Not a peep

"Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more. But no more for the poor"...Reverend Joseph Lowery uttered those words at Coretta Scott King's funeral.



What he was decrying then is the scenario unfolding right under our nose. President Obama ordered thousands of troops to descend on Afghanistan to fight a war without any fuss from the deficit hawks. These same folks are putting every procedural road block available to them to stop the passage of a public insurance option that will generally benefit poor and low income people in this country. Where is the outrage of the Liebermans, the Landrieus , Ben nelsons and the blanche Lincolns of the world? Their hypocrisy knows no bound. It is galling to see how they run their mouth about deficits when it comes to health care reform, but they will borrow their way through wars till the cows come home.

Watch the video and see how poignant his observation is to todays crowd in washington.

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Please excuse my rant

I have not been posting for the past few months, swamped by work related issues, but I have not stopped following the biggest spectacle that does not have its own television show, "The Public Option Drama Hour".

The rumors, innuendos, uncited sources, cited sources, blanket statements, vague statements, speeches, the word "public option", Olympia Snowe, scurred Democratic Senators, fierce House Progressives, The White House and Barack Obama are a daily staple for those of us who follow congress on the health care and other innane issues that govern our lives.

At this point, every political junky following the congress knows which Democrats side with the public option being included in the final bill and which Democrats do not. We know that. My frustration is at the White House and why we need to have Senator Olympia Snowe to sign off on any final health care legislation? I have YET, to hear the White House explain this in reality terms, when the fight is amongst Democrats.

Is the word bipartisan that important to President Obama and the Obama White House? If it is, I have news for them, "One vote from a Republican does not make it bipartisan. It makes it a joke if you try to tout it as such." Is the Obama White House getting this message? Are the light bulbs on at that joint? I don't think so.

There are rumors swirling around that the senate leadership will include an opt out public option in their merged bill to be announced sometime this afternoon. If that comes to fruition, progressive advocacy will have something to show for a summer of relentless action.

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Happy Father's day Daddy....

As a rule, I'm not a fan of Hallmark Days - those occasions when we're obligated to celebrate and tithe to the tinsel titans who compel us to compassion or guilt.

But Father's Day has always had a special spot on my calendar - not only because I like fathers who stood up to responsibility, but it serves as day for me to reflect on the sacrifices of a man who once called the Village of Saba home. The man with the loud voice, but a gentle heart. The joke on our side of the village is that my old man will scare the living hell out of a lion with his voice but the soul behind the man we called Dad is as gentle as they come.

Father’s day is a day of remembrance for me. I remember the phone call that broke the terrible news… the demise of my father. It is still vivid in my memory as the morning dew. But I will not dwell on that sad news, because his is a life worth celebrating.

Frankly, I don't know why Dad doesn't slam the door on his way out. Considering the abject poverty that bedevils the life of an illiterate African villager; who live literally from hand to mouth.

The reason he doesn't is because fathers, when they are true fathers, don't do that sort of thing. They don't act childishly, throw tantrums, pout and demand attention. They take the guff and keep on trucking or in the case of my old man keep on farming and doing any odd job to feed his family. It's a very grown-up thing.

Before everyone who had a bad father or a lousy husband starts typing my name, allow me to disclaim: The world is full of good and bad men, some of whom have managed to procreate, as well as good and bad women. Ditto. But this is not about them. This is an ode to a man I grow up to respect and even more after he gasp for his last breath.
This is my appreciation for my father’s patience and understanding. His strength and reliability in spite of the forces arrayed against. This is the reason I celebrate father’s day. If only I can give ol' dad a call.

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Obama need a spine

Readers of this space can attest to the fact that I have been an Obama supporter since he announced his candidacy. I am no fair weather supporter either. I braved the cold weathers to knock on doors during the presidential elections last fall and contributed to the campaign. For all intents and purpose, I am fully invested in the journey that led to Barack Obama's ascendancy to the presidency. But lately, I am getting disillusioned with President Obama's nice guy approach to governance.

Except for bailing out banks and indebting millions of us, I can't think of any significant legislative accomplishment. I am getting sick and tired of the bipartisanship meme democrats shackle themselves with. We have two political parties for a reason and elections have consequences. Whatever you may think of Bush, you have got to admit that he has the balls to get his agenda through an evenly divided legislative branch. Be it the Iraq war; to trillions of dollars in tax cuts for his rich friends, bush made it all happen. He understand that politics is a blood sport. You have to pull punches to get your agenda through.

President Obama's health care reform plan is been sliced and diced right under his nose and he is playing nice guy. The health insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies and the American medical association are not his friends. They will protect their racket at all cost. Mr Obama's popularity with the public is in the strastosphere and instead of using that to push for the enaction of a public option in health care, he is leaving the heavy lifting to the spineless democrats in the senate. It makes you nostalgic for Bush's cahones.

If President Obama continue on this trajectory, his reelection might falter along the way. I will rather not vote than vote for a guy who won't grow a spine and get his agenda for which he is elected enacted into law. Your are forewarned President Obama...you are taking the wind out of your supporters sails. Do something we can cheer for or don't count on me come 2012.

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Dick Cheney is a fear monger

It is unprecedented in contemporary American politics for a former Vice President to openly challenge the views and policies of a sitting President, four month into their term.Vice President Gore waited two years before he made his speech, and it was not covered in its entirety on all three networks at the time.

Vice President Cheney has absolutely no credibility. Just a few minutes spent on Google can refute nearly every public statement Cheney has made. He is a documented liar. Put Cheney's ass under oath, sit him at a table and let him spew away.No other VP in American history has gone so out of his way to defecate on the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States that they faced the possibility of war crimes charges. Cheney is a very special character.

Of course the fact the media allows Cheney to present his views as a 'he said/she said' phenomenon does show the power the GOP has over the corporate media. When Gore spoke against the war, he was mercilessly mocked by the kewl kids bloviating on television. Cheney, a gullible paranoid cowardly sadist, gets endless time to spout his drivel, uninterrupted by pesky pertinent questions.

The Problem is, too many Democrats feed this beast. A 90-6 Senate vote refusing to appropriate money to close Gitmo played right into Cheney's hands. When the Dems openly concede that there should be an actual concern about the country's safety once Gitmo is closed, they're tacitly conceding that Cheney is making legitimate points. Obama is being severely handcuffed here by members of his own party. I imagine quite a few of them are feeling pretty foolish right now. They just got schooled by the president. Like Franklin Roosevelt said “ the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” Now if only the GOP will get a life and stop fear mongering. I won’t hold my breath for that, but shaming gutless democrats who cower to the fear mongering should be a progressive mantle.

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He refused to cower

Edmund Burke, wrote in "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful the following:

"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear ... To make anything very terrible, obscurity seems in general to be necessary. When we know the full extent of any danger, when we can accustom our eyes to it, a great deal of the apprehension vanishes. Every one will be sensible of this, who considers how greatly night adds to our dread, in all cases of danger, and how much the notions of ghosts and goblins, of which none can form clear ideas, affect minds which give credit to the popular tales concerning such sorts of beings. Those despotic governments, which are founded on the passions of men, and principally upon the passion of fear, keep their chief as much as may be from the public eye."

This is so true of the situation in the Gambia. Instilling fear through torture, murder and other vices has been the constant tool in Yahya Jammeh's authoritarian rule. Raiding communities, arresting, detaining and forcibly making their elderly drink concoctions that are lethal is a brutal way to instill fear and power over a people. Yahya has succeeded to certain extent. Most of the people subjected and will be subject to this craziness will be waiting on God to come and rescue them ... as if that ever happens if you don't put in the effort.

The only bright spot in this saga is the stance taken by a single man...Halifa Sallah. Here is an interview he granted Foroyaa after his release from prison, because he dare question the government on the legality and morality of their actions...vis a vis the witch hunts.
“MY RIGHT TO DEFEND THE SOVEREINTY AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE IS INVIOLABLE AND NON NEGOTIABLE” ...Halifa
Halifa understands Burke's assertion clearly and he refuse to be fearful. Go and read the whole interview at Foroyaa online. It is beautiful.

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Halifa Sallah is released


We have a moron running the Gambia into the ground. When men like Halifa Sallah stood up for the downtrodden against the bully, he send his minions to arrest and imprison him. But like all bullies, Yahya has a glass jaw. Anytime Halifa stood his ground, he finds some lame excuse for arresting him in the first place.

Halifa Sallah isn't only talking, but doing it where it matters the most. For that we are grateful.

For more info check out foroyaa at this link

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Reactionaries

Halifa Sallah has been arrested and imprison by the thuggish regime of Yahya Jammeh for coming to the defense of innocent victims of Yahya's witch hunt. As usual and as if on clue diasporan Gambians took to the usual spots online to denounce the actions of Yahya. We have become victims of circumstance...always reacting to the whims of Yahya.

Whatever you may think of the politics of Halifa Sallah, you have to admit that he is walking the walk. He is putting his life and livelihood on the line to defend what is right. I am not going to start asking about the whereabout of the other political leaders on the ground like some of my countrymen are doing from the comfort of Europe and good old US of A. We are asking of others sacrifices that we refuse to make. So while we admire the courage of Mr. Sallah and call for his immediate release, we should be mindful of castigating others.

Here is Foroyaa's reporting on this outrage:

Halifa Sallah, former NADD presidential candidate and Foroyaa Editorial Board member, told supporters and sympathisers at the Brikama Magistrates Court, that he is willing to become a sacrificial lamb to ensure the liberty and dignity of the people. He made this remark at the close of his first appearance in court since he was arrested on Sunday 8 March, 2009.

“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.

These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.

Shortly after the adjournment of the case he was whisked to the Remand Wing of Mile Two Prison.

Many people in court were dumbfounded when the Magistrate imposed the following bail conditions:
(1) A bail bond in the sum of 1 million dalasis to be signed by three sureties;
(2) Two of the sureties must be Ex-Inspector General of Police or Ex-Brigadier of the army who have been retired for at least eight years;
(3) One of the sureties must be an Alkalo (village head) from Western Region

When he appeared in court, three charges were read to him:
(i) Spying, in that while at Makumbaya, he had obtained confidential information which he knew is useful to the enemy
(ii) Control of processions in that he held a procession while in Makumbaya
(iii) Seditious intention in that he unlawfully assembled the people of Makumbaya in order to collect information that would bring hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the Government of The Gambia.

He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The police prosecutor then stood up at this point to oppose the granting of bail. He argued that they took a lap top from Halifa Sallah’s home which is in their possession and if Halifa is granted bail he may tamper with the ‘website of the lap top’.

Halifa Sallah, who was unrepresented, submitted that the offences alleged are bailable. He further submitted that every accused person is presumed innocent until he/she has pleaded or proven guilty. He also submitted that the hearing of the case should be free and fair. He concluded that the court should not restrain his ability to defend himself.

He opined that what is significant is for the court to ensure his appearance whenever it deems it fit. He pointed out that he had sought the highest office of this land as a presidential candidate in 2006. He assured the court that he would comply with whatever condition the court imposes to ensure his appearance at an adjourned date as long as the conditions are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. The magistrate did not like the last bit of the statement and after a brief exchange Halifa amended it to: “I will comply with whatever the court deems just.” He therefore asked the court to grant him bail.

He pointed out that the submission of the prosecution regarding the lap top is neither here or there in that in the first place the lap top does not belong to him but his wife.

Fishing Expedition
He asserted that the prosecution were simply engaged in a fishing expedition. He emphasised throughout his detention that he had never been confronted with any witness.


The jackasses decided to set insourmountable obstacles to his bail. They are trying to make his life miserable. His courage under the circumstances is exemplary. Take this portion of the story for instance:
“I am ready to suffer for others not to suffer, but what is going on must come to a stop,” he told his audience. He told them that there is no need for them to despair. He asked them to go home, but they need not worry that he could not possibly meet the conditions of the bail granted. He indicated that he was looking for their strength and not their weakness. He stressed to them that they needed to be strong.
These words evidently touched the audience and the grim faces soon became bright.

I hope he realize that he need a movement to get rid of this dictatorship. Telling your supporters to go home while you endure injustice is no way to broke the yoke of a tyrant. He can't suffer for the people and ask them not to join him in the struggle. This is a fight for the soul of a nation and he need all the help he can get.

Free Halifa Sallah......

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Hope triumph over Fear


The 44th president of the United States been sworned into office is a vindication for the sacrifice made by the thousands of men and women from the abolitionist movement to the civil rights movement. They have a few things in common...courage, conviction, idealism and hope. They stood up to power and along the way some pay the ultimate price. Today's festivities is the fruits of their labor. Congratulations, President Obama. Good Luck and God bless.

On a different note, I liked this from Nate:

For as much as some parts of the world have developed a habit of looking down on America, it's highly unlikely that any nation in Europe or most of the rest of the world would have elected someone like Barack Hussein Obama as their leader.

I agree.

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