Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sen Ted Stevens

Another reason to vote Democrat next year?

Sen. Ted Stevens urged Alaskans to withhold judgment until legal proceedings are concluded.

Senator Stevens

The longest sitting Senator in U.S. history is a liar, a thief and a Republican.

African American Political Pundit

WaPo is reporting on Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service who raided the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) yesterday as part of a broad federal investigation of political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and one of his closest financial backers, officials said.

WaPo also reports Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is under scrutiny from the Justice Department for his ties to an Alaska energy services company, Veco, whose chief executive pleaded guilty in early May to a bribery scheme involving state lawmakers.

Contractors have told a federal grand jury that in 2000, Veco executives oversaw a lavish remodeling of Stevens's house in Girdwood, an exclusive ski resort area 40 miles from Anchorage, according to statements by the contractors.


Crooks and Liars is covering the Senator Ted “Tubes” Stevens story and is reporting on how the grumpy old fart found the IRS and FBI raiding his house. Another Republican ripping the American taxpayer.

Can Blacks Overcome the Belief That Blacks Always Fail?

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When I campaigned for Jesse Jackson back in 1984, Black children told me that Jesse could not become president because white people would never allow it. They might assassinate him or isolate him or otherwise refuse him, but they would not allow him to take the reigns of power.

In light of the tragic history of assassination of Black leaders in America, from the non-violent Martin Luther King, Jr. to the leaders of the "pick up the gun" Panther Party, I could not argue that these children's observations were unfounded. They were a matter of historical fact.

So, I could only argue that we had to continue trying, in spite of the forces arrayed against us, just as we had during slavery and Jim Crow.

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Today in the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson plumbs the psyche of Black America, questioning whether we can believe that America will open its minds and its hearts to Barack Obama. Although it is apparent that Americans have already opened their pocketbooks, making Obama a rival to Hillary Clinton on the financial plane, the voting and caucusing has yet to begin.

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, July 31, 2007; Page A19

Are white Americans really, truly prepared to elect an African American president? Seriously, is a nation with such a long and shameful history of brutal slavery, Jim Crow segregation and persistent racism actually going to put a black man in the White House?

One of Barack Obama's principal tasks in the coming months may be convincing African American voters that this whole phenomenon -- a black candidate with a well-financed campaign, proven crossover appeal and a real chance to win -- isn't just another cruel illusion.

I hear from African Americans who are excited about Obama's candidacy but who suspect that somehow, when push comes to shove, "they" won't let him win. It's unclear who "they" might be -- white voters, the "power structure," the alignment of the stars -- and it's unclear how "they" are going to thwart Obama's ambition. The point is that, somehow, he'll be denied.

This anecdotal evidence finds some empirical support in the polls, although it's far from definitive. A recent CNN poll of Democrats in South Carolina -- a crucial, early-primary state where African Americans will cast about half the Democratic votes -- showed Hillary Clinton leading Obama by a bigger margin among blacks than among whites. And while white respondents thought Clinton had only a slightly better chance of winning the 2008 general election than Obama, blacks who were polled thought Clinton was fully twice as likely to beat a generic Republican opponent. (. . . ) Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

I am not among those who is willing to fatalistically accept the proposition that Barack Obama would necessarily lose the nomination or the general election simply because he is Black. The state of Massachusetts, where I was born and which has a 5% Black population, nonetheless elected its first African-American governor last year, Governor Deval Patrick. Clearly, much of what once seemed impossible is, nevertheless, possible.

As I learned when going from being a flunked and failed college student to a magna cum laude college graduate and member of the Bar, the only way to determine the line between the impossible and the possible is to to try to attempt what seems impossible and thereby prove that, in fact, the apparently "impossible" actually IS within the realm of the possible. This is a mataphysical quest without which there can be no human progress in any realm of endeavor, regardless of gender and skin-color.

As I said a couple of days ago, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have to prove that the victory which once seemed impossible actually lies within the realm of the possible.

But Black people are more than familiar with this conundrum. If we have gone to church for any reason at all lo these long centuries, it was because that which was essential for our survival so often seemed outside the reach of reason.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Clinton Debating: A Derisive Look is Worth a Thousand Words

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When Debating Foreign Policy,
A Derisive Look is Worth a Thousand Words.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to try to score points off one another based on last weeks' debate, particularly around the issue of foreign policy.

The New York Times reports,
For days, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have been exchanging retorts over the wisdom of sitting down for diplomatic meetings with hostile dictators. In case voters had not been following along, Mr. Obama sought to inform them, weaving his side of the dispute into the overarching message of his campaign.

“Some of you noticed that this week I got in a debate with one of my colleagues who is also running for the presidency,” Mr. Obama said Friday night, opening a two-day trip to Iowa. “The debate was about whether we talk to world leaders even if you don’t like them. My theory is that you do.”

The quarrel emerged from this week’s debate in South Carolina, when Mrs. Clinton said she would not meet with foreign leaders, including those of Iran and North Korea, without preconditions. She later criticized Mr. Obama’s response as “irresponsible and, frankly, na├»ve.”

Those four words touched off the most direct confrontation yet in the fight for the Democratic nomination. And Mr. Obama worked to keep the distinction alive during a weekend trip to Iowa, turning the disagreement into an example of how he would lead the country differently.

“Our standing in the world has diminished so much because people think that the United States wants to dictate across the world instead of cooperate across the world,” Mr. Obama said Saturday. “When we start sending a signal that we are ready to engage in serious diplomacy, then we’ve got the opportunity to stand before the world and say: We’re back. America is back.” New York Times
It seems to me that Clinton has brought the longer knife to this fight, since she is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, traveled overseas extensively and participated in foreign policy choices during two terms as First Lady, and has one more term in the US Senate under her belt than does Barack Obama.

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Clinton/Obama in 2008: It'll make me feel better,
and it certainly won't make America any worse than it is now.

On the other hand, Barack Obama correctly predicted that the Iraq War would turn into a foreign policy disaster, and his foreign policy ideas at present are firmly within the mainstream of what Democrats are seeking. Who wins the foreign policy debate may come down to what the public wants more: experience or a "new politics." Unfortunately for Barack Obama, it will be far easier for Clinton to appropriate his "new politics" language than it will be for Obama to appropriate Clinton's experience.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clinton and Obama Are a Team, Like it or Not.

Cross-posted as a critical comment at the AfroSpear's Skeptical Brotha blog and at MyLeftWing and at the Francis L. Holland Blog. Re-published as a guest post at the plezWorld AfroSpear blog.

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Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share the same essential challenge in the 2008 election:  They have to defeat the white male supremacy paradigm - at least in terms of its hold over the 2008 presidential election - to end the 43 term white male monopoly of the presidency. 

If Barack Obama weren't Black, then everyone would speculate - even more than they do now - about his potential as a vice presidential candidate.  And he would look damned good as a vice presidential candidate on the Clinton ticket. 

We certainly ought not refrain from this speculation simply because he is Black.  Barack Obama obviously has a future and I believe his future can and should begin as vice president in the Clinton II Administration. 

IF he and Clinton are equally bought and sold to the Establishment, as Skeptical Brotha contends at his AfroSpear blog, then they have a lot in common that should recommend Barack Obama for participation in such a pairing.

Clinton IS going to win the nomination, and then half of all AfroSpear bloggers (and their constituents) are going to lose enthusiasm, unless Barack Obama is also on the ticket.

Field Negro says, for example:

Sorry Francis, I am still not feeling Hillary just yet. I just can't get past her flip flop on the Iraq war, and her slick attempt to weasel out of her fickle convictions.  Still, it would be nice to see America join the 21st Century and elect someone besides a white male as President.

However, the PlezWorld AfroSpear blog predicts:

HILLARY CLINTON will head the 2008 presidential ticket ( . . . ) I'm still pulling for BARACK OBAMA ( . . .)

Black folks will still come out to vote in droves, because for some reason you people still love the CLINTONS.  PlezWorld

As Skeptical Brotha observed, Barack Obama is NOT Jesse Jackson; he lives in a different historical moment and a radically different social context, and the proof of this is the reception he is receiving.  His success is heavily influenced and supported by his times, and the success of Jesse Jackson was a prerequisite to creating the times in which we now live, such as they are.

Jesse Jackson established himself and built a strong national network mostly in spite of the lack of white establishment support, and in spite of not holding elective office.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama has been able to corral considerable white establishment support even before the first national votes have been cast.  Just like Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both symptoms of a changed America in which Blacks and women have the right to vote, the right to run for elective office, and even the right to become president of the United States, if the public elects them.

They are symbols of the same phenomenon: the power of the franchise.  In this sense, they ARE a team, whether they know it and acknowledge it or not.

For both of them, success depends on the same challenge:  Vanquishing the white male supremacy paradigm.  If they cannot vanquish the white male supremacy paradigm, at least with respect to its power over the 2008 presidential election, then neither of the can become president of the United States.

However, if they unite their forces and their wills to make an historical change, to seek out a new American life and a new American civilization, then they (and all of us) can boldly go together where no woman or Black man has gone before.

Mission Statement of the Democratic Afrosphere

Historically, it was taken for granted that elected officials, including the president and vice president of the United States would necessarily be white men. Now that Blacks and women have won the right to vote and to run for elective office, we are building the organizations necessary to turn these suffrage rights into electoral and political realities that help Black people meet our needs for education, housing, medical care, equality before the law, dignity and freedom.

The mission of the Democratic Afrosphere is to offer a critical Black perspective on national, state, local and international politics while advocating for the election of Democratic leaders who are faithful to these progressive goals of the Democratic Party, including equality, respect, rights and opportunities for immigrants, for Blacks, women, gays, and those who have been historically marginalized in the United States of America based on immutable characteristics.