Edward Kennedy’s Last Quorum Call

Sen. Edward Kennedy's Last Quorum Call 

I joined more than 5,000 people at the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol Aug. 29. It was the only opportunity for members of the general public here in Washington to pay respects to Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in a political dynasty and one of the most influential and longest serving senators in American history. He died Aug. 25 at his Hyannis Port home after a 15 month-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

Where did they hide their tears? I wondered as I watched his family members assemble for a brief prayer outside the Senate chamber. They were so stoic. It was, after all, their hurt, their loss, their father, their uncle whose remains were at the front of that long, long cortege.

Dozens in the crowd who knew him only by reputation, wiped away tears or sobbed silently. How did his family members retain their composure? Where were their tears? Had they cried themselves out in private?

The sun dipped behind the Capitol Building before his body arrived. There were periods of sun, then the buttermilk sky looked like it might rain. Onlookers reminded one another that rain at a funeral was a good sign, from Heaven. Continue reading

Why not Medicare for all?

Yeah 

It doesn’t matter how you dice it–swastikas this time, nooses in the past, and don’t forget lynchings–there is a consistent theme in American White male thinking which must be openly repudiated if America is to survive, let alone reform the healthcare industry: and that is: “If you’re White you’re right. If you’re Black get back.”

This healthcare debate has brought all kinds of skeletons out of the closets. It even goes deeper than some White Guys just wanting to re-decide the Civil War in favor of the Confederacy, they really want to re-decide The Crusades of 1,000 years ago. And they’ve got a lot of White people gung-ho about it!

So, all of this swastika painting at the office of Georgia Congressional Black Caucus member David Scott is like a burning cross in the days of yore, by someone who did not want to get arrested: Send the message of racial hatred, but don’t show your face.

A lot of this hatred is coming to the surface now, because there is a Black President of the United States. And that is what is so counter-intuitive in the typical white supremacist-mind and is the source of confusion and frustration. “Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall always be slaves, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”–Joshua 9:23. That verse from the Bible, True Believers believe, refers to Black folks.

That is why there can be no Medicare for all in the United States, because it can’t be segregated for Whites only. Continue reading

Betrayed by his ‘Boca-Burgers’

Who would have ever thought that an African American public official from Cajun Country, Louisiana–where the food is so good, your tongue chases your palate clean out of your mouth–who would have ever pegged a Laissez Bontemps Roulette kind-of prominent Black, Louisiana elected leader as being a vegan, a vegetarian?

It’s funny what a warrant in the hands of a Pit-bull-type federal prosecutor can come up with. Just ask Marion Barry.

Well, it turns out that maybe it’s true. Maybe, just maybe former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member William Jefferson (D-La.) is a vegan, a vegetarian. It seems that when federal agents raided his home here in Washington, they famously discovered $90,000 in marked bills he was paid by a government informant in his freezer.

The “Cheese” (pun intended) was found when The Federales raided his home and his office, prompting a Supreme Court Constitutional challenge to the raid of his office, because of separation of powers issues concerning executive vs. legislative authority over the U.S. Capitol Grounds. The raid at his home is where they found The Cheese in his freezer, hidden in fake Boca-Burger boxes, which led to his conviction Aug. 5, on 11 of 16 corruption charges.

Boca-Burgers. That’s fresh. No meat. Certainly no forbidden swine. But of course William Jefferson is a Harvard Man and why wouldn’t he have refined taste for all of the nicer things like Boca-Burgers and even Grey Poupon. Continue reading

The Cop, the Prof and The Prez

There’s this joke: You see, a cop, a professor, and the President walked into a bar.

On second thought, fuhgeddaboutit. It’s not really that funny. Or maybe it is. That’s because race is at the center of the story.

In real life recently, a White cop and a Black professor went to the White House for beer and conversation with POTUS, the President of the United States, who is Black.

What’s funny about that meeting is that the professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.: is a mild-mannered scholar who has bridged racial differences; is married to a White woman; and has joked about his genealogical discovery that he was part Irish, part Jewish and more White than Black.

“I don’t have a profile of being an angry black man,” Dr. Gates said after he was arrested for disorderly conduct at his own home on the Harvard University campus by Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge, Mass. Police. Continue reading

Henry Louis Gates: meet Carl Rowan

Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., the “Dean” of American “Public Intellectuals,” was humiliated in his own home when he was arrested recently by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in.

Some White person just couldn’t believe that a Black man could be the resident of his beautiful home on the university grounds, so they called the police to report an obviously suspicious Black man trying to force his way into the house. It’s a bad enough social disgrace that the neighbor did not know who his or her neighbor was.

What makes things worse in this case is that it appears that all the way up the chain of responsibility and all the way back down, the White folks involved behaved badly, like White folks, like out of control White folks, and yet it is the Black man who got locked up in the deal. Continue reading

Cynthia McKinney’s no martyr

Cynthia McKinney back in Washington, July 8, 2009

Former six-term Congress member Cynthia McKinney is no martyr. Although the political establishment gives her “no respect,” she is no Rodney Dangerfield. Her plight is identical to that of millions of people around the world.

Snakebit, is an accurate way of describing the scorn in which she is held throughout the corporate-owned media.

For an entire week she languished in an Israeli jail, with only e-mail notices reporting on her whereabouts and her well being. No helicopter gun-ships were sent off the offending country’s coast. No warships. Not even any threatening diplomatic language.

On June 28 out on the open seas, a boat on which she was a passenger was hijacked by Israeli Defense Forces and the 21 persons on board–including Ms. McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire were arrested. The boat was carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip and it was captured on the open seas!

“This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children,” Ms. McKinney said in a statement released by the Green Party July 4. Continue reading

Holocaust murder: where is the shame?

It was an ugly scenario. A White racist killed a Black man at a Jewish shrine. At a shrine intended to remind the world of an unthinkable horror, the murder, the extermination of millions of people simply because they were Jewish. Where is the shame?

It happened here at the Holocaust Memorial Museum June 10, an 88-year-old avowed White supremacist and neo-Nazi, an ardent denier that the Holocaust even took place, allegedly took a gun so old to the museum that it could not even be traced, where it is alleged, he shot Stephen Johns, a 39-year-old security police officer in the chest, mortally wounding the innocent man.

The shooter, James von Brunn was shot in the face when other guards returned fire. He has been charged with first-degree murder, which seems to kind because of the depth of hate which fueled his alleged crime. Authorities believe he will survive his wounds.

But his own son has disavowed the shameful act, saying the shooting was unforgivable and he wished his father had died instead of the guard. Erik von Brunn told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” that he and his father shared a bond of familial love, but that they didn’t like each other. The interview followed ABC’s earlier release of comments by the son that his father had long burdened their family with his white supremacist views. His is a powerful disavowal of his own father which should embarrass all his father’s right-wing ideological “fellow travelers,” who carry similar, ugly baggage.

But there are many others who think like the elder von Brunn. They reside in all levels of government, and the corporate world. They were judge’s robes. They administer programs. They are legislators. They are CEOs. They’re on TV, radio. Continue reading

When the terrorists win

The murder of security guard Stephen Johns at the U.S. Holocaust Museum June 10 by an 88-year-old racist who is a well-known neo-Nazi, coupled with the fallout from the assassination of abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller IN CHURCH recently, makes me feel we are definitely seeing the unfettered rise of White hate groups–fascists, Nazis.  The anti-abortionists are eager to send a signal to “baby killers,” by not condemning the assassination (some even claimed “victory”) while the abortion clinic was permanently closed. That leaves other abortion providers quaking in their boots. The silence of the anti-abortionists makes them as complicit in the crime as were those who aided John Wilkes Booth when he fled through the Maryland Eastern Shore after murdering Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC in April 1865.

Did anyone ever wonder “what happens when the terrorists win?” We’re seeing the answer to that question right before our eyes with these murders, by folks who would not otherwise be considered “terrorists,” because they are not Muslims, because their skin is White. Violence against innocent persons in order to bring about a desired political outcome is the definition of terrorism! I do not support abortion. I believe it is a disgusting form of “birth control” foisted on the poor by the rich, but it is LEGAL.

Murdering someone who provides a lawful service in order to affect the political climate is TERRORISM, pure and simple, and the Tim McVeigh-wannabes, and the rest of this murderers “fellow travelers,” the anti-government, anti-tax, Obama hatin’ extremists of the anti-abortion movement are just as guilty as this right-wing, supremacist, convicted felon who pulled the trigger.

What happens when the terrorists win? Indeed! In this country, some of them escape the law, grow old and murder security guards.

Cheney v. Powell: Chicken-Hawk v. War Hero

Well, I guess the future of the Republican Party has now been forever sealed. Chicken Hawk Dick “Lord Darth Vader” Cheney says he’d rather follow pill-popping broadcaster Rush “I Hope (Obama) Fails” Limbaugh over a cliff into an abyss rather than decorated combat veteran and former Joint Chiefs chairman Colin Powell if he has to march into political battle over the future of the Republican Party.

So this, with Mr. Limbaugh’s body slam of Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, followed by Mr. Steele’s two apologies–one just for even being born, the other for questioning the Corpulent Radio Commentator–makes the score: Rabid-Nutty-Right-Wing Republicans 2 vs. Black Republicans -2 (would be Zero except for the apologia).

“If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican,” Shoot-Friend-in-the-Face-on-Friendly-Hunting-Trip; Tell-Pat-Leahy-to-go-F***-Yourself-on-the-Senate-Floor Darth said, when asked about the verbal fisticuffs between the “Brown Bomber” and the “Pillsbury Dough Boy” on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Mr. Powell–secretary of state under President George W. (for Worst in History) Bush and the nation’s top soldier under his father, President George H.W. Bush–endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president last year. Nonetheless, since the election he has described himself as a Republican and a right-of-center conservative, though “not as right as others would like.”

Mr. Powell’s remarks seem more “correct” than they are purely “right.”

Newspaper busting: revenge of the Corporate Suits

Back in the 1980s, the un-patriotic corporate titans who are possessed–in the words of The Last Poets–with a “god complex,” taught the rest of us a thing or two by shipping millions of jobs overseas in order to improve their companies’ bottom lines, to win the confidence of shareholders, and of course to justify enormous executive compensation packages for the officers and members of the boards of directors. It was the private industry version of Ronald Reagan vs. the Air Traffic Controllers Union.

At the same time, as a matter of patriotic pride, they told us to “buy American,” but by all means, to buy, buy, buy. We took them at their word.

Since the dot-com bubble has burst; the mortgage industry bubble has burst; the banking bubble has burst; the automobile manufacturing industry has burst; the insurance industry bubble has burst; those same scoundrels are now taking billions in corporate “welfare” from the government, while at the same time pointing their fingers at Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, calling them “losers,” who tried to scam the innocent lenders into selling them homes and other products–the erstwhile “American Dream”–which they (the consumers) could never afford in the first place. Bad borrowers.

Now, the Corporate Suits have a new fall-guy–the newspaper industry. Papers, they say, are no longer effective media for selling local retail products. Baloney, I say!

Just yesterday, I received in the mail a catalogue that weighs 1.5 pounds! That’s a lot of paper. Clearly, someone believes that printed advertising is still effective. I know, there’s blogs, and You Tube, and podcasts, and Facebook, and Twitter, all dumbing-down the population, but messages–including advertisements–can still (and will in the future) be successfully delivered on paper, they just won’t have those heavy editorials along with them. That’s because there will be no more editorialists…I mean journalists.

That’s right, no more investigative reporting. No more exposés. And while we’re at it: “Let this be a lesson to you meddlesome journalism guilds, and craft unions!”

Revenge of the Corporate Suits: that’s what’s really behind the massive layoffs in the newspaper industry.