Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Work Of The Klan

When I responded to a recent commentator about various "ills" in African-American communities I did not respond to the portion about doing the work of the KKK. I wanted to address this because it is something bandied about by commentators of various stripes. Basically, the charge is that black boys (mainly) are doing the work of the KKK by killing other black boys (mainly). Since the KKK is best known for it's lynchings of black people (mainly but not exclusively men) then black men who kill black men have merely taken over the task. On it's face it appears like a decent argument but I don't think that it is. I think that the role of the KKK is misrepresented in regards to it's purpose. We know that the KKK rose from the various White Citizens Councils that sprang up in the wake of the South losing the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. The main purposes of these groups were to maintain white supremacy in America. To that end they enforced and when the opportunity arose passed legislation whereby they could restrict the economic, social and political freedoms of black people. Ultimately the aim was to keep black folks in check. I want to stress this point. The Klan did not exist in order to just kill off black people, but to make sure that black people did what they were supposed to or allowed to do. If we look at the Klan in those terms then who is doing the Klan's work? Is the black man gunning down another black man really doing the work of the Klan? Well let's ask it this way, does black on black violence serve to keep blacks in "their place"? If black on black violence does keep blacks "in their place" then what motivates such black on black violence? If black on black violence is motivate by poor educational opportunities, or music videos or music or TV or things largely out of the control of black people, then it would seem then that it would be those venues that are doing the work of the Klan by introducing a limited scope of black culture and therefore limiting black aspirations (in the general).

But I don't want to focus to much on street violence of black males, rather, let's look beyond them at the community at large. Again, if we look at the purpose of the Klan as being to control the aspirations of black people by "keeping them in their place" then what about institutions that vilify and marginalize certain strains of black thought, such as Black Nationalism or Pan-Africanism? Indeed one can say that by marginalizing that type of thinking among black folk that the agents of the larger society are, in fact, doing the work of the Klan. They can effectively silence thought that is not approved. Indeed we have the ability to lynch (and to be sure, lynching is not only a tool of terror but a tool of silencing) without the use of a rope. But I want to take this even furher, if black people are capable of doing the work of the Klan then in the context that we are discussing here, it is possible that blacks, not involved in violence are also doing the work of the Klan. As an object lesson, we review the ousting of representative McKinney. This happened largely at the hands of blacks. In essence, the rebellious black person that McKinney was was deemed "out of bounds" by the dominant society. Thus McKinney needed to be eliminated and she was (not that she didn't have a hand in her own defeat but thats not the point here).

Back in the day(tm), there was a cadre of blacks, usually ministers, could be counted on to back the Klan line of "knowing our place". They were the well known go betweens, the "responsible leadership" that could be counted on to reign in negroes who got out of line. Alas they are still here with us. A question that should be on the minds of those concerned with various ills in black communities is what could have been different had a different, unnapproved, approach had been taken. What if Brown v. Board had been decided differently. What if Affirmative Action hadn't been created? What if BET was black owned for black people? Questions, questions.

All of this is speculative, but I wanted to put the idea out there that the Klan was much more than a terrorist organization, it was an organization with a normative situation it wanted enforced. In looking at the Klan in that light I think we can see Klan agency in many situations many not as obvious as black on black violence.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

American Big man Part X

So a judge has ruled what should be the obvious: The wiretapping as conducted by the government is illegal. The judges reasoning echo's the arguments I have presented in the American Big Man series. noteably:

AUMF does not directly give or imply that the President may wiretap US Persons without following Title III, the FISA statute or the 4th Amendment. The opinion also adds that there is nothing in the AUMF that appears to included wiretaps as "force", an argument I didn't even think of at the time.

The US Constitution grants the president the authority to circumvent the 4th Amendment, and the FISA court represents the minimum standard by which US Persons can be tapped.

The "State's Secrets" argument is null and void since the president and other administration members had already publicly stated what they were doing and that they had bypassed the FISA court.

The President cannot legislate nor can he decide which laws he wishes to comply with. It is congress that passes laws and the president either vetoes or approves of them. Once the law is on the books the president is constitutionally bound to uphold and follow them. By deciding on his own to bypass the FISA court, the president is effectively "legislating". I hadn't thought of this particular angle but I think it was good that the judge took the time to enumerate the office and powers of the President and the Congress. She also pointed out that the president had ample time and opportunity to approach the Congress to have FISA amended (something I think should NOT happen), but failed to do so.

The only real weakness I see in the decision is the standing of the plaintiffs to bring the suit. Had the justice department not been in the pocket of the administration they would have been able to bring charges against the president themselves once he admitted in public to breaking the law. Because of the refusal of the Justice Department to do it's job this group had to file this suit. I expect that this decision will be appealed and I do hope that it goes to the Supreme Court.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Book Of Coming Forth By Day

The Book of Going Forth By Night and Coming Forth By Day, AKA The Egyptian Book of the Dead will be the subject of a History Channel documentary tonight:

Tuesday, August 22 @ 8pm ET/PT

It's a story that spans 4,000 years, older than the Bible...and it's all true. It was lost for thousands of years, discovered a century ago, and its true meaning recently resurrected by the miracle of computer graphics! The reason the Egyptians built the pyramids, it's the first written description of any religion--and is the likely source of the 10 Commandments! In this 2-hour special we follow the ancient scroll from creation around 1800 BC near the site of the Egyptian city of Thebes, to rediscovery (and theft!) in 1887 AD. Join us in a tale that spans from the age of papyrus to the age of silicon...and beyond. Biblical scholars agree that portions of the Old Testament are direct descendants of the Egyptian text, and some archaeologists argue that Moses must have read and carried a copy of it with him when he fled Egypt! And now, a new generation is reexamining the ancient text for wisdom that can still affect our inner lives! TVPG cc

Before this airs read my blog post, Abrahamic what and see if Sondjata was lying to y'all.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Andrew Young II- Response to Comment

An Annonymous commentator from Seattle Wa. or thereabouts posted a comment on my recent post regarding Andrew Young's recent comments about various racial groups business practices in black communities. He, and that is an assumption, posted:

yeah and the facts also prove
1) blacks are more likely to committ crime
2) have children out ot wedlock
3) belive in governement dependancy
4) name their kids stupid faux-african names like "lamisha"
5)use anger to intimidate people

why shouldn't people openly talk about it without being labelled racist? In my neighborhood there have been 2 murders recently where the murderers have been young black men and the victims elderly Asian women. hmmm. yet if they associate blacks with crime/violence the AA community whines. how unfair. black people are the new KKK

So let's address this. Do the facts prove that blacks are more likely to committ(sic) crime? Well if we watch the news, videos, etc. that would seem to be the case. Indeed the facts as they were point to blacks being incarcerated at a rate disproportionate to their population. If we simply took incarceration as the indicator of black criminality, I wouldn't be in a position to argue. However; other facts throw an entirely different light on the subject. In a blog post discussing Bill Bennett's inflammatory remarks about aborting black babies to reduce crime I pointed out the following:

According to the Bureau of Prisons as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics there are 4,919 black male inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States (June 2004). If you divide the black population (~40 mill) in half and do the math (20 mill *4919)/100,000 you would get a total of 983,800 black male inmates or 2.45% of the total black population.

White males are represented by 717 male inmates per 100,000 white males. In 1988 the white/black population ratio was 6.44. If we assume this number to still be accurate then our hypothetical white male population would be 128,800,000 people. Doing the math we did for the black population, we would get another 923,496 inmates. If we put these numbers together we get close to the total prison population of the US as of June 2005 (2,131,180). What immediately jumps out is that following Bennett’s logic, if we aborted every white baby, we would see the same drop in crime, since eliminating all white babies or all black babies would produce, mathematically, the same drop in inmates, and the crimes they committed.

Therefore, mathematically, whites and blacks are incarcerated at the same numbers. So the claim that "blacks are more likely to commit crimes" doesn't quite hold up. But if we look at this further then other things appear. How often do whites get away with jailable offenses that blacks do not get away with? Or how often do white lawbreakers get away with crimes that blacks who commit lesser crimes (or non at all) get jail time for? Back in September of 2004 I wrote about a NYU student who, well, lets read:

In an incredible (and true) story, a 19 year-old New York University undergraduate student was recently arrested and charged with committing three felonies, including criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds – each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The undergraduate student sold high-grade marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms to an undercover New York City police officer on eight separate occasions from the lobby of her dormitory. But that’s not the incredible part.

Despite facing up to 75 years in prison for her offenses, the student, a white female from a wealthy family, will actually never see a prison cell if she satisfies the gracious terms of the deferred prosecution agreement brokered between a Manhattan District Attorney and the defendant’s private attorney. The sweetheart deal – brace yourself for this one – includes 10 months at a drug rehabilitation center in Idaho followed by 8 months of work or school, and 5 years probation. Moreover, she will be permitted to plead guilty to lesser charges (perhaps misdemeanors) in 2006, pending successful completion of her “sentence.” Perhaps most importantly, her case was handled by state, rather than federal, authorities, allowing her to avoid severe federal mandatory minimum laws that would have likely resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.

So we have at least one instance where a white person who should have found herself in jail, not receiving jail time for all manner of drug charges. Meanwhile:

Kemba Smith was a casualty of America’s “war on drugs.” Like the New York University student, Kemba was a college student in 1995 at Hampton University. But unlike the New York University student, Kemba never handled or sold drugs but was in an abusive relationship with a drug dealer. Unlike the New York University student, Kemba is Black, which is a critical distinction.

Law enforcement spent months trying to make a case against Kemba’s boyfriend, but he was murdered before police could catch him. Incredibly, Kemba was sentenced under federal sentencing guidelines to nearly 25 years in prison for her “involvement” in the crack cocaine conspiracy. Although prosecutors admitted that she had never sold drugs, Kemba was held accountable for the crack cocaine distributed by her boyfriend. It wasn’t until President Clinton granted Kemba’s petition for clemency that she was finally freed after serving 6 ½ years of her sentence.

Right then. If this is indicative of the "justice" system, then the supposed "less crime prone" white population is patently false.

Does this mean that there are not criminal black killers out there? no doubt but there existence does not prove blacks being more likely to commit crimes, just that they are more likely to commit crimes that are easy to see, solve and perhaps prosecute.


2) have children out ot wedlock True. Statistically, black children are more likely to be in single and female headed homes. First I would say that who's business is it if a woman decides to have a baby without a husband? Secondly, I would only want to deal with that issue in the context of minors and people who are not in an economic situation to care for children they birth.


3)3) belive in governement dependancy I'm not entirely sure what that means, but if that means that blacks are more likely to think that the government ought to provide a safety net for its citizens, you can count me in. If this is some thinly veiled "welfare queen" argument the writer should know that there are more white people on welfare (government dependence) than blacks, though blacks, being disproportionately poor relative to their population, are over represented in the idea of who's on welfare. Also, I find it hypocritical to point out black so-call "government dependency" ideology when businesses are actually the largest recipients of government largess in the forms of tax breaks, zoning changes and eminent domain. I won't even get into the largely white population that benefit from current "tax reform" passed by congress. Dependency indeed.

4) name their kids stupid faux-african names like "lamisha" Exactly who's business is it what someone want's to name their child? and who are you to discriminate against someone for having a name you don't like? But aside from that, Had the history of Africans in America been different, say, no slavery, forced name changes, etc. you'd have a population that would be able to name their children culturally appropriate names. So if you don't like the "fake" names, perhaps you ought to take that up with the Washingtons, Jeffersons and Hamiltons.

5)use anger to intimidate people Now this is the typical white male (or female) fear talking here. Blacks must be angry all the time because they want to intimidate people. I'm not even going to get into this one since it is clearly a situational issue and therefore prima facie non-factual.

to the closing comment:

why shouldn't people openly talk about it without being labelled racist? In my neighborhood there have been 2 murders recently where the murderers have been young black men and the victims elderly Asian women. hmmm. yet if they associate blacks with crime/violence the AA community whines. how unfair. black people are the new KKK .

It is never racist to state observations. It is never racist to ask a well thought out question? Heck definitively a 'racist" must ask questions because , definitively a racist is one who is studying a race and therefore must ask questions and seek answers. now a White Supremacist or one who ascribes to it's philosophy will ask such questions with the intent of proving a certain point of view, which in this case would be the supposed inferiority of blacks ie: they are criminal, baby makers who give their kids silly names, think the government should support them and as part of their criminal nature seek to intimidate people. That two black men killed two elderly Asian women must prove that blacks are criminal regardless to the fact that black criminals make up less than 3% of the total black population. Such facts are ignored in favour of racialized conspiracy theories of blacks desires to decimate non-black populations through killing sprees. But to point that out would be "whining".

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lieberman and Lamont

First: Why was Jesse. Sharpton and Waters in Connecticut and not Georgia? I'm going to especially point that question to Sharpton who himself had been vilified and slandered in the media before getting suited up. This erstwhile "pro-black" man who came to the aide of Tawana Brawley" felt it was more important to support a rich white man in Connecticut then to help a relatively broke black woman in Georgia who speaks more truth to power than Lamont has in his entire short political career.


I have said for a while now that I believe that the Democratic Party has been infiltrated. I think the DLC is the subtle arm of this infiltration. However we have now seen that the Republican party is now so bold as to openly support candidates within the Democratic party even when registered Democrats have voted that candidate down. That there has not been a huge response from Democratic Leadership on this is a serious serious problem to me. Lieberman has been on air repeating Republican talking points or shall I say "talking lies" for the better part of two weeks now. If Lieberman is going to talk like a Republican why not drop out of the Democratic Party and register as a Republican and run on the Republican ticket? I think that the people, if they are bright, should vote down any candidate who has the backing of an opposing party and do so on principle. Their failure to do so will further undermine the Democratic party (full disclosure: I am not a registered anything). Ultimately I think that the Democratic party is in real jeopardy of splitting up into progressive and so called "moderate" camps and we could see a conservative, moderate, liberal party system. I for one would be very heartened if those bold members of congress who are "progressive" immediately formed a new party that while it would be small would put that party on the map with a sizable representation in congress and would be another party to be negotiated with on close legislation. But that's off topic. I do hope that the people of Connecticut reject Lieberman simply for not playing by the long established rules that he himself has said should be respected AND for becoming a mouthpiece of a party he claims to be the opposition to.

Andrew Young's Comments

Coming off this years Garvey recognition I'm back to posting. First, because people have been coming here looking for commentary about it, let me discuss Andrew Young's supposed 'racist" comments regarding retail ownership in black communities. I'm not going to defend Andy Young because this man has sold out (for whatever reason). Previously he was a pro labor leader, now, well up until recently he's been a front for anti-Union Walmart as well as other companies that regularly exploit workers.The Black Commentator has an excellent article on the subject. However; let me get back to the topic at hand.

The NY Times reported:

Instead, people who have known Mr. Young for decades seem rather satisfied that his comment that Jewish, Arab and Korean store owners had “ripped off” black neighborhoods, “selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables”...

“Now I don’t blame anybody,” he said, a day after apologizing for his remarks and resigning from the Wal-Mart payroll. “It was stupid of me to say in that context. No, it wasn’t stupid of me. I said it in the appropriate context. But I didn’t think about how it would read.”...

Mr. Young made his comment to a reporter from a black newspaper, The Los Angeles Sentinel, responding to a question about Wal-Mart’s effects on mom-and-pop businesses.

“I was giving a rational explanation of a historic phenomenon,” he explained later. “Can you talk about ethnicity objectively without it being demeaning or stereotypical?”

He added that he had also discussed black merchants who overcharged the poor.

“The way this came out it makes me sound like I’m refuting everything I’ve done over almost 70 years, frankly,” Mr. Young said.

He defended his work, saying, “I still think that Wal-Mart is good for poor people.”

Now given that I don't agree with Young's position on Walmart, it is interesting that he apparently has been given the Cosby treatement. By the Cosby treatment I mean that it appears that the outrage is based on selective quoting that has been taken out of context (I do not currently have access to the article in question). What is perhaps most hypocritical of the so-called black leadership who have taken Andrew Young to task on his comments is that no one has even made a motion to disprove what he has said. By immediately labelling his comments as "racist" the statements have been made to appear untrue. I would presume then that James Baldwin is a racist as well since he made similar comments about jews in black neighborhoods in his books.

What about the known fact that black hair care supplies are very prevalent in black neighborhoods? There is a documentary on the internet (Search YouTube for it) that documents this. Now, I'm not going to personally denegrate Koreans for doing business since it is in my opinion the fault of black people for not supporting black businesses that provide the service. But still in terms of facts, Koreans make a nice piece of change by doing business in black neighborhoods.

Let me deal with the Arabs. It is known in black neighborhoods (the ones much of the so called black leadership do not live in), that many corner stores are owned by Arabs. Again, I'm not going to denegrate Arabs because of it, but there's nothing racist about pointing it out. It is not racist to point out that some of these Arabs sell pork which is forbidden for them to eat, sell or handle (if they are Muslim). And blacks in these neighborhoods know this. It is known that many products are priced well above the costs in other non-black neighborhoods. Now there are potentially some reasons for this, such as the smaller item count driving up the per-unit price. Perhaps the costs of insurance for being in a "dangerous" neighborhood is a part of higher costs. I don't know, and perhaps that needs to be discussed, but again if you have an ethnic group making a lot of money (relatively speaking) selling goods at a relatively high cost in poor black neighborhoods then it is not wrong to point it out. Are they "blood sucking"? I don't know, I haven't seen the data but has anyone seen the data? If not how can you simply condemn a comment when even the criticizer does not have evidence to disprove the comment?

Jews: I'm not in possession of information that shows that Jews run hair shops or food places in black neighborhoods. So I can't say. I can say that it is known that there are some Jews who do (or have) owned many properties in black neighborhoods who make quite a nice living off of the rents paid by those tenants. Again, I'm not denegrating this group for conducting business, but if a group of people are making their living from the rents of blacks I can talk about it. If, say in Harlem, the owners of property previously rented to black people, are moving to gentrify the neighborhood and doing upgrades that they were unwilling to make when the neighborhood was "for blacks" then I can ask the question about the motives of those owners.

So, in short Andrew Young may have been out of order in his comments, but none of the critiques or reports thus far have proven it. They have all, so far, parroted the "it was racist (meaning incorrect)" line without even providing proof. I guess that's what we call "reporting" now.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Technorati and Authority

Authority, in the context of this post is defined as:
a book or other source able to supply reliable information or evidence.

While writing about Cynthia McKinney's loss last week I did a Technorati search on the subject to see what was posted online. There was, as expected a great deal of posts on the subject most of which were downright personally nasty. so in order to try to cut through the chatter and reach blogs that had real information, pro or con, I decided to sort the results by "authority". Of course I was expecting authority to be defined as I had it above (taken from the dictionary). when I saw that many of the libelous and insulting posts were at the top of the results returned I began to wonder what exactly Technorati considered "authoritative". It appeared that the qualification for "authoritative" was the number of links a blog (or article) received. So you can post material that is factually incorrect and potentially libelous material and be ranked as a "highly authoritative" blog or blog post on the matter because a whole lot of people have links to your blog. So I revisited the definition of "authority" to see if perhaps I missed something. Well one definition is:

The power to influence others, esp. because of one's commanding manner or one's recognized knowledge about something.

This definition reminded me of the definition of "popularity":

The state or condition of being liked, admired or supported by many people

it seems to me that, at least on this subject, many of the "authoritative" bloggers were authoritative only in their perceived influence on others by means of measuring their inbound blog links rather than the actual accuracy or veracity of their blogs or blog entries. But the blogs are not authoritative in the first instance nor are they strictly authoritative based on the second definition. Indeed it appears that in reality these blogs "Authoritativeness" is based on their actual popularity which is ultimately the only thing that inbound links can actually measure by themselves. The scary thing about this is that as I've noticed in my stat reports, students as well as other people, apparently use blogs for reference material. I've noticed a number of people coming in from Word documents with term paper like names. Now using my blog as a reference is not a problem because I don't simply post my opinion. 99% of the time I provide direct links and extensive quotations from primary sources.

Last night I was sort of watching a re-run of Rambo: First Blood on UPN-9. One thing that has changed at the network is the new "My UPN" or
"MY 9" logo. I cannot help but to think that this is a direct consequence of the "Myspace" phenomenon where anyone can post their thoughts about anything and try to get themselves or their favorite band or whomever promoted to alpha my-spacer by getting linked to by as many people as possible. This My-spacification of information is what I see at Technorati. information is based not on the veracity of the information posted, but on the popularity of the author. This My-Spacification, this cult of popularity is a problem to me. The pressure is to conform to and cater to a peer group and to give them that which maintains ones popularity rather than the pressure to grow that comes from the valuation of ones contribution being based on accuracy and critique.

Ah well, here's to not being considered authoritative.


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Friday, August 11, 2006

Who Let These Fools Talk?

Yesterday, It was with dismay that I watched a video which confirmed an early report of some of McKinney's crew having verbal altercations with members of the press. While I can completely understand the frustration at watching McKinney be insulted on a near daily basis and watching the media make wholly false claims against her, the following actions were simply out of line.

Firstly, this shows a low level of discipline within the campaign. Bodyguards are not spokespersons. It is not their job to speak to anyone at all. Period. As I've said in my coverage of the Capitol Police incident and in the previous redux on McKinney's defeat, there is and was a clear lack of foresight and judgment on the part of the people who have been allowed into McKinney's circle. People who are driven by their own ego rather than the good of the person they are supposedly working for. They have apparently forgotten that McKinney is not a member of a group like the NOI in which she can say and do whatever she pleases so long as the volunteer followers agree with her. She is, was, in a position that was predicated on the satisfaction of an electorate that could remove her rather than the other way around.

In the end comments such as: "I'm gonna get your Jewish Ass" were wholly unexcusable. Just as I am comepletely opposed to people who assault McKinney or call her a "bitch", "Ghetto Slut" and "Ho", I must object strongly to that unneccessary comment including the party with the Yarmukle on comment.

Clearly some members of the NBPP or whomever else was involved ought to read the Note to so called POC revolutionaries Because we have a clear violation of rule 4:

4) Name calling: Oh I think a lot of people fall down here. Most times conscious people are seen as being mad all the time. They are probably right. Often times I notice that persons who cannot defend their positions (even when they have the right one), end up name calling. Oh yes, your buddies will probably love you for "telling that cracker off" or whatever the opposition happens to be. Problem is, a lot of people who may have been with you may be turned off by your mouth (pen or keyboard). You simply never know who is in the audience and what they will respond too. Since even the most sailor mouthed person can understand to an intelligent and coherent argument, there is no need for the name calling. Worst yet, your opposition will use your sudden lack of vocabulary to smear you in the eyes of the audience. People will look at you and think that the foulness coming out of your mouth is indicative of what you stand for. Hey, I understand how easy it is. On occasion I've even fallen off that wagon. But be sure, you are being watched and listened to. Watch. Your. Mouth.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Arabs are Making it all up!

I happened upon this website
in which we find a YouTube clip where a man says that the destruction that we have been seeing in Lebanon for the past few weeks is not the result of Missiles and bombs. No. It is faulty construction! Apparently we are merely witnessing buildings self-destruct.

Did I mention the laughing in the background?

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Death Knell of Black Protest Poltics: The Case of Cynthia McKinney

Cynthia Mckinney was defeated last night by Hank Johnson in a run off election in the 4th district in Georgia in which McKinney garnered less votes than in the initial primary and her lowest numbers since her defeat by Denise Majette. There are many reasons for this defeat which we will go into soon, but what the reader ought to know is that the statements reported by a variety of Georgia voters indicates that the era of Black protest politics is all but dead. I'll get back to that point in a minute. First I think it instructive to look back on this event and see what problems there were both internally and externally. First I will begin with the internal.

The McKinney camp should have known better than to run a low profile campaign. This assumes that McKinney had the funds to do otherwise. In 2002 when she asked her famous questions: "What did the president know?" "When did he know it?" and "did any of his friends profit?" all guns were pointed at her. That set of questions became the basis of a non-stop smear campaign lead by the Republicans. Publicly this line of questioning, which was actually vindicated in various news reports in both mainstream and "alternate" media as well as the 9-11 commission, caused the media to label her as a "looney conspiracy theorist". After all, at the time, most Americans bought the line that the President knew nothing of any plots to hijack planes (which is now known to be untrue). We also know that at least two of the 9-11 hijackers were known by the CIA and FBI prior to 9-11. We know that they had concerns about these individuals and we know that these concerns were dismissed by the president. These are now known and vindicate McKinney's questioning. The media implied that McKinney said that the president allowed 9-11 to happen so that his buddies could profit from the war. However, there is no quotation anywhere, in any literature that says that. That said, we do know that the war in Iraq was premeditated. We know, from documentation that 9-11 was seen as the perfect justification to execute the premeditated plan to invade Iraq and we know that the war in Iraq would have been done regardless to whether WMD's were located there or not. We also know that Haliburton, Kellog, Brown and Root among other companies with close ties to the President and Vice-President were awarded no-bid contracts for "rebuilding" Iraq as well as "security forces". In essence the President's "friends" have, in fact profited off of the war, predicated on outright phoney "intelligence" under the cover of 9-11 terrorism prevention logic.

Furthermore, it was McKinney who during a congressional hearing was able to put into the congressional record the fact that there were multiple "war games" taking place on 9-11 which may have contributed to the slow response to not 1 but 2 "missing" planes. I say "may" because those individuals who were being questioned on this matter were afforded "lunch breaks" that allowed them to avoid answering the questions. Therefore; to label McKinney "loony" for actually asking the same questions the 9-11 committee asked; to label Mckinney "looney" when the facts on the ground support her line of questioning either directly or indirectly means that there is some political reason why McKinney needed to be labelled "looney". Part of this is that if McKinney's positions are validated then there would be repercussions for both Democrats AND Republicans.

I'm not entirely sure whether McKinney had done so, but I do not believe that her campaign had done anything substantial to address this issue which in reports around the web and press can be seen as one of the reasons so many were sour on her. For example, this information could have been printed up and mailed to or put into peoples mailboxes over the two years after she regained her congressional seat. A sit down with the constituents on this matter in a manner that could not be spun by the media would have been a perfect means to plant the seed of questioning in their minds about the veracity of the information used against McKinney. It may not have convinced all the people, but it would have put a rational, "I met her and she's not foaming at the mouth" feel to her.

The second problem with her non-campaign campaign was that her staff apparently forgot about the Denise Majette incident. Apparently they thought that Denise Majette won only because of some white majority hiding somewhere in her district. No, She won because a significant part of the black voting population in her district voted for her. McKinney's priority should have been to find out why this portion of the black community voted against her. Sure they may well be "Uncle Tom House Negroes" but as district constituents they should have been allowed to put their concerns to her and she should have addressed them, yea or nay. Again, I don't know the specifics of her campaign, but the low keyness of it would appear to me contributed significantly to her defeat because to many voters she was simply MIA.

The third problem with her campaign was that she missed the debates. I understand that many times the incumbent actually wins these things by denying their opponent validation by refusing to debate with them. When you're popular you can do this. When people are calling you "looney" and you've previously lost your seat, you don't miss debates. Debates are the one place where you can put out information for free and uncensored. These were missed opportunities for McKinney to humanize herself to her critics and, most importantly show that she is not "nuts." Renember that because a large number of folks thought she was "nuts" they would tune in to see what "antics" McKinney would do "this time." Those were opportunities to put a lie to the idea. Speaking of nuts I have to discuss the police incident.

I said in a previous writing that it was a huge, HUGE mistake for McKinney to hit the police officer in DC. It was even worse that it happened during an election year. Her advisors did her a great disservice by not having her apologize immediately. I would say that politically this incident probably cost her the most points. If you read the papers and internet posts regarding her "representability" this one incident comes up frequently. The picture of your congressperson "flipping out" does not do any campaign good. Did the cop deserve to be hit. I think so. They are trained to recognize congresspersons on sight. That whole "she had different hair" thing is ridiculously "racist". The proof of this is in the interviews with some Black Capitol Police who have stated that not only is it common for blacks including congresspersons to be harassed, but Cynthia McKinney had written a letter asking for the DA to be disciplined over "racist" remarks made to black DC police. Therefore it is highly, highly likely that the police "had it out" for McKinney. Personally I am of the opinion, having had similar rude and inappropriate behavior directly my way by police officers, that police officers who are doing something illegal are, at that moment held in no higher regard or afforded any other authority than a private citizen. That said, as I posted before, that the average citizen would be arrested on the spot for the same incident (if not shot), the whole incident appeared to be of a "self important" congresswoman who thought she didn't have to follow the rules all of us are subject to.

The External Factors

Having discussed the faults in the McKinney campaign machine itself, I want to address the external issues that contributed to her political demise:

High on the list is AIPAC and other American Israeli support PACS. Somewhere about 2002 AIPAC asked McKinney to be a signatory to some statement about supporting Israel. She refused. Since then McKinney has been in their cross hairs. It is known that Denise Majette received a substantial amount of support from Pro-Israeli PACS and individuals which allowed her campaign to reach proportions that her recognition would otherwise not allow. This time around Hank Johnson received massive amounts of "local" money after he became a viable challenger to McKinney. I question the "localness" of this money given that I can give to an organization in Georgia and then that organization can give to a particular candidate. No one can say that I, from NJ, gave to such and such a candidate. I think that the persons and organizations behind Majette learned a lesson in indirect contributions. I can't prove it so one can take this with a grain of salt but I may decide to investigate this angle further.

The second and related groups are the Republican PACs and Republican operatives who also contributed to Hank Johnson, which he admitted to. That black folk in the 4th district, who are mostly registered Democrats would not find that objectionable is interesting and will be discussed later. clearly though those black individuals were more put off by their perception of Mckinney than by the Republican party. It is to me a breech of political etiquette for a rival party to divert funds to a candidate of another party. it's not illegal, but given that I have been saying that the Democratic Party has been infiltrated, I think such actions as these are further evidence to this claim.

The third group, which is largely a subset or superset of the above mentioned group is the press and internet. For example, on election day a radio station in Georgia apparently ran a story about a McKinney being arrested. Now if I was an undecided voter and I heard that McKinney had been arrested, I would not be voting for McKinney. I have no doubt that those who programmed that event knew exactly the impact it would have on the election. But larger than this is the reports that McKinney supports terrorism. The charge was that members of Muslim organizations like CAIR supported McKinney. Since these organization supported or were sympathetic with the Palestinians or Hamas, then they were terrorist organizations therefore McKinney supports terrorism. In fact Hank Johnson, at a debate said that since McKinney had Arab names on her list of donors, she supported terrorism. Now this clear "racist" remark was not only repeated by numerous Conservative and Jewish press it seemed to have been alright with the black voting block. Hank was not called "looney" for such a remark because in America it is OK to claim that any Arab is a terrorist. There is political cover for such speech. Related to this "all Arabs are terrorists" line, there was the oft repeated report that McKinney had apologized to the Saudi Prince at the time, when Rudy Guiliani refused is $10 million dollar gift to NYC because the Prince said that the US ought to reconsider it's foreign policy in the Middle East. Again and again McKinney was cited as being in league with terrorists because she shares this sentiment. However; this sentiment is exactly the sentiments of a great deal of diplomats and foreign policy experts. Is Jimmy Carter in league with terrorists? Would the press be allowed to smear Jimmy Carter in such a manner? I won't even get into Mr, Guiliani, who thinks its ok to shoot at unarmed black men 41 times. Or thinks that police should shoot and kill a black man who under-cover narcotics officers ask to buy marijuana from but are refused. Overall the press, specifically the online conservative press as well as outlets such as the AJC, and specifically a black female writer for that publication who should have known better had a field day allowing misinformation on Mckinney stay front and center.

The last external factor in this was the Democratic Party or better yet the DLC. One comment you hear from the voters in Georgia (and Connecticut as well) is the "ability to work with colleagues" I agree that the ability to work with colleagues is important. It was Nancy Pelosi who should have returned McKinney to her rightful seniority when she returned to congress as is done for everyone else. This clear example of discrimination was allowed to happen by the leadership of the Democratic Party including the members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Though reported in outlets such as the Black Commentator, the people who could do anything about it were simply MIA. The Black Congressional Caucus, as well as the majority of Democrats were similarly MIA when McKinney was called a "bitch" by a Senate Republican, on record.

So there we have it. A perfect storm of organized subterfuge, self-destructive behavior and outright abandonment that culminated to cost McKinney her seat, which I do not think she will ever get back. More important to me though, is the sign that this defeat indicates for black protest politics. One would have hoped that the increase in affluent black people in Georgia's 4th district would have meant that a stand up person such as McKinney would have a relatively easy time of it being able to raise funds from a local, affluent group of black folks who could insulate her from the racists whites around her who have, as of today called her a "bitch" and a "Ho". Instead we have seen that this affluent class of blacks are far from their humble roots. Instead of "truth to power" they actually voted for a person who made a clearly "racist" remark that in other circumstances would be directed at them. Instead of holding the Democratic Party's feet to the fire for it's blatant discrimination against McKinney, this group has voted for someone less likely to "rock the boat." Indeed these voters have forsaken the letter from a Birmingham jail written by their native son Dr. King Jr. in which he lamented even the black clergy and other leaders for their willingness to "go slow" and "not rock the boat" and to stand up for principle. Indeed it would appear that with their newfound wealth and societal acceptance, they are slowly becoming that which was marched against. To vote McKinney out of office because the police harassed her, when we know that police do, in fact harass black people, is a poor political decision (even though it was a bad decision on McKinney's part). To call McKinney "looney" because she dared to be the first to ask the important questions regarding 9-11 and the Iraq war, is a bad political decision. When the purpose of congressional representation is simply to see how much money the representative can get out of the treasury rather than the sworn oath to uphold the constitution, which no one can say McKinney has not done. then black voters become no better than many of the people of other races they read and talk about in private. And if that is the direction that the "upwardly mobile" affluent class of blacks are going, then Black protest politics, which has been traditionally rooted in steadfastness, truth and fairness is dead and is being replaced with a politics compromise on principle, unethical behavior and selfishness. One only needs to look at Andrew Young, who went from labor activist to a front man for corporate exploitation. My how the potentially mighty have gone to sleep.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

McKinney Watch

According to the 2000 census reports, if 30% of the black electorate in the 4th district vote for Hank along with any more than 90% of the white electorate, McKinney will be defeated. Denise Majette beat Mckinney by taking that 30% last time. I won't comment again on the subject until after the election.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Joe Knippenberg on Cynthia McKinney for Congress

Joe Knippenberg, one of the targets of my post endorsing Cynthia McKinney has apparently posted a link to that post from his blog here. That link got my attention when I noticed a large number of people coming in from the same location. It turns out, by Joe's own words, that he is not Jewish. He says:

Not that it matters, but I’m not Jewish. In the part of the world from which my father hails, lots of non-Jewish names end with "berg."

So, not being able to verify this information, I'll need to take Joe at his word and offer the corrective of that portion of my previous post. I would say that I find it odd that A) he doesn't say where this place is and B) what he doesn't acknowledge that Jewishness is actually supposed to be inherited from the mother. But that's neither here nor there given that it appears I was incorrect in accessing Joe's ethnicity.[edit 8-7-2006] Knippenberg is apparently a German name dating back to 1309]

That said the rest of Joe's "corrective" consists of:

Cynthia McKinney has a substantial record of supporting radical opponents of Israel. You don’t have to be Jewish to object to that. And I haven’t yet said anything about the way in which she has dealt with the substantial Jewish community in her district.

The hatred and disdain that she and the aforementioned supporter display approach that displayed by someone like David Duke. I don’t have to be the precise object of the hatred and disdain to object to it and vote against the person who displays it.

So, Joe, the non-Jew, is clearly a Israel supporter perhaps even a Zionist. He critiques McKinney for not being held hostage to the "jewish Lobby" and those conservative Christians who want the end times to come and whos support of Israel is really not for the benefit of the Jewish people (whom will be burnt to an eternal crisp upon the second coming). No you don't have to be Jewish to object to 'radical opponents of Israel' but you don't have to be a non-Jew to oppose Israel either. Of course, given the irrational means by which Israel is "defended" it is unclear what constitutes "radical opposition" To Israel. Is being opposed to extra- judical killings of Palestinians "radical"? Is being opposed to second class citizenship for non-jews in Israel radical? Is being opposed to the means by which Israel was created, namely removing the previous inhabitants from their homes, radical? Who determines what is "radical opposition" to Israel?

Of course, like the critique that met the scholarly work on the "Israeli Lobby" some time ago, Joe 'berg takes a book out of his Jewish friend's playbook Link people critical of Israel to a KKK or other White Supremacists. An old, and I shall say, tired, tactic. Of course, if you object to the policies of Israel you must hate jews, want to put them in ovens, kill them on the side of the road for traveling with Negroes..oh yes, that;s right, good old southern white men did that last one, and good old white men in Europe (perhaps where Joe's ancestors came from) did that.

What is truely telling about Mr. Knippenberg is that, like too many of his Jewish counterparts, he attempts to distract a credible critique of his writing by attempting to smear the author as a bigot. The talking heads over at his blog are having a field day on the "Cohen, Hamburg, etc." name game playing and not a single one has taken on the central critique offered on this blog. Simply stated, rather than deal with the issue that Jewish organizations bought Denise Majette (and said so in print). Out of state Jewish organizations provided economic "assistance" to other races affecting black incumbents. Hence Joe's (and Hank's) critique that McKinney is getting "out of state" financial support and support from "gasp" Muslims, is hypocrisy at it's highest level.

But no, Knippenberg would rather we be "conventional" Negroes who "keep our heads down" and ignore the facts.

[update: Joe's been checking us out and posted an "update" to his original link. Does he dispute the central facts in the original Cynthia McKinney post? Does he even acknowledge the fact in the original McKinney post? Of course not. No instead he posts a link to This article which he seems to believe I will dismiss because it is a Jewish Newspaper. No, not quite. As the dear Provost ought to know, a scholar does not dismiss information because of where it comes from but rather based on it's veracity. Of course, for a Pro-Israel individual such as Joe 'berg, the positions quoted in the paper are beyond reproach. clearly such a statement as:

Mr. Tayeh's comments appeared in a letter to the editor in the November 28 issue of The Hill, a Washington weekly. "What is more disturbing to me is that many of these pro-Israeli lawmakers sit on the House International Relations Committee despite the obvious conflict of interest that their emotional attachments to Israel cause," he wrote, identifying himself as a member of Ms. McKinney's staff. "The Israeli occupation of all territories must end, including Congress," he added.

cannot be true. Cannot be based on verifiable information. Nay, though Others have come to the same conclusion. it must be as this paper puts it:

"the most vile anti-Semitic canards that have been invoked against Jews throughout the ages,"

Yeah, we know the drill. Should I again remind Mr. knippenberg about who put who in gas chambers?

But of course the shrilliness, kind of like truthiness, continues with comments like:

Rep. Eliot Engel of New York said he found it "very hard to believe" that a congressional staffer would send a letter "without that member of Congress, or anyone in their office, knowing about the letter."

No, of course not. Just as we are not to believe that Bush leaked or allowed the leak of a CIA operative. After all managers in any situation allways, allways, allways know what communiques are leaving their offices. Allways. Without fail. Well look, right; I am currently observing a legal situation at a university where a correspondence went out that should not have, which landed the author in
"hot water" because the subject was defamatory and the object of defamation was 'accidentally" sent a copy of it. I'm glad Rep. Engel runs such a tight ship though.

Of course that's not the real issue. Joe's issue is that:

cKinney has a history of consiorting very closely with confirmed enemies of our long-time ally. She speaks about the U.S. being an "honest broker," but that presupposes an equivalence between Israel and those who dispatch suicide bombers to kill innocent civilians and who apparently will not be satisfied while the state of Israel still exists.

Where to start? Anyone has McKinney, on record or off that states that she supports destroying Israel? Anyone? OK.
Next I agree that there is no equivalence of Israel and Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Israel has billions of dollars of US military equipment with which to bomb, assasinate or otherwise hold Palestinians hostage. There is no equivalent. Israel is a settler state not unlike Aparthied South Africa. I bought this up earlier and Joe still hasn't found the time to address that. Joe doesn't have a problem with colonizing an area of the world. He believes those colonized ought to roll over and play dead or at the very least "keep their heads down". Of course anyone who disagrees with Joe's line ought not be in office, in which case the only people who should be in office are those who support Israel. In this case then the comment quoted in the Forward that:

"The Israeli occupation of all territories must end, including Congress,"

Would have to be correct, no?

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Cuba! Of Disidents and Interventionists

So Fidel Castro has gone under the knife and constitutionally turned over power to his brother. The US is sending radio messages to the Cuban people saying they will support "democratic" change in the country. There are people in Washington planning on undermining the Cuban government as soon as Castro has taken his last breath. Well, actually they've been trying that for some time now but this time the US is really salivating at the prospect of not having to deal with Castro at all. This post however is not about the US plans as much as it is a reminder to the Cuba watchers, Dissidents and would be interventionists.

Let me ask a few questions of those persons in Cuba who cannot wait for the fall of Castro:

It is pretty clear that your country is not as wealthy as it could have been. clearly some of that blame can be placed at the feet of Castro himself, primarily for allowing himself to be used by the Soviet Union, however how many of you have considered that much of your economic problems stems from that country to your north that you idolize? Cuba may have a communist government, but the US deals with communists countries. The difference is that the ones they have dealt with are far larger than Cuba, far from the shores of the US and, oh yes, have Nuclear arms. Why is such a large country with such a vast military and a huge economy so scared of an island in the Caribbean that it needs to impose an economic blockade and seeks to punish countries and businesses that would work in Cuba? Think of it for a minute really. If Communism or whatever it is that is is practiced there is so inherently bad, why not let Cuba be and see if it sinks under it's own weight? Why not allow US citizens to travel freely to the country. No doubt if the political and economic philosophy of America is so strong and so correct, the logic would rub off on the people of Cuba who would rise up against Castro. Oh no doubt that uprising would cost some lives but "freedom" T'aint free no?

But enough about politics, what about the things that matter. While your country is poor you have one of the best medical systems in the world. Up here in the states, a far far far richer country than Cuba, millions of people do not have health care. People die here simply because they cannot afford a visit to the doctors office to treat medical conditions that if caught early would have prevented death. Oh and these aren't the homeless people. No these are in many cases so called "middle class" people who work hard and pay their taxes. Why is this the case? Well in large part because large corporations (and wanna be large corporations) basically run the system. Now I'm sure you have some shady people in your medical establishments as no one and no system is perfect, but you should be wondering what will happen to your medical system once the new "US friendly" government is installed "for you".

I understand that Cuba has an extremely high literacy rate. You do know that up here public education is being gutted in favor of "vouchers". Basically the idea is that a quality education will go to some and the rest, well, there's always jail. I would be pretty concerned about a country with such ideas offering to "help" with a new government.

I understand that even though you have not had a chance to vote for president, you do have elections for other offices. I would like to remind you of the election fiascos that have occurred here in the US during the last two presidential elections. While I can't determine as of yet, whether the fiascos rose to the level of illegality, they did stink to high hell. I think you may want to think closely about the motives of a government that would dicker with it's own citizens voting and would like to "help" you become more "democratic". I would be very concerned. Enjoy it while it lasts until big business owners are the only ones who can afford to run and they receive cash and "campaign advice" from US "think tanks" and "policy designers" and the "little man" can't win an election (see Mexico).

Lastly; I know that a great many people are eyeing Cuba for business purposes. I do recall that it was the exploitative nature of business in Cuba that informed Castro's revolution in the first place. I have nothing against business, but you ought to be concerned as business in "third world" countries is a very nasty enterprise. I would point you to Mexico, where after NAFTA and CAFTA, Mexicans find it better to risk death crossing deserts to get jobs in the US. WHole towns have been depopulated of men who leave for better pay. No doubt there are Mexicans that are benefiting from NAFTA, but they are outnumbered by those who find themselves at the short end of the stick. So I hope you are prepared for a situation of riches for some and exploitation for the many.

Well anyways. I'm not an expert on Cuba and I could be totally wrong about what's going on there, but I do know what the government here would like to do and believe me when that reality sinks too will know.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cynthia For Congress

The American Institute has posted an article in which one Mr. Joseph Knippenberg hates on McKinney. We are not surprised by this at all. After all given the history of certain Jewish organizations backing certain types of black people we are not surprised that a "'berg" would have issues with a black person (a woman at that) who does not, in his words, "keep her head down". But lets let Knippenberg speak for himself:

We seized our first opportunity in 2002, when Denise Majette, with the assistance of many “malicious” crossover voters like me, unseated McKinney in the Democratic primary. But Majette, a conventionally liberal African-American Democrat, abandoned what could have been a safe seat to make a quixotic run for the Senate seat now held by Republican Johnny Isakson, paving the way for McKinney’s return.

ahh, Knippenberg likes "conventional" Negroes who are bought by Jewish organizations like AIPAC. But let's continue:

Of course, in a low-turnout run-off, anything can happen. McKinney’s organization, cultivated over twelve years, ought to stand her in good stead. She ought to be able to get her loyalists to the polls. But, not surprisingly, money has been flowing into Johnson’s campaign coffers. And while McKinney has gotten some high-profile endorsements, so has Johnson...Johnson, a mild-mannered and plodding campaigner whose voting record on matters that actually come before Congress would likely not be very different from McKinney’s (save perhaps in one respect, noted below), responded in the debate by calling attention to the out-of-state money she has attracted. If, as she implied, politicians do the bidding of their donors, whose interests will McKinney be serving? I wish that Johnson had gone for the jugular here. He could have noted, as did Daniel Pipes during the 2004 election campaign, that a substantial portion of McKinney’s reportable individual contributions during this election cycle came from Arab- and Muslim-Americans, most of whom were out-of-state. Why, he might have asked, are they so interested in supporting McKinney?

Ahh thw money question. I'm glad they brought that up. In April of 2004 I posted about Majette's economic and political support with a quote from the Atlanta Jewish Times:

Knowledgeable sources confirm that some Jewish supporters have already called Majette’s 4th District congressional office in Decatur demanding their money back.

Answering their concern, Majette told The Jewish Times, “It was not my intention to deceive anyone. I have honored my commitments. I have addressed Jewish concerns.

“Those who supported me will continue to have a voice in the Senate,” she continued. “I hope they will give me the opportunity to serve [there].”

Lest that not be enough of a smoking gun, lets look at my February 2004 post on the subject where the SF times is heavily quoted:

It's worth taking a look at the Web site of the U.S. Federal Election Commission. Look for contributors to Artur Davis, a Black lawyer who won the Democratic primaries in the 7th Congressional District in Alabama …. Davis beat his rival, the 60-year-old, five-term Earl Hilliard, who is also Black, by a 56-44 percent vote. Here are some of the names from the first pages of the list of his contributors: there were 10 Cohens from New York and New Jersey, but before one gets to the Cohens, there were Abrams, Ackerman, Adler, Amir, Asher, Baruch, Basok, Berger, Berman, Bergman, Bernstein and Blumenthal. All from the East Coast, Chicago and Los Angeles. It's highly unlikely any of them have ever visited Alabama, let alone the 7th Congressional District. (Now recall what happened when Savage named names like that.)

What do the Adlers and Bergmans have to do with an unknown lawyer running for a Congressional seat from Alabama. Why should Jews from all over the United States send hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign coffers, which reached $781,000 - compared to the $85,000 he had in his coffers the last time he ran, and lost? The answer can be found in the AIPAC index of pro-Israel congressmen. Hilliard, who once visited Libya, is paying (with) his Congressional seat for a number of votes the Jewish lobbyists didn't like.

Say what? I see. Mr. Knippenberg, is Ok with "conventional", "Keep your head down" negroes so long as they accept Jewish money and support pro-Israeli positions. No wonder Mr. Knippenberg is so mad at Cynthia.

My position on voting has been pretty clear on this blog. I don't vote because I am unwilling to lend any credence to half assers or lesser of two,three or four evils. I have stated that in the event that a candidate for office existed that represents most of if not all my positions then I would in fact register and vote. Given that I cannot vote in Georgia I have done the next best thing and donated to Cynthia McKinney's campaign. I encourage all persons who read and agree with the general tenets of this blog to put their money where their mouths and minds are. It is clear that large non-black and non-black interest groups are pouring money into "kneegrow" hands and the DLC and assorted "democratic" machines are doing their best to torpedo McKinney just as they are trying to roadblock Kwesi Mfume. I have stated in my introduction of the Olatunji Foundation, that it is simply not enough for us to talk we simply cannot expect for our leadership, or representatives in the field of ideas to fill those positions without the economic support of those that claim them. I've done my part so Do yours

[edit 8-6-2006]Correction and additional commentary here[/edit]

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Latino Hate Crimes

For some time there have been reports about the rising tensions between African-Americans and Latinos in California. Be it school fights or prison fights, it appeared that there was something afoot in Cali. Recently a case of gang members from the Avenues set were put on trial for specifically targetting African-Americans for murder in a manner not to different from the Ku Klux Klan in their heyday. I am not particularly fond of hate crime legislation since I think the government should not be policing peoples thoughts no matter how despicable they may be. This case really challenged me on this point but I still think that at best the government could have gotten the desired end result (jail time) without the need of Civil Rights legalizing. But let's get back to the case since it is particularly disturbing. The LA Times reports on the conviction of 4 Avenues gang members:

unlike other racial gang strife in the city, the Avenues' violence was deliberately aimed at African Americans with no gang affiliations, including women and children. The gang scrawled threats and racial epithets in graffiti on walls.

Among crimes committed by the defendants from 1995 to 2001, according to testimony, were shooting a 15-year-old boy riding a bike; hitting a jogger in the head with a pistol; drawing outlines of human bodies in chalk on a family's driveway, along with a racial slur; and knocking a woman off her bike, threatening her husband with a box cutter, and saying, "You niggers have been here long enough."

One night in April 1999, the defendants were riding in a van and came upon a black man, Kenneth Wilson, parking his Cadillac. When Martinez asked if anyone wanted to kill a black man, three of them jumped out, ran up to Wilson's windows and opened fire, witnesses said. A shot to the head killed him before the car had even rolled to a stop.

Saldana bragged later that he just wanted to test out his new 9-millimeter Ruger.

Another black man, Christopher Bowser, was harassed and beaten up by the defendants for years. In December 2000, he filed a police report saying Martinez had assaulted and robbed him at a bus stop near his house. A week later, Bowser was shot to death at the same bus stop on Figueroa Street.

Five days later, Avila told a fellow gang member, in a taped phone call from jail, that he and Martinez had been beating up mayates for weeks, using a Spanish-language epithet for blacks. After mentioning Bowser, he added, "That fool is gone." Avila was convicted in state court of the murder.

I really wanted to believe that the actions of these individuals was along the lines of "normal" gang activity including random violence against civilians, but the testimony makes it pretty clear that the targets were targeted for being black. Period. The question that has to be asked is whether the attitudes informing the actions of these individuals are aberration or the violent outbreak of an undercurrent that exists within the various communities that make up the population referred to as "latinos".

I think that the defenses use of blacks who had not had any problems with the Avenues was faulty. Like the Klan, they didn't go after each and every black person they saw. It was when the Klan wanted to "put blacks in their place" that they showed out.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Re: Technocrats Please!

Emeka Okafor of Africa Unchained recently posted a speech by George Ayittey who called for Technocrats saying:

When Africa's developmobile needed ordinary kerosene to operate, these leaders were pouring in rocket fuel, purchased on credit from the Soviet Union. They knew squat about how the ship of state runs and jammed all its internal systems and institutions. They turned parliament into a “rubber stamp,” packed the judiciary with their cronies and tribesmen. They did the same with the military and security forces. Then they muzzled the MEDIA. In fact, they took over ALL key institutions of the state and subverted them to serve their own selfish interests. Today, the INSTITUTIONS of the state are DYSFUNCTIONAL, rule of law a farce, and our developmobile is KAPUT. Tell a policeman you saw a government minister stealing the people's money and guess who he would arrest: YOU! The police and the judges protect the bandits in power, not the people.


We need TECHNOCRATS to fix our broken, dysfunctional institutions. REPAIRMEN or plumbers who will unclog the gutters or the system. CUTLASSES to chop down all the dead woods Rawlings packed into the civil service. PINCERS to de-worm the judiciary, and so on.

You do NOT need an Nkrumah (a visionary and Pan-Africanist) or a Mandela (a heroic campaigner against white injustice) because they are NOT technocrats.

I have to beg to differ with Mr. Ayittey for a few reasons. Firstly I think Mr Ayittey makes an unnecessary split between the technocrat and the visionary leader. Secondly I think that Mr. Ayittey, like too many educated black people downplay the importance of strong, principled leadership. It is clear that the lack of true Pan-Africanist leadership is a large reason behind many of Africa's current crises. Frantz Fanon was very clear in his seminal work "wretched of the Earth" that the leadership (from the head of state through to the teacher in the rural school) must create a national consciousness. It is clear to me that, other than a football (soccer) game, many in Africa are still to caught up in ethnicism and regionalism. the DRC provides a clear example of this problem. Part of the reason that Patrice Lumumba was overthrown is because of the conflicts between those from different provinces. Therein highlights the problem that the DRC will still face if its people are still voting based on ethnic affiliation. This is the root of the corruption that George Ayittey is going on about.