David Banner on the Shooting of Trayvon Martin: “We Have to Get Some Type of Legislation Now.”

Gulf Coast hip hop impresario David Banner drops some straight knowledge re: Trayvon, race, and class in the US of A in this BlackEnterprise.com interview:

“The fact [is] we have to get some type of legislation now.

“What do we want to see implemented to make sure this doesn’t happen again because y’know American culture, now that we’ve seen this happen it’s going to take something two-times as bad as this to even get peoples attention.”

h/t Colorlines

Snap Back to Reality

by matttbastard

Hey, remember when US VP Joe Biden was counted among the leading Democratic voices that supported militaristic nation-building in the Middle East/Central-South Asia back in the day?

Good times.

Now?

Well, not so much, thanks to the corruption-laden clusterfuck in Afghanistan:

Nothing shook [Biden’s] faith quite as much as what you might call the Karzai dinners. The first occurred in February 2008, during a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan that Biden took with fellow senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. Dining on platters of rice and lamb at the heavily fortified presidential palace in Kabul, Biden and his colleagues grilled Karzai about reports of corruption and the growing opium trade in the country, which the president disingenuously denied. An increasingly impatient Biden challenged Karzai’s assertions until he lost his temper. Biden finally stood up and threw down his napkin, declaring, “This meeting is over,” before he marched out of the room with Hagel and Kerry. It was a similar story nearly a year later. As Obama prepared to assume the presidency in January, he dispatched Biden on a regional fact-finding trip. Again Biden dined with Karzai, and, again, the meeting was contentious. Reiterating his prior complaints about corruption, Biden warned Karzai that the Bush administration’s kid-glove treatment was over; the new team would demand more of him.

Biden’s revised view of Karzai was pivotal. Whereas he had once felt that, with sufficient U.S. support, Afghanistan could be stabilized, now he wasn’t so sure. “He’s aware that a basic rule of counterinsurgency is that you need a reliable local partner,” says one person who has worked with Biden in the past. The trip also left Biden wondering about the clarity of America’s mission. At the White House, he told colleagues that “if you asked ten different U.S. officials in that country what their mission was, you’d get ten different answers,” according to a senior White House aide.

Welcome to reality, Joe. Hopefully he can make the following point, as articulated byDDay, perfectly clear to the CiC:

Obama has a responsibility, not to rubber-stamp the views of Washington hawks and counter-insurgency lovers, but to outline the best possible policy for the future. I don’t see how committing 100,000-plus troops to Afghanistan for five years or more, to defend an illegitimate government, to fight an invisible enemy, fits with that mandate.

Now if only the veep would learn how to use ‘literally’ in proper context.

Related: Must-watch interview with former British Foreign Service operative and Afghanistan expert Rory Stewart, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Stewart contends Obama’s options are politically limited when it comes to refusing Gen. McChrystal’s immediate demand for more troops — but that the situation on the ground also means that any escalation in US forces will turn out to be a one-time only occurance.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

The Doctrine in Action

by matttbastard

Hooray for shock therapy in Afghanistan:

Senior British, US and local aid workers have described a number of problems [with reconstruction in Afghanistan] including bribery, profiteering, poor planning and incompetence. The overall effect has been to cripple the development effort structured under the Bush administration’s insistence on an unregulated and profit-driven approach to reconstruction.

“The major donor agencies operate on the mistaken assumption that it’s more efficient and profitable to do things through market mechanisms,” a senior American contractor working in Afghanistan told the Guardian on condition of anonymity. “The notion of big government is a spectre for American conservatives and this [the reconstruction process] is an American conservative project.”

The contractor said the “original plan was to get in, prop up Karzai, kill al-Qaida, privatise all government-owned enterprises and get out. It wasn’t a development project, that wasn’t a concern. Development was an afterthought.

The Graun calls this “poor planning and incompetence.”  Sorry, but “an unregulated and profit-driven approach to reconstruction” may be indeed reflect willful indifference and a shoddy understanding of what proper reconstruction of a failed state actually entails.   But it goes well beyond ‘poor planning and incompetence;’  This is outright criminal negligence on the part of pathologically obsessive free-market ideologues who didn’t give a good goddamn about cleaning up the mess they made.

In other words, textbook disaster capitalism.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Bobby Rush

Two words:

Blair. Hull.

Hey, maybe the One Drop rule somehow applies...

Also, what Ta-Nehisi Coates said:

Look, I say this as a black dude obviously concerned about race in this country. If you want a black senator go out and do the work to get yourself one. Build the organizations, build the fund-raising, do a black version of Emily’s List, if need be. At some point, you have to stop bitching about the track. You have to stop bitching about your hand-me-down spikes. At some point, you just have to go out and run. I have little tolerance for the racial grievances of upper-middle class blacks. Do for your damn self, and speak for your damn self. Keep my name out your mouth.

I don’t care how solid the brotha’s resume is. Anyone who doesn’t have the good sense to say “thanks but no thanks” to a corrupt motherfucker like Blago (who quite obviously and disgustingly put a racial spin on this appointment to save his own corrupt motherfucking white ass) has basically forced people to raise questions about motives and ethics. And the same most definitely goes for cynical CBC loudmouths who willingly and cravenly pimp their negritude at the apparent behest of the aforementioned corrupt motherfucker–and, I would argue, do so at the long-term expense of those of us who are genuinely and sincerely concerned about racial disparity within the public sphere.

Yeah, thank you ever so much for giving every not-racist a handy example to righteously point out ad infinitum whenever they want to play the race-card-card, you fuckbasket wankstain sellout.

natodutch

still black, still strong, still pissed,

matttbastard

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Dear Associated Press

by matttbastard

1992 called–it wants its appalling lack of journalistic ethics and standards back.

No, seriously–you keep making shit up, with no apparent interest in sifting through unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture to find a nugget of fact. Hint: continually filing meat-free stories with breathless headlines like “Senate-for-sale case threatens new chief of staff” is a good way to brand yourselves as the Fox Newswire. Not to say that you’ve collectively lowered yourselves to the histrionic level of Professional Obama Haters (yet); but the desperate Blagobamarahmbogate obsession is getting a bit pathetic.

At this point, it seems that the primary source fuelling most of the recent unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture regarding Blagobamarahmbogate is–wait for it–the Associated Press. As Steve Benen said, “[a]s serious as Blagojevich’s problems are, it sounds like the Obama/transition team angle is a dud. There’s just nothing there.” So why, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since 19-fucking-29, do you insist on flailing and floundering with great speculative ado over, um, nothing?

Newsflash: there’s no clutter left to cut through, kids; you’ve totally eviscerated the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing Ron Fournier’s new mandate: your credibility.

in fairness and balance,

matttbastard

PS: George Stephanopolus would like to formally apologize for taking the wind out of your sails today. Not that this latest no-shit-revelation will be enough to stem the speculative bluster emanating from your Washington Bureau. But one can always hope you’ll now start charting a new course.

(I know, and a dapple-fucking-grey pony.)

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Inverted Priorities and Blagojevich Coverage

by matttbastard

Apparently the general public isn’t as concerned about the faux-Blagobamagate taint as the MSM would love to believe:

Public ratings of Barack Obama are unscathed by the scandal swirling around Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s apparent effort to trade off his power to appoint Obama’s successor to the U.S. Senate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than three-quarters of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the presidential transition, up significantly from three weeks ago, and a slim majority in the new poll said the president-elect has already done enough to explain any connections his staff may have had with Blagojevich.

But, as Steve Benen notes, a new Rasmussen poll does seem to indicate that the constant bombardment of MSM innuendo and conjecture is beginning to make a dent in the public consciousness–either that, or the poor phrasing of the question affected the response:

Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois, including 23% who say it is Very Likely.

Just 11% say it is not at all likely, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Thursday and Friday nights.

The exact wording of the question was: “How likely is it that President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the Blagojevich scandal?”

The problem, of course, is that “involved” is more than a little ambiguous. For that matter, asking about “Obama or one of his top campaign aides” opens the door awfully wide.

Indeed, while I suspect some news outlets will pounce on the Rasmussen results as evidence of public doubts about Obama, the exact same pollster, on the exact same day, found that Obama’s approval rating is still soaring, and one point shy of a post-election high.

In other words, looking at the Rasmussen numbers, Americans either a) believe the president-elect or his team were part of a major corruption scandal, but don’t care; or b) think Obama or his aides were “involved,” but not in a way that reflects badly on the president-elect or his team. My hunch is that it’s the latter.

Regardless, as Benen further observes, the Village appears bound and determined to ride their new (dead) pony into the ground, despite the lack of public concern:

Yglesias tuned into MSNBC this morning, and found a “lengthy discussion of Obama’s involvement in Blagojevich’s corruption.” It follows a week of inexplicable media reports about Obama’s non-existent role in the matter, reality notwithstanding.

Not surprising, if one uses the following agenda that Mark Halperin laid out yesterday as an outline of Village priorities:

1. Watch the Blagojevich affair. …

2. Watch Obama’s press conference to unveil his environmental and energy team. …

3. Watch the economy.

Yes, in that order.  Look, the Blago affair is the political equivalent of Britney Spear’s crotch, or Anna Nicole Smith’s corpse: a frivolous waste of journalistic resources that has stolen attention from an issue that the public overwhelmingly declared to be its number one priority on November 4th. This is exactly what Jamison Foser meant when he warned about the media distracting us from  “serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.”

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Foser: “[T]his week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s”

by matttbastard

Jamison Foser on the Blagobamagate!!1 media circus:

If the news media regains a bit of the skepticism so many of them set aside for the past eight years, that would be an unequivocally good thing, and it should be applauded.

But this week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s — guilt by association, circular analysis whereby they ask baseless questions about non-scandals, then claim they have to report on the “scandal” because the White House is “besieged by questions,” grotesque leaps of logic, downplaying exculpatory information, and too many other failings to list.

If that happens — if the media continue to behave as they did in covering Whitewater — they will damage the country. It’s really that simple. We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism.

IOW, less Blago, more bailout.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers