Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
New forms of African pornography
Ten minutes later they arrive at a magnificent uninhabited looking building. A sixty something year old white male and his wife, also white and much younger, welcome the girls. The dim lights at the far end of the house reveals a tennis court. A gaze at the poolside of a large swimming pool in the garden area; nine black girls and six well built black men chat away happily. They all move into the building. Introductions are made by the white couple in a spacious hall in their basement which has its walls covered in wine coloured tapestry. To the right is a grand bar displaying bottles of champagne and assorted whiskies accompanied by delicious smoked salmon finger food. The floor of the room lays a thick mattress, same colour as the walls. A cameraman and his two technicians enter the room and start installing their equipment. The boss claps his hands and no sooner had a handler accompanied by six german shepherds entered than the zoophilia scenes begun, starring africans. The film titled “Black Bitches” sold out in specialised shops in europe shortly after its release.
Firstly, I'm still pissed off that Obama used his return to church/father's day speech to talk shit about black men. Yes I'm well aware of, and have often commented on the absent fathers in the Black community. But Obama's speech was clearly a political ploy to get white support by showing that he's willing to "get tough" on black folk. What made that extra insulting was that he didn't seem to feel that he should have shat on black women on Mother's day, as if black women as a group have never done anything wrong at all. Ever. Yeah, OK.
Second: I was pretty much put off by the whole "black men need to...." tone of the title and resulting text. First of all I'm not responsible for R-Kelly. I don't produce his records. I don't buy his records. I don't pay the man millions to perform world wide. The fact of the matter is that a whole lot of black women love R-Kelly. In fact I would hazard to guess that black women are one of R-Kelly's primary audiences. It would seem to me then, that the onus for putting R-Kelly in his proverbial place, is on those black women who have been throwing their panties at him for all these years. But you know how it is. Always a [n-word]'s fault so I don't expect the so-called "feminist" crowd to exactly get in other women's asses for purchasing R-Kelly's music.
Third: This part probably bothered me most. There was this whole The jury ought to have convicted him because the crime was so immoral, tone to the piece I simply cannot get with the whole lets put aside jury rules attitude. If the people writing the petition are so OK with juries or jurist deciding cases regardless to the evidence (or lack thereof), then I expect them to post a petition supporting Judge Cooperman for finding that "attitude" of Sean Bell's friends, justifies ignoring the evidence that none of the officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting, were in any danger of gun fire, since they admitted a few times that they saw no gun.
This slippery, forget the law, logic raised it's head in the Duke case. All over the black female blogosphere I read material which basically said, the suspects were guilty simply because they were white, male, rich, said some really "racist" stuff and happened to be accused.
Even after evidence came to light that put one of the accused in a car, far away from the scene, one of these bloggers made a post giving the alleged victim an award for her bravery? Excuse me? I suppose then that it's OK then for black men to be judged guilty of whatever is sent their way simply because they are black, male, poor (and you KNOW how much crime poor people commit), and perhaps under-educated.
Other blog posts I have read have discussed how the rich get off because they are rich. Well no, the rich get off for a variety of reasons one of which is that they can afford adequate council. I would think that the public would be bright enough to wish that all citizens, regardless of income could get adequate council. In the R-Kelly case, Kelly had adequate council and plenty of reasonable doubt. Does that mean the man is a moral compass for black youth? No. It does mean that unlike numerous black men who have landed in prison or death row because they were simply black, R- kelly received what is commonly known as "justice." People should be happy that a jury was able to evaluate the evidence rather than make some up.
To be honest I'd be very afraid to have some of these people sit on a jury that I may end up on. In the end, the petition does nothing but lay blame for disrespect of black women in general on black men. I'm not having it. This problem did not start with only black men and it wont end with blame shifting or scapegoating.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Obama Backs White Blue Dog over Progressive Black Woman
It appears there is no white Democrat so far to the Right that Obama will not lend him support - even in a race against a progressive Black challenger. Obama recently cut a campaign radio commercial for U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), a "Bush Democrat" if there ever was one. Barrow, a Blue Dog Democrat whose fulsome praise for Bush should be an embarrassment to his party, faces challenger Regina Thomas, a state lawmaker from Savannah, in a district where Blacks make up 70 percent of Democratic primary voters. Thomas has no money, but she is backed by progressive bloggers like Matt Stoller of Open Left, who says: "I don't know what kind of game Obama is playing, but using his remarkable brand to protect conservative Democrats is a move reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi endorsing Al Wynn" - the corporate-backed incumbent defeated by progressive challenger Donna Edwards, in Maryland, this year.
“We fought for this country, and a lot of blood was shed…We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a ballpoint fight with a gun?”
This kind of talk is dangerous and should be condemned by pan Africanists and decent persons everywhere.
ZIMBABWE AND THE QUESTION OF IMPERIALISM
First, there should be an attempt to clear the landscape of certain obstacles. Zimbabwe was in growing trouble before the sanctions imposed by the governments of Britain and the United States. Still, the attempt to bully a small country’s ruler who was in turn bullying his compatriots draped Robert Mugabe in the role of a hero against imperialism. The attempt encouraged a blundering ruler to stay on course. The ZANU-PF forces and sympathizers have blamed the disastrous economic situation on the sanctions. Yet, the political leaders have accumulated wealth in such a conspicuous manner that their consumption of luxury goods stands out in a country where more than 80 per cent of the eligible workers are unemployed. Millions more Zimbabweans have been rendered as economic refugees in Africa and beyond.
Garvey's Ghost been saying this.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Obama has been, since his defeat of Hillary Clinton, letting his "realness" come out and play. The candidate of change, who's spots we peeped long ago, has been doing a lot of status quo of late. The latest of his transgressions has been his support of the Telecom bill that we discussed last week.
Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.
It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives – and the liberty – of the American people
I've long said that the reason that Democrats have not impeached Bush or done anything opposition like, is because they want the same power when they get into power. In any case, Obama is full of the infamous Toro... when he states:
It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future.
It does no such thing. Democrats, including Obama have one way of making it clear that the president cannot circumvent the law: Impeachment and criminal proceedings. They have not done so, and therefore they are all full of the "toro." Also, as expected, the progressives, who have been hanging off Obama's left nut, and who have had all manner of vitrol for Republicans and other Democrats about caving into the administration, have nothing to say on Obama's statement. Move On? Not a word. ACLU, from whom I get damn near daily e-mails? Nada. Silence on nearly all fronts.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders reached a deal Thursday that would re-write the rules for the government’s wiretapping powers, and would provide what amounts to limited immunity to the telephone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The deal would expand the government’s powers in some key respects. It would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets, and to conduct emergency wiretaps on American targets without warrants if it is determined that important national security information would be lost otherwise.
The deal would also make the phone companies involved in the post-Sept. 11 program immune from legal liability if a district court determines that they received valid requests from the government directing their participation in the warrantless wiretapping operation.
Never mind the fact that the FISA statute already allows the government to do "emergency" wiretaps with after the fact justification. What is the purpose of legislation that restates what's already on the books? Oh that's right, the immunity thing.
What exactly constitutes a "valid request from the government?" I'll tell you what constitutes a valid request. It's a fucking warrant that's what. it's a court order. They didn't receive one of those. So what exactly is the point of the whole district court proceeding? Oh I know!! The appearance of some kind of "due process."
See the congress doesn't want to do it's job. The Judiciary committe doesn't want to do it's job and the Justice Department doesn't want to do it's job, so they pawn the clearly illegal activity onto a district judge who they can then point fingers at when the inevitable "AT&T is in the clear" decision comes down.
Monday, June 16, 2008
So then, when Bill Cosby was catapulted onto the scene by the white media when he made his infamous 'pound cake" speech. I didn't have a problem with it. That put me at odds with many of my colleagues on the left, who felt that Cosby was unfairly beating up on the black poor. My argument to them was that the problem I had was that the media was:
a) taking bits and pieces of his speech and using it out of context.
b) Cosby wasn't lying and as a comedian I'm going to give him "artistic latitude."
c) He has been putting his money where his mouth is for a very long time.
and lastly, relative to Obama,
d) He hasn't to my knowledge talked shit about other "radical" black leadership like Farrakhan. In fact he went out of his way to compliment the NOI.
e) Hasn't gone on record saying that Black America doesn't exist.
f) Isn't using black folk to advance his political career.
During the Obama campaign, I have been particularly disturbed by previously "radical" black writers and thinkers (I suppose), who prior to Obama's win in Iowa, were known for thier sharp critiques of presidential candidates, mayoral candidates, senate seat candidates, US policy, and just about anything that came out of any politician's mouth. Suddenly now, they can't say a thing about Obama other than to vote for him. If Bush kisses AIPAC's ass, these writers are all over him. Obama does the same thing and it's: "well a brother's got to do...." Where's the principle? Where are the principles that says I have issues with anyone who's kissing AIPAC's ass?
When Obama talks about defending Israel against Iran, who poses no threat to Israel, nor will they be dropping a nuke on Palestinians or one of Islam's holy sites, where are these writers? Where are these writers who constantly talk about Dr. King and his opposition to war? They are off writing: "A brother's got to do what..." Where are the principles?
Now I wait to see if these same writers who had all manner of things to say about Bill Cosby will, get to tapping on their keyboards and spew the same condemnation at Obama that they did at Bill Cosby? I'm not holding my breath though. I fully expect these same men and women to find some "brother's got to do.." angle to peddle this time around.
Does this mean that I disagree with what Obama had to say? Absolutely not. Like he said, Any fool can make a baby. But unlike Mr. Cosby, Obama has previously disrespected his former pastor who has said many of the same things in the past. In fact, I will lay odds, that Rev. Wright has said more about Black fatherhood or lack thereof than any sermon on Israel, Iraq or God Damn America. It is blatant disrespect that knowing full well that the media was going to show and report, to stand up in one's first black church appearance since the whole Rev. Wright incident, and run with that kind of speech. I don't recall Obama rollin' in a church on Mothers day and attacking the black women who are doing shit jobs raising their kids, that they decided to have. I don't recall that speech being aired on international TV.
There are a lot of reasons for the rate of single parenthood in the black community but I'm not going into all that right now. My issue is the blatant political opportunism that was on display Sunday. I've been saying for months that black folk would be used as the whipping boy for Obama to seal his "not too black" and "keep them in line" credentials with white voters. Black folk are so desperate to have a black face as POTUS, that all semblance of self-respect has been lost. It has finally occurred to me that the vast majority of black Americans are not in it for Dr. King Justice not Malcolm X justice or for that matter any kind of real justice. It is becoming clear to me that it is about simply getting that piece of the pie. That seat of power. A seat at the table to do the same things that everyone else has been doing.
You know what? I didn't sign on for that. If this is the direction black folk want to go in then I'm going to have to re-evaluate my advocacy on behalf of said group.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
And so we find this which has put off a lot of people. (and there is a lot more potentially offensive material at the link including some not safe for work). The question has arisin as to whether it is art or racist. It is a dumb question since Art can be racist and still be art. While there are people quick to applaud the removal of the art and arrest of the artist, I would remind them that at some point something they agree with may be deteremined to be offensive to some other group at which time they too could find themselves on the receiving end of state censorship.
I recall the artwork. "Your Mommas Last Supper" was created. A lot of people were pissed off about that. It may be Anti-Christian or Anti-Catholic, but it was still art.
Perhaps we can recall the Cross put in urine. Anti-Christian, Most likely. Art? Definitely.
Oh and lets not forget the Cartoons of Mohammed.
To be honest I thought that the exhibit as far as I've seen it is intellectually stimulating. Particularly the Nappy Headed Hos and Audacity of Black Hope images.
The Just Passing and Passed are, to me, interesting pieces in and of themselves.
The point of having a free speech society in which all speech that does not directly threaten the welfare of the public such as shouting fire in a crowded auditorium, is that you protect the speech you may disagree with because by doing so you protect your own speech. It seems that way too many people have forgotten this little point.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Frank Rich's article by the above name touched upon a topic that I like to discuss. I touched this topic when I dealt with the subject of so called "Hereto-Normativeness" a theory that basically asserts that the dominant society has constructed a social order in which Heterosexuality has been made to be normal (normalized) as opposed to homosexuality, transgender, etc. My position was that normal was not so much socially created but of a biological fact. Heterosexuality is a necessary biological situation that perpetuates mammalian species. If homosexuality was normal than mammalian species (among many others) would cease to exist; a brutal but honest fact.
The typical argument usually follows the form of: Sex is pleasurable and not meant to always cause reproduction. Therefore since not all heterosexual unions result in children (for whatever reason), it stands to figure that same sex coupling is no different. The entire flaw with this argument is that apart from cats for whom sex is painful, the pleasure derived from having sex is part of the biological drive to procreate. If sex causes massive amounts of endorphins to be released, and if the semen of males, contain chemicals that facilitate emotional bonds between males and females, then it is clear that the pleasure involved in sex is to 'nudge" the reproductive cycle. That humans decide to not reproduce is a consequence of our ability to think and go counter to our nature (for better or worse). This is not to say that social constructs do not exist in society that have no basis in fact. For example the idea that women are inherently bad at math and logic is a social construct that even recently has been shown to be a consequence of socialization of women and opportunities open (and closed) to women.
Getting back to Stanley Fish, There were a few things that stood out in his piece that prompted this post. First was this:
the film’s director, Brett Ratner, who said on About.com that the story “has strong racial, political and sexual aspects” and wonders, “What if … African-American[s] could take a pill [that would] ‘cure’ them of being black or if a gay could take something that would alter his sexuality?” That is, what if a condition scorned by the majority but prized by the minority that inhabits it could be eliminated by a simple injection? What would the minority do?
In the case of blacks and gays, the answer has already been given in the mantras “black is beautiful” and “we’re queer; we’re here; get used to it.” In the years since these battle cries were first heard, African-Americans and gay Americans have secured rights, gained in influence and earned respect, however grudging and superficial.
The first problem with this is the equation of gay and black as equal supposed "afflictions." As discussed above, it is clear that homosexuality would, in nature, cause the elimination of whatever species in which it was "normal." So in fact such an "affliction" can rightfully be seen as abnormal or even a disease in the way that Sickle Cell Anemia is a disease. (assuming a genetic component). However; being black or heavily melanated is not a disease and is far from abnormal. The fact of the matter is that not only are the vast majority of people on the planet not white, but it is known that all human life began in Africa, and that those early ancestors were in fact black. All the other shades of skin color are in fact deviations from the "normal" state of blackness with the blond haired, blued eyed European being at the far end of the "abnormal" scale. In fact it has been determined that white skin as an inheritable trait only came to be about 10,000 years ago when the predecessors of the Egyptians were experimenting with pyramids, charting the stars, and creating such things as calendars. And so the words of this director, directly reflects the socially constructed reality of a default of whiteness that many white people think of themselves.
Again, to be sure there are definitely socially constructed concepts that are based on general wishful thinking. Equally though there are those who challenge certain constructs based on their own wishful thinking that thinking usually being that they want to be accepted by everyone else. I have no problem with people wanting to be accepted and accommodated, I do have a problem when the arguments for it are just silly. For example those who are deaf attempting to make the case that there is nothing wrong with them. Clearly the fact that the two things on either side of one's head not working, is clear evidence that something is wrong. That sign language was created to help those persons communicate is beside the point. Again I simply point the reader to the nature test. A deaf person, in humanities birth grounds would be soon dead, as any deaf mammal. Simply put, being unable to hear an approaching predator is a serious problem for survival. I won't even get into what would happen to a blind person.
Of course it would be a fair argument to say that we are not in the bush, desert, arctic or forrest. That observation is true and it is also the reason why certain arguments about certain constructs can even take place. Today a handicap may be an inconvenient, whereas in our past lives, they would be deemed a death sentence. The fact that society accommodates those with handicaps leave some to think that they are somehow not broken. This I think is a mistake. I'm all for accommodating those with disabilities, but I disagree that somehow we ought to act like something isn't wrong. If I lose my legs, I will probably never run again, certainly not at the pace that I do now. I would never be able to ride my bike the way I do now. I would never be able to drive a manual transmission again (and that would really piss me off). Similarly, if I were suddenly blind, I would reach out and slap anyone who told me "everything is going to be alright." No it wont. I know what I'm missing. Similarly if I were to go deaf, I would be missing my piano, my music (which I always have on), the sound of my just tuned engine among other things not fit to print on this blog.
So in the end some social constructs are valid and ought to be defended because they are provably "right" and beneficial. Others ought to be challenged and discarded. In both cases the determination ought to be done carefully and without ego.
Monday, June 02, 2008
I've been reading A Taste of Power by Elaine Brown. A review of the book would be a whole other conversation though. One thing that book brought to mind was the COINTELPRO program that was instituted by the US Government to neutralize certain types of black leadership and prevent the rise of a "black messiah" and if possible create one.
One would have to understand that this "black messiah" of which Hoover was so concerned about was one who spoke and acted in such a manner as it threatened the power of entrenched interests. That is, they feared that such a person would be able to have what would be considered a negative effect on US policy both internally and externally. Internally, such a messiah, would organize black people to resist racist oppression by the police and threaten businesses that prey upon black people. At an extreme the government was concerned that black people would rise up in an armed rebellion against the US government. To be clear, that was the extreme concern. However, As seen in the activities against Marcus Garvey (victim of the FBI predecessor MIB), Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, simply speaking out and organizing against the US government activities worldwide in such a manner that even some white people could understand was seen as a threat that needed neutralization.
To that end, the government did it's very best to destroy the most visible black leadership throughout the late 60's and early 70's. To that end we find that Dr. Frances Cress Welsing observed that black youth got the message: To stand up for black folk could get you killed. Black people have found themselves thoroughly declawed. Many former revolutionaries now sit in tenured positions at white institutions of higher education trying to make a living by recounting their lives as members of such and such organizations or they have become born again in various religions or become so called conservatives if they are not in jail, exiled or in mental institutions. While the black middle class is the largest thus far and the list of Black businesses with millions if not billions in assets have been growing steadily. Another side of black America has seen itself faced with huge incarceration rates, high unemployment among males approaching or surpassing 50% in certain urban areas and a below average marriage rate. On the international scene we have former revolutionaries as the primary terrorizers of their now "free" countries. We find Haitians eating dirt, rigged elections in Kenya spawning all manner of bloodshed.
If anything, BET and so called Gangster Rap was probably the best thing to happen for COINTELPRO since the murder of Fred Hampton. An entire generation of black folk and possibly a second are operating under the moto "don't hate." It's all about getting paid. By any means necessary has come to mean any means necessary to get that loot. There is no low mark. Nothing is off the table. Well except power. I recall when the Rodney King verdict came down. Cali was a mess. I saw in the Sean Bell verdict a bunch of mad black folk who knew full well there was nothing they could do except hold up traffic in NYC and provide empty quotations for the media to run with. I'm not saying that there ought to have been violence, but I assure you that no one will be losing an election over that. There will be no heads rolling and I seriously doubt John "Impeachment is now off the table" Conyers will be doing all that much from his committee.
The fact of the matter is that COINTELPRO has worked and worked extremely well. Integration has worked so well, that black persons who are deemed remotely troublesome can for purposes kiss their employment prospects goodbye. And should they manage to get and stay employed, they can kiss advancement goodbye and as an extra treat keep their mouths shut about anything remotely "controversial." On the other hand, great financial awards await those who "play by the rules" and "don't rock the boat." The final push is to marginalize Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and to a lesser extent Louis Farrakhan. Enter Obama.
I'm not saying that I think Obama is an on payroll CIA stool. Rather Obama is a culmination of disparate forces made to pacify and mollify black people. Black support of Obama is because he is black, sufficiently to the left and liked by white people . All other reasons are incidental to those three points. Blacks supported Jesse Jackson who did extremely well without disrespecting the black community and Jackson was able to garner a great deal of white support by extending from his base. Sharpton's run was seen as non-viable by blacks, who were carried by the "anybody but Bush crowd" even thought most of them agreed with what Sharpton had to say. In the end it was white acceptance, or the lack thereof, that doomed Sharpton's extra long shot bid. If we look at the ouster of Cynthia McKinney we see the same pattern. Although there were many aspects to her last loss, it was clearly evident that a good number of her black constituents failed to back her largely because they felt "embarrassed" by McKinney's actions. Yet, aside from that really bad episode with the DC Police, McKinney has been proven correct on all her stands. Black folk decided that mollifying white folk by disassociating themselves with "boat rockers" something black folk have had to do in the US since being brought here, was the way to go. Instead they voted in a quiet "non-confrontational" Hank Johnson. The black middle class learned the lesson well. Not truth to power, just access please.
Many black pundits like to point out that Obama is not running for president of "black America." No one seems to actually ask what exactly is the "black America" agenda that is so objectionable to white America that it is not even worthy of even being put on the table. Are white Americans against civil rights? Civil liberties? Are they against good public education? Against fair housing laws? Maybe they are against fair labour laws? Maybe white folk like losing houses to high interest ARMs. In any event, the real underlying message of such messages is that black people, including their so called "best and brightest" believe that black american issues are not important enough to be addressed at the national level. The issues are not important enough to hold all candidates, including the black ones, accountable. But the reason this is has been happening is because black folk have not been keeping their elected representatives accountable either. So it is common knowledge among the black political class that black folks are good for Democratic votes and a smattering of protests should something "racist" happens and little else beyond that.
In the end having largely ineffective black people who are good for the whims of the political and economic elites was the goal of COINTELPRO. Yes it may have been couched in language of targeting persons and organizations, but the larger goal was to put black folk back in the box. Today so called "black nationalists" are generally known as low lives, sexist men, with little job prospects with a propensity to father children they can't raise (yes this was said to me). Obama speaks this language of the old, bitter, out of touch black radical. He has repeatedly made these comments in reference to not only his pastor but by extension to those who think like him as evidenced by his comments on the white catholic priest. The fact that these statements can be made and go unchallenged by the majority of blacks, is a testament to the success of COINTELPRO.
Obama is a clear message to black folk. Leave those "black power" people alone. COINTELPRO has done it's job and done it well.