Posts Tagged ‘america


American Tribalism: Road to Rwanda Redux

by @zizii2

I have been spooked these last 10 days by the insanity that erupted here in the US since the Paris terrorist attacks. I wanted to give words to my thoughts. But I froze. Then I rediscovered this piece I began writing in April 2013, but had abandoned for being too alarmist! If only I knew….

Here is the piece completed with a few edits…


Rwanda: A Haunting Lesson

April 6 marked the (21st) anniversary of the launch of the genocidal nightmare in the central African country of Rwanda that ended 100 days later with 800,000 people dead, and a nation scarred deeply. That was 11.4% of the total population of 7 million. Nearly three-quarters of those massacred were Tutsis who comprised 14% of the entire population.

The word “anniversary” seems inappropriate because although it is technically a neutral term it still invokes positive associations and anticipation. No one should anticipate a genocide nor look forward to marking milestones in its aftermath. Yet mark, we must. The lessons are not simply framed in dog-eared history tomes or award winning films about a bygone tragedy. The lessons are here. With us. Today.


In societies wracked by mass economic, social and political faultlines the signs are always there for a Rwanda Redux, or a Srebrenica. Hate Radio. Divide and conquer. Nihilism. Opportunistic politicians and cultural loudmouths. Group resentment. Grievance. Silence and apathy from the majority population. Now, all of these do not a genocide trigger. But they exist to be manipulated if conditions ripen.

“The Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power. This small, privileged group first set the majority against the minority to counter a growing political opposition within Rwanda. Then, faced with RPF success on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, these few power holders transformed the strategy of ethnic division into genocide. They believed that the extermination campaign would reinstate the solidarity of the Hutu under their leadership and help them win the war, or at least improve their chances of negotiating a favorable peace. They seized control of the state and used its authority to carry out the massacre. (UnitedHumanRights.Org)”


Continue reading ‘American Tribalism: Road to Rwanda Redux’


Genocide, Cultural Appropriation, Thievery, Marginalization – aka Columbus Day












President Obama Signs The America’s Promise Summit Declaration


President Barack Obama signs the America’s Promise Summit Declaration, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. From left are, John Gomperts, President and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance, Alma Powell, Chair, America’s Promise Alliance, the president, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford.


Text of the President’s remarks here

Information on America’s Promise here







President Barack Obama answers a question about the performance of the Secret Service after a signing the America’s Promise Summit Declaration, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The president said the Secret Service does “a great job.” He says he is grateful for the “sacrifices” the service performs on his behalf and on behalf of his family.


“I Love This Country; I Wish That My Country Loved Me.”




The great irony of the USA; we will go far abroad to protect the rights of selected persecuted minorities, we will speak about fair elections, we will condemn others for their failures in human rights, while in our own country we have long been guilty of these sins ourselves. The leaders and citizens of other countries are well aware of this hypocrisy. When they sit across negotiating tables they will have as ammunition the long voting lines and all of the moves to hinder and deny the right to vote, the many tales of members of an oppressed minority gunned down in the streets, unarmed, peacefully protesting citizens being persecuted by heavily armed police (so much for our much-vaunted constitutional rights), a national media, financed and controlled by a small group of wealthy white men, and a white majority that hates and does all that it can to marginalize and destroy a small minority (that is still less than 13% of the overall population).

What can we dare to say to others when we have not cleaned up our own house, when we are guilty of the same crimes that we dare to take other countries to task? It is more than time that we truly take up all of our country’s ills and make a final push to cure them. For far too long, the sores have been covered with band aids, but it is so easy to pull them off and to see the infection underneath. When Buddhist monks, Amnesty International, and the war-torn and savaged Palestinans are compelled to reach out to help American citizens who are being persecuted from all sides, shows just how bad our unresolved racial issues are. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I love this country; I wish that my country loved me.


Two Americas


Madame Soph


Been mostly lurking these past few days. Haven’t had many positive words to contribute, so I’ve chosen “praying” over “saying” But something happened last night that I felt I needed to share.

I have lived most of my life in neighborhoods where most of the residents were renters, rather than owners. One area in particular had a helicopter noise issue that was almost unbearable at times. The helicopters would circle overhead endlessly, making the neighborhood feel like a war zone. It got so it was unusual to have a quiet night, and I could relate to that Ice Cube song, “It Was a Good Day.” I would call the local PD and ask what was up and would be told about things like, “there is a fist-fight at a party” or some other minor incident. Finally the phone operator confessed that the city had been given all these helicopters after 911, but the deal was that they had to keep them up in the air for a certain number of hours per month in order to keep them. I commented to her that they flew them over the areas with home renters (also the area with more brown people), rather than home owners, because the rich people fund campaigns and vote and would complain). Her laugh and silence told me that I was correct in my assumption.

Jump to now. I am doing a kind of house-sitting thing for a friend that has landed me in a very affluent suburban community. I have been living here over six months and have never heard helicopters circling, until last night. I heard one overhead going round and round and making an announcement over a loudspeaker. Of course, I assumed they were after some fugitive or something. Nope. The announcer was repeating a male (child’s?) name, along with the words “your family is looking for you. Please get to a phone and dial 911.”

This absolutely floored me! So, in this neighborhood they send out helicopters to find lost neighborhood kids? When I was a kid, the only announcement came from your mom, yelling your name out the front door.

The difference between these two experiences hit me especially in light of recent events. O.k. back to lurking and praying. Thanks to all the TODers for your insightful and informative posts.




A Few Thoughts on Ferguson

I can’t even pretend to internalize what’s going on through the hearts of Mike Brown’s family. I can’t pretend to internalize what African Americans all over the country are feeling at young Mr. Brown’s execution.

I can ask a few questions.

What was the last time a white teenager was killed for stealing a candy bar?

What was the last time a white teenager was killed by a community watch vigilante for walking down the street?

What was the last time a white father was gunned down by police for handling an air rifle at Walmart?

If you are scratching your heads trying to come up with the answer, the answer is simple: never.

If your answer then is to say “Well, they [all those black folks] looked suspicious”, then you’re part of the festering racism which works to hold back this country.

Continue reading ‘A Few Thoughts on Ferguson’


Douglass Redux: What, to Women, is the 4th of July?

Douglass Redux: What, to Women, is the 4th of July?


by @zizii2


On that sweltering July 5th 1852, exactly 162 years ago today, Frederick Douglass delivered his famous speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”, a speech uncensored in its brutal rebuke of the hypocrisy of America celebrating independence, while its black population remained shackled in slavery. I wonder what he would say today if he were here in our time. No doubt the brutality of slavery in his time can never be compared to anything going on today.

Yet in view of the determined aggression of America’s conservative forces in our time, to derail every single gain made in the last century to advance Democracy and make this country “a more perfect union,” one wonders what he’d say. In the lifework of Frederick Douglass in which he combined his abolitionist cause with the fight for Women’s Rights, he always saw the struggles of enslaved African Americans as intertwined with the struggles of ALL disenfranchised Americans.

**** Continue reading ‘Douglass Redux: What, to Women, is the 4th of July?’


President Obama’s America



Supply Chain 24/7: US Manufacturing Increases At Fastest Rate In 4 Years

June data pointed to a robust and accelerated improvement in the performance of the U.S. manufacturing sector. At 57.5 in June, up from 56.4, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™)1 indicated the strongest upturn in overall business conditions since May 2010. The latest rise in the headline PMI was driven by the fastest output and new orders growth for just over four years. Manufacturing output growth picked up for the third month running to its strongest since April 2010.

Moreover, the average pace of expansion in Q2 was the steepest for any quarter since the survey began in early-2007. Survey respondents generally attributed rising production volumes to improving domestic economic conditions, increased client confidence and a strong pipeline of outstanding work. In line with the trend for output, total new business volumes increased at a sharp and accelerated pace during June.

More here




Night owl chat – The Great American Songbook, Part 1

Okay, I admit it. Now that I’m in middle age, all those songs which I always thought “not cool” sound pretty freaking awesome. Europe has opera. (We do too, but that’s for another post.) And we have songs which the whole world sings. So the first in an indefinite series on the Great American Songbook


Nat King Cole – It’s Only a Paper Moon


Michael Buble – I’ve Got The World on a String

Continue reading ‘Night owl chat – The Great American Songbook, Part 1’


Who is profiting from racial resentment in the Age of Obama?

Racial Resentment is illicit stock Conservatives traffic for Profit & Votes

by @zizii2

Obama’s ascendency to the presidency means that,

on race, the Rubicon has been crossed (2008) and re-crossed (2012).” (Edsall)

In his recent article about the surge in Racial Resentment during the age of Obama, Jonathan Chait could have spared readers the torture of seeing him contort himself into a beltway “both-sides-do-it” pretzel, if he had asked himself one simple question: — “Who is profiting from racial resentment in the Age of Obama?”.

That fundamental question would have trucked him out of the airy parlor of abstract debate and beltway media myopia where “policy” amounts to wealthy talking heads from left, right and 3rd Way trading barbs on TV, and out into the trail of the billionaire-backed conservative wrecking ball that is stripping minorities of voting rights, women of reproductive rights, blocking millions from access to Medicaid, profiting off criminalized black bodies warehoused in for-profit prisons, eroding workers’ rights in the name of coddling corporations as “job creators,” erasing the history of minority oppression from textbooks and classrooms, and so on.


On that trail he would have discovered how those conservative interests are cynically using President Obama and minorities as Rorschach Tests to whip up latent bigotries in order to further their corporate and fundamentalist religious goals, the bulk of which are actually detrimental to those very people whose bigotries they are whipping up. Racial resentment would not exist in its myriad forms if there was no market for it. To understand its lucrative purchase is to seek out who profits from it, and above all who runs the market.

Why look at profit? That’s because “Race” and its derivatives “Racism”, “Racialism”, “Racial Resentment,” have no intrinsic value outside of economics. They are social constructs rooted in the need to justify profit off human bodies by assigning hierarchical meaning to visible physical differences. Race in American history never made logical or scientific sense except as an excuse after the fact, to stitch meaning out of the yawning gap between philosophical ideals that “all men are created equal” and the greed impulse to make money. Except, the consequences have been brutal to people of color. It birthed an ugly history of physical oppression and many forms of structural inequality.

HD_RiotNYCClarksonStILN.previewDraft Rioters lynching African Americans on Clarkson Street, NYC, July 13, 1863, Source: Dickinson College


If slavery required the racialization of black bodies to ensure profit, it also subsequently required the racialization of the disparate peoples of European descent of varying fortunes into one monolithic “White” category to act as bulwark and maintain the social hierarchy. But what did “whiteness” mean if anything for those who did not own property or human chattel and were struggling to stay alive just like people of color? Enter “Racial Resentment” as a tool perfected for whipping up populism. President Andrew Jackson perfected it to serve territory-grabbing ends against Native Americans. But people, white, black or brown cannot always be hoodwinked into acting against their own rational economic interest, no matter their religious, tribal, or cultural allegiances.

There have been bull and bear markets for racial resentment especially since the end of the Civil War. There are periods of growth spurts such as we live in now of economic uncertainty, and periods of waning. Thus powerful interests are always on the prowl to exploit anything that divides and conquers the ranks of the ordinary people, often masking their agenda under nebulous and lofty disguises such as: values, freedom, tradition, real™ America.

As a commodity, Racial Resentment has no intrinsic value of its own save the utility that the profiteers derive from it. If it didn’t exist some other currency would be invented to profit off human differences and to maintain social control. Besides, it is not as if the conservatives are hiding their agenda. They have told us loud and clear what they are doing. Recent exhibit? Charles Koch’s smarmy term “collectivism” in his WSJ op-ed, or Art Pope’s radical control of North Carolina’s government as “budget director,” Or Mitt Romney’s insulting barb that President Obama won because he gave “gifts” to minorities women and young Americans, Paul Ryan’s Dickensian budget and quip about “lazy inner city males”, etc. Yet Chait bends over backward to argue that there is an equivalent use of race among liberals?



Continue reading ‘Who is profiting from racial resentment in the Age of Obama?’


Affordable And Comprehensive Healthcare In Your 20s? ✓







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