Saturday, August 8, 2009

Democratic Party Fails To Support Crucial Union Organizing Legislation


The appalling ideological and political cowardice and rank opportunism of the Democratic Party (especially in the Senate) during this period has, along with the maniacal reactionary opposition of the Republican right, been the major obstacles to genuine democratic reform in this country and indicates more definitively than ever just how thoroughly destructive and dominant corporate groupthink among these resolutely antidemocratic elites is and remains. In this general social and economic context both the Obama Administration and the currently feeble, infantile, and disorganized response of what passes for the national Left in this society has suffered the severe consequences of their inadequacies and blindspots and have only added to the larger crisis/malaise facing the entire nation. Until such time as this fundamental political disunity and glaring lack of a truly mobilized and educated citizenry firmly committed to a grassroots based social agenda-- rooted in an independent strategic and tactical perspective-- is critically addressed and resolved, these elites will simply continue to undermine, divide, and destroy us with our own passively complicit assistance.


Democrats Drop Key Part of Bill to Assist Unions
Published: July 16, 2009
New York Times

A half-dozen senators friendly to labor have decided to drop a central provision of a bill that would have made it easier to organize workers.

The so-called card-check provision — which senators decided to scrap to help secure a filibuster-proof 60 votes — would have required employers to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards saying they wanted a union. Currently, employers can insist on a secret-ballot election, a higher hurdle for unions.

The abandonment of card check was another example of the power of moderate Democrats to constrain their party’s more liberal legislative efforts. Though the Democrats have a 60-40 vote advantage in the Senate, and President Obama supports the measure, several moderate Democrats opposed the card-check provision as undemocratic.

In its place, several Senate and labor officials said, the revised bill would require shorter unionization campaigns and faster elections.

While disappointed with the failure of card check, union leaders argued this would still be an important victory because it would give companies less time to press workers to vote against unionizing.

Some business leaders hailed the dropping of card check, while others called the move a partial triumph because the bill still contained provisions they oppose.

The card-check provision was so central to the legislation that it was known as “the card-check bill.” Labor had called the bill its No. 1 objective, and both labor and business deployed their largest, most expensive lobbying campaigns ever in the battle over it.

“This is a very emotional issue,” said Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Republican turned Democrat who had been lobbied heavily by both sides. “I cannot remember an issue this emotional in all my years in the Senate.”

Several moderate Democrats, including Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, have voiced opposition to card check, convinced that elections were a fairer way for workers to unionize. They were swayed partly by business’s vigorous campaign, arguing that card check would remove confidentiality from unionization drives and enable union organizers to bully workers into signing union cards.

Though some details remain to be worked out, under the expected revisions, union elections would have to be held within five or 10 days after 30 percent of workers signed cards favoring having a union. Currently, the campaigns often run two months.

To further address labor’s concerns that the election process is tilted in favor of employers, key senators are considering several measures. One would require employers to give union organizers access to company property. Another would bar employers from requiring workers to attend anti-union sessions that labor supporters deride as “captive audience meetings.”

Labor unions have pushed aggressively to enact the bill — formally, the Employee Free Choice Act. They view it as essential to reverse labor’s long decline. Just 7.6 percent of private-sector workers belong to unions, one-fifth the rate of a half-century ago.

Several union leaders interviewed took the senators’ move in stride. One top union official, who insisted on anonymity because lawmakers and labor leaders have agreed not to discuss the status of the bill, said, “Even if card check is jettisoned to political realities, I don’t think people should be despondent over that because labor law reform can take different shapes.”

While voicing confidence they have the 60 votes to pass the revised bill, labor leaders acknowledged an additional hurdle: two powerful Democrats, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, are seriously ill.

“This bill will bring about dramatic changes, even if card check has fallen away,” said an A.F.L.-C.I.O. official who insisted on anonymity.

The official said the revised bill achieves the three things organized labor has been seeking.

“Our goals,” the official said, “have always been letting employees have a real choice, having real penalties against employers who break the law in fighting unions, and having some form of binding arbitration to prevent employers from dragging their feet forever to prevent reaching a contract.”

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, a senior member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has led a group of six Democrats who have worked closely with labor to revamp the bill. The other senators are Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Charles E. Schumer of New York, and Mr. Specter.

Labor leaders voiced confidence that if Mr. Pryor backed the compromise, Ms. Lincoln and other moderates would do likewise.

Union leaders argue that under current law, unionization elections are often unfair because, they say, employers have a huge opportunity to intimidate and pressure workers during the lengthy campaigns that precede the unionization vote.

Business leaders say the current system is fair, asserting that unions lose so many elections because workers oppose paying union dues and do not feel they need unions to represent them.

Corporate lobbyists have indicated they would oppose fast elections, arguing that such a provision would deny employers ample opportunity to educate employees about the downside of unionizing, such as strikes and union dues.

Labor leaders counter that employers will have plenty of opportunity to fight unionization, noting that many companies begin plying employees with anti-union information the day they are hired.

Business also opposes the bill’s provisions to have binding arbitration if an employer fails to reach a contract with a new union. Companies argue it would be wrong for government-designated arbitrators to dictate what a company’s wages and benefits should be.

“Binding arbitration is an absolute nonstarter for us,” said Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute, a business group opposing the bill. “We see it as a hostile act to have arbitrators telling businesses what they have to do.”

Several union officials said that once the senators’ revisions became public, some union presidents who are card-check enthusiasts might attack the changes, call for scrapping the revisions and demand an up-or-down Senate vote on a bill with card check.

Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Harkin, declined to discuss details of the bill. “Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,” she said.

Union officials have urged the White House and Senate leaders to schedule a vote this month. But Senate leaders have told labor that the Senate is so preoccupied with health care legislation that September would be the earliest time to take up the pro-union legislation.

Supreme Court Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayor vs. Right Wing Racism & Sexism


The most deadly, dangerous, and powerful enemy of African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans in general, Women in general, the poor in general, the working class in general, children in general, Freedom in general and Democracy in general in American society today is the truly heinous Republican Party and their endless number of severely bigoted and demagogic minions, mentors, sponsors, and supporters. Anyone who doesn't know or believes this blatantly obvious fact is not only a hopeless FOOL but ultimately deserves their "fate." As so many have said so accurately so many times in our collective history "truth crushed to earth shall rise again"...


The 10 Dumbest Things Republicans Have Said About the Sotomayor Hearings
By AlterNet Staff, AlterNet
Posted on July 15, 2009

At her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor had to keep a straight face while Republicans heaped shame upon their party with a flood of ridiculous questions, unjustified jabs and pointless rants.

From sexist attacks about Sotomayor's "temperament" to a rigorous interrogation about the definition of nunchucks, GOPers came up with a multitude of embarrassing ways to try to hinder the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation.

The craziness and incompetence on display at the hearings has been more than matched by the absurd smears leveled at Sotomayor in the conservative media. The shining lights of conservatism -- Pat Buchanan, G. Gordan Liddy and Rush Limbaugh -- have outdone themselves with uninformed, offensive rants about the nominee.

AlterNet has compiled the 10 dumbest, most ridiculous statements about Sotomayor to issue from the lips of GOP lawmakers and other conservatives in the past few weeks.

1. Early Tuesday morning, Jeff Sessions seemed surprised that Sotomayor's legal decisions sometimes diverge from those of other judges of Puerto Rican descent. During a series of questions about Ricci v. DeStefano, Sessions scolded:

You voted not to reconsider the prior case. You voted to stay with the decision of the circuit. And in fact, your vote was the key vote. Had you voted with Judge [Jose] Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could've changed that case.

An interesting tack, especially considering that since Sotomayor's nomination, Republicans have desperately clutched at her "wise Latina" comments in order to unconvincingly argue that Sotomayor would let her personal experience dictate her judicial decision making -- thereby continuing the grievous oppression of white men.

Sessions' barely suppressed racism comes into even sharper focus when we consider Steve Benen's point: "Imagine how absurd it would have been if, during [Samuel] Alito's confirmation hearings, [Wisconsin Sen.] Russ Feingold pressed him on why he didn't vote in a certain case with another Italian American judge."

2. A slightly more subtle (but hardly less stupid) question came from Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, who, when he wasn't reveling in the sound of his own voice, asked whether Sotomayor has "always been able to find a legal basis for every decision that (she's) rendered as a judge."
"This is not a trick question," Kyl assured her (as though the poor lady might be intimidated by the sheer force of his intellect). "I can't imagine that the answer would be otherwise than, yes, you've always found some legal basis for ruling one way or the other, some precedent, some reading of a statute, the Constitution or whatever it might be."

But, just to make sure: "You haven't ever had to throw up your arms and said, 'I can't find any legal basis for this opinion, so I'm going to base it on some other factor'? "

Yes, Sen. Kyl, when in doubt, she consults the zodiac. ("Well, the moon is in Cancer, so...") Seriously, people. She's a judge, not an astrologist.

3. After solemnly reminding Sotomayor that the New Haven, Conn., firefighters case is just one of many "cases where people are discriminated against," Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch took the opportunity to indulge in a little guilt by association -- while denying he was indulging in guilt by association.

"Let me just make one last point here," Hatch said. "You have nothing to do with this, I know. But there's a rumor that People for the American Way has -- that this organization has been smearing Frank Ricci, who is only one of 20 plaintiffs in this case, because he may be willing to be a witness ... in these proceedings.

"I hope that's not true. And I know you have nothing to do with it, so don't -- don't think I'm trying to make a point against you. I'm not. I'm making a point that that's the type of stuff that doesn't belong in Supreme Court nomination hearings. And I know you would agree with me on that."

Right. I mean, no offense, Sonia, Sen. Hatch is totally not trying to hold that against you. Who brought up that nasty business about People for the American Way, anyhow? Offensive! I'm glad you agree.

4. Pat Buchanan, who cut his political teeth writing speeches for Richard Nixon, has a long history of embracing the vision of a diverse America. As Think Progress notes, he has: argued that slavery was good for African Americans; suggested Latinos don't want to assimilate; and openly wished that America was a country where everyone -- or almost everyone -- was white (someone's got to clean the toilets).

So it should come as little surprise that Buchanan concluded, without a shred of evidence, that because all of the finalists on Obama's short list were women, Sotomayor got to where she is not by dint of hard work but as a result of affirmative action, the classic right-wing bugaboo.

The claim was so egregious that even the usually docile Nora O'Donnell called him on it, saying, "you're suggesting it's an absolute outrage if the final four are women. If got down to final four, and they were all white men, would that bother you in the least?"

Watch it:

5. It's possible that during his years behind bars, convicted felon and right-wing squawker G. Gordon Liddy grew unaccustomed to having women around; and we can understand fearing the unfamiliar. But Liddy has been out since President Jimmy Carter commuted his sentence in 1977, so it's shocking that he would actually make this suggestion publicly (via the Washington Independent):

Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

Daphne Eviatar asked: "Maybe it's OK if female Supreme Court justices are postmenopausal? Or have no feelings or sentiments at all?"

6. Senator Lindsey Graham accused Sotomayor of terrorizing lawyers. Sotomayor calmly replied that she asks tough questions, as judges are wont to do.

Graham: OK. Now, let's talk about you. I like you, by the way, for whatever that matters. Since I may vote for you, that ought to matter to you. One thing that stood out about your record is that when you look at the almanac of the federal judiciary, lawyers anonymously rate judges in terms of temperament. And here's what they said about you: "She's a terror on the bench. She's temperamental, excitable, she seems angry. She's overall aggressive, not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament. She abuses lawyers. She really lacks judicial temperament. She believes in an out -- she behaves in an out-of-control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts. She's nasty to lawyers. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like. She can be a bit of a bully." When you look at the evaluation of the judges on the Second Circuit, you stand out like a sore thumb in terms of your temperament. What is your answer to these criticisms?

Sotomayor: I do ask tough questions at oral arguments.

Graham: Are you the only one that asks tough questions in oral arguments?

Sotomayor: No, sir. No, not at all. I can only explain what I'm doing, which is when I ask lawyers tough questions, it's to give them an opportunity to explain their positions on both sides and to persuade me that they're right. I do know that, in the Second Circuit, because we only give litigants 10 minutes of oral argument each, that the processes in the Second Circuit are different than in most other circuits across the country. And that some lawyers do find that our court, which is not just me, but our court generally, is described as a hoc bench, it's a term that lawyers use. It means that they're peppered with questions.

Lots of lawyers who are unfamiliar with the process in the Second Circuit find that tough bench difficult and challenging.

Graham: If I may interject, judge, they find you difficult and challenging more than your colleagues. And the only reason I mention this is that it stands out. When you -- there are many positive things about you, and these hearings are designed to talk about the good and the bad, and I never liked appearing before a judge that I thought was a bully. It's hard enough being a lawyer, having your client there to begin with without the judge just beating you up for no good reason. Do you think you have a temperament problem?
Sotomayor: No, sir. I can only talk about what I know about my relationship with the judges of my court and with the lawyers who appear regularly from our circuit. And I believe that my reputation is stuck as such that I ask the hard questions, but I do it evenly for both sides.

Graham: And in fairness to you, there are plenty of statements in the record in support of you as a person, that do not go down this line.

But I will just suggest to you, for what it's worth, judge, as you go forward here, that these statements about you are striking. They're not about your colleagues. The 10-minute rule applies to everybody and that obviously you've accomplished a lot in your life, but maybe these hearings are time for self-reflection. This is pretty tough stuff that you don't see from -- about other judges on the Second Circuit.

7. The Committee for Justice* -- a right-wing group opposed to Sotomayor's confirmation -- is airing ads claiming that the Yale graduate led a terrorist organization. According to Think Progress:

The claim that Sotomayor led a terrorist organization apparently refers to her service on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a mainstream civil rights organization. It seems that, in the right-wing mind, a group that protects Latinos from race discrimination is exactly the same as al-Qaida.

8. In what was perhaps one of the odder moments of the hearings, Hatch forced the nominee to expound on the dangers of nunchucks, a martial arts weapon. The point, of course, was the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms and how it played out in the 2009 case Maloney v. Cuomo. But all-in-all, a strange topic for a Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Watch it:

9. Self-professed leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, had the gall to argue Monday that Sotomayor's "wise Latina" comment was "much worse" than former Virginia Sen. George Allen's macaca comment.

From Media Matters for America:

10. Then there is Glenn Beck's contribution to the confirmation process. On Monday, Beck decried the questioning from Senate Democrats during the first day of Sotomayor's confirmation hearings.

"America, I want you to watch this," he ordered. "As as our country burns to the ground ... this is the questioning -- and get ready, because it's a hard line of questioning -- here's what happened; this is what our senators were doing today."

Beck then showed a short montage of the senators praising Sotomayor, calling her "supremely well-qualified," "the most experienced nominee to the Supreme Court in 100 years" and "very special woman."

There was only one problem: As Media Matters pointed Monday night, "Unfortunately for Beck, there were no questions today. The first day of the hearings is when senators and the nominee make opening statements."

"This is like a cartoon show!" the clueless Beck said when the clip was over. (And let's face it, it takes one to know one). "The world is upside down."

That's what happens when you live outside the fact-based universe, Glenn.

It appears that the Republicans and other conservatives that have turned Sotomayor's nomination into a circus could learn a thing or two about reality.

Correction: The Committee for Justice was misidentified as the Alliance for Justice. AlterNet regrets the error.

© 2009 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

American Racists Attack Malia Obama!



The United Hates strikes again...See vile and vicious racist attacks on 11 year old Malia Obama in articles below...



Hate Speech Against Malia Obama On Conservative Blogs Reported By Hate Speech Planting Journalist
By Foster Kamer
Jul 12 2009

Well, should've seen this coming: conservative blog Free Republic fired hate speech off at Malia Obama after this photo of her appeared, letting their commenters go to town. But the journalist who reported this as news isn't innocent, either.

Chris Parry of The Vancouver Sun highlighted some of the comments on the mainstream, hard right-wing blog/news aggregator Free Republic. Among them, a picture of Michelle talking to Malia Obama with the caption: "To entertain her daughter, Michelle Obama loves to make monkey sounds."

"A typical street whore." "A bunch of ghetto thugs." "Ghetto street trash." "Wonder when she will get her first abortion. "Could you imagine what world leaders must be thinking seeing this kind of street trash and that we paid for this kind of street ghetto trash to go over there?" wrote one commenter.

"They make me sick .... The whole family... mammy, pappy, the free loadin' mammy-in-law, the misguided chillin', and especially 'lil cuz... This is not the America I want representin' my peeps," wrote another. Such was the onslaught of derision on the site that the person who originally complained about the slurs, a Kristin N., claims only one comment in the first hundred posted actually criticized the remarks as inappropriate.

FreeRepublic claims to be a site that "does not advocate or condone racism, violence, rebellion, secession, or an overthrow of the government." Yet, the thread went down, and back up with the original comments in tact, and then some, notes Chris Parry, the story's writer. Parry was careful and kind enough to - maybe unnecessarily - note the few reasonable voices in the crowd who were conservative, on Free Republic, and not racist. But there're always going to be a few exceptions to the rule, which, as far as you should be concerned, are absolute swamp creatures. Pardon any political incorrectness, but I think you'll agree if you happen to go over and dip your toe in what's mostly a bog of contagiously slimy invective and general retardation.

It gets worse, though. Chris Parry, it appears, has advocated on his Daily Kos blog any number of egregious offenses, among them: posting hate speech on sites like Free Republic and blaming it on conservatives. Parry posted under the name "hollywoodoz" on Daily Kos, where his signature was "Fool me once, I'll punch you in the fucking head." Parry outed himself as hollywoodoz here, where he discloses the company he helped start. In essence: Parry, the journalist, found his story right where he'd been circling it for a very long time, and reported it as news. Sigh.

Bottom line: Parry's noble intentions are paving him a road to hell, by taking the same one the slimeball majority at Free Republic employs. They're probably going to cheer a "mainstream," centrist blog pointing out the offenses of a liberal reporter trying to expose hate speech, but they shouldn't get it mixed up. A quick glance at Free Republic and you'll probably see the same thing I did: some of the most egregious examples that lend credence to the idea that some people just shouldn't be allowed near a keyboard, or to open their mouths, no matter what their political affiliation. Or, as some would have it: STFU.

Conservative Free Republic blog in free speech flap after racial slurs directed at Obama children [Vancouver Sun]

*UPDATE III* Free Republic Pulls/Restores/Pulls Thread Bashing Malia Obama; FR Responds

by CatM

Fri Jul 10, 2009

Yesterday, theHalfrican posted a link to the Free Republic Website where several of its regular members were bashing Malia Obama for wearing a peace symbol t-shirt. The thread had several derogotary, racist, and sexual remarks about Malia. It also included a picture of Michelle Obama speaking to Malia that was accompanied with a racist caption.

I wrote the media contact at Free Republic yesterday,, questioning the nature of the posters and the site.

Cat M's diary

Hello. I am an independent writer developing a book about the grassroots conservative movement online, of which your site, Free Republic, is included as a primary online gathering place for conservatives.

Could you please tell me how the owner of the site feels about posts like this one: which conservatives who post regularly at the site make several racist statements about the 11-year-old daughter of President Obama for wearing a t-shirt adorned with a peace symbol? Remarks included the following:

"We’re being represented by a family of ghetto trash."
"Looks like a bunch of ghetto thugs. A stain on America."
"Looks like a typical street whore."
"What we now are sending the ghetto over to represent us. and if so who the hell is that flea bag who looks to be dragged from the trash dumpster."
"you could go down any ghetto right now and see exactly the same."
"could you imagine what world leaders must be thinking seeing this kind of street trash and that we paid for this kind of street ghetto trash to go over there"
"the world must be laughing like mad right now at that we have this kind of street trash in our white house."
"Wonder when she will have her first abortion."
"sad isn’t it that we now have ghetto street trash over there representing us in Europe."
"This disgusting display makes me more and more eager for the revolution.
"They make me sick.... The whole family... mammy, pappy, the free loadin’ mammy-in-law, the misguided chillin’, and especially ‘lil cuz... This is not the America I want representin’ my peeps."

In addition, the thread includes a picture of Michelle Obama speaking to her daughter with the caption, "To Entertain Her Daughter, Michelle Obama Likes to Make Monkey Sounds."

Before you dismiss this as only a minority of posters at the site, out of 100 posts on that thread I found only 1 that criticized such remarks. This is not the first time I have seen such an exhibition of blatant racism at Free Republic by members who regularly post there.

Here are my questions:

Does Free Republic condone this type of exercise in free speech?

Are these the type of participants Free Republic is happy to have posting at its site?

What is Free Republic's policy about posting racially offensive comments?

What is Free Republic's policy about making sexual insinuations about minors (particularly relevant in light of the David Letterman/Sarah Palin brouhaha)?

Does Free Republic believe its membership accurately represents the conservative movement?

Does the owner of Free Republic believe this kind of discourse is helpful to rebuilding the Republican Party and furthering its goals?

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your responses.

I went back to the site today and saw that the offending thread has been pulled "pending review."

I do note that Free Republic has a disclaimer on the first page that claims it does not condone this type of post; however, I am not sure when the disclaimer was added. Does anyone know?

From the disclaimer:

Opinions expressed on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Free Republic or its operators.

Please enjoy our forum, but also please remember to use common courtesy when posting and refrain from posting personal attacks, profanity, vulgarity, threats, racial or religious bigotry, or any other materials offensive or otherwise inappropriate for a conservative family audience.

Free Republic is a site dedicated to the concerns of traditional grassroots conservative activists. We're here to discuss and advance our conservative causes in a more or less liberal-free environment. We're not here to debate liberals. We do not want our pages filled with their arrogant, obnoxious, repugnant bile. Liberals, usurpers, and other assorted malcontents are considered unwelcome trolls on FR and their accounts and or posts will be summarily dismissed at the convenience of the site administrators.

Free Republic does not advocate or condone racism, violence, rebellion, secession, or an overthrow of the government.

So, the site will readily delete posts from liberals just because they are liberals and therefore everything they say is automatically considered "arrogant, obnoxious, repugant bile."

But comments calling an 11-year-old black girl "ghetto trash" and a "whore" are pulled "pending review." What is to review? Your site either supports that kind of rhetoric or it does not. Which is it?

If the Free Republic's "conservative family audience" consists of people who say such things as they often do (like yesterday), how conservative are they? And how family-oriented are they? Where were all the posts from other Free Republic regulars or from the owner of the site decrying this kind of racism directed at a child for no apparent reason than the fact that a peace symbol t-shirt inflamed their hatred to disgusting depths, like a red handkerchief in front of a mad bull?

Conservatives continually reinforce the fact that the only families they care about are conservative ones; the only troops they support are ones that do not vote democratic; the only children whose lives they value are the children of conservatives or unborn. How many of those aborted fetuses they claim to hold so dear would they trash had they been born and grown into a pre-teen who wore a t-shirt with a peace symbol or supported a liberal president? Or was gay?

The truth is that conservatives do not know the meaning of Jesus' words despite how much they love to use them when it suits their inner hatred of all those who are different. Worse, they lack basic human decency, as they demonstrate time and again.


The review is over, apparently, and they decided it was worth it to keep the article and comments. Only now, they are making an effort to intersperse a few posts criticizing the remarks against Malia; interestingly, these "Don't say those things about a child" chastisements are almost uniformly alike.

Considering there were virtually none yesterday, and they suddenly appear only after the "review" following criticism here, it is pretty clear what the site is doing. They are trying to create the impression that there really are people at Free Republic who decry that sort of behavior.

Let's see if the comments have gotten any better:

That’s a freak kid searching for attention.

We are now represented by the thug ghetto culture, aren't you proud?

I’ll probably get thumped for this, but this girl is showing signs of growing up into a beauty. Wonder what kind of "teen" problems she will cause for the king and queen?

Yes, because if one of Obama's daughters is beautiful that must mean she is going to be promiscuous, too.

I never actually wnated to be a pistol before but.....

I have no idea what that means specifically, but it sounds pretty violent. Or disgusting.

Black nail polish to go along with her nasty radical hair. Using their children for that kind of shit is horrific. But they did grow up in Rev. Wright’s church so what do we expect? Their entire family makes me want to vomit.

DIRTBAGS! All of them. Our WH is now a joke to the rest of the world. We have no respect and this is not going to turn out well, mark my words. We will be hit, and much worse than last time. We are now seen as weak and vulnerable. Ghetto and Chicago thugs have taken over the WH.

And quit picking on little Chacha & Malaria.

Namecalling, that is always the mature route.


Apparently Jim Robinson, owner of the Free Republic Website, has decided that (1) he should use my post as a fundraising opportunity to support the site and (2) he should make sure his conservative "troops" know they are being criticized so they tone down their true inner feelings.

He has reposted my original post, triggering a new round of comments:

From Jim Robinson:

Can't help myself. This kind of crap fills my inbox every morning. But the writer has a point. We should steer clear of Obama's children. They can't help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig.

And I'm sure the left really means no harm to Sarah Palin's children. Thank God for the love and basic human decency displayed by TRUE Democrats.

Nice! Does he even know what Marxism really is?

I really would like to see all the posts he's talking about where liberals trashed the minor Palin children (aside from comments about 18-year-old Bristol after she became a public spokesperson for abstinence). Most of the comments I saw bashed Palin for the way she used her children, not the children themselves.

I do not recall any posts making fun of the way the Palin children wore their hair, for example. That being said, it would not be a valid defense. If your neighbor down the street robs a bank, the police will not consider that in your favor and exonerate you should you later rob a bank.

A comment from mnhering, who I guess does not realize the post was restored and more racist comments were added:

That just proves this site doesn’t put up with crap comments like that if the post was pulled, while KOS not only keeps crap like that up, they encourage it.

It isn’t what was said, it is how the sites deal with it that shows the difference.

The comment was only "pulled for review" because attention was drawn to it. This is what you call a "cover your ass" ploy. That is the same reason Robinson is now addressing it, although the thread was restored.

Finally, if Free Republic wants to question whether I am a hypocrite, personally, I recommend they look at my comments about the offensive Huffington Post column that the author later took down on Palin calling for more "retardation" and my comments on Letterman's jokes, which I said were in poor taste.

But a few points to make on this--we are not the side claiming to be the bastion of morality. There is also a difference between making a personally disparaging remark like the ones made about Malia and a remark about how Palin uses her children as props that does not insult the children themselves.

The one or two times I have seen someone make a remark here that was negative about Trig Palin, I and many others jumped right in and HR'd it out of existence and blasted the poster for it. And why shouldn't we? I have family members with developmental disabilities or out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

I guess if they had more minorities among them or people with relatives who were minorities or simply people who believed in racial equality, they would have responded more negatively to the comments about Malia.


I really cannot keep up with their indecision. The first time it was pulled pending review by the "Religion" moderator; now it is pulled pending review by the "Administration" or something like that.

Perhaps they cannot decide what they fear the most--being called out for having this kind of diatribe or caving in to what they perceive as liberal pressure by removing it.

Either way, it was there, these are their sentiments, and the sad thing is, most of them are now only decrying the thought of picking on a child and not complaining about the overt racism in these comments they have made.

It is a sad place and reaffirms more than ever why I am not a republican.

The Necessity for a New National Movement: A Letter To My Sister


You hit the nail on the head sister and it's what I've been thinking ever since the President took office: WE MUST HIT THE STREETS IN MASSIVE NATIONAL DEMONSTRATIONS IN BOTH D.C. AND IN OUR VARIOUS LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO SAY ESPECIALLY TO THE CONGRESS AS WELL AS OBAMA THAT WE WANT AND NEED THE MAJOR REFORMS THAT WE VOTED FOR WHEN WE ELECTED HIM IN NOVEMBER! It's my wish and urgent desire that a large number of national and local political organizations will finally wake up and begin the necessary task of organizing and coordinating a series of massive demonstrations that will say LOUDLY AND CLEARLY exactly what we all want and need. If we as citizens don't collectively come together in large, broadbased coalitions that puts some systematic political pressure on the House, Senate, and the White House then the wealthy and indifferent political and economic elites in both the Republican and Democratic Party alike will simply continue to feed and pamper the rich and greedy (i. e. the corporations, banks, insurance companies, and Wall Street) at our collective expense as citizens, communities, and consumers.

This kind of collective activity CAN AND MUST BE CARRIED OUT by a very wide range of organizations and groups across this entire nation. It's way past time now to get busy and DO IT. It's100% crystal clear to me that if we don't not only will Obama's domestic agenda be ultimately destroyed (or so weakened and compromised that it will be virtually worthless for the great majority of the American people) but the economy will only get much worse and everything like heathcare, education, housing, social services, and labor rights will suffer accordingly. If the political progressives and the Left generally wants to have any REAL IMPACT on national politics at this time it must immediately go into GRASSROOTS ACTIVIST MODE and like the Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and Labor Union movements of the past DEMAND widespread political, economic, and social change in this country. And this must be put into motion very soon (I would say at least in the next 3 months) before this year is over and everything is stagnating. Besides, Obama and his administration won't survive politically over the next three years if some serious reforms are not fully implemented while this window of historical opportunity still exists. if we all don't want that window to slam shut by the spring of 2010 we have ALL got to get on the stick and make our voices and concerns known and heard NOW before it's too late...


On Jul 10, 2009 Regina wrote

It seems the multiple email "lists" and mailings from Obama surrogates (Biden, Michelle, Gibbs, Plouff, and others) which urge support of various Obama initiatives is not working. Must we take to the streets? It seems I have signed a number of "support" petitions and called my representatives on everything from Health Care Reform, Prison Reform, Social Security Reform, economic proposals, education reform proposals etc....Maybe, there just aren't enough everyday citizens signing theses emails and calling their respective representatives???

President Obama's Recovery Plan vs. the Present Economic Crisis


This analysis is in essence all old news of course. Prominent liberal economists like the Nobel Prize winning duo of Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz (not to mention major leftist and radical political economists like Naomi Klein and Robert Kuttner) have been saying since January that the initial $787 billion economic stimulus plan was both far too small and not far reaching enough to truly jumpstart the economy and stem widespread unemployment. The political timidity that President Obama and his ideologically compromised economic team have shown thus far on these matters--as well as the opportunist and running scared irresponsibility of the Democratic Party in Congress in not actively pushing for a more liberal and dynamically reformist program along the lines of what Franklin Roosevelt called for in his 'New Deal' proposals of the early 1930s--have created an even more serious problem than would have otherwise developed at this point in the process. In any event at some point very soon the President is going to have to not only vigorously oppose the reactionary do-nothingism of the corrupt and divisive Republican Party but also publicly take his own administration and political party to task for not forcefully addressing these issues on the level of actual legislation and policy implementation. Meanwhile we as citizens must publicly demand these changes and consistently hold Obama and the political and economic elites in Washington fully accountable for the present crisis and its absolutely necessary resolution. If we don't consciously move to the left on these political and economic crises we will all continue to pay the severe price in both the short and long term of both deeper unemployment and structural stagnation and breakdown. As usual it's really up to us on a grassroots level.


July 9, 2009

Doubts About Obama’s Economic Recovery Plan Rise Along With Unemployment
New York Times

WASHINGTON — At his inauguration in January, President Obama warned that times would get tougher before they got better. He has been proved correct.

With unemployment already at 9.5 percent and likely to exceed 10 percent, much higher than White House officials predicted back in February, Mr. Obama has been facing attacks that his $787 billion stimulus program was either too timid or wrong-headed or both. Now, just five months after Congress agreed on the plan, with only a fraction of the money actually out the door, Washington is debating the need for a second round of stimulus amid economic and political crosscurrents.

In Ohio, where unemployment is above 10 percent and where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will visit on Thursday, Mr. Obama’s popularity has dropped sharply. In a poll by Quinnipiac University earlier this week, 48 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, while 46 percent approved, down 11 percentage points since May.

“People are soured on the system, and that’s understandable,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. “People want to see more money for water and sewers. They want to see more manufacturing growth. They want to see what we’re going to do beyond that.”

For the moment, Mr. Obama and his top economic advisers are fending off calls for more action, combining a message of hard-headed realism about the magnitude of the economy’s problems with more cheerful predictions about an imminent boost as the government spending begins to hit the streets.

“The stimulus is on track,” Lawrence H. Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Wednesday in an interview. “We planned for a program that would stimulate the economy over a two-year period, with a force that increases significantly over calendar year 2009. The implementation is on track to deliver that.”

Administration officials say a job market recovery usually lags behind the economic recovery itself. Indeed, most forecasters had predicted that unemployment was likely to keep rising through the end of 2009 and would not start to edge down until 2010.

“People know that problems of this seriousness cannot be turned around in six months or nine months,” Mr. Summers said. “One of the president’s strengths is his extraordinary candor. The president has been honest with the American people about the enormity of the challenge and the amount of time it will take to turn things around.”

But political pressures may not give the administration two years to show that its plan is working, especially if Democrats in Congress begin to conclude that continued bad economic news is putting them at risk of losing seats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Mr. Obama has bought time by casting the struggling economy as the legacy of President George W. Bush, but as time passes it increasingly becomes his problem and his party’s.

Administration officials had predicted that the stimulus program would save or create 600,000 jobs by summer. But the economy has lost more than two million jobs since Mr. Obama took office, and officials now estimate that the program has saved only about 150,000 jobs.

Republicans say that Mr. Obama’s recovery plan is failing and proves that government spending is an inefficient way to help the economy. Some Democrats fret that the program may be either too small or too slow.

Laura Tyson, a former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, told an investor group in Singapore on Wednesday that the stimulus program was a “bit too small” and that the United States might need a second effort.

A top House Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, told reporters on Tuesday that policy makers needed to be “open” to the possibility of a second program.

Administration officials acknowledge that their initial forecasts, which anticipated that unemployment would peak at 8.5 percent, were too optimistic, although they were in line with Federal Reserve and most private forecasters. On Sunday, Mr. Biden acknowledged that officials had “misread” the economy.

The looming political battle is about how to respond, and three camps are forming. The first includes the White House and most Democratic leaders in Congress, who champion a wait-and-see approach until more of the stimulus money hits the streets.

White House officials estimate that the government has committed $158 billion for spending around the country, but only about one-third of that has been spent. Temporary tax cuts have totaled about $43 billion thus far, according to White House estimates.

A second camp, consisting of nervous Democrats and some economists, argues that the government must spur the economy with another round of spending, tax cuts or a mixture of both.

The third camp is led by Republicans, many of whom argue that the spending program was wrong from the start and that the government should focus on tax cuts.

But Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers face difficult political and economic constraints if they try any kind of midcourse correction.

The budget deficit for 2009 will hit $1.7 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That equals 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and is far higher than any deficit under any president since World War II.

Regardless of whether a second round of stimulus came from higher spending or lower taxes, the added kick to the economy would take months to arrive and would push the deficit even higher.

One risk facing policy makers is that bond investors around the world, already jittery about the flood of new Treasury debt being issued, would become even more nervous about future inflation and demand higher interest rates. Higher rates would probably push up the cost of mortgages as well as business borrowing, offsetting any lift that came from an additional stimulus program.

But the other risk is that the economy sinks even more than expected right now, compounding the problems policy makers already have. Waiting too long could heighten that danger.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

New Black Novelist Examines Deceptions of U.S. Racial History


This is a very strange and dangerous country which is always in the process of becoming stranger and more dangerous. This is what Attica Locke is really trying to write about--like all reasonably self aware black writers in this country over the past two centuries. However at age 35 given the increasingly bizarre and horrific social and cultural context of the (post?) modern era we currently "live in" it's crystal clear that this historical challenge is in many ways far greater, more profound, and fundamentally destructive than ever. I sincerely hope that Attica Locke makes the transition in her life and her writing to fully recognize, honor, and critically address these unsettling and disturbing facts. Perhaps this first novel will be a creative springboard that will help her (and the rest of us) eventually get there somehow. In this infantile and fearful society however the truth is that one never knows...


This Thriller’s Cold War Is Racial
Published: July 1, 2009
New York Times

Attica Locke’s first novel, “Black Water Rising,” which Janet Maslin called “subtle and compelling” in The New York Times, is an even better book than its author had in mind. “I intended to just write a slick little thriller,” Ms. Locke said last week, stopping in New York at the end of a book tour before heading home to Los Angeles. “But then my unconscious led me to the soul of the book, and it got a lot better.”

That soul has to do with the history of race relations in America, especially in Houston in the early 1980s, the novel’s setting. Oil money is again pumping through the city, politicians are making deals right and left, yet it’s still the Jim Crow South. Jay Porter, a struggling black lawyer and the protagonist, is more than casually wary of the police and keeps three guns handy just in case. But then no one completely trusts anyone here. The book cleverly replaces the kind of cold-war paranoia that used to animate thrillers with racial paranoia instead.

Jay, who before going to law school was a student radical and civil rights activist, is partly based on Ms. Locke’s father, Gene, who is now running for mayor of Houston but was an activist in the ’60s and, for a while, an associate of Stokely Carmichael. Family lore has it that Ms. Locke’s mother transferred from the University of Texas to the University of Houston because she had admired Gene Locke’s picture in the paper.

Ms. Locke has an older sister, Tembekile, who got her name from Miriam Makeba, then married to Mr. Carmichael. Ms. Locke herself is named after the prison in upstate New York, where the 1971 uprising made a great impression on her mother. “This was a time when naming was so important in black culture,” Ms. Locke said. “And I think my mother named me that because she wanted to remind me to be able to say no and to stand up for myself. But mostly I stood up for myself by demanding to go to the mall.”

Ms. Locke, who is 35, said she thought of herself as being born at the tail end of the civil rights movement, when her parents turned themselves into what she called “professional Cosby people.” “I’m amazed at how gracefully they made the transition,” she said. “It wasn’t that their politics had shifted, but they had two kids to raise, and in some ways the country had shifted. They just rolled with it.”

But nothing in their parents’ struggle had emotionally prepared the Locke children for life in an integrated America. “As a 5-year-old I went to a mostly white school, and for a young kid that was really very confusing. I did a lot of scanning to know whether I was safe, and I think I always had a low level of agitation. Jay’s level of racial paranoia is really my own.”

Another trait she shares with Jay, she said, is his tendency sometimes to put his head down and just do what it takes to get by. “That part of him that doesn’t want to show up — that’s me as a writer,” she said.

After graduating from Northwestern University, where she studied film, Ms. Locke dreamed of becoming a director. In 1999 she was a fellow at the Sundance Institute, where for a while a movie she had written about a murder in East Texas attracted considerable attention, she said, until someone decided that it was a black film, and black films don’t sell in Europe.

So she became what she calls a “hired gun” for the studios, and for the next 10 years she worked very successfully as a screenwriter — if by success you don’t mean that your scripts actually get filmed. “It’s sad how I came to love the movies less and less,” she said. “The culture of script development and moviemaking in the studio system is not a fit for my spirit.”

Finally, in 2004, she had a dream. She dreamed that she was living in a film commune, and on the night of a big premiere it was her turn to sweep. She instead handed her broom to the head of the commune, no less than Marlon Brando as he looked in “On the Waterfront,” and told him she was through.

“Within months I was writing a novel,” she recalled. “I knew I could construct something that moves. Screenwriting had taught me about pleasure and plot.” She took out a second mortgage on her house, and in less than a year she had completed a first draft. “It was liberating,” she said. “I didn’t always know what was going to happen, which is the opposite of working as a screenwriter, where everything is so plotted.”

For the time being she intends to keep a toehold in screenwriting, she added — she is working with Taylor Branch on a three-part mini-series based on his biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — but novel writing seems more congenial. “This has stirred up a lot of stuff, and there’s a feeling now of being home,” she said.

The beginning of “Black Water Rising” — an eerie boat ride on a dark Houston bayou when a shot is fired and a woman is attacked somewhere onshore — is based on something that happened in Ms. Locke’s childhood. For the rest, much of which takes place before she was born, in a Houston vastly different from the one she grew up in, she had to rely on imagination, family recollection and repeated questioning of her father.

“I think this book could only be written by someone my age,” she said. “It’s about a country in transition, moving from being a segregated America to an integrated America.” She added: “If you think about it, there have been three great moments in the psychic history of race relations here. The first was Emancipation and Reconstruction. The second was the civil rights movement. And the third great moment we’re living in right now.”

Corporate Capitalism vs. Climate Change Legislation


Bad News: Now some would say that these brazen, shameless legislative "compromises" and sellouts were ultimately "acceptable" given the fact that the bill at least passed. However, I (and millions of others) would NOT be one of them...Corporate capitalism--as usual-- trumps us all again...


July 1, 2009

With Something for Everyone, Climate Bill Passed
New York Times

WASHINGTON — As the most ambitious energy and climate-change legislation ever introduced in Congress made its way to a floor vote last Friday, it grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts intended to win the votes of wavering lawmakers and the support of powerful industries.

The deal making continued right up until the final minutes, with the bill’s co-author Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, doling out billions of dollars in promises on the House floor to secure the final votes needed for passage.

The bill was freighted with hundreds of pages of special-interest favors, even as environmentalists lamented that its greenhouse-gas reduction targets had been whittled down.

Some of the prizes were relatively small, like the $50 million hurricane research center for a freshman lawmaker from Florida.

Others were huge and threatened to undermine the environmental goals of the bill, like a series of compromises reached with rural and farm-state members that would funnel billions of dollars in payments to agriculture and forestry interests.

Automakers, steel companies, natural gas drillers, refiners, universities and real estate agents all got in on the fast-moving action.

The biggest concessions went to utilities, which wanted assurances that they could continue to operate and build coal-burning power plants without shouldering new costs. The utilities received not only tens of billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits, but also billions for work on technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal combustion to help meet future pollution targets.

That deal, negotiated by Representative Rick Boucher, a conservative Democrat from Virginia’s coal country, won the support of the Edison Electric Institute, the utility industry lobby, and lawmakers from regions dependent on coal for electricity.

Liberal Democrats got a piece, too. Representative Bobby Rush, Democrat of Illinois, withheld his support for the bill until a last-minute accord was struck to provide nearly $1 billion for energy-related jobs and job training for low-income workers and new subsidies for making public housing more energy-efficient.

Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican staunchly opposed to the bill, marveled at the deal-cutting on Friday.

“It is unprecedented,” Mr. Barton said, “but at least it’s transparent.”

Mr. Waxman defended the deal making as necessary to address a problem that affected every region and every industry.

“We worked hard to craft compromises that addressed the legitimate concerns of industry without undermining the environmental integrity of the legislation,” Mr. Waxman said. “Tackling hard issues that have been ignored for years is never easy.”

In its odyssey from introduction in late March to House passage, the climate-change bill sponsored by Mr. Waxman and Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, grew to more than 1,400 pages from 648 pages.

Although watered down from the original vision, it was still the first time either house of Congress passed a bill imposing a limit on the emissions blamed for the warming of the planet. The legislation awaits action in the Senate.

Despite all the concessions, President Obama worked hard for the bill and called it an extraordinary step for the nation. He said in an interview Sunday that the compromises had been necessary to moderate the different effects of greenhouse-gas controls on different parts of the country.

“I think that finding the right balance between providing new incentives to businesses, but not giving away the store, is always an art; it’s not a science because it’s never precise,” Mr. Obama said.

One of the major changes in the bill came early at the insistence of Democrats from Southeastern states, including John Barrow of Georgia, G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Bart Gordon of Tennessee. Prodded by utilities in the region, they pressed for a weakening of the national mandate for renewable energy.

The original bill called for all utilities to secure 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy by 2025.

This was seen as either impossible or enormously expensive in the Southeast, which does not have abundant supplies of such energy. The standard was weakened to 15 percent by 2020, with states given the ability to reduce it further if they cannot meet the target. That helped win Mr. Gordon and Mr. Butterfield’s votes. Mr. Barrow voted no.

The bill’s centerpiece is a cap-and-trade program that sets a ceiling on emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide and allows polluting industries to trade emission permits or allowances to meet it. Mr. Obama said during the presidential campaign that all of those permits should be sold at auction, but the bill’s authors ended up giving away 85 percent free at the outset of the program, which won votes but that some environmental advocates said undercut the bill’s integrity.

Industries fought among themselves for a share of the permits. Oil refiners were frozen out at the beginning, but called on lawmakers from refinery-rich districts to press their case.

Representative Gene Green, a Democrat from near Houston, demanded 5 percent of the permit value, worth more than $3 billion a year, to help refiners deal with the costs of carbon controls. “Refineries are very energy-intensive,” Mr. Green said. “They need a breather to adapt.”

He got them 2 percent of the allowances.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a major supplier of power in the Farm Belt, was squeezed out by the big utilities and received none of the permits in the early negotiations. But ultimately the head of the group, Glenn English, a former Democratic member of Congress from Oklahoma, secured nearly $400 million in annual emissions permits to help the small co-ops.

With that deal done, some farm-state Democrats who had previously opposed the bill were willing to vote for it.

Some of the toughest negotiations were between Mr. Waxman and Representative Collin C. Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota and a fierce defender of agricultural interests.

Mr. Peterson wrung numerous concessions on provisions opposed by agribusinesses and forestry companies. Several had to do with so-called offsets, which allow industrial polluters to meet emissions targets by buying carbon reductions from other sectors, particularly farms and forests, which actually take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

In the original bill, those offsets were to have been regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, considered a bogyman in the farm states. Mr. Peterson got oversight shifted to the farmer-friendly Department of Agriculture. He also broadened the list of activities that would qualify as offsets, bringing a potential windfall to farm interests.

His deal cut, Mr. Peterson threw his support behind the bill.

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff and a former Democratic leader in the House, said the president did not believe that the compromises had done it fatal harm.

“He loves this bill and lobbied hard for it,” Mr. Emanuel said, “including the great, the good and the not-so-great provisions.”

Michelle Obama and National Health Care,1,7546139.story


Good news: On the all important health care front Michelle Obama leads new national community healthcare center program...


Michelle Obama visits patients, doctors at community health center to announce new grant money

NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writer
June 29, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama visited a community health center Monday to announce the release of $850 million in stimulus grants to help such clinics across the country provide care.

"From the young to the old, from rural ... communities to the inner cities, both the insured and uninsured, 17 million Americans rely on community health centers every year to help them stay healthy," she said at Unity Health Care Inc.'s Upper Cardozo Health Center.

Mrs. Obama listed obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as diseases that community health centers can fight through preventive care. She expressed particular concern about the importance of teaching children to eat healthily.

"But to be effective in this fight, you're going to need more help, you're going to need more resources," the first lady said.

The $850 million will include $2.5 million to Upper Cardozo for 20 new examination rooms. According to Mrs. Obama every health center that applied will receive at least $200,000.

Mrs. Obama met privately with about eight patients and five doctors at the health center before speaking to a larger group of health center patients and employees, as well as reporters.

The stimulus law set aside about $2.5 billion for free and low-cost health clinics. Two earlier sets of grants awarded just under $500 million to health centers.

Mrs. Obama said that besides helping health center patients, the grant money could create jobs as health centers nationwide are renovated and upgraded.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Persecution of Michael Jackson


A typically incisive, informative, and razor sharp analysis/commentary by the internationally renowned novelist, poet, journalist, philosopher, teacher, and activist Ishmael Reed from the best muckraking journal on the Internet today, Counterpunch magazine...Ish is right on target as usual...Pass it on...


June 29, 2009

The Mad Dog DA and the Mad Dog Media

The Persecution of Michael Jackson

Last Thursday, while working on some writing deadlines, I was switching channels on cable. On CNN they were promoting “Black In America," an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s, according to a useful book entitled “The Showman and the Slave,” by Benjamin Reiss. The early penny press sold a “whiteness” upgrade to newly arriving immigrants by depicting blacks in illicit situations. By doing so they were marketing an early version of a self esteem boosting product. One of the initial sensational stories was about the autopsy of a black woman named Joice Heth, who claimed to be George Washington’s nurse and over one hundred years old. It was the O. J. story of the time. Circus master, P. T. Barnum, charged admission to her autopsy, which attracted the perverted in droves.

And so, if the people broadcasting cable news appear to be inmates of a carnival, there is a connection since the early days of the mass media to that form of show business. According to Reiss, early newspapers were not only influenced by P. T. Barnum, but actually cooperated with him on some hoaxes and stunts.

I would classify CNN’s “Black in America” as a stunt. In preparing for a sequel to the first "Black In America," which boosted the networks ratings (the O. J. trial saved CNN!), CNN rolled out the usual stereotypes about black Americans. Unmarried black mothers were exhibited, without mentioning that births to unmarried black women have plunged since 1976 more than that of any other ethnic group. Then we got some footage that implied that blacks as a group were homophobes even though Charles Blow, a statistician for The New York Times, recently published a chart showing that gays have the least to fear from blacks. Recently, the media perpetrated a hoax that blacks were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8, the California proposition that banned gay marriage. An academic study refuted this claim, but that didn’t deter The New York Times from hiring Benjamin Schwarz to explain black homophobia. Schwarz is the writer who wrote in The Los Angeles Times that blacks who were victims of lynchings in the south were probably guilty.

In the last “Black in America," Soledad O’Brien, CNN’s designated tough love agent against the brothers and sisters, scolded a black man for not attending his daughter’s birthday party. The aim of this scene was meant to humiliate black men as neglectful fathers. Ms. O’Brien won’t be permitted by her employees to mention that 75% of white children will live at one time or another in a single parent household and that the Gov. of South Carolina’s not showing up for Father’s Day isn’t just a lone aberration in “White America.”

How would CNN promote a “White in America?” The thousands of meth addicts who have abandoned their children? The California rural and suburban white women who do more dope than Latino and black youth? The suburban Dallas white teenagers who are overdosing on “cheese” heroin? Why not? Can’t get State Farm, Ford and MacDonald’s to sponsor such a program? All of these companies are sponsoring “Black in America,” the aim of which is to cast collective blame on blacks for the country’s social problems. For ratings.

During CNN’s carnival act disguised as news, the scene of Zimbabwe’s Prime Minster being urinated upon by a monkey while sitting in his garden drew snickers in the newsroom. This is what passes for coverage of the African continent by CNN.

When the bulletin that Michael Jackson had died flashed across the screen, I was prepared for TV at it’s worst and I wasn’t disappointed. The man wasn’t cold before the familiar adjectives were rolled out. “Weird, bizarre, eccentric,” the traditional language used to disparage artists by the bourgeoisie. Dan Abrams, who made his reputation by convicting O. J. Simpson before the opening arguments of his criminal trial, made a snarky comment about Jackson’s weirdness. Mr. Abrams, a higher up at MSNBC, employs a Hitler admirer named Pat Buchanan. Given Abram’s background, why isn’t that considered weird?

Former Calfornia poet laureate Al Young called to inform me that CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, another O. J. alumni, and a man who said that blacks shouldn’t be “patted on the head” or “patronized” for believing in O. J. Simpson’s innocence, had made some ugly comments about Jackson. (A star who has had at least a dozen facelifts called into the “Larry King Show” to comment about MJ’s altering his appearance).

Also weird was MSBC’s Savanah Guthries’ air-headed depiction of the trial. (For a list of Ms. Guthries’ false reportings see She said that the evidence against Jackson in the trial was “devastating." So devastating that some legal experts said that Jackson should never have been brought to trial and that the aim of the trial was to seek a pound of flesh from Jackson for being uppity and for putting the name of Thomas W. Sneddon Jr., a vindictive District Attorney, into a song. In my opinion it was the prosecution of Jackson by this District Attorney, who, among other things, violated Jackson’s fourth amendment rights, and made disparaging remarks about the star during a press conference, and the side-show pro prosecution media coverage that killed Jackson.

In my lengthy examination of the trial printed in my book, “Mixing It Up, Taking on The Media Bullies,” I concluded that though millions of Jackson’s fans celebrated his acquittal, the District Attorney, who was allowed to squander the California taxpayers’ money so that he might humiliate a rich black man, whom he felt had sassed him, was the victor. At the beginning of the trial, Jackson was dancing on top of a van. During the trial he had to be hospitalized. At the end, he was a frail emaciated wreck.

Because of the malicious prosecution of Jackson by Sneddon and Sneddon’s claque in the media, Jackson will always be regarded as a pedophile. (When the trial opened, a USA Today / CNN / Gallup Poll found that 72% of whites and 51% of Blacks believed that the charges against Jackson were “Definitely” or “Probably” true.) Wherever “Mad Dog” Sneddon, this hateful man might be in his retirement, he can gloat over the death of the man against whom he waged a vendetta with all of the power of the state at his disposal. Sneddon even tried to introduce photos of Jackson’s genitals during the 2005 trial, which proved too much even for the pro prosecution judge.

Of course, none of Sneddon’s abuse or the abuse of Jackson by his accusers was mentioned by an old corporate media, out of touch and on life supports. For infotainers like Katie Couric, Jackson’s father Joe was MJ’s sole abuser. In the eyes of yesterday’s media, black fathers are the principal actors in domestic violence.

Guthrie also said that the prosecution “had conducted mini trials within the trial,” which brought up “a whole history of prior bad acts of molestation.” She was referring to 1994 case in which Jackson was accused of pedophilia by a youngster who, according to writer Mary Fisher, a serious journalist, was used by his father to wrest some cash from Jackson. In"Mixing It Up,” I summarized Mary Fisher’s serious and thorough investigation that was originally published in GQ, October, 1994, under the title “Was Michael Jackson Framed?” Jackson settled out of court because Johnnie Cochran didn’t want him to face one of those all white suburban juries that O. J. faced.

Fisher wrote: “It’s a story of greed, ambition, misconceptions of part of police and prosecutors, a lazy and sensation-seeking media and the use of a powerful, hypnotic drug. It may also be a story about how a case was simply invented.”

Fisher claimed that the first case arose from the ambitions of the thirteen-year-old accuser’s stepfather, Evan Chandler, who exploited Jackson’s friendship with his son. At one point, he asked Jackson to build him a house. Fisher said that the child denied being abused by Jackson until he was administered the drug sodium amytal, which is known to induce false memory. Chandler refused to be interviewed for the article and refused to appear on the Today Show, where Fisher repeated her charges before a nationwide audience. She said that the whole scheme was concocted by the child’s stepfather to destroy the superstar.

None of the media descriptions of Jackson’s career, including a superficial pop-driven survey of the star’s career by Anderson Cooper, referred to the 2005 plaintiff’s lies and his mother’s shabby history of conning individuals and institutions including J. C. Penney’s, which she accused of sexual abuse. She claimed that she had been “fondled inappropriately” by store personnel. Documents also hinted that “…the mom rehearsed her children to corroborate her story.”

During the 2005 trial, Jackson’s Attorney, Tom Mesereau Jr. got the teenage boy to admit that he lied under oath during the J. C. Penny case. USA Today reported on March 1, 2005, that the mother used the boy as a prop to get money from Mike Tyson, Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Jay Leno and others, “even though insurance was paying his bills." Linda Deutsch, one of the last of hard-nosed shoe leather journalists, reporting for the Associated Press on March of 2005. said that Mesereau got the 15 year old to admit that he’d told Jeffrey Alpert, a school official that “nothing happened" between Jackson and him.

Connie Keenan, editor of Mid Valley News, wrote of a hoax that the boy’s mother perpetrated on that newspaper. She made a pitch that her son needed medical care and that she had no financial means to provide it. During the first week of the newspaper’s appeal, the mother received $965 in donations. It turned out that the boy was being treated at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles with no cost to the family. Connie Keenan concluded that “My gut level, she’s a shark. She was after money. My readers were used. My staff was used. It’s sickening."

While referring to Jackson as “bizarre” none of the cable reporting about Jackson’s death cited the bizarre courtroom testimony of the plaintiff’s mother, Janet Arvizo. At one point during her testimony, she said that feared her children would disappear from Neverland, Jackson’s ranch, in a hot air balloon.

On Apr 18, 2005, Agence France-Presse reported “The mother of Michael Jackson's young molestation accuser claimed that she feared her children would be spirited away from the star's Neverland Ranch in a hot air balloon. In some of the most bizarre testimony of Jackson's frequently surreal trial, the woman revealed that she told police she feared her three kids would vanish from Neverland into California's blue skies.

"Did you tell the sheriff that you thought your children might disappear in a hot air balloon from Neverland?" Jackson's lead lawyer Thomas Mesereau asked the woman under cross-examination.

"I made them aware," she said.

Finally, in November of 2006, according to TMZ, Janet Arvizo pled no contest to a welfare fraud charge in Los Angeles. She was ordered to 150 hours of community service and to pay $8, 600 in restitution. During Jackson's trial, Arvizo invoked the Fifth regarding welfare fraud. Seems that she applied for welfare even though she’d received a $150, 000 settlement from J. C. Penny’s. Even with the mother’s behavior and the boys lies, Nancy Grace, commenting on the death of Jackson, said that she was surprised by the not guilty verdict in the Jackson trial. No wonder Ms. Grace has been called” a cheerleader for the prosecution.”

Yet, these journalists insist that their news product is superior
to that of bloggers. (Journalistic bottom feeder, Diane Dimond, a Sneddon fan and Jackson stalker was invited by MSNBC to weigh in during which she was allowed to engage in doofus speculation much of it ugly about Jackson’s life and death)

G. Q. s Mary Fisher accused her colleagues of lazy journalism of the sort that defamed Jackson in life and in death. Maureen Orth from Vanity Fair didn’t read Mary Fisher’s findings. She was on the Chris Matthews Show accusing Jackson of “serious felonies” involving pedophilia. Another reporter who seemed to nullify the 2005 Jackson jurie's decision was “Morning Joe’s” adjunct bimbo, Courtney Hazlett. She said that there would be no pilgrimage to Neverland and as there was to Graceland, because “bad things happened at Never Land." We are led to believe that Presley and his entourage spent their days at Graceland drinking milk and reading each other passages from the scriptures.

All of these opinions seem to indicate that Cable’s talking heads have taken it upon themselves to nullify the judgment of juries whenever they please. This all white electronic jury has placed itself above the law.

But at least Jackson didn’t suffer from the kind of hi tech lynching accorded the tragic Patsy Ramsey. For years cable, which now not only calls elections but acts as judge and jury, accused her of murdering her child. Only after her death was it found that she was innocent.

If the reporting on Jackson’s death by the media wasn’t salacious and ignorant enough, it didn’t get any better the next day, June 26.

Ignoring Jackson’s philanthropic pursuits and contributions to forty charities, on the “Today Show,“ it was all about what happened to all of the nigger’s money and whether he died from too many drugs and what’s to become of his children, questions meant to attract the prurient. Again, Diane Dimod was invited on to spread scurrilous unconfirmed rumors about the dead star. Some of the modern day carnival barkers like Chris Matthews expressed surprise that Jackson’s death resulted in such an outpouring of worldwide mourning. This is what happens to people like Matthews who dwell in an insulated white supremacist bubble (that includes the Anglo wannabe and Churchill admiring Irish among them) which holds that a narrow cultural strip between New York and Washington represents the world.

I would like to have seen more independent African-American journalists comment on the passing of Michael Jackson, but, according to Richard Prince, who runs a media blog for the Maynard journalism Institute, hundreds have lost their jobs over the last two years, including Pulitzer Prize winners like Les Payne.

With the absence of black and Latinos from journalism, the media have become a spare all white jury always ready to take down a black celebrity for the entertainment of the types who used to attend those acts created by P. T. Barnum.

Ishmael Reed is the publisher of Konch. He is also the critically acclaimed author of over 20 books (novels, essays, poetry, and plays). His new book, "Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies" was published by Da Capo in 2008.

Lyrics by Michael Jackson

They wanna get my ass, dead or alive.
You know he really tried to take me down by surprise.
I bet he missioned with the CIA.
He don't do half what he say.

Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

He out shock in every single way.
He stop at nothing just to get his political say.
He think he hot cause he's BSDA.

I bet he never had a social life anyway.
You think he bother with the KKK?
I bet his mother never taught him right anyway.
He want your vote just to remain TA.
He don't do half what he say.

Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom S. Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man
Dom Sheldon is a cold man