Iowa Caucus Today

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Speaking to unprecedented crowds all across Iowa, in fact, the largest by far, it is undeniable that Obama is going into this thing with some momentum. ¬† All three major candidates have pulled out the stops and performed with maximum effort. ¬† We are only 3 hours to prime time now and the anticipation is bout to kill me.¬† I didn’t leave the house until late and could barely sleep.¬† I have never seen anything like this before, unless you take Obama’s first Senate Campaign and Deval Patrick’s Gubernatorial Campaign into account. ¬† ¬† This is really something. ¬†¬†¬† I’ll be back later to update with my thoughts and opinions.

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Today’s Political Developments

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Following the surprise announcement of Senator Trent Lott’s resignation, his successor has been revealed. After much speculation, most of it ludicrous, such as the appointment of an African American, Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour named Congressman Roger Wicker, a north Mississippi Republican, to Trent Lott’s vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. The White Citizens Council is presumably pleased.

Although the presence of racial discrimination and an undying fealty to the principles of the confederacy and white supremacy remain unabated, Congressman Wicker, in the face of unrefutable evidence that it is still needed, voted to gut the re-extension of the Voting Rights Act of 2006 by voting for a series of GOP amendments designed to make the act unconstitutional and unenforceable.

This follows the time honored tradition of southern white politicians of both parties paying lip service to the cause of voting rights and frustrating its implementation at every opportunity. The African American citizens of Kilmichael, Mississippi, in 2oo1, were treated to disgusting display of segregationist shit when city elections were postponed on the eve of the election, in violation of state and federal law, because it appeared to white city fathers that African American candidates were going to win.

There is no bigoted southern stereotype that Mississippi has not earned. According to the Leadership Council for Civil Rights, “The entire state of Mississippi is required to submit all voting changes to the Department of Justice (DOJ) before enacting them because the state for so long consistently and aggressively denied blacks the right to vote. Since 1969, DOJ has objected 169 times to voting changes in Mississippi–112 of which occurred after the 1982 reauthorization.”

“Many of DOJ’s objections involved efforts to dilute minority voting strength, mostly by creating majority-white districts or changing election procedures to favor white candidates. Because of repeated DOJ objections to these redistricting plans, Mississippi has had at least one black representative in Congress since 1986.”

“McDuff concludes that Mississippi has a long way to go before voters in black-white elections cast their vote based on non-racial factors. For example, in the 2003 State Treasurer election Gary Anderson, the director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, lost the election with 47 percent of the vote to a 29-year-old white candidate with no experience beyond working in a bank. Of the 57 majority-white counties, Anderson won only 18 and lost 39.”

“In addition, federal observers have been sent to monitor Mississippi elections on 250 separate occasions since the 1982 reauthorization, the most for any state. Mississippi accounts for 40 percent of the overall elections to which federal observers have been sent since 1982.”


He supported every questionable judicial nomination put forward by the Bush Administration, for example, Judge Charles Pickering, a long time GOP activist opposed unanimously by the Congressional Black Caucus. According to Roger Wicker, “While I was in college, Charles Pickering was one of the bright new faces in the
Mississippi Republican Party, Wicker said. “He’s been so progressive and so courageous in the area of equal rights for all that it is so unfortunate and so unfair that he’s been accused of being otherwise.”


But Pickering, according to Salon.com, “Instead of “trying to
establish better race relations” in the 1960s, Pickering worked to support segregation, attack civil rights advocates who sought to end Jim Crow, and back those who opposed national civil rights legislation, above all the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, in the words of a public statement he signed in 1967, Pickering wanted to preserve “our southern way of life,” and he bitterly blamed civil rights workers for stirring up “turmoil and racial hatred” in the South.”

 

Back in the day, when Judge Pickering was a politician, state senator and a lawyer in private practice, he teamed up to practice law with a segregationist, former Lt. Governor Carroll Gartin. As I am sure y’all are aware, I have a low tolerance for bullshit and an even lower tolerance for bastards like Pickering and their enbablers that don’t have the courage to tell the world that they still support white supremacy. Having come from Mississippi stock, I am always a bit touchy about their blatant racism.

Also, the New York Times is reporting that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is fixing to cock block Barack Obama or John Edwards should they be successful in knocking the Queen off her throne. This is a significant development. Bloomberg, a billionaire, is prepared to spend a record shattering billion to claim the imperial throne. He made noise earlier in the year that he would forgo a bid should the Queen and Giuliani make it to the finish line. I guess his high profile meeting with Obama some weeks back ain’t go well despite the favorable publicity it generated. The centrist non-partisan smokescreen his operatives and their willing political hacks are putting forth are not credible in the least. Bloomberg is prepared to make Ross Perot look cheap.

Meanwhile, the Iowa Caucuses are Thursday, nobody has a lead and its all just a sophisticated ground war now. The Washington Post catches us up on the tactics of Obama, and the rest of the pack in these closing days. Brotha has as good a shot as any at this point, contrary to my pessimistic assessments earlier in the year and that is an impressive achievement. Lastly, the fourth quarter ends today and I expect to hear some numbers soon from the candidates although I don’t know if we’ll hear anything before caucus day.

National Enquirer report: John Edwards has a love child

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The National Enquirer is reporting as fact the juicy tidbit that¬† Presidential candidate John Edwards, aka”the Breck Girl,”¬†has allegedly¬†gotten a campaign staffer knocked up with his love child.¬† The struggling presidential contender might do well to be perceived as a Clintonesque rogue and alpha male so that folks would get off the dime¬†nationally and support him. Of course, straight-laced Iowans might feel differently about him if faced with the nauseating prospect of more Oval Office hanky panky.¬†¬† If Clinton fatigue means anything, it means folks are tired of the Clinton style soap opera, Bush style B.S., and just want some damn competence. If Mrs. Edwards comments publicly and alludes to not being a Tammy Wynette stand by your man patsy and to a vast right-wing conspiracy, then we’ll know what’s up.¬†

Weekend Developments

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U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JULIA CARSON 1938-2007

As I am sure you’ve heard, Indiana Congresswoman¬†Julia Carson, 69,¬† passed over the weekend after a short bout with lung cancer.¬† The Congressional Black Caucus lost another trail blazer and progressive stalwart.¬†¬† Mrs. Carson’s¬†career in public service was long and distinguished by her grace, wit, determination, and compassion.¬†¬† Holding public office for 35 years, she is the first African American woman to be elected to both Houses of the Indiana legislature,¬†local elective office, and the U.S. Congress.¬†

The second African American woman elected to Congress from Indiana, and the first to be re-elected, Julia Carson stands alone in a class by herself.  In 35 years in elective office, Miss Julia never lost a race.   Her devotion to the down and out was legendary and so was their affection for her.   On Friday, Miss Julia will break down one last barrier when she becomes the first African American woman to lie in state at the Indiana State Capitol.     Well Done, Sistah.  Well Done.

Also this weekend, the endorsements of the major papers in the first caucus and primary states came out.   In a surprise move, the Des Moines Register endorsed the Hillary Clinton, a.k.a the Borg Queen.   It was just what she needed to right her listing ship of inevitability. I was expecting them them to either re-endorse Edwards or to endorse Obama.   Not to be left out, Obama picked  up the endorsement of the Boston Globe, a major coup because New Hampshire has long been considered a bedroom community to Massachusetts.  

 Mitt Romney at CPAC

Finally, Mitt Romney appeared on Meet the Press yesterday to have his chesnuts roasted over an open fire.  He and Tim Russert had this interesting exchange.  

¬†MR. RUSSERT:¬† You, you raise the issue of color of skin.¬† In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court, Brown vs.¬† Board of Education, desegregated all our public schools.¬† In 1964 civil rights laws giving full equality to black Americans. And yet it wasn’t till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully.¬† Here was the headlines in the papers in June of ’78. “Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias.¬† Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites.” You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation.¬† Didn’t you think, “What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?”

GOV. ROMNEY:¬† I’m very proud of my faith, and it’s the faith of my fathers, and I certainly believe that it is a, a faith–well, it’s true and I love my faith.¬† And I’m not going to distance myself in any way from my faith.¬† But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at, at our lives.¬† My dad marched with Martin Luther King.¬† My mm was a tireless crusader for civil rights.¬†

You may recall that my dad walked out of the Republican convention in 1964 in San Francisco in part because Barry Goldwater, in his speech, gave my dad the impression that he was someone who was going to be weak on civil rights.¬† So my dad’s reputation, my mom’s and my own has always been one of reaching out to people and not discriminating based upon race or anything else.¬† And so those are my fundamental core beliefs, and I was anxious to see a change in, in my church.

I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made.  I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. 

(Romney becomes teary-eyed) Even at this day it’s emotional, and so it’s very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God.¬† My faith has always told me that.¬† My faith has also always told me that, in the eyes of God, every individual was, was merited the, the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter, and I, and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and, and blacks generally, would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.

MR. RUSSERT:  But it was wrong for your faith to exclude it for as long as it did.

GOV. ROMNEY:¬† I’ve told you exactly where I stand.¬† My view is that there–there’s, there’s no discrimination in the eyes of God, and I could not have been more pleased than to see the change that occurred.

I am so “moved” that a grown man wept about his church embracing the twentieth century, 10 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and deigning to allow black folk to participate fully in the church’s ministerial ranks.¬† But the unanswered question is what did Mitt Romney and his parents do before then to make this change occur?¬†¬† The answer is probably nothing.¬† Because if Mama and Daddy or Mitt had done anything, we’d have heard about it before now and he certainly woulda said so yesterday.¬† Whatcha’ll think?

Jesse disses Obama in Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed piece

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Brotha Jesse is pissing outside of the tent again, this time its in the form of an op-ed piece in the Sun-Times. After reading it, give me your take.¬† Is Jesse’s criticism valid and is his timing right?¬† He’s endorsed the brotha and is pulling even with Miss Hillary in Iowa.¬† This piece begs the question of whether Jesse really wants Obama to win.

Hat Tip: By Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times  

Can Democrats get the votes they need simply because they’re not Republicans? You might think so in this presidential campaign. African-American and urban votes are critical to any Democratic victory. Bill Clinton won two terms without winning the most white votes. His margin was the overwhelming support of black voters. George Bush learned that lesson; that’s why his campaigns spent so much effort suppressing the black vote in key states like Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. His victory margin was the tally of votes suppressed or uncounted.

Yet the Democratic candidates — with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign — have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up.

Democratic candidates are talking about health care and raising the minimum wage, but they aren’t talking about the separate and stark realities facing African Americans.

The civil rights movement succeeded in ending segregation and providing blacks with the right to vote. But the end of legal apartheid did not end the era of discrimination. And the ending of institutionalized violence did not end institutionalized racism.

Patterns of discrimination are sharply etched. African Americans have, on average, about half of the good things that whites have, and double the bad things. We have about half the average household income and less than half the household wealth. On the other hand, we’re suffering twice the level of unemployment and twice the level of infant mortality (widely accepted as a measure of general health).

African Americans are brutalized by a system of criminal injustice. Young African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched if stopped, more likely to be arrested if searched, more likely to be charged if arrested, more likely to be sentenced to prison if charged, less likely to get early parole if imprisoned. Every study confirms that the discrimination is systemic and ruinous. And yet no candidate speaks to this central reality.

African Americans are more likely to go to overcrowded and underfunded schools, more likely to go without health care, more likely to drop out, less likely to find employment. Those who do work have less access to banks and are more likely to be ripped off by payday lenders, more likely to be stuck with high-interest auto and business loans, and far more likely to be steered to risky mortgages — even when adjusting for income. And yet, no candidate speaks to this central reality.

The result is visiting a catastrophe on the urban black community. I and many others campaign for young people to stay in school, to graduate and not to make babies until they are prepared to be parents. My son and I write and teach about personal financial responsibility. Personal responsibility is critical. But personal responsibility alone cannot overcome the effects of a discriminatory criminal justice and economic system in generating broken families and broken dreams.

The Rev. Martin Luther King saw the movement to end segregation and gain voting rights as the first stage of the civil rights movement. The second stage — to gain economic justice and equal opportunity in fact — he knew would be more difficult. Now, 40 years later, it is no longer acceptable for candidates to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to entrenched discrimination and still expect to reap our votes.

The Queen stumbles

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Borgqueen

Yes, I watched the debate up until Kucinich was asked about UFO’s.    And, from what I can tell, the Borg Queen stumbled and was almost knocked off her throne by Edwards and Dodd.  The two questions about giving undocumented immigrants drivers licenses and Bill Clinton requesting that the National Archives not release Hillary’s papers between her office and the President, revealed Hillary to be a dissembler.   Obama and Edwards conspired to attack on the neo-con Iran resolution she voted for and Edwards got the better of the exchange.   

Hillary, although she sounded strong for most of the night, ended up looking like a battered woman because she took several punches to the head from Tim Russert on Social Security and the candidates capable of slowing her coronation.   If her numbers show a significant slide as a result of her one night stumble, I’ll be forced to revise my opinion that the race is not yet over.  What do you think?