Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dr. King Belongs To Us All

I recently read an article concerning the Martin Luther King National Monument movement and some internal bickering in regards to the artist chosen to sculpt the monument. The artist that was chosen was Lei Yixin, a Chinese sculptor.

Politicizing national monuments is nothing new and dates back to the Statute of Liberty, but in this case I think it has greater significance because of whom the monument depicts and what he stood for. Dr. King dedicated his life to the pursuit of character over color and so it seems odd that there are those who would want to use color as the criteria for the artist.

Politics have dogged the King memorial since it was first suggested after his death in 1968. And trailing behind this latest squabble, like tin cans tied to a cat’s tail, are lofty concerns about cultural memory and racial sensitivities, as well as the mundane realities of turf battles, egos and flawed communication.[1]

There have been trouble-spots throughout this whole process; from the King family wanting to be paid to use the likeness of Dr. King for the monument to the argument that anyone but a Black artist could not capture the essence of Dr. King. It just goes to show you how far we have come as a nation only to see how far we as a people have not. This monument will be the first national monument dedicated to a Black man on the mall. The monument will be between the Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments and will be a testimony to the history of Blacks in helping to shape America.

The problem I have with the whole debate is this, Dr. King was more than just a Black icon, he was an international symbol of struggle against not only racial intolerance, but human intolerance. At the time of his death he was in the process of speaking out against the war against the Vietnamese and other third world countries. For a group of Black people to claim that only one group owns the legacy of Dr. King is ridiculous.

It’s funny how the only time Black people want to own the legacy of Dr. King is on his birthday and when money is involved. I look at the state of Black America and I wonder where are the values and beliefs that Dr. King espoused in our communities? Young black men are killing each other in ever increasing numbers, our communities are still under assault both internally and externally, and we continue to fall behind in education, but these people are worried about a statue.

I agree it would be cool to have a Black artists do the monument, but based on the design chosen that wasn’t possible. So, let’s just redesign the monument to accommodate the black artists that were not chosen. The only problem with that is unless all of them are chosen there will still be controversy and jealousy. It’s too bad our art community could not rise above petty jealousy and celebrate that at least we are going to have a national monument. But I guess that isn’t the important thing, the important thing is that we keep it black.

It should be noted that the majority of people on the monument selection committee are black, so this isn’t some group of white bureaucrats dictating the project. I recently went to one of the disgruntled artist’s website, a Mr. Gilbert Young and I was appalled at what I read.

For those whose only belief is that King belonged to the world—that his work, his words, and his stance was international in scope—you need only take a few moments to review history. Watch the films and look at the photographs that show what was going on in African America that prompted King to become the icon he became. The images of “White Only” signs on drinking fountains and movie houses; scores of people marching and protesting bigotry, prejudice, Jim Crow, and segregation. Look again at the black men hanging from trees lit by Klan fires. See the young black men and women and children being hosed in their faces, bitten by dogs and dragged through the streets by police. Watch the men carrying out the bodies of those four little girls.[2]

For him to invoke the memory of the fallen of the civil rights movement to attempt to shame black folks into supporting him, I found tasteless and disgusting. It is one thing to disagree with a decision, but to use the historical symbols of racial intolerance to advocate racial intolerance for personal gain is unconscionable. Dr. King does belong to the world Mr. Young, because his message was universal in nature, it may have been spoken for the black man at the time, but it was applicable to all men. Just as the words of all great men transcend their time and circumstances, so did Dr. King’s. You want to cling to Dr. King as if he were some racial ragdoll that you can bandy around and pull out when it is convenient or profitable. I wish you had argued on the merits of the issue and not resorted to the emotionalism of language to incite and divide. I don’t think Dr. King would be approving of those tactics, do you?

As for how the foundation ended up with Mr. Lei, Harry Johnson Sr., the memorial foundation’s chief executive, said the overall design dictated that Dr. King’s image be carved from stone, so the selection panel searched for someone who had experience working with granite on a monumental scale. No African-American sculptor fit that requirement, he said. “Lei was chosen to work on this not because of his political beliefs, not because of his ideology,” he said, “but because he could do the work.”

He added that two African-American artists, Jon Lockard and Ed Hamilton, are collaborating with Mr. Lei to ensure the accuracy of King’s image. Construction is supposed to begin this year and be completed in 2009.[3]


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Friday, September 28, 2007

Mychal Bell Released

JENA, La. -- A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest here walked out of a courthouse Thursday after a judge ordered him freed.

Mychal Bell's release on $45,000 bail came hours after a prosecutor confirmed he would no longer seek an adult trial for the 17-year-old. Bell, one of the teenagers known as the Jena Six, still faces trial as a juvenile in the December beating in this small central Louisiana town.[1]

Today is a testament to a lot of things about America, some good and some not so good. Because I am a positive person I will start with the good, the first thing is that today in America there are enough voices of reason and right that a young black man who not long ago would have been lynched was able to walk out of a jail cell, a jail cell that if he had been lucky enough to have reached a few years ago would have been his home for the rest of his life. Let’s be honest there are many Mychal Bell’s buried in the history of America, who because they were black were murdered for less serious accusations than these.

It is a testament to those in the Black blogosphere and media who took up the mantle of these young men and kept it held high until others were able to rally. There were many who would have liked for this story to not have risen to the level that it did and that is due in large part to the pressure put on by the black bloggers. Congratulations, you all deserve a shout-out. While, I still believe that the power of organization through the internet is limited; I do think this is one of the circumstances when it can be utilized to its potential.

It is a testament of hope for all Americans who seek equal justice for all and who were willing to leave their homes and jobs and go to Jena, La and show that we will not stand for this treatment in 2007. There are a lot of things that we have to put up with as Black Americans, but this ain’t going to be one of them. This was not about just those boys; this was about justice for all of us. Whether we live in Boston, Dallas, LA, or any other place in America, we know that this is not an isolated incident and it could have been any of us.

Now, for the not so good. First of all, how those young men responded to the situation was wrong. I am not saying that they shouldn’t have stood up for what they believed in, but six against one that wasn’t justice that was just senseless violence and we have to know the difference. We, just as the D.A. have to acknowledge when we are wrong, if not our indictments of other people’s wrongs ring hollow.

The other is the response of the D.A. Reed Walters to the demonstration held in Jena; this guy has got to be the instructor for sensitivity training for the city of Jena. His comments demonstrate why the divide between black and white is so wide in America. He makes these insensitive remarks and then doesn’t understand how they could be taken offensively. Here is what he said.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 protesters marched in Jena last week in a scene that evoked the early years of the civil rights movement.

Walters said the demonstration had no influence on his decision not to press the adult charges, and ended his news conference by saying that only God kept the protest peaceful.

"The only way _ let me stress that _ the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community," Walters said.

"I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that."

The Rev. Donald Sibley, a black Jena pastor, called it a "shame" that Walters credited divine intervention for the protesters acting responsibly.
"What I'm saying is, the Lord Jesus Christ put his influence on those people, and they responded accordingly," Walters responded

So here we have another white man expecting to see “negroes behaving badly”, in this case the only thing that prevented them from acting like Negroes was the power of God brought down by the prayers of all those good white folks. How can he not see how condescending this is? These good Christian folks are so righteous they live in a town that has black and white trees. Thank you God for the prayers of these good Christian white folks, no telling what those “black savages” might have done to our town and of course our womenfolk.

This is like the survey done during the OJ trial; it appears that being a racist is not considered by the majority of whites to be a hindrance to being a good cop; however blacks on the other hand definitely believed that it would impact someone’s job performance in a negative way to be a racist. Being a racist I guess will not interfere with one’s journey to meet their maker, who just so happens to be the maker of those same people you lynch and segregate from. Their God must be really proud of them. How can you be expected to worship God together in heaven, if you can’t worship him together on earth? Do they think there will be some cosmic transformation that will make everyone white in heaven, that we are made black on earth as some karmic backlash from God? I know the hymns say we will made white as snow, but I don’t think this is what they had in mind.


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Are Republican Candidates Racists?

After the debacle of missing the Republican debate hosted by Tavis Smiley at the HBC, Morgan State University by the four front-running Republican candidates it would be easy to dismiss their failure to participate as racism. Many pundits and bloggers have made that connection, with many saying that unlike their good friend Bill O’Reilly these candidates still believe that the “negroes will not be well-behaved” and there is a difference. I think to take this tack is to misunderstand the state of racial affairs in America. With the stakes as high as they are and with the spotlight beaming on race relations thanks to our friends in Jena, La, would any candidate be stupid enough to be so blatantly racist? Maybe, but I doubt it, so what is the answer to them being willing to ignore the black voters of America and not worry about backlash?

I am afraid the true answer is much more frightening than the easy answer. Many people believe falsely I think that the opposite of love is hate or racism, but I disagree. I think that the opposite of love is indifference. Indifference says that I don’t care if you live or die just don’t bother me. In the story of "The Good Samaritan" the other travelers didn't hate the victim; they just didn't care enough to get involved. Unfortunately, this is the attitude of many of the “core base” of the Republican Party and it was expressed by their candidates in their refusal to participate in the debate. It isn’t that they hate, they just really don’t care.

This attitude of indifference is most profoundly directed at Blacks and immigrants, but it is also directed toward anyone that doesn’t share their religious and moral beliefs as well. By their refusal to participate in the debate the candidates and the Party by proxy sent the message that the Black vote is irrelevant; you people don’t matter. Your concerns are not our concerns. We will ignore you and hope you go away. These are the people who want to keep us divided and easy conquered. They use subtle code words to express their displeasure with the way “liberals” have allowed the country to be commandeered by Blacks and other minorities. They would rather we return to some historical nirvana when the “white privilege” went unquestioned, when Blacks and minorities knew their places. When they were seen and not heard.

I am sure these candidates did not want to have to answer questions about Jena, voter suppression drives, and other issues that affect minorities. By not allowing themselves to be questioned on these issues the candidates sent a message to their base that these questions were unimportant and not worthy of their responses.

It is a common belief among Republican pundits and campaign staffers that Blacks will vote overwhelmingly Democratic and therefore to lobby them would be a wasted effort. They speak as if Blacks were some mindless group of voters who are not independent enough or intelligent enough to weigh the issues and vote accordingly. Many also believe that Blacks for the most part don’t vote anyway so the cost/benefit numbers don’t add up. The cost being possibly alienating their “base” and the benefit being gaining a few million votes, obviously these staffers have forgotten how close the last two elections have been. In a country divided as we are, every vote is going to count.

Finally, I think another important element in all of this is what the “base” of the Republican Party must be that their candidates can be this indifferent towards a large group of Americans and it does not bother them. If appealing to your base means ignoring blacks and minorities, then what are the priorities of your base? More and more of the Republican strategists believe that the black vote can be ignored in favor of cultivating the southern and rural white voters, these same voters who split with the Democrats over civil rights and abortion. Obviously, they believe that there are enough of these voters to overcome any impact black voters may have for the Democrats. Besides, these guys are trying to win primaries and let’s face it there won’t be many blacks voting in Republican primaries. I think it would be hilarious if all the mindless black voters switched parties for the primaries and voted in the Republican primaries, wouldn’t that be fun?

It is unfortunate when politicians are pandering to the baser nature of humanity instead of seeking to educate and promote unity among all Americans. The reason racism is still alive and well in America is because no one really wants to end it. Right now it serves too many purposes for too many people, both black and white. Maybe someday the truth of who and what we are will finally penetrate our hard heads, but until then. I can’t wait to see how whoever the Republican nominee will be try to spin this come general election time and what self-respecting black would allow themselves to be used to sell the spin. Our politicians should be demonstrating to all Americans how to embrace the diversity of the country, not how to run from it, because guess what we ain’t going nowhere.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Shell Game

I finally understand what President Bush has been up to. These guys are good. When everyone was calling for a reduction in troops, Mr. Bush chose to increase troops. Why? So that he can reduce the troop levels without reducing the troop levels. Let’s say that he agrees to reduce the levels by the 30,000 increase for the surge, he still maintains the same number of troops prior to the surge. He can appear to be following the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and yet keep the same number of troops, brilliant. Let’s say that he reduces it by a more modest number than the 30,000, he will actually have a net gain and still appease the growing uneasiness of the American public. He gets the best of both worlds, he can seem to be heeding the advice of other experts and the American people and yet keep the same number of troops indefinitely. He can argue I reduced the force by X number of troops didn’t I?

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 — Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, has told President Bush that he wants to maintain heightened troop levels in Iraq well into next year to reduce the risk of military setbacks, but could accept the pullback of roughly 4,000 troops beginning in January, in part to assuage critics in Congress, according to senior administration and military officials.

General Petraeus’s view is considered overly cautious by some other senior military officials and some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, officials said. But they said it reflected his concern that the security gains made so far in Baghdad, Anbar Province and other areas were fragile and easily reversed.[1]

This is the same strategy used by marketers for years, increase your prices before a sale and then reduce them modestly. The customer thinks they are saving 50% when they are actually paying more than they would if it were not on sale.

General Petraeus is considering making some troop reductions to relieve Congressional pressure. How about making troop reductions because the surge is not working? Despite the coming dog and pony show the surge has not been the success being touted. I read an article in the McClatchy News discussing the figures being used to claim the success of the surge. There is talk that because there are fewer US casualties then the surge is working, even though they had predicted that there would be more casualties if the strategy was working. There are those that argue it isn’t the surge it is the normal summer reduction in casualties that has been there since the beginning, it appears the insurgents also need a summer vacation. Then of course there is the argument that the insurgents have just decided to wait us out, they have decided not to engage the US troops. To me this seems the more sensible argument and can be easily proven by the number of insurgent casualties, but also by the number of insurgents captured.

It would seem pretty obvious that if the number of insurgent encounters is lower, then either one of two scenarios is true, that we have in fact defeated the insurgency or they have gone underground. The thing about fighting a war of this type is that progress is next to impossible to gauge. The ordinary benchmarks of a conventional war do not apply, the objectives are completely different. Why we are spending time with these progress reports is a mystery to me.

Our goal in Iraq is complete; it was complete when Saddam Hussein was dethroned. To ask anymore of our military personnel is suicidal, because now it becomes an international mission. Rebuilding nations belongs to the international community and rightly so. You cannot expect to destroy a society, even for humanitarian reasons and then not expect the people to resent it. It will always change from liberation to an occupation in the minds of many of the people. Iraq has shown that there is a fine line between freedom and tyranny. So far in the mind of many Iraqis we have not been able to distinguish the two. We have replaced the tyranny of a dictator with the tyranny of occupation.

We of course may not believe that, but it doesn’t matter what we believe or what our motives were. What matters is what the Iraqis believe and right now they believe we are more of a hindrance than a help. The thing about the shell game is that it is rigged and so are these progress reports. The real progress can’t be measured until we leave and many years down the line from then. It is foolishness to set these arbitrary timelines that are not connected to reality.

Democracy and nation building is a process and it cannot be accomplished by outsiders. Look at America we have been at it a lot longer than the Iraqis and we still have a lot to learn. To expect the Iraqis to overcome their fears and prejudice is not realistic. All one has to do is look at the current climate in America; we still have black and white shade trees for God’s sake.


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No, Mr. O’Reilly There Is A Difference

I recently read the comments of Bill O’Reilly and I must say I am disgusted at the inference of his comments. This once again proves that to understand race in America is to understand it in all its subtlest forms. In America, very few things are as they appear, this country is rampant with false images and hidden innuendos. My belief is that it is a characteristic of the dominant culture to be disingenuous in most matters. I say this based on my experience living and working among whites for much of my life. Whites, in an effort to avoid conflict have tended to be less than genuine in many situations. Because of this characteristic many people who are not familiar with the subtleties would say that racism is no longer an issue in America, those people would be wrong.

According to published reports, Mr. O’Reilly was slummin it in Harlem with one of his closest friends, the Rev. Al Sharpton. (Some of his closest friends are black.)They were having dinner at Sylvia’s, a famous soul food restaurant and Mr. O’Reilly couldn’t help but notice how well-behaved the Black folks were. They were so well-behaved that according to Mr. O’Reilly that it was like eating at any other restaurant in New York. And just to show you how liberal he is, Mr. O’Reilly attended an Anita Baker concert and much to his amazement the band members were well-dressed and not wearing the “sag”.

You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy. And he comes on The Factor a lot, and then I treated him to dinner, because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful. They all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like a big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice.[1]

I think the thing that bothers me the most about his comments is not what he is saying, but what he means by saying it and why he feels he has to say it. It’s as if he is visiting someone’s house with unruly kids and to his shock and amazement the kids weren’t tearing down the house or writing graffiti on the walls. Why in 2007, does this need to be said? Why must some white man have to tell other white people how black people behave? The sad part about it is that he doesn’t even think he has done anything wrong. He actually believes that he was giving a compliment to black folks.

In order to understand the context of his comments, one has to understand who Bill O’Reilly and many of his ilk are. First and foremost they are entertainers, they masquerade as journalists, but they are there to entertain. Mr. O’Reilly is just a more subtle version of Don Imus; he uses more colloquialisms and therefore is more palatable for many whites. The problem with Mr. O’Reilly and those like him is there influence is based on false assumptions. Because they perpetrate as “newspeople”, many believe that they are getting factual news when in fact they are getting opinion, opinions that have been developed to appeal to their target audience. The purpose of the media is to sell something, advertisement. The ads aren’t there because of the shows; the shows are there because of the ads.

The writers write shows to appeal to a certain segment of the public, their “target audience” usually young whites between the ages of 14-25. The reason being is that research has shown that they have the most expendable income; they buy the most crap and usually the expensive crap. So many of the shows on television are targeting this market, hence Friends, Earl, and American Idol to name a few. But there are other markets that are targeted as well, with the growth of talk radio and the wingnuts they are now being targeted. They are targeted with the likes of O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, and those clowns. There job is to say and do things controversial that will appeal to their target audience. These people are actors and some of them are pretty good.

Now are some of them racists, I’m sure they are. But many of them are playing for ratings and guess what controversy sells. So, the problem is not these clowns, but the audience they play to. That we still have white people in America that have to be told that Blacks have restaurants where there are no shootings, cursing, and fighting is a sad commentary on the state of race in America. What that says is that we are so isolated and fearful that we don’t even know how each other lives, that our impressions of each other is gained not from experience, but from sound bites and pseudo newspeople.

I wish I could say that it was only confined to the southern, rightwing, and rich, but it isn’t. These stereotypical beliefs effect liberals and progressives just as much. There is much to be done in America concerning race, the first thing is we have to overcome our isolation and fears. We should begin to interact with each other on a more personal level than speaking to the black person at the store or fast food restaurant.

The reason I am such a big proponent of school desegregation is that if we begin to interact with each other early and often we can begin to overcome these stereotypes and gain a better understanding of each other. If not, we will continue to drift ever further apart and instead of two Americas there will be many more.

No, Mr. O’Reilly there is a difference and the difference is not necessarily between black and white, but between those who create problems and those who solve problems. While your comments may increase your ratings with your “target audience”, it only helps to create a larger divide between the bigger audience which is all of America. Thanks


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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jena, LA D.A. I Am Bound

I can understand the emotions generated by the juxtaposition of the noose incident with the attack on Mr. Barker and the outcomes for the perpetrators of each. In the final analysis, though, I am bound to enforce the laws of Louisiana as they exist today, not as they might in someone’s vision of a perfect world.

That is what I have done. And that is what I must continue to do.[1]

This is an excerpt from an opinion piece submitted by Mr. Reed Walters, the D.A. prosecuting the Jena 6 to the New York Times. The fact that I find amazing about this piece and all the other ones written in support of the original handling of this case is that nowhere in any of the pieces is the behavior of the whites discussed. It is as if they would have us to believe that this all took place in a vacuum somewhere. According to these folks, some innocent white boy was beaten senseless by these black criminals for no reason. None of these authors apply the context they talk about in their pieces, they acknowledge these things as if they were irrelevant to the case.

Yes there were nooses, and yes there was a shotgun, and yes there was a black kid beaten at a party, but none of this is relevant. What also is obviously not relevant to Mr. Walters is the fact that in each case of white misconduct there were no charges filed. Ok, Mr. Walters there is no crime for the nooses; fair enough, but what about the shotgun incident or the beating of the black kid at the party or your performance at the assembly?

What kills me about this guy and many more like him is that they completely ignore cause and effect. They fell to accept that if you continue to ignore injustice it doesn’t go away it festers and eventually it explodes. Granted, if you take the actions of the black youngmen and separate them from the other incidents it would appear as Mr. Walters has described, but that is not the case. After years of Jim Crow and other subtle forms of racism, you want us to just pretend that stuff never happened and it has no context in today’s reality.

The fact that you still had a “white tree” in 2007 dismisses all of your arguments concerning the relevancy of the nooses and the other actions that followed. Let’s be real Mr. Walters, your town has a racial history as does all of America and to pretend that it doesn’t only goes to show how disingenuous you and your type are. You pretend that you can ignore 300 years of racial strife and expect Blacks to do the same. No, Mr. Walters this is your game, we are confronted daily with the continual perpetration of white preference and so our memory is a little clearer.

Am I calling for a statue or monument to be made for these young men? Absolutely not! They are not angels and used violence in an inappropriate manner. What I am calling for is equal treatment under the law for all citizens. I learned early in life that you can’t legislate other people’s opinions or emotions, but what you can legislate is equal treatment and application of the law. The protest in Jena was not about the criminal activities of those young men it was about the unequal application of the law and the intimidation by you and the school board. The outrage was that we were not going to allow such an uneven prosecution of the law to go unanswered.

Last week, a reporter asked me whether, if I had it to do over, I would do anything differently. I didn’t think of it at the time, but the answer is yes. I would have done a better job of explaining that the offenses of Dec. 4, 2006, did not stem from a “schoolyard fight” as it has been commonly described in the news media and by critics.[2]

So we are to believe that the only error on your part was in communicating why you did not apply the laws equally? No sir, you made many errors in this case and you assumed that because of that racial history that you deny played any role in this, you thought you could get away with them. If you are truly bound by the laws, then why are the only people in jail in these cases black?

You conjure up the images of a lone white student being viscously beaten by these black criminals, but how about you conjuring up the picture of three black men hanging from those innocent nooses hung from that tree.

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.



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Not At Our Photo Op!

The President of Iran wanted to lay a wreath at the sight of the Twin Towers terrorists attacks on 9/11, affectionally referred to as “ground zero”. The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly and wanted to express the condolences of the Iranian people. It appears that the sympathy of the Iranian people is not welcome here in America. We wonder why we are losing the hearts and minds of the Arab peoples of the world when we do things like this. This is an affront to Muslims everywhere and will be used for political gain by those who advocate more radical positions against America.

NEW YORK -- A request by Iran's president to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site next week has been turned down by police and blasted by U.S. diplomats as an attempt to turn ground zero into a "photo op."[1]

Regardless of the political climate with Iran, to disrespect their people in this way is a slap in the face. To not accept the tribute of the Iranian people for the attacks, which they had nothing to do with is again grouping all Muslims together as being guilty for the attack, which many in this country continue to insist on doing.

I am not a big fan of the Iranian President, but in this capacity he is representing the people of Iran, who should be allowed to acknowledge their respect for the victims of the attack. How can we cultivate closer relations with the Arab world if we continue to treat them with disdain? It seems that the only Muslim countries we are interested in cultivating relationships with are the ones willing to do our bidding. Continuing to demonize and label those who disagree with us maybe good for internal consumption, but in the world community that strategy has not played well. There are many in the world who see us as the biggest threat to peace and not those we have labeled as such, so somewhere there has been a disconnect between what we are saying and what the world is believing.

If I remember correctly Iran was one of the Muslim countries that rallied behind the US after 9/11 and condemned the attacks, but obviously this administration still suffers from the same short-sightedness that led us to attack Iraq and lay the groundwork for attacking Iran.

The rationale for the denial of the request is that the Bush Administration did not want to allow Mr. Ahmadinejad an opportunity to have photos taken at the scene of the attacks. Here is the part that kills me, we don’t want to allow him the opportunity to exploit the victims, but yet we have allowed every American politician with a pulse to exploit them. There is a quote in the Bible the reads:

To the pure all things are pure,
But to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure
But even there mid and conscience are defiled.

I quote this verse to say that if one’s motives are wrong, then they assume everyone’s motives are wrong. If I am a thief then I think that all people are thieves and act accordingly. If the Iranian President is looking to exploit this tragedy then that will be revealed and he will be treated accordingly, but to make that assumption, especially by the same people who arranged photo ops in Iraq, Ground Zero, and aboard an aircraft carrier is pathetic.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters Wednesday that the United States would not support Iran's attempt to use the site for a "photo op."[3]

So, let’s keep the site of the attack clear of foreigners so that it can remain pristine for our pandering politician’s photo ops. Warning to the rest of the world’s politicians, we can use your countries memorials for photo ops, but don’t even think about trying that here.

[2] Titus 1:15

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Supreme Court Versus Brown Part Infinity

The fallout from the recent Supreme Court decisions concerning school desegregation is starting to surface in many communities now embolden to return to the segregated past. I recently read about the situation in Tuscaloosa, AL; where the majority white school board and the white superintendent have drawn up a rezoning plan that looks dangerously close to a return to segregation to many observers.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After white parents in this racially mixed city complained about school overcrowding, school authorities set out to draw up a sweeping rezoning plan. The results: all but a handful of the hundreds of students required to move this fall were black — and many were sent to virtually all-black, low-performing schools.

Black parents have been battling the rezoning for weeks, calling it resegregation. And in a new twist for an integration fight, they are wielding an unusual weapon: the federal No Child Left Behind law, which gives students in schools deemed failing the right to move to better ones.[1]

It is already difficult for most inner-city school districts to desegregate due to white flight and the private school dodge of many white parents. I have to acknowledge that as a parent I understand the desire to have your kids in a safe environment where they are getting a quality education. The problem I have is that instead of complaining about or laying blame why more parents don’t become involved to upgrade and change the existing public education system. It is to all of our benefits that we raise the level of education for all of our children.

Sometimes I just don’t get it; this country could have been the greatest experiment of human interaction in the history of the planet. We could have become the beacon for other nations by demonstrating that people of diverse backgrounds could in fact live together in peace and harmony. I guess alas it is not to be, because all we have done is to further illustrate how fear and divisiveness even among people of the same nation still trumps everything else. Either we are going to try and live together or we are not. It is time for those of us black and white who have a desire to make this thing work to overcome ourselves and come together. I am not advocating that we become one big melting pot, although I don’t have a problem with that, I am suggesting that we are able to atleast have a nation of mutual respect, honesty, and fairness.

We have so much abundance in this land and yet to look at the behaviors of many it would appear that we were in some third world nation struggling to survive on subsistent resources. I couldn’t imagine what this nation would be like if we really had to scramble for survival on a day to day basis. The level of racial animosity would be off the scale. As I have written before, because of our history we have to be compelled within the boundaries of our laws to integrate. I am speaking of integration in the sense of learning to accept our differences and our similarities with empathy and understanding for one another. I don’t expect to someday have us all standing holding hands singing, “We shall overcome” but why are we unable to live together as equals is beyond me. Why must one man dominate another man?

The plan in Tuscaloosa involved redrawing the lines of the district to place more minority students in the lower performing schools. The white parents had complained of overcrowding in the white schools, because so many of the black students wanted to go to the schools where they could get a quality education, go figure. Here is my question, why can’t all the parents come together in the district and raise the level of all the schools? Why must everything in this country be an either/or proposition? If you spread around the students and the resources evenly couldn’t you over time raise the level at all the schools?

Months later, the school board commissioned a demographic study to draft the rezoning plan. J. Russell Gibson III, the board’s lawyer, said the plan drawn up used school buildings more efficiently, freeing classroom space equivalent to an entire elementary school and saving potential construction costs of $10 million to $14 million. “That’s a significant savings,” Mr. Gibson said, “and we relieved overcrowding and placed most students in a school near their home. That’s been lost in all the rhetoric.”

Others see the matter differently. Gerald Rosiek, an education professor at the University of Alabama, studied the Tuscaloosa school district’s recent evolution. “This is a case study in resegregation,” said Dr. Rosiek, now at the University of Oregon.

In his research, he said, he found disappointment among some white parents that Northridge, the high school created in the northern enclave, was a majority-black school, and he said he believed the rezoning was in part an attempt to reduce its black enrollment.[2]

What good is saving money if you are not educating all of your children? No, Mr. Gibson, the cost savings have not been lost in the rhetoric, what has been lost in your calculations is that separate but equal has always been a cheaper way to educate. The way to alleviate the overcrowding in the white schools would have been to raise the level of performance in all the schools, but that would require hard work and commitment which the school board obviously didn’t want to pursue.

In a bizarre twist to the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” legislation the parents of the black students are requesting transfers from the lower performing schools based on the criteria of that legislation. In the rhetoric of Mr. Bush, this was one of the goals of the legislation, but let’s wait to see their reaction to it being used as a tool of integration. I have a feeling we are going to see more of these cases as more school districts begin to remove race as a criteria of equal opportunity.


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Monday, September 24, 2007

The Pot Or The Kettle

There has been a lot of hubbub recently due to the ad taken out by MoveOn.Org in the New York Times welcoming home General Petraeus. The chickenhawks, phony patriots, and the usual assortment of right wing mouthpieces have jumped all over the ad. In their usual shrill they are claiming that because General Petraeus is a military man his credibility is unimpeachable and the ad is once again giving “aid and comfort to the enemy”.

I would whole heartedly agree with those sentiments except for a few minor details that they fail to mention in their condemnations. The first is that I am old enough to remember Vietnam, I remember the Generals back then, especially Westmoreland testifying to Congress in a manner that was not truthful. Their rosy scenario of the war did not correspond to the pictures being beamed back to American via satellite from the war zone. For many years they were given the benefit of the doubt and the respect accorded their position in the military, by doing so Congress and the American people allowed the carnage to continue in SE Asia. So for them now to say that military men are beyond reproach flies in the face of reality and our shared history. Of course many of them were too busy ignoring Vietnam to have been aware of the dishonesty that was being perpetrated against the public.

The second minor detail involves the role that General Petraeus has assumed; he is not some objective military man simply following the orders of his Commander in Chief. No, the General has taken a political position in regards to this conflict.

Fact: Shortly before the 2004 presidential election Petraeus did something that active-duty commanders should not do. In late September he wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post obviously as a favor to the Bush campaign, in which he applauded what he called major progress by the Iraqi military, Iraqi police and Iraqi leadership.

It is bad enough that the general, a smart guy who knew what he was doing, interfered in the 2004 presidential election, in effect advocating the position of the Republican candidate, the incumbent, on the number-one issue of the campaign, only weeks before the vote.

Beyond taking a political position in a way that an active-duty general should never do, which demonstrates political tendencies that in truth trouble many of the highest ranking military officers today, his forecast and analysis turned out to be almost completely, catastrophically wrong on every level.[1]

Also, the General was an advocate of the surge strategy and so he shared the goals of the Bush administration in escalating this conflict. He also signed off on the insurgency manual now being used to train US forces, again giving him a stake in the surge strategy. So you can’t have it both ways General, either you are partisan or you are objective, which is it?

The third minor detail that fails to get mentioned in the rightwing talking points is the small matter of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that labeled former Presidential Candidate John Kerry as a fraud and a coward for his service in Vietnam. Senator Kerry was a decorated war hero who for political reasons was slimed by these same right-wingers who are crying foul today for the General. I would assume that Senator Kerry would be afforded the same respect due the General.

Truth: That's the biggest lie of all. Here's the evidence. Until he suddenly resigned, Ben Ginsburg, chief attorney for the Bush campaign, was legal adviser to the Swift Boat gang. The ads were paid for by Bob Perry, big Bush contributor and buddy of Karl Rove. They were produced and marketed by the same production and advertising companies that prepared Bush's attack ads against John McCain in 2000. And, until he resigned, one veteran who appeared in the swiftboat ads also served on Bush's campaign advisery committee.[2]

The wingnuts have requested that all Democrats denounce the ad and distance themselves from I wonder where all this outcry was when Senator Kerry was falsely branded a traitor? The people at have every right to question the integrity of any official testifying before Congress, it isn’t like no one has ever lied and misled them or the American people before. I am all for respecting the military and its leaders, but at the same time I support the right of people to question authority. Questioning authority used to be a valuable trait in this country before the Imperial Presidency. So which shall it be wingnuts, the pot or the kettle?


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Militarization of America’s Police

One of the most troubling results of the “War on Drugs” in my opinion has been the militarization of our local police forces. Using the usual tactics of fear and race many police organizations and politicians have promoted the false picture that the police are under constant assault and threats and therefore need the same material as the armed forces. They need armored personnel carriers, assault helicopters, assault rifles, and all of the other gadgetry being employed by the military.

The truth of the matter though is somewhat different than what is being presented. While one of the hazards of being a police officer is the possibility of death, the numbers do not bear out the need for such military hardware in civilian life. In 2005, there were 153 police officers killed in the line of duty out of over 800,000 officers, this hardly resembles the full scale assault being touted by the military hardware manufacturers and the police organizations. It is important to remember that many current police officers are ex-military so the thought of using military equipment will always appeal to them and arms makers looking for civilian markets for their military hardware will continue to overhype the threat to police officers.

The next step it appears is to arm the police with military style assault weapons. It seems that our local police do not have enough deadly force at their disposal, so the officers in Miami will now be offered the option to carry assault rifles.

MIAMI, Sept. 16 (AP) — Patrol officers here will have the option of carrying assault rifles as they try to combat the rise in the use of similar weapons by criminals, the city’s police chief said Sunday.

The chief, John F. Timoney, approved the policy last week, before a Miami-Dade police officer was killed on Thursday in a shootout with a man wielding an assault rifle.
Years ago, law enforcement specialists like SWAT teams were the only officers to carry assault weapons, but now even some small town police agencies are arming officers with the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M-16 rifle.

Patrol officers in Danbury, Conn., have been allowed to carry the weapons since 2003. Police departments in Merced, Calif., and Waterloo, Iowa, have put them in all patrol vehicles for several years. In Stillwater, Okla., about 70 miles west of Tulsa, every patrol officer is issued an AR-15.[1]

As we move closer to the time when there will be only two classes in this country, it will be important that the police forces are heavily armed to beat back the hordes of poor people storming the gated communities. There was a time in America when the police actually did policing, where officers knew the people in their patrol areas and actually walked their “beats”. The drug war has replaced community policing with military tactics. We have declared war on our communities and the people living in those communities. Instead of the police being accessible and respondent, today they are disconnected to the communities they are hired to protect and serve.

This disconnection to the communities has led to more violence and less cooperation with law enforcement. Instead of the police and the communities coming together to solve the crime issues, today they appear to be at odds with each other. With many in the community no longer willing to participate in the efforts to prevent crime believing that they can’t count on the police for protection the hoodlums and thugs have taken over entire neighborhoods. The answer is not more powerful guns and hardware, the answer is a return to the style of policing prior to this failed attempt at a war on drugs.

Somewhere it was decided that having the police riding around in their patrol cars would extend their range and reduce crime, I think it is time to rethink this policy. A community must feel connected to those that are assigned to protect them. The citizens in the Black community do not feel this connection. Hence, a lot of crime goes unreported or people refuse to testify for fear of retaliation. It should be incumbent on the community to protect itself, ie vigilantism, but if the police refuse to protect the citizenry something has to be done. Enforcing the laws should be a joint partnership between the police and the community, but this is going to require better communication and more interaction.

The only time most people in the Black community see the police is either while being arrested or after a crime has occurred, this is not an acceptable police policy. No matter how many or how powerful the guns you give the police, there will be no change in the climate until we have a police force that is more responsive to the community. A police force that is willing to interact with the community on regular basis to develop the lines of communication and repair the lack of trust within the community.

Just as our military is limited in its war with Iraq, so will our police force here in our communities, if we continue to stress the hardware and not the software. Our neighborhoods don’t need occupation forces, they need policing that is empathetic to their plight. There was a time when the police lived in the areas they patrol, it gave them a sense of ownership and it gave the locals a connection to the police. Let’s call off the war against our communities and begin to demilitarize our police.


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Crusade of George Bush

As I watch more and more of the intransigence of George Bush, I have been left with only one of two choices. Either the man is insane and stupid or he sees something that I don’t see. I use to believe the former and now I am beginning to believe the latter. I think that Mr. Bush believes that his divinely inspired destiny is found in his coming to the rescue of the Holy Land, even if that means unleashing apocalyptic chaos on the world.

In a meeting with the Palestinian leadership in June of 2003, Mr. Bush instructed the ministers that he believed that God had instructed him to do the following.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"[1]

It is apparent that Mr. Bush believes that God has chosen him to smite the wicked infidels of the world and restore order. You would think that Mr. Bush invoking God and destiny would be frightening to most Americans, but strangely it is not. The reason being is that the majority of Americans have been raised with the belief that America is uniquely qualified to represent God in the world. That not only is America qualified but has been chosen by God to do so and that we are a nation that has been given special status and grace to do so.

By the nineteenth century, that new order was brazenly described as "our manifest destiny." President McKinley’s alleged explanation for conquering the Philip-pines in 1898 is an unequivocal example of this divinely-inspired imperialism. "I went down on my knees and prayed," McKinley dramatically explains, "and it came to me." It was our task to "civilize and Christianize them and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them." Senator Beveridge agreed that the Lord blessed this undertak-ing as he "has marked us as a chosen people." In reality, the Spanish-American war and the conquest of the Philippines accelerated the ascendancy of an expanding empire. Such crude goals are difficult to justify, but more easily digested if viewed as a fulfillment of God’s will.[2]

This manifest destiny came ashore with the first white settlers and continues to this very day. There are many in this country who believe that America has some special place endowed by God in the world and the rest of the world are less than and therefore can eat sh*t. This attitude is being trumpeted through the evangelicals across the country and has been for centuries. It is this attitude of special privilege from God that causes the world to call us arrogant and hypocrites. When an argument is couched in God’s will, who can resist it. We have allowed this belief to infiltrate our politics and our foreign policy; we have an undeclared war on the Muslim world. We refuse to accept the advice or authority of any other country, even the country we may be visiting or invading. We do not respect the cultures or customs of other nations that do not mimic our own. This thing with Bush is not only surprising but should have been expected. You look at the last few elections starting with the “Moral Majority” which was neither moral nor a majority, but they were promoted by the MSM as if they were speaking directly from God. There is a deep undercurrent in this country that believes that God particularly founded this nation and that we have a chosen role in the coming apocalypse.

After the trauma of September 11, President Bush breathed new life into this centuries-old imperial theology. The World Trade Center catastrophe revived religious vocabularies of superiority with increased vigor. Bush, who considers Jesus the philosopher who most influenced him, issued a "crusade" against the perpetrators. Advisers worried that talk of a crusade was too inflammatory, but they did not forsake religious metaphors. If September 11 did not constitute a crusade, it did ignite a "monumental struggle of good versus evil," and "good will prevail," the President informed us. Within hours of the attack, Bush instantly surmised that an epic conflict commenced. Here Bush mimics an Old Testament prophet, conjuring up the dichotomy of "us" versus "them" alongside the assumption that the United States is all that is good in the world. Equally revealing is Bush’s emphasis on an Armageddon-like battle, a "monumental struggle" against "evildoers." George W. Bush is the quintessence of the crusader motif.[3]

The tragedy of 9/11 only allowed what was always just barely under the surface to rise. No one cringed when Bush began to couch religious metaphors in his speeches. If anything it added to the righteous indignation, how could anyone have the nerve to attack God’s country? Newsflash – God does not have a country, God has people and they live all over the world and they may not talk or look like you, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable to God. We now have the results of this rhetoric and its hostile intent, we have invaded two countries (both Muslim) and we are talking trash to a third. How can the Muslim world not think this is another crusade?

The only problem with crusades is that eventually the crusaders go home and the natives are still there. So unless the strategy is to kill them all, it isn’t going to work. Let’s end the crusades of George Bush before any more people are slaughtered. It is time for Little Sir George to put on his pajamas and get into bed. Goodnight everyone from Camelot.


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On “Acting White”

I recently read a report that Jesse Jackson had taken a shot at Senator Barack Obama concerning the current situation in Jena, LA. It appears that Mr. Jackson in an interview said that Senator Obama was “acting white” because he is not outraged enough publically about the situation in Jena for Mr. Jackson’s taste. It is no secret that I am not a fan of Mr. Jackson. I have written on a few occasions about my feelings for him and Mr. Sharpton. However, this to me elucidates why Mr. Jackson was never a serious contender for President, ever.

He later told the newspaper that he did not remember making the remark, but State reporter Roddie Burris told FOX News that Jackson's "acting like he's white" comment came during a 45-minute, one-on-one interview Tuesday after an hour-long speech at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Burris said he stands by his report.[1]

I have two problems with this report. First, is the fact that Mr. Jackson would make such a statement clearly pandering to a Black audience, as if to gain some credibility for himself and his failed attempts at being a viable candidate for President. Mr. Jackson was always seen as a Black candidate and was never given serious consideration, precisely because of these types of statements. What Mr. Jackson fails to understand is that Senator Obama is a viable candidate because he is not allowing anyone to label him as the “Black” candidate; he is a candidate that happens to be black. This is a very important distinction for anyone trying to become President of all of the United States. While, it makes good copy and may gain him some “street cred” by becoming embroiled in the Jena 6 incident, it would also define him as the “Black” candidate.

This is just another attempt by Mr. Jackson to stroke his enormous ego at the expense of another Blackman; something Mr. Jackson has a history of doing. I don’t think he has gotten over the remark of Senator Biden that Obama is the first mainstream Black contender for President and he continues to take little shots at Senator Obama as being “too white”. Now let’s remember that Mr. Jackson is a supporter of Senator Obama, man with friends like these, huh?

According to the article, Jackson called the incident in Jena "a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment," and said Obama's failure to seize the opportunity to highlight what he describes as a disparate approach to prosecuting whites and blacks demonstrates his weaknesses as a candidate.

“If I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena,” Jackson said at the historically black college.[2]

This statement typifies why Mr. Jackson was never taken seriously as a candidate for anything, he was never trying to win. All he was trying to do was broker himself into a position to be “the Black spokesman” for financial and personal gain. By allowing himself to be defined by these types of issues, you may bring attention to the situation, but at the same time you allow others to pigeon hole you. Mr. Jackson never understood the subtleties of politics and race in America and it appears he still hasn’t. What this statement demonstrates Mr. Jackson is your weakness as a candidate and as a “so-called” supporter. If you had ever been a truly viable candidate you would not have allowed your campaign to be sidetracked by grandstanding opportunities, but you were never one to pass up a chance to grandstand. To my knowledge Mr. Jackson has never been elected to any office, so what gives him credibility in how to win elections?

While I support speaking out against the racial implications presenting by the situation in Jena, (I am wearing my black today to show solidarity) it would be foolish for Senator Obama to try and turn it into a campaign issue. What Mr. Jackson fails to understand is you have to win in order to govern, there is no moral victory; just ask Al Gore. Fortunately, there is already a groundswell of moral outrage at the situation in Jena. Now, if the situation in Jena had been completely ignored by the MSM that would be one thing and would require all Black leaders to speak out, but this is not the case. I believe that the Senator has made it clear that he decries the situation in Jena has made this public statement. As a national candidate I think the Senator should continue to keep his eye on the larger picture and not be sidetracked, situations like Jena have been happening for many years and will continue to happen. Senator Obama turning it into a campaign issue will not change that fact, but will only go to help limit his appeal during a critical time in the campaign.

The second issue I have with this report is how Mr. Jackson has tried to back away from the statement, further demonstrating that he is not to be trusted by anyone. You see the truth be told, Mr. Jackson was not that close of a confidant to Dr. King as he has for years cultivated in the media. He was an outsider, when the meeting was going on in the Lorraine Motel, Mr. Jackson was outside in the parking lot. Mr. Jackson if you are going to criticize your candidate for President in public, atleast have the balls to admit you did it. Obviously, you felt it was a big enough issue to reprimand him in a public forum why not step up and say this is where I have a problem with the Senator, let your concerns be known.

Of course, if you were truly on the inside you would have been able to register your concerns in person and not have to do it through a third party interview. As usual, Mr. Jackson is trying to portray himself as an insider when it appears he is an outsider.


[2] Ibid.

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When Obsession

It has been over 13 years since the deaths of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman and for the families I am sure it is still a very painful memory that touches their lives daily. The subsequent trial of O.J. Simpson was a polarizing event in America and showed many the disconnect that is still a part of the racial climate in America. While the vast majority of whites believed that Mr. Simpson was guilty, while only 26% of blacks publically stated he was guilty.

For the last 10 years Ron Goldman’s father has waged a personal crusade against Mr. Simpson, after he was found not guilty Mr. Goldman sued him in civil court and won a 33 million dollar judgment against him. However, due to loopholes Mr. Goldman has only received about 10,000 dollars in the 10 years. What originally began as grief for a loved one seems to have been transformed into an obsession for revenge. The problem with revenge though is that it consumes the carrier as much if not more than it does the target.

It is from here that Goldman has settled into his pursuit of Simpson. His anger is not foaming or hysterical, but cold, methodical and relentless. He sits on the sofa, in shorts and an open shirt, the handlebar mustache still in place, his gray hair swept back from his forehead, and talks in a house that is completely silent save for his voice.

For Denise Brown, this is pointless. The book gave Simpson the "sickening" opportunity to trash Nicole's name and reputation, then taunt the families with details of the murders. Goldman had already stopped publication of the book, she says, and there is no motive left in publication but to make money.

"This is evil, this is blood money," she says in a telephone interview. "It's written by a man who is evil. And now [Goldman] is writing in the same book by the man who murdered his son? This is disgusting to me."

"The money from this is just going to pay off his lawyers, his creditors," she says. "He has so much debt he has to be able to pay back something. . . . We were on the same page until he wanted to sell this book for his own financial gain."

Under terms of an agreement worked out between the attorneys, Brown's estate will get roughly 10 percent off the top of sales, and Goldman the rest. In Goldman's case, a large chunk of what's remaining will go first to Cook, the collection attorney.

And none of it, of course, will come from Simpson himself, but rather from the book-buying public.[1]

This obsession has led Mr. Goldman to sue and win for possession of the book written by Mr. Simpson, entitled, “If I Did It”. In it Mr. Simpson discusses in a supposed hypothetical way how he would have committed the murders. Mr. Simpson uses the book as a platform to demean his ex-wife’s character and provide justification for her to be murdered, but not by him of course. One of the common traits of abusers is to blame the victim for causing their own abuse and thus freeing the abuser of any responsibility in the act. You made me beat the hell out of you.

Here for me and I guess Nicole’s sister (Denise Brown) is where the story takes a weird turn, when the book was being considered Mr. Goldman lobbied hard against it being written, published and released for what I thought was to preserve the memory of his son. It appears that this was not the case. Mr. Goldman has now released the book and added some words of his own. So now you have the murdered boy’s father sharing the same book with the person he considers killed his son. Mr. Goldman has taken what many considered a noble gesture stopping the book from being published and turned it into a money making operation. This is no longer about the memory of his son and wanting to preserve it, this is about cold hard cash. It appears that all of his efforts to pursue Mr. Simpson have left Mr. Goldman with quite a legal bill and he is in need of cash.

I don’t have a problem with Mr. Goldman receiving the proceeds of his judgment against Mr. Simpson, but I don’t think the general public should have to cover for it. If he can’t get the money from Mr. Simpson, Mr. Goldman does not appear to have a problem getting it from the rest of us. I had nothing to do with the crime or the marriage for that much, so why should I be asked to retire Mr. Simpson’s debts. Anyone who buys the book is in fact helping Mr. Simpson to pay-off his judgment; it doesn’t matter to me where the money is going.

Due to his obsession to “get” Mr. Simpson, Mr. Goldman has allowed his moral compass to be changed. If it was wrong for Mr. Simpson to write the book in the beginning it is still wrong today. Mr. Goldman should either kill Mr. Simpson and get it over with or go on with his life. There is nothing he can do to bring his son back to life. He has allowed this tragedy to poison his life and corrupt his values. He mentions that he promised his son to pursue this, but I doubt if this is what his son would want for his father’s life.


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Even A Caveman…

The list of Osama bin Laden’s greatest video hits continues this week with a new release. The invisible one appears to be able to get access to the latest news and current events and latest Muslim fashions. It is no longer shocking that he is able to film and release these tapes, what is shocking is that he is able to release these tapes on cue. You ever notice that whenever we are at a point when the Neo-Con agenda is being questioned or a report is due, that we are graced with the presence of the bearded one.

His last appearance was right before the 2004 election, giving Mr. Bush and company the final push in a close election. There are those who believe that these are more than coincidences and that possibly these tapes are the products of some nefarious secret body of government designed to silence any dissension in the “war on terror”. While I am not in a position to gauge the validity of this theory there are some troublesome signs in the latest offering as pointed out by the Independent.

In a banner ad for the video, the al-Qai'da leader, now aged 50, looked fit, with a full beard of dark black hair, rather than his usual grey-streaked beard. Instead of the customary combat jacket, he was wearing Arabic robes.

"It does look oddly as if he is wearing a false beard," Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism official, said. "If we go back to the tape three years ago, he had a very white beard. This looks like a phoney beard that has been passed on."

The al-Qai'da leader has not appeared in a video message in almost three years and has not put out a new audio message for more than a year. His last video broadcast was days before the 2004 presidential vote

So not only does bin Laden seem to be suddenly interested in liberal causes in America, he is also getting younger and dressing better. Living in caves does seem to have its advantages, which is strange since he is suppose to be the most hunted man on the planet. The sad truth about the theory is that we will never know; the same people who may have created the video are the ones who are authenticating the video. Isn’t it sad that there has been so much disillusionment with the government that these theories even seem plausible?

I wonder what will be next for bin Laden hyping the Super Bowl or maybe doing a halftime video with Paris Hilton. The sad truth is that the majority of people in America have allowed their fears and prejudices to be played upon by a highly organized group of people who want to keep us in war mode for the foreseeable future. As long as we are in war mode nothing the government does is too extreme, they are after all protecting you from the terrorists. What these people have learned is that if you can create a war without end (the war on drugs) suspension of liberties and habeas corpus rights will not be challenged.

Bush has so much as said that he has unlimited power under the War Powers Act. Not only does the war mentality stifle internal debate, it also allows for war profiteering to go unchallenged as well. I found it interesting that bin Laden was associated with every cause that the Neo-Cons have railed against for years. What they have done with this video is linked the head of terrorism with anyone who would espouse the ideas of freedom, global warming, and corporate criminal behavior. So basically anyone who is progressive is now also a minion of Al Qaeda and bin Laden. Talk about silencing the opposition, who in their right mind would want to be connected to terrorism?

Where is the skeptical media? Where are the questions of why with the 9/11 anniversary coming up this video mysteriously arrives? As usual there is silence from the MSM and they wonder why their public standing is so low. I would be curious to know why no one has questioned the authenticity of the video when the intelligence community got it before the Al Qaeda website could even post it. This seems strange to me, coupled with the fact of bin Laden’s appearance being markedly different one could wonder about its origin.

One thing is for sure though; even a man supposedly living in a cave in the middle of nowhere can recognize that the state of America is deteriorating.

The al-Qaeda leader's first video message for three years featured a bizarre rant against America, with references to global warming, "insane taxes", the US mortgage market meltdown and rising interest rates.[2]


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Monday, September 17, 2007

Freedom And The War On Terror

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A top U.S. envoy praised President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government Wednesday and skirted the issue of his expulsion of a top political rival, taking some heat off the military leader as he struggles for election to a new term.

Soon after Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's tribute to Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts, the army reported killing up to 40 Islamic militants near the Afghan border.

Asked about Sharif's expulsion, Negroponte offered no criticism. He said it was as "an internal Pakistani political and legal matter and it's for the government and people of Pakistan to decide."

"We look forward to democratic elections being held in Pakistan quite shortly. We think it's important there be a smooth and democratic political transition," Negroponte said.[1]

This is the response of the US concerning the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. The political situation in Pakistan is about to reach critical mass and the Bush administration continues to placate General Musharraf and his assault on democracy. If anyone ever needed an example of why our position in the world is less than stellar, Pakistan would be a good place to start. On the one hand we talk of freedom and democracy and yet we continue to support leaders who eradicate those very things.

The administration of General Musharraf has continually scoffed at the courts, the opposition, and the people as they pave the way for his continued rein of undemocratic authority. The General has refused to relinquish his hold on the military as head of the army while serving as President. The Supreme Court in Pakistan has ruled this unconstitutional, but the General has chosen to ignore them so far.

Granted the political system in Pakistan has left a lot to be desired, with both opposition leaders being the target of corruption charges and scandals. However, we cannot enunciate democracy for some and not democracy for all. We must advocate a peaceful return to democracy for Pakistan. It appears that because General Musharraf is an ally in the war on terror, he is immune to the criticism we bestow so readily to others. We are presenting a hypocritical approach to our foreign policy and it is only fueling the impression that we only attack those who refuse to go along with our views. This administration has been the biggest recruiter for terrorist through its policy of benign neglect and its refusal to call our so-called allies on their crap. General Musharraf has continued to selectively prosecute the war on terror and yet we continue to heap praise on this man.

The following is a quote from General Musharraf in Great Britain on December 6, 2004, when asked if the war on terror had made the world less safe.

In an interview for the Newsnight programme, it was suggested to Gen Pervez Musharraf the world was less safe - in part because of the campaign.

"Absolutely," he said, adding that the social grievances that helped recruit terrorists were not being addressed.[2]

General Musharraf has always had to walk a fine line in the war on terror because of the fundamentalist in his own country. Because he has tried to fight the war against terrorism and indulge the religious extremists inside Pakistan, he has placed himself in a very tenuous position. Already he has been the target of four assassination attempts by the religious extremists he has tried to pacify.

He came to power some four years back after staging a coup against a weak and corrupt civilian government. The world reacted with disdain then and considered him a pariah. His fortunes snowballed dramatically after September 11 when he decided to back the United States in its war on terrorism. To the dismay of democratic Pakistanis, the United States quickly co-opted the general and bestowed legitimacy upon him. Past dictators in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Third World have been propped up by the United States, which has allowed them to either stifle or postpone democracy.[3]

We can no longer afford the luxury of supporting tyranny while at the same time talking democracy. The world is no longer accepting the do as I say not as I do argument. We must not let our zeal to prosecute the war on terror cloud our judgment of what are values are. If we do that, if we allow are support of democracy to be corrupted then the terrorists have in fact won without blowing up a building or firing a single shot. Freedom and dictatorship can never be package together, either we support democracy for all or we do not. Let’s be clear about where the US stands.


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