Harry Reid – Yellowback Donkey Award of the Year

Once again the Democrats fold and run…

Assault weapons ban dropped from gun bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid on Tuesday declared politically dead the effort to ban military-style assault weapons, a setback for President Obama and gun-control advocates who are pushing the Senate to move quickly on bills to limit gun violence.

Reid (D-Nev.) is preparing to move ahead with debate on a series of gun-control proposals when the Senate returns from a two-week Easter recess in early April. Although he has vowed to hold votes on measures introduced after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December, Reid told reporters Tuesday that the proposed assault-weapons ban isn’t holding up against Senate rules that require at least 60 votes to end debate and move to final passage.

The proposed ban, “using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That’s not 60,” Reid said.

Still up for consideration are three other bills approved last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee: bipartisan legislation to make gun trafficking a federal crime, a bipartisan measure to expand a Justice Department grant program that provides funding for school security, and a Democratic proposal to expand the nation’s gun background check program.

Step right on up, Harry – and get your “Yellowback Donkey Award” for legislative cowardice.

State of Shame – North Carolina Sterilization Program

North Carolina was one of 26 states which involuntarily sterilized women. Most of those women were black and poor.

Like the Tuskegee Experiments, this one stands out as the medical establishment failing. When you hear the Tea Baggers of today talking about “welfare irresponsibility” – this is inevitably where that leads.

Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacks

Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967.  The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized.  Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.

“I have to carry these scars with me.  I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Riddick was never told what was happening.  “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said.  “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”

Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”

“I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina.  They took something from me both times,” she said.  “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given.”

It wouldn’t be until Riddick was 19, married and wanting more children, that she’d learn she was incapable of having any more babies. A doctor in New York where she was living at the time told her that she’d been sterilized.

“Butchered.  The doctor used that word…  I didn’t understand what she meant when she said I had been butchered,” Riddick said.

North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program.  By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs.

Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s.  Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited.  To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized.  Some of America’s wealthiest businessmen of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of Proctor and Gamble and James Hanes of the hosiery fortune.  Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.

It began as a way to control welfare spending on poor white women and men, but over time, North Carolina shifted focus, targeting more women and more blacks than whites.  A third of the sterilizations performed in North Carolina were done on girls under the age of 18.  Some were as young as nine years old…


 

Inhofe Unloads on Rush Limbaugh

Earlier this week Drugbo took Obama to task for sending 100 US Advisors to Uganda to combat the Lords Resistance Army. Drugbo characterized the intervention as a “war”, and accused President Obama of killing “christians”. The LRA is not Christian – they are mass murderers, child rapists, and criminals. Here is Limbaugh defending them…

Racism will make you stupid.

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. [...]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

Senator Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) sets (a small part of) the record straight on the “Lords Resistance Army”…

 

 

Libya and the Story of Chances None and Slim… And Slim Left Town on a Fast Train

Appears to be a rising call that the US step in and do something about the raging Civil War in Libya…

Seems to me to be about the dumbest thing the US could ever do is intervene in any way in another Middle Eastern disaster – virtually guaranteeing another Afghanistan 3-5 way war, with about the only thing the other parties agreeing to…

Is shooting at Americans.

Worse, the Bushit already sold the US Military and economy down the river lying the country into one “misadventure” and failing to close out another.

So I’m sorry Libyan brothers – but the American coin machine is stuck on empty.

So when I see an editorial like this in the Christian Science Monitor – I sincerely hope it’s somebody else doing the “saving” for a change…

The world’s responsibility to protect Libyans

The gross atrocities committed by the Qaddafi regime against protesters in Libya are of a kind demanding outside intervention. The Arab revolt for democracy now also needs protection from war crimes.

Now instead of simply siding with Arabs or Iranians seeking freedom, the world must also try to deter cornered dictators from committing mass atrocities.

In Libya, Muammar Qaddafi reacted far more harshly than his counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt did to the popular Arab demands for liberty. He unleashed fighter jets and machine guns against his opponents.

It was an excessive use of violence leading to the kind of mass slaughter seen in 1975 Cambodia, 1989 China, 1994 Rwanda, 1995 Bosnia, 1999 Kosovo, and 2003 Darfur.

Several of Mr. Qaddafi’s own ambassadors quit in disgust, warning of genocide and triggering the United Nations Security Council to weigh taking action. And indeed, if the Arab revolt continues in many Middle East countries, the world must be prepared to prevent extreme violence. It should take a decisive stand now in the case of the extreme cruelty committed in Libya.

More than democracy is at stake. The world must also act against crimes against humanity. And words of condemnation are not enough.

In fact, outside military intervention could be necessary, as was the case in Kosovo and Bosnia by NATO forces. In 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed the idea of an international “responsibility to protect” innocent people from great harm within a sovereign country. That principle was elevated by the UN in large part because of its failure to intervene in the Rwanda genocide.

Failure to protect Libyan protesters, or any peaceful uprising in the Middle East, would only prove that the international community has yet to learn from past mistakes in not upholding international human rights laws, such as the Genocide Convention.

It is a difficult task for the UN or NATO to decide whether to break a state’s sovereignty if massacres are taking place. It’s even more difficult to find countries willing to make the sacrifice to send in their forces.

But the killings in Libya have been atrocious enough to provide moral clarity. On Tuesday, Qaddafi promised to hunt down protesters “house by house,” a day after his son warned that streets will “run with blood” if the protests continue.

This regime, in power for more than four decades, has been the most despotic of Arab autocrats, ranking alongside North Korea in its human rights violations. Now it has shown its true colors, and Libyans by the thousands are asking for outside help.

If ever a “responsibility to protect” was made clear, it is now in Libya, where terror has been unleashed on its people.

 

 

Ghadaffi’s Forces Bomb Citizens – Has Strange Press Conference

Getting strange – and bloody in Libya…

The story is quite different from the news…

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Gets Her First Kills

Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer should be proud of herself – she just got away with her second murder. Of course she probably doesn’t count the first one since he was Hispanic, and by reports the father of 3.

Arizona Death Panel Claims Another Victim

Tuscon University Medical Center has confirmed that a patient who was refused a liver transplant due to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to cut the state benefit that would have made the transplant possible, has died. The patient had been scheduled for the needed transplant but was dropped from the waiting list on October 1st when the cuts went into effect.

Kobe Endorsement Deal Goes Sour

Kobe Turkish Airline Deal No a Slam Dunk!

Under the category – “It seemed to be a good deal at the time”, LA Laker star Kobe Bryant is taking heat from the Armenian community over his endorsement deal for Turkish Airways. A short history lesson on why Armenians don’t like Turks later in the post.

This is significant (to Kobe’s deal) because LA is home to the largest Armenian community in the United States.

Betcha Reggie Bush won’t make this mistake.

Armenians denounce Kobe Bryant deal with Turkish Airlines

The business deal looked fairly straightforward. Last week, American basketball star Kobe Bryant agreed to become the new celebrity face of Turkish Airlines, a growing international carrier.

Though he has admitted to never having visited Turkey, the Los Angeles Lakers guard said in a news release that “Turkey is a country rich in natural beauty and thousands of years of cultural history, and I’m proud to partner with Turkish Airlines to bring that majesty to people around the world.”

Within days, however, Bryant’s decision was being denounced by Armenian groups in North America and in Los Angeles, which is the hometown not only of the Lakers, but also of the largest ethnic Armenian community outside of Armenia.

“Turkish Deal Will Make Kobe the Face of Oppression and Injustice” and “Kobe Bryant’s Direct Flight to Inhumanity,” announced the website of the Armenian Youth Federation.

Armenian diaspora groups in North America have launched a media and Internet campaign urging Bryant to drop his Turkish Airlines deal…

Here is a bit of that history…

The New Jim Crow – Prisons as the New Slavery

Same as the old slavery, except there’s no cotton involved…

The prison industrial complex profits from high numbers of convictions and long prison sentences. Privatizing the jail system has led to widespread abuse – and the United States incarcerating a larger portion of their population than Communist countries ever did.

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP

According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES

Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972… (more)

The New Jim Crow — Enslavement By Dis-education

In most slave holding states prior to the Civil War in the United States it was illegal to teach slaves to read. There was a genuine fear that if they could read, they might read something  – Like the Declaration of Independence, which would cause them to resist their condition en masse.

Keeping folks ignorant of their history has been a prime method of enslavement and repression throughout history…

Things that go bump in the night in conservative minds...

Which is exactly why conservatives in Arizona are afraid of “diversity studies”, and conservatives in Texas “whitewashed” the textbooks.

One of the conceptual foundations roiling conservatives in Arizona is “Raza” studies. The following provides a thread of the precepts of Raza…

What State Officials Don’t Want Arizona School Children to Know

For the next few months, the world will be focusing on Arizona’s SB 1070 – the state’s new racial profiling law. However, in this insane asylum known as Arizona, where conservatives have concocted one reactionary scheme after another, another law in particular stands out for its embrace of Dark Ages-era censorship – the 2010 anti-ethnic studies HB 2281 – a law that seeks to codify the “triumph” of Western Civilization with its emphasis on Greco-Roman culture.
Unless it is blocked, HB 2281 – which creates an inquisitorial mechanism that will determine which books and curricula are acceptable in the state – will go into effect on January 1, 2011. Books such as “Occupied America” by Rodolfo Acuña and “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, have already been singled out as being un-American and preaching the violent overthrow of the US government.

Both laws are genocidal: one law attacks the physical presence of red-brown peoples; the other one, our minds and spirits.

Lost in the tumultuous debate regarding what can be taught in the state’s schools is the topic of what actually constitutes ethnic/Raza studies. Continue reading

Prison Rape, and the Spread of AIDs in Black Urban Communities

This should be a Civil Rights issue adopted by the so called “black leaders” who are remnants of the Civil Rights era. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the high rate of AIDs in the black urban community is related to the high rate of incarceration of black males. It is another component of genocide…

It’s Time to End the Epidemic of Prisoner Rape

When Bryson Martel was sentenced to six years in prison for check fraud, he was 28 years old, weighed 123 pounds, and was scared to death. He had good reason to be afraid. Within weeks of his arrival, he was beaten and raped at knifepoint. Martel reported the assault to staff, who moved him to “protective custody” – into a cell with a known rapist.

Days later, he was raped again.

Prison authorities should have taken particular care to protect Martel’s safety, knowing that he was a target for abuse. They didn’t, and the assaults continued. Over the course of nine months, Martel estimates he was raped by 27 different people. Ultimately, he was infected with HIV, and now has full-blown AIDS. Continue reading

Henry Louis Gates – On Slavery and Reparations

Think Professor Gates misses a half a dozen points here in this article, including the issues of generational slavery and Jim Crow being the actual driving issues behind much of the Reparations discussion…

So I believe Gates is wrong here on a number of points. After a snippet from the Gates piece, I will include a response by Boyce Watkins response, which isn’t very dissimilar to my reaction, except for the personal shot at Gates’ ego…

Ending the Slavery Blame-Game

THANKS to an unlikely confluence of history and genetics — the fact that he is African-American and president — Barack Obama has a unique opportunity to reshape the debate over one of the most contentious issues of America’s racial legacy: reparations, the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage.

There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain.

While we are all familiar with the role played by the United States and the European colonial powers like Britain, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain, there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others. Continue reading

Georgia senate approves ban on race-based abortions

Georgia senate approves ban on race-based abortions

The Senate has approved a bill that would make it a crime to perform an abortion on a woman based upon the race or gender of the parent or child.

After more than three hours of debate, senators passed the measure 33-14 in a vote that broke down along party lines.

Republican Sen. Chip Pearson of Dawsonville, the bill’s sponsor, says the proposal addresses the prevalence of gender- and race-based abortions in Georgia, especially among African-American women. The bill would make it illegal to coerce a woman into an abortion on those grounds.

Democratic Sen. Donzella James, of College Park, says the idea that black women are being targeted for abortion is unfounded and inflammatory and fails to address the health care disparity that is the real cause of the disproportionate abortion rate for black women.

I think the best quote on the video, is “These people are pro-birth, but they are not pro-life.” When you look at the statistics in Georgia that a black baby is nearly 3 times more likely to die both pre-natal, and within the first year after birth than whites due to lack of health care – then you need to ask the question as to why these very same Republicans oppose any form of Health Care reform which might stop that bloodshed.

If abortion is “murder” – then the denial of care to the mother, resulting in the babies death is also murder. And, the “pro-life” people are murdering just as many babies as abortion doctors (if not many more) – and are arguing that the decision by the mother to abort, is somehow worse than the decision to kill the baby due to lack of health care.

Genocide is perfectly acceptable – as long as it isn’t the mother’s choice in their view.

Without having read the bill, it would seem to open up some interesting, unintended options to stop the Health Care genocide, based on whether you define “abortion” to include acts which cause the death of the fetus through neglect, or corporate greed. Now, we got some real organized crime.

Seems to me there ought to be enough lawyers down there in Georgia to figure out the implications of that isht.

Amnesty International – American Genocide In Health Care

The American Dr. Mengele in the form of the Republican Party is quite proud of killing American babies as part of resisting any move to come up with a Health Care System that actually works in America, In particular, that portion of the racist right fully supports, and promotes the genocide of minority children. This isn’t about Health Care…

It’s about killing black and brown babies.

Too Many Women Dying in U.S. While Having Babies

Another Massacre in Nigeria

One of the key concerns in Africa of outside observers is the possibility of a full-scale religious war in Nigeria between Moslems and Christians. Over the past 4 years thousands of people have been killed in sectarian violence in tit-for-tat massacres of largely unarmed civilians by roaming mobs of Moslem or Christian men.

The latest massacre, resulting in perhaps 500 killed, occurred in several villages, near the city of Jos. The late-night attacks killed up to 500 people. The attack on the Christian enclave has been seen as a reprisal for attacks in January, in which about 300 herdsmen were killed by youth from the farming community The evidence suggests that there were multiple attacks, one perhaps in retaliation – but the principle victims were Christian farmers.

The attacks are fueled though, by more than just religion.

The town of Jos is all too often a focal point for competition over the use of arable land in central and northern Nigeria, where climate change has dried up pasture lands and forced animal herders closer and closer into farming communities, where their herds can destroy crops.

Jos is also right on the de facto fault line separating the Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north from its mainly Christian south. The farming community in Jos are primarily Christians of the Berom ethnic group, while the herders are ethnic Fulanis who practice Islam.

“Land is central to the conflict in Jos,” says Ugar Ukandi Odey, a Jos-based news reporter for the Nigerian newspaper NEXT. Mr. Odey has been covering the attacks and the tense aftermath. “The Beroms are the original people of Jos, and the Fulanis are nomads moving around with cattle who have settled in amongst the Berom people. But it becomes ethnic and religious, because there are Christians on one side, and the Fulanis are Muslims on the other side.”

A little different view from Al Jazeera in this broadcast, where the reporter claims is was Christians attacking Moslems  -

Contradicted somewhat by this late breaking report -

Nigerian authorities say they have arrested scores of people in connection with attacks near the central city of Jos that left more than 200 people dead.

“We have been able to make 95 arrests but at the same time over 500 people have been killed in this heinous act,” Dan Manjang, an adviser to the Plateau State government told the AFP news agency.

Yvonne Ndege, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said at least 19 Muslim Hausa-Fulani men had been arrested 30km from Jos, where Sunday’s three-hour systematic orgy of violence took place.

“They were found to be carrying hunting guns, axes, spears and knives and the feeling is that they were linked to this attack,” she said.

The violence in three mostly Christian villages Sunday appeared to be reprisal attacks following the January unrest in Jos when most of the victims
were Muslims, Robin Waubo, a Red Cross spokesman, said.

Our correspondent quoted police as saying that the attackers were Muslim Hausa-Fulani herders while the victims were mainly predominantly Christians from the Borom community.

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