Harold Ford Jr: Rotten Apple

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The “news” broke yesterday that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr’s three year effort to revive his flagging political career in the cesspool of New York politics has borne rotten fruit.  Since leaving the congress, Ford has kept busy with a few media gig’s on Fox News and MSNBC as a “political analyst,” Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, and most important, a corporate executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch—a bank that acquired the largest predatory lender, Countrywide. These corporate entanglements coupled with his unabashed support of estate tax repeal for the wealthiest among us make it clear to all sentient beings that Harold Ford Jr is nothing but a shameless corporate whore with an insatiable lust for power.

The day began with an appearance on “Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s corporate sponsored Salon of establishment propaganda. The Whore played coy as Mika and Joe held forth on the NY Times story detailing Harold’s courtesan seduction of powerful and prominent Jewish fundraisers and corporate heavyweights in an effort to line up enough cash to mount a serious primary challenge to Hillary Clinton’s designated successor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The Whore even got Mayor Michael Bloomberg to say he would “take a look” at supporting him.  Y’all can believe what you want to believe, but the Whore is serious about this sh*t.  In one fell swoop, he has damn near neutralized Chuck Schumer, a man not to be trifled with.

Schumer considers himself the godfather of New York Politics and certainly the top Jewish pol. When he couldn’t control Mayor Bloomberg, he put his wife, Iris Weinshall, in his administration as one of Bloomberg’s commissioners.  Former Governor Spitzer was Schumer’s top rival  and his downfall in a tawdry sex scandal was relished with glee.  Harold is playing this political game of chess like Bobby Fischer.

All of this inside baseball is important considering his unmistakable fingerprints in clearing the field for Gillibrand.  As a former Senate Campaign Committee Chair, Schumer modis operandi is to clear the field for his favorites and to dry up the money for their opponents. Threats are exchanged and favors extended. It always worked.  It worked for Gillibrand up until now. Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney dropped their bids after being passed over for appointment after being threatened by the White House at the behest of Schumer.

But after looking at the love in these two men’s eye’s, I seriously doubt whether a call from the White House will be forthcoming this time.

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?

Sarah Palin: John McCain’s Right-Wing Covergirl

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The selection of the “easy, breezy, beautiful” Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is the boldest act of political jujitsu seen in decades. I told y’all that Barack Obama should have chosen a woman to close the opening that this selection runs right through. Machiavelli would be proud.

You’ve heard the Republican talking points about John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. She’s a hockey mom, political reformer, and female trailblazer that has served as a city councilwoman, Mayor, State Oil and Gas Commissioner and Governor. This post is about what you may not know or haven’t considered.

While the Democratic establishment is widely panning the selection of an untested and unknown Governor Palin, I think that most are missing the bigger picture. They have panned this choice as a nakedly illogical pander to white women, which is certainly true, but politics is not about what’s logical, it is about what people really feel and will never say. The most diehard Hillarycrats and PUMA activists have already pledged their support to John McSame, a rigidly pro-life conservative opposed to women’s reproductive rights, feminism and the concept of equal pay for equal work. Hillarycrats have panned Barack Obama as an empty suit and unqualified usurper who screwed Hillary Clinton out of her divine right to become the Democratic nominee.

As Tim Wise has written, the various excuses thrown out by Hillarycrats, like gender solidarity, blaming Barack for Hillary’s sexist manhandling by the media and Obama’s qualifications, conveniently masks Hillarycrats undercover racial resistance to the idea of electing a black president. He writes:

How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate–Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line–and yet, apparently can’t bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned.

And how are we to understand that refusal–this sudden line in the proverbial sand–other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year–and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point–but can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you’ve supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing

Karl Rove underscores the purpose of this pick for the uninitiated:

“It(s)… a clear sign from the McCain campaign that they were going to be making a very strong bid for the women whom they see up for grabs — both the traditional, swing independent suburbanites and then the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain disillusioned.”

McSame’s power move echoes the third law of power in Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.

Law 3

Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Governor Palin’s selection represents McCain scraping the bottom of a very shallow conservative barrel.

The Nation’s Christopher Hayes sights an Associated Press blurb from 1999:

Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.”

Anybody who supported any of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns is a hard-right troglodyte obsessed with immigration, “states rights,” the ever-increasing numbers of colored folks in America, and the religious right’s scorched earth culture war against abortion, homosexuality and the civil rights of the GLBT community.

Governor Palin opposes abortion rights—period. No exceptions. And the Governor is also a lifetime member of the gun nut NRA. She is a cynical sop to the hard right and to fanatical feminist dead-enders who refuse to listen to the entreaties of Hillary Clinton to vote for Barack Obama.

JOHN MCCAIN IN A DRAG

The conservative woman with the ideal resume to break the glass ceiling in Republican politics was New Mexico’s Heather Wilson. With a resume that reads like a political consultant’s wet dream, Congresswoman Wilson, the first female Air Force academy graduate elected to congress, is a Rhodes Scholar possessing a doctorate in international relations and an extensive background in military intelligence. Wilson served on the President’s National Security Council before her election to five terms in congress.

As a member of congress, Mrs. Wilson serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. The congresswoman has a couple of problems though. First, she is a nominally pro-choice Republican who supports stem cell research that is anathema to the pro-life lobby. Second, she sat on the House Page Board and claimed to know nothing about Congressman Mark Foley’s sick trolling for male pages. Additionally, she covered up incriminating case files detailing an investigation of her husband for playing grab ass with a teenage boy.

That was clearly not going to work. However, there were certainly others to whom McSame could turn.

THE OTHERS

Every senior Republican woman on Capitol Hill is more qualified than Sarah Palin—every woman. Maine Senator Olympia Snowe—the senior woman Republican on Capitol Hill, has served in congress for 30 years, longer than John McCain. She sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has been in the Senate for 15 years having first served as a state legislator and state Treasurer. Miss Kay is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on both the Defense and Military Construction subcommittees.

Maine Senator Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman’s Republican concubine, has been on the Hill for 20+ years. Collins served as chief of staff for her Senate predecessor and was subsequently elected to office in her own right. A senator for 12 years, she is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chaired the Senate Committee on Homeland Security in the last congress.

Every single one of these woman is nominally pro-choice and neither would have solved McSame’s problems with the reactionary base of the Republican Party. In no way is this a choice based on the merits—it’s hardball politics calculated to woo white voters, especially women, wary of electing a black man to the highest office in the land.

Don’t sleep on John McCain’s right-wing covergirl. Palin defeated the incumbent Governor of her own party and the state’s last Democratic Governor to assume power in the incestuous cesspool that is Alaska politics. Her personality and forthright demeanor are her greatest asset and are the single biggest reason for her 80% approval rating. She can appeal to disaffected Hillarycrats without doing much of anything. PUMA’s Darragh Murhpy described her selection as, “Bold and Brave” on tonight’s Hardball.

In my estimation, this selection confirms the Machiavellian genuflection to Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos and is an ominous symbol that the GOP is still wedded to the exploitation of race as wedge issue. So much for Obama’s attempts to be post-racial.

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?

It Must Be A Woman

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I’ve grown weary of hearing from the irrational dead enders in Hillary Clinton’s cult of personality. I’m tired of their racist demands that either Obama fold his candidacy and yield to her superior experience or accede to their arrogant demands that she join his ticket. I am deeply offended by their unwillingness to accept Hillary’s defeat and their oft repeated intention to cast a vote for John McCain instead. Moreover, it chaps my hide for the faux feminists in Hillary’s suicide cult that claim to be insulted by Obama’s consideration of another woman.

 

 

Moreover, nobody can tell me that a woman Governor who wins four statewide elections in a red state and still manages to govern progressively and with compassion and common-sense shouldn’t be considered to become the first female Vice President of this country.

 

 

 

Kathleen Sebelius is the total package and she happens to be a woman. I share the goal of the White House Project and the feminist community. I supported Carol Moseley Braun when the bulk of the faux feminists pretended that she was neither qualified nor viable. She was both and would have been able to prove that with their support. I didn’t support Hillary Clinton for reasons I’ve already stated in full and won’t rehash them here. But I am sincere in the belief that Obama’s running mate must be a woman. The time has come for a woman to be next in line to become President of the United States and Barack Obama would do well to text-message the name of Kathleen Sebelius to an anxiously awaiting public today.

After two decades in public life, she has just as much to offer as Hillary Clinton, if not more. During her time as Governor of Kansas she has twice reached across the aisle to chose a Republican as a running mate and has governed from the center and been productive while dealing with a Republican legislature. She protected a woman’s right to chose by vetoing draconian legislation, protected the environment by blocking smog producing coal plants, balanced Kansas budgets without raising taxes, protected funding for K-12 education, and as Insurance Commissioner for 8 years, protected consumers by preventing the state’s Blue Cross non-profit from being bought up by a managed care conglomerate that would have jacked up premiums.

It’s hard for me to understand why women who helped Hillary break the glass ceiling in American politics wouldn’t at least want another woman to be considered if their favorite daughter didn’t make the cut. Otherwise, what was the damn point of their efforts? Hiliary’s feaux feminists were the same people who excused Bill Clinton’s serial philandering and humiliation of their feminist icon and now they have the temerity to attempt to crucify Barack Obama, a man who has never publicly humiliated his wife by straying, on the cross of sexism. Please tell me that you see the racist double-standard in that.

I’m with Robert Schlesinger on this one. It is insulting to all the women in public life to suggest that all they bring to a ticket is gender and particularly insulting to the woman who made the final four, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Moreover, to answer Schlesinger’s rhetorical question of whether the women’s movement should be subsumed to one woman’s movement? I think the answer is clear. It cannot be and should not be.

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.

Hate disguised as dissent

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Virginia blogger Vivian Paige, a good friend, is having a discussion on her space about the above graphic used by blogger Howling Latina, also a friend of mine. She highlights the fallout in the blogging community as Howling Latina was de-listed by Leftyblogs, a powerful ally in driving traffic to like minded progressive sites.

Vivian believes that the issue is purely one of free speech. She’s half right. However, there is no constitutional right to be listed on leftyblogs when your attacks on the Democratic nominee are either the same or worse than those on the far-right. I also believe that Hate Speech is not constitutionally protected. The aforementioned cartoon skirts a dangerous line between meanness and hate.

Keeping this in mind, I’ve written the following open letter to Howling Latina:

Dearest Mimi,

As a friend and fan, it surprised and pained me to see this graphic on your site. I have admired your strong Christian convictions and your committed and progressive Democratic activism. As a believer in the First Amendment I will always defend the right to free speech no matter how objectionable I may find it. But whether you’re ready to acknowledge it or not, this cartoon graphic crosses the line.

Sweetie, this cartoon graphic is gratuitously mean-spirited, disgusting and is rightfully construed as a racist insult. As a Cuban Latina, I thought that the inimical legacy of white supremacy in your ancestral home would be clear to you as a line never to be crossed. I say this as a progressive Obama critic capable of using provocative sexual innuendo and inappropriate imagery to make a legitimate point. I’ve made it clear to my readers that Obama has strayed far from what is both prudent and progressives many times. His equivocations on the road to the nomination enraged and saddened me, as well as others, but what you’re putting out there as criticism is neither principled nor Christian and I know that you’re better than that, honey.

Hillary has given up the ghost. She has endorsed Obama in the spirit of unity and he has praised her lavishly and returned the favor by asking the DNC to seat both Michigan and Florida‘s full voting strength. The race for the nomination is over, Mimi. The standard bearer of the Democratic party is an imperfect vessel named Barack Obama.

If you cannot accept that reality and support your party, then I can only draw the conclusion that your opposition is about race. Both you and Vivian dismiss the divisive and insensitive racial politics played by the Clintons during the nomination fight as acceptable. I respectfully disagree. But where we should all agree is that using the same racial attacks as the far-right on Barack will yield nothing positive and will continue to give aid and comfort to the supporters of John McCain and the criminal syndicate that masquerades as the Republican party.

This posture makes you look as ridiculous as the corporate whore and GOP sellout better known as Joe Lieberman. You remember him, right? He claimed to be against the Bush Agenda as he ran for and lost the 2004 Democratic Nomination for President and the 2006 Democratic nomination for the Senate. He then got in bed with them to win re-election and has been screwing us all ever since. It should be worth noting that Barack Obama endorsed him for re-election in the Democratic primary in addition to campaigning and raising money for him and that Lieberman returned the favor by endorsing John McCain.

This is not you, sweetheart. I encourage you to search your heart and to pray about this. I have every confidence that you’ll do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Skeptical Brotha

 

Hillary’s Emancipation Proclamation

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By the rightful Democratic Nominee for President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight, a proclamation was issued by the rightful Democratic Nominee for President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:


That on the seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight, all Negro congresspersons, lesser Negro politicians, sycophants and political hangers on held as slaves by my galactic ambition and arrogant sense of white entitlement in any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof in rebellion against the Clinton dynastic control of the Democratic Party, shall be then, thenceforward, conditionally free; and the Democratic Party of the United States, including every elected official and party officer, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such Negroes, unless Barack Hussein Obama loses the General Election.

Now, therefore I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, The rightful Democratic Nominee for President of the United States, by virtue of the power vested in me as wife of the 42nd President of the United States, in a time of actual rebellion against permanent Clinton dynastic authority over the Democratic Party of the United States, do, on this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight, and in accordance with my purpose to publicly order a cessation of hostilities and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the notion of a black President of the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia,

And by virtue of the same illegitimate power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all Negro congresspersons, lesser Negro politicians, sycophants and hangers on held as slaves to my galactic ambition and sense of arrogant white entitlement within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Democratic Party of the United States, including every elected official and party officer thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said Negro persons unless Barack Obama loses the General Election.

And I hereby enjoin upon the Negroes so declared to be free to abstain from any strenuous effort on behalf of Barack Hussein Obama, and I recommend to them that they be ready to be re-enslaved on Plantation Clinton should he lose .

And upon this act of political expedience, warranted by a begrudging recognition of political reality, I invoke the considerate judgment of party leaders, superdelegates and the punditocracy, and beseech the gracious favor of Almighty God that Barack Hussein Obama loses the General Election.

Done at the City of Washington, this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand and eight.

By the rightful Democratic Nominee for President:

HRCsignature2.PNG

Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

The Endorsement Speech

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Anne Kornblut wrote an interesting piece for the Washington Post’s Trail blog. I quote some of it below, but for me, what was more illuminating was what came after it. The comment section was filled with the bitterest Hillarycrat and GOP trolls ever. These people make it seem as if Obama supporters are delusional in believing that the brotha has a shot in the General Election.

Hat Tip: By Anne Kornblut, Washington Post

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history, officially left the race on Saturday with a forceful promise to help elect Sen. Barack Obama — and a powerful declaration that, even in defeat, a gender barrier had been crossed.

Four days after Obama secured the delegates to win the Democratic nomination, Clinton gave him her unqualified endorsement, finally putting to rest questions about whether she would help unite the party for the general election. In generous and at times soaring terms, Clinton described her cause as united with Obama’s, saying that only electing him would achieve the goals of universal health care, a strong economy and the end of the war in Iraq.

“We may have started on separate journeys, but today our paths have merged,” Clinton said. She discouraged rehashing the long and divisive Democratic primary campaign, instead asking her supporters — some of whom, still resentful, booed when she mentioned her former rival during the speech — to “take our energy, our passion, our strength and to do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.”

“When you hear people saying, or think to yourself, ‘if only’ or ‘what if,’ I say — please don’t go there,” Clinton said. “Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.”

She continued: “Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Sen. Obama is our next president, and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort.”

The trolls were in rare form today on this blog post:

“Sorry Mrs. Clinton, this life long democrat will vote Republican for the first time ever. After your speech today, I gave a donation to John McCain. He has my vote as well.

Obama is wrong for this country and I won’t be part of that choice. He will lose. He deserves to lose. He’s an empty suit.”

Posted by: Pansycritter | June 7, 2008 7:32 PM

“Well, there’s one thing for sure: NO MORE RACE CARDS!!!! If/when the U.S. elects a black President, then thankfully no more cries of discrimination. Nominating and/or electing a black President speaks volumes – that effectively, there is no more discrimination against blacks. Finally, an end to the whining.”

Posted by: tellthetruthnow | June 7, 2008 7:32 PM

“Hopefully, some time soon, people will recognize Obama for what he is. They’ll look back and see his trail of crooked, biggoted friends; the nuance that leaves us wondering what his hope for us is; his socialists [sic] friends.”

“His 20 year comfort in isolation with all of the above should give answer to why he is spiritually devoted to Africa? (A continent of perpetual revolution, starvation, disease, and murder.) We should see now, before it’s too late, that what he prays to be liberated from is the nation our forefathers built to provide us with the opportunities that initiative and hard work provide. Even worse is that he prays for our liberation from the fruits of our labor in order for him to provide the desires of his brethren.”

Posted by: rpatoh | June 7, 2008 7:31 PM

“I supported Hillary. There is no way in jell [sic] am going to vote for Barrack. He’s a liar and closet racist. No way!!”

Posted by: Lou | June 7, 2008 7:29 PM

What are your thoughts about the speech and these posters reactions to it?

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

The Last Dog Dies: Obama clinches the nomination

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Today is a time for supporters and skeptics alike to savor this seminal moment in American history and take a vacation from cynicism. I don’t have many elegant thoughts or well-turned phrases to bedazzle you with this evening. I have many irons in the fire and none are appropriate or ready for unveiling at this time. Today marks the fulfillment of the 25 year-old dream that I have been patiently waiting and hoping for and I feel numb.

It is much like the feeling I experienced when my grandmother informed Mom and I last week that she would have to put down her beloved dog, Homer. Homer, a pure bred Shar-pei, was her faithful companion of nearly 12 years. Mama cried some bitter tears over his inevitable decline in health and the decision was made to humanely put him down.

In the same vein, the indefatigable Clintons campaigned for America’s imperial throne with an air of white entitlement until all hope was gone and the last dog died. Now that her campaign has been euthanized, and they weep bitter crocodile tears, it is incumbent upon Senator Obama to put a stake through the heart of the Clintons permanent campaign and forever remove the possibility of a political resurrection through the lifeline of the Vice Presidency.

The specter of placing the Queen of triangulation and America’s most resilient corporate vampire on the same ticket with Obama is both repellent and counterproductive. I look forward to the coming days as Obama sets his sights on a running mate and shall continue to savor this moment for all its worth.

Hillary wins Kentucky

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Democratic Primary Results

Real-time Race Results: Updated May 20, 2008 – 9:08 PM (all times Eastern Standard)
Precincts Reporting 95%

Candidate Votes Vote % Delegates Projected Winner
Clinton 416,998 66% 33 Winner
Obama 189,908 30% 14  
Uncommitted 16,037 2% 0

 

Hat Tip: By DAVID ESPO and SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writers

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Kentucky primary Tuesday, a victory of scant political value in a Democratic presidential race moving inexorably in Barack Obama’s direction.

The two rivals also collided in Oregon’s unique vote-by-mail contest, and Obama predicted he would finish the night with a majority of all delegates at stake in the 56 primaries and caucuses on the campaign calendar.

With votes counted from 41 percent of the Kentucky precincts, Clinton was gaining 57 percent support, compared with 40 percent for Obama.

Interviews with Kentucky voters leaving their polling places showed Clinton’s victory was roughly as sweeping as the rout she fashioned last week in West Virginia.

Almost nine in 10 ballots were cast by whites, and the former first lady was winning their support overwhelmingly. She defeated her rival among voters of all age groups and incomes, the college educated and non-college educated, self-described liberals, moderates and conservatives.

Though Clinton has had a strong run through the late primaries, Obama has steadily outpaced her where it counts, in the race for national convention delegates.

With her Kentucky victory, Clinton picked up at least 27 delegates, with an additional 24 to be awarded.

Overall, Obama had 1,917 delegates, little more than 100 shy of the 2,026 needed to become the first black presidential nominee of a major party. The former first lady had 1,749.

 

The numbers the networks are reporting are screwy.   One minute they have her at over 268,000, the next minute they revise the number down to 230,000.  What is the deal?