NY Times article discussing African-American experiences as foreigners in Ghana. I noted that:



2)AA’s by and large act just like white tourists when they travel. They are driven around. Few, if any know the language. Few know any of the local customs. Those who try to be “African” often wear the “wrong” stuff. etc. In effect AA’s are “cool” white people. This is a particularly hard pill to swallow for many black folk, myself included.

What would have been informative is if the writer had asked what visiting Nigerians are called or visiting Zulu’s are called. Are they referred to as Obruni or something else? If they are referred to as some other term then how are they “known?”

For example, I, sondjata am routinely approached by Nigerians due to my license plate. Conversation is quickly ended once I open my mouth, but the fact that I am regularly “mistook” for a Nigerian means that something other than “presentation” is the identifying factor.
Also we need to take into consideration that Obruni may have been a general term describing outsiders that was generally used to refer to white people (Yoruba: Oyimbo) and then came to included AA’s and probably “black brits.”


Today I have read a very interesting article in African Studies Quarterly entitled Taking American Race Relations on the Road...to Africa Which I believe underscores my earlier comments on the Ghana situation as well as my ongoing comments about how we define "black", race and racism. In this article two African-American females have their journal entries about visiting Kenya. One reads:

I don't think anybody on this trip understands that my experience is different from theirs, and in what ways it's different. I'm looking at this society and culture through the experiences and eyes of a westerner, but I feel the need and the compulsion to identify with the people. I want to know them, I want to understand them, because I feel like this is my one opportunity to learn about/have a first hand experience with my roots. On the other hand, I'm afraid to let myself just relax and enjoy the trip and feel the culture because I'm afraid of being unaccepted and then really feeling like I don't belong anywhere. Because I'm certainly not fully accepted by these white kids and I know that I never will be. I will always be different, no matter how close or how friendly and understanding we may become with one another. There will always be this blatant, stark contrast that can not be denied or ignored. I guess what scares me most is the fear of not being accepted by my own people, even though in my mind the Kenyans aren't really my people because we share very different histories and lives. Yet, ancestrally they are my people and I've never been confronted with a situation of not blending in nor being welcomed by people who look like me. (Excerpt 4).



I believe this is what happened to Henry Louis Gates on his trip to Tanzania. It is often shocking for AA's and other Blacks born and raised in America to be treated as outsiders in other black countries. Whites are not the only group of Americans that have misconceptions about blacks in Africa.

The entire article is an interesting read. You may find it here:

http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/v8/v8i2a4.htm

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American Big Man Part II

Note: subject is continued at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/01/answering-big-man-questions.html

Also be sure to catch the latest on the debate at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/02/american-big-man-part-iv.html

So I'm checking my stats and run across a blog entitled No Oil For Pacifists where there is a post on entitled Wiretapping--The Law which is basically a rehash of the white paper released on Friday.

One of the weaknesses of the argument on both the blog and the Bush administration is the case law that exists prior to FISA. The abuse of the anti-War and Civil Rights movement by the US government in my opinion makes a lot of the legal justifications for wiretapping simply untenable. Those abuses clearly show that presidential power to wiretap or otherwise spook citizens should never happen without judicial oversight because the president may have illusions of treachery based on his opinion about a certain group of people. Wiretapping of Dr. King was predicated on "suspicion" that he was a communist. He was not (and who's real business is it if he was?). The Cointelpro against various black power movements would be another example.

But let's get into the meat of the problem. The focus of the people who support the Wiretap is as follows:
from the Wall Street Journal

The issue is not about circumventing normal civilian Constitutional protections, after all. The debate concerns surveillance for military purposes during wartime. No one would suggest the President must get a warrant to listen to terrorist communications on the battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan. But what the critics are really insisting on here is that the President get a warrant the minute a terrorist communicates with an associate who may be inside in the U.S. That's a loophole only a terrorist could love.

No, the FISA law has a provision that the President may start a wiretap immediately but must go to the court within' 36 hours with the probable cause that warranted the tap (not the info you got during the 3 days). So exactly what is this huge loophole that has terrorists licking their lips about? Doesn't exist. But as the Black Commentator has pointed out the WSJ has..issues.

Another blog Maxed out Momma is quoted as saying, in part:

Do you think that the NSA should have to get a judge to agree that it can look at calls made from inside the US to Iranian President Ahmadinejad's cell phone? Because that is what this amounts to. How severe is the impact on the individual freedom of American citizens?

Yes I do think the NSA should have to have a Judge agree. That's what is required by the law and except in 4 cases, every request put before FISA judges have been approved. Some have been even been approved at 3AM EST. So since it has been working all this time, why is it now broken? Perhaps because of the string of lies coming out of this administration has caused some of the judges to not be so quick to grant the FISA warrants.

Secondly, what exactly is criminal about calling the Iranian president? Not that many US citizens would be doing so but it's not a crime or an indicator of intent to commit a crime. It is only something that many people wouldn't do for various reasons. Anyway, given the amount of spying being done on behalf of Israel I would think that a phone call to Ariel Sharon would be a far better example of "suspicious activities." But let's answer the question about the "impact on American Citizens." The issue is not one of immediate impact but of long term "slippery slope" impact. If it is OK to detain a citizen without charges or trials because the government thinks the citizen is an "enemy combatant then how long until citizens are detained for other types of legal activities to which some person in the White House has deemed subversive? In the last election some conservative Christians ran advertisements saying that Democrats would take away the Bibles of Christians if they got into power. Clearly them, even conservatives are concerned about what power a president may have and what threat that president may be if they are not partial to certain ideologies. So simply put, I don't go along with Wiretaps because I don't want the police stopping me for no good reason on the street demanding ID..Sorry we gave that one up already didn't we. Oh I don't want police entering my premises without a warrant. Dammit, That's already happening. The unfortunate thing is that many people don't recognize the "freedoms" they have until they do something to piss the wrong person in power off. Many, though unfortunately not all, black folk in America can recal times when black civil rights simply did not exist. So we are loath to see government abuses. It is unfortunate that some black folk have forgotten those times.

One Tommy states:
We are fighting a war, the congress authorized, and the President took, action. I expect the communications of the enemy to be monitored. All of the communications of the enemy. The fact that the enemy is communicating with people within our borders does not in the slightest change that. Maybe I’ve spent more time around collection type assets than the average person, but I confess I was shocked to learn that people were surprised this was going on. If the program was monitoring domestic communications with persons other than Al Qaeda and associated groups, that is something different. But as of yet, I have heard nothing to suggest that was the case.

Umm, please stop reading conservative publications and pick up some other types of press. The NSA has in fact been wiretapping U.N. Diplomats (hated by conservatives but definitely not Al-Qaida.
The NSA has been tapping the Baltimore based "Iraq Pledge of Resistance" peace group opposed to the Iraq war.
As my final example I'll point the reader to Counterpunch's article From Your Mouth to His Ears
How Cheney Used the NSA for Domestic Spying Prior to 9/11
Wherein it is shown that the White House was using the NSA for illegal purposes within' the government. This last example is interesting since with all that governmental tapping the exploits of certain lobbyists and Senators apparently were undetectable.


hmmmmmm.

Oh I'm sure I'm about the hear the "this is a liberal publication" argument. That's the weak excuse given by people who would rather discuss "character" than actual facts. but that's the nature of the beast.




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Olodumare and the Theistic Problem of Evil

Here is another essay on Yoruba religion as it deals with Evil by John A. I. Bewaji. It is very very long so I'll only post a piece of it:

THE THEISTIC PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM OF EVIL
The theistic problem of evil can be properly appreciated if one apprehends
the import of the following passage from Quinn. Of theistic religions, he
says:
According to theists, human persons are called upon to worship God.
Theists typically hold that their reverence and adoration are the
appropriate responses to Him. This view presupposes that God deserves or
merits worship. If a being were not worthy of worship, then surely worship
directed at such a being would be widely inappropriate. But what features
must a being have to be fitting and deserving object of worship? It seems
clear that only a morally perfect being could be worthy of unqualified
devotion typical of theistic worship. Moral goodness falling short of
perfection might earn a being admiration but never adoration. This is why it
is essential to theistic orthodoxy that God be thought of as perfectly good
(20).
That Christianity and other theistic religions believe in God is a basic
component of these religions. These religions would not have any further
significance and would loose their followers and devotion if the God-head is
detracted from. As such, affirmation of the existence of a perfect God is a
necessity. However, the affirmation of the existence has often sprung from
diverse cognitive directions and sources syncretized into an absolute
epistemic criterion. To support the position that God exists, some would
adduce revelation--that God disclosed Himself in varying degrees appropriate
to circumstances to certain people such as Moses, Mohammed, and the writer
of Revelations in the Holy Bible; some others will claim knowledge of the
numinous by direct intuition from the innermost of their being; some will
adduce moral grounds to support such knowledge; some others will use the
nature of the cosmos to support their epistemic affirmation, while others
yet claim the knowledge by a leap of faith. By whatever method of cognitive
discovery God is arrived at within all forms of theism, certain attributes
are said to be intrinsic to His nature to deserve the exalted and
unparalleled devotion and worship.
While it could be philosophically interesting to critically analyse the
validity or otherwise of the various epistemic sources and grounds for the
existence of Deity, while atheism and agnosticism, and of course, theism,
has been occasioned by this type of philosophical undertaking, this is not
of direct relevance to our discussion of the problem of evil. Our concern is
with the given-ness of Deity in theism. This given-ness also has certain
attributes. It is the consequence of these attributes that brings into
focus, against the background of factual and rational experience and
contemplation, the problem of evil. Going back to Quinn in his very
ingenious and lucid essay quoted from above, one clearly sees the
ramifications of the issue. He avers that:
Theists also hold that God created the heavens and the earth. God
is, therefore, responsible for at least some of the good and evil in the
cosmos of contingent things. Theists cannot avoid grappling with the problem
of evil. How could a perfectly good being create a cosmos containing less
good than the very best he could have created? And if a being worthy of
worship could create the best cosmos he could, is a theist committed to
holding that this is the best of all possible worlds (21).
Thus, properly understood, the Divine Being, worthy of worship in the great
scriptural religions (and here the reference points are Christian and
Islam), has been conceptualized in such a way that He has all positive
attributes in superlative and unlimited degree, and lacks all negative
attributes totally. As the greatest conceivable Being, He is not in want of
any positive attribute, or predicate.
But this is what experience seems to contra-indicate. For, if that being, so
conceived and not otherwise conceivable, created the inhabited world of
humans so organized, then one needs to account for at least the natural
disease and evils that have recurrently plagued the universe created by this
being. One may leave aside moral, economic, socio-political evils as being
dependent upon man, and as such preventable if man so wills. Formulated
minimally, the problem of evil for the theist is this:
If God is omnipotent, omniscient, creator (causa sui or prima causa)

All-loving, all-good, all-merciful, then how can we explain evil?
Does God cause evil?
If God does not cause evil, then who causes it?
Who created this cause of evil?
Was the creator of evil all-knowing, past, present, and future?
Or, is God actually all-good, all-loving and all-powerful but unable
to stop evil-- which is patently absurd?
Or, does God not wish to stop evil (22)?
This is the dilemma that the theist has to squarely face! Christianity and
other monotheistic religions, conceptualized in this fashion, do not seem to
have any easy way of escaping either of the horns of the dilemma or of
passing between. If they choose to say that God did not create evil, then it
would follow that there either is no evil in the world, which is patently
false, unless we redefine our concepts, or that someone else created evil,
which means that God did not create everything. Even with this caveat, there
would still remain the problem of accounting for who created the creator of
evil--or else, evil is self-caused, which is equally unconvincing. If they
choose to say that God did not wish to eradicate evil, then it could mean
either He lacks the power to do so, or He is sadistic and malevolent,
options which are totally unacceptable to the theist. There then seems no
way of escaping the problem without either redefining and limiting the
attributes of Deity or becoming an atheist, or at least, an agnostic.
The most popular attempt to deal with the problem in Christianity and Islam
consists in saying that Lucifer, or Devil, or Satan, who was formerly God's
deputy or right-hand angel, is the cause or originator of all evils in the
universe. That he used to be a good angel charged with powers second only to
that of God, but, that through conceit and conspiracy, he became demonic and
totally evil. Thus, although capable of having appearances of temporary
goodness, whatever schemes he may conceive are ultimately in the pursuance
of his diabolical goals of evil. He is thus the Devil. What a good Christian
and Muslim should do then is to bear his/her coat of armour and join God's
salvation army and fight against the evil one--Satan, the prince of
darkness.
Persuasive and simple as this seems, it cannot escape obvious objections or,
at least, rejoinders. If God had been all-knowing and all-good, He would not
have created Satan or Lucifer. If, par impossible, He did create Satan in
error, then it should not have been too difficult for Him to rectify the
error and improve or destroy Satan, unless He is not, contra hypothesis,
all-powerful.
Before going further to consider this problem as it relates to Olodumare
among the Yoruba people, it should be emphasized that the problem of evil
did not arise within the context of Old Testament religion. There God could
and did exercise His powers to suit the ends He designed and desired--which
desire is coincident with ultimate up-rightness and justice, even though the
justice is from the Jewish perspective. Hence, He caused the destruction of
Pharaoh's army and used an earth tremor to destroy the walls of Jericho,
while commanding Saul to utterly slay the Amalekites. There He was the
Creator who stood firmly for justice and only forgave the penitent who makes
atonement or remission for sins against Him and His chosen people. Nowhere
was God regarded in the Old Testament as evil or as a weakling for doing
these things that caused people great harm. Even the New Testament episode
of sending demons into swine that later perished in the Sea was interpreted
by the gospellers as something good--not minding the investment of the
owners of the swine who were non-Jews.
On the extra-theological plane, one may ask the relevant epistemic questions
as to the source of the knowledge of the creator of evil, Satan or Lucifer.
Was it based on eye-witness experience? Was it based on inference derived
from such an account? Was it mere speculation from the latter phenomenon of
apparently inexplicable natural disasters and human suffering? How are we to
fight an enemy about whom in all we know are partisan accounts? How do we
even come to the knowledge that Lucifer is the origin of all evil and not
just the fall-guy and scape-goat used for the deliberate desires and actions
of a Theistic God?
Such questions will surely not be entertained by a committed theistic, yet
they are relevant and should not detract from his commitment to his God as
it will only further enhance his understanding of his God. I do not see how
man is any worse for his knowledge that God is disposed to reward or punish
with good or evil, depending on human goodness or evilness as the Old
Testament does show...

There is no doubt that God is the most powerful Being and that He
has all the superlative attributes one can consider, but the Yoruba do no
think that such a being cannot do evil or cause evil. It is part of the
attributes of the Supreme Being to be able to utilize all things (37).
The implications of these attributes of Olodumare are that He is the most
Powerful Being, the Creator, the Wise and Impartial Judge who exercises
inexorable control over all in the universe. The problem of evil fails to
arise within the context of Yoruba belief in Olodumare because a being with
all the attributes stated above is conceivable as capable of both good and
bad. He uses both for the ultimate good governance of the universe (38). In
fact, to say that God does not or cannot do evil is to unnecessarily
circumscribe His power. In this regard I had earlier stated:
Equally, some of the attributes of Olodumare are diametrically at variance
with those of the Christian God. Consequently, some theoretical and
doctrinal problems that arise within Christianity do not arise for Africans
. . . The sources of evil are God-devised and help to maintain high moral
standards. The Christian God is ever-merciful, slow to anger but quick to
forgive (in fact He does not desire the death of the sinner but that he
repent and be saved), whereas, the Yoruba Olodumare is a morally upright God
who metes out justice here on earth and not necessarily in the hereafter
where we are not sure anybody will witness and learn from it (39).
All the scholars we have considered have agreed that evil, as such, is not
understandable. Nothing is intrinsically evil. We call something evil
because it does not favor us or because it causes us distress. We may not
know or understand the reason for the event or action, but ultimately it
forms part of the overall design of Olodumare. His attributes do not
preclude the device and use of evil for the betterment of society. God is
the creator. He created everything, both positive and negative. Why? We
cannot know. His ways are incomprehensible. God is the most powerful Being,
hence, He does and can do anything, including good and evil. It is only
natural that the most powerful Being should not suffer any handicap or
hindrance, especially in the execution of justice. God is all-wise
(omniscient) and knows all things. Ifa aids Him in this regard as the agent
He created as the repository of wisdom and knowledge. There is no conflict
in saying this. He still remains the overall controller of this being to
whom He has entrusted wisdom. This is unlike the Christian God, who after
having endowed Satan with powers second only to His own loses control over
Satan. Finally, God is Judge; He judges all according to their deserts; He
rewards uprightness and punishes evil.
Thus, Olodumare is more akin to the Old Testament Yahweh in his requirement
of honesty and uprightness. This ensured law and order in the societies
involved. When the Christian God is introduced, it become easy to sin all
morning and afternoon and repent in the evening and have all your sins
forgiven through a special dispensation of grace. This introduction created
room for a permissiveness that has never been witnessed in Yoruba society
before. A chasm was created over which no bridge was erected. Hence people
swear on the Holy Bible and Holy Q'uran without qualms, while they balk when
called upon to do the same for Ogun, Sango, or some other divinity. They
find a convenient, but dubious, excuse in the denigrating, culturally
enslaving explanation that swearing by Sango or Ogun is idol worshiping.
Making a similar point, about Igbo religion Onuoha says that:
The traditional religion makes no apology for exposing the law of
retribution. Every act of immorality disrupts the balance of the ontological
order and God has ordained that the law of reciprocal effect should restore
this order automatically. This law operates blindly like a reflex or a
boomerang. The suffering incurred by every sin must be undergone. God's
justice cannot be compromised (40). This system of justice prevents crime
and criminal tendencies in society.


The complete essay may be found here:

http://www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/v2/v2i1a1.htm



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Thursday, January 19, 2006

American Big Man

Note: subject is continued at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/01/answering-big-man-questions.html

Also be sure to catch the latest on the debate at: http://garveys-ghost.blogspot.com/2006/02/american-big-man-part-iv.html


The running joke about African leadership is the "Big Man of Africa" joke. For those unfamiliar it is applied to African leaders who stay in office in perpetuity and use the office as their personal fiefdom. I would like to propose that the Bush Regime is no different, unless the so called "opposition" decided to actually show some backbone, balls and brains. It is arguable that the president Bush got into power thanks to the Supreme Court rather than the people. It is also arguable that the president got into office the second time by threatening the press regarding his domestic spying. We know the Times knew about these happenings before the election and failed to report on it because the Bush people claimed "national security." This post is about that issue.

The New York Times is reporting that:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 - The Bush administration today offered its fullest defense of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, saying that congressional authorization to defeat Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks "places the president at the zenith of his powers in authorizing the N.S.A. activities."

In a 42-page white paper, the Justice Department expanded on its past arguments in laying out the legal rationale for why the N.S.A. program does not violate federal wiretap law and why the president is the nation's "sole organ" for foreign affairs.


The text of this argument can be found here:http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/nsa/dojnsa11906wp.pdf

It is a long read full of Supreme Court decisions (most notably the Hamdi decision which we discussed here on the Ghost)The hub of the argument is that on Sept 14 the Congress authorized president Bush to do whatever he deemed necessary to fight terrorism. Read the report and they will say it over and over again. Now let's look at the actual text of the Sept 14, 2001 resolution.

H.J. Res. 64

Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous
violence were committed against the United States and its
citizens; and
Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate
that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense
and to protect United States citizens both at home and
abroad; and
Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security
and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave
acts of violence; and
Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and
extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign
policy of the United States; and
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution
to take action to deter and prevent acts of international
terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the ``Authorization
for Use of Military Force''.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) In General.--That the President is authorized to use
all necessary and appropriate force against those nations,
organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on
September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or
persons, in order to prevent any further acts of
international terrorism against the United States by such
nations, organizations or persons.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements.--
(1) Specific statutory authorization.--Consistent with
section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress
declares that this section is intended to constitute specific
statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of
the War Powers Resolution.
(2) Applicability of other requirements.--Nothing in this
resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers
Resolution.



Now here's the important thing. Section 2 (b) declares that the AUMF is meant to be consistent with the War Powers requirement (we'll get to that in a minute) an d section 2(b)(2) also specifis that:

Applicability of other requirements. -- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirments of the War Powers resolution.

With that statment, we know that the AUMF was not meant to expand presidential authority beyond what is allowed by the War Powers Resolution.

Therefore to my reading the War Powers resolution is where the buck stops in terms of presidential authority (and is why we critiqued the Supreme Court when it handed down it's asinine decision regarding Padilla and Hamdi).

Now the War Powers resolution can be found here: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/statecraft/warpow.html

The AUMF specifies that it is in accordance with sec 8(a)(1):

(a)
Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred--

(1)
from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this joint resolution;



Further in the War Powers Resolution it states:


SEC. 3.
The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.

SEC 8. (c)
For purposes of this joint resolution, the term "introduction of United States Armed Forces" includes the assignment of member of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.
SEC. 8.(d)
Nothing in this joint resolution--

(1)
is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President, or the provision of existing treaties; or
(2)
shall be construed as granting any authority to the President with respect to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances which authority he would not have had in the absence of this joint resolution.



These are my italics. I understand 8(d)(2) to read that the War Powers Resolution does not grant any authority to the president that he would not have had in the absence of the resolution. So The President can only assume his commander in Chief rights where there is "imminent" danger.

*Do note the conspicuous appearance of Osama Bin-Ladin on the same day that the Bush regime put forth it's argument for NSA spying.*

Since the FISA laws are required to be observed by the Commander-In-Chief, and avoiding the FISA laws is not something that can be authorized by the president, meaning he did not have the power before the "war" event so he doesn't have it now, then Bush's argument that the AUMF and the WPA gives him the authority to spy on citizens within' the US are legally unfounded. The only way that the president can get around this is if the Supreme Court is called in and they make the same mistake they made with the Hamdi case.

Is Sammy Alito is confirmed and this case comes before the Supreme Court while he is there, expect a split decision with Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Roberts on the side of the president. If the decision goes for Bush, the US will have officially become a constitutional dictatorship with Bush being the first official "American Big Man."







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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dear Ray Nagin

Dear Mayor Nagin;

You must want to be ex-mayor Ray Nagin.

Look, I understand what you mean when you say chocolate city. Don't half step when you make that announcement. Don't go sayin' "when you add dark chocolate to milk you get chocolate milk." First off that kind of talk scares white folk. It reminds them that if their daughters get involved with some black guy and get's pregnant, there's no way in hell, under the US definition of white, that the kid will be considered white. They don't like that type of stuff. Bad psychic places, baaad.

But that's not really why I'm writin' you today. I'm writin' to you because I disaprove of your whole "God is mad at" proclamations.
Look-a-here Mayor Nagin. Leave the false prophysising to old white men named Robertson. People look real dumb when they get up talkin' about what God knows. It may play to the Bible Thumpin' crowd down 'round dem parts, but when you want to be Mayor of an entire city, a city where the vast majority of the economy is held in non-black hands, much of whome, really ain't tryin' to hear 'bout chocolate cities and God's mood, you need to CHILLLLLLL.

Besides, you really didn't look professional when you made the statement. I mean if you seriously want to do the "God is Mad at America" shtyck, then at least get a few Farrakhan videos and take notes. I mean Farrakhan got the whole "God is mad at America" sell down pat. He knows what Tyra taught some of the skinny chicks on her show: The camera is always watchin'. Farrakhan says "God is mad at America" and he got the suit on. lookin' sharp and smilin' like he done made a good bowel movement. I mean, you hear tha man and you already agreein' with him before the words fall out. He looks so calm and collected when he say it that even if it don't sound right, it sounds at least plausable, because, he look so cool. Ya heard?

Now it is apparent that you have not learned the lessons from Toussain't L'Ouveture and Gullah Jack. You let them white folk think you are satisfied with how things are goin'. You can ask a question or two, while you make sure that your people are being taken care of, but don't go telegraphin' your moves so everyone can see. I mean, yo, you do remember that the folk down in your parts weren't too happy about NO being a chocolate city anyways right? You ain't forgot that have you? Beside bro-man, the next time you see a camera it could be askin' you why you had no evac. plan for your chocolate delights. It may be askin' how much your M&M's (to take a note from Texaco) plan on spending on their chocolate paradise. Not that I'm pickin' on you or nothin' but sometimes it's better to not seek out publicity. Naw mean?

So look-a-here. I'mma say this only one more time: Let the old white men get on tv and make asses of themselves talkin' about what they.. I mean God, don't like.
Next time you get up on national TV and get yourself unnecessary attention, I will put you on a "What an Ass!" post. '

-GG

Open Letter to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Dear Madam President or " Ma ellen";

I was pleased to see Liberia take this momentous step towards peace with your inauguration on Monday. I hope that the past of warfare is behind Liberia and that a era of peace and justice settles in it's place. Though I may not hold a degree from the esteemed Harvard, but from the lesser known Tuskegee University I would like to offer some humble advice that I believe will be of use to you and your country-people.

As a Garveyite I recall the words Marcus Garvey said regarding your country when it was sold to the lowest bidder by then 'Plenepotentary"Edwin Barkley:

"We also beg to draw to the attention of your honorable body the great danger that lurks in the future through the granting of Firestone Rubber and Tire Company of certain concessions, which we do hope have not yet been ratified by you. Whilst it is not in out province to interfere with your legislation, we beg to point out to you the motives generally underlying white capitalists when they seek entry into the countries of weaker peoples. It is our firm belief that the Firestone concessions in Liberia will lead them ultimately to seek the usurpation of the government, even has been done with the black Republic of Haiti after similar white companies entered there under the pretense of developing the country."

The selfish and heartless capitalist of the white race conspires to rob Negroes of their land and values in many instances by employing and using the conscienceless and disloyal members of the race who happen to be removed from the majority by intelligence, to betray the people into a false sense of feeling security. In some instances , entire countries are thus stolen with their mineral, agricultural and other wealth; in others the people's investments and interests in banks, insurance companies, real estate holdings, including private dwellings, churches, corporation stocks and allied financial undertakings are pilfered with the concurrent and conniving consent of these so called "intellectual" Negroes..."


I would hope that you would review and meditate on these words of Marcus Garvey all of which came true in your nation. On the day of your Inaugeration there was one of Garvey's described "Intellectual Negroes" Condeleeza Rice. She is very intelligent and very dangerous to your nation. Please remember that for any racial and gender bonds you may feel towards her, this woman is not on your side. She does the bidding of the Business elite of the US and Europe and will sell you out if it suits the goals of those interests.

I would also like to remind you of the words of Frantz Fanon:

The national middle class which takes over power at the end of the colonial regime is an underdeveloped middle class. It has practically no economic power, and in any case it is no way commensurate with the bourgeoisie of the mother country which it hopes to replace... The university and merchant classes which make up the most enlightened section of the new state are in fact characterized by the smallness of their number and their being concentrated in the capital, and the type of activities in which they are engaged: business, agriculture, and the liberal professions. Neither financiers nor industrial magnates are to be found within' this national middle class. The national bourgeoisie of the underdeveloped countries is not engaged in production, nor in invention, nor building, nor labour; it is completely canalized into activities of the intermediary type. It's innermost vocation seems to be to keep in the running and to be part of the racket.

I could continue to quote Fanon on this matter but I would end up quoting the entire text. Suffice it to say that Liberia, even though a relatively old country, is just as new as when Zimbabwe and Ghana gained their independence and thus the words of Garvey and Fanon still apply now as they did in the 1920's and 1968.

I would also like to highlight something that may happen either by outside instigation or by the impatience of the people. There may be an expectation that overnight there will be massive changes. This is clearly not going to happen. Please be sure to have well informed and well spoken people communicate the long term plans that you have for the country. Make it clear what the people should expect from the government as well as what the government expects from the people. Make sure they are a recognized part of the transformation of their society and not merely onlookers or people having things done to them.

Lastly, though it is a long way off, cultivate the idea that you will not be in office for ever. Let it be known that you will leave office under the terms of the constitution. Having said that, be sure to groom new leadership, preferably home brewed and not educated in America. This may seem contradictory but in the perusal of history, it appears that many of Africa's problem leaders have been those with extensive educational ties with the US and Europe. As you are breaking new ground as the first Woman head of state in Africa, let us break more ground and declare that Liberia will be the black star of Africa, as Garvey envisioned. Open the doors of Liberia to men and women who conscience and of Pan-Africanist minds, to help Liberia help itself. There are thousands of black Farmers who have lost their farms to predatory corporations. Perhaps they could be of assistance in the agricultural development of Liberia. There are also Blacks of Caribbean are also willing to help out.

I would like to close this letter with the words of the Sage of Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington: "Cast your bucket where you are."

Peace

Sondjata K. Olatunji
Garvey's Ghost

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Report on an Interfaith dialog

As a non-Christian and non-Muslim, I am often the target of offensive religious bigotry. In my journey away from Christianity I was mildly interested in Islam, given the visibility of the Nation Of Islam and my admiration of Malcolm X. However; my studies soon revealed that going from Christianity to Islam was no better ideologically from staying with Christianity. Today I stumbled across a blog post from one John Oberle who is self described as: " A practitioner of old school Okinawan martial arts in the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan. A lieutenant in the US Air Force. A staunch patriot. A solid conservative. A Catholic. All of these define me, but I'm a blogger too. I am apparently part of the vast right-wing blog echo chamber. chamber. chamber. chamber." Political and military leanings aside and constant focus on Christianity and apparent blind support of Israel, his report is very instructive on some of my issues with Islam (and please do not post comments about Islam means peace...)

Quote:
3. There are two kinds of jihad, one is defense and one is combatting the self. Defeating the Self is greater.

[Mohammed certainly doesn't think so. As far as defensive war goes, it was Muslims who conquered 2/3 of the known Christian World before the Crusades even started...

"Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush"

This comes from Koran 9.5 which a great many Islamic scholars state abrogates and replaces the peaceful verses...either way, there are a great many more violent verses. The accepted principle of abrogation in Islam essentially goes like this: If Mohammed forgot something, he was divinely inspired to forget. If someone reminded him, he was divinely inspired to do so. If he remembered, he was divinely inspired. Or, he could get a new revelation that simply replaced the old one. In this case, the later verses abrogate the earlier...and the Verse of the Sword, as it is called, abrogates at least 124 peaceful verses...

9. When asked about peace and the myth of religiously inspired violence, he said that he wished we could just start over and erase the past, starting with the Crusades and through the Spanish Inquisition.

[Oh, so does that mean he wishes to keep the violent expansion of jihad before the Crusades which took over 2/3 of the Christian world with 3 choices: convert, submit to jizya and dhimmi status, or die? For the record, the Koran says that non-converts must be brought low to a state of submission and humiliation. So, keeping the aforementioned violence and persecution in Jerusalem, the 4 1/2 centuries of continual warfare against the Christian world, the crippling of the Byzantine Empire, the invasion of Spain and encroachments in the rest of Europe, the massacre of thousands of Christians during the Muslim invasion of Syria in 630s, the entire wiping out of villages and plundering of monasteries all across the Fertile Crescent and Asia Minor, the slaughter and enslavement of Christian North Africa, and the outright unprovoked armed spread of Islam? Seems like an awfully strange way of wiping the slate clean.]


Nuf Posted.

Link:
http://bujutsublogger.blogspot.com/2006/01/interfaith-dialogue-report.html

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On Dr. King

This post on Dr. King is early for two reasons:
a) I won't be able to post on it on the observed day
b) there is an article that I think is extremely relevant that the readers of GG should read.

Anyone familiar with The Ghost knows that I am appalled by the focus on the "I have a dream" mode of Dr. King by the larger society and a large portion of the black community. Such a focus completely ignores the movement that King made before his death to deal with the militarism of the US and the plight of the exploited poor (as opposed to the lazy poor). Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes an excellent article entitled Exploiting MLK Jr. which discusses how much people were against Dr. King during his time, especially those who now benefit from his sacrifice: Black so called religious conservatives.

Quote:
The Lyndon Johnson White House turned hostile. Corporate and foundation supporters slowly turned off the money spigot. The NAACP, Urban League, black Democrats, and some in King's own organization turned their backs on him. During his last days, King spent much of his time fundraising and defending his policies against the critics within and without his organization. The backbiting, carping of and backpedaling from King -- not by his enemies, but by some of his one-time friends and supporters -- got worse when he railed against the penchant for lavish personal spending, luxury apartments and fancy homes by some of his group's staffers.

I'll pause here to note that I have a position that many of the people involved in the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) were actually in it because they wanted access to the goods and not because of any real feelings of justice. I believe that Garvey had also leveled similar charges at the NAACP when he moved to the US.

n his last installment on King, “At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68,” Taylor Branch tells how King stormed out of a planning meeting for his Poor People's March, in fury at the attacks directed at him by some of his top aides who wanted to scrap the March. The issue of uniting masses of poor people for economic uplift smacked of class war and was too risky and dangerous; they feared that it would hopelessly alienate their Democratic Party boosters. King was unfazed by their criticism and hurled another broadside at them for their personal egoism, selfishness and opportunism. King's civil rights friends weren't the only ones that took shots at him.

Many black ministers joined in the King bash. At the National Baptist Convention in 1961, then (and now) the largest black religious group in America, King and a band of dissidents challenged the convention's leaders to give more active support to the civil rights battles. They wanted none of that. They flung threats and insults at King, and the civil rights advocate-ministers engaged in fisticuffs with them and slandered King as a "hoodlum and crook."



I think that if we look at some of the activities of some black Christian people and clergy we would see the same behavior. I would point to the so-called "Justice Sunday" held in Philly as a prime example.

Peace.
GG

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