Two canvassers were walking down Orion Avenue north of Victory last night, passing out literature for Cindy Montañez, who is perhaps the best known and best financed person running for the vacant City Council District #6.
According to her campaign literature “she is the only candidate endorsed by the LA County Democratic Party”.
Montañez (b. 1974) was raised in the city of San Fernando, CA along with her five siblings by parents who were immigrants from Mexico. She attended UCLA.
She is an accomplished public servant and explorer who has navigated many hidden corridors of the political landscape. Not yet forty, she stands poised and positioned for state or national fame.
Like Mulholland before her, the path to power flows down pipes from the Owens and Colorado River, baptized and blessed by DWP, the largest municipal utility in the United States.
Her brief resume:
*Democratic Assemblywoman from California’s 39th Assembly District from 2002 until 2006.
*Montañez stepped down in 2006 to run for the California’s 20th State Senate district. However, she lost that primary to Los Angeles City Councilman Alex Padilla.
*After leaving the Assembly, Montañez was appointed to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
*Cindy now works as a government affairs consultant for various clients, as well as the Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
She seems the most likely to get elected.
Her name and gender are backed up by solid government work.
President Obama is visiting Israel this week.
As we have been hearing (ad nauseum) for many years, “Israeli Settlements” or suburban housing erected for families is the main obstacle to peace. Put Israel back inside Israel proper, make it conform to borders settled by the United Nations, and peace will follow. Many US Presidents have talked of the “two-state solution”, the idea that a democratic Palestine and a democratic Israel might live side-by-side in peace.
But the truth is that any Israeli state is anathema to the Arabs. They simply do not accept that Israel has a right to exist. Israel in Tel Aviv is wrong. Israel anything must go.
From 9/11 to the 1970s hijacking of planes, to the killing of innocents at the Munich Olympics, the big bloody event has always captivated and controlled the Palestinians and their allies. They have pursued their own cause by sacrificing women, children and non-combatants.
While Israel is now being asked to unsettle its settlers, what guarantee is there that putting Israelis into exile (in their own nation) would buy peace? None at all. After leaving the Gaza Strip, Israel was bombarded by rockets, aimlessly aimed to kill innocents.
Why not ask the Arabs, who allegedly are tearfully and remorsefully concerned with the Palestinian plight, to give over their land to make a new nation? Why not? Land is land. If a people want to make a democratic and prosperous nation, they can do it anywhere on Earth!
Here are the statistics (taken from Google) on land areas in the Middle East:
Israel: 8,019 sq miles (20,770 km²)
Some Arab Nations:
Egypt: 387,000 sq miles (1.002 million km²)
Jordan: 34,495 sq miles (89,342 km²)
Syria: 71,498 sq miles (185,180 km²)
Saudi Arabia: 830,000 sq miles (2.15 million km²)
Libya: 679,400 sq miles (1.76 million km²)
Algeria: 919,600 sq miles (2.382 million km²)
Iraq: 169,235 sq miles (438,317 km²)
Iran: 636,400 sq miles (1.648 million km²)
Pakistan: 307,374 sq miles (796,095 km²)
I voted in an election today to choose a new mayor, members for the Board of Education, a Community College District person, and a City Attorney.
I don’t know any of the people, save for Eric Garcetti, who my friend likes and taught tennis to when he was a young man.
“He always was polite. He is a Rhodes scholar.”
Poor Wendy Gruel did not get my vote because her last name recalls bad prison food like watery porridge.
Armed with my LA Times print-out and reading glasses, I walked from my house over to the Voyager (Adult) Motel and entered a room where one table was full of elderly attentive volunteers.
I forgot my wallet and asked an older woman if I needed ID. “Not in America!” was her feisty reply. She directed me over to the other side of the room, to a table staffed by young, multi-cultural texters who barely looked up when I walked over to them.
“Thanks for the ballot.”
“Huh? Oh, no problem.”
I took the strange and clunky, elongated ballot, put it into the plastic holder and used the short pen pointer to make holes next to the names I didn’t know.
After voting, I got a small sticker.
And then I remembered another upcoming election….
For the past few weeks, I have had door knocks and emails from two men running for the City Council District #6 seat, unknown Derek Waleko and unpronounceable Dan Stroncak. The seat was formerly held by fat huckster and do-nothing, now Congressman, Tony Cardenas.
City Council District#6 election will be on May 21, 2013.
Not today but on May 21, 2013.
Got that straight?
An election was held today in which less than 20% of voters will participate. Another election will be held on May 21, 2013 in which very few will vote, for City Council District #6, a desperately dirty, tired, poorly run area, populated by some beautiful but neglected homes, overrun by crime and illegalities, both small and domestic, large and international.
In our pocket, couches and condoms are street décor, and the local bird is a helicopter.
Who will come and focus their energy, attention and resources on Van Nuys?
If not me, who then?
“Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.
Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.” -Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, 2/13/13
Let us celebrate both the re-inauguration of President Barack Obama and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let us raise the flag, sing songs, salute our democracy. And let us talk, as we do every four years, about the greatness of our land, our democracy, our uniqueness.
Photograph of the Englewood district of Chicago, 2013 by Curtis Locke.
It was voting day today, and like many Americans, I walked over to cast my ballot at the Voyager Motor Inn, joining men and women from my community, including unrentable females not normally seen on Sepulveda.
My neighbors up the street were coming out of the motel, and warned me that one door was green and the other red, and you did not have to wait in line for green but nobody would tell you.
I didn’t know what the hell that meant, but I walked into the crowded smelly motel and tehraned myself to the front of the line, walking past others waiting, and into the room where I handed my ballot to a volunteer at a table.
My name and address were clearly printed on back…. so the young lady asked for my name and address.
I signed my name into the book and was handed a long, skinny ballot which I then placed into a voting booth whose poster board walls would blow down if I sneezed.
Misinformed, manipulated, misguided, prejudiced, biased, open-minded, incisive and ignorant, I had already made up my mind about the propositions and what they really meant.
Two of the measures would provide funding for all children in California schools, 50% of whom are here by way of undocumented parents. There are 7 billion people on Earth and I wonder what would happen if any one country could just settle all its citizens here?
But I better not start that argument.
Another measure promised to stop union contributions and seemed backed by the Republicans who only believe that large corporations and CEOs should have a voice.
Mercury Insurance sponsored another ballot.
Warren Buffet’s partner’s daughter poured $100 million into Prop. 38 funding early childhood education. And I wondered why she could not have spent $100 million to redesign our voting ballot to make it graphically clear and readable.
Prop. 36 made the three strikes law only applicable if the last crime was violent. That made sense to me as my neighbor was almost imprisoned for life after he had two non-violent strikes and one DUI.
I almost voted to overturn the Death Penalty (Prop. 34), which I know does not deter crime, and is barbaric, but then I realized that we are quite a barbaric state, with people who tag church walls and murder congregants who step outside and confront. I think death is deserved for some, even if it is not logically warranted.
And I did not think it enforceable to require condoms on set for adult performers. (B) And I voted yes to accelerate public transportation because it is both a job creator and a civic necessity, bringing cleaner air and better development to Los Angeles (J).
Finally, or to begin with, I voted for the Presidental candidate who killed Osama Bin Laden, extracted us from Iraq and will do so in Afghanistan, saved the auto industry, and tried and partially succeeded in reforming our health care system which is so unfair, expensive and monstrously geared to the 1%.
I am all over the place, a liberal and a conservative, tolerant and racist, traditional and progressive.
I guess I am just a Californian.
I have never bought into the argument that opposing abortion comes down to protecting and respecting life.
Because too many who talk of their devotion to the unborn also believe in the protection of guns, the proliferation of bullets, the unhindered freedom of assault weapons, and never ending war.
The latest comment by anti-abortion Missouri politician and Senate candidate, Representative Todd Akin(R), calling some type of rape pregnancy “legitimate” or “unforced” and therefore worthy of fetal protection, shows that the GOP is on the move, aided by religion, in making not only abortion illegal, but women into second-class citizens. Their true aim, revealed in Mr. Akin’s comments, are the invasion, occupation and control of the vagina body politic.
Fury, anger, righteous indignation, violence, all the feelings about how a woman gets pregnant, they all go back to the men who run things, not the women who bear children.
In their devotion to destroying the civil rights and reproductive freedom of American women, Mr. Akin spoke not erroneously, but correctly, the exact position of the Republican Party.
And here is what Mr. Akin voted for, the redefinition of the Federal Statute, to make rape, where a drugged or mentally retarded woman is fucked involuntarily, to be unforced and therefore NOT A FEDERAL CRIME.
“Earlier this year, every House Republican and 16 Blue Dog Democrats voted for a bill that would have redefined rape in federal statutes to be “forcible rape.” If this bill had become law, then statutory rape, the rape of a drugged or mentally impaired woman, or any rape where the rapist did not use physical force would not be considered rape. The bill died in the Senate. When Akin said “legitimate rape” he undoubtedly meant “forcible rape” as defined by the House bill but forgot the exact terminology.”- Electorial Vote.com
No matter his sorrow, or contriteness, or appeals for forgiveness, Mr. Akin stands as a public APOLOGIST FOR RAPE.
There is something going in Los Angeles right now called proposed redistricting and a dire warning flyer, from one of my neighbors, arrived on my doorstep this morning warning that if these new changes go through “Van Nuys will start at Victory Bl. and be lumped in with Panorama City, Pacoima and Arleta.” I was implored to show up for a meeting at the Walter Reed Middle School in Studio City on Thursday, February 9th to make my objections public.
I don’t personally know who wrote this flyer and I don’t know why it matters if Van Nuys is associated with communities north of here. If prostitution, gangs, garbage and fat, short women dressed in skintight black spandex have not lowered my property values yet, then I doubt that my new city council boundary will make much difference.
Have you been to the corner of Kester and Victory lately? It is not a pretty sight. McDonalds, at this location, is considered an upmarket restaurant.
And who are these haughty and snobby Van Nuysians who imagine that they belong in a district with Studio City and Sherman Oaks? The issues that matter to an 29-year-old single, white entertainment executive living in Franklin Canyon are quite different from a 29-year-old Salvadorean single mom supporting three children, two grandkids and two parents in a one-bedroom Victory Boulevard apartment.
The City Council is in business for one reason only: power. It is their job to insure that they have a job. We constituents only matter if our last name is Broad or Caruso.
I don’t care what district I am in because I can only control my quality of life as far as my front curb.
When I first heard that the burgeoning “Occupy” movement was moving into Van Nuys, and they were planning on pitching their tents behind the Marvin Braude Center, on the lawn of the Civic Center, under the piercing tower of the Valley Municipal Building, I must admit I got excited.
I imagined hundreds of young, yelling, incensed, angry, articulate, fertile, bearded and long-haired, tattooed men and women carrying protest signs, arguing with the cops and pointing fingers at authority; and then at sunset, when the grounds were closed, an enormous phalanx of armed LAPD officers, moving forward–on tanks, horses and siren-mounted, armor-clad bicycles– pushing and smashing and trampling the sleeping bags; blasting fire hoses full of water, setting loose ferocious and fanged German Shepherds tearing and ripping at running denim derrieres. The helicopters would churn up the air above, while on the dusty ground, cameras from every international news organization, and bloggers from every laptop, would record the brave and terrified OCCUPIERS fighting to stay their ground! To voice up for the voiceless and power up for the powerless and prove to the world…. once and for all…. that our great nation is doing something… something so terribly wrong! Because only one percent have everything and ninety-nine percent have nearly nothing!
But at five o’clock yesterday afternoon, Van Nuys looked as Van Nuys always does: dead under the sun.
There was lots of street parking on Sylvan Street, next to the Civic Center, and it was free (my apologies to Donald C. Shoup).
On the mall, behind the Valley Municipal Building, were gathered a college cameraman, tripod and video, interviewing a man. Perhaps a dozen people with a few signs were standing and chatting.
KTLA and KNBC news trucks were parked far away, their new technology and old reporters, ready to capture the non-event that was about to not happen.
And outnumbering the protesters, or the complainers or whatever or whomever they were; many navy shirted cops, standing on foot and on bike, looking bored and aimless and tired. The cops had been hyped up, no doubt, and sent out, no doubt, to fight and protect these hallowed homeless grounds from the invasive anti-Wall Street crowd whose lament has yet to be fully understood or properly articulated.
I was adjusting my camera when a tiny man carrying a tiny dog walked up. He handed me a sheet of protest music and introduced himself as “Man Goo-Goo”.
Man Goo-Goo is a musician and he will be appearing at Paladino’s next week where he will perform something, possibly musical or perhaps vocal, I could not ascertain.
His name, as he explained, is a derivation of Lady-Gaga.
There was not much to photograph besides Man Goo-Goo, so I left the strangely deflated protest and walked back to my car on quiet and unpeopled Sylvan Avenue.
Occupy Van Nuys has some noble aims, but when it came to Van Nuys, it unfortunately confronted something much larger than the inequity of wealth and the corruption of politics.
For Van Nuys itself has an almost mystical ability to destroy anything worthwhile, be it aesthetic, intellectual, commercial, developmental or progressive.
Under the hot sun, baked in acidic air, crowded with illegal occupiers; Van Nuys is anti-nature, for it does not abhor a vacuum, it creates one. These protesters, yearning for freedom and fresh air, had unwittingly entered a toxic and sulphurous environment of suffocation. Civic life died long ago in the atrophied heart of the San Fernando Valley. And these young hearted protesters had encamped, near dusk, in a dead twilight zone.
This is the town where a few months ago, dozens of lovely, mature Pepper trees were chopped down in front of the East Valley Animal Shelter so large posters could be seen advertising animal adoptions. New trees have since been planted to replace those inexplicably butchered.
And in a new “Only in Van Nuys” development more nature was killed recently near the intersection of Van Nuys Boulevard and Burbank.
The powers that be have torn out the ornamental grasses and agave that beautified the wide nothingness of the street, and they are now laying down sheets of astro-turf. Yes, the meridian in the middle, the only sign of nature amidst the car dealerships, will now have new artificial grass where living plants once thrived.
The protesters who call themselves Occupy Wall Street are a disparate and varied group of progressives or leftists or anti-status quo men and women who are tired of our 30-year-old program to promote the interests of the very wealthiest and neglect the needs of the very poorest.
No nation stands still and watches its very core, the middle-class, sink into poverty, unemployment, joblessness, illness and idleness. Eventually, a nascent and small group of angry people takes action and sits down somewhere where they will be noticed. Now they are sitting down and speaking up right in the middle of the most powerful financial district in the world.
It’s long overdue, this growing anger at the legislative corruption of a Congress which prints money only to have it spent overseas on wars; a Congress that spends lavishly on tax breaks for companies who hire workers in foreign lands, while cutting health insurance and jobs at home.
America, we are told, cannot afford affordable education, health care, housing, public transportation, police protection and environmental preservation. But we somehow can spend trillions on sending private companies overseas to weaponize, fight, advise and spend American tax dollars in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe.
The Republican mantra says the government must not interfere at home. But overseas we can invade and rule. In fact, we must.
Very few of us fight and die in war these days. So the coffins which come back are not seen nor do many mourn the dead. We live in a time that values convenience over justice.
And inconveniencing the wealthy and the privileged is the point.
Occupy the 405.
Protests need to move to the wealthy section of Los Angeles so that Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Westwood and Santa Monica also feel the pain. If protesters stopped traffic and brought cars to a halt, the news media would have a field day. Anderson Cooper would set up his rig right on Sepulveda and Wilshire and helicopters would swarm overhead as tens of thousands gathered to demand what all Americans need.
Stand on the Freeway.
I did not write this, but the writer who did, printed in today’s NY Times, encapsulates and summarizes my sad feelings about the state of America and the weak character of our Chief Executive:
“When George W. Bush was President, I was ashamed of my country. Ashamed that we could have elected such an anti-intellectual, war mongering liar. My friends in Europe laughed at how stupid the American people had become. The nation seemed to be traveling down a path to all-war-all-the-time, led by a torturer-in-chief with a total disregard for civil rights and the truth. There was ample reason to be embarrassed and frightened.
But George W. Bush was a winner. That man did everything he wanted to do. His administration controlled EVERYBODY, including the media, and they brooked no dissent. They spied at will, tortured at will, started the wars they wanted to start and took the money they wanted and gave it to their friends. In terms of policy victories, it can be argued that the Bush administration was the most successful in history.
Now, I am ashamed of my country and my President for entirely different reasons. We are now led by a President with neither the desire, inclination nor the ability to win anything. Unwittingly, we elected a man with a fetish for defeat. With public sentiment on his side and victory at his beck and call, he chooses to surrender. He betrays his followers and chooses to lose. From a character standpoint, he is the biggest coward and loser ever to occupy the White House. This latest surrender is the most bizarre one to date, and will prove to be the most calamitous. He has ripped his own party to shreds. He has chosen to lock in the exponentially-widening gap between rich and poor. He has chosen a path to economic ruin. Things are about to get worse. Put another way, America cannot afford to have Barack Obama as President. We desperately need a leader, and I am terrified of what that leadership deficit might bring about in 2012.”
Where were all these geniuses when the US first invaded Iraq, and later Afghanistan? All these wars and all the spending overseas, not to mention weapons expended on such wonderful allies as Pakistan, is directly visible in the deplorable condition of American infrastructure.
Here in Southern California we have a substandard school system, bursting water pipes, pot-holed pavement, bankrupt police and fire departments, cutbacks in every type of poverty aid; cities who are laying off park, sanitation, and medical personnel; and a public transport system which would be fine in a city of 4,000 people.
And we don’t have glorious public parks, efficient and clean streets; underground electrical, or well-patrolled and safe neighborhoods.
If you take a Google Street View of any street in Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, Germany or Italy and compare it to many sections of Los Angles, you will have a real life story of how our nation is literally decaying and dying and how our leaders continue to pour money into useless and self-defeating war that is bankrupting us financially and morally.
Go to Google Street view and compare bombed out Dresden, Germany in 2011 to the victorious San Fernando Valley or Detroit, Michigan and see how the US treats its own.
Thanks to an email I just received I learned something:
Today is an election.
I have no idea what issues or candidates are running. And I have no intention of voting.
But the email made me think.
Here it is:
Today is what I would describe as an especially “offensive election.” It’s where the powers that be, and their moneyed benefactors, try to sneak a fastball right by us.
And the sad fact is that those holding the elections are counting on low turnout and you not voting.
Polls are open until 7pm. I know most of you are working your asses off, but try to ask yourself why if you are not bothering to vote?
This election will affect all of our paychecks, our homes, and the communities we live in as a whole.
If you absolutely cannot make it to a polling location please do your small part and go on Facebook or Twitter and let your friends and associates know this is happening today.
It is an privilege to choose to serve and a dishonor lying to serve. The morality of keeping in place a system of bigotry and lies, against those who were born with a gay sexual orientation, is purely irrational. With blood and sacrifice, selflessness and honor, bravery and courage, have our young men and women in uniform borne the cause of freedom and justice on the battlefield. And they, who put their lives at risk, deserve to fight and serve with a pure heart and a clear conscience.
I will not vote for Meg Whitman as Governor of California. I simply don’t like her.
I can just imagine working for her. She would be the boss that always has a painted on smile, and conducts sales meetings in motels, and talks for six exhausting, oxygen starved hours in front of thousands of co-workers, inside a windowless catering hall, motivating us.
I would be some unknown at some large company, and she would not know a thing about me. She would have an armada of assistants and a fleet of airplanes, dozens of limousines and several houses at her disposal. I would only hear about her when a mass email was sent out to the other 10,000 employees about our “most productive year yet!”
She looks haggard, but she probably is the type who functions on two hours of sleep a night. She is a go-getter, a type “A” workaholic, a sports fan, a rabid investor, a fearless leader, a hardscrabble boss, a fast talking, on her feet, off to the meeting, back from a conference kind of gal.
Her life reads like a human resources written cover letter of verbs and action words: controlled, managed, delegated, reorganized, instituted, increased, launched, negotiated, resolved, restored, facilitated, directed, encouraged.
And if we elect her in California, we too will experience action words and verbs: fired, lost, cut-off, investigated, deported, economized, downgraded, downsized, exported. The rich will applaud and tell the rest of us that it is all meant for our own good.
If I did work closely with her, it would be in some demeaning capacity, like that maid she fired who “was almost a member of my family”. If she did take notice of me, it would be to pat me on the back for something ridiculously low, like sweeping her back porch, or organizing her recyclables.
I don’t like Meg Whitman, and if I did work for her, you can be sure that she would fire me. She wouldn’t personally fire me, but she would order a “company wide cutback of 15%” that would involve firing hundreds. Someone that looks just like her, in human resources, several thousand rungs below Meg, a woman of about 40, in a blue JC Penney suit and frosted spiky blonde hair would do the layoffs.
Meg has billions and she has spent $120 million dollars to buy herself the governorship of the state of California. But there are millions of voters in this state who look at Meg and see that bitchy boss, that speeding woman in the SUV in the rear view mirror, that insurance company clerk, that mean math teacher, that ornery and self-assured Auntie, that bossy wife, that executive suite President whose office is on the top floor of a skyscraper in Century City….and they just don’t want to elect her to give her one more feather to put in her 10 gallon, eBay sized hat.
I don’t like Meg Whitman. I don’t care what she says. I don’t care what she spends. I ain’t voting for her.
Responding, in the NY TImes, to a Tom Friedman article on America’s decline, Adam Ash of New Haven, CT hits the nail on the head:
“The changes that Tom Friedman mentions aren’t going to happen. Nor will the most necessary change of all — a massive public works program that could employ millions to build and repair our infrastructure (smart grid, high-speed rail, broadband, big tax breaks to green-energy start-ups and folks who green-energize their homes, etc),
The corporate stranglehold over the nation’s future will continue — the fat cats of Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Agribusiness, Big Pharma, Big-Bonus-and-Golden-Parachute CEOs, the Big Military Industrial Complex. We on Main Street will remain the willing Stockholm Syndrome dupes of the Washington-Wall Street-Pentagon Axis of Predatory Fraudsters.
Let’s face it, this is what America is. This is what America has become. This is what America will be. There will be no Poor People’s Movement. No Pitchfork Uprising. No massive Middle-Class March. No national demand for the reining in of our plutocrats. No nationwide insistence on holding them accountable for ripping us off, legally and illegally. The revolution will not be televised because the revolution will never happen, One cannot get a nation of obese potatoes off the couch and into the streets. They’re happier vegetating on their behinds in front of the TV machine’s 24/7 propaganda.
It doesn’t matter which political party is in power: the fleecing of regular folk by our morally blind elites will continue. Our elites enter into their bubble at our Ivy League universities, and they never exit this bubble. They don’t have to. Life is good in their bubble. Outside the bubble, Main Street dreams turn into Pain Street ashes.
The Tea Party folks — our latest populist movement — are complaining about big spending. They are right to do so. But here’s the weird thing. While they may vent about the big spending on social services (healthcare, Medicare, and Social Security, which is solvent, BTW), there’s not a single peep out of them about our Godzilla-sized military spending.
America is looking more and more like Rome under Nero. And what do the Tea Party people do about this trend? While we’re burning and our elites are fiddling, they’re complaining about the quality of the firewood.
The decline of America will only be arrested if the greed of our elites consumes all reason, and renders our entire middle class totally desperate or jobless. Will our elites be that dumb? Possibly. Meanwhile, see you at the next financial meltdown. And get used to it — meltdowns have been, and will continue to be, our traditional way of life.”
From THE NATION:
Adolph Reed Jr.
Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Adolph Reed Jr.
Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
“In January 1996 I wrote the following about Barack Obama in my Village Voice column: “In Chicago, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program–the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics.”
In 2007 Matt Taibbi described him as “an ingeniously crafted human cipher, a man without race, ideology, geographic allegiances, or, indeed, sharp edges of any kind. You can’t run against him on the issues because you can’t even find him on the ideological spectrum.”
In 2006 Ken Silverstein noted Obama’s deep financial industry connections. Glen Ford, Paul Street and many others have stressed those and other disturbing connections, including his penchant for supporting more conservative Democratic candidates against more liberal ones.
Obama indicated no later than the summer of 2007 that he intended, if elected, to extend the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan.
The only surprise about his presidency is how many ersatz leftists cling to the fiction that he’s anything other than a superficially articulate neoliberal Democrat in the Clinton mold and that his administration would act in any other way.”
President Obama spoke today about national security, essentially confirming that the United States will remain a constitutionally correct nation, whose vigilance on defense and fighting terror will not mean the diminishing of civil rights or civil treatment of criminals in custody.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney articulated an argument that “his” administration pursued the correct methods in trying to extract information from prisoners of war. He believes, fervently, that national security permits the United States to treat certain accused human beings in harsh ways as long as terror threatens these shores.
And I believe that terror will endure as long as there are people on Earth, but the constitutional values, traditions and laws of the US are essentially fragile, and only remain strong, when they are adhered to, under both peacetime and wartime conditions.
Therefore, my vote goes to President Obama. He is truly protecting the people of the United States by protecting the constitution and our laws which govern us.
Mr. Cheney is at war with the constitution, and aligned with a shadow government of military contractors, spies and latter day confederates.
I cannot verify if this is true, but apparently, today in the state of California, there was an election.
I read about it in the Daily News. This is part of what they said:
“At the core of the governor’s reform effort is Proposition 1A, which extends a sales tax hike for a year; increases the state income and motor vehicle taxes for two years; and increases the state’s “rainy day” fund from 5 to 12.5 percent of the General Fund. It also gives the governor the power to make midyear spending cuts when revenues fall short of projections.
My comment: why not just raise the tax on gasoline by 50 cents?
Proposition 1B, which would take effect only if 1A passes, would restore $9.3 billion to public schools and community colleges, beginning in 2011.
My comment: so the second proposition can only take effect if the first one takes effect. Makes sense to me.
Proposition 1C allows the state to borrow $5 billion against future earnings on the state lottery.
My comment: the state of California is in the gambling business and encourages its citizens and others visiting here to gamble to support the state spending habit.
Proposition 1D would temporarily divert revenue from children’s health programs, while Proposition 1E would funnel funds from mental health services to reduce the deficit.
My comment: when times are tough, that’s when you have to get tough on children and the mentally ill.
Finally, Proposition 1F – the only measure currently leading in public opinion polls – would prohibit the governor, lawmakers and other elected state officials from receiving pay raises in years when the state is running a deficit.
My comment: only this one makes any sense
Even if the measures are approved by voters, the state will still be facing a $15 billion deficit. If the package fails, the shortfall jumps to $21 billion.
My comment: I didn’t vote today and I am not ashamed.
For at least the past five years, there has been a gathering in Studio City, on Laurel Canyon and Ventura, of war protesters who carry signs and flags.
Traveling east on Ventura, one passes the liberal anti-war crowd on the left side of the boulevard and the staunch pro-war supporters on the right side.
I thought that the end of the Bush regime might mean an end to the protests, but the lively demonstrations have continued into the Obama era.
I was driving back from visiting a friend in North Hollywood, when I entered that strange land of high wire, high voltage electrical towers that cuts diagonally across this section of the NE San Fernando Valley.
It was a serenely sunny day, and amidst all the junky stucco apartments, and worn out tire, auto and taco shops, stood this monumentally beautiful DPW building.
They had a way of building, back in the 1930s, that combined a classical dignity with the most subtly frivolous carved ornament and Art Deco sculptures. Round lanterns flanked the drive-in gates, and along the roof line of the rectangular building, were rounded carvings of turbines.
So this was an American city, in the midst of the Great Depression, which managed to create public structures, inspiring pride and benefitting the entire city.
75 years later, you see this decorously dignified and functional building and wonder, quite sadly, why it’s so difficult to build well, build big and build with some civic vitality in our present day City of Angels.
You might bring a Republican to this particular Department of Water and Power but you cannot make him drink from it.