Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bob James Vs. Joe Sample

I enjoy a lot of different Jazz music... especially Piano Jazz. The Piano is probably my favorite instrument to listen to.... along with the Sax.

I like the sound of both of these legends.

1. Nautilus- Bob James
2. It Happens Everyday- Joe Sample
3. Westchester Lady- Bob James
4. Street Life- Joe Sample/Crusaders (w/ Ms. Randy Crawford)
5. Angela- Bob James
6. In All My Wildest Dreams- Joe Sample
7. Altair & Vista- Bob James (w/ help from Keiko Matsui on a four hands, one piano arrangement). (pardon the skip toward the end).
8. More Beautiful Each Day- Joe Sample
9. Take Me There- Bob James
10. Road Less Travelled- Joe Sample

Listen Here- 60 mb

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bush & Co. Looking For Excuse to Attack Iran

Decision to Attack Iran Has Probably Already Been Made

Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident leading to an escalation of the War in Vietnam?

The U.S. is once again looking for an excuse to launch attacks on another country- this time it's Iran. CNN has just reported that "U.S. officials" believe that an attack in Karbala in recent days against U.S. forces, was carried out or supported by Iran. Here is the report from the NY Times. This seems to me to be more of a convenient excuse to trick the American public into yet another war.

In the past I have stated that I did not think that the U.S. would attack Iran anytime soon, because of the limited firepower of 2 U.S. Navy Carrier groups. But I am changing my mind on that. I think that an attack on Iran is more imminent than it has ever been.

I believe that the decision to attack Iran has already been made. We are now in the phase of "when and what excuse", rather than "if".

I believe that the White House has probably decided to limit the number of targets to a few. That would explain the fact that there are just 2 Aircraft Carriers in the Persian Gulf area. But yet again, these stupid white men (with no war experience) have not considered consequences, neither the predictable or the unintended. When attacking a country the size of Iran, you always have to beef up your forces, just in case....and it doesn't look like they have done that. It looks like they have decided to do this one "on the cheap" just like they did with Iraq.
But Iran has a substantial attack and counter-attack capability. They have a much stronger capability than Iraq had in 1990-91.

I don't know if the American public is ready for a war with Iran. Of course it wouldn't be a good adventure for the U.S. and the country is certainly not ready...and certainly doesn't need a war with Iran. But I meant from a psychological standpoint, I don't believe the public is ready for what they might see. The reason I say this is because the U.S. would probably suffer some considerable losses in any war with Iran. Iran could do serious damage to the U.S. Navy (and the U.S. Navy would probably lose some ships and some sailors).

The American public is so used to seeing its military defeat ememies quickly, that there is a romantacized mythical image of the armed forces, especially of the U.S. Navy and Air Force.... an image that says they are invincible.

Iran could also impact this country's economy by disrupting the flow of oil. This could triple the price of gas in the United States.

And we haven't even gotten to the other consequences....about how a war with Iran could spark a wider war that could bring in Israel, Russia, China, etc.

When I look at the prospect of a war with Iran (and all indications tell me that a war could begin at any time) I see no good reasons to start one. I only see bad outcomes.... No good ones. The negative impacts outweigh benefits by a ratio of probably 8 to 1. This is why I wonder what the hell the people in the White House are thinking by even contemplating this kind of madness. From a practical standpoint and from the standpoint of what is best for the U. S., the idea of war with Iran is suicidal. I often wonder what kind of government would terrorize its own people with this kind of nonsense. I feel more threatened by the people in Washington D.C. than by Al Qaeda at this point. Al Qaeda is minor compared to the stupid white men in Washington who are encouraging Al Qaeda, and who are not securing our borders and dragging their feet on Homeland Security.

So the rationale for attacking Iran MUST be driven by some crazed religious ideology. I guess God is speaking to these morons again and telling them to attack Iran, just like he told them to attack Iraq. This is the same dangerous, poisonous, irrational religious ideology that drives the Islamic Nazi's in Iran. We have the same religious nuts in our own country. This is why I often say that religious lunacy (of all stripes) is the biggest man made danger to civilization.

Go back and read some of my posts about the dangers of religious fanaticism, and why religion should be banned from politics. I warn of this over and over again.

U.S. Military Lacks the Equipment For Extra Troops

Equipment For Added Troops Is Lacking

New Iraq Forces Must Make Do, Officials Say

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Boosting U.S. troop levels in Iraq by 21,500 would create major logistical hurdles for the Army and Marine Corps, which are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply the extra forces, U.S. officials said.

The increase would also further degrade the readiness of U.S.-based ground forces, hampering their ability to respond quickly, fully trained and well equipped in the case of other military contingencies around the world and increasing the risk of U.S. casualties, according to Army and Marine Corps leaders.

"The response would be slower than we might like, we would not have all of the equipment sets that ordinarily would be the case, and there is certainly risk associated with that," the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway, told the House Armed Services Committee last week.

President Bush's plan to send five additional U.S. combat brigades into Iraq has left the Army and Marines scrambling to ensure that the troops could be supported with the necessary armored vehicles, jamming devices, radios and other gear, as well as lodging and other logistics.

Continue Reading


The extra troops "must make do"????? I would like to see some of these Cabinet officials, and Congressmembers get dropped off in a war zone without body armor and other equipment and be told that they will just have to "make do".

That would make a great Mad TV or Saturday Night Live scene.

What in the hell are these people smoking?

Democrats Are In A Tough Position On Iraq Issue

Not So Fast Mr. Conyers!

Democrats Taking Gamble on Iraq

The direction of the U.S. hinges on what happens with Iraq. The U.S. is entering a crucial & defining period in its history. What happens in Iraq and the wider Middle East within the next 1-2 years will impact the U.S. political landscape for decades to come.

Both sides are rolling the dice, betting everything they have. For Republicans, everything is riding on Iraq. If the troop increase works and the situation in Iraq improves dramatically, Republicans will be able to claim victory and will say that they were right all along. This would also set the stage for an easier Presidential race for Republicans in 2008. Republicans are hoping that by then, the situation in Iraq will be stable.

Republicans would also be emboldened and will be encouraged to invade or attack other countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, or any other country that is not completely submissive to U.S. influence.

On the other hand, Democrats are also exposed to considerable risks on the Iraq issue, in several ways. First, the non-binding resolution & the threats to cut funding for the war are huge gambles. If the Bush & co. plan works, Democrats will not be able to escape criticism and avoid being on the losing side. They will be on record voting against the troop increase. If this is the case by 2008, then winning the White House will be much harder to do for the Democrats.

The other side of the double edged sword for the Democrats is that even if the troop increase fails to get Iraq under control, the Republicans will try to blame the failure on the Democrats, saying that the lack of support from Congress led to the lack of results. In fact, Republicans are already setting the stage to blame the Democrats if the situation in Iraq does not improve.

John McCain has been hinting that Republicans will blame Democrats for the failure; yet they are reluctant to blame the White House- the administration actually responsible for planning, launching, and executing the whole thing.

But this is the gamble that the Democrats are in with their effort to pass symbolic legislation to say they do not support the current troop increase, and with their threats to cut funding for the war in Iraq. And I am not completely clear at this point if they mean cutting funding for the entire war or just the increase. Either way, it could still lead to problems for the Democrats down the road.

The Republicans have brilliantly set things up to be a win-lose situation for their Party, and a lose-lose situation for the Democrats. Republicans are showing that even in the minority, they are still able to show their political genius. If only the Democrats were as effective at formulating strategy.

A better approach for the Democrats would have been to back off & let the Republicans be the conductors in their own train wreck. They (the Democrats) should have quietly stated their skepticism and opposition while giving the plan some time to take affect. But they should have pledged to do the proper oversight.
This way, if the plan fails, Republicans will have no one else to blame but themselves.

Now Conyers is even talking about taking steps to cut funding. This is like walking through a minefield for Democrats. Although the American people are not satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq, I do not believe that most people would support a complete pullout and a collapse of Iraq. The U.S. has basically created more problems in Iraq than it solved…. Now it is a situation where the U.S. has created the conditions that require it to stay, at least for 1-2 more years.

It also appears that the White House has decided that there will be no end to the war in Iraq under its watch. I knew this all along. This has been the case for quite some time now, and I have stated it repeatedly here. I knew that voters were mistaken to believe that after the mid-term elections, that the war in Iraq would somehow come to an end. Americans should have paid better attention in their civics classes. The executive is still the executive, and in this case, he has decided not to withdraw from Iraq. Bush & co. has decided that instead of fixing what they broke, they are going to pass it on to another administration.

What the Democrats should be focusing on now is preventing an even more disastrous war- a war with Iran, or some other country. But Iran appears to be the focal point for the Worlds Police for at the moment. Preventing a war with Iran should be the top priority for Democrats right now. THAT should be part of any resolution that they pass if they want to go down that road. For one thing, the U.S. doesn’t have troops committed to Iran yet (that we know of publicly). Therefore, making it difficult for the President in that case would not put U.S. troops at risk.

Democrats need to get on the same page with their approach….and they need to have an approach that works. Let’s see some hearings on Iraq, how the U.S. was fraudulently led there in the first place, the misuse of intelligence, the lying to the American public, etc.

Let’s have some hearings on possible impeachment of the Vice President for misusing Classified information and putting a Federal employee at risk for personal partisan political purposes.

Let’s have some hearings to stop the war with Iran before it starts. Protests are fine, but I have never been a big fan of such action. They were somewhat effective in the 1960’s and fit the time. However, even then, the real work that created change went on behind the scenes, with the drafting of legislation and in making court challenges and using other procedures that really made change happen. Protests today are for the most part a waste of energy, resources, and time. It’s now time to actually get things done, now that anti-war protesters have made their voices heard in the streets of Washington D.C.

So far, I have been disappointed with the lack of speed and determination the Democrats have shown regarding hearings. There are several dozen investigations that need to be conducted, due to the level of corruption displayed by Bush & Co. Therefore, Democrats have no time to twiddle their thumbs. They concentrated so much on the first 100 hours that they forgot to plan for what would come afterwards.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Abraham Lincoln and Slavery Revisited

African American Political Pundit says: For those blacks (and whites) who think that Abraham Lincoln was "all that" regarding black slavery, check out the post from the good folks at Black Agenda Report. I guess Lincoln felt the blood, sweat, tears, rape and suffering of African-American slaves did not warrant them staying in the United States to experience the American Dream. After all, America and it's major corporations were built on the backs of the American slave.

But then again Lincoln may have known we were about to experience an American Nightmare-Jim Crow.

Hat Tip: Black Agenda Report

by BAR Staff

lincoln and colored infantry

At the beginning of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wasn't contemplating an Emancipation Proclamation, but wholesale deportation of Blacks - slave and newly freed alike. Problem was, Lincoln wasn't sure where to send the human cargo. A look at Lincoln's 1861 State of the Union Address.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

University of Connecticut Students Celebrate Black Culture

There has been yet another celebration by White Suburbanites, mocking so-called Black culture. This seems to be common... and I wonder how many of these incidents take place that we don't hear about.

This is the modern day version of Whites doing Blackface. I hope the Black Rap Community feels proud when this nonsense happens, because they are largely responsible for the reputation they have created for their people. They make these kinds of incidents more likely.

Will Blacks ever be able to escape these kinds of attacks and this negative reputation?

I say no.... not as long as Black youth respect rappers more than they respect their parents, grandparents and their teachers. And not as long as those "elders" are falling down on the job (parenting). We need 10,000 more Bill Cosby's.

I'm not letting the White students off the hook by any means. But these folks are all around us... (they just don't always reveal their racism). We can't get away from them, so we have to find a way to live on the same planet with them. And not that the depictions were 100% inaccurate. I myself hate the "commercial rap culture" for the unmitigated damage that it has done to Black folks. But these race parties are still offensive because of the ignorance and the stereotypes involved.

When will White folks end the stereotyping? I'm a victim of it everyday.... I'm telling you...racism should be reclassified as terrorism. And this kind of American terrorism cuts deep.


Here is information regarding a similar incident in Texas.


Read my comments entitled the Return of the Minstrels Part 1 & Part 2. (do a search above).

Bush State of The Union Proposals Inadequate

As Expected, Bush offered nothing new in the annual State of the Empire speech.

Sure, it was toned down somewhat because of the political changes in Washington, but the overall message was the same. There were the same tired proposals, the same beating of the chest, the same message on Iraq, and the same George Bush- out of touch with reality.

He could have simply used the same speech from last year... this weeks speech seems almost identical.

He proposes a goal of reducing gasoline use by 20% within 10 years? What??? This guy does not seem to get it, even after all of this time. It's almost as if he is frozen in time, unable to adjust & adapt to what is happening in the world. He simply does not have the sense of urgency that is needed to get anything done. That 20% proposal is completely inadequate. But then again, this falls in line with what I have always been saying about this administration. I have always said, that as long as this administration was in the White House there would be no serious progress on energy policy. A group that is allied so closely with the oil industry will be unlikely to propose anything that might harm that industry (or the gifts & political donations that they get from it).

What we need is a plan that could get us off of oil within 10-15 years... how about a goal of cutting gasoline use in cars and small private trucks by 80% within that time period? Now THAT would have been a proposal. After 6 years of being in office the Bush administration has done NOTHING of substance to develop alternative energy, even when it is crucial to national security and important to the environment.... 2 big issues facing the country that could be dealt with from the same alternative fuel strategy.

And he wants to increase the size of the Army and Marines by 92, 000 troops within the next few years? 92,000 more soldiers is still not enough to deal with the demands of a country that desperately wants to hold on to its position as the Worlds Police Force. The U.S. needs an increase of at least 200,000 troops, just to maintain a good defense of the U.S. and to establish a normal rotation system. There should be at least 7 or 8 more fighting divisions in the Army and a few more Marine Expeditionary units. The U.S. must go back to a more "defense" oriented posture, and should have a military large enough to handle 2 major wars simultaneously or 3 smaller wars like Iraq simultaneously if needed. Today, the U.S. has few options if troops were needed to defend the U.S. from an attack. U.S. troops are busy fighting for someone else's country instead of being in a position to defend home.

I really started to get a headache when the speech turned to the issue of healthcare.
The Bush & Co. plan for dealing with the current Health Care mess? More tax cuts.
That should have convinced anyone still on the fence that this administration and this President are completely detached from reality. Bush himself may be on something.
Amy Goodman and guest Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, let the hot air out of Bush's nonsensical Healthcare proposal. What is needed is comprehensive Healthcare coverage for everyone- at least for those who are not insured. There also needs to be a safety net in place for those people who are under-insured.

Basically, Bush & Co. is giving the middle finger to those 44+ million Americans with no healthcare and the millions more than that who are under-insured. He wants to leave it up to the private sector and to the market. They will do everything possible to avoid having a government sponsored Universal health system or anything close to it.

And I didn't hear much of anything at all about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the need to rebuild the Gulf Coast. What happened to all of those promises?

Dick Cheney Implicated By Aide In Scooter Libby Trial

More Bad News For Bush & Co. Just Went You Thought Things Couldn't Get Much Worse

Cathie Martin, A Senior Aide To Cheney, Has Testified That The White House Targeted Ambassador Wilson and That Cheney Was Behind The Leak of Classified Information Regarding CIA Officer Valerie Plame. See Here

Cheney’s Assistant, Cathie Martin, has emerged as a key figure in the CIA leak case. Contrary to earlier denials by the White House that they did not intentionally leak Valerie Plame’s information, this weeks testimony by Ms. Martin seems to confirm that top White House officials did in fact maliciously release information on the agents status. In the process, they misused Classified information for personal and partisan purposes.

Where are the damn Congressional Hearings on this? Subpeanas should be sent out ASAP. This is a huge story but it is being drowned out by Obama Mania and that annoying Hillary Clinton….not to mention the typical Britney Spears Pop Culture idiocy.

I think it may be time to seriously think about removing the Vice President from office. At the very least, an impeachment inquiry should be opened for Cheney, or Hearings that could lead to such an inquiry.

If this is not an impeachable offense, then I don’t know what is. Some will argue that Bush declassified the information about Plame, thus immunizing the Vice President, Karl Rove and anyone else involved. However, that to me is not the point. That was obviously done as part of the cover-up. The basis for Hearings and for impeachment should be the fact that the information was classified at the time that the conspiracy to leak the information began. The U.S. is supposed to be a nation of laws and not of men.
Presidents should not be able to retroactively erase crimes by declassifying sensitive information to cover for others.

It is time for the U.S. Congress to do its job.


Related Links

Report from The Guardian

Commentary on Impeachment from John Nichols at the Nation

Cheney Attempts to Block a Senate Inquiry On the Misuse of Intel To Justify the War In Iraq

The Black Independent Vote

More African Americans are identifying themselves as independents. In a country almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, independents are quickly becoming one of the most powerful voting blocks in the nation. Independents overall are in a key position to influence elections. In fact, independents in this country have decided most of the major elections in recent years, including the 2006 Mid-Term elections, which returned control of Congress to the Democrats. Yet, independents get no respect, despite being a powerful & growing segment of the society in terms of votes.

Below is a brief public radio discussion about the growth and importance of Black independents, and of the independent movement in general. This discussion is just another reminder of how important the independent vote is in this country….and hopefully the trend will continue into the future. However, the issue also shows the need for more political parties. There can be no healthy, meaningful Democracy with only 2 major political groups controlling everything. If (we) independents formed our own political Parties, we would finally get the respect that we deserve.

Listen to a brief public radio discussion

Republicans Are Blocking Minimum Wage Legislation

Republican Senators are blocking the minimum wage Bill passed 2 weeks ago by the House or Representatives. Why do these rich men hate the idea of people earning a livable wage?

And the new minimum wage isn't even enough anyway to really make that much of a difference. They would have to increase the minimum wage by several dollars to get it to where it really needs to be.

They claim that it will hurt the economy.... Nonsense. This was the same argument that they made before the last minimum wage increase in the mid 90's. The sky never fell. In fact, the economy saw record growth during that period.

The fact is, wages have not kept up with the cost of living, especially for workers on the lower end of the pay scale.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

John Kerry Decides Not To Run For President

Sen. John Kerry has chosen not to run for President in 2008.

This came as somewhat of a surprise to me. It appeared as if he was giving all the signs that he would run- a large number of T.V. appearances, numerous interviews (more than a Senator would normally give), and indicating that he was leaning towards running each time he was asked by a reporter.

I think Kerry could have been a major force in the Democratic Primary, and could have come out near the top of the heap, despite sagging poll numbers. He had the same sagging poll numbers in 2003, but pulled his way to the top once the debates began.

The absense of John Kerry changes the whole landscape on the Democratic side in my opinion. Unfortunately, this may help pave the way for the disaster of Hillary Clinton to take place. Watching all of this unfold is like watching a giant train wreck take shape, knowing that the train is going to crash, while being helpless to do anything about it.

Kerry would have offset Clinton. That leaves fewer serious candidates to take on the novelty candidates, Clinton and Obama, neither of which will be able to defeat a Republican in the General election.

With Kerry bowing out, it looks as if the Democratic Party is one step closer to fumbling the ball.....again. How many times have we seen the Democrats do that?

The other Democratic candidates will have a hard time filling Kerry's big shoes, so it's just a force in the campaign that will be lost IMO.

I will be commenting soon on the Bush State of the Empire Speech from Tuesday. I am extremely busy at the moment....

Follow The 2008 Presidential Primaries Here

Follow The 2008 Presidential Primaries

Find latest posts and commentaries.

See How The Media Plays a Bigger Role In Choosing Presidents Than Voters Do
(Most recent Posts at bottom. I will try to update as often as I can, but If I fall behind, please refer to the regular blog archive in the sidebar).

January 2008

The Aftermath of Iowa

Candidates From Both Parties Excluded from New Hampshire Debate

America Showed Its Best Face In Iowa

Notice The Media Blackout of John Edwards? I Noticed It too.

Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte Stand With John Edwards

A Review of the Medias Coverage of the Iowa Caucus

Meditations on the 2008 Presidential Race - From Blogger Liberal Arts Dude

The Impact of Corporate Media

The Rise of Obama - Can He Win A General Election?

Obama Chats With Brian Williams

Hillary Wins New Hampshire

John Edwards Steps out of the Race

Senator Ted Kennedy Endorses Barack Obama

Obama Wins South Carolina

Caroline Kennedy Endorses Obama
John McCain Has More Wars In Store For You


Radio Discussion About The Republicans and the General Election (good program)

Ethel Kennedy & Susan Eisenhower Endorse Obama

Obama Pulls A Miracle on Super Tuesday

Barack Obama - Yes We Can

Obama's Super Tuesday Win - The Morning After

The Asian and Latino Vote

Clean Sweep For Obama - He Wins Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana and the Virgin Islands

Hillary Clinton Getting Support From Ann Coulter

Obama Trounces Clinton in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana, and the Virgin Islands

Obama Wins Maine

Obama Speaking at Jefferson- Jackson Dinner in Virginia

Clinton Camp in State of Panic

Obama Wins Potomac Primary

Julian Bond Sells His Soul, Supports Clinton and Her Dirty Politics

Worried About Super Delegates Hijacking Democracy?

Obama and Public Financing

Wisconsins Largest Newspaper Endorses Barack Obama

Nancy Pelosi Leaning Towards Obama

MSNBC moves the Goal Posts for Clinton, Attacks Obama

Clinton Advisor Wants Florida and Michigan Delegates Included, even though there was no campaigning in those States. Those States were officially off limits.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

U.S. Standing In The World Continues to Suffer

New BBC Survey Finds the World View of the U.S. Is Still Poor.
This matches the trend of the past 5 or 6 years.
The Bush administration is suffering around the world AND at home.

But for the first time, I see signs that the American public is now growing tired of their Bad Guy image around the world. More Americans seem to be interested in changing the situation.

Georgia Man In Prison 21 Years After Wrongful Conviction

DNA evidence to free convicted rapist
Willie O. Williams spent 21 years in prison for crime he did not commit

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/22/07

Convicted rapist Willie O. Williams will be released from prison Tuesday after spending 21 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
"We are convinced today Mr. Williams was not responsible for this," Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard said at an afternoon press conference today.

Howard said has started an investigation to find who was the actual rapist in the April 1985 attack on a woman at an apartment complex parking lot in Sandy Springs.
Williams was exonerated based on DNA evidence that was tested through a request of the Georgia Innocence Project, who had received a letter from Williams in July 2005 saying he had been wrongly imprisoned for two decades.

Williams was convicted based on eye-witness testimony by the victim.
Howard said Williams will be brought back to Fulton Tuesday from the D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston. He will be released on bond through the Fulton County Jail before the charges are officially cleared in about two weeks.

This is why I am not enthusiastic about the Death Penalty. What if this were a murder case and the defendant was on Death Row? Could you imagine that kind of mental anguish?

But now that he's out... how do you compensate someone who lost 21 years? Most States don't have an adequate system for repaying those who have been wrongfully convicted. Some are reluctant to even give an apology.

But what is a fair price for 21 years of someones life?

Obama Already Under Attack

Barak Obama is already under attack for his racial/cultural background.

Clinton has been mentioned as the culprit for this attack, but it's unclear if this was initiated by Democrats or Republicans. Regardless.... this is probably only the beginning.
I have been saying that this would happen.


The Moderate Voice Is Also Covering This Story

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Smoking Now Banned In Your Car?

Cities (and some States) across the country have recently begun banning smoking in vehicles. The latest city to pass such a law is Bangor Maine. Hear audio report.
In most cases these laws are meant for vehicles with children inside. However, I am always concerned about basic rights being eroded incrementally. Today, it might be cars with children inside. Tomorrow lawmakers may decide to extend that ban to all vehicles. It's an easy step, once there is a law already in place governing smoking in your car.

I am a non-smoker & I don't like the idea of people being exposed to second-hand smoke. However, I don't believe this should be legislated. Banning smoking in privately owned personal vehicles leads us down a slippery slope. This, in my opinion, is unconstitutional and I am sure it will be challenged at some point. I hope it will be overturned.

If the government can ban smoking in personal vehicles, what is to stop the government from banning smoking in your home? From there, the door would be opened for the government to dictate all sorts of other things that go on in the privacy of your home, private vehicle, and in your personal life in general. This is just another way for "Big Brother" to enter our lives.

I can remember riding in the family car when I was a young man, dealing with my step-mothers cigarette smoke. And when I say riding, I DO mean riding. We went on road trips several times a year. My father was a serious highway traveller. But I survived all that smoke.

Parents just have to be more responsible. If parents don't have enough sense to know not to smoke in a confined area with children or they don't roll down a window, then perhaps they should not have children.

I think governments, whether local, State, or Federal, should be worried about much more important matters. Do we want Police officers tied up with this kind of law enforcement, when Police are needed to deal with more urgent calls?

This seems to be a case of government stepping over the line.

Suspect In Litvinenko Case Has Been Identified

British Police have identified a suspect in the Litvinenko assassination.

It appears that the thugs who run Russia may have played some role in the death of Mr. Litvinenko. How will Britian and the U.S. react?

The U.S., Britian, Canada, and any other targeted nations, should at the very least eliminate Russian spies from their territory. That includes spies acting as diplomats.
During the height of the "Cold War" (which probably never really ended, thanks to U.S. negligence) the purging of diplomats and spies every year or so was not uncommon. It looks like the World is regressing back to Cold War practices.

The U.S. and Britain are aware of the intense spy activity by Russia, but have not done much (publicly) to deal with the problem. KICK THEM OUT!!! Eliminate (or at least reduce) the threat. The CIA, with its lack of human resources, is in such dismal shape that the U.S. probably cannot counter very well.

These people should not be allowed into Britain or the U.S., if they are involved in these kinds of activities. And after they are kicked out, there should be a limit on how many Russian "diplomats" are allowed to operate in Britain, the U.S. and other countries.

More information about the group of thugs who now run Russia. They have created what is basically a dictatorship in Russia controlled by former KGB or current Security Force officers (FSB).

Retired Generals Come Out Against Iraq Plan

Listen to NPR report

A Big Political Nightmare Comes True- Hillary Clinton To Run For President

image description

The nightmare is finally a reality. Hillary Clinton announces that she is running for President.

An even worse nightmare would be Clinton surviving the Primaries and winning the Democratic nomination. I'm sure the Republican Party is thrilled about this announcement. They are keeping their fingers crossed for a Clinton win. Hillary Clinton getting the nomination would mean an easy campaign for McCain or any other top Republican.

I'm not too concerned. The Democratic field is coming together as well as could be expected and I believe that the other candidates on the Democratic side will be able to handle Hillary without too much difficulty. But I am concerned about lopsided media coverage that may favor her because she is the novelty candidate and the "frontrunner" that the media created.

The whole field is weak on both sides..... but there are enough alternatives to Hillary Clinton to allow voters ample opportunity to avoid this catastrophe. I just hope the voters don't fall for the media created superstar. Hopefully voters will look at the issues, her record, and her electability.

Hillary will have a hard time hiding from her record as Senator of New York, and as First Lady. I hope the gloves come off. Her cozy relationship with the Republican Party and her pro-war tendencies MUST also be highlighted as many times as possible by her opponents. I know that there will be reluctance to take the gloves off because she is "Mrs. Clinton"..... But too hell with all that! If she can't stand the heat, she has no business in the Kitchen.

She has also gone back and forth on her stance on issues so many times that I don't believe that even she can keep up with her own positions anymore. She doesn't seem to be able to come up with many of her own ideas or take a solid position on important issues (she rides the bandwagon of others), and when she does take a position on something, she often can't stick with it. It's one thing to be open minded, flexible and to recognize problems and be willing to adjust based on changing realities... that's just being smart. However, this is not what Hillary seems to do. Instead, she seems to change with the wind.

I hope Edwards and Kusinich never let up on Hillary. Hopefully she will drop out halfway through the Primaries.

And I wish people would stop talking about how historic this is and how this is "a first". Nonsense! Hillary isn't the first woman to run for high office. Geraldine Ferraro was actually a part of a nominated ticket 23 years ago (although as VP). Theoretically, Ferraro got closer (by actually being nominated as VP) than Hillary will likely get. And has the world forgotten about Margaret Chase Smith (64), Shirley Chisholm (72), Ellen McCormack (76), and Carol Mosely Braun (04)? These were all women who ran for President and blazed that trail a long time ago. Hillary Clinton is not even the only First Lady to run for President.

And there have been several Black Presidential candidates. Stop with the excessive glorification of Obama as being some sort of trailblazer. Jesse L. Jackson already knocked down that door.... Not to mention the other African Americans who have also run for President. Furthermore, there have been a few Black Americans elected to the Senate before Obama.

I also don't like the idea of Hillary running because I don't want to see another Clinton in office (although the chances are remote). There should be a law preventing this from happening in the first place. A Hillary win would mark 28 consecutive years of Bush/Clinton administrations (and would = 32 years by the end of her first term). Of course i'm counting George H.W's time as VP. That's a dictatorship, not a Democracy (not as if The USA is a Democracy anyway..but you get my point). I didn't like Slick Willy's policies (foreign policy in particular) and I have no reason to believe that Hillary's foreign policy would be any better. Having a Clinton in office during these challenging times is just about as bad as having a Republican in office. To be honest, I would probably rather have a thoughtful, tactful, cautious (tread lightly) Moderate Republican like Chuck Hagel in office, than a pro-war interventionist Democrat like Hillary Clinton. But in a country like this, there are really no good choices.... It's always a choice between the lesser of two evils. The problem is... all of them are imperialists & pro-war at heart...regardless of Party. That is the foundation of U.S. Foreign policy. Foreign Policy is one of the few areas where both Parties are basically the same. This is why there needs to be a fundamental change in how the U.S. deals with the World. This is one of the few good things that may come out of the Iraq fiasco... it may cause a rethinking of U.S. foreign policy.


The African American Political Pundit Also Posted About the Clinton Announcement. See his comments here.

List of Candidates

Previous Blog Entry

Friday, January 19, 2007

A magical negro or a spook?

I just finished reading a great post by Jack and Jill Politics about Barack Obama -- America's Magical Negro?.

For me Jill Tubman at Jack and Jill Politics hit the issue of Barack Obama right on the head. I've been wondering for some time why I'm not feeling Barack Obama presidency ambitions. There are many reasons. But one of the most important reasons that came to mind after reading her post was, I candidly don't want to see a black man go into the white house to clean up the white man's mess.

For hundreds of years black men have been cleaning up the mess of white men. Is it not time for blacks to say, hey, you made this mess you clean it up? Bush is currently screwing the nation.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Bush has "dug a hole so deep he can't even see the light on this" and calling the buildup "a stark blunder."

Can and should Barack Obama be the clean up man for Bush and his administration? Or, if he is elected, would Obama become America's scapegoat for the failures of Bush, Cheney, Condi and the other neo cons ?

You know how it is in scary movies; the black man always gets killed first. Or is Barack Obama a spook that sat by the door?

Spook Who Sat By The Door book cover

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bill OReilly Attacks Kidnap Victim Shawn Hornbeck

O’Reilly Should Apologize or Resign

Republican Party Spokesman Bill O’Reilly Attacks Missouri Kidnapping victim Shawn Hornbeck. Just when you think this scumbag could not go any lower, he outdoes himself.

Bill O’Reilly stated on his program that Shawn’s “experience in captivity was fun"….and that "he liked it”. According to O’Reilly, Shawn Hornbeck enjoyed being victimized by his captor…. A man who will go down in history as one of the worst child predators of all time.
O'Reilly was asserting that since Hornbeck did not try to get away.... he must have liked it.

I have seen a lot of outrageous things from Bill O’Reilly, but this just goes over the top. This goes way beyond anything that I have seen from this guy before.

Fox News should get rid of this creep or, at the very least, they should make him apologize. However, Fox News is unlikely to take this step because O’Reilly generates high ratings for the company…. and Fox has no moral character whatsoever. By keeping O’Reilly on the network after this, Fox will show a lot of people what they are all about (those who didn’t already know).
This guy is the face of the Republican Party.

I take this one a little personal because the snake has slithered his way into my neck of the woods where he doesn’t belong. It’s clear that he does not know what the hell he is talking about. His profound ignorance is clear in his statements.

I could not let this go without challenging it, and neither should anyone else.

Watch The Video of Bill O'Reilly Making His Sick Comments


Media Matters Also Covers This Story

Watch The Documentary "Sir No Sir"

Watch The Documentary Sir No Sir, about the anti-war movement among U.S. troops in the Vietnam era. Learn more about the film here.

American Soldiers Oppose Troop Increase In Iraq

A group of Iraq vets went to Washington D.C. on Tuesday and presented over 1000 signatures of military personnel who oppose the "troop surge" plan.

This same group of soldiers was also involved in a documentary (posted above) entitled "Sir No Sir".

Barack Obama Moving Forward With Presidential Bid

He has announced the formation of his exploratory Committee. This was basically an announcement that he is running. He will reportedly make an official announcement on February 10th.... that's just a few days away... Not much time for his committee to really gather much information. Also, he is planning to make a big announcement at the Illinois State Capital. So it is not hard to conclude from this that he has already made the decision to run.

Here is his announcement regarding filing papers for the exploratory committee.

I liked his message here

However, I stand behind my earlier statement about his chances. He will not win the Democratic nomination for President. And for the sake of the Democratic Party and for the sake of stopping Republicans from getting 4 more years in the White House in 2008, I hope that he does not win the nomination. An Obama win (or a win by Hillary Clinton) would hand the White House to Republicans in 2008.

Obama is not electable in a national election, for all the reasons that I have mentioned before. I don't care what the feel good reporters are saying. Although Republicans are probably secretly rooting for him to win or to do well, so that their candidate can slide into the White House almost unopposed. Race will loom large in this campaign, whether Obama likes it or not. Racial prejudice remains an unfortunate reality in this country. I'm just being a realist about Obama's chances.

And I am afraid that this will be an ugly situation to watch. This campaign is going to cause the worst of America to come out for the whole world to see. It will expose the underside of America... the racism that is usually lurking below the surface.
The untested Obama will be eaten alive by the American political machine.... first by White Democrats, a few White independents, and by disgruntled racist Conservatives who do not want to see him win. Then if he wins, racist Republicans will absolutely destroy this mans campaign. The character assasins are already sizing him up....

The political destruction of Obama will be even more brutal & messy than the job Republicans did on John Kerry in 2004 (and that was pretty brutal). The Swiftboating of John Kerry was the ugliest and most ruthless character assasination that I have ever seen. It was a media war like none other.

Obama, being fairly new, will not stand much of a chance against the Republican media war machine. He won't be prepared for what he will get from fellow Democrats in the Primaries either.

This is especially the case when Obama will no longer be the sole center of attention. He will have to share the spotlight with 6 or 7 other people. He also does not have many media allies. He is the darling now, but when the media dogs are unleashed, all bets will be off. That's another weakness that a Black candidate has to face. So called "Black America" has no effective or legitimate media. BET certainly does not come close to being a legitimate, professional, respected media organization of any kind. Therefore, Obama will have to compete to get his message out and to keep the record straight once he does take a stand on an issue.

And as I mentioned, the character assasins are already sizing Obama up, deciding what method they will use. I am already hearing about the racists using his middle name "Hussein" as a way to demonize him.....they want to associate him with the evil "terrorists" from the Middle East. A lot of uneducated Americans, especially the reactionary Republicans, will fall for that tactic. And his opponents will define him, taking advantage of the fact that a lot of Americans are not very familiar with him. They will also delve into his personal and professional life to expose any dirt or skeletons that they can find.

I just want to make clear that I am not against Obama because I don't think he is capable. He is very capable. The problem is, he is not electable. I want to see a Democrat nominated who will be electable when put head to head with the Republican candidate.

One thing is for sure- it will be a lively campaign cycle. But like I stated above, I am afraid it will be an ugly experience for Obama, despite his happy go lucky, unifying, positive approach. The political waters in this country are so poisoned, that the atmosphere is not very condusive to the kind of positive approach that Obama plans to use. We already saw that approach fail with the John Kerry campaign in 04.

If Democrats want to win they have to learn how to put together more aggressive campaigns. That doesn't necessarily mean ugly no holds barred politics... but it means using tools (like the media) more effectively and knowing how to exploit weaknesses in opponents. Most importantly, Democrats must learn how to fight back. Democrats cannot afford a repeat of the dismal performance by the Kerry team a few years ago. Although it will be hard for Democrats to deal with the Republican machine since the Democratic Party has not made much progress in building a media infrastructure. In other words, Republicans will control the debate. Even after losing the Congress (after 12 years), and having a President with low ratings, Republicans still control the media landscape...and they will take full advantage of it in the upcoming election


Hear a Public Radio Discussion About Obama's Run For The Presidency

The War In Iraq Vs. Popular American Culture - Priorities Are Out of Order

Farai Chideya and the African American Roundtable

Hear a great African American Roundtable discussion from NPR.

Summary- from January 18, 2007

Guests discuss Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) plan to assemble a presidential exploratory committee; and single women outnumber married women in the United States. Joining the panel: John McWhorter, Manhattan Institute senior fellow in Public Policy; E.R. Shipp, professor in journalism at Hofstra University; and Jeff Carr, host of the radio show Freestyle.

Listen Here

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Message Of Dr. King

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There was much more to Dr. King than I Have A Dream. Americans will be bombarded today (and in February) with loops of the famous I Have A Dream speech being played 10,000 times. But you won't see or hear the speech here. The U.S. uses that speech as a way to disarm Kings message. It has been ironic to watch the U.S. government "honor" King over the last few years, particularly while the U.S. has been at war, yet they avoid mentioning anything about his well known moral and political position on War....and the War in Vietnam in particular. Just take out the word Vietnam and replace it with Iraq, and it sounds like King is talking in the year 2007.

It's a shame that his Holiday is not truly celebrated in this country. Most people see it as just another day. Most White Americans barely recognize the day. It's a shame and very ironic that a man who spoke against segregation has a national Holiday that is segregated in terms of how people recognize it.

Below, I have included 5 great speeches from Dr King, some of them dealing with his feelings about war.

What Would MLK Say About The World Today?

What Would Dr. King Think About What Was Going On In The World Today?

He basically told us 4 decades ago.... we were just a little late arriving to the show.
If we would just listen to these Prophets when they are here sounding the alarm, maybe we could avoid more disasters. Many of the things that King spoke of 4 decades ago, we see today. It is a combination of things not changing, and King being way ahead of his time, foretelling issues and threats decades ago that we are now seeing develop today in our lifetimes.

Listen to the speech The Drum Major Instinct, given in February of 1968. This is one of my favorite speeches, and one that never gets old. It is so relevant for today. It's also one of Kings great messages. However, his greatest & most powerful speech, in my opinion, has to be a speech titled "A Knock At Midnight". Scary speech. Unfortunately I don’t have A Knock At Midnight in a digital format. But Drum Major Instinct is also one of his great messages….one of my top 3 favorites.

I Have a Dream is a great speech but it is not his greatest work. But America often uses I Have a Dream to try to sanitize King, and box him into being a Civil Rights/Racial Equality leader. The fact is, between 1965 & 1968, King was the leading anti-war voice and leading voice for economic equality in the country. I think that is part of the reason that he was gunned down. This is the part of Kings history that is hardly ever told. It's the part of his history that America tries to smother every year when the nation goes through its so called "remembrance". If they really wanted to honor King they would rewrite the school books to tell the true story about his efforts. He was not just a civil rights leader. If they wanted to honor him, they would try to live up to his vision....a vision that went beyond race and civil rights. Peace was at the heart of his struggle. He was just as passionate as an anti-war advocate as he was as a civil rights advocate....and perhaps maybe even more so as a Peace advocate.

Dr. Cornel West
Song 3M's

Other Great Speeches

Sticking Together

Beyond Vietnam (Speaking Out Against The Vietnam War in front of a national group of Clergy in New York, April 4, 1967; exactly one year before he died. )

See Text of Beyond Vietnam Speech

Related Article

Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE FOR EASIER PLAYBACK (similar speech given in front of his own congregation at the Ebenezer Baptist Church)

But If Not

I've Been To The Mountain Top - His Final Speech, April 3, 1968, given in Memphis Tennessee. Under an unusually high number of death threats, and feeling ill, King went to speak anyway, braving the assassins and the bad weather.


Longtime King Secretary/Assistant, Ms. Dora McDonald, Dies At 81

Story from the Washington Post

Great Audio Story From NPR

Dora McDonald & MLK


Rev. Lowery

Rev. Joseph Lowery Speaks on January, 14th, 2007 at the St. Sabina Church in Chicago, as part of a King Remembrance. Listen Here.

A video Interview with Rev. Lowery from a couple of years ago.


Isaac Hayes Talks About Working and Living During the 60's Civil Rights Struggle
Listen Here


Democracy Now Covers MLK

Great Story About Kings Last Hours In Memphis Helping the Sanitation Workers

King Is Also Covered By NPR Program News and Notes

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Keith Olbermann Responds To Bush Iraq Plan

Another Great Commentary From Keith Olbermann. Olbermann Has Been One Of The Few American Commentators Brave Enough And Willing To Question Bush Administration Policies. Most Other Reporters and Commentators Lack The Courage To Do So.

This Is A Big Reason Why The U.S. Ends Up In These Wars So Easily In The First Place-- There Is Usually No Dissent, No Skepticism, No Scrutiny, No Questioning, No Meaningful Journalistic Curiosity, And No Debate. And That's On Top Of No Shared Sacrifice, And No Vote or Input From The People Whatsoever.


Well, Some Call It A Miracle, But It Really Comes Down to Good Old Fashion Police Work

Two Abducted Boys Found Alive
Report Here

One Boy, Ben Ownby (pictured on left), had been missing for 4 days. The other victim, Shawn Hornbeck (pictured on right), had been missing for more than 4 years. Many had given up hope for Hornbeck.

Shawn Hornbeck had been the subject of several National News stories over the past few years.

The boys were found in a suburban St. Louis apartment, rented by their captor. My hometown has once again been plunged into the international spotlight.... unfortunately for the wrong reason....although this particular part of the story was obviously good news.

And on a side note.... I got an extra dose of happiness from this story because I got to see a Black man do his thing. You should have seen it. Roland Corvington, F.B.I. Special Agent In Charge of the St. Louis region, was all over this case. This is the kind of thing that brings me joy and hope. And it was just the icing on the cake in this case.

With all the negative images of black men out there, on TV, radio, the newspaper...EVERYWHERE... It is good to see real Black men like Chief Special Agent Corvington. BTW, I happen to be a member (supporting membership) of the same professional organization that he is a member of.... an organization called NOBLE. (look it up :) ). Corvington is one of the organizations brightest lights.

Although I think my membership may have expired again... (I need to do the lifetime thing if they offer it). I first joined the organization as a student about 10 years ago...thanks to my Black Criminal Justice Professor.


Watch Video Of the News Conference Announcing that the Victims Were Located

Additional Report From KSDK TV, With Clips from the Ben Ownby News Conference.

CNN Reports that The FBI Is Likely to Pursue a Federal Case Against The Suspect.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Farai Chideya And The African American Roundtable

The Impact of the Iraq War On Families

Farai Chideya Interviews a Military Wife About More Iraq Troop Deployments. Listen Here


Hear a great Roundtable discussion from this week from the News and Notes radio program.


Farai Chideya is joined by political consultant Walter Fields; economist and author Julianne Malveaux; and Bob Meadows, writer for People magazine. They talk more about the president's plan to send additional troops to Iraq and congressional review of federal sentencing laws.

Listen To Program Here

Analysis of Iraq Escalation Plan

Hear a great discussion regarding the Iraq escalation plan from the On Point Radio Program.


Also hear a roundup of this weeks events

Condoleeza Rice Testifies Before The Senate Regarding Iraq Policy

Condoleeza Rice Tries to Sell The Iraq War Escalation To The U.S. Senate, But Senators Were Not in a Buying Mood.

On the day after Bush revealed plans to send more than 20,000 more troops to Iraq, Rice had the tough job of selling it to the American people.

In the video below, Rice testifies before the powerful U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 5 Presidential candidates happen to sit on this committee.

Rice had a tough time from Democrats AND Republicans.

Watch Full Testimony Here

Doomsday Clock Moving Closer To Midnight

"Most Perilous Period Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

See report here and here

Americans Strongly Opposed to Bush Plan To Send More Troops To Iraq

In the days leading up to the Bush speech, Americans expressed strong disapproval of plans to escalate the war in Iraq.

After the speech, it appears that Bush & Co. did not get a boost in support for their troop increase. Public opinion is still opposed to intensifying the war in Iraq. Bush & Co. also gets poor numbers for overall job performance and for the overall handling of the war.


Crooks and Liars Has Graphs of Poll Results. (Video Also Available).

Democrats Respond to The Iraq War Escalation

Democrats Respond to the Bush Administrations Decision to Escalate The War in Iraq.

Hear report from Public Radio

The Bush Plan For Iraq Falls Short

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The Bush Speech On Iraq Revealed No Real Policy Shift


Before I highlight the holes that I see in the “new” Iraq plan, I have to mention one of the things in the speech that really stood out. I found that this speech was intended to address Iran just as much as it was intended to address Iraq. Bush made clear how his administration planned to deal with Iran. It seems to me, from his comments, that they intend (at some point) to expand their adventure into Iran. Bush stated that he would strike Iranians who may be involved in Iraq. By mentioning the naval increase in the Persian Gulf, and mentioning that he intended to protect “allies” in the region with Patriot Air Defense Missile systems, that set off alarm bells for me. When the U.S. starts talking about deploying Patriot Missile units, that is often a precursor to some sort of military action. It appeared to me that the Bush administration was preparing the American public & the world for a possible widening of the war…with Iran being the target. Bush went out of his way in the speech to try to tie Iran to the insurgency in Iraq, and that Iran was involved with killing U.S. troops.

This seems to be an effort to lay the groundwork for some sort of military action against Iran. This is the opposite of what most Americans were seeking from Mr. Bush. Americans clearly wanted a de-escalation, not a possible expansion of the conflict, using the insurgency (as well as the nuclear research issue) as a pretext to attack Iran. This falls in line with all of the other reports that have suggested the U.S. would seek a military confrontation with Iran. I personally believe that Iran and Syria probably have only a small impact on what is going on in Iraq in terms of the insurgency. Sure, there is probably some involvement. No country can totally protect its borders. Also, Iraqi Shia share a religious history with Iranians. So naturally there will be some involvement, but it is up to the Iraqi government to decide how to deal with foreign interference.

It is no surprise that a day after the Bush speech & the warning of Iran, that a building in Arbil Iraq was raided by “coalition” troops, resulting in the seizing of several Iranian diplomats. This was a move that even angered the Kurds- the Whites House's closest allies in the Iraqi government. It looks like Bush is trying to provoke some sort of incident. The White House denies war plans…. But they said the same things about Iraq. When it comes to the Bush administration (or any administration… Clinton included) I have learned to watch what they do rather than listen to what they say. Because we are being lied to half the time anyway. However, their actions will not and cannot lie.

It is ironic to me that the Iraq study group (and others) have called for the U.S. to begin a diplomatic effort to engage Iran & Syria. However, the Bush administration has ignored this advice (along with most other advice), and has chosen to do the opposite. Once again, the Bush administration is considering attacking a country for the acts of individuals or groups who may not be working directly on behalf of that country. Somehow the U.S. thinks that countries like Iran can control everything that happens on its border, when the U.S. has absolutely no control of its own borders.

Big Holes in the Bush Administration Plan

The Bush administration plan has big holes. When I listened to the Bush speech, I was hoping for (but not expecting) signs of a fundamental shift in the Iraq policy. However, what I heard was not too impressive. This does not appear to be a “new” plan at all. This looks more like an adjustment in tactics, within the same basic strategy that has been in place for the last 4 years. Now they are calling the “new” approach Clear, Hold & Build.
Clear areas of insurgents, hold (by not leaving those areas) and building on the ground gained (establishing relationships, rebuilding, etc). This means that U.S. troops will be exposed to more snipers, more roadside bombs, etc. I don’t think that the American people are ready for what is coming with this approach.

I did not hear a comprehensive plan from Bush. Once again, Bush is using the military as the primary tool for dealing with a complicated problem that cannot be solved with the military alone. It makes no sense.

A brief list of the problems with the Bush speech:

1. I did not hear enough about economic solutions for Iraq. Where was the economic plan? As I mentioned in my previous comments on Iraq, something must be done about the 70-80% unemployment there. Most of the reconstruction contracts have been given out to huge Washington D.C. connected Defense contractors who have brought in workers from outside of Iraq. They have also squandered millions of dollars that were intended for reconstruction.

2. I did not hear anything about doubling or tripling the number of Iraqis being trained for the military and police service.

3. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki & the Bush administration have both claimed that the militias in Iraq will be disarmed-- ALL of them. So does that include Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia- the powerful 50,000 strong Mahdi Army? Will the Shi’ite led Iraqi government be able to stand up against their own comrades who follow al-Sadr? Up to this point, Prime Minister al-Maliki has been afraid to stand up against this militia. Most of the focus has been on the Sunnis. Now all of a sudden we are supposed to believe that he will disarm them?

The Mahdi Army will never disarm in my opinion. I see no logical situation that would lead them to give up their weapons. The source of al-Sadr’s power is his armed militia, so why would he give up his source of power? If he did give it up (and it is highly unlikely that this would happen) it would have to be through some sort of political negotiation. The siege of Fallujah was the last time the U.S. faced al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in major combat. The U.S. walked away from that with a bloody nose and a bruised ego. That battle created several hundred U.S. casualties (dead and wounded). Just imagine Fallujah on a grand scale. That would be what the U.S. will face in another battle with the Mahdi Army. It will be a blood bath if Sadr’s forces decide to fight.

4. The Iraq Study Group recommendations were not followed.

5. I heard nothing about political and diplomatic solutions.

-- Like the gambling addict that doesn't know when to stop.... Bush has gone through all of his capital....he has lost his cash, cleaned out his bank account, has lost his house, cars, his watch, and his suit. Now he is down to his underwear. He wants to try one last hand.... he thinks he can recover everything that he has lost. He's desperate. His wedding ring and gold filling is all he has left.

In reality.... it is as if he is putting up this great country as collateral. He's gambling and using us in his last hand. Other people at the table were trying to tell him earlier in the game to step away from the poker table.... but he was stubborn. That was before he lost his money, watch, and his nice suit. Even people in his own camp were saying...Mr. President.... "You gotta know when to fold em" Kenny Rogers would say. But still, he remained defiant.

Now here we are. Bush, the gambling addict, has offered up the deed to the country... the country that all of our collective sweat and blood went into building.

Will the plan succeed? I'm "hopeful but not optimistic" as one of my teachers Cornel West likes to say.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Tribute To James Brown

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James Joseph Brown, Jr


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Chuck D on James Brown

Additional Articles And Pictures


A Musical Tribute

I have been working on this tribute for at least a week. I had to open up the vaults to put together this playlist. After a lot of time and effort, I finally got it done. These are some of my favorite James Brown songs, taken mostly from my own archive of James Brown material. Some you have heard....and there are some rarities here that you probably have not heard.

To me, James Brown was the personification of the Black struggle....especially the struggles of Black men in this country. He was also an example of Black pride and making something out of nothing. He struggled and made his own way, in a country that constantly put obstacles in the way of African Americans, especially in the era that he grew up in (Jim Crow). Yet, he still managed to become an example of how good we could be, and how far we could go, despite the obstacles. He was an advocate for hard work and self determination.

And the music..... there was never anything like it before, and there never will be anything like it. To this day, I have not heard anything that comes close to the Soul, Funk and driving rhythms of James Brown and his legendary JB's (in all their different variations over the years).

There were no beat machines, there was no computer generated music...although his bands dabbled in a few gadgets in the late 70's, and 80's. His bands were the real thing.... made from real instrumentation. If he needed violins, he went out and brought an orchestra to the studio. That's how most of the great Soul/R&B composers did it up until the 1980's (Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Stax Records, Motown/Funk Brothers, Gamble & Huff- The Sound of Philly, etc etc). That's why I have a strong appreciation for the music that came out of the 60's and 70's.

Today, programmers (producers) simply create music with computer software.... that's why everything sounds the same... Music lost its character when the instrumentation started to die in the 1990's. You used to be able to identify groups and artists from their unique trademark sound.... you could pick out their riffs, phrasing, grooves, etc. But with the computer generated instrumentation of today, I often can't tell one singer or one group from the next. Musicians used to cherish being different from other it seems as though everyone is fighting to sound the same. Could you imagine a James Brown (the same James Brown) trying to emerge in todays music and media market? It could not happen today. It would simply be impossible. First of all.... it's funny trying to imagine James Brown with no band.....or maybe a smaller band, with beat machines and Ray Charles, Quincy, Louis Armstrong, Miles, Aretha, Stevie Wonder....none of them could have emerged in todays music and media market. Todays market runs counter to the concept of creativity, real musicianship, or improvisation.... all key elements of Americas musical development up until approximately 20 years ago. It's no coincidence that since these concepts began to be suppressed 15 or 20 years ago....we have seen the decline of music over that same period. And what happened to music with a message? James Brown made your head nod, but he also made sure that there was a thread of consciousness in many of his songs & albums. Today, artists are discouraged from any kind of message...other than sex, relationships, or shaking your behind. Not necessarily bad things.... but with everything that is going on in the World today, there has to be something more that music can convey. Al Sharpton (who I often don't agree with) said it pretty well when he commented about James Browns outlook on today's music..... "James Brown sung the people up (with uplifting songs) and today performers are singing people down" (referring to todays degenerate rap culture).

I'm glad all of the great groups of the past left a treasure of music behind for me to listen to.... because I can't even tolerate listening to the radio anymore....especially so called "Black Radio".

James Brown's music will definitely live on.

Onto the music..... (There is almost 5 hours worth of stuff here...enjoy). James Brown had several spinnoff groups, and had several soloists in his various bands. James Brown himself, started off singing in a gospel group (like many other Black Southern artists of his era).

This doesn't begin to cover James Brown's career.... he had about 100 albums....but it's still a nice collection of material.

Part 1

1. Childrens Choir :) (unknown source.... done sometime in the late 1960's-early 70's)
2. James Brown Thanking The People :)
3. Like It Is, Like It Was (Mr. Brown tickling the ivories a little)
4. I Guess I'll Have to Cry
5. Sporting Life
6. Intro- Star Time
7. Try Me
8. Night Train
9. Out Of Sight
10. Get On The Good Foot
11. Give It Up or Turn It Loose
12. Say It Loud, I'm Black & I'm Proud- Live 1968
13. Licking Stick- Live
14. There Was a Time
15. Medley- Try Me/Lost Someone/Bewildered
16. If I Ruled The World
17. Georgia On My Mind
18. Tighten Up- Maceo Parker and the JB's
19. Soul Pride
20. Doing It To Death
21. It's A Mans World
22. Brother Rap
23. Ain't It Funky
24. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
25. Hot Pants Road
26. Funky Drummer


Download Link Has Been Shut Off. I had the link available for 3 months. However, I still have the link information on file. Anyone interested in listening can contact the blog author. If it is still available (file still being hosted) by the time you make your request, then I will send the link information.

1. Make It Funky
2. The Boss
3. Say It Loud..... (Studio Version)
4. Blind Man Can See It
5. Talking Loud, Saying Nothing
6. Gimmie Some More
7. Licking Stick (Studio)
8. Same Beat (parts 1 & 2)
9. I Know You Got Soul- Bobby Byrd
10. I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin', Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself
11. White Lightning
12. Escape-Ism
13. There Was A Time (Slow Alternate Take)
14. JB's Monorail
15. Message From the Soul Sisters (parts 1&2) Vicki Anderson
16. From The Love Side- Hank Ballard
17. Soul Power
18. Summertime- James Brown w/ Martha High
19. You Can Have Watergate, Just Give Some Bucks & I'll Be Straight
20. Think- Lyn Collins (One of the original Queens of Funk)
21. I'm Paying Taxes, What Am I Buying
22. Mama Feelgood- Lyn Collins
23. Do Your Thing- Lyn Collins
24. King Heroin
25. Stone To The Bone
26. Mind Power
27. The Payback
28. Doing the Best I Can
29. Forever Suffering
30. Take Some, Leave Some


Download Link Has Been Shut Off. I had the link available for 3 months. However, I still have the link information on file. Anyone interested in listening can contact the blog author. If the link is still good (still being hosted) when you make your request, then I will send the link information.

The Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam

The political (& military) parallels between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam are too big to ignore. Although the two wars have some significant differences, they also have big similarities; such as troops dealing with boobie traps around every corner, troops unclear about who is friend or foe among people who all appear to be civilians... troops often don't know who is shooting at them, and troops are becoming disillusioned & confused about why they are still there- all of these things were issues in Vietnam. You also had a political leadership during the Vietnam War that did not want to give in to common sense, and in an attempt to preserve political legacies they risked and expended the lives of thousands of soldiers. None of the political leaders of the time wanted to be responsible for "retreating" and presiding over a lost cause. In the end, the U.S. had to pull out anyway. By not acting sooner, these politicians wasted American lives and wrecked many American families.

Some suggest that the Bush administration plan in Iraq is similar to what was tried in Vietnam....with troop surges, etc. Some call the Bush plan the Vietnamization of Iraq.

Here is an old blog entry of a Vietnam Documentary that looks at these issues.

Thanks to The African American Political Pundit for bringing up Vietnam and connecting the two wars. It reminded me of the documentary and discussion that I posted several months ago.
See his blog entry here.


My previous post on the troop increase in Iraq

I personally believe that the increase in troops will only mean more targets for the insurgents to attack.