Month: May 2011
Entertaining. I wonder if this guy would be welcomed in France?
The bin laden hit
It is official, or for now, until the history revisionists get through with it all; torture or enhanced interrogation had nothing to do with locating bin laden and killing him. In fact, some assert torture hindered the investigation into bin laden’s whereabouts and were it not for neo-con cold warrior chicken-hawks who it seems insisted on some misplaced notion of masculinity that got in the way of national security.
Islamophobes in Tennessee are at it again
The folks in the great state of Tennessee are at it again whipping up racist fervor against Muslims in ways that are so comical they look downright stupid and state representative Bill Ketron is willing to take up that mantle of stupidity. How could any legislator from Tennessee talk about outlawing material support for terrorist organizations without first talking about the role his/her state played in terrorism with the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1865. With all the talk about people wanting to honor that organization and by people we’re talking about high ranking officials as well as states it will be interesting to see whether Tennessee will sanction such groups in much the same way as they are calling for with Islamic organizations. Look at the possibilities of ridding the South of any connection with or support of such clearly racist groups as the Klan, the Imperial Klan of America, Knights of the White Camelia, et.al. who have more poignantly soiled the American fabric than any Muslim or Islamic group has to date. I think Muslim groups should welcome Ketron’s Material Support for Designated Entities Act demand the state of Tennessee begin cleaning out its own backyard of racists, supremacists and any reference to them by the state. Let’s see how eager he is to embrace that idea.
But beyond that, Ketron made another faux pas by passing out a video wherein a Muslim imam in it said homosexuality is a sin punishable by death, meaning to imply such a person uttering that remark is clearly a terrorist. Such sentiments however are not just the belief of Muslims. Many Christians hold the view that homosexuality is not compatible with Christian doctrine, including Ketron’s own United Methodist Church. That’s probably one of the more mild remarks made by members of Ketron’s faith. Would Ketron apply his material support legislation against the people, all Christians, who rallied in New York recently, with some who also said homosexuals are worthy of death? Hello, Mr. Ketron?
Obama-A Wolf in Sheep’s clothing
There has been a rather shocking revelation from Dr. Cornell West about his interaction with Barack Obama which explains some of the things that were inexplicable before now. It appears President Obama is a lot more think skinned than his job calls for, and he goes through great lengths to let people know his displeasure. One can feel Dr. West’s sense of betrayal on a personal as well as philosophical level when talking about Obama and the many personal appearances West made on his behalf during the 2008 campaign.
West knew he had been “had” when he took a look at Obama’s appointments, as well as the President’s lack of speaking out forcefully enough on the rights of the poor and working class.
when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.
I feel West’s pain. Having surrounded himself with such “advisers” it’s easy to why Obama’s foreign policy so closely mirrors George Bush’s and with main stream media peddling such tripe as this it doesn’t look like there is any relief in sight.
….in the U.S., we will have to deal with some unpredictable consequences of withdrawing so many troops…more than 60 percent of the Department of Defense’s workforce is contractors, meaning contractors are the majority of the U.S. presence in the country. With the war winding down they’ll be coming home to uncertain employment prospects.The war in Afghanistan is more than just the troops and contractors who are deployed: there is a vast ecosystem of small, medium and large companies back here that support those deployed workers. Without a hundred billion dollars in war costs every year, those companies will struggle to stay in business. An executive at a small defense contractor recently joked to me, “Afghanistan is our business plan.” I asked him what he would do if the war ended. He stared at me for a moment and said, “Well, then I hope we invade Libya.”….Ten years of war have established a discrete class of entrepreneurs, mid-level workers and administrators who are completely reliant upon the U.S. being at war to stay employed.
and one has got to wonder whether the types of advisers Obama has surrounded himself will make that case for America to remain at war in perpetuity with some intractable foe and in so doing convince Obama to refute his progressive roots in much the same way as he has with other issues?
In didn’t take long for Obama supporters to come out and blast West for detailing his personal experiences with the president. To totally discredit West he was even been equated with “birthers”, those who doubt Obama’s citizenship and are in fact racist. That means therefore West’s opposition to Obama is racist in nature, despite the fact West himself is an African-America. Things have come full circle in American politics, and it only promises to get more interesting as the campaign goes into full swing after Labor Day. Hang on to your hats!
America’s Celebration of Death
Osama bin Laden is dead and America is celebrating in such grotesque and macabre ways that some commentators have said such a celebratory mood is excessive and inappropriate. However this attitude of partying at the news of the death of a foe or opponent is a part of the American tradition, even when we did it to ourselves as.
I guess for some it was especially easy to celebrate because we attributed what happened on September 11, 2001 to bin Laden and we all know what happened and what it meant to our Country, but it signifies the continued deterioration of our Nation’s morality and spirit. We equated “justice” with assassination without blinking an eye and see no contradiction in that position. From the simplest of minds to the most classically trained in jurisprudence, there was universal acceptance that a dead bin Laden was one who met justice. We allowed ourselves to be ruled by the mob mentality that says justice is what satisfies us emotionally not what is right or wrong, even if our happiness isn’t based on the law we’ve been told since kindergarten we must assiduously obey.
We gave into our hatred…much like the throngs of Iranians who surrounded the American embassy during the hostage situation and shouted ‘death to America’ and in such a frenzy allowed ourselves to be judge, jury and executioner, without blinking an eye. Let’s not forget however, that when we’ve done that before this is how we looked.
What are Muslims saying
Here it is without the filter; Muslims in the West commenting on the Osama bin laden execution
Raped by hands
Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who was assaulted in Cairo, Egypt during the “Egyptian revolution” has finally come out and spoken about what happened to her. It sounds very dramatic and Logan does an excellent job of provoking the imagery, stimulating the schemata but it rings flat on my dead old ears. Not because I assume the typical attitude of many who don’t believe a rape victim’s story or dismiss it but because Logan, a member of the main stream media elite, has a job that depends on her exciting such mental images of noble wars of empire and chivalrous soldiers intent on serving the Nation or rescuing damsels like herself from the hordes of grabbing, prodding savages of far away place.
Initially we were told she was raped or suffered a violent assault. Now we are told, by her, that she was ‘raped by hands’ an equally evocative expression. It’s second nature to her, it’s her job to blur distinctions and make things equivalent when they are not. Cairo, the city where the ‘rape by hands’ took place is 20 million strong and about a million of them were in Tahrir Square the night Logan’s attack took place. Raping by hands undoubtedly happened to a lot of people there, men and women, who were jammed in an area not meant for their numbers.
Logan had previously been expelled from Egypt by the Mubarak regime, who at that time was an ally with America in its war on terror, but she was able to re-enter the country shortly thereafter. It appears even from her account she was recognized or identified as being a spy, an Israeli, a Jew or any other appellation to single her out from the rest and then set upon, but how and by whom it is not clear. One account seems to suggest that Logan wasn’t raped by hands, but rather man handled as she was led away from the place where she was reporting. Another female reporter claims she too was groped, fondled, sexually assaulted by the crowd but certainly not to the extent that her clothes were ripped off or that she felt fear for her life. Instead, this female reporter claims, defiance at how she was violated;
In the middle of that crowd I suddenly found hands in the intimate parts of my body. When I realised that this was not a one-off incident, but that many people were interested in touching me, I felt vulnerable and became angry.
In an instinctive response, I wanted to smack the molesters, but they disappeared fast. Touching and pulling went on for some minutes when people around me started to notice what was happening.
My Egyptian friends and other friendly Egyptians closed the space around me, and gave precise instructions: while I was pulled forward, they told me to finger point to those people who were molesting me. They looked different from the bright, celebrating faces. After taking me out of the crowd, my new bodyguards turned against the attackers. An awful quarrel started.
With the right embellishment, the account above can turn into ‘rape by hands’ as well as a fear of an impending death, but the above account doesn’t give one that impression; moreover, she doesn’t seem to have assumed the role of victim and is far too combative to warrant collective sympathy. I get the impression she would and could readily wipe the floor with her attackers and instead of pitying her want to cheer her on to just such an end. Yet that’s not what I feel when I listen to Logan.
What happened to her reminds me of an amplified Adela Quested of A Passage to India, the book by E.M. Forster. Quested an adventurous woman visiting colonized India became confused after venturing alone into one of the Marabar Caves and emerges from it accusing her host of raping her. What really happened is a story of human psychology, where a young woman backed up by a cultural belief in her absolute desirability focuses her rage and confusion on one man because of the damage he and by extension everyone in his group, i.e. Indians have done to her emotional well being. Logan reminds me of that Quested character , as she spoke of how she was penetrated front and back by the hands of rape during her 60 Minutes interview. Yet all we have is her word. None of the people who were with her have been interviewed, she does identify them and one was American, nor do we hear from any of her rescuers even though she speaks pointedly of how they helped her. Do we, the general public need to hear any of this or that? Is it necessary to be allowed into Logan’s pain and suffering? No, but Logan chose to reveal it to us, to take us there, and give a face to rape. For me it’s hard to disassociate it from the other faces she’s given us in her role as a reporter.
The GOP bitch slapped by Obama
The Obama Administration has just slapped the Republican Party two times in less than a week and relegated that party to the dust bin of history because Republicans wallow in mud instead of substance in their political postures. Any true Republican should hide his/her face in shame at the way their party has been manhandled by the Obama machine. In effect it, the Republican Party, got what it deserved. It gave into the crazies of the lunatic fringe within the party with its notions of dubious citizenship and questionable loyalties on the part of Obama and went up in flames when the President adroitly handled both to the point that everyone in the Republican Party was reduced to mumbling and looking quite frankly stupid.
First the release of the much ballyhooed long form birth certificate that party loyalists said was necessary to prove citizenship, when they thought that such a certificate could not be produced, was humiliating for them. Even the buffoon Donald Trump who so vociferously called for “proof” Obama was a citizen had to double back and say that he was proud of himself for getting Obama to release what should have never been and has never been requested from any other president in modern times to display. It didn’t help Trump’s cause for him to go on and begin to doubt Obama’s college transcripts/records in an attempt to say he got where he is undeservedly so. You gotta’ wonder whether Obama is sitting on highest honor diplomas from all the colleges and universities he ever attended, waiting to release them at the most propitious time during a presidential campaign season to further humiliate his opponents. It doesn’t look too good for Trump with the main stream media finally getting tired of his dog and pony show to the extent that even some of them are calling his snipping at Obama’s heels racism in the extreme. Trump is pathetically embarrassing.
The kicker however is the news released just today, Monday 2 May that bin laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan. You remember Osama bin Laden don’t you? The ONE everyone said was responsible for the most heinous terrorist attack on US soil ever in the history of America; the ONE who it was said made it necessary for Americans to invade two countries destroying both theirs and ours in unnecessary wars. It’s significant to point out that the operation carried out by US special forces was done with far less US firepower than it took to invade Afghanistan and Iraq practically nullifying the stupefying loss of life that occurred on all sides in what has turned out to be BEFORE bin laden’s death morally senseless, bankrupt wars of occupation. It took Obama two years to do what Bush couldn’t accomplish in two terms, despite the “mission accomplished” claims to the contrary; had this been the course of action of Bush a lot less “blowback” would have ensued for the world community and a lot more good will could have been generated that could have translated into the dollars and cents the invasions were really meant to accomplish.
In real terms, Obama has out Bush(ed) Bush and in the process made irrelevant the Republican Party which has increasingly separated itself from common political consensus andbeen overtaken instead by fanatical racist zealots who talk in terms of fear and divisiveness, at the expense of the American people. In response to them, Obama has slapped them silly, humiliated them; that might not have been his intention, and pushed them further into a corner of isolation and disarray. It’s sad to see. I hope the GOP for the good of the nation, stops its genuflections at the altar of American fear and xenophobia and returns to the mainstream. The way Obama has acted lately, it would serve them good to do so, or else, he may have to slap them silly again.