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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scout Tufankjian: On Barack

For a bit of inspiration see the Scout Tufankjian photos of Barack Obama and family.

Scout Tufankjian is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Clients include Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Le Monde, Newsday, and The New York Times. She is represented by Polaris Images and supports the Boston Red Sox. Yes, even now. Prize Photos of Barack: Must See on left.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Zakaria : Palin Should Leave Ticket

Sarah Palin has lasted about two weeks longer than I thought she would. Recent weeks have seen considerable divisions among conservatives about her qualifications. Partisan politicians and a few ideologues hail her praises. For many of the right wing intellectuals, Palin is John McCain's Harriett Meyers. Finally, with the help of Katie Couric and Tina Fey, the illegitimacy of this candicacy is exposed further by Fareed Zakaria should mean that her days are numbered. Is is really possible that she will survive the Veep debate?

The McCain candidacy reveals over and over again the bankruptcy of conservatism and the Republican label. It's not only McCain who tries to hide from being a Republican. Democrats in Oregon are has taken Republican to court to force them to display their party label. See Rossi Campaign

The polls seem to show the race to be close and it may be. However, it is clear that Barack Obama is the superior candidate for the American people. Even so, there is considerable concern and, among some downright pessimism, that white America will elect a black man president of the U.S. At issue is whether or not for many whites their racism will trump their intelligence, their self-interests. Not only is McCain running away from being a Republican, he is so desparate that his candidacy is losing all of its coherence. The Palin selection is just a recent example of the wheels coming off.

While the skeptics and naysayers remain, Barack's historic break throughs -- winning in Iowa, winning the nomination in competition with the most powerful name in the Democratic party, historic voter registration drives, record-breaking fundraising, and his winning the foreign relations debate -- all demonstrate America's readiness for his message of change.

While I may be proven wrong, of course, there is reason to remain optimistic that Obama will not only win, but will win by a landslide. My 50-state victory might be a bit over the top, the McCain campaign and the Republicans continue to bolster the possibility. As problematic as the "investment" bill may have been, it was defeated for the very reason that we are in this mess to begin with. The Republican opposition wants more deregulated unfettered free market capitalism!!

Congressman Darrel Issa of California said the "investment bill" spelled the end of "the Reagan Revolution." For very different reasons he is correct. It's not the so-called bailout that spells the end of the Reagan revolution. That the nation is on the brink economic disaster is a direct result of a mentality and ideology that the government is the problem. The irresponsility of the Republiicans make just make the 50 state goal a possibility.

The brink of economic disaster spells doom for the Republicans. As Pat Buchanan has admitted, the Republicans face as disaster. The debacle of Sarah Palin being the candidate for Vice President is nothing more than a wreck on its way to happen. RGN

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist
PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International

Palin Is Ready? Please.

Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where--where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to--to our state."

There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond that, read the rest of her response. "It is from Alaska that we send out those ..." What does this mean? This is not an isolated example. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.") But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.

Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial sector. It was designed to see if Palin understood that the problem in this crisis is that credit and liquidity in the financial system has dried up, and that that's why, in the estimation of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the government needs to step in to buy up Wall Street's most toxic liabilities. Here's the entire exchange:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

This is nonsense--a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head. Some commentators, like CNN's Campbell Brown, have argued that it's sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.

Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.

Domestically, the bailout and reform of the financial industry will take years and hundreds of billions of dollars. Health-care costs, unless curtailed, will bankrupt the federal government. Social Security, immigration, collapsing infrastructure and education are all going to get much worse if they are not handled soon.

And the American government is stretched to the limit. Between the Bush tax cuts, homeland-security needs, Iraq, Afghanistan and the bailout, the budget is looking bleak. Plus, within a few years, the retirement of the baby boomers begins with its massive and rising costs (in the trillions).

Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the McCain Campaign

A Freddie Mac Money Trail Catches Up With McCain
Monday 06 October 2008

by: Michael Isikoff and Holly Bailey, Newsweek
Rick Davis' lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, was paid $15,000 a month between 2006 and August 2008 for providing lobbying services to Freddie Mac.

Few advisers in John McCain's inner circle inspire more loyalty from him than campaign manager Rick Davis. McCain and his wife, Cindy, credit the shrewd, and sometimes volatile, Republican insider with rescuing the campaign last year when it was out of money and on the verge of collapse. As a result, McCain has always defended him - even when faced with tough questions about the foreign lobbying clients of Davis's high-powered consulting firm. "Rick is a friend, and I trust him," McCain told NEWSWEEK last year.

Last week, though, McCain's trust in Davis was tested again amid disclosures that Freddie Mac, the troubled mortgage giant that was recently placed under federal conservatorship, paid his campaign manager's firm $15,000 a month between 2006 and August 2008. As the mortgage crisis has escalated, almost any association with Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae has become politically toxic. But the payments to Davis's firm, Davis Manafort, are especially problematic because he requested the consulting retainer in 2006 - and then did barely any work for the fees, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement who asked not to be identified discussing Freddie Mac business. Aside from attending a few breakfasts and a political-action-committee meeting with Democratic strategist Paul Begala (another Freddie consultant), Davis did "zero" for the housing firm, one of the sources said. Freddie Mac also had no dealings with the lobbying firm beyond paying monthly invoices - but it agreed to the arrangement because of Davis's close relationship with McCain, the source said, which led top executives to conclude "you couldn't say no."

The McCain campaign told reporters the fees were irrelevant because Davis "separated from his consulting firm … in 2006," according to the campaign's Web site, and he stopped drawing a salary from it. In fact, however, when Davis joined the campaign in January 2007, he asked that his $20,000-a-month salary be paid directly to Davis Manafort, two sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal campaign business told NEWSWEEK. Federal campaign records show the McCain campaign paid Davis Manafort $90,000 through July 2007, when a cash crunch prompted Davis and other top campaign officials to forgo their salaries and work as volunteers. Separately, another entity created and partly owned by Davis - an Internet firm called 3eDC, whose address was the same office building as Davis Manafort's - received payments from the McCain campaign for Web services, collecting $971,860 through March 2008. In an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, a senior McCain official said that when the campaign began last year, it signed a contract with Davis Manafort "in which we purchased all of [Davis's] time, and he agreed not to work for any other clients." The official also said that though Davis was an "investor" in 3eDC, Davis has received no salary from it. As to why Davis permitted the Freddie Mac payments to continue, the official referred NEWSWEEK to Davis Manafort, which did not respond to repeated phone calls. One senior McCain adviser said the entire flap could have been avoided if the campaign had resisted attacking Barack Obama for his ties to two former Fannie Mae executives, which prompted the media to take a second look at Davis. "It was stupid," the adviser said. "A serious miscalculation and an amateurish move." Still, this adviser said, McCain's faith in his campaign manager remains unswerving.

Ron Walters: Obama in Debate and at The CBC

Below is an an update from the "sage" on black presidential politics, Dr. Ron Walters. Walters gives Obama a triple for the debate. He cites the consensus of the polls that Barack won the debate. Walters points out several opportunities that Barack could have delivered a knockout blow to several of McCain's deceptions and lies. Evidently, Barack thought substance was more important than an acrimonious distracting exchange with McCain, who bullied his way through the evening. One of attributes that makes Barack such an extraordinary candidate is that he is so extraordinary. Regardless of how those of us who have been engaged in struggle might have been predisposed to refute McCain, Barack shows the temperment to be recognized as being presidential to a white America in the heat of battle. Barack could not see the CNN audience reaction tracking line but his dignity produced positive reactions while the reaction to McCain's belligerance took the downward negative turn. Even in his presentation, and has it has been in his masterful campaign, Barack's judgement is to be trusted. That was Barack's triple, now for his home run.

For those who questioned Barack's authenticity, the report of his keynote speech at the Congressional Black Causus weekend should lay to rest any questions about where Barack Obama has always stood on issues related to the black and poor communities. Seemingly, he hit the ball out of the park in front of America's "black political class." Hopefully, his critics will now give him his due and hold the negative attacks that argue his election will make matters worse when it comes to battling racism. My question is: what was expected?

Barack was a community organizer, not an organizer for some leftist political party, but an organizer for rather mainstream organizations attempting to address economic injustice. That was his DNA. Some of the churches that hired him to address these ills were paying his salary with faith-based funds. It was this life that took him to Trinity United Christian Church, Jeremiah Wright's congregation. Helping the people has been his life choice. For all of the wrong reasons, Fox News did tell us something very important about Barack Obama. It was Fox the made the point that Barack was "in that church for 21 years." Except for the self-destructive diabolical behaivior of Jeremiah Wright during the campaign, a faith commitment based upon the pillars of black liberation theology should have, in and of itself, provided his bona fides in the black community. As Wright's message was more universal than portrayed, Barack's message is more universal.

Being President of the United States requires universality, he must solve the problems of all of America's citizens, including that consituency that took him to politics. Barack's grandparents were working class. His mother was an intellectual committed to justice without regard to race. An African American with working class roots as president of the United States will represent a profound change in how America is perceived and how it will perceive itself. Triples and home runs are great but he must win the game. "Yes We Can" as long as we make it happen.

Simply put Barack Obama is the right person at the right time. He has the unique qualities and following in his movement to replace the now defunct "Reagan Revolution" with progressive change in this country that opposes economic injustice, racism, sexism, gender discrimination, and other forms of invidious discrimination. RGN

Obama Hits a Triple at the Debate, A Home run at the CBC
By Ron Walters

By all accounts Barack Obama won the first of the presidential debates on September 26 over John McCain, who was widely considered to have more experience in foreign affairs. He won by exceeding expectations, exhibiting that he had a substantial grasp of issues and that he was presidential, while McCain talked in generalities and showed his disdain for Obama, not according him proper acknowledgment by refusing to look at him. But whatever advantage McCain was thought to have over Obama by his familiarity with various heads of state and, as he intoned, having been involved in every major crisis in foreign policy in the past 25 years, Obama came back several times, diminishing McCain’s winning points.

For example, when McCain alluded to the fact that he had a bracelet from a woman whose son had been killed in Iraq, Obama countered with his own bracelet, squelching McCain’s emotional point. When McCain charged that Obama didn’t understand the “Surge,” Obama countered that McCain seemed to think the war began in 2007, then dramatically stated since the war began in 2003, McCain had been wrong about the reason for its start, wrong about how American troops would be received, and wrong about the tension between Sunni and Shia factions. And there were others.

Nevertheless, it was also somewhat unnerving to hear him say at least seven times that McCain was right; for him not to counter McCain repeated message that Obama didn’t understand, to see McCain muscle him out of responses several times because Jim Lehrer was not in control of the debate; to see him not follow up on several obvious openings such as his definition of the “success” of the Surge, McCain’s slavish support of George Bush’s policies, McCain’s lack of support for Veterans, and others.

I understand the problem he has. On one hand, he can’t feed into the “angry black man” racial image and turn off some white voters; on the other, he has to establish a level of policy competence and physical ease that lets him appear presidential. But I give him a triple because he could have been much better.

Then next evening, however, when Barack Obama stepped on the stage to give the keynote speech at Congressional Black Caucus annual dinner, that he was home could be witnessed by everybody who was on their feet, rocking to the music of, “Here I am baby, signed sealed delivered, I’m yours….” Obama was given the CBC’s Harold Washington Award, named after the former mayor of his home City and he proceeded to acknowledge those who had paved his way – again, leaving out Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. who sat at a table in front of him.

But as Obama got into his speech and began to warm up, he answered the criticism of me and others, by dealing with critical aspects of the Black Agenda. Time and again, he brought the crowd to its feet by observing that this historical moment was not just about him, but about the children who might benefit and who might live to actually see a black person in the White House. He defined change with his stock presentation on issues like ending the Iraq war, enacting health adequate insurance and health care, and ending the failed No Child Left Behind education program. He also linked shoring up inadequate schools in poor neighborhoods to college attendance and good jobs.

Most important, he showed that he was conversant with the problems of urban America, pointing to the need to deal with poverty, promoting job training and ending mass incarceration by rolling back punitive legislation. And he felt that we should not only be “tough on crime,” but smart on crime. Gone was the patronizing language of moral responsibility as the only solution. This was not only good for the audience to hear assembled there, but it was fuel for the fundraising that he and Michele were doing in town, and for the message of a strong black turnout that rippled through the CBC forums all week long.

So, I give Obama a Home Run for his performance at the CBC and feel that he has not only put many of the questions raised to rest, he also teed up a number of issues he will bring to the table in the debates on domestic issues.

Dr. Ron Walters is the Distinguished Leadership Scholar and Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland College Park. One of his latest books is: Freedom Is Not Enough: Black Voters, Black Candidates and American Presidential Politics (Rowman and Littlefield)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is the Maverick Really a Racist or Does He Just Use Racists Tactics?

The Racism of the Republicans continues. This year's Willie Horton is Franklin Raines. McCain is so inept that he has no choice but for his campaign to show their racism. Spread the word!!!

See John McCain's Racist ad!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Problem???: Barack Not Funding GOTV in Black Community

Ron Walters has 24 years experience in presidential politics. As a major adviser to Jesse Jackson, Walters was a key player in the 1984 and 1988 campaigns. He has written widely on blacks and presidential politics. Ron offers a critique of the Obama campaign in this election. RGN

Obama Not Funding Black Community Turnout

By Ron Walters

While all of us are understandably proud of the showing that Barack Obama is making this presidential election, I continue to also point out the cost. Symbolic of this is that while the National Baptist Convention was meeting in Cincinnati recently, Barack was in Akron giving a major education speech just 52 miles up the road. And although he sent Michele Obama to the convention, she delivered a largely pedestrian speech urging blacks to get out and vote that was – again – silent about how Barack would address the pressing questions at the heart of the black community.

Earlier on, I noted that Radio One recently had a $7 million deficit for the first quarter of this year and wondered how it is that a black owned radio empire could run a deficit in the middle of a presidential campaign if it was receiving the add revenue from the campaigns that it has in the past. The Obama Campaign raised $66 million in the month of August, yet although it has announced a vigorous voter registration drive for the black community, it doesn’t seem to have taken funding the black civic culture into account.

In Freedom Is Not Enough I wrote that in 2004 election, American Coming Together (ACT), a white Democratic-leaning 527 organization funded by a collection of rich donors like George Soros went around black civic and religious organizations and sponsored its own voter turnout drive in the black community. Legions of kids with Blackberries showed in places where the NAACP, Urban League, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, black churches, black labor unions and local black civic organizations had worked for years to turnout the black vote successfully. The result was that not only were many of the black organizations de-funded, but our strong black churches and civic organizations were pushed aside to make way for professional canvassers.

Again in this election cycle, I have heard stories of young whites showing up in black communities to register black voters. While on the face of it, this would be a good exercise in race relations, this is a game of community power. The power of the black community in elections has always resided not only in its turnout but in the fact that the turnout was controlled by black leadership. There is an old law of politics that he who controls the voter controls the power that it represents. So, when blacks were turned out by strong white-controlled urban machines in the first half of the 20th century, those white bosses owned the power of the black vote and they used it for their own ends.

One of the major objectives of the Civil Rights movement was not only to enable blacks to vote in big numbers and to have their vote have an impact in the political system, it was that it should be controlled by black leadership who would do the bargaining for issues with that system. Is this basic fact of politics now to be sacrificed in a “post-civil rights” world?

The Obama campaign is using the same tactics of ACT, financing thousands of young kids coming into black communities to register black voters, when from my brief survey, traditional black organizations who have done this for years have received no funding from the campaign. Now, there are some legal issues here that complicate 501c3 organizations receiving direct funding from political campaigns and the fact that the Obama campaign has raised more money than the Democratic party and leaned on 527s not to come into the game. But it seems to me that they could have been worked out to enable the Obama campaign to be an empowerment vehicle for the black community.

So, it was somewhat ironic to me that Michele Obama would urge a convention of Black Baptist ministers to turn out their people to vote – at the last minute in the campaign, with no accompanying funding mechanism – when blacks have criticized the Democratic party for years for doing the same thing. I think that the Obama campaign, when all is said and done, should be more than something we can point to with pride insofar as he ran a good campaign. This campaign will have raised hundreds of millions of collars, most of which will have gone into the white community. Is that also something we should be proud of?

This is another feature of the accountability of this campaign to the black community and my view is that those who have been critical of the Democratic party all these years cannot now give Obama a pass just because he is black.

Dr. Ron Walters is the Distinguished Leadership Scholar and Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland College Park. One of his latest books is: Freedom Is Not Enough: Black Voters, Black Candidates and American Presidential Politics (Rowman and Littlefield)

Credentials and Race: Obama and McCain

How Racism Works

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?

What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the "Keating 5"?

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

- Kelvin LaFond, Fort Worth

Don't forget: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage
Naomi Wolf
Posted September 22, 2008 | 06:34 PM (EST)
The Battle Plan II: Sarah "Evita" Palin, the Muse of the Coming Police State

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah "Evita" Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state.

You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand "Palin Power." A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections -- but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections.

Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you have freedom.

I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites ("the heart of America is on display") and realized Bush's speechwriters were writing her -- not McCain's -- speeches. I heard her tell George Bush's lies -- not McCain's -- to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. I heard her make fun of Barack Obama for wanting to prevent the torture of prisoners -- this is Rove-Cheney's enthusiastic S and M, not McCain's, who, though he shamefully colluded in the 2006 Military Tribunals Act, is also a former prisoner of war and wrote an eloquent Newsweek piece in 2005 opposing torture. I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist (neutral lipstick, matte makeup, dark colors) who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit --but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.

Then I saw and heard more. Palin is embracing lawlessness in defying Alaskan Legislature subpoenas --this is what Rove-Cheney, and not McCain, believe in doing.

She uses mafia tactics against critics, like the police commissioner who was railroaded for opposing handguns in Alaskan battered women's shelters -- Rove's style, not McCain's. I realized what I was seeing.

Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.

What's the plan? It is this. McCain doesn't matter. Reputable dermatologists are discussing the fact that in simply actuarial terms, John McCain has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer. It is the elephant in the room, but we must discuss the health of the candidates: doctors put survival rates for someone his age at two to four years. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them.

If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future -- for a decade perhaps -- a puppet "president" for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.

How, you may ask, can I assert this? How can I argue, as I now do, that there is actually a war being ramped up against US citizens and our democracy and that Sarah Palin is the figurehead and muse for that war?

Look at the RNC. This is supposed to be McCain's America. But you see the unmistakable theatre of Rove's S and M imagery -- and you see stages eight, nine and ten of the steps to a dictatorship as I outlined them in The End of America.

Preemptive arrest? Abusive arrest? "Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing."

Journalists were arrested -- for reporting. Amy Goodman and ABC producers were arrested. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and others were forced to lie face down as armed agents tied their hands behind their backs. The riot police wore the black S&M gear of the Rovian fantasy life and carried the four foot batons cops carry in North Korea. All this is not John McCain's imagery or strategy: it is Karl Rove's.

In McCain-Palin's America, citizens who are protesting are being charged as terrorists. This means that a violent war had been declared on American citizens. A well known reporter leaked to me on background that St Paul police had dressed as protesters and, dressed in Black -- shades of the Blackshirts of 1920 -- infiltrated protest groups. There were also phalanxes of men in black wearing balaclavas, linking arms and behaving menacingly -- alleged "anarchists." Let me tell you, I have been on the left for thirty years and you can't get three lefties to wear the same t-shirt to a rally, let alone link arms and wear identical face masks: these are not our guys. Agent Provocateurs framing protesters and calling protest "terrorism" constitutes step ten of a police state:

"In what appears to be the first use of criminal charges under the 2002 Minnesota version of the Federal Patriot Act, Ramsey County Prosecutors have formally charged 8 alleged leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism... [they] 7 1/2 years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge which allows for a 50% increase in the maximum penalty."

"Paid, confidential informants... infiltrated the RNCWC on behalf of law enforcement. They allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, assault police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. Evidence released to date does not corroborate these allegations with physical evidence or provide any other evidence for these allegations than the claims of the informants. Based on past abuses of such informants by law enforcement, the National Lawyers Guild is concerned that such police informants have incentives to lie and exaggerate threats of violence and to also act as provocateurs in raising and urging support for acts of violence."

Under the Palin-Rove police state, you will see escalating infringements on your access to a free internet:

"Sarah Palin was baptized at Wasilla Assembly of God...Last Sunday our research team released a video, a ten-minute mini-documentary, focusing on the Wasilla Assemblies of God and the video seemed on the verge of a massive "viral" breakthrough when YouTube pulled it down, citing 'inappropriate content'. At the point the video was censored by YouTube it had been viewed by almost 160,000 people. The short of it is that YouTube has censored a video documentary that appeared to be close to having an effect on a hard fought and contentious American presidential election..."

Under the coming Palin-Rove police state, you will witness the plans now underway to bring Iraqi troops to patrol the streets of our nation. This is not McCain's fantasy: it is Rove's and Cheney's.

Under the Palin-Rove police state, there will be no further true elections. Mark Crispin Miller has done sensational and under-reported investigating t o establish that -- as I warned -- indeed the GOP staffers on the US Senate Judiciary Committee have been .

The evidence is also buried on the Website of the Majority House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

WASHINGTON -- Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

>From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications witho ut a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

-- "Senate panel's GOP staff spied on Democrats" By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | January 22, 2004

Do you think that spying like this will ever end under a Palin-Rove regime? Dream on. If she and McCain are elected, then every single strategy memo and speech and debate prep note from every opposition candidate from now and on into forever will be read by the regime in power while it is still in the computers of the challengers.

Under the Palin-Rove police state, citizens will be targeted with state cyberterrorism. Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda, a former Reagan official, warned me three years ago that the Bush team went after a Republican who had crossed them through cyberstalking: they messed with his email, messed with his phones and I believe messed with his bank account -- he became a cyber-pariah, unemployable and haunted. With modern technology, there really is less place to hide from the state than there was in East Germany in the Cold War era. I remember feeling a chill: of course. That is the wave of the future once we breach the protections around citizens of FISA and the fourth amendment. That way lies the abyss for us all.

Am I trying to scare you? I am. I am trying to scare you to death and ask you to scare your Republican and independent friends most of all. How do you know when it is war on citizens? When there are mass arrests, journalists are jailed, the opposition is infiltrated, rights are stripped and leaders start to ignore the rule of law.

Almost everyone I work with on projects related to this campaign for liberty has been experiencing computer harassment: emails are stripped, messages disappear.

That's not all: people's bank accounts are being tampered with: wire transfers to banks vanish in midair. I personally keep opening bank accounts that are quickly corrupted by fraud. Money vanishes. Coworkers of mine have to keep opening new email accounts as old ones become infected. And most disturbingly to me personally is the mail tampering I have both heard of and experienced firsthand. My tax returns vanished from my mailbox. All my larger envelopes arrive ripped straight open apparently by hand. When I show the postman, he says "That's impossible."

Horrifyingly to me is the impact on my family. My childrens' report cards are returned again and again though perfectly addressed; their invitations are turned back; and my daughters many letters from camp? Vanished. All of them. Not one arrived. Try explaining that to a smart thirteen year old. Try explaining it in a way that still makes her feel secure and comfortable.

I am not telling you this because it's about my life. I am telling you this because it is about your life -- whoever you are, Conservative or Liberal, independent or evangelical. Your politics will not protect you in a police state. History shows that nothing protects you in a police state. This is not about my fear and anxiety: it is about what awaits you and everyone you love unless you see this for what it is:
Scharansky divided nations into "fear societies" and "free societies." Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.

Eugene Robinson on Palin

Eugene Robinson: Palin a Fraud
The Cynicism Express
By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, September 2, 2008; A15

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Has anyone noticed that Sarah Palin's central claim to political fame is a fraud? She represents herself as a fiscal conservative who abhors pork-barrel projects and said no thanks to the "Bridge to Nowhere" -- a $398 million span that would have linked Ketchikan, Alaska, to its airport across the Tongass Narrows. But as mayor of Wasilla (pop. 9,780), she hired a Washington lobbyist to bring home the bacon. And as a candidate for governor just two years ago, she supported both the Ketchikan bridge and the congressional earmark that would have paid most of its cost.

I know, we're not supposed to pay attention to such inconvenient details. We're supposed to be dazzled by how unaffected she is, how plain-spoken, how "genuine."

Indeed, if you don't get hung up on her actual record, Palin simply is who she is. It's not her fault that she's a former Miss Wasilla with a campy "Northern Exposure" vibe, doctrinaire social-conservative views and no discernible qualifications for being vice president. It's undeniable that people in Alaska apparently like her well enough, though they seem to have been even more shocked than the rest of us when she was named to the Republican ticket. In any event, she's not the one who created this farcical situation.

We learned last week that John McCain is not who he is -- not, at least, who he claims to be. The steady, straight-talking, country-first statesman his campaign has been selling is a fictional character. The real McCain is either alarmingly cynical or dangerously reckless.

You will recall that McCain gave the same prime criterion for choosing a running mate that every presidential candidate gives: someone who is ready to step in as president if, heaven forbid, the need arises. Barack Obama echoed those words before picking Joe Biden, who is about as prepared as a vice presidential candidate could ever be.

You will also recall that McCain and his supporters have been lecturing us about the grave and urgent dangers our country faces -- Islamic fundamentalism, the resurgence of Russia and other geopolitical threats. In a menacing world, McCain says, he will keep America safe.

So, at 72 and with a history of cancer, how could McCain choose a vice presidential nominee who has, let's face it, zero experience in foreign affairs? Being the nominal commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard doesn't count, unless you think Vladimir Putin is about to order an invasion across the Bering Strait.

At a time when the nation also confronts enormous challenges at home, Palin has, um, slightly more than zero experience in domestic affairs. The reason most people move to Alaska is that it's different from the rest of the country. Salmon fishing and snowmobile racing are not front-page news in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida.

McCain's political calculation in choosing Palin is obvious. Social conservatives, who had been unexcited by his candidacy, are ecstatic that he has picked a running mate who staunchly opposes abortion, favors the teaching of "intelligent design" in the public schools and generally embraces the agenda of the religious right.

I have my doubts about the other objective of McCain's gambit: to win the votes of blue-collar women who supported Hillary Clinton. For one thing, these voters disagree sharply with Palin on most of the issues. For another, initial indications are that many women were insulted at the notion that they would automatically swoon over any candidate who happened to have two "X" chromosomes. Republicans tend to have a comically simplistic view of how "identity politics" works. They should recall how African Americans reacted when Clarence Thomas was named to the Supreme Court.

Whatever the political impact, so much for the John McCain we thought we knew. In choosing Palin, he cynically did the kind of thing that his party is always accusing Democrats of doing: He selected a running mate based on her potential ability to appeal to targeted segments of the electorate rather than for her honestly assessed ability to lead the nation should the occasion arise.

The other thing we learned about McCain is that he is willing to take an enormous gamble based on limited information. He only met Palin once before summoning her for a final interview. He realized he needed to shake up the presidential race, and that's what he did. But we are reminded, if we did not realize it before, that the three things not to expect from a McCain presidency are caution, prudence and a willingness to always put the nation's interests above his own.
Read more from Eugene Robinson at's new opinion blog, PostPartisan.

Racist Appeals to Reagan Democrats

Macomb County, on the northern and eastern borders of Detroit, is the home of the so-called Reagan Democrats. The term Reagan Democrats came about as result of the many auto workers who supported Reagan in 1980. As has been stated earlier, by having his nominating convention in Detroit, Reagan reached out to United Auto Worker members. Basically, Reagan‘s appeal was one of tapping into the racism of these white auto workers by attacking the government, particularly relative to its welfare policies and affirmative action. Reagan’s was a coded racism, after which he left Detroit for his first campaign speech at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. More recently, much of the county was represented in the state legislature by a David Duke protégée, David Jaye. So, here we are in 2008 and McCain’s “outside” campaign, the 527s, are making their appeal to this Macomb County constituency. Instead of major TV spots, this time, at least at this moment, they are waging a stealth Swift Boat campaign over the Internet. The attacks are racist, from attaching Obama to the disgraced Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. Simply, it is their usual smear campaign. RGN

September 24, 2008
Pinpoint Attacks Focus on Obama
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — Hundreds of times in the past three weeks, cable television viewers here have been the exclusive audience for two of the roughest advertisements of the political season.

One links Senator Barack Obama to the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame M. Kilpatrick, an African-American whose political career unraveled in scandal. The other features Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A Wright Jr., also black, and his now infamous sermon marked by the words “God damn America.”

The advertisements, from a political action committee that is not connected to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, are running only here, in Macomb County, heavily populated by white, unionized auto workers, once considered “Reagan Democrats,” whose votes could largely determine which candidate wins Michigan, a state vital to both sides.

The advertisements point up the unusual nature of this year’s more potentially pernicious political attacks: They are not coming with the loud, nationally recognized cannon blast of the type launched by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Senator John Kerry in 2004, but, rather, as more stealthy, narrowly aimed rifle shots from smaller groups armed with incendiary material.

Mr. McCain has at times been a target of over-the-top attacks from outside groups, such as a recent advertisement from the liberal group Brave New Pac, based in California, that suggested his time in a Vietnamese prison ill-affected his ability to be president; the Internet was filled with various unsubstantiated and discredited rumors about his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, immediately after he named her last month.

But the more explosive charges from outside groups against Mr. Obama have often drawn closer scrutiny this year for their volume and the cultural and racial sensitivities they tend to touch, and, occasionally, seek to exploit.

In Mr. Obama’s case, the messages have frequently sought to paint him as foreign, like the chain e-mail messages sent for months to Jewish areas of Florida, suburban Philadelphia and other swing states that portray Mr. Obama as Muslim (he is Christian). This week, a hate group calling itself the League of American Patriots distributed fliers to as many as 50 homes in Roxbury, a mostly white town in northern New Jersey, portraying Mr. Obama as Osama Bin Laden and including language that was derisive of black people.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, said the fliers, initially reported by The Star-Ledger in Newark, were the first overtly racist printed tracts of their kind this election season.

The advertisements running here against Mr. Obama come from a group called Freedom’s Defense Fund, a political action committee based in Washington that was formed four years ago and raises money from conservatives around the country. The advertisements have stood out because of the group’s connections — including to its paid consultant, Jerome S. Corsi, the author of the highly negative, largely discredited political biography of Mr. Obama, “Obama Nation” — and what local critics say are their racial overtones.

“That’s all they are — race oriented,” said Ed Bruley, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Macomb. “I think some people will be affected by it, others will see it for what it is.”

It is a view shared by Democratic leaders, including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who, in a recent interview with MSNBC, said of the advertising campaign, “The fact that it is being run in a predominantly white suburb tells you that there is an explicit effort to try to divide people by race.”

Todd Zirkle, the executive director of Freedom’s Defense Fund, said race had “zero” to do with the spots. “That’s the standard retort when you want to say ‘Don’t listen to these people,’ ” Mr. Zirkle said.

He said the group’s intention was to show Mr. Obama’s affiliations — although Mr. Obama and Mr. Kilpatrick were never known to be close.

He said coming spots would highlight Mr. Obama’s ties to two white men, the developer Antoin Rezko, a former financial backer of Mr. Obama’s who has been convicted of fraud, and to the Weather Underground founder William Ayers, with whom Mr. Obama worked on an education commission in Illinois and whose past Mr. Obama has repudiated.

Mr. Zirkle said a fifth spot would highlight Mr. Obama’s supposed support for the Kenyan prime minister, the opposition leader Raila Odinga. Mr. Zirkle did not share that script, but Mr. Corsi’s book asserts, without substantiation, that Mr. Obama has been a close supporter of the African leader. Mr. Obama remained neutral in the Kenyan elections.

Officials with Freedom’s Defense Fund, which gives Mr. Corsi’s book to its donors, said they paid Mr. Corsi only to help write fund-raising appeals. Federal returns show he was paid $15,000 as a fund-raising consultant. But the details of his book provide a thread that runs through several of the anti-Obama groups.

One of them is the National Campaign Fund, a group directed by Floyd Brown, who produced the Willie Horton attack ads against Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in the 1988 race. An advertisement Mr. Brown hopes to run against Mr. Obama this fall — and now on his group’s Web site — cites Mr. Corsi’s book in trying to paint Mr. Obama as a Muslim.

Mr. Brown said in an interview that he had spoken with Mr. Corsi, whom he said he has known “for years,” but Mr. Corsi is not listed as a formal consultant. Federal filings show that Mr. Brown’s group has spent more than $60,000 for a direct mail campaign, the content of which he would not share.

Disputed claims that Mr. Corsi has made about Mr. Obama’s abortion stance have dovetailed with those of a group that recently ran a commercial in Dayton, Ohio, accusing Mr. Obama of supporting “infanticide” (he does not).

The group, the Black Republican PAC, has several connections to the Freedom Defense Fund. They share the same treasurer, Scott B. MacKenzie, who had also worked on Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984, as well as those of Jack Kemp and Patrick J. Buchanan. Mr. MacKenzie’s office is located in the direct mail firm working with both groups, BMW Direct, whose chief operating officer, Michael Centanni, is also the chairman of the defense fund.

Mr. Centanni said he has no connection to Mr. McCain’s campaign. He said Freedom’s Defense Fund, with relatively scant resources to spread nationally, decided it could have the most impact by focusing its presidential efforts here for tens of thousands.
“We feel Obama can’t win the presidency without Michigan and he can’t win Michigan without Macomb,” he said. “We’re relatively small, but we’re trying to be effective and relevant.”

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, said, “Considering that these ads have only run on television a couple of times, this group is getting a wealth of attention it would otherwise never get just by this article appearing in The New York Times.”
Macomb is where the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg helped define the term “Reagan Democrat” in the mid-1980s, conducting a series of polls to conclude that white, unionized workers came to believe Democrats had abandoned them for, in part, the poor and African-Americans.

Mr. Greenberg returned this year with his Democratic advocacy group, Democracy Corps, to find that racial attitudes among white workers had grown less hostile, though concerns had not disappeared.

Union officials have worked to dispel those concerns. Waiting in a car outside a Dollar Store here, a retired auto worker named Angie Christel, 78, who is white, said the union had dismissed for her the notion that Mr. Obama was Muslim. “I thought he was Muslim until I got the letter in the mail,” Ms. Christel said, “and he was raised by all white people.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Confused: It's Only Reality Turned Upside Down

I assume there must be a lot of people confused with things being the way they are. If you are a black teenager who gets pregnant you are irresponsible but if you are pregnant and unwed in White Christian Nationalist circles, even though abstinence is in the Bible they say, it is a badge of honor for the family of the Vice President aspirant Sarah Palin. Sounds confusing see below. RGN

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight... (I hope I'm not offending anyone)

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'

Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that
registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor,
spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become
the country's second highest ranking executive (and according to the actuarial tables, a > 30% chance of succeeding the president during your first term).

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your un-wed teen daughter
ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community,
then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now

Republicans and the Black Vote: Same Old Tricks..

The Republicans are continuing their attempts depress the black vote. This is nothing new. It is a part of their tradition. In the 1964 Johnson-Goldwater presidential election, Chief Supreme Court Justice-to-be William Rehnquist, then a Republican activist, made it a practice to challenge every black voter at polling places in Phoenix. Of course the biggest defrauding of black voters was Florida in the 2000 election. Then in 2004 there were fliers distributed in the black community in Ohio with the wrong election day! So why should 2008 be any different? Jonathon Alter provides some insight on the 2008 version of how "Jim Crawford" is playing the role depress the black vote. RGN


"Jim Crawford" Republicans

Thursday 11 September 2008

by: Jonathan Alter, Newsweek

The GOP is working to keep eligible African-Americans from voting in several states.

It was a mainstay of Jim Crow segregation: for 100 years after the Civil War, Southern white Democrats kept eligible blacks from voting with poll taxes, literacy tests and property requirements. Starting in the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court declared these assaults on the heart of American democracy unconstitutional.

Now, with the help of a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Crawford vs. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board, white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver's licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it's spreading.

GOP proponents of the move say they are merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But while occasional efforts to stuff ballot boxes through phony absentee voting still surface, the incidence of individual vote fraud - voting when you aren't eligible - is virtually non-existent, as "The Truth About Vote Fraud," a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, clearly shows. In other words, the problem Republicans claim they want to combat with increased ID requirements doesn't exist. Meanwhile, those ID hurdles facing individuals do nothing to stop the organized insiders who still try to game the system.

The motive here is political, not racial. Republicans aren't bigots like the Jim Crow segregationists. But they know that increased turnout in poor, black neighborhoods is good for Democrats. In that sense, the effort to suppress voting still amounts to the practical equivalent of racism.

In Crawford, the court upheld an Indiana law essentially requiring a passport or driver's license in order to vote. But more than two thirds of Indiana adults have no passports and nearly 15 percent have no driver's licenses. These eligible voters, disproportionately African-American, will need to take a bus or catch a ride from a friend down to the motor vehicles bureau to make sure they obtain a nondriver photo ID. Otherwise, they cannot vote in Indiana this year.

To get an idea of how many African-Americans nationwide lack driver's licenses, recall Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when thousands were stranded without transportation. "Crawford Republicans" could make the old "Jim Crow Democrats" look like pikers when it comes to voter suppression.

Consider Wisconsin, a swing state. Republicans officials there are suing to enforce a "no match, no vote" provision in state regulations, where voters must not only show a photo ID, but establish that it matches the name and number in the Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration database. (Democrats are resisting the suit.) These lists are riddled with errors in every state, as the Brennan Center has proven in its report, "Restoring the Right to Vote."

How error prone? Florida wrongly purged tens of thousands of law-abiding, mostly Democratic, voters from the rolls in 2000, claiming they were felons. (This, among other things, cost Al Gore the presidency). Even after the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and worldwide attention, the Florida software is still flawed. It requires only an 80 percent match to the name of a convicted felon. "So if there's a murderous John Peterson, the software disenfranchises everyone named John Peters," Andrew Hacker writes in a recent New York Review of Books.

Voters caught in these snafus can have their rights restored but not if they fail to straighten things out before Election Day. Otherwise they are granted "provisional ballots" that are sometimes counted and sometimes not. Even obtaining a provisional ballot can require an appearance in front of a judge in some states. Faced with the hassle, most voters just give up.

The ability of actual felons to get their right to vote back varies by state. It's especially hard for felons to vote in Virginia; a bit easier in Pennsylvania and Michigan. (Other countries are far more generous to ex-convicts, figuring that having paid their debt to society they should be allowed to vote again.)

All of this would seem to favor John McCain over Barack Obama this year, but some voting-rights trends are pointing in the opposite direction.

In Ohio, where the governor and secretary of state changed in 2006 from Republican to Democrat, a new law allows voters to register to vote and fill out an absentee ballot at the same time between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6. This will mean a week of furious campaigning and early voting in a key state.

Advantage Obama. With 470,000 students enrolled in Ohio's public colleges and universities (and nine out of 10 are Ohio residents), expect a bumper crop of young voters.

The combination of voter suppression and early voting make turnout predictions perilous. And without knowing turnout, most polling is deeply flawed.

So about the only thing we know for sure this year is that with the Crawford decision we are seeing a return to the days when one political party saw a huge advantage in preventing as many poor people as possible from voting. That's understandable politically, but also un-American.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Palin and Thomas: Two Peas in a Pod

Mary Hunt makes the comparison between the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court and John McCain picking Sarah Palin to be his VP running mate. Needless to say, both of these actions by Republicans show that being a right wing ideologue is more important that competence. (Katrina) Clarence Thomas was not qualified to be on the Court but the Republicans needed someone black to replace Thurgood Marshall. Thomas' right wing ideas trumped competence. Thomas has been on the Court since the early 1990s. His reputation is that he has not asked any of the Court litigants a single question in the almost 20 years that he has been on the bench. Sarah Palin's expertise on foreign policy is that she, as Tina Fey puts it, "can see Russia from her house!" Bush one's appointment of Thomas was cynical. McCain's selection of Palin was more desperate than cynical. Sarah Palin has no qualifications to be president, which is the first criterion in selecting a vice president. His campaign was going nowhere with little support from the party's right wing. He needed a way to appeal to white women and make it seem as though Barack Obama was sexist in not picking Hillary to be his running mate. In both cases, that of Thomas and Palin, it is obvious that qualifications don't matter. RGN

Sarah Palin and the Clarence Thomas Factor
Mary E. Hunt

September 10, 2008

Woman? Definitely. Feminist? Not so much.

Women tend to vote in higher numbers than men so women, and especially Catholic women whose cohort is considered important to electoral victory, are of special interest in an election cycle enlivened by the presence of a female candidate. What do many of us think and why are we not quitting our day jobs to work for her campaign?

The selection of Governor Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential running mate with Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain took the world by surprise. Religious feminists were as shocked as everyone else. "Never heard of her," "Google her," and "How odd," echoed in my office, a non-profit educational organization where we work on feminist issues in religion, a place one might reasonably expect women to be excited by a female candidate. As a non-profit we are by law non- partisan. But we can and do rejoice as the glass ceiling shatters and women join the political fray as equals.

Nonetheless, the selection of Sarah Palin shows how shallow the Republicans, and perhaps the world at large, consider feminism. They act as if female anatomy were enough to qualify for our favor. In fact, feminism involves a commitment to the well-being of women and dependent children in a world where they are too often treated as less than human. I know many male feminists who fit the bill more snugly than certain women.

The selection of Sarah Palin is reminiscent of putting Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court as proof that racism has vanished. His long track record of opposing rights for many people now proves what opponents at his confirmation hearings tried to convey, namely that being black does not guarantee anti-racist views just as it is clear with Sarah Palin that being a woman does not guarantee feminist views. In both cases competence and experience are in question in delicate ways given racism and sexism. Such is the pernicious nature of oppression. Now Hillary Clinton and her supporters know how Jesse Jackson and company felt when the gains they made through long, hard years of struggle were answered by a Supreme Court justice who was as unsuited for his task as Governor Palin is for the one proposed for her.

In this election there is the rhetoric of feminism with none of the content. The first clues were mentions of the candidate's beauty pageant past and more information than we needed about her pregnancies, childbirth, children, and husband. All of these are the bona fides of a "real woman," one who can also shoot straight, field dress moose (I shudder at what that means), and tear through the wilderness on a snowmobile. Heavens, one might have thought her a tomboy or worse without the glamour stats!

Her campaign accuses the media of sexism if reporters raise questions about these matters. But it is hard to have it both ways. Yes, feminists claim that the personal is political, but the private is still private unless you instrumentalize it to score political points with an electorate that favors your values. The problem is that when the private becomes public those who do not agree will also consider it fair game, as it were.

Religious feminists know this because we have been balancing our commitments and our families for decades, recognizing that their health, safety, and well-being inform our most deeply held beliefs. The whole point of feminism is to create a world in which people can make a variety of choices — not just any choices but choices that build community, embrace Earth, protect the most vulnerable, and create peace. Our religions inform those choices and provide examples of how good people make them. It is on those scores that religious feminists part company with Sarah Palin.

Feminism is not simply about getting women into positions of power. It is about changing the fundamental power equation so that everyone thrives. I am hard pressed to understand from early glimpses of Governor Palin's public policy how her candidacy does that. Cutting the state budget for housing for pregnant teens, hunting animals from helicopters and opposing protections for endangered species, suggesting that God wills wars like the one in Iraq, and signing on to the McCain economic policies that favor the wealthy with tax cuts inspire no confidence in me. It is not just that I long for Hillary Clinton's passion for health care. It is that I will not be duped into confusing one woman with another, conflating feminist rhetoric with oppressive choices. I hope other voters will not be either.

Religious conservatives have been preparing the Sarah Palins for roll-out for decades. They provide scholarships and internships for young women, media training and how-to workshops for stealth candidates on school boards, city councils, and mayoral contests to build resumes. Apparently the power of Hillary Clinton's politics, combined with the strength of Barack Obama's following, finally pushed them over the edge to run one in prime time. There are plenty more women where Palin came from who are schooled in the ways of religious conservatism and eager to translate their views into public policy, separation of church and state to the wind.

Theirs is a religion in which God speaks directly to them on important issues like the pipeline in Alaska or the war in Iraq despite the destruction of the environment and the loss of thousands of lives. Their so-called family values leave aside rights for millions of same-sex families and unmarried people. Their gender is important insofar as it generates votes despite their economic policies that ignore the well-being of working women and their children. It is hard enough when religiously and politically conservative candidates are men, but when women are in the fray the lines get blurred, the words start to have an Alice-in-Wonderland quality, and voters get confused. I think that is intentional or at least focus-group tested as a tactic that has potential.

The taking over of feminist rhetoric with none of the content — women's right to make reproductive choices; equal pay for equal work; an end to racism, heterosexism, colonialism, and war; and environmental concerns, among others — is what makes the Palin Factor so problematic. But it is not a new tactic nor is it guaranteed to work this time. Feminism is not, if it ever were, a one-dimensional analysis and strategy about gender. Rather, it is a multi-faceted commitment to change the world so that all human beings, and animals too, are treated with respect.

The Republican platform — with its emphasis on defense and intelligence, anti-immigration policies, reducing government spending on the common good, preventing relational equality, and many other life-diminishing dimensions — is anything but feminist. A convention where people of color made up less than two percent of the whole and men outnumbered women by margins not seen in recent years are all signs that the "femininstization" of the Republican Party is not at hand.

What is at hand is a challenge to those who understand that adding a woman and stirring will not change the fundamental power equation in which rich, white men still make most of the world's decisions. Nor will one more "God bless America" spoken by a woman who swallows and spits out the Republican rhetoric about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge answer our runaway energy needs.

Religious feminists know better. Hopefully, so too will the majority of American voters when it matters most in the voting booth.

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Defense of Oprah.......

From MichigandersforObama. RGN

Subject: Oprah Winfrey

Hello Everyone,

This has been an interesting 2 weeks of deceit and lies brought to us by the Republican Party. The GOPs think that bringing a woman who describes herself as a pit bull with lipstick into the campaign is going to be a winning ticket. Apparently, the Republican Party thinks that Americans are ignorant or just stupid. Being a community organizer is apparently a big joke and now they want to protest our leading lady of television. I DON'T THINK SO!

This morning several newscasts reported that the Republican women in Florida are organizing an Oprah Winfrey boycott for declining the decision to have Sarah Palin on her show as a guest.

We don't have to agree with everything Oprah does or says, but we must all respect and support her decision. Oprah is the hardest working woman in the history of entertainment and has open doors for people like Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Wendy Williams and so many others to begin talk shows.

She reinvented what African American beauty is considered on television and has provided hundreds if not thousands of people with job opportunities. Remember it was Oprah who traveled to New Orleans after Katrina and insisted that they let her into the Superdome that reaped of death and feces. It was the first time I saw her angry and was not accepting no for an answer. She was on the verge of knocking someone out because it was such a personal tragedy for all of us. I remember crying as I watched her show but then again I cried for the entire week that I watched my people dying on CNN waiting for assistance from The B ush Administration to rescue U.S. citizens because Condi was busy shoe shopping in NYC and Bush and Cheney were on vacation and missed the International coverage that we all witnessed for over 7 long days and nights.

It was Oprah who started the first efforts through her Angel Network to provide homes for displaced survivors from Katrina and called upon her friends for donations of new homes, not the leadership of the Republican government.

Oprah has never campaigned or publicly endorsed anyone until Senator Obama because she believed before most Americans could properly pronounce his name. Now, some of us are on the Obama staff, volunteers, donors, etc., because we all believe in him. Oprah was instrumental in bringing him national notoriety early in the election.










Friday, September 12, 2008

Hacker: Obama the Price of Being Black

Andrew Hacker is one of the most perceptive and honest social scientist on the issues race and racism in America. His book, “Two Nations: Black, White, Separate, Unequal and Hostile,” is a powerful analysis of so-called race relations. In this review one of the points that he makes is that whites, generally speaking, see blacks as unwelcome aliens in their own homeland. Hacker’s analysis of the current state of racism in politics in this election and the campaign of Barack Obama to be president is up against in the context of today’s politics. Hacker’s analysis is sobering. Even though Barack did well in the Colorado primary and holding the Democratic convention there should provide a Democratic a victory for the state, Hacker reminds us that there is one of Ward Connerly’s “Civil Rights Initiative” is on the ballot. Having had the Connerly experience here in Michigan, I know from whence he writes. As the Captain says: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s likely to get bumpy.” RGN

Volume 55, Number 14 • September 25, 2008
Obama: The Price of Being Black
By Andrew Hacker

Restoring the Right to Vote
by Erika Wood

Brennan Center for Justice, 34 pp., available at
Crawford v. Marion County [Indiana] Election Board
US Supreme Court, April 28, 2008
Florida State Conference of the NAACP v. Browning
US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, April 3, 2008

In May, Hillary Clinton described many of her core supporters as "hard-working Americans, white Americans." Primary voting in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia confirmed her surmise. Her remark seemed, without saying so, to claim an advantage over Obama that was due to his race. But there's more we need to know. We can see how being a farmer or a bond trader or a gun collector might influence your vote. And we understand why black Americans would want a person of their race in the Oval Office. But just what is there about being white that might incline someone toward one candidate instead of another?

Senator Clinton implied that this identity was salient for some voters and that she could appeal to it. Polls showed that some 15 to 20 percent of white voters in those three states said that "race" was a factor in their vote, and we are left to wonder just how much of a factor and how many more would have said the same if they had been frank with the interviewer. People are uneasy talking about the subject of race, but the feeling persists that Obama's half-ancestry could tip the scales on November 4.

Barack Obama can only become president by mustering a turnout that will surpass the votes he is not going to get. This may well mean that more black Americans than ever will have to go to the polls, if only because the electorate is predominantly white, and it isn't clear how their votes will go. Obstacles to getting blacks to vote have always been formidable, but this year there will be barriers—some new, some long-standing—that previous campaigns have not had to face.
For many years, the momentum was toward making the franchise universal. Property qualifications were ended; the poll tax was nullified; the voting age was lowered to eighteen. But now strong forces are at work to downsize the electorate, ostensibly to combat fraud and strip the rolls of voters who are ineligible for one reason or another. But the real effect is to make it harder for many black Americans to vote, largely because they are more vulnerable to challenges than other parts of the population.

Licensed to Vote
In a 6–3 decision in April written by John Paul Stevens, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board , the Supreme Court upheld a 2005 Indiana law requiring voters in that state to produce a government document with a photograph at the polls. In practical terms, this meant a passport or a driver's license. Since less than a third of adults have a passport, the Indiana case focused largely on how many adults lack a license to drive. During oral arguments, several justices pressed the plaintiff's lawyer for an answer. For reasons I cannot fathom, he kept using the number 43,000, for a state whose voting-age population is 4.6 million. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration, in an easily obtained report, says that 673,926 adult residents of Indiana have no license, which works out to a not trivial 14.7 percent of the state's potential electorate. Had that percentage been stressed, we can conjecture that Justices Stevens and Anthony Kennedy might have shifted their position.

Requiring a driver's license to vote has a disparate racial impact, a finding that once commanded judicial notice. To apply for the state ID card that Indiana offers as an alternative, moreover, nondrivers must travel to a motor vehicles office, which for many would be a lengthy trip. While licenses do not record race, Justice David Souter cited relevant studies of the race of license-holders in his dissent, which was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In one survey, made by the Department of Justice in 1994, black residents of Louisiana were found to be four to five times more likely not to have the official photograph needed for an identifying document. (Not to mention access to a car; recall how many couldn't leave as Katrina approached.) A Wisconsin survey published in 2005 was more precise.

No fewer than 53 percent of black adults in Milwaukee County were not licensed to drive, compared with 15 percent of white adults in the remainder of the state. According to its author, similar disparities will be found across the nation. [1]
The Indiana decision will not only make it harder to add new people to the rolls; many who had previously voted without photo identification are now required to produce an official photograph. If Marion County (Indianapolis) has the same proportion of unlicensed voters as Milwaukee County, I count it as having more than 44,000 black residents who will be needing transport to motor bureaus to ensure that each item in their nondriver ID application has been properly filled in. Extended nationwide, this means that a lot of on-the-ground assistance is going to be needed.

Purging the Rolls
In 2002, Congress passed the amiably titled Help America Vote Act, presumably to thwart the recurrence of butterfly ballots and dimpled chads. To ensure that voters won't face problems at their polling place, each state is required to maintain an electronic "statewide voter registration list," to be linked to every precinct. States were also mandated to keep their lists current, eliminating the people who die or move away. One method is to mail letters to everyone on the rolls and expunge the names on those letters returned because the addressee could not be found. But black families tend to move more, especially in cities, and few think to notify election officials. When Ohio purged 35,427 returned names in 2004, a review found that the addresses were in "mostly urban and minority areas." [2] Here too, getting back on the rolls can be like mending a mistaken credit rating.

Florida doesn't depend on mailings. Rather, it uses computers to match registrants' names against their Social Security numbers, which are then sent to Washington (actually Baltimore) to see if they match. Whoever devised this system should have known that the Social Security Administration is unable to match submitted names with numbers in 28 percent of the cases sent to it: for example, because they are maiden names of women who married or changed them back after a divorce. [3] Not to mention keyboard operators getting a single digit wrong. Florida also uses the help-the-voter act to check felony records, since convicted criminals there can't vote. Oddly, it only requires that 80 percent of the letters in your name match with the name of someone with such a record. So if there's a murderous John Peterson, the software disenfranchises everyone named John Peters. In view of the racial rates for incarceration, black voters are more apt to have names closely resembling those with felony histories.

Florida's system for purging the voting lists was approved by a 2–1 ruling in federal circuit court this spring, Flor-ida State Conference of the NAACP v. Browning . The dissenting judge, Rosemary Barkett, a Clinton appointee, was the only one to spell out the disparate racial impact. She noted that while black voters made up 13 percent of the scanned pool, they comprised 26 percent of those who were purged; while whites were 66 percent of the pool, they were only 17 percent of the rejected group. Again, if you have plenty of time, you can claim that the computer was mistaken and try to find documents that show you exist and were never a felon.
Voteless for Life

Proportional to the population, the United States leads the world in putting people behind bars, and currently has 2.3 million in its jails and prisons. Among inmates, black men and women outnumber Hispanics by more than two to one and whites by nearly six to one. This is another reason why a much higher ratio of black citizens will be unable to vote this year, because they are among either the 882,300 who are currently incarcerated or the two million who have served sentences but continue to be disenfranchised. According to Restoring the Right to Vote , a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, 13 percent of black men cannot cast votes; in three states 20 percent cannot because they are locked up or formerly were.

Some states specify felonies that condemn the citizen to disenfranchisement for life. Alabama includes soliciting a child by computer, possession of obscene matter, and treason. Yes, some crimes are heinous; but completing a sentence is supposed to signify that a debt has been paid. Indeed, a desire to vote can be seen as showing a willingness to accept a citizen's obligations. Virginia takes an especially harsh view of drug offenses, which is mainly why so many black Americans are imprisoned there, not least because it's so easy to make such arrests. Released offenders must wait seven years before they can file a petition for their vote, which must be accompanied by seven documents and several supporting letters, plus another to the governor detailing "how your life has changed" and specifying "why you feel your rights should be restored."

Mississippi has a similar regimen: with 155,127 men and women released between 1992 and 2004, only 107 petitions to have the right to vote restored were approved. The disenfranchisement of former felons in Kentucky has reduced its potential black electorate by 24 percent. [4]

According to the Brennan Center report, only Maine and Vermont allow inmates to vote (as they can in Israel and Canada). Thirteen states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, allow former convicts to vote upon their release from prison, while twenty-five bar voting until such ex-prisoners have completed their probation or parole. The other ten, like Alabama and Virginia, make the process of reattaining the right to vote so arduous that most people don't try. Nor does there seem to be much sentiment in those states for removing the bans or lowering the barriers. So allowing one-time inmates to become full citizens will be a long-term campaign; it will not likely have much effect on the next few elections.

While a high black turnout will obviously help Obama, whether he becomes president will hinge on the decisions of white voters. (Most Hispanic-Americans list themselves as white or don't designate a race.) In all, 94.2 million white Americans took part in the 2004 presidential election, as compared to only 13.5 million blacks; and 58 percent of whites supported George W. Bush against just 41 percent for John Kerry. So the Obama campaign, even if helped by external events, will have to change a lot of white minds.

There are already danger signs. In three states, race will in effect be on the ballot. Colorado and Nebraska are giving their residents a chance to ban affirmative action. The measures in both states carry the title " civil rights initiative ," at the urging of the black political activist Ward Connerly, who succeeded in outlawing affirmative action in California and has inspired similar campaigns in other states. The signs are that both measures will pass with votes to spare. This is what happened in California (1996), Washington (1998), and Michigan (2006), which tend to be liberal states. The reason isn't hard to find. Putting affirmative action on a ballot encourages white majorities to identify themselves by their race. It's their rights they are voting to restore.

What is seldom openly said is that a lot of white Americans feel racially aggrieved. They were represented by Barbara Grutter and Jennifer Gratz, whose petitions to end affirmative action reached the Supreme Court in 2003. [5] Their claims were that places which would otherwise have been theirs at the University of Michigan were given to less qualified black applicants. Thus, they argued, they were rejected because they were white, and there was an official preference for other races. In separate decisions, the Court narrowly upheld the law school's affirmative action method, while striking down the undergraduate admissions procedure.

What is rarely mentioned is that neither Grutter nor Gratz were outstanding candidates. To put it crudely, they weren't high on the "white list." And a lot of whites see themselves in the same situation. They are the ones who don't get admission or promotions, and thus feel they bear the brunt of affirmative action. Nor are they wrong about this, as Obama observed in his Philadelphia speech. Moreover, such feelings about affirmative action appear to be nationwide, even in states where it hasn't been on the ballot. Obama's word "bitter" may describe a good many blue-collar and middle-income families whose children have been rejected by their state's university.

This explains why close to 65 percent of white voters in California, Washington, and Michigan supported the bans, and why similar proportions are expected to in Colorado and Nebraska this November. So a task of Obama's campaign is to ensure that this white cause—which is what it is—does not carry over to the presidential contest. While only fourteen electoral votes are at stake, they could make a difference. Two Democratic senators, Patty Murray of Washington and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, may have some useful advice. In 1998 and 2006, it was clear that many voters whose support they needed would also be supporting repeal of affirmative action. Yet Murray managed to win with 58 percent of the total, while Stabenow's margin was 56 percent. How they managed to keep separate their own election and the vote on affirmative action, for example, by emphasizing economic issues, could be instructive.

As I write, several polls give Obama about 47 percent and McCain about 45 percent, a decline of several points for Obama from the polls of May and July. The rest of the respondents say they are undecided. At the same time the state-by-state estimates by show Obama leading in electoral votes, with 102 such votes a "toss-up." The numbers will probably have changed by the time you read this. Yet now and later, there's a chance that the real percentages will be the reverse of those I've cited. Some people who are telling pollsters they're for Obama could actually be lying.

Such behavior has been called the "Bradley Effect ," after Tom Bradley, a black mayor of Los Angeles who lost his bid to be California's governor back in 1982. While every poll showed him leading his white opponent, that isn't how the final tally turned out. Things haven't been far different in some other elections involving black candidates. In 1989, David Dinkins was eighteen points ahead in the polls for New York's mayoral election, but ended up winning by only a two-point edge. The same year, Douglas Wilder was projected to win Virginia's governorship by nine points, but squeaked in with one half of one percent of the popular vote. Nor are examples only from the past. In Michigan in 2006, the final polls forecast that the proposal to ban affirmative action would narrowly prevail by 51 percent. In fact, it handily passed with 58 percent. That's a Bradley gap of seven points, which isn't trivial.

Pollsters contend that respondents often change their minds at the last minute, or that conservatives are less willing to cooperate with surveys. Another twist is that more voters are mailing in absentee ballots, and it's not clear how those early decisions are reflected in the polls. Yet the Bradley gap persists after voters have actually cast their ballots. Just out of the booth, we hear them telling white exit pollers that they supported the black candidate, whereas returns from these precincts show far fewer such votes. Thus they lie to interviewers they don't know and will never see again. Barack Obama wants to think "white guilt [over treatment of blacks] has largely exhausted itself in America." [6] I'm less sure. Almost all people who reject black candidates say they have nonracial reasons for doing so. And many undoubtedly believe what they're saying. So I'm not persuaded that the Bradley gap won't emerge this year. The Obama campaign would do well to print signs to post prominently in all its offices: ALWAYS SUBTRACT SEVEN PERCENT!

Since 1968, the Democratic Party has not been able to muster a majority of white Americans. Al Gore fell twelve percentage points behind among white voters in 2000, and John Kerry had a seventeen-point gap four years later. It all started with Richard Nixon's strategy, which was initially aimed at the South. With the opening of electoral rolls to blacks, the then-dominant Democrats were becoming a biracial party, which disconcerted many whites. So Nixon invited them to join the Republicans, assuring them that they would not press to integrate their party. The formula continued to work when it moved north with the emergence of Reagan Democrats. By the 2000 GOP convention, there were only eighty-five black faces among the 2,022 Republican delegates. Some unknown proportion of white voters doesn't want to support a party to which black Americans are drawn—"any more," as Darryl Pinckney has noted, "than they would go on living on a street that got too integrated." [7]

I've been careful so far not to use the word "racism." The term itself has become an obstacle to understanding. Once white people hear it, they tend to freeze, and start listing reasons why it doesn't apply to them. After all, most Americans admire Oprah Winfrey, like Tiger Woods, and respect Colin Powell. Yet racism persists, albeit not publicly voiced, especially in the belief that one's own is a superior strain. Here, however, not many whites regard Barack Obama as their inferior; effete or arrogant perhaps, but they don't fault him on intellect. To some, indeed, he may seem too much the intellectual. Resentment of perceived black privilege is also involved, as we have seen with respect to affirmative action, and even fear of some kind of racial payback. Over half of a largely white sample told a Rasmussen poll that they feel Obama continues to share at least some of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's positions on America.

On underlying sentiments, surveys aren't much help. For example, in an ABC News /Washington Post poll in June, 20 percent of the whites who responded said a candidate's race would factor heavily in their vote, while 30 percent admitted to feelings of racial prejudice. If the Bradley Effect was at work, as many as one third of the voters may count race as important. (We know of whites who are for Obama because they'd like to have a black president, which is also a racial reason.) In July, 70 percent of whites told a New York Times/ CBS News poll that they felt the country "is ready to elect a black president." Of course; that's what people feel obliged to say today. Yet some might have followed it up with "but not Barack Obama." The surveys can't measure white apprehensions over having a black man at the head of their government.

Michael Tomasky has said that to win, Barack Obama "will need to build multiracial coalitions." [8] What seems more needed, in my view, are two parallel campaigns: a quiet one to assure a maximum black turnout, and a more public one to make the most of the white backing the Obama-Biden ticket already has. His rallies, appearances, and advertisements would benefit from featuring white faces, and they should be accompanied by endorsements from white military veterans, union leaders, police chiefs, and firemen. His black supporters will know what is going on, and not take this as a rebuff.

—August 28, 2008
[1] John Pawasarat, The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute, June 2005), p. 1.
[2] Reported Instances of Voter Caging , Brennan Center for Justice, June 2007, p. 3.
[3] Mike Slater, Laura Kyser, and Jo-Anne Chasnow, "New Barriers to Voting: Eroding the Right to Vote," National Voter , June 2006, p. 9.
[4] Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen, Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 252–253. See also Jason DeParle, "The American Prison Nightmare, The New York Review , April 12, 2007.
[5] Grutter v. Bollinger , 539 U.S. 306 (2003); Gratz v. Bollinger , 539 U.S. 244 (2003).
[6] The Audacity of Hope (Crown, 2006), p. 231.
[7] "Obama and the Black Church," The New York Review , July 17, 2008.
[8] Michael Tomasky, "Obama Needs More Than the Black Vote," The Guardian , July 18, 2008.

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