Friday, June 30, 2006

New PBS Documentary on Role of Vice President Cheney After 9/11

A new PBS Frontline Documentary, The Dark Side, takes a look at Vice President Cheney's role after 9/11, his role leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and his influence on U.S. policies surrounding Terrorism and foreign policy.

More information.

Watch Documentary Online.

Roundtable From Public Radio

Roundtable from the NPR program "News & Notes with Ed Gordon", for June 29th.


--Barak Obama moving towards the Republican Party???? This is why I call them the Republicrats.

--The U.S. Supreme Court upholds most Redistricting in Texas. (Gerrymandering). The decision could affect voting districts nationwide.

--Public Housing in New Orleans

Listen to program. Click audio tab.

Discussion of U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Tribunals

Public Radio program "On Point" offers detailed discussion on the issue of detainees and the Supreme Court ruling rejecting Bush administration methods.

Listen here... Click Audio option at top of page.

U.S. Supreme Court Declares Tribunal System Illegal

My take

Conservatives will treat this as a big loss as if the U.S. was actually using the Tribunals like it was supposed to. The fact is, none of the detainees have been tried using the Tribunal system that the Bush administration set up after Sept. 11th, 2001. About half of the detainees have been released over the past 4 years, and those who remain have been sitting in limbo without charge or trial.

I believe that there should be a place to house detainees and there should be a way to provide them with a trial...but I believe that whatever system is used, it should conform with the law.
The issue here was the creation of the Tribunal system outside of established norms and without explicit support from the U.S. Congress.

Bush, despite his claims of accomplishing something in his "Terror War", has actually done little in terms of convicting terrorists....either through Tribunals or through the civilian courts.

What will happen next?

Sadly, the U.S. Congress will quickly jump to the aid of the White House by creating legislation that will take the illegal Tribunals and make them legal. I have never known a Congress so eager to give up its "Check & Balance" duties. It's not the job of Congress to rubber stamp everything done by a President, especially by making sure that laws are written retroactively to turn illegal activity into legal activity.... molding the law to match policy. The President was supposed to go to the Congress FIRST and get the clearance to use Tribunals.

Audio report from NPR.

Report from the Seattle Times

Full coverage and analysis from Public Radio (NPR). Click Audio tab.

Net Neutrality Rejected By U.S. Senate Commerce Committee

The U.S. Senate Caves In To Big Communications Companies and Their Financial Influence

What does it mean? The Big communications companies that deliver internet services will be able to double and triple charge and will be given the right to regulate the internet....limiting speeds and access as they see fit. The issue of Communications has always been regulated by the government, via Congress and the FCC, to keep companies from engaging in unfair Trade practices.

This also means that larger favorable companies will be given the priviledge of better access, while small businesses will be limited. The consumers are the losers. Businesses that offer music and video over the internet will be most affected. Especially the smaller companies.

Hopefully a future Congress will act on this issue...and make net neutrality the everyone an even playing field throughout the internet.


'Net Neutrality' Amendment Rejected

Senate Committee Approves Telecom Bill, but Republicans May Need More Votes

By Kim Hart and Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 29, 2006

A proposal to prevent Internet service providers from charging Web firms more for faster service to consumers failed yesterday to clear a Senate committee.

The vote was a setback for such companies as Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Skype Technologies which had pushed for rules that would prohibit telecommunications companies from controlling the flow of online content. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee took up the matter as part of a larger telecommunications bill, which passed 15 to 7. But some telecom experts said the party-line, 11 to 11 vote on "net neutrality" could signal a tougher fight to get the larger telecom bill passed on the Senate floor.

Continue here...

Additional report from the BBC.


1. Are We About to Lose The Internet As We Know It?

2. Fair Access At Stake

3. Amy Goodman reports on Net Neutrality

Amy Goodman Reports on Vulnerability of Voting Machines

A major new report on electronic voting by the Brennan Center for Justice has concluded that the three most common types of electronic voting machines are all vulnerable to software attacks.

Follow story here. Audio/Video available.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Leonard Pitts On Hip Hop's Attack On Oprah

Leonard Pitts is on target.... but I would have gone even further. Pitts didn't go far enough. He was way too nice to the Hip Hop industry.

(Commentary from the Miami Herald)


Rappers upset at Oprah snub? Let them cry!

Would somebody please tell the hip-hop community to stop whining?
Go drink some Cristal, buy some bling, pimp some hoes or do whatever it is you do for amusement, but please, cease, desist, shut up already about how Oprah Winfrey has hurt your feelings.

For those who came in late: Over the last month, a trio of high-profile rappers has leveled criticism at Winfrey for what they feel is her disrespect of their medium. The first blast came from a gentleman who calls himself Ludacris, but whose birth certificate identifies him as Christopher Brian Bridges. He said that when he appeared on Winfrey's show to promote the movie Crash, in which he co-starred, she treated him dismissively.

The complaint was echoed by 50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson III) who complained to the Associated Press that Winfrey rarely features hip-hop on her talk show. ''Oprah's audience is my audience's parents, so I could care less about Oprah or her show,'' he said, sounding, of course, like a guy who cares way too much.

Then Ice Cube (nee O'Shea Jackson) got into the fray, complaining to FHM magazine that he's never been invited to sit on Winfrey's couch. ``She's had damn rapists, child molesters and lying authors on her show. And if I'm not a rags-to-riches story for her, who is?''


Not that anyone asked me, but I could answer all of this in words of one syllable: boo hoo.
Winfrey, though, evidently feeling these gentlemen deserved more response than that, went on a New York radio station and told DJ Ed Lover that rumors of her distaste for hip-hop are exaggerated. ''I've got a little 50 on my iPod,'' she said.''

Some of us chose to take that revelation with a box of salt. Some of us were left wondering when, how and why liking hip-hop came to be a litmus test for, well . . . anything. Winfrey went on to explain that her problem with hip-hop is that some of it offends her ''sensibilities.'' She will not, she said, support music that marginalizes women.

You think maybe she could have been referring to that rap video where a credit card is swiped through a woman's backside? Or to any of the hundreds of other videos where women are treated as props and accouterments? Or to the ones where they are addressed in terms normally reserved for prostitutes and canines?

Here's what amuses me: these guys actually think they have a point. They actually think they've been wronged. And never mind the thousand and one ways their music has wronged us all.


The lords of hip-hop made their fortunes and their fame by flipping the middle-finger salute to middle-American alarm and apprehension over their music, its rawness, its explicitness, its violence and its effects. They were outsiders, loud and profanely proud in their rejection of white picket fence mores and norms.
Fine. They have every right.

But now they're singing the blues because the ultimate arbiter of white picket fence mores and norms wants nothing to do with them? Now they're seeking sympathy because they are denied a stamp of approval from Middle America's main gatekeeper?
Cry me a river.

I mean, what do they expect? You can't have it both ways. You cannot curse people and expect them to support you, cannot offend them then ask them to welcome you. I'm reminded of what mama always said about respect: you got to give some to get some. Perhaps this is news to the hip-hop nation, populated as it is by people who routinely embrace values neutrality and moral relativism, who often duck responsibility for what they say and how they say it, who frequently refuse to recognize words have meaning and consequence.

But if it's new to them, it's validation to me. For the better part of 20 years, hip-hop's overriding message has been, ``Bleep the mainstream.''

Apparently, these guys are upset that they're being taken at their word.


Monday, June 26, 2006



You have probably seen them- the nice looking, decent young women at the grocery store or at the movies holding hands with a “bad boy”, or thug. This is a huge phenomenon today, across all social groups. However, it is especially common with Black Women.

Just today, while at work, I spotted a gorgeous black woman, about 25 years old, butter pecan skin, conservative and professional looking, wearing a business suit. Her companion was a thug/ bad boy who fit the image perfectly. The two were a complete mismatch, and actually looked strange together. I am seeing this kind of “couple” on an almost daily basis.

This is largely an offshoot of Hip Hop culture. Once again, Hip Hop is influencing the wider culture. Everywhere you look, you see the thug image reinforced as the popular “in” thing. It has even been institutionalized- reinforced by mainstream institutions (The Grammys, by the Academy Awards, major movies, Politicians, the NAACP, professional sports, major magazines, etc etc etc). This image is glorified all throughout Pop culture today.

Just look at the minority female celebrities who have had thugs & rappers for boyfriends. Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, actress Valeisha Butterfield, Janet Jackson, Vivica A. Fox, and the list goes on and on- all either have or had these men for boyfriends. Of course, upon seeing this, young women in the wider society want to emulate these so-called Stars. Beyonce even went as far as turning the “Thug” into an icon, giving it her official stamp of approval in the Destiny’s Child song “Soldier”- a tribute to, and anthem for the Bad Boy. No I am not a fan of her music…. I happened to hear the song on the radio one afternoon and I remember being disgusted by it. (this is largely why I pretty much stick to Public radio…urban commercial radio is brainless, useless and has, for all practical purposes, gone to crap). Her voice makes me cringe. But it’s basically a given that most of the young female R&B (Rhythm and Bulls--t) Stars of today have rappers, thugs, etc as boyfriends. And it’s not just the “in” thing. Thuggery has been embraced by the entire culture. If it were just a momentary trend, it would have played itself out a long time ago.

Now we have a situation where the “thug” has become the ideal mate for most young women… from teens to about age 30. At least that seems to be the case for women in urban communities…Black women in particular. This is why someone like myself is dateless. This issue has actually defined my relationship with Black women. The short version- I have a hard time finding one that I can even date, since I don’t fit their picture of “a man”. I avoid (like the plague) those who date these kinds of men, because I have nothing in common with these ladies. And it seems that “most“ young Black women are going for these kinds of guys (and many White, Latin and Asian women too who are a part of urban culture…can‘t exactly leave them out. But this is really prominent with Black women).

For some reason, a guy with a steady job, own place, good future, college grad, etc is just not attractive to many of these women. It has something to do with the Drama factor…. They must have negative excitement in their lives in order for life to be interesting. It’s as if they have to be entertained, even if it’s at their own expense and a risk to their well being.

But what is it about these mmmme….. (little boys) that makes women so attracted to them? I have read that it’s the fact that these guys are so strong and tough and they could protect a woman, yada yada, yada!!!! As if a decent guy could not do the same. That is some really ignorant primitive stuff… but I understand that this is largely the truth. Documentaries that I have seen support this idea…Science backs it up. Women ARE naturally attracted to meatheads. It’s a case of natural selection. But this kind of primitive response was built into women for survival during the era of Cave men… before the rise of civilized societies. We are supposed to be civilized now. These kinds of characteristics really should not apply today. How is the thug, bad boy, dirt bag, criminal boyfriend going to protect these women if he’s locked in prison, for the kinds of behaviors that women are attracted to????? How ironic. It seems to me that a man can better protect a woman using his brain… one example is making a family, keeping a job, staying OUT OF TROUBLE rather than staying in trouble….so that he can be there and support her and the children, if that is the case. He can protect her by staying away from areas or situations that might bring trouble.

Again, what is it about s--thead guys that attracts so much positive attention from women? Is it the idea that a gunfight could erupt at any moment? Is it the idea that she (and her children) could be caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting? Is it the idea that the house could be raided by police, putting her and the children in danger? Is it the idea that she could get involved in a high speed chase? Perhaps I should ask Jennifer Lopez…she was willing to go to jail to protect her man after a police chase. Is it the excitement that these kinds of things could occur, and this makes them feel like their no good men are men of importance? The idea is disturbing, but I really do believe that women get some kind of sick rush from this kind of nonsense.

I just feel that most of these women are ….to put it nicely… lost! I sometimes find it hard to have sympathy for women who repeatedly put themselves (& their kids) in bad situations, bad relationships, & so forth, but then they want society to care when something bad happens. Should we feel sorry for women when a guy cheats (when she knew what kind of guy it was to begin with)?

What about when there is violence? Now in cases like this, I do feel for innocent children, and even for the victims because they are often not smart enough or mentally strong enough to handle their situations, and therefore allow abuse to take place. I can recall countless cases where women were raped or murdered by their so called “boyfriends” in my area. One case in particular in the St. Louis area, involved a woman who was murdered (along with her 3 small children) by her live in thug boyfriend, who she was supporting. It turns out, he had recently been released from prison. We hear about these cases all the time now. At least a few times a week. On the East Coast (I believe Philadelphia) you had the young Black college student murdered by her thug boyfriend. I recall that case because she was the Black woman who the media was ignoring in favor of stories about missing white women (That could be an entirely different blog topic). But this is going on all over the country. It’s now an epidemic, showing no signs of slowing down.

It seems like the worst these guys are… the worst the criminal record, and with the more people they have killed or hurt, the more these women are attracted to them. Men in “Black Urban America” who have been shot are treated as heroes, while the guys who live quiet lives and go on to college are not seen in the same light or are not considered as valuable. “Street Cred” is much more important to people in these urban communities….or in the wider “Hip Hop” culture which has pretty much hijacked the larger society to a large degree. But women in particular consider the gunshot victim as somehow being sexy… because anyone living through gunshots must be tough and will be able to protect her. I think this biological natural selection thing has women all screwed up in the brain.

Are we to feel sorry when bad things happen to these women because of their own bad choices?
And is there any chance that this phenomenon will let up anytime soon?
What does this say about Black women in particular?


Author of the book "What's Wrong With Black Women".



Disclaimer: Mirror on America does not endorse everything mentioned in the interview. But the man has some good points!!! lol

Listen to Part 1 (Fast forward to the 9 minute mark)

Listen to Part 2


The Above Podcast is No Longer Available!


See a Part 2 for this post here

A black guy who isn't "hood" enough.

Article from Popmatters.

On Professional Black women dating thugs.

Women wanting thugs.

Blogger discussing the "Bad Boy Allure".


Comments For This Post Are Now Closed!

This post is almost 3 years old.

See a part 2 for this post here. (although comments for that post will be closed soon as well).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Comment Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. However, there are a few basic guidelines:

1. Please avoid using profanity. Profanity filled comments will either be removed or edited. If you are referring to the title of a piece of literature or art that happens to be adult in nature, please censor the comments accordingly. Please use common sense.

2. No racial, religious or gender based slurs, including slurs related to sexual orientation. If you are using such language to quote or paraphrase what someone else has stated, in the context of making your point, that may be acceptable, if you use common sense and censor the language accordingly, and use quotes.

3. No personal attacks on other readers and certainly no attacks directed at the editors or any of the blog contributors (this will result in automatic deletion). This means no name calling, and no disparaging remarks against the integrity of the authors or suggestions that the authors are stupid, communists, Anti-American, unpatriotic, fascists, etc. No baseless charges. Such comments will be subject to deletion. Disagree with the argument based on the merits and logic without attacking the individual.

4. No pointless internet trolling or vandalism. Some people enjoy spending their free time disrupting blogs that espouse opinions that they may not like, by disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing. I encourage comments offering an opposing viewpoint. But please support your point of view with good, logical arguments and with evidence, examples, articles, and empirical data whenever possible. If you offer a flimsy case for your position or there is no sound basis for your argument, we will notice.

5. No spam. No linking to products, services or webpages that are not related to the blog entry.

6. Please try to stay on topic.

7. Too much slang or too many errors may require editing. Please use the preview feature and spell check your comments before posting.

8. No linking to/or posting of pictures or videos of an adult nature.

9. No blatantly libelous comments.




Bill Cosby Back In The Headlines Again

Cosby Recently Declared War on "Hip Hop Hustlers".

Is Bill Cosby wrong? I happen to think that Cosby is the bitter pill that a lot of folks need. He is telling the truth (IMO).

I happen to fall more on the side of Bill Cosby. I won't try to defend his every move, or every part of his method, but I like the fact that someone is finally standing up and saying something about the social situation that plagues young Black folks, and about the destruction of the Black image, largely at the hands of degenerate "Hip Hop Culture". I stand behind Cosby for his efforts to get Black folks to be introspective and to take more responsibility for their own communities, education, etc. I particularly like his challenge to parents.

I do believe that Hip Hop culture (the commodified, commercialized part that most youth seem to follow) is a very very serious problem. The "Hip Hop Hustlers" DO in fact need to be challenged. This is a discussion that is long overdue within so-called "Black America" and within "Hip Hop". There are these two camps and they need to be allowed to openly battle it out on an intellectual basis. Let the debate begin. This will be healthy in the end. I would LOVE to see a battle for the hearts and minds of young Black folks.... Currently... the ignorant parts of Black America and of Hip Hop are being amplified while the more cultured, intelligent, moderate, positive parts are overshadowed. It's been this way for the past decade or so, and something needs to be done.

Yes, Blacks are making a little more money now (those who are lucky enough to have work), but the "Black Family" structure and traditional values have been nearly obliterated due to the influence of Hip Hop culture and the wider Popular culture (but moreso because of Hip Hop Culture). Black births out of wedlock are at an all-time high and far too many Black men are going to prison. The High School drop out rate is sky high, while the Black unemployment rate is far higher than the national average.

Meanwhile there is a culture of anti-intellectualism that has swept through so called Black or Urban America.

Now I should stress that not all Hip Hop is a bad influence on youth, but the vast majority of what is promoted IS a bad influence.


(My previous thoughts on the Cosby situation)

Why Is There Such a Dislike for Cosby, especially from certain segments of young Black America?

I have heard one of his programs from his speaking tour (when he was in St. Louis). There was nothing wrong with what he was saying.

Here is a man trying to uplift his people when he sees there is a problem. Too many prominent Blacks, especially Black men, act as if there is nothing wrong and won't stand up and speak out. He's one who is standing up. It seems that whenever there is someone trying to uplift Black folks, they are labeled uncle Toms, are verbally attacked, ridiculed, dismissed, etc. Is his method somewhat rough? Yes... sometimes when it needs to be, and sometimes when it's not warranted...but at least he's speaking out.

What really bewilders me is the fact that Black folks, especially in the so-called Hip Hop Community, rarely express the same kind of animosity towards thugs, & criminals devastating poor inner-city communities, and peddling poison to young folks (in the form of drugs, violence, degrading images, anti-intellectualism, and in the lyrics that many rappers use). Blacks won't even come out to protest against these crazy Hip Hop radio stations in New York and other cities (owned by Clear Channel and other big companies)...stations that make Black folks look horrible and give poor messages to the youth. Sometimes I wonder if Black folks stand for anything anymore. If they had the same dislike for these circumstances and these negative influences in their communities, as they do towards Bill Cosby, then perhaps there would be no need for Cosby to raise his voice...because such problems wouldn't exist in the first place.

Don't kill the messenger!

Update To MLK Auction Story

Recent Developments in the MLK Papers story. Update Here

Good News!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ed Gordon and The Roundtable

Ed Gordons Roundtable from the NPR Program "News and Notes with Ed Gordon". Program from 6/23.


-- Iraq Troop Redeployment

-- 7 Arrested in terror plot (Interesting how the guests desperately try to downplay the plot and show that they do not want to believe that young Black American men could be involved in such activity.)

-- Nelson Mandela & The De Beers Diamond company. Is De Beers selling Conflict Diamonds? And is Mandela selling out by considering a partnership with the company?

Listen to program. Click audio icon.

Jim Hightower Commentaries

Recent Jim Hightower Commentaries
(Give Audio files a chance to load and play. There may be a slight delay)


June 15th

On Repressive Regimes & State Secrets

Listen To Audio


June 19th

On Samuel Alito

Listen To Audio


June 23rd

On Senator Rick Santorum. Proudly Representing "His State".

Listen To Audio


New Survey Examines Cultural Divide

A recent Pew Survey examines Cultural divide between Muslim and Western Nations.

The U.S. still has a poor image around the world. No surprise there. Some perceptions were improving, while other areas showed an increasing divide.

Read reports from the BBC (1) BBC (2) as well as from CNN

See a summary of the report from the Pew Research Center.

Full Report.

7 Suspects Arrested In Terror Plot

7 Suspects Arrested In Terror Plot

Suspects described as American Black Muslims sympathetic to Al-Qaeda

Will Black men now become the new "Boogeymen" in the War On Terrorism, and a focus of much more attention from authorities? Of course Black men, to a great extent, are already the focus of a lot of police attention. However, does this create the possibility of even more targeting of Black men, and more discrimination from the wider American society?

I say this is a possibility and should be watched for. Time will tell.

Story here

Additional article from the BBC.

Friday, June 23, 2006

How Should The U.S. Approach North Korea?


First, the U.S. must realize that it needs a new N. Korea policy. The current policy of avoiding negotiations, while threatening military aggression, and wanting regime change… IS NOT WORKING, and cannot work.

Before I get into my brief list of ideas for dealing with N. Korea, I must preface it with a list of what N. Korea really wants and needs:

1. N. Korea wants to become a part of the international community.

2. N. Korea needs economic development and humanitarian assistance.

3. N. Korea wants normalized relations with the United States.

4. N. Korea wants a comprehensive Peace Treaty with the U.S., which would include a mutual or multi-lateral non-aggression agreement. Security guarantees are important to N. Korea.

All of these issues (and more) present creative diplomats with plenty of opportunity to use carrots rather than sticks during any kind of negotiation process with N. Korea. If U.S. diplomats are serious, there are plenty of ways to reach a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

With that said… there has never been an official Peace Treaty ending the Korean Conflict. This is a good opportunity to come up with a Comprehensive Peace Treaty with N. Korea that would cover areas from Security to economic development and it should encourage the N. Korean government to gradually open its society & become a true part of the international community. Such an agreement is favored by S. Korea. This is one of the main obstacles getting in the way of S. Koreas own efforts to negotiate with the North. There can be no reunification without a final peace settlement there.

The U.S. must enter one on one negotiations with N. Korea without pre-conditions. There should be a sincere effort on the part of the U.S. to resolve the long standing Korean conflict once and for all. So far, there has been no effort on the part of the U.S. to take negotiations seriously.

The U.S. should address N. Koreas security concerns. N. Korea cannot move forward with reconciliation with S. Korea or Japan when they feel under threat from the United States.

Efforts should also be made to increase Trade and cross border business activities, as well as opening the Korean border to more travel. If diplomats can get the Koreas to open their shared border, reunification may occur naturally over time, without a shot being fired. This is what occurred in Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s. So many people were migrating out of certain parts of Eastern Europe that the East could no longer sustain itself and eventually collapsed, due to the lack of human resources. This effectively ended the Cold War… or at least brought us into a halftime- I never really believed that the Cold War was actually over… mainly due to militarism on the part of the United States. But the same could be done with North and South Korea, over time.

There must also be an effort to provide the top members of the N. Korean regime with some level of amnesty, should they agree to step aside or if there is some sort of collapse. This could provide a much easier platform for negotiations down the road. This fear alone causes some in the regime to want to hold onto power at all costs, to save their own necks. For some, this may sound like an unacceptable idea. However, sometimes in life you are left with the scenario of deciding between 2 bad choices. In this case, do we provide a couple hundred high level and mid level officials with free passage to wherever they wish to go, and a pension, so that they (along with their families) can go away quietly? Or do you risk war which could kill or maim tens of thousands of people, risk a wider war, and cost billions to fight and billions of dollars in property losses? This is really an easy decision, although not without some pain.

The ultimate goal of these negotiations should be the signing of a comprehensive Peace Treaty, officially ending the Korean conflict and putting both parties on a path towards normal relations.
Instead of the 4 other countries being primary parties in the talks, these countries should remain a part of the discussions as witnesses and should sign the Treaty as witnesses. In fact, all members of the U.N. Security Council, willing member countries of the General Assembly, and the UN Secretary General should send representatives to be present for all or part of the negotiations and should sign the Treaty document as witnesses. This would make it difficult for either party to break their agreements.

Unfortunately, i'm not confident that the U.S. will seek this approach. The only "diplomacy" that the U.S. knows is military threats or aggression. Everything else in U.S. policy seems to be built around flexing its military muscle. No matter how unproductive this approach is, U.S. policymakers consistently return to this flawed ideology of militarism to solve all of its problems.

What will it take for the U.S. to change course?


Previous Blog Entries on the Subject of North Korea:

1. North Korea to Test Fire Missile

2. Japan Raises the Stakes in Missile Spat

3. North Korea Seeks Negotiations, But The U.S. Says No!

4. Public Radio Discussion on North Korea Missile Standoff. U.S. Pro-War Hawks Are Pushing For A U.S. Attack Against North Korea.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

DISCUSSING N. KOREA MISSILE STANDOFF: Warhawks Support Pre-emptive Attack

Great Public radio discussion of the N. Korea missile standoff. Discussion from the 'On Point' radio program, from June 22nd.

-- More sensible voices say that the situation has been purposely overblown by the White House & the media. The "facts" may not be what they seem.

The problem has been the lack of true U.S. diplomatic engagement. (I agree 110%)

-- However, the pro-war hawks on the program are pushing the reckless and maniacal idea of a pre-emptive U.S. attack against N. Korea in an effort to take out the missile base involved in the potential test. This is apparently the suggestion that guest- Ashton Carter- has made in an Op Ed Commentary and to the Bush administration. Strangely enough, Carter has not been considered a "Hawk" in the past, but on the program he played the role of one.

As if this is not looney enough, the pro-war guest says that a U.S. attack on the N. Korean missile base would not really be an attack. According to Carter, the N. Koreans would not see this pre-emptive strike as an attack, and therefore they would not retaliate against the U.S. or against S. Korea. This has to be one of the craziest, most dangerous ideas that I have heard in quite some time. It seems to be easy for those like Carter, who don't really know the Hell of war first hand, to suggest bringing war upon others.

As scary as it seems, this may be the line of thinking at the White House. Carter may have unwittingly provided a window into the thought process of the pro-war neo con military establishment.

We could be close to a new Korean War, or even a global conflict. Anything is possible with these kinds of looney warhawks responsible for U.S. "diplomacy" (If you can call it that).
Of course this policy is likely to lead to disaster if carried out.

It is as if these people know nothing about the power of the N. Korean conventional military forces, and its artillery in particular. How could they not consider the danger that South Korea and Japan would be in in such a scenario? A better question might be, do these neocons even care about S. Koreans? If I were at a top level in the S. Korean government, I would be raising hell if I became aware that the U.S. was considering such crazy ideas, putting S. Korea in unnecessary danger.

Listen to the Discussion (Click Audio Options At Top of Page)

Precious Parts of King Legacy Put Up For Sale


Auction was called off.... Audio Report Here


The King family is offering Dr. Kings papers & other memorabilia for sale to private buyers.

How can the family so easily commodify their history, Black history, and in fact American history in this way? There are other ways to make money.

I think that if Dr. King were alive today he would not approve of this idea. It goes against what he taught. So in a sense, the family is not only selling out key parts of Americas history, but they are also contradicting the legacy itself. How ironic.

To me this cheapens Civil Rights history. Apparently the family had opportunities to sell the material to the Federal government or to solid institutions where the material would have been preserved, but they never made it happen because there was not enough money in it for them and they couldn't maintain control of the copyrights.

Some compare King to a Rock star like Elvis, saying that the families of Rock stars, movie stars, and famous athletes sold the memorabilia of their loved ones.... As if King is somehow on this same level. Once again..... cheapening the legacy. King was not a Rock Star or Football Player. He was the leader of a people. We are talking Moses, Abraham, Gandhi, George Washington, etc etc etc... There is a different standard here. I don't see other people around the world so eager to commercialize their history and sell it off. And this was done so quickly... I know it's the decision of a private family...but it happened with no debate at all.

And what I really want to know is..... where are all of these clowns in modern Pop culture who have all of these millions? They can't be found when it relates to something real. They'll even allow their heritage to be sold off.... And they'd probably sell their own Souls too.... if it meant some sort of fame for them.

But when it comes to something stupid like "Bling Bling" nonsense... you see them cheesing for the cameras, posing and the whole nine yards. It's sickening. And i'm talking about all of these rich NBA & NFL players, movie stars, rappers, R&B "artists" (have to use the term "artist" loosely).... all of them. Where are they??? If it's car rims, or something else senseless & ignorant, they are there... no problem. But the selling of their legacy?.... There is hardly a response. And the same goes for these Black CEO's, Doctors and lawyers. Many of them are detached from struggle. They are enjoying the fruits from the trees that King planted, but most couldn't care less about King today..... after riding to success on the back of King and others.

This is why most of them are a waste of time and good oxygen, the entertainers in particular. We will see if they can deliver. Bidding for the auction began yesterday, Wednesday June 21st. But based on past history regarding this kind of issue, i'm not going to hold my breath.

You can't count on Black folks to be outraged about much of anything these days..... But they'll march for R. Kelly and Tookie Williams. .....Sad!

I stopped trying to rationalize the situation in Black America some time ago.

Audio stories from Ed Gordon found here, and here.

Story from June 22nd.

Earlier Ed Gordon Discussion.

The African American Political Pundit is also covering the story.

8 Soldiers Charged With Kidnapping, Murder In Iraq

8 Soldiers have been charged with kidnapping, Murder and other charges in Iraq. This is the second time this week that murder charges have been announced against U.S. Soldiers in Iraq.


From Washington Post via Houston Chronicle

Troops charged with murderEight alleged to have bound and shot an Iraqi could face death if convicted

Washington Post

WASHINGTON - Seven Marines and one Navy corpsman have been charged with murder and kidnapping in connection with the April death of an Iraqi man in a small village west of Baghdad, Marine Corps officials announced Wednesday.

The corps said that the eight sought out Hashim Ibrahim Awad in his Hamdaniyah home, dragged him into the street, bound his hands and feet and shot him during a late-night operation, according to Marine criminal-charge sheets released Wednesday. The troops are members of the fire team with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. It is unclear what motivated the attack.

The announcement marked the second time this week that the U.S. military has charged troops with murder in Iraq. Army officials announced Monday that three soldiers had been accused of killing three men their unit had captured near Samarra last month, and charged a fourth soldier Wednesday. The cases come as another investigation continues into allegations that a Marine unit gunned down as many as 24 civilians last November in Haditha.

Continue to full article

Audio report....

Previous report of murder charges earlier this week from a different case.

Losing A Job Can Kill You

Losing a job late in life can kill you, according to a new study from Yale University.

Story from CBS

Additional report from BBC.

Missing U.S. Soldiers Found Dead, After Being Mutilated

Missing U.S. Soldiers found dead outside of Baghdad, with signs of torture. The soldiers' bodies had been mutilated.

It's ironic that White House officials strongly denounced the torture. Not that it was o.k. for them to be tortured. Of course it wasn't. However, the U.S. basically helped to set the tone for this level of violence and madness. Abu Ghraib is one example of many.

Would it have made a difference either way, no one knows for sure. But the earlier problems surrounding the behavior of the U.S. regarding mistreatment of prisoners, probably has some impact on how U.S. soldiers are treated.

Story here...

North Korea Seeks Negotiations, U.S. Says No

North Korea seeks talks regarding missile issue and other concerns, but the U.S. rejects the idea.

But if war breaks out, the U.S. will claim that it did all it could to avoid conflict.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Most Brilliant Piece of Political Writing I've Ever Read...

The Most Brilliant Piece of Political Writing I've Ever Read...

Article is from Harpers Magazine, written by Ben Metcalf.

Link To Article


Preview Of 2008 Presidential Race (Updated 1/21/07)

Who Are the Players?

The Republicans

The Pro-War Party, Pro-Imperialism Party, and Party of Big Business & the wealthy. The Greater of 2 Evils.

Likely Candidates:

John McCain- Unless he stumbles badly & implodes, he will likely be the next President of the U.S. He is a pro-war nut who still holds a grudge about Vietnam. Just imagine the Bush administration on steroids, and you get an idea of what a McCain administration would be like.
He is a military and political hardliner. He is part of the old group of pro-war Republicans who want to see a resurgence of the Cold War. He has already stated that his enemies would be Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Belarus, & more. Let’s just say… the U.S. won’t see Peace under John McCain. A McCain Presidency would be a disaster for the United States.

Rudy Giuliani- Former N.Y. City Mayor. Limited National support & lacks national experience.

Charles Hagel- Senator From Nebraska. Strong candidate, but it will be hard to beat John McCain.

John Sununu- U.S. Senator. Will be hard to relate to Southerners. Lacks the John Wayne Swagger that Republicans look for.

Asa Hutchinson (Unlikely) - Conservative Republican. Would be a strong candidate (for Republican voters), however, he has not made it clear if he wants the job. He is currently interested in a Governors Seat.

Jeb Bush (Not Running) - Governor of Florida. Frightening thought, but he is considering a run.

Elizabeth Dole (Unlikely) - Conservative Republican. Senator & Wife of Former Senator Bob Dole.
She is considered “not tough enough” for hardcore Republicans. Therefore it is not likely that she would be nominated. Age is also a factor. She has not committed to running.

Mitt Romney- Governor of Massachusetts. Strong candidate for the position, but not really a hit with die hard Republican voters. He is the governor of a largely Democratic State (Home of Senators Kennedy and Kerry), thus he is a moderate Republican. “Massachusetts” was turned into a bad word by Republicans during the 2004 campaign. He would find it hard to get support from Southern Republicans.

Charles Grassley- U.S. Senator from Iowa. Age a factor, and may lack the spunk and charisma needed. Also not as cut-throat as Republican voters want. He’s more moderate….too moderate for hardcore Republicans.

George Pataki- New York Governor. He would have the problem of being from the Northeast. Lacks the John Wayne Swagger that hardcore Republicans, Southerners in particular, are looking for. Too much of a technocrat.

New Entry
Sam Brownback- He Came out of nowhere. However, he will not be a serious Republican contender. He is an extremely Conservative Republican, making him unattractive to moderates and independents.


The Democrats

The Pro-War Party, Pro-Imperialism Party, and Party of Big Business & the priviledged. But the Lesser of 2 Evils Because of Some of Their Economic and Social Policies.

The Candidates:

(Party has very few strong viable candidates. This is one of the poorest candidate pools that the Democrats have ever had).

Evan Bayh (Dropped Out)- Possible Good Candidate.
He could be the guy who comes out of nowhere. Likely front-runner, although he’s not getting the attention right now.

Bill Richardson- Governor of New Mexico. Lacks Charisma needed. Not Presidential material. He could win the Democratic nomination, but would be destroyed by the Republican candidate in the General election.

Mark Warner (Dropped Out)- Former Governor of Virginia. Lacks charisma. Another weak candidate. He won’t be a hit for Americans who traditionally choose style over substance.

Al Gore (Unlikely) - Former V.P. of the U.S. and Former long time Congressman. Skilled, but has developed such a bad reputation that he’s not really viable. He’s actually toxic and I hope that he does not run. All indications are that he will not run…he has stated repeatedly that he will stay out of the race.

John Edwards- All the makings of a legendary President. He has the skill, the brains, the charisma, the swagger, the DNA. And he’s electable. But it will be harder to get the nomination and get elected the 2nd time around, after being destroyed by Republicans in 2004. Also Brilliant, but not quite seasoned/experienced enough. He’s also been out of the spotlight & out of office too long. However, we will probably see this man again in 2016. Look for him to be a possible VP running mate again…perhaps in 08. May also likely see him in a future Democratic cabinet post.

John Kerry- Charismatic, seasoned, smart, Statesman-like, but will be harder for him to win the 2nd time around. He was so badly destroyed by the Republican machine in 2004, that he has become damaged/toxic goods. But he remains a vital leader in the Democratic Party.

Hillary Clinton- A media creation. She recently received low ratings in a recent survey. I wish the media would stop its tradition of picking who the front runners are so that they can boost their entertainment ratings. In doing so, they pick the candidates who will get more ratings for the networks rather than picking the best candidates for the job. The people should pick the candidates, not the news media.

No real chops here. She was recently booed by die-hard members of her own Party. Republicans and the Republican influenced media would love for her to run. They know that Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic nomination would be the best chance for Republicans to win in 2008. This is why we are seeing the current media push for Hillary… who controls the media? Republicans do….by far.

Wesley Clark- Former NATO Commander. He's a 2 faced phony. I pray that he doesn’t enter the race. This is a guy who nearly caused war between the U.S. & Russia in 1999. This is a story that the Western media did not cover. But his ability to make good, sound, well thought out decisions is in question. I wouldn’t want him in charge in a crisis of any kind. No Democrat really gives me any confidence, but out of all of them, I have the least confidence in Clark.

Christopher Dodd- U.S. Senator from the Northeast. Would have a hard time being elected from the Northeast.

Russell Feingold (Dropped Out)- U.S. Senator labeled as “too liberal” by the Republican media machine. Could easily be a front runner for the Democratic nomination. But would likely be devoured by the Republican in the General election.

Tom Vilsack- Governor of Iowa. Possible strong candidate. Would depend on chemistry between voters and himself.

Joe Lieberman- Senator from the Northeast. Conservative Democrat. He really seems to be a Wolf in Sheeps clothing- A Republican disguised as a Democrat.
It will be hard for Lieberman to win a National election. He does not have widespread support.

Joe Biden- A likely front runner. Seasoned U.S. Senator. Very outspoken. He will definitely be at the front of the pack.

What Democrats really need- they don’t have. And that is a strong Southern Governor or Congress member. Democrats usually find it extremely hard to win the Presidency without strong Southern candidates. This is because of the social & cultural situation in the South where racial issues and religion/moral issues rule the day.

Since Democrats are seen as more sympathetic to issues of race, and less stringent on religion/moral issues, it will be almost impossible for them to win Southern States. Without Southern States, it’s hard to win the White House. The last 2 Democratic Presidents (Carter in 1976 & Clinton in 1992) were strong candidates who were Southern Governors.

What kills me about the South is that Poor minorities and poor/middle class southern whites actually have quite a lot in common. The same economic policies that cause poor urban citizens to catch hell are the same policies causing Southerners to catch hell. But racism doesn’t allow these two segments of the population to work together for common interests.

Another problem with the South is that moral issues/single wedge issues have ruled politics there. Southern Whites continuously vote against their own best interests (economic interests in particular). They could be suffering from layoffs, outsourcing, lack of investment in their communities, etc etc…but they will vote Republican because of some religious wedge issue. Often a single issue at that.

This is a very strange phenomenon… it just shows the kind of control that the Republican party has over the minds of People from Southern States. Republicans know what buttons to push to get the response that they want- that response being making Southerners get out & vote for Republicans. Typically the issues that Republicans use to control Southern Whites are race issues, telling them that Christianity is under attack, or issues having to do with Terrorism- scaring them, telling them that they will die if they vote for the Democrat (something that really should be against the law). Southerners tend to buy into this stuff pretty easily, without questioning what they are told. I don’t know if this has something to do with the culture there, a lack of education & information, or what…. I think it may be a little bit of both.

The Demise of Traditional News Media

Discussion about the future of news from the On Point Public radio program.

From the "On Point" website:

It's five alarm fire time for America's traditional news media. Newspaper and network TV news are losing readers and viewers hand over fist. Advertisers are running to the Internet. Newspaper profits are swooning and big layoffs have hit major publishers' newsrooms.

Nightly network news viewership has fallen almost in half in the last 25 years. Americans are flocking to Internet news -- but the Internet, in general, doesn't have newsrooms and armies of reporters and editors and standards. So, who's going to deliver the beef? The news?

Hear old media men Jim Lehrer of NewsHour and Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post on the new landscape of the news.

Listen to segment. Click Audio options at top of page.

Ed Gordon & The Roundtable

Ed Gordon and the Roundtable from June 19th.


--Vice President Dick Cheney says the war in Iraq in part responsible for the lack of terrorist attacks in the United States since 2001

-- six black professors at Duke University resign

--Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) will not face charges in scuffle with Capitol police.

Listen to program

Three Soldiers Charged With Murder in Iraq

Three U.S. Soldiers have been charged with murder in Iraq.

This was a previously unreported case.
Currently there are at least 2 other murder cases under investigation.

One Soldier was even threatened with death if he broke the code of silence.
Another look into the diabolical happenings in Iraq.

Audio Report.

Additional report from the Boston Globe.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Greg Palast talks about the Current Class War in America

Greg Palast is featured on Amy Goodmans Democracy Now Program... discussing many issues.

Story here. Audio/Video available.

Torture In American Schools

The Moderate Voice covers unbelievable story of torture right here in the USA....

In a school of all places....

Should we really be surprised about the situation in Iraq, and Gitmo????

Follow story here...

Democrats Show Weakness While Republicans Asleep At The Controls

Why We Need a 3rd Party!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Japan Raises The Stakes With North Korea Over Missile Test

Japan Warns North Korea that Any Test Missile Landing On Japanese Territory Would Be Considered As An Attack.

Report here...

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Il is making strange moves inside his country. Exactly what is planned, no one is sure. Additional report from BBC. What is this "special broadcast?".

I always thought of him as crazy, but not stupid. Really not so sure at this point. We know, of course, that Crazy and stupid combined is a horrible mixture for sure. I'll keep my fingers crossed hoping that he is just crazy.

Maybe he's suicidal.... that seems to be the case so far...

Or is he just enjoying the international spotlight by bluffing?

One thing that I know for sure is that i'm growing tired of these "Presidents" and dictators of countries around the world who are crazy as hell & yet who enjoy playing these games of brinksmanship, bringing the rest of us (unwillingly) into their maniacal fun..... and who (while crazy) control entire armies and the most powerful weapons on earth. Let's see, there is no shortage of crazy leaders right now. We have Putin in Russia, Kim Jung Il of N. Korea, General Mashariff of Pakistan, Amadinijad of Iran, Bush of the U.S., Hu Jintao of China, Chen Shui-Bian of Taiwan, Olmert of Israel, Assad of Syria.... and that's just a partial list of the usual suspects. And they are all crazy.... (some are crazy AND stupid at the same time)..... and ALL either control the most powerful weapons in the world OR they are in geo-political positions that are so powerful that their actions could affect us all and the course of world history could change based on one decision or miscalculation that they could make at any time. And all of these leaders seem to have emerged at the same time.... making matters even worse. I don't know....have we ever had this many crazy leaders in power at the same time? God Help Us.

The U.S. is partially to blame for this, with its aggressive militarism (which creates these shaky relationships around the world and encourage arms races) and due to its position as the worlds #1 Country in spreading weapons. The U.S. is consistantly placed at #1 in the global arms trade.
Thus the U.S. Defense Industry benefits from a world that is screwed up.... then all of a sudden you have the U.S. promoting its defense industry around the world and keeping relationships poor so that its Defense industry will have a market to sell more weapons...

And we now have a cycle that keeps itself going. This is what we have to deal with because of U.S. Foreign policy. They (pro-war Americans) will never be convinced that waving a big stick in the face of everyone is not the best way to handle Foreign Policy.

Missing Him Today

Music For The Day...

Right Click & Open in New Window

The Winstons

Soul Stirrers

The Struggle For Oil Heats Up In Iraq

Amy Goodman discusses the struggle for oil resources in Iraq.

The U.S. may soon have a different problem on its hands. Iraqs main ethnic groups are beginning to battle over the rich resources of Kirkuk. Religious sectarian differences may not be the spark leading to the biggest problems in Iraq. The real civil battle could very well be centered around the oil resources.

Link to story... Audio/Video available.

2 Soldiers Missing In Iraq

Why were they left so unprotected.... with no other troops nearby to assist during the attack?

Massive hunt for U.S. soldiers missing in Iraq

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted a sweeping hunt Saturday for two American soldiers missing after a clash with insurgents in Al-Yusufiyah,south of Baghdad, raiding houses, scanning the scene from aircraft and deploying divers to search waterways.

One American soldier was killed in the incident, in which insurgents attacked a vehicle checkpoint in the restive Sunni Arab town just before 8 p.m. Friday. The names of the dead and missing soldiers are being withheld until their families can be notified, the military said.

Continue to article.....

Saturday, June 17, 2006

North Korea Ready to Test Missile?

North Korea Planning to Test Long Range Missile

I'm hoping that this is another N. Korean ploy to get attention.

If not, it will mean more tension in East Asia.... an area that is already volatile because of all the countries in the region jokying for position to control the various interests there.

And as usual, I am less concerned about N. Korea itself. That country has a limited ability to bring harm to the United States. I'm much more concerned about the U.S. reaction to what N. Korea does. The U.S. response is what presents the real danger to the region. If the warmongers in Washington D.C. (who ironically never served in a war) miscalculate and over react, it could spark an angry and even crazier response from N. Korea or China. At that point, the chain of events becomes unpredictable, and probably even uncontrollable.

I am convinced that the Chinese may enter a U.S.- North Korean war on the side of the North Koreans, just as they did before. China does not want a Westernized Korea (South Korea) or any sort of Democracy on its border, under any circumstances. China sees this as a grave threat to its security and national interests. Chinas main concern here is that a free & unified Korea would mean U.S. military bases on its border.
U.S. diplomacy experts must come up with a way (preferably an international treaty) that would reassure China that this would not happen. The U.S. must agree that in the event of a collapse of North Korea that there would be no U.S. military forces stationed north of the current dividing line (The DMZ) between the two Koreas.

here... Additional report from the BBC.

In a related development... U.S. officials have been cited as saying that the U.S. would not try to shoot down the test missile, because of a lack of confidence that the anti-missile system would work. NOW THEY FINALLY ADMIT IT!!!! Not a very good time to admit to it.

But the U.S. actually has two different types of missile defense systems.... Of course no one would suggest that they use the U.S. based missile defense system (the one with all the controversy). The North Korean missile would have to be close to the U.S. in order to be shot down.

However, there is another anti-missile system that the U.S. has called TMD (Theater Missile Defense). This is a smaller variant of the U.S. based system, and it's portable, able to be moved to most locations or "theaters" of operation in the world...hence the name Theater Missile Defense.

This system operates from trucks and from U.S. Navy ships. Why is this not being deployed? The TMD system is actually more reliable than the larger U.S. land based system....and should already be has been around for some time now.

William Jefferson Booted From Committee Job

Congressman William Jefferson Stripped of Committee Seat

Jefferson and the Congressional Black Caucus are a drag on the Democrats right now.

He should have stepped aside on his own rather than dragging this out.

It still bugs me that they spent countless F.B.I. time and resources on this guy when the Congress is full of much bigger fish who are knee deep in corruption & unethical behavior involving far more than $100,000. Many of the top Senators and House members have influence over deals (particularly in the Defense Industry) that range from Millions to Billions. Yet somehow they get a pass.

If there is going to be a cleanup of Congress....let's do a thorough cleaning, getting under all the tables and all parts of the house. Not just certain areas, and sweeping the other trash under the rug.

Follow story here...

Additional report from the Houston Chronicle.


In a related story... a legal showdown is underway regarding the powers of the Executive Branch to raid a Congressional office. There is no law or rule that explicitly bars a raid on a Congressional office, but members of Congress, especially Republicans, feel that they are somehow anointed and protected by the Constitution via a 'separation of powers' argument.

Story here.

Allstate Insurance Company Ends Earthquake Coverage

Allstate Insurance Company Ends Earthquake Coverage Nationwide.

In yet another sign of the deteriorating financial infrastructure in the U.S.....

Allstate is ending earthquake coverage nationwide. This abandonment of coverage & abandonment of people comes less than a year after Hurricane Katrina, when many policyholders along the Gulf Coast were literally abandoned by their insurance companies.

Because of recent disasters, such as Hurricanes, flooding, and Terrorist attacks, many insurance companies are now seeking to abandon customers and get out of their insurance obligations. This is partly due to the high cost of re-insurance (the system that insures the insurance companies themselves...and keeps them afloat after major disasters). However, the other problem that I see is corporate greed.

This appears to be a trend. It's almost nearly impossible to get flood insurance now in many parts of the country...largely due to Katrina and the recent flooding in California. In places where flood insurance is covered, it is extremely expensive and the deductibles are very high.
Many companies are looking at following the same path as Allstate.

What will this mean for Americans? There is all this talk in Washington D.C. about how we must be prepared for the next big disaster. In addition to that, Americans are being bombarded by fear with this new wave of "Disaster entertainment" coming at them constantly via Hollywood and the T.V. networks.

How can Americans be ready for a big disaster if they can't have the security of knowing that they can rebuild their homes & their lives? That kind of insecurity could have an impact on quality of life, consumer confidence, and could have ramifications for all sorts of other areas of American society.

Will the government pick up the slack? Of course not. The U.S. Treasury is broke. The U.S. debt is at an all-time high....and year to year, the country already spends more money than is covered by revenues. The government is too busy spending 8 billion dollars a month in Iraq....and there will surely be other foreign conquests that the rich men in Washington D.C. will send U.S. troops to die for.

It will be interesting to see how this will play out over the next few years. How will Americans protect their livelyhoods? How will you protect yours if other insurance companies follow the trend (and they surely will)?

U.S. Health System Near Breaking Point

New report(s) released by the Institute of Medicine suggest that the U.S. healthcare system is in disarray. The system is either near or at the breaking point depending on location.

A text summary of the findings can be seen here.

Listen to audio report from Public radio.

More detailed interview from Public radio.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Al-Qaeda Leader in Iraq Emerges

As expected, a new Al-Qaeda leader emerges in Iraq (or another created figure like Zarqawi...will we ever know for sure?).

The U.S. announces the emergence of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Eqyptian born extremist.

Story from ABC news.

Additional report from USA Today.

Ed Gordons Roundtable

Roundtable from the Ed Gordon Program, June 15th.

Topics: Bush Poll Numbers Up, The Democratic Party, New Orleans, & Stagflation.

Listen to program here.

"It's Just A Number", Says Republican Spokesman Tony Snow

White House Spokesman Tony Snow Calls 2500 "Just A Number", when referring to the number of U.S. Deaths in Iraq.

This was from his June 15th News Conference.

This is a perfect example of how suburban America sees the war in Iraq. This is a huge problem, and has been the problem all along. It says a lot about the mindset of the American people. To most middle class & upper class Americans, the war in Iraq is a completely different world. They are oblivious to what is happening there. It's something that's happening 10,000 miles away, "so it doesn't affect me". More importantly, they are not as likely to have a loved one in the military, deployed in Iraq- even more of a reason for them not to be too concerned with Iraq or with war in general.

A big part of the problem is that the U.S. media has white washed this war, as they have done with other wars in recent years. This has taken the human face and human story out of the picture, leaving "just numbers" for most Americans. Americans see war as just a video game, because this is how Fox News and CNN & others have marketed it- as entertainment.

The U.S. government basically collaborates with the media to sell war as entertainment. Americans are not even allowed (through policy) to see the flagged draped coffins returning from war. So the realities of war are removed from sight.

Now, even the Defense Department uses video wargames to attract new recruits- militarizing young people to get them into the "patriotic" spirit, all the while, giving them a false impression of what war really is--> Hell!!! And within that hell there are people.... people who have families or someone back home worried about them everyday. People with folks back home who are counting on them. People with stories, legacies, histories, and future ambitions, who have talents, who have mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children.... and in the case of the National Guard soldiers, they have jobs and careers at home waiting for and careers that they left.

Someone needs to tell Tony Snow & his fellow priviledged Americans that it is not "just a number"!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Democrats Release Their Plans

Democrats Announce Their Plans, with Theme of "New Direction For America".

Looks like more of the same from the Democrats. Articles from the USA Today, and from the San Jose Mercury.

When will they learn that it's not really about a long list of plans? Democrats have almost always offered a decent plan when compared to Republicans. That's not the problem.

The problem is that Democrats don't have even one major TV or radio network to get their messages out. Almost all of their messages are therefore filtered through the massive Republican or Republican influenced media machine.... including Cable news and talk radio (about 90% Republican dominated). This happens before it reaches the American public. By the time the Democratic message reaches the public, Republicans have changed the message, if they allow anyone to even hear the message at all, lol. Happens almost everytime.

It has little to do with messages or plans.... It's good and important to have them, and as I stated, Democrats have almost always had good messages. It's about getting that message out.... Republicans/Conservatives have usually been able to hijack Democratic ideas, like Bush did against Gore in 2000 (took Gore's ideas & made them his own).... OR they distort the Democrats message.

Republicans have been allowed to control the discussion.... when it should be Democrats controlling the discussion about their own plans. Even on this very issue of Democrats not having a message- Republicans have been allowed to fool Democrats into believing that this was their problem.

The problem has to do with the fact that Progressives don't control their own vast media infrastructure, like Republicans do. Democrats can have the best plans in the world, but without a system of getting the message out, they will have an uphill struggle communicating their plans to the masses. Another problem they have is that their lists of plans are too long and too complicated for most Americans to grasp. Americans tend to respond more to style rather than substance. Let's not forget that In 2004, John Kerry won three political debates, soundly defeating Bush in 2 of those 3, but still lost the election. And Kerry laid out some great detailed plans in those debates. (Another factor here with the system is that debates are held too late in the season when people have already decided who to vote for...debates should happen earlier on).

But it's about keeping it simple. Republicans understand this well, which is why Republicans hire marketing firms.... the same kind of marketing firms that sell you hamburgers.... How does Corporate America sell you these things? Through something called the "soundbite". This is what Americans respond to.... quick encapsulated soundbites or slogans that represent a message, rather than all the details of the plan. Most Americans don't even read the paper or watch the news... and they have been trained over the years to respond to soundbites. They have become accustomed to it. This is one of the big reasons why Republicans are so effective with their marketing...that combined with the heavy Republican/Conservative influence over the media.

Other problems with Democrats, for me as an independent, are that they really don't offer an alternative to Republicans when you really sit down and think about the fundamental problems with this country. Neither Party is addressing the fundamental issues. The two are so much alike, that I can hardly tell the difference.
That's why I don't vote.... I never have a candidate to vote for. Someone running on my platform isn't allowed to run or participate equally in national Presidential debates (because of built in discriminatory election traditions and protocols that are designed to keep other Parties out of the process).

Americans are made to believe that 2 Parties can represent the views & interests of 300 million people. NONSENSE! Especially when we know that most other Democracies of the world have 3, 4, 5, 6 major political Parties (or more). The U.S. is the only country in the World calling itself a Democracy, with what amounts to a one Party system. A corrupt one Party system at that.

Other problems with Democrats......

Democrats have:

--No plan for real political reform. Democrats are still owned & managed by Corporations, just like the Republicans.

--No Plan for voting & election/campaign reform, so that all Americans can vote and all votes count. Currently, elites make the rules for the rest of us.... disinfranchisement of voters has become the rule rather than the exception....when it really should be neither. Disinfranchisement should not be allowed to happen at all.
People are not only disinfranchised at the polls on voting day, but the disinfranchisement of the ordinary citizen begins way before the election when big media is allowed to select front-runners of their choosing, and to set the political table.... when the media should be a neutral player. The people should decide that...not FOX News or CNN. That's just one example. But again...Corporations are able to demonstrate far too much power over campaigns and elections.

--No plan for giving Americans access to Congress & for reaching out to the people on a permanent grassroots basis. If you want to see your Congress person or speak to them, you have to go to a $1000.00 per plate dinner....and even then it's no guarantee you can even get 30 seconds of their attention.

--No plan for fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy/military policy. Will the U.S. continue to be the worlds Police Force, bullying its way into the affairs of other nations, or will it seek a sensible, logical, and sane foreign policy?

Democrats simply put a different face on imperialism and militarism. No difference between the Parties when it comes to their pro-war philosophy.

--No plan for giving Americans national referendum power for important issues.
Both parties are scared to death of the idea of giving Americans referendum power- power that citizens have in real Democracies around the world. Referendum power would essentially mean that Congress could basically be fired and Americans could take matters into their own hands at the ballot box. So the Republicrats aren't having any parts of that idea. But the U.S. is quick to tell other countries how undemocratic they are, lol.

--No plan for creating and retaining good jobs here in the U.S. & for making the U.S. more competitive. The U.S. is falling behind in educating its youth, in technology, manufacturing, and other areas.

All of this adds up to "More of The Same". That's what the new Democratic slogan should be.... and the same goes for Republicans for that matter.

I have said it 10,000 times, and I will keep saying it- We don't need Republicans or Democrats (otherwise known as the Republicrats). The Republicrats are outdated. They are mostly concerned with their own personal or financial interests.

What we need is at least 2 additional major political parties on the national what real Democracies have overseas. Some sort of Independent Progressive Party is what the country needs.... even if its just to add some balance between the other two parties. A party with a few seats could leverage the power needed to keep the country centered on sane policies....preventing the wing nuts from destroying the Constitution, and running the country into the ground with extreme ideology.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Major new Documentary from PBS takes a look at the AIDS crisis.

The documentary is titled, “The Age Of AIDS”.
View documentary online.

The program is huge, consisting of 2 Parts and 15 segments.

Just view what you can and come back later to finish viewing the rest. Other companion material also available from the “Frontline” website.

View documentary here.

Click on “Watch Full Program…” at top of page. If Media player does not work well for you, try RealPlayer.


See a previous blog entry on the AIDS crisis. This is a great audio diary by a South African woman.

Hillary Clinton Gets Booed At Liberal Event

Hillary Gets Booed by Liberal Democrats

Finally Democrats are starting to understand how weak of a Presidential candidate Hillary would be. She doesn't have the Presidential DNA in my opinion.

Hopefully the media (which created "Hillary") will begin to end its B.S. coverage of this woman. She never was a serious Presidential contender. But then again.... Americans will vote for anything. I keep my fingers crossed...hoping that Democrats won't nominate her to compete against a powerful Republican. By default, Republicans will already have the advantage. The Democrats need to send the best possible who is electable. Republicans would love for her to get the Democratic nomination... that would be the easiest way for Republicans to win in 2008....and that's what they are banking on.

Follow story from the Washington Post.

Related article.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

U.S. Image Around the World Declines Further

New study from the Pew Research Center finds that the image of the U.S. Continues to fall.

Find details of the report here.

Additional articles from the BBC, and

Palestinians On Brink of Civil War?

Palestinian infighting is looking more like a civil conflict. Various factions can't seem to agree on much of anything. The main factions are Hamas, Fatah, Al Aqsa (militant variant of Fatah), and the various other militant groups...who seem to be interested in going in their own separate directions. It just shows how powerful Yasser Arafat was...keeping all of these factions together for 4 decades.

This sort of conflict will only make life harder on the civilians in Palestine. But they had to know this was the likely outcome of giving power to a militant group- Hamas. It's a little bit like Americans voting for George Bush- twice (or elections being arranged twice...but either way, a lot of Americans voted for the guy). Voters sometimes do strange things, in this case voting for their own pain.

Reports from the BBC, and the UK Herald.

9/11 Commissioner Speaks Out Against Coulter

9/11 commissioner criticizes Coulter's 'hate-filled attack'

WASHINGTON (AP) — A member of the Sept. 11 commission on Friday lashed out at conservative pundit Ann Coulter for a "hate-filled attack" in saying the widows whose husbands died in the World Trade Center used the deaths for their own political gain.

In her latest book, Coulter criticizes the four New Jersey widows who pushed for an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The women also backed Democrat John Kerry's presidential candidacy in 2004.

"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," Coulter wrote.


Additional article from ABC News


A new blogger has been added to the site.
She will contribute every now and then, when she has the chance.

I feel like I just got a #1 draft pick, lol.

Vintage (Joy) hails from Toronto Canada and is working on her Bachelors degree there. She is also a grassroots worker, advocate, and volunteer for those with AIDS. She plans to get involved with NGO's to do humanitarian work in Africa after she graduates.

Besides being beautiful, she is also very intelligent, as you will notice from her writings. She's someone we will probably hear about in 10 or 20 years....leading something, editing something, the President of something, etc etc etc.

In her own words from her website "SoulsUnite" :

Who Am I?

I'm a 23 year old, focused and passionate young woman who is looking to change the world, one mind at a time. I'm a University student finishing my bachelor's degree in Social Work. After graduating, I will be going to South Africa for a few years to work in various HIV/AIDS communities. Besides being a full time student, I also volunteer at an AIDS Hospice in downtown Toronto (Canada). Helping people is my passion. It's my love. It's my calling.

I'm reaching out to all the young minds out there and asking you to make yourselves aware. We all know that we want to raise our children in a better world... the only way to clean up our act is to start with ourselves.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Be that change.

You can find more of her writings on her website.


Still looking for Co-Bloggers. I eventually want to add about two more.

Anyone interested can send a comment with contact information (E-mail address, etc).

Please read a previous post on Co-Bloggers.