Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sean Bell Watch 2: Problem Testimony

The NY Times has a graphic and testimony snippets in the current Sean Bell shooting trial. Something about the Testimony is problematic.

Marsellies Payne, on examination is reported by the Times to have said:

Testified she last saw Mr. Bell turn on his headlights on Liverpool Street and pull away from the curb. She was to follow him and his friends to a diner for breakfast after her long night of dancing. “As he came out, a minivan came from behind me and they crashed,” she said. “The driver of the minivan got out of the car. He got out and he started shooting.” She said she was close enough to see the muzzle flash from his pistol. “I saw the fire like three times and I turned and I ran,” she said, adding that she crouched in someone's shrubs. “I waited for the gunshots to stop. It was about three seconds, and I started to get up, and the gunshots started again.”

Under cross examination the Times states:

Said she never saw Detective Isnora approach Mr. Bell's car with a gun, and never saw Mr. Bell back up after hitting the minivan, strike a wall and charge forward, hitting the van again. She said she never heard anyone shout, “Police,” and never heard any shouts or screams. She said she ran back to the Club Kalua and told the bouncer, “They're shooting down the block! They're killing those boys!” Then, after two or three minutes, she said, she ran back to her car so she could move it before the police arrived, but she was too late, arriving to see paramedics pulling bodies from Mr. Bell's car. When the police questioned her, she repeatedly denied having seen or heard anything before finally giving detectives a statement that night, she said. “I don't need this drama in my life,” she said.

Now an earlier graphic depicting the NYPD account has the following:

As the club s closing, a club dancer walks to her car parked on Liverpool Street. She sees a man she knows as "KB," and who may be Mr. Benefield, get into the back seat passenger side of what is later identified as the Nissan Altima.

While she is putting her bag in the trunk of her car, she hears what she believes is a car accelerating. She then sees about five people standing near the Altima.

She sees a minivan come down Liverpool Street and sees the Altima collide with it. Then she sees the Altima roll back and the driver of the minivan roll back and the driver of the minivan get out of his vehicle and fire shots toward the Altima. She runs and hides behind some bushes.

Now the police report is contradicted by yesterday's testimony because yesterday Ms. Payne says the car did not back up but on the day of the murder she said she did see the car back up. This is somewhat critical because the Defense is partially relying on the idea that Sean Bell was purposfully trying to run down the "Negro with the gun."

Now here's something important. the undercover police officer, who we now know to be Isanora, was holding a cell phone when he was following the men

That armed undercover detective stays on the phone with the lieutenant and follows the men, tell the lieutenant that is was "getting hot on Liverpool, for real, I think there's a gun."

But by the timeline given, it was not "getting hot on LIverpool Street". By the Times' report from the police, it was "hot" on 94th street. Again the situation could have been avoided had the officers focused on the black man by the S.U.V. who had put his hand in his jacket "suggesting" he had a gun.

Secondly given that photos of the scene show a dark colored minivan that was facing Bell head on with headlights blazing, How could Isanora's badge be seen (assuming he showed it), by Bell?

Let's run this scenario down from Bell's point of view. He's just gotten into a verbal altercation with someone with an black SUV (A Ford perhaps?), who implies that he is armed, AND has at least 5 people with him (Sean Bell's group had 3 out of 8 claimed to be involved). Sean Bell and friends get into their car, look up and see a van facing them and a guy with a gun (possibly wearing dark or black clothing as well) pointed at him. If they are like me, no sooner is the car turned on is the stereo up and loud enough to drown out most outside sounds. Sean Bell did what he thought would best save his life and acted within' the law since he is allowed to defend himself, his property and associates from perceived mortal harm.

This scenario is bolstered by testimony by Hugh Jensen who NBC says:

On Thursday, the trial's third day, Jensen, 34, recalled noticing two men -- unaware at the time it was Isnora and another undercover -- watching intently as Bell and the SUV driver squared off. He saw the man drive off as Bell and two friends walked around the corner, then heard gunfire erupt.

Again it is not uncommon for certain people to drive or walk off only to return to shoot up a place. So thus far it is clear that the only "hot" presence here was the NYPD. The NY Post, in a Sept. 2007 story wrote:

But the motion outlines what it calls a "valid defense of justification" for the slaying of Bell, saying says Isnora was "convinced" the men were "going to do a drive-by shooting" in front of the strip club.

So if the detectives could think there might be a drive by or some form of retaliation even though witnesses claim that the black SUV with one of the supposed targets of such a drive by had already driven away, why couldn't Sean Bell be convinced that his life was in mortal danger from a drive by? In fact the circumstances facing Bell were far more real than anything the Officers had faced "observing" the initial argument.

Also the following is problematic:

the papers say Isnora "saw Guzman reach down toward his waistband" after the trio got into a Nissan Altima, and yelled, "Police! Don't move!"

The car lurched forward, hitting Isnora's leg, and stopped in front of a van driven by Detective Michael Oliver. It then backed up into a wall before accelerating forward again and hitting the van.

"Convinced that if Guzman ever got to raise that hand, Detective Isnora would see a gun in it, he yelled, 'Gun!' and, 'He's got a gun!' and began firing," the motion states.

Assuming the lights were on on the Altima as well as the Ford, I would like to know what kind of Super Man vision Isanora posseses that he can see through 100 Watts of light and see a passenger reaching into his waistband which you can't see even in broad day light unless you're right up on the vehicle. Even police who do traffic stops can't see what people are reaching for. I will lay odds that Isanora had no clue if Guzman was reaching for anything other than maybe his seat belt and had no way of even knowing whether he was in danger of being shot. We do know that since it is department policy that one cannot fire on a moving vehicle, that he had ample "police time" to come up with a story that fit departmental policy.

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Comic Relief: "Hell YEAH!!!"

I laughed myself to sleep last night after seeing the Nightline story on Kilpatrick. I mean to get up on TV and say that you've never cheated on your wife and you can't wait for the truth to be told knowing full well your dumb ass used a city owned cell phone to text message your chick on the side who also has a city owned cell phone is beyond STUPID. I mean that's up there with Semen stains on a dress. OK?

"I'm madly in love with you," Kilpatrick wrote on Oct. 3, 2002.

"I hope you feel that way for a long time," Beatty replied. "In case you haven't noticed, I am madly in love with you, too!"

On Oct. 16, 2002, Kilpatrick wrote Beatty: "I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love."

But the text messages between Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty, loaded with exclamation points and “LOL”s, allude to a romance with exchanges of banter, hotel room numbers, and worries about a security detail overhearing them. “And, did you miss me sexually?” Ms. Beatty wrote in one message, according to the Free Press. “Hell yeah!” the mayor wrote back. “You couldn’t tell. I want some more. Don’t sleep!”

Never cheated on his wife.

Dude. You are done.

On a serious note though, it is a shame that Kilpatrick has spent taxpayer money, and God knows how Detroit needs it, on defending himself when he ought to have come clean from the get go. The way it looks now, we got perjury, obstruction of justice, gross civil rights violations of fired officers.

Was it worth it?

"Hell Yeah!!"

'Don't sleep!!"

HA ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I need to use the bathroom.

Congress Goes After Baseball...

...But has nno balls to go after the executive.

The US Congress has apparently decided that the supposed lies told by Clemens is of more importance than that of the lies and criminal activities of Bush and Gonzalez.

Lying about steroids, blow jobsing: Bad.
Breaking the FISA Statutes, 4th amendment rights and political firings : Not so much.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Black Folks: America's Charlie Brown

Anyone familiar with Charles Schultz's Charlie Brown, knows that he is the good natured albeit naive character who gets punked at every turn. Despite being punked by Lucy he still determines that this time Lucy will not pull the football away and he wont fall flat on his ass. Every year He's asked to be the manager of the Christmas song and is insulted numerous times but still he persists. He doesn't have any words for his so called friends and his friends get along just fine regardless. In other words, Charlie Brown doesn't expect much from his "friends" and in return they insult and use him at will for their own ends. This is what transpired last night at the Democratic "Debate."

I knew that Obama's preacher would be an issue. I thought it would wait until the general election, but I knew it was coming. I wasn't expecting Farrakhan to be brought up though. Perhaps a blind spot on my par, but the response went exactly as expected by anyone familiar with the game. Obama was asked to denounce Farrakhan and was pushed to 'reject" him. However; before I get into his response I want to point out the sheer hypocrisy and white supremacist point being made here. Have any of the candidates, left or right been asked to denounce the Christian Right and their clear anti-non-Christianism? Or their Anti-Muslim leanings? How about the denunciation of and rejection of the 700 Club due to the rantings of it's leader? No. When White supremacists spew off at the mouth there's nothing to say. They have radio shows and the public is distracted because the preachers of modern white supremacy don't wear white sheets, shave their heads or do Hitler salutes.

Secondly why ought Obama be made to make a statement about an organization that as he pointed out, he did not solicit help or support from nor had an explicit extension of help from? but lets get to the point here.

Black folks are a known quantity to the Democrats. Black folks will vote Democratic regardless of whether they have the football pulled from in front of them or are insulted. Politically they have shown themselves to really have nowhere else to turn to. Therefore the black population is ignored by one half the ruling party and used by the other half.

Secondly, Among the black population in the US, a small fraction of them are actually politically and historically aware, which is also reflective of the greater population. Of this small fraction of the black population that has any real political clue, an even smaller portion of that population are members of the NOI or even support that organization. Therefore relative to the greater white population and the strength of the Jewish Lobby, the political strength of Black America is about as heavy as ash after a fire. Last night it showed.

Had black folks and in particular the activist wing of black folk had any real clout then Obama would have been able to respond thusly:

"Before I answer this question let me ask: What has Farrakhan done to anyone? Has Farrakhan set up discriminatory laws against Jews or anyone else for that matter? Has the NOI racially profiled white people or any other people for that matter? Has the NOI been responsible for the sub-prime mortgage mess? Has the NOI been responsible for any racially motivated murders against non-black people? Lynchings, beatings or shootings? Has the NOI set up or proposed the set up of internment camps?

So exactly what is the reason for this fixation on Farrakhan who poses absolutely no threat to anyone in the US?"

Instead though, rather than doing something, you know, different as the supposed candidate of "change" We got a speech on how much he supports Jewish people, Israel and his undying devotion to the security of a group of people who are not even US citizens. Think on that for a minute. The welfare of people who can't vote and don't pay taxes have more representation and more respect than that of tax paying citizens of the US.

Obama also pointed out his "Sista Soulja" moment, which we commented on, at Ebenezer Baptist Church on King's birthday where he insulted black folks in one of their houses and received loud applause for it.

So last night was a clear as day demonstration of the Charlie Brownification of the Black electorate. The black electorate, so moved by the slave shack to White House narrative, so used to being ignored and taken for granted that they will allow themselves to be insulted (if they even know they are being insulted) and back of the bussed to other constituents and even non-constituents over seas.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Sean Bell Watch

"Negro with a gun"

-Anthony L. Ricco, Defense attorney for Gescard F. Isnora

The NY Times reports that:

One lawyer went a step further, implying that Mr. Bell’s actions were motivated by racial stereotype, and he described his client, Detective Gescard F. Isnora, as a hard-working black man whose actions were misread that morning because of assumptions.

“They see a Negro with a gun,” said the lawyer, Anthony L. Ricco, describing the reactions of Mr. Bell, who was black, and his friends to Detective Isnora. “Just another Negro on the street with a gun.”

Anthony Ricco has handed the prosecution a gift in the above statement. Better Mr. Ricco had said what he wanted to; "Just another Nigga on the street with a gun." As far as we know thus far, it was the officers involved who saw Sean Bell and Co., as just another set of niggas in the club with guns. The facts as we know them thus far show that the only Negroes with guns were Isanora and Cooper.

Let's take this line of thought through though. Say that Sean Bell had thought that Isanora was in fact "another Negro with a gun." would then Sean Bell have the right to defend himself, his property and his friends, from said "Negro with a gun?" The NYPD has gotten the approval from an Albany jury to shoot at "Negroes presumed to have guns" (Diallo). If the NYPD is not above the law but instead are bound by the same laws that every citizen is bound to, then Isanora, the gun wielding Negro, was a threat to Sean Bell, who acted in what he thought was his best defense as an unarmed citizen who had done nothing criminal. Let's look at the details as reported by the NY Times again:

The two groups may never have noticed each other if not for a testy exchange between Mr. Bell and another man outside the front door.

Prosecutors said Mr. Bell exchanged words with a man standing near a black sport utility vehicle who had “muttered his unhappiness” that Mr. Bell was drunk “and was overheard,” Mr. Testagrossa said. But he said the conversation never escalated and ended without incident. “Not a single blow was thrown, and no gun was displayed.”

So we have a supposed argument outside the club. Not illegal. Not criminal. No physical altercation nor any signs of any weapons. The Defense claims:

The lawyer said there was talk of guns between the men, and that Mr. Coicou heard one of Mr. Bell’s friends say he had a “gat,” slang for a gun. Such testimony would seem to bolster the detectives’ claims that they heard mention of a gun.

So we should expect Mr. Coicou to testify under oath on that point. it will be instructive to find out exactly what the conversation consisted of since it apparently the lynch pin in the "justification" argument from the defense.

The detectives saw the confrontation and decided to follow Mr. Bell. They have said that they believed some of the men with Mr. Bell were armed.

Stop right here. The "Negro with a gun" followed the "Negroes without guns" because he assumed that the "Negroes had guns" and his defense attorney wants to argue that Sean Bell is the one who made assumptions? Now lets assume that officer Isanora had overheard talk of a "gat." Fine then. The entire point of the stakeout of this particular place was weapons and/or drugs so why not break cover then and there and search Coicou, Bell et al?

Detective Isnora has said that he pinned his police shield to his collar, but Mr. Testagrossa said it may not have been visible to Mr. Bell and his friends, and that rather than shouts of “Police!” witnesses said they heard the detective say, “Yo, let me holler at you.”

So assuming the witnesses accounts to be correct, officer Isanora did not ID himself as an officer but rather said "Yo. let me holler at you."

Let's understand something here. Bell had just had an "argument" with someone and then is followed back to his car by someone he doesn't know, in the wee hours of the morning and is NOT supposed to think that something is wrong? Any black person who has grown up in ANY hood, knows full well that a person who you don't know, who wants to "holler at you" on the street in the early morning, is probably not going to be offering Bible lessons.

Isanora broke protocol by not asking for backup but even worse is that it is apparent that he chose to not break cover and hence rather than ID himself as a police officer AND show his badge, he tried to be "familiar." That was poor judgment on Isanora's part and a breech of protocol with deadly consequences.

By that time, the three men were in the car. Mr. Bell drove forward, striking the detective’s leg before hitting an unmarked van carrying Detective Oliver and another detective, who was not charged in the case. Mr. Bell then reversed, hitting a wall before speeding forward and hitting the van again.

So here we have someone coming up to a car probably yelling "let me holler at you" who may have had his gun drawn or was in the process of drawing his gun. Let me ask you dear citizen: do you sit in your car and let someone with a gun get close or do you take the chance and run his ass down knowing full well you have a legal right to do so since you are in immediate mortal danger?

The fact is, as far as we know, that the only "Negroes with guns" on that night were Isanora and Cooper, who, as far as we know, were not identifiable as police officers.

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Manny Vega

A discussion of Manny Vega's work


NY Times

n other circles, he is admired for exquisitely intricate beaded banners festooned with coins, feathers and photos, attesting to various rites of passage in his religion, which he adopted in 1985 during a trip to Brazil.

His love for Brazil — triggered, he said, by watching “Black Orpheus” on Channel 13 in the early ’80s — drew him to a Brazilian dance class in New York, where he met Ana Araiz, whom he later married. She was a teacher who eventually became a noted promoter of tropical music concerts at the club Sounds of Brazil in Manhattan. She, too, would come to be initiated into Candombl√©.

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Nader Enters Race. Democrats go Buck Wil'

The Daily Kos, which ought to be called the blog of the DNC, threw a hissy fit at the entrance of Nader into the 2008 presidential race accusing him of among other things of entering a race he couldn't win (as if that is a constitutional requirement) and being unethical because they perceive him as a threat to Democrats because he siphons votes away from the Democratic candidate. It's pretty obvious to me that if the Democratic candidate can lose votes to Nader or anyone else for that matter on the issues, then there is a problem with the Democratic candidate, Democratic party or both. If you really want a scary scenario for Democrats AND Republicans put a Kucinch-Paul ticket on the November Ballot and see what happens. Anyway, in response to the histerics over at KOS, we find an intelligent article over at Alternet:

What's more, as Ralph said during his appearance on Meet the Press, Democrats are perfectly capable of analyzing a story with multiple variables, but when it comes to election 2000, they focus on just one. Even if Gore hadn't won the most votes in Florida -- according to any of seven standards the courts might have used -- even if we look at just the recounted counties that gave Bush that slim 500-vote lead, there were a dozen other factors that would have tipped the scales. Katherine Harris purged 50,000 (mostly black) eligible voters. Gore decided not to have Bubba Clinton campaign on his behalf, despite Clinton's 65 percent approval rating (which was the highest for a departing president since World War II). Pat Buchanan won little old gray-haired Jewish ladies' votes thanks to the infamous "butterfly ballot." I could go on -- the point is that looking at all of those factors and then blaming a citizen for exercising his right to run for elected office is both intellectually weak and absurd in principle.

Many Democrats, in their misplaced pique, also condemn Nader and his supporters in a profoundly bone-headed way -- they suggest, or at least imply, that it was somehow the duty of progressive-minded people to vote for the Democratic ticket because of the perfidy of the alternative...

- but the idea that people "owe" their vote to a candidate, even one who fails to fully represent their interests, is not only offensive, it's also counter-productive. The reason is simple: It's anathema to liberal ideology to walk in lock-step with a party.

Now Josh may not vote for Nader, but at least he doesn't insult the process or the man in the process of disagreeing with him.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

CIA Lies? Do Tell?

From the NY Times:

LONDON — In tones freighted with frustration, Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, on Thursday told the House of Commons that “contrary to earlier explicit assurances” the Central Intelligence Agency had confirmed using an American-operated airfield on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean for refuelling two American “rendition” flights carrying terrorism suspects in 2002.

So someone told a lie.

“That information, supplied in good faith, turned out to be wrong,” General Hayden said, adding, “This time, the examination revealed the two stops in Diego Garcia. The refueling, conducted more than five years ago, lasted just a short time. But it happened. That we found this mistake ourselves, and that we brought it to the attention of the British government, in no way changes or excuses the reality that we were in the wrong. An important part of intelligence work, inherently urgent, complex and uncertain, is to take responsibility for errors and to learn from them. In this case, the result of a flawed records search, we have done so.”

Good faith. From a government that is headed by a un-convicted felon. Sure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama on Castro

“Today should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history. Fidel Castro's stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba.

So Mr. Big Negro, While your friend Reagan was supporting the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Castro was sending freedom fighters to help the ANC and PAC free the land. A "dark" era indeed. But since your black electorate is so dumb and uninformed on the subject of Cuba, they won't be mad at you over this. Then again, you may know about as much as they do on the subject.

“Cuba's future should be determined by the Cuban people and not by an anti-democratic successor regime. The prompt release of all prisoners of conscience wrongly jailed for standing up for the basic freedoms too long denied to the Cuban people would mark an important break with the past. It's time for these heroes to be released.

Oddly, Mr. Big Negro, The Cuban people chose to support a revolution That is, by definition a democratic choice, The US, that beacon of respecting the "choice of the people" decided to attempt to assassinate President Castro. Isn't that democratic. Oh and then there are all those blockades. I know, it pisses you off that Cuba has, you know, universal health care and can actually protect it's citizens from hurricanes and, oh, yes, exports doctors to other countries to help them take care of their poor. Does Cuba have issues? Of course. Does the US have issues? Of Course. Then again Mr. Big Negro, since you're so much for releasing of prisoners where is your appeal for the release of Mumia Abu Jamaal? Oh that's right, he's one of those invisible black folk whom you can't see like the invisible black folk in South Carolina who handed you the primary there. Ok. How about Jose Padilla? You know that US citizen grabbed up and locked away for years without charges or due process. Haven't heard you say squat about that basic freedom denied the US citizen. And, hmmmm since you're so concerned about the rights of the Cuban people, what have you done to get that CIA backed plane bomber to justice? Right. Thought as much.

“If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades. The freedom of the Cuban people is a cause that should bring the Americans together.”

Or how about this: When Americans stop trying to dictate how other people should run their countries and who they ought to elect or not elect to office and end embargoes then the economic conditions of Cubans will instantly improve. Wow that was easy.

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In Defense of Michelle

So in a moment of honesty like when she stated that her husband, as a black man could be shot going to the store, Michelle Obama said that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of her country. Given that she's 44, not much older than I am I completely understand what she meant. She's been an adult since the early 1980's and any black person in the US knows what black folk have been through since then. So I know and understand what Michelle is talking about.

Mind you Michelle has "cleaned up" her statement because to not do so in the manner that she did would cost her husband the massive amount of white supporters that he has gotten by acting as if black folk barely exist and have come "90% of the way" to "freedom." Michelle's statement runs counter to the "no race" and "end of racism" rhetoric of the Obama campaign and of many of it's supporters. Indeed if you were of political age in the 80's you saw Howard Beach, Elenor Bumpers You saw Reaganomics, you saw the US support Apartheid South Africa. You saw the Crack Epidemic and it's revealed origins in the CIA. You saw a huge rise in blacks in prison on an unprecedented scale. Politically you saw Jesse Jackson robbed of his Vice-presidential candidacy in 1988 through the DNC. No the 80's was not a particularly good decade. So while many white folk will be beside themselves over Michelle's comments, many black people will understand completely.

This underscores the article that Glen Ford has written over at the Black Agenda Report where he discusses why Obama is "that type of black man." to white men who are increasingly voting for him (though I think something else is afoot). Michelle's comments and the reaction to them makes it clear that this election is about race, just not in the way that people think it to be. To be sure Michelle's comments will solidify her already strong support among black voters.

Now I'm not entirely sure how this will play out to the wider electorate, but I do know that should Obama be the nominee, expect advertisements to run with Michelle making her statement. I also expect the "si se puede" ad to be run too, though it depends on how immigration polls.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Republicans and Independents Give Obama Victory

Looking at the exit polls. Independent voters made up 28% of those recorded at the exit polls. Republicans made up another 9% of those polled, which means that 40% of those voting in the Democratic primaries were not Democrats. This is good for Obama, but I'm pretty concerned about this. I'm not sure if I would be happy with a group of outsiders represented such a large group of voters non-affiliated with the party. The other thing that I think this shows is that there are a LOT of people determined to kill off Hillary Clinton for no other reason than she is Hillary Clinton. I say this because there is little difference between the two candidates be it position or be it corporate support.

The other item of interest is the male vote. I asked after the SC primary whether the voters who went for John Edwards, who were mostly Men, would either vote their race or their gender. In WI it is clear that the majority of them went gender. I say this because while the female vote was generally evenly split but favoring Obama, the men's vote heavily lopsided towards Obama. Even when split by marital status, Men fall heavily on the man side while women are evenly split. I think it is clear that men on both sides of the supposedly party lines prefer to see a man in power.

The Union vote is interesting. Obama went to cite President Clinton's NAFTA as a source of loss of jobs among Americans. Of course Hillary Clinton, being a Clinton would be negatively affected by this especially since she has attempted to latch onto her husband's presidency as a source of part of her experience. However; Obama is on record as voting for the PAFTA which in essence is the same thing as NAFTA. So Union voters believed the hype rather than the record. Obama wasn't around to vote on NAFTA. If his vote on PAFTA is any indication of his economic leanings, then he would have voted for NAFTA as well (or simply not voted since he has a predisposition of doing that too). So the Union members that voted Obama based on his apparent tough talk on free trade, may find that they will be in no better position vis-a-vis a Clinton vote. However; that is their own fault, since more progressive candidates on the subject have been forced out of the running.

Pakistan Elections an Example for Kenya

Musharaff and his party have decided to accept the election results and have avoided the sure bloodletting that would have occurred had they decided to challenge the election results.

The leader of the pro-Musharraf party, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a usually uncompromising politician, also said his party would be in the opposition. The spokesman for the party, Tarik Azeem Khan, said: “We readily accept our defeat unlike in the past when losing parties alleged rigging. We accept that we were beaten fair and square."


In a sign of how alike the Democratic candidates are in this election as well as a sign of either the desperation of, or the cluelessness of the Clinton campaign, Clinton calls Obama a plagarist for using the same language as other politicians. As if she hadn't done so herself. Did anyone in camp Clinton even think about this?

Of course the voters are getting exactly what they deserve for allowing two corporatist Democrats to be the choices.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Clinton and Obama missing in Action

Both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama decided to "not vote" on the recent travesty of justice called Bill S.2248. Not that such a thing is even important to either one of the candidates supporters. This bill which amends the FISA act of 1978, which President George Bush admitted to bypassing, contains section 202 entitled: SEC. 202. LIMITATIONS ON CIVIL ACTIONS FOR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDERS.

(a) Limitations-

(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a covered civil action shall not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court, and shall be promptly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the court that--

(A) the assistance alleged to have been provided by the electronic communication service provider was--

(i) in connection with an intelligence activity involving communications that was--

That is, if a phone company allowed the government to tap your line without a warrant as required by the FISA statute and by extension the 4th amendment, which is by definition a well a civil offense, possibly a felony, this statute will absolve that party of responsibility because....

(I) authorized by the President during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 17, 2007; and

(II) designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack, or activities in preparation for a terrorist attack, against the United States; and

That is, the phone company is in the clear of it's legal obligations because the president said so. Never mind the fact that the president's say so was in violation of the law. After all if El Presidente can break the law and get away with it, we might as well pass the dutchie to our fine donors. Puff puff pass n****az!

(ii) described in a written request or directive from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community (or the deputy of such person) to the electronic communication service provider indicating that the activity was--

(I) authorized by the President; and

(II) determined to be lawful; or

(B) the electronic communication service provider did not provide the alleged assistance.

What we said before.

(2) REVIEW- A certification made pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be subject to review by a court for abuse of discretion.

This is what we call the "non-disclosure claus." AKA: "We don't care if this is supposed to be a transparent democracy. We ain't tellin' shit."

(b) Review of Certifications- If the Attorney General files a declaration under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, that disclosure of a certification made pursuant to subsection (a) would harm the national security of the United States, the court shall--

(1) review such certification in camera and ex parte; and

(2) limit any public disclosure concerning such certification, including any public order following such an ex parte review, to a statement that the conditions of subsection (a) have been met, without disclosing the subparagraph of subsection (a)(1) that is the basis for the certification.

(c) Nondelegation- The authority and duties of the Attorney General under this section shall be performed by the Attorney General (or Acting Attorney General) or a designee in a position not lower than the Deputy Attorney General.

(d) Civil Actions in State Court- A covered civil action that is brought in a State court shall be deemed to arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States and shall be removable under section 1441 of title 28, United States Code.

This would be the fine print. Translation: So long as me an any of my non-elected boyz and girlz decide that we don't want to tell you squat, we sign a piece o' paper that says so and you can't do squat about it.

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RE:Lessons for Barack Obama

Counterpunch has an interesting article in regards to the delegates and super-delegates that are now haunting the Democratic Party. The general consensus is that Obama may get "Jacksoned" when the count is done. I think there is a real problem with this analysis. There are some big changes in the electorate now as compared to when Jackson was running. Firstly you have a large TV/Internet generation that is all but clueless. I know I work with them daily. They, unlike their parents regularly see black celebrities on TV including a popular "24" which had a black president. They. the white ones, believe that racism is ended by ignoring race or as recently done by Diversity Inc, attempt to make it disappear through pseudo-science. In this pop culture in which young and old voters alike are drawn to reality TV re-enforce in which they "reality" in question are auditions, dances, and film crews following erstwhile "stranded survivors," being cool is the way to victory and Obama is cool. This is not about policy. Policy bores people. It's not sexy or easy to grasp. Nor does policy lend itself to slogans like "Yes we can." In fact often policy requires "No we can't." This isn't anything new. T.A. Frank of the Washington Monthly wrote about Bob Herbert

This bothers me. Bob Herbert is the only national columnist at a major newspaper who consistently writes about the issues in our country that matter most yet seem to be covered least.

...But anyone who wants to advance these crucial issues must figure out the answer to this question: Why is Bob Herbert boring?

Boring? See my point? Let me re-enforce this point. I spoke with a professor about education. She said that students need to have technology and stuff in order to hold their attention. In other words they needed to be entertaining. I'm old school, so forgive me for not agreeing with this at all. Learning my times tables, something I never really did quite down, was not fun but it was necessary. homework was not "fun" per-se but it was expected to be done. You want to learn how to play the piano? Drills and practice. Boring. Necessary but boring. In other words, I expect that when it comes to mastering certain things there is going to be an element of "boring" to it. It's the price you pay to be successful at what you are doing. It's a right of passage if you will. It's the difference between bloggers who write a single paragraph that is mostly a link and linked text, and a blogger who writes the equivalent of a term paper for a post. The former is easy to do and doesn't require much thought. The latter requires sacrifice, research and extensive use of a spell checker. You'll also find the former to be more popular than the latter. But the point is, unlike 1984 and 1988, we have a society with a shorter attention span and despite the availability of near instantaneous access to nearly any piece of information known to humanity, this is perhaps the least informed electorate in history.

Those supporting Obama have a penchant to not even consider policy, outside of the fact that Obama got the Iraq war vote right. But then again, so did Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. It is also not helping much that many of the so-called "progressive" organizations have not been vocal in regards to Kucinich which, in my opinion has exposed them as mere appendages of the Democratic Party rather than organizations with actual independent principles. This lack of policy consideration was partially on display in South Carolina. Black voters, previously lukewarm for Obama went for him in large numbers because they were pissed off at Bill and Hillary Clinton for having the gall to discuss King Jr. in policy terms. You'll note that regardless of how anyone actually felt about the commentary, no one could say that the comment was actually incorrect. It did in fact take a president and a twisted arm congress to pass Civil Rights legislation. King could not have done that at all as a political outsider and non-elected individual. The mistake the Clinton's made was to forget how black folk in general and especially in the south treat their preachers. But that is one example. Another, on the white side of town was discussed in another counterpunch article by Heather Gray entitled "Candidates Issues Don't Resonate":

A retired white psychologist I met the other day while drinking coffee at Starbucks close to Emory University shared her thoughts about the candidates. She and her husband, a retired scientist from the Center for Disease Control, were reading the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. "I am thrilled about Barack Obama," she said. "I like his presence, the way he hugs his wife, the way he talks using 'we' instead of 'I'. He's inclusive. On the other hand I don't see Hillary hugging Bill or touching people enough and she says 'I' too much. I don't think she's sexy enough."

Now one would think that the age of the quoted individual is damaging to my analysis. I do not believe so. If you talk to most younger people they will tell you that they cannot imagine their parents or even grandparents scouring the web for information. Even my mother who I consider moderately computer literate, does not do the scouring I do. She gets most of her information they way most Americans get their information, from TV and Cable entities that are either owned by corporations with Defense contracts with the government, owned by persons with links to one or both political parties or are Mickey Mouse outfits. And I mean that literally. In other words the same media juggernaughts who have dumbed down the processing power of the up and coming generation, also constrict the available news to that which suites these entities. Those who are determined to be fully informed vote very different than those who are not. They are voting Ron Paul on the right, and Kucinich on the left. What is perhaps most puzzling is the complete lack of turnout for Kucinich on the left. I haven't yet wrapped my head around that one yet except to think that those people may have gone either Obama or Paul. Obama if they are wedded to the Democratic Party and Paul if they are not.

So this gets us back to the Delegate lesson for Obama. After last weekends streak Obama has the momentum to get the nomination. I have said before that if it came up to the convention and Obama has enough votes and he does not get at least the VP position, the Democratic Party will have serious problems retaining the black vote in the future. Correction, retaining the same level of black support in the future. Also they will have crushed a new generation of voters who are riding the Obama wagon and they too may fall off to the Republicans or at least not be consistent Democratic voters. Now is there a possibility that the delegates could Jackson Obama? Yes, but I think that the national mood among Democrats will make that very hard to do.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Real Deal Change Candidate Under Attack

[Update] The Kucinich Team has denied that the below event occured. Read more here: [/Update]

While other candidates pontificate about change, Dennis Kucinich has actually been about change and accountability. On a side note it is a sad state of affairs when the black candidate is not the candidate of accountability but that's another issue. Kucinich has been threatened by the Democratic "leadership" due to his position in regards to impeachment.

There is a report circulating the web that before the Nevada primary Kucinich was visited by representatives of Nancy Pelosi and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the right wing Israeli lobby. They told him that if he would drop his campaigns to impeach Cheney and Bush, they would guarantee his re-election to the House of Representatives. Kucinich threw them out of his office.



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Friday, February 08, 2008

Religion and Romney

I thought this op-ed piece in the NY Times was good food for thought.

It showed again Tuesday, in exit polls in the bellwether state of Missouri. Among the small group of Republican voters who say they never go to church, Romney got his highest vote total – 39 percent. Among people who attend services more than once a week, he received his lowest, 21 percent.

Put another way, those dreaded secularists – whom Romney himself criticized in his off-tune and hugely miscalculated speech on religion in December – were far more likely to vote for him than were the most devout Christians.

...In his speech on Mormonism in December, he took a swipe at secular Americans, missing his chance to dislodge the real base of anti-Mormon prejudice. And in his remarks Thursday in which he announced the suspension of his campaign, he mentioned the Democrats and “opponents of American culture” in the same sentence.

He would have been better off had he begged for tolerance from an audience full of the people who did him in.

Not that I support Mitt Romney or even think he'd make a good president but I think it's wrong to not vote for someone simply because of their religion. But given his penchant for dumping on so called "secularists" he simply got what he deserved

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday Fallout

Other than Ron Paul doing double digits in certain states, the biggest thing to come out of Super Tuesday was that Obama has proven himself more electable than Hilary Clinton who ought not to have lost CT. It is clear that a large percentage of Democratic voters do not like Hilary (a subject we discussed in a previous posting). It is also clear that Obama is pulling voters in red states and beats Hillary by larger margins there than Hillary beats Obama in the places she won. In other words, should Hillary get the nomination I think she would need Obama on her ticket in order to win. However; I believe it is possible for Obama to win in Nov. without Hillary. This is because I think, and I'm open to being wrong here that Hillary supporters will support any Democrat including Obama in the Nov election, barring some huge skeleton coming out of Obama's closet. However; it is pretty clear that the reverse is not true with many Obama supporters threatening to either not vote or actually vote Republican (which then makes me ask what kind of Democrats are they but that's another issue.)

While I may not support either Obama or Clinton based on policy issues, I can still read the writing on the wall. This election is basically a political American Idol. It is show and flash with trendy young adults deciding who's in. Right now Hillary is "old school" and old school is not cool. This should have the Clinton camp very, very worried. I dare say that they might want to get Chelsea front and center in some ads.

She may have more delegates now, but unless something changes soon, she'll be looking at a return to the senate come November. Yes I'm calling it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"He's of a mixed race. This is important and changes the landscape."

So said the white woman in Georgia, who will be voting for Obama.

Then I met with a white friend who's a Ph.D. and teaches at one of the local Universities. She was so excited about Obama and has given him financial support. "I am tired of the black/white scenario in America. I'm pleased that Barrack has a white mother and a black father. He's of a mixed race. This is important and changes the landscape."

You hear that black folk? White folk are tired of your two black parent having, too black asses.

White Supremacy and Economics

Ahead of our post on the White Supremacy System we would urge the readership to read this article at Alternet

The Third World was not always poor and economically stagnant. Throughout the golden age of capitalism, from the Marshall Plan (1947) to the first oil shock (1973), the United States was a Good Samaritan and helped developing countries by allowing them to protect and subsidize their nascent industries. The developing world has never done better, before or since. But then, in the 1970s, scared that its position as global hegemon was being undermined, the United States turned decisively toward neoliberalism. It ordered the unholy trinity to bring the developing countries to heel. Through draconian interventions into the most intimate details of the lives of their clients, including birth control, ethnic integration, and gender equality as well as tariffs, foreign investment, privatization decisions, national budgets, and intellectual property protection, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO managed drastically to slow down economic growth in the Third World. Forced to adopt neoliberal policies and to open their economies to much more powerful foreign competitors on unequal terms, their growth rate fell to less than half of that recorded in the 1960s (1.7 percent instead of 4.5 percent).

Since the 1980s, Africa has actually experienced a fall in living standards -- which should be a damning indictment of neoliberal orthodoxy because most African economies have been virtually run by the IMF and the World Bank over the past quarter-century. The disaster has been so complete that it has helped expose the hidden governance structures that allow the IMF and the World Bank to foist Bad Samaritan policies on helpless nations. The United States has a de facto veto in both organizations, where rich countries control 60 percent of the voting shares. The WTO has a democratic structure (it had to accept one in order to enact its founding treaty) but is actually run by an oligarchy. Votes are never taken...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Clinton Hateraide. Been There and Seen That.

So I was reading Fish's op-ed in the NY Times this morning on the hating of Hillary Clinton, Which I have witnessed myself. He makes a decent argument which I won't copy here (shocker). What was of interest was one of the comments in which we find:

2) Persons who have a mild dislike or ambivalence about her will be moved by the momentum of “Hillary hatred” to say the kinds of things I just heard at a dinner with my cousins last week: “Oh, God, anything but HILLARY” and “I can’t stand that woman,” and “the problem with Hillary is that she’s exactly the kind of person who thinks she’s smarter than you.”

This is the problem. It's odd that when considering the president of a country one wouldn't WANT someone who is smarter than you are. Nothing makes me feel better than a leader that is dumber than I am or at least makes me feel that they are dumber than I am.

That is called sarcasm.

Fish notes:

You may dislike her policies (which she has not been reluctant to explain in great detail).

This of course is part of the problem. She can explain policy in detail (whether you agree with it or not). I've been saying for ages that people need to be focused on policy rather than amorphous "change." Which means whatever the listener wants it to mean. It's been one of my issues with the Obama campaign: It's like listening to a sermon. long on abstractions and short on study and detail. In fact if you listen to the Obama commercial currently running in NYC it is very sermon like. It's also very effective in an emotional sense, and I give mad props to the media person who thought that ad up, but it doesn't do details.

The problem here is how can people hate Clinton for being smart? I mean c'mon is this high school? I want the smartest MF in charge (and no, I'm not saying Clinton is the smartest MF in the pack). That's like hating your math teacher because they knew math. Sheeeeeet, I would hope the people running for office are smart, have some serious ideas on policy and can discuss them at length. I'm going to lay it out that this is a part of the "racism" and sexism that is in this society. Women can't be too smart or they are, well, BITCHES. Yeah lets be honest about it, the person quoted by the commentator really wanted to call Hillary a bitch, but probably felt they couldn't say so in "polite company." Yet we know full well that this is what its about. Hillary is a bitch because she's smart, wont act dumb, and will play the same rough game as the boys and some people can't stand it. It is the same issue with blacks. People hate on Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, because they don't like the fact that neither will bend over and kiss white folks asses in order to be liked. They won't go away when asked. They won't act like racism doesn't exist. AND they are articulate men who can hold their own, whether you agree with them or not, in a debate on the issues they are knowledgeable about. While it isn't exactly the same, the anger at Al and Jesse are because they have the gaul to actually make a living while advocating for that which they believe in. This defies the common convention that "loud mouthed" black folk ought to be broke, near broke, or destitute in order to prove just how "real" They are. You see, white society likes their negroes, affable, quiet on racism and working for them. That is why they like Obama. This isn't a knock on Obama per se. As I've written before, I think he knows the game and has decided to play it. Just wait 'till the general election should Obama be the candidate when Republicans go after that church he's been attending. All that "I don't see black people" commentary will be put to the test.

So Clinton in many ways has much in common with Jesse and Al. She like they are defying certain expectations of "her people." There are great deal of men and women out there who think she ought to be in a kitchen somewhere or following behind some man or in some other way re-enforcing their ideas of what proper women ought to be like. So yeah, I've been there and seen all that before.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Exxon Reports Record Profits

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) said on Friday record oil prices boosted its fourth-quarter earnings to $11.66 billion, the highest ever operating profit by a U.S. company.

Shares of the world's largest non-government-controlled oil company rose 1.7 percent in before-the-bell trading as the results beat Wall Street forecasts.

Net income rose nearly 14 percent from the year-earlier of $10.25 billion.

NY Times

As I wrote back in May of this year. Gas prices are high on purpose:

Refineries are a choke point in the nation’s supply of fuel. Because they have not invested enough in refineries to increase gasoline supplies, oil companies have been unable to meet the country’s growing demand in recent years. That has forced them to rely on imports, which are more expensive than fuel refined domestically.

More expensive why? Well if we've been paying attention to the news coming out of say Venezuela, then we know that not only do the oil companies own the domestic refineries they are usually the majority stakeholders in the drilling and refineries abroad. In other words, these oil execs are complaining about purchasing import oil that they already own! This is some real racket we have going on here.


Until the mid-1990s, the United States had significant spare refining capacity. But because of consolidation in the industry, the number of refineries declined while unprofitable operations were shut. As demand grew, however, and capacity remained flat, the picture changed. In recent years, refineries in the United States have been running at or close to full capacity.

Get it. back in the mid 90's you could purchase a gallon of regular unleaded for 99c. I remember 5 bucks giving 5 gallons. But most important to this post is the admitting that the oil industry is "consolidated" which is another word for "monopoly" or "cartel". They admit that refineries were shut down for not being profitable.

Well thanks to Google we can find out just how "unprofitable" $1 gas was:

Gas prices boost Exxon, Shell profits

IRVING (AP) - Higher natural gas and crude prices helped Exxon Corp. and Shell Oil Co. increase profits by about 50 percent in the final three months of the year.

Exxon, the nation's largest oil company, reported Tuesday that net income was $2.49 billion, or $2 a share, on revenue of $37.62 billion in the fourth quarter. That's an increase of 49 percent over the $1.68 billion, or $1.35 per share, on revenue of $31.5 billion in the same quarter in 1995.

For the full year, Exxon reported net income of $7.51 billion, or $6.02 per share, on revenues of $134.36 billion. In 1995, the company earned $6.5 billion, or $5.18 per share, on revenues of $124 billion.

Exxon stock rose 87.5 cents to $103.37« per share on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning.

Unprofitable? Really? Not good enough for you? Check this out:

For Shell and for the industry, analysts said they expected profits to rise on increasing demand for petroleum products now that all major industrialized regions are in a recovery. Many analysts predicted crude oil prices would average around $18 a barrel this year, up from just under $17 last year. In the chemicals sector, the turnaround will be even more dramatic, with some analysts predicting triple-digit percentage gains in profits for 1995.