Afghan orphan boys watch a performance of the NGO Mobile Mini Circus for Children at Cahai Amaskan’s Orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan (news – web sites), Monday, May 31, 2004. More than 900 orphan boys who lost their families during Afghanistan’s war, live in this government institution periodically visited by different aid groups like the circus that offered performances on the eve of International Children’s Day. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Lori Haigh, a North Beach district gallery owner, bears a painful reminder of the nation’s unresolved anguish over the incidents at Abu Ghraib — a black eye delivered by an unknown assailant who apparently objected to the painting that depicts U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. (Associated Press photo by Jeff Chiu)
Beat! Beat! Drums!
Beat! beat! drums! — blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows — through doors — burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet — no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums — so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums! — blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities — over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses?
no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers bargains by day — no brokers or speculators –
would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums — you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums! — blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley — stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid — mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums — so loud you bugles blow.
Bill Cosby should suck Jello through a straw.
That’s my short answer to every person who stops me in my tracks in order to ask the question, “Do you know what Bill Cosby said?”
“Well, it’s the truth,” one replied, his euphoria fading as quickly as his presence, a brandishment of his uttermost disappointment in me. Not only is he a staunch Democrat but he wears his tolerance with pride. Undoubtedly he found solace with another workmate who claims to be a Libertarian and in his delineation of that vein often shares his contempt of “those blacks” who “wear too many chains”, “walk that way”, and speak the dialect Mr. Cosby finds so offensive. That’s not to say this person would marry a black woman even if she passed his white-friendly test. When I inquired, he reacted as if I were crazy, saying he’d never consider it. He worried that if the DNA of his spouse were dominant it would ruin the family profile.
Justin Felux reasons why opinions like Cosby’s are disseminated so widely by the conservative media and is disturbed they’re not significantly decried by the rest. I’m disturbed as well and what follows are observations gleaned from a lifetime of experience. Racism is pandemic amongst Caucasians who are covetous of an inherently supremacist role. Pale faced underachievers are held in higher esteem than the most accomplished of darker contemporaries; it’s not their abilities that get them hired it’s affirmative action; humble gratitude is required on demand and performance must be above and beyond the call of duty in order to waylay comeuppance they are less deserving of the job than the white they cheated out of it; whites may have bad days but if you’re black and late a few minutes it’s because you’re born lazy and getting over. Posit this. When someone of the Jewish persuasion criticises Israel they are labelled self-haters and Anti-Semitic yet blacks are praised only when they join in a melee determined to wipe out any trace of ethnicity that offends the white man. Jews are discriminated against so deserve their own state. Blacks are discriminated against but bring it on themselves by not adopting the behaviour of their oppressor. Cosby made the gross analogy that blacks deserve to be shot for running off with the pound cake. What Cosby doesn’t admit is that no matter how “white” blacks become dessert is still the crumbs.
Howard University has not released the speech, or I can’t find it, which is a disappointment. Clarence Page supports Cosby in his assertion on the Tavis Smiley show that his remarks were taken out of context. He really meant to say that “some” not all poor folks are failing to hold up their end in this deal. According to Cosby, the “50% dropout in school. Very, very important because with that, that means 50% of our African American males, from grade 9 through 12, in certain parts of the city, have no education.”
I finally found one page that includes references to both of Mr. Cosby’s points that the national dropout rate for African Americans is around 50% (unlike the National Center for Educational Statistics which puts it much lower, not surprisingly, since the system self-reports in its own favour) and that the problem “ is most severe in several hundred big-city schools“. Females if not included in his number would mean the total dropout rate is nearly 100% but he didn’t ignore the sex entirely. They’re the language manglers who are buying expensive shoes instead of phonics programmes.
I believe this situation pains Mr. Cosby on some level and in a tough love, authoritative way he wants people to get his message. Since this talkathon precedes the June 20th premier of his latest TV offering, “Fatherhood”, it’ll be interesting to see how this message is incorporated into that cartoon. He’s had 6 years to hone it since he last delivered it at Howard University. I bet a lot of white folks will be tuning in.
I hope in this continuing dialogue he draws upon the findings of studies such as Brown at 50: The Unfulfilled Promise and Brown at 50: Kingís Dream or Plessyís Nightmare?. The 50th anniversary of Brown was not cause for celebration and faulting parenting or lack of it targets one facet of an intricate picture. The neglected areas of decaying infrastructure where the most severe dropout rates occur are not sitting on oil deposits so will never be reconstructed. The diversity that Brown hoped to herald was shunned by the whites Cosby says should be placated by mirroring their manner and speech. They’ve used their racial advantage to flee to better neighborhoods and more adequately funded schools locking gates and doors behind them. Mr. Cosby says that passing tests is an incomparable high. On material contrived to keep these genuises in the superior frame of mind to which they’ve grown accustomed? Pavlov’s dog was conditioned, not joyfull.
Take your neighborhood back, Bill Cosby says. Incentives to treasure it seem a logical place to start. Let’s try a little social experiment in a city that shall remain nameless since for these purposes statistics and logistics are not necessary. Draw a circle around the worst neighbourhood in it and take a head count. How many of their relatives are serving time for a drug-related or non-violent offense? Release those people from prison and invite them to join in the tearing down and rebuilding of the neighbourhood. For every family their own home with room for a garden. Every person that needs a job gets the skills, or the production facilities, or the small business, or the transportation to make that happen. Build enough schools that classrooms are brimming only with textbooks that reflect an honest world view. Alongside the library why not a place for the old folks to congregate. Parks are lovely places for family get togethers but hard on the joints in the winter.
“When we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, children in our schools often recite the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech as if it were a reality,” says a draft version of the report by the Harvard Civil Rights Project. “Students are rarely told that Dr. King also had a nightmare, … King saw the ghetto and its schools as a nightmare for black society.”
Jim Henley has a few words about Michael Ledeen’s latest call to invade Iran. [Via tex]. This is a link to Brooding Persian‘s reaction to the same article posted on May 19. I recommend you read Ledeen, ledeen and us while there.
Juan Cole recommends a new blogger who is Syria-centric. The most recent post “How Washington can win Syria” has a familiar, nasty ring to it. Yet another pundit who waxes rhetorical on how best to force U.S. policies down the throats of “rogue regimes” while remaining completely deaf, dumb, and blind to the terrorist acts of the imposer.
“Remember,” Patai’s father told the boy, “you shook hands with the greatest Orientalist alive.” It was the start of a lifelong infatuation. “When it comes to the Arabs,” he wrote, “I must admit to an incurable romanticism.”
That Lee Smith would characterise this statement as proof Patai was “a keen and sympathetic observer of Arab society” tells me everything I need to know about Smith’s sensibilities. If there were any doubts, Smith gratuitously sums it up in the closing statement.
Arabs need only subjugate themselves to Anglocentrism and the world would find steady purchase on its axis. Daring to quarrel with this overriding principle vindicates Orientalists and their historically vicious pattern of framing every debate within the context of their pre-ordained stereotypes.
Pat Tillman, the man who “who walked away from a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks“, was not killed by enemy fire as first reported.
“Suddenly the sound of a mine explosion was heard somewhere between the two groups and the Americans in one group started firing,” the official said, citing an account given to him by an Afghan fighter who was part of that group, not Tillman’s.
“Nobody knew what it was ó a mine, a remote-controlled bomb ó or what was going on, or if enemy forces were firing. The situation was very confusing,” the official said.
“As the result of this firing, that American was killed and three Afghan soldiers were injured. It was a misunderstanding and afterwards they realized that it was a mine that had exploded and there were no enemy forces.”
U.S. military officials in Kabul had no immediate comment.
ISRAELI MOVERS IN SUB BASE SECURITY SCARE FREED
The two Israeli men in a moving van who tried to get past security officials at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base without proper identification last Friday will soon be released, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, if they haven’t been already.
The arrest of the two Israelis, Tamir David Sasson, 24, and Daniel Henry Levy, 23, prompted a security scare that shut down the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, home port for 10 of the nation’s 18 submarines armed with nuclear missiles.
Moreover it marked the second time in two weeks that Israelis in moving vans have been apprehended under suspicious circumstances near U.S. nuclear facilities.
The other reported incident also occurred near a U.S. Navy nuclear facility, this time in Mars Hill, NC., which the local Sheriff explained is “the nation’s sole provider of fuel for the Navy’s nuclear subs.”
If authorities discerned a pattern, they weren’t saying.
FULL STORY AT:
Waxman’s report, prepared by the Government Reform Committee’s Democratic staff, drew on data from the Federal Procurement Data System, which is part of the General Services Administration. It discussed federal contracts in general, without focusing on work in Iraq or naming specific companies.
Federal procurement law requires full and open competition for contracts, but allows various exceptions. These include situations in which the case is unusually urgent; disclosing an agency’s needs could jeopardize national security; only one source can provide the necessary work or goods; or the public is better served if there is not full competition.
The report said the Bush administration has also increased the use of a form of contracts called “single-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity” that commits the government to a single contractor for an undefined range of goods or services. Some $5.9 billion worth of these contracts were issued in 2003, compared with $4.2 billion in 2000, the report said.
On the Net:
House Government Reform Committee: http://reform.house.gov/
U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, asked by Washington to help set up an interim government to take over from U.S. rule next month, seemed to have been completely taken aback by the way the 23-member Governing Council announced its choice of Allawi.
The U.S. administration was also caught on the hop by the speed of the announcement. But as a long-time exile in the pay of the CIA, Allawi was always a strong candidate in Washington and U.S. officials were clearly involved in steering the choice.
Ordinary Iraqis know little of a man who spent more than 30 years abroad, first as a medical student in Britain supporting Saddam Hussein (news – web sites)’s Baath party and later as a wealthy exile who founded the Iraqi National Accord with funds from the CIA.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The momentum for a vote by the Iraqi Governing Council on the newly designated prime minister came about in the last 24 hours after it became clear that Iyad Allawi enjoyed a “strong groundswell” of support, a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said.
Officials also feared his name would be leaked to the news media — that the council might learn the selection “from CNN,” said the official, who was intricately familiar with the process.
Why would the council be surprised by the selection? I’m not.
Allawi, born in 1945, is a neurologist and businessman. In 1990 he formed the Iraqi National Accord, backed by the CIA and British intelligence. The INA provided some of the now widely discredited intelligence on Saddam’s weapons that formed President Bush (news – web sites)’s prime justification for invading.
When Ashcroft speaks, agencies listen?
DENVER – The FBI (news – web sites)’s regional office in Denver has received at least a dozen calls about the pictures of seven suspected al-Qaida terrorists shown during a news conference, an agency spokeswoman said.
Calls about possible sightings are taken seriously and all leads are followed up, FBI spokeswoman Monique Kelso said Thursday. She added, though, that the FBI has no reason to believe any of the seven suspects are in Colorado or traveling through.
But a manager of a Denny’s restaurant in Avon isn’t convinced. Manager Samuel Mac said it took five hours for a seemingly uninterested FBI agent in Denver to return his message when he called to say he thought two of the suspects ate at his restaurant Wednesday.
Wasn’t it supposed to be Homeland Security, not the FBI, who didn’t take Ashcroft’s memorandum seriously?
Iraqi woman says U.S. imprisoned her husband – and said he’d go free when her father surrenders
By Mohamad Bazzi
Middle East Correspondent
BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. troops wanted Jeanan Moayad’s father. When they couldn’t find him, they took her husband in his place.
Dhafir Ibrahim has been in U.S. custody for nearly four months. Moayad insists he is being held as a bargaining chip, and military officials have told her he will be released when her father surrenders. Her father is a scientist and former Baath party member who fled to Jordan soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“My husband is a hostage,” said Moayad, 35, an architect who carries a small portrait of Ibrahim in her purse. “He didn’t commit any crime.”
In a little-noticed development amid Iraq’s prison abuse scandal, the U.S. military is holding dozens of Iraqis as bargaining chips to put pressure on their wanted relatives to surrender, according to human rights groups. These detainees are not accused of any crimes, and experts say their detention violates the Geneva Conventions and other international laws. The practice also risks associating the United States with the tactics of countries it has long criticized for arbitrary arrests.
“It’s clearly an abuse of the powers of arrest, to arrest one person and say that you’re going to hold him until he gives information about somebody else, especially a close relative,” said John Quigley, an international law professor at Ohio State University. “Arrests are supposed to be based on suspicion that the person has committed some offense.”
Amnesty Slams ĎBankruptí Vision of US in Damning Human Rights Report
Peter Walker, Agence France Presse
The unilateral nature of the conflict to unseat Saddam Hussein in Iraq had additionally ďvirtually paralyzedĒ the United Nationsí role in guaranteeing human rights on a global level, the Amnesty report said.
ďThe global security agenda promulgated by the US administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle,Ē wrote Amnestyís Secretary-General Irene Khan in the reportís introduction.
ďSacrificing human rights in the name of security at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses have neither increased security nor ensured liberty.Ē
The notion of fighting a campaign against terrorism so as to support human rights, while simultaneously trampling on them to achieve this, was no more than ďdoublespeakĒ, she said.
ďThe United States has lost its moral high ground and its ability to lead on peace and human rights elsewhere,Ē Irene added at a press conference in London to launch the annual report.
ĎChina Gave Techniques to Guantanamo Interrogatorsí
Peter Harmsen, Agence France Presse
BEIJING, 27 May 2004 ó China, which has expressed ďshockĒ at the US abuse of Iraqi prisoners, sent officials to Guantanamo Bay to help in tough interrogation of its own nationals, Amnesty International said yesterday.
A Chinese delegation visited the US military prison in Cuba in the autumn of 2002, and in some instances told their American hosts how to get their prisoners to talk, the London-based rights group said.
ďIt is alleged that during (the delegationís visit), the detainees were subjected to intimidation and threats, and to Ďstress and duressí techniques such as environmental manipulation, forced sitting for many hours and sleep deprivation,Ē it said. Citing ďcredibleĒ reports, Amnesty said some of the interrogation techniques were ďalleged to have been on the instruction of the Chinese delegationĒ.
I think this should dispel any notion that George and Tony are planning to hand over any power of consequence to the Iraqis:
Iraqi council dismayed by UN resolution
France, russia lead calls for revision, while us prepares to change generals
Meanwhile, reacting to a US-proposed UN draft resolution that would hand many powers to an interim government on June 30, Iraq’s Governing Council welcomed the idea but called for changes to give Iraq full control over troops and the country’s oil.
The resolution, which was presented Monday, leaves key issues about the handover of power unresolved.
Speaking on behalf of the council, the current president of the US-installed group, Ghazi al-Yawar, told reporters that “while it (the resolution) was very positive, in many regards it fell short of our expectations.”
Yawar said the council’s two main concerns were that the interim government must have the power to ask foreign troops to leave Iraq and that it exercise full control over funds to reconstruct the war-torn country.
In London, Iraqi interim defense minister Ali Allawi said he expected foreign troops to remain in the country for “months rather than years.”
“The multinational force, inasmuch as its presence is needed to maintain security, will need … to be replaced by … Iraqi forces.”
Many Iraqis object to thepresence of foreign troops, but see them as vital to prevent the country’s rampant insecurity from degenerating into chaos.
Later, maverick council member Ahmed Chalabi, who cut his ties with the US-led coalition Thursday after US-backed Iraqi police raided his property, said any UN role in shaping a sovereign Iraq would be “dangerous.”
“The envoy of the UN secretary general is organizing a national conference to choose a consultative council. This is a dangerous idea that provokes instability,” Chalabi told reporters at a Baghdad news conference.
He said replacing “the coalition’s occupation in Iraq with a UN mandate will not give Iraqis a stake in their country.”
In Jordan, government spokeswoman Asma Khodr stressed the need to “establish a calendar” for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.
It’s always been my understanding that Chalabi shared with neoconservatives the goal of overturning Saddam’s regime but was actually a loose cannon who found purchase in their agenda by default, not a champion of it specifically.
So why would Newsweek paint him as “the darling of these top Pentagon officials” who claim they were unaware Chalabi’s ticket was about to be punched by the Bush administration? After all, I haven’t read of govt. agents raiding the offices of Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, or Richard Perle.
Newsweek is also running a poll asking if the raid means that neoconservatives have fallen into disfavour with the Bush administration. I think it means one or two will be scapegoated to give the impression that everything wrong in Iraq is their fault and will be corrected by their terminations or transfers to other positions. But if “they” have truly fallen into disfavour, Fred Kaplan‘s following question will be answered:
One question: Is the stuff he gave Iran realóor is it as fake as the stuff he gave us? We’ll soon find out. The FBI is on the trail of how he got the secrets to begin with. If the hunt leads back to his pals in the Pentagon, we may soon see a scandal that dwarfs Abu Ghraib.
And the broad goals for Iraq that George outlined in his speech last night would not be a continuance of neoconservative policies. It seems to me that Chalabi is the one butting heads with the neoconservatives, not the Bush administration.
WASHINGTON- Facing political discord over the war in Iraq, George (sic) tries to reassure voters Monday that hundreds of Americans have not died in vain, and to tell the world he has a blueprint to create a democratic nation.
The resolution, contrary to expectations, does not give an “opt out” clause that would allow Iraqi troops to refuse a command from the American military. Instead it calls for arrangements “to ensure coordination between the two.”
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A senior cabinet member touched a sensitive nerve in Israel Sunday by appearing to compare its destruction of Palestinian homes in Rafah refugee camp to Nazi atrocities against Jews during the Holocaust.
Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, called in a cabinet meeting for an end to the demolitions, describing such a policy as inhumane and liable to lead to war crimes charges against Israel in the International Court of Justice.
“I saw on television an old woman picking through the rubble of her house in Rafah, looking for her medicine, and she reminded me of my grandmother who was expelled from her home during the Holocaust,” political sources quoted him as saying.
[Click for larger photo]
[Click for larger photo]
In this post I stated that Congress would not reserve oversight over the $25 billion that George has requested for Iraq. Examining the particulars of the defence bill the House sent on to the Senate yesterday I think that common doubt is much closer to becoming fact.
Bush’s $25 billion, likely just a first installment, is slightly more than the $21 billion increase proposed for overall defence spending in this record-setting bill. Couching George’s additional billions in support-the-troops gestalt is unoriginal and hardly unexpected.
The House bill, generally mirrored by the Senate version, includes an across-the-board 3.5 percent pay raise for military personnel and raises the hazardous pay for troops facing hostile fire from $150 to $225 a month. It also increases separation pay for those stationed overseas and improves health care programs for reservists.
The hazardous pay increase should be deja vu for those who experienced its brief implementation then roll back last year. The Army Times described as “maddening” the “Pentagonís opposition to two congressional proposals to continue higher rates of imminent-danger pay and family-separation allowance beyond Sept. 30, when raises put in effect in April” were set to expire. The White House referred all criticism of the paycut to the Pentagon who called the increase a “budget-buster.”
No doubt there are economists figuring how the 3.5 percent across-the-board increase in pay will stand-up in relation to the financial beating service people took last year including a $200 million cut in the program that provides assistance to public schools serving military bases; a tax cut “which failed to extend a child tax credit to nearly 200,000 low-income military personnel; a $1.5 billion reduction in his 2004 budget, to $9.2 billion from $10.7 billion, for military housing and the like; and a cut of $14.6 billion over 10 years in benefits paid through the Veterans Administration.”
As for the proposed increase in health benefits I’ll hold my enthusiasm until those who routinely monitor VA spending issue a report calculating the cost of reservists requiring long-term health care and disability services into the overall budget. I suspect they’ll find the entire system and its clients will fare poorly as these additional costs are absorbed most especially over the long-term.
The only mention of retaining oversight of George’s personal cache is this:
The White House issued another veto threat over language in the House bill that would restrict Pentagon flexibility on “competitive sourcing,” or contracting some Pentagon jobs out to private companies.
If there’s been any serious action taken by Congress since this familiar scenario played itself out during the pseudo-haggling over 2003′s $87 billion ransom note I’ve yet to notice it. In other words, here’s your money king George. If the subjects get restless we’ll relay DeLay’s pronouncement on the matter, “No one can question the need to fund our troops to keep them strong and victorious,” and with the help of Limbaugh, etc., slay your detractors by slathering them with cliched slanders and treasonous bile.
I don’t expect voters will get riled about funding bunker busters to the tune of $36.5 million, though they should.
Finally, the most prophetic parts of this budget that require lenghty debate but likely won’t generate it. You have a body of legislators “courting” a presidential veto by claiming to support delaying military base closures in the United States for two years. They are also requiring “that the Army add 30,000 troops over the next three years and the Marines 9,000.”
Yet “the planned shift of 3,600 2nd Brigade troops to Iraq later this summer” from South Korea is indicative that the former is already in motion. According to proposals in this Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study–prepared at the request of the Senate Budget Committee– which U.S. Forces Korea officials claim to have not read and Pacific Command officials have refused to comment on, it would seem the Pentagon is moving forward with plans to expand bases overseas while closing facilities here in the United States as Congress confabulates. It’s a fascinating study that belies the Pentagon’s claims their desire to close U.S. bases is cost effective. The true savings would come by bringing the troops home. All else carries higher costs with negative returns.
And I’m left wondering if the requirement that the Army add 30,000 and the Marines, 9,000 is doable without a draft.
But what does it matter, right? There are Bush detractors and America-haters to slay. Off with their heads!