Support the troops.
Support the troops.
Support the troops.

How many times has legitimate debate about our foreign policy been obscured by calls to “support the troops?” Too many to count.

And yet, when you examine the records of those pro-war people who hide behind the troops, you find that they don’t know the first thing about what that support means. It means equipment, training, adequate troop levels, health care, safety from sexual assault, reasonable enlistment standards and financial compensation.

It also means not deploying the troops off to illegally invade and occupy a foreign land, but I’m not even gonna get into that.

John McCain is one of these people who says we should support the troops.

John McCain (as if he could ever let us forget) was a prisoner of war.

Based on his experience in Vietnam, he’s considered an expert on military matters. He thinks “honor” is the highest calling, and he thinks a lot of his own sense of that virtue.

But this honorable, troop-supporting, military expert and P.O.W. veteran has been reluctant to support a new GI Bill. And more people need to be calling him on it.

Watch this video put together by Brave New Films, WesPac (Wesley Clark) and VoteVets, then sign the petition. Also read this Op Ed in the LA Times.

My Thoughs On Powell

10 Apr 2008

Rikyrah posted yesterday about Powell’s nice-things-to-say-about-Obama moment. She confessed to having a soft spot for the General. I can understand that, but I just dug out something I wrote almost exactly two years ago, and it still stands:

From April 30, 2006 (click the link for the photo): Why Is Colin Powell Still Talking #$@!???

This is the first news I heard today:

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell advised President Bush before the Iraq war to send more troops to the country, but the administration did not follow his recommendation, Powell said in an interview broadcast today.

Monday morning quarterbacks are universally annoying. Some guy, who can barely walk up his own house stairs without losing his breathe, waddles into the office talkin smack about “If I were in charge during the game, this woulda been and coulda been, blah-de-blah-blah.

Now imagine instead you have the actual quarterback from Sunday’s game rollin by your watercooler: “Man, what a messed up game that was yesterday. If they put me in, I woulda done this and coulda done that and blah-de-blah-blah.”

That’s Colin Powell right there.

I swear, if this unprincipled, cowardly, trash-talking mo-fo doesn’t shut up, I’m gonna find a way to go Oops, upside his head. More than any of us out here in the streets, Colin Powell had the ability to at least bring attention to America’s efforts to manipulate ourselves into an unnecessary war. He went in front of the U.N. and sold a bunch of bullshit about trailers and robotic planes and whatnot, gutting his own credibility in the process.

But what did he DO about it? When things were really heating up, and generals were saying we didn’t have enough troops, and analysts came out questioning the intelligence and the post-war strategy was looking a bit non-strategic, this bastard didn’t say a god damned thing.

I will NEVER forgive him for that.

As the election of 2004 approached, he defended the president. He stood up for bullshit over national security and common sense. He deserves nothing. I don’t want to hear him utter another word, unless those words are a protracted, weeping, groveling, desperate cry for forgiveness. And even that would make me sick.

I wish this biatch would consider running for public office, just so we can remind him, that he had his chance to be a real leader and blew it.

God, I hate that man.

Now, hate is a strong word, but I agree with 99.9% of what I wrote back then. I could really give a damn about his corrupted sense of military “honor” and the chain of command. A crime is a crime, and a lie is a lie. If you are witness to one, it’s your higher duty to report it.


Powell gave an interview to Good Morning America.

Here’s the money section:

Returning to presidential politics, Powell condemned controversial remarks by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor of 20 years, as “deplorable” but complimented the Democratic candidate for his speech on race that followed in the aftermath.

“Rev. Wright is also somebody who has made enormous contributions in his community and has turned a lot of lives around,” Powell said, “And so, I have to put that in context with these very offensive comments that he made, which I reject out of hand.”

Powell added that he does not know Wright, and praised Obama’s response.

“I think that Sen. Obama handled the issue well . . . he didn’t look the other way. He didn’t wait for the, for the, you know, for the storm to go over. He went on television, and I thought, gave a very, very thoughtful, direct speech. And he didn’t abandon the minister who brought him closer to his faith,” Powell told Sawyer.

Powell, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate in almost every election since he retired from military service and public life, expressed admiration for Obama.

“It was a good (speech),” Powell said. “I admired him for giving it. And I agreed with much of what he said.”

The rest of the interview,which can be found here, talks about Iraq, Afghanistan, The Possible Olympic Boycott.

In the annals of ‘ What Ifs’, one of my consistent ‘ What Ifs’ goes like this:
WHAT IF Colin Powell had resigned, instead of gone up to the U.N. to lie for Bush? I know a lot of y’all will never forgive him for it, and I understand that, but even now….my head tells me one thing, but my heart…still has a soft spot for Powell.

That’s all for me y’all. Tell us what YOU think about the controversial Olympic Torch Relay in San Francisco today. Let’s hear the black perspective.

I’m so glad somebody wrote this.

In his post below, my fellow blogger, dnA, takes on Christopher Hitchens in

I’ve Had Quite Enough Of Christopher Hitchens

Andrew Sullivan also wrote about Hitchens’ column here.

Here’s a quote from Sullivan:

I had heard of Pfleger, asked someone who knows the Chicago archdiocese and looked him up. Here’s his Wiki profile. That he has once called Farrakhan “Minister” is not an exhaustive summary of his career. My source’s summary: “a crazy person who’s done a lot of great things.” Sounds about right. From anti-drug crusades to picketing Jerry Springer and accusing a basketball league of racism to three-hour-long jam-packed Sunday masses, Pfleger is pretty sui generis, and has indeed invited Farrakhan to his church. He has also invited Angelou, and Daley and Tutu among countless others, and has views that would endear him to Bill O’Reilly on some issues. Here’s a story from 1998 on his work in the National Catholic Reporter. Here’s a brief look at the history of the parish. Pfleger’s a white man who has built the biggest African-American Catholic parish in Chicago. In 2002, Cardinal Francis George, while praising Pfleger’s work as “wonderful”, tried to reassign him to another parish. The parishioners were having none of it.

This is the letter I wrote to Andrew Sullivan:

Mr. Sullivan,

I saw you on Tim Russert, and was ready to reach through the tv to slap Mr. Hitchens. His complete and utter disrespect for the Black Church was deeply offensive to me as a Black Christian. The condescension of him towards Obama and his commitment to Trinity is one of either deliberate ignorance or arrogance.

I’ve written to you before about Black folk and churches, and I shall do it again:

Black people do not change churches like they do purses. I am in my 30′s, and outside of school, I’ve had exactly 2 church homes in my life. It took nearly 2 years to find the second one, but I found it. Commitment to a church isn’t something that’s done fly-by-night. It’s not some fleeting commitment. It is a given that you will find something that you don’t like about any church you attend; which is why it is the general COMMUNITY that will ultimately make that decision. The Black Church is the ONLY institution, in the United States of America, which, from its conception, Validated, Supported, Incubated, and Treasured. BLACK HUMANITY.

That Hitchens would attack Rev. Meeks and Father Pfleger does not surprise me.

I am not a fan of Rev. Meeks, but depending upon the week, he either runs the #1 or #2 Largest Church in the State of Illinois. Note, I didn’t say the Largest BLACK Church, but largest Church – PERIOD. He is culturally conservative – yes, anti-Gay, no matter what his recent statements have indicated, but in that respect, he’s in the mainstream of Black clergy. FYI, if he weren’t an elected official, IMO, he wouldn’t have bothered to ‘moderate’ his anti-gay statements.

Nevertheless, NO Democrat, regardless of race, who wants to be elected in Cook County or Statewide is EVER going to ignore his church, and they’ve all been there. And yet, for all that I don’t like about Meeks, there is no ignoring his commitment to the community around him, literally taking his 20,000+ membership OUT OF THE CHURCH AND INTO THE STREETS, to minister, one on one, those that need help. As they say, Mr. Sullivan, give the devil his due.

Father Pfleger is a totally different kind of pastor. Unapologetically Christian, dedicated to the social gospel, totally pro-life, Father Pfleger doesn’t remotely back away from an issue. He’s a Chicago Religious Institution, and somehow, it all works. The community surrounding Saint Sabina was a literal hellhole before Pfleger stood up for it, and helped the community fight for itself. It might not look like a lot to the average White middle-class person driving through there, but to trained Black eyes, who have been traveling up and down 79th street and that neighborhood, you can SEE the change. His outreach ministries into the community are fabulous, and the way that the Church Community takes care of one another and looks out for each other is inspiring.

But, if all it takes for White folks to hear is a few good words from him about Farrakhan to dismiss this man’s nearly 30 year commitment to this poor, Black community, then I think that says way more about you and Mr. Hitchens than it does Father Pfleger.

Similar to dismissing Jeremiah Wright’s 36 year career because of a Youtube Clip, and some statements you deem ‘irresponsible’. (talking about HIV/AIDS). I’ll repeat again to you and anyone else about that – anyone who is surprised about that coming out of a Black person’s mouth hasn’t spent time around more than 10 Black people. And, you need to read the book MEDICAL APARTHEID – and then come back with that same arrogance and condescension about the Black Community’s hostility and suspicion of the Medical Establishment. It’s the lack of HISTORICAL CONTEXT that bothers me most about all these talking heads about Dr. Wright.

the accusing a basketball league of racism memo about Father Pfleger….

From your White eyes across the country, I can already see you rolling them..

As a Black person, born and bred in this most segregated of American cities…..

Well, I was shocked that Father Pfleger called it for what it was….most White folk would have shuffled along and pretended that it wasn’t the case.

You have to understand, Mr. Sullivan, Chicago was built on the grid system. As a child growing up (I’m in my mid 30′s), if you were Black, once you were old enough to take the CTA (Public Transportation), your parents sat you down, and told you, on what busses and trains, where you were NEVER to cross. There were dividing lines, geographically, and if you were Black, and you weren’t in a moving car crossing them, you took your own life in your hands. Couldn’t depend upon the police when called, because you never knew when called, if the police would participate in, ignore, or actually stop your beatdown. The ‘boundaries’ might have eased, but that attitude – come on.

There’s a reason why only 15% of the Chicago Public School Population is White. St. Sabina is one of a handful of thriving Black Catholic Schools. I know…the excuse that the rest of the league gave was that they were ‘ afraid’ to come over to St. Sabina for games…

BS…cause everyone and their mother knows…

Once the list of game nights was given to the local police precinct (which is only a few blocks away from St. Sabina), as with everything where White folks are concerned, police presence would be upped during those times.[For those who don't believe me, I will use a couple of examples: Cellular Field - home to the Chicago White Sox. It is located near The Projects. While in the past couple of years, they have done away with 'The Projects' because they are gentrifying the area, for the better part of the last 40 years, that neighborhood was crime-ridden, and full of poor, Black, Project folk. What do you think happened during baseball season home games EVERY YEAR? Heightened police presence at the park, and surrounding the park for a 10 block radius - EVERY SINGLE GAME. Of course, when baseball season was over, that 'heightened' police presence would go away....I wonder why (sarcasm dripping here)...but, rikyrah, that's a professional sports team....ok, then I'll use another...the Predominantly White Boys Catholic School Mount Carmel - in a total high crime area. Yet, there have never been any occurances during any of their sports events, because they get 'heightened' police attention during those times. When their events are over, so goes the additional police.]

Who do you think goes to those Catholic schools, but the sons of White Policemen and Firemen, and you don’t think they’d call their buddies at the police house just to make sure? Yeah, now who’s being naive? They didn’t want those working class (i.e. poor) Black folk in their neighborhood, and didn’t want to come to the Black neighborhood. But, I guess you don’t consider that racism. Black folks do, and Father Pfleger called them out.

I suppose I take offense at you outsiders looking at our city’s religious figures and looking your noses down at them. I think there is a fundamental lack of understanding by White people about the importance of the church in the Black community. If you write a list of the 50 most influential people from a White perspective, you wouldn’t even think about putting a religious person on the list. It would be full of businessmen, philanthropic giants and politicians. The list for the Black community SIMPLY CANNOT BE WRITTEN without including Religious Leaders, so embedded is religion to the overall community. I’m not saying that it’s right; I’m just giving you an accurate measure of the landscape.

What you fail to understand about Chicago….

I realized that maybe you and others don’t exactly understand Chicago and how it works and the historical context.

White folks and progressivism is something they could ‘dabble in’. But, they were White, and let’s be honest, they would always be plugged in, even when disappointed. A great example of this is compare where the Black political operatives are from the Washington period, to the White ones. Don’t know where the Black ones are for the most part. David Axelrod, however, is managing Barack Obama’s campaign. (Yes, I’m generalizing, but you get the gist)

Black folks and progressivism took another turn – Black Nationalism. That’s why so much of our Black Progressive Politics is mixed in with Black Nationalism. It had to, in order to SURVIVE in Chicago.



Harold Washington , 1983- 1987.


(And most of that time, Harold Washington was fighting what was called Council Wars – yes, after Star Wars. Harold was Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader was known as ‘ Fast Eddie’ Vrydolyak, head of the Vrydolyak ’29′ )

Before that, it was controlled with an iron fist by Richard Daley, The First.

We had Harold.

Then, now, Richard Daley, The Second. ( do you realize that he’s on the cusp of serving longer than his father?)

Same White Progressives controlling and prospering on the Lake Shore.
Same White Ethnics controlling the Police, Fire and Civil Service Jobs in the White Ethnic Enclaves in the city.
They’ve shoved out Blacks for Latinos, who back Richard Daley, The Second in droves.

So, those who are Black and ‘Fight the Powers That Be’, take on a more radical tone. It’s quite frankly, a matter of survival. So step back, and ,look at Chicago politics, mixed with Chicago Religious Leaders, in context.

There is a short list of Black preachers who don’t consistently ‘work with’ Richard Daley, The Second.

‘Work With’ is a kind phrase, the word on the street would be

But, if folks made up a list of Black Preachers that people believed were INDEPENDENT, guess which three would routinely show up on that list?

Jeremiah Wright
James Meeks
Michael Pfleger

Meeks is seen as a rogue agent because:
The sheer size of his church. As I said before, no Democrat who wants to be elected from Cook County or Statewide IGNORES his church. Plus, politically, Meeks belongs to the Illinois Senate, which is run by a Black man – Emil Jones.

Maybe there would be a way to ‘control’ Meeks if he had belonged to the Illinois House, which is run by man who is the posterchild for Plantation Politics – a White Ethnic, from Chicago, by the name of Michael Madigan. The way the Illinois House of Representatives is run is a throwback to a half century ago.

To say that ‘Free Negro’ Jones and ‘Plantation Boss’ Madigan don’t get along…is an understatement. The more ‘strident’, ‘ outspoken’, ‘independent’ of the state’s Black politicians are in the Illinois Senate……I wonder why?

Wright is seen as a rogue agent because:
Well, you’ve read enough about Wright to know why he’s considered rogue. Plus, because of the affluence of his congregation, it has always given him a level of independence that other Black preachers in Chicago do not enjoy.

Seen as a problem for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and in his own way, with what he does with Saint Sabina and that neighborhood, he helps ‘ keep the peace’. Keep the ‘balance’.


These are just some observations from a Sister born and bred in The Windy City from my corner on the South Side.

They Need Less Stupid

9 Apr 2008

Michael Goldfarb is shocked, shocked that a political candidate would diversify the background at a campaign appearance to portray a particular message:

The Obama campaign discriminates against people of color, and their own supporters no less, in what is presumably a misguided pander to white voters. Very strange, but perhaps Obama’s candidacy really has transcended race in America (surely this is a first). Alternatively, the campaign may just plan to stage-manage it out of public view.

Nothing quite showcases the misguided sense of victimhood some folks on the Right have than viewing this as “discrimination.” These folks view any kind of racial identification as in and of itself “racist” with no sense of proportion whatsoever. After all, what’s the difference between tailoring a background to make a candidate look good and and an eyewitness wrongly identifying a suspect because they think all black folks look alike? It’s all “discrimination” after all.

Goldfarb and others are notably uninterested in racial discrimination in any context that has the potential to affect people’s lives, unless of course they themselves feel discriminated against. Here the lack of proportion comes into play, as in: Academia’s alleged leftward tilt is the same thing as the Taliban.

Of course, Goldfarb would have defended as “inclusive” rather than pandering, the invitation of a Gospel Choir to the Republican convention in 2000. It’s positively naive to think other politicians don’t do the same thing ALL THE TIME, but it only matters here because Obama is black, and so in this context it is seen as somehow unethical. Conversely, the Bush Administration screening out dissenters at campaign rallies isn’t discrimination, it’s “freedom”.

What it is, completely and utterly, is trivial. Expect to see another 3000 articles this week on Obama “discriminating against his own supporters”. Only in America can a black man be accused of being a radical Christian and a radical Muslim and of hating white people and black people at the same time.

BONUS: McCain discriminating against his white supporters at his MLK speech:

What a racist!

Run, Condi, Run?

9 Apr 2008

Eugene Robinson writes in his latest column:

Oh, please; oh, please; oh, please. I know it’s undignified to beg, but please let John McCain pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.

I know that this campaign has already bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon those of us who are paid to watch and listen. With its vivid, compelling characters, its abrupt reversals of fortune and its ever-rising stakes, the presidential contest has been the best reality show on television. It seems almost greedy to hope for yet another infusion of star power so late in the season.

And, yes, I’m aware that it probably won’t happen. Then again, this campaign season hasn’t shown much regard for probability. A couple of years ago, what sort of odds could you have gotten from Vegas bookmakers on the scenario that Barack Obama, the first viable black presidential contender, would be leading Hillary Clinton, the first viable female candidate, for the chance to run against McCain, long considered a pariah by his party’s activist base?

Rice’s name was tossed into the mix by Dan Senor, a Republican “strategist” who is best known for his “What, me worry?” performances a few years ago as spokesman for the U.S. civilian authority in Iraq. On ABC’s “This Week,” Senor noted that Rice recently appeared at one of right-wing activist Grover Norquist’s regular meetings for the conservative “chattering class” — an unusual foray into domestic politics for a sitting secretary of state — and claimed that Rice “has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning” for a spot on the ticket with McCain.

The notion drew laughter from Sean McCormack, Rice’s spokesman, who told reporters that if Rice is indeed campaigning for the vice presidential nomination, “she’s the last one to know about it.” Then he dusted off the formulation that Rice always uses to deflect questions about her possible political ambitions, which is to ask “how many ways” she can say no.

The thing is, though, that — understandably — Rice doesn’t go all the way and make an airtight, Shermanlike statement. Why should she foreclose her options? Given the craziness of this political year, who knows what might happen? And looking down the road, the quiet groves of academe — where she vows to retire, like a latter-day Cincinnatus — may prove less than stimulating after the heady experience of running the world. I’ve always thought it more likely that she would eventually be tempted to run for the Senate from California, rather than jump right into presidential politics.

She would, however, provide three things that McCain could really use: relative youth, undeniable pizzazz and photogenic diversity. The Republican Party is in danger of presenting a ticket that looks like a tintype portrait of yesterday — while the Democratic Party shows the nation a YouTube video of tomorrow.


So I won’t hold my breath. But I can’t help but imagine having another controversial, larger-than-life character wade into the fray, one who not only raises McCain’s big wager on Iraq but also takes us further into terra incognita on issues of race and gender. Whatever you think of Condoleezza Rice, she’s a formidable woman with more qualifications than almost any other vice presidential choice I can think of. We’d get to watch another brilliant political novice try to take the country by storm. And, as a bonus, there would be the piano recitals, the early-morning workouts, the skybox appearances at football games, the impromptu lectures on Russian history (in Russian), the daily fashion show. . . . Pleeeeeease?

Dr. Rice as McCain’s running mate? I just can’t see it for many reasons. If this is a ‘change’ election, the last person you want as your running mate is someone chained to both 9/11 and The Iraq War. Plus, I can’t see the ‘bases’ going for it: not the evangelicals, not the money people, not the tough-on-defense crowd. Plus, a single woman as Vice-President? Don’t think so. But, it is interesting throwing this around with my fellow political junkies.

So, tell me JJP readers…

Thoughts on Condi Rice’s Prospects as McCain’s running mate?

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

So it’s always kind of a big deal to get on primetime TV, and thanks to the entire JJP fam for providing your suggested topics, talking points and coverage throughout the day. Yall are like a community-powered media prep team. Sadly, Governor Ventura’s segment went way over, and the blogger segment on CNN’s Election Center got cut short.

Here’s the video for those who missed it.

That’s right. I got one sentence in! Dang! I accomplished my first goal: don’t look like an idiot. If you watch my eyes in the closing minutes (after she says the segment’s over), you can see them saying “Wha’choo talkin bout Campbell??”

Such is national television, but Jack & Jill Politics is likely to return in the near future to try to represent real thought on the airwaves. Had I known I would only get one sentence, I might have kept my message to Iraq as economic failure, but I think it’s worth putting pressure on those who keep saying “No we can’t” leave Iraq to ask them just when they think it will be possible.

So that’s the on-air part, but what yall missed was the green room where I spent mad time talking with none other than Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. We arrived at about the same time, and I wasn’t sure whether to shake his hand or choke him!

The man is disturbingly personable. He’s like a genuinely nice and funny person. Here’s the killer photo I got of him reading JJP!

Ari Fleischer Reads Jack & Jill Politics

We actually didn’t talk about politics much and focused on the irony of the CNN green room TV having no sound. I pointed out to him that he was wearing one of those American flag pins. Without missing a beat, he said Barack Obama gave it to him. I said, “yeah, he didn’t need to wear his patriotism on his sleeve.” Ah, laughing with the enemy.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your contributions, not just today but in general. It’s good to be home.

The ultimate irony of Christopher Hitchens is that a man who endlessly presents his own atheism as moral superiority comes to the same conclusions about war, colonialism and race that the most fundamentalist Christian warmonger does, so what’s the point?

Aside from devoting his life to the world’s stupidest argument, whether or not God exists, something that cannot be conclusively proven or disproven, Hitchens spends most of his time alternating between furiously beating straw men to pieces and explaining that killing people is a great way solve problems.

Today’s straw man from Slate is titled “Obama is no King”. No shit? Well I guess we oughta just bomb Iran then.

In any case, Hitchens, uniquely immune to self-parody, lists Obama associates that he describes as having extreme views (I have to take his word for it, since I don’t know these people):

The thing that this gaggle of cranks and parasites has in common is the extreme deference with which it is treated by the junior senator from Illinois. In April 2004, Barack Obama told a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pfleger—for a change of pace, a white Catholic preacher who has a close personal feeling for the man he calls (as does Obama) Minister Farrakhan. If Obama were to be read a list of the positions that his clerical supporters take on everything from Judaism to sodomy, he would be in the smooth and silky business of “distancing” from now until November. And that is why he hopes that his Philadelphia speech, which dissociated him from everything and nothing, will be enough. He seems, indeed, to have a real gift for remaining adequately uninformed about the real beliefs of his “mentors.” This crossover stuff is not as “inclusive” as it might be made to seem: Meeks‘ main political connections in the white community are with the hysterically anti-homosexual wing of the Christian right.

Referring to Minister Farrkhan as a Minister, is apparently the height of racial extremism.

Keep in mind that Hitchens hasn’t made the argument that Obama holds these beliefs, or that they are somehow represented in Obama’s policy ideas, merely that his association with these people means something, despite the fact that even a quick glance at some of these folks reveals that some of their more extreme views contradict each other (if Meeks is a homophobe, Wright was famously not).

After declaring that Obama should be held accountable for the views of his supporters, Hitchens laments that Martin Luther King was targeted for having communist sympathies because of his associates.

This is a lot sadder, and a lot more serious, than has been admitted. Four decades after the murder in Memphis of a friend of the working man—a hero who was always being denounced by the FBI for his choice of secular and socialist friends and colleagues—the national civil rights pulpit is largely occupied by second-rate shakedown artists who hope to franchise “race talk” into a fat living for themselves.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson really should find new jobs. “Race Talk” after all isn’t nearly as profitable as “War Talk,” which has the added perk of making you a Very Serious Person in foreign policy circles.

There is not a hint of self-awareness in Hitchens smearing Obama with the views of his supporters and his frustration that the same thing was a pretext for government abuse of power against Dr. King.

Moreover, while Hitchens claims to have read Taylor Branch’s retrospective of King, he seems to have missed the point:

Dr. King showed most profoundly that in an interdependent world, lasting power grows against the grain of violence, not with it. Both the cold war and South African apartheid ended to the strains of “We Shall Overcome,” defying all preparations for Armageddon. The civil rights movement remains a model for new democracy, sadly neglected in its own birthplace. In Iraq today, we are stuck on the Vietnam model instead. There is no more salient or neglected field of study than the relationship between power and violence.

It’s a field I suggest Hitchens study before he begins to align himself with Dr. King, for whom non-violence was more than a concept.

So amnesiac have we become, indeed, that we fall into paroxysms of adulation for a ward-heeling Chicago politician who does not complete, let alone “transcend,” the work of Dr. King; who hasn’t even caught up to where we were four decades ago; and who, by his chosen associations, negates and profanes the legacy that was left to all of us.

Again: I don’t see anyone comparing King to Obama other than people who want to explain how much better King was than Obama. They’re not in the same fucking league: Obama is an elected official, and the very nature of his position means that he will have to compromise his ideals. And I have yet to see a white politician held to such an absurd standard: It’s as thought because Obama might be president, he has to be implicitly compared to the only other black guy who was a national figure that all Americans can agree on liking (even if they have to make him up to do so).

As for “negating and profaning” the legacy that was left to “all of us,” I would suggest that description probably better fits the warmongering Hitchens, who can find no worth, value, or meaning in the faith of a man he claims to admire so much. Hitchens‘ admiration of King is so much racial posturing, a flimsy pretext for the staggering entitlement he takes in presuming to define the legacy of King for the rest of us, despite having failed to learn its most basic lessons.

The segment should start around 8:30pm ET. Not sure what the topic is or who the other bloggers are. If you’ve seen the show and have tips/advice, holla!

Update 12:30pm ET
Confirmed guests include Ezra Klein from American Prospect and Amanda Carpenter of Townhall

Likely topics include Gen. Patraeus and Iraq, Mark Penn’s status, the Olympic flame and the latest polling from Pennsylvania.

If anyone is able to check some of what Patraeus is saying, hit me up in the comments. I’ve got a day job to hold down and can’t watch C-SPAN all day :)

thanks fam.


HRC Colombia ties don’t stop with Penn
By EAMON JAVERS 4/7/08 6:56 PM EST

Mark Penn isn’t the only Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter on the wrong side of the Colombia trade agreement.

The Democratic-leaning advocacy firm the Glover Park Group, former home to Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson, signed a $40,000 per month contract with the government of Colombia in April of 2007 to promote the very agreement that Clinton now rails against on the presidential campaign trail.

That means Glover Park Group was arguing the same position on the free trade agreement as has Penn, the contentious Clinton strategist and Burson-Marsteller chief executive who lost his campaign job over the weekend after The Wall Street Journal revealed that he’d met with Colombian officials to plot strategy on the pact.

Several other Glover Park employees have deep connections with the Clintons, including founding partner Joe Lockhart, who served as the White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Joel Johnson, who was a senior communications adviser in the Clinton White House.

Six employees of Glover Park Group contributed a total of nearly $20,000 to Clinton’s campaign in 2007, according to data kept by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Wolfson, who is set to take over many responsibilities from the departing Penn, resigned from Glover Park last year to avoid conflicts of interest but retains an equity interest in the firm.

The tangled web of connections on the trade issue inside the Clinton camp illustrates the thin line in Washington between private and political advocacy.

Top campaign aides often spend their off-election years inside large firms with a complex array of clients. The benefit of such arrangements is that a party or candidate’s political brain-trust remains largely intact and ready to assemble quickly for the next political battle.

Republicans have trotted down this path for years. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s campaign is led by current and former lobbyists, some of whom are connected to such political boogiemen as subprime lenders.

But it’s a trickier course for Democrats since their candidates often adopt populist themes that can conflict with a corporate client list.

Indeed, the latest Clinton brouhaha is a classic example of that.

The New York senator is using an anti-trade message to win over working class voters in Pennsylvania, a presidential primary most observers believe she must win big on April 22 to stay competitive with Democratic challenger Barack Obama, who also opposes the deal.

“We’ve got to have new trade policies before we have new trade deals,” Clinton said last week. “That includes no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues in that country.”

To avoid tarnishing either candidates or clients, many advisers take on voluntary campaign roles so the two can’t be directly linked. Others seek to distance themselves from their private employers while working in the public arena. And a few, like Penn, try to walk a tightrope by keeping both jobs at the same time.

Over the weekend, Penn tripped. After taking a break from Clinton’s anti-trade campaign to meet with his pro-trade Colombian clients, both parties dropped him.

So, not only Penn, but Wolfson too.

Uh huh.

Now Wolfson DID resign to go to the Clinton campaign (unlike Penn), but still gets PAID by the firm, because of equity in the firm……….this should remind you of someone else…..hint hint…The Evil One ::::cough:::Haliburton::::cough::::

I’m blogging this as much for the information as for the direct style of journalism from Jake Tapper over at ABC who calls a spade a spade. No “misstatements” here.

First the video:

Now the headline/story: In Oregon, Clinton Makes False Claim About Her Iraq Record Vs. Obama’s

In Eugene, Ore., Saturday. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., attempted to change the measure by which anyone might assess who criticized the Iraq war first, her or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by saying those keeping records should start in January 2005, when Obama joined the Senate. (A measure that conveniently avoids her October 2002 vote to authorize use of force against Iraq at a time that Obama was speaking out against the war.) She claimed that using that measure, she criticized the war in Iraq before Obama did.

But Clinton’s claim was false.

Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, “when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did.”

It’s an odd way to measure opposition to the war — comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama’s opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004. (And Clinton’s vote for it.)

But even if one were to employ this “Start Counting in January 2005″ measurement, Clinton did not criticize the war in Iraq first.

There’s a ridiculous pattern out of the Clinton campaign of moving the goal post and changing the rules and measurement in just the right way to make her look good.

In the nominating contest, after Obama won Iowa, they said, “it’s about pledged delegates.” As his number of state victories increased, they said, “it’s not about number of states, it’s about the size of the state.” Then they said it was about popular vote. Then democratic voters only. Then hypothetical electoral college votes.

This week, they’ll say: if you look only at the votes of white women 60 and older who voted for the war, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Barack Obama.

In the Iraq argument above, even when they change the rules in a way that will only favor Hillary, it doesn’t work, because…

Scrambling to support their boss’s claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

“The Administration and Defense Department’s Iraq policy has been, by any reasonable measure, riddled with errors, misstatements and misjudgments,” the January 2005 Clinton statement said. “From the beginning of the Iraqi war, we were inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the invasion with too few troops and an inadequate plan to stabilize Iraq.”

But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18.

Tapper goes on to say “The misrepresentation of the record is symbolic of the re-writing of history Clinton has attempted on her record regarding the war in Iraq.”

It’s worth reading the entire article. Hillary said setting a date would embolden the enemy. She saw suicide bombings as a sign that the insurgency was near its end. She sounded just like Bush/Cheney well into this failed policy. The fact that she has escaped “vetting” on the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation, which she facilitated, is incredible.

If you care to read more about Hillary’s support of this illegal, immoral and unnecessary war, check out part two of my “Why I Don’t Support Hillary” series — No War For Polls — which I wrote back in November.

The short version is this: Hillary has all to often not demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to be president. She has had many choices available to her, but she has chosen the course of short term gain (mocking Obama supporters, fuzzy mathematical hypotheticals, Jeremiah Wright dissing, Muslim fear flaming).

Having a Clinton name join those of Senator Byrd and Feingold and others in opposing this war would have created more political space for those on the fence to do the right thing. It would have changed the narrative of anti-war activists and given the American people, the Iraqi people and the US Constitution the bolstering we all needed during a time of immense pressure, fear-mongering and manipulation.

It’s not just that she voted for and spoke out in favor of this war. It’s that she gave up an opportunity to oppose it. She gave up an opportunity to lead.

When word came this weekend that Mark Penn had been fired, I admit that I was suspicious. Seems as if maybe that suspicion is warranted.

From The Talking Points Memo:

Full Firing? Or Just Gelded?
04.06.08 — 11:00PM By Josh Marshall
Is Penn really out? Completely, positively out?

Here’s the statement …

Statement from Maggie Williams
After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.

Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign’s strategic message team going forward.

The campaign statement says Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson are taking over strategy and message. But Garin’s a pollster. So the logic of the situation says he’s taking over the polling. But it doesn’t actually say that. Meanwhile the statement does conspicuously go out of its way to say that Penn and his firm will not only keep doing polling but also keep advising the campaign.

I’m going to have to wait to hear from some of my DC Dem consultant/polling community friends to get more of a feel for what happened here. Because if he was really sacked, the sacking announcement sort of reads like he helped draft it.

When you figure how much grief this swaggering oaf has caused the Clinton campaign, if you’re going to can him you’d think you would want to present it as something of a clean break, even if in the background some ties might actually remain. Yet the statement seems to have been massaged in such a way as to leave the murkiest of impressions.

Add me to the skeptics pile.

This Washington Post story Civil Rights Groups Seeing Gradual End of Their Era ends with this sentence though I’d like to start my response with it. It quotes E. Ethelbert Miller:

“What would happen if W.E.B. Du Bois or Marcus Garvey had a laptop?” Du Bois helped found the NAACP in 1909, and Garvey, a rival, started a back-to-Africa movement around the same time.

We are the answer to that question. In the vacuum of black leadership 40 years after Martin Luther King’s death, it’s his spiritual grandchildren that are carrying his mission forward now and not the civil rights groups he might have recognized. From the WaPo piece (emphasis mine):

In New York, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which helped shape the movement’s philosophy after adopting Mohandas K. Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent protest, is scarcely known outside Manhattan. CORE conceded that it now has about 10 percent of the 150,000 members it listed in the 1960s.

In Baltimore, the near-century-old NAACP, which tore down racial barriers with deft lawyering in the courts, recently cut a third of its administrative staff because of budget shortfalls. For decades, the NAACP asserted that it was the largest civil rights group, with about half a million dues-paying members, but one of its former presidents recently acknowledged that it has fewer than 300,000.
Charles Steele, president and chief executive of the SCLC, acknowledged that squabbling nearly doomed his organization. But, he said, the SCLC is coming back. The group says it has 150,000 members at more than 70 branches, but a 2004 analysis by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that only 730 members paid the $25 membership dues.

Let me break it down for y’all: Color of Change now has over 400,000 members — 25% more than the NAACP. Over 100,000 unique visitors now read this blog at Jack and Jill Politics each month (and growing fast), putting our audience soon at perhaps 10 times that of CORE. Let’s not even talk about the SCLC.

We — you reading this blog and me writing it — we are Civil Rights 2.0. WaPo (sort of) acknowledges, stating:

Today, radio deejays, Internet groups such as Color of and organizations such as the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are orchestrating bus rides, marches and other actions once performed by civil rights groups.
When six black teenagers in Jena, La., were being prosecuted as adults last year in the beating of a white classmate, the local branch of the NAACP played a small role in defending their rights, but it was Color of that secured their release.

Activist Al Sharpton learned about the Jena incident on the radio long after it started. Radio talk-show host Michael Baisden ranted about Jena throughout his program and helped organize bus tours to the town.

Strangely, the article doesn’t mention the role of black bloggers in aiding Color of Change and in publicizing the Jena case. We kept the story alive and made sure the facts got reported right. A strange oversight indeed since the media covered our involvement pretty extensively at the time, e.g. Chicago Tribune – Blogs Help Drive Jena Protest and NPR – Bloggers A Force Behind Jena Protests.

But shoot, you and I know what time it is. What if Martin Luther King or Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers had had laptops and high speed internet access…? And blogs? Hmmm…

BTW — the WaPo also spelled Stokely’s name wrong “Stokly”. Dag — that ain’t right.

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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