Tag: Obama

Nov 30

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Ferguson: Do the Right Thing Redux

This has been a busy weekend — dividing time somewhat schizophrenically between participating in one or the other of the many actions sparked by the decision in Ferguson not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown — while at the same time planning an annual Thanksgiving meal.  Being a “conscious” political and multi-racial “family”, on past Thanksgivings we often commemorated the day by attending a local American Indian event.  As the years past, we reverted to a somewhat more traditional community potluck dinner with friends with turfu, organic dishes, etc. Still later, as biological families divided into nuclear subdivisions with children, somewhat smaller gatherings were held where we would prepare the traditional feast with a nod to  and solemn commemoration of the genocidal history behind the holiday and watch a socially conscious movie.

This year, someone suggested that we Watch Do the Right Thing. (In full disclosure, we did not end up watching Do the Right Thing because one young black guest who happens to be gay felt that he had been bullied by his peers in the neighborhood as he was growing up and it would be a painful reminder (he still lives in central Harlem about a block from the National Action Headquarters) and another young black woman felt that she needed a break from the intensity of the explosion of feelings and responses that the Ferguson decision brought on. Life is often more full of contradictions and ambiguities than our political struggle for justice would suggest.

Still, the reminder of the controversial movie, first released to great criticism as to whether it was promoting violence or showing how destroying property was better than killing human beings, reminds us how a cultural representation can help people understand the emotions behind our struggle in a way that facts and figures can’t.

First released in 1989, Do the Right Thing, one of Spike Lee’s earliest movies,  tells the story of the racial tensions in the black community in a Brooklyn neighborhood which culminates in tragedy when a young black man is killed by police. The young man’s death results in a night of rebellion in which the people in the community burn down local businesses including the local pizzeria.

The movie was released long after the racial tensions and the riots of the 1960s which it was meant to portray, and before the Rodney King beating in 1991 resulted in the rebellion in Los Angeles. Long before 41 bullets felled Amadu Diallo, the African immigrant shot at his front door by police in the Bronx, or the brutal torture of Abner Louima who was beaten and sodomized with a broomstick by police after he was arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub. (Sidenote: Neither of these later incidents resulted in riots, but in organized nonviolent civil disobedience and, eventually in sort of very limited conviction of some of the perpetrators. It is interesting to note, however, the Louima case only came to light after a nurse reported the incident when he was brought to the hospital. She was the only one of 28 people who had witnessed parts of the incident the night he was arrested. The other 27 people threatened her for speaking out.)

In Do the Right Thing, Lee sets out the many cultural signifiers of the community’s racial tensions that lead to the violence of both police brutality and the violence of enraged communities of color — in other words, the  very American history of the culture of oppression in the black community:

Mookie, played by Spike Lee, is the young man who, as the pizza delivery man, is viewed by a frustrated Tina, his girlfriend and mother of his child, as unambitious and unable or unwilling to live up to the model of the father and family man that is portrayed on TV, reflecting the tensions between the sexes in a community held down by racism.

Sal, the pizzeria’s Italian American owner, has been in the neighborhood for 25 years. His older son is openly racist while his younger son is friendly with Mookie. Sal sees himself as part of the neighborhood, but when asked by Smiley, a mentally disturbed young man who is always carrying around pictures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and “Bugging Out” (described by his name)to put up pictures of Malcolm and Martin on his “Wall of Fame”, along with the Italian Americans such as Sinatra, he refuses because, as he says, he owns the restaurant.

There are many other signifiers — “Da Mayor,” an old alcoholic man who signifies street wisdom and compassion (but who is not respected by the younger generation in the neighborhood), the young men who hang on the corner, the Asian store owner who signifies new cultures moving into the neighborhood and the conflict that brings (but who can hold her own in a swearing match in a confrontation with her black American neighbors).

But most significant is Radio Raheem, a big young black man who supported Smiley and Buggin Out’s demand to post Malcolm and Martin’s pictures in the pizza parlor. Raheem is well  meaning, but is always getting into trouble for playing his radio too loud.

When Sal and Radio Raheem get into a fight over turning down the radio and Sal calls him a “nigger,” a fight breaks out that spills into the street and draws a crowd and Sal calls the police. When the police come, they arrest “Buggin Out” and put Raheem in a chokehold which kills him. Once the cops realize he is dead, they beat up “Buggin Out” and leave the scene, leaving Sal and his sons exposed to the crowd’s rath.  When the Mayor tries to calm the crowd down, the crowd turns on him. Mookie then picks up a trash can and throws it through the window of the pizzeria and a race riot begins. In the melee, the Mayor saves Sal and his sons.  

While this is not a very good or complete synopsis of the movie, you get the picture Radio Raheem could be Michael Brown – or Earl Gardner, another “big” black man who was selling “loosies” on the street in Staten Island who was killed shortly after Michael Brown by NYPD officers in a chokehold, which was also witnesses by several citiznes (This raised new critiques about the appointment of William Bratton as the new New York City police chief since he has a known history of going after nonviolent offenders for small street “crimes” as well as a bad track record of chokehold deaths under his command)– or Anthony Baez (my neighbor in the Bronx) who was playing football with his nephew when the ball bounced and struck a police car and the policeman (who had already been moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to hide his history of excessive force) put 17 year old Baez into the chokehold and killed him — or 17 year old Jordan Davis who was killed in a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida for playing loud music because a 47 year old software engineer who was a known racist felt that Davis’ refusal to turn the music down “threatened” him and that he was  entitled to shoot Davis and would not be held accountable by the police or courts. He was in fact convicted of murder, but 17 year old Davis is still dead.

The fact is, we all have our own memories of the cases that most specifically affected us and there are many other cases across the country and across the years– far far too many to recount here and they seem to be increasing.  Which is why it is important to raise the question that Lee asks in Do the Right Thing.What must the black community do to finally overcome, once and for all, the virulent racism that is so endemic in the United.   (For an analysis of the importance of the movie and the Ferguson situation to questions of violence, issues of the “Rule of Law” or why it is important not to conflate race and class, read below the fold.)

Feb 08

Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize!!!

This will be very short.

I don’t know how many of you are aware or are not aware . . . EDWARD SNOWDEN has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize!  “Two Norwegian politicians have nominated NSA leaker Edward Snowden for that same prize [referencing Obama]. Bard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen of Norway’s Socialist Left Party announced Wednesday that they had nominated Snowden for the award. They praised his leaks for raising the curtain on modern surveillance techniques.”

Hysterically enough, within the same article, is a question:

Related:  Is Edward Snowden Working with the Russians?



But the Nobel Peace Prize nomination is also a reminder of the hypocrisy Snowden’s actions have exposed. Norway was an active participant in NSA surveillance, collecting some 33 million mobile phone records for the agency. Snowden is also being protected by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a leader with a human rights record that rivals a third world dictator.

Snowden’s been nominated for other prizes before, and has even won one – the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, given by a group of retired CIA officers. Being nominated for  a Nobel Peace Prize isn’t likely to change opinions on his actions; those who believe he’s hurting national security are likely to continue to do so, while those who think he did the world a great service would view the prize as evidence that they were right-at least until the next terror attack.

Snowden’s leaks have made him famous. A Nobel would make him immortal.

A DuckDuckGo search will beg the question, “Where is the MSM on this subject?”  See for yourselves: Snowden

O.K., a little more about the nomination, itself!

A Norwegian member of parliament nominated former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday, arguing that his release of classified documents made the world a safer place.

Baard Vegar Solhjell, a former education and environment minister for the Socialist Left party, said Snowden’s revelations deepened the public’s understanding of the extent to which states spy on their own citizens.

“There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term,” Solhjell and fellow MP Snorre Valen said in a joint statement.

“We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistle blowing has contributed to a more peaceful, stable and peaceful world order,” they said.

“His actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies.” . . . . .

And from the The Daily Mail UK A sociology professor in Sweden has recommended NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a letter addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and published in Swedish newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren, Professor Stefan Svallfors nominated Snowden for his ‘heroic effort at great personal cost’ shedding light on the expansive cyber-spying conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Because of his bravery, Snowden ‘helped to make the world a little bit better and safer,’ Svallfors wrote.

Scroll down for full letter:

I must say that once I learned of this nomination of Snowden, I’ve chuckled to myself a lot . . . . Karma really can be a “beech.”

Dec 05

Takin’ Care Of Business, Every Day…

PRNewswire: San Francisco, Dec. 2, 2013

Federal Court to Examine Legality of Iraq War Based on Lawsuit Filed by Comar Law

A federal court will hear argument next April from an Iraqi woman who claims the Iraq War was illegal under international law.

Plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a complaint in March 2013 in San Francisco federal court alleging that the planning and waging of the Iraq War was a “crime of aggression” against Iraqi civilians, a legal theory used at the Nuremberg Trials to convict Nazi leaders for planning and waging wars in Europe during World War II.

Saleh served the complaint in June 2013 against six Bush-era officials, including George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Her complaint seeks damages for herself as well as for other Iraqi civilian victims of the war.

Saleh alleges that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz openly planned the Iraq War beginning in 1998 through a neoconservative think-tank called “The Project for the New American Century.” She further alleges that once in power, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz convinced other Bush officials to invade Iraq and to use 9/11 as an excuse to scare and mislead the American public into supporting a war.

Dec 01

Anti-capitalist Meetup: “Separate but Equal” Shuts Down Women’s Health Care by TPau

This week has a certain nostalgia for me. I am working the last four shifts in my home, Humboldt County. Nestled between pristine redwoods and dramatic cliffs overlooking the west coast of California, I want to stay here, but cannot. I am feeling the full force of the United States health care crisis. In the four years I have worked here eight of ten obstetricians in the southern half of the county have left, and now I find I am one of them.

Two obstetricians, far apart geographically and serving two different hospitals, are all that is left to serve an area once supporting 10 obstetricians. Both doctors are men over 60, who have a tough future ahead of them. Without outside help there is no way they can see all the patients that will need them. They have to remain within 30 minutes of the hospital and can be told to come to work any time of the day or night. They can never have a moment off, a full night’s sleep, a drink of alcohol to ring in the New Year. Watching a full length movie, or having a nice dinner with the spouse without interruption is a thing of the past. Neither of the remaining doctors can get sick or injured. This is really asking them to be super human and there is no cavalry on their horizon. In fact, if Catholic Health Systems is successful at closing one of the two hospitals, only one physician will remain.

As a young person, I wanted to take my medical skills to a disadvantaged third world nation. Looks like I got my wish-right here in the US. How did we get here?

Sep 08

Operation Cockamamie: Manufacturing Non-Consent?

Stars and Stripes reports…

Congressional Black Caucus instructed to hold tongue on Syria

WASHINGTON — As an increasing number of African-American lawmakers voice dissent over the Obama administration’s war plans in Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus has asked members to “limit public comment” on the issue until they are briefed by senior administration officials.

A congressional aide to a caucus member called the request “eyebrow-raising,” in an interview with FP, and said the request was designed to quiet dissent while shoring up support for President Barack Obama’s Syria strategy.

The caucus, a crucial bloc of more than 40 votes the White House likely needs to authorize a military strike in Syria, is scheduled to be briefed by White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Monday. Until then, caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, has asked colleagues to “limit public comment until [they] receive additional details,” Fudge spokeswoman Ayofemi Kirby told FP.

When asked directly if the White House requested the partial gag order, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden floated a beautifully executed sidestep dodge worthy of some TalkCenter and Daily BS armchair warriors, and…

…said “the administration is reaching out to all members to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed judgment on this issue.” Kirby said it was her boss’s request and was aimed at keeping members informed rather than silencing anti-war members.

Sep 07

Obama asks Congress for Syria AUMF

Obama asks Congress for Syria AUMF (Are U MoFo’s going to take this off my hands?)

Sep 01

Obama Gasses Millions of Americans

Using a new special gas developed and delivered through white house pressers, the white house “petitions” page, democratic party email subscriber lists, and tv screens to put a whole country to sleep, that smells like highly concentrated bullshit, obama has decided that he’s willing to start WWIII to change the subject and take the focus off him and the NSA spying on you.

Sep 01

“i love the smell of napalm in the morning”

Sep 01

Going To The Wall For His Friends


At least he’s going right to the wall to support his friends.

Al-Nusra in Syria funded by US/UK

US funding al qaeda in Syria

Reliable as hell. You can count on this guy.

EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

Since obama was murdering innocent kids around the world with drones during his first term and this was no secret but instead was common knowledge at the time of the 2012 election, and it was no secret that he fully intended to go after social safety nets in America with his “sequester”, and it is now no secret that he is supporting and funding al qaeda in Syria, the only reasonable and honest conclusions that can be drawn after the fact are that…

Aug 27

Shallow, Fascist America

We’re launching yet another war against a Middle Eastern country on the basis of false pretenses.  Our own damned government is spying on our every communication.  People who expose crimes by our government are thrown in prison for decades or forced into exile and hiding.  High ranking criminals get away with their crimes.  The rich keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else.  Our leaders declare they can have us killed without even the Constitutionally-mandated niceties of charging us with any crime at all, let alone any warranting the death penalty.  The Constitution no longer applies.  Politicians are bought and owned by the wealthy, which trample our rights with impunity.  The world is burning and yet we keep drilling and fracking.

Yet the most pressing story of the day is how shameful Miley Cyrus’ antics on stage at an MTV award show were.

Aug 01

Our President For The Upper Classes

Multiple sources tell CNN that another heated moment came when Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado asked about rumors that Larry Summers is being considered to head the Federal Reserve, and told the president it is a bad idea.

Sources said the president got defensive and clearly upset, saying that he is sick of the Washington game and liberal press like the Huffington Post going off on Summers as not liberal enough.

The president reminded the room of Democratic lawmakers that Summers was a key part of his economic team as they tried to turn the economy around in 2009. He also made clear that he has made no decision for the Fed chief, but noted that top choices, including Summers and Janet Yellen, are so similar in qualifications you “have to slice the salami” pretty thin to see the differences.

http://politicalticker.blogs.c…

Just like slicing night and day.

I have read nothing but skimpy reports and opinion pieces about Janet Yellen but I am reasonably confident she is not dismissive of women overall like the ugly clod Summers, who has never been right about anything.

Imagine, just imagine, if instead of handing trillions to bankers and a bit of strained sympathy to their victims, the U.S. had given the crooks jail sentences [like Reagan did incidentally] and aided the victims.

Would we not be better off?

Best,  Terry  

Jul 19

Killing Kids

Ex-Pentagon official has ‘heavy heart’ over US teen’s inadvertent killing by drone

http://investigations.nbcnews….

That’s so sweet.  I hadn’t heard before that the son of the American father in Yemen was a collateral casualty.

Either way it’s just tough luck:

In the op-ed, Nasser Al-Awlaki  said he planned to petition a federal court to hold U.S. officials responsible for the drone strike.

“My grandson was killed by his own government,” he wrote. “The Obama administration must answer for its actions and be hold accountable.”  (The Justice Department has previously asserted that the families of victims of drone strikes don’t have standing to sue in the U.S. courts and Johnson did not address that issue in his remarks. A Justice spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. )

More than you get from Zimmerman I guess – at least until he faces new charges.

More than 8 schoolkids and a goatherd of the same age in Afghanistan who were rousted out of bed, handcuffed and executed by firearms got but then they weren’t Americans and weren’t killed by a drone.

Always need to keep distinctions in mind when killing kids.

Best,  Terry

 

Load more