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Diploma for teen
Ed bigs cave after speech
By Veronika Belenkaya, Helen Peterson &
Tracy Connor- Daily News Writers
The Brooklyn valedictorian denied a diploma for criticizing her high school in a graduation speech is getting her sheepskin after all.
After insisting Tiffany Schley, 17, apologize for her brutal honesty, education officials relented last night and said she can pick up the certificate tomorrow.
"Our position is that while she should have handled the matter differently, she will receive her diploma," Education Department spokesman Stephen Morello said.
"We'll also ask her if she'll come in and meet with regional district officials about our concerns and her concerns about the school."
The reversal came after the Daily News exposed Tiffany's plight, unleashing a flood of phone calls from supporters and lawyers willing to help.
"I got calls from teachers and from some people that I don't even know," the feisty teen said. "They said, 'I support you' and 'Stand your ground.' It made me feel proud."
After hearing of the officials' change of heart, Tiffany said, "It's very nice. I'm grateful for those who stood by me and for the support the Daily News has given me."
Administrators at the High School of Legal Studies in Bushwick were infuriated by Tiffany's address to the senior class, in which she spoke about overcrowding, lack of textbooks and unqualified teachers.
When she went to pick up her diploma on Friday, officials refused to hand it over, threw her out of the building and demanded an apology.
Tiffany said she had originally planned to give a motivational speech, focusing on her struggle to overcome a lisp with the help of her mother, Felicia. But when she realized how many of her fellow classmates were not graduating, "at the last minute, I just started typing," she said.
Before the ceremony, she submitted her speech to an assistant principal, as required, but he rewrote it and gave it back to her on graduation day, she said.
"He typed over it and had me glorifying the school," she said.
She stuck with her first speech, but couldn't finish giving it because the assistant principal cut the microphone - before she got to her positive comments about the school.
Friends and neighbors said they are solidly behind the teen, who is headed to Smith College on a full scholarship.
"I think that she spoke the truth. That is why they are mad," said pal Terri Perry, 16.
Originally published on June 27, 2004
Reagan's Legacy from the Perspective of His Victims
If you talk to people in the average suburban enclave about Ronald Reagan's death they would say he was a good man, even if they didn't agree with his policy. If you were to ask someone in a poor neighborhood, they would discuss the effect he had on them. Iran / Contra, trickle down economics, the war on drugs, the mainstreaming of conservative & racist rhetoric, and the destruction of "working class."
Under Reagan average working-class people were victimized and discarded by the harsh social climate he brought to bare. People forget, or never knew, Reagan called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist," while holding a shameless and capitalist policy of "constructive engagement" with apartheid South African companies and government. This is consistent with the actions of a person who was an informant, while he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, during the days of Joseph McCarthy and his relentless anti-Communist crusade witch hunt senate hearings.
Even though he came from modest beginnings and strategically worked his way up, he seemed to forget that when advocating and creating social and economic U.S. policy. That was when the idea of "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps" became a mantra to those who felt no true responsibility to the less fortunate and the blatantly oppressed. Ideology such as this negates the fact that some people had boots with no straps or simply had no boots, which made the bootstrap theory nearly ridiculous.
Now we are supposed to respectfully mourn his loss. Not a damn chance. I have had many close people die during my time on Earth, including both my parents and all the extended family known to me except two. As an honestly compassionate human, I send blessings to all whom were close to him or may mourn him. That said, I won't miss him or grieve...AT ALL.
A friend sent an email that perfectly articulated what I've been thinking since his death. I'll end this with his transmission;
Not since Nixon died do I feel as I do today. I
am left haunted by the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War.":
War-zone security is a job for ... private contractors?
By Clayton Collins | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor 5.03.04
Security firms play a huge - if fuzzy - role in Iraq, second only to US, British military. But rules are few, critics say.
For hundreds of foreign companies in the lucrative but perilous pursuit
of business in violence-racked Iraq, security - especially the use of
private forces instead of military personnel - has become an increasingly
The result, critics fear, may be a growing force of less disciplined, more mercenary guards thrown into a volatile situation with few rules to guide their actions.
Within Congress and among security experts, concern about the proliferation of private-sector guards in Iraq is mounting.
"A lot of those people are cowboys - cowboys and scary people," says Steven Schooner, a contracting expert at George Washington University Law School.
In a letter last month to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 13 congressional Democrats advanced the case that war-zone security was a job for the military, not private forces.
Over the past month, ever since the bodies of US contractors working for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) were hung from a bridge near Fallujah, many US and other foreign firms have shifted as much as 25 percent of their operating budgets to security, observers say. Security firms represent the third largest contributor of forces to the occupation, after the US and British militaries.
"Generally, what we do is fill the gaps that the military or police departments don't have the resources to fill," says David Katz, president of Global Security Group, a consulting firm with offices in New York and Chicago and clients in Iraq. "The best people have a combination of paramilitary experience and protective experience."
In Iraq, with highly trained military personnel sustaining casualties, such gap- filling may be too great a task, Mr. Katz adds. As trained contractors, who are often ex-military types, decline assignments in Iraq despite the high pay, "you may have other people filling the gap."
In general, some analysts say, it is more cost effective to hire support staff - cooks and truck drivers, for example - than to have trained soldiers fill those roles. That's despite a pay scale that has spiked in Iraq. Thomas Hamill, the driver for a Halliburton subsidiary who escaped his Iraqi captors over the weekend, went to the war zone for the pay - and, even now, may stay.
On the tactical security front, the number of private workers is unknown - "a problem of lack of accounting and accountability," says Peter Singer, national security fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. But he estimates that as many as 20,000 people in Iraq now handle jobs that used to be held down by military personnel. "Everything from logistics to training to security work," says Mr. Singer, regardless of whether the client is the US Defense Department, the CPA, or private firms.
The problem isn't only the numbers of these private guards, it's the fuzziness of their roles, critics say. Private firms - even ones with well-credentialed staff - have already stepped well beyond the job of guarding facilities and conducting other protective services, says Mr. Schooner.
"The bottom line is that contractors are fighting now," he says, citing a recent action in which security firm Blackwater USA reportedly engaged Iraqi resistance fighters to support US marines. The company "brought in their own reinforcements, they brought in helicopters, they brought in munitions," says Schooner.
"We've already got a contract on the street ... to use a firm" to secure an area in Baghdad known as the green zone, he adds. "That's military, man. That's all there is to it."
In the near term, Schooner says, tolerating private-sector mission creep toward soldiering in Iraq could allow Washington to "mask the human cost" of the military and reconstruction efforts, because deaths of private security guards are more difficult to monitor than are military losses.
The Defense Department counters that a bright, clear line exists between security and combat operations. Private security firms the department hires are forbidden to cross it. "None of them have been hired for combat operations," says Lt. Col. Joe Yoswa, a DOD spokesman.
The US government has hired private security firms for specific tasks, such as guarding top civilian administrator Paul Bremer and various facilities, which frees up soldiers for combat. Ties between the US government and specific security firms get murky, because many of the firms it hires subcontract work to others.
Government contractors employ small arms and their use of force is essentially limited to self-defense under "the laws of the country," Colonel Yoswa says. "Some companies that are working for the coalition do have some limited immunities." He would not elaborate on what that means.
Murkiness about the rules of engagement is what bothers critics and has the Defense Department scrambling.
"There is no policy, that is why we're trying to develop one," says Glenn Flood, another Defense Department spokesman. "We want to try to get something that can clarify, because right now we're all over the place - or they're all over the place - in trying to come up with something."
Singer is pleased to see more attention being paid to the roles of private companies in international conflict. Firms that did not even exist before the Iraq conflict have won major contracts there, he says.
"Suddenly people on the congressional and public side are saying, 'We didn't know there were this many guys, and they're doing what?' " Singer adds. "There is now a push for regulation and accounting that ... hadn't gotten any traction before."
Many People Can't Forget the Past
12,000 annual casualties by landmines
Do as We Say, Not as We Do
By now, most everyone has heard about the torturing in Iraq. Maybe you've even heard about the torturing in Afghanistan...if you've been paying attention to media outside of the US.
Typical US media opinion seems to be aimed at a poorly trained prison staff and lack of leadership from superior officers. As usual, most of the primary issues aren't part of the general discussion.
The undertrained argument is foolish to say the least.
That argument is troubling because of a factoid I heard on 60 Minutes 2 & BBC World News. Frederick was a corrections officer at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Va., until he was called up for active duty, said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Corrections Department. CBS airs alleged GIs abuse of Iraqis - David Crary Associated Press
This begs the question, how could a correctional officer not know how to perform his duty as, Mmmm, a correctional officer? The correctional officer element is key to understanding this incident.
These are the same problems the Ella Baker Center and others are talking about in California youth prisons; torture, brutal beatings, rape, and sensory deprivation, all the tools of the trade when you believe you have God on your side.
It seems that we are mimicking the internal ills of the US society while
using the standard tactics of war; humiliation and brute, unrepentant
I present to you another story of rape and torment
that has been completely hidden or intentionally forgotten.
Female troops serving in the Iraq war are reporting an insidious enemy in their own camps: fellow American soldiers who sexually assault them.
At least 37 female service members have sought sexual-trauma counseling and other assistance from civilian rape crisis organizations after returning from war duty in Iraq, Kuwait and other overseas stations, The Denver Post has learned. The women, ranging from enlisted soldiers to officers, have reported poor medical treatment, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. Some say they were threatened with punishment after reporting assaults.
In the context of the prior excerpt, it's not hard to imagine that it might be the culture of the military and not a few "rogue" soldiers acting out. For years our military has been portrayed as a righteous and unbeatable killing machine. Similarly, these problems are rampant in the US domestic prison system. Maybe war naturally creates of culture of molestation?
All too commonly, whether implicitly or explicitly, women are the 'other'.
Consequently, it becomes necessary in the eyes of those who seek Power
Over to control and belittle women, and all aspects of womanhood. In many
cultures, women are viewed as the possessions of their men. Therefore,
when a woman is raped, it is effectively an attack on the manhood of her
Many types of violence against women are exacerbated by militarism, including the indirect effects on civilian populations and post-conflict situations. These include: Rape/sexual assault and harassment both within the military and perpetrated on civilian populations. Domestic violence. Prostitution, pornography and trafficking.
Since the beginning of the patriarchal age, women have been considered the spoils of war, invisibilized under the euphemistic phrase, 'collateral damage'. In Rwanda, at least 250,000 women were raped in the 1994 genocide.
We can not confirm the validity of the two rape photos used in this article. We ran them because the depictions are all too real, even if these are found to be simulations. We found them on the same website as the "Iraqi Torture" photos. complete photo gallery
During the 1990's, more than 20,000 Muslim women were raped as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia. And as recently as 2003, the UN reported thousands of women and girls had been raped during fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gang rape was so widespread and brutal that doctors began classifying vaginal destruction as a combat-related crime.
Many types of violence against women are exacerbated by militarism, including the indirect effects on civilian populations and post-conflict situations. These include: Rape/sexual assault and harassment both within the military and perpetrated on civilian populations. Domestic violence. Prostitution, pornography and trafficking.
Since the beginning of the patriarchal age, women have been considered the spoils of war, invisibilized under the euphemistic phrase, 'collateral damage'. In Rwanda, at least 250,000 women were raped in the 1994 genocide. During the 1990's, more than 20,000 Muslim women were raped as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia. And as recently as 2003, the UN reported thousands of women and girls had been raped during fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gang rape was so widespread and brutal that doctors began classifying vaginal destruction as a combat-related crime.
Military training frequently encourages the hatred
and belittling of women. The use of gender slurs motivate men to act aggressively,
both toward women within their own culture and women of the 'other' culture.
Pornography and prostitution have always been unofficially sanctioned
forms of entertainment for soldiers. Until 1999, pornography could easily
be purchased by servicemen at US military base commissaries, which were
one of the largest purchasers of hard core pornography. It's removal cost
the commissaries at least $10 million. Complete
We'll see what information unfolds over the next month or so.
AP Toll Says 1,361 Iraqis Killed in April
By Lee Keath
The Associated Press Friday, April 30, 2004; 9:49 PM
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Volunteers hunting for bodies in
Victims - young and old, women and men, insurgents and
Official and complete death counts for Iraqis nationwide
The Iraqi tally was compiled from daily records of
Also, the tally is likely incomplete, because witnesses
The daily carnage, seen by Iraqis before their own eyes
The siege of Fallujah, where Americans unleashed their
And the sheer variety of violence - car suicide bombs,
"For this to be happening a year after Saddam fell,
"This shows that the United States cannot rule Iraqi
The majority of Iraqi deaths likely took place in the
The Iraqi health minister, Khudayer Abbas, gave a much
U.S. officials have said they do not have a count of
By comparison, the next deadliest month for Iraqis since
The Brookings number does not include insurgent or Iraqi
The April toll still falls short of the number of Iraqi
The AP count includes single attacks that caused large
It also includes U.S. reports of insurgents killed in
But many of the deaths came in small incidents around
A volley of mortars hit the eastern Baghdad neighborhood
In Baghdad on Thursday, Mostapha Fadhl, 6, and Mostapha
The carnage in Fallujah, where U.S. Marines battled to
Two football fields were turned into cemeteries, with
On Friday, with the U.S. military trying to implement a
During the height of the siege, residents were unable to
"We buried two of my relatives at home," said Ahmed
AP correspondents Abdul-Qader Saadi and Bassem Mroue in
Black College Women Take Aim at Rappers
MSN Enetrtainment News
Apr 23, 2:46 PM EST
Maybe it was the credit card that rap superstar Nelly swiped through a woman's backside in a recent video. Here at Spelman, the most famous black women's college in the country, a feud has erupted over images of women in rap videos, sparking a petition drive and phone campaigns.
Nelly planned to visit Spelman earlier this month for a charity event enlisting students for a bone marrow registry. But the rapper canceled the appearance after hearing that a protest was in the works because of his videos especially "Tip Drill," the one with the credit card, which also shows men throwing money between women's legs and women simulating sex acts with each other.
Misogyny in pop music, especially hip-hop, has been around for years.
Never before, students say, have the portrayals of black women been so hypersexual and explicit.
"It's very harsh. This is something we have to see and listen to on a daily basis," said senior Shanequa Yates. "Nelly just didn't want to come here and face the criticism for the choices he's made."
Not all students agreed that rappers are to blame, or that the images were harmful to society. At a recent meeting at Spelman to decide what should be done to protest rap music, some pointed out that women in the videos know what they're doing and are paid to do it.
The issue especially incensed some men studying at Morehouse, a black men's college closely affiliated with Spelman. "These are grown women. I'm putting the blame on the women," said Kenneth Lavergne, a senior who was loudly booed by the 300 or so women at the meeting.
Another student, Bradley Walker from Clark Atlanta University, talked about the credit-card swiping. "Bottom line, a woman let him do that," he said. "I do think sometimes the total blame is put on artists themselves."
Nelly's record label agrees. A spokeswoman for Universal Records, Wendy Washington, complained that the charity event fell apart just because women at Spelman were looking for a scapegoat. She said the feud unfairly made Nelly an example to fire up urban radio stations and music writers across the country.
"He did not think it was appropriate at all for students to use that as a forum," Washington said. "I think he was profoundly frustrated. He was not the first, certainly, to do a video like that."
Spelman women have low hopes of getting a change from BET, which shows bawdy videos with genitals and breasts fuzzed out on "BET Uncut" at 3 a.m. ET.
The network has no plans to stop running it. "'Uncut' has developed an almost cult-like following because of the freedom of artists to express themselves," said network spokesman Michael Lewellen. "It is specifically for adults. These are music videos whose content is too strong for our day points. We exercise more scrutiny than is required."
That sums up the basic message Spelman women have gotten from rappers and TV executives if you don't like it, don't watch the videos or listen to the music. But the student activists insist the stereotypes in rap music hurt black people even if they don't listen.
"Black entertainers have become the new myth makers, showing gangsters and bikini-clad women with hyperactive libidos," said Zenobia Hikes, vice president for student affairs. "For non-black children it creates a gross misrepresentation of the black experience."
The next move is a petition drive, and a campaign to phone complaints to TV networks and radio stations that run offensive material. If Janet Jackson's breast sparked such a crackdown on indecency in the media, the students say, surely a woman shaking so violently her bikini bottom pops off should anger people, too.
"We need to organize and say no to this stuff, this nasty, disgusting stuff," said Beverly Guy-Sheftall, director of the school's Women's Research and Resource Center.
It won't be easy.
"I don't see a solution as long as you have people willing to do it," said senior Nikole Howard. "You have to demand respect, but I doubt these women even thought they were being disrespected. It makes me sad, makes me realize how much work we have to do to educate women."
Stand Up and Be Counted
This Sunday in Washington D.C., women are claiming their rightful place and speaking out against a millenia of disrespect while being undervalued, human property, sex slaves, breeders and Barbie dolls.
If you don't speak up now, don't say that no one listened to you.
REMEMBER...IT'S THIS SUNDAY!
The Man They Hated, was Jealous of, and Ignored
As I scream at the TV, once again, it becomes agonizingly clear about the 9/11 issue(s). I ask that EVERYONE watch the 2001 PBS documentary The Man Who Knew. Nothing more to say about that for now. I'll give you a chance to see it and then make my points later.
A Matter of Perspective
It feels kind of awkward to hear so many people speak about the images coming from Fallujah. For years Blacks have grown up and lived with images of people hanging from trees, bridges, overpasses, barns and custom-built structures of terror. Throughout it all, only a rare few were ever brought to justice.
If you look at the above pictures, you'll notice both have jubilant people happily pointing and posing with mutilated human trophies. My son is a teenager for the pic on the left. My dad was nearly a teenager for the pic on the right. How many people would agree with me saying that we should find everyone in the picture on the right, and charge them with murder, for which there is NO statute of limitations?
I've had images like the one above, and many others like it, in my mind for years. I imagine I should be desensitized to burned and mutilated bodies being sources of family / community entertainment, since it has been an American tradition for centuries. BUT I'M NOT. All I ask is that we show the same amount of outrage for completely innocent people being brutally murdered by terrorists. American terrorists. That's right. I'm talking about the bigoted relative you don't like to talk about or aren't proud of. The one that says nigger all the time and means it. The one that says they have the answer to the "Black problem." Or the one who "just doesn't like them."
Before you get weepy about the people who were killed in Fallujah. You should know that there was a number of civilian murders (collateral damage) incidents in that area, which were reported by the BBC, in the days that lead up to this seeming revenge killing. Odd how that didn't make it into any of the US mainstream media reports. Maybe people would have a different opinion if they knew people were getting revenge for a family member, friend, or even someone in their community who was killed or tortured by the occupiers.
WE ARE ALL OUTRAGED DAMNIT!
Until that point, flawed as I may be, I am dedicated to making the parts of the Earth that I come in touch with more humane and culturally aware.
U.S. Jobs Outsourcing Study: Behind The Numbers
I was logging onto my Hotmail and was bombarded by a news article that had me screaming. So, instead of screaming at my computer, that hasn't done anything to me, I began my research.
Here's the beginning of the article.
The ITAA said the migration of tech jobs to low-paid foreigners has eliminated 104,000 American jobs, nearly 3% of the positions in the U.S. technology industry. But that's nothing, the ITAA said, compared with the home-brewed dot-com meltdown that has eliminated more than twice that many jobs since 2000.
"The myth is that we've started this long decline into the midnight of the technology work force,'' ITAA president Harris Miller said. "This report shows that, assuming the recovery continues, the number of IT jobs will actually increase.''
The first thing I wanted to know was, who is the ITAA, and even more telling, who is their board of directors chair. This is what I found.
Chairman of ITAA Board of Directors, Mr. Roy Haggerty is President & CEO of Ajilon LLC. It seems he would have a vested interest in international jobs outsourcing.
This is from the Ajilon website; "Ajilon is the global leader in managed services, consulting and specialty staffing, with 450 offices operating in 17 countries, in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Ajilon specializes in several industries: Information Technology, Communications, Engineering, Finance and Accounting, Legal, Office, Sales and Marketing."
Can a company that has a B.O.D. Chair who is the CEO and President for a company that's mission is to outsource the global workforce, for mega-millions in profit, produce a study that accurately analyzes outsourcing?
As I searched further, I found an article from the McKinsey Quarterly
on CNET News.com. Here's an excerpt.
I found this portion interesting. "Indian
companies that provide offshore services need goods and services themselves,
ranging from computers and telecommunications equipment to legal, financial,
and marketing expertise. Often, they buy these from US companies."
It is true that "US companies" see a clear profit. And I'm sure it's also true that Indian companies require and purchase goods and services from US companies. But if the services that are being sought after are actually being produced by outsourced, offshore workers, how does that benefit the US population as a whole or deal with the overwhelming US unemployment problem.
Earlier in the article was this.
Other research suggests that the number of US service
jobs lost to "offshoring" will accelerate at a rate of 30 percent
to 40 percent annually during the next five years. Vast wage differentials
are prompting companies to move their labor-intensive service jobs to
countries with low labor costs: For instance, software developers, who
cost $60 an hour in the United States--the country that does the most
offshoring of jobs--cost only $6 an hour in India, the biggest market
for offshore services."
This is the kicker.
Now we've hit pay-dirt. Out of the people you know that are caterers or work in one of the zillion malls of the country, how many have health insurance and a solid living wage? Since the mid 80's, we've lost millions of jobs that had benefits and wages that we could raise families on and they've been replaced by "new economy" jobs. You may remember the joke during the Clinton administration, "They've created millions of new jobs...and I have two of them."
To me, this conversation is being discussed from the wrong direction. If the only concern is the fluctuation of the availability of white-collar jobs and bottom-line company profit, who will speak for the millions of blue-collar jobs around the country that will never be replaced. Throughout the country there are complete ghost towns that were once vibrant places where people raised families. I'm sure that you can name a few, wherever you live.
I'll end with this. If we continue to have "representatives" that either do not currently, or never had to, live on the wages the bottom 60% of the US population does, I'm afraid we've not seen the bottom. In twenty years we very well may look back on these times and wonder why we, in a democracy where we have the alleged power to change negative governmental policy, allowed this to happen.
Here are some additional resources to help you
understand this issue
Walking a Mile in Their Shoes
Imagine if you will, it's 2027. The value of the dollar continued to decline, the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 49%, and there are 11.7 million people incarcerated in US prisons and jails.
In contrast, the European Union became the second largest market behind the then powerful 15 year old P.A.S. (Pacific Allied States).
The leaders of Germany, China, Britain, and India, whom are all women, had decided that the US is incapable of treating its population of females and communities of color respectfully. By 2020, the US was the only major country to not have had a female leader.
After repeated UN attempts to bring the US into the twenty-first century in 2026, the UN was moved from New York City to Switzerland and numerous resolutions were passed condemning the US. China demanded action and Britain agreed that force should be used to remove the current US government.
Though the US public demanded a change in its government, the government refuses to acquiesce. In 2027 the UN votes unanimously to use force.
New Jersey is the first state to be bombed because of its strategic military
interests. Unfortunately the military bases are placed in locations among
the civilian population and there are reports of collateral damage. Two
images are circulated on the Internet of collateral damage, which UN forces
refuse to comment on.
As the fighting intensifies, more images of collateral
damage appear on US media while there is a media blackout of images throughout
the rest of the world. Civilian deaths are either minimized or
denied by UN forces.
The US threatens to use nuclear weapons as the UN forces near Washington
DC. The UN escalated its attack and an untold amount of US civilians are
rumored dead, though the UN refuses to conduct a casualty count.
The rest of the world protests the amount of civilian deaths after Washington DC has fallen, while the UN demands the US population will have a long-term benefit from a restructured government.
Returning to reality and 2004, you may never have to know what it is like to walk in the shoes of the Iraqi population, for which you should praise the spritis for sparing you from having to.
As you know, the images you've seen are from Iraq and are BY NO MEANS RARE. There are thousands of pics like this, that you'll never see in the US media. These photos are from the website gallery of legendary journalist and war reporter, Robert Fisk. Though these images are harsh and I am on the verge of tears while I type, I ask you to closely look at each of the photos in the link below.
Imagine that each image you see is in a town that you grew up in, depicts
friends and family you care about, went to school with and love. No political
statement here. I merely think it's extremely important to understand
what "shock and awe" really looks like...because WE (each
and every american) paid for it. May the spirits forgive us all.
Under God, Completely Divided, With Liberty and Justice...For Those who Can Afford it.
As the story goes, "God" said;
Now unless you want to cherrypick which parts of the bible you want to believe and those you can "righteously" ignore, which if you are a true Christian you can't, the US masses have definitely decided to ignore these passages in their daily lives.
To drag out God as an example to make yourself righteous when it's convenient is worse, in terms of Christianity I would think, then someone who states that there is no God, because they use the Lords name in vein and bare false witness.
I am hardly a bible-thumping Christian, nor do I believe that Christianity is the light. I see myself, and am commonly perceived as, as a pretty decent human, which still won't get me into heaven by the way.
The current fight about "Under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance seems disingenuous. How could it be a country under God when there is very little in the daily behaviors of the majority of Americans that resembles such?
Is there ANYONE who believes that EVERY American has the same rights under the law, regardless of financial status, and is treated as such?
What as a society are we "indivisible" about?
Lastly, please get back to us if you can find that the daily habits of the US population correlate with honestly being a country "Under God."
Why are You Still Fighting Over Your Ovaries?
I am always amazed at the rights we as people have to fight for and who we have to beg and fight against for them. The fight for women to have complete control of their own bodies is thousands of years old. It's also a sad reality that this struggle will be fought for the foreseeable future. It seems the male dominated world would blow the world up before it would decide to share it with its female counterparts.
In full disclosure, I as a Black male can comprehend their plight, although I only have an academic comprehension of their day-to-day safety issues and reproductive rights.
Since women are the majority of the US population, why can't they have the rights they so rightfully deserve. In my opinion, the central issue is they have been socially indoctrinated to define themselves as individuals and not as a group. This is clearly seen in the 1800's during the Suffragette Movement. The women's movement was, and still is, separated by class, ethnicity, socialization, and race. This all but guarantees they won't have the collective focus required to achieve their objectives. Unfortunately this follows the same patterns of any group that has been considered less-than-equal to the White heterosexual, European male.
The articles below (sent to us by Elanit
K.) explain the reproductive issues that women in the United States
currently face. I've also included a number of links to further elucidate
the issue from a global and historical aspect.
More links on women's reproductive rights and issues
The UN-Equinox Experience
As Spring approached, I was asked to perform at the United Nations to celebrate the Equinox. Let's fast forward through the excitement of performing there, preparing for it, and psyching myself up for it. Let's get straight to the point. I, and four other performers, DIDN'T GET IN!!!!!
The UN was, and is, on high alert. We were told over and over, "No official authorization, no entry..." Now, I understand they have to be cautious. But we were supposed to be on the artist / performer list. As a number of people walked in, I told them we were part of the entertainment they were supposed to be experiencing. I was told days later that there were a number of people who weren't asked for ID, that were allowed in. The most aggravating aspect of this is seeing the "security" apparatus in action. It seems haphazard at best and ridiculously inept and worst.
Some of you may remember my article Happy New Fear, which explained my experience of working at a theater in the middle of Times Square, NYC and witnessing the "security" protocols executed from the inside. Both experiences have left me less than comfortable that these people can honestly protect us. I've seen enough clumsily executed security for "high-value targets" to feel my assertions are valid.
As I am typing this, I'm watching a TV interview on Nightline with four 9/11 widows. They are discussing their 2-year fight to get the leaders of this country to live up to their responsibilities, find out why so many security failures occurred in such a short period of time, ask all the questions that need to be asked, and then act accordingly. (Before today's session, they were told by Ex. New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, who heads the 9/11 Commission, that the commission was instructed not to ask certain questions. Hmm...)
There's a reason why I mentioned the 9/11 widows. They have the same assessments of the government as I, and many others, have. (Click here to go to C-Span's website, look in the LATEST VIDEO column and click on the 9/11 hearing to watch for yourself.) It seems the government is unable or unwilling to honestly investigate itself the same way it would investigate the average American citizen.
The people who comprise our government, especially the executive branch,
pride themselves on being God-fearing Christians. So, it seems our only
solace is that they will have a crapload of things to answer for when
they meet their maker...before God informs them they will have to get
on the "down" elevator and won't be staying "upstairs."
They seem to have a myriad of good reasons to be fearing God.
A Question of Coincidence
As I have placed my efforts into exploring the truth about the US and the world its a part of, I've wondered who would care and would it bring the attention from people who make the image of the American dream the nightmare (for many who look like me) its been for hundreds of years.
I've read many released FBI Counterintelligence documents that focus on infiltrating and disrupting Black rights groups. The history for this is age old and can be traced back to the "house nigger" syndrome, which is achieved by supplying a benefit to someone who will be a covert disruptive asset. The FBI is also well-known for activist surveillance and personal disruptive tactics to create fear and intimidation.
So I present this to you to ask the eternal question, when does the negative forces of this country become interested in someone and what tactics would they use?
When I began producing forums and installations in the heart of Times Square NYC, I realized that someone might rather I place my efforts in preaching only to the converted. I've had varied degrees of success in gathering audiences for the indoor events. On the other hand, by the nature of having an installation with audio to the street, you are reaching tens of thousands daily. This is where I believe we would come onto someone's radar.
Coincidence #1-Overeager camera bugs) When installing for a forum
(The Bridge #1 2003) a "family" (father, mother, teenager, baby
in carriage) walked by and snapped a picture. The element that made this
strange was that the "father" snapped the picture without anyone
in the family, including him, looking toward the window. All of them continued
to look straight forward. The person assisting me had also saw this, so
it wasn't just my overactive imagination.
I have no idea whether any of these things are connected. I guess we'll know 5 or 10 or 50 years from now.
In any case. Like Swan said in the movie The Warriors, when he was alerted about being followed, he looked over at the people following him and said, "Now they know I know it."
This doesn't mean I think there's someone behind every tree. Or, that the many coincidences, of which I highlighted three, are anything more than coincidence.
I just think we ALL should pay close(r) attention to the "coincidences" in our lives.
Check out this link to see some "coincidences" other people have had in the past. I realize that "they" probably have no interest in myself nor the people I work with...but what if they did?
Happy New Fear
As some of you know, I am technical director for a theater on 42nd st in Times Square. Our complex is between Broadway and 6th Ave. This gave me an inside look at the NYPD security apparatus to honestly assess it. I preface this with the understanding that, if there is a continued threat, I hope that the police does its job and makes its best effort to protect us. It is with that in mind that I file this report.
Every primary NYC news outlet announced 4pm as the time the Times Square area would be secured. 4pm came and went without any notice from the NYPD. I asked an officer in front of our flagship venue when the block would be locked down. "8 or 9pm," he stated.
There were NO official passes supplied to businesses to enter the restricted public areas. We had these ridiculously copied sheets of paper that were our passes. Anyone could have copied hundreds of them. When I had to show my "pass," I told the officer, "Here's this thing, and here's the keys to open the doors to most of the buildings on this block." He was only concerned with me showing the pass.
I saw people with huge bags walking in and out of buildings, and through Times Square all day. If someone were planning something, it seemed that they would simply have gone in earlier and still have the chance of killing tens of thousands.
This is what makes me mad. I know that they had to do something. But, even as the peaceful and harmless person I am, it didn't seem to me or any of our staff that we were safer.
I have no solutions to protecting the entire US from people who, for whatever reason, might do harm to US citizens inside or outside our borders. I do know that if the average person could see extreme faults in the US security strategies, I'm sure that a group of people who really want to do something, like Usama Bin Laden who had terrorist training from the CIA, sadly, would be able to. The lack of sophisticated weapon systems demands that they use non-traditional efforts. Remember, the tact of so-called "terrorists" is to hit you when you're NOT expecting it, with something you hadn't expected to get hit with.
By the way, I do have one solution. If our government (meaning you and me, because the United States government is "...of by and for the people...") could stop treating everyone else on the Earth as if they were our chattel servants, people might not give their lives to supply karma to a country that has far too much blood on its hands.
On a closing note. Did anyone see the hats that were passed out, free-of-charge, to the public in Times Square. If the answer to the first question was yes, then the obvious follow-up would be, what was the color?
Give up? ORANGE! Why the hell did they give out ORANGE top hats,
who the hell is the "they" that passed them out, and
who paid for them?
Click here to read an assessment of the Iraq situation from Milt Bearden. (a 30-year veteran in the C.I.A.'s Directorate of Operations, served as senior manager for clandestine operations. He was in charge of the training of the Mujahedeen - Usama Bin Laden 1986 to 1989. This was when Ronald Reagan called the Mujahedeen "Freedom Fighters.")
From everyone at s6k we wish you peace and blessings.
"Gay" Doesn't Always Mean
An acquaintance of mine and two of his friends were attacked in the East Village of NYC during Christmas weekend. They were saying good-bye and kissing when a carload of guys drove by and yelled "fagot." This was followed by my acquaintance I'll call "SB" blowing them a kiss. I see that as an equivalent action to putting a flower in the barrel of a soldiers gun. The car skidded to a stop and they poured out of the car. A second car joined the malay. "SB" was roughed up, but his two friends were brutally beaten. If you could believe it, his is is where things get sketchy.
"SB" ran to the local police precinct to report what had happened. After he told his story and pleaded for help, the "police officer" sifted through some papers on his desk . He pulled a Chinese restaurant menu out of the pile, turned it over, and wrote "SB's" name down. With this he stated, "We'll get right on it."
The idea that there are jackasses that continue to see " queer bashing" as a sport is a sad commentary on our "modern" society, especially in an area that is supposed to be the haven for personal freedom. But, the sad reality of the NYPD making arbitrary choices on who should get justice and who doesn't makes me insane. If the "SB" was a preppy for the Upper West Side reporting that he and his friends had been brutally beaten by two carloads of blacks, I would bet my last dollar that they would've picked up every person who remotely fit the profile.
Justice isn't honestly justice if it doesn't apply to everyone. Hopefully I'll hear that something was done to rightfully deal with the issue. If we don't fight for the rights of everyone, especially those in groups other than our own, when it comes to (y)our own rights, don't expect others to care about them.
Combing the Wool out of
I decided to find an introduction to each. So, here we go...
India in overview
Thanx D, now I'll pay closer attention to that which has been hidden in plain sight. In the future, I'll find more info about these and other governments we should know (more) about.
Next stop Columbia. By the way, how is the millions of dollars that the U.S. sent to fund Plan Columbia being spent? After 60 minutes did their story on Plan Columbia and its effects on the Columbian population, why has there been no visible follow-up in the mainstream media. When I say "visible" coverage, I mean coverage similar to that of the kiss between Madonna/Britney Spears or Michael Jackson's sorted "bed partners."
It's time to take off the sheep-suit and act like you live in a democracy...ask more questions.
"It's not that we have all the answers, it's that help you find better questions" Abstinence sample 1987
They "Got Him"...and
Question 1: Is there a single rational person that thought he wouldn't
eventually be caught?
One of the most telling statements came from Casper Weinberger, who was Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, when he was interviewed by the BBC, which aired on NPR (Dec 14/03 - afternoon) to discuss the Saddam issue. He said that now we might find out how Saddam was supported by the French and the Germans and to what extent. The interviewer then probed further and asked if Mr. Weinberger were concerned about what Saddam would say about the support the U.S. gave during the eighties, and possibly before, which were the years that most of the atrocities now cited by the pro-war camp occured. It was then that Casper responded with a very confusing statement. "Saddam is a ruthless dictator...he is an habitual liar...you can't trust anything that comes out of his mouth," said Weinberger.
This demands the question, how could Saddam be a source for wrongdoing by the French and the Germans, while being a completely fraudulent source of whether the US has any culpability in Saddam's rise to power?
Anyone whose heard the many cries of people who've lost loved ones at the hands of the "liberators," has to feel these people now require liberating from the "liberators."
I ask you to watch the PBS - Frontline program Truth, War and Consequences. (Click here to watch the program online) When you see the segment on Task Force 121, the people who had the job of going after Saddam, you will see them kill an innocent person, who was standing merely feet away from the cameraperson, with no justification. The cold way the military addressed the issue, as well as the many questions raised when Iraqis were interviewed, hopefully will give you a snapshot of the issues that aren't part of the typical "We're there to liberate them" conversation.
If this is truly a democracy and you believe in it, it is your right and duty to seek all the information available about what our government does in our name. It's better for you to ask and know now, than to be forced to inquire or assume after someone has executed an alleged act-of-revenge for something our government has done.
DEMOCRACY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT. It's time you played.
Additional information on the Iraq occupation can be found at:
A day later, a dear friend sent me an email that basically answered it all for me.
For a version of "Thanksgiving" based on reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the king in England, and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years in the mid-1600s, click here. Thanks Sheldon.
Lock, Stock and Two Lying Leaders
The most blaring example was the Jessica Lynch story. The timing of the revelation of her alleged rape, made-for-TV movie, and exclusive WABC-TV interview was questionable at best. The shock came when I actually tortured myself by watching the teledrama AND the interview.
As I watched the teledrama, I knew most of the real story from reports from the Pacifica Radio Network and other things I'd read. So, while each little lie was being told, I felt like I was watching a digital Nuremberg rally. I say that because the goals of those rallies were to indoctrinate the German masses around whatever the objectives of the state were. The Jessica ploy actually worked to indoctrinate tens of millions simultaneously, many more than could've ever fit in a stadium. From the "heroic" battle to the "evil" doctors who dropped her onto the table to the only people who treated her properly were Iraqi women to the Iraqi "gentleman" who called for the US to come to the rescue, ALL FALSE.
The amazing thing is that it would be Jessica, herself, that would correct the story that permeated the mainstream media for over 7 months. In her interview they showed the actual placement of the people in her transport vehicle, the fact of her gun jamming, she NEVER shot anyone, she was treated excellently by the entire hospital staff, she was almost killed when the Iraqi doctors tried to return her to the U.S. forces, and a few other corrections that don't come to mind right now.
It's stunning that the mainstream media investigation seemed to stop with stating that was Jessica upset that she was used as a device of the administration. Shouldn't the questions be; How did the story go from the truth all the way to the "Rambo" version served up by the administration and the mainstream press, who is responsible for the blatant distortion, and why did they have to lie?
If we don't ask these questions now, in a hundred years (if that's even
an option) the American public will have to answer for being sheep now.
He Had a Dream
Now with King safely dead, his message has been reduced to one merely of integration instead of the realization of promised justice. At 4am EST (9/01/03) the BBC had a roundtable discussion with Roy Innis from C.O.R.E. (Congress Of Racial Equality) and a Black Bishop from the UK to debate the modern relevance of the speech. This was flawed from the start. They just babbled on about how much Black's are seen more frequently in positions that were previously unattainable and how Blacks need to stop "being a victim" and take charge of their own destinies. Some of this is clearly true. We simultaneously can't ignore the multitude of current federal investigations in housing, job, judicial, and educational discrimination that remind us that we still have a long way to go. It's easy for them to forget the centuries old epidemic of state-sanctioned brutality against Blacks. Instead of telling Blacks to "take charge..." maybe it would be more culturally advantageous to tell the people in power and on top that "the Black jellybeans" are sick and tired of being glued to the bottom of the bowl. As long as the person who's on the other side of the desk maintains the opinion that Blacks are somehow less than worthy when you are going for a job, getting a mortgage, or getting an apartment, it has little relevance how Blacks feel about themselves. It's simple. When someone was picked on in school, did it matter what they thought of themselves? Did their newfound self-empowerment stop the bullies from harrassing or alienating them? NO! It made others more determined to break their spirit and castigate them more intensely. Keep dreaming...
The Way things Were
It seems that "shrub" Bush is very likely to experience the same fate of his father. Now that many of warnings which came from the protestors have been proven true by history, Bush's administration is scrambling to create a feasible defense for his policies or lack there of. Even people who once took Bush "on his word" are now rethinking their positions. The media that have seemingly refused to ask relevant questions or investigate many of the far flung statements that have come from the administration are now forced to ask pertinent questions. Military families and friends are no longer accepting the "...we're bringing democracy to Iraq (Afghanistan)" anymore. They want to know why their kids are in harms way, missing limbs, injured, mentally stressed to the breaking point, and being used as fodder for a president who's insensitive enough to say, "...bring it on" in the midst of increasing attacks against the occupations.
Bush has been arguing his case stating, "I've laid out the facts" in respect to justifying his hard-to-believe conflicting statements. But, no one who's taken the time to follow this issue (to the same extent that others follow the baseball season) can come to no other conclusion than the administration has something else in mind other than what's being stated.
Like "Ma" on the Golden Girls said, "I can't put my finger on it. But I know if I did I'd have to wash it". History is almost always the presenter of truth. I can wait...
The EPA and their lapse in truth telling
Here is a list of WTC toxins you should think about;
From Plastics (still looking
here for more info about the toxic truth of the WTC disaster
We've all been had.
Can justice be found here?
It seems that everyday there is either another story about police misconduct in the media and or I have to hear about something the police did on the train or while I'm walking home. ANYONE can see the police driving through red lights, when this is STRICTLY ILLEGAL. (Police MUST follow ALL laws of traffic unless they are in an emergency situation with their lights on. This DOES NOT include wanting to get through a light quicker and turning on their lights just to go through the light.)
Any of you that have heard our Operation: Impact educational CD Distribution series knows that there is a definite historically documented pattern of police being less than protectors of the public.
As always when discussing police misconduct...the caveat. I, for the most part, have a great relationship with police officers. I see them in the subways, usually, being helpful and maintaining a positive presence, which makes people comfortable and safe from harm, especially women.
That said, I also see police leering at women, laughing at people that don't resemble their version of "Joe and Jane American", speeding through dark narrow streets in specific neighborhoods (with no emergency lights on), busting kids in Brooklyn and Harlem for smoking pot on the street-but not those whom are smoking pot on the streets in Tribecca or on the Upper West Side, being busted for lying under oath with NO PUNISHMENT, and creating an "us and them" psychology that is antithetical to creating a relationship of respect between the public and the police.
Until the police stop the macho crap and begin acting, no, BEHAVING like they advertise, they will continue to be seen and treated like the enemy by those whom are not protected but affected by them. Since I am older and not stereotypically dangerous looking (meaning I don't wear a hoodee or sportsgear), they leave me alone, except for the giggles. But I see them continually exerting their dominance over those who THEY deem dangerous in inappropriate and psychologically soul crushing ways.
For instance, there were some teens that walked on the train and the police in the subway car made a point to let the teens know they were being watched. As soon as the police got off the train, the teens went ballistic, freaking out over the police's behavior. After they calmed down, they seemingly resumed their discussion about the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) issue. They had obviously been talking about this prior and were interrupted by an example of exactly what the U.S. government is doing with others, on a larger scale, around the world.
Some people are considered "evil doers" and treated as such, whether they are or not, by those who end up doing evil in the name of some demented version of "justice", which brings me to my larger point.
The U.S. government and the public by consent (forcefully taken or willingly given), are currently KILLING people everyday in the name of justice and freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government says the violence and negative attitudes of the Iraqi people is the result of "Deadenders" that are sympathetic to Saddam's defunct cause. A question. If someone killed your daughter, sister, mother, father, friend, or anyone close to you because they believed your family member or friend was an "evil doer"or connected to one, would you be able to embrace them? I think not.
Real University recently screened the documentary "Afghanistan- From Ground Zero to Ground Zero", which was created by DCTV (Downtown Community Television NYC). It is the story of an American-Afghani woman who went to Afghanistan to see what happened to her family after the 9-11 retaliation bombing. She found that 19 members of her family had been killed in Allied bombing raids, and she wanted to know why. Her family had NO terrorists in it, just people trying to escape the wrath of the U.S. and allied military.
I end with a bit of homework.
They can be the ones you don't like, but I doubt you'll be able to count that many family members that you wouldn't mind seeing blown to bits in horrible ways, where they have to sometimes watch the others die.
- You must also pick 7 family members under the age of 10, for realism purposes.
This test will drive home the reality of what our government is discounting as merely "Dead Enders" or disgruntled people who need to get with our program.
Every person who is killed in Iraq is guaranteed to leave behind someone that will NEVER forget them or forgive their senseless death. A portion of these people will inevitably attempt to avenge their loved ones death. This "avenger" will be called a "terrorist" by the U.S. media and the people at the funeral of someone who died in a bombing, gas attack, or a plane that flies into another poignant landmark.
We don't want to die in a bombing, shooting or whatever. And neither does ANYONE else. If you don't want people to kill you or someone you love because they believe our government is "evil", don't kill someone because you think their government is "evil", especially since we are now their government.
By the way, in closing, we installed and paid for the "evil doer" our military is now trying to hunt down. Just a reminder.
The Pentagon Gets a
Well apparently not to even some conservative members. I didn't hear what politicians were for it or against. When I find out, I'll let you know. If you discover the breakdown, let us know. But I must say, it's scary they could mask the fact of making a huge profit on fear and sometimes death, and spin it into looking out for the better good.
It was said that they scrapped the idea after it didn't receive the welcome they had expected. Hey, that's kind of like some other situations the world is currently enveloped in. Not many people in Afghanistan or Iraq flying the American flag as of yet huh...
Oh yeh! What's going on with the Anthrax story? Has anyone heard anything beyond the admission that it was created in the U.S. and not in an "evil doers" lab? What about Osama? Isn't he planning evil as we speak, or more accurately, type? They would've been just the things the pentagon needed for their terrorism economic forecast scheme.
Now I should state, for those who think I am just babbling liberal rhetoric, I want to believe that the people who have the power and responsibility of protecting us are honest, you could take them on their word and if they couldn't tell me the truth, they would not tell me anything. History has proven, to believe everything that comes from government spokespersons, of ANY government, is like believing Bugs Bunny is going to stop by my house because I saw the episode that said he was born and grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. (The cartoon episode: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn)
I want peace and stability. I want to have representatives and government agencies that honestly and faithfully represent me / us. (democrats or republicans) But after I read their own literature, I don't see either, as a party, following their self-imposed mandates. I can name persons within the parties that seem to speak for me once in a while, though they usually aren't powerful enough to do much more that make a racket on the House or Senate floor, which sometimes gathers the ever so fleeting attention of the U.S. pubilc.
As Penny Arcade said, "I want what they promised me in 4th grade social studies, nothing more".
I realize it's naïve to think people can be rich and powerful while maintaining their understanding, and more importantly, unwavering concern for "the average citizen", as most politicians repeatedly proclaim with a gleem of patriotism in their eyes.
So I ask you, in a "democracy" where the system
is alledged to be "open and fair", where does my naïveté
stop and their truthfulness start? If you can't give me an answer, maybe
you should figure out why not.
The Revolution Will be Webcasted...
The discussion was about reclaiming or realizing our collective strength as a way to remove the socially-imposed myth that people of color have no power and are mere spectators in their (our) own lives.
I had a great talk with someone on the train on the way home that had me pumped. Then I ran into someone I'd been trying to connect with for a while. It turned out that the person I ran into had recently met the people that I met from the event! We all promised to get in touch and I pointed them to check out our site, the one you're at now. :)-
So anyway, I decided to email all the people I met simultaneously so they could email each other. I feel it's important to facilitate communication between EVERYONE that has the slightest cohesion in motive or knowledge.
The key points the event made were great ;
You'll be hearing more about this...we'll make
sure of it.
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