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Election Day 2012: What Did Really It Mean

November 8, 2012 1 comment

Barack Obama has won! But Election Day 2012What does it really mean? While we are very focused on the fact that President Obama will remain in the White House for another four years, the Election Day results are full of complicated victories and valuable lessons.

It would be so easy to take Election Day at face value. I would argue it would be dangerous to do so. Barack Obama’s victory in the Electoral College will look like a landslide, but an examination of the popular vote indicates a much closer race. Further, the results also show a very polarized nation. The Obama campaign is a study of modern political science and demography. They understood what groups constituted their base, and then they pursued them relentlessly. One group that didn’t fall into the Obama base in large numbers was white men who didn’t work in the auto industry. Married white women also were not big supporters of Obama in 2012. They are angry, and the rest of the country should take some time to try to figure out why.

As America’s first Black president anticipates his second term, this nation must confront its resurgent comfort with racism and negative racial imagery and rhetoric. As a candidate, Mitt Romney had the opportunity to repudiate the nasty and unnecessarily inflammatory racial and racist rhetoric spewed by his campaign surrogates. But Romney looked the other way as John Sununu, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump took to social media and traditional media in a game of racist one-upmanship with each other. Hopefully, these three men will jump back into the clown car and drive away.

The role of the Latino community will take on mythic proportions as the story of the 2012 Elections will be retold…and rightfully so. After being discussed in a manner that was either dismissive or disgusting during the GOP primaries with talk of “self-deportation” or electrified fences, the Latino community was waiting for someone to say something reasonable. The executive order around the DREAM kids was policy change that the Latino community could believe in. Comprehensive immigration reform is overdue. Let’s hope everyone in Washington is finally gets it.

The LGBT community also knew it had a friend in President Obama, despite earlier frustration with him. President Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that institutionalized keeping active duty military personnel in the closet. Conversely, a deployed soldier was booed during a GOP debate for asking a question. But the LGBT community and the world knew President Obama has the inclusive spirit of equality and justice contemplated when we say “We the People” when he expressed his personal support for marriage equality. Marriage equality initiatives fared well in states…maybe President Obama helped change some minds.

Women make up over 50% of the registered electorate. The first official act that President Barack Obama did in 2009 was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier to sue based on gender discrimination. So Barack Obama hit the ground running where women are concerned and never stopped. The GOP presented themselves as the perfect foil to Obama, especially in the past two years. There were some, including me, who thought that this year was going to become the Year of the Woman. Sandra Fluke was called a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh. Mitt Romney offered some lukewarm response and Barack Obama called Ms. Fluke personally to offer support. There are myriad compelling and complicated cross currents involved in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which included attacks on privacy and access to birth control. The landmark legislation of the first term of Obama Administration, Obamacare, is extremely beneficial to women, whether it is for our own care, the care of a child, or the care of an aging, sick parent. The Affordable Care Act is now safe from threats to “repeal and replace.”

The election of 2012 is noteworthy for women because it is the year that we rejected efforts to destroy progress and go back to a time when women had little control over our bodies and our earning potential. Throughout the country there were candidates for the House of Representatives and US Senate who expressed extreme views that would have endangered the physical and economic lives of women. Those candidates LOST! The idea that in 2012 there was a debate about the definition of rape is offensive and shocking. Let’s clear it up once and for all: rape is rape because no means no. The law is clear about abortion, but the procedure should be available since it legal. The law is settled, let’s move on. I think equal pay is one area where we could focus our energy instead. The fact that the Violence Against Women Act remains in limbo is also unacceptable. But there are 20 women in the US Senate now, a record. Let’s hope that makes a difference and we can focus on issues that really matter to women and the nation.

President Obama will probably have the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court justice. It would be amazing to see the first Black woman take her place in the highest court in the land. But there are many other firsts that could be achieved…first Asian-American, first Native-American, first open LGBT justice…there is need for diversity on the bench and President Obama is the person to achieve that goal.

The Obama campaign probably knew whether you preferred Coke, Pepsi or 7-Up. But the one thing they didn’t know was whether you would be subject to voter suppression or voter intimidation. This trend toward shaping the outcome of the election by controlling who can access the polls must stop. All of America benefitted from the fact that the efforts in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states were not successful. The people who would have been disproportionately impacted would have been the elderly and college students. The folks who invested the country and to whom we owe a debt on one end, and on the other end, we have the generation we are trying to teach the value of civic engagement and instill the habit of voting…these are the targets of the GOP campaign of voter suppression. It is shameful. It is ironic because we recently discovered that a GOP operative has allegedly engaged in voter registration fraud and that the GOP allegedly knew about it. There is such hope for our country because groups like the NAACP, the ACLU and the Advancement Project successfully fought these voter ID laws and state officials. Here’s what was amazing, voters were energized by the obstacles, not discouraged. It didn’t matter what they need to get to vote, they were going to vote. We need to remember that every Election Day and have the same passion and commitment.

Voters waited on line for hours to vote due to reduced early voting hours in Florida. Requests to expand hours in light of the long lines were denied.

Passion and commitment… In the final analysis, that was what made the difference. This election was the most expensive election in American history on the federal, state and local levels. At the top of the ticket, almost $2 billion was spent in pursuit of the White House, with the Romney campaign spending over $1 billion. This campaign was the first presidential campaign is the post-Citizens United world. The big money interests didn’t disappoint. They dumped money into the Romney campaign as though they thought they were buying the very best seats at the opera… Maybe they were. But all the money the world can’t buy passion and commitment. As Election Day drew closer, television ads lost their effectiveness, but passion and commitment motivated tens of thousands of volunteers who fanned out across the country to phone bank, knock on doors, and show up at rallies to support President Obama. Negative ads might move the news cycle, but a Get Out the Vote strategy moves voters.

Barack Obama won. This is great news for the country…all of the country. There are some folks who would have you believe that this is only good news for the people who want free stuff. Absurd. It’s time for the country to unite behind this president…for real this time. No clandestine dinners on Inauguration Night, please…

The “Fiscal Cliff” and potential sequestration loom on the horizon if all of us don’t get our act together and move forward. The time for fighting is over. The time for unity has arrived. This is the United States of America, and we have just re-elected our president. You may not respect the man, but respect the office.

Election Day 2012…What does it mean? It means that we have to realize that the country is changing is some wonderful ways…we embraced our better angels. But after some brief rest, it is time to get back to the work of restoring the nation economically, recovering from Hurricane Sandy, fixing big issues like immigration, the tax code, education and climate change and setting the course for a secure future.

On another day, there will be an autopsy on the Romney campaign, but not today. Today it is sufficient to say that President Obama won. GOP must do some soul-searching about its tactics and its lowest common denominator assumptions about the country.

We all voted. President Obama has reached 332 Electoral College votes. Now we must shift gears, and return to the work governing.

Let’s do what Americans do…Thrive.

All Rights Reserved

Kimberly S. Jones

2012

Open Letter to President Barack Obama: The Day after the Debacle

October 5, 2012 1 comment

Dear President Obama:

I was raised to believe that it’s not nice to talk behind people’s backs, so I am bringing my concerns directly to you. When I say, with all due respect, I sincerely mean it. And so it is with all due respect, the day after the debacle, I must discuss last night’s debate with you.

I have watched you with admiration since you delivered the Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. And while I have some policy concerns (e.g., the ongoing housing crisis, aspects of Wall Street reform, and the NDAA), I do believe that you are the best candidate for these times. The interests of the middle-class, the elderly, Generation X and Y, college students, veterans, women, immigrants, the LGBT community…well, 99% of the country, are better served by the policies advanced by the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, many of our concerns weren’t discussed in the debate because Gov. Romney hijacked the debate with lies and talk of eliminating funding for Big Bird.

You can change that by making sure Gov. Romney is accountable for his past statements and explicit about his future policies.

However, Mr. President, you understand as well as anyone that politics has become as much about perceived style as it is about policy substance. Last night, Sir, you were a policy wonk in the worst sense of the word. Wonks can often present policy in a manner that is dry and uninteresting, without regard for whether the audience is engaged or interested. You are known as “No Drama Obama.” Awesome, but no drama cannot be confused with no life or no preparation. Mr. President, last night, you appeared both lifeless and unprepared. I don’t believe that the demands of the office have sapped you of your charm and star power. But it’s not me you need to convince.

What happened? Was last night a part of a larger strategy? Have you been watching Muhammad Ali fights? Do you want us all to recall that larger than life figure in American culture, is that why you hung back evoking images of Ali doing his classic “Rope-A—Dope?” Are you trying to make Romney the dope? It’s an interesting idea, but you run the risk of looking like a dope yourself since there is no margin for error as the clock winds down toward Election Day.

Put up your dukes, Mr. President. If you are fighting for us, then fight Mitt Romney.

Was it a legal strategy? Were you trying to get Gov. Romney to offer testimony on the record so that you can impeach him and expose his perjury later? Oh… You were trying to give him enough rope to hang himself. But then why didn’t you immediately go back and point out the lies? President Obama, you know that in the 24-hour news cycle a lie repeated loud and often enough becomes the truth. It is your responsibility to make sure that the truth comes to light – not just for your sake, but for the sake of the American voter.

Mr. President, I do not understand how you could let Mitt Romney commit a “hit and run,” he hit the American public with so many lies and half-truths, and then he ran from his own record. How could you let him lie and misdirect about issues important to all of us, from taxes to Obamacare to Medicare to Dodd-Frank? There were so many lies the Romney/Ryan ticket would tell us “it’s so complicated” that they couldn’t explain it now…it was THAT many lies and half-truths. But you let those lies go unchallenged.

Was it a lack of preparation or a lack of political bloodlust that caused you to be so polite? To quote Mitt Romney, “this ain’t bean bag.” Politics, like life, is a full contact sport. Sir, while you were mostly factually correct, debates aren’t watched for facts, they are watched for style. The folks who think you lost the first debate believe this because they preferred Romney’s style, certainly not because his performance has held up to fact-checking.  Please be our prosecutor. On direct examination of Romney, insist on specifics, and when those details don’t make sense – CALL HIM ON IT! Democrats will love you for it, and Independents will respect you for it.

And as you prepare for the next debate, I encourage you to remember that Mitt Romney is taking great pains to make sure that he is prepared. Leave nothing to chance. Prepare, and then prepare some more. Don’t give talk of inadequate preparation any oxygen. As we saw last night, you must be prepared for anything, ranging from poor moderation of the debate to Mitt Romney 75.0, yet another version of your opponent as he shakes the Etch-a-Sketch.

Don’t let it escape America’s notice that Mitt flips, flops, flips, then does a double twisting back lay-out, and the truth is nowhere in the vicinity.

Whoever was responsible for prepping you for last night’s debate is guilty of political malpractice, which is a charge I normally level at the Romney campaign. Don’t allow it to become a habit that I can make such an assertion stick about your campaign.

 

President Obama and First Lady Obama after the First Presidential Debate in Denver, Colorado on October 3, 2012

And Mr. President, you seemed joyless and almost pained in parts. Have some fun in the dismantling of the deceitful mass of political contradictions that is the Romney/Ryan ticket. Please remember the one thing you have that Gov. Romney doesn’t…likeability. Most of America likes you, and no one likes a liar. Expose him for what he is.

Since discussions of the debate have been overwhelmed with sports metaphors, Sir, it’s time for you to get your game face on. You must treat the next two debates like Game 7 of the World Series or World Championship or the last quarter of the Super Bowl. It is now or never. So Mr. President, you have to leave it all out there on the floor.

The day after the debacle, everyone has 20/20 hindsight. We all are full of critique, disapproval and judgment about your performance. But the day after the debacle, you, Mr. President have begun to make lemonade out of the lemons on the campaign trail with a fire and crisp delivery that was absent last night. But most important, the day after the debacle, you can review and assess to make sure that you don’t have a repeat of the Denver Debate in your upcoming encounters with Gov. Romney.

One thing is clear the day after the debacle; the biggest losers of the night were Jim Lehrer, the American voter and the TRUTH. You have two more chances to make it up to the American voter and the truth.

I hate debacles, but I love a good debate. BRING IT! And please, next debate, look into the camera and speak directly to us. We’re listening.

Respectfully yours,

Pundit On Point

First Round Is on Mitt: The Pundit On Point Presidential Debate Drinking Game

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Tonight is the first presidential debate! Ah… It seems like so long ago I was live-tweeting the GOP Presidential Nominee Debates. But it has only a few been months since the last time I had the opportunity to see Mitt Romney engage in something he dislikes as much as eating cookies from a local Pennsylvania bakery.

Tonight’s debate has been billed as a “make or break” endeavor for the gaffe-filled candidacy of Mitt Romney. But the night is also perilous for President Obama. With 34 days left until Election Day and early voting already beginning in some key states, like Ohio and Iowa, the president cannot afford to make any major missteps either.

The result is we have a presidential debate that is the equivalent of the hype associated with the great Ali fights… “The Rumble in the Jungle,” or the “The Thrilla in Manilla.” For you younger boxing fans, this is like what the hype would be if Floyd “Money” Mayweather actually got over himself and fought Manny Pacquiao.  Yes, it is THAT big!

But since this presidential election cycle has been full of so much mendacity, silliness and misdirection…it’s enough to drive a person to drink! It is with that in mind that I am introducing the first Pundit On Point Presidential Debate Drinking Game. A reminder: all players of the game must be over the age of 21, and a designated driver is recommended, because I think the candidates are going to hit the clichés hard tonight.

The rules are simple. Every time one of the candidates says one of the designated words or phrases, everyone must drink. I don’t recommend shots, or you won’t make it to the first commercial break. If you don’t drink alcohol, grab the beverage of your choice. But I don’t recommend caffeinated beverages or this debate will keep you up all night and not just because of the policies you heard.

Here are the terms to listen for in tonight’s debate:

  • Reagan
  • Clinton
  • Solyndra
  • Keystone
  • Taxes and/or tax returns
  • Economy
  • Job creators
  • Bush
  • Regulations
  • Apology or apologizing
  • Class Warfare
  • “Unite us”
  • Voucher(s)
  • Obamacare
  • “Repeal and replace”
  • Job killing
  • Obstruction
  • Veterans
  • Libya
  • Afghanistan
  • Bain
  • Anniversary
  • “Family man” and/or “Family”
  • Food Stamps
  • Welfare

There is a bonus where everyone takes TWO drinks if…1) there is a “hot mike” moment when the candidate forgets about the microphone, or 2) there is a sincerely memorable line that will outlive the debate that is clear during the debate. Like obscenity, we’ll recognize when we see it.

It should be interesting, though I doubt it will be informative. Before the debate starts, make sure everyone you are watching with has registered to vote. It is the only reason tonight matters.

I will be live-tweeting the debate, so follow me @PunditOnPoint to see what I have to say in real time.

To show how much I celebrate wealth and success, based on the evidence in the TWO tax returns he gave American voters, the first round is on Mitt! Cheers!

Tale of Two Douglases: Gabby v. Alyssa

September 8, 2012 1 comment

Gabrielle Douglas, “Golden Gabby” with her historic Individual All-Around Gymnastics Medal at the 2012 London Olympics

During the London Olympics, I was enthralled by the historic achievements of Gabrielle Douglas. Golden Gabby made history as she was winning gold medals. And she was poised in the face of the white-hot media glare. Even when others lost their minds over, of all stupid things, her hair, Golden Gabby stayed elegant, poised and mature beyond her years.

In the time since the Olympics, Golden Gabby’s future is secure due to the promise of many lucrative endorsement deals. But she appears to remain what she was, a sweet, extremely focused, loving teen aged girl.

Last night, we were introduced to another Douglas girl. Alyssa Douglas. I don’t know very much about Alyssa. Like Golden Gabby, she is a teen age girl, 16 years old to be exact. She is from a town near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is my understanding that she aspires to be a hairdresser. I also know that she spews violent, hateful rants about the President on Twitter. I include her name because she removed any privacy concerns when she publishes her violent post on Twitter. I reconsidered posting her photograph, which is easily found. Just because this child is irresponsible with her privacy, I won’t pile on since I already find her judgment flawed. If you want to know what she looks like, you can do the same google search I did. But I will tell you that Alyssa is white.

Yes, last night Alyssa Douglas took to Twitter to post a simple one line tweet that defies logic and common sense: “Someone needs to assassinate Obama…like ASAP. #DieYouPieceOfShit”

Alyssa Douglas’ Twitter account has been removed, but the damage has been done. I understand that for a time before her Twitter account was removed, she was actually GAINING Twitter followers for dumping that kind of random violent ideation onto the Twitterosphere. Wow. Does this CHILD realize what she has done?

I bet Golden Gabby, who experienced the savage effects of Twitter and Facebook, understood what this stupid child did. But even if Alyssa did not understand the consequences of the stupidity at the beginning of the day, by now I am certain she is grasping the severity of the situation.

You see, the Secret Service doesn’t like it when folks threat the President of the United States…even if those threats are issued on Twitter. A man was recently jailed in Charlotte for threatening the President on Twitter. Frankly, I hope they throw the book at this girl. At the age of 16, you are old enough to understand that your actions have consequences.

The Obama Family after President Obama delivers his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

As for the folks who would tell me that I have no sense of humor because Alyssa was only joking. My response is simple. You are right. I have no sense of humor when the life of a man with a wife and two children is concerned. Since someone issued a similar threat against Gov. Romney, I have the same no nonsense attitude. A call to arms to kill a public official is NEVER FUNNY. It’s stupid, reckless, and potentially criminal.

We live in a society where it is easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. In our country, a young man, who would go on to leave a trail of devastation in his wake, was able to purchase SIX THOUSAND ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION on the internet without raising any red flags. Have you bought cold medicine lately? It’s almost as difficult to do as voting, but guns and ammo…no worries. It is in that environment a 16 year old child takes to Twitter calling for the killing of our President.

The Secret Service has already been to her home. I hope she has spent the entire day getting to know them. I hope she has been scared the entire day.

Alyssa’s parents don’t escape my notice in this. Hate like what young Alyssa is spewing is learned. So I say, cart the whole stupid family off to jail, just to be safe.

Gabby and Alyssa… Two girls both 16 years old… Gabby has already accomplished more than many would ever dare to dream, and in the process, she has gained international fame. She represents the very best of aspiration, faith and diligence. We know that Gabby was surrounded by love and support, even when things were challenging.

Alyssa is at the other end of the spectrum. By her small and hateful thinking, which she had the bad judgment to post to Twitter, she will become infamous maybe on an international scale…for wishing a man dead. The irony is that the man she is wishing dead is internationally famous as a champion for hope and change. Alyssa strikes me a symbol of how entrenched racism and hate are…even in someone so young.

Someone ask Gov. Romney what he thinks about the tale of two Douglases. I wonder if there is any honesty left in Romney to recognize how much GOP dog whistle politics probably played a part in the downfall of Alyssa, and that Gabby succeeded in spite of them?

Oh, in case you had any doubt, Gabby wins this gold medal, by a mile!

I hope that you never forgot my open letter to the Secret Service. I hope they didn’t either.

Keep the President and his family safe.

 

Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

An Open Letter to Speaker Boehner: Big Gavel, But Impotent

July 13, 2012

Dear Speaker Boehner,

You will be in session for 25 more working days before Election Day. Then hopefully, you will officially become lame as  the OUTGOING Speaker in the Lame Duck Session. For those paying attention, you have been lame all along.

When you became Speaker of House, you made great show of taking possession of the gigantic gavel. You know what they say about men who have big tools and don’t know how to use them. What a waste! Yes, Mr. Speaker. Your time as Speaker of the House has been a great big, orange, weepy, ineffective waste. The tragedy of it is two-fold: you follow one of the most effective Speakers in the history of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and your ineptitude comes at a time when the Congress and the country needed a statesperson with political acumen to hold the Speaker’s gavel.

The 112th Congress could be called the Looney Tunes Congress. There are some folks in the House of Representatives who are so comical that they are better placed in a cartoon than in Congress. Joe Walsh, Allen West, and Michelle Bachmann, to name a few, all deserve their own special clown car. Allen West makes ridiculous statements that are throw-backs to a drunken, discredited, red-baiting Congressman who brought a shameful time to America. Yet there are some who take this person seriously. Allen West is one of the best “race hustlers” around, invoking provocative images of slavery to suit his own political agenda. He needs to get off the “plantation” of crazy where he is currently enslaved, and find the freedom of sanity and reality.

Joe Walsh is a dead-beat dad who thinks nothing of denigrating and disrespecting a decorated war hero, who also happens to be a double amputee, to suit his own craven political agenda. By the way, what are Joe Walsh’s legislative achievements while in Congress? What has he done for the people of his district? I doubt it’s very much.

Michelle Bachmann… Where to start or end with her? Her biggest legislative achievement was to guarantee your unthreatened ability to buy incandescent light bulbs. I know that the most important item on your political agenda over the economy, education, the environment and other trivial things is light bulbs. But the rest of America was worrying about other things. You are blessed if the future of light bulbs was keeping you up at night. Her latest stunt was to call the Affordable Care Act the “largest Middle Class tax increase in American History.” Wow, lie much?

Yes, Mr. Speaker, you with your big gavel couldn’t herd these crazy cats into acting in the best interests of America. We have seen it time after time.

But you, Mr. Speaker, have been like Wile E. Coyote to President Obama’s Road Runner. You have allowed the TEA Party extremists to fill your head with legislatively wasteful and politically destructive plots ordered straight from ACME political tricks and schemes. Rather than helping you catch the President, all you have gained for your troubles is the political equivalent of an anvil falling on your head – dismally low approval ratings for Congress, 17.8% according to Real Clear Politics Average of Congressional Job Approval polls through June 18, 2012.

As the TEA Party dropped an anvil on your head, Wile E., I mean, Mr. Speaker, it was also dropping boulders and anvils on groups who expected their elected representatives to look out for their interests. We expected you to bang your gavel to lead, not bang the gavel on our heads. It was the American people who suffered most. As you collected your annual salary of $223, 500, with benefits and pension, American citizens waited for the jobs that would give us salaries, benefits and pensions. Instead, you postured and played politics with our lives. As you took your salary and did nothing for the American people, the gavel laid impotently in your hand.

Instead of efficiently reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), and expanding the Act so it reaches all victims of violence, the VAWA sits in limbo, a victim of the violence of the political act forced on it, in the same way that all women and members of the LGBT community who have violence forced upon them will be left without adequate recourse if this act isn’t reauthorized. But at the same time, this same Congress was all too happy to push this government to the brink of a government shutdown over an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

It bears repeating that it is a sad fact that Planned Parenthood is the bogeywoman for abortion, but abortion represents 3% of the services of the services they provide. The rest of the services they provide are for the HEALTH of a woman, e.g., routine screenings such as pap smears and mammograms. By the way, Mr. Speaker, abortions in the first trimester are a legal medical procedure and a matter of CHOICE for the mother and her family. None of that mattered. You were willing to allow your big gavel to lay impotently in your hand as the country careened toward a shut-down. Women suffered during your term as Speaker. We will remember. We will deal with you harshly on Election Day.

The gavel was placed in your hands because the GOP promised to be the party of jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Yes, we got a job alright, a con job. Do a Google search for “GOP jobs bill in 112th Congress.” I did. The results are extremely spare, especially for the party that claimed that they were going to be job creators. What happened? You lied to us. This GOP ascension had nothing to do with jobs, and everything to do with power for the sake of power. You wouldn’t even vote on the Jobs plan that the President sent to Congress, not once. No, the goal was never jobs, it was always power.  All I can say is “well played.”  Because that is what you did, you played the American people. Crafty…

But the gavel still lays impotently in your hand. A gavel that you should wield with power, authority and finesse; instead, you are run around by the freshman members of your caucus. How embarrassing. That was especially apparent when you allowed the little boys and girls in the TEA Party Caucus to publicly throw their un-statesmanlike tantrums as the country had an unnecessarily prolonged negotiation about the debt ceiling last summer. The debt ceiling had been raised almost 80 times since 1960, mostly under Republican presidents, as you well know. Yet, you procrastinated like a teenager with a term paper on the debt ceiling issue, which meant that you manufactured a crisis that resulted in the first downgrade of the US credit rating in America history. Not an effective use of your power, if you ask me. Impotence that doesn’t just reflect on you, it affects the rest of us.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, there are 25 days when Congress will be in session before Election Day. You just wasted one of those days on another useless vote to repeal some or all of the Affordable Care Act. And yet again, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner stuck his tongue out at you, said, “Beep, Beep!” and sped away…for the 33rd time.

But the big gavel lies impotently in your hand. And America watches and waits because there are problems that still should be solved in the 25 working days, the time before your impotence becomes lame impotence in the Lame Duck Session. The debt ceiling looms on the horizon – AGAIN. In your limited wisdom, the fix put on unemployment and the payroll tax holiday was temporary, so they are expiring. Happily, the Bush Tax Cuts are expiring, but the President and most of America wants you to extend them for those with annual incomes under $250,000. And yes, VAWA is still sitting out there waiting for reconciliation in conference. Adopt the Senate version, and let’s get on with it.

In New York, we say someone is all sizzle and no steak. In Texas, they say someone is all hat and no cattle. You, Mr. Speaker, were all gavel and no power, statesmanship, or gravitas. Impotent. It’s sad, because America deserved better. We needed better. And I think you may have wanted to be bigger than the gavel. It’s sad that the gavel ended up being bigger than you.

Sincerely yours,

Pundit On Point

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Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

Marriage Equality Hypocrisy: The New Black, Part I

June 9, 2012 1 comment

PART I: PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HISTORY

President Barack Obama speaks to ABC News’ Robin Roberts about Marriage Equality

On May 9th, 2012, President Barack Obama, the first Black President of the United States, did something extraordinary. The day after North Carolina became one of 30 states to vote bigotry into its state constitution, President Obama spoke out against bigotry and discrimination when he expressed his personal support for same sex marriage. I will be honest and say that it has taken me this long to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about the situation. The President’s remarks were a statement that is, arguably, the most significant statement on civil rights made by a President since the Emancipation Proclamation. All of America, but the Black community in particular, should have heaved a collective sigh of relief that any of our presidents finally had the courage to stand for the concepts of equal protection expressed in the Constitution…not just in theory, but in practice.

The Black community should have been so very proud that Barack Obama had the principles to speak out against discrimination in a way that no other president in recent memory had. I was thrilled because I publicly expressed my support for Marriage Equality and my call for every American to take this stance over two years ago. Many didn’t bother to parse the President’s comments on same-sex marriage for their real impact on current policy regarding Marriage Equality, which is minimal. Instead, there was a visceral reaction based in fear and bigotry. What made this reaction so sad and infuriating was that, for many including some in the Black community, their bigoted discrimination is wrapped in the Bible and tied with a bow of “Christianity” that Christ wouldn’t even recognize.

I am underwhelmed and disappointed by the hypocrisy of those in the Black Community who do not support Marriage Equality. The history of Black folks in America is long, complicated and full of painful injustices. The Constitution had its infamous “Three-fifths Compromise” that was good for everyone, except Black people.  The Dred Scott decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court in 1857 showing cowardice and a political cravenness that would make the current Roberts Court jealous. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, in the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, offered hope that America would finally deliver on the promise of the ideals set out in the Declaration of Independence. But that hope was snatched away with the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896.

If you aren’t aware, Plessy created the doctrine of “Separate, but Equal.” Plessy was also the legal foundation for Jim Crow Segregation, which stood until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. It wasn’t until 1967, with the Loving v. Virginia decision, which ended race-based impediments to legal marriage, that Blacks could truly marry whoever they wanted. The fight for equality, regardless of race, is by no means over.  The history of civil rights fights and victories in America casts a long and impressive shadow. The Black Community has a long tradition of standing up for what is right and just. Abolitionists, like Sojourner Truth and Fredrick Douglass, who fought slavery in the 19th Century were also active members of the Women’s Suffragist movement. There was a moral consistency in that position.  The Niagara Movement, the precursor of the NAACP, was the manifestation of the old Black community that maintained the fight for justice against all comers, including the Catholic Church, in the very early years of the 20th Century. There was recognition that the expansion of rights enhances the concepts of liberty and justice for every American. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The new Black community must understand the past and present suffering that comes from discrimination. The new Black community, like the old Black community, must stand on the right side of history and fight for equality wherever discrimination exists. It’s not too late to evolve and follow the fine example set by President Obama. The NAACP did this a few weeks after the President’s remarks when they announced the NAACP’s emphatic support for Marriage Equality.  The old Black community fought for justice, and the new Black community must learn from and follow their example.

The New Black must never side with legal or social injustice, nor should the New Black ever stand for moral hypocrisy.

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DON’T HAGGLE WITH HOES: An Open Letter to the Secret Service

April 20, 2012 8 comments

Dear Secret Service Director, Mark Sullivan:

What a mess! I started off making jokes about the situation just like everyone else, “Secret Service doesn’t mean that you get serviced in secret.” The “wheels up, rings off” concept was ready-made for the late night comedians, and they pounced. The other pundits were still brewing last week’s tempest in their teapots (see “Mommy Cage Match: Romney vs. Reality”), so there was a lag time. Comedians like Jon Stewart saw comedy gold in the Madonna/Ho Transition the media was undertaking.

The politicians in Washington tend to move with the pundits, so you had a brief reprieve, which is over now. They have descended on the Secret Service like a pack of hungry wolves. Unfortunately, I have no sympathy for you or the agents under your command.

The Secret Service agents in Cartegena, Columbia forgot several important things. They forget something I heard is a key maxim, and it led to their downfall: DON’T HAGGLE WITH HOES. She earned her money in a manner that most of us would agree is…unorthodox, yet demanding work. As a result, she was not going to leave the Hotel Caribe without the money that was due to her.

I find this situation troubling for a variety of reasons. It raises several issues and concerns: the way this woman was treated and the way the President is protected.

The agent who caused the whole sordid affair to be exposed wanted to pay a professional $28 for $800 worth of services. The law has a concept called “quantum meruit” or unjust enrichment, which is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “An equitable doctrine, based on the concept that no one who benefits by the LABOR and materials of another should be unjustly enriched thereby…the law implies a PROMISE to pay a reasonable amount for the labor and materials furnished, even absent a specific contract therefor.” Prostitution is legal in Columbia. So the woman who was cheated out of $772 for engaging in lawful business has every right to demand payment. She had every right to go to the police. But the Secret Service agents who procured her services did not have ANY RIGHT to do so. They simply shouldn’t have been doing that. They were in Columbia on official business of the highest order – protecting the President of the United States.

You would think that these Secret Service agents would remember the Parable of Former Governor Eliot Spitzer. Also known as “Client-9,” Eliot Spitzer was tripped up because he wanted to have a credit of $1,100 on record with the agency, despite paying for the “escort services” of Ashley Dupree with $4400 in cash. The scandal, as you are aware, ended the very promising political career of Eliot Spitzer. But I guess since it was “wheels up, rings off,“ that meant that common sense also took a holiday in Columbia..

Here is my greatest concern.  Haggling with Hoes could have put the President’s life in jeopardy. The hoes with whom your agents were haggling could have decided that rather than wasting their time waiting for payment from the cheap Americans, they could simply steal some valuable, classified information that could have been left lying around and sell it to the highest bidder. In a country that was known for narco-terrorists like the late Pablo Escobar and Medellin drug cartel, this lapse in judgment was especially troubling. Renegade, the Secret Service Code Name for President Obama, came to Columbia not knowing how vulnerable he was. At the same time, Renaissance, the First Lady, and Radiance and Rosebud, Sasha and Melia, could also have been compromised. We don’t know. The Secret Service has a reputation of being the only thing between a lunatic and these individuals. We have operated through the years with the assumption that they would always do the right thing. Now we have reason to doubt that these men and women are capable of operating with the judgment needed for the task.

Director Sullivan, we forgave you for the security breach when the fame hungry, reality show star wannabes, Tareq and Michaele Salahi scammed their way into a state dinner. That was an alarming, yet low-stakes, breach. But this was on foreign soil. The Secret Service has not only embarrassed itself, it has embarrassed President Obama, and the United States.

The fact that two supervisors, Greg Stokes and David Chaney, and an agent have left the Secret Service as a result of this scandal is small comfort. Reports three agents resigned today and that more firings are imminent are also inadequate. The rhetoric directed at this president is especially violent. Remember that Candidate Barack Obama received protection from the Secret Service at a historically early point in his campaign due to the threats he received. As President, those threats have increased in number and intensity. The responsibility of the Secret Service is heightened.

Director Sullivan, if a single hair on the head of Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance or Rosebud is harmed, I will hold you and every man and woman in your command PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE.

Maybe your agents need to re-read the Vision Statement of the Secret Service: The vision of the United States Secret Service is to uphold the tradition of excellence in its investigative and protective mission through a dedicated, highly-trained, diverse, partner-oriented workforce that employs progressive technology and promotes professionalism. Agents Hiring Hoes while on a security detail for the President is not professional. Agents Haggling with hoes while on a security detail for the President is not excellent.

The Congressional wolves are barking and scratching at your door. Your agents need to stop haggling with hoes. Protect the President.

Sincerely yours,

Pundit On Point

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Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones