White Defenders



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copyright © 2010 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

Originally Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010

In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

I have to be honest that I am always a bit skeptical when white folks feel compelled to step up and defend black folks from other white folks. I am even more cynical when it is white Republicans doing the defending. This would be the same Republican party who has since the 60’s run on the southern strategy, whose conventions look more like all-white country clubs, and who have from his election sought to de-legitimize this President. Now we are to believe that they are so concerned with the delicate psyche of African-Americans that Senator Reid’s remarks rises to the level of Trent Lott?

For those who don’t remember Trent Lott was the Republican majority leader who stated that the country would have been better off if unrepentant segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

For the sake of argument, let’s look at Senator Reid’s reported statement concerning then Senator Obama. He stated that he was a light-skinned black man which as far as I can tell would be a true statement. My guess is that Senator Reid was alluding to the fact that historically lighter skinned blacks have fared better in American society than darker skinned blacks so that would be a positive in his bid to become president. On the surface this would appear to be a callous statement however if we look at not only the history of blacks within the majority society but also within the black community the statement tends to stand on its own merits. Now does this excuse the fact that darker-skinned blacks tend to be discriminated more than light-skinned blacks? Of course not, but the truth is still the truth.

Let’s face it folks whites tend to be more comfortable with light-skinned blacks. If you were to poll blacks and say does the fact that President Obama is light-skinned does that diminish his status as an African-American I think the answer would be a resounding no based on the fact that he received almost 100% of the black vote.

The second part of Senator Reid’s remarks could be more problematic in the sense that he stated that Obama had no Negro dialect which could be offensive to some blacks. The question then becomes do blacks, as a group, speak differently from whites and can those differences be readily apparent to the listener? I think Senator Reid was stating that Barack Obama could choose to speak black or white depending on his audience. The problem here is that we are talking about politicians who often craft their message depending on their audience and for a politician to be able to speak to multiple groups is an asset. I think I remember during the campaign how Hillary and Bill changed dialects when they were speaking in black churches or to primarily black audiences. Does that make them racists? I think not, it makes them politicians.

As every successful black man knows who is not in the entertainment business or a professional athlete knows, we live in two different worlds we have to adept in the white world as well as the black world. I have to be able to speak to white businessmen as well as black community folks and they are not the same.

The biggest problem I have with this faux Republican outrage is that in order to determine Reid’s remarks one has to look at his intent. Was his intent to racially disparage Barack Obama? No, in fact in his mind he was giving a list of the positives for then candidate Obama. We must remember this was the beginning of a historical campaign and who amongst us did not consider these if not other positives and negatives of the candidates. The problem for Senator Reid is that his remarks were recorded. To me this just demonstrates the problem with the current Republican strategy and that is it shows their total lack of principles. When you attack everything you find yourself defending some former positions that you once opposed, by doing this you appear hypocritical at best and insane at worse. Republicans defending Medicare?

So what we have is Senator Reid stating that Barack Obama was a light-skinned black man who could speak to both black and white audiences. Yeah, that’s grounds for his immediate dismissal. Speaking as a black man I’m still missing the outrage no matter who had made the statement.

For Michael Steele to go on television and equate what Senator Reid reportedly said to what Trent Lott said is beyond me. Are we to believe that saying the country would be better off today if in 1948 an avowed racist had won the Presidential election is comparable to saying that Barack Obama was more electable because he was light-skinned and he spoke to both blacks and whites? I don’t think so. Have we become so racially sensitive that stating the obvious is now considered racist? The reason Mr. Steele will never be able to accomplish what he was elected to do which I think was to reach out to African-American voters is because in order to defend his task masters he losses any credibility with the very voters he is charged with attracting. Mr. Steele’s remarks may appeal to whites but if that is his core audience then the Republicans would have better served if they had elected another white man who would not have brought the baggage Mr. Steele has obviously brought. Do Republicans believe that blacks are that gullible? I hope not for their sakes.

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

~ Elbert Hubbard  

Bush/Obama Administration?

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copyright © 2009 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

The average American looks up, they distrust politicians in general and they don’t think they’ve been told the truth, and I think they got good reason. They’ve watched a Bush/Obama spending cycle that began with a stimulus package last year which failed at $180 billion, a housing package in August which fail–or July which failed at $345 billion, a Wall Street bailout at $700 billion, a Federal Reserve guarantee of $4 trillion; a stimulus package of $787 billion, which we’re now being told weeks later isn’t big enough, but which had to be passed so quickly no one could read it, because we had to get it out there immediately.

~ Newt Gingrich

I saw the new, old face of the Republican Party this weekend on a Sunday talk show and I was shocked at the new tact of the Republicans. According to Newt Gingrich the last eight years has been the Bush/Obama administration. Who knew? In an effort to once again fasten President Obama to the current economic meltdown the new strategy appears to be to unite him to the failed policies of the Bush administration. The once revered George W. has now been turned into a tax and spend liberal by the very same people who heralded his accent to power. These people have no shame. They are willing to throw Bush under the bus for the sake of some political advantage that doesn’t exist. Do they think that the public is so incompetent that they don’t know the difference between Bush and Obama for the last eight years? Here’s a hint Obama is the tall, dark one.

So are we to assume that the last eight years were not Republican run as we were led to believe by their policies and their utter failure? So Republicans were not the ones who put the economy and our nation on the road to a “China Syndrome”. You have to hand it to them though that is innovative. You attach the incoming administration not only from another Party but another galaxy to the previous failed administration which happened to have been from your Party. My guess is that the goal of this strategy is to try and reduce the amount of patience the American people will have with the new President since he has been in office for the past eight years and hasn’t done anything.

Now for those following at home here is the latest. Not only did President Obama not inherit this economy he actually caused the economy to crash as a member of the Bush administration. Theoretically he has not been in office for only two months after all so his policies don’t deserve anytime to work. After all they are the same big spending, big government policies of that other liberal stalwart George W. Bush. How Mr. Gingrich can expect any national political aspirations to be taken seriously following comments like these are beyond me. But considering no one on the panel gave them a second look maybe he knows something I don’t. The problem with Mr. Gingrich and all of his new and old GOP faces is not that they are new or old; it is that their ideas are old. The GOP continues to repackage their “new” faces with the same failed ideas. I mean to try and pretend that the Republicans outside of George Bush had nothing to do with what is happening in the country today is ludicrous.

Mr. Gingrich would rather join his other political cohorts and fiddle while the empire burns and continue to be apologists for the wealthy than pitch in and help. For anyone to say it is unfair for the taxes of the wealthy to be raised after decades of tax-breaks and inequitable distribution of wealth is completely out of step with the mood of the country. For anyone to argue against giving 95% of working Americans a tax-break they are out of step with the mood of the country and the polls attest to this fact. While Mr. Gingrich and the other ignore the polls munchkins continue to try and deny his popularity the President’s numbers continue to rise. Now the new line is that the President has popularity but doesn’t have credibility with the people. Let’s be clear it is not the President that doesn’t have credibility it is the bankers, politicians, and talking heads that have no credibility. The public is tired of hearing about bankers and wall-streeters who continue to take bail-out money and hoard it or continue to live in a culture of a by-gone era. The public is tired of politicians who refuse to understand that they are hurting and “Just say no” is not an option. The public is tired of media-types who live in a bubble telling them who is at fault and who to trust.

Mr. Gingrich there was no Bush/Obama White House and until the Republicans can acknowledge their role in this economic melt-down and begin to articulate a new strategy that addresses these problems they have no credibility with the public. The public is not willing to ignore the last eight years or pretend they never happened. Until the Republicans can acknowledge their failures they are doomed to repeat them, but not at the expense of this nation. You can’t start a fire and then charge the firefighters with arson. The best thing the Republicans can do to avoid another 50 years in the wilderness is to begin to help craft real legislation that will turn this economy around at least then the Democrats won’t be able to take full credit for the salvation of our country.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

~ Albert Einstein

Our Best And Our Brightest

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For years, many blacks have just come to accept that integration was the path to success in America. Blacks who have been able to have deftly navigated the integration maze either through employment, education, or athletic achievement. And once reaching the pinnacle of their success they have chosen to leave their neighborhoods, friends, and communities to relocate into white America where they take on mythical status as being more than black. To whites they become not like those other blacks and therefore become more acceptable to their white sensibilities. And in some cases blacks believe they have some mythical characteristics that separate them from other blacks. In their wake they leave behind a community that is devoid of role models and success stories. They leave behind a community that is becoming more financially and morally bankrupt.

Before integration and the black man’s desertion of the black neighborhood the only place for successful black men was within the black community. They didn’t have the option of leaving and joining the majority population so their influence and their example were there for all to see and emulate. With the exodus of these heroes the black community has been left with smoke hounds, drunks, and prison gang leaders for masculine role models. And people wonder why young black men are doing so well? When you remove the presence of successful men in a community a vacuum is created and as with any vacuum something or someone is always there to fill it. In the case of the black community it has been filled by despair, hopelessness, and this penitentiary mentality. The heroes we have been left with are those who exploit and pander to violence, criminality, and gangsterism.

I remember when I was growing up we had professional athletes, doctors, and professional men as neighbors. We interacted with them daily and got to see that a black man could be successful without resorting to dealing drugs, robbing people, and killing their brothers. These men provided hope just by their very presence to many young black men who otherwise would have been consumed by their circumstances. Even children who did not have fathers at home still could go out into the community and see that there had been others who were able to overcome their surroundings and reach to another level. As blacks have been able to wrestle success from the clutches of an economic system that for so long had ignored and marginalized them they began to seek the safety and comfort of the suburbs. While I have no problem with anyone who wants to make a better life for their families in the suburbs, I do believe that we all have to be cognizant of the consequences of our actions. As more and more successful blacks have migrated to the suburbs in their wake they have left a more engrained and intransigent form of poverty, a poverty that feeds on itself and creates more poverty.

In my opinion there are two ways to be successful. One is to migrate to the suburbs and integrate into an established system of success. This of course is the easy route to take because the only work involved is assimilation into the larger culture. The second and by far the more difficult way is to stay where you are and rebuild the institutions that you have. By doing this you create and enforce your own definition of success which may be different from the larger culture. The key question in all of this I guess is do successful black men owe any loyalty to their communities besides trying to sell them sneakers or an occasional drive through the hood? Each person must answer this question within themselves, but as a Christian I am not only judged on what I do but also on the opportunities I have to do the right thing and do not.

Our black youth in our communities are at a crisis point. They are angry and for good reason. When they needed a black man to protect them and to lead them there was no one positive there. Instead what was there was gangs, criminals, and disengaged fathers. No longer were there positive role models to emulate and find a communal sense of pride in. As more and more black kids are growing up without fathers the need for hope has never been greater. These kids need to know that they matter in a world that has basically ignored, shunned, and made them feel invisible. They continue to cry out in dysfunctional ways, but it is the only way they know how to say we are hurting and no one seems to care. It is time for all of us to come together not as a white community or a black community but as one community to rebuild and restore our promise to one another. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy ~ Charles de Montesquieu

The Morals Of A Gnat

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As I watched the rant of CNBC analyst Rick Santelli concerning the proposed housing bailout of the Obama administration I couldn’t help but think is this where we have evolved to as a country? Where our chief concern is what’s in it for me. Have we gotten to the place where we are taking our moral cues from the same greedy, profit at all cost mentality that got us into this mess? According to this crowd it is now immoral to help those who have become unemployed, sick, or homeless because they have had the misfortune of working for a company that had lay-offs and didn’t have golden parachutes. Because these people are still fortunate enough to be employed and have homes then the rest of the world be damned?

The popularity of this type of behavior illustrates how through the media and our decades of greed we have become desensitized to the suffering of others. We are emulating the attitudes of the “Gilded Age” prior to the “Great Depression” where as long as the misery is affecting others then it is not my concern. This type of behavior is often times seen in courtrooms where we blame the victim in order for us to not believe that we ourselves could be victims of similar mishaps. It is a response to a deep-seated fear and insecurity because deep inside we all know that we could just as easily be that victim. So rather than accept the possibility that it could be us we place blame and give the victims characteristics that reduce their humanity. In this case that all of the people who are being foreclosed on are somehow responsible for their misfortune due to bad decision making or some other moral deficiency.

The problem I have with this guy in particular and with the recent criticism of the economic plans of this administration in general is that people are treating this crisis like it is just another recession and so all we need are a few minor tweaks and the system will right itself. Anyone with the slightest understanding of this crisis and of our history realizes that this is not the 1970’s or 1990’s where we faced market corrections and slight downturns and our solutions did not require radical departures from previous policies. The current crop of naysayers whether they be the greedy or the Republicans seem to be focused on the short-term, for some reason they refuse to look at the overall view.

They take snippets of data and scraps of the solutions and say this does nothing to change the crisis this week as if we got here overnight. The problem with many of them is that they believe the history of America started on January 20th and ignore the systemic problems brought about by years of neglect and greed.

What I don’t understand is when did our morals become everybody for themselves? I find it hard to believe that we have become a nation of such selfish proportions. I was taught and firmly believe still that if my neighbor is struggling and if I can help him then I should. We are being bombarded by article after article and rant after rant about the ignorance of the average American for buying homes they could not afford or speculating on the real estate market. It is a common refrain of the right and the greedy to blame those less fortunate for their circumstances as if they were the ones who brought down our economy. It is like the welfare queens of Reagan claiming that every woman on welfare was a black woman driving a Cadillac and living in some fancy condominium.

The sad part is that it resonates with people. It allows those who are selfish to ignore and overlook the suffering of those they see every day. It allows them to make judgments about those they don’t know and based on those judgments walk by the homeless, the hungry, and the poor without feeling guilty.

Have we become so jaded that our national conscience can no longer be shamed into action on the part of those less fortunate? It is a shame how the wealthy and the greedy have turned this into a referendum of the middle-class and not a condemnation of the greedy who ran our economy into the ground. While the CEO’s are brought before the cameras not to be drawn and quartered for their excesses, but merely to be scolded like unruly children and sent back to their mansions and country club lifestyles. Yet those poor Americans who can and have lost their homes are told you were stupid and we won’t help you. We reward those who have lost billions of dollars of other people’s money and blame those who have lost thousands of their own dollars. Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?

No Mr. Santelli, the message our government is sending is not that you don’t have to pay your mortgage if you are laid-off or you have a rotten loan, the message that our government is sending is that we care for all Americans not just the greedy and the wealthy. The message we are sending is that we are a compassionate nation and if that offends your delicate sensibilities then maybe you ought to relocate to a country where excess and greed are not frowned upon. Do I think that it is fair that I have to continue to pay my mortgage while others may receive some help? Of course not, but I thank God that I am not in their shoes yet! How about you Mr. Santelli if it is such a great deal why don’t you quit your job and apply for foreclosure assistance?

There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find

~ Michael Friedlander

I Told You So – Sort Of

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

After watching the Republican responses to the passing and signing of the Presidents stimulus package it is becoming abundantly clear what their strategy will be for the next few years. They will stage these phony displays of public outrage and then at the same time take credit for any benefits from the stimulus package. First let’s be clear about whether this bill was bi-partisan. In order to do this you have to separate the Republican Party from the Washington Republicans many of whom represent solid Republican base districts that were gerrymandered by Tom Delay and his cohorts from the Republicans who represent statewide constituencies like governors.

Most Republican governors who are not seeking future national office are in strong favor of the stimulus bill. So far the ones who have spoken out against it are Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It will be interesting to see how many of these governors will be lining up for a 2012 presidential bid.

Many Republicans are strategically placing themselves to have the best of both worlds. If the Obama economic plans do not work they will say we told you so, if they do work they will say it was our opposition and not the economic plans of the President that turned the economy around. The Republicans are gambling that they will be able to steal the credit for the economic turnaround hoping that by the time the economy does turn around the voters will have forgotten their opposition to all of the President’s economic policies.

This strategy really exposes the Republicans deep-seated hostility towards the American electorate. They are willing to be seen as rooting for the economy to crash and taking concrete steps to bring it about while at the same time believing that the American public won’t remember their opposition to the economic policies that succeeded. Basically they are saying the American public is so stupid that they can be easily duped by sound bites and imagery. Granted there was a day in American politics when these strategies were successful, however what the Republicans and many Washington pundits have failed to realize is that a new bell has rung and once rung it cannot be un-rung.

American voters are becoming even more engaged not less engaged in the political process. There are more outlets for information than there ever has been so the nightly sound bite and sweeping political imagery has lost its effectiveness. The Republicans may think this is 1984, but they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The American public is not looking for a return to past failed policies and phony cultural wars. The Republicans are pinning their hopes in 2010 on the fact that the economic crisis they helped to engineer is so deep that there will be little change by election time and they can tout the President’s economic policies as failures. They are already laying the groundwork for this strategy by claiming that the economic policies of FDR were ineffectual during the Great Depression because there wasn’t instant success.

What they fail to mention and what many Americans who survived during that period often state is that while those FDR policies did not completely turn the economy around they did help to stem the hardships of the depression and gave the public hope and confidence that their government was trying to help them. Imagine how much worst the situation would have been if the Republicans had been successful in curtailing the programs of the New Deal.

In similar fashion the Republicans of today are trying to reduce the size and scope of the President’s economic policies so they can claim that they were right. These so called “principled” men who took a budget surplus and created the largest deficits in history are now claiming to be budget and deficit hawks. During the debate concerning the President’s stimulus package many Republicans stated that their opposition to the bill was that it did not address the underlying problem of our economic problems, which according to them was the housing market. So one would think that when the President announced his plan to help shore up the housing market and try to keep families in their homes that the Republicans would be ready to support it; right? Wrong. Almost to a man as with the Stimulus Bill the Republicans are lining up to denounce the plan. The Republicans are not only the “Party of no” they are also the Party of no ideas.

The economy at some point will rebound we all know this. Our economy is now and always has been cyclical. The question then becomes is the government responsible for setting in place safety nets to help reduce the suffering of its citizenry while at the same time instituting policies that will reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophes or is it the governments job to sit and watch as its citizenry suffers the hardships and horrors of a system many have no direct control over and receive only minimal benefit from?

The Republicans are betting that by the time the economy turns around that they can tell Americans that the Republican’s magic economic fairy was responsible and not the policies of this administration, that it was their opposition that made the recovery possible. So either way they were right. When all you have to do is sit and watch you are afforded the luxury of saying I told you so, but when you are responsible for the welfare of a nation that luxury is no longer available. Only a child sits and waits to say I told you so while adults work to solve problems. Our country does not have the time for children’s games, we need adults.

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

250 Million

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I recently heard that there are an estimated 250 million guns in the United States. There are an estimated 111 million households in America. Using these numbers that would mean there are 2.2 guns for every household in America. That seems like a lot of guns to me. As I began to ponder these numbers I wondered with all of these guns are we a safer nation? Have all of these guns provided us with the security many of us are seeking?

??I began researching the facts concerning gun violence in America in relation to the rest of the industrialized world. What I found was shocking not in what it said about guns but what it said about our culture. With or without guns we live in a violent culture. Confrontation and violence seems to be ingrained in our national psyche. In America, violence appears to be the first remedy to situations both by the government and its people. Do I believe there are too many guns in America? Yes I do, but I don’t believe that the problem for all the violence in America is guns.  

I believe in trying to reduce the number of guns not because I believe it will make us less violent of a society but because guns make killing and violence too easy. Guns make killing too quick and too efficient. People kill today without thinking and without remorse and with guns you can do that. Imagine if there were fewer guns killing would become more difficult. Guns make killing too detached. Without guns you would have to face down your intended target and it would be messier.

I want to provide some figures to illustrate but the problem with the NRA and other gun lobbyists is that any talk of restricting guns is immediately met with hyperbole and demagoguery. The problem with not considering the arguments and opinions of others is that you begin to seem irrational and foolish. By the way the armed militia argument being necessary to prevent tyranny is wrong on many levels. We aren’t providing arms to minutemen soldiers but to any idiot that can get one.

Also an armed society has proven to be no safer a democracy than a non armed society. The US has 90 guns for every 100 people making it the most heavily armed country in the world. (1) The second most armed nation is Yemen, that bastion of democracy. Are the people in England, Canada, or Greece more in danger of losing their democracies because they are not as armed as the US?

On the list of murders per capita in the world the United States ranks 24th. We rank higher than any of the industrialized nations except Russia. We trail countries like Columbia, Mexico, and Zimbabwe; not bad company for the richest nation on earth.??· In 2005 there were 30,694 gun deaths in the US. (2) In 1998 gun homicides in the rest of the industrialized world were as follows (3)

  • 373 – Germany?
  • 51 – Canada?
  • 57 – Australia?
  • 19 – Japan?
  • 54 – England?
  • 11,789 – US??

More guns have obviously not made us safer. However guns alone are not the problem. We must begin to adopt ways to reduce the level of violence in our culture and in our society at large. This will be extremely difficult in a society that glamorizes violence and disseminates it through all forms of media. The economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama have led to an increase in the number of requests for background checks for gun purchases. In November they were up 40% over the previous year and in December they were up by 25%. People are feeling less secure about the future and showing this unease by purchasing more guns.

We have made killing too easy in our country and have not addressed the underlying culture of violence. You cannot glorify violence and then have easy access to guns. Somehow we must tone down the aggression and teach our children that violence is not the answer to all of life’s challenges and difficulties.

We must develop a responsible and comprehensive way of reducing the number of guns or none of us will be safe. Just as the drug kingpin Carlos Escobar was held responsible for flooding our streets with dangerous drugs so the gun manufacturers must be held accountable for flooding our streets with guns. We can no longer decide arbitrarily which dangers we seek to address and which ones we don’t. Where there is arbitrary power, there is tyranny.??

Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.

~  John Adams

References . . .

1.  U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people, By Laura MacInnis.  Reuters. August 28, 2007 1:57pm EDT

2.  CDC Mortality Report 2008

3.  Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

This Party Will Self Destruct in 5,4,3,2,1



Hardball: Pat Buchanan Angers Mike Paul On The Air

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As I was watching Hardball with Chris Matthews last night I couldn’t help but see the dust-up between Pat Buchanan and Mike Paul; a black Republican strategists. The exchange between the two highlighted the current state of influx for the Republican Party and the deep divisions that are becoming more pronounced with each passing day. What many are missing is not that the Republicans lost; it is how they lost and why they lost that should be examined. I am not sure that they have the willingness or the humility for self-examination and without self-examination there can be no change. The struggles within the Republican Party are not new; it is just that they were able to mask them behind their “cultural wars” and false patriotism. Now that those rhetorical arguments have been ignored by the electorate the party is being exposed for who they truly are.

The true nature of the Republican Party has been and remains exclusion versus inclusion. Rather than wanting to expand their base they want to continue to cling to a shrinking version of an America long since past. Listening to Pat Buchanan one is reminded of why the Republicans are becoming a regional minority party. Mr. Buchanan characterized the Latino and minority voters who by the way are the fastest growing block of voters as being “big government” proponents because they are looking for hand-outs. This is an insult to all of the hard working immigrants and minorities in this country and represents the type of insensitivity that was so evident in the last election. As Mr. Paul tried to suggest the country is changing and the Republicans need to change. Pat Buchanan’s answer was to stick his fingers in his ears and pretend it is still 1964. If this is going to be the Republican answer to the changing demographics in America then their fate is sealed.

I have heard the argument that we need the Republican Party to regroup and become a strong opposition to strengthen our democracy. While I agree that we must have other alternatives to one party rule that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be this party. If a party becomes irrelevant and opposed to change by its own design then another one will rise to replace it. Anyone remember the Whig Party, the Know-Nothings, or how about the States Rights Party? We have a long history of parties rising and falling in America and today is no different. There will always be an opposition party no matter who is the majority or governing party. When a party loses touch with the electorate and the important issues of that electorate then they deserve to become extinct like all other organisms that do not evolve. They may continue to press their agenda but if that agenda is not considered relevant by those who are being asked to support it in a democracy then the people will seal its fate.

America is changing and there are many Republicans and some Democrats alike who find that fact frightening and will continue to cling to their fears and try to stoke the fears of likeminded people, but make no mistake the genie cannot be put back in the bottle. We cannot turn the clock back to the “good old days” when power was concentrated in the hands of a few white men only nor should we. If the Republicans want to continue to run their national campaigns on issues like fear, abortion, and gay-marriage they have every right to and I for one will support their right to do so. However, if the electorate decides that those issues no longer resonate then the Republicans will have a choice to make. They are obviously not at the place where they are ready to make that choice. They continue at least publically to reiterate the same tired rhetoric that has failed them in recent elections. Let the ice age begin. Unless they have a plan to deport all minorities, immigrants, and people who accept diversity not as a necessary evil but as a desired outcome then they shall go the way of the Bull Moosers and good riddance.

The Republicans have maybe two more election cycles to either reach out to more Americans or become insignificant as a national party. They will always have their regional, cultural, and ethnic issues and the voters that these type of arguments appeal to. The problem is that this blocks of voters is becoming smaller and smaller. If anyone is willing to see beyond the numbers there is a gradual but perceptual shift in the American electorate. The problem with many Americans whether they be pundits, political experts, or the general public is that we refuse to accept something until it is right in our faces. It is this lack of foresight that allowed us to believe that there would be no consequences to invading Iraq, spending money like a drunken sailor, or removing the regulations on the greediest among us.

What the Republicans have to come to grips with is that it is not the face of the messenger that counts, it is the message stupid! So whether it is Colin Powell at the UN or Gonzalez at Justice if the policies are whack dressing them up with an acceptable messenger doesn’t make them plausible. Crap is still crap no matter who is spewing it.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?  Four.  Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.  

~Abraham Lincoln

President Obama’s Agenda

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It is amazing to me how the Republicans and all of their right-wing friends are trying to minimize the total repudiation they and their policies received at the hands of the electorate. According to these “objective” viewers there was no political realignment. The fact that Obama carried states that hadn’t been carried by a Democrat in years and put into play states that had been lost to Democrats for a generation does not mean that there was a redrawing of the electoral map according to these illustrious men.

Their goal is simple to try and keep President Obama and the Democrats from enacting any sweeping legislation, instead hoping that they stay small and do little if anything. My guess is that they hope by trying these scare tactics and keeping the Dems thinking small that in four years if they accomplish little or nothing the Republicans can highlight how a majority Party did nothing to help the voters that elected them.

The Republicans contempt for the intelligence of the American people is infinite. It was only a few years ago that a man who garnered 271 and 286 electoral college votes in two successive elections had a mandate to suspend Habeas Corpus rights, expand government with giveaways to his cronies, and privatize Social Security with their blessings. So I guess based on their logic you only have a mandate and realignment if it meets their criteria and supports their agenda.

This talk is why they are becoming more and more irrelevant. I am all for enlisting the support of all Americans for the monumental tasks that we face, but you don’t just get your butt kicked and then try to drive the car; you are lucky to be in the car! What these clowns refuse to see is the same reason they have lost touch with the majority of the American voters and lost the election. When it comes to the major issues facing the American public, they’ve got nothing. This is not the country they thought it was and they can’t accept it.

If I were advising President Obama and the Dems I would advise them to go big and go fast. Strike the iron while it is hot. I would begin with a stimulus package for the poor and the middle-class. I would force the banks to use the bail-out money for what it was designed for to make loans, not to buy other banks.

I would then resubmit the SCHIPs healthcare program for children. I would propose funds for states and local governments to ride through this economic crisis and to begin to do the badly needed infrastructure repair. I would look to pass the union registration legislation. I would begin to realign our armed forces to reflect the true nature of the dangers we face. I would invite the UN back into Iraq and give them some real authority to help and stabilize that government. I would then send my diplomats to embark on a worldwide tour to reassure the world that we do respect the world and want to be a part of it again. I would state unequivocally that the United States does not condone torture against anyone. I would enact a 10-year energy plan to make us completely oil free by 2019. I would reinstate and expand the Pell Grant program to help families pay for college for those who are willing and qualified to go. After consultations, I would develop a program to provide healthcare for the millions of Americans who currently don’t have it.

I know that this is a lot to chew on, but we have to remember what George W. and his greedy assed friends have left us with. We must mitigate the vastness of this Depression that we are facing, not wait until we are in the middle of it but while we can make a difference. I also understand that this still leaves plenty of other badly needed things unaddressed, but that was only the first day.

We must not allow the naysayers and the small minded to diminish the scope of the critical programs that we need. Of course there will be shouts from the Right about the deficit and big spending liberals, but we must remember we have tried it their way and it didn’t work. A temporary allowance of deficit spending in the middle of a “recession” is not abnormal. Of course they would want us to do nothing because they will be able to ride out the storm and they could use the pain of those who would truly be suffering to rise back to power.

We also have to remember that this generation cannot sustain suffering. If this were a couple of generations ago we would just roll-up our sleeves and get it done, however this generation has not known suffering and hardship and frankly I don’t think they could handle it. They will require more support and coddling than their grandparents. So, there is much to be done and doing it piecemeal is not going to do it. We must strike hard, strike large, and strike fast…

One thing is sure.

We have to do something.

We have to do the best we know how at the moment… If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.


~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Responsibility Or The Loss Of Credibility

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

One of the many things that trouble me about the wealthy in particular and the Republicans in general is their apparent lack of shame for their blatant hypocrisy. For decades the mantra of the wealthy and their Republican mouthpieces has been the lack of personal responsibility of the poor. According to these people the problem with liberalism is that they have tried to use the government to “bail-out” the bad choices made by these unfortunate individuals and if they would only exercise some personal responsibility they would be alright. It is not the business of the taxpayers to support the bad lifestyle choices of individuals.

While this analysis is wrong on so many levels, it is important with the current bail-out plans being discussed and enacted in Washington to discuss it on its face value. My question is, “If it has been bad policy in the past to “bail-out” bad personal choices and decisions for individuals why is it now good policy to “bail-out” these same bad decisions now being made by CEO’s and financiers?” It is precisely this type of hypocrisy that has helped to fuel the largest transfer of wealth from the public coffers to the wealthy in our history. Government payouts only seem to be in the interest of the country when they are being given to the wealthiest amongst us. There is something wrong with a system that takes the wealth of the middle and lower classes and gives it to the richest in the faint hope that they will not be greedy and will provide some return on those funds.

As the financial meltdown has unfolded around us it has revealed this strategy for what it is; another bankrupt idea of the wealthy and the Republicans being perpetrated against the American public. It was amazing to hear John McCain try to mock Senator Obama for his comments to “Joe the plumber” about “spreading the wealth”. Why wasn’t anyone mocking the rich during the many transfers of wealth to the rich by the Reagan and Bush tax-cuts? I guess it is ok to spread the wealth if it is going in an upwardly direction. This is just a further illustration of why the Republican brand has lost all of its credibility with the American public. Not only has this crisis reinforced their lack of principles and convictions but there has been a history of similar situations in the past. Here is a short list of some of the most egregious examples of their untrustworthiness.


No Nation Building – One of the first and costliest in a long string of credibility gaps was then candidate Bush’s pronouncement that he would not use the military to engage in nation building.

Weapons of Mass Destruction – Can any of us forget the infamous pronunciations of a host of Administration officials on this subject? Sorry General Powell

Trickle-Down Economics Work – Can anyone besides McCain and a diehard Republican supply-sider argue that this policy has bankrupted our economic system?

No Regulations/Let Markets Rule – Another aspect of the vaulted Conservative Republican agenda was the systematic dismantling of regulatory agency powers and budgets. Let the markets rule! How is that working out America?

What almost no one at the beginning of this process and many still have not been realized is the deep level of desire for change that is permeating through the American population. It is still my belief that I have shared for the last two months that this election will not even be close. By 10:30 on election night the winner will be known to all. This weekend has only increased my enthusiasm for the outcome of this election. On Saturday I attended the Barack Obama rally in Kansas City, Missouri and I have never witnessed a political event or any other event for that matter that carried the electricity or the enthusiasm that this event did. It was surreal to see red-necks and blacks sharing the same belief and hope in a political figure. There were about 70,000 people that showed up to just be a part of history. Maybe 5,000 people could actually see Senator Obama, so the other 70,000 were just there to hear him or to just be a part of history. One of the most often stated lines was, “We’re making history or we are witnessing a history making moment.”

The other event that has increased my enthusiasm is that I was watching the Republican mouthpieces on the Sunday talk shows talking about the Obama Presidency. There are many Republicans who feel that the current Republican Party and its focus is an abomination to what the Republican Party stands for. When have you heard Republicans hinting, let alone saying publicly that their Party needs to lose? The difference in this election will be two-fold. The first will be the influx of new voters that have been registered by the Obama campaign’s voter drives in many of the swing states. The other deciding factor will be the number of suburban Republican voters who will sit this election out. They won’t vote for Obama, but they are not going to support McCain either.

It is time for personal responsibility for all of us, not just the poor and the middle-class. Electing Barack Obama will be a major step towards that goal.

Many of us believe that wrongs aren’t wrong if it’s done by nice people like ourselves.  

~ Author Unknown

The Most Liberal Senator Ever?

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

According to the Republicans, Senator Barack Obama is the most liberal Senator ever. As the Republican shrills made the talk show rounds the common theme was a familiar refrain. Senator_______ (you fill in the blank with any Democratic nominee) is the most liberal Senator ever. I am not a believer in déjà vu, but I can’t help but think I have heard this line before. Oh yeah now I remember; how about the last 20 years! It seems like whenever the Democrats nominate someone that person is immediately labeled the most liberal Governor, Senator, etc. ever.

You would think that the Party that has been in power 12 of the last 14 years would be running on issues and on all of their accomplishments. You would think they would be trumpeting the strong economy, the successful prosecution of the war, and energy legislative successes. Is there any wonder they are recycling the same campaign rhetoric of the last 20 years and ignoring the issues? The economy is in the worse shape in decades, the war is dragging on into its fifth year, and of course their answer to the energy crisis is more drilling and tax cuts for the oil corporations. Who wouldn’t run on those outstanding accomplishments?

Oh maybe those aren’t the best issues to run a campaign on so let’s look at the Republican platform surely that will include plenty of campaign issues to run on. According to their convention the issues the Republicans will be running on are eerily similar to the policies of the last 8 years. On tax policy they want to increase and even make permanent the Bush tax-cuts that the nominee himself has labeled as “tilted” towards the rich. On health care they continue to want to allow the market and insurance companies to drive the debate and craft the legislation, which translates into no universal health coverage. On energy they want to drill more holes and allow the gas companies to transition us into alternative fuels. On the war they want to continue the occupation and ignore Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real centers of the war on terror.

The Republican campaign strategy reminds me of the television ad for Verizon wireless where the neighborhood woman comes over and tells the couple that just moved into a home how the home is a cell phone dead zone. The couple explains that they have Verizon and their network. The Verizon spokesman comes out of the house and says the couple is good, and then the neighbor woman then says, “Well, you have crabgrass!” So I guess the Republicans are saying, “Yeah you may have the right positions on the important issues of this election, but you’re still the most liberal Senator ever!”

Of course another big Republican campaign strategy is their own change theme. John McCain and Governor Palin are agents of change .They are running against the “Washington establishment” and how they are going to shake up Washington. Once again rather than provide us with details of how they will address the important issues of our time, they provide us with these vague campaign slogans that do little in helping us to solve our everyday problems. In place of real debate and discussion of the issues we get the same ole politics of the past with the same ole name calling.

Remember when Fritz Mondale was the most liberal and then there was Governor Dukakis, and then John Kerry, and you get the picture. It amazes me how the media who is suppose to debunk and report on the false campaign narratives have allowed this to go on for 20 years. The next time a Republican talking head throws out this retread line it would be nice to hear a reporter remind them that they have been using this line for the last 20 years. But of course they will continue to explore the claim as if it were an accurate statement. Oh by the way how have the conservative politicians faired in governing our nation? And we’re all familiar with the purveyors of family values who ignore them for themselves. So if the choice is between the most liberal Senator or more of the same politics as usual maybe we could use with a little liberal change.

Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.

~ Henri Frederic Amiel