Thursday, January 31, 2008

Show Your Love to Brattleboro

You have to love Brattleboro, Vermont. That town has chosen to go where our Congress will not. While John Conyers simultaneously claims that impeachment is on the table but still fails to schedule hearings, town resident Kurt Daims took action.

He quite rightly believes that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have committed war crimes and should be arrested. He circulated a petition that would require that town's police to do just that should either of the two ever set foot in Brattleboro.

Of course, right wing Bush worshippers have their pants in a twist and are venting their spleens against Brattleboro. Their voices must not be the only ones heard. It is important to speak up in support of this petition that will come to a vote on March 4th.

The Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce should get a shout out, so should the local paper, the Reformer. Interim Town Manager Barbara Sontag should hear from you too.

You go Brattleboro!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Conyers: Impeachment is Off the Table

"I'm the Chairman."
"Pelosi can't stop me."

He says the words, "Impeachment is not off the table," but then he contradicts himself.

Pitiful. Pathetic. Listen closely to what Conyers is saying.

He is afraid to impeach because Republicans tried to use his threat to impeach as a campaign tactic in 2006. Earth to Conyers, it didn't work. They lost.

So now he is saying that a losing strategy should still be feared. Spare me.

Pelosi is calling the shots. In part because Conyers had ethics complaints against him. I'm sure she is using that to keep him in line.

Conyers has no intention of doing anything about impeachment. Listen again and again if you must. Impeachment is still off the table and that means our nation and all of humanity are still endangered by Bush.

I hope that someone in his district will run against him. That is all he and his colleagues understand. The fear of defeat is the only thing they worry about.

Progressive To Do List

The last candidate who was willing to go through even a pretense of advocating progressive positions is out of the race. Now that John Edwards is gone, we know that one of the dysfunctional political twins, Clinton or Obama, will be the democratic nominee.

The only course of action for true progressives is to disengage from this sham. The presidential election must now go on the back burner. Our priorities should be as follows.

1. Keep Dennis Kucinich in Congress - He is in a tough primary battle for his House seat. That primary will take place on March 4th. He has no ads on the air, but his opponent does. His opponent also has endorsements from the Mayor of Cleveland and the city's daily newspaper.
A Kucinich defeat would be disastrous. Make a contribution today.

2. Put impeachment to the table - Impeachment is the only way to stop Bush from doing further damage in the next 12 months. As Glen Ford said in his introduction to my Black Agenda Report column, "Lame duck presidents still retain the power to destroy the planet, and to set in motion policies that corporate Democratic successors will fail to dismantle."

Bush can be put in check with impeachment hearings. The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who refuse to support impeachment must face primary challenges. The fear of electoral defeat is their only motivation to do the right thing.

It is difficult to focus on these actions when the press inundates us with nonsense about Billary/Obama sniping. We should not put our hope in a now useless campaign. Our hope lies in challenging them, in making it clear that business as usual will not be tolerated after one of them is sworn in next January.

Next Tuesday, February 5th, primaries will be held across the nation. I am a New Yorker but I will not be voting for Senator Clinton. I won't be voting for Obama either. Dennis Kucinich is on the ballot and he will get my vote.

You are free to vote for whomever you choose. If other candidates are on the ballot in your state they should get your vote. You have the right to write in a candidate. Use your rights while you still have them.

Next Tuesday tell Billary and Obama, "A pox on both your houses."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Contribute to Kucinich Re-Election Campaign

His primary is March 4th and he is in real trouble. His main challenger, City Councilman Joe Cimperman, has raised more than $200,000 and has ads on the air. Dennis has none. Go to and contribute today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich

Re-Elect Dennis Kucinich

"We already know the state of the union. It is a lie.

Dennis Kucinich

Before he announced he was giving up his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, Congressman Dennis Kucinich announced that he was running for re-election. Kucinich faces a primary battle on March 4th. His major opponent, Joseph Cimperman, has raised more than $226,000 while Dennis' campaign cupboard is bare. That is why he was forced to drop out of the presidential race.

Please make contributions to the re-election campaign so that Dennis can get ads on the air in his district. Go to his campaign website and make your contribution today.

If Kucinich is defeated, democracy itself will have been defeated. Impeachment hearings are the only hope we have left for peace and only Kucinich had the guts to announce that he would introduce an impeachment resolution on the same day as the state of union address. He later withdrew the word "lie" from the House record, but his plans to impeach remain firmly in place. While John Conyers and others give into the Pelosi/Reid crowd of back stabbing liars, Dennis Kucinich stays the course.

The corporate media are going to crown either Clinton or Obama with the Democratic nomination. Neither one of them is up to the task of undoing the damage wrought by Bush. True progressives will need to be in Washington to fight a Democratic president.

Re-elect Dennis Kucinich!

Note: I originally posted this video last Wednesday, January 16th but it disappeared from this blog. I believe that happened because it was pulled from You Tube by the original poster. Sorry to repeat myself, but I think it is necessary to see Obama in action and hear his words.

Obama prefers Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton. Don't believe me? Just play the You Tube video.

Here is the opportunistic little traitor in all his glory and in his own words.

At Black Agenda Report we get numerous emails asking, "Why do you keep writing about him?"and "Why do you attack him so vociferously?"

Thanks Obama. You answered the question for us. You have exposed yourself as the no good, low down, lying dog that we have been saying you are.

It will be interesting to see the mental gymnastics that Obama supporters will go through to defend him.

Black Candidate Drops Out of Presidential Race

Of course I mean Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich was the only Democratic presidential candidate who spoke up for black America. He was the only candidate with an agenda for peace, the only candidate with a plan for single payer health care, the only candidate who dared demand that Congress hold impeachment hearings.

But the corporate media demanded that he be silenced. Even the Congressional Black Caucus acquiesced to CNN and allowed Kucinich to be barred from the debate they sponsored. Sad days indeed.

In 2004 Kucinich did not fold his tent until that summer. This year is different. He faces a well funded opponent and may be in a tight race for re-election. It would be awful if he were to be defeated.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday is Whupass Day

And you thought it was just hump day. Seriously, Black Agenda Report is published every Wednesday, and that means cans of whupass are opened left and right. We have a great issue this week. Glen Ford leads the charge as always.

"Had Kucinich, the white man, been allowed in the debates, he would have been the only candidate speaking up for Black interests. But the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) acquiesced in his silencing."

If you are tired of mudslinging from essentially identical candidates, read BAR. You will definitely learn something.

I learn a lot from readers. My column, "Why We Write About Obama," elicits much comment. Readers are paying attention, some with a great deal of flair. Check us out and please comment.

935 Lies

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
Vice President Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

That was a whopping big lie. It was just one of 935 made by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and other administration officials between September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism have compiled a report, Iraq: the War Card, Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War, which compiles all of the lies the administration used to make a case for war. The report even has a handy chart for those of you who need something more visual.
The report makes the case for impeachment, it makes the case for war crimes trials. Neither of those things will take place. The Democrats won't fight for the constitution, the rule of law, or the laws of the God. Most of the world views the American people the way they view Germans in the 1930s. They wonder why we have said nothing as our nation continues to commit crimes against humanity. The American people are themselves condemned by the actions of the Bush regime.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Trouble with King Day

How should the caption read? "Don't touch me!" How about, "Thank God he is touching her and not me." We should thank God that this is the last King Day that Bush will be president. These kids can relax.

Mitt Romney - Who Let the Dogs Out?

Remind me to never set foot in Jacksonville, Florida. Someone managed to find a group of black people who were induced, I dare not ask how, to pose for photos with Mitt Romney. That is not a place I ever care to see.

This is the problem with King day. Every politician manages to find colored people for photo ops. Who let the dogs out indeed.

Happy Birthday Roe

"You love them in the womb but once they get here, it's a different story."
Gilda Cobb Hunter, South Carolina state legislator

Thirty five years ago today the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a constitutionally protected right. The only other event of greater significance to American women was the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920 that granted the right to vote.

The weakness of the Democratic party (its unwillingness to truly be a political party) has made the exercise of this right more tenuous than ever. Despite the fact that there is no popular desire to over turn Roe, religious and political conservatives have continually been on the offensive to prevent as many women from having abortions as possible.

Abortion providers have been murdered, clinics have been bombed. States have passed rules requiring waiting periods and ultra sound viewing. "Trigger" legislation is being passed that would automatically outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned by the court. The state of South Dakota passed a law that essentially outlawed abortion in the one clinic where it could be performed, but voters later over turned it.

Women who regret having abortions are now used to justify banning the procedure. Women who don't regret their abortions are treated as if they don't exist.

Anti-abortion forces are on the offense and pro-choice advocates are on the defensive because of the lack of political will to enforce this right. Black women have the most to lose if abortion rights are lost.

Our community is squeamish about discussing sexuality. Incorrect assumptions about religious belief have allowed anti-abortion forces to claim that they speak for all black people. Greedy charlatan preachers and their friends have made a fortune thanks to their conservative patrons.

Make no mistake about it, abortion rights are civil rights and have to be defended.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Obama Shows His True Colors

This week Barack Obama decided to cast aspersions on black men in a debate (see yesterday's post) and praise Ronald Reagan.

As the campaign moves on he will get worse. So far his appeals to conservatism and to white people's desire to shut black people up have been in more discreet venues. You have to read his books or listen to his speeches or surf the web in order to get the full flavor of Obama opportunism.

Now he is out of the closet. He is telling white America bluntly, clearly and as publicly as possible that he will not only do nothing to help black people, but he will assist in the beat down, just like Reagan did.

What kind of democrat voices GOP talking points? Listen carefully to the You Tube video I just posted. What are the "excesses of the 60s and 70s?" Everyone knows what that means. Black people got a little bit of attention and a little bit of justice. So did other people. Medicaid and medicare have saved many white people too, but why remember that when you can remember that black people got jobs, college scholarships and affirmative action.

Obama has tipped his hand. He will be the white person's black president. I said as much a few months ago. As long as winning white votes means stabbing black people in the back, the desire to see a black person in the oval office is nothing but fool's gold.

Obama prefers Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton. Don't believe me? Just play the You Tube video.

Here is the opportunistic little traitor in all his glory and in his own words.

At Black Agenda Report we get numerous emails asking, "Why do you keep writing about him?"and "Why do you attack him so vociferously?"

Thanks Obama. You answered the question for us. You have exposed yourself as the no good, low down, lying dog that we have been saying you are.

It will be interesting to see the mental gymnastics that Obama supporters will go through to defend him.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Obama Channels Cosby

"And that also means — last point I’ll make, because sometimes this doesn’t get talked enough about. We have to have our parents take their jobs seriously, and particularly African-American fathers who all too often are absent from the home, have not encouraged the kind of, you know, nurturing of our children that they need. And as somebody who grew up without a father, I know how important that is. That is something that, as president, I intend to talk about."
Barack Obama at Las Vegas debate

What the hell does he mean? I have not noticed any reticence among politicians, pundits or press in beating up black people. If he wants to find something that doesn't get discussed enough he needs to do better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Obama, Farrakhan and Friendship to the Jews

The obvious racism of many of Barack Obama's white critics makes life difficult for black Obama critics like myself. To sum up, I am concerned that Obama's support from white voters is the result of a not very subtle message that he intends to ignore demands from the black community.

". . . by constantly, relentlessly sending out signals to white people that a vote for Barack Obama, an Obama presidency, would signal the beginning of the end of black-specific agitation, that it would take race discourse off of the table. And he’s gone to extraordinary lengths to accomplish that."

Sadly, those concerns that should be raising questions in the black community are instead being ignored. It is difficult to convey how proud and happy most black people will be if Barack Obama is sworn in as president one year from now. The anticipation of that joy has rendered millions of vocal, active people suddenly mute. Those same people will suffer if Obama wins and they don't have the courage to speak what history clearly shows to be true, that black people have always made the greatest strides after making vocal demands on the political system.

The same image that gives black people goose bumps also gives white people goose bumps, but not for the same reason. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo actually used the words "shuck and jive" when referring to Obama. Today was Washingt Post columnist Richard Cohen's turn. Cohen's used concerns about anti-Semitism to veil his racism.

It seems that Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ, publishes a magazine which once gave an award to Louis Farrakhan. Are you still following me? Good, because I fail to see what any of that has to do with Obama.

That simple logic was lost on Cohen. Cohen has for many years used his column to promote racist views about black people. He is most famous for having written that it is acceptable for businesses to refuse service to black people because black people commit more crime. I suppose he also thinks that white men should be banned from Wall Street. They are the usual perps in that neck of the woods.

At any rate, it doesn't matter that Obama owes much of his fund raising success to Jewish supporters. Like anyone else who seriously wants a to be president, Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of the Israeli government. AIPAC calls the shots in electoral politics. Giving Israel carte blanche to invade Lebanon, and kill people, and cut off food and medicine from Gaza, and kill people, is a must for anyone with political ambition. Obama has never strayed from that course.

Obama's Jewish supporters have gone out of their way to make sure that members of their community know that Obama is safe. Here is a partial text from a fund raising invitation from Lester and Renee Crown, Chicago big wig check bundlers.

"Dear Friends,

It is now time. It is now our turn.

Our Illinois Senator, Barack Obama, is running to become President of the United States. On October 1, Renee and Lester Crown are hosting an evening reception with Senator Obama at their home, along with many of the leaders of our community. The purpose of the evening is to show Barack how appreciative we are of his steadfast, honest and proud support of Israel.

In spite of a bruising schedule, Senator Obama has continued to maintain a direct dialogue with the community both here in Chicago and nationally. It is also quite unusual to have the opportunity to deliver a specific policy message of appreciation during the rigors of a presidential campaign. If you have already contributed fully to the campaign, thank you, your support is greatly appreciated. Please consider additional family members and others who can attend/contribute to this special event.

Monday, October 1, 20075:30 PM – Chairs Dinner 7:00- 9:00 PM
- Reception At the home of Lester and Renee Crown

Barack Obama has established a strong record as a true friend of Israel, a stalwart defender of Israel’s security, and an effective advocate of strengthening the steadfast U.S.-Israel relationship, publicly stating that Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state should never be challenged."

It doesn't matter that Jews will vouch for Obama. The Cohen column forced him to release this statement today.

"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

The statement will have little effect on the Cohens of the world. They can't stand the thought of seeing a black president. They will dredge up anything they can to make a case against Obama .

None of this madness will have any effect on me. I do not believe that an Obama presidency will be good for black people and I am on record as having said as much. Cohen and Cuomo will not fool me into making a fool of myself.

Tomorrow check out my column in Black Agenda Report for more on the Obama madness and white America.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ms. Magazine and Israel

Bravo to Ms. Magazine for making the right decision. It is a decision that will bring them unjustified criticism, but I hope they will not back down.

The American Jewish Congress submitted an ad to Ms. featuring the photos of three Israeli political leaders, President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. The text underneath the photos reads "This is Israel."

Ms. was right to reject the ad. The ad would be seen as a statement of support for the Israeli government. The Ms. mission of promoting women's rights around the world would be tainted if the magazine began making statements of support for Israel or any other government. The ad implicitly does just that.

Of course, the AJC wasted no time in saying that the ad rejection showed "hostility to Israel." They also created a straw man by pointing out that Ms. has featured articles about Arab women and about Nancy Pelosi's leadership in Congress. The AJC would have a good point if they were referring to the acceptance of similar ads, but that is not the case. Instead they prove the flimsiness of their argument by comparing the apple of articles to the oranges of advertisements.

The real reason the AJC has its collective pants in a twist is because Ms. has written critically about Israel's foreign policy and about the plight of Palestinian women living under Israel's occupation. That is the true cause of the bogus outrage.

By the way, if the AJC is so eager to put the lives of Israeli women in the spotlight, they should submit an ad about Moshe Katsav. Katsav is the former president who resigned after being on the verge of indictment for raping two female employees. In return for sparing the government embarrassment, he was allowed to plead guilty to sexual harassment. His accusers now have no legal recourse.

Perhaps Ms. should help shed light on Israeli politics and its treatment of women by profiling Katsav. That attention should make the AJC very happy.

"Moshe Katsav. This is Israel."

Friday, January 11, 2008

"Impeach, Remove, Jail."

We are inundated with useless information about celebrities. Viggo Mortensen certainly has the right politics and is worth our time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Protest Torture on January 11

On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners, so-called enemy combatants, were taken to Guantanamo. Tomorrow is a day of protest across the country. I will be at the Metro New York Religious Campaign Against Torture event. Here are the details.

Foley Square, NYC (in front of federal court house)
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Pearl & Centre Streets
J,M,Z — Chambers/Brooklyn Bridge station
4,5,6 -Brooklyn Bridge City Hall
R,W - City Hall
2,3 Park Place
A,C - Chambers Street

Democracy Now: Debate on Barack Obama (Part 2)

Democracy Now: Debate on Barack Obama

Glen Ford explains it all.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

War Against Iran

Let's keep this simple. Any Bush administration statements about Iran are lies. Period. End of discussion.

The latest whopper claims that Iranian speed boats "provoked" U.S. war ships in the Strait of Hormuz by threatening to blow them up. They even have a nice little video showing the alleged provocation.

Hooman Majd at Huffington Post sizes up the situation very simply. It's a fake.

"The video, which shows what is claimed are Iranian boats speeding around U.S. ships, doesn't show any of the boats hurtling directly towards any of the navy ships, nor does it show what the Pentagon claimed the Iranians then did, namely dropped "white boxes" in the water. (I would have opened fire at those, wouldn't you?) The audio tape is even less convincing, mainly because the person speaking doesn't have an Iranian accent and moreover, sounds more like Boris Karloff in a horror movie than a sailor in the elite branch of Iran's military. (The tape is also separate from any video.) Any Iranian can immediately identify Persian-accented English, particularly if the speaker has had little contact with the West, as is the case with Revolutionary Guardsmen and sailors."

So, we have a bad Iranian accent, video and audio that don't match, and video that doesn't even show what it purports to show. We also have a president visiting Israel, the only other country on earth that thinks killing thousands of Iranians is a good idea.

The NIE report that convincingly showed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program is just one month old. Apparently that is enough time for Bush to continue telling very obvious lies in order to start his newest war of aggression.

So this week's questions shouldn't be whether Hillary cried on purpose or if her tears swayed voters, but how she will vote when Bush presents a resolution to go to war with Iran. How will Obama vote? My guess is that both will ultimately vote yes to some "compromise" which allows both of them to have it both ways. Stay tuned.
Wish I'd Said That

"How did that [Powell and Rice as Secretary of State] redound to the benefit of black people? For the United States to have, to put a black face on imperialism, on aggressive war, on violations of international law. How does that make black people look better in the world? Is that the kind of burden that black people want to carry around? Certainly there will be no exemption for African Americans internationally after these kinds of experiences and Barack Obama shows quite definitively that he, being the political twin of Hillary Clinton, will also put forward that same aggressive bellicose face to the world.

How else to explain his call for 100,000 additional U.S. Marines and soldiers. For what purpose? Even as he speaks vaguely about withdrawing from Iraq, as vaguely as Hillary Clinton does. He wants 100,000 more soldiers and Marines. What will he do with them? Clearly he is talking about expanding, continuing U.S. efforts to dominate militarily."

Glen Ford on Democracy Now, January 9, 2008

Do you remember when United States diplomats were taken hostage at the embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979? The hostage takers released black employees in acknowledgement of the oppression inflicted upon and the powerlessness experienced by black Americans. If that happened today, post Powell and Rice, they would have remained in captivity along with the white people. No more exemptions. Thanks for nothing Colin and Condi.
Black Agenda Report on Democracy Now

"[Obama] . . . constantly, relentlessly sending out signals to white people that a vote for Barack Obama, an Obama presidency, would signal the beginning of the end of black specific agitation, that it would take race discourse off the table." - Glen Ford

Today is Glen Ford day. Black Agenda Report is published every Wednesday and Glen was a guest on Democracy Now. As always he hits the nail on the head. If you want to know the real deal about Barack Obama listen to or watch this interview. It will be well worth your time.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Obama Fever

"Having gone through eight years of EST with Bill Clinton and almost that much of AA with George Bush, we should be burned out on psycho-therapeutics as opposed to physical reality but sadly many are taken in by Obama's covert message that if you trust in hope you don't have to worry about the details like pensions and healthcare." - Sam Smith

I don't know which is more sickening, the non-substantive, sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, or the non-substantive love fest for Barack Obama. I also hasten to add that I have never been a fan of Hillary's. I am a New Yorker who has always found someone else on the ballot to vote for and I remain a staunch Dennis Kucinich supporter.

It is quite bizarre. Despite my ideological antipathy to Hillary Clinton I do feel badly for her. Barack Obama will probably win the New Hampshire primary tonight, but it won't be because he is any better than she is. Bill Clinton is right. The press does give him a pass. Obama has managed to present himself as anti-war when he first opposed invading Iraq, then said he doesn't know how he would have voted, then said a time table for withdrawal was bad, then said we need a time table for withdrawal. Every statement depended on the direction of political winds at the time.

He claims to be opposed to permanent bases but his own website says, "He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda." That leaves a lot of wiggle room to maintain the status quo.

Clinton should be losing because her policies don't differ very much from those of the Bush administration. Instead she is losing to someone else whose policies do not differ very much from the Bush administration's. Hillary Clinton thought that the old school Clintonian strategy of beating up Democrats and daring them to complain would keep working. Obama is nothing but savvy. When he began to falter in the polls he realized that he had to at least give lip service to progressives.

She voted for the Senate resolution against Iran. He stayed away and attacked her for her vote. Obviously if he was opposed he would have shown up and voted in the nay column. He has out slicked Mrs. Slick Willy.

Clinton bears much of the blame for her political flame out. She refused to admit she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq occupation and now looks phony when she says she would not have made the same decision as president. She apparently learned nothing from the Kerry debacle.

She and her supporters also messed up big time when they joined in the anti-Obama smears about madrassas and drug use. It was blatant dirty politics and of course it all back fired. Now she is in serious trouble. She shot her financial wad in Iowa and may skip campaigning in upcoming primaries in order to focus on the February 5th super primary.

Her panic is evident in her much maligned teary eyed reply to a question in New Hampshire. The press are circling like vultures and not because they want to put her on record regarding any important issues. They have found someone they like better and they like him because he lets them off the hook.

Obama gives white America a get out of jail free card. "There is no black America," he declared at the 2004 Democratic convention. Those are potent words. White people love to hear that
". . . white guilt has largely exhausted itself in America." Spare me. Black people have never asked anyone to feel guilty. We have demanded full citizenship rights, and made the greatest progress when we have done so consistently and unaplogetically.

Now we face the prospect of being worse off because a black man is president. Yes, I said worse. We already hear that Oprah Winfrey's success, or black oscar victories prove that racism is a thing of the past. If there is a black president those specious arguments will win the day. Combine that with Obama's opportunistic going along politically to make white people feel safe and we have a recipe for trouble. We will still have troops in Iraq and the same expensive health care system that doesn't keep us well or even cover all of us. Paul Krugman was kind when he called Obama naive. He isn't naive at all. He plans to change very little once he gets to the White House.

As every political observer knows, the themes a politician uses on the campaign trail often don't match his or her style of governance once elected. That's rarely considered a good thing, but in this case, people seeking real change should hope that Obama's feel-good language is just campaign spin.

That's because progressives' best hope with Barack Obama would be that he use his message of "hope" and reconciliation to bring millions of new voters into the process for the first time, gather an enormous amount of political capital, and then turn around, take off the gloves and shove that mandate right down the GOP's throat.

Well, that hope is audacious.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Obama Wins Iowa

I don't really have much new to say. I'll just quote my column from the May 15th issue of Black Agenda Report, "Should We Want a Black President."

"Sadly for her (Clinton), she shares her husband's politics of meaninglessness but none of his personal charisma. She can't get away with fence straddling, triangulating, or insulting the party base. Along comes Obama, a living reincarnation of Clintonian political charm straight from the glory days. Now that Hillary has been out Clintoned, she looks less like a sure thing."

It seems that Obama can get white people to vote for him. Can he become president? Yes he can, but that is not good news for black people.

"If he is a winner, it will be in large part because he is willing to throw black people under the bus. He proved as much in his overrated speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention. 'There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America.' Of course there is a black America, and most of us don't want to pretend otherwise.

Obama's 2004 speech does not mention racism, not even to say something bland such as, racism is bad. Obama sells color blindness in a country that is all about the color spectrum. It makes no sense for black America to embrace this obvious canard. Will we purchase a lemon if the seller looks like us?"

Too many of us will buy the lemon and that is very bad news indeed. At the moment when activism and movement politics needs to be resurrected, black people will be lulled by meaningless idol worship. So I will answer my own question. Black people should not want a black president. Think I'm wrong? Just listen to Bill Bennett.

"Barack Hussein Obama, a black man, wins this for the Democrats. I have been watching him. I watched him on 'Meet the Press,' I've watched him on [Anderson Cooper's] show, watched him on all the CNN shows -- he never brings race into it. He never plays the race card.

Talk about the black community -- he has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson, you don't have to act like Al Sharpton. You can talk about the issues. Great dignity. And this is a breakthrough. And good for the people of Iowa."

I'll cut Obama a tiny bit of slack. The only way a black person can be elected president is to "never bring race into it." Sorry, I can get that from a white politician. I see no cause for celebration.

Having said that, I should add that Obama may have no reason to celebrate either. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a billionaire, is making noises about running for president as an independent. He could win the presidency or change the dynamic in some unknown way. The 2008 election is still very much up in the air.
Bill Kristol and Andy Rosenthal, Daddies Little Boys

In January 2005 I wrote that America has become a banana republic. Sadly, events of the last three years have proven me right. Our currency isn't worth much, they won't even take dollars at the Taj Mahal. Americans leave the country to get health care they can't afford here or to find inexpensive places to retire.

What does this have to do with Bill Kristol landing at the New York Times? One of the most basic characteristics of a banana republic is cronyism. Part of the reason Kristol has a new gig is that he is an old pal of Andrew Rosenthal. Andrew Rosenthal is the son of Abe Rosenthal, the resident conservative at the Times for many years. Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol, one of the neocon founding fathers. Of course the Times is a family business too, handed down from one Sulzburger to another.

Glenn Greenwald gets the hat tip and sums it all up perfectly. ". . . the fuel of the conservative movement -- especially its tough guy neoconservative branch, which venerates self-sufficiency, resolve and meritocracy above all else -- is mommy-and-daddy-dependent nepotism."

What is good news for the Rosenthals, Kristols and Sulzburgers is bad news for the rest of us. As the rate of our descent increases, there will be more and more Kristols and Rosenthals in positions of power. Just look at the latest occupant of the oval office, a ne'er do well son reached the most powerful office in the land. Connections always counted in this so-called meritocracy, now they are all that count. If you want merit, go somewhere else to live.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thanks Attytood

Will Bunch of the Attytood blog linked to my piece on Bilal Hussein and Bill Kristol. Thanks Will.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bill Kristol and the New York Times

After I recieved a form email from the Times I concluded that they received more than a few missives re: Bill Kristol. If you can't figure out why their response is lame I have laid out a simple explanation in this week's issue of Black Agenda Report. As always Glen Ford hits the nail on the head in the introduction.

"Where once corporate media perversely reasoned that lies and truth should have equal standing in their pages and broadcasts, they now rate multiple lies as far more valuable than a universe of truth."

I had wanted to write about the plight of Iraqi Pulitzer prize winning photographer Bilal Hussein for some time. The elevation of the lying propagandist Kristol was a perfect opportunity to talk about Hussein's imprisonment by the U.S. military. First read BAR, then take a quick perusal of the Times lies regarding their lies.

Thank you for your e-mail concerning Bill Kristol. We appreciate your interest and your taking the time to let us know how you feel.

Mr. Kristol's column will be appearing on the Op-Ed page, where we offer arange of diverse opinions -- often differing from our own editorial opinions. Given that we are a news organization that believes in vibrant political discourse, we have brought Mr. Kristol on board after a long andt houghtful search through the ranks of strong conservative voices.

Will you -- or will we -- agree with him? Probably not very often . . .but that is the point of offering multiple views and providing intellectual diversity. We hope the column will engender open debate and discussion in the democratic tradition of newspapers. And we hope that you will continue to read and to express your views to us. We very much value your readership.

Catherine Mathis SVP,
Corporate Communications
The New York Times Company

If you know you won't agree with him very often, why hire him? That question is rhetorical. The Times and the rest of the corporate media can't handle the truth because they aren't interested in it. They are only interested in doing the bidding of powerful monied and political interests. Kristol is Exhibit A.