Monday, July 31, 2006

The Thing About Racist Comments

Verbal Martial Arts

I am allergic to racist comments like some people are allergic to pollen grains. When someone makes a racist comment, that is like saying they have a sick heart, mind, soul. They inform you of the value system of the people they bond with. More often than not racism is a tool of power. It is not true the ignorant are the most racist. And there you want to be thinking Bruce Lee.

Race, A Few Different Angles
The Art Of War, Bruce Lee

When someone makes a deliberate racist comment - they are not about to apologize, they are not about to talk about it - that signifies mental structure on their part. You avoid them, or you fight them, depending on if they are worth your time, or worth a fight. Only an equal and opposite reaction will be able to drive any sense into them. It is verbal martial arts. The racism is tactical. Glass walls and ceilings are made up of words. And they are fought with words.

Time Frame Analysis

You localize the comment in space and time for the dialogue purpose. Was the comment made? What was the comment? What was the context? What was the act? You put down the facts on the table.

The next question is, can the comment be perceived as racist? That is subjective. And if the two parties agree, is there an apology forthcoming?

But this method is expecting too much goodwill on the part of the parties concerned.

Thinking On Your Feet

Can you hit back in a split second? Often that is what it boils down to. There is that rapid response mechanism. And there is the hot iron response. Someone who makes a racist comment is clearly someone who does not want to get along with you. You grant them their wish. They disappear like fog from your social reality.

Racial Equality: A Collective Struggle

Ultimately it boils down to classic political work. It is about organizing masses of people around succinct political platforms. It is about mobilizing. It is about raising the political consciousness. It is about turning up the heat.

Do Women Have It Tougher?

I think every man is sexist, it is just a matter of degree. There are the obvious ones. If you are a man who gets really uncomfortable when having to discuss gender relations, you are an obvious guilty party. Then there are those who are uncomfy having to discuss anything they said or did that might maybe maybe considered sexist.

I grew up in a part of the world that is for gender today what the American South was for race 50 years ago. A wrong conclusion from that would be that someone like me should put up with the white woman brand of racism. I owe it to the women in the country I grew up in that I dig my heels and fight, because I am part of something really wonderful there. Nepal is on its way to have a parliament where one third of the seats will be reserved for women.

I am inviting of people who might want to talk and do business in the form of policy talk as might impact the women in Nepal. Here's some stuff I wrote in 1993.

(II)The Second Pillar : Sexual Equality
The Laws That Push The Women Down
The Political Battles

I see the African Americans as one on race. I see and seek solidarity. By extension I feel women have bigger reasons to seek solidarity across ethnic and cultural and religious lines. But solidarity has to be one based on political consciousness. It can not be an attempt at a hush hush arrangement on race and racism. It can not be an arrangement where white women lord over minority women. It has to be a proactive coalition of gender talk on specific gender issues, it has to be policy talk. The solidarity has to be expressed. It has to be an attempt at political enlightenment. The best can not be the enemy of the good. But at least the attempts have to be pointing in the right direction.

Women do have it tougher. Because gender relations are all around them. Minority men often have to step outside the family, and go and interact with big institutions to have to experience the racism. But women have men right there in the family. There is the father, the brother, the boyfriend, the husband, the friends, colleagues, the boss. And on top of that you have the corporations and the institutions of governmental power.

Women have less space than the minority males to step back and seek solidarity with other women. Chances are if you step back, you find yourself surrounded not with women who see you eye to eye but likely women who have internalized the sexism. Solidarity? Fat chance.

By definition progress on gender is about women coming together. And it is harder for women to come together. You end up having to reassess too many of the relationships that you are part of. And each such reassessment to be successful kind of requires positive cooperation from people who might or might not cooperate, likely will not. So it is tough.

The Dialogue Option

That is why I emphasize dialogue. There has to be open talk on race and gender. Getting people to talk is not a minor challenge. Most people walk around thinking they are the center of the universe. They got it, everyone else just needs to catch up. This is particularly true of race and gender. On social issues people really get defensive. People feel like you are trying to change their worldviews. It is like someone trying to convert me to Christianity which, by the way, with all due respect, I think is a dud religion.

The Spectrum On Gender
The Spectrum/Dialogue Concept Is Key To Power


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Friday, July 28, 2006

Cloud, Pyramid, Glass

The New York City progressive circles are full of organizations that are full of people that are never going to run for public office. That is such a downer. That is why I greatly value having gotten to know Hakeem Jeffries. The guy is actually running for something.

And he is an enlightened black guy. He is not a clinical black guy who has managed to work the anger out of his system and has become vanilla. He takes offense. He is angry about a few things. But he is sophisticated. He approaches the racial grievances through a superior understanding of how the system works and delivers or not.

There are the political hobbyists, and there are the socializing type. And there are those who make racist comments. Sparks fly at the fault lines of the perceived glass walls and ceilings.

And there are white trash people in Manhattan - you are no millionaire, and you know it - who pass on racist comments as classist comments, as if classist comments are okay. Much is to do with where do you live, what do you do? It can be plain curiosity. Or a way to look down upon the outer boroughs. For me the outer boroughs are fascinating beyond imagination. My first choice would be to travel to all continents. But since that is not feasible at this point in time, I drive through the outer boroughs. One of my favorite things to do in the city is to get into my car and try to get "lost." The city feels like hometown. It is not clinical like the malls in the wastes of the Midwest. There are roadside shops, there is noise, there is litter, an occasional stench. There are people. People of color, all sorts of colors. All makes.

The city is the Amazon. There are as many kinds of human life forms as there are life forms in the Amazon. It is pulsing. It is happening.

The white male who feels threatened to see you talking to some white woman. The white woman who wants to know if you are making enough to make up for the fact that you are not white. Kentucky is never so far away.

Celebrities drop by. The other day I missed Bill Clinton. I got a call weeks back from Hillary Clinton's office. Would I like to purchase a ticket? I said, sure, absolutely. But my propensity to do things last minute. I called the office on the 25th.

"The President is supposed to show on the 27th, I think. Where do I get my ticket?"

"The event is sold out. And it is today!"

It is hard to explain early stage entrepreneurship. Especially when you are functioning in that ether zone where the boundary lines between business and politics, between politics and academia, between politics and the media are gone.

The import of my Nepal work is global. But it is hard to explain. There is a lack of interest.

And when you take offense at racism, you can throw people off balance. They are not expecting.

But there are so many people, endless streams of people. Like someone once said to me, you meet someone for three minutes at a party, and you will never see them again. There are a few people you get to know better than others. There are a few you wish you never knew.

It is even harder to explain my corporate vision is an extension of the political. The idea of launching a company is exciting. All those offline are disenfranchised. The internet is one big cloud like the human mind, of many human minds.

I am not off. I am super busy. I have been thinking. I have output to show. I don't need carrer advice. I am focused. I am not looking for a career. I have a few. The plate is full.

And then there is a sense of detachment on racism. Kind of like geology. It will be a while before the Rockies become like the Appalachia. In the mean time you move to New York City, and you let them be.

..... the ism family: racism, classism, ageism, adultism, elitism, sexism, heterosexism, and physicalism.

You localize, and hit back. Everyone is at the receiving end of one ism or another. At the least, ask them out of your face. It is not like your people are just angling to rally behind you. Localize. Don't think world history and world politics. Get specific in space, time and person. Hit, and move on. Enjoy the air. The streets. The pizza.

You log on, and you are plugged into Nepal. You are dealing with national level politics. The city is local.

April Revolution, April Convention

On The Web

Glass Walls and Glass Ceilings, Women's Representation in State ...
0275971953: Glass Walls and Glass Ceilings : Women's ...
Glass Walls and Glass Ceilings: Women's Representation in State ... Glass Walls: Reality & Hope Beyond the Glass Ceiling ... Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach the Top of ...
Breaking through the glass ceiling: Women in management - Contents
Breaking through the glass ceiling: Women in management - Summary
The CEO Refresher - The Glass Ceiling
Glass Ceiling and Other Metaphors: A Basic Guide
[PPT] Breaking through the glass ceiling
More proof that they need to break the glass ceiling in TV ...
FrontPage :: The Academy's Glass Ceiling by David French
Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach the Top of America's ...
PlanetPapers - Glass Ceiling Summary
[PDF] Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Some Successful Corporate Practices
Glass ceiling didn't stop Gayle Jones 12/12/02
Many Women See Glass Ceiling Blocking Their Quest for Success
History - Break the Glass Ceiling Foundation - History
Political Animal: Comment on I Guess the Glass Ceiling Really Does ...
Ethnic minority doctors hit glass ceiling in NHS
» Signs That You’re Hitting the “Glass Ceiling
[DOC] Glass ceilings and sticky floors
Letters: The glass ceiling at home - Salon
[PDF] Through the Brick Wall, and the Glass Ceiling: Women in the Civil ...
Breaking the Glass Ceiling With the Power of Words
The Glass Guide
gendergeek » Economist can’t see the glass ceiling for the trees

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hillary's Formula For 2006

August 16
Barack The Glass Walls, Ceilings, Smash 'Em
Three Pillars, Draft 2
Hillary 2008
Rahm Emanuel: Big Ideas For America
Can't Take Back Congress Without Strong On Defense

Anybody should be able to do better than the tax cut and spend conservatives in the midterm elections, why only Democrats?

Saving The American Dream Bold Ideas for America's Future
EDITOR'S NOTE by Peter Ross Range
SAVING THE AMERICAN DREAM by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Tom Carper, and Gov. Tom Vilsack For the first time ever, we've had four straight years of rising productivity and falling incomes. Americans are earning less, while the costs of a middle-class life have soared: In the past five years, college costs are up 50 percent, health care 73 percent, and gasoline more than 100 percent. ...... Every American should have the opportunity and responsibility to go to college and earn a degree, and to get the lifelong training they need........ Every worker should have the opportunity and responsibility to save for a secure retirement. ....... Every business should have the opportunity to grow and prosper in the strongest private economy on Earth, and the responsibility to equip workers with the same tools of success as management....... Every individual should have the opportunity and responsibility to start building wealth from day one, and the security and community that come from owning a home. ...... Every family should have the opportunity to afford health insurance for their children, and the responsibility to obtain it. ...... Of all the aspirations that make up the American Dream, perhaps the most important is the opportunity to go to college. ...... make it possible for any student willing to work part-time or perform community service to go to college for four years tuition-free. ..... The pillars of the American Dream -- a college degree, a home, a secure retirement, and the chance to get ahead in a growing economy -- are central to our basic values....... The U.S., which used to rank 1st in the world in the percentage of young people with a post-secondary degree, has fallen to 7th. ...... Earlier this year, the president signed a budget reconciliation bill that slashed financial assistance by $12.7 billion, the largest cut in college aid in history. We need a bold new plan -- fully paid for by cutting wasteful corporate subsidies to make college affordable again ...... in July 1862, Abraham Lincoln and the national government gave states land grants to build the finest public college system on earth........ About 70 percent of Americans own their home. About 85 percent have health care. An estimated 42 percent own retirement accounts. But only about 30 percent have achieved the dream that can do the most to make other dreams possible and put other worries to rest -- a college degree...... Over the past three decades, virtually all economic and income gains have gone to college graduates. ...... The income gap between college graduates and high school graduates has more than doubled since 1980. College graduates now earn nearly twice as much as high school graduates -- an extra $20,000 per year....... For today's 22-year-old, a college degree means a million-dollar bonus over the course of a career........ About 9 million students attend 4-year colleges full-time, roughly two-thirds of them at public institutions. Each year, approximately 1.4 million of those students graduate -- 900,000 from public institutions, 500,000 from private ones. About 500,000 students a year drop out of 4-year colleges....
WINNING THE FUTURE by Thomas Z. Freedman, Nick Gossen, and Ed Gerrish
PROVEN FORMULA by Al From and Bruce Reed

Plus Points
  1. This is as close to the "Contract" as anything any Democrat has proposed.
  2. There are many specifics. That is good.
  3. The emphasis on education is great.
Minus Points
  1. The document is blank on foreign policy. That is a huge drag. The idea should be to compare the Long War to the Cold War and suggest spreading democracy the progressive way all across the Arab world is the way to win. And that military action should be limited, focused and smarter when absolutely necessary.
  2. There is not enough attack on the Republicans. The tax cut and spend and bankrupt the country neocons.
  3. The DLC no longer represents the "center" that elected Bill Clinton in 1992. It has stayed where it was, the ground below has shifted. The DLC has not been able to engulf the strong progressive trend that has been brewing within the party, namely the netroots and the grassroots. The DLC will have to reinvent itself if it hopes to play a major role.
  4. There is no talk of the possibilities of reducing education costs by use of information technology.

This is a good plan, but it is incomplete.

In The News

Hillary Clinton assails Bush People's Daily Online, China ..... skyrocketing gas, college and health care costs...... "It's the American dream, stupid" ...... the "American Dream Initiative," a package of proposals aimed at strengthening the middle class and helping the poor work their way out of poverty. The group considers the 20-page document an agenda Democrats can unite behind as they seek to win control of the House and Senate this fall and the White House in 2008..... The document focuses on domestic issues Clinton Releases Proposals to Help the Middle Class New York Times, United States divisions in the Democratic Party on full display nationwide ..... a broad policy platform geared toward helping middle-class voters and the working poor through a series of tax credits and other modest government programs...... Mrs. Clinton’s 20-page plan was the culmination of a yearlong project she led at the Democratic Leadership Council ...... Mrs. Clinton has gone much further than Mr. Lieberman in criticizing the management of the war in Iraq ....... a $3,000 college tax credit; “baby bonds” that would deliver a $500 savings bond to every child at birth and age 10; an expansion of the home mortgage tax deduction to low-income people who do not itemize their tax returns; and “American dream accounts” requiring companies with five or more employees to provide traditional retirement benefits or the option for workers to save through 401(k) accounts.
Hillary Clinton: 'It's the American dream, stupid' CNN
Hillary Clinton Outlines Agenda Hartford Courant
Hillary Clinton accuses Bush of driving USA to bankruptcy Dominican Today
Hillary Clinton: She's Ready For Her Close-Up Now Post Chronicle
Sen. Hillary Clinton Robbed
The Conservative Voice, NC
If Hillary Clinton Wins the Oval Office in ‘08
National Ledger, AZ
Hillary Clinton And Bill Duplicity Continues Into The 21st Century
Post Chronicle
Hillary Clinton And The Middle Class
National Journal, DC
On Values, DLCers Have The Tactics, But Not The Strategy National Journal
The Democrats (Re)Discover Class National Journal
Hillary Clinton Campaign Army Swells To 50 Staffers, 20 ...
All Headline News
Hillary Understands The Importance Of Image The Moderate Voice
Hillary's $6,000 Beauty Sessions
Help Me Straighten This Out Wizbang
Why is Clinton campaigning for Lieberman?
AlterNet, CA
Who Cares What Mrs. Clinton Says? (subscription)
Poll: Giuliani would win matchup against Hillary Clinton
Kansas City Star, MO
Note to Media: Preregistration Required for Hillary Clinton and ...
International News Service, Australia

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Right Wingers In Power In Israel And America

The Israeli Offensive

You can draw parallels between the Nepali Maoist guerrillas and the Islamist militants to a degree. The Nepali Maoists started out with the goal of a communist republic. The Islamists think in terms of theocratic governments that have some resemblance to communist dictatorships in terms of how dogmatic they tend to be. Both suggested power flows through the barrel of a gun: violence is the political weapon of choice.

In Nepal's case there was no dearth of people who propagated that there was only a military solution to the Maoist insurgency. (Robert Kaplan Is An American Cowboy) But finally it is the dogged sticking to a political solution that has been working in Nepal. Not only has it been working in terms of peace, but the Maoists who are moving decidedly towards peace have also been the most socially progressive of forces. Attempts to mainstream them politically has made it possible for hitherto suppressed groups to come out and speak up for their rights.

The military solution never made sense, and did not work, only made the situation from bad to worse. The political solution has been working beautifully.

The First Major Revolution Of The 21st Century Happened In Nepal
18 Days Of April Revolution: Victory

Ultimately the solution in the Middle East is political. Military conquest is not possible, and will not cut it. The attempt has to be at a comprehensive peace.

The right wingers think of the Arabs as a lesser people. It is from that ideology that militarism stems. Violence begets violence. They put little emphasis on respectful dialogue. Instead they engage in dialogue formats that are designed to humiliate. And then when the dialogue fails, they act only too trigger happy.

Newt Gingrich and John McCain are on American TV talking in terms of World War III. How could they talk so casually about war? And there are Democrats who think McCain is moderate!

India had its own 7/11. (Mumbai Train Blasts)

I am not suggesting pacifism. And I am not suggesting political negotiations from a position of weakness. But when your entire strategy is military, you have failed even before you have begun.

Destroying Lebanese infrastructure is Israel's idea of attacking the Hezbollah. How idiotic is that? Lebanon's people are getting killed. Israel knows those civilians are innocent. Lebanon's democratic government is getting sidelined when democracy is the answer for every Arab country. So you got to support the nascent ones.

The Unthinkable: Nuclear Weapons Are Not Made To Be Used
Long War
The Larger WMD Question And Iran
Complicated Iraq

The Middle East is a complicated part of the world. And so there are no easy solutions. But for there to be peace, many things have to go right at once, a tall expectation.
  1. Peaceful democracy movements have to take off in each Arab country. That is the best hope. There are rightful Arab grievances. There are rightful Palestinian grievances. But those grievances can not be allowed to be voiced by violent groups. Their thunder has to be stolen. And the Arab diaspora is best poised to take the lead. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to vent that anger. But that venting has to be done through the use of words. (Democracy Spreading Mechanism) And these groups have to be extended as much logistical help as possible. America has spent more than $320 billion to "spread democracy" in Iraq. A billion per democracy movement per Arab country should suffice should the emphasis be on peace. The guns on both sides have to be silenced. And that can happen after the peaceful democrats work to occupy the center space. Push the guns out.
  2. Address the political grievances. Solve the Palestine issue. The Palestinians are nowhere close to pushing the Israelis into the sea, but the Israelis have pushed the Palestinians into the desert. Give them their state, damnit. The Israeli right wing has lacked the political honesty to solve the Palestine issue. The idea of politically engaging the Palestinians disgusts them. No wonder they don't mean to do business.
  3. Be patient. It takes time for a poor country to get rich. It takes time for a country to become a democracy, to deepen that democracy.
  4. Be realistic. You can't deny the Palestinians their state, and turn around and expect them to have the sophistication of an advanced state when it comes to basic law enforcement.
  5. Deal with the political issues also put forth by the militant groups. Look at them on their political merits.
  6. Limited military action that focuses on the militants like a laser beam, and places a major emphasis on penetrating their organizations through superior intelligence efforts. Use a lot of human intelligence.
In The News

Russia, Germany urge coordinated action to end Israel-Lebanon ... People's Daily Online, China
Annan calls for immediate end to Israel-Lebanon fighting Hindustan Times
Israel readies for incursion into Lebanon
Annan urges quick end to Israel-Lebanon fighting Swissinfo
Israel rules out mass attack in Lebanon
Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa
Israeli Troops, Tanks Continue To Mass On Lebanon Border Easy Bourse (Communiqués de presse)
Israel Presses Forward in Lebanon NPR
South Lebanese Flee Country, Israel Making Gains Christian Broadcasting Network
Thousands flee south Lebanon over fears of invasion
Irish Times, Ireland
Israel Planning Full-Scale Invasion Of Lebanon?, Canada
Israel calls up army reservists
Israel to Hit Lebanon by Ground Prensa Latina
Lebanon: Army will fight Israel Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Rice to visit region as Lebanon crisis continues
Former congressman says Bush should focus on Israel-Lebanon ... WTHR
US dismisses Israel-Lebanon ceasefire as unrealistic Xinhua
G-8 unity on Lebanon Eroding as France, UN Push for Quick Truce Combined Jewish Philantropies
The ‘Nightmare’ Scenario for Israel, Lebanon & the US
IsraPundit, Canada
Israelis in the mood for war
Bush is happy to sit this one out The Age
What to Watch for in the Middle East II Huffington Post
Fisk Slams Lebanon "Dunkirk" Analogy
PEJ News, Canada
Questions emerge in Israel over Lebanon war
First Indian casualty in Lebanon
The Tribune, India
India evacuates nationals from Lebanon
1,000 Indians to be evacuated from Lebanon Times of India
Operation Sukoon' launched
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, Italy
Battered Lebanon faces humanitarian crunch
Business Day, South Africa
Flee south Lebanon now, Israelis warn Deseret News
Israeli and Hezbollah Ground Forces Clash Again in Lebanon FOX News
Black day in Israel-Lebanon stand-off Mail & Guardian Online


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