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I Can't Believe I Just Donated to a Political Campaign!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:14 pm    Post subject: I Can't Believe I Just Donated to a Political Campaign!  Reply with quote

Me? The election boycott advocate who doesn't even vote? Yup. Okay, I sent a VERY small donation, but I simply couldn't resist this email appeal:

Community Organizer vs Corrupt Politician: New Orleans

The December 6 New Orleans Congressional Election
Black Agenda Report
November 26, 2008
by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

The December 6 New Orleans congressional election isn't just a local choice between a privatizing "minority" Republican, a notoriously corrupt Democrat and a caring, competent community organizer running on the Green Party ticket. In these times when anyone, anywhere can contribute to the efforts of real progressives with the click of a mouse, or volunteer to reach undecided voters, the days leading to this election are a test of whether there exists even the shadow of a national movement mature enough to hold any black Democrats the least bit accountable to the needs of his constituents

As is often the case, the Republican and the Democrat represent more of the same. But this time there's another choice.

Community Organizer VS Corrupt Politician: The December 6 New Orleans Congressional Election

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

The congressional election in Louisiana's 2nd district was delayed to due Hurricane Gustav, and will take place on December 6, 2008. What was once an overwhelmingly black district containing most of New Orleans and a sliver of neighboring Jefferson Parish is probably still majority black, but with a much thinner margin.

The Republican is a Vietnamese American who almost never mentions his party affiliation when campaigning inside New Orleans. The Democrat is disgraced nine-term incumbent William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, under indictment for bribery after the FBI discovered $90,000 stashed in the plastic containers of his home freezer. The Green Party candidate is longtime community organizer Malik Rahim, a co-founder of Common Ground Relief Network, a grassroots organization brought together in the wake of Katrina to open medical clinics, distribute flood relief supplies and repair and rebuild homes damaged by the flood. With a projected low turnout, it's shaping up as a three way race that could go in a surprising direction. “We are shooting for 30,000 votes here,” a Rahim campaign spokesperson told BAR, “and we think we can win.”

Hurricane Katrina along with the series of man-made disasters ethnic cleansing and wholesale privatizations of the city's school and health care systems in its wake have changed the face of New Orleans, and determine the fault lines for its politics even today. Accordingly, their responses to the Katrina disaster provide us with a useful and telling contrast between Rep. Dollar Bill Jefferson and Malik Rahim.

On the second day after the levees broke, hundreds of starving, dehydrated New Orleans residents (and some tourists) attempted to walk out of their drowned city toward the lights of neighboring Gretna. Their paths were blocked by lines of local law enforcement officers who menaced them with shotgun fire, cursed them, buzzed them with helicopters and drove them back into New Orleans. If ever there was a time when the relative wealth, the connections, the prestige and authority of a congressman might have done his constituents some good, this was it. But Dollar Bill Jefferson was not that kind of congressman.

Malik Rahim lived in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, one of the few places that wasn't flooded, and where water supplies were not compromised. Ignoring orders to evacuate, Rahim was one of many local residents who remained in New Orleans to save lives and assist his neighbors, since the authorities would not. He helped other families evacuate, tried to get white vigilantes to stop shooting random black people and began organizing shelter and assistance to the victims of the flood.

While thousands of his constituents were swimming for their lives, trapped in attics, on rooftops and expressway overpasses, or penned up in the Louisiana Superdome, congressman Jefferson commandeered six Louisiana National Guard MPs and a five ton truck to drive to his home in the flood zone and linger there for an hour or more while he removed personal belongings including a laptop computer, suitcases and several boxes. According to ABC News:

The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.

Two weeks later, the vehicle's tire tracks were still visible on the lawn.

The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson's home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.

A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.

After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.

"Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that is drowning, to somebody that is sitting in a roof, and it needs to be used its primary purpose during an emergency," said (ABC News consultant) Hauer.

The contrast between the personal bahavior of Malik Rahim and Dollar Bill Jefferson could not be clearer.

In Katrina's aftermath of homicidal government indifference and incompetence Republicans saw vast opportunities.

“...Richard Baker, a prominent Republican Congressman from this city, had told a group of lobbyists, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. 'We couldn't do it, but God did.' Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans' wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: 'I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities.' All that week the Louisiana State Legislature in Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those big opportunities: lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper workers and a "smaller, safer city"--which in practice meant plans to level the public housing projects and replace them with condos...”

If Republicans saw opportunities in Katrina's wake Nancy Pelosi, the leader of Dollar Bill Jefferson's Democratic party in Congress saw a trap. She wanted to blame Republicans, but she feared holding hearings to expose the homicidal incompetence and indifference of government would tie congressional Democrats to the cause of black New Orleans in the minds of voters nationwide. Better, from her point of view, to leave that alone. So Nancy Pelosi, the leader of Democrats in Congress forbade even members of the Congressional Black Caucus from speaking up publicly on the unfolding spectacle of racially selective displacement on the Gulf Coast. Amazingly, the entire Congressional Black Caucus silenced themselves on Katrina and refused to call for congressional hearings, with the exception of Georgia's Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

A fifth term representative, McKinney had just returned to Congress after a two year absence. Instead of restoring her seniority and committee assignments as is the rule in such cases, Pelosi unceremoniously stripped McKinney of her seniority, leaving Rep. McKinney freer than usual to reach across the aisle and do what not a single one of more than three dozen of her black congressional colleagues would do --- hold hearings on Katrina.

In the days following the Katrina disaster, Malik Rahim did what experienced community organizers do --- he talked to his neighbors, he helped bring like-minded local residents together with volunteers from around the country and funders to create the Common Ground Relief Network. Common Ground distributed relief supplies, generators, food, fuel and tools to begin gutting houses and rebuilding. Malik Rahim and Common Ground solicited medical supplies and qualified personnel and opened up free medical centers in devastated New Orleans. He rallied volunteers and raised money for grassroots efforts with churches and others to get done on the ground what government officials like Jefferson could not or would not do. Under the leadership of Common Ground and Malik Rahim, some 13,000 volunteers have gutted roughly 3,000 homes to prepare them for occupancy in New Orleans.

That's community. That's organizing. That's leadership. That's Malik Rahim, and that's the choice before the voters of New Orleans on December 6. They can reward Republicans and Democrats for engaging in the same old politics of cronyism, privatization and avoidance of responsibility. Or they can send a community organizer to Congress.

This is a choice between a deceitful "minority" Republican, a brazenly corrupt Democrat, and an honest to goodness community organizer with a history that stretches back to his co-founding of the New Orleans branch of the Black Panther Party back in 1970.

In the wired and interconnected environment of the early 21st century it's no longer the exclusive choice of voters and activists in New Orleans. In some measure, this choice up to all of us who want a piece of it. This will be a three way race, and an extremely low turnout election, so it's anybody's game.  There's even a chance, if the turnout is low enough, that the Republican can win.  It's not a chance we chose.  It's a chance that leaders of the Democratic party, nationally and in Louisiana forced upon us, secure in their belief that black and progressive voters in New Orleans would have no place else to go.  But they do.

Here's what you can do.

You can click here to donate to Malik Rahim's media fund THIS WEEK to ensure that he can air radio commercials in the final days before the election.

You can click here to volunteer your energy and phone minutes phone banking to New Orleans voters. You'll be guided through a polite, well thought-out online script that informs undecided voters of the clear choice before them.  You don't need to live in Louisiana to phone bank for Malik Rahim.

Is there a chance that supporting the Green candidate could lead to a Republican temporarily assuming the seat in New Orleans? Honestly yes, there is that chance. It would not be possible of Louisiana's lazy and hollow Democratic party had bothered to come up with an honest and viable Democrat to represent hundreds of thousands of New Orleans voters. But they didn't. And they won't. There is also a chance of sending a real community organizer to congress.  One choice was forced upon us.  The other is ours to make, and to take.

It's anybody's contest in New Orleans December 6. We hope that our readers will do the right thing.  Forward the link to this page, and to Malik Rahim's web site to all your friends, family and associates.  Give generously to put Malik Rahim's radio commercials in play, to get him parity with the fat cats who contribute to his Republican and Democratic opponents. And participate in the phone bank that reminds New Orleans voters of the December 6 election.

In a low turnout environment like this a few votes, a modest contribution of money or time can make a big difference.  If you want a change, be that change.

Atlanta-based Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report.  He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike said he'd post the story on Care2. If anyone still has an opednews account and would care to post it there as a diary, it would be appreciated. And please send to all your lists. This is what I wrote to one of my local lists:

Rep. Malik Rahim (G-LA) Now doesn't that look sweet?

I'm sure most of you have already seen this, but I want you to know that this is the ONLY campaign donation I've made this year. I'm an election boycott advocate and I don't vote or donate to political campaigns, but there are exceptions to every rule. Malik Rahim is the exception to ALL the rules.

Yes, Congress is a bureaucracy. But here's what's got me grinning. Remember when John Conyers and Maxine Waters brought the Downing Street petition to the White House and had to hand it through the fence to a security guard because they weren't allowed to enter the grounds--not even through the servants' entrance at the back? Think about it. If Obama tried to pull something like that on Malik, the next day the White House would be surrounded with enough angry young black Obama voters to make the Million Man March look like small potatoes.

I don't know if the votes would be counted accurately even if he got them, but I'm not thinking about the odds this time, I'm thinking payback. Go to Malik's website, look at his picture closely, then close your eyes, imagine him striding into Congress and giving John Conyers a dap and a "Wazzup," and send his campaign some of the money you saved on Buy Nothing Day. Isn't it about time we had a representative who represents?


P.S. I sent a second, somewhat larger donation today when my check came.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good-web page looks good too.Hope his past membership to the political and religious  BP´s wont restrict him though.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, being a Black Panther doesn't disqualify you from Congress, Paul, but if the security guards didn't like Cynthia McKinney's corn rows, how do you suppose they'll react to Malik's dreadlocks? ROFLMAO

As I just wrote to John-Michael, I don't expect Malik to win, but if he does, the Congressional and White House pharmacies better stock up on Prozac because every politician in Washington DC is going to have a nervous breakdown.  

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if she saw my post or got my email, but somebody else posted about this race to bbv and Bev and the crew are on it:

Are Sequoia touchscreens the ones with the infamous yellow button in the back that allows people (or elections officials) to vote as many times as they want?

The real problem, as I see it, is that even if they capture the moment when the vote totals are flipped, our Constitution does not allow voters to determine the outcome of elections. If a candidate can prove their election was stolen, all they can do is file a Federal Election Contest with Congress, the very people who mandated that the hackable voting machines be used in the first place. Congress doesn't rule against people who stole elections, probably because most of them got to Congress by means of stolen elections themselves. They just dismiss all Federal Elections Contests and they don't even have to give a reason.

By making Congress the sole judge of its own elections, whose judgment, however wrong, is final and cannot be appealed, the Constitution ensured tyranny instead of a republic. The Constitution did the same thing with the Supreme Court, and they're not even elected. Mortals are too prone to error to be allowed to make decisions that cannot be appealed. There are no checks and balances possible in situations like that.

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