Love him or hate him, Malcolm X deserves respect for courage, honesty

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Mural of Malcolm X and MLK Jr. “African Amalgamation of Ubiquity,” by Curtis Lewis, on the side wall of Operation Get Down, a drug rehabilitation center, 9980 Gratiot  Avenue, Detroit, 2008. (Camilo José Vergara)

Everyone should have models. W.E.B. DuBois is my model intellectual. James Baldwin is my model writer. Malcolm X is my model MAN!

Brother Malcolm’s birthday is here again. Quick, do you know the date? Probably not. Unfortunately, many people don’t. The day often passes in most spaces without much fanfare. No parades, no holiday, no television specials, no proclamations from the mayor … nothing. Yet, the wonderful and beautiful Malcolm remains! He continues to occupy a simultaneously calming and disquieting place in our nation’s psyche and conscience (at least on what’s left of this country’s continuously failing moral compass). He comforts us with his disarming, warm smile. He pricks us with his masterful rhetoric. He motivates us with his unconditional love of the people. He shames us with his critiques of black self-loathing. He emboldens us with his courage in the face of white racism and hate. As Ossie Davis proclaimed in his eulogy of Malcolm, even in death he remains “our shining black prince.”

In a country that claims to believe in exceptionalism, but actually rewards mendacity and mediocrity, Malcolm was truly stellar. Though not formally educated, he masterfully contextualized black struggle and articulated it in a way that resonated with everyday people like no one else could. He was incredibly intelligent, analytical, strategic, selfless, brave and dedicated. To this day, these are rarely encountered combinations.

Among many other things, Malcolm taught black people that “revolution” is not a dirty word — it simply means change. He made it clear that it is often twisted so that many immediately have visions of insane, bloodthirsty black men and women running through the streets with guns when it is mentioned. But Malcolm reminded us that revolutionaries are not necessarily, or even predominantly, violent and they are essential for the oppressed. In fact, if you are among the downtrodden or an ally of good conscience and do not want change in this mad society largely constructed by the greedy and mean-spirited, then it is you, not the revolutionary, who is insane.

Malcolm wasn’t afraid of change. God knows he went through many. He was myriad people — dislocated child, psychologically abused student, street-hustler, pimp, dope-dealer, addict, numbers-runner, self-hater, thief, convict, Nation of Islam minister, husband, father, orthodox Muslim, Malcolm Little, Detroit Red, Satan, Malcolm X, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He grew with every iteration. What a blessing he was.

Love him or hate him, people must respect Malcolm because he moved, lived and breathed in this world with courage, conviction and pride. He fearlessly spoke his mind. He unfailingly told the truth. He coolly confronted callous whites and complacent blacks — especially those in power. He never ran. He seemed to occasionally look over his shoulder at hesitant brothers and sisters cowering behind him, flash that mesmerizing smile and say, “See, you can stand up with dignity and win. Look at me, I’m still alive. You can do it, too.”

Malcolm is gone now. Like many of our best — gone and safe. Now everybody loves him. Many selfish, fearful, individualistic free-riders who have benefited from his struggle without any risk to themselves now speak of Malcolm in glowing terms. Some well-behaved black folk even have pictures of him in their offices and homes. To be sure, he would not have graced their walls back in the day. They quote him even though very few would have stood with him. “By any means necessary” they say … until trouble comes. Then they disappear or switch sides. As the “Last Poets” said, they “love to talk like Malcolm (when there is no threat), but they didn’t love Malcolm.” Thankfully, even in the Age of Trump, these are safer times.

So, yes — it’s all right to love Malcolm now. You’d better love him! He deserves it, because he loved and labored us for so long when we hated and condemned him. He loved us when we didn’t even know how to love ourselves. So, love our shining black prince now and forever. Never forget him. Never dishonor him. Never allow the undeserving to adopt him and abuse his words or memory.

Happy Birthday, Brother Malcolm! Like Marcus Garvey, we will look for you in the whirlwind.

By Ricky L. Jones/CourierJournal

Posted by The NON-Conformist


White Farmers Prepare for War as They Fight to Keep Lands Stolen from Black South Africans

Leave a comment South Africa’s white minority is prepared to fight back amid the government’s pla
— Read on

North Korea Threatens to Cancel U.S. Summit

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Wednesday canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to scrap a historic summit next month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over military exercises between Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang has long claimed are invasion rehearsals.

The surprise declaration, which came in a pre-dawn dispatch in North Korea’s state media, appears to cool what had been an unusual flurry of outreach from a country that last year conducted a provocative series of weapons tests that had many fearing the region was on the edge of war. It’s still unclear, however, whether the North intends to scuttle all diplomacy or merely wants to gain leverage ahead of the planned June 12 talks between Kim and Trump.

The statement was released hours before the two Koreas were to meet at a border village to discuss setting up talks aimed at reducing military tension along the world’s most heavily armed border and restarting reunions between families separated by the Korean War.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency called the two-week-long Max Thunder drills, which began Monday and reportedly include about 100 aircraft, an “intended military provocation” and an “apparent challenge” to an April summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, when the rival leaders met on their border and agreed to reduce animosity and set up more high-level exchanges.

“The United States must carefully contemplate the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit amid the provocative military ruckus that it’s causing with South Korean authorities,” the North said Wednesday. “We’ll keenly monitor how the United States and South Korean authorities will react.”
Annual military drills between Washington and Seoul have long been a major source of contention between the Koreas, and analysts have wondered whether their continuation would hurt the detente that, since an outreach by Kim in January, has replaced the insults and threats of war. Earlier — and much larger — springtime drills, which Washington and Seoul toned down, went off without the North’s typically fiery condemnation or accompanying weapons tests.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department emphasized that Kim had previously indicated he understood the need and purpose of the U.S. continuing its long-planned joint exercises with South Korea. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. had not heard anything directly from Pyongyang or Seoul that would change that.
“We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un,” Nauert said.
Army Col. Rob Manning said this current exercise is part of the U.S. and South Korea’s “routine, annual training program to maintain a foundation of military readiness.” Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the purpose of Max Thunder and exercise Foal Eagle — another training event — is to enhance the two nations’ abilities to operate together to defend South Korea.

“The defensive nature of these combined exercises has been clear for many decades and has not changed,” said Manning.
Washington and Seoul delayed an earlier round of drills in the spring because of the North-South diplomacy surrounding February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which saw Kim send his sister to the opening ceremonies.
Kim told visiting South Korean officials in March that he “understands” the drills would take place and expressed hope that they’ll be modified once the situation on the peninsula stabilizes, according to the South Korean government.
South Korea didn’t immediately make any official response to the North’s announcement.
The North’s statement Wednesday comes amid a flurry surprising moves from the North in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s military said North Korea was moving ahead with plans to close its nuclear test site next week, an assessment backed by U.S. researchers who say satellite images show the North has begun dismantling facilities at the site.
The site’s closure was set to come before the Kim-Trump summit, which had been shaping up as a crucial moment in the decades-long push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North, which is closing in on the ability to viably target the mainland United States with its long-range nuclear-armed missiles.

By Lolita Baldor and Josh Lederman/truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Gaza Killings: Names and Faces of Those Killed by Israeli Forces This Week

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From left: Ahmed Alrantisi, Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, Ahmed Altetr, Alaa Alkhatib Ezz el-din Alsamaak, Motassem Abu Louley (Photo: Screengrab)

Image: Common Dreams

Sixty-one people were either killed or died of wounds inflicted by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday and Tuesday as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated across the occupied territory to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.

Source: Gaza Killings: Names and Faces of Those Killed by Israeli Forces This Week

Posted by Libergirl

Black Venture Capitalist Announces $36M Fund to Invest In Black Female Founders

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Arlan Hamilton Fund

Black Venture Capitalist Announces $36M Fund to Invest In Black Female Founders

A Black venture capitalist is taking it upon herself to support other “underestimated” Black women founders who see less than 0.2 percent of venture capital funds when trying to get their dream businesses off the ground.

CEO Arlan Hamilton is no stranger to throwing her support behind underrepresented groups and stuck to her trend last weekend when she announced the launch of a $36 million dollar fund aimed at investing in Black women founders like herself. The exciting announcement came during the United State of Women Summit in Los Angeles on May 5.

“.. This has been in the works for several months,” Hamilton, the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, told AfroTech. “It had a few iterations, but in the last couple of months, I made the decision that the money would go to funding Black women specifically and $1 million at a time, specifically.”

“It was very intentional and something that … I knew would probably get pushback from some people, but I have the greatest conviction around it,” she continued. “There’s a lot that goes into raising a fund of this size when you have had less than $5 million under management as a new fund manager, but I was up for the challenge.”

The rumors are true. Today at #USOW2018 I announced that my venture capital firm @Backstage_Cap has launched a $36m fund that will invest in Black women founders $1mill at a time. Thank you to the Backstage Crew, headliners, LPs, mentors & network for making this moment possible.

— Arlan 👊🏾 (@ArlanWasHere) May 5, 2018

They’re calling it a “diversity fund.” I’m calling it an IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME fund.

— Arlan 👊🏾 (@ArlanWasHere) May 6, 2018

Like most Black women entrepreneurs, Hamilton built her seed-stage investment fund from the ground up. She spent her days pitching investors across the San Francisco Bay area but was also broke and homeless at the time, often sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco International Airport, according to Quartz. Her ultimate goal was to found a venture capital fund  “dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders” who are non-white, women and/or LGBTQ.

By 2018, she had done just that. To date, Backstage Capital has invested in 80 companies across various industries, according to its website. All of the companies have at least one founder who is female, a person or color or member of the LGBTQ community.

Before 2018 ends, Hamilton’s firm plans to invest in two or three companies, the first of which is expected to be announced this summer, AfroTech reported. The entrepreneur said she anticipates funding at least six companies by 2019.

“We are no longer accepting the scraps at the end of the dinner table in venture capital and beyond as Black women,” Hamilton told the news site. “We asked nicely, and now it’s our turn.”

There have been a few bumps in the road, but Hamilton said her persistence wouldn’t let her give up on her dream. Speaking to Quartz, she said she looks for that same relentless persistence when deciding who to invest in.
“I look for founders that remind me of myself,” she said. “Would they have done what I did to get here?”

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Liars Club: Ollie North and General Kelly

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Oliver North is a liar. He was also part of a conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine. Furthermore, he was part of another conspiracy to build, arm and train mercenaries to fight a public/private enterprise known as the Contra war in Nicaragua. He is a shameless egocentric maniac loved by several million US television viewers who watch his nonsensical FOX series War Stories. When he was forced to testify about his activities in the aforementioned crimes, he did what most dishonorable crooks do. He snitched, spreading the blame around, implicating then Vice President George HW Bush and hinting that President Reagan was also aware of what he was doing. In other words, he wasn’t the kind of Marine who would fall on a grenade to save his brother-in-arms. Despite his non-heroism, North ultimately took the fall and was convicted of a few counts of lying. As it turned out, the conviction was overturned on a technicality after then president GW Bush pardoned several of North’s co-conspirators. Draw your own conclusions.
I was surprised when I read that Oliver North was to become the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA.) Not because that doesn’t make perfect sense, but because I figured he would have a job in the Trump White House by now. After all, he is an arrogant self-centered protofascist who thinks his military career qualifies him as an expert on all policy matters, foreign and domestic. Kind of like that Marine in the Trump White House, John Kelly.
Kelly’s most recent comments regarding the separation of children from their parents when a family is caught illegally crossing the border are a perfect example. According to Kelly, it is “not cruel” to separate children from their parents. After all, the parents are breaking a law and the law, of course, is the law, no matter how discriminatory it is or how arbitrarily it is applied. Kelly followed these remarks by telling an interviewer that immigrants did not have the necessary skills to live in the United States. Either Kelly is ignorant of the demographics of immigration or he is intentionally using xenophobic and racist rhetoric in his campaign against migration. Either way, both remarks reveal a deeper fear and hatred that abounds in current regime in Washington.
Something else Kelly said last week was that he was not rich. As far as I can tell, he is worth around 4.5 million dollars. While that may not be rich to billionaires, let me tell you it is rich to most of the rest of us. The question I have though is how does a career military officer become a multimillionaire? This question leads me to wonder as to what types of graft and inside dealing did he participate in to accumulate that wealth? I have friends and relatives who retired from the military as officers and have nothing close to that amount of assets unless they went into the private sector after their military retirement. Kelly did no such thing. In fact, his career took him from the Marines to Homeland Security. From there, he was appointed to his current position in the Trump White House. Like most of the individuals in Congress, it appears that General Kelly took advantage of his position to fatten up his bank account. While Forbes magazine claimed in a December 22, 2016 article that most of Kelly’s worth came from his military pension, they did not break this number down or state where the rest of it came from. An article on military pensions dated January 9, 2014 reported that a four-star general with forty years in the military would receive $237, 144 a year, with cost of living increases raising that amount each year. If one counts Kelly’s original enlistment from 1970-1972, he was in the Marines for forty-two years. Now I don’t understand high finance like a stockbroker on Wall Street, but I can do addition and multiplication. I just can’t figure out how anyone collecting about a quarter million dollars a year for two years can have made that into 4.5 million . In other words, if Forbes magazine is correct when it writes that Kelly made almost all of his 4.5 million dollars from his military pension and he had only been collecting that pension for less than a year when the Forbes article was written, how did he get to be worth 4.5 million dollars? Even when one adds the income Kelly reported on hispublic disclosure form he submitted before he was appointed by Trump to head DHS, the numbers do not seem to add up. Maybe Kelly had friends who helped him invest some of that money? If so, I would like to meet those kind of people because they got some serious mojo going on. More likely, however, is something a little less magical.
Milo Minderbinder is a character in Joseph Heller’s classic satire of modern war, Catch-22. Minderbinder is a sergeant who buys and sells everything and anything he can get his hands on, from prostitutes to military weaponry. Furthermore, he sells to anyone, no matter what side they might be on. Journalist John Sack had a similar personality in his new journalism work on the Vietnam war, the book titled M. The difference between Minderbinder and Sack’s profiteering cynic was that Sack’s character was a colonel, not an NCO. I bring these characters up primarily in relation to a potential, yet unverified source of General Kelly’s financial fortunes. It is a fairly well known fact, after all, that millions of US dollars went missing during the heyday of the US military occupation of Iraq. Most of that money has not been officially recovered. Other generals, like Kelly’s fellow Marine, Mad Dog Mattis, end up on the payroll of defense contractors (Mattis sits on the board of General Dynamics)–a much safer and legal way to engage in profiteering of war makingand preparing for war. As for Kelly, he was on the board of DynCorp—a security outfit known for its mercenaries in Iraq and its coziness with Homeland Security—for a while before he became head of DHS.
Like Oliver North, General Kelly is an embarrassment to some of his fellow marines. The arrogance and self-importance of Kelly and North leaves a sour taste in the mouths of those who believe they served all those in the US, not just those whose politics they agreed with or whose bank accounts they could benefit from. Those Marines (and their fellows in the other military branches) did what they did without expectations of reward during or after the time in. Many of them have only their consciences to consider when their deeds in uniform are remembered. From where I sit, the longer Kelly and Mattis serve the current regime in DC, the more I can see just the kind of consciences they have.

By Ron Jacobs/CounterPunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Seattle Passes Tax on Big Firms to Ease Housing Crisis

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amazonshutterstock 373709401

Image: OZY

They’re hitting Amazon close to home. The company, Seattle’s largest employer, had threatened to stop construction on a downtown tower if the city passed a planned $500-per-employee tax. Many point to the rise of huge international companies like Amazon and Starbucks as the cause of Seattle’s rising house prices and increased homelessness. In the end, the city council scaled back: Its new tax costs companies $275 per worker, and the anticipated $48 million a year in funding will go toward building affordable housing and battling homelessness

More@ OZY

Posted by Libergirl

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