Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Short and Trayvon: The Criminalization of Black Men

When Too Short was invited by XXL to give "fatherly" advice to school age boys (I suppose) on how to "take it to the next level" with a girl that they were "running around trying to get kisses from" a lot of people got upset with him. It was understandable given the aggressive nature of the advice and the culture of misogyny that is in Hip Hop. I caught a lot of flack from people, mainly women, for saying that the mistake here was not so much what Too Short said, but who it was targeted to. I expected nothing different from Too Short, who made and continues to make his money off of sexually explicit material. I expected nothing different from a Hip Hop magazine that trades in artists that trade in the same material. Therefore; I was not shocked by the statements in the least bit. Matter of fact I was quite puzzled at why people were surprised by any of it. I personally have bought 1 (one) Too Short track in my life (The Ghetto), so my money is and has been where my mouth is. But that Too Short said wasn't really what bothered me about the entire fiasco that was the Too Short incident.

What bothered me more than what was said was that even though there was absolutely no mention of consent by Too Short, not a few people were saying that Too Short was advocating criminal actions such as sexual assault and rape. While I agreed that the "advice" was certainly aggressive in nature, my position was that there was certainly a way to take the "advice" in a non-criminal manner. In fact I assumed consent was implied in the statement since I don't assume that men set out to sexually assault women (an assumption that the data supports). To that end I posted a number of pictures of men "holding" women "against walls" (as was suggested by Too Short)that certainly could NOT be construed as assault or rape. I heard nothing in response to such photographs.

Not a peep.

I pointed out that "spitting" on one's finger/hand for lubrication also does not indicate sexual assault or intention to commit such an assault because it's no secret that KY, ID Lube, Trojan, Lifestyles and a number of companies are making millions of dollars in the sexual lubricant market. So clearly even folks who consent to sexual behavior see a need to use such items.

These items showed that it was certainly premature to assume that Too Short meant anything other than what he actually said and if there was a question about consent , then someone should have asked him directly such as: "what if the girl in question does not want to be touched "down there"?

I pointed out that while Too Short may have given distasteful advice, there were two movies, one of which was shown twice the same week that Too Short was being drug through the wringer, where actual depictions of rape (marital and acquaintance) were shown, without legal consequence, which not a single person going in on Too Short mentioned.

In A History of Violence, Vigo Mortensen's character rapes his wife. Yes, because she put up a fight before finally giving in to a fuck on the stairs. This movie is seen by impressionable people all over the US and the world. How is Too Short the picture of rape, when his material is not on TV or in movie theaters?

In the film Infidelity the cheating wife is raped by her soon to be lover in their first sexual encounter. She hits him. She pushes him and he insists until she gives it up. How can Too Short be the poster boy of advocating sexual assault when this movie is played on Cable as it was the very same weekend that the Too Short controversy broke?

Similarly Fiat, in it's commercial for its new hot shot 500, depicts a man who is drooling over the car, as personified by a leggy white woman who is bent over adjusting her shoe. She proceeds to slap the man (assault) and then make sexual overtures to the man ( I suppose she Took Too Short's advice). This commercial, first aired during the Super Bowl, appeared no less than 4 times during the showing of Rambo on Spike TV. To this day, I have not heard a single person who was offended by Too Short's dubious advice even utter a peep about this blatant display of assault. And let us be clear, had the commercial been cast where the man was slapping a woman for looking at his ass and then pushing up on her suggestively, we would have heard many many comments about it.

So in light of these blatant examples of "mainstream" acceptance of depictions of sexual assault and rape, not a single person who was going in on Too Short could even muster the effort to bring these issues to the table. Furthermore; no one until about week later decided to actually ask Too Short himself. So rather than ask Too Short directly about questions they had about his statements many women and men decided that Too Short MUST be advocating sexual assault. I said it then as I am saying it now: It is dangerous for black men to have people, particularly our own, to use us as poster children for criminal behavior. It is troubling, in a white supremacist society for so called "conscious" people, to allow ourselves, even when engaging in righteous critique of each other, to allow ourselves to assume criminal intentions of each other. Why? because the larger society already does this and we know what happens.

So I will say with all seriousness that the thoughts that went through Zimmerman's head that fateful night is not much different than what happened with Too Short. In both cases each party took a look at a black man and decided that his actions confirmed our deepest held prejudices about black men and both parties acted upon it. No, no one shot Too Short, but by saying that he advocated rape is no different than Zimmerman saying "this guy looks like he's up to no good".

In each case, neither party checked their own prejudices at the door and said, I'm going to give this black man the benefit of the doubt. Each party decided that the black man "fit the description" of what they felt was a "bad man" and acted on it.

So I will re-iterate: Be very careful about the language you use when discussing various issues within the African community. You just may be adding to the climate of fear and hate that is out there. Too Short was fortunate, he was facing words and not an armed man.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

APNS Editorial: America Needs Social Justice, Not ‘Soul Searching’

The Aboriginal Press Journal goes in on the broader meaning of the Trayvon Martin murder. Usually I can quote a part of a piece that best summarizes the main point of the piece but this time the author has made so many points that to highlight one would do the piece an injustice. Click the title (or here)and set aside some time to read. It's worth it.

The Choices

Yesterday I was bothered by a comment made by both Justice Ginsberg and Sotomayor in regards to the health care law currently under review. Both justices made comments to the effect that because the law seeks to do good by covering people who are without insurance that such a sentiment makes it constitutional. Furthermore since everyone will need medical treatment at some point in their lives that makes it "OK" for the government to act as an enforcer for the insurance industry. This, because it is "good" to cover people.

First and foremost, it is not the role of the Supreme Court to decide things based on what they feel is or is not "good". The job of the Supreme Court is to determine if a law is constitutional. Does the Congress or whatever legislative body have the power to make the law in question? Does that law conflict with any constitutional guarantees of the various states and of the people? These are the questions that the Justices are to be considering FIRST and FOREMOST. Only after having determined the constitutionality of the law(s) in question can they, if they so chose, opine on the "goodness" of a law or whether the state has an interest in whatever activity it is injecting itself into.

I am a huge fan of the Matrix series. In particular I am of the opinion that the Merovingian in that series had THE most proper ideology in the entire trilogy (well he was only in two parts). His position was that those with power determine the choices for those without power. Ultimately by giving "choices" to the masses, those with power determine the general direction of the population. Think of it was water flowing through a hose. The water will go from one end of the hose to the other. There is no escaping that fact. The water MUST flow from one end to the other. When we study fluid dynamics though, we see that there is something called "turbulence". Even though water must flow from one end to the other does not mean that the path of any one molecule of water is set. It may bounce off of another molecule of water. It may bounce off the wall of the tube. It may spin around. It may do any number of "micro-motions". But in the end the water WILL end up at the other end of the tube.

We see this in the final chapter of the Matrix. Neo, for all his 'free choice" had no choice but to face Smith and die. Facing smith was his "tube's exit". Similarly when we look at the health care law we must understand that many people are stuck in the false choices being given by those with power. Either this healthcare law works or people die. And it is problematic that the justices appear to be falling for this trap.

Mind you, I am not against covering everybody. I am a pro- single payer system. Specifically I am for an expansion of medicare to cover all. Period. That is the other choice. The justices should recognize that they are being handed a false bill of choices here. They can, if they so chose, toss the entire legislation out and direct the congress to try again with a specific suggestion that medicare for all would cover all constitutional bases.

People may be of the opinion that the Congress cannot pass Single Payer because there isn't enough support for it. That may be true but that does not excuse unconstitutional laws.

Monday, March 26, 2012

When It's Not Obama

Glenn Greenwald brings up a point that I have made a number of times, beginning with the Bush presidency. Whatever it is you agree to let your favorite president, political party or whatever do, understand that at some point the opposition will get power and when they do, all those rules and laws that you passed gleefully, handing power to your favorite president or whomever, will be in new hands. The question is simple: Would you trust your adversary to use those rules in a manner that did not threaten you? Would you trust your adversary with those laws when they could use them in such manner that you did not foresee or even think anyone would do?

Greenwald's comments were in respect to the extra-judicial (as in there was no trial) killing of Anwar Awlaki, a US citizen and Al Qaeda Sympathizer who was living in Yemen at the time of his execution via a drone aircraft.

“If for whatever reason you trust Barack Obama, the benevolent constitutional scholar… do you trust that power when it is vested in Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin?”

I said long ago when the Congress refused to impeach Bush for his blatant violation of FISA and the 4th Amendment that the reasons this was being done was because the Democrats really didn't mind. They knew that once that power was given to the office of the presidency, that once they got their man or woman in the seat, they too could use that power. You will note that the Obama administration has often used the same arguments and legal reasoning as the Bush administration in regards to "anti-terrorism" policy. This is proof of this concern.

On non-presidential matters, I point to my objections to so called "hate crimes" legislation. Hate crimes legislation amounts to punishment for thinking. Laws are not supposed to be written, at least in the US, to punish people's thinking regardless to how offensive that thought may be. This includes speech that is not: 1) defamatory 2) pose an immediate threat to the general population.

In NJ we have already seen what happens when a "well meaning" law is put in the books (Bias Intimidation) that is used in a manner not meant or foreseen by it's supporters (some of whom are actually quite happy about it and wish to go even further).

I have seen a case in NJ where such laws were abused for the purpose of a politically connected professor who happened to be in the more "sympathetic" and "popular" protected class who was up against another person of a protected class. It is never pretty when the legal system can be used for bruised egos.

Partisans on either side of the general political spectrum need to be aware of these issues. If you put a certain law in the hands of someone or a group of people that you do not trust, would you still want it passed.

Wade Concedes

Wade conceded election defeat and congratulated Sall, as preliminary results gave an overwhelming lead to his runoff rival.

"My dear compatriots, at the end of the second round of the vote... the current results indicate that Macky Sall has won," Wade said in a statement.

Thanks for setting the example.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dar Kush: Ten Thought on Trayvon

I have literally, in my entire life, never heard a police representative more concerned for the safety of a criminal than the life of the child he killed. Never.

U.S. Relaxes Limits on Use of Data in Terror Analysis

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and serve as a terrorism threat clearinghouse.

The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said.

Total Information Awareness by any other name. You have not committed crime but the government will be storing information on you. Information that you were compelled to give up to sign up for credit cards, online purchases, cell phones, automobile purchases, bank account opening.

As the US (and much of the world) becomes cashless, all of your economic transactions become traceable. Any habit that you'd rather not have public, will be stored in these databases and at some point in your life, should you become a "problem" such information will be used to blackmail you or ruin your career.

Of course, under far worse scenarios, false information about you could be planted into these databases, which you have no control over, which could result in you being declared a "terrorist" and indefinitely detained.

Too far out? Consider how the "traffic cams" that are all over the nation are being looked at as a means of "law enforcement" even though when they were first proposed it was always just for "information about congestion" or the like. Then the ticket comes in the mail and you understand.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

White Sheets Surrounding Florida Teen’s Slaying

In March 1799 authorities in North Carolina found no fault in a teen fatally shooting a black man after confronting that man about his being on a public road.

From Counterpunch

Aboriginal Radyo Justice for Trayvon Martin

Excellent commentary via The Angry Indian

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Dangers of the Commerce Clause

As litigation in regards to Obama's health care law moves to the Supreme Court an old case comes to the fore to support both pro and con arguments. Wickard v. Filburn is the case that both the Obama administration and those against the individual mandate are using to argue their positions. While I tend to side with those who oppose the individual mandate, the Wickard decision troubles me a great deal.

Mr. Filburn sued to overturn a 1938 federal law that told him how much wheat he could grow on his family farm and made him pay a penalty for every extra bushel...

To hear the Obama administration tell it, the Filburn decision illustrates just how much leeway the federal government has under the Constitution’s commerce clause to regulate the choices individuals make in matters affecting the national economy. If the government can make farmers choose between growing crops on their own land and paying a penalty, the administration’s lawyers have said, it can surely tell people that they must obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

I think that the Obama administration is correct in it's position that if it was constitutional to tell a private citizen what it can or cannot grow on his or her private land on the simple presumption that it somehow "affects the national economy" then certainly the administration can tell a private citizen to purchase health insurance. The operative word being "purchase". If you are "purchasing" a product, then the commerce clause comes into effect.

But here's my problem: I think the Wicker decision was wrong. Here is a part of the decision from Wickard:

The appellee for many years past has owned and operated a small farm in Montgomery County, Ohio, maintaining a herd of dairy cattle, selling milk, raising poultry, and selling poultry and eggs. It has been his practice to raise a small acreage of winter wheat, sown in the Fall and harvested in the following July; to sell a portion of the crop; to feed part to poultry and livestock on the farm, some of which is sold; to use some in making flour for home consumption, and to keep the rest for the following seeding. The intended disposition of the crop here involved has not been expressly stated.

In July of 1940, pursuant to the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as then amended, there were established for the appellee's 1941 crop a wheat acreage allotment of 11.1 acres and a normal yield of 20.1 bushels of wheat an acre. He was given notice of such allotment in July of 1940, before the Fall planting of his 1941 crop of wheat, and again in July of 1941, before it was harvested. He sowed, however, 23 acres, and harvested from his 11.9 acres of excess acreage 239 bushels, which, under the terms of the Act as amended on May 26, 1941, constituted farm [p115] marketing excess, subject to a penalty of 49 cents a bushel, or $117.11 in all. The appellee has not paid the penalty, and he has not postponed or avoided it by storing the excess under regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture, or by delivering it up to the Secretary. The Committee, therefore, refused him a marketing card, which was, under the terms of Regulations promulgated by the Secretary, necessary to protect a buyer from liability to the penalty and upon its protecting lien. [n4]...

Hence, marketing quotas not only embrace all that may be sold without penalty, but also what may be consumed on the premises. Wheat produced on excess acreage is designated as "available for marketing" as so defined, and the penalty is imposed thereon. [n14] Penalties do not depend upon whether any part of the wheat, either within or without the quota, is sold or intended to be sold. The sum of this is that the Federal Government fixes a quota including all that the farmer may harvest for sale or for his own farm needs, and declares that wheat produced on excess acreage may neither be disposed of nor used except upon payment of the penalty, or except it is stored as required by the Act or delivered to the Secretary of Agriculture.

In essence this decision declared that the US Congress has the power to regulate what you grow on your private property regardless of whether you intend to sell it or us it for your own consumption. Think about that for a minute. Under this decision the government can decide that you cannot, for example, put a solar panel on your property without paying a fine because you would no longer be paying the local electric company (commerce). Or that because you were feeding electricity into the grid you were depreciating the market value of electricity (commerce).

As some people have discovered the government could decide that you cannot collect rain water that falls on your property because you are no longer using the water supplied by the government approved supplier (commerce) or buying water from Poland Spring (commerce). Another water related argument which has actually been used, is that the water is actually not yours and that the government actually owns all water that falls in it's jurisdiction

This isn't to say that the Congress does not in fact have the power to regulate interstate commerce. It does. But that power must be limited and certainly should not extend to what people do on their private property without extreme deference to the citizen.

In this case, my position on Wickard doesn't much matter. Wickard, in my opinion supports the Obama administration. However my position is different than that taken in Wickard. My position is that the health care law forces the people to purchase a product from a private party rather than offering the service itself as is the case with Medicare. Wickard wasn't about the purchasing of wheat by Filburn (or anyone else). Wickard is about Filburn selling and/or using his own product without the interference of government. Filburn wasn't being penalized for not growing wheat. He is penalized for his participation in growing wheat on his own property for his own consumption.

In comparison, the state, which already has a program in which citizens are covered under health insurance by the state (medicare and medicaid) in which the government pays 3rd parties for services rendered, wishes to tell those under the age of 65 that they must go into business with a 3rd party or the state will punish them. It is like the state telling you that you must do business with Burger King or else. That may be absurd but think of all the laws on the books now that were considered impossible and absurd just 50 years ago. Take the long view people. The long view.

Monday, March 19, 2012

That Wonderful New Government in Libya

Nicholas Davies-Jones, a correspondent for Iran’s Press TV, and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, his cameraman, were arrested on Feb. 21 by members of the Swehli militia from the city of Misurata. As Britain’s Channel 4 News reported, the men were detained shortly after they produced a video report on the militia’s revenge attacks on black Libyans they accused of supporting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces during the war...

...Reporting on postwar Libya, the two British journalists focused on news that no doubt made the former rebels now in power uncomfortable. In September, they showed the excavation of a mass grave of Qaddafi loyalists...

...In February, two weeks before they were detained, they reported on the plight of refugees from the town of Tawerga who had been driven out of their homes by the Misurata militia

War crimes? Genocide? Hunting and killing black Libyans? Hmmmmm......

Carolyn Edgar Writes on Who was acting in Self Defense

This was going to be a blog entry but Carolyn Edgar, an actual lawyer, has posted exactly what I was going to say.

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who gunned down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in his family’s gated community in Sanford, is relying on Florida’s self-defense statute to escape prosecution. Because Florida’s self-defense law affords immunity from prosecution for those who use justifiable force, Sanford Police Department have determined they have no basis to prosecute Zimmerman.

However, as more facts come to light, it seems that Martin, not Zimmerman, was exercising his statutory right to defend himself against a reasonable apprehension of unlawful force.

And this analysis is clear to anyone who looks at the facts as we have them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You Have No Rights

So having ruminated on the subject of Trayvon Martin's murder by a White Citizen's Council member calling himself a "Community Watchman", I just had to write a commentary on the general climate in America as it pertains to the black man.

As I've noted in various discussions, the role of white terrorist groups like the Klan was not to explicitly kill black people. Rather the intention was to keep niggers in their place. Their place being wherever those whites in power decided it should be. If you read any of the insider reports of policing in any urban area today, you will see that such attitudes are still common among those who are charged with "keeping the peace".

While John White of Long Island was arrested, tried and convicted of killing a white teenager who, in a drunken rage, showed up on John White's property threatening to kill both his son and wife, the murderer of Trayvon has so far escaped so much as being arrested.

True to the American spirit, Zimmerman, like many a white man before him, claimed to be defending himself. This is the typical excuse given by entitled white men who have taken the life of a black man. Those who killed and maimed Emmett Till were "defending" the white race and the honor of white women. Indeed, in many places in America, killing black males who were in the wrong place after sundown, was a common practice.

And so the tradition continues. A jury failed to convict those police officers who, while in "fear of their lives", shot and killed Diallo who was fishing for his keys while entering his place of residence. A jury apparently thought that an unarmed black man entering his residence with his keys is enough proof of "mortal fear" among supposedly highly trained undercover police officers.

Similarly, Sean Bell who at worst was drunk, presented such a fear to the officers of an NYPD under cover unit that they saw fit to follow this man, who had committed and who had not threatened to commit a crime. Sean Bell, having started up his vehicle saw men with guns pointed at his car yelling. Sean Bell was the only person on the scene acting in self defense as any of us would if someone with a gun pointed at our vehicle would do.

There we have officer Michael Oliver who emptied two full clips into Bell and Guzman, who were, I remind you, unarmed and trying to get away from armed men. His excuse? He was firing in self defense against Guzman who was "raising his arms".

Oscar Grant, laying face down and handcuffed on a train platform. An officer shot him in the back. His excuse? That Oscar Grant was being threatening. The officer intended to only tase Oscar Grant. A jury convicted this fellow but he received less time for his crimes, than Michael Vick caught for dog fighting.

Just this past Febrary members of the NYPD ran up into a home and shot Ramarley Graham. There was no legal reason for officers to enter the home much less shoot Ramarley who was, like all the other cases, unarmed. Also, like all the other cases, the white aggressors made claims of self defense citing weapons that were never present.

And so we see that the case of Trayvon is not in the least bit unusual. It is not surprising that yet another white male has been, so far, allowed to walk around after killing a black man who supposedly had a gun. When the system allows the killers of innocent, unarmed black men to go unpunished, then what is to stop any other "concerned citizen" from making the same claim?

Let's make it plain. Trayvon was walking home minding his own business. Zimmerman took it upon himself to declare that Trayvon had no business walking in his neighborhood. Zimmerman, despite being told to wait for actual law enforcement who supposedly have more and better training (I've already established that this cannot be assumed), decided to hop out of his car and threaten Trayvon. You'll note that I did not write "confront". I wrote "threaten" because if a man pops out of his car demanding you ID yourself and whatnot, while you are minding your own business, you are being threatened. Trayvon, in defense of himself, perhaps told Zimmerman to step off. He probably told Zimmerman to get out of his way. He probably tld ZImmerman he wasn't identifying SHIT. He probably asked Zimmerman who the fuck he thought he was. AND Trayvon would have been completely right to be offended that some random white man was challenging his right to walk down the street in peace.

At some point there was a physical struggle. Remember, it is Trayvon, who was minding his own business and walking down the street who was being threatened by Zimmerman. Only Trayvon is defending himself. Zimmerman is the aggressor here. Zimmerman, perhaps losing the fight, decides to shoot Trayvon "in self -defense". This is bullshit. This would be like a man grabbing a woman's handbag and when she grabs it back, he shoots her claiming to defend himself. No sir. The aggressor is not acting in self-defense.

Perhaps the State Attorney will see fit to charge Zimmerman for the crimes that he committed but the damage is done. That Zimmerman is walking around free with a bloody dead body is in a morgue, no evidence of a weapon and clear evidence of disregarding the instructions of 911, is yet another example of the continued Dred Scott law that operates in America.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 01, 2012

When You Don't Have Power

Dr. Boyce Watkins on being an independent scholar:

I also knew that you can’t go into someone else’s house and expect to move around the furniture. When you don’t have the power to get your own food, you have only earned the right to sit your black ass down quietly and say “thank you” for the scraps that you’ve been given.

There it is.