Anti-War Activist Cindy Sheehan: Dear President Obama-I am a Charity

Dear Mr. Obama,

I hear that you were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize recently in Oslo, Norway and that, in addition to that spiffy medal, it comes with 1.4 million tax-free dollars that you are going to “donate to charity.”
I just want to let you know that there are still some of us in the US who oppose the wars, even though you are president, and its nothing personal, but I vehemently oppose your wars and especially oppose the escalation of troops to Afghanistan and the fact that there has been no de-escalation from Iraq.

It has been super-tough being a peace activist since you took office, because a lot of my colleagues supported your candidacy and gave you a “wait and see”and “give him a chance,” while I have been working against these policies since Bush was president and have never stopped.

Well, I don´t know if you have heard, but I am planning on setting up a Camp right across the street from your house on the lawn of the Washington Monument called–Camp OUT NOW–Not only will it be an anti-war Camp, but it will also be a community for people who have lost their jobs and homes during the past years of the Goldman Sachs depression. Also, while the need is rising, the city of Washington, DC is cutting back on services for the poor.
Mr. Obama, Camp OUT NOW will provide services to these people AND be the launching pad for what we hope will end the mad wars for profit and imperial power in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan.

You proposed a “Just War” theory during your Nobel acceptance speech and I just want to also let you know that we don´t think, and never have thought, these wars are “Just,” but we think what we are doing, beginning March 13th is extremely, “Just.” I think if you thought about it really hard, you would agree. We are saving the lives of Americans and our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

Well, Mr. Obama, the reason that I am writing to you is to apply for part of that money that you will be donating to charity. We don´t need all of it, but my coalition–Peace of the Action–could use a couple of hundred thousand of it!

Please go to www.PeaceoftheAction.org for more info about our efforts, which we are hoping will, “Make you do it.”
You can go to www.Paypal.com and put in my email address: Cindy@CindySheehansSoapbox.com to make a donation online, or mail a check to:

PO BOX 6264
Vacaville, Ca 95696
You did say, time and again, during your campaign that we the people had to “make you,” and Peace of the Action will do just that! We just want to be of service to show you the way to Peace.

Thanks for your consideration,
Cindy Sheehan
Director of the Peace of the Action Coalition

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Is Southern Rap Getting a Bad Rap? Speech of Arrested Development Breaks Down the Evolution & Challenges Facing Southern Hip Hop

Speech talks about the concept behind Arrested Development and how they were one of the first Southern rap groups to get a national platform which in turn helped open doors. He talks about the evolution of Southern rap and how there are many dimensions to it..The early image of Arrested development was centered around building community and taking people back home and away from the harshness of urban life. Sadly there were critics who tagged the group as being ‘alternative’ and ‘hippies’. Speech noted that in reality they were showing a major part of Black life in America.

He says one of the concerns he has is that over the years Southern Rap has become a caricature  and is narrowly focused around one or two types of images. He feels that needs to change.

Do African Americans Honor, Respect & Cherish Black Music? Speech from Arrested Development Weighs in

We caught up w/ Speech of the Grammy Award winning group Arrested Development and asked him how the legendary group was doing. He said they do well overseas. The group gets more love out the country than within.. We then talked about the viability of Black music and why so many African Americans seem to abandon various genres like jazz and blues.

Speech addressed this issue and noted that part of the challenge we have is to honor our music and hold a stake in it. He said far too often we move on after something gets ‘played out’ and others pick up on it , then control it, redefine it and make millions off it..

Pimp of the week… Senator Joe Lieberman

There’s not enough words of detest and disdain that can be mustered to tag former Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Lieberman for the 11th hour shenanigans he pulled the other day which resulted in the Healthcare Reform Bill being further diluted. Many of us were not big fans of the package because there had been one compromise after another. Initially many of us applauded when President Obama said he said the single payer  was the ideal solution to use when reforming Healthcare. We applauded even louder when congressman John Conyers and former Presidential candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich  introduced house bill 676  which championed single payer.

That was two years ago  and since then we’ve seen all sorts of elected officials retreat as erroneous  charges of  socialism,  rationed healthcare and death panels got tossed around by conservative pundits, tea party advocates and anyone who had a political grudge against President Obama or the Democrats. What was ignored was the overwhelming majority of people who demanded that healthcare costs be lowered and that some sort of restructuring take place that would ease the financial burden incurred by those who actually have healthcare insurance. Those people were ignored along with the 40 million Americans who don’t have health insurance and live day to day hoping and praying they don’t get into an accident or come down with an illness.

Insurance companies spent the past two years mustering up all their resources and went to work lobbying hard. All the stops were pulled as we saw everything from paid actors showing up and shouting down elected officials at townhall meetings to well paid pundits whoo-riding every talk show making outlandish allegations about what a change in our healthcare system would do..

So we went from single-payer to public option and from public option to a watered down buy in program which would lower the age from 65-55 so that people could start receiving medicare. It certainly wasn’t the best option but after months of political drama folks were ready to accept. Senator Lieberman for weeks said he was with the program, especially since the overwhelming majority of people in his state of Connecticut including independents who voted for him said they wanted a public option.

This past Sunday in what many consider a blind side move and an act of vengeance Lieberman announced on a Sunday talk show that he wouldn’t be signing any bill unless it got rid of the medicare buy in.. He also noted there might be some other provisions, but basically he decided to threaten to derail the bill. His excuse was that it would cost too much.. This left many shaking their heads in disbelief, because cost seemed to not be major concern when Lieberman as a Democrat voted time and time again to support and fund the War in Iraq, which we now know was poorly planned and over the top in costs. Lieberman supported the war when many of his then fellow Democrats were not.. He so enraged his constituents back home in Connecticut that he lost in the 2006 primaries and wound up running as an independent. Republicans and indy voters sent Lieberman back to Washington, but now he’s even angered that base of supporters 

What Lieberman did appears to have been him extracting political payback. Yeah he says he was opposing the bill because of his conscious. We believe that about as much as we believe in tooth fairies.. . Lieberman wanted to be a king maker of sorts and stick it to the Democrats while ignoring the millions who are in desperate need of healthcare.. At a time when we have a recession and people are stretched thin, it’s a shame that this Senator who was bidding to be Vice president would pull such a move.. Its guys like him that make politics such an unattractive endeavor for the millions who have grown cynical and feel like voting doesn’t matter.

Thanks Senator Lieberman.. like I said there aren’t enough words to accurate describe what many are feeling when it comes to you and the foul move you pulled to satisfy ego..Joe Lieberman is the pimp of the week, because he has used and abused his constituents. He has used and abused the American people who looked to the senator to be a man of integrity and just as he demanded, people set aside partisan and political differences to fight the war on terror, its sad to see him not do that in the war on substandard healthcare..He betrayed the people and his obviously his principals.. Shame on Joe Lieberman.  

San Antonio’s Southwest Workers Union Report Back from Copenhagen-The Challenge Young People are Facing

photo credit Diana Pei Wu

The UN Conference in Copenhagen  on Climate Change  (COP15) has been on fire. Lots of people from all over the world have found their way there with a keen sense that this would be the last opportunity to turn around the path of destruction we have carved out in terms of polluting the planet.  Sadly the United States is seen as the biggest problem. Although we make up a small percentage of the world’s population (300 million vs 6 billion) we are responsible for over 25% of the world’s pollution. Whereas most country’s have concluded there is a serious problem that needs our collective global attention to help reverse things, we still have high profile pundits and leaders like the dim witted former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin who are publicly saying there is no such thing as climate change…

Fortunately the state of Texas, has been well represented in the form of our allies from Southwest Workers Unionwho are down in San Antonio.  They been keeping a blog of their encounters which include videos and pictures, some of which we used in our Youtube interview w/ 21 year old Diana Lopez. She talked to us about the challenges people have been facing in Copenhagen in terms of being heard and solutions being respected. One would think that since its younger generations that will be the future caretakers of Earth, that more room at this table would be made so they could be better integrated in the discussion. Such has not been the case. We made room at our table to hear from Diana as she gave us a run down of whats going on in Copehagen.  

Here’s our two part conversation w/ her..

Below is an excerpt of the coverage SWU have been providing w/ their blog. We encourage everyone to check them out so you can get an on the ground, non corporate influenced perspective..

A sea of 100,000 folks from around the world demanding climate justice flooded the downtown streets of Copenhagen and marched 4 miles to the negotiations center. Led by the indigenous peoples delegation, the call was made for urgent action in emission reduction that is equitable and effective as the talks entered the sixth day.

SWU joined the ‘Systems Change Not Climate Change’ march bloc demanding an end to climate colonialism, calling for the protection of the most impacted communities and leading the charge for a new paradigm of climate solutions based on social justice and human rights. Along with social justice organizations from the US, the contingencies included grassroots organizations from the South, like Via Campesina. As the convention center prepares to shut out the majority of civil society participants next week as high-level ministers arrive, this march served to elevate the call that world leaders need to listen the global movement, to folks locked out from a seat at the table negotiating our future.

Dressed in several layers and covered with hats, gloves and scarves under the chilly blue skies, energy was high as we took the streets starting at the Danish national palace and moved over numerous canals and through the city center. One human-powered float showed the Presidents of industrialized countries as mere puppets of corporate interests, advocating for more oil and coal – the antithesis of what is needed to protect community health as well as the planet. Samba bands brought music to the street within a sea of color, banners and flags from all part of the world.

contine reading at…. http://news.swunion.org/

Here is a video

Congratulation Annise Parker-Times are Changing, Houston is Changing, Texas is Changing

 By now the country and the rest of the world knows about the historic victory garnered by former Houston comptroller Annise Parker to become Houston’s next mayor.  Parker who is openly gay and has been with her partner for over 19 years made history on a couple of fronts. First Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay candidate. Second, she manged to do it in the state of Texas which has always been dinged for being ground zero for ultra conservative views. Third, Parker won in spite of a last minute anti-gay smear campaign that was launched by two key supporters of her opponent Gene Locke

The first missives came from longtime operative Dave Wilson who donated money to Locke’s campaign and then put out 35 thousand mailers that showed Parker standing with her partner Kathy Hubbard and a headline that read ‘Is this the image Houston wants to Portray?”. The rest of the text was beyond insulting as it expressed support and compassion for gays and lesbians, but said they were trapped in ‘homosexual behavior’. Calling one’s sexuality a behavior is akin to calling one’s ethnic background ignorant or inferior.  Wilson has a long history of such imflammatory rhetoric  that is steeped in religious beliefs and had no intention of backing off. Locke disappointed folks by not harshly denoucing him. He kind of played both sides of the fence, by being a bit coy in hopes of tapping into Wislon’s supporters while publicly stating he was a candidate of all Houstonians and pointing to a track record that showed he was in support of gay rights.  Here’s the text.

“I have nothing but compassion, respect and sensitivity towards those trapped in homosexual behavior. I have family members and friends who have been ensnared in this behavior, and I know something of the incredible pain and sorrow it has brought to them and their families. With God’s grace, I carefully balance this love and respect for these individuals with warnings about the promotion and demand for legal and political approval for homosexual behavior that will stifle religious freedom and trap millions of more people in its deadly grip. Therefore, I would ask you to vote against Annise Parker for Mayor.”

This hit piece put the Houston race in the national spot light as articles about the anti-gay turn made everything from the New York Times to columns within the blogosphere. And just as the Wilson saga was picking up steam, another conservative anti-gay crusader Steven Hotze came out and endorsed Locke after he had went and sought his support.  This more was bad move… The end result was Parker winning  and in many ways a rejection of anti-gay sentiment.

Does this mean that Houston becomes the Gay capital of the US? Does this mean that Parker will only be championing Gay Rights? This is what the anti-gay campaign tried to imply as it attempted to not only overshadow that Parker is a qualified individual who has keen grasp on a number of issues and can run a big city like Houston, but it also suggested that standing up for equal rights was somehow wrong. It overshadowed that Parker like Locke has said they would govern for all Houstonians  gays and straights.

To the degree that Parker’s  victory may symbolize a big step forward for a population of people who feel the brunt of discrimination especially in the areas of not being allowed to be legally married as is the case here in Texas, should be seen in a positive light. It should be celebrated the same way her victory can be inspiration for women to who can now point to a large city like Houston and see Parker at the helm. It should be embraced the same way millions of us as African-Americans took pride in Barack Obama becoming President or the same way millions of Latinos looked to Sonia Sotomayor as a heroine for being appointed to the sit on the Supreme Court.

On another level there’s still alot of ground to cover in terms of gay rights. State after state has rejected the notion of gay marriage when put to voters, including ultra progressive states like California and even new York which had its lawmakers reject it. Thats still a big sting for folks in gay communities. There’s also the religious aspect which lots of people like Wilson point to as their justification. Many in these circles see being gay as a sin and thus they feel its important to speak out.  And even though many of these religious folks don’t aggressively campaign against candidates who transgressed and committed sins in other areas like having premarital sex, eating shellfish, pork etc, its hard to argue with one who wraps him/herself in a religious belief. The only thing one can do is take steps to make sure that one’s religious practices don’t enforce discriminatory laws, which the anti-gay marriage laws does.  It sadly doesn’t stop people from voting in particular direction.

However, times are changing. Houston is changing. Texas is changing. We saw this Saturday night when the anti-gay rhetoric was not only rejected, but it didn’t even park a huge out pouring support. People are understanding discrimination is wrong.

Congratulations to Annise Parker, hopefully we can now judge her by what she does for Houstonians in terms of policy and what she advocates for and not who she has as a companion.  

If there’s an issue that all elected officials in Houston should be concerbed about is how and why there was such low voter turnout for such an important position. Thats an issue that folks should be looking at..because that speaks volumes. We’ll save that for another column.

Obama References King During Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech-Discounts Non-Violence as a Method for Heads of State

 

Posting up excerpts of acceptance speeches for the Nobel Peace Prize by both President Obama and Martin Luther King. The natural thing is to make comparisons and perhaps demand that Obama be more King-like especially as he is sending 30 thousand more troops to Afghanistan…

I think its good to see both speeches to see how each man reflects upon what they perceive as their constituents. King talks about the 22 million Black folks who are under seige in this country. Obama talks about a country ‘under seige’ by terrorism.

What stood out for me was hearing how Obama while referencing King, did not reference the people King stood for… He also seemed to make the case that Kings approach toward non-violence is impractical. He cited Hitler’s march to war as an example.

That too me is a direct challenge for us as activists to change the dynamics and make any President or other recipient see us as constituents. As it stands now, President Obama came to Oslo, picked up his award, made a brief speech and skipped all the traditional festivities. Why? Because he was concerned about taking a victory lap while his numbers are down and critics are on his heels making demands…

Here’s the the speech in its entirety

http://www.c-span.org/pdf/intl121009_obama.pdf

Return to The Southern Shift

DEA Recruits Lil wayne to Use up all the Drugs in Mexico

Houston Rapper Chamillionaire Gears Up to Help the Troops in Fort Hood

Chamillionaire has been on the move..It was just two weeks ago he keynoted a conference at Stanford University in California  that focused on technology. Now he’s making positive moves by heading up to Fort Hood to help the Troops heal from last month’s horrific tragedy.

Houston Rapper Chamillionaire Gears Up to Help the Troops in Fort Hood

http://www.allhiphop.com/stories/news/archive/2009/12/08/22058204.aspx

Grammy award winning rapper Chamillionaire will take part in the Fort Hood Community Strong Day, an event designed to uplift the spirits of the Fort Hood community in the wake of a deadly shooting on the army base.

Chamillionaire will be joined by Nick Jonas, Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, Dana Carvey, Zac Brown Band at the Hood Stadium on December 11th.

The free event will feature food, games, free carnival rides and entertainment designed to heal the community.

Over 349,000 military personnel, family members, retirees and civilian employees call the Fort Hood home.

The community, which is the largest Army post in American, was shocked on November 5th when Major Nidal Hasan open fire on unarmed soldiers killing 13 and injuring over two dozen others.

Major Hasan, 39, was an Army psychiatrist who claimed that America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were really wars against all Muslims.

Last month, Major Hasan was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.

Throughout his career Chamillionaire has supported the troops by through his involvement with USO an organization that produces entertainment for troops serving abroad.

Fort Hood Community Strong Day take place Friday, December 11th from 1:00pm to 7:00pm.

Chamillionaire is currently preparing to release his new album, titled Venom.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Former Employee Calls Out the Horrible Practices of Bank of America

By now many of y’all may have seen this video of a former Bank of America employee who decided to blow the whistle and alert the world about what really goes on behind closed doors at the height of this country’s recession. It’s interesting that this young woman came forth, because it was just two weeks ago I had my own horror stories as a customer of Wells Fargo.  You name it, they were doing it. It ranged from them silently changing due dates, trying to charge me extra fees to pay my bills, charging late fees  when the due date landed on a weekend and I attempted to pay the next business day to of course cutting credit lines with no warning, thus messing up my credit rating which made it next to impossible to get it restored. Oh yeah we shouldn’t forget the raised interest rates from fixed to variable..

I thought I was alone till I started speaking with people and realized folks with A-1 credit on down to regular average Janes and Joes were getting taxed by these banks, many of them who received bail outs.. Many of us have been feeling frustrated and helpless. Perhaps if people take a look at this courageous woman and start laying out their own, we will have a large list of grievances that we can we hold up as we demand change..Question of the day.. How has your bank been treating you?

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