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Senator Reid Says That Chinese Dictator Is A Dictator

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Chinese dictator Hu Jintao a dictator in a recent interview.

(Above–Senator Reid.)

Mr. Hu, who is President of China as well as a dictator, is in Washington this week.

Senator Reid will be among members of Congress meeting with Mr. Hu later this week.

China is indeed a dictatorship. You and I help the Chinese dictators remain in power by purchasing so much stuff made in China.

Here is the most recent Amnesty International report on China.

From that report—

“The authorities continued to tighten restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association due partly to sensitivities surrounding a series of landmark anniversaries, including the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic on 1 October. Human rights defenders were detained, prosecuted, held under house arrest and subjected to enforced disappearance. Pervasive internet and media controls remained. “Strike hard” campaigns resulted in sweeping arrests in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), particularly following violence and unrest in July. Independent human rights monitoring was prevented in Tibetan-populated regions. The authorities continued to strictly control the parameters of religious practice, with Catholic and Protestant groups practising outside official bounds being harassed, detained and sometimes imprisoned. The severe and systematic 10-year campaign against the Falun Gong continued.”

Here are some basic facts on China from the BBC.

Here is my post marking the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Tell You The Difference Between Harry Reid And Trent Lott

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has made comments some feel are racist.

Some are suggesting Senator Reid should resign as Majority Leader as did Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi when he made comments that were in fact racist.

What is the difference between Senator Reid and Senator Lott?

The difference is that Senator Reid is a moderately progressive man who has spent much of the last year trying to expand health coverage to millions of American not currently covered.

In contrast, Senator Lott was elected by unreconstructed Mississippi Republicans in order to help the rich at the expense of the poor.

The Republican Party in the South came to dominate that region by making scapegoats of black people.

The comments that got Senator Lott in trouble were in defense of Apartheid Jim Crow Senator and 1948 segregationist Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

( Picture above—Strom Thurmond with Ronald Reagan.)

Senator Thurmond was a monster who dedicated years of effort to making sure that black people would lead lousy lives.

Senator Reid was an early supporter of Barack Obama who made a dumb comment.

Senator Lott is someone who in 2002 said it would have been best if a vicious racist had been elected President in 1948.

Here is what Senator Lott said—“I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either…”

These are the differences between Harry Reid and Trent Lott.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Mr. Obama Should Appeal To Non-Evil Coalition To Get To 60 Votes In Senate—Help For Unemployed Stripped From Stimulus

The Huffington Post is reporting that provisions helping  unemployed people maintain and acquire health insurance have been stripped from the Senate version of the stimulus bill.

From the report— ….law professor and health care author Timothy Jost noticed that the Senate had removed the House provision that would allow people 55 and over who are laid off to continue COBRA coverage at a subsidized rate until they’re 65 and eligible for Medicare. The House version also made folks who were laid off temporarily eligible for Medicaid; the Senate version strips that out, Jost found. Every one percent increase in unemployment throws more than a million people into the ranks of the uninsured.

It does not surprise me that Republicans want this taken out. (Or that maybe a few Democrats have also signed on with this idea.) I have no expectations of Republicans in Washington. Many are not decent people. I’m not interested in compromising with most of them. I’m not sure why our President wants to talk to them. Though I guess if Mr. Obama feels we should talk to Iran, a view I support, I suppose we can also talk to these persons as well.

If we can’t get health insurance for unemployed people in the middle of an economic disaster, when are we going to make progress on universal coverage? Are we just going to get nowhere on this issue for all time?

Since my Texas Senators are cold-hearted and do not represent me in any meaningful way, I called the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and asked that these protections for unemployed people be kept in the stimulus bill. Mr. Reid’s office can be reached at 202-224-3542. I figure since Mr. Reid is a national leader that any American can give him a call.

I think people who kick other people when they are down are evil.  

I also called the White House comment line at 202-456-1111. I said I hoped President Obama would make sure that health insurance for the unemployed would be part of the final bill. I also said I don’t understand why he is trying to compromise with bad people.  

With 58 Democrats in the Senate, plus Al Franken when he is finally seated, and with Senate Republicans who retain some humanity,  maybe there is a non-evil coalition in the Senate that can help get the President to 60 votes on the big issues.

It’s more complex when talking about rank-and-file voters. People are often a muddle of good and ill. But many of these elected Republicans in Washington are just plain and simple bad folks. They gather up all the rotten thoughts and ideas people have, and bring them to the front and center. They filter out any decent thoughts that voters have.

If we can’t work around these people now, when will we ever be able to do so?

February 5, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Personal Bankruptcy More Difficult—Giant Bailouts Of Banks And Big Firms Okay

I’m not going to pretend I understand all the ins and outs of this most recent financial meltdown.

(Below is Three Mile Island where a meltdown was also avoided.)

I don’t need to know all the details to get the drift of who gets bailed out and who does not.

In 2005, a bill was passed and signed by the President that made it more difficult for Americans to declare personal bankruptcy. Click the link to see how Joe Biden and Harry Reid voted the wrong way.

( Below is the King’s Bench Prison which was used as a debtor’s prison in 19th century London.) 

Here is more on Senator Biden’s support for the bankruptcy bill and on the kind of person who is left with no option but to file for bankruptcy. Some good news is that Barack Obama has at least mentioned that bankruptcy laws need to be changed for the better. John McCain has offered no relief for average people. 

We are told that the institutions being bailed out are “to big to fail.” I guess that means everybody else is not big enough to matter.  

I’m not suggesting these most recent bailouts are the wrong idea. It seems we were just a few days from a real panic. Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that their be more regulation of Wall Street as part of any bailout seems prudent.

( Below is a crowd that assembled outside the New York Stock Exchange after the 1929 Crash. I guess today we might just text each other.) 

Yet I’ll also say that a lot of well-educated, well-paid folks who made bad business decisions, engaged in predatory lending practices, and bought into a lousy system of finance must be getting bailed out. At the same time, more average folks and poor folks are getting nothing but trouble.

It is stuff like this why people are so unwilling to trust government, even when it is government that is the most likely source of possible solutions to big social and economic problems.

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Six Black U.S. Senators Since Reconstruction—Who & Why So Few?

There have been six Black United States Senators in post-reconstruction America.

Just six.

Here is a post on the three black post-reconstruction Governors.)

Here are the five Black Senators to date—

Ed Brooke (above) was a Republican elected from Massachusetts in 1966 and 1972.  He was defeated in 1978 by Paul Tsongas who went on to a notable career himself. Mr. Brooke was part of the moderate to liberal wing of the Republican party that does not so much exist anymore. The decline of moderate Republicanism is a big reason why Democrats are so strong in New England and New York state today.

Here is a Time Magazine article from 1971 pondering if President Richard Nixon would consider replacing Vice President Spiro Agnew on the ticket with Senator Brooke.

Carol Moseley Braun (Above) is the only Black woman to have served in the Senate. She represented Illinois. Ms. Moseley Braun defeated an incumbent Democrat Senator in a primary in 1992 and went on to win the General Election.

People had hopes for Carol Moseley Braun. For a variety of reasons, some maybe relating to her own mistakes and some maybe a product of unreasonable expectations, Ms. Moseley Braun lasted only one term.  This New York Times story from Ms. Moseley Braun’s 2004 run for President offers some perspective.

If Ms. Moseley Braun had been able to hold on, Barack Obama would most likely not have been elected to the Senate as the third post- Reconstruction black senator.   Mr. Obama won the seat once occupied by Ms. Moseley Braun. The Republican who defeated her in 1998, Peter Fitzgerald, did not run for reelection in 2004 against Mr. Obama in strongly Democratic Illinois.

Barack Obama of Illinois was elected to the Senate in 2004. He then went on to even bigger things.

The fourth Black U.S. Senator was Roland Burris (Above) of Illinois.  Mr. Burris was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to replace Barack Obama. His appointment was made under controversial circumstances as Governor Rod Blagojevich made the nomination while under indictment for a range of offenses including trying to sell the Obama Senate seat.

Mr. Burris was the first statewide elected Black in Illinois. He was elected as Comptroller of Illinois in 1979 and served in that post until 1991. In 1990 he was elected Attorney General of Illinois. He has also run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, Governor of Illinois, and Mayor of Chicago.

Here is a comprehensive profile of Mr. Burris.

Mr. Burris did not run for reelection in 2010.

Tim_Scott_official_photo

The fifth post-Reconstruction Black Senator was Tim Scott (Above) of South Carolina. Mr. Scott was designated in December, 2012 to replace Senator Jim DeMint who resigned his office.

Here is profile of Mr. Scott from the PBS News Hour.

Mr. Scott is the fIrst Black Republican Senator since Ed Brooke. He is expected to run to fill the seat on a permanent basis.

tim-scott425x320

The sixth post-reconstruction Black Senator is Mo Cowan (Above) of Massachusetts.

Mr. Cowan was appointed to the Senate by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to fill the vacancy caused by John Kerry being appointed Secretary of State.

Mr. Cowan is a well-connected attorney who has served as Governor Patrick’s Chief of Staff. Here is a profile of Mr. Cowan from the Boston Globe. 

Mr. Cowan will serve in the Senate until an election takes place on June 25. Mr. Cowan is not a candidate for the June election.

Why only six black senators in post-Reconstruction America?

Here are some reasons for the low number —

1. Jim Crow and racism long denied Black people the right to vote and to run for office.

2. Even given the (not always uncontested) right of Blacks to vote today, a large proportion of Blacks in America live in the South where whites are not always inclined to vote for Blacks. This is how George W. Bush or Mitt Romney easily carries Mississippi even though 30% of people in Mississippi are Black.

3. Many states have very few Black people and so Black candidates are less likely to emerge from these places. Though it must also be said there were not so many Black folks in Massachusetts to help elect Ed Brooke.

4. The overwhelming majority of Blacks are Democrats. As many Senators are Republicans, this limits the options for Black Republican Senators.

5. Since most Blacks are going to vote for Democrats no matter what, Democrats use this fact and do not push Blacks to run for the highest offices. If someone is going to do something for you anyway, why not take advantage of them?

6.  Since many Black office holders have safe majority-minority districts or serve in majority-Black cities, why take a chance on a tough statewide race?

7. Black politicians often have a terrible record of cultivating new people and young people for the tough battles ahead. It’s easy to sit in a safe seat and accumulate power . It is more difficult to help people and fight for people in a more constructive way.

(There have been a full total of seven black U.S. Senators in our history. The other two, from the Reconstruction Era were Hiram Revels a Republican from Mississippi who served in 1870 and 1871, and another Mississippi Republican, Blanche Bruce, who served from 1875 until 1881. Both of these men were appointed by the state legislature as was done for much of American history. Here is information about the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913, that provided for direct election of Senators.

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments