Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Obsessing on White Folks

James McBride, writing in somewhat defense of Spike Lee's commentary at the Sundance Festival, wrote the following:

America is a super power not because we make the biggest guns. We’re a superpower because our culture has saturated the planet: Levis, Apple, Nike, Disney, Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Jazz, Rhythm n Blues, Rock ‘n Roll, and Hip Hop. Our culture dominates the world far more than any nuclear bomb can. When you can make a person think a certain way, you don’t have to bomb them. Just give them some credit cards, a wide screen 3D TV, some potato chips, and watch what happens. This kind of cultural war, a war of propaganda and words, elements that both Hollywood and Washington know a lot about, makes America powerful beyond measure. The hard metal of this cultural weaponry, much of it, emanates from the soul of Blacks, the African American experience in music, dance, art and literature.

But this kind of cultural war puts minority storytellers – Blacks, Asians, Latinos and people of color – at a distinct disadvantage. My friend Spike Lee is a clear example.
[my emphasis]

This statement reveals the deficit of independence of the African American. The problem with the highlighted comment is that Asians in fact have a movie making center, mostly in Hong Kong, but also in Japan. So Asians are good. They don't depend upon white folks to tell their stories.

Similarly we have Bollywood. So Indians are good. They can and do tell their own stories at will.

In Nigeria we have Nollywood. And while we can complain about the quality of some of the material that is produced it shows that we Africans can in fact produce their own stories if they so choose.

Latinos, in addition to have their own productions in their own countries (or countries of origin, have channels on TV that provides them with a broad array of stories. So Latinos are not exactly dependent upon white Hollywood to provide for them. Who does that leave? The African American, who after spending time under the boot of whites in America, have decided to be the pimple on their butts, in hopes that if they itch enough they will get a scratch or two.

How about we expend our energies into making our own production studios like Tyler Perry has done (and this is not an endorsement of his films) and as Wesley Snipes Amen Ra productions. Hire these hungry (as in want to make movies) African film makers, sound technicians, etc. and produce our own content, Put them into Magic Johnson theaters and tell Hollywood to kiss our collective behinds?

I suppose though that complaining about whether white folks "understand" black lives and the like is easier though. Not as much work involved. And as an extra bonus, Negroes can again ask for the approval of white folks for their work.

RE: Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped

On Jan 14th posted an opinion piece entitled "Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped: Our victim blaming tactics do little to prevent sexual assault" in which author Zerlina Maxwell presented what she thought would be best for 2012 as it related to female victims, or better put, potential victims of sexual assault:

New rule for 2012: No more ad campaigns and public service announcements targeted at women to teach them how to avoid rape.

I'm not entirely sure what ad campaigns she was speaking of and there were no examples of said media campaigns given in her piece but I'm sure they are out there. Somewhere.

Assuming that these ads are out there somewhere, has anyone actually asked what specifically is wrong with informing women on how to avoid being raped? Do we, for example, object to public service announcements that inform the public on how to avoid being robbed? or how to not be an inviting target of pick pockets? Do we object to advice given to those who have iDevices that perhaps they ought not have them out? Do we? If we do not, then why do we make a special exception for rape?

Let's continue with Ms. Maxwell's commentary so as to perhaps understand where she is coming from:

It’s not effective, it’s offensive, and it’s also a lie. Telling women that they can behave in a certain way to avoid rape creates a false sense of security and it isn’t the most effective way to lower the horrible statistics which show that 1 in 5 women will become victims of a completed or attempted rape in their lifetime. The numbers for African American women are even higher at nearly 1 in 4.

It's not effective? What's not effective? Giving advice to women on how to decrease the chances of being raped is not effective? Says who? What data actually supports this statement? None has been provided. I suppose we should just take Ms. Maxwell's word for it.

But lets take for example the young woman who is instructed by her parents to not take a drink from strangers. Doesn't this constitute "advice" on "how to avoid being raped"? And if she heeds such advice is she not now more empowered and therefore less likely to be a victim? If so, doesn't that mean that Ms. Maxwell's statement is demonstrably false?

Mind you not all advice is useful. For example people who wish to say that a woman ought not to have worn a skirt of a certain length or show a certain amount of cleavage is certainly out of order as we know that what is worn by a woman has little if any bearing on whether a woman will be victimized. However; just because some advice is downright silly and objectionable, it does not mean that all advice is useless. Therefore; it is best to discern useful advice from the weeds. But again, no such advice is listed for us to evaluate so we are left thinking that any advice given must be ineffective.

Ms. Maxwell then moves onto what she thinks will be most effective:

We need anti-rape campaigns that target young men and boys. Campaigns that teach them from a young age how to respect women, and ultimately themselves, and to never ever be rapists. In addition, we should implore our men and boys to call out their friends, relatives, and classmates for inappropriate behavior and create systems of accountability amongst them.

I see. So Ms. Maxwell's position is that young men and boys are not being taught not to rape.

I see.

I would hazard to guess that a good number of parents would object to such a characterization, but I'm not in a position to speak for them. But it certainly is curious that Ms. Maxwell would make such an assertion with no data presented to show that young men and boys are not being taught to respect girls and women. The actual interesting thing is the demographic she targeted in this discussion, Young men and boys. Statistics show that rape victims tend to fall into this category. It is not surprising because persons in this group, male and female alike, tend to make choices that are more likely to leave them vulnerable to being victimized and are very likely to succumb to peer pressure and other group dynamics in which people can do things they actually do not want to do. That includes women who have sex with males and then later have regret and claim to have been raped. Yes, it happens. Sadly.

On the point of "men and boys" calling out their friends, relatives and classmates, there is the large problem of simply not knowing. I cannot call out a friend's behavior if I do not know about it. The fact is that most rapes occur when the perpetrator and the victim are alone. They occur most by those who are trusted by the victims. In such a case, so called "good men" are nowhere to be seen. Worse yet, they can only act after the fact. I don't know about Ms. Maxwell, but I would prefer to not deal with after the fact.

In regards to inappropriate behavior. What constitutes "inappropriate behavior"? who gets to judge that. I don't drink. I may be of the opinion that getting drunk is "inappropriate" period. Someone else may not see it that way. I may be a "hands off" person in my interpersonal dealings, while someone else may be particularly physical. Who am I to determine who's behavior crosses the line? I don't have such authority. But I can act if a woman indicates without question that some man's behavior has crossed a line. But that would be giving women "advice" to speak up. Advice is apparently verboten.

Speaking of drinking, Ms.Maxwell gives us an example:

For so long all of our energy has been directed at women, teaching them to be more “ladylike” and to not be “promiscuous” to not drink too much or to not wear a skirt. Newsflash: men don’t decide to become rapists because they spot a woman dressed like a video vixen or because a girl has been sexually assertive.

I've already covered the total BS that is the "you shouldn't wear that" so I wont cover it again. However; to the "drink to much" point I would counter: what is the likelihood of a sober (or at least in control of herself) person being raped compared to one who is passed out, or falling out drunk? I'll actually answer this question later. Again, this is not to say that a drunk woman "asked for it", but as I said before, I would rather not deal with the aftermath of being vulnerable, than not advise my lady friends to not get so drunk that she is "easy pickings" for one seeking to victimize.

Speaking of drinking:

How about we teach young men when a woman says stop, they stop? How about we teach young men that when a woman has too much to drink that they should not have sex with her, if for no other reason but to protect themselves from being accused of a crime?

Did I read correctly? So we're good with advising men to not deal with a drunk woman because he might find himself on the wrong side of the law, but advising a woman not to get drunk around men she neither knows or trusts is bad? Talk about blatant double standards. Is that what's good for 2012? And who are we to tell men and women how they prepare themselves for intercourse. A lot of men and women apparently need to be liquored up in order to disinhibit themselves. Who am I to judge someone who does that?

In regards to "'no' meaning 'no'".=, I'm all for it. The actual data shows that most of us men are for it. Here's the thing though, unfortunately there are a number of women (how large a population I have no idea) that seem to think that teasing a man is "cute". Where there is "no" and "maybe" and "well a little bit". Personally I think that men who encounter such women ought to leave (or have her leave). However; some of these encounters happen and once a "no" turns out to mean "try harder" or "keep trying 'cause I wanna see how much you'll beg for it" then every other woman that man meets after her, is in danger. Why? Because the mixed signals, particularly when young men and women are still trying to figure out what is what in the mating world, lead to the next woman's certain objection to perhaps be mistook for "try harder".

Again, not that I think it excuses the behavior of a man who does not adhere to the "no" rule, but as stated before I'd rather not get that call from the woman who, unfortunately ran into that man.
Ms. Maxwell then discusses what she calls a "culture of violence towards women":

The culture that allows men to violate women will continue to flourish so long as there is no great social consequence for men who do so. And while many men punished for sexual assaults each year, countless others are able to commit rape and other crimes against women because we so often blame the victim instead of the guilty party.

Culture that allows men to violate women? Really? Here in the US where Ms.Maxwell pointed out that 3 of 4 women (75%) will never be sexually assaulted or raped in her lifetime? How do you claim there is an at large culture of violating women with statistics like that? There are, in fact, sub-cultures in which violence as a whole is acceptable and therefore women in those circles (or who share geographic areas with such persons) are more likely than average to face such violence, but the statistic as provided by Ms. Maxwell simply does not support an at large "culture of violating women".

"Many" and "countless" are used skillfully by Ms. Maxwell to hide the fact that she has provided no data. You would be under the impression that there are men all over the place who are simply waiting for a woman to pass by so they can hop up on them. So since we need actual data so that we can move from conjecture and generalizations, lets look at some actual statistics.

A Harvard paper from 2002 entitled "Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending among Undetected Rapists"

Informs us of a group of 1,882 men out of whom 120 self reported acts that met the legal definition of rape. For you math heads out there that means of the group only 6% of the men self reported legal rape.

Furthermore the report showed that the majority, 80% of these men committed rapes on women who were "incapacitated" due to drug or alcohol use

Let's pause here for a minute. If we go back to Ms. Maxwell's position that it is "offensive" and "ineffective" to advise women to not get drunk, how do we reconcile such a position with the above fact? It seems quite clear that advising women to not get drunk or otherwise incapacitated would possibly reduce the incident of rape by 80%.

Eighty. Per. Cent.

Are we really going to be "offended" by such advise?

If we continue looking at the data we find that of the 120 men who admitted to having committed a rape, 76 (63%) of them had committed multiple rapes. These 76 repeat rapists accounted for 439 individual acts of rape out of 483.

Again for the math people, this means that 4% of the men interviewed were responsible for 90% of rapes.

In the paper we also find that 10 of these 76 had committed between 9-50 rapes per individual.

What did this paper state as their conclusion?

The evidence that a relatively small proportion of men are responsible for a large number of rapes and other interpersonal crimes may provide at least a partial answer to an oft noted paradox: namely, that while victimization surveys have established that a substantial proportion of women are sexually victimized, relatively small percentages of men report committing acts of sexual violence.

So if we take this report as being an accurate representation of of society at large (which has *not* been determined by any larger scale studies) it would be the case that the vast majority of men do not commit or condone rape. This means that, contrary to the assertion made by Ms. Maxwell, there is not an at large "culture of violating women". It would also be the case that a very, very small subset of actual rapists, relative to the overall number of males in the US population are actually responsible for 90% of rapes.

Given that the report also indicates that these men also engage in other interpersonal violence, that they do not care about being "educated" about rape or what constitutes rape. They, like all criminals, simply do not care about their victims or what society thinks is proper. This means that no amount of "educating young men and boys" will stop rapists from doing what they do any more than laws against theft stops the thief.

Since Ms. Maxwell is so concerned about violence though I think she and others who think like her may want to consider a recent study on domestic violence. If this study turns out to be statistically accurate across the US Population, Ms. Maxwell may want to direct her "education" recommendation towards women. the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense has found that:

Among males, 92% reported experiencing physical violence from a partner, while 6% said they experienced both physical violence and stalking.

Since the majority of these males would have been in relationships with women, it means that the vast majority of men in relationships, at least in Atlanta, are targets of intimate violence by women who apparently are under the impression that it is OK. Sounds to me that we actually have an at large culture of violating men on our hands.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

State of the Union 2012

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

There are in fact Americans in Iraq. The same Americans that made up a large percentage of the "combatants" in that country: Independent Contractors. They are American (and maybe some other nationalities). So the most accurate comment is that there are no US GIs in Iraq. They are now in Kuwait. That is those who have not been sent home or to Afghanistan.

As for the Taliban, The US is currently in negotiations with the Taliban. I'm not sure how this equals "momentum is broken". I told you in 2003 that the US was dealing with the Taliban and I told you again last week that the US is dealing with the Taliban.

Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs.

You all did read the NY Times piece on why Apple produces the iPhone in China and why Steve Jobs told Obama outright that those jobs are not coming back. Alrighty then.

We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

Very true. Of course since the countries the US now competes with were still under colonial control and therefore the international playing field was nowhere near "level" of course the US had such spectacular growth.

I won't discuss the segregation.... Speaking of which:

The two of them shared the optimism of a Nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.

Unless you were black. In which case, well, if you made it you were VERY fortunate on top of the hard work you did. But that kind of history doesn't make for feel good State of the Union speeches.

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

I'm sorry but is Obama somehow unaware that there was never a time in US history where "everyone" got a fair shot? Or where everybody played by the same rules? There is no history to back this up. Why are black people eating this up when they know this was simply not the case?

Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.

That offshoring was going on under both Democratic and Republican administrations and congresses. In regards to the mortgages and the subprime fraud. The regulators did in fact have authority. They looked away. We know that. So lets' not act as if the regulators could not do anything.

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs

Absolutely the best decision made by the administration. But do be clear that in terms of GM, they were also saved by the Chinese who for some reason love Buicks. GM's largest sales, as far as I know, come from China, not the US. I'm not saying that to down the statement made by Obama, but to point out the increasing irrelevance of the US consumer as the Chinese grow their economy.

We can’t bring back every job that’s left our shores.

I'm glad he said it. It was said by many that there was going to be a new normal for unemployment. Many didn't believe it. I wonder how long until this sinks in.

Now there's a long stint on teachers and education. Good talk but since education policy is largely state based, there is nothing Obama can actually do but ask and suggest the states to do. Which is underscored here:

So tonight, I call on every State to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.

Now I don't know for certain, but I was under the impression that school attendance was compulsory. But even if it isn't, how does one deal with some of the reasons that people drop out such as issues at home? Also given the high rates of drop outs in certain communities who's going to foot the bill for the necessary school space and teachers for those students? Not that I'm being down on the suggestion, but just keeping it real. For example Mayor Bloomberg of NYC is on record saying how he'd remove up to half the teachers (assuming this quote to be accurate). I don't see how overcrowded classrooms helps anyone, particularly students who have special needs (or extra attention).

As to the cost of a college education, Obama said:

this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars. And give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.

I think the reason why he is saying that interest rates would double is due to the following

The bill eliminates $9-billion that had been approved in the House version to reduce the interest rate on federally subsidized loans in 2012-13 and subsequent years. That rate is now due to drop to 4.5 percent for the 2010-11 academic year and 3.4 percent the following year, but then rise to 6.8 percent after that.

It would appear that there will need to be money spent to get that interest rate to not go up.

So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

That's a nice line. I work in education. Tuition WILL go up. If the state cannot cover it's cost of doing business (employee raises, technology maintenance and procurement, cost of third party services, etc.) they will raise tuition. Obama knows this. His people know this. This is an empty threat. If this threat is carried out, what will happen is that faculty and staff (the people who run these schools) will be forced into furloughs. Furloughs are a quaint way of saying "pay cut". Now some faculty members at the high end of the salary range will probably be able to absorb that. But there are many people at the low end of the salary range for whom such a thing can be a disaster for their household budget.

Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
Let's be clear. A College education is already a luxury. Only 27% of the US population has a 4 year degree. College education has always been "for the few". The real issue is an employable education for all.

That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.

Actually the fewer crossings have more to do with the depressed economy than with "boots on the ground".

Moving on.

Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right – eight years. Not only that – last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years.

But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

Going by the comments I saw on Twitter, I am under the impression that folks on the left are now for drill baby drill. I think liberals need to make up their minds. Are they against drilling for environmental reasons like oil spills and global warming or are they not?

Now if we know that only 2% of the work reserves are in the US, then no matter how much oil is "opened up", there is no escaping dependency on foreign oil. So the ONLY way to get off foreign oil is to get off oil completely.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

I will simply direct the reader to the 60 Minutes report on drilling and the consequences on certain neighborhoods in the vicinity of said operations.

In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.

Absolutely. I've been saying this.

We will also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.

But he just said that there were no regulations. Which one is it sir?

Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.

I thought this was already done. Anyway, yes, yes they can because that payroll tax goes to social security that they'll likely be pulling from in the future. And that payroll tax is on a sliding scale depending on how much you make. And if you make enough to get that $40 hit, you're not in financial straights; at least not one of the government's making.

’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.

Which cannot be done while cutting the payroll tax that directly funds Social Security.

Moving on to taxes:

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

I agree with this but I don't see it happening. Both parties are deep in hock to corporations for this to go down.

On Executive Power:

The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.

Really? After signing an unconstitutional law that could indefinitely detain people, we are supposed to give the executive more unchecked power? Really? Are people so un worship of Obama that they'd actually go for that?

On War:

From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.

Yes because under this president we have to most drones in operations and have killed more people with them than any other president. Ever.

Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent. Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.

I don't expect a single liberal to even comment negatively about this. Not a single one. Not a one that rightly derided McCain's "bomb, bomb Iran". Not one. Sanctions are acts of war. Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has met it's obligations under that treaty. Furthermore; as a sovereign state it has the right to develop whatever nuclear devices it wishes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What is the school there for?

“Oh yes it is and I will say it again, you are lazy. Poor and uneducated Africans are the most hardworking people on earth. I saw them in the Lusaka markets and on the street selling merchandise. I saw them in villages toiling away. I saw women on Kafue Road crushing stones for sell and I wept. I said to myself where are the Zambian intellectuals? Are the Zambian engineers so imperceptive they cannot invent a simple stone crusher, or a simple water filter to purify well water for those poor villagers? Are you telling me that after thirty-seven years of independence your university school of engineering has not produced a scientist or an engineer who can make simple small machines for mass use? What is the school there for?”

...“As long as you are dependent on my plane, I shall feel superior and you my friend shall remain inferior, how about that? The Chinese, Japanese, Indians, even Latinos are a notch better. You Africans are at the bottom of the totem pole.”

I don't know if the story related here is fiction or not, but the sentiments are completely Garveyite in nature. Don't get mad at the Bwana for saying it. Garvey made the same argument.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor had US spy agency ties

WASHINGTON - When Charles G. Taylor tied bed sheets together to escape from a second-floor window at the Plymouth House of Correction on Sept. 15, 1985, he was more than a fugitive trying to avoid extradition. He was a sought-after source for American intelligence...

The Defense Intelligence Agency refused to reveal any details about the relationship, saying doing so would harm national security.

Taylor, 63, pleaded innocent in 2009 to multiple counts of murder, rape, attacking civilians, and deploying child soldiers during a civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone while he was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003.

Well we've always known that US National Security interests are above those of the innocent people now either dead or limbless. Or in the case of Libya, simply wiped out.

So remember this when next you think to pooh-pooh claims by certain governments (Iran) that they have captured spies and that there are spies in their countries. Just know that a lot of innocent people are dead for US "national security" interests.

PS: This is why I believe the US had Bin Ladin killed on sight and thrown into the sea. There was NO WAY the US wanted detailed information on how in bed they were with that man. Dead negroes may not concern a lot of people, but 3000K dead Americans? That's another thing entirely.

Where Are You From

I’ve also had these questions about identity since I was nine years old. I wrote a whole chapter called ‘Where are you from?” where I describe the sensation of being in Switzerland or Sweden or Germany or London and running into an indigenous African, an African who was not a forced immigrant because of the slave trade. On countless occasions before I even opened my mouth, an African man or woman would walk up to me and ask, ‘Where are you from?” I would answer, “I’m from Houston, Texas.” They would say, “Okay great, that’s where you live but where are you from? Where are your people from?” I would stand there like, “What is this person talking about?” That happened so many different times

Isaiah Washington

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Can't Be Black

The thing with these Garifuna is that they are no more or less "mixed" than many people in Jamaica, Trinidad, etc.

That they object to using "black" when "Black" is generally a catch all for those of African Descent, which clearly these folks are (more so if you look at the culture) shows just how divided the black house is. Of course some of them, just like some Jamaicans, and African-Americans are not black and/or are more mixed than others.

My suggestion: They should check the "black" box and also the other box and put in their ethnic identity. Just like there are Gullahs in the US African-American population.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Silliness in the Name of God

When the whole Mohammed Cartoon mess flared up a few years back I was very vocal in my support of the Danish newpapers and anyone else for that matter who made a cartoon of Mohammed, Jesus, Buddah, Ogun, the local Rabbi, whom and whatever, because it is my belief that freedom of speech trumps the religious sensitivities of anyone. Self included and I often have issues with representations of my belief system and those who adhere to it. Personally I prefer to call them out on their hypocrisy or racism, or both but I do not advocate censoring them because censorship does not change minds it merely drives speech underground and breeds resentment. Nor do I support the passage of so called "hate speech" or "hate crime" legislation for the same reasons. Such legislation aims to protect folks from being insulted, which is NOT the purpose of government. I have been and will continue to point out the slippery slope it is to erect legal barriers to expression that a particular party finds objectionable. In India we have such an example:

Last month, a Delhi court had suggested that 21 companies including Yahoo, Orkut, Facebook and Google should be tried for "selling, publicly exhibiting and...(circulating) obscene, lascivious content". A petition referred the court to obscene online depictions of several gods and goddesses, as well as the Prophet Mohammed.

This no doubt inspired by the pandering speeches given by various heads of state in response to the Mohammed cartoons. One day these folks will understand that abiding by specific taboos and the like towards icons of a religion are only obligated to those who adhere to said religion. Everyone else is free to not give a damn.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Doesn't Make Sense

Paul Craig Roberts Strikes again:

Washington is getting all of us in over our heads. Washington has declared the “Asia-Pacific” and the South China Sea to be areas of “America’s national interest.” What sense does this make? It makes the same sense as if China declared the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea to be areas of China’s national interest.

I do however; disagree with his analysis that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon. I believe Iran wants one and that the hold ups are a combination of the assassinations as well as the need to secure the locations. I am not bothered one bit by a nuclear Iran. Iran is a sovereign country and can develop nuclear arms if it so chooses; just as the US does not take direction from Iran on what it can and cannot develop. The ranting about not allowing Iran to have a nuke reeks of ye olde White Supremacy that got the Middle East into the situation it is in now. It is not different from disarming the natives of colonized lands (so called "trouble makers") and arming those natives who are "friendly" to the new occupiers with superior weapons. Same shit new location.

Covert War Against Iran

Let's not kid ourselves. Seven Nuclear scientists are killed, one by one in Iran, often with explosives is not an accident. A computer virus that specifically targets a centrifuge made by a specific company is not an accident. From the NY Times:

The Israeli military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, writing on Facebook about the attack, said, “I don’t know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear,” Israeli news media reported.

While we're not going to comment on Israel's attitude towards Iran, I will note the use of the word "revenge". Why did this person use that word. Why would anyone "take revenge" on a nuclear scientist...or seven of them? One may take "revenge" against a state, but this "revenge" commentary, in my opinion, simply tipped the hand of the Israelis as being behind these events. It does not help that we know that Israel has been itching to bomb Iran.

let's not even get into the not so covert assasination caught on video of a Hezbollah agents by members of Mossad.

I will say this though, When you engage in blowing up cars in public places, you are no better than the so called "terrorists" you scream about.

Conspiracy Theory or Not?

Many years ago, January 2004 to precise I discussed the economic reasons for the US going into Afghanistan:

the bases more importantly, improved "American access to Kazakh and Turkmen oil and gas," and extended "US influence to a region hitherto dominated by Russia and of constant concern to China (4)." The bases in essence paved the way for America to gain a foothold in a globally strategic region thereby putting it in a better position to compete with Russia and China for the great oil treasures of the Caspian Sea.

In addition to being the world's largest lake, the Caspian sea is believed to hold vast oil reserves comparable to those of the Middle East. Yet, unlike the Middle East, transport of the extracted black gold from the landlocked lake to the open sea is a major hurdle. Therefore, the primary issue guiding the politics of the region revolve around not ownership of oil, rather control of the proposed pipelines by which the oil is transported5. It is within this context that Uzbekistan has emerged as "the key strategic state in the area (5)."

The need for this strategic ownership of oil AND the means to get it to market lead the US to deal with both the Taliban as well as form strategic alliances with Pakistan.

Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Sheikh Muradov meets with Mullah Omar in Kandahar to discuss pipeline.

Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Taliban sign agreement to revive pipeline project.

Now let's look at a recent report from the NY Times

The United Arab Emirates has nearly completed an oil export pipeline from Abu Dhabi, on the Gulf, to the Gulf of Oman, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz...

The project aims to “offset reliance on Arabian Gulf oil terminals...

“Iran’s potential ability to close the choke point is a key trump card that could give it the upper hand” in its face-off with the United States and its allies....

, analysts say completion of the Abu Dhabi pipeline would be a positive step toward greater supply security.

Notice the talk of "security" in many of the comments in the piece. Not really all that different from that discussed in January of 2004. And just think about it. Why even consider such a pipeline to bypass the straight unless one expected some event that could disrupt traffic through that point? How long ago was this devised? Who's been plotting and for how long?

Looking at a map of the region

Look where Iran sits in relationship to today's NYT report and my January 2004 entry.

Clearly those in charge are doing whatever that can to route as much oil around Iran which would, if it were "friendly" be the logical means to pass oil from the Caspian sea into the established ports in the Persian Gulf.

You don't think so? Then why do you think the US is admitting to discussions with the Taliban? And who's at the table?

Over the last year, Marc Grossman, a veteran but low-key diplomat, led a small team of American officials who met secretly from Doha, Qatar, to Munich with a shadowy representative of Afghanistan’s Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in hopes of starting peace talks.

The same Mullah Omar I told you about back in 2004.

Don't mind me though.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Campaign Promise? What Campaign Promise?

From our friends at Counterpunch:

Today, President Obama has abandoned his inaugural pledge to close Guantánamo and there are more than 3,000 detainees at Bagram — five times the number of prisoners when the president took office — with a scheduled expansion of the facility by the end of 2012 to house up to 5,500 detainees.

I recall something along the lines of "McSame" during the 2008 campaign. Look, I know full well that politicians say whatever they need to to get elected but exactly at what point do we call a liar a liar regardless of what party set they claim?m Unless of course so called "progressives" are OK with this kind of thing, you know, to keep us safe.

The Mad Dictator

Reading on the increasing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in countries that had uprisings I stumbled across the following at Counterpunch:

The new “government” has raised it to 750 dinars per month and it is not enough, given approximately 18 per cent rise in prices since this summer when the Gadhafi government enforced anti-gouging rules. Those rules are no longer being enforced and prices continue to rise.

So if I understand this correctly, the dictator who was hoarding money for himself had imposed anti-gouging rules. No doubt this was done so that more riches could flow to him.


the receipt of payments for Libya oil shipments, even though oil is being shipped today as well as the pay[sic] few months, zero payments have been received at the CB. The reason is said to be that NATO countries are being shipped oil, (also to gas and oil rich Qatar) free of charge under a payback arrangement with NATO for its regime change services.

Paying back? So was this a humanitarian mission or a NATO for hire? I never knew one had to "pay back" a UN humanitarian intervention.

On a different note there is the issue of war and manhood. I have often discussed the problems with warfare in colonial and post colonial countries. It is particularly dangerous when there are large numbers of young unemployed, marginally educated and unattached males wandering around. Due to the aggressive nature of masculinity (that testosterone thing), weapons and males do not make for a good mix. In the Congo, Liberia and other countries where there have been high unemployment and a weak state apparatus young men seeking to validate themselves (and entertain themselves) gravitate to warfare (Not really all that different than the popularity of FPS in so called "first world" countries). So we find in Libya:

A few young men I chatted with during a demonstration at Green Square yesterday actually said they miss the fighting and want to fight some more. “It was really exciting and fun most of the time and I made some great friends!” one kid from Benghazi told me. He plans to stay in Tripoli with his militia buddies.

Whoever comes to power will have to deal with this issue before cliques form up to wreak havoc on the population by being convinced by someone what whomever wins the election really ought not to and....well you know the rest.

The last mistake that the NTC is making is as follows:

It bars, with loosely all-embracing language, “former members of Gadhafi’s regime” from being candidates in the election. Among the judges I spoke with at the Ministry of Justice some expressed dismay because they said that 80 per cent of the current staff at their Ministry, and most other Ministries, worked there, lawyers and judges included, under the Gadhafi regime and were patriotic Libyans. There is going to be lots of confusion concerning the scope of the new law and its application. The new election law also bans anyone who got a degree based on academic research on the Green Book — Gadhafi’s political manifesto that laid out his theory of government and society declaring Libya a “republic of the masses.”

This reminds me of the "de-baathigication" of Iraq. We see how that's going. It would be a huge mistake for the new government to bar those most qualified to run the various arms of government from serving. It is one thing if they are seeking to be seditious, but Ghadaffi is dead and his sons are either dead or about to be imprisoned. There is no "going back" to Ghadaffi. There are only those seeking their own new legacy.

Here's to hoping that some influential people have read Fanon's Pitfalls of National Consciousness.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Trashing The Constitution

I've waited a bit to write on this indefinite detention thing for a few reasons. The first being that the language used in the legislation is questionable in some respects. For example, one of the relevant sections of the NDAA states that US citizens are exempt from the requirement of indefinite detention. I sat on this particular clause because it could be read that the "requirement" statement means that US citizens cannot be indefinitely detained. Another way of reading the statement is that US citizens cannot be required to be detained but that the option of doing so exists.

Indeed Obama's signing statement that his administration would not detain citizens makes the later reading more likely to be the intended meaning of the legislation. That should bother a lot of people.

One of the supreme ironies of this turn of events is that it was a president who was a constitutional scholar who signed this piece of legislation. One can read that in one of two ways:

1) Obama being so well versed in the Constitution knows better than the rest of us whether such a thing as indefinite detention is constitutional.


2) Obama knew full well that the indefinite detention part was unconstitutional and signed it anyway.

The later explanation is the most likely interpretation of events since firstly Obama has done clearly unconstitutional stuff before, the most recent being the war on Libya in clear violation of the Constitution as well as the War Powers Act. Secondly we have reports that Obama has indicated that he wished for future "rewording" of the NDAA to remove the kinda-sorta-maybe unconstitutional portions.

What we should be asking is why a US President who is under oath to defend the Constitution of the United States would sign a piece of legislation that he knows contains such an unconstitutional section? We know that the president does not have the authority to do a line item veto over legislation. That is not a bad thing given that such power would essentially allow the president to legislate from the White House. What the president can do is either sign the legislation or veto it. If there is so much support for a piece of legislation the Congress can overturn the presidential veto by a 2/3 vote in the House and Senate.

With that in mind, Obama had the option of vetoing the legislation on the grounds that he would uphold his oath of office and not trash the Constitution. If the Senate and House were so positive of the backing that the legislation had then they could have overridden the veto.

But Obama did not do this. Why?

Back in December of 2010 I wrote about the cave in cave in Obama had committedon the Bush tax cuts where I discussed the "ethics" of hostage taking. Indeed Obama had tipped his hand to the Republicans. The Republicans attached their wish for extended tax breaks for the rich to unemployment benefits. Once Obama blinked the Republicans and anyone with a long term interest in curbing constitutional restraints on the executive knew that all that they had to do to get the things that they wanted was to attach it to something that Obama cared for. I noted, likely on Twitter that this would be a future feature of Republican moves.

Lo and behold we have the Obamaratti who have forwarded this very concept to explain why Obama "had no choice". The "no choice" argument goes as such: Obama had to sign the military bill or the troops would not get paid. Obama can't mess around with soldier paychecks so he did the responsible thing. Ahh the old "Responsible Negro" argument. There has always been a strain of negro who have an affinity for being "responsible" in the face of racism.

Lets go back to the beginning of this post where I noted that he oath of office of the president explicitly demands the protection of the constitution. As a matter of fact members of the military are under the same requirement. There is no requirement that the president make sure the troops are paid. So Constitution trumps paycheck. The president, knowing the veto process should have done his job and protected the constitution by refusing to sign any piece of legislation that had the indefinite detention sections in it AND had the backbone to have followed through on his refusal (This under the assumption that Obama is not actually supportive of such legislation but is playing the good cop to the Republican bad cop because the public demands such a show). Those who want to give the executive the power to designate a person a terrorist (or friend of one) and on that say so have that person detained for as long as there are terrorists without judicial review, warrants or anything of the sort, knew that they could push this president of party that is regularly called out for being weak on terror by attaching it to a "support the troops" kind of legislation.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs when Obama supporters have to bend over backwards when they even bother to actually discuss the topic, to explain why their constitutional scholar and president couldn't do his job. But the people at Black Agenda Report have been consistent in their observations that the powers behind the scenes understood that having a Democrat in office doing these things would effectively silence those who would have been front and center if this was a president McCain or Romney.

The way I see it, Obama should have announced publicly that he would sign no such legislation. Should have vetoed it the minute it hit his desk and made another public announcement that the would uphold his oath of office and if the Congress wanted to trash the constitution he would not have his hand in it and they would have to override the veto. That would have put the spotlight on the members of Congress who would be vulnerable at re-election time, assuming the electorate hadn't already forgotten about this issue....or even cared all that much.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Republicans Showing ther Cracker for Votes

Hot on the heels of Newt Gingrich announcing that Palestinians don't really exist, 'cause you know white people get to determine such things; Rick Santorum is caught seeking to stake his claim as the better Great White Hope, by adding his bit to the mix

Writing in The Jewish Week on Monday, Douglas Bloomfield reminded readers that Mr. Santorum told a man in Iowa six weeks ago that “all the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis. They’re not Palestinians — there is no Palestinian — this is Israeli land.”

So says the white man from Pennsylvania. There is something so retro-white man's burden about white men thousands of miles away, running for office of an entirely different sovereign nation, declaring who's land belongs to who and who does and does not exist. It is also very interesting that Santorum would bring up New Mexico and Texas in his discussion of Israel and the West Bank:

A video of the exchange, which was recorded by CNN, shows that Mr. Santorum responded to a question about whether or not Israel “should dismantle its settlements” by suggesting that the West Bank was as much a part of Israel as Texas and New Mexico are part of the United States. The entire territory, Mr. Santorum added, “is legitimately Israeli country,” so Israelis “have a right to build things based upon their ownership of that land.”

For those unfamiliar. Texas came into the Union after English descended Europeans (generally speaking) decided to up and grab what is now Texas from Mexico a Spanish derived country inhabited largely by Native Americans. So it is clearly a white supremacist notion to say that the West Bank is as much a part of Israel as Texas is American since each are the result of conquest and dispossession of the original inhabitants who, as is usual for crackers, were determined to "not really exist" and who's land "really isn't theirs".

I suppose though that making noise about Ron Paul's old newsletters is preferable than calling a White Supremacist like Gingrich and Santorum exactly what they are.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Putting Blacks and Welfare into a Proper Context...

Brandale Randolph goes in on the recent GOP fascination of black folks on Welfare:

First, it needs to be understood that statistically speaking, blacks are not the face of welfare. Secondly, the disproportional number of blacks who receive welfare are directly related to the disproportional number of blacks whom are living in poverty and unemployed, Finally, it must also be placed within the context of American history. All three of these things are needed in any discussion of blacks and government assistance.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mexicans confront racism with white, black doll video

The results are predictable:

The kids are seated at a table before a white doll and a black doll, and are asked to pick the "good doll" or the doll that most resembled them. The children, mostly brown-skinned, almost uniformly say the white doll was better or most resembled them.

One child in the video with mixed-race features says the white doll resembled him "in the ears."

"Which doll is the good doll?" a woman's voice asks the child.

"I am not afraid of whites," he responds, pointing to the white doll. "I have more trust."


The children who appear in it are mostly mestizos, or half-Spanish, half-Indian, and a message said they were taped with the consent of their parents and told to respond as freely as they could.

What is also predictable was the following response:

Commenters have noted that the options were "very limiting" by offering only black and white, or good and bad, when in Mexico the majority of the population is mixed-race, mostly European and indigenous, and to a lesser extent African and Asian backgrounds.

"It is a poorly formulated question, it is pretentious," one user said on the website VivirMexico (link in Spanish).

But this is really not "limiting" at all. Indeed we can propose that the minimal common contact with African people makes the implications even more damning because none of the subjects can even use actual events in their own lives to form these opinions. Thus their ideas about blackness are pure fictions they either came up with or that were passed onto them by their peers. It is also possible and probable that the local media has a lot to do with this.

It is also important given the immigration of Mexican nationals into the United States. If these attitudes are being brought into the US, how does that affect those persons of African descent in those locations?