Wednesday, November 29, 2006
By JOSH GERSTEIN
Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 29, 2006
A former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, is causing a stir by proposing that free speech may have to be curtailed in order to fight terrorism.
"We need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait until we actually literally lose a city, which I think could literally happen in the next decade if we're unfortunate," Mr. Gingrich said Monday night during a speech in New Hampshire. "We now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of the threat."
Speaking at an award dinner billed as a tribute to crusaders for the First Amendment, Mr. Gingrich, who is considering a run for the White House in 2008, painted an ominous picture of the dangers facing America.
What was Gingrich even doing at a tribute event for crusaders of the First Amendment in the first place? Didn't they realize that he was a neo-conservative, ideolog who was no particular friend of the First Amendment?
"This is a serious, long-term war," the former speaker said, according an audio excerpt of his remarks made available yesterday by his office. "Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people."
Mr. Gingrich acknowledged that these proposals would trigger "a serious debate about the First Amendment." He also said international law must be revised to address the exigencies posed by international terrorists.
"We should propose a Geneva Convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous," he said.
The former speaker also pointed approvingly to England, where suspects in terrorism cases can be detained for several weeks without charge. Some of Mr. Gingrich's remarks about balancing freedom and terrorism were reported by the Associated Press on Monday and the Union Leader of Manchester yesterday.
In the same speech Monday, the former speaker expressed a more expansive view of First Amendment rights in the American political arena. Mr. Gingrich picked a fight of sorts with a potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Senator McCain of Arizona, by branding as a failure the campaign finance restrictions known as McCain-Feingold. The former speaker said the limitations have not stemmed the flow of money into politics and failed to curtail negative political advertising.
Mr. Gingrich has been traveling to politically important states, like New Hampshire, but said Monday he would not decide on a White House bid until September 2007.
Response to Newt Gingrich From The Huffington Post
Commentary from Mark Jeffrey
Commentary from Bob Cesca
I fall somewhere in the middle on this issue. I believe that some of the Patriot Act policies are useful. I believe that we should do just about whatever we can, within the Constitution, to protect ourselves from Terrorism. I believe in most Homeland Security initiatives, and even initiatives that are not being taken. I believe that our Homeland Security efforts (policies to protect our own soil) do not go far enough and are not creative enough.
But I don't believe that my First Amendment rights should be handed over..... That is just way over the top. And such a step would do nothing to stop Terrorists from attacking us. Much of the internet activity that Georgia Good Old Boy Newt was speaking of takes place overseas where our laws regarding free speech would have no jurisdiction anyway.
Newt simply doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to Terrorism.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I don't really "sleep" anymore, I only manage to take naps, for 1-2 hours at a time. I can't recall the last time I had a good nights sleep. Actually... I don't sleep at night.... can't. I'm definitely a night owl. (mostly due to work schedule).
Lately I have been dozing while driving or while in the middle of other tasks. It's horrible. I have no peace of mind whatsoever.
My blogging may be sporadic....
The Cause? When I have a lot on my mind and a lot of things going on at one time....the insomnia REALLY gets bad. But much of the blame lies with the Bush Administration. The policies and actions of this government (combined with my own responsibilities and problems) often overloads my brain. My brain short circuits. I sometimes wish for the days of Ronald Reagan. At least then we had a sense of stability.... there was a father figure in the White House... You didn't have to agree with dad all the time (right?)... but knowing dad was there offered some sense of security. This country is in desperate need of a great President... It has been a while since we had one. I'd say Reagan was the last (a minor great at least)... that was about 20 years back. I'm talking about DNA like Kennedy, FDR, Ike, Washington, & Lincoln. We are due for another....
Hell even our average Presidents would be much better than what we have now.
When things get bad and my sleep is broken, then I can't concentrate....& things don't get done. It's like seeing a freight train coming, while being stuck to the railroad tracks.... unable to move out of the way....and getting crushed. Then the cycle keeps repeating (getting hit by the freight train again the next day or the next week...and again)...and after each cycle, I get further and further behind.
I usually wake up at least 5 or 6 times during "sleep" attempts...which end up being naps.
I can only write when time (and energy) permits.
The Iraq Study Group Is Planning to Suggest Aggressive Regional Diplomacy, Including Talks With Iran and Syria.
Senator John Kerry said, more than 2 years ago, that this was needed. He called for regional summits to include Iran, Syria and all of the relevant political and religious factions. BUT at the time, Kerry was ridiculed by Republicans and by the Conservative news media. Now all of a sudden, this is the right policy. The problem is, it may be too little, too late. (But I am remaining hopeful because of the dismal situation and lack of good alternatives).
It took more than 2 years and a high level "study group" to come to this conclusion? It looks like Kerry was right and was ahead of his time.
The Bush crew wrote off advice from other countries (friend and foe) before the invasion. These nations tried their best to warn the U.S. not to attack...for the very reasons that we are seeing now in Iraq.... NOW all of a sudden, the U.S. is begging for assistance from the very countries that it gave the middle finger to when they tried to provide advice and counsel....
Meanwhile, the Iraq war has now officially lasted longer than World War II.
**Amy Goodman, on her Democracy Now program, reports secret talks between the U.S. and Iraqi insurgent groups. A very interesting perspective is offered on the program. Watch/Listen Here.
Additional Report from NPR
More than 50 Shots were fired into vehicle
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed his displeasure in a news conference on Monday. See report here.
What caught my attention was the fact that (according to reports) some of the undercover officers admitted that they had been drinking- "Had a few beers".
You are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle after a few drinks. So how in the hell can you be allowed to use a firearm after a few drinks? First of all, you should not be allowed to even have a firearm while drinking, despite the policies that the NYPD has in place to allow it.
Report from The Washington Post
Article From The BBC
An 88 Year old woman was shot to death a few days ago in Atlanta, after narcotics officers raided her home. The original report, (see here) indicated that the elderly resident was 92 years old, however, this information has since been corrected.
Now, in a new twist, the drug informant involved in the case states that he was told to lie by Atlanta Police and say that he bought drugs from the home, as a way to cover up what appears to be a raid on the wrong house. The FBI has now been called in and will take over the investigation into the botched raid and the death of 88 year old Kathryn Johnston.
Also, several discrepancies have emerged. Two major problems between the original reports and the most current reports are:
#1. The original report indicated that the officers knocked and announced their presence before entering the home. Now all of a sudden, Atlanta Police are reviewing their "No Knock" Policy. See Here.
Well, if the officers knocked and announced as was originally claimed, why would there be an effort now to examine the "No Knock" policies? Side note: A No Knock Warrant is a type of Warrant that allows officers to be more discreet when serving a search warrant on a home or business in drug cases... this is to help deprive suspects of the opportunity to destroy evidence (drugs, weapons, names/lists of customers, etc). It is all an effort to maintain the element of surprise.
#2. In the original reports a few days ago, the Atlanta Police Department....in an official statement, stated that "officers" themselves purchased drugs from the home in the days and hours before the raid....and based their warrant application on that information. NOW, the latest reports indicate that police officers may have never made a purchase from the home at all. Atlanta Police were apparently relying solely on information provided from a street informant. Wow!!! And it turns out, THAT whole story may have been bogus, either on the part of the informant, or encouraged by the Narcotics unit in an effort to cover up for their botched raid. Officers understand that if they can at least say that drugs are being dealt from a home, they will probably get better treatment from the Police Department, the Community, and from the Courts.
Generally what happens in these kinds of cases is that the street informant is used to "assist" or get an investigation started so that a case can be made over time. Typically (based on the informants info) Police will send their own officers to make a few undercover purchases. It seems a little strange that Police relied solely or primarily on a statement from an informant (if that story is even true at all in the first place, or simply made up). Usually it takes more than a few days to build a narcotics case to a point of maturity-- when it reaches a level when a raid can be done. This often takes weeks...and sometimes months to do. Perhaps (if they did rely on just a tip) it has something to do with the fact that the neighborhood had a bad drug problem. Often, police departments don't use the same care when operating in poor, drug ridden inner-city areas as they would in more affluent, white, suburban areas. And judges, may be more willing to sign off on raids in troubled neighborhoods, without asking enough questions and without providing strong oversight. They don't want to be seen as hindering police operations...and they typically have an attitude of leaving police work to police. This is why there should be a double or even triple layer for these operations....having a police inspector or commissioner sign off as well as a judge... so that proper oversight could be provided.
By the way, no drugs (or evidence of illegal drug activity) were found in the home.
There may be a 5-10 second delay before the audio starts. This is a result of the radio editing.
Nastiness of the 2006 Political Season
Child Labor For Corporations
Exporting Patients (A Must Listen)
Our Clueless War Leaders (Another Must Listen)
To learn more about Jim Hightower's commentaries, please check his website, which you can find on my link list.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Hear report from National Public Radio.
Iraqi State TV is hijacked by Shi'ite militants.
The Iraqi government is near collapse. This would be a huge blow to hopes of the American public to get U.S. troops out of Iraq in the near future. (Even though this was not a real option to begin with).
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army refused to act while a group of Sunnis were killed in the street nearby. I'm still looking for the Iraqi military to stand up like everyone is talking about. The fact is, the Iraqi troops are not properly trained and equipped.
Also, this shows that you cannot force "Democracy" on a population. People have to want Democracy for themselves. It has to come from within. Some cultures are just not as conducive to Democracy as others. If a population wants Democracy bad enough, they will fight for it.
American Conservatives have claimed that people of all cultures want Democracy... This is nonsense.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
UPDATE: Interview from the Diane Rehm Radio Program. Listen to Interview Here.
Ex Russian Spy and Putin Critic, Alexander Litvinenko, Dies in London After Sophisticated Assassination.
What Are the Implications?
The UK has entered crisis mode, holding several high level security meetings.
The Diplomatic war could be huge.
Report From The AP/ Houston Chronicle
Report From The UK Independent
British citizens are being tested for possible contamination.
More information about Polonium 210 and who may be involved.
Yahoo News report shows Rogue Russian agents could be involved.
This is the problem when you have thugs and maniacs (like Putin, Bush, & others) in charge of governments; there is always a higher risk of something like this happening. The problem with people like Putin and leaders of other rogue countries is that their recklessness makes it so easy for them to misstep. They often do not understand the difference between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. This kind of instability and lack of good character & judgement often leads to international incidents. Leaders like these are prone to miscalculation, because it's easy for them to lose sight of reality. I have been warning about this kind of situation for years... where one side makes a big misstep due to the lunacy and recklessness of government leaders. In both the East and West, we have Old Guard relics from the early parts of the Cold War... and both are dying for some sort of confrontation with the other. In the U.S., there are the neo-cons..... wealthy pro-war nuts who are still in the 1970's and 80's in their thinking. On the other side, you have Russia being run by a gang of thugs, called The Siloviki, a group of hardline, corrupt, old school politicians who come from the old military and KGB establishment.
Russia has not had a strong, stable, and competent leader in at least 15 years. Gorbachev (under the Soviet Union) was the last good leader that Russia had.
As I have said several times on this blog, the Cold War never really ended when the Berlin Wall came down and when the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist not long after. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that the media has been spreading for the past 15 years.
Bush says that he "looked into Putin's soul"....and liked what he saw. He thought that Putin was someone that he could work with. But I will tell you what I saw. I saw a hardliner with no interest in having friendly relations with the U.S. Putin himself stated that he wanted to return Russia to its old Soviet greatness.
Putin was a handpicked thug, chosen by his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, another corrupt politician (although he deserves credit for preventing Russia from imploding after the temporary & dangerous overthrow of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991). The two nations (the Soviet Union and the U.S.) were on high nuclear alert during the incident, one or two steps from launching attacks. However, Yeltsin (The President of Russia at the time) took control of the military and prevented a catastrophe. The coup was quickly put down by Yeltsin and Gorbachev's secret police.
But where are we now? The U.S. has been lying to itself for years now regarding Putin, hoping that a productive relationship could be achieved and maintained. The U.S. was hoping that Russia would finally turn around (despite neglecting Russia for most of the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's by not reaching out nearly enough to help it to transition & by not reducing the number of dangerous weapons). Now look at the pattern that has emerged. You have civil and human rights in Russia being trampled, you have opposition silenced, you have government control of media, there is a bogus Democracy, government control of private property, there are assassinations, arrests of dissidents, intimidation of smaller States in the region, the central government consolidating its power, and more.
The events in Russia over the past several years have been astonishing. In fact, the backslide has been frightening. What we basically have is a rogue State (Russia), being run by a group of thugs, who convinced a weak Boris Yeltsin to hand over power in 1999. It's basically a corrupt dictatorship with thousands of nuclear weapons pointed this way. Personally, I would rather have the good old days of the 1970's and 80's back. At least then there was a sense of stability on both sides.
Perhaps ex-spy chief Vladimir "The Godfather" Putin and his fellow thugs are only taking a page from the Bush administrations playbook. Bush has been silencing dissent, has tried to control information, has been involved in torture tactics, has been involved with overseas kidnappings, has tried to punish people by going outside of the established legal system, has tried to limit free speech, has tried to consolidate power and abused powers of the State, and more. So in that sense, Putin and Bush have a lot in common. Bush's example has led to governments all over the World abusing their powers because officials in these countries believed that they could do so based on what the U.S. was (and is) getting away with. Thanks a lot George W.
However, I think the World has now reached a tipping point with Putin. The EU, NATO, and especially the UK and the U.S. will have to face reality. It is not a new reality, because it has always been there. However, the Western world has avoided facing it. Now they will have no choice but to face it. A government was most likely behind this poisoning, due to the complexity of the act and the rarity of the weapon used.
This incident comes weeks after the assassination of the prominent Russian reporter Anna Politkovskaya, another critic of Vladimir Putin. As I mentioned... a pattern has been emerging with Putin since he took office. Now his thugs are involved in killing people on foreign soil. This makes the past look mild. This will be the event that gives pause to governments around the world.
This incident has the potential to be the worst diplomatic, Cold War crisis since the standoff in Kosovo in 1999 between Russia and NATO, or the U.S. spy plane landing in China. In fact, this could be much worse than those incidents. For one thing, you have Russian agents using a radioactive substance as a weapon, risking the contamination of the general population.
The UK, and likely the U.S. and much of the EU will be forced to respond to this crisis. The UK is already calling this case extraordinary and unprecedented. They have NEVER seen anything like this (to include the worst times when relations were bad with the Soviet Empire). They will not be able to downplay this case or cover it up.
What Will Be The Likely Response from the UK? What Are the Options?
Well, if the Russian government is found to have been involved, there are a few moves that can and probably will be made by the UK and other nations and entities like the EU, NATO and the UN.
1. The UK can launch an official protest with the United Nations Security Council.
2. The UK can eject all Russian government officials from its territory... diplomats, etc, and can close the Russian embassy in Britain.
3. The UK can eject the Russian Ambassador & his immediate staff only, and can recall the British Ambassador from Russia (instructing the British Ambassador to return to the UK).
4. The UK can eject only those people implicated in the act.
5. The UK can arrest and try those Russians who are implicated, even though traditional diplomatic immunity agreements usually prohibit the arrest and processing of foreign diplomats. However, due to the severity of this incident, that may be voided.
6. The UK can cut diplomatic ties with Russia.
7. The UK and the EU can ban Russian diplomats from entering Europe or individual countries. The UK and EU can also ban or limit travel of various (or all) Russian nationals.
8. The UK could limit economic cooperation with Russia.
9. The EU and the U.S. could block Russian entry into the WTO (I think that is pretty much dead after this incident).
10. Russia could be asked to break its relationship with NATO (it has observer status).
11. Russia may be asked to leave the G-8.
12. Airline service from Russia could be blocked.
13. The UK and various countries could review their Trade relationship with Russia.
14. Russian goods could be boycotted.
15. Any kind of cooperation agreements could be reviewed and abandoned & projects still in progress could be halted.
--- If action is taken, a combination of these options will likely be used. You could see these kinds of actions taken in various other countries besides the UK. None of these options are good for either Russia, the U.S. or the EU. And the EU is in a bad position to do many of these things, since the EU is basically dependent on Russian energy (natural gas and oil). Russia could retaliate by cutting off energy supplies. (This whole thing could get ugly).
However, this incident will probably force the hand of a lot of countries. There will be a lot of pressure for these countries to send Russia a message. None of the above actions will likely be permanent....only temporary to send a diplomatic message.
Hopefully this Cold War flare up will remain Cold....and will be dealt with diplomatically and sensibly. However, names like George Bush, Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin do not give me confidence that this will be the case. None of these men are honorable, sensible, worthy of the trust of the people they supposedly serve, none are diplomatically skilled, and all three seem corrupt.
It will be interesting to see what Russian dictator Vladimir Putin does when his time in office is over. If Putin tries to hold on to power or handpicks an old KGB buddy then we will know for sure that he doesn't want a true Democracy.
What are the true intentions of Mr. Putin and what direction is he taking Russia in? Only time will tell. So far, it doesn't look good.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Leave Charlie Rangel Alone!!!!
I have noticed over the past few days that the Corporate media (as expected) has been getting the Rangel Story all wrong. They have basically missed the point and they have repackaged Charlie Rangels message to mean something totally different. The media is not even telling half the story on Rangels message, let alone the whole story.
Even Barak Obama has missed the point, stating that he disagreed with Rangel and didn't think more troops would help in Iraq.... (totally missing the point that Rangel is attempting to make).
"What I don't want is a situation in which we have bad strategies and we institute a draft simply to throw more bodies at a bad strategy. That is not going to work," he said. Barak Obama, Monday November 20th, 2006. Taken from the AP/USA today. Source.
Will someone please tell Barak to learn more about Foreign policy and military affairs before considering a run for the Presidency? Even on the issue of immediate troop reductions, he is actually on the wrong side of reality. There will be no troop pullout beginning in 4 to 6 months. This IS NOT going to happen. In fact, the Defense Department is now considering an increase in U.S. troops as a short term measure. So any major troop reductions are far off.
First of all.... this is nothing new. The media is acting like this is a new development. Rangel was saying this 3 years ago....He made national headlines about this issue during the 2004 Presidential campaign and around the time that Michael Moore's documentary Farenheit 911 was released. So it is not a new story.
Secondly, people are missing Rangel’s point.... And Republicans are having a field day distorting what Rangel is actually saying and what he's actually trying to do. This is what Republicans are experts at doing....(distorting any message that Democrats try to put out there) especially with so many henchmen representing them in radio and TV media.
Please pay attention to what Rangel is saying in its entirety....
I was listening to Matt Sludge last Sunday as he was playing a 4 second clip of Rangel saying he would support a draft.... playing the clip over and over and over again.... not explaining what Rangel was actually saying in its true context.
Please listen to Rangel’s FULL STATEMENT....not just the 4 second sound bites from the Republican propaganda machine.
When you hear what Rangel is actually saying, and compare it to the distorted message put out by Republicans....& their media, you will find two totally different messages.
This is why Democrats need their own media infrastructure to get their message out.
I think the lopsided media will be what leads to the final death blow for Democrats in 2008....because at this rate, Dems won't make it out of 2007 without being destroyed by the mighty Republican machine.
Let’s get this straight…. Any Bill for a Draft WILL NOT pass..... I know it, Rangel knows it.... and most folks who understand the issue also know it... It's a way to spark debate... Rangel is making a point. However, I will say that the timing is a little off. He could have also framed the issue differently….by avoiding calling for legislation. It is scary for people who do not read the newspaper or keep up with politics. There are a lot of oblivious Americans who may hear the report and think that Rangels legislation actually has a chance to pass….when it doesn’t. It is a symbolic move only.
Pelosi is doing a good enough job burying the Dems on her own.... She doesn't need any help. But I’m afraid Rangel’s call could distort the Democrats agenda….at least temporarily, at a time when the focus should be on getting the country back on some kind of reasonable and sustainable course and uncovering (and cleaning up) all of the Republican corruption that has been left behind from the past several years that they have controlled the government.
If Wally Cleaver is put at risk by the reckless White House, a lot more Americans, and a lot of influential people will be paying more attention to what the hell is going on.
If a draft was set up fairly, I could see it having the desired effect.... In that sense I see what Rangel is saying...and agree.
Just the thought of a draft wakes people up.... The Cleaver Family (White middle, upper middle, and upper class families with SUV's from the burbs) will suddenly want to question U.S. Foreign policy a whole lot more...rather than giving blind support to Presidents or political parties..... There has been this blind attitude in this country, especially since 9/11 that the government must know best….therefore we must not question those in power. If we could just get that far- to where people really begin to pay attention- then America would be much better off....and that seems to be the aim of Rangel.... Rangel is talking about accountability.... in the above scenario, much more accountability would be required...and demanded. I'd like to see him hit a few nerves and see what happens.
U.S. Foreign policy would be completely different if Bush, or any other President, is tasked with sending the sons of his social class (his CEO friends, his neighbors, and his colleagues) to war.
Rangel also stated that national service does not necessarily mean fighting on the front lines in the U.S. military.
Even the great liberal philosopher Noam Chomsky called for a draft not long ago, for basically the same reasons. Noam Chomsky is as anti-war as anyone could possibly be.
In that sense, Rangel is not alone.
I fully support Rangel’s idea.... I think it's brilliant. I just wish he would have been more careful about how he said it...considering that Democrats have no major media infrastructure to speak of.... meaning that everything they say has to go through the Republican filter before the American people have the chance to hear it.
Anchor Lisa Mullins speaks with Ashis Brahma, a physician with the International Rescue Committee, about attacks on himself and those he works with in Chad, along the border with Sudan's Darfur region. There has been an upsurge in attacks against civilians in Darfur this week. The Sudanese government says it's reached an agreement with the United Nations about bringing peacekeepers to Darfur.
However, the violence continues.
Listen to report here.
Visit source site here.
The On Point Public Radio program has done a more extensive report & discussion of the worsening situation in Darfur.
LISTEN HERE (click on the preferred audio option at top of page.)
Discussion from Wednesday, November 22nd.
Previous Blog Entries On This Subject
What is a Black Life Worth?
Amy Goodman Reports on Darfur
Commentary on Darfur from Mia Farrow
Major Symposium on Darfur in New York City
Previous report from Amy Goodman
Still no response to crisis
Monday, November 20, 2006
-Thanksgiving, Americas cultural & social rot & more....
*** The mainstream corporate media thinks that it's important for us to know that Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise are getting married, and that Britney Spears is getting divorced. How does this bull$hit become a priority for these so-called news organizations? Yet we hear very little about the genocide taking place in Sudan, where tens of thousands have been murdered, raped, and driven from their homes. We all know that if the genocide were happening in white rich Europe, the World would see it as an urgent crisis.
Who cares about these damn annoying celebrities? Why does the media think that its important for me to know every detail about the lives of these disgusting people? Americans are brainscrewed when it comes to celebrities. This is a country that is completely consumed by Hollywood culture.
I couldn't care less about these people. If Hollywood disappeared from the face of the Earth tonight, I would not lose any sleep. In fact, I would probably sleep easier. But what does cause me to lose sleep (& what the media does not focus on) are the women being raped in front of their husbands, daughters being raped and kidnapped, limbs being chopped off, villages being burned to the ground, and men being murdered in front of their families...all while the world does nothing. To hell with Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS and all the rest.
*** Americans continue to show why they are completely nuts. Two men are shot and another stabbed across the country, while waiting in line for hours to buy a $600.00 video game system- Play Station 3. This is going on while thousands die of AIDS everyday in Africa due to a lack of money for medical care, thousands are starving or being murdered in Darfur, the Iraq mess continues with at least 50-100 civilians being slaughtered daily and many others being injured (as well as the loss of American soldiers), Katrina victims still have no homes and will have to spend another Holiday dealing with that catastrophe, and as America prepares for more war in Iran and North Korea. The contrast between values and needs is a contrast that is too hard to ignore.
No wonder the world thinks Americans are crazy. The world is right to think so. And the American public wonders why the world is not jumping at the opportunity to adopt American values and culture? American values and culture are for the most part in the gutter. It's a hollowed out, empty culture based on capitalist greed. Americans look at the World in bewilderment when American values, democracy (which is pretty un-democratic), and American culture are rejected in some parts of the world.
***Thanksgiving-- I have never been a big fan of the Holidays. They are just too phony for me. I pretty much hate this time of year, as I mentioned in my previous Random Thoughts a few days ago. But Thanksgiving in particular annoys me. I will never understand how Black folks so blindly celebrate Thanksgiving- A Holiday celebrating colonialism & marking the beginnings of slavery for us (not to mention the slaughter of the Indians). Wow! Talk about ironic.
I have secretly felt this way since I was a young teenager.... but at that age, you shut your mouth and play along....or get slapped.
I know that it's a day for getting together and all....but I just hope people think bigger this time around as they are praying around their dinner tables. I hope peope will remember a few important things and not just the usual shallow things (usually about themselves)- Their own personal health, their money, their cars & other hollow values that Americans tend to cling to and thank God for this time of year. THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT ARE BIGGER & MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR FINANCIAL STATUS & YOUR NEW SUV.....
It kills me to see people (and Black folks are especially guilty of this) thanking God for their own personal wealth this time of year. God doesn't want you doing that, at least not this time of year. God wants you to have at the front of your mind those people who DO NOT have ....particularly food, shelter, health, etc. The basic life sustaining needs.
*** I'm not looking forward to Thankgiving, Christmas, etc.... Particularly the day after Thanksgiving, which officially marks the beginning of the Holiday Shopping season. I have to work in a hell hole of a place that has to deal with these people.
I get to see crazed Americans breaking their necks to spend their money. It's an ugly day.... You can call it Black Friday. It even involves people threatening and assaulting one another....all to spend their money on bull...t.
This is the real American religion- Capitalism. Americans worship money more than they worship the cross or any other so-called religion or religious symbol. It's the most important concept in American culture...more important than any form of Christianity.
I hate going in to work on the day after Thanksgiving...and everyday after that until February of the new year. Each day is like watching a Capitalist orgy, where greed takes precedence over any sense of dignity, decency, manners or common sense.
Meanwhile, folks who are at the bottom of the economic ladder are just hoping (like me) that they will be able to pay their bills this month & next. Buying gifts? Nothing could be further from my mind. But survival IS on my mind. Yet, middle class folks blindly spend $500.00, $1000.00, $3000.00 like it is nothing....usually on things that they don't need. Black folks are especially known for this kind of thing, often at the expense of more important basic needs.
I notice that low income Americans are not part of the agenda for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats during the 110th Congress. It looks like I will be busy watching Democrats in the coming year, just as hard as I watch the Repugnants.
I just wonder what these Americans would do if the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy and they really had to deal with hard times. Because I don't think that 95% of them could survive it. Money and capitalism are the basis for every aspect of American life.... "love" included. Take money out of the picture for one second and see how much "love" Americans have for one another. A hollow society based of materialism could not survive any seriously difficult times... like what we see in Iraq and in poor countries. Such a society does not have what it takes.
I was watching a special on PBS not too long ago.... (forgot the name of the program...but it was about the Iraqi elections and it centered on the work of an Iraqi doctor and his family).
In that program, I saw this family sticking together while bullets flew outside, sticking together under death threats, sticking together during constant power outages....and through it all....they still made their traditional meals....would make their food together and sit together to eat EVERY NIGHT...(often in the dark...due to no electricity).... and they stuck to their culture and traditions and somehow kept praying and kept on smiling through the whole thing. THAT THERE IS CULTURE!!! THAT IS WHAT VALUES ARE REALLY ABOUT. Those kinds of cultural values are not based on money. Americans have no such cultural fiber.
Americans are thoroughly incapable of this kind of survival....this kind of triumph through adversity. Sure, there are a few people in this country who might make it in that situation, but the vast majority are just not mentally, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually capable of this. This material and greed based capitalist system has spoiled most Americans, making them too dependent on their paper money and their government. Americans have no spiritual money, no cultural money to draw from. If the money ever becomes useless pieces of paper with little or no value, Americans will not know what to do. Realizing that they have been living in a weak culture with little substance to speak of, they will have nothing else to fall back on to get them through times of trouble.
We can only hope that such a disaster never happens.
In a sense, he is reporting the obvious. But I think people are misinterpreting what he meant.
What he said was, #1) There can be no military victory there. In other words, there is still room for political, diplomatic, and economic efforts there....efforts that have not been considered seriously by the Bush administration. #2) There can be no victory in Iraq as "victory" is currently defined by the foolish Bush administration. Let's set realistic goals for what "victory" might actually look like. The U.S. has no choice.
All is not completely lost, but at the same time, 100% victory is no longer in the cards.
The U.S. should listen to the veteran diplomat, who knows a little something about foreign policy disasters. The U.S. should learn from his mistakes. He has already lived this history (Vietnam).
This country finds itself reliving history that Kissinger wrote long ago. The U.S. always seems to find itself in the same disasters over and over again.
And it doesn't help when the U.S. has brainless leaders, with no war experience making crucial decisions....not knowing what the hell they are doing or what they are talking about.
Perhaps in the next Presidential election the American public will elect a man who actually reads the newspaper, and can name 4 world leaders.
And it would be nice if we could ban neocons from working in government.... these people (The PNAC gang) are just as dangerous to the U.S. as our worst foreign enemies.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Meanwhile, Blairs opponent for the Prime Minister seat, Gordon Brown, says that British troops should begin withdrawing from Iraq within months.
This is a major story and would be a huge blow for George Bush. Gordon Brown has tremendous influence in the UK and will soon take over as Prime Minister there. Blair, like Bush, is a lame duck and has lost much of his influence.
#1. She is misinterpreting the results of the mid-term elections. She seems to be concerned with pulling troops from Iraq quickly... this is not what the people were necessarily voting for. A slow, phased 2, 3 or 4 year pullout (based on benchmarks achieved by the Iraqis) with some sort of Iraqi government in tact? Yes.
A plan that puts U.S. troops in a safer position (re-positioned in better & safer locations in and around Iraq)? Yes.
A plan that includes doubling or tripling the rate of which Iraqi forces are trained and equipped so that more of their own people can take over? Yes.A fast withdrawal of U.S. troops that leaves the region in an even more chaotic situation than it is in now? No.
Americans want to see something that they could call victory in Iraq. What they want is better management of the Iraq issue.
#2. She is apparently pushing for Alcee Hastings to head the House Intel Committee.... What in the world is wrong with this woman? Hastings has major problems in his background. The Republican media pundits are already taking aim at her and the Party on this issue. She needs to squash this quickly...and I even thought the matter was taken care of...but I recently heard that she was still seriously considering this.
Her motto was "Ending the Culture of Corruption".... then she turns around and does this???? the Neo-cons are having a field day with this.... she is giving them ammunition.... it will be 100 times worse if she actually puts Hastings in this important seat. And for me it's not a race thing... i'm a 110% African American man....and I don't want to see Hastings in that seat.
After the elections, experts predicted that Pelosi would take more moderate positions (where needed) so that the Party could be successful. However, it appears- so far- that she is going hard to the left.... (which is not where the rest of the country is right now).
It's not too late for her to get it right. It remains to be seen if she will be worthy of her new position as Speaker of the House.
But she must be careful on the issue of Iraq. Republicans are now licking their chops, waiting for the opportunity to turn the issue around and blame the Iraq mess on the Democrats (even though the whole plan was hatched by crazy Republican neo-conservatives). If the U.S. fails there, rest assured that Democrats will get the blame for it. Republicans are hoping that the American people have short memories and won't remember what led to the Iraq fiasco. And i'm afraid that history would be on the side of Republicans when it comes to that strategy, because Americans do tend to forget the details.....because most Americans just don't pay attention....something that benefits Republicans quite a bit. Americans did not really realize what was going on in Iraq until approximately late 2004 or during 2005 (a full 1-2 years after the war began). They knew that something was going on....but they were not sure what exactly was taking place. They assumed that this war would be another quick video game victory with no consequences for the U.S. (They are victims of the big U.S. news networks that provide entertainment rather than news, and that have glossed over the real consequences of war since the early 1990's with the first Gulf War to remove Iraq from Kuwait. The modern concept itself began after Vietnam, when the government decided that it wanted to control the images and control public perceptions about war.... in order to maintain support).
Summary from site:
Friday's topics: Some Congressional Black Caucus members will assume new roles; Howard University students adopted the word "coon," a term that has historically been offensive to African Americans.
Guests: Mary Frances Berry, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania; Joe Davidson, an editor at The Washington Post, and Glenn Loury, professor of social sciences and economics at Brown University.
Listen To Discussion Here
Friday, November 17, 2006
The much anticipated Robert Greenwald documentary- "Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers" is now available.
This is outrageous!!!! (translators who aren't even qualified???? Risking the lives of our people?) As I have been saying... someone needs to go to jail for this thing.
This is part II of an earlier blog entry on this subject that I made a few months ago.
See the earlier blog entry here. Take the time to check out the video of the Congressional Testimony (if it's still available).
Before watching the film listen to new interview with Robert Greenwald from KMOX radio. Host is Paul Harris.
Additional Interview with David Mann, a U.S. Soldier who talks about his experience with Private contractors.
Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers
A Film By Robert Greenwald
View the Documentary Here.
Companies such as Halliburton/KBR force workers to operate in unnecessarily unsafe conditions, all for the benefit of the company. They treat workers simply as tools to make more money. Little effort goes into protecting the workers. The workers are seen by Halliburton as replaceable items. Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney's company is making millions off the backs of these workers who risk their lives everyday, forced to go out on unsafe missions.
NPR report on conditions for Civilian drivers in Iraq.
Recent video released of a civilian convoy being ambushed in Iraq.
Here is longer unedited footage of the ambush from Youtube.
Report about Stuart Bowen, the Special Inspector For Iraq Reconstruction. Bowen has been working in Iraq investigating Fraud, mismanagement, waste & abuse by U.S. government Contractors. However, ever since the investigations got a little hot, the Bush administration has tried to pull the plug on Inspector Bowen and his mission, right in the middle of his investigation.
Watch/Listen to a Democracy Now Report on the Special U.S. Inspector on Iraq Contracts and the Republican effort to end the investigations.
See a PBS Frontline Documentary about Private Security Contractors in Iraq and how the war is being privatized. The Documentary is entitled Private Warriors.
*** The Big 3 U.S. Auto Companies (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors)- Why are they still confused about why they are not making money? After all this time they have not figured this out yet? Just this week they had a meeting with the Prez, hoping that he could somehow come to the rescue perhaps with trade tactics (such as tariffs) against their overseas competition. NewsFlash!!! Bush can’t rescue you boneheads. Bush can’t rescue anybody…. Hell, he needs to be rescued himself. Bush-light has his hands full right now with a few problems of his own.
The fact is, they (the U.S. automakers) are completely unprepared for global competition. This is despite the fact that they saw the challenge coming years ahead of time (and failed to act). Now they are whining.
If they want to improve their business, they can start by #1) Making a better quality product, #2) making cars that people actually need and want- reliable, safe, sporty, & with alternative fuel technology (hydrogen, ethanol, etc). What kind of boneheads would continue making huge gas guzzling monster vehicles in a tight fuel market? And the fuel market is only going to get tougher long-term. #3) Improve service. How about honoring your warranties? Just start with that one! I own a Chrysler and it has been nothing but a headache. Not only because of the car itself, but also because of the service (or lack thereof) that I get when I have to take it to the dealership. It’s basically impossible to get Chrysler to honor its warranty obligations or to take care of the customer in good faith. It seems that service managers are there solely to save Chrysler money by avoiding warranty repairs… they are not there to serve the customer. But they fail to realize that they are losing potential repeat business. They don’t seem to understand how important customer loyalty is to a business… that’s Business 101.
I will never buy a Chrysler again & plan to buy foreign vehicles from now on.
*** I have been watching quite a bit of the Food Network over the past few months, (& I’m someone who doesn’t watch much TV). The Reason? Well, I can’t lie, it’s actually due to Rachael Ray. I think I might be addicted. The woman is gorgeous! If you are a guy and you don’t agree, there might be something wrong with you. Oh… and the food looks good too, lol. TERRIBLE… I know.
I don’t know if the Food Network would even exist if not for Rachael Ray. Although I love food…. I was not really interested in that channel before she became popular on the network.
Moving on…. I have also been known to watch the cartoon Jimmy Neutron. One of the best damn cartoons ever put together.
I also like HGTV… watching (usually rich White people…no offense) shopping for and buying great houses that I will never be able to afford even thinking about buying, as a poor Black man. But it still gives me something to imagine and dream about.
*** Speaking of economics…. Programs like HGTV just end up pissing me off… they remind me that I’m stuck in the real world of low wages. Once you get stuck here it’s hard to get out, even with a decent education….just ask all of the waiters, bartenders, retail workers, etc who have 4 year degrees & grad degrees. But this is the great Republican economy that we are always hearing about from the corporate (Republican) media, and from the talking heads in Washington D.C. I hate when they boast about the anemic job growth numbers as if they have accomplished something major. One big problem is- no one seems to ask what kinds of jobs are actually being created….what kinds of jobs are replacing the higher paying jobs that are being lost?
You can’t have a good social circle, meet someone, date, start a family and support a family or make any kind of respectable living from the wages that are being paid these days in most private sector jobs. And finding good paying “careers” (not just jobs) is becoming harder and harder to do. Something with good benefits? Good luck finding it.
*** I don’t understand the current frenzy behind this new Play Station 3. These geeks are waiting in line for 2 days for a damn gadget??? Not to mention that the damn thing costs upwards of $600.00. These people have lost their minds. All of this is going on while old ladies have to rob banks in order to pay their rent and buy their prescription drugs. All of this not long after an entire family burned to death a few months back as a result of candles being lit in their home. Why the candles? Their electricity had been turned off. Folks hit by Katrina are still reeling… some still homeless. These are microcosms of the same things taking place on a wider scale all across the country…. But folks have $600.00 to blow on toys.
Lord Please Have Mercy!!! Make me understand it all! I have never been one who has been very religious, but I have been known to study the Bible.. The last time I studied it (and studied it hard) was in my High School years….it doesn’t happen often enough. I usually reach for it in trying times…. To try to find the hidden wisdom and message that’s there. Lately I have found myself reaching back for the book….because I’m being tested.
The play station nonsense and the general Christmas (a perverted material Holiday) atmosphere just makes me sick. It’s Capitalism run amuck. Christmas has been Americanized here… in other words, it has been hollowed out. The heart and soul of the Holiday has been ripped out… only the shell is left to provide an illusion that the real meaning of the Holiday is being honored. But it’s really just a money Holiday.
This is why the USA gets no respect around the World. And people in this country wonder why other Countries are not too receptive to adopting the U.S. way of life when the U.S. government tries to force it on them?
*** Last night I saw the Robert Greenwald documentary “Iraq For Sale- The War Profiteers”. It is a must-see. I have made it available here on the blog. Please take the time to check it out and see what is going on. Spread the word (pass on the link). I also included other links of the subject of tax dollars being wasted….lives being wasted etc.
I guess this is part of the Republican Party's efforts to reach out to Black voters.
It's enough to make me want to holler!
My co-blogger The African American Political Pundit (L. Nate Rock) blogged on this story....and is swinging hard with both fists. See here.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Watch an excellent symposium held at the National Press Club, looking at the impact of Independents and African Americans in the Mid-Term Elections. The program looks at African American voting behavior in the various political races....particularly in races involving Black Republican candidates. Did Black voters vote based on race or based on political philosophy and the issues?
Ronald Walters participates in this discussion. The forum was organized by a new Independent political action group. Hopefully efforts by this independent political group (& others like it) will spread.
Summary from Video host:
Professor Ronald Walters and Analyst David Bositis join a panel discussion on "Black Vote 2006." The event, hosted by Independents Across America, looks at the impact of Black candidates and voters in the mid-term elections. They also consider Democratic party control of the U.S. House and the 2008 election landscape.
Watch program here.
The Angry Independent:
I hope that one day we can get away from the discussion of "The Black Vote". It's as if people see Black Americans as a monolith- having the same opinion on most or all issues. I hope that Americans will one day get away from voting in racial blocks (White or Black) and will vote based on issues instead. On the other side of the coin, I think it was race that doomed Harold Ford in Tennessee..... White voters in the South (most White voters in Tennessee in particular) could not tolerate the idea of voting for a Black candidate. That's really what it came down to in Tennessee.
These voting patterns are not good for Blacks, either as voters or candidates. It takes away from our individuality and our diversity of interests. Blacks are not all the same!!!
However, the voting patterns always seem to support this stereotype.
One of the reasons that this is happening is due to the lack of voting choice.... the dominant two party political system. If there were more viable political parties that provided more choice and represented ALL of the various political interests and viewpoints that exist in this country of 300 million people, there would be much more diverse voting patterns. As long as people have only two "viable" choices, there will be this Black voting pattern going in the same direction.
On the wider issue of voting, I also noticed that Right Wing Conservative ballot initiatives really didn't work as planned. The idea (one of the main strategies by Republicans) was to bring Conservatives to the polls in large numbers. But voters did not fall for this trick this time. Voters were able to split their voting. They often voted for Conservative ballot initiatives such as gay marriage bans (something that's not even a crucial issue in America at the moment), but still voted for Democratic candidates. They voted issue by issue, candidate by candidate, instead of straight Democratic or Republican. I did not have confidence that American voters were capable of doing this....because it requires a little more critical thinking. But many were able to do it. It also showed the power of Independent voters and Conservative Democrats.....or Moderates. Independents spoke loud and clear. Now if they could build their own political party...that would be great. But I won't hold my breath. Such a task is basically impossible in the undemocratic U.S. system, which impedes the birth and growth of new political parties.
Additional article on this issue from the Baltimore Times.
Article from the Seattle Times.
Watch/Listen to program here.
Just another Republican in Black or Brown face
AAPPundit says: Yes it’s true, until today only one blogger in America, (big hat tip) Jack and Jill Politics, blogged on the choice for RNC Chairman publicly boiling down to Michael Steele, the recently defeated Senate candidate and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), first Cuban-American Senator. (Steele for the Black Vote or Martinez for the Latino vote).
Martinez and Bush
A number of bloggers, including Booker Rising are urging Mr. Steele to carefully weigh his options, and would rather see him as head of the Republican National Committee. Booker Rising says his skills may be better suited in articulating GOP ideals. Ouch! Articulating GOP ideals? Is this the same Republican National Committee that ran the most replayed ads, featuring a bubbly blonde telling Ford to call her. You remember the commercial that made an implicit appeal to deep-seated racial fears about black men and white women.
Steele and Bush
Wait a minute, there are other African American bloggers who have some thoughts about Republican ideals. Take for instance, The Reid Report who have said, “And how can Michael Steele vie for the job as head of the Republican Party after running for the Senate as an undercover GOPer whose bumper stickers read “Steele Democrat“…? Not to mention the idea of putting a Black man in charge of a party that targeted Black voters for disenfranchisement and intimidation with abandon during Tuesday’s elections.”
There are other bloggers saying “I told you so” Anderson at large has pointed out the notion that black voters would embrace right-wing Republicans in blackface was farcical on its face. Enter, the name of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), first Cuban-American Senator. Mel was formerly Secretary of HUD before becoming elected to Congress in 2004.
Jack and Jill Politics sees it, the issue of a black vs. hispanic tussle for who will battle Howard Dean for the heart and soul (and vote) of America is in play- or is it.
I’m not sure about it being a black vs hispanic tussle, maybe it’s just a bit of hype, as currently, the heart and soul (and vote) of America is with Democrats (see New Map).
Rewind: The issue of a black vs. hispanic tussle for who will battle Howard Dean for the heart and soul (and vote) of America is not in play with black voters. We have spoken loud and clear. As Anderson at large has pointed out the notion that black voters would embrace right-wing Republicans in blackface was farcical on its face.
I contend (ok I’m not Latino but the evidence shows) the notion Latino voters would embrace right-wing Republicans in brown face is also farcical on its face - and will not play out to Latinos, including, Cuban- Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Rican -Americans, and other diverse Latino groups from N.Y to LA and places in between.
Candidly, I could care less (ok maybe a little) if Republicans choose Micheal Steele or Mel Martinez for RNC Chair.
As Ron Walters, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, said Republicans have to identify candidates based on issues, not skin color. “They have to have positions that are in line with the black community,” he said. “If they can’t attract the black vote, it won’t pay off.”
AAPPundit says: Micheal Steele V Mel Martinez, ‘who cares’. Just another Republican in Black Face or Brown face. If the Republican Party positions are not inline with the black and latino communities it won’t make a difference who is chair. As the CNN Article notes, issues trump skin color.
Oops, I forgot about neo con supporter, Michelle Malkin, says, Oh, well. Michael Steele has been passed up for Sen. Mel Martinez. Yes, a squish on border security is now the RNC chair. Has the GOP learned anything? She also provides a link to the Center for Immigration Studies analysis of Martinez’s amnesty bill.
It appears the neo con brat Michelle Malkin is concerned about more thumbs down from the conservative base. As she whines, cry’s and holds her breath, and says, “not that anyone cares about them anymore.”
Monday, November 13, 2006
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
African American Political Pundit says: Martin Luther King has always been a Black Man a majority of white politicans and many white American’s now say they love, but really despise or hate. Whites and Blacks salute Dr. King’s work and his dream, yet fail to live his dream with actual deeds.
This evening I wanted to do a little more reasearch on the life of Martin Luther King, and Googled his name Martin Luther King.
When I did guess what is the #1 website.
Rather than me commenting on the website you read it and let me know what you think?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The measure passed in Michigan on election day, but now Connerly is receiving criticism for his KKK remarks, even from Conservatives.
Follow Story from Think Progress.
Additional Blog Entry here.
The African American Roundtable from NPR's News and Notes program also tackles this story. Listen to program here.
The Angry Independent:
This guy never ceases to amaze me. He really takes the cake with this one. And there's no coming back from this one either.
The thing about Connerly is that he blurts out things that other Black Conservatives are afraid to say, and does things in public that they are afraid to do. So in a way, he provides a window that gives insight on what many of these people are thinking..... (but are afraid to reveal). In that sense, Connerly is useful to us.... He lets us take a peak into the Souls of Black Conservatives.
How can someone be so severely racists and bigoted against their own?
There are many of these folks around these days who are becoming prominent. Armstrong Williams and LaShawn Barber come to mind. They are almost just as bad as Connerly in their disdain for their race. Jesse Lee Peterson also comes to mind. However, I have never known of any instance where these Connerly clones embraced the KKK. But I could be wrong. Some of these folks have few limits, and are certainly capable of such antics.
Now I must admit I have mentioned supporting only certain kinds of affirmative action or supporting affirmative action only for special circumstances. But that's my independent, personal responsibility, Moderate/Conservative side rearing its head. Embracing KKK support for ANYTHING is just bizarre and beyond comprehension for me. I don't see how any Black Man....or any Human Being for that matter, can embrace the KKK and welcome their support.
Connerly then praises the KKK for their support of "equality". WHAT???
Either this man is on drugs or mentally disturbed. Conservative Whites would even have trouble backing Connerly on some of his stances.
Perhaps this will finally sink this guys support (even from Conservatives) and maybe his speaking requests will take a hit. I'm tired of seeing his face on all of the news programs playing spokesperson for the Republican Party.
I found an entertaining story about a hot new brand of flip flops to hit the market soon.
Rush Limbaugh is apparently coming out with his own brand..... I think they will be called Oxycontins....
Republican Party Spokesman, Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh, shows off his big new flip flops in this story from Media Matters.
After all those years of publicly slamming the Democrats and their policies on his radio and TV programs, is Viagra Man changing his tune? Is he admitting (or has he revealed) that much of his antics were a front and that he may not have been so against Democrats or so in favor of Republican causes the whole time? So all that hatred was just acting?
Limbaugh (AFTER the mid-term elections) says he feels relieved and liberated by the Democratic victory. He says being a prostitute for the Republican Party has been a rough and tiresome ordeal over the last few years. He regularly praised the Conservative Republican legislation on his program all those years...but now he admits the truth...that some of the Republican policies made him cringe. He is happy that he will not have to work as hard for his money, now that his pimps no longer control the corner. But he is not giving up his job as top Republican Party Whore.... the job pays too well to give it up completely. But he is mad at his pimps for making him work so hard.
You have to hear it & read it to believe it.
Thanks to Media Matters
The public radio program On Point examines the aftermath of the Mid-Term elections.
Listen to program here. Select audio format at top of page. Also visit NPR's Election Page.
Listen to additional program from Nov. 9th, 2006, on the subject of Donald Rumsfeld, and the possible end of the neo-con movement.
I have already commented on this before the elections, expecting that Democrats would win.
My brief take now that Democrats have won....
-Democrats will be limited in what they can do on Iraq.... and They WILL NOT cut off funding.
-The Democrats are concerned with setting things up for 2008 and beyond. So they will want to take the middle ground on many issues. However, if the Democrats refuse to do the things that I have been suggesting that they need to do.... then this Democratic majority will be temporary. Read my commentary entitled "Major Shift in U.S. Politics or are Republican problems Just Temporary"? If Democrats do not establish a long term strategic plan and if they do not build a media infrastructure, then they are wasting their time. Republicans will rebound. If Democrats do not reach out to Conservatives and the Religious communities in this country, then they leave the door open for Republicans to rebound. If Democrats do not embrace the 50 State national strategy laid out by Howard Dean, then they will quickly become the minority party once again. AND if Democrats do not embrace a more aggressive style of politics & planning, then they will not stand a chance against Republicans. One of the other main things that Democrats must tackle is campaign reform....including changes in elections/voting.
-There will be no impeachments, but there will have to be oversight hearings. Democrats will be reluctant to reach back too far or dig too deep. This is unfortunate. I was hoping for a more comprehensive overview of all the Republican crimes... from Abramoff, to Valerie Plame. We are unlikely to see a full investigation of all of these matters. Democrats are afraid that if they dig too deep, they will find the dead bodies in the closet and will be painted into an impeachment corner... a position that they do not want to be in. So we are likely to see only nibbling around the edges..... But they may surprise me. We will have to wait and see.
I don't really need to see impeachments. I am more interested in the Democrats at least making an effort to expose these crimes, so the American people will at least have the chance to know what happened- they can then make up their own minds.
-Democrats must get some things done. Minimum wage, healthcare, Immigration, Energy independence, the National Debt, use their influence for a better path on Iraq, etc....must be a part of the agenda. They must develop a good track record for future elections.
**I didn't like all of the smoozing at the White House this week between Democratic leaders and Bush. It looked too much like One Party with Two Faces.
I'm still holding onto hope that real Democracy will emerge in the U.S. within my lifetime. Real Democracy= real choice on the ballot.... more than just 2 dominant Political Parties. We need at least 2 more viable Parties. However, the current system is designed in such a way that other political Parties are almost locked out of the process. Without millions of dollars, other political Parties and candidates cannot even get on a ballot and cannot get equal airtime. This is at the heart of the problem. We need campaign reform that would eliminate corporate big money funding of campaigns. Campaigns should be publicly funded with all candidates receiving equal money, equal access to debates, and equal TV and radio airtime. This would essentially break the Republican-Democrat lock on power. If this kind of reform were enacted, Independents and new Parties would have a much easier time participating in the process.
One last note.... I was glad to see that Independents.... Folks like Me..... the most powerful segment of voters in the country, decided this election.....as they have so many times before.
Yet independents have no representation in Washington D.C. This is why Independents...Independent progressives/populists, etc....need their own political Party. Independent Conservatives should start their own Party as well....
Independents, Populists, and Moderates are indeed the most important voters. Hopefully this is a sign that the major political Parties will move away from their extreme fringes, and will take a more moderate/middle stance.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Ed Bradley Remembered on NPR's News and Notes Program.
Listen to first segment here.
The African American Roundtable also Discusses Ed Bradley. Listen here.
View Tribute from MSNBC (Right Click, Open in new window)
Tribute from CBS (Right Click, Open in new window).
Friday, November 10, 2006
CNN - Gerald Levert, the R&B singer whose hits included “I Swear” and “I’d Give Anything,” as well as chart-toppers with the groups LeVert and LSG, has died, according to his label, Atlantic Records. He was 40. Levert died of a heart attack Friday at his Cleveland, Ohio, home, according a statement from Atlantic.
The son of Eddie Levert, the lead singer of the 1970s soul group The O’Jays, Gerald sang in the R&B trio LeVert, along with brother Sean Levert, and Marc Gordon. During the 1980s and early 1990s, their hits were “Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop (Goes My Mind),” and “Casanova.”
GERALD LEVERT DIES OF A HEART ATTACK: Detroit radio …
Gerald LeVert 1966-2006
Cleveland Leader, OH
R&B Star Gerald Levert Dies Of Heart Attack
R&B Singer Gerald Levert Dies of Heart Attack
Gerald Levert dead at 40
Detroit Free Press, United States
Gerald Levert dead at 40 from apparent heart attack
The 411 Online, IL
R&B Crooner Gerald Levert Dies at 40
Listen to an interview of Gerald Levert with Father Eddie (Soul Music Giant), and Tavis Smiley.
A great performance included at the end.... Father and Son Duet.
Listen Here. Click name next to audio tab.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
With Rumsfeld on his way out, one has to wonder about the over $340 billion, yes I said billion, of American tax $$$ and has he set himself up for opportunity?
As an example, remember The Washington Post report on how U.S. military leaders in Baghdad put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.
One has to wonder if this and many other contracts have been going to Donal d Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney buddies?
I hope the new Democratic House and Senate will monitor
and report on how billions of tax payer $$$ have been spent in Iraq over the past three years. That’s one of the reasons I pinched my nose and voted for the Democrats.