Saturday, February 25, 2006

White Supremacists? Uh Oh...There Goes The Neighborhood!


I haven't seen these in my neighborhood or community as of yet. I hope to God I never do. Someone has, apparently, though:
I saw the first of these ribbons on a car a few months ago, since then I’ve come across them a couple of other times. It’s a picture we’re all familiar with. You pull up to a light, and start to read the messages displayed on the back of the cars stopped in front of you, and you begin to get a mental picture of its occupants. You can tell a lot about a person by reading the messages proudly exhibited on their bumpers.

This particular sticker was accompanied by the usual cast of characters; the W sticker, a few for some local Republicans, the flag sticker, a support or troops ribbon, maybe even one about killing the unborn or taking away our guns. Frankly I’ve grown immune to them. My outrage meter, now unable to take the constant barrage of inflammatory rhetoric. But this one stuck out in my mind, not because it was so blatantly racist, but because for a moment I had that sinking feeling that perhaps I was one of a small minority of people who would find it so. This kind of racism seems accepted by many in today’s post 9-11 world, where Lou Dobbbs can nightly lecture millions on the “broken borders” and invasion from the south.

Nerdified Link
The author then goes on to describe the organization behind the sticker and ribbon: The National Alliance. Duke1676 gives a quick description of this hate group's campaign from their own site:
Bring Them Home and Put Them On The Mexican Border!

The brave men and women who serve in our armed forces are the victims of a deadly conflict of interest. Millions of Third Worlders are invading the US through Mexico, while the blood of our sons and daughters is spent protecting the borders of a hostile country.
-Snip-

Why invade a sovereign country that never attacked us? The answer: The desire to secure Israel by powerful Jewish lobbyists and advisors who wormed their way into the Bush administration.
-Snip-


The Arabs wage war through desperate, primitive terrorism and the Jews wage war through high-tech terror and corruption of the US government. We want no part of their war. Millions of Third Worlders invade the US, through Mexico. But our government is being run by people who are more concerned about Israel’s borders than our own.
And just to drive the point home that these cats are up to no good, here's their "statement of principles":
Our world is hierarchical. Each of us is a member of the Aryan (or European) race, which, like the other races, developed its special characteristics over many thousands of years during which natural selection not only adapted it to its environment but also advanced it along its evolutionary path. Those races which evolved in the more demanding environment of the North, where surviving a winter required planning and self-discipline, advanced more rapidly in the development of the higher mental faculties -- including the abilities to conceptualize, to solve problems, to plan for the future, and to postpone gratification -- than those which remained in the relatively unvarying climate of the tropics. Consequently, the races vary today in their capabilities to build and to sustain a civilized society and, more generally, in their abilities to lend a conscious hand to Nature in the task of evolution.
The signals they're sending are clear: "white skin good, brown skin bad." Based on that belief, their argument is that immigration from Mexico and Central America must be stopped. Now do the folks that put these stickers and ribbons on their cars know who they're supporting? Hard to say. Would it matter to them if they did know? I wonder. Let's just say I have my doubts.

As XicanoPwr of ¡Para Justicia y Libertad! notes, "it is the same crap when sick fucks who like give out permits to hunt liberals ..."

Maybe this comment says it the best:
I don't know which is stupider, thinking that they can stop either the inevitable demographic shift now taking place in both the US and Europe, standing on Indian land to spew their ignorant sputum at the sons and daughters of the indigenous people of the continent, or their beyond the planet of lame and never-ending attempts to hijack the Resistance in Palestine and elsewhere with their anti-Jewish garbage.

That particular bit of idiocy reminds me of the "fundie" Christians whose "support for Israel" is based on their belief in and desire for the "Rapture" which features hurling recalcitrant Jews into a lake of fire.
I don't think I need to add anything to that.

Quotable: Guantánamo Bay Edition

The first report was written by Corine Hegland and published two weeks ago in the National Journal. Hegland scrutinized the court documents of 132 prisoners—approximately one-quarter of the detainees—who have filed habeas corpus petitions, as well as the redacted transcripts of the hearings that 314 prisoners have received in appearing before military Combatant Status Review Tribunals—the preliminary screening process that is supposed to ascertain whether they are "enemy combatants," as the Bush administration claims. Hegland's exhaustive review concludes that most of the detainees are not Afghans and that most were not picked up on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The vast majority were instead captured in Pakistan. Seventy-five of the 132 men are not accused of taking part in hostilities against the United States. The data suggests that maybe 80 percent of these detainees were never al-Qaida members, and many were never even Taliban foot soldiers.

Most detainees are being held for the crime of having "associated" with the Taliban or al-Qaida—often in the most attenuated way, including having known or lived with people assumed to be Taliban, or worked for charities with some ties to al-Qaida. Some had "combat" experience that seems to have consisted solely of being hit by U.S. bombs. Most were not picked up by U.S. forces but handed over to our military by Afghan warlords in exchange for enormous bounties and political payback. [ … ]

Mark Denbeaux, who teaches law at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and attorney Joshua Denbeaux published a second report several days after Hegland. They represent two detainees. Their data on the evidence amassed against the entire detainee population jibes with Hegland's. They evaluated written determinations produced by the government for the Combatant Status Review Tribunals; in other words, the government's best case against the prisoners, in the government's own words.

The Seton Hall study found that 55 percent of the detainees are not suspected of having committed any hostile acts against the United States and that 40 percent of the detainees are not affiliated with al-Qaida. Eight percent are listed as having fought for a terrorist group, and 60 percent are merely accused of being "associated with" terrorists—the lowest categorization available. They confirm that 86 percent were captured either by the Northern Alliance or by Pakistan "at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies." They quote a flier, distributed in Afghanistan at the time of the sweeps that reads: "Get wealth and power beyond your dreams ... You can receive millions of dollars helping the anti-Taliban forces catch Al Qaida and Taliban murderers. This is enough money to take care of your family, your tribe, your village for the rest of your life. Pay for livestock and doctors and school books."

Nerdified Link

Katrina aftermath: 1,926 people still missing

Six months after Katrina swept away lives and livelihood (as well as the last shred of doubt that the Bush Administration cares about anything other than money and power) 1926 people are still missing. More than 120 are children. Although the numbers have gone steadily down - 10 more names came off the list Tuesday - as many as half or more of these missing people may never be found. I can imagine 1000 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives, looking up expectantly for the next five or 50 years, waiting, waiting, for that person who will never come. Without seeing the body, the glimmer of hope can't be extinguished, the wound remains raw.

I spoke Monday with Robert Johannessen, Communications Director for the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, where the Find Family National Call Center is keeping the tally:

MB: How many of those still missing do you think will turn up?

RJ: That's impossible to say for certain. But if you're asking me how many of them are dead, I would have to say several hundred. Easily several hundred.

MB: So the official death toll [1,103 bodies found as of today] could possibly double before you're done?

RJ: Well, sir, yes, it could.

MB: Are you still finding bodies?

RJ: Yes. I expect when the lower Ninth Ward gets dug out completely, we may find quite a few there.

MB: And the rest?

RJ: Some were washed out to sea, some were buried where we are never going to find them.

MB: Several people have speculated that the government is covering up the real death toll, that many thousands of people actually died as a consequence of Katrina. You work for the government. Any idea why people where people would get such an idea?

RJ: Sir, I don't know. I believe we have the most accurate count of any large death toll ever. To tell the truth, I think rampant speculation by many people, and I have to say, speculation fueled by mayors and other government officials, probably helped spread those rumors. Our agency got charged with reporting accurate numbers. We never speculated. We counted. But, sir, you have to remember that we had ... have ... so much displacement of victims. Victims who survived but were displaced. Rumors can take root in that and grow.

MB: When will you make a final tally?

RJ: There are no plans to shut down the call center. I expect it could be another six or even 18 months before we identify all the bodies as well as find those who are displaced but [still listed as] missing.
Even for the most resilient person who lost family because of Katrina or the government screw-ups surrounding that disaster, Mardi Gras can't be quite as joyously raucous this year. Knowing your spouse or parent or child is dead because a body has been definitively identified is tough enough. But, not knowing for sure, and not knowing if you'll ever know for sure, must be ten thousand times harder. Only one who has lived with that special pain can fully comprehend it.

An acquaintance of mine was recently involved in an exhumation of massacre victims in Guatemala. As with most of these recently begun operations, there are two goals in mind: bringing peace, or as popular psychology puts it, "closure," to the victim's kin; and if the forensics pan out to their fullest, bringing justice to their murderers.

I can rage at the unlikelihood of the latter and yet be so glad to see the succor that victims' families gain just from knowing, knowing for sure that those bones with that bracelet were those of a missing daughter or aunt, and now she's found.

We didn't need The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned or Failure of Initiative to tell us how much the who-me? boneheads in charge of our security couldn't find their ass with both hands and a flashlight. We watched it unfold thanks to an astonishingly out-of-character media that decided not to be embedded in the Administration's propaganda apparatus for a few days.

Of course, Gulf Coast dwellers saw all this firsthand. And they still see the impact of it every day, as they gut their houses and dig out their lawns or sit wondering where they'll live once FEMA kicks them out of their trailers. Eventually, for most, memories of Katrina will fade, though I suspect the sour taste of betrayal and bungling will last longer.

Nerdified Link

Ensemble Al-Salaam

This combo recorded, as far as I know, one album, The Sojourner, for the Strata-East label (who released the album in 1974). For sure that one album fits in well with the general Strata-East vibe - very spiritual musically and lyrically, laid-back and occasionally funky grooves, beautiful female vocals on most of the tracks. I have no idea who the personnel on the album were, but I can definitely hear in various combinations sax (usually alto), flute, electric guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion. The funky track "Circles" has had a bit of a rebirth thanks to Gilles Peterson's compilation album Gilles Peterson Digs America on the Ubiquity label. The uptempo "Traces of Trane" is one of only two instrumental pieces on the album, and sounds like something 'Trane alumnus McCoy Tyner might have composed during the period. "Vibration Love Call" is a slow piece featuring sax, that would set the mood for a nightcap with that special someone. "Malika" is another fast-tempo tune in which the voice acts as another instrument. "Optimystical" features the only male lead vocal. Overall, beautiful music. Too bad the album is so hard to find. "Peace" ends on a hopeful note.

Thanks to the miracles of the internet, I have been able to track down the tunes on mp3 and what I believe are the liner notes:
1. Music is nothing but a prayer
2. Ecstacy
3. The sojourner
4. Circles
5. Traces of Trane
6. Vibration Love Call
7. Malika
8. Optimystical
9. Peace

“Someone may ask you, or you may ask yourself; "What type of music is this?" Well, it is music played by The Ensemble Al Salaam. Therefore it is salaam music. Peaceful but not weak, [fiery] and yet non-violent. The music is greater than the sum of our collective beings.

But then there are the Kafir (non believers) who will hate this music, those who will lie about it, try to steal it or even deny it's existence, those who will try to define and [label] it, thereby limiting its ability to soar, to fly above the minds clouded by [pseudo] intellectual reference marks.

The music will survive all of this because it is truthful. It is dynamic. In fact, our music is God's purest breath of life-expressed each time we touch the wood and metal of our musical instruments. -Kwaku.”
I don't know if there are any plans to remaster the recording and give it a proper reissue. I won't hold my breath. Then again, I have been pleasantly surprised in the past when something obscuroid gets a new lease on life. If you can find this, cherish it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lindorff: Democrats Useless

So what should Democrats be getting wound up about? How about a society in which one in ten families has to seek food assistance every year? How about a society where the average worker is seeing her income decline every year (down 2.6% between 2001 and 2004), and where real unemployment is rising towards 10 percent? How about a society in which schools have become factory assembly lines producing future burger flippers, endless numbers of sales clerks, and, of course, lots of unemployed and unemployable young people who end up serving as cannon fodder for the U.S. military?

How about a country that is spending more on the military than the rest of the entire world combined so that crazed militarists in the White House and Pentagon can operate over 400 military bases around the globe, meddle in the business of most of the rest of the nations of the world, and engage in major wars that are sucking up hundreds of billions of dollars a year?

If all that the Democratic leadership, and Democratic presidential hopefuls can get worked up about is something like the sale of port operations to an Arab-based company (or in the pathetic Sen. Hillary Clinton's case, the threat of someone burning an American flag!), the Democratic Party is properly going the way of the Whigs.

And none too fast.

Nerdified Link

Once around the internets

In case you missed it, there are 37 million poor in the so-called "land of plenty." A few days back Rep. Cynthia McKinney (one of those rare Democrats who's actually worth a damn) had some cross words for an administration she characterizes as a "criminal syndicate." Lenin's Tomb wonders who stands to benefit from civil war in Iraq (hint: it's Bu$hCo). Jorge Hirsch warns that the potential upcoming war against Iran will involve nukes of one sort or another, and notes that Bu$hCo is trotting out the same sorts of lame arguments used to justify the Iraq debacle. Kurt Nimmo sez that the neocon dream of escalating war in the region is right on schedule. Ductape Fatwa sez Americans are asking the wrong questions when it comes to the Dubai-based port management company's possible presence at American ports, and suggests some better questions that we should be asking instead (hint: ditch the Arab-hating rhetoric and focus on political & corporate greed at the expense of American citizens' needs). Man Eegee has a piece on the story of Khaled el-Masri, who was kidnapped by the CIA and tortured at a US-run prison in Afghanistan.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mickey Z sez: Fight the Power

Public Enemy fights the power

“Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant shit to me
A straight up racist, that sucker was/Simple and plain
Motherfuck him and John Wayne”
—“Fight the Power,” Public Enemy (PE), 1989

“Although it never cracked the Top 40, Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’ became the soundtrack to 1989’s summer of rage” writes Johnny Black in the Blender. “That year, director Spike Lee released Do the Right Thing, a movie he wrote to portray the violence of the time — particularly the often fatal clashes between African-Americans and the New York Police Department.”

The opening credits rolled, Rosie Perez danced, “Fight the Power” blared, and political hip-hop was now in everyone’s face. “I didn’t want to rap about ‘I’m this or I’m that’ all the time,” explains PE’s Chuck D. “My focus was not on boasting about myself or battling brothers on the microphone. I wanted to rap about battling institutions, and bringing the condition of black people worldwide to a respectable level.”

“Unabashedly political, ‘Fight the Power’ was confrontational in the way great rock has always been,” Laura K. Warrell wrote in Salon. “It had the kind of irreverence that puts bands on FBI lists. ‘Fight’ demanded action and, as the band’s most accessible hit, acted as the perfect summation of its ideology and sound. Every kid in America, white, black or brown, could connect to the song’s uncompromising cultural critique, its invigoratingly danceable sound and its rallying call…By 1989, Public Enemy was more than a rap act, it was a social movement.”

“Today’s artists don’t seem to know what real provocateurs like Public Enemy know: Shock is a short-lived effect that wears off quickly and has no real consequences” says Warrell. “Art can be relevant without being overtly political, but if there are no real motives or ideas behind shock, its images too often fall flat…When Public Enemy called us to battle, it revived the notion that it just might be possible to fight the system. At the very least, we knew it was necessary.”

The release of “Fight the Power,” says hip hop historian Nelson George, is one of the genre’s top ten moments.

“As I’ve moved forward,” Chuck D says, “I’ve come to respect that record for what it meant. When you’re doing it, you don’t know what it’s going to take on, and it came to mean a lot. If somebody keeps you from being as equal as everybody else or from having the freedom to contribute what you can to the world, you have to fight those powers as much as possible.”

International Solidarity

Check this out (props to Lenin's Tomb):
As even pliable human rights organisations find themselves accusing the US government of the systematic murder, news emerges that residents in Baghdad and Basra will join the international antiwar marches on March 18th:
The people of Basra and Baghdad will be joining next month’s global protest against the US and British occupation of Iraq.

From British occupied Basra, Faraj Rabat Mizbhan of the independent Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions is urging trade unionists, peace activists and opponents of the occupation to demonstrate in their tens of thousands across the world on 18 March.

“We are indebted to the people who have raised their voices against the occupation of our country – whether they are British, Americans, Russians or from anywhere across the globe,” he told Socialist Worker from Basra.

“By opposing this war, and opposing this occupation you are standing by the Iraqis who have to endure the terror of occupation.

“You are standing up for our right to independence, our freedom from the thieves who have descended on our country.

“People in Britain will have seen the film of British soldiers savagely beating the four lads in Ammara.

“This is the reality of the occupation. Carry this image in your minds when you demonstrate. This is what we are ­struggling against.”

Demonstrations called in Baghdad and Basra on Friday 17 March are backed by the Al-Sadr Movement, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions and the Iraqi National Foundation Conference.
While we're at it, Lenin's Tomb also has the skinny on the Katrina cover-up.

Anti-Choice Dems in S.D.


via Tim of Democratic Left Infoasis:
One of the sickest things about this is that the bill's main sponsor is a Democrat.
Legislation meant to prompt a national legal battle targeting Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, was approved Wednesday by the South Dakota Senate, moving the bill a step closer to final passage.

The measure, which would ban nearly all abortions in the state, now returns to the House, which passed a different version earlier. The House must decide whether to accept changes made by the Senate.

- - -

The bill would make it a felony for doctors or others to perform abortions and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The measure passed the Senate 23-12.
There are reasons I keep telling folks that just because someone has a "D" next to their name, don't assume that they'll defend your basic civil rights or liberties. Contrary to what some of my more sanguine liberal acquaintances seem to think, anti-choice legislators will introduce and vote for anti-choice legislation. Think about that the next time folks from the Dem Party call you up asking you for more of your money.

From the fascism watch department:

Not that George W. Bush needs much encouragement, but Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a new target for the administration's domestic operations -- Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy. "The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements," Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6. "I stand by this President's ability, inherent to being Commander in Chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don't think you need a warrant to do that," Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat. "Senator," a smiling Gonzales responded, "the President already said we'd be happy to listen to your ideas."

... But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.

... there was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs,” KBR said. [Market Watch, Jan. 26, 2006]

... There also was another little-noticed item posted at the U.S. Army Web site, about the Pentagon’s Civilian Inmate Labor Program. This program “provides Army policy and guidance for establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations.”

... A Defense Department document, entitled the “Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support,” has set out a military strategy against terrorism that envisions an “active, layered defense” both inside and outside U.S. territory. In the document, the Pentagon pledges to “transform U.S. military forces to execute homeland defense missions in the … U.S. homeland.”

... In December 2005, NBC News revealed the existence of a secret 400-page Pentagon document listing 1,500 “suspicious incidents” over a 10-month period, including dozens of small antiwar demonstrations that were classified as a “threat.” The Defense Department also might be moving toward legitimizing the use of propaganda domestically, as part of its overall war strategy. A secret Pentagon “Information Operations Roadmap,” approved by Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for “full spectrum” information operations and notes that “information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa.”

... The Pentagon plan also includes a strategy for taking over the Internet and controlling the flow of information, viewing the Web as a potential military adversary. The “roadmap” speaks of “fighting the net,” and implies that the Internet is the equivalent of “an enemy weapons system.”

... This claimed authority is based on the assertion that the United States is at war and the American homeland is part of the battlefield. “In the war against terrorists of global reach, as the Nation learned all too well on Sept. 11, 2001, the territory of the United States is part of the battlefield,” Bush's lawyers argued in briefs to the federal courts. [Washington Post, July 19, 2005] Given Bush’s now open assertions that he is using his “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as Commander in Chief for the duration of the indefinite War on Terror, Americans can no longer trust that their constitutional rights protect them from government actions.

Nerdified Link

There's been way too much freaky shit going down in this country for the last few years. Our rights under the Constitution have often been tenuous at best, but Bu$hCo has turned the authoritarian regime posing as faux democracy schtick into an artform. And I for one am not diggin' on their form of performance art.

From the mailbag for fellow Okies:

This came via email today from the Progressive News:
Hello NOW Activists!
Planned PArenthood of Oklahoma needs your help!

Senator Paddack (D) - District 13 and Senator Leftwich (D) - District 44 are the two votes that we need to pass out (of committee) our two prevention bills.

SB 426 - McIntyre - Relating to defining contraception
SB 1907 - Johnson - Contraceptive Equity

These two bills have some part of our prevention first plan and could have the rest amended in at any time. Keith Smith, our fearless lobbyist, has requested your help in contacting Senators Paddack and Leftwich immediately to show your support of these bills.

Senator Paddack - 405-521-5541; Room 417A
Senator Leftwich - 405-521-5557; Room 427A
Switchboard - 405-524-0126

IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED!

--
Amee Vanderpool
Former President, Oklahoma National Organization for Women

Do Something Good for NOLA: Got Books?

From Mamita Mala:
The New Orleans Public Library is asking for any and all hardcover and paperback books for people of all ages in an effort to restock the shelves after Katrina. The staff will assess which titles will be designated for its collections. The rest will be distributed to destitute families or sold for library fundraising. Please send your books to:

Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112

Now that, my friends, strikes me as a good cause. Damn. I can already think of a number of books that I and my wife have that we could sell on half.com that could just as easily go to a public library system in need. I'll start raiding my bookshelves over the next couple weeks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sign o' the times

Kain - The Blue Guerrilla

This solo album by Gylan Kain, one of the original Last Poets -- before the group recorded for Douglas Records -- is a study in angry poetics, performance art, and killer presentation. Recorded and issued in the early '70s, The Blue Guerrilla is a freestyle set before such a thing was even a dream. Kain's one pissed-off cat, raging not only against the usual necessary concerns, but also against the stereotypes in his own community. Free jazz-funk grooves on guitars, electric violins, a slew of drums, and ghostly keyboards accompany his gorgeous and disturbing ranting that is far from pointless. From the opening ritual scarification of "I Ain't Black," with it's free jazz approach and over-the-top screaming, to the poignant indictment of "Harlem Preacher," to "Black Satin Amazon" and "Constipated Monkey," Kain is a hipster without a country, a street poet without an audience, an activist without sympathy. And rather than succumb and stylize his thang to get his message across, he becomes angrier, slyer, slicker, less forgiving, and more insightful. Music is placed here not as accompaniment, but as a framework for Kain to place his poetry in a context of the African-American oral tradition and the Living Theatre. And he gives no quarter. This man makes the Last Poets he left behind sound like schoolboys trying to sound pissed off. Kain would make Gil Scott-Heron run away for fear of being exposed as the effete he became before he turned into an out-and-out drug addict. There aren't any other records like this; this is the sound of the apocalypse, one that Amiri Baraka predicted and celebrated. Come to The System of Dante's Hell as narrated by Kain. Sit down, listen all the way though if you can; wake up. There's a riot goin' on.

Review from Allmusic Guide by Thom Jurek
The album, to say the least, is an intense listening experience performed by a cat who must be one intense individual. Jurek does a decent job of capturing the essence of Kain's one solo album. The music and words fit in with what his former Last Poets crew were doing at the time, although with more attention paid to musical arrangements - ranging from free jazz on the opening tracks to a cooler West Coast feel for much of the remaining album (though cooler here is only a relative term - the music has an edge to it).

To me the highlight of the album is the final track, "Look Out for the Blue Guerrilla." The tune starts out with a basic keyboard-bass-drum backing that has that hazy weed-smoke-filled room vibe to it as Kain drops these philosophical rhymes that build in intensity and religious imagery, with a travel-logue that sounds like Kain's been channeling HST as he was writing "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Certainly, the song, like Thompson's book, captures the rotten core of the "American Dream" - in Kain's case, laying out a vision of an America with machine guns on every corner, and ending with a climax in which Kain and crew shout a warning to "Look Out For The Blue Guerrilla!"

If you can dig on some Amiri Baraka-inspired second generation beat poetry, that takes on issues of racism and oppression that are every bit as topical today as they were back in 1971, this album's for you. Last Poets fans should dig this. I've heard his work described as “Holy Roller Existential Blues” and “Poetic Aggression”. That's as good a description as any.

Gylan Kain has kept busy since his falling out with the Last Poets and the recording of The Blue Guerrilla as a playwright, multimedia collaborations with Z'ev, and of course performing his poetry both solo and with musical backing. He's most recently appeared with jazz/hip-hop/fusion artists Electric Barbarian since 2003, appearing on their 2004 album él. Some press reviews from the Electric Barbarian website:
JAZZTIMES March 18, 2005 - Larry Appelbaum
Dutch Jazz Meeting
"Friday night began with a sound collective called Electric Barbarian, with electric bassist and leader Floris Vermeulen, and featuring a headphone-wearing trumpeter who kept one hand on his mixer, a turntablist named Grazzhoppa and a drummer prone to mock bodybuilder poses. After an opening instrumental with washes of sound and a pseudo tribal beat, Gylan Kain, one of the founding members of the Last Poets, wailed and ranted his piece about "My Niggaz" with textured accompaniment. At one point he came out into the audience and recited in the face of an audience member who was moved to get up and leave, but not before Kain followed the poor man up the aisle. "Kicking Mickey Mouse in his house", indeed."

[...]

Kwadratuur.be August 2, 2004 - Koen van Meel
"These songs are solidly driven on a simple harmonious basis and are underlayed by Floris Vermeulen's melodious bass, which gives the whole thing soul." (...) "Vocal contributions are laid on top of this instrumental foundation. Kain is especially fascinating. His poems are visual, difficult to pin down in the beginning, but are delivered as pure spoken word, with a flow which most MCs can only dream of."

NOLA by the numbers

The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed 680 randomly selected adult evacuees in Houston shelters on September 10-12, 2005. The results of that survey illustrate who ended up in shelters:

* 64% were renters

* 55% did not have a car or a way to evacuate

* 22% had to care for someone who was physically unable to leave

* 72% had no insurance

* 68% had neither money in the bank nor a useable credit card

* 57% had total household incomes of less than $20,000 in prior year

* 76% had children under 18 with them in the shelter

* 77% had a high school education or less

* 93% were black

* 67% were employed full or part-time before the hurricane

* 52% had no health insurance

* 54% received their healthcare at the big public Charity Hospital

The people who were left behind in Katrina were the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, children, and prisoners--mostly African-American.

Nerdified Link

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Life is a cabaret, ol' chum...

Lenin's Tomb on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
Thousands of evictions, most of the displaced still not returned. No recourse for those without trailers or cash. Soaring death rate. Relief Centre shut down, but the Casinos are up and running again. Blacks to be denied vote again.

Never mind all that, though. It's a business opportunity! New Orleans is about to part-ay down! Roll them bones at your local casino! Bob Dylan's going to play jazz! And did someone say oink? Let's hear it for our boys in blue, as FEMA puts the boys up in new accomodation!
Never forget.

Red State, Meet Police State

"A federal employee gets hassled by Homeland Security for antiwar stickers on his car. Is it a mistake, a new rule, or the part of a trend of the First Amendment being bullied out of existence? Read the transcript, read the rules and decide for yourself."

[...]

Around 2:15 p.m., Scarbrough says, he answered his office phone and found himself talking to a man who identified himself as Officer R. of the Department of Homeland Security. (I'm withholding the officer's name; you know, what with Plamegate and all.) Scarbrough was told that he was in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations, the set of rules that govern all executive departments and agencies, and that he was in danger of being cited unless he came out to the parking lot or let the officer come up to his office. Scarbrough chose the first option, and took along a co-worker--also a veteran--and, being an experienced peace activist, a tape recorder. Downstairs, they found two armed officers with "Homeland Security" insignia patches on their shoulders, waiting for them in large white SUVs. Scarbrough informed the officers that he would record their conversation, and what follows is the transcript of that recording.

Officer: Step back here please.

Dwight Scarbrough: Let's have a seat.

O: I'd like to talk to you.

DS: Let's have a seat.

O: Sir, come over here please.

DS: I don't want to come over there. I want to sit down.

O: Let me tell you what's going on here. OK, there's a violation of the code of federal regulations.

DS: For what?

O: The CFR. 41, CFR, 102, 74, 415. Posting or affixing signs, pamphlets, handbills or flyers on federal property. Do you understand that?

DS: I'm not doing anything on federal property.

O: Yes, sir, you've got signs posted on your vehicle. I'm informing you that you're in violation.

DS: That's not illegal. That's not illegal.

O: You're posting ...

DS: I ... All right.

O: Would you like to listen to me before ... sir...

DS: [To his co-worker] Would you go get [their supervisor]?

O: I need you to listen when I'm talking, sir.

DS: [To co-worker]. Would you go get [him] please? [To officer] I'm listening.

O: Okay.

DS: You're at my place of work, first of all. And you're harassing me.

O: Sir, you're in violation of the code of federal regulations.

DS: I'm not in violation.

O: You're posting signs on this property.

DS: I am not posting signs. That's on a private vehicle.

O: Sir, I'm here to tell you now that you have to remove those signs.

DS: Was the law just changed?

O: No, there was no law just changed.

DS: Then it's not a violation.

O: I just told you what the law is, sir.

DS: It is not a violation. I've read the statutes already.

O: If you do not comply with my order to remove the signs from the property, I will cite you for it, OK? Do you understand that?

DS: You know what? This is harassment.

O: No, sir, it's not.

DS: Yes, it is.

O: No, it's not.

DS: Say it again, please. (Holds up microphone.) This is harassment.

O: Do you understand what I've told you?

DS: I understand what you've told me, but I've also read the statute that as a federal employee--

O: I've just given you an order and told you to remove those signs from the property.

DS: I will move my vehicle off the property.

O: That will be fine. That will comply with it, and we don't have to ...

DS: You know this is total B.S., though. Because--will you get [his supervisor], please?--I've already had this conversation once, and we've already looked up all the statues and laws covering personal vehicles with stick ... with anything on them on government property. And it is not illegal.

O: It's in 41 CFR. Look that up.

D: "Why don't you look it up?" I have.

O: 41 CF4 102--

D: What is the violation?

O: Posting of signs on--

D: Which one?

O: I just told you the violation.

D: Those are not signs.

O: Twice now I've told you.

D: Those are not signs.

O: Yes, sir, they are. What are they then?

D: So any vehicle that comes on with, like, a police sign, or with delivery or FedEx or something, that's not a sign?

O: All signs are prohibited--

D: You know you're harassing me. You know you're harassing me.

O: No, sir, I'm not.

D: You know the Department of Homeland Security is giving me harassment--

O: Sir--

D: --because I'm a person who happens to express my viewpoints on my vehicle.

O: I need you to comply with my order and remove the signs...

D: Who has filed a complaint?

O: ...you said you'd do that, that's fine ...

D: Who has filed a complaint? Who has filed a complaint?

O: No one has filed a complaint, sir.

D: Well, then what's the complaint?

O: It's law enforcement on federal property.

D: You know this is ... I would like my supervisor down here, please.

O: This doesn't concern him at all.

D: Yes, it does, because I've already had this discussion with him, and I've already been asked to change the signs, and I did. And I looked up all the statutes.

O: (Muffled)

D: Do you have a piece of paper with the number then, please?

O: I told you the number.

D: I would like to write it down, then.

O: I will give you a piece of paper ...

D: Just write it down. That's all I'm asking.

O: But I need you to comply with my instructions to remove the--

D: You're harassing me, in other words.

O: Sir, this is not harassment.

D: It's crap, and you know it.

O: No, sir, it is not.

D: It is. Okay, go ahead.

O: 41, C-F-R...

D: 41, C-F-R...

O: 102 ...

D: 102 ...

O: 74 ...

D: 74 ...

O: Subpart C ...

D: Subpart C ...

O: Paragraph 415.

D: Paragraph 415.

O: And they are posted at the entrances to federal facilities, as they are here, and it is referenced.

D: And this defines exactly what "signs" are, right?

O: It says "signs," sir.

D: Yeah. You're harassing me. I'll be back in a minute. I don't have my keys with me.

O: Sir--

D: I don't have my car keys with me.

O: Okay.

D: I had no clue what you were here to bother me about ... (walks toward door)... this is your buddy, your boss and my boss harassing people for expressing political viewpoints. And you know it. There's nothing illegal about it. (Door beeps).

[...]

"I wasn't arrested, but I could have been," Scarbrough recalls. "I was still violated and harassed." He took the rest of the week off after the incident. But he didn't just sit and mope. He looked up the rule that the Homeland Security officers referenced, and found that it read:

"All persons entering in or on Federal property are prohibited from: ...

(b) Posting or affixing materials, such as pamphlets, handbills, or flyers, on bulletin boards or elsewhere on GSA-controlled property..."

However, after his experience with the "Bushit" sticker last year, he was also quick to reference the Hatch Act, the rules that lay out exactly what political activities federal employees are allowed to participate in. According to the Hatch Act, political bumper stickers are allowed on cars parked on federal property, with no stated limitation on either size or number of stickers. So by the current rules, Scarbrough's car would seem to be legit--unless the "elsewhere" of the pamphlet rule is meant to extend to personal property as well as government property.

If that's the case, both Scarbrough and his coworker said, "That's news to me." It would also be news to the dozens of people parked in the Natural Resource Complex with bumper stickers reading, among other sentiments, "My Dad is a Marine," "Create Peace," "POW/ MIA," and others of both the pro-choice and pro-life variety.

[...]

"This is a fascist state. At least, it's the beginning of a fascist state."

Nerdified Link
See also Fascism American Style.

Monday, February 20, 2006

In memoria: Hunter S. Thompson

Today marked the anniversary of Hunter Thompson's death by suicide. After a lifetime spent about as close to "The Edge" as was humanly possible, he crossed over to the other side - leaving a considerable legacy as a journalist and storyteller. Like a lot of creative people, there was an apparent madness that possessed him. With that madness, there was a method. And of course there is no doubt that when that cat was on, he was right on.

HST's writing was a merging of the profane and the profound, the trivial and the prophetic. His fans all have their favorite HST quotations memorized by heart. I too have mine:

"...The Edge...There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others -- the living -- are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.

"But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it's In..."

--- Hunter S. Thompson (1967) , from "Hell's Angels"

"People who claim to know jackrabbits will tell you they are primarily motivated by Fear, Stupidity, and Craziness. But I have spent enough time in jackrabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives; they are bored with their daily routines: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now and then... No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenalin rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front tires."

-- Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
As I noted last year:
Deep down, that cat was a street-level existentialist who knew all too well the fragility and absurdity of life. No wonder many of us drift over as close to the edge as possible. As I think about it, we're all damaged goods - some of us more damaged than others. More often than not, existence is filled with long stretches of tedium that maybe - maybe if one is lucky gets broken with some success or excitement. If only the buzz of success would linger a while longer. But like all good buzzes, eventually the sensation wears off, and it's back to the usual mind-numbing tedium and the sensation of being kicked when we're down.
As poet and rapper Gylan Kain (one of the founding members of The Last Poets) put it in a tune called "Look Out for the Blue Guerilla":
You know life ain’t nothin’ but a river
Just moving through an empty hand
I said life ain’t nothin’ but a river
Moving through an empty hand
You can hold on if you wanna
But Lord when the truth hits the fan
HST knew all about the truth hitting the fan, offering up visions of what was about to go down. Take this quote, written just after September 11, 2001:
The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now--with somebody--and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.
[...]
It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.
[...]
We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once.
[...]
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed--for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.
At one point (I forget when) he also wrote, "Big Dark Coming Soon." And did it come and come down hard! In the years since his Sept. 12, 2001 column, what he said has come to pass. The US is in the midst of fighting Bu$hCo's Never-ending Holy War on two fronts (Afghanistan and Iraq), with a third front following shortly (Iran). The Constitution has become in Junior Caligula's words, "just another Goddamned piece of paper" to be shredded along with whatever other documents the White House chooses to keep secret. Bu$hCo spys on us, and barely a peep from Congress ensues. The draconian Patriot Act is extended, with minimal protest from our presumably elected Congress critters. Maybe having seen the worst of the Abu Ghraib pictures was enough to put the fear of God into those cats - that they too could meet the same fate if they rock the boat too much. Let's just say the accomodations aren't quite up to the Club Med standards that are more to their liking.

Big Dark has come. Whether it is a passing storm, or a more prolonged winter in America only time will tell. I'm betting on the latter, and in the meantime I'm taking Gylan Kain's advice to "look out for the Blue Guerilla!"

Mahalo.

Female Muralists Dip Brushes in Women's History

A colorful mural of 90 female activists puts a splash of militant sass on the side of an otherwise drab wall in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shirley Chisholm, the seven-term Congresswoman who represented the neighborhood from 1969 through 1983, is the star of the scene. The woman who ran for president in 1972 is shown riding a bright-orange horse and waving a banner that reads "A Catalyst for Change."

[...]


The mural includes Emma Goldman, the anarchist labor and birth control advocate who was deported to Russia in 1919. There's also Clara Lemlich, an organizer of Lower East Side garment workers in the early 20th century, and anti-slavery and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth. Others on the wall are drawn from more recent history and include Dorothy Day, who co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement in the 1930s, and poet Audre Lorde, poet and author of the famous dictum, "Your silence will not protect you."

Living women include Angela Davis, who emerged as a prominent activist in the 1960s and ran for vice president on the Communist ticket. There's also Dolores Huerta, leader of the United Farm Workers, and Amy Goodman, whose "Democracy Now!" program on Pacifica Radio has for a decade covered left-wing politics. There's also Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan, whose anti-Iraq war activism took center stage last summer when she created Camp Casey near Crawford, Texas.

Nerdified Link

Riffing on "The Ultimate Leader"

Adam over at A Violently Executed Blog riffing on one of my posts:
Now, Bob Barr isn't one of my favorite people. His work on the Clinton Impeachment debacle is, to my mind, a large part of the reason we're in the pickle we are now. His current work (meager as it is) against the Gang Of Crooks in the White House comes too little, too late to make me like him. Still, the enemy of my enemy is, if not my friend, at least shooting in the right direction.

Barr's not the only rightie that's learned it's a bad idea to criticize Our Maximum Leader, of course.

Between right-wing commentators calling those opposed to one-party rule "traitors", a media that refuses to fulfill its civic duty by questioning the illegal activities of the government, a congress that is packed with toadies that actively support Bush's Cult Of Personality (more cult than personality, to tell the truth - they make Ayn Rand's Randroids look levelheaded by comparison) and a military hierarchy that supports torture, kidnapping and spying on dissenters, we're moving into dark territory.

In the Middle Ages, maps of the world had lots of blank spots in them - whole sections that had not been mapped, that were unknown to the explorers and mapmakers. Rather than leave them blank, the cartographers let their imaginations run riot and drew fearsome beasts to fill the gaps. In the map of our political landscape, we learned in the 20th Century that there were dragons on the map - real ones, that could devour entire peoples and lay waste to nations. Japan's militaristic empire, the madness of Germany, the calculating brutality of the Soviet Union, China and North Korea. The Killing Fields of Cambodia, Srebrenica, Kosovo, soccer stadiums in Rwanda filled with the hacked and ruined bodies of Tutsi men, women and children. The United States is heading for the land of dragons. I don't know if we'll pull back from the brink like we have before, or if this time we're well and truly fucked. Maybe we'll pull away this time, but unless Congress and the media and the American people step up to the plate and repudiate the illegal power-grab of Bush and his neo-totalitarian thugs, we've left the ground fertile for the next megalomaniac to sow his seeds of destruction. The next guy might be a monarchist, he might be a Maoist, or a theocrat, or just an amoral, power-mad maniac. It won't really matter, to tell the truth - I wouldn't want to live in any of those Americas.

I strongly suspect none of you would like it, either.

Indeed, I wouldn't. And I'm basically with Adam that the stage is set for some sort of authoritarian dictatorship in the good ol' U S of A - if not now, at least in the foreseeable future unless we collectively get our shit together. Whether we Americans have it in us to do that, of course, is the $64,000 question.

Twisted Firestarter

This is so good I'm just going to post the whole thing. Original from Empire Burlesque:
The kindling has been piled high, stuffed with tinder and doused with gasoline. The match has been lit. All it will take is the slightest flick of the wrist to set off the conflagration. We are now living in the interval, the few heartbeats left before the great flame ignites.

The heap of kindling has been a long time building, but in recent weeks, the work has intensified to a fever pitch. With relentless urgency, the American people are being habituated to the prospect of several interrelated upheavals -- new war, new terror attacks -- and the predetermined result of these events: the final, open establishment of presidential tyranny, a militarized "commander state" where executive power is beyond the law, and endless war endlessly prolongs the "emergency measures" of the authoritarian regime.

Making a virtue of necessity, the Bush administration has used the exposure of its illegal wiretap scheme to ratchet up the level of terrorist scaremongering, accelerate its drive toward a military attack on Iran and publicly proclaim its long-held covert doctrine of executive dictatorship. Of course, "commander rule" is already the de facto state of the union, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made clear to the Senate last week, when he refused to deny the notion that the president can contravene any law he chooses under his authority as commander-in-chief. And we have often detailed here the tyrannical powers that President George W. Bush has already bestowed upon himself without objection from the U.S. political establishment, including the power to jail anyone without charges, hold them indefinitely and have them tortured -- or simply murder them in an "extrajudicial killing." The scope of Bush's claimed powers -- arbitrary sway over the life and liberty of every person on earth -- far surpasses that of the most megalomaniacal Roman emperor or totalitarian dictator.

But a militarist state must have war: to justify its draconian rule (and those $550 billion "defense" budgets), to find new fields for dominion and swag, and to seal with blood its illegitimate compact with the people, seeking to make them complicit in its crimes, which are committed in their name, for their "security." We see the latter clearly with the transgression in Iraq, where even mainstream opponents of the illegal war can be heard to cry: "Oh, it's all so dreadful, but we've gone too far to turn back now, sacrificed too many lives; we've got to see it through." This is, of course, just a pale echo of militarists' own position, that dazed and hollow moral nullity induced by greed and murder, best expressed by the ancient Scottish "Commander-in-Chief," Macbeth: "I am in blood stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er."

Fortunately for the militarists, Bush has promised war in abundance. Just this month, the Pentagon released its new strategy, heralding the newly dubbed "Long War" against terrorism, where U.S. forces will be deployed, openly and covertly, "in dozens of countries simultaneously" for decades to come. The plan is designed to "ensure that no foreign power can dictate the terms of regional or global security" -- except, of course, for the dictatorial foreign power emanating from the Potomac. This is the constitution of the new commander state: the eternal "emergency," fomenting endless bloodshed, strife, atrocity -- and reprisals, the terrorist blowback that is the essential lubricant for the war machine.

And a new terror strike on the "homeland" is inevitable. The ground for this attack has been carefully prepared -- whether wittingly or unwittingly is irrelevant now. For whatever the Bush faction's intentions, their actual policies have demonstrably and indisputably stoked the fires of Islamic extremism to new heights of virulence. Meanwhile, their manifest incompetence and callous disregard for the well-being of ordinary Americans -- vividly displayed in the deadly bungling of the Katrina disaster and its corruption-riddled aftermath -- have left American soil virtually undefended against any genuinely serious terrorist attack, i.e. one not carried out by half-wits telegraphing their punches over tapped phones.

For years, a vast infrastructure of authoritarian rule has been constructed behind the facade of ordinary political life -- such as the series of "special authorities" signed by Bush and Pentagon warlord Donald Rumsfeld giving the military absolute power over the nation "in the event of a declared or perceived emergency," The Washington Post reports. This dovetails with such open measures as the Patriot Act and the creation of Northcom, the first military command aimed at the "homeland," which last fall conducted the massive "Granite Shadow" exercise, practicing "domestic military operations" with "unique rules of engagement regarding the use of lethal force," the Post reports.

*[These measures – and many others like them – are the fruit of long cultivation by the Bush Faction. In 1981, then Vice President George H.W. Bush and Colonel Oliver North spearheaded the creation of "a secret government, hidden in hardened bunkers, capable of waging war and controlling the civilian populace" without any input from Congress or the courts, as we reported in the Moscow Times and Counterpunch two years ago. See Deep Cover: Hidey Holes for the American Elite.]*

This infrastructure is part of the context, the granite shadow looming behind many recent events, such as last month's $385 million open-ended contract awarded to Halliburton to build large-scale "detention and deportation" centers around the country, as Pacific News reports. It looms behind the "excitement" expressed by weapons-makers over Bush's plans to build new atomic bombs on a production-line basis, the Oakland Tribune reports, including "low yield" nukes for use in attacks on non-nuclear nations. It looms over Rumsfeld's frenzied push to build a new arsenal of "first-strike" intercontinental and space-based weapons to attack enemies -- or perceived enemies -- with "no warning," as the Pentagon declared this month, UPI reports. You can even see it in the Air Force's decision last week to allow top brass to press their politicized pseudo-Christianity on young cadets without restraint, as Reuters reports -- more of the sinister melding of militarism and religious extremism that characterizes the Bushist philosophy.

And of course, the granite shadow overhangs the entire campaign to foment war fever against Iran, a grim replay of the "Attack Iraq" propaganda, complete with exaggerated threats, manipulated intelligence supplied by dubious exiles, lies about "pursuing diplomacy" while finalizing battle plans, as The Sunday Telegraph reports -- and a complete disregard of the murderous quagmire that will ensue, including the rapid proliferation of nuclear weapons worldwide as countries scramble to protect themselves from the "first-strike" triggermen of the Bush faction.

More war, more terror, more authoritarian rule: The fire next time is almost here.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A genocidal quote:

"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not make them die of hunger."

- Israeli Prime Ministerial adviser Dov Weisglass
Via Left I on the News.

Sartre from his 1968 essay On Genocide:
In point of fact, colonization is not a matter of mere conquest...it is, of necessity, cultural genocide. Colonization cannot take place without the systematic elimination of the distinctive features of the native society, combined with the refusal to allow its members integration with the parent country, or to benefit from its advantages. Colonialism is, in fact, a system: the colony sells raw materials and foodstuffs at preferential rates to the colonizing power which, in return, sells the colony industrial goods at the price current on the world market. This curious system of exchange can be established only if work is imposed on a colonial sub-proletariat for starvation wages. The inevitable consequence is that the colonized peoples lose their national individuality, their culture and customs, sometimes even their language, and live, in abject poverty, like shadows, ceaselessly reminded of their 'sub-humanity'.

[...]

What I have just described ... is in fact a sort of genocide, equally condemned by the 1948 Convention:

Article II(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;(e) Forcibly transferring children...

In other words it is not true to say that the choice turns on death or submission. Because submission itself, in these circumstances, is genocide. It would be more apt to say that they must choose between immediate death by violence and slow death at the end of a period of physical and mental degradation. Or rather, there is no choice, there is no condition to be fulfilled: the blind chance of an 'operation' or sometimes indiscriminate terror, may decide the type of genocide that an individual will undergo.


Colonialism and neocolonialism, is genocidal to the core by its very nature. For those targeted by colonial and neocolonial forces, the choices are, to say the least, dire. The situation of the native Palestinians displaced by settlers sharing a Zionist ideology (which itself is an imperialist dogma since its inception in the 19th century) has remained that of the Other that must be eliminated. Whether by bombings, murders, or starvation, or displacement, that has continued to be the fate of the Palestians for nearly six decades.

As Eli puts it so aptly:
Just in passing, I note that it is undeniable that tens of thousands of Palestinian children (not to mention adults) are suffering "significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years." Which, even according to John "Torture" Yoo, amounts to torture.