Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Quite often, those of us on the left are accused by the right of being unpatriotic or anti-American, an odd charge seeing how conservatives opposed our revolution and were the backbone of the Confederacy during the Civil War. In fact, I am very patriotic, especially for the holiest of all military causes in our country's history, the purposeful and organized killing of over 260,000 traitors, slaveholders, and their white supremacist supporters. For that, there could be no higher calling or anything nobler than taking the life of an armed exponent of the ownership of our fellow humans.

To that end, I want to give credit and celebrate the memory of those men and women, where due.

To John Brown, the greatest advocate of the cause of freedom in our nation's history. A man who sacrificed his life to start a war that ended human bondage. A man to whom we owe one our greatest debts of gratitude.

And to those brave men of the Massachusetts 54th, ex-slaves and freed men who took up arms to personally impact the rebellion, sending countless supporters of this evil straight to the fiery cauldrons, and proving once and for all that a republic could be both united and free.

To our increasingly unhallowed campaigner for freedom, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the abolitionist who penned Uncle Tom's Cabin, and was referred to by President Lincoln as "the little lady who started this great war!" It was the best selling book of the 19th century in the US, next to the Bible, and compelled the South to prohibit abolitionist literature, widening the cultural gap between the regions, and helping to precipitate the Civil War.

And to our Spartacus, Nat Turner, who took up arms and killed over 56 slavers, before being captured, and publicly lynched and mutilated by the state of Virginia.

And to 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing, recently awarded the Medal of Honor, who volunteered, fought, and was but one of the many real patriots who died in the Civil War, to which according to his citation, "Commanded Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery at Gettysburg, and was hailed by contemporaries as heroic in his actions on the third day of the battle. He was wounded three times. First, he was wounded by a shell fragment that went straight through his shoulder. He was then grievously wounded by a shell fragment which tore into his abdomen and groin. This wound exposed Cushing's intestines which he held in place with his hand as he continued to command his battery. After these injuries a higher ranking officer said, 'Cushing, go to the rear.' Cushing, due to the limited amount of men left, refused to fall back. The severity of his wounds left him unable to yell his orders above the sounds of battle. Thus, he was held aloft by his 1st Sergeant Frederick Fueger, who faithfully passed on Cushing's commands. Cushing was killed when a bullet entered his mouth and exited through the back of his skull. He died on the field at the height of the assault."

And to those millions who died en route, and millions more thrown into the fields to make our tea party settlers comfortable and happy, forced to endure and who outlasted and remain more deserving of citizenship and consideration than the tainted ancestry of your oppressors, this Memorial Day dedication is to you.

They Will Be Done

WE see not, know not; all our way
Is night,--with Thee alone is day
From out the torrent's troubled drift,
Above the storm our prayers we lift,
Thy will be done!

The flesh may fail, the heart may faint,
But who are we to make complaint,
Or dare to plead, in times like these,
The weakness of our love of ease?
Thy will be done!

We take with solemn thankfulness
Our burden up, nor ask it less,
And count it joy that even we
May suffer, serve, or wait for Thee,
Whose will be done!

Though dim as yet in tint and line,
We trace Thy picture's wise design,
And thank Thee that our age supplies
Its dark relief of sacrifice.
Thy will be done!

And if, in our unworthiness,
Thy sacrificial wine we press;
If from Thy ordeal's heated bars
Our feet are seamed with crimson scars,
Thy will be done!

If, for the age to come, this hour
Of trial hath vicarious power,
And, blest by Thee, our present pain,
Be Liberty's eternal gain,
Thy will be done!

Strike, Thou the Master, we Thy keys,
The anthem of the destinies!
The minor of Thy loftier strain,
Our hearts shall breathe the old refrain,
Thy will be done!
---John Greenleaf Whittier

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Death of MTV

Whenever I think of why I do not watch regular/cable t.v. anymore, and why I prefer Netflix and Hulu, and read all of my news (or only watch it online), I think of the descent of MTV and the rise of the infested evil that is 'fake' reality.

I am not even sure if they have music videos on MTV anymore. My guess is they do not. Hey, kids, this is what they were like when they had music.

Granted, much of this music was bad, but at least it was not The Hills or Real World.

Thus it is my growing appreciation for what Senator Thomas Gore (grandfather to author Gore Vidal) meant when he stated, "If there was any race other than the human race, I'd go join it."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Libertarians and Civil Rights

I must thank a friend of mine for making this post possible because my discourse with her is what motivated it. By now, most everyone has heard of the bruhaha over Rand Paul's interview with Rachel Maddow over the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I do not want to rehash the interview, so I will just show it here.

According to some critics, including one prominent ex-Marxist, all of this means nothing because the libertarians have no chance of taking up the Civil Rights Act anyway. To others, it merely illustrates that Rand Paul is inarticulate, and really not as threatening as a liberal with cruise missiles or a moderate president (an issue worth a post on another day). After all, the libertarians want to dismantle the war on drugs, which disproportionately targets African Americans.* And of course there are those defenders who will claim that the criticism is reductionist because Paul and the libertarians are not racist, just believers in the principle of the private ownership of property.

This posturing on Rand Paul to show some kind of post-civil rights understanding of libertarianism is at best overthinking, at worst the type of revisionism that has left the civil rights movement out of the next generation of school text books, courtesy the Texas state board of education. People are losing the big picture on civil rights. It does not matter if the libertarians are intentionally racist (they are probably the few ones on the right who for the most part are not). The result is what matters. 87% of Mississippians in 1964 voted for Goldwater because of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act, and Goldwater then was considered someone who only defended it on the grounds of proprietorship--that somehow this should make it all better, since the representative does not personally hate the group he thinks his constituents should have the legal right to oppress. No, it does not.

This is why I so objected to Ron Paul. Like most white Southerners, his views on slavery and the Civil War betray a complete lack of understanding of the inhumanity of the institution and the people who suffered under it. Moreover, Rep. Paul voted against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, claiming it violates states' rights, in spite of the fact almost all of the voter suppression of black voters continue to be in the Deep South--meaning we are not living in some distant, post-civil rights era (these issues are ongoing, as well as the mindset and attitudes of the perpetrators).

Some of these posters, and that includes the ex-Marxist-turned-libertarian lemming, treat this stuff as ancient history, or to others that it somehow only dealt with blacks in some bygone era. The war against civil rights goes far beyond the 1960s, but relates perfectly with what is going on in Arizona as I write--the purposeful targeting of Latinos, setting up a system of internal passports, kicking out babies born in the US or refusing to recognize their citizenship (in violation of our Constitution). And yes, dear apologists who never have to live through this discrimination, Rand Paul is an exponent of this xenophobia, the one form of federal law (even though it is not in our Constitution) he wants to zealously enforce.

What is transpiring in this country is the release of that white frustration and fear of our coming minority (an attitude exacerbated by the 2008 elections), and if the ex-Marxist and his libertarian friends think Rand is harmless on civil rights because the political system will never take it up, he needs to ask himself how Arizona's anti-immigration law happened, or how over 30 members of Congress (all white and almost all from the South), voted against reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (including everyone's favorite representative in Texas). Or how the same forces are giving bulwark support for rewriting the 14th Amendment, which they oppose anyway (along with the other Reconstruction amendments), to expel the babies born to Mexican mothers in the US. Views have consequences, especially when people with those kinds of beliefs get elected to positions of power.

All of this strikes at the greatest weakness of libertarianism, the core of its ideology, which is the equation of freedom with ownership. But ownership does not necessarily correlate with freedom. If it did, then the slaveholders were the embodiment of liberty. Freedom is about human dignity, which at times violates the principles of ownership (be it a living wage, health care, right to collectively bargain), something no libertarian can ever concede. Like with the neo-liberals, for libertarians we are nothing more than commodities, to be privatized, individualized, and bought and sold.

* For the war on drugs, concerned parties need to pay closer attention to what Rand and Ron Paul say. They are not in favor of full legalization or eliminating our prison industrial complex. They just believe these are matters are best left to the states, not the federal government. Nevertheless, the largest jailer is not the federal government, but our states, something which few libertarians ever criticize or write about.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Immigration Race War 2010

I do not want to overstate what has been happening this past year politically with white conservatives. I have written about it numerous times. It seems with each offense, events keep descending to an even more base level than before. Left to their own devices, the ugliness of what they really believe becomes all too obvious for anyone to ignore. If you recall the recently passed Arizona immigration law, one of the arguments used by the right in support of it was that it had nothing to do with race and ethnicity, but the legal status of immigrants. If only they just followed our laws, all would be well. I knew it was balderdash, from my own conversations with whites about Mexican immigration in this part of Americana of late.

Today, Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce reified what I already knew. Our good assemblymen responsible for the Arizona racial profiling law now wants to violate the 14th Amendment by authoring a state law that would refuse to recognize the citizenship of anyone born in the US of an illegal immigrant mother. In other words, Sen. Pearce wants to ignore our Constitution and violate it because he personally disagrees with it. But I thought it was about respecting our laws? Well, for Mexicans, of course. For whites, we can violate it all we want, so long as it violates the rights of US-born Latino babies.

Author of Arizona immigration law wants to end birthright citizenship

The author of Arizona's immigration law, state Sen. Russell Pearce, told constituents he wants to pass another measure to invalidate citizenship granted to the children of illegal aliens.

Pearce wrote that he plans to "push for an Arizona bill that would refuse to accept or issue a birth certificate that recognizes citizenship to those born to illegal aliens, unless one parent is a citizen," in an email obtained by Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO.

Pearce also forwarded an email from another correspondent expanding on the proposal — which he later told KPHO he didn't agree with. "If we are going to have an effect on the anchor baby racket, we need to target the mother. Call it sexist, but that's the way nature made it. Men don't drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do," the email said.

Pearce did tell the CBS affiliate, however, that he didn't see anything wrong with using the term "anchor baby" to refer to natural-born U.S. citizens.

Last year, 92 Congressmen sponsored a bill that would change the 14th Amendment so that children of illegal aliens born in the United States would not be granted citizenship. The bill is still in committee.

Last month, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California told a tea party rally he would support deporting children of illegal aliens, even if they are citizens.

"And we're not being mean. We're just saying it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen," he said. "It's what's in our souls."

His spokesman later sought to clarify the remarks with the Associated Press, saying that Duncan believes that "U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants should stay with their parents unless there is a legal guardian who could take care of them."

— Liz Goodwin is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News


If it was anymore blatant, they would be burning a cross. Sounds harsh? Just read those messages overwhelmingly supporting the senator's proposal at the bottom of the article. Here are some examples.


"These illegals can't be sent back to their toilet country fast enough. Flush them back down. We've had enough of Mexico's overflow."--Max (137 Support, 21 Oppose)

"im for arizona !!!!! im on the west coast and we have seen california turn into califexico. Its dirty full of crime and most of the news papers are about juan , pedro , gonzales ect commiting crimes and robbing people . Before you know it , caucasions will not live there and the mexicans will take it .we will have a mexican president and the end of america he whole country will speak spanish. and why vote ."--Carol (94 Support, 3 Oppose)

"I'd vote for this. Anchor babies are dragging America down. Are you here illegally? GO HOME. You aren't welcome. And take your kids with you."--Casimir (67 Support, 7 Oppose)

"It's time to take our country back, before we wake up in a third world country hole called, USA."--Karop (43 Support, 1 Oppose)

"I lost my right hand at work because a taco bending illegal burrito bandit turned on a machine on purpose! Two other americas lost their hands at work due to the deliberate actions of Norteno scumbag Mojado border brothers"--The Mick (24 Support, 5 Oppose)

"illegals do not deserve protections under the law - we should be able to rape, murder, and rob them. No human rights for illegal immigrants! illegal is illegal!!!!!"--MaleB (20 Support, 11 Oppose)

Now take stock of these supporters of Sen. Pearce's proposal. Over 60% of the respondents support raping and murdering illegal immigrants, over 90% believe in comparing them to 'anchor babies,' toilet overflow, and scum. That is the kind of racial hatred this debate is unleashing.

And it is not just the language of the supporters that disheartens me. It is that this is what the vast majority of white people in the US think (and I am writing this as a white American). This process of dehumanization cannot help but to have a negative impact and will likely lead to even more negative results, the real intention behind these laws.

Imagine the response from Glenn Beck if a member of a state assembly put forward a bill declaring that any and all gun permits in his/her respective state would no longer be recognized, and all guns would be declared illegal. Immediately, cries of the Second Amendment, the Heller decision, freedom, liberty, etc., along with threats and a likely assassination attempt of the said state assemblymen would occur. Senator Pearce is declaring that we should ignore and openly violate the U.S. Constitution in Arizona by not issuing birth certificates for babies born in the US to illegal immigrants, simply because he does not like it, even though our Constitution expressly states that anyone born in the US is a citizen of this country.

What is next, internment camps for Mexicans, maybe an arbeit macht frei sign at the entrance? After all, according to at least one supporter of Senator Pearce (that garnered over 60% support from respondents), we should be able to rape, murder, and rob 'illegal immigrants.' Look out what you wish for, fellow white Americans. One day, you will reap what you sow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Castlewood Country Club Lockout

Whenever I think of why labor unions are still relevant in this era of globalization, and in a country that allows insurance companies and employers to rule over the lives of workers like the slaveholders of old, there comes a case like this. Meet the workers of the Castlewood Country Club, in Pleasanton, California. These men and women were given an ultimatum by employers: pay over $700/month for health care benefits or leave. The employees' union tried a counter offer, since $700/month is a huge sum for any worker, to which the administrators of the Castlewood Country Club locked out its workers, replaced them with scabs, and refuses to negotiate.

Locked-out club workers stage hunger strike

Union hospitality workers began a three-day hunger strike Friday to protest a lockout by Castlewood Country Club in the hope that their fast, contrasting with members' Mother's Day feasts, will dramatize a labor dispute that has polarized nearby Pleasanton.

On Feb. 25, the member-owned club barred 61 food servers, cooks, bartenders and janitors, represented by Unite Here Local 2850, from coming to work at the 200-acre resort near Interstate 680.

Castlewood spokesman Sam Singer said management acted after negotiations to renew a contract that had expired in September failed to resolve differences over health insurance.

"The only way to apply leverage and get some response from the union was to impose a lockout," he said.

Local 2850 president Wei-Ling Huber, one of five hunger-strikers who said they will spend the Mother's Day weekend fasting outside the club, said workers had offered to pay $225 for family coverage that previously cost them nothing, even before the lockout was ordered.

"This is not about the union fighting for a big raise," Huber said.

On April 6, the Pleasanton City Council voted 3-1 in favor of a resolution asking Castlewood to end the lockout while it continued bargaining.

"They say you judge a community by the way you treat the most disadvantaged or least powerful among you," said Councilman Matt Sullivan, who voted with Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio.

Dissenting vote

Vice Mayor Jerry Thorne dissented, saying while he could support a resolution urging talks, he was reluctant to criticize one side's tactics.

"Would we do the same thing if they were on strike?" he said at the meeting, to which Castlewood sent no representative.

State Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and other elected and community leaders have urged Castlewood to soften its stance.

Club spokesman Singer said "there's a great deal of private support both within the club and within the community" for its position.

Castlewood is located on what was once the estate of Phoebe Apperson Hearst and her son, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, who established the white stucco and Spanish tile motif that still dignifies the club buildings that dot the oak-strewn hills.

Since 1924, the grounds have been a country club that is today valued at roughly $25 million.

The club is owned by its 811 members who pay an initiation fee of $25,000 and dues of $600 per month to use Castlewood's golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness club and banquet rooms.

But the recession has hurt the club. Singer said 35 members quit last year and many golf tournaments and banquets were canceled, hurting the club's finances.

In 2008, the last year for which public filings were available, Castlewood lost $191,000 on revenue of $10.4 million, down from 2007 when it posted a $2.7 million surplus on revenue of $13.5 million.

The club's hospitality workers have been unionized for decades - 90 other employees are not covered by the contract nor affected by the lockout.

Contentious talks

On the picket line Sunday, banquet server Peggy Duthie, 82, said this was the first time in her 25 years at Castlewood that negotiations have been so contentious.

In addition to the lockout, workers were asked in April whether they wanted to decertify the union. The measure was defeated 41-17, but the club has asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the vote.

The two sides differ over how far apart they are on the health care costs, and about average employee wages.

Singer said Castlewood wants workers to contribute about $500 per month for family coverage that had been previously fully paid by the employer. He said that many workers earn $15 to $20 per hour, plus tips.

Huber said that the required health care contribution would be more like $739, and said the average hourly rate is more like $12.50.

"We understand the crisis," said locked out janitor Francisca Carranza, 45, whose husband has a heart condition. "I maybe can contribute $225, which is what we are proposing."

This weekend Carranza will be fasting outside the club's entrance as members visit the banquet room for their Mother's Day brunch and dinner, hoping for progress in the dispute.

"The club's goal is to negotiate a contract that is fair to both parties and is hopeful at some point at having the locked-out employees return to work," Singer said Friday.

Huber said no talks are scheduled.

Consider that the country club employer wants to force its hospitality workers to go from paying nothing to over $700 a month for health care coverage, when its membership dues are $600 a month (members who are much wealthier than the workers being shut out and thrown to the streets). That $739 a month is 35% of the average hourly wage of the workers at the country club (over 40% of post-tax, take home earnings). That means the worker is losing 40% of his or her paycheck. Try paying rent, a mortgage, food, car, car insurance, whatever else you pay for to live life, after having 40% of your paycheck taken from you by your employer.

Needless to say, these workers need your help. If you know anything about unions, when you are on strike or locked out the worker is individually at his or her weakest after the first few months, especially if he or she has children. These people were thrown out of their jobs for refusing to sign away their lives to afford an outrageously expensive health care cost redistribution. They are the reason why this country still needs unions.

Here is their local and information on how to support these workers.

Local 2850 Oakland
Wei-Ling Huber
405 14th Street, Suite 164
Oakland, California 94612
Tel. 510-893-3181 ext. 118
Fax 510-893-5362

And if you would like to get into contact with the folks at Castlewood Country Club, here they are.

Castlewood Country Club
707 Country Club Circle
Pleasanton, Ca 94566

Tom Hunt, Clubhouse Manager
Phone: 925-485-2237

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sucker's Paradise: Cashing In On False Faith

Who says teenage pregnancy does not pay off? Bristol Palin makes about as much as the average worker in this country for one speech, warning us all not to do what she hypocritically did and decided to keep the fruition of, while pretending that it is all about choosing life (with the irony lost on her audiences that the whole point of their movement is to take away choice). Sometimes, I wonder if this is what Rome was like in the last years of its empire.


Bristol Palin to net up to $30K for each speech

She’s listed as available for conferences, abstinence and ‘pro-life’ events

JUNEAU, Alaska - Bristol Palin is hitting the speakers' circuit and will command between $15,000 and $30,000 for each appearance, Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein said Monday.

Van Flein confirmed a report by celebrity news website RadarOnline that the daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has signed with Single Source Speakers.

He added her exact fees will depend on factors such as which group she's addressing and what she must to do prepare.

Story continues below ↓
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Bristol Palin, 19, is listed on the speaking group's website as available for conferences, fundraisers, special events and holidays, as well as women's, youth, abstinence and "pro-life" programs.

Her fee is denoted by four question marks, meaning "Call to discuss!" The same designation is given to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

A message left late Monday for Ron Miller, with Single Source Speakers, was not immediately returned.

Bristol Palin was thrust into the spotlight as a pregnant teen during her mother's unsuccessful campaign for vice president in 2008.

She had son Tripp that year and has since spoken about abstinence and the challenges of life as a young single mother.

Van Flein said Bristol Palin will be selective in the speeches she gives.

He said he believes she's interested in expanding her message beyond teen pregnancy to include her experiences on the campaign trail and in the media spotlight; her parenting approach; and her outlook on life.

Bristol Palin lives in Anchorage and works in a physician's office, Van Flein said.

I have nothing against Ms. Palin. I do not know her personally. It is easy to go after people for policy positions, but I typically reserve those judgments for people with power and real resources (like politicians or the unconvicted felons on Wall Street), or the kind of rank bigots who would (if they had it their way) turn this country into an apartheid South Africa (and violate the values of living in a free society). Bristol does not seem to be that kind of person. As far as I can tell, she seems like a normal teenager, and so it is hard for me to judge her, if people are dumb enough to pay her $30,000 to tell them not to have sex.

However, I wonder if Bristol has ever considered this simple fact. Almost all of the top ten states in teen pregnancy rates are in the Bible Belt (the region most apt to be populated by folk who train their children not to be having sex until marriage).

And considering that I am living amongst these people, I can attest they certainly believe in "moral" teaching when it comes to sex (I had a homeschooled student once tell me that he did not even know that birth control was ever illegal in this country [his "teacher" parents never bothered to tell him about the pill altogether]). And I have no illusions what my students, young adults born and raised in the heart of American Christendom, are doing on the weekends with their boyfriends and girlfriends. Guess what? They are having sex, and they are having sex not because they are evil or on account of some pitchfork-wielding devil taking possession of their loins. They are having sex because we are human beings, and it is our biological destiny to reproduce and to enjoy the act that leads to reproduction.

You think today's society lives in evil times and that we are lost morally? In the 19th century, married women (as most all females were married by the time they were in their 20s back in the Victorian age in this country) would go to the doctor's office, feign 'hysteria' (or really have it), so the docs would 'treat' them with late 19th century versions of vibrators, to relieve them of their anxieties. Just think, dear readers. That was your great or possibly great-great grandma. Were all those millions of women who did this a century ago harlots and hellbound sinners? No more than today's people, except back then women's options were obviously more limited.

For those of you who claim to be biblically-correct, how did your god treat Judah, the founder of the ancient Israeli tribe of Judah, who just so happened to be an incestuous stooge, carrying on a sexual relationship with his daughter-in-law Tamar (who initially tricked Judah into the affair by pretending to be a prostitute). According to scripture, when Judah "confessed" his guilt over impregnating his daughter-in-law, your skygod became so impressed by Judah's sincerity that he not only forgave Judah but rewarded him with his own tribe and guaranteed he would have his "share in the future world." Knock up your daughter-in-law, while thinking that you are with a prostitute, and go to heaven and have a tribe named after you.

And yet, you get bent out of shape about teens having sex and using condoms or the pill, and fear your daughter's fallen status for getting an HPV shot. Why? I ask this as an open question. If you are one of these Christians, you are more than welcome to explain it to me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

American Racism: Alive and Well

I do not pay much attention to beauty pageants. Indeed, until last year (and the Carrie Prejean fiasco), I was not even aware that it was still being thrown. Today is a different day. It is a wonderful day because the victory of an Arab-Muslim woman in the Miss USA pageant has given this country the opportunity to see our more openly racist elements finally just come out and say what they really think.

If you wonder what the response would have been in the Deep South to a black contestant winning this contest in the 1950s, just read the conspiratorial nonsense below.

Miss USA controversies storm the blogosphere

And you thought beauty queens' infighting was fierce. No pageant managed by The Donald would be complete without its own outbreak of culture war.

Last year, of course, there was Miss USA's great Carrie Prejean controversy — when the reigning Miss California upheld marriage as an exclusively heterosexual insitution after celebrity blogger Perez Hilton asked about gay matrimony. (That dustup was eventually overtaken by Prejean's own naughty-photo scandal, which Donald Trump himself eventually arbitrated.)

This week, Lebanese-American immigrant Rima Fakih of Michigan was crowned Miss USA — maybe the first contestant of Arab or Muslim background to win, though the pageant's records are incomplete.

There were, of course, the usual day-after revelations about the new titlist's past media exploits: pictures from a 2007 pole-dancing competition and an appearance in an independent video production. But she remained fully clothed in both outings. In fact, the most provocative photos that have surfaced of her seem to be the salaciously titled official lingerie shots taken under the auspices of the pageant.

Instead, the highest decibels have been reserved for her Muslim Arab background (though the contestant herself has spoken little about religious matters, stressing that her family observes both Muslim and Christian holidays).

Daniel Pipes, who publishes a right-leaning blog on Middle Eastern affairs, pointed to a "surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants." While allowing that "they are all attractive" — Pipes, a former board member of the U.S. Institute for Peace, posted pictures of several — he said that their victories "make me suspect an odd form of affirmative action."

Pipes didn't theorize how shadowy beauty-pageant fixers might be greasing the skids for contestants — but other political bloggers were happy to advance more heated pronouncements.

"Miss Hezbollah is now Miss USA," declared conservative radio talk show host Debbie Schlussel, saying that Fakih's relatives in Lebanon had ties to the terrorist organization based there. Schlussel also said Fakih received some financial backing from onetime Hezbollah supporter Imad Hamad — or, as Schlussel put it, Fakih's "bid for the pageant was financed by an Islamic terrorist." Suggesting the pageant was "rigged," Schlussel wrote off Fakih's victory to a "politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate."

Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin saw a conspiracy afoot, too — generic rather than Muslim-specific this time. Malkin mocked Fakih as a "gaffetastic" contestant who tripped over her gown as well as over her answer to a question about birth control — exposing Fakih's ignorance, Malkin argued, about what constitutes a "controlled substance" and what the purpose of health care is. "Looks like the Miss USA pageant didn't want to risk the wrath of the open-borders mob," Malkin said.

Immigration was in fact another flashpoint of political controversy over the contest. Runner-up Morgan Elizabeth Woolard of Oklahoma was asked for her views on Arizona's recent immigration law, a question that drew boos from the crowd before the judge — actor Oscar Nunez of "The Office" — could even finish getting it out.

When he did deliver the question, asking whether immigration enforcement "should be mandated by the state or by the federal government," Woolard replied that she was "a huge believer in states' rights," then added: "I think it's perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law, and I'm against illegal immigration. But I'm also against racial profiling, so I see both sides in this issue."

"Fox & Friends" host Gretchen Carlson (herself a former Miss America) suggested that perhaps Woolard's conservative-leaning "informed opinion" was enough for the judges to exercise political correctness and award the crown to Fakih over a blonde from Oklahoma.

Foreign commentators, meanwhile, have seized on the whole Miss USA episode as a prime example of (as the Guardian's Richard Adams calls it) "America's weirdness." You might look at Fakih's victory as a certain kind of "triumph" of the West, the Spectator's Alex Massie says, representing "a form of emancipation or at least cultural assimilation that might be thought useful (in as much as such contests can ever be considered useful)."

Yahoo! News asked 1996 Miss USA winner Ali Landry what she thinks about it all. She says she's sorry to see the pageant's sharp turn into public controversy, though she adds that she's "very grateful" for the opportunities that accompanied the title.

She stresses that the pageant has amped up its political and cultural visibility under Trump's stewardship.

"Back when I competed, Trump had not purchased it yet, and it was very tame and the questions were very general," Landry said. "But now it's all about the ratings. So you have 17-, 18-, 19-year-old girls who haven't lived their lives yet, who don't have much life experience, being asked to form strong opinions about things."

Landry, who now works frequently as an actress and recently launched a line of children's clothes, also conceded that even before the Trump era, the Miss USA pageant always came with lots of pressure to generate media attention.

"You have to remember, it's a business first and foremost," she said. "So I think that the controversy, whatever shape or form it's in and no matter whose expense it's at, that's ultimately good for them from a business perspective if the pageant's in the news and if they're getting good ratings."

— Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.

Well, dear Arab world, if nothing else, Daniel Pipes thinks you are at least an attractive people, in between being one of this country's most raucous cheerleaders for your bombardment and occupation. You see, he is not such a bad guy. He flirts with the people he wishes death to.

And the ironic thing is Ms. Fakih is a Republican or at least supports a Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan. Apparently, that is not enough.

But then this win has little to do with any beauty pageant. It is a commentary by whites about what we (not me, but sadly most whites at this point and time in the US) genuinely think of non-whites in this country. The more overt racism (against Latinos, blacks, and Arabs) since the 2008 elections, as a means of manufacturing a base of angry (even hate-filled) white voting bloc, exemplifies that too many people of my hue have learned nothing from history, except to target and project our fears on new groups of peoples.

Just read the messages on the Yahoo link for that story and see for yourself. Here is but one example, "
A word to Oscar Nunez [a pageant judge] - THIS IS NOT MEXICO! - Last year it was nelly boy Perez Hilton, this year a mexican... Miss Oklahoma should've just said DEPORT THEM ALL...."
As of 6 pm, May 18, 2010, that post has a 299 to 218 approval amongst fellow posters.

When I read those posts, I wonder how Obama received 43% of the white vote. These last two years must have amplified that 57%.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Google-NSA: The Hypocrites of Censorship and Hacking

If you believed Google's objections to the Chinese government hacking into its sites and censorship laws regulating its search engine's results, you would think this altruistic bunch really cares about privacy and free speech. Of course, like with all large corporations, you would be wrong.

It appears Google is not only filled with government spies (US intelligence spies comprise over 10% of the company's employee pool), but they have been taking your personal information from Wi-fi networks and keeping it. Surely, only for lawful purposes. After all, the NSA has only been cataloging all of our phone calls for the past eight and half years, and spying on our emails, IMs, and other internet activity without so much as a warrant or court order.

Google grabs personal info off of Wi-Fi networks

SAN FRANCISCO – Google Inc. has been vacuuming up fragments of people's online activities broadcast over public Wi-Fi networks for the past four years, a breach of Web etiquette likely to raise more privacy worries about the Internet search leader.

Even Google was troubled by its behavior, and issued a public apology Friday. The company said it only recently discovered the problem in response to an inquiry from German regulators.

"Maintaining people's trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short," Alan Eustace, Google's top engineering executive, wrote in a blog post.

Google characterized its collection of snippets from e-mails and Web surfing done on public Wi-Fi networks as a mistake, and said it has taken steps to avoid a recurrence. About 600 gigabytes of data was taken off of the Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries, including the U.S. Google plans to delete it all as soon as it gains clearance from government authorities.

None of the information has appeared in Google's search engine or other services, according to Eustace.

Nevertheless, Google's decision to hold on to the Wi-Fi data until it hears back from regulators shows the company realizes it could face legal repercussions. At the very least, company officials concede that snooping on Wi-Fi networks, however inadvertent, crossed an ethical line.

"We are acutely aware that we failed badly here," Eustace wrote.

Google's contrition may not be enough to allay growing concerns about whether the company can be trusted with the vast storehouse of personal information that it has gathered through its search engine, e-mail and other services.

Fears that Google is morphing into a real-life version of "Big Brother" has spurred previous privacy complaints, as well as pleas for more stringent regulation of the company.

Consumer Watchdog, a group that has become one of Google's most outspoken critics, renewed its call for a regulatory crackdown Friday.

"Once again, Google has demonstrated a lack of concern for privacy," said Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson. "Its computer engineers run amok, push the envelope and gather whatever data they can until their fingers are caught in the cookie jar."

The Wi-Fi data was sucked up while Google expanded a mapping feature called "Street View" that also has pressed privacy hot buttons. Street View provides photographs of neighborhoods taken by Google cameras that have sometimes captured people doing things they didn't want to be seen doing, or in places where they didn't want to be seen.

As it set out to photograph neighborhoods around the world, Google equipped its vehicles with antenna as well as cameras so it could create a database with the names of Wi-Fi networks and the coding of Wi-Fi routers.

What Google didn't know, Eustace said, is that some experimental software was being used in the Street View project, and that programming picked up the Web surfing on publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks if the company's vehicles were within range of the signal.

Google only gathered small bits of information because its vehicles were on the move and its tracking equipment switched channels five times a second.

The incident has prompted Google to abandon its effort to collect Wi-Fi network data. In an apparent show of its commitment to privacy, Google also said it will introduce a new option next week that will allow its users to encrypt searches on its Web site as an added protection against unauthorized snooping.

They are going to "clear" all of the information they stole once they gain clearance from the government? Does anyone honestly believe our government, which has embedded itself into Google already, will ever give the clearance to delete it? Sure, after the NSA has cataloged all of the information, that is. I am not typically a conspiratorialist, but you would have to be pretty naive to think a government-infiltrated spying agency/company is going to somehow delete that information before making sure the state spies have first crack at that information. Or it could be they already have all of that information, since federal law forces internet providers to allow the NSA to spy on our internet activity anyway.

Why does this not engender greater demonstrations of outrage by people in this country? I have known for the last several months that the company is basically a condom for the NSA, and yet people seem angrier at the thought of Facebook sharing your information to private companies. How about having a spy agency masquerading as a high tech company taking all of your information and possibly using it against you, violating the living daylights out of what remains of your constitutional rights (since this company is a government in everything but name)?

And here I am using their services, to which I have little doubt the company (be it Google or the NSA [or both, since they are probably the same entity at this point]) are keeping tabs on me.
There is something for the teabaggers to get upset about, but alas it appears they are more obsessed over kicking out Latinos and making this a whites-only nation. Protecting privacy is not an issue for them, unless it involves the use of firearms or threatening their use on us if we pass laws they disagree with (not including the ones that allow a government agency to spy on everything you do, in violation of the Fourth Amendment). Using state police to racially target Latinos and government agencies spying on everyone--the kind of big government our so-called 'patriots' see nothing wrong with.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Great Arizona Race Bait

Racist against whites? Yes, dear oppressed white folk, we have been kept down oh these many years in Arizona by all of the brown, black, and yellow people, according to Governor Jan Brewer. When not cantoonzing Mexicans, she's now targeting 'ethnic studies' (i.e., non-white studies, since European history and studies, and by extension 'real American' studies are the only legitimate ones that count). As I feared in a post a few years ago when writing about the rising racism of whites in the US toward non-white immigrants (mirroring the reoccurring phenomenon in Western Europe), as a response to our coming future as a numerical minority, unfortunately, and against my own hopes, the state of Arizona is proving me right.

Arizona gov. signs bill targeting ethnic studies

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the measure for years, said a Tucson school district program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.

"It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," Horne said.

The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors.

Horne said he believes the Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

Brewer's signature on the bill comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration — a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics.

A Republican running for attorney general, Horne has been trying to restrict the program ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that "Republicans hate Latinos."

District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

About 1,500 students at six high schools in the district are enrolled in the program. Elementary and middle school students also are exposed to the ethnic studies curriculum. The district is 56 percent Hispanic, with nearly 31,000 Latino students.

Sean Arce, director of the district's Mexican-American Studies program, said last month that students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them.

"It's a highly engaging program that we have, and it's unfortunate that the state Legislature would go so far as to censor these classes," he said.

Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. All people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman didn't directly address the UN criticism, but said Brewer supports the bill's goal.

"The governor believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people," Senseman said.

The law doesn't prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn't promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.

Arce could not immediately be reached after Brewer signed the bill late Tuesday.

I wonder if Jan Brewer will be banning European holidays, like Christmas, Easter, or St. Patrick's Day. Or how about banning classes on European history? After all, we are only Americans and to attach any affinities or studies of a group outside of the US promotes "ethnic chauvinism." No, you know the chances of the governor favoring something like that. By goddess, this country was 'discovered' by these totally non-descript heroes of a hue (i.e., their own) they pretend not to even notice (much in the same way the governor feigned opposition to racial profiling when passing an immigration bill that is going to target Latinos in her state). No racism there, but if you study Mexican-American culture, why you're anti-white and no different than the 'old South' (meaning, no different than the Klan or the Confederacy).

Imagine George Wallace arguing that civil rights was anti-white. That is basically what is being said here. It is not so hard to see why it took so long to get a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday recognized in this state.
Regrettably, I think this is only going to get worse. The boycotts of Arizona are going to fail because several states, all in the South or Southwest, with Republican majorities, will begin copying Arizona and appealing to the party's more openly racist base. And these laws are only going to get more draconian. Today, it is 'reasonable suspicion', amended by reasonable suspicion after being detained (theoretically for anything [like a busted headlight, speeding, or anything that a cop could contrive on someone driving through his/her town or county]). Tomorrow, in say Texas or a Colorado, it will be anything, anytime, anywhere. And even if the Supreme Court rules against these internal passports for Latinos, they will pass new laws banning people from speaking Spanish, or just threaten to expel anyone from a country that coincidentally is a major exporter of drugs to the US (I would not be surprised to see them to try this under the guise of anti-terrorism).

These calumnies will not stop because there is an increasing majority of white people in the US who cannot accept our future of no longer dominating this country. Mexicans are the engine of population growth who will make that a reality in the next four decades. That is what drives this debate. No one mentioned anything about sovereign borders or illegal immigrants back in '80s when Reagan gave hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Europe an amnesty. Pat Buchanan was remarkably silent about that issue. And credit needs to be given to Buchanan for being more honestly racist about his views. He says what most all teabaggers in this country feel about non-white immigration.

"If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?" ("This Week With David Brinkley," 1/8/91)
"There is nothing wrong with us sitting down and arguing that issue that we are a European country." (Newsday, 11/15/92)

“How is America committing suicide? Every way a nation can. The American majority is not reproducing itself. Its birthrate has been below replacement level for decades. Forty-five million of its young have been destroyed in the womb since Roe v. Wade, as Asian, African, and Latin American children come to inherit the estate the lost generation of American children never got to see…our minority population rose 2.4 million to exceed 100 million. Hispanics, 1 percent of the U.S. population in 1950, are now 14.4 percent. Since 2000, their numbers have soared 25 percent to 45 million. The U.S. Asian population grew by 24 percent since 2000, as the number of white kids of school age fell 4 percent. Half the children five and younger today are minority children….The Anglo population of California is down to 43 percent and falling fast. White folks are now a minority in Texas and New Mexico. In Arizona, Hispanics account for more than half the population under twenty. The America Southwest is returning to Mexico.” (Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed are Tearing America Apart, Pgs. 8-9, 2007)
I continue to find it paradoxical that the forces who are so opposed to 'big government' are such fanatics about big government, federal law, and its enforcement when the group does not look like them. Ah, but they are violating the law by being here illegally. Yes, some of them are. And let us look at illegal immigration historically in this country. Did not Santa Anna ban white settlers from immigrating into what would become Texas when they refused to give up their slaves, making them illegal immigrants inside of Mexico? I do not see anyone noting that historical fact when talking about the Alamo. And if the law is such a thing we must all follow or else, why is it that these same people talk about refusing to follow federal laws they disagree with? Where are the oath keepers for immigrants? I think we know the answer to that question.

No, as Pat mentioned, it has everything to do with race and ethnicity, because at the end of the day "our country" to American conservatives necessarily means a white country because non-whites do not vote their way to begin with (and they feel frightened and threatened by that prospect). It is the same fear that drove their brethren in the 19th century to try to ban Irish immigrants, and it was those sentiments behind the Immigration Act of 1924, which sought to reduce/eliminate immigration from non-Anglo countries. And if we do not watch ourselves, it will be the same sentiments that will drive future Timothy McVeighs and Nathan Bedford Forrest into 'action.' Do not think they have it in them? We lost more people in our Civil War than all of our other wars combined because the teabaggers of their time could not accept an election result that meant doom for their expansion of slavery into the Western territories (territories gained by military force in a war started by the US against Mexico). How some things never change.