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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My Bad

Why is it so difficult for President Bush- or anyone in his administration for that matter- to just admit that they messed up with the War in Iraq. They messed up big time.

Prior to the invasion, the Bush Administration told the American people the "conflict" would be brief, perhaps six months even.

Now Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is talking anywhere between five and twelve years?

C'mon man, this is crazy.

Last night the President gave a great political speech to shore up domestic support for the mission abroad. The problem is the "mission" seems to be rather fluid.

First the mission was disarming Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction for the safety of the American people. The President did the whole flight-suit bit and declared major combat operations over under a sign that said "Mission Accomplished."

Now the mission seems to be establishing a democratic Iraq. While the sentiment is very noble, that's not what the President established as the basis for invading Iraq.

Do you really think Congress would have given the President a blank check to invade Iraq in order to change their government and engage in nation-building?

I don't think so.

The weapons of mass destruction aren't there, we've stopped looking, and now we're stuck in this situation. Our forces are being stretched too thin, our National Guard is overseas instead of here defending our borders, and the money we're spending is insane coupled with tax cuts, huge deficits, and a range of domestic priorities.

I think a free and democratic Iraq would be beautiful, there's no doubt about that. But the President should admit his mistakes in order to get things on track.

Oh yeah, and WHERE IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?

Emancipated by Talib @ 9:38 AM :: (2) minds freed

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Is the Grass Greener?

Democrats and Republicans

Republicans and Democrats

Hmm...

Y'know, any way you slice it, neither party really holds great hope for uplifting of the masses of Black folk.

It used to be heresy to criticize the Democratic Party for lack of reflecting and advancing the needs and perspectives of our people; after all, what were you gonna do- join the Republican Party? Ha!

The Democratic Party rode the wave of Black loyalty from the modern Civil Rights Movement through the turn of the century.

Now the generation that grew up with the benefits of the Civil Rights victories are coming of political age and feel no intrinsic loyalty to the Democratic Party.

However, the question still remains: what are you gonna do- join the Repulican Party?

From the last presidential election it appears that some of our brothers and sisters aren't necessarily joining the GOP wholeheartedly, but are voting Republican.

The better of two evils is still evil.

So the question must be raised: what about other other parties?

What if a crop of new candidates emerged from the Green and Libertarian parties? Young, dynamic, and Black?

What if we threw out the old conventions of supporting either the Repubs or Dems en masse?

What if we as individuals, with each of our respective personal opinions, joined a party we actually believe in?

Is the grass greener with the Greens, Libertarians, or other parties? Or is the Democratic Party the best we can do right now?

Emancipated by Talib @ 12:40 PM :: (8) minds freed

Black Church Commentary

I think it is fair to say that I am not fond of Republicans or the GOP as a whole. However, I do believe in being fair, and Reynard Blake's assault on the Black Church in his Black Commentator article was in no ways fair to the Black Church or to the Bush Administration. I have no affection for Bush's regime - I want to see it changed ASAP - but some of Blake's charges need to be answered.

For the most part I agree with Blake's assessment of the Bush administration: their lies about Social Security Piratization Privitization, lies about Weapons of Mass Distraction Destruction, and the weakening of Affirmative Action need constant exposure to the light of truth. That said, why should it surprise anyone that BushCo props up its pet Negroes - Armstrong "Pay Me" Williams, Janice Brown, & Condi Rice? Didn't Clinton do the same thing with his pet Negroes - Ron "2 to the dome" Brown, Mike Espy, & Donna Brazille? If we're going to be fair - and I viscerally dislike Black Republicans - you can't call Bush's Blacks "pets" any more than could you call Clinton's Blacks "pets." Both sets work for their bosses at their bosses pleasure, and both sets more or less agree with their bosses. I think the Republicans are nuts and ultimately bad for Black folk, but you cannot call the Blacks who support Bush "pet negroes" - that just doesn't fly. We have so much substantive evidence with which to smack them, why stoop to that?

I agree with most of the next section of his article regarding the attacks on the Black community, including his frank discussion about the Democratic abandonment of Black folks and Howard Dean's response regarding his desire to change that. But then we get to the offensive part of Blake's article. First, he charges that Black churches are being rented because Bush wants photo-ops with Black preachers and congregants for delivering faith-based programs. I understand Blake's concern about perception management - I'd rather not see Bush anywhere near Black folks because he clearly intends us no good - but it is no different from when Democrats delivered programs and funding for non-profit organizations. Photo-ops come with the programs and funding - they always have for as long as there has been photography. This is not some insidious plot to "rent" churches, this is old fashioned politics - establishing coalitions through points of commonality. Now as for me, I'd want nothing to do with Bush - if a photo op were required for funding then I'd find another way to get it done without federal aid, but I'm exceedingly partisan - and with good reason. Others who are more concerned with feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and comforting the sick and imprisoned in their communities than with the overall effects of Bush's policies (which will make it more difficult to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sick and imprisoned in the not-too-distant-future) could easily look at it from a completely different perspective - they just need a helping hand in helping others, and they'll take it from wherever they can get it. If that line of thinking was OK under Clinton then it's OK under Bush.

Now, I don't know what the Black Church looks like in East Lansing, but from Blake's words the situation must be bleak there, because every Black church with which I have come into contact speaks boldly and prophetically about the ills of society - from Iraq to abortion to economics to homosexuality. What Blake may find problematic is the fact that these are not the primary emphases of the Black Church. You see, the Black Church is first and foremost the Church - not a political advocacy group. This was the most telling and damning thing about Blake's article - how are you going to critique the Black Church without once mentioning what God has to say? How can the Church be prophetic without mentioning the Word of God? Throughout the entire article I found not one thought that was Biblically-based - why would the Black Church take up an unbiblical agenda? Riddle me that. The Church is not some club of political activists, and if Blake doesn't understand that then there is no way that the Black Church would ever, in any way, heed his advice.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Then too, Blake shows his perspective on Biblical truth with his notion of validation. Biblical Theology is neither Black nor White - it's Biblical. There are different applications of theology in different social contexts, but the theology itself is no different in Black circles and White circles - He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He doesn't change for different worshippers. God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? If we have the same Theos then we have the same Theology. That said, He will speak to us in our own vernacular, but that does not change His nature and character - He is God, and He is our primary focus.


The Black Church is not a political party - it is a shame that Blake expects the Black Church to act like one. Look where that has led the White Church...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (2) minds freed

Monday, June 27, 2005

Thanks Chi!

Ah yes! The Underground Railroad is once again displaying properly in the Internet Explorer browser. Many thanks must first go to God, then to Chi Oji for working so diligently on this issue.

Emancipated by Talib @ 10:50 AM :: (2) minds freed

Embrace Your Elephant? Kiss My Ass!

One thing that is exceedingly well-established in politics is the fact that African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, any Democratic candidate can be assured of at least 85% of the Black vote. It has been suggested that African-Americans should consider the Republican Party instead of monolithically supporting the Democratic Party. That's fair, let's consider the Republican Party:

From Time:
"Here's some advice for Republicans eager to attract more African-American supporters: don't stop with Trent Lott. Blacks won't take their commitment to expanding the party seriously until they admit that the GOP's wrongheadedness about race goes way beyond Lott and infects their entire party. The sad truth is that many Republican leaders remain in a massive state of denial about the party's four-decade-long addiction to race-baiting. They won't make any headway with blacks by bashing Lott if they persist in giving Ronald Reagan a pass for his racial policies."
In other words, Republicans have to repudiate Ronald Reagan or forget about the Black vote. Ronald Reagan opened his '80 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi where he stated, "I believe in States' Rights!"

His presidency followed that same tract - Ronald Reagan: Great White Redeemer. From The Black Commentator:
"Only 12 years elapsed between the glorious military victory over the Confederate Slave States in 1865 and the definitive defeat of Reconstruction in 1877. In many important respects, the Reconstruction period was even briefer than that. By 1870, when the last of the southern states ratified the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, Tennessee had already rejected biracial democracy and installed an all-white ‘Redeemer’ government. ‘Redemption’ then swept through Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

For the next six years, much of the South experienced El Salvador-like levels of political violence, including the 1873 massacre of as many as 300 Blacks in Colfax, Louisiana – just one episode in the successful campaign to ‘Redeem’ that state for white supremacy. Although the last Black congressman was not run out of the South until 1900 (Rep. George Henry White, Wilmington, North Carolina), Reconstruction was politically crushed with the 1877 Democrat-Republican agreement to withdraw federal troops from South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The Hayes-Tilden Compromise signaled that white southern 'Redemption' from the threat of full Black citizenship rights was all but complete. This mutual understanding among the great majority of whites – North, South, East and West – would remain intact for nearly a century. In the warped religiosity of the white southern sense of the word, America as a nation was ‘Redeemed.’ A suffocating peace would reign among white men."

"What the demobilized Black leadership failed to understand is that the 'Redeemers' never quit; they continue to demonize and campaign against Black people even when African Americans represent no threat to their rule. Such was the case in the Deep South in the more than half-century in which the Black vote was virtually nonexistent. No matter. Racist demagogues kept their lock on power by relentlessly railing against helpless, unarmed, economically dependent, despised Blacks. It’s still a winning formula."
The "Redemption" crowd is firmly planted in the Trent Lott wing of the Republican Party, so can someone explain to me why African-Americans would have anything to do with the Republican Party? Nonetheless, let's look at where the parties stand on the issues. What do the Republicans value? As Markos has pointed out, Republican priorities can be boiled down to four points: strong military, family values, lower taxes, smaller government. The first thing that should be noted is that at first glance everyone would tend to agree with those points. Is anyone for a weak military? Who opposes families? Does anyone like to pay taxes? Does anyone really want the government to be any bigger or more powerful than is absolutely necessary? Of course not, and that's the genius of their framing, but as always the devil is in the details. Let's take a brief look at each point.
  • Strong Military
    The United States of America spends about as much on its military as the rest of the world combined, and yet we still have soldiers in the field without adequate equipment - when troops have to buy their own body armor something is seriously wrong. The problem is that politicians - pro-military Republicans in particular - have never seen a weapon system that they didn't like, yet we can't afford them. We're spending money on submarines that the navy says that we don't need, meanwhile soldiers go without armor for their Humvees. So what does it mean to support a strong military? If it means supporting the soldiers who do the actual fighting then you would think that the Republicans would fight to increase funding for veterans, but instead they are cutting veterans' benefits. So does it really mean anything to "support a strong military" other than to support any and every weapon system dreamed up by Ike's Military Industrial Complex? Apparently not.

  • Family Values
    On its face this seems agreeable to many Black folk, especially church-going Black folk. However, as in all things, you have to consider the source. These folks want to go back to the 1950's and before, when men were men, women were women, everyone knew their place and they kept it. Maybe it's just me, but that line of thinking has some chilling implications for Black folks.

  • Lower Taxes
    Here's the thing with Republicans and tax cuts - I am yet to hear a Republican tell me what level of taxation would be adequate. Obviously, we need taxes to pay for government operations, but I have never heard a Republicans say what level of taxation would be fair from their point of view. Never. I've heard talk of restructuring taxes - they don't believe that poor people should get a break on their taxes, that the poor should pay the same rate as Bill Gates - but I've never heard anything about what level of taxation is enough. If they were as honest as Grover Norquist then they, like him, would admit that their objective is a government small enough that they "can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Nice folks those Republicans.

  • Smaller Government
    Grover makes that point abundantly clear, but is that in the best interest of African-Americans? A strong government is needed as a check against strong corporations, against strong interest groups, and against human nature. If not for a strong government we would still be picking cotton in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. If not for a strong government we would still be drinking water out of "Colored Only" water fountains. If not for a strong government we would still be getting lynched on the regular. Black folk have seen first-hand the benefits of a strong government and we understand the necessity of a strong government. A government small enough that Grover Norquist or Pat Robertson or Trent Lott could drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub is not in the best interest of Black folks, because we know who would be next to be dragged into the bathroom and drowned in the bathtub.
So what do Democrats stand for? Markos has been discussing that on dKos, and a major problem with the Democratic Party is that it hasn't had this conversation sooner, but it is being had right now. The Democratic Party believes in a More Perfect Union - I am my brother's keeper but I am not my brother's master. I see five principal Democratic principles: Justice for All, Common Defense, General Welfare, Blessings of Liberty, Domestic Tranquility. This might sound a little familiar - it should.
  • Justice For All
    Democrats believe that all men and women are created equal with certain inalienable rights and should have equal opportunities in this life. While Republicans seem to favor Hobbes' view of the world, Democrats tend to favor Locke. Democrats believe that no man is innately better or worse than any other, and should be treated equally regardless of class or station - the homeless are entitled to the same justice as the rich and famous, the Mom & Pop bookstores deserves the same justice as Borders and Amazon.

  • Common Defense
    Our nation must be secure in its borders, but it does not need to be strong enough to single-handedly defeat every other army on the planet combined. Democrats believe in the use of both hard and soft power - there are times when "please" and "thank you" can get you further than a million-man army. Democrats believe that we need a strong military, but Democrats also believe that American leadership in global issues and international relations can mitigate the need for a strong military. You (usually) don't need an arsenal of guns when you're meeting with your family, and Democrats believe in fostering fellowship within the human family - though not from a position of weakness.

  • General Welfare
    Democrats believe that everyone should have the opportunity to fare well. This stands in stark contrast to the Cheap Labor Conservatives of the Republican Party. It is a question of who should benefit from society - Democrats say that everyone should benefit while Republicans believe that society is for the owners of the means of production. Democrats believe in promoting the General Welfare while Republicans believe in promoting the welfare of a specific few. Democrats believe that the General Welfare is promoted by a government that is accountable to the people, by elections that pass the smell test, by budgets that are balanced, and by protecting the weak from the powerful, lest we create a dangerous situation that would start a war of every corporate interest against every man and make life, in Hobbes' words, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

  • Blessings Of Liberty
    This is often framed as a right to privacy. Bluntly, Americans have a right to live their lives without being hassled by the government or their neighbors. As Patrick Henry put it, "Give me liberty or give me death!" Much the same way that no one can enter your home without your permission, the government and corporations cannot enter into your personal life without your permission. That point is foundational.

  • Domestic Tranquility
    Democrats believe that Domestic Tranquility is furthered when people are enabled to pursue their own happiness, that it cannot be imposed through force. Domestic Tranquility is, actually, a barometer of how well the first four are being met - if there is no justice, if our defense is lacking, if the general welfare is declining, or if our liberties are eroding then there will be no domestic tranquility, there will be no peace. The degree of tranquility is the measure of the perfection of our union.
The bottom line is that there's a political war going on and you have to choose sides or get caught in the crossfire. From where I stand, being a Black Republican isn't just oxymoronic, it's moronic. The common sense choice for Black folks seems painefully obvious to me - what do you think?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Word For The Week

In 1992 James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s running mate, opened his segment of the Vice Presidential debate with the humorous quip, “Who am I? Why am I here?” It was humorous because he was not a politician - relatively unknown - and yet he was in the political spotlight. The question, however, is actually quite profound, and we need to ask ourselves, “Who are we? Why are we here?” This question drives philosophers to think and musicians to sing – each inquiring about that one thing: “Who are we and why are we here?” Africans throughout the diaspora who are separated from the land of our ancestors have struggled to sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land, and we struggle for an identity, for collective self-esteem. We need to answer the question, “Who are we and why are we here.” To answer that question we must look to God. David inquired of God, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; What is man that you take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Who are we and why are we here?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the land and the sea, the birds and the trees, and Adam and Eve. Yet in that serene setting the serpent seduced and deceived Eve, and she did eat of the sweet treat from the forbidden tree. And she took it to her husband, and he too did eat. Sin often tastes sweet when we first eat of it, but when the sin begins to win its way through our system suffering becomes our end. God created us for fellowship with Him. Yet because of our sin we are separated from Him – dead to sin. We need New Life to begin. Jesus stands at the door knocking, asking you to let Him in.

Who are we? We are Children of God, soldiers of the Most High God, representatives of the Kingdom of God here in the kingdom of this present age. Why are we here? We are here to tear down the gates of Hell, to deliver God’s word of reconciliation to this lost and dying world, to bring the dynamic rule of God over the lives of men. We are here, not to take sides among the factions of this present age, but to take over – to seek the kingdom of God, to get people to submit to Christ that He might reign over their lives. We are not here to enact laws to create a theocracy - we are here to bring the good news of Jesus Christ that all men and women might freely choose to live for Him. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Christian, that is who we are, and that is why we are here.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Friday, June 24, 2005

Check It In

(Cross-posted at DailyKos, MyDD, and Booman Tribune.)

Growing up in Detroit, I - like all youth in Detroit - was well-acquainted with the criminal element. There were the Seven Mile Sconies, the West Wood Hoods, Pony Down, and the world-renowned Young Boys Incorporated running the streets. The Big Four also rolled through the 'hood in that dark blue Ford LTD, busting heads from time to time. When you grow up in the urban jungle you quickly learn which animals are predators, which animals are prey, and where you fit in the food chain.

It's a bad thing to be on the south side of the food chain - I learned not to wear jewelry the hard way. I was on the swim team of Henry Ford High School, and one afternoon after swim practice I was heading to the bus stop with another guy on the swim team. It was the 80's so I had my little rope chain on - nothing gaudy like Run-DMC's chains or Mr. T's mobile Fort Knox - just a little ¼" rope chain. Next thing I know, I hear from behind me, "Yo nigga, check that shit in!" It was three big guys in NY Yankees jackets. Pony Down. At that moment we had a choice - give up the chains, try to fight, or try to run. Seeing how they were already up on us, running wasn't an option - they'd have grabbed us as soon as we turned to run. Fighting wasn't an option either - the two of us may have weighed 250 pounds combined, while each of them were in the 250 range. Our only option was to check our shit in.

Technically, this is known as strong-arm robbery, but today it is known as Eminent Domain. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can take your property whenever it feels like it in order to "foster economic development." In other words, if Wal*Mart wants to bulldoze your neighborhood in order to put up yet another SuperWallyWorld and you and your neighbors give the Waltons the finger, the city/county/state government can step in and tell you, "Yo nigga, check that shit in!" Nissan wants to build a factory on the 40 acres that your great-grandparents actually got and passed down through the generations? "Check that shit in, nigga!" If some developer wants to build condos where you home currently sits, "You gotta check that shit in, nigga!" This is now the law of the land - if you have something that corporate America wants, and you refuse to sell/lease/give it to them at the price that they dictate, then prepare to check your shit in.

Nigga.

Does the discussion about Bush's judicial appointments seem a little more relevant now? Are municipal and county elections a bit more relevant now? Can we please get our act together now, before we have to check all of our shit in?


Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (6) minds freed

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thought Crimes & Misdemeanors

If you have never read George Orwell's 1984 then bookmark that page and read it this week. You'll need it once the Flag Burning Amendment makes it through the Senate. Here's the rub: the way Constitutional Law works, this Amendment will effectively nullify the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment. In other words, these words that I am writing right now could be declared a Thought Crime once this Amendment is passed. Sound crazy? It is. The Amendment simply states:
"The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

The problem is that the Court interprets the Constitution and its Amendments, and if Congress has the right to prohibit an expression of political speech (flag burning as an expression, not as disposal — see Section 4-k) then the Court could easily rule that Congress has the right to prohibit any expression of political speech. It's a slippery slope greased with Crisco, and it will be the Gay Marriage wedge of the 2006 election season — they can't have us talking about dead service members or Bush's Social Security agenda or unemployment. God forbid. We will need to be able to frame this discussion properly in order for it to resonate with Black folks and allow us to pivot to our main talking points. Here's how we do it:

Note that when the Republicans pimp the 1st Amendment that the Freedom of Religion will get jacked as well. They will be able to tell your pastor what he can and cannot say from the pulpit on Sunday morning. After making this point we can emphasize how the Black Church has always preached social justice — that Jesus teaches that we are to help those who are hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, that we cannot neglect the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. The Republican Amendment would silence the voices of our communities, and we must never allow them to do that to us. We will never be silent about (talking point #1). We will never be silent about (talking point #2). We will never be silent about (talking point #3).

See how this works? It's a Brave New World in which we are living, and our politics must match the times. Refine this framing in the comments below — localize it to where you live and let's put it to work. The Rude Pundit gives an excellent example of such framing for those who can stand crass conversation.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Punk'd

When I was in college we had a name for spineless punks who would not stand up for themselves - a name that I cannot repeat in polite company. Suffice it to say that it can be abbreviated as P.A.N. - the last word being the derogatory form of the word Negro, the first two words being body parts. I am reminded of this back-in-the-day term by the recent apology from Senator Dick Durbin.

Why in the world do Democrats feel the need to apologize for telling the truth, especially when there hasn't been any apology from Bush about lying to get us into Iraq? When the Republicans have no qualms about comparing Democrats to Nazis? When Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.) has no qualms about accusing Democrats of "denigrating and demonizing Christians" on the floor of the House? When Dick Cheney had no problem saying that voting for Kerry would bring about more terrorist attacks? When Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran vehemently refuses to apologize for the Senate's role in lynching? WTF?

I swear, if I hear about more of these P.A.N.'s in the Democratic Party punking out I'm going to have to run for office and take the wood to the Republican Party myself. I'm sick of it. Is there anyone left who has not been castrated by the GOP? Is there anyone left who is not afraid of the GOP? Is there anyone left with a spine in the Democratic Party?



Damn!

It's time for a David to step up and put Goliath flat on his fat arse. Who's man enough to do it?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 PM :: (2) minds freed

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Juneteenth: Black Independence Day

Crossposted at Blog For America, MyDD, DailyKos and Booman Tribune

Across the United States of America, Americans are celebrating Juneteenth: Black Independence Day. Seven score and three years ago President Abraham Lincoln issued these words:
"On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."

That word did not make it to Texas, however, until June 19th, 1965 – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after General Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox Court House – when Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas and proclaimed General Order Number 3:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

We celebrate Juneteenth because we need to remember where we came from in order to chart where we are going. We celebrate Juneteenth because those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. We celebrate Juneteenth because until the last slave is freed, none of us is freed. We can never return to slavery. Never. Yet in many ways, America still practices slavery to this day. The plantations of the Antebellum South provided their workers with food, clothing, shelter, and a modicum of entertainment. The Wal*Marts of today’s America pay wages sufficient for workers to acquire food, clothing, shelter, and a modicum of entertainment. It is true that today’s worker can often choose the plantation corporation for which he or she wishes to work, but that worker will still be dependent upon his owner employer for continued food, clothing, and shelter. The forms have changed but the substance is the same – serfs still work for feudal lords.

The only way to be free, to truly declare independence, is to be financially independent. This is true of individuals, communities, and nations. So long as someone else can make decisions that affect your ability to provide for your needs then you are dependent upon them, not independent.

It has been argued that the Congressional Black Caucus is saving Democracy, and there is some truth to that. However, many of them are subject to many of the same corporate influences to which their White counterparts submit. African-Americans For Democracy seeks to help our Representatives to be independent, of corporate money - allowing them to maintain their independent voice, breathing life into the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

African Americans For Democracy is working to establish a new generation of politically active Blacks for the purpose of securing the independence of our brothers and sisters, our communities, and the people of this nation. You can help us get started – visit the African-Americans For Democracy homepage and celebrate Juneteenth with us by donating to our effort to build a Black Donor Class.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 4:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Word For The Week

One of the continuing travesties occuring in this nation is the disenfranchisement of felons in America. It is true that in many ways America was fashioned after Rome, but how is it that the United States of America treats its citizens worse than did the Roman Empire? In Rome, once obtained, a citizen never lost his citizenship — even if he was convicted of a capital crime. Rome had many cruel and unusual methods of killing people — they transformed the science of killing into a perverse form of art — but a Roman citizen could only be executed by means of beheading - the quickest and least painful method known to the Romans.

The Apostle Paul, while awaiting his date with Nero's chopping block, had some words of encouragement for the church in Phillipi. He was about to be executed for his faith, yet he told the Philippians to be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, they should let their requests be known to God. Paul didn't sell them a song and dance about having their every request granted — he did, after all, have a date with the executioner — but he assured them that the peace of God which transcends all understanding would guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. The peace with which Paul faced certain death was evidence of God's provision for him.

Earlier, when Paul had asked God three times to remove a problem, God's response was, "My grace is sufficient for you." Americans generally aren't trying to hear that. We want what we want and we want it right now — it's all about self from the American POV — but Paul encourages us to rejoice in the Lord always, not in ourselves. Self-centeredness led to the original sin — Adam and Eve took their focus off of God and focused on their own desires, but we are to rejoice in the Lord.

So rejoice! In good times and bad, in sickness and health, for better and for worse — rejoice! Like Paul, we have to learn to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Here's the secret: I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

So again I say, rejoice! As a man thinks, so is he. If you focus on how bad things are then they will continue to be unpleasant and become all the more unpleasant, but if you focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — anything that is excellent or praiseworthy — things will not be as bad, and may in fact get much better. You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you deal with the circumstances.

As Paul says and again I say, Rejoice!

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Friday, June 17, 2005

Veni Vidi Vichy: Et Tu Barak?

There has been a good deal of discussion about Senator Barak Obama's comments about DNC Chairman Howard Dean last week (video):
"As somebody who is a Christian myself, I don't like it when people use religion to divide, whether that is Republican or Democrat. I think in terms of his role as party spokesman, [Dean] probably needs to be a little more careful and I suspect that is a message he is going to be getting from a number of us. We are at a time in our country's history that inclusive language is better than exclusive language."
Barak Obama The discussion has run the full gamut, from calling Obama a "sellout" and "traitor" who's biting the hand that fed him back when he was an asterisk in his Senate race, to vigorous defenses of Obama and his stellar voting record.

What do you think? One of the things that we will be discussing at DemocracyFest is what is it that Black folk should be about politically - what is our agenda? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (4) minds freed

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Technical Difficulties

Just in case anyone was wondering the sidebar to the right is alllll the way down at the bottom of the blog, it's because we're experiencing some technical difficulties.

COINTELPRO you say?

No, it's not that deep. It seems to be just Windows and/or Internet Explorer. If you view our blog with a Mac or other Apple computer, your screen should display just fine. I don't know how the blog looks with Firefox, Netscape, or any other of the web browsers.

Until we get it fixed though, just scroll on down the road.

Emancipated by Talib @ 2:04 PM :: (1) minds freed

The Best Of: Senate Apologizes for Lynching

Hey everyone. Occasionally, when someone posts a truly profound, hard-hitting, or otherwise stand-out comment to our discussion group, you just might see it here on the Underground Railroad. The following comment is courtesy of Omar Woodard.

I lauded the passage of S.Res 39, a formal Senate apology for lynching sponsored by Sen. Allen of VA (who has a questionable past of racial insensitivity as governor of Virginia) and Sen. Landrieu of LA. I ask you all to go to www.cspan.org and watch the discussion of the legislation. Interestingly, the vote took place at night, and was not a yea or nay vote, only a voice vote. There were 78 cosponsors of the legislation, and those who did not cosponsor the legislation were very interesting. I'll name a few:

Sens. Lott and Cochran of Mississippi
Sens. Hutchinson and Cornyn of Texas
Sens. Bennett and Hatch of Utah
Sens. Thomas and Enzi of Wyoming
Sens. Sununu and Gregg of New Hampshire
Sen. Shelby of Alabama

All told there are 21 senators, including 3 Democrats, that did not sign on. I am extremely displeased to see that, in addition to the voice vote (so their constituents would not have to know they voted for it). They spoke of previous Senates lacking courage, but this Senate lacked more courage than ever before, precisely because of the time of the debate (very late last night) and the voice vote.

The MSNBC article states, "Signatures missing Dan Duster, a descendant of Ida B. Wells, a former slave who became an anti-lynching crusader, praised senators who publicly backed the resolution of apology and scorned those who did not.

No lawmaker opposed the measure, but 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support of it shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor.

"I think it's politics. They're afraid of losing votes from people of prejudice," Duster said of those who did not sign the statement of support.

Emancipated by Talib @ 1:52 PM :: (0) minds freed

Why I'm Here

I became involved with African Americans for Democracy because I believe that my American citizenship and my African heritage are not mutually exclusive. As a young Black male born in the post-Civil Rights era, I have grown tired of hearing what we as a people need to, should, or can't do. African Americans for Democracy has provided me with an avenue to seek freedom and justice through democracy. Whether it be organizing political discussion groups or building the Black Donor Class, African Americans for Democracy doesn't just talk the talk- we walk the walk. This is my way of exercising my unalienable rights to secure the freedom and survival of Black people in America.

Emancipated by Talib @ 1:49 PM :: (0) minds freed

Catch 22

There are very few silver linings to be found in the results of the 2004 presidential election. The closest thing to a silver lining that I can think of is the fact that George W. Bush can't be appointed selected elected president again due to the 22nd Amendment which says:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
So can somebody explain to me why the House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, has submitted a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment? A bill that is cosponsored by 3 other Democrats (Howard Breman, Martin Olav, and Frank Pallone, Jr.) in addition to Jim Sensenbrenner - the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that threw a temper tantrum and shut down the hearings on the Patriot Act? I don't get it - a little help, please?


Emancipated by Athanasius @ 3:59 AM :: (2) minds freed

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

- Billie Holliday


What does it say about the United States of America in 2005 when a resolution - one apologizing to the victims of lynching and the descendants of those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation - only gets 81 out of 100 Senators to sign it? We are less than a week away from celebrating Juneteenth - the day the last slaves were emancipated from slavery - and there are 19 Senators who won't sign a resolution condemning lynching? These are the Senators who refused to sign the resolution:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Trent Lott (R-MS)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)
George Voinovich (R-OH)

Notice a trend? We have a lot of work to do - it's time to build that Black Donor Class right now! Here are the approval ratings for all of the Senators - some food for thought...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Medicare For All

As many of us know, there is a serious health gap in America. People of color get sick more often, get treated less often, and die much younger than Whites. Some pertinent numbers:
  • Life expectancy for the White population exceeds that of the African American population by 5.5 years
  • Life expectancy for African American males is 68.6 years vs. 75.0 years for White males
  • Life expectancy for African American females is 75.5 years vs. 80.2 years for White females
  • Age-adjusted years of potential life lost before age 75 for African Americans was 12,579.7 years vs. 6,970.9 years for non-Hispanic Whites
  • Age-adjusted death rate for the African American population was 30.6% higher than for non-Hispanic White population
  • 287,709 African Americans died in 2001
So how do we fix this problem? Paul Krugman suggests we extend Medicare to cover every American, from the cradle to the grave:
A system in which the government provides universal health insurance is often referred to as "single payer," but I like Ted Kennedy's slogan "Medicare for all." It reminds voters that America already has a highly successful, popular single-payer program, albeit only for the elderly. It shows that we're talking about government insurance, not government-provided health care. And it makes it clear that like Medicare (but unlike Canada's system), a U.S. national health insurance system would allow individuals with the means and inclination to buy their own medical care.

The great advantage of universal, government-provided health insurance is lower costs. Canada's government-run insurance system has much less bureaucracy and much lower administrative costs than our largely private system. Medicare has much lower administrative costs than private insurance. The reason is that single-payer systems don't devote large resources to screening out high-risk clients or charging them higher fees. The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured.
Making sure that everyone has access to health care would go a long way towards bridging the health gap. What else should we do to increase the health of our communities?

RIP

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:07 AM :: (4) minds freed

Monday, June 13, 2005

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

There are some questions in life that should never be asked: Does this make me look fat? Many men who find themselves on the receiving-end of this question end up imitating a deer caught in the headlights, some men curl up in the fetal position, while brothers with game simply say, "You know you look good, gurl." It is a question with no good answers, much like Democrats kvetching about Republicans being offended by the words of the Chairman of the Democratic Party.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Democrats should give a rodent's sphincter about what Republicans think. We are not trying to sit around the Rotunda and sing Kumbayah with them - we are trying to defeat them and their vile agenda. Vile, as in dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Vile, as in sending our sons and daughters off to an immoral war unequpped while cutting their benefits back home. Vile, as in cutting taxes on the greatest among us while eviscerating services for the least of these our brothers. Vile, as in increasing polution and deflowering our national treasures while naming the initiatives Clear Skies and Healthy Forests. Vile.

I mean, what kind of Battered Wife Syndrome is the Democratic Party dealing with? We are not married to an abusive spouse - we are engaged in war. The emotional well-being of the enemy is not something for us to worry about. No, part of our job actually is to demoralize the enemy - to reduce the emotional well-being of the enemy. When the enemy is no longer willing to fight then we win by default. Sound familiar? That is precisely what the Republicans have done to the Democrats, and what is the Democratic Response? Bend over and take it like a man? Alan Colmes must be proud.

Does this make me look fat?

No, but those bright red pumps that the Democratic Party is wearing sure makes it look like Bush's video-girl because the Democrats are straight getting pimped. It's time to man-up! Here's what the Democratic Party needs to do (lifted in large part from CFA's Blogswarm):

Internet
A modern Democratic Party needs leaders who can format a hyperlink. Not only do we need leaders who understand current e-campaigning, but we need visionaries who can see the vast potential that lies in the future of the internet. We need to fight in real-time across the internet, the blogosphere, and on the search engines. We need a phat online war room that never stops and perpetually interjects our side into every conversation online. Every site with a conversation needs our comments and links.

Blogosphere
The DNC should invest financially in the blogosphere. The DNC should have an ad with the message of the day on every single liberal blog (new every day, even Sundays and holidays). For a million dollars we could have two thousand points of TV in one major media market or we could subsidize hundreds of bloggers who are fighting tooth and nail online for our side, 24/7.

Email
No more fundraising emails. Period. If the Kerry campaign had asked the Dean campaign, they would have learned that constant cash-appeals turn people off. The Kerry campaign burned their list. As people stopped opening the emails the campaign suffered a huge opportunity cost when they needed to organize supporters in the end. Emails should only be used to initiate interaction - once people are vested in our actions they'll help fund the effort with their phat donations.

End Sentences with Prepositions
We need to campaign like we have a seventh grade education and unlearn the linguistic hindrances that hold us back. The people that we target with our ads don't talk like the people who make them. Our candidates need sentences with a subject, a verb, an object and then a period. Look how people write emails - forget what you learned in English class and talk to people. Tell a story. Focus on connecting to the audience instead of winning the hearts and minds of the proofreaders. What do you think you're more likely to hear at a chicken joint at dinner time, "Its the economy, stupid" or "A Stronger, Safer America"? We can earn mad cred when we write from the heart.

Lead America
If we only follow polls we will be reactive to the whims of Americans and we will not be able to win in the long run. We need to take the lead on issues, establish positions based on our values - not our polling - and lead the people. The Alberto Gonzalez nomination was a perfect example - instead of having a debate about whether we should oppose him we should have had a debate about whether a torture supporter should lead the Justice Department and then hit him with everything we have. No more conversations about strategic positioning. No more debates about triangulation. No more arguments about electability. We have to stand up for what we believe and fight with everything we have.

Answer The Right Questions
Democrats seem to be answering questions that don't mean a thing. The question isn't whether Howard Dean offended Republicans, the question is why is the Republican Party the homogenous WASP party? The question isn't whether the 60 Minutes document was a copy of the original, the question is whether or not the content of the memo was true. The question isn't whether or not we can trust paperless voting machines, the question is why on earth would we not want absolute assurance of the integrity of the vote? Democrats need to ask and answer the right questions.

Worldview
We need to learn how to distill issues. The Right will never say an issue is complicated since every possible situation fits into their worldview in a manner where they know what to do. People learn our values by seeing how issues fit into our worldview, not because we say, "God Bless America" at the end of our speeches. When we turn our backs on our values, people lose respect for us.

Opposition
Any change advanced by the GOP will regress our country. We need to fight every proposal. Choosing battles is a strategy that is inherently flawed. Compromising is likewise flawed. We need to fight to win and plan to lose strategically. As an opposition party, we must evaluate our leaders by their success at opposing. If they are ineffective we must replace them immediately.

Alternatives
We cannot offer compromises, instead we need to offer coherent alternatives to Republican proposals. These proposals must be crafted with an eye towards framing the next election, not influencing the Republican Legislation since we will be fighting to prevent any change from being enacted.

Make News
Dean understands this, but Kerry didn't get it until he brought in the Clinton people and by that time everything that happened was news. We can decide what we want the headlines to be with bold action. The further up the ticket the greater the role the media plays in the outcome. Instead of complaining about the coverage, we need to understand the media's perspective and needs, then create campaign storyboards too good for them to pass by.

Value work
Kick consultants off percentage, pay a good hourly wage and demand results. Have you ever heard a consultant who was working on percentage recommend not spending more money on TV? Even in the battleground states with markets so saturated with political ads that people are 100% tuned out? We need to budget according to results, and that is impossible when consultants have a financial incentive to spend on distribution instead of creation.

Training

How many trainings on e-campaigning has the Democratic Party hosted? It would be nice to have somebody teach us the tactics instead of having to figure things out on our own as we go along. I have yet to hear of any trainings on how to campaign online.

West Coast Offense
We had the largest GOTV ever and we still finished 10 points shy from where we needed to be. The Kerry campaign thought they were going to win and tried to run out the clock in the last two weeks. The Democratic Party has been silent since the election. We can never let this happen again. Elections come and go but the battle for America's future never stops. We need to campaign every single day of every year like we are 10 points down, because we are. We need a passing game and a strong defense, we must never again finish an election like we only needed to make it to field goal range and GOTV will put us over the top. No. We need to be winning beyond the margin of error and let our hustle and determination show that we want to win more than the GOP. We need to contest every down, force turnovers, and inside the pile we need to claw and poke and squeeze and bite and spit and do whatever it takes to make sure we have the ball in the end. We have to play to win.

This is what the Democratic Party needs to do, but African Americans For Democracy can do a lot of this for ourselves. It's time to get to work - are you in?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 2:03 AM :: (12) minds freed

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Word For The Week

(PastorDan posts a sermon every Sunday Morning on DailyKos, and I will do the same thing here on The Underground Railroad if it is agreeable with the AAFD membership.)

September 11, 2001
.

In a way we all wish that we would stop hearing about that day already, but the truth is that it was a defining moment for the
United States of America. It was a day that everyone remembers what they were doing when they first heard the news. Everyone remembers where they were when they first saw the World Trade Center on fire. Everyone remembers the horror of watching the plane fly into the second tower. Everyone remembers the pain of watching the south tower fall. Everyone remembers the dejectedness of watching the north tower fall. Everyone remembers the anger we felt as we came together as Americans – Black and White, Democrats and Republicans, Northerners and Southerners, liberals and conservatives – and shouted with one voice, “This Shall Not Stand!” We proclaimed as one man, “This shall not go unanswered!” United we cried, “Those who are responsible for this act shall be brought to justice or have justice brought to them.” This unity was seen even in Washington DC, where the Senate voted 98-0 in favor of the war resolution. Tom Daschle and Trent Lott went on national TV together after Bush’s speech to the Congress and affirmed their unity in this cause. In the House of Representatives Dicks Armey and Gephardt were speaking as one man – united in this just cause. Everyone from Tom Delay to Bernie Saunders voted for the war resolution. The House vote was 420-1. 420-1??? At a time like this someone voted against the resolution?

It turns out that one Representative from California
had reservations about supporting the resolution. It seems that the woman who represents Berkley, California couldn’t find it within herself to support that which the country uniformly supported. What was she thinking? When I heard that there was a dissenting vote in the House I remember thinking to myself, “She must be nuts – they better assign her a Secret Service detail because she’s going to need it now.” What was Barbara Lee thinking? When the nation as a whole is speaking as one man in favor of an action, she has the audacity to say no? When people who never agree on anything are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, united in this cause, she has the temerity to say no? What was she thinking? She reminds me of a prophet found in 1 Kings 22.

Micaiah was a true prophet of the LORD. He was fully committed to the will of God. Look at verse 14 of I Kings 22. “But Micaiah said, ‘as the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.’” Micaiah was not interested in what would advance his career in ministry, or what would ingratiate himself with the king. He was interested in and committed to doing the will of God who called him and spoke through him. Micaiah had God as his top priority, just like we are supposed to.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” David, king of all Israel and Judah, understood that he was to seek God first. In II Samuel 7, David sought to do a work for God. David was living in a beautiful palace, but the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, was outside in the cold under a tent. David thought this was wrong and wanted to build a temple for God in which to place the ark. But God told David, paraphrasing verses 5-17, “Thanks, but it isn’t that crucial. However, since you’re your heart is set on me I’m going to bless you.” God blessed David because David sought God first, because God was his first priority. God chose to bless David based on David’s relationship with God. Nothing was more important to David than the will of God.

The first desire of David’s son Solomon was to do the will of God. In I Kings 3, God tells Solomon to ask for anything that he wanted. Solomon praised God and asked God to give him wisdom to govern God’s people effectively to the glory of God. Since he requested something that would help him serve God and not something to fulfill the lusts of his flesh, the lusts of his eyes, or the pride of life, God blessed him with the wisdom he requested and all of the material riches and social honors that one could imagine, simply because Solomon’s first priority was the will of God. Solomon was fully committed to the will of God.

There once was a young aspiring preacher who was visited by an angel. The angel said to the young preacher, “Your ministry will grow and be prosperous if you do according to all of the words I am about to speak: Never mention the word sin – ever. Never mention the word repentance or even refer to it. Offer them salvation in terms of deliverance from their problems. Motivate your people to be moral and upright human beings and your ministry will flourish. The bigger the building you build, the more people that will fill it. And everyone who commits themselves to this salvation will join me in eternity…” How many pastors have compromised their ministries in this fashion? How many preachers will only preach what the people are willing to hear? How many ministers are committed to say that which God has told them to say only as long as it will be well received? Micaiah was fully committed to the will of God. Are we fully committed to the will of God, to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Micaiah was also courageous in the face of perverse authority. Ahab was the most wicked king that Israel had ever seen. The name of his wife, Jezebel, is still synonymous with wickedness to this day. A king has power over the life and death of his subjects, even the prophets. With a word he could have had Micaiah killed. Despite that, Micaiah still spoke what the LORD told him to speak – a word of rebuke and judgement – which he knew would upset the king. Look at verse 18 in I Kings 22. “Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?’”

You see, people usually know when they’re wrong, but they often try to kill the messenger for telling them that which they already know. Most messengers know this and develop a sizable fear of delivering the message, desiring to avoid the retaliation of the recipient. Parents stop spanking their children, teachers stop failing students, preachers stop mentioning sin. All from fear of what might happen to them if they take a stand for that which is right.

But you know, there were three Hebrew boys who were not afraid to take a stand for what was right. They stood up to the most powerful man on the planet, Nebuchadnezzar, and told him to his face, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They took a stand. They were fully committed to the will of God and they were courageous in the face of perverse authority. They understood that it’s all good – for believers. The Word of God says “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s all good.

God knows what we need, and if we seek him first to do His will, he will provide for all of those needs. No weapon forged against us will prosper, right? So what’s the matter with our standing power? Why can’t we take a stand? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took a stand for the LORD. Micaiah, a prophet of the LORD, took a stand for the LORD. Is there anyone here who will take a stand for the LORD? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

You see Micaiah was also convinced of God’s truth. He wasn’t just running off at the mouth with what he thought or what he believed or what was the logical conclusion from the scientific or statistical data. He was convinced - no, he KNEW that the word of the LORD was true. In verse 28 we find the last words recorded from Micaiah. “And Micaiah said, ‘If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Mark my words, all you people.’” He knew the truth of the Word of God, that it was without error, that it is God-breathed and useful for instruction and correction. Ahab had him sent to prison where Micaiah was to stay until Ahab returned safely from battle. Micaiah told him up front that he would be spending the rest of his days in prison because Ahab would never return from battle alive. Micaiah was convinced of God’s truth and courageous in the face of perverse authority because he was fully committed to the LORD.

You see, Moses was committed to the LORD when he commanded pharoah to “Let my people Go!” and the captives were set free.

Joshua was committed to the LORD when he marched around Jericho for seven days and the walls came tumbling down.

David was committed to the LORD when he confronted Goliath and the giant came tumbling down.

Nathan was committed to the LORD when he rebuked King David and the king's arrogance came tumbling down.

Elijah was committed to the LORD when he faced the 450 prophets of Baal and fire came tumbling down from heaven.

Jesus was committed to doing the will of his Father who sent him and now salvation’s free to you and me.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

Ezekiel got a taste and it was sweet as honey.

John got a taste on the Island of Patmos and it was like honey to his lips but he couldn’t stomach the testimony.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Now, no man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will love the one and hate the other.

You cannot serve both God and Money.
• You cannot serve both God and Lexus.
You cannot serve both God and prosperity.
• You cannot serve both God and America.

You must choose this day whom you will serve. Whether the ancestral gods of your forefathers beyond the Atlantic or the self-centered, materialistic gods of the Americans in whose land you live, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And if you will be fully committed to do the will of God, I implore you to be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the Word of God; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Word of God depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything according to it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Haven’t I already told you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Barbara Lee took a stand for the truth. Micaiah took a stand for the truth. Jesus took a stand for the way, the truth, and the life. Will you stand up for the truth? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (2) minds freed

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Apprentice

Alexandra Starr at Slate magazine introduces us to Dick Wadhams, "Karl Rove's heir apparent." In the campaigns he has run:

"Wadhams didn't hesitate to run attack ads and regularly belittle his opponents. His approach mirrors not only Rove's but also that of the late Lee Atwater, creator of the Willie Horton ads that helped sink Michael Dukakis.

While most campaign managers are defensive about going negative, [...] Wadhams is entirely unapologetic. "There's nothing wrong with going negative," he once argued. "Staying positive is a disservice to the voters because differences between the candidates are never revealed."


I read this and think about how the Democratic Party can rehabilitate itself. What can the Democrat Party learn from Black people? How and When to Be Confrontational.

Emancipated by Quintus Jett @ 12:38 AM :: (3) minds freed

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Politics of Greed

What's in it for me?

People get involved in politics because they want to affect their societies - some for the purpose of creating their version of a more perfect union, others for the purpose of personal gain. The biggest problem with politics in America today is that the latter group greatly outnumbers the former group - everybody is out for self: "What's in it for me?" Maslow's Hierarchy At a basic level this is not a bad thing - the whole hierarchy of needs thing - but the problem is when political policies reflect greed instead of need. If we are given a choice between either feeding the homeless who would otherwise starve or giving a tax break to a billionaire then our ethical imperative should be clear, but the Republican Party opts for the tax break every time.

You would think that the political party that claims to be the only viable party for Bible-believing Christians would actually read the Bible. During the Olivet Discourse Jesus said that it is important to feed the hungry, invite in the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and love the imprisoned - so much so that it showed the difference between those who were heaven-bound and hell-bound - yet these are the very initiatives that the GOP gleefully sacrifices upon the altar of tax cuts. No man can serve two masters according to Jesus - you cannot serve both God and Money - and it seems to me that the GOP serves Money while they pimp God. They trot God out whenever they need to fire up their base, but when it comes to actually honoring God with their deeds they demonstrate that while they honor God with their lips their hearts are far from Him. Big Money always gets its due while God gets empty platitudes from the GOP.

The truth is that many Democrats serve Money as well, so we have to get a tall stack of it if we are going to bring them into line with the needs of our communities. This is why African-Americans For Democracy is committed to building the Black Donor Class. If we cannot get politicians to support the greater good, to support the least of these our brothers, then we have to make them support their own self-preservation - we need a lot of money to be used for our friends and against our enemies. We have to be able to inflict great pain upon those who would do harm to our communities' interests, and we must be able to bestow great pleasure to those who implement our issues. That takes money, and while most people don't have a large amount of disposable income to be used to influence politicians, collectively we can make a huge difference for our communities with our small donations. We have to, because the Republican Party is pursuing a vicious version of the politics of greed. Our communities are vulnerable to this because, as DuBois warned, we mistake the means of living for the object of life. We have to go make a difference. It is time for the Talented Tenth to step up and make a difference for our community.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:14 AM :: (5) minds freed

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Brown vs. Board of Education

Sometimes I wonder if integration was a good idea. I know this is heresy in the African-American community - and America as a whole - but it occurs to me that some of us get around White folks and lose our ever-loving minds.

Case in point, Janice Rogers Brown has just been confirmed by the Senate to a lifetime appointment on the federal appeals court. To put it kindly, this sister is nuts, and her nuttiness parallels the insanity that we see coming from the Bush Administration. Up is down. Bad is good. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

This woman blames liberalism for slavery. Read that again. She blames liberalism for slavery. Never mind that the first black indentured servants arrived in Jamestown in 1619 and lifetime slavery was established by 1640, yet Liberalism wasn't even a concept until the middle of the 18th century. Far from being the product of Liberalism (or liberalism), slavery was the product of market forces unfettered by government regulation. The Free Market will always push labor costs toward slave wages without government oversight, as corporate managers try to reduce their costs. Left to its own, an unregulated Free Market leads to Feudalism, and we serfs already know our place in society. It is not Liberalism that leads to slavery, it is laissez-faire government turning its back on the people that leads to slavery, and it was America's first Gilded Age that led to the first Populist Revolt - history does have a habit of repeating itself.

By confirming this nut, the Senate Democrats have set a standard - this judge is not considered to be extreme enough to warrant a filibuster. I can only wonder who would now be considered extreme enough to filibuster - Newt Gingrich? Pat Buchanan? David Duke? Fred Phelps? Moreover, by confirming this woman without a filibuster she is in line to be nominated for the Supreme Court once Rehnquist exits stage right - they will not be able to filibuster her due to the precedent set here.

The prospect of having Janice Rogers Brown and Clarence "Uncle" Thomas in the Supreme Court should make every American shudder. It should scare Black folk to death. These two judicial activists have no problem with defying stare decisis by Clarence Thomas' own words and Janice Brown's rulings. It is not too far-fetched to expect them to be willing to overturn any ruling with which they disagree, be that Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education or Marbury v. Madison.

This is not good. This is why we need our community to support our candidates with our votes in order to keep nuts like Brown and Thomas from being confirmed to lifetime appointments. We need to create a Black Donor Class right now. Will you help?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:44 PM :: (4) minds freed

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