Saturday, February 2, 2008

Romney Confronts Allegations of Tolerance

Crossposted at the Intrepid Liberal Journal, the Wild Wild Left, Independent Bloggers Alliance and The Peace Tree.

In life and politics, humor often exposes truth far more effectively then a blizzard of facts. This humorous video below, courtesy of The Onion, is mock news coverage about Mitt Romney confronting "allegations of tolerance" for homosexuals. It's worth your two minutes of time and damn funny. What could be worse for a Republican presidential candidate then being accused of social tolerance?

Mitt Romney Defends Himself Against Allegations Of Tolerance

Thursday, January 31, 2008

John Edwards: Duty Performed

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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There has been a lot of rage, tears and way to much "idiot Edwards supporter" language going on. Yes, I would have liked it if he kept going but he has gone far and beyond what most of us do to push this democracy forward.

From some dusty piece of paper...

Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Just saying...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let's Embolden Obama With A Progressive Firewall

The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Wild Wild Left, the Peace Tree, Independent Bloggers Alliance and Worldwide Sawdust.

Since returning from work today my inbox has been flooded with people either venting about Edwards dropping out, praising his campaign or wondering what if anything I have to say. Viscerally, I’m despondent about his leaving. Even if Edwards wasn’t likely to prevail he set the pace on the issues debate. Edwards was far ahead of candidates in both parties on healthcare, poverty, the plight of the working poor, the phony global war on terror and global warming.

John Edwards is a champion of progressive values. Only a progressive mandate can facilitate the massive modernization our infrastructure needs, implement an exponential upgrade of public education to ensure the future, nurture a commitment to research and development for cleaner energy, reorient the economy so it values work over gentrified wealth, empower unions so wage earners will have more leverage, reform a justice system that supports a prison industrial complex by disproportionately incarcerating young black men and challenge America’s empire culture so we’re no longer at odds with the civilized world.

The best response for Edwards supporters like myself is to work for a progressive firewall in congress and statehouses nationwide. Given all the Republican resignations in Washington as well as the changing political landscape in state capitols, this can be achieved. A progressive firewall will hopefully either embolden a President Barack Obama towards greatness or earn respect through leverage with a President Hillary Clinton, to achieve as many objectives as we can.

Should a John McCain become president, it will take a progressive firewall to effectively challenge and obstruct the calamity of American conservatism that he represents and be in a strong position to ascend in 2012. Hardly an ideal scenario and I am certainly not giving up on the White House for Democrats this year. But one thing Democrats have learned the hard way over the years is that we can’t be too dependent on a single personality.

Even so, Obama’s immense potential does penetrate my despondency over Edwards departure. Perhaps he truly can assemble a movement that achieves critical mass and reverses the trajectory of American politics. I want to believe Obama can inspire a transformation from our ethos of greed to a culture of community. I had more faith in the tangible, gritty, populist struggle waged by John Edwards. Yet, if Obama can incorporate Edwards blend of populism with his fighting fire with water persona then he’ll be one of the great ones. With a progressive firewall behind him, hope may not require audacity so much as the will to roll up our sleeves. So as of now Barack Obama is my candidate as the quest for economic and social justice goes forward.

John Edwards and the Standoff in New Orleans

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Rumors this morning is that John Edwards will quit the campaign today. Only time will tell.

I am unsure if this is true or not - it may be. I think if I was John, I would at least wait until after Super Tuesday to make the decision. If he does quit so soon before Super Tuesday, then a great majority of people will not get the chance to vote.

Time will tell.

If he does leave the campaign trail today, I will miss him - his message resonated with me and many times, he was the only adult running.

We shall see.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The State of Some Other Nation Speech

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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Like passing a turd that overstayed its welcome by a few days, that is what it felt like to see George W. Bush giving his last and final State of the Union Address (unless he declares martial law in an October surprise and calls off the 2008 election).

Bush's speech was a total cognitive disconnect to the real problems of this country. He used the root word "terror" 23 times and never mentioned Katrina once. He complained about earmarks yet this Congress has greatly reduced the number of earmarks. Also he ignores the fact that he never vetoed a single bill from the Republican Congress - some of which were the most earmarked laden in history.

Wages are up? Bullshit. The economy is growing? Has anyone told him the stock market is tanking? It is tanking so bad that the Fed rushed out an emergency interest rate cut... and is considering another one. If his economy is growing then why is he signing tax rebate bill? The Treasury Department will need to get a loan from the Chinese to pay for it. You folks remember the last time Bush gave out rebate checks? We needed a $51 billion loan for that one too - and we haven't paid that one off yet.. we are only paying the interest.

In Bush's address, he tells us he will send Congress a bill that will cut 151 "wasteful" programs totaling $18 billion. That is it? That is all you have? How about this for a bill? Bring our troops home and save up towards a $100 billion for the next year? How about cutting back on our overly bloated military spending. You know, if you practiced diplomacy you wouldn't need all those damn cannons.

And Bush calls out Congress for stifling scientific progress. This is the most anti-science administration in history. Typically, American Presidents have always pushed the frontiers of science and technology forward. This is the only President that has retarded scientific progress to the point where lobbyist and attorneys with no scientific background have edited scientific papers and studies.

The rest of his speech seemed to focus on war, war, more war with an extra helping of preemptive war. He goes off on Iran and "militants trained by Iran" but he doesn't even mention Turkey bombing Iraq to kill Iraqis trained by the Iraqis (and probably by the US as an artifact of unintended consequences).

I have no idea what country Bush's fantasy was talking about, but it wasn't the United States.

These days, I am ready to hear about Camelot.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Judged by the content of our WHAT?

In the comments at Howard-Empowered People, Holly posted a link to this story, a press release from NOW-New York State:

Senator Ted Kennedy Betrays Women by Not Standing for Hillary Clinton for President

Seriously? That's really the way they want to go with this? And then comes the sub-heading...

Ultimate Betrayal Felt by Women Everywhere

Whoa. Not just betrayal, but ultimate betrayal. By women everywhere.

I don't know about you, but as a woman, I find that just a teeny bit insulting. Doesn't a female candidate deserve to be judged by the content of her character, rather than the content of her underwear?

John Edwards will gain once Hillary drives off the road.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

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As we all know by now, the outcome of the South Carolina democratic primary was an earthquake and the fault line went right through the Clinton campaign. Race was a factor in this campaign and was made one by The Clintons - and continues to be.

In a shocking election night, several things stood out to me. The first being Barack's outstanding win - beating Hillary 2:1. His gratitude speech was one of the best political speeches I have ever heard - it seriously reminded me of the speech in the film Independence Day - given by The President (played by Bill Pullman):

We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore... We will be united in our common interest. [..] We are fighting for our right to live, to exist, and should we win today, the fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the whole world declared in one voice 'We will not go quietly into the night, we will not vanish without a fight, we are going to live on, we are going to survive, today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

Obama's speech also beat down the past few weeks of Clintonian hogwash. He called the nonsense of Reagan and race baiting old politics and he warned that there will be more to come.

Then there was the Clinton gratitude speeches - or lack there of. In South Carolina, Hillary Clinton issued a statement to the press stating that Barack had won. A few minutes afterward Bill Clinton took the stage and started talking about himself - no mention of the campaign or Obama. On cable news while this is going on, they showed Hillary leaving the hotel with bags packed (they were toted by the campaign slave behind her) and she headed for the airport. She was in the air on her way to Nashville while Bill was still on stage! Once she was in Nashville, now about 11pm, she told the crowd she congratulated Obama (she was referring to her press release, not a phone call) and she plowed into a long town hall stump speech.

And now we come to John Edwards. His comeback from where he was before the democratic debate in Myrtle Beach was astonishing. I think that was the leading edge of people getting sick to death of Hillary. My feeling is there was a lot of people abandoning Hillary - moving to their second choice of either Obama or Edwards. And there a lot going to Edwards. I think as Super Tuesday gets closer, we will see Edwards gaining significantly and drawing those gains from Hillary. The calls for him to quit the race are immature and unwarranted. He needs those delegates. If he wasn't in the race, there is no guarantee the votes leaving Hillary would go to John.

Here is my new theory.

Edwards will stay in the race just to garner as many delegates as he can. Hillary, feeling desperate, is trying to get those banned Michigan delegates and she is even stumping in Florida for more banned delegates. Why? She knows she will need them.

Obama will continue to be the leader in the delegate count up until the convention, but won't have enough to cinch the nomination. Actually, none of the candidates will - they will need the super delegates. The super delegates being old school Dems may throw their weight to Hillary as their early anointed choice. But Edwards could cast his delegates to Obama for some exchange (they have already discussed future strategies) and Obama's and Edwards' delegates will have enough to overthrow Hillary and her super delegates.

That said, super delegates have already begun to throw their weight behind Obama. Ted Kennedy being the fucking King of the super delegates will endorse Obama this morning. For him to come out this early and diss the Clintons is telling. Plus Caroline's article points to the possibility of a full-blown revolt in the Democratic party.

It not only a fight for the soul of the Democratic party, it is a fight for the soul of America.

Edwards will do a lot better once he can get past Hillary Clinton. It is up to us to clear the road.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Big Dog Has Rabies

The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Wild Wild Left, the Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

It took me awhile to warm up to Bill Clinton in 1992. During the primaries that year I was a Paul Tsongas supporter. Ironically, I didn’t agree with Tsongas on fiscal/economic policy but sensed he was an intelligent and decent man with an authentic core. Compared to Bill Clinton, Tsongas seemed to be a beacon of rectitude.

Bill Clinton, remember had executed a retarded inmate on death row to enhance his credentials as a tough on crime “New Democrat” presidential candidate. So while I didn’t agree with Tsongas’s position on the capital gains tax cut I couldn’t ever imagine him gratuitously executing anyone.

Yet Clinton also stood stall in front of a factory in New Hampshire during tough economic times and admitted no president could magically restore the jobs they had lost. I thought of that when Mitt Romney pandered to economically distressed voters in Michigan recently. Instead, Clinton became the first American politician to effectively articulate an economic transition strategy for a high-tech inter-connected world. When the right-wing conspiracy and tabloid media went after him, Bill Clinton relentlessly promoted his “Putting People First” agenda. While George Herbert Walker Bush and Ross Perot tossed rhetorical grenades at each other, Bill Clinton talked about investing in human capital.

And Clinton was tough. The still fresh traumatic memory of the Mike Dukakis ’88 campaign was a toxic poison ravaging my guts. I had canvassed for Dukakis while attending college. One curmudgeon accused me of campaigning for someone who sympathized with rapists and communists. The evil slander machine of James Baker, Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes didn’t just savage Dukakis personally. You see, they also successfully demonized liberals like me as unpatriotic, indecent people to be ridiculed as unworthy participants of the American mosaic.

Dukakis, was a good man. Sadly though, he didn’t just fail to stand up for himself. He didn’t stand up for people like me who believed in economic and social justice, human rights and a cleaner planet. Speaking of a cleaner planet, how the hell did the Bush Crime Family that earned a fortune through oil ever get away with portraying Dukakis as a polluter? To this day that blows my mind.

None of that stuff worked on Bill Clinton. He could take a punch and throw some elbows in return. At the time I found the Clinton “War Room” refreshing. At last Democrats were kicking back. Today, I detest James Carville but at the time I considered him and George Stephanopolous heroes. Bill Clinton was winning me over with his toughness, resiliency and yes I believed there was something to the empathy. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton impressed me as a smart, tough, advocate for the progressive cause. The “two for one” pitch made Bill Clinton more appealing to me.

Once Clinton selected Al Gore as his running in 1992, I believed the stars were aligned for a season of hope. I was twenty-three, idealistic yet also cynically hardened by twelve Reagan-Bush years of division, wedge issues, welfare-Cadillac queens, racism, social intolerance, xenophobia, homophobia, flag burning/pledge of allegiance propaganda and Christian fundamentalist ascendancy. I wanted to feel inspired by a movement of national unity around a new progressive paradigm.

That year I wrote a letter to college friends living out west (remember when we wrote actual letters?) that Clinton’s success “depended on building bridges all Americans can walk upon. Republicans want to blow a few bridges up and convince the white middle class the blacks did it.”

After the Democratic convention at Madison Square Garden I bought a Fleetwood-Mac greatest hits tape and played “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” at least once a day. I wanted to believe so badly. Clinton effectively conveyed my sentiments in his 1993 inaugural when he spoke about “forcing the spring.” I wanted to believe the country was ready.

We all know what happened from there. Clinton scandals combined with a vicious right-wing counterattack resulted in an era of triangulation and the ascendancy of predatory reactionaries. Some things were accomplished: expansion of the earned income tax credit for the working poor, sound monetary policy which gave a boost to the bond market and kicked the economy, two decent Supreme Court justices, peace in Ireland and a decade of relative peace and prosperity to name but a few. We could’ve done a lot worse and if the 2000 election wasn't stolen from Al Gore I'm convinced 9/11 would never have happened.

Sadly, the “Big Dog” as he’s been affectionately known in the progressive blogosphere has rabies now. As anyone who has read my blog writing knows (all five of you!), I have expressed misgivings about Barack Obama. My preferred candidate is John Edwards. But I sure as hell give Obama credit for trying to stitch a progressive diverse movement together across ethnic, gender and age demographics. It’s not so easy communicating the same message across the divide of race and class. Bobby Kennedy was on the cusp of doing just that when he was gunned down in 1968.

Could it be that a moment of possibility has arrived again? Bill Clinton doesn’t want you to believe it. He shamefully exploited racial divisions to deny the politics of hope for his own self-aggrandizement and hunger for restoration with his wife as proxy. Any residual affection I ever had for him is gone. When a dog contracts rabies, even if it’s a beloved family dog, the family has no choice but to put that dog down for the good of the community. My fellow Democrats, it’s up to us to put the Big Dog down.

Holy Crap! Barack Obama Is Black!

The topic below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal, as well as the Wild Wild Left, the Independent Bloggers Alliance, the Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

Anybody out there ever watch the Family Guy cartoon on the American Goebell’s Network otherwise known as FOX? The only reason to watch FOX is for cartoons such as The Simpsons or The Family Guy. How ironic FOX airs cartoons with satirical commentary about America’s conservative culture.

Anyway, some years ago, an episode of the Family Guy showed imbecile father/husband Peter Griffin watching Star Trek on television. In typical Peter fashion he observed, “Holy crap! Lt. Uhura is black!” Adding to the humor was how Peter watched Star Trek regularly and only realized Uhura was black that very moment.

Watching news coverage of this year’s presidential campaign I feel like everyone from corporate media executives, field reporters and the Clintons have declared: “Holy crap! Barack Obama is black!”

Bill Clinton hoped to diminish the outcome of South Carolina by noting how Jesse Jackson (a black man!) won the primary in 1984 and 1988. In other words just a black man getting a lot of black votes in South Carolina. Black votes can’t possibly be considered as a credible bellwether of a candidate’s political viability unless they’re supporting the Clintons. The media of course fanned the flames of race to further generate hype. Hype is far easier to cover than substance anyway.

Sadly, it will only get worse as we approach Epic Tuesday on February 5th. You will read and hear more “horserace” garbage about the Clintons scheming for the woman vote and using subtle codified language to remind voters that Obama is the “black candidate.” Meanwhile, the John Edwards populist anti-corporate message will be dwarfed, as the media instead focuses on how he splits white southern voters with Hillary Clinton.

Finally, you will begin to read how important Hispanic voters are in states such as California as pundits ponder whether “brown” voters combined with women will help Clinton over Obama. A subtle backdrop to all this is how the corporatist media could never allow John Edwards to prevail because he just might implement policies that benefit wage earners at the expense of America’s corporatist pro-war plutocracy. Populism isn't sexy and doesn't fit into a narrative that reconciles with America's corporatist brain massage machine.

Please forgive me for pointing out that the stakes demand infinitely more respect than treating this election as an insipid beauty contest. For starters, the greatest threat to humanity today is global warming. Nothing else comes close. Certainly not the fear mongering canard known as "radical Islam" exploited by sniveling neo-cons.

On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited a report from Independent Alert, a London based peace organization that identified 46 countries with 2.7 billion people where climate change and water-related crises create "a high risk of violent conflict" while an additional 56 countries, with 1.2 billion people "are at high risk of violent conflict." I posted about this very topic in December 2005 and noted evidence of a growing water shortage in the American southwest.

How come we never hear any of the candidates asked about the world’s pending crisis regarding access to fresh water? All the Democratic candidates and John McCain regularly utter platitudes about global warming but have any of them even thought through the challenges ahead once global water shortage reaches critical mass? Has any journalist thought of asking them about the issue during the debates instead of their usual gotcha drivel?

And then there is the minor problem of America’s crumbling infrastructure. Typically, infrastructure and capital projects fall under the bailiwick of state and local governments. Seven years of insipid conservative rule, crony capitalism and tax cuts favoring the rich have created a fiscal calamity for municipal governments nationwide. Perhaps the candidates should be asked if they have a plan to bail out municipal governments and how they intend to pay for it.

In yesterday’s New York Times, William Yardley reported about the increasing demands for infrastructure repairs and the inability of municipal governments to meet their obligations. If you think that isn’t important I suggest talking to those Minnesota families who lost loved ones when the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed last summer. And don’t get me started on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.

If we're discussing race why not ask the candidates about the number one growth industry in America today: incarcerating young black men to populate our prisons? America’s prison industrial complex is as much a blight on our national soul as Guantanamo. What does Barack Obama think about that? Perhaps he should be asked that question during the debates.

Finally, I realize Americans would prefer to just ignore the world but like it or not, we’re currently occupying two countries. Regardless of whatever propaganda you read about the surge working in Iraq or progress in Afghanistan, our continuing occupation of both countries is ineffective and immoral. Yet how many interviews have you observed with the presidential candidates when they’re not asked a single question about either Iraq or Afghanistan? Why not ask the presidential candidates what they intend to do about the increased opium trade in the United States due to our occupation in Afghanistan?

There is also more to the world than America’s occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Rape and violence against women is used as a weapon in the Congo’s ongoing civil war. Genocide continues in Kenya and Darfur. The Bush Administration, Prime Minister Olmert’s government in Israel and Palestinian President Abbas thought they could simply inhumanely ignore the people of Gaza. As a result there is a border crisis with Egypt to further destabilize the region.

Challenges abound at home and abroad with far reaching repercussions for our society, economy, security and ecosystem. Furthermore, the American empire is disintegrating and the fall out needs to be managed with tolerance and sense. But who cares about any of that? Barack Obama is black! Holy crap!

Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, join together in South Carolina Pick Obama

'Yes we can!'

White Voters and Black Voters joined together in South Carolina last night to
smack down the color arousal campaign of Team Clinton in support of the institutional change message of Barack Obama.

In his Victory Speech Obama questioned “the assumption that African-Americans s can’t support the white candidate; whites can’t support the African-America candidate; blacks and Latinos cant come together. He answered: But we are here tonight to say that this is not the America we believe in.

Although Hillary tried to high jack the Obama change message, black, white, latino, and native American voters in South Carolina were not buying the Hillary and Bill Clinton color Arousal politics.

Of course the team Clinton campaign has downplayed the Obama win spinning with their sick color arousal politics of days gone by, discounting the Obama Victory.

Check out the infamous and alleged first wannabe black President Bill Clinton's racist spin: "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in 84 and 88," the former President Bill Clinton told reporters outside a polling station in Columbia. "Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here." Translation? As blogger Mia T noted, The Clintons want people to believe Obama is simply this year's Jesse Jackson. This as Obama gains the endorsement of the Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Inquirer, and the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kenndy, Caroline Kennedy.

I can't wait to read the spin of alleged liberal blogs at
Mydd, My Left Wing and DailyKos and others who have all been generally supporting Billary Clinton, and refuse to link to black political bloggers.

But then again, I'd rather read Afrospear bloggers take on Barack Obama. The folks at Mydd, My Left Wing and DailyKos pretty much hate on black folks anyway.

Here is a link to
Barack Obama’s South Carolina Primary Speech.