"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your daily dose of jazz...

With Chet Baker Live in Belgium in 1964... A truly wonderful performance, both as a singer and a horn player.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Racism at the NRO? Surely NOT! Mark Krikorian

In an article at the NRO entitled What to Do About Haiti?, Mark Krikorian posits that the primary reason that Haiti is so screwed up is that they weren't colonized long enough.

"But, unlike Jamaicans and Bajans and Guadeloupeans, et al., after experiencing
the worst of tropical colonial slavery, the Haitians didn't stick around long
enough to benefit from it. (Haiti became independent in 1804.). And by benefit I
mean develop a local culture significantly shaped by the more-advanced
civilization of the colonizers. Sure, their creole language is influenced by
French, but they never became black Frenchmen, like the Martiniquais, or
'Afro-Saxons,' like the Barbadians. Where a similar creolization took place in
Africa, you saw a similar thing — the Cape Coloureds, who are basically black
Afrikaaners, and even the Swahili peoples of the east African coast, who are
Arabized blacks. A major indicator of how superficial is the overlay of French
culture in Haiti is the strength of paganism, in the form of voodoo — the French
just weren't around long enough to suppress it, to the detriment of Haitians."
Let me suggest another alternative. Haiti owes much of it's poverty to exactly the opposite of what Kirkorian asserts: a long-standing racist approach to the 2nd oldest republic in the western hemisphere. In our arrogance we think we're the only people with a history to remember. We think that our revolution and our position in the world grants us special status to judge the lives of others.

Haiti has a history and a story of her own. And it's a story written, more often than not, in the blood of her people.

Between 1849 and 1913, US Navy ships entered Haitian waters 24 times to "protect
American lives and property." Haiti's independence was scarcely given even "token recognition," Schmidt observes in his standard history, and there was little consideration for the rights of its people. They are "an inferior
people," unable "to maintain the degree of civilization left them by the French or to develop any capacity of self government entitling them to international respect and confidence,"
Assistant Secretary of State William Phillips wrote, recommending the policy of invasion and US military government that President Woodrow Wilson soon adopted. Few words need be wasted on the civilization left to 90 percent of the population by the French, who, as an ex-slave related, "hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars..., forced them to eat shit,
... cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to
stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitos, ...threw them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup" -- when not "flaying them with the lash" to extract the
wealth that helped give France its entry ticket to the rich men's club.
The French did more to fuck up the world than any other colonial power (with the possible exception of the Belgians who destroyed the Congo). To assert that Haiti was somehow better off under the rule of the French is racist, imperialist and just fucking stupid.

Note: For a decent short history of the Haitian revolution, read this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson: Total Douche Lord!

It's rare that you see douchebaggery at this level. It takes an extraordinarily delusional and degraded mind to come up with this:
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about," Robertson said Tuesday.

"They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'Ok it’s a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another," Robertson said.
Are you fucking kidding me you wretched sack of bloody bile? The bodies aren't even cold yet and you're blaming the fucking victims of this horrible natural disaster for their plight??? Doesn't Hati have enough troubles without you whoring for the cameras you steaming pile of pig feces? How do you sleep at night?

Haiti earthquake: How to help

Haiti earthquake: How to help

The U.S. State Department Operations Center said Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call . Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

What the "Eurabia" Authors Get Wrong About Islam in Europe - By Justin Vaïsse | Foreign Policy

This is a facinating article on the phony warcry from the wingnuts that Europe is becoming a Muslim entity. It's shocking how stupid these people can be.

By 2050, Europe will be unrecognizable. Instead of romantic cafes, Paris's Boulevard Saint-Germain will be lined with halal butcheries and hookah bars; the street signs in Berlin will be written in Turkish. School-children from Oslo to Naples will read Quranic verses in class, and women will be veiled.

Not even close. The authors of these books are trying to scare Americans into fearing all things Islamic (as if we needed any help with that). Remember, these are the same people who demonized the Soviet Union even as it became abundantly clear in the 1980s that the USSR was a hollow shell ready to collapse in on itself.
Clichés are not the only reason why the foundations of the Eurabia literature are shaky. By relying chiefly on anecdotes rather than data, these books misrepresent the complex evolving picture of Islam in Europe. They also eliminate social and economic conditions, including discrimination, from the picture.
In fact, these books basically lie about the demographics!

Beyond all the sloppy anecdotal evidence, the Eurabia literature relies on two major false assumptions. The first is demographic. The literature holds that Europe will be Islamic at the end of the century "at the very latest," with Muslim majorities in some European countries "in the foreseeable future," in the words of Bernard Lewis in his 2007 pamphlet, "Europe and Islam." That's because "native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic," Steyn explains in America Alone (2006). "Europe will be semi-Islamic in its politico-cultural character within a generation."

If these books insist so much on the future, it is because current figures are unimpressive. According to the higher range of estimates by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), there are already as many as 18 million Muslims in Western Europe, or 4.5 percent of the population. The percentage is even lower for the 27-country European Union as a whole. The future will certainly see an increase, but it's hard to imagine that Europe will even reach the 10 percent mark (except in some countries or cities). For one thing, as the same NIC study indicates and demographers agree, fertility rates among Muslims are sharply declining as children of immigrants gradually conform to prevailing social and economic norms. Nor is immigration still a major source of newly minted European Muslims. Only about 500,000 people a year come legally to Europe from Muslim-majority countries, with an even smaller number coming illegally -- meaning that the annual influx is a fraction of a percent of the European population.

Give me a break...

Blog Reboot

I'm going to be rebooting this blog over the next few days... New Year's Resolution and all.