House Ethics Committee Outlines Charges against Waters

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Hat Tip:  JIM ABRAMS Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House ethics committee on Monday announced three counts of alleged ethics violations against California Democrat Maxine Waters, including a charge that she requested federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on its board.

Waters, a 10-term representative from Los Angeles, has denied any wrongdoing and had urged the committee to come forth with details of the charges so that she can defend herself in a trial expected to take place this fall.

That trial would be the second handled by the ethics committee this fall. The report says Waters asked the Treasury Department to meet representatives from the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing minority-owned and women-owned banks. The discussion at that September 2008 meeting centered on OneUnited Bank. OneUnited eventually received $12 million in bailout money.

She petitioned to have the charges dismissed, but the ethics committee rejected that request.

The first count said she violated House rules that members “shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect credibility on the House.”

It said that her husband’s financial interest in OneUnited had declined from $350,000 at the end of June 2008, to about $175,000 in September, and would have been worthless if OneUnited had not received federal funds.

The second violation pertains to the use of improper influence that results in a personal benefit. It cites the failure of Waters to instruct her chief of staff to refrain from assisting OneUnited after she realized she should not be involved in the case.

The third count relates to the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not.

I’m still making up my mind about the seriousness of these charges and will wait for more definitive information. What’s your take?

Writing Again

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I’ve spent the last few months evaluating whether I would continue this blog and if I did what format it would take. I’ve decided to press forward whether there is an audience or not and to write about the Congressional Black Caucus.  At the height of their power, their influence on policy or lack there of is noteworthy.  Of special interest is Maxine Waters, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Terri Sewell, and Hank Johnson.  Stay tuned for more.

Hillary’s Handkerchief Heads: Call Them Out

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Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.)
Del. Donna Christensen (D-V.I.)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)
Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.)
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.)
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.)

If any of the listed Negro members of Congress supporting Hillary belongs to you, they need to hear a word from the people. I propose the following letter.

Dear Handkerchief Head:

You have been unconscionably silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s racially divisive tactics on behalf of Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign. I can only surmise from your silence that you either approve of Bill Clinton’s tactics or are too gutless to publicly register your opposition. Whatever the case may be, I have taken the liberty of writing to formally register my unbridled indignation and to withdraw whatever support I may have given to your re-election campaign.

Pretending that the President’s comments were somehow taken out of context or don’t mean what they plainly imply simply will not do. Burying your head in the sand or defending the indefensible won’t do either. It’s time to do-you know what-or get off the pot. You can delay addressing these comments if you want to, but you do so at your peril.

The Sunday morning talk shows were universally caustic against the Clintons.

On “Meet the Press,” Byron York of the right-wing National Review said, “You know, I don’t think you can overstate the amount of, of anger in–created in Democrats by Bill Clinton’s tactics. I mean, they were very, very unhappy with him. I was talking to a Democratic strategist the other day who said, “My wife just got in the car. She’s driving to South Carolina to volunteer for Obama.” They were that angry at what Clinton had done. And he also said, you know, Clinton is trying to turn him into Jesse Jackson. And sure enough, after Obama wins big, what does Bill Clinton say about it? “Well, you know, Jesse Jackson won here, too.”

Neo-Con Fox News Contributor and NY Times Columnist Bill Kristol wrote, “What do Jesse Jackson’s victories two decades ago have to do with this year’s Obama-Clinton race? The Obama campaign is nothing like Jackson’s. Obama isn’t running on Jackson-like themes. Obama rarely refers to Jackson.”

 

“Clinton’s comment alludes to one thing, and to one thing only: Jackson and Obama are both black candidates. The silent premise of Clinton’s comment is that Obama’s victory in South Carolina doesn’t really count. Or, at least, Clinton is suggesting, it doesn’t mean any more than Jackson’s did.”

“But of course—as Clinton knows very well—Jesse Jackson didn’t win (almost all-white) Iowa.  He didn’t come within a couple of points of prevailing in (almost all-white) New Hampshire.  Nor did he, as Obama did carry rural Nevada. And Saturday, in South Carolina, even after Bill Clinton tried to turn Obama into Jackson, Hillary defeated Obama by just three to two among white voters. So Bill Clinton has been playing the race card, and doing so clumsily.  But why is he playing any cards.?

On “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director, provides a blunt answer to Kristol’s  rhetorical question,  “But, you know, it does feel like, though, that what Bill Clinton is doing is he reads a poll, and he said, “OK, when am—how am I going to get her to 51 percent.  OK. We’ve got to figure out how to drive white men away from Barack Obama. We’ve got to figure out how to drive Latinos away from Barack Obama.” That’s what works on February 5th.  And, you know, he may not ever say that, but it feels like it’s a very tactical thing that they’ve done, and I think that’s what, you know, is going to offend the Beltway corridor, the Amtrak corridor, and, and you’re seeing a lot of, sort of, the New York and Washington Democrats who are probably going to keep coming out against Clinton on this…”

Some of us were raised to believe that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were among the best Black public servants in the country.  Your actions belie that notion and constitute a slap in the face to those that came before you in the Reconstruction era.  They fought valiantly for a seat at the table for African Americans before they were disenfranchised through the white supremacist tactics of mob violence, grandfather clauses, literacy tests, and poll taxes. 

Continuing to languish on the Clinton plantation in light of these racially divisive tactics is a betrayal of the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party and to the many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement who fought to make America a functioning and pluralistic democracy.  As for me, I am through with the Clintons and I am too through with you.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha, a Negro who has some damn self-respect.



 

Maxine Waters sells out to Hillary Clinton

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News just came over the wires that California Congresswoman Maxine Waters,69, has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Out of all of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Maxine is my favorite. Until today, she could always be counted on to hold up the blood stained banner of progressive politics. I am absolutely beside myself with outrage.

This craven capitulation to the Clinton machine after a series of racially polarizing statements by Bill Clinton and Clinton campaign surrogates is nothing short of amazing. Whatever she sold out for, I hope it was worth it.

This makes Hillary Clinton 3 in 1 for the members of the Congressional Black Caucus in California. Congresswomen Laura Richardson and Dianne Watson have also endorsed the Borg Queen. Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee is the sole holdout for Barack Obama.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hillary’s bait and switch strategy

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Hillary Clinton 

America, from its inception, has been addicted to patriarchy-the white supremacist capitalist kind. American feminists have been railing against the more ignorant aspects of patriarchy and misogyny in all of its forms for more than a century. They have been chafing under the gendered constraints of patriarchy and desire to break, at last, the ultimate glass ceiling of the Presidency.  

Symbolically, the election of a female chief executive will be a watershed event.  However, it’s practical, political import is the functional equivalent of dabbing perfume behind the ears of a pig in a pigsty.  The American political system is hard-wired never to embrace reform completely and shall not next year.  Instead, we will fall for a cosmetic subterfuge: two women exercising and extending white supremacist capitalist patriarchy into the middle of this new millennium and performing a kind of hormone replacement therapy for the nation, switching us from testosterone to estrogen.  

Yes, children, Hillary will choose a woman to run with her and in the process cement her appeal to and strength among women everywhere.  This will work because feminists-especially white feminists, have always been ambivalent about challenging patriarchy and white privilege.  If anything, they wish to exercise the prerogatives of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy alongside their men.  In my mind, nothing could be a better description of the Clintons marriage and political partnership. 

African American feminist scholar and cultural critic, bell hooks, has written, “Coming in the wake of the civil rights struggle, of black power movements which were demanding cultural revolution, a sharing of the nation’s material resources as well as an end to white supremacy, contemporary white women’s liberation movement was easily co-opted to serve the interests of white patriarchy by reconsolidating white power, by keeping resources all in the family.”  

 “It should have come as no surprise to any of us that those white women who were mainly concerned with gaining equal access to domains of white male privilege quickly ceased to espouse a radical political agenda which included the dismantling of patriarchy as well as an anti-racist, anti-classist agenda. No doubt white patriarchal men must have found it amusing and affirming that many of the white women who had so vehemently and fiercely denounced domination were quite happy to assume the role of oppressor and/or exploiter if it meant that they could wield power equally with white men (Killing Rage p. 98-99).” 

It makes me physically sick to see black people falling all over ourselves in a mad dash to subsidize our own oppression by supporting Bill and Hillary Clinton’s undercover malevolent agenda.  They have deftly exploited our political ignorance and shall harness the loving caress of the black community to propel themselves back into the Oval Office and the apparatus of imperial tyranny that it commands.  

  

It was recently discovered that hormone replacement therapy for women enduring the severe symptoms of menopause, is a cure more dangerous than the disease.  Dramatically increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke are common in women after long-term treatment.  Similarly, the estrogen replacement bait and switch ruse that Hillary and her Vice President will play on the American people is equally dangerous because the excesses of American capitalist hegemony will not be cured, social and economic justice will not be advanced, and resource wars will still be waged as tools of American foreign policy.  

To whom shall Hillary turn to complete the troika of power?   That’s the $64,000 question and one I have pondered a bit.   I’ve come up with a few names:  Ellen Tauscher, Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, and Claire McCaskill.   Each woman brings a different strength to the ticket and has more experience as an elected official than Hillary has.  

A blue dog democrat, six-term Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher D-California has ready-made entrée to the more conservative wing of moderate House Democrats so crucial to maintaining legislative success and maintaining political power.  A former stock broker and the youngest woman in the country to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, Ellen speaks Wall Street’s language and parlayed that ability to raise record sums for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s corporate pacification program.   An initial supporter of the Iraq War, she’s had to backtrack because of the opposition of activist groups like MoveOn and the blogosphere, which, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, conspired to alter her district to make a primary challenge more likely, if she didn’t toe the line.  A gifted fundraiser, she can help take a burden off Hillary, a plus Hillary would greatly appreciate.   

Blanche Lincoln, a  second-term Arkansas Senator, is a right-wing good ole’ gal too comfy-cozy with the corporate power structure of Arkansas and D.C.’s legendary K street-synonymous as a headquarters of corporate lobbyist influence peddling.   Blanche was also a supporter of the bullshit in Baghdad and Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  A former congressional aide, she sized up many of the mediocre congressional membership and decided to throw caution to the wind and challenge former Congressman Bill Alexander, a profligate fool caught up in the house bank check kiting scandal.  She won, got married, had twin boys, and left the house after two terms, only to return two years later to claim Dale Bumpers seat in the Senate.  Blanche ain’t no radical and her down home twang and wholesome motherhood shtick would be a big selling point to working class women.  

Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Senator up for re-election in 2008, is the most experienced politician of the four and brings nearly 3 decades of experience and she is only 52.  The female scion of a prominent New Orleans political dynasty, Landrieu is a tough, unflappable pol that has survived two tough races for the Senate.  A former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and two- term U.S. Senator, she brings to the table the ability to make a deal and be taken seriously.  A member of the gang of 14 that smoothed the way for confirmation of two of Bush’s reactionary Court of Appeals judges, she kept the Senate from blowing up and shutting down if Cheney or his minions would have forced a vote by violating the Senate’s filibuster rules.  Mary Landrieu is as liberal a Senator as Louisiana will ever have-which is to say that she voted for the War and against partial birth abortion and takes great pains to look after the care and feeding of the corporate interests of her state.  Mary’s greatest strength is the ability to demagogue anything-a skill I’m sure Hillary will find a use for.  

Lastly, there is Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Senator elected last year who rid us of Richard Nixon’s philosophical son, Jim Talent, a corporate whore and wingnut with a disturbing propensity to mentor black republicans.  Claire McCaskill is an executive by temperament, a former state legislator, District Attorney and State Auditor, she ran against the sitting Governor of her party and defeated him for the nomination in 2004.   She is hard charging and decisive and came heartbreakingly close to winning the governorship.  She came back last year and was elected to the Senate to prove that there is a God, and he will not be mocked by a deceptive and sanctimonious fascist like Jim Talent.  A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Miss Claire has yet to find any of the balls she stole from weaker men and oppose this war like she was elected to do.  A cautious moderate and policy wonk, she and Hillary will find immediate kinship.   

Maxine Waters famously said at one of the Democratic National Conventions in the 90’s that the Clinton-Gore ticket was the last all-white anything she would support.  I took a sistah at her word, and then came the Gore-Lieberman ticket, and then the Kerry-Edwards ticket. We heard some mild grumbling from ole girl about the corporate vampire that masquerades as Joe Lieberman, but that’s about it. Until Barack Obama came along, I thought that some grassroots effort to enforce diversity was in order, and then I really scrutinized the choices and examined our political system and concluded, rightly I think, that resistance is damn near futile when the choices are so circumscribed.   

Author bell hooks has said, “What I am most criticized about is the use of the phrase “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy”. It’s seen as too strident, too exaggerated, too militant. But what that criticism says is that we’re not even allowed to name the enemy. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says we have to call things by their real name, and if we’re not allowed to do that, how can we have a revolution? How do we move forward? I’m not particularly attached to those terms but they seem to me to much more accurately state what we’re up against than a term like “sexism.” And I prefer the term “white supremacy” to “racism.”  

It occurs to me that diversifying the patriarchy isn’t gonna do much except create female or colored mouthpieces to propagate a reactionary program-which will, in turn, drive progressives down an ideological cul de sac and do nothing to really change things.  Hell, we can’t even agree that we need to name the thing which prevents progressive change.  If a white, sixty-five year old fascist with and itchy trigger finger can be Vice President, and progressives can tout the Vice Presidential candidacy of the not so progressive Barack Obama, why can’t we discuss the Vice Presidential candidacy of a sixtyish black woman with 17 years experience in Congress like Maxine Waters.  I think you know why.  Maxine Waters has a political agenda that wasn’t written in the bowels of a corporate think tank or in the office suites of a corporate lobbyist. 

Hillary Clinton will try to sell her all-white, all-female ticket as an affirmation of America’s diversity-it will be anything but.  What it will be is an affirmation of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.  Again, bell hooks, “white women have a stake in white supremacy – that it is the hottest, the fastest ticket for white women to get inside the patriarchy and play the game. We can’t act like “daddy made me do it” anymore. It’s all about what white women have to gain.  What Hillary and the women who are brainwashed by her have to gain is power.     The glass ceiling may be shattered, but it will not liberate anybody except Bill and Hillary and their loyal retainers.    

Playing the “White Girl role”

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Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick brilliantly deconstruct the testimony of Monica Goodling, a former attorney and assistant to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in the Justice Department contretemps that has engulfed the Agency in the swirl of scandal over the political firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys.  They “go there” and call Goodling out and bust her chops for playing, what blackfolks term as the helpless, “white girl role.”

Women of color in particular, and black women especially, find this feminine B.S. infuriating.  White men, especially Republicans, fall for it every time.   Democratic Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Linda Sanchez cut to the quick with their questioning of Goodling last week as the above clip of Linda demonstrates. 

Bazelon and Lithwick elaborate in their Salon piece, “Monica Goodling and the “girl” card: Nobody seems to want to go there, so we will.”

“Let’s pretend for a moment that the world divides into two types of women: the soft, shy, girly kind who live to serve and the brash, aggressive feminists who live to emasculate. Not our paradigm, but one that’s more alive than dead.”

“When she was White House liaison in Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, Monica Goodling, 33, had the power to hire and fire seasoned government lawyers who had taken the bar when she was still carrying around a plastic Hello Kitty purse. Goodling, in fact, described herself as a “type-A woman” who blocked the promotion of another type-A woman basically because the office couldn’t tolerate infighting between two strong women. (“I’m not just partisan! I’m sexist, too!”) That move sounds pretty grown-up and steely. Yet in her testimony this weekbefore the House judiciary committee, Goodling turned herself back into a little girl, and it’s worth pointing out that the tactic worked brilliantly.”

“Look past Goodling’s long, silky blond hair, which may or may not have been a distraction. She’s entitled to have pretty hair. Look past her trembling hand as she swore her oath and the tremulous voice as she described her “family” at Justice. What really shot Goodling into the stratosphere of baby-doll girls were her own whispered words: “At heart,” she testified, “I am a fairly quiet girl, who tries to do the right thing and tries to treat people kindly along the way.” [Late-breaking discovery, courtesy of a sharp reader: Goodling used the word girl in the written rather than spoken version of her testimony.] The idea, of course, was to scrub away her past image as ruthless, power-mad, and zealously Christian. But—as professor Sandy Levinson noted almost immediately over at Balkinization—it was in calling herself a “girl” that the 33-year-old did herself a great favor. It was a signal to the committee that she was no Kyle Sampson. Or Anita Hill.”

“To be sure, plenty of twenty- and thirty- and eightysomethings refer to themselves and their friends as girls. Particularly when there are mojitos around. But they don’t often do so before the U.S. Congress. The same Goodling who once wanted to be powerful, so powerful that she refused to relinquish her power to hire and fire assistant U.S. attorneys even when she changed jobs at the Justice Department, painted herself as helpful and empathetic and out of the loop. She testified that the biggest and most important part of her job was hooking up employees with tickets for sporting events. The little matter of firing assistant U.S. attorneys was a minor extracurricular. She testified that she went to a Christian school because of her devotion to “service.” One half expected her to leap up out of the witness chair and start offering canapés to the assembled members of Congress.”

“And at the heart of Goodling’s ingénue performance? The astonishing claim that while she broke the law, she “didn’t mean to.” This is the stuff of preschoolers, not cum laude graduates of law school.”

Thank God for Maxine Waters

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Halelujuah! Thank You, Jesus, for Maxine Waters.   While too many in the Congressional Black Caucus were getting cozy with their new lobbyist friends, Sistah Maxine introduced a Katrina Housing Bill on the last day of February and got it to the floor in less than a month.  Damn. You Go, Girl.  It just goes to show that some talk the talk, but it takes a real sistah to walk the walk.   Once again, I am impressed by somebody in the Congressional Black Caucus.    Any reservations I may have had on previous issues with her is gone.   Maxine is still my girl.   Her bill, H.R. 1227 is impressively comprehensive and hopefully, will do something for our people left out and left behind in the gulf coast. 

A fellow blogger, YoungBlackMan, and his law student chums just got back from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and told me that the outreach programs, workshops and seminars designed to “help” black folk connect to section 8 and other assistance that they need is just another hustle for some do gooder Negroes that ain’t gettin the job done.   Ain’t nobody without a cell phone, telephone, or cable access going nowhere to find a damn website out in cyberspace to obtain assistance.  

He spent extensive time talking to folks (mostly seniors) and learned that in Gulfport, Miss, the city fathers are planning a wholesale Negro removal program that involves giving public housing residents a voucher of $200.00 bucks to move somewhere else with a “right” to be first in line for “affordable housing” that will be built in place of public housing. 

He ended up in some B.S. workshop and gettin into it with the city fathers and the “Director of Negro Removal.”  Later, walking on the beachfront and looking at all of the devastated housing, he and his friends were racially profiled by “Gulfport’s finest.”  The bastard threatened to arrest all of them if they didn’t get on down the road.   YoungBlackMan, broke him off something proper and said something to the effect of , “Please, Mr. Poeleese Man, take me to jail so I can sue yo azz and pay off my damn Law School loans.”  “Take us all, we could all use the money.”