History has arrived

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votebw4

I am headed to my poll location now to work.   Share your thoughts with me as history is being made.

After several hours at the polls, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

The Grandmother of Barack Obama, Madelyn Dunham, has gone home to see the King.

This is a bittersweet moment for all of those, myself included, who prayed and asked the Lord to allow Mother Dunham to see her grandson elected President. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in God’s plan.

Barack’s tears touched me.

APTOPIX Obama 2008

They took me back to the death of my grandfather.

I don’t know what it is like to lose a grandmother and don’t want to know. My maternal grandmother is my heart. She is the matriarch of our family. My grandmother is sweet potato pie and peach cobbler. She is quiet dignity and unconditional love. She is collard greens and cornbread. She is my rock, my anchor, my role model. I cannot imagine life without her love, her prayers, or her presence.

Fifteen years ago, Grandma discovered that her husband of 35 years had slipped away quietly in his sleep after a long illness. She called the sheriff to pronounce the body and the funeral home. While waiting for momma and me to arrive, grandma had a massive heart attack. She was right in the middle of it as we arrived. She rocked back and forth on the foot of the bed as she prayed softly. We called her name and rubbed her back. Mama continued rocking back and forth and praying softly. She finally fell out as they lifted her onto the gurney and transported her to the hospital. It never dawned on me that she was having a heart attack. The whole thing felt like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

We waited helplessly for several hours with other family as they worked to stabilize her in intensive care. When they finally let us in to see her, she was hooked up to a respirator and there seemed to be tubes coming from everywhere. I lost it and quickly dissolved into tears. Grandma gestured for a pen and scribbled a note that read: God told me it is not my time. Stop crying.

That didn’t reassure me.

I spent the next five days on my face, fasting and praying. Nearly a week after being on the brink of death, Mama walked out of that hospital and buried her husband with the characteristic dignity and resolve she’s always displayed. She never had another heart related incident. God spoke to my grandmother clearly and told her it was not her time. There was nothing more to fear. God said it. He did it.

For those of you who believe that we cannot predict an Obama win because you are superstitious, there is nothing to fear because this is his time and nothing will change that. I look forward to April 27, 2009 when the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, writes to my grandmother and wishes her a happy 80th birthday.

Y’all be good and go vote. Do it for all the grandmothers who couldn’t be with us and whose sacrifices made this moment in history possible.

Hate First

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Video Hat Tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Crooks and Liars

The mainstream media has been talking around this for weeks now, but Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern news channel, lays it out plain and shows White voters spewing out the racist, sectarian, xenophobic, Anti-Obama talking points of the Republican Party.  The Republicans have been playing a ridiculous game of denial with the media and everyone else that calls them on their bullshit–thus, the histrionics by Republicans over John Lewis’ open letter calling out McSame and Failin’.  They know exactly what they’ve been doing because they’ve been doing it for over 40 years.  They have been masters at the non-denial denial and the art of deliberately stoking the racial resentments of their white constitutent base against the liberal enemies of the moment.  Southern Strategy, anyone?

Bernie Sanders: progressive champion

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Yesterday’s Senate Debate on the Wall Street Bailout provided some stark contrasts.  On the one hand, you had progressive stalwarts like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold.  On the other hand, you had John McCain and Barack Obama.  No matter how you slice it, Barack Obama’s capitulation on the Wall Street Bailout was a betrayal of progressive values and a betrayal of the working class, which is disproportionately composed of people of color.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Socialist who caucuses with Senate Democrats, illuminated the class betrayal of Obama and the majority of his Democratic colleagues with a clarity that should have embarassed them all.

In our country today we have the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on Earth, with the top 1 percent earning more income than the bottom 50 percent, and the top 1 percent owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. We are living at a time when we have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthiest people in this country; when, among others, CEO’s of Wall Street firms receive unbelievable amounts in bonuses, including $39 billion in bonuses in the year 2007 alone for just the five major investment houses.

 We have seen the incredible greed of the financial service industry manifested in the hundreds of millions of dollars they have spent on campaign contributions and lobbyists in order to deregulate their industry so hedge funds and other unregulated financial institutions could flourish. We have seen them play with trillions and trillions of dollars in esoteric financial instruments in unregulated industries which no more than a handful of people even understand.

We have seen the financial services industry charge 30 percent interest rates on credit card loans and tack on outrageous late fees and other costs to unsuspecting customers. We have seen them engaged in despicable predatory lending practices, taking advantage of the vulnerable and the uneducated. We have seen them send out billions of deceptive solicitations to almost every mailbox in America.

I used to think that my home was the only one that was receiving them. It turns out that billions of other solicitations went out to probably every home in America. What they hoped to do was to gain new customers for credit card companies and then, through the very small print on the back of the solicitation, have the opportunity, have the ability to monkey around with interest rates so when people thought they were getting zero interest or 2 percent, it turns out that a few months later they were paying very high interest rates.

Most important, of course, we have seen the financial services industry lure people into mortgages they could not afford to pay, which is one of the basic reasons we are tonight in the midst of all of this. We have a bailout package today which says to the middle class that you are being asked to place at risk $700 billion, which is $2,200 for every man, woman, and child in this country. You are being asked to do that in order to undo the damage caused by this excessive Wall Street greed. In other words, the “Masters of the Universe,” those brilliant Wall Street insiders who have made more money than the average American can even dream of, have brought our financial system to the brink of collapse, and now, as the American and world financial systems teeter on the edge of a meltdown, these multimillionaires are demanding that the middle class, which has already suffered under Bush’s disastrous economic policies, pick up the pieces they broke.

That is wrong and that is something I will not support. The major point I want to make this evening is, if we are going to bail out Wall Street, it should be those people who have caused the problem, those people who have benefited from Bush’s tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, those people who have taken advantage of deregulation–those people are the people who should pick up the tab and not ordinary working people.

Obama’s support of the bailout didn’t come cheap.  With more than $9.8 millon rasised from the securities and investment industry, nobody can question that he is morally compromised himself by accepting $691,900 from Goldman Sachs, $448,600 from Citigroup,  $442,919 JP Morgan,  $404,750 from UBS, $370,500 from Lehman Bros, and $318,00 from Morgan Stanley.   These six investment houses and brokerages kicked in $2,676,739 to the Obama coffers alone. 

I like what I’ve read on Obama’s website about his proposals regarding predatory lending and his legislative record, but this Wall Street Bailout vote negates most of that in my mind and I am not at all happy about it.  Also missing is any real commitment to reimposing the Glass Steagall act reforms of the New Deal Era that separated investment banking from commercial banking and insurance and protected American consumers from monopoly and speculation. Votes like this underscore the necessity of campaign finance reform.  

Senator Sanders offered an amendment to the Wall Street Bailout that would have raised taxes on those making $500,000 or more to pay for the bailout and it failed on a voice vote.   I would have loved to have seen whether Obama’s lips moved yea or nay or whether they were on the floor at all.

Bailout fails; GOP abandons Bush and McCain

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2008.05.15 - House Debate on Iraq Funding 6 by goppolicy.

Despite the House Republicans disingenuous efforts to pin the failure of the Bush Administration’s Wall Street bailout on Nancy Pelosi’s “partisan” speech castigating free market wingnuts for their anti-regulation philosophy, the blame lies squarely on their shoulders because Bush is their damn President.  Period.  

The House GOP is more concerned about saving themselves than they are about saving the country from economic collapse or salvaging Bush’s legacy or supporting John McCain.   They threw them both over the side and are preserving the option for themselves of blaming the impending economic catastrophe on Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.   

People must realize that there can be no bi-partisan cooperation with the Republican Party.  They are right-wing extremists determined to destroy this country before they hand it over to a black man.  To counteract that level of racist sabotage, Barack Obama needs the biggest Democratic majorities in twenty-five years to be able to enact his agenda. 

Hopefully the Democratic majority will be emboldened to fashion a bailout for Main Street instead of Wall Street.  I’m not hopeful.  

The Big Debate at Ole Miss

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Obama never answered the question about being for or against the Wall Street bailout.   It is a clear equivocation and it does not help him.

What say You?

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.

Fathers and Sons

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I first saw this photograph when rikyrah used it on Jack and Jill Politics and it disoriented me and I didn’t understand why until today.   I could appreciate the beauty of this photograph without being able to connect with the emotions the photo evokes.  The look on this little boy’s face is angelic and blissful.   The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don’t remember my father holding me, embracing me, touching me, or loving me.

My parents divorced over 30 years ago.  To put it succinctly, they were estranged.  My parents were typical high school sweethearts and after graduation, they found themselves expecting a little bundle of unexpected joy.  Married to the sound of a shotgun, their union quickly disintegrated.  The breakup occurred one day after Daddy came home from work and Momma had no food prepared.  It became physical and Daddy told his pregnant bride that she was stupid and that he had fallen out of love with her in the span of their three week-old marriage.  He put her out of the apartment and told her never to come back.

Momma wandered the streets in tears for two days before she swallowed her pride and called her parents.

I have only two memories of my father during my childhood because I only saw him twice.   When I was four, Daddy asked Momma to take him back.  He took us to the state fair and it was the only time that I remember feeling whole, complete, total.   We had a great time and the single photograph of me at the fair was lost in a fire over twenty years ago, but I remember it because I feel the same as the boy in this photo.

My father is the most intelligent man I know and his physical presence makes an impression.   His commanding voice and magnetic gaze are intimidating.   Momma withstood it all, thanked him for a wonderful evening and asked for a divorce.

The last time I saw Daddy was in the grocery store.  I was all dressed up for Easter in a suit that Momma made.  I strutted my stuff.  I couldn’t have been more than five.  It was the last time my parents spoke until I was 19 and I briefly went to live with him.

My grandfather picked me up daily from school until I was old enough to hoof it on my own.   I saw him everyday.  He was there for me providing a gentle and quiet example.  He wasn’t demonstrative though and I don’t recall hugs and kisses being his thing.  I know he loved me and after his death I wore his clothes and used his Old Spice so that I wouldn’t forget his smell.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with love.  I grew up with unconditional love.  The Father blessed me with a wonderful Momma and grandparents who nurtured and cared for me.   But being surrounded by the children of the white middle class, I felt damaged and incomplete.   Some of that is a function of race and class and some is because of Daddy’s estrangement.  It occurs to me as I write this how much I needed my father’s love and how the absence of his love played into my self esteem and insecurities as a grown ass man.  I am so blessed to have Daddy in my life now.

Barack Obama never got the chance to reconnect with his Daddy the way that I did.  He understands what I’m feeling and he decided that his children would never know what this feels like.  This photo speaks to me because it shows a Black man unafraid to embrace himself and Black men in all of their complexity and love them. Despite the skepticism I am always expressing about Senator Obama, and will invariably express again, I will push it aside and vote for him.

To my brothas who have sons:

embrace them,

hold them,

make them feel safe in your arms and comfortable in your presence,

and love them unconditionally.

 

I love you, Daddy