Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Obama's Inauguration - A New Day For Hate

I don't want to scare anyone, but I am concerned.

Think that Progressives and Center Lefties are the only ones celebrating the election of Barack Obama? Think again. The Lunatic Right is overjoyed! And that makes me nervous!

I'm not talking about loudmouths like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, or Limbaugh. They are crying in their beer. I'm talking about the true nut cases who espouse violence in the name of "racial purity."

The Nazis, the White Nationalists and the Klansmen are still here friends.

Too much prejudice and narrow mindedness has been ingrained into our psyche to be wiped out in my lifetime. When I was born, the Civil Rights movement was only three years old. In 1964, the Voting Rights Act was signed, but on the way, Schwerner, Cheney, Goodman, Medgar Evers and Viola Liuso were murdered. Four years later, Martin Luther King was martyred. As I recall, a massive cultural effort was needed to make white America confront it's prejudices.

And always there was that violent paranoid extremist element that stubbornly refused to open their minds.

Tom Metzger, David Duke and Thomas Robb all started their careers in hate early under the John Birch Society and George Lincoln Rockwell.

My point is this: We lost Abraham (Lincoln,) Martin (Luther King,) and John (F. Kennedy,) to the bullets of ignorance. Let's not lose Barack.

Am I talking nonsense? The ban on assault weapons was repealed. Anyone with money and know - how can acquire weapons for a small army. And calling an act of domestic terror a hate crime doesn't make it any less lethal. Anyone who doesn't believe that can ask the ghosts of Oklahoma City if it's nonsense!

We as a people are capable of violence. All we need to do is get on our high-horses to feel we have the right to do almost anything. That is the nature of most kind of extremism. The ultra-extremist, the revolutionary goes beyond that.

That person deals in totalities. They want to create "new societies." In order to do that you must regiment society. Democracy is tiresome to the White Aryan.

But the White Aryan / Nationalist must also defend the purity of the race, and this, as far as the racist revolutionary is concerned, can only be done with revolution and radical action.

The problem is as far as the racist is concerned, it is the white race that is being oppressed, not the "so called" (by them,) minorities! And to make matters worse, white people don't know they've lost power, and are duped into participating in their own pollution!

So now the Nazis, Klansmen and White Supremacists are overjoyed at the election of Barack Obama!

In their eyes, now has come the right time to expose the "oppression of the white race."

In the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, Mark Potok writes:

Even before the campaign was over, racial rage, clearly driven by fear of a black man in the White House, began to break out around the country. Effigies of Obama appeared hanging from nooses on university campuses. Angry supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin shouted "Kill him!" at a campaign rally and even screamed "nigger" at a black cameraman, telling him, "Sit down, boy!" The head of the Hillsborough County, Fla., Republican Party sent an E-mail warning members of "the threat" of "carloads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes." A reporter who has covered every presidential election since 1980 told me he had never seen such fury. Similar scenes were reported nationwide.

Improbable in the era of Cumbaya? Not for Dave Stancliff of the Eureka Times-Standard:

How far have we come? I'd say we've come a long way. We've elected the first African-American/Caucasian president. There are a lot of hate laws on the books now. Most people seem more aware of our diversity and are more respectful of different skin color.
We should celebrate the upcoming changes we expect President-elect Barack Obama to bring about for the good of all, but that soft underbelly of hatred and intolerance shows signs of new growth.
White supremacist anxieties over a black leader in the White House have grown rapidly with the worsening economic crisis and demographic trends that indicate whites will cease to be a majority of Americans within a generation, according to the FBI.

Thomas Robb's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is a case in point In a post for his blog, the author states:.

The president elect now stands as a symbol to our people throughout this nation that change is indeed coming. What will it mean for those who are being disenfranchised from the very nation purchased by the blood of their forefathers? It could mean an awakening of our spirit and blood. Every time the television shows an image of Obama it will be a reminder that our people have lost power in this country. We actually lost that power 40 years ago, but with a white president people would go to sleep thinking at least white people were still running things. Now there is no reason to believe this. The betrayal will stare them in the face each time they watch the news and see little black children playing in the rose garden.

The author goes on to state:

So we have to admit that this may be the best thing that has happened to us. It perhaps comes as a wake-up call to the sleeping giant deep in the heart of our people.

So don’t despair! Don’t be discouraged! We have been saying this would happen. We have said that there is a growing subtle hatred for our people. This has not been a battle between Republicans or Democrats. This was not a battle between liberals and conservatives. This is a race war - a culture war - being waged against white people. As more and more non-whites come into this country the hatred for the founding people will grow.

Now Robb sees himself as a non-violent person and he may be right:

We are not asking you to hate anyone! We are not asking you to commit an illegal act. We are not asking you to hurt anyone. We just want you to love your people and do that which your forefathers did - give your children a bright future.

But there is no denying the gist of his message - racial conflict is coming.

Unfortunately, if it were simply a matter of propaganda vs. propaganda I'd say fine, bring it and let democracy decide, but not everyone on the extreme Left or Right are civil.

And trust me, neither Commie or Nazi understand civil.

They know guns though.

Greg Evensen seems to think a civil war in the U.S. is inevitable.

Even before Election Day, Evensen said he must begin to view neighbors, co-workers as potential enemies. In his article for News with Views, THE NEXT CIVIL WAR FOR HISTORIC AMERICA: ARE YOU MY ENEMY? he states:

I am faced with the certain realization that no matter how I may try to sugar coat it, this time -- those who voted or supported the socialist left, the democrats, the liberals, the “elitists” in the universities and business, the apostate “liberation theology” or do nothing church, and politics everywhere--are my enemy. It can be stated in no other terms. That’s a fact, Jack.

But what he says a little later is chilling:

Minutemen and the militia were responsible for their own arms, ammunition and supplies. Can you muster with others and provide the essentials? Can you carry all that you need for two to three days at a time? Can you sleep with your back to a tree on cold, wet ground? Can you be still for an hour or two just watching and listening? How will you communicate with your fellow patriots—safely? When the bad guys start shooting, what will you do? Will you give away your position by firing randomly to “scare” them off? Will you remain defensive and not set yourself up for being killed? Will you learn how to move with stealth? Can you disarm someone and take them as a prisoner?

These are but a few examples of the rabid paranoia that is out there. But we are now in a new era, in new territory that most everyone in America but an ignorant, bigoted minority wants to explore. Mostly everyone in that minority won't act, but there is that militia fringe. All it took was one Lee Harvey Oswald to kill Kennedy, and one Timothy McVeigh to bomb Oklahoma City.

The SPLC's Mark Potok is quite clear about this problem.

David Duke, the former Klan leader and convicted felon who is the closest thing the radical right has to an intellectual leader these days, believes this could all work to his benefit. In an essay this summer, the neo-Nazi ideologue argued that an Obama victory would serve as a "visual aid" to white Americans, provoking a backlash that Duke believes will "result in a dramatic increase in our ranks."
Even as we embark on a new national adventure, the signs are worrying. It may be that the hate mongers are wrong, that Americans' better angels will prevail and the changes that are sweeping America will not result in a growing rage on the right. But experience tells us that while we hope for the best, we also must prepare for what could be a dangerous, racially motivated backlash of hate.

Look, we have to be vigilant ourselves. Use my links. Monitor the sites. Read what those people are writing, and what they are reading. Talk to whomever it is you must talk to if you hear something. I've already lived through the assassination of one President. I don't need another.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

John McCain's Glass House Part 3

MR. MATTHEWS: If you have liberal views, does that mean you have anti-American views? What's the connection? I don't get the connection. What's the connection between liberal and leftist and anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Anti-American is the point, because --

MR. MATTHEWS: I mean, if you're liberal, are you anti-American?

REP. BACHMANN: Well, the liberals that are Jeremiah Wright and that are Bill Ayers, they're over-the-top anti-American. And that's the question that Americans have. Remember, it was Michelle Obama who said she's only recently proud of her country. And so these are very anti-American views.


REP. BACHMANN: That's not the way that most Americans feel about our country. Most Americans, Chris, are wild about America, and they're very concerned to have a president who doesn't share those values.

And now we have the latest episode of Republicans shooting themselves in the foot with their attempts at slander as Michelle Bachman gets her Joe McCarthy on.

This is the same person who blamed the Minnesota Democrats for failing to pass a bill that she herself voted against - The Protect America Act.

She also has this fetish for old-fashioned light bulbs, introducing a "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act" to combat the government intrusion of phasing out conventional light bulbs! Will the A.C.L.U. back her? Will the onslaught of incandescent bulbs lead to communism? Stay tuned!

Anyway, her jaunt into McCarthyism will cost her her job now that the RNC has pulled out of her campaign, and people incensed by her remarks have contributed enormously to her opponent's campaign.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

John McCain's Glass House Part 2

“This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign,” Powell said. “But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?”

Colin Powell just gave his endorsement of Barack Obama. The above quote illustrates that he considered the behavior of his long-time friend McCain to be unconscionable.

What McCain & Co. have done is paint themselves into a corner, and now that they have run out of any talking points with any hint of verisimilitude, they have been reduced to a dog and pony show.

The loss of Powell for John McCain betrays another weakness in him that we don't want in a President, an inability to adapt.

He has been called on the matter of negative campaigning, calumny and slander for weeks now. Wouldn't that have warned him that an icon of moderate Republicans like Powell might be inspired to bolt?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John McCain's Glass House Part 1

The nerve! Last week, we heard cries of "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" when McCain or Palin rhetorically asked who Obama was, or what to do about him. It wasn't just that the crowd yelled these things, it was also that neither candidate repudiated, or even mildly corrected the crowd until three days later. Instead, McCain stood there with his stupid smile. And Palin? Her accusing a political opponent of "palling around with terrorists," not only crossed a line, it shows a tremendous lack of understanding and intellect. Then there are the McCain surrogates who feel free to slander and insult their opponent with the seemingly tacit approval of the principals.

Which makes the crocodile tears and false indignance of McCain over John Lewis's protest all the more galling.

John Lewis lived through the era he is comparing McCain's campaign with. I know that McCain's absence from the Freedom Rides or Mississippi's Freedom Summer was excusable, but didn't the public schools of Wasilla, or the five colleges that Sarah Palin attended teach about those things?

The brutal reception by the Klan of the Freedom Riders at every stop was a result of the atmosphere created by men like George Wallace, Orville Faubus and Lester Maddox. In the South, many politicians gave a wink and a nod to Klan activities. With the atmosphere that the McCain / Palin ticket is creating, such politicians may soon be returning.

McCain accuses Obama of having more negative ads than him, but answer me this Johnny, did Barack ever associate McCain any characters of ill repute? No! Obama took the high road in his attacks, and did not engage in innuendo and character assasination!

And yet to listen to John McCain's whine over John Lewis's written words, you'd think that Lewis was some Democratic Sarah Palin claiming that McCain was "palling around with Klansmen."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part Five

The pattern is this: You have a clunker to sell, so you distract your mark with the bells and whistles when they want to kick the tires, or look under the hood. And if all else fails, yell "Hey! Look over there!" will work as you cover the grease spot.

But the McCain campaign is ready for Prime Time. It's like an inferior version of "I Love Lucy, only we all get to play Ricky, and McCain has some 'splaining to do!

McCain's story is not unlike those old black and white political satires where the honest idealistic candidate is corrupted by the campaign process, only unlike Spencer Tracy's Grant Mathews in "State of The Union," he hasn't awakened at the last minute to confess his sins in public. Rather, like James Cagney's Hank Martln in "A Lion is in The Streets," he has quit his conscience altogether, perpetrated the most grotesque demagoguery,and allowed the basest race baited mob behavior to occur in his name.

And now McCain's chickens are being counted. They are coming home to roost! All that innuendo and race baiting demagoguery are creating a mob mentality in his "base." And, make no mistake, he was letting it happen. I say thls despite his cosmetic attempt at crowd control yesterday. Review the tape. Did he try to control the crowd on the day they yelled "Terrorist!" or "Traitor!"? No! In fact he was smiling!

The implications this has for the future is disturbing. McCain has attracted the lunatic fringe of the Right. That faction already has many established venues for action. There is the militia movement just under the surface. Extremist groups like White Aryan Resistance, the Klan or the Nazis are undoubtedly hanging around the edges of McCain rallies looking for recruits.

Time to get re-acquainted with Morris Dees,the SPLC and Klan Watch.

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part Four

And of course, that meant that the showmanship had to start. It started with the stunt casting of Sarah Palin as his running mate. My what a feminist our Johnny is! Of course, it pleased McCain's adopted by necessity base that she was against taxes, pro-drilling and pro-life! Well, I'm sure the base enjoys Sarah's endless verbatim repetition of the same stale talking points.

The desperate game-changers didn't end there. No sooner did the liquidity crisis begin than did our dear Johnny do his Mighty Mouse routine, and swoop into D.C. and crash land into a done deal rescue and delayed it's passage. How queasy it must have felt after Monday's bragging and chicken counting to watch the House Republicans stomp on the eggs! And this after Grumpy had to bomb in the first debate with Barack!
The economy's tanking. Anyone not peeing in their pants is doing the two-step. And McCain bombs on economy! Quick! We need another game-changer! And so, McCain brings in William Ayers.

Never mind the fact that Obama was only eight years old when Ayers was active in the Weather Underground, or that he condemned their acts as "reprehensible." Never mind that Obama was acquainted with Ayers, a tenured professor whose underground past was behind him, a man honored by many, only through various boards that he sat on, or that one of those boards was chaired by Lenore Annenberg, whose brother worked for Richard Nixon! Ayers is a terrorist! Ayers is unrepentant!

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part Four

And of course, that meant that the showmanship had to start. It started with the stunt casting of Sarah Palin as his running mate. My what a feminist our Johnny is! Of course, it pleased McCain's adopted by necessity base that she was against taxes, pro-drilling and pro-life! Well, I'm sure the base enjoys Sarah's endless verbatim repetition of the same stale talking points.

The desperate game-changers didn't end there. No sooner did the liquidity crisis begin than did our dear Johnny do his Mighty Mouse routine, and swoop into D.C. and crash land into a done deal rescue and delayed it's passage. How queasy it must have felt after Monday's bragging and chicken counting to watch the House Republicans stomp on the eggs! And this after Grumpy had to bomb in the first debate with Barack!

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part Three

You see, if you don't have thought one on how to change the country, you have to follow the old magician's rule of misdirecting the audience in order to scam them. Now, a magician only wishes to entertain the audience with his illusions. McCain wants to pull the Presidency out of his magic hat.

Out came Sarah Palin with all the beauty and superficiality of a Miss Alaska runner-up. As she cheerleaders her way around the lower 48, with her Stupid Smile and her script of tired catchphrases, has stoked up the base, some of whom wish that she'd run for the top of the ticket, instead of that tired old man hiding behind her!

That brings me to the worm in this apple. The real inner insecurity of John McCain.

McCain is competing against a younger, more energetic opponent called Barack Obama, not old Kankles Clinton. He is afraid that when people compare him to Obama, they will see a decrepit old man, devoid of possibities, trying to beat a younger man - who is out to change the world. This makes him desperate. And in an election that's favoring the Democrats, a desperate Republican feels rotten and mean.

It didn't take long for the mean to come out. No sooner did the Republican National Convention end, then did the broad brush lies about how Obama would raise taxes on "you" came out. Never mind that only one percent of the people would feel the pinch, McCain had buttons to push. At the time, he was twenty points ahead of Obama. There was no earth - shattering economic crisis then. McCain's insecurity was showing.

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part Two

And so, in 2007, John McCain, the maverick who in 2004 opposed Bush's wartime tax cuts for the upper 1%, decided in 2007 that it just as "maverick-y" to suddenly be for them!

Again regarding the Iraq War, McCain showed his convenient ambivalence. Though he wasn't against the war, he made noises like he was reluctant to go to war. The U.N. was to referee the end game, and the pitiful few troops in lraq had to be reinforced. But after the Surge, McCain was all ready to jump into the war bandwagon. Suddenly it wasn't important that we rendered the U.N. helpless, and were continuing a military adventure that was bleeding our economy. We needed "victory!" Despite that, people are still unmoved about the war, and want it to end.

And the economy continued to fail. While people and yes, mortgage and investment banks continued to gorge themselves on the high cholesterol of subprime mortgage loans, McCain said "OK" to continued deregulation of the securities market.

With this bankruptcy of ideas, McCain has sought to lead his soulless party to four more years of Bush's madness. Only how to do it? His campaign, his party and his allies were going to be out organized, outspent and outproduced by Obama and the Democrats.

The answer? Free publicity! How to get it? Stunts!

You see, if you don't have thought one on how to change the country, you have to follow the old magician's rule of misdirecting the audience in order to scam them.

John McCain: Meet Hank Martin - And Morris Dees: Part One

And Now The Flailing Begins:

Now the comedy known as the McCain / Palin campaign is in it's last stages - that of flailing about incoherently.And Now The Flailing Begins:

No wait, wasn't that the condition it was in throughout the general election?

It seems only a year ago that the Republicans were fighting a primary over who is best suited to beat the Democratic Opponent and keep the White House in G.O.P. hands.1

Only they were counting on the Democratic Opponent to be Hillary Clinton. What they got was Barack Obama. That plus the damaged Republican brand.

And then they got John McCain.

He was the best of a bad lot. All of them bear the taint of Republican misrule. Most, like Huckabee and Romney were so in the Bush tank that they almost said "Sieg Heil" Grover Norquist's tax cut pledge during their Youtube debate. Fred Thompson doddered around in a manner appropriate to his age. They played so far to the Right that you just knew that in a year when Republicans were expected to lose in the House and Senate, it would suicide for the G.O.P. to use them in an attempt to bridge the gap.

McCain seemed like only one who could talk the middle class's language. After all, wasn't he the "maverick?" Didn't he always speak his mind, especially on matters of civil rights, social justice, and other things that ruffled the feathers of the party elite? And yet, he was certainly no "tax and spend" Liberal! Just a moderate Conservatlve. He even hated fundamentalist evangelicals, and had no truck with the "Culture War!"

But then something happened in the 2000 elections that changed McCain. Honest John got beaten in the primaries by an upstart governor from Texas who used sleazy smear tactics and had no shame. He became the victim of smear tactics and innuendos. The lesson he took from that was: a conscience is an inconvenience to a man with high ambitions. And, in order to win the Oval Office, he had to play to the base of hls party.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

To All the PUMAs And Their Would-Be Pied Pipers:

Sarah Palin Caricature

For a long time I, like you was dispirited. Like you, I felt that Hillary was robbed of her rightful place as the party standard bearer.

But then I began to ask what did I want more? Was it to sulk like Achilles in his tent over an insult while fellow Greeks died around him? Or was it to remember why I became active, and return to face the real enemy that is before us, a continuation of the past eight years of corrupt administration, an unnecessary war, the ruination of my country and the endless war on the middle class?

I look upon it as a cost-benefit analysis. On the one hand, I could seek revenge by supporting McCain if I were that vindictive. But that would make me a hollow person. McCain betrayed me a long time ago.

One the other hand, I could remember that this is nothing less than a battle between good and evil. In war you can't always choose your leaders, but you can remember what the struggle is about and whose side you are on.

Last week I saw a party that understands this, and a Republican so out of touch that he insults all Hillary supporters, PUMAs, and all.

At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, everyone there pledged at least on paper, to put aside their differences and fight for the common good. First, the Obama’s have acknowledged the importance of Hillary's campaign. Everyone recognized the achievement of bringing 18 million votes into the picture. Next, Hillary, then Bill Clinton declared their support of and their confidence in Barack Obama. In addition, nobody whined about snubbing Hillary when they realized how strategic the choice of Joe Biden was for a running mate.

Hillary was the one who put it best:

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

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.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

And later she said:

I want you to ask yourselves: 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?

We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.

So there it is. Your own leader, my Senator, supporting her party's choice for President. Would you sulk in your tent while your friends pay the price?

And who is Sarah Palin?

Well for one thing, Palin is no Hillary clone! Any Clintonista who has heard anything Hillary said cannot mistake Sarah Palin for someone you knew and loved for years.

I recognize that Palin may be an honest person in her own right, and maybe a good governor for Alaska. As mayor, she reduced her own salary. She then proceeded to cut wasteful spending. She resigned her position as chairperson of the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission to protest what she termed "lack of ethics." She challenged Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into financial dealings.

She opposed Frank Murkowski's wasteful spending and sold his big vanity jet.
Nevertheless, being mayor of a town smaller than the Town of Onondaga, NY where I live is barely a prerequisite for becoming a governor, or state senator, not President! (Yes, I said something similar about Obama, but it's all about issues and ideologies now!

Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton, let alone Barack Obama!

Hillary would be appalled at Palin's stand on the environment.

Here's Hillary on ANWR:

Ratify Kyoto; more mass transit. (Sep 2000)

Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR. (Nov 2005)

Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)

And Palin's position on ANWR? Let's let her answer that!:

Convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR

The standard should be no different for industry. Ironically, we're trying to convince the rest of the nation to open ANWR, but we can't even get our own Pt. Thomson, which is right on the edge of ANWR, developed! We are ready for that gas to be tapped so we can fill a natural gas pipeline. I promise to vigorously defend Alaska's rights, as resource owners, to develop and receive appropriate value for our resources.

Source: State of the State Address Jan 17, 2007

On health care, Palin and Hillary are as different as night and day.

Here's Hillary on the subject:

Health care initiatives are her first priority in Senate. (Feb 2001)
• Voted NO on means-testing to determine Medicare Part D premium. (Mar 2008)
• Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007)
• Voted NO on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000. (May 2006)
• Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006)
• Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005)
• Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)

Sarah Palin's position is nothing less than feudal:

Health care must be market-and business-driven. (Jan 2008)
Take personal responsibility for personal health & all areas. (Jan 2008)
Doctors should manage health care, not bureaucracies. (Jan 2008)
Personal responsibility & choices key to good health. (Jan 2008)
Flexibility in government regulations to allow competition. (Nov 2006)
More affordable health care via competition. (Nov 2006)

However, what really strips bare the total bankruptcy of the Republicans in general and Pallin in particular is this statement Pallin made at the beginning of her acceptance speech.

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.

Excuse me? Every politician on earth depends on community organizers! Who will "organize" events for Sarah McBush?

Martin Luther King Jr. was a community organizer, as was Mahatma Gandhi, César Chavez, Jayne Addams.

Community organizers are the people who look into the human condition and try to empower people to fix it. Are there broken sewers that are overdue for repair? Not enough cops on the street? Are anyone's civil liberties violated? Community organizers rally the people to fight for themselves.

And who becomes a community organizer? Is it a position that requires a degree? Has there been a hierarchy imposed upon it? Or does it simply take someone sufficiently motivated like a disgruntled parent, or teacher, or sanitation worker who saw injustice, or squalid conditions, and tried to fix them?

So who is Sarah Palin to take on the mantle of "The Female Candidate?" That was Hillary's place, and could belong to no other. Now we will unite for Obama to help bring sanity, not the McBush/Palin dystopia into this world.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Setting a Few Matters Straight_ Why I'm for Hillary and not Obama. Part 3: Why I'm Not Sold on Obama.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Obama, as I have pointed out in Part 2, is one of the good guys. However, if Hillary isn't the Devil, then Obama is not Jesus.

But he is closer to Dionysus, and he has his Maenads.

Apparently he has been Dionysus for a long time in Illinois. An April 3, 2007 New York Times article has this to say about Obama's fundraising skills:

Improbably, Mr. Obama, running as something of an outsider, wound up raising $15 million and winning that 2004 Senate race. Now that he is running for president, his fund-raising prowess has helped make him the chief rival to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

And later:

A look at his 2004 Senate race shows how he laid the foundation for his current fund-raising drive. Even as he cultivated an image as an unconventional candidate devoted to the people, not the establishment, he systematically built a sophisticated, and in many ways quite conventional, money machine.

The article goes on to say that Obama drew early support from Chicago's black professional class "using it as a springboard to other rainmakers within the broader party establishment."

His popularity increased soon after he gave his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention bigtime fundraising soon followed. According to the article, though Obama wrote that he felt uncomfortable early on asking for money, he learned how to cultivate donors the same way he cultivates voters on the campaign trail. Good for him. No one is impugning his integrity. I'm just proving that he puts his political pants on one leg at a time - like everyone else.

For instance the Times article states that for the 2004 Senate race, faced with a self-financed opponent, Obama's donors weren't above exploiting campaign financing loopholes like giving up to $12,000 per donor:

As a result, nearly half of the more than $5 million that Mr. Obama raised in the primary came from just 300 donors. In a stroke of luck, he had just enough money to pay for a television advertising blitz in the final weeks as Mr. Hull’s campaign crumbled amid accusations that he had abused a former wife.

Well, lucky Barack! He impresses people with his directness and intelligence and aw shucks modesty. And he does know how to sell himself during a campaign. According to the Times Obama has a hold so strong on Chicago that Hillary, who grew up in Chicago, didn't even think of having a fund-raiser there during the all important first quarter of '07.

After losing the Congressional race in 2000 against former Panther Bobby Rush, he had to pay back a $9,500 personal loan and questions from FEC. He had to lend his own campaign committee $11,100 more to get back refunds to donors who overdonated.

Yet no sooner than the two years it took to repay himself, he was back on the hustings. At first, donors demured, but soon Obama worked his boyish charm, and soon Obama's support increased so that even the Pritzker family, founders of the Hyatt Hotel chain.

The Bacchanalia continued as heretofore Clinton supporters like Jesse Jackson, David Geffen and Michael Froman of Citigroup went to Obama.

Now that the Obama charm may also be viewed as a sales technique as much as a characteristic, let us see how plausible Obama really is well he sells his message to the public at large.

Obama  on Iraq

When we listen to our politicians get all eloquent about their own positions and strident about those of their opponent's, we often do not hear the unsaid omissions, indicators that have all the volume and pitch of dog whistles to our uncomprehending ears.

Thank heavens we have a few bloodhounds, setters and pointers who make it their job to sniff out the unseen, and hear the unsaid. Folks like the ones at Factcheck.org are very impartial in uncovering the innaccuracies and sins of omission committed by both Hillary AND Obama. In this article I won't get into Hillary's mistakes. There are plenty of people more than willing to do that job. I'm here to point out where Factcheck shows Barack is less than honest.

Here is an excerpt from Factcheck on January 3, 2008 called "Obama's Creative Clippings:"

• Obama's ad touting his health care plan quotes phrases from newspaper articles and an editorial, but makes them sound more laudatory and authoritative than they actually are. //
• It attributes to The Washington Post a line saying Obama's plan would save families about $2,500. But the Post was citing the estimate of the Obama campaign and didn't analyze the purported savings independently.

• It claims that "experts" say Obama's plan is "the best." "Experts" turn out to be editorial writers at the Iowa City Press-Citizen – who, for all their talents, aren't actual experts in the field.

• It quotes yet another newspaper saying Obama's plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans," neglecting to mention that, as the article makes clear, it's only Clinton's and Edwards' plans that would require coverage for everyone, while Obama's would allow individuals to buy in if they wanted to.

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's ad on his health care plan has been running in Iowa. A hat-tip to The Washington Post for first revealing some of the twists in this 30-second spot.

Obama Writes His Own Reviews

The ad flashes a line credited to The Washington Post that says the Illlinois senator's health care plan would cut costs, "saving $2,500 for the typical family." But the Post didn't say that; the Obama campaign did, and the Post reported it as the campaign's estimate. The fuller citation from the May 30, 2007, article reads:

Washington Post:The senator's aides estimated that his plan would save the average family $2,500 per year and would allow those without insurance to buy it through a new health-care option that would resemble the one federal employees can choose.

Obama Strengthens His Own Reviews

The ad also says that "experts" called Obama's health care plan "the best," words that are attributed to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. We found the citation in an editorial from Dec. 19, 2007. With all due respect to the paper's editorial writers, they aren't "experts" in the same sense as, say, full-time health care researchers at think tanks or university professors who teach the subject. Editorial writers are paid to give their opinions, and in this case no actual experts were quoted.

But that wasn't the only time that Obama warranted special attention from Factcheck. Enter Obama's Creative Clippings Part Deux

On January 17, Factcheck again found it necessary to correct a new ad run by the Obama team, saying "The ad may be new, but we've seen this tactic, from this candidate, before:"

This is the second time in as many weeks that we've written about Democratic candidate Barack Obama's misleading use of quotes pulled from newspapers. This ad is running in Nevada in advance of Saturday's caucus.

Obama for America Ad: "President"
Obama: I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message.

Obama: I'll be a president who finally makes health care affordable to every single American by bringing Democrats and Republicans together. I'll be a president who ends the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle class tax cut into the pockets of working Americans. And I'll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home. We are one nation and our time for change has come.

Universally Wrong About
Health Care Plan

The ad flashes the quote "Obama offers universal health care plan." That was a headline on a May 29, 2007, Associated Press story.

Correction, Jan. 17: We originally reported that the AP story didn’t include the quote used in the ad. We were looking at the final version sent on the AP wire that day. But the Obama campaign contacted us to point out, correctly, that an earlier version of that story included those words as a headline.

However, the story merely reported that Obama said he would sign a universal health care plan. The article goes on to cast doubt on the universality of his own plan:

AP: Obama's first promise as a presidential candidate was that he would sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of his first term in the White House. But there is some dispute over whether his plan would provide universal care. It's aimed at lowering costs so all Americans can afford insurance, but does not guarantee everyone would buy it.

It's an important distinction we've raised a few times. Obama's plan wouldn't guarantee that every individual had health insurance, just that everyone would have the opportunity to obtain it. The AP story also includes a quote from a representative of Families USA, a liberal group that pushes for expanded government health coverage, who says, "It's not totally clear that it would result in universal coverage." The ad even shows video of Obama using more accurate language when he says he wants to make "health care affordable."

But is that the most questionable creative editing on the part of Obama's handlers? No.

Obama's ad makes a big thing about being the first to oppose the war in Iraq. Once again it quotes AP when it says "Obama opposed the war from the start." But just as Factcheck points out AP does say this:

Nobody can dispute that Barack Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and, with striking prescience, predicted U.S. troops would be mired in a costly conflict that fanned "the flames of the Middle East."

But nobody should accept at face value the Illinois senator's claim that he was a "courageous leader" who opposed the war at great political risk.

The truth is that while Obama showed foreign policy savvy and an ability to keenly analyze both sides of an issue in his October 2002 warnings on Iraq, the political upside of his position rivaled any risk.

And, once elected to the U.S. Senate two years later, Obama waited months to show national leadership on Iraq.

I could have used Factcheck's version of the quote, but they do make the originals accessible, so I went straight to the horse's mouth, read the article, and found a few more paragraphs Obama's ad omitted:

Courageous or calculating? These are the facts:

In 2004, while getting ready for his star-making address to the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave presidential nominee John Kerry and other leading Democrats a pass for backing Bush on Iraq.

Noting he was not privy to intelligence reports shown to Kerry and others, Obama told The New York Times, "What would I have done? I don't know."

Once elected, Obama didn't force the issue in the Senate. His first floor speech encouraged Democrats to drop challenges to the 2004 presidential election "at a time when we try to make certain we encourage democracy in Iraq."

His first major address on Iraq came in November 2005, when he said U.S. forces remained "part of a solution."

And even Factcheck missed this one:

Seven months later, he was voting in step with Clinton for a middle-of-the-road approach. On June 22, 2006, they both backed a nonbinding resolution to pull troops out of Iraq.
More meaningfully, they also rejected a bill backed by the force of law that would have required the troops to come home by a date certain.

Interesting that Obama's ad should fail to mention that part of AP's article.

And I suppose Obama's people also found it inconvenient to mention the article states that in his run for Senate nomination his opponents were also against the war.

A lot of footage on the cutting room floor.

A look at their advertising is one thing, but a look at their money trail offers more interesting examples of Obama's disingenuousness.

Once again I'll leave it too others to expose Hillary's bundlers. They are there at Public Citizen's White House For Sale site You'll find them right next to Obama's bundlers.

So let me just give you a small list of Obama's more interesting. Obama says he won't play any games, but some of his donors are players:

David Geffen


Dreamworks SKG

Amount Raised.
Bundler for Barack Obama, raised at least $50,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

Mark D. Gilbert


Lehman Brothers

Bundler for Barack Obama, raised more than $200,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

David Heller


Goldman Sachs

Bundler for Barack Obama, raised more than $100,000.00


Name Disclosed by Candidate

All I set out to point out is that:

• Hillary is NOT the Devil

• There is really very little daylight between both candidate's views

• Obama's "politics of hope" is at best unattainable, and since he's really still playing the game, how much does he really believe in it?

The man still puts his pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us.

Here are a few graphics from Opensecrets.com that illustrate my point:






Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Setting a Few Matters Straight: Why I'm for Hillary and not Obama. Part 2.

clinton - Obama

In my previous post, I enumerated the various reasons why I feel that Hillary is not the ogre that most people feel that she is, and why she's presidential timber. The trouble is, can honestly say the same for Obama? I don't know. The trouble with that is, now is not the time for an Obama learning curve. How much do we really know about him?
For the past 7 years this country has been brutalised by an idiot who has brought us war, threatened our civil liberties, abused our economy, and destroyed our reputation around the world. His reign was the culmination of a way of thinking that has been entrenched among Conservatives for the past 30 years. It is a way of thinking that threatens our future socially, economically. And ecologically, the survival of the human race. We need someone at the helm that we can rely on to fight that entrenchment. Someone who is vastly experienced in fighting Right Wing onslaughts. I don't think the politics of "coming together" is going to work on the likes of John O'Neill's Swift Boaters, Karl Rove, or Fox News. Already Obama has to contend with false rumors concerning his religion, and his upbringing. And now, the Rezko business will come up.

But what is at the core of my objections to an Obama candidacy? Not only do I find myself questioning the feasibility of his "new style" of politics, but I question whether he can possibly pursue it given today's circumstances.

• His positions are really not that different from Hillary's.

• He strives to set himself apart from most politicians yet his very history suggests otherwise.

• In particular, his relationship with Antoin Rezko calls into to question his judgement of character. Not only that, but his very criteria on what constitutes a friend can be questioned. Is a friend someone you like and trust, or is a friend merely someone who is "usefull" to you?

On the issues, Clinton and Obama differ only on. the details. According to

In a 2004 fundraising speech in San Francisco, she was highly critical of George W. Bush's tax cuts, saying that "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."[2] Clinton has sponsored legislation designed to reduce the deficit by reinstating some taxes that had been cut. She has co-sponsored legislation related to debt and deficit reduction. On the other hand, she has advocated for federal spending that advocates of less government spending deem nonessential, such as funding a museum commemorating the Woodstock Music Festival.[3]

Obama's stand two years later wasn't that much different:

Obama spoke out in June 2006 against making recent, temporary estate tax cuts permanent, calling the cuts a "Paris Hilton" tax break for "billionaire heirs and heiresses."[18] Speaking in November 2006 to members of Wake Up Wal-Mart, a union-backed campaign group, Obama said: "You gotta pay your workers enough that they can actually not only shop at Wal-Mart, but ultimately send their kids to college and save for retirement."[19] Obama has also proposed his own tax plan, including $80 billion in tax cuts for the poor and middle class.[20]

On health care the only difference between the two front runners is how they define "universal.":

In September 2007, as part of her presidential campaign, Clinton revealed her new American Health Choices Plan, an "individual mandate" universal health care plan that would require health care coverage for all individuals. Clinton explained individuals can keep their current employer-based coverage, or choose an expanded version of Medicare or federal employee health plans.[18][19] The projected cost of the plan is $110 billion annually and will require all employers to cover their employees' health insurance or contribute to the costs of their employees' health insurance coverage; tax credits will be provided to companies with fewer than 25 employees to help cover costs.[18][20]

And Obama said:

On January 24, 2007 Obama spoke about his position on health care at Families USA, a health care advocacy group. Obama said, "The time has come for universal health care in America [...] I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country." Obama went on to say that he believed that it was wrong that forty-seven million Americans are uninsured, noting that taxpayers already pay over $15 billion annually to care for the uninsured.[15] Obama cites cost as the reason so many Americans are without health insurance, and claims his health care plan would cut the cost of insurance more than any of his Democratic rivals' plans in the 2008 Presidential race. [16]

The list goes on and on. In foreign policy, both Hillary and Obama favor a tough approach to terrorism with Obama assuring people he will escalate the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He would even go into Pakistan despite warnings that such a move could further destabilize the situation.

On the Arab-Israeli situation, both candidates meet at the center from different viewpoints agreeing that the Palestinian leadership must be more responsible. Obama wants more dialogue with the Arabs while Hillary is still in favor of the wall, and concentrates more on Israel's security.

According to Associated Press:

When asked who the United States' top allies are, Senator Barack Obama said the European Union and Japan, but failed to mention Israel.

The debate moderator NBC News anchor Brian Williams interrupted Obama, drawing his attention to the omission and quoting Obama as having once said, "No one suffers more than the Palestinians."

Obama, unperplexed, explained that the Palestinians suffer because of their leadership. "I said that no one suffers more than the Palestinian people because of their leadership's failure to recognize Israel, denounce violence and be serious about peace negotiations and regional security," he said.

"Israel is one of our most important allies in the world. It is the only democracy in the Middle East," Obama added. He even noted that if he was elected, he intended to increase American involvement in the region.

But Obama comes to this point of view from the standpoint that we must have a dialogue with the Palestinians. According to AP at the National Jewish Democratic Council this was his (highly commendable) position:

Obama said while he was committed to protecting Israel’s security, he would also reach out to Arab leaders who were committed to recognizing Israel and renouncing violence.

And according to Wikipedia Obama is no friend of terrorism:

Obama  on Iraq 21

Referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in January 2006, Obama denounced Hamas while praising former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. At a meeting with then Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on the eve of Hamas' sweeping election victory,[33] Obama stated that Sharon's role in the conflict had always been "absolutely important and constructive."[34] At a meeting with Palestinian students two days later, Obama stated opposition to Hamas in favor of rival party Fatah, noting his desire to "consolidate behind a single government with a single authority that can then negotiate as a reliable partner with Israel." In a comment aimed at Hamas, he said that "the US will always side with Israel if Israel is threatened with destruction."[35]

On Iran there is considerably less daylight between Clinton and Obama. While Hillary accuses Iran of having a nuclear weapons program, and supports UN sanctions against Iran, she believes that diplomacy is necessary, and has criticized Dubya for refusing to talk to the mullahs.

And while Obama is all for talking to Iran, and has criticized Hillary for voting to declare the Quds Force a terrorist organization, he wants all military options on the table.

On the issue of Iraq, again there are only a few variations on the same stance. Let us dispense with the fact that Hillary voted to give authorization for the war. I had already touched on her reasons for that vote in Part 1 of this series. However, she did charge Dubya with rushing to war, and pulling the rug out from under the UN inspectors, and came out for an international solution to the problem. However, to quote from Wikipedia:

On June 15, 2006, Clinton charged that President Bush “rushed to war” and “refused to let the UN inspectors conduct and complete their mission ... We need to be building alliances instead of isolation around the world ... There must be a plan that will begin to bring our troops home.” But she also said, “I do not think it is a smart strategy either for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment which I think does not put enough pressure on the Iraqi government, nor do I think it is a smart policy to set a date certain.”[63][64]

Hillary voted for the USA PATRIOT ACT in 2001, but helped to filibuster the bill for its renewal when enough money wasn't apportioned to New York for anti-terrorism efforts. She also stood up for some of the civil liberties concerns with it. She voted in favor of the compromise bill.

FISA and warrantless wiretapping were a different matter though:

Regarding the December 2005 NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, Clinton stated that she was 'troubled' by President Bush's 2002 actions. In a statement, she said: 'The balance between the urgent goal of combating terrorism and the safeguarding of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms is not always an easy one to draw. However, they are not incompatible, and unbridled and unchecked executive power is not the answer.'[83]

Clinton didn't take the American Freedom to stop the military commissions, end torture, or restore habeas corpus, but then as President, she can end the former and sign into law the other.

Obama wants to restore American prestige all over the world:

Obama is also right that resetting the world's view of the U.S. begins with making our government more transparent. As a senator, he's worked to visibly link members of Congress to their roads to nowhere and to their Iowan rain forests. As president, he will hold large-scale, open discussions on the issues facing Americans in the 21st century: health care, climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, border security, tax policy, education and economic development.

Both Hillary and Obama take a rather tortured path concerning same sex couples. Obama...

• Voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment

• And yet, he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

• Supports civil union that carries legal standing equal to marriage, but believes that the appellation of marriage should be left up to the states.
• Feels that homosexuality is not immoral.

To confuse things all the more, for the all-important South Carolina primary, Obama invited anti-gay people like Reverend Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Hezekiah Walker to his 3 day "Embrace the Courage" campaign tour. After a whole lot criticism, he added openly gay pastor Andy Sidden.

Hillary has an equal amount of 'splaining to do Lucy:

Senator Clinton expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage while affirming her support for some form of civil unions for homosexual couples: 'I think that the vast majority of Americans find [same-sex marriage] to be something they can't agree with. But I think most Americans are fair. And if they believe that people in committed relationships want to share their lives and, not only that, have the same rights that I do in my marriage, to decide who I want to inherit my property or visit me in a hospital, I think that most Americans would think that that's fair and that should be done."'[115]

And yet:

• She opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment like Obama.

• She admitted the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" was a failure and that gays should be allowed to serve openly.

Lastly the environment. Hillary wants:

• energy conservation

• to release oil reserves

• no drilling in ANWR

• to ratify the Kyoto Protocol

• a Strategic Energy Fund to put $ 50 billion into R&D and deployment of renewable energy, clean coal, ethanol, and homegrown biofuels.

I think Wikipedia says everything I'd say for Obama's views on environment:

Obama has taken the stance that global warming is human-caused, and that it must be addressed. He has a record of supporting environmentally friendly bills.

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.[64]

He has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 by creating a market-based cap-and-trade system.[65] Obama also has plans for improving air and water quality through reduced pollution levels.[citation needed]

And so, there doesn't seem to be much daylight between Hillary and Obama's positions.

And yet, Obama says he won't "play the Washington game." We'll see.

In Part 3 of this series, I shall examine the feasibility of the "politics of hope," and whether Obama is sincere or a fool.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Setting a Few Matters Straight: Why I'm for Hillary and not Obama.


Part One: She's Not the Devil!

Maybe it's just a gut feeling, but Hillary Clinton inspires confidence in me, and I'm just not sold on Barack Obama.

It could be that she's just been known to me for much longer than Obama. Or that I was pulling for the first Democratic First Lady in twelve years since Rosalyn Carter in the Clinton's fight for survival against neocons and spoiled Reaganites who were pining for their "good old days.

Maybe I saw at that time a toughness, an indomitable spirit of a person who became an expert at fighting that "vast Right Wing conspiracy" that we now know really existed and wasn't a figment of her imagination. All I know is that she became my Senator, I met her once, "Cackles" wasn't there at the time either. It was at our State Fair, and Cold Hillary never came. She was warm with everyone, and everyone felt proud just to be near her. She even posed for a picture for me.

hillary clinton at the state fair in syracuse, ny 1

Now, can someone explain to me why the Clintons are coldly calculating and Obama is not? According to MediaMatters.com,Hillary has consistently maintained the same positions that she had as First Lady. One example is on abortion:

Critics often cite Clinton's views on reproductive choice as an example of her repositioning. For instance, Chris Matthews has described Clinton as purportedly shifting her stance on abortion in a "transparent" effort to recover the so-called "values vote." He has also accused her of "trying to play it safe" on the issue by taking a "poll-tested path." Matthews has pointed to her assertion in a July 25, 2006, speech that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare" as an example of her changing position on the issue. But far from representing a point of departure from earlier statements, Clinton's remarks in July were consistent with those she made in a January 22, 1999, speech. While first lady, she said: 'But all too often, generally because of the loudest voices, the American people don't hear explained the efforts that we're engaged in to continue to work with people from all different walks of life to make abortion safe, legal, and rare.'

As for the controversial vote to give Dubya war powers, I will not join the rest by bashing Hillary for it. The country was in no mood for peace after 9-11. I was full of vengeance myself at that time.

To call Hillary a staunch supporter of the Iraq War as a hypothesis is very widely off the mark.

But the claim that Clinton was once one of the 'staunchest" backers' of the Iraq war does not withstand scrutiny -- nor does the claim that her criticism of the war is recent. While Clinton did vote in favor of the 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, less than seven months after the war began, she expressed doubt about President Bush's leadership in the war, saying in an October 17, 2003, floor statement, that her 'yes' vote for an $87 billion supplemental appropriation 'was a vote for our troops, it was a vote for our mission. ... [I]t was not a vote for our national leadership.' During the same statement, Clinton accused the Bush administration of having "gilded the lily" on pre-war Iraq intelligence at 'the cost of perhaps not being able to take actions in the future that are necessary to our well-being and our interests because we may look like the nation or at the least the administration that cried wolf.'

Now we come to the "deviousness" question. First of all, if we learned anything from the past seven years, it's hard to slip one by diligent opposition researchers. Sooner or later, someone will check the source, listen to some disgruntled ex-employee, or check some coincidence and expose it. Someone who isn't drinking the Kool-Aid will notice the details that True Believers overlook or deny.

Then why has nothing stuck to Hillary? Time and again for the entire Clinton administration Right Wing s spent millions of taxpayer dollars trying to bring them down, through Whitewater, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. They only succeeded in self-destructing à la Newt Gingrich and Robert Livingston. And yet back then they learned nothing! And they still know nothing. To date, the stupidest thing they could do was to try to pin their own crimes on someone else. Someone like Hillary. Attempts to accuse Hillary of the madrassa slander backfired according to Mediamatters when the datelines of some Right Wing articles on the matter came to the fore. And mindlessly the Right Wing kept sticking it's head into the mouth of it's own lion. Now any Progressive blogger can close that beast's mouth on Limbaugh's neck by simply right-clicking on any link to the articles in question.

Conservative efforts to raise questions about Obama's Muslim heritage had, in fact, begun days earlier. Indeed, on January 9 -- a week before the InsightMag.com article -- Chicago Tribune metro columnist Eric Zorn wrote on the Tribune's Change of Subject weblog, "The crazies are sending around an e-mail that attempts to establish that Barack Obama is actually a Muslim who masquerades as a Christian for political advantage." But following the publication of the InsightMag.com article, numerous right-wing media figures repeated the entirely unsubstantiated accusation that Clinton's campaign staff was responsible for spreading the madrassa allegation against Obama. Several Fox News hosts repeated the claim that Clinton had "outed Obama's madrassa past." Rush Limbaugh declared, "This is Hillary's team doing this." And conservative radio host Melanie Morgan asserted that Clinton "is going to try to derail the [Obama] train before it gets out of the station." As recently as January 30, Fox News political analyst Dick Morris persisted in leveling this baseless accusation.

A similar attempt to slander Hillary was made (though sadly compounded by an erstwhile Clinton operative,) that Hillary was behind a supposed leak about the ancient history of Obama's drug use.

Sadly, it’s not only the Right that is unfairly treating the Clintons. In her latest column, Maureen Dowd carries forth much of the mistaken impression that all of Hillary's actions are in part motivated by self interest, calculation, and cynicism.

She became emotional because she feared that she had reached her political midnight, when she would suddenly revert to the school girl with geeky glasses and frizzy hair, smart but not the favorite. All those years in the shadow of one Natural, only to face the prospect of being eclipsed by another Natural?

Even if you agree with this, which I do not, Dowd, whom I usually respect, gets it wrong when she concludes that:

Her argument against Obama now boils down to an argument against idealism, which is probably the lowest and most unlikely point to which any Clinton could sink. The people from Hope are arguing against hope.

However, she inadvertently contradicts that point with a preceding paragraph. in it she attempts to deride Hillary's allusion to Martin Luther King Jr. and LBJ and in so doing, opens the backdoor for every supporter of Hillary to sink that argument:

Hillary sounded silly trying to paint Obama as a poetic dreamer and herself as a prodigious doer. “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act,” she said. Did any living Democrat ever imagine that any other living Democrat would try to win a presidential primary in New Hampshire by comparing herself to L.B.J.? (Who was driven out of politics by Gene McCarthy in New Hampshire.)

Dowd missed the point entirely. In the debate, Hillary argued for change with experience. She had every right to allude to the civil rights accomplishments of Johnson. Dr. King could only fight the battle in the streets, but Congress was another matter.

In her criticism of Hillary's allusion to LBJ, Dowd forgets obvious facts where she should have been more diligent. In order to affect change, as a President Johnson needed to rely on his decade long experience in the Senate - and as Senate Majority Leader to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, considering the amount of controversy and bloodshed it caused at the time. Getting laws passed the Johnson way required him to know a lot about every Senator and Congressman. That required that decade's worth of Senate experience. The business with McCarthy in New Hampshire though important, is irrelevant to the argument.


The Hooplah on the MLK Statement.

Everyone misses the point that Hillary was speaking from the perspective of someone who was for 8 years a President's wife. This gives her at least one President's point of view, and that President, her husband, had to deal with a very belligerent Congress whose every move was like.an act of war against him. This is not dissimilar to what Johnson faced from Dixiecrats in 1964. In fact, it lost him support from the South and was a factor in his choosing not to run for re-election. Remember George Wallace?.

Part Two "Keeping Barack Obama in Perspective" will appear in my next post.