Watts Revisited. Forty Years Later, Dreams Deferred ©

“Forty years later, the schools in this part of town are among the lowest achieving anywhere in the city.
Forty years later, the unemployment rate is the highest of anywhere in the city.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

August 11, 2005 was the anniversary of the infamous Watts riots.  There were celebrations, an acknowledgment that time had passed.  Yet, for most living in this area, time has stood still.  There was little or nothing to celebrate.  Life in the neighborhood is virtually the same. For those living in this Los Angeles community, some forty years have gone by and little has changed.

The Watts area, a section of South Central Los Angeles, is still symbolic of life in the “slums” of America.  Poverty leads to greater poverty.

Conditions today are as they were in August 1965, horrendous.  Then, more than half the residents were unemployed.  One quarter of the households were receiving welfare.  In 2005, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suggests circumstances are similar.

Forty years ago, landlords were absent. Property-owners were typically white, well off, and would not want to be seen in such a slum.  Most residents lived in squalor.  Rat and roach invested homes were the “norm.”  Leaking roofs, cracked walls, and poor plumbing were common.  Buildings were not maintained. The idea of repairs, restoration, and renovation were whimsy.  These did not happen.

Public transportation was not available in this part of town.  Residents were required to walk more than a mile merely to find employment, go to their jobs, or to purchase goods.  Shopkeepers, businessmen, and bankers took advantage of this.  Prices were higher and quality much lower in poverty stricken neighborhoods.  Interest rates were also adjusted; these did not favor a struggling clientele.

Racial discrimination was rampant.  The police were suspicious of all Black citizens.  Surveillance was strong; law enforcement was always watching and waiting for African-Americans to do wrong. Police brutality was acceptable and occurred frequently.

For local residents life was a struggle.  Surviving was barely possible; thriving was fantasy.  The Black population could not gain access to capital. Beginning a business venture was next to impossible. Improving one’s station in life was not even a dream.

People in Watts felt as though they had no control over their own destiny. Resources were limited.  Negro’s were not represented in city government. African-American citizens had no power.  Though the right to vote was finally awarded to Black citizens in 1965, there was no reason to believe that things would different.

In 2005, there are slight differences; however, life still looks grim!  Look for your self.  Read and reflect upon the following statistics. These numbers come from the Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement.

• In Watts, 22 percent are unemployed.  In other areas of Los Angeles the percentage is less than 7.
• Employed residents typically work in low-skilled and low paying positions. In other areas of the city the numbers differ.  Most are gainfully employed in areas that require greater education, expertise, and pay a better wage.
• 32 percent in the Watts residents work in production, transportation, or material moving occupations. In the city of Los Angeles only 15 percent work in similar circumstances.
• Service occupations support much of Watts.  Rarely are residents found in professional and specialized stations.

Educational attainment in Watts is lower on average than it is in any other area of Los Angeles. Upward motion and motivation are nil.  In some respects, numbers are declining.
• The percentage of adults earning at least a Bachelor of Arts degree increased by only one percentage point from 1990 to 2000.
• As of the 2000 census, 3 percent of adults in Watts have earned a BA degree; in the City of Los Angeles, 26percent of had achieved this feat.
• 64percent of adults in this community do not have a high school diploma.
• Nearly 40% of the adults in Watts have less than a 9th grade education.

  This number is 5 percent higher than in years past. Some speculate that this is a reflection of an increase in the immigrant population.

• Currently, more than 30 percent of the population is foreign-born.
• Ten years ago, only 7.5 percent of Watts’ residents were immigrants.
• 76 percent of immigrants now living in Watts arrived in this country within the past 20 years.
• The population is no longer predominantly Black.
• In 1990, the community was 58 percent Black and 43 percent Latino.
• By 2000, 61 percent of the population was Latino, and 38 percent was Black.

• The median household income was $19,600 in 2000.
• In the city of Los Angeles median household incomes were twice as high.
• Per capita income in South Central Watts was $6,800 in 2000
• In the city as a whole, inhabitants earned $20,700.
• 46 percent of the persons living in Watts reluctantly embraced poverty.
• Less than 23 percent in the city of Los Angeles, live in poverty.
• 59 percent of children under 18 live in impoverished circumstances in South Central, Watts.
•  In Los Angeles proper, the number of children under 18 living in poverty is 31 percent.
• 24 percent of area households or half of the Watts’ citizenry received public assistance in 2000.

Housing in Watts is more affordable than it is in the city as a whole.
• The average median rent is just $491 per month, 27 percent less than median rent in the city.
• Buildings in the area are about the same age as those in the rest of the city, averaging about 42 years old.
• By HUD definition, homes and apartments are severely overcrowded.
• 28 percent live in what homes classified as severely overcrowded, 56 percent higher than the city’s rate.
• The vacancy rate is very high.  This contrast is considered classic in area with slum and blight conditions.
• Watts is a renter’s community; 64 percent of households rent their residence.
• Residents of Watts tend to stay.  Upward mobility is not the standard.
Homeownership rates are low, the population lacks wealth and assets.

In 1965, circumstances such as these caused great frustration.  Riots were the result.  Is another rebellion possible?  Absolutely.

Forty years ago, there was a glimmer of hope.  Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson promoted and proposed laws that that would advance the American Dream.  He spoke of creating a “Great Society,” ending poverty, promoting equality, improving education, rejuvenating cities, and protecting the environment. Programs were initiated. However, hope died as the Dream was left behind, as was Watts was left behind.

Now four decades later, we are asked to believe again.  Novice Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposes change.  He presents his dream.  He calls it the South Los Angeles Investment Initiatives project.  He says, “These initiatives will not transform Watts overnight, but what they demonstrate is a commitment to every part of the city, a commitment to a part of the city, Watts, where a dream has been deferred.”

Can we trust, or will this dream be as the American Dream was, delayed, distilled, and ultimately destroyed. We cannot know with certainty; however, we can hope, again.  We can decide to make a difference.  We can choose to allow this dream to thrive.

You might enjoy reading references directly, rather than through links.  Please venture forth.
Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement
Los Angeles Times, A truth buried in the ruins of Watts, by Kay S. Hymowitz
Los Angeles Times, Renewed Focus on Watts’ Lessons, by Patrick McGreevy and Jessica Gresko
The Washington Post, Burned, Baby, Burned. Watts and the Tragedy of Black America, by John McWhorter

Support The Troops, as Does Cindy Sheehan! ©

Peacemother_1I have written much on the wars, the war on terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq.  I spent much time protesting, signing petitions, writing letters, and building installations in homage.  I have since Bush began bellowing.

I recognize that my voice is, as those of others, ignored. The words are as water; they roll off the President’s back.  King George II has said, and continues to say, dismissively, that he has heard the arguments of people such as myself.  He has listened to the reasoned and rational thoughts of the millions.  Yet, he has not.

Only today, while taking a break from his five-week long vacation, the fair-haired Commander in Chief stopped to speak with the press.  The President stated his [supposed] intent was to speak “sympathetically” to the circumstances of Cindy Sheehan.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of fallen soldier, 24 year-old, Casey Sheehan.  After her son’s death her she could wait no longer for the war to end.  She decided she must meet with our savior, speak with the President of the United States of America, and ask him to stop the war, now.  Mrs. Sheehan traveled to Texas.  She is camping out at the President’s Crawford Ranch.  Mrs. Sheehan is hoping the esteemed leader will not turn a blind eye.  However, he does.

• Please listen to Cindy and hear her plea.  Look into her eyes; see her face, her tears, and her pain.  I offer the link to an advertisement paid for by the Gold Star Families for Peace.  The singular spokesperson is Cindy Sheehan.  She speaks to the President, though he does not hear her.  This message will air on Crawford cable channels near the Bush Ranch whenever the King his near his Texas throne.

This afternoon, the media asked self-proclaimed “compassionate conservative” to share his thoughts on the war, to speak to the concerns of the anguishing mother.  He spoke.  Baby Bush turned to the press and said,  “She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes.”

The pompous President continued, “And I thought long and hard about her position,” However, we know that he has not.  He goes on “I’ve heard her position from others, which is: Get out of Iraq now. And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so.”

Would it?  It seems that our leaving would be no more an error than our entering on false premises was.  However, I digress.  Speaking of the war tends to lead me down many paths.

Though I have written much on war and peace, policy and propaganda, and I am likely to write much more, in this moment I feel, I cannot write words that express my exasperation as well as the words of Michael Ferner do.

Mr. Ferner, a writer in Toledo, Ohio and a member of Veterans for Peace shares the power and passion of Cindy Sheenan.  He offers many heartfelt quotes from the mother of Casey Sheenan.  I received this article in an email from a friend, a retired Lieutenant Colonel that has actively been working against these Bush wars for years.

I share this with you and ask you to Support Cindy Sheenan and our soldiers.  Please do not allow them to die, physical, emotional, or spiritual deaths.

If you are a Christian, or a deeply religious person, please, consider the commandments.  God did not say, “Thou shalt not kill” unless it is a time of war.  Please honor our men, women, and their children.  I ask you to respect humanity, no matter what the nationality.  I beg of you America, do not murder men, women, or children in the name of justice, fairness, freedom, or liberty.  Please consider that, vengeance by any other name is still revenge.

From: Troops Out Now Coalition

Support Cindy Sheehan!

“And the other thing I want him to tell me is ??just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism.”

  “There, I used the ??I’ word ?” imperialism, and now I’m going to use another ??I’ word ?” impeachment ?” because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”  Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04

In this email:
1) What One Mom has to Say to Bush
2) How to Support Cindy Sheehan
3) Call to set up “Camp Caseys” nationwide if Cindy Sheehan is arrested
Cindy Sheehan in Dallas.

What One Mom has to Say to Bush, By Mike Ferner

August 9, 2005

From http://counterpunch….

  “That lying bastard, George Bush, is taking a five-week vacation in time of war,” Cindy Sheehan told 200 cheering members of Veterans For Peace at their annual convention in Dallas last Friday evening. She then announced she would go to Bush’s vacation home in nearby Crawford, Texas and camp out until he “tells me why my son died in Iraq. I’ve got the whole month of August off, and so does he.”

Sheehan left the VFP meeting on Saturday morning and is now in Crawford with a couple dozen veterans and local peace activists, waiting for Bush to talk with her. She said in Dallas that if he sends anyone else to see her, as happened when national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin did later that day, she would demand that “You get that maniac out here to talk with me in person.”

She told the audience of veterans from World War Two to today’s war in Iraq, that the two main things she plans to tell the man she holds responsible for son Casey’s death are “Quit saying that U.S. troops died for a noble cause in Iraq, unless you say, ??well, except for Casey Sheehan.’ Don’t you dare spill any more blood in Casey’s name. You do not have permission to use my son’s name.”

“And the other thing I want him to tell me is ??just what was the noble cause Casey died for?’ Was it freedom and democracy? Bullshit! He died for oil. He died to make your friends richer. He died to expand American imperialism in the Middle East. We’re not freer here, thanks to your PATRIOT Act. Iraq is not free. You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism,” she exclaimed.

“There, I used the ??I’ word ?” imperialism,” the 48 year-old mother quipped. “And now I’m going to use another ??I’ word ?” impeachment ?” because we cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail.”

As the veterans in Dallas rose to their feet, Sheehan said defiantly, “My son was killed in 2004. I am not paying my taxes for 2004. You killed my son, George Bush, and I don’t owe you a penny…you give my son back and I’ll pay my taxes. Come after me (for back taxes) and we’ll put this war on trial.”

The co-founder of Gold Star Mothers for Peace objected to hearing that her son was among the soldiers lost in Iraq. “He’s not lost,” she said tearfully. “He’s dead. He became an angel while I was sleeping.”

She railed against the notion expressed by officials in the Bush administration that bringing the troops home now would dishonor the sacrifice of those who have died. “By sending honorable people to die, they so dishonor themselves. They say we must complete our mission?¦but why would I want one more mother to go through what I have, just because my son is dead?”

The Vacaville, California resident said she first heard of Veterans For Peace in early May last year, during a CNN report about an exhibit of white crosses arranged in rows in the Santa Barbara beach. The exhibit was organized by VFP Chapter 54 to memorialize each U.S. soldier killed in Iraq. Her son had died the month before. “I decided there was only one place I wanted to be on Mother’s Day that year, and it was Santa Barbara,” she told the VFP members in Dallas.

Retired Special Forces Sgt. and VFP member, Stan Goff, today initiated a “Talk to Cindy” campaign to get Bush to meet with Sheehan. Contact information for the White House is: (202) 456-1111 or comments@whitehouse.gov

Mike Ferner is a writer in Toledo, Ohio and a member of Veterans for Peace. He can be reached at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

I close this treatise with my own voice.  I speak in support of our soldiers, Cindy, and Casey Sheehan.  I invite you to join me.


Please read an excellent essay by Steve Soto, The Left Coaster.  He offers a comprehensive study of The Real Reason Why Cindy Sheehan Is A Threat To The GOP

Intangible Wealth Passes. Peter Jennings and John Johnson ©

This was a week of mourning; yet, there is joy to be had.  Two prominent men passed from the physical world.  People cried, families and friends felt and expressed great loss, and yet, for me, there was a reverence expressed that brought me pleasure.  It was not the obligatory sentiments of sympathy that I found inspiring, it was the depth of genuine emotion that brings me hope.

Each of these men was eulogized with compassion. Those that knew the men, personally, spoke of more than their monetary or tangible accomplishments. There was acknowledgment of these; however, these seemed less significant than the other achievements that were mentioned.  It was not their material opulence that brought them great prominence; it was their love of people that brought them great fame.  Obituaries noted their undertakings, what they had done.  Yet, more memorials spoke of “who” these men were.

On Sunday, August 7, 2005 ABC news anchor, Peter Jennings passed.  The following day, on Monday, August 8, 2005 publishing giant John H. Johnson left this earthly existence.

Tom Brokaw spoke of his “friend’ Peter Jennings and shared his admiration of the man.  He stated that after a day at the desk, Peter would return home, change his clothes, and then go off and volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

Jennings was known for giving to the children, for seeing people as individuals.  He was forever curious and caring.  He contributed much. “In broadcast journalism, Jennings had a reputation for putting the most complex and difficult issues on the agenda when others largely ignored them.”

Colleagues of news newscaster Peter Jennings expressed their admiration, stating Jennings brought a sentimental, compassionate approach to stories.  This was not a characteristic that was visible or known to most viewers.  However, Paul Slavin, a senior vice president said the anchor would “push producers to home in on the emotional core of the news.” In a recent interview Slavin said repeatedly, “He is one of the most sensitive, emotional anchors in the business,” The Vice President of ABC continually referred to Jennings in the present tense.

On occasion, the emotional energy of Jennings was evident.  Those that watched “World News Tonight,” on ABC could see that Mr. Jennings was moved by stories that he covered.  A listener could hear Peter’s voice crack as he discussed a mother’s loss.  Deaths from the war in Iraq noticeably caused the anchor great pain.

Many noted Jennings demeanor on September 11, 2001.  As the day began, the blasts rang out.  All routine activity stopped.  Americans turned to their televisions.  Millions watched and listened to Peter Jennings.  He was, as his audience had come to expect, calm.  Seemingly, he was in control.  However, early on in the day, Peter did express his feelings.  It was clear he felt them deeply.

After a time, Jennings, as others, could no longer hold back the tears.  His sentiments surfaced.  Jennings said, “We do not very often make recommendations for people’s behavior from this chair but as [one ABC News correspondent] was talking, I checked in with my children.”  Jennings shared that the stress of the day is affecting all, parents and children alike.  He added, “So, if you’re a parent, you’ve got a kid, in some other part of the country, call them up. Exchange observations.”

From my observations, the expressed humanity of Peter Jennings makes him notable.  It is his kindness and care that makes him wealthy.  He was a rich man and had the means, beyond many.  This too, is true of John H. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson, was the founder of both Ebony and Jet magazines.  These publications changed the world.  After the introduction of these periodicals stereotypical stances diminished, though the transition was slow it did occur and is still progressing. The success of Ebony helped break the ground for other black publications.  Essence and Black Enterprise benefited from the market Johnson created.

Through Johnson’s periodicals, America was introduced to African-American people.  Caucasians were given an avenue for assessing Blacks as individuals.  Johnson’s magazines provided insights and incentives.  Black persons were inspired to perform and participate in global neighborhoods to a greater extent then they had in the past.

Earl Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise, said Mr. Johnson was “unusually generous with his time and ideas.” Mr. Graves said, “He was ahead of his time.  He showed African-Americans how they could be part of the landscape of this country.”

Caucasians came to learn that Blacks were essentially as whites; they are educated and successful; they have interests and desires. Close friend, Reverend Jesse Jackson, said, “He survived and built a business that changed the face of American journalism and put a human face on Black Americans.”

When Johnson entered the mainstream, just after World War II, he brought awareness that, until that time was unprecedented.  He helped to fashion a more active populace. Ebony and Jet endowed the Black community with jobs.  Before the publication of these pages countless black journalists were unemployed.  A few were hired as tokens; however, their numbers were not significant.

Pamela Newkirk, an associate professor of journalism at New York University and author of “Within the Veil,” a history of blacks and journalism, offered “mainstream publications until the late 1960’s did not hire Black journalists.”  Correspondents of color were not able to infiltrate the majority media.  With the advent of Johnson publications, this changed.

Over time, John H. Johnson became one of the most powerful black leaders in America.  His prominence was more than money could buy.  His philosophy and philanthropic work were stellar and brought him intangible riches.

Mr. Johnson was a distinguished philanthropist.  He “shared his strategies for success.”  Johnson had achieved much and was acknowledged for this.  In 1982, Forbes magazine listed him as one of the 400 wealthiest Americans.  John H. Johnson was the first African-American to be placed on this famous docket.

Two years ago, Mr. Johnson donated $4 million to Howard University’s School of Communications.  Howard is a college well known for their mission.  “Howard University is a comprehensive, research-oriented, historically Black private university.”  This outstanding institution provides an “exceptional educational experience.”  At Howard, Black students are given access to quality academic scholarship. By contributing to Howard, Mr. Johnson was giving back to his community.

H. Patrick Swygert, the president of Howard University said of Johnson “I knew him as a philanthropist and someone deeply committed to higher education.  He is part of a history of entrepreneurs within the African-American community.  He’s part of a tradition of success and giving back.”

It is the giving that makes Jennings and Johnson men of note.  They each gave more than most.  They received as they gave.  These men were rich; their wealth was intangible.  They shared their riches as though they were physical entities.  They gave much to the world community.  Their giving will survive as will their memory.  May they rest in peace and may their wisdom and love continue to guide us all.

The Rove, Novak Relationship, Twenty Years of Engagement ©

06novak1841“It is history,” said Robert Mosbacher, Jr. Mosbacher was speaking of his own experience with syndicated columnist Robert Novak, and Presidential political advisor, Karl Rove.  He was asked of an incident that occurred in 1992, one in which he was publicly lambasted by the pair.  While Mr. Mosbacher did not wish to discuss his distressing history, stating, that was then and this is now, others do want to discuss it.  For it seems occurrences in the past are being replicated in the present, what was, still is.  It is the volatile friendship between Karl Rove and Robert Novak.

The familiarity that exists between these parasitical pals is a destructive force.  In 1992, as in 2003, conversations between these comrades became more.  The men acted on their anger, and devastated lives.  In 1992 Robert Mosbacher was affected; in 2003, it was Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson.  It seems that when Karl Rove is enraged by the acts of another, he turns to his friend Novak, and their fun begins.  The leechlike legends have a history, one that serves each of them very well.

This relationship began some twenty years ago.  In 1981, a young Karl Rove founded a direct-mail business.  He was interested in making money, and he also wished to attract the attention of those that were prominent in politics.  Karl Rove had aspirations; he wanted wealth and power. Journalist, Robert Novak also had goals, though he had achieved great success as a reporter, he wanted more.

While residing in the state of Texas, Mr. Rove weaved his way into the political structure.  The young, expectant entrepreneur was able to land a major contract with, then Governor of Texas, William P. Clements.  Clements was one of Rove’s first clients.  A patron, such as the Governor could help Rove significantly.  After all, this man presided over of a large, influential, and highly favored state; he had connections that could, and would benefit an upstart businessman such as Rove.

During these same years, Robert Novak turned up in Texas.  Novak was a notable player in the political world.  He was half of a partnership that wrote of current events. Robert Novak and Rowland Evans wrote and the world listened.  The two men, together, penned a conservative, syndicated column for the Chicago Sun-Times.  They were also published weekly in The Washington Post.  They were known entities, and therefore, influential.  These were they types of fellows Karl Rove wanted to know.  Finally he had a chance to meet one of them.

In the 1980s Novak appeared in Texas because the state was turning. Though it had long been a Democratic state, Texas was becoming staunchly Republican.  Novak entered the scene, ready to write.  Robert Novak was active man, a rough-and-tumble guy; he would toss with the wind if it would further his fame.  He was exactly the kind of chap Rove could relate to.

Finally, he would.  During the mid 1980s, an opportunity arose, the two men met.  They shared a love of history and an interest in policy.  Each of these men desired greater recognition.  They both were and are highly partisan, aggressive, and easily excited to the point of anger.  Upon meeting they saw their similarities; they bonded.

Back in the day, Rove and Novak ate dinner together often.  They developed a friendship; though it is said they were not close; they were great bloodsucking buddies.  They reciprocally gave and received a boost to the other’s career. The actions on one influenced the rise of the other, and vice versa..

Though Novak rarely wrote of Rove, when he did, it was with reason.  Often the reason was destructive.  When Rove was annoyed and wanted to settle a score, he sought out Novak.  This is what he did in 1992 and in 2003.

The incident of 1992 was discussed in a recent New York Times article.  The reporter was Elisabeth Bumiller.  The story is a famous one in Texas; however, until recently, it was virtually hidden from the rest of the country.

Apparently, Mr. Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect the senior President Bush.  The office of the then President acted on suspicions that Mr. Rove had leaked damaging information to, of all people, syndicated columnist Mr. Robert Novak.  The two apparently discussed Robert Mosbacher Jr., and then Novak wrote of him.  At the time, the son of a former Commerce Secretary, Mosbacher was the GHW Bush campaign manager. The dialogue took place during one of their “friendly” fiendish meetings.

Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak have long denied that idea that the two engaged in discussions of Mr. Mosbacher.  Mosbacher is certain that they did.  As stated earlier, Mr., Mosbacher is no longer willing to speak on the subject; nonetheless, he has never changed his original assertion. Mosbacher claims, Mr. Rove was the wrongdoer. In a brief telephone interview with Times reporter, Bumiller, Mosbacher stated, “I commented on it at the time, and I have nothing to add.”

In 2003, Mr. Mosbacher did add to his initial assertion.  He spoke to The Houston Chronicle of the charge.  He offered the background. Mosbacher stated he had given a competitor of Mr. Rove the bulk of a $1 million contract for direct mail work in the campaign.  “I thought another firm was better,” Mr. Mosbacher told The Chronicle. “I had $1 million for direct mail. I gave Rove a contract for $250,000 and $750,000 to the other firm.”

The other firm belonged to Mr. Rove’s chief competitor, John Weaver.  Mr. Rove was infuriated by this action. Texas Republicans say, that Rove retaliated.  His retribution was leaking the information about Mr. Mosbacher to Mr. Novak.

The story, as it appeared in print, in September 1992, is as follows.  The Chicago Sun Times published the piece.  Robert Novak and Rowland Evans were the writers.

A secret meeting of worried Republican power brokers in Dallas last Sunday reflected the reality, that George Bush is in serious trouble trying to carry his adopted state.

The unannounced decision by the strategy session stripped authority for the campaign from an absent Robert Mosbacher Jr., son of the former commerce secretary. The reason for the change is that the president’s re-election effort in Texas has been a bust, in contrast to the smooth Democratic operation conducted for Bill Clinton . . .

Sen. Phil Gramm, the state’s top Republican, is criticized backstage for giving Mosbacher control of the campaign’s Victory ’92 Committee. The senator’s motive is viewed inside the party as an effort to enlist the fund-raising prowess of Mosbacher’s father in the 1996 Gramm-for-president drive.

Gramm organized the Sunday meeting in Dallas. He effectively replaced Mosbacher in everything but name with one of Gramm’s lieutenants, respected Dallas political operative Jim Francis, who might have run the national Bush campaign were it not for business commitments. Also attending the session was political consultant Karl Rove, who had been shoved aside by Mosbacher.

The 1992 leak was not thought to be criminal, merely hurtful.  However, this time the situation differs.  Please review this USA Today piece. Unethical or criminal, behavior is bad, [FINAL Edition]

With time Rove has improved his abilities.  He has grown in stature and substance.  Now, he is able to inflict pain with greater vigilance.  In 2003, and in the subsequent years, Rove was able to yield so much pain it spread further and wider.  While engaging in the Wilson-Plame affair, Rove may have accidentally impaled himself.

Rove, now rallying ??round the Baby Bush bandwagon was enraged by the writings of Joe Wilson, a Former Ambassador, and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.  Wilson wrote an Op-Ed piece denouncing the administration.  He stated that he had been sent to Niger; he was told to search for uranium sales to Iraq.  Uranium is the fuel necessary for weapons of mass destruction. Bush was certain that Saddam Hussein had these weapons and was adding arsenal, or at least he wanted the American public to believe this.  The President wanted to validate his desire for war.  Yet, Wilson, found no cause for alarm and said so publicly.  Wilson declared the Whitehouse was building a case for war where there was none.  He wrote, What I Didn’t Find in Africa.  This essay was published in the New York Times.  This paper has quite an audience.

Rove and the President were livid. Wilson cannot criticize the administration without expecting repercussions. Wilson cannot be allowed to discredit the wisdom of the Whitehouse.  He cannot undermine the President’s plan.  He must be taught a lesson; he needs to understand Bush is the “boss.”  The Architect, Rove would take care of business and he did.

The Presidential advisor turned to his ally, Robert Novak.  In a conversation with Novak, Rove revealed the name of a Central Intelligence agent, Valerie Plame Wilson, wife of Joe Wilson.  Exposing the identity of an Intelligence agent is illegal, or so it was thought to be.

Now, there is a debate.  Is revealing the name only illegal if the agent is serving in a foreign land, and acting as a covert representative? Does that matter; is the identity of an Intelligence agent protected, no matter what the circumstances? Special Prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald is studying this.

Fitzgerald is also looking at other concerns.  Fitzgerald’s focus suggests certainty; some aspects of this story are criminal.  For now, we know not which.  Is the revelation the issue of concern; is it the cover-up?  Did the Architect Karl Rove lie to the grand jury?  Did he or others in the Whitehouse cover-up criminal offenses?

Rove was fired for his earlier flub; will he be fired for this one as well.  The earlier blunder was not considered criminal; this one may be.  We wait anxiously to see what will surface.  What we all wish to know is, will history repeat itself?  Will Rove be fired again, or will greater rewards be realized.  What will become of this parasitic partnership?  Will the honeymoon ever end?  Possibly, this time it will.

• Annotation . . . Not wanting this to distract from the Rove, Novak issue, I chose to exclude an important fact.  Upon reflection, I think I do need to share Mr. Mosbacher had and has his own agenda.  This, in large part, affects his desire to discuss other Bush loyalist.

Robert Mosbacher, Jr. is the president of Mosbacher Energy Company.  This firm is an independent oil and gas company.  They explore for and produce petroleum products.  Many Bush family friends are in this business and Bush Junior is known for being good to family friends.

On July 30, 2005, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius, announced “The White House has nominated local energy executive and civic leader Rob Mosbacher Jr. . . . if approved, [Mosbacher] will begin serving as head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.”

• A very interesting interview appears at The Left Coaster. Eriposte shares the words of Ambassador Joseph Wilson.  Please ponder the interview, Q&A with former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV: Part 1
• Please read 1992 Novak/Rove Collaboration by realitique.  This piece offers the full 1992 text.
• Please explore other references. Read Novak, No Dice By Robert Parry, Consortium News. This essay is available at AlterNet.
• You might enjoy a journey to MaxSpeak.  In PERLEY-GATE, Max offers that the Plame ?” Wilson affair may be one of many Rove exploits.
• An interesting read is found in The Washington Post Prosecutor In CIA Leak Case Casting A Wide Net, White House Effort To Discredit Critic Examined in Detail, by  Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei.

Voters Rights Act Provisions Sunset 2007. Still Separate and Unequal ©

On this day in 1965 the Voters Rights Act was signed into law.  With this signing, Black Americans were given the right to vote.  Prior to August 6, 1965, Black Americans did not have this “privilege.”  Though they worked hard, contributed much to the health and welfare of this nation, African-Americans were not afforded the rights of full citizenship.  These people slaved for this territory.  Many, if not most dark skinned persons who reside in this country were born in the United Sates of America.  Their forefathers were as well.  Many Black families have been here for generations; yet, for centuries these persons of color did not have the basic rights of citizenship.  They were considered second, if not third class citizens.  However, finally, in 1965, those with darker complexions were recognized as people, well sort of.

African-Americans were given the right to vote, though reluctantly, and only temporarily.  Today, on this the fortieth anniversary of the Voters Rights Act, Black-Americans are still hoping that Congress will choose to renew provisions of this law, those regulations that ensure all citizens will be treated equally.  On August 6, 2005, some celebrate this bill, others cry out.  People of all races are gathered together asking Congress to make permanent the Voters Rights Act.  In 2007, much of the Bill will sunset, and again African-Americans will be left without a voice.  In a country founded on equality, this seems quite a contradiction.

Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson spoke of this travesty in a speech delivered at Howard University.  The former President said, “This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North, and South: “All men are created equal,” “Government by consent of the governed,” “Give me liberty or give me death”. And those are not just clever words and not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries.”

The words of the President are true.  Interestingly enough, among those Americans that fought and died for liberty and freedom were Black Americans.  Remember Crispus Attucks, a Black man, and the first casualty of the American Revolution. He was shot and killed in what later became known as the Boston Massacre.  In World War II, the famous Tuskegee Airmen fought for this nation.  Historians, Black and White acknowledge there were Black troops fighting during the Civil War.  Dark skinned soldiers battled for both the Confederate and Union forces.  In fact, Blacks served in every American war, and yet, they wait with bated breath to be given there right to vote. African-Americans have and do serve this country well, and yet, they are not counted as white folks are.

While the aforementioned Americans are known to us today, there are millions more who we never read or hear about.  Countless African-Americans, Blacks, [and Browns] serve the nation and contribute to the greater good; yet, they are never recognized. Body-bags, rural farms, and city dwellings are filled with these heroes/heroines.

I find this disheartening, baffling, and distressing and it is for this reason that I write this homage.  This epistle is my way of honoring the memory of Hazel [Mary] Washington.

Mary was a significant soul in my life.  Her influence is unmistakable.  Her love, trust, and great care, has advanced my sensitivity and awareness.  Through our interactions, empathy grew. I treasure this capacity, deeply.  I believe that much of who I am, and what I believe, began with Mary Washington.  Indeed, Mary and her family cared for me and about me when people in my own world did not.

On many occasions, when my parents were not (willing or) able, Mary took care of me.  She was a part of my life for the first five and one half years. I was born white and Mary was born Black.  I spent much time in Mary’s home.  She, with her husband Arthur, and their two sons took care of me.  They watched over me, taught me, and their spirits are still with me.  It is the Washington family that helped me to understand the plight of Black-Americans.  This was not their intention.  Nonetheless, when we love our fellow man, we relate.  Fortuitously, we learn much from those that are special to us.

As a young child I learned much from Mary and my then, more distant Mom.  I learned to love “real” life. My Mom thought it best to read of “reality,” not fairy tales.  She chose to embrace inspirational poetry; she shared this value with me even if while initially it was done through Mary.  My favorite book was Robert Louis Stevenson’s, A Childs Garden of Verses; actually it may still be. When Mommy was near she recited the rhymes from memory.  Mary read the poetry aloud.

However, as I aged, I read books that told a more distressing truth.  I did not favor fiction or fantasy.  Poems were grounded in life experiences and so too was I.

Indeed, it was a challenge for my parents to find books that appealed to me.  Children’s books were not my pleasure.  Reality ruled and mine was that Mary left my life when I was five and one half. That story alone shaped me.

It took me off into a search for truth, and the truth that troubled my parents was that I did  not like to read.   Mommy and Daddy looked for titles and tomes that might inspired me. Finally, they found what ultimately did speak to me. That first, and possibly the most powerful tale was Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin.  I related to this tale strongly.  In the narrative, a curious white man, a journalist, and self-described “specialist in race issues,” chose to leave his privileged life, and live the life of a Black man.

Griffin was an affluent and aware gentleman. He observed that others were not as he.  Many were not rich; numerous were not alert, and countless were not white. John Howard Griffin recognized that those of good fortune were rarely persons of color.  Few, if any Blacks in his world had material wealth. However, thoughtfulness did not discriminate.  People of any color could be benevolent and observant.

Griffin recognized Whites treated Blacks as though they were less than, not worthy, and certainly not equal.  He was troubled by this truth and decided to investigate the perplexing issue.  He did not wish to research from afar, nor did he wish to see what was, and in some cases still is, through the eyes of another.  Mr. Griffin wanted to experience racism for himself, first-hand.

In 1959, John Griffin headed to New Orleans.  Medically treated, he darkened his skin and “immersed himself in Black society.” Mr. Griffin traveled to several states; in each he experienced racism, segregation, and degrading living conditions.  After allowing the pigmentation to fade, though not the memories, he returned to the same areas as a White man.  As a Caucasian, he was treated well.  In White skin, he experienced a contrary reality.  This concerned him deeply.  With zeal and ardor, he felt a need to inform America of what they created, a world separate and unequal.  Mr. Griffin wrote his book, Black Like Me.

His manuscript touched me.  In my own life I too experienced and observed varying veracities, though not as deeply as Griffin did.  I knew and know there is discrimination in the North, the East, the West, and the South.  I have lived in each of these regions.  I am acquainted with the inequity of racial discrimination.  I see and hear evidence of it daily.  I realize that this truth has not faded with time; nor did it diminish with the introduction of the Voters Rights Act.  It exists today!

Through his writing Griffin was hoping to change America, and on the surface he did help to facilitate a revolution.  However, racism and bigotry run deep.  These traits were prominent in the 1950s, the 1960s, and they are today. This is why the Voters Rights Act has yet to be passed as permanent law.  People can barely acknowledge their bigotry and most do not admit to the policies that promote greater prejudice.

Today, in 2005, on this, the anniversary of the original August 1965 passing, people plead, again.  Citizens came out in droves to protest the dichotomy of voters’ rights.  Many feel as I do, as Griffin did, they are working to further awareness for an injustice.  People are actively asking for a change.  I too ask members of Congress to unite and permanently pass the Voting Rights Act.  I ask them to reflect, and acknowledge the farce.  In a country such as America, a Voting Rights Act need not be renewed regularly; it needs to be established as law permanently and enacted in every state.

While some stress “Voting is not a right; it is a privilege,” white babies, born in the United States of America are afforded this “right,” easily, with no effort.  Light-skinned babies born in the United States are granted this “privilege.”  Anglos do not work for it. Black-American citizens, and those Brown in hue too, however, can and do tell a different tale.

I beseech White-America.  Please provide persons of color with the permanent right or privilege of voting.  Remember, people of color too are “created equal.”  Each of us has unalienable rights, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and as an American, and the right to vote!

Random Searches, Racial Profiling, Deport, Kill, All Xenophobia! ©

Weeks ago, a plane was “forced” to land.  Actually, the crew chose to land; “character” was the concern.  Who are these characters?  Pakistani passengers were walking the aisles.  People panicked.  They knew.  Pakistan is the breeding ground for terrorists; clearly these men must be among those. Passengers and the flight crew agreed; these men must be planning, pacing, and readying for an attack.  Numerous people were puzzled; when would the suspicious swarthy men pull out the guns, the knives, and how were they able to get these on the plane.  Actually, why were these men allowed on this or any airbus; they are dark characters.  Their complexions were cause enough for concern. What was the airline thinking?  Everyone knows of persons such as these.

What do we know?  We know what they look like, not who they are.  People judge and document the rationalization for their personal reality.  They forget. A book, a boy, a man, a woman, a terrorist, or even a candidate, cannot be judged by its cover.  Character cannot be captured in a moment; it is more than an appearance.  Yet, people believe that they know.  Individuals and groups alike deny the inevitability of xenophobia, the fear of strangers.  Police and politicians, profess profundity, as does the general public.  Opinions masquerading as “facts” flourish, and unjust practices become policy.

The facts are America was attacked on 9/11/2001.  Terrorists claimed responsibility.  These radicals were said to be Middle Eastern.  Therefore, people in the West understand, they must fear Middle-Easterners.  These individuals must be considered the “enemy.”  Trepidation for those that appear to be Muslim, Persian, foreign nationals, or merely “strange,” is thought to be valid.

The recent London bombings reinforced this belief.  It seems the Western-World is under attack.  Terrorists are everywhere.  Discovering that the London bombers were homegrown only advanced greater suspicion.  Even hometown boys and men are suspect.

Since the London attacks, cities throughout the western world are on high alert.  Police in New York City are checking the bags of subways passengers.  The searches are “random.” New York City police are posted at the entrance of the subterranean train stations.  They arbitrarily choose whose bags they might explore.  If the prospective rider elects not to be searched they will not be allowed to ride.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly stressed officers would not engage in racial profiling.  Subway and rail passengers are free to “turn around and leave.” Yet, are they “free,” or are those individuals refusing to be searched now defined as criminals?  If their skin is dark and their clothing bulky, will they be told to halt, as the Brazilian in London was?  If the “free” to go, man or woman does not respond immediately, or in a manner that pleases the police, will this person then be shot and brutally killed, accidentally?  These questions must be asked.

When queried, officials stated they would not specify how frequently the checks would occur.  Nor would they define how they determined whom they might suspect of carrying explosives.  How could they; this information would reveal that the police are in fact, assessing a person by their appearance.  They are human, and that is what we do.

New research published in the Science Magazine, Inferences of Competence From Faces Predict Election Outcome, shows that voters prefer political candidates that appear able. Alexander Todorov, a research scientist at Princeton, verified that people prefer faces that they believe reflect substance; competency is considered a “wining” characteristic.

Todorov designed a research study assessing an individual’s reaction to facial appearances, nothing more. The intent of the experiment was to determine if attractiveness influenced voting practices.  It did not.  Attractiveness was not the deciding factor; the appearance of competency was.  Professor Todorov claims “when people are not burdened by ‘facts,; they decide quickly.”  Seemingly competent, and self-assured persons are perceived as stable.  Knowledge of the true individual only confuses the evaluation.  He determined inferences are powerful.

Leslie A Zebrowitz, author of “Reading Faces,”, and a psychologist at Brandeis University, offers her comments on the Todorov findings.  She states, in her research she too discovered impressions are influential.  Our notion of a person predicts more than the truth does.  Zebrowitz  declares those with stronger chins and longer noses are considered skilled.  A person with a rounded-baby-face, bigger eyes, a smaller nose bridge, and shorter chin is thought to be less mature.  People with these physical qualities are considered less knowledgeable, less experienced, and less proficient.  People that look young, or naïve, are judged less able to take care of business.

Todorov, Zebrowitz, and others conclude, people assume and presume. No matter how hard individuals try to be impartial, detached, neutral, or without prejudice; they are not.  Human beings are not objective.  Claims to the contrary, however interesting, seem to be self-serving rationalizations for law enforcement and xenophobic souls.

Dr. Donn Bryne, of State University New York, in Albany, is a social psychologist.  He too evaluated judgments.  Bryne did extensive research on the subject of attraction.  It may be argued that emotional or physical, pull has little to do with the afore-mentioned stereotyping; however, if we are honest with ourselves we see that it does.  We are drawn to a particular person and repelled by another.  We form opinions about those that disgust us, as well as those that delight us.  Opinions are subjective.

Just as the other studies did, Bryne’s experiments assessed how people decide much, with few facts. Dr. Bryne actually created the “Bogus Stranger Technique.”  He developed a system that distorted what is true of another person.  Dr. Bryne created an attitude scale consisting of twenty-six topics.  The subjects were scattered; there were areas that would be of major importance [God and premarital sex] and subjects of less significance [Western movies and televisions programs].  He asked participants to rate these.

Two weeks after filling out their own assessment scales, Bryne told participants they were part of a study on how well people can predict the behavior of another person. They were then presented with attitude scales filled out by this other person, the individual whose behavior they would later, be asked to predict.  In truth the other person was the experimenter.  The experimenter created a bogus set of answers.  These responses were calculated; they would either be very similar to the subjects’ own answers or very dissimilar.

Participants were given time to assess the rankings of the “stranger.”  Following their evaluation, the subjects were asked a series of questions about the “other.” They were queried of their personal feelings toward the “unknown” person.  Questions such as, “Would you like to work with this person?” “Do you believe they are intelligent; does he or she have knowledge of current events, morality, and are they well adjusted?” were posed.  In each case, the conclusion was the same.  People that are similar to us are those that we prefer, think highly of, respect, and judge as credible.

Those that appear to be similar to “us”, are not persons we will frisk, search, shoot  accidentally, or deport.  We honor what we think is. If “it,” he or she is as we are, we will show respect.  If “it,” he or she is not, well, that is a different story.  We may shun, accuse, kill, or deport individuals that are not as we are.  We will do this even if we “suspect” that they are dissimilar.  “Facts” and information cloud our “objective” mind.

Thus we have it; random searches, by definition, given human nature, are acts of racial profiling.  It has been proven, over, and over, and over again.  Xenophobia is alive and well; it is the human condition and in recent years it is law!

Today, August 5, 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair promotes more xenophobia.  Please read and consider, Blair Proposes Stricter Deportation Rules Against Terrorism, Los Angeles Times.  In this article, Blair is quoted, “We welcome people here who share our values and our way of life. But don’t meddle in extremism because if you meddle in it, you are going back out again.”

I ask, who defines extremism and is the judge objective?  I “suspect” that the arbiter will be human, likely xenophobic.  Fear of the unfamiliar, the unknown, and that which we do not understand, or chose not to is our common bond.

Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld Remark on Ayman al-Zawahiri Tape ©

Again, the powers, super-powers that be, deny what is.  Al-Qaida forces released a videotape.  The intent was to share the Al-Qaida message with the Western-World.  One of the top leaders of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, warned Britons and Americans, the policies of Prime Minister Tony Blair were to blame for the attacks on Britain. Al-Zawahiri assured an anxious public; more attacks will follow.  Mr. Zawahiri stated, America will bring assaults on itself; “policies of aggression against Muslims” are the cause.  Allies will experience the same.

Nonetheless, United States President George W. Bush stays strong.  When asked of the terrorists tape, Mr. Bush asserted, the remarks of this al-Qaida leader do not threaten him. Mr. Bush said Mr. Zawahiri was and is a member of the terrorist group that attacked the United States on 9/11.  King George II claimed it is because of persons such as Zawahiri that we are “at war.” He stated Americans must stay the course; he declared they would.  With the help of allies, the people of this nation will continue in their quest.  We will, as he offered in years past, hunt down terrorists such as Ayman al-Zawahiri.

While speaking from his Crawford ranch, the President said, “We are defeating the terrorists in a place like Iraq so we don’t have to face them here at home.” He said the United States would press on, helping Iraqis write a constitution.  The Western world will train Iraqi troops, and assist citizens in electing a permanent government.

Though Mr. Zawahiri warned Britons that Mr. Blair’s policies “will bring upon them more destruction after the London explosions,” the Prime Minister is declining to comment.  Tony Blair offered no words of wisdom to the media or to any other source.

In the past, Blair strongly rejected any tie between the attacks and Britain’s role in Iraq. Days after the Pew Charitable Trust Project reported that Muslims do support aggressions against the Western-World, specifically because of Iraq war policies, Blair denied the connection.

Please read my earlier reflection on this.
Blair and the Pew Research Center Differ on Terrorism © ©

As of today, British police have not discovered definitive connections.  They will not state with certainty that the London bombers are linked to al-Qaida; yet, the two groups that claim responsibility for the assaults avow that they are working with al-Qaida.

Though Blair said nothing, Secretary of State Rumsfeld did voice his feelings on the video feed. Rumsfeld denies there is a tie.  He says of the accusation, “Its nonsense.”  The Secretary State, states the goal of terrorism is to place fear in the hearts of the West; it has nothing to do with America-Iraq war policy.

Fascinating. One can only wonder, does the President read?  Does the Prime Minister understand what research establishes?  Can the Secretary be so oblivious?  Do they not realize that Muslims are up in arms and American policies, past, present, and apparently, future, fuel the fire of insurgents?

Michael Jackson Jurors Write Books of Guilt, Theirs and His ©

I have been without computer capabilities for days.  It has been a week of the absurd, the awkward, and the amazing.  Moments ago, I reentered the world of wondrous writing possibilities.  I was anxious to write of matters of substance; the economy interests me.  The emergence of a Constitution in Iraq, immigration, and investments in America also fascinate me.  The recess appointments of John Bolton and Peter Flory do not surprise me; they intrigue me.

I was planning to write of these, and yet, as meaningless as it might seem, I am composing this instead.  For I realize, there is a parallel. Issues of world shattering import are similar to this story.

Michael “Jackson jurors [are] ready to spill beans.”  Those that found the superstar not guilty, admit, again, they knew he was.

According to News.scotsman.com,

Eleanor Cook, 79, will call her book Guilty As Sin, Free As A Bird, according to reports.

Ray Hultman, 62, who said after the verdict was delivered that he believed Jackson had probably molested boys, will call his The Deliberator.

People never cease to astound me.  They justify, juggle, and declare, this is “justice.”

The juggling of justice is evident everywhere.  Each day, we hear claims of fairness, righteousness, evenhandedness, and impartiality.  These jurors are not alone; they too witness the world of jugglers.  Magicians manifest in the highest of offices and the lowest of lands.

They speak of mandates.  Our world leaders gleam and glow with words of glory, justice, and jurisprudence.

In his second inaugural speech President George W. Bush said, “There is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.”  These are the words of a man that chose to aggressively attack, invade, and occupy the nation of Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney is also a master juggler.  At breakfast Celebrating Women in Business the bullish Veep said, “our nation was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001 . . . terrorists brought terrible grief to our people.  The attacks were obviously a shock to the economy.  So we took action  . . . hunting down the terrorists, bringing them to justice.”

Juggling is not exclusively an American act; those on hill and dale also perform well.  Witness the words of Osama Bin Laden, “Praise be to God; praise be to God; praise be to God who created heaven and earth with justice and who allowed the oppressed to punish the oppressor in the same way.”

Revenge is the rationalization that our President and his Vice offer.  Bin Laden does no better.  What might be the “justification” the Jackson jurors claim?

Until Then

Dear Reader . . .

I thank you for visiting!  Though there is much to discuss, such as a Bolton “recess appointment,” and the reinstatement of a policy that promotes a utility monopoly,  I am not able to  write of these now.

The upcoming General Motors earnings report also intrigues me, as does Rove, Roberts, the budget, and the qualms members of Congress are expressing; however with all there is to write of, I am temporarily without my technological capacity.

I look forward to the speedy recovery and return of my equipment.  I hope to share with you soon.  It is always a pleasure.