Friday, December 26, 2008

LEAKED: Bush’s Xmas Wish List

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I have this theory I think will hold up after Obama takes his oath next month. I think after Obama is in office and all the idiots are swept out of government (at least most of the Bush appointed idiots), there will be a tidal wave of "leaked memos" that will come from every part of government. Civil servants I think genuinely care about the job of government and many may have kept their heads down and compiled massive amounts of notes, documents and others bits of stuff that can be termed as "evidence" that will suddenly see the light of day.

Over the past year, I have seen and read numerous reporters say they have sources in government that have asked them to call back after Obama is in office and then they will spill whatever beans the sources have sequestered.

I remember last year when we all enjoyed "Fitzmas." Maybe this time next year, we will be enjoying Obamukkah?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New York's New World

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

For my home state, Governor David Paterson's budget is a window into the future. Simply put, we are witnessing what happens when New York State ceases to the financial capital of the world. At the moment the world doesn't really have one as the global economy sorts through massive wreckage. Truthfully, the era of financial centers concentrated in western port cities such as New York or London is a relic.

This had long been been predicted because information technology makes it possible to outsource back office functions remotely and utilize cheap labor. Why pay for New York City real estate and labor when a trader can just as easily play with other people's money from a computer in Dubai? However, until the recent economic catastrophe Wall Street stubbornly hung onto its symbolic trappings as the center of the universe.

As a result, Albany could count on revenues generated from Wall Street to finance union pensions, government services, medicaid spending, corporate welfare, our prison industrial complex and so forth. The financial services industry also generated millions of jobs in our region from stock brokers to janitors. Hence, Wall Street's titans were able to leverage their influence with power brokers such as New York State's senior Senator Charles Schumer.

As many of you know, the New York Times recently profiled the intimate relationship between Wall Street and Schumer. Liberals are justifiably outraged at Schumer's enthusiastic pandering to Wall Street's desire for excessive deregulation and lax oversight in exchange for campaign donations for himself and his party. Instead of a Democrat standing up for working people we elected an enabler of our economic meltdown.

In fairness to Schumer, any New York senator would have to some degree catered to this industry's interests just as Joe Biden championed the banks and credit card industry while representing Delaware. All politics is local as Tip O'Neill used to say and even Wall Street enemy Eliot Spitzer raked in contributions from the financial sector during his 2006 campaign for Governor. That's where the action was that created jobs for New Yorkers and filled the state's coffers.

However, Schumer's excessive pandering to Wall Street has facilitated a calamity for the working people in New York he claims to represent and helped wreck the global economy with it. Figures such as Clinton Treasury Secretary and Wall Street powerhouse Robert Rubin were never Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Today New York is confronted with a $1.7 billion 2008 shortfall and a projected 2009-10 deficit of $13.7 billion while Governor Paterson promotes an "obesity tax." Important government services such as healthcare, education and emergency first responders will take a hit. And New York's Mass Transit Authority ("MTA") with its chronic incompetence in good and bad times will impose painful rate hikes and service cuts in 2009 to make up for its own steep revenue shortfall. As always the working stiffs are hit the hardest.

The pain is no fun and hardships abound for New Yorkers as our manufacturing industry was sucking wind well before Lehman Brothers collapsed, AIG was bailed out and Bernard L. Madoff became a household name. Like all New Yorkers I'm feeling the pain too but thankfully still have a job.

Yet even during this challenging period an opportunity exists. Necessity is a mother to invention and New York needs to reinvent itself. Just as oil is a dangerous narcotic that has arrested the development of petro states the financial services sector and manufacturing industry have undermined New York's ability to retool for the 21st century. Such innovation requires leadership and vision.

Whatever critique one may have with the specifics of Paterson's hardship budget he is at least showing leadership by not ducking the tough choices. Personally though I am dismayed by Paterson's unwillingness to more fairly distribute the pain. He should worry less about taxing millionaires and instead embrace New York's Working Families Party approach of shared sacrifice.

My question though is what sort of people does Paterson listen to as the corporate private sector vies for his favor in New York's new world? Alas, Paterson's consideration of Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate because of her ability to raise millions from friends such as billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg is not encouraging.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Abyss

Moran:" How so, when it comes to cruel, inhuman-- What's the president's prerogative in the cruel treatment of prisoners? "

Cheney: "There's a definition that's based on prior Supreme Court decisions and prior arguments, and it has to do with the Fourth, Thirteenth, and -- three specific amendments to the Constitution. And the rule is whether or not it shocks the conscience. If it's something that shocks the conscience, the court has agreed that crosses over the line.

Now, you can get into a debate about what shocks the conscience and what is cruel and inhuman. And to some extent, I suppose, that's in the eye of the beholder. But I believe, and we think it's important to remember, that we are in a war against a group of individuals and terrorist organizations that did, in fact, slaughter 3,000 innocent Americans on 9/11, that it's important for us to be able to have effective interrogation of these people when we capture them.

And the debate is over the extent to which we are going to have legislation that restricts or limits that capability. Now, as I say, we've reached a compromise. The president signed on with the McCain amendment. We never had any problem with the McCain amendment. We had problems with trying to extend it as far as he did. But ultimately, as I say, a compromise was arrived at, and I support the compromise."

Moran: "Should American interrogators be staging mock executions [and] waterboarding prisoners? Is that cruel? "

Cheney: "I am not going to get into specifics here. You're getting into questions about sources and methods, and I don't talk about that, Terry."

Moran: "As vice president of the U.S., you can't tell the American people whether… "

Cheney: "I don't talk about-- "

Moran: …or not we would interrogate… "

Cheney: "I can say that we, in fact, are consistent with the commitments of the United States that we don't engage in torture. And we don't. "

Moran: "Are you troubled at all that more than 100 people in U.S. custody have died -- 26 of them now being investigated as criminal homicides -- people beaten to death, suffocated to death, died of hypothermia in U.S. custody? "

Cheney: "No. I won't accept your numbers, Terry. But I guess one of the things I'm concerned about is that as we get farther and farther away from 9/11, and there have been no further attacks against the U.S., there seems to be less and less concern about doing what's necessary in order to defend the country. "

Mein Gott, doesn't that sound familiar? The day the United States lost the war in Iraq was the day American soldiers tortured prisoners to death to save Iraqis from Saddam Hussein, a monstrous tyrant who tortured prisoners to death. Either way, it doesn't work, it's barbaric, and it kills people. Civilization is left behind when sadists are given ugly toys to play with and the unspoken permission to use them. Those smiling faces we saw in Abu Ghraib were the same smiling faces saw in Nazi Germany, Burma, Somalia, Soviet Russia, and Latin America. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." Not only did America lose the moral high ground, it jumped willingly into the abyss, and it's a long way down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Shoe Thrown Around The World

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I am kinda outraged at Chris Matthews today. Last night on Hardball, he lamented how Americans didn't like it when their leaders were treated badly abroad and how he didn't like Bush's treatment in Baghdad yesterday. I am not lamenting, not one bit. I rejoiced. I would have liked it better if the Iraqi threw monkey poo at Bush.

As I still see it, Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections and he is unworthy of being shown grace or dignity - at home or abroad.

In fact, it would suit me just fine if Bush was tried by the International Court, convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by firing squad. I am typically against capital punishment because wrongful convictions are so easy to obtain. But the entire planet has given witness to the atrocities Bush has wrought in every corner of the globe. Torture, criminal use of military might, illegal war, abuse of the Geneva Conventions, abuse of all declarations of human rights and on and on the ugly list grows.

So, I am not at all bothered that an Iraqi threw his shoes at Bush. I just lament he missed.

Will Class and Race Make Caroline KennedyThe Next NY Senator

Not as far as New York activist Al Sharpton is concerned. He said in a statement that he is neutral but also defended Caroline Kennedy.

"I unequivocally disagree with those that say she is not qualified," he said, adding that Kennedy'sMore HERE I guess Al Sharpton feels that she deserves to be eased into a U.S. Senate seat because of her class and name? I guess her calls Sharptonblack folks hard hit in this economy. civic involvement makes her qualified. worked. Al must believe that she will fight harder NY residents and

Caroline Kennedy

AAPP: Hey, Rev. I understand that Caroline Kennedy is a very nice women. But Al, stop kissing up! You don't represent how all black people feel about Caroline Kennedy or for that matter Jesse Jackson Jr. There are many differing views.

Get this Rev. Al, as the New York Times reported, "She has not held a full-time job in years, has not run for even the lowliest office." More HERE Rev. Al you know here background, just as much as the NY Times who are reporting that she has no real work experience, aside from a 22-month, three-day-a-week stint as director of strategic partnerships for the New York City schools, her commitments generally involve nonprofit boards: the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the American Ballet Theater, the Commission on Presidential DebatesJohn F. Kennedy Library Foundation. More HERE and the

Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Rev. Al, you know, News Day also reports that Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, JFK's only surviving child, has spent a lifetime on one podium or another, but has never sought elected office, a gap in her resume that is leading some fellow Democrats to ridicule the notion of naming her as Hillary Rodham Clinton's replacement in the U.S. Senate. More HERE

AAPP: Not everyone in Black NY or in Black Chicago are kissing up like Al Sharpton. But I will tell yah, the possibility of two or three black U.S. Senate seats seems to be over. It seems that black leadership in America is quiet of the Kennedy issue, or are kissing up... big time. There are many grassroot black folks who are concerned about the message being sent about Class and Race in the U.S. and whether OBAMA's CHANGE in his backdoor support of another Kennedy, or Biden, is just another day of old-school American politics that people are sick of. For me, I don't get this, is Carolyn Kennedy's only claim to fame, that she was raised on New York's Fifth Avenue after the assassination of her father, President John F. Kennedy?

Is there not more of a standard other than, "civic involvement," whatever that means. Why is it that Kennedy can be a front runner because of her name - with no experience, yet, a black person can have years of experience and be at the bottom of the list?

Is class and race involved? Of course it is. But guess what, Hillary Clinton is said to like the idea of Buffalo mayor Byron Brown. No idealist, he'd bring a hardball game to Washington. He'd be the first black Senator from New York. More HERE

As Karen Tumulty of the also noted, "The state has no shortage of more seasoned politicians who are also interested in the job. Among those who are being mentioned as possible candidates are Kennedy's former cousin-in-law, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo; at least four current House members, including Kirsten Gillibrand, Carolyn Maloney, Brian Higgins and Steve Israel; Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; and Nassau County executive Tom Suozzi. Last week, New York Congressman Gary Ackerman said he didn't know of any qualifications that Kennedy has, "except that she has name recognition — but so does J. Lo." (See other possible candidates for Clinton's Senate seat.)" More HERE

Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and niece of another Kennedy who previously held the seat — the late Robert F. Kennedy — decided "after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms. Kennedy, who friends describe as unflashy but determined, wrestled with whether to give up what has been a lifetime of avoiding the spotlight." That, according to the Times' Nicholas Confessore, who reports that Kennedy will ask Gov. David Paterson (D) for consideration for the appointment. Source: NPR's Political Junkie

Historic Kennedy family campaign buttons.

Two years after JFK was elected president, his brother Ted won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, and brother Bobby was elected in New York two years after that. JFK's grandfather John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston, failed in a 1916 Senate bid against Republican Henry Cabot Lodge. Source: NPR's Political Junkie

As NPR's Political Junkie notes, "There has been no shortage of names thrown in the mix of potential candidates for the Senate post. As we wrote on Dec. 2, the list is thought to include state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand from upstate, Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan, and Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi." More HERE

As reported by Elizabeth Moore of Newsday, Kennedy campaigned with her "Uncle Teddy" to elect Hillary Clinton to the Senate. But it was Obama, not Clinton, who got her endorsement at a critical moment this year, in words that not so subtly slighted Bill Clinton as well.

"I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed in January. "But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president."

Elizabeth Moore notes that Clinton allies -- and those of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is divorced from one of Kennedy's cousins -- were blunt last week in airing their doubts on Kennedy's fitness for the office. It's a debate that is fast becoming a proxy for the larger turf battles within the Obama-era Democratic Party. More HERE

Like the Political Junkie I also have to wonder how much warmth there is between Caroline and Hillary. The Clintons had lobbied hard for the endorsement of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and many in the Clinton camp were thrown for a loop when Ted and Caroline joined the Obama bandwagon.

Caroline Kennedy, right, and Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd following a campaign speech for Clinton's Senate race on Oct. 17, 2000. Kennedy, from a famous political family, has decided to pursue the Senate seat of Clinton, who has been nominated Secretary of State.
Reuters file photo

AAPP: I have been reading a lot about Caroline Kennedy lately, and as John Mecurio recently wrote in the National Journal, "Caroline Kennedy seems like an intelligent, competent woman. Her family should be proud of how she has conducted her life: as a (relatively) private citizen who, unlike many of her more ambitious relatives, has never openly sought advantage, political or financial, from her famous family name. She's never shown any enthusiasm for a job that people work tirelessly to acquire. Which is why she would be a bizarre choice." More HERE

John Mecurio also notes, "The choice is particularly curious in the wake of Obama's victory last month. I've always found it awkward to watch Obama embrace the Kennedy legacy as part of his mantra for "change." In some ways, they couldn't be more different. The story of Obama, who spent the past two years calming Americans' concerns about his untraditional family tree, centers on the claim that anyone can achieve anything, regardless of race or class. The story of the Kennedys, meanwhile, is America's most beloved bow to political dynasties and inherited prominence.

Democrats can... Read MORE HERE

African American Political Pundit is a 2008 DNCC Credentialed Democratic National Convention Blogger, and writes for African American Political Pundit Blog.

Boob Tube Boobs


A terrible fall season at NBC is forcing the network to consider scaling back the number of hours it airs programming, Chief Executive Jeff Zucker told an investor conference Monday.

While NBC will continue to fund the creation of pilots, Zucker told analysts at a media investor conference sponsored by UBS that NBC is considering cutting the number of hours or perhaps even the number of nights it provides programming.
Less isn’t more, Mr. Zucker.

Then again, it’s cowardly, wrong-headed decisions like Zucker’s that perpetuate the vicious cycle of diminishing ratings in the first place. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then the same thing can be said about mediocrity. How many shows about cops, doctors, spies and lawyers can you do?

But the idea of doing something different terrifies Zucker and his herd of sheep taking up space at NBC’s executive offices. Originality turns them into Sir Robin screaming "Run Away! Run Away!" in Monty Python's Search For The Holy Grail

Still, NBC isn’t any different from the other two major networks in their disdain for anything that’s unique and groundbreaking. Any TV series that show even a molecule of originality are always at risk of either being canceled, switched around to different time slots on different days, put on "hiatus", or disfigured by clueless executives. (Whatever did happen to the gay woman on Gray’s Anatomy anyway?)

Sure, House, CSI, and Without A Trace aren’t bad, but The Big Three being what they are, network guys will keep these shows on longer than they should so they can squeeze the last drop of creativity that made us appreciate these shows in the first place. How watchable is Law and Order lately? When a generic, proud-to-be-stupid sitcom like The World According To Jim gets renewed for an eight season while Friday Night Lights teeters on the edge of cancellation every week, it’s no surprise that people will go someplace else to watch programs that won’t insult their intelligence.

To put it bluntly, the growing exodus of TV audiences from The Big Three networks is their own fault. I’d guarantee you that if innovative programs like Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Wire, In Treatment, Weeds, and others were brought to ABC, NBC, or CBS, they would have passed on every one of them. That certainly was the case with The Sopranos when David Chase shopped his mob drama for years before it found a home at HBO. We saw how that turned out, didn’t we?

You’d think Mr. Zucker would learn that if you make a better TV show, the viewers will come. He’ll probably ask the government for a bailout instead.

If The Shoe Fits

Iraqi journalist hurls shoes at 'dog' Bush
An Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes and an insult at George W. Bush, without hitting him, as the US president was shaking hands with the Iraqi premier at his Baghdad office on Sunday.

As the two leaders met in Nuri al-Maliki's private office, a journalist sitting in the third row jumped up, shouting: "It is the farewell kiss, you dog," and threw his shoes one after the other towards Bush.

Maliki made a protective gesture towards the US president, who ducked and was not hit.

The journalist, Muntazer al-Zaidi from Al-Baghdadia channel which broadcasts from Cairo, was frogmarched from the room by security staff, an AFP journalist said.

Soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. After Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003, many onlookers beat the statue's face with their soles.
That wasn't one Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at President Bush.

It was Iraq. An Iraq that was destroyed by the weak, smirking little punk who said (if you read between the lines), "Oops, stuff happens! But let's bygones be bygones, O.K.?"

Iraq saw a sociopath who didn't feel a molecule of guilt. Iraq saw a war criminal who would never be punished for his crimes. Iraq saw a greedy millionaire who got richer by looting the country until there was nothing left. Iraq saw the living breathing personification of the Great Satan. Iraq saw Death.

At that useless press conference, it was one man who spoke for Iraq by refusing to collaborate in a lie and expressed how he and his people and his country really felt about the ex-President of the United States.

This is your legacy, Mr. Bush. Get used to it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The N.A.A.C.P. Still Facing a Battle Over Its Future

Back in 1993 the NY Times ran a story on how the N.A.A.C.P. was facing a battle over its future. You know, the NAACP, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country. Founded in 1909. Yeah, it played a leading role in opposing lynching laws and legal segregation until the demise of Jim Crow three decades ago. Today it is struggling to be relevant to most African Americans. Many young political activists, bloggers and just plain old black folks see the NAACP as irrelevant. I can see why black bloggers like Francis L. Holland are concerned with the NAACP leaderhip and it's future.

Also, back in 1993, the new head of the NAACP, Rev. Dr. Ben Chavis didn't waste any time furthering the causes of the nation's oldest civil rights group, mapping out strategies to deal with environmental waste hazards in Black communities, racial tension in Los Angeles and extending membership to other minorities.He left the NAACP after he used NAACP funds to settle a sexual harassment suit.

Then there was 1995, when the NAACP searched for a leader to replace then outgoing president Kweisi Mfume, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, which some said was at a crossroads, a changing of the guard that would redefine its identity with younger black Americans who, unlike their parents, do not immediately think of the group when they think of civil rights.

Mfume, who is credited with bringing financial stability and credibility to an organization reeling from scandal and mismanagement when he took over announced his resignation, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

at the time, Mfume dismissed persistent rumors among the organization's membership that he was forced out because of a rift between himself and Chairman Julian Bond. Mfume had no role in a nine-member committee that Bond assembled to find his successor.

Then in 2005, there was Bruce Gordon, who in became the new chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a former telecommunications executive. Mr. Gordon succeeded Kweisi Mfume.

I'm reminded of an interview with Bruce Gordon, when he said: "I think that what we first do is attract 20- to 35-year-olds because they are underrepresented in the membership base of the organization and therefore underrepresented in the leadership of the organization. I think I have some ideas on how to do that. And as we do that, we're going to start to broaden the focus, not change the focus but broaden the focus to address issues that this particular demographic cares about. And as that happens, I believe we will find a more vibrant NAACP, a more relevant NAACP, and then maybe we can start to deal with the children in the schools that you've heard are visited."

Bruce Gordon abruptly resigned as President last year.


That was then, this is now.

Now, in 2008, The NAACP Board named a new President and CEO following last year's abrupt resignation of former president Bruce Gordon. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has chosen 35-year-old Ben Jealous to lead the organization.


Benjamin T. Jealous, National President-CEO NAACP

Now the word on the street is that the NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond is thinking about not resigning from the Chairmanship of the NAACP. Yes, Julian Bond is reconsidering his plan to step down as

Many are wondering if a bunch of the old guard national board members are asking Julian to reconsider? This writer hopes not. I agree with Julian Bond when he said, "This is a time for renewal. ... The country has a new president in Barack Obama; the organization has a new CEO in Benjamin Jealous, and we'll soon have a new chairman of the NAACP board."

AAPP: I also am well aware of Mr. Bond's great work back in the day, but, Mr. Bonds vision is blurred in many ways, not just by father time, but also due to changes in the black community. It's time for Mr. Julian Bond and other old-timers to step aside and let a new NAACP board and leadership rise. Benjamin T. Jealous needs to be able to address the issues that political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson noted sometime ago, when he wrote:

"The NAACP became the political springboard for this fast emergent black middle-class ... But these battles do not have the remotest bearing on the lives of the black poor. They have grown more numerous, more desperate, trapped in segregated or re-segregated neighborhoods plagued by crime, drugs, and gangs. They shuttle their children off to abominably failing public schools, or are stuffed into bulging jail cells ...

The NAACP can reclaim its cutting edge leadership and activism by mounting a no-holds barred assault on such problems as the glaring iniquities in the imposition of the death penalty, the racially skewed mandatory drug sentencing laws, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the lack of comprehensive health care for the poor, and grossly underserved, under-performing inner city schools, and chronic double digit black joblessness."

Now I understand that NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous said in a statement that the civil rights organization looks forward to Bond's continued active involvement. That's all well and good, but if Benjamin T. Jealous is to be successful he needs to be able to address the needs and issues of people that political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson said are "trapped in segregated or re-segregated neighborhoods plagued by crime, drugs, and gangs. They shuttle their children off to abominably failing public schools, or are stuffed into bulging jail cells."These are some of the issues the current National NAACP Board and Bond have refused to address for many years.

Read more of the post at: African American Political

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

CSPAN ain’t scratching the itch.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I hope you guys can relate to this. Now when I turn on the TV, there is a great lack of political news. Mumbai, puppy selection and Britney's comeback seem to be taking up broadcast time. Here in North Carolina, the local news is running a story about a guy that got killed by falling in a mulcher. Another story is running about a guy that shot his wife while having sex - they were playing cops and robbers and the gun went off.

I realize Mumbai was a horrific event and it was covered well. But I have gone weeks now with no one covering the latest McCain outburst. No coverage of hate rallies where Palin was headlining. Hell, the GOP is having a love-fest over Hillary Clinton!

Talk about your basic WTF moment. When Limbaugh starts singing the praises of Hillary, we have surly passed across some sort of cosmic barrier in reality.

So I am going to continue channel surfing until I can find some news on a political poll - any political poll, just so the Earth will makes sense once again.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

We interrupt this broadcast for an example of competence.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Three days, three press conferences where real questions were asked and honest answers were given. I am unsure if America can get used to this high level of competence. Isn't there a training video or something that could help us worn out Americans through this transition?

In the past when broadcast television broke in for a speech by Bush, my wife complained that Bush was bumping her soaps. The way she saw it, and I must agree, there was more reality in the soap opera than there were in Bush's speech.

When Matt Lauer broke in regular programming this morning to cover Obama's third press conference of the week, my wife did not complain, she turned up the volume.

When you engage America, America will engage back.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Political Corruption in Boston, Chuck Turner, Boston City Council

More black political corruption.

First it was, Massachusetts State Senator Diane Wilkerson "BUSTED" by FBI


This time again in Boston. Get this Chuck Turner, a Boston City Councilman, whom this AAPP has known for years is caught taking silly $1,000 dollar from federal agents. Damn, this brotha is going down for a $1,000 ??? Silly man. I guess he will be going to Federal prison for taking a silly bribe instead of just doing his work. He gets paid enough as a city councilman, why is he disgracing himself and black folks like this? Now i understand why he defended Diane Wilkerson, who got caught on tape by the FBI as well. He has turned out to be just like her, a two-bit crook, who attacked Latino Leadership in Boston to cover himself and Dianne Wilkerson. I feel sorry for my old home of Roxbury, Massachusettts, as they come to grips with the fact that black leadership in Boston has sold them out, If I lived in Boston I would run for his seat.


By Shelley Murphy, Jonathan Saltzman, John C. Drake, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

As reported by the Boston Globe The FBI arrested Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner this morning on charges he accepted a $1,000 bribe and then lied about taking the money in a widening federal corruption probe.

Chuck Turner

A 12-page affidavit filed this morning in US District Court alleges that Turner was surreptitiously videotaped accepting the cash in his district office on Aug. 3, 2007, in exchange for pushing for a liquor license of the Roxbury nightclub Dejavu. Included with the affidavit are two photographs of Turner allegedly accepting the bribe. In one image, Turner's trademark white goatee is clearly visible as folded green bills are pressed into his hand.

Turner was arrested at 7 a.m. at City Hall on charges stemming from the undercover probe, which lead to the arrest on Oct. 28 of state Senator Dianne Wilkerson on allegations she accepted eight bribes worth $23,500. The day of Wilkerson's arrest, two FBI agents visited Turner at his City Hall office and he "repeatedly denied ever being offered the money," according to the affidavit. During the interview, however, Turner rued the pervasiveness of corruption among politicians.

"If you took out all the corrupt politicians, you take out 90 % and be left with us 10 %," Turner said, according to the affidavit.

The five-term city councilor is expected to make his initial appearance today in US District Court in Worcester before Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman, who is handling Wilkerson's case. Turner's alleged crimes took place in Boston, but Hillman ordinarily sits in Worcester.

“The public deserves, and should expect, honest services from our public officials,” US Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a statement. “Public officials who line their pockets with cash while claiming to act in the public interest, violate our laws and the trust and confidence of the public we serve." More HERE

H/T BlogTalkRadio Host/and activist, Seventies Soul Child for the link.

Cross Posted at: African American Political

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Congressional Black Caucus "Chumps"

Michelle Singletary has a great article in The Washington Post regarding the bailout “Bait and Switch” and how Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cumming's questioning of Neel Kashkari, the interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, that had me hollering. She writes how she usually don't enjoy watching congressional hearings and how they are often packed with blustering, long-winded, self-serving speeches that are nap-inducing.

She also writes about how a recent hearing before the domestic policy subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was riveting. In part, it was because of remarks by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

The subject of the hearing was whether the Treasury Department was using bailout funds to increase foreclosure prevention, as Congress intended. It was Cummings's questioning of Neel Kashkari, the interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, that had me hollering.

During the hearing, Cummings said what I've been feeling for months. In straight-from-the-'hood vernacular, Cummings captured what has been done to American taxpayers.

"Mr. Kashkari, in the neighborhood I grew up in, in the inner city of Baltimore, one of the things that you tried to do was make sure that you were not considered a chump," Cummings said. "And what 'chump' meant was that you didn't want people to see you as just somebody they could get over on."

Corporate America is playing us like chumps. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the folks he's assembled to try to get us out of the economic tempest are being played like chumps. Read More HERE

AAPP: I have to agree Representative Cummings, Corporate America is playing us like chumps. But, the fact of the matter is he is part of the problem, you see, he is one of the 13 black lawmakers who switched from "no" to "yes" on the bailout bill vote. The question is why a majority of the The Congressional Black Caucus supported the bail out bill from the beginning? I guess Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards and other Congressional Black Caucus members are the biggest chumps for supporting the bill when voters were saying no!

Cross posted on African American Political

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Obama Resistance

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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It was less than 2 hours after Barack was declared President that the first "Join The Obama Resistance" shirts were available on Cafe Press. Since then, websites have been launched, conspiracies have been formulated. Hell, even Alan Keyes has filed a lawsuit to verify Obama's birth certificate!

This will not die down and it will not go away.

I remember the week after Bill Clinton was first elected, he and Al Gore appeared on the cover of a news magazine. I was in a bookstore when two rednecks drifted by and said, "Can you fucking believe THEY got elected? He ain't nothing but a draft dodger." That meme is still alive and well.

All the ugliness that John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the right wing hate machine generated over the length of the campaign will continue until Obama is out of office. For us, our job is to always beat it back. The myth busting we did during the campaign will need to be continued... always.

We can't stop.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Political Incorrectness of Helen Mirren

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

It seems the Brits are in a tiz over outrageous comments by Helen Mirren about rape trials.

Dame Helen Mirren was accused by the Solicitor General of making ignorant, absurd and dangerous comments yesterday after speaking out again about rape prosecutions.

In an interview, the 63-year-old Oscar-winning actress said that in such cases female jurors are deliberately selected by defence barristers because 'women go against women'.

She suggested that women jurors are less likely to convict a rapist since they tend to think the victim was 'asking for it'.

Well, how dare she suggest that sisterhood would not reign in a rape trial?

Trouble is she's absolutely right.

I would not claim to know how juries are selected in Great Britain, and it may well be totally random, as Solicitor General Vera Baird claims. But, here in the US, where attorneys are very involved in jury selection, it's an absolute fact that your better rape prosecutors try to stack juries with men.

I was somewhat stunned to learn this some years ago, while reading up on the "preppy murder trial." Robert Chambers, who was convicted for the murder of Jennifer Levin, was prosecuted by renowned attorney Linda Fairstein. Fairstein, who specializes is rape prosecutions said, when interviewed, that she would always try to tilt juries in the male direction, because women jurors are less likely to convict rapists. Her statement struck me as so counter-intuitive that it always stuck with me. I did a bit of googling, to check my own memory, and Fairstein is not alone in this assessment.

However, female jurors frequently do not side with the female complainant. Indeed, according to a Newsday article, “The most sympathetic juror a rape victim can hope for… is not a well-dressed, educated working woman, but a stocky, conservative, middle-aged Italian man. The Italian man, the researchers reason, regards women as fragile and in need of defense and will usually side with the accuser” (Tyre, 1991, p. 10). The article also quotes Barbara Eganhauser, a lead sex crimes prosecutor in Westchester County, who believes “women, even young women with contemporary lifestyles and values, often reject another woman’s accusation or rape and sex abuse out of their own fear” (Tyre, 1991, p. 10).

Several other authors also note that female jurors often do not accept as true the testimony of complainants. Attorney Julie Wright (1995) argues that these jurors distrust the complainants because they do not want to believe that something horrible could happen to “good people”. Such women subscribe to the “just world hypothesis,” that bad things do not happen at random, but rather everything in the world occurs for a reason. According to this theory, misfortune strikes only those worthy of hardship (Wright, 1995). Wright cites Elaine Walster’s research study, in which undergraduates were told of increasingly horrible things that happened to another person. The worse the event, the more likely the subject assigned blame to the other person, as it was “reassuring if the person [could] somehow blame the victim, taking the loss out of the realm of the uncontrollable” (Wright, 1995, p. 20). Using this logic, female jurors do not wish to imagine that rape could happen to them, and therefore the more they identify with the complainant, and the more hideous the crime, the more they need to deny the complainant’s claim. Wright notes that “Linda Fairstein, Chief of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit, has observed that ‘for many women, the need to shield themselves from their own vulnerability to sexual assault is paramount. If they can insist that the victim engaged in behavior that they would never engage in, such as visiting a bar or going to a man’s apartment, they can convince themselves they are not at risk’” (Wright, 1995, p. 22). Thus, it is so frightening for the female juror to identify with the complainant that she needs to deny the complainant’s testimony, in order for the juror to feel safe in the world.

Furthermore, Gloria Cowan (2000) contends that women often disbelieve other women’s tales of sexual violence out of their own internalized oppression. She writes that many women are hostile to their own sex, and internalize negative female stereotypes. These women are more likely to “blame the victim” in the case of rape or sexual harassment. Cowan’s research study, using questionnaire responses from 155 college women, found a correlation between women’s hostility towards other women and women’s toleration of men mistreating women. While Cowan’s article does not specifically apply to jurors in rape cases, it does provide a persuasive argument as to why females may be disinclined to believe the victim of sexual abuse.

Sad, but true.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hillary Clinton For Sec. of State? Keep Your Enemies Closer?

Tell me it's not true. No Hillary Rodham Clinton has not emerged as a top contender to be Secretary of State. I know it is said, keep your friends close but your enemies closer, but why keep a color aroused bigot so close? but here is the challenge folks, if chosen by Barack, won't Hillary just gain international experience for two or three years, create on diversion, disagree with Obama on a policy issue, resign as Secretary of State, and run against him in 2012? The PUMA group would love it. One also has to wonder why Barack obama would nominate Clinton, who voted to authorize the war in Iraq? Would she be able to send the message of change throughout America and around the world?

I guess some have forgotten the racial tensions and disgraceful bigoted campaigning caused by Hillary. I'm reminded of Doug Thompson and his blog post on the blog, Capitol Hill Blue, in April of this year, when he wrote, "Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania because she pandered to the overt racism that exists among blue collar whites as well as the latent racism in too many others. She won because the bulk of her appeal comes from the less-educated, the less-tolerant and the less-intelligent among us. If you're a stupid, illiterate, gun-totin' white hick you probably voted for Hillary. And so did your ignorant, baby-popping, big-haired wife as well as that bleached-blond bar maid that you're seeing on the side." More HERE

Get this folks, as reported by the LA Times, she flew into Chicago to meet privately with President-elect Barack Obama, former advisors to the senator from New York said. More HERE

I wonder if Hillary was coming clean with Barack obama about her lies during the primaries about her coming under sniper fire in Bosnia?

If Obama is going to select her, he probably needs to watch the television footage showing otherwise. The fact of the matter is Hillary Clinton has no foreign policy experience. She traveled with her husband, shaking hands and smiling.

Clinton campaigns for Obama

Lisa Lerer at reports many Women's groups are worried with the early indications that men might dominate the hierarchy of Obama administration. There is a growing chorus, as reported by Politico, who are pushing for Hillary Rodham Clinton for Secretary of State post.

“There’s definitely been a reaction to the few groups that have been named so far,” said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. “I agree with those who are concerned that it would have been nice to see more women.”

Politico also notes that women’s rights advocates acknowledge it’s still early in the transition process, but they say early staff picks and the lists of rumored Cabinet nominees send the wrong signal.

“It’s appropriate that Obama’s vetting Clinton, but she’s one women,” said Amy Siskind, co-founder of The New Agenda, a nonpartisan women's rights group founded by former Clinton supporters. “We want to see parity in the representation of women in the Cabinet.”

AAPP: Speaking of growing Chorus line, get this folks, after Hillary and Bill Clinton's massive color aroused campaigning, now Francis L. Holland, who was a former early supporter of Hillary Clinton, turned Barack Obama supporter, is now supporting Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. Holland, who first wrote that he agreed with Latino leaders that Bill Richardson would make an "excellent pick," now says, Sen. Clinton would make a "good" leader in that position.

Hmmm... Read More HERE

Friday, November 14, 2008

Joe Biden’s Happy Space

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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For the past several years, Neil Young's resistance anthem, Rockin' In the Free World has become the music that I have tended to rage to. Whenever my wife and I would pass by anti-war protesters in North Carolina, we would always crank up the volume in our Honda Element and blast this song out into the huddled throngs.

Even though it was written in response to Reagan/Bush policies, it is apt for W's administration - "I got mine so fuck you."

Biden has served though some of the best and worst of Presidential administrations and I bet, someplace, somewhere, someone in the Obama/Biden administration has this loaded on their iPod.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

There is No Open Door, Sarah

God is back! This time he's been talking to Alaska Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It's obvious God stop talking to President George W. Bush months ago and has set his sights on Palin.

Palin was on virtual lockdown during the presidential campaign. The McCain people only let her out to loot Neiman-Marcus' coast to coast and to do stump speeches in the pro-America parts of the country. The few scheduled interviews she had were disastrous, remember Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson? My two favorite Palin-isms "In what respect, Charlie?"and "I'll have to find some and bring them to you".

2012 is so far off I don't even want to think about it. It's obvious Palin has set her sights on running for President or something. In case you didn't know, she's a person of faith who communicates with God regularly (though he was noticeably absent when she was besmirching Barack Obama). When asked about her aspirations for 2012, Palin told a local FOX News reporter:

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. And if there is an open door in 2012 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation,an opportunity for me, then I'll plough through that door."

I'm like, there is no open door, Sarah! What's good for Alaska isn't necessarily good for the lower 48 states. You've proven that over and over again. While Alaska may need you, the rest of us don't. So please don't plough through the door Sarah, God wouldn't like it very much. Neither would I.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bush - too much fiber.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Barack Obama has been elected at the President of the United States of America. No further commentary is required.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Middle Finger For Prop 8

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Prop 8 is a measure in California that would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. If it is successful, it will be a major set-back for gay rights in America.

In the spirit of "leave it all on the road," visit No On Prop 8 and get involved in this last day of campaigning against this awful proposition.

There is a lot of hate this campaign season - just visit any McCain / Palin rally if you want to hear applause when someone yells "nigger." McCain's campaign is the most racist since George Wallace walked the earth.

It is time to stand up for humanity.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson - Busted

The Boston Globe reports that in my hometown of Boston (Roxbury), MA, in the District in which I lived for 30 years, a black female state Senator by the name of Diane Wilkerson was busted by the FBI today. She is can be seen in this photo taking cash and placing it in her bra. See Surveillance photos HERE

(FBI surveillance photograph)

State Senator Diane Wilkerson allegedly stuffed a $1,000 cash payoff into her bra during a meeting with an informant at No. 9 Park restaurant on June 18, 2007.

By John R. Ellement, Donovan Slack, Shelley Murphy, Maria Cramer, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

State Senator Dianne Wilkerson was arrested this morning after an 18-month undercover investigation by Boston Police and the FBI in which she allegedly accepted eight bribes. More HERE

Many within the African American community of Boston have questioned her intergrity for years. Damn, why did the sister have to follow in the footsteps of so many other low life politcos?

UPDATE: Now Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson has vowed to remain in her reelection fight despite her arrest this week on federal corruption charges and the release of photos allegedly depicting her accepting cash bribes, accusing US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan of engaging in a "political calculus" to derail her campaign. More HERE

African American Political Pundit says: Whatever Diane Wilkerson. You have significant character flaws and you need to resign. Although some in Boston may disagree, you have disgraced your district and the black community long enough. Throughout America and around the world your name is political mud. Let it go, go away... to prison.

Cross Posted on African American Political Pundit

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Religion of Ecstacy

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

Recently, in her Huffington Post blog, Naomi Wolf compared Sarah Palin to Eva Peron. Now, there's an analogy that becomes more apt every day.

Like any peasant girl from the outskirts, Sarah Palin needs to dress the part of a political luminary.

While Palin's transformation from hockey mom to fashion plate has raised eyebrows, her "SNL" character, played by Tina Fey, has remained firmly in the red jacket. And according to Women's Wear Daily's Irin Carmon, "SNL" costume designer Tom Broecker said Wednesday night that dressing Palin for last Saturday's cameo required a compromise:

Of Palin, Broecker said, "In speaking with her, I had to get her to understand why she needed to wear the same thing as Tina [Fey]. We had gone off and created it for the first time a month ago, a look we identified as Sarah Palin. She had moved on in her own image of herself. I said, 'I know you've moved on ­ you're wearing tighter clothes, more black ­ but this is the character of Sarah Palin.'"

Silly SNL dresser. She needs to dress for her descamisados, up there in Alaska. (They're very cold.)

Besides, as John McCain says, "She needed clothes." (Well, ok. But does her seven year old really need a Louis Vuitton bag?)

The McCain campaign assures us the clothes will go to charity. What they don't tell you: She'll be throwing them from a balcony.

"Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah "Evita" Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state."

-- Naomi Wolf

A little payback for Robocalls!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Ahh yes, Rick Astley - 80s sugar pop icon can be a political weapon!

From Wikipedia:

Rickrolling is an Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a Web link they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true source of the link without clicking (and thus satisfying their curiosity). When a person clicks on the link given and is led to the web page he/she is said to have been "Rickrolled". By extension, it can also mean playing the song loudly in public in order to be disruptive.

Most believe the practice began as a variant of an earlier prank originating from the imageboard 4chan called duckrolling, in which a link to somewhere (such as a specific picture or news item) would instead lead to a thread or site containing an edited picture of a duck with wheels. The user at that point, is said to have been "Duckrolled". The first instance of Rickroll occurred on the site's video game board, where a link to the Rick Astley video was claimed to be a mirror of the first trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV (which was unavailable due to heavy traffic). The joke was confined to 4chan for a very brief period.

By May 2008, the practice had spread beyond 4chan and become an Internet phenomenon, eventually amassing some coverage in the mainstream media. An April 2008 poll by SurveyUSA estimated that at least 18 million American adults have been Rickrolled.

So next time you see some bullshit about Obama on the internet, you know know where to link to!

The YouTube page.

The Rickroll Database

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Colin Powell Countdown Calendar

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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I was blown away by Powell's endorsement of Obama and televised spanking of McCain and Palin. Powell has always had the ability to formulate his sentences in a manner that is plain spoken yet leaves no question about what he said.

John McCain sucks and General Colin Powell knows it.

What will the McCain response will be? I think he can only respond in one way and that is to start tearing down Colin Powell.

So here is my question, how long will it take for someone to call General Colin Powell gay, a Muslim or a socialist?

Limbaugh has already called Powell a racist, so socialist can't be too far away.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can All These Joes Be Wrong?

Note: The cartoon is the logo of the real Joe the Plumber in Amarillo. Send him some business, I'm told that he's an Obama guy. If his website takes off because of all this attention maybe he can switch from actual plumbing to an online plumbing advice column. Bob

The month began with Sarah Palin celebrating her campaign's close identification and long association with "Joe Six Pack," the mythic every man vision of America that he and they dream that they represent.

Then in last night's "debate" came "Joe the Plumber," a guy who claims that he wants to buy a business which "makes" 250k a year and he's worried about Obama's tax policies. Who's next, Joe Bananas, Joe Cool, Joe Mama?

Forgetting for the moment that I have strong suspicions that "Joe the Plumber" is a ringer. Yes, nefarious as it sounds I'm afraid that Joe may be, a not too carefully selected, and poorly rehearsed plant from the McCain camp. He was probably chosen by the same group of desperately drunken political geniuses who trotted out Sarah Palin.

Joe the plumber should probably rethink this entrepreneurship thing if he believes that a business that "makes" 250k a year means that he will have an income at that level. A good plumber working steadily by himself with occasional labor help is doing extremely well to gross a quarter of that.

If he has a fleet, (say ten or so) of trucks and plumbers, journeymen, apprentices and laborers, after subtracting all the labor costs, the cost of running a fleet of trucks, licenses, insurance, workman's compensation, accounting, professional and trade dues, the occasional legal fee, and a grand old pile of headache and ulcer remedies he might achieve an income of two thirds that figure.

At that level he will remain well beyond the reach of the sinister tax increases that he has been told to fear.

But this isn't about Joe is it? Joe is just a caricature of what the McPalins and the conservative ruling class they represent, views as a typical member of America's hands on working class, the beefcake entrepreneur, their delusional "hard hat" wet dream.

I tried to point out in a "loose sally of the mind" last week the error in assuming that any one can predict who Joe Six Pack will vote for, or guess what information and how much information he (or she) will base their decision on.

Joe Six Pack or Joe the Plumber is all over the map politically; he has, at times, been the core supporter of the "New Deal," an avid participant in the Great Society as well as a reactive member of the "Silent Majority" and the "Reagan Revolution."

I share a few jars several times a week with several different versions of Joe and Jill and just when I think that I have them figured out they surprise me by doing or saying something that is outside of the character I had assigned them.

Guess the fluctuations of the stock market if you will, come up with a system for roulette or carry water up the hill bare handed, read tea leaves, but leave Joe and his brothers and sisters out of your prognostications; they will only disappoint and embarrass you.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Related stories:
Different 'Joe the Plumber' strikes 'Net gold
Purging Joe the plumber?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A miracle brewing in West By-God Virginia

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Voting for a Black Man (tm) in West Virginia is a new concept which is strangely being embraced by the people of the Mountain State.

Having lived my early years and having most of my family come from West Virginia, I am shocked beyond belief that West Virginians are supporting Obama. When I was in 5th Grade in Athens, WV, there was on African American in our school. The horrific verbal and racist abuse she took was unimaginable. That was 32 years ago and maybe things have changed dramatically over that period.

Maybe I am shocked because I still see WV through the lens of my family that still lives there. My wife and I wonder if one of my uncles (hard right-wing nut) will vote for McCain because he hates Blacks so much or will he vote for Obama because the Republicans have wiped out his retirement?

I think he will vote for Obama because money tends to win out over hate. Remember the Montgomery Bus Boycott? The Whites of Montgomery, Alabama refused to let Blacks ride in the front of the bus - but once Dr. King organized a boycott of the bus lines, funds for the bus lines dried up and they city capitulated.

Money won out.

Maybe money will win out in West Virginia in November. The state has never been awash in cash, the state has mostly been looted of natural resources and the cash ended up in the private bank accounts of the coal barons. But West Virginians certainly notice when what few dollars they have disappear. Most live so close to the bone, a slight increase in gas prices can have tremendous impacts on household budgets, so when gas hits 4 bucks, it is a disaster. A total, economic disaster. Now, add on top of that the job losses, shrinking college grants, a panicked stock market and vanishing retirement savings you then see the ugly picture that is the West Virginia economy.

Miracles can happen... they can happen in West Virginia.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Endorsement, a Condemnation and an Election Reflection

During the 1968 election, one of the keystones of Dick Nixon's campaign was his "plan to end the war in Vietnam." Of course he had no real plan, or, if he did it was a poor one, evidenced by the fact that the war dragged on for seven brutal years after that sad election season.

It has been said in some quarters that the "plan" Nixon alluded to, but never spelled out, was a nutty scheme (nutty schemes seem to abound in the halls of power) to have Kissinger convince the Russians that Tricky Dick was just batshit crazy enough to use nuclear weapons if the North Vietnamese would not come to the table and end the war on his terms.

History has shown that Nixon was nuts enough. So was and is, Henry the K, but the Vietnamese, after fighting a collection of Yankees, French, Japanese and Chinese among others, for uncountable hundreds of years weren't impressed with new and improved threats, from new and unimproved enemies.

They had been hardened over the centuries to leave early for work knowing that they might have to bury their dead or rebuild a bridge or two on the way. They would not be cowed by threats of death and destruction; death and destruction was all around them, forever.

Some might say that their difficult history made the Vietnamese nuttier than Dick Nixon but I'll leave that to the scholars and shrinks of history. After all, most of the witnesses are dead.

The presence of whackos and sociopaths at the highest levels of government is not a new thing, we have seen Caligula, and Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler, the Bushes and Cheneys, Saddam and Kim il Sung, but I believe that “extreme erratic eccentricity” in power is, unfortunately, a growing trend.

There are hundreds of rising stars and starlets of the future of political and religious subjugation and terror waiting in the wings or auditioning on corporate and theocratic casting couches as I write this.

As people, (the voting public,) continue to divorce themselves from the affairs of their own governance, continue to abrogate their fundamental responsibility to maintain a decent awareness of, and control over, their own public affairs, they open the door ever wider to the cold dark winds of tyranny and oppression.

People around here set their deadbolts at night; they make sure the kids put the bikes in the garage. They protect their property, their stuff. They keep their cash in the safe or a bank. (Perhaps not so much this week) The bikes and snowmobiles will be there in the morning but what of their freedoms? What of the rule of law, what of their democracy?

While we were busy obsessively obtaining, and guarding our wealth and its trappings, bigger SUVs, more palatial drywall estates, we left our only truly necessary and sacred possessions, things like liberty, privacy and due process, out on the lawn, discarded it seems as unnecessary abstractions.

Thieves and opportunists, both public and private, came and stole them in broad daylight. They practically rang the doorbell and announced what they were about. We paid no attention. The way they marketed their programs made it sound as if we would profit. I think that they scammed us, I'm afraid that they will be back for the rest, the tangible as well as the abstract; I fear that they want, and will have, it all.

I've listened to John Sidney McCain III for many years. I’ve lived through several of his ever more pathetic and increasingly panicky runs for the one office that he believes will enable him to prove to his father and grandfather that he is worthy of their respect, in spite of his record. (Does that not sound like a “cover” of a record that we’ve heard for years?)

John Sidney McCain III says that he knows where Osama bin Laden is. "I can get him," he says with Nixonian certainty, as he continues to insist that we must continue to fight bin Laden where we know that he isn't.

He claims that he knows how to put Americans back to work as he fights against workers rights, the minimum wage, social security and colludes with powerful interests which would deny them health care. He tells us that he has a "plan" to solve the financial crisis, after telling us that it doesn't exist.

Why is he hiding this important information? Does he really have a plan?

He does not, only people who readily believe his opportunistic pandering, the malicious lies being spread by him and his "running Babe," and other cynical surrogates speaking on their behalf, believe that he has a plan for anything broader than the continued aggrandizement of himself, his family and his wealthy friends and cronies.

I think John Sidney McCain III is an exceptional fraud. Had he not been the son and grandson of admirals he probably would not have made it through the Naval Academy, nor would he have been permitted to continue flying after his third crash due to pilot error.

Had he been cashiered (at least grounded) after wrecking that third aircraft he would have been saved a long imprisonment and we would have been protected from the sad spectacle of an embittered old man desperately grasping for a presidency that he has come to believe is his birthright, his "lifetime achievement award."

He claims to be a patron saint of America's veterans. He is not. His record on veteran's issues is shameful. I am a disabled veteran; I pay attention to "patron saints."

No I don't believe that he should have been commissioned a Naval Officer and should never have held an office of public trust. His willing and eager involvement in the Keating five affair, his everlasting closeness with dozens of the most powerful and probably the most destructive lobbyists in Washington, and his gambling habit, (Senators, Presidents rolling dice in casinos?) has shown him incapable of honoring that trust.

He certainly should never be trusted to replace the current sociopath in chief. America, what's left of it, cannot afford another decade of wanton abuse of power and privilege, of wanton theft from the public treasury, of wanton waste of the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Like George Bush John Sidney McCain III was a coddled child of privilege, propped up at every turn by family name and money.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.
From "Make-Believe Maverick " By Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone

John Sidney McCain III is an anti intellectual of the first order. No surprise there, as his party, or the modern version of it, has made anti intellectualism a cornerstone of its appeal to its base, that voter they call "Joe Six Pack."

As an aside, that pisses me off because I am Joe Six Pack as are most of my friends and most of us are Democrats or Independents of varying degrees of liberality who despise what John Sidney McCain III represents.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Gimme a beer.

They hate the "scholarly elite," deride legitimate research, deny climate change, evolution, gravity, and "publicly" despise gerund endings. They build museums with "Barney riding Dino" exhibits and try to sell it as “creation science education?"

Back in 79 or so I took a class at the Chicago Planetarium, titled "New Frontiers in Cosmology." The class was taught by David Schramm, a professor of astrophysics from the University of Chicago. During those few months, Dr. Schramm changed how I viewed the world by successfully inserting into the mind of this untutored layman a delightful stew which he made from a mixture of the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, particle physics, and nuclear physics.

I have enjoyed few things in life as much as I enjoyed his teaching and his company. Dave was a class act, a well respected, inspired, passionate, wild haired man of science. I was overwhelmed with his brilliance and his almost childlike enthusiasm. I think the class cost me $75.00. My guess is that it was presented to the public as part of one of those evil "government grants."

During the last “debate” John Sidney McCain III castigated Barack Hussein Obama (I'm not afraid of him or his name) for the expenditure of three million dollars for a new overhead projector. McCain was, or acted outraged.

I think John Sidney McCain III equates the word "projector" with Lone Ranger and Tonto movies flickering on the wall of a darkened room of his childhood.

Any time the Chicago Planetarium or any institute of legitimate research and learning wants to spend a few million bucks on an incredible learning tool, to bring scientific knowledge to the public, I say, "buy it." The anti intellectuals of the McPalin camp be damned.

They would rather spend public money on death, destruction or giveaways to already wealthy swindlers.

Trillions to Wall Street flimflam men, hundreds of billions to defense cronies, oil cronies and merchants of death, but declare holy war over a few million for research which might save a species, educate the public or provide health care and education for children, rebuild our infrastructure and move us to renewable fuels.

The only "steady hands on the tiller' in my lifetime have been attached to the wrists of Democrats. Hell, I have a plan too. Get rid of these damn Republicans. Again, thanks, I needed that.

At every whistle stop, (do campaign planes have whistles?) John Sidney McCain III asks, "Who is Barack Obama,” do we really know who he is?

I think that I know Barack Obama well, because I know John Sidney McCain III very well and the contrast between these two men is profound in every way.

The recent counterpoint of public appearances, of debate, of Vice Presidential choices, the demeanor of their wives and families, and the conduct of their campaigns has exposed an overwhelming and obvious fact.

There is only one person in this race qualified to be the President of my America. I'm voting for "that one." Barack Obama for President.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust