Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Voter Video-Not Disappointed By President Obama

hat tip-The Obama Diary:


On October 8, 2011, Democrats Abroad France held an event titled "Voices for Obama" at the Nikki Diana Marquandt Gallery in Paris. One of the speakers was the American author Jake Lamar. This clip is a shortened version of his talk. (Recorded at the Atelier de la Main d'Or, October 2011.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

President Obama Says 'America's War in Iraq will be over' by end of year

From Washington Monthly:

October 21, 2011 1:35 PM
By year’s end, ‘America’s war in Iraq will be over’
By Steve Benen

When it comes to the U.S. presence in Iraq, there’s been question a lingering question as to how many American servicemen and women would remain in the country in 2012. Even as U.S. combat troops returned home, there was an expectation among many that thousands of American servicemen and women would continue to serve in Iraq to assist the country with special operations and training.

That’s not going to happen. This afternoon, President Obama announced that all U.S. forces will be entirely out of Iraq by the end of this year.

In his remarks in the White House briefing room, the president noted that, as a candidate, he “pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.” It’s a commitment he’s been able to keep.

“I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.

Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear, and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end… Today I can say that troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”

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Thank you, Mr. President.

So, Senator Mario ' Grifting Anchor Baby' Rubio's 'Family Story' Seems to be a Fraud....Hmmmmmm

hat tips-lamh and Suprk


Thanks for the hat tips from several of our readers.

So, it seems as if Senator Marco ‘Grifting Anchor Baby’ Rubio’s ‘ American Dream’ Story isn’t quite what it was made out to be.

In actuality, it’s nothing but a lie.

His parents weren’t poor patriots, run out of Cuba by the evil Fidel Castro.

He truly is nothing but an Anchor Baby, plain and simple.

From Washington Monthly:

October 21, 2011 8:40 AM
An inspiring story, which isn’t true
By Steve Benen

Sen. Marco Rubio, a far-right Republican from Florida, has always benefited from an inspiring family history. Even his harshest critics have been willing to concede Rubio’s background, and the perseverance of his family battling long odds fleeing a repressive regime, is a great American story. It’s not at all surprising, then, that Rubio would shape his political identity around this story, making it the cornerstone of his 2010 stump speeches and campaign advertising.

There is, however, a problem. The story isn’t true.

During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.

But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 1/2 years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.

Even this morning, more than 12 hours after the Washington Post first broke the news that Rubio’s family history is not what he says it is, the senator’s office hasn’t bothered to correct his online biography.

The second sentence, as I type, reads, “In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”

Unless Rubio believes 1956 follows 1959, that’s plainly not true. To publish a falsehood is a problem. To leave the falsehood uncorrected after it’s been exposed is brazen.

For his part, the right-wing senator defended his bogus story by saying he’s “going off the oral history of my family.” Way to throw your parents under the bus, Marco. He’s not lying; he’s only wrong because those rotten family members misled him.
In this case, the problem with the truth is that it’s actually fairly mundane. Rubio’s parents, like millions of other Americans’ parents, simply chose to immigrate to the United States. They weren’t fleeing persecution or tyranny; they just wanted a better life. They became Americans and had a family.

There’s nothing wrong with this story, of course; it’s quite nice. But it’s also quite common and not the sort of thing a politician can exploit to inspire others.

So, the story changed and the fabricated version of events were infused with a larger political meaning that reality didn’t offer.
It’s hard to say, at least at this point, how damaging this will be to Rubio’s career — he’s assumed to be the top Republican choice for the vice presidential nomination, no matter who wins the GOP nod — but as a darling of the party, the media, and the political establishment, this certainly takes some of the bloom off the rose.

And before folks go in on me calling him Senator Anchor Baby:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marine Shames NYPD "They have no Guns..."

hat tip-JJP: Marine shames NYPD [Occupytimessquare] 1 Marine vs. 30 Cops (Marine Wins)
United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY went toe to toe with the New York Police Department. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and has been plaguing the #OWS movement. Thomas is a 24-year-old Marine Veteran (2 tours in Iraq), he currently plays amateur football and is in college. Thomas comes from a long line of people who sacrifice for their country: Mother, Army Veteran (Iraq), Step father, Army, active duty (Afghanistan), Grand father, Air Force veteran (Vietnam), Great Grand Father Navy veteran (World War II).
Marine Shames NYPD some more occupy wall street - marine veteran rant against NYPD brutality - times square - oct15

The Fight in Ohio Against Stripping Collective Bargaining - the dirty tricks

hat tip-Balloon Juice: More palm trees by Kay Conservatives really just lie constantly:
A Northside great-grandmother taped a statewide TV ad on behalf of Senate Bill 5 opponents – only to be stunned and outraged when she saw herself featured in an ad for the other side. The fight over the Cincinnati great-grandmother’s image is now the latest battle in the hard-fought campaign over Senate Bill 5, which limits collective bargaining for public employees. Ohio voters will decide whether to keep the law in November; it’s on the ballot as Issue 2. “I think it’s dishonest and downright deceitful that they would use footage of me to try to play tricks and fool voters,” Marlene Quinn said in a press release by We Are Ohio, the anti-Issue 2 group that initially produced the video. Three television stations in Columbus and two in West Virginia pulled the controversial ad, at the anti-SB5 group’s request. The use of Quinn’s image in the ad was first reported Tuesday by the liberal blog Plunderbund.
The original ad:
Quinn credits Cincinnati firefighters with saving the life of her great-granddaughter Zoey Quinn, now 4, and grandson in a November fire. In an ad she taped for Senate Bill 5 opponents, Quinn says, “When the fire broke out, there wasn’t a moment to spare. If not for the firefighters, we wouldn’t have Zoey today. That’s why it is so important to vote no on Issue 2.” Quinn continues, “How many of those politicians in Columbus have fought a fire, have been short manpower? The politicians don’t care about the middle class. They turn their backs on all of us. I don’t want the politicians in Columbus making decisions for the firefighters, the police, teachers, nurses or any organization that’s helping the people. Fewer firefighters can mean the difference between life or death, and that’s why I’m voting no in Issue 2.”
And then former Fox News personality John Kasich’s version:
Building A Better Ohio released an ad this week that starts with the same image of Quinn saying “When the fire broke out, there wasn’t a moment to spare. If not for the firefighters, we wouldn’t have Zoey today.” Then another voice says, “She’s right. By voting no on Issue 2 our safety will be threatened. Without Issue 2, communities will have to lay off hard-working firefighters to pay the excessive benefits of other government workers. Issue 2 protects our communities.” Quinn appears again saying, “Fewer firefighters can mean the difference between life or death.” Then the ad ends with “Vote Yes on Issue 2.”
We’re getting direct mail here from “The Alliance for America’s Future” which is some shady right wing group out of Virginia. Their website made me laugh out loud because it reveals absolutely nothing about the group, or why they would spend millions of dollars union-busting in Ohio.

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Now Quinn is appearing in a new We Are Ohio ad in which she reiterates her opposition to Issue 2 and slams the other side for dishonestly twisting her words:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

This is the first monument to a NON-President on the National Mall.
Being a Negro in America means trying to smile when you want to cry. It means trying to hold on to physical life amid psychological death. It means the pain of watching you children grow up with clouds of inferiority in their mental skies. It means having your legs cut off, and then being condemned for being a cripple. It means seeing your mother and father spiritually murdered by the slings and arrows of daily exploitation, and then being hated for being an orphan. Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation President, Harry Johnson explains the creation and meaning behind the MLK Memorial in Washington, DC.

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Thousands Gather for MLK Memorial Dedication WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 16: People wait in line during sunrise for a dedication ceremony at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall October 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama, entertainers, civil rights leaders and others attend the ceremony to formally dedicate the memorial to the civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who was assassinated in 1968. ----Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama walks with his family at the dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington, October 16, 2011. --Larry Downing US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (2ndR)with daughter Malia (L), Sasha(C) and mother-in-law Marian Robinson(R) visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial October 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama hailed the "moral imagination" and "hopeful vision" of Martin Luther King on Sunday at a Washington ceremony attended by thousands to dedicate a monument to the slain civil rights icon. ---MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images The MLK that's never quoted Obama: King 'Stirred Our Conscience'

Friday, October 14, 2011

The State Visit of the President of South Korea

hat tips-The Obama Diary, 3CHICSPOLITICO:

The President and First Lady hosted a State Visit for the President of South Korea Lee Myung-bak.

FLOTUS is wearing Doo-Ri Chung, a Korean-American designer.

Raw Video: White House State Dinner Arrivals

President Obama Toasts President Lee Myung-Bak of the Republic of Korea

Friday, October 07, 2011

Congratulations to the Nobel Peace Prize Winners for 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winners: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, from the same African country, and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen

A combination of three recent photos shows (from L) Yemen's Arab Spring activist Tawakkul Karman, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian "peace warrior" Leymah Gbowee who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize the jury announced on October 7, 2011. The three prizewinners share the 2011 award "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work," Norwegian Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in his announcement.
----MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Activist Women
Published: October 7, 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.

They were the first women to win the prize since Kenya’s Wangari Maathai, who died last month, was named as the laureate in 2004. Most of the recipients in the award’s 110-year history have been men, and the award seemed designed to give impetus to the cause for women’s rights around the world.

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said the citation read to reporters by Thorbjorn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister who heads the Oslo-based Nobel committee that chooses the winner of the $1.5 million prize.

In a subsequent interview, he described the prize as “a very important signal to women all over the world.”

As the prize was announced, Bushuben Keita, a spokesman for Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party, declared: “We are dancing. This is the thing that we have been saying, progress has been made in Liberia. We’ve come through 14 years of war and we have come to sustained peace. We’ve already started dancing.

“This is proof that she has been doing well, there’s no cheating in this, this comes from other people. She’s doing very, very well. Her progress has been confirmed by the international community.”

In Yemen, Ms. Karman, 32, sat in a tent where has been living since February as part of the sit-in organized to underscore demands for change. “This is the victory of our peaceful revolution,” she said. “I am so happy and I give this award to all of the youth and all of the women across the Arab world, in Egypt, in Tunisia.”

“We cannot build our country or any country in the world without peace,” she said.


NYSL: Leymah Gbowee on "Mighty Be Our Powers"

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at Harvard Commencement

توكل كرمان - Tawakkul Karman - Nobel Peace Prize winner

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth dead at 89

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who helped lead the civil rights movement, has died, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute said Wednesday. He was 89.

Shuttlesworth is among the iconic figures honored in the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. King once called Shuttlesworth "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against segregated busing in Montgomery, Alabama, Shuttlesworth rallied the membership of a group he established in May 1956 -- the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights -- to challenge the practice of segregated busing in Birmingham.

Shuttlesworth also helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with King and other civil rights leaders.

Shuttlesworth's efforts weren't without a price: his home was bombed on Christmas Day in 1956, but he and his family were not injured.

He was, however, hurt in 1957 when he was beaten with chains and whips as he sought to integrate an all-white public school.

That same year, Shuttlesworth helped King organize the SCLC, serving as the organization's first secretary from 1958 to 1970. He later served briefly as its president in 2004.

In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Shuttlesworth a Presidential Citizens Medal -- the nation's second-highest civilian award -- for his leadership in the "non-violent civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, leading efforts to integrate Birmingham, Alabama's schools, buses and recreational facilities" and helping found the SCLC.

Shuttlesworth also protested segregated lunch counters and helped lead sit-ins at the eateries in 1960.

He participated in organizing the Freedom Rides against segregated interstate buses in the South when he joined forces with the Congress On Racial Equality.

In 1963, he was injured again when a fire hose was turned on him during a protest against segregation in Birmingham. The blast of water, directed against demonstrators by order of local sheriff Bull Connor, slammed Shuttlesworth against a wall. He was hospitalized but recovered.

He was also a principal in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, which he helped organize.

In the early 1960s, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he fought homelessness and continued the movement against racism. There, he founded and served as pastor of the Greater New Light Baptist Church from 1966 to 2006.

In the 1980s, he established the Shuttlesworth Housing Foundation in Cincinnati, which provided grants to help low-income families buy homes.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has placed Shuttlesworth in its Hall of Fame.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy Anniversary to our President and First Lady

hat tip-Angelar

This photo released by Obama for America shows Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his bride Michelle Robinson, a fellow Harvard Law School graduate, on their wedding day.
----AP Photo/Obama for America

You ever wonder if the First Lady, during some quiet moment at the White House, thinks back to the man who lived above Harold's Chicken Shack, and drove a car with a see-through floor, and just goes ' Wow'?

The engaged couple visits Barack Obama's family in Kenya.

The newly married couple relaxes.

A young family.

Latest in 2012 Voter Suppression: Colorado Edition

The latest from 2012 VOTER SUPPRESSION. Today's edition is from Colorado.


Secretary Of State Sues City Of Denver Over Mail-In Ballots

Colorado’s Secretary of State is suing the City and County of Denver over mail-in ballots.

Sec. of State Scott Gessler said Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson is sending ballots to thousands of voters who legally should not get them.

The lawsuit comes just three weeks before ballots are set to be mailed.

“I don’t relish this lawsuit here. I do not relish it,” said Gessler.

“I’m surprised he really went that far,” said Johnson.

Gessler is suing Johnson after she decided to send ballots to every registered voter in Denver. The problem with that, the law states ballots “shall be mailed to all active registered electors.”

Johnson planned to mail to inactive voters as well, about 55,000.

“I think that the law states you shall send to active voters is the minimum standard. You know, at least that. It doesn’t say you cannot send to inactive voters,” said Johnson.

An inactive voter is someone who didn’t vote in the last general election. When the law was passed, the legislature specifically required ballots be sent to inactive voters, too. But it also specified that the provision would sunset this year.

Terrence Carroll, who was Speaker of the House at the time the, said things have changed.

“It was a law that was drafted without any reference or any understanding of mail-in ballot elections,” said Carroll.

Gessler’s critics suggest there are racial implications because many inactive voters live in minority neighborhoods.

Gessler denies that accusation, “I’m disappointed some have played a race card.”

He insists he’s not trying to keep anyone from voting, just trying to keep the process legal.

Johnson said it should also be fair.

“So right now we have our printer on hold until we get some type of decision,” said Johnson.

Pueblo’s clerk and Recorder is also awaiting that decision. Gilbert Ortiz said he wasn’t going to challenge the Secretary of State’s authority, but he disagrees with Gessler.

Gessler said other counties are on board and his intent in enforcing the law is also to make sure elections are uniform throughout the state.

The court is expected to take up the matter by next week. There are more than 500,000 inactive voters in Colorado.

Rachel Maddow, who has done a yoeman's job all year in reporting about VOTER SUPPRESSION 2012, keeps up the good work with a piece on this and its implications.

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As a community, this should NOT be happening

They need to protect these young men and stop this foolishness.

From The Chicago Tribune:

West Side charter school students say they're harassed by gangs

By Dan Ponce WGN-TV

10:38 a.m. CDT, September 23, 2011
Students at the west campus of Urban Prep Academy say they’re being targeted, chased and harassed by gangbangers as they walk to and from school.

Leaders of the college preparatory school and parents of students met Thursday night to discuss what can be done about the ongoing problem.

The all-boys public school’s new location--one of three Urban Prep campuses--opened at 1326 W. 14th St. just weeks ago. But right after classes began, groups of young men in the surrounding neighborhood began harassing, fighting and robbing students at gunpoint.

Parents say an incident happens every day. They believe the men who are harassing the students live in a CHA housing complex a few blocks north of the school.

Parent Talmadge Adams said student have been robbed. "On Tuesday night they attacked a group of boys that were leaving football practice," she added.

Added Melissa Barnett, another parent: "Gangbangers chase them to the bus and don't let them get on."

Police patrols have been stepped up in the area, but students say they're still being chased.


The Hidden Hands in Redistricting: Corporations and Other Powerful Interests

From ProPublica:

The Hidden Hands in Redistricting: Corporations and Other Powerful Interests

Their names suggest selfless dedication to democracy. Fair Districts Mass. Protect Your Vote. The Center for a Better New Jersey. And their stated goals are unarguable: In the partisan fight to redraw congressional districts, states should stick to the principle of one person, one vote.

But a ProPublica investigation has found that these groups and others are being quietly bankrolled by corporations, unions and other special interests. Their main interest in the once-a-decade political fight over redistricting is not to help voters in the communities they claim to represent but mainly to improve the prospects of their political allies or to harm their enemies.

The number of these purportedly independent redistricting groups is rising, but their ties remain murky. Contributions to such groups are not limited by campaign finance laws, and most states allow them to take unlimited amounts of money without disclosing the source.

Today’s story is the first chapter in an in-depth examination of how powerful players are turning to increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques to game the redistricting process, with voters ultimately losing.

For special interests, there’s a huge potential payoff from investing in such efforts.

“Reshaping a map is very powerful” for donors, said Spencer Kimball, a political consultant who is executive director of Boston-based Fair Districts Mass. “It’s a big opportunity to have influence at the state level and the congressional level not one race at a time but for 10 years.”

Skillful redistricting can, of course, help create Republican or Democratic districts, but it can also grace incumbents with virtually guaranteed re-election or leave them with nearly no chance at all. In the process, it can also create seats almost certain to be held by minorities or break those same groups apart, ensuring that they have almost no voice.

But it’s not cheap, and that’s where corporations and other outside interests come in. They can provide the cash for voter data, mapping consultants and lobbyists to influence state legislators, who are in charge of redistricting in most states. Outside interests can also fund the inevitable lawsuits that contest nearly every state's redistricting plan after it is unveiled.

In Minnesota, for instance, the Republicans’ legal efforts to influence redistricting are being financed through a group called Minnesotans for a Fair Redistricting.

Fair Redistricting describes itself as independent, but it has much of its leadership in common with the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a group with ties to the political empire of the Koch brothers, industrialists from Kansas who’ve spent millions funding conservative causes. The head of the Freedom Foundation, Annette Meeks, told ProPublica she has “no involvement” with Fair Redistricting. But both organizations’ tax filings list the same address: Meeks’ home address.

Fair Redistricting is registered under the name of her husband, Jack Meeks, who is also on the board of the Freedom Foundation. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Who is actually paying for Fair Redistricting’s lawsuit and lawyers? And what district lines are they pushing for? The group doesn’t have to say and has so far kept its finances and plans under wraps. Annette Meeks did not respond to questions about the group’s donors or its ties to the Koch brothers, but she said the group complies with all legal filing requirements. But the group’s public tax filings contain no information on its contributors.

Fair Districts Mass, which says it’s advocating better representation of minorities in and around Boston, is another window into how money can move through the system. The group describes itself as "citizen-funded." But it also sought permission from state election officials for unlimited corporate funding. Donations “can include corporate contributions,” the group’s website announces. “Better yet,” the site notes, “we are not required to file reports regarding donations or expenditures.”
View our interactive feature of Fair Districts Mass's maps and our analysis View our interactive feature of Fair Districts Mass's maps and our analysis.

The group says its proposed maps would lead to better representation of Latinos and African-Americans.

“Minorities are very underrepresented in Massachusetts politics,” said Kimball, the group’s executive director. “We’re here to change that.”

But minority groups say Fair Districts' proposed maps would not likely help them. (See our interactive feature showing the group’s maps and our analysis.)

“I don’t see a person of color getting elected in this district, if that’s the goal,” said Alejandra St. Guillen, executive director of Oiste, looking at one of the maps Fair Districts has touted as helping Latinos and African-Americans. Oiste has been fighting for increased Latino representation and civic participation in the state for more than a decade.

“Even though the numbers might look as if that might be favorable to communities of color,” St. Guillen said, “if you look at voting patterns, it actually wouldn’t be.”

Others from Massachusetts have said the proposals made by Fair Districts Mass wouldn’t help them at all. At a town hall meeting in Lynn, which would be cut out of its historic district along Boston’s North Shore by the proposal, labor unions, the city's chamber of commerce and politicians from both parties converged on the town hall, urging that the board not adopt a plan that would carve out Lynn.

Lynn's Latino business owners are "very proud to be a part of the North Shore," said Frances Martinez, executive director of the North Shore Latino Business Association. "Our business owners decided to come here because they know this is a place to stay and grow for their families. Please keep the district together."

What Fair Districts’ proposals would do is hurt the traditional pro-labor and Democratic incumbents in the area. For instance, Lynn’s notably pro-union congressman, John Tierney, would effectively be drawn out of a seat—a finding included in the group’s own research.

Rev. Al does a piece on this.
A PoliticsNation panel talks about the corporate-funded effort to suppress the vote, which is being undertaken by big businesses, special interest groups and Republican politicians.

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