Once we face the truth about our abysmal voter turnout, our oil addiction, our health-care and education crises, and our inadequate national savings, there is good news. There are answers to all our current problems. It's not rocket science. What's required is the political will to enact policies that can allow us to thrive in the 21st century. An administration bold enough to tell the truth will find an audience ready for bold solutions.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Once we face the truth about our abysmal voter turnout, our oil addiction, our health-care and education crises, and our inadequate national savings, there is good news. There are answers to all our current problems. It's not rocket science. What's required is the political will to enact policies that can allow us to thrive in the 21st century. An administration bold enough to tell the truth will find an audience ready for bold solutions.
While a weight has been lifted from my soul, I am not yet ready to put this down. It shouldn't be over yet. You see this judge and the prosecutor and pretty much everyone else who had anything to do with this travesty of justice, they all had the nerve to come out publicly and say that this was all about paying your debt to society for doing wrong. Isn't what they did to Shaquanda wrong? Did they not come out in public and state that the only reason they put her in jail was because her mother refused in open court to agree to properly care for her? Do you realize that that has been proven to be an outright bald-faced LIE. Since when is it o.k. for the people responsible for administering justice to lie about how they are doing it? If this is the biggest problem that can be found with the conduct of this case it is still grounds for disbarment. Where there is this much smoke, I think the lies they told to try to cover their tracks are only the tip of the iceberg.
Oh everybody is running for cover now, admitting she probably didn't belong in jail in the first place, or at least admitting the time she spent there was excessive. Like saying, "oh I may have messed up a little bit" should take care of everything. This child tried to harm herself while in jail, which while by no means an uncommon phenomena, is clearly indicative that she has been terribly scarred by this tragedy in her life.
I called on you attorneys in Texas to help get her out. You weren't needed after all, even though I'm sure any number of you were on your way down there. But there is still a need to pursue all legal avenues to get some financial redress to assist with restoring this child.
This time I appeal not only to your sense of rightness but also to your sense of greed. There's money to be made and you're welcome to your cut. I can easily see a jury coming back with 7 digits. and that's on this case alone. Remember that iceberg I mentioned earlier? Well much like the Rampart division police scandal in California, (and hopefully a similar police scandal in Atlanta involving a dead senior citizen and fraudulent search warrants) there are most likely a long string of fuck-ups trailing behind this judge and prosecutor. More travesty's of justice lying hidden just beneath the surface, waiting to be brought to the light and invited to participate in a class-action lawsuit.
I'm serious now, somebody needs to jump all over this. And keep it public too, so the A.D.D. segment of the population (you know who you are) can remember to keep up the pressure on this end.
VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE:
(HUGE H/T to my man Shawn over at Dallas South Blog)
Shawn you must have sent me this info to get me riled up. If so, you know me so well. Allan Hubbard and the entire D.A. office must be crazy. Here is his statement on hearing of Shaquanda's impending release.
“We are glad she is getting out and are happy for her family but we have concerns about the way it is happening,” Lamar County District Attorney spokesman Allan Hubbard said... Apparently, cases that get the most public attention can grab the ear of state legislators who can simply order people to be freed from incarceration,” Hubbard said. “That sets an alarming precedent.”
This MF must be on some new kind of crack. How dare he complain about alarming precedents? The alarming precedent here is that any Black person that rocks the white folks boat in your jurisdiction will be persecuted by the heavy hand of the Criminal Injustice System. The dangerous precedent here is that little Black girls can and will be taken from their families and thrown into the prison industrial complex for no reason. Oh you are very correct that there is something alarming going on down there.
I can just imagine Mr. Hubbard and his associates sitting around lamenting the alarming precedent the Supreme Court set in Brown v. Board of Education and other landmark precedent setting decisions aimed at righting the obvious injustice being perpetrated BY the government on the Black citizens of this country.
Again I reiterate, in the most strenuous fashion, THIS SHOULD NOT BE OVER FOR US JUST YET. There is still some work to be done.
Friday, March 30, 2007
(Reprinted in its entirety, and I sincerely hope this is not another inadvertent violation of blogger etiquette. Black Prof published the essay on March 28, 2007, and I simply could not figure out a way to link directly to it.)
The Case Against Black Leadership
by Spencer Overton
We talk a lot about the need for a great Black leader. Why are there no more leaders like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King? Is Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton the Black “leader” of today? Will the NAACP find a new leader who will revamp the organization and deploy it to lead Black America to freedom?
But a Black "leader" may be the last thing we need.
I just read The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. The premise of the book is that there are limitations to centralized, coercive, hierarchical organizations headed by a single leader. Decentralized, open groups are often more effective. The title contrasts a spider (chop off its head and it dies) with a starfish (chop it up and it multiplies into several starfish).
Most would think that a lack of hierarchy would bring chaos and disorder. But looks can be deceiving.
For example, the centralized Spanish quickly defeated the centralized Aztecs and Incas, but could not defeat the decentralized Apache for over 200 years. Other examples of significant decentralized groups include Alcoholic Anonymous, Wikipedia, Al Qaeda, Craigslist, and filesharing (when attacked by the record labels, Napster was replaced by the even more decentralized Kazaa, Kazaa Lite, and eMule).
The problems with a centralized organization include: a) rigidity; b) it dies if you cut off its head; c) the whole organization is harmed if you take out a specialized unit; d) units are funded by the organization; and e) working groups communicate through intermediaries.
The advantages of a decentralized group include: a) flexibility; b) the organization survives if you take out a unit (in fact, when attacked the decentralized organization becomes even more open and decentralized); c) knowledge and power are distributed; d) units are self funding; and e) units close to the action have immediate information and communicate with each other directly.
Certainly, a loose group of individual “leaders” play a role in decentralized organizations. But they have little power themselves—there is no command-and-control. Instead, they are catalysts who inspire others to act through their example. Geronimo is an example of a famous Apache catalyst.
The “catalysts” are different than a traditional CEO. As Brafman and Beckstrom explain:
A CEO is The Boss. He's in charge, and he occupies the top of the hierarchy. A catalyst interacts with people as a peer. He comes across as your friend. Because CEOs are at the top of the pyramid, they lead by command-and-control. Catalysts, on the other hand, depend on trust. CEOs must be rational; their job is to create shareholder value. Catalysts depend on emotional intelligence; their job is to create personal relationships. CEOs are powerful and directive; they're at the helm. Catalysts are inspirational and collaborative; they talk about ideology and urge people to work together to make the ideology a reality. Having power puts CEOs in the limelight. Catalysts avoid attention and tend to work behind the scenes. CEOs create order and structure; catalysts thrive on ambiguity and apparent chaos (because decentralized organizations are so fluid). A CEOs job is to maximize profit. A catalyst is usually mission oriented.
While no one person enforces conventional “rules” in the decentralized group, power is instead distributed among various people, and shared norms bind the group together (which are often flexible and evolving).
The authors offer several ways of defeating a decentralized group, including: 1) shifting or changing the decentralized group’s ideology (the decentralized group is fueled by its ideology); and 2) centralizing the decentralized group by giving the “catalysts” property or political authority to allocate among their group so that they no longer lead by example but by command-and-control, which breeds infighting, hierarchy, resentment (according to the authors, the U.S. government giving cattle to the Apache eventually led to the conquering of the group).
In earlier times, people generally built decentralized movements on top of the rare pre-existing decentralized platforms that were open to the ideology—platforms like the Quakers to fight slavery, or the Black church to fight Jim Crow. The Internet has significant implications because it makes communication easier and allows individuals to build their own platform for a decentralized movement.
Perhaps we don’t need a great Black leader who professes to have all or most of the answers.
Perhaps we don’t need self proclaimed “Black police” to ascertain Black authenticity based on cadence or percentage of slave lineage.
Instead, maybe we need several catalysts--acting on their own accord without the need to climb atop a pyramid--to lead by example. Rather than a centralized NAACP with a leader, perhaps we should follow the lead of Wikipedia or Craigslist and create an online community that connects people to one another, and allows volunteers to focus on the special niche that interests them.
Perhaps we need to celebrate our leaderlessness, and figure out how to make the most of it.
What if white people stopped obsessing over whether or not we are “racist" or defending ourselves so vigorously lest someone confuse us for a real racist. What if we were to just accept that yes, indeed, we are probably racist and that there is a better than average chance that we have internalized racist notions of superiority and and entitlement and that only to the degree that we commit to “recovering” from being racist - through our actions - can we ever hope to become less racist?
It's a two part essay from Black Commentator
Let's Just Get Over It - Being Racist That Is... Part One - Beneath the Spin by Molly Secours
Let's Just Get Over It - Being Racist That Is... Part Two - Diagnosing Whiteness - Beneath the Spin by Molly Secours
A tree fell in the forest and I wasn't there, so for me it didn't make a sound. But when I went to look later there was a tree down, and a lot of smaller trees got smushed. Evidently there was a great blogroll purge and it caused quite an uproar. There have been consequences and repercussions. I understand there may be some discrepancies about money involved.
I freely admit I would not understand any of this if it were not for Terrence and his Republic. Thank you very much.
Furthermore, I sincerely apologize to anyone who feels slighted because I did not reciprocate a link, or notice your traffic, or made a mistake and deleted your comment when I was trying to moderate, or violated any other written or unwritten rule of blogging etiquette. (The only reason I even turned on comment moderation is so I would know if anyone had left a comment.) I am also willing to accept any assistance that is offered regarding my woeful lack of technical knowledge concerning this wonderfully complex and developing medium of blogging. Perhaps we cam work out an exchange of information. I know some things a lot of other people don't know.
1. It's obvious that once again the Bush administration has been involved in illegal activity, specifically obstruction of justice, in the "AttorneyGate" Scandal. It's equally obvious they are going to get away with it yet again. There's actually nothing wrong with our system of government, but the people who are running the system are all messed up.
UPDATE: I would say more but this article from the Black Commentator hits most of the hig points.
2. The U.S. military evidently needs more Brown targets. Them Iraqis won't stand around and get slaughtered like the brown people used to back in the good old days. It's getting to hard to find them, until they pop up and car bomb something. There has got to be some more Brown folks somewhere who will stand up and fight in the open, so we can really bomb the heck out of them. You can pretty much bet on an announcement that we are bombing Tehran, or some other strategic target in the sovereign state of Iran in the very near future. The U.S. Government (aka White folks in charge) is single handedly the largest purveyor of death and destruction worldwide in the last 50 years. You simply cannot conduct modern warfare in urban settings without significant destruction of the civilian population and infrastructure. You may as well go ahead and publicly declare that schools and hospitals and daycare centers are all fair game, because some of these targets will be hit, intentionally or collaterally won't make that much of a difference to the dead. All in the name of bringing democracy to the Brown folks. We won't survive too much more of this kind of help.
3. Who really gives a damn whether Hillary or Obama wins the 2008 Presidential election? Most of the people who would claim to be happy about the first Black president, would express equal happiness about the first Woman president. (White women's rights outpaced Black peoples rights as the cause de jour a long time ago. With the permission and complicity of the self proclaimed HNIC's I might add.) No matter who wins, neither of them has demonstrated to me that the will do anything other than go along to get along. The same old rhetoric, the same old results. I know Obama could never get elected if he came out and denounced the U.S. century old imperialist attitude towards the entire melanated population of the world. If he stood up and said point blank, this country is wrong for trying to install democracy or freedom or Christianity or any other supposedly good thing, at gunpoint on any other group of people, his political career would be over in a flash. But he would have my respect. Until somebody shows me that they value my respect more than their political career, I formally denounce all presidential candidates of both major parties as nothing more than front men (and woman) for the firmly entrenched corporate power brokers who virtually control this country.
4. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that observable weather patterns are changing dramatically world-wide, and that human encroachment is a blight on the natural world. The question of environmentalism, especially global warming, is simply this. Why not do things in the least destructive way possible? The answer is capitalism, doing things the the most profitable way possible. Those two things are mutually exclusive; they cannot exist on the same platform; one of them has to go. Guess which one it's going to be if corporate America has anything to say about it. There are far too many people who would never give up their profit motivation and subsequent privilege based on a theory that says what they are doing today may cause irreparable damage 100-200 years from now. They really could care less, because they won't be here. Look forward to this issue accelerating over the next 10-20 years, into what may actually be the turning point for the history of the human species on this planet. I think we are going to come to a point where we must radically evolve to fit into this world or we will necessarily go the way of the dinosaur.
5. Over in Africa, people continue to kill and die, all in the name of, what??? I'm actually not quite sure. They can't possibly be fighting for control or power, because it should be quite obvious that the control will be exercised by the world's only SuperPower, the good old USofA. I see what's going on in Africa, and I can't help but think that you can trace all of the problems in Africa directly back to the imperialism and colonialism inflicted on the continent by white Europeans and Americans. Some of you may think that I am giving a pass to the Black Africans who are actually perpetrating most of the current death and destruction. I wish we as Black people were more able to shrug off the effects of white supremacy instead of being fatally infected by it. But that just isn't the case. White supremacy and the worldview it has spawned is such an overwhelming and pervasive phenomena. Just like a cancer that ravages an individual must be attacked and cured at it's source, it does no good to simply address the symptomatic outbreaks that characterize the disease of white supremacy.
That's all we have time for today. I think that covers most of today's issues. Feel free to correct me if you think I missed something.
Francis L. Holland weighs in with a comment on the Presidential election perspective put forward by the Exodus Mentality. Now I could have responded in the comments box, but since this is an elucidation of the position I took earlier, I wanted it out here in the open. If you read this before you see the comment from Francis, it may not make as much sense to you as it did to me when I wrote it.
Why Francis, it just so happens that I am presented with a very similar argument whenever I offer my views about our continued participation in the U.S. electoral system. I respond to your specific points thusly:
Not one of the "condidates" is going to get a universal health care policy in place. They may give it some lip service. They will definitely try to convince us to be patient and eventually it will happen. The problem with this rationalization is that we are all adults, supposedly logical and reasonable people. If everyone agrees that it needs to be done, why doesn't it get done? Because the demon of capitalism demands its sacrifice to the god of profit. I can no longer accept the excuse that that's just the way it is or the system isn't perfect but it will work eventually. If the goddamn increments get any smaller we will be moving backwards.
You would think by the year 2007 there would have been enough examples of positive Black people for our "image" to no longer need rehabilitation or propping up. I could care less how others choose to view Black people. The ones worth thinking about know the truth and the others are never going to accept that truth. The predominant image that I personally have of the Black collective is that we are too quick to accept the scraps from their table and call it progress.
Remember when Kenneth Eng said Blacks are weak willed, easy to coerce, and that Blacks just don't get it? I heard all the outrage and you will note that I did not join in the chorus. As much as I don't need to hear it from that particular source, I find it extremely hard to disagree with his observations. As long as we continue like lemmings to participate in something that is so obviously never going to even attempt to supply our needs, much less our wants, we will never get around a serious discussion of how we can develop and implement the substantive changes that we are going to have to provide for ourselves. We can do it without them, the only problem is not enough of us believe that.
The majority of the people in this world subscribe to some spiritual view that postulates a utopia in the "afterlife". Anyone who questions that desire for utopia is considered a deviant. I personally don't subscribe to any Utopian notions. It would be nice, but I'm too pragmatic for that particular perspective. But I do subscribe to reaching for the highest stars, never settling for less than my personal best, demanding the best from the world, and accepting nothing less. Whether or not that happens to get me to a Utopian condition, I won't complain.
I highly recommend we adhere to a philosophy more in line with the words of wisdom relayed to us by our good friend the Field Negro, from the Evolutionary Brother Malcolm X. To wit:
"When you have a philosophy or a gospel--I don't care whether it's a religious gospel, a political gospel, an economic gospel or a social gospel--if it's not going to do something for you and me right here and right now--to hell with that gospel! In the past, most of the religious gospels that you and I have heard have benefited only those who preach it. Most of the political gospels that you and I have heard have benefited only the politicians. The social gospels have benefited only the sociologists. You and I need something right now that's going to benefit all of us. That's going to change the community in which we live, not try to take us somewhere else. If we can't live here, we never will live somewhere else." ~Malcolm X~
Of special interest:
Adventures of the Coconut Caucus. Only had a chance to read one post so far, but this will be my new home for all insight Latino.
I love his tag line, "We Put the PANIC, in Hispanic"
Yolanda Carrington, over at The Primary Contradiction is my new voice of radical feminism. She understand how I, a humble self effacing Black Man, can be both a misogynist and a white supremacist, and she won't hold it against me as long as I'm working to change.
Real quick. See if you get where she is coming from. I must admit, I needed some clarification, which she helpfully provides in the comments.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Please go and listen to this interview. I'm going out on a limb here and I'm going to state unequivocally that one of these two interviewees is credible and the other is full of $#it. I'll leave it to you to decide which is which. If you decide wrong, then you too will earn the title, full of $#it.
It really is that clear cut. One of these two people answers each and every question fully and completely and offers credible evidence to back up every assertion. One of them stammers and babbles and offers innuendo, irrelevance, and tired cliche to support their position. I don't want to give away too much, but anyone who listens to this interview and still believes that this mother was not all about her child is utterly delusional.
See some of you still don't realize how truly crucial this is. Let me break it down for you.
For the state to even insinuate that she was not capable of properly caring for her daughter is not only vicious slander, it also sets a very dangerous precedent. I don't agree with a lot of things that the government mandates, and as you probably know by now, I tend to be outspoken and unapologetic in expressing my disagreement. That makes me a very real target for anyone in authority who wants to attack me through my children, by saying that I am unfit to care for them. They get to define it and they get to take your kids away when you fit their definition.
You really want a war? Go after my children. I guarantee you there will be a discrepancy, some consequences, and some repercussions.
Damn, every time something new comes out, my soul burns hotter for this poor child, and it was white hot already. I sincerely hope that they do not think that throwing a little disinformation out in an attempt to discredit and demonize Shaquanda and her mother and distract the focus of our rage will result in our giving up and moving on to the next subject. I was dead serious when I said this travesty of justice will not stand.
I'm making a public appeal to any attorneys who can practice in Texas to go and offer whatever assistance you can to my daughter Shaquanda. I will take it as a personal favor, and will be forever in your debt.
Rather like it was in the Godfather, that's no small thing.
I know y'all think I am making this stuff up. Well, go see it in Judge Superville's own words.
I got that from the same place that I got this Top Ten Misperceptions and Miscalculations relating to the Paris Texas Story. A blogger, a Black Man, from Paris, TX, who writes the Dallas South Blog, by the name of Shawn P. Williams.
Now I'm usually a calm individual, by Shawn done bout got me riled up. Maybe I'm being a bit to sensitive, but it seems like this brother is in effect calling us "outside agitators", and insinuating that we have jumped to some erroneous and fallacious conclusions based on a misreading, misinterpretation, or complete lack of knowledge of the facts surrounding this case.
I am going to meditate on this before I continue. I want to make sure that I don't say anything that I don't really mean. I would also like it very much if any of you who read this would please go look at what Shawn Williams wrote and give me some feedback on it. Maybe I just need another perspective on this thing.
I'll get back to you after my meeting.
VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE:
This is yet another example of why the blog community is so very important. In almost any other forum or circumstance we would go on misunderstanding each other forever, and never get an opportunity to engage in the reasoned discourse that will always allow us to proceed towards the positive resolution that is always there if we just look for it. Well not in the Blackosphere!
Shawn responded (please see his comment) in a most satisfactory and civil manner. He has earned my respect and I wanted to make sure that everyone knows it. Not that I necessarily agree with everything he said, but I do respect the man. I took his effort to be as clear and accurate as possible, as more than that, and I stand corrected. As I reflect on it, I also probably looked at some of the comments to his blogs and held him accountable for some of the ignorance I saw there. I don't censure my commenters and I don't think anyone else should either. I do however hold them personally responsible for their comments, and I don't let anyone get away with any nonsense without setting them straight. I tend to hold everyone to my standards, but I probably shouldn't hold it against them if they don't live up to standards they never knew existed.
For the record, I do agree that there are a lot of people who jump on this cause or that cause for the publicity it will bring them. I do understand that there were people who conducted themselves in a less than positive manner, even while they were attempting to do something positive. I have been guilty of saying and doing things in the heat of a moment, so I am an authority on this one. That doesn't excuse bad behavior, and Shawn is right to call them out for it. Shawn, sometimes you have to call a MF a MF, but you should be respectful and try not to do it in front of the kids.
Further, I personally do not use the term"sellout" lightly. I recognize that principled people can disagree on the proper course of action. You have to go much further than disagreeing with me to earn the appellation of "Sellout". One way you can earn that appellation is to persist in illogical and unreasonable thought processes that are contrary to good sense and self preservation. A lot of good people do "go along to get along". I understand that mentality in this world where you really do have to look out for yourself. But there comes a time, when you either recognize that going along isn't going to help you get along, and in fact may be putting you and yours in a worse position, or you actually do sell out.
I make no judgement here about any individual or organization in Paris, TX. I don't know those people and I don't know what they stand for. But at the same time, I will be hard on Paris, TX or Forsyth County, GA or any other place where patent and obvious injustice is allowed to persist. If you won't stand up for justice, then don't get in my way when I do, and please believe that if you are not part of the solution you are indeed part of the problem. If you are like me, and apparently in this Shawn is, and you have some pride in where you are from, you want your place to not only be seen in the best light, but also to actually conduct itself in a fashion that I can be proud of.
As for the rest of it, there are obviously two sides to every story. I do not accept that anyone involved with this issue (other than Shaquanda's Defense team) has a right or a responsibility to keep any information privileged. We must have an open and transparent justice system so that while justice may be blind she should not be blinded. Secrecy in this case is detrimental to the administration of justice, as it can only give the impression that there are people who do not want the whole truth to come out because that truth does not put them in a good light.
When I first heard about Shaquanda's case, a year after it happened, the first thing that came to my mind was that this seemed excessive. The more I have found out about this case, the more that initial feeling has been reinforced. I am not a neophyte to the criminal justice system. I know how things work. I don't accept most of the rationalizations and explanations that are being offered by the authorities in TX. The fact that the original sentence was 1 year rather than 7 is not really germane to the issue. In fact, making that distinction sends a signal that it wasn't really that much time so it's not really that big a deal. That could not be further from the truth. She never should have been placed in jail for the misbehavior no matter which version of the story you choose to believe, I would speculate that she probably should not have even been charged with an offense that is usually reserved for people who fight the police. The tendency to throw the whole book at people of color is a big part of the overall systemic problem.
I take offense with anyone who would be so ignorant as to utter a statement like she is better off in a juvenile corrections facility or for that matter under any form of state supervision. That position could only be held by someone woefully ignorant of the state of affairs in the corrections and juvenile services systems or someone who suffers from the patently false paternalistic mindset that the dominant society has displayed towards people of color since the first white man decided to bring religion to the "heathens". Either way, you get no love from me. If the state is so good at taking care of children, give them yours. Black folks have seen more than enough to know how we end up when white folks are taking care of us. Thanks but NO THANKS.
Finally, people do so like to tell us that we are too race conscious. They tell us that everything is not always about race. They point to generally amicable public race relations as conclusive proof that race is no longer an issue in any respect. They accuse us of ignoring the"facts" and relying on the race card. In this case, some people are saying that there is a bigger backstory here about a child who was not raised right, and whose mother is incapable and unwilling to care for her. All of that is just a distraction from the real issue.
This is simply as outrageous as it sounds. Say it yourself or better still say it to someone who has not yet heard about the case. Make sure you talk to someone who give a damn about the world they live in; an apathetic test case will show you nothing but apathy. Don't even bother to mention her race, just ask them if they heard about the 14 year-old girl who has been in jail for a year, and may be there for as many as 7 years, because she pushed a teacher. I guarantee that you will get some response similar to this. They will first look astonished, in fact they may not even believe you. Then they will ask you what else she did, or was the teacher seriously injured, or some other background info that offers more justification than is currently apparent. Of course you know there is nothing more there to tell. Finally, they will say something to the effect of "that seems a bit harsh". That's actually the mildest reaction I got, and that from a pretty apathetic individual.
It's outrageous on it's face. It becomes even more outrageous for me because she is Black, and because there is recent history already tinged with racial unrest, on top of the not so distant history of blatant racial antipathy and antagonism. The first thing the TX authorities say to justify this mess is that she was a problem child, while offering no substantive proof of that whatsoever, and that her mother was basically unfit, even though this same woman is concerned and involved enough in her child's life to play a role in having the school system investigated by Federal authorities for allegations of unfair racial bias in the treatment of black students? Those are some facts i need to see really quickly or there will be no peace.
It's OUTRAGEOUS. I wold never let this happen to my daughter, and it must now for Shaquanda.
I said it over there and I will say it over here too. I owe the Field for keeping me motivated to do this blog thing. It isn't an easy thing to feel as strongly as we do about the way the world is, and to know that most folks don't feel the same way, or don't seem to care one way or the other.
And to top it off the Field gives a shout out to the most humble ExodusMentality. I am not worthy.
The link above is from today's Washington Post. The article, like most of the recent information about Shaquanda, is the result of pressure put on the Texas officials by bloggers in the Blackosphere. There are a number of "new" revelations about the case. This article needs to be looked at because there are some disturbing connotations.
Civil rights activists are rallying around a 15-year-old black girl who has been in a high-security juvenile detention center for a year for shoving a hall monitor at her school and whose sentence was just extended for what authorities call possession of contraband: an extra pair of socks and a plastic foam cup.
Apparently, Shaquanda's original sentence was "only" one year. This is still a ridiculous sentence, to imprison a child because of a shove. But the allegation that she is actually still in the corrections facility because the facility officials decided to extend her sentence is sickening. The prison industrial system has made it more profitable to keep our young people in jail than it is to try to help them become productive members of society.
a spokesman for the Lamar County district attorney's office addressed questions.
"This girl was adjudicated delinquent by a jury . . . on assault of a public servant," Allan Hubbard said about Shaquanda. "She pushed the teacher down, and anyone who does that will continue to be prosecuted to the level of the law that is allowed under the Texas Family Code. It doesn't matter what color they are."
I wonder what level the law allows you to be prosecuted to if you, oh I don't know, intentionally and feloniously burns down a residential dwelling, imperiling the safety of the inhabitants and the neighboring structures as well as the public servants from the fire department who had to risk their lives to put the fire out. Oops, that's right, in Paris Texas that will get you a year of probation. Presumably, whether or not you are White.
Also, I have been around the criminal justice system for a long time, and very very very rarely are juvenile cases in Family Courts presented before a jury. Juvenile Court Judges usually are the only fact finders involved in that process. I wonder if/why Shaquanda's case was handled differently.
Allan Hubbard (the Texas official detailed to comment of this case) said that Shaquanda was offered two years' probation if she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault, a plea deal that Creola Cotton refused because her daughter, who has no previous criminal history, said she did not shove or push the teacher's aide. Hubbard said that after a jury trial on the felony charge of assault on a public servant, the judge sentenced Shaquanda to a minimum of a year in a youth facility because the mother would not cooperate in establishing home-supervised probation.
This is patent bullshit on several levels.
First, on far too many occasions the criminal justice system railroads Black people into accepting a guilty plea which will include a permanent criminal record and all the problems in life that will cause. Why do people plead guilty if they aren't really guilty? Because the courts and the prosecutors basically use extortion tactics, take the "light" deal we are offering or when you go to court we will convict you and put you away forever. And for those that dare to try to have their day in court, the results are usually disastrous. Check out the Genarlow Wilson case in GA, where he was the only one out of several young boys charged, who decided to fight being labeled a child molester for the rest of his life, and even though the facts of the case clearly show that he is not a child molester, he was sentenced to the maximum allowed prison term. the other boys, who decided not to risk their freedom, even though they were not guilty of anything, were have no recourse now to ever challenge the record that they committed sexual crimes against a child. On a more personal note, I have a cousin who, at age 18, was told to take a ten year sentence or risk significantly more time if he asked for a trial. His dumb-ass public defender recommended that he take the deal because the police had already coerced the co-defendants into implicating my cousin. The co-defendants recanted their testimony against my cousin almost immediately, but since he pled guilty, he has little chance of any judicial remedy and will be locked up for the next 8 years. The system is rigged this way, because prosecutors and courts don't have time to actually had to stand in front of a jury and prove each case, the court system would be completely bogged down, they would probably lose many more cases, and there would be much more public scrutiny of illegal police practices that lead to many arrests (assuming of course that the poor defendants could get reasonable representation to raise those types of issues, which is rarely the case.)
Second, they can't actually expect us to believe that this Shaquanda's mother, who visits her child faithfully in jail and has worked constantly since this whole sordid affair played out to get some justice for her child, WOULD NOT COOPERATE with a diversion plan that would have kept her daughter out of jail!!!!!!!! This is how the disinformation campaign plays out. Any reasonable person would have a serious problem with the facts of this case, so the Post reporter has to sprinkle a little salt of the story to flavor it a bit more in favor of the Texas criminal justice system. They really didn't want to put her in jail but they had no choice, now basically accusing the mother of being unfit, and incapable of raising her child.
Some folks who may have started following this case will read the Post article and begin to vacillate and rationalize. They will look at some of the supposed facts presented by this article and think to themselves, well maybe things aren't as bad as they first seemed down there in Texas. This is why I say we can't sit back and rest now that the story has reached the mainstream media to some extent. We must not assume that the facts will carry the day for us. There will be more attempts to color this case in every imaginable way to discredit and assasinate the character of Shaquanda, her mother, and anyone else who challenges this travesty of justice.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Unraveling of Another U.S. Race War: Iraq, Four Years Later
by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford
by Mary Beth Sullivan
In the words of the great economist and engineer Seymour Melman, we live in a “permanent war economy.” Since the end of World War II, the federal government has spent more than half its tax dollars on past, current and future military operations. It is the largest single sustaining activity of the government. Melman pointed out 25 years ago that, at the time, the Pentagon was paying for 37,000 industrial firms, which oversaw over 100,000 subcontractors. Then and now, Pentagon contracts come with 1) guaranteed profits (because the products are typically sold before they are produced); 2) institutionalized cost-escalation (cost overruns are business-as-usual); and 3) products that are neither goods nor services the citizenry produces and consumes. Balance sheet calculations are not relevant to weapons manufacturers and military corporations. The Pentagon is not playing by the economic rules of producing goods, selling them for a profit, then using the profit for further investment and production. The managers at the Pentagon know their financial capital – American’s taxes – is a cash cow waiting to be milked.
I personally know too many people who are struggling every day to feed, clothe and shelter their families. For this government to waste and steal billions of dollars in a futile effort to protect us from non-existent enemies is contemptible and obscene. This is why I have no confidence in the government or our elected officials. Everybody is too busy looking out for number one to realize that the world is heading for a whole lot of "number two".
So the next time some smooth talking politico tries to win your allegiance with promises of community redevelopment and improvements to the education system, ask them what they plan to do about the obscene waste of tax dollars that would be better used to benefit the people of this country. I bet they have no answer for you at all.
When I tell most (Black) people I have a blog, they usually look confused and ask why. For a long time, I didn't have much of an answer, other than it satisfied a need I have to express myself.
As I have gotten more involved with my blog and the blogosphere as a whole, I began to glimpse that immense potential in this developing community. I also began to notice that there was a distinct lack of substantial Black participation in the major doings on the Blogosphere. Francis L. Holland came to my attention a little while ago when there was a dispute over his ejection from the Daily Kos blogging community.
I did not know this brother at that time, but he opened up to those of us who read his blog, and now I feel like I know him a bit better. He basically sparked the entire debate about the the structure of the Blogosphere and the existence of the Blackosphere. His ongoing and updated analysis of the current situation, as expressed by the graphic above, is very relevant and well worth the read. And I'm not just saying that because he has flattered the ExodusMentality by including me in his Blackosphere blogroll. I am not worthy.
For those of you who are relatively new viewers or members of the blogging community, it's well worth the read. If I were a better blogger, I would link you back to the opinions I've already expressed on this subject. As it is, I just barely get this stuff typed in properly, so you will just have to look back through my archives if you care to examine the ExodusMentality on this issue.
Outstanding. And not yet enough. My daughter Shaquanda is still incarcerated. Let's not let this first whiff of progress deter us from ever more forceful action to correct this travesty of justice. We must remain mindful that Shaquanda has been in jail (I will not play with the euphemism of "juvenile correction facility" because the kiddie jails today are just as bad if not worse in some respects, than the adult penal institutions) for about a year already. She has been scarred and scared, and her life has been derailed.
It will not be enough until she is released, and restored to the best extent possible. And we need not stop there.
There is a young brother named Genarlow Wilson, who has languished in a Georgia prison for over 2 years, for an offense that the state legislature has determined should never have been considered a felony. In fact consensual sex between two people less than two years apart in age should not be a crime in any respect. But here again, another cracker prosecutor decided he could make an example out of one of those young Black thugs and get away with it. Hell, he has gotten away with it for over two years, and it is maddeningly ridiculous. Another young black man was recently released after a case with similar facts initially sent him to jail for a consensual sex act. Public outcry in that case made the difference (his case even made it to Oprah!)
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. EVERY TIME SOME INBRED MENTAL MIDGET IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM TRIES TO TAKE US BACK TO THE JIM CROW DAYS WE MUST FIGHT, RAIL, AND RAGE AGAINST THE TYRANNY THAT IS NOT JUST THE LEGACY OF OUR PAST IN AMERICA. PRISONS ARE FAST BECOMING THE NEW PLANTATION, AND THE TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY ARE BLACK AND BROWN BOYS AND GIRLS, MEN AND WOMEN. I SAY NO MORE. IT ENDS NOW.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Early 2006 a stranger walks up to my wife and gives her a copy of the DVD Loose Change 911. Later that night we pop it in figuring it will put us to sleep. Much later that night we were still talking about it. Then we watched it again. Then we took notes while we watched it. Then we did Internet research to try to substantiate it, while we watched it of course. Then we copied it and gave it to everyone we could think of. Then we arranged several public viewings. At various points in this process we were outraged, amazed, disgusted, profane. You name it.
Then we realized that the brainwashing is much deeper than we ever suspected. I never believed that what we were told about 9/11 was even close to the truth. I am firmly convinced that although we may never know the truth, we can at least be sure that what the government is telling us is a lie.
But there are too many people out there who are willing to go along so they can get along. As if the pissy life they live is so worth protecting that to even begin to question their existence in these United States would jeopardize the little they have accomplished. There are too many people who feel like as long as we can't prove what the government did, then we should shut up about it.
But the truth is out there. There are people who know too much, and one day soon, one of them is going to crack, and escape their handlers, and talk to somebody with a camera and Internet access.
I am often accused of indulging in articulate, but otherwise ineffective ranting and raving. This charge is typically leveled at me when, after having been utterly crushed by my most erudite analysis of the issue at hand, my accuser demands of me "The Solution".
I always decline to get into that part of the conversation, simply because I rarely find people who are ready to hear the solution. They have yet to come to grips with "The Problem". One thing I learned long ago, there is almost no way to comprehend the solution if you don't understand the problem.
Free Slave just turned me on to a lady who appears to have a good grasp of the problem and is willing to propose some solutions.
Published on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
“Let’s Put on a Show!”Spectacle versus Reality in the US Peace Movement
by Pattrice Jones
Today, consumer culture extends to extremes beyond the most most jaded and surrealistic dreams of the political theorists of earlier eras. Only fictional nightmares such as Karel Capek’s War with the Newts, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or George Orwell’s 1984 approximate the sinister absurdity of the sociopolitical atmosphere in which we now must find ways to effectively create change...
When we start from the premise that we can’t make a difference, is it any wonder that we don’t? When we choose tactics that are spectacular rather than substantial, should we be surprised when we are simply incorporated into the show? Is it true that the best we can hope for is superficial media coverage of the mere fact that some people disagree with the policies of the Bush regime? Might we dare to dream more extravagantly? Dare we risk disappointment by trying to actually stop the crimes that Bush is perpetrating in our name, rather than simply signal our disapproval of them? What might we do to really make a difference?
Now substitute any serious social, political, cultural, economic, or world problem in place of the the Bush issue. The quote still works.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Not many people will openly call the current administration a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, but they should. This group of people acts exactly like the Mafia of legend, using threats, intimidation, strong-arm tactics, and generally abusing the letter and spirit of the law wherever possible.
I mention this in the context of the current (that is to say, most recent) revelation of scandalous behavior on the part of the Executive Branch. when I first heard the story about the fired U.S. Attorneys, I wasn't really moved. So Bush fired some of his own people, big deal. As I kept surfing, the information steadily began to look much more sinister than that. Then The Bushites and their loyal following stepped up the talking points war, and all I heard was "serves at the pleasure of the President", "reasonable and generous offer to have White House staff speak (but not testify) before Congress", etc, etc.
By that time I knew something was wrong, but I still wasn't quite sure what it was. Now I know, and you should too. it's not about firing a few people who weren't doing the job you wanted them to do, it was about chopping the head off of a number of pesky prosecutors in an attempt to save political and/or business allies of the Bush administration and the Republican party from ongoing criminal investigations and upcoming prosecutions.
According to the New York Times, It Wasn’t Just a Bad Idea. It May Have Been Against the Law. By the time the mainstream media gets around to suggesting that a Republican broke a law, believe me there is already enough evidence to put them under the jail.
Too bad it will never happen, as too many politicians are a part of that RICO thing I mentioned earlier. See how it all ties in.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I am going to suggest the following…that overturning judicial decisions is slow, hard, grinding work - even for absurd cases like this. There is a tactical approach to overturning such a decision. Part of it must be legal…part of it must be waged with the public. To the extent that you can spread the word about what has transpired - and reach out to those concerned about the future (and present) of Paris, Texas, please do so. It seems to me that a great place to begin might be the Board of Directors of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the Campbell Soup Company and the Sara Lee Bakery Group.
I am sure that when black folk like former Green Bay Packer great Willie Davis sit down at the next board meeting, he will not appreciate that this is happening in a town where his company provides more than 600 jobs. There are reports that this particular case is part of a continuum of injustice with implications across the entire spectrum of social life in Paris. If that is the case, the American public would no more stand for an iconic brand to operate sweatshops in Thailand than they would allow apartheid style judges to operate in the heartland.
At some point, we have to make people uncomfortable with their tacit acceptance of injustice. Big corporations are really just the people who run them. People who should be ultimately ashamed that their names could ever be linked in any way, shape, form, or fashion to such an atrocity as the racist and inhumane treatment of Shaquanda Cotton. People are often ashamed of things, but just as often, as long as those things remain out of sight, they also remain out of mind. I suggest that anyone who is in any way associated with Paris, Texas, Judge Superville, the Governor of Texas, or anyone else who could have or should have done something to stop a racist judge from putting a little Black girl in jail for 7 years because of a shove, should be vilified by everyone who comes into contact with them.
SHAME ON YOU ALL FOR ALLOWING THIS TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE.
FREE SHAQUANDA COTTON
Friday, March 23, 2007
But people still keep trying; mainly people who care about me and frequently express serious doubts about the destination of my eternal essence. I often wished that I could at least weed out the ones who have no intellectual grounding in their own faith, much less a working understanding of the rest of the world. Once again my man Prometheus 6 saves the day. So I am going to use this essay, Faith In the Game, as a B.S. filter of sorts. From now on, if you want to discuss faith based concepts with me, you must first read the essay, then you must demonstrate that you understand it, and finally you must accept it as fundamentally correct analysis. I'll give you a couple of minutes if you get two out of three.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
No doubt you have received numerous communications regarding the outrageous sentence imposed on Shaquanda Cotton. I’ll not waste your time repeating any of the many reasons why this should not be happening. It appears that those cries for justice have thus far fallen on deaf ears.
There are times when both sides of a controversy have some merit. This is not one of those times. There is no rationale that any marginally humane individual could present that could justify what has been done to this child. This would never happen to my child or yours, yet you sit in silence while it happens to Shaquanda.
Let me be blunt sir. You have the authority to remedy this situation immediately. That is why I am contacting you. There may very well be other perhaps more “proper” channels for resolving this crisis, however you above all others in your state, are charged with the duty to maintain the order and welfare of the citizens of Texas. You can right this wrong with a stroke of your pen. That is what must be done immediately sir, or you will lose all moral authority by your acquiescence to and tacit participation in this shameful action.
I implore you to do the right thing and immediately order the release of this child, Shaquanda Cotton, who I now consider to be my daughter as well. This may well be your legacy, for good or for ill, in this life and the next.
United States of America
I am going to make it my personal mission in life to see that what is happening to this poor child ends as quickly as possible and that she does not suffer from this horrible experience. This cracker judge just stepped too far over the line. No way you can justify 7 years incarceration for this child. NO WAY!
But it goes far deeper and gets much worse than the tragedy of Shaquanda Cotton. This is going on everyday, in courthouses and prisons all over this fucked up country. In many cases, our young brothers and sisters are doing things they should not be doing. But the rate at which we are being incarecerated is outrageous. This government has apparently decided that the best way to control us is to lock us up. So we go to jail while they go home. There is a clear and malevolent intent to how the (in)"Justice" system is throwing black people in jail. Any fool can see that it's deliberate, and it is the greatest challenge we as Black people are facing in this country today.
But in the name of Law and Order, our so-called political representatives (they aren't fit to lead anyone anywhere) remain silent as the prison industrial complex and the police state devour our future.
Not this time.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
pResident Shrub will aggressively fight any Congresional attempt to subpoena members of his staff for perfectly legitimate Congressional oversight hearings. That is what Congress is for. To keep an eye on what's going on in government. That's why they have Constitutionally granted subpoena power, so nobody can just decide not to speak to them or outright lie without serious consequences. This president and the Republican party are charging hard towards a new Monarchy. I wouldn't put it past them to just cancel all further elections due to a national state of emergency and escalate the color coded threat meter to red, and declare martial law, and all that other good stuff you just knew could never happen in AmeriKKKa.
Bush Warns Dems to Take Offer in Firings
Sunday, March 18, 2007
So Field Negro , got me back to blogging this morning, with a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, Change. FN passes on an interesting perspective from a blogger I have not had the pleasure of reading before, Asabanga. Here is an excerpt, go to FN for the fully.
So what are we left with… well let me suggest that we employ the mindset of the Spartans…. as seen in the movie “300” (Tafari—quit drooling!). Let’s have a real revolution of thought and practice. Let us create a community of Black/African men and women who from birth are trained to be warriors, and by this I mean have a warrior mentality where their only… I repeat and emphasize, ONLY commitment is to this community. Two very difficult choices will have to be made for this to work. First, those who can’t or don’t measure up physically, emotionally, spiritually and/or make a real contribution to the community… we cut them loose. So those who are chronic substance abusers, societal and moral deviants (i.e murderers, abusers of women and children, etc.), those who are unteachable, those who cannot/will not develop a community first attitude, those who are weak willed and/or weak minded, and anything else that is an anchor to our progress…. we turn them out. Second, we don’t get hooked into other peoples/groups struggles. Let white women (feminists) fend for themselves. Let the homosexuals fight their own battles for their civil rights. Let the Native Indians (who owned slaves and are more than willing to disentangle themselves from that history) engage the white man in their own struggle. Let the poor white trailer trash agitate for their own political/economic empowerment. F*CK THE RAINBOW COALITION! It’s a burden on our advancement! It should be all about us and ONLY us. I contend that ONLY by this type of revolution, can even START to develop a strong and progressive Black/African community. Purification of community values. Single-mindedness of community purpose. Revolution of community focus.
The good news is the subject matter is at heart “CHANGE”. Asa, FN, and most everybody else feels strongly that some sort of change, doing something different, is needed to bring us up from the depths we currently inhabit.
The bad news is that even in our discourse about the need for change we are still stuck in the most vicious cycle. Revolution by definition is coming back around. I think we are not really looking at this “change” thing deeply enough. Ever hear the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? That’s all revolution can bring us, is back around to the same old thing again. There have been revolutions throughout human history, but in the time since we first began recording our history, there has been very little evolution. So what if we manage to change positions somewhere during the cycle. Our “oppress or be oppressed” mentality is going to be the death of the species we know as mankind. We do not need a Revolution, we need an EVOLUTION.
P6 got me reading Octavia Butler again. Her particular genius, especially in the Xenogenesis series, is the idea that we need to evolve beyond the hierarchical social and cultural instincts that cause us to view the world the way we do; that cause us to interact with each other the way we do. Let me give you a real world example of what I mean. Almost all religious systems currently practiced among current cultures are a derivative of ancient Egyptian Sun worship. (Some of you desperately want to jump right in and dispute this point, thus rendering the remainder of my diatribe so much worthless drive. As Asa so eloquently put it, this is not the time or the space for that discussion, although I am more than willing to have it. For the moment, let’s just agree that you reserve the right to challenge this assertion at a later date.)
We have developed intellectually, scientifically, and technologically to the point where most the things that our ancestors even 150 years ago would have relegated mythology, legend, magic, or spirit related explanation, we know consider commonplace knowledge. We have advanced to the point where we know of the existence and vastness of the universe, yet the large majority of us still cling to the mythology of the Sun (Son) God’s return. The social and cultural instincts and drives that served to make humanity the dominant species on Earth are quite simply, genocidal in their basic principles.
This is where we have to evolve. We can’t make the same mistakes that Sparta did, however heroic they were. They were appropriate to that time, and this is a new day and age. We have got to come together simply because it is the only way to survive. We have got to make the survival of every organism of this planet our paramount driving concern. We have got to change how we think about family, money, community. It shouldn’t be that hard to see that there must be a better way to live on this world than the one that currently has some people with more than they could ever possibly use, and others with not enough to survive the day. It doesn’t take a legion of social commentators, movement leaders, or messiahs to see that the entire race is in a self destructive slide, from young people killing each other in the streets to old people pushing the buttons to kill entire cities. We haven’t changed, evolved, enough to even make this simple truth the central topic of discussion. It isn’t really about black and white, or even rich or poor. It’s about the socio-cultural instincts that make all the nonsense seem not as bad, as long as you and yours are not the ones suffering.
Friday, March 02, 2007
This is just one of the ideas I got after reading some very interesting material on Black leadership, Black Radicalism, and Black Political Movements. Over on Black Agenda Report is a continuation of the discussion on Black leadership, politics, and the State of Black America. Linked to that is an article called Why Black Radical Politics Has Failed, perhaps the most coherent analysis of the rise and fall of the Black Empowerment Era that I have ever heard. I have often tried to grasp exactly where we went wrong, to so thoroughly waste the momentum that culminated in the Civil Rights movement. It seems that we got to a point where we were obviously winning, and now all of a sudden, there is a general consensus that the State of Black America is approaching critical condition, with all of the negative indicators rising to catastrophic levels.
Also this letter regarding the Black Radical Congress from 1998 is well worth a read, as it speaks directly to the failure of leadership and philosophy after the apparent success of the Radical movements and state of mind that peaked in the 60's.