Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Johnnie Cochran 1937-2005

At this time we mourn the passing of Johnnie Cochran, a brilliant lawyer who was admired by his friends and respected by his adversaries. It is somewhat unfortunate that the landmark case that he will be remembered for more than any other is the aquittal of O.J. Simpson because Johnnie Cochran had a long distinguished career in the area of civil rights. New York City has a history of looking the other way when it comes to police abuse. Many minorities have been killed while the police walked. Johnnie Cochran obtained a rare victory for Abner Louima who was brutally raped with a broomstick by a patrolman named Volpe. Cochran won the case, Louima got justice (to the tune of one million plus) and Volpe got time. The dapper Mr. Cochran was the epitome of confidence who looked far younger than his sixty seven years. Another Cochran triumph was when he was able to free Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, the former black panther who spent twenty seven years of his life in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Johnnie Cochran may be gone but he leaves behind a legacy of focused determination for justice. He was a man who led by example.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Terri Schiavo Case: Right-Wing Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

The Republican mantra over the last two decades has been "We need smaller government. Let's get the government off of our backs". In the case of Terri Schiavo we find the Bush administration playing the role of big government interfering in the private lives of US citizens. This hypocrisy is even more stunning when you take into account that when George W. Bush was governor of Texas he backed a law that said the hospital, not the family would have final say in determining if an incapacitated patient should live or die. The Miami Herald reports that Jeb Bush was planning to send police to the hospital in order to insert the feeding tube, completely ignoring the dictates of a federal judge. Ten children were killed in Minnesota in a Colombine-like incident....as of March 26, 2005 President Bush has said NOTHING about this. But he can get out of his bed at 2:00AM to put himself into the fray of the Terri Schiavo case. It is obvious that the right wing involvement in the life of Terri Schiavo is to take the heat off of Tom Delay. The most influencial man in congress finds himself knee deep in the big muddy with three accusations of improper conduct. If Tom Delay is able to walk, this will set a precedent. Like minded ultraconservatives will have destroyed the constitution and our democratic form of government. When vice-president Dick Cheney ignored a subpoena by the General Accounting Office I could see that we were moving in that direction. If the U.S. citizenry let's Delay off the hook we are headed for limitless demagogery. Anyone who reads this message and has a firm belief in democracy should be writing their elected officials to let them know that Tom Delay should not be above the law and that Terri Schiavo's husband should be the one who makes the final decision as to if an attempt should be made to extend her life.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Resistence IS Growing.....little by little

In the March 2, 2005 entry entitled "The Appearance Of A Spine" I mentioned that the Democrats were starting to show a little backbone. I said that it was really no big thing but that I hoped we would see more of it. Well, apparently we are seeing a little more of it. Kudos, to the Democrats who stood up against the Bush cuts, setting the stage for a possible statemate since both houses of Congress must jointly decide how our tax dollars are to be spent. Duane Peterson of True Majority wrote to all those who called their representatives in Congress or wrote letters of protest via True Majority "During the recent budget call-in day you spoke out against President Bush’s proposed cuts to the Medicaid program -- cuts that would have denied healthcare to low income Americans. Last week the Senate threw those cuts out, in a strong rebuke of the President’s healthcare budget. And last week in the House, 43 Congressmembers stood up and voted against pouring $80 billion more into the occupation of Iraq until we have a clear plan for leaving. " The mainstream media as expected barely mentioned this event instead we are bombarded with Scott Peterson (no relation), Michael Jackson and major league baseball players who allegedly used steroids. Millions of people around the world protested the Iraq War (25,000 in San Francisco, 20,000 in Los Angeles, 100,000 in London, and even though tens of thousands marched in New York City, the New York Times told us about the approximately 325 who marched from Garvey Park.) This illustrates the importance of blogging to get the truth out. Unfortunately the majority of our representatives in Congress will only act in our behalf if there is pressure. It is incumbent upon on us the write them frequently to commend them when they make the correct steps to protect the rights of their constituents and criticize them when they fail to do so. With the war going south and the country on the whole not really impressed with King George The W's Social Security plans things are starting to look a little better for the Democrats.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What Would Jesus Do?

The Bush Administration is making a serious attempt to change Black leadership in this country by courting the Black religious community with his faith based initiatives. The goal here is to intentionally deplete the funds of all public programs that are designed to help the elderly or the indigent and give the downtrodden no other recourse but the administration endorsed faith based programs. The advocates of this policy have tremendous sums of money at their disposal so it is easy for them to throw huge sums of cash to people they feel are influencial (just look at the cases of Williams and McManus). The so-called right(or what Mark Marron calls "Christo-Fascists") are convinced that you can "buy" influencial black clergy. They feel most African-American congregations in the country don't care about the illegal war in Iraq. They feel most blacks with forget about the fact that the last two presidential elections were won by suppressing the black vote. They are convinced that blacks will forget about all that money that was promised for AIDS and how the big Republican inauguration bash was paid for with the funds set aside for Washington's homeland security. What they want to focus on is same sex marriage, and they want it to be the front and center issue. It is for this reason that I warn all African-Americans to keep your eyes open, and don't be fooled by these snake oil salemen. Let's look at this from a totally religious perspective and then ask yourself what would Jesus do? The bible teaches us not to bear false witness. This is exactly what Bush administration has done on more than just one instance. The very fact that our nation is involved in a costly, unjust war is based on a "LIE" that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq goes against this teaching. One of the ten commandants (which other right wingers want to be permanent fixtures in our court houses) states thou shall not kill. On the orders of King George the W over 100.000 Iraqs have been killed and most of them were civilians. In your heart do you believe Jesus would condone such actions? It is written in the bible that Jesus said "It will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven" Bush himself has said that the affluent make up "his" constituency. The rich have taken away the right to sue corporations for negligence. The rich pharmaceuticals with Bush's endorsement have made senior citizens, among others pay more for badly needed medicine and have made it a crime to go to Canada to find cheaper prices. The rich oil companies have forced us to use one source of energy "oil" when other alternatives are available. The Bush administration has declared war on the poor by dismantling or severely underfunding educational programs that level the playing field like Head Start, Talent Search & Upward Bound. Would Jesus go along with this when we know as a fact that Jesus had a special place in his heart for the poor?......I don't think so. Isn't this Bush administration the equivalent of the Moneychangers we find in the bible? ....and most of us know what Jesus thought of them, don't we? In the months ahead we are going to be bombarded with talk about what goes on in the bedrooms of consenting adults but little will be said about the dismal failure of the so called "abstinance" program for teenagers in Bush's home state of Texas. We are going to be bombarded with talk of how Social Security should be redesigned so that it will benefit blacks. We are going to hear how Iran, Syria and Venezuela either have weapons of mass destruction or represent a threat to our American way of life. But you won't hear any talk about how we can guarantee fair elections. These messages of black compliance with the ultra conservative agenda will be found in black churches, they will be found in the media, primarlily because the Bush administration and their surrogates have the money to do it and in addition to that Bush is using everyone's hard earned tax dollar to promote fake news that support his destructive policies. What would Jesus do? Would he go along with this? I don't think so.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The GOP: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, Blacks BEWARE!

Just over 10 percent of the African-American population voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential election, which means 90 percent voted against him. Ten percent is a small number, but it is an improvement over the 9 percent who voted for him in 2000. Now when you factor in the accusations of voter supression the black vote for Bush was more than likely even
smaller than what had been reported. We continue to hear the call for "new" black leadership, and there are several books like "Scam" that slam leaders like Jessie Jackson and Kwesi Mfume. The most recent edition of Ebony magazine has an article on "The Call for New Black Leadership" Isn't it strange that the state that had the highest number of Black votes was Ohio, where Bush garnered a whopping 16% of the black vote, which is coincidentally the state with the highest number of complaints of foul play. The GOP is aggressively fighting to become a presence in the black community, which it has done absolutely
NOTHING for. When one takes into account the tremendous sums of money that they have at
their disposal it is possible to convince the people most victimized by their polices that they are
their allies. We also must factor in the news sources that are available to the black community.
We have a choice between the ouvert pro-Bush network (Fox) and the covert Bush networks, like; ABC(The American Bushcasting Company,(NBC) The National Bushcasting Company,(CBS) The Columbia Bushcasting System and of course (CNN) The Conservative News Network. And if that isn't enough Clear Channel owns over 80 percent of all radio stations including those that target black audiences. Black employees have been fired on these stations because they opposed the Iraq War. BET is likely to change from Black Entertainment Television to Bush Entertainment television since it is no longer black owned an operated it is now owned by Viacom, which is not likely to accept any criticism of King George the W.
ABC's "Like It is" is one of the longest running news programs in the New York City area.
You would never know it because it receives no promotion whatsoever. It is frequently pre-empted and the only reason that it has survived as long as it has is because of the fierce letter writing campaigns and demonstrations of New York City's African-American community. Gil Noble's program has become the place where people go to find the truth on issues like Iraq,
neo-colonialism and health-care. The program was cut from one hour to a half hour. In the place of the second half of "Like It Is" we have America's Black Forum where we can be exposed to the Bush Administration's Black mouthpiece, Armstrong Williams who sings the praises of pro-life politics, smaller government and other issues of non-relevance to the masses of black people in the United States. This is the same Armstrong Williams who was bribed to take $240,000.00 dollars to promote the underfunded "No Child Left Behind" which continues to leave children behind. America's black community can not afford to be fooled.
I am one who takes great pride in the current crop of African-American legislators, Conyers, of Michigan, Tubbs, of Ohio, Lee, of California and others too numerous to mention
who continue to fight the good fight. If Malcolm and Martin were alive today I am sure that they
would have nothing but praise for such honorable individuals like Cynthia McKinney who had an
election "stolen" from her but managed to fight back and re-gain her seat in Congress. She was also one of the first to question Bush's motives for going into Iraq. Maxine Waters, who continues to confront Colin Powell and others about the U.S. role in the coup in Haiti. Now more than ever these people need our support. Don't be fooled into believing that Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Ward Connerly, Armstrong Williams, Condoleezza Rice, Lynn Swann or J. Kenneth Blackwell represent your interests. Speaking of not being fooled, young African-Americans across the United States are NOT enlisting in the armed forces, especially the marines. Enlistment is way down to 13.9%. I am sure that many young African-Americans have seen the segment from Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 which shows the deceptive and aggressive recruitment techniques aimed at minorities. Before the illegal and unnecessary Iraq War the armed forces were seen as a place where you can learn a trade, see the world, save money for school. Now it is seen as a place you can lose your life for a war that you don't believe in. It is not a case of not defending your country. If the war were justified black Americans like I am sure many other Americans would fight to defend their country, but this is obviously a resource grab that will only benefit the already wealthy oil barons.
The bottom line is that all US citizens, especially those of color must watch the actions of this very crafty administration carefully trained in the Karl Rove school of deception. If you are not careful they will make you believe that you should pay more taxes and that the rich should pay less. They will make you believe that you should pay twice as much as you are now paying for prescription medicine. They will make you believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They will make you believe that Social Security is bankrupt and that bankrupcy is only something that should apply to the major corporations. Black America ...Don't accept the lie, just because the liar looks like you!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Greedy Politicians likely to pass Bankruptcy Bill

Heartless politicians of BOTH parties are likely to pass the bankruptcy bill. If a major corporation is about to go under it can file for bankruptcy protection, but if an individual can't fullfil his or her financial obligations that is just too bad. He or she will just have to pay. That is the point of view of the Republicans
in congress as well as a sizeable number of Democrats. The wealthy have their tax-burden lightened while
the poor and the middle class have to pay for everything. This is a situation that is very similar to the time
just before the French Revolution. Your children have probably been bombarded with advertisements about credit cards. Today it is almost impossible to rent a car unless you have one. They are also needed for various
types of identification. The credit card companies will benefit from the new law that will make it extremely difficult for the average individual to declare bankruptcy, by some estimates as much as 5% percent.
One of the strongest advocates for this bill is the same organization that made the highest corporate donation to the Bush campaign.....MBNA. As someone who is just recently finding his way out of a financial
quagmire brought about by credit cards. I encourage all people who have them to get rid of them. If people
stop using credit cards (especially those from the predatory genre) less people would find themselves in financial trouble. Some companies are penalizing their customers who pay on time. Many companies have
exorbitant interest rates. The industry is telling us they just want to get their money. But what they are not
telling us is that at least 90% of those people who have credit cards are responsible in their use. Most people
who intend to declare bankruptcy do so only after a catasthrophe, like major illness or the loss of the major
breadwinner in the household , not because of irresponsibilty. These predators want to go after the homes and
other properties of unsuspecting innocents. I would expect today's Republicans to condone such policies
because they are closely allied to the Banking industry, but this industry also controls many apparently "progressive Democrats" too. There is just something disheartening about seeing Robert Byrd(D-WVa) or
Joseph Biden(D-Md) supporting this bankruptcy bill when they have been quite vocal on other issues that
affect the middle class. So spread the word...DON'T USE CREDIT CARDS unless there is no other alternative.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Cause For Celebration....The Demise of the DLC

The "raison d'etre" of this blog is to diminish the influence of the Democratic Leadership Council on the Democratic Party. At a time of so much bad news I was ecstatic to find out that the DLC is on it's way out. This is the best thing to happen to the Democrats since Howard Dean became party leader. The DLC has come out with its "Top 100 "New" Democrats" since 2003. This year the organization wasn't able to come up with 100, so it claimed that Barak Obama(D-Ill) was their "new" Democrat, but Obama denies any association with this group whatsoever. Ari Berman writes in his The Nation article that Obama said "Neither my staff nor I have had any direct contact with anybody at the DLC since I began this campaign a year ago," Obama wrote. "I don't know who nominated me for the DLC list of 100 rising stars, nor did I expend any effort to be included on the list.... I certainly did not view such inclusion as an endorsement on my part of the DLC platform." After realizing that his name appeared in the DLC's database, Obama asked to have it removed. The message was clear: The DLC needed Obama a lot more than Obama needed the DLC."
I am happy to see the DLC fall for many reasons, one of which was their campaign to aggressively pursue the white male vote to the detriment of alienating the most faithful Democratic voting block. DLC democrats had nothing or next to nothing to say about the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004. This opened the door for the Republicans to repeat their mantra to blacks and other minorities "The Democrats Are Taking You For Granted" to which I have consistently replied "That may be true but what have you ever done for us?" besides conspire to take away our vote, affirmative action and now Social Security?
With the "apparent" demise of the DLC ( and I say "apparent" because it is capable of resurfacing) this blog will now concentrate on
convincing black churches to be wary of President Bush's Church based initiatives, bringing our troops home from Iraq and keeping Social Security just the way it is.

Friday, March 04, 2005

42 Senators send Bush a letter protesting Social Security Privatization.

Truthout.org was able to get a copy of a letter sent to President Bush challenging his Social Security Privatization Account Plan from 42
Democrats(including Nelson and Lieberman) and one independent.


Friday 04 March 2005
Washington, D.C. - U. S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following letter sent to President Bush and signed by 42 Democratic Senators.
March 3, 2005
The President
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC
Dear Mr. President:
We write in the hope that we can achieve a bipartisan agreement to strengthen Social Security for the long term and enhance the retirement security of all Americans.
Soon after your reelection, you made clear that your Administration's top priority is to move toward the privatization of Social Security. Your proposal would cut Social Security's funding by diverting payroll taxes into privatized accounts, which would weaken the program and force deep cuts in benefits. Your Administration also acknowledged that the proposal would require borrowing trillions of dollars, much of which we know would come from foreign countries like China and Japan.
Democrats in the Congress believe this approach is unacceptable, and it appears that most Americans agree with us. Funding privatized accounts with Social Security dollars would not only make the program's long term problems worse, but many believe it represents a first step toward undermining the program's fundamental goals. Therefore, so long as this proposal is on the table, we believe it will be impossible to establish the kind of cooperative, bipartisan process we need to truly address the challenges facing the program many decades in the future.
We were encouraged that Treasury Secretary John Snow suggested that you might be willing to abandon your privatization proposal and move instead to an alternative approach in which investment accounts would be established entirely separate and apart from Social Security. As you know, many Democrats, including President Bill Clinton, have advocated just such an approach, with benefits targeted to working and middle class families who need help the most. So long as such accounts remain entirely independent from Social Security and do not put the program's guaranteed benefits at risk in any way, we believe they deserve serious consideration as part of a broader effort to promote retirement security.
While Secretary Snow's suggestion was initially encouraging, subsequent reports indicate that you remain committed to your privatization plan and his public comments were little more than a tactical maneuver. According to a story in today's Washington Post, "White House officials are privately telling Republicans that Bush is opposed to the idea [of accounts outside of Social Security], but does not want to say so because it would appear he is not willing to compromise."
Given the conflicting and ambiguous reports on such a critical issue, we urge you to publicly and unambiguously announce that you reject privatized accounts funded with
Social Security dollars or otherwise linked to the provision of guaranteed Social Security benefits. Such a statement would eliminate a serious obstacle to the kind of bipartisan process that Democrats are seeking to deal with Social Security's long-term challenges and to improve the retirement security of all Americans.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Sincerely,
Senators:
Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Corzine, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Feinstein, Harkin, Inouye, Jeffords, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Bill Nelson, Obama, Pryor, Reed, Reid, Rockefeller, Salazar, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, Wyden.

New Jerseyans Give Bush and his SS plan the cold shoulder.

George W. Bush found hundreds of people demonstrating against his Social Security plan at the armory in Westfield, New Jersey on the morning of March 4, 2005. Mr. Bush comes to New Jersey after another lukewarm reception in Ohio, where he found a 2/3 empty audience. Back then he was actually preaching to the party faithful: Republican Bush supporters, most of whom were conspicuously absent (as previously reported on this site). Many elderly people were spotted in the crowd, some with huge signs, one of which said "If you want to gamble Mr. President, go to Atlantic City."
1.3 million New Jersey residents were recipients of Social Security benefits in December of 2002, including almost 936,000 retired workers and 131,000 widows and widowers. 15.8 percent of the states's total population are Social Security beneficiaries, which more than likely explains the tepid reaction of New Jerseyans to Bush's plan of private Social Security accounts. Americans
United to Protect Social Security and New Jersey Citizen Action and a broad
coalition of activist organizations have formed a mass movement at the urging of congressional Democrats to soundly defeat Bush's proposals.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Appearance Of A Spine

The Democrats in congress are beginning to show a little backbone, not a lot, but a significant amount that we need to see a lot more of. All 44 Democratic senators are united in their opposition to President-select Bush's plan to permanently alter Social Security. We also see all Democratic senators united behind Harry Reid's position of not voting for the confirmation of any of the ten ultra conservative justices that were rejected by the senate last year should Bush choose to present them for confirmation this year. We saw Senator Barbara Boxer prove beyond any doubt that Condoleezza Rice as top security czar is either a liar or grossly incompentent with regard to protecting the nation during the 9/11 attacks. Senator Boxer did this by using direct quotes from Ms. Rice.
Another encouraging sign was the election of Howard Dean as party leader. The grass roots of the Democratic party is newly energized and the apparently despised Democratic Leadership Council seems to be losing it's influence on the party. Freshman Democrat Montana Governor
Sweitzer of Montana( a red state) was very direct and to the point when
he told Bush how he vehemently opposed tinkering with Medicaid and Social Security and how it would adversely affect his contituency. This is the type of behavior we need to see more of.
We have a still a very long way to go because there are also many signs of business as usual. Senator Boxer was left alone to force congress to admit that there were serious problems with regard to voting in the 2004 presidential election. Not one other Senate Democrat could be found to second the motion. And one can not leave out Maryland Senator Joe Biden who extensively interrogated Condoleezza Rice, bring out numerous inconsistencies.......but in the end he voted for confirmation. The Republicans now realize that their Social Security campaign does not look like it will win over the American people. As a result they are trying to initiate some compromises with the Democrats, while at the same time leading the fight for the abolition of the philibuster. Democrats have this issue on their side. There is no need to compromise. Joe Liebermann is STILL talking about reaching out to the other side when those Democrats outside of the congress want to take this issue and hit the Republicans over the head with it. So there is the appearance of a spine, but it's a small one. Let's hope that it grows.