Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thoughts on Michael Jackson and heroes

Okay, so the big news at work was that Neverland has been shut down. Michael Jackson let the insurance lapse and apparently hasn't been paying some employees since December 2005. News came on the radio at the end of work.

Now this is good for some late night comedians to get a few laughs but it's really embarrassing for a lot of people. I don't just mean the fans of Michael Jackson. He really doesn't have that many fans today. He's got a lot of fanatics. He's got a lot of White boys (Justin Timberlake) who want to be him. Apparently the thing Justin Timberlake always wanted to be was an African-American man trying to be Diana Ross.

There are a few people who hung in there. They wouldn't listen to anything he's done in the last ten years but they'll listen to the old songs.

All he is now is a symbol. He's the "American dream." The little kid, Black, who grew up to be a multi-millionaire via his talent proving that we can all achieve. And that messages may be the only reason so many have trashing him the way they would have anyone else.

Despite the plastic surgery and the ever lighter skin, we buy into the "He's black" myth, that he's our standard bearer. When he got mixed up with the kids in the nineties, a lot of us were willing to argue he was innocent. When it flared up again recently, innocent or not, he was stupid and embarrassing.

There was a lot of disgust with the latest news. I think that has to do with the fact that if he's not paying his employees (if), then he's no longer the "success" and for a lot of people that meant facing the reality of the "American dream."

So what is the "American dream" today? It's not the Martin Luther King dream, it's not the dream for all. It's one person succeeds. In the case of Michael Jackson he becomes a symbol. Does he crack up because of it? Or is he still attacked because of his race? Despite all the money, is it his race?

I don't know. I know that a lot of people are disgusted and were talking about it today.

And it does speak to the "American dream" because it, "success," is more and more defined only by money. In earlier times, we could look up to athletes, musicians, actors breaking the color barrier but we were also aware of our leaders. It didn't seem like they were "in it" for the money.

It's not that we don't have leaders today. We have many people fighting. But the media isn't interested in them. John Conyers gets little attention, Maxine Waters, Cornel West . . . As big media chases down the dollar, we end up with hollow "life lessons" and when they turn ugly, as Michael Jackson has, we're left with anger.

I'm not a fan of Michael Jackson. I always preferred Prince growing up. I do feel sorry for him and, more importantly, I feel sorry for the message that's going out and the disappointment people are feeling.

Other big news is John Byrne and Ron Brynaert's "Washington nonprofit where Abramoff was director wrote articles favoring Abramoff clients" so give it a read.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush

Here are two of the biggest whoppers.
Just days before Bush ignited the war, Cheney went on Meet the Press to discuss the alleged threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Cheney said: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
And in Bush’s address to the nation on March 17, 2003, he said there was "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
Remember, this was after the U.N. weapons inspectors had been scouring Iraq for evidence of those weapons and had found nothing.In fact, Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who received the Nobel Peace Prize last year, told the Security Council weeks before the remarks of Cheney and Bush that not only did Saddam not have any nuclear weapons, there was no evidence that he had even reconstituted his nuclear weapons program.
Bush and Cheney were engaging in "a conspiracy to commit fraud," as Lewis Lapham points out in his pathbreaking essay, "The Case for Impeachment," in the March issue of Harper's Magazine. Lapham notes that the Supreme Court in Hammerschmidt v. United States said someone engages in a conspiracy to commit fraud against the government when that person obstructs lawful government functions "by deceit, craft, or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest" and when its "legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane, or other overreaching of those charged with carrying out the government intention."
That fits Bush and Cheney to a T.

That's from Matthew Rothschild's "Grounds for Impeachment." So what do you think? Impeachment plausible or not?

I'm half-way through a book put out by the Center for Constitutional Rights entitled Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush. It makes a strong, concise case for impeachment. When you see Bully Boy's actions laid out like above or in the book, it becomes obvious that we either do something or accept that no president in the future will ever have to tell the truth.

C.I.'s got a quote from the book in an entry this morning. Read that and see if you're not interested in picking it up. I think you will be. I read about it last week at The Common Ills and was thinking about getting it but C.I. ended up getting it for all of us so we could discuss it at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Mine arrived yesterday and as soon as I'm done with this post tonight, I'm going to get back to the book and finish it.

It's really hard to put down. Even if you think you know all that the Bully Boy did wrong, you may not know all the legal reasons his actions were wrong. The book makes a strong case for impeachment.

If we don't impeach, we're saying that the actions are okay so we better be prepared when future presidents attempt to do the same thing. It's like, "Do you draw a line in the sand or not?"

He's done so much. The illegal detentions at Guantanamo where he's held prisoners for years and years without any trials; the round up of Arabs and/or Muslims after 9/11; lying us into war; the spying on American citizens without warrants; and, most of all, this desire to ignore the other two branches.

I took the book to work with me thinking I could read some of it on break or at lunch but it didn't happen. Everytime I would pull it out, someone would walk over and, nodding to the book's cover, say, "We really need to, you know?"

I think the people do know. I think it's our elected officials that are out of the loop. I hear a lot of talk about how if the Dems take back at least one house in the 2006 elections, things will change but I don't know how you go over night from spineless to leadership.

On the radio, they're saying that the House passed the Patriot Act. That says a great deal about how non-independent our Congress is.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to reading the book. You can order it online, just click on the title:
Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush.