Saturday, September 17, 2005

"...and the rich eat you!"

As a number of folks likely did, I ended up catching Bush the Lesser's Thursday night speech. It was, to say the least, underwhelming. My initial reaction: too many empty words ringing hollow. Too many communities across the Gulf Coast region affected by Katrina destroyed, too many lives lost, too many people displaced, and too little too late in terms of a tangible response. The aftermath of Katrina unmasked an ugly truth that Americans have been trying so desperately to repress: America is still largely a racist and classist nation. We now come face to face with a reality that many of our fellow Americans have been living for a long damned time - grinding poverty with no hope for a better future, just a marginal existence out of the view of the American middle class and elite. We are also coming face to face finally with some of the consequences of years of promoting crony capitalism. A nation's infrastructure has been left to rot and the wetlands that once protected the Gulf region have been decimated as the Haliburtons, Bechtels, and others scarf down billions of dollars from the federal trough. We'll call it a triumph of the swill (to take a line from an old Dead Kennedys song).

What of the future in the Gulf region? No doubt there is a latent white supremist vibe operating, in which a subset of white southerners have wet dreams of a return to the Antebellum South of years past. I'm sure the guy who remarked that the hurricane was a form of urban renewal had that in mind. Keeping as many of those black folks from returning to the region is perhaps one of the few hopes that those racists in power in the region have of maintaining their that power. Remember what Patrick Henry said about "liberty or death" and what Malcom X called more bluntly "the ballot or the bullet"? There are some rightfully angered people who would love to see a bunch of these bums tossed out on their arses. Get them anywhere near a ballot, and the face of politics in the gulf region could change dramatically. I'm sure there are enough aging Dixiecrats and GOP types who see it in their best interests to use the hurricane's damage as an excuse to do a bit of ethnic cleansing.

Whatever Bu$hCo's views of race are, there is little doubt that the family has a long history of being elitist snobs who have little use for the rest of us rabble. What Bu$hCo seems to have in mind for "rebuilding" the Gulf region amounts to a test run of a 21st century police state in which the same suspects who have so royally fucked up Iraq for those stuck living there get to have a go at New Oraq. Willing to place bets on how many billions of dollars will "disappear" unaccounted for? How do you feel about mercenaries let loose to "shoot to kill" their fellow civilians? How do you feel about placing the poor and largely African-American folks who've been most affected by the hurricane onto reservations under the euphemistic rubric of "urban homesteading"? Place 'em on marginal land, keep 'em underemployed, and have mercenaries pointing automatic rifles at 'em any time they step outside their reservations - whether it's to go to work or to try to shop for necessities. I hope it's not that bleak, but I have to tell you, I seriously do not trust those in power to do the right thing.

Says it all:

In his own words: Bush is a FAILURE. The entire basis of his self-defined legitimacy in office is his ability to protect America. After four years since 9/11, he must admit that all of his grand schemes have failed ... and that there must be a "comprehensive review" of the government's failure to respond adequately to a disaster -- hurricane or an "act of evil men." It is self-evident, a comprehensive review and changes are not necessary when everything goes according to plan. If, in four years with billions and billions of dollars and the complete political backing of the radical Republican Congress, Bush and Cheney cannot do the job, then they are failures and should not be entrusted with hundreds of billions of more tax dollars to 'reconstruct' the Gulf coast. True accountablity in a true republic should mean their resignations from power ... it really is that simple. Link.

Friday, September 16, 2005


If anyone ever deserved the label, "cracker" Renee Holcomb is certainly among them:
A Greenville Technical College official who twice referred to New Orleans evacuees in Greenville as "yard apes" has resigned, school officials said.

"She's not a member of this institution today," said president Tom Barton. "Too much damage had been done."

Renee Holcombe, formerly an associate vice president for student services with a staff of about 40, told employees in two separate briefings last week that the school's aid for the mostly black hurricane victims staying at the Palmetto Expo Center would include sending yellow buses to pick up the "yard apes," said Barton and senior vice president Ben Dillard.

Dillard said Wednesday that Holcombe was referring specifically to the children of evacuees, who were provided separate transportation.

Reached at her home this afternoon, Holcombe said she was "numb and shocked." She declined further comment. She submitted her resignation to Dillard and there was no financial settlement, Barton and Dillard said.

Thanks to Pam in Durham, we find that this gal wants to some day tell her side of the story. That side would probably look suspiciously like:
"Where the heck is the local Klan when ya need em ?!!"

"Believe it or not, we called the local Klan about 2 weeks ago, and they actually admitted that they don't do anything anymore, because they are broke...."

"If everyone in your town feels the same way. Just act like they aren't there. Act like they're invisible. Everybody. Do it long enough and the nature of the attention starved negro will come out in such ways to deserve arrest, but none will be able to blame Whitey."

"Yea man, I know how you feel. The little town that I live in which is in Utah is 98% white at least, and now we have these blacks being moved here . Im not saying all of them, but the majority of them are low life druggie criminals who live off of welfare. I would also like to know what to do."

and more...

"There can be no confusion as to what to do concerning these negro beasts, these savage rapists who defile our young with inhuman brutality, put them up against the wall and put a bullet in their head. If they were to even touch my daughter they would be decapitated and hung by the feet off the corner streetlight for all to see, we cannot give any quarter to these predators, violent savage beasts, thrust upon us, dispose of them like the trash they are."

"White Community: Helping the Forgotten Victims of Katrina"

and more...

"In order to keep everybody here well informed and prepared on where all the negros be headed and endin'up as a result of bussing them around the country, I think it would be a good idea to have a thread listing just where they are being stupid mayors and their ilk. I imagine it to be more widespread than we are being told and I don't trust the local media outlets to be very eager to let us know about it, lest it result in racial discord. As far as I know there aren't any here yet in NE PA."

"So far none here in north Indiana, coons don't like the cold. I'm buying some guns to prepare myself for them, I'm sure some will make it up here."

"115 due to land in Tucson this morning! Time to print out my listing of the dangers these negroes will face in this area of the Sonoran Desert and infiltrate the leaflets in their Welcome Wagon handouts."

"Unless these niggers get krystaaal and fried chicken, they will start rioting and raping whites. If they do get their demands, they will still rape and kill, just not riot as much."

The difference between Holcomb's racism and that of the white supremacist goons like those found on the Stormfront site is merely one of degree.

Welcome to the new Dark Age?

The neoliberals (whether of the Blairite strain or of the Neocon strain) want to get Medieval on our asses, so says Kurt Nimmo:
Instead, the invasion of Iraq (and soon Iran and Syria) was engineered by a coterie of neoliberal globalists and neocon demagogues primarily interested in sending an irrefutable message to much of the world—resist corporatist and neoliberal economic and political domination and they will kill your children (a prelude to the invasion was a medieval siege lasting more than a decade and resulting in the death of more than 500,000 Iraqi kids), bomb your water purification and sewage treatment plants, destroy and steal your antiquities, poison your people (especially children) with depleted uranium and other monstrously criminal weapons, and occupy your country with ill-educated yahoo troops and subject your people to unrelenting terrorism through covert ops and brutal police state tactics of arbitrary mass arrests and targeted execution of all who resist or may possess the capacity to resist. [...] plan to turn the world into a teeming and nightmarish gulag where feudal serfs toil in dismal sweatshops for an infinitesimal neoliberal elite of decadent and amoral overseers, be they of the neocon or Soros variety. If you want to know what our neoliberal masters have in mind for us, look no further than China, where the bodies of executed gulag inmates are churned into cosmetics for spoiled middle class women (middle class today, impoverished serfs tomorrow). Israel believes it will benefit from all of this—and no doubt a small number of the Likudite elite will—but the vast majority of Israelis will be chattel working on the transnational corporate plantation.

I don’t care what occult religion or secret society the globalist elite belong to—Masons, Illuminati, Skull and Bones, or if they worship large owl statues at Bohemian Grove, or read gnostic texts in the privacy of their fantastically ornamented parlors. It is more important to strike at the root and reveal the agenda—a revisited, technologically updated, and somewhat modified version of Medieval feudalism, an oppressive socio-economic and political order engineered to enrich a few individuals and corporations (akin to barons, earls, and dukes under the old feudalism) and divide up the earth and its irreplaceable resources (including billions of humans) into parcels and vassals to be exploited.

Make no mistake about it—for the neoliberal elite, democracy (and especially a constitutional republic) is anathema. For as the Grand Master of neoliberalism, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has warned, “It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” And thus the “sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being” in the manufactured specter of nine eleven and a rogue’s gallery of ersatz terrorist bogeymen—Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and a cast of terrible others resembling Orwell’s Goldstein—who are allowed to roam free, even as ghosts or exaggerated shadows.

Brzezinski’s recipe of autocracy and terror will soon enough come home to roost because, as America turns against Bush’s floundering “military intimidation” in Iraq and his class-based indifference to the suffering wrought by Katrina, the people will be considered the enemy since the neoliberal contrivance cannot proceed without their submission or ignorant acquiescence. Of course, America is the last destination for the neolib plot (our money and soldiers are sorely needed to subdue the rest of the planet) but the clock is ticking and with every passing day more and more people, tuning in to truth broadcast over the internet (a medium designed to survive a nuclear war), understand what our rulers have in mind for us and this growing realization scares the dickens out of the neocons and their neolib cousins.

Knowledge is power. Best to exercise that power now while we can.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Democratic Party: R.I.P.

The Gulf Coast and the demise of the Democrat Party? Could be. Parker presented an editorial by Margaret Kimberley of The Black Commentator that lays it out:

“They have M-16s and they’re locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so.”Kathleen Blanco, Democratic Louisiana Governor
“But I want to thank the president.”Mary Landrieu, Democratic Louisiana Senator
“…you and I are not in a position to make any judgment because we weren't there.”Bill Clinton, former Democratic President
Democrats made these mean spirited and ignorant statements. The entire country is facing the plight of the people of New Orleans, coping with the dangers of Republican hell and Democratic high water. One party is proud of its viciousness while the other claims not to be vicious but proudly proclaims its willingness to shoot desperate refugees.
The degree of Democratic callousness in the New Orleans tragedy may be shocking at first, but it is actually consistent with the direction the party has taken for the past two decades. The Democrats are dying a slow political death. Their inaction and acquiescence in New Orleans is just the latest symptom presented by a terminal patient.
In the summer of 2005 President Bush’s approval ratings took a dive. The plunge was not the result of any shrewd political moves by the Democrats. Iraq is dragging Bush down. His approval ratings are akin to Richard Nixon’s at the time of his resignation during the Watergate scandal. The issue that could have catapulted John Kerry into the White House is rearing its head yet again, but Democrats refuse to take up the challenge.
Not only do they refuse to fight, but they aren’t shy about admitting their cowardice. Party leadership boldly states for the record that they will continue to support a president whose policies have now become a liability for his own administration. They repeat John Kerry’s losing talking points as if they were religious scripture. Hillary Clinton, the likely nominee in 2008, advocates sending more troops to Iraq. Only one Democratic Senator, Russell Feingold, has publicly called for a withdrawal of American troops.
The rest make baffling appeals to their fellow Democrats to stay on the sinking ship. “The smartest thing Democrats can do is be supportive,” opines former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry. It has to be an historic first for a political party to make a conscious decision not to kick an opposition that is on the ropes.
In the face of the New Orleans disaster Bill Clinton, still the party leader, decided to cheapen himself yet again and fetch the stick when the Bushies threw it. On the same day that the Mayor of New Orleans begged for help and thousands of refugees told horror stories of being left to fend for themselves without food, water or adequate sanitation, Bill Clinton agreed to hang out with Bush 41 and raise corporate cash.
The love fest with the Bushies was a shameful performance. Thousands of people who couldn’t get out of the city followed directions to take refuge in the Superdome. They waited on line for hours and then sat helplessly as the stadium roof didn’t live up the word “super.” The wind and rain they hoped to escape came inside. They lived in fear of assault, reused disposable diapers and urinated on the floor, but the former president had only these words of comfort:
”So I understand why they're so anxiety-ridden. But they have to understand, by the time it became obvious that they were in the fix they were in, there were a lot of other problems, too.”
Clinton could have been worse. He could have bragged about shoot to kill orders.
If Clinton really wanted to help New Orleans he should have refused the offer to join the old boys network of former presidents. He could have been the voice of an indignant and outraged nation. As a former president he was uniquely qualified to ask why the Department of Homeland Security kept no one in the Gulf Coast secure. He also has, or rather had, the unique ability to send Republicans into a frenzy of rage.
Bill Clinton could have cut short the wait for help with a simple offer to coordinate the relief effort personally. Dubya would have stopped looking like a deer caught in headlights and demanded action, if only to keep Clinton from getting any credit.
Whether the issue is Iraq or hurricane Katrina, millions of Democrats still live in hope that their party will fight for them. Instead they are left disappointed and angry after years of electoral failure and complacency.
New Orleans itself epitomizes the anguish of Democrats. In 2004 it dodged the hurricane Ivan bullet. This city run by black Democrats only reluctantly opened the Superdome to shelter potential refugees. Despite the Ivan warning they did not develop an evacuation plan for the thousands of residents who don’t have cars, the only adequate means of escape. Their plan seemed to consist of hope, denial and wishful thinking that major hurricanes would miss the city and that levees would always hold up.
Republicans won’t suffer when Bush is unable and unwilling to help thousands of Americans suffering from a natural disaster. They won’t suffer when he arrives at the disaster scene and messes up a simple photo-op by laughing and smirking inappropriately and talking about Trent Lott’s destroyed vacation home.
They won’t suffer no matter what they do because the Democrats are impotent. If the Republicans fail, the failure will be theirs alone. The Democrats will only win if by some miracle the Republicans find a way to do themselves in politically. In the meantime the Dems are like New Orleans, under water, engulfed by debris, and unable to answer pleas for help.

At this point it's a given that I have absolutely no reason to trust anyone with an R beside his or her name. Republicans have as politicians shown nothing but contempt for folks like me. They wear their contempt on their sleeves for all to see. I know where they stand, and I sure as hell plan on standing far away from that bunch. Dems are another matter altogether. We get a lot of talk about being there for the little guy, but Dem party leaders sell us out time and time again. Whether it's the bankruptcy bill, the "Patriot" Act, draft registration (and quite possibly a draft at the rate things are going), easy confirmations of Bush's most obnoxious and often dangerously incompetent nominees for various posts, the Dem leaders' fingerprints are all over it. Mention Byden, Lieberman, the Clintons, Rangel, etc., and I'll tell you these are cats who will sell us out at the first opportunity. They have time and time again, taking for granted that there is nowhere else for those of us who are on the left, those of us who are struggling financially, those of us who are face discrimination due to ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or religion to turn. I was reading some of Malcom X's speeches a while back, and one thing that strikes me is just how little things have changed in four decades. Whether the struggle is one of civil rights, civil liberties, or economic survival, counting on either of the two major parties in this country to do the work of the people is a fool's game.

I hear talk all the time about how voting for individuals from third parties is wasting votes. I'm here to tell you that voting for individuals who have no intention of honoring their commitments to the betterment of their constituents is wasting votes. I have an independent spirit. Consequently, I will not support either of the two major parties. If you're a Republican wanting my vote, I've already written you off. Don't even bother. If you're a Democrat, the only way you will get my vote is if you PROVE your worthiness. I'll gladly stand with you as long as you're doing right by those of us who need it the most - but if you fail to do so, all the nuanced talk in the world will be to me nothing more than the empty words of a shill whose promises ring hollow.

Bragging about "shoot to kill" orders, "feeling our pain," or brown-nosing the preznit is not acceptable. In fact it never was. As a voter I don't have time for any more b.s. Get it together, or get out of my way.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Here's a quarter, Junior. Buy yourself a clue.

What Bush said today:
When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, Whew. There was a sense of relaxation. And that’s what I was referring to.

And I myself thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people probably over the airwaves say, The bullet has been dodged. And that was what I was referring to.

Of course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation at a critical moment.

I suppose if we had a president who actually read newspapers or bothered to watch an occasional news program or two (FauxNews doesn't count), he'd be a little quicker on the uptake. As it is, the guy is in a hermetically sealed bubble being fed drivel by yes-men. As for how the newspapers were portraying the disaster on the Monday that Katrina made landfall, check out this collage courtesy of Americablog:

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9-11 Means Different Things to Different People

A blast from the past, as a friendly reminder. This is a repost from two years ago at about this time. Rings every bit as true this year as it did last two years (note that I made a couple minor changes - Chile's coup is now on its 32st anniversary):

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon were a terrible tragedy. But let's not forget that September 11 marks the anniversary for numerous other events: some tragic, some inspirational.

1. We shall also remember that 30 31 32 years ago, the democratically elected government of Chile and its President Allende were overthrown in a US-backed coup that resulted in Allende's death. Countless thousands of people were executed or "disappeared" during Pinochet's reign of terror that subsequently followed this tragic day in history. Let's remember the victims of the coup and its aftermath.

2. On this day in 1959 the US Congress authorized food stamps for Americans living in poverty. For those congressional leaders who voted to aid those in need, let's remember them.

3. On this day in 1851, in Christiana, Pennsylvania there was a stand-off between several ex-slave families (led by William Parker) and a posse of several armed white men led by a slave owner (Edward Gorsuch). This was one with a somewhat happy ending, as Parker and the remaining ex-slaves prevailed, and Gorsuch paid for his attempt to re-enslave these families with his life. That day was a stark reminder of the struggle that lay ahead for those endeavoring to break the bonds of slavery in the U.S. Let's remember Parker and those brave families who were willing to stand up for their human rights and dignity by any means necessary.

This day marks the anniversary of numerous events, some tragic, some uplifting. But bear in mind that ultimately today is another day on the calendar. We need not be straight-jacketed by the events of the past, nor need we forget them. There are many lessons to be learned from the events mentioned above with regards to human freedom and dignity. Let's spend some time today pondering those lessons.

For me personally, September 11, 2001 will be remembered as a day when we saw the schizophrenic character of American society in sharp relief. The acts of courage and helpfulness by countless individuals, their willingness to reach out to others was truly inspiring. On the other hand, the American tendency to engage in belligerent jingoism and to immediately blame and attack people, nations, and cultures for the bombings reared its ugly head that day and in the aftermath, which to me was truly sickening. Sadly, the latter won out in the aftermath leading to an America that is on the warpath, with little regard for the consequences. Let us hope that the tide will turn soon.