The Queen stumbles

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Borgqueen

Yes, I watched the debate up until Kucinich was asked about UFO’s.    And, from what I can tell, the Borg Queen stumbled and was almost knocked off her throne by Edwards and Dodd.  The two questions about giving undocumented immigrants drivers licenses and Bill Clinton requesting that the National Archives not release Hillary’s papers between her office and the President, revealed Hillary to be a dissembler.   Obama and Edwards conspired to attack on the neo-con Iran resolution she voted for and Edwards got the better of the exchange.   

Hillary, although she sounded strong for most of the night, ended up looking like a battered woman because she took several punches to the head from Tim Russert on Social Security and the candidates capable of slowing her coronation.   If her numbers show a significant slide as a result of her one night stumble, I’ll be forced to revise my opinion that the race is not yet over.  What do you think?

Forging a Winning Progressive Coalition

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Chris Bowers of Open Left has an excellent piece on Barack Obama’s failure to recreate the progressive white and African American coalition that catapulted him to national prominence.   Read it and tell me what you think.   I think he’s dead on.

Hat Tip: By Chris Bowers of OPEN LEFT

I want to make an addendum to my post yesterday about Obama’s campaign. In particular, I want to say that one of my longest-running visions in progressive politics has been for a strongly progressive Democrat to win the party’s presidential nomination, and then the Presidency, based on a coalition that, at its core, combines African-Americans and the white progressive “creative class.” Loosely speaking, as I articulated in one of my very first blog posts ever, it would be a combination of the Jesse Jackson coalition in 1988 and the Howard Dean coalition of 2003. In a more recent formulation, I have referred to it as the coalition of non-whites and non-Christian Democrats. That isn’t to say that other demographic groups wouldn’t be involved in the coalition, just that its two largest demographic groups would be people of color and whites who do not self-identify as Christian.

Why do I focus on these two groups? Several reasons. First, they tend to be the most Democratic-leaning of all demographic groups in terms of voting patterns. Second, because members of congress who come from these districts tend to be the most progressive Democrats around. Third, because non-whites and non-Christians are both high growth demographic groups, and represent a potential long-term governing majority. Fourth, because they already make up a majority of Democratic voters nationwide. Fifth, the 1988 and 2004 elections demonstrate the willingness of these groups to support non-establishment candidates. In short, this is a coalition that could dominate Democratic politics and even national politics for a long time to come, with the result being an electable, progressive governing majority if formed. I see this coalition as the Holy Grail of progressive electoral politics.

In early 2004, while living in Chicago, I saw a candidate who explicit strategy in the Illinois Democratic Senatorial primary was to forge that very coalition: Barack Obama. I thought that, if he won a Senate seat using that strategy, it would then become possible for him to use that strategy to become President either eight years down the road (was banking, of course, on a Democratic presidential victory in 2004). If a state Senator could do it on a statewide level, a US Senator could do it on a national level. Obama seemed like a potential solution to a long-running electability problem for progressives on a national level. And given that many people I talked with had considered him a possible future President even when he was in a distant third-place in the Senatorial primary, his potential to pull this coalition off, even before his 2004 DNC speech, appeared enormous and very believable.

Because of this, I leaned toward Obama for a long, long time in this campaign. Despite events like the Edwards blogger controversy, or Richardson coming out in favor of no residual forces, I kept waiting for Obama’s campaign to put this coalition together. Once it started happening, and his early lead among the progressive creative class was matched by an advantage among African-Americans, I was ready to jump on board. Given how long I had looked for such a coalition to form, I wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines once it actually did. However, it just no longer seems to me as though Obama is going to pull that coalition together. He never overcame Clinton’s advantage among African-Americans, and as I documented in yesterday’s post he started losing ground among the progressive creative class. If, as the campaign progresses, a candidate is losing ground, and is behind overall, among the two main of this potential coalition, I have a very difficult time seeing that candidate as the leader of the progressive governing coalition I have sought.

I don’t know why Obama has been unable to make any dent in Clinton’s overall advantage among African-Americans. I have my theories on Obama’s struggle with the progressive creative class that I articulated yesterday. Frist, he kept attacking extremist liberal strawmen, which is basically an attack on the progressive creative class. Second, he kept talking about unity and reaching across the aisle during a time when conservatives and Republicans were repeatedly shooting down consensus legislation in the Senate, where Obama himself holds a seat. It seemed as though he was determined not to pursue his 2004 primary strategy on a national level, and instead take a more traditional, establishment route. I don’t know for certain how accurate my analysis is, but for one reason or another Obama has now failed to bring either of the two main components of this coalition together during the campaign, and current trends make it seem like the situation is only going to get worse.

I still hope that this coalition will one day come together, but I no longer see Obama as having real potential to pull it off anymore. I also don’t think that the coalition can be successful if it forms on its own, and then endorses a candidate without being endorsed by that candidate. Voluntarily offering your support to a candidate that hasn’t endorsed you is a good way to become irrelevant once that candidate is in office. See, for example, the way that congressional Democrats went along and condemned MoveOn.org, now that, once they are in the majority, they can use corporate PAC money instead of netroots money. If you give it away for free, people can find other sources of support once they are in power. Also, it is hard for any coalition to come together without a unifying cause for it to come together around.

I see this as a big missed opportunity in 2008. I don’t know what happened to the Barack Obama of the Illinois Senate primary. Maybe nothing did, and I simply misjudged his potential as the leader of this new progressive coalition.  Either way, it is very disappointing, and it has me searching for answers much like I was after Dean’s defeat four years ago.

Justice Harold Melton, Sonny Perdue’s Colored Confederate

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Harold Melton and Clarence Thomas

“The past is not dead.  In fact, it’s not even past.”-William Faulkner 

The news broke late Friday that the Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, overturned Genarlow Wilson’s conviction for aggravated child molestation, and the 10-year mandatory sentence that he received as a result of engaging in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 and both were in High School.  

In reading the dissenting opinion, I discovered that Georgia’s newest State Supreme Court Justice, Harold Melton, a 41 year old African American and appointee of Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, is an undercover confederate with a disturbing penchant for distorting the rule of law.  Justice Melton signed on to a dissent in the Wilson case that only Federalist Society fascists like Clarence Thomas could love.  

The gross overcharging of Genarlow Wilson by Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, a racist if their ever was one, was a perversion of the law not intended by the legislature that echoes Douglas County’s only recorded lynching. 

“In Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia 1880-1930,”  “The lynching of Peter Stamps on July 24, 1885, in Douglas County, Georgia, is another example of the severe consequences of defying the color line in sexual relationships.  For almost a year, Stamps, a black tenant farmer, had been the lover of his employer’s sixteen-year-old daughter without arousing suspicions.  But when the girl became pregnant, the romance could no longer be kept secret.” 

“Stamps was promptly arrested for rape even though the girl adamantly refused to accuse him.  While he was being transported to the county jail, a mob seized him and hanged him. The tragic affair ended when the young girl committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.” 

In Douglas County, Georgia, Genarlow Wilson isn’t the first young person destroyed because of an unhealthy adult preoccupation with consensual, pre-marital sex among teens.   While all of the participants in the titillating sex party that was recorded on videotape were black, the unfettered white power to destroy their lives for a horrible youthful mistake remains the same.  All of the boys were branded as sex offenders for life.  None of them, however, served the time Genarlow Wilson did because he fought the charges, especially the rape charge for which he was acquitted. 

Because of that fact, I do not believe the District Attorney’s feigned concern for the girl who claimed that she was raped because after his fairness was challenged in the media, he distributed 35 copies of the videotape, which meets the statutory definition of child pornography, to the public.   Those are not the actions of man who believes he’s trying to protect a girl from unscrupulous teenage predators, but rather, they are the actions of a racist trying to cover his ass by clouding the issues and smearing Genarlow Wilson as some kinda teenage R. Kelly.

A real black man or woman would know and understand that and conduct themselves accordingly.  His two black colleagues on the court certainly did. Unfortunately, Harold Melton is not a real black man. He’s nothing more than a Clarence Thomas clone and a colored confederate faking the funk and fighting on the wrong side.   

Black Judges like Clarence Thomas and Harold Melton are fully aware of the historical context of the racial struggles of the African American community and are capable of meting out justice in cases like Genarlow’s,  but they are too blinded and ashamed to acknowledge the tawdry sex scandal that gave birth to their own nefarious power.  

Their power is the result of illicit fornication between Machiavellian southern rednecks and northern patricians in the Republican Party who unapologetically manipulate the inflammatory symbols of segregation, white supremacy and the irrational fear of black crime, to enrage and corral a provincial white electorate into voting GOP slates of pinstripe troglodytes like Douglas County DA David McDade into office.  Their mission: reverse the gains of the civil rights movement and keep colored folk like us in a designated place of impotent subordination.

Georgia State Flag, c. 1956-2001

In the same manner that George Herbert Walker Bush used Willie Horton to exploit the irrational and racist white fear of black crime, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue used the issue of changing Georgia’s confederate emblazoned Flag, demanded by African Americans and their white democratic allies, to inflame a bigoted rural electorate against his democratic opponent, former Governor Roy Barnes.    

Sean Wilentz, writing for Salon.com, breaks down the implicit racism employed by the maniacal right, “Republican politicians then exploited the issue, with all its blatant racial overtones. The Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue, backed by Georgia Republican state chairman and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, upheld the honor of those who died defending slavery, and pledged that, if elected, he would push for a statewide referendum to restore the old flag, nearly two-thirds of it taken up by the Confederate emblem.” 

“The tactic worked like a charm, especially in Georgia where the Democrat Barnes had been expected to win reelection handily. The election returns clearly show that rural white voters switched in droves to vote Republican, and that the flag controversy was one important reason why.” 

“… a victorious Sonny Perdue, appearing against a backdrop of Confederate emblems, jubilantly exclaimed, with dubious taste, a line from an old black spiritual made famous by another Georgian, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!  Since then, Gov.-elect Perdue has backed off from his pledge to restore the old flag, and said with a straight face that the issue was only a “small” reason for his victory. And so his campaign appeals seem to have been just a cynical ploy, in a long tradition of Southern racial demagogy.” 

Once elected Governor, Perdue plucked Harold Melton out of the obscurity of the Attorney General’s Office and made him his chief counsel.   A black Republican of long standing, Melton graduated from Auburn University and interned for Alabama Republican Governor Guy Hunt, a right-wing crook indicted and removed from office for diverting $2oo, 000 dollars from his inaugural ball fund to personal use.  

Upon Melton’s graduation from law school at the University of Georgia, he spent 11 years in the Georgia Attorney General’s office, most of it under Mike Bowers, a sanctimonious, homophobic party switcher with gubernatorial ambitions who zealously persecuted gay people using Georgia’s antediluvian sodomy laws while simultaneously carrying on a decade long extramarital affair with his secretary.   

Melton absorbed his patron’s homophobia and facilitated Sonny Perdue’s demagogic crusade to “preserve marriage” as the Governor’s Chief Counsel.   After Perdue had solidified his credentials as a southern redneck, and he couldn’t fulfill his promise to restore the flag because of a hostile legislature, he moved on to exploit homophobia to distract the same fools fixated on preserving their southern heritage of hate. Perdue shrewdly gave them the gays to demonize and focus their hatred on.   Georgia’s passage of a so-called “marriage amendment” solidified the GOP stranglehold on state government and assured Perdue’s re-election.    

As a reward, Melton was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pissing off a lot of white conservatives who believed that the first GOP appointment should have gone to one of their white wingnut fellow travelers.   His vote against Genarlow Wilson and in a death penalty case I will subsequently discuss, should have quieted all the talk about Melton not being sufficiently conservative.   

Melton, the Death Penalty, and Georgia’s history of lynching 

I have never been amused by the Republican habit of dismissing and ignoring the history and persistence of racially motivated murder in this country.  Between 1882 and 1968, 492 lynchings of black men and women took place in Georgia, 479 of them murdered at the hands of white mobs, a number that ranks Georgia second only to Mississippi in the savage sweepstakes of white supremacist killing.    

This next vignette of hate should have some significance to the Governor because it happened six months before he was born, and directly implicated a gubernatorial predecessor. In July, the Associated Press wrote about how they uncovered evidence, through the use of the Freedom of Information Act, that implicated former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, a virulent racist, in the lynching of two black couples after his 1946 re-election.

Talmadge, who died just months after his 1946 election to a fourth term, dominated Georgia politics in the 1930s and 1940s with a mix of racism and pocketbook populism.He came under FBI scrutiny because of a visit he made to the north Georgia town of Monroe two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a highly charged racial incident there, a fight in which a black sharecropper stabbed and severely wounded a white farmer.”

“The sharecropper was one of the four people who would later be lynched.In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the investigation said Talmadge met with George Hester, the brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone “taking care of negro.”

“…The lynchings of Roger and Dorothy Malcom, and George and Mae Murray Dorsey on July 25, 1946, came eight days after the election and followed weeks of simmering tensions. There were rumors that George Dorsey, an Army veteran, had secretly been dating a white woman — a taboo in the segregated South. And the town’s white establishment was enraged with Roger Malcom, who was imprisoned after stabbing white farmer Barney Hester.”

“Malcom was waiting in jail when white farmer Loy Harrison paid $600 to bail him out. Harrison said he was driving Malcom, his wife and the other couple home, when he was ambushed by a white mob that surrounded his car near the Moore’s Ford Bridge. As many as 30 people converged on the vehicle and pulled out the two couples, dragged them down a nearby trail and tied them to trees.”

“Then the mob fired three volleys of bullets at the couples, leaving their dead bodies slumped behind in the dirt. One of the victims, Dorothy Malcom, was seven months’ pregnant. An outraged President Truman dispatched FBI agents to Monroe, about 45 miles east of Atlanta. But the local community — both white and black — clammed up.”

…Black families, who often sharecropped on white farms, were “frightened and even terrified” when approached by FBI agents. One farmer fled into a cotton field and had to be chased down, eventually telling an investigator he had been warned not to talk.” 

Baby Boomers like Sonny Perdue turn a blind eye to the cruelty and malevolence of their parents’ generation and the six lynchings,  which occurred in his home county in the twentieth century.  His guilt is submerged into the “good works” he performs like opening his home to a black foster child or his close personal and professional relationships with a few people of color. However, when Perdue’s back was against the wall, like Eugene Talmage’s was in the election of 1946,  he resorted to the same bag of tricks and he drew from the well white supremacy and division because of a desperation to seize power.  His desire to paper over the racial divisions he created with appointments like Harold Melton only makes the problem of racial discrimination worse.  

The spirit of fear inculcated and bred into black people by enduring generations of racist terror like the aforementioned lynching, is all over the next case.   The manner in which Georgia carries out the death penalty more closely resembles a lynching than a carefully designed legal process, which respects the constitutional rights of the accused.  Just weeks before the prevaricator from Pin Point, Georgia, Clarence Thomas, was disingenuously accusing his inquisitors of subjecting him to “a high-tech lynching” a real one was taking place in a Savannah, Georgia courtroom, in a town he claims to know well.   

The case of Troy Anthony Davis, a death row inmate, is one that shocks the conscience.  Convicted of the murder of a white police officer and the shooting of a black teenager, his conviction was obtained as a result of the perjured testimony of African American witnesses coerced to appear by a racist and incompetent Savannah police force.   The state had no physical evidence in this case tying Davis to the crime and all but three of the “witnesses” recanted their testimony.     Don’t believe me?   Read for yourself.  

Affidavit of Darrell Collins: 

When I got to the barracks, the police put me in a small room and some detectives came in and started yelling at me, telling me that I knew that Troy Davis…killed that officer by the Burger King. I told them that… I didn’t see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed.” 

“… I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that…[Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn’t want to hear that…After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said.”  

From the Affidavit of Antoine Williams:

 I couldn’t really tell what was going on because I had the darkest shades of tint you could possibly have on my windows of my car. As soon as I heard the shot and saw the officer go down, I ducked down under the dash of my car. I was scared for my life and I didn’t want to get shot myself.” 

“…Later that night, some cops asked me what had happened. I told them what is written here [in the affidavit]. They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”  

From the Affidavit of Benjamin Gordon: 

Later that night, police officers came and dragged me from my house in Yamacraw. There were police officers everywhere after the police officer was killed and it seemed like they were taking everyone in Yamacraw to the police barracks for questioning. I was handcuffed and they put a nightstick under my neck. I had just turned sixteen and was scared as hell.” 

“The police officers took me to the barracks and put me in a small room. Over the next couple of hours, three or so officers questioned me – at first, they called me a motherfuc*er and told me that I had shot the officer. They told me that I was going to the electric chair. They got in my face and yelled at me a lot. The cops then told me that I did the shooting over in Cloverdale.”

“I just kept telling them that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t hearing that. After four or five hours, they told me to sign some papers. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t read what they told me to sign and they didn’t ask me to.” 

In their zeal to avenge the killing of a white police officer, police misconduct mimicked an angry lynch mob hell bent in defending white supremacy by pinning any nigger with the crime.  This case has bounced between state and federal courts for 16 years and they have continued to reject any claim of innocence and refused to consider affidavits recanting perjured testimony. 

A law signed by Bill Clinton makes it all but impossible to considered new evidence of innocence  in the federal courts, and a ruling in Herrera v. Collins, a U.S. Supreme Court Case in which Clarence Thomas was in the majority, allows states to execute people they know for certain are innocent of the crimes for which they have been sentenced to death.   You read that right.  Clarence Thomas ruled that there is no constitutional problem with executing innocent people.   

In the last eight years, six brothas-Willie Williams, Calvin Johnson, Robert Clark, Douglas Echols, Samuel Scott and Clarence Harrison, have been exonerated by the state of Georgia after being convicted on the basis of false eyewitness testimony.   

Apparently, Harold Melton is ignorant of these cases and is following in Clarence Thomas’s corrupt footsteps because when Troy Davis reached the end of the line, and his execution date was set,  he voted against the Georgia Supreme Court hearing this case to consider evidence of witness recantation and claims of actual innocence, something appellate courts rarely do after they’ve already heard the case.   Melton, in effect, voted to kill this brotha and proved that he is possessed by the same spirit of evil that has Clarence Thomas in its grip. 

Melton faces the electorate for the first time next year. So let the word go forth, from this time and place, that its open season on Sonny Perdue’s colored confederate, in solidarity with Genarlow and Troy, because Melton’s anti-black jurisprudence is the historical fruit of the poisonous tree of white supremacy and further proof that “The past is not dead.  In fact, its not even past.” 

 

What’s Ahead

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This week, we are continuing our experiment of all Skeptical Brotha, all the time.  I may provide some links to some noteworthy news, but I shall no longer provide extended or complete news excerpts from other sources.  

I do have some questions for you to answer: Do you like the renewed emphasis on writing or did you prefer more news and less writing?

Have you heard of the controversy surrounding Obama’s Gospel outreach concerts and the LBGT community’s objection to the inclusion of Donnie McClurkin, the “ex-gay” gospel artist and mega church pastor, in the program.  Did Obama’s face saving attempt to repudiate McClurkin’s views and include a white gay minister on the program to lecture an audience of black people about tolerance, help or hurt his cause.?

Do you believe as I do that the campaign is over and the Democratic Nomination is already decided?   I’m gonna write about Obama one last time on Thursday or Friday.  He is doing an appearance at North Carolina Central University on Thursday and I intend to be there and will share my impressions with you. I am ready to “turn the page,” to borrow a phrase,  and focus more squarely on Hillary.

Harold Ford Jr, Prince of Tennessee

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The flag of Tennessee

Like an apocalyptic vision, I have been tormented by the frighteningly real prospect that the man I have referred to as the Dark Sith, the Whore, and the Anti-Christ, is once again on the make. And, like Revelations teaches, once that evil is unleashed, ain’t nothing or nobody safe.

Tennessee is a small, benighted, southern backwater that has always been ruled by a corporate oligarchy of rapacious capitalists. Three sons of Tennessee have assumed the nation’s highest office and all have been significant historical figures in their individual capacities. They are Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, each a more dangerous fascist war hawk than the last.

This year, another son of Tennessee is running for President, and no, I am not referring to former Senator Fred Thompson or former Vice President Al Gore. I am talking about Harold Ford Jr, the new Prince of Tennessee, now that Al Gore has so unmistakably abdicated his title and the throne that went with it.

Ford is planning to make one last stab at capturing the imperial throne of the presidency and the first step on this long march to power is the Governorship of the Volunteer State. Two of Tennessee‘s Presidents have used the office of governor as a stepping-stone toward national office. All three manipulated the levers of power and were the willing facilitators of the aristocratic South’s class war to defend white supremacy and preserve slavery.

In this respect, Harold Ford Jr is no different. A corporate whore with no peer, Harold Ford Jr plays the political game with the gusto and virtuosity of a chess master. One only had to watch the brotha work as his 2006 Senate Campaign Chairman, Congressman Lincoln Davis, stabbed him in the back and announced his 2010 candidacy for Governor on October 8, 2007. Davis was quoted as saying to the Associated Press “I don’t think (Ford) is going to run because I would imagine that if I’m in the race, he’ll step aside.”

Bullshit.

The same article said, “an advisor to Ford and the head of the Tennessee Democratic Party confirmed that Ford is “seriously considering” a run to succeed Governor Phil Bredesen in 2010.” Two days later Davis abruptly reversed course and announced that his “immediate focus will be on working every day for the people of the 4TH district.” The Associated Press summed up by saying Davis said he remains interested in running for governor, but will wait to make a decision later.”

Throughout this whole spectacle, Harold Ford Jr didn’t say a mumblin’ word and dispatched his rival with a thoroughness and skill rarely displayed by someone of his age. His corporate contributors have invested much into his corporate friendly political career and they are intent on recouping their investment by making him governor and subsequently making him President.

In the furtherance of this presidential objective, Ford has taken great pains since his 2006 loss to locate himself at the nexus of financial and political power by taking positions at both Merrill Lynch and as Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council. In August, he and Governor Martin O’Malley wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post beseeching their party’s presidential candidates not to forsake the “center” which is code for not forsaking the corporate agenda of continued globalization, privatization of public assets, and imperialism. O’Malley-Ford sounds like a future Democratic ticket if you ask me.

Back home in Tennessee, there will be some competition from the GOP for the gubernatorial throne in the form of former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who retired from the Senate to run for President. Too bad for him that his candidacy withered on the vine of wingnut indifference. Two Thousand and Ten is an opportunity to revive his career and reach for the brass ring again, just as it is for Harold. I promise you that this will be the race to watch.

As a DLC acolyte wedded to war and eliminating estate taxes for the wealthiest among us, Ford has been a Negro cog in a Democratic machine of deceit. He has been a vocal supporter of sitting Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen, a former HMO executive, and corporate pedophile, who pimps the plight of uninsured children as a ruse to slash the state’s Medicaid caseload by over 200,000 people in a corporate jihad on behalf of the HMO’s, thus jeopardizing health care access for everyone, rationing health care access to the state’s poorest and most vulnerable, and disproportionately impacting the health care of African Americans negatively.

As you know, while not actively participating in the classist and racist destruction of health care access for the African American community, Ford comes from a black political dynasty headed by his father, Harold Sr, who aggressively sought to loot the program before its ignominious demise. This makes Prince Harold guilty by association.

Writing about this for the first time last year in the post Jake Ford, Tale of a Puppet, I said, You see, Mr. Harold is a lobbyist of high standing, having turned to the profession after two decades in Congress and a perilous brush with a fraud indictment. In a short space of time, Harold, Sr. has made untold millions while conspiring with his clients to loot TennCare, Tennessee’s formerly world class, top-shelf medicaid program.

“According to an article in the Commercial Appeal by Marc Perrusquia, TennCare subcontractor MIM Corp paid Harold, Sr. $1.6 million between 1998 and 2001. In addition, he received more than $1 million in lobbying fees from other firms and MIM corp to look after their interests in Nashville.”

“Mr. Harold or surrogates, Harold, Jr. or Newton conspired to contribute more than $15,000 to state politicians with a say on gutting TennCare, a program that serves 40% of the African American population and 50% of our children. In addition, two of the crooked black politicians who were caught up in the Tennessee Waltz bribery scandal received contributions from Ford.”

The Governor received $ 12,500 from Harold,Sr., Harold, Jr., and Newton “Jake” Ford. 114 contributions totalling over $206,000 flowed to the Governor’s campaign coffers from Health Care affiliated interests, which in turn, were handed a big payoff in the form of TennCare’s destruction.”

TN State Senator John Ford, Harold, Sr’s. brother, also received a contribution of $1,000 from his brother. In addition, Senator Ford pocketed over $237,000 from a TennCare dental health care provider, in a separate side deal apart from Harold, Sr. and Jake’s hustle.”

John Ford went on to be indicted and convicted by the feds for an unrelated bribery scheme and now faces charges for the aforementioned chicanery. Calls surreptitiously recorded by federal investigators had Mr. Harold warning his brother that what he was doing was highly improper and would get his black behind locked up. He didn’t listen. After beating two federal prosecutions for bank fraud, Harold Sr. knows exactly what not to do. Some Negroes think they are untouchable and never learn, as two of Mr. Harold’s politician brothers who got locked up can attest. Others listen to what their Daddy has to say and take copious notes.

Without a political godfather like Mr. Harold to guide him Barack Obama’s ill timed presidential bid is imploding because of a series of arrogant missteps and the deleterious effects of his vacuous rhetoric. It is clear that he will never be President and that Prince Harold knows this too, uses his DLC chairmanship as an excuse not to endorse him, and is positioning himself for his own run in the future.

In the final analysis, Harold Sr and Harold Jr operate on a different level than their kith and kin and are the skillful practitioners of a corporate friendly influence peddling that will always steer clear of illegality and be one step ahead of clever and one notch below that of blackface minstrelsy. It’s enough to make Mr. Harold a black kingmaker and possibly the father of the first black President of the United States.

Stopping Tennessee’s crown prince of deception should be the first priority of black progressives everywhere. However, with his engagement to Snow White on tap, he might have already done our jobs for us. Only time will tell. Expect to see an elaborate roll out of professional PR touting this twosome and don’t be surprised if you see them on Montel or some such program cooing and cuddling and whispering sickening platitudes about family, home and hearth. Any day now I expect the future Mrs. Ford will be wearing a conservative string of pearls and be attired immaculately in an age appropriate and politically correct Donna Karan ensamble. Whatever happens, Harold Ford Jr is on a collision course with the aspirations of the black community and we all stand to loose if he wins.

Acquiescing to white supremacy by any means necessary

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Dianne FeinsteinThe Battle Flag of the Confederacy

“We declare our rights on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”   -Malcolm X 

Southern Segregationists always reacted to Malcolm X and those of like mind with alarm and repudiation.   In time, they came to understand the utility of the mantra “by any means necessary” and adopted it as their own. Today, Dixie Dianne Feinstein played her self-assigned role to assist her neo-confederate colleagues Trent Lott and Thad Cochran in preserving white supremacy by any means necessary as they pushed through the nomination of their judicial minion, former Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick, for a lifetime position on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Judge Leslie H. Southwick

In my Dixie Dianne’s Betrayal post, I wrote that she approved a nomination for a judge who makes light of the fact that he ordered the reinstatement of a white female state employee that called a black female co-worker, “a good ole nigger.”  As I’ve said before, there is no circumstance where it is ever acceptable for a white person to call a black person a nigger in freakin’ Mississippi.  Never.    He also concurred with his collegues homophobia by taking away a woman’s child in a child custody case because he objected to her being a lesbian.

Her reasons for this betrayal were less than convincing.   She said yesterday, In my conversations with Judge Southwick, I have gotten a sense of the type of person that I believe him to be. He is not either insensitive or a racist but one who is thoughtful and analytical and a strong believer in the law. As an appellate court judge, he evaluates the specific legal issues of the case before him, not necessarily the veracity of the parties involved as would a trial judge.  

…While I respect the views of my colleagues who oppose this nomination, I also respectfully disagree. I think Judge Southwick made mistakes by concurring in the two opinions in question, but I don’t think those rulings define his views. I don’t believe they outweigh the other factors that suggest Judge Southwick should be confirmed.”

Southwick’s  record in criminal cases reveals a troubling pattern of racist myopia.  According to the Alliance for Justice, “Judge Southwick has participated in numerous cases involving challenges to the racial makeup of a jury under Batson v. Kentucky, in which the United States Supreme Court held that peremptory challenges to jurors cannot be used in a racially discriminatory manner.

 

“In 59 of the 70 Batson cases reviewed for this report, the defendants challenged their convictions on the ground that the prosecution had used peremptory challenges to strike African-American jurors. Judge Southwick, voting with a majority of the Court in every case, voted to uphold the convictions in all but five of these cases.” 

 

“In 10 of these 70 Batson cases, the defendants challenged their convictions on the ground that the prosecution had unfairly prevented them from using their peremptory challenges to exclude white jurors (in one case the juror whom defendant sought to strike was Asian American). Defendants, with Judge Southwick again joining the majority of the Court in every case, lost all ten of these challenges. In the final case, the defendant challenged his conviction on both grounds and lost on both grounds, with Judge Southwick again in the majority.

 

“In other words, Judge Southwick and a majority of the judges on the Court of Appeals routinely rebuffed allegations of prosecutorial racism against African Americans in jury selection while upholding allegations of anti-white discrimination levied against defendants.” 

Mississippi Senators have an unbroken record of white nominations to the Fifth Circuit and they intend to keep it that way.   Since 1985 when they broke the color barrier to nominate an African American to the Federal District Court, they have adhered to a rigid whites only policy for the Court of Appeals.   They’ve nominated women and a judge with a Turkish background but no African Americans.  As a general rule, nobody has to worry about Trent Lott or Thad Cochran sniffing around their law offices looking for federal judicial nominees unless they have a track record of supporting Republicans and a demonstrated hostility to African Americans.  

Dixie Dianne knew all of this and still chose to confirm him.  She knew and opposed all of the previous troglodytes they’ve nominated to fill this spot. She has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the last 14 years and watched as Republicans filibustered President Clinton’s nominees for this same position until the clock ran out and the Supreme Court selected Bush as President.

Another battle in the war movement conservatives have waged to radically remake the federal judiciary was won tonight and it happened because of the acquiescence of the Senate Majority Leader and the rank cowardice of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.   As I said in August, Dixie Dianne’s betrayal has had one fortuitous consequence.  She has provided the Democratic frontrunners in this contest one more opportunity to prove their progressive fealty or (reveal) their politically expedient treachery.  Judge Southwick’s nomination is coming to the Senate floor whether we like it or not. If the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Majority Leader green light a filibuster, it will happen.” 

“Even if they don’t concur, Hillary and Barack have the power to force one.  …Reading an obligatory statement into the record will not do.  Voting against cloture will not do.   Putting up an aggressive fight and making several lengthy statements on the floor and to the media that make it clear that their opposition is not merely for show; and their active and visible participation in floor strategy that kills this nomination, that’s what we must demand.”

It didn’t happen. Hillary and Obama issued obligatory statements of opposition on their respective websites but neither made much effort.  Even former Senate Judiciary Chairman Joe Biden, who killed the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, took a pass.   No matter what test of progressive political fortitude is given, Hillary and Obama will fail it with flying colors.   Hillary and Obama made a big statement today about what they really stand for: getting elected President and acquiescing to white supremacy by any means necessary.  

Sense and Sensibility

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DWB - Driving While Black or Brown by Carlos N. Molina  

Sense and Sensibility is not only a great work of English Literature, it’s also supposed to be the strongest quality of all good law enforcement officers.   Apparently, nobody in the Carolina locality I was driving in last night got the memo. 

As a club member in good standing, I am one of those Negroes that drive around with his brights on because the driver side low beam done went out and my money is funny.  I defy any mofo to challenge me on this issue. 

Ain’t nobody gonna tell me nothin.’My car is my momma’s name but I makes the payments. What?  Her credit is better than mine is.  Hell. You betta not say nothin.’  Anyway, the Po Po turns around and runs up on me like a runaway slave.   I HATE THAT S***, Y’all hear me.  I truly hated it, with two snaps up, honey.   My name ain’t Kunta Kinte. And, it sho’ ain’t what my license say. 

I mumbled a prayer to the one who is able to keep us from falling.    “Father, I stretch my hands to thee.  No other help I know.  If you don’t pull this cop off me, into a jail cell shall I go.”   

The driving while black merry-go-round is as tired as O.J. Simpson’s guardian angel.  My doctor won’t permit me to discuss the number of times I’ve been stopped for ABSOLUTELY  NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!  Ain’t no dead white woman at my crib and I don’t drive a white bronco.   Y’all feel me? 

He done hung behind me for a little bit, enough to run my plate and move the Hell on.  What he doin back there? Is he solving a crossword puzzle or flirting with the dispatcher. Eric Benet lost interest in Halle Berry quicker than this.   

The fool up ahead don’t recognize the Po Po and is stopping waaaaay beyond the white line at every red light.   “God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, keep the fool ahead of me forever behind the white line I pray.”  

Too late.   

I’m off the hook.