Restoring Honor Open Thread

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I am fascinated to know what y’all thought about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  C-SPAN’s video library has the entire rally and is available if you haven’t seen it.  Let me put a few questions out there to get the ball rolling.

(1) Was Beck successful in co-opting the message and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr?  (2) Were you moved by the vacuous patriotism and empty religiosity? (3) Did Beck erase the stain of his incessant race baiting against Obama by sharing the stage with colored folks? (4) Could you discern anything coherent from his pompous rambling? (5) What did you think of Palin’s remarks? (6) Did Alveda King make a fool of herself, her family, and the entire African Diaspora by lending her name to this rally?

Extorting Nancy: White Hillarycrats threaten to lynch Speaker Pelosi

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Nancy Pelosi First Woman Speaker of The House 

 “If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what’s happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party.”    -Speaker Nancy Pelosi

I agree with the Speaker that it indeed would be harmful to the Democratic Party and harmful to the goal of replacing the brain dead, wingnut cabal atop our federal government.   It is apparent, however, that a well-heeled group of white Hillarycrats, with a billionaire blackface minstrel and wealthy Indian couple thrown in to make it look kosher, think otherwise.  

According to TPM, the group sent a threat letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which reads in part, “Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had the chance to cast their votes.   We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard.  None of us (meaning your ass) should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices (votes for Hillary) and their votes.  We are writing to (threaten your ass if you don’t take it back) say that your remarks on ABC News This Week On March 16TH did just that. “

“…We have been strong supporters of the DCCC (the campaign arm of House Democrats). We therefore (are extorting you) urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments (exactly what we fu*#ing tell you) a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the national convention in August.   We (don’t give a sh*t who the hell you think you are because you wouldn’t be there if not for our money) appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the party and hope you will be (compliant with our demands) responsive to your major enthusiastic supporters.

The brazen extortion evident in this arrogant missive really ticked a sistah off, which is probably why TPM got a hold of this letter.   I love the Illusion of inclusion that asking the colored folks to sign implies so that the strong-arming of Nancy Pelosi would look less like the high tech lynching that it is.  These Mofo’s ain’t slick.  It’s just another example of the lengths the Clinton crime family will go to in order to win. I really don’t have more to add, I just thought y’all would benefit from a few edits to put it all in the proper context.  

Big Backers: The Democratic contributors who wrote Nancy Pelosi have been major donors to the party and its candidates.

Donor Name Total to Democrats Total to Clinton Total to Obama Total to DCCC
Haim & Cheryl Saban
$10,892,848
$31,600
$0
$1,142,000
Bernard L & Irene Schwartz
$4,245,750
$32,400
$0
$1,082,300
Robert L. Johnson
$1,535,800
$24,800
$4,500
$117,500
Mark & Susie Tompkins Buell
$1,066,625
$79,200
$13,500
$207,550
Steve & Maureen White Rattner
$1,062,144
$31,300
$1,000
$45,500
Jay T. & Tracy M. Snyder
$824,999
$28,200
$0
$27,666
Alan J. & Susan Patricof
$770,918
$39,200
$1,400
$62,841
Hassan & Sheila Nemazee
$523,000
$21,200
$0
$28,000
James R. & Mary K. Pritzker
$492,900
$18,400
$8,200
$12,900
Stanley S. & Sydney R. Shuman
$454,082
$51,300
$1,000
$21,666
Marc & Cathy Lasry
$422,000
$23,900
$0
$100,000
Pradeep R. & Amy J. Rao
$341,850
$46,200
$2,000
$66,000
Sim & Debra S. Farar
$252,450
$38,800
$2,500
$0
Clarence A. & Jacqueline A. Avant
$227,300
$19,200
$15,600
$26,000
Lynn Forester de Rothschild
$218,679
$39,700
$2,000
$39,000
Christopher G. & Irene Korge
$189,600
$18,300
$0
$0
Mark A. & Judith M. Aronchick
$80,300
$9,950
$500
$7,000
 
Grand Total
$23,601,245
$553,650
$52,200
$2,985,923

Billary turns to a sistah

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Hillary Clinton’s long-time campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, a scion of the Chicago Solis family active in Chicago Politics, has stepped down in favor of long-time Clinton retainer Maggie Williams. Williams, a former White House Assistant to President Clinton, Chief of Staff to the First Lady, and a former PR Executive serving as President of the venerable PR House Fenton Communications becomes the second African American woman to run a major Presidential Campaign. Following in the very large footsteps of Donna Brazile, a legendary Louisiana political strategist and organizer, Williams faces the daunting task of righting the listing Clinton ship.

The upside of the Williams appointment, aside from her race and the unique ability that has to blunt the criticism of Bill Clinton’s unconscionable racial polarization games, is her competence and the complete confidence that Billary has in her. Normally reassuring, I chose my first candidate for Nebraska Governor, Ben Nelson, because his campaign manager was black-which turned out to signify nothing progressive. This development annoys me for its transparent political implications. Why does it always fall to the loyal Negress to pull whitefolks coals out of the fire. The plantation overtones of this necessary shake-up nauseates me.

Thematically the Clinton campaign has no message other than “It’s my turn, damnit.” It hasn’t worked well thus far and won’t work in the upcoming Chesapeake primary contests in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Obama is on fire and in danger of consuming all of Billary’s air for the next two weeks. Williams must move quickly to retool the message, tighten up the field organizing and slow Obama’s momentum. I’ve counted Billary out before and been wrong. I won’t make any dramatic predictions tonight, however, it does seem that Obama is more than capable of driving a stake through the hearts of the triangulating vampires once and for all.

Obama addresses Dr. King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church

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Speech excerpts as prepared for delivery

THE GREAT NEED OF THE HOUR

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yoke of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

……But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

…..For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

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.  

Oprah Obama Fundraiser update

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Hat Tip: Lynn Sweet Blog, Chicago Sun Times 

MONTECITO, CALIF. — Oprah Winfrey opened the high iron gates of her highly guarded estate here Saturday to raise more than $3 million for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), his biggest single-day haul ever, in a fund-raising spectacle rarely seen in U.S. politics.

“I haven’t been actively engaged before because there hasn’t been anything to be actively engaged in. But I am engaged now to make Barack Obama the next president of the United States,” a source said Winfrey told the crowd just before the concert, starring Stevie Wonder.

Introducing Obama, Winfrey said that “nobody can stand in the way of destiny.”

“It’s unbelievable,” said Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias as the Great Gatsby party scene unfolded before him on Winfrey’s meadow under a gorgeous sky.

Real celebrities mingled with Obama’s best donors and bundlers rewarded for their fund-raising efforts with a star-studded afternoon. Among those present at the event featuring the two most famous Chicagoans in the world: actors Lou Gossett Jr.; Cicely Tyson; Forest Whitaker; Ellen Pompeo; Sidney Poitier; Linda Evans; Tyler Perry; Chris Rock; Hill Harper (who attended Harvard Law with Obama); music producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds; Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, football quarterback Rodney Peete; Winfrey beau Stedman Graham; radio personality Tom Joyner; sports legends Ernie Banks, Bill Russell and Dave Winfield; tennis great Jimmy Connors, and model Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber.

There was a contingent from Obama’s Chicago-based kitchen cabinet, including Habitat honcho Valerie Jarrett and John Rogers, the Illinois finance co-chair.

The most important VIPs got to drive right up to the mansion, with most of the estimated 1,500 attendees who either gave or raised $2,300 shuttled by bus to Winfrey’s from the Earl Warren Showgrounds eight miles away in Santa Barbara.

At 3 p.m., there was Oprah/Obama gridlock on the Highway 101 Las Positas off-ramp leading to the staging area. Two women wearing leis waiting in the traffic jam said they flew in from Hawaii for the event. Judge Greg Mathis, who presides over the “Judge Mathis” show taped in Chicago, was in line, idling in his convertible Mercedes SL500.

Security was tight. The event was closed to the press. At the showgrounds, people dressed out of the pages of Vogue and GQ, despite the admonition to wear “garden attire,” were delivered in limos and sharp cars. Everyone had to give up cameras as they went through security. A reporter trying to interview people on the showgrounds was threatened with arrest.

Inside the fund-raiser, there were separate levels of access, depending on how much money people were raising for Obama, with the most prolific bundlers staying for a dinner.

Food stations offered mini-burgers, corn-on-the-cob on sticks, guacamole and chips; lemonade and vodka; red or white wine, and a full bar.

The Obama campaign’s regional professional fund-raisers brought their best contributors, with the high-rollers bunking at the spectacular Fess Parker resort in Santa Barbara.

Making the entire experience pleasurable for Obama’s best donors; Oprah, Obama and wife Michelle were posing for individual pictures, according to a person at the party.

As the evening wore down a stream of tired-looking but exceedingly well-dressed people, some carrying green souvenir blankets, poured past the wooden doors of Winfrey’s yard, leaving the home she calls “the Promised Land” to board buses to take them back to reality.

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.    

What I’m reading this Friday

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Cindy Sheehan has announced her candidacy for the Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the AP has the story:

…”The country is ripe for a change,” said Sheehan, who spoke at a podium with her son’s photograph attached to it. “It’s going to start right here and right now.”

Sheehan said she would run as an independent on a platform of universal health care, making college affordable and improving ethics in the legislative and executive branches. She did not offer specifics.

The money being spent on the Iraq war should be used to help the country’s shrinking middle class, she said.

Sheehan said she had no funds for a campaign but planned to immediately start raising money. She said she wouldn’t accept money from corporations.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Hillary Clinton is asked at the National Association of Black Journalists convention whether she’s “Black Enough,” The Feed blog has the story.

LAS VEGAS — It probably wasn’t a question Hillary Clinton expected to face, even at a national convention of black journalists.

But CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux, acting as moderator during Clinton’s appearance here Thursday at the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual gathering, uncorked it anyway:

“Are you black enough?” asked Malveaux, echoing a question often asked of rival Democratic candidate Barack Obama, who is biracial. “What makes you a better candidate over a black man representing issues confronting African Americans?”

Facing a room packed more than 1,000 journalists, Clinton chuckled a bit before launching into a generalized tribute to campaign diversity.

“I am thrilled to be running at a time when, on the stage, you can see an African American man, a Hispanic man and a woman,” she said, referring to Obama and fellow Democratic candidate Bill Richardson. “Democratic primary voters don’t have to be against anyone. You can be for the person you believe will do the best job as our President.”

LOGO’s Presidential Forum addressing LGBT issues was last night and ABC News has this story:

Democratic presidential candidates attended a historic candidate forum Thursday evening sponsored by the liberal gay and lesbian rights group The Human Rights Campaign and broadcast on the gay cable TV channel LOGO. Supporters of gay and lesbian rights should have been pleased to see the White House hopefuls treat their group as politicians treat other more mainstream interest groups: They came, they saw, they pandered.

The first task for the candidates speaking to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender crowd of roughly 200 attendees  including the actors who have portrayed Doogie Howser and Lloyd from HBO’s “Entourage” was to try to relate.

“I come to these issues & as a friend of a lot of members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community,” said New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said, “When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside.”

By the same token, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson noted, “I’m Hispanic. I felt the sting as a kid of being stereotyped.” Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards even reminded folks of his fight with conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who once referred to him using the word “faggot.”

“I think that what Ann Coulter does is the worst kind of public discourse,” Edwards said.

But even if there was agreement on many issues  nondiscrimination in the workplace for gays and lesbians, for example the evening was not without friction, some of it caused by panelist and self-described “privileged rock star” Melissa Etheridge Referring to an account from Edwards’ former political adviser Bob Shrum, Etheridge said to Edwards, “I have heard that you have said in the past that you feel uncomfortable around gay people. Are you OK right now?”

Edwards disputed the account. “It’s not true. It’s not true,” he said. “Elizabeth and I were both there, and both of us have said he’s wrong.” Etheridge asked Richardson, “Do you think homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?”

“It’s a choice,” Richardson said. “I don’t know if you understand the question,” Etheridge said to laughter. “Do you think a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, ‘Oh, I want to be gay’?”

“Well, I, I’m not a scientist,” Richardson said. His campaign later issued a statement declaring that he didn’t think homosexuality was a choice the correct answer for that crowd.

Whites have become a minority in 10% of the counties in the United States and some just can’t deal:

WASHINGTON – (AP) Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties. And that increased diversity, fueled by immigration and higher birth rates among blacks and Hispanics, is straining race relations and sparking a backlash against immigrants in many communities.

“There’s some culture shock,” said Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based research agency. “But I think there is a momentum building, and it is going to continue.”

As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation’s 3,141 counties, according to figures the Census Bureau is releasing Thursday. Non-Hispanic whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.

…Many of the nation’s biggest counties have long had large minority populations. But that diversity is now spreading to the suburbs and beyond, causing resentment in some areas. Many Latinos say they see it in the debate over illegal immigration.

In northern Virginia, Teresita Jacinto said she feels less welcome today than when she first arrived 30 years ago, when she was one of few Hispanics in the area “Not only are we feeling less welcome, we are feeling threatened,” said Jacinto, a teacher in Woodbridge, Va., about 20 miles southwest of Washington.

Woodbridge is part of Prince William County, which recently passed a resolution seeking to deny public services to illegal immigrants. Similar measures have been approved or considered in dozens of communities across the nation. In all, state lawmakers have introduced more than 1,400 measures related to immigration this year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

The Audacity of Ambivalence

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Twenty-three years ago, I was transformed by the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson.  I became the political animal that haunts this blog with sporadic amounts of humor and cynicism.  The campaign became a coming of age that should define a generation of us in our mid-thirties. The rhetoric of the campaign was uplifting and edifying in a spiritual way and inspired a new generation of African American politicians great and small.    

In his convention address, Jesse said, “No generation can choose the age or circumstance in which it is born, but through leadership it can choose to make the age in which it is born an age of enlightenment, an age of jobs, and peace, and justice. Only leadership — that intangible combination of gifts, the discipline, information, circumstance, courage, timing, will and divine inspiration — can lead us out of the crisis in which we find ourselves. Leadership can mitigate the misery of our nation. Leadership can part the waters and lead our nation in the direction of the Promised Land. Leadership can lift the boats stuck at the bottom.” 

After seven years of movement conservative disaster, America is looking for a leader that can heal our land and lead us toward what Dr. King described as the beloved community, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” The beloved community is an ideal founded on the biblical principle embodied by the commandment to, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” The opening salvos of this Presidential campaign was a period of assessment in which we could go to our quiet place, commune with ourselves, and reflect on what it is that our President should embody besides white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.   

Over $100 million dollars has been raised by just two of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination and I find myself wondering, “is this it?”  “Is this shit all there is?”  I really don’t need to hear more deceptive rhetoric masquerading as courage and understanding. Quoting Big Mama’s favorite bible verse is not gonna cut it this year. I need to get a sense that there is a plan for progressive transformation behind the Machiavellian mask.  

Hiding deep in the recesses of their rhetoric should be some amalgamation of the hopes, fears, and wild aspirations of the average working class person.  What we’ve all been hearing for the last six months is the emotionless recitation of the same broken promises that we threw our votes away for the last four times.  Playing it safe in order to keep power is what got us here to start with and placating the establishment so that it facilitates the rise to the ultimate power of the Presidency is not my idea of radical transformation.   

Creeping up inside of my listless and dispirited soul is a powerful melancholy because we’ve been on the smooth glide path toward plutocracy for over a century and nothing in the last twenty-five years has slowed down the process.  Instead, what we’ve seen is an acceleration of the total corporate hegemony over our democracy.  

I am incapable of realizing the eminent death of our democracy and the moribund nature of national democratic leadership while smiling optimistically into the face of Barack Obama as the physical embodiment of my youthful idealism and the personification of my adult ambivalence.   

While Rev. Jackson paid homage to this nation’s diversity, America is not like a blanket — one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread. The white, the Hispanic, the black, the Arab, the Jew, the woman, the native American, the small farmer, the businessperson, the environmentalist, the peace activist, the young, the old, the lesbian, the gay, and the disabled make up the American quilt.” 

“Even in our fractured state, all of us count and fit somewhere. We have proven that we can survive without each other. But we have not proven that we can win and make progress without each other. We must come together.” 

Obama tipped his hat to a white vision of race-less, class-less American-ness, “…there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.”  

Common ground can never be reached by a pander bear reaching out to people blinded by willful ignorance and deliberate racial amnesia.

I am angry that  Rev. Jackson has bequeathed the legacy of his progressive imprimatur to a man with the audacity to deny the necessity for slave reparations.    

I am angry that Obama is content to go through the motions of opposition while leaving reactionary power arrangements intact. 

I am angry that Obama claims the mantle of the biblical Joshua and then secretly  dons the robes of a Pharaoh.  

I am angry that our system of presidential selection is a closed process of capitalist kabuki dancing that is all calibrated to telegraph the non-threatening intentions of the contenders to the white power structure so that they may choose the most willing corporate whore.  

I am angry that my voice no longer matters and that the hunger for true leadership is turned against us so that we’re forced to accept Wall Street’s favorite ventriloquist dummy as our President.  

I am angry that identity politics is no longer a means of empowerment but an instrument of our oppression.  

I am angry that my youthful idealism is in reality a childish delusion.  

I am angry that I am losing my willingness to stay in this country and fight the forces of reaction that are devouring our planet and killing our people.  

I am angry that my writing and local activism isn’t enough.   

I am angry that the one man that speaks to my frustration, Dennis Kucinich, is marginalized, belittled and ignored.

I am angry that I am still just one lonely voice as powerless after 225,000 site views as I was the very first day I posted over a year ago when nobody was listening. For me, the thrill of politics, the driving passion of my life, is gone.

Dixie Dianne’s Betrayal

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Dianne Feinstein The Battle Flag of the Confederacy 

Some Democratic Senators are lackluster, some are unreliable, and some, like Dianne Feinstein, are unpredictable.  Civil Rights groups like People for the American Way and the Alliance for Justice were blindsided Thursday when Feinstein voted for another of Trent Lott’s Brooks Brothers suited racists to assume a lifetime appointment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

People for the American Way, The Alliance for Justice, and The Leadership Conference for Civil Rights can usually be depended upon to bring their A game and effectively rally folk to block bigots of this caliber.  They failed this time. However, the fight isn’t over.  There is the option to mount a filibuster on the floor; the problem is that once nominations are reported out of committee, they become harder to kill.

 

For unfathomable reasons, Dianne Feinstein has made a deal with the Devil and punched the ticket for one of his malevolent minions to serve for life as a federal judge.  For a San Francisco Democrat, there is nothing liberal about cutting deals with a man who reveres segregationists and longs for the good ole days of massive resistance. 

All of this 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.  For this betrayal, I shall resurrect the moniker given to her by local Marxists during a dispute over the confederate flag flying at the civic center in San Francisco: Dixie Dianne.

During her tenure as Mayor of San Francisco, the Marxists had the temerity to oppose the flying of the confederate flag because it is a symbol of hate and white supremacy and they cut down the flagpole rather than allow her to have the flag hoisted up again.  

African Americans are a beleaguered but cohesive minority in California and it is time for the progressives in our community to let Dianne know how we feel about her collusion with the enemy.  If you live in California, you can call her Senate Offices at 202 224 2841.  This should be Dixie Dianne’s last term given her advanced age, but if she runs one mo’gin in 2012, somebody should primary her.

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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 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.  We will see if they oppose this bastard because they have too or because his nomination is an offensive stench in the nostrils of freedom loving people everywhere.

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. 

I’ve had family in Mississippi since about 1840.  My mother’s family was enslaved on the Watkins and Dove plantations near Newton and Jasper counties.  This fight is personal for me.  Upon entering Mississippi, one notices the distinct smell of oppression in the air.  It is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced if you weren’t raised in the south.  Just a few days in Mississippi changed me in ways I still can’t explain.  What black people have endured over the course of the state’s history is really mind blowing.  Elevating another instrument and facilitator of that same oppression will not be tolerated.  Enough is enough. 

   

Roberts court overturns Brown v. Board of Education

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The racial reactionaries on the Roberts Court, the ones neither Hillary or Obama could be bothered to aggressively filibuster, have overturned Brown V. Board of Education without tacitly acknowledging that fact.  And have, once again, used the equal protection clause of the constitution, placed there to protect the rights of black folk, to defend white privilege.

The opinion and dissents are here.

The U.S. Senate, in another development, also killed Immigration reform for the year.

Stop Judge Leslie Southwick

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Judge Leslie H. Southwick

There is something cavalier and brazen about the manner in which Trent Lott and Thad Cochran choose federal judges.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals covers the states of Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana and is the most racially and ethnically diverse in the nation.   That, however, never seems to come into play with the Judges selected from the neoconfederate backwater of Mississippi.  

Cochran and Lott have done a superb job over the last two decades in keeping the federal judicial seats from Mississippi as white as possible. 

Carlton Reeves, the Head of the Black Magnolia Bar Association of Mississippi, has written, “Despite an ever-growing pool of highly qualified candidates from which to choose, all seventeen Mississippi nominees for federal judgeships the past twenty-two years have been white.” 

“The only appointment of an African- American federal judge in the history of Mississippi, the twentieth state to join the union, was when Judge Henry Wingate was appointed by President Reagan to the district court in 1985.” 

“Of the sixteen active and senior judges from Mississippi on the federal district courts and court of appeals, only one is African-American.   Of the nineteen active and senior judges on the Fifth Circuit, only one is African-American–Carl Stewart of Louisiana, who was appointed by President Clinton. Incidentally, Judge Stewart is only the second African-American to have been appointed to the Fifth Circuit since the court was created by the Judiciary Act of 1869.”

The African American Bar has been serially insulted by each judicial appointment from this President, each more extreme and unacceptable than the last.  The previous nominee to this seat, Michael Wallace, was a nothing more than a pinstripe Klansman with a bar card.    

The current nominee, Leslie Southwick, in his former capacity as a Court of Appeals Judge, affirmed the judgement of the state employee appeals board to re-instate a white female state employee who called a black female co-worker a “good ole nigger.”   The racist rationale is that this behavior is somehow not serious enough to warrant immediate termination. 

I have searched my mind to conjure up a scenario in which it is ever acceptable for a white woman in Mississippi to call a black woman a nigger.   Perhaps you can.  In the meantime, because the “good” judge was unable to justify this in his Senate Judicary Committee hearings, I would like for you to contact your Senator, especially if you’re like rikyrah, and are represented by a Senator on the committee. Tell them that after nearly 150 years of white supremacy, perhaps its time to try something new.

If anything I have said isn’t sufficiently persuasive, read the magnolia bar association’s letter and this report.   It is fundamental that every level of the judicial system has jurists of depth and quality.  Moreover, in order to ensure equal justice under law, the judiciary must reflect the racial and philosophical diversity that exists in this country.  Filling the bench with a bunch of Brooks Brothers suited racists like Leslie Southwick simply will not do.

Lurleen’s Ghost: false prophets, empty symbolism, and the endurance of white supremacy

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Then the LORD said unto me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke unto them. They prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart.- Jeremiah 14:14

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. -1 John 4: 1

The Battle of Selma, an internecine conflict between Queen Hillary and the Safe Negro, Barack Obama, for the black vote, was waged in February and the combatants were both in rare form. To the uninitiated, it seemed that the courageous people who were battered and bloodied on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to secure African Americans voting rights inspired both. That would be wrong.

What the world witnessed was a big show of religiosity cynically calculated to pander to the vast majority of politically active and deluded black people facing a Hobson’s choice between two “articulate and clean” false prophets whose symbolic candidacies mask a hidden agenda to tend to America’s ruling class as servants and protectors of capitalist imperialism.

Michael Parenti, author of “Dirty Truths” has written: The history of the United States has been one of territorial and economic expansionism, with the benefits going mostly to the U.S. business class in the form of growing investments and markets, access to rich natural resources and cheap labor, and the accumulation of enormous profits. The American people have had to pay the costs of empire, supporting a huge military establishment with their taxes, while suffering the loss of jobs, the neglect of domestic services, and the loss of tens of thousands of American lives in overseas military ventures.

The greatest costs, of course, have been borne by the peoples of the Third World who have endured poverty, pillage, disease, dispossession, exploitation, illiteracy, and the widespread destruction of their lands, cultures, and lives.

The racial dimensions of our economic, political and military hegemony over the world’s people of color are an unstated but unmistakable form of white supremacy. Black Agenda Report has tilled the soil on this ground quite thoroughly. I highly recommend reading their piece on this subject. The meaning of Selma has been percolating in my mind for some weeks now and it gelled Friday while I dozed off in Barnes and Noble after work. What I would like to explore with you, if you’ll permit me, is the triumph of white supremacy over our politics and why I think Hillary and Barack are both agents of its facilitation.

In telling the story of white supremacy’s evolving political stranglehold, it is useful to examine the past as a template for the present.

One of the reasons I came to the south is because of its politics. Among the most colorful in the nation, the south has produced some world-class pols and demagogues. Some of the most notable: LBJ, Huey Long, and George Wallace. All three possessed an intuitive understanding of power. Both Huey Long and George Wallace understood the value of machine politics and the practical uses of propaganda.

Bill Clinton is not the first southern pol to advance his wife forward to maintain a foothold on power. Texas Governor James Ferguson was, running his wife Miriam and in his footsteps followed Alabama Governor George Wallace. Stephan Lesher, author of “George Wallace: American Populist,” picks up the story, “Wallace learned about the Fergusons shortly after Lurleen’s announcement; his source, of all people, was the President of the United States during a White House briefing on Vietnam for the nation’s governors…Then, Johnson regaled him with one of James’s 1924 campaign speeches in which he had explained how the couple would operate if Miriam was elected: he would be her number one assistant, he would say, but he would also “tote the wood and draw the water at the governor’s mansion.” Wallace knew a good line when he heard it-and adapted it in every speech he would make over the next months.”

George Wallace pursued the presidency with a vigor we’ve not seen recently until the emergence of the Clinton juggernaut. Running four times in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976, he used every asset at his disposal to hold the Governorship of Alabama as a powerbase and springboard to the Presidency. One of those assets was his wife, Lurleen. Forced out by term limits in 1966, he ran Mrs. Wallace in his place as a surrogate. She pledged to the people that she would “let George do it” [run the state].

I have been thinking of the demure and modest homemaker thrust into the limelight by a controlling husband to maintain his own power and to make up for his unconscionable philandering. By elevating her to the governor’s chair, he gave her something no other man could: power and status. In so doing, he repaired their unhappy marriage. The same could be said of the Clintons despite Hillary’s unquestioned ability to run this country without her husband. She would not be on the cusp of making history without him. Echoing the Fergusons before them, we are still “getting two for the price of one.” And make no mistake, he is “tot[ing] the wood and drawing the water” for this campaign behind the scenes.

The campaign of 1966 was an interesting spectacle that reminds me of the current 2008 contest. The Alabama establishment had two contenders to choose from and chose only one: Lurleen Wallace and by extension, George. Former Governor Patterson who had defeated George for Governor in 1958 was a bitter segregationist. George’s spirited defense of white supremacy deflated his sails and she won going away. Patterson provoked the immortal statement from George in Marshal Frady’s legendary biography “Wallace,” “John Patterson out nigguhed me. And boys, I’m not goin’ to be out-nigguhed again.”

Indeed, he never was. He came to be seen as the personification of segregationist resistance. He introduced himself to the American people by way of an incendiary Inaugural Address penned by a Klansman in which he proclaimed, “Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!” Additionally, he reaped nationwide publicity for his melodramatic stand in the schoolhouse door of the University of Alabama. His demagogic advocacy of white supremacy connected him with the masses of disaffected whites fearful of black advancement. He turned their disaffection into an independent movement that mainstream Democratic and Republican politicians are still accommodating.

Dan Carter, author of the article “Legacy of Rage: George Wallace and the Transformation of American Politics” wrote, “Unwilling to listen to the dwindling handful of politicians who spoke of unpleasant choices, Americans willingly turned to the more satisfying task of exorcising demons. For politicians, it was a dilemma not unlike that facing George Wallace in 1962. I started off talking about schools and highways and prisons and taxes-and I couldn’t get them to listen,” he confided to an old supporter. “Then I began talking about niggers-and they stomped the floor.”

“Although working and middle class Americans in the 1960s periodically expressed uneasiness over inflation and the failure of wages to keep pace with the cost of living, widespread economic insecurity and declining incomes were not characteristic of the decade. It was primarily a sense of cultural and social dislocation- and out and out racism-that furnished the fuel for George Wallace’s angry rhetoric.”

Bill Clinton, although still a college student, was an active political operative by this time and a Capitol Hill intern for segregationist Arkansas Senator William Fulbright. He saw for himself how potent the politics of race was during the desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas Public Schools a decade before. Governor Faubus parlayed his opposition to desegregation into an unprecedented six two-year terms as governor, a tenure equaled only by Clinton himself. In addition, Bill couldn’t have possibly missed Arkansas tepid support of LBJ in 1964 and its plurality support of Wallace’s third party bid in 1968.

Despite protestations to the contrary, white supremacy is still a factor today and has been supported by an exclusive focus on the integration of the ranks of politicians, public accommodations, and the desegregation of the public schools and institutions of higher learning. There is another institution, which is sadly deficient in its adherence to fairness and the rule of law: the judiciary. We’ve lost many battles and are losing the war.

The foundation of equal opportunity is crumbling before our eyes and the Roberts Court is leading the charge to destroy it once and for all. How did we get here? We got here because for some reason, we’re more concerned with electing politicians on the basis of showmanship-not policy. Politicians like Bill, Hillary, and Barack, use the politics of identity against us, rather than use it to create common ground.

The essence of their positions regarding judicial selection and due process reflect the political expediency of politicians on the make. Bill Clinton in 1992 famously executed Ricky Ray Rector, Christopher Hitchens described the incident Lobotomized by his own bullet, this disabled black convict did not understand either his trial or his sentence. Executed by Clinton to draw attention from the Gennifer Flowers flap (about which he also lied) Rector outdoes Willie Horton by every definition of racist grandstanding. His snuffing was not just an election tactic, bad enough though that would have been. In power, Clinton fast-tracked capital punishment to the point where even Republican governors and legislatures have had to try and slow it down.”

As President, he fast-tracked executions by signing legislation that increased the number of crimes that were death penalty eligible and which severely short-circuited habeas corpus, resulting in the dramatically increased possibility of executing the innocent. He even executed someone in Arkansas whose innocence was legitimately in question. Alexander Nguyen of American Prospect wrote, Also executed during the (1992) campaign was Steven Douglas Hill, who was convicted of shooting a state police investigator after he and an accomplice escaped from a state prison. Hill confessed to the crime, but his partner Michael Cox has insisted for years that it was he, not Hill, who pulled the trigger. In all, Arkansas executed four people on Clinton‘s watch.

Hillary stood by and never meddled in the process of shedding unnecessary blood to elevate themselves to the ultimate power of the Presidency. Given the choice between standing for what’s right and sacrificing power, she chose to support her husband and sacrifice a life giving the lie to the arguments regarding gender diversity in the ranks of elected politicians. While in the Senate, she and her rival, Barack Obama, have played it safe-very safe. The youthful opposition to the death penalty has given way to safe positions crafted to advance viable Presidential candidacies and leave undisturbed the grip of white supremacy over our Judiciary.

Bush has twice nominated arch Conservatives to the Supreme Court and twice Barack and Hillary refused to filibuster those nominations to death.  He and Hillary cast the right vote on the Alito nomination against cloture (shutting off debate), but they were just going through the motions.  Neither put up a fight against John Roberts, although they voted against him. A passionate level of opposition and principled advocacy would have sent a powerful signal to the civil rights community that those two meant business and would have provided political cover for their weak-kneed colleagues to man-up and follow suit.

John Kerry said it best of John Roberts, “Judge Roberts argued against using the “effects test” to determine whether section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was violated. Instead, he believed and “intent” test—requiring proof of a discriminatory motive should be required, regardless of the fact that many victims of discrimination would be unable to prove real discriminatory intent and therefore unable to enjoy the protections afforded by the Act. In some cases, the effect of Judge Roberts’ intent test meant that disenfranchised individuals had to prove the motive of long dead officials who crafted election rules. That is a foolish standard when it comes between citizens and their constitutionally protected right to fair representation in our democracy.”

As someone who represented a majority black legislative district created as a nod to the Voting Rights Act, Barack Obama, should have vigorously filibustered both of Bush’s reactionary appointments. Their collective hostility to the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and race discrimination claims were more than sufficient to ignite the fires of Barack’s righteous indignation. Alas, the safe Negro never gets angry or loses his temper on behalf of our people because it would get in the way of playing kiss-ass to Senate colleagues and the white power structure he hopes one day to join as our President.

So, chirren, let me end as I began because the scriptures are clear, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Hillary and Barack have both been tested in the heat of political battle for their progressive mettle and adherence to truth and in my mind, both have failed and revealed themselves to be false prophets and “New Democrats” in thrall to white supremacy.

Madame Vice President: Mistress Condi’s inevitable future

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Given Rudy Giuliani’s philandering and subsequent marriage to a whore and John McCain’s serial apostasy, it has left GOP voters in a real quandary.   The only alternative is Multiple Choice Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts.  Gov. Romney is a real piece of work with a history of being a political weather vane.  With multiple positions on Abortion and gay rights, he’ll say whatever is necessary to win. With a successful business career behind him and a fortune worth an estimated quarter billion, he felt there was only one thing left to do-become President.

 

His Governorship of Massachusetts was a four-year try-out for the Republican nomination for President.  He missed no opportunity to pander to the reactionary base of the GOP with his opposition to Abortion, Stem-cell research, and Same-sex marriage.

 

Handsome, telegenic, and smooth, it has been said that Romney looks like a President straight from central casting.  He has been caught in multiple lies, the most famous of which are the tall tales about being a hunter/sportsman.  The problem is that his lying is so effortless and smooth that he evokes nostalgia about the “great communicator,” Ronald Reagan.

 

Romney has begun to peak in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire and has already outdistanced his rivals in the fundraising department having raised over $ 20 million in the first quarter.  The polls have also detected a widespread disaffection in the GOP primary electorate about the contenders and there could be an opening.   Name the last time we didn’t know who the GOP nominee would be by now-exactly.   

 

This year is different and it shall be competitive for a change, however, when it is all said and done, Romney will win the nomination and it will be up to him to lead a moribund and scandal scarred party into battle with the Democratic Party looking ascendant.

 

Next summer, after the Democratic nomination is all wrapped up, we’ll go through a tawdry and insulting little melodrama as Queen Hillary decides with whom she’ll share the throne.  As I’ve said previously, I doubt she’ll choose Barack Obama because the Queen doesn’t like to be overshadowed and certainly doesn’t like to be challenged.   As of this writing, Barack has already pressed the Queen’s back to the wall on the fundraising front and that s*** means war.  My feeling today is that Hillary will rescue some white Senator or Congresswoman from obscurity like Mary Landrieu or Blanche Lincoln to form the first estrogen powered ticket.  

 

Let’s face facts, Hillary has a lock on women voters-particularly women of color.  Being in the majority has its benefits and Democratic women far outnumber Democratic men. If Hillary wins this thing, it will because of her advantage among women 45 and over.  Moreover, it will also be because black women over 45 voted for her.   Hillary has no compunction using the votes of our sistahs to create another all-white ticket and calling it diverse.

I don’t care what she says, she don’t feel OUR pain, Y’all.  Mississippi College School of law professor Angela Mae Kupenda wrote provocatively in her Boston College Third World Law Journal article, For White Women: Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, But We All Hide Our Faces and Cry,she wrote, “There is no wonder that there is conflict between some white women and some black women.  Black and white women have many unresolved issues surrounding the issue of race, generally, and race and sexuality, specifically.  Buried inside of some white women may be hatred toward black women because of their white men.”   

“During slavery while some white men regarded blacks as animals, they forced black women to have sexual relations with them…Generally, black women and white women appear to be unable to discuss openly—how white women must have felt knowing their white men were desiring black women on the one hand and calling them animals and n___s on the other.  Instead of resenting their white male mates, white women took their anger out on their black female slaves.  They were unable, it seems, to face that their holy mates for life were willing to sell their own flesh and blood as if their offspring were livestock.  So instead of facing this cruelty and naming it for what it was, many white women silently participated in the rape and attacks on black womanhood and actively joined in the systematic destruction of black womanhood and the selling of children with the faces and blood of their husbands and sons, and consequently their own blood.”  

When one really examines our politics in this country, plantation metaphors are always appropriate whether it is an examination of gender, race, or class.   Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by choosing a white Republican over qualified black democrats, and it seems to me that Queen Hillary is bound and determined to do the same by passing over Obama. She’ll do it because as Professor Kupenda has written, “White women too are at an intersection.  They find themselves in the position of both the oppressor and the oppressed.  At one juncture, they benefit by participating in the system manufactured by a racist society.  At the other, they suffer as a result of gender oppression from a patriarchal and supremacist society.”  

Hillary’s too caught up in the plantation nexus between oppressor and oppressed and will choose gender over race as most white women do. That’s when Romney will pounce and rescue from the ashbin of history, Dubya’s favorite foreign minstrel.

 

I am a packrat, and have lived my life with the motto: There are just some things that you don’t throw away.  You name it, and I’ve kept it.  I rarely delete e-mail. I have most of my college textbooks and save every piece of campaign literature and paraphernalia, I get. The same could be said of the white power structure and its collection of useful House Negroes.  Some House Negroes are just too handy to be discarded.  Especially Dubya’s little plantation mistress.

 

Mistress Condi will be sold to another Massa to save the Plantation for the party.  She’ll go willingly and provide her “services” like the good Negress she was trained to be.

 

Valerie McDonald and Gerrie Schipske announce for Millender-McDonald seat

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Diane Watson

Valerie McDonald, daughter of the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald announced her candidacy for Congress this week.   Ms. McDonald enters this race with the endorsement of Los Angeles Congresswoman Diane Watson pictured above.   I normally like Diane Watson’s judgement and votes, but she also defended the morally bankrupt New Orleans Congressman “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, which, leaves me cold. Rep. Watson’s endorsement shatters the fragile consensus achieved by former Congressman and Lieutenent Governor Mervyn Dymally, one of the last godfathers of California Black Politics, to support Assemblywoman Laura Richardson, a Millender-McDonald protege for this race.   No racial group having a majority makes the jockeying for support crucial. 

As usual, we ain’t united.  Into the rift steps Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, a former congressional candidate in another adjoining seat.  Her website quotes her saying, “This special election is not about left, right or center. And it must not be about the ethnicity of the candidates. This special election must be about addressing the concerns and circumstances of those who live here.” BALONEY,Baby.  This special election ain’t bout but one thing: RACE.  Let’s not kid ourselves and lose perspective.  

“Errbody” got somebody.  Now the Asian community needs to put somebody forward and it will really be interesting.

Televised Salons

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Sunday morning talk shows are nothing more than televised salons constructed to seduce the viewer into watching and receiving the conventional wisdom that is at its core a pernicious form of corporate propaganda. Once entangled in the web of deceit, the viewer’s mind is paralyzed and sucked dry like a dangerous spider that devours its prey. The viewer, now intellectually anesthetized is no longer a threat to the white power structure that rules this country.

 

Salons, from their inception, were meant to be social devices where the elite could gather in the drawing rooms of their aristocratic peers to discuss the various issues important to their class in a less formal atmosphere more conducive to free flowing dialog.  It is customary for the host to lead off the discussion and insure that everyone has a crack at the question at hand.  Good hosts always assemble a diverse guest list with people of various opinions and stations well represented, along with a few decorous women thrown in to keep it lively for good measure.

 

Nobody was better at assembling the power salon than former Ambassador to France, and Democratic Party doyenne, Pamela Harriman. A British born daughter of aristocratic privilege, Mrs. Harriman made her mark in Washington and Europe as a courtesan of power. 

 

Courtesan, a French term which essentially means socialite whore, is an appellation used frequently by biographers of Mrs. Harriman.  She learned her skills at the feet of her idol, the Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee’ who met and married the King of England, Edward VIII, in a salacious scandal which led to his abdication of the throne in 1936 to wed the woman he loved.

 

The Duchess imparted to her pupil the art of the salon and her unmatched ability to cocoon and control powerful men. Mrs. Harriman used her skills to land a wealthy third husband, former Ambassador to Russia and New York Governor Averell Harriman, with whom she had an elicit affair during World War II.  After the death of their respective spouses, they hooked up in 1971.

 

The marriage led Mrs. Harriman on a grueling quest for power and recognition in Washington power circles.  She resurrected and honed the gimmick of the salon to ensnare official Washington into her drawing room to raise money for Democratic Senators.  She was rewarded for her dutiful service to the white neo-liberal power structure with an ambassadorship to France in the Clinton Administration.

 

Like the late Pamela Harriman, Tim Russert is a courtesan of Washington power. His televised salon, Meet the Press, is a seductive forum of corporate propaganda.  Like a good socialite whore, he knows how to run a salon, cocoon powerful men, and wield their power as his own. He reigns supreme among his fellow television brethren for his singular ability to use his program to confer the imprimatur of power on those fortunate enough to be tapped by his fraudulent benevolence for a coveted cameo appearance.

 

Frequent appearances on Meet the Press are status symbols of cachet, relevance, and prestige among the Washington power elite. They are the hottest tickets in town and analogous to seats at a Washington National Cathedral Presidential Funeral. The appearances signal to anybody observant enough to keep score that the recipient has arrived.

 

In keeping with the ethos of privilege and exclusivity, Tim would have you to believe that his choice of important topics and important newsmakers represents the cream of the crop. Like cream, Tim’s idea of cream is almost all-white. This past Sunday was the last straw. We were treated to an all white parade that is so commonplace among the Washington Sunday Talk Shows. We heard absolutely nothing from those people that was insightful or even remotely newsworthy. 

 

We heard from the same Bush Administration hacks that gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. Neither Secretary Spellings or Secretary Leavitt have the capacity to think their way out of a paper bag much less come up with policy recommendations likely to avert another tragedy like Virginia Tech. They had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY.  

 

We shoulda heard from the Surgeon General, or a Mental Health expert or somebody, anybody with some muthafreakin’ expertise. All we got was the same beltway B.S. we always hear. In the past 18 months, Meet the Press has had 19 non-white guests which represent an eclectic mix of diplomats, heads of state, the same two reporters, and a few stray uncle toms like John McWhorter an Michael Steele. When we do hear from a big cheese, it is a Republican with a disappointing perm like Condi. 

 

Apparently, Meet the Press has only three black people on speed dial: Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, and Barack Obama. It was no surprise then that Gwen Ifill handed Tim his ass last week for coddling Don Imus or that this week’s talking head roundtable guests were all Imus alums gathered together in silent protest and all spouting conventional wisdom.

 

My favorite moment this Sunday was the irony of a roundtable of whitefolks celebrating diversity.  Jon Meachum of Newsweek made the following observation of the Virginia Tech victims “One, one of the things I found so striking was the diversity of the victims. As you mentioned, the Holocaust survivor, professor who tried to—tried help and save people, the, the number of international students there in the middle of Virginia. It’s, it’s a snapshot of what the country is. And it’s, it’s a diverse country and it’s a good country.” 

 

To bring this post full circle, the true test of a salon is its diversity and its ability to both inform and enlighten.  On this score, Meet the Press fails as do the rest of Tim Russert’s white brethren. Hey, Tim, how bout a new closing?  How bout, “ If it’s Sunday, It’s Meet the White Press.”