Y’all need to chill! Seriously!

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Mitt Romney is the living embodiment of a President from Hollywood central casting.  His all-American good looks and patrician bearing are reassuring to some folk and harkens back to the halcyon days of yesteryear when times were simple and dark people, women and gays knew their proper places.  Following the lead of Congressional Republicans in racializing Obama’s policy agenda, Mitt Romney’s strategists, conscious of their diminishing odds of winning this election, elected to frame their horse’s throwback candidacy in a way that intentionally stokes a sense of white racial resentment.  President Obama’s every thought, word and deed is construed as a racial attack on God-fearing, taxpaying white Americans. Whites are cast as the victims in this alternate Republican universe and Mitt Romney is the savior they’ve been praying for.  It is a lie, like everything the modern Republican Party stands for. It doesn’t matter how confidently Mitt Romney recites his lies. A confident lie is still a lie. Remain calm. There is nothing that transpired yesterday between the contenders to America’s throne that should disturb any Obama partisan.

Let’s review. In the span of 50 years, we’ve gone from, “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever,” to the eleventh great grandson of the first enslaved African serving as President of the United States.  God is speaking through this recent revelation in Obama’s family tree. Can you hear him? I believe in my sanctified soul that Barack Obama’s miraculous rise to the presidency was predestined. The African ancestry traceable through his “white” mother shatters the myth of white supremacy and cleanses the stain of chattel slavery.  In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells his prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:10 states, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”  Every step this brotha has taken in the last thirty years has been ordered by The One Most High.

Eight years ago, Barack Obama was a minor state legislator nobody had ever heard of. He gamely took on the State Comptroller and a Multi-Millionaire Businessman for the chance to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. Heavily outspent, he vanquished them both. Plucked from obscurity by John Kerry to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, he electrified the nation. Two opponents, including his attractive Republican opponent, self-destructed in sex-scandals. Smears, misinformation and right-wing distortions, many of the same we hear today, were employed by an unhinged Republican to stop his rise.  None worked. Four years later he went on to defeat the most formidible political dynasty the Democratic Party has ever produced to claim the Democratic nomination for President. The Clintons questioned his fitness for the Presidency and Bill Clinton dismissed his ambition as a “fairytale” and prompted Teddy Kennedy to endorse Obama after letting rip, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.” Oh, how the worm has turned. President and Mrs. Clinton both serve at Obama’s pleasure now.

We love him because he has always displayed the cool serenity and regal dignity that every child of God should emulate.  This is the same president that shamed Donald Trump on Wednesday, punked his ass contemptuously on Saturday, and killed Bin Laden on Sunday.  Don’t believe for one minute that an empty suit like Mitt Romney got under our president’s skin last night.  Don’t fall for that.  Obama set a trap and Romney took the bait. Romney shook his etch-a-sketch so hard that he broke it.  This is the same president that allowed Republican extremism and obstructionism to trap them into the untenable position of opposing tax cuts, a grand bargain on deficit reduction and a debt limit extension.   To hear some pundits tell it, Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he always seems to come out on top.

Romney still has much to answer for. The specificity of his budget and tax plan that journalists and pundits were critical of earlier in the week sure as hell didn’t materialize last night. What we heard was a lot of nonsensical doubletalk and backpedalling from what he was saying during the primaries.  The Obama for America campaign is sure to take a hefty pound of flesh from Romney for his evasions and falsehoods.  The ads should pretty much write themselves. All one has to do is stack Romney’s inconsistencies on top of one another and call it a damn day.

The corporate media knows that this race was over a long time ago. It doesn’t want to give up the ghost just yet because it invests the empty theatrics and ridiculous posturing of the modern presidential debate with more meaning than the serious policy discussions it was designed to facilitate. The contention that stagecraft means more than statecraft is a serious indictment of our fourth estate and an indication that the systemic corruption beneath the Media’s shiny façade threatens our democracy.  We need to continue working, watching and praying for healing and racial reconciliation in our country.

There is a hymn that goes, “We’ve come this far by faith. Leaning on the Lord. Trusting in His holy word… Just the other day I heard someone say he didn’t believe in God’s word. But I can truly say that God has made a way.  And He’s never failed me yet. That’s why we’ve come this far by faith.”

Incremental Change I Can Believe In

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As the nation sits on the precipice of default and worldwide Depression, my frustration with progressives has turned from annoyance to blind rage.  The delusional fantasy that Barack Obama can wave a magic wand, part the Red Sea, and create progressive change with the stroke of a pen, just won’t die.  And it frustrates the hell out of me.  I understand the mindset intimately because I was there.  This presidency is a unique moment in American history and it has fueled the idealism of the American people. That’s a good thing.  However, it has also unleashed a tsunami of unrealistic expectations.  

Our system of government is designed to frustrate reform and change, especially progressive change. Whatever change we manage to get is ALWAYS incremental and a foundation that can be built upon. I thought that was widely understood.  I was wrong.

Anybody who hasn’t been under a rock for the last few weeks understands that there is no reasoning with the Republicans on Capitol Hill or anywhere else.  David Brooks said it best:

… the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative. The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no. If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no.

The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

…If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

Given the ruinous catastrophe that the country faces, I find it maddening that some progressives think that the president is going to be able to achieve anything worthwhile as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.  Didn’t we learn this lesson 16 years ago when Bill Clinton was president? After Clinton’s re-election the GOP doubled down on the crazy.  Bill Clinton was immensely flattered to be considered the first black president and the Republicans resolved that any white male that would cop to that should be treated like a nigger. That’s what the humiliation of impeachment was ultimately about and they haven’t changed. The thin veneer of solidarity with African Americans and other people of color displayed by our party leaders renders the Right-Wing constitutionally incapable of accepting any Democratic President’s legitimacy.

Thirteen years later, the president who saved us from Depression, secured comprehensive health reform, and reversed DADT without embarrassing his wife, his family, and the nation with sordid details of oval office fellatio, can’t seem to do anything right for the people who vigorously defended the philanderer-in-chief who got all of that progressive policy wrong in addition to weakening the social safety net and deregulating the banks that speculated us into the current predicament.  In the African American community, there is an aphorism that we are taught as children: We have to be twice as good to get half as much.  True to form, Barack Obama is twice as good as Bill Clinton ever was and doesn’t even get half the credit.

I’m tired of the cacophony of criticism from the firebagger caucus that President Obama is somehow defective.  He’s the most effective president on domestic policy since LBJ. Unlike Charlie Sheen, Barack Obama IS winning, which I think is the realization fueling the Republican drive to blow up the economy and his presidency so they can play blame-a-nigga games during the 2012 Presidential election.

The fact that firebaggers refuse to acknowledge the latent racism behind Republican machinations blocking a raise in the debt ceiling reveals that Republicans are not the only ones with a race problem they need to own up to. The need for Barack Obama to be perfection personified before some progressives can trust and applaud his leadership is delusional at best.  At worst it is racist and it is time we had an adult conversation about that. His election has not exorcised the demon of racism in this country and relieves no one of their moral obligation to continue supporting fairness and equal opportunity.

If President Obama has a failing, it is that he refuses to acknowledge that truth and the racism behind the animus he faces from the Republicans.  Whatever.  I’ll support him regardless because nobody in my lifetime has demonstrated that they’re more worthy of being President.

Kendrick Meek: Movin On Up

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Whenever I think about writing, for some reason the soundtrack of my mind comes up with something apropos. I heard a familiar sitcom jingle and concluded that Kendrick Meek is synonymous with the iconic TV Negroes we came to know as The Jeffersons.  While Kendrick ain’t looking to snag him a dee-lux apartment in the sky, Carrie Meek’s baby boy has clearly been dreaming of movin’ on up to the Senate for sometime and has positioned himself accordingly.  His personality is best described as more Wheezy than George  because he is both humble and sophisticated.  Possessing a common touch that belies his power and status, Kendrick has always struck me as more of a regular everyman than a silvery tongued pol.   More Forrest Whitaker than Denzel Washington, Meek has a fierce battle to convince a skeptical electorate that he is the right man to represent them in  the patrician Senate.

Until a few months ago,  Meek thought he had a clear field and would coast to the general election facing the winner of a bloody and protracted GOP primary–then everything changed.   Gov. Charlie Crist’s statehouse rival, Marco Rubio, made the Governor’s centrist politics a centerpiece of his strategy to seduce the right-wing and hit paydirt. Mired in second place in the polls, the GOP Governor bolted the party and started wooing Independents and Democrats.  To add insult to injury, Meek picked up a  credit default swap billionaire as a primary challenger, Jeff Greene.  Meek suddenly had to tap his carefully husbanded $4 million dollar bankroll to defend himself against a fusillade of negative ads.

What looked like a competitive  but uphill two-party contest has degenerated into a three-way free for all.  A carefully orchestrated whisper campaign to challenge Kendrick’s electability caused White Democrats to defect en masse to Crist or remain neutral.  Meek is polling a very weak third place and was until recently in second place in the Democratic Primary.   What looked like a handkerchief head move to endorse Hillary and cozy up to the Clintons in 2008 looks shrewd today given the weakness of the current president’s poll numbers and the universal popularity of Bill Clinton.  Slick Willie has been down to the Sunshine state several times to fundraise and politic with his boy Kendrick and will be back again sometime in the future.  I heard tell last week that Obama is fixin’ to go down shortly.  Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s right hand, recently headlined a fundraiser as the Administration looks to be step up it’s efforts to help a brotha out.

Kendrick’s polls improved once he made it clear that his opponent was not a real Democrat and that the source of his money is proof of the adage: behind every great fortune is a great crime.

I am convinced that Kendrick can win this thing if he woo’s back White Democrats and unifies the Democratic Party behind his candidacy. Some folk don’t believe that Kendrick is worth voting for.  For example, the bloggers over at Down With Tyranny have their boxers in a bunch over a few bad votes Kendrick cast over the last eight years.  I acknowledge their legitimate concerns and their distaste with his fundraising from lobbyists–black lobbyists in particular have rallied around him. To borrow a phrase from The Lady Chablis in Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil:  if Clinton and Obama can pull one over on progressives  by openly colluding with the corporate power structure, then Kendrick’s little corporate whoring around in Washington, DC, is not going to mean anything to good Democrats in Florida. Especially not when the alternatives are a wingnut, a soulless opportunist or a damn crook.

Richardson withdraws, historic opportunity at hand

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News broke this afternoon that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his nomination over questions regarding a federal investigation of the state’s $1.5 million dollar financial services contract with a Beverly Hills, California firm, CDR, who’s CEO, David Rubin, donated $110,000 to political committee’s affiliated with Governor Richardson.

 

I am heartsick because I’ve always felt that Richardson’s presence in the cabinet essential to Obama’s success. Nevertheless, as my grandma is fond of saying, “one monkey don’t stop no show.” The vacancy represents an opportunity to do something no president has done and after the Warren fiasco a few weeks back, I’ve come to feel pretty strongly that Barack Obama needs to appoint a “gay American,” as former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy put it, to the cabinet of the United States.

 

When you stop and think about it this is a barrier that Bill Clinton should have shattered years ago, and one Al Gore probably would have if the ignorant tumbleweed that is George W. Bush hadn’t tripped him up. Clinton, after the broken promise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” attempted to buy off the LGBT community with the appointments of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxemburg and Roberta Achtenberg as Deputy Secretary of HUD. The public break with activist David Mixner, a leading LGBT fundraiser and convention delegate for Clinton, damaged Clinton’s relationship with the LGBT community in a big way.

 

Nothing of that magnitude has occurred in this new Administration, but the hue and cry over Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation channels the white-hot righteous indignation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Debate, and Bubba’s craven signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, which were straightforward betrayals. Obama hasn’t gone back on his word to the LGBT community on any significant issue, at least not yet. But he’s black, so I suppose there are some activists who feel the need to put Obama, and the rest of his dark skinned brethren, “in our place,” and psychologically project their legitimate anger for the failure of prop 8 on the most convenient scapegoats in America—black people, who don’t even make up 7% of California’s population.

 

Anyway, y’all, after little investigation, I’ve come up with two outstanding people that I think can send an inclusive message to the country and tamp down some of the fires of faux outrage burning in the blogosphere.

 

JARRETT BARRIOS

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The first person to come to mind is former Massachusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios, the CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts. As CEO, he oversees a $55 million dollar endowment that focuses on expanding health care access and improved delivery to the uninsured and underinsured. Barrios, a Cuban American originally from Tampa, Florida, served for 8 years in both Houses of the Massachusetts legislature. An honors graduate of Harvard University, Barrios also possess a law degree from Georgetown University.

 

In the legislature he made Health Care access and delivery his signature issue and authored legislation requiring Massachusetts hospitals to provide interpreters to non-English speakers. In addition, he authored legislation protecting consumers from unscrupulous predatory lenders and required that lenders abide by Massachusetts laws requiring community reinvestment and he pushed for tax credits to subsidize the construction of more affordable housing.

 

A practicing attorney, Barrios has worked for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and for the law firms DLA Piper and Hill & Barlow.

 

Lastly, as you may have already surmised, Jarrett Barrios is a gay man who led the fight in the Massachusetts Senate to preserve marriage rights for same-sex couples. He is married to Doug Hattaway, a democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton spokesman.

 

The Obama Administration has focused on excellence in its cabinet appointments. I believe that Jarrett Barrios’ academic and professional credentials will stand the test and that he would be an outstanding Secretary of Commerce.

 

SUSAN LEAL

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Because I believe in balance, it is necessary to consider people of both genders and the accomplished Susan Leal, a former businesswoman, health-care executive, Public Utilities Regulator, San Francisco Treasurer and Supervisor, is an even more qualified choice than the first I put forward.

 

Ms. Leal, 59, is a native of San Francisco and a veteran civic leader. She is a first generation daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first Latina to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While on the board, Ms. Leal co-authored San Francisco’s landmark domestic partners ordinance.

 

An honors graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Leal has degrees in Economics and Law and has an extensive background as a staffer in both the California General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. While in Washington Ms. Leal served as a staff attorney for the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Investigations. Back in California, she served as general counsel to the Assembly Committee on Ways & Means.

 

Elected San Francisco’s Treasurer in 1998, she oversaw a $3 billion dollar portfolio of investments and she was the first treasurer to screen the city’s investments to ensure the city invested with socially responsible companies that respected workers, consumers and the environment.

 

A shrewd and successful businesswoman, Ms. Leal and a few friends created a health care startup that they subsequently took public and later sold at a profit.

 

Finally, Ms. Leal last served the public as a utilities regulator and she tangled with PG&E, the powerful utility made infamous in the movie Erin Brockovich.

 

Ms. Leal would make an excellent Secretary of Commerce, Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or as a Deputy Secretary of Energy or Interior. Both of these individuals are qualified, well-educated, Latino and Gay.  It’s past time that all God’s children are represented in the halls of power.

 

obama throws hillary a lifeline

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The jaw dropping news broke yesterday of the President-Elect’s “secret” meeting with Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Triangulation, Hillary Clinton, about the biggest plum he has to offer-appointment as Secretary of State.  He also reportedly met with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who dropped out early and endorsed Obama in a dramatic gesture long before Obama clenched the Democratic nomination.  The corporate media dutifully reported the “Team of Rivals” concept advanced by Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book about Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet.

I’m not buying it.

I have no choice but to take seriously this trial balloon on Hillary’s behalf by the Obama team.  Hopefully, something I say will deflate this travesty before a colossal misstep occurs.  I have no idea what “turning the page” on the past is supposed to mean if the Clinton’s are magnanimously appointed to a sinecure in the new Administration.  What happened to “No Drama Obama?”  If the Clinton’s are known for anything, it’s drama.  I thought this new regime had limits on carry on baggage. The Clintons will bring enough to crash Air Force One.  I don’t mean no harm, as we say, but I’m tired of these people.  The only time I want to hear from Hillary Clinton is from the Senate floor, not from Foggy Bottom.

Once she and Bubba dipped a toe and then submerged the primary battle into the well of racial resentment and xenophobia, that should have killed any talk of a cabinet appointment in its crib.   Hillary can kiss my hind part, no offense.  During the heat of the primary battle, Hillary Clinton sighted a USA Today poll in Indiana and North Carolina:

I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on…Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.

Her performance at the convention and campaign trail was admirable, but it doesn’t make up for appealing to the unjustified fears of white voters skittish about a brotha occupying the Oval Office.  There are some lines you don’t cross and a penalty must be paid.  After reading an assortment of PUMA slights on various blogs, my opinions have hardened on this score.

For all we know, the President-Elect coulda told her in June that he would consider her for Secretary of State and that bought her cooperation.  We won’t know for sometime.   Hillary lost and Barack won.  Its time he acted like it.  I’d appreciate it if he ripped out a page rather than just turning it.   John Kerry, Bill Richardson and  Susan Rice are far more deserving.

If Troy Davis Dies, blame the Clintons

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If anyone has sought to confuse you or just plain insult your intelligence by intimating that the United States has entered into a “post-racial” age of enlightenment, you have this Skeptical Brotha’s permission to curse them out so hard that they beg your forgiveness.  All one really has to do, if the aforemetioned is unappealing, is just say two words: Troy Davis.

I am primitive enough to actually believe in the death penalty despite knowing full well that the way in which it is administered discriminates against people on the basis of race and class.  I am also old fashioned enough to want any would be victimizers of me or my family to pay the ultimate price. 

The case against Georgia Death Row Inmate Troy Davis, 38, changes all that for me and it has me reconsidering  the fundamentally corrosive nature of prolonged righteous rage brought on by the machinery of death.  The family of the murdered police officer  is prevented from having closure and so is the family of Troy Davis who are convinced of his innocence.

Anger and rage are the essential building blocks of any activism for good causes, but they are also the essential tools of the demagogue.

This is where Bill and Hillary Clinton come in.  In the run up to the 1992 New Hampshire primary, Bill Clinton left the campaign trail and the questions surrounding the revelation of his affair wth Gennifer Flowers to execute a brain damaged brotha, Ricky Ray Rector. 

Christopher Hitchens was blunt:

I disliked Clinton because of the Ricky Ray Rector business. He left New Hampshire to go back to Arkansas and execute a man who was essentially unfit to plead–he certainly didn’t understand the charges against him,  would have met any ordinary definition of clemency.  I don’t think the Chinese execute people who are mentally disabled.  Rector was lobotomized. And it was clear that Clinton did what he did to send a racist signal.  It was as clear as it could possibly be.  The week of Gennifer Flowers he kept saying, “Why don’t we talk about the issues?”  So I asked him this: “Isn’t executing a mentally retarded black man for votes a clearer indication of what your morality is than what you do with blondes on the side?” Clinton turned his back on me. Walked away.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Clintons dipped into the well of racism against Barack Obama having deliberately used the unjustified execution of a black man to make a naked racial appeal to whitefolks back in 1992. 

Once elected, Bill and Hillary Clinton continued turning their backs on justice.  Bill signed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

According to Amnesty International:

President Bill Clinton signed the AEDPA into law on 24 April 1996. “I have long sought to streamline federal appeals for convicted criminals sentenced to the death penalty,” he said at the signing; “For too long, and in too many cases, endless death row appeals have stood in the way of justice being served.”  He added that “from now on, criminals sentenced to death for their vicious crimes will no longer be able to use endless appeals to delay their sentences.”

The Act placed new, unprecedented restrictions on prisioners raising claims of constitutional violations.  It imposed severe time limits on the raising of constitutional claims, restricted the federal courts ability to review state court decisions, placed limits on federal courts granting and conducting evidentiary hearings, and prohibited “successive” appeals except in very narrow circumstances.

As one leading lawyer has said “The provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 restricting the power of federal courts to correct constitutional error in criminal cases represent a decision tat results are more important than process, that finality is more important than fairness, and that proceeding with executions is more important than determining whether convictions and sentences were obtained fairly and reliably.”

Under the AEDPA, once Troy Davis’ conviction and death sentence had been upheld by the Georgia Courts, the possibility of relief in the federal courts was curtailed. Federal relief was only permissible if the decision of a state court had “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved in an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.”  This deferential “reasonableness” standard represented “a remarkable departure from the traditional role of federal courts…to declare what the law is.”

The amazing thing about the case against Troy Davis is that there is literally no case.  There is no physical evidence at all. No DNA, no murder weapon, no fingerprints, no footprints. Nothing.  All there was against the brotha was the perjured testimony of coerced witnesses, 7 of whom now say in signed affidavits that one of their number was the real killer and that the combined effects of sloppy police work, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and their fear of the real killer, produced this twisted and tragic result.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles delayed this execution for over a year to supposedly investigate the claims of innocence here thoroughly and completely. They still came to the same racist result as the orignial jury and every court of review.

At the end of the line and with state court appeals exhausted, executive clemency denied, and all federal appeals over, they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court one last time. The Supremes delayed the execution until next Monday.  While a six-day repreive is cause for celebration for some, I am not hopeful.   A Supreme Court that would essentially overturn Brown v. Board of Education is a Supreme Court that will come up with some convoluted, racist rationale for the execution of the innocent.   Only time will tell.

The only thing I know for sure is that if Troy Davis dies, you can blame the Clintons for setting him up and sabotaging his legitimate claim of innocence.

Bubba does the View

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The triangulating liar-in-chief visited the ladies of The View .   It was such a momentous occasion that even Whoopi Goldberg put on a dress and some heels to receive a hug and kiss from Bubba, something she’d never done for Barack, Michelle, or McSame.  The body language was really interesting.  Barbara Walters seemed repulsed by Slick Willie and the greeting was beyond awkward. Whoopi, on the other hand, played her usual role of happy darkie and looked like she would be thrilled to play Sally Hemmings to his Thomas Jefferson.

After the President commented on Whoopi’s dress and ugly plastic shoes, Barbara got right down to business and asked the man from Hope whether the Queen of Triangulation really wanted to be Obama’s Vice.  His answer was less than convincing.  What was your impression?

Food for thought

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It never fails y’all.  Just when I am ready to embrace Barack Obama’s historic campaign emotionally, he does or says something I find abhorrent and inimical to the interests of the Black Community in particular and damaging to everyone else in general.  I am not a head in the sand or up my arse kinda guy.  If you’ve been reading me for awhile, you understand that I pay attention to details and demand substance.

Barack, the Safe Negro, has decided to buckdance for his supper again.  News came yesterday that he announced a willingness to keep Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, in some capacity in the next administration. This comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Obama is considering asking Secretary of Defense Bob Gates to stay on as well.  Nothing about keeping Paulson and Gates is evocative of “Change We Can Believe in.”  Nothing.

Surrounded by a coterie of corporate vampires from the Clinton Administration, the same folk responsible for the deregulation that made this bailout necessary,Barack Obama seized the moment the other day to quiet the unease of capital markets in the throws of hysteria surrounding the near collapse of insurance conglomerate AIG and the failure of the federal government backed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The resolution of this crisis threatens any progressive agenda for the next administration given the evaporation of one trillion dollars in stock market value and the massive size of a $700 billion bailout package.  It should be clear to even the most intellectually challenged progressive that Barack Obama doesn’t belong to us anymore, if he ever really did.

Bob Rubin, a corporate whore of stupendous magnitude, is the lead predator advising Obama along with Larry Summers, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, and Wal-Mart apologist Jason Furman.The symbolism and substance of an Obama victory is actively being destroyed behind the scenes by these people.

Naomi Klein is correct, it is time to get busy creating a progressive movement that will pressure and fight an Obama Administration’s inevitable capitulations to the corporate power structure.  If we don’t, we can forget about change.

DNC day three: Obama Nominated By Acclamation

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I am just so overwhelmed and I can’t write anything coherent. It has finally happened at long last and all I can do is take it all in.  

Bill Clinton has finished his address, what say you?

Stephanie Tubbs Jones 1949-2008

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The reaction to the death of Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones has been swift.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“On behalf of all Members of Congress, I express my deepest condolences on the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, to all who loved her, particularly her son, Mervyn Leroy Jones, II, and her sister, Barbara Walker. 

 

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was a tremendously vibrant presence in the halls of Congress.  She believed in all the best things about our nation, and was a tireless force for justice, equality, and opportunity.  As a leader in election reform, she fought on behalf of voting rights to ensure that every American voter can vote.  She loved her hometown of Cleveland, and she believed that serving her constituents was the best job in the world. 

 

…Stephanie Tubbs Jones was always full of enthusiasm for the work of the Congress and for life in general.  In our sadness at her sudden passing, we remember that she seized every opportunity and enjoyed every moment that she was given.  I hope it is a comfort to Chairwoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones’s family and friends that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

 

President and Senator Clinton:

 

“There are few words to express the shock we feel at this time. Our deepest condolences are with Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, her family, and her many loved ones, friends, and supporters.

 

Stephanie’s friendship meant the world to us, a friendship that deepened through every trial and challenge. We could always count on her to be a shoulder on which to lean, an ear to bend, a voice to reassure. Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side—unwavering, indefatigable.

 

It was that fighting spirit—safely stowed behind her disarming smile, backed by so much integrity and fiery intelligence—that allowed Stephanie to rise from modest beginnings, to succeed in public service, to become a one-woman force for progress in our country.

 

All of us who were lucky to know her and love her can only hope now to live like her—to be as passionate, loyal, hard charging, and joyful in life’s pursuits.  Stephanie was one of a kind. We will miss our friend always.”

 

Senator and Mrs. Obama:

 

“Michelle and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Stephanie was an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant. It wasn’t enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind – and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate. It was an honor to serve with Stephanie in Congress, and I know her legacy will live on in all those who walk the trails she blazed and walk through the doors she opened. Our hearts and prayers are with all those who knew and loved her.”

 

 

Iconic, intelligent, and irreplaceable, Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones is being remembered today for her zest for life, law and politics.  A trailblazer in law and politics, she was the first African American woman to sit on both Cleveland’s Municipal Court and Cuyahoga County’s Court of Common Pleas.  After losing a 1990 race for the Ohio Supreme Court, she entered the race to become Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and served until her election to Congress to replace a legendary member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Louis Stokes. 

 

As a member of congress, she became the first African American woman to sit on the House Ways and Means Committee and chair the House Ethics Committee.   A fighter of legendary prowess, she challenged the counting of Ohio’s electoral votes in the aftermath of deliberate subterfuge perpetrated by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a black wingnut who subsequently ran for Governor and lost, and his Republican minions who deliberately understaffed polling places with machines and personnel in Democratic areas to create long lines that frustrated voters and compromised their right to vote.

 

With the congresswoman’s passing, she leaves a void to be filled.   According to MyFox Cleveland:

 

With just four months remaining in Tubbs Jones’ current term of office, Governor Ted Strickland is required to issue a writ of election setting the dates for both a special primary and a special general election. The winner of these contests would be elected to serve until the current session of Congress ends in January.”  

 

“… The Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Central Committee must also decide who will replace Tubbs Jones as the party’s nominee on the November general election ballot.  Party chairman Jimmy Dimora has until October 27 to hold a meeting to select a replacement.”

 

Cuyahoga County Commission President Peter Lawson Jones, Cleveland City Councilwomen Nina Turner and Sabra Pierce Scott and State Representative Michael DeBose are some of the obvious names that should be looking into a race to succeed the late Congresswoman.

Barack and Hillary take a meeting

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Hat Tip: MSNBC

WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton met late Thursday with Barack Obama, a day after saying she would end her quest for the Democratic nomination and endorse the Illinois senator.

A senior Obama campaign official confirmed to NBC News that Obama delayed his departure from Washington Thursday night to meet with Clinton at her home here.

Earlier, Clinton had disavowed efforts by some supporters who have urged Obama to choose her as his running mate.

“She is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her,” communications director Howard Wolfson said. “The choice here is Senator Obama’s and his alone.”

Clinton was planning an event in Washington Saturday to thank supporters and urge them to back Obama’s candidacy. But as she was bowing out of the race, supporters in Congress and elsewhere were ramping up a campaign to pressure him to put her on the ticket in the No. 2 spot.

Bob Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television and a Clinton supporter, sent a letter to the Congressional Black Caucus Wednesday urging the group to encourage Obama to choose Clinton as his vice presidential pick. He said he was doing so with her blessing.

Obama is seeking to become the first black president.

Clinton has told other friends and supporters she would be willing to be Obama’s running mate. But her immediate task is bringing her own presidential bid to a close.

High stakes

In an e-mail to supporters, the New York senator said she “will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.”

Clinton expressed the same sentiment in a conference call with 40 members of her national finance committee, whom she urged to begin raising money for Obama and for the Democratic National Committee.

“She was in good spirits and totally supportive, without qualification, of Senator Obama and his campaign,” finance co-chairman Alan Patricof said of the call.

It was a shift in tone by the former first lady, who announced 17 months ago that she was “in it to win it.” Many of her supporters want her as the vice presidential candidate, in their minds a “dream ticket” that would bring Obama her enthusiastic legions and broaden his appeal to white and working-class voters.

But Obama indicated he intends to take his time making a decision.

“We’re not going to be rushed into it. I don’t think Senator Clinton expects a quick decision and I don’t even know that she’s necessarily interested in that,” Obama told NBC in an interview.

Clinton’s move to formally declare that she is backing the Illinois senator came after Democratic congressional colleagues made clear they had no stomach for a protracted intraparty battle. Now that Obama has secured the 2,118 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination, Clinton had little choice but to end her quest, and sooner rather than later.

Some of Clinton’s closest supporters — the nearly two dozen House Democrats from her home state of New York — switched their endorsements to Obama Thursday.

The public announcement from the 23 New York followed two days of private phone calls weighing her options.

“She was just as spunky as ever,” Rep. Charlie Rangel said of Clinton’s mood on the calls, as her friends and supporters urged her to come to a decision “sooner rather than later.”

Many of the lawmakers said it was important for them, as New Yorkers who are close to Clinton and helped launch her presidential bid, to work together to repair some of the rifts in the party.

“We’re Democrats. Dammit to hell we fight. When it’s over, we come together and go out there to win,” said Rangel, the dean of the New York delegation.

The New Yorkers, said Rep. Gregory Meeks, have a duty “to lead this transition” to full party support of Obama.

Another of Clinton’s most prominent supporters, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, also announced his “wholehearted and enthusiastic support” for Obama Thursday.

Exit strategy

The move to end her campaign came Tuesday, when Clinton told House Democrats during a private conference call that she would get behind Obama’s candidacy and congratulate him for gathering the necessary delegates to be the party’s nominee.

The only degree of uncertainty was how. Clinton is exploring options to retain her delegates and promote her issues, including a signature call for universal health care.

The announcement closed an epic five-month nominating battle pitting the first serious female candidate against the most viable black contender ever.

Obama on Tuesday night secured the delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. But Clinton stopped short of acknowledging that milestone, defiantly insisting she was better positioned to defeat McCain in November.

“What does Hillary want? What does she want?” Clinton asked, hours after telling supporters she’d be open to joining Obama as his vice presidential running mate.

 

Bob Johnson, Hillary’s Billionaire Minstrel, reaches out to CBC

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Reaching out to the Big Dawg of the Congressional Black Caucus, James Clyburn, The House Majority Whip, Hillary’s Billionaire minstrel, Bob Johnson produced the letter below.    Too bad Bill showed his arse and cursed Mr. Jim out in January ensuring that he’ll do less than nothing for Hillary.  

To add insult to injury, Johnson, along with a collection of white Hillarycrats, wrote a letter a few months ago to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatening to pull their fundraising support of House Democrats if she intervened in this race for Obama.    In short, Bob Johnson ain’t got no shame and is a corporate vampire like Hillary that cares nothing about blackfolks and is more interested in advancing his own nefarious corporate interests.

Letter courtesy of Akech

June 3, 2008
The Honorable James Clyburn
U. S. House of Representatives
H-329, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Jim:

Now that you have endorsed Senator Obama as the Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party; I, as a long-time supporter of Senator Clinton and of the Democratic Party, urge you to do everything possible to unify this party to win the Presidential election in November. For me and millions of other Democrats, I believe that the most important step that you can take now is to encourage the Congressional Black Caucus to urge Senator Obama to select Senator Hillary Clinton as his Vice Presidential running mate.

As a businessman I understand the vitally important role that a Democratic President can play in establishing programs and policies throughout the government that stimulate and support economic opportunities for African Americans. As African Americans we agree that the stakes in this election are far too high to take any chances that this party will not be unified from the top to the bottom in our effort to gain control of The White House.

You know as well as I the deep affection that millions of African Americans hold for both Senator Clinton and President Clinton. You also know that Hillary Clinton has been a long-term advocate for racial and gender equality, from her early days as a lawyer with the Children Defense Fund to her prominent leadership roles on these issues as First Lady and as Senator from New York. But most important, we need to have the certainty of winning; and, I believe, without question, that Barack Obama as President and Hillary Clinton as Vice President bring that certainty to the ticket.

Jim, as the highest ranking African American in Congress, I encourage you to follow your commitment to build a unified party by helping to make this a historic election of Senators Obama and Clinton who both have demonstrated that they have the courage and the ability to inspire and lead this nation to greatness today and for years in the future.

Warm regards,

Bob Johnson

Of blue collars and rednecks

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I have a confession to make. I am exhausted. Sadly, I’m too spent to muster any enthusiasm or energy to witness any of the history happening around me first hand. Nevertheless, it is happening and it has meaning that many too dependent on the misbegotten impressions of the establishment press corps fail to discern.

Hillary Clinton’s trail of crocodile tears into the bosom of blue collar, redneck America has been an interesting fall from the imperial heights from which this campaign began. Getting down and dirty with America’s great unwashed hoards was only supposed to be an indignity reserved for Iowa and New Hampshire before the coronation. Conventional wisdom told us that anything more would be unnecessary because it was obviously Hillary’s turn. Her claim to the throne as America’s Queen, ironclad.

Supposedly, the worldly celebrity sophisticates from Chappaqua now revel in having to come down from their $109 million dollar mountaintop to rub shoulders with ordinary farmers and shift workers, and enjoy being forced to engage in a morally bankrupt blood sport to deny Barack Obama the White House in order to preserve Hillary Clinton’s post 2008 Presidential viability. I don’t believe a word, baby.

As Hillary’s designated “Ambassador to rural America,” Bill Clinton has put on a good show of feigned sympathy and cornpone compassion for the plight of rural North Carolina’s put upon Jessecrats. “Who and what are Jessecrats,” you ask. To put it simply, they are rural white Democrats who rationalized Jesse Helms fealty to Segregation and White Supremacy as character.

During a stint as a security guard in a grocery store, a Jessecrat I’ll call Mr. Earl told me to my face that he respected and voted for Jesse Helms because he didn’t change what he believed. Mr. Earl shook my hand firmly and was a courtly, portly, older gentleman and native of the small town I live in now. Mr. Earl and Senator Helms personify the rural, closed social network and reactionary Bible belt values that I regard as commonplace and intuitively understand. In many ways, I am his younger black equivalent.

Anyhoo, Bill’s Hillbilly’s for Hillary road show shtick is damn interesting in what it reveals about the campaign and our politics. Race, as I’ve discussed umpteen times in the past, is undeniably a factor in this campaign. Moreover, it is the real reason for Bill’s bogus tour of rural seduction.

According to an account in the Dunn Daily Record about an appearance in Lillington, NC, a Harnett county town just a stonestrow from my home, “The political rhetoric got started before the former president even took the stage in Lillington, with former Sen. Robert Morgan introducing President Clinton, praising him and criticizing the current occupant of the White House, President George W. Bush. “He presided over the country when we had one of the largest budget surpluses in our history,” Sen. Morgan said of President Clinton. “The best I can tell he is the only president that has ever been in Harnett County, and I am proud to introduce him.”



The president said he was glad to have the opportunity to see Sen. Morgan again. “Bob Morgan has been a friend of mine for a lot of years and I am proud to be here with him today,” President Clinton said.
I am sure that it would please you to know that Senator Morgan was the campaign manager for the last candidate for Governor of North Carolina to run on an avowedly segregationist platform.

Yes, children, the candidate’s name was I. Beverly Lake Sr. A law professor, lawyer and state supreme court justice. He participated in oral argument against Brown v. Board of Education as North Carolina’s Assistant Attorney General. By 1960, he was the unquestioned leader of the state’s segregationists and he became a candidate for Governor.

As he describes in an oral history interview, “Those men whom I taught, not only in that class but in all the others before it, those men became the nucleus of my political campaign when I ran for Governor in 1960 and again in 1964.” Robert Morgan was one of those men.

Judge Lake’s boys became the most powerful men in North Carolina. CEOs of corporations, state supreme court judges, federal judges, and members of congress, they were a closed fraternity and were undeniably influential members of the white power structure. This is the network, which the Clintons turn to put them over. It is also the network that controls Democratic politics in North Carolina and it’s the reason for Democratic dominance over the Governor’s mansion for 24 of the last 32 years.

Bill and Hillary are intimately acquainted with closed Good Ole Boy and Girl networks of power, having benefited from the one that controls Arkansas. When she first arrived in Arkansas, Bill arranged for Hillary to be given a teaching position in the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville School of Law, where he also taught. After his election as Arkansas Attorney General, Clinton biographer Roger Morris, author of Partners in Power, recalls how Bill called up Herbert Rule III, a partner in the Rose law firm and Clinton fundraiser.

Morris quoted Rule “I got the word from Bill Clinton that she was coming and I tracked her down,” Rule said later. At the time the firm had few women or even Ivy League law credentials, and Rose rarely recruited from law school faculties or legal aid clinics. “Hillary was just a law professor, that’s all,” remarked one partner. But the firm saw her obvious value, offering the twenty-nine-year-old attorney a salary just under $25,000—far higher than the pay in Arkansas for teaching or public interest law and well more than Clinton himself would make as attorney general.”

“…The decision had been made when she decided to marry, to go with his career as the engine for her own ambition and power,” said someone who had known them since Yale. “By the time Rose came across with the offer, she was going to do whatever was best for Bill, whatever would get them to the top—and I mean all the way to the top—as fast as possible.”

“…Both sides recognized the mutual compact in Rose’s employing the wife of an attorney general and politician on the rise…For the firm she was a natural hireling. Formed before statehood and named for a founder of the American Bar Association, Rose had numbered among its partners judges and state supreme court justices, mayors, legislators, a US Senator, and , above all, the intimates of those in power, figures who exerted their force more discreetly, without potentially awkward public visibility, without accountability. It was a matter of appearance and reality in an Arkansas when the two were frequently not the same.”

“For a century and a half Rose represented and wielded the influence of the most powerful forces in the state—in land, timber, retailing, insurance, investment banking, agriculture, financial services—and, with governments at all levels, virtually the entire enveloping grid of political privilege and consequent private profit from the Ozarks to the Delta.

“What Arkansas was the Rose Law Firm had been well paid to make it—and to protect and maintain the result. The discreet firm’s own fortunes were inseparable from the economic and social system it served. Beyond any considerations of gender, resume, or name, Hillary Rodham’s presence on the letterhead was in a long tradition.”

Operating as a preserve of racial exclusivity is apparently a long tradition as well because not even one of the current crop of 30 plus attorneys practicing law as associates or partners with Rose Law, a firm Hillary Rodham Clinton served as a partner and had a say in running, is African American.

For Billary to attempt masquerading as champions of the working class is funnier than Larry Craig explaining his wide stance. For the record, Bill and Hillary Clinton got to where they are by servicing the needs of white corporate power. Period. Anybody who says anything different is crazier than Brittney Spears.

It’s funny how the questionable associations of the Clintons are not being placed under the same microscope as Barack Obama’s. Associations like these could be ferreted out, discussed and disseminated widely by the media and Obama’s post-racial campaign. But, then, it wouldn’t be post-racial if he obsessed over the corporate and segregationist allies of Bill and Hillary. And it would reveal that the deliberate lies about race and power told in the supposedly post-racial 21st century are essentially the same as the ones told in the twentieth.

Speaking of the past, Bill and Hill’s rustic pander fest is reminiscent of another road show that has been lost down the memory hole. It’s Lurleen Wallace’s 1966 campaign for Governor of Alabama. Lurleen Wallace, long term readers of this blog will recall, was the wife of Alabama’s term-limited segregationist Governor, George Wallace. She ran to continue her husband’s hold on power.

I ran across a beautifully written article in the Saturday Evening Post detailing the campaign, “A huge WALLACE FOR GOVERNOR sign hung behind speakers stand. It did not make a point of the fact that it was Mrs. Wallace who was the candidate. Along the sidewalls faded banners bore George Wallace’s old cry of defiance—STAND UP FOR ALABAMA. At the doors Wallace aides held out baskets into which the faithful dropped dollar bills. An elderly minister offered a long and fervent prayer. At the end of it he paused and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present to you the First Lady of the State of Alabama.”

“Mrs. Wallace stood up and calmly began to read her little speech, “As you know,” she said, “I am a candidate for governor of Alabama. I am happy to offer to you a continuance of the honesty and efficiency so much in evidence during the administration of my husband,” In the back of the hall a man leaning against the wall muttered to a companion, “That’s enough of her—let’s get on to George,” Wallace could not possibly have heard this remark, but his political antenna were responding to the mood of the audience.

“He sensed its impatience. He rose and moved to his wife’s side, “My election,” she was saying, “will enable my husband to carry on his program for Alabama—we want to continue to serve you together.” This is the central argument of Hillary’s campaign and nothing symbolized it more than when they jointly eulogized Coretta Scott King from the pulpit.

“… He [Wallace] then went on to tell them that in his travels around the country he had not found any people anywhere who were “more intelligent or more cultured or more refined than the people of Alabama.” This is what I hear when I hear Bill and Hill tell folks that they matter more than the caucus states and when I hear tell of their shifting rationales for counting Michigan and Florida, contrary to the rules, and their proposed use of the so-called Nuclear Option to seat their people.

Bill seems to be consciously channeling Wallace as he panders his way through the country’s rural areas. Ecohoing Wallace’s infamous 1963 Inaugural, shortly before he stood in the schoolhouse door of the University of Alabama, can’t you just imagine Bill saying, “Today I have stood, where some segregationist once stood, and took an oath to my wife, the woman who single-handedly kept my presidency alive. It is very appropriate then, that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom in the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of Obama tyranny and I say Hillary today, Hillary tomorrow, Hillary forever.