Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mission accomplished?

Be part of the solution: Every journey begins with a single step
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
~Robert F. Kennedy
We are at a defining moment in our history. Five years after the start of a dumb war, we're ensnared in a quagmire that's ruining our ability to take care of our own problems, while it generates ill will that drives people into the camps of terrorists who seek to destroy our very way of life. Imagine what we could have done with all the money we've spent in Iraq.

Barack Obama has the plan to get us out. The time is now.

Hillary Clinton's Schedule Shows Events W/ Whoopi Goldberg and David Copperfield

Hillary Clinton's schedule as First Lady was just released today and it's about 11,000 pages of information on daily schedules. What's there? Well, a lot of "private meetings" and blocked out names. I started by looking at the year of the Lewinsky scandal's announcement: 1998.

I see that she had a number of "soft events" for 1998 and buttressing my claim that after the Lewinsky Scandal Hillary Clinton had less contact with actual policy makers and more ceremonial duties as a percentage of the whole, for example, Clinton was entertained by Whoopi Goldberg and David Copperfield on February 8, 1998.

Well, it's no wonder the star of "The View" is so blindly behind Senator Clinton; she thinks's she's going to be invited to tell jokes to her again!

The schedule also notes that David Copperfield escorted the "First Lady" from the audience to the stage. But I have to ask if she went backstage with Coppperfield, as so many other women have done. In fact, this is the perfect pattern of Copperfield: taking women from the audience and up to the stage and then. Well, then. Well, do you think Copperfield hit on Hillary Clinton?


There's more here, but the initial read is that Hillary Clinton had no obvious high level meetings or gatherings that would indicate great foreign policy experience beyond the health care focus of her first few months and certainly not after the Monica Lewinsky Scandal.

Stephanie Agresta Shows Boobs at BlogHaus at SXSW By Scobble

Wow, now here's a picture you would not expect to see from a "tech" event, but it's here. Stephanie Agresta, whom I met last year, was at SXSW (South By Southwest) in Austin, when blogger Robert Scobble took this photo.

But Stephanie's more than this. She's a New York-based Internet Marketing Consultant with a great track record and solid clients.

Here's one of Stephanie's videos made at SXSW:

Francisco Da Costa Gets The Outster From Chris Daly in SF

Who is this guy? Well he's not the greatest person. He's a local San Franciscan who I give space to here because he's also pissed off a lot of people, but not in the same way as Mike Cherico.

In his opposition to a local development project, Francisco Da Costa managed to hurl racial insults at just about everyone. Check out what Heather Knight at the SF Chronicle reported:

Activist quits Prop. F coalition over controversial writings

Heather Knight - SF Chronicle, March 19, 2008

A heated debate over two June ballot measures that would dramatically reshape San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point has taken an ugly turn over one proponent's Internet postings, which people on both sides of the campaign are calling racist, sexist and anti-Semitic.

Francisco Da Costa, a City Hall gadfly and environmental activist, has long posted his controversial thoughts on Bayview-Hunters Point and City Hall politics on various Web sites. But apparently nobody took much notice of his rants until he became a signed proponent of Proposition F. That measure would mandate that half of the new homes built under redevelopment plans for the Hunters Point shipyard and Candlestick Point be affordable.

Proposition G, the competing measure, is backed by Lennar Corp., the construction company that wants voter approval to remake the area. It has pledged that 25 percent of new homes will be affordable and calls the 50 percent mandate a "poison pill" that would kill the project.

Da Costa blasted the many high-priced political consultants and media men hired by Lennar for being "Jews that make so much money off poor people in the Bayview and want to make more."

He also wrote, "History sure will repeat itself but this time it will be reminiscent of a time when Crystals fell from the ceilings and there was a hue and cry." Many have read this as a reference to Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 Germany that saw the destruction of Jewish neighborhoods.

Da Costa also blasts African American supporters of Prop. G, alluding to them being slaves to Lennar by writing they can "partake in the bread crumbs - the same old way the Plantation was run - Masta, Masta, Masta."

When Da Costa's writings surfaced in recent weeks, they were promptly condemned by several political clubs including the powerful Democratic County Central Committee. The committee last week also voted to endorse Lennar's Prop. G and oppose Prop. F.

Scott Wiener, chair of the committee, said the group voted on the merits of the measures, but noted the Prop. F campaign's embracing of Da Costa even though his style was well-known at City Hall and raised eyebrows.

"It's one thing if you associate with someone and then out of the blue they say something offensive," Wiener said. "It's quite another thing if you have someone with a track record of acting in a really inappropriate and bizarre way, and then you consciously choose to make that person your main proponent."

Supervisor Chris Daly, Prop. F's most prominent backer, said he has heard Da Costa speak at multiple Board of Supervisors meetings and that his public testimony can be "uncomfortable." But Daly said he only became aware of Da Costa's writings on Thursday. The next day Daly said he asked Da Costa to step aside as a proponent of the campaign, which he agreed to do.

"We had a problem within the coalition and we dealt with it," Daly said. "It would be great if we could discuss the merits of the measures and vote them up or down based on the merits."

Da Costa told The Chronicle that he "never, ever" meant for the crystals comment to be taken as anti-Semitic, but he doesn't regret the other remarks. He said they reflect his anger at the city's most powerful people doing nothing to help children and the elderly in Bayview-Hunters Point.

"It's not politically correct but it's frustration," he said. "I say it as I feel it."

According to Giannina Miranda with the city's Department of Elections, San Franciscans will receive voter information handbooks before the June election - with Da Costa's name as a proponent of Prop. F even though he has asked for it to be removed.

"The proponents cannot remove their name right now," she said. "It's past the deadline."

Mike Cherico - Glamour Blogger Pissed Off "JE" Englebert and A Lot Of People

Mike Cherico - Glamour Blogger Pissed Off "JE" Englebert and A Lot Of People

Ok.So I get a press release on some guy named Mike Cherico and wonder what the hell's going on with a dude I've never even heard of? This is what I was sent:


MARCH 19TH 2008


Glamour Magazine execs weren't the only ones duped by newly unemployed dating blogger Mike Cherico. Nightlife Kingpin and Co owner of Manhattan hot spots Suzie Wong’s and Prime, "JE" Englebert also had run-ins with the former famous blogger.

Cherico was using Glamour's name and trading his blog articles for personal hook-ups.

One such instance occurred last Halloween, when he allegedly offered Englebert a spot in his blog, only in exchange for tickets to the Playboy Mansion’s hottest party of the year. Three days before the big bash in L.A. Cherico reportedly bragged about the party on his blog and initiated his own demise by asking women what to wear to such an event like the mansion's annual Halloween party.

Cherico never made it to the Halloween bash and it wasn’t long before Cherico showed up in New York demanding bottle service at one of JE’s nightclubs.

Now, what’s next for JE?, as he approaches his next big Playboy Mansion party on April 19th

To me, the guy was fired. Big deal? Why the effort to continue to throw mud at him? What's the deal?

So I do a little Internet picking around with the links I'm given by this media guy via email, but it's not enough for me. So I look beyond them.

Well, Mike Cherico is a 32-year old now former sex blogger who wrote for Glamour Magazine, had a blog called "Man Needs Date" and apparently dated a lot of women who did not get pleasure from the experience, or let's just say he didn't give them a proper orgasm.


But, Ok. What else?

Well the problem is that he's pissed off the wrong people, like "JE" Englebert. Mike Cherico was with a well-known magazine and used his status to get what he wanted and did, but never gave in return and he angered a lot of women he dated and wrote about them. And in some cases he did this with (new) media people, that's the error.

If it's true you never mess with a person who buys their Internet ink by the barrel, then it's more true that you never refuse to give an orgasm to a person who has a blog or works for a magazine. By dating a female blogger called "Miss Smarty Shoes", then acusing her of having herpes and then hitting on another woman in front of her , then writing about it on his blog, that pretty much sealed the deal for Mike's ouster at Glamour, as she shot back at him, and all of this was picked up by thje blog, Jezebel, and the rest is history.

When someone makes a blog with the title "Men Who Annoy Us: Don't Date This Man" you know you've got massive problems. Mike needs a PR fix, fast!

Stay tuned. I can't believe Mike's not speaking out about this, if only to keep whatever fame he's got going a bit longer.

9-11 Commission Report "Agrees" With Pastor Wright On 9-11

Senator Barack Obama gave a speech that was historic and timely in talking about the need to talk about race in America. This speech, or the need for it, was created by mainstream non-Black America's first-time exposure to the firery oratory of a minister in a Black Church.

Retired Pastor Jeremiah Wright's sermons, portions of which were captured on video and seen by many, were described as upsetting and disagreeable. And it seems that talk show after talk show has someone Black agreeing with the overall idea that everything -- everything -- Pastor Wright said was wrong.

This is what drew my attention and caused me to look at, first, what Pastor Wright was recorded as saying and, second, an event that Pastor Wright talked about: September 11th 2001.

Now, before I continue I will report that I will never forget any aspect of "9-11" or where I was on that day. It started for me, waking up on my couch after having gone to sleep watching television. It was on Channel 2, KTVU TV, Oakland, and the first sight on the screen was the fire that broke out in One World Trade Center. I thought the building was just on fire, but as you may remember if you were around then, it was evident that the building had been struck by a plane, and then we watched as another aircraft ran right into the second tower.

It was a moment which caused me to reach for the phone and call everyone I knew from here to New York City. And on top of all of that, I didn't know if we were a target in some way. Remember the Pentagon was hit as well. And all of this was on television unfolding before us.

I was scared and so were a lot of people who didn't go to work that day in Oakland. People who gathered at establishments like Arazmendi, the place known for its thin-crust pizza and yummy pastries -- a great start in the morning turned into an all day hangout to talk about what was going on, and so it was this for the rest of that week.

I'll never forget that.

But one question I had was "Why?" What did we -- America -- do? And given that it seemed to me like a crime rather than an act of war (where we could not blame a country) I wondered who we would get -- what person could we jail? Who could we blame? That was the first time I heard of Osama Bin Ladin. It would not be the last time.

A few years later, the 9-11 Commission released the findings of its extensive review of how 9-11 came to be and what we could do to make sure it did not happen again. There are parts of the commission's report that's telling regarding what we did -- or more to the point, what we did not do.

What it all boils down to is that America did not take Radical Islam seriously and moreover, America has not even heard of Radical Islam. Meanwhile the socio-economic foundation that created 9-11 was being formed. The 9-11 Commission report states:

In the 1970s and early 1980s, an unprecedented flood of wealth led the then largely unmodernized oil states to attempt to shortcut decades of development. They funded huge infrastructure projects, vastly expanded education, and created subsidized social welfare programs. These programs established a widespread feeling of entitlement without a corresponding sense of social obligations. By the late 1980s, diminishing oil revenues, the economic drain from many unprofitable development projects, and population growth made these entitlement programs unsustainable. The resulting cutbacks created enormous resentment among recipients who had come to see government largesse as their right. This resentment was further stoked by public understanding of how much oil income had gone straight into the pockets of the rulers, their friends, and their helpers....

By the 1990s, high birthrates and declining rates of infant mortality had produced a common problem throughout the Muslim world: a large, steadily increasing population of young men without any reasonable expectation of suitable or steady employment-a sure prescription for social turbulence. Many of these young men, such as the enormous number trained only in religious schools, lacked the skills needed by their societies. Far more acquired valuable skills but lived in stagnant economies that could not generate satisfying jobs.

Millions, pursuing secular as well as religious studies, were products of educational systems that generally devoted little if any attention to the rest of the world's thought, history, and culture. The secular education reflected a strong cultural preference for technical fields over the humanities and social sciences. Many of these young men, even if able to study abroad, lacked the perspective and skills needed to understand a different culture.

Frustrated in their search for a decent living, unable to benefit from an education often obtained at the cost of great family sacrifice, and blocked from starting families of their own, some of these young men were easy targets for radicalization.

A Jihad is a holy war, and in Bin Ladin, who was the product of the dynamics described above, Radical Islam had its holy warrior. Bin Ladin was a hero in the triumph of Afganitan over the Soviet Union in 1988. The 9-11 Commission reports:

April 1988 brought victory for the Afghan jihad. Moscow declared it would pull its military forces out of Afghanistan within the next nine months. As the Soviets began their withdrawal, the jihad's leaders debated what to do next.

Bin Ladin and Azzam agreed that the organization successfully created for Afghanistan should not be allowed to dissolve. They established what they called a base or foundation (al Qaeda) as a potential general headquarters for future jihad.

And Bin Ladin got no help from the U.S. in the Afghad jihad. Late, he would target the United States, first for sending troups into Somalia:

After U.S. troops deployed to Somalia in late 1992, al Qaeda leaders formulated a fatwa demanding their eviction. In December, bombs exploded at two hotels in Aden where U.S. troops routinely stopped en route to Somalia, killing two, but no Americans. The perpetrators are reported to have belonged to a group from southern Yemen headed by a Yemeni member of Bin Ladin's Islamic Army Shura; some in the group had trained at an al Qaeda camp in Sudan.44

When Pastor Wright said "The Chickens were coming home to roost," it's these developments that he was referring to. What Pastor Wright is recorded as saying is, according to ABC News:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama's church, Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, "said the U.S. had brought on the [9-11 terrorist] attacks with its own terrorism." ..."We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and the black South Africans, and now we are indignant. Because the stuff we have done overseas has now been brought back into our own front yard. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the 9-11 Commission Report to refute those statements. With respect to the complex laticework of events that formed the disaster that is September 11, 2001, Pastor Wright is painfully correct.

What is increasingly clear to me is that America does not know about itself and what it has done. We entered Somalia with what both the Bush and Clinton Administration believed were good intentions or at least they were presented that way to the American public -- to disarm to allow the delivery of food after the ouster of the dictator Siad Barre, whom the U.S. gave aide to during his tenure -- and watched as our collective lack of understanding of the cultural landscape and the warring factions led to what PBS called "An Ambush". An Ambush led by Osama Bin Ladin. An Ambush that served as preview of what was to come later: September 11, 2001.

The U.S Government may have told the public the aim of the troup visit was to disarm, but to Somalis it seemed more like an occupation.

Osman Ato, a wealthy Somali businessman and supporter of American troup involvement, told the New York Times:

"Otherwise, you can be assured any wrong move will worsen the situation," said Mr. Ato, who has financed General Aidid and led the warlord's forces in some clan battles in Somalia this year. "We expect the Americans to behave as a friendly force, not as an occupation force."

But even before the American troup occupation, it was clear America had a history in Somalia and not a good one. This is what Former U.S Ambassador to Somalia Robert Oakley said in 1995 about Ato and the U.S. in Somalia:

"He's very shrewd," said Robert Oakley, a former United States Ambassador to Somalia and its special envoy during the United Nations mission there. "Obviously he knows how to make deals and how to work with the Americans. He understands what makes sense to us.

"Not that he's our man," he (Oakley) said. "Politically, he can't afford to be too close to the Americans. He's one of the people keenly aware of how much damage we did to Somalia. "

The "damage we did to Somalia" is described in detail by Alex de Waal in his document called "U.S. War Crimes in Somalia". What did we do in Somalia? According to De Waal, the "humanitarian" intentions were a cover for occupation of Somalia by the United States under the "emerging doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ " by the United States. And in that effort, it's also clear, according to Waal, that American soldiers were not respectful of Somalis, and that's putting it mildly:

Waal reports...

When the Marines landed on Mogadishu beach on 9 December 1992, hopes were high that they would solve the problems of Somalia. But not only had they disappointed on that front—particularly on the issue of disarming the militiamen—but the behaviour of a large number of the troops was deplorable. Many countries had sent hardened paratroopers and other combat troops on a mission in which police training and civil engineering skills were needed. In many cases the operations quickly degenerated into routine brutality against Somali civilians.

Waal also presents the July 12, 1993 U.S attack on Somali Civilians and a death toll estimated at between 60 to 500 people, and which so upset the people there, that an angry crowd turned on, then killed, four journalists.

Waal's account of the U.S. in Somalia in 1993, and the 9-11 Commission Report are must read documents by all Americans. The one figure that's ties both together is Osama Bin Ladin.

Pastor Wright is correct: the Chickens that were hatched in Somalia did come home to roost. As a Black American, I'm used to foreign policy being discussed in the church. That this is shocking to some Americans makes me wonder just how much they know about their own United States.

If the "common American" doesn't know American Culture and is not aware of or interested in what the United States actually does around the World, then that person can be easily manipulated by powerful political forces, some of the same that caused the errors in Somalia in 1993 that eventually created the foundation for 9-11 in 2001.

Pastor Wright is right.