One of the most effective means of dealing with the current downturn and frequent economic gaps would be for those billionaires investing in Wall Street to start making more investments on Main Street. Many could be pulled from the ranks of the unemployed, underemployed and working poor if they had access to small loans to make needed repairs on a home, finance an appliance purchase or more importantly, start a small business. Such a business could be as simple as a cleaning service, a nail salon or a convenience store. The same financing schemes which led to the mortgage debacle could be used to finance small scale entrepreneurship. Doing so will provide the hope required to overcome the inertia of despair, complacency’s calm, or alienation’s silent rage.
June 17, 2008
Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda henchmen were decimated after 911. They’d sacrificed some of their best agents in the well-coordinated devastating attack at the heart of America, its financial empire. Osama was already deep underground and prepared to stay there for as long as five years while plotting his next spectacular assault and letting the Americans play out their part of the post-attack script.
The Bush Administration, eager to carry out its own grand Mideast strategy, accepted their roles with neo-Con glee. They declared an ill-defined “War on Terror.” And though Osama and most of his agents were from Saudi Arabia, determined that Iraq should be included in an “Axis of Evil,” omitting the oil rich Saudi Sheikdom.
Osama probably couldn’t believe his ears upon learning that Bush intended to attack Iraq. An attack on Afghanistan was expected and prepared for. But, Iraq. Why Iraq, he asked those around him. No one had an answer, but they all realized al Qaeda didn’t have a very strong cell in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Osama and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein weren’t exactly on speaking terms.
Someone brought up the name Zarqawi, and though Osama mistrusted the over-eager sycophant, he allowed a lieutenant to reached out to him. Zarqawi did have a few agents with him in Iraq. Though still unsure that Bush would rewrite the script so much better than he, Osama began envisioning an insurgency that would bring down the American giant.
His plan was aided by the Bush Administration’s determination that Osama was indeed backing an Iraqi insurgency. In fact, Zarqawi, by dropping Osama’s name among the Sunnis, had managed to gather a small al Qaeda-like force. He was able to cause just enough trouble to attract some press coverage and the attention of the Bush Administration’s propaganda team.
The team was looking for a way around the lack of WMD’s in Iraq or Hussein’s fingerprints on 911. Zarqawi and his alleged al Qaeda connection were perfect. They couldn’t have written a better script. Osama certainly hadn‘t.
American propaganda made Zarqawi’s force seem bigger and stronger as the weeks passed. It had one unappreciated success, beyond hoodwinking a larger share of the American public. That success was that it was forcing Osama to check his financial records and count noses. As far as he knew, he didn’t have any sizable force in Iraq.
He called Zarqawi and was told that “thousands of al Qaeda minions were marching on Bagdad as we speak.” Osama made a note: Send Zarqawi more Ritalin.
But the Bush administration continued its regular reminder of al Qaeda’s threat to America via the Iraq War. Osama figured he may as well take advantage of the Bush Administration’s propaganda. He began issuing video and audio tapes full of anti-American messages. It drove American de-coders crazy trying to figure out the hidden orders to Osama’s Iraqi ‘minions.’ This search was made more difficult by their non-existence.
Now Bush, having created a Tar Baby cannot now let it go. He’d like to, but can’t. Sought of how Spitzer would give back those trysts with a prostitute or Clinton, his with Monica. Like Spitzer and Clinton, doing so is impossible for Bush. They, by fact of nature and time, he by dreams of faith and values. He’s a Republican whose innate political insecurity forces him to talk loud and boastfully.
Dissent was unpatriotic, he said. Over there and not over here. Honor our troops. But having declared war on al Qaeda which was obviously “fighting” the U.S. to a standstill in Iraq, Bush and his neo-Con advisors could not walk away. The Tar Baby was stuck fast.
Five years and more than 4,000 American lives later, the Tar Baby could not be dropped. Osama is taking a vacation from the hard work of managing an insurgency not of his making or intent. Insurgency really aren’t his cup of tea. Terrorists blow things up and hide. Revolutionaries foster insurgencies.
In fact, we don’t know who is backing the insurgency. It could very well be Saudi Arabia, which has its own reasons for hating the Sunnis and would prefer a Shia Iraq. And China and Russia could be pumping into Iraq the resources needed for the insurgency. Then again, neither France, Germany nor Japan, for that matter, may be willing to let America walk into the Middle East and grab a huge chunk of the world’s oil supply.
Back in Osama’s hole, he realized that since he didn’t control the insurgency, he couldn’t end it. Iraq was becoming a bother for the world’s most wanted terrorist and for its most dedicated terrorist fighter, George Bush.
Now how do we turn this war off before American interests are damaged beyond repair and one of our many enemies or friendly rivals makes major gains in the oil-rich Middle East.
How can Bush drop the Tar Baby?
December 12, 2007
Democrats should avoid the media hype and complete the nomination of Nick Mackey as sheriff of Mecklenburg County, as the Party Executive Committee voted on Thursday night. No one can say for certain that Nick Mackey will not be a great sheriff. Even if past mistakes are taken into account, moving forward Mr. Mackey may well be better for the job than anyone. But more important is that the selection process was followed as written and therefore should be accepted. Changing the rules in the middle of the game will only reinforce the assumption by many African Americans that 2007 is not much different from 1907, when poll taxes and other ruses often were used to stifle black political influence. Most of you owe your very positions to loyal black support at the polls. The attempt to pull an end run around black voters now will break bonds that have put Democrats in control of local Mecklenburg County and Charlotte City governments. What will be the reward for black voter loyalty? Mr. Mackey will have three years to prove his critics wrong or right. He can be voted out of office either in the Democratic primary or the general election at that time. For the Democratic Party and the County Board of Commissioners to deny him the opportunity to serve would be a racist affront and an illegal usurpation of the will of black voters, Bob Davis’s strategic nomination of Chipp Bailey notwithstanding.
December 5, 2007
I’ve been away for a while due to business and personal matters, but the current controversy surrounding Nick Mackey’s campaign to replace the outgoing Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph is a good way to get back into my writing. This is why I think Mr. Mackey should be sheriff:
He’s a lawyer. So he knows the law. He’s a citizen in good standing. He understands the criminal justice system, having worked as a police officer and an attorney. So he’s not some gang-banger trying to beat the system.
But the main reason is we need to debunk the double standard that forces African Americans to meet an ever higher standard to be socially, economically and politically accepted in this country.
That standard is one reason why so many African Americans cannot find decent jobs, after making youthful mistakes. The slightest arrest record, conviction or no, is enough to keep them from being hired by most employers. And heaven forbid if that arrest involved marijuana or crack cocaine.
The double standard is one reason why African Americans continue to lag behind economically. At the low-end of the scale, it results in quicker convictions and longer sentences for African American defendants. At the high end, it is the “Yes, but…’ that stifles promotions in the corporate hierarchy, prevents African American entrepreneurs from qualifying for venture capital and families from qualifying for home and other types of loans.
African Americans have got to stop allowing The Observer and other media to use innuendo, half-truths and outdated data to assassinate the character of those who step forward to serve this community.
The Sheriff’s office is an elected position. If Nick fails in the job he can be voted out of office. I think this community will be surprised by the quality of his service once they get a chance to appraise his skills.
July 12, 2007
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners cannot allow the forces that would destroy the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system to succeed in their strategy of “death by a thousand cuts.”
Those forces don’t include those suburban parents who rightfully desire adequate space and facilities at the now crowded schools attended by their children.
But it does include the movement, with lingering ties to the pro-segregation era of our region’s history, which believes public schools are no longer desirable or indeed necessary.
Whether opposing equitable school spending or complaining about the school system’s diversity, their ultimate underlying solution is an end to public schools and imposition of education vouchers.
Why else would a county commissioner propose ignoring the facilities needs of inner city children, while catering to the new children whose parents were drawn here, ironically in part, because of our diversity. Those opposing the $618 million bond issue do so for the express purpose of ensuring the break-up of CMS. They would oppose any equitable bond package. Remember, these are the same forces which opposed the last bond and it was even less than any of the proposals on the table today.
If we allow CMS’s destruction, if their mission is accomplished, such a victory would slit the throat of the Golden Goose Charlotte.
It was community diversity and a demonstration that Charlotte represents the South’s future that helped create this city’s many economic successes. Those successes have drawn so many new families to us. New schools are needed in the suburbs because their employers put down roots here.
We are home to two of the largest banks in the nation and world. There’s more money deposited in this town than in any other in the nation, save New York City.
IBM, Transamerica, Microsoft, TIAA-CREF…. There’s an endless list of Fortune 500, national and international corporations with headquarters or major facilities here.
Charlotte is home to NFL and NBA franchises, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Discovery Place, Imaginon…
This is a place to raise a family, build a future.
Newcomers flock to our community. CMS is enrolling more than 4000 new students a year. This despite the “flight” everyone talks about these days.
This board must not allow opponents of an equitable bond package to kill the Golden Goose by neglecting the diverse communities for which Charlotte is known and respected.
May 24, 2007
Those pundits rushing to blame Democrats for failing to pass an Iraq funding bill without a troop withdrawal date should stop accepting the spin from Republicans. Anyone who understands parliamentary procedure and American legislative rules know a slim majority cannot override a presidential veto. Democrats can’t win without the help of Republicans or the acquiescence of Bush. Failure to withdraw the troops is the fault of Bush and Republican lawmakers, not the Democrats. How long is the American press going to allow themselves to be used by Bush and the Republicans to carry out a failed policy…to mislead the American public, both about what’s going on in Iraq and, lately, what’s going on in America.
May 23, 2007
Seems if Bush is revealing that in 2005, nearly two years after Baghdad fell, al Quaeda made plans to establish a base there, then isn’t the president admitting that all of those earlier allegations of ties between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were wrong. Some of the criticism of Bush’s Iraq policy is that it is actually creating more terrorists and terrorism, and aiding al Quaeda. Seems like Bush agrees. And we still haven’t nabbed bin Laden. Can’t this administration get anything right.
May 22, 2007
Question of the Day
I’m sure every president faces different challenges, but President Bush not only squandered an opportunity to unite to world in a grand “War on Terror,” but has completely botched even his own Mideast strategy.
If you agree with Bush and the neo-cons and accept their world view and their goals for Iraq and Afghanistan, you have to admit they have failed.
First by not sending enough troops into Iraq; failing to capture Bin Laden and defeat the Taliban; failing to foresee and then deal with the Iraqi insurgency; failing to understand the Iraqi people and their differencies; and arrogantly failing to heed the warnings and advice of outsiders.
There’s an entirely separate set of domestic failures, including failing to reign in the oil companies and other mega-corporations, the tax cuts for the rich, and inaction on health care.
That’s why Bush will go down in history as a failed president. Not because of his neo-con philosophy.
May 21, 2007
Unfortunately, American troops are beginning to look a lot like Saddam Hussein’s guards. I’m sure noone’s counting, but it is possible that American’s have killed, falsely accused and jailed more Iraqi’s in four years than Saddam ever did. From the news reports, American troops are fighting everybody in Iraq except the Kurds who are just biding their time and salivating over getting complete control over the oil fields in the north. This does not please our “ally” Turkey. Eventually some American president will have to send troops to stand between the Turks and the Kurds. Another Bush mistake our children will pay to correct.
Jimmy Carter has much more credibility than George Bush and his administration will ever have. I’m not sure if Bush has the worse foreign policy ever, but he’s certainly close. Let’s face it, the Bush Administration will go down in the annals of history as a horrific moment in the American story. It will take us year’s to repair the damage and rebuild American’s moral credibility on the world stage. Perhaps longer to recover from his internal foibles.