Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Guns and Butter

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

-Ving Rhames, Baby Boy (Paraphrased)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He lets an ex-girlfriend support their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it would appear that the women hold more sense:

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

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

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Crime In Jamaica Queens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which has been expanded upon with:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technorati Tags: ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Orient Express II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quote of the Year

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

I am my child's first god

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

Climate Change In Africa

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

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

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

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

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

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Genocide Rememberence Day

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

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


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

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

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

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

Think on it.

Technorati Tags: , ,

The Pursuit of Sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ngugi Wa Thiongo Shown Massive Disrespect in Cali

Just caught wind of this over at blacklooks:

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

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robber Barons

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

No thank you
Customer 1991-2006

African Traditions Do Not Spread AIDS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another important issue is communal breast feeding:

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

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

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

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kramer reveals his Cracker

I'll just let the video speak for itself.

Orient Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We Remember Kwame Ture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Technorati Tags: , ,

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hey Rumsfeld: Toodles!

Impeachment Is Off the Table, What Is On the Table?


I just watched Nancy Pelosi, who refused to give Cynthia McKinney back her seniority, say that impeachment is off the table. This in stark contrast to the slim majority of US citizens. That statement should let the American people know that their concerns are not going to be taken seriously. Not only that, it shows that this 'new" Democratic party is not interested in rule of law. The violation of the oath of office and an admitted breaking of federal law is a high crime. What kind of opposition allows such a thing to happen? Ahh Nancy Pelosi made it clear, this is not going to be an opposition. All she said was how they have some Civility pact and such. It would appear that Pelosi has been made Queen Bee and is dictating what Democrats can and cannot do. I have no doubt that Rep. John Conyers, looking to get his chairmanship will be silent on this particular subject which he previously had been relatively supportive of.

Edit 11-13-2006: I re-watched Nancy Pelosi's speech and I was struck by this statement:

So while some people are excited about prospects that they have in terms of their priorities they are not our priorities

Umm how soon chick done forgot that she has her job because "some people" voted her into it and her job is to do what "some people" she supposedly represents, ask her to do. Now perhaps the "some people" of California don't want an impeachment, but "some people" in my neck of the woods are all for it. I would hope that the newly elected Democrats see the completely "undemocratic" message that Ms. Pelosi has made and that they recognize that the VAST majority of people, some registered Republicans included, want Bush and Cheney impeached AND for Rumsfeld and Rice brought up on criminal charges.

[End edit]

This election, in my opinion was a win for Republicans. Yes, they technically lost all these seats, and yes jokers like Rick "mon-dog love" Santorum have been sent home, and yes, those black Republicans were put back under the respective rocks they have been living under, but in order to get this win. the Democrats have been pulled to the right yet again. Already Nancy Pelosi is sounding like a Republican as she talks about "troop redeployment outside of Iraq" when all sane observers of the situation understand that there is no military solution to the current crisis in Iraq. All sane observers understand that the US presence in Iraq feeds terrorists and that the inevitable withdrawal of American troops will also feed terrorists. The difference with the last item is that with US Troops out, the US is no longer diverting money to Iraq and defense contractors and can be put to more important domestic issues.

Now we know that the Congress cannot make THE decision on the Iraq war but if they are serious about ending US involvement in the civil war in Iraq then they should refuse to approve any more funding for it. That is going to be a tough move but it's the only way to put an immediate end to the war. Of course they will be painted as sacrificing the troops. etc. I'd also like to see what happens with Iran and how they deal with Venezuela (I'm not hopeful on the latter point). I can dream and wish that ending the Cuban embargo is also on the table but we know that is not what's going to happen.

On immigration, I'd like to see if strong laws against corporations using illegal immigrants for labor. Forget fences, and criminalizing those who give out humanitarian aid to people in the desert. They should also work with the leader of Mexico to get their economy in order in order to stem the incentives for people to leave that country. It does Mexico little good to have it's people leaving It is a long term disaster waiting to happen.

Hopefully we'll see what is on that table. I hope some Democrats with balls (or ovaries) brings up impeachment. It needs to happen and should be framed as a law enforcement issue.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend Lessons

This weekend provided us with powerful lessons. First I want to highlight the NY ING marathon. There was a study done some time ago that showed that when students were given a test and told that such and such group (racial) usually did very well on the test, the scores of the students who were not of that group usually dropped. This study was done to show that the mere suggestion that a given group was better at something than another, would serve to inhibit performance of the "not as good" group. The flip side of this study is the fact that sometimes those who expect to be on top can become complacent and sometimes tend to underestimate other people who are not expected to "win". yesterday's marathon was an example of that.

In the women's race a Latvian, who won last year, not only won again this year but also dusted, smoked, KILLED the field of Kenyans and Ethiopians who were expected to win. Why did they lose and lose so badly? One thing I kept thinking about was that it was cold out there. I never saw the runners wear arm warmers, gloves, hats and ear warmers before. No doubt that had an effect on the field. However; listening to the post race commentary, it seems that what had happened was everyone, except the winner, expected the Kenyans to win. Therefore no one, except the winner, was willing to make a move until the expected winners did. By the time the expected winners made a move, they had already lost the race. They had underestimated someone who had already demonstrated that she could win.

The mens race was similar except that this time the race was won by someone not expected to win because no one had seen a Brazilian win. Just like in the women's race everyone up to the last mile thought that the Kenyans would win. Everyone expected, except the winner, that the winner would lose steam (as happened to the Moroccan on 1st ave.). Again, over confident in their abilities and/or disrespectful of the talents of others because they had never one before, the Kenyans gave away the race.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Never let those who are expected to succeed intimidate you into given less than your 100% best. In the world outside of sports The African is expected not to succeed. The African is expected to be mediocre. He is expected to be second, third or last. He is expected to govern badly. He is expected to be the tyrant. He is expected to sell out his people for some change. And because the African is expected to be these things he fulfills this destiny. As Carter G. Woodson taught us, when the thinking of the African is limited, then his actions are known and he sees no need to exceed those limits. Indeed he will seek to limit himself in the face of opportunity.

The second lesson we had was in the form of the verdict handed down to Saddam Hussein for his crimes against humanity. George Bush said in a statement that the conviction of Saddam Hussein represented justice for the Iraqi people. If we take his word for it then what did the people of South Africa get? Weren't the crimes of Botha and his regime just as criminal? Why is it a symbol of justice when a dictator who killed citizens of his country is convicted and jailed, while it is a "shining example of humanity" that Black South Africans get to watch the people who brutalized them get off after confessing their crimes? Clearly then, there was no justice. Of course in comparison, Iraq is not at peace and South Africa is (at least compared to Iraq). If Saddam should have been jailed, then at the very least, Botha and his top commanders should have spent the rest of their lives in prison.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Privilege in America

So on Friday on 20/20 John Stossel went out and attempted a hatchet job on the subject of race privilege in America. It was unfortunate that Deborah Roberts was tapped to play the "approvative" negro on the topic. No she wasn't the narrator for this particular subject but she was used to say that she would hope that there wouldn't be a racial privilege. What was completely stupid about the segment was that after being presented with facts that were undisputed (if not the weakest of the evidence), Stossel managed to turn the issue of privilege into one about personal responsibility. He did this by anchoring the segment with Shelby Steele who, as expected brought up black irresponsibility.

The first attempt at changing the subject was this statement during the Tim Wise interview:

"If certain folks historically have been elevated above others, their children, their grandchildren are going to be starting out, one, two, five, ten steps ahead," he says. "Meritocracy … is as close to a lie as you can come."

But what about all the successful immigrants, many of color, who come to America and make fantastic lives for themselves?

"How many more of those persons would there be if there were truly equitable opportunity?" he asks.

The subject is privilege not success. No one is saying that success does not happen. the question is whether or not whites are given a leg up in attaining success in America. However, the immigrant issue should be tackled because there is this very large myth about immigrants vs. natives. What should be remembered is that for every immigrant that is in America there are thousands more left in the mother country. If the immigrant's culture is that much more advanced than that of the "american" then why is it that the countries that many of the immigrants come from are in the shape that they are in? It is clear that oft times the comparison is between the best, if not most motivated, of the country's respective people being compared to the entire population of the "native" population. That is simply an unfair comparison.

Back to Steele. He states in the tail of the segment:

"I grew up in segregation, so I really know what racism is," he says. "I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem."

That whole thing reminds me of Condoleeza's attempt to attach herself to the Civil Rights movement by talking about how she was raised in Birmingham and knew the four little girls. Steele may know "racism" and "segregration" but the man knows nothing on the subject at hand.

Now, I'm not one to complain when people bring up black irresponsibility. After all the evidence is there for all to see and in the end black people have to held accountable for their own failures. That said black irresponsibility has nothing to do with the topic of the segment. No matter how "irresponsible" a black person may be, it does not negate that, as given as an example, black people with identifiably black names are less likely to get interview call backs when they have identical resumes. It does not negate predatory lending. etc. etc.

Therefore the only purpose that Steele's presence served was to attempt to negate the facts offered by Tim Wise and Marc Morial of the Urban League. It was amusing what Mr Steele had to say about opportunity. He claims that opportunities are available to him all the time. he says:

Steele says today there's "minority privilege."

"If I'm a black high school student today … there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities: Almost every institution has a diversity committee," he says. "Every country club now has a diversity committee. I've been asked to join so many clubs, I can't tell you. There is a hunger in this society to do right racially, to not be racist. … And I feel rather privileged by it. I don't have to even look for opportunities in many cases. They come right to me."

If you know nothing about admissions at white institutions let me clue you in. I worked at the registrars office at Cornel University. They had the same percentage of black students every single year for 10 years. regardless to what white institution you look at you will see, definitively, white dominance. So then, how can there be "minority privilege" if it works to maintain white dominance?

Of course, since he gets paid to bad mouth black folk, a right wing organization pays him to do that. We should not be surprised that given the opportunity he would try to turn the tables. Sad that Shelby Steele gets the last word.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Education Vs. Opportunity

No One under more control than the soldier
The Roots

John Kerry recently has been taken to task for a comment about Iraq and education. he said:

You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.''

Now Mr. Kerry has said that it was a joke on President Bush saying that he meant that Bush didn't do his homework and therefore "we" are stuck in Iraq. I really don't buy it. His explanation:

Kerry's office said later the Massachusetts Democrat had misread his prepared remarks that included the words ``Just ask President Bush,'' which he omitted.

It didn't look like he was reading anything when he made the comment, but that's not really important. What is important is that I think that he meant exactly what he said. Statistically speaking, those who possess higher education are more likely to be Democrats. It's a statistical fact that the likes of David Horowitz loves to point out. Democrats, and independents are more likely than not to be informed on the subject of Iraq and to be opposed to the Iraq war. Therefore one could say, with some kind of authority, that indeed if one was educated (though I would say informed) then one would be less likely to be in Iraq. But that doesn't really get at what is important about Kerry's statement. See the issue for many Americans is that many join the military because they do not see or have other viable opportunities. This is a fact. NewsMax reports that:

99.9 percent of the enlisted forces have at least a high school education, 73.3 percent have some college, 16.2 percent have an associate’s degree or equivalent semester hours, and 4.7 have a bachelor’s degree.

By newsmax's count only 4.7% of soldiers have a bachelors degree. MSN Encarta reports that:

The national college graduation rate is 27.2 percent...Data collected by the Census Bureau's American Community Survey shows that 52.7 percent of 25-and-over Seattleites have a bachelor's degree or higher, closely followed by San Francisco (50.1 percent), Raleigh, North Carolina (50.1 percent), Washington, D.C. (45.3 percent), and Austin, Texas (44.1 percent). These same cities ranked--in the same order--as the top five most educated cities in last year's Census Bureau data as well.

Thus, compared to the general population, the military is full of people who are not very educated. The problem here, highlighted by the recent picture from some of the military's finest, is that he's not saying they can't read and write, but that the military is where we find those persons who do not have many other options. The problem is that for many places where these high school graduates come from (and it is agreed by most that a high school diploma does not take one very far in the job market today) lack opportunities. Many recruits do not have the means to attend college and join up to get money for college (which is advertised heavily by the military and is a huge selling point for recruiters).

So by looking at the statistics John Kerry's "joke" is really no joke. It is actually the truth, If you are poor and can't afford college, if social conditions in your neighborhood leave job options such as "drug dealer" and "McDonalds at minimum wage" as the most one can hope for or you're an illegal immigrant looking for legalization, you can end up "stuck" in Iraq. It's too bad that in pandering to the ill informed electorate that makes up way to much of the country, one has to apologize for making a truthful statement and can't even take the time to explain it the way I just did.

Technorati Tags: