Friday, October 7, 2011

Still deeply mired in "Ruminations"...

As Michelle Alexander wrote in "The New Jim Crow," convict-leasing is still very much alive and well - and enriching the Prison Industrial Complex under the guise of being beneficial not only to inmates, but to surrounding communities in particular and the country in general - Georgia may use prisoners to fill farm labor gap:

State officials have set their sights on another potential pool of workers to help bridge Georgia’s severe farm labor gap: prisoners.

The idea is to put nonviolent inmates -- who are spending the end of their prison terms at one of the state’s 13 transitional centers -- to work picking fruits and vegetables across Georgia.

This is at least the state’s second attempt to tackle the labor shortages since enacting a tough new immigration law many farmers blame for their problems. State officials started experimenting last summer by encouraging criminal probationers to work on the farms, but results are mixed...

...Offenders are referred to the state’s transitional centers by prison officials and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles based on their criminal records and behavior in prison. Wages they earn on work release are sent to the centers. Portions are applied to room and board, fines, fees, restitution and child support. The rest is held for them until they are released. More than 2,700 inmates are in the transitional centers now.
This is nothing more than a damned chain gang - absent those pesky chains:
By 1955, chain gangs were eliminated throughout the United States. Georgia was the last state to abandon chain gangs in that year. However, the termination of chain gangs proved to be temporary.
Apparently, Georgia's waxing nostalgic.

I remember, both chain gangs and migrant workers (my grandmother called them "Flayida people") being used growing up in South Carolina (and I was born in 1956! -  so the termination of their use was very temporary!).   I'm 55 damned years old and both are still going on in the south (in the agricultural areas of South Florida - today - Haitians get to do the pickin') . {SMDH}

And now, some continued WTFery from the "usual suspects" in the Middle East - UNESCO clears way for Palestine seat vote:
Palestine has won a first diplomatic victory in its quest for statehood when the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO] executive committee backed its bid to become a member of the cultural body with the rights of a state.

Palestine's Arab allies braved intense US and French diplomatic pressure to bring the motion before the committee's member states, which passed it by 40 votes in favour to four - the US, Germany, Romania and Latvia – against it, with 14 abstentions...

...The move was swiftly criticised by the US and Israel. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said UNESCO should "think again" about voting on Palestinian admission...(no surprise there)

..."I found quite confusing and somehow inexplicable that you would have organs of the United Nations making decisions about statehood or statehood status while the issue has been presented to the United Nations," Clinton said..."The decision about status must be made in the United Nations and not in auxiliary groups that are subsidiary to the United Nations."...(translation:  "Not by you underlings!"   I can't believe I admired this woman at one time.  "Long as I'm living, I'm learning" is the only excuse I have for that!)

...David Killion, the US ambassador to UNESCO, issued a statement urging all delegations to join the United States in voting "no" while in Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland sharply criticised the Palestinian effort.

"This is not going to create a state for them," she said at her daily briefing. "It is going to make things harder ... It further exacerbates the environment of tension."  (Is it me?  Or does Victoria sound like she's the one a little "tense?")

Nimrod Barkan, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, said the move would harm the agency and would not advance Palestinian aspirations.  (I couldn't resist the italics on his first name, especially after reading what he said.)

"The problem is that the politicisation of UNESCO is detrimental to the ability of the organisation to carry out its mandate," he told Reuters. (Doesn't the "U.N." in UNESCO kinda throw that whole "politicisation" as "detrimental" thing out the window?  And when hasn't Education, Science and Culture not been politicized among these "usual suspects?")

France, which has advocated observer status of the UN, said that UNESCO was not the place to further the Palestinian case for recognition.

"The priority is to revive negotiations," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. "We consider that UNESCO is not the appropriate place and the General Conference is not the right moment." (And how long have they been "negotiating" with nothing but expanded settlement-building to show for it?)

Both US and Israel argue that the way to create Palestine is through negotiations. (Um, shouldn't Palestine be a part of that argument regarding "the way to create" their own damned selves??  Sounds pret-t-y, damn imperialist to me.)
As does this piece of, "You better do what we say, or we'll (literally) squeeze the life out of you!" madness - Aid Blackmail in Palestine:
Once again, Palestinians are being punished for daring to exercise a choice.
It happened before in 2006, when they took part in what was deemed to be the wrong kind of democracy and picked the wrong (Hamas) government. That mistaken execution of free will caused the international community to close its funding tap - cutting Palestinian aid and salaries.

Now, there are penalties for taking another 'wrong' turn, despite repeated threats and warnings: US congress is blocking US $200 million intended for the Palestinian Authority (PA), which persisted with its UN statehood bid in the face of US disapproval.

Few things typify international complicity in stalling Palestinian aspirations like this on/off money switch. The current cut in cash will affect health and social projects - but not, it is said, the PA's security commitments (coordinated with Israel). In other words, the pinch is designed to cause Palestinian suffering - but is calibrated so as not to upset Israeli concerns, or totally derail the stagnating status quo.
Really now, is it just me??  Before you answer, read the whole the piece, cuz everbody benefits from this mess, but the Palestinians!  And Tony Blair - with his faux, Middle East Peace Envoy ass (Oh, the irony!  Like Shrub and his administration, shouldn't he be in jail charged as a WAR criminal for that fake WMD war in Iraq?  Just sayin'...) - is making sure it stays that way according to this - Palestinian leaders renew attack on Tony Blair over Israel:
In fact, Blair's remit from the Quartet was restricted to easing economic constraints in the West Bank and Gaza and helping with state-building. He was asked to take on the role of political mediator by the US only in the run-up to the Palestinians' demand for full membership at the UN. "He was parroting exactly what the Israelis wanted," said Shaath.
I tell you, nobody captures his bullshit more succinctly than anti-war political cartoonist (and Blair's fellow countryman), Leon Kuhn.

Oh, and that, "remit from the Quartet" being "restricted to easing economic constraints in the West Bank and Gaza and helping with state-building" thing?  Ve-e-ery problematic indeed - particularly on these two fronts:

  1. In a brief description over at Dispatches - The Wonderful World of Tony Blair, Peter Osborne shares this:
    Dispatches shows that at the same time as Blair is visiting Middle East leaders in his Quartet role he is receiving vast sums from some of them. If Blair represented the UK government, the EU, the IMF, the UN or the World Bank, this would not be permitted.

    He would also have to declare his financial interests and be absolutely transparent about his financial dealings. But no such stringent rules govern the Quartet envoy.  (Hold that thought - because, while Blair's greedy self-enrichment on the backs of the Palestinian people is an egregious problem of the first order, the definitely bigger problem, is that this "Quartet" - comprised of  the US, EU, Russian officials, and the UN Secretary General - shouldn't be able to "remit" any-damned-thing, to any-damned-body!)
  2. Ali Abunimah explains why "no such stringent rules govern the Quartet envoy and rightly indicts those same "usual suspects" in - Why the UN must abolish the 'Quartet':
The Quartet, although often referred to as if it were an official body, was founded in 2002 as an informal committee. There is no UN resolution giving it a mandate, although it has taken on an air of permanence and precendence over every other international institution.

From the start, the Quartet served not so much as a forum for international involvement in addressing the question of Palestine, but rather a substitute for real international involvement and a cover for American control.

Anis Nacrour, a French diplomat who served as a senior advisor to Tony Blair in the Quartet office in Jerusalem told Channel 4 that from its inception, the Quartet was "a smokescreen for the action of the Americans and the tandem between Americans and Israelis. At the end of the day, all this was for buying time for allowing the Israeli government to do whatever they wanted to do." (I'd say that sure is what it looks like).
Another strange thing happened that gave me pause regarding the Middle East, though for a different reason - my skinfolk, Susan Rice.
The most brazen attack came from American ambassador Susan Rice who declared that the US was “outraged” at the UN’s failure “to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security.” (Lawd ha' mercy!  Somebody please tell me how this woman could say this shit with a straight face!)

Without naming Russia and China, Rice dismissed any parallels with NATO’s now blatant neo-colonial intervention in Libya as a “cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.” She staged a walk-out by the US delegation after Syrian ambassador Bashar Jaafari accused the US of “partaking in genocide” by supporting Israel. The US has repeatedly wielded its veto power to block resolutions critical of Israel.  (Like I said up there, HOW?  Look I'm no foreign policy "expert" (though I do try to keep up) - but, like the walk-out staged in Durban, I do see one common denominator in both - Israel.  Thought I'd mosey on over to Haaretz to sniff around - and whaddya know -  Syria recognizes Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital!)

Rice’s comments reek of hypocrisy. While denouncing the Syrian regime’s anti-democratic measures, the US and European powers turn a blind eye to the repressive methods of their allies in the region, including the Saudi monarchy and, up until this year, the regime of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak—to name just two. As in the case of Libya, the concern of the US and European powers is not democratic rights, but the advancement of their economic and strategic interests in the Middle East.
In Craig Murray's - Diplomatic Blowback, he said:
I know the American Envoy to the UN, Susan Rice, and have in the past worked with her and had great respect for her; she was genuinely committed to the fight against apartheid. But her histrionic walkout in reaction to a Russian statement which was both plainly true, and an eminently forseeable result of Amercia’s own rash actions, was just pathetic.
His reference to her apartheid work is that "other reason" to which I alluded above.  How can sister, Rice, be so invested in the wrong of apartheidand not see that what she and the Changeling's administration are doing is the same damned thing!  Sounds like some of that "split mind" shit that bell talked about here, in videos #4 - #5.

But on the real though, those usual suspects need to stop meddling in other people's business.  Certainly, nobody's coming over here meddling in ours (and if any of those countries even thought about telling them what to do, they'd either ignore them, or worse, start yet another baseless war)!  Continuing to engage in these imperialist forays into often, sovreign nations will - sooner, rather than later - backfire.  And it ain't gonna pretty

And finally (again, speaking of bell - see videos #4 - #5), I was just undone when I saw these pictures over at The Crunk Feminist Collective:

But proudly and humbly as hell, I've no need to comment on the whys and wherefores of the photo, except to say screw John and Yoko!  Because, not only did my lil sis, Crunktastic do the damned thing in HANDLIN' IT in her post, the others in the comment section definitely had her back! I was so moved and impressed with this piece of writing, I had to give it my Richard Wright, "Using Words as a Weapon" award today.

Not only do these young sisters continue to TEACH my old ass - they give me a genuine "hope and change" feeling.

*(All emphases in this post are mine.)

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