Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughts on McCain-Palin

Chris Cillizza (Washington Post) notes:

The Republican National Committee is launching television ads tomorrow in Indiana and Wisconsin that invoke the name of former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and detail his ties to Barack Obama, the first such ads from either the national party committee or the campaign of John McCain so far in this election cycle.

Here's the ad:

"Senator Obama is crying foul and declaring his association with such individuals to be off limits," said Brad Todd who is overseeing the RNC's independent expenditure arm. "Fortunately, with the First Amendment still intact, he does not get to decide that."

I was going to open with the McCain-Palin campaign's "Ayers" video but I saw that and thought it might be the better opening.

I said my piece in the roundtable tonight regarding Oklahoma so I'll just quickly summarize.

1) Oklahoma community members had three choices regarding the presidential election:
a) Vote for Barack Obama.
b) Vote for John McCain.
c) Don't vote.

Since they're not allowed to write in a candidate and since no other candidates made their ballot, they had to make a decision.

I understood the difficulty and would have supported them in whatever their choice was.

2) For the non-stop sexism, for Barack's non-stop lying, voting for John McCain is not the end of the world. And it sends a message.

3) Good for them.

In terms of McCain-Palin. I actually like Governor Sarah Palin. She's a likeable person. I don't agree with all of her politics, but I have no problem with her personally and judging by her statements, she has no problem with me (I'm an African-American lesbian). In terms of Senator John McCain, he did not say, "Oh, let me take back my kind words of Mark Bingham!" when he found Bingham was gay. In 2001, a lot of politicians would. We saw the media take him from "HERO!" to not even mentioning his name.

McCain is not the current occupant of the White House. He will not be another four years of the same. He may be better, he may be worse but that 'criticism' went stale back in May.

And isn't it funny that no one ever says Barack & Co. are attacking McCain when they repeat that garbage? The press never calls that out, now do they?

So my point is that Oklahoma community members had a very difficult decision and spent several weeks attempting to figure out what to do. They made their decision and I'm proud of them. I'm not just fine with it, I'm proud of them.

I hope that's clear. I know tonight, the Oklahoma community members participating in the roundtable felt like they'd be facing a fire squad. That didn't happen and I hope they realize no one is bothered by their decision. The community was built by C.I. and she noted from the start that your vote was your vote. There was never a "You must vote for ___!" Four years ago, she was writing, "I am not going to tell you how to vote for president." And she hasn't. In fact, we don't even know who she's voting for (or if she's voting). And I think that point being raised repeatedly over the last four years has had an impact on the community.

Those of us who are Democrats remember that it wasn't all that long ago where a lot of members were supporting different people. There was Kucinich, there was John Edwards, there was Hillary (whom I supported), there was Bill Richardson, there were three members supporting Joe Biden and there were some supporting Mike Gravel. We made it through that without any hurt feelings.

And for non-Democrats, there was the question of whether to support Ralph or Cynthia. And they made it through that.

So it worked out fine and this works out fine as well. And I would say that even if you lived in a state where you had all the candidates on the ballot and you were voting for McCain-Palin. It's really easy to get stuck in what I call the Katrina vanden Heuvel Trap -- where someone orders you around. Most of the time, you just ignore the person but it's made very clear by their bossy behavior that they think they are the boss of you and that they can order you around so you say, "Bye-bye, pissy Katrina."

But I think we all have taken our cues from C.I. and this topic has been addressed repeatedly over the last four years. If someone is happy with their vote (or a decision not to vote), that is their business. And though I'm a lifelong Democrat, democracy is more important than the Democratic Party or any party.

Which is why I'll be voting for Ralph Nader. If Ralph wasn't a possibility for me and I couldn't vote for Cynthia, I'd be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin this year as well.

When you read the roundtable tomorrow morning in the round-robin, you'll notice that C.I. drew out the Oklahoma members' fears so that those fears were addressed right off. But there are a lot more members in Oklahoma that were not part of the roundtable and if you're one and reading this, I want to be very clear that if I lived in Oklahoma, I would be voting for McCain-Palin. I wouldn't bat an eye.

There are many reasons for that but it would boil down, for me, to the homophobia Barack repeatedly used and is still using. That's not Democratic behavior. I wouldn't reward and send the message it was acceptable by voting for him. The sexism is appalling and that would be my secondary reason, but I remember Bill Clinton's presidency and I knew Hillary wasn't a homophobe. Barack is a homophobe who hangs out with homophobes. Wright, Meeks, go down the list. His inner circle is made up of homophobes. That's why he didn't bat an eye when it came to using homophobia as a campaign strategy.

And where are our gay organizations calling him out for the 'values' tour going on right now?

They're silent and attacking Sarah Palin.

I don't think less of anyone who has made the decision not to reward the Democratic behavior for this appalling behavior.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, October 9, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, tensions between Turkey and nothern Iraq continue, a member of al-Sadr's bloc is assassinated, Petraeus gives a speech, and more.
This morning UPI reported a Baghdad roadside bombing in the Sadry City section that which resulted in the deaths of 2 bodyguards (three more wounded) and the death of Saleh al-Ageili, of the Sadr Movement, being taken to the hospital for his wounds Reuters updated with: that with: "At least two members of Iraq's parliament and a health ministry official told Reuters that Saleh al-Ugaili was pronounced dead in a Baghdad hospital following the roadside bomb that exploded near his convoy earlier in the day in the Habibiya district of eastern Baghdad." China's Xinhau states it was a motorcycle bombing. Citing Iraqi police, BBC maintains that "the bomb had been placed on a motorcyle and exploded as a convoy carrying Mr Ogaili drove past." AP notes an eye witness who states "the explosives had been planted in a hole near the road" and that "Al-Auqaeili was a senior member of al-Sadr political bloc, which has 30 seats in the 275-member parliament. The Shiite cleric's cease-fire order to his militia has been a key factor in a sharp decline in violence over the past year. The attack raised concerns that internal rivalries within Shiite and Sunni political groupings could emerge ahead of upcoming provincial elections as a major threat to Iraq's stability, even as sectarian violence ebbs." BBC reminds, "The last MPs killed in Iraq were among a group of eight people who died after a suicide bomber attacked the cafeteria at the Iraqi parliament on 12 April 2007." AFP reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki stated "he appointed a panel headed by Interior Minister Jawad Bolani to probe the assassination". Mariam Karouny and Aseel Kami (Reuters) note that another MP from the Sadr bloc, Bahaa al-Araji, is calling it an assassination and has stated, "We are not excluding the possibility that it might be a government-linked group which carried it out." Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) quotes al-Araji telling Al Arabiya TV, "There will be a battle in the elections and this [killing] is indeed a liquidation. We have warned that the Sadr movement has been targeted, especially in seats where they already hold office."
Dropping back to yesterday's bombing in Diyala Province which claimed 10 lives (plus the bomber), Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) provides some basic figures: from 2003 to 2008, the street where the attack took place (in front of the Court of Appeals) has seen "at least 16" suicide bombers or attempted ones; of that 16, 3 in 2008 have been women; and of that 16, 7 were people wearing bomb vests and 9 were done via car bombings. Ernesto London (Washington Post) adds that, across Iraq, over 50 women have either been "suicide bombers" or been caught "before detonating explosives" since the start of the illegal year, "including 30 this year" and that "at least 380 people" have been killed along with the bombers that have taken their own lives. Londono cites Ibrahim Hasan Bajilan ("chairman of the Diyala provincial council") stating that "he was told the female suicide bomber was a 16-year-old from Muqdadiyah". Londono also reports an increase in the use of "sticky IEDs" -- bombs utilizing "magnets so they will adhere to the undersides of automobiles and detonated by remote control or with timers" that have resulted in "rougly 200 cases involving magnetic bombs" this year alone.
Staying with weaponry, "On September 26, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Turkey of AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Targeting Pods and AN/AAQ 13 LANTIRN Navigation Pods as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $200 million. . . . The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control Company in Orlando, Florida." [PDF format warning, click here for announcement.] The pontential transcation comes as the tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq grow worse. As Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) noted yesterday, "Turkey's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to extend by one year its authorization of military operations against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, keeping the door open to future strikes in the region. The approval, by a vote of 497 to 18, had been largely expected, and occurred amid a flurry of attacks in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast." AP reports that this has been followed by a meeting today by "Turkey's leaders" to decide whether or not to up "the military's powers to combat Kurdish rebels . . . Newspaper reports, citing unnamed officials, said the requests include the right to search and detain suspects without prior authorization and to extend detention periods. Officials did not immediately confirm the reports." World Bulletin explains the meeting (of the Higher Board of Counter-Terrorism) met today for "about six hours" and is scheduled to meet again Tuesday. Hurriyet notes Nechirvan Barzani (KRG Prime Minister) states that the KRG "administration in northern Iraq" is "watching with concern the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey". Cuba's Prensa Latina notes talk of creating "a security area in US-occupied northern Iraq, where alleged PKK camps have been set up."
Meanwhile Gen David Petraeus spoke to the right-wing Heritage Foundation yesterday. Petraeus was the top commander in Iraq until just moving to head Centcom. Gen Ray Odierno is now the US' top commander in Iraq. Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) reports that Petraeus stated "that things could still go wrong" in Iraq and that "This progress is a little less fragile, if you will, and a little more durable" than during his testimony to Congress last spring. Anna Mulrine (US News and World Reports) notes, ". . . Petraeus highlighted what he sees as the chief threats to Iraq's progress in the months to come. Among them are the upcoming provincial elections, the possible return of Shiite special group militia members from Iran (whose specialities include planting devastating roadside bombs), and the return of Iraqi refugees to homes that they may find occupied by militias." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the deadline for provincial elections to be held was Januaary 31st; however, "there may be a further postponement, according to the Independent High Electoral Commission." Among the problems include staffing issue and the candidates who are running (no list has been provided to the commission). On Article 50 which guarantees minority representation and which the Parliament dropped, Fadel explains, "After approving the law, the Presidency Council decided to send a separate bill to parliament to restore a deleted article that assures minority representation in provincial assemblies. Christians across Iraq objected to the removal of the clause and even staged a demonstration on Monday to demand representation. The Council plans to propose the law to parliament this week, said Nasir al Ani the chairman."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded for people, a Baghdad car bombing ("sticky IED" of the sort Ernesto London reported on today) claimed the life of the driver, a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives (three more wounded) and a second one that claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Karbala car bombing ("sticky IED") that claimed the life of the driver, and a Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 4 family members including the father who "was a Sahwa member." Who are the four? Two childen and the "Awakening" member. The fourth is either his wife or his nephew depending upon which outlet's reporting. AFP notes the man was Abbas Khudair and he headed "a Sahwa, or Awakening group, that is paid by American forces, was targeted as he drove with his family in the Al-Uthaim area in Baquba, the capital of the restive Diyala province, officials said. An AFP photographer saw the bodies of Khudair, his son and daughter and the nephew taken away to the local hospital, where five more relatives were being treated for blast wounds." Reuters is among those stating Khudair's wife was killed, they also note that 8 women ("all relatives, travelling in the same minibus") were injured in the bombing. Reuters also notes a Tal Afar restaurant bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and 1 civilian.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 Patriotic Union of Kurdistand intelligence member was shot dead along with another person in Kirkuk.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad and the corpse of 1 Sawah/"Awakening"/SoI was discovered in Zab. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mosul.
Turning to the US presidential election. Barack Obama is the pampered baby in Pampers for the press. The wipe his butt for him, they burp him. And you're seeing just how expected that action for the allegedly grown man is. Barack Obama's name is Barack Hussein Obama III. We refer to him as Barack Obama. The same as we referred to Hillary Clinton as Hillary Clinton. Others included Rodham, others included her middle name (Elizabeth). It wasn't a problem. Her name is her name. True of all candidates. If their name is a 'liability' in their minds, then they should take their embarrassed and sheepish asses into court and change it. Until they do, their name is their name. If someone wants to list it, that's their business. And if you're ashamed or embarrassed by your name, maybe your delicate ass shouldn't run for public office, certainly not for the presidency. Jimmy Orr (Christian Science Monitor) demonstrates just how ridiculous it's gotten, "The 'H' word. As in Barack Obama's middle name. Hussein. It's something you just don't say." The "H" word? There are millions of people with that name around the world and, yes, in America. The "H" word? Everyone's gotten a little too damn sensitive that Barack Junior might have diaper rash or catch cold. He's an alleged grown up. His middle name is his middle name. He and his supporters need to grow the hell up. A Florida sherrif is in the news for using Barack's nearly fully name (he left off "II"). Steven Beardsley (Naples Daily News) reports on Cult of Barack's self-created drama over this entire nonsense. John McCain should say in the next debate, "My middle name is Sydney. I'm not ashamed about. What's your problem with your middle name, Barack? Aren't you named after your father?" This is the biggest nonsense. If he doesn't like his name, change it or shut the hell up. Back in 2004, during the DNC convention, he was called "Barack Osama" -- on Air America -- by mistake -- on The Majority Report -- by Janeane Garofalo who immediately apologized (on air) for the trip of her tongue. He needs to grow up or change his name. And the press needs to stop breast feeding their little baby.
Senator Joe Biden has the difficult task of being Barack's running mate which may explain the additional stress. Ryan Corsaro (CBS News) reports Biden is stating, ". . . John McCain could not bring himself to look Barack Obama in the eye and say the same things to him." If you've wept on stage in Pennsylvania the week before showing up at a televised debate where you almost lost it again, maybe interpreting the psyche of others isn't a door you want to open?
Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports the Republican ticket campaign in Wisonsin today and quotes Sarah Palin telling a town hall, ""Oh, yeah, the first thought that pops into my head also when you're talking about rights, and you're talking about freedoms is, we're talking about Senator John McCain and what he has done for our country, in putting his country first his entire life to fight for freedoms. And Wisconsin, here again kudos to you, your great Wisconsin Guard, about a third of your troops will be over in a war zone, in a number of months, in '09. You guys are going to be over there again helping to defend freedom, and defend liberty and the democratic liberties that we all cherish so much." Governor Palin is the topic Vaughn Ververs (CBS News) addresses noting a Pew Research Center study that has found that 38% said the coverage of Palin had "been too tough" and "41 percent of independents say they think the press has been too tough on her." Ed O'Keefe (ABC News, link has text and video) reports on McCain's interview with Charlie Gibson for World News Tonight where McCain declares, "This is a tough campaign. I'm the underdog. I've always been the underdog from the beginning" -- and on the subject of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, McCain stated, "[Ayers] wasn't a guy in the neighborhood. [Obama] launched his political career in his living room, in Mr. Ayers' living room. And I don't care about two washed-up old terrorists that are unrepentant about trying to destroy America. But I do care, and Americans should care, about his relationship with him and whether he's being truthful and candid about it." Today, McCain-Palin '08 released an online campaign ad entitled "Ayers" (here for video, here for text and announcement):

ANNCR: Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They've worked together for years.

But Obama tries to hide it. Why?

Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room.

Ayers and Obama ran a radical "education" foundation, together.

They wrote the foundation's by-laws, together.

Obama was the foundation's first chairman.

Reports say they, "distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in education."

When their relationship became an issue, Obama just responded, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."

That's it?

We know Bill Ayers ran the "violent left wing activist group" called Weather Underground.

We know Ayers' wife was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

We know they bombed the Capitol. The Pentagon. A judge's home.

We know Ayers said, "I don't regret setting bombs. .... I feel we didn't do enough."

But Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue.

The issue is Barack Obama's judgment and candor.

When Obama just says, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."

Americans say, "Where's the truth, Barack?"

Barack Obama. Too risky for America.

JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente is her running mate. Rosa has upcoming campaign events:

Rosa Clemente in New York October 9-11
Tuesday, 07 October 2008 23:01

from Rosa Clemente

Peace and Hello to all my New York City People:

As the billionaires on wall street get bailed out, and more and more people are tired of a two party stranglehold, join me, as I celebrate my electoral independence, I am in town, for three exciting days of campaign activities, attending a press conference for assistance and solidarity for Haiti, marching for the freedom of Politcal Prisoners and Prisoner of War, as well as these media appearances, hope to see you! "The Green Party is not the alternative, it is the imperative!" Rosa A. Clemente, Green Party Vice-Presidential Candidate

GritTV, with Laura Flanders, to air Wednesday October 8th, 2008, at 8:00pm & 1:00am ET, on Free Speech TV(DISH Network ch. 9415)
Where we Live, with Sally O'Brien Thursday October 9th, 2008 at 8:00pm on WBAI 99.5FM,
The Truth, with Jeff Johnson on to air on BET Friday October 10th, 2008 at 10:00pm (EST)

[. . .]

THURSDAY OCTOBER 9th, 2008 @ 3:30pm

Open Community Forum with Green Party Vice Presidential Nominee ROSA CLEMENTE, to be televised on Manhattan Public Access

@ MNN Television Studios
Manhattan Neighborhood Network
537 West 59th Street,
New York, NY 10019
(between 10th and 11th Avenues)

Green Party VP Candidate -
Discusses the Economy, Foreign Policy, Education, Gender Equity, Racism, Social Justice, & the Environment

Featuring Community Organizations:
-Grassroots Artists MovEment (G.A.ME)
-UHURU Movement
-Brenda Stokely from NY Solidarity Coalition With Katrina / Rita Survivors
- La Peña del Bronx

-Hasan Salaam
-Video Screening of Final Outlaw's"HIP HOP 4Ever"


Please Contact: (917) 940-8961 or (917) 239-8992 with Questions or to RSVP for this event

ABOUT G.A.ME - The Grassroots Artists Movement (G.A.ME) is a membership organization dedicated to addressing sociopolitical and economic realities facing low-income Black and Latino communities. Galvanizing the influence of hip-hop artists and culture, G.A.ME unites artists and community members to work side-by-side for social justice. G.A.ME runs youth leadership and community development programs that provide tools for positive change. __________________________________________________________

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10th, 2008

12:00 NOON
YES! to international assistance and solidarity to Haiti, NO! to the military occupation of Haiti and the attacks on Haitian sovereignty!
The Brecht Forum, 451 West St. @ Bethune St. in West Village, between W.
12th St. and Bank St.
Tel. 212-242-4201

Rally at Madison Square Park at 5th Ave and 23rd St.

Evening Concert to Benefit the Prisoners@ the Knitting Factory @ 74 Lenard
St., NYC • 9 p.m. until . . .Featuring: Inmesyah Soul, Hassan Salaam,
X-Vandals, Emperor,
Rebel Diaz, The Wordstock Poetry Collective, Maroon Society,
Gist the Essence, Collective Flow, United Front


New York Univeristy(NYU)


Jericho 10th Anniversary Weekend of Resistance

Saturday, October 11, 2008 @ 12 Noon

Rally at the Harlem State Office Building
(Corner of 126th St. & A.C. Powell Blvd.)

March through Harlem @ 1 p.m.

Closing Rally in Morningside Park @ 2 p.m.
Between 112th & 114th near Morningside Ave. entrances
Rosa Clemente appeared on Grit TV with Laura Flanders where she was among the Cult of Barack who especially seemed blank-eyed when Rosa pointed out that two debates now and Barack's not addressed issues for young Americans -- not even 'middle class' ones. Rosa also pointed out that his 'youth' support is more 'middle class' and not monolithic. Yesterday Pacifica and Free Speech Radio News' Election Unspun spoke with Matt Gonzalez (Leigh Ann Caldwell provides real laughs -- and no journalism -- as she 'preaches' about Sarah Palin's "vendetta" in what's supposed to pass for 'news' prior to the interview). Gonzalez is Ralph Nader's running mate. Gonzalez spoke out against the Congressional bailout and stated, "I think government should be promoting existing solvent institutions . . . But we should not be buying the bad debt." Asked about the McCain and Obama campaigns, Gonzalez explained, "I think the truth is each of the candidates makes a calculated decision as to whether or not they can blame the other for a specific issue. In virtually every single case, these are jointly-owned issues, jointly-owned problems." Ralph Nader will be in NYC October 16th to protest Wall St. at noon in front of the Federal Hall, 26 Wall St. The day before (October 15th) he'll be speaking at Cooper Union in NYC.
I'm sitting at home reading a Bloomberg wire report about one of my favorite foods -- hummus.
Bloomberg reports that a group of Lebanese businessmen wants the European Union to declare hummus and other of my favorite foods like tabouleh -- as "traditional Lebanese dishes."
The Lebanese businessmen think that other countries are ripping them off.
"It's mostly Israeli companies claiming all our specialities as their own," said Fady Abboud, president of the group. "So many of our specialties are being marketed now as Israeli traditional dishes and among the most famous is hummus."
Abboud wants the EU to grant the hummus legal protection, the same way that the Greeks were given protection for feta, the French for champagne, and the Italians for parmesan cheese.
Now, I don't want to interfere in a international trade dispute.
Suffice it to say that my mother Rose was born in Lebanon.
And she made perhaps the best hummus I've ever had.
And I've had a lot of hummus.
Hummus is nutritious.
And delicious.
It makes you stronger and healthier.
So, Bloomberg's report on the Lebanese claim to hummus got me to thinking about an idea that would help us raise funds to push our substantive agenda onto the front burner of American politics.
Here it is:
If you donate to Nader/Gonazlez by midnight tonight an amount that has the number three in it (three being the number of lemons in my mom's hummus recipe), we'll e-mail to you Rose Nader's hummus recipe tomorrow.
That simple.
But it has to have at least one three in it.
If it has a three in it, we'll e-mail you the recipe tomorrow.
You can share it with your friends and family.
(Your donation will help us reach our current fundraising goal of $250,000 by the October 12 deadline. It will help us fund our get-out-the-vote drive over the final stretch of this campaign -- which translates into putting the substantive Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda front and center in this crucial election year.)
Thank you for your ongoing activism and support.
Together, we are making a serious difference -- and keeping our sense of humor.
Onward to November.

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