Sunday, August 27, 2006

What the hell is wrong with ITLA?

Southern Voice recently published an article about allegations made by In The Life Atlanta (Black Gay Pride Organizing Group)that AIDS Services Organizations in Atlanta should "Be ashamed of themselves," for not giving large amounts of money to the Black Gay Pride celebration. The text of this article appears on the SOVO website.

Below is my response:

August 25, 2006

It’s extremely egocentric for ITLA and Greg Smith to suggest that because AIDS Service organizations (ASO) don’t support there thing that they’re doing nothing about HIV among Black gay men. National AIDS Education and Service for Minorities (NAESM) and AID Atlanta have spent millions of dollars and decades fighting AIDS in Black communities. AID Atlanta dedicates most of it’s, seemingly begrudged, 6 million dollars supporting the life needs of people living with AIDS. Medical care and housing are commodities AID Atlanta spends its money on. These organizations have employed scores of employees with the expressed intention of curbing HIV among Black Gay men. To suggest that because ASOs don’t give money to Black Gay Pride they’re not concerned about Black Gay men is ridiculous and offensive!

Black LGBT people will spend millions with companies that have never spent a dime supporting BGP. Where are ITLA’s allegations against the scores of corporations that have never supported BGP but reap the benefits again and again? If ITLA spent the same amount of time soliciting corporations as they spend trying to tax the scarce resources of other nonprofits they would easily raise there alleged $75,000 budget. Where are ITLA’s admonishments against the hotels and clubs that will pack themselves to capacity thanks to BGP? If ITLA used the same advocacy against the huge companies that rake in the dough and snub their sponsorship requests, as they use against ASOs they might be able to demand support from these companies with the same entitlement with which they demand support from struggling charitable organizations.

While ITLA seems happy with DHRs donation to them, in 2006 though they are the most affected by AIDS, DHR did not give a grant to a single group to support HIV prevention among Black Gay Men within the metro Atlanta area. Maybe some of ITLA’s media advocacy skills should be directed at breaking that story instead of trying to Gestapo NAESM and AID Atlanta into breaking there banks.

I am greatly offended by ITLAs attacks against organizations that have supported the actual lives of many Black Gay men who are living with HIV. ITLA has misdirected the frustration, that comes from scraping together scarce resources, at charity groups while they should be going after some of the huge companies that will once again reap benefits and not write a check to ITLA.

Sincerely Bothered,

Kevin E. Bynes

Friday, August 25, 2006

Divide and Conquer

Aron Ranen's Black Hair Documentary Part One

I recieved this video in an email from a Yahoo group called 'Black Young Professional Public Health Network'and I was disturbed for obvious reasons. Below is my emailed response to the video. I think the enteprising of the Jews in Germany was a reason used to murder 6 million. What treatment of Koreans will be justified because many of them own Beauty Supply Stores? Please read below:

“The same dog that bit me bit you, we look like fools fighting each other, lets go get the dog.” –Elijah Muhammad-

I would be much more interested, particularly on this public health list, in hearing what proportion of health care services consumed by Black people are provided by black people. How has the health industry profited on Black peoples health disparities?

I would be much more interested in hearing, on this public health list, what proportion of housing consumed by black people is provide by black people. How have inner city housing owners profited by Black people lack of home ownership?

What proportion of primary, secondary and post secondary education consumed by black people is provided by black people? How has the education industry profited by Black folks lack of ownership of education institutions? Did you know that a good number of the HBCUs that we attend were founded by white men? Did you know that many of those HBCUs have white dominated Boards?

What proportion of food that we consume is produced by black people? How has the food industry and the grocery industry profited from the lack of black owned grocery stores. Is Koolaid and Churches Chicken owned by Koreans?

I realize that black people really want a reason to hate Koreans and I sympathize. But targeting Koreans because the have captured a large share of a particular market as “unfair” and some how against black people is silly. Attempting to paint Koreans as predators or oppressors is misguided. There is nothing more wrong with Koreans owning most of the hair shops than there is with Koreans owning most of the nail shops. Koreans cannot be placed at fault for the lack of Black entrepreneurship. I would have thought we would have learned our lessons during the Rodney King riots. Remember us destroying our communities to get back at Koreans while the areas where the police who had abused Rodney lived, were left unscathed? Koreans are not to blame years of social inequality that have driven black people into ghettos and that have driven Koreans into ghettos are to blame.

The question then remains: Are the above industries dominated by Koreans too? If they are not who do we blame? Mexicans? Japanese? Jews? What other people of color group should we target instead of targeting the systematic oppression of us all?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Craig Washington on Peter Jennings Out Of Control AIDS Special

Below is a very honest and passionate critique of the recently run Special Edition of ABC News 'PrimeTime' with Terry Moran and Peter Jennings, Out Of Control: AIDS in Black America. This is an email sent in the dead of night by veteran Atlanta Social Justice and AIDS activist Craig Washington. Because I was very busy (watching South Park re-runs) I did not have time to watch the show that Keith Boykin prophetically predicted would be a dangerous return to the Gay Baiting DL conversations of last year. Enjoy your reading:

Way Out of Control

The highly publicized Peter Jennings ABC TV special on AIDS in Black America (aired August 24th) was quite aptly entitled "Out of Control". Because that is what it was. A fool. With the exception of some cogent remarks by Phill Wilson and David Malebranche, most of the commentary about Black gay/same gender loving men was obviously edited to depict us as the harbingers of disease for Black innocents-women and children. The focus on Black gay men being conflated into yet another down low diatribe--out of control. Peter Jennings shaming gay brothas about infecting their wives--portrayed as if they were helpless victims destroyed by their no count triflin sexually depraved husbands--out of control. One of the few dignified moments came when brother Michael Banner called Jennings out on his self righteous indictment. Oh and did you catch the sequenced dl baiting of sanctimonious Black women who blame the plague on men who have sex with men? Notice how their sweeping statements went unchecked, and way out of control. I gagged at the paternalistic nerve of the reporter who asked Jesse Jackson, whom the white media has apparently crowned as King of Black America, how this could have happened on "your watch." I guess they forgot to mention how President Ronald Reagan, the "great communicator" avoided mentioning AIDS for years while gays and people of color were ticking off like mayflies during his watch. White men like Jennings and his cohorts who have controlled the media for the span of the epidemic and are just now getting around to having a Primetime special about the subject, they exemplify the height of white supremacist arrogance--out of control and off the chain. Let us not forget Passa Megapimp TD Jakes excusing the silence, judgement, and misinformation promulgated by black pastors by claiming that AIDS was not in the Bible. Coon, thou art loosed--Jakes is a laughably tragic clown--a dangerous minstrel in the conservatives' court. Throughout the whole self congratulatory program, there was little acknowledgement of the symbiotic connections between homophobia, misogyny, class oppression and AIDS. No critique of prevention dollars for gay men being held hostage to puritanical ideologies. No examination of young Black gay and bisexual mens lives, those who are much more profoundly affected than Black women or any other population in the U.S. No queries about flat funding for Ryan White dollars in the face of increasing needs and shrinking resources. This mess was hella out of control. And so are we. Black People. Have we reached a new low in our willingness, our readiness to be bought off to tell lies or bossed to say nothing?I need a community of people who are capable of doing whatever, whenever as Essex Hemphill challenged. At this point, I do not think I have the luxury of particular preferences about the sexual orientation, race or ethnicity of those who are willing to make real the vision for our salvation.

Craig Washington
"Your crown has been bought and paid for. All you must do is put it on your head." James Baldwin

Michigan Women's Music Festival Controversy

August 22, 2006


Hart, Michigan - Seeking to correct misinformation widely distributed by "Camp Trans" organizers, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival founder and producer Lisa Vogel released the following clarification:
"Since 1976, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival has been created by and for womyn-born womyn, that is, womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn. Despite claims to the contrary by Camp Trans organizers, the Festival remains a rare and precious space intended for womyn-born womyn."
The facts surrounding the interactions between WWTMC and Camp Trans organizers are as follows:
In the months preceding this year's Festival, held August 8 - 13, there was communication between a Camp Trans organizer named Lorraine and Lisa Vogel.
Letters from Lorraine continued during the Festival, when they were hand-delivered to the Festival's front gate from Camp Trans, which takes place on Forest Service Land across from Festival property. On Tuesday, August 8th, Camp Trans organizers inquired at the Box Office about Festival admission. They were told that the Festival is intended for womyn-born womyn, and that those who seek to purchase tickets are asked to respect that intention. Camp Trans organizers left without purchasing tickets. They returned the next day and were given the same information. Lorraine at that point chose to purchase a ticket.
On Wednesday, August 9th, Vogel sent a reply letter to Lorraine which stated in
"I deeply desire healing in our communities, and I can see and feel that you want that too. I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity. I also ask that you respect that womyn born womyn deeply need our space -- as do all communities who create space to gather, whether that be womyn of color, trans womyn or trans men . . . I wish you well, I want healing, and I believe this is possible between our communities, but not at the expense of deeply needed space for womyn born womyn."
Page 2 of 3
Vogel's written request that Camp Trans organizers respect the Festival as womynborn- womyn space was consistent with information provided to Camp Trans organizers who approached the Festival Box Office. "Does this represent a change in the Festival's commitment to womyn-born womyn space? No." says Vogel. "If a transwoman purchased a ticket, it represents nothing more than that womon choosing to disrespect the stated intention of this Festival."
"As feminists, we call upon the transwomen's community to help us maintain womyn only space, including spaces created by and for womyn-born womyn.
sisters in struggle, we call upon the transwomen's community to meditate upon, recognize and respect the differences in our shared experiences and our group identities even as we stand shoulder to shoulder as women, and as members of the greater queer community. We once again ask the transwomen's community to recognize that the need for a separate womyn-born womyn space does not stand at odds with recognizing the larger and beautiful diversity of our shared community."
* * *
In an effort to build further understanding of the Festival's perspective, answers are provided to questions raised by the recent Camp Trans press release (which contains misinformation):
Why would the Festival sell a ticket to an individual who is not a womonborn womon if the Festival is intended as a space created by and for womyn-born womyn? From its inception the Festival has been home to womyn who could be considered gender outlaws, either because of their sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, etc.) or their gender presentation (butch, bearded, androgynous, femme - and everything in between). Many womyn producing and attending the Michigan Festival are gender variant womyn. Many of the younger womyn consider themselves differently gendered, many of the older womyn consider themselves butch womyn, and the dialogue is alive and well on the Land as our generational mix continues to inform our ongoing understanding about gender identity and the range of what it means to be female. Michigan provides one of the safest places on the planet for womyn who live and present themselves to the world in the broadest range of gender _expression. As Festival organizers, we refuse to question anyone's gender. We instead ask that womon-born womon be respected as a valid gender identity, and that the broad queer and gender-diverse communities respect our commitment to one week each year for womyn-born womyn to gather.
Did the Festival previously refuse to sell tickets to transwomen? The Festival has consistently communicated our intention about who the Festival is created by and for. In 1999, Camp Trans protesters caused extensive disruption of the Festival, in which a male from Camp Trans publicly displayed male genitals in a common shower area and widespread disrespect of women's space was voiced.
The following year, our 25th anniversary, we issued a statement that we would not sell tickets to those entering for the purpose of disrupting the Festival. While this is widely pointed to by Camp Trans supporters as a "policy," it was a situational Page 3 of 3 response to the heated circumstances of 1999, intended to reassure the womyn who have attended for years that the Festival remained - as it does today - intended for womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn, despite the disrespect and intentional disruption Camp Trans initiated.
Is the Festival transphobic? We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.
Within the rich diversity now represented by the broader queer community, we believe there is room for all affinity groups to enjoy separate, self-determined, supportive space if they choose. Supporting womyn-born womyn space is no more inherently transphobic than supporting womyn of color space is racist.
We believe
that womyn-born womyn have a right to gather separately from the greater womyn's community. We refuse to be forced into false dichotomies that equate being pro-womyn-born womyn space with being anti-trans; indeed, many of the womyn essential to the Michigan Festival are leaders and supporters of transsolidarity work. The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival respects the transsexual community as integral members of the greater queer community. We call upon the transsexual community in turn to respect and support womyn-born womyn space and to recognize that a need for a separate womyn-born womyn space does not stand at odds with recognizing transwomen as part of the larger diversity of the womyn's community.
What is Camp Trans? Camp Trans was first created in 1994 as a protest to the Festival as womyn-born womyn space. Camp Trans re-emerged in 1999 and has been held across the road from the Festival every year since. A small gathering of people who camp and hold workshops and a few performances on Forest Service land across the road, Camp Trans attempts to educate womyn who are attending the Festival about their point of view regarding trans inclusion at the Festival. At times they have advocated for the Festival to welcome anyone who, for whatever period of time, defines themselves as female, regardless of the sex they were born into. At other times, Camp Trans activists have advocated opening the Festival to all sexes and genders.
What is the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival? It is the largest and longest running womyn's festival in the United States. Since the first Festival in 1976, tens of thousands of womyn from all corners of the world have made the pilgrimage to this square mile of land in Northern Michigan. The essence of the Festival is that it is one week a year that is by, for and about the glorious diversity of womyn-born womyn and we continue to stand by our labor of love to create this space. Our focus has not changed in the 31 years of our celebration and it remains fixed on the goal of providing a celebratory space for a shared womyn-born-womyn experience.

This statement was sent out by the organizers of camp trans and later debunked by the organizers of the Michigan Women's Music Festival

For over a decade the Michigan Women's Music Festival has descriminated against transgender women by barring them from the festival. This year that tradition of exclusion has ended!

Once again, I think there are lessons that Women's communities have to offer larger "Progressive" and "Radical" communities.

Read on:

HART, MICHIGAN - The Michigan Women's Music Festival began admitting openly trans (transgender/transsexual) women last week, bringing success to a longstanding struggle by trans activists both inside and outside the festival.

"Seeing trans women inside the festival for the first time brought me to tears," said Sue Ashman, who attends the festival every year. "It's restored my faith in women's communities."

Ashman said "I have friends who have already committed to bringing themselves and others for the first time next year."

Organizers of Camp Trans, the annual protest across the road from the festival, say that every year at least one trans woman at Camp Trans walks to the festival gate with a group of supporters, explains that she is trans, and tries to buy a ticket. In past years, the festival box office has produced a printed copy of the policy and refused.

"This time, the response was, 'cash or credit?'" said Jessica Snodgrass, a Camp Trans organizer and festival attendee who spent the week reaching out to supporters inside the fest. "They said the festival has no policy barring any woman from attending."

The woman purchased her ticket on Wednesday and joined supporters inside the festival. Another trans woman, Camp Trans organizer Emilia Lombardi, joined on Friday to facilitate a scheduled workshop discussion on the recently-retired policy.

"This kind of discussion has happened before inside the fest," said Lombardi. "But for the first time in years, trans women were part of the conversation. Over 50 women shared their thoughts about what the inclusion of trans women means for the Festival and how we can move forward."

"We didn't expect to change anyone's minds in the workshop - but in the end we didn't need to. The support we found was overwhelming."

Both trans women say they were moved by how friendly and supportive other festival attendees were.

"We spent all day inside the festival, talking with other women about how Michigan has grown to embrace the diversity of women's experience," Lombardi said. "The attitudes of festival goers have definitely shifted since the early 90's."

With their original mission accomplished, organizers say Camp Trans will continue to be a place for trans people and allies to build community, share ideas, and develop strategies for change. And they will keep working together with festival workers and attendees to make sure trans women who attend the fest next year have support and resources.

Camp Trans will partner with a group of supporters inside the fest next year to establish an anti-transphobia area within the festival. Representatives from Camp Trans and A group of festival workers and attendees, organizing under the name "The Yellow Armbands," plan to educate people on trans issues and provide support to trans and differently gendered women. Festival attendees have worn yellow armbands for the past three years as a symbol of pro-trans inclusion solidarity.

Both Camp Trans and supporters at the fest say they are excited to be working together to welcome trans women and support a trans-inclusive, women-only space.

"This is not about winning," said Snodgrass. "It's about making our communities whole again. The policy divided people against each other who could be fighting on the same side. We want to be part of the healing process."

Camp Trans ( is an effort to end discrimination against trans women within women's communities. For 14 years, Camp Trans has been a site for trans people and allies to protest the policy, build community, and develop strategies for change.


The festival's policy against trans women was first enforced in 1991, when festival security ejected Nancy Burkholder from the grounds of the festival.

As the largest women-only festival of its kind, and as one of the few remaining women's events to openly discriminate against trans women, the
festival was well known for its policy, drawing criticism from trans activists and festival attendees. Two years ago, a group of attendees deployed a 25-foot banner opposing the policy during the headline act.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pithy Points On "No Fats No Fems"

I thought that Pithy Points, an Intersex person, presented a demension of the conversation that our discussion sorta missed. Please read on.

Beautifully, reading this blog makes it seem like the 1980s again when many, many deeply thoughtful gay and lesbian people of color roundly debated an ever more rich array of issues from complicated perspectives.

I have missed that energy--an energy that seemed to wane as so many of the people I knew and/or respected like Essex, Joe Beam, Jennifer Smith, Miss Pepper Labeija, Marcel Christian, or Mother Dorian Corey died of HIV and other causes. So too did the rising fetishization of theoretical jargon and concept-dropping among gay and lesbian scholars become a means to distance ourselves from issues in favor of ever more ornamental rhetorical displays.

Online communities have facilitated a new renaissance in discussions of African American sexualities. My regret is that sometimes these discussions often collaspe into worthy but also painfully personal jockeyings for position among ourselves. This kind of positioning for leadership-recognition is hardly new: G. Winston James was Essex Hemphill's critic and many still bristle that cults of influence developed around Essex and not other equally wise poets and essayists. Audre Lorde critiqued Alice Walker's concept of Womanism as disrespectful to Black Feminism as a concept and a practice. AIDS among gay men (and women too) and breast cancer among lesbians truly seemed to level the field though. The spectre of death made us work together with more solidarity in different ways.

After the early 1990s, with the rise of important and often wise but also very narcissistic and agressive-cum-passive aggressive leaders like Keith Boykin, I moved away from public discussions. Being attacked by black gay men is a terrible thing, let me tell you--a terrrible thing that is equally as horrible as being attacked by any other group for our ideas or our appearence.

Today, with a newer generation of young college-educated or education-pursuing black gay men in their twenties and thirties, there is, I feel, even more snarkiness, hostility and narcissicism. I found Frank Leon Roberts justifications for that narcissicism on the original June 6th 2006 post on Kevin's blogs very unconvincing and full of the kind of fetishizing of theory and ornamental rhetoric that is so prized in the queer theories that dominate many graduate students' education in sexuality today. However, after his initial response to Mr. Roberts, I found Dr. Heru's increasingly counter-productive rejoiners in reaction to Mr. Roberts to be unworthy of either of these men's erudition and a mistake of reason. Two or more wrongs never, ever make a right.

What has been lost in the increasingly narcissistic and overly personalized exchanges is a deep critique of the exclusionary erotic practices that have always (in my mind) infected gay male sex-worlds (to say nothing of lesbians).

As one of the few openly intersexed people of color who has been active in social justice concerns since the 1980s, the cast of my very genitals and body have stigmatized me erotically among gays. [Please see the following link for appropriate definitions and ideas related to intersexed conditions: No one has stigmatized me more (laughed at me, called me inappropriate names, accused me of lying and tried to pull my pants down or physical harm me, tried to photograph me in bars while using the stalls, placed mean comments online about my body, admonished me for making money off of my intersexed conditions when I performed at NYC's Show Palace in the 1980s while also defaming me for supposedly not being honest as 'not a true gay man' or a 'true lesbian' or a true anything)--no one has stigmatized me more in sexualized situations and elsewhere than gay men.

I thought that being abused in foster care as a child (in part because of my conditions) would be the most trying pain of my life until I tried to chart my own erotic course among gays and lesbians (and men in particular).

Why are so many gay men and straight men so committed to erotic synecdoche: parts for wholes, and penis and superficial muscularity above all). [On the term synecdoche see the following:]

The hurt that I have felt (and sometimes still feel) is real. Having a "perfect" body is so prized among gay men (even when the body is, in reality, hardly perfect) that they seem to forget about the basic hurt of erotic exclusion and the horrible generalizations that arise when we exclude and demean people for being fem, fat, not buff, too black, too Asian, or, in my case, "deformed."

I think in the present discussions of body fascism we quickly moved away from Kevin Bynes' original call to interrogate the pitch and substance of our desire when we exclude others based on very, very superficial and shallow aspects of appearence (like body size, skin color, genital shape, etc) in public forums like personal ads and promotions for sex parties (this was a call that Kevin Bynes and then commenters like Dr. Heru made in the discussion section after Kevin Bynes' original 6/06 post.

Excluding "fats and fems" is a form of discrimination that hurts and diminishes us just as much as excluding (overtly or covertly) "coloreds" from water fountains OR, even more importantly, white gay bars. Audre Lorde was more than right when she said that there really are no hierarchies of oppression.

The problem, for me, is the lack of sensitivity and searching that often arises when the hunt for sex and the "rubber-necking" for beautiful bodies gets turned on. Black gay worlds socialize this problem in different ways than predominately white gay worlds but the basic lack of sensitivity and searching overlaps and persists.

All the depth of thinking that may be evident in a person's life at other times seems to fall away as the person gives into an exclusionary erotics.

Thank you for this belated opportunity to share my view.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"They're peddling death"

"The promoter of the Raw Dukes sex party in Harlem in May banned safer sex, hoping to maximize his profits. A loud protest shut him down, but the underground industry of largely condom-free parties aimed at men of color is still thriving in New York City. AIDS educators have barely begun to fight back, while health advocates fear the trend could spread across the country."

The above quote is from a cover story from this months Advocate a Gay Men's Magazine. Please read the entire article by clicking on the above link.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

McKinney Election Night Remarks

"The news media didn't tell you about that because they wanted you to focus on my hair!"

In the film American Blackout, you saw that I say that my district needs jobs. And so, in partnership with faith-based organizations and labor, I put together a program to train my constituents to acquire the skills for jobs that won't be outsourced overseas, and that pay more than a living wage, with health and retirement benefits. Last month, we took in 500 students. Who at the end of their training will have transportable skills, internationally-recognized certification, and a chance to live the American dream, supporting their families and our community.

The news media didn't tell you about that because they wanted you to focus on my hair!

Tonight my mother was hurt by someone in this room, a member of the press. My staff assistant was hurt by someone in this room, a member of the press.

I first got into trouble when I was compelled in 1991, while serving in the Georgia Legislature, to speak against George Herbert Walker Bush's war against Iraq. And during a point of personal privilege, I declared that I could not support *any* of George Bush's reasons for war.

My colleagues got up and walked out on me, I was vilified in the press, and compared to Julian Bond, who too had spoken out against an unjust war.

Ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent.

Bobby Kennedy said, "The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country."

We love our country, and that is why we dissent: because we care.

We care about the dignity of all the world's people.

We care about minimum wage workers; we care about no wage workers;

we care about the homeless--too many of whom are veterans;

we want a healthy future for all our children;

we want our seniors to live in dignity.

Our country is too rich to tolerate such poverty in our midst.

We have more to give to our people and the world than DynCorp, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group.

We care about the air and the earth and the water. And so we reject George Bush's science lessons that distort the facts and justify policies that support drilling for oil in Alaska; exacerbate global warming; and allow more human consumption of known toxins and pollutants.

We care about the projection of US power around the world. Either we can be a force for good in the world; or we can rely on force and upset the world.

Sadly, this Administration has chosen the latter.

At a time when this country has failed to train enough certified teachers to educate our children, George Bush is spending billions, nearly one trillion, dollars for war. And in a point of personal privilege right now I echo what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "A time comes when silence is betrayal; we are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls 'enemy.'"

One year to the day before Dr. King was murdered, he declared that the greatest purveyor of violence in the world was his own country.

With Israel's invasion of Lebanon, there might even be a call for more US or UN troops to be stationed in the Middle East, we--here tonight--say to our Commander-in-Chief: Sir, No Sir.

And so, before we engage in yet more war, I declare tonight that we stand with the families of our hurt soldiers and the hundreds of thousands of innocent hurt and dead Iraqis.

We stand with the homeless Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.

We stand with the Agent Orange victims and the 160,000 sick Gulf War veterans.

We stand with the 37,000 green card soldiers, not even citizens, but willing to trade their lives for a chance to live and work in America because our foreign policy has failed to uplift their hopes and aspirations in their own countries.

Dr. King told us that in order to stop the madness we would have to match actions with words. Mario Savio before that told us that we have to put our very bodies against the wheels and the gears and the levers of the machine and we have to say to those who own it, that they must stop it, or we will stop it.

Tonight I am joined by noted men and women activists who have put their bodies against the wheels and the gears and the levers of the machine and they are trying to stop it. They are not tricked by red herrings that the corporate media throw to us. They are focused on our objective to make America a better country.

Something is happening around the world: countries with little or nothing are standing up, rising up against the utter and complete domination.

Thank goodness for the people in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela, Malaysia, all standing up and speaking for the weak and the voiceless in their countries. A change is sweeping the world. And America must not be left out.

So my new friends are the mothers who have lost their sons in George Bush's war and we say to them hold fast to your faith--your suffering will not be a stumbling block for us. We will make this stand with you--you are not alone.

Denise Thomas, daughter went to Iraq once and when they tried to send her a second time, Mama got political. She's now the founder of the Georgia Chapter of Military Families Speak Out. First told her story at a prayer vigil organized by Ann Mauney. Prayed at by Reverend Timothy McDonald.

Then one mother who wasn't so lucky. She couldn't save her son from the War Machine. The first Georgia soldier to die in Iraq came from the 4th District. Patricia Roberts, Jamal Addison's mother, now politically active and my new friend.

Another mother, lost her son, Casey, and decided to take her case directly to President Bush. Cindy Sheehan.

There's something special about these women. Their names aren't Deborah, or Esther, or Ruth. But they are women for these times. Women, called to make peaceful revolution.

President Kennedy warned us that "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Electronic voting machines are a threat to our democracy!

So let the word go out: we aren't going to tolerate any more stolen elections; we're watching you. And we want our leaders back--or we will become the leaders.

And not only do we want our country back, we want our Party back.

There *is* a growing force for peace in this country. And the peace movement that we are building is backed by millions of young people. I want to thank the hundreds of people who volunteered in our campaign, especially the young people who were excited about getting involved in something good.

Thank you all for a lot of hard work, thank you for the thousands of volunteer hours, thank you for helping to make a stand in Georgia.

I wish the new representative for the 4th Congressional District well.

A snake in the bush is easy to fight. But one already in the house becomes a problem!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Dark Day For Georgia: McKinney Voted Out

Ever since I came to Congress in 1992, there are those who have been trying to silence my voice. I've been told to "sit down and shut up" over and over again. Well, I won't sit down and I won't shut up until the full and unvarnished truth is placed before the American people. –Cynthia Ann McKinney, (US Congressman 1993-2006)-

August 8, 2006- At 12:30 this evening, Cynthia McKinney conceded the race for the Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District Representative seat. According to reports McKinney received 41% of the vote while her opponent, Hank Johnson, received 59% of the vote in the Democratic Primary election.

Johnson ran a campaign condemning McKinney for being too controversial, claiming that McKinney, during her years of representing the Fourth Congressional District, stirred up controversy rather than advocating for her district. Johnson appealed to voters by calling into question McKinney’s effectiveness as a legislator claiming that she does not have the political clout to realize legislation.

Much like Denise Majette, who defeated McKinney in a 2003 primary, Johnson presented himself to voters as the more conservative Democratic candidate and has received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Republicans who want McKinney out of there hair. He has also been vocal about his support for Israeli attacks on the Lebanese people stating “Israel has the right to defend itself.” An assertion that won Johnson thousands of campaign dollars from Conservative Jewish PACs. Johnson’s success is credited, by some, to whites in the district rushing to the polls. Johnson who is a 2 term Dekalb County Commissioner and a 12 year associate judge, defends his record as a “Life long Democrat.” ;)

McKinney has been criticized lately because of a claim by a Capitol Hill police officer that she attacked him. While a Capitol Hill police investigation allegedly found enough evidence to charge McKinney a Grand Jury did not. Although McKinney was exonerated she has never been truly vindicated and her opponent was able to capitalize on the controversy generated by the incident.

McKinney lost a race once before because of national controversy. In 2002 after controversy that flared when she informed the American people that George Bush and his administration had information that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks on the country, she came under unprecedented attacks by the media liberal and conservative alike and lost the Democratic primary to Denis Majette. In 2004 when the 9/11 report was published McKinney was once again not vindicated within the court of public opinion. McKinney was able to regain her congressional post in 2005.

Apparently the controversy that Mr. Johnson has been referring to is the back lash that McKinney often faces for telling the truth and standing up for her constituents and the American people. In our politically corrupt nation of Oil Industry mogul presidents and the highest gas prices in history I can see how some might be concerned about a person like that holding public office. A politician that represents the interest of her constituency might very well seem ineffective, controversial and even dangerous.

Hank Johnson must face a republican opponent Catherine Davis, who is not heavily favored, in the November elections.

Thursday, August 03, 2006