Monday, December 31, 2007

Black Political Power in Indianapolis - Black Leadership Crisis in Indianapolis (Indy)

"All Politics is Local"

Here is a story about local politics in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis Star calls it
Tempered leadership. They say this black man helped pave the way for other black leaders. They say he played a key role in helping the city rebuild a neglected Downtown. Yet, the Black Accountability Project - Indianapolis (Indy) is reporting there is a Black Leadership Crisis.The Black Accountability Project -Indianapolis (Indy) is concerned about the Future of Indy's black community. Rozelle Boyd steps down from City-County Council, blacks in Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Star are looking back at changes in Indy and the leadership he provided. OK, I must admit I don't know a lot about Indianapolis politics, but this brother seemed to be a mover and a shaker.

Read the article about Rozelle Boyd here. Also read about the Black Leadership Crisis in Indianapolis HERE

Tempered leadership.

Source: The Indianapolis Star

A framed newspaper article from 1965 reflects one of the more historically significant moments of his and the city's life. Its headline: "Boyd elected first Negro on county council."
Today, after 42 years of public service, Boyd is spending his last day in office, having lost his bid for another term in November. He was the longest-serving member of the council, its elder statesman. Despite the history-making nature of his political career, Boyd's time in power can be defined more by his work-within-the-system rather than a rock-the-establishment approach.
Eloquent, dignified and low-key, Boyd pushed for change on politically charged issues but took the reasoned and methodical rather than strident course. Critics say Boyd was sometimes too slow and too patient, but he was nonetheless widely respected. "He was always a gentleman," Mayor Bart Peterson said. "He elevated the council's dialogue, and civility was one of his core leadership values." Boyd's manner is credited with helping Indianapolis prevent the racial violence that consumed other cities during the civil rights era. More HERE

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dallas Morning News Endorses Barack Obama


Submitted by Eddie G. Griffin (BASG):

We have been waiting for an indication as to where the Texas press will line up on the 2008 Presidential Race. Thanks to Shawn Williams at Dallas South, we now know who the Dallas Morning News is endorsing: Barak Obama. And, for the very obvious reasons below:

DMN editorial board recommends Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination

America is at a historic crossroads as a woman, a Hispanic and an African-American vie for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Two of those candidates, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were finalists for our recommendation – not because of ethnicity or gender but because they most closely aligned with our positions on major domestic and international issues.

Mr. Obama is our choice because of his consistently solid judgment, poise under pressure and ability to campaign effectively without resorting to the divisive politics of the past.

Race is not an overriding factor for us. But it is undeniable that America has failed to heal its racial wounds, including here in Dallas. We need a motivated leader capable of confronting the problem, and no candidate is better equipped than Mr. Obama. His message isn't about anger and retribution. It's about moving forward.

There's been lots of noise about his lack of experience. It is a legitimate concern, considering he's a 46-year-old first-term senator. But Mr. Obama's experience in elective office matches that of Abraham Lincoln before he became president. And he has served more time on Capitol Hill than four of the past five White House occupants.

If youthful inexperience were such a liability, it has failed to resonate despite his opponents' best efforts. Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, flip-flopped over a plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Her campaign accepted donations from questionable sources. When Mr. Obama's support recently surged in early primary states, her campaign tried to smear him over drug use in his youth.

It's a tired ploy that has failed in four previous presidential elections. Bill Clinton twice won election after admitting he'd smoked (but not inhaled) marijuana. George W. Bush won despite an alcohol problem and drunken-driving conviction at age 30.

Mrs. Clinton called Mr. Obama "irresponsible" and "naive" for saying he would talk to leaders of rogue nations like Syria and Iran. Considering the current failed strategy of confrontation and diplomatic isolation, we think Mr. Obama is wise to include direct negotiations among his tools to reduce regional tensions.

Mr. Obama drew criticism for saying he would pursue terrorists, if necessary, by sending troops into Pakistan. The fact is, U.S. troops have been going into Pakistan for years in pursuit of terrorists. All Mr. Obama did, in effect, was to keep that option open for the future. To say otherwise is to declare Pakistan a sanctuary for America's enemies.

Mr. Obama, the son of a white American mother and black Kenyan father, spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.
His life experience gives him a unique perspective and a greater ability to build diplomatic bridges.

We don't always agree with his positions, but we recognize his potential to unite disparate political factions and restore cooperation between the White House and Capitol Hill.

Americans are tired of divisive, hard-edged politics. Democrats would inspire a refreshingly new approach by choosing Mr. Obama as their 2008 candidate.

FOOTNOTE: Texas is a George Bush "red state", but recently there have been "blue" pockets cropping up across the state. Maybe even Texans are getting tired of their native son.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ban Me at MyDD, but I'm Going to Discuss Color-Arousal When Discussing Obama's Chances

by Manic Lawyer (AKA Francis L. Holland)

Jerome [owner of MyDD], I happen to agree with you about Barack Obama's chances, as expressed in your article entitled "Obama's Fate."

Nonetheless, I have to take issue with you about the role of color-aroused decision-making in the presidential race. Considering that no Black person has ever been nominated to national ticket of either of the two political parties in all of the history of the United States; and considering that there is only one Black US senator among a hundred, even though the country is 13% Black; I think there is insufficient evidence to conclude that skin color no longer plays a role in American politics.

Twice above, you say that you have "nagging doubts" about Barack Obama. Black people and Black political candidates will be very familiar with this "nagging doubts" phenomenon, because whites very often seem to have "nagging doubts" about Blacks. And most whites deny these doubts as you have, until they get into the voting booths and express them openly.

I agree with you that we should get beyond color-aroused decision-making. However, I'm afraid that your insistence that we have done so already shows a level of denial about the nature of color-arousal in America that borders on the delusional, with both feet on the wrong side of the border.

Jerome, above you said:

First, let me just say that anyone who accuses skin color as some part behind the reasoning will find themselves banned--there is zero tolerance for accusations of racism. Jerome Armstrong at MyDD.

Anytime you start a discussion by insisting that the point most people will want to explore is off limits, you acknowledge the necessity of exploring that VERY issue, in order to satisfy your readers' concerns about it. Why would you expect an issue that seems so clear to you to simultaneously be so UNCLEAR to others?

If you exile from MyDD everyone who believes that color-aroused decision-making is not dead in America, do you think that will have a disproportionate impact on any particular demographic group's participation at MyDD?

For example, in light of studies that show a huge gap between Blacks and whites in our opinion as to whether color-aroused decision-making has receded, would exiling everyone who disagrees with you about this have a disparately negative impact on Black people's participation at MyDD? Does that color issue not concern you at all?

Jerome, above you said:

I don't even view Obama as black or with racial distinction. Identity-wise, I can understand why he's seen as such, but in that regard (and I have two kids with this same beauty), it points to a bright future when such fallacies such as 'race' become historical dust, and racism ceases Jerome Armstrong at MyDD.

I have to tell you, Jerome, that I feel sorry for your two children who have other-than-white skin color, but who lack a father-figure who can realistically help them to deal with their experiences in America. They will have to grow up in the real world rather than in the world of your fantasies, and they will have no reality-based paternal guidance to help them with these issues.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Can Black Americans Trust Hillary? Or is she just sly as a fox?

Is Hillary Clinton getting shaky, on an issue important to black Americans. has she ever heard of the word - Justice? Is she getting as shaky as she was by supporting bush's war, and refusing to say i was wrong? Is she wrong again? Or is she a skillful politican looking beyond the primaries to the general election?

Are the Republican's ready with Willie Horton Ads against any democratic nominee who supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught and convicted with crack cocaine and a currently serving Federal prison time? Many feel the shorter sentences should be retroactive. Including many black leaders and afrospear members.

The question is, will the Republicans use scare tactics to make the democrats look like they want to provide an early release to over 20,000 people (mostly black and Latino) convicted on drug charges into black and brown communities across America? I think the Republicans would run anyone into the ground who supports that plan. Candidly I have some issues about the plan myself. It should be done on a case by case basis. Maybe get the black and Latino legal community, through their bar associations involved, or black police organizations involved in the review process. Speaking of running, I think the National Republican Party is run by some
Evil GOP Bastards who will now use his support of the program against him in the general election.

I think Hillary Clinton
may be on to something.I wonder if Obama advisors would have been wise to take the same temporary position. Is it not about winning the electon? The old, getting the foot in the white house door, then make policy decisions. Well that's my thoughts. Check out another report on what happened in Iowa below:

Check out what has happened in DES MOINES, Iowa — (Hat Tip Rikyrah at Jack and Jill Politics)

As reported by Politico The Democratic candidates for president were pressed from the left in two events in Iowa Saturday and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged slightly, but noticeably, as the most conservative in the field.

On issues ranging from drug crimes to immigration to relations with Cuba, Clinton took heat from liberal audiences for refusing — on emotionally charged issues — to tell them what they wanted to hear.

Her stances could be read as a mark that she, like her husband, is the centrist of the race; or as an attempt to protect herself from Republican attacks in a general election.

One of the Democrats’ rare moments of policy disagreement came at the beginning of the Black and Brown forum Saturday night, the traditional venue for minority issues in Iowa where only 9 percent of citizens are members of minority groups.

Clinton, who said she supports a federal recommendation for shorter sentences for some people caught with crack cocaine, opposed making those shorter sentences retroactive — which could eventually result in the early release of 20,000 people convicted on drug charges.

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

In an interview after the debate, Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, pointed out that the Republican front-runner has already signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes -
More HERE.

AAPP: As I said, I think Hillary Clinton may be on to something.
Rikyrah and a few other commentators see it a little different at Jack and Jill Politics. Rikyrah feels Black Folk are being thrown under the bus. read her comments here.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

GOP Front Runners to Black Voters: We are the Grand Old "White" Party

AAPP says: Well the grand old party is doing it's racist thing again. A month or so ago, I wrote in the Huffington Post about how the GOP Won't Even Talk with Black Folks. Since that time nothing has changed. The Grand Old "White" Party is establishing itself as the New White Citizens Council of the 21st Century. Here is the scary thing, not many black people are surprised.


Hat Tip and Michael Roston who are reporting on the Republicans avoiding a second black voter forum, which has now been postponed.

Michael Roston says: In recent weeks, Republican presidential candidates have found time in their busy schedules to speak or debate before the Republican Jewish Coalition, "Value Voters," conservative Floridians, even Wyoming Republicans, who hold virtually no sway in the primary race. They've also agreed to appear at the CNN/YouTube debate they at one point shunned.

2007-10-30-debate.jpgBut it appears that some GOP frontrunners are once again letting an opportunity to appear before African-American voters lapse, just as they decided to sit out a black voter forum hosted last month by Tavis Smiley.

The Congressional Black Caucus Institute announced in September that it had scheduled a debate for November 4 on Fox News for Republican presidential candidates. But a spokeswoman for the group confirmed to the Huffington Post that it has now been postponed, with no new date set.

"The debate will not take place on November 4, and we're still considering the debate schedule," said CBC Institute spokesperson Georgella Muirhead.

Republican candidates have cited scheduling conflicts in resisting new proposed dates, Muirhead said.

"It's the same issue they had with some of the other debates," she added. "We're getting a new working date, that's what's being considered."

The CBC Political Education and Leadership Institute is a non-profit organization linked to the Congressional Black Caucus, which includes 43 African-American members of the House and Senate. Read more of Micheal Roston's report HERE

Monday, October 29, 2007

Barak Obama vs Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton

Why is it that a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Barak Obama by more than 20 percent, with a lead of 13 percent among African American voters? While some say the Polls don't reflect Obama's star power. I remember writing some time ago that I felt Obama had peaked much to early. I also mentioned that Howard Dean peaked to early as well.

The Washington Post wrote recently, "Obama's campaign could certainly use reenergizing. Since he announced his intention to run for the presidency, Obama -- and the powerful ebb that surrounded him wherever he woke, spoke, ate and sat -- seems to have withered beneath the supernova that is the Clinton campaign." Now Obama vows to challenge Clinton more forcefully

AAPP: Have black folks begun to give up on Obama? Should black folks listen more to voices like Randall Robinson, (Who by the way left America) is living on some Island, enjoying warm sun, beaches and no longer experiencing all the hatred of American society. Damn, how fortunate is he and his family? I wonder if Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are is bad as he makes them out to be? Is Mia T on to something? Check out the video again. Listen clearly to the words of Mr. Robinson. I think he may be on to something.

Thoughts anyone?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Liberal Journal Man on Hillary: "Cross her off your list."

The following is a guest-post from the author of the Liberal Journal blog. I invited him to write this post so that I could offer counter-points to his points one by one:

Francis Holland graciously invited me to write this column on the Democratic race, so first, I would like to thank him for this opportunity.

Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2008 appears more inevitable with each passing moment. Her numbers are strong across all Democratic constituencies, including African Americans. But I’m writing not only because I think other candidates offer more, but also to encourage folks to completely cross her off the list for the Democratic nomination.

Pragmatism over Principle

There are principles which we should stand firm in. Democrats have become so accustomed to losing elections that we have desperately reached for centrism as a key to power. We are afraid to stand up for what we believe in because those who do, like Dennis Kucinich, are marginalized. But should we be pragmatic? If so, then why not bring Zell Miller back to the Party so we can win a seat in Georgia?

Look at the Democratic Congress now. It has operated out of fear and concession, and their approval stands worse than Bush’s. That doesn’t mean Americans believe in Bush’s worldview, but that Democrats are unwilling to mount a strong challenge. They are too weak to end this war, restore checks and balances, and a whole slew of other issues. Should we conform our views to the government, or should government conform its views to ours? It seems support of Hillary for pragmatic purposes would be in favor of the former.

The most common arguments against what I’ve said appear to be concessions to practicality. For example, ‘Well, Hillary is a machine, only she can beat the right wing.’ Or, ‘You can’t expect the huge reform we all want, so why not go with what we know, the person who will best represent our interests.’

I disagree with these premises. First, she is vulnerable. A poll a few months ago found that 52% of Americans would not vote for her, and 48% would. A poll released last week found the numbers virtually the same, with 50% saying they would never vote for her. Even supposing those numbers are a little fungible, that is an extremely low ceiling. John Kerry received 48% in his loss in 2004.

Hillary is the one candidate who the Republicans unite the most against. Republicans raise more money when they attack her specifically. A prominent Missouri Democrat stated that we can “write off” the state if she is the nominee. A South Carolina Democratic official also expressed concern of her ability to unite the GOP. That’s not to say they will absolutely be proven right, but it’s risky.

The Republican nominee will also likely play up her many suspect fundraising connections, such as:

Fugitive Norman Hsu bundled huge amounts of money for her. Hillary’s campaign only got rid of the donations after learning of his status, although it is a legitimate question whether she turned a blind eye. Initially, her campaign promised to return only the money from Hsu directly, then decided to return the whole $860,000 he bundled for her.

Other bundlers have somehow managed to procure donations in the thousands from working-class citizens in Chinatown. It is a legitimate question whether all of these folks are really giving the money out of their own pockets, or if it is being funneled through them by wealthier individuals. How well does this play in the swing states?

So I seriously question whether Clinton would be as strong in the general election as we’re told.

Second, should we negotiate our principles, as was done in the 1990s? Which brings me to…

The (Bill) Clinton Record

Hillary likes to run on her husband’s record when it’s convenient (she has said things were pretty good under husband), and distance herself from it when it’s not. Because of her record of centrism and triangulation since joining the Senate, her adherence to most of Bill’s ideas and because of her invocation of Bill’s record, I will look at Bill Clinton’s record as a whole. I think it’s only fair.

Bill Clinton’s presidency was more about style than substance. Bill Clinton came into office on a liberal platform but quickly deviated from it. The Clintons’ universal health care plan was ambitious, but failed because of pressure from the insurance industry and the Right. Honestly, I can’t fault them for trying on the healthcare issue. But instead of pushing it, Clinton began to move to the Right to appease his critics and hold onto the Presidency.

He completely turned his back on the unions which helped put him in office in 2002 when he pushed supported NAFTA, a conservative, free market policy goal. It was crafted by George Bush Sr. Later, Clinton supported Most Favored Nation (“MFN”) trading status with China. (Can you say lead toys and child labor?)

He also signed bills which cut back welfare, expanded the federal death penalty, passed a bill very favorable to the Telecom industry, cut capital gains taxes, and stayed clear of any attacks which be called pro-gay, as he implemented the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military and passed the Defense of Marriage Act. (A further note on the death penalty: Bill went to Arkansas to personally witness the execution of African American Ricky Ray Rector, whose mental competency was highly in question.)

Bill Clinton’s accomplishments, meanwhile, can be counted on one hand. Legislatively, he passed the Family Medical Leave Act, worked with Republicans to balance the Budget, and increased the minimum wage. He also nominated two liberal-leaning members to the Supreme Court in Ruth Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer.

In the foreign policy realm, while the intervention in Kosovo has been seen as a success, he failed to intervene in Rwanda. It is said that the reaction of American soldiers being dragged through the streets in Somalia in 1993 made us averse to military interventions in Africa, and this is why Clinton did what he had to do—which was nothing. In my view, this is unforgivable. As Randall Robinson has pointed out, Clinton sold out black Caribbean nations.

We are told Clinton grew the economy. Unemployment and interest rates went down. But they have remained down with Bush. The economic situation of many working class Americans is such that they are working long hours for lower wages with fewer benefits. We have experienced a steady widening of the gap in income disparity. These trends started in the 1980s with Reagan, continued under Clinton, and also under Bush.

Clinton believes in the same pro-corporate and neoliberal trade views as the Republicans. Hillary has paid lip service to free trade, but has not fully repudiated our damaging free trade agreements which are currently in place. (Neither has Al Gore, and I haven’t left him off the hook on that either.)

So the Clinton presidency may have been the best of the last 30 years, but that isn’t saying much.

The (Hillary) Clinton Record

Hillary Clinton followed her husband’s appeasement in the Senate. She voted for the Iraq war in 2002, and for years stubbornly refused to call it a mistake. She also refused to set “a date certain” for withdrawal. Earlier this year she stated on troop withdrawals, "we cannot lose sight of our very real strategic national interests in this region."

She voted for the Patriot Act, and then a slightly less intrusive version of it in 2006. She has had a mixed record on trade, and supports, as her husband did, MFN status for China. She voted for No Child Left Behind. Then, she stated that it wasn’t working because Bush wasn’t funding it. Then, no, it was because the bill focuses on testing rather than learning. She has a mixed record on the death penalty, having stated support for it, but also DNA testing.

One of Bush’s post-9/11 stances has been the role of a powerful executive (or the “unitary executive”). We have seen how dangerous this can be. Yet Hillary seems to be looking forward to the widening executive power, having stated she is “a strong believer in executive authority.”

The prospects for our foreign policy under a Hillary regime are scary. Along with her 2002 vote for the Iraq war, Hillary recently voted for the Iran bill which declared its Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organization.” Her explanation was that it would encourage diplomacy. If this sounds absurd, it is. Iran quickly moved to declare our own armed forces terrorist organizations. Hillary has called herself "an emphatic, unwavering supporter of Israel’s safety and security.”

To her credit, some of her notable achievements were voting against the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, as well as the Bush tax cuts, and the Military Commissions Act.

The Right’s Second Choice

Some elements of the Right even see Hillary’s centrism/pragmatism to be an acceptable alternative:

Conservative blogger Patrick Ruffini called Hillary, “a George W. Bush Democrat.” Neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said he could live with a Hillary presidency because, “Her liberalism, like her husband's -- flexible, disciplined, calculated, triangulated -- always leaves open the possibility that she would do the right thing for the blessedly wrong (i.e., self-interested, ambition-serving, politically expedient) reason.” Another Neocon and Fox News-er, Bill Kristol, said of Hillary, “Hillary Clinton is becoming the responsible Democrat who could become commander in chief in a post-9/11 world.”

Looking at fundraising, Hillary has raised as much from defense contractors as 60% of the entire Republican field. After the mess of Halliburton and Blackwater, why is she even accepting any of this dirty money, which has come from Bush’s crony contracts for this illegal war and the aftermath of Katrina?

Is this the person we want as our nominee? Would we feel the same way if her name was Joe Lieberman?

Is it also not hypocrisy for Democrats to rail against Fox News, when its owner, Rupert Murdoch, has admitted to using the network to manipulate support for the Iraq war, has held fundraisers for her? And what of her relationship to Alan Quasha, who bailed out Bush Jr. back in the 1980s? Now, Quasha’s business associate is one of Hillary’s top fundraisers.

A Critical Eye

Upon closer inspection, Hillary’s record, like her husband’s, is not one to brag about. The Bush and Clinton clans have become quite close, which has led Barbara Bush to call Bill Clinton like a “son.” This is the same Barbara Bush who said that Hurricane Katrina refugees were doing “very well” because they were underprivileged anyway.

Maybe the Bush-Clinton families have become closer and closer because they share the same broad economic viewpoints of neoliberal trade and the exploitation that comes along with it. Or maybe because they can always serve as perfect foils and pass the presidency back and forth.

These are serious questions for our nation and our democracy, which faces the prospect of continuous dual-family rule. Our democracy, which has been deteriorated through voter suppression, which has seen the executive branch expand itself so forcefully in the name of fighting terrorism, and whose foreign policy now resembles British imperialism.

Some may point to how much more America was ‘beloved’ in the eyes of the world during the Bill’s presidency. Why are we to believe any other Democrat wouldn’t do the same, or better?
Hillary has been a fairly strong liberal on social issues, but again, are we to believe that any other Democrat wouldn’t do the same, or better?

Black voters should also think about her husband’s actions, in the Caribbean, in Africa, in the Rector case. When white America really didn’t want to help black people, Bill folded. Do we want to return to that?

Shouldn’t we look at Hillary through the most critical eye? For instance, can we trust Rupert Murdoch’s judgment? Or Charles Krauthammer’s? Or the arms industry’s? Or the Israel Lobby’s? Should we even risk it?

It is my fervent belief that if we consider these and the other aforementioned questions, and in light of our other alternatives, such as Barack Obama, one cannot support her.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I have endorsed Dennis Kucinich, but Barack Obama would be my far and away favorite of the “electables”.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Edwards Ties His Slip in Iowa Polls to "Nuanced Differences."

In an article entitled "Clinton Takes Lead for Democrats," the Des Moines Register reports that Hillary Clinton is six points ahead of John Edwards in the latest poll of Iowa caucus-goers:

Hillary Clinton has climbed into first place in a new Des Moines Register poll of Iowans expected to participate in the state's Democratic presidential caucuses, with John Edwards and Barack Obama both in striking distance.

The Iowa Poll shows 29 percent of likely caucusgoers preferring Clinton, a New York senator, an improvement from the Register's most recent poll in May.

Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was the choice of 23 percent in the new poll, slipping from the top spot since the May survey to nearly even with Obama.

Obama, an Illinois senator, was at 22 percent , virtually unchanged from May.  Des Moines Register

Edwards has responded with a surprising spate of semantic nonsense, saying,

"The nuanced differences between where she is, where I am and Sen. Obama are is very small."

Do we really need a phrase like "nuanced differences" to describe the six point difference between Clinton and Edwards in this poll, or has Edwards resorted to semantic bird droppings in an effort to fudge his reduced standing with voters? Edwards is flummoxed.  Aside from the fact that the noun ("nuanced differences") and the verb ("is") in this sentence don't agree, we usually use the phrase "nuanced differences" to describe complexities far more subtle than the difference between the numbers "29%" and "23%."  For example,

The author cites his book "The Book of Wellness: A Secular Approach to Spirituality, Meaning and Purpose," and says that who ever has read even few essays of his book, would agree that meaning and purpose are complementary but with nuanced differences. According to the author, in a wellness context, meaning is an outcome or consequence; purpose is a goal or organizing concept. Reading Level (Lexile): 850;  Britannica.Com

The difference between 29% and 23% is quite a large "nuance," but then John Edwards is a very successful trial lawyer, so perhaps we should expect him to begin to wax semantic when the facts don't support his theories.

Edwards also said, "If somebody's up two points or down one point, that could be literally nothing except noise."  Actually, in this poll Clinton appears to be up by three times more than the "two points" that Edwards acknowledges here.  Quad City Times

Considering that Edwards admits that his only chance at the presidency is to win in Iowa, it's clear that he is simply flummoxed by his drop in the polls there.  The Des Moines Register reports,

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Sunday his slip from the top spot in the Des Moines Register's latest poll can be attributed to his competitors' emphasis on T.V. advertising.

"It's a little difficult to figure out where to go with me because I haven't spent any money on ads," said Edwards, a former North Carolina senator.  DMRegister.Com

If the relative lack of television ads can really drive the poll numbers, then Edwards can expect to be trounced in Iowa and elsewhere, since Edwards has about one third the money for ads that Clinton and Obama have.

Iowans are known as plain-talking people.  They might be turned off by Edwards' "nuanced differences" as well as his excuses.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Larry Craig Decision Sets Reasonable Boundaries for Gays, Others in Public Bathrooms

Cross-posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog

and the Political Fleshfeast.

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Trial Court Decision in the Larry Craig Case

Even though Senator Larry Craig is a homophobic anti-gay Republican, I feel some compassion for him because he is appears to be a gay man making his way in a virulently homophobic society.  The fact that he is an agent of the homophobia shouldn't cause us to entirely discount the fact that he is a victim of it as well.

In addition to determining whether he can try to hold onto his Senate seat (which I hope he won't), the decision of the Trial Court helps us to understand the boundaries of sexual behavior for gays and heterosexuals in public bathrooms and elsewhere, and so I'm taking a look at that here.

I think I agree with the decision of the Trial Court about the appropriate boundaries of behavior in a public bathroom.  Craig was arrested because he physically invaded a bathroom stall, a place where a stranger has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Most of us men would be shocked and angered if another man put his eye up to the crack in our bathroom stall to make eye contact with us or ogle us while our pants were down.  That is the behavior to which Larry Craig plead guilty, and so it is not unreasonable that he should be punished for it.  This behavior would be just as offensive between as man and a woman as between a man and another man.

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To understand why Larry Craig's behavior is problematic, you have to imagine how you would feel if someone peered into into your stall through a crack while you were undressed in a public bathroom.  It is conceivable that the public policy purpose in forbidding this behavior is not to penalize gay sex specifically or homosexuality in general, but rather is meant simply to compel all of us to observe the privacy rights of others while using public bathrooms.

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In it's decision here, the Trial Court was careful not to criminalize all gay sexual behavior that might take place in a public bathroom, ruling only against physical behavior that  invades the privacy of another.  So, if the "other" invited the behavior and the sharing of physical space was was consensual, then this decision leaves room for such an instance not to necessarily be criminal.  If the Senator had waited for the police officer to exit the stall and then verbally invited him to go to a hotel room for free sex, then perhaps he would not have been charged, since his behavior would not have invaded the private stall of another.

And if the Senator had pled innocent, he could have argued that he believed he had the consent of the police officer, because the officer acted as if he wanted Craig to share his bathroom stall.

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But one aspect of this case that makes it hard to have any sympathy for Craig, even as a gay man in the closet, is that he waived the right to an attorney.  The normal Republican approach to this incident would have been to lawyer up, deny everything, and insist that he was innocent until proven guilty.  But Senator Craig was so afraid of facing this situation that he apparently did not talk to a lawyer at all before pleading guilty, even though two months elapsed between his arrest and his guilty plea.  He appears to have been in utter denial, and hoping that the world would stay in denial as well.

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Had he consulted a lawyer, a lawyer surely would have advised him (a) not to plead guilty, because he might be able to mount a successful defense and pleading to these facts would ruin his career, and (b) the contents of the criminal file were sure to receive public attention regardless of what he did.

Larry Craig is surely wealthy enough that he could have obtained counsel.  Again, we almost have to feel sorry for him, or be furious with him, for his desperate attempts to keep his misdeeds secret, like the pedophilic Catholic priests using one machination after another while trying to save their careers and their reputations, and deny that they are pedophiles.

Larry Craig was running scared, and that's why he didn't get the a lawyer.  He was scared that people would discover that he is gay, it appears.  And he was scared the world would discover that he is a phenomenal hypocrite for voting against gay rights while secretly living a gay lifestyle.  He's a tragic figure living a tragedy partly of his own creation and partly of this society's creation. 

Discovering the Masterful Clinton Cackle

Cross-posted at Political Fleshfeast
and the Democratic Afrosphere.

There's been a lot of discussion in the media over the last week concerning the way Hillary Clinton laughs, but with few sources considering the context and obvious intentional purpose of her laugh. The New York Times gets it most right:

At that moment, the laugh seemed like the equivalent of an eye-roll - she felt she was being nitpicked, so she shamed her inquisitors by chuckling at them (or their queries). New York Times

Watch the video (below). Clinton was being interviewed by on Face the Nation when Bob (whatisname) asked her, "Last week was a big one for you, Senator. You rolled out your new health care plan, something the Republicans immediately said was going to lead to socialized medicine . . . "

If the public decides that Clinton's plan is "socialized medicine," it will not be approved, even though Clinton is elected president. So, Clinton understands that this question goes to the heart of her potential success as president.

Had Clinton responded with a wonkish explanation of the difference between socialism and capitalism, the word "socialism" would have stayed in the public's mind more than anything else she could have said.

But look how masterful her response was. What is remembered from this exchange is not the question itself, or her response to the question, but the fact that she laughed heartily. The message is clear: 'The question itself is too silly for words.' If this approach discourages others from asking this question, Hillary Clinton may be one step closer to being elected president and implementing a program of national healthcare.

In fact, the pure capitalist approach to health care would be "everybody for himself." Likewise, the pure capitalist approach to the US corporate take-over of Iraq's oil wells would require Halliburton and Exxon to gather up their own armies to invade Iraq - at their own expense - instead of depending on a "government takeover of invasions." And yet, the Government spearheads invasions that only help corporate interests while leaving citizens high and dry when it comes to organizing a health care system that would allow each of us to see a doctor and get medicine when we need to do so.

Now, should Hillary have responded as I have, leaving her audience with their eyes glazed over, bewildered by a response that most would not understand and the rest would disagree with? Clearly not! The best response was to simply laugh at that question about socialized medicine, and I believe she will laugh at that question quite a few more times before she is inaugurated in January 2009. The best way to diffuse Republican nonsense, Hillary is saying, is to start by laughing at it like one laughs at any silliness that is ridiculous.

Meanwhile, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post says that Hillary Clinton is taking advantage of the tremendous affection for Bill Clinton and nostalgia for a more prosperous, more peaceful administration:

Hillary Clinton is nearly ready for her Restoration. The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination has been talking much lately about those happy days when Clintons were in the White House and all was right with the world.

"Some of you might remember," she told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute yesterday. "We began with an agenda to address how to keep young Hispanics in school. . . . Well, that agenda unfortunately was put into cold storage. We're taking it out and we're warming it up and we're going to go back to business together."

Two hours later, Clinton strolled anew down memory lane as she accepted the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers. "We're going to be able to encourage Americans once again to believe that we can solve our problems," she told the union, informing its members of a need "to act like Americans again." Washington Post

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Majority of Democratic and Democratic-Leaning Independent Voters Now Supporting Clinton

Cross-posted at the Francis L. Holland Blog
and the Political Fleshfeast.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Washington Post reports today that for the first time Hillary Clinton is polling with over half of the Democratic and Independent voter electorate supporting her, and opening up a wide lead against Obama and Edwards, with all other candidates in single digits:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has consolidated her place as the front-runner in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, outpacing her main rivals in fundraising in the most recent quarter and widening her lead in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

For the first time, Clinton (N.Y.) is drawing support from a majority of Democrats -- and has opened up a lead of 33 percentage points over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). Her popularity, the poll suggests, is being driven by her strength on key issues and a growing perception among voters that she would best represent change.

( . . . )

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 53 percent support Clinton, compared with 20 percent for Obama and 13 percent for former senator John Edwards (N.C.).

Despite rivals' efforts to portray her as too polarizing to win the general election, a clear majority of those surveyed, 57 percent, said Clinton is the Democratic candidate with the best chance on Nov. 4, 2008. The percentage saying Clinton has the best shot at winning is up 14 points since June. By contrast, 20 percent think Edwards is most electable and 16 percent think Obama is, numbers that represent a huge blow to the "electability" argument rivals have sought to use against her.
Washington Post

The question now is, "What can Obama and Edwards do that will best assure a Democratic victory in 2008?" Although they may be tempted to try to drive up Hillary's negatives in advance of the Iowa caucuses, they should instead focus on the positive and try to position themselves for the vice presidency or other important positions in a new Democratic administration. For either of them, being perceived as a spoiler now could end their political viability for the future.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Now In Danger, Your Right To Vote

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

By the Too Sense afrosphere blog, via the Afrosphere Associated Press (AAP)

The news that the Supreme Court is going to consider the constitutionality of certain voter ID laws is anything but good, given the court's current political makeup.

The Supreme Court said yesterday that it will consider whether state laws requiring voters to present photo identification at polling places unfairly discriminate against the poor and minorities, injecting the justices into a fiercely partisan battle just before the 2008 elections.
Just in time to give the GOP an advantage by ruling as constitutional laws that have been consistently shown to discourage minority voting. Voter fraud, which these laws are meant to prevent, has been found not to be widespread, which calls into question the Supreme Court's decision to review the case. How is reviewing these laws urgent, except in light of an upcoming election in which polls consistently show the Republican Party at a disadvantage? From an April 2007 article in the NYT:
A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.


And two weeks ago, the panel faced criticism for refusing to release another report it commissioned concerning voter identification laws. That report, which was released after intense pressure from Congress, found that voter identification laws designed to fight fraud can reduce turnout, particularly among members of minorities.

The previous Supreme Court had no problem making Bush president by judicial fiat in 2000. Imagine how far this court will go to give an advantage to the Republican Party.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders

GOP Candidates Are Urged (in vain?)
to Attend Forums Sponsored by Minorities

As so often happens lately, after reading in the AfroSpear about the lack of Republican participation in the Tavis Smiley presidential debate, I see that the issue is now getting more coverage in the corporate media as well. The Washington Post reports today,
Key Republican leaders are encouraging the party's presidential candidates to rethink their decision to skip presidential debates focusing on issues important to minorities, fearing a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters.

The leading contenders for the Republican nomination have indicated they will not attend the "All American Presidential Forum" organized by black talk show host Tavis Smiley, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore and airing on PBS. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) all cited scheduling conflicts in forgoing the debate. The top Democratic contenders attended a similar event in June at Howard University.

"We sound like we don't want immigration; we sound like we don't want black people to vote for us," said former congressman Jack Kemp (N.Y.), who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "What are we going to do -- meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we're going to be competitive with people of color, we've got to ask them for their vote."

Read the rest at the Washington Post

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New York Times, WaPost Laud Hillary's New Approach to Health Care

Cross posted at Political Fleshfeast.

I can't believe the Iowa Caucuses are just three months away! I've been writing and publishing essays on behalf of Hillary Clinton for about eighteen months now, so I'm very excited to see how much things have progressed.

There are a lot of reasons why I strongly support Hillary Clinton, but her determination to make health care available to everyone in America is one of the foremost reasons. It's easy to say you support national health care, but there's only one candidate in the race - Democratic or Republican - who is universally known for her commitment to universal health care, and that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

A CBS News poll released Monday night suggests that Mrs. Clinton has already turned the health care issue from a liability to an asset, at least among Democratic primary voters: 61 percent said they had confidence in her ability to make the right decisions on health care, compared with 42 percent who felt that way about Mr. Obama, and 39 percent about Mr. Edwards. The survey also found that few voters held her responsible for the failure to pass universal health insurance during her husband's presidency. New York Times

Now, based on a wealth of experience that no other candidate can match, Hillary Clinton has presented a new health plan that has the advantage of being based on all that she learned, politically and substantively in the fight over the old one. I feel so encouraged that last night I started a new blog, the Americal Health Choices Plan Blog, just to have a place to post this new health plan in a way that it will be readily available (not in PDF) for all to study and discuss.

And it's clear Hillary has learned a lot. The New York Times reports today,

Mrs. Clinton and her aides emphasized that her plan would not create any new federal agencies, a senior adviser did acknowledge that the government would need more workers to oversee the expanded options. It is too early to say how many workers, or at what cost, the adviser said.

The candidate and her aides also underscored that her plan was a broad outline, that it would change in the political process and that she was keenly aware of a need to build consensus. New York Times

The Clinton team eagerly points out the lessons they learned from the unsuccessful efforts to implement national health care back in 1993:

Gene Sperling, a campaign adviser who worked on the first Clinton health-care effort when he served on the White House staff, said the Clinton plan would be financed by letting elements of the Bush tax cuts affecting high-income earners expire, although he said over time that her proposals for reducing medical costs would also help pay for the program.

"She felt very strongly it was important to show we were reversing the irresponsibility we've seen over the last years," Sperling said.

Sperling said there were at least three major differences between the 1993 proposal and the current one: It would not require patients to enter into a national alliance, but instead allow people to keep their existing coverage; it would not have a single government entity making decisions; and it would not penalize small businesses for failing to provide insurance but would instead encourage them through tax credits.

"It is a simpler plan," Sperling said. "It allows people who are happy with their coverage to keep their coverage. It not only doesn't have any major new bureaucracy, it relies much more on choice and competition to keep prices down."

"We're not writing every single detail of this plan," said Laurie Rubiner, Clinton's top health-care policy adviser, adding that Clinton learned her lesson in trying to be overly prescriptive. "We're going to leave a lot of this to the congressional committees." Washington Post

Although all Democratic presidential candidates realize that health care will be perhaps the most important domestic policy issue in the 2008 race, and they are all promising to implement national health care, it is unlikely that any candidate can show as much knowledge of the issue in a debate, both substantively and in terms of the political struggle that is to come.

The New York Times reports today,

In Mrs. Clinton's speech on Monday and in policy briefings afterward, her camp emphasized that many of the powerful interest groups around health care - including business, labor, consumer advocates and hospitals - had begun to seek common ground as the number of uninsured approaches 50 million. But even as Mr. Edwards sought to portray her as insufficiently independent of special interests, Mrs. Clinton said she would not shrink from a fight with drug and insurance companies.

She said she would put new regulations on the insurance industry, "eliminating discrimination" against those with health problems. Doing so, she acknowledged, will not make her the industry's "woman of the year." New York Times

2007 GOP Won't Even Talk to Black Folks


Hat Tip: Huffington Post
2007 GOP Won't Even Talk to Black Folks
I guess Fred Thompson and his Grand "Old" Party don't see "2007 as the Year of the Black Republican." In fact, it appears that Fred Thompson and his Grand "Old" Party see 2007 as a year for "old" white Republicans standing their ground and preparing an old fashioned dish of classic old school race politics for black folks to eat. More HERE

Monday, September 17, 2007

AfroSpear Bloggers Address Edwards Campaign's Statements About Diversity in the Democratic Nomination Process

AfroSpear bloggers are expressing disappointment that recent statements by the John Edwards presidential campaign may reflect resentment toward in diversity in the 2008 Democratic presidential nominating process. On June 17, in Carol, Iowa, John Edwards implied that only a white man can win the presidency, saying,
"It's not just a question of who you like. It's not just a question of whose vision you are impressed with. It's also a question of who is most likely to win the general election. It's a pretty simple thing. Who will be a stronger candidate in the general election here in the State of Iowa? Who can go to other parts of the country when we have swing candidates running for the Congress and the Senate? Is the candidate going to have to say, 'Don't come here. Don't come here and campaign with me. I can't win if you campaign with me.'"Iowa Independent
He added later,
"I think it's just a reality that I can campaign anyplace in America." Iowa Independent
Edwards appeared to be implying that he should be the Democratic nominee because he is a white man.

Then, Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with CIO Insights’ Edwards Cone, published August 6, 2007, said,
“We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars. Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all.”
Many AfroSpear bloggers interpret that statement as an expression of the Edwards campaign’s resentment at having to compete in a diverse candidate field. The Slant Truth AfroSpear blog said,

Did you just read what I just read? Elizabeth Edwards just played the "what about teh menz" and the "what about teh white folks" card in a single hand. And she did so in reference to a medium that is supposed to help democratize political participation in the U.S.. Does she really expect anyone to believe that her husband is at a political disadvantage because he is a white male? Slant Truth

The PlezWorld AfroSpear Blog was equally critical of the Edwards campaign, calling Elizabeth Edwards' recent comments "absurd."

The implication that Obama and Hillary consider getting attention for being black or a woman "the be all and end all" is, of course, completely absurd, especially given how much black-on-black racism the Obama campaign has faced, and how dizzy everyone got when Hillary showed the tiniest bit of cleavage.

[Elizabeth Edwards] remarks are also the ultimate in irony. She spent the article praising the Web; now that same engine will work overtime to crucify her. PlezWorld

Now, in a September 17 New Yorker article, Edwards told the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza,

“The difference between them, Edwards told me, is the difference between “Kumbaya” and “saying, ‘This is a battle. It’s a fight.’” (Emphasis added.) September 17 New Yorker article,

To this, the Too Sense AfroSpear blog says,

Edwards To America: "I'm The White Guy." That's the subtext of this WaPo article, and I would be entirely skeptical were it not for recent comments made by his wife and the cover of last month's Esquire, but it really seems like appealing to white America's sense of its own victimhood is becoming an election strategy for the Edwards campaign. Too Sense
A brief study of the history of the word "kumbaya" shows that the word is inherently linked to the Black struggle for freedom and equality in the United States:

O "spiritual" foi a primeira manifestação musical norte-americana, pois clássicos europeus, baladas inglesas, hinos e cantos irlandeses dominavam a música dos Estados Unidos até os escravos criarem seus cânticos de sofrimento e esperança.

Translated: The spiritual was the first North American music [in the Colonial period], because European classics, English ballads, Irish cantos and hymns dominated United States music until the [Black] slaves created their own songs of suffering and hope. Electronic Brazil
Wikipedia says:
Originally titled "Come By Here", it first appeared in "Revival Choruses of Marvin V. Frey", a lyric sheet printed in Portland in 1939. In 1946, the song returned from Africa with a missionary family, who toured America singing the song with its now world famous Angolan text "Kum Ba Yah". ( . . . ) The song enjoyed newfound popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s, largely due to Joan Baez's 1962 recording of the song, and became associated with the Civil Rights Movement of that decade. Wikipedia: Kumbaya
Although Edwards may not have meant to reference Obama’s African heritage by disparaging his efforts using the African word “kumbaya,” which is the name a song that symbolizes the American Civil Rights Movement, still Edwards has left the impression that he may resent running in a diverse and competitive field.

Comments such as these risk leaving the impression that John Edwards seeks to highlight the fact that he is a white man as a selling point in his competition for the Democratic nomination.

Many AfroSpear bloggers have welcomed the Edwards campaign’s focus on poverty and New Orleans. However, we regret comments and statements that appear to express resentment at competing in a diverse and strong field of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Francis L. Holland, Esq.
The Francis L. Holland AfroSpear Blog
Democratic Afrosphere

BlackWater, Republicans, and Time for Change

The Politics of War in Iraq - Elections at Home

For Iraqi's Blood Is Thicker Than Blackwater
. Blackwater USA a private military company (ie mercenary) and security firm. Founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark, has been banned from working in Iraq after the fatal killing of civilians in Iraq. As you can see from this YouTube Report by Jeremy Scahill, he describes the rise of Blackwater Shadow U.S. Army that has been getting paid big time by the U.S. government.

The Center for American Progress Action Fund reports on how the Iraq's Interior Ministry has banned the American private security firm, Blackwater USA, from operating in Iraq after eight civilians were killed after Blackwater members guarding a State Department motorcade allegedly responded to gunshots with open fire. In 2003, the Bush administration awarded the firm a $21.3 million no-bid contract to provide security for then-Amb. Paul Bremer. In 2006, the company moved from solely providing private security details "to a more 'overt combat role,' essentially becoming an army for hire." Though dozens of Blackwater mercenaries have been killed or wounded in Iraq, notably the four guards who were killed in Fallujah in 2004, the Pentagon does not include these causalities in its official tally. Iraq's Interior Ministry has indicated it will investigate Sunday's incident and press charges against the individuals involved. It is unclear whether the Iraqi government has the authority to prosecute Blackwater employees. As the AP notes, "Unlike soldiers, they are not bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Under a special provision secured by American-occupying forces, they are exempt from prosecution by Iraqis for crimes committed there."

Let's see who gets involved in a coverup on this one. Have any ideas?

BlackWater USA From Iraq to New Orleans. Is your city next?

Don't even think about voting for a Republican next year. If a Black Republican suggest that you vote Republican ask them to read this blog, read this post, and watch this video.