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Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel starts Another War: We in the West do Not Support it

Israel is bombing the Palestinian people in  Gaza City for the third straight day amid worldwide protests. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas, a group within Gaza that they have labeled terrorist.

Meanwhile, France, Britain, China, Japan, and Russia have all called for an end to the assault which has taken the lives of over 300 and has wounded 1500, including women and children. This air assault also targeted a university. Universities are not military targets in any understanding of warfare, nor are children. The Director General of the United Nations has called for an end to the violence and protests against the carnage are being held throughout the world

Israel is justifying the murder of hundreds by pointing to the death of one Israeli at the hands of Hamas and President Bush is supporting the Israeli attacks. Israel is mobilizing 6500 troops for a possible ground offensive against Gaza.

But both Israeli and Western citizens are critical of the Israeli offensive. Israeli newspapers are critical of the new war and Europeans and Americans have held protests throughout the West.
According to one Israeli reporter citing a Palestinian on the ground, "This assault is not against Hamas. It's against all of us, the entire nation. And no Palestinian will consent to having his [or her] people and homeland destroyed in this way."

According to another Israeli reporter from Haaretz newspaper, the recent bombing is motivated by a Zionist desire to "teach Palestinians a lesson." The reporter explains, "Israel has also always believed that causing suffering to Palestinian civilians would make them rebel against their national leaders." The reporter reminds  Israeli readers of the error of such an approach given history,"This assumption has proven wrong over and over." It has never worked.

But more importantly such an approach is morally wrong.  

Why is our country supporting such a war? We the American people do not support the bombing of civilians even if our leaders do. We did not support the bombing of innocents in Afghanistan, we protested the bombing of civilians in Iraq, we decried the bombing of civilians in Lebanon and we will protest this most recent outrage.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Heroes We Wish They Were: Obama, Warren, and Homophobia

I haven't been happy with all of Obama's cabinet picks but this week I was basking in the afterglow of having finally finished his first memoir, Dreams From My Father, and I was full of hope for our new president. He is an impressive writer and speaker, and his book is full of inspirational and reflective prose. He is brilliant, insightful, well-educated, and progressive on many issues. He may be the smartest president we have ever had and he certainly appears to be the most loving and peaceful leader we have had in a very long time. I was so busy patting myself on the back for campaigning for this remarkable man, I never saw Rick Warren coming.

Like many of his supporters, I am still reeling from Obama's decision to have an explicitly anti-gay pastor perform the invocation at his inauguration. 

Mr Obama, how did this happen?

I like the idea of a "team of rivals."  As a mixed person, I understand his desire to bring people together across difference. As a scholar, artist, and activist who has devoted my life and my career to teaching people to respect one another and to see shared humanity where  in the past they have only seen difference, I can well appreciate the challenges involved in trying to bring people of dissimilar views into dialogue. But I don't think hate is something we can agree to disagree on. 

Rick Warren has spoken out openly against gay marriage. Nothing spectacular about that. Everyone seems to be jumping on the anti-gay marriage bandwagon these days, but Warren actually compared gay marriage to pedophilia and incest. That constitutes more than a mere difference of opinion. It is bigotry. 

I think we need to draw a line when it comes to bigoted language. Why would Obama want such a person to represent him? I thought his message was all about hope and love and peace?

If Bush picked such a pastor gay people would not be up in arms about it. But it breaks our hearts when the candidate we thought was running on a platform of social justice decides to align himself with a person who speaks in dehumanizing ways about gay people.

Of course our sense of betrayal is bigger than Obama. It has to do with the expectations we tend to have for the rare political leader who seems to be ahead of his or her times. We think if a leader is enlightened on one issue then she ought to be enlightened on all the important issues. It shocks our sensibilities when we discover that they sympathize with oppressors of any kind. It eats away at our hope and adds to our mounting despair when we must consider the possibility that despite our patience, our struggle, and our suffering, we still cannot count on even the most forward-thinking of our leaders to stand up on our behalf, to cry injustice, to protect us from the hate-mongers as part of their larger campaigns to fight injustice.

We want Obama to be our King, our Kennedy, our Gandhi,.. our hero perhaps. We want him to fight for us, to recognize our rights, to include us finally in the panoply of humanity. Do we want too much?

After all, Gandhi was not the hero we thought he was when it came to women. He fought for the rights of men, not of humans. He treated his male servants better than he treated his wife and other women in his household. He argued in his autobiography that Hindu women were  made for serving men, that they had no objections to devoting their lives to the desires and care of men. He did not include women in his arguments for the rights of workers. His work against injustice did not include the injustices suffered by women.

Such revelations disappoint us when we discover them because great people like Gandhi, like King, like Obama perhaps, represent to us the existence, how ever rare, of leaders who can see beyond their times, men or women who are always somehow on the right side of history, who manage to choose always what is right over what is popular or expedient.

When Loving vs. Virginia was decided by the Supreme Court in 1967, 70% of the population of the United States were opposed to the legalization of interracial marriage (20% still do) but legalizing it was the right thing to do. In 1863, when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation the vast majority of the US population was opposed to freeing the slaves but it was the right thing to do.  In the 19th century when numerous women were granted the right to own property for the first time, it was done by judges in courts all over the country while the majority of US voters (suffrage was limited to men) were opposed to an expansion of rights for women. It was not popular but it was the right thing to do.

It is just a matter of time before gay Americans are granted all the same rights of citizenship that non-gay Americans currently enjoy. Heterosexuals engage in sex acts and romantic alliances that are currently more popular than queer relationships  but that doesn't make them more right. 

Homophobia is not right and history will redeem us.  But in the mean time, it is disappointing in the extreme that the man we elected to be our president does not yet recognize our rights. It is unfortunate  to discover that he fights bigotry in all its other forms but supports bigotry when it is aimed at gays and lesbians.

Gay and Lesbian Americans do not simply have a different view than homophobes. We do not, as Obama, has recommended, need to "agree to disagree" with anti-gay activists like Warren. Gay people and anti-gay people do not have a difference of opinion. They have a difference of power. The oppressed never just disagree with their oppressors. They are victimized by their oppressor's views.  And we know that Frederick Douglas was right when he proclaimed so many years ago that, "power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will." We are demanding an end to heterosexist oppression.

Those who claim to fight for justice cannot draw the line at gay rights, claiming to support the rights of workers, poor people, women, people of color, the disabled,  old people, and immigrants, but still refusing to fight for the rights of queers. As King put it, "An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Mr Obama, as MY president, I hope you realize this sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Unanswered Questions: Terrorists, Bush, War, Workers, Blagojevich, Corruption, ...

1. Why is outgoing "lame duck" president Bush so busy? And why does he want to be in charge of the automakers' bailout so much?

2. Whose idea was it to send 200,000 security contractors to Iraq and who (besides Cheney) is profiting from this policy?

3. Are any of the suspicious things that Bush did during his eight years in office going to be investigated by the next administration? Will he be found to have committed a crime of any kind?

4. Is Obama just a very clever strategist or do his cabinet picks indicate he is less progressive than progressives thought he was?

5. Why do we still not know for sure what caused the 3 world trade buildings to collapse inwardly on September 11th ? i.e why hasn't the government been able to explain away claims by architects and engineers that the melting point of steel is 1500 degrees Celsius  and the maximum heat generated by a jet fuel in air is 1000 degrees C?

6. Why did five Al-Qaeda terror suspects held at Guantanamo decide to plead guilty to the Sept. 11th bombings on November 4th, the day Obama won the election?

7.  When is the Patriot Act going to be repealed and our civil liberties restored?

8. Why is my home state of Illinois the corruption capitol of the country? Gansterism is so old school, people!

9. Are there lots of workers (besides those workers striking for "Republic windows and Doors" in Chicago) in the country who have been fired and denied their federal law-guaranteed severance pay? 

10. If not paying your workers what you contracted to do and what the law says you must is a violation of federal law, can corporate execs who close their doors and fire all their workers without notice go to jail for that? Will they? Should they?

11.  Did the feds who wiretapped Illinois governor Blagojevich do so with a warrant or was this a patriot act-permitted tapping?

12. If 12 of his buddies had already been indicted why didn't Blagojevich think they were coming for  him?

13. Will Congress use the Congressional Review Act to reverse all thee last minute regulations being implemented by lame duck Bush (regarding among other things: the reductions of medicare reimbursements, regulations allowing doctors to refuse birth control to their patients,  environmental deregulations, and policies designed to reduce the protections for endangered species)?

If you have any answers, please comment below!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stop the Genocide in Darfur!

Darfur, Sudan
Kurds in Iraq
Nazi Germany

What do all these places have in common?

1. Genocide occurred in each of them.
2. In each case America had the means and the knowledge to be able to stop it.
3. In each case, we failed to act and let people die, sometimes even collaborating with the perpetrators.

Why aren't we stopping the genocide in Darfur? 
When will we learn from our past mistakes?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Real Deal in Iraq: Blackwater Contractors

So have you heard the news? 200,000 security contractors employed in Iraq by private corporations? More corporate contractors than US troops? Paid, armed, but not directly answerable to United States military or Iraq? 

American taxpayers are paying their salaries and they are making a whole lot more money than our soldiers.

Yes, really. 

American contractors like Blackwater and Haliburton (both under investigation for fraudulent and/or criminal behavior) have been making money hand over fist in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Corporations involved in this enterprise include the following: 
Aegis Defence Services- $292 million dollar contract
Blackwater USA- amount unkown, purported to earn largest profits
Erinys- $150 millions- their security guards make twice what American soldiers make
Halliburton- $12 billion in profits.

Are these contractors mercenaries? Are these companies just war profiteers exploiting the war for their own gain?

The American people need to know.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Obama's Cabinet: Walking the Talk?

Although I still have my reservations about some of Obama's picks- like that sexist Summers- and  Holder, I am now fairly impressed with Obama's commitment to diversity in his choices for his cabinet. 

Three women (Napolitano, Rice, Clinton), two African Americans (Rice, Holder), one Hispanic (Richardson). and two white men (Geithner, Gates). He also picked one Republican (I could have done without THAT much diversity but he is walking his talk). We are on the move.

And like Lincoln, he really is picking a team of rivals, including former opponents Clinton, Biden, and Richardson. Also his pick of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano might be good for immigration reform given the way Republicans have trashed her for being in support of amnesty. Nobody talked about immigration during the election. When are we going to stop calling human beings illegal? 

Once he appoints a Native American, a openly gay person, and a left progressive (like Kucinich) I will be happy.... but maybe I want too much?

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Truth About Thanksgiving

While many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, many Native Americans do not. Most of the Thanksgiving story is constructed from a set of myths which not only don't match the historical record but which also hide some of the more shameful facts about colonial America.
According to Native organization, Oyate, among the myths that are taught to our children are included the following:

1. The claim that the first thanksgiving occurred in 1621 is a myth. In fact,  First nations people have always celebrated Harvest Feasts of some kind. Here in the Southeast, the Seminole, Cherokee, Muskogee peoples among others celebrate the Green Corn Festival.

2. The claim that the first colonists who celebrated the "first thanksgiving" were pilgrims  and innocent refugees seeking "freedom of religion" is a myth. In fact at the time of their landfall, many Native Americans had already been enslaved and brought back to England and the early colonists had already determined that these people were heathens and not a part of God's Kingdom and therefore candidates for extinction. They did not think Indigenous peoples deserved religious freedoms.

3. The claim that early settler found corn is a myth. The truth is much more sinister. Not only did the colonists steal corn stores from Wampanoag peoples storage areas and houses but they even raided Indigenous graves for corn and jewelry, leaving the bones of their dead scattered in their looting.

4. The claim that Squanto chose willingly to become a special friend and guide to the colonists is a myth. He was one of the only surviving members of the Wampanoag village of Pawtuxet that had been wiped out by earlier English incursions in the area. He had been held captive for years and taught English.

5. The claim that the colonists invited the Indians to the feast and fed them and that they became great friends is a myth. In truth, the feast was "crashed" by the Wapanoag who heard gunshot and were suspicious of the the colonists, came to check it out and then saw the meager feast of the English and decided to contribute to it. The Wapanoag would have brought the lion share of the food as they were much better equipped to feed themselves than the colonists. Rather than leading to peace, these early meetings led to massacres on the part of the English. In 1637, the Pequot suffered the loss of  700 of their members in a massacre against unarmed men, women, and children, when colonists attacked them in their sleep and burned them alive.

For many First Nations peoples, "Thanksgiving is a time of mourning, a reminder of genocide and the theft of Indian lands.

When will America tell the true story of her origins? When will she admit wrongdoing, make amends, learn from her mistakes, and institute reparations for all she has done in the name of racism and greed?

We are waiting....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lets Stop Recognizing Straight Marriage

After prop 2  passed in Florida and then prop 8 in California passed I toyed with the idea of no longer recognizing the marriages of my straight friends. I was sick of the double standard and wondered how to take a stand. I tried referring to my friend's wife as his girlfriend but he didn't get it. He thought I was joking.

When people- usually presumptuous straight males- ask me if I am married, I tell them my country does not guarantee my right to marry despite my being a citizen. This usually leads to some confused responses, with the most popular reply being, "what country are you from?"
Same country as you, bozo! We do what we can......alas. These verbal protests may seem trivial but I think they make a difference. Silencing has always been an important part of homophobia so every time we speak back and speak out we come closer to defeating it.

In a  recent Huffington blog I read, Evan Derkacz,  wrote about his decision to no longer recognize any marriages until Gay marriage is recognized. Reading his blog gave me renewed resolve to continue to do the same. But I think we should ALL do it! 

Are you ready, people? Remove the words: wife, husband, spouse, and fiance out of your vocabulary. They don't exist. Replace them with girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, companion. You could even try out "roommate" for kicks...for all the couples involuntarily closeted by their parents.

If we could get millions to do this, then the same straight people would hear it over and over again. If they got to feel what it was like to have the legitimacy of their union questioned over and over, it might sink in!

We can only hope!

Lets all try it and see what happens.  Spread the word!

Come back to this blog and comment  on what happens.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama's Cabinet: Should we be Worried?

As the days go by, news keeps coming out about Obama's latest cabinet picks. And it is a bit surprising, disappointing some say. Among the concerns being voiced; why so many former Clinton admin vets? Why so many insiders? Why Hillary Clinton? Is this change?

I, for one, was shocked he was considering the avowed sexist Lawrence Summers for Treasury Secretary. If he picked him that would have been a big slap in the face to all the feminists who voted for him.

Now it appears his pick for Attorney General (Eric Holder) may be a cause for concern. Did he really support the Patriot Act? All for domestic spying? Is that change?

Among the troubling items on his resume are included: the fact that he served as Deputy Atty. General for the Clinton Admin, the fact that his law firm is currently representing the banana company, Chiquita in Columbia, and most disturbingly, he was part of the legal team in 2005 that secured re-authorization of the Patriot Act. This according to
 award-winning reporter,  Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now."

On the up side, he will be the first African American appointed to the post. But is he the only African American available? 

Weren't we all hoping Obama would rid America of the legacy of the current administration by getting rid of  some of its most shameful blows to American dignity- including Bush and Ashcroft's programs to torture foreign prisoners and to spy on American citizens?

Human Rights activists are decrying Holder's connection to Chiquita International, the parent company of Chiquita Banana which was accused of  spending 1.7 billion in funding to Colu
mbian death squads that murdered labor activists.  Reports indicate the US Justice Dept. went after Chiquita for their role in these murders and they hired Holder to defend them.

The change we need? I don't think so. Why is Obama appointing a man like this to his cabinet? Should we be worried about who else he will appoint? I for one would like to know what his rationale is in appointing such a man?

I believe in Obama and want to believe these choices make sense. Do they? Can someone explain them to me?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wanda Sykes Comes Out

We must all come out in support of gay rights!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are We Post-racial or irredeemiably Racist: Why Did Marcello Lucero die?

It is Wednesday night and I have just spent the day with some wonderful students at Keene State College in New Hampshire. The small college town is quaint and homey, full of victorian architecture and local-run businesses. The chilly 40 degree weather is dry and crisp and refreshing after months of Florida's heat.

I gave a talk/performance in philopoetics today at the University to an audience of college students, faculty and administrators on American identity in this "post-election of a black man" moment in history. I wanted to start a dialogue on racism in America by asking whether or not we think we are moving beyond racism or just becoming  more conscious of our racism

So many news reporters have hailed the election of Barack Obama as a indication that "the times they are a changin'" arguing we have overcome racial discrimination.  Meanwhile we have seen an explosion in overt racist behaviors and acts. The amount of hate speech generated at McCain/Palin rallies alone was shameful and frightening. And yet many people are full of hope about our racial future. The mobilization of people campaigning for Obama was truly diverse, transcending traditional race lines, generational divisions, and even political parties in some cases.

The rhetoric of many includes the hope that we are becoming a post-racial society- that true equality for all Americans may actually be around the corner- that the fact that we elected a Black (or biracial) man signals the fall of racism and the end of discrimination.

But at the same time there has been a rise in racist hate speech and now racist violence.
In Long Island, Equadorean Marcello Lucero was beaten to death by 7 white teenage boys for being Hispanic. They went our looking for A Mexican to beat. They found an Equadorean but that was close enough for them- they beat and stabbed him to death. 

A few months ago in Texas, a 16 year old Hispanic boy was beaten and sodomized by two white teenage boys who claimed the hispanic boy was trying to kiss a white girl. In that community racist Klan literature has been circulating for months in response to Obama's bid for the presidency.

Race-based hate crimes went down between 2007 and 20o8 according to the FBI which would tend to support those who contend racism is on the way out. Unfortunately hate crimes against gays and lesbians have gone up. Maybe we are entering a post-racial but iredemmiably homophobic society?

Was Marcello's death an abberation or a sign of regression in race relations? One of the attorneys for one of the murderers claims his client is not racist because he has friends at school who are minorities. Unfortunately stories are now coming out that the gang of attackers may have been involved in other incidents in which they harrassed and intimidated others. They're not racist though.

Racism has a tendency to morph. Before the Civil rights movement many white people were unapologetically racist I know because I have people in my family who were  like this (some still are). My white grandfather for example had a derogatory term for every racial group and used them liberally. He frequently and openly complained about all of the negative attributes of nonwhite people. He did not try to hide his racism.

Nowadays that behavior is frowned upon. Racists have gone underground. They are careful about what they say in mixed company. They publicly claim to be non-racist. They are down-low racists. Most of their friends are white and are racist but they don't think they are racist or they don't think anything is wrong with having the views they have as long as they don't air them publicly.

So there are people like my good friend's husband who is very racist (he has argued for example that all Muslims should be exterminated because they are all terrorists) but had recently argued that he is not a racist because he has on occasion allowed Black people to eat at his house. He knows he is not supposed to admit to being a racist but nobody listening to him for any length of time would consider him anything but a racist.

Since November 4th, I have experienced some kind of racist even almost every day.  I live in Florida- its the south- but I reside in a democratic county. But after four years living here there appears to be a spike in racism. People are becoming outspoken and rude.

I would like to believe that Obama's administration will improve race relations in the United  States but I cannot agree with newscasters who want to believe that racism is over just because we elected a Black man as our president.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A More Perfect Union: Nation-Wide Protests for Gay Rights

Although there is not much being reported on the issue,  and reports have undercounted the size of the crowds, thousands of protesters throughout the country are coming together in outrage over the passage of several anti-gay amendments and propositions last Tuesday.

The most famous and most damaging proposition (Prop 8) was passed in California, a state where the courts had previously ruled that their constitution did not discriminate on the basis of gender or sexuality and thus that all Californians had the same right to marry the person they chose. Prop 8 would undo the previous gains.

Other propositions, such as Prop 2 in Florida were preemptive strikes against gay rights which outlawed gay marriage before courts had a chance to hear cases of this nature. 

People have been taking to the streets -in Los Angeles,  San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and all points in between- EVERY DAY SINCE THE ELECTION in the thousands. Now people are protesting all over the country: 

Cambridge, MA;
Phoenix, AZ; 
New Orleans, LA: 
Jacksonville, FL; 
New York, NY, 
Boston, MA;
Cleveland, OH;
Lubbuck, TX;
Atlanta GA; 
Fairbanks, Alaska; 
Detroit, MI; 
Billings, MT; 
DesMoines, IA
Jackson, MS
Orlando, FL;
Albuquerque, NM;
Omaha, NE;
Grand Forks, ND
Denver, CO, and many more....

To find a protest near you, visit Join the Impact website:
( or 
the blog by Queers United:  (

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Smiling and Crying, Part II: The Hope of Obama, the Shame of Homophobia

We had not even recovered from celebrating Obama's victory on Tuesday when the bad news came early Wednesday that indeed all of the homophobic propositions in the country had passed. How did this happen?

Is homophobia the last frontier for civil rights activists? Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, and even California? all passed anti-gay propositions and ammendments in Tuesday's election. What is wrong with straight people? Wouldn't their time be better spent trying to figure out why they are such abysmal failures at making marriage work for their own community rather than trying to keep people in other communities from getting married?

It is a shameful day for us all. We finally have a president we can be proud of but we continue to have a government that legalizes discrimination against minorities.

The people of California have taken to the streets every day since the election. I cannot praise them enough for their dedication and their perseverance. I wish we Floridians were as dedicated. But we are fighting much more of an uphill battle here in the South.

Until Gay people have the basic right to love whom they love and to form legally recognized bonds of marriage when they chose, we cannot claim to hold as self-evident the truth that "we are all created equal" nor can we claim that our country protects "our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Obama campaigned as a supporter of gay rights but not of gay marriage. I understand why he thought he had to do that, politically, given the 2004 election...but I hope that when he is in office he will get behind the gay marriage movement. It would be so inconsistent with his overall message of unity and equality not to!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Smiling and Crying: Obama Elected President

All day Tuesday I couldn't stop smiling. As I shuffled between phone-banking, sign-waving, and tallying canvasser doors knocked, I could not suppress my overflowing joy.  I knew Obama was gonna win. I could feel victory in the air.  As I sauntered round the campaign office, ever in search of a new more interesting task (security gave me more than one look of concern), I could not help smiling. When cranky old people got mad at me for calling them to ask them if they had voted yet and proceeded to complain in very loud tones about how many !*&%#!!! Obama people had called them this week I just smiled and apologized for bothering them. Secretly I thought to myself, "WOW, we sure are working hard to be calling everybody three times a day to remind them to vote!"

Then I would share the juiciest dialogues with my campaign mates- two middle-aged Puerto Rican sisters (phone-banking in both English and Spanish) and a young African American fellow (phone-banking in both English and French-Creole) and we would all laugh. Nothing and no one could get us down.

Similarly, when I was out sign-waving on a downtown street corner next to grim-faced McCain/Palin supporters, no amount of offensive chants or shouts by passing cars could sink my mood. One nasty McCain supporter even mooned us with his big hairy butt. Gross. Who wants a constituency like that?

At one point a McCain supporter who had smiled at us and pretended to be civil quickly lost his polite veneer with a racist comment in response to one of our chants. When a young ( and quite happy!) Puerto Rican man in the Obama camp began chanting, "We're going to the white house!" the white racist McCain supporter replied, "to clean the windows." 

It was shocking but it didn't deter us. We got louder, changed our chant, shouted over them and kept on smiling.

All day I just kept breaking out in loony grins. When at the end of the night, CNN finally called the election for Obama I was incredulous. Really? Really? Is it true? Is this really happening? I flipped all the channels. MSNBC, CBS, even Fox called it for Obama. Then I knew. Hope. Real Hope. And after I stopped smiling I cried. 

Tears of joy. I watched Jesse Jackson cry and I cried some more. I saw Oprah cry and cried some more. I called my sisters and cried some more. I saw thousands of strangers of every age and race crying and smiling in Chicago, Atlanta, Times Square. I smiled for the next hour right through McCain's surprisingly articulate and honorable concession speech. 

Then Obama gave his acceptance speech and I found myself crying again. 
For Martin. For Malcolm. For Medgar. 
For Goodman and Cheney and Schwerner. 
For John and for Bobby. 

For all of who have suffered for so long..... A Change Gon' Come!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!: A World of Hope Unites Behind Obama

I am so full of joy and hope now that I feel I could put my own small torch down now and go in peace knowing that Obama will carry a larger one for the world. We have a true leader. Finally. A man of peace, a person who truly loves his fellow human being, who  transcends differences to bring people together, who unifies and inspires so many.

But of course Obama won't let us put our little torches down. He wants us to work with him, to help him change this world for the better and we are so eager, so willing to help him. So many of us have spent our entire lives trying to change the world, trying to make it a better place. We are so pleased finally to have a leader who will encourage us in this endeavor, who will lead the way in this endeavor, who will join us in making change.

Long live Obama! 
The world is new again! 
We are a country filled with hope

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why You Must Vote: What is at Stake in this Election

As we approach the last 24 hours of voting, I urge everyone to be patient, put up with long lines, and miss work and school if you have to, in order to vote. This election is too important to miss. So much is at stake. 
I have complied  a preliminary list of 11 things that are at risk in this election.

What Is At Stake:

1. American Soldiers. Literally.
Obama plans to end the Iraq war as soon as possible. McCain has pledged to continue th
e war indefinitely, in pursuit of an elusive and undefined "victory." America has been down this road before. Remember Vietnam? Many soldiers died. We won nothing. The outcome of this election will determine how many more American soldiers sacrifice their lives unnecessarily. Since McCain has consistently voted against social programs for veterans, the high rates of suicide found among returning veterans as a result of insufficient mental health assistance, will continue and more veterans  will also die under McCain.

2. Grandma and Grandpa/Mom and Pop:
McCain plans to privatize social security and to reduce medicare and medicaid. This m
eans voting for McCain  may seriously impact the lives of seniors, most of whom rely on these programs. Obama is opposed to privatizing social security and has promised to secure
social security for seniors.

3. The Economy (aka your savings):
McCain plans to keep spending 10 million/month on Iraq despite the huge Bush deficit. He is opposed to social spending to help those suffering in this economic crisis. He wants to offer billions of dollars we don't have in tax cuts
 to corporations and oil companies. The economy is already in the dumpster. We can't afford to spend this kind of money any more. Bush and the Republican congress have spent the most money, built the biggest government,and created the largest deficit in the history of this country. In order to dig this economy out of the gutter, we need to stop spending our taxpayer dollars on war, subsidies to oil companies, and corporations. Obama will end the war and the huge defense expenditure. He will also stop giving tax breaks to oil companies and give them to us instead. He will not start new wars without exhausting diplomatic channels first.

4. The Very Sick 
McCain's health plan will not provide enough funding for people who are actually sick and uninsured. Nobody with a serious disease, with heart disease, liver disease, cancer, etc has medical bills under $5,000/year nor can insurance be bought to cover these conditions for only $5,000. If you are healthy, then McCain's plan might work out for you. Obama's plan will provide insurance coverage for everybody, including the very sick, including those with pre-existing conditions.

5. Our Standing in the World
Since Bush has been in office our standing in the world has seriously declined. His Bush Doctrine- starting wars with people you imagine might one day be a threat has cost us the respect of most of our allies and most of the world. McCain supports the Bush Doctrine. Obama supports diplomacy as a first resort and war as a last resort. McCain wants to fight wars and label people as terrorists. His whole persona is about "fighting," as is evidenced in his campaign speeches. Nobody likes a bully. As a country we can't keep acting like a bully in the world. Our reputation cannot 
tolerate more of this behavior.

6. First Nations/American Indians
Obama is committed to tribal nation building and h
onoring federal treaty obligations to First Nations peoples. He has voted for increasing funding to the chronically under-funded Indian health Services, and supports the rights of tribes to ensure the economic sustainability of their nations through fishing, hunting, energy and gaming enterprises. McCain, despite serving on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has voted against or failed to support various health, housing, and educational programs for Native Americans and has, according to tribal leaders in New Mexico,  made openly anti-tribal sovereignty comments. Palin's record in Alaska is profoundly anti-Native. Meanwhile, more than 100 tribal leaders (including the largest nation, the Navajo) have endorsed Barack Obama.

7. Your Paycheck
As long as corporations are rewarded for sending jobs overseas, and as long as unions are under siege, workers in the United States will continue to see a decline in wages, loss of 
jobs and decreased benefits. Obama is endorsed by all of the unions (including the plumbers union- that's right, the real Joe the plumber is voting for Obama) and is committed to improving worker conditions. Obama is also committed to ending the wage gap that unfairly causes women to be paid less money than men for doing the same job. McCain has voted against ending the wage gap.  Since Obama's tax cut will also decrease your taxes if you make under $250,000, your net take home pay will be larger under him.

7. Women's Lives. Literally.
Every year 1400 women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends. Obama co-sponsored the Violence Against Women A
ct, designed to make it more difficult for men to assault and kill women and easier for women who have been battered to get assistance. He was also the chief sponsor of the victim's Economic Security and Safety Act which protects victims of domestic or sexual violence in their request for leave from work to seek medical and legal assistance. He was also the chief c0-sponsor of laws passed to increase penalties for repeat domestic offenders and to to increase penalties for those committing battery near a domestic violence shelter. He was also a co-sponsor of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Database Act of 2005, a bill to protect children from known sex offenders, a law expanding the rights of victims of sexual assault, and a law to make date rape drugging a crime of aggravated battery.

McCain voted against the Violence Against Women Act, voted against legislation requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims, and has sponsored no bills to protect women's lives.

Women are also dying in large numbers from undiagnosed heart disease. According to the America Heart Association, women are almost twice as likely as men to die after their first heart attack and yet are often undiagnosed as a result of the fact that 80% of all medical research is done exclusively on men.  Obama has supported legislation providing funding for the Center of Excellence in Women's Health and is committed to encouraging research into gender and health disparities. McCain has voted consistently against women's health. He has voted 125 times against bills for women's health.

9. Your Taxes
Unless you are rich or a corporation, you will get little or no tax break. McCain's tax plan will give $4  billion in tax breaks to corporations and oil companies (This number has been CNN fact-checked)

10. The Supreme Court/ Your Privacy Rights
Three of the four liberal judges currently seated on the supreme court,  are either very old or talking retirement. If McCain gets into office, he will likely replace these with conservati
ve judges making the Court entirely conservative. If elected, Obama will not be able to tilt the Court in a new direction. McCain has promised to overturn Roe V. Wade if given the opportunity. If he is elected, women will lose the right to choose and this will result in numerous deaths of women, as was common before Roe V. Wade. McCain's court may also render decisions taking away other privacy rights of Americans and given McCain and Palin's commitment to mixing religion with government will likely begin to infuse their evangelical Christian views into our government.

11. The Planet Earth/ Animals
Obama has pledged to stop drilling, stop subsidizing oil comp
anies, stop importing so much foreign oil and begin to develop alternative energy sources like wind and solar power. He is committed to reducing the greenhouse effect and increasing emissions control. He has plans to provide federal subsidies to auto companies who develop fuel-efficient cars. McCain wants to "drill, baby drill" regardless of the negative impact oil drilling has on our environment. He has voted fro drilling in wildlife refuges where animals in d
anger of extinction live. He wants to develop more nuclear power and does not think the risks of nuclear contamination of our planet are worrisome (despite Chernobyl or Three-mile island). He thinks we should begin offshore drilling despite reports of the harm this will case sea life, subsidize oil companies, and and fight wars with any country that challenges our access to middle-eastern oil.

McCain received a "zero" on his League of Conservation Voters 2007 scorecard of senators and congressmen, where 100 indicates voting with the environment every time and zero indicating a vote against the environment every time. He has a well-documented voting record in which he has consistently supported Big Oil and has voted against renewable electricity, energy efficiency standards, and green tax incentives. Despite his claim to fighting against global warming, he has refused to support global warming solutions that do not  include a big role for the development of nuclear power, regardless of its risks.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Veterans do Not Support McCain Because He Does Not Support Them

Time and again John McCain has voted against veterans. He has voted against healthcare for veterans, education for veterans, social services for veterans. He voted to prevent POW/MIA investigations. If you don't believe me, watch the videos pasted below, made by veterans.

He is running on this "American Hero" platform, claiming the fact that he is a veteran qualifies him for the presidency. But if he has treated his own fellow veterans so shabbily, how willl he treat old people? Working people? Sick people? How will he treat you?

If you aren't rich like him, if you aren't a corporation, his voting record would indicate your needs are not high on his list of priorities.

Friday, October 31, 2008

John McCain Loves Cutting Veterans Health Benefits

Even his greatest claim to fame is a joke. He does not and never has supported veterans. This is shameful.

Vietnam Veterans Against McCain

John McCain's failure to support POWs/MIAs exposed

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Early Vote, Early Vote, Early Vote: Don't be Intimidated!

Get out there and vote if you haven't already! Disregard all of the intimidating misinformation out there telling people they can't vote for various false reasons. Don't let your vote be suppressed. Inform yourself about the lies circulating and let other people know so they aren't scared off. Following are some myths debunked:

1. It is NOT true that students have to vote in their home states. You can vote where you go to school.

2. It is NOT true that your driver's license address has to match your current address. You just need a govt. ID with a photo and a signature. Not sure? Call the Supervisor of Election in your county and ask before heading to the polls to early vote.

3. It is NOT true that the police will harass you, check your vehicle registration, or ticket you, etc while you are standing in line to vote. 

4. It is NOT true that voting will raise your taxes or the taxes of your parents.

5. It is NOT true that you can't vote Democrat if you registered Republican.

6. It is NOT true that you will not be allowed to vote if you lost your house through foreclosure

7. It is NOT true that Nov. 5th is voting day for Democrats. yes there are flyers out there that say this). Nov. 4th is the LAST day to vote. 

8. It is NOT true that if you show up to vote and you have outstanding or unpaid parking tickets that the police will be laying in wait to arrest you.

9. It is not true that being a resident alien disqualifies you from voting. All citizens, naturalized or natural-born can vote.

10. It is NOT true that you have to fill out a provisional ballot during early voting. If your right to vote is challenged, ask them what you need to do to make it right, get the situation fixed and then return to the polls before the 4th. If things seem fishy, call 1-877-235-6226 to report it and get help.

11. It is not true that you need a special voting ID or your voter registration card to vote. Some states require a govt. I.D.

12. It is NOT true that you have to commit to residing in the state after graduation in order to vote in the state.

13. Voting "straight ticket" will prevent you from voting for your presidential candidate. Don't do it!
14. It is NOT true that students who live in dorms cannot vote. 

15. It is NOT true that you can vote by phone!!!

Good News in my state:
People in Florida were already willing to stand in line for hours to early vote. As of today our (Republican!) governor, Charlie Christ has extended poll hours from 8 to 4 to 7 to 7. 12 hours a day! to accommodate the huge turnout. 

Lets not let up, people! 
Get out there and vote and after you vote encourage everyone else to vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I am Barack: Obama and the Mixed Movement

My sister, Jilchristina Vest,  an important leader in the mixed movement  and Co-Director of one of the oldest Interracial / Mixedrace organizations in the country, iPride, has started to tell all the mixedblood kids she knows that they are all "Barack". 

When people ask you what you are, she tells them, just say, "I am Barack." She has even had t-shirts printed up on cafepress to get her message across.

Mixed folks are often accosted by complete strangers demanding 
to know "WHAT they are? as if they are not humans, girls, boys, people, artists, etc. As if their existence demands explanation. 

Mixed Studies scholars like myself who have analyzed the racial politics of mixedness know that this behavior is explained by the fact that Americans are notoriously uncomfor
table with racial ambiguity, wedded as we are to our racial classification scheme and its attendant hierarchies of oppression and privilege. If we don't know what race you are how will we know how to treat you?
Jil tells  her youngsters to shout: "Say it loud: I'm Barack and I'm proud, giving a new mixedblood pride  twist to an old black pride saying.

She tells mixed folk, "If people ask you why your mama is white and your daddy is Black tell them, "Because I am Barack!"

If people ask you why your daddy is an immigrant and your mommy is an American, tell them you are Barack!

If people ask you why you look the way you do (i.e. why are you so damn good looking?) tell them you are Barack!

I love being Barack, she tells them. She teaches young mixed people (whether they are Black and white, Black and Chinese, white and Latino, Black and Mexican, or Asian and Native American, etc.) to be proud of who they are despite all the teasing and alienation. 

Be Barack, be proud!

Mixed folk are claiming Barack Obama as their own. Blacks have claimed him, environmentalists have claimed him, working and middle class people of all colors have claimed him, feminists have claimed him. 

Barack Obama is a mixed man arguing for unity, peace, justice and equality across difference. The mixed movement is proud to claim him as one of their own. I am proud. I am Barack! 

Sunday, October 26, 2008


A poem about the mixed race experience

Friday, October 24, 2008

Early Voting and Volunteering for Change: Lets turn Florida Blue!

I early voted! It was easy, despite reports I have heard all week about long lines. The short line I encountered may have had something to do with the early hour (8AM) and the pouring rain. I couldn't find the poling place and walked about in the rain for some time looking for it. The sidewalks were flooded and the rain soaked through my hat, my windbreaker, my jeans and my sneakers. But it was worth it. Whoohooo! Go Obama!

Everybody in the polling place was in a good mood. Well, almost everybody. There was one middle aged white men who scowled at me steadily the whole time I was there. How sad! The 40 people sitting in the polling place (yes, thats right! We had chairs! Too cool!) were an even mixture of African American, Latino Americans, Asian American, and Euro-Americans. In fact it was the most diverse group of people I have ever seen in Volusia county.  Real democracy! I could not stop smiling. 

My chairmate, a well-dressed African American woman on her way to work, meanwhile was stressing about our numbers. She was afraid we would be there all day and she would be late for work. When we arrived we were all given the kind of numbers the butcher gives you and then directed into the polling room. They had a lovely neon LED sign displaying the number being served. We were given  #405 and #406 and the sign was calling for 99. She got very worried. Where are the 300 people who got here before us? And how did they manage to beat us there at 8:15?

Fortunately for her, the numbers were misleading. In ten minutes we were called. And the news just gets better! No computer ballots. No chad ballots. We colored in little bubbles next to our favorite candidates and propositions and deposited them into a big ballot eating machine guarded by one black man and one white man. I feel my ballot is safe. They thanked me for early voting about five times!

I voted against prop 2 which the anti-gay lobby got put on the ballot in their efforts to prevent gay folks from getting married. I am worried about that one. Why are straight people so insecure about their partnerships? Well, I guess if I was a straight man I might be afraid of lesbians. Men can't really compete in the bedroom, can they?........anywho......

After voting I decided to truck my sopping wet, overly ethusiastic self on over to the Obama campaign headquarters to volunteer. I was there so early they weren't open yet but the one intern that was there setting up kindly let me in anyway. He was nice and unassuming and explained the phonebanking to me. He was nothing like the racist white lady who had greeted me that last time I went to volunteer. Refreshing!

At 9 Am he handed me a cell phone and a ridiculously thick multi-page list of names and phone numbers. Three hours later, I had made it through 4 sheets of paper, had called over 70 people, talked to 15, left about 50 messages and tallied up many Obama voters. 

Many of the people on my list were elderly and cranky. They were fun! Nobody wanted to early vote and few had time to volunteer (the standard response to my suggestion that they early vote was  something along the lines of "I'm votin' on votin' day!") but a couple of people gave nice speeches about how great Obama is. They were very enthusiastic.  All but two said they were voting for Obama. Nobody said they were voting for McCain. One 83 year old lady said she was too old to vote (and no she did not want a ride to the polls) but we chatted about her ailing health for awhile before she realized she didn't know me.

There was one man who went off on a rant yelling in my ear that Obama was a liar and was gonna raise our taxes. That was one of my first calls, what a shocker. What do you say to someone like that? I started trying to explain Barack's tax plan to him but it quickly became obvious that engagement was of no interest to him. He called Obama a commie and hung up on me. Really?

After only being there about an hour I became the  source of some campaign office buzz when I reported a case of what appeared to be a possible voting scam recounted to me by a Latina citizen I called. She explained to me that she regrettably could not vote as she was still awaiting her citizenship papers to arrive in the mail but that both her husband and her son were planning to vote. Her husband was worried because someone had called them the night before and told them that the husband was "not on their list" and would not be able to vote. Was that true, she asked me?

I explained to her that nobody on a phone could tell her whether or not she could vote and that she should send hubby to the polls. She told me that the people on the phone said the hubby might not be able to vote for Obama because he was registered as a Republican. "We used to be Republicans but we don't want to vote for Republicans anymore,"she explained. She was really worried.

All the bigwhigs in the office were worried it was a scam. The main Obama field officer asked me one question: was this woman Latina? Yes, I replied, surprised she knew that when I had not told her about the accent or the citizenship issue. She explained that Republicans have been targeting Latino voters and trying to intimidate them out of voting. Scary!

I called the woman back and encouraged her to go vote ASAP. She assured me she had just called her husband and he was on his way. That's right, McCain thugs, you are no match for Obama volunteers!

Are the Republicans that desperate? Really!

On an up note, two African American sistas came to phonebank with me and we had some laughs in between our phone calls. Both had volunteered before and one was volunteering at the polls on election day as well. Impressive! Some of the white folks started to give us hostile looks (too much laughing I guess) and one started to make condescending comments to the older black lady and I knew it was time for me to leave. It was just a matter of time before I was gonna say something. 

I am not a southerner and my tolerance for bad behavior from racists is much lower than it is for the average southern African American. As one Black man in Alabama (who I had a chat with about racism at a rest stop) explained to me once when I was driving to Fl from Seattle, I am what southern white folks call an "outside agitator from up north." I actually get indignant when confronted with racism, speak my mind and confront racists head on. Trouble!

I wish I could volunteer everyday but for some reason I have this annoying thing called a job. Florida is  still a battle-ground state. We need to turn it blue! Hurry, hurry before another racist girl makes up another sorry story about black knife-wielding  Obama supporters targeting McCain voters! Sister, please!

Early Voting in Florida

Its dark out and its raining cats and dogs but I am going off to early vote. I am so excited. I dreamt about the election all night and woke up at the ridiculous hour of 6 Am. I decided to get up and check the early voting schedule and was happy to find the early voting starts at 8 Am today. That means the line probably forms around 7 AM. This is my first day off since early voting began. Normally I would be sleeping very late today but I NEED to vote!

Thousands of Floridians have already voted. The polls have been jam packed every day since they opened them. One to five hour lines I am told -but nobody is complaining. My bank teller, a Latino fellow, told me he has tried to vote twice but could not stay long enough to get to the front of the line. He plans to go back today.

I think for the first time in the history of this country, we people of color feel like we have some one to vote for who cares about us and our concerns. It is exhilarating. We are full of Hope!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feminists for Obama: Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence, and Incest

Obama: Hope for Transformation with Love

In South Dakota and Indiana, anti-choice advocates are trying to pass abortion bans, hillbillies in my neighborhood are stealing Obama signs, and  some fool is calling for the creation of a congressional committee on un-Americans. Sound familiar? Did this imbecile flunk that part of US History? You know, the shameful part where we engaged in the scape-goating and harrassing of politicians, intellectuals, and artists in the name of McCarthyism? Everybody was a commie? Ring any bells?

Yes, these are crazy times we are living in. But they are also hopeful times. I finally had a free moment to head down to the local Obama office to pick up my lawn sign and posters (I Got three) and sign up to volunteer. 

I really believe this man can change things for the better- for all of us: not just the rich or the male or the white or the christian. ALL of us. I initially thought he was far too centrist for my liking (and I am still hoping he will get more progressive with time) but this candidate really does offer hope to this beleagered nation and Powell is right, he is a "transformative" leader. He brings people together and promises real change.

And he did something  that made me smile today. While giving a talk in Florida, some loud-mouthed audience member yelled out, "I love you, Obama" to which Obama replied, "Love you Back!"

Love is the only thing that can transform hate and fear and confusion and conflict. Lets all love each other back.

AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka on Racism and Obama


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good Idea, Powell! Lets Respect ALL Americans

I just returned from Pittsburgh where I am happy to report I saw twice as many Obama bumper stickers as McCain bumper stickers. I also came home to see many more Obama yard signs springing up in the neighboring town, not known for its progressive populace. In general though I must say that I have not seen many bumper or street signs for either candidate. 

I can't help wondering if maybe people are keeping their choice to themselves because the don't want their neighbors to know who they are voting for. So many conservatives and Republicans are jumping camp, I suspect there are a bunch of closet Obama supporters.

Republican Colin Powell, the most famous fence-jumper,  made a statement today endorsing Democratic Obama and providing  a great analysis of both candidates.

But he did more than that. He criticized some of the anti-American aspects of the ugly turn this campaign has taken of late. He decried the anti- Muslim sentiments being expressed by the McCain campaign and more generally by conservatives in this country- especially via email and talk radio. Everybody is afraid to defend Muslims and to remind people that it is a mistake to disparage  a whole religion just because the United States has enemies who are also Muslim.

I for one am sick of hearing all the anti-Muslim rhetoric. Hate speech is hate speech regardless of who you are taking hatefully about.

Many Americans are Muslim and they deserve just as much respect as Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American Church, Spiritualist, Vodun, and Daoist Americans.

The word American is NOT synonymous with white or Christian. All Americans deserve respect.

Thank you, Secretary Powell for reminding Americans that derisive and divisive demagoguery is always a bad idea.

Republican Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

A very detailed and well-argued statement explaining why Obama is the best choice for president

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama May Indeed Be Too Awesome (Dinner Speech, part 2)


Obama at Al Smith Dinner -Part 1-

What the Real Joe (and Jane) Plumbers Want:

The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters has endorsed Barack Obama.

Joe the Plumber is not a plumber????

Newest info out: Joe the plumber s NOT a plumber! He has no plumbing license in Toledo.

According to the local chapter of the Plumbers Union:

“All contractors are licensed, and he does not have a license, either as a contractor or a plumber,” the union official said, citing a search of government records. “I can’t find that he’s ever even applied for any kind of apprenticeship, and he has never belonged to local 189 in Columbus, which is what he claims on his Facebook page.” (NYTimes)

The Truth about Joe the plumber

Joe just interviewed in Ohio and guess what?

1. Joe is NOT middle class if he is telling the truth about his income. He is rich but uneducated.
2. Joe likes to hunt and fish and thinks he should be able to buy a high speed fishing boat instead of pay more taxes. He currently owes back taxes.
3. Joe @ 250,000/year would make more money than 85% of all Americans although he calls himself "just a plumber".
4. Joe thinks it is great we went into Iraq and thinks we delivered freedom to the Iraquis and that it was like saving a person who doesnt know Jesus ( Joe is a Christian)
5. Joe has contempt for the poor- he complained that poor people in the United States have cell phones. His words: "People work the system left and right to get more out of welfare, to get more out of state assistance, federal assistance."
6. Was very upset when he found out at 18 that he is a "yankee" and was not born in the South.
7. His real name is Samuel Joe Wurzelbacher
8. He is a single father to one son and drives a Durango.
9. Joe likes to bemoan his poor childhood but identifies with the rich. His words: "you need rich people. I mean, who are you going to work for?"
10. Joe is a conservative, registered Republican, and belongs to a fringe radical right wing group but now says he doesn't remember joining it

Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe the Plumber and Sacrificing Women

Just home from a video-watching debate held at a local pub. I orderd ginger ale, ate olives and laughed and cheered along with a group of mostly 50-70 year old white progressives and a a few local drunks heckling on both sides. I was one of two people of color and among a handful under 50.

In what was by far the most exciting debate thus far, we saw Obama confront McCain on his offensive audience members, explain his healthcare program in some detail and explain fair trade to us. MCCain reminded us, as he and Palin are fond of doing these days, that Americans are angry. He also made it clear that he, John McCain was angry and introduced us to a mythical figure, John the plumber who he warns is becoming angry.

McCain appeared to be reading from a script and often avoided answering the questions and retreated to his talking points coming across at times as confused and incoherent. He really looked lost and frustrated half of the time. Obama was llke a rock who could not be moved.

McCain also let us know that he did not think women's health was important and that women should be forced to have babies even if their doctors said it would kill them to do so. What the*%&??????

McCain's high point was when he told Obama that if he wanted to run against Bush he would have had to run 4 years ago. Quite a zinger. Too bad that he failed at any time in the 90 minute debate to distinguish himself from Bush. Why can't he? This was his last chance.

Obama did a good job of pointing out the lies McCain told regarding Ayers, Acorn, his tax plan, and his so-called associates. He also explained his economic policies, health policies, and education policies in some detail. McCain only had one educational policy- vouchers. He parroted over and over his lie that Obama plans to raise taxes. I think McCain's campaign people should watch the fact-checking shows on TV. Their lies have been exposed ad nauseum. Why do they keep repeating them? Are they stupid? Are they appealling to the mentally challenged or to people who don't watch TV news? What are they thinking?

Obama cleverly pointed out that McCain's claims to be interested in helping special needs kids were insincere given his promise to freeze the entire federal budget.

McCain never responded to Obama on specific points giving the debate a one-sided feel to it. Obama responded directly to critiques made by McCain but McCain never responded to Obama's critiques which seemed odd.

The weirdest performance in the debate was that given by Joe the Plumber. Who is he and why am I supposed to identify with this white man? Androcentrism is played out. White men do not form the majority of this country and the majority of us do not make more than 250,000 dollars a year, regardless of occupation.

Joe the rich plumber does not represent me or you. My body is not a baby-breeding machine and I am not wiling to die for some man who thinks I am a second class citizen whose life and health is of peripheral importance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fact-Checking the Election Every Step of the Way

My mom thinks I should listen to Chris Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. She says that as her daughter I should "do what she tells me" by, among other things, listening to her favorite conservative radio talk show hosts. As a gay woman of color I do not think I should subject myself to racist, sexist, homophobic hate speech VOLUNTARILY. Filial piety has its limits!

But maybe my mom is right. It seems that if I had been listening to right wing talk radio, I would have known about Joe the plumber weeks before he "won" the last presidential debate (according to McCain). And then, instead of wasting time writing expose blogs on this fellow, I could have moved on to other news.

Like all the lies McCain told during the debate ( on taxes, Columbia, Roe V. Wade, Supreme court justices, nuclear waste,Ayers, etc.)

But then why should I bother? Anyone can check and truth Anyone can watch CNN's factcheck show. I recommend everyone do so on a regular basis!

Apparently McCain, in his technological illiteracy doesnt know that his lies are checkable. If he did, would he have celebrated Joe the man who is not a plumber but a contractor, who makes only $40,000 a year, is not panning to buy a small business, and is not an undecided voted but a registered Republican. Apparently Joe the plumber did not know his facts would be checked either.

We only have 18 days left, people. Lets get out there and spread information, not misinformation!

Then lets all vote!

Loving Vs Virginia: 40th Anniversary of Interracial Marriage

1967 Loving Vs. Virginia. Why I am here. Why Obama is here. Lets keep fighting against the hate!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palin Abused Power According to Alaskan Legislators

"I did nothing wrong" Palin insists after a bipartisan committee created by a Republican-controlled committee of Alaskan legislators published a 263-page report declaring that she "abused the powers of her office." and violated "the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."

According to the Washington Post, the Republican-appointed Investigator Steven Branchflower, "found that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin abused her executive power when she and her husband engaged in a campaign to oust her former brother-in-law from the state police force." (James V, Grimaldi and Kimberly Kindy),

The Alaska Legislature’s bipartisan Legislative Council unanimously commissioned the investigation in July, a month before Palin was chosen as John McCain's running mate.

According to the New York Times, "In the report, the independent investigator, Stephen E. Branchflower, a former prosecutor in Anchorage, said that Ms. Palin wrongfully allowed her husband, Todd, to use state resources as part of the effort to have Trooper Wooten dismissed." (Serge F. Kovaleski)

Although he was never elected to any public office, apparently the "First Dude" thinks he has a say in how the government is run?

The report says Sarah Palin knowingly “permitted Todd Palin to use the governor’s office and the resources of the governor’s office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired.”

But the report doesn't just blame the unelected spouse of wrongdoing. The report accuses Gov. Palin of violating a statute (39.52 110(a)) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act which reads:

"The legislature affirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

The report found that Palin abused that public trust and acted unethically for personal gain. Sounds a lot less like "maverick" or reform behavior and a whole lot more like "the old boys network" where even unelected boys have power.

Palin is un-phased by this legislative condemnation. She has decided she is not to blame and guess who is?

In a desperate move to avoid taking responsibility for her actions Palin has gone to the extreme of blaming Obama for the findings of her own state legislature.


Really! There seems no limit to what the McCain/Palin ticket is willing to blame on others, especially their opponent.

The McCain/Palin campaign spokeswoman explained that " the report showed that the investigation was a “partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters." And Palin has been stumping claiming this investigation is an Obama-pressured plot against her.

Really? Are they really trying to claim that Obama's reach is that far? That he controls the Alaskan legislature? Really?

But why not when according to McCain and Palin, Obama is also responsible for:
1) the decline of the entire economy (because, like McCain, he has worked with Fannie May lobbyists?)
2) the injuries faced by American troops in Iraq (like McCain, he voted against body armor. Cindy McCain has amnesia about the fact that McCain voted against another version of the same bill, thus denying troops body armor the same year)
3) Palin's inability to answer simple questions posed by the press (the liberal gotcha media composed entirely of Obama supporters who puppet-like he also apparently controls?)

Now Obama is also responsible for Palin's abuse of power. Really? Are they serious?

We don't need a woman who lets her husband control her even after she is elected to a major public office, representing women in the white house. We don't need a "first dude" in the White House.

We don't need a liar, who when caught lies more and blames others for her misdeeds, to be one heartbeat away from running the country.

CNN: Palin abuse case

The worst kind of liar: the kind who keeps lying after she is caught

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CNN: Palin Found to be lying About Obama

Palin's claim found to be false after fact-checked

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The T word: McCain and Palin's Latest Desperate Tactic

When all else fails, go for an ad hominem attack. Cant beat your opponent on issues? On policies? On solutions to America's financial crisis? Well, you can always go after his or her character. And if you cant go after anything he or she specifically has done or said that you disagree with, then its best to play the terrorist card. After all, anyone who gets called a terrorist is ipso facto a very bad man.

The only problem with this is that the word terrorist is now being bandied about with real abandon. It is being used more as a generalized derisive heckle than as an actual description these days.

People can be labled terrorists for having a particular religious practice (Islam), for looking South Asian or Arab (like me or Obama), for having a name that sounds similar to that of a terrorist (like Osama) or for living in the same neighborhood as someone who might once have been a terrorist (like Ayers).

All this terrorist name-calling is the racism of the new world order. Racists cant come right out and say they don't want Obama because he is black or half-black or brown. They can't say they don't want anyone who is not 100% black. They cant say they would rather have a dishonest old guy and incompetent young woman who are both white than anyone not white, no matter how competent.

So they do what they can. They call him by his suspiciously Muslim sounding middle name. They cal him mysterious, sneaky, unknown, dishonest (all racial stereotypes typically attributed to Arabs) and they try to paint him as a foreigner (as if suddenly Hawaii is not a part of the United States).

The McCain/Palin ticket is desperate and they are appealing to the racists among us to join their panic.

Too bad its too late for that tactic to work. Obama has already won the war. Despite the racists. Racism is irrational and it is taking our country a very long time to figure that out..... but by and by I DO think we are learning to be better than that.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SNL Parody of the Debate

Palin mastered not answering questions and Biden was excessively effusive

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin/Biden Debate: Anti-Intellectualism, Class, and Meanness

After seeing Sarah Palin debate, I have to admit she is a skilled rhetoritician and to be honest after five gaffes in 8 days, my expectations for her were pretty low. The fact that she got through the entire debate without getting too tangled up in any tongue-tying grammatically incorrect incoherencies was truly surprising. Too bad she had nothing of substance to say and refused to answer most of the questions. But what was most appalling about her performance was her suoerficiality, her anti-intellectualism, and her complete disregard for the truth. Have we reached a new low in electoral politics?

Why was misrepresenting the truth a central debate strategy for Palin? Is she really still still saying that Obama wants to raise taxes when every news source in the country has revealed that as a lie? Is she really still claiming McCain had a pivotal role in the bailout bill when all reports indicate he had a marginal or destructive role if any? And did she think none of us listened to the Presidential debate ourselves and that we would believe her misrepresentation of it when she claimed Obama had called for talks with terrorists while she and McCain were devoted to diplomacy? McCain was very clearly arguing against diplomacy. Sitting down to talk with leaders you disagree with is the definition of diplomacy. She repeated the lie that McCain supports regulation of Wall Street when his entire record suggests otherwise and when Katie Couric asked her to name one instance of him voting for regulation she could not.

Governor Palin claims she is "Joe Six-Pack," meanwhile her yearly household income is over a quarter of a million. She is rich, not middle class, not working class, not poor. What she does have in common with many people who are working class is a substandard education. She attended five different colleges before finally getting a bachelors degree in journalism. Despite her background in journalism she now claims all reporters are elitist and out to get her with "gotcha journalism." Her running mate is still less educated than she is, having only attended the US Naval Academy where he was ranked the 894th out of 899 students. Neither one of them is working class. Neither one of them was denied opportunities to get education but both of them were poor students and neither of them has pursued the higher levels of education their class status gave them access to.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, might have been too smart to debate Palin. He actually answered every question (save one) he was asked and actually gave reasons, cited dates, and recited facts. He actually demonstrated intimate knowledge of foreign policy and a thorough understanding of legislative history. Palin, for her part, was very good at towing the Republican party line. She also lied a lot. For the life of me I still cant understand how her ticket can lie so much with a straight face. But she had almost no content and was very good at changing the subject, appealing to jingoism and talking in condescending and hostile tones about Joe Biden. She came across as a remarkably mean-spirited person but not a passionate mean-spirited person. She did not seem to be guided by any sense of justice or any real political mission. "Say it isnt so, Joe?" Really?

Biden meanwhile spent all of his time being civil, calm, and polite. He never attacked Palin, not once. Although she attacked him on a personal level, he was careful never to take an aggressive stance towards her, never critiquing her record or her positions on anything. I think he should be commended for this. After watching all her embarrassing interviews this week, I for one would not have been able to keep a straight face while she spoke if I were debating her.

What Palin does have is a real command of fake folksy appeal, superficial cutsey poses and colloquial expressions devoid of any content, designed it appears, to manipulate what she must think is a decidedly stupid electorate. While she repeated vague expressions and stock vocabulary, Biden kept providing detailed policy proposals and making detailed contrasts between the goals and records of Senators McCain and Obama.

Palin was unable to answer the only hard question she got - that regarding what the constitution says the role of the vice president is. I don't know why the questions were all so easy. Was the moderator afraid of embarrassing her after Palin endured so many embarrassing interviews this week? Who knows.

Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act (which McCain voted against twice). And he cried! The man has ovaries! Women's rights will be much safer on his watch.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain's sexist, racist, homophobic record

John McCain calls himself a maverick but when it comes to his positions on race, gender, and sexuality, his views either line up with or are to the right of those of George W. Bush. In case the fact that he wants to spend "a hundred years" in Iraq, fighting endlessly regardless of whether or not we can ever achieve anything in the way of a goal there isn't enough, his racist, sexist and homophobic views may give us all even more reason to oppose his candidacy.

To familiarize ourselves with McCain's position on women's issues, we may want to look at the Republican platform, which according to the National Organization of Women (NOW), "supports a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would undo Roe v. Wade, and legislation granting Fourteenth Amendment rights to "unborn children," which would treat an abortion as murder in all fifty states. The platform also declares allegiance to the global gag rule, rejects the ratification of CEDAW and calls for increased funding for abstinence-only education." In addition, McCain has opposed legislation which would require equal pay for equal work and take on the wage gap that results in [white] women getting only 77 cents on the dollar a [white] man makes. Women of color make even less. According to the National Organization of Women, "African-American women [are] paid only 71 cents and Latinas just 58 cents on... [a white man's] dollar."

With regard to his racist views, Mccain voted repeatedly against making Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday and even after the law was passed, supported the then Arizona governor's decision to rescind the state's observation of the holiday in his state. Additionally, according to the New York Times (2000) McCain has argued that the confederate flag is a symbol of heritage not racism. He also voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1990 four times.

As for his views on gay right, according to the Human Rights Campaign, "like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes equal benefits for same-sex couples. Like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination against GLBT Americans in the workplace. Like President Bush, Senator McCain opposes expanding the hate crimes act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Like President Bush, Senator McCain supports the military’s discriminatory "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy."

What more do we need to know about this man?