This is almost too funny. It seems that a few days ago, a liberal friend of ours waded across the Atlantic - being careful not to trip over the bones of several million dead Afrikans - to complain to his British friends about those nefarious negroes in the CBC.
Yes - if it wasn't for those unfair darky members of the Congressional Black Caucus, white Democrats would be free to . . . do I really need to continue this parody? For those of you who are new to US politics, let me sum up this position as exactly analogous to the one that ended the first Reconstruction period, after the Civil War. Strangely enough, back then it was Democrats who complained the most then too. Andrew Johnson brought that brief 15-year period to a close and the Democrats were returned to power in the South (and the South has always produced more Presidents than the rest of the nation, I think it is the mint juleps but frankly – I don’t really care). Of course, they brought with them their old buddy Jim Crow and their new buddy KKK, but I am sure Democrats with 100-years of aging will not make those same mistakes decisions (because Professor Alterman tells us we can trust his friends; you know the ones who overlooked the 2000 election voting irregularities in Florida - when Black votes were thrown out because their names "resembled" the names of felons or those same nice folks in New Orleans who forgot that not everyone in the country has a car to drive off to their second home to escape an approaching hurricane).
Yes - let us place our trust in that same white man who brought us here in chains, because his kindly professor tells us we have no need to worry anymore.
I just wish Dr. King had lived to see this day.
This is almost too funny. It seems that a few days ago, a liberal friend of ours waded across the Atlantic - being careful not to trip over the bones of several million dead Afrikans - to complain to his British friends about those nefarious negroes in the CBC.
So, this is not my primary area of interest, but war should have the ability to focus ones thinking, no?
Very good question posed by this Jeff Stein; one has to wonder why no one has ever asked President Bush this question. But the boundaries of this "global war on terror" have expanded so wildly, that this question is no longer enough.
One of the poster here has pointed out that Iran is a Persian country and there is a lengthy history of animosity between Persians and Arabs (who are the majority of Iraqi's of any religion) that goes back much longer than the recent war between these two nations.
But now the word "nation" has introduced another hole into which the GWOT (or here) has stumbled, as Persia (Iran) has a long and storied history (which makes the idea of "regime change" there seem somewhat like an even loftier pipe dream; on the other hand, Iraq is just a creation of the west - for us, by us, in classic "FuBu" style - and its purpose was to serve our interests. So Iraq (and Kuwait too) are not nations in the classic sense like an Italy or a France or an England; peopled by folks with a history a common identity and an interest to want to live in a political union. Iraq was created by the west (Britain) to provide us with steady access to the oil that lay underneath the sand; we cared not about democracy or anything else that might hinder the oil flow. We can debate whether we truly believe in a democratic Iraq today, but the model is imprecisely applied as Iraq was never a nation to begin with.
The southwestern boundary was a compromise with King al Saud; the southeastern boundary was truncated to create Kuwait - as a means to siphon of the oil (a classic divide and conquer move to prevent oil from being in the control of just one country - as well as to prevent easy access to the Persian Gulf for Iraq, placing a premium on the pipeline builders); the western boundary was rather haphazardly drawn adjacent to Jordan and Syrian; the norther boundary was drawn to divide up any potential future Kurdistan dreams, by dividing up the Kurdish population between Turkey, Iraq and Iran - the nation that boarders Iraq on the East and probably has the most realistic (natural?) boarder of any nation with Iraq.
So into Iraq - this cauldron of peoples and religions - comes the most uncurious George we have ever had as a president; Shia versus Sunni is the start of any questions that need to be asked - not the end.
Be a good question to ask before you start a war - regardless of the urgency or the imminence of the threat, as that is a good way to know if you are going after a single bee or stumbling into a hornet's nest.
Never much of a baseball fan myself; when I was a kid, the concept of standing at a plate while some other kid threw a ball at me was not appealing. There, I said it. Football was more my game - more direct, more action and more tuned into what seems to come so naturally to kids: run around and hit people. Baseball was so sedate in comparison. I could go on; I could tell you how my older brother never really played baseball much and that I tend to trust his judgment.
But baseball was my grandfather's game. Summer vacations tended to line up with visits to my grandparents and those visits always found a baseball game on the set - and it did not matter who was playing. So as I grew older and began to attempt to learn more about this man who was the sine qua non of my existence, I starting watching those games with him whenever I visited and catching a game or two on TV at home myself. It occurred to me then that baseball is - perhaps more than any other sport - the search for perfection; repeated over and over and done in front of an audience and a hostile opponent. Pitchers chasing a perfect game; catchers chasing the perfect pitch to call for every count against every hitter; hitters chasing batting averages and home run titles; infielders chasing error free play and outfielders chasing the perfect hit-stealing, high-jumping or grass sliding catch. There is beauty in that.
Still for many years, that beauty was overshadowed by hatred, the insane hatred by white Americans against a people that has never wronged them. No war has ever been fought by these children of Europe against the sons and daughters of Afrika and yet they hate us so. For many years, that hatred expressed itself in the form of white people proclaiming that they would not allow us to sully "their" game by allowing us to play on the same field with them. And while this same story has been repeated in every other game or endeavor that the white man has ever insisted was his and his alone - from boxing to track to football to golf - no where did it strike more fear in the hearts of white men than to allow Afrikans to compete on the same baseball diamond with them. This fear kept Satchel Page from being on the same field as Joltin' Joe; made Jackie Robinson a household word even to this day for standing up against that fear in the strong, resolute manner that has ever been adopted by Afrikans facing abuse in America; and it is that same fear that kept Buck O'Neil out the Baseball Hall of Fame all of these years. To Afrikans, the question is almost ridiculous to even ask: did Buck O'Neil contribute enough to the game of baseball to be so honored with admittance into the HOF? Of course. Not only has his love of the game been in evidence throughout his 94 years on this earth, in his time he has only brought honor to the game. And all of this for a game that for much of his life, the fathers and grandfathers of those who were yet the latest to disrespect him denied him the opportunity to play on their hallowed fields and against their sainted elite.
The final vote of white supremacy in the game of baseball was cast this past March, when those children chose to validate the decisions of the fathers; when those children endorsed the viewpoints of their fathers; when those children cast their lots with their fathers - and told Buck O'Neil that he was not equal to his white compatriots of the era.
In the end - though those children had not the strength to stand up to the wrongs of their fathers and had not the strength to look Buck O'Neil eye to eye. What does that say about the lessons they will pass to their sons?
Okay, I admit it. Sometimes life can be so sweet. The best times are when we as adults can recall the carefree days of childhood; when we allowed ourselves to be so absorbed at play that the game itself became our world. Those times are harder to find as an adult - or perhaps they just require more hard target searching.
Here is a game that always does it for me: watching white people stumble their way around the horn on a good pitch and catch of "let he (she) who has not cast the 'N-word' about toss the first stone'. Watching Northerners play this game is like watching a double-A team; to admire real professionals at work, you have to head south of the Mason-Dixon line.
So for three years now, we have had to listen to Hitchens lecture us, as though we were still subjects of the British Empire and he was our Colonial Governor. Here he is just last week, patiently explaining to us why he is the only human on the planet who still believes that Hussein actually attempted to buy "yellowcake" from Niger; but after all of the years of patronization - guess who now has the joke on him?
Our boy Chris.
After starting a campaign calling Henry Kissinger a war criminal, this past weekend we learned that Kissinger has been the Bush Administration consigliere, providing the most intimate counsel to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al on what tactics to take. In the new Bob Woodward book, "State of Denial", we learn that Kissinger is still fighting the Vietnam war and encouraging the President to keep the fight going, to not let the American people lose their resolve - the reason (according to Kissinger) that the US lost the war in Vietnam.
(Perhaps you need to read the book to learn why it matters that we lost the Vietnam War and that if there are parallels to Iraq, perhaps that means losing in Iraq is equally harmless)
So the question to Chris is this: if one makes a career - indeed, sells a book - proclaiming to the world that Kissinger is a criminal who should never be trusted again, what does it mean when one then finds himself in thrall to that same criminal?
What a wondrous world we live in, when wealthy, liberal (?), journalists (?) can so ably diffuse religious tensions inspired by a tendentious pope with but a few words. The new pope - the illustrious (?) Pope Benedict the 16th - has caused quite a stir, what with his gratuitous quotation of a 14th century Byzantine emperor:
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
They say context is king and there is so much surrounding those remarks that entire volumes of encyclopedia have been written.
A Byzantine emperor? That very name evokes the old Roman empire and that introduces Constantine into the story, the Roman Emperor who transformed the religion of Christianity from that of the persecuted to that of the persecutor.
Sorry, but this is my blog and I do have the right to editorialize as I choose.
So here we have a 21st century pope, quoting the words of a 14th century emperor - the literal descendant of Constantine. In the 1000 years between Constantine and Manual II Palaeologus, Rome had fallen to the Huns and a vibrant new religion was threatening Nova Roma (Constantinople) from the South - Islam. There is no need to wonder why an emperor who is beset by opponents might feel such venom, so the real question is why would his figurative descendant (the pope, who perhaps in his mind still thinks of himself as the Holy Roman Emperor) be recalling those days?
In these times - less than 1000 years later, but not by much - Catholicism is again beset. Having cast their lot with the Europeans, Catholics have seen their star wax and wane; now, birth rates in Europe are declining; now, citizens of Europe are less likely to accept the solemn dictates of a bunch of men who have removed themselves from society to better control it; now, the growth of the Catholic church is coming from the nations of the Southern hemisphere (a different sort of man [can the Europeans really entrust them with the keys to the kingdom?]) - and here on all side Catholicism is once again beset by the rise of Islam.
Of course the pope knew he was insulting Islam; Islam is a threat to him and his power base. Of course the pope is against Turkey joining the European Union; a thriving nation placed side-by-side with nations who are growing weaker daily - an Islamic nation at that - would send a definite message to the remaining nations of Europe and a message with which the pope would prefer not to contend.
So, surely the good Mr. Friedman must be kidding when he tells us that the pope was actually treating Islam with respect. Surely he can also see that the pope was merely protecting his turf - as any good gangster would do.
A century after the publication of The Jungle, Americans are still being poisoned by our food. Why? We know more about the dangers of food-borne illnesses than any generation before us and still we are not doing enough to prevent people from dying at dinner. Perhaps a bold statement, but it is buttressed by this sentence from the ninth paragraph of the article that is linked to in the title of this post:
"Natural Selection announced this week that it would start a program to test samples of spinach for E. coli. The procedures will mirror some of those put in place by the meat industry after four people died from eating hamburgers at Jack in the Box in 1993."
What? Does that sentence really say that the company is making a decision to do tests - food industry standard tests - that have been available for a decade and a half at least? Why does this paragraph not say that the Food and Drug Administration is about to fine Natural Selection, LLC for not properly following the food safety regulations? Why is this decision left up to the company as to whether they run these tests or not? It is always in the "economic interests" of the company to sell a good product that does not cause harm (although with the farmer and the packager and the brand all upstream of the grocery store that finally sells the product to the consumer - how the hell can even the most knowledgeable consumer even know what farms to avoid, what packagers to avoid, what brands to avoid or what stores to avoid?), so clearly "economic interests are not strong enough to prevent a company from selling a product that is deadly to consumers.
This is the exact situation for why the FDA was created in the first place, so at a minimum, the following step needs to happen here:
- If the FDA does not have the authority to compel this level of testing across every area of our nations food supply, then that authority needs to be granted.
This just in: the Democratic Party is dead. What is left know is just a re-animated zombie, stumbling about and frequently bumping against walls, chairs, puppies, etc. "How can Democrats be dead" you say, "I just saw Bill Clinton on TV giving that FOX News reporter the business! Wasn't that great?"
The era of Bill Clinton is gone, never to return again. Get over it. For some, it was nice while it lasted - and compared to life under GWB it sure looks like good times, doesn't it - but those days are done. So instead of debating, discussing and deliberating about Bill Clinton, what are the Democrats who are in office today doing?
They are rolling over - again - with the same old tired triangulation strategy of staying close to Republicans, so they won't be labeled as pro-terrorist by the President and his cronies. For anyone who has paid attention to the '02 and '04 elections, that strategy will sound familiar and not in a good way. People who are old enough to know will recognize that this strategy lost in those two previous rounds. Those same people will also ask - why should a strategy that has lost the last two rounds - and I could have included the '00 and '98 and '96 and '94 rounds too - be placed back into operation? The bottom-line is that the Democratic Party is controlled by an organization who call themselves the Democratic Leadership Council and their reason for being is to make the Democratic Party as close to the Republican Party as possible.
That is why the recent debate about detainee treatment was not a debate between Democrats and Republicans, but a side-show debate of Republican v. Republican, with no one ever seriously doubting that Republicans would make their Republican President look good. But when the majority of the American people disapprove of the President (the other side of a 40% approval rating) one might naturally think that highlighting how different you are from him is the best thing to do.
Not the DLC. No matter how many times they get taken out to the woodshed (most people reasonably think that if they are going to get a Republican, they might as well vote Republican) the DLC keeps coming back for more, ever hopeful that if they pretend to be just like Republicans hard enough, Republicans won't be able to say those mean things about them, like calling them liberal.
Is there another party around here?
I blog on an irregular basis - you might say "as the spirit moves me". My process - if it can be elevated to such an exalted level - is to post an entry once the dam has broken, once the tidal wave an inanity has broken through to the other side; suddenly, I can no longer control my fingers and they sally forth on their own.
The straw this time is the good rabbi, Newsweek's resident Old Testament (Tamuldic?) expert. In yesterday's - WEB EXCLUSIVE- breathless commentary, he assures us that although The Lord works in mysterious ways, His Word does tell us of terrorists and that they must always be fought. I will set aside for a moment the tale of Amalek, who in other contexts is surely remembered as a nice Egyptian boy who always listened to his mother, and turn briefly to another biblical tale of terror that I was once again introduced to last Friday on Bill Moyer's Faith and Reason: Samson. His interview with David Grossman presents an allegory of Samson as a terrorist, the original suicide killer. Not quite the heroic strongman I was introduced to in Sunday School, lo those many years ago. But is that not exactly who Samson was? A man, called by God to destroy the enemies of the chosen people of God and who fulfilled his destiny in the destruction of the house around him and all of the Philistines who were inside celebrating.
I am not sure you heard what I just heard: a man, called by God to destroy his enemies and he sacrifices himself in the act.
Remind you of anyone, of any event? Is the only real difference between a terrorist and a hero the perspective of the author of the report?
Returning to our friend the rabbi, who surely wrote this commentary in response to the recent events in Israel/Gaza/Lebanon; let me sum those as best I can:
- Palestinians kidnap Israeli soldier
- Israeli Defense Forces enter Gaza to search for their soldier
- Hezbollah takes advantage of the distraction to launch their own operation to kidnap two soldiers, killing others along the way
- Israeli Defense Forces respond with artillery attacks on southern Lebanon, the home base of Hezbollah
- Hezbollah launches rockets into Israel proper, killing civilians
- Israel launches missiles into Lebanon at Hezbollah headquarters, destroying them and causing the death of Lebanese civilians as 'collateral damage'
So, if one attacks soldiers - as first thePalestinianss did above - that is not terrorism, it is warfare. And if one continues to attack soldiers - as Hezbollah also did above - that is not terrorism, it is warfare. In response to each of these acts of war, how did Israel respond? Finding themselves unable to find the enemy soldiers - but desperatee to act to ensure their society would itself not devolve into panic - the Israeli government tasked their army to target "terrorist infrastructure" in an attempt to weaken their enemies.
If a government, launches attacks on "terrorist infrastructure" in the full knowledge that said infrastructure has been implanted in the midst of innocent civilians, than can the resulting deaths be called collateral damage? Can the destruction of innocents be removed from the destruction of "infrastructure" when it is the same act that destroys each?
In the end, I do not know. But I have a very strong feeling that we are all terrorists and that instead of attempting to label us as "good" and them as "bad", we should just talk about what it is we are attempting to accomplish and make it happen, without all of the editorial moralizing from people on the sidelines. If we are convinced that we need to do what we are doing, we should do so without attempting to say that God is on our side. Judgmentt Day will let us know if we made the right call. Sphere: Related Content
Your host is not just a blog editor, but also an avid blog consumer as well. One of my regular stops is Altercation although to be fair, for a blog that claims to uphold the liberal point of view, it is remarkably free of content that is directed toward the most reliable liberal block of voters in the country: African Americans.
Since last week, however, a side comment by a respondent to Altercation (a post that reviewed the latest Bruce Springsteen appearance in NJ) that almost offhandedly tossed a comment in support of freeing one of the most well-known political prisoners in the US - has generated a firestorm of liberal cop lovers; yet another sign of the wide gulf between those wary partners: Black liberals and white liberals. I eventually tired of their inane comments in support of the dead pig (that is just my homage to Assata Shakur - you should know her too) and so I posted a reply. In case it does not make the editorial bent of Altercation, here is the post in full:
Wow, your readers are as full of vitriol for Mumia as the proprietors of Geno's. So let me see if I have this right: we all agree that Geno's has it wrong when it comes to "freedom fries", but for some reason, we (the readers of Altercation) are mostly convinced that a former member of the Black Panthers received a fair and honest jury trial by his all-white peers of Philly and that he really deserves to be on death row - did I get that right?
What exactly do we base this certitude upon? The surety of the Hoover FBI when it came to identifying those dangerous threats to the
Okay, fine. I will pretend that the fact that the Black Panthers were murdered - citizens of our nation were murdered - by the authorities for having the nerve to defend themselves from the same brutality that killed Emmett Till is not connected, as long as you pretend that the fact that a
Anyone who is interested in justice should find the confession linkedd to above) to the murder of Daniel Faulkner by another individual at least of interest. The evidence against Mumia is sketchy at best (shouted confessions to nurses at hospitals?) and if someone else says they were at the scene and they shot the cop - should not the courts at least look at that?
Of course, I know, that would be outside of the procedure. And hey, he has already spent years in prison and would probably have trouble readjusting to life on the outside, why not just continue to waste his life in prison even though someone else says they did the shooting of the cop?
Still, we do have those d*^% words from the declaration of independence that say that all life is created equal and is endowed by its Creator to life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness. I think the slave owner who wrote those words without a trace of irony was in
How is it that we have reached this point in our history? Is it possible to trace back to decisions made in the past - the road not taken - and determine how it is that we have come to be where we are at this point today? And once armed with that knowledge, is it possible to plot a path forward - to alter the course and lead us on that path toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
The title for this entry posits a theory, one which surely needs little supporting statements to prove, but I will offer them nonetheless. And I will do so not with tragic examples of other nation states from Congo to Haiti, but instead with the USA. So often here people say foolish things like, "You should be glad your ancestors were sold into slavery, as that act brought you here, today to this, the greatest nation on Earth". Sadly, the truth of the matter is - when looked at from the perspective of the Afrikan slave and her descendents in this land for 400 years - this nation matches nothing more or nothing less than the definition of a failed state.
This has been a failed state for years, for the high and mighty principles laid out for this nation in our Declaration of Independence were abdicated from the beginning; first in the implementation of the Articles of Confederation - which failed for everybody, and then in the flawed US Constitution - which failed miserably for those "nonpersons", from whom I am proud to proclaim my heritage. So, for over 200 years - at a minimum - we can state for certainty that this nation has failed to live up to the simple, moral calling against which every nation must be measured: justice for all. Throughout those 200 years - and 200 years before that as a British colony - we nonpersons have fought to be included as equal members in this nation we have helped to forge. It is unarguable from almost any philosophical, economical or historical standpoint to state that we have not been a central force in turning this nation from a humble player on the world stage to where we now reside at the pinnacle of world acclaim. Others may argue about what we are due for our efforts, but our works are laid out for all to see; why should we make it our calling to remove the scales from the eyes of those too blinded by greed to see the truth?
So this has been a failed state from our perspective (that of the nonpersons and their descendents) and now hubris is rapidly accelerating that day upon which this will be a failed nation for us all - persons and nonpersons alike. Why should we await this day? Is there any element within the record of this nation, any lever that we can articulate that will cause the path of this nation to turn away from the fate that is before us? Do we have more learned scholars today than Dubois, more accomplished orators today than Douglass, more strident fighters today than Tubman? If so, I have not heard their words or seen their efforts. Is the larger audience of persons more open to reason or shame in our day than in years past? If so, they remained on the sidelines in astounding numbers in a political sense over the last half decade. Can we not help to conclude that the path this nation is on is irreversible? Is there any longer a reason for us to cling to the scraps end entrails that have been allotted to us, in hope that tomorrow will be brighter for us and our progeny?
WE stand - in the early days of this new millennium - as the strongest generations of "nonpersons" to have ever walked the earth, with greater education and wealth than all those that have come before us. We have more skilled tradesmen - and tradeswomen - at this point than we have had in centuries past. We have more professional soldiers - warriors - instructed in the most technological forms of warfare the world has ever known.
In short, we are a force.
At the same time, there has never been a greater need for our services in the land of our ancestors. We stand here - in a nation that does not now nor will it ever respect our services and our contributions - separated by the ocean that marked the Middle Passage from our homeland (which is still experiencing the effects of having her children kidnapped and sold to other lands). Is there a better time for a great reunion - a homecoming - of mother and child? Were we to take upon our shoulders the task placed before us, in less than two generations our strengths added to the might of the existing nations of
This state is failed. We built this nation once, it is not our calling to build it again. The nations of our blood need us once again; there is where we should make our stand. Let us return to the homes of our mothers and our fathers and repair the wounds of time.
Then what is the question, might be the most appropriate response. When your author was a wee young lad, a great hue and cry went across the land sounding off on "statehood for DC!" The proponents were very passionate, but perhaps you can tell by my use of the past tense that their efforts were to no avail. I have recently been apprised of another solution to the whole "taxation without representation dilemma in which the current residents of the District find themselves: retrocession back to Maryland. Behold, with but a single Act of Congress and the flourish of a mighty presidential pen, the residents of DC will gain a representative in the house and two of their very own senators.
Perhaps anyone who is against "taxation without representation" should be for retrocession, but I find myself hesitating somewhat: what is wrong with actually going back to the original intent for DC? Instead of returning to Maryland that which she gave to create our nations capital, why not have the residents of Arlington County, VA restore the perfect square of our capital and the wound that slavery has cast upon our capitol city? Surely, those residents can no longer be so deeply bound to the blood lust for African slaves, as they were when they cried out for freedom from the capitol city in the mid 1800s. Here are the facts of the situation:
- DC was created and placed in Southern state territory by the our nations founders.
- The site was chosen by our nation's first president - George Washington and the city was named in his honor.
- That honor was diminished by the shade of slavery and the greed of Alexandria businessmen, who wanted to maintain their brisk business in trading Africans as chattel.
- Their greed was matched by the avarice of other Virginians, who did not wish to see VA become a free state - which they were in peril of becoming without the additional representatives from the returning county of Arlington (this battle for the soul of VA resulted in the establishment of West Virginia, as those counties left at the start of the Civil War).