terça-feira, 30 de setembro de 2008

Bill Clinton holds first rally for Obama but doubts persist about commitment

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington The Guardian,

Read original article here

Bill Clinton will today officially set aside wounded feelings that arose from the Democrats' long and bitter primary contest as he heads out to Florida to hold his first rally for Barack Obama.

It comes more than a month after Clinton's emotional endorsement speech at the Democrats' convention and amid new speculation about whether he really wants Obama to win the White House.

Clinton's potential to inflict damage on Obama's prospects was underlined again yesterday when John McCain released a new television ad using a clip of the former president to attack the Democrats.

Clinton's two appearances in the politically volatile Orlando and Fort Pierce areas mark his first in the general election season. He is being deployed to get more people to register to vote before the deadline in Florida and other states on Monday.

Clinton is also expected to campaign in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Ohio to encourage people to take part in early voting. Voters in Ohio yesterday began casting absentee ballots following a court ruling that allows residents to register and vote on the same day for the first six days of early voting.

Hillary Clinton has addressed a number of rallies for Obama, and has tried to organise supporters of her campaign into a pro-Obama network. But for all the public protestations of support, her husband has failed to repeat the wholehearted support expressed in his convention speech.

At the Clinton global initiative last week, the former president upset some Democrats by saying he personally liked McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, while adopting a much more impersonal tone when mentioning Obama. He did not even address Obama by name.

Clinton dug himself in even deeper in an interview with NBC at the weekend. When pressed as to whether he liked or admired Obama, he said he hardly knew him until they had lunch on September 11.

"Look, I had my first conversation with him in my entire life in Harlem," said Clinton. "I had talked to him but always in passing ... Hillary is the one who told me to go help him. She said, 'This guy's got real skills. He's got almost unlimited potential.' And so I did."

The unpredictability of Bill Clinton in part informed Al Gore's decision not to use him extensively in the 2000 campaign.

The lack of discipline rebounded on Clinton yesterday when the McCain campaign used his words in a new campaign ad blaming Obama and the Democrats in general for the credit crisis.

"West Wing" Biblical quotes

These quotes will come in handy if Palin is elected VP (and God forbid, becomes President of the USA)

This would be funny if it weren't so terrifying!

My daughter Isis thinks Palin doesn't really want to be VP - she's doing everything she can to get out of this mess she's in and go back to Alaska.

"Now is not the time for fear, now is not the time for panic" - spoken like a true statesman

segunda-feira, 29 de setembro de 2008

Stay calm

“It’s important for the American public and the markets to stay calm, because things are never smooth in Congress, and to understand that it will get better…. We are going to make sure that an emergency package is put together, because it is required for us to stabilize the markets…. So I’m confident that we are going to get there, but it’s going to be a little rocky. It’s sort of like flying into Denver — you know you’re going to land, it’s not always fun going over those mountains.”

I liked hearing those words from Barack Obama today. They were just what I - and the rest of the world - wanted to hear from a leader. Things are improving for Obama on the election poll front, even as the stock market slides into the single digits, but I thought it would be useful to reprint this blog entry, published on "Against a Brick Wall" - AABW on Sept 8th. How quickly things change:

Don't Panic: 10 Reasons why Obama Supporters should Chill

After the Democratic National Convention, the mood was exultant among Democrats and others who want to see Barack Obama win the election. The convention did well to unite Democrats, and Obama capped it off with a rousing speech before a huge crowd. He got a boost in the polls, and his supporters felt confident.

Then came John McCain’s announcement of the Sarah Palin pick, followed by the Republican National Convention. Democrats got to see that Republicans, too, can get excited and energized. McCain whittled away at Obama’s lead in the national tracking polls, and has now even pulled ahead in a couple of them.

Democrats are starting to get worried. No, actually, some have gone well beyond that – they are freaking out. I hear the same refrains in so many quarters: Why is Obama behind McCain? Has the election changed with the Palin pick? Why isn’t Obama winning easily in this Democrat-favored race? Is his message not getting across? Why is he so soft on the opposition, instead of fighting back? Why don’t we counter the McCain attack ads with some of our own? We need to do something!!

Indeed, we do. We need to calm down.

Unrealistic Expectations

First of all, some Democrats seriously need a dose of reality in terms of how they thought this election would play out. Too many thought it would be a cakewalk, because they had an exciting new, young candidate and the national mood was sour on Bush and the Republicans. How could they lose with such an inspiring leader, in a country yearning for change?

The answer is simple: not everyone wants change, and even among those who want it, some don’t trust Obama to deliver it. Obama himself knows this – he’s said from the start that this would not be a landslide, it would be a tough, close campaign. And as in so many other cases, he’s proven that he knows what he’s talking about.

Polls are glimpses into the state of the election, so it is natural to worry when they seem to turn against you. And it’s also perfectly normal, when you feel attacked, to want to respond with attacks of your own. But let me remind you that this sort of emotional “we need to do something” attitude in response to an attack is a big part of what got us into the morass known as the Iraq War. How well did that work out?

In that context, let me give you ten reasons why you should chill out and not worry so much about the polls and all the other daily ups and downs and noise.

1. National Tracking Polls are Deceptive

Organizations like Gallup put out daily polls purporting to show the state of the race, but these are tracking polls conducted on a nation-wide basis. Our election is not a simple popular vote taken across the country – it is based on state-by-state contests. While movements in national tracking polls certainly matter, being behind in one of these polls doesn’t necessarily mean the one trailing is losing the election.

Consider the Palin pick and the response to it. While certainly the McCain ticket has benefited nationally, does that mean it has actually moved any states? We don’t know yet, as there have been no state polls since the conventions. Remember: it doesn’t matter if Palin energizes a bunch of hard-right conservatives so that McCain wins a state like Texas by 20 points instead of 10: the number of electoral college votes is identical. All that really matters is the swing states.

2. Convention Bounces are Normal and Expected

Most candidates get a noticeable “bounce” in the polls after their conventions: Obama got one a week ago and McCain is getting his now. Why does this happen? Simple: each convention allows one candidate to get a huge amount of free propaganda time without rebuttal from his or her opponent. This happens in almost every year.

The fact that McCain moved ahead of Obama after his convention doesn’t mean Obama is in trouble. If McCain had not moved ahead of Obama, that would have meant McCain was in trouble.

This year, matters are even more complicated, because the conventions were back-to-back. All of the polling data is suspect until enough time elapses for the bounces to settle down.

3. Bounces Fade

Remember when Obama went on his “magical mystery tour” to Europe and the Middle East? He shot out to a 49%-40% lead over McCain in the Gallup tracking poll on July 27th. But by July 31st, just four days later, the race was back to 45%-44%.

Consider this graphic from Gallup during the 2004 election, showing the situation in late September:

(Source: Gallup.com)

Looks pretty bad for Kerry, doesn’t it? Bush moved out to a 13-point lead and even two weeks after his convention, Bush was still up by 8.

Now, here’s the same poll two weeks later:

(Source: Gallup.com)

That's Kerry who was up 49%-48% there, by the way. Yes, Kerry eventually lost, but by a small margin. Trailing in the polls by big numbers in September didn’t matter – it was just noise.

4. Sarah Palin is the “Flavor of the Week”

McCain and the Republicans seem to think they’ve scored a home run with the Sarah Palin pick. She’s excited “the base” and gotten a lot of attention. She’s all over the media: she’s being discussed on talk shows, she’s the focus of political pundits, and will soon be splashed all over the supermarket checkout aisle as well.

Does this strike you as ironic coming from a guy who made an issue of Obama’s “celebrity” all summer? Indeed, but remember that this also means that McCain and Palin get the flipside. Remember when Obama started to receive criticism for getting too much media exposure and voters started to experience “Obama burnout”? The exact same thing will happen here.

Sarah Palin is the media darling right now, but that never lasts. The more popular she gets, the more people will expect her to give honest answers about her many scandals and problems. And eventually, the short attention span of Americans will turn to something more interesting, the Palin circus will fold up its Big Top, and then we’ll be back to more important matters: the issues that John McCain thinks voters don’t care about.

5. This is the Fifth Inning, not the Ninth

Some people seem to forget that we are barely a week past Labor Day, not approaching Halloween. The bulk of the campaign is still ahead of us, including all of the debates. Simply put, not enough has happened yet to start worrying that either Obama is “in trouble” or “running out of time”.

6. Obama’s Campaign Approach Works

Obama has built up his candidacy and his campaign from scratch with a new approach unlike any other in recent American history. It is based on a focus on the issues, a high road respect for the opposition, and a relentless message that the election should be about helping the American people deal with serious problems, not about who was a POW 40 years ago or who can skin a moose.

It might be satisfying to think of Obama going to town on McCain and Palin and ripping them to shreds, but it would probably be a big mistake. It would undercut his entire message and it would reek of desperation. And what’s worse, it wouldn’t likely help him a bit.

The McCain/Palin ticket is trying to ignite a culture war of right versus left, rural versus urban, and yes, to some extent, white versus black. After 18 months of a noble, issue-focused campaign, Obama cannot expect that he can now jump into the pig sty and beat the pigs at their own game. It won’t work because it’s not how he operates.

He needs to stay on message, as he has all along: this is not about right versus left, it’s about the future and what’s best for American families.

7. Presidential Campaigns are Like Icebergs

As voters, our information is extremely limited: we only see the part of the iceberg above the water line. The campaigns themselves know much, much more about what is really going on at the ground level, and on a state by state basis, because they have their own networks, internal polling and other data we never see. For example, when McCain picked Palin he surprised a lot of people because at that time the race seemed very close. It is widely theorized that he made his “Hail Mary” pass because his own people knew things were going far worse than it appeared on the surface.

I don’t believe in blind faith, but I do have faith that if the sun rose in the east every day until now, it probably will tomorrow as well. Remember that a year ago, people considered Hillary Clinton so much a shoo-in for the Democratic nod that people mused that she was practically an incumbent. Millions laughed at the notion that the skinny black kid from Chicago could tackle the Clinton Machine and win. They aren’t laughing now.

So while I understand and share some of your concerns over Obama’s relatively “soft” approach, his team has earned some benefit of the doubt.

8. Obama’s “Ground Game” is Unprecedented

One key aspect of the “iceberg” issue is that we see polls and ads and stories in the media, but we do not see the “ground game”. This term refers to state-based field offices, volunteer forces and other efforts to register new voters, keep enthusiasm high, and encourage them to actually get out and vote on November 4th.

Obama’s people have made this part of the campaign a huge priority, because this is what it is really all about: votes. Consider some recent figures from the Swing State Project, showing the following changes in voter registration in some key states:

  • Colorado: Went from a 165,423 registration advantage for Republicans in 2006, to only 78,227 so far in 2008.
  • Florida: From a 283,856 Democratic advantage to a 465,617 advantage.
  • Iowa: From an 18,195 Democratic advantage to a 99,014 advantage.
  • Nevada: From 15,309 Democratic to 76,053.
  • Pennsylvania: From 599,791 Democratic to 1,111,900!
These are huge, huge numbers and if there's a campaign that's worried about them, it's probably not Obama's.

9. Invisible Voters Don’t Get Polled

Continuing again on the “iceberg” theme, remember that polls are based on statistical models that project what will happen in this election from what has happened in prior years. By their very nature, then, they tend to lag behind and be unresponsive to new trends.

Consider some of the areas where Obama is running huge leads over McCain: young people, Internet users, urban professionals who use cell phones, new immigrants, and all those new voters I mentioned just above. These are all historically under-represented in polls.

10. Campaigns Hold Good Stuff Back

An important part of a good campaign is timing: you have to play your cards when they will have the most effect. You don’t just throw everything you have out there at once, because it all gets jumbled together and it fades from public view too quickly.

As just one example, it is widely theorized that General Colin Powell may – note that word please – endorse Barack Obama. If true, Obama will ask Powell to wait to make that announcement at a time when it will be of maximum benefit to his campaign.

Similarly, by not panicking now, Obama also holds in reserve any potential “Hail Mary” pass of his own. Obama is principled, but he’s no fool, and the Democratic leadership knows what’s at stake here. If Obama really does get to the point where he feels like he is going to lose, he can shake things up any time from now until shortly before the election – there’s no rush.


Chill Out

I hope this article has made you feel a bit better about the current state of affairs. If you’re still worried, don’t sit around biting your fingernails to a stump – do something productive! Send a donation, volunteer to make some phone calls, or heck, start a blog. Anything constructive you do will not only help you achieve what you want – an Obama/Biden victory in November – it will make you feel much better at the same time.

Keep your wits about you, folks – there’s still a long road ahead of us, and much work to be done.


Tell your Nana to vote Obama!

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

It's Sarah Silverman, so consider yourself warned.

Angry African: 'Actually, you are a stupid twit'

Here's an excerpt from a terrific blog (warning, strong language):

I know I said I wasn’t going to blog for a while. But McCain just pissed me right off. Yes, I watched the debate. And it is now 1 am and I am still pissed. So just allow me this one. Humor me for a minute. I’ll stop writing again tomorrow. He is a rude, obnoxious, smug, lying, stupid twit. And this race is even close? WTF? Let me get this straight…

Read the rest here

domingo, 28 de setembro de 2008

Brazil's Lula calls US bailout plan unfair to poor

Read original version here

BRASILIA, Sept 28 - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blamed the United States for the global financial crisis and said its financial bailout plan was unfair to poor people.

U.S. lawmakers on Sunday were set to sign off on a deal to create a $700 billion government fund to buy bad debt from ailing banks in a bid to stem a credit crisis threatening the global economy.

"They want to help the banks and not help the poor," Lula said late on Saturday in Sao Paulo during a campaign rally ahead of Oct. 5 municipal elections.

"Why give $700 billion to the banks and no money to the poor guys who lost their houses," Lula asked, according to local media. He referred to the troubled U.S. housing market.

The former factory worker, who obtained record approval ratings this month, said the United States had the primary responsibility to fix a crisis with global repercussions that it had caused.

"I'm not at fault if they turned their economy into a casino," Lula said in reference to accusations that lax U.S. financial regulations worsened the crisis.

Brazil was in a better position to withstand the crisis than it was years ago, the former union leader said.

"I don't want to say we're at ease but ... today we depend less on the United States for our exports," Lula said.

Brazil's economy is growing by more than 5 percent annually but is expected to slow to around 4 percent growth next year. A few Brazilian exporters announced last week large derivatives losses related to currency fluctuations caused by the global financial crisis.

How does the Black community handle an Obama loss?

What If Obama Loses?

By Allison Samuels | NEWSWEEK

African-Americans thought he had no chance—then they started to believe. Now they fear defeat.

Here's an excerpt:
In the African-American community, the thinking on Obama's candidacy has gone something like this: In the beginning, there was disbelief that a black man could become president. Then, when Obama became the Democratic nominee and soared in the polls, listeners were concerned for his safety. Now that the race with John McCain is as tight as Sarah Palin's smile, Baisden's audience has started to worry about Election Day itself. There is still a fair amount of optimism in the black community, but it's being tempered by two words: what if. What if Obama loses? How should people respond? What should they feel? It's a common election-season concern, but it's all the more acute in the African-American community, where more people are paying attention to the campaign—and planning to vote—than ever. Managing expectations and reactions has become Topic A in many black homes and on blogs such as Bossip, Stereohyped and Angry Black Male. "People that I know that have never cared about politics are registering to vote this time: gang members, ex-cons, you name it," says rapper Snoop Dogg. "I hate to see a lot of that hope go down the drain, and if he loses, it will."

Racism, naturally, plays a part in the conversation. "I've never forgotten that he is a smart, articulate black man with a smart, articulate black wife," says Linda Wright, 34, a nurse's assistant from Houston. "You think white people were just going to turn over the keys to the most important job in the land without a fight?" The overriding feeling is apprehension, a vague fear of losing something people thought was theirs to keep. "My kids love Obama and they think it's so obvious he should be the president," says actor D. L. Hughley. "I was just honest in saying life isn't always fair and certainly isn't always fair for African-Americans. But Obama has overcome so many obstacles, it's easy to forget reality."

McCain vs.Obama: Their Foreign Policy Views


The Vices of Their Virtues

John McCain's impetuosity is either thrilling or disturbing. Barack Obama's cool is either sober or detached. It's clear now how each would govern.

Here's an excerpt:
It would be comforting, of course, if there were such a man as Mr. Just Right, but human nature is rarely so accommodating. Politicians, like the rest of us (only more so), tend to overcompensate. Obama cannot afford to be seen by voters as an Angry Black Man, but he sometimes appears calm to the point of passivity. At moments during the past two weeks of dizzying market gyrations and grim economic tidings, he seemed more like a bystander than a player. This may, in fact, have been the wise choice, both for the country and for his political fortunes. He understood that, by butting into the delicate negotiations between the White House, Treasury and Congress to shape a rescue package, a presidential candidate risked injecting politics and partisanship into a situation that demanded statesmanship and discretion.

Brilliant - and frightening, if McCain should win

Published: September 28, 2008
John McCain may be the first presidential candidate in our history to risk wrecking the country even before being voted into the Oval Office.

WHAT we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House.

For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.

By the time he arrived, there already was a bipartisan agreement in principle. It collapsed hours later at the meeting convened by the president in the Cabinet Room. Rather than help try to resuscitate Wall Street’s bloodied bulls, McCain was determined to be the bull in Washington’s legislative china shop, running around town and playing both sides of his divided party against Congress’s middle. Once others eventually forged a path out of the wreckage, he’d inflate, if not outright fictionalize, his own role in cleaning up the mess his mischief helped make. Or so he hoped, until his ignominious retreat.

The question is why would a man who forever advertises his own honor toy so selfishly with our national interest at a time of crisis. I’ll leave any physiological explanations to gerontologists — if they can get hold of his complete medical records — and any armchair psychoanalysis to the sundry McCain press acolytes who have sorrowfully tried to rationalize his erratic behavior this year. The other answers, all putting politics first, can be found by examining the 24 hours before he decided to “suspend” campaigning and swoop down on the Capitol to save America from the Sunnis or the Shia, or whoever perpetrated all those credit-default swaps.

To put these 24 hours in context, you must remember that McCain not only knows little about the economy but that he has not previously expressed any urgency about its meltdown. It was on Sept. 15 — the day after his former idol Alan Greenspan pronounced the current crisis a “once-in-a-century” catastrophe — that McCain reaffirmed for the umpteenth time that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.” As recently as Tuesday he had not yet even read the two-and-a-half-page bailout proposal first circulated by Hank Paulson last weekend. “I have not had a chance to see it in writing,” he explained. (Maybe he was waiting for it to arrive by Western Union instead of PDF.)

Then came Black Wednesday — not for the stock market, which was holding steady in anticipation of Washington action, but for McCain. As the widely accepted narrative has it, his come-to-Jesus moment arrived that morning, when he awoke to discover that Barack Obama had surged ahead by nine percentage points in the Washington Post/ABC News poll. The McCain campaign hastily suited up its own pollster to belittle that finding — only to be drowned out by a fusillade of new polls from Fox News, Marist and CNN/Time, each with numbers closer to Post/ABC than not. Obama was rising most everywhere except the moose strongholds of Alaska and Montana.

That was not the only bad news raining down on McCain. His camp knew what Katie Couric had in the can from her interview with Sarah Palin. The first excerpt was to be broadcast by CBS that night, and it had to be upstaged fast.

But even that wasn’t the top political threat McCain faced last week. Bigger still was the mounting evidence of the seamless synergy between his campaign and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage monsters at the heart of the housing bust that set off our current calamity. Most of all, it was the fast-moving events on that front that precipitated his panic to roll out his diversionary, over-the-top theatrics on Wednesday.

What we were learning — through The New York Times, Newsweek and Roll Call — was ugly. Davis Manafort, the lobbying firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, had received $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac from late 2005 until last month. This was in addition to the $30,000 a month that Davis was paid from 2000 to 2005 by the so-called Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy organization that he headed and that was financed by Freddie and Fannie to fight regulation.

The McCain campaign tried to pre-emptively deflect such revelations by reviving the old Rove trick of accusing your opponent of your own biggest failings. It ran attack ads about Obama’s own links to the mortgage giants. But neither of the former Freddie-Fannie executives vilified in those ads, Franklin Raines and James Johnson, had worked at those companies lately or are currently associated with the Obama campaign. (Raines never worked for the campaign at all.) By contrast, Davis is the tip of the Freddie-Fannie-McCain iceberg. McCain’s senior adviser, his campaign’s vice chairman, his Congressional liaison and the reported head of his White House transition team all either made fortunes from recent Freddie-Fannie lobbying or were players in firms that did.

By Wednesday, the McCain campaign’s latest tactic for countering this news — attacking the press, especially The Times — was paying diminishing returns. Davis abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance that day at a weekly reporters’ lunch sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, escaping any further questions by pleading that he had to hit the campaign trail. (He turned up at the “21” Club in New York that night, wining and dining McCain fund-raisers.)

It’s then that Angry Old Ironsides McCain suddenly emerged to bark that our financial distress was “the greatest crisis we’ve faced, clearly, since World War II” — even greater than the Russia-Georgia conflict, which in August he had called the “first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the cold war.” Campaigns, debates and no doubt Bristol Palin’s nuptials had to be suspended immediately so he could ride to the rescue, with Joe Lieberman as his Robin.

Yet even as he huffed and puffed about being a “leader,” McCain took no action and felt no urgency. As his Congressional colleagues worked tirelessly in Washington, he malingered in New York. He checked out the suffering on Main Street (or perhaps High Street) by conferring with Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the Hillary-turned-McCain supporter best known for her fabulous London digs and her diatribes against Obama’s elitism. McCain also found time to have a well-publicized chat with one of those celebrities he so disdains, Bono, and to give a self-promoting public speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.

There was no suspension of his campaign. His surrogates and ads remained on television. Huffington Post bloggers, working the phones, couldn’t find a single McCain campaign office that had gone on hiatus. This “suspension” ruse was an exact replay of McCain’s self-righteous “suspension” of the G.O.P. convention as Hurricane Gustav arrived on Labor Day. “We will put aside our political hats and put on our American hats,” he declared then, solemnly pledging that conventioneers would help those in need. But as anyone in the Twin Cities could see, the assembled put on their party hats instead, piling into the lobbyists’ bacchanals earlier than scheduled, albeit on the down-low.

Much of the press paid lip service to McCain’s new “suspension” as it had to its prototype. In truth, the only campaign activity McCain did drop was a Wednesday evening taping with David Letterman. Don’t mess with Dave. Picking up where the “The View” left off in speaking truth to power, the uncharacteristically furious host hammered the absent McCain on and off for 40 minutes, repeatedly observing that the cancellation “didn’t smell right.”

In a journalistic coup de grâce worthy of “60 Minutes,” Letterman went on to unmask his no-show guest as a liar. McCain had phoned himself that afternoon to say he was “getting on a plane immediately” to deal with the grave situation in Washington, Letterman told the audience. Then he showed video of McCain being touched up by a makeup artist while awaiting an interview by Couric that same evening at another CBS studio in New York.

It’s not hard to guess why McCain had blown off Letterman for Couric at the last minute. The McCain campaign’s high anxiety about the disastrous Couric-Palin sit-down was skyrocketing as advance excerpts flooded the Internet. By offering his own interview to Couric for the same night, McCain hoped (in vain) to dilute Palin’s primacy on the “CBS Evening News.”

Letterman’s most mordant laughs on Wednesday came when he riffed about McCain’s campaign “suspension”: “Do you suspend your campaign? No, because that makes me think maybe there will be other things down the road, like if he’s in the White House, he might just suspend being president. I mean, we’ve got a guy like that now!”

That’s no joke. Bush has so little credibility he can govern only through surrogates (Paulson is the new Petraeus). When he spoke about the economic crisis in prime time earlier that same night, he registered as no more than an irritating speed bump en route to “David Blaine: Dive of Death.”

It’s that utter power vacuum that gave McCain the opening to pull his potentially catastrophic display of economic “leadership” last week. He may be the first presidential candidate in our history to risk wrecking the country even before being voted into the Oval Office.

sábado, 27 de setembro de 2008

Barack Obama and the Return of Grace

By Michael Seitzman
Here's an excerpt

John McCain displayed himself for all to see as a deeply angry, petty man, locked in a blood-war somewhere deep in the rice paddies of his frustrated and confused mind. He personalizes every conflict to the point that he can't even look at his opponent, as if by ignoring him he might be able to deny the man his dignity. What McCain doesn't realize is that the only person who surrendered his dignity was the one who shamefully displayed contempt in a forum designed to promote civil discourse on the most important issues of the day. And those issues are far too important to all of us to be obfuscated by the kind of pettiness we hope to never see in our leaders. Those who aspire to lead us are supposed to be the best among us. They are supposed to transcend and rise above those they would hope to lead. McCain's is the kind of behavior that wouldn't even be acceptable in a high school debate, let alone one between candidates for the highest office in the land.

Ironically, the very thing the McCain campaign is now crowing about as an example of McCain's victory -- the fact that Obama granted his opponent the courtesy of pointing out the places where they agree -- is the very quality of leadership that McCain continues to falsely claim as his own. "I have a record of reaching across the aisle," is the repeated line. He claims to have made a career of putting "Country First," yet we only see him engage in behavior that has divided this country for far too long, effectively putting country second and putting McCain First. If he truly endeavors to unify us, then the first thing he needs to do is to stop turning every disagreement into a battle between heroes and villains.

Watch Barack Obama in that debate and you see a man who is confident but not arrogant -- hence the regular acknowledgment of his opponent when they agree. He is sure of himself, yet thoughtful in the way he explains his position. He is more than capable of being Commander In Chief, yet just as interested in being Diplomat In Chief. Standing on that podium next to a walking shadow of our past, Barack Obama stands as a clear signpost to our future.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post website

The debate in brief

Kudos to England for Obama for posting this and the previous clip

The "knock-out punch"? It should've been...

sexta-feira, 26 de setembro de 2008

"Disheartened and outraged" is an understatement

Obama effigy found hanging from campus tree

School leaders, students express outrage at 'overt racial act'

updated 4:27 p.m. PT, Wed., Sept. 24, 2008

NEWBERG, Ore. - Students and school leaders at a small Christian university expressed outrage Wednesday at the discovery of a life-size cardboard effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hanging from a tree on campus.

A custodian at George Fox University discovered the effigy early Tuesday and immediately removed it, President Robin Baker said. University spokesman Rob Felton said Wednesday that the commercially produced reproduction had been suspended from the branch of a tree near Minthorn Hall with fishing line around the neck.

The hanging of the effigy around the neck is seen as racist symbolism because it harkens back to lynchings of black men by white mobs, especially in the U.S. South, decades ago. Obama is aiming to become America's first black president.

"We will not tolerate such displays and condemn it in the strongest terms," Baker said. "George Fox University is committed to becoming a place that more broadly represents the Kingdom of God ― a place where students from diverse backgrounds come together to live out the teachings of Jesus in our world."

Taped to the cardboard cutout of Obama was a sign that read "Act Six reject." Act Six is a scholarship program geared toward increasing the number of minority and low-income students at several Christian colleges, mostly in the Northwest.

The school has 17 students in the program, whose name derives from the New Testament book of Acts. All but one are members of minority groups, Felton said.

Students in the program receive full scholarships and are selected on the basis of leadership potential.

'Disheartened and outraged'
Baker met with the students in the Act Six program late Tuesday and addressed the student body Wednesday at the school's regular chapel service.

Baker told students he was "disheartened and outraged."

"It has been my dream to establish a university that more adequately represents the kingdom of God," he said. "This act causes some to question our commitment."

Newberg police Sgt. Tim Weaver said officials are working with the university to find out who was responsible. He also said the police department has notified the U.S. Secret Service, although it's not clear yet whether the act was a crime.

Brad Lau, a university vice president, said school officials have been questioning students for leads. He and other school officials wouldn't say what action it might take.

Race factor
Several students in the Act Six program said they are angry but do not feel threatened.

"To me, I just felt like they weren't ready to have a black person be president," said Courtney Greenidge, a sophomore. "We're trying to bring change. Obama's trying to bring change." She described herself, like Obama, as biracial: half black, half white.

She also said that overall, the campus has a welcoming and positive environment, but that she has heard comments along the lines of, "Oh, I wish I was black. Then I could get a scholarship like that."

George Fox University's campus is in Newberg in the Willamette Valley south of Portland. About 1,800 students are enrolled. It also has centers in Portland; Salem; and Boise, Idaho.

Felton said that about 2 percent of the students are black and about a quarter of the freshman class belong to minority groups. That number includes international students, largely from Asia and Africa.


quinta-feira, 25 de setembro de 2008

Drudge plays the "race war" card - again

TrackBack link

ABC News Political Radar blog's headline:

Florida Congressman: Palin 'Don't Care Too Much What They Do With Jews and Blacks'

Drudge's headline: RACE WAR: Florida Congressman Says Palin 'Don't Care Too Much What They Do With Jews and Blacks'...

September 24, 2008 6:21 PM

ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings pointed to Sarah Palin on Wednesday to rally Jews to Obama.

"If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention," said Hastings. "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."

Hastings, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, made his comments in Washington, D.C., while participating in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Asked what the congressman meant, Hastings spokesman David Goldenberg told ABC News that he was trying to argue that Palin is an "extremely conservative woman who is out of touch with mainstream America."

After saying that Palin "don't care too much" about Jews and blacks, Hastings argued that African Americans and Jews should come together behind Obama because there are many issues on which they agree.

"Just like Jews, blacks care about affordable health care, energy independence, and the separation of church and state," said Hastings. "And just like blacks, Jews care about equal pay for equal work, investment in alternative energy, and a woman's right to choose."

Asked about the Hastings criticism, Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said, "We’re taking a pass."

A primer on "Palinism"

Published: September 25, 2008
Sarah Palin loves the word “exceptional.” She may be onto something in her batty way: the election is very much about American exceptionalism.

Here's an excerpt:
I’m going to try to make this simple. On the Democratic side you have a guy whose campaign has been based on the Internet, who believes America may have something to learn from other countries (like universal health care) and who’s unafraid in 2008 to say he’s a “proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.”

On the Republican side, you have a guy who, in 2008, is just discovering the Net and Google and whose No. 2 is a woman who got a passport last year and believes she understands Russia because Alaska is closer to Siberia than Alabama.

If I were Obama, I’d put it this way: “Senator McCain, the world you claim to understand is the world of yesterday. A new century demands new thinking. Our country cannot be made fundamentally secure by a man who thought our economy was fundamentally sound.”

Read the article in full here

quarta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2008

The latest from New Jersey

Supremacists distribute fliers attacking Obama

Leaflets are delivered in some Roxbury neighborhoods over weekend
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

Some neighborhoods in Roxbury were blanketed over the weekend with campaign literature from a white supremacist, anti-immigration group that bluntly raised the issue of race regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama, offending some recipients and angering Democratic leaders.

A flier left on driveways in a neatly packaged plastic envelope and distributed by a group named the League of American Patriots, with a Butler mailing address, questioned, "Do You Want A Black President?" and stated "Black Ruled Nations most unstable and violent in the world."

Police said they received some complaint calls Saturday about the flier and were reviewing the issue to determine if there were any illegalities connected to the material or its distribution.

"I think whoever is doing this should stop and just deal solely with the facts and issues involved in this election," said Morris County Democratic Party Chairman Lewis Candura, who was notified "racist materials" were being distributed.

Roxbury resident Elizabeth Corsetto said she and her husband came home from doing errands Saturday and found the flier at the end of their driveway. She picked it up, expecting a mailer from a retailer but instead found a one-page, black and white sheet featuring unflattering photos of Obama, including a doctored one portraying him with a long beard and turban.

"Why should we seal our fate by allowing a black ruler to destroy us?" asked the flier, which also detailed what it contended to be a series of facts on black unemployment, poverty, HIV and crime rates, while pointing out the woes of a couple of predominantly black-populated countries.

Attempts to reach the League of American Patriots, by telephone and e-mail, were unsuccessful yesterday. There were no names of group leaders or organizers on the flier or the group's website.

Corsetto, a former school board president in Dover, said she was shocked to get the flier.

"I'm not against free speech, but I was shocked to find stuff like this in my neighborhood," Corsetto said. "I know racism is out there in this world, but I'm particularly disturbed to believe this is happening in Morris County."

The League of American Patriots was formed March 29 at a meeting attended by more than 20 people at an undisclosed site in northern New Jersey, followed by a July meeting at an undisclosed Morris County park, according to the organization's website.

The group is "committed to restoring America to the principles upon which it was founded. First and foremost is halting the rapid demographic decline of the European peoples in our homeland," according to the website. League members attended an immigration reform rally in Lakewood in May and what was billed as an anti-Mexican rally in Shenandoah, Pa., in August, according to the site.

Andrew Poag, a spokesman for the Obama campaign in New Jersey, said it had not previously encountered this group or this type of literature in New Jersey during the campaign.

"These divisive and offensive fliers won't distract the Obama campaign's focus on bringing our country together and bringing the change we need to Washington, D.C.," Poag said last night in an e-mailed response to a request for comment.

Lawrence Ragonese can be reached at lragonese@starledger.com or (973) 539-7910.

Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama

NY Times - U.S. / Politics
Published: September 24, 2008
A series of ads in Michigan highlight this year’s roughest political attacks: narrowly aimed shots from small groups.

Here's an excerpt:
But the more explosive charges from outside groups against Mr. Obama have often drawn closer scrutiny this year for their volume and the cultural and racial sensitivities they tend to touch, and, occasionally, seek to exploit.

In Mr. Obama’s case, the messages have frequently sought to paint him as foreign, like the chain e-mail messages sent for months to Jewish areas of Florida, suburban Philadelphia and other swing states that portray Mr. Obama as Muslim (he is Christian). This week, a hate group calling itself the League of American Patriots distributed fliers to as many as 50 homes in Roxbury, a mostly white town in northern New Jersey, portraying Mr. Obama as Osama Bin Laden and including language that was derisive of black people.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, said the fliers, initially reported by The Star-Ledger in Newark, were the first overtly racist printed tracts of their kind this election season.

Read the full article here

terça-feira, 23 de setembro de 2008

McCain and health care

American families were rocked last week by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. But with John McCain and his lobbyists in charge, it could have been even worse.

In a recent interview, McCain suggested deregulating health insurance companies and handing them an unsupervised blank check -- in his own words -- just "as we have done over the last decade in banking."

His policies have made taxpayers responsible for the largest federal bailout in history -- we can't let John McCain and his Washington cronies sell out American health care.

Our new ad exposes McCain's call for reckless deregulation. Watch it now and write a letter to your local paper to make sure everyone in your community knows about his so-called healthcare "reforms."

Watch this ad

In its endorsement of Barack Obama for President, the Seattle Times blasted McCain's risky deregulation policies that paved the way for the current crisis.

McCain advisers Phil Gramm and Rick Davis, lobbyists for the banking and home mortgage industries, got rich off of peddling these disastrous policies. Can American families really afford more of the same?

McCain may call himself a "reformer," but there's nothing maverick about handing taxpayers the bill for the mess his policies made.

Watch the video and help spread the word in your local paper:


Keep fighting the good fight,

Obama Action Wire

The first debate

This Friday, we'll reach another milestone in this campaign -- the first debate of the general election, on September 26th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Millions of Americans will tune in to watch Barack debate John McCain about America's foreign policy and our role in the world.

Barack will share his plan to bring the change we need -- to restore our place in the world, ensure security at home and abroad, and reestablish the United States as the world's economic leader.

This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the issues. And it's also a great opportunity for you to share Barack's message of change with your friends, family, and neighbors by attending a Debate Watch Party.

Watch the debate with friends and supporters, and talk about how you can get involved in this movement.

I recorded a brief message about these parties. Please take a moment to watch the video and sign up to attend a Debate Watch Party in your community.

Many Americans are still learning about Barack and this movement for change.

They don't know about his plan to restore the middle class, cut taxes for 95 percent of American families, provide health care for every American, achieve energy independence, improve our schools, and responsibly end the war in Iraq.

Many people also don't know that John McCain has voted with George Bush more than 90 percent of the time -- including to continue Bush's failed Iraq policies, not investigating the government response to Katrina, not supporting children's health care, not supporting college benefits for returning veterans, and passing tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class.

This debate is a chance for Americans to hear directly from Barack. And with just a few weeks left before Election Day, it's more important than ever that we bring people together and talk about the issues that matter in our communities.

I hope you'll watch my short message and sign up to attend a Debate Watch Party:


Thank you for all that you're doing,


segunda-feira, 22 de setembro de 2008

Double standards?

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race

By BRENT STAPLES Published: September 21, 2008

The discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche to just disappear.

Read original NY Times article here

It was not that long ago that black people in the Deep South could be beaten or killed for seeking the right to vote, talking back to the wrong white man or failing to give way on the sidewalk. People of color who violated these and other proscriptions could be designated “uppity niggers” and subjected to acts of violence and intimidation that were meant to dissuade others from following their examples.

The term “uppity” was applied to affluent black people, who sometimes paid a horrific price for owning nicer homes, cars or more successful businesses than whites. Race-based wealth envy was a common trigger for burnings, lynchings and cataclysmic episodes of violence like the Tulsa race riot of 1921, in which a white mob nearly eradicated the prosperous black community of Greenwood.

Forms of eloquence and assertiveness that were viewed as laudable among whites were seen as positively mutinous when practiced by people of color. As such, black men and women who looked white people squarely in the eye — and argued with them about things that mattered — were declared a threat to the racial order and persecuted whenever possible.

This obsession with black subservience was based in nostalgia for slavery. No sane person would openly express such a sentiment today. But the discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche — and the national language — to just disappear. It has been a persistent theme in the public discourse since Barack Obama became a plausible candidate for the presidency.

A blatant example surfaced earlier this month, when a Georgia Republican, Representative Lynn Westmoreland, described the Obamas as “uppity” in response to a reporter’s question. Mr. Westmoreland, who actually stood by the term when given a chance to retreat, later tried to excuse himself by saying that the dictionary definition carried no racial meaning. That seems implausible. Mr. Westmoreland is from the South, where the vernacular meaning of the word has always been clear.

The Jim Crow South institutionalized racial paternalism in its newspapers, which typically denied black adults the courtesy titles of Mr. and Mrs. — and reduced them to children by calling them by first names only. Representative Geoff Davis, Republican of Kentucky, succumbed to the old language earlier this year when describing what he viewed as Mr. Obama’s lack of preparedness to handle nuclear policy. “That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button,” he said.

In the Old South, black men and women who were competent, confident speakers on matters of importance were termed “disrespectful,” the implication being that all good Negroes bowed, scraped, grinned and deferred to their white betters.

In what is probably a harbinger of things to come, the McCain campaign has already run a commercial that carries a similar intimation, accusing Mr. Obama of being “disrespectful” to Sarah Palin. The argument is muted, but its racial antecedents are very clear.

The throwback references that have surfaced in the campaign suggest that Republicans are fighting on racial grounds, even when express references to race are not evident. In a replay of elections past, the G.O.P. will try to leverage racial ghosts and fears without getting its hands visibly dirty. The Democrats try to parry in customary ways.

Mr. Obama seems to understand that he is always an utterance away from a statement — or a phrase — that could transform him in a campaign ad from the affable, rational and racially ambiguous candidate into the archetypical angry black man who scares off the white vote. His caution is evident from the way he sifts and searches the language as he speaks, stepping around words that might push him into the danger zone.

These maneuvers are often painful to watch. The troubling part is that they are necessary.

Schools: Obama Stresses More Investment, McCain Parental Choice

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor: "Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama offer different visions for how the federal government can help America's students get ahead. Senator McCain's drumbeat is parental choice and empowerment - making it easier for students in substandard schools to take funding with them, whether to a tutoring company or another public or private school. Senator Obama's thrust is strategic investment - more federal dollars to put good teachers into high-needs schools, increase charter-school options, and boost early childhood development to stave off achievement gaps."

"The lynch-mob standard"

The Point: Disturbing line Palin tossed off in address

At the GOP convention, it had classic lynch-mob slant.

In the weeks since John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate, she has become one of the most famous people in America.

She has been cunningly impersonated on Saturday Night Live by her look-alike Tina Fey, grilled by ABC's sober anchor Charlie Gibson, and investigated by teams of reporters who by now have hunted down every person in Alaska with a grudge or criticism.

We discovered that her teenage daughter is pregnant and watched as the hockey-playing lad who knocked her up was rapidly betrothed, cleaned up and hauled wide-eyed into the national spotlight with his soon-to-be in-laws - a bracingly modern variation of the old shotgun wedding. We have learned that Palin, like just about every other politician in human history, tends to hire her friends and fire her enemies.

We will learn more, but none of the above has done much to alter her image as a refreshingly independent, aggressive, smart, down-to-earth, and surprisingly effective public official. And we all know she can give a good speech.

But it was in that much-heralded speech at the Republican convention that Palin tossed off a line I found more disturbing than anything unearthed about her since. It got a predictably enthusiastic response from the keyed-up partisan crowd.

"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America," said Palin, and then, referring to Barack Obama, quipped: "He's worried that someone won't read them their rights."

Quite apart from the cheap distortion of Obama's position, typical of most campaign rhetoric, this is a classic lynch-mob line. It is the taunt of the drunken lout in the cowboy movie who confronts a sheriff barring the prison door - He wants to give 'im a trial? It is the precise sentiment that Atticus Finch so memorably sets himself against in Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird, when he agrees to defend a supposedly indefensible black man charged with rape (falsely, as it turns out).

I wonder if Palin really believes her own position on this. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was just a speechwriter's idea of a great applause line, perhaps she hasn't fully thought it through. The sentiment is on the wrong side of a deep principle, one that we have long honored in this country, that has to do with basic fairness, the rule of law, and ultimately with standing up intelligently to terrorism.

Palin's comments referred to McCain's condemnation of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer that upheld detainees' rights to the most basic of legal protections against arrest and imprisonment, a habeas corpus petition. The court ruled that our government cannot just call someone a terrorist, arrest him, and hold him indefinitely without showing some reasonable cause. McCain has called this "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Obama has praised it.

The court's decision is just the latest word in an evolving national discussion of what to do with captured "terrorists." Congress and the White House have been wrestling with this since Sept. 11, 2001, and will continue to do so. Even those who applauded the court's defense of habeas corpus are not so sure that federal courts are the right place for "enemy combatants" to appeal their detention. And among those who side with the court, few would argue that enemy combatants are owed the full legal protections enjoyed by citizens. But certainly anyone arrested and locked away deserves the chance to challenge their arrest.

Mind you, we are not talking about a trial here, just a hearing to establish that there is enough evidence to lock the suspect away.

Palin's applause line applied the lynch-mob standard: Because a man has been arrested, he is guilty. End of story.

In 2003, when the first group of prisoners was released from Guantanamo, I traveled to Pakistan to find two of them, Shah Muhammad and Sahibzada Osman Ali. Both hailed from tiny villages in the mountainous region of Pakistan where al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been hiding. As an American, I was nervous traveling in that region, and honestly didn't know what to expect when I found them.

I was greeted with warmth and elaborate courtesy. Both were men in their early 20s, uneducated, unworldly, and dirt poor. They had been rounded up by entrepreneurial Afghani warlords who were being paid $4,000 a head to capture jihadis for the Americans. Four thousand dollars is a huge payday in Afghanistan, and the warlords were not discriminating. Both apparently hapless young Pakistanis were among the original herds of elaborately restrained detainees in orange jumpsuits delivered to Camp X-Ray, the ones who were all treated like mass murderers. Some of them were. Many, it turns out, were not.

Shah Muhammad and Sahibzada Osman Ali were held for almost two years before the authorities figured out that they did not pose a threat to Western civilization.

Maybe the authorities and I both have it wrong. Perhaps these two are huddling right now with Osama bin Laden himself, but they have stood in my mind ever since as examples of why detainees deserve a hearing of some kind, whether in federal court or before some panel that is seen to be fair and reasonably concerned about basic justice.

We are at war against forces who seek a permanent state of fear, for whom violence is an end in itself. Our side of the fight defends government by consent, and the rule of law. It is why we fight, and what makes our use of violence against our enemies morally defensible. This is why it is critical that we respect individual rights and act lawfully.

That does not mean reading Miranda warnings to enemy combatants, as Palin glibly suggested, or affording them the full battery of rights given criminal defendants in this country. It does mean that even those accused of the most vile crimes have some.

Our Founding Fathers called them "unalienable."

Mark Bowden is a former staff writer at The Inquirer and is now national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. Contact him at mbowden@phillynews.com.

domingo, 21 de setembro de 2008

"On Economy, Obama Offers Ideas, McCain Blames Rival."

This week, the economic troubles that have long been simmering on Main Street boiled over to Wall Street, putting our entire economy in danger.

Barack laid out a plan to address this crisis and offered strong, practical solutions for American families. Our team put together a short video that speaks to these problems and describes Barack's plan.

Watch the video and share it with your friends:

Watch this video and share it with your friends

While Barack offered solutions, John McCain went before the nation to continue lying about Barack and to offer more of the same disastrous George Bush policies that got us here. The Washington Post even said, "On Economy, Obama Offers Ideas, McCain Blames Rival."

Here are some key elements of Barack's plan:
  • A $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families with high fuel costs right now while putting $50 billion into job creation to get our economy back on track.
  • Families making less than $250,000 a year will get a tax cut three times larger than under John McCain's plan and will face absolutely no tax increases.
  • While John McCain has voted against raising the minimum wage 19 times, Barack would raise the minimum wage and set it to rise automatically with inflation.
  • Invest $15 billion a year in green energy research to reduce our economy's dependence on foreign oil and create 5 million American jobs a year.
There's a big difference between the change we need and the Bush-McCain politics we need to leave behind.

Watch the video for more details and share it with your friends now:


Keep fighting the good fight,

Obama Action Wire

Vote for change

Vote for Change: Register to vote now Think of all the people you know -- your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. What if every one of them voted on Election Day?

That's a lot of votes.

But odds are, many of them aren't registered -- or aren't sure if they are.

Now there's an easy way to learn your status and get registered. Our new one-stop voter registration site, VoteForChange.com, lets you do it all: check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location.

Take a minute today to check out VoteForChange.com, and encourage your friends and family to do the same:


In just the past few weeks, 200,000 people have used VoteForChange.com to register to vote. That's a remarkable accomplishment, and we're well on our way to our goal -- 1,000,000 people using VoteForChange.com to register to vote before the election.

We're counting on all of our supporters to help reach this goal by forwarding this email to friends and family.

This election is going to be incredibly close, and we need every single vote we can get to win. But almost everywhere in the country, there are only a couple of weeks left before your registration deadline.

VoteForChange.com makes it easier than ever to confirm your registration. Instead of tracking down the right forms, all you need to do is answer a few basic questions and you'll be ready to vote.

If you're not sure if you're registered or if you have any questions, take a minute to visit the site and make your voice heard on Election Day:


Together, we can turn the tide of the past eight years and bring about the real change this country needs.

But we all need to vote -- and first, we all need to be registered.

Thanks for all that you do,


Jon Carson
National Field Director
Obama for America

P.S. -- There are lots of ways to get this important information out there. Help spread the word by adding www.VoteForChange.com to your email footer, or share it with friends on online social networks.

Getting as many people as possible registered to vote, and then making sure they go to the polls, is going to take all of us working together. Thanks.

The push to "otherize" Obama

Published: September 21, 2008
The political campaign to transform Barack Obama into a Muslim is succeeding. The real loser as that happens is our entire political process.

Read the full article here

Here's are some excerpts:
When I’ve traveled around the country, particularly to my childhood home in rural Oregon, I’ve been struck by the number of people who ask something like: That Obama — is he really a Christian? Isn’t he a Muslim or something? Didn’t he take his oath of office on the Koran?

In conservative Christian circles and on Christian radio stations, there are even widespread theories that Mr. Obama just may be the Antichrist. Seriously.


(Just imagine for a moment if it were the black candidate in this election, rather than the white candidate, who was born in Central America, was an indifferent churchgoer, had graduated near the bottom of his university class, had dumped his first wife, had regularly displayed an explosive and profane temper, and had referred to the Pakistani-Iraqi border ...)

What is happening, I think, is this: religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice. In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Mr. Obama is sufficiently Christian.

"Democracy at work"

sábado, 20 de setembro de 2008

Message from Joe Biden: Rolling up our sleeves

Our team has built a tool called Neighbor to Neighbor that lets you tap into the power of this grassroots movement right from your home.

You can reach out to potential supporters by making phone calls at any time that's convenient for you.

Take this election into your own hands right now by signing up and talking to voters in a crucial battleground state about Barack and our campaign for change.

Right now, this race is neck-and-neck.

And it's all going to come down to what supporters like you do -- or don't do -- in these last 45 days.

The events of the past week have really put into focus what this election is all about.

The failed economic policies of the past eight years have hurt American workers and put our economy on shaky ground. We're up against an opponent who not only supports those policies, but is so out of touch that he actually believes "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Millions of Americans are counting on Barack and me to defeat John McCain and deliver the change this country needs -- but we can't do it alone.

Each of us needs to do our part. What's going to win this election for us is organizing on the ground, person-to-person, and growing this movement.

Reach out now to potential supporters and do your part to change this country and move us in a new direction:


Bringing fundamental change to Washington is a big challenge -- but it's never been more important.

Thank you for being part of this movement and working hard to make this country better for all Americans.



Obama rallies Florida

Beth Reinhard, Patricia Mazzei and Trenton Daniel, The Miami Herald: "Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama campaigned in South Florida Friday for the first time in three months amid what he called 'the most serious financial crisis in generations,' telling a crowd dominated by women that his Republican rival failed to understand their struggles. Speaking to a nearly packed house of 8,000 people at the University of Miami's BankUnited Center, Obama poked fun at McCain for speaking positively about the 'fundamentals' of the economy and proposing a new financial regulatory agency for financial institutions. 'I think it's clear Sen. McCain is a little panicked right now,' Obama said to the delight of the raucous crowd."

NY Times: "Lipstick Bungle"

Published: September 19, 2008
Read original article here

Support for Sarah Palin among Republicans seems just as superficial as she is. When asked why they liked her, the answers described a talk-show host, not a vice president.

Mr. McCain, on Monday you repeated your delusional notion that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Now, the federal government is working on a deal to save that economy from collapsing. You have admitted that the economy is not your forte, so you could have used a running mate with some financial chops. (Remember Mitt Romney?)

But no. Who did you pick? SnowJob SquareGlasses whose financial credentials include running Wasilla into debt, listing (but not selling) a plane on EBay and flip-flopping on a bridge to wherever. In fact, when it comes to real issues in general, she may prove to be a liability.

In what respect, you may ask?

It turns out that the Republican enthusiasm for Sarah Palin is just as superficial as she is. They were so eager for someone to cheer for (because they really don’t like you) that they dove face first into the Palin mirage. But, on the issues, even they worry about her.

In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted this week 77 percent of Republicans said that they had a favorable opinion of Palin. But when asked what specifically they liked about her, their top five reasons were that she was honest, tough, caring, outspoken and fresh-faced. Sounds like a talk-show host, not a vice president. (By the way, her intelligence was in a three-way tie for eighth place, right behind “I just like her.”)

When those Republicans were asked what they liked least about her, they started to sound more like everyone else. Aside from those who said that there was nothing they didn’t like, next on the list were: her lack of experience, her record as governor and her lack of foreign-policy experience.

Also, most Republicans think you only picked her to help with the election, not because she is qualified, and a third said that they would be “concerned” if for some reason she actually had to serve as president.

And Palin is proving to be just as vacant as people suspected. In her interview with Charles Gibson last week, she didn’t know what the Bush doctrine was. At your first joint town hall meeting with her in Michigan on Wednesday, in front of an invitation-only crowd of Republicans no less, she dodged substantive questions about the issues as if they were sniper fire, while issuing a faux challenge to the audience to play a game of “stump the candidate”. Seriously?

Many of your supporters will no doubt cry sexism. Fine with me. But that defense rings hollow. I find many of them to be sexist. Fresh-faced? Delegates on the floor of the Republican National Convention wearing buttons like “Hoosiers for the hot chick”?


"As informative as he is witty"



US comedian Jon Stewart has politicians queuing up to appear on the satirical news programme The Daily Show. Senators McCain and Obama have both been interviewed on it.

But what is it that makes The Daily Show so popular, and why is its comedian presenter now being talked about as one of the most trusted men in American media?

Chris Bowlby considers the man who has brought satire to the centre of US political life.

BBC Radio 4's Profile was first broadcast on Saturday 23 August at 1902 BST.

Poll: Racial views steer some white Dems away from Obama

By RON FOURNIER and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He's an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation's oldest first-term president. But Obama faces this: 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

Read the article in full here

sexta-feira, 19 de setembro de 2008

Is Drudge trying to start a race and class war?

Links with his website's provocative "headlines', copied directly from today's page - www.drudgereport.com

Sandra Bernhard: Palin Would Be Gang-Raped By Blacks in Manhattan...


Woody Allen: 'It would be disgrace and humiliation if Obama does not win'...

Black protestors heckle Obama at rally...

"Blacks against Obama" interrupt rally

Shocking as this clip is, the following comment (seen on the Breitbart.tv website) is even more chilling:

It turns out Republicans went out on the street and got gangbangers, and some homeless and paid them 20.00 dollars to go inside and hold a sign to try and distract the Obama rally supporters. Good strategy by Republicans trying anything to win, but yet sickening to know an American is saying they are not racist when in fact [they are holding] a sign that reads "Obama is KKK."
Who formed it, and who predominantly maintains these hate groups keeping them alive? White People, who have nothing better else to do with their lives but destroy one another with one of the worst weapons out their in America called HATE. BOTTOM LINE.


Taking on the "McLobbyists"

Now that John McCain has realized this campaign will be about change, he's claiming he'll take on the 'old boys' network in Washington.

There's only one problem.

With seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists running his campaign from the top, taking on the old boys network isn't a fight -- it's a staff meeting.

All told, at least 177 Washington lobbyists have come through the revolving door of John McCain's campaign -- raising money and setting his strategy.

While the middle class suffers under disastrous Bush-McCain economic policies, you can bet the McLobbyists aren't working to put themselves out of business.

Barack had some harsh words yesterday for John McCain about his McLobbyists and the economy.

Check out Barack's comments, then send the video to your friends:

With so many vital issues at stake, can we really expect McCain to put American families first?

Keep fighting the good fight,

Obama Action Wire

quinta-feira, 18 de setembro de 2008

Women's Rights Groups Endorse Obama for President

Ann Sanner, The Associated Press: "Women's rights groups endorsed Barack Obama for president Tuesday, asserting the historic selection of a female Republican vice-presidential candidate does not make up for John McCain's lack of support on issues important to women."