Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Understanding Orchids

How do you do, sir?

Sit down.

Thank you.

Brandy, Norris. How do you like your brandy, sir?

In a glass.

I used to like mine with champagne. The champagne cold as
Valley Forge and with about three ponies of brandy under it.
Oh, come, come, man. Pour a decent one. I like to see people drink.
That'll do, Norris. You may take off your coat, sir.

Thank you.

It's too hot in here for any men who has blood in his vein. You
may smoke, too. I can still enjoy the smell of it. Hum, nice
state of affair a man who has to indulge his vices by proxy.
You're looking, sir, at a very dull survival of a very gaudy
life, crippled, paralyzed in both legs, barely I eat and my sleep
is so near waking it's hardly worth a name. I seem to exist
largely on heat like a new born spider.


The orchids are an excuse for the heat. You like orchids?

Not particularly.

Nasty things. That flesh is too much like the flesh of men. Their
perfume has a rotten sweetness of corruption. Mmm... Tell me
about yourself, Mr. Marlowe.

-- The Big Sleep
1946, MGM,
Directed by Howard Hawks
Screenplay by William Faulkner

Friday, August 04, 2006

Poor Leadership and Condoleezza Rice

The recent crisis in the Middle East has place the spot light on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. More importantly, grass roots African Americans are calling "Conde" Rice a total "yes woman" for the Bush Administration. Looking back, when Rice was questioned before the Senate, about the bogus reasons for going to war, Rice defended the administration’s now infamous false claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Many in African American community now compare Rice’s antics to that of high lord of "uncle tomism" Clarence Thomas.

We are reminded of Martin Luther King’s speech of April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York, to a crowd of 3,000, where Dr. King called the Vietnam War as an "enemy of the poor." What an irony! It must be remembered that Dr. King fought against segregation to create avenues for African Americans to attain employment in high places. It is unfortunate that Condoleezza Rice and others are using their position to defend an unjust war. A war that Dr. King would have opposed! We have a new model of oppression in America today. This model accepts African Americans and other minorities as long as they go along with the line laid out by the power structure. Despite the fact that there where no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, "Conde" defended the falsehoods of the Bush Administration. Finding weapons of mass destruction was the stated reason for going to war! We are being fed a new chorus of falsehoods that Dr. Rice seems eager to defend.

According to many African American activists, and many leaders in the NAACP, Condoleezza Rice represents a new generation of "radical uncle toms" that see their role as defenders of the Bush Administration and its morally corrupt methods of disinformation. This disinformation has led to a war in which thousands have lost their lives, and the time honored Geneva conventions on torture being kicked to the curve. Many African Americans are now beginning to question the idea of simply honoring an individual because they are a person of color. Over the years the racist white elite have cashed in on this idea by placing someone of color in an important position only to use that person against the interests of the community from which they come. To see black faces completely surrender to the falsehoods of conservative power is indeed a new blow to the African American community.

Under the Bush administration the technique has been perfected. Progressive white leaders can often be neutralized when they attack the concepts of Condoleezza Rice with false charges of racism by racists themselves! This is why it becomes imperative for African Americans and others to oppose those who stand against the interests of their own people. This problem is evident in the Mexican American community as well, as the Bush Administration has appointed a Mexican American, Alberto Gonzalez, for Attorney General. Alberto Gonzalez is but the new John Ashcroft who supports torturing detainees. It is apparent that the Bush administration is using people of color to support its undemocratic, unjust, superpower formulas. Many Mexican American activists see Alberto Gonzalez has their "uncle tom."

The tactic of using people of color as a cover for unjust policies is nothing new. Throughout the ages unjust systems have sought to use the people that they oppress to do their ideological dirty work. The Bush administration represents one such refinement of that process. This is happening across the United States as minority faces are being used to defend injustice. Minority faces are being used to "parrot" the disinformation that has lead to war, and have become not only the new radical uncle toms but also the new "radical Aunt Jemimas!"

Now, the Secretary is saying that she does not support a "cease fire" between Hezbollah Guerillas in Lebanon and the Israeli defense Forces. With hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians being killed by Israeli bombs many consider this a foolish mistake. Many experts are saying that Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah, and by bombing innocent Lebanese this will increase the radicalization process in the region. Already, the former head of the Christian militias, General Aoun, is saying that Christians may join up with Hezbollah to fight the Israeli’s. There have already been calls for Christians not to support Israel’s excessive force.

If one puts aside the rhetoric, we are left with individuals who use their minority status to project the will of unjust leaders, and play the political game of "selling out" to the highest bidder. The minority community must speak out, and not let the Bush administration decide who our leaders are. Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzalez should be rejected on the basis of their unjust and undemocratic views, not accepted simply because their "color" is being exploited! Condoleezza Rice has shown poor leadership in dealing with the current crisis in the Middle East. By refusing to support a cease fire, many feel that Ms. Rice and the Bush Administration have taken a reckless and irresponsible path.

-- Mario Salas

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006


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