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Arrest for Burning the confederate Flag!

Racism rears it’s ugly head in Colorado Springs…Burn Baby, Burn.

Colorado Cops Arrest Mom for Confederate Flag Arson

COLORADO SPRINGS — It was an hour before midnight on July 22 when a cop knocked on the door of local Black Lives Matter activist Patricia Cameron. She was asleep at home with her 8-year-old son. The officer called out her name and asked her to come outside. Cameron wasn’t dressed, so the cop told her to put on some clothes—he had something for her to sign.

For the past four years Cameron has lived in the small, hippy-dippy mountain town of Manitou Springs just outside Colorado’s second-largest city. She’s a vocal presence in the local media and runs a blog and a Twitter feed where she discusses topics she feels get ignored in Colorado Springs, a very white, heavily Republican Christian-conservative military city. As a young black woman, she says her encounters with police in the area haven’t always gone well. She’s filed at least one complaint against officers here.

Patricia Cameron, demonstrating against the confederate flag

“I was petrified,” she says when she found a uniformed cop at her door at 11:00 at night. The name of Sandra Bland, a young black woman who was found dead July 13, hanging from a trash bag noose in a Texas jail cell days after a traffic stop, flashed through her mind. In the hallway of Cameron’s apartment building, the officer told her he was there to serve her with something, and handed her what looked like a ticket. He asked her to sign it, saying it had to do with an incident on July 4. The document was an arrest summons accusing her of fourth degree arson.

Two weeks prior, the single mom, local political activist and EMT had organized an Independence Day public burning of a Confederate flag in a local park as a form of peaceful protest. Online, photos had been spreading of accused killer Dylan Roof posing with Confederate flags before police say he carried out his attack on nine black parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church. In announcing her plans days before the event, Cameron told a local alt-weekly reporter the demonstration was “simply us getting together and reiterating the fact that black lives in fact matter.” She’d alerted the local police department about what she’d planned to do, tagging them in a post on Facebook, though a police spokesperson says the department never saw it. The police chief had also gotten an anonymous email about the event. (Weeks prior, the county sheriff’s office had been on alert when a local biker club held a pig roast to protest the Islamic holiday of Ramadan.)

Not many people showed up on the day Cameron and a handful of others held their flag burning under a park pavilion that doesn’t allow barbecuing. There, she squirted lighter fluid on a large Confederate flag, someone else lit it, and a third man held the pole as the flag burned on a charcoal grill. With an American flag bandana covering her nose and mouth, Cameron clapped as others waved signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Who is burning black churches?” The local paper dispatched a summer intern to the scene. A video went up on YouTube. Some local TV stations carried the news.

Now, nearly three weeks later, an officer was standing in Cameron’s hallway asking her to sign an arrest summons that accused her of arson. She was not formally arrested and taken to jail. “I was confused,” she says about how it all went down, especially so late at night—and so long after the very public incident.

Manitou Springs Police spokeswoman Odette Saglimbeni says an officer showing up late at night to issue an arrest summons isn’t common for the department.

“It sort of happened to be that time of night when it happened,” she told The Daily Beast about Cameron’s late-night wake-up call. Officers, she said, might have been preoccupied during the rest of the day with other duties. “They were just not able to get out there until that time.”

As for why it took nearly 20 days for the cops to contact Cameron, Saglimbeni said the police had conducted a “pretty extensive investigation” after seeing video of the flag burning. While officers might have known the demonstration was happening that day, a large structure fire nearby attracted their attention, and no police were at the park when the flag went up in flames. Trying to identify all the people involved also took time, she said, and the police wanted to make sure they had everything in order.

Under state law, fourth degree arson in Colorado is when “a person who knowingly or recklessly starts or maintains a fire or causes an explosion, on his own property or that of another, and by so doing places another in danger of death or serious bodily injury or places any building or occupied structure of another in danger of damage.”

The charge can be a felony or a misdemeanor; Cameron was charged with the later.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Taxation Without Representation

The City of Washington, DC was set up in a Congressional Act in 1787. The city is limited to space of no more than 10 square miles.Until “Home Rule”, the City was ruled by the Federal Government, under the auspices of Congress. Until 1961, citizens in the City could not vote for election of the President or local Officials. In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, ceding some of its power over the city to a new, directly elected city council and mayor. Walter Washington became the first elected mayor of Washington, D.C.

Congress still maintains the power to approve any law passed by the City council and Mayor. This was demonstrated most recently when the council approved a bill legalizing Marijuana, and the Republican led Congressional Committee nixed the Law.

Unique among cities with a high percentage of African Americans, Washington has had a significant black population since the city’s creation. As a result, Washington became both a center of African American culture and a center of civil rights movement. Since the city government was run by the federal government, black and white school teachers were paid at an equal scale as workers for the federal government. It was not until the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, a southern Democrat who had numerous southerners in his cabinet, that federal offices and workplaces were segregated, starting in 1913.This situation persisted for decades: the city was racially segregated in certain facilities until the 1950s.

DC Statehood is still a hot local issue. Republicans oppose such for much the same reason the slaveholding South demanded the compromise that all future states added to the Union be balanced between slave and free – due to a large black population, the City leans Democrat. Meaning statehood would likely add two more Democrat Senators to the Senate, and 1 -2 Democrat Congressmen.

Key Bridge – From Rosslyn, Virginia into the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

John Oliver: Why Washington, D.C., Should Be the 51st State

It sucks to live in Washington, D.C.—or so says John Oliver, the surprisingly nimble political satirist and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Yes, if you thought Sen. Marco Rubio making The Hill’s ultra-silly list of the “50 Most Beautiful People” on Capitol Hill was bad, well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for D.C. residents.

“There is one U.S. territory that suffers a lack of representation in D.C., and that is D.C. itself,” Oliver announced on Last Week.

District of Columbia license plates say “taxation without representation” for a reason. If you’re a resident of D.C., you’re forced to shell out for federal taxes and can fight in wars, yet no member of Congress is there to fight on your behalf, even though D.C.’s population eclipses that of states like Vermont and Wyoming, and its GDP is higher than 16 other states.

Oliver noted that when the Dalai Lama came to visit D.C. some years back “…he wondered why ‘a small pocket’ of people living in the world’s ‘champion of democracy’ lacked full voting rights,” calling the practice, “Quite strange”—and Tibet isn’t exactly a bastion of democracy.

The District of Columbia does have Eleanor Holmes Norton, who acts as delegate to the U.S. Congress representing D.C., but “she basically has pretend power,” Oliver said, since she votes by committee, can’t vote on the House floor, can’t vote on tax reform, and can’t vote on whether the country should go to war.

There’s strange historical precedent here, including a clause in the U.S. Constitution granting Congress the power to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever” over the district. Residents in D.C. couldn’t even vote in presidential elections until 1964, and it took a constitutional amendment to grant them that right. Also, D.C. residents weren’t allowed to elect a mayor and City Council until July 17, 1966—when they were granted “Home Rule”—but it was still required that all legislation, including the city’s budget, be subject to congressional approval.

So for over two decades, Norton has introduced a series of bills trying to grant D.C. statehood or a vote in Congress—to no avail.

“Over the years, Congress has repeatedly stepped in when D.C. is about to do anything they disapprove of,” said Oliver.

Last November, 70 percent of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana, but then congressional Republicans stepped in and enacted a rider preventing them from allocating funds to pass the law—which, Oliver said, doesn’t square with the Republican ethos of “limited government” and “states’ rights.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a member of the House Oversight Committee, tried to justify stomping all over D.C.’s rights with the following explainer: “Well, Washington, D.C., is not a state. Washington, D.C., has a lot to offer, but…free rein on marijuana use? I just don’t buy that. I just don’t think that’s the way they should operate. So, states’ rights? Yes. But Washington, D.C., is not a state.”

But that isn’t even the half of it.

“The award for the most depressingly cynical thing that has ever been said about D.C. actually goes to our current president, who in 2011 avoided a government shutdown by striking a deal with John Boehner that included prohibiting D.C. from spending its own money on abortions for low-income women, saying, ‘John, I will give you D.C. abortion. I am not happy about it,’” Oliver said.

It seems that it’s been the GOP congressmen who, time and again, have sought to limit D.C.’s voting power or fought its right to statehood. Back in 2009, a bill to give D.C. a vote was introduced in the Senate, and the Senate did, according to Oliver, “the most dickish thing imaginable” by passing it with an itty-bitty addition: an amendment that would repeal all of D.C.’s gun control laws, including its ban on semi-automatic weapons; remove criminal penalties for possession of unregistered firearms; and alter its ability to enact future gun control legislation.

“As a result of that amendment, the bill was dropped, and D.C. hasn’t been close to getting a vote since,” said Oliver.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Firing of Police Chief Splits Town

Pocomoke is a lovely town on the Maryland Eastern Shore. The Pocomoke River, which wanders across the peninsula is a scenic beauty. The River is crossed there by a scenic draw-bridge. The name “Pokomoke” literally means “Black Water”, and the water of the river is stained an almost black tea color by the northernmost Bald Cypress swamp at it’s headwaters.

At the head of the Pocomoke River is a Cypress Swamp. It is a beautiful areas for kayaking or canoeing.

 

Despite the natural beauty, and “Easy Living” of the DELMARVA Eastern Shore…Trouble has found paradise.

The Eastern Shore in reality remained part of the Confederacy during the Civil War. This – despite the existence of one of the largest, prosperous free black communities in the South in the two Virginia Counties just south of Pocomoke. The principal industry is farming. The Eastern Shore is sometimes referred to as the “Food Basket of he East Coast”, and near my own property further south, it is not uncommon to see signs on the fields from the major brands, including Campbell’s and DelMonte. The Chicken business is also huge, with major facilities and plants belonging to Perdue, Tyson’s, and Montaire, to name a few. Unemployment is very low – but average incomes in many of the towns hover around $20,000. People are polite and courteous, and most any Saturday when visiting the local hardware store is met by the question “been fishing?”

While there certainly are a few racist idiots there, I don’t have an opinion about this one – as to my personal experiences, most people get along reasonably well.

A Maryland Town Fires Its Black Police Chief, Exposing a Racial Rift

Kelvin Sewell figured he had landed his dream job in 2010, when he retired as a Baltimore police officer to help run the tiny 16-member force in this little riverfront city, which calls itself “the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore.” A year later he became its first African-American police chief.

Blacks and whites have coexisted, sometimes uneasily, in Pocomoke for centuries, but Chief Sewell, with his easygoing manner, quickly fit in. He prodded officers to patrol on foot, pleasing business owners. He helped poor students fill out college applications. Crime, everyone agrees, went down on his watch.

Former Chief Kelvin Sewell

But the chief’s abrupt dismissal in June, without explanation, by a white mayor and majority white City Council that voted along racial lines, has torn Pocomoke asunder, wrecking old friendships and exposing a deep racial rift in this community of roughly 4,100 people, split almost evenly between black and white.

The drama in Pocomoke is a tiny slice of America’s searing national conversation about race, playing out largely in big cities like Baltimore, St. Louis and most recently, Cincinnati, around police mistreatment of African-Americans. A recent New York Times/CBS News Poll found nearly six in 10 Americans, including majorities of blacks and whites, think race relations are generally bad, and nearly four in 10 think they are getting worse.

What makes Pocomoke unusual is the way that conversation is tearing apart a small town, forcing lifelong friends and neighbors to confront how differently they see the world. A black minister who went to high school with the white mayor — and worked to elect him — is pushing for his ouster. A white city councilman provoked gasps by addressing black citizens as “you people.”

“There is so much history here, with everybody being raised here — except the chief,” said Monna VanEss, 53, the former city finance director, who is white. “A lot of these people on both sides went to school together and have known each other all their lives. We’ve never been this divided.”

Mr. Sewell, 53, says his firing was “racially motivated” punishment for standing up for two black officers who experienced harassment. (Before his dismissal, his lawyer said, he had also filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that he was paid less than his white predecessor.) Black residents, led by two prominent African-American ministers, have demanded the chief’s reinstatement — they say they have more than 500 signatures on a petition — and the resignation of Mayor Bruce Morrison.

Pocomoke City Mayor Bruce Morrison

Blacks are also organizing politically, accusing the city — with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland — of voting rights irregularities involving the cancellation of a municipal election, which cleared the way for a white city councilman to take office in April with no opposition in a majority black district. The situation is so tense that the Justice Department recently sent mediators to hear black residents’ concerns.

“This is political and racial,” said the Rev. James Jones, an associate pastor at the New Macedonia Baptist Church and the mayor’s former classmate. He says African-Americans were so furious about the chief’s firing he feared Pocomoke would break out into a riot. “The political structure of Pocomoke, they are not ready for a black chief. They don’t like us at the top.”

Not so, insists Mayor Morrison, who said the chief’s dismissal is a personnel matter, which he cannot discuss. He has no intention of quitting. “I’ve never been called a racist in my life,” he said during a brief interview at his desk in Pocomoke’s small, brick City Hall. “And I don’t appreciate it.”

While some whites are withholding judgment, at least one, Michael Dean, a funeral director and part-time forensic investigator with the state medical examiner’s office, has openly criticized the chief. He said he has “lost respect” for Mr. Sewell but would not say why. Others seem unable to fathom that race may have played a role.

“Nobody knows why he was let go, but there was a reason and it wasn’t racial,” said Marc Scher, who owns a bridal shop downtown. Mr. Scher says the wife of the Rev. Ronnie White, the other black minister pressing for the ouster of the mayor, does seamstress work for him, and the pastor’s grandmother was the Scher family’s housekeeper when Mr. Scher was a boy.

“They’re still my friends,” he said. “I don’t agree with them.”

Nestled between the Chesapeake and Chincoteague Bays, and surrounded by corn and soybean fields, Pocomoke City is part of Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, a world away and much poorer than fancy shore communities like St. Michaels, where prominent Washingtonians keep summer homes. Its history of racial tensions runs deep.

Resistance to slavery was strong in Maryland, but the lower Eastern Shore, just across the border from Virginia, was home to Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War. The early 20th century brought lynch mobs. The region was slow to desegregate its schools and even slower to elect blacks to government, said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the A.C.L.U. of Maryland, which in the 1990s brought a voting rights case that forced changes in the way Pocomoke’s surrounding county, Worcester, held elections.

“It’s not like the rest of Maryland; it’s more like the Deep South,” Ms. Jeon said. “They fought us tooth and nail to prevent changes in the election system, even though the county had an all-white government for 250 years.”

Poverty is a concern. Pocomoke’s per capita income is $19,243, about half that of Maryland as a whole, and 27.1 percent of residents live below the poverty line. The rough side of town, known locally as “the back burner,” is overwhelmingly black, with run-down cinder block homes and a reputation for drugs and crime.

“Coming to Pocomoke from Baltimore City,” Mr. Sewell said, “it feels like you go back in time.”

Mr. Sewell’s troubles began, both he and his lawyer Andrew McBride said, when a black detective, Franklin L. Savage, complained of racial harassment while assigned to a regional police task force on combating the drug trade.

After a string of racially charged incidents — including receiving a text message addressing him with a racial epithet and being driven by fellow officers down a street they called “K.K.K. road” — Detective Savage asked to go back to his regular work in Pocomoke and complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said Mr. McBride of the law firm Wiley Rein.

But upon his return, Mr. McBride said, Detective Savage faced questions from city officials about his credibility, and wound up on night duty, which he construed as retaliation. Another black Pocomoke officer, Lt. Lynell Green, accompanied Detective Savage to a commission mediation session, and later complained of harassment as well. After that, Mr. McBride said, both officers were branded troublemakers, and city officials began pressuring Chief Sewell to fire them.

When he would not, said Mr. McBride — who is representing all three men with the nonprofit Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs — the chief was fired. The other two officers remain on the force.

William C. Hudson, the Pocomoke City solicitor, said that was not an accurate accounting of events, though like Mayor Morrison he would not offer specifics. “When all the facts are known,” he said, “it will be clear that the city is guilty of no improprieties and that the action taken to relieve Chief Sewell was in the best interest of the community.”

Perhaps, but ill will abounds. Diane Downing, the lone member of the City Council to oppose Chief Sewell’s removal, said the mayor pushed the council to fire him — in violation of the city charter, which does not give the mayor hiring or firing authority — and begged her to vote in favor.

“I am not stupid, and I was not born last night,” she said. “He wanted my vote because I am black.”

The firing has stirred a new spirit of African-American activism. Black residents — many wearing T-shirts bearing Mr. Sewell’s likeness — jammed the City Council chambers during a tense meeting after his dismissal. Pastor Jones and Pastor White have formed a coalition, Citizens for a Better Pocomoke, to prod blacks to get more involved in city government. Pastor Jones said they will not rest until the chief is back and the mayor is gone.

“They woke the sleeping giant,” said Gabe Purnell, an African-American activist from nearby Berlin, Md., who is advising the group.

Whites, too, are organizing. At the Salem United Methodist Church, a white congregation, more than 100 people signed a letter Thursday backing the mayor. Both blacks and whites are bracing for the next City Council meeting, Monday night. A Justice Department spokeswoman said its mediators, who have no authority to investigate, “remain available” to “facilitate any discussions” if needed.

Some wonder if Pocomoke will ever heal. Mayor Morrison insists everything will be fine: “It’s still the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore,” he said, “and I’ll stick by that.”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Uncle Ben Carson…Black Lives Matter “Silly”

Uncle Ben is at it again.

 

What he said was this –

He told ThinkProgress he believes the movement is divisive. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday (July 28), Carson further explained his point of view at a rally to defund Planned Parenthood:

“We need to talk about what the real issues are and not get caught up in silliness like this matters or that matters.” “Of course all lives matter. I don’t want to get into it, it’s so silly,” he continued. “Black lives are part of all lives, right? When we’re talking about a culture of life, then we ought to be talking about a culture of life and not allow ourselves to get caught up in all the divisive rhetoric and terminology and political correctness. It’s the reason we can’t make any progress as a society.”

Ben Carson Doesn’t Understand Black Lives Matter

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Sunday expressed skepticism over the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement and refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake when calling the movement “silly.”

Last week, the neurosurgeon-turned-GOP presidential candidate said that Black Lives Matter is “silly” and “divisive.”

“We need to talk about what the real issues are and not get caught up in silliness like this matters or that matters,” he said. “Of course all lives matter. I don’t want to get into it. It’s so silly.”

On Sunday, Carson denied that he called the movement itself “silly” and clarified that he thinks the distinction between “black lives matter” and “all lives matter” is “political correctness going amuck.” 

“Well, you know, I don’t recall calling it silly, but what I called silly is political correctness going amuck. That’s what’s silly. When, you know, I guess it was Martin O’Malley who said, you know, ‘Black lives matter, white lives matter.’ He got in trouble for that and had to apologize. That’s what I’m talking about is silly,” Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He was referring to an incident last month when Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley ignited controversy after he told Black Lives Matters protesters: “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Carson added: “Of course all lives matter, and of course we should be very concerned about what’s going on, particularly in our inner cities. It’s a crime, you know, for a young black man, the most likely cause of death is homicide. That is a huge problem that we need to address in a very serious way.”

When host Chuck Todd reminded Carson that saying “all lives matter” diminishes the fact that blacks as a group are disproportionately targeted and mistreated by police, Carson suggested that people place too much blame on the police:

I think we need to look at the whole picture. One of the things that I always like to point out to people is how about we just remove the police for 24 hours. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue? And the vast majority of police are very good people. Are there bad apples? Of course.

But if you hire a plumber and he does a bad job, do you say all plumbers are bad? Let’s go out and kill them? I don’t think we do that. We need to be a little more mature, but certainly in cases where police are doing things that are inappropriate, I think we ought to investigate those promptly and justice should be swift.

The Black Lives Matter movement has tried to bring racial discrimination and police brutality into the forefront of the presidential race. But with the exception of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has sponsored criminal justice reform legislation in the Senate, the GOP presidential field has been largely silent on the problem of racial inequality. Those who have weighed in have appeared dismissive of the movement.

Like Carson, fellow GOP contender Jeb Bush also believes that O’Malley did not need to apologize for his remarks, telling reporters last month that “we’re so uptight and so politically correct. Now you apologize for saying lives matter?”

Carson and Bush were the only Republican candidates to speak at last week’s National Urban League conference, an annual gathering of civil rights leaders. In their speeches, both candidates failed to directly address the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement, shifting the focus away from specific issues like criminal justice reform to more general thoughts about race. Bush discussed his efforts to promote more black leaders when he was governor of Florida, while Carson recounted a childhood incident of racism.

Think he deserves the  Black Republican Jockstrap Award for this one.

Alan West, the Tea Parties other black Lawn Jockey Strap

Alan West, the Tea Parties other black Lawn Jockey Strap

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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The First American Invasion of Haiti 1915-1934

One of the Historical Footnotes, I was reminded of by my Haitian co-workers and friends while working in Haiti after the earthquake -was that America had invaded Haiti, and occupied the country for nearly 20 years. Fortunately for me, I had, upon increasingly becoming involved in the work in Haiti, had read as much Haitian History as I could. Off course, not being to read Creole, I had little understanding of the Haitian side of things – although I would learn form personal experience the “caicos” (from Creole meaning “Birds of Prey”…or  “bad niggers” as the Americans would call them) still existed, in the modern form of the “Machete Gang” employed by former President Preval (as well as Aristide), and the regional role of politics in the country- North versus South, and the implications of what it really meant when a HAitian described a politicians base as “coming from the North”.

A part of the Haitian cultural psyche is to be extraordinarily defensive at anything which might even tangentially be construed as a slight. Without a cultural and historical context, such paranoia  seems to the unknowledged  a bit overboard. In the case of Haiti, the sense the world is out to get them, is not entirely counterfactual.
The US invaded Haiti in 1915, set up a puppet dictator, and murdered over 3,000 Haitians, often slaughtering prisoners and lynching suspects believed to be supporting Haitian resistance before departing in 1934. In 1920, the NAACP issued this report. The US would, in line with the deeply racist beliefs held by Americans at that time, create a “paper bag test” elite, favoring the mixed race, lighter skinned Haitians with product distribution an import agreements, as well a using the puppet government to favor them with business contracts, jobs, and licenses. While Haiti has thrown that pig off the bus, the impact of that can be seen today when you meet a group of the major business leaders, and middle/upper class of the country. Met Miss Haiti 2010 while they were doing a photo shoot of her at the Hotel I was staying at. Got a bit of a kickback that evening from a lady friend , when I joined she and her friends at her restaurant for dinner and drinks. Fact is, Haitians come in all shades, just like African-Americans. There is no color barrier anymore – but the social dynamic of folks from a particular social class living in the same neighborhood, and intermarrying – receiving the generational benefits of middle-class, means that most of the folks who are of the middle or upper class are still of mixed blood. Those whose skills, education, and pluck which have moved them into the upper classes in the last 20 years or so, tend to be representative of the population in general. I didn’t particularly care, face it – Miss Bertin is gorgeous, as were the next several women who won the title (You Dawgs among my readership can just look it up). The scars of American racism are still there.

This is an excellent discussion of that, in an interview of Haitian descended Dr Patrick Bellegarde-Smith.

 

The capture of Ft Revere – The first American invasion and occupation of Haiti.

 

A century ago we invaded and occupied a nation

“Bandit” is a very interesting term. It implies that we aren’t actually fighting a war against a legitimate military foe, but are instead just hunting a group of outlaws. Thus the rules of war don’t apply.
Bandit was the term used by America when it occupied Nicaragua from 1925 to 1933 and failed to quash the Sandino Revolt. But where did the American propaganda machine create that term from?

Short lived brutal Haitian Dictator Vilbrun Guillaume Sam m whose reign of terror lasted only 6 months in 1915

It turns out that we learned it from Haiti several years before.
I want to introduce you to yet another American military occupation that some would prefer you forgot.

On February 25, 1915, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam seized power in Haiti in a military coup. This ruthless thug had no power base. Thus, when he began getting too friendly with American commercial and military interests a revolt broke out. Afraid that he would end up like his predecessors, dictator Sam had all 167 political prisoners being held in a Port-au-Prince jail executed on July 27, 1915. The people of Haiti rose in revolt and  forced Sam to flee to the French embassy. The mob stormed the embassy and found him hiding in a toilet. They literally tore his body to pieces. Thus dictator Sam’s rule ended after just five months.

The chaos that followed threatened the interests of the Haitian American Sugar Company (HASCO), which got President Wilson’s attention. Also, the Haitian government was deeply behind on its debts to American banks.
Officially the reasons why America got involved was because a) we were afraid that Germany might use the chaos as an excuse to invade Haiti, and b) the American government was horrified at the violence committed against the Haitian dictator. Both reasons don’t pass the smell test. As for Germany, invading Haiti while engaged in a two-front war in Europe was far-fetched by any measure. And as for the violence against the dictator, remember that this was 1915 and most Americans at the time had very little problem with a black man being lynched.

The very next day a marine detachment of 2,000 was ordered to Haiti. One of these marines had already created a name for himself, Smedley Darlington Butler. It was in Haiti that he truly distinguished himself as a leader of men.

Port-au-Prince and most of southern Haiti allowed the huge neighbor to the north to occupy the country. But northern Haiti was home of the “cacos” (“or bad niggers as we would call them at home.” – Smedley Butler). In the local dialect cacos means “bird of prey”. They feared no army, despite being armed with just machetes, pikes, and 19th Century firearms. The didn’t grasp guerrilla warfare, despite that being their only viable option, and decided to attack the marines head-on. In other words, they were hopelessly out gunned and out trained.

It didn’t take long before the cacos had retreated to Fort Rivière, an old French fortress that was perfectly situated for  18th Century warfare.

Fort Rivière, renamed Fort Liberte is one of several major architectural ruins from the colonial period in Haiti

 

Butler, one private, and a sergeant named Ross L. lams together scrambled up the slope, bullets pecking into the ground around them, and reached the foot of the wall, to find that the only way in was a storm drain, through which the defenders kept up a steady fire. “I had never experienced a keener desire to be some place else,” Butler remembered. “My misery and an unconscious, helpless, pleading must have been written all over my face. lams took one look at me and then said, ‘Oh, hell, I’m going through.’ ”

Sergeant lams shouldered his way into the drain with Butler and the private right behind him. The startled defenders somehow missed all three, and before they could reload, the Marines were among them. Fifty-one were shot dead: twenty-nine inside the fortress, the rest as they jumped from the parapet and tried to flee into the jungle. Total Marine injuries: two teeth knocked out by a hurled rock. No prisoners were taken; no Haitian survived.

Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave

The first Cacos War was over and Smedley Butler received his 2nd Medal of Honor as well as being appointed commanding officer of the Haitian Gendarmerie.

Now that the first Cacos War was mercifully over, America decided to set up a representative government.

A few weeks later, the US State Department installs Senator Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave as the head of state. “When the National Assembly met, the Marines stood in the aisles with their bayonets until the man selected by the American Minister was made President,” Smedley Butler, a Marine who will administer Haiti’s local police force, later writes.The man selected was Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave and he would be president of Haiti for the next seven years. Soon after assuming office he was presented with a treaty written by the American government and told to sign it. The treaty legitimized the American occupation, as well as gave U.S. control of Customs (something that America had requested just a year earlier) and appointed an American financial adviser (who at one point withheld the pay of the Haitian legislators).

Jim Crow and Dollar Imperialism

For some silly reason the Haitian legislature held onto the quaint notion that they should work for the interests of the people of Haiti. So when America drafted a new constitution for Haiti in 1917 which excluded a “provision from the country’s previous constitution which had prohibited foreign ownership of land” the Haitian legislature rejected it and began crafting their own constitution which would reverse the terms of the 1915 treaty. They even began moving to impeach Haitian President Dartiguenave because he failed to oppose the U.S.-drafted constitution.

Dartiguenave asked Smedley Butler to use the marines to dissolve the Haitian legislature just before they prepared to vote on the new constitution.

Smedley claims that the measure is necessary in order “to end the spirit of anarchy which animates it [the Hatian legislature].” The U.S.-written constitution is submitted to a popular vote in June 1917 and it passes overwhelmingly. Of course only 5% of the population was eligible to vote.

“The Americans taught us how to build prisons. By the end of the 1915 occupation, the police in the city really knew how to hold human beings trapped in cages.”
– Edwidge Danticat

One consistent theme of the Haitian Occupation was the blatant racism of it all.

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan infamously said of the Haitian elite “Dear me, think of it! Niggers speaking French.” State Department Counselor Robert Lansing believed that “[t]he experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organization and lack genius for government. Unquestionably there is in them an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilization which are irksome to their physical nature.”‘ And Assistant Secretary of State William Philipps bemoaned “‘the failure of an inferior people to maintain the degree of civilization left them by the French.”Of course the racism went beyond simply words. Jim Crow laws were imported from the American South to Haiti. Newly arrived U.S. personnel insisted on segregated hotels, restaurants and clubs. Curfews and press censorships followed.

The worst example of this was the re-institution of the corvee system.

Haiti in 1917 had only 3 miles of paved roads outside of main cities. In order to more effectively control the country, the American military needed roads. To build the roads they needed labor. Thus they went back to the days of French colonialism to force Haitians to perform unpaid labor building roads three days a month.

Anyone who knows anything about Haitian history knows the brutality involved in theHaitian Revolutions. One third of the population of Haiti died fighting both British and French troops in the longest, bloodiest slave revolt in history. In order to win their freedom from slavery, Haitians endured hardships and atrocities that Americans could not even imagine (the French “civilization” that William Philipps spoke of involved burying people alive as well as boiling them alive in pots of molasses). To reimpose the corvee system in Haiti shows an incredible insensitivity that could only exist in a racist mind… The reaction was predictable and inevitable.

The Second Cacos War

Charlemagne Masséna Péralte was born October 10, 1885, in Haiti. He was a military officer when the Americans invaded in 1915.
He was fiercely nationalistic, so instead of surrendering to the Americans he simply resigned his position and went home to care for his family. In October 1917, Charlemagne led 60 others in an failed attack on the house of the U.S. commander in Hinche, his hometown. He was captured and sentenced to five years of hard labor. After a couple months he escaped into the mountains with the help of his guard and started a revolt that surprised almost everyone.

During Charlemagne’s time in prison, the corvee system was so unpopular that even the American administration noticed and began to phase it out. Too late.

Initial fighting occurred in June 1918 when a gendarme force, sent out to enforce the edict, was severely beaten by a group of cacos. During the summer and fall of 1918, the cacos developed a military force of 3,000 men, with the active assistance of about one-fifth of the entire Haitian people. Led by the charismatic personality of Charlemagne Peralte, they organized a fairly sophisticated system of intelligence and security, forcing peasants to join up whether they wanted to or not.The cacos took the offensive to the gendarmerie, burning their barracks and, on occasion, administering severe defeats on the newly-formed outfit. The movement began to assume the proportions of a full-scale revolution, led by Charlemagne’s cry to “drive the invaders into the sea and free Haiti.” With the gendarmerie clearly on the defensive, the country tottered on the brink of disaster. In March, 1919, a belated call for another marine intervention was made by the government of Haiti.

Charlemagne’s cacos revolt was so successful against the native gendarmerie police forces that by spring 1919 Charlemagne and his “Chief Minister of Revolution”, Benoit Batraville, was in the process of setting up a new rebel government in northern Haiti where he had taken almost complete control. The new marines commander in Haiti, Col. John Russell, was given the task of defeating this new threat to American control. But they soon learned that this wasn’t the same cacos they had fought in 1915. This time the enemy had at least some grasp of the concept of guerrilla warfare even though they were using the same ancient weapons.

Using hit and run tactics, the Cacos managed to inflict at least minor damage and casualties on the marines while avoiding any major defeats. As the months drug on without a solution, Charlemagne grew more bold while the marines grew more frustrated.

 Almost everyone stationed in Haiti during the early part of the year seemed to have some knowledge of the fact that both marines and gendarmeries were killing prisoners. It is very difficult to get any witnesses to testify directly, as in the opinion of the undersigned, they were all equally culpable.
– Major T. C. Turner. 1919 investigation report

“There was unquestionably some things done by the gendarmeries and some of the marines which deserved punishment.”
– Secretary Daniels

There were at least 400 illegal execution of prisoners, but probably many more. Certain records related to the atrocities mysteriously vanished. An investigation by Secretary Daniels was actively undermined by the adjutant general of the Marine Corps with the approval of Major General George Barnett.
General Barnett had gone to the trouble of ordering the marine commander in Haiti to stop the “indiscriminate killing of natives.”

“If one chances to ‘pop off’ a caco, there is not even the trouble of explaining, for one’s companions will do that in their laconic report to headquarters.”
– journalist Harry Franck

Despite this wholesale killing of anyone suspected of being a caco sympathizer, the revolt failed to diminish. In fact, it flourished, as guerrilla campaigns are liable to do in the face of widespread atrocities. Peralte proclaimed a holy war against the “white infidels”. From April to October there was 131 separate attacks on the marines by the rebels.

On October 7, 1919, Charlemagne and Benoit launched their boldest attack of all – an assault with 300 men on Port-au-Prince itself. While the coordination with insurgents within the city was impressive, it failed on all accounts and the attack turned into a rout with at least 40 dead.
Nevertheless, the close-call forced the marines to face the idea that they were facing a full-scale revolution. Until this point information was covered up in the hopes of playing down the trouble. No longer. The order was put out to kill Peralte one way or another.

 “It was a pretty big order. It meant running down one Haitian out of several millions of Haitians in a country as big as the state of New York. And that one Haitian was surrounded by his friends, operating in a country which was almost entirely sympathedc to him, was protected by a fanatical body guard, never slept two nights in the same place, and must be run down in a tangled maze of mountains and valleys and jungles, of which there were no accurate maps.”
– Colonel F. M. Wise

The job of killing Charlemagne eventually fell on Sergeant H. H. Hanneken. Like Smedley Butler’s victory in the first Cacos War, this plan was bold to the point of reckless. Hanneken needed help, and so he turned to Jean-Baptiste Conze. Conze was a wealthy Haitian that hated Peralte even more than Americans. He was also promised $9,600 for his help.

Conze publicly denounced the Americans, and even led a fake attack on an American base with men in his employ. On October 30, Conze, having now infiltrated into the ranks of the rebels, gave the location of Peralte to Hanneken.

 With sixteen hand picked gendarmes, Hanneken and his second in command, Corporal William R. Button (USMC) , went through six caco outposts undetected. They were inspected by flashlight at each point, but incredibly enough, they were able to disguise their skin by the use of black cork coloring. They made it through each outpost undetected, white men “dressed” in caco skin.
When they arrived at the main rebel base, Conze silently pointed out Charlemagne hovering near the light of a small campfire. The American pumped two .45 caliber slugs into the betrayed leader, killing him instantly. The bodyguard was instantly felled by automatic rifle fire.

The following day Charlemagne’s body was photographed and copies were placed all over Haiti in order to convince the rebels of his death. But the Americans had made a mistake.

Perhaps the marines didn’t realize that photographing the body of their dead leader in a Christ-like crucification pose in a catholic country might have unintended consequences.

Afterwards

After a short period of time, the rebellion sprung to life anew. This time led by Benoit Batraville, a former police chief of Mirebalais. With the opening of 1920 the marines in Haiti took the counter-insurgency to the next level. For the first time since WWI ground forces worked in concert with seven seaplanes and six biplanes, all of whom were converted into bombers. The entire ground strategy was reconfigured into districts. Both methods were effective. The cacos were driven back time and time again. In nearly 200 engagements most of the cacos were either killed or captured. In early June Benoit was killed when his camp was overrun, thus effectively ending the war.

The official number of casualties from the second Cacos War was 13 marines and 27 gendarmeries killed in action, as well as over 3,000 rebels and suspected sympathizers.

The American Occupation of Haiti continued until 1934. It probably would have continued longer if not for a general strike in Novemeber 1929 that ended with the infamous Cayes Massacre of December 6.

An American Soldier stands amidst the bodies of Haitian “Rebels”.

The Cayes Massacre

Fifteen hundred angry peasants, armed with stones, machetes, and clubs, surrounded a detachment of twenty Marines armed with rifles and automatic weapons. The Marines had gone out to meet the peasants, who were advancing on the town intent on securing the release of prisoners arrested the day before and on airing various grievances against the Occupation, including complaints about alcohol, tobacco, and other taxes. Marine airplanes had dropped bombs in the Cayes harbor in an attempt to awe the local population into submissiveness, but this demonstration apparently had the undesired effect of creating terror and frenetic excitement. A district Marine officer unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the mob to retire, but then, according to an account given by two Marine participants, a Haitian leader instigated a scuffle:

The leader made a suspicious move and Gillaspey countered with a blow with the stock of his Browning gun, breaking the stock. The belligerent fell, tackling Gillaspey around the right leg and biting him. William T. Meyers, private, first class, bayoneted the man without seriously hurting him, but forcing him to release Gillaspey. The clash with the natives followed.

The State Department announced that the Haitians first threw stones and then rushed the Marines. In any case, the Marines opened fire at point-blank range and dispersed the mob.

Initial Marine reports and State Department press releases indicated that 5 Haitians were killed and 20 wounded, but Russell later informed the department that the final hospital list totaled 12 dead and 23 wounded, and that It is possible that other wounded were not brought in and other deaths occurred in the hills from contaminated wounds. Reports are current that this is the case, but verification cannot be secured. Casualty lists published in the Haitian press in Jan. 1930 totaled 24 dead and 51 wounded. In response to pointed questions from Under Secretary of State Joseph P. Cotton, who referred to the Marine detachment as a firing squad, Russell explained the curious fact that both the officer in charge of the detachment and his second-in-command had arrived in Haiti only two days before the massacre by saying that they were selected for this duty as they would operate on a military basis, having no bias or preconceived ideas of the Haitian situation. Russell reported that 600 rounds had been fired by rifles, automatic rifles, and one machine gun, but that most of the firing had been deliberately over the natives’ heads and that Had punitive effect been desired, it is reported that from 300 to 400, perhaps more, could easily have been killed. A State Department press release indicated that one Marine was hurt in hand-to-hand encounter with a mob leader. The Marines were later officially vindicated of any taint of brutality or indiscretion when the Navy Department awarded the Navy Cross to the Cayes detachment commander for commendable courage and forbearance. (…)

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Haiti

 

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Obama Wants to Build a Super-Supercomputer

IBM 360 195 at Lawrence Livermore Labs. The 195 was also the first IBM Machine that used a CRT Tube to enter control instruction (machine code, an early Assembler) instead of flip switches.

My first professional job was with IBM. In those days, the IBM 360 generation computer was on the way out to be replaced by the 370. IBM’s Mainframes, which were sold in the commercial market were General Purpose Computers. They were fast, but not very good at mathematical calculations of the types used to model weather, aircraft, or even some weapons systems. Control Data Corporation was king in that field, until their principal designer, Seymour Cray left to start Cray Computer. Cray is still around despite the tragic death of their founder in an auto accident. IBM had a habit of building special purpose computers, for big customers. From that came the first IBM Supercomputer, the IBM 360 –  195. It was blazingly fast for it’s day, operating at 10 Million Instructions per Second (MIPs). It also was the first supercomputer I actually got to lay hands on. IBM only built 28 of these, as I recall. It was the first IBM Computer to use a technique called “pipelining” which allowed the Operating System to predict where the next memory location would be that a program would use, and dynamically schedule memory allocation. Unless one of my “Geek Qualified” Readers asks, that is as far as I will get into Supercomputer internals and how they work.

The Cray 1 was a radically different design with a liquid nitrogen cooled “core. And yes, you could sit there – but I am not sure anyone would let you.

The next real “Monster” came in terms of the Cray 1.

The new Cray operated at 80 MFOPS. This one was the most popular model of Supercomputer ever built selling over 80 units. The round design was based on minimizing the distance travelled between two points inside the computer by the wiring. It was supercooled to further increase the speed, as electrons travel faster a near zero temperature. The machine operated in the nanosecond range. Electricity has time only to travel about a foot through a copper or gold wire in that time.

The Cray 2 – was 100 times faster.

The next major step was to develop machines with multiple processors, instead of just one. The best in the US is the Titan have 552,960 processors running 17.6 petaflop/s. And yes, the like to make them “pretty” now. Here is a list of the “Bad boys” over the last 20 years.

The came the Chinese…

Since 2012, they have had the fastest Supercomputer on the block, the Tianhe-2 (MilkyWay-2), owned by the Chinese Army

 

Tianhe-2 (MilkyWay-2)

Which isn’t something making the US Government happy.

To give a reference as to why these things are important, some years ago an associate of mine was doing work on calculating planets around a star located light years away. This was done then by measuring the “wobble” of the star (no I don’t totally understand it). At his University system, it took nearly 20 hours to run one calculation – and they had a fairly big system. It also stopped other users from doing their work. He got access to one of the supercomputers, which did the calculations in just under 1 second. This is critical to maintaining America’s global lead in research and science.

And if Obama gets this done…It is going to be a Monster.

Obama Wants the US to Build the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has signed an executive order authorizing the creation of new supercomputing research initiative called the National Strategic Computing Initiative, or NSCI. Its goal: pave the for the first exaflop supercomputer—something that’s about 30 times faster than today’s fastest machines.

Supercomputers are at the heart of a huge number of important scientific and defense research projects. They’re used by aerospace engineers to model planes and weapons, and by climatologists to predict the the near-term impact of hurricanes and the long-term effects of climate change. Researchers involved in the White House’s Precision Medicine initiative believe exaflop speed supercomputers could aid the creation of personalized drugs, while the European Commission’s Human Brain Project hopes they will help unlock the secrets of the human brain.

Several government agencies, most notably the Department of Energy, have been deeply involved in the development of supercomputers over the last few decades, but they’ve typically worked separately. The new initiative will bring together scientists and government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation to create a common agenda for pushing the field forward.

The specifics are thin on the ground at the moment. The Department of Energy has already identified the major challenges preventing “exascale” computing today, according to a fact sheet released by the government, but the main goal of the initiative, for now, be to get disparate agencies working together on common goals.

It’s hard not to see the initiative as a response to China’s gains in supercomputing. Earlier this month TOP500, an organization that ranks supercomputers by performance,announced that China’s 33.86 petaflop Tianhe-2 is still the fastest supercomputer in the world. The US still has more computers on the TOP500 list than any other country in the world, but researchers have worried for years about falling behind China.

An exoflop is about 1,000 petaflops, and would represent a massive leap forward in computing power. But creating an exaflop computer is about more than just finding a way to build faster hardware. Creating applications that can take advantage of such an architecture is a challenge in its own right. NCSI will also prioritize the creation of supercomputers that can handle vast quantities of rapidly changing data.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Bill O’Reilly is “The One reporter on national news who has done the most to highlight racially motivated violence”

It doesn’t get any funnier!

Bunch of things wrong here.

1. Most black folks are a bit wary of strange right-wing white folks waving cameras at a Civil Rights meeting – something to do with COINTELPRO trying to create dirt on MLK in the Civil Rights Movement days, James Keen/Breitbart’s fake white pimp videos to attack ACORN, and the fake Shirley Sherrod video… Their history in abusing the medium precedes them.

2. To be the “Gestapo”…You have to be in charge. Sorta like the old Russian KGB…You ARE the government. I haven’t seen any evidence the BlacLivesMatters is running the country …Yet…But one can always hope.

3. O’Reilly blackmails a low level Fox Reporter with the question. Faced with the choice of getting fired, or kissing O’Reilly’s behind – she punts with “I don’t know” to O’Liars’s pandering question.

Hysterical Fox News Man Compares #BlackLivesMatter to Gestapo

On Wednesday, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly highlighted a reporter who tried to cover a Black Lives Matter protest in Chicago but was told to turn off his camera by activists. O’Reilly somehow linked that to black-on-black crime, the condemnation of white people and himself as the reporter giving the most coverage to the Black Lives Matter movement. Also: Nazis.

While he’s smart for trolling America on a nightly basis, in this case, Bill O’Reilly isn’t funny, he’s dangerous. As countless black people die at the hands of police and random white people likeDylann Roof feel empowered to murder churchgoers, O’Reilly still thinks race baiting is a timely joke. It’s not.

Last night during O’Reilly’s chat with Andrea Tantaros and Jehmu Greene, Tantaros speculated that the Black Lives Matter movement will protest outside of the Republican National Convention next year but was somehow befuddled as to why they wouldn’t protest outside of the Democratic National Convention.

On the other side, as Greene tried to explain that she understood the anger exhibited by the protestors captured on tape but didn’t agree with their demand to turn the reporter’s camera off, O’Reilly cut her off and compared the activists to … the Nazis.

“Their message means nothing if they do these gestapo tactics, they lose all credibility,” he said. “Their message will only fall on ears sympathetic to them.”

Bill O’Reilly Compares #BlackLivesMatter Movement To Gestapo

Bill O’Reilly compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the gestapo Wednesday night, shortly before proclaiming he is the reporter who has done the most to “shed light” on violence against young black men.

During a segment on “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly and Fox News commentator Andrea Tantaros discussed a Black Lives Matter conference in Ohio where attendees prevented a reporter from filming.

“Their message means nothing if they do these gestapo tactics,” O’Reilly said. “They lose all credibility. The group is never going to be taken seriously.”

It’s unclear how the gestapo — the Nazi secret police group dedicated to oppressing and terrorizing Jews, gay people, and basically anyone the Nazis deemed undesirable — is at all similar to a group that fights the oppression and brutalization of black people by law enforcement in the U.S.

Less than a minute later, O’Reilly asked Fox News correspondent Jehmu Greene, “The reporter in this country who has shed the most light on young black men being killed is who?” When Greene said she didn’t know, O’Reilly informed her, “That would be me.”

If by “shedding light,” O’Reilly means using debunked statistics to downplay police brutality, he’s right.

O’Reilly’s criticisms of Black Lives Matter are notably inconsistent. His “gestapo” comment came just one day after he criticized the movement for being “anarchistic” — a trait not exactly typically linked to Nazi-like behavior.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Faux News

 

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