Friday, March 28, 2008

Poll positions...

According to Real Clear Politics, Obama has now returned to his frontrunner status in every national poll except Fox News (go figure).

(Graph and Poll Averages)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Clinton political limbo dance continues...

One more time... "How low can you go?... Everybody! How low can you go?..."

Mike Wereschagin and David M. Brown write for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor made.
"He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."

Obama's lead in national polls has slipped since clips of the retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright began being played on national news programs. The uproar prompted Obama to give a wide-ranging speech on race in America a week ago. The Clinton campaign has refrained from getting involved in the controversy, but Clinton herself, responding to a question, denounced what she said was "hate speech."

"You know, I spoke out against Don Imus (who was fired from his radio and television shows after making racially insensitive remarks), saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that," Clinton said. "I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving."

(Full Article)

Desperate to shift attention away from her bald-faced lie about dodging bullets in Bosnia, Clinton shamelessly stokes the smoldering racial fires of the Jeremiah Wright controversy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Headbangers for Obama!

J. J. French of the hair metal band Twisted Sister re-recorded their hit, "I wanna rock" (and assembled a make-shift video) as a tribute to Barack Obama...


Help bring superdelegates to Barack...

Eyes On Obama has created a section dedicated to petitioning uncommitted and Hillary-supporting superdelegates to switch to Barack Obama.

Go check it out and sign the petitions!

Yes We Can!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Poll positions, revisited...

Like I said, the current Gallup poll trend is positive for Obama, and will continue in his favor...


Sen. Barack Obama is now 2 points behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Gallup's daily "tracking poll" of Democratic voters.

She leads 47%-45% -- less than the poll's +/- 3 percentage point margin of error. Gallup says it surveyed 1,227 Democrats and voters who "lean" Democratic from Tuesday through Thursday.

Over the past two days, Clinton's advantage has narrowed from 7 points to 5 points and now to 2.

Gallup writes that:

Clinton moved 7 percentage points ahead of Obama in Gallup's March 19 report and sustained a significant 5-point lead on March 20. Her gains were coincident with the controversy over Obama's former pastor and "spiritual mentor," Rev. Jeremiah Wright. However, the surge in Democrats' preference for Clinton that Gallup detected earlier in the week has started to move out of the three-day rolling average, and the race is back to a near tie. It is possible that Obama's aggressive efforts to diffuse the Wright story, including a major speech ... have been effective.

Perspectives on Wright...

I hate to come back to this issue, but since the media wont leave it alone, I feel compelled to note some of the better discussions on the subject.
The links, two from black writers, two from white writers, give the context and perspective needed to fully understand why Jeremiah Wright said what he said, and how the media has made this into something it's not.

CNN's Roland Martin provides the FULL context of Wright's 9/11 sermon and an honest analysis of it.

Tim Wise also digs deeper into the context and facts behind that same sermon, and explains why America is not able to handle the truth about itself.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell breaks down the realities of the role the black church plays, and why preachers like Wright are necessary for the advancement of the struggle of people of color in America.

Frank Schaeffer points out the conservative republican hypocrisy in decrying Wright's words.

All 4 of these articles should be read by everyone.

Richardson's glowing endorsement speech...


Richardson backs Obama!

From the WSJ and AP:

SANTA FE, New Mexico -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, America's only Hispanic governor, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a "once-in-a-lifetime leader" who can unite the nation and restore America's international leadership.

Gov. Richardson, who dropped out of the Democratic race in January, is to appear with Sen. Obama on Friday at a campaign event in Portland, Ore.

The governor's endorsement comes as Sen. Obama leads among delegates selected at primaries and caucuses but with national public opinion polling showing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pulling ahead of him amid controversy over statements by his former pastor.

Gov. Richardson has been relentlessly wooed by Sens. Obama and Clinton for his endorsement. As a Democratic superdelegate, the governor plays a part in the tight race for nominating votes and could bring other superdelegates to Sen. Obama's side. He also has been mentioned as a potential running mate for either candidate.

(Full Article)

Hat tip to Christopher of From The Left.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

On Iraq and the economy...

Obama's speech on the Iraq War yesterday...

Hillary's Nasty Pastorate

Barbara Ehrenreich writes for The Huffington Post:

There's a reason why Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the "Fellowship," aka The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

Clinton fell in with the Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Family's "most elite cell," the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginia's notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, the Family's publicity-averse leader, that he is "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."

Furthermore, the Family takes credit for some of Clinton's rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing "religious freedom" in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.

(Full Article)

A must read!

Poll positions...

Much ado is being made about the current Gallup poll that gives Clinton a slight lead against Obama, as though that were a death knell for his campaign.

Before we look at the actual trend in that poll, it should be pointed out that every other recent poll shows that Obama maintains a lead of up to 7 points.

According to the national average of polls (as provided by Real Clear Politics) Obama is still maintaining a 3 point lead (although this is acknowledged to be within the margin of error).

More important, however, is the graph from the Gallup poll which shows that since the apex of Jeremiah-gate the trend for Obama is rising, while Clinton is actually falling...

His historic speech is clearly having a positive impact that will reverberate in the next polling cycle.

Bill Maher doing what he does best...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

White House Documents: Clinton MIA during key foreign policy events...

The Guardian's Daniel Nasaw gives a quick overview of HRC's whereabouts during some key moments in the Bill Clinton presidency:

November 17 1993
The House of Representatives votes to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving Bill Clinton one of the biggest triumphs of his early presidency. Senate approval was virtually assured.

Hillary Clinton meets with congressional and cabinet spouses. She returned to the White House later for meetings and "office/phone time".

April 7 1994
Hutu extremists in Rwanda begin systematically slaughtering Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Eight thousand are killed the first day of the genocide. Americans had been shocked by US military deaths in Somalia, and the US evacuates American citizens but President Clinton resists calls to intervene in Rwanda.

Names of participants of Hillary Clinton's schedule that morning were redacted by national archives staff, who cited personal privacy. Later in the day she meets with the wife of a Georgia congressman, has private meetings with staff, and gives media interviews on healthcare issues.

April 9 and 10 1998
Catholic and Protestant parties work through the night thrashing out the Good Friday power-sharing agreement in Belfast.

Hillary Clinton attends a memorial event at the National Press Club in Washington for a New York City congresswoman. She also meets with Philippine first lady Amelita Ramos

March 24 1999
Dozens of US cruise missiles rained down on Serbia in an attempt to punish Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for the country's onslaught against ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo.

Hillary Clinton toured ancient Egyptian ruins, including King Tut's tomb and the temple of Hatshepsut. She dined at the Temple of Luxor and stayed overnight at the Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor.

In a separate article for The Guardian, Daniel Nasaw gives more details on Clinton's whereabouts:

On the day that dozens of US cruise missiles rained down on Serbia in an attempt to punish Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for the country's onslaught against ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo, first lady Hillary Clinton was far from the White House war room: instead she was touring ancient Egyptian ruins, including King Tut's tomb and the temple of Hatshepsut. And on the day before the signing of the Good Friday agreement in Belfast she was at an event called "Hats on for Bella" in Washington.

In her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton has touted her experience in the Clinton White House as preparation to lead the nation in a time of crisis. "Ready on day one" has been her slogan.

But an initial reading of some of the more than 11,000 pages of Clinton's schedules from her days as first lady, released today by the National Archives and the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, shows that she was often far from the site of decision-making during some of the most pivotal events of Bill Clinton's presidency.

Clinton, who was an accomplished attorney and first lady of Arkansas before moving to the White House, frequently claims more than 30 years experience in public life, contrasting herself with Barack Obama's slimmer resume - he served several years in the Illinois legislature and was elected to the US Senate in 2004.

The Clinton campaign claimed on Wednesday that the release of the papers would show Clinton to have been an influential advocate at home and around the world on behalf of the US. But the documents from her office in the White House threaten to undermine her claim to have played a major role in Clinton's foreign policy decisions.

(Full Article)

More dates and details in the full article.

Obama on Iraq, Clinton, and McCain...

This is getting woefully little press coverage in the wake of yesterday's historic speech on race, but it's no less important to pay attention to.
Obama has, once again, nailed each point with the kind of thoughtful, intelligent, level-headed perfection that only he is capable of in this election.

Quoting snippets from it would not do it justice, so here is a link to the... (Full Transcript).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Clinton on Obama’s Speech: I Haven’t Heard It

Apparently the supposedly ever-prepared HRC was hiding under a rock to avoid the speech that was covered by every major news site, newspaper, and blog.

Patrick Healy writes for the NY Times:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared at Philadelphia’s City Hall this afternoon, a few hours after Senator Barack Obama delivered a major speech on race not far from here. But despite the speech’s high profile and intense media coverage of it, Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference she had not heard it yet or read the text.

Many reporters muttered in disbelief during and after her remarks, surprised that a candidate as diligent as Mrs. Clinton -– who always talked about being well-prepared and doing her homework -– would not have read the speech yet. The fact that she was not prepared to comment on it, however, will keep the race issue alive for at least another news cycle, since reporters will keep seeking her reaction.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Clinton said she was “very glad” Mr. Obama had made his speech, given that she said that race had been a “complicated” issue in America that had been marked by “pitfalls” and “detours.” Asked why she was glad, she said that issues of race and gender are “important” and twice called them “difficult issues.”

Asked if she thought Mr. Obama had done enough to denounce racially divisive remarks made by his pastor, the Rev, Jeremiah Wright, Mrs. Clinton replied, “I think that question should be directed at him” -– referring to Mr. Obama.

She was also asked if she could do anything more to tamp down the issue of race in the campaign, since some Obama supporters have blamed her campaign for stirring it up. She said she and Mr. Obama have called truces on numerous occasions, and added that “we have admonished our staffs and supporters” to avoid incendiary language.

In response to another question, Mrs. Clinton said she was not sure if she would deliver a speech that was similar to Mr. Obama’s.

“I don’t know, I haven’t read it, I have to think about it,” she said.


"A more perfect union"...

Here is the video:

"A more perfect union"...

I am waiting until the full video is available somewhere rather than just posting a clip, but in the meantime, here is the transcript which has been posted on

PHILADELPHIA - "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.


Monday, March 17, 2008

CNN poll: Dems want Obama...

Paul Steinhauser writes for CNN:

A majority of Democrats would like to see Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton win their party's presidential nomination, according to a national poll out Monday.

A new poll out Monday shows Democrats prefer Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton to win the nomination.

Fifty-two percent of registered Democrats questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say the senator from Illinois is their choice for president, with 45 percent supporting Clinton.

The poll also suggests Democrats are more enthusiastic about an Obama victory (45 percent) than for a victory by the senator from New York (38 percent).

The two remaining major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are locked in a fierce battle for their party's presidential nomination, with Obama holding a slight lead both in delegates and the overall popular vote in the primaries and caucuses to date.

(Full Article)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Major Hillary donor with ties to sweatshops and Abramoff?...

leveymg writes for DailyKOS:

Greenberg Traurig (GT), a major GOP partisan law and lobbying shop, has been indicted on federal charges in the Marianas Islands sweatshop case. The firm employed notorious political fixer Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff’s firm has a long history as a conduit for illegal foreign campaign contributions. GT were Bush's Campaign Lawyers during the 2000 Florida Recount, and is now a major donor to HRC's presidential campaign, according to the lastest FEC data.

Greenberg Traurig and the Tan Family, who are the center of the Saipan sweatshop and prostitution scandal, have both made large HRC campaign contributions.

In a odd coincidence, GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain chaired the Senate Committee which investigated Abramoff. As dengre has informed us, McCain's committee continues to withhold all but 8000 pages of the three-quarter of a million documents turned over to it.

This has the makings of a major presidential campaign blowup, if HRC gets the nomination.

(Full Article)

As must read!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A call for change from the bottom up...

Obama campaign organizer M. Katherine Scheidel put forth this brilliant and beautiful call for volunteers:

Folks from PA, DC, CA, TX (to name a few) have already answered this call but we need EVERYONE's help.

A critical Big State vote is coming up in a few weeks. Some of us Obama supporters decided to help our candidate get his message out in a very different way. We have started a campaign to reach out for the hearts of Pennsylvanians, who are critical to this election, through a grassroots-level fight against poverty. We're organizing a virtual food and clothing drive to help some of the poorest folks in Appalachian Pennsylvania and West Virginia in collaboration with some of the local anti-poverty organizations in the region.

I know we have just a few weeks to put this together, but what a powerful statement it would be. This would do three things for us:

1. highlight the combination of Obama's anti-poverty message and his ability to produce change from the bottom up
2. put this campaign's words into action and shows PA and WV the soul of the Obama message
3. retrace John Edwards' recent anti-poverty tour through this region and follow the steps of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, all of whom realized the depth of the poverty in this area.

I think we could quietly put Obama over the top with some real altruism and heartfelt outpouring.

I know this is short notice, but we've started checking things out and have started some of the ground work. Will you join us? If you are willing to help us, please blog this, meet me at or email me if you want in. There's so much more we can share.

Please contact her at for information on how you can get involved.

Keith Olbermann tells is like it is...

Olbermann calls both Clinton and Ferarro on their divisive, race-baiting bullshit:

(Full Transcript)

I LOVE this man!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

AngryBlackBitch responds to Geraldine Ferarro...

In her blog, AngryBlackBitch writes:

I don’t know you, Geraldine, and I don’t assume a person is decent simply because they hold a certain status in the Democratic Party and feminist history. This bitch has never met you, but I sure as shit know what it is like to have someone attribute my success to my being black.

It’s the freakiest mind fuck out there to have someone treat what has been the source of oppression like it is the “it” benefit of 2008.

But you know that, don’t you…Geraldine?

And it is a sadly powerful attack that dismisses all the hard work; the years spent biting your tongue, the ass whoopings you chose to hold back and the cussing outs that never happened even though not telling someone about themselves almost caused you physical pain.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," Ferraro said. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Which I translate to mean that you, Geraldine, think Alan Keyes just had bad timing.



Let’s get real, Geraldine. You don’t give a flying shit whether you offend the hell out of some people as long as your message gets through to the right people. The kind of people who hear a quote like that and are thankful that someone said it…fucking cheer when they hear it then eagerly e-mail it to five friends…and can’t believe you’re catching hell for it.

Those people…

…who you need to fire up and are confident the tried and true fuel of 'gender trumps race' will get it done and bring in some money.

This trifling ass shit has left me unable to imagine a scenario where I cast the vote people risked their lives and died to achieve for me for a candidate who's campaign insults what I stand for and the principles I believe in.

And next time don’t bother with the “and if he was a woman (of any color)” pander, okay?

I haven’t been caught up in that unified sisterhood concept yet, honey...and your verbal malfunction didn’t help with that shit one bit.

I’m not attacking you because you are white.

This is coming at you because you’re wrong…

(Full Article)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferarro adds to the litany of racially-charged "feminist" attacks on Obama

Christopher of From The Left writes:

Hillary Clinton certainly has surrounded herself with some fascinating female supporters. One such woman is Geraldine Ferarro.

Ferarro recently uttered a statement that is so racially charged and offensive that even I was taken aback and I’ve heard just about everything from stupid politicians.

Ferarro is quoted in an interview with the Daily Breeze:

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."


Monday, March 10, 2008


HIllary-Supporters and the Dutiful Daughter Syndrome

By Christopher Fung, Ph.D.

First of all let me say that this is not a jab at people who support Hillary Clinton because they agree with her stances on the issues.

But my observations of 70-80% of the "Hillary is better than Obama" stuff (and in particularly the denunciations of Obama from self-appointed "spokespeople for women" such as Gloria Steinem and Roseanne) makes me uncomfortable because there's a streak of something very nasty and unprincipled running through much of this discourse.

There's a very strong whiff of disappointed entitlement coming out of the Clinton camp. The particularly vicious exponents of this approach are suggesting that it's "Not His Time", as if this were a game of Clue or Chutes and Ladders.

This metaphor is actually quite interesting because it illuminates a particular aspect of bourgeois supremacist thinking that perverts progressive ideas such as justice into self-serving arguments about entitlement. Not surprisingly, this thought-structure also underlies the overtly racist arguments advanced by white people (usualy only to other white people) that "Obama will only work for the blacks, so we should vote for a white person".

Liberal theory argues that there are certain inalienable human rights and that access to these rights is what constitutes civilization. Entitlement to these rights is the carrot that is offered to those who wish to participate in the system as the consenting ruled.

As the exponents of privilege theory have pointed out, the beneficiaries of privilege protect themselves from the notion that they are truly advantaged by proposing and supporting the notion that the system is at least in theory, fair even if there have been failures to enforce that fairness in the past. By this logic, rewards doled out by the system have been earned by righteous behavior within the system and not as a quid pro quo in a system of structured inequality.

An implicit idea in liberal theory is that participation in the system is a guarantee that full rights will (eventually) be extended to you as a matter of course. Thus enfranchisement of white men meant that in theory all white men had the theoretical ability to become powerful politicians, cultural patriarchy meant that all men had the theoretical ability to bask in the obediance of "their" women, white supremacy meant that all whites were superior to all blacks, yellows, reds and browns, and cultural class-consciousness meant that all who learned how to be "middle class" could expect the rights of citizens as a matter of course.

The rights of "all" were never actually extended to all. Liberal democracy was no different from other forms of social structure in systematically denying full participation to marginalized groups.

White women have historically played the part of the dutiful daughter in a patriarchal family. The dutiful daughter gains recognition through adherence to her role in the family, and the possibility that she will gain real power if she stays within the system long enough to become a mother, a mother-in-law or perhaps even a ruler in her own right on the death or failure of the male heads of the family.

Just as with lower-status white men, white women have been told, "Keep your nose clean, and one day you could be one of us. We'll protect you as long as you don't question the basic mechanisms of power in our community". And for many women (those who opposed the ERA for example), this bargain proved to be acceptable.

Feminism directly challenged this consensus in the 1960s, and the response of the status quo was to subvert and neutralize the white middle-class feminist critiques of patriarchal, capitalist white supremacy by giving white women increased access to individual economic security, the dismantling of cosmetic sexism, and the provision for increased cultural, social and political privileges for white women which were not extended to brown, black and red women, nor to yellow women who did not marry white men.

With the candidacy of Hilllary Rodham Clinton, white middle class women finally feel that their decades of loyal service to the system are at last bearing fruit. It's her time because she and by extension, generations of white women have given their support to a system they know to be unfair, but like good immigrants and dutiful daughters, they have put up with the indignities in return for small but real gains, and the promise of even greater gains in the future contingent upon their continued support.

Barack Obama's candidacy is "out of time" because it violates the unwritten contract between the powerful and the consenting: We will preserve your relative superior status over others in return for your commitment to us. A black man gaining office "before" a white woman strikes at the notion of white solidarity and the rewards dutiful daughters "ought" to reap from a system that "works for them".

Obama's candidacy also exposes nagging anxieties whether the system itself is actually fair. But rather than confront this possibility, dutiful daughters would rather blame the "troublemakers" who are "spoiling it for the rest of us". In much the same way, whistle-blowers in dysfunctional families rather than abusers are often blamed for bringing unwelcome attention and "spreading lies" by other members of the family.

Make no mistake, a thwarted sense of entitlement is a very powerful force: it underlies the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution just to name four.

Just as we have seen the racist opposition emerge, so too we see the "status-quo"-ist proponents rally against Obama. To combat these, we should not buy into the frame of the arguments advanced by these opponents, but we SHOULD be aware of the power that these frames have for the electorate as a whole.

The quandry of how to bring progressive change to people who have been taught that their own personal security rests on the very things you want to dismantle is the challenge that Obama and the rest of us face. The solutions lie in keeping one part of our beings reminded of the power and desirability of real justice, and on the other reaching out to those who are in fear to find ways to address their fears while refuting the notion that their security really does rest on their position of supremacy over others.


Clinton-Huckabee for America

Today America’s two leading and most onerous candidates for President have come together and jointly announced “We’re not leaving.” In an event that will go down in history both candidates declared that they would join forces and take the White House “one way or another” as they ceremoniously, and literally, chained themselves to the White House gate.

Hilarious parody!
Thanks to Patrick for the link.

Obama rips apart Clinton's veep "Okey-doke"

Speaking in Columbus Mississippi, Obama lays the smack-down on Clinton's veep chatter:

Numerical holes in the "big states" argument...

On last Sunday's "Meet the Press", PA Governor Ed Rendell rehashed the Clinton camp's ridiculous argument that despite the fact that Obama has won more contests, votes, and pledged delegates, Clinton somehow deserves the nomination because she won the "big states"...

I'm not giving that ludicrous line of thinking a shred of credibility, but for the sake of argument, lets take a look at a factor the Clinton camp conveniently ignores... Vote margins...

First up, Clinton's wins. All numbers are from CNN, except where otherwise noted:

Arizona: 51-42, 9 point difference

*California: 52-43, 9 point difference

*New Hampshire: 39-37, 2 point difference

New Mexico: 49-48, 1 point difference

Oklahoma: 55-31, 24 point difference

Primary: 65-61, 4 point difference
Caucus: Obama wins 56-44 (source Daily KOS) 12 point difference
Delegates: Obama 98, Clinton 95
I would argue that these numbers give Obama the win in Texas, but I'll go with the "conventional wisdom" and give it to Clinton.

Arkansas: 70-26, 44 point difference

*Massachusetts: 56-41, 15 point difference

Nevada: 51-45, 6 point difference
Delegates: Obama 13-Clinton 12

*New Jersey: 54-44, 10 point difference

*New York: 57-40, 17 point difference

*Ohio: 71-59, 12 point difference

Rhode Island: 58-40, 18 point difference

Tennessee: 54-41, 13 point difference

Total number of contests won: 14
Total number of contests won by more than 10 points: 7
Total number of contests won by more than 20 points: 2
Total number of contests won by less than 10 points: 6
Total "big states" won by more than 10 points: 3
Total "big states" won by 10 points or less: 4

Now for Obama's wins:

Alabama: 56-42 (primary), 14 point difference

Connecticut: 51-47 (primary), 4 point difference

D.C.: 75-24 (Primary), 51 point difference

Georgia: 67-31 (primary), 36 point difference

Idaho: 79-17, 62 point difference

Iowa: 38-29, 9 point difference

Louisiana: 57-36 (primary), 21 point difference

Maryland: 60-37 (primary), 23 point difference

Nebraska: 68-32, 36 point difference

North Dakota: 61-37, 24 point difference

South Carolina: 55-27 (primary), 28 point difference

Utah: 57-39 (primary), 18 point difference

Virginia: 64-35 (primary), 29 point difference

Wisconsin: 58-41 (primary), 17 point difference

Alaska: 75-25, 50 point difference

Colorado: 67-32, 35 point difference

Delaware: 53-43 (primary), 10 point difference

Hawaii: 76-24, 52 point difference

Illinois: 65-33 (primary), 32 point difference

Kansas: 74-26, 48 point difference

Maine: 59-40, 19 point difference

Minnesota: 66-32, 34 point difference

Missouri: 49-48 (primary), 1 point difference

Vermont: 59-39 (primary), 20 point difference

Washington: 68-31, 37 point difference

Wyoming: 61-38, 23 point difference

U.S. Virgin Islands: 90-8 (Primary) Source: politico, 82 point difference

U.S. Democrats abroad: 65-32 (Primary) Source: Huffington Post, 33 point difference

Total number of contests won: 29
Total number of contests won by more than 10 points: 23
Total number of contests won by more than 20 points: 20
Total number of primaries won: 16
Total number of primaries won by more than 10 points: 13
Total number of primaries won by more than 20 points: 9
Total number of contests won by less than 10 points: 3

What do we make of this?...

Obama has won more contests by landslide margins (higher than 20 points) than Clinton's total contests.

Of those, 9 were primaries (I mention this because Clinton's camp tries to claim that Obama only gets big wins in caucuses).

In fact, Obama has won more primaries than Clinton's total contests.

Most of Clinton's "big state" wins were by very close (lower than 10 points) margins, indicating that there was essentially a split decision among democrats there.

One of those "big states" (Texas) is technically in Obama's column.

Twice as many of Clinton's wins were by very narrow (lower than 10 points) margins as Obama's.

So much for a "big state" argument.
The people have spoken.
Obama is the clear winner.

My friend Elf Sternberg (a conservative Republican who supports Obama, incidentally) made the point that Clinton has to win 63% of every contest from here on in order to beat Obama's pledged delegate lead.


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.

and there are people that actually think this racist drivel has some validity. Now, I know at least a few people are thinking "Well it's Roseanne Barr, who cares what she has to say?" and that's probably a pretty valid response for most things. But right now she's actually just voicing the thought a lot of white feminists are harboring as they spout things like "Black men had the vote first" or when they start talking about those pesky brown women putting their skin before their gender and then have the temerity to start trying to chastise us for not operating in sisterhood. She left out the word "white" before woman, but the subtext is there for all the world to see.

Perhaps this is one of those things that hasn't been made clear in previous years so I'm going to make it clear now. I'm not going to side with a bigot against a black man. I'm not going to side with a bigot against a black woman. In fact? I'm not going to side with a bigot period. SNL had a sketch this week that is (I think) meant to be lampooning Hillary's desperation, but if you only catch the middle of the sketch? It's pretty damned racist. And it's not like this phenomenon is restricted to entertainers. Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong, and Robyn Morgan have also weighed in, and in some really ugly ways all while claiming to be looking out for all women. Meanwhile Hillary's campaign has given them no reason to stop as she can't even be bothered to say that these tactics are unacceptable. On the contrary, her official campaign has been busy indulging in similar behavior, and then insisting that Obama is playing the race card when there's even a hint of protest at the egregious displays of race-baiting. Shockingly, racism is visible well before someone sets a cross on fire in the front yard and claiming to mean no offense while repeatedly using bigotry as a campaign tactic isn't going to fly.

It's been very clear throughout this election cycle that racism was going to be a factor even as people swore up and down that sexism was worse than racism. There's this underlying idea that gender and race can be separated and that when people speak of women that umbrella means that all women (regardless of ethnicity) have the same concerns and so in this election getting to see a woman in power is far more important than any other consideration. Yet when you sit down and look at the history of the feminist movement and the transition to women being in the workplace? You're primarily talking about white women. WOC were already working. Usually in low paying jobs with no future and only a guarantee of the work being physically and emotionally draining. In fact that transition of white women to the workforce took place in large part because white women were able to hand over the care of their children to poor WOC who were shut out of even pink collar jobs for years after white women were free to pursue the dream of having it all.

That same attitude is still prevalent with so many white feminists who are willing to insist that WOC should support this grand achievement while ignoring the reality that putting a bigot (and before someone fires off an angry comment or email insisting Hillary's background is proof she isn't racist, think about that old adage with the ducks) in the White House isn't exactly in the best interests of WOC. Being a feminist doesn't make you immune to racism, or classism, or any of the other 'isms that are so frequently discussed in feminist circles. But, it seems to be one of the few 'isms that is accepted as long as it's displayed with a (thin) veneer of being about fighting the patriarchy. Look at the rhetoric from Marion Wagner, a regional director of NOW

"The issue that's not being talked about in this campaign is the blatant sexism," Wagner said, her words echoing off the granite walls. "There are some people who promote Barack Obama because they want anybody but a woman. Would they like a white man instead of a black man? Of course. But they'll take a black man over a woman. I never thought, in 2008, that we'd still be dealing with this."

who then goes on to say that Obama pulling out Hillary's chair is evidence of his sexism just to make sure we know she's not upset that he's a black candidate. Which would sound great if it weren't for the part of the article where she (like so many other white feminists) is quick to jump on the bandwagon that a vote for Obama from black women couldn't possibly have anything to do with the issues. No, it's all about them choosing race over gender which I guess is an easy assumption to make if you can't be bothered to listen to black women that aren't willing to follow your lead. After all, it's not like they have the capacity or the right to think for themselves. Oh wait...

There's an ever growing gap in the feminist movement, and I'm sure the argument is going to be made that WOC aren't willing to do what it takes to bridge the gap while ignoring that the prospect of dealing with the internalized racism of so-called allies just isn't an attractive proposition. It's not sisterhood if the movement insists on treating WOC alternately like mules, children, or part of the scenery unless it needs their support. Would I like to see a woman in the White House? Sure. But I'd really like that woman to be someone who doesn't think she has a right to my vote. Who recognizes me as an intelligent person with valid concerns even if they are different from her concerns. Who can grasp the idea that my skin color and my gender are a part of who I am; but they are not all that I am, and thus listening to what I have to say is necessary and important in order to help me achieve MY goals. I want to vote for a female President because I believe in her, not because she's Miss Daisy.

(Link to original article)

News from the front: Questionable voter experiences in Ohio

Several voters in Cuyahoga County have reported that streets were blocked in front of many voting precincts.

On March 5th, art_house_queen wrote:

I went to vote yesterday in Cleveland, and of course, I was super AMPED to finally voice my support for Obama.

What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the crazy ride down Chester and Euclid after seeing humongous ROAD CLOSED signs blocking both entrances to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Imagine this: I'm driving with my two sisters in tow, trying to get at a parking space for the Board Of Elections, and I see two looming signs:

On one side, the roads simply said: ROADS CLOSED. On the other side it said: ROADS CLOSED: Local Traffic Only. Signs lined the other side of Euclid Avenue, where the street to BOE is actually on.

But what was "Local traffic" supposed to mean? This is Cleveland, where those silly street cameras take pictures of your car and charge you 100 for going 5 miles over the set speed limit. This is the city where a great many police officers are corrupt and will pull you over for minor offenses and charge you major fees, even if you've made a mistake.

If you don't follow the rules in Cleveland, you get fined. Massively. So, understandably, people were stopped at the road, saw the sign, then drove off, obviously confused as to what to do.

The officer in the car just sat inside, looking as cars stopped, waited, then sped away.

I drove around for a couple minutes, trying to find a spot somewhere close, to no avail. All the streets were filled with cars and people and dogs and snowy, nasty mud...but there was not a poll worker or police officer in sight to direct us would-be voters to the right path to the Board Of Elections.

My sister, I'll call her Eagle-Eye, spotted up ahead that a car drove around the cop car, the sign and rushed down the street.

I decided to follow suit.

We made it through the street, and parked in the University parking lost. We hopped out and took the short walk to the BOE.

Inside, a security guard was talking with a police officer.

"There are not really that many people here," he said softly, "I think it's because you guys have the streets blocked off."

My sisters and I looked at eachother. The police officer grumbled a reply that I couldn't hear. He saw us staring, and pointed us to the elevators.

Upstairs, I went to get my provisional ballot and I asked the poll worker at the desk why the roads were blocked off in that manner.

She only stared at me, shocked, "What? They ARE?"

I nodded.

She left me for a moment, then came back with my sign-up sheet. "Fill out the form, please."

And no mention was made of the semi-blocked off streets.

I don't know why the streets were blocked off in that manner. I just don't understand why there were no visible signs or people directing us where to go, where to park or what route we should take to get to the Board of Elections.

It obviously affected the turnout, in my opinion. It may seem simple in hindsight, but in a city that notoriously has had problems with its government, and with the disdain many officers hold for the common people, I assure you the reality is a lot heavier.

Strategy and computer security consultant Jon Pincus, formerly at Microsoft Research, backs up her story in his blog, Liminal States:

They ran out of ballots in Sandusky County and Franklin County; voting machines broke down in Montgomery County and no doubt elsewhere; a dozen computer memory cards spent the night in the back of a sherriff’s van in Lucas County before being counted; in Obama stronghold Cuyahoga County, voter privacy was compromised and huge numbers of provisional ballots still haven’t been counted.

The Secretary of State is “very pleased”, highlighting improvement over 2004. Business as usual in Ohio. Nothing to see here, move along, move along …

Except …

This time there may be a new wrinkle. Scott Isaacs has been following the issues in Butler County, and broke an interesting story: under Ohio law, Republicans who followed Rush Limbaugh’s call to hold their nose and vote for Clinton appear to have committed election falsification, a felony, punishable by six to twelve months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

(Full Article)

Jon Pincus helped organize a panel on dependable software and voting sytems, when he was on a National Academies committee and was on another voting panel at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2005 looking at voting databases.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Enthusiasm Tilts Toward Obama in Pa.

Michael Rubinkam writes for the AP:

For Edwin David, who served with the famed World War II unit of black fighters known as the Tuskegee Airmen, Sen. Barack Obama is an easy choice.

"Just let me live till voting time in November," said David, 83, living in retirement in the Pocono Mountains. "In my lifetime, we just might get to see the first African-American president of the United States!"

Fresh from victories in the big states of Ohio and Texas, and with polls having shown her holding the lead here, even if it has dwindled, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton starts her campaign in Pennsylvania as the favorite to win the April 22 primary.

But in random interviews last week with dozens of voters in swing districts across the state, much of the Democratic voter enthusiasm seemed to tilt toward Obama, not only because he is a fresh face, but because they believe he has the best shot at beating Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain, whom they call old and out-of-touch.

But unlike David, many said it wasn't an easy decision.

Kate Clark, 53, a cafe owner in Nazareth, a small town near Allentown, said she struggled with her choice. Tempted to vote for Clinton because of her gender, she said Obama's energy and vision ultimately won out.

"I think we need to see the United States and see the world through eyes that are younger, through eyes that have dreams, through eyes that see something new for the nation," Clark said.

(Full Article)

A letter from Jack Layton to Barack Obama...

Submitted by, and reprinted with permission from, Alan M. of The New Democratic Party of Canada:

Jack Layton, MP, Député
Toronto – Danforth
Leader, New Democratic Party 
Chef, Nouveau parti démocratique 

March 1, 2008

Senator Barack Obama
United States Senate
713 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Obama:

Canadians are watching the Democratic Primaries with great interest, particularly the debate around the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Working Canadians, like working Americans, are deeply concerned that this agreement has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and has not helped us build the greener, fairer economy that we must leave as a legacy to our children.

I have heard you say: “I believe in trade, I just want to make sure that the rules of the road apply to everybody and they are fair and that they reflect the interests of workers and not just corporate profits.”

I could not agree more. It has become apparent that a rising tide does not in fact lift all boats.

Both of our countries have seen impressive economic growth rates, increased productivity and investment flows. Yet, in the United States, Mexico and Canada, income inequality has grown dramatically in the almost fifteen years since NAFTA took effect. The very wealthy have reaped most of the benefits of increased trade and investment, while ordinary people have watched high-quality manufacturing jobs move elsewhere. There is a growing gap between the rich and the rest of the people.

In Canada, this prosperity gap has reached crisis proportions. Despite the fact that most Canadians are working longer hours, 80% of families lost ground or stagnated in both earnings and after-tax returns compared to the previous generation. Real wages have not increased in more than 30 years. The share of corporate profits in our economy is at its highest point since1961, yet the corporate contribution to the public purse is declining.

In Canada, we have had ten budget surpluses in the last decade, and yet most Canadians believe they are a mere paycheque away from poverty. Eighty per cent of Canadians think the government should intervene to close the gap between the income groups. But successive Canadian federal governments have failed to deliver policies that will turn this growing disparity around. While aboriginal peoples, single mothers and recent immigrants are the most disadvantaged groups, the middle class is also losing out.

The United States and Mexico face similar challenges, albeit in quite different contexts. In your own country, the erosion of social security, the plight of the uninsured in health, the strength of powerful business lobbies in Washington and the shocking poverty of the working poor in African-American and Hispanic populations, are realities you are intimately acquainted with. Your commitment to resolving these issues explains the excitement your campaign has generated across the country. In Mexico, despite constitutional guarantees, the majority of people – including many migrant, self-employed, informal sector workers and the unemployed – have no social assistance whatsoever. The crisis in the rural sector with the most recent phase-out of agricultural tariffs will throw millions more into extreme poverty.

This growing inequality has become institutionalized through NAFTA and will become even more entrenched through the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). These agreements have provoked a chill on government regulation of the economy, as international trade rules override domestic rights. Regulatory harmonization has trumped social harmony. The provisions of Chapter 11 have unduly emphasized corporate rights at the expense of our governments’ capacity to regulate in the public interest. This is sometimes correctly referred to as a democratic deficit.

The New Democratic Party has noted for over a decade the inadequacies of our free trade agreements that do not offer sufficient protection for workers, for the environment, or indeed for the capacity of governments to regulate in the public interest. We have also expressed grave concerns about the dispute settlement process, for both its procedures and the non-respect of decisions rendered – as in the case of the softwood lumber dispute between our two countries.

NAFTA, with all its weaknesses, was the first trade agreement to incorporate side agreements on labour and environmental protection. As you have noted, such side deals are not enough. While they provide documentation on the growing problems in these areas and create forums for trilateral cooperation, they do not have the authority to impose sanctions for violations of the rules or to put in place common solutions. The promised leveling up of environmental and social standards has simply not happened.

On behalf of the New Democratic Party of Canada, our caucus and our membership, I warmly welcome your commitment to rethink NAFTA. Everyday Canadians, Americans and Mexicans are ready for such leadership. Leadership that is ready to tackle complex problems with forward-looking solutions. Our two countries are trading nations, close

neighbours and culturally and historically related in many ways. I look forward to strengthening these ties in a way that respects the sovereignty of each of our countries and ensures that we are each democratically accountable to our own people. Together, we can prudently lay the groundwork to craft trade agreements which will lead to improvements for the vast majority who have been left behind since NAFTA came into effect in 1994.

The Democrats in the U.S. can count New Democrats in Canada as allies in the vital effort to improve upon NAFTA and help build a modern 21st century North American economy that is prosperous, fair and sustainable for today’s families and future generations.

Sincerely yours, Jack Layton, P.C., M.P., Ph.D.

Clearly there is support (with good reason) for rethinking NAFTA from our friends to the left in Canada as well.
This endorsement of sorts, also suggests that there is belief (at least among the leadership of the New Democratic Party of Canada) that Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, is the American presidential candidate who will bring about that necessary change.
Thanks again to our friends in Canada for forwarding this letter.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jack Layton on Canadian Government Intervention in US Primaries...

Thanks to Alan M. of the New Democratic Party of Canada for the link.

Canada Press: Clinton, not Obama, "winked" on NAFTA...

Alexander Panetta writes for The Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper):

What is now a swirling Canada-U.S. controversy began on Feb. 26, when the usually circumspect Mr. Brodie was milling among droves of Canadian media on budget day in the stately old building that once housed Ottawa's train station.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff Ian Brodie watches from the back of the room during a photo op before the government caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

Reporters were locked up there all day, examining the federal budget until they were allowed to leave once it was tabled in the House of Commons at 4 p.m.

Since the budget contained little in the way of headline-grabbing surprises, some were left with enough free time to gather around a large-screen TV to watch the latest hockey news on NHL trade deadline day.

Mr. Brodie wandered over to speak to Finance Department officials and chatted amiably with journalists — who appreciated this rare moment of direct access to the top official in Mr. Harper's notoriously tight-lipped government.

The former university professor found himself in a room with CTV employees where he was quickly surrounded by a gaggle of reporters while other journalists were within earshot of other colleagues.

At the end of an extended conversation, Mr. Brodie was asked about remarks aimed by the Democratic candidates at Ohio's anti-NAFTA voters that carried serious economic implications for Canada.

Since 75 per cent of Canadian exports go to the U.S., Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton's musings about reopening the North American free-trade pact had caused some concern.

Mr. Brodie downplayed those concerns.

"Quite a few people heard it," said one source in the room.

"He said someone from (Hillary) Clinton's campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. . . That someone called us and told us not to worry."

Government officials did not deny the conversation took place.

Emphasis mine.

(Full Article)

Also reported in the Winnepeg Sun.

Campbell Clark Writes for The Globe and Mail:

Mr. Brodie, during the media lockup for the Feb. 26 budget, stopped to chat with several journalists, and was surrounded by a group from CTV.

The conversation turned to the pledges to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement made by the two Democratic contenders, Mr. Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Brodie, apparently seeking to play down the potential impact on Canada, told the reporters the threat was not serious, and that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign had even contacted Canadian diplomats to tell them not to worry because the NAFTA threats were mostly political posturing.

The Canadian Press cited an unnamed source last night as saying that several people overheard the remark.

The news agency quoted that source as saying that Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton'scampaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.

Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.

There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. CTV president Robert Hurst declined to comment.

The Prime Minister's communications director, Sandra Buckler, has said that Mr. Brodie "does not recall" discussing the issue.

(Full Article)

The thing that is unclear now is whether or not the "wink, wink" was fabricated by Brodie.
Either way, Obama and his campaign are completely vindicated.