Thursday, August 31, 2006

Despite Fraud Judge Refuses to Strike Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative

From the Detroit Free Press:
A federal judge in Detroit refused Tuesday to remove the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from the Nov. 7 ballot, even though he said promoters “engaged in systematic voter fraud by telling voters that they were signing a petition supporting affirmative action.”

The proposal would ban the use of race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin in government and public school hiring, contracting and university admissions in Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow said he couldn’t remove the proposal from the ballot because the MCRI group targeted all voters without regard to race while gathering petition signatures.

“Because the Voting Rights Act is not a general anti-voter fraud statute, but rather prohibits practices which result in unequal access to the political process because of race, the Court must conclude that the defendants’ conduct, through unprincipled, did not violate the act,” Tarnow wrote.
So MCRI canvassers committed Voter Fraud, but didn't violate the Voting Rights Act as charged. The enforcement of the "letter" of the law and ignoring the "spirit" of the law is the choice Tarnow made.

As Tarnow said in his opinion:
“With the exception of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the records shows that the state has demonstrated an almost complete institutional indifference to the credible allegations of voter fraud raised by plaintiffs,” Tarnow said.
Republican controlled state organizations are ignoring the disenfranchisement of the state's citizens who were lied to by MCRI canvassers. It is now up to activist groups in Michigan to mobilize voters and insure this initiative and the radical right-wing agenda are defeated.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here Comes The Storm

Originally posted by Nadir at

One year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the US Gulf coast, America holds its collective breath, bracing for the next catastrophe.

Hurricane Ernesto is building strength in the Caribbean, threatening the impoverished islands of Haiti and Cuba. Meanwhile, the government of the world’s richest nation is still reeling from a violent 2005 hurricane season, its floundering imperial adventures in the Middle East, and tumultuous mid-term election politics. The US is ill-prepared for the first Hurricane of the new season or the impending political whirlwind that will accompany it.

The Army Corps of Engineers admits that the hastily repaired Louisiana levee system that failed last year may not be strong enough to withstand a new storm. Katrina recovery efforts have languished in a bureaucratic quagmire that rivals the maelstrom’s immediate aftermath, prompting Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) to remark, “We’re seeing the same thing going on with the recovery as we did with the immediate response. We’re going through another unfolding disaster.”

Grand Wizard GDub’s latest “pass the buck” move, asserting as he did in the days following Katrina that state and local officials should take the lead in repairing the Gulf Coast, offers another example of his inability to lead the country anywhere but into the eye of the storm. Bush’s presidency is marred by lies, deceit, criminality and incompetence. Two questionable elections, intelligence failures preceding 9/11, foolhardy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on American civil liberties, illegal surveillance of US citizens, financial mismanagement, fear, torture, mayhem… the list gets longer every week.

The Democratic Party has been complicit in many of the Bush regime’s missteps, and as a result looks clumsy in its attempts to mount a serious offensive to recover one or both houses of Congress in this critical mid-term election. Hillary Clinton’s offer of aid to Conneticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont can be viewed both as an optimistic sign that the Dems are finally rallying the troops or a forboding omen that the party will attempt to lure Lamont away from what has gotten him this far - his opposition to the War in Iraq. As Joe Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said, “Senator Clinton’s position on Iraq is far closer to Joe Lieberman’s than it is to Ned Lamont’s.”

All of these alarms are indications that a flood of discontent could sweep the nation this autumn. Batten down the hatches. Stock up on provisions. Man the lifeboats.

Here comes the storm.

Friday, August 25, 2006

INFURIATING! Detroit Ranked 3rd Angriest City by Men’s Health

Originally posted by Nadir at

OUTRAGEOUS! The nation’s Last Chocolate City ranks near the top of yet another list of negative statistics. Detroit came in third among Men’s Health Magazine’s 100 Angriest Cities ranking.

And just how did the muscleheads at Men’s Health come up with this VEXING viewpoint? Their surprisingly unscientific methods will send you into a RAGE!!!

Our search for evidence of urban anger began with the percentage of men with high blood pressure, from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (as calculated by Sperling’s BestPlaces). We then factored in FBI rates of aggravated assaults and Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on workplace deaths from assaults and other violence. And because rage and the road often go hand in hand, we also included traffic-congestion data from the Texas Transportation Institute, as well as speeding citations per state from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

MADDENING!! Isn’t it possible, that Detroit’s status as one of America’s fattest cities has more to do with our high blood pressure than our anger does? Isn’t it possible that our traffic congestion results from jacked up roads and speeding tickets from our attempts to avoid a police force that beats and rapes drivers on routine traffic stops?

Aggravated assaults?? Based on the latest crime data (2004), Detroit’s aggravated assault rate is only TRIPLE the national average! That’s nothing. Look at the Detroit murder rate, which is SEVEN AND A HALF times the national average based on the number of crimes per 100,000 people!

And this nonsense about the number of workplace deaths from assault and other violence? Well, you know what? If you worked with some of the people I’ve worked with in Michigan, you’d know they probably had it coming!

Now, what should really piss you off is the cities who were ranked numbers one and two over Detroit. Orlando (home of Mickey Mouse) was number one?? St. Petersburg, Florida (retirement capital of the world) was number two?? What are they so mad about? They’re in a rage because it’s just bright and sunny all the time? Most Detroiters would trade six weeks of summer for 12 months of sunshine and happiness any day of the week!

This INCENSES me! If my fat behind had a subscription to Men’s Health, I would cancel it right now!! They should get a beatdown for this tripe! If they went to the Eastside talking this yang, they’d get stomped!


Monday, August 21, 2006

Selling Weapons Abroad -- Selling War at Home

"Get 'em while they're hot!"

The Times Online (UK) reports that:

American defence contractors are enjoying a bumper year as arms contracts won from foreign governments surge to record levels.

So far this year contracts worth $21.7 billion have been passed to the US Congress for ratification, 76 per cent more than agreed during all of 2005, when America is believed to have lost market share in the global weapons trade to Europe.

America’s foreign military sales (FMS) for the whole of this year are expected to reach a level not seen since 1993 and the end of the first Gulf War.

Though Grandwizard GDub appears to be a poor manager on the surface, he is actually doing a bang-up job increasing profits for his family's business portfolios in oil, finance, security and weapons.

When the rest of the world was begging the US to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, Bush rushed more weapons to the Israelis. This ensured that the Zionists had enough fire power to destroy crucial Lebanese infrastructure and kill hundreds of civilians before international pressure prevailed.

Bush is playing both sides against the middle in South Central Asia by peddling F16s to Pakistan and simultaneously courting their archnemesis India who happens to be shopping for jets of their own. His recent endorsement of New Delhi's nuclear program is widely seen as a ploy to steer the Indians away from their traditional supplier, the Russians, and into the waiting "arms" of the US.

The Times suggests that - like father, like son - Bush is using the battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon as showrooms for the latest in US military technology.

There is frequently a rise in military sales after a war as other countries have had an opportunity to see new weaponry in action. This was particularly true in 1993 when countries rushed to buy America’s Patriot missile defence system after witnessing its use in the first Gulf War.

A US government source said: “Conflicts act like a customer demonstration show and we tend to see an upsurge in sales because other countries want to buy American having been impressed by what is available.”

So should we be happy that at least in this one area the rest of the world is itching to buy American?

My friend, Cecilia, expressed her opinion on that subject by protesting the glorification of militarism at Chicago's Air and Water Show this past weekend. It is no accident that US History is defined by its wars. War has been the primary means that the United States has used to build and maintain its land, power, wealth and influence. By demonstrating US weapons of war to America's youth, the nation stands a good chance of breeding another generation of warmongering psychopaths like GDub - nieces and nephews who will give their lives to preserve and propagate their Uncle Sam's military power all over the planet.

Damn the freedoms that are actually worth fighting for. Let's blow something up!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Impeach Bush: Judge Confirms Wiretapping is Illegal

"Breaking The Law"

Of course, we all knew the Bush Regime was breaking the law by wiretapping American citizens without warrants. Now a judge confirms that Bush violated FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) laws when he ordered the NSA to spy on US citizens.

So Bush is guilty of yet another impeachable offense. Will the Democratic party wise up and use this evidence to attack Bush while he is at his weakest? Or will they punk out and maintain their stance that impeachment is off the table?

Stay tuned...

Undoubtedly the Bush Regime will appeal, or as with the case of torture, a Republican-led Congress will continue its efforts to legalize these criminal acts.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The New Jazz Philosophy: Corporate game theory?

The Roots - Game Theory

By Jonah Nadir Omowale
Published in The Michigan Citizen

In early June, I received an email from my man, Imhotep, announcing that The Kool New Jazz Philosophy Tour, featuring The Roots, Talib Kweli and The Pharcyde, was coming to Detroit’s State Theatre on August 3.

This promised to be a great show featuring artists at the pinnacle of what some derisively call “backpack hip hop.”“Backpack” is a thinking person’s brand of non-mainstream music—most often followed by urban and suburban hipsters or bohemian college students (backpacks in tow). In the 1950s they would have been “beatniks” scouring downtown coffeehouses and uptown jazz clubs in search of the latest poetry or the hottest bebop. In the early 21st century they can be found scouring downtown coffeehouses in search of the latest poetry or digging through the racks of used cd stores.

It is only natural that R.J. Reynolds would tap artists who appeal to this demographic when promoting Kool cigarettes. Imhotep recalled, “If you are an old head like I am, you might remember Kool using jazz in the eighties. I remember seeing ads that gave the impression: ‘If you [are] “Kool” like the jazz cats then you smoke Kool cigs.’”

From a marketing standpoint, “backpack” has become “the new jazz”, at least in terms of the young, hip, audience that consumes the music. A flyer received at the show sums up Kool’s “New Jazz Philosophy” like this: “It’s about self-expression without boundaries; fusing diverse cultures; music in all forms; creativity and passion.”

“It’s all about ‘experiential marketing,’ says Lauren Hood, former Metro Detroit market manager for Media Star Promotions, the company that runs The New Jazz Philosophy tour for R.J. Reynolds. “That’s the new term. You’re supposed to have a good experience with the brand and subliminally you’ll want to purchase it.”

Read More HERE

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Creating Enemies for Power and Profit

My partner, Pierre, sent me an article by David Sanger from the New York Times, linked HERE and above, that raises some interesting questions about the Bush regime's use of language in its so-called "War on Terror" or more recently "the War against Islamic Extremism".
A critical debate in America today — among political candidates and among national security experts — is whether five years of war declarations and war-making have helped to make the United States more secure. Or, even in the absence of a major attack on American soil since 9/11, has this strategy created greater danger by providing terror groups with exactly what they crave: the sense that they are a unified army of jihadists? And has the strategy radicalized large swaths of the Muslim world in ways that were not imaginable as recently as 2003?
Specualtion is that the answer to both questions is an emphatic YES. It is true that Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the proxy war in Lebanon have radicalized many Muslims who before weren't angry enough to volunteer to go fight in another country's war. The other effect is that Bush's actions have also served to radicalize Westerners - and more importantly, Christians and Zionists - against Islam.

Sanger points out that London's approach to the recently foiled "terror plot" was to tackle the case as terrorism has traditionally been treated - as a law enforcement issue. Since 911, The Bush regime has chosen to couch all of these otherwise unrelated terror acts in different countries as part of a broader war against a military tactic, and then against a religious ideology. Bush used the ironic phrase "Islamic fascism" to describe the beliefs of the most recent plotters. (Ironic considering the fact that Bush's neoconservative ideology is more closely related to traditional fascism than is religious Islamic fundamentalism.)

In Oklahoma City we observed the problems that can be caused by prematurely painting an Islamic face on a terror attack. We also saw this rush to conclusions with the orgy of evidence that was found after the 911 attacks. Presumably since this latest London plot was squashed in its infant stages, there may be some indication of the group's political leanings. Though the timing was "interesting" as I've noted earlier.

Bush is using this provocative language to unite Western opinion against Islam, but it is creating several unfortunate consequences.
  1. It has increased racist and religiously motivated sentiment and attacks against all Muslims.
  2. It has served to alienate moderate Muslims who are forced to band together to protect the religion and its adherants.
  3. As Sanger pointed out, it is creating the impression of a unified army of Jihadists among Muslims, Islamics and non-Islamics alike where none exists in reality.
  4. It is empowering radical Christianity and Zionism, stoking the fires of extremism for a new crusade and a coming Apocolypse.
The Bush Regime's interests in the oil, security and weapons industries are finding terrorism, war in the Middle East and the resulting crackdown on civil liberties to be a very profitable business. Meanwhile, Zionist and Christian extremist factions are gaining momentum for a definitive battle against Islamic forces that are not unified, but are being forced to rally the troops.

I don't mean to be alarmist, but the framing of these conflicts in terms of religious ideology, is escalating the tension between these rival religions. Unfortunately, the rest of us may be the ones financing, fighting and dying in these wars if events continue along this course.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Perfect Timing for Another Terror Scare

Originally posted by Nadir at

Politicians who are guilty of associating with Grandwizard GDub are taking it on the chin as we pull into the mid-term election home stretch. This goes for Republicans and even pro-war Dems ala Shoeless Joe Lieberman. So what fortuitous timing that the latest terror scare occured right after the US primary results were in, but with plenty of time to affect the November ballot!We would never suggest that there might be a conspiracy, but…

Cruising through the ever insightful, we were directed to a comment page on Toronto’s Globe and Mail site which revealed the following:

Marc from Eastern Ontario says, “I don’t get it. It takes many months of investigation to uncover this plot, and only after the plot is thwarted and 18 arrested, do they radically tighten up the carry-on baggage policy. Does that mean they had no idea during those months of the plot’s objective? If they did suspect that something was cooking during the investigation, would it not have been more prudent to start tightening the carry-on luggage policy during that time, and not AFTER the arrests?”

Good point. It seems our Canadian neighbors aren’t buying the latest terror scare, ay? Haven’t we all seen this B-Movie enough times in the last five years to know the drill?

Since the Detroit area is home to the largest Muslim population in the Western Hemisphere and a busy international border crossing, we’re always caught in that high security crunch. Anyone travelling through the D who doesn’t get to the airport or the bridge at least two hours early when there ISN’T a terror scare is tempting fate. For the next month, you may as well pitch a tent.

But don’t worry. This was impeccible timing. If the fear factor works, and Republican poll numbers go up, we could see that threat level drop just in time for Labor Day weekend! Of course, if the poll numbers stay in the dumps, be on the lookout for that October surprise!

Leadership with Courage

Cynthia McKinney, Election Night Remarks, August 8, 2006 - Linked HERE and above:
Ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.

Bobby Kennedy said, "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country."

We love our country, and that is why we dissent: because we care.
In a nation that was founded in the spirit of freedom and liberty from oppression and tyranny, the brave souls who speak out are vilified and punished. This is the tragedy that America has become. I applaud McKinney's courage and her continued leadership.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Playing "Chicken" in "The Hog Butcher for the World"

It seems the Chicago City Council ordinance that would force big-box retailers to pay a living wage is playing out as expected, right? In the article linked HERE and above, ABC's Windy City affiliate reports that Target is threatening to back out of a proposed store on the South Side.

Small retailers have long complained that big-box stores run them out of business, and they are right. The council's tactic, it seems, is to force the giants to make a choice: pay a premium wage because they exert an unfair advantage over smaller stores, or don't come to town at all.

Protectionism is a sticky subject. The US practices it in agriculture, steel and other commodities markets. France subsidizes its film industry to compete with Hollywood. Independent musicians in Canada can get government grants toward the production and marketing of their music or the filming of a music video, which allows them to compete with the corporate music industry.

Often, as in the case of US farm subsidies, large corporations are the beneficiaries of these tactics to the detriment of small businesses in developing nations and the US. Chicago's plan could potentially be helpful to the small guys - like the programs that help French filmmakers and Canadian musicians.

Don't be surprised if Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc., relent to these demands, determining that the higher wage will not necessarily affect the tremendous profits they will reap in a developing market like South Side Chicago. But let's remember, Daley still has until Sept. 13 to veto. He has been a very vocal opponent of the ordinance.

It's an economic game of chicken between the city council and the mega corporations. It is a game I wish more so-called "public servants" had the guts to play. We'll see who blinks first.