Sunday, August 31, 2008

James.Dobson.In.A.Dress is ALL about McCain As President

And, don't you forget it.

From The Daily Dish:

The Unsafe President
31 Aug 2008 08:20 pm

Joe Klein knows McCain:

...the Palin pick reflects the most dangerous tendencies in McCain's foreign policy--the tendency to react, to overreact, to crises, without thinking it through. It also reflects a defiant, adolescent "screw you" attitude toward governance. I always thought McCain's best choice for vice president was Rob Portman--the former Congressman and Office of Management and Budget director from Ohio. Portman is smooth, attractive, extremely smart, reliably conservative, but he also knows how the federal government works. His experience as OMB director would have enabled McCain to say, "I've picked a guy who knows where all the bodies are buried, where all the waste is." The Ohio part of the program wouldn't have hurt McCain in locking down that crucial state, either. But the pick would have been seen as safe, unexciting--and John McCain doesn't like safe. Which is a real problem in a President.

We have had two big presidential decisions from both candidates - the first time we can clearly judge their decision-making skills. Obama's was prudent, cautious, thoroughly vetted, and serious about governing. McCain's was impulsive, rash, barely vetted and decided at the last minute by a small coterie that left everyone else gasping.

We are at war. Another 9/11 is possible. Israel may attack Iran. Pakistan may go up in smoke. Putin may invade another country. Who would you rather have as president?

The Vice-Presidential Selection was the first test to see what the Nominees were really made of. Who they were, and what they thought about this country.

Compare the two choices.

Obama's Executive Experience

Hat tip: The Daily Dish

From Obsidian Wings:

August 31, 2008
Executive Experience
by hilzoy

On the McCain Report, Michael Goldfarb writes that Sarah Palin "has more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden put together", a point that, by some strange coincidence, has popped up all over the conservative blogs. I think that the idea that Palin has an advantage over Obama in this area is completely wrong.

When this campaign started, one of my biggest questions about Barack Obama was whether he would be any good at managing things. The President is, after all, the head of a very large organization, and he had better either have good management skills or hire a chief of staff who does. The fact that I didn't know whether Obama had them didn't prevent me from voting for him -- none of the other candidates I might have supported had a track record in management either -- but I would have been happier had I known whether Obama was any good at running things.

I don't have that problem any more. Obama has spent the past year and a half running a large organization -- as of last December, it had "about 500 employees and a budget of $100 million" -- and running it very well. It's not just that he and his team beat the Clinton campaign, which started out with enormous advantages. It's not even that he often did so by building effective political machines from scratch in states in which Clinton had locked down the political establishment. It's that every account of the Obama campaign that I've read makes it clear that he has done an outstanding job of constructing and running a political organization.

For instance, this account of Obama's campaign is very much worth reading, if you want to get a sense of how he runs things:

"The story of how Obama assembled his top advisers — and how he got them to work together as a team — offers a glimpse into his approach as a chief executive who manages an organization of nearly 1,000 employees. Obama has built "an amazingly strong machine," says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management. "People expected a more ad hoc, impromptu, entrepreneurial feel to it. It has been more of a well-orchestrated symphony than the jazz combo we expected."

Indeed, in merging the talents of powerful Washington insiders and outside-the-Beltway insurgents, Obama has succeeded at a task that has traditionally eluded Democratic candidates: forging an experienced inner circle who set aside their differences and put the candidate first. "The whole point is that it's not about any of these guys," says longtime GOP strategist Frank Luntz. "They feel blessed. They see it as how lucky they are to be working for this man, at this time, in this election. This is the dream team for the dream candidate. I waited all my life for a Republican Barack Obama. Now he shows up, and he's a Democrat.""

You can find more good descriptions of the Obama campaign here and here.

Executive ability is not the most important thing in the world. (For one thing, hiring a good chief of staff goes a long way towards making up any deficiencies you have as a manager.) But it does matter. At the beginning of this campaign, I don't think anyone knew whether Barack Obama would be any good at running things. Now, however, we do.

Obama gets NO credit. People IGNORE that he began from GROUND ZERO and had to build EVERYTHING.

Can't make this stuff up. Pill Poppin' Piece-On-The-Side says James.Dobson.In.A.Dress Has National Security Experience

HOW Mirror On America readers.

I know you're asking how.




double blink.'t.


Asked about Palin's national security experience, Cindy McCain could not come up with anything beyond the fact that, after all, her state is right next to Russia. "You know, the experience that she comes from is, what she has done in government -- and remember that Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia."

The video is HERE.

Please go DIGG IT.

Riddle me this, people.

What would be happening if MICHELLE had said this?

GOP Cancels Opening Convention Night

What John McCain was doing while Katrina hit- NEVER FORGET


GOP Cancels Convention Opening Night
DAVID ESPO | August 31, 2008 05:18 PM EST |

ST. PAUL, Minn. — John McCain tore up the script for his Republican National Convention on Sunday, ordering the cancellation of all but essential opening-day activities as Hurricane Gustav churned toward New Orleans.

"This is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans," he said as fellow Republicans converged on their convention city to nominate him for the White House.

On the eve of his convention, McCain positioned himself as an above-politics, concerned potential president determined to avoid the errors made by President Bush three years ago. "I have every expectation that we will not see the mistakes of Katrina repeated," he said.

Bush and Vice President Cheney scrapped plans to address the convention on Monday, and McCain's aides chartered a jet to fly delegates back to their hurricane-threatened states along the Gulf Coast. Campaign manager Rick Davis said the first-night program was being cut from seven hours to two and one half.

The formal business of the convention includes nominating McCain for president and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Wednesday. McCain's acceptance speech, set for prime time on Thursday evening, is among the most critical events of the campaign for his chances of winning the White House.

The hasty reordering of an event months in the planning was unprecedented, affecting not only the program on the podium but the accompanying fundraising, partying and other political activity that unfolds around the edges of a national political convention.

McCain said he was looking forward to being the convention but did not say when he would arrive. He spoke via satellite from St. Louis after he and Palin received a briefing on hurricane preparations in Jackson, Miss.

In an interview with NBC, he said it was possible he would make his acceptance speech not from the convention podium but via satellite from the Gulf Coast region.

Rest of story at link above.

Where was John McCain when Katrina hit?


More on McCain and Katrina

Thanks to an astute reader:

Here is the crucial passage on McCain and Katrina from the Mother Jones article:

But McCain’s record on Hurricane Katrina suggests that he was part of the problem, not the solution. McCain was on Face the Nation on August 28, 2005, as Katrina gathered in the Gulf Coast. He said nothing about it. One day later, when Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, McCain was on a tarmac at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, greeting President Bush with a cake in celebration of McCain’s 69th birthday. Three days later, with the levees already breached and New Orleans filling with water, McCain’s office released a three-sentence statement urging Americans to support the victims of the hurricane.

Though McCain issued a statement the next week calling on Congress to make sacrifices in order to fund recovery efforts, he was quoted in The New Leader on September 1 cautioning against over-spending in support of Katrina’s victims. “We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans,” he said. “We’re going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country.”

That attitude was borne out in McCain’s actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006. He voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in med-September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006. He voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane, and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplemental emergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief.

From Mother Jones

Obama/Biden Media Alert

Reminder: Barack Obama and Joe Biden sit down for what, I believe, is their first national TV interview as a ticket tonight on "60 Minutes."

Palin is under investigation already

From The Daily Dish

31 Aug 2008 01:38 pm

From Josh:

The investigator appointed by the state legislature began trying to arrange a time to depose Gov. Palin last week -- in other words, in the final days before her selection.

I ask again: who vetted her? Josh has a sober and clear overview of Troopergate and why it matters here. Money quote:

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It's called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired him. She first denied Monegan's claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise.

The available evidence now suggests that she

1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms,

2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative,

3) lied to the public about what happened

4) continues to lie about what happened.

These are, to put it mildly, not the traits or temperament you want in someone who could hold the executive power of the federal government


Haven't we had enough of elected officials who have believed they were above the law?

She's bad news, all the way around.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

John McCain - A Wholly Owned Subsidary of the Religious Right

John McCain, Focus on the Family's James Dobson

If the Sarah Palin choice says anything about John McCain, outside of his utter contempt for the American people, it is that he has become a WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT.

This choice means that he has become ' their boy' without hesitation.

If this were about choosing a Republican WOMAN, there were plenty other choices of GOP women.

But, this wasn't about that.

This was about selling out to the Religious Right, because Palin is THEIR GIRL.

John McCain does not have the money of Barack Obama.

Barack Obama has been out organizing McCain in every state that will be fought over in this election. It was announced only a couple of weeks ago that the McCain Campaign was BEGINNING to form a ground game. But, ground games take money. Money McCain doesn't have.

The ground game for the GOP, in the last 2 election cycles, has been done through The Religious Right. He had no way of getting them to come out and work for him.


In choosing Palin, he is once again, giving into the GOP base.

In choosing Palin, he is in bed, up to his neck, with the Dobsons, the Pat Robertsons, and all the rest of them.

Maverick my ass.

He's even more of a pawn of the Religious Right than Dubya, and I didn't think that was possible.

UPDATE: Think I'm kidding - McCain received SEVEN MILLION IN 24 HOURS AFTER THIS PICK.


Sarah Palin= Another Clarence Thomas

I wrote this down below in a comment, but I believe it needs to be brought forth. People need to see this joke of a candidate for what she is.

She is another Clarence Thomas.
IF Bush 41 wanted to choose a Black Republican, there were PLENTY of QUALIFIED, INTELLECTUAL BLACK REPUBLICAN JUDGES that he could have chosen.

But, he chose Uncle Clarence.

I was debating with other folks about GOP women. We came up with this list:
Olympia Snowe
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
The Whitmans ( Meg and Christine Todd)
ANY Republican woman in Congress

I , personally, wouldn't vote for ANY of these women. But, they could all fight and be considered QUALIFIED.

THIS woman?

She is a owned lock, stock and barrell by the right wing of the Republican Party.

The Democrats need not back down like that they wimped out over Clarence Thomas, lest be accused of racism.

Don't wimp out, and let folks accuse you of sexism. The Democrats have a number of female officeholders as well as political consultants that can get out and attack this woman ON HER ISSUES.

And, it's her ISSUES that should be attacked.

Don't send out any Democratic men to attack Palin. Send out Democratic women. Let the men pound on McCain and his a) lack of judgement, b) his contempt for this country, c) how his slogan ' Country First' is a complete LIE.

She is James Dobson in a dress. Pat Robertson in a dress. She was a soldier for Pat Buchanan.

Get ready for noun.verb.Downs Syndrome

to go along with McCain's noun.verb.POW

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Country First"? Hardly, John McCain

The first important decision a Presidential Nominee makes is selecting their Vice-Presidential running mate. This is the person that you are telling the nation will take over in case the ' unthinkable' happens.

You are literally vouching for this person to the American people.

You are saying, " I searched, America, and just in case, this person is ready in the moment after tragedy strikes to lead this nation."

People are right. The Democrats don't need to attack Palin - her resume is out there for all to see.

We need to attack McCain.

THIS is HIS Judgement.

THIS is what he thinks about America.

Choosing Palin shows that he has nothing but utter contempt for The United States of America.

McCain Chooses a Running Mate: Sarah Palin

John McCain picks Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate.

She's only been Governor of Alaska since 2006.

She's 44.

Her last job before that was Mayor of a town of 9,000.

She's literally in bed with big oil - her husband is big with BP.

She's already under investigation for corruption.

No Washington experience.

Nada on foreign policy.

She's an evangelical who believes in creationism.

She's pro-life with a Downs Syndrome infant.

This is obviously a pick to go after disaffected Hillary voters. If Hillary wants to earn her keep and prove that she's a team player, she'll go out there after her.

McAncient turned 72 today. And THIS woman is ready to be President?

From a poster:whiterosebuddy


Sarah Palin on Families & Children
No issue stance yet recorded by

Sarah Palin on Foreign Policy
No issue stance yet recorded by

Sarah Palin on Free Trade
No issue stance yet recorded by

Sarah Palin on Government Reform
No issue stance yet recorded by

Sarah Palin on War & Peace
No issue stance yet recorded by

Sarah Palin on Welfare & Poverty
No issue stance yet recorded by

From Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Is the experience argument over?
29 Aug 2008 12:04 pm

Isn't the biggest problem with a Sarah Palin pick that by McCain's own standard, she fails:

John McCain's central and best argument in this campaign is that Barack Obama simply lacks the experience to be President of the United States. And now John McCain, who is a cancer survivor who turns 72 years old today, is picking a vice presidential nominee who has been governor of a small state for less than two years and prior to that was mayor of a town with roughly one-twenty-seventh of the citizens that Barack Obama represented when he was a state senator in Illinois.

Also, if you're making a play for Hillary voters---older, middle-aged white women in rust-belt states--is the way to get it done by bypassing, say, Carly Fiorina and Kay Bailey Hutchison, to pick a former Ms. Alaska who's only been governor for two years? There's a meme about Barack Obama reminding older women of the slick, handsome guy who beat them out for a big promotion, even though they were more qualified. But here's another very likely meme--Sarah Palin as the inexperienced, younger, attractive woman who beats them out for a promotion, even though they were more qualified.

UPDATE: Just want to bang on that last point a little more, as I just got off the phone with Kenyatta. I think there are some weakness to being a party associated with identity politics, and hopefully, the Dems are moving past that. But if you think about it, this is the sort of mistake you make when you have only a vague understanding of sexism and women's issues. I may be very, very, very wrong about this, but let me go out on a limb. I think "Hillary voters" can only resent Barack Obama but so much because he actually won an election. He wasn't appointed--he actually won, and that's a crucial difference.

Palin was appointed by a 72-year old man who passed over many more qualified, older women for a much younger, former runner-up for Mrs. Alaska with a thin resume. Add in the fact that this is a dude who left his wife after coming home from Vietnam for a much younger rich, former rodeo queen and you have the makings of a narrative. And it's not the sort of narrative that attracts "Hillary voters,"--it's the sort of narrative that attracts dirty old men. To be clear, I'm not saying that that's what McCain is. In fact, I think it's the opposite--this looks more hamfisted than sexist.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

Acceptance Speech of Senator Barack Obama - Democratic Nominee for President of the United States of America.

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and and God Bless the United States of America.

Democratic National Convention - Thursday Night Open Thread


I sometimes wonder when you're caught up in the moment, do you forget to take the step back and realize you are watching history.

Since the beginning of this campaign, I've looked for good pictures to pierce through the heart of the matter. Here are three that have always stuck with me.

I loved this one because...look at her face. Everyone else around her is expressing their enthusiasm, yet there she is, calm, smile on her face. A smile so deep, and a look in her eyes of utter amazement at what is happening. She truly thought, I believe, that she would die before seeing this possibility.

HISTORY: It is the 53rd Anniversary of the Murder of Emmett Till.

These two gentlemen. They went to a rally in their Sunday best. Of course they did. Look at their faces. They don't believe they're here. At this moment in time.

HISTORY:It is the 45th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

This young man's name is Roy Powell. This is going to be his first Presidential vote. The image of this young Black man, standing in what could be considered conservative dress, but adding his own flavor - the glasses -in front of the American flag - I feel so proud just looking at him.

Tonight is the night.

History will be made.

Discuss People!!

Righteous History

Hat tip: Prometheus 6

From the Washington Post Faith Blog:
Righteous History
Susan K. Smith
Senior pastor, Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio.
The Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith, senior pastor of Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio

We are people of privilege. I say that because we are living in a moment in history that is almost too great to comprehend. From our beginnings as slaves in this country, we are witnessing the ascension of an African American to heights our ancestors might never have imagined. Many of us didn't either.

When Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America on Wednesday, a link in the chain of our history was broken. From slavery and the insult of being considered property, our people have moved to the possibility of one of our own being on the verge of the presidency.

It is almost too awesome to take in. At the moment Senator Obama was officially nominated, black people wept. My friends' parents, both octogenarians and participants in the Civil Rights movement, sobbed. A little boy, fascinated but not fully understanding what was going on, asked, as he watched his parents cry, "Are we supposed to celebrate or something?"

A friend of mine recalled how her mother -- who had told her of how her father had been lynched -- called, crying. Another friend called, reminding me of how it had been for her and for her parents in the South, being called the "n" word at will and being challenged to do anything about it. A member recalled how her grandmother had been forced to leave the South because she had had a fight with a white woman.

I remembered my own father, a brilliant man who had memorized the entire dictionary but was consistently passed over for a promotion at the IRS where he worked. I remember the last time he was passed over, how he wept and how my mother comforted him. As I peeked at the two of them from around a corner, I could hear my mother remind him that he could do something else, that he didn't have to take the insults anymore.

My father listened and began his own business as an accountant.

I remembered watching participants in the Civil Rights movement, being attacked by dogs and hosed down by firemen. I recalled going on long trips and not being allowed to even think about going to the bathroom in certain places, because the bathrooms "reserved" for "colored" people were too despicable for my mother to even consider letting us step inside.

I remembered learning about the transatlantic slave trade, where European traders left Europe, went to Africa to pick up Africans who would be enslaved, traveled to the Caribbean to drop the slaves off and pick up sugar and tobacco to take back to England, dropping the sugar and tobacco off and African captives as well. It was all ... business.

I remember learning about the horror of the Middle Passage, a trip which took on the average of 50-60 days, with our ancestors stuffed in the bowels of a hot, dirty ship, ripped from Africa and taken to lands they knew nothing about.

"How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

I remember how pained I was, once I learned about the Jewish Holocaust, to realize that African Americans had lived through our own Holocaust as well. It is estimated that 50-60 million Africans died during the era of the transatlantic slave trade.

I remember shivering with horror as I stood in the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool this spring, because I felt too close to the spirits of ancestors who had been involved in the brutality and inhumanity of slavery. I had to get out of there.

It has been a hard road for people of African descent in the United States. So we wept as Senator Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. People in Columbus and Chicago and Trinidad and Jamaica and Brazil and London. People all over the world whose lives were forever impacted by an era where people created by God were considered property, because in spite of all odds against us, we have kept on getting up.

Some people complain that Senator Obama is not a "real" African American, because his mother was white and his father a Kenyan. They say he didn't live an "African American" life. But if your skin is bronzed in this nation, no matter where your people were from, you are treated as an American who descended from slaves. Senator Obama stands on the backs and shoulders of people who fought and died to make a way for black people in this nation. He is standing on the backs and shoulders of Harriet Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charles Drew, Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglas, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Paul Robeson, Ida B. Wells Barnett, Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and indeed many nameless who passed through the "Door of No Return" that still exists in preserved slave castles in West Africa.

Yes, Senator Obama is an African American.

When I was little, whenever anyone of our race accomplished something, hit a milestone, as it were, my mother would wake us up and make us watch in on television. We were too little to understand why she was crying, but we would watch and, finally, be allowed to go back to bed.

She was "writing our history" as "frontlets between our eyes." She was helping us to see that we were once aliens in a strange land, but that God was with us, moving us forward, opening one Sea of Reeds after another, so we could pass through.

The weeping continues. People wept this week because the Senator from Illinois might very well become president of the nation that once enslaved his people. It is no less historic and fascinating than when Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa.

Tell your children. Write it as frontlets. This is history being made right before our eyes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Democratic National Convention - Wednesday Night Open Thread

Bill Clinton will be speaking tonight.

But, tonight is Vice-Presidential Nominee Joe Biden's Night.

Discuss people!!!


Dems In Denver: Clinton Rocks The House

After a rather subdued opening night highlighted by Michelle Obama's poignant address, the pressure was building on the Democrats in Denver to rally the party in opposition to Republican John McCain. On Tuesday night, the Democrats--most notably Hillary Clinton--delivered. (Click on any of the links below to see video of the speeches.)

A number of rising stars from the gubernatorial ranks filled the prime time hours--Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Brian Schweitzer of Montana, and Ted Strickland of Ohio among them. Though their speeches were largely overlooked by the broadcast networks and even the cable news outlets, these Democratic executives peppered the convention hall with anti-McCain zingers. The cumulative result was more or less effective, though only Schweitzer's revving turn on the podium was truly memorable.
  • "I'm sure you remember a girl from Kansas who said there's no place like home," Sebelius told the crowd. "Well, in John McCain's version, there's no place like home. And a home. And home. And home." The line on McCain's houses gaffe was Sebelius' most noteworthy in a speech that was generally unimpressive and lacking firepower.
  • "Arizonans are also proud of their political tradition," Governor Janet Napolitano, who endorsed Obama before her state's February primary, continued. "From Barry Goldwater to Mo Udall to Bruce Babbitt. Now, there's a pattern here. Barry Goldwater ran for president and he lost. Mo Udall ran for president and he lost. Bruce Babbitt ran for president and he lost. Now speaking for myself and for at least this next election, this is one Arizona tradition I'd like to see continue."
  • Ohio's Ted Strickland, who had been a leading Clinton supporter, finally got the crowd going. Strickland painted McCain as out of touch economy, saying, "John McCain has no problem hitting the snooze button on the economy because he's never been a part of the middle class. And I would say to him, Sen. McCain it's time for your wake-up call because we just can't afford more of the same."
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey was able to summon the hall into chants of "four more months" rather than four more years a Bush policies with John McCain, a connection that will be critical for Democratic success this fall. Casey, whose father was famously denied a speaking spot at the party's 1992 convention because of his pro-life views, went on to reinforce the Bush-McCain link, adding, "John McCain calls himself a maverick, but he votes with George Bush more than 90% of the time. That's not a maverick, that's a sidekick."
  • David Paterson, installed as New York's governor following the Eliot Spitzer ordeal, had another strong moment in saying, "The question in this race is which of the candidates will make the change that will restore the promise of America. Is it John McCain? No? I'm shocked. Maybe that's because John McCain continues to claim that President Bush's policies have been great for the economy. In 2007, John McCain voted with the administration 95% of the time. So if he is the answer, the question must be ridiculous."
  • Montana's Brian Schweitzer, sporting the first bolo tie we've seen thus far in Denver, took the stage just before Hillary Clinton was to speak and after starting slowly, he was able to whip the hall into a frenzy that even attracted some coverage from the broadcast networks. "We simply can't drill our way to energy independence," he told the crowd, "even if you drilled in all of John McCain's backyards--including the ones he can't even remember." Schweitzer was folksy and funny, cheery but tough, and ultimately effective in a turn that should really boost his profile across the country.
Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner delivered the convention's keynote address and, along with Clinton, was to be one of Tuesday's headliners. Warner largely fizzled, however, in a speech that played out more like an advertisement for his Senate campaign. He was too often rambling and other than an attempt to frame the 2008 contest as a race between past and future, he failed to draw any contrasts with John McCain. Instead he hit bipartisan notes, but those are likely the same points that Obama himself will touch on at Invesco Field later this week. "The race for the future is on," Warner began. "It won't be won with yesterday's ideas and yesterday's divisions. And it won't be won with a president who is stuck in the past. We need a president who understands the world today, the future we seek, and the change we need. We need Barack Obama as the next President of the United States." That contrast needed to be more prominent, but it wasn't. Democrats shouldn't expect Rudy Giuliani, the Republican keynoter in Minneapolis, to be so kind to their nominee.

Though Warner was the keynote speaker, the night truly belonged to Hillary Clinton and the obstacles before her were plenty. With the Republicans and the media eager to push the Obama-Clinton divide, her speech was certainly the most anticipated moment of the convention. Right away, she tried to put to rest any lingering questions about her support for Barack Obama, saying, "I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama." She quickly called for her supporters to join with Obama, adding, "Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines."

Reflecting on the goals of her own campaign, she tied them to greater Democratic cause, asking her supporters, "Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?" Clinton also moved to separate herself from John McCain, who had featured her in a spat of recent ads. "You haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership," Clinton emphasized. "No way, no how, no McCain. Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President."

Clinton was humorous ("sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits") and magnanimous. She acknowledge her 18 million supporters and tied her message to that of Barack Obama. She went after John McCain and did so aggressively, referring to him as President Bush's twin. "It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart." Clinton did all that was asked of her and all Democrats should be proud of her effort.

The McCain campaign was quick to point out that Clinton did not re-affirm Obama's readiness to serve as the nation's commander-in-chief. Had that been the focus of her address, however, today's reaction would be full of comments suggesting she had been insincere. Instead, she focused on bringing her supporters back into the fold and did so as best she could, despite the best efforts of the media to convince you otherwise. Now, I'm not sure if the healing moment will last, but Clinton did what she needed to do last night. Of course, if this speech is followed with more lackluster campaign appearance from Clinton on Obama's behalf, it may all be for not. But we're getting ahead of ourselves with such thinking.

Heading into day three, the Democrats have gotten what they needed to out of Denver so far (whether the media coverage has allowed voters to see that is another story). Expect an even more aggressive approach tonight when vice presidential nominee Joe Biden takes the stage. We'll be watching.

Cross-posted at Political Realm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dems In Denver: Opening Night Review


Twenty-two million Americans tuned in to the Democratic Convention last night, four million more than party attracted to the opening days in Boston four years ago. The opening day was filled with highs, lows, and unusual choices, but the night should ultimately be a successful one for Democrats.

The surprise appearance from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, in the midst of a fight with cancer, sent a clear jolt of energy through Denver's Pepsi Center. One of his party's most indelible icons, Kennedy had jumped wholeheartedly behind Barack Obama in February, passing the torch to the young Illinois senator. "It's time for a new generation of leadership," he said then. His appearance Monday was in question just hours before he took the stage and Kennedy acknowledged those doubts in his opening. "Nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight."

While Kennedy's speech was the highlight of the night for many, a speech from former Iowa Republican Congressman Jim Leach was one of the low points. Leach, who represented Southeast Iowa for 30 years before a surprising defeat in 2006, failed to deliver red meat to the crowd as Zell Miller did for Republicans four years ago and as Joe Lieberman will likely do next week. Instead, the mild-mannered (and, quite frankly, boring) Leach talked of bipartisanship and praised the Democratic nominee. The speech fit nicely into Obama's call for unity, but it seems like a missed opportunity. Was Leach was the best Obamacon they could find?

There were a few other curious decisions as well. Jimmy Carter made only a brief appearance after a video tribute was shown in the convention hall. It was a surprisingly small part for an former president to play. Carter insisted today that the decision not to speak before the delegates was his decision, but I have to wonder if the Obama campaign would have welcomed him, having already drawn negative comparisons from his Republican rival. Carter famously refused vetting before his 2004 convention speech, one of the few to explicitly go after President Bush. Since, he has also drawn criticism for a number of statements about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still, Carter's ex-presidency has been filled with humanitarian accomplishments and is a model for those who followed him in the Oval Office. His brief role last night is simply curious.

The prime time spotlight (and the attention of the broadcast networks) belonged to Michelle Obama and she made the most of it. Owing to her "proud of America" comments in February, the would-be First Lady is a controversial figure to many. Introduced by her brother Craig Robinson, who showed an unmistakable family resemblance, Michelle Obama's speech was as much a reintroduction of her as it was an introduction to her husband. Twenty minutes later, she had hit one out of the park. She talked of her own middle class upbringing, her relationship with Barack, and her children, exemplifying her own American story. Her goal was to connect with the hopes and struggles of the average voter and with visible emotion she did just that. Daughters Malia and Sasha joined her on the stage as their dad spoke briefly to the convention from Kansas City, Missouri. All in all, it was a powerful appearance and one that could only help her husband's campaign.

Not everyone was happy with the evening's events, however. Former Clinton strategist James Carville suggested his party had wasted their first night in Denver. "You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush--I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy--I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville said on CNN, calling for his party to become more aggressive. In 2004, John Kerry barred virtually any criticism of the Bush Administration--a decision he probably came to regret. "I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."

While Carville is correct that the Democrats need to put the focus on the Republicans, Monday night was not the right venue for such attacks. Bush-bashing will certainly help unite a fractured party, but it would have been out of place coming from the candidate's wife. The Democrats will almost certainly use Tuesday and Wednesday to lay out their message against John McCain (Thursday will be about Obama's vision) and the effectiveness of those attacks could set the tone for the campaign's final seventy days. It seems the weight of that task will fall largely to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the days to come, as if those two needed any more pressure.

Cross-posted at Political Realm.

Democratic National Convention - Tuesday Night Open Thread

Tonight is Hillary's night.

And Mark Warner does the Keynote.

Discuss what you want.

Bush Administration Attempting To Provoke Conflict With Russia

The U.S. is reportedly sending a Coast Guard ship to the Georgian Port city of Poti, which is under the control of the Russian armed forces. This appears to be a clear attempt on the part of the Bush Administration to provoke a military confrontation with Russia. The U. S. knows full well that Russia has numerous ships in the Black Sea, in and around Georgia as part of their ongoing military operations there. This effort by the Bush Administration appears to be designed to create the environment for a “Gulf of Tonkin” or German U-Boat style incident. The Bush administration is using the guise of a “humanitarian mission” to send the ships into the Black Sea. There are also other NATO ships in the Black Sea conducting operations.

The Russians are already responding militarily and they have indicated that they will attempt to confront and search any Western ships entering the conflict zone. (This is the scenario that I was referring to last week).

Two other ships, including a Navy Destroyer, were earlier assigned to a different Georgian port- The port of Batumi- where no Russian troops are stationed. But one Destroyer, the McFaul, and possibly others may now head for Poti, a port that was not believed to be under consideration prior to today. The McFaul has been assigned to the Black Sea to conduct military operations after its “humanitarian mission”.

So why is the Coast Guard ship (and possibly more to follow) being sent to Poti, when other ports are available? Why use ships at all, when humanitarian aid can be moved into Georgia through a variety of other means, including by land and air? The U.S. has the greatest airlift capacity of any nation in the World. Why use a U.S. Navy Destroyer (the most powerful combat ship in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal) to ship humanitarian aid, when the U.S. military has access (contracts) to private merchant ships and its own Navy cargo vessels? This is the most bizarre fact of this whole thing. Why even use the military at all for this? The EU, UN, and NGO’s had been handling the real humanitarian effort and they have the know-how and expertise to best distribute any such aid.

This is an effort by the U.S. to flex its military might in what has become the biggest flashpoint on earth. U.S. & NATO warships in the Black Sea is provocation enough. But the use of a port that is part of ongoing military operations of another nation is a clear attempt by the White House to try to insert the U.S. directly into the conflict. There is no logical reason to use the Poti port or any other zone under Russian control, especially when other options are available. And it reveals the entire “humanitarian mission” as the fraud that it really is.

Contact peace advocates, diplomats, UN representatives, NGO’s/Peace Groups, and government representatives to put a halt to this reckless irresponsible schoolyard brinksmanship, before a new conflict and a new much larger crisis erupts.

I predicted this problem in my posting from last week, and suggested that the U.S. was using "humanitarian aid" as a way to get involved in the conflict.

Building the Party, One State At a Time

Thanks to ThickCulture for pointing this out to me. The American Prospect writes about Senator Obama's grand ambition of building the Democratic Party for the long haul, well past his (potential) presidency has come and gone.

Of course, Karl Rove and George Bush entered office in January 2001 with similar ambitions. Failures on Iraq, Social Security, a bloated budget and the return of deficits have disabused most die hard conservatives that the current Bush administration would be the return of Reagan. Instead, Bush, Rove and Cheney followed policies that divided, rather than united.

Learning from this lesson, Obama's campaign is investing heavily in states it knows it probably won't win in November. Why? To build the infrastructure and provide monetary support to down-ballot candidates that can win. Doing so enables the Democratic Party to build a deeper and stronger farm team of capable candidates to run for office in places Dems previously would not have thought possible. In short, Obama is investing money from the top to help Democrats build from the bottom.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Barack Obama Assassination Thwarted

Group caught in the operations stage of plot to kill Barack Obama.

This is another reason why the grand acceptance speech at Invesco Field may not have been well thought out... at least not from a practical point of view. It is going to be a security nightmare in terms of logistics, coordination, etc.

The nuts are coming out of the woodwork... and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. The USSS will have to come up with a different program for protecting Obama and his family. Business as usual is probably not going to be sufficient.

Luckily good old fashioned police work revealed this plot, and hopefully all of the suspects are in custody.

I also hope that the USSS and the FBI have taken the proper countermeasures.

Democratic National Convention - Monday Night Open Thread

Key Speaker tonight: Michelle Obama.

Let's cross our fingers that the rumors of a Ted Kennedy sighting are true.

Let the show begin!


Michelle Obama's Speech:

As you might imagine, for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother, Craig.

I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.

At 6-foot-6, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too ... literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me. He was watching over me.

And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when — with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change — we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment.

But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.

I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.

I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.

I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world — they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children's future — is my stake in this election.

And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

My dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder.

He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives — and mine — that the American dream endures.

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work — they wanted to contribute. They believed — like you and I believe — that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms — people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had — refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.

It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:

People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift — without disappointment, without regret — that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.

The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

The young people across America serving our communities — teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

That is why I love this country.

And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

It's a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life's work.

It's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and after-school programs to keep kids safe — working block by block to help people lift up their families.

It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard-working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.

It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades but with good jobs and benefits and health care — including mental health care.

That's why he's running — to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as president of the United States of America.

He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has — by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party — if any — you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future — is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.

It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that's been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.

Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.

And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital 10 years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love.

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

'The Cost of Silence' - now it's the BLACK WOMAN'S fault that White Feminists don't defend Michelle Obama? HELL NO

From The

The Cost of Silence
By Corinne Douglas and Jacquelyn Gray
Black women's attacks on white feminists during the primaries may be coming back to bite Michelle Obama.

Aug. 25, 2008--Tonight is Michelle Obama's night at the Democratic Convention. She will reintroduce herself to America, try to convince us that she and her family, especially her husband, are just like us and worthy of our support.

Expect her to be phenomenal. Expect her to be attacked, as well.

Republicans and their surrogates have already tried to diminish the achievements of the Obamas and to mute their widespread appeal by portraying Michelle Obama as an angry black woman. She has been caricatured, and she has been mocked. But the angry, fearful reactions that Ms. Obama's depiction has stirred up in men were not that different from those generated by Hillary Clinton during the 1992 and 2008 primary election seasons. And the recent failure among so many African-American women to stand up for Clinton—regardless of how they intended to vote in the primaries—gave many male political commentators tacit permission to do the same thing to Ms. Obama.

The misogynistic savaging of Hillary Clinton was one of the most inexcusable elements of the primary campaign, and the silence from black women in the face of those attacks, because they supported Obama, was, at least, a tactical mistake. It is entirely unacceptable to go along with unfair attacks against women simply because you disagree with the particular woman under attack.

Well, you do understand why I stopped quoting this article.

Let me get this straight.

When Michelle Obama is unfairly attacked, and White Feminists refuse to stand up for her, it's the Black Woman's fault because they did not defend Hillary Clinton?


Black women were too busy, Ms. Douglas and Ms. Gray....

Too busy trying to keep up with the RACEBAITING that came DIRECTLY from Camp Clinton. We didn't even have to go to the MEDIA to create the ClintonAttacksObama Wiki and its 50 Incidents. Hillary Clinton and her surrogates kept us quite busy.

Why didn't I say anything about the ' sexism' surrounding Hillpatine?

Well, not only because I was sitting there, fuming at the Racial Dogwhistles coming from Camp Hillpatine...
But, I also got the message loud and clear from White feminists. I'm shocked that you didn't hear it:

Miss Anne Aint Studdin' About Your Black Behind

From Gloria Steinem to Geraldine Ferraro, I was told loud and clear, that all I was good for was to sit in the back of the female bus. That you two can so profoundly overlook the obvious racebaiting that happened with Obama from the CAMPAIGN AND SURROGATES - not the Media. If we counted the media, I don't even know how many incidents would be in the Wiki.

I'm very clear about who I am as a Black Woman.

I'm a BLACK woman. I know that my fortunes are tied to the Black men in my life: My father, uncles, nephews, future husband and possible sons. I know that I'll not be divorced from them. So, when the Racial Dogwhistle was blown, I knew where I stood. I make no apologies for not keeping any pretense of 'Sisterhood'.

I've challenged others, and I'll challenge you. Make up your own ObamaAttacksClinton Wiki based up on all these ' sexism' charges that I hear bandied about. But, here's the catch: you must only include Camp Obama and their surrogates. Get me 10 incidents. I'm not even asking for 50. Just 10. The media doesn't count.

I won't hold my breath.

Maybe I'm just a wee bit suspicious at the ' timing' of this article. Why now? Part of the Hillpatine Bitching and Grievance Committee to make trouble in Denver, IMO.

Well, I care as much about the ' sexism' pushed towards Hillpatine as you obviously did about the blatant and recorded Dogwhistle Racial remarks towards Senator Obama.

You don't worry about Michelle Obama. There are plenty of us out here, willing to defend her. Thank goodness we didn't wait on the White Feminist Establishment. They can stay wherever the hell they've been while Michelle Obama has been under attack.

We know what time it is with them.