Thursday, May 31, 2007

Homeland Security Fails ANOTHER test

Ok, is anyone scared yet?

The past couple of days, we've found out that a guy with a contagious disease, a hard-to-treat form of tuberculosis, was allowed to travel out of the country, and allowed to come back in.

Will someone explain to me why the hell we have NO FLY LISTS, if they allow people with contagious communicable diseases to be on board planes, in a confined space, with HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE?

Does anyone feel scared yet?

If we can't stop a guy that we KNOW has a disease from flying and putting OTHER LIVES AT RISK, then what is the point of the NO FLY LIST?

In this day of chemical and biological weapons, this ' mishap' is inexcusable. This is a 'gimme', and they screwed it up! Nobody sounds the alarm bells that putting other folks' lives at risk is NOT AN OPTION. Everyone along this chain of information needs to be fired.

I swear, our terrorist enemies are cracking up at our incompetence. They're jotting down yet another way to attack us.

The Unseen Casualties of the War In Iraq


If you are already angry about the War in Iraq, then this will probably raise your blood pressure. I know it raised mine. It might make your stomach turn too.

After their fathers have been killed as a result of this god---- invasion and occupation of Iraq, many of the widows and daughters are left with no way to support themselves. The result? Iraqi women and girls have been pushed into prostitution in order to survive. A huge sex business has sprouted up in neighboring countries such as Jordan and Syria, where these girls are being exploited.

And the Bush administration has the nerve to insult my intelligence by telling me that Iraqis are better off today than they were before the invasion? Bush & Co. can go straight to hell.

The U.S. HAS to know that this is going on. And since the U.S. is responsible to a large degree for the condition that these women and their families find themselves in, why hasn't the U.S. created programs to take care of this situation? These families (who have lost bread winners) could be fastracked for entry into the U.S. or Europe if they so choose, and provided with the funds needed to take care of their basic living expenses until they are able to take care of themselves. We have to keep in mind that a loss of a father in the U.S. (though just as tragic) is not quite the same as the loss of a father in more traditional countries around the world such as Iraq. This is because men in Iraq are typically the primary (and often the only) breadwinners for a family.

But when I think about it... it should be no surprise that the current administration has done nothing about this problem. Their whole philosophy is.... F--- it... let them struggle for their lives. This is the same policy that Republicans have in this country-- little concern for the poor. Katrina was a good example of government indifference regarding the poor here in this country. While New Orleans was about to drown, frat boy was literally partying. If they do little to help the poor in this country, I can see how it is easy for them to not give a damn about Iraqs poor. This is also the same government and same political party that hates to take responsibility for any of its messes.

They (Republicans) are so afraid of developing anything that looks remotely like "welfare" that they are willing to let people suffer the worst kinds of indignities in Iraq, even if such conditions were a result of Republican policies....in this case, the invasion. And the U.S. wants to preach to other nations about Human Rights??? When the U.S. has created one of the biggest Human Rights Disasters in modern history? PLEASE! And I thought that the Republican party was the party that stood for "Family Values"? They are always preaching it to us. But I guess being able to feed and cloth your children is not a family value.

An Iraqi Girl Grieving After The Death of Her Father (source)

This has also been allowed to happen partly because of cultural arrogance and indifference by the American public. People in this country live such comfortable lives (generally speaking....in comparison with Iraqis) that they don't have much of a clue about the kind of suffering that ordinary Iraqis are dealing with. Therefore, there is a lack of urgency and a lack of empathy on the part of the American public.... not to mention the politicians. To them, the Iraq war and its consequences are just like a video game that they see on their TV screens each day.

It is sickening that while all of this is going on (ironically as a result of American indifference and apathy that led to the war in the first place) Americans are much more concerned with who will win American Idol. The fact that the major news networks give more coverage to Anna Nicole Smith, Britney Spears, Rosie O'Donnell, and other mindless bullshit and give very little coverage to stories like the ones below or the genocide in Darfur is a perfect example of American indifference. And because of the media, this kind of indifference is reinforced and has almost become sanctioned and institutionalized as a cultural norm in this country. The thugs who run this country want a nation full of halfwits... this allows them to invade countries like Iraq or Panama and to pretty much get away with whatever they want. The more mindless bullshit that they can keep you occupied with, the less time you have to watch what they are doing to you and to other folks around the planet.

The U.S. has basically destroyed Iraq. The economy is virtually gone. And they did it under false pretenses, in an effort to obtain some sort of strategic foothold in the Middle East. I predicted in 1999 that if Bush were to become President, that the U.S. would become entangled in a disaster in the Middle East, most likely in Iraq. Now here we are... and the casualties & consequences keep piling up on both sides.

With each passing day, I feel that this country is becoming more bankrupt, morally, culturally, & politically.

I am at my wits end with this war. It has already lasted longer than World War II.

Four troubling stories below

Story of 19 Year old Nafisa Ridwan

The story of Hiba

Report from CBS

An older report from Slate

American Deaths In Iraq At 2 Year High

U.S. Troop deaths in Iraq reached a 2 year high this month. The death toll for May was the 3rd highest monthly toll of the entire conflict. The increase was predicted after Bush announced his surge plan.

Baghdad is still in chaos despite the surge. The latest McClatchy report on Iraq shows that the surge is having minimal impact on the daily violence there.

Juan Cole has been keeping a close eye on developments in Iraq.

In the latest sign that the neo-cons have no clue about what they are doing in Iraq, Bush has stated that the South Korea model should be used for Iraq. That has to be one of the dumbest things to come out of Bush & Co. in a long time. The two nations and the two situations are completely different. We are talking about two historical backdrops that couldn't be anymore different. We have a different political situation, different cultural scenarios, different geographical factors, different military factors, and so forth.

South Korea had a stable government from the start....the U.S. didn't have to build it. Jihadism was also not a factor in South Korea. Furthermore, we were in South Korea as welcomed guests of the South Koreans....not as occupiers. And more importantly, (as brutal as the Korean war was...and even though it was not vital to U.S. Security) the U.S. was operating under the authority of the UN Security Council and was functioning within international law. That can't be said for Iraq.

When will the neo-cons get a clue about what is going on in the World? They don't even know the differences between Iraq and the Korean Conflict.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CBC/Faux News Debate - Update & Letter

ColorofChange.org has written a letter to Senators Clinton, Edwards and Obama about their decision to not come to the CBC/Fox News Debate.

Here's the letter:

Dear [candidate],
Your decision last month not to attend the debate sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus institute demonstrated truly principled leadership.

Now, a group of CBC members, led by Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), is asking you to reverse that decision. But the truth about Fox and its partnership with the CBC institute has not changed. A Fox-CBCI partnership will use the brand of the CBC—perhaps the most prominent and powerful Black political institution in America—to lend legitimacy to a propaganda network that regularly denigrates black people, black culture and black institutions. This partnership is bad for Black America, and it is a huge mistake.

Since before the debate partnership was announced publicly, Black bloggers, community newspapers, columnists, and radio hosts have expressed outrage that such a partnership would even be considered. Over 16,000 members of ColorOfChange.org reached out to individual CBC members and the CBC institute in hopes that they would be responsive and accountable to the community they purport to represent. But the leadership of the CBC institute has continued to willfully ignore the voices of Black Americans, and amazingly, also dismissed voices of dissent from within the CBC itself (nearly a quarter of CBC members have expressed opposition to the debate, either publicly or privately). Now, more than ever, it’s obvious that the CBC’s leadership is painfully out of step with Black America.

It has been suggested that by skipping this debate, you are missing a valuable opportunity to speak on issues of concern to Black Americans. However, the CBC institute debate broadcast by CNN as well as Tavis Smiley’s debates on PBS provide similar opportunities to address these issues without sending the message that you are willing to validate a network that is consistently hostile to Black Americans and Black political interests.

You did the right thing by rejecting Fox. We applaud your leadership and will continue to support your decision.

--sig

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There's a call for more signers. This is a bit different from a petition, in that we want signatures from folks that have a blog, or an organization; some kind of readership or constituency, basically. If you want to sign to email "gabriel AT colorofchange DOT org"

Drop gabriel an email and add yourself to the signers; be sure to tell him which blog you found this letter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Stepping Out of the Spotlight

After being eaten alive by the right-wing media machine, and disparaged by some on the far left, Cindy Sheehan says she has finally had enough.

This Country will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. The polarization caused by the war in Iraq has created such a bitter atmosphere that people cannot protest without being threatened, trampled on, or drained of their spirit. This is exactly why some folks choose to stay home.

Are people still calling Bush the Uniter?

Cheney Ordered Visitor Logs Destroyed


A new report reveals that Dick Cheney, through his attorney, ordered the Secret Service not to keep logs of who visited his residence, and to purge any logs that they had. This would be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires that records, such as visitor logs, be maintained, for both the President and VP. This comes after his involvement in the Valerie Plame fiasco.

We can add this to the list of offenses for his impeachment. I don't expect his impeachment to go forward, but we are finding more and more reasons why he should be removed. Of course the major TV news networks have been ignoring this latest story.

This is just the latest in a series of revelations, suggesting that the VP has been taking a lead role in making many of the decisions in this Bush Administration. I have always thought of Cheney as the defacto President....behind many of the reprehensible policies of this government. Bush has been just a figurehead. He has readily admitted several times that he doesn't even read the newspaper. OTHER folks have clearly been running this government all along. The neo-cons used Bush for his name recognition, so they could ride into the White House in 2000. Bush didn't have a clue then, and still doesn't have a clue now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Baghdad ER Revisited


To highlight the sacrifices of American soldiers, I am reposting this great documentary- Baghdad ER. You can watch the film online.

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Here is a great article about how the average American has become detached from the realities of this war. "While Baghdad Explodes, Americans Shop". This commentary is more relevant than ever.

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Meanwhile.... the troops want to come home

A new report documents how much American troops want to come home.

__________________________

I thought about visiting my fathers grave... but I think I will hold off for another day. There will be thousands of people at the cemetery tomorrow. My father died almost exactly 15 years ago (Tuesday). I have only been to the site once since, and I would prefer going without the crowds. It's bad enough that I hate cemeteries.... the crowd would make things even worse.

I may try to catch the Rib America Festival in downtown St. Louis, to take my mind off of the Worlds craziness. I'm not much of a meat eater, but I do allow myself to cheat for ribs. I can't give up ribs.

Or maybe I will take in a movie.... It has literally been a few years since I have been to a movie. Going to the movies by myself was something that I loved at one time... And now I don't get out even to do that. It's partly because undesirables took over my favorite movie theater some years ago, and they pretty much ruined that as a viable venue for peace and quiet. It's hard for me to change favorite movie spots.

I am looking forward to seeing the new Michael Moore film... since I love documentaries, especially documentaries on issues important to me.

LaVena Johnson and Other Fallen Soldiers

Women's Vietnam War Memorial

Here is a nice piece regarding LaVena Johnson and others who have died in Iraq.

Another Remembrance entitled The Flags of Our Daughters.

Another Iraq War Lie Uncovered

Bush & Co. has spent much of the last 4 years blaming the Iraq disaster on the Intelligence Community- the 16 agency collective that is responsible for evaluating short-term & long term threats to the U.S., and gathering information for policy-makers and troops in the field. The first big lie was that the Intelligence Community got it all wrong about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The fact is, the intelligence community never reached a consensus about WMD. There was just as much information doubting the WMD claim as there was supporting it. However, the Bush Administration ignored information that didn't support the WMD argument. As the Downing Street Memo confirmed, Bush & Co. was dead set on attacking Iraq Months in advance and was cherry picking information, only highlighting intelligence that supported an invasion. The policy was already set, and the neo-cons launched a campaign to form the intelligence to fit the policy, rather than listening to all of the intelligence and allowing the intelligence to guide policy, which is the norm.

The next big lie from Bush & Co. regarding Iraq was that the insurgency could not have been predicted... that U.S. Intelligence agencies didn't anticipate the disaster. We later heard bits and pieces of information that also doubted this argument, but now it is finally confirmed in a new report from the U.S. Senate Panel that is investigating the Iraq fiasco. The report states that the Bush administration was informed about what the aftermath of an invasion might look like. And the Intelligence Community was right on target.

Instead of properly planning for the aftermath (or better yet... cancelling the disaster altogether) Bush & Co.... (in which none of the principal players ever served in war) went ahead with the disaster anyway.... leading to the unnecessary deaths of roughly 3,500 U.S. Service members, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians; not to mention the 25,000 or more Americans who have been injured.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Michelle Obama - the latest Racial Rorschach Test

The entire Obama candidacy is about what I call a Racial Rorschach Test. The first phase were those idiotic articles about whether Obama was ' Black enough' for Black folks, which was insane, and off the point. Once that dog didn't hunt, we finally got around to whom the 'Black enough' test was really about, and that was White folk. While they're still mulling around this question and deciding whether to deal with it or not, we've got a new angle to this test.

Michelle Obama

Having been behind the scenes, within the last six weeks, Mrs. Obama has begun to step out into the spotlight, and she's definitely causing some reactions.

We have a nice hit piece by Maureen Dowd, who wrote:

I wince a bit when Michelle Obama chides her husband as a mere mortal -- a comic routine that rests on the presumption that we see him as a god.


Has Dowd BEEN to an Obama function/rally? I have, ever since he was running for Senate. I chose specifically to go to events where I would be one of the few specs of pepper in a sea of salt, and while I would listen to the Senator, I was watching the faces of others, and I'm leaning towards Michelle's presumption.

The tweaking takes place at fundraisers, where Michelle wants to lift the veil on their home life a bit and give the folks their money's worth.


At the big Hollywood fund-raiser for Senator Obama in February, Michelle came on strong.


''I am always a little amazed at the response that people get when they hear from Barack,'' she told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton, as her husband stood by looking like a puppy being scolded, reported Hud Morgan of Men's Vogue. ''A great man, a wonderful man. But still a man.


''I have some difficulty reconciling the two images I have of Barack Obama. There's Barack Obama the phenomenon. He's an amazing orator, Harvard Law Review, or whatever it was, law professor, best-selling author, Grammy winner. Pretty amazing, right?


''And then there's the Barack Obama that lives with me in my house, and that guy's a little less impressive. For some reason this guy still can't manage to put the butter up when he makes toast, secure the bread so that it doesn't get stale, and his 5-year-old is still better at making the bed than he is.''


She said that the TV version of Barack Obama sounded really interesting and that she'd like to meet him sometime.


Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband -- under fire for lacking experience -- as an undisciplined child.


I disagree.

I have absolutely no doubt that Michelle is one of the reasons that Barack Obama has come as far as he has. One of the things I respect about Barack Obama is that he seems to have a strong sense of self-confidence. You'd have to in order to run for President. I think a nice chunk of that self-confidence is that he is loved by his wife, that she is secure in who she is, and he knows that she has his back. Nothing like going into battle and knowing that you have someone ALWAYS on your side.

And, on the flip side of that, I have no doubt that Michelle Obama totally adores her husband, even as she teases him. She is what keeps him grounded, and that has nothing to do with ' emasculating' him. It has to do with 'keeping it real'. It has to do being the ' real world' to everyone's fantasy. For Barack Obama to do what he has to do, he has to hear the unvarnished truth from someone in his life, and that's Michelle.

Michelle is just telling people that Barack is NOT the 'Magic Negro'. He's a very smart and talented 'Negro'(sigh) - he's just not the ' Magic' one, so don't put that upon him when we're trying to tell you the truth.


I believe that there are many people who are simply uncomfortable with Michelle Obama, because she seems to be as comfortable in her skin as Barack Obama is in his. If Michelle had some downtrodden story, the 'acceptable' story for Black folk, then possibly they could handle it. But, Mrs. Obama grew up in a loving, two-parent home. Her parents instilled in her and her brother the sense that they just had to apply themselves, and they could achieve and succeed, and that she did, first at Princeton, then Harvard Law.

I think Michelle Obama is intimidating for some people. I mean, no matter how 'brilliant' Condi Rice is, there's still a part of society that says, ' yes, she's been able to rise and succeed, BUT..what did she have to give up in order to do it? A husband and family.' Though Elizabeth Edwards was as smart as John Edwards, and had the career, marriage, and the kids, she STILL sort of looked like a 'hot mess' as the phrase goes. And, though Hillary Clinton was definitely as smart as Bill Clinton, and they had the marriage, and the perfect child, there was that burden of Bill's ' extracurriculars'.

Michelle Obama is a pretty, slim, well educated smart woman, who went after her own career, all the while marrying, producing children, and doing it well - from the outside. Why wouldn't she be intimidating? Michelle Obama is an actual real life Clair Huxtable - Lawyer wife, high powered job, kids, home -without the help of a nanny. Doing the Black middle-class 'Strivers' juggle. No, I'm not putting Michelle into the ' Strong Black Woman' stereotype; she just doesn't seem much different from other educated Black women that I know.

Debra Dickerson, wrote in her recent (hit) piece on Mrs. Obama - Michelle's Sacrifice -

I'm in a feminist fury about Michelle (I'll use her first name to avoid confusion with her husband) feeling forced to quit, but make no mistake: I'm not blaming her. Few could stand up to the pressure she's facing, especially from blacks, to sacrifice herself on the altar of her husband's ambition. He could be the first black president, you know! Also, she must be beside herself trying to hold things together for her daughters. I'm blaming the world and every man, woman, child and border collie in it who helps send the message that women's lives must be subordinate to everyone else's.

No doubt her modern, progressive husband assured her she didn't have to quit -- probably even tried to dissuade her. It's also quite likely she's making this sacrifice so her children will have at least one parent available. But the result is the same. Our daughters grow up knowing that their freedom to work at hard-won, beloved careers hinges on the doings of their husbands.

Still, there's an opportunity in this setback. Now is the time for feminism to reach out to black women via the contingent of Obama-esque overachievers out there who ought to be chilled to the bone by Michelle's retirement from work of her own.


Black women invented feminism, IMO. It was forced upon us by the system of slavery when we were brought to this country. Black women have always worked and dealt with the balances of work, relationships and family. That isn't new to Black women. Each of us can look back into our families that have a tradition of the woman being financially independent of her husband - 'having her own', as they used to say. My grandmother, born in 1885, by the time she married and had her first child, in 1905, was a college graduate. She went on to birth 15 children, between her first, and her last - my mother- in 1930. While only one of my Uncles went to college, ALL my grandmother's daughters went to college and each of them got a graduate degree. Look at the dates; it's definitely pre-modern feminism. Yet, my family is not unique. There were others, but mainstream society has chosen to ignore them.

Michelle Obama is a graduate of two Ivy League schools. She WILL be able to find employment.

Michelle Obama is doing what a good LIFE PARTNER/WIFE does.

Her husband has a shot at the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America.

That's the Big One, Ms. Dickerson.

He needs all hands on deck, and he needs her hands above all else. She is his best surrogate. She's as good as he is, in a different way and manner, but she's terrific on the campaign trail.

She loves her husband. He's going after the Presidency. If she didn't do everything in her power to help him, there will always be the ' what if?' question.

As for their daughters, what they will learn by watching their parents is how a successful relationship is run, and it will be the foundation for what they will expect for their own lives.

Something had to give. Running for President is a 24/7 job for the entire family, and her family is what's most important to her - I believe that. She did what she had to do for her FAMILY, and I don't think she has to explain, let alone apologize, to anyone for her decision. I thought feminism was all about 'choices'. And as Mrs. Obama said, if she had wanted dinner at 6 every night, she should have married someone else. She made the choice to marry Barack Obama, and she accepts the life that goes with that.

I think Michelle Obama knows that she'd damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't, so she's decided to be herself. That honesty is the only way they can take the battle to the people and possibly succeed. For me, her ' Midwestern Sensibilities' are what I appreciate most about her. If she didn't remind me of so many of my "Sistafriends" in her manner and the way that she carries herself, I think I'd have issues with her and Barack Obama.

Frank Rich was on Tavis Smiley's PBS show a few weeks ago and he asked Frank Rich if he thought that White America was ready for a Black FAMILY in the White House. For a Black First Lady, and two little Black kids running around the White House. Frank Rich looked surprised by the question and admitted that he hadn't thought about it in that way. I thought it was a terrific question.

I wonder if America IS ready for a BLACK First Lady. No Halle Berry or Vanessa Williams here with Michelle Obama. She's Angela Bassett. Can America handle that? I don't know the answer; I only know that I want the answer to the question.



Articles for reference:


Michelle Obama for President

Why Michelle Obama Just Can't Be Herself

The White Lady Just Doesn’t Get It: A Response to Maureen Dowd’s “Critique’ of Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's Sacrifice

Rapper Nelly Taking Minstrel Show To Africa


Yet Another Reason for Black Folks to Be Proud!

Wishful thinking of course.
The reality is that this is just another source of Black shame and embarrassment for me and it's another ugly mark on the so-called "Black Community".

Rapper Nelly is taking his Minstrel Show overseas. He has just signed a deal with a distributor in South Africa to sell his Pimp Juice there, and throughout the rest of the African continent. See Eurweb report.

Ahh yesss!... just what South Africa needs.... Pimp Juice. And who better to represent the image of African Americans on the World stage than Nelly or any other Rapper for that matter?

And African Americans wonder why native born Africans are leery of them and have negative stereotypes about Black American culture?

Nelly has also agreed to host the show "Pimp My Ride" in South Africa. Isn't that just f_____ng dandy!!!!? As if that's not enough, he is also in the process of distributing more of his products in Canada.

I know this may appear to be an April Fools joke.... it seemed the same way to me when I first learned of it, but it isn't April (unfortunately). This nightmare is real.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Beyonce on Broadway as Maggie the Cat? I hope not.

Could Beyonce be going to Broadway?

I have to thank POLIOTOPICS for the tip on this.

Could be that Beyonce might be cast as Maggie The Cat in an All-Black cast of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

Yes, you read that right...Beyonce as Maggie The Cat.

Um, how do I say this?

ARE THEY INSANE?

I'm not hating. I'm just being honest. Maggie the Cat isn't a supporting role. And, it doesn't include any singing. Maggie The Cat IS the pivotal role in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. What, in Beyonce's career, up to this point, would provide any sort of comfort that she has the chops, to ACT, in front of a LIVE AUDIENCE, for 8 performances a week?

Come on, people. Supporting roles where others can carry the film are one thing; actually having her carry a BROADWAY PLAY? Please, don't tell me about Fantasia or Michelle Williams - they are in MUSICALS. Unless it's changed since I read it high school, there's NO music in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

I didn't even understand why Elizabeth Taylor was a movie star until I saw her as Maggie in the film. Same with Paul Newman as Brick. ...and that's another point..LLCoolJ as Brick? Oh, come on. I don't hate on the singers, but for serious Broadway plays, they need people who actually trained for it professionally. Not two entertainers who have made questionable movie role choices.

It gets even crazier. They dumped FOUR-TIME TONY AWARD WINNER Audra McDonald for Beyonce. This mess gets more looney by the sentence.

There are plenty of REAL actors who could play the parts. Danny Glover and Phylicia Rashad as Big Daddy and Big Mama make sense. Anthony Anderson would be a great Gooper, and Chandra Wilson a good Mae Lynn. Jeffery Wright, Blair Underwood, Hill Harper....any number of professional actors would play the heck out of the role of Brick.

But, the bottom line is: If you don't believe Maggie, you won't believe the play. And, Beyonce isn't credible as Maggie.

The Immigration Bill & Its Threat to White Collar Workers

My first post was on the newly proposed Immigration Reform bill and the possible detriment to the Black community. My second was on the threat to our national security.

But, there are other reasons for opposing this bill.

The previous post spoke about how those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale would get the shaft.

Yet, they are not the only ones who should be afraid of the impact of this bill. If you have a white collar job, you should be as afraid as your brethren in the blue-collar field.

There is a provision in this bill to give preference to those with higher levels of education. On the surface, it looks innocent enough. As I said in my previous post, we already have enough uneducated poor people in this country, and shouldn't look to get anymore.

But, this is not the answer. This is the end run around the many challenges that have been given to the HB-1 visa program. The HB-1 visa program is the high end scam by Corporate America to flood the white collar sector with cheap labor. Not as cheap as the illegals on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, but comparable by their standards.

If you don't think that HB-1 visas are a threat, why don't you ask some of our fellow unemployed citizens in the IT and science sectors around the country. How the levels of unemployment in these areas aren't at record lows.

I'm not going to 'pick on' the illegal worker at the low end of the socio-economic scale alone; I don't want his highly educated brethren from overseas either.

One sentence that won't move me one iota is the ' We're a country of immigrants' one.

My response to that is, ' So what?'

That applied maybe 50 years ago, but now, unfettered immigration threatens to tear at the very fabric of the country.

The HB-1 is as every bit a hustle for employers as the illegal immigrant is on the other end of the scale. The employer is able to pimp the underpayed immigrant employee, keeping them on the hook for a certain amount of time, endlessly holding out the carrot of the employer POSSIBLY sponsoring said immigrant for citizenship, all the while, guess what, it hardly ever happens, because the employer knows that if the immigrant becomes a citizen, he'll want to be paid what other American citizens doing the same job are being paid.

The theory about the lower end of the economic scale, is that those illegals are doing jobs that ' Americans won't do.' But, with the HB-1 hustle, these are jobs that Americans are more than willing to do, but like their compatriots at the opposite end of the economic scale, they want to be paid what the job is worth and not undermined by cheap, foreign labor- no matter the education level.

Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) recognizes how much a threat the proposed increase in HB-1 visas (from 65,000 to 115,000 with the option of increasing it again to 180,000) is a threat to our well-educated worker, and it's the reason why he's proposed an amendment to help those workers hurt by the proposed increase in HB-1 visas.

This Immigration Bill is nothing but a give away to Corporate America, and the American worker, no matter their place on the socioeconomic spectrum, is threatened by it. Make no mistake, the Middle-Class worker is not helped by this bill.

Ukraine Sliding Into Chaos

Ukraine slid further into Chaos today, as the President and Prime Minister continue to battle for power. This situation seems to be turning into an all out fight.

It is hard to believe that the U.S. is trying to bring the Ukraine (a very unstable country) into NATO, where the U.S. would have to defend it. Ukraine has become the center of the newly revived Cold War between Russia and the West.

The Rap On Culture & Why Cosby Was Right

Bill Cosby was strongly criticized by many African Americans for his call for Black introspection and the need to restore certain values in the "Black Community" such as Black pride, putting a high value on Education, Parenting and restoring the family, particularly regarding the need for Fathers to return to their role. Yet, evidence before and since suggests that Cosby was right. I think most Black folks know full well that Cosby was right, but felt uncomfortable with being slapped with reality. His arguments against the anti-intellectualism, thuggery, and the degenerate values embraced by the Rap culture just hit too close to home for a lot of people, and they were not ready to hear it, not even from Cosby. But I see signs that Black America is starting to accept the wake up call. Whether they will heed the call is another question, but folks are certainly beginning to pick up the phone, so to speak.


Now, the Policy Bridge organization, an African American advocacy Think Tank in Ohio which concentrates on issues surrounding Education and Public Policy, has just released a stunning new report about the Black youth achievement gap. Many of the criticisms offered by Cosby are rearing their ugly but truthful heads once again. But before we get to the Policy Bridge report, here is an interesting story to lead off with, from Mr. Bill Maxwell, a professor of Journalism at Stillman College, an HBCU in Alabama. His commentary is entitled "A Dream Lay Dying" and it hits right at the heart of what Cosby was trying to say and of some of the findings mentioned in the Policy Bridge report.

The 16 page Policy Bridge report, entitled "The Rap On Culture", looks at how Popular culture, particularly Rap culture, and the lack of guidance at home impacts low achieving African American students. The report goes beyond the old arguments about poverty being the primary factor for this problem and instead focuses on the role of Cultural conditions. The lack of family support and family structure also seems to play a role.

The Rap On Culture cites an Ohio Board of Education report that stated:

"Contrary to some beliefs, achievement gaps between Black or Hispanic students and White or Asian students cannot be completely explained by economic disadvantage".


I have never fully bought into the argument that being poor was a major excuse for the problem of underachievement for African American youth. I always believed that there were other factors, mainly cultural factors that were involved.

The anti-intellectual message of Rap culture...particularly the notion that being smart means not being "cool", "hood", or "thug" enough, has been a very serious problem for Black youth. Carrying books home from school when I was a youngster often meant that there was something wrong with your manhood. You were basically considered soft...a sissy. Today, the problem has gotten worse, because this message has been fully adopted by Rap culture and is also being accepted in the mainstream.

When I was a youngster, there was at least a sense of African American pride that was still alive in the Rap culture and beyond. That (for the most part) no longer appears to be the case, so todays Black youth are catching even more Hell. The peer pressure to behave like the Rap Minstrels on TV, in the music videos and in the songs themselves, is tremendous. The rap culture is like Poison to Black America, especially the youth.
The negative images from Rap culture are being internalized to a certain degree by urban youth, and folks like Bill Cosby were highlighting the product of that internalization.

The Rap On Culture leads off with the following:

The furor over radio talk-show host Don Imus’ slurs aimed at the Rutgers women’s basketball team sparked a national discussion of the racist and sexist language and imagery that pervade hip-hop and rap music and the urban culture. What seems to have been largely ignored in this debate are the anti-education messages that have led so many African-American youth away from the academic achievements exemplified by the talented Rutgers women. It’s interesting that this uproar over urban culture has erupted at a time when Congress prepares to debate whether to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted in 2002 to improve educational opportunity and accountability. In pushing his plan for education reform in 2001, President Bush spoke of the need to end the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” What if those “low expectations” not only refer to schools and teachers who fail to hold minority students to high standards of academic achievement, but also describe a devalued view of education in the black community itself? What if something about the culture enveloping black students, particularly those in low-income, urban environments, impedes academic progress?

Read the full text of "The Rap On Culture".
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Related Link

The Rap On Culture

Related Posts

Don Imus Under Fire

Don Imus Is Out at NBC and CBS: Now What About Us?

The Imus Distraction

The Return of the Minstrels

The Return of the Minstrels Part 2

An Interview With Juan Williams

Is Cosby Wrong?

The Black Minstrel Show Continues

Black Family Channel Folds

Monica Goodling Testimony Bears Some Fruit

Monica Goodling testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week. Many Republicans are trying to say that her testimony was unhelpful and offered little insight on what was taking place. But from my angle, her testimony revealed a lot about how the Bush Administration operates.

Alberto Gonzales' general argument in this scandal has been that he was not aware of the details and that many of the duties surrounding the firings of the 8 U.S. attorneys were delegated to his subordinates, such as Monica Goodling, Assistant AG Paul McNulty and others. However, Monica Goodling contradicted Gonzales' statements, saying that he met with Karl Rove and was well aware of the details. Hear NPR Report. This is huge, but it has largely been ignored by the big media. She also contradicts Alberto Gonzales's testimony that he had no meetings regarding the firing list. According to Goodling, Gonzales was at a Nov. 27th, 2006 meeting discussing who would be fired. Gonzales is caught lying under oath again!!!!
Goodling also admits that the political leanings of applicants were considered when hiring career emplployees. This just confirms all the other reports & suspicions about the same kinds of activities taking place in other Federal agencies. Goodlings testimony also gives tremendous weight to the idea that the Bush administration was in fact involved in changing the make-up of the DOJ Civil Rights Division, to include fewer African American attorneys. It is no secret that most African Americans vote Democrat.

It's disgusting to sit and listen to these Republicans trying to justify Politics being mixed with DOJ operations. These Republicans are basically saying that Party affiliation should be a higher consideration than the Constitution and the pursuit of Justice. Some of their comments were downright frightening to listen to. Republicans disrupted the proceedings several times. Unreal!!!

Watch a Snippet of the Goodling Testimony, courtesy of Errington Thompson's Blog "Where's The Outrage".


Terror Threat Against Americans In Germany

Germany has sounded the alarm about possible terrorist attacks against Americans in Germany. Americans in the country are on a higher state of alert due to new threats that are being considered as credible. There are still tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel and their families in Germany, along with thousands of non-military U.S. nationals.

Fort Carson Soldiers Revisited

A new NPR report shows that Fort Carson Soldiers are still not getting all of the mental health treatment that they need.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The CBC will NOT let go of Faux News- the latest

The CBC is up to it's old tricks, folks. They don't want to admit that they were wrong in getting into bed with the White Citizens Council Network. Twenty-six members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have signed letters to Sen. Barack Obama

Yes, they have sent letters to Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

Afro-Netizen has a copy of the letter.

I think that those of us who think that Obama, Clinton and Edwards did the right thing, need to drop our own emails and phone calls to them.

Hillary Clinton
(202) 224-4451

Clinton Contact Form

John Edwards
Phone: (919) 636-3131
Fax: (919) 967-3644

Edwards Contact Form

Barack Obama
(202) 224-2854

Obama Contact Form


Please let them know that you appreciate them not going to the Faux News Debate, and that you appreciate them going to the Tavis Smiley/PBS Debate in June. Remember, the Tavis Smiley event is a DNC SANCTIONED event; the CBC one is not.

The CBC wanted to crawl into bed with Faux News. Let them choke on it.

Blacks and War

Watch video

Jill at Jack and Jill politics recently posted another one of her challenging post.

Yes, I said challenging post, because she challenges all of us.

This challenge is about America's war on Iraq and the lack of conversation on black blogs about the disguised hypocrisy of America on this critical issue. Jill recently wrote that she is frustrated like most African Americans on the continuing failure to set a timetable on Iraq. She feels that members of Congress and the political blogs are ignoring African-Americans, in part I think because we have not blogged as much about Iraq as other issues.

I agree we Jill. Black bloggers should get more vocal about the war. We need to do what Malcolm and Martin taught us, become more international in our conversation. We need to comment of the Iraq war as they did about the War in Vietnam and the war against our people. I just finished taking another look at my blog(s). At African American Opinion we have posted on issue of the war many times see below:

I'm reminded of what Martin Luther King said during his Christmas Sermon back in December of 1967, which reminds me of 2007, just change the name President Johnson to Bush, Just change the country North Vietnam to Iraq:

"And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace. Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. What is the problem? They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek, but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends."

--Martin Luther King, Jr., "A CHRISTMAS SERMON" 24 December 1967

Read more of Jill's thoughts below:

African-Americans on the Iraq War -- The Military and Electoral Impact

What's interesting is that you don't see a lot of discussion about the Iraq War among black bloggers. That's because we all agree on it and solutions seem obvious. If other bloggers are like me, I am just so sick of talking about it. The difference among black folks is that we were largely against the war before it started and have quietly been protesting it ever since.

Most African-Americans can point to someone they know personally who has been impacted in some way -- negatively -- by this war. Could be a neighbor, relative, classmate, co-worker, relative of a relative. You nah mean. Me -- I've had 2 cousins go over to Iraq. And my cousin's half-sister's husband. This colors our view of those who believe in a wait-and-see or worse yet, a "surge" approach.

Discussions in the black community tend to focus on Osama bin Laden -- isn't he still at large? -- and on the Money -- it sure seems like a lot of money is being spent over there in Iraq. How is it that none of that money was seen fit to spend on helping the victims of Katrina or re-building New Orleans? Or on better healthcare, education, poverty, our cities, the environment for folks living right here in the United States?

Still it's critical to talk about it because Democratic candidates looking for black votes will need to speak to us on those terms to be heard. And it also impacts the current national security. Quietly, the military has been dependent for generations on regular enlistment by young black soldiers. Why do you think that the educational and career opportunities are always touted. That's been the lure for young men and women eager to join (or stay in) the middle class. More HERE

Juan Cole On Iraqs Growing Insurgency

Juan Cole has gotten his hands on a chart showing the increase in insurgent attacks in Iraq. The chart was part of the U.S. governments own report about recovery efforts in Iraq, and was produced by the Government Accountability Office. The scanned photo of the chart says a thousand words. It is a powerful reminder of how much of a disaster the Iraq fiasco has been.

Monica Goodling To Testify Today


Are We Looking At A White House Of Cards?

The last time that Bush and Co. was this vulnerable was during the Valerie Plame Grand Jury investigation.

Monica Goodling, former Aide to Attorney General Gonzales, will testify today before the House Judiciary Committee. The committee will be interested in the motives behind the firings of 8 U.S. attorneys, and the true involvement of Gonzales and the White House in the matter. She is testifying under immunity for the first time.

Meanwhile, Susan Ralston, a former Aide to Karl Rove, is seeking immunity from prosecution so that she can tell all about Bush & Co's dealings with Republican Party crook Jack Abramoff.

U.S. Continues to Press for War With Iran

The U.S. is staging new wargames off the Coast of Iran, in an effort to provoke a confrontation. 17,000 Marines are involved in the latest maneuvers.

New Site Design

I have been tinkering around with the test blog.... a second blog that I have always had to test different blogger features. I can't seem to make up my mind on a new site design...and it has been more complicated than I thought.

Since hiring someone is probably outside of my budget... I may have to stick with this design for now. Unless I can get a good deal from a webpage designer.

The new blogger setup is a headache huge pain in the behind. The fact that I am not good at webpage design, or html code doesn't help either.

When switching to a different page design, some features, or elements may be lost. And i'm not exactly sure what parts of the page will be lost if/when I switch to a new layout.

I will definitely change page layouts at some point... but I will be taking baby steps to get there.

The current color is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

National Security & This Immigration Bill

I have a recurring nightmare. Not one that literally awakens me in the middle of the night. But, one of those ' what if' scenarios that keeps on looping itself, from time to time as I read things about our lack of national security.

Lack of national security? But,you might ask, I thought, after 9/11, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and all the BILLIONS of dollars spent on it, and the National Intelligence Czar...why rikyrah, why would you say that there is a lack of national security?

I happen to agree with George W. Bush on one thing - I actually DO believe that there is a Global War on Terror. I just don't think that we're fighting one. I am no neo-con, but I am no dove either. There are some very nasty people out there who want to kill us.

Yes, I know a great deal about the United States' part in creating our enemies, and as Malcolm said, ' The chickens have come home to roost.' American policies over the past 50 years specifically, have led to the creation of the jihadists against us. I will give up that point. I will also say that it doesn't matter, and we have to deal with the reality of the situation as it presents itself. There are some very dangerous people out there that mean us harm. Not only do they mean us harm, but they are willing to kill massive numbers of us- ' by any means necessary.'

So, one would think that the absolutely first priority of our government would be to at least try and protect Americans on American soil. To try and make the first line of defense as strong as possible.

That is not happening.

Yes, I'm back to the Immigration Bill. This country needs a border fence. It's not just to keep 3 million people from Mexico from crossing over. It's needed to literally protect the United States.

I'll describe my nightmare. The next massive terrorist attack on US Soil has just been done. The country is in the state of horror, and a couple of hours beyond the attack, we first see the videotape on Al Jazeera. It's a tape of those involved in the terror attack. The video shows them smiling and laughing as they, and their weapon of choice, are crossing our SOUTHERN, OPEN BORDER. They will be smiling, laughing..laughing knowing how easy it was for them to get into this country. How easy WE made it for them.

The Border Fence for me is first, and foremost, a method of DEFENSE for this country. Why make it easy for your enemies.

Whatever you want to think about our Islamic Terrorist enemies - they are not stupid. Use other words to describe them, but they are not stupid. The 'planners' of the attacks against us are usually well-educated, sophisticated men of means who are using their educations, sometimes Western educations - against us. We've spent billions and now harrass little old ladies to take their shoes off at the airport. If you were a terrorist, and had any kind of sense, what would you do? Would you risk being found out by taking a direct, or halfway direct flight into an United States Airport?

Or, would you demonstrate some of that patience you are known for, fly down to nearly any country in South America, hook up with some narco-terrorists, and then work your way up through Mexico and cross our OPEN Southern Border?

In addition, we also have the lack of protection that used to be in place, because THIS administration has Mexican Truckers Coming to a Black and Latino Community Near You, through the allowance of Mexican truckers to be able to travel throughout the entire United States.

That's right...the Bush Administration has begun a program that will allow Mexican truckers the ability to travel the entire Continental United States unchecked. We already know that even when the truckers were not allowed to travel, they were still able to get through the majority of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine sold in this country. And, that is when they WEREN'T allowed to travel unchecked. What do you think is going to happen now? I won't even bring up the fact that truck drivers are one of the last solid middle class job that you can get without a college degree in this country, and they will now be subject to the parasitic competition of the Mexican truck driver. I'll leave the economics out of it; this is about national security.

This so-called Immigration Bill CUTS the amount of border fence approved of last year -in half. I'll remind you that fence was NEVER FULLY FUNDED.

They underfund and underman the Border Patrol in this bill, not giving the resources to the Border Patrol so that they can do their job properly.

The other part of national security that hasn't been addressed is our ports. Our ports are the source of another source of illegal immigration - mostly from Southeast Asia. But, they are so NOT secured, that trafficking from S.E. Asia proceeds unabated.

It is lunacy that barely FIVE PERCENT of containers are checked in this country. Please explain to me how we think that we can be kept safe when only FIVE PERCENT of shipping containers in this country?

This IS a matter of national security. Other countries around the world can check NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of the containers coming through their ports - because they want to. Because, it is a priority for them. Why have we NOT been willing to do so? Because, Corporate America, with Wal-Mart leading the way, helped torpedo a $15/container tax that was being proposed to pay for the new system to check containers as they come into port. Heaven forbid that Corporate America would have to shoulder any responsibility for keeping this country safe.

After all, if a bomb does go off around their merchandise, they can just write if off on insurance.

WHEN we get attacked again - we've left ourselves open so stupidly for it not to happen- it will happen because of someone coming across our open border, or through our ports. There is absolutely no excuse for us to be as unprotected as we are in either situation. I know our enemy is determined; but, you never give your enemy the rope with which to hang you, and that's EXACTLY what we're doing in the cases of our border and ports. The United States is naked, and basically waving to our enemies - come and get us.

This Immigration Bill is a loser - it doesn't protect our borders, or our ports.

Another Casualty of This Administration- The FDA

Vioxx...Celebrex.....Avandia...

What do they all have in common?

Maybe this headline in USA Today will give the hint.

Diabetes Drug Called Potential Death Risk

Potential DEATH RISK?

My mother reads 3 newspapers a day. She keeps at the table a little notebook where she jots down things she reads. One of the things she's always on the lookout for is obscure, small stories where routinely hidden are announcements of some importance, especially about drugs. I have lost count, unfortunately, the number of drugs that, once the big blowup comes over the media, my mother will open her notebook and say, ' See, I had that written down months ago.'

There are many things that this administration has done that have been detrimental to the American public, but very few have as far reaching consequences as the loss of faith in the integrity of the FDA.

For all the posturing by conservatives, ALL government is NOT bad. There are positive things, positive services by which the government should provide. Acting as a protective agent on behalf of the people. Providing them with a seal of approval; something to ease their doubts about all the pharmacology that is thrown at us. There should be no middle ground - the FDA should be on the PEOPLE'S SIDE. Protecting the PEOPLE by making sure that whatever drugs get to market ARE SAFE.

Yet, time and time again, we see the approval of drugs, that have SUPPOSEDLY been through this extensive vetting and research process, that are SUPPOSED to be safe, wind up being taken off the market, because of serious PROBLEMS with said drug.

Big Pharma would sell arsenic over-the-counter if they thought they could make a quick buck out of it. Yes, I believe they put out drugs that they know could harm people. Yes, I believe they play the law of averages, and balance out how much they could make before the harmful effects are revealed.

There have been too many instances during this Administration, where those who were supposed to be protecting the public interest, weren't doing their job. Too many times it seems like the public interest, their safety and health, took a backseat to Big Pharma.

So many times that when positive news comes out like this, Hair straightening chemicals not linked to breast cancer risk in African-Americans, I didn't sigh with relief, I looked on it with suspicion, wondering WHO was behind this study, and were the results really valid. My mind went to the incentive of the several hundred million dollars that could be lost if a link actually were to be found, and who wouldn't want to lose that gravy train. Even now, after reading the article, and finding out about those behind the study, I still have my doubts.

I honestly don't know what could be done to restore my faith in government watchdogs like the FDA. I just know that this is but another part of the pathetic legacy of George W. Bush.
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Related interview from NPR

Sly & The Family Stone


Hear a raw unedited interview between NPR's Farai Chideya & Family Stone band members Rose Stone and Larry Graham.

Missing U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

Blogger Shaun Mullen of the Moderate Voice is keeping up with the case of the missing U.S. soldiers in Iraq from his site, Kiko's House.

When will American politicians learn that they cannot freely invade other nations, dominate life in foreign lands, and impose Democracy & Western culture on others?

Britian Brings Murder Charges In Litvinenko Case


Britian will charge a former Russian Spy for the Murder of Alexander Litvenenko.
The charges were announced today by Britian's Chief Prosecutor Ken Macdonald.

As I mentioned last year in my comments regarding Litvinenko, this case is likely to increase tensions between Russia and the West.

Russia is already upset about Western influence in Ukraine, plans for NATO expansion, Kosovo independence, and plans for a U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe (territory formerly under Russia's sphere of control). This could erase any gains in relations made over the past 15 years. But this is not the only case that has damaged relations. There have been a series of events over the past several years that have brought the two sides to this point.

And the EU nor the U.S. is in a position to deal with an increase of tensions with Russia. The world is too dependent on Russian oil & natural gas, the main exports from the country, so it is unclear just how the Europeans will react to this situation.

I don't believe that another Cold War has begun. I believe that the first Cold War never really ended (mostly due to U.S. bungling).

New Blogger - Meet Rikyrah



I have acquired another top draft pick.

Meet Rikyrah, the newest co-blogger for Mirror On America.

A quick bio from Rikyrah herself:

I'm Rikyrah. Thirtysomething from the midwest. I graduated with a degree in Political Science, & later went back to school to get an MBA. I spent five years working in inner city schools - on the business end. Got out of it because it deflated my spirit. I now am in finance. I enjoy reading, movies, television, nearly all sports and politics. Got away from politics because of the 2000 and 2004 elections, but was drawn back for the 2006 elections, and the bug is definitely back for 2008. I vote for more Democrats than Republicans, but don't consider myself devoted to a party. Fiscally, I'm more left, but on social issues, I think we've lost our way as a country, and definitely as a community. I spend my time trying to be as positive a member of ' The Village' as I can be.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Proposed Immigration Bill & The Black Community

For my first entry, I would like to bring up a topic of intense interest: The New Immigration bill.

UPDATE: Hear an interview with T. Willard Fair, head of the Miami Urban League.

My main concern with the bill is how it will affect the Black community.

As for Black 'leadership', the only one seeming to ask this question is the head of the Urban League of Miami, T. Willard Fair. (Miami black leader makes anti-immigrant plea)

In these articles, Mr. Fair expresses concern as to what unfettered amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens will do to the Black community. He doesn't think it's going to be a positive, and neither do I.

I never thought I'd have what would be a 'Black Nationalist' position on anything. I've always been a more conciliatory, middle of the road, kind of person. But, for me, illegal immigration, and the negative impact on the Black community was so obvious, it was a 'gimme'. I thought I would find comrades-in-arms in the usual places for support of my position.

How illegal immigration was a detriment to the low end of the economic scale for the Black community; how it undermines Black political clout; how public services, which didn't fully serve the community in the first place, are even further strained because of the use of them by illegal aliens. I thought all of this was obvious as to how this was a detriment to the Black community.
Boy, was I surprised. I found more of the ' kumbaya, we're all in it together, Black and Brown alliance' nonsense.

Why is it nonsense to me?

While, this pie in the sky of 'minority unity', might be an admirable goal, it's quite an impractical reality.

One, because an alliance implies, IMO, that BOTH sides are benefitting from said alliance. And, I have yet, had an answer from the Kumbaya crowd about this question:

" What are the benefits FOR the Black community FROM illegal immigration?"

How does this help us? I just want to know. And, if 'we', as a community, are entered into an alliance, I would like to know what have WE gotten from said alliance?

You can talk to me six ways from Sunday about corporate power, and how it's just a 'plan' from the corporations to flood the country with cheap labor, and I won't disagree with you. I will completely agree with you about this.

My position is, so what? What does this have to do with allowing an entire criminal class of people to come into this country, flood our cities with uneducated workers, thus lowering the prospects of AMERICAN BORN CITIZENS at the lower end of the economic scale. America already has too many poor people - why would we be opening the floodgates for millions more of uneducated poor to come into this country, straining the public resources even further.

I ask again, if we are in an alliance, what does the Black community receive from it?

Where has there been an issue of concern with regards to the Black community, that the Hispanic community has stood by our side fighting for it? Putting their necks on the line for it?

If this is about immigration, where's the outrage about the treatment of refugees from Haiti?

If this is about 'hard working people who just want to participate in the American Dream', then how about the Hispanic solidarity in the fight to restore voting rights to ex-felons?

If this is about exploitation, then where are the Hispanic voices in fighting the viciousness of the Prison Industrial Complex, and what it's done to the Black community?

If this is about having the opportunity for economic participation in the American community, then as the Hispanic community pushes for CREDIT CARDS, BANK ACCOUNTS, and MORTGAGES for illegals, why are they SILENT on the economic redlining of the Black community, especially those at the bottom end of the scale? What Black person, in America, could go into a BANK and get an account, let alone a credit card or mortgage, without a social security number? If you've seen it happen, please leave a note below.

While they expect support for statehood for Puerto Rico, where is their defense of voting rights for the citizens of Washington, D.C.?

Do I even need to bring up the marginalization of Black men in construction trades, when they were JUST beginning to get a foothold in them because of the Civil Rights Movement?

An alliance would be TWO sides talking about these issues, with regards to the Black community. From where I sit, only ONE side has been talking about this issue, and it's not the Hispanic side.

HOW does one have an alliance, when only ONE side is supporting another?
Of course, it says a lot about our so-called 'leadership' that they continue with this fool-hearty practice, receiving NOTHING in return for the Black community.

And, who is this community, that we've entered into this ' alliance' with, exactly? How do they feel about Black people? These are touchy subjects to ask, but I do think they're worth asking, since our so-called 'leaders' have entered into these 'alliances'. Look at the major Hispanic television outlets. Watching them, would you believe that any slave ships made it past the Carribbean? Would you ever believe that there were at least 100 million people of African origin in South America? Not from what's on their tv screens. If you find anyone darker than the paperbag, it's a miracle, but not really, because they're usually playing someone subservient on their programs. When they get to this country, what are their opinions of the Black community that has entered into an ' alliance' with them? Well, according to this study (Latino Immigrants Come to the U.S. with Negative Stereotypes of Black Americans), they come here already racist against us. What? You mean that we've entered into an ' alliance' with folk who COME HERE racist against us? Who, according to this study, "identify more with whites than blacks". Who would be insane enough to alliance themselves like that, with a group that comes here ready to sell you out at a moment's notice?

Our so-called leaders.

Black folk are getting pimped and played; our fights and hard work being hustled by others for THEIR own purposes; our good nature being taken advantage of, all the while we receive NOTHING of substance in return for our support of others.

There are plenty of reasons to object to this so-called ' Comprehensive' Immigration Farce. How it would negatively affect the Black community is only one reason. Other reasons will follow.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Al Sharpton Responds to A Bloggers Call

Al Sharpton has responded to a bloggers call regarding offensive comments about Black members of the Rutgers women's Basketball team, made by D.L. Hughley.

For those unaware of the situation-- as if the Rutgers players had not been through enough already with the Imus situation, Black entertainer D.L. Hughley recently made these comments. Yet, Hughley's comments were ignored by the major media. He received a pass. There was also no outcry whatsoever by any of those people who complained about Imus. All of a sudden they could not be found.

But if Jay Leno, or Letterman had made the same comments, there would have been calls for their removal as well. Black entertainers should have their double standard passes revoked....permanently.

The Story of Dua Khalil Aswad

Dua Khalil Aswad was a 17 year old girl from a Kurdish Village in Northern Iraq. She was stoned to death earlier this month for having an alleged relationship with a young man from another sect and tribe. When a rumor about a secret marriage began to spread through her village, she was killed by the men in her clan.... by a mob led by members of her own family.

This is an example of religion run-a-muk, and of the lack of rights, respect and value for women in Iraq. There were supposed to be more opportunities and more rights for Women with the new government, but pockets of Iraq have seen the opposite. In the case of Dua Khalil, Iraqi police stood by and did nothing while she was brutally murdered.

A few token arrests have been made, but this is not enough. Something has to be done by the government in Iraq and governments of other nations to discourage and prevent honor killings.
Is this the kind of system that our troops are bleeding and dying for in Iraq?

These Taliban-like practices have been allowed to thrive in Iraq, despite a new government there. That is not a good sign for Iraq in terms of its committment to Human Rights. Things are so bad in Iraq right now that the death of this one young woman is overshadowed by the dozens who are murdered each day in that country.

It's just an indication of just how much of a failure the Iraq War has been.

Amy Goodman takes a look at the issue of Human Rights and Women's Rights in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WATCH/LISTEN HERE

Cheney Impeachment Bill Moving Through Congress


House Bill HR 333, calling for the impeachment of Richard Cheney for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, is currently moving through Congress. The Bill was recently referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which is part of the first step in the process. The Committee chair, John Conyers, has the choice of shelving the Bill (doing nothing) or scheduling hearings regarding the merits of the charges.

I doubt that the Democrats will have the guts to take action on the Bill. But I will try to keep up with the status of the Bill just in case someone in the Democratic Party grows a backbone.

Kucinich, the author of the Bill, is going after the right man in Cheney, rather than the President himself (something that polls indicate Americans really don't want). Cheney has been a main driving force behind many of the Bush policies, including Iraq.

Meanwhile, Cheney is begging a Federal Judge to protect him from Valerie Plame, who has filed a lawsuit against the VP. Cheney does not feel that he is liable for the events surrounding the leaking of her identity.

The Poverty Business

Hear a great public radio discussion (also linked below) about the struggles of America's poor, and how entire industries have been built around this segment of the population. The discussion centers around a cover story in Business Week entitled "The Poverty Business". The report focuses on how companies target the poor as a business model. In fact, many believe that these companies take advantage of the plight of the working poor. Examples of these companies would be predatory sub-prime lenders, pay day loans, certain types of used car lots (offering high interest rate financing and inflexible payment plans, and playing games with prices, etc), rent-to-own companies, insurance for so called "high risk" customers, and more. The authors of the report examine the experiences of a few low wage workers, to gain insight on why and how they struggle through day to day life.

I have had experiences with most of the above in my lifetime. I particularly recall dealing with one of those insurance companies- with the Sales manager telling me that I would have to pay a different rate because of the zip code listed with my address. I lived in North St. Louis with family at the time (many years ago). To translate what the Sales manager was telling me- He was basically saying that because I was poor and Black, my rate would be different from most of his other clients. The high rate was the best rate that he could offer me, because after all, I was different. I was not being judged as an individual....by my driving record, but instead, I was being judged by my circumstances and by the zip code I lived in.

I had similar experiences when I tried to purchase my first vehicle. I had one offer for a 30+% interest rate. This was after I was lied to over the phone by the salesman as a way to get me to come in (wasting my money on the cab fare). It's a bitch being poor.... Luckily...I am slowly but surely pulling myself up by my own bootstraps.... that's despite not having much of a bootstrap to pull on to begin with.

Hear the Discussion (RealPlayer option seems to work best)

Democrats To Seek No Confidence Vote For Gonzales

Democrats will seek a no-confidence vote for Alberto Gonzales. It's not clear whether the Democrats have the 60 votes necessary to pass the symbolic measure, but there is a growing chorus of Republicans who are tired of Gonzales. His "I don't knows" and "I Can't Recall's" remind me of Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal. I find it hard to believe that a man who had been so mentally sharp and so on his game during his time as White House Counsel, and during his time at the Justice Department (trying to figure out ways to circumvent the Constitution) now all of a sudden has drawn a blank and knows nothing about the operations of his organization.

If this no-confidence vote goes through, it will be a major blow to Gonzales and his bosses in the White House. Up until now, I have avoided trying to predict when or if he would resign. I played it safe by not commenting on that based on past behavior of those in the White House. The neo-cons have always been loyal to their people. Look at what it took to get Rumsfeld out. It took a major vote and a big defeat in Congress for the Republicans before the White House moved on getting rid of Rummy, almost a full two years after the first calls for his resignation started to surface. The situation with Gonzales is no different.

I now believe that if a no-confidence vote passes (and Democrats seem to be close to getting the 60 votes needed), Gonzales will resign shortly thereafter.

Article from the Guardian below:

Dems Seek No-Confidence Vote on Gonzales

By LAURIE KELLMAN
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats said Thursday they will seek a no-confidence vote for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over accusations that he carried out President Bush's political agenda at the expense of his government duties.

The White House shrugged off the idea as merely symbolic. However, another Republican senator - the fifth - called for Gonzales to resign.

Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California, who have led the investigation into the conduct of White House officials and Gonzales, said the attorney general has become too weakened to run the department.

``It seems the only person who has confidence in the attorney general is President Bush,'' Schumer told reporters. ``The president long ago should have asked the attorney general to step down.''

``I think the time has come for the Senate to express its will,'' Feinstein said. ``We lack confidence in the attorney general.''

Continue Here

Can The New Immigration Plan Work?


The Congress and the White House agreed to a compromise plan on Immigration. See Details.

A group of Democrats and Republicans in Congress had been negotiating a deal for weeks. However, criticism has been coming in from all segments of the country, from the left and right. Conservatives feel that the plan is not harsh enough and grants amnesty, which they diabolically oppose. On the other hand many Democrats, particularly liberal Democrats, feel that the plan is too strict or that it will hurt Unions.

Even Kennedy, one of the main authors of the Bill, acknowledges that the plan is not completely ideal and that there will be challenges ahead.

I have a few concerns with the legislation:

#1. Implementation. Where will ICE & Border Patrol get the additional employees to process all of these new applications?

#2. It may be unrealistic to expect illegal immigrants (many of them poor) to pay a fine of up to $5,000. That may only serve to make the plan unworkable. I wrote about this in a commentary here last year. This may only force illegal immigrants to stay in the shadows when the whole purpose of this endeavor is to bring them out of the shadows. A fine? YES... I agree with a fine 100%. But it should be an amount that illegal immigrants will be able to pay.

#3. It may be unrealistic to also expect millions of people (heads of households) to self deport. This is especially true when they may face a $5,000 fine to become legal.

#4. I am a little concerned about extra points for people with special skills or college degrees. This opens the door to all sorts of class discrimination. Although there will be a growing need for workers with special skills. This also could threaten the American worker. Companies will be able to ship their own skilled workers in at lower wages rather than giving those opportunities to Americans. But with proper oversight, this part of the program could be done with a reasonable level of fairness. As long as there is no adverse impact on poor immigrants & skilled American workers. Perhaps there could be a smaller limit on the number of people who could enter under this part of the plan.

#5. I have not seen enough information about stronger penalties and increased enforcement regarding the companies that hire illegal immigrants. That has to be a big part of any immigration legislation, not just a footnote.

#6. I have not seen anything about labor standards or worker protections for Temporary workers. Without basic worker protections, they will be open to the same exploitation that they deal with today.

Hopefully the Congress will sort out these details when they come up with a final plan.

Friday, May 18, 2007

James Crow, Esq.

Since 2003...the criminal section within the Civil Rights Division has not hired a single black attorney to replace those who have left. Not one.



Back in April, I wrote about how the Voting Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was only interested in protecting the civil rights of white people. At that time, the full extent of discrimination at the DOJ was unknown to me.
...the current face of civil rights prosecutions looks like this: Out of fifty attorneys in the Criminal Section - only two are black. The same number the criminal section had in 1978 - even though the size of the staff has more than doubled.

The dearth of African American lawyers at the DOJ is an issue that has been lost amid the attention given to the myriad scandals unearthed at the DOJ in the wake of the departures of dozens of career lawyers.

Back to the Voting Rights Section:
On her last day in the Civil Rights Division's voting rights section, an African-American 33-year veteran of the Justice Department wanted to send her colleagues a message: "I leave with fond memories of the Voting Section I once knew," she wrote, "and I am gladly escaping the 'Plantation' it has become. For my colleagues still under the 'whip', hold on - 'The Times They are A Changing.'"

Let's take a count. We've got two black lawyers in the Criminal Section. The Voting Rights Section is minus one black lawyer because of the above-mentioned retirement, which means:
Over the past two years, there's been a continual drain of African-American attorneys from the section. Six African-American attorneys have left; there are currently only two out of a total of approximately thirty-five, estimates Joe Rich, the former chief of the voting section.

How about that? There are only two black lawyers in the Voting Rights Section.

We are living the reality of a Department of Justice that uses its power to disenfranchise and oppress black people under the color of law. Fortunately, Congress is now holding oversight hearings and launching investigations about the politicization of the DOJ. However, this injustice ties into another, larger problem we face:
As was reported recently in the New York Law Journal, although there has been, since 1995, a 10 percent increase in the enrollment of law student of color, the number of African Americans attending law schools has been low. In the 2003-2004 school year, the percentage of African American law school students reached a 13-year low. And in 2005, Black enrollment dropped a full 13 percent.

Regardless of whether democrats or republicans are in power, black people are routinely shafted by the justice system. We must increase the number of black students admitted to law schools by tearing down the institutional barriers that have been resurrected in new forms to keep them at a disadvantage no matter how well they do in school. For example, over-reliance on LSAT scores instead of grades wherein affluent students have the money to pay for private classes that teach them how to take the test.
"Jim Crow is dead, but his sophisticated cousin James Crow, Esq., is very much alive. We must cease our premature celebration and get back to the struggle. We cannot be satisfied with a few black faces in high places when millions of our people have been locked out."
--Yolanda Denise King 1955 - 2007


Cross-post from make it plain