Quote of the Day: ‘You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up’ Edition

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

elle, Kevin and Carmen D. (and countless others, I’m sure) all beat me to this:

[LaSalle Parish DA Reed] Walters credited the prayers of people in this small central Louisiana town with averting a “disaster” when the thousands of demonstrators descended on the town.

“The only way – let me stress that – the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community,” Walters said.

“I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that.”

Let’s see: first Jena’s mayor whines about his town getting a bum rap re: racism to a white supremacist and now the local DA claims the only reason the raging Negro horde didn’t go all Detroit ’67 is because of divine intervention.

At this point, Jena should change its name to ‘WTF??!!!1ville.’

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Journamalism At Its Finest

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Newsflash: nuclear PR shill Patrick Moore (Co-founder of Greenpeace!) is a “popular environmentalist” the same way David Horowitz is a “staunch Marxist” or Joe Lieberman a “partisan Democrat.”

Which is to say, not in the fucking least.

I second Alison: please, for the love of God, enough with the slavering, credulous media greenwashing re: nuclear power. Because the prospect of this and this demands serious scrutiny, not lazy stenography.

Related: The Financial Post on how nuclear PR has helped transform a once-feared technology into an ‘environmentally friendly’ energy alternative, noting that market realities may ultimately render industry re-branding efforts irrelevant; David Fenton: fighting fire with fire.

(h/t Gristmill for some of the links re: greenwashing and nuclear shilling)

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Jena Miscellania (Stay Up Forever Edition)

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Having trouble collecting my thoughts. The sleep deficit I’ve been racking up the past week has rendered me cognitively insolvent. So, just a few quick Jena links, followed by some vids (and then, hopefully, a respite from perpetual somnolence):

As expected, LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters will allow Mychal Bell to be retried as a juvenile. However:

It remained uncertain when or whether Bell — one of the group known as the Jena Six — might be released from jail.

His case remains in juvenile court and the prosecutor, District Attorney Reed Walters, said he did not know whether a judge would set bail. Pending a decision on bail, Bell would be transferred to a juvenile facility, Walters said.
[update: elle, phd reports that Bell has FINALLY been released on bail. About GODDAMN time. – mb]

[…]

Walters had said he would appeal that decision. On Thursday, he said he still believes there was legal merit to that decision but he decided it was in the best interest of the victim and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case.

“They are on board with what I decided,” Walters said of the Barkers.

Well, that’s certainly mighty white of y’all.

Elsewhere: Carmen D. doesn’t think very much of the Gray Lady’s decision to give Walters prominent space in Wednesdays’s opinion section:

The New York Times and other news outlets of record refused to cover the story of nooses, unequal justice, unequal protection under the law and the beating of a high school student until these events sparked a protest so massive that they simply could not ignore it.

Now, the New York Times has given Jena district attorney Reed Walters a global platform to make his case without the slightest challenge.

Political Affairs (ZOMG Marxists!!!11) interviews People’s Weekly World correspondent Tim Wheeler, who was on the ground at the 09.20 Jena 6 solidarity march:

PA: A lot of Southern people are getting nervous about the focus on the South again, and they are pointing out, I think correctly, that this isn’t just a Southern problem. Do you have a comment on that?

TW: Oh definitely. First of all, the last cases in which the attention of the nation and the world was focused on racist injustice in this country in such a dramatic way were Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima in New York City. They were the victims of terrible, genocidal violence, one shot down in a hail of 41 bullets, and the other sodomized in a police station by police officers. So this is not just the South. This is a nationwide problem, and we have to take action to stop it. It is absolutely crucial to turning this country around and turning it in a progressive direction – to fight back and defeat this creeping racist offensive we are seeing against Black youth. Of course, there is also the anti-immigrant movement, all the immigrant bashing, which is another form of this attempt to split and divide us. There were many people I interviewed there in Jena who were calling for unity against racism, and they really need white people to join in this fightback. I think it is our duty to respond to that call.

Wheeler includes some interesting examples that illustrate the diversity of those who felt obligated to answer the call in an article published in this weeks issue of PWW:

Curtis Nelson and 149 other members of a motorcycle club in Moss Point, Miss., joined by 72 bikers from Baton Rouge, roared into Jena on their Harley-Davidsons. “Penitentiary for six teenagers for a fist fight? That’s cruel!” Nelson told the World. “When I was in high school you got suspended for getting in fights. And what about the white student who brought a loaded gun to school? They confiscated his gun and hushed it up. That’s not equal justice.”

Or, as the incomporable Liza Sabater put it last Friday, “justice is not served when we need to ask for permission to be black.” Once again, to quote Rachel:

[A] word of advice to people who are discussing the Jena 6 case, when people try to frame the discussion around only the fight or only Jena, Louisiana, don’t let them. The case itself is much broader, and the issues of our criminal (in)justice system are way bigger than Jena, Louisiana.

Rachel also offers an up close and painfully personal glimpse at her own all-to-familiar (and familial) relationship with bigotry, noting that:

[r]acism is so insidious that it anesthetizes people to suffering of others (even others who they care about). It destroys empathetic reactions to human suffering. The victims of racism are expected to be the “bigger people” while the perpetrators get the “Get Out of Racism Free” card. Even when they know racist behavior is wrong and harmful, many white observers of racism suffer from moral paralysis. Rather than doing what is morally right, they do nothing.

Finally, after the fold, some music (both new and not so new) that has kept me from declaring mental bankruptcy this week. Wish me luck tonight, brethren.

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Like A Slow Motion Trainwreck…

by matttbastard

Steve V., one of my favourite capital-‘L’ Liberal bloggers isn’t kidding when he says he’s “gone off the deep end.” Going from Dion to Iggy would be like trying to put out a forest fire with gasoline (or nitroglycerin). The recent Quebec by-elections have apparently given even the most sensible Grits PTSD (unless this dubious proposal is entirely modest in nature).

Entirely unrelated, I am absolutely in love with the new Battles video, Tonto:

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PSA: Iraq Refugee Crisis – “Iraqi women and children have suffered terrible trauma and violence – we have a responsibility to care for their health. The international community must act now to alleviate this situation.”

by matttbastard

Via Feminist Peace Network:

Iraqi refugee women and youth: Sick and suffering – U .S. and International Community must support health sector appeal

September 24, 2007—The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children today called on the United States and the international community to respond quickly and fully to the United Nations interagency appeal for $85 million dollars to provide desperately needed health care for Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

On a recent trip to Jordan, the Women’s Commission saw firsthand the urgent need for this assistance. Iraqi refugees have limited or no access to even basic health services. The cost of accessing health care is beyond the means of most refugees. At the time of our visit in June, there were only two clinics providing free or subsidized medical care to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

The barriers to affordable health care have dire implications for Iraqi refugees. They are not getting the treatment they need for chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer and women and girls are not receiving critical reproductive health services. The longer this endures, the greater the number of lives at risk.

“The health situation for Iraqi refugees is unconscionable and women and children are in particular need given the vulnerability of their situation,” said Carolyn Makinson, Executive Director. “Iraqi women and children have suffered terrible trauma and violence – we have a responsibility to care for their health. The international community must act now to alleviate this situation.”

Iraqi women and girls’ health needs particular attention. In Iraq, women and girls have been targets of sexual violence, including rape. They are now suffering the double burden of the trauma they experienced and forced displacement from their homes. According to the refugees the Women’s Commission met with in Jordan, the stresses and pressures of refugee life are also causing a rise in domestic violence. And because refugees cannot legally work in Jordan, women and girls remain vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. For all these reasons, women and girls must have easy and regular access to medical attention and psychological and social support services for survivors of rape and abuse.

In addition to fully supporting this new health appeal and an earlier education appeal, the U.S. government and international community must also develop a more comprehensive assistance strategy for Iraqi refugees that reflects the magnitude of the refugee crisis. This should include significantly increased humanitarian assistance for refugees, greater support for refugee receiving countries, and robust resettlement programs for highly vulnerable Iraqis.

“Iraqi refugees are becoming more vulnerable by the day,” Makinson said. “The time to act is now.”

For more information, to arrange an interview or to view B-roll footage, please contact Diana Quick, 212. 551. 3087, diana@womenscommission.org

Also see this report from Amnesty International, Millions in flight: the Iraqi refugee crisis (also via FPN); Refugees International on ‘the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis‘.

Related: Interview with Tobias Billström, Sweden’s Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, on how the EU needs to share the responsibility for providing safe haven to Iraqi refugees – and how aid must be allocated to Syria and Jordan, the two Middle Eastern nations with the highest influx of refugees:

Sometimes I think it is an irony that Sweden – a country that did not take part in the Iraq War, was not part of the alliance, did everything it could in order to speak for peace, and is farthest away from the conflict in geographical terms – receives the most refugees. To my mind that is rather strange.

[…]

In some ways we have made progress. But the next thing – and that is important – is to try and bring aid to Syria and to Jordan, the two countries in the region that have received a combined total of more than two million Iraqi refugees.

If we don’t do that, sooner or later there will be a political destabilisation of Syria and Jordan, which will lead to even more problems. We must ensure that the refugees receive aid and that they can sustain themselves.

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Jena 6 Update: Memo To Alanis – THIS Is Ironic (I Really Do Think)

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Jena, LA Mayor Murphy McMillin: not the sharpest fishhook in the tacklebox:

McMillin has insisted that his town is being unfairly portrayed as racist—an assertion the mayor repeated in an interview with Richard Barrett, the leader of the Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group based in Learned, Miss., who asked McMillin to “set aside some place for those opposing the colored folks.”

“I am not endorsing any demonstrations, but I do appreciate what you are trying to do,” Barrett quoted McMillin as saying. “Your moral support means a lot.

(H/T Peek)

(FYI, This is the same Richard Barrett who also interviewed Justin Barker, after allegedly fudging his racist pedigree when questioned by Barker’s family).

Oh, and remember when I predicted that the noose is going to experience a resurgence in iconic significance among the white power set? I can sure call ’em, sometimes. More details on the ongoing pushback are provided by David Neiwert (who also offers incontrovertible evidence that my old buddy John Gibson is indeed an odious sack of sea lion shit – if there was ever any doubt).

Elsewhere: via The Thin Black Duke, M (aka The Blogger Formerly Known As Sylvia) guesting @ Kai Chang’s place:

Very simply, the Jena Six is not a matter of guilt or innocence. If you think this case is about dancing and singing with Al Sharpton in Jena while wearing black, go home or bury some soap or something. If you view this case as a stepping stone for your own self-aggrandizement here there and everywhere, sit at home and think a few seconds before stepping back out again. If you think this case is only about freeing these young men, you’re half-steppin’. If you view the Jena Six incident as uppity newcomer Negroes wanting to start some ruckus, then please go back to your guard post under your bridge. Denial about a person’s criminal actions in a case is unwanted. This fight is not about what we can do to stop people from being criminals (though there’s no denying that goal is important); it is about what happens when those people are already within the criminal justice system and cannot afford an OJ-style legal Dream Team.

Kevin also points to this post by elle, phd, who notices history repeating in the predictably (and pathetically) defensive reaction of the (white) blogosphere after it was justifiably called out for collective indifference towards Jena (remember: Race is tough!).

Related: David Margolick looks back at Elizabeth Eckford, Hazel Bryan and the photo that captured what became an iconic moment in the civil rights movement.

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