Thursday, January 17, 2008
I've never been a Ronald Reagan fan. And you should at least be aware of my post on the issue of Republican candidates touting him as an icon.
So, for Obama to compare himself to Ronald Reagan . . .
Okay, so, he's only comparing the aspects of change. He credits Ronald Reagan for changing the trajectory of the country. And, well, that's true. The country was head fairly left. We were about to ensure equality for all citizens, except for maybe LGBT, though, I'm sure we would've gotten there sooner had he not been president; and, Reagan took us to the right. Many citizens still have whiplash, I'm sure. So, Obama's telling the truth. But, I'm with John Edwards on this one. Saturday, when he's restating his commitment to equality for all, he should also clarify the whole Reagan comparison. And then, hopefully, he'll stop making it.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Clinton and Obama, as earlier posted, and Edwards, who did get involved, all set aside the arguments over LBJ and MLK's and racial insensitivity.
Hillary Clinton pointed out the America's economic crises, like the profound troubles with the mortgage industry, is falling disproportionately on people of color. She pointed out that generally, people of color are the most vulnerable in America's current economy. I'll add that that statistic holds regardless of one's income bracket. Her pointing that out renewed my faith in her commitment to equality. Now, the whole caucus lawsuit issue is giving me pause. But, that's about her winning the nomination, and not about race per se. Though, it does seem like people of color will be hurt the most by the lawsuit Clinton's supporting. But, I want ponder that one now.
Back to the debate. Every candidate could ask one of the other two one question, and one only. Obama kinda wasted his clearing up a difference without a distinction Edwards brought up concerning the Occupation of Iraq (sorry for any soldier, including members of my own family, caught up in it, but that's what it is).
While I'm disappointed in Clinton's "distinctions" between herself and Obama and Edwards, I think this is a great debate for the country and the Democratic party. I do wonder if Kucinich's presence would've made it better; or, if the moderators would've paid him back for the lawsuit. But, overall, I feel good about the debate.
In other news, the Clinton and Obama campaigns have called a truce, which is good. And I disagree with Rep. Charles Rangel on the recent issue of race in the campaign. Though, I love his tax reform package! (Update: Rep. Rangel has apologized for his comments about Barack Obama. As soon as I can find more information, I'll post it.)
Monday, January 14, 2008
Yeah, that's how you attract minority voters away from the Democrats.
Note to people who do care, here's why just about 85-90% of African Americans support the Democrats: even when they say something racially insensitive, which it seems even the most well-meaning white Americans do, Dems don't hold up an enemy of the Civil Rights Movement as some sort of icon.
Here's some readings from Tim Wise and Bob Herbert for ya.
May the Gipper rest in peace. Please, Republicans, let him rest.
And while I'm at it, let me take a moment to explain why any white person needs to be very careful and accurate when describing the relationship between MLK's dream (may the dream live on) and LBJ's signing the civil rights acts. America has a hateful habit of either dismissing or disempowers African Americans' historical achievements and efforts. For example, my history teacher told us slavery wasn't all that bad; after all, there weren't a whole lot of rebellions. He didn't mention that the geography and demographics of the South didn't lend themselves to rebellions, and there were a few, not to mention the Underground Railroad. He didn't mention the numerous rebellions on Jamaica or how Haiti's independence affected the peculiar institution.
Then, he credited Abe Lincoln and several white abolitionists for setting the slaves free. Although, according to him, the Civil War was not about slavery and to suggest otherwise was historical revisionism. We talked about Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass, of course. Nat Turner was mentioned but made to sound evil for having killed "innocent" white women and children.
And that's just about slavery.
Now, to be sure, MLK's dream would not have come true had LBJ not signed the legislation. However, that's only half the story. JFK's (I'm loving these initials!) death kinda pressured him into it. Having the world watch Southerners brutalized innocent Americans, however darker complected, pressured him into. PostWWII, the world saw America as extremely hypocritical for fighting for "freedom and the spread of democracy" while allowing virtual apartheid in the South. That also forced LBJ's hand. So to give the impression, even if mistakenly, that MLK dreamed, but LBJ acted, not only continues the racist habit of disempowering Black activism, it also minimizes the roll of one of the only two African Americans who seem to get credit for anything Civil Rights related - MLK and Rosa Parks.
Yeah, African Americans were going to jump all over that, Bob Johnson notwithstanding. It's not because we're overly sensitive; it's because we're sick of being written out of history!!
Now, I dare not say the Clintons are racist. I'm not sure one way or the other anymore. And before you try to run down their list good deeds towards the Black community, let me remind you that not even Abe Lincoln thought the Negroes deserved full equality. So, I'm not sure. But if Hillary Clinton really wants to get out of this, during the next debate, which may not be tomorrow if Dennis Kucinich isn't included (way to go, Kucinich!), she needs to stress that LBJ and MLK needed each other. . . . Or, on the other hand, Barack Obama, why don't you stress that symbiosis?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I agree with Tammy Johnson but only to a certain extent. I do wish Barack Obama were more forceful in terms of talking about racial inequalities and injustice. Too many Americans of all racial stripes want racial reconciliation without having to change or redress structural inequalities and injustice. Too many Americans accuse the Black community of playing the "race card" without knowing or even considering the facts. Too many Bill Bennetts want to ignore the legacy of racism and continuing racism. Too many Bill Bennetts want to act like race doesn't help whites and hurt blacks; this while saying that aborting all Black babies would lower the crime rate in America.*
Whites still enjoy certain unearned privileges just because they're white; blacks still face unearned disadvantages just because we're black. Until the color of a person's skin truly has no effect on his/her opportunities, relationship to police, wealth, etc, etc racial reconciliation is just a dream of the privileged. When African Americans can be "proud" without resistance, meaning Oprah can joke about melanin content being a least one benefit blacks enjoy without being accused of racism, then maybe we can start talking about racial reconciliation. Until then, blacks and others concerned about justice will speak out.
But why should Obama be the only candidate held to the standard of speaking forcefully about race? Hillary Clinton had a nice line about AIDS cases among Black women and the lack of societal/governmental response, but that was at a Black debate and I can't recall her saying much else since. They should all say more.
And before some ignorant comment about continual Black support for Democrats, I'd rather have a Democrat who said nothing during the campaign than a Republican who continues to blame the Black community for its social ills. It's the difference between a hamburger without any toppings and a burnt bun bottom.
* Black violent crime rate is higher, but you have to take into consideration, economic conditions. Moreover, castigate all African Americans, you also have to consider crime rate when it comes to nonviolent crime. This is what Tim Wise has to say:
First, as for the disproportionate rate of violent crime committed by blacks, economic conditions explain the difference with white crime rates. According to several studies, when community and personal economic status is comparable between whites and blacks, there are no significant racial crime differences. . . .
Secondly, to claim that blacks are more dangerous than whites because of
official crime rates, is to ignore that when it comes to everyday threats to
personal well-being, whites far and away lead the pack in all kinds of destructive behaviors: corporate pollution, consumer fraud, violations of health and safety standards on the job, and launching wars on the basis of deceptive evidence, to name a few. Each year, far more people die because of corporate malfeasance, occupational health violations and pollution than all the street crime combined, let alone street crime committed by African Americans.
In other news important to me, Bob Herbert's assessment of New Hampshire primary results seem to be the most reasonable.
Friday, January 11, 2008
On one hand, I'd like it if Obama turned out to be the winner. On the other hand, I don't wanna believe the Clintons would do that.
What's most important to me is that the US election process be fair and honest. A recount every now and then won't hurt.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
BARACK OBAMA NEW HAMPSHIRE SPEECH TRANSCRIPT:
I want to congratulate Senator Clinton on a hard-fought victory here in New Hampshire.
A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we did here tonight. For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and we always knew our climb would be steep.
But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment - in this election - there is something happening in America.
There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and Davenport; in Lebanon and Concord come out in the snows of January to wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in what this country can be.
There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit - who have never before participated in politics - turn out in numbers we've never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different.
There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common - that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in America.
You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long political darkness - Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something better, there's no problem we can't solve - no destiny we cannot fulfill.
Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable, unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and patients; workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together; and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that while they'll get a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair. Not this time. Not now.
Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.
We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame and start putting them on a pathway to success. We can stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness. We can do this with our new majority.
We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our planet from a point of no return.
And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in the world; and we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes, because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All have good ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably.
But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.
That's why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers and the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey and rallied so many others to join.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
Yes we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.
And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea - Yes. We. Can.
Congress is also continuing to look into it. I for one want answers!
Steve Benen of the Carpetbatter Report had this to say:
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nominee, will endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president in South Carolina today, Democratic sources told Politico. Kerry is flying to South Carolina for an event to be held shortly after 11 a.m. in Charleston, the sources said. Obama is holding a "Rally for Change" at the College of Charleston ahead of the Democrats' South Carolina
primary on Jan. 26.
. . .
For Obama, this endorsement fills a particular need: In addition to winning the nomination in 2004, Kerry is considered a strong voice on national security issues and a respected elder of the Democratic establishment.
Neither of those factors would do much for Clinton, who is strong on both. But Obama needs to show donors, voters and activists that he can attract more traditional support and win over the decision-makers in the party.
Regardless, I look at this as a pretty significant boost for Obama, if not in votes, than at least in stature. Kerry is arguably one of only a handful of national Democratic leaders, and a member in good standing of the Democratic establishment, most of which is backing Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I just watched Jim Lehrer and a report on the case concerning the Indiana voter ID law. According to the reporter (whose name I can't recall), Robertson, Alito, and Scalia displayed suspicion against the voting rights advocates; Ginsburg and Breyer display suspicion against the state.
Let me give you some background. Indiana's law requiring voters to present photo ID is supposed to help curb voter fraud. There are two problems with that theory:
- Illegal voter suppression and intimidation is much more prevalent than voter fraud, which primarily concerns people voting who shouldn't be.
- There's very little evidence of voter fraud.
Even Scalia had to admit there seemed to be little benefit from the law. He also questioned how much burden the law places on people, which I attribute to his conservative, privileged white male perspective. He wondered how the court could make a decision. I think the answer is easy - find in favor of the people's right to vote.
With this law, a voter would either have to present a driver's licenses or go through the hassle of obtaining a state ID card. The hassle would include, for example, having to pay for a birth certificate to present in order to get the ID. That'll be harder for some than others, but it'll cost anyone. On the face of it, it sounds like 21 century poll taxes, reading tests, etc or, rather, simply James Crow, Jr, Esquire.
If a voter doesn't have ID at the time of the vote, they can vote by provisional ballot which would only be counted if they arrived at the county courthouse in the county seat to either show an ID or sign an affidavit saying they're too poor to afford a state photo ID. It could be just me, but if I'm too poor to afford a state photo ID, I may also have trouble getting to the county seat.
Voting rights advocates believe the law will place undo burden on the poor, who'll be disproportionately minorities, and elderly. Both of who usually skew towards the political left. The state wants to prevent fraud, which isn't happening. And back to the point of this post, the Court's conservatives are doubting the voting rights advocates and the liberals, or in the case, the reasonable justices, doubt the state.
Voter ID laws (20 states have a form of one) arose in response to presidential election of 2000. That makes Indiana's law and any law like it a joke! The problem with the 2000 election, Florida and Tennessee admit, is that people were illegal prevented from voting. The problem had nothing to do with dead people voting, or Illinois voters voting in Michigan.
Yeah, I'm biased. I think the law is a fraud. Yeah, I'm siding with the liberals. But I think it's ridiculous that the justices are so partisan. This case, indeed Indiana's law, has more to do with partisanship than actual law. Especially considering the facts as I earlier laid out, it would seem Indiana should be making sure all eligible voters can vote; the state has nothing to gain by having this law on the books. The only entity that stands to gain is the state's Republican party. It's just plain mess that the Supreme Court could display such differences in what's obviously a partisan law in the first place. Either the law is Constitutional or it's not; it either protects rights and withholds rights. Even honest conservatives will admit that voter ID laws are unnecessary. The point is to keep Democratic leaning voters from being heard. And the Supreme Court is divided? And this is the Supreme Court of the vaunted United States of America? This is what we're allegedly trying to spread around the world? Give me a break!
And to make matters worse, the Bush administration is arguing on behalf of voter ID laws at the same time it admits that voter fraud is a myth. The administration's argument is that since so many people may not vote because they think that their vote won't matter due to voter fraud, in order to build voter confidence, there should be laws to prevent voter fraud. The argument is specious on its face. But then to add to the sheer putridness of the administration, it has been the administration and other conservative partisan groups who spread the falsities of voter fraud, which the claim will place doubt in the minds of legal voters, in the first place.
Now, I could be over-reacting. The cases hasn't been decided; the report I heard was about oral arguments. I hope it's properly decided. I really do. But the divide on the Court isn't just ideological; it's partisan. It's sickening. It's embarrassing.
If the rights of people to vote, to receive equal pay, not to experience harassment on the job, etc, etc, etc is to be protected, a Democrat president has to be elected. The Democrats have to fight on behalf of the people who are least able to fight on behalf of themselves.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I have to be honest: I am a little disappointed. Obama is still "fired up and ready to go!" But I'm disappointed.
That having been said, congratulations Hillary Clinton. Her win is good for the nation. The pundits had said Obama would win by a landslide, and he did do better than expected a couple of weeks ago, and that after South Carolina, it would be over. I think this is good because two states, whose demographics in no way represent the nation, should decide either candidate. That's basically it. Oh, and I hope Clinton will stop attacking Obama. Like I said, I'd vote for Clinton in the general, but the attacks against Obama turned me off. Truth be told, I'd really like a Obama/Clinton ticket, but the acrimony is making that seem less likely. While I find Clinton a tad too far to the right for my personal tastes, I also think she probably has the connections to effect change.
On the other hand, I think she has too many connections to effect as much change as needed if she's pushing her own agenda and not someone else's.
And, I don't like the notion that Obama and Edwards are engaged in wishful thinking.
But, Clinton's emotional moment tugged at my heart. The cheap shot against Obama undid some of the heart-tugging, though.
Again, Clinton's win is good for the country and the party. The discussion will and should continue. I hope Barack Obama wins and still believe he has a marvelous shot, but the conversation shouldn't begin and end in Iowa and New Hampshire. That's just silly. Not only are the states not demographically representative of the nation, they're only 2 of 50 states. Plus, this means Clinton will campaign in South Carolina, and I was going to be pissed if she didn't. If she didn't (or doesn't, but she better), she'd be telling African Americans, "I can win without you!" Which . . . okay, it's true. She could. Bush only got around 10% of the Black vote in both 2000 and 2004 (So citizens of the world don't blame him on us). But I'd still be p-i-issed.
So anyway, the conversation continues . . . but this is NOT a historical upset, Tim Russert.
Update: Hillary's emotional display probably did help her. But that's a bit because on Keith Olbermann showed the entire clip.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
So, lets forget the "bourgeois riots" of members of the GOP of 2000 and the peaceful protests of that same year led by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. (Thanks to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com for pointing this out.) Forget the rally in Jena, LA just this past fall this remained peaceful, divine help or not. Let's ignore the Olympic riots of 2002 whose participants were mostly (if not all) white. You know what, while we're at it, let's just pretend that the US doesn't have a history of racial riots where whites have killed and destroyed black lives and communities.
I have to say, it's rare that something so racist is said and passed as intelligent commentary and analysis. Not that I don't think there shouldn't be riots should the Democrat presidential nominee, whoever that may be, lose in 2008. Already, Republicans, with the help of the Bush administration, is looking to suppress votes. (There has been recent success in blocking these efforts.) But to continue living under and farther spreading the delusion that blacks are inherently violent while whites are either saints or misunderstood in ridiculous.
And just in case you wondering, no, this isn't what I had planned as far as detailing structural racism in the US. I'm left to wonder, though, who in their right mind can actually believe, or purport to believe, all Americans are competing on a level playing field and while simultaneously maintaining such racist notions. And, no, I haven't even gotten into some of the more ridiculous self-congratulations for the demonstration of white colorblindness from a man who advocates the abortion of all African American babies. But, I will.
To be perfectly honest, and I should be, the Obama's campaign has led to some altercation. Granted it was on the part of Bill O'Reilly, but an altercation nonetheless. I'll also admit that if you wanna get a better feel for the story as well as the recent history of riots led by European Americans, you should check out the links.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Yeah! I'm thrilled that Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucus!!
John Edwards came in second, and Hillary Clinton third. Obama has an 8 point lead over Edwards and 9 points over Clinton. Before the pundits act like the race was closer than it was, he beat Clinton by the same percentage points that Mike Huckabee beat Mitt Romney. They've made Huckabee's win sound like a blowout, and if Huck's win is a blowout, so is Obama's.
Let me first say that I'll support any Democrat over any Republican in November, but Obama is my man. Apparently, for some, the biggest fault he has is that he doesn't present "substance" enough. He doesn't speak about the particulars of what he'll do as president. I have two points to make to those who bring up that not so salient point: look at his website; and, all liberals and progressives agree on what needs to be done. What we may not all agree on is how to bring about the changes we want, and to hate on Barack Obama for essentially not being saying the obvious, saying what everybody's agreeing on, is tacky. Update: I meant to point this out last night, but here's how pundits are saying it'll work out:
- New Hampshire: the independents, who make up 40% of registered voters in NH, are likely to vote in the Democratic primary and vote for Barack.
- South Carolina: African American, who make up 50% of registered Democrats in SC, seeing that Barack is actually viable and white Americans will vote for him, will most likely support him and support him overwhelmingly.
So what do I think this says in the long run? Well, some independents and usually Republican voters caucused for Obama. Young people who never caucused before caucused for Obama. Women caucused for Obama. I'm listening to his speech now, and he is making it about the people and what they did tonight. He is promising to bring about change, unity, and ending corporate lobbyist influence. He's talking about affordable healthcare for everyone, renewable energy, ending the Iraq Occupation, restoring our standing in the world, and a more progressive tax code. And still, he's making it about the people. He has a marvelous chance to win it all.
Now, my biggest interest lately has been anti-racism, so, yes, I see race. I have to say as an African American, I'm thrilled. And happily so. This gives me hope as an African American. This gives me hope as an anti-racist.
But let's not get overly excited. This by no means indicates that race is no longer an issue in America. In the coming days and weeks, I hope to lay out how racism still disadvantages people of color and how the legacy of slavery still leaves African Americans far behind our European American counterparts.
Tonight, suffice it to say that Obama's win, however heartwarming it is, and it is heartwarming, by no means our country is now "colorblind." Obama won, but he did not win by promising reparations. He has had little to nothing to say about race, but I mentioned in an earlier post why that doesn't bother me greatly.
I need to add, my mother is telling me that Obama's speech echoed John Kennedy's speeches of the 60s. She's telling me I'm witnessing history; I am. Barack Obama is the first African American to win a caucus, first actually to be a viable candidate. I don't quite have the words for how I feel, but this is great. This is the work I'd like to do. I want to get the US to a place where it doesn't take over 200 years since its founding and over 100 years since the end of slavery for everyone to be equal in every sense of the word. And, again, we're still not equal. I mean, come on. Out of now around 14 presidential candidates (Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped out), only 1 is Black and can't say a word about his Blackness lest he be perceived as playing the "race card." Come on.
So, anyway, there'll be much more to come!
But Don't Jack My Genuis
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