Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 18th, 2016

Stinky clown discovers the New World

On mount Mitchu Pitchu: Atop the Galaxy

Back then, not that long ago, on mount Mitchu Pitchu,

A rather small stocky man, embarrassed with a dirty long beard,

Skin rather darker than Indians,

Clad in stinky clownish garment;

(Washing was anathema to this breed arriving from Spain);

He mounted on a lovely horse, not known in the New World,

He said: “This is how I think”.

His black clad monk rejoined: “And that’s what our God said.”

For over four centuries, the same kind of rather whiter man,

Trailed by the same missionaries,

Landed around earth’s shores and virgin inland.

He said what he thought and what his God said.

A sort of universal whiter civilization exploded and expanded.

This new culture didn’t even try to explain:

It claimed that conscious is universal;

That natural human moral is similar under all-weather and clime;

That value system is one, and superseding all archaic systems.

Centuries later,

The rather whiter man said:

“Democracy, under all its minor variants (not so minor at all),

Is the ideal political structure to be governed in modern societies”

He resumed unabashedly:

“Capitalism is the main economic mechanism to spreading wealth;

World market should be entirely opened to my products and services.”

Atop the Galaxy (why go beyond our Milky Way?)

Weird specie with obviously a developed Neo Cortex,

Strong with more versatile and complex sensory organs,

Sophisticated limbs attached to a shrivelled body,

Thumbs rotating in three dimensions, a little finger (not that little at all)

Designed to catch saucers and balls of any shape;

A sexual organ not so shamefully protruding;

And not mating as we do:

Female lays eggs or ovaries;

Male sprays his sperms over ovaries,

Unlike us:

We exercise for naught over walls and trees;

Very much how far we can spit;

Over there,

Nobody, male or female, feels to possess a mate

And dominate for servitude.

Once atop the Galaxy,

This newer breed said what he thinks and what his God says;

Mankind re-shaped his vision of the world:

His set of values coincided with the new Master’s vision.

A newly freed slave who vanquished his mental slavery

Was more attuned to this degrading,

Oh, so many times “deja vu” process;

He stood up to the new master and growled:

Fuck you!

Christ was crucified again.

The Church of Rome re-instituted its religion,

Its Investigative system

Its one-dimensional philosophy

Galactic scale: Confederate of the Universe.

This time around, a newly free-spirited freed slave

Thundered, a voice louder than Superman,

Reverberating for eternity:

Fuck you!

Before a new cycle of slavery system takes roots.

 

Junot Díaz: “I think the occupation of Palestine is fucked up”

“If you say, I think the occupation of Palestine is fucked up on forty different levels, people are like, you’re the devil, we’re going to get your tenure taken away, we’re going to destroy you. You can say almost anything else. You could be like, ‘I eat humans,’ and they’ll be like bien, bien.”

Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation, edited by Vijay Prashad, is a collection of personal essays, letters, and poems to and for Palestine from some of the most prominent writers, thinkers, and activists of our time, including Junot Díaz, Teju Cole, Mumia Abu Jamal, Robin Kelley, Noura Erakat, and Corey Robin.

To mark the book’s release, we bring you Junot Díaz’s foreword to the collection.

Tonnie Ch shared Jewish Voice for Peace‘s post.
Junot Díaz is the author of one of my all-time favorite novels; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
versobooks.com
Americans Are So Deranged About Palestine

I grew up in the ’80s in Central New Jersey, and every single kind of colonial settler calamity was present in my community. I was friends with an Irish kid, the only white kid in our community, and a hard-core Irish Catholic republican.

His family used to pass the hat around in church to raise money for the IRA. My other friend was an Egyptian kid whose family extended into Palestine, and throughout the ’80s, while everybody else was watching John Hughes movies, this kid had me on point on Palestine.

And then of course this was at the height of the apartheid movement. So all of my African American friends, well, two of them, not all of them, had parents who were part of the leftwing, pro-ANC, anti-apartheid movement. I’m in this poor community and this is all just getting beamed into my head.

So by the time I was in college, I could give you chapter and verse on anti-Zionist projects.

And look, for many people it’s a really tough issue. It’s like we’ve kind of gotten deranged, so that there are certain areas we can’t discuss.

And of course the situation in Palestine is an utter taboo in this country. Our ideas of terrorism, our ideas of Arabs, are over saturated with the most negative, weirdly perverse racist ideologies.

I can’t even turn on the news for five seconds without hearing the most racist shit about Arabs or Muslims. And so in that kind of atmosphere, it’s just a shouting match.

If you say, I think the occupation of Palestine is fucked up on forty different levels, people are like, you’re the devil, we’re going to get your tenure taken away, we’re going to destroy you. You can say almost anything else. You could be like, “I eat humans,” and they’ll be like bien, bien.

On the basic, basic level: If you are occupying other people’s shit, guess what—you are fucked up. That’s that.

And that’s a tough thing for people to stomach. Because we live in a country that’s currently occupying people’s fucking land.

Perhaps Americans are so deranged about Palestine because Americans are thinking, if we give up here, these fucking Indians are going to want their shit back.

Well, maybe they should get their shit back. Since 90 percent of us don’t own anything, I don’t know how much it would hurt us.

Letters to Palestine is available here.

More in #Gaza #Israel-Palestine #BDS #Nakba Day

Recently mentioned books

What it takes to be a great leader? Again?

The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose.

In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future. (Hum. Observing)

Roselinde Torres. Leadership expert. BCG’s Roselinde Torres studies what makes great leaders tick — and figures out how to teach others the same skills. Full bio
Speech at TED on Oct. 2013

What makes a great leader today? Many of us carry this image of this all-knowing superhero who stands and commands and protects his followers.

But that’s kind of an image from another time, and what’s also outdated are the leadership development programs that are based on success models for a world that was, not a world that is or that is coming.

0:45 We conducted a study of 4,000 companies, and we asked them to see the effectiveness of your leadership development programs.

Fifty-eight percent of the companies cited significant talent gaps for critical leadership roles.

That means that despite corporate training programs, off-sites, assessments, coaching, all of these things, more than half the companies had failed to grow enough great leaders. You may be asking yourself, is my company helping me to prepare to be a great 21st-century leader? The odds are, probably not.

I’ve spent 25 years of my professional life observing what makes great leaders. I’ve worked inside Fortune 500 companies, I’ve advised over 200 CEOs, and I’ve cultivated more leadership pipelines than you can imagine.

But a few years ago, I noticed a disturbing trend in leadership preparation. I noticed that, despite all the efforts, there were familiar stories that kept resurfacing about individuals.

One story was about Chris, a high-potential, superstar leader who moves to a new unit and fails, destroying unrecoverable value. And then there were stories like Sidney, the CEO, who was so frustrated because her company is cited as a best company for leaders, but only one of the top 50 leaders is equipped to lead their crucial initiatives.

And then there were stories like the senior leadership team of a once-thriving business that’s surprised by a market shift, finds itself having to force the company to reduce its size in half or go out of business.

 these recurring stories cause me to ask two questions.

1. Why are the leadership gaps widening when there’s so much more investment in leadership development? And

2. what are the great leaders doing distinctly different to thrive and grow?

One of the things that I did, I was so consumed by these questions and also frustrated by those stories, that I left my job so that I could study this full time, and I took a year to travel to different parts of the world to learn about effective and ineffective leadership practices in companies, countries and nonprofit organizations.

And so I did things like travel to South Africa, where I had an opportunity to understand how Nelson Mandela was ahead of his time in anticipating and navigating his political, social and economic context.

I also met a number of non-profit leaders who, despite very limited financial resources, were making a huge impact in the world, often bringing together seeming adversaries.

And I spent countless hours in presidential libraries trying to understand how the environment had shaped the leaders, the moves that they made, and then the impact of those moves beyond their tenure.

when I returned to work full time, in this role, I joined with wonderful colleagues who were also interested in these questions.

 from all this, I distilled the characteristics of leaders who are thriving and what they do differently, and then I also distilled the preparation practices that enable people to grow to their potential. I want to share some of those with you now.

4:44 (“What makes a great leader in the 21st century?”)

In a 21st-century world, which is more global, digitally enabled and transparent, with faster speeds of information flow and innovation, and where nothing big gets done without some kind of a complex matrix, relying on traditional development practices will stunt your growth as a leader.

In fact, traditional assessments like narrow 360 surveys or outdated performance criteria will give you false positives, lulling you into thinking that you are more prepared than you really are. Leadership in the 21st century is defined and evidenced by three questions.

1. Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life? The answer to this question is on your calendar.

2. Who are you spending time with? On what topics? Where are you traveling? What are you reading? And then

3. how are you distilling this into understanding potential discontinuities, and then making a decision to do something right now so that you’re prepared and ready?

There’s a leadership team that does a practice where they bring together each member collecting, here are trends that impact me, here are trends that impact another team member, and they share these, and then make decisions, to course-correct a strategy or to anticipate a new move. Great leaders are not head-down. They see around corners, shaping their future, not just reacting to it.

The second question is, what is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? You know, we hear often about good ol’ boy networks and they’re certainly alive and well in many institutions. But to some extent, we all have a network of people that we’re comfortable with.

So this question is about your capacity to develop relationships with people that are very different than you. And those differences can be biological, physical, functional, political, cultural, socioeconomic. And yet, despite all these differences, they connect with you and they trust you enough to cooperate with you in achieving a shared goal. Great leaders understand that having a more diverse network is a source of pattern identification at greater levels and also of solutions, because you have people that are thinking differently than you are.

Third question: are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? There’s an expression: Go along to get along.

But if you follow this advice, chances are as a leader, you’re going to keep doing what’s familiar and comfortable. Great leaders dare to be different. They don’t just talk about risk-taking, they actually do it.

And one of the leaders shared with me the fact that the most impactful development comes when you are able to build the emotional stamina to withstand people telling you that your new idea is naïve or reckless or just plain stupid. Now interestingly, the people who will join you are not your usual suspects in your network. They’re often people that think differently and therefore are willing to join you in taking a courageous leap.

And it’s a leap, not a step. More than traditional leadership programs, answering these three questions will determine your effectiveness as a 21st-century leader.

So what makes a great leader in the 21st century? I’ve met many, and they stand out. They are women and men who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday but also for the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow.

Actually, more data might not be what you’re hoping for

They got us hooked on data. Advertisers want more data. Direct marketers want more data.

Who saw it? Who clicked? What percentage? What’s trending? What’s yielding?

But there’s one group that doesn’t need more data…

Anyone who’s making a long-term commitment. Anyone who seeks to make art, to make a difference, to challenge the status quo.

Because when you’re chasing that sort of change, data is the cudgel your enemies will use to push you to conform.

Data paves the road to the bottom.

It is the lazy way to figure out what to do next. It’s obsessed with the short-term.

Data gets us the Kardashians.

HT: Marco

Saudi officials were ‘supporting’ 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

US judge and prosecutors ‘destroyed evidence’

Evidence destroyed of Israeli connections with Saudi monarchy for getting the US involved in destabilizing the Middle-East

First serious public split revealed among commissioners over the release of the secret ‘28 pages’ that detail Saudi ties to 2001 terrorist attacks

May 12, 2016

A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”

He was critical of a statement released late last month by the former chairman and vice-chairman of the commission, who urged the Obama administration to be cautious about releasing the full congressional report on the Saudis and 9/11 – “the 28 pages”, as they are widely known in Washington – because they contained “raw, unvetted” material that might smear innocent people.

The 9/11 commission chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey, and vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, praised Saudi Arabia as, overall, “an ally of the United States in combatting terrorism” and said the commission’s investigation, which came after the congressional report was written, had identified only one Saudi government official – a former diplomat in the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles – as being “implicated in the 9/11 plot investigation”.

The diplomat, Fahad al-Thumairy, who was deported from the US but was never charged with a crime, was suspected of involvement in a support network for two Saudi hijackers who had lived in San Diego the year before the attacks.

In the interview Wednesday, Lehman said Kean and Hamilton’s statement that only one Saudi government employee was “implicated” in supporting the hijackers in California and elsewhere was “a game of semantics” and that the commission had been aware of at least five Saudi government officials who were strongly suspected of involvement in the terrorists’ support network.

“They may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated,” he said. “There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

The 9/11 commission vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, and the chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey.
Pinterest
The 9/11 commission vice-chairman, former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton of Indiana, and the chairman, former Republican governor Tom Kean of New Jersey. Photograph: Paul J.richards/AFP/Getty Images

Although Lehman said he did not believe that the Saudi royal family or the country’s senior civilian leadership had any role in supporting al-Qaida or the 9/11 plot, he recalled that a focus of the criminal investigation after 9/11 was upon employees of the Saudi ministry of Islamic affairs, which had sponsored Thumairy for his job in Los Angeles and has long been suspected of ties to extremist groups.

He said “the 28 pages”, which were prepared by a special House-Senate committee investigating pre-9/11 intelligence failures, reviewed much of the same material and ought to be made public as soon as possible, although possibly with redactions to remove the names of a few Saudi suspects who were later cleared of any involvement in the terrorist attacks.

Lehman has support among some of the other commissioners, although none have spoken out so bluntly in criticizing the Saudis. A Democratic commissioner, former congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana, said he wants the congressional report released to end some of the wild speculation about what is in the 28 pages and to see if parts of the inquiry should be reopened. When it comes to the Saudis, he said, “we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of what happened on 9/11”.

Another panel member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of offending the other nine, said the 28 pages should be released even though they could damage the commission’s legacy – “fairly or unfairly” – by suggesting lines of investigation involving the Saudi government that were pursued by Congress but never adequately explored by the commission.

“I think we were tough on the Saudis, but obviously not tough enough,” the commissioner said. “I know some members of the staff felt we went much too easy on the Saudis. I didn’t really know the extent of it until after the report came out.”

The commissioner said the renewed public debate could force a spotlight on a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials – especially at lower levels of the government – were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.

In fact, there were repeated showdowns, especially over the Saudis, between the staff and the commission’s hard-charging executive director, University of Virginia historian Philip Zelikow, who joined the Bush administration as a senior adviser to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, after leaving the commission. The staff included experienced investigators from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the CIA, as well as the congressional staffer who was the principal author of the 28 pages.

Zelikow fired a staffer, who had repeatedly protested over limitations on the Saudi investigation, after she obtained a copy of the 28 pages outside of official channels.

Other staffers described an angry scene late one night, near the end of the investigation, when two investigators who focused on the Saudi allegations were forced to rush back to the commission’s offices after midnight after learning to their astonishment that some of the most compelling evidence about a Saudi tie to 9/11 was being edited out of the report or was being pushed to tiny, barely readable footnotes and endnotes. The staff protests were mostly overruled.

The 9/11 commission did criticize Saudi Arabia for its sponsorship of a fundamentalist branch of Islam embraced by terrorists and for the Saudi royal family’s relationship with charity groups that bankrolled al-Qaida before 9/11.

However, the commission’s final report was still widely read as an exoneration, with a central finding by the commission that there was “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” provided financial assistance to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. (But to the Qaida during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan?)

The statement was hailed by the Saudi government as effectively clearing Saudi officials of any tie to 9/11.

Last month Barack Obama, returning from a tense state visit to Saudi Arabia, disclosed the administration was nearing a decision on whether to declassify some or all of the 28 pages, which have been held under lock and key in a secure room beneath the Capitol since they were written in 2002.

Just days after the president’s comments however, his CIA director, John Brennan, announced that he opposed the release of the congressional report, saying it contained inaccurate material that might lead to unfair allegations that Saudi Arabia was tied to 9/11.

In their joint statement last month, Kean and Hamilton suggested they agreed with Brennan and that there might be danger in releasing the full 28 pages.

The congressional report was “based almost entirely on raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI”, they said. “The 28 pages, therefore, are comparable to preliminary law enforcement notes, which are generally covered by grand jury secrecy rules.” If any part of the congressional report is made public, they said, it should be redacted “to protect the identities of anyone who has been ruled out by authorities as having any connection to the 9/11 plot”.

Zelikow, the commission’s executive director, told NBC News last month that the 28 pages “provide no further answers about the 9/11 attacks that are not already included in the 9/11 commission report”. Making them public “will only make the red herring glow redder”.

But Kean, Hamilton and Zelikow clearly do not speak for a number of the other commissioners, who have repeatedly suggested they are uncomfortable with the perception that the commission exonerated Saudi Arabia and who have joined in calling for public release of the 28 pages.

Lehman and another commissioner, former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, filed affidavits last year in support of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government by the families of 9/11 victims. “Significant questions remain unanswered concerning possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors,” Kerrey said. Lehman agreed: “Contrary to the argument advocated by the Kingdom, the 9/11 commission did not exonerate Saudi Arabia of culpability for the events of 11 September 2001 or the financing of al-Qaida.” He said he was “deeply troubled” by the evidence gathered about a hijackers’ support network in California.

In an interview last week, congressman Roemer, the Democratic commissioner, suggested a compromise in releasing the 28 pages. He said that, unlike Kean and Hamilton, he was eager to see the full congressional report declassified and made public, although the 28 pages should be released alongside a list of pertinent excerpts of the 9/11 commission’s final report.

“That would show what allegations were and were not proven, so that innocent people are not unfairly maligned,” he said. “It would also show there are issues raised in the 28 pages about the Saudis that are still unresolved to this day.”

Asked on Thursday if he had any comment on Lehman’s claim about individuals working for the Saudi government, White House press secretary Josh Earnest gave a two word answer: “I don’t.”

  • Philip Shenon is the author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

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