Points By Drew Pritt


BURMA v. IRAQ – The Difference Oil Makes.
September 28, 2007, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Culture, General Views, National Politics, Uncategorized

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Do you remember when the Iraqi War began. Those who tried to convince us that this war was for defending freedom, bringing democracy to Iraq, continuing the War on Terror & Al-Queda, but it wasn’t about oil. In fact here are some examples by the Republican conservatives who tried to convince us :

http://www.inthenationalinterest.com/Articles/Vol2Issue9/vol2issue9kohlhaas.html  (Richard M. Nixon Center)

http://home.uchicago.edu/~gbecker/Businessweek/BW/2003/03_17_2003.pdf  (Business Week)

This mantra was continued by Australia Prime Minister, John Howard (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19609710/) although President George W. Bush would reverse course and say thats why we should be in Iraq (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/08/31/bush_gives_new_reason_for_iraq_war/) to the Boston Herald of all newspapers. While I am not always the first one beating the war drums, I do have to ask, why are we ignoring Burma. Bush condeming Burma’s ruling Junta is like wagging your finger at a petulant child and saying, “Naughty, naughty!”

Yesterday, the Junta (who have renamed Burma – Myanmar) turned its forces loose on a crowd demonstrating. In the process, the troops shot an innocent Japanese newsman. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_7010000/newsid_7018000?redirect=7018029.stm&news=1&bbram=1&bbwm=1&nbram=1&nbwm=1&asb=1) and they have cut the internet to the nation when their atrocities were getting out to the world (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7011884.stm)

So when will we the Western World and the International Community step in and say ENOUGH?

After all, the most saddest sign is how they have slaughtered innocent Bhuddist monks and nuns, who while non-violently protesting were still unarmed. We laud Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela for non-violent protesting but we say nothing when holy men and holy women are dragged off, beaten, and killed!

It is time for us to act and say enough is enough.

When did we ever see 100,000+ Iraqis boldly marching in the streets of their capital, like the Burmese have done, demanding freedom? When did we last ever see people after the crackdowns began come back out in numbers of up to 50,000+ and continue to shout for freedom?

In 1990, a vast majority of the people voted and said they wanted Aung Saan Sui Kyi to be their leader. This military junta jailed her for over 11 yrs. Aung Saan Sui Kyi, daughter of the founder of the modern day nation of Burma, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (1991) has said it is up to those of us who have freedom to use it for those who cannot use theirs. More about Aung Saan Sui Kyi is at : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7016360.stm

I end by reminding you of a quote from Nazi Germany by Martin Niemoller, an anti-Nazi German theologian and Lutheran minister who penned these immortal words.

First they came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews but I was not Jewish so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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Isn’t it time we acted?

Contact the United Nations at : inquiries@un.org

Contact the U.S. Senate at : 1.202.225.3121 and ask to speak to your U.S. Senator, any U.S. Senator, and ask when we will act.

Write on blogs, letters to the editor, and everywhere. Lets speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves right now!



CENTRAL HIGH FIFTY YEARS AFTER – What Does It Mean?
September 23, 2007, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Culture, General Views, Local Politics

Minnijean Brown

Ernest Green

Thelma Mothershed

Melba Pattillo

Gloria Ray

Terrance Roberts

Jefferson Thomas

Carlotta Walls

Elizabeth Eckford

These were nine young people who along with the help of Daisy L. Bates who sought to do a simple thing. Its hard to imagine just twelve years after the Jewish Holocaust had been uncovered and ninety-three years after African-Americans had been freed in this country that something simple as going to school would be such an issue. Nine individuals who wanted to get an education and for some go to school in their neighborhood. Nine people who were not rabble-rousers or bad people. Nine young people who could easily be your child, your brother, your sister, your best friend who just wanted the freedom to go to school.

They endured shouts, angry crowds, were cursed, spat upon, and eventually the only way they went to school was surrounded by the bayonets of US Soldiers. Who were those who protested, shouted, cursed, and spat upon them….us, their neighbors, fellow Southerners. Clarification, white southerners!

I am white, Christian, and a Southerner. I am proud of that heritage. I know that the God I worship and serve was cursed, yelled at, and spat upon as well as crucified. Those images bring tears of pain to my eyes. I know I am not the only one moved to such emotion. Also, as a Southerner we have heard the stories of Reconstruction and how General Sherman burned plantations and Yankee soldiers in movies are shown raping virtuous Southern women. All this imagery. But some of those who value that legacy and those atrocities turned around and visited the same indignities and assaults upon nine young people. They never hurt anyone and yet they were treated horribly and I am sure irrevocably affected for the rest of their lives.

Now fifty years later we honor them, not just because they should be, but collectively as a community try to come to terms with the horribleness we visited upon individuals. Maybe its time for us to take a page from South Africa’s way that it came to terms with similar problems to resolve this pain we face collectively as a community.

The 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which set up the commission, states that the commission’s aims are to investigate and provide as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights. Amnesty may be granted to those who make full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past. It is open to perpetrators from both sides of the apartheid divide. Applications have come from police, black militants, right-wing activists and others.

Maybe this can work, but as for us, we celebrate the Little Rock Nine & Mrs. Daisy L. Bates and say a collective, THANK YOU!



Look Away – Kate Campbell
September 18, 2007, 6:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recently, Little Rock, 50 yrs. after Central High is rocked by those who use race as a weapon. As I sit here a few hours before the polls open, I am listening to Kate Campbell, and a song called Look Away. I think its fair to read the lyrics and hear it and ponder that there are so many still trying to recover from a war that officially ended in 1865 but still has not ended for us in this nation.

http://www.projectplaylist.com/playlist/additem/695346

Look Away

I can still recall the night
Lightning burned the mansion down
We all stood in out pajamas
On that hallowed southern ground
When the flames had turned to ashes
Only blackened bricks remained
And sixteen stately Doric columns
There beneath a veil of gray

And it’s a long and slow surrender
Retreating from the past
It’s important to remember
To fly the flag half-mast
And look away

I was taught by elders wiser
Love your neighbor, love your God
Never saw a cross on fire
Never saw an angry mob
I saw sweet magnolia blossoms
I chased lightening bugs at night
Never dreaming others saw our way of life
In black and white

Part of me hears voices crying
Part of me can feel their weight
Part of me believes that mansion
Stood for something more than hate

Kate Campbell / Walt Aldridge
© 1995 Fame Publishing Company Inc. (BMI)
Rick Hall Music Inc. / Watertown Music (ASCAP)



Why is Politics still Black & White???
September 13, 2007, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Race has everything to do with politics in Mississippi and the South, but it is probably the least openly discussed factor. Discussed, yes. Openly, not. It is discussed and analyzed matter-of-factly by politicians and professionals in detail.The sad bottom line is, race matters. African Americans are elected in black districts and whites elected in white districts in most cases.

Race and politics were discussed openly in Memphis recently and the raw racial politics was disturbing. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a white Jewish liberal midtown-Memphis resident, was elected to replace former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in Congress. Ford, one of the state’s most well-known and powerful black politicians, made a strong run for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee. Cohen, a well-known and popular politician, was elected in the majority-black district for a lot of complex political reasons.

RACE BOILS UP

Recently, Cohen met with a group of black ministers concerning his support for a hate crimes bill. Most of the ministers oppose the bill. It is a hot-button conservative issue, black and white.

The meeting turned ugly. Some of the ministers jeered him. Then one minister said flatly: “He’s not black and he can’t represent me, that’s just the bottom line.”

Ruffled feathers were smoothed somewhat with apologies and there has been an interesting coming-together dialogue in the community on race and politics. Ironically, Cohen probably has a voting record more in line with the Black Caucus than did his predecessor.

But, the assumption of representation based on race was shocking when spoken out loud. It sounds so wrong. It is wrong. It’s downright racist, and we don’t say it. But we often accept it.

Black and white politicians alike will say they have no chance to win in this or that district based on their skin color. Just political reality, they say. How sad that we accept such as “political reality.”

SUBCONSCIOUS FACTOR

Brad Chism, a Democratic political consultant and pollster, says there appears to be a tipping point when race becomes a factor. For example, he said at times it is easier for an African-American candidate to be elected in areas with minimal black populations than in areas where race becomes more identifiable to a group of voters.

“Studies have shown we as humans are subconsciously reluctant to vote for people who do not look like us, yet we have to overcome it,” he said.

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Dalton Conley, chairman of the department of sociology at New York University, explored those unconscious biases of voters. Polls will show whites saying they will support black candidates, then the election results show otherwise. Those being polled won’t admit it.

Of course, race or gender or whatever does not show how a candidate will vote on issues, he notes. He suggests testing yourself by actually listening to what candidates say or reading their positions without regard to race or gender.

“We shouldn’t be fooled by either our own hidden biases or by the promise of personal identity,” he wrote. “It’s the policies (and the ability to carry them out), stupid.”

Do we really believe that? I think we think we do. But we have seen some tests in state politics in recent years and so far we’ve flunked. Why? We need to talk about it, openly.


Contact Editorial Director David Hampton at (601) 961-7240 or e-mail dhampton@clarionledger.com. Read his blog at clarionledger.com/misc/blogs/dhamptonblog.html.



Its not easy being Green….or Cynthia McKinney!
September 10, 2007, 3:14 am
Filed under: National Politics

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Controversial former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney “is increasingly interested in being the Green Party Presidential nominee” in 2008, according to the Ballot Access News newsletter. Continue reading



A Gentleman, A Statesman, & An Embarassment All Exit. Status Quo Remains!
September 8, 2007, 9:04 pm
Filed under: National Politics

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Senate Republicans are witnessing the departure of three pillars of their numbers. One is a true Virginia gentleman (John Warner) of the old school who came to the Senate in 1978 with a nomination obtained after the winner of his primary died in a plane crash. He was married to a famous starlet at the moment and entered the Senate after serving as one of the last noted Secretary of Navy in the Presidential cabinet. The second is an activist and decorated war hero (Chuck Hagel) who defeated a popular incumbet Governor for an open Senate seat. He had the courage to buck his party and to speak out against the War in Iraq when it wasn’t popular. The third, well, he was a hard shell conservative religious right demagogue who got caught trying to pick up some bathroom trade in a busy Airport stall (Larry Craig). As if that was not trifiling enough, he has an extremely anti-gay voting record, and had the audacity after announcing his resignation to send up a trial balloon to rescind that earlier statement. It was as expected an unsuccessful venture.

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Short of major upsets, the three will be replaced by at times carbon copies of themselves. One takes Virginia’s interests seriously and like his predecessor is another true Virginia gentleman who shares the same last name. (Mark Warner) The second like Hagel is a decorated war hero and in irony of all ironies, preceded Hagel in that Senate seat after succeeding a popular Senator who died in that office. He like Hagel also is outspoken on the war and survived Vietnam. (Bob Kerrey) The final is bombastic and a demagogue and one who will match Craig vitrol for vitrol, demagoguery for demagoguery, and will stand forth as all that is wrong with conservatism. (Jim Risch)

 



Fred Thompson….*YAWN*
September 7, 2007, 5:58 pm
Filed under: National Politics

What a night to enter the GOP Presidential Race.  Like General Clark in 2004, Fred Thompson’s campaign began as a Draft, but thats where the comparison ends. Thompson and his team goofed when they decided to announce on the same night his Republican opponents for President were debating in New Hampshire. In that debate, Senator John McCain of Arizona who is on his death knell rallied and literally mopped the floor with his fellow combatants, delivering a stunning roundhouse punch to Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney while Mike Huckabee & Ron Paul squabbled like two kids in a crowded restaurant. What was the news afterwards?

Not Fred Thompson. I mean Thompson is a two term U.S. Senator, former White House Counsel, Watergate Investigative Counsel against the Nixon White House, and a movie star as well as recently one of the main cast members of LAW & ORDER. He’s a southerner announcing for President with so many Reaganesque qualities.

Yet the next day, the news was about McCain’s stunning performance, the squabble between Huckabee and Paul, and then with a yawn, Oh yeah Fred Thompson announced for President on Jay Leno.

A recent South Carolina poll also shows Thompson is off to a weak start.

Republicans
Fred Thompson – 19%
Rudy Giuliani – 18%
John McCain – 15%
Mitt Romney – 11%
Newt Gingrich – 9%
Mike Huckabee – 6%

Interesting stuff people.