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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reid Was Right!

As a Black activist, there are many things I may hold against Harry Reid, but saying "Obama is a light-skinned African-American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." is not one of them. He was making an assessment of whether "the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate" according to the book Game Change. He was certainly not dissing Obama, he was "wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts" according to the same source. In fact, I don't see how his remarks can be construed to reflect negatively on Black people at all. He wasn't saying that Obama would make a better president because he is "a light-skinned African-American with no Negro dialect", he is saying that he would make a better candidate. His comments are not an assessment of the man, they are an assessment of the voting public, the largely white voting public. As such they are a rather blunt and hardheaded assessment of the role that racism plays in American politics.

Furthermore, what Harry Reid said was 100% accurate. Anyone that thinks that a candidate running for president that is not an upper class white male is not playing with a handicap, knows nothing about American history and is living in Fantasyland. Even with all his other incredible qualifications, I seriously doubt that Barack Obama could have gotten elected as our first Black president in this day and age had not the last white male that held the job been such a complete ...what's the word I'm looking for?

It is also well established that one of peculiarities of racism in America is that not only are whites to be considered superior to blacks, but light skinned blacks are to be considered superior to their darker brothers. This peculiar notions is not only believed among some whites, tragically it is also believed by some blacks and like most racist views, they don't even have to be consciously held to play a role in our behavior. There is already ample literature on the subject to establish both of these facts so I won't belabor the proof here. Anyone who differs, I will meet you in comments. Likewise, anyone who thinks Obama isn't light skinned ["high yellow"] or that he does speak with a Negro dialect, or alternately, that there is no such thing that could be creditably called "a Negro dialect", I will meet you in comments.

Historically, racism has played an incredibly important role in American politics and today it continues to do so. Republicans well understand that. Time and again they have served their rich masters and held back progress in this country by building a racist coalition while at the same time sowing confusion around the whole question of race and racism in America. Today, as they are madly trying to pound together a new reactionary coalition of Birthers and Tea Baggers with racism as one of the major supports, they would love nothing better that sow confusion about just who is a racist by accusing Harry Reid of racism simply because it took the candidate's color into consideration in assessing the election.

Certain forces, especially Republican forces, forces that, speaking frankly, rather consciously use racism to divide people and thereby influence the body politic, would have you believe that a post-racist society is the same as a post-racial society and solution is that we should all now be colorblind. So any statement that mentions race is apropos at racist statement. This is the wool they are trying to pull over the Democrats head with all this twitter about Harry Reid. Meanwhile, they are developing the fine art of creating movements that encourage racism at a very deep level, like the Birther movement, without having to ever mention race!

And true to form the spineless Democrats fall for it. Starting with Reid himself, who rushes to apologized. Sorry for my choice of words, blah,blah, and Obama rushes to accept. And why not? Otherwise I'd like to see that libel trial! Obama's going to prove he's not "light-skinned" for a Negro? He's going to prove he can't talk like a Harvard graduate when he wants to? What is there to apologize for? For saying that race played a role in the last election? For summizing, correctly, IMHO, that it would be easier, in this country today, to elect someone like Barack Obama, than say, someone like Jesse Jackson?

But certain Republicans, like Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) would compare Reid's statements to Senator Trent Lott’s (R-MS) comments back in 2002. Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either." So in that case we had a Senate leader that after more than 50 years, looked back at the period of segregation, and Jim Crow laws and Klan terror as the better road to have take! It is quite impossible to escape the conclusion that he is a racist. And we are suppose to equate the two? Give me a break!
Other bloggers seeking to muddle the waters have compared his comments to those of Senator George Allen who referred to a Black man he didn't like as a 'macaca' which is a type of monkey and a racial slur, so it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Allen is something of a racists. Further more, there is plenty in the history of both of these Republican senators to corroborate that conclusion. This is not the case with Harry Reid!

Hitler says "Kill all the Jews" and another guy says "There are a lot of Jews in banking" and you have one label for both of them? Who does that serve?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are U.S. Forces Executing Afghan Kids?

Our current methods of warfare show a real disregard for human life and have taken a heavy told on civilians where ever we aim our awesome fire power. In my last post I told of the killing of children in Yemen on Dec. 20th by air strikes. A week later it was high school students (and younger) of Afghanistan that were robbed of their New Year by the U.S. War Machine.

This attack was even reported in the NY Times, a unique break from the usual silence with which such war crimes are met with in the American Media:

The head of a presidential delegation investigating the deaths of 10 people in a village in eastern Afghanistan said Wednesday the team has concluded that civilians -- including schoolchildren -- were killed in an attack by foreign troops last weekend, denying NATO reports that insurgents were the victims.

Asadullah Wafa, a senior adviser to President Hamid Karzai, told The Associated Press by telephone that among the victims discovered in a village house in the Narang district of Kunar province were eight schoolchildren between the ages of 12 and 14.




Juan Cole went into more detail in his blog:

the US military launched a raid in Kunar Province two days after Christmas on a village at night, in which President Hamid Karzai alleged that 10 civilians, some 8 of them schoolchildren, had been killed (some say dragged out of their beds and executed). The NYT reported the head of a Kabul delegation to the village saying,"They gathered eight school students from two compounds and put them in one room and shot them with small arms." (The spokesman is a former governor of Kunar and now a close adviser to President Hamid Karzai-- i.e. not exactly a pro-Taliban source). The charitable theory is that in a nighttime raid, US troops got disoriented and hit the wrong group of young men.

The outraged Afghan public saw this raid as an atrocity, and on Wednesday
December 30, they mounted street protests against the US in Jalalabad, an
eastern Pashtun city, and Kabul. In Jalalabad, hundreds of university
students blocked the main roads, and then marched in the streets, chanting
"Death to Obama" and "Death to America," and burning Obama in effigy. (If
they go on like that, the anti-imperialist Pashtun college students of
Jalalabad may attract the support of Fox Cable News . . .)

Even while the protests were taking place in Jalalabad and Kabul, a NATO
missile strike on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province was
alleged to have killed as many as 7 more civilians, some of them children.
Now the Afghan public was really angry.


These photos are taken in the crime scene by US troops right after killing the students in Narang district.

From from the London Times we have this report:
In a telephone interview last night, the headmaster [of the local school] said that the victims were asleep in three rooms when the troops arrived. "Seven students were in one room," said Rahman Jan Ehsas. "A student and one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep with his wife in a third building.

"First the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting and came outside. When they saw him they shot him as well. He was outside. That’s why his wife wasn’t killed."

A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. "I saw their school books covered in blood," he said.


Villagers and relatives and parents of the victims are mourning. The woman seen in the photo is mother of three of the victims.

The dirty little secret behind all these recent American atrocities is the U.S. has been relying on agents like the Jordanian double-agent that killed 7 CIA officers recently for their targeting information. With such 'reliable sources' is it little wonder that strikes, rather than killing al-Qaida are actually doing the recruiting for them?

But perhaps the most telling comment was the one posted by Chris Floyd:
What an instructive contrast. In one story, an attack which did not happen and which killed no one shakes the entire world. In another story, ten human beings, including eight children, were slaughtered in a sneak attack by night -- and the world can scarcely be bothered to notice.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Many Kids Did the US Kill in Yemen Last Month?

I went searching for some background on Yemen today and found this interesting article in the Washington Post the day before the Xmas bombing attempt which will now be used to justify further war plans in Yemen. Funny how the Major Media has forgotten about this background. When foreigners set out to kill Americans I find it highly relevant that the U.S. gov't has been killing them first. What goes around, comes around.

Now, excerpts from the Dec. 24th Post article:

The Pentagon has poured nearly $70 million in military aid to Yemen this year
Information about any spike in U.S. involvement - including an airstrike last week, which missed a key al-Qaida leader but killed other militants and, reportedly, some civilians - is closely guarded by Yemeni authorities, who fear that a visible American role in the country will fuel internal conflicts.

As a result, observers can only whisper about Americans coming and going at an increasing rate from a military base in northwest Yemen, or the sightings of new aircraft and drones in the skies above.

Airstrikes Thursday in Yemen's Shabwa province, in which at least 30 suspected militants were said to have been killed,
This was on Dec. 24th, the day before the Xmas bomber from Yemen struck [struck back?] As to the claim that only "suspected militants" were killed, we know well enough from the Vietnam War the way that works:
I worked with another aircraft at all times in what is called a hunter-killer team. I was told by the other pilots in the unit how to tell a VC from a civilian--if they were running, they were VC. If they were standing there, they were well-disciplined VC, shoot 'em anyhow.
Dennis Caldwell, helicopter pilot talking about his experiences in Vietnam: American Holocaust
If they're alive they're VCS [ viet cong suspects] automaticly. If they're dead, they're confirmed VC .
- Rusty Sachs, American helicopter pilot describing how prisoner's were categorized in Vietnam: American Holocaust

In November of'68, in an area called the Wagon Wheel which is northwest of Saigon, while on a routine search and destroy mission, gunships which were providing security and cover for us in case we had any contact were circling overhead. Well, no contact was made, and the gunships got bored. So they made a gun run on a hootch, with miniguns and rockets. When they left the area, we found one dead baby, which was a young child, very young, in its mother's arms, and we found, we found a baby girl about three years old, that were dead.

Because these people were bored; and they were just sick of flying around doing nothing. Then when it was reported to the battalion, the only reprimand was to put the two bodies on the body count board and just add them up with the rest of the dead people.
- Mark Lenix, American veteran testifying at the Winter Soldier hearings on the Vietnam War.

In the Vietnam War the U.S. gov't killed a lot of children, even babies, and then marked them as VC on the body count board, so how many of the "al-Qaida militants" we've killed in Yemen last month were under ther age of five?

[FYI the term "Viet Cong" was a label created by an American psyops officer in 1958 and sold to the Media because most Vietnameses saw the Viet Minh as patriots, the Vietnamese communists never used the label "Viet Cong", that was an American creation.

The correct answers is at least 23 Yemeni children killed by U.S. just before Christmas. See comments and links below.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to the Decisive Decade

The last decade came in with an economic crisis and Y2K fear mongering. It went out with another economic crisis and terrorist fear mongering.

This next decade may be the most decisive decade humanity has ever faced.

In the relatively near future, probably within the next decade, the production of gases that are causing global warming must be brought under some sort of effective regime or the consequences will be disastrous for life on this planet as we know it.

Concurrent with that, we must, in the next decade, find a way curb our appetite for war and completely retire our most terrible weapons or this appetite will consume us.

We must learn to husband the Earth and protect her resources and we must completely put aside differences between people of this or that type.

The basis for all of this can only be a world that is moving forward, not backwards, in providing economic as well as political justice to all the people of the planet.

All of us who rang in the New Year last night are privileged to live in a most Special Time in History. At no time in the hundreds of thousands of years of human existence, or even the thousands of years of civilization, and quite possibly, at no time even in the distance future, can each one of us have the impact we can have in this decade on the success or failure of this whole attempt at intelligent life on Earth known as humanity.

Happy New Year!



Have a nice weekend then get busy...