Study Reveals Healthcare Cost In Texas Will Go Up if Reform Fails

TexashealthcareLots of ‘ Tea Party’ supporters may be jumping up and down and cheering  because in the latest mark up session of the Senate Health Reform Bill, the ‘Public Option’has been gutted. While it may be a temporary victory, mark our words it will be short lived… It’s a sad fact that some of life’s basic necessities are seen as political undertakings and not as human right imperatives. Access to food clothing, shelter and health should not be a political debate in any society and when they do become contentious issues we all pay a price. Bottomline, if I’m not healthy its just a matter of time before you’re not healthy.

Case in point, lets take a look at the Swine Flu outbreak that most recently reared its head in the border city of Eagle Pass. As some of you know several high school football players came  down with symptoms, resulting in the cancellation of one of its games.  Now in a place like Eagle Pass, some people have Health insurance while many do not. Sure the kids may be eligible for some sort of medicaid, but what about the adults in their lives?  What about their parents, who may have taken on some of the germs of their children and show no signs of illness so they don’t make a trip to the emergency room as suggested by our tea party friends?

Lets say those parents who now laced with disease and no healthcare  shows up to work at the local restaurant where they wash dishes or serve you food?  Perhaps those parents are driving your children to school or elderly parents to the old age home.  You get the picture. Who wants an infected person walking around engaging us? We all pay a steep price.

We’re told to wear a condom when we have sex, because we have no way of knowing the person we are just started dating is clean and free of venereal disease or even worse HIV.  many a person has gotten hit with a STD because the person they were intimate with didn’t know they were infected. The end result has been devastating.  Some of it is plain ole neglect, but a lot of it is caused by a person who felt funny, smelled funny and may have even experienced a little discomfort, making a decision not to spend hours in an emergency room or a once a week free clinic. That person like so many of us who don’t have health insurance probably hoped that whatever was bothering him would disappear. Others thought that if they embraced some outdated, inefficient homemade remedy they could get by. Well, the proof is in the pudding,  STDs are at all time highs and those diseases are preventable..

What we need to worry about is what  happens when we have airborne diseases that aren’t preventable? Even if you have Health insurance doesn’t mean that  1-You are immune to the effects of  disease and 2-that you will get all the treatment needed to  if the sickness takes hold. 3– the person who is uninsured and infected may cause widespread havoc while we celebrate that our tax dollars weren’t used to provide basic preventative care for the uninsured.

Becareful what you wish for..

Something to Ponder

-Davey D-

 

Study: Cost higher if health reform fails,study says

By TODD ACKERMAN Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

A week after a Texas agency reported health care reform legislation would cost the state’s Medicaid program an extra $20 billion over the next 10 years, a non-partisan foundation says inaction will exact a greater price.

In a study being issued today, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects that by 2019, Texas’ ranks of uninsured, public program spending and individual and employee health care expenses will balloon if reform isn’t passed.

“People worry about losing what they have now, but they need to remember that what they have now is likely to change,” said Bowen Garrett, a senior researcher with the Urban Institute’s health policy center, which conducted the study for the foundation. “Many who have employee-sponsored insurance will lose it as health care costs go up, and those fortunate enough to keep their plans will pay higher out-of-pocket costs or earn smaller wages as employers decide whether to cut on wages or benefits.”

Looking to 2019

The study, which estimates how coverage and cost trends would change from now to 2019 if health care isn’t reformed, found out-of-pocket expenses could increase by more than 35 percent in every state. It found middle-class working families would be hardest hit.

According to the study, the effects in Texas within 10 years include:

• As many as 8.3 million residents would be uninsured, up from 6 million this year.

• The average resident’s health care spending would increase as much as 81 percent.

• Employers’ premiums would increase as much as 121 percent.

• Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program spending would increase as much as 117 percent.

• Uncompensated care would increase by as much as 138 percent.

Health care reform’s financial effect on Texas emerged as an issue last week when Republican Sen. John Cornyn told the Senate Finance Committee that Senate legislation expanding Medicaid coverage would cost Texas $20 billion over 10 years, citing a report by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission.

‘Unique challenges’

A day later, Texas Gov. Rick Perry upped the figure to $60 billion, citing the commission report’s figure if any of the legislation being considered in Congress passes.

A spokeswoman for Perry didn’t dispute the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation figures Tuesday but stood by the governor’s stated concerns.

“I don’t think the governor is against health care reform,” said Katherine Cesinger, Perry’s deputy press secretary. “He just believes states have specific, unique challenges and ought to be solved on a state-by-state basis, not a one-size-fits-all basis.”

At the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman also stood by the commission’s report. She said the commission agreed with the foundation study that population growth will increase Texas’ Medicaid population to 4.5 million by 2009, but noted the Senate bill would add 2.5 million to that amount.

todd.ackerman@chron.com

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Texas Secession: Should Black and Brown Folks Jump on Board?

southernshifthat-225I always find this concept of  Texas secession interesting. I especially find it interesting when I see and hear the way its being framed. Words like ‘Freedom‘  ‘Independence‘ and ‘Oppression‘ are used suggesting that its noble endeavor and not something sinister.  Some find the conversation compelling when it focuses on our main two parties Republicans and Democrats being a thorn in our collective sides that needs to be done away with. There’s lots of tough talk about  from secessionist about dissatisfaction with the Federal  government which is very relatable when one looks at high unemployment rates, Wall Street Bankers getting bailed out, mismanaged wars out and no Universal healthcare. All of this makes a secession argument intriguing.

Today secessionists claim that their motivation is not racism. They emphatically claim an increasingly Browner and Blacker Texas is not their main reason to secede. They want freedom from Oppression. Ok I’ll buy that-we all want that type of relief.  Now my question is will a Republic of Texas change the flawed political dynamics of the other 49 states and strive to be a true Democracy?  Will a Republic of Texas have a government that is a true representation that is reflective of the population?  For example, will there be proportional representation ensuring all Texans to have voice and a seat at the table or will it be winner take all? In short will the Republic of Texas be for the people by the people?  After all, the reason to secede centers around a Federal government that is unresponsive. The ROT should ideally change this right?  We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that spends our money in all the wrong places. We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that doesn’t listen to the peoples true wants and needs. I can completely understand the frustrations one has with the Feds. I can assure you, those sentiments are not exclusive to the ‘good’ folks behind the ‘Texas Nationalist Movement’. Lots of folks feel that way. Lots of Black folks, lots of Brown folks.

I recall during the height of the Black Power movements, in the 60s and 70s groups like the Nation of Islam  than known as the Black Muslims along with others called for a nation within a nation. It was a type of secession of sorts. Leaders felt like the Democrats and Republicans were morally corrupt. They felt the Federal government was a sham and ideally things would get better if the nation’s Black population could take over the states they tilled the land for as slaves and call it a day.  Freedom from oppression was the guiding force. Black folks were looking to get their 40 Acres and mule as promised by the Feds.  Perhaps this will happen under the Republic of Texas. Broken promises shall be honored  right?

 As we now know all that nation within a nation talk was met with swift and ultimately destructive response from our federal government. FBI director, J Edgar Hoover under the leadership of Lyndon Baines Johnson a Texan , did ‘name checks’ on opponents and ran a vicious Cointel-pro campaigns to dismantle the Black Panthers,  derail  the Civil Rights Movement led by  Martin Luther King and make any talk of  a nation within a nation sound utterly ridiculous.

There are many Chicano’s here in Texas who can recall the heights of the Chicano Movement where issues like Land Grants was front and center and people were seeking ways to get back ancenstral lands that were stolen. I believe there’s quite a bit of ‘property’ in Texas that folks may be looking to get back.  Will that at least be discussed in the Republic of Texas? After all  Chicanos and many indegenous folks have major beef with the Federal government who they feel behaved in extreme undemocratic  fashion. They can tell you story after story of broken promises, broken treaties, and unscrupulous land grabs. One should be able to safely assume that within a strong independent Texas such atrocities will not take place.  The goal of having honesty within our government is one of the reasons to secede. 

The Republic of Texas… Is this an opportunity for ALL the people in Texas (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Young, old ) to have the wrongs of the past corrected? Is the Republic of Texas intending to be a true Democracy or is all this talk of  a Free and Independent Texas just a sham  conducted by some disgruntled people with its core goal to grab land and resources?

Something to Ponder

-Davey D-

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An exclusive interview with Daniel Miller, President of The Texas Nationalist Movement

Source: Cypress Times Article

TexasSecession-225Over the past few weeks The Cypress Times has carried several opinion pieces in our Op/Ed Section from supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement.  The Texas Nationalist Movement supports Texas secession, and the establishment of a free and independent Texas. 

These op/ed pieces have garnered an amazing amount of attention and have resulted in some very, let’s call it lively, commentary.  One of the themes repeated often in the negative commentary is that the Texas Nationalist Movement is motivated by racism and a hate specifically for Barack Obama.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the TNM is not an Obama thing.  It’s not a Democrat thing.  It’s not a GOP thing.  It’s a freedom thing.

The TNM was formed way before anyone outside of Chicago, and a few domestic terrorists, had ever heard the name, Barack Obama.  Most people in the U.S. back then thought ACORN was just a nut long cherished by squirrels and that Socialism was something that happened in ridiculous places like France. 

The truth is that George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas when TNM launched its initiative to say “Adios” to the United States of America. So, it’s really not an Obama thing, okay.

“We’re non-partisan with people from all walks of life,” Texas Nationalist Movement, President Daniel Miller told me in a recent interview.  Truth be told, the TNM hasn’t much use for those now running the DNC, nor the GOP.

“Our organization rejects these dividing lines which are artificial.  Both major parties fundamentally engage in the same activity,” Miller says.  He also adds, “We (TNM) railed against Bush and the Patriot Act, too.”

So, if the Texas Nationalist Movement isn’t about party politics, what is it about?  Party politics after all are what makes our Government go round.  It’s about the two party system, right? Wrong.

IT’S A FREEDOM THING –

“It’s about people who agree with individual freedom and liberty not putting trust in government,’ Miller says. “How long can people be disenfranchised from government before they say let’s do our own thing.  You saw it in the American Revolution and in Texas history.”

Miller goes on to describe the U.S. Government as “overbearing, oppressive, unwielding and unresponsive.” 

I think that pretty well covers it.  

THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS –

I have to admit as a fifth generation Texan the notion of Texas pulling up stakes and saying, “See Ya” to the U.S. has always fascinated me.  I’ve always thought of Texas secession as a romantic expression of the individualism and ruggedness of the people of Texas.  I see us Texans tipping our collective Stetsons and riding off into the sunset of independence never again to be bothered by those foreigners on the other side of the river.  You know, the Red River.  However, I never really considered it.  Should we really consider it now?   

How’s that hope and change working out for you?  That phrase is getting a lot of action these days.  For that matter how was it working out for you before the change, when George Bush pushed for the first stimulus package and ignored the security of our borders?  Have you really seen a change, or is it more of the same? 

When the Dems are in office the GOP is complaining, when the GOP is in office the Dems are complaining.  Are they really all alike?  I make no judgment call here, I’m just asking.

The questions really become:

Are we (the people) okay with how things are?  Can we change those things given the current system?  If the answer is no, what next?

“People eventually say I don’t want to be a part of this anymore,” says Miller.  “Secession, independence or autonomy come into play.  It has played out across the globe for thousands of years.”

What would a Republic of Texas look like?  Is that bunch in Austin any more trustworthy than the bunch in DC?  The thing to look at, according to Miller, is the Texas Constitution.  Specifically, Article 1, Section 2 which reads as follows:

“INHERENT POLITICAL POWER; REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”

The Texas Constitution leaves little wiggle room on this matter.  It is less open for broad interpretation than the U.S. Constitution.  Isn’t that where we began to get in trouble in the first place?  All of that broad interpretation.

CAN IT BE DONE?  

Can Texas secede, and become a free Republic once more?  Miller says “Yes” and perhaps sooner than anyone thinks.  Miller believes that the secession movement has the support of between 2.2 million and 6 million Texans.  That’s a broad range and Miller understands that.  The range is due to how the numbers were extrapolated from several sources and polls.  Either way it’s a big number.  It is a number that makes the TNM a formidable force in Texas politics.

Miller believes the issue of Secession will be addressed in “a rapid fashion” during the next legislative session (2011) or perhaps sooner, once the Governor’s race has ended.

Miller also says, in the context of the current political climate in America, “I think by the time we get to a vote, Texas independence wins by a landslide.”  

WHY NOW?  WHY WOULD THE PEOPLE BE READY FOR SUCH A DRASTIC MOVE? –

Miller explains that the U.S. Government has moved America in the wrong direction for over 20 years.

“Incrementalism is where it’s all going.  They’ve incrementally moved us so far that now they’re emboldened to take bigger steps because they have less distance to go.”  Miller adds, “For 20 years we’ve been asleep and now the noose is around the neck.”

Miller realizes that secession is not the first thought your average citizen has in terms of fighting back.  He sees what is happening with Townhall Meetings, and TEA Party gatherings, but still believes Secession is the right move for Texas and Texans.

“People will exhaust all the usual opposition first.  But they’ve (the Federal Govt.) taken the position that they know what’s best for us,” says Miller.  Then he reminds me of the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 2.  It’s about the people!

HOW WOULD IT WORK?

Secession is not spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, it is an inferred right, according to Miller who also says that the Declaration of Independence makes it plain as to how it all works. 

When the colonies declared independence, each “state” seceded from England to form a new union.  It would occur much the same now.  If the issue is put in front of the people of Texas and they vote to secede, then Texas will declare independence from the U.S.  The Governor and the Legislature will hold a convention to call for articles of secession and to negotiate a settlement with the U.S.

If the U.S. Government were to ignore those articles of secession, then Texas could declare unilateral independence. 

I asked Mr. Miller what a new Texas would look like geographically. Since it is well known that Texas gave up a good deal of real estate when it joined the U.S., his answer surprised me.  Daniel Miller says the better question might be, what would the United States look like?

“Without Texas, the U.S. ought to think about its viability,” says Miller.

Mr. Miller believes strongly that when Texas secedes, others will follow.  There are other secession movements underway in the U.S. today in states like Vermont and Wisconsin as an example.

CAN TEXAS SURVIVE?

The Secession “nay-sayers” are quick to point out that Texas would lose a ton of Federal money if it were no longer a part of the United States. 

Mr. Miller says, “For years now every dollar we (Texas) send to DC is declining in terms of what we get back.  In the past 30 years Texas has never gotten back what it sends to the Federal government.”

I shared with Mr. Miller that some of the nastier (and therefore not published) commentary we’ve received at The Cypress Times regarding Secession calls the members of the TNM racists, again asserting that it’s an Obama thing.  Can a nation of racists flourish?

“We take exception to that,” Miller says.  “Our members are Hispanic, Asian, Black.  All power is inherent in the people.  Tyranny doesn’t discriminate and freedom shouldn’t either.”

WHAT NEXT?  

Miller says that the Texas Nationalist Movement needs,  “All Texans who believe in independent rights and principles to stand with us in order to see Texas independent and to reserve those freedoms.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement needs to grow.  In order to grow they need people.  “It takes money to reach people,” says Miller. 

“We are engaged at a very personal grass roots level.”   The plan is to organize and mobilize.

The Texas Nationalist Movement is hard at work holding meetings in various regions and is planning a 3-Day Conference in March.

The Texas Independence Conference will be the first of its kind.  The TNM will have special speakers and guests from Texas and from the outside. 

To learn more about The Texas Nationalist Movement, or to join their cause visit their website at http://www.texasnationalist.com/

Return to The Southern Shift

An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas (the Derrion Albert Killing)

Derion AlbertBy now everyone has heard or seen the disturbing video in which a 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert from Christian Fenger Academy High School in Chicago. Albert somehow was caught in the middle of a melee involving two rival gangs and was struck from behind by another young man swinging a board. According to witnesses Derion was walking to a bus stop. When he fell to the ground, 3 or 4 young man stomped him to death… The killing was caught on cell phone and generated outrage and heartbreak throughout the country. The video lead to the arrest of 3 teenagers who were charged with his murder.

A backdrop to the Albert slaying is that the city of Chicago made headlines because President Obama did a first by aggressively courting the Olympic committee to bring the the city the 2016 Games. In a city that has seen dozens of high school kids killed each year through gang violence, one might ask do city officials and even the President have their priorities straight. Should we be talking Olympics? Will the 2016 Games really stem the tide of violence? Should the President use this killing of a student who by most accounts has ‘pulled his pants up’ and worked hard to do good for himself, as a teachable moment?

I’m by no means implying that President Obama is responsible for this, but just like the Swine Flu is widespread and reaching a point where it garners national attention, so should inner city crime. It should be more than obvious that it’s going to take more than a few ‘Say No Violence’ speeches from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or some other leader. The viciousness we saw caught on fiilm, will require more than Lil Wayne or 50 cent changing their lyrics or a group of conscious artists doing a feel good ‘Stop the Violence’ song. Those are band aids.

It’s also obvious that Chicago which is known for having an aggressive police force with all the latest crime fighting tools, a big budget, gang injunction laws and strategies is not able to put the smash on these killings. All of us in this nation need to do more starting with excavating the root cause and making ending killings a top priority. This ranges from those of us in Hip Hop to examine ways in which we can push ourselves and the people we engage in a more positive direction on down to the avarege ordinary 9-5 working stiff to those who hold high offices and have access to vast resources.

-Davey D-

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An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas

Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong wars! Killing each other is definitely played out. Being hurt from the lost of a love one was never cool.

http://globalgrind.com/content/1020340/Open-Letter-To-Young-Warriors-In-Chicago/

Nas-point-225Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong war! I know that feeling, that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But….

We chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for. I remember seeing deaths over 8 ball jackets, Fila sneakers, and name plate chains. Deaths over “he say, she say”!!!!! “I’m from this block or I’m from that block”, or “my moms n pops is f*cked up now the whole world gotta pay”!!!

I remember feeling like I was the hardest “n*gga” breathing. And I couldn’t wait to prove it. But let’s think. What are we really proving?? And proving what to who?? Everybody knows Chicago breeds the strongest of the strong but I just feel, me, being ya brother from another state feels your pain as if I grew up with you in ya very own household.

You have the ability and mindpower to change they way we are looked at. Look who’s watching us young warriors, look who’s throwing us in jail constantly, look at the ignorance in the world. Look at the racist dogs who love to see us down. Loving to bury us in the ground or in jail where we continue this worthless war on one another.

Young warriors…. We are WASTING more and more time. We gotta get on our jobs and take over the world. Cuz this movie left the theaters years ago, Juice, Menace, Boys n the Hood , Blood n Blood Out, Belly!

When we see each other why do we see hatred? Why were we born in a storm, born soldiers, WARRIORS….and instead of building each other up we are at war with each other.. May the soul of this young person find peace with the almighty. I’m with you young warriors. You’re me and I’m you. But trust me! you are fighting the wrong war.

This sh*t sucks !!

-Nas

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Roman Polanski and the Contradictions in us All

DaveyD-leather-225Everyone is talking about the arrest of ‘famed’ director Roman Polanski as he entered Switzerland the other day to attend an award show where he was being honored. He was arrested for being a fugitive on the run from the United States and is likely to be sent back to face charges for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl 30 years ago. Polanski is best known for directing films like ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. After he fled the country, he continued to shine by directing films like The Pianist which won him a couple of Academy Awards, the Ninth Gate and Tess to name a few.

Personally I shed no tears for Polanski. The crime he committed was heinous crime where there is no forgiveness. As far as I’m concerned our government along with the rich and powerful in Hollywood gave Polanski a pass. He was given a wink and a nod when he fled to France. People somehow found a way to humanize him and make him a sympathetic figure of sorts by noting how his beloved wife Sharon Tate was killed by Charles Manson. Hence him raping a 13 year old was somehow a result of that trauma.

For me, its hard not to look at Polanski supposedly escaping the US Justice system while that same justice system managed to track down and persecute Black Panthers and others who were part of the freedom struggle, all over the world. It didn’t matter if any of those figures had experienced personal tragedies like seeing a loved one shot and killed by police. It didn’t matter that they themselves had been traumatized by oppression. At the time Polanski committed this rape, Panthers were being mercilessly hunted down by the FBI via their destructive cointel-pro program which among other things instructed agents to run all sorts psychological mind games on their BP targets.

Over the years we’ve seen local prosecutors be granted all sorts of resources to go after these freedom fighters 30 years after the fact even though the crimes they were accused of were highly disputable and in many instances dubious. Perhaps government officials should’ve spent time and energy offering million dollar bounties for his return the way they did Asaata Shakur. Perhaps time should’ve been spent securing Congressional proclamations of condemnation or making his extradition to the US a precondition to a normalized or improved relationship between us and France. We seem to have no problem insisting on such things at tax payer expense when it came to seeking out Black and Brown folks fighting against injustice heaped upon our communities.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

What I find most disturbing is that after all these years what may have triggered Polanski’s arrest was him criticizing and accusing the LA District attorney’s office of gross misconduct. From the way it sounds, it appears that all it took to go after and finally get a seemingly untouchable Polanski arrested was a bruised ego. For 30 years the US Justice system could not grab hold of Polanski because he was hiding out in the south of France or the Swiss Alps. Suddenly he raises his voice against the state and they found a way to get him. Swiss Alps be damned.

This saga spells out a couple of things. Lesson #1– speak out against the state rightly or wrongly, and it is likely to hit back. There are lots of freedom fighters languishing in jails as political prisoners who clearly understand this lesson.

Lesson #2-, which I hope did not go over everybody’s head, is understanding the full scope and wide breadth of discretion that prosecutors seem to have when it comes to tackling crime. From what I can tell, there are no new laws in Switzerland that just sprung up allowing Polanski to finally be arrested. They were always in place, but for some reason even though Polanski had been to Zurich numerous times and even had a nice home over there, our government, in particular the LA district attorney just didn’t seem to have the political will or wherewithal to bring Polanski, a man who raped a 13-year-old to justice. That speaks volumes.

Y’all should marinate on that for a while. While you do that, ask yourself why the Pookies and Ray Rays of our community are doing 10 year bids after vigoriously being persecuted for non-violent crimes and drug addictions and white collar criminals who pillage and plunder you into taking substances are still free except for handful. Think about that while our prosecutors can’t find ways to bring brutalizing cops to justice but will suspend your license and issue an arrest warrant that they will hungrily pursue for unpaid tickets.

Yes, we know there are double standards, but we should not dismiss them and say ‘Oh well that’s how they be’ or ‘Oh well that’s how they do us-what else is knew?‘. My point here is that we should be well aware that there is lots of latitude and hence this should embolden us to fight even harder for people’s freedoms and to fight even harder to bring those who egregiously wronged us to justice. It should be more than obvious that no prosecutor’s hands are tied when it comes to doing what they feel needs to be done.

With that being said, we should also look at the contradictions within Hollywood. Here’s a town that is infamous for social persecutions and ostracization of ‘wrong doers’ and people who stepped on the wrong toes. Everyone knows that there are simply certain buttons you don’t push and certain people you don’t piss off least you suffer serious social and economic consequences. Hollywood is small town and stepping on toes is easy to do with dire consequences, unless you’re Roman Polanski who raped a 13-year-old..Now, call someone a pejorative name like ‘Faggot’ as did actor Isiah Washington and you can find yourself banished with your peers loudly condemning you. Not only will they condemn, many might not even work with you.

Unless your name is Mel Gibson and you are titan in your own right, you best not even think about saying or doing anything that is deemed anti-Semitic. You are likely to not be receiving any Academy Awards. You are likely not to be praised and forget about getting funding for your next film.

When you are a Polanski, you can get your esteemed colleagues coming to your aid petitioning the Swiss government and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for your immediate release. You can have your fellow colleagues likes actress Debra Winger go before the world and declare your persecution and date with justice is a Philistine-like act.

When your a Polanski you can be spared a Bill O’reilly like tirade or a Glenn Beck tea party inspired witch hunt. Be Van Jones and curse at a Republican and its gloves our off and the pressure won’t let up until you leave town. Be Roman Polanski and we won’t have deep investigations trying to connect the dots..

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

And lets not get it twisted, Polanski not the only one who has done wrong or has raised serious questions in this regard. We still show love and admiration for film director Woody Allen, even though he was accused by his former partner Mia Farrow of molesting her seven year old daughter and as we all know he eventually wound up marrying his ‘step daughter’ Soon-Yi Previn. Allen is still admired and held up as being a pillar in the film industry.

I was tempted to ask the rhetorical question would any of us work for a director who raped a 13-year-old girl? Would any of us work for someone who was accused of molestation and married his step daughter? I was gonna ask that until I remembered many of us would have no qualms in embracing Polanski and Allen. We would embrace them the same way we embrace accused molester R. Kelly. You remember him, the guy who sings those dope songs like ‘Still I can Fly’ and ‘Step in the Name of Love’ ? You remember R.Kelly the guy who somehow beat the charges levied against him, but there was no denying it was him in an underground widely watched x-rated video getting kinky and peeing on an underage girl? But hell if we can love Elvis Presley who was with Priscilla at 14 and Jerry Lee Lewis who was with his cousin when she was 13, I guess why trip off Polanski, Allen and R Kelly right? Our tolerance of such actions and activities says a lot about us as a society…At the very least it says we talk a good game about loving our children, but at the end of the day we do very little to protect them, especially if there’s money to be made.

Aaaah yes..ya gotta love the contradictions in us all….

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Barack Obama: Diasporic Personality, Cultural Entrepreneur, American Emperor

Barack Obama: Diasporic Personality, Cultural Entrepreneur, American Emperor

by Cedrick Muhammad

The Following Are Remarks Given by Cedric Muhammad At George Mason University During The ‘Fall For The Book’ Festival On September 22, 2009 while participating in a Panel Discussion: “Understanding Obama: Three Views”

[The material and concepts of this speech are lightly drawn from the forthcoming book, ‘The Entrepreneurial Secret’ by Cedric Muhammad, available October 7th at BlackElectorate.com, Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com]

cedricmuhammad2-225Barack Obama arose at a time when Black America was somewhere in between a Cult of Personality and a Cult Of Ideology, in an era where partisan attachment to the Democratic Party somehow became equated with grassroots activism and where independent institution building as a priority – a hallmark of the Black power movement had waned [in no small part due to the success of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)]. Community development, for many, has now come to take on the characteristics of personal transformation, with a focus on quality of life issues and not a raw or rigid form of Black nationalism. As an Ivy-league educated lawyer, community organizer, and member of the Black Church, Barack Obama maneuvered through the power centers of Civil Rights, Black Power, middle class-professionalism, civic participation, and the prophetic voice with relative success and without being absorbed by any of them.

The result: he is claimed by all because he is first and foremost a Diasporic Persona and a Cultural Entrepreneur.

What is that you ask?

ObamaNAACP-400He – Barrack Hussein Obama – is that rare individual skilled in navigating the waters and traveling through that space shared by an empire, a homeland, and a diaspora. He lives in and comes to power in the American empire (and its two dominant and separate societies: Black and White) while embracing his relationship to both an African and Islamic diaspora. Through emigration, dispersion, bloodline, creed or belief, the Disaporic personality and cultural entrepreneur have a connection to a homeland or broader civilization outside of the country in which they now live. By nature, he internationalizes the individuals, events, circumstances, and institutions that he engages, as he is claimed simultaneously by different communities: African, Muslim, Southeast Asian, Hawaiian, White American; Black American etc…

MuhammadAliTo understand how suddenly one can become a Diasporic personality, it is helpful to remember Muhammad Ali, for example. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad gave him that name in place of ‘Cassius Clay,’ a Black American born in the American South, among an immobile people, who were denied freedom, justice, and equality, suddenly became an international figure upon whom an entire world (including the very wicked) would eventually project their hopes, aspirations, and fears.

Who is Barack Obama, the diasporic personality and cultural entrepreneur?

He’s mobile, cosmopolitan, sophisticated and a risk-taker. He embraces change – both technological and demographic. He deftly moves in and out of different perspectives and civilizations, which by the way dovetails nicely with the Aloha Spirit (which he absorbed in Hawaii, where he did middle and high school). His socialization skills and ability to adapt to different cultures is uncanny. But this also makes him the ultimate challenge to rigid forms of identity (tribe, race, religion, ethnicity, political ideology, partisanship, and nationalism). He is foremost a universalist. He resists and pushes back any time he is pigeon-holed or stereotyped.

Barack Obama is no ordinary personality or entrepreneur, because of his day job. As president of the United States, he is the representative of the American empire, which makes him something like the captain of the Titanic. He is in a situation where radical change is necessary but where only moderate and incremental improvement – gradual change – is tolerated (and barely that) by a two party system that manages the political process. So he has the power and baggage of representing an Empire while he carries the power and baggage of a persona and personality tied to several Diasporas. It is clear that much of the controversy around Barack Obama comes not from his words or policies but rather from the confusion and discomfort that comes from not knowing or not being sure on whose behalf, interest and perspective he speaks.

There are six speeches that make all of the above clear:

1) His speech at the Democratic Convention in July 26 of 2004 from Boston, Mass. (significant because he introduced his Diasporic persona and connected it to the American dream and empire).

2) His speech in Springfield, Massachusetts announcing his candidacy for President in February 10th 2007 (significant because he bypassed associating himself with the, at that time, influential ‘State of Black America’ forum convened by Tavis Smiley).

3) His speech on race-relations in America made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 18, 2009 (significant because he did not disown the Black American community in response to controversy stemming from media coverage of a rhetorical challenge to the American empire, made by his Pastor).

4) His speech to the Muslim World, delivered on June 4, 2009 – significant because he acknowledged the Islamic Diaspora and critiqued the Western empire’s (with America as its titular head) relationship to it. The two civilizations have been in an alternating state of conflict and cooperation in a unique way since the 15th century, a time period which brought the West into contact with a pan-Islamic community crossing borders and oceans (Portuguese imperialism meets the Islamic Diaspora in the Indian Ocean).

5) His speech from Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009 (significant because it suggests that Obama will not necessarily use his Diasporic persona on behalf of real change in the foreign policy of the American empire). Some Africans are offended by his tone and even Kenyans are insulted by the manner in which President Obama’s chief foreign representative – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – lectured them on governance. Prime Minister Raila Odinga even spoke out against this saying America has a double standard – chastising Kenya but not Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Young Africans continue to be inspired by President Obama (whom they claim not as ‘Black’ or ‘American’ but as ‘African’) while they dislike the attitude and policies of his government toward Africa. Many Africans, based in America, express support for the tone of President Obama toward leaders back home, whom they find corrupt and believe should be removed from power.

6) President Obama’s speech to the NAACP in New York on July 16, 2009 (significant because he gave an individual empowerment, and social responsibility speech before the nation’s oldest civil rights organization). He spoke to self-improvement and community development more than pending legislation, executive orders, or court decisions in response to historical discrimination. A vocal minority of Black Americans find the speech paternalistic and condescending, while others view it as badly needed truth-telling and a sign that a changing of the guard has taken place within Black American leadership where appeals to government will be less popular among the young. The debate over whether President Obama is fundamentally a political progressive or a cultural conservative where ‘his own people’ are concerned continues.

Franklin D rooseveltAs President, Barack Obama makes everyone uncomfortable because he is uncomfortable operating inside of the confines of narrow ideology and partisanship. Therefore, pragmatism and triangulation (where he takes ideas from, or executes policies more often favored by his political opponents) are his modus operandi, strategy, and tactics. He throws down the gauntlet and challenge to almost every interest group, lobby or community. It isn’t enough that he likes, agrees, and knows you. To get his attention you have to speak the language of power. It is best represented by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (whose history Obama studies carefully) who told Civil Rights Leader A. Phillip Randolph in the 1940s that while he agreed with his agenda, intellectual agreement was not enough for him to change policy. Reportedly, Roosevelt told Randolph that he and the civil rights leaders would have to make him change policy. Presidents must be forced to do what is right, not just told.

I believe that in so many words, President Obama is ‘telling’ Blacks, Progressives and Liberals – his ‘base’ who may be suspicious of him – that they will have to force him to do what they want. His stance will either expose their current inability to mobilize people or influence the public debate, or it will inspire them to step their game up and be more effective.

He can get away with things that no other Democrat can, while he can never rise above a certain level of Republican support because of what he represents, and the fear he provokes in the minds of White Supremacists on the Right (they exist on the Left too, by the way). His unmistakable effort to go after ‘waste and fraud’ in social safety net programs like unemployment insurance, Medicaid and social security would never be accepted by a Republican president (“If only a Republican like Richard Nixon could be the first president to go to China, only a Democrat like Mr. Obama could persuade Democrats to cut payments for unemployment and disability, said Isabel Sawhill, co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.” We read this in a March 2009 Wall Street Journal article).

Yes, Bill Clinton got away with doing things that President Reagan and both Bushes could not (Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, talk of ‘mending’ Affirmative Action) and Barack Obama can get away with things Bill Clinton couldn’t.

For better and worse, this Cultural Entrepreneur, unlike Democratic-Blacks (a new hyphenated identity that perhaps should be added to the Census categories) understands that party loyalty does not mean being a parrot or slave to ideology (I didn’t forget about you sycophants on the Right either).

And now, in the controversy over the Governor’s race in New York, only Barack Obama – the first Black president – could get away with discouraging New York’s first Black governor from seeking office again. Apparently ‘Yes we can!’ also means ‘No you can’t.’ He does all of this while distancing himself from remarks made by former President Jimmy Carter who says racism is obviously a factor in the opposition of a certain segment of Obama’s opponents. Just when you think you have figured him out and can predict his behavior, he changes, adjusts and absorbs resistance because only two things matter to a Diasporic personality and cultural entrepreneur – getting a deal done in a diverse environment, and staying ahead of the curve.

He moves like a lawyer and a businessman. He takes the long view. He understands that in the etiquette of business and society subtlety rules and things like language, tone, and style are substance. On the September 13th edition of 60 Minutes he said, “One of the things that I’m trying to figure out is how can we make sure that civility is interesting…Hopefully I will be a good model for the fact that you don’t have to yell and holler to make your point and to be passionate about your position.’

Sounds like Negotiating and How To Make Moves 101. Is it any wonder that he is so popular among the most enthusiastic fans of mainstream Hip-Hop music?

Perhaps they – the young and the poor – understand that being a Diasporic Personality and Cultural Entrepreneur has nothing to do with elections, talking points, or political chatter, and everything to do with building personal power and leveraging it in pursuit of what you want in life, business, and on behalf of your community (or communities).

In closing, President Barack Obama’s greatest contribution is cultural, not political. He models behavior and attitudes in Black America that had been previously marginalized by the commercial projection of the poorest and worst kind of behavior – married life (While in Kenya in March I actually had a Sister from Zimbabwe tell me she did not know that there were hardly any married Black couples until she saw Barack and Michelle and that her view of Black American men came from the gangster rap music of the 1980s and 90s), high academic performance, polish and cultural refinement, and social etiquette do matter, after all.

And he does it all without entirely divorcing himself from a people and culture that has been most victimized and exploited.

Like him or not, for most, he is a Role-Model-In Chief, even Power Broker-In-Chief, more than the Commander-in-Chief.

The question now, for Barack Obama, Diasporic Personality and Cultural Entrepreneur, is what are the costs of representing the American empire?

Perhaps the question is the same for the rest of the radically hip and self-enlightened, living in the Disapora.

Remarks Given By Cedric Muhammad At The George Mason University ‘Fall For The Book’ Festival (September 22, 2009)

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Congressman James Clyburn House Majority Whip Talks About 2010 Census and Redistricting

James Clyburn-300While attending the Congressional Black Caucus conference in Washington DC this past week,  Davey D caught up to Congressman James Clyburn who is the House Majority Whip. He talked to him about the 2010 Census and redistricting and how it will impact Texas and Southern states in general. Clyburn said there’s alot at stake and that if people ignore the census and take the mid term elections lightly it can effect whether or not President Obama gets re-elected. He also noted that every citizen needs to pay attention to the lection of state legislatures because they get to draw the redistricting lines which will effect everyone including his own Congressional seat.

G20 Summit-Jasiri X report Back-Pittsburgh is a Police State

Pittsburgh’s G-20 City on LOCKDOWN!

by Jasiri X

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Jasiri X & Paradise Inside Homeland Security Protestor Cages

Jasiri X & Paradise Inside Homeland Security Protestor Cages

This is footage taken on September 22, 2009 the day before the G-20 Summit officially hit Pittsburgh. This video show the incredible extent the City of Pittsburgh went to lock down the city and prevent anyone especially protesters from coming into downtown. With metal fences surrounding it’s perimeter Pittsburgh has once again become the City of Steel. The Legendary Jimi Hendrix provides the theme music.

JasiriX-cops

This video was taken Wednesday September 23rd the day before the G-20 summit began in Pittsburgh over a span of an hour. The police and military deployment numbers were compounded by the fact that there was so few “regular” people in downtown Pittsburgh due to the fear people had of protesters “tearing up” the city. The irony was that all around the city are signs that say, “Pittsburgh Welcomes the World” yet the intimidating presence of so many police had the exact opposite effect. When we came across the bridge into downtown, police immediately began to take our pictures, which is why I used a song I record called “Watch Em” featuring K-Link as the soundtrack. As I write this police are firing tear gas at a protesters marching without a permit. Crazy.

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G20 Summit: “Use The Force Luke” – Storm Troopers Occupy Pittsburgh, PA

I am just arriving in Pittsburgh this Friday morning as folks are gearing up for this morning’s huge protest which starts around 12 noon.. Just spoke to my man Paradise Gray of X-Clan and One Hood.. who has been on the ground covering the haps like there’s no tomorrow.. He just alerted me to two disturbing things.. First, the police used some sort of ‘noise weapon’ on crowds yesterday. You can see it pictured on top of the tank in the photo below. It’s a loud irritating noise and makes people want to leave an area almost immediately.. We will gather more information on this later today..

The second disturbing thing is that police have been aggressively filming and making their presence known to Gray and other One Hood members. Paradise describes police officers he had never seen before walking near him and saying his name. One officer told him he’s been reading his blogs and reports.. Pittsburgh is definitely on lock down and a total police state. You could see that driving into the city… Follow the tweets and Facebook blogs as we will be updating all day..

-Davey D-

“Use The Force Luke” – Storm Troopers Occupy Pittsburgh, PA

By Paradise Gray

http://g20pgh.ning.com/profiles/blogs/use-the-force-luke-storm

PittsburghMayor Luke Ravenstahlsaid that the level of security that we are seeing in the streets of Pittsburgh is normal for the G20 and these type of events, however I am from New York and have never seem a city locked down like Pittsburgh is locked down right now. The city is like a ghost town right now. Boarded up businesses and residents afraid to leave their homes for media driven fear of the protesters or intimidation from the massive display of military power by an occupying force that looks like a scene from “Clone Wars” in the Star Wars Universe. It’s ironic that with the amount of metal cages surrounding the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and Downtown Pittsburgh our city can once again can make the claim of “Steel City”. Way to run “The Steel Curtain Defense” Pittsburgh!

I was at a March in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh today and I saw one of the largest gatherings of Police/troops that I have ever seen domestically, I saw nothing like what I saw today at the The United Nations, The Million Man March, The Millions More Movement, nor President Obama’s Inauguration. I haven’t seen anything like this in Post 911 New York. Sheer numbers of heavily armed officers in full riot gear, complex tactical crowd dispersal maneuvers, flash bangs, tear gas and cutting edge audio technology were used to totally smash the un-authorized protest.

Police also fired rubber bullets and teargas in Oakland area of Pittsburgh. Mostly at University Of Pittsburgh Students! According to Councilman Bill Peduto Cathedral of Learning surrounded, police giving dispersal orders, helicopters flying low w/ searchlight most of Fifth all Forbes Ave. closed.

Black Hawk and Chinook Helicopters, Gunboats, Armored Humvee’s, at least two Lenco Bears, Secret Command Posts, The Secret Service, The National Guard, Coast Guards, Swat Teams, State Troopers, National, City and County Police, Transit Cops, Security Guards and I swear that I heard the Darth Vador Music play when these guys marched by:


Talk about “Star Wars Defense” Systems!

I can’t wait to see the numbers of lost money by the downtown business’s that the city begged to stay open during the G20 summit only to see their customers “fenced off”.

$20 Million for G20 security, nothing for the “Woman’s Walk For Peace” on Oct. 3rd on the North Side. http://www.womenswalk.org

More Photos:

G20 Summit 2009 Pittsburgh, PA Album 3 – Military Zone!
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=114075&id=507894491&l…

Tags: 2009, G-20, G20, Obama, Pittsburgh, President, Secret, Service, center, convention

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An interview w/ former MTV real World Cast member, author/activist Kevin Powell About why activists should run for office.

We caught up with former MTV Real World cast member, Vibe magazine writer and community activist Kevin Powell who talked to us in depth his run for congressional office in his native Brooklyn. In our interview he stressed the importance of why community organizers and activists should run for office. He says its important that people who clearly understand and have the community’s best interest at heart  position themselves to leverage resources  needed by the community.

Powell shared with us some of the pitfalls he made during his first bid for office. He also gives some keen advice for those who are seeking office.

An Interview w/ Hank Gilbert As He Enters Texas Gubenatorial Race

People are buzzing about rancher/ educator Hank Gilbert tossing his hat into the Texas gubernatorial race on the Democratic side.  Our own Ann Dellano of  The Southern Shift caught up with him and had a fairly indepth interview where Gilbert talked about everything ranging from his passionate dislike of Governor Rick Perry, his vehement opposition to the Trans Texas Corridor,  Race relations in Texas,  his plans for education, prison and advice for young Texans.

Check the 3 part interviews below..

Here Hank Gilbert talks about why he got involved with politics. He talks about Governor Rick Perry and the Trans Texas Corridor.

Here in part 2, Hank Gilbert talks about race relations and the importance of Latino voters in texas. He also talks about education and the prison industrial complex

In pt 3 of our interview with Hank Gilbert, he dispenses advice to young voters in texas as well as gives us a more indepth understanding of his upbringing and background.

_______________________________________________________

Democrat Gilbert kicks off run for governor by calling for education improvements

By GROMER JEFFERS JR. / The Dallas Morning News
gjeffers@dallasnews.com

Hank Gilbert – East Texas rancher, former schoolteacher and newly announced Democratic candidate for governor – said Monday that improving public education is critical to revitalizing the state’s economy.

“It’s the only guaranteed way of bringing long-term prosperity back to this state,” Gilbert said while kicking off his campaign at a Dallas union hall.

Dallas was the first stop in a 13-city tour that Gilbert hopes will help him score the Democratic nomination next year. Several other candidates have already thrown their hats into the March primary.

Among the other Democrats: Tom Schieffer, a Fort Worth businessman and former ambassador under President George W. Bush; and humorist/musician/author Kinky Friedman.

On the Republican side, incumbent Rick Perry is being challenged by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina, the GOP chair of Wharton County and a volunteer in U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s unsuccessful run for president last year.

Gilbert hopes to appeal to core Democrats seeking an alternative to Schieffer, whose ties to Bush have brought criticism from some party loyalists.

“I’ll be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination,” he said after his speech. “My policies are driven by what the people across the communities are telling me.”

In 2006, Gilbert was the Democratic nominee for Texas agriculture commissioner. He got more votes than any other Democrat running for a statewide office but lost to Republican Todd Staples.

If he is to win his party’s nomination for governor, he has work to do: His announcement in Dallas drew 10 people, including four from the news media and two from his campaign. (Gilbert’s campaign said the event was designed for media, although supporters were invited.)

Schieffer has been campaigning for months. And Friedman is a popular Texas celebrity with huge name recognition.

Still, Gilbert hopes to steam by his opponents by appealing to the party base.

Mary Warren, a Dallas Democrat who attended his kickoff, said she is on Gilbert’s side.

“He’s real,” she said. “He didn’t work for a war criminal, and he’s not a comedian.”

Gilbert favors providing students with online tutoring and additional coaching for those most at risk of dropping out. He also advocates improved early-childhood education, including full-day pre-kindergarten programs.

He would give teachers a $5,000 pay raise, half coming in 2011-12. He did not specify how he would come up with the more than $1.5 billion needed to give raises to 300,000-plus Texas teachers.

“We can no longer act as though the critical changes we need to make are out of reach,” he said

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