Violence…and loathing

After reading some of the articles outlining the actions, words and implied threat in the words bandied about since Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, and culminating in the shooting deaths of six people, and critical injury to Congresswoman Giffords the fear I have about President Obama living through his term has returned one-thousand fold. Reading the following timeline from the Coalition to Stop GunViolence (h/t to ErikTheDane for the link) I’m terrified, not just for our POTUS but for any elected official that does not fall under the ideology of those who feel as if their country is being “taken from them” and their liberties being snatched from under them.

The people who bandy about careless words, reload, be armed, second amendment solutions ad nauseum and the media that does not hold their tongues, instead blast their hateful, careless rhetoric over the air, the internet and radio waves. That is partially what has fueled over two years worth of incidents, hate speech, and violent fantasizing by the far right. Read the article, see the time-line of the breakdown of civility, honest discourse and understand where this sense of loathing, disenfranchisement and breakdown of common sense, and ability to disagree without going to the extreme.

As you are an adult, I leave it to you to draw your conclusions from this time-line’s noted incidents, to the climate of simmering hatred and vitriol we are drowning in, and it seems that no one is willing to clean the pool of the detritus of hate and lack of logic. I just wish the people peddling hate would use this tragedy as a much needed wake up call and try, honestly try to put the brakes on the out of control freight train they’ve piloted for the last few years.

Continue reading “Violence…and loathing”

Repost-The Wrath of Fools: An open letter to the far right

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right

Monday 10 January 2011

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

To: Palin-lovers, Fox “News,” the “mainstream” media, and the Far Right, et al.

From: William Rivers Pitt

Date: Monday 10 January 2011

Re: The blood on your hands

 

 

 

Dear “Patriots,”

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords isn’t much older than I am. She served in the Arizona State House of Representatives, and the Arizona State Senate, before being elected to three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She once described herself as a “former Republican,” and is today considered a “Blue Dog” Democrat, meaning she holds a number of conservative political positions. This is not terribly surprising, given the generally conservative political bent of the state she has served for the last ten years. She was married four years ago to a space shuttle commander who had served as a Naval aviator, and who flew 39 combat missions in Desert Storm, before volunteering for astronaut training.

Last Wednesday, she was sworn in to her third term as the Representative for Arizona’s 8th congressional district. One of her first acts in the newly-minted 112th Congress was to read aloud from the House floor, in response to the Republican Party’s recitation of the Constitution, the following lines: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

She returned to Arizona not long after to assist in the implementation of that most vital of Constitutional principles, calling together a meeting of her constituents in a peaceable assembly so the citizens she represents could petition the government for a redress of grievances. Among the gathered crowd were a number of her staffers, a judge, and a nine-year-old girl named Christina-Taylor Green who was born on September 11, 2001.

And then all Hell broke loose.

A man named Jared Lee Loughner waded into the group and fired a bullet into Rep. Giffords’ skull at point-blank range, before turning his weapon on others in the crowd. Christina-Taylor Greene, who would have celebrated her tenth birthday on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, was shot in the chest and killed. The woman who brought her to the event was also shot. Gabriel Zimmerman, who served as Rep. Giffords’ director of community outreach, was also killed. He was 30 years old, and was recently engaged to be married. U.S. District Judge John Roll, who had served on the bench for twenty years, was also killed. Dorwin Stoddard, a church volunteer, died after putting his body between his wife and the hail of bullets. His wife was also shot. Two of Rep. Giffords’ constituents, Dorothy Morris and Phyllis Scheck, were also killed. All in all, 31 shots were fired before several brave souls tackled Loughner, disarmed him, and wrestled him to the ground.

At the time of this writing, Rep. Giffords is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The God you Bible-spewing frauds love to flog the rest of us with must have been in that supermarket crowd with her on Saturday, with His hand on her shoulder, because it is nothing short of a full-fledged miracle she survived at all. Doctors are actually cautiously optimistic that she will survive, though the degree to which she will ultimately recover is still sorely in doubt. She can respond to simple commands, according to her doctors, and is marginally able to communicate. If she survives her wound, it is wretchedly certain her life will never, ever be the same.

I just thought you should know a few things about the people you helped into their graves and hospital beds this weekend.

Yes, you.

You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about “death panels” and “Obama is coming for your guns” and “He isn’t a citizen” and “He’s a secret Muslim” and “Sharia Law is coming to America,” you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.

You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ’s own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.

You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.

The “mainstream” media is already working overtime playing up the “Disturbed loner” angle with all their might. There is no doubt, from the available evidence, of Mr. Loughner’s transformation into a disturbed individual. But here’s the funny part: all the crazy crap he spewed, about the gold standard (a favorite of Glenn Beck, the master of Fox “News” fearmongering…so he can sell his gold scam to suckers) and government mind control and everything else before going on his rampage, is straight out of the Right-Wing Insanity Handbook. His personal YouTube ramblings were a mishmash of right-wing anti-government nonsense…the kind that attracts sick minds like Loughner, the kind that only reinforces their paranoia, the kind that finally pushes them over the brink and into the frenzy of violence that took place on Saturday. The kind that the likes of you have been happily spreading by the day.

He did not act alone. You were right there with him. You helped.

I’m talking to you, “mainstream” media people, who created this atmosphere of desperate rage and total paranoia out of whole cloth because of your unstoppable adoration for spectacle, and ratings, and because the companies that own your sorry asses agree with the deranged cretins you helped make so famous and powerful. It was sickeningly amusing on Sunday to watch Wolf Blitzer bluster and bluff on CNN about how the media owns no responsibility for this disaster. It was like watching a ten-year-old try to explain how a lamp got broken while he was running through the living room, but no, it wasn’t him. It was, in reality, a pathetic display…but that is what you generally get whenever Wolf is on your screen.

“Mainstream” news personalities like David Gergen and John King bent over backwards warning people not to blame Sarah Palin and her ilk for this calamity. It was a sick man who did this, they said. Bollocks to that. I hate to break this to the “mainstream” media know-betters, but words matter. When people like Palin spray the airwaves with calls to violence and incantations of imminent doom, people like Loughner are listening, and prepared to act. The “mainstream” media lets it fly without any questions or rebuttal, because it’s good for ratings, and here we are. Words matter. Play Russian Roulette long enough, and someone inevitably winds up dead.

Remember the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and the subsequent occupation? “WMD everywhere, al Qaeda connections to 9/11, plastic sheeting and duct tape because we’re all gonna die!” was the central theme of the majority of your broadcast schedule for years…until it was all proven to be a lie. You helped the liars, you were the liars, but you knew that. You also got your spectacle, and the corporations that own you got paid a king’s ransom, so everyone was happy, except the dead.

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Tell me this is any different, I dare you. For the spectacle, the ratings and the pleasure of your owners, you ran names like “Sarah Palin” across the sky in lights, even after she should have faded into well-deserved obscurity, and helped this blister of right-wing rage fester until it finally burst. This was your show, and in perhaps the most wretched irony of all, I would bet all my worldly possessions that your ratings are through the roof right now. You got what you wanted. I hope you are pleased.

And yes, I’m talking to you, Sarah Palin, you unutterably disgusting fraud. You pulled it off your ridiculous website, but it’s out there: you put cross-hairs – literally, cross-hairs – on Rep. Giffords, you blithered about “reloading” instead of “retreating,” and you made this country more stupid and violent with every breath you took. Well, congratulations, you failure, you quitter, you inciter of mobs. You put the cross-hairs on her, and someone finally pulled the trigger. Run from it all you like, Lady MacBeth, but this blood will never be washed from your hands.

I’m talking to you, Sharron Angle, you walking punch-line, who talked about “Second Amendment remedies” being necessary if you didn’t get your way on health care reform during your failed Senate campaign.

I’m talking to you, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, and to every other right-wing tripe-spewing blowhard blogger and Fox News broadcaster. I hope you are proud of yourselves, because this is the day you get to reap what you have been relentlessly sowing since you were forced to encompass the unmitigated outrage of a Black man winning the office of President of the United States.

That’s right, I said it. Anyone who thinks good old-fashioned American bigotry and racism are not the core motivation for a vast majority of these so-called “revolutionaries” should get their heads examined. You’ve heard of the “elephant in the middle of the room?” Well, this is the burning cross in the middle of the room, and no amount of spin will douse those flames.

I’m talking to you, Koch Brothers. Your money to create and spread this disease was well-spent; you now have one less Democrat in the House to worry about, at least for the foreseeable future. Congratulations, you un-American sacks of filth.

And I’m talking to each and every one of you who listened to these traitors and believed the nonsense they spewed at you for no other reason than to pick your pockets for campaign/organization contributions. I’m talking to you who wore your silly fatigues and carried your badly-spelled fact-deprived signs to protests with pistols on your hips and rifles on your shoulders. You who threw bricks through the windows of politicians you disagreed with. You who shot out the windows of Rep. Giffords’ office not even a year ago.

You worked very hard to create exactly this atmosphere in America, and now it has come to be. We have entered the age of the Wrath of Fools, and we now must again exist in an America where the word “assassination” has become all too relevant.

You helped this happen. You.

You know it. I know it. Have the guts to admit it, even if only to yourselves.

I know many Republicans and conservatives, and consider them to be dear friends. The single most influential person in my life (aside from my mother) was a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, and there is no person I respected more than him. I do not count these people, and those like them, among those whom I address here. They are as sickened and repulsed by you as I am.

This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide.

Oh, P.S., if anyone reading this is operating under the delusion that the overheated right-wing rhetoric that went a long way towards almost getting Rep. Giffords killed, and had a strong hand in putting six people in the ground, is some sort of new Obama-era phenomenon, well…

“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”

– Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95

“Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him.”

– Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton

“We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.”

– Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”

– Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”

– Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02

“Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past – I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble – recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin’s penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an ‘enemy of the people.’ The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, ‘clan liability.’ In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished ‘to the ninth degree’: that is, everyone in the offender’s own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed.”

– John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01

“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.”

– State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01

I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but you get the gist.

Most Disrespectfully Yours,
William Rivers Pitt

Words have power and meaning

Like the rest of the country, I’ve been watching the coverage of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords at a local Safeway in Arizona. Like others I’ve watched pundits, the local blogger and everyone in between postulate on what motivated the shooter(s)*. I’m horrified at the loss of life, of a nine year old girl who was on the scene because of her interest in the political system, and a judge who stopped by in support of his colleague. I’m also moved by the words, thoughts and analysis of so many people online, who have stopped for a moment and put some thought into what they are saying and bringing some sense to the table in this maelstrom of chaos brought on by this senseless act of violence. I’m no wordsmith, but I do want to throw my digital two-bits in on the subject of words and the power they carry. My words here are not meant as an indictment, sanction or anything of the sort but they are meant to be taken, read, re-read and hopefully they will put some food for thought on the stove today.

First, we (as in anyone who has uttered an unthinking word about someone of an opposing viewpoint, be it political or otherwise) must stop the hate speech. We must stop being so careless with our words, only to be forced to swallow them after tragedy occurs. It’s far too easy to say “Well I didn’t meant THAT!” THAT being whatever act has been done by one or more members of the society; especially if they are in any way encouraged or easily swayed by rhetoric, and the lull of a final solution to what they perceive as a problem in their worldview. Second, It’s far too easy to use words laced with violent intent, and ASSUME that every single person that your words reach will be able to discern between the verbiage you toss about and your actual INTENT. I would hope that the people tossing about such hateful words so carelessly regardless of where they stand in terms of religion, politics, anything would remember the basic lesson of speaking. Do not assume anything about your audience, speak to them as if you are bringing new information to the table and they are learning from you.

Third, call out those that continue the pattern of hateful and violent speech against anyone they are not in sync with. Keep events such as the shooting in Arizona in the back of your mind, the Kennedy Assassinations, the murder of Dr. King and everyone who has taken a bullet because they dared to have a differing opinion than what another portion of society holds. Remember the lives lost over the years because someone felt that they held the key to solving the worlds problems in their hand via violence. Especially if their motivation does wind up being traced back to words said in the media freely and with no regard as to how they are going to be perceived, taken and used by those that may not be able to tell the difference between the reality we inhabit and the reality they inhabit. We must also think about those that have mental illness, those that just may not be well in any sense of the word and how a message such sent by a politician urging people to remove a Congresswoman, dressing in fatigues and inviting them to shoot M16’s? What about a message sent by using a map with bullseyes on it to target your opposition?

(Image posted for reference, and the fact that Palin should not be allowed to scrub this from her sites in the chance that people will forget. The memory of the internet is long)

There is so much power in what we say, the way in which we say it and in this day and age the method of delivery can get your message out there for good or ill in seconds. I repeat, we all need to take what has happened as a lesson in meaning what you say, and saying what you mean. Be clear in your speech, right in your intent and for the good of all of us, consider the places your words will reach, the ears they will fall upon and the minds they will touch. I say this to you politicians, friends, teachers, educators, loved ones, celebrities, sports figures. All of us are responsible for the words, the intent and messages we put out in the world every moment of every day. No one should be afraid to do their job because they could be shot down.

None of us should be afraid to disagree with someone out of fear of retribution by another, or by the person we’ve disagreed with. We really need to wrangle our words, think about their perception once they are out in the ether of the internet, others minds, hearts … this event is already changing how public servants will think about their jobs, how they serve and I’m sure many will rethink public office if merely dissenting with the opinions of others can earn you a death sentence.

Many others have covered this topic with more clarity and more eloquence than I can. I leave you with their words and I urge you to share their words, and think very hard about your own the next time you engage in conversation, especially one in which you plan to disagree with someone about the topic at hand.

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords

Cabell Hankinson Gathman:Discussion of an assassination: ableism & the failure of sociological understanding

Letters from Titan: Words Matter

Views Across the Pond: Lessons learnt – The Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords

Join the Coffee Party Movement: On the shooting in Tucson today

Huffington Post: GOP Senator, Rhetoric must be toned down

Maddowblog: This is a democracy, we can’t govern if we don’t respect each other

This country was not ready for a black president

…and thus I will say what has been brewing in the back of my head for months. The vitriol against President Obama shows that this country was not ready for a black president. Yeah, I said it. The fact that these whackjobs are coming out of the woodwork with no fear of reprimand for threatening the President, or in th…is case hoping for his assassination shows this to be true. Had a white democrat won, I really doubt we’d be seeing such an ugly side of the US’s denizens.

Conservative Blogger calls for Obama’s Assassination

What this idiot apparently didn’t know is that:
Forell may think he’s protected by the First Amendment when it comes to his tweets, but the law begs to differ, specifically 18 USC Sec. 871:

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Sam Gustin at DailyFinance is reporting that the Secret Service is now investigating Forell’s tweets, with Secret Service spokesperson Max Milien stating: “We are aware of the actual posting and are actively investigating.”

This saddens me, but does not surprise me in the least. People thought I was being overly dramatic when I talked of hoping that Obama survives his first term. Now, maybe with whackjobs like this advocating that the POTUS is killed off, people will listen to me.

Which of these two things are alike?

I read the Huffington Post. Most of the time its on point, humorous and gives me a chuckle. That was not the case when this article: Two Black Role Models done in by Hubris went up.

The author is not a woman of color, nor does she seem to understand that her article is patently offensive and racist. A summary for those that don’t click. She posits that these two black men were brought low by their hubris. Woods for his extramarital dalliances and Obama for failing to deliver on his campaign promises in his 8 months in office so far. Um, what? I didn’t appoint her my savior and decider of who gets to speak for me as a black person to the world at large.

When readers call her on the idiocy of linking these two men based on skin color alone, she gets quite defensive in the comments to her own piece. I notice that she trips over herself basically calling herself out and back pedaling on what she did and didn’t actually say in the piece. Critical thinking fail here people.

Here’s my comment in case anyone is interested:


photo

“That you even think their race had anything to do with their failure means you can’t read.” If that’s the case, what was the point of your article in tenuously linking two famous black men? What hubris can you point to on the part of the president? You really need to step back, untangle the straps of your invisible back pack and realize the issue people are taking with your “article”. Let me clarify for you.

You, as a white woman are attempting to tell us people of color that we ought to be ashamed of these two fallen role models of our “people”. No one assigns my role models. No one famous person of color should be held up as the monolithic example of what POC should aspire to, and none of us should be told by journalists of any race, creed or color that the “failures” of famouse POC are doubly problematic and just such a disappointment for the race.

This is condescending, patronizing and yes, it is a racist action. You can commit racist actions and not even realize it. Reading your commentary back to posters here, it seems as if you are treating people’s responses to this poorly written attempt at connecting two famous black men as personal attacks.

Your closing line is very telling on yourself, you should read it and let it sink in because its exactly what you are doing by jumping up and down screaming but I’m not racist! online.

President Obama’s Inaugural speech 20 January 2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, acknowledges the crowd after being sworn in as the country’s 44th President. (Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James / January 20, 2009)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land–a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today, I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America–they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted–for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things–some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions–that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act–not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions–who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them–that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works–whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account–to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day–because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control–and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart–not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort–even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus–and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West–know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment–a moment that will define a generation–it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends–honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism–these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility–a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence–the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed–why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to [the] future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet” it.

America: In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Is racism dead?

The Chicago Red Eye asked if Racism is Dead today. I don’t know what news they have been reading, or what world they have found themselves in, but after reading the following stories I’d have to answer them with fuck no Racism IS alive and fucking well in this “post-racial” America.

First is the story of the guy gunned down in a BART station by a police officer. Then the officer just fucking resigns rather than face the investigation into his actions. To add insult to injury, BART officials apologize a week later and are sorry. Now, Oakland residents are rioting because of the shooting of this young man.

Then there is the story of Robbie Tolan, who was shot by a police officer who didn’t identify himself and claimed Tolan and his cousin had stolen his own car. The officer roughed up Tolan’s mother when she came out to check on the commotion. He had just signed a minor league contract and is the son of Bobby Tolan and was scheduled to start camp soon. Instead, he’s in the hospital with a bullet in his liver and his career is over before it had a chance to begin. The Houston police claim there was no racial profiling in this case, but why the fuck would they accuse a man, who’s standing in his own driveway, unarmed of stealing his own car and pull their gun on them?

Hmm, when you live in an affluent suburb, you are well off and you don’t fit the profile of the neighborhood that’s why. Even if the car was stolen, there was no need to shoot an unarmed man … it seems like the police don’t even give a fuck any more. They are shooting first and asking questions later.

Post-racial era my ass.

An open letter to white activists, re: Proposition 8

Via LJ User slit

I find it curious that African-American women are all lazy unwed welfare-cheating baby-making machines and African-American men are all violent drug-abusing absentee fathers RIGHT UNTIL they are standing in the way of gay rights, at which point they become socially conservative homophobes who can’t see past their religious family values. If you’re going to scapegoat people of color for all the world’s problems, at least make your stereotypes consistent, ya know? C’mon.

First of all, as other people have amply demonstrated, Prop 8 was not lost by people of color, despite what Dan Savage and a whole lot of other people think.

[info]sparkymonster: Brown People Did Not Pass Prop. 8

Propositioning Privilege: The reality is that white people are not being blamed as a racial group for the loss because of the sense that queer=white and there is no racial investment that would benefit from an argument that pathologized whiteness as inherently homophobic in the way that white privilege benefits from pathologizing blackness this way. This is a great, comprehensive look at how both sides of the Prop 8 campaign were handled.

Racialicious roundtable on Proposition 8

More links at Alas, A Blog

And as [info]bias_cut shows, if it weren’t for people of color most of the gay marriage bans still would have passed and McCain would have won the election in a landslide.

Even acknowledging this, I don’t think it excuses the way No-on-8 campaign was run. I don’t live in California, so I can’t really speak to this outside of what I’ve seen on the internet, but I do want to say a few things about white Left movements, including but not limited to white queer movements, and how they (try to, sort of) do alliances with people of color. This has been brewing for me for a while now; it’s not a new problem and I know other people reading this have thought about many of these things so forgive me if it comes off as repetitious or preaching to the choir. I think it still needs to be addressed.

1. Think about how you use civil rights imagery. There are parallels there, and they should be drawn, but to compare the passing of Prop 8 with lynching and Jim Crow disrespects Black history. Even the Loving decision, which is the most obvious parallel (and one Mildred Loving herself endorsed) had a profoundly different history than the history of gays and lesbians. Angry Black Woman discusses the background on that decision and how it was frankly not a huge priority during the civil rights era: So I have to wonder why the No on 8 people chose to present this as a parallel of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. To my mind, this helped trivialize their desire to marry, particularly among older blacks who remember when being able to marry white people was the least of their worries.

I think for white people the relationship is clear: if it was wrong to discriminate against relationships on the basis of race, it should likewise be wrong to discriminate against relationships on the basis of gender. But sexual ‘relationships’ between races had been going on for generations; what made Loving historic for a lot of people was that it was finally talking about such relationships in the context of mutual consent and agency for both partners — as opposed to systemic sexual violence against women of color by white men and the lynching of Black men perceived to be pursuing white women. It wasn’t so much “yay! we get to marry white people! this is the best day of our lives!” :p Which is related to:

2. Think about how you talk about “sex” and “freedom.” White people tend to think of consent as an individual thing. Did she, singular, say yes? They’re not usually thinking of the three or four hundred years in which white men raped slaves and live-in domestic workers, or the women and girls today who are caught up in the sex trafficking industry. The right not to have sex was a lot harder to win than the right to have it, and I think a lot of folks (myself included) are skeptical of feminist/queer movements when they treat history as if it’s all “our sex lives used to be so repressed and limited but hurray now we’re free!” Add to that the number of Black men who’ve been falsely accused of raping white women, and there’s an additional layer of reluctance to sign up for a cause that makes more cops the answer to sexual violence and invests a lot of energy in saving white women from all manner of discomfort while having little to say about the imprisonment of Black men for the most petty of crimes. Reluctance especially when, again, white movements treat sexual violence solely as an individual problem (one man raping one woman) rather than a community problem (one race or nationality being granted total sexual agency under the law and another race or nationality just hoping and praying to stay the hell out of their way).

3. Think about how you talk about Black churches. For many white gays and lesbians, the church is a place of repression and silencing, and one of the first institutions they are ready to abandon when they come into adulthood. But the church has played a different role in black communities — Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and many many other civil rights leaders tied their work to religious tradition. Black churches have been a powerful source of progressive organizing in communities of color, as well as a source of emotional and financial support for people who are struggling. I’m not saying there isn’t more work to be done there, and I’m not saying religion played no role in getting people to support Prop 8. But to speak of African-American religiosity as if it’s the same thing as your white neighbor’s homophobic Bible-thumpin’ Leviticus-quoting Rapture-believing denim-jumper-wearing young-earth anti-science women-get-back-in-the-kitchen 700 Club brand of Christianity is to shit on the people who brought you school desegregation and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Black churches are potential allies, and indeed many religious leaders have already come out in favor of LGBT rights, but those alliances aren’t going to get very far if white Leftists keep talking about them as if they are forces of institutionalized oppression when in reality their role in American history has been precisely the opposite.

4. Think about how you talk about your neighborhood. I’m not going to go into the whole history of gentrification except to note that it goes beyond where any one person decides to locate. It’s about how you treat and speak about your community. Would the elderly want to live in your neighborhood? Not would they be welcome but would they actually want to? Would they have things to do? What about families with small children who are not part of your particular subculture or political community? Would you send your own kids to the local schools?

I know white Leftists and/or LGBT folks live all over the map and these issues aren’t germane to everybody, but “building community” seems to be something we value and devote a lot of time to without thinking about the impact it has and the message it sends to people outside “our” (actually quite insular) community. I’ve seen this come up a LOT, not just around Prop 8 but in general when the possibility of POC/queer alliances comes up.

5. Think about how you talk about other people’s neighborhoods. I saw a fair bit of No-on-8 people talking about their reluctance to canvass in “bad” areas. I am going to go out on a limb and guess these were pretty much all communities of color. As far as I can tell, the Yes-on-8 people weren’t complaining about this. Now to some extent that’s apples and oranges because queer and transgender people have different concerns about safety than straight people (even Mormons) do when they’re walking around in unfamiliar territory, but those concerns apply in white neighborhoods as much or more so and I didn’t hear anyone saying “I can’t doorknock in the suburbs or they’ll kill me.” I know when I hear someone say they won’t go into certain parts of the city, even someone else’s city, I feel like a wall just went up between us — even if I’d previously seen this person as a friend or ally — because that’s the kind of neighborhood I live in. And I’m white. So think about how that comes across. As [info]delux_vivens and others have said repeatedly in the past few days, the No campaign didn’t ask for those votes, so it is disingenuous to express shock after the fact.

6. Queerness does not negate whiteness. Neither does communism, anarchism, or any other brand of radical politics. This one was hard for me when I was younger, because the force of what for the sake of brevity I’ll call Mainstream SocietyTM was so strong that I saw all people who were any brand of “other” as natural allies. To an extent, there’s value in that world view. In 1991 I went to a large demonstration in Chicago that was organized by CISPES, ACT UP, and the anti-war movement; the point was to solidify connections between groups that might otherwise seem disparate and single issue, to reject divide-and-conquer strategies of the Right, and to make sure our activist work was attentive to the interrelatedness of different forms of oppression.

But “interrelatedness” != “same as,” and at some point I had to confront how my work on Issue X didn’t give me an automatic pass on Issues Y and Z. Nor did it undermine the institutionalized benefits I’d received from growing up in a white family in a country where race matters very deeply. Over time I also realized how what I thought of as my “alternative” status was actually alienating to many people of color: that in many ways my flagrant disregard of Mainstream SocietyTM was the ultimate sign of white privilege. I could go around carrying a placard with my hair dyed three colors and clothes covered in safety pins, but if an African American woman my same age walked out of the house with so much as a rip on her sleeve or a scuff on her shoe she risked being pegged as a charity case and borderline illiterate. That was difficult for me to work out, because the way I presented myself wasn’t just a fashion thing — it was a rejection of mainstream beauty standards for women and traditional notions of gender. Appearance and self-presentation were politicized for me. I’m not saying we should all go around in pantsuits and business casual and try to be as safe and non-threatening as possible when talking about politics (don’t read me that way), nor am I saying there aren’t people of color who are also concerned about how these issues intersect (don’t read me that way either), but when I looked at this whole thing from the perspective of people who were already, inherently, considered suspect and outsiders, it made the issue much more complicated for me. I used to be all “get out there! mix shit up!” end of story. But when you can put on a suit and tie and put your daughter in her Girl Scout uniform and go to church to pray to Jesus and still lose your child in a directed attack because of who you are, it makes me a lot less critical of people who might be reserved about pushing the envelope, especially if they’re expected to do it in solidarity with people who’ve never shown much solidarity with them. Which brings me to:

7. Acknowledge your debt. This goes back to #1 and #3 above. If you’re going to present your issue (I’m thinking of Prop 8, but other stuff, too) as the outgrowth of the civil rights movement, then it seems smart to learn more about that movement and to get to know people who were involved in it. Civil rights weren’t gifts from enlightened white people, nor were they just part of the natural progression of history. They were earned with blood. Don’t be casual about that. Don’t bring it up only in the context of how it relates to your issue(s). And if you are going to ask for people to support your issue on principle, not because it benefits them but because It’s Just The Right Thing To Do, you might work harder to support their issues on principle, too. By “support” I don’t mean “agree with it in my mind”; I mean get out there and ask where you can be of service. In the case of California, there were at least two ballot measures that directly affected minority communities. I saw very few white activists write about these, especially compared to the number of straight POC I saw writing about Prop 8. [info]ladyjax writes more about this: When white people roll up on Black folks about being oppressors, there’s some truth to it but that gets lost when people start to remember: ‘Hmm, that rally for (immigration rights, education, housing, etc. etc.). I didn’t see you there.’ … Sometimes the fight isn’t always about what you want but about reciprocation.

8. Stop assuming African-American support. Everything I’m saying here could fall under the umbrella of “don’t take people of color for granted,” but I wanted to say something specifically about what seems to be a common assumption — that African Americans, even more than other minorities and definitely more than white people, “should just understand” what gays and lesbians are going through “because it happened to them, too.” First of all, as I (and many others) said above, the parallels between the two movements are not nearly as clear as they’ve been made out to be. Second, to make this an issue of understanding or the lack thereof, rather than resentment at being ignored and trivialized or pushed out of one’s own neighborhood, isn’t helpful. But most of all, it misses the mother of all points, which is that Prop 8, like most everything that sucks, is overwhelmingly about white money and white power. Even if they voted yes in higher percentages, African Americans are not more guilty than whites, who funded this thing and got it done. Black homophobia isn’t especially galling because of their history in this country. White homophobia is especially galling because white conservatives have the resources and, my god, the energy to make defeating LGBT rights such a priority.

9. Stop assuming African-American NON-support. The flip side to the white liberal saying “there’s no point in asking for African-American support because we know we already have it” is the white Leftist saying “there’s no point in asking for African-American support because we know we’ll never get it.” Either because of beliefs about Black homophobia or (more charitably) beliefs about Black communities having more pressing priorities, it’s still a reluctance to form alliances. Over and over again, at least in blogs, I’ve been seeing black and brown women saying “no one approached us” or “we weren’t asked to help.” These are women who voted no anyway (if they’re Californian, or from one of the other states that had a ballot measure of this kind), but while doing so some have bitterly pointed out it’s another sign that people of color are being treated as silent foot soldiers in a movement while white organizers take over the leadership.

10. Finally, there are queer people of color! I almost didn’t include this because it seems too obvious to mention, but I don’t want the fact that I am addressing a white audience right now to be taken as a sign that I’m ignoring queer POC or that I’m painting the queer movement as exclusively white. That’s been another huge issue in this debate. (See Pam’s House Blend post about the treatment of Black gay activists after Prop 8 passed, The N-bomb is dropped on black passersby at Prop 8 protests and ask yourself with friends like these….?) I have much more to say about this, especially as it relates to the treatment of Islam by gay and lesbian activists because that’s where most of my attention goes anymore, but really it merits its own post.

What I will say is that I’ve read some excellent stuff lately (offline) about building alliances between queer communities and immigrants/people of color, and/or about addressing racism in queer organizing, and as much as I like it it still needles me that so much of it assumes an audience of white gays and lesbians, exclusively. Never straight people of color, and, well, the existence of LGBT people of color would ruin the whole argument so they’re just left out altogether. The assumption seems to be that white people can be educated about race but queer POC come from backgrounds so hopelessly homophobic that their only choice is to try to assimilate into a white queer community (who will try to be “more sensitive” but will ultimately still control and define the community’s agenda).

But when the argument is always framed that way — “I know y’all are good on gay and lesbian issues, but now let’s talk about race” — well, just who are you talking to there? I did it myself above, without thinking about it, by linking to the CISPES web site (in case someone doesn’t know what that is) but not bothering to link to ACT UP (because I assume anyone reading me has heard of that). That’s what I’m talking about. So if you’re trying to build alliances but are always assuming that your audience is already politicized around queer stuff but isn’t politicized around race issues, you are implicitly communicating your exclusion of people for whom it works the other way around, or who have been prioritizing both things long before they ever stumbled across whatever you’re on about at this moment. But again, a post in itself. This one’s long enough.

YES, WE DID!

Ok, I woke up and it’s not a dream. Well it is a dream come true for so many people who never thought they’d live to see this happen. I called my mom and she was in tears. My great Grandmother wasn’t able to vote until she was 50, my Grandmother wasn’t able to vote until her 20’s. My mother and I never had to wait to exercise our right to vote.

I’m just… I still don’t have coherent words at how much it thrills me to have seen this history, been a part of this history. I did not give my time but I did give my money and my heart to then Senator Obama. I did what I could to follow and help in the minor ways I could. Those of you who did more, who phone banked, my boss JK who not only donated, but got his daughter involved by canvassing with her in Indiana just two days after returning from a two week tour in Thailand and ferried people to vote in IN yesterday. To those of you who gave of yourselves to make this happen, I thank you.

To see people turn out in droves to make this happen, to see people wait hours to cast their ballot swelled me with pride and joy. To see so many young people get out and vote, take an interest in the Democratic Process makes me burst with pride for the future generations of this country.

For those who supported McCain, my sincere condolences that your candidate lost. Not a slap in the face, not a jeer because it won’t help anything. It won’t help to heal the rifts this country has suffered for so long. For those that continue to spew the hate, the ridiculous rhetoric that likely cost McCain the election I’m sorry for you. For those that honestly believe the lies that we will be handed over to Iraq, and our money will be stolen in the night to share amongst the less fortunate like a modern William Tell tale… I honestly feel sorry for you and hope that you find your way back to reason soon. For anyone who thinks that election was “stolen” wake the fuck up. There was a 2-1 victory in the Electoral College and McCain conceded gracefully; despite the classy booing of his supporters. Because no matter your hate and vitriol it will not change the fact that Obama, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama is our next leader and there is no need for hate and divisiveness at this time in our nations history.

My fellow Americans (and those watching from overseas) I’m proud of my country, proud of my fellow citizens who made history along with me and who made their voices heard for change. The picture below says so much about this week in history.

I’m glad to be able to say YES WE DID.

A very well written argument against voting for McCain

Reposted from the Livejournal BarackObama2008 community with permission from LJ’er imautobot

I think it makes yet another excellent argument against voting for McCain. Please read and think about it, not read and attack someone for a well thought out argument because it doesn’t mesh with your opinions.

Okay, here we are just three days away from the Presidential election. People of strong values on both sides are throwing a lot of mud around. I feel it’s only fair that I chime in with a few facts instead of propaganda. These will be counter points to McCain related points. I know some of you don’t agree with me, but I did the courtesy of reading your posts (more than once in some instances). Reciprocation is all I ask.

First off let me say that John McCain does have some admirable qualities, I will not deny him that. I like the fact that he has never accepted “pork barrel” money. And respect I his service to his country and his time as a POW.

Truth be told, I wish John McCain was the Republican nominee for the 2000 election. I believe that had he been the President during these past 8 years that we never would have initiated the Iraq war. We would have pulled Bin Laden kicking and screaming from his Afghanistan caves, and prosecuted him to the fullest extent of the law. We needed John’s leadership before 9/11, now it’s more complicated. Two wars and a financial disaster later, John McCain is no longer the answer.

Here’s why.

The Iraq War was born out of the Bush Doctrine (something Sarah Palin wasn’t briefed on either before or after her nomination). The Bush Doctrine states that we have the right to engage forces where there is a perceived threat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_doctrine). That’s like me punching my neighbor in the face today because 4 days from now I “think” he’s going to let his dog crap on my lawn. Sounds pretty stupid when you think about it. We are not talking about more certain threats like North Korea or Iran who we know have nuclear weapons programs and whom would supply terrorists with those weapons. We are talking about a war based on the presumption of weapons of mass destruction. A war initiated with no real evidence to support itself. By going into Iraq we have destabilized the region to the point that it cannot fend off hostile forces. We have wasted trillions on this endeavor. And the greatest toll has been in lives. More Americans have now been killed in Iraq than were killed on 9/11. More than 100,000 Iraq’s have been killed, many are non-combatants. In the realm of politics those people are called “collateral damage.” Now imagine your country being invaded under false pretenses, and someone you love was killed by that invading force. Now imagine that loved one’s death being referred to as collateral damage. Upsetting isn’t it? This is the Bush Doctrine in practice, a doctrine that John McCain subscribes to. The republicans keep calling this national defense, but a more accurate term would be national offense. Frankly, attacking someone without provocation doesn’t seem that different from a terrorist act to me.

Let’s move onto domestic policy.

Tax cuts and “socialism”. The bailout, which went through last month, is effectively socialism. Our government took the problems of a handful of companies who made poor decisions and dumped those problems on the masses without giving them any say in the matter. Spreading a problem over a nation is no different than “spreading the wealth.” And what’s worse is that John McCain “postponed” his campaign to help spearhead this “socialist” bailout. Then the last person who could have stopped this act of socialism (George W. Bush) signed off on the deal. So it’s interesting that the republicans like to refer to Obama’s tax policies as “socialist,” when it would seem that socialism is a good thing if it serves their means. Do I also have to mention that Bush’s economic policies (which McCain agreed with) helped bring about these problems (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkAtUq0OJ68)?
Obama’s tax proposals amount to an additional 3% to those making more than $250,000. If your are making a quarter of a million dollars a year and can’t afford 3% more in taxes then you’ve got a real problem. If we were making $250,000 a year we could easily pay a 50% tax and still be netting 2.5 times our current gross. So it’s hard for me to be sympathetic to those who will have to pay 3% more. Frankly I’d like to think that someone making that kind of scratch isn’t spending every dime they earn. As for the rest of us, I really don’t care if I get a tax cut. Obama’s plan might be overreaching (in lieu of the 700 billion dollar bailout and the 10 Trillion dollar debt the Bush admin left us with). But he’s not going to have that realization till he gets into office, not unlike a certain other (read my lips) Bush. McCain’s tax plans are the polar opposite, he intends to reward already wealthy people. Both ideas could be called “socialist”. Where Obama would help the middle class and add 3% to the rich, McCain’s plan helps those who have money get more, and does nothing for middle class. While offering the (implied) assurance that rich Americans will use that money to build America. That’s a broad assumption, and a rather unfair one considering the wealthy tend to worry about themselves before anyone else. Poor people are notorious spenders, that’s why they’re poor. Cutting their taxes guarantees the money will go back into the economy.

No doubt McCain’s interests are protected in his plan. It warrants mention that his wife only paid 26.3% in federal taxes for 2007 (http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE49G7DM20081018 ). Which based upon the 2007 Federal Tax Rate Schedules (http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=164272,00.html ) she effectively paid only 1.3% more in taxes than we did. Under the 2007 tax rate schedule she should have paid 35%. So it would seem the rich are already getting a pretty sweet deal. Maybe the McCain’s have to watch every penny. After all, they do own 7 houses, 13 cars, and a corporate jet. But isn’t it also interesting the number of wealthy people who are actually pro-Obama. Billionaire Warren Buffett, Oprah, and dozens of well off reporters from the “liberal” media come to mind, but also the torrent of celebrities who are appearing in the bi-partisan “don’t vote” videos ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhDRVKDcXQo , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TGf2o4qeBo ). It would seem there are some wealthy people who don’t mind that pesky 3%.

With regard to taxes someone said Obama is trying to oppress freedom through taxation and implied that such oppression is a slippery slope, that “religion, guns, and free speech” would be next. What’s wrong with this? First off, the Federal Income Tax was originally instituted to pay for war and on Aug. 5th 1861 it became part of the revenue act of 1861. Though eventually repealed after the Civil War, it was later reinstated in 1894 as part of the Wilson-Gorman tariff, making it the first peacetime income tax. Income tax has pretty much been a staple ever since. My point is that the original reason of the Income Tax was to pay for War, a cause fought for Freedom. Seems kind of hypocritical to imply that Obama’s taxation oppress freedom when the Republicans started wars based on the premise of protecting freedom. Given the national debt having doubled during the Bush administration it’s clear they entered into the wars without any clear and defined means of paying for it. Taxation is the cost of Freedom! As for Obama’s goals leading to the oppression of the of the 1st and 2nd amendments… The concept is beyond stupidity. Amendments have been amended and added to the U.S. Constitution since it’s inception, but the core values of those Amendments have remained in tact. No single man has the ability to make the changes that the republicans are implying. All three branches of government must approve such changes. In order for that to happen, a majority must vote in favor. Indicating that more than 50% of the house and Senate approved such a modification, and then the President. To think that one corrupt man (even the president) has the authority to destroy the foundations of our government is ignorant at best. The (unrealistic) Republican fear is that with a democratic Congress, and a democratic President the odds of this happening are overwhelming, it’s just not true. Keep in mind that the first 6 years of the Bush administration the republicans were the dominant force in congress, and not a single democrat panicked under the minute possibility that they would undermine values we’ve held for 200+ years. The idea of it gets stupider the more you think about it. Someone tries to pass a bill to restrict speech or religion, that’s someone who’s out of a job, regardless of party affiliation.

John McCain has been rather outspoken about a progressive income tax while forgetting that a personal hero of his, Teddy Roosevelt, was a strong proponent of such a tax.

“No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered, not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.” – Republican and former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt.
One more thing about socialism, every year Alaskan residents are given a stipend ($3,269 in 2007) from the oil companies for nothing more than being in Alaska. Imagine that? A whole state, “spreading the wealth”. Does that make Sarah Palin a socialist? (http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2008/10/28/joe-biden-should-have-told-the-truth-sarah-palin-is-a-marxist/)

Let’s talk about healthcare.

This is another one of those things that apparently makes Obama a socialist. When Michael Moore made Bowling for Columbine he got a quote from some Canadian kids who were skipping school. He asked why they should have healthcare provided by the state. To which a pink haired girl replied, “because everyone has a right to live.” It’s so basic and elegant. And it’s so ironic that the same Christians who drown on and on about the Pro-Life movement really don’t give a damn about their common man who can’t afford medical care. Maybe we should refer to the uninsured as REALLY late term abortions, and then maybe these people can see the error in their judgment. After all didn’t Jesus say, “That you do unto the least of my brothers is that you do unto me”?
McCain wants to give individuals a $2500 tax credit and families a $5000 tax credit so they can go buy their own policy. It sounds nice, but what if you have a good Catholic family with 6 kids? 5K isn’t going to cut it in the majority of cases.
Both healthcare plans are going to run at a deficit, and this isn’t a problem with a black and white solution. Assuming that either of the candidates gets into office and does as promised (reign in government spending), then either plan could be paid for. And if we can withdrawal from Iraq we can more easily afford these plans. As a common sense strategy we should do this, our goal should be the preservation of life. Both war and a deficient healthcare system cause death. And dead people can’t pay taxes. Does that make sense?

Added note: John McCain has never NOT had socialized healthcare in his adult life. As a veteran John has received government-assisted healthcare, and as a U.S. Senator he continues that care paid for by the American Taxpayers.

Onto Abortion

Obama’s views on abortion are not a departure from the current standard. He has made NO comments indicating a desired change in the current Roe v. Wade inspired laws. Someone misquoted Obama as having said, “I don’t want to see someone who has made a mistake punished with a child.” (http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0308/Stop_these_abortions_.html) It’s intentionally selective quotes like that which the republicans use to paint Obama as a monster. This is his actual quote “Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old, I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information. “. Obama was taken out of context while trying to address sexual education in lieu of Abstinence programs which have a high rate of failure (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041301003.html) . His position that knowledge of contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy was twisted into an endorsement of casual abortions. If anything Obama wants less abortions, that’s why he wants sexual education programs. To those who get this stuff from only right wing sources, please consider the source and do additional research before assuming it’s 100% accurate. Google is an easy, wonderful and bi-partisan tool!

Joe the Plumber

Oh man, where do I start? How did this guy become an Everyman? A microcosm of Americans? I’m not so sure. You see Joe Wurzelbacher could have easily had his life ruined by John McCain. Up until John pulled poor Joe into the limelight no one knew he was an unlicensed plumber. Now the whole world knows it! Now call me crazy, but it’s been my understanding that having household maintenance done by unqualified contractor can open up a nasty can of worms, especially if problems arise after a property is sold. Take that into consideration and you can imagine that Joe’s plumbing days are over. Since McCain has destroyed Joe’s ability to continue to work as a trusted plumber he has helped his Everyman status by getting him a publicist, a book deal, and maybe a country western album, I shit you not!

(http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24581913-663,00.html , http://www.cmt.com/news/news-in-brief/1598224/joe-the-plumber-may-have-country-music-plans.jhtml) But maybe McCain should stop beating this dead horse because my ability to relate to “Joe the elitist author/singer” is eroding with each passing second. Not to mention that someone who already had tax problems probably isn’t the smartest person to dictate tax policy. That’s like asking an oil executive to dictate policy on alternative energy.
Someone said Obama was “embarrassed” by a question from an honest plumber and spent a week trashing the guy. I don’t know what clip they watched, but I saw Obama clearly tell the guy that his taxes would go up. He didn’t lie to him, but Joe did in fact poorly present himself. Obama didn’t spend a week trashing Joe, the media did that. It was all true, and it was easy, because Joe was a fraud. An unlicensed plumber, with a $1200 tax lien, making less than $100,000 a year, and about 0% chance to buy the business he was talking about. If anything Joe has a lot to gain from Obama’s tax proposals. Unfortunately for Joe, the Republican’s keep contesting and purging voters whose information doesn’t quite match up with the Voter register, and his information is skewed just enough that his “provisional” ballot could be worthless. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/uselectionroadtrip/2008/oct/17/uselections2008-ohio)

John McCain’s health

From a statistical standpoint, John McCain at 72 years old is more likely (speculatively 7 times more likely) to die of natural causes during his administration than Barack Obama (http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/health/chi-mccain-lifespan-01-oct01,0,2007761.story) . This is particularly troubling for me because it leaves Sarah Palin at the helm of the world’s most powerful nation. And though she has more formal education (a degree in journalism) than John McCain, she has no foreign policy or economic policy experience. As an added note, John McCain would be the oldest person to ever get elected to the U.S. Presidency. With the runner up’s being Ronald Reagan at 69, and William Henry Harrison whom died 30 days after taking office at the age of 68.

“Willingness to abandon the people of Iraq”

As I said previously our entry into Iraq has destabilized that area so much that leaving now would leave the country open to attack from several outside influences. It’s a mess we got ourselves into, and it’s a mess not easily resolved. Obama is not now nor has he ever pushed for an immediate troop withdrawal. Even when McCain accused him of not approving legislation, which supported our troops, it was done because that legislation was missing a deadline for total troop withdrawal. We cannot just walk out of Iraq and act like nothing happened, but by the same token we need to make our exit. As much as McCain has been resistant to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfknKVjuyNk) the Iraqi government stated this week that is wants the U.S. out of Iraq by 2011. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article5032531.ece) So unfortunately regardless of the Republican’s desire to leave when their damn good and ready, they are being shown the door by someone who isn’t Obama. At that time the stability of the region will no longer be our responsibility because that is what the Iraqi people chose.

“Manufactured Messiah”

WOW! Really? Just sit back and soak that in.

Okay. The Office of the U.S. President is the highest leadership role in (probably) the whole world. It’s a role where we as citizens turn to for guidance during tough times. The last 8 years have been the worst 8 years since the Vietnam era. We have been looking to our president to lead us out of war, and recession. We look to our president to come to our aide when entire cities are laid waste by hurricanes and buildings toppled by terrorist piloted aircraft. What we got was a dud. When our president was told about the first 9/11 attack before he still made an appearance at Emma E. Booker Elementary School, he was told about the second attack while at the school. (http://www.historycommons.org/essay.jsp?article=essayaninterestingday ) Our Commander and Chief Sat there like a dumbass for 7 minutes reading “The Pet Goat”, clearly not grasping the gravity of the situation or even choosing to act on it. Flash ahead to Hurricane Katrina. Bush waits 2 weeks to tour the damage. As of this day there are places in New Orleans that still look like a war zone. Bush was briefed on potential levee failures before Katrina, he did not ask a single question, or attempt to act. Iraq, a war based on lies. Osama Bin Laden, whom orchestrated the largest act of terrorism on U.S. soil, still AT LARGE! Bailout, direct result of banking deregulation spearheaded by Bush and the republican party, and a gateway to what’s shaping up to be the worse recession since World War II (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=456380&in_page_id=2&ct=5) .

Now McCain and his supporters are apt to point out that he is not President Bush. However, you can find him making several statements where he admits that he has voted with the president 90% of the time. What does that tell us? Well, it tells me that what the McCain camp calls a “Manufactured Messiah” is a better hope than one who has supported policies and actions which have doomed America in the eyes of the world. They need that name to try and belie the possibility that Obama might actually do something better than they can. Frankly the bar is so low now that it’s hard to imagine anyone capable of doing a worse job. I suppose when you look at it that way, McCain is still kind of a good thing.

Let’s talk about William Ayers

Bill Ayers was a war activist during the 60’s and 70’s whose actions by today’s standards would be prosecuted aggressively in line with the Patriot Act. His motivations are probably something that few my age could understand since that understanding can only come from living in and experiencing the political environment of that era. By the McCain camp’s definition Ayers is a Terrorist, plain and simple. His acts were certainly reprehensible. However, the McCain camp definition of Ayers is a lie. Ayers WAS a Terrorist who has since reformed and shown no ill intent for nearly 3 decades.

Why does Ayers matter? Because Barack Obama and William Ayers both served on the board of an anti-poverty group called Woods Fund of Chicago. And between 2000 and 2002 the two met 12 times in service to that board. The McCain campaign is trying to imply that these 12 instances have somehow groomed Obama to be a terrorist in the making. The idea that merely being among evil people somehow motivates good people to do equally evil things is as retarded as the idea that homosexuals can convert straight people. John McCain’s connecting Obama to Ayers is equally pathetic. They go on to misquote Ayers as saying “We didn’t do enough.” This is the same pathetic selective quoting they use against Obama with regard to Abortion. Ayers’ actually said, “The one thing I don’t regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being…. When I say, ‘We didn’t do enough,’ a lot of people rush to think, ‘That must mean, “We didn’t bomb enough shit.”‘ But that’s not the point at all. It’s not a tactical statement, it’s an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, ‘we’ means ‘everyone’.”

Rashid Khalidi

A new addition to the McCain camp’s arsenal. Khalidi is a professor at Columbia University who was a PLO supporter, apparently publicly lavished praise for Obama making it seem as though there is some clandestine connection between Barack Obama and an Anti-Semite. Problem is, the McCain campaign wants to link Obama straight to the PLO and skip Rashid Khalidi all together. Why is that? Because in the 90’s a group that John McCain led (the International Republican Institute) gave Khalidi nearly half a million dollars. It seems as though the guilt by association game is catching up with McCain. How’s it go? People in glass houses….. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/28/mccain-funded-work-of-pal_n_138606.html) And would you believe there’s an Ayers connection in there too? (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27461933/)

Look, I don’t care if you are voting for or against Barack Obama. What matters the most is that you DO vote, and do so in an informed conscientious fashion. Don’t come to me spouting rhetoric straight out of the McCain camp playbook. Back your statements up with facts! You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, would you?

Look what I’ve done here. I not only gave you my opinions, I gave you non-partisan resources to back up those opinions. Not a single resource comes directly from the Obama camp. Why? Because there is enough empirical evidence to prove Obama’s integrity, sincerity, and humanity without resorting to the hate and fear mongering which has been popularized by the McCain camp.

We have made several campaign contributions to Barack Obama. He is our choice! And barring a verifiable genetic link to Osama Bin Laden, our vote will not change.

Election List X: Some of The Horrible Things That Will Happen To You If You Don’t Vote

From John Scalzi… Horrible things that will happen if you don’t vote

This is all true.

Election List X: Some of The Horrible Things That Will Happen To You If You Don’t Vote

1. Your penis will fall off. If you are a woman, you will grow a penis, which will then fall off.

2. Your peers will point and laugh at you more than they already do.

3. You will have to listen to smug voters say “if you didn’t vote, you can’t complain” for at least two years.

4. You will be consumed by pillbugs whilst you sleep. They will leave behind nothing but your penis, which as you’ll recall, has already fallen off.

5. You will smell of sour buttermilk until the next New Hampshire primary.

6. Uncontrolled flatulence.

7. Cars will swerve to hit you, even when you are inside your own home.

8. Your World of Warcraft party will turn on you and smite you mightily.

9. Impotence. And not just because your penis has fallen off.

10. Stairs will rise to trip you.

11. Boils. In Biblical plague amounts.

12. Static cling that no amount of Bounce sheets will ever cure.

13. Your cat will take a dump somewhere in the house that you will never find, and the smell will be carried through the air vents for months, all the while the cat will stare at you with that “you’re a real asshole” look they sometimes have. If you do not have a cat, one will be provided for you for the length of time required for it to crap in said undisclosed location.

14. Your credit card will be canceled and your creditors will send someone to repossess your penis. Which has fallen off.

15. Your favorite TV show will be canceled and every time you try to buy the last season on DVD, retailers will be out of stock.

16. Your children will disown you. If you have no children, you will be summarily adopted by a family, and when you attend Thanksgiving at their home, you will be told how disappointed they are in you. For six hours straight. After which they will disown you.

17. Your cabbies will henceforth always take the long route to any destination to which you travel.

18. Zombies, and you without a shotgun.

19. Everyone on your street will win the lottery. You will get a rock.

20. I swear to God, I will learn your address, come to your house, and when you open the door, I will totally kick you in the nads. Which will hurt even more because they’re the only reproductive organs you have left. Because your penis has fallen off.

I trust now you will be sufficiently motivated to vote.

The election lists are now completed. Thank you for your attention.

On why I’ve never been able to support McCain/Palin & chose Obama/Biden

I’m a life long democrat, that shouldn’t surprise anyone here. My bit on the lack of support for McCain is so people can understand this isn’t a knee jerk, OMG he’s a Republican so I can’t support him reaction. It’s a reaction to his platform, or rather a lack thereof.

I’m a reasonable, intelligent person(and if you don’t agree THIS isn’t the place to argue that point) and I vote based on who I think will do a better job. I support Obama because he’s had an answer, a laid out plan for what he would do as President. Again, I don’t think he’s a Messiah or has all the answers. No one person can turn around the cesspool that government has become. McCain seems to be using the same catch phrases over and over without ever really explaining his position. All I hear from him is I’ll work for Vets, I’ll keep taxes where they are, we must stay the course in Iraq until we have victory, Obama is dangerous and not ready to lead. He’s never stopped people from claiming that Obama is an A-Rab or has ever talked directly to the Senator in debates. When pressed to repeat some of the negativity in his ads, he turned it back on poor me, they are lying about me and that guy who called me out hurt my feelings, wah.

I’ve got no clear picture on just WHAT McCain would do to reverse the economic downturn we’re in, he wants to keep the war going, he has not said HOW he’d get Bin Laden, just that we’ll stay the course until we win. That’s all well and good but how do you plan to do that McCain? If he’d picked Lieberman as a running mate, and truly stuck to his label of Maverick I’d be a lot more concerned about Obama’s chances next week. As it is he’s picked a woman to capture the vote from disenfranchised Hillary supporters who think with their gender instead of their brains. But as time has gone on, its clear this woman is an opportunist who is willing to toss the party and McCain under the bus so she can step up in 2012 and run.

There isn’t enough space to list all of the things that are wrong with Palin as a VP pick so I’ll give you a few. She is not family focused, she does not understand foreign policy, thinks being next to Russia is a qualifier for knowing about the world, just got a passport last year, exonerated herself and her husband on charges of misconduct as if that is even legal, used Alaskan taxpayer money to fund her family’s travel alongside her on gubernatorial duties, thinks only small towns are the REAL AMERICA and that folks in big cities don’t get it. She questions peoples patriotism if they come from big cities, the folksy you betcha’s are the nail in the coffin. Trying to appeal to the common man with Joe the plumber, Joe Six Pack, etc are condescending to me as a citizen who gets up and goes to work every day.

My other problem with McCain/Palin is that instead of addressing the issues and really hammering the Obama campaign on what they claim are his weaknesses, they are instead just singing the same tune of he’s not American enough, he’s socialist, he’s going to “spread the wealth around” like the bogie man is hiding under our beds that will suddenly jump up and give us all money O_o?! Granted, that selective memory is coming back to bite McCain/Palin; Palin is on record as being proud of the Socialism of Alaska, how they could give back to each man, woman & child in Alaska because they like to spread the wealth. Hmm, forgot you said that Gov?

I want a President that is going to spend the time to address issues. I want them to be able to remain calm, cool and collected. McCain is not that person. Palin cannot wink or you betcha, golly darnit her way out of a G8 summit or arms treaty. I don’t trust either one of them to deal with our allies in a way that will help this country, and I honestly am TERRIFIED of the idea of Palin being thisclose to the Presidency if McCain drops dead.

I’ve had enough of the government treating the country as their personal playground, of them treating the constitution as a whiteboard they can edit as will with no regard for what we, the people want and need from our government.

I urge you to vote next Tuesday, I urge you to do the right thing and Vote for Change.

A day in the life of Joe Six-Pack

Day in the Life of Joe Sixpack


Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

Palin going rogue? That’s rich… the Maverick picked her, let him suffer his foolishness

Palin allies report rising campaign tension

Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.Â

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

“These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves,” a McCain insider said, referring to McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin’s campaign. Palin’s partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin’s avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News’ Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

“A number of Gov. Palin’s staff have not had her best interests at heart, and they have not had the campaign’s best interests at heart,” the McCain insider fumed, noting that Wallace left an executive job at CBS to join the campaign.

Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.

“I am in awe of [Palin’s] strength under constant fire by the media,” she said in an e-mail. “If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there.”

But other McCain aides, defending Wallace, dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled. The Alaska governor was, they argue, simply unready — “green,” sloppy and incomprehensibly willing to criticize McCain for, for instance, not attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Palin has in fact performed fairly well in the moments thought to be key for a vice presidential nominee: She made a good impression in her surprise rollout in Ohio and her speech to the Republican National Convention went better than the campaign could have imagined. She turned in an adequate performance at a debate against the Democratic Party‘s foremost debater.

But other elements of her image-making went catastrophically awry. Her dodging of the press and her nervous reliance on tight scripts in her first interview, with ABC News, became a national joke — driven home to devastating effect by “Saturday Night Live” comic Tina Fey. The Couric interview — her only unstaged appearance for a week — was “water torture,” as one internal ally put it.

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn’t ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn’t forcefully object. Moments that Palin’s allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign’s pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin’s “slips and miscommunications,” that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

But Palin partisans say she chafed at the handling.

“The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she’s completely inexperienced,” said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate.

“Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised,” the person said. “Recently, she’s gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts.”

Palin’s loyalists say she’s grown particularly disenchanted with the veterans of the Bush reelection campaign, including Schmidt and Wallace, and that despite her anti-intellectual rhetoric, her closest ally among her new traveling aides is a policy adviser, former National Security Council official Steve Biegun. She’s also said to be close with McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who prepared her for the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.

When a McCain aide, speaking anonymously Friday to The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, suggested that Palin’s charge that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” had “escaped HQ’s vetting,” it was Scheunemann who fired off an angry response that the speech was “fully vetted” and that to attack Palin for it was “bull****.”

Palin’s “instincts,” on display in recent days, have had her opening up to the media, including a round of interviews on talk radio, cable and broadcast outlets, as well as chats with her traveling press and local reporters.

Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.

“Get Tracey,” a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly “tried several times to cut it off with a terse ‘Thank you!’ in between questions, to no avail.” The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin’s admirers in Washington cheered.

Palin had also sought to give meatier policy speeches, in particular on energy policy and on policy for children with disabilities; she finally gave the latter speech Friday, but had wanted to deliver it much earlier.

She’s also begun to make her own ad hoc calls about the campaign’s direction and the ticket’s policy. McCain, for instance, has remained silent on Democrats’ calls for a stimulus package of new spending, a move many conservatives oppose but that could be broadly popular. But in an interview with the conservative radio host Glenn Beck earlier this week, Palin went “off the reservation” to make the campaign policy, one aide said.

“I say, you know, when is enough enough of taxpayer dollars being thrown into this bill out there?” she asked. “This next one of the Democrats being proposed should be very, very concerning to all Americans because to me it sends a message that $700 billion bailout, maybe that was just the tip of the iceberg. No, you know, we were told when we’ve got to be believing if we have enough elected officials who are going to be standing strong on fiscal conservative principles and free enterprise and we have to believe that there are enough of those elected officials to say, ‘No, OK, that’s enough.'”

(A McCain spokeswoman said Palin’s statement was “a good sentiment.”)

But few imagine that Palin will be able to repair her image — and bad poll numbers — in the eleven days before the campaign ends. And the final straw for Palin and her allies was the news that the campaign had reported spending $150,000 on her clothes, turning her, again, into the butt of late-night humor.

“She never even set foot in these stores,” the senior Republican said, noting Palin hadn’t realized the cost when the clothes were brought to her in her Minnesota hotel room.

“It’s completely out-of-control operatives,” said the close ally outside the campaign. “She has no responsibility for that. It’s incredibly frustrating for us and for her.”

Between Palin’s internal detractors and her allies, there’s a middle ground: Some aides say that she’s a flawed candidate whose handling exaggerated her weak spots.

“She was completely mishandled in the beginning. No one took the time to look at what her personal strengths and weaknesses are and developed a plan that made sense based on who she is as a candidate,” the aide said. “Any concerns she or those close to her have about that are totally valid.”

But the aide said that Palin’s inexperience led her to her own mistakes:

“How she was handled allowed her weaknesses to hang out in full display.”

If McCain loses, Palin’s allies say that the national Republican Party hasn’t seen the last of her. Politicians are sometimes formed by a signal defeat — as Bill Clinton was when he was tossed out of the Arkansas governor’s mansion after his first term — and Palin would return to a state that had made her America’s most popular governor and where her image as a reformer who swept aside her own party’s insiders rings true, if not in the cartoon version the McCain campaign presented.

“There are people in this campaign who feel a real sense of loyalty to her and are really pleased with her performance and think she did a great job,” said the McCain insider. “She has a real future in this party.”

SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT JOE THE PLUMBER WOULD YOU!

Christ on a wheat thin, I am so fucking sick of hearing about Joe the Plumber! It’s been proven that he’s not even a real plumber, owes quite a bit of money in back taxes, is a Republican and has donated to the their causes and is related to the Keatings of the Keating controversy.

Stop waving his name around like a fucking badge of honor, like he’s your personal buddy. Between him and Joe Six Pack, I’m sick of this ooooh look, we love the common man. He’s the face of America! Well, here’s a bit of news. Joe Six Pack is who I think of when I think of redneck assholes that go home and beat their wive because dinner isn’t ready at 6 pm.

I think of Joe Six Pack as the guy who never got out of high school or has a couple community college credits and resents his wife because she makes more than him in her secretarial job at the local high school. Joe Six Pack is not what I think of when I think of what America is.
America is supposed to be the land of the free, brave, and so on. It’s not a country where you are inciting people to riot over race, not a country where one has to be afraid to express themselves for fear of censure, not a country where I need to fear that someone will attack me because I’m not a white, conservative christian. People seem to have forgotten that America was founded by people who were sick of being run over by the elite, yet we have a candidate who doesn’t know how many houses he owns and a barbie doll for a running mate who has had more spent on an image re-do in 6 weeks than some people make in 2 years.

So for those people who want to toss out Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack as shining examples of American values, just fucking stop it. You are making all of us sick to death with this lame ass sound byte, and frankly you are foolish if you think anyone agrees with that small minded idea.

November 4th must come quickly because then I can stop hearing about how Un-American I must be because I live in a Big City, because I’m not a Christian or Conservative.

Yeah… right, a typo. If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you

Big ballot boo-boo: Osama for president?

Rensselaer County gaffe makes national news after absentee ballots misspell Barack Obama’s name

By: BOB GARDINIER, Staff writer
First published in print: Saturday, October 11, 2008

TROY — It could have been Ovama or Ofama. Or even Olama.

But with one “s” the Rensselaer County Board of Elections turned a single wrong letter into a national embarrassment Friday.Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s last name is spelled “Osama” on some 300 absentee ballots mailed out this week to voters in Rensselaer County hilltowns.

Is it a Freudian slip, intentional gaffe or a mistake? Voters are sure to have opinions, and one politician pointed out that the letters “s” and “b” are not exactly keyboard neighbors.

“Of all the letters to hit by mistake,” County Democratic Chairman Tom Wade said. “Unfortunately it is a mistake which negatively impacts our Democratic candidate for president.”

The typo was first reported Friday on timesunion.com, and quickly grabbed national attention.

“It was crazy, everybody across the country called,” said Edward McDonough, the county’s Democratic elections commissioner. He said calls came in from The New York Times, the New York Post, Daily News, Wall Street Journal and Court TV.

McDonough said he was one of the people who received a misspelled absentee ballot at home, and he didn’t even notice it.

Elections officials on both sides of the aisle insist a simple typographical error caused the national embarrassment. “It was a mistake innocently done,” McDonough said. “We catch almost everything.”

Republican officials were apologetic. “We have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us,” said Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee. “We really apologize.”

On Row 1A, Barack Obama’s name is spelled Barack Osama — a name bearing an unfortunate resemblance to terror mastermind Osama bin Laden – but further down on the Working Families line it is spelled correctly.

The Obama camp took the controversy in stride.

“We’re glad officials are working to correct this error and we assume it won’t happen again,” Obama spokesman Blake Zeff said.

McDonough said the absentee ballots with the error went out to voters in Brunswick, Nassau, Sand Lake, Schaghticoke and Schodack. Three voters called to report the error.

By day’s end, officials decided to issue new ballots to all 300 voters. They realized some people might cross out the misspelling and write in the correct spelling.

“Election law is quite clear that any corrections done on a ballot will nullify the vote, so to be safe, we re-issued them,” McDonough said.

One Sand Lake resident who caught the misspelling, and who asked to be anonymous, was skeptical. “It’s a little suspicious and at least grossly incompetent,” the voter said.

District Attorney Richard McNally said the incident is unlikely to produce a criminal investigation.

“Both sides are saying this is an honest mistake, so unless we find out otherwise, I don’t see it going that way,” McNally said.

Rensselaer County is the only county in the state that prints ballots in-house.

“It saves the taxpayers a lot of money,” McDonough said.

Wade said it might be time to rethink that practice.

Anyone who thinks racism is dead needs to wake up.

Inland GOP mailing depicts Obama’s face on food stamp

08:54 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

By MICHELLE DeARMOND
The Press-Enterprise
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women’s group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

The group’s president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club’s meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

“It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don’t want to go into it any further,” Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn’t my attempt.”

Fedele said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent her the e-mails with the illustration.

Special to The Press-Enterprise
An Inland Republican women’s group sent out a newsletter showing this fake $10 “food stamp” with Barack Obama’s face on it.

She said she doesn’t think in racist terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an African-American who previously ran for president.

“I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected,” she said. “It was just food to me. It didn’t mean anything else.”

She said she also wasn’t trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the illustration connects the two: “Obama talks about all those presidents that got their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps, what else!”

Club Member Cries

Sheila Raines, an African-American member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele about the newsletter. Raines, of San Bernardino, said she has worked hard to try to convince other minorities to join the Republican Party and now she feels betrayed.

“This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she said. “I’m really hurt. I cried for 45 minutes.”

The Obama campaign declined to comment. It’s the campaign’s policy to not address such attacks, said Gabriel Sanchez, a California spokesman for the campaign.

The newsletter prompted a rebuke from another African-American member of the organization, which is well recognized in the community for its philanthropy and efforts to register and turn out voters in the Rancho Cucamonga and Upland areas.

Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana councilwoman and member of the women’s group, said the item is rude and requires a public apology.

“When I opened that up and saw it, I said, ‘Why did they do this? It doesn’t even reflect our principles and values,’ ” said Warren, who served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September and is a regional vice chairwoman for the California Republican Party. “I know a lot of the ladies in that club and they’re fantastic. They’re volunteers. They really care — some of them go to my church.”

Warren forwarded an electronic version of the newsletter to the California Republican Party headquarters, where officials also were outraged Wednesday and denounced the illustration.

Hector Barajas, the party’s press secretary, said the party chairman likely will have a conversation with Fedele, and Barajas will attend the statewide California Federation of Republican Women conference this weekend in Los Angeles to handle any news media there to cover the controversy.

Obama in Turban

The newsletter is not the first such episode Barajas has had to respond to this week. The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday posted an image it said was captured from the Sacramento County GOP Web site that showed Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden.

It said: “The difference between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S.” The site also encouraged members to “Waterboard Barack Obama,” a reference to a torture technique. The Sacramento County party took down the material Tuesday after being criticized.

Mark Kirk, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County GOP chairman, said he expects Chairman Gary Ovitt to also have a talk with Fedele and to attend the group’s local meeting next week to discuss the issue with members, although the county GOP has no formal oversight role over the club. Kirk said these kinds of depictions hurt the party’s ongoing efforts to reach out to minorities.

“It’s very damaging and we’re going to take steps to correct this,” Kirk said. “Unfortunately, I don’t know what you do to correct ignorance like this, but we will do what we can.”

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and state Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, both criticized the illustration as inappropriate and irresponsible.

Dutton pointed out that his wife, a member of the club, is of Mexican heritage and has battled criticism that the Republican Party is not the party for minorities. The club’s newsletter undercuts efforts to rise above racism, he said.

“Bias and racial comments and even suggestions are frankly what weakens us as a people. I think we as Americans need to rise above that,” he said.

Emmerson said he was extremely offended and sickened by the newsletter.

Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Cal State Sacramento, said it’s imperative that people speak out about these kinds of depictions no matter how small the organization. She praised Raines for doing so.

“It’s a statement about what is civil discourse and can you get away with doing something under an organizational banner,” she said. “You have to cut it out at the root and the root is often small organizations that are local and they then become larger.”

Reach Michelle DeArmond at 951-368-9441 or mdearmond@PE.com

Race & Politics herein, read and comment at your own peril

Warning – hateful image at the head of this & linked post, in case it would bother anyone

A thoughtful post on a hateful image done by a McCain supporter by karnythia

Well written post again by Karnythia. Once again articulating what is bothering me about the rage and undercurrent of kill him and race baiting being done by the extremists in the McCain bullpen. The fact that this blogger is claiming he didn’t know he was using racist, hateful, death threat imagery is utter bullshit.

It’s only 3 weeks till election day and as several people have said, I’m done worn out. I don’t know if my nerves or patience can keep me calm until the last vote is counted.

Keith Olbermann breaks this down for the folks:

A reminder for IL residents from Sen. Steans – Today is the last day to register to vote!

State Senator Heather Steans


Voter Registration Information

I am writing to remind you that the last day to register to vote in Illinois is Tuesday, October 7.  I have received a number of calls and e-mails today from constituents requesting more information on voter registration.

Information in this e-mail

Find your polling place and check your voter registration status.
– IMPORTANT REMINDER:  You must re-register if you have moved.
– Locations where you can register to vote.
– Early voting runs from October 13 to October 30.

Check your voter registration status.
Chicago residents can visit http://www.chicagoelections.com
You must re-register if you have moved.

Remember that you MUST re-register to vote if you have moved since you last registered. It doesn’t matter if you have moved within the same neighborhood or precinct, if your address has changed, you must re-register.

Locations where you can register to vote.

You can register by visiting the office that I share with Congresswoman Schakowsky, Alderman Smith, and Representative Osterman at 5533 N. Broadway from 9am to 5pm today and tomorrow.  These forms will be taken directly to the Chicago Board of Elections.

In addition, you can register to vote at any elected official’s office or libary in my district.
Here are the downtown voter registration locations:

Chicago Board of Elections
69 W. Washington, Suite 600
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Chicago City Hall Lobby (Tuesday only)
121 N. LaSalle
8:00 a.m. to 12 Midnight
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State
9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Finally, You can also download a voter registration application This application must be postmarked by October 7, 2008.

Early voting information.

I am also highly encouraging residents to vote before November 4 this year.  Early voting runs from October 13 to 30th.  There is already a record number of people who have registered this year, meaning long lines at the polling places on November 4.  You do not need an excuse to vote early.

Early voting will begin Monday, October 13 and run October 30.  You can vote at any of these locations downtown and in the district regardless of where you are registered.  You must bring a government photo ID to vote early.
·         Chicago Board of Elections, 69 W. Washington
·         Edgewater Library, 1210 W. Elmdale
·         Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
·         Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside
·         Budlong Woods Library, 5630 N. Lincoln
·         Pottawattomie Park, 7340 N. Rogers
·         Warren Park, 6601 N. Western

Hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The downtown location only is also open
Sunday 9 a.m. – Noon.

You can still vote absentee.  The deadline for requesting an application is October 31, but you are urged to send in your application as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact my office with any questions you may have. Call 773-769-1717 or e-mail hsteans@senatedem.ilga.gov with any questions.

Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator

Is she just that clueless? Wait, I just answered my own question

Palin attempts to link Senator Obama to homegrown terrorism. Except as usual, she’s way off the mark.

Palin claims Obama is palling around with a known terrorist during a campaign stop in Ohio.

Problem with this assertion is that:
a.) Everyone knows that this man did the majority of his “radical terrorist” work when Obama was a tender 8 years old
b.) They have never been close, and haven’t really been in touch since Obama became a Senator in 2005
c.) “But that article concluded that “the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called ‘somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.’ ”
d.) It’s obvious that she and McCain are grasping at straws for anything to tarnish the Senator’s image.

The full article is after the jump for those that don’t click:
Continue reading “Is she just that clueless? Wait, I just answered my own question”

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

Has this been on a news blackout? How is it that no-one has heard of this until now??

On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.

to repeat: Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

Please, please, go to this link and read the whole thing. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/28/203016/697/536/613742

It was reported in the Dayton Daily News, but not commented on in major media since. The DVDs —28 million of them— were inserted in newspapers in many swing states by a pro-McCain group. And so here we are. A country where hatred is distributed with the Sunday paper. Where children are maliciously attacked because of their religion and no one blinks. Thankfully, no-one died. This time.

I urge you to call or write any major media outlet you know of and disseminate this story. Also, I’m sure the people in Dayton Islamic Society and their members would appreciate a kind word.
26 Josie Street, Dayton, OH 45403 Tel: (937) 228-1503
Here is the email:
isgd@hotmail.com

Here also is the email for the people that put this sick piece of trash into circulation.
info@clarionfund.org

Crossposted to my LJ and snagged with permission from the community obama_blackfolk

Note to self for reading other’s political thoughts…

Note to self…

When reading others political thoughts:

If they decide to stoop to name calling and outright idiocy, don’t sink to their level

If they decide that by supporting your candidate of choice you are un-American and un-patriotic remember it’s only their opinion.

If they have decided that attacking, arguing and flat out refusal to listen to facts is their MO rather than intelligent discourse; give it up as a lost cause.

If all of the above happens, just stop reading their blog until the election is over.

John Scalzi is awesome… read what he has to say dammit

I love John Scalzi, awesome, awesome man that he is. A not so gentle reminder from Mr. Scalzi to folks to calm the fuck down and stop spazzing out because the GOP got a poll jump after their convention.

The full post after the jump if you don’t click.

Continue reading “John Scalzi is awesome… read what he has to say dammit”

From the issues.com comparison of Pres & VP candidates stance on the issues…

Democratic Nominees:

Barack Obama on electoral issues
Joe Biden on electoral issues

Republican Nominees:

John McCain on electoral issues
Sarah Palin on electoral issues
I think my choice is pretty clear cut. I’d rather not have a woman as VP who clearly is stuck in the 1940’s where women stayed home and were baby factories, a woman who hates gays and lesbians with such fervor. A woman who despite her rhetoric of family values has a teenaged daughter that is pregnant out of wedlock. Way to go Palin! Nice way to lead by example.

The inexperience argument is now null and void, and should fall on deaf ears to anyone who can look at Palin’s record of public service versus Obama’s. What was that? Who’s so inexperienced now hmm?

My thougts on the election… Senator Obama, history

I won’t mince words here. I do Believe in Change, I do believe in the message that Senator Barack Obama is bringing to the nation. I do believe that he can be that agent of change we need to move past the past eight years of war, recession, theocracy and tailspin we have endured as a country.

Let me take a moment to let you know, that no I do not think the good Senator is our next Messiah, I do not think he walks on water and can do no wrong. I do not idolize Barack Obama, and think that he is THE ANSWER for all of our nations ills. No one man or woman can snap their fingers and make it alright. No one man or woman can wade into the mess that is our current administration and sweep it all clean with a word or gesture.

I do believe that he can do it, with work over the 4 years of the Presidential term. He can do it, if people learn that first and foremost we are a nation of strong people, who are willing to do the work to bring America back to its greatness, not just a nation of whiners, not just a nation of “not my fault” irresponsible types but a nation that can band together to make a difference.

I do not believe that someone who does not support the Senator is automatically a racist, because that is just stupid. While I may disagree on choice of candidate, who am I to point the finger of you are racist just because you don’t agree with me? For those who can find fault in his policies, his past actions in Chicago, his relatively short term in Senate as reasons to not vote for him, I can respect that. I may not like it, but I can respect it.

For those women who feel slighted by the fact that Hillary did not make it to the Nomination by the party, suck it up will you? Would you let your bitterness and misguided anger over her loss let you vote for a man who has no regard for women, who called his wife a trollop and cunt when she jokingly teased him over his thinning hairline? Some champion of women’s rights you’re behind now that Hillary is out of the running. To them I do say, Your Whiteness IS showing.

All of that rambling was to state clearly that I support Senator Obama, be it with my time, money or just my heart and ballot come 4 November but I do so with a clear head and cautious mind that while yes, WE CAN do it with Barack, he is still a mere human and fallible. He is still a politician and as such can promise us the moon, but we must hold him accountable for those promises. We as a people must ensure that we get substance along with his style and that we hold his feet to the fire to make the change he has promised a reality and not empty words uttered along the campaign trail.

Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech

Link stolen shamelessly from angelsscream

Denver, CO (AHN) – Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech as he receives the nomination to serve as the Democratic party’s presidential candidate for 2008; delivered to the nation from Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado.

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Continue reading “Text of Obama’s Nomination acceptance speech”

Your Whiteness is Showing

An Open Letter to Certain White Women Who Are Threatening to Withhold Support from Obama in November

Your Whiteness is Showing

By TIM WISE

This is an open letter to those white women who, despite their proclamations of progressivism, and supposedly because of their commitment to feminism, are threatening to withhold support from Barack Obama in November. You know who you are.

I know that it’s probably a bad time for this. Your disappointment at the electoral defeat of Senator Hillary Clinton is fresh, the sting is new, and the anger that animates many of you–who rightly point out that the media was often sexist in its treatment of the Senator–is raw, pure and justified.

That said, and despite the awkward timing, I need to ask you a few questions, and I hope you will take them in the spirit of solidarity with which they are genuinely intended. But before the questions, a statement if you don’t mind, or indeed, even if (as I suspect), you will mind it quite a bit.

First, for those of you threatening to actually vote for John McCain and to oppose Senator Obama, or to stay home in November and thereby increase the likelihood of McCain winning and Obama losing (despite the fact that the latter’s policy platform is virtually identical to Clinton’s while the former’s clearly is not), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and increase the odds of his winning (despite the fact that he once called his wife the c-word in public and is a staunch opponent of reproductive freedom and gender equity initiatives, such as comparable worth legislation), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

For those threatening to vote for John McCain or to stay home and help ensure Barack Obama’s defeat, as a way to protest what you call Obama’s sexism (examples of which you seem to have difficulty coming up with), all the while claiming to be standing up for women…

Your whiteness is showing.

When I say your whiteness is showing this is what I mean: You claim that your opposition to Obama is an act of gender solidarity, in that women (and their male allies) need to stand up for women in the face of the sexist mistreatment of Clinton by the press. On this latter point–the one about the importance of standing up to the media for its often venal misogyny–you couldn’t be more correct. As the father of two young girls who will have to contend with the poison of patriarchy all their lives, or at least until such time as that system of oppression is eradicated, I will be the first to join the boycott of, or demonstration on, whatever media outlet you choose to make that point. But on the first part of the above equation–the part where you insist voting against Obama is about gender solidarity–you are, for lack of a better way to put it, completely full of crap. And what’s worse is that at some level I suspect you know it. Voting against Senator Obama is not about gender solidarity. It is an act of white racial bonding, and it is grotesque.

If it were gender solidarity you sought, you would by definition join with your black and brown sisters come November, and do what you know good and well they are going to do, in overwhelming numbers, which is vote for Barack Obama. But no. You are threatening to vote not like other women–you know, the ones who aren’t white like you and most of your friends–but rather, like white men! Needless to say it is high irony, bordering on the outright farcical, to believe that electorally bonding with white men, so as to elect McCain, is a rational strategy for promoting feminism and challenging patriarchy. You are not thinking and acting as women, but as white people. So here’s the first question: What the hell is that about?

And you wonder why women of color have, for so long, thought (by and large) that white so-called feminists were phony as hell? Sister please…

Your threats are not about standing up for women. They are only about standing up for the feelings of white women, and more to the point, the aspirations of one white woman. So don’t kid yourself. If you wanted to make a statement about the importance of supporting a woman, you wouldn’t need to vote for John McCain, or stay home, thereby producing the same likely result–a defeat for Obama. You could always have said you were going to go out and vote for Cynthia McKinney. After all, she is a woman, running with the Green Party, and she’s progressive, and she’s a feminist. But that isn’t your threat is it? No. You’re not threatening to vote for the woman, or even the feminist woman. Rather, you are threatening to vote for the white man, and to reject not only the black man who you feel stole Clinton’s birthright, but even the black woman in the race. And I wonder why? Could it be…?

See, I told you your whiteness was showing.

And now for a third question, and this is the biggie, so please take your time with it: How is it that you have managed to hold your nose all these years, just like a lot of us on the left, and vote for Democrats who we knew were horribly inadequate–Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, right on down the uninspiring line–and yet, apparently can’t bring yourself to vote for Barack Obama? A man who, for all of his shortcomings (and there are several, as with all candidates put up by either of the two major corporate parties) is surely more progressive than any of those just mentioned. And how are we to understand that refusal–this sudden line in the proverbial sand–other than as a racist slap at a black man? You will vote for white men year after year after year–and are threatening to vote for another one just to make a point–but can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man, whose political views come much closer to your own, in all likelihood, than do the views of any of the white men you’ve supported before. How, other than as an act of racism, or perhaps as evidence of political insanity, is one to interpret such a thing?

See, black folks would have sucked it up, like they’ve had to do forever, and voted for Clinton had it come down to that. Indeed, they were on board the Hillary train early on, convinced that Obama had no chance to win and hoping for change, any change, from the reactionary agenda that has been so prevalent for so long in this culture. They would have supported the white woman–hell, for many black folks, before Obama showed his mettle they were downright excited to do so–but you won’t support the black man. And yet you have the audacity to insist that it is you who are the most loyal constituency of the Democratic Party, and the one before whom Party leaders should bow down, and whose feet must be kissed?

Your whiteness is showing.

Look, I couldn’t care less about the Party personally. I left the Democrats twenty years ago when they told me that my activism in the Central America solidarity and South African anti-apartheid movements made me a security risk, and that I wouldn’t be able to get clearance to be in some parade with Governor Dukakis. Yeah, seriously. But for you to act as though you are the indispensible voters, the most important, the ones whose views should be pandered to, whose every whim should be the basis for Party policy, is not only absurd, it is also racist in that it, a) ignores and treats as irrelevant the much more loyal constituency of black folks, without whom no Democrat would have won anything in the past twenty years (and indeed the racial gap favoring the Democrats among blacks is about six times larger than the gender gap favoring them among white women, relative to white men); and b) demonstrates the mentality of entitlement and superiority that has been long ingrained in us as white folks–so that we believe we have the right to dictate the terms of political engagement, and to determine the outcome, and to get our way, simply because for so long we have done just that.

But that day is done, whether you like it or not, and you are now left with two, and only two choices, so consider them carefully: the first is to stand now in solidarity with your black brothers and sisters and welcome the new day, and help to push it in a truly progressive and feminist and antiracist direction, while the second is to team up with white men to try and block the new day from dawning. Feel free to choose the latter. But if you do, please don’t insult your own intelligence, or ours, by insisting that you’ve done so as a radical political act.

Tim Wise is the author of: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press, 2005), and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge: 2005). He can be reached at: timjwise@msn.com

Rightwing Swiftboating v2.0 – or let’s derail Obama 08′

Media Matters has found the Obama swiftboating strategem

The thematic structure of the right-wing
smear campaign against Barack Obama

As the means of communication have evolved, presidential campaigns have grown increasingly multifaceted, with each election featuring layers of complexity that were not present four years before. The most striking feature of the 2008 election may be the sheer volume and variation of the attacks being directed at Sen. Barack Obama. Though they come from many sources, arrive through a variety of media, and cover a wide range of subjects, a close examination reveals a unified thematic structure to these attacks.

Text only version.
Click on each bubble for more information.

Swiftboating

Swiftboating

As has been extensively documented, many of the criticisms Obama has faced are based on outright falsehoods. The truth is that he is a Christian, not a Muslim; he was born in the United States; he doesn’t refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance; he wasn’t endorsed by Fidel Castro; and so on. Other attacks are outrageous distortions with a kernel of truth at their core.

The diagram below shows how the seemingly disconnected attacks on Obama all drive in a similar direction. Each begins with some aspect of Obama’s history, family, personal characteristics, or beliefs. The attack then moves to one of three broad themes: that Obama is a Muslim or somehow foreign; that he represents a black radicalism more at home in the 1960s than today; or that he is a liberal elitist with a radical, even socialist agenda.

Some of the attacks touch on two or even all three of these themes, which is why they are represented in a Venn diagram. But all the attacks ultimately point to the conclusion that Obama is “not one of us,” as the expression goes — not Christian, not white, not mainstream, not even American.

Just as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth unleashed on the public a dossier of lies about John Kerry in 2004, this new campaign is on a mission to spread misinformation about a presidential candidate. We call it “Swiftboating 2.0” not only because it is the latest model of a political smear campaign, but also because it shares features of “Web 2.0” sites like Facebook and MySpace: significant portions of the content are generated by ordinary people and are spread from peer to peer. Swiftboating 2.0 combines these new information pathways with traditional media — books from conservative publishers, right-wing radio, and conservative pundits and strategists on television — to spread the smears as widely as possible and force them into the mainstream media.

To understand the attacks on Obama, one must acknowledge that they operate together, as one coherent, thematically unified campaign: Swiftboating 2.0.

Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while

Excellent commentary on Faux news:

Lyrics are not safe for work!

For context:
The story from the Huffington Post on how he tried to deliver a petition to Fox with 600,000 signatures and they refused to see him

Text after the jump for the link phobic

Rapper Nas Delivers Fox News Petition, Says Network Is “Scared”

Continue reading “Sly Fox by Nas… best commentary on Faux news I’ve seen in a while”

Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG

I don’t even have any words for this… this bullshit. Note to the The New Yorker…

You’re DOING IT REALLY FUCKING WRONG HERE!

To see what I’m so livid about, go to this article in the Tribune.


Obama campaign slams New Yorker cover
The art satirizes right-wing portrayals of the candidate, magazine says.

Continue reading “Hey New Yorker, it’s called Doing it WRONG”

Faux news has sunk to a new low…

They called Mrs. Obama a “Baby mamma” WTF! I say again, WTFF! I want to beat Michelle Malking with a stick to make her see some fucking common sense.

I think I love John Scalzi even more for his post on the “baby mamma” idiocy at Faux news

The text of his post is after the jump for the link phobic:

Continue reading “Faux news has sunk to a new low…”

For the last time, Barack Hussein Obama is not a Muslim Terrorist!

If I hear or see one more uneducated, foolish nut job capitalize Barack Obama’s middle name and scream terrorist Muslim I may just crack. After reading an article in Diver Issues in Higher Education take on racism being an issue for the good Senator, I’m seething.

I’m not seething because they are stating the obvious, I’m seething because of the rampant ignorance about Obama that I see and hear from people on a daily basis. After all of the hoo ha about Rev. Wright and Trinity, how can anyone still think he’s Muslim?

These are the fear mongering, omg terrorists are under our beds and in our wheaties kind of fools that kept shrub in office and who continue to flood the world with their idiocy.

Yes, his name is Barack Hussein Obama, but Christ on a cracker, why must everyone with a Muslim sounding name HAVE to be an American hating terrorist?

I’m just frustrated at the level of OMG TERRORIST! The folks in the article are espousing, especially when they interview folks in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who are clearly old school racists because of the era they grew up in.

*throws up hands* I don’t know how I’ll make it for the rest of the year wanting to throttle idiots.

Ask not what your country can do for you… via Kung Fu Monkey

Via spot on LJ, Kung Fu Monkey hits the bullseye on the so-called ousting of Hillary Clinton, the misogyny of the race and the twisting of the meanings of race and misogyny in the context of this presidential race.

The post can be found here

Full text after the jump:

Continue reading “Ask not what your country can do for you… via Kung Fu Monkey”

Pfleger spoke the truth, and now folks are pissed off

While I don’t agree with the method of delivery by Reverend Pfleger, I do agree with the message. Why is no one talking about McCain’s hateful minister? Hmmm?

Rev. Pfleger: ‘They want to kill me…it’s been ugly’

June 1, 2008

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who helped reignite Barack Obama’s pastor problems by mocking Hillary Clinton, said this evening he’s received “thousands of hate threats” since his videotaped pulpit rant.

“They want to kill me,” Pfleger told parishioners during a service in a St. Sabina Church chapel on Chicago’s South Side this evening. “It’s been very ugly.”

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech

I havent had a chance to watch his speech yet, but I am impressed by the text that I’ve read. I’m saddened by those who would demean his great words and twist them into a parody of hatred and classicism that isnt even mentioned in this speech. I think no matter the results of this election, this speech will be remembered as other great oratories of our history are now oft repeated and used to teach lessons to those of us who will listen.

I hope that the politics of hate will cease and that this election can be salvaged before we wind up with another 4 years of fear mongering.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Continue reading ““We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Sen. Obama’s speech”

Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia

A great place for well thought out, interesting and thought provoking blog posts concerning Senator Barack Obama. Good stuff! Go read I say.

Bloggers for Obama

Good stuff, I snagged the link from comments in a thread at Karnythia’s LJ and here’s the article that Bloggers for Obama linked to that Karnythia wrote:

Karnythia’s Editoria

Full Article below:

Racism in my feminism? You don’t say… 
By Karnythia

Hillary Clinton: Bow to the man, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the man.

Now, I’ll bet reading that made you want to reach for a hammer right? You’re thinking “What kind of sexist BS is this?” and possibly questioning my sanity. You’re right. It is sexist and I would sound insane if I were typing something like this with any serious intentions behind it. Of course it would be even more ludicrous if this was actually being widely disseminated and had people agreeing with it, but that’ll never happen right? Right. Except…something like it is being disseminated and people are agreeing with it. The message is a little different though. It actually reads

Barack Obama: Bow to the woman, and take the vice presidency. Let our country heal. You will run in eight years and be unstoppable as a visionary world leader. You must pass through this filter first though: bow to the woman.

Continue reading “Bloggers for Obama! – Editorial by Karnythia”

You’ve got to be kidding me, I really hope so

This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve seen yet in this election. Its not from an official source but its still unbelievably stupid that anyone could come up with this shit.

Post secret idiocy

Really, who sits around thinking black folks are just waiting for the chance to enslave white folks in retribution for slavery?  Not to say there’s not a small sense of poetic justice of entertaining the fantasy, but really who could think this shit up and really give it more than 10 seconds of thought?

Stupid ass people, I swear.

Swiped from LJ’er Karnythia

RNC Grows a spine… denounces fear mongering by invoking Sen. Obama’s middle name

Snagged verbatim from hey_its_michael I agree whole heartedly. [iconage too!]

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party’s use of Barack Obama’s full name in a recent press release questioning the Illinois senator’s commitment to Israel.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics,” RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. “We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

The statement in question, which was released Monday, said the state party is joining a “growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel…if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.” It also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya in which he is dressed in traditional attire worn by area Muslims.

From CNN.COM

It’s great to see the RNC is actually calling out the Tennessee Republican Party’s pathetic attempts at fear-mongering. It is absolutely sick the way some in politics think innuendo and manipulation of certain segments of American society through fear is acceptable. How about sticking to the actual issues?

Of course, I think many in the GOP fear that will only increase their losses in both branches of government come November…

Does anyone else need any more proof Huckabee is a right wing psycho?

At least I’m not the only one who thinks Huckabee’s latest antics are terrifying. All over the blogosphere, people have been shocked and appalled at how he has blatantly stated he wants the US to become a Theocracy. Or in his own words “Make the Constitution to God’s standards not mans”

Why, oh why is this nutter still even a viable candidate? My friend G thinks he’ll win. I hope to all the Gods that he doesn’t or I’ll be filing for Canadian citizenship. I didn’t sign up to live in a Theocratic union… he’d probably have anyone executed who didn’t join up with his little army of crazed fundie fanatics.

When you vote, please don’t allow this man into office… its the last thing this country needs.

I loathe Huckabee…

Huckabee: Amend Constitution to be in ‘God’s standards’

01/15/2008 @ 7:31 am

Filed by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

The United States Constitution never uses the word “God” or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from “We the People.” However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it’s time to put an end to that.
“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee’s opinion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn’t immediately find much to say beyond calling it “interesting,”

Scarborough finally suggested that while he believes “evangelicals should be able to talk politics … some might find that statement very troubling, that we’re going to change the Constitution to be in line with the Bible. And that’s all I’m going to say.”

Geist further noted of Huckabee that if “someone without his charm,” said that, “he’d be dismissed as a crackpot, but he’s Mike Huckabee and he’s bascially the front-runner.”
The video is available at the original posting here.

Vote or else diatribe…

The Illinois Primary is on 5 February. Go fucking vote… I don’t care who you are voting for or against, just go vote dammit.

Every election cycle I get so sick of hearing people bitch and whine about the current administration and what its doing/not doing for the people. The majority of these whiners DID NOT VOTE because they felt that their one vote didn’t matter, or that no matter who won they were going to be overlooked and fucked over yet again.

Well, thats BS to me. The whole idea of voting of the democratic process was to allow the people’s voice to be heard and felt. I know its easy to be cynical after the last two presidential elections and how they were “stolen” (I’m not going to argue for or against that with you all so don’t even start) but that should make you want to vote even more.

Make your voice heard on the 5th. Get your ass out of that chair and get to wherever it is that you are supposed to vote. Don’t let lines deter you, don’t say I’ll go after work and then blow it off. Its your future as a citizen and your responsibility to vote.

Remember, blood was shed so women and blacks could vote. It hasn’t always been a right to be able to vote, and its a hard won privilege that you can vote.

So just go do it… and if you don’t vote then just STFU about what we end up with in office later this year.

/vote or else diatribe