Saturday, September 13, 2008

In A Nutshell

Ladies and Gentlemen, John McCain.

A maverick who has supported George Bush 90% of the time, an ex-POW who votes against veterans, a scrappy fighter who never met a lobbyist he didn't like, and a loyal husband who dumped his first wife when she got sick and called his present wife the "C-word" during a argument.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

Road Signs

Bob Herbert, New York Times Columnist

"Without the many great and noble deeds of liberals over the past six or seven decades, America would hardly be recognizable to today's young people. Liberals (including liberal Republicans, who have since been mostly drummed out of the party) ended legalized racial segregation and gender discrimination.

"Humiliation imposed by custom and enforced by government had been the order of the day for blacks and women before men and women of good will and liberal persuasion stepped up their long (and not yet ended) campaign to change things. Liberals gave this country Head Start and legal services and the food stamp program. They fought for cleaner air (there was a time when you could barely see Los Angeles) and cleaner water (there were rivers in America that actually caught fire).

"Liberals. Your food is safer because of them, and so are your children's clothing and toys. Your workplace is safer. Your ability (or that of your children or grandchildren) to go to college is manifestly easier.

"It would take volumes to adequately cover the enhancements to the quality of American lives and the greatness of American society that have been wrought by people whose politics were unabashedly liberal. It is a track record that deserves to be celebrated, not ridiculed or scorned."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Black Republicans are getting very little respect from black folks or white folks

It don't make a difference how many billboards the paper tiger National Black Republican Association erects saying MLK was a Republican. Black Republicans are getting very little respect from black folks or white folks. There are many reasons why. Including the Republican National Party acting like the White Citizens Council towards black participation, even at the latest 2008 Republican convention. Here are just 10 of the most current ways black Republicans don't get respect from blacks or whites.

1. Among the party's 2,380 delegates gathered in St. Paul in 2008 only 36 were African Americans and very few other visible minorities were to be found on the convention floor. We see how the Republicans treat you.

2. That number marks a 78 percent decline from 2004, the lowest representation in 40 years and a huge deficit when compared to the 1,079 delegates at last week's Democratic National Convention. You get no respect.

3. The Maryland delegation, a state whose population is 29 percent black, did not have any other African American in attendance at the Republican National convention (except Micheal Steele). Ouc, that stat speaks for itself.

4. For the past six years there has not been a single black Republican governor, senator or representative in the US Congress. Getting the point yet?

5. Only one African American was given the opportunity to address the convention during prime time -- former Maryland governor Michael Steele. Black folks have no real voice in the National party.

6. The three states that track voting registration by party and race show Black Republican registration dropping slightly: Florida has lost 784 Black Republicans; Louisiana’s Black Republicans dropped by 907; and North Carolina has 2,850 fewer Black Republicans. More HERE No one is feelin the republicans, except for a few silly black folks.

7. Tavis Smiley moderated a Republican presidential forum at Morgan Sate University in Maryland, where candidates for the first time answered questions from “a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color.” Controversy is surrounding the event, however, as the four Republican frontrunners — Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and Sen. John McCain — opted to ditch the debate. Empty lecterns stood on the stage in their place. Republicans ignore Black People.

8. Blacks should listen to another Black Republican Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, one of the most prominent African-Americans in the GOP, who called the above PBS debate “an important opportunity for” candidates “to put up or shut up, when it to comes to minority communities in the country.” John Mccain, the leader of the Republican party was a no show.

9. As Smiley said, the refusal of the Republican frontrunners to appear at the All-American Presidential Forum is “serving up some disrespect to black and brown Americans,” whether they be Republicans, Democrats or Independents. AAPP: The Republican party don't like black people.

10. Blacks joining the Republican Party is a an oxymoron. its like Jews joining the Nazi Party.

Cross posted on Independent Bloggers Alliance and African America Political

Some Good Advice

The Talented Mr. Damon

People pay more attention to celebrities than to politicians. It’s a shame, but hey, what are you gonna do? A Nobel-prize winning scientist could hold a press conference explaining how he built a time machine and I’ll guarantee you that he wouldn’t even make the front page of The Washington Post or five lousy minutes on the 6 o’clock evening news if Brad announced he was leaving Angelina to go back to Jen. There’s always lots of people willing to drink the Kool-Aid to join the Cult of Personality.

But, if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to become mesmerized by their charisma. Don’t forget, it’s their job, and they’re good at it. There’s a scene in The Rocketeer, a fun but dumb adventure flick set during WWII, that points this out. Jennifer Connelly discovers that her idol, Timothy Dalton (happily twirling his mustache), is a Nazi spy. “You lied,“ Jennifer gasps in horror. “You lied to me about everything.“ Sneering at her, Timothy replies, “No, I was acting.“ The bottom line is, movie stars are just a better-looking species of used car salesmen, and they’re trying damned hard to sell you something.

Of course, if you like what they do, then it’s a fair trade. But politics is the snake in the garden that changes everything. There’s a big difference between acting in a TV sitcom that makes people forget about their rotten jobs for an evening and being a spokesman for some ugly propaganda that’s packaged as entertainment. Fame will compel people to give you the benefit of the doubt, even when they should know better.Think of the late Charlton Heston at a NRA meeting with a rifle over his head yelling, “You can have this when you take it from my cold, dead fingers!” It’s easier to sell this garbage if you know how to read a script. Ask Ah-nold the Governator who got elected simply by recycling old quotes from his past movies. Why do you think the Republicans miss Ronnie so much?

Thankfully, there’s more than a few celebrities who know how to use their fame responsibly. Matt Damon is one of them.

Matt always comes across as the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn’t brag about it. Because he’s a ridiculously handsome guy, Matt is often dismissed as a slow-witted blond lummox. I’ve seen some unwary interviewers make this mistake. By the time they find out how wrong they were, it’s too late and Matt is kicking their sorry asses the same way he stomped that arrogant, college-educated punk in Good Will Hunting.

Watch Matt do the same thing to Sarah Palin, the Not Ready For Prime Time Hockey Mom. If I was a journalist who still had pride in my profession, I'd be taking notes.

Amateur Night


I think this is really good news. Watching this, my pessimism yawned, curled up in my lap and took a nap. It certainly summoned up painful flashbacks of The President Who Shall Not Be Named, and I know that's definitely not what the Republican brain trust intended.

Inconceivable. An unscripted Sarah Palin magically turns into Dubya's meek, not-so-bright little sister. Who woulda thunk it? And if these nerf balls tossed by Charlie Gibson confused her, what would Mike Wallace do to her?

I can imagine a smiling and relaxed Joe Biden smoking a cigarette somewhere, lost in afterglow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Keith Olbermann

Another Anniversary

Here are some fine words by PalMD from denialism blog:

I fear for this anniversary. Like everyone else, my memories of 9/11 are vivid. It is a shared experience for Americans, but as time goes on, it is losing its shared meaning. Some of this meaning will, I'm sure, continue to be shunted into political ends, even more so with the election coming up.

I have no interest in 9/11 "Troofers", the conspiracy theorists who have all kinds of outlandish ideas about the attacks. I don't need them---the real truth is more frightening.

9/11 wasn't Pearl Harbor. We didn't wake up on the 12th to find ourselves at war, despite what the president may have said. When we entered a real war in '41, we sacrificed. We gave up material goods, we stopped driving, we grew vegetables. I have a box full of ration coupons that my grandfather refused to use as he thought is would be even more patriotic to increase his sacrifice beyond what was asked. After the 11th, we weren't asked to sacrifice---quite the opposite---we were told the best way to fight was to keep our way of life unchanged, to show the terrorists we cannot be cowed out of our cars by a few thousand murders.

What we weren't told was that even though we would not be asked to sacrifice, we would anyway. By becoming entangled in unwise military engagements, diplomatic fuck ups, and petrocracy, we've played right into the hands of those who attacked us.

You see, with this so-called "asymmetry", Islamic extremists can do very little to harm us physically. One mass murder can't destroy our economy, our values, or our way of life.

Unless we let it.

And we did let it. What we sacrificed was our Constitution, our privacy rights, our economy, and our souls. We imprisoned people without due process, we tortured, we extraordinarily rendered, we wire-tapped. We didn't fight terrorism by showing the example of our constitutional democracy, we gave in to terrorism by diminishing it. We fucked up.

As the GOP runs a campaign on the need for strength, I hope both parties remember an important lesson from American history. Our peace hasn't only come through our strength; our strength has come through peace---a peace that has allowed us to prosper, build, innovate. The prosperity engendered by peace has allowed us to retool for war when necessary, and to fight these wars with little damage to our home soil.

Wars of choice don't show the world our willingness to win, they show the world our willingness to be duped into playing by someone else's rules. The rhetoric spouted by both candidates is ultimately meaningless. Either one will be faced with a world where American power and wealth has been diminished by reactionary decisions. Whomever takes the helm will have to find the strength to face the world based on our core values as a nation, and based on deliberate thought, and by action rather than re-action. We still have a chance to learn from 9/11. Let's use this anniversary to start doing it right.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gloria Steinem, Activist

Los Angeles Times:

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stealing Elections 101

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

Ballot Box with Ballot

With a tip of the hat to cometman, an update on the horror show that is Premier Election Systems, or Diebold. Cometman's other excellent diary, introducing cyber security expert Stephen Spoonamore, can no longer be found on Pff, because Pff is no more. Fortunately Arthur Gilroy reprinted it in full and it can be found here. Both of the Spoonamore interviews to follow. But first, this bit of joy from the Washington Post.

A voting system used in 34 states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges.

The problem was identified after complaints from Ohio elections officials following the March primary there, but the logic error that is the root of the problem has been part of the software for 10 years, said Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold.

. . .

Officials in Butler County, Ohio -- north of Cincinnati -- were the first to raise the issue when 150 votes from a card dropped in March. Brunner's office originally said that 11 counties had the same problem but has since revised that to nine. Her office was not able to say how many dropped votes were discovered in those jurisdictions.

"I can't provide odds on whether dropped votes were not recognized" during the decade GEMS has been used, Rigall said, "but based on what we know about how our customers run their elections and reconcile counts we believe any results not uploaded on election night would have been caught when elections were being certified."

So, in 34 states, over 10 years this flaw that causes tabulation problems has only occurred 9 times. We know this because it's only been caught by election officials 9 times. Well, I know I feel better.

But now, the bad news. Diebold's voting machines may be riddled with problems such as these and we would have no way of knowing because Diebold won't allow any audit of their programming.

Stephen Spoonamore, a cyber security expert, who has made a career of auditing similar systems, is baffled as to why to Diebold allows its banking systems to be audited, but not its voting machines. Well, not really. This life-long Republican is pretty sure he knows why. Because they're designed to steal elections.

Among the revelations in these two interviews: 1) There is no such thing as unhackable computer security. The only defense is a transparent process that can be audited and Diebold won't allow it. 2) Spoonamore is certain that Max Cleland actually won the election he lost to the odious Saxby Chamblis. 3) A voting tabulator should have no reason to subtract votes, only add them. Yet, the Diebold machines have a subtraction function.

And much, much more.


Four more years?

Some idiots want four more years of lousy speeches, lousy politicians, and lousy government. I know I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a lousy idea, but there ain’t enough of us to make a difference. We’re outnumbered.

We’re outnumbered by the people out there who have already made up their minds about Obama or are still undecided. O.K., I know why racists aren’t voting for the “uppity” black guy with the scary last name. Anyone who still makes the important decisions about people’s lives exclusively predicated on skin color aren’t going to be convinced by logic, no matter how bad things get. What I can’t figure out are the folks who are still “undecided”.

How is that possible? Where have they been living for the past eight years? Pleasantville?

Looking at the Handwriting On The Wall, it’s been damned easy to read: Incompetence + Arrogance + Cruelty = Republicans. Yeah, it hasn’t helped that the spineless Democrats have bent over faster than the new guy locked up in ‘Oz’, but let’s be realistic, alright? Throughout the disastrous presidency of George Bush, the Republicans have gotten everything they wanted. Look what happened. 9/11, the war in Iraq, Katrina, and other monstrous fuck ups have happened with the Republicans in charge. So what is John McSame and his running mate, Little Miss Nanook of the Alaska Nazis telling us? 1) It wasn’t our fault, and 2) We’ll get it right next time.

In a sane world, the answer would be “No Way, No How, No McCain”. But amazingly, some confused inmates are muttering, “I dunno”.

And I’m scared to death because I know the Republicans wants four more years so they can finish the job. Don’t be fooled. Before they’re done, the Republican party wants to end abortions, close schools, shut down libraries, kill organizations like Planned Parenthood, stop food stamps, get rid of Head Start, phase out Affirmative Action programs, teach those loudmouth unions guys a lesson, and privatize Social Security. Do you think I’m paranoid? Not when I hear about Army interrogators in Iraq using Jack Bauer as a role model.

If this happens, we won’t be able to blame hanging chads, Diebold, Ralph Nader, Clinton’s blowjob, the Supreme Court or Katherine Harris. No, it’ll be the fault of those “undecided” Americans who care more about which jerk is getting voted off the island in “Survivor” this week than voting criminals out of political office. And this time, the third time won’t be the charm.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Day of Blogging for Community Organizing Justice

Black bloggers from around the afrosphere are blogging about the role of community organizers. for me it's about how community organizers in America have historically responded to the needs of America particularly African Americans. We canot kid ourselves that the importance of community organizers was recently highlighted by Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Palin and Rudy Guiliani in their remarks that actually spit in the face of the hundreds of thousands of community organizers, many who have been African Americans and many other Americans. community organizers worked to change our society from a segregated society to a more open a free society.
Both Rudy Guiliani's and Palin's ugly, sarcastic, and ignorant comments about Obama's experience as a community organizer during their speeches at the Republican National Convention had clear racial connotations.
Ms. Palin's remarks made this AAPP believe that Ms. Palin would like to send us back to the days of a segregated

society like the days experienced by so many Americans.
In the Republican National Conventions words and deeds it would have black folks as segregated as it's 2008 Convention or as segregated as the 1950's.
But thank God there were Civil Rights community organizers both black and white, who wanted this madness to stop. Thank God for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, CORE, the NAACP, the Urban League, the Economic Research and Action Projects of the Students for a Democratic Society, The Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fredrick Douglas, these groups and individuals fundamental positive social change. We all know how many of these groups were infiltrated by the FBI and their leaders harassed, jailed or murdered. Last week I got the sense that under a Mccain administration wemight just go back to a day when political community organizers may just be harassed, jailed or God forbid other things that Republicans have been known to do against black activist.
Read more of this post at: African American Political

Palin Speaks With Press

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

click to enlarge

To quote the Kwisatz Haderach, "Fear Is The Mind-Killer."

And I must admit, I fear a McCain/Palin administration and admittedly, I fear a Palin administration even more. If McCain is a maverick, Palin is pure chaos.

Why am I so fearful? Where do I even start? First off, I am afraid the American public is still horrifically stupid. They voted for Bush in vast numbers TWICE, plus they gave him swollen approval ratings when it was obvious there was no basis for it. Are these Bush fans thinking, "third time is the charm?" These people are low-information voters and have consisantly voted against their best economic interests time and time again. They just can't seem to get enough of failure, torment and pain. It is quite remarkable.

For some unknown reason, these voters do not understand the danger of our deficit, national debt and the debt hole. They do not understand that buying from Walmart puts Americans out of work. They seem to have forgotten that American families used to only need one breadwinner - now it takes two spouses and a pile of credit cards to make ends meet. There was a time in Amercia where we took pride in our national parks. My great grandparents used to think very highly of how we as Americans set aside the Great Smokey Mountains, the Petrified Forest, Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. I have ancestors that cut the route for the Blue Ridge Parkway. But now the mantra is "drill baby, drill." My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents used to always think about saving and conserving. They all grew up in hard times in the rough patches of West Virginia. "Why buy a new shovel when you can fix the one you have?" was a saying of Andrew Keys, my great-grandfather who spent a lifetime coal mining and keeping a farm near Spanishburg, West Virginia.

The Republicans seem to have forgotten how to work together. It is there way and they will advance their position with no outside help. That is a very divisive way of thinking. As some of you may know, I run a soldier support charity, Books For Soldiers. During Katrina, I worked with Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan to set-up a relief network for residents of the Gulf Coast. We set out to deliver food, medicine and clothing to those who were affected by the hurricane. When some of the Books For Soldiers volunteers figured out that Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan were helping out, they refused to help Americans in need because, and I quote from their emails, "because the medicine might be delivered by Democrats."

No shit.

So I fear. I fear that half of this nation will continue to not use their brains and vote for McCain / Palin and we will finally lose America.



Birmingham, 1963

Chicago, 1968

Kent State, 1970

Minneapolis, 2008