New Civilization News: Vote For MRS. Barack Obama!    
 Vote For MRS. Barack Obama!67 comments
picture29 Feb 2008 @ 06:49, by Richard Carlson

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

---Walt Whitman

I neglect God and his angels for the noise of a fly,
for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.

---John Donne

And if the earth no longer knows your name,
Whisper to the silent earth: I'm flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.

---Rainer Maria Rilke

This photo of the Obama family clearly is a couple years old at least, but only over the March 1st weekend are we getting more recent pictures. "The Phenom" has become a tidal wave. The children are Sasha, in Mom's lap, and Malia on the right.

This peculiar title doesn't mean I advocate for Michelle Obama in place of Barack. It just means Mrs. Obama came to our town yesterday afternoon and took the place by storm. It means if we can vote Barack Obama into the Presidency, we get a package that includes a lovely family and this remarkable woman for First Lady. I hadn't studied the matter, knew nothing about her except those couple of media things, and was unprepared totally for one of the greatest addresses of any kind I've ever heard.

I was pretty much resigned to Athens, Ohio, being the place the candidate spouses come to visit. Hillary Clinton was here stumping for her husband back in the day, and now the former president showed up earlier in the week to give an energetic speech for her. I'd wanted to see Barack Obama before our primary next week, but I learned all we would get was a look at his wife. Oh well, my daughter and I went to stand in line.

The Templeton-Blackburn Auditorium---or Mem Aud, as it used to be called---holds a couple thousand people, so I thought if we got there an hour early we might at least get inside out of the cold. No tickets required, a quick frisk, and we soon were in the 12th row. The place has a magnificent sound system and mostly soul tunes from the '60s were banging away. Well you can't beat that stuff, and so pretty soon everybody was groovin'. Smiles began to appear, and as I looked around I realized I hadn't been in an audience of such racial, age, and gender mix maybe ever.

On stage was a bunch of people, but no obvious dignitaries or union T-shirts. My daughter said she heard folks were chosen at random to go up there. The active volunteers were being afforded the front rows as usual. The auditorium filled up completely from what I could see, and I suppose I'll read reports as to whether any were turned away or a sound system set up outside. A barrage of TV cameras, reporters, anchors and photographers was in the usual cluster.

We waited---but the hits kept on coming, so who cares? The spirit of hope and expectation was in the air. People looked happy but serious. We're not gonna get fooled again! The black woman next to me kept checking her watch. I heard her say she had kids that needed to be picked up. As it got to be 5 minutes past the hour, she said out loud, "They oughta have SOMEbody come out." I didn't want my first words to her to be discouraging, having waited hours at things like this, so I asked, "Do you know where she's coming from?" She didn't. But 5 minutes after that, out came the first of 2 introductory speakers...and we were off!

Michelle Obama is a tall, powerful woman, with a surprising confidence and a completely engaging speaking style. Except to remind her of local names she wanted to thank, she spoke without notes...and gave us an hour of compelling personal history and Obama platform. She had us in the palm of her hand the whole time in a speech that was intricate in organization and almost completely positive. Mrs. Obama made it clear the situation her husband seeks to change---and that's the big word---has developed in the United States under both political parties. She did indicate the present administration has played upon fear and encouraged personal isolation...but everybody knows that and hardly could be labeled negative campaigning.

She spoke of growing up on Chicago's difficult South Side, where her father held a modest city blue collar job and her mother stayed home to be there for the 2 kids. Mom did finally go to work when the children finished public school to get them through college. We couldn't help but be moved when she mentioned again and again a barrier that has developed in America in so many areas of discouragement and you-can't-do-that and don't-even-try. But she did try anyway, and that meant Princeton and then Harvard Law.

Barack Obama's story is more commonly known---but apparently not well enough, given the ongoing stuff about his name and religion and national origin---so she told it again briefly. What she emphasized is that with Barack's Harvard Law degree, departmental honors, and as first black editor of the Harvard Law Journal, he could have gone anywhere on Wall Street and corporate America and made millions. But instead he went to Chicago to help neighborhood organizing efforts in a city where steel had shut down. He thought legislating could help and began to run for office. No millions at hand (she mentioned they both just have finished paying off their college loans) he wrote a couple books that have helped finance him.

When we were done, I had a sense of what has brought a million contributors like me to open our wallets and help this campaign keep rolling. When you're on your feet cheering with 2000 other people---mostly students!---you even get a feeling this could be a tidal wave. But the Obamas know better...and so there's plenty of encouragement to volunteer: to go vote early right now, and then get on down to the campaign office and sign up for the phone banks and the door-to-door and Primary Day work. There is no resting on any past success. This change they talk about is all work...and they aren't kidding.

Bush gave a press conference yesterday morning in which he said the economy is fine and there's no recession in sight. (More bad intelligence, George?) Barack Obama had a rebuttal 5 minutes later. John McCain the day before declared he'd never go down the Obama "road of defeat" in Iraq because Al Qaeda is there. Obama was on it immediately with the reminder Al Qaeda wasn't there until Bush and McCain misled the nation into war. This man is fast, brilliant and assertive. He doesn't wait to see what the media will do or if some attack just will go away. He answers them face to face. He's getting headlines arguing with Bush and McCain...while, I must say, Hillary Clinton seems to spend time trying to figure out who she should be next.

Michelle Obama seemed every bit the match for her remarkable husband. I'm trying not to imagine if they ever get in a fight at home. It was one of those things where my daughter and I had to get down to the stage and as close as possible to this potential First Lady. Imagine the statement to the country if these people are nominated. Imagine what America might look like to the world again with this First Family in the White House. As I walked up the aisle and out of the auditorium, I saw a man I know of my own generation lingering in the back watching continued greetings and hugs up on the stage. He was beaming, and when he saw me he smiled. I said, "I haven't felt like this in 40 years!" He said, "Me too."

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29 Feb 2008 @ 07:34 by bushman : Haha
Jazz I saw you on the news, I was saying no way he went to that thing, couldnt be him, but I recognized you from your NCN pic, and I was going to ask if that was you or not, lol. I was watching CBS news. They literaly zoomed in on you and maybe 5 others sitting around you.  

29 Feb 2008 @ 11:26 by jazzolog : Bushman Freaks Me Out Again
Bushman is one of the few people on the Internet who gets me to shout stuff out loud in front of this machine. That's amazing! They must have gotten a shot from behind, because no one was up front of us except the still photographers. Was this during the speech or before? Or was it when we were crowding the stage? Did you see Ilona...and the woman I mentioned next to us? In further conversation she turned out to be a Phd candidate in administrative education, with 6 years experience teaching chemistry in Georgia. We agreed we sure hope we meet up again somewhere. That's the feeling I mean: not since the Civil Rights days, man!  

29 Feb 2008 @ 16:24 by quinty : Our current administration
is so criminal that merely mentioning it has exploited fear comes across as demure. Nor is it impolite to dwell on their activities. McCain will undoubtedly exploit the darker regions too, though in his case he appears to actually believe in it all. And, frankly, he is one dude I would not want to have in the White House with a finger poised on the button. I think he has the psychological makeup to actually consider using it.

Obama has been disparaged for being eloquent and raising the hopes of his followers. Of course, we also have to hope he will actually deliver. But this can be said of anyone running for President.

Considering how unique the job of the presidency is can there actually be an adequate preparation? Look at Nixon with his 8 years as VP. LBJ with his lifelong experience in politics. And at Lincoln with a mere two years in the House. Would Bush have been any different if he had had more experience before becoming president?

Obama is also a quick learner, it seems to me. He has grown considerably during this primary season. Hillary, I'm afraid, has shown some chinks: her verbal gaffs intended to score, but backfiring on her. The pundits have begun to remark upon the “incompetence” of the campaign she ran.

I am to the left of Obama, favoring single payer, a complete realignment of the US in the Middle East, opposed to our grotesque "defense" budget, American empire, other things. And the issue of Obama waffling on PACs has not been settled. He is, after all, a politician.

But I’m going to vote for him. It’s time dignity and intelligence were associated with the White House once again. the “beer drinkers” had their chance. Though anyone’s guess is as good as another’s on how this will all work out.

Bill Clinton was here in Rhode Island yesterday. I only heard about it on the radio news. He sounded tired (naturally enough) but kept referring to what “I” will do if Hillary is elected. Was that fatigue, contrived, or a slip of the tongue?

Nearly the entire Democratic establishment backs Hillary here in Rhode Island. Of course, the Clintons have had years to prepare and are well known. Curiously, our former Republican Senator, Lincoln Chafee, backs Obama. He was in the Senate at the time of the Iraq war vote and doesn’t buy Hillary’s explanations for voting for it. Especially since she voted against the Levin amendment.

Rhode Island will probably go to Hillary. At least that’s how it appears now: the Clinton machine is too entrenched here. Though Democratic, this is a conservative state.  

29 Feb 2008 @ 16:42 by jazzolog : The Athens Post
This is the first paper to hit the streets here~~~

Michelle Obama stresses willpower, grassroots involvement for change
Published: Friday, February 29, 2008
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008, 3:02:44am

Jess Mosser / City Senior Writer /

The Barack Obama campaign often touts its ability to get grassroots volunteers. Sometimes it even finds them in the lines outside its rallies.

That’s how it got Ohio University junior Jessie Birkla.

Birkla was the first to arrive at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium to hear Michelle Obama speak. It wasn’t long until campaign staffers approached her to help collect contact information and pass out voting pamphlets — a task she gladly accepted.

“I figured while I’m standing in line, I might as well help,” she said.

That same theme of involvement and empowerment was echoed in Michelle Obama’s speech to the crowd that filled the lower half of the 2,000-seat auditorium. The Illinois senator’s wife said America needs to work for strong citizen involvement and dedication as opposed to being apathetic.

Obama stressed that while her husband’s campaign has been criticized for being too vague, specificity is not what the nation is missing. Instead, the will needed to work for change is the answer.

“We have a hole in our soul that needs fixed,” she said. “We need a little inspiration.”

But a Sen. Obama presidency would be based on more than intangibles, she said. A key example in this argument is the Iraq War, which her husband was against from the beginning. Obama stressed that the care provided to Iraq war veterans also needs to be improved, a point that resonates with Athens resident Lou Horvath.

“It seems the current administration is quick to send our servicemen abroad, but slow to recognize their service,” said Horvath, a Vietnam War veteran.

Obama also told the audience of mostly college students that the educational system needs to be fixed. After criticizing the No Child Left Behind Act for teaching a test instead of teaching students, she moved to the financial burden of college. Obama and her husband just recently finished paying off their student loans from law school, she said.

“Imagine the President of the United States just a few years out of student debt — haven’t seen that for a while,” she said.

She also touted her husband’s work in the Illinois state legislature to expand children’s health care, pass ethics reform and mend a faulty death penalty system. But the overriding theme of the speech touched on the same idea that coaxed Birkla from her spot in line: inspiration.

“I’ve just never been so inspired,” said Birkla, who was a Republican before coming to OU. “I just feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

About 5 minutes of her speech is at the Multimedia section. I don't know how long they leave such material up~~~  

29 Feb 2008 @ 16:46 by jazzolog : The Athens Messenger
This paper comes out mid-morning and usually gets delivered early afternoon~~~

2/29/2008 9:45:00 AM
Mrs. Obama visits Athens
Potential first lady touts husband's desire for change

Messenger staff writer
Messenger photo | John Halley

George Sarmiento is likely the kind of person Michelle Obama wanted to see at Thursday's rally held in Athens in support of her husband's presidential bid. Sarmiento came to the event undecided who he would support in the Democratic primary for president, but walked away saying he will back Barack Obama.

Sarmiento, an Ohio University sophomore, was straddling the fence between Hillary Clinton and Obama, having attended Monday's Athens rally featuring former President Bill Clinton and Thursday's appearance by daughter Chelsea Clinton at OU's Baker Center.

"I was undecided before I came here, but from what I heard today, I've decided to back Obama," Sarmiento said. "It's his freshness of character. We've had years of Clinton and Bush, and I think we're ready for something new."

From the stage of OU's Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, Michelle Obama talked about the nation's thirst for change - saying her husband is the only presidential candidate offering that change.

"We are suffering from an empathy deficit. A veil has come down on our heads," Obama said. "The American people are hungry for change. We need real inspiration, and there's only one person who has a real chance of doing that. Barack didn't go into politics to amass power, but to make real change. You can never be passive again."

Ted Bernard, an Athens resident who attended the rally, agreed that Barack Obama seems to be offering something different from politics as usual. He said he's been an Obama supporter since February 2006 and has been volunteering for the Illinois senator's campaign.

"He's the most inspiring candidate I've ever seen, and I've been voting a long time," Bernard said. "He's the only candidate that shows real empathy, understands what it's like from the working-class side."

Michelle Obama told the audience she and her husband come from working-class backgrounds. Her father was a city worker; Barack's mother, living off one income, sometimes needed food stamps to feed her children. She mentioned that, if her husband wins the White House, it will be just a few years after she and Barack have paid off their student loans.

"History hasn't seen that in a long time," Obama said.

She called the war in Iraq an "exhibit A" for her husband's capacity to take a stand. She pointed out that her husband spoke out against the war at a time when it wasn't politically popular to do so, and at a time when he was up for election in Illinois.

"He was only one who stood up and said, 'This is wrong,'" Obama said. "He said this war would cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives. The only candidate who was saying that at the time was Barack."

Obama talked to her Athens audience about health care, education and the economy. She said that No Child Left Behind "is strangling the life out of our school system."

Obama said she and her husband have seen the public education system work, being products of that system themselves.

Athens residents Jessie Rober-son and his wife, Roberta Roberson, said that they've decided to support Barack Obama because they see him as a chance for real change.

"It was amazing," Jessie Rober-son said. "She held this crowd in her hand. It's easy to see why he's done better than the media has expected, why he's been more popular than they projected."

"His message is that he comes from the people," Roberta Rober-son added. "People are beginning to believe that it's really possible, that he can do it."

Since Ted Bernard is mentioned in this article, and since he replied enthusiastically to my entry above, I don't think he'll mind if I tell you he's the friend I mentioned talking to at the end. Ted is a geography professor at Ohio University.  

29 Feb 2008 @ 16:48 by jazzolog : The Athens News
This paper won't publish until Monday. At this point their coverage is online only obviously~~~

Michelle Obama brings message of inspiration, change to Athens
By Alexandra Hazlett
Athens NEWS Campus Reporter
February 29, 2008

Speaking to more than 1,700 people in Ohio University’s Memorial Auditorium Thursday afternoon, Michelle Obama stressed her husband’s character and unconventional experience.

She was introduced by David Wilhelm and Liz Clark, chapter coordinator for OU Students for Barak Obama. (Wilhelm, an Athens High School and OU alum, chaired Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign in 1992 and later the Democratic National Committee.)

Michelle Obama’s speech involved discussion less of policy details than personal details, specifically her husband’s strength of character and convictions. She emphasized the need for change and the ability of her husband to be a “change agent.”

“We’ve learned that the American people are hungry for change in a way that we never could have predicted,” she told the audience.

Michelle Obama’s speech resonated well with the audience, which appeared enthusiastic and engaged.

“It’s a different type of change that he’s talking about bringing; it’s going to be groundbreaking,” predicted Chantay Jordan, a sophomore broadcast major at OU.

Michelle Obama, a Princeton and Harvard graduate, related her life story to the audience, noting that her accomplishments are a “statistical oddity,” and not expected from someone who grew up on the South side of Chicago. She said there was “nothing miraculous” about her childhood, and cited her educational and professional success as a testament to the possibilities of what can be achieved with effective investment in education. The crowd applauded in agreement when she stated that the federal No Child Left Behind Act is “strangling the life out of our school system.”

Her parents, she said, were people who went to work daily at jobs that were unsatisfying in order to provide for their children. The life that her parents were able to have on a single civil salary is no longer attainable for most families, she added, because the bar of expectations is constantly moving out of reach.

“Folks don’t mind the bar being high. They will work for whatever they need to. They just want it to be still,” Obama said.

Compounding the problem is the fact that many public-service jobs such as teaching, social work or nursing do not pay enough to cover the cost of the education needed to acquire them. The issue of college affordability is one of great concern to the OU audience, and Obama played it well.

“I need not tell you all how the bar on college is moving and shifting. For every kid in this auditorium, there are dozens who are not (here at OU). Not because they weren’t ready, but because they can’t afford it,” she said.

Bringing the point home, she said that she and her husband are only a few years past paying off their own student loans.

As the address turned to advocacy for her husband and his candidacy, Michelle Obama stressed that the important decisions are the ones that are made “in the shadows when no one is watching and it doesn’t count.” She highlighted his culturally rich upbringing and strong ethical considerations, as well as his record of public service both in and out of government.

Sen. Obama went into public service in Chicago out of a desire to give back, his wife said. As the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, he could have had his pick of placements. She also refuted the idea that her husband isn’t tough enough to handle national and international politics.

“We live in Chicago, some of the toughest meanest politics you will ever see,” she said. “He (Barak) was able to get a lot done, often in the minority.”

Michelle Obama made the case that informal experience is at least as valuable as that gained in a legislature, and that when coupled with an earnest desire for honest change, merits serious consideration. Her husband’s choices, she said, reflect his commitment to giving back to the community, and were made when “no one was looking.”

She also accused the Bush administration of manipulating Americans’ reactions to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and preying on the climate of fear and tension, instead of being honest with Americans.

“We are in a war now because we were afraid, and we had leadership that preyed on that fear,” Obama said.

That desire for honest answers from public officials necessitates a trust in those in public office, something Obama said her husband understands.

“The American people can handle the truth, even the toughest truth, if they trust the truth-teller,” she said.

Many audience members were still deciding whom to vote for, and cited the sincerity of the Obama campaign as persuasive, even in the face of a thin resume.

“Mrs. Obama gave us much more than I anticipated,” said William Smith, a retired OU administrator who lives in Athens. “She connected the character with the issues and how that is a seamless circumstance with what one can expect with performance in regard to the issues.”  

29 Feb 2008 @ 18:40 by Quinty @ : I forgot to say
that was an excellent report, Richard, there above.  

29 Feb 2008 @ 22:10 by bushman : It
was from the other side of the room looking across the podium area, it was face on, from panning to zoom then panning around again, I dont know if it was before the speeches or after, it was only a one min segment, just telling about the event, and didnt show any of the speeches. Showed the canidates shaking some hands, so maybe it was at the end.  

1 Mar 2008 @ 10:58 by jazzolog : "The Phenom" Rolls On
Thanks guys for carrying on during a busy weekend. We're getting word that even in Texas Obama may achieve a landslide. I mean even RURAL Texas! The Clinton camp, as you've heard, is crouching in the legal books contemplating a lawsuit against the Texas Democratic Party. I don't think Texans like that approach.

As for the Obamas, the Repubs are revising their attack playbook to take them on full blast. I was reading a Houston paper online yesterday where some guy commented he had been considering application to Princeton for his kids, but after he heard Michelle Obama went there he decided the school's standards were too low. Apparently her Princeton thesis is now online, and may discuss race. Ooooo. Haven't had time to read it...but this sounds like Repubs are digging around. To be expected, and I don't believe the Obamas are gonna get tipped over by it. They hit back instead.

New photo of Barack and the kids at the Associated Press this morning. Malia's almost as tall as he is now!

I'm giving up on finding the CBS clip online Bushman, but I'm glad there was network coverage. Kuric or late news? If I was standing then it was after the speech was over. She went right down into the crowd. Camera people probably got on stage then to film it. Secret Service, VERY serious looks on their faces, are working extra hard for these people.  

1 Mar 2008 @ 18:11 by bushman : Ya
sorry I looked around for the clip on the local station's website and couldn't find the vid, just the text version of the report.  

2 Mar 2008 @ 13:29 by jazzolog : Politics & The Sunday Funnies
When I was a kid there used to be a radio show every Sunday morning called The Comic Weekly Man. It was on dangerously close to going-to-church time, and I remember tense family moments when Dad had to leave early for some reason---like maybe the choir had to run over that Handel one more time. No car radios back then---before this Age of Convenience we all take for granted now...and hesitate to give up even if it means the planet will melt. But never mind: the Comic Weekly Man would read the Sunday funnies over the air, acting out all the parts. Back then, before TV, the comic page was a major entertainment in life...and on Sunday they all were extended and in color! If Dick Tracy was on the verge of getting shot or catching the bad guy---or in the unforgettable case of Newsuit Nan, the bad girl---the whole country stopped what it was doing when the newspaper hit the porch. I still remember the show's theme song. The guy would sing "O I'm the Comic Weekly Man, the funny Comic Weekly Man"...and so on. Why am I even thinking about this?

I guess I need comic relief after the 3 hour intensive I've just put in to catch up with computer email and news after spending the day yesterday involved in organizing our community more effectively around Global Warming issues. You may remember Global Warming from the days before the caucuses and primaries. Even though the candidates don't discuss or debate it, it used to be a concern.

OK, what are they talking about...and how are things stacking up on the Sunday morning before the big Primary Tuesday in Ohio, Texas and elsewhere? After being swept off my feet by Michelle Obama Thursday night, I've been digging around the Internet for what must be wrong with Barack. Obviously so are other people, and I think it's important we share this stuff. Maybe even Hillary's people will curb their panic and get busy as well.

Bob Whealey, who taught History at OU so many years---and also went to my alma mater---brought The Black Commentator site to my attention. Bill Fletcher, its Executive Editor, urges caution about Obama~~~

Yet what complicates all of this is the unevenness in Obama’s platform. What we confront is potential for change in a progressive direction rather than leadership in a progressive direction. In other words, Obama opens up possibilities, but as can be repeatedly demonstrated, there are inconsistencies in his views and approach, as well as times when he is just wrong...
There are tremendous dangers AND opportunities in this election season. Casting caution to the wind and uncritically supporting any candidate is a recipe for disaster. We must expect that there will be immense tugs to the Right on any elected official. If progressives are not prepared to push back and keep Obama’s feet to the fire then every reservation that many of us have about his candidacy will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Feet-to-the-fire is just what Matt Gonzalez advocates too, and accomplishes in an article that's turning up all over the place this morning. Gonzalez is the former head of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and past candidate for Mayor on the Green Party ticket there. His article The Obama Craze: Count Me Out appeared Thursday , but I'll refer you to the version at a site called AgainstObama because you probably want to click around there a bit if, like me, you're a recent convert. Here's Matt~~~

Part of me shares the enthusiasm for Barack Obama. After all, how could someone calling themself a progressive not sense the importance of what it means to have an African-American so close to the presidency? But as his campaign has unfolded, and I heard that we are not red states or blue states for the 6th or 7th time, I realized I knew virtually nothing about him.
Like most, I know he gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I know he defeated Alan Keyes in the Illinois Senate race; although it wasn’t much of a contest (Keyes was living in Maryland when he announced). Recently, I started looking into Obama’s voting record, and I’m afraid to say I’m not just uninspired: I’m downright fearful. Here’s why:
This is a candidate who says he’s going to usher in change; that he is a different kind of politician who has the skills to get things done. He reminds us again and again that he had the foresight to oppose the war in Iraq. And he seems to have a genuine interest in lifting up the poor.
But his record suggests that he is incapable of ushering in any kind of change I’d like to see. It is one of accommodation and concession to the very political powers that we need to reign in and oppose if we are to make truly lasting advances.

He then proceeds to review Obama's record issue by issue. This article is going to give you pause---just in case you haven't voted early already or were planning a visit to the Board of Elections tomorrow. Maybe instead we should do more Monday morning research.

Then I visited a very hesitant Paul Street out in Iowa---where it all began---writing way back in last April! It sez here Mr. Street is a "veteran radical historian"---hmmm---and a political commentator in the Midwest, and his essay is titled Sitting Out The Obama Dance In Iowa City~~~

Then there’s the matter of his actual policy and political record. If Obama is such (as many “progressives” seem to need to believe) an “antiwar” candidate, why has he offered so much substantive policy support to the criminal occupation and the broader imperial “war on [and of] terror” of which Bush says O.I.F. is a part? Here are some highlights from a summary of Obama’s U.S. Senate voting record recently sent to me by the Creative Youth News Team (CYNT 2007), a progressive African American advocacy organization:

“1/26/05: Obama voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State. Rice was largely responsible…for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims in unnecessary wars...Roll call 2”

“2/01/05: Obama was part of a unanimous consent agreement not to filibuster the nomination of lawless torturer Alberto Gonzales as chief law enforcement officer of the United States (U.S. Attorney General).”

“2/15/05: Obama voted to confirm Michael Chertoff, a proponent of water-board torture...[and a] man behind the round-up of thousands of people of Middle-Eastern descent following 9/11. By Roll call 10.”

“4/21/05: Obama voted to make John ‘Death Squad’ Negroponte the National Intelligence Director. In Central America, John Negroponte was connected to death squads that murdered nuns and children in sizable quantities. He is suspected of instigating death squads while in Iraq, resulting in the current insurgency. Instead of calling for Negroponte's prosecution, Obama rewarded him by making him National Intelligence Director. Roll call 107”

“4/21/05: Obama voted for HR 1268, war appropriations in the amount of approximately $81 billion. Much of this funding went to Blackwater USA and Halliburton and disappeared. Roll call 109 [W FOR PRO-WAR VOTE]”

And it goes on, right up to now...or then, last April. Fifty sources meticulously documented at the end. (I can't wait to get the inevitable reply from my sister-in-law Kirsten who lives near Iowa City and has been warning me to calm down about Obama.)

If you can find your way through all that and still are supporting The Phenom, I think you'll be interested in the Nation article my friend Paul Quintanilla recommended to me by Naomi Klein. This showed up Friday online and will be in the next issue. It's about the "native dress" picture that was all the talk early last week, and which they talked about during the Cleveland debate...although Hillary never did deny, reject and condemn the whole thing. Naomi urges us to remember that labeling someone with Islam is not actually "smearing" that person.

Along this same line, a dear friend here in Athens (but who is teaching elsewhere this year) found a blog she urges me to pass along. This entry is called Denouncing And Rejecting, and it wonders why Obama has to go through all that he does regarding the Farrakhan endorsement, but nobody demands that McCain do anything about various rightwing "Christian" nazi groups that give him support. Lots of comments too...and you'll want to check out many of Hilzoy's other postings.

Online friend Zepp recommends Mother Jones' primer of comparing Obama and Clinton. There are the Top 10 Economic Policy Issues. Invaluable.

The New York Times this morning gives its top story to the spending sprees both Democratic candidates are on, particularly here and in Texas. Governor Ted Strickland, who's been campaigning with Hillary, has to admit that if you can buy the nomination Barrack's got it.

Maureen Dowd goes after The Ad---you know...your kids are sleeping, 3 AM, and a phone is ringing in the White House. Hillary's Fear Bomb ad. Dowd wants to know if being in the same bed when Bill answered the phone counts as experience.

Frank Rich tries to talk sense about McCain this morning. This is sorta helpful to your equanimity if that crazy old guy actually wins the election.

I love the Letter From Feminists On The Election that you can find at The Nation. You're sure to discover one of your favorites sharing a light breakfast last week and their opinions on how things are going for women. Race vs. gender ain't what they were hoping for.

If you have anything left, The Times also brought in all the presidential candidates who have dropped out---or been knocked out---to tell us what they'd be saying if they still were in the race.

And by the way, you do know the Administration's usual Friday afternoon announcement this week was WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime.

Whew. OK, I think I'll go find the Sunday funnies and take them with me...back to bed!  

2 Mar 2008 @ 18:16 by quinty : My memory
is imprecise. But over the campaign Hillary and Obama appear to have marched in lockstep over the war. Sometime ago, when there were six or seven Democrats at the debate - you may recall? - they all agreed that US troops would have to remain in Iraq. (Kucinich I suppose excepted.)

For me that came as a blow, since, taking them at their word, it sounded as if we would never leave Iraq. So that was where the candidates were. Then recently, one on one, both Hillary and Obama promise to take the troops out and end the war. And to do so in a manner which is almost indistinguishable if you omit the quibbles which excite so much fiery rhetoric.

This is not promising. (And, yes, it was far easier to oppose the war as a state senator representing an anti war district in Chicago than it was for an ambitious US Senator anticipating a run for the presidency. Would Obama have behaved differently?)

What’s more, as others have pointed out, there is no mention in the “debate” about the grotesque 750 billion plus dollar “defense” budget.

What in the world do we need such a gross and inflated defense budget for? To fight suitcase bombers? Or in case our nukes fizzle out so that we can win a conventional war with China or India? (Or is it to keep the defense contractors happy while encouraging a national atmosphere of uncertainty and fear?)

Nor is there any debate or even mention of our empire. Is that what the 750 billion are for?

Well, if it’s any consolation, when FDR ran he was perhaps even less promising than Obama, with at least one major scandal under his belt. Nor was he all that specific in 1932. Nor could he actually be since he adopted - once he became president - to changing circumstance and experimented a lot. Mencken and Lippman believed he was a complete lightweight. Dorothy Parker thought Hoover was brighter and voted for him. Dito some other writers and intellectuals.

Obama displays many personal strengths which can’t be faked. Will he “triangulate,” as you, Richard, speculate above (in which case we will be getting Clinton all over again, the last thing we need), or will he be serious about solving the nation’s problems? it only takes one senator to shut down the Senate. 60 votes to override.

I’ll be voting for him Tuesday, wondering, yes, what will happen if he becomes our president?

I like Dowd’s take on all this though I haven’t read her latest column yet.  

2 Mar 2008 @ 20:00 by quinty : Well I read Dowd's
column. It sounds as if she is disgusted.

And well she should be. Do we want the Clinton clown act in the White House? Can Big Bill be tamed and simmer down? Will Hillary actually be fully dressed at 3 o'clock in the morning as she takes that call? Will Bill groggily say lying at her side, "Monica, Monica, I told you don't call me at this hour."

Well, that was cheap. I admit it. But Hillary is going down gracelessly. Hoping to excite our more primitive natures. I hope she doesn't win.  

3 Mar 2008 @ 10:50 by jazzolog : The Morning Before
I'd intended to go quietly back to work this morning, minding my own business and not stuffing comment boxes with more this-and-that about Ohio's primary. That was before I started reading my own mail though. A couple of things I have to share...and actually people increasingly are asking me to do so. That's fine with me. It's often an honor.

I don't know what it was like where you were, but around Athens the streets were filled with young people on such a beautiful afternoon. Nothing unusual about that, except their hands were full of Obama literature and they were going door to door. It was amazing. It was the thing to do. Obama Headquarters was the place to be. The office area of the old New-To-You store is transformed into the "kitchen," they call it, and on tables back there were heaped piles of gourmet pizzas, sandwich fixin's, stupendous salads with fresh-gathered greens, and healthy stuff to drink. Kids, high school through college, were getting to know each other, training each other, dissolving townie-campus barriers, doing the work. Off they went on bicycles to stir up more support and get out the vote. They weren't even bothering with the old telephone bank strategies: person-to-person is the approach. Perhaps Clinton and McCain people were working similarly, but I saw no signs of it in Athens---except Hillary signs showing up wherever there already was an Obama sign.

Not everyone I know is enthusiastic about this explosion of youthful political involvement. At another article here appears a comment from an older online friend in LA~~~

"Frankly, I'd like to poll many young people who are all hot for Obama and ask them to point out Iraq and Saudi Arabia on a map and tell you who are their government's leaders by name, for starters. It's very scarey to me when I see a lot of young people who have no clue where London or Paris is, and think there were airplanes in the Civil War. They don't know history, nor geography, nor world cultures, not even how to read and write English, they don't know who McCain is by a photo, nor who Amidinijad is, so how can they make an intelligent decision about a presidential candidate?"

Hmmm, well...the young lady who was training canvassers yesterday seemed to know her stuff, but my friend Elle does have a point. Maybe this energy will motivate more interest in learning. It usually works that way with me.

Bob Sheak, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology at Ohio University, sent this note yesterday morning---and I think he wants others to read it~~~

Thanks for the great rundown of the commentary on Obama. I've attached three items that raise questions about Obama's stand on the military budget , nuclear power , and mercenaries in Iraq . You may already know about it, but is a good place to find information about the sources of Obama's and Clinton's campaign money. My quick scan of this website suggests there are not that much difference between them on this score.

Although I may have missed it, I don't think the health plans of either Obama or Clinton tackle the insurance companies, drug companies, for-profit hospitals, or the nursing home industry and related question of long-term care. They want to increase individual access to the health care system (that's fine). But, as far as I can tell, they don't say much about reforming the institutional structure of these industries. If I am right, this means they will not be able to contain rising health costs. I am also disturbed by Obama's position of increasing the size of our military by 93,000, by his one-sided Israel policy, and by the issues identified in your e-mail this morning.

Overall, the candidates don't seem able to confront the enormity of the problems we face. It may be that media and political constraints make it impossible for them to do so. For example, I'm just reading Lester R. Brown's new book Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. I've followed his authoritative and comprehensive analyses on earth's environment and human impacts on it for 30 years or so. My impression is that he is never at a loss for identifying solutions to these problems, typically ignored by policymakers. But the problems keep growing. And now, he says, we must "mobilize to save civilization, a kind of last gasp.

I'm afraid that I'll face yet another presidential election this year with little enthusiasm, unless the eventual Democrat candidate is bold enough to introduce a vision and policies that give us a chance of reversing corporate and class domination, increasing environmental devastation, a militarized and imperialistic foreign policy, a perverse tax system that favor the few and undermines the economy, our continued pandering to fossil fuel interests, an out-of-control national debt... There such much that has to be undone. I wish I could be persuaded that my skepticism is overblown.


I replied to Bob as follows~~~

Thanks Bob, this is a fine summary too. I agree there are too many disturbing similarities to stir me up---and keep me stirred up. Big Money with its accompanying evils seems to rule them both---so much so that neither really is debating the other on some very important issues. That Obama chose to make his single personal appearance to the Athens area yesterday at an exclusive private party in Nelsonville---see picture with our friend Heather---is very disturbing to me. This is a Region Of Major Appalachian Poverty, Barack! Meanwhile hundreds---maybe thousands---of Athens and OU kids trudged and bicycled through the streets knocking on doors. Could he give the Obama headquarters a 5 minute surprise visit at least to thank them? Guess not. I know he's pressed for time (my friend in Providence said he was 3 hours late there) but the youth of this nation are expecting...and really honest, personal touch. The touch of Big Money is what we're trying to rein in!


Next I opened a message from Alyssa Bernstein. It is with pleasure I post her name for the first time. We became friends during the last presidential election and have been exchanging emails quite a lot so far during this one. Alyssa is an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at OU, with speciality in Ethics (remember that?) and political ethics even more especially. She's away this year as a Visiting Scholar at DePauw University, an emotional challenge for her and her husband who's still here. Last evening she sent this~~~


I voted for Obama. I had vacillated for quite a while. Clinton is very impressive, and for a long time I was persuaded by the experience argument. But I think Obama's point about judgment is right and very important (he makes this point in speeches and debates, especially effectively in the last debate; he also makes it in his TV ad responding to Clinton's "red phone" ad; you can watch it online). Clinton's vote in favor of the bill authorizing GWB to use force in Iraq was a serious misjudgment. So was her vote in favor of the more recent bill declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization; this bill helped give GWB the option of military action in Iran, prematurely. I am disenchanted, even disgusted, by the way Clinton has been using some of the tactics of negative campaigning that the Republicans have used against the Democrats in recent elections. Obama comes across as more poised, self-possessed and dignified than Clinton, and seems to have not only better political skills but also a much faster political-skill-learning curve than she does (this is evident from how fast he has learned during this primary season), which is very important for both foreign and domestic policy (sizing up and interacting well with other political leaders). I think Obama would do better than Clinton at rebutting the criticisms, insinuations and slanders that the Republicans will sling at the Democratic candidate. I am confident that Obama cares about national security as much as Clinton does, and will do as well or better at protecting and strengthening the USA, and will be less likely to get drawn into making unwise decisions in order to prove manliness. I am satisfied with Obama's support of Israel and his record of speaking out against anti-Semitism, even in difficult circumstances (to predictably unreceptive audiences). More generally, I am well impressed by his record on civil rights. Although I'm not happy about his having any involvement with that fellow Rezko, according to the NYTimes there is no evidence that Obama did him any favors, only that Rezko did Obama some favors. Among the most important considerations are the following: that Obama's donations have come from a very large number of people giving small amounts, so he's less beholden to particular individuals and corporations; and that he has already done so much, and could and would do so much more (and far better than Clinton) to get people actively involved in politics (young people, etc.), which is necessary to make many of the changes he advocates and which the USA needs.

Although the Columbus Dispatch endorses Clinton, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cleveland Plain Dealer have endorsed Obama. Also, all five major Texas newspapers endorse Obama; see, e.g., today's Dallas Morning News at:

Thanks for your work to keep us informed,


She's a great reader of hilzoy's blog, and she wants me to recommend this entry to you from yesterday, entitled The Democratic Candidates and Civil Liberties. My wife is recommending it too!

And speaking of Dana, she also has been sending out this article by Sojourners editor Jim Wallis, about Barack Obama and religion~~~

Just before starting this comment, I took a look at today's Writer's Almanac that Garrison Keillor puts together. This is the poem for March 3rd~~~

Poem: "What the Uneducated Old Woman Told Me" by Christopher Reid, from Katerina Brac. © Faber &Faber. Reprinted with permission.

What the Uneducated Old Woman Told Me

That she was glad to sit down.
That her legs hurt in spite of the medicine.
That times were bad.
That her husband had died nearly thirty years before.
That the war had changed things.
That the new priest looked like a schoolboy and you could barely hear him in church.
That pigs were better company, generally speaking, than goats.
That no one could fool her.
That both her sons had married stupid women.
That her son-in-law drove a truck.
That he had once delivered something to the President's palace.
That his flat was on the seventh floor and that it made her dizzy think of it.
That he brought her presents from the black market.
That an alarm clock was of no use to her.
That she could no longer walk to town and back.
That all her friends were dead.
That I should be careful about mushrooms.
That ghosts never came to a house where a sprig of rosemary had been hung.
That the cinema was a ridiculous invention.
That the modern dances were no good.
That her husband had a beautiful singing voice, until drink ruined it.
That the war had changed things.
That she had seen on a map where the war had been fought.
That Hitler was definitely in Hell right now.
That children were cheekier than ever.
That it was going to be a cold winter, you could tell from the height of the birds' nests.
That even salt was expensive these days.
That she had had a long life and was not afraid of dying.
That times were very bad.  

3 Mar 2008 @ 18:05 by quinty : Obama and AIPAC
Rare is the politician who will buck AIPAC. That could be political suicide. This is from a Jewish activist friend (Women ini Black) in Berkeley who stays on top of all this. (The news from Gaza is very bad.)

Obama and the 'Jewish Vote'
> Rootless Cosmopolitan is not in the habit of endorsing political
> candidates, but Barack Obama - Barack Hussein Obama - is an exception.
> Rootless Cosmopolitan loves Barack Hussein Obama. Here's why: I was
> reminded of the essence of my own credo
> in a piece
> last week in Newsweek by the
> wonderful ethno-musicologist Robert Farris Thompson, writing of his
> love of Mambo and other Afro-Caribbean musical styles:
> Mambo distills their cross-cultural insights, leading us, for
> example, to a Puerto Rican man who learned to live among the Anglos,
> Jews, Italians and Irish. In a wonderful book on his life, "Benjy
> Lopez: A Picaresque Tale of Emigration and Return," by Barry B.
> Levine, he shared this insight: "Imagine if you were twenty years old
> and didn't feel inferior to anybody or better than anybody. When you
> treat everybody the same, people open up to you." Those are words I
> have tried to live by.
> It is these words that also capture precisely what inspires me about
> Obama. My good friend Michael Weeder - Father Michael Weeder, an
> Anglican priest and longtime revolutionary in my native Cape Town -
> sent me an email at about the same time in which he noted the
> following:
> Obama is the child both of Africa, who was robbed of her own,
> and of those whose aspirations were embodied in the Mayflower. A child
> of our continent in the White House ... this is not just a North
> American election, no... we should all have that bloodied vote. I see
> how Americans are stepping up to the plate of human justice and
> solidarity.
> Out of the whore of Babylon comes something new as the sloping
> Beast pauses, en route to Jerusalem. Perhaps a new day is possible.
> The reason people around the world are excited about the possibility
> of an Obama presidency is that they see in him a person who appears to
> live by that credo "neither inferior, nor superior, to anyone." And
> that's in marked contrast to the arrogance with which every U.S.
> president of the past quarter century has addressed the world.
> Hillary Clinton is so imprisoned in this haughty arrogance that she
> mocks Obama for even suggesting that the starting point in dealing
> with Iran, or Cuba is to talk to the adversary and understand his
> concerns. Nope, Hillary is very much part of the bark-into-a-megaphone
> school of international affairs, of which the Bush Administration has
> simply been the zenith. Clinton's boundless cynicism has been
> astonishing - she expects people to vote for her on the basis that
> she's taken more hits from the Republicans and is immune to their
> blows; she mocks Obama for offering people the hope that things could
> be different. Which, of course, is true, in the sense that if Hillary
> Clinton is elected president, I'm not sure how profoundly different
> they would be, quite frankly.
> She goes on about how Obama hasn't been tested, but in truth - on the
> issues that really matter to the world - both have been tested, and
> Hillary failed. She voted to authorize the Iraq war, where Obama had
> the courage to stand up and say no. And she voted to authorize Bush to
> do his best to provoke another war with Iran. Again, Obama refused to
> give Bush the mandate he sought. I want Obama to be President because
> I think he's the least likely of all the contenders to drop bombs on
> people or starve them in the name of self-righteous anger, ideological
> arrogance or because Israel demands it.
> America is in urgent need of a profound change in the way that it
> relates to the world, and it's not going to come from Hillary Clinton.
> The fact that she believes she can prevail by pouring scorn on the
> very notion that things could be different is a sign of the
> decrepitude that has dominated the upper echelons of the Democratic
> Party since the first Clinton term. (It may not be surprising that in
> a party that could put up Al Gore and John Kerry, Hillary might
> believe that she had earned the right to be the candidate, but why
> shouldn't Democratic voters expect more?)
> Now, as the desperation begins to set in, the Clinton campaign is
> showing its true colors, trying to stampede voters away from Obama by
> implying that he's a trojan horse for Osama, doing their best to alert
> Jewish voters to the idea that, unlike Hillary he may not be willing
> to jump through every hoop that the Israel lobby demands
> .
> So, Is Obama "Good for the Jews"?
> On a recent visit to Cape Town, I was shown one of those
> Obama-as-Osama smear emails that have done the rounds of the
> internet's Jewish geography, containing those talking points that were
> once exclusive to the fevered racist imagination of the the Zionist
> alte-kakkers but have since become mainstream fare for Clinton
> boosters. His middle name is HUSSEIN. Scary, huh? His father and
> paternal grandmother were MUSLIMS. He went to a MADRESSA as a toddler.
> (Actually, I've long been amused at how the term madressa has come to
> connote terrorist training camp in the Western media - all I can tell
> you is that in my anti-apartheid struggle days in South Africa, we had
> plenty of our activist meetings in madressas kindly made available by
> local imams, and I felt right at home in them because they were almost
> indistinguishable from the Hebrew nursery school I had attended, but
> never mind...)
> I read a few lines and began to giggle. "Oh, so you don't believe
> Obama is secretly part of the Muslim war against the West?" the man
> who showed me the email asked. What Muslim war against the West, I
> asked. He looked a little offended: "You mean you don't believe
> there's a Muslim war against the West?" No, I don't. And I don't
> believe Obama is a Muslim, anyway, but I do think his heritage may
> make him more inclined to engage in dialogue with Muslim countries,
> and that would be an extremely good thing.
> Again, quoting from my good friend, the Anglican Father Michael
> Weeder, whose own roots are not dissimilar from Obama's, "I relate to
> his Muslim Indonesian connection because that is where the dominant
> strand of my genetic lines leads from and then a large proportion of
> my relatives (the known ones) are Muslim. But that is a minor if not
> irrelevant matter... Much is being made of Obama's Muslim ties with
> Islam, and if Islam has influenced him I say 'Praise be to Allah'
> because his nur is pure, and shines like the morning sun through a
> winter haze. I believe that grace is at work here."
> It is, of course, precisely the prospect of an American president
> committed to justice and dialogue that freaks out the Zionists. They
> cite his willingness to talk to Iran as Exhibit A in the case against
> him.
> apage=1&cid=1203589810710&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull>
> That's because the Zionists want an American president who will bomb
> Iran, having worked themselves into a lather of with their own dark
> fantasies about Iran as Nazi Germany. And if Obama is prepared to talk
> to Iran, he may be prepared to talk to Hamas, too. For the Zionists,
> that's another reason to plotz at the prospect of an Obama presidency,
> even though talking to Hamas is exactly what Israel and the U.S. need.
> The greatest fear, quite explicitly, cited by the Zionists is that
> Obama may pursue an even-handed policy on the Middle East. Imagine
> that...
> It disturbs the Zionist establishment that Obama is promising change,
> because the Zionist establishment is deeply invested in the current
> disastrous status quo - the status quo that has plunged America into a
> ruinous war, and the Middle East into a chaos that even sober Zionists
> ought to recognize is bad for Israel, even if they remain cold to the
> crimes against Palestinians it has involved. "All the talk about
> change, but without defining what that change should be is an opening
> for all kind of mischief," warned Malcolm Hoenlein
> , chairman of the
> Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. "Of course
> Obama has plenty of Jewish supporters and there are many Jews around
> him," Hoenlein said. "But there is a legitimate concern over the
> zeitgeist around the campaign."
> The problem with Obama, for the Zionist establishment - and some
> Israeli politicians have made this clear
> cid=1201070769195&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull> - is that he
> may be too even-handed in dealing with Israel and the Palestinians. He
> may not muster quite the same degree of racist contempt for the
> Palestinians
> the-palestinians/> that can be safely expected from a Hillary Clinton
> (they're not entirely sure of John McCain, either, fearful that he
> might send Republican "realists" of the Scowcroft-Baker variety to the
> Middle East rather than Irgun fighters like Elliot Abrahams, Bush's
> Mideast point-man). As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, "Visiting
> the region in 2005 as senator for New York, Senator Clinton shunned
> the Palestinians completely, meeting only Israeli leaders and hearing
> and expressing only Israeli positions. She particularly galled
> Palestinians by enthusiastically backing the 700-kilometre complex of
> walls and fences that Israel is building inside the West Bank."
> When Obama gently but firmly suggested to Ohio Jewish voters
> that there was
> a difference between being a friend to Israel and embracing the toxic
> Likud view of how to approach its neighbors, some Zionist commentators
> went apoplectic - Haaretz's manic U.S.-based nationalist watchdog
> Shmuel Rosner howled that Obama was interfering in Israeli internal
> affairs! But then Rosner represents the Zionist alte-kakker
> perspective to a tee, with grading of American political candidates
> solely on the
> basis of their level of hostility to Israel's foes and willingess to
> give it carte blanche to destroy the Palestinians and itself. Why
> Haaretz publishes this crank, I have no idea, but it should be
> embarrassed to run this sort of tribalist drivel which most American
> Jews find acutely embarrassing.
> The reality is that Obama may be just the sort of friend Israel needs;
> the sort of friend that restrains you from driving home drunk.
> I love this line from one of Hillary's campaign organizers in response
> to Obama being quoted as saying he wanted "an honest discussion about
> ways to bridge the gap that grows between Muslims and the West" -
> Daphna Ziman, a friend of Clinton's who has organized campaign events
> for her, responded, "I am horrified at Mr. Obama's point of view."
> Enough said.
> Never Mind Obama, are the Zionists "Good for the Jews"?
> If I was a Zionist, of course, I'd be less worried by Obama than by
> the fact that American Jews are voting for him in huge numbers,
> despite being warned off him by the Zionist establishment. Obama even
> beat Hillary among Jewish voters in California, a state that Hillary
> actually won! I have little doubt that he'll easily carry a majority
> of young Jewish voters, about 70% of whom, like Obama, opposed the
> Iraq war at the time that Hillary voted for it. And what this reveals,
> in fact, is that Zionist hegemony among American Jews is fading.
> A 2007 study commissioned for American Jewish organizations found that
> less than half of American Jews under 35 would consider Israel's
> disappearance a "personal tragedy," and more than half were
> uncomfortable with the very idea of a Jewish state. These figures
> reveal that young American Jews don't want to be fenced off in some
> nationalist ghetto of the mind; they don't see their fate and their
> existence as initimately tied to Israel's, nor do they see Israel as
> representing them and their Jewishness. It would be safe to assume, in
> fact, that a large and growing number of American Jews, just like
> Barack Obama, would like to see a more even-handed U.S. Middle East
> policy that raises the prospects for peace. A Jew's place, as I've
> always argued, is in the world, wherever he or she chooses to make it.
> And the value of Judaism is derived from the way it feeds into a
> universal humanity - tribal nationalism has no place in my idea of
> Judaism, and it's not something I want any part of. And I get the
> sense that millions of young American Jews feel the same way. Barack
> Obama is the perfect candidate in this election for those who believe
> that our Jewish values compel us to be part of a universal movement
> for justice that joins us together with all who share that goal,
> across all tribal boundaries. And he's the perfect candidate to lead
> America in an age when it will have to learn to treat the rest of the
> world as something more than its vassals and courtiers. That's why
> long before Texas and Ohio cast their votes, the vast majority of
> humanity that is paying attention has left no doubt that it wants to
> see Barack Obama in the White House.

3 Mar 2008 @ 19:15 by quinty : A dollop of hope

I wouldn’t call the kids from Brown and URI here in Providence who volunteer for Obama “ignorant,” or disdain them for their enthusiasm. On the contrary, we should hope instead that they are not disillusioned. If Obama turns out not to be the real deal they collectively would be one very large casualty. And as a result so would all the rest of us.

I suppose the largest criticism which can be directed at Obama is that he is offering a campaign which allows anyone with a dollop of wishful thinking to easily attach it to him. On my part, I’m hoping he will be more progressive as president than he has demonstrated on the national stage.

Regarding health care I’m for single payer. Why should one cent of our tax dollars go to Big Pharma or the insurance industry? But the belief in the superiority of the private sector has been so drilled into the national psyche that it has become part of our credo. Is what Obama offers the best he thinks he can do?

Adding nearly a hundred thousand troops to our military can only mean one thing. A serious bolstering of the empire. The 750 billion plus on “defense” is thoroughly obscene. But on the other hand I can forgive both Barack and Hillary for not going into all this since the learning curve, at this time, is still extremely steep. For we collectively as a nation haven’t poked our heads up out of our bunker of fear yet. And Obama has only taken a few small steps in that direction while Hillary is attempting to exploit it once again with her 3AM phonecall. McCain appears to actually believe it.

But asking for 90 thousand some odd more troops indicates more business as usual. What’s more, there’s a certain lockstep uniformity between the two campaigns. When one shifts left or right so does the other. And that’s not a good sign.

Okay, the Obama phenomenon is a “movement.” More than a mere rallying of backers in an important election campaign. Now it should be obvious he will need a large popular movement to bring about any real change. The platform Obama has offered is pretty modest, perhaps as far left as he can expediently go in our current political climate.

Here’s where I wish my dollop of wishful thinking will stick. That he will educate the American people once he becomes president and begin to dispel the numerous national myths so many Americans live by. By being frank with the American people he can perhaps bolster the popular movement he needs to make the Congress follow. My dollop is the wish it will be genuinely progressive.

Democrats have been in the habit - for decades now - of turning and running less they be made to appear weak or unpatriotic or somehow un-American by the often unexpected and irrational arguments of the far right. These arguments are meant to stun and are often successful. Obama, so far in this campaign, has shown a willingness, even an eagerness, to fling it back into his critics’ faces. He’s the first politician we have seen in a long time who’s not afraid of being overtly intelligent. Once he has the power, securely in the White House, will he also do so with the larger issues which confront him? I think many Americans yearn for intelligence once again in the White House. Dispel the myths and a progressive agenda becomes possible. That is, unless the overall system is too corrupt.

That’s my dollop of wishful thinking. What other choice have we? Both McCain and Hillary are plainly business as usual.  

3 Mar 2008 @ 21:48 by jazzolog : Business As Usual
My comment to a reply at AthensGrow~~~

----- Original Message -----
From: Heather Cantino
To: athensgrow
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 2:55 PM
Subject: [athensgrow] Re:Politics & The Sunday Funnies

I appreciate your posts, Richard, but I'd like to point out to readers, in response to that BOTH Clinton and Obama voted to approve the final reauthorization of the Patriot Act in March, 2006. They both voted against in in Dec., 2005. So yes, we need to organize to pressure either toward a progressive agenda, but we need to be careful of incomplete information about their records. I really like to search out and compare records.

I enjoyed giving Obama a copy of George Monbiot's important book, Heat, yesterday at Hocking College, where he spoke, and telling him that there IS opposition in our region to "clean" coal.

I think the article on the importance of grassroots progressive organizing is right on:


Great! I thought Heather would reply...especially since I referenced her picture in today's Washington Post. I had no idea how it would go though. I figured I would hear that the meeting in Nelsonville yesterday was NOT some exclusive, invitation-only gathering, and that the word on the street was all wrong. I expected to hear---no, at this point, I hoped to hear it was an impromptu "Town Hall," unscheduled, unannounced, just some extra time the candidate had.

If you go to that Washington Post link , you'll find a slide show available of the candidates on the trail. Find photo 7, and you'll see the people who got in, cordoned off a good 20 feet away from the candidate. So what, and who are they? We have 2 newspaper accounts in town of the meeting, Athens News and Athens Messenger. The Athens Post, the OU student paper, missed it entirely. Let me repeat that: the STUDENT newspaper. The Messenger relates a typical account but doesn't mention at all it was a private affair. ANews' Jim Phillips tells us it was.

Everyone I've talked to all day has registered disappointment at missing a chance to be in the same room with this candidate. They understand they cannot have access all the time, but they also wonder why he couldn't visit his own headquarters in Athens for a few minutes. We've been led to believe this guy is different. He's not going to invite a bunch of local bigwigs into a room and discuss something like Rural Poverty---and fence off any poor person for miles around. That's Bush who does that. And yet, it happened.

My contacts tell me Dave Wilhelm called the Athens Chamber of Commerce and offered them the candidate if they would fill the room with a couple hundred influential business people. When Dave Wilhelm, former Clinton campaign manager, former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Athens native, went for Obama last month, it made the New York Times .

"After Mr. Wilhelm helped him win the election, Mr. Clinton made Mr. Wilhelm the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Now a venture capitalist who focuses on neglected regions of the country, Mr. Wilhelm is also a superdelegate and said he expected the Obama campaign would want him to get on the phone to lobby other superdelegates."

"Now a venture capitalist"? Hmmm, do we sense why some of the invited guests might find no irony in holding a private, closed-door, cordoned-off meeting of business leaders to discuss the poor? And opportunities the poor always provide? Say it ain't so.

My old friend Paul Quintanilla was commenting today about the college students who are trusting Obama is the "real deal." Paul's father was one of the great undiscovered artists of the 20th century, exiled from Franco's Spain . Paul was raised with a belief in representative democracy that has inspired me for 50 years. He relates how thousands were turned away from Obama's appearance over the weekend where he lives in Providence. The Wall Street Journal has a story today from a correspondent who grew up in Toledo, who gives a similar account. Thousands of students turned away. What if it turns out this guy is the same-old same-old? Will those kids surround the White House Nixon-style? Or will they shrug it off, become numb, and get in line at Wal-Mart?

Thanks Heather, as always, for all you do! But did anyone ask the candidate "Do you think any voters will become disillusioned when they hear about this gathering?" Or were they all basking in the bright lights of privilege?

PS My wife has informed me that Matt Gonsalez (the "Matt" in the AgainstObama article referenced above) is Ralph Nader's running mate. O it's Alice In Wonderland season!  

4 Mar 2008 @ 00:20 by quinty : What does it all mean?

After watching the TV news tonight I see that a report I heard on the radio this morning may have been all wrong. At question was the use of Mrs. Clinton's words to describe Barack’s religion. She said she took him for his word that he is a Christian.

The newsman’s recitation of it over the radio sounded as if she were desperately exploiting the smear. (Obama as the secret America hating Muslim jihadist.) Watching her though on TV this evening it was apparent that she had merely dealt with the question in an adult manner, reminding viewers that she had been the victim of numerous cheap smears herself. Much too much was made of finessing the innuendo, if Mrs. Clinton actually intended any?

So what was it last week? The infamous “plagiarism” case? And before that the wording of Mrs. Clinton’s remark that LBJ had signed the Civil Rights Act into law? My memory is short, but it seems to me we have been subjected to this kind of knit picking quite a lot lately. One tiny verbal gaff which would disappear into air for the rest of us becomes the fulcrum for enormous questions regarding the future of the world.

Since nothing substantive has been dealt with by our national media - collectively we appear to still be in shock over the emergence of Barack Obama (who I hope doesn’t turn out to be another Bill Clinton, “triangulating.” Is that all his “yes we can” means?) - relatively minor chinks in the unending rhetoric dominate our attention.

As many on the left have already pointed out, where’s the talk on the empire, the overbloated defense budget, Palestine, the environmental emergency, all the major issues which genuinely confront us?

Certainly the candidates are not bringing any of this up. Kucinich did for the Democrats and Ron Paul always appeared like the half daffed well meaning uncle politeness required to appear at the annual family dinner when he showed up at the Republican debates. All his fellow candidates would squint and smile as he talked about the needless war in Iraq. And quickly put him down.

So CNN went after Obama tonight, just to show it isn’t biased. They were quite open about it, too. As if to prove they listen closely and respond to their widespread family of viewers. You want Brittany? We give you Brittany. You want a little trash on Obama just to show we are fair and balanced? Then you got it!

Whatever happened to journalistic standards, those high sounding ideals I assume are still taught in journalism school? All those ideals are still trotted out at well-attended professional conferences. Though back in the office ambition, careful networking, appearances, and corporate ass kissing may still rule the day. Since you never let anything as insignificant as your job to interfere with your career, right?  

4 Mar 2008 @ 10:48 by jazzolog : Here I Am, Baby: Not Signed Or Sealed
but delivery's in an hour. Slowly, with the help of some emails from friends, my angry disappointment with Barack Obama's private meeting in nearby Nelsonville, is easing to a simmer. I need objectivity for my primary vote. I've got just a couple of things before I go...and I promise I'll leave you laughing!

Dr. Richard Strax practices Diagnostic Radiology and Vascular and Interventional Radiology in Houston, Texas, but more important to me, he's the brother-in-law of a very dear old friend. After my take-off reply to Heather Cantino yesterday, he tried to talk some sense to me---and maybe his bedside manner will help others too~~~


I've been reading your latest posts with a thin smile. For a guy who obviously reads alot, stays well informed and has been around the block a few times, you sound positively naive. I don't mean that in a disparaging way, because I'm also an optimist at heart and dream of a candidate who is honest, uncorrupted by the usual influences, even superhuman if you will.

But just who do you think you're looking at, here? Obama talks about "change", but I've never heard him call for removing corruption from Washington. He has taken small donations from large numbers of people, good, but I haven't heard that he has refused any large sums from the rich or corporate interests either. Are you really surprised that he sells access to rich folks?

Hope springs eternal, but let's try to remember where and when this election is taking place. No one gets far in presidential politics these days without money, corporate support, and a promise (either publicly or behind the curtain) to continue the status quo. Even someone calling for change has to get the OK from party leaders and media moguls or they will never be heard. After all, how far does Ralph Nader ever get? Did you hear much during this campaign from Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, the real advocates for change?

OK, so having said all that, Barbara and I are actually looking forward to the primary tomorrow. We did vote early. We waited in line about two hours here in Houston for early voting, so this election is certainly getting people involved and that can't be all bad. We have lived here for 30 years now and I never knew that Texas has caucuses in addition to the primary election. I was never interested enough. However, tomorrow night Barbara and I expect to caucus for the first time. I've only heard about this happening in other places, but it sounds so democratic it positively gives me goosebumps. I guess we're as bad as you - a young, well spoken and attractive candidate has energized us, made us hopeful and gotten us interested in politics again. We hope we won't be disappointed, but I'm honestly not expecting too much.

My feet may be on the ground but my head is way up in the clouds.

--Richard S.

The next item that helped was the quiet, sane endorsement of Obama yesterday by the Toledo Blade, an Ohio newspaper I've come to depend on~~~

Obama, for change

Our unequivocal choice for the Democratic nomination for President is Barack Obama, the U.S. senator from Illinois, whose phenomenal candidacy and message of change is propelling this year's election buzz.

Senator Obama, we believe, would be the strongest candidate to take on the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, in the November general election.

As we said in our endorsement editorial last week, Senator Obama, 46, possesses a combination of keen intellect, quiet and unflappable confidence, knowledge of public policy, and expansive world view that has become rare in candidates for the White House.

The New Yorker has become very generous online lately. Even the latest issue is available cover to cover on your computer. You feel like you need to buy a copy just in gratitude. Here's the delightful Profile of Michelle Obama~~~

This just in from a London friend, now living in Scotland~~~

Query in the diary section of the Herald today:

If Barack Obama becomes US President, does that make America an Obamanation?


An abominable joke to be sure, but just what I needed at 5:30 this morning our time.

And finally, this cheerup-take-your-mind-off-it from my buddy Jay Warmke, proprietor of up around Zanesville, Ohio~~~

Richard -
You always write of such serious issues - I got this this morning and really enjoyed it. I hope it is true.

-----Original Message-----
From: Paulo da Silva
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 8:47 AM
Subject: FW: Qantas Service Issues ...

Paulo Eduardo da Silva, RCDD
International Managing Director
Power & Telephone Miami

Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one. Reassurance for those of us who fly routinely in our jobs.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft.

The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and the pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never ever had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.  

4 Mar 2008 @ 15:24 by Quinty @ : The enthusiasm
of the young people working for Obama has been mentioned a couple of times.

I'm afraid they will be terribly disillusioned.

Does "yes we can" simply mean a new form of the "third way," "triangulation?"

I'll vote for Obama this afternoon. I am deeply curious about the mix of character and deep ability Obama clearly has with with the world of "practical" politics. What kind of phenomenon do we actually have?  

4 Mar 2008 @ 17:05 by jazzolog : Fading Nader
Ralph's apparently decided not to run. He's listed as a "draft candidate" now.  

9 Mar 2008 @ 09:10 by jazzolog : Dowd Toughens Up Barack
Maureen Dowd takes a look at the Obama campaign after the slapping around it got this week~~~

The New York Times
March 9, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The Monster Mash

I was covered in barbecue sauce, somewhere over Texas, when Barack Obama loped down the aisle of the plane to chat with reporters.

I felt guilty, because I had been covering his speeches urging parents to make their kids give up chips and Popeyes. I hadn’t yet come to grips with the notion of giving up Popeyes when Obama — slender, chewing Nicorette and perfectly groomed in his crisp white shirt — came upon me. I was splattered with so much red sauce it could have been a scene from “Saw IV.” Not only on my face and hands but all over the candidate’s picture in the U.S. News & World Report I was reading.

“It’s on my ear,” he complained, looking down at the magazine.

Feeling cocky after 11 straight wins, he called me “MoDowd” and tweaked me for my many columns suggesting he would need to toughen up to beat the Clinton machine. “She’s trying to give me hair on my chest,” he said mockingly, plucking at his shirt.

After losing Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and his mojo, and getting whipsawed around by Hillary and his own chuckleheaded coterie of advisers, he will now have to come to grips with something he has always skittered away from: You can’t be elected president unless you prove you’re tough.

Hillary’s undeniably tough, as even admiring conservatives admit. The Wall Street Journal op-ed page dubbed her Ma Barker, saying she had tapped into the angst of blue-collar women who know they have to ignore their “moping” men and “suck it up and hold the house together.”

Ma Clinton knows where Obambi’s soft spots are; she knows he likes being petted on his pedestal, that he’s unnerved by her, and that he can never fully accept how shameless she is. What could be more shameless than suggesting to Democrats that John McCain would make a better commander in chief than Obama?

The Obama campaign seems naïve when it keeps reacting with hurt feelings and play-by-the-rules protestations to the Clinton modus vivendi of grabbing the slightest slip and ripping it open. Hillary’s kneecapper Howard Wolfson compares the goo-goo Obama campaign to Ken Starr with a straight face.

The superdelegates are watching to see if Obama can stiffen his backbone. After seeing their candidates lose races they should have won in 2000 and 2004 because they flinched at Republican political waterboarding, Democrats do not want to watch the bully swipe their lollipop a third time.

Obama’s multiculturalism is a selling point with many Democrats. But his impassioned egghead advisers have made his campaign seem not only out of his control, but effete and vaguely foreign — the same unflattering light that doomed Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.

First, his University of Chicago economics adviser, Austan Goolsbee, took it upon himself to reassure Canadian officials that Obama was hard on Nafta only to court the economic populist vote. In a meeting in Chicago, a memo from the Canadian consulate noted, “Goolsbee said he has always been impressed with Canada, sharing his experiences which have included trips to Montreal and Toronto as part of the Yale debate team and visits to Vancouver with his wife.”

While we’ve seen book tours that set up a presidential run, we’ve never seen one that tore one down. That is, until Samantha Power — the Dublin-born Harvard expert on human rights who drily refers to herself as “genocide chick” — hit London to promote her new book.

Power, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, told The Scotsman that Hillary was “a monster” and the BBC that Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan was merely a “best-case scenario.” (She’s now resigned.)

Ma Clinton pounced, telling reporters in Mississippi, “He keeps telling people one thing, while his campaign tells people abroad something else.”

Hillary successfully recast herself in Ohio as a beer-drinking former waitress. Only after last week’s reversals did the Obama camp raise a louder ruckus about her tax returns. Obviously, Ms. Night Shift does not want to reveal the details of the fortune that Bill Clinton has made, sometimes through dubious associations.

It has taken Obama a year to start seriously rebutting Hillary’s risible claim that she has far more national security experience than he does. Having a first lady tea in Belfast is not equivalent to bringing peace to Northern Ireland.

Obama sounded whiny after his losses, chastising reporters on his plane for asking him hard questions about Goolsbee and Antonin Rezko. Privately, his people conceded that he hadn’t been as fierce about winning as Hillary, once more playing rope-a-dope.

He’s now learned what Hillary learned in Iowa: You can’t cruise to victory on a coronation strategy.

If he thinks Hillary has cut him down to size lately, he’d better imagine what his life would be like as the Clintons’ vice president.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company  

9 Mar 2008 @ 17:48 by quinty : Fighting the Clintons

“Democrats do not want to watch the bully swipe their lollipop a third time.”

And the sad thing is that this nonsense works. Reading a biography of FDR his enemies sometimes blamed his paralysis on having contracted syphilis. Some even accused him of not caring if he spread it by swimming in pools with children. (Never mind that syphilis can’t even be spread that way.)

Is there any doubt there were those who believed this?

McCain is making noises about running a fair campaign, and his reputation greatly rests on being a “straight shooter.” Will he keep the campaign “issue oriented” as he has promised? Especially if he begins to go down?

Hillary has all the scruples of a rat in heat. After 8 years of Bush’s giddy world watching Big Bill lord over Obama would be more than the national psyche could take: forget Obama as VP.

Here’s an opinion piece which came my way this morning....

You Can't Lick the Boot that Kicks You

The Only Way to Fight the Clintons


Three weeks before the Ohio primary Blanche McKinney, an assistant manager at Stark Metro Housing and a member of CWA Local 4302 in Canton, told me, "Do we have the time to get someone in there who's inexperienced? No. It's got to be someone who on day one can immediately begin solving problems, because we don't have the time." Her union brothers in the group I was talking to were still undecided at that point, but McKinney was for Hillary.  The only thing she wasn't sure she liked about the candidate was her health care plan: "a lot of Canadians don't like their program." She seemed relieved when I assured her Hillary was not promoting a Canadian-style single-payer system.

McKinney is solidly in Hillary's most solid base: 59, white, a woman, making less than =$50,000, rural. Although she works in Canton's public housing, she and her husband are also small farmers. He doesn't buy anything unless the label says "Made in America". She says she "never seriously thought this was a problem" but asks her union brothers anyway about Barack Obama's name and the "Muslim connection back then in Indonesia": "You say that doesn't bother you even a little?" The four men, three white and one black, said they didn't think so. Dustin Robinett, white, 33, an AT&T repairman, explained what he saw as Obama's slim "connection to the Muslim nation" (his father's childhood religion, his step-father's religion) before going into an extended consideration of multiculturalism, the melting pot, global experience, religion and politics, the habits of men: "we're all afraid of things that are different."

"In God we trust", said Bob Ramsey wryly, a long-hair AT&T inspector in a camo baseball cap, 41, white.

These were the first people I talked to during a week in Ohio before the primary,  so it wasn't until later that I noticed there was something else about McKinney that seemed common among Clinton's most passionate supporters. Most really believed Hillary herself would begin to solve problems immediately upon taking residence at Pennsylvania Avenue. For all the talk after her victory of Hillary as "a fighter" and Ohioans as "fighters" and all of that being a perfect match -- the boxing gloves she held up at events, the endorsement from world middleweight champion and Youngstown native Kelly ("The Ghost") Pavlik -- what seemed truer was that Hillary's solid rank and file aren't fighters at all, or haven't been for a long time. The late Youtube entry into the campaign, a sequence of visuals from Clinton's TV commercials and some still photos backed by John Stewart's "Survivors," made the point precisely. Clinton Country doesn't fight; it survives, and hopes for deliverance.

Bill and Hillary themselves are matchless fighters, and the singular genius of their first eight-year reign was to enlist their supporters as partisan spectators to their fights: against Gennifer Flowers, against Pentagon brass who forced them into "Don't ask, don't tell", against "Harry and Sally", against Newt Gingrich, against the undeserving poor, against gay-baiters who forced them into the Defense of Marriage Act, against Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, against Ken Starr and "the vast right-wing conspiracy." Meanwhile, the spectators themselves became punching bags, but so thoroughly had they been corralled into the Clintons' bleachers that it was as if they could do nothing but take it, perhaps raising a squeak of protest briefly, before turning back to the main event, cheering on their friends, oppressors, friends, the Clintons.

After Hillary won Ohio, having beaten up Obama on NAFTA, a real estate deal and the danger an Obama presidency would pose to sleeping children, the two obvious questions were how did she manage to turn NAFTA into a negative for him, and why didn't he fight back quicker, harder, more effectively? The same might be asked of Ohio itself, and everything Ohio represents, across the long decline of wages and jobs and manufacturing to the present state of social insecurity for which "NAFTA" has become shorthand. For the plain fact is that until the anarchists rose up in Seattle, along with better behaved opponents of neoliberal globalization, shutting down the WTO meeting in the twilight of the Clinton years, no one fought at all except the right. 

It is almost hard to believe now that the reason health insurance was on the Clintons' first agenda at all, back in 1992, was because there was a mini movement for single-payer in the country. Labor unions, citizens groups, doctors' and nurses' groups, some business leaders, had all been agitating, making it an election issue in other races, writing letters, organizing meetings,  protests, media attention. Bill Clinton rode that wave and immediately after being elected, while in the transition, he asked his allies to shut up; Wall Street was already breathing down his neck, the right was bringing heat, trust him and he would, as promised, "put people first" when it came to health care. A protest caravan that had been planned was canceled. One of the biggest players in the coalition, the unions, so flattered to have a president who actually spoke to them, were eager to comply. Bill gave the job of health care reform to Hillary, who studiously interviewed all the players, at one point asking Dr. David Himmelstein, a major exponent of a Canadian-style system "where's the power?" behind such a reform. "Seventy-five percent of the American people," he answered, to which she replied, "Tell me something interesting."

The people never have been interesting to the Clintons, not in organized, confident form. They have been interesting as election props and poll numbers, and interesting as victims, atomized, whose pain could be felt, causes championed, and misery exploited. They are interesting to Bill on rope lines, as exemplars of popular adulation and individuals to be charmed or lectured. Hillary used to hate the rope lines, hate being touched, and in the 1992 campaign she used to make sure that big men were around her to keep the plebs at bay. That changed as her ambition grew and she discovered Purell instant hand santizer. Having purelled universal health care as a live issue for a generation, she's back at it, just where she wants to be, as an answer to a murmured prayer, among a populace mobilized for nothing but elections. 

Bill Clinton bribed and buttered up every member of Congress he could to pass NAFTA in 1993. The unions made speeches and phone calls and rallied here and there, but it wasn't much of a fight. And it wasn't the only issue that labor failed to make into an energetic public case. Even as unions were being crushed by employer intimidation during representation campaigns, they didn't fight en masse for labor law reform while Clinton had a Democratic Congress, and they didn't fight, after the long night of Reaganism, for a seachange in government priorities, for an industrial policy, for reinvestment to end the bleeding of their jobs and their communities and the class. Organized labor vowed to throw out the bums who had passed NAFTA, but ended up backing most of them for re-election in 1994, and did nothing to organize globally with other losers in the aggressively pro-capital regimen of neoliberal capitalism. The Democrats lost Congress, which only made unions (if not their members) more loyal. Clinton lectured delegates to the AFL-CIO convention in 1995 about how he was right on NAFTA and right in his vision of retraining and lifetime learning and the high-tech tomorrow, and the union men and women stood, clapping and hollering their approval. They told their members he was all that stood between them and destruction in the form of Republicans, and mobilized voters for his re-election in 1996 and that of his v.p., Al Gore, in 2000. Now workers come to Hillary's rallies and her "town halls"  telling reporters of the multiple agonies of their towns and their counties and repeating the rumor judiciously planted by campaign supporters in the press and on the streets: "You know, privately she was against NAFTA from the beginning." Now she is the solution, the savior for everything that ails them.

Anyone who wants chapter and verse on how cynical the Clinton team was on the price of deindustrialization should read Louis Uchitelle's book of a couple of years ago, The Disposable American. And for a refresher course in the realities of the "peace and prosperity" that the Clintons promise to bring back -- and anyone who has trailed the campaigns in a primary state cannot miss that "the Clintons" are indeed running as a team promising to do just that -- there is Robert Pollin's devastating account of global austerity at the end of the '90s, Contours of Descent. But the larger point is how they got away with it. The prison population and prison labor (engaged in everything from taking reservations to sewing jeans to building furniture and transmissions for pennies an hour) mushroomed under Clinton's three-strikes-you're-out and kindred crime policies, and organized labor didn't fight. Prisons expanded, and organized labor didn't fight. (To the extent that more cops and more prison guards and more construction crews were real or potential union members, this development was sometimes even welcomed.) Privatization moved apace here as in so many other sectors, and organized labor didn't fight. The prisons filled with young black and Latino men, and black leadership didn't fight, Latino leadership didn't fight, the civil rights movements didn't fight -- not in any robust, sustained and visible fashion, just like the unions with job loss, NAFTA and the decline in real wages. Now one in less than 100 adult Americans is locked up. That was a blip in the news during the campaigns in Ohio and Texas. Hillary Clinton called for even more cops on the streets, more community policing and only lastly a review of sentencing.

I don't know if Obama, then struggling to defend himself as someone who would not allow America's sleeping children to be slaughtered by foreigners, said anything at all. But there was no popular outcry he might have ridden or been pressured by, no mass organized black or Latino outcry, just as there had been none during the Clinton reign. Critics say Obama is isolated because he's maintained a careful distance from black leadership, and that is true, except that that leadership has allowed its children to be criminalized and locked up, and all the while cheered for Bill, rustled votes for Bill, just plain liked Bill, and in many cases signed on early to his wife's campaign without making mass incarceration an issue. Prisons have been the only real growth industry in Ohio's Mahoning County, home of Youngstown and its supposed population of fighters, and the county went 64 percent for Hillary on March 4.

Organized feminists didn't fight when Clinton continued Reagan's war on "welfare queens" in more polite language. They didn't fight as women were made peon labor, displacing unionized public workers, or as they were made a captive labor force for multinationals like Tyson's chicken. Or as they were threatened with eviction from public housing. Or as they were forced into more peon labor in exchange for that public housing. NARAL fought against the forced imposition of chemical contraception on poor women, but again on an issue that potently united the interests of organized labor, women, blacks, Latinos, the poor, there was no mass sustained, visible fight. ACORN launched a campaign to organize welfare workers, and pushed for them to get gloves while picking up garbage for a few dollars a day in public parks. There were protests here and there, just as there were strikes here and there, labor rallies here and there, marches of blacks and others angered by the criminal control system here and there during the 1990s. But mostly there was abject surrender.

Predatory lending increased, and there was no fight. Household indebtedness increased, and there was no fight. Deregulation marched on, leading the way for the current foreclosure crisis among other things, and there was no fight. Hillary Clinton's closest foreign policy adviser now, Madeleine Albright, said the death of half a million children because of sanctions on Iraq was "worth it", and there was no fight. The drug war escalated on American city streets and in Colombia with the bribing and arming of government-linked paramilitaries, and there was no fight. Bill Clinton wrote anti-gay discrimination into law in the Defense of Marriage Act and there was no fight. While he had a Democratic Congress and squandered an opportunity for banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in civilian life, he won cheers from gays and their bloc vote at the ballot box for fighting for their equal opportunity to be paid killers and cannon fodder.

Talk about the "kitchen sink"! If Barack Obama wanted to throw it at the eight years of First Lady experience that Hillary Clinton has made central to her resume for "the job" she says she wants us to "hire" her for, there is plenty there. People on the left who say he won't, he can't because he's just like her, a creature of capital and empire, may be right in the grand scheme, but they shouldn't be smug, because there aren't exactly models of successful radical or even liberal fights against the Clintons. There are barely models of noble but failed fights. And Hillary's own revamped self-presentation as the populist fighter, sworn foe of big corporations, friend of the little people, ultimate underdog, makes clear that Obama's ties to Wall Street should be no more an impediment than hers are in the game of political fisticuffs.

Already it looks like Obama's advisers are getting it completely wrong, though, challenging her for her First Lady papers and her tax returns and, implicitly, the source of her and Bill's immense wealth. Obama can no more beat the Clintons at this kind of game than the right could. Every small, personal complaint looks petty or desperate or sexist, and only allows Hillary to play the part she likes best, after mud slinger and policy wonk, which is survivor. She played that part in New Hampshire and in Ohio, and she'll play it again any time she wants to put on the show that "for anyone who's ever been counted out", for anyone who's ever had to struggle against the odds, for anyone who's ever been treated unfairly, she's their gal. It's as phony a show as can be imagined, but it's the one the Clintons perfected against the right, and their hard core supporters are on autopilot now to respond to it. Likewise, Obama can't beat the Clintons in pure bloviating wonkery. Some of his advisors are saying he should quit the big inspiring rallies and do small tedious meetings of the type that Hillary's supporters walk out of, even as they'll later pull the lever for her at the polls. It's not her "plans" that draw voters; like Blanche McKinney, most people don't even know what those plans involve even after reading them. It's her aura of dogged competence, based on the entirely fraudulent story of "putting people first" and thus widening the circle of peace and prosperity during the Clinton years. It's also her skin color, and if anyone doesn't think Bill Clinton knew what he was doing in South Carolina, locking up the white racist vote for his wife, they should talk to some of her supporters in Ohio. 

Obama can't do anything about that last "asset" of Hillary Clinton, and maybe it is her ultimate chip, but it would make for a more interesting campaign going forward if he would challenge that First Lady experience by implicitly challenging the myths on which it stands, projecting an idea of the future unmoored from the Reagan-Clinton continuum, something Hillary is locked into. What drew so many people originally to Obama's campaign was its call to "turn the page" on past Republican and Democratic politics alike, and its recognition that people are just fed up. But that call could never sustain itself purely on some attacks on lobbyists and the usual timid party nods toward health care, education and the environment. It was always going to need more meat on its bones.

In Ohio the working-class people I talked to who were leaning toward Obama or had decided to vote for him were those who had reviewed the past with workers competing to outproduce or outconcession each other, and who saw clearly the pattern of ratcheted down wages and conditions for all. They were people like IBEW Local 1985 president Jim Repace in North Canton, who remembered his own endless defenses to his members of Bill Clinton and the Democrats, even as those members grew increasingly skeptical, and who told me, "Enough is enough." Enough of capital unleashed, of bridges falling down, levees being breached, cities unable to rebuild from disaster, the economic base corroding in town after town, full-time workers losing their homes, severe poverty unabated even in supposed "boom" times, and government incompetent to do anything but lock people up. Bill Clinton now marches around lecturing workers on how their mortgages got transformed into stocks, making oodles of money for speculators, ending the story before it gets to the part about his own administration's culpability. "Who deregulated the financial industry?" a worker at the GM Lordstown plant in Ohio said to me, knowing the answer to his own question but somehow hoping that Hillary would turn on that legacy of her own "experience" even as she's now turned on NAFTA. 

Obama has been foolish not to call for a moratorium on home foreclosures,  and it would be hardly wild-eyed now to take up the AFL-CIO's call for that and reregulation of the mortgage and credit markets. Or to talk about employment-led growth, instead of 90s-era growth based on low wages, mad consumption, household debt, deunionization and the temporary luck of the stock market. Or about immigration in light of decades' long global economic policies that make it impossible for people to live in their own countries. The list goes on -- even within the limits of mushy progressivism that is the outer limit of mainstream political discussion -- for redefining security and insecurity distinct from the hair-raising style that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain are so comfortable with. (I should add that as he reassesses his campaign Obama should definitely sideline Austin Goolsbee, the economic advisor who gave him NAFTA-gate plus rotten advice on foreclosures.)

I used to think that calling into question the Clinton legacy by charting a break from Clintonism would be impossible for anyone running for the Democratic nomination. Maybe it still is. But now that it's clear that the Clintons, who cannot win by the delegate math, are prepared to destroy the party in Denver by kicking the blacks (its most loyal base and the most loyal constituency of its greatest support engine, organized labor), the young, the new voters, the formerly disenchanted, there's a new fight song, "Anything Goes". All the survivors might start calculating how to fight President McCain.

JoAnn Wypijewski writes for CounterPunch and other publications. She can be reached at  

10 Mar 2008 @ 08:22 by jazzolog : Aww, But They Want To Absorb Him
They're perfectly happy to consider him as their VP candidate over the weekend. For special occasions he could be dressed in unique Arkansas livery to welcome guests with a lantern down by the White House gate.  

10 Mar 2008 @ 16:43 by quinty : The designated dirty politican?

In an overall reversal of all that’s commonly held as fair and honest Hillary is now portrayed by the news media as “testing” Obama to see if he can take a hard and dirty campaign. As if this somehow demonstrates Hillary’s strengths.

This may have come about because the Hillary camp successfully portrayed the media recently as being too soft on Obama. Of letting him walk. So it becomes a test of character if he can withstand Hillary’s mud.

This is known as balance and objectivity in the land of the corporate news media.

To compound matters, Hillary, who is way behind in the delegate count, is often portrayed by the media as “neck and neck.” And all the talk now is on her “generously” considering Obama for the second spot. How nice of her.

Now that it is no longer dirty pool to be dirty in a political campaign - after all, the pundits tell us, it will get a lot worse if Obama meets McCain - but rather a test of strength and character, I suppose we should all be thankful to Hillary. For being, of course, so dirty.

We should thank her for condescending to consider Obama as her running mate. And we should thank her for showing us whether Obama actually has the stuff or not for dealing with a filthy, mud slinging campaign. For if he can’t take Hillary’s how can he possibly take the Republican attack machine’s?

All of which proves that only Hillary deserves to be president.

Fair and balanced media, indeed.  

10 Mar 2008 @ 16:47 by quinty : With a smile
on his face, of course. (Now that you mention it the White House does look a little antebellum.)  

10 Mar 2008 @ 16:55 by jazzolog : Mud Wrestling As Civilization
Ah the arena, the stadium, the smell of sweat and blood. There comes a time...when the barbarians are at the gate...

The Phil Ochs song needs to be sung again...
YouTube has the melody for you to sing along...

"Do you have a picture of the pain?"
The Bush Legacy: the transformation to savagery is complete.
More and more pictures of waterboarding hitting the Net. YES!  

13 Mar 2008 @ 18:54 by quinty : Here’s Olbermann’s passionate
appeal to Clinton to change her ways.

So what can Obama do? If he remains aloof he will be accused of being “weak.” Never mind that pols are constantly exhorted to keep it clean. If he flings it back in her face then he encourages her and everyone becomes disgusted.

So what’s the outcome? We know these tactics work. Or can work unless they are quite openly discussed and ridiculed. Even then they still work, though hopefully more voters will be turned off than turned on by the fear tactics and smears of the dirty trickster.

Is the Clinton campaign employing these tactics to win in Pennsylvania? The old saw goes that “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in-between.” A state that elected Rick Santorum to the US Senate must be fairly conservative. Is all the accumulated, dirty race bating intentional? Though I think Ferraro is genuine enough: beware of anyone who opens what he says with, “I know this isn’t at all PC..... “ Having set up this protective prop you know something horribly racist is following.

Wit, satire, dignity, humor and openly discussing exactly what she is doing is the only way, it seems to me, he can navigate through these shoals.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 03:12 by Elle @ : Obama
How's this for a strong statement?  

14 Mar 2008 @ 07:04 by Elle @ : Obama
Try this again  

14 Mar 2008 @ 07:57 by jazzolog : Elle?
How about a source on this?  

14 Mar 2008 @ 14:35 by Quinty @ : The boogie man

Oy vey. Oy vey.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 16:15 by jazzolog : Beware Of Boogie
Jazzolog must leap to the defense. "Boogie" is short for boogie woogie, a stupendous piano jazz corrupted somewhat in the '40s when some swing bands picked it up. A bogeyman is a malevolent creature. Joni Mitchell really straightened out the issue with her song for the Mingus album entitled God Must Be A Boogie Man.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 17:43 by Quinty @ : Thanks
and to think I was named after an aficionado of Boogie.....  

14 Mar 2008 @ 17:49 by jazzolog : Be Grateful
he wasn't an afficionado of bogey...

and I don't mean Bogie.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 18:22 by quinty : Elliot Paul

He may have been that too, since he wrote Hollywood screenplays. And was a heavy drinker.

That photo above intrigues me. It has so many possibilities. There's the White House in the background. Was Barack laying an IED onto the White House driveway when the photo was taken? But a seasoned jihadi wouldn't do this in broad daylight, would he? It must have been late at night.

So how come there's so much light in the picture? In order to get a good picture the cameraman must have used huge floodlights to brighten the scene. I think you can catch a glimpse of Bush in the background, sleepily squinting out a window. Wondering what's going on.

But what’s really curious, and this has been bothering me, is that that little bump on the side of the nose, it’s over on his right in the photograph. But in real life it’s on his left. Why is that? Why did it bounce over to the other side? Did he think it would be a good disguise? That he could lay his bomb and if he got caught could say, “Look, see. I’m not Obama. I’m Osama. You know. That other guy.”

Then there’s the beard. It looks as if he put it on too hastily. Now you would think that a guy who’s going to go the White House in the middle of the night to lay an IED would be more careful about that. I mean, where was his vanity? Why use an old guy’s beard? Or a real cheap one bought in one of those honky-tonk wig stores. And you can see where the glue stained his cheeks.

Anyway, other than that, it’s a pretty good photograph. I’m sure Barack is proud of it and has one on his mantel at home. Maybe he keeps one framed in his Senate office? And it sits next to his Koran. Which is next to his manual for devising IEDs.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 18:27 by jazzolog : Don't Worry
This guy has his eye on him.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 19:01 by vaxen : Yiddische Kvetch
Barack Obama's Pastor Problem

By Eric Pfeiffer | March 13, 2008 4:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
The top story in the blogosphere right now is reaction to this ABC News Report on Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who says:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
The Moderate Voice takes Obama's views on race in America as authentic, but adds:

I firmly believe that Barack Obama’s feelings and views about race are precisely as he’s presented them — both on the campaign trail and in his books. However, I also think Obama’s going to have to draw very strong, clear distinctions between himself and Jeremiah Wright for the citizens of this country — much more than he’s thus far done.
James Joyner says both McCain and Obama have received questionable endorsements, but that it's just part of the game:

Unfortunately, the process of building a winning national coalition means appealing to some unsavory types. Politicians walk a fine line when accepting endorsements from these people and expecting them to denounce every nutty idea any of their supporters might harbor is asking too much.
And the Carpetbagger Report's Steve Benen makes a good point:

There are plenty of disconcerting remarks included in Wright’s record, but I guess there’s a political upside for Obama: he can’t be a Muslim and a Christian with a radical pastor at the same time.
But that doesn't mean prominent conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin won't add this to their arsenal of anti-Obama talking points.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 19:33 by Vibe @ : Obama's pastor
I know - did you see that man preach and act out what he was saying in church - maing the movements of Clinton having sex with Lewinsky. Obama and his wife were married by that pastor, and his kids were baptized by him. Obama's been with that curch for many years and I think he has to say something about why he supports that pastor and church. You can watch him here  

14 Mar 2008 @ 19:36 by Elle @ : photo
Jazz, no, I don't have a source for it, it was emailed to me. Guess it's going around.  

14 Mar 2008 @ 20:21 by quinty : Watching Vibe's video....
Curious about the right. Some rightwinger recently published a book depicting the Democratic Party as the party of racism. You can make a pretty good case for that if you selectively leave out much of the narrative. When the Republican party is portrayed as the party for equal rights I wonder what happened to Nixon's "Southern strategy?" To all those segregationist Democrats who switched parties as a reaction to the Civil Rights movement? To Trent Lott and George Allen and Strom Thurmond.

But I digress. The preacher in that videotape sounds like an old fashioned ghetto preacher to me. It only demonstrates the spirit of Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown and the Panthers lives on in some places. And perhaps we white folks should take head because such talk explicitly reveals that the benign equanimity Republicans so often claim among the races doesn't exist.

Barack has not run as a black or an Afro American. Reminders of his color have been imposed upon his campaign. The Clintons with Geraldine Ferraro's aid have really dug it in, perhaps to recapture the white Reagan Democrat vote in Pennsylvania.

But the base of the Democratic Party includes nearly all black voters. (Those the author of that book mentioned above is attempting to convert.) And there are many poor and dispossessed blacks living in poverty out there. Whereas the base of the Republican Party includes the Christian Right. These evangelical preachers are paranoid fanatics who thrive on fantasies and bogeymen. (Got it right that time.)

Now who would you rather be associated with? Poor, angry blacks reminding us the struggle for equality and color blindness isn't by any means over yet in this country? Or white religious fanatics on the right preaching a form of hate based entirely on a widespread fantasy? While anger and race bating of any kind form no basis for governing (I don’t think McCain or Obama would be guided by such considerations) I at least would be more comfortable with that group which has a complaint based upon reality, with some moral justification, rather than backing far rightwing gay, Muslim, and migrant haters claiming Jesus compels them to do so.

That photograph of Bush is priceless.  

15 Mar 2008 @ 10:34 by jazzolog : Reverend Jeremiah
Here's a pastor who takes his name seriously! Mr. Obama wrote his response at Huffington Post.

The BBC is reporting also that he expects his opponents will be posting the man's sermons all over the place as time goes by.  

16 Mar 2008 @ 02:45 by Elle @ : Wright
By now you've heard about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor, and how after footage showed Wright's hateful speeches, filled with lies, Obama tried to distance himself from Wright. Let me ask you - if you go to a temple or church or wherever you go for your religious beliefs, don't you go to a place that resonates with your own beliefs? Don't you seek out a religious leader who inspires you, who you feel would be a good role model and teach you what you want to know? Of course you would. You wouldn't go to a church and have a pastor that went completely against your morals and values. So you find a pastor you admire and trust. Wouldn't you then have that person officiate at your wedding and your children's baptisms? Yes, that's exactly what Obama has done for the past twenty years in his church with Rev. Wright.

Obama claims that he's never heard Wright spew the kind of stuff caught on numerous cameras, and now says that that kind of language is incendiary that he couldn't object to strongly enough. Are we to actually believe that in twenty years Obama never knew about Wright and his views, never heard a peep on these issues out of him? I just find it very hard to believe. I think this is exactly a portion of what I felt I could not trust about Obama. I'm glad it's coming out for more people to see what has been going on behind doors. Did you see the congregation jumping up and down in glee with Wright, obviously agreeing with his warped views? After professing himself a devout Christian and church-goer, don't tell me Obama had no idea and did not support it.  

16 Mar 2008 @ 14:30 by jerryvest : Sorry, Elle
i was unkind and deleted this message.  

16 Mar 2008 @ 14:30 by Elle @ : the vote record is in
SACRAMENTO -- California voters set a record, of sorts, in the Feb. 5 presidential nominating contest. Secretary of State Debra Bowen says just over 9 million voters cast ballots, the most ever in a California primary.

Past primaries have attracted higher percentages of the state's registered voters. The record - 73 percent - was set in 1976. This year, 57.7 percent cast ballots, the highest percentage since 1980.

The final tally means all of California's 370 pledged The state Democratic Party says Hillary Rodham Clinton won 204 delegates and Barack Obama won 166 delegates. In the popular vote, Clinton beat Obama by 8 points. She received 51.5 percent to his 43.2 percent.  

16 Mar 2008 @ 16:03 by quinty : "The Manchurian Candidate"

Was it possible for an American presidential campaign, in which a major black candidate participates, for race not to come up? And with such a vengeance!

If larger national political considerations weren’t so important in this campaign I think we should actually welcome the Reverend Wright’s comments. But this being the USA such a debate would probably only be a distraction which would hurt Obama. And rather than openly embracing this discussion he is trying to walk away from it.

For many years now we have been told by the rightwing that there are no serious racial problems in America. And that affirmative action is only an unfair and unnecessary advantage for select minorities. (Or “special interest groups” as the right likes to dismissively call women, labor, gays, blacks, etc.) The widespread videotaped glimpse into the Reverend Wright’s church the other day reveals, though, there are many blacks who do not see white society in such a favorable manner. That many of the old problems still exist.

The rhetoric we heard from the Reverend Wright was not so different from the kind of thing we often heard, out in the open, during the sixties, during the Civil Rights Movement. But had it not been for Barack Obama’s prominence no one in the mass media today would have paid any attention to the Reverend Wright's words.

I think it is hard to believe that Barack Obama is not fully aware of the Reverend Wright’s sentiments and opinions. That they came as a surprise to him. Throughout his campaign he has tried to run as a candidate for all Americans, not as the "black candidate." If he had only limited himself to representing African Americans he would not have gotten so far. And I think he chose the naturally decent and wise course, that he is focused on the larger issues facing the world.

While these revelations may not hurt him much with the black vote, which is sewn up, they will hurt him among uncertain whites who don’t know who he is. The Osama/Obama link has already been employed by the rightwing to tar him. A writer for the National Review dubbed him the “Manchurian candidate.” That he has deep spiritual ties to a church where the larger white culture is routinely attacked will only aggravate those doubts.

The right will fall upon the jingo prop of crying out Obama lacks patriotism. That he hates America. That he is a racist against whites. They will project their own paranoid vision of the world by asserting he is the “Manchurian candidate.”

I think that the silence on race which has existed for so many years here in the United States, since the days of the Civil Rights Movement, makes these sudden revelations all the harder for many whites to take. Even though the reality the revelations expose has always been with us. And though it should be an opening to a larger overall discussion on race and society it will probably be hidden away again. Giving the advantage to those on the right who believe everything in America is racially fair and balanced. With those exceptions, of course, of “hotheads” such as the Reverend Wright. (Who, by the way, must have some high credentials in his world, since he lectures at many prominent theological schools, including the one Richard went to.)  

16 Mar 2008 @ 20:21 by jerryvest : 'Vengence is Mine sayeth the Lord....'
I don't know how exact this statement is, but you are so right on with your description "with such vengence!" In the discussion groups that I visited as posted on the Links, the comments are so filled with rage and with deep prejudice that it is obvious to anyone that Rev. Wright stirred up the racists by speaking his Truth and the experience of most African Americans and of other minorities in this country. The African American churches are unique to them and very much a part of the Black culture, even if many Blacks find their way into other denominations, they still have a rooted connection to their ancestor's source of trust, safety and security. Reverend Wright, as a human being, has a hard fought right to express his opinions, values and views. If he were a white person expressing these views in church or in the community, there would be little if any media attention to his message. It happens all the time that racism has prevailed in all of our religions and other family and social institutions throughout our American history.

I can recall seeing several large crosses burning in front of the University of the South, Sewanee, TN, when I was 18 years old and when "Brown vs Board of Education" was passed by the 1954 Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision did not abolish segregation in other public areas, such as restaurants and restrooms, nor did it require desegregation of public schools by a specific time. It did, however, declare the permissive or mandatory segregation that existed in 21 states unconstitutional. [13] It was a giant step towards complete desegregation of public schools. Even partial desegregation of these schools, however, was still very far away, as would soon become apparent." {link:}

I am glad that this discussion is taking place as persons with prejudice are not aware of their beliefs and their ignorance. I recall during a health lecture that I attended, one of my teachers, while discussing human development, described "Prejudice" as deeper than hypnosis. He described that when we are hypnotized we know that we are being put into a trance. Those with prejudice, live in a trance and do not recognize their beliefs, fears and (pre)-judgments. These persons project these manifestations or fears onto others in our social environment, often, without any knowledge or awareness of the consequences. I suggest that when the Truth hurts and spills over into politics, we could learn and Change our beliefs, patterns of behavior, fears and judgments.

Change is really Barack's message, but then, persons who are prejudiced, won't hear the Truth or see the Truth or experience the Truth, even if they look in the eyes of a Black face, they still don't awaken to the fact--Humanity is One Body!

Thanks Quinty for your excellent comment on how you see America today:

"The right will fall upon the jingo prop of crying out Obama lacks patriotism. That he hates America. That he is a racist against whites. They will project their own paranoid vision of the world by asserting he is the “Manchurian candidate.”

And, I think we can also add Hillary, the "R's" and many other politicians will do anything and will use every prejudice they can get away with to stir up the fear in the "masses."

Finally do see this presentation by Barack:

On March 1, 2007, I heard this presentation by Barack Obama discussing his faith and it is perhaps one of the best discussions for being open and respectful of others regardless of their faith. He tells of his life in becoming a Christian in the Black church. He talks about the bible and how it is used to divide us. This talk on "Reconciling Faith and Politics" may be one of the great religious talks of our time in my opinion.

There are several of Barack's presentations listed in this link. The one I am referring to is "Reconciling Faith and Politics."


17 Mar 2008 @ 01:05 by Elle @ : hypocrite Jerry
What is the truth, Jerry? Is what you perceive to be truth the only truth? The real truth? How about your personal attack against me? Do you have compassion? Do you have any real knowledge about me? NOPE! How about you stop attacking people and accusing them of things you know nothing about?  

17 Mar 2008 @ 01:53 by Elle @ : themes
There is such a strong theme amongst bullies. When bullies have nothing of substance to say, and they feel weak, they resort to low personal attacks in order to feel superior and controlling. Bullies.  

17 Mar 2008 @ 08:40 by jazzolog : Speaking Out With Passion
Of all the smattering remnant of a once vigorous NCN membership---at least in this public Log area---JerryVest is the very last I possibly could think of as being an Internet bully. Most of the people who abandon this forum, and who do so with a statement as to why, do credit bullying of one kind or another as the reason. But not once has Jerry been complained about.

On the other hand, there are those who treat any differing with opinions offered by them as being a "personal attack"---and those members or visitors strike back with the vehemence and rage of a repressed lifetime of denial. There is no way to tell from the surface of a typed comment whether that person is disabled, intoxicated or just moody, but after a while and maybe years of association, one can begin to discern a method of argument and discussion and whether or not it is fair-minded. It is easy then to tell who is a bully and who is not.  

17 Mar 2008 @ 09:15 by Elle @ : Jerry
Jazz, I wasn't talking about a differing personal opinion on a topic. I have no problem with that - I try to stick to the issues. Jerry deleted the post - thank you, Jerry.  

17 Mar 2008 @ 10:00 by jazzolog : OK
I hadn't noticed that. Happy Irish Day folks!

"May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within.
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road."

~An Irish Blessing  

17 Mar 2008 @ 16:18 by Quinty @ : More on God Damning America

Frank Schaeffer

Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

Posted March 16, 2008 | 04:23 PM (EST)

When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were mild. All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.

Dad and I were amongst the founders of the Religious right. In the 1970s and 1980s, while Dad and I crisscrossed America denouncing our nation's sins instead of getting in trouble we became darlings of the Republican Party. (This was while I was my father's sidekick before I dropped out of the evangelical movement altogether.) We were rewarded for our "stand" by people such as Congressman Jack Kemp, the Fords, Reagan and the Bush family. The top Republican leadership depended on preachers and agitators like us to energize their rank and file. No one called us un-American.

Consider a few passages from my father's immensely influential America-bashing book A Christian Manifesto. It sailed under the radar of the major media who, back when it was published in 1980, were not paying particular attention to best-selling religious books. Nevertheless it sold more than a million copies.

Here's Dad writing in his chapter on civil disobedience:

If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force [against the US government]... then at a certain point force is justifiable.

And this:

In the United States the materialistic, humanistic world view is being taught exclusively in most state schools... There is an obvious parallel between this and the situation in Russia [the USSR]. And we really must not be blind to the fact that indeed in the public schools in the United States all religious influence is as forcibly forbidden as in the Soviet Union....

Then this:

There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate... A true Christian in Hitler's Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state. This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion... It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God's law it abrogates it's authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation...

Was any conservative political leader associated with Dad running for cover? Far from it. Dad was a frequent guest of the Kemps, had lunch with the Fords, stayed in the White House as their guest, he met with Reagan, helped Dr. C. Everett Koop become Surgeon General. (I went on the 700 Club several times to generate support for Koop).

Dad became a hero to the evangelical community and a leading political instigator. When Dad died in 1984 everyone from Reagan to Kemp to Billy Graham lamented his passing publicly as the loss of a great American. Not one Republican leader was ever asked to denounce my dad or distanced himself from Dad's statements.

Take Dad's words and put them in the mouth of Obama's preacher (or in the mouth of any black American preacher) and people would be accusing that preacher of treason. Yet when we of the white Religious Right denounced America white conservative Americans and top political leaders, called our words "godly" and "prophetic" and a "call to repentance."

We Republican agitators of the mid 1970s to the late 1980s were genuinely anti-American in the same spirit that later Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (both followers of my father) were anti-American when they said God had removed his blessing from America on 9/11, because America accepted gays. Falwell and Robertson recanted but we never did.

My dad's books denouncing America and comparing the USA to Hitler are still best sellers in the "respectable" evangelical community and he's still hailed as a prophet by many Republican leaders. When Mike Huckabee was recently asked by Katie Couric to name one book he'd take with him to a desert island, besides the Bible, he named Dad's Whatever Happened to the Human Race? a book where Dad also compared America to Hitler's Germany.

The hypocrisy of the right denouncing Obama, because of his minister's words, is staggering. They are the same people who argue for the right to "bear arms" as "insurance" to limit government power. They are the same people that (in the early 1980s roared and cheered when I called down damnation on America as "fallen away from God" at their national meetings where I was keynote speaker, including the annual meeting of the ultraconservative Southern Baptist convention, and the religious broadcasters that I addressed.

Today we have a marriage of convenience between the right wing fundamentalists who hate Obama, and the "progressive" Clintons who are playing the race card through their own smear machine. As Jane Smiley writes in the Huffington Post "[The Clinton's] are, indeed, now part of the 'vast right wing conspiracy.' ( )

Both the far right Republicans and the stop-at-nothing Clintons are using the "scandal" of Obama's preacher to undermine the first black American candidate with a serious shot at the presidency. Funny thing is, the racist Clinton/Far Right smear machine proves that Obama's minister had a valid point. There is plenty to yell about these days.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of "CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back  

16 Apr 2008 @ 15:10 by jazzolog : Dear Maureen
Quinty and I have noticed and remarked that Maureen Dowd's columns during this primary season have been particularly helpful in discerning what these candidates are really like and what their problems are. While she seems to favor the Democrats, she has been equally rough on each, and I would be hard put to declare which she favors. Today's column is a perfect example, and she leaps in at a time when both Clinton and Obama are in trouble. So why am I putting this in Michelle Obama's Log entry? Read to the end and you'll see~~~

The New York Times
April 16, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Eggheads and Cheese Balls

I’m not bitter.

I’m not writing this just because I grew up in a house with a gun, a strong Catholic faith, an immigrant father, brothers with anti-illegal immigrant sentiments and a passion for bowling. (My bowling trophy was one of my most cherished possessions.)

My family morphed from Kennedy Democrats into Reagan Republicans not because they were angry, but because they felt more comfortable with conservative values. Members of my clan sometimes were overly cloistered. But they weren’t bitter; they were bonding.

They went to church every Sunday because it was part of their identity, not because they needed a security blanket.

Behind closed doors in San Francisco, elitism’s epicenter, Barack Obama showed his elitism, attributing the emotional, spiritual and cultural values of working-class, “lunch pail” Pennsylvanians to economic woes.

The last few weeks have not been kind to Hillary, but the endless endgame has not been kind to the Wonder Boy either. Obama comes across less like a candidate in Pennsylvania than an anthropologist in Borneo.

His mother got her Ph.D. in anthropology, studying the culture of Indonesia. And as Obama has courted white, blue-collar voters in “Deer Hunter” and “Rocky” country, he has often appeared to be observing the odd habits of the colorful locals, resisting as the natives try to fatten him up like a foie gras goose, sampling Pennsylvania beer in a sports bar with his tie tight, awkwardly accepting bowling shoes as a gift from Bob Casey, examining the cheese and salami at the Italian Market here as intriguing ethnic artifacts, purchasing Utz Cheese Balls at a ShopRite in East Norriton and quizzing the women working in a chocolate factory about whether they could possibly really like the sugary doodads.

He hasn’t pulled a John Kerry and asked for a Philly cheese steak with Swiss yet, but he has maintained a regal “What do the simple folk do to help them escape when they’re blue?” bearing, unable to even feign Main Street cred. But Hillary did when she belted down a shot of Crown Royal whiskey with gusto at Bronko’s in Crown Point, Ind.

Just as he couldn’t knock down the bowling pins, he can’t knock down Annie Oakley or “the girl in the race,” as her husband called her Tuesday — the self-styled blue-collar heroine who reluctantly revealed a $100 million fortune partially built on Bill’s shady connections.

Even when Hillary’s campaign collapsed around her and her husband managed to revive the bullets over Bosnia, Obama has still not been able to marshal a knockout blow — or even come up with a knockout economic speech that could expand his base of support.

Even as Hillary grows weaker, her reputation for ferocity grows stronger. A young woman in the audience at a taping of “The Colbert Report” at Penn Tuesday night asked Stephen Colbert during a warm-up: “Are you more afraid of bears or Hillary Clinton?”

Even though Democratic elders worry that the two candidates will terminally bloody each other, they each seem to be lighting their own autos-da-fé.

At match points, when Hillary fights like a cornered raccoon, Obama retreats into law professor mode. The elitism that Americans dislike is not about family money or connections — J.F.K. and W. never would have been elected without them. In the screwball movie genre that started during the last Depression, there was a great tradition of the millionaire who was cool enough to relate to the common man — like Cary Grant’s C.K. Dexter Haven in “The Philadelphia Story.”

What turns off voters is the detached egghead quality that they tend to equate with a wimpiness, wordiness and a lack of action — the same quality that got the professorial and superior Adlai Stevenson mocked by critics as Adelaide. The new attack line for Obama rivals is that he’s gone from J.F.K. to Dukakis. (Just as Dukakis chatted about Belgian endive, Obama chatted about Whole Foods arugula in Iowa.)

Obama did not grow up in cosseted circumstances. “Now when is the last time you’ve seen a president of the United States who just paid off his loan debt?” Michelle Obama asked Tuesday at Haverford College, referring to Barack’s student loans while speaking in the shadow of the mansions depicted in “The Philadelphia Story.”

But his exclusive Hawaiian prep school and years in the Ivy League made him a charter member of the elite, along with the academic experts he loves to have in the room. As Colbert pointed out, the other wonky Ivy League lawyer in the primary just knows how to condescend better.

Michelle did her best on “The Colbert Report” Tuesday to shoo away the aroma of elitism.

Growing up, she said: “We had four spoons. And then my father got a raise at the plant and we got five spoons.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company  

16 Apr 2008 @ 19:02 by quinty : The Obamas

Maybe there’s some confusion.

And confusion is the way the Obamas want it. For, after all, it should be clear Barack really meant what he said in Marin. (Marin County is the place on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. And shouldn’t really be confused with San Francisco for it is quite a different place. Those of us who were there in the Summer of Love may have a particular fondness for Gate Five. A beautiful topless dancer I met one night on Broadway, in SF’s North Beach, lived there. For a guy choking on fifties conformity the lifestyle among these “live for life’s sake” types who had a boundless imagination and energy to match was quite liberating. Ie, I had a ball.)

But that’s a digression. We all know money is not what actually makes an “elite.” The moneyed elite is more a leftist conception than the right’s. And the critics of Obama’s words are thinking of something considerably different.

In their world an elite snob looks down on aw shucks plain folks who cling to the ordinary superstitions most Republicans advance and dwell in. The elite looks down upon the gun, god, and “core” American values of these simple folk. Those folks who believe the Islamo fascists hate us for who we are and that if we don’t fight them there we’ll have to fight them here. And that American culture will be polluted by the onslought of illegal aliens who don’t want to learn English. It’s all attitude, not the millions of bucks. An elite can be a starving student. Or someone who digs Mozart. Who isn’t impressed by this Republican or rightwing version of the American Dream.

What was really incendiary in Obama’s remarks has hardly been touched upon by the media. Where Obama says they display an “antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiments.” Now that is really elitist. And proves this had nothing to do with money, which no self respecting Republican resents anyway.

No wonder the Obama’s have stirred up the waters. And I don’t blame them. For if there is one thing in the world an asshole does not want to be told it is that he is an asshole. That the far right’s “cultural” values are idiotic.

As we have often seen in the past, getting incensed over gay marriage, stem cell research, the absence of God in public schools and courtrooms and trashing illegal migrants is more important to them than the war, global warming, or even the economy. Though Obama was referencing the economy. His “anthropology,” as some commentators have remarked, may be disputable. But we have known for a long time now that workingclass folk have not always been voting their own self-interest. And if the rest of us, who have to accompany them along the national ride, worry, we shouldn’t be faulted. For, after all, look at what such foolishness has brought us? The war in Iraq against a phantom enemy, a collapsing economy, neglected worsening environmental problems, increased government corruption, cronyism, and a loss of our Constitutional guarantees. As well as more which skips my mind now.

Meanwhile, if any of the rest of us ask why we are branded “elitist” snobs - oh, pardon me, but a good cappuccino in a fine restaurant - too bad we can’t also enjoy Cuban cigars - after dinner with a bit of cognac suits me just fine - for complaining about the ensuing mess.

I like Maureen Dowd. I think this incident, though, may have touched too close to home for her, affecting her reason. She undoubtedly loves her family, as I do, Reaganites and all. But as a bit of an “elitist” myself I can’t help but mourn and sometimes feel a great disgust with the stupidity, yes, I said it, of the American voter. Who puts his ignorant or silly and sometimes frighteningly neurotic fantasies above his - and ours - best self interests.

Exhibit A?

George Bush. And all those in his giddy crowd.  

16 Apr 2008 @ 19:18 by quinty : To add another thing

No one in this is being entirely honest. Equating the elete with wealth is spurious. Shooting back shots of whiskey is reprehensible. And Obama really meant what he said. Though does that mean he doesn't really care for the problems of workingclass people? Among the three candidates I believe he's the one who most does.

Frankly, I think McCain is far more honest than Bush, who has the soul of a buccaneer. But Republican expressons of plain folks enthusiasm should be distrusted. If money is elitism then they are proud elitists. Isn't that the way of money and power? Ie, of corporations?  

17 Apr 2008 @ 04:23 by Vibe @ : there's no confusion
as far as I'm concerned: I've seen the REAL Obama from the get-go, no surprises for me since then.  

18 Apr 2008 @ 23:10 by Quinty @ : Fair and balanced

Go here if you would like to see McCain (the Republicans) get the same treatment as Obama (with Hillary's eager help) received..... Will McCain deserve this when the Republicans Swift Boat Obama in October?

At this point, I don't think it is unfair to ask if Hillary if she is a Democrat or not? She has been singing soto voce from the Republican hymnal for quite some time now.  

19 Apr 2008 @ 08:48 by jazzolog : Mr. Fish Sums It Up  

29 Aug 2008 @ 09:24 by jazzolog @ : Pollitt On Michelle Obama
I Heart Michelle Obama
posted by Katha Pollitt on 08/28/2008 @ 09:49am

Michelle Obama's performance Monday night was spectacular. She was confident, warm, relaxed and eloquent, also smart, beautiful,radiant, gracious, stylish, humorous and tall. I want to be her when I grow up. She accomplished, seemingly effortlessly, what she had to do: she replaced the angry-black-Pantherish terrorist- fist-bumping Michelle of right-wing (and not only right-wing) fantasy with Michelle, the normal, everyday, working-class-rooted loving wife and (working) mother. She presented herself and her family -- her parents, her brother, her daughters, and her husband -- as part of an ongoing all-American story of devotion to faith, family, hard work,community, sports, and, yes, country.

When she talked about her childhood--her father and his slow deterioriation from multiple sclerosis, her parent's hopes and sacrifices for her and her brother--I cried. I know, I know, how hokey that is, but I'll bet all over America, people were wiping their eyes.

In her column about the speech, even Mona Charen paused momentarily in her Obama-bashing labors to declare herself moved and impressed. Then, of course, it was back to business: Michelle's 1985 Princeton senior thesis, the Rev. Wright, a quotation from a New Yorker profile suggesting that Michelle Obama thinks America has some problems--because that is just so, so not true.

About that thesis: How desperate must conservative pundits be that they are combing this ancient document for traces of black militance? How would Mona Charen like to be judged by a paper she wrote in college? Christopher Hitchens joined the hunt in a particularly unhinged and paranoid column in Slate back in May. Beginning with a lordly sneer at young Michelle's prose ("not written in any known language"), he seizes on a passing acknowledgment of Black Power, a book which Stokely Carmichael co-authored with Charles V. Hamilton in l967, to tie her to Carmichael's subsequent career as a black-nationalist Pan-African separatist, and thence to African dictators, antisemitism, Louis Farrakhan and the murder of Malcolm X.

I should have written about this column when it first appeared, but frankly, I didn't want to join the let's all-talk- about-Christopher-incessantly circus. I was remiss: It was a low, disgraceful smear, tantamount to accusing a writer who cites Marx of being a Soviet spy-- or, for that matter, a man who briefly attended a nominally Muslim school in childhood of being a secret Muslim and best friend of Osama bin Laden.

First Ladyhood is a retrograde job, sort of like being the national spokesmodel. Still it's a great thing that an accomplished black woman might soon be taking it on. It doesn't speak so well of the electorate, though, that Michelle Obama has to hide her light of career-womanhood and, yes, African-American experience under a great big bushel of bland middle-American family-values conformity. The whole speech was about reassuring white Americans that she was just like them, (as they imagine themselves to be): none of her relatives are on drugs or welfare or in prison.

For all her evident-but-never-specified professional success, she's basically a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother: black people have families! If you closed your eyes, the only way you'd know she was black was her emotional reference to Martin Luther King. According to her brother's video introduction, her favorite TV show as a child was The Brady Bunch. Whew! What if it had been Soul Train?

I would love to see Michelle Obama living in the White House and representing America abroad. But she must really love her husband-- and believe that business about being the change you want to see in the world -- -- to be willing to spend four, or even eight, years soothing white America's racial and gender anxieties.
Sixty comments so far.  

29 Aug 2008 @ 13:40 by quinty : If we had
Michelle in the White House for eight years it would go a long way toward healing America's race wounds. And though there are those on the right who claim racism is all something in the past (often to support their opposition to affirmative action, which they have always opposed, even when George Wallace was governor) this is blatantly not true. Even Republican strategists admit race may have an effect on the election, that there are some voters who can not bring themselves to vote for a black. Hopefully, this number is very small.

Michelle had an assignment Tuesday or Wednesday and she ably performed it, without a hitch. Frankly, I think I have seen her come on far better, in a calm, persuasive, extremely intelligent manner. Like, "elitist," since a black person's show of brains can't be anything else in some circles.

Yeah, she's a classy lady, all right.  

29 Aug 2008 @ 16:09 by jazzolog : Oh Oh

(McCain choice for VP, Governor) Sarah Palin is shown in Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 8, 2002. Palin never thought of herself as an investigator. Yet there she was, hacking uncomfortably into Randy Ruedrich's computer, looking for evidence that the state Republican Party boss had broken the state ethics law while a member of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)  

29 Aug 2008 @ 21:41 by martha : Michelle
I'd vote for her. I agree one classy lady. And yes racism is alive and well in the good old u s of a though many will deny it.

i would never be able to vote for a person, man or woman that doesn't allow a woman to make her own choices (with education) about her body. Gawd i sound like a broken record. Few men and women really understand the underlying disrespect to think a woman isn't able to make the correct choice about a pregnancy. Sure babies are cute and loveable but it isn't about that.

I like Palin's spirit but not her disrespect towards some women's issues.
Of course racism is also a control and ignorance issue not to mention disrespect. Our country still has a long way to go to learn to respect everyone regardless of race or sex. Sorry Jazz didn't mean to rant so much. Now back to deep breathing and love...hahaha  

30 Aug 2008 @ 12:42 by jazzolog : More On Sarah
The speed of the Internet has provided just about everything anyone would want to learn about the relatively unknown presumptive (until Convention) Republican vice presidential nominee. The Wikipedia page on her is well researched (100 references) although if you click the Discussion tab you'll see people are haggling about various details.

At the time of this writing I don't see mention anywhere of a news article found by Tom Feeley at Information Clearing House. From the Anchorage paper back in 2006, we find her advocating the teaching of "creation science" in the classroom. She would allow evolution still to be in there too but if we include the creation stories from every religion and myth system there is, will there be time for anything else? And is the teacher allowed to profess some of these stories are wrong?

Most of the news sources today also seem to be picking up on one of the governor's 5 children who has Down syndrome. While I suppose it's good to have openness about such challenges, the point being made especially is that the couple had had the good fortune to learn during the fetal stage that this would be the result of continuing the pregnancy. As at least one paper is putting it, McCain has himself a female, gun-toting, pro-life Christian conservative. The Evangelical base is exultant.  

30 Aug 2008 @ 14:45 by quinty : Are we witnessing
the birth of a new cult here? The PUMAs?

Are these feminists so fanatical that they are willing to vote for someone who attacks everything their heroine, Hillary, stood for? Does anyone know how many of these "feminists" there are? Apparently, McCain is taking them seriously. (Some men, of course, are firebrands too.)

What a choice! Anyone who would name her daughters Bristol, Willow, and Piper, or be in any way complicit in that, requires close scrutiny. What a vision of the goodlife those names represents. Of human decency and innocence! Look at Palin's face, and what do you find? Behind the commonplace beauty - fanaticism, the shrewdness of stupidity, a complete lack of breadth or empathy..... I know, I'm coming on hard. But to strengthen his bona fides McCain has given us the prize! Illustrating his own wishful fantasies: the overall package he hopes Palin represents to the American people - originality, a nod toward feminism and progress, satisfying his rightwing fundamentalist base..... Will "independents' buy all that?

Anyway, when Palin and McCain decide the curriculum I don't think you'll have to worry about which creation story you would have to teach, Richard. And I'm sure you know that. For, good fundamentalists that they are, they will drive Muhammad into the Pit of Hell and hold up the one and only Christ. As they perceive HIm. After all, this is a Christian country, they tell us. Case closed.  

13 Nov 2008 @ 15:08 by jazzolog : Let's Answer This Payday Loan Lobbyist
I thought these people would lay off after the election, but noooo. Just in case they ever visit jazzoLOG, where they've been taking all this free space, let's finally address the issue. Or let me introduce you to an OU student, who also serves as the "campus reporter" for our Athens News. Ohio had a statewide issue on our ballot, which called for a cap to be placed on the amount of interest these outfits can charge. Here's Mike Ludwig's column in today's News~~~

Commentary: Payday lenders: Shape up or ship out
By Mike Ludwig
November 13, 2008

Last week 64 percent of Ohio voters said “yes” on Issue 5 and capped interest rates on payday loans. The short-term loan industry is openly mourning its loss, but no one is listening.

Payday lenders and their pro-business allies are saying the cap, which is now set at 28 percent, will put payday-lending franchises out of business. They say 6,000 jobs could be lost in Ohio. They say the state’s working poor have lost their freedom to access the budget-crushing, high-interest loans they desire because lenders have lost their freedom to charge interests rates as high as 391 percent.

Writing for The Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank in Columbus, blogger Marc Kilmer likened payday lenders to biblical scapegoats (as in actual goats sent out into the wilderness) who have had the public’s anger over the crumbling economy dumped on them by state politicians seeking to avoid the blame.

The payday-lending industry’s threats do hold some weight. Small, short-term loans provide lenders with slim profit margins. Extra-high interest rates are necessary to turn out profits. These profits keep lenders in business and Ohio’s working poor in debt.

If enough Ohioans wanted access to payday loans, then they would have listened to an industry they depend on and voted against the cap. If enough Ohioans wanted payday lenders to keep healthy businesses in their neighborhoods, then they would have heeded the call to vote “no” on Issue 5.

But they didn’t.

Ohio has turned its back on the payday-lending industry, and hopefully on payday loans. Such loans can help people in a pinch, but debt is never a long-term solution to any financial woes. Ohioans showed their commitment to new solutions for their state and their nation in last week’s historic election, so it comes as no surprise that they sent a similar message to payday lenders.

By voting “yes” on Issue 5, Ohioans told payday lenders to shape up or ship out.

Mike Ludwig is a freelance writer and reporter. He can be reached at .  

29 Apr 2016 @ 05:34 by Bandar Togel @ : brilliant! I would like to share this ar

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