Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Elk, Can't Stop Listening to This Track

Honduras: Continuing Unrest, Naked Statements

I really appreciated a recent article from the associated press that revealed the current Honduran president's sense of ownership over the current government of the country, responding to widespread protests and strikes lead by students, teachers, and healthcare workers.

He claims:

"They are trying to destabilize my government," Lobo said at a news conference. "All of this is part of an ideological strategy to provoke difficulties, especially now that there is the possibility of returning to the OAS at the next general assembly in June."

This reveals again the clientelist nature of politics in Honduras with its electoral power-sharing between liberal and conservatives and the way in which the changing of the guard always results in the reinforcement of the oligarchy's control of the nation.

Comments by the opposition support this analysis:

A coalition of Zelaya supporters called the National Front of Popular Resistance has called for a general strike Wednesday, threatening to escalate the conflict in the polarized and impoverished Central American country.

"Porfirio Lobo is once again revealing the fascist character of his government, which is trying to destroy popular organization and the gains of the people to impose an economic system that only benefits the oligarchy and multilateral companies," the front said in a statement.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Halt to Deportations of Students

In the face of the failure of the DREAM act in December of last year deportations of Latino young folk/students continue. President Obama in a recent town hall meeting appeared unwilling to cease deportation and grant students under threat of deportation with  Temporary Protected Status.

From the Latin American Herald Tribune:

“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,” the president said.

“There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president,” Obama said.

He also rejected the idea of granting TPS to undocumented students.


But the main message Obama wanted to send to Hispanic students, who make up 22 percent of all students in the country, was that their community “will be a key for our future success” and that the country needs everyone to finish their high school education and be able to go to college.

Only about half of Hispanic students manage to finish high school in the normal amount of time, and very few go on to university for further study. Just 13 percent of those who do obtain a bachelor’s degree and only about 4 percent receive a postgraduate diploma, according to the Education Department.

What is astounding in this article, to me, is the way in which this issue actually reveals a deeper racial division at the level of education and access to opportunity. America can no longer supply the dream of upward mobility to Latinos (undocumented or otherwise, it would appear) rather membership in a flexible, contingent rainbow underclass.

Twitter Didn't Produce The Uprisings in the Middle East or in Northern Africa

Mubarak,Democracy for Egypt,Harold Pinter

Modernization theory is wrong, here's why.

From Al Jazeera:

To listen to the hype about social networking websites and the Egyptian revolution, one would think it was Silicon Valley and not the Egyptian people who overthrew Mubarak.

Via its technologies, the West imagines itself to have been the real agent in the uprising. Since the internet developed out of a US Defense Department research project, it could be said the Pentagon did it, along with Egyptian youth imitating wired hipsters from London and Los Angeles.


But neither version is particularly useful for organising resistance to the local dictatorship. In any case, the internet was turned off at decisive moments in the Egyptian uprising, and it was ordinary Egyptians, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, who toppled the regime, not the hybrid youth of the global professional classes.

Globalisation is also coming to awareness of the situations of other peoples, such as those similarly oppressed by local and faraway powers. Of particular interest are those moments when these peoples rise up, when they devise forms of revolt and struggle. Defeats provide lessons, and victories give hope. These revolutions need not be on satellite TV to effect their instruction. Revolutionaries in France and Haiti in the 1790s received news of one another''''s activities by the regular packet ship that plied between Jamaica and London.

Sailors, slaves, and workers circulating in the Atlantic between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries shared and improved upon their repertoires of revolt and resistance, bringing the good news to ports from Rio to Boston, Bristol to Havana.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Steven Seagal Barrels into a Suspected Cockfighting Depot with a Tank!

Tank Pictures, Images and Photos

From Colorlines:

Seagal, who has unfettered access to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for his A&E television show, “Steven Seagal Lawman”, showed up in a Phoenix’s West Valley neighborhood to break up a suspected cockfighting operation.

Phoenix’s KPHO reported that SWAT vans and sirens came blazing down the block on March 9, and shocked neighbors with their wild antics.

From KPHO:

Neighbor Debra Ross was so worried she called 911 and went outside where a nearby home had its windows blown out, was crawling with dozens of SWAT members in full gear, armored vehicles and a bomb robot.

“When the tank came in and pushed the wall over and you see what’s in there, and all it is, is a bunch of chickens,” Ross said.


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, no stranger to publicity stunts, said that day that Seagal is “working with us on law enforcement activity and he’s a member of my posse.”

Arpaio’s since had to defend his use of force, if not Seagal’s presence in town.

“We had good intel that this guy could be armed,” Arpaio told KTVK. “[The heavy equipment] was needed for officer protection.”

Locals are unconvinced. Arizona is facing an unprecedented deficit, and Phoenix has had to lay off actual police officers to deal with its budget shortfall.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Gay Inanity 2

If you need some amusement today, I would recommend watching these videos tone-deaf baby gay twins, gather by our friends a House of Vader. Hilarious and completely magical at the same time. Watch closely with the 2nd video as they attempt a little montage.

In recent visit to Chile Obama elides questions about the U.S. endorsement of the overthrow of Salvador Allende.

In the words (read: command) of Richard Nixon, responding to the election to Salvador Allende in the 1970s: "Make their economy scream."

On the recent visit by Obama to Chile the The Latin American Herald Tribune reports:

Asked by a Chilean reporter about Washington’s role in the 1973 coup that toppled Chilean President Salvador Allende, Obama acknowledged that “the history of relations between the United States and Latin America have at times been extremely rocky and have at times been difficult.”

“I think it’s important,” he added, “that we’re not trapped by our history. And the fact of the matter is, is that over the last two decades we’ve seen extraordinary progress here in Chile and that has not been impeded by the United States but, in fact, has been fully supported by the United States.”

In recent days Chilean unions, student organizations and leftist parties asked Obama to use his visit to Chile to apologize for the backing of the then-U.S. government for the coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Looking to the future, Obama proposed, as he repeated in his address later, an alliance of equals between his country and Latin America that would allow cooperation in such fields as student exchanges and the war on drugs.

"Trapped by history" in this understanding = to acknowledge the imperialist incursions on national sovereignty historically committed by the United States and the cavalier attitude with which it has approached Latin America in general?

Oligarchic Stirrings in the U.S. of A.

It's been my contention with the interpenetration of marketing, money, and politics have moved the United States closer to what some Latin American government situations involve (as in, Honduras) where conservative and liberal elements engage in clientelism and electoral power swapping. Some numbers from the Center for American Progress appear to confirm increasing class war from the right. Also, Republican Maine Governor engaging in the cultural end of said class war by demanding the removal of a labor oriented mural from the state's Department of labor and the renaming of conference rooms, previously commemorating labor leaders and the first female U.S. cabinet secretary. The account from his administration:

We have received feedback that the administration building is not perceived as equally receptive to both businesses and workers -- primarily because of the nature of the mural in the lobby and the names of our conference rooms.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Race-baiting in Congress Somewhat Unsuccessful

Though the fact that it is occurring in the first place is troubling as well as telling. From

Last week’s congressional hearings on the Muslim community didn’t go quite the way Rep. Peter King hoped and expected. Their content turned out to be more of a referendum on whether such hearings themselves were a good idea, interrupting the fear mongering political theater that King had set up.


Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, stole the show by crying as he told the story of 23-year-old paramedic Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who became the subject of speculation that he’d collaborated with the hijackers after he disappeared on 9/11. It turned out that he was actually among the first responders who died in the towers. Hamdani’s mother, Talat, went to D.C. several weeks ago with other family members of 9/11 victims for a scheduled meeting with Peter King, but he stood them up.

King argued that Muslims have a greater responsibility to turn each other in than other Americans, as he thinks that every Mosque has a bomber hiding in its basement. King refused to broaden the hearing to include other groups, asserting that there is no equivalent between Muslim extremism and, say, neo-Nazis. But of course there was the case of Byron Williams, who was intercepted by California Highway Patrol on his way to shoot up the ACLU and the Tides Foundation last year. And just last week, police arrested Kevin Marpham (a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance) for appearing to construct a bomb with which to greet marchers at Spokane’s MLK Day rally. In a recent report, Charles Kurzman notes that in 2010, there were more than 20 terrorist plots by non-Muslims. A certain segment of white men appear to be very, very angry.


But there is some room for change. While most polls, taken ahead of the hearings, showed just over 50 percent support for King’s effort, that broke down heavily along political lines, with Republicans at about 70 percent and Democrats at around 40 percent. Seven in 10 people polled by the Public Religion Research Institute said King should expand the scope of the hearing to other groups. In a Gallup poll, most people said that Muslims are not too extreme in their religious beliefs or supportive of Al Qaeda. Importantly, a good 10 percent were undecided, and that represents a large number of people.