Thursday, December 23, 2010
"They call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." - George Carlin
In today's Room for Debate in the New York Times, the topic of discussion was the middle class, or rather why so many Americans think that meaningless term applies to them. I readily admit that I don't know what "middle class" means. According to a Pew survey, nine people out of ten will describe themselves as middle class but no one has a solid definition.
I am a working person. I have a college degree and an income which outside of New York City, would give me some creature comforts. No matter. If I were unemployed I would be in big trouble financially.
I depend on employment. That makes me a worker. End of story. If more people called themselves workers, which they really are, they would be more politicized and less likely to be delusional about their status in this country.
So that explains it. Being middle class means never having to think about your situation. That would be too painful for the average American.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Obama Stokes Nuclear Fears
According to the New York Times, Barack Obama wants us to duck and cover. The administration wants us to: A. Be afraid of a terrorist nuclear attack and B. Stay inside when it happens. I have only three words: what the f*ck.
What are they hiding? What are they planning? What do they want us to support? No one knows exactly what they are planning, but I can guarantee that we are supposed to be in the mood for more war or for an increased attack on what is left of our civil liberties.
If I lived in Tehran I would be very afraid.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
December 7, 2010 certainly sucked. Julian Assange is in jail, a federal judge rules that the president has the power to assassinate us at will, and our pompous ass president calls other people sanctimonious when they dare to speak out against his latest act of treachery.
December 8th can't get here soon enough.
"Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed."
Julian Assange has been brought down. Chris Floyd explains.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
May 9, 1800 – December 2, 1859
“Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case)--had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends--either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class--and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.
This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to "remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them." I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done--as I have always freely admitted I have done--in behalf of His despised poor was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments--I submit; so let it be done!”
In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the United States of America, but in fact, the civil war began the previous year when John Brown attempted to apprehend weapons from the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.
Brown’s execution 151 years ago today is generally categorized as proof of his failure, but if anyone ever won by losing, it is John Brown. He didn’t succeed in physically freeing any slaves, but he sowed the seeds which caused the slave holding states to move towards leaving the union.
Neo-confederates are celebrating the beginning of the civil war, but they should not be the only group calling attention to these momentous events. Secession was the beginning of the end of slavery, which died when the confederacy was defeated militarily.
My next Black Agenda Report column will delve into this issue further, but black Americans should celebrate secession more than the sore loser white supremacists.
May John Brown rest in peace.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
"Turn off your tv sets and look around. People are rebelling all over the world against this same group of people."
David DeGraw keeps it real. The shoe has not yet dropped. The federal reserve continues the transfer of our money to the banks. It doesn't really matter if the republicans or democrats win when both serve the world's financial elites. If we don't resist we are toast.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Bloomberg to Obama, "You're fired."
Last year, New York City Comptroller William Thompson came very close to defeating billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thompson desperately needed an endorsement from Barack Obama. He never got one.
There was never any chance that Obama would dare to piss off the rich guy, but his deed has not gone unpunished. Obama’s reward for helping Bloomberg get re-elected is that he may face a Bloomberg run for the white house. Not only may Bloomberg run for president, but he is currently bad mouthing the current president who betrayed his own party in order to help him.
Because there is no honor among thieves, Bloomberg was ratted out by rich buddy Rupert Murdoch. According to big mouthed Murdoch, Bloomberg says that Obama is “the most arrogant man” he ever met.
Ah, the irony of it all. If Bloomberg takes Obama’s job I for one will crack up laughing. Why bother with presidents who have to curry favor with rich people when you can just get a rich person in the top job and cut out the middle man.
If Bloomberg becomes president it is clear that America is nothing but a banana republic plutocracy. I suppose it does make sense. Rich people get what they want when candidates parade before them and promise not to do anything to upset their apple carts. Why bother with the charade, let’s just have rich people in charge.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Those are not my words, they come from Dr. Boyce Watkins. Watkins is pointing out a recent political phenomenon.
“The Obama camp has rarely used the words ‘black man’ or ‘black woman’ in public for the last year, yet they are suddenly hanging in the hood more than the barber and the local drug dealer. They are holding forums to rally black voters for the mid-term elections and telling black folks to vote as if Obama were on the ballot.
All the while, the issue of massive black unemployment hasn’t even been a blip on the administration’s radar screen. Black foreclosures and the wealth gap have been seen as a nuisance to politics as usual. Mass incarceration of African American men hasn’t become anyone’s agenda item. Why in the world should black folks feel inspired to go out and vote?”
Why indeed. The democrats are cruising for a bruising on Tuesday. Obama’s sudden interest in getting out the black vote is proof of his party’s desperation. Most polls show that democrats will lose the house and may maintain control of the senate but will lose seats.
It looks like majority leader Harry Reid will lose as well as veterans like Russ Feingold. (Feingold was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act. I feel a little said about him.) Obama never passes up an opportunity to stab progressives in the back, and his press secretary even said we need to be drug tested.
Fair enough. I don’t go where I’m not wanted. I am voting for green party candidates on Tuesday. I am no longer worried about hurting the democrats. We have to have competition and coalitions with leftists if we want to change this country. The democratic party has proven itself to be untrustworthy. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 100 times, then I’m a chump.
Friday, October 29, 2010
The democrats are surely headed for big losses in Tuesday's mid-term elections. Barack Obama certainly won't lose for lack of effort. He has gone from backyard barbecues to high school auditoriums and this week deigned to speak with progressive bloggers, most of whom let him off the hook. In Salon, Dan Gillmor ponders why none of them said anything about the Obama administration defending, in court, and expanding Bush era civil liberties violations.
I commented and I kept it short and sweet.
"Most liberals are nothing but a bunch of snobs. They don't like Sarah Palin because she is dumb, but their smarty pants constitutional law professor president has gone to court to uphold and even expand Bush era civil liberties abuses and they say nothing.
They aren't wimpy, they are just dishonest. They only care about their people being in power, they don't care about what they actually do."
Most Americans think it is great idea to give up their power to the state. They just want the people they like to do it. Liberals are no different in this regard. I don't know when this attachment to authoritarianism will end, but end it must.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
“Why would Democrats support a program that has such a deleterious effect on their most loyal constituencies? It is, in part, callous political calculus. It’s an easy and relatively cheap way for them to buy a tough-on-crime badge while simultaneously pleasing police unions. The fact that they are ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men and, by extension, the communities they belong to barely seems to register.
This is outrageous and immoral and the Democrat’s complicity is unconscionable, particularly for a party that likes to promote its social justice bona fides.
No one knows all the repercussions of legalizing marijuana, but it is clear that criminalizing it has made it a life-ruining racial weapon. As Ms. (Michelle) Alexander told me, ‘Our failed war on drugs has done incalculable damage.’ “
I was never very impressed with New York Times columnist Charles Blow. He analyzed statistics and then reached what always seemed to me to be some obvious conclusion. Big deal.
In his column published today, Blow did an excellent job of exposing how the democratic party has advocated for increased drug enforcement and therefore increased mass incarceration of black Americans.
On election day Californians will vote on Proposition 19, which if passed will decriminalize marijuana possession. Attorney General Eric Holder has already announced that the justice department will continue federal enforcement of drug laws even if states decide to move in this more humane direction.
Once again we see how damaging the first black presidential administration has been to black people. When Obama leaves office, black people will have nothing to show for their adulation. If seeing a black first couple disembark from Air Force One is enough to float your boat then you still have reason to be happy. If you are looking for substance you see that Obama’s term in office is the absolute nadir in the lives of black people. We have a president who has every disincentive to help us, but who gains support if he ignores or harms us.
Hopefully after he has left the white house more of us will have the courage to talk openly about what his presence really meant.
American Politics is Like Pro Wrestling
Saturday, October 09, 2010
I don't know what anyone else said at the One Nation democratic party pep rally, but Glen Ford definitely got to the point.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Gene Cranick’s house burned down in Obion County, Tennessee. Fires take place every day, but Cranick’s house burned down because he hadn’t paid a yearly $75 fee for fire protection. It sounds a bit like mafia extortion, but rural Obion County residents living outside of the city limits have to pay for emergency protection, something which ought to be a public service. In Cranick’s case, fire fighters literally stood by and watched as his home and his dogs and cats went up in flames.
The story has sparked outrage, but is part of a larger trend. Across the country, accident victims are being charged for emergency service, usually fire department response. Unlike Cranick, they do get the service, but receive bills later.
If this disgraceful state of affairs isn’t proof of the end of civil society I don’t know what is. Americans can no longer count on being protected by their government. Tennessee is a low tax, and therefore low service state. Cranick’s predicament is the natural outcome of right wing ideology run amuck. I think I will stay in high tax New York.
Not only are citizens charged for fire service, but some are sent to jail when they don’t show up for debt related court appearances. Clayton County Georgia eliminated its bus service and Boulder, Colorado no longer lights the streets at night. Camden, New Jersey can’t keep its libraries open and the state of Hawaii has cut the number of school days.
There isn’t even a veneer of a social contract any longer. The ruling class rules, steals our public resources, and we are left with nothing, not even an expectation of a fire department doing its job. It is clear that America is an empire, and it is beginning to crumble. The recession that causes localities to deprive people of essential services won’t end any time soon. It is more than a recession, it is the beginning of something far worse, and we will all suffer because of it.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Yesterday, in my zeal to write down new information, I gave inaccurate information about the connection between the Guatemala and Tuskegee, Alabama syphilis experiments. It is true that John C. Cutler was in charge of the program which infected prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis. He did not have a connection with the Tuskegee case, in which syphilis patients were not informed that they had the disease, until the 1960s when the program was already 30 years old.
I will have more to say in my Black Agenda Report column on Wednesday.
Friday, October 01, 2010
I’m writing this some what quickly because I don’t know if the google cache will exist much longer.
Dr. John C. Cutler ran the Tuskegee experiments which allowed syphilis patients to go without treatment for decades, decades during which they infected partners, spouses, and children. Today the U.S. government revealed that sixty years ago American scientists infected Guatemalans with syphilis in order to test penicillin. Cutler was involved in that atrocity as well.
Cutler went on to the University of Pittsburgh which until today used Cutler to pitch to major donors. Notice that they do not mention his role in this notorious Tuskegee experiments.
Eleise S. Cutler and the late Dr. John C. Cutler, Friends of Pitt
Eleise Cutler has always supported the advancement of education and the exploration of public health issues. Her husband, Dr. John C. Cutler spent much of his life as a physician largely in service to global public health. Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health for his "second career", he served as both assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization. Eleise was always there supporting his every effort.
Dr. Cutler's early work was in the field of venereal disease. He was a part of the group of physicians who developed VDRL, the venereal diseases research laboratory test, which has become the accepted test for the diagnosis of syphilis. "We traveled all over the world together when he was doing research work in syphilis and gonorrhea," Eleise explains. "He worked in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, in New York and also in Guatemala. And, I was with him every step of the way." Dr. Cutler's research also took the two of them to India where, while working for the World Health Organization, he organized a venereal disease laboratory for South East Asia.
When Dr. Cutler arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 1967, he became the head of the population division of the Graduate School of Public Health where he helped establish and coordinate major international health projects in West Africa and several third world countries. He was also instrumental in the development of a joint program with the University's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Eleise, a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, also understood the importance of population control – one of her husband's passions. She has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood, that assist in educating others on the importance of these and other issues. Her work with a visiting nurses association and the Pittsburgh Dance Council while in Pittsburgh and numerous other non-profits throughout the nation during their travels have given her a first-hand understanding of the importance of philanthropy.
In 1995, Eleise and her husband began discussing the possibility of planned gifts to support some of their favorite causes. "Since we didn't have any children and our home was our largest asset, we thought that donating that part of our estate would be a good way to give to organizations," Eleise explains. The Cutlers chose to include the University of Pittsburgh in their will, along with six other organizations, who will split the funds obtained in the sale of their estate after they are no longer able to live there. "I'm still living in my house," she reveals, "and through this gift we were able to do something wonderful that we never anticipated."
After Dr. Cutler's death in 2003 at the age of 87, the John C. Cutler Memorial Global Health Fund was established to honor Dr. Cutler's legacy of global health, leadership, research, practice, education and devotion to nurturing the careers of future public health leaders. The funds raised through their gift of real estate will be added to this fund which supports a lecture series in global public health. "I am so happy that we are able to help the university and ensure my husband's work continues." Elsie proudly says.
Southeast Asia, New York, India, West Africa, federal prisons? How many people did Cutler infect with syphilis? I hope that there is a full investigation of his activities. I find it hard to believe that Cutler didn’t repeat his Guatemala and Tuskegee horrors in a federal jail and in Asia and Africa.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
“Those who profit from these wars and U.S. support for oppressive governments like Israel and Colombia hope that by having a Black President, it will discourage African Americans from speaking out in protest against these raids, and against attacks on other social justice fighters.” - Black Workers for Social Justice
Barack Obama’s elections is the worst thing that could have happened to black people. Only Obama could raid the homes of peace activists and not expect any opposition from black people. In fact, this Saturday, October 2nd, the One Nation March will bring together progressives to cheer lead for the democratic party when they ought to be making demands on the system. If there aren’t protests against this crushing of dissent, then the left is completely lost.
“U.S. intelligence services know perfectly well that activists like those raided last week barely have the material resources to put out slim periodicals or keep web sites updated. They cannot possibly provide ‘material support’ to ‘terrorists’ unless political statements against war (or silence in a grand jury) can be construed as, somehow, ‘support’ for those the U.S. government deems terroristic. If the aim is to push anti-war and other social activists to the very edge of the cliff, where they will either shut down or fall into the carefully constructed legal abyss – that’s not harassment, that’s a campaign to ‘neutralize’ the Left, in COINTELPRO terms.”
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
“Now the Prez can declare any group he pleases a ‘terrorist organization’, and ‘material aid’ includes things like responding to an e-mail. So really, this is a policeman's dream. They can pick you up for just about anything.
Not for the first time, I marvel at all my liberal friends, worried about the dire Fascist threat emanating from those poor teabagger loons, while their hero is busy busting down people's doors for engaging in political activity he doesn't like. “
Michael J. Smith, Stop Me Before I Vote Again
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I would not set foot in this church. This is a photograph of the Rev. Curtis Edmonds, a “bishop” at St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Three years ago his congregation saw fit to have him dress up like an Anglican or Catholic and consecrate him as a bishop. This is the height of foolishness and idolatry of the most bizarre kind in a denomination which until recently never had a hierarchy at all.
This worship of the preacher has been annoying me for some time, but the Eddie Long scandal led me to speak out about this disgraceful trend. Black people do not have to engage in crazed religiosity and bad performance in church and we should not claim it as our tradition. Religious hustlers are nothing new, but the taboo against critiquing religious belief has silenced us for too long. Eddie Long is the tip of a an iceberg of hucksterism which threatens to kill church life.
People who note and reject this trend are walking away from churches and we are left with ministers/businessmen and people who are so desperate to believe that they give up any power of thought.
By the way, baptists don’t have cathedrals either. The word cathedral does not mean big church building. Cathedrals are seats of bishops in those denominations (catholics, anglicans) who always had bishops as part of their theology. If you see a baptist church calling itself a cathedral, keep it moving. Do not go inside.
Here is a piece of advice coming from a nice, middle aged, black baptist lady. One of the principles of the baptist faith has always been that we are a non-hierarchical church. All baptist clergy were called reverends, period. COGIC, AMEs and other denominations had bishops, but baptists did not. So you can take these words to the bank. Any baptist minister calling himself “bishop” is a fraud, a huckster, and a hustler.
The madness infecting our society has not exempted church people. While baptists sudddenly have bishops, many preachers are giving themselves the title Rev. Dr. when in fact they have only honorary doctorates. Have mercy!
I think this foolishness is a symptom of the ongoing collapse of our society. As the military budget saps our resources, as finance capital sucks our economy dry, as public schools are privatized and democrats and republicans become less and less different, people will succumb to bizarre behaviors they never would have considered in the past. The churches and their members will fall just like the rest of society.
Remember the words "providing material support to terrorists." They explain what took place in Minnesotat yesterday morning. The FBI raided the homes of activists in Minnesota and Chicago.
"The warrant for the raid on Kelly's apartment, in the 1800 block of Riverside Avenue, sought notebooks, address books, photos and maps of Kelly's travels to the Palestinian territories, Colombia and in the United States on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It also sought materials on his personal finances and those of the group, on Kelly's 'potential co-conspirators' and recruitment efforts for the group.
The warrant also sought any information about efforts to support FARC, a guerrilla organization in Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hezbollah, the political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon."
The FBI's actions should not be surprising to anyone. Just four days earlier, on September 20, 2010, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on providing "material support" to organizations which the state department has designated as "terrorist," even if that support is conducted through peaceful, legal means.
Mick Kelly and Jessica Sundin say they have done nothing illegal, but they may be wrong about how the law views their actions. The court ruling means that any contact with a group designated as terrorist is in fact against the law and may be punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. Not only were homes raided in Minnesota, but a grand jury has been impaneled in Chicago and individuals in North Carolina and Michigan have been subpoenaed to appear.
We have lost what is left of our legal rights. Our nation is a police state and Barack Obama has continued and solidified this process which began under Clinton and continued with Bush. Yes, I said Clinton. The rules against providing support to terrorists went into effect in 1996 when Bill Clinton was still president. The Patriot Act put the icing on the cake and we have been going down hill ever since.
I for one would not have any contact with a group designated as terrorist. We have no way of knowing when the government will decide it is convenient to enforce these laws. The next Gaza flotilla could be called an effort to support Hamas. Helping striking workers in Colombia could be called support for FARC.
We need to fight back but we also need to watch our backs. We must speak out in support of Kelly, Sundin and the others raided or subpoenaed but we must remember that the game has changed permanently. The old notions of thinking that we have first amendment rights must end. Our activism now requires that we think about the implications of what we do and our readiness to be targeted by our government. We have to think two and three steps ahead to prevent our best people from being taken out by the police state.
On the other hand, I could be wrong too. Perhaps expressing support for these brothers and sisters will be labeled as providing material support for terrorists. If that is the case it may well be time to find a nice place to live as an expatriot.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Black People Just Don't Get It, Part 2
I saw Part I and was left hanging so I checked out Part 2. "In a capitalist society you are either a capitalist or a victim."
I don't agree with Sizemore's comments about black spending habits. Black people can always get loans to buy cars, but we don't have wealth and we have lower incomes. I did post this video because Sizemore tells us that the way our system works bears no resemblance to how we are told to act within it. People are literally going crazy because they can't reconcile what they observe with how they are told to behave. We should try as much as possible not to be victims of this system and the first step means knowing that the system doesn't work for most of us and acting accordingly.
Oh No She Didn't!
Yes, I'm being lazy and posting videos, but they are all worth watching.
Words of the Week from Troy Sanders
I had never heard of Rev. Troy Sanders but I love him now. He describes himself as a "same gender loving man" and he had this to say to Ted Haggard, who is still a closeted self hater. "It didn't take a scandal for me to come out and walk in truth. ... There are other options besides waiting until we get into scandal to be called on the carpet and walking in truth." Ouch!
Sanders made excellent points not just about the hypocrisy of anti-gay gay people but about the need to critique scripture and to embrace an inclusive theology.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
“The double life sentences imposed on the Scott sisters for an alleged robbery in Mississippi netting little more than $11 is a glaring example of a criminal justice system that is no longer much concerned with justice. No one was hurt or injured, and these women have no prior offenses. No other Western democracy subjects its own people to such draconian punishment for minor crimes. And no other country in the world incarcerates such a large percentage of its racial and ethnic minorities. This is Jim Crow justice, alive and well today. I urge all those of conscience to support the Scott sisters and the thousands of other prisoners who find themselves in similar shoes.” - Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow
Fifteen years ago Jamie and Gladys Scott were each sentenced to a double life sentence for theft of $11. They vehemently deny their guilt, and witnesses who testified against them have now recanted their testimony.
Their case is getting more and more attention and NAACP president Ben Jealous is among those seeking a pardon or commutation of their sentence. I have issues with Jealous, but the NAACP still carries weight, and his involvement can be helpful. In the meantime, please do what you can to help these women whose children were babies when they were first incarcerated in the early 1990s.
I just realized something important about this story. Obama’s comments deriding progressives are now well known because the white house released them. That’s right Obama lovers. He wanted the world to know he was kicking you in the butt. If he didn’t want those views to be known, they would have been edited from the transcript.
Stop crying. Wake up and smell the coffee. Beating you down is not incidental. It is an important political strategy for the Dalai Obama.
"Obama continued to eradicate the old Democratic branding, as president, immediately entering into backroom deals with the second most-hated tier of Big Business villains: the drug and insurance corporations. By the summer of 2009, a new brand of Republicans, the Tea Party, had cornered the huge public market on hatred of big business bailouts. Anti-bailout, anti-banker politics had become so popular, the Tea Partyers often found they could use the brand to mask the racism and virulent white nationalism that lies at the core of their 'movement.'
The Democrats no longer have anything resembling a brand, at all. Is it any wonder, then, that Democratic congresspersons are scrambling to disassociate themselves from the national party, two months from election day?"
I have good ideological reasons for freeing myself from the yoke of the democratic party. But we must never forget that the democrats are just plain stupid and can't seem to learn from their past mistakes.
Democratic liberal snobbery has been in full bloom this week ever since Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell won the republican nomination for Delaware's senate seat. First we were told to turn up our noses because she once spoke against masturbation. Now every utterance she has ever made is being scrutinized so that liberals can snicker.
Don't say I didn't warn you, but I think the democrats are looking at defeat and in large part because they think everyone else is as snobbish as they are. There is nothing stupid about O'Donnell or the other new republican candidates. They know how to campaign and they have a message they stick with or as someone once said, they "stay the course."
This election cycle is looking more and more like 1994 when the republicans gave Clinton a beating. Obama and the democrats have done nothing but run from their base, and even deride them publicly in a way that Slick Willie never dared to do. As foreclosures rise and unemployment continues unabated, the democrats continue to talk about deficits and swear off a stimulus bill that might actually help millions of people.
While they laugh at O'Donnell she and the rest of the republicans are filling the void. Nature does abhor a vacuum, especially in politics. Democratic base turn out will be low and the energized tea party will win.
The democrats only do well when republicans have been utter failures and are hated by the masses of people. Now democrats don't have a hated republican to run against. They have a lousy health care plan that they connived to postpone until 2013 and so they can't even use it to run with. The wars continue unabated and the corporate bailouts continue. Apathy rules and that means we are looking a republican victory on election day.
We must also remember that the victory isn't really that big a deal. The "stupid" Palins and O'Donnells will wave the banner of war, but so does Obama. They will assassinate American citizens but so does the constitutional law professor president. I have often said that the right wing come by their brand of terror honestly. What excuse does our smarty pants president have? And don't forget Democratic treason against their own. ACORN was destroyed with a democratic president and democratic controlled congress and yet they couldn't have been any worse off if McCain and Palin had been in charge.
At any rate, get ready for Christine O'Donnell. The republicans are supporting and raising money for her and she is only 11 points behind the democratic candidate. Get used to her. She will be around for at least six years.
Obama Sucks Up to Richie Richman (Pun Intended)
Barack Obama certainly knows where his bread is buttered. The path to political power begins with rich people, and getting and keeping their approval.
On Thursday night Obama spoke at a $30,000 per person Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Greenwich, Connnecticut. The event was held at the home of Richard and Ellen Richman. Yes, that's right, their last name is Richman. What irony.
At any rate, not only did the president tell his well heeled audience why they should keep writing checks, but he decided to take the opportunity to beat up progressives.
"Now, the second reason I'm telling you this is because Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed -- oh, well, the public option wasn't there. If you get the financial reform bill passed -- then, well, I don't know about this particularly derivatives rule, I'm not sure that I'm satisfied with that. And gosh, we haven't yet brought about world peace and -- (laughter.) I thought that was going to happen quicker. (Laughter.) You know who you are. (Laughter.)"
The odds were against any pesky progressives being present in the $30k per plate crowd, but why pass up a chance to reassure the check bundlers? Of course Obama would hang out with Richie Richman and make fun of people who have the nerve to make political demands. The Richmans of the world demand such behavior from anyone who wants to climb the political greased pole.
As for people who want world peace, we have sense enough to know that the democrats can't give it to us. That is why we have already dumped the democrats and know that we can't rely on electoral politics to produce change that will bring peace, justice and a sustainable planet.
No need to feel offended. Yes, we know who we are and we know that the democrats are not only not the answer for change, but that they are as much a part of the problem as the reviled republicans. More on that in my next post.
Hat tip to Glenn Greenwald
Monday, September 06, 2010
I did not know that the U.S. Border Patrol was allowed to operate within 100 miles of the border until I saw the New York Times article I linked to a few days ago. Mind you, they don't have to be within 100 miles of an actual border, but also within 100 miles of international waters. What does that mean? It means that if like two-thirds of the population you live in New York City, Seattle, New Orleans, Akron, Philadelphia, Sheboygan, Bangor, Raleigh, Los Angeles, Yuma or Sacramento, you are in a Constitution Free Zone. Be sure to check out the graphic and relax and enjoy the rest of your Labor Day. No worries.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
In the old days, the Bush years, I had it easy. I would go on and on with great indignation because I was convinced we were heading towards fascism because of an evil president and his equally evil henchmen and henchwomen.
Now we have a new president, with the letter D behind his name, and we still are headed toward fascism. If you take the Lakeshore Limited train in western New York you can be questioned by the Border Patrol and arrested if you can’t prove citizenship.
A recent New York Times article tells us the grim story of racial profiling and police state tactics which caused at least one legal resident to be imprisoned for two weeks. Border Patrol agents stop people who they consider suspicious and ask them to prove their legal status in the country. This is deeply troubling for several reasons.
As the Director of the International Services Office at the University of Rochester pointed out, hardly any white people are stopped or detained. “Only one of the ten or more people who have been detained recently would be considered caucasian.” So there you have it. A democrat, the first black president, yada, yada and yada, is up to the same old tricks as the despised Bush.
Actually he is worse than Bush. He is worse because more is expected of him, he is worse because liberals are more snobbish than anything and will put up with whatever the system dishes out as long as the dishing is done by a smarty pants ivy leaguer instead of a dumb one.
So if you go through Rochester or Buffalo on a bus or train you had better have your papers ready.
When I posted the words of Reclusive Leftists in the previous post I had a sense of deja vu. Chris Floyd had similar words not long ago.
“Many of the writers seem to be operating on the assumption -- or under the delusion -- that Obama actually had some kind of political-economic-social agenda that he wanted to enact as president, and that he is now "failing" to enact it, "squandering" his opportunity. There still seems to be a belief that he ran for president because he wanted to do something with all that power.
But Obama is not "failing"; he is doing exactly what he set out to do: be the president. That's it. That's all he wanted to do. And he's doing it. The panic now emanating from the White House is not that of a man watching a chance to realize his deeply held ideals for a better world slipping away from him; it's just the flopsweat of a guy trying to stay perched on top of the greasy pole for another term. From his earliest days in office, it has been clear that Obama, like Clinton before him, had no real political program to enact; he was happy to do whatever it took to get enough votes to put him into office, while also assuring the real brokers of national power -- Big Money, Big War -- that he was a "safe pair of hands" who would never seriously disturb the blood-smeared operation of their giant sausage grinder.”
“To tell you the truth, though, I’m still not convinced that Obama actually wants anything, at least not in a political sense. He seems to me an utter blank. He’s a self-propelling election device that exists solely to get itself elected. It continues to amaze me that so many people somehow thought this empty suit was a savior. Even his campaign message was just a recycled leftover from one of Axelrod’s earlier clients.
So what does he want? I don’t know. Perhaps he has obligations to his financial backers. Wall Street bankrolled his campaign, and those vampires have been slavering for a chunk of Social Security for years now. Maybe there was a deal. Who the f*k knows.”
Sunday, August 22, 2010
My title is short and sweet for a reason. I could go on and on about how the United States undermined democracy in Iran 60 years ago when it over threw the Mossadegh government (with the help of the U.K.) I could point out that the United States with its then ally Saddam Hussein attacked Iran and fomented a decade long war which killed 1 million human beings. I might also add that unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory of Non Proliferation Treaty and has allowed numerous inspections of its nuclear production sites.
But I’ll just get to the point. Iran is a can of whup ass, and that fact is the only thing which has forestalled a United States attack until how. Iran has launched a satellite and has now officially begun operating a nuclear reactor with the help of Russia. This is a technologically advanced country, and should not be trifled with.
Fear of defeat is the only thing which keeps the United States in line. It is imperative that the nations it declares enemies maintain enough strength to keep dumb ass Americans from thinking they can invade and occupy at will.
In case the point is lost on anyone, President Ahmadinejad unveiled a new drone with great fanfare. "This jet, before it heralds death for enemies, is the messenger of salvation and dignity for humanity." I certainly hope Admadinejad can back up his words with action. It is imperative that Israel and the United States fail if they dare to attack Iran. There is nothing like a good old fashioned ass whipping to keep rogues in line.
No, the United States military has not left Iraq. The overly hyped exit is: A) the result of a Bush era agreement (no thanks to the Dalai Obama), and B) not the end of an American presence. There will still be 50,000 troops left in the country. Not only will these supposedly non-combat troops remain, but the number of private security will double to 7,000.
Where will the exiting troops end up? Afghanistan of course. There is still no end to warfare for this country.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So Howard Dean is channeling Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Peter King? I was a big fan of Howard Dean, in the days when I still had faith in the democrats. I defended him when the corporate media and the democratic party turned on him. I played hooky from work to get him to sign a book at a Barnes and Noble. No more.
Today Dean said that the Islamic cultural center slated to be built near the world trade center, should be moved. Not only did he go there, but he clearly had not been paying any attention to the debate at all. He referred to the "congregation" that doesn't exist. The so-called mosque is in fact a cultural center which will have one room set aside for prayer. Dean said that Islam was still in the 12th century and he also claimed that Muslims also considered the "mosque" an afront. Really? Which Muslims? The Uncle Tom Muslims?
Next week I will write about the racism, psychosis, and just plain asshattery which is being spawned in this debate. I certainly hope that center is built as planned in the location the organizers have designated.
"The best time in my life"
Eden Abergil is an ordinary young Israeli. She completed her military service in the occupied territories and went on with her life.
She was so nostalgic about her days as an occupier that she posted photos of herself on her Facebook page. The photos of Eden depicted Palestinians bound and blind folded with the smiling young soldier seated beside them.
Thanks to Breaking the Silence, a group dedicated to exposing the violence of the occupation, Abergil’s photos were made public. Abergil removed the photos after an international outcry, too late for the cyber world, but whines and pouts that she has been mistreated. “I still don’t understand what’s wrong.”
As far as we know, Abergil didn’t pose for pictures with dead bodies. Apparently that is quite common among IDF soldiers.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
"What the critics are engaged in is collective vilification, delegitimization and incitement against Muslims in the United States and they are doing it deliberately and for political purposes. This is what needs to be recognized and confronted and sadly I do not see the president or any other senior politicians in the United States doing that." - Ali Abunimah
When I first heard that Obama supported the Islamic cultural center near the world trade center site, I couldn't believe my ears. Would I actually be able to praise Obama? Well of course I couldn't. He disavowed his statement less than 24 hours later. Ali Abunimah explains.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable." - Barack Obama on August 13, 2010
"I was not commenting on and will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding." - Barack Obama on August 14, 2010
There is nothing worse than cynical, manufactured outrage. The debate over the construction of an Islamic cultural center to be located near the world trade center site is the latest example of this despicable phenomenon.There is no legal way to stop the building of this center, which by the way is not a mosque. The group owns the site, they have the right to own it, and that should be the end of that. The local community board, made up entirely of area residents, gave approval for the center. Not to admit defeat, opponents then turned to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in an attempt to landmark the current site and prevent anything new from being constructed. The commission correctly affirmed that the site is not worthy of designation and the story should have ended there. How naive of me.
Mayor Bloomberg, who I generally disagree with on every issue facing our city, rightly affirmed his support for the project again and again. He is the only profile in political courage to emerge from this story. Yesterday at an iftah, the Ramadan evening meal, Obama stated his support for the center, or so I and millions of other people thought.
Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Peter King, John Boehner and company all pounced on the president's remarks, and like a good little suck up, he obeyed the professional right. He always does. The left, professional or not, gets the ACORN treatment.
The attacks on Islam are just sickening. Opponents of the center go on and on about the terrorists being inspired by Islam and killing in the name of that religion. In fact, their act was primarily political. Osama bin Laden made that clear in the days when he used to give interviews. He was angry at America's support for Israel's human rights violations against the Palestinians. He was angry that U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia.
It is easier to talk about Muslims wanting to kill us all because we aren't Muslims. Nine years after 9/11 they have even more reason to be mad. Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are all victims of mass killings at the behest of Uncle Sam. If we talked about the real reason for their anger we would have to question our government and our willingness to support, passively or actively, its criminal actions. It is much easier to foam at the mouth because a center which includes a prayer room will be located two blocks north of "ground zero."
As for our president, what can I say. He is always a double talking back stabber.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
“. . . if anyone needs to be "drug tested," it would be those denying that many of Bush's most controversial policies and actions have been embraced in full by Barack Obama.” – Glenn Greenwald
So, presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs wants me, and you, to STFU. Most importantly, his words represented perfectly the feelings of his boss, who wants us to be quiet and let him do what he likes without so much as uttering a peep.
In an interview with The Hill, Gibbs whined about the “professional left” who have the nerve to want “Canadian health care” but who still wouldn’t be happy even if “Dennis Kucinich was president.” Anyone who dares point out that Obama is carrying out Bush policies “Ought to be drug tested.” On the one hand, I’m angry with Gibbs for openly expressing his obvious contempt, on the other hand, he did get some things right.
Yes I would like Canadian health care. It saves more lives and more money that our system. If Kucinich were president I wouldn’t be happy because that would mean he had morphed into the monsters who climb atop the greased pole of American politics. Only a corporatist who fully backs the empire and all of its authority will be allowed anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama and his successors will be Bushites too. Some will be smart, some will be dumb. Some will appeal to the blue and some to the red but in the end they will all work to achieve the same ends.
I have never heard Gibbs or his boss complain about the professional right. The week before his inauguration Barack Obama ran off to have dinner at the home of George Will where he was joined by the likes of Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan and Charles Krauthamer, leaders of the professional right.
There really isn’t anything new here. Obama kept Bush’s defense secretary, his security apparatus, and his wars. He pursued the same policy of bailing out the banksters. Health care reform is more of a bailout of private health insurers than anything else.
The professional left had better wise up and abandon this guy before it is too late. As far as I can tell, we couldn’t be any worse off if Obama is a one termer. We might actually get a better democrat if we dump him. As one of my favorite sites, Stop Me Before I Vote Again points out, the left won’t be anything until they dump the democrats.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Saturday, August 07, 2010
“Human beings will do anything, anything. I am convinced. That's why when all those beheadings started in Iraq it didn't bother me. A lot of people here were horrified, "Whaaaa, beheadings!" What, are you fucking surprised? Just one more form of extreme human behaviour. Besides, who cares about some mercenary civilian contractor from Oklahoma who gets his head cut off? Fuck 'em. Hey Jack, you don't want to get your head cut off? Stay the fuck in Oklahoma. They ain’t cuttin' of heads in Oklahoma, far as I know. But I do know this: you strap on a gun and go struttin' around some other man’s country you better be ready for some action Jack. People are touchy about that sort of thing. And let me ask you this... this is a morale question, not rhetorical, I am looking for the answer: what is the moral difference between cuttin' off one guys head, or two, or three, of five or ten - and dropping a big bomb on a hospital and killing a whole bunch of sick kids? Has anybody in authority given you an explanation of the difference?” - George Carlin
Medical missionaries were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. “Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were ‘spying for the Americans’ and ‘preaching Christianity.’”
I couldn’t help but think of the late George Carlin’s words. I don’t know if the individuals killed were spying or prosletizing, but I do know that their deaths were no worse than the deaths of thousands of Afghans killed by our government.
They were innocent you say? So were the people killed by Uncle Sam. Don’t mourn for one if you don’t mourn for all
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Seventeen months after President Barack Obama pledged to withdraw all combat brigades from Iraq by Sep. 1, 2010, he quietly abandoned that pledge Monday, admitting implicitly that such combat brigades would remain until the end of 2011. – Gareth Porter
Here we go again. Barack Obama gets anti-war credibility when he deserves none.
Lest we forget, it was Bush who signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) back in 2008. SOFA requires the U.S. to be out of Iraq by 2011, Obama’s double talk is irrelevant because Bush set the stage for a U.S. withdrawal.
Not only that, but the Obama plan, like Bush’s, permits up to 50,000 troops to remain in Iraq. They will not be called combat troops, they are advisers or supporters or whatever.
So let’s recap. Bush signed the agreement for a reduction of some forces but not all, Obama must abide by the same agreement and he keeps pushing back the date for the phony withdrawal.
Nothing to see here. Keep it moving.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Oh no he didn’t! Yes, the president did. When he appeared on The View last week he said that black people were “sort of a mongrel people.”
I am no mongrel. Like all black Americans I have some white ancestry. My grandmother was part Creek Indian. That does not make me a dog, the species for which the term is usually reserved. Humans should not be called mongrels, ever. Calling a human being a mongrel is an insult and cannot be seen any other way.
Obama once again showed his contempt for black people. I guess he likes Michelle and his own family, but the rest of us are just domesticated animals as far as he is concerned.
I thought it interesting when the president referred to himself as a “mutt.” Of course he was referring to himself. One could argue that he had the right to compare himself to a dog, but he certainly doesn’t have the right to use such language in regard to anyone else.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Those are the words of Kit Bond, republican senator from Missouri. I just saw him on the Today Show, commenting on the Wikileaks release of 92,000 classified documents revealing the war crimes created by the occupation of Afghanistan.
Bond has already gotten his wish. PFC Bradley Manning sits in detention in Kuwait for allegedly releasing the video which showed U.S. troops killing Iraqi reporters and injuring little children in a helicopter attack. Thank goodness for Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder. Too bad the Today show didn’t have the courage to interview him.
Manning is going to pay a huge price for doing the right thing. What about the left? Will we ever do the right thing, or will we defend the status quo which currently lives in the person of one Barack Obama?
Even Van Jones, one of the first victims of the Obama greyhound bus express, defends the person who kicked him to the curb. Obama is like the drunk father in a dysfunctional family, beating up the wife and kids but still getting lots of love.
But I have already digressed, jumping from Wikileaks to Van Jones, but perhaps I am on the right track. You see it is all about the way our system works. No one is allowed to get to the top unless they promise to uphold empire and corporate power. Our only salvation is to oppose them. When we don’t we are complicit or like Jones we are just chumps.
Say no to war and yes to the Mannings of the world. Say no to Van Jones and say yes to opposition. Please watch the video I posted yesterday of Glen Ford’s speech. We need a “culture of resistance” not a seat at the table if all we get are crumbs.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Glen Ford at Albany NY Peace Conference
I haven't posted in soooo long. I will take the easy way out and let Glen Ford speak for me. I took a vacation break but my column will return to Black Agenda Report this week.
As always, listen to Glen if you want to know what time it is.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Gen. Stanley McChrystal may resign or be fired this week because of critical comments he and his staff made about their commander in chief and his team. McChrystal was hand picked by president Obama to oversee the occupation of Afghanistan. Tomorrow he must show up at the white house and explain himself to his boss.
Michael Hastings is a freelancer assigned to cover McChrystal for Rolling Stone magazine. He was scheduled to spend two days with the general in Paris, but as luck would have it, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano kept Hastings from leaving Europe. He asked to accompany McChrystal on a bus trip to Berlin and ended up spending ten days with him. On the bus McChrystal and his staff drank “the whole way” and “let loose.” In vino veritas. Perhaps volcanoes bring a little veritas too.
One staffer claimed that Obama was “intimidated” by military brass, others snickered at vice president Biden dubbing him “Bite Me” (can’t blame them). Most importantly, they openly expressed doubt that the war, the longest in American history, is at all winnable.
It is easy to focus on the gossipy parts of this story only to lose sight of the most important fact. The United States has occupied Afghanistan since 2001 and killed thousands of its people, all in an effort to keep us “safer” from terrorist attacks. The occupation must end, and it makes no difference if McChrystal or someone else is in charge of this great wrong doing.
The U.S. presence in Afghanistan is just one more straw that will eventually break the back of the empire. No one knows when or how that fall will take place, but fall it will and not without taking a big chunk of humanity with it.
Resistance is not only non futile but it is necessary. It would be terrible if the U.S. faced no resistance from a subjugated population. Long live the resistance, and down with McChrystal or whoever else gets to sit in that corner office.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Better late than never I guess. As I pointed out in my Black Agenda Report column back in February, professor Amy Bishop should have been charged with murdering her own brother back in 1986. Despite holding hostages and pointing a gun at police, she was never charged with a crime. In 2010 she walked into a staff meeting at the University of Alabama and murdered three of her colleagues.
Bishop has now been indicted for her brother’s murder. Thank God for small favors. I certainly hope that the victims’ families sue the authorities in Massachusetts who allowed this travesty to take place.
Monday, June 14, 2010
I have reached my limit. Last week one of my senators, Charles Schumer, proudly said that Gaza should be "strangled." Now my congressman is trying to out do him with pro-Israeli rhetoric. I know the drill. You can't raise money in New York unless you march in lock step with the zionists. I don't want to hear any more excuses. I don't care if Rangel and Schumer are pro choice or anti the things I don't like. I won't cast my vote for either of them again. I guess it is official. I have dumped the democrats for good.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
There are unconfirmed news reports of a seven year old child being hung by the Taliban in Helmand province Afghanistan. According to these reports, the child was accused of being a spy.
If true, it is simply awful, an atrocity. But I’m not convinced that the story has any validity at all. The story is completely unsourced, which isn’t necessarily proof of a lie, but we shouldn’t cast aside skepticism either.
Strategically placed tales of atrocities have always been used to keep the public in a war loving mood. I find it odd that there hasn’t been any press interviewing family or other towns people. President Karzai called the killing a crime against humanity, “if confirmed.” Doesn’t the president have confirmation? I would think he would. Such confirmation would constitute a huge propaganda victory.
Even if true, this report should give rise to some self criticism on the part of Americans.
A Taliban source in Helmand told CBS News' Sami Yousafzai on Thursday he was aware of the boy being killed, but that it was a case of a militant settling a personal vendetta against the boy's family, then using the spying charges as an excuse. The source said he believed the boy's executor had fled across the border to Pakistan.
The hanging comes as a Taliban commander in neighboring Kandahar province -- the Taliban's traditional home territory -- tells CBS News that a suicide attack on a wedding party that left 40 people dead was "collective punishment" for villagers standing up to the Islamic militants' control in the region.
If Israel massacres Gazans to exact collective punishment, why is it worse for the Taliban to do the same thing? When Israel was dropping bombs that killed little children, the United States Congress passed a resolution supporting that atrocity. Only five House members had the courage to vote nay. If the Taliban did commit this act they have now made themselves the equal of the Israeli and American governments.
Finally we have some good news for reproductive rights. We certainly need some. Politicians who live in fear and loathing of female sexuality have lately piled on in their efforts to prevent women from exercising their right to abortion.
But Planned Parenthood of Iowa has found a way to provide services to women who don’t live near abortion clinics. Doctors use video conferencing to prescribe RU486, mifepristone, a drug which induces abortion without the need of a surgical procedure.
The right to lifers are beside themselves with anger, suddenly concerned about the violation of the doctor/patient relationship. Too bad for them. RU486 is legal and it gives options to women who consider abortion. It is a very good thing that Iowans don’t have to run a gauntlet of abortion haters and have the ability to make their choice in the privacy of their own homes.
Monday, May 31, 2010
“Okay, I admit it. In fact, I proclaim it from the housetops: I hate Israel. I hate it worse than Kosovo or Croatia or any other nasty little actually-existing racial-chauvinist country I can think of -- though in my defense I will say I hated apartheid South Africa as much, while it was around. But now that the Boers aren't running the show there any more, Israel has had to take up the slack; and it has done so, admirably, more than adequately, and con amore.
I encourage others to join me here. Free your minds of cant, abandon false piety and useless prudence, and repeat after me: I hate Israel.” - Michael Smith
What is wrong with hating Israel? It is a nation which takes a huge amount of our public funds and uses it to build nukes, kill Palestinians and make people around the world hate us all. We Americans are all accomplices to Israel’s many crimes.
The zionists control a media now devoid of standards and they use money to control both major political parties. Any politician who dares speak up against Israel immediately faces a well funded opponent. So we are all powerless in the face of this onslaught, even those of us who would change the equation. That excuse doesn’t cut any ice in the Arab and Muslim world, so we are hated no matter what we believe.
I’m truly sick and tired of having a bulls eye on my head because of the Israelis. I live under the constant threat of terror attack because the Israelis are a bunch of sick fascists, a nation akin to “a mad dog” as Moshe Dayan said.
I love Michael Smith at Stop Me Before I Vote Again, but I take issue with one thing he said. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. Aside from that correction, I will free my mind of cant, false piety and useless prudence and gladly say that I hate any government which deliberately kills humanitarian aid workers and uses my tax dollars to do it.
“During Israel’s massacre in Gaza … afterwards Israeli officials were saying that they wanted to show the Arab world that they were capable of acting like a lunatic state and like mad dogs. That they wanted to restore the Arab world’s fear of Israel.
We really have to ask the question, is Israel acting like a lunatic state or has it become a lunatic state?
Israel is now a lunatic state. It’s a lunatic state with between two and three hundred nuclear devices. It is threatening war daily against Iran and against the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Things are getting out of control. We have to ask ourselves a simple basic simple fundamental question. Can a lunatic state like Israel be trusted with two to three hundred nuclear devices when it is threatening its neighbors Iran and Lebanon with an attack?”
Israel Murders (Again)
Israel is no longer content to just ram ships and injure human beings attempting to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Now that nation increases its criminality by killing 9 people who had every right to sail in international waters and to bring help to a suffering people.
Why do they hate us? I guess it is because our client state continues its criminality with impunity.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I hope my Black Agenda Report colleague Bruce Dixon will forgive this title. He rightly points out “… There are no such people as ‘illegals’ and there are no such things as ‘illegal aliens.’ The terms ‘illegals’ and ‘illegal’ aliens are nothing but good old fashioned hundred percent white American hate speech. . .”
Yet I couldn’t help but give a shout out to a blogger who is new to me. Angry Drunk Bureaucrat hits the nail on the head in describing the nonsensical outrage over “illegals.”
“Let's really focus on the fact that, if there are 140,000 illegal immigrants in the Commonwealth (Pennsylvania) that's 140,000 people that *are being counted* towards things like, oh I don't know, the Census, which keeps us from hemorrhaging population.
So fuck Metcalfe and Readshaw: bring as many goddamn illegal immigrants to PA as soon as possible. Build towns, boroughs, cities. Drive up the population. Drive up demand for services. Increase the tax base. Increase the number of seats Pennsylvania has in the House.”
I always remember the old expression “Be careful what you ask for.” If undocumented workers did leave en masse then this country would be in very deep trouble. There are thousands of undocumented who pay into the social security system but who will never see one dime of that money.
They also rent and sometimes purchase homes. They pay sales tax at the store the way everyone else does. If it weren’t for immigration, legal or illegal, states like New York would lose congressional representation.
So bring it on world! Send us your tired your poor and your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We need their cash, their taxes and their bodies for census workers to count. Approximately forty percent of New York City residents were born outside of the United States. The city would be poorer literally and figuratively without them and so would the rest of the country too. I for one am glad they are here. Their presence helps us all.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
“So far, Mr. Obama has deferred to Congress. Some farmers have speculated that the president is shying away from the issue because it involves race. The White House said that was untrue.” – New York Times
No we can’t! That seems to be the president’s motto whenever black people need help. In the pre-Obama days, black people would at least go through the motions of making demands. “Democrats take our votes for granted,” was the common refrain.
Now we have a president who ignores us with absolute impunity. Black farmers in southern states were discriminated against by the United States Department of Agriculture for decades. They were denied loans on a regular basis and many lost their properties as a result.
They won a landmark lawsuit in 1999, Pigford v. Glickman, which compensated the farmers with $1 billion. An additional $1.25 billion is still owed but neither congress nor the administration has acted on the claim, missing a March 31st deadline.
The president could release money through a Treasure department Pigford fund, but has so far has declined to do so. I’ll say it for the 101st time, black Americans would be better off with a white democrat in the white house than with Obama. Obama idol worshippers want to have it both ways. On the one hand they endlessly talk about how brilliant he is and in the same breath proclaim that he can’t possibly figure out a way to do anything that benefits black people without making white people mad.
Racist white people don’t like him anyway and don’t really care what he does. So like a bunch of chumps, Obama’s black supporters give him carte blanche to stab us in the back time after time.
It is insulting to say that expeditiously helping black farmers would somehow destroy the Obama presidency. He hasn’t acted on this issue because he just doesn’t care. There is nothing complicated going on here. The president has the power to get this money without asking congress but he refuses to do it because inaction and betrayal have worked so well for him in the past.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Obama Continues Oil Drilling Approvals
"Salazar is playing a cynical shell game, making the public think he stopped issuing the faulty approvals that allowed the disastrous BP drilling to occur, when in fact he has given MMS the green light to keep issuing those very same approvals. The only thing Salazar has stopped is the final, technical check-off which comes long after the environmental review."
Ever since the April 20th explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, the Obama administration has given the green light to 27 different off shore drilling projects.
Drill baby drill!
Monday, May 17, 2010
"There is no question about what happened because it's in the videotape. It's not an accident. It's not a mistake. There was no altercation. Aiyana Jones was shot from outside on the porch. The videotape shows clearly the officer throwing through the window a stun grenade-type explosive and then within milliseconds of throwing that, firing a shot from outside the home." Geoffrey Feiger
Aiyana Jones was a seven year old girl living in Detroit, who was killed by the police while sleeping in her own home. The police were searching for a murder suspect thought to be in the Jones home.
The story smelled to high heaven from the beginning. The cops used a flash grenade as they entered the home, a practice meant to disorient armed and dangerous suspects. Neighbors told cops that children were in the house, why use a flash grenade? There was a weird story about the gun “discharging” and a cop’s collision with a grand mother. It made no sense.
Today it all made terrible sense. The cops were filming an episode of The First 48, a reality show produced by the A&E network. I remember when A&E meant Arts and Entertainment. Now it is reruns and reality.
The First 48 follows a police investigation in the two days following a murder. I have to admit that I was addicted, no pun intended, to another A&E program, Intervention, which shows an addict and family in the days leading up to an intervention and a stint in rehab. I realized it was not healthy to be entertained by other people’s pain and I pulled the plug on Intervention.
It was followed by Obsession which showed obsessive compulsives under treatment and now Hoarders, where you can watch people living with their own garbage. Bad television was bad enough, but now it has resulted in the death of a child. The cops were obviously trying to make an ordinary scene seem to be a lot more exciting, so they fired into a window and threw in a flash grenade. Aiyana is dead because of bad television.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Today the Huffington Post breathlessly reported what first appeared to be good news. Huffpo said that Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, would “throw cold water” on the Bush, I mean Obama administration plan to gut fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination for terror suspects.
The truth turns out to be less than wonderful. "The question is not so much whether I'm concerned about the civil rights one way or another, it is what a court will agree to. After all, it was the Supreme Court that set down the rules of Miranda. Whatever changes might be made, have to made within the confines of what the United States Supreme Court has already said.”
It doesn’t matter if he cares or not? Well apparently he doesn’t. Civil rights, no biggie for the white house or for the senate either. I suppose we have to take some comfort in his tepid response, but sooner or later our rights will be watered down into nothingness, by Obama and the democrats.
Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan is an absolute disaster for the democratic party and for democracy itself. The nomination is just the latest proof of Obama’s obliteration of black politics and his victory over all progressives. Anyone praised by the likes of Joseph Lieberman for moving the court in a “less liberal” direction is a bad bet for the progressive cause.
Kagan could not find one black person worthy to hire as a tenure track law professor when she served as dean of Harvard law school. Indeed, this white woman could find only six white women to hire, out of a total of 32 tenure track positions filled in her tenure.
Yet it is the Harvard connection which is one of the more disturbing elements of the Kagan nomination. If Kagan is confirmed, all nine supreme court justices will have attended either Harvard or Yale universities (Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended Harvard for a time but ultimately graduated from Columbia).
Americans love to believe in their self-aggrandizing myth of a classless society, a meritocracy. In this well rehearsed lie, this country purported to be one in which any individual might rise as a result of hard work and determination.
The fact that only two out of 160 law schools in the country have been deemed worthy for consideration to the highest court is an indicator of a very disturbing change in our society. There is no longer any pretense that this country is a meritocracy. The ever intensifying class stratification is being more and more solidified and is expressed in new and awful ways on a daily basis.
The truly awful justice Antonin Scalia said so himself, out loud and in a public venue. When asked by a student at the American University law school how she could succeed without connections, Scalia at first told her to, “Just work hard and be very good.“ When the discussion moved to the likelihood that she might reach the holy grail of being a clerk for a Supreme Court justice, Scalia set her straight. He quickly remembered himself and told her the honest truth, that she could pretty much forget about getting anywhere when she attended such a lowly institution.
“By and large I’m going to be picking from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into. They admit the best and the brightest, and they may not teach very well, but you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest, O.K.?”
It isn’t clear what the young woman thought about being referred to as a sow’s ear, but she certainly went home knowing that she shouldn’t even think about venturing out of her place on the class system totem pole.
Kagan’s defenders can’t defend the blank slate technocrat on the merits, they just talk about how wonderful and brilliant she is. Period. That is proof enough of Kagan’s lack of qualifications to serve as a justice on the nation’s highest court and of a more insidious form of corruption at work as Jonathan Turley points out.
“Nominations like Kagan’s are the result of a network of graduates who work consciously or unconsciously to see that their own are nominated. Notably, after Kagan’s nomination, powerful figures from her Harvard years came forward to vouch for her abilities. Their message was the same: Despite her lack of a record, she is known in our circle as a real winner. She is, in a phrase, one of us. Indeed, reporters breathlessly reported how Kagan and Scalia are good friends and how she knows many of the main players from Harvard, as if it is the judicial equivalent to having graduated from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The favoritism shown Harvard and Yale should be viewed not just as incestuous but as scandalous. It undermines educational institutions across the country by maintaining a clearly arbitrary and capricious basis for selection. It also runs against the grain of a nation based on meritocracy and opportunity.”
Turley should have said allegedly based on meritocracy and opportunity. I will have more to say about the Kagan nomination and black America in my Black Agenda Report column on Wednesday.