Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bad Ruling


I'm not one to take sides with people I perceive to be religious bigots. But I hold to a higher standard that says that a threat to liberty anywhere is a threat to liberty everywhere. Because of this I have to come out against the recen judgement against the Westboro Baptist Church


Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.



The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.


Umm I am emotionally distressed at the site of door to door missionaries but I don't sue them because their activities, no matter how offensive to me personally is protected behavior. I was emotionally distressed to not once, but twice, offered a Gideon's Bible at my place of employment. But again such activities, no matter how tasteless it is to me, is protected behavior.


While we may not care for the following behavior:


Church members routinely picket funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, carrying signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."





A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries.



But the Maryland lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.



The church and three of its leaders -- the Rev. Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis, 46 -- were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress.


While we may be inclined to think so, portions of a funeral are not private at all. The procession to the burial grounds occurs on public streets. Anything done on a public street or viewable by the public is not private. Sorry. The outside of a private building, in full view of the public is also not "private." Oh yes, the property is private. You do need to have permission to enter the property but standing outside of private property on what is legally public property with a completely tasteless sign; Totally protected behavior.


Should the church in question appeal this to the supreme court expect them to win. I also think that the laws that were passed by various states and the Congress would also be found unconstitutional. Oh I understand why such laws were passed but they are so out of line in terms of private/public distinctions that they reek of unconstitutionality.


The larger issue here is that if this stands, then anybody can sue anyone else who is standing in a public space holding a sign with something that the object of the sign objects to.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Is This Man Apologizing?


Why is Andrew Meyer apologizing for being tasered by police?


If you haven't seen the video here it is




Indeed, Mr. Meyer penned three separate apologies (available here) as part of a deal to avoid criminal charges, The Gaineseville Sun reports.



The saga ends with Mr. Meyer voluntarily taking an 18-month leave of absence from college and agreeing “to perform certain actions including making a donation to the American Cancer Society or performing community service,” the paper said.

In society, as in life, there are consequences for not following the rules. In this instance, not following the rules has imposed consequences for many people other than myself, people who have seen their school, and perhaps their degree, tarnished in the eyes of others through no fault of their own.


Oh sure there are consequences to not following the rules. No doubt. But, ahem unless that meeting was one of a set of mobsters, the use of potentially lethal force is not what we call an "appropriate response". Yeah the kid was loud. Yes the kid rambled as I've seen many people do in such political question and answer periods. But no one should ever be subjected to a potentially heart stopping attack for simply talking too much.


Oh yeah, and those criminal charges?


Meyer faces charges of interfering with an educational institution function and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. Meyer previously had been facing charges including resisting arrest with violence, a felony.


Can anyone say malicious prosecution? I've said it half a million times here on this blog. Police or other "authority figures" acting outside the law are no longer covered by the badge. They are no better than a common crook and ought to be treated as such. In any event since John Kerry is on tape stating that he would answer the questions that Andrew was asking then the original charge of "interfering with an educational institution function" is baseless AND therefore the arrest unwarranted and therefore all charges ought to have been dropped. I don't need a lawyer to win this case. He shoulda went to court Pro-se and he would have won.


Police state people. Police state.

Ignoring Black Intellect


Alternet has a piece on the practical ignoring of columnist Bob Herbert by both mainstream media and the top blogs. Though I don't necessarily agree with everything that Mr. Herbert writes, I was pretty upset when his columns, which I followed, disappeared behind the NY Times pay-for firewall. But the issue here really isn't about Bob Herbert but really about the relative invisibility of black writers on the web. They are there but, as in the offline world, black writers and bloggers are simply ignored by the "larger" entities many of whom are larger by and large because they are white. Let me explain.


It is not that by being white one is guaranteed to be popular. No. It is that white folk no matter what they may say regarding racism, are uncomfortable with real black opinion. By real, I mean that which neither panders to white guilt nor to black apathy. Those who would call Thomas Jefferson a rapist with a straight face and mean it. People who have heros beyond Martin Luther King Jr. This is kind of the effect of External Authority which I posted on in which Noam Chomsky said:


He wrote anything he wanted -- which is absolutely true. But, if he wasn’t writing the things he did he wouldn’t have a column in the New York Times.


So when I read about these "great" columnists and bloggers who say they rarely if ever read Bob Herbert, I'm not surprised. They don't read black blogs either (with few exceptions) nor do they blogroll many black blogs if any. I also recently posted on a comment about the apparent lack of black faces at the Yearly Kos convention, which I said was a reflection of the racism in the white left with the example from a posting on the KOS site that stated:


Markos may live in Oakland, but it's not 1968, and he's not hanging out with Fred Hampton and Huey P. Newton and there will be no slow motion or still life of Markos Moulitsas Zúniga strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving for just the proper occasion. We're not a fringe group. We're the mainstream.


Yep, Lets insult the memory of shot to death while sleeping Black Panthers. Good idea. Oh and yes, Lets dump on the RBG while we're at it. Nope, won't be seeing me at the next KOS convention and I don't expect to be invited either. But I've got to assume that there are either no "clued" in blacks involved with KOS operations or there are no blacks there period. And to be honest a dumb black person in an organization might as well be not there.


So no, this article comes as no surprise at all. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thomas Jefferson: Rapist


One of my clients, Kirk Nugent has a poem where he calls out Thomas Jefferson for being the rapist that he was. He did the poem in South Carolina and was promptly ejected. He has a DVD (self *cough* promotion) that has the piece which I of course (*cough* self promotion) recommend.


But this isn't about his piece but rather an excellent must read, must print out, must put in the war book archives on Thomas Jefferson's advice on the "proper care and feed...sorry breeding" of blacks.


I consider the labor of a breeding woman as no object, and that a child raised every 2. years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man.


credit: Assault on Black Folks Sanity.

There Shall Be No Religious Tests


And so we have an "Obama Gospel Concert". I'm sure it doesn't trip the "Religious tests" clause in the U.S. Constitution but you know what? It stinks.

As a avid supporter of the separation of religion and the state, the fact that a candidate, any candidate is throwing a Gospel Concert bothers me a great deal. As far as I'm concerned the only religious issue that should be on the table is that the government is out of it. Period. I don't care if Donnie McClurkin is gay, was gay or will be gay again. I could care less about the Bible and who wants to, or doesn't want to read or believe in it. I certainly do not want people voting for the leader of a country based on whether he believes in Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Olodumare, Horus, Ausar, Ra, Amen-Ra, Jehovah, Yaweh, Chuckwu, Ganesh, Vishnu, Shiva, the local cow, stork or whatever. The only thing I care about is that the person has enough sense to run the government properly. Period. I only care that the person understands what a nation of laws and not of people means. What equal protection under the law means. That a war with Iran is a bad idea. That the continued war in Iraq needs to end.


All this religious...SHIT... is getting on my last nerve. It is exactly this holier than thou, Follow us or else irrationality and arrogance that caused the founders to separate religion from the state in the first place. It's all getting me to think that the south had it partially right when they imposed literacy tests at the polls. We need to bring that back. Though instead of making it race based, lets make it constitution based. How about we get these religious goof balls to actually prove that they understand what "no religious tests" means. How about the whole "establishment of religion" thing as in all you mofos talking about making the US a Christian government are automatically denied the "right" to vote. It's fair since they apparently don't like the government they live under.


Makes me think of those bumper stickers I see from time to time proclaiming: America. Love it or Leave it. I say. WORD UP!!! How about all those Religious zealots do that. YOu don't like that people have the constitutional right to equal protection> Get the hell out!! You think the government ought to mandate school prayer? Get on the next plane! You can't imagine voting for someone who is a Muslim? We have a plane ticket for you too.


I am seriously, seriously annoyed by this religion and politics thing and wish the candidates would stop the pandering.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nooses


I have sat to make this post numerous times but it seems like each time I do so another noose is found hung somewhere or some black person is beat down and called nigger in the process. Now either I am simply not paying enough attention to noose hangings across the country or the news of noose hangings across the country are way underreported or the Jena situation has caused white folk, at least in NYC to boldly go where they usually left in the recesses of their minds.


I have a particular policy in my personal life. I generally do not socialize with white folk. Generally I don't socialize with most people white or not because most times I'm not into small talk, gossip or other inconsequential bull. My time is valuable. My issue with socializing with white folk comes down to my discovery during college that generally white folk are cool with black folk who are clueless. No sooner does a black person gets a clue and speaks up, then the white friends seem to find other black people they feel more comfortable with. Believe you me, white folks love stupid (in terms of white supremacy) negroes. Well a negro by definition is a stupid American invention, just ask James Baldwin. So since I don't like playing stupid, I simply avoid 'em most times.


What is also very important is that I learned pretty early on that white folk who would love nothing but to put a bullet in the back of my head are also employed by the same people who employ me. This particular fact was brought home to me when I started surfing various white supremacist websites. There I saw pictures of pretty ordinary looking citizens doing Hail Hitler salutes and posing with all manner of high and not-so-high powered guns. Male, female, there they were: Student, teacher, IT guy, etc. and all extolling new members (particularly the ones in school) to finish school and get a higher education and buy stock in companies so that they could vote down Affirmative Action policies.


These guardians of the white race want to take back America from what they saw were the Mexicans, Jews and Blacks. At that point it I clearly understood that every white person I worked with was possibly suspect. It may have sounded cynical but given the events of the past few weeks one should give this another thought. Lets take for example the professor at Columbia university. I wonder whether she really is as comfortable in that environment as she probably was before. Honestly how can she know that any one of the people who came up to her and expressed sympathy for her wasn't the one who put the noose on the door in the first place? And if it was a student, who knows how long they've been watching her. Since students are shooting up campuses left right and center how long until this still not found student or one like him or her decides to come to school ready to "kill the nigger?"


In the NYC Parks department we have two black workers who found nooses in their lockers. IN. Wanna bet that case goes unsolved?

And while this isn't a noose incident, that man who was leaning on a car and got beat down while being called "nigger" while his two white "friends" apparently got away without a scratch.


You know when Howard Stern got caught out there with his nappy headed ho's commentary we had no other than Al Roker post on his blog about how he disapproves of such language but you know I'm not feeling these black media people about now. How many nooses need to be hung and how many black folk need to be shot down by police (off or on duty) before one of 'em goes off on camera and says: F**k it! ?


Ok Maybe they won't say that but seriously, how about a public show of "had enough" or "not having it?" People are all over Robin Roberts of GMA fame because of her breast cancer. Fine. I feel for her too. But seriously, no "what the hell is going on?" even from Roberts? C'mon folks are you all that scared to piss off your white bosses that you all have nothing to say?


Speaking of shootings and police misconduct we have students having their wrists damn near broken for dropping cake in school. We have a police officer assaulting a young black girl for breaking curfew, we have a 6 month pregnant mother of two made to lay on the ground.


Where's the Mayor of NYC in all this? Where is his press conference denouncing the shooting and the noose hangings? What is it that people do not understand about this assault on black folk? Where's the supposed "Black" candidate for president? Of that's right, discussing assaults on black people is not OK but the "rights" of illegal immigrants is up for discussion. Got it.


Props to Gil Noble of Like It Is for replaying the interview of that man from Indianapolis who came this close to being killed by lynching.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We The President


Bush to Warn Cuba on Plan for Transition


President Bush is planning to issue a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power changes from one Castro brother to another, rather than to the Cuban people.


Really? I didn't know Cuba was one of the 50 States. And exactly what does Mr. Bush plan on doing should the US not get it's way?


The "article" is full of "nice" things like:


The speech, scheduled to be given at the State Department before invited Cuban dissidents, will introduce the relatives of four Cuban prisoners being held for political crimes. The relatives, who fled Cuba years ago for the United States, will attend the gathering. A senior administration official said the president wanted to “put a human face,” on Cuba’s “assault on freedom.”


Right..right....right. Like those people "renditioned" to various countries and tortured? Oh and those people termed "Enemy Combatants" and stripped of all judicial review until recently? Umm. Mumia Abu Jamal? Is this serious journalism?


The official said Mr. Bush would make the case that for dissidents and others pursuing democracy in Cuba, little has changed at all, and that the country has suffered economically as well as in other ways as a result of the Castro rule.


Ummm.. no. Actually Cuba is suffering economically because of things like Helms-Burton, not Castro's rules.


He will say that while much of the rest of Latin America has moved from dictatorship to democracy, Cuba continues to use repression and terror to control its people. And, the administration official said, Mr. Bush will direct another part of his speech to the Cuban people, telling them they “have the power to shape their destiny and bring about change.”


Ummm I know Mr. Bush is light on current events. That's OK, I don't expect better but for everyone else, I'll remind them that while the US says "Democracy=Good" it has attempted to ouster a democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez. I'll also remind the president that in recent elections the winners all have close ties to Cuba. Cuba exports doctors and the US exports...ummm..that's right Bombs to Israel and Marines to Iraq. Death...life...death...life...Hurrah for US Democracy, where you too can be arrested for standing on a street talking to your friends or tasered by the police for asking politically incorrect questions of government officials.


The senior administration official said that nothing in Raúl Castro’s past gives Washington reason to expect democratic reforms soon. And he said the United States would uphold its tough economic policies against the island.


Doesn't this contradict the earlier statement about Castro's rule causing economic ruin?


In recent months, Raúl Castro has made an open play for more business, suggesting his government is prepared to carry out reforms aimed at opening Cuba’s economy to further foreign investment.


I can't vouch for the veracity of this statement but given that Canada among other countries are doing trade with Cuba I can't see how this statement can be "true" since Cuba has been open to foreign investment. I gather that what the Cuban leadership is not interested in is foreign exploitation.


“The president will make the point that life will not improve for Cubans under the current system,” the senior administration official said.


Sounds like a threat of continued economic sanctions by the US. Is this even legal?


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Diallo, Bell, Tirado


Exactly when will the lives of men of African descent get some respect?


There is absolutely no excuse, no reasoning why Sean Sawyer is not in jail right now. None. Any citizen that gets out of their car and shoots another motorist will be looking at the walls of Rikers without delay. Fuck it. You can see the inside of a jail cell for standing on a public sidewalk in NYC. So what the NYPD want's us to believe is that the murder of a motorist is a lesser crime than standing on a sidewalk.


Come. On. People.


Where is Mayor Bloomberg? Has he nothing at all to say here?

Romney Didn't Slip Up


“I think that is a position which is not consistent with the fact,” Mr. Romney said. “Actually, just look at what Osam — uh — Barack Obama, said just yesterday. Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. That is the central place, he said. Come join us under one banner.”



-NYTimes



Ummm. Not a slip. "O" to a "B"?

Big Brother


Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find You a NY Times article in which a representative of ATT says:


If a friend-finding service is viewed as too intrusive, said Mark Collins, vice president for consumer data at AT&T’s wireless unit, “that is a negative for us.” Loopt and similar services say they do not keep electronic records of people’s whereabouts.


Shall we remember that it was this company that gladly let the NSA illegally tap into the phone calls of its customers?

Friday, October 19, 2007

RIP Lucky Dube

Victim of Black on Black crime. I just read this. I am NOT happy.

The staff of Gallo Record Company are devastated by the news of the tragic passing of reggae legend Lucky Dube. Lucky was slain in an attempted hijacking in Rosettenville in Johannesburg last night, at approximately 8pm, whilst dropping off his children at a family members house.
www.luckydubemusic.com

The Police State that is NYC


Yesterday I spotted this rather disturbing article in the NYT.


But when Matthew Jones of Brooklyn lingered on the corner of 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in the early morning of June 12, 2004, gabbing with friends as other pedestrians tried to get by, something unusual happened: He was arrested for it.



A police officer said Mr. Jones was impeding other pedestrians and charged him with disorderly conduct.


Excuse me?


Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye seemed likewise nonplused. “This is at 2 a.m.?” she asked, wondering how many pedestrians it would have been possible to inconvenience at that hour. “I guess I’m not in Times Square at 2 a.m. very often.”


The story here is:


...the officer “observed defendant along with a number of other individuals standing around” on a public sidewalk in June 2004. Mr. Jones was “not moving, and that as a result of defendants’ behavior, numerous pedestrians in the area had to walk around defendants.”



Mr. Jones refused to move when asked, said the officer, Momen Attia, and then tried to run away. When Officer Attia tried to handcuff him, he “flailed his arms,” earning a second charge for resisting arrest.



After spending the night in jail, Mr. Jones contested the main charge and asked that it be dismissed. When the judge demurred, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation the next day and received no further sentence. But he soon filed an appeal, arguing that there had been no basis for the arrest in the first place.


Welcome to NYC Mr. Overseer. Times square is full of people standing around. Times square is full of people and things one has to walk around. It is a fact of life. Secondly standing on a street talking to other people is a completely legal act. Sorry to inform the almighty NY Overseers but we are not required to spend money at sidewalk cafe's to talk to other people in public.


Secondly, Mr Jones was well within' his rights as a citizen to resist an unlawful arrest. I have said it before and I'll say it again, when a police officer breaks the law in the line of duty, he or she is no different from any other common criminal and ought to expect to be treated as such, up to and including being shot at in self defense. It is clear that throughout the country police departments have apparently been given the green light to harass and otherwise engage in unlawful actions against citizens exercising their supposed "rights". I can only assume that since John Kerry, a supposed representative of "the people" gave his tacit approval of the tasering of a citizen by police by not even coming to the man's defense, it is clear that from the top down the police are out of control.


The other thing that is of great importance here, which I have commented on before is the mis-use of arrests to "punish" people who have done nothing illegal. In NYC this was on display at the Republican Convention, where thousands of people were arrested and confined overnight for the sole purpose of removing them from demonstrations. It is also known by anyone who has had a speeding or parking ticket that required a court appearance that pleading guilty is the fastest means to get out of "jail" or court. This abuse of "jail" is rampant during regular criminal proceedings and is now becoming more commonplace in the abuse of police authority.


What should have happened here is that the court should have thrown out all charges and held the prosecuting attorney in contempt of court. At the very least the officer ought to be named in a suit (the issue of liability while on duty is one for lawyers to figure out) and the City ought to be sued as well.


[update]


I want to pass on a story of what happened to my mother recently on the subway. She's 64 years old and has had knee surgery. She does not look her age except for the grey hair that she has and does not dye. She was seated on a subway by a two police officers. an elderly woman came on the train and the police officer ordered my mother to get up out of her seat for this person. My mother did not get up, but asked why she should. The officer said that the other woman should be allowed to sit because the seat she was in was "reserved" for elderly or infirm people. So my mother asked the officer how he knew she was neither elderly or infirm.


This is police state tactics. My mom isn't having it. I'm not having it and apparently Mr. Jones is not having it either. Are you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taking on the Israeli Lobby


Alternet posts an interview with John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt about their book on the Israeli lobby.




Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. economic and military assistance, having received more than $154 billion in U.S. aid since its creation in 1948, and it currently receives roughly $3 billion in direct U.S. assistance every year, even though it is now a prosperous country. The United States also consistently gives Israel diplomatic support, and consistently comes to its aid in wartime, as it did during the 2006 war in Lebanon. Most important, U.S. support for Israel is largely unconditional: Israel receives generous American assistance even when it takes actions that the U.S. government believes are wrong, such as building settlements in the Occupied Territories. As former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once remarked, U.S. backing for Israel is "beyond compare in modern history."




The pro-Israel lobby. The lobby is a loose coalition of individuals and groups that actively works to push American policy in ways that will benefit Israel. It is not a cabal or conspiracy, or a single, hierarchical organization with a central leadership and total unanimity of views. Rather, it is a set of groups and individuals who all favor steadfast U.S. support for Israel but sometimes disagree on certain policy issues. Prominent groups in the lobby include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL); Christians United for Israel (CUFI), and pro-Israel think tanks like the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Leading individuals in the lobby include the heads of these various organizations, as well as neoconservatives who served in the Bush administration like Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Wurmser, some of whom are closely associated with hard-line pro-Israel think tanks and conservative politicians in Israel, or Christian Zionists like John Hagee of CUFI and ... Tom DeLay (R-Texas).




Even though almost everyone recognizes that U.S Middle East policy is a disaster, no serious candidate is going to suggest anything other than steadfast and largely unconditional support for Israel. Indeed, all the major candidates (Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Obama, Romney, etc.) have already expressed their strong and uncritical backing for Israel, even though the campaign is just getting underway.


One of the other interesting things about this interview is the fact that the existence of Israel as it currently is understood cannot be questioned. Notice how it, like imprechment of Bush is "off the table." Yet a Palestinian state is quite debatable. Note that one can easily discuss the abolition of the current state of Israel without even contemplating killing anyone or displacing anyone. The state of Israel is a man made concept. It is a bureaucracy. It can be destroyed and replaced without a single drop of blood being shed. Of course to suggest such a thing is considered anti-semitic.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dr. Welsing Was Spot On


I often hear from people that the Isis Papers is nonsense and that Dr. Welsing is a looney. I don't often keep company of such folks though. Bad for my mental health. Over the weekend I saw an article in the NY Times entitled: Clinton-Obama Quandary for Many Black Women. There I found the following statement:


Part of being real, said Ms. Vereen, whom everyone calls Miss Clara, is worrying that a black president would not be safe.



“I fear that they just would kill him, that he wouldn’t even have a chance,” she said as she styled a customer’s hair with a curling iron. One way to protect him, she suggested, would be not to vote for him...





Another striking theme that emerged in the interviews was how often these women described an almost maternal concern for Mr. Obama’s safety, which they take seriously by noting that he was given Secret Service protection in May, earlier than any presidential candidate ever except Mrs. Clinton, who already had protection as a former first lady...



This was a topic in Carrie’s Magic Touch. One customer, Maria Hewett, 63, a retired factory worker, told the others she would probably vote for Mr. Obama despite her fear that he could be a target.


These statements reminded me of observations made by Dr. Welsing about black children and how they are raised under the White Supremacy System and Culture. For example in Chapter 6 of said publication, The Politics Behind Black Male Passivity, Effeminization, Bisexuality, and Homosexuality, Dr. Welsing writes:


These weekly insults to Black manhood that we have been programmed to believe are entertainment and not direct racist warfare, further reinforce, perhaps in the unconscious thinking of Black people, a loss of respect for Black manhood while carrying that loss to ever deeper levels. One 12-year-old Black male summed it up in this manner when I questioned him about working hard and studying in school: "No, I do not want to study so I can help black people. If you try to help black people, you will be killed. Look at Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and George Jackson. I don't want to die."





...I have been working with Black mothers of Black male children, attempting to help them rid themselves of the fear their sons and their men dying, which pushes them unconsciously to make babies of their sons and their husbands in an effort to try to protect and defend them.


It is clear that the women interviewed for the article are operating under the expected mode of behavior discussed by Dr. Welsing. No doubt they have also had a hand in raising other black men who are "afraid to die." So when people keep saying that Dr. Welsing is off her rocker, I'll just point to this example, among many, where she is dead on.



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Friday, October 12, 2007

Tell The Truth...


And so this morning as the wind whipped, the NY Times posted an article that made a lie of the argument that illegal immigrants do not drive down (or stagnate) wages.


TAR HEEL, N.C. — Last November, immigration officials began a crackdown at Smithfield Foods’s giant slaughterhouse here, eventually arresting 21 illegal immigrants at the plant and rousting others from their trailers in the middle of the night.



Since then, more than 1,100 Hispanic workers have left the 5,200-employee hog-butchering plant, the world’s largest, leaving it struggling to find, train and keep replacements.


Now what was the economic result of the arrest of just 21 illegal immigrants?


Some companies have reluctantly raised wages to attract new workers following raids at their plants.



After several hundred immigrant employees at its plant in Stillmore, Ga., were arrested, Crider Poultry began recruiting Hmong workers from Minnesota, hiring men from a nearby homeless mission and providing free van transportation to many workers.



So far, Smithfield has largely replaced the Hispanics with American workers, who often leave poorly paid jobs for higher wages at the plant here. But the turnover rate for new workers — many find the work grueling and the smell awful — is twice what it was when Hispanics dominated the work force.


Wait a minute!! Are we saying that homeless people got jobs?? You mean companies found means to transport workers to plants? The frickin' sky is falling!!

Oh and what's this? rising wages? Say it ain't so!!!!


Fannie Worley, a longtime resident of Dillon, S.C., a largely African-American town of sagging trailers and ramshackle bungalows, quit her $5.25-an-hour, part-time job making beds at a Days Inn motel four months ago to take a $10.75-an-hour job at Smithfield. But Ms. Worley remains ambivalent.


Hold up!! WHOAAAAAH. You mean that wages rose enough to the point that this particular person (and no doubt others) can now make twice what she was making? Why then were the wages so low in the first place then? I'm not scapegoating illegal immigrants at all. I've been very clear that my problem is with the businessses that bring 'em in in order to avoid dealing with the local market. It's greedy plain and simple. We who have studied American history know full well that slavery was abolished not because of some grand humanitarian streak but because slavery was uneconomical. Having free labour running around depresses wages for everyone else trying to make a living.


Now the rest of the article goes on to discuss the high turnover of local employees and the like. I'm not entirely concerned about that since high turnover happens when people feel they aren't compensated enough for the work they are doing or feel they have better prospects elsewhere or are simply lazy. But as the so called free market people like to say. Let the market work it out. What I didn't see noted in the article though, was that with the wages rising the immigrants who are there legally are likely benefitting economically from the crackdown since it is entirely possible that they are seeing higher wages themselves. But don't expect to see a discussion of that at all.


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does Al Sharpton Owe the Duke Players an Apology?


Yesterday I saw a You Tube clip in which Whoopi Goldberg, who outed her co-host for not knowing that the earth was indeed round, said that Al Sharpton ought to apologize to the Duke Lacrosse players. While a whole mess of people got it wrong on that case and some, mostly so called feminists, still insist on believing that which the evidence clearly contradicts, I didn't get it wrong. However, that the young lady was not raped does not negate the other things that went on and was discovered at the house, namely the threatened use of a broom, the racial epitepths used and the note in which a player said he'd like to skin the women while "cumming in his shorts". But back to Sharpton.


Going back to an interview given on Fox (Faux) News with Bill O Reilly we find what Sharpton has said on the matter:


I think that there are certainly a lot of racial factors. Whether it is directly in the case, we'll see, because some reports said that there was racial language used. But I think that when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there again were the allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of people feeling that they have been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that's in the air. Having said that, I commend a lot of the blacks and whites who stood vigil and to come together in that community to stand up for this girl. So I think in the midst of this, there is some good.


You will note that Sharpton, at this point does not declare the Duke students to be guilty, he states that there are reports of "racial language", that there was a "racial atmosphere". So far there's nothing he said about the players at all. He was even so careful as to use the word "allegations".


SHARPTON: Well, first of all, the authorities have charged there was a crime, so they are not saying that at all. Second of all, people on any side of an argument have the ride to advocate on behalf of who they believe. Thirdly, I think that when the prosecutors went forward, they clearly have said this girl is the victim, so why would we be trying the victim and not the...


You'll note that Sharpton referred to the "authorities" not his own opinion. So if there is any fault it is with the "authorities" who mis-informed the public

. Secondly Sharpton clearly states that people on "any side of an argument" have the right to advocate. So again, he's staked his position based on supposedly authoritative reports and not on what he simply thinks is the case. Also he put the word of the prosecutor out. If the prosecutor was wrong, then the prosecutor was wrong. Al doesn't have to apologize for the actions of the prosecutor. Even if you wanted to hold Sharpton responsible, you can't get by the fact that he still hasn't said anything about the players themselves.


SHARPTON: But I think that all of the facts that you have laid out the DA had — and I know this DA is probably not one that is crazy. He would not have proceeded if he did not feel that he could convict. So it tells me that all of what you said is either not true or he has convincing evidence that would certainly knock that out and no one is not letting him proceed. You know, a lot of those community leaders down there, pro and con, wanted a lot of people to come in. I know for a fact asked Jesse Jackson to come, we said we don't want to be (INAUDIBLE)...


Again, Sharpton is simply repeating that which now disbarred DA Nifong was putting out. And even then, Sharpton made the case that there is the possibility of one of the arguments (pro or con) is wrong. What is also of interest is how Sharpton shows that certain leadership was invited to come to Duke. So all the people acting like Sharpton was ambulance chasing, as it were, are flat out wrong.


SHARPTON: First of all, they better be prepared to see if she is the only witness. You don't know what other people are going to testify. You don't know what other evidence they have. So let's not get ready to discredit the girl until we see the whole passage. That's what happened with Louima. We had more than Louima, so let's not assume just discrediting the girl will work this time.


Again, Sharpton, who clearly has taken a side has still not said anything of opinion against the Duke students. Also he clearly states that people should wait until "we see the whole passage"


Finally:


O'REILLY: Let me be clear. Your stance is let the system work.



SHARPTON: My stance is that Reverend Bob of the NAACP and others down there are advising a lot of the community what happened, we're in touch with them and we're going to work and advise through them. We'll do whatever is necessary or not necessary.



O'REILLY: All right, but you don't know yet, You, Al Sharpton, don't know what happened.



SHARPTON: I don't know yet and I think that the proper thing to do is to support those that want justice.



O'REILLY: All right. I'm all for that. I support justice. Always a pleasure. Thank you.


So it is pretty clear that Sharpton, even though he had taken a side, was advocating that justice be served. Note he didn't say he wanted to see the Duke students convicted or anything like that. He said clearly that justice is what he wanted. Justice happened. End of story. Sharpton has nothing to apologise for because he didn't say anything that was out of order. He spoke on the evidence as presented to the country. He clearly had staked a position, but was clearly open to what the evidence showed. Most importantly he had nothing to say specifically about the students in question.


So Whoopi is out of order, and so are all the other people looking for an apology out of Sharpton for his statements on the matter.


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Slavery is not dead


This title will elicit a response such as:


"Check the 13th Amendment."


Or


"Right on."


But seriously, after thinking about it, slavery, as far as the US is concerned, is not over. If one looks at slavery in it's historical context rather than the general "common understanding" of the institution, then it becomes very clear. And no, I'm not talking about the mental slavery as discussed by our Egun (Ancestor) Asa Hilliard, in his forward to Stolen Legacy. I am talking actual physical slavery AND the means by which slaves were gotten.


I was prompted to write this due to an article I saw on Alternet in which they stated quite boldly that slavery was not dead. I started reading the article and discovered that it was discussing immigrant labour. It dawned on me that people really don't quite get what slavery is.


In any case here's the deal. Contrary to popular belief most Africans that got here via the trans-Atlantic trade were not kidnapped by Europeans. While Europeans did play a central role in instigating or taking advantage of certain situations, the primary means of getting "saleable goods" were other Africans. By and large the individuals sold were prisoners of war or criminals. In those societies, pow's and criminals were not locked away in some building they were put to work for the war's winner or the society that was wronged by the criminal. So involuntary servitude was an expected consequence of losing a war or committing a crime.


Europeans, upon their arrival added a crucial difference in this arrangement. Firstly, they introduced new means of warfare and introduced new "prizes" for war booty. The why's and wherefores are not relevant here. What is relevant is that the societies in question were perfectly willing to use involuntary servitude as a means of punishment or what-have-you. Therefore; it is entirely accurate to say that the trans-atlantic slave trade was in part an extension of the same familiar policy. Indeed the Scholor Ahmed Baba had no qualms about slavery as an institution.


Many people point out that the concept of chattel or human as property was unique to American slavery, I'm not too convinced of this. Sure it may have been unique in terms of Anglo legal framework, but I find it particularly hard to believe that no other society thought you could sell people designated as slaves to anyone else or be put to death on the whim of that individual's owner. In any case it is not relevant. What is relevant is that slavery starts out as involuntary servitude by being designated a societal "ousider" and continues in America by being designated a social "outsider".


So then how is slavery not dead? Well The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution clearly states:


Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


You'll note that involuntary servitude, that is, slavery continues to be legal for punishment for crimes. So in essence what the 13th Amendment actually did was outlaw inter-generational slavery. A person could not inherit the status of slave simply by being born to a slave. So follow the line:


A) Africans are put into involuntary servitude by being prisoners of war or committing a crime.


B) having gained that status they are sold to Europeans who take them to America.


C) Their involuntary servitude status remains.


D) The 13th Amendment ends intergenerational slavery, but does not end slavery as an institution.


After the end of the Civil War we find that blacks are jailed for various, as Rudy Giuliani would put it, "quality of life" crimes such as loitering, etc. Various black codes and laws are passed in order to criminalize black people's behavior. This criminalization of black behavior, or creating an environment where criminal behavior among blacks is encouraged, allows continued legal involuntary servitude of blacks.


Once we stop focusing on tobacco fields and cotton fields, and see slavery as economic situation that benefits the "property owners" economically, then we understand how the prison system is the modern day plantation. Prison systems are an important economic system in America, a country with the highest per capita inmate population in the world. Prisons provide cheap, involuntary labour for various corporations. Even more though, is that in many places these prisons are in towns where they are huge employers. In some towns the removal of a prison would bankrupt the entire municipality. Crime is big business. States that are completely unwilling to put money into public school systems are willing to spend thousands a year to lock up a single individual.


Some will say that the presence of "free" blacks negates this idea. Not so. Again, if we look back at the history, the POW's and criminals placed into involuntary servitude were surrounded by free people. The presence of free people does not negate the presence of slavery. Indeed every free person is liable to become a slave today, just as it was then.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

So Much for being "Revolutionaries"


I have been following the events in the DRC, since the early 1990's (at one point I had a vested interest in what was going on), and the situation is just sad. The NY Times has an article on the latest of the utter nonsense that is going on:


"Every day, 10 new women and girls who have been raped show up at his hospital. Many have been so sadistically attacked from the inside out, butchered by bayonets and assaulted with chunks of wood, that their reproductive and digestive systems are beyond repair.



“We don’t know why these rapes are happening, but one thing is clear,” said Dr. Mukwege, who works in South Kivu Province, the epicenter of Congo’s rape epidemic. “They are done to destroy women.”


Exactly what kind of "man" does this?


And Bob Marley must be wretching in his grave:


According to victims, one of the newest groups to emerge is called the Rastas, a mysterious gang of dreadlocked fugitives who live deep in the forest, wear shiny tracksuits and Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and are notorious for burning babies, kidnapping women and literally chopping up anybody who gets in their way.



United Nations officials said the so-called Rastas were once part of the Hutu militias who fled Rwanda after committing genocide there in 1994, but now it seems they have split off on their own and specialize in freelance cruelty.



Honorata Barinjibanwa, an 18-year-old woman with high cheekbones and downcast eyes, said she was kidnapped from a village that the Rastas raided in April and kept as a sex slave until August. Most of that time she was tied to a tree, and she still has rope marks ringing her delicate neck. The men would untie her for a few hours each day to gang-rape her, she said.


I currently cannot even comprehend what these guys must be thinking.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Disecting Thomas


I thought that the interview of Justice Clarence Thomas was pretty revealing. It's always interesting to see how black folk can turn out so wrong and I thought the 60 minutes piece did a good job of showing that. I recall a favorite poet of mine, Iyaba Mandingo who has a poem entitled: This Old Man In it we find this line:


With skin so full of melanin,

the sout' musta been hard for him.


I'm not sure if it was the intention of 60 minutes or if it was in fact a high (or low) point for Thomas when he mentioned his grand father telling him that he was getting up in age and to never look a white woman in the eye. It's interesting to me because it seems that many figures in black America have had white girls or women at some crux of their self identity. By that I mean, that the interactions between black boys and white girls and the inevitable split between them as they come "of age" seems to be a rather constant point in memoirs. It seems to be that a distinct split can be seen between those who as a result of this "rude" awakening, rejected that which was now "out of bounds" and those that seemed to make it a point to re-connect or connect with that which was put "out of bounds". Thomas, in my opinion is one of the latter.


Though some people may have been surprised that Thomas was somewhat the campus radical in his day, I was not completely surprised by this. The fact of the matter is that many people who got into "Black radicalism" as Thomas put it, did so for ego. It wasn't so much a commitment to what "black power" as delineated by Kwame Toure, but rather a means to get back at those who were marginalizing you. Many people involved at that time allowed their "radical" activities to distract them from their studies. Thomas was not one of them. This is significant because it underscores how Thomas was later able to succumb to white kryptonite later. Because he was bright and possibly saw the insecurities in his "radical" peers who perhaps were not his intellectual peers and perhaps lacked his discipline, I have no doubt that Thomas started to get kind of "annoyed" at all the revolutionary talk that went no where and people with big mouths who aside from show, had really no long term plans.


At the same time we must recall that Clarence "Bigger" Thomas is still dealing with the blows to his worth as a man due to his blackness and was possibly smarting from rejection from segments of his own. So Clarence becomes ripe for the picking when the "friendly white men" start calling. Let's be clear here. Thomas soon discovered, as most black folk do, that after all that Campus radicalism, one is going to graduate and have to find a job and support oneself. The rubber meets the road and hard choices have to be made. But most disconcerting for the mind is that most of these black folk one may have run with are in no position to offer one employment. Think on that for a minute. is it entirely unthinkable for someone, confronted with the reality that "it's a white mans country after all", to move away from an ideology that really wasn't principle to begin with? I'm not asking anyone to sympathize with Thomas, I'm saying to check the logic. His decisions make sense once you understand where HE is coming from.


So given that Thomas had used "black radicalism" to deal with some of his ego issues and then was confronted with the reality that white men run t'ings, are we surprised that when friendly white folk, offering a job and start would start Thomas down the road he went down? Not to me.


Thomas has a bruised psyche. As a judge I believe he sees it his duty to eradicate those things that caused him pain. You'll note how he states that his Yale Degree was worth 15 cent when clearly it was (and is) worth a whole lot more given that without it he would not have gotten where he did. But this is indicative of his continued pain at his rejection. Thomas is stuck on objects. Instead of faulting the attitudes of those that attempted to belittle his academic achievements, he faults Affirmative Action, with the perverted logic that somehow white folk suddenly started to look down on black folk once that program was created.


That white woman he couldn't look in the eye, now he can look one in the eye daily (and nightly).


Thomas, unfortunately believes that he thinks "outside the box" but in reality is only in a different chamber of the same big box. I've seen his type before. Nothing really strange about him.


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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jena 6 Blackface

It would seem that we have a Jena 6 in Blackface.

The poster of the video said:

"We were just playin n the mud and it got out of hand. I promise i'm not racist. i have just as many black friends as i do white. And i love them to death,"


I'm begining to wonder. I hear this "I have a lot of black friends" comment a lot. So there's two possibilities here:

A) they are lying.
B) There is something very wrong with these black "friends" that leaves these white folk with the impression that blackface is OK? Seriously?

I don't think I recall any other time in African-American history where white people felt it was OK to do clearly racist shyt and thought the "I have black friends" was an acceptable cover story. one would have to have some seriously coonin' friends to think like that.

Why Isiah and the Knicks lost

When I saw the deposition that Isiah Thomas gave in which he said it was less offensive for a black man to call a black woman a bitch, I knew that the defense was sunk. I'm not sure what prompted Mr. Thomas to actually say that, but since he was dumb enough to put that on tape, the jury would also find it likely he was dumb enough to sexually harass Anucha Browne Sanders.

With Thomas still proclaiming his innocence it appears he still hasn't learned anything so I'll just share a few ideas:

1) Shut up
2) It's not OK to call women bitches.
3) And no, It's not less of problem for black men to call black women bitches.