Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The GOP Must Denounce Rush Limbaugh

NewsOne, 12-29-08

The Rest of Us Should Boycott Clear Channel


With the recent scandal involving Chip Saltsman, a candidate to run the RNC, and his distribution of Rush Limbaugh's mix CD, which contained the song "Barack the Magic Negro," it is high time for the Republican Party and America as a whole to reject and denounce Rush Limbaugh.

"Barack the Magic Negro" is hardly the most offensive thing that Rush Limbaugh has said and is hardly the strongest tie that Limbaugh has had to the Republican party.

Limbaugh is a bigot, a sexist, a hypocrite and a xenophobe. He stirs up fear and hate in his listeners. He preys on the disenfranchised and uneducated and turns their resentment against blacks, feminists, immigrants, and liberals. For a sampling of Limbaugh's most racist quotes against blacks, click HERE. Limbaugh has also managed to offend Latinos, saying Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reminded him of a shoe shine boy and also saying in reference to Hugo Chavez, "A Chavez is a Chavez. We've always had problems with them."

Limbaugh's prejudice does not only extend to minorities. He also has discriminated against women, who happen to make up the majority of this country. He has said, "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society," and also, "We're not sexists, we're chauvinists — we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because we think that's what men were destined to be. We think that's what women want."

Rush Limbaugh has long acted as the de facto spokesman for the Republican Party, the self-appointed voice of conservative broadcasting, saying what mainstream party figures mean to say but won't for fear of being deemed politically incorrect.

The GOP has continually given him their approval. George W. Bush has appeared on Limbaugh's show several times, as has his brother Jeb. GOP Uncle Toms like Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas have also appeared on his show, along with Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has not only appeared on Limbaugh's show, but has served as a replacement host for Limbaugh, as has Matt Drudge.

It's amazing how few Republicans have come forth to criticize Limbaugh. When rapper, Ludacris referred to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, Fox News criticized him for a whole news cycle, yet when Limbaugh repeatedly referred to Clinton as a "B-I-itch," Fox News kept quiet. Meanwhile, John McCain asked Obama to publicly condemn John Lewis for rightfully comparing the crowds at McCain/Palin hate rallies to those drawn by George Wallace, but never condemned Rush Limbaugh for comparing Obama to Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, linking Democrats to Al Qaeda, and labeling feminists as Nazi's.

In 2000, John McCain bravely stood up to 'agents of intolerance' on the Right such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. However by the 2008 campaign, he had turned into a yellow-bellied coward. Despite the fact that Limbaugh criticized him heavily throughout the primaries, John McCain has never spoken out against Limbaugh.

In 2007, Limbaugh, who avoided the Vietnam draft because he "did not want to go," said that soldiers who did fight for their country and returned home to criticize the war (after seeing the death and carnage there) were "phony soldiers." Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on his fellow Senators to condemn the remarks. John McCain's response? "I did issue a statement saying that I thought it was inappropriate, and perhaps Mr. Limbaugh didn't mean it, but he should not have said it." Hardly a condemnation.

McCain had another chance to condemn Limbaugh's statements last year when the Obama campaign ran an ad using Limbaugh quotes like, "Mexicans are stupid and unqualified," and "Shut your mouth or get out (of this country)." The ads referred to Limbaugh as one of McCain's Republican friends. McCain could have issued a statement saying that Limbaugh was not one of his friends and that his views did not represent the McCain campaign or the Republican Party, but instead he stayed quiet for fear of pissing off the dittoheads.

McCain had one last chance to distance himself from Limbaugh on Meet The Press shortly before the election, when Tom Brokaw played a clip of Limbaugh saying that Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama was all about race and asked McCain if he agreed. McCain could have said, 'I know Colin Powell and have been friends with him for many years. While I disagree with his endorsement, it is ludicrous to insinuate that a man who has given so much service to his country would endorse a Presidential candidate based on his skin color.' By repeatedly refusing to criticize Limbaugh, McCain has shown that he either shares Limbaugh's bigoted views or is too cowardly to renounce them.

One of the most disturbing things to know about Rush Limbaugh is that his program airs on Armed Services Radio. Given the fact that the army is 24% Latino and 12% black, Limbaugh is offending more than a third of our enlisted soldiers. Is Limbaugh the voice of America we want represented on our military airwaves? Do we really want someone broadcasting to our enlisted soldiers who said Abu Ghraib was just a fraternity prank, and compared a wounded Iraq vet who appeared in TV ads against the war to a suicide bomber?

Many of Limbaugh's supporters have defended him by saying his statements are made in a humorous context. When someone like the character Borat makes racist, sexist or anti-semetic comments, it falls in the category of humor because we know that Sacha Baron Cohen doesn't mean it and is using the character to show the stupidity of prejudice. However, with Limbaugh, it is quite clear that he stands by his statements and it is minorities and women who are the butts of his jokes, not his own racism and sexism.

If the GOP is to truly move into the 21st century, they must cut all ties to bigots like Rush Limbaugh. When the President, Vice President, Vice Presidential candidates, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Senators, Governors, and Supreme Court justices all appear on the show of a hate-spewing racist, sexist pig, it does not reflect well on their political party.

While Limbaugh might have a large base, it is not as large as the base he offends. By attacking blacks, Hispanics, feminists and liberals he is alienating more than half of the country. Not only blacks and Hispanics, but every white person who has an African-American or Latino relative, loved one, hero or friend.

Throughout the campaign, Obama was repeatedly asked to denounce people he associated with because of their statements. Whether it was Ludacris, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, or Rep. John Lewis. Obama repudiated them all but Lewis. Now, it is the Republicans' turn to speak out.

Pleases write to your Senators, Representatives, and Governors, and ask them to publicly denounce Limbaugh for his racism, sexism, xenophobia and disrespect, and to cancel his contract with Armed Services Radio. It is ridiculous that any part of our tax money goes to this rich, mean spirited bigot...and ridiculous that our brave soldiers are forced to listen to him.

Is there any Republican brave enough to criticize or acknowledge Rush Limbaugh's bigotry, or has the party traded in its fiscal conservatism and family values for hatred and racism?

I urge all leaders in the African-American and Latino communities as well as leaders of the women's movement to protest Limbaugh. When we went after Don Imus, we targeted the wrong bigot. Limbaugh makes Imus look like he works for Air America.

I'm also calling for a boycott of all Clear Channel stations. Clear Channel is the parent company of Limbaugh's show. The corporation's president, Mark P. Mays, recently defended Limbaugh for his 'phony soldiers' comment. Please e-mail him with you questions and concerns about Limbaugh at MarkPMays@clearchannel.com. You can also call Clear Channel with your concerns at 1-210-822-2828. And please call the local stations in your area that carry Limbaugh's show.

(Casey Gane-McCalla is a writer, rapper, producer and actor, and the assistant editor for NewsOne.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ten Chumps Who Helped Elect Barack Obama

The Huffington Post, 11-14-08

Barack Obama ran a great campaign. While shattering all fundraising records, he created a movement backed by small donors, not big lobbyists. Using community organizing techniques derided by his GOP opponents, he mobilized millions of supporters and gave them an ownership stake in his historic candidacy.

But he got some invaluable help along the way. With the post-election analysis season almost over, it's worth taking one final look at some of the characters who ensured President-elect Obama would make it to the White House.

This list is devoted to a special breed, seasoned political players and 15-minutes of famers alike, who did everything they could to stop Obama, only to see their efforts backfire. It's a bipartisan honor, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. For obvious reasons, this list omits the folks with the most to gain from Obama's defeat, namely, John McCain and Sarah Palin, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Although they also deserve special recognition for trying every boneheaded trick they could dream up.

Jeremiah Wright - The good Reverend's sin was enjoying his turn at the microphone too much. From the start, he was a nuisance and distraction. Wright got irritated with Obama after being asked not to deliver the invocation at his 2007 announcement speech in Springfield, IL, and made sure the press knew about it. Rev. Wrong for Obama should have disappeared after tapes of his most incendiary sermons aired on national TV last March. But by resurfacing barely a month after Obama's masterful speech on race in Philadelphia, Wright tried his best to sabotage the damage control. And by continuing to draw attention to his outrageous beliefs in the process of defending himself, he allowed Obama to repudiate him entirely.

Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt - Joint acclaim for the two strategists who were initially hailed by the press as turning around McCain's campaign. They undid all their own hard work by advising McCain to pick Sarah Palin, thus undercutting Schmidt's strategy of painting Obama as too inexperienced to lead. They urged McCain to ignore his gut instinct to choose either Sen. Joe Lieberman or former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania. Together, their counsel trumped Mark Salter's preference of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who would have been a formidable VP candidate. Pawlenty's only drawback was that he was sold to McCain as the safe pick, which left him out of step with McCain's need to gamble on a "maverick" choice.

Schmidt also deserves special props for convincing McCain to announce he was temporarily suspending his campaign and returning to Washington for what turned out to be bungled negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout package. And Davis gets a shout out for signing off on TV spots attacking Obama over ties to former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac advisors, shortly before it was revealed he had been earning $15,000 a month as a lobbyist on Freddie Mac's payroll for the past several years.

Mark Penn - Assigning honors to Hillary's strategists is tough, because collectively they ran a criminally dysfunctional campaign unequaled in modern politics. But Mark Penn was at the center of much of the infighting and tension that plagued her inner circle. According to Newsweek's behind-the-scenes account of the election, Penn was suspected of being less than honest with the campaign team about polling results that were unfavorable to Hillary, which helped Obama catch them unaware and unprepared with his Iowa caucus victory.

John Edwards and Mike Easley - This pair of North Carolina pols each contributed an assist through the self-serving ways they tried to play the endorsement game. Edwards withheld his endorsement for months, until it was clear Obama would beat Hillary and be the Democratic nominee. Thus Edwards made sure he would not be identified as an Obama team player, and limited damage to the Democrats' chances when Edwards' own career went up in smoke in August in his self-inflicted adultery scandal. Outgoing N.C. Governor Mike Easley endorsed Hillary a week before the state's May 6 primary. In doing so, the unpopular lame duck enraged Obama voters in North Carolina, particularly African-Americans, and solidified Obama's support.

Joe The Plumber - By basking in his moment in the spotlight, and running his mouth about his far-right wing nutty beliefs, he was immediately discredited as a spokesperson for average working stiffs. The unlicensed plumber whose name wasn't even Joe and whose income level would qualify him for a tax cut under Obama's tax plans made a mockery of McCain's last-minute campaign gambit to frighten voters with the spectre of higher taxes.

Sheldon Adelson - The wealthy casino mogul behind the right wing 527 group Freedom's Watch was suspected of being the Republican sugar daddy who anonymously funded the Clarion Fund, which dumped 28 million anti-Islamic scare DVDs in swing states around the country through mailings and paid advertising supplements in newspapers. Adelson and similar fat cats who bankrolled GOP-leaning PAC's wasted lots of money producing an avalanche of hate propaganda - mailers, robocalls, even DVDs. But this campaign tactic has lost much of its effectiveness in a world where people have access to multiple sources of information on the internet, instead of being limited to what they see on TV, read in their newspapers, or find in their mailboxes. Should have spent their cash on registering new Republican voters at conservative churches, state fairs, and NASCAR races.

Geraldine Ferraro - The most prominent member of the Nobama Democrats, she gave credibility to the divisive, time-wasting efforts of pro-Hillary deadenders who clung to PUMA, Just Say No Deal, and other faux-grassroots groups after Obama clinched the nomination. Ferraro was forced to step down from her official role with the Clinton campaign in March after claiming, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," similar to comments she made in 1988 about an earlier black presidential contender ("If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race"). She reared her head again in May, quoted by the New York Times as saying she might not vote for Obama in the fall, because "I think Obama was terribly sexist."

Yet by refusing to cede her role as a Hillary surrogate, and tirelessly fanning the fames of party disunity, she helped keep media attention on the myth that there were legions of disaffected Hillary voters whose allegiance was available for harvest by any candidate in a pantsuit. Without Ferraro's efforts to keep the gender pot stirring, Sarah Palin might not have presented such a tempting opportunity for Team McCain to make a play for women voters.

Ashley Todd - It didn't get any uglier than this. Dishonorable mention goes to the mentally unstable McCain campaign volunteer with delusions of grandeur who thought she could scare America into believing she was attacked and robbed by a 6' 4" pro-Obama black thug who cut a (backwards) "B" into her face after spotting her McCain bumper sticker. Despite skepticism from police, the McCain camp rushed to exploit the situation, peddling breathless versions of events to the press that could not be confirmed at the time. McCain and Palin even called Todd to wish her well, guaranteeing the incident would receive widespread media coverage. Then Todd's story fell apart, as she admitted it was all a hoax and was charged with filing a false police report. The McCain campaign was left burned and looking even more desperate and unbalanced than they had before, with less than a week to go until the election.

Looking back over this parade of campaign horribles, it's no wonder the GOP blame game started long before election night, when the depths of McCain's meltdown became evident. There's a lot of credit to go around. But every fool on this list can rest assured that despite their worst intentions, they made a unique contribution towards helping the best man win in 2008.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wave of Racist Terrorism Follows Obama Victory

NewsOne, 11-11-08


Most of the post-election reaction to Barack Obama's presidential win has been beautiful. People from all backgrounds, races, cultures and religions are elated to see such a good, decent, inspirational man become President. Many are proud of the historical significance of the United States electing a leader of African descent after the turbulent history of blacks in America.

There has also been a significant racist backlash in the wake of the election results. Which is not surprising. After seeing videos of the hate mobs attracted to McCain-Palin rallies, I politely declined an offer to cover election day in Pennsylvania or Ohio out of fear of being attacked by some angry bigot.

One of my greatest fears after the euphoria faded was that the irrational Republican crowds who were drilled into believing that Obama was a terrorist, communist, Muslim traitor would continue their anger toward the President-elect and his supporters. The campaign was heavy with racial undertones, from Rush Limbaugh's racist rants to Sarah Palin turning a blind eye to someone yelling the N-word at a rally.

Sure enough, a few pathetic racists and violent extremists have been lashing out. Since election night, there has been a string of disturbing firebombings, assaults, and incidents of vandalism directed at African-Americans.

A black church in Springfield, Massachusetts burned down on election night. While I would like to believe it was totally unrelated to racism or Obama’s triumph, I am fearful that it was. If this was a hate crime in liberal Massachusetts, it is a painful reminder of the destruction and terrorism that greeted the civil rights movement, in particular the bombing that killed four little girls in a church in Alabama.

A black family near Pittsburgh had their car torched right outside their house, while they were watching Obama give his victory speech on TV. Before the cowardly arsonists burned the car, they tossed the family's Obama yard sign through a window and spraypainted "Obama" across the trunk. The blaze almost caught the family's house on fire, leaving them afraid for their safety in a home where four generations of black Pennsylvanians have lived.

This can only be seen as an act of terrorism. Instead of a burning cross on the family’s lawn, there was a burning car, symbolizing the torching of our new African-American president. Carbombings are something you'd expect to happen in Iraq, not America.

There was another election night incident in Staten Island, New York where a 17 year-old Muslim, African-American male was beaten with baseball bats by a group of white men who repeatedly yelled, "Obama." This brings back memories of Yusef Hawkins who was chased and beaten by an angry mob in Bensonhurst during the summer of 1989, which resulted in his death.

Ali Kamara, beaten on election night

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, four students admitted spraypainting an entire campus walkway with racist and violent threats including "Shoot Obama" and "Kill that nigger." As disgusting as that display of bigotry was, it was encouraging to see nearly 500 students and school officials including the chancellor rally against the hate. In Austin, Buck Burnette, a back up center for the University of Texas football team, wrote on his Facebook page, "All the hunters gather up, we have a Nigger in the White House." Burnette promptly apologized and was kicked off the team.

Like the examples set by NCSU and the University of Texas, we all must condemn any post-election outbursts of hatred or intimidation. While Obama's presidency is a great thing for the nation, it may trigger what remains of the lunatic racist fringe to resume their old tactics of bombings and assassinations. Already the FBI and ATF have broken up two plots to kill Obama, each originating with radical white supremacist groups.

Clearly, this election was a statement on how much progress black Americans have made in this country and how much tolerance, acceptance and even admiration whites have for an African-American candidate like Obama. The cynic in me would like to talk about how far we have to go to reach a truly colorblind society, but the optimist in me prefers to consider how far we've come.

I actually thought we'd see even more hate crimes both before and after Obama’s victory. Rather than being standard among whites, blatant racism in 2008 has been marginalized. This is not to say average white people don't have their own prejudices and stereotypes, but the dehumanizing bigotry that defined America during the Jim Crow era is now discredited. Just like Bloods and Crips don't represent most black people, and Al Qaeda doesn't typify the Arab world, bigots and white supremacists do not in any way showcase the general feelings of today’s Americans.

But terrorism perpetrated by radical racist extremists must be taken as seriously as attacks from radical Islamic extremists. We must condemn the culprits and support the victims just as we did during 9/11. Our country has matured considerably, enough to enter the age of Obama, but the fight against racism is not over. We cannot tolerate the acts of a lunatic fringe still caught up in the outdated philosophy of white supremacy.

To send a check to the rebuilding fund for the church that was burned down in Springfield, MA:

Macedonia Church of God in Christ, c/o Greater Springfield Council of Churches, 39 Oakland St., Springfield, MA 01108

Donate to the charitable fund set up to support the carbombing victims:

Whiteside Family Relief Fund, c/o First National Bank of PA, 4140 E. State St., Hermitage PA 16148

(Casey Gane-McCalla is a writer, rapper, producer and actor, and the assistant editor for NewsOne. The Latest Outrage editor Erik Ose contributed to this report.)

(UPDATE 11/25 - I (Erik) was on NPR’s News & Notes today along with Mark Potok, Director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, talking with Tony Cox about the post-election rise in hate crimes and violence first covered two weeks ago by TLO & NewsOne. You can listen to the audio of our segment HERE.

This is what I would add to the discussion we had:

Thinking about the hundreds of incidents that have occurred since the election, it's possible to lose sight of the hurt caused by any single act of racist terrorism. Here's one incident up close.

Phillip Whiteside, an African-American who lives in Greenville, PA, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh in Western Pennsylvania, was watching Obama's victory speech on election night at home with his family when his grandmother saw a fireball erupt outside. Phillip's grandfather, who has MS, rushed outside to find Phillip's car on fire, parked right next to their house.

This is a home where four generations of Whitesides have lived, in fact, their family came up from Tennessee and helped settle the town. The blaze threatened to spread to the house until Mr. Whiteside hosed down the outside walls with a garden hose.

After the fire burned out, the Whitesides discovered the arsonists had tossed the family's Obama yard sign into the flames and spraypainted "Obama" across the car trunk.

"We're striving for change," said Phillip. "People don't want to change. It's going back to the olden days. It doesn’t make sense that in these times we have problems like this."

In the aftermath of the fire, community members wrote letters to the local paper denouncing the hate crime, which ran an editorial reminding folks that Obama's victory does not spell the end of racism. A local bank has sent up a relief fund for the family.

But the carbombing has left the Whitesides afraid for their safety in their own home. "Not knowing what's coming," said Phillip, is how his family is feeling now.)


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Supposedly Safe GOP House Seat in CA Too Close To Call

The Huffington Post, 11-6-08

Prop 8 Hangs In Balance as GOP Lawyers Try To Influence Vote Count

Two days after the Nov. 4 elections, a congressional race in conservative Orange County, California that was dismissed by most observers as a lock for the GOP remains unresolved. Democratic challenger Bill Hedrick is down by 4,600 votes against 16-year incumbent Republican Ken Calvert in the 44th congressional district, but nearly 100,000 provisional and vote-by-mail absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

GOP lawyers are descending on registrars’ offices in Orange and Riverside, the district’s two counties, trying to influence the vote counting which began today:

Rebecca Martine, Riverside County's chief deputy registrar, said there are 38,000 paper provisional ballots and 9,000 electronic provisional ballots to be counted.

This is in addition to approximately 50,000 absentee ballots still outstanding.

Calvert's team has apparently been having private conversations with the registrar’s office in Riverside County, which was the last county in California to report its election results. There were numerous reports from Democratic Party officials, voters and even a poll worker in Riverside County that voters were "forced to use provisional ballots" or "denied ballots entirely" on Tuesday.

Hedrick's campaign today issued a call for all votes to be counted. "We are urging any voter within Riverside or Orange County who voted in the 44th congressional race and were issued a provisional ballot to contact the registrar of voters in their county," said Hedrick communications director Lori Vandermeir, "to demand their ballots are counted."

44th district incumbent Ken Calvert (left), and challenger Bill Hedrick (right)

The fate of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 initiative is still up the air, with the measure’s foes refusing to concede before all provisional and absentee ballots are counted. Voters in Riverside County approved the initiative by a heavy 64-36% margin, but provisional votes may skew differently.

If you'd like to ask elections officials to count all the provisional votes fairly, free from influence by GOP lawyers, call the Riverside County Registrar’s office at (951) 486-7200, where you can leave a message for Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore.

The 44th congressional district includes San Clemente, home to Richard Nixon’s Western White House. It is a GOP stronghold. The Hedrick-Calvert race was rated solid Republican by Charlie Cook's Political Report as of mid-October. In 2004, Bush beat Kerry in the district by 59-40%.

Calvert was named one of the most corrupt members in Congress for three years running by the independent watch dog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. He has served in Congress since 1993. Calvert outspent Hedrick in this race by more than 5-1, raising and spending nearly a million dollars to Hedrick’s $150,000.

Despite voting with George W. Bush 94.4% of the time, this fall Calvert distributed mailers without a single mention that he belonged to the Republican party, proclaiming himself "An Independent Voice Working for You." The 44th district has seen a jump in voter registration this year, with Democrats outpacing Republicans, especially in Riverside County. It is the second-fastest growing district in California, adding almost 200,000 new residents since 2000, the majority of that growth in the district’s Hispanic population.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports Hedrick got an assist from Obama voters:

Republicans still hold a slight edge over Democrats in the Riverside County portion of the district, with roughly 5,000 more registered GOP voters than Democrats. But Hedrick, perhaps aided by the excitement surrounding President-elect Barack Obama, was ahead by almost 6,000 votes in Riverside County, according to the Riverside County registrar of voters.

Voters wait in line in Riverside, CA on election day

National Journal's Hotline on Call blog agrees:
"Calvert...appears to not have taken his re-election seriously enough, and may have gotten tripped up by the big Obama-influenced turnout. An unlikely win by Hedrick would be the story of the cycle."

Although the Obama tsunami wiped out GOP incumbents across the country, this is one congressional contest no one predicted would become a cliffhanger. Help bring public pressure to bear in support of a fair counting of all the votes in this race, which is shaping up as a poster child for meaningful voting reform that takes us beyond the sloppy provisional ballot system. Any form of Election Day confusion that leaves 47,000 citizens in a single county unsure whether their votes will count is not what a true democracy looks like.

(UPDATE 12/1: Last Thursday, Nov. 27, Bill Hedrick conceded the race to Ken Calvert after falling about 6,400 votes short in the final count. In an e-mail to supporters, Hedrick vowed to run again. "We have shown quite clearly that we most certainly can win this seat two years from now," Hedrick said.

In hindsight, the national Democratic Party dropped the ball by not ponying up behind the Hedrick campaign. It's reminiscent of how they similarly ignored North Carolina congressional challenger Larry Kissell in 2006, before he lost by a heartbreaking 329 votes to right wing nut Robin Hayes. Kissell came back to beat Hayes this cycle with the full support of the DCCC in a solid 55-45% victory. Likely, Hedrick will enjoy the same turnabout in party support for his 2010 rematch.)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can, Said Barack Obama, And We Did

The Huffington Post, 11-5-08

The day after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, our first African-American President, it is a truly historic time to be an American. Slavery was one of the United States' original sins, practiced and tolerated even as the country declared our independence from England in 1776, and part of the national fabric for nearly a century afterwards. The violent overthrow of Reconstruction in the South and imposition of Jim Crow laws relegated most black Americans to second-class citizenship for another eighty-odd years, until the civil rights movement smashed the legal underpinnings of segregation and the 1965 Voting Rights Act finally gave the power of the vote to all.

The wounds borne of such a long struggle against racism, hatred, and enforced economic servitude remain with us today. Less than a year ago, the concept of a black American president was still considered fantasy to many, or, as Bill Clinton swears he was misquoted in January, "the biggest fairy tale" imaginable. Some thought Obama’s presidential run was destined to fail for this reason alone.

Yet he won in Southern states like Virginia, capitol of the old Confederacy, and North Carolina, cradle of the sit-in movement in 1960, by mobilizing the same multi-racial coalition that first swept him over the top in South Carolina's primary early this year. And Obama carried Florida, with a big assist from his early vote strategy, the state where elections stolen from black voters shut down Reconstruction in 1876 and led to our current national nightmare under George W. Bush in 2000.

A wave of euphoria gripped the country starting on election night, with Americans dancing in the streets from coast to coast. Today, newspapers sold out their entire press runs and rushed to print more copies to meet demand for the celebratory headline, "Obama Wins." The eminent Duke University historian John Hope Franklin confirmed the national mood, calling it "one of the most momentous, if not the most historic moment in the history of this country."

Obama's victory does not spell the end of racial disparity in America, but it is a ringing sign of progress, a triumph on the road to greater equality and realizing the Dream that Martin Luther King, Jr. revealed to us.

Earlier this afternoon, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. delivered a stirring commentary on NPR’s All Things Considered (originally written for TheRoot.com) in which he compared today to the day after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and shared the reaction of Frederick Douglass:

"the greatest black orator in our history before Dr. King Jr., (who) said that the day was not a day for speeches and 'scarcely a day for prose.' Rather, he said, 'it is a day for poetry and song, a new song.' "


Monday, November 3, 2008

Early Voting Flood in Swing States Predicts Obama Tsunami

The Huffington Post, 11-3-08

Beyond election-eve polls, the best indicator of how this election will turn out is to look at who has already voted. Early voting has now ended across the country, and the results are very good news for Barack Obama and the Democrats. In four swing states - Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina, the early voting period has seen numbers equal to at least two-thirds of all ballots cast in 2004. More than half of the '04 totals have been surpassed in Florida (54%) and Georgia (60%).

More Democrats than Republicans have early voted in these states - in some by big margins. In most, this is a sharp reversal from the early voting edge Republicans enjoyed four years ago, when Bush won all six battlegrounds.

Just as Team Obama out-hustled Hillary Clinton by devoting time to organizing the caucus states, they have soundly beaten McCain-Palin on the early voting front. And they were helped by McCain's cash-strapped, strategy-challenged, demoralized, disorganized campaign. True to form, McCain dropped the ball. Judging by turnout figures, the GOP had no early voting plan.

Early voting in Charlotte, N.C.

For example, in North Carolina, where 2008 marks the third presidential cycle early voting has been made available, 2,573,899 voters cast early or absentee ballots, or 41% of the state's 6.25 million registered voters. This is an astounding 259% increase over the 992,231 early and absentee votes cast during 2004.

52% were Democrats this year, versus 30% Republicans and 18% unaffiliated, a 22-point Democratic advantage. In 2004, the Democratic Party also made early voting an integral part of their GOTV game, but only managed to gain an 11-point advantage over Republicans (48.5-37.5%) in a much smaller early voter universe.

Early voting turnout already represents 72.5% of all the 3.5 million votes cast in North Carolina during 2004, which skewed 56-43.5% for Bush over Kerry. Black voters are overrepresented in the statewide early vote numbers, accounting for 26.5% of the total. 2006 Census Bureau figures estimate North Carolina's African-American population to be 21.7%.

Research on early voting shows that it "disproportionately rewards campaigns that are better organized," according to UCal-Riverside political science professor Benjamin Bishin, who has studied early voting in Florida, because it requires campaigns to roll out more complicated GOTV efforts. It also may benefit Democrats because it "lowers barriers to participation," especially for working class voters who can't afford to take time off to vote on the Tuesday of Election Day.

Early voters in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday, Nov. 2

The Obama campaign's early voting advantage was evident around the country. Celebrities and rock stars streamed into battleground states and drew crowds to rallies held during early voting hours, usually located close to early voting sites.

In Florida, Matt Damon and Jason Alexander headlined a string of early voting rallies. In North Carolina, Ashley Judd and Chris Rock held events in the vote-rich Triangle region during early voting's final days. Judd and Rock have also hosted rallies in Missouri and Florida for the campaign, and Colorado saw Kevin Costner pitch early voting. James Taylor returned home to North Carolina to play five free concerts across the state that doubled as early voting events.

Interviewed by the Miami Herald, Jason Alexander summed up why it made sense for the campaign to deploy stars at GOTV rallies:
"I don't think people like to be proselytized to because someone's been on a television show," he said. "It doesn't give us special powers . . . the key reason for a celebrity surrogate is to create an environment where people come out and then go early vote."

Even absent celebrities, Obama offices organized community marches to early voting sites. In Florida, 27 such marches were held statewide on October 27th, one march for each of Florida's electoral votes. Drum-line marches were staged in Miami's black neighborhoods. In North Carolina, early voting marches organized by students at the state's historically black colleges drew thousands to the polls on the very first day of early voting.

Early voting march in Nevada, Oct. 18

Banking base voters early is now allowing the campaign to focus its energy in the home stretch on independent and undecided voters. "You're simply able to throw that much more at the people who haven't voted yet," said Bishin. And Obama volunteers were sent not only to greet early voters at pollsites and arm them with information about each state's ballot design and down-ticket Democratic races, but to provide bottled water to voters when lines backed up.

This all builds on the historic gains in Democratic voter registration that the Obama campaign has engineered in the battleground states. Since 2004, voter rolls have surged by 946,000 in Florida (up 9%), 737,000 in North Carolina (up 13%), and 375,000 in Nevada, a 35% increase.

Democratic registrations have increased the most in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and shockingly competitive Arizona. Republican registrations declined in Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania but were up by 16% in Nevada (compared with a 39% jump for the Democrats).

More about the actual early vote totals. In Colorado, 56% of the state's registered voters have cast 1,477,836 early votes or mail-in absentee ballots. Democrats have outnumbered Republican early voters by 37.7% to 35.9%, with 26.4% declaring other or no party affiliation. This is up from the 48% of registered Coloradoans who voted early or absentee in 2004, or 913,222 early votes out of 2,148,036 total.

Early voters in Colorado

Four years ago, Republicans led Democrats in early voting by a 42-34% margin, on their way to carrying Colorado for Bush with 51.7% to Kerry's 47%. In 2008, the number of votes already recorded during the early voting period in Colorado is equivalent to 69% of all votes cast in that state in the 2004 general election.

The Obama GOTV operation in Colorado has gotten out more of the core Democratic vote than its GOP counterpart. In the state's Democratic strongholds of Denver and Boulder, early vote turnout ran higher than in rock-solid Republican El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs. Enough votes have already been cast in Denver County to equal 58.7% of its 2004 totals, and 62.7% for Boulder County, versus 52.6% in El Paso County.

In Florida, Democratic voters have cast 46% of the state's eye-popping 4.1 million early votes and absentee ballots, versus 38% for Republicans. During 2004, GOP voters led Democrats in early and absentee balloting by 44-41 percent. Florida's early voting turnout this year represents nearly 54% of votes cast in 2004 (7.64 million), when Bush beat Kerry by 52-47%.

African-American turnout is sharply up in urban areas. Through last Thursday, black voters had cast 39% of all early ballots in Broward County, 30% of votes in Miami-Dade and Orange counties, and 36% in Duval County. As of 2006, African-Americans made up an estimated 15.4% of Florida's population.

Early voting rally in Nevada

Early voting is here to stay, and Democrats adapted to the new environment first, culminating in this year's Obama-led nationwide early vote effort. Its success marks the clearest indicator seen so far that Tuesday night will bring a Democratic landslide in the wake of Obama's tsunami.

(To report voter suppression tactics at the polls, call the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition toll-free at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or visit their website to see the latest reports from your state.)

(UPDATE 11/5 - En route to his historic victory, President-elect Obama carried most of the battlegrounds his campaign targeted, helped enormously by his early voting leads in states including Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. With 100% of precincts reporting and only provisional ballots still to be counted as of Wednesday morning, McCain trails Obama in North Carolina by slightly over 12,000 votes. Defeated Republican moderate Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut summed up the election:

" 'There was this tsunami throughout the country,' said Rep. Christopher Shays, a 21-year House member from Connecticut and the last Republican in the New England delegation, who suffered defeat at the hands of Democrat Jim Himes.")


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Helms and Herzenberg: When The Old South Met New

The Huffington Post, 10-28-08

Top McCain Advisor Learned Slime Tactics From Jesse Helms

(Note from 2014: This post is excerpted from the new eBook available on Amazon - When Harvey Met Jesse: Attack Ads of the 1990 Gantt-Helms U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina)

Despite sharing the same initials and middle name "Alexander," Jesse Helms and Joe Herzenberg were very different. Helms was a bigoted, heterosexual, Southern Baptist, extreme right wing Republican who used divisive politics to keep himself in power for five U.S. Senate terms. Herzenberg was a tolerant, gay, Jewish, staunchly liberal Democrat who spent his life standing up for progressive ideals.

Jesse Helms and Joe Herzenberg

Yet they were both historic politicians who bookended the Old and New South. Helms, who died last summer at age 86, was the last unapologetically racist politician of the segregation era. Herzenberg, who passed away one year ago today at age 66, was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council two decades ago as the first openly gay elected official in the former Confederacy. And in 1984, their paths memorably crossed during the epic Helms-Hunt U.S. Senate race.

That year, Helms used shameful hate mongering against Herzenberg, his partner Lightning Brown, and the rest of North Carolina's gay and lesbian community to eke out his narrow re-election against sitting Gov. Jim Hunt. Helms had been getting decreasing mileage out of race-baiting, drawing heavy criticism for his filibuster against the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday a year earlier. So he found a new bogeyman - the homosexual menace.

GOP operatives like Lee Atwater whose names are synonymous with slimy politics cut their teeth working on Helms' campaigns. During the '84 race, one of the top Helms aides responsible for implementing this gay-bashing strategy was Atwater's mentor, Charlie Black. Black was neck deep in the planning behind every one of Helms' infamously racist and divisive election bids. He went on to a long lobbying career representing disgraced foreign dictators like the Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos and Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire. Black currently serves as a senior advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign, and the results of his most recent handiwork have become evident as the McCain-Palin message has swerved disgustingly into the gutter.

McCain and Black confer aboard McCain's campaign plane

Headlines screaming "Jim Hunt Is Sissy, Prissy, Girlish and Effeminate," and asking, "Is Jim Hunt homosexual?...Is he AC and DC?" appeared throughout 1984 in a free newspaper called The Landmark, a virulently anti-gay publication printed in Chatham County, N.C. The paper's homophobic publisher, Bob Windsor of Chapel Hill, was a cog in the Helms machine.

The stories ran alongside paid ads for Helms' re-election campaign, and hundreds of thousands of copies of the paper were distributed around the state, particularly in rural areas. Its press run increased dramatically in the weeks leading up to Election Day. The Landmark was funded by shadowy national Helms backers, part of the religious right that played a key behind-the-scenes organizing role in Helms' campaign.

That June, the N.C. Republican Party held a press conference to accuse Jim Hunt of a "gay connection" because gay donors had bought 100 of 700 tickets to a Hunt fundraiser in New York, and Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, leading Senate sponsor of a gay rights bill, had held a fundraising dinner for Hunt in Boston. The next day, Helms supporters paid to have a Landmark story reprinted as a large ad in the Raleigh News & Observer, accusing Hunt of "accepting a $79,000 contribution from Gay Activists."

Posing as reporters for the black and gay press, right-wing operatives made and taped phone calls to gay Hunt supporters around the country. Articles based on distorted excerpts from the phone calls were then published in issues of The Landmark.

Herzenberg and Brown were the smear campaign's N.C. poster children, targeted because they had helped co-found the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of North Carolina two years earlier, and were both vocally campaigning for Hunt. According to Lightning, one caller "asked about my fund raising for Hunt. The details ended up in The Landmark right away - it was frightening."

Besides running made-up stories that slandered Herzenberg and Brown relentlessly, including accusations that they had started a Chapel Hill NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) chapter and were secretly "porno kings," The Landmark also published their home addresses and did everything possible to incite violence against the two of them. No wonder, as gay activist Mab Segrest recounted in an article on the Senate race, that "Brown and Herzenberg were subjected to more than a dozen separate incidents of intimidation, vandalism and harassment...for their work within the Democratic Party."

In a 1984 interview with the Independent Weekly when Herzenberg and Brown were awarded two of the Indy's first-ever Citizen Awards, Brown told of how "two people even threatened to kill me on Rosemary Street" in Chapel Hill. Herzenberg called the attacks "very disruptive and at times painful." Asked if he had been scared, he admitted, with a subtlety that testified to his courage, "At moments."

In September, The Landmark published an interview with Helms in which he called homosexuality "a perversion and a crime." He described the gay movement as a "threat to the morals of our young people" and to "the ability of our population to reproduce itself...jeopardizing the very survival of the nation."

Helms was eventually forced to publicly distance himself from The Landmark after the paper published its most sensational charges accusing Jim Hunt of having a lover who was a "pretty young boy."" But he was well aware of how the paper was being widely distributed on his behalf. Helms betrayed himself on this point during a televised debate.

Although both were known in Triangle political circles, and in the state's gay community, the only actual media coverage of their status as gay activists was through The Landmark's smear campaign. But in one of their four debates, Helms twice gay-baited Hunt by thundering, "You're supported by people like Joe Herzenberg and Lightning Brown!" Herzenberg considered the moment he was publicly outed to have been when Helms announced his name on statewide television.

In the wake of his sliming by Helms' hateful tactics, Herzenberg decided he was out of the closet for good. His political activism and organizing flourished. He was elected as an openly gay Mondale delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention. He helped organize North Carolina's first Gay Pride Parade in 1986. He ran for the Chapel Hill Town Council as an openly gay candidate in 1985, and again in 1987 before he was finally elected.

Herzenberg was arguably the first gay candidate in U.S. history elected to office outside an urban area or historically gay enclave, and he did it by assembling a broad-based progressive coalition. His election was an important symbol of how the South was changing, and in some ways, Jesse Helms and his repugnant minions like Charlie Black made it possible. Joe Herzenberg would have been thrilled to see the political landscape one year after his death, only one week away from the election of Barack Obama and a historic repudiation of the politics of division and hate.


Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain Campaign Tried Using Assault Hoax to Slime Obama

The Huffington Post, 10-24-08

The day after her story of a politically-motivated assault made headlines around the nation, coverage pushed relentlessly by McCain-Palin campaign officials, a McCain campaign worker admitted she made it all up. Ashley Todd, 20, told Pittsburgh police on Wednesday night that she had been held up at an ATM, and the mugger, a 6' 4" black male, had become enraged once he saw a McCain bumper sticker on her car. Todd claimed her assailant had then pinned her to the ground and used a dull knife blade to carve a "B" into her cheek, after telling her, "you are going to be a Barack supporter."

The most appalling part of this episode was the McCain team's reaction. Desperate for a turn of events that would paint their opponents in a negative light, they rushed to disseminate the story to media outlets before all the facts were known. McCain's Pennsylvania communications director Peter Feldman actually peddled a version to reporters that was far more incendiary than details confirmed by police at the time. Feldman claimed the attacker told Todd, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson," and that the carved "B" definitely stood for "Barack."

But it was all a hoax. Friday morning, police stated that "we have learned that the victim's statement has a few inconsistencies in it and her statement has changed." A few hours later, police said Todd had confessed that there was no robbery or attacker, and would be charged with filing a false police report. She also told police she had prior mental health problems.

According to one of the actual police reports documenting the charade's unraveling, Todd says she can't remember whether she mutilated her own face, or had someone else do it. And Todd now claims she can't explain why she invented the story, but her motivation behind staging the incident seems clear from details in the police report - to smear Obama supporters.

Todd said she was driving around in her car, looked in her rear-view mirror, saw a "B," and the first thing she thought of was Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, according to a police report obtained by WTAE Channel 4 Action News.

Todd, from College Station, Texas, had been campaigning for the McCain-Palin ticket in Pennsylvania for the past few weeks. She was volunteering through the College Republican National Committee to recruit other college students to volunteer for McCain-Palin. CRNC executive director Ethan Eilon told FOX News that Todd had taken a year off from Blinn College in Texas to work on the campaign. She is also apparently a former Ron Paul volunteer.

Todd with Ron Paul at campaign appearance in February, 2008

Police doubted her story from the beginning, said Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division:

"We have robbers here in Pittsburgh, but they don't generally mutilate someone's face like that," Bryant said. "They just take the money and run."

Bryant confirmed that police were also suspicious as to why the "B" on Todd's cheek was backward.

This tale faced a skeptical public from the moment it hit. Even rabidly far right blogger Michelle Malkin pointed out numerous holes in Todd's hard-to-believe account of being the victim of a political hate crime.

The entire mess is a tragic development, and I hope this young woman gets the mental health treatment she needs.

Yet a double standard is obvious based on the amount of coverage this incident received prior to any suggestion that it might be a hoax. The story was pushed hard by the Drudge Report, and most conservative talking heads ran with it. Sean Hannity devoted most of his Thursday afternoon talk radio broadcast to the topic, broadcasting live from Pittsburgh. Local news stations around the country featured the story on Thursday night's evening and late night newscasts.

Compare this with how little attention has been paid to a recent wave of politically-motivated, violent acts perpetrated by McCain-Palin supporters, several of which occurred in North Carolina and were covered on HuffPo earlier this week.

The crucial difference is that Obama and Biden are not traveling the country stirring up hatred among their supporters that would incite violence, while McCain and Palin clearly are. But let loose the spectre of a scary, hulking black criminal knifing up a poor, defenseless white girl, and predictably, the media lights swarmed.

Thankfully, McCain and Palin's disgraceful attacks on Obama have backfired, contributing to their meltdown in the polls. And the McCain camp's shameful eagerness to exploit hurtful situations like this hoax for political gain helps explain the revulsion that decent citizens have developed for the GOP's increasingly desperate, unbalanced campaign.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

McCain and Palin Inciting Violence in North Carolina

The Huffington Post, 10-22-08

Forced to defend what should be reliable red state turf, John McCain and Sarah Palin finally showed up in North Carolina over the past few weeks. So far in October, the GOP running mates have appeared at four campaign rallies here. And in the wake of their visits, a string of election season crimes have occurred around the state involving violence, vandalism, and harassment.

First, a reporter was assaulted at a Palin rally held last Thursday at Elon College. Greenboro News & Record reporter Joe Killian was kicked to the ground by a Palin supporter as he was trying to interview protestors at the event who backed Barack Obama. From Joe's blog:

"Oh, you think that's funny?!" the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. "Yeah, that's real funny..." he said.
And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.

An MSNBC sound technician was hit in the head by a rock thrown by another Palin supporter at this same rally.

Next, over the weekend, about 30 Obama supporters had their tires slashed while attending an Obama rally that attracted an overflow crowd of more than 10,000 at the Fayetteville Crown Coliseum. Among the citizens left stranded were a single mother and toddler. "This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen," said a nearby resident. "This is a crying shame."

After the rally finished, a mob of white McCain-Palin supporters jeered and harassed a steady stream of mostly black Fayetteville residents standing in line to vote early at the downtown Board of Elections office. According to the Washington Times correspondent who reported the story, "people were shouting about Obama's acknowledged cocaine use as a young man, abortion and one man used the word 'terrorist.' " In doing so, they almost certainly violated the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which states:

"No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote"

McCain supporters heckle early voters in Fayetteville, N.C., Oct. 19

And this Monday, a black bear cub was killed and left at the entrance to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, with Obama campaign signs wrapped around its body, including two taped together over its head. Police reports are calling the incident a "prank," and claim seven students are being questioned. Whatever the motive, this latest development was met with immediate public revulsion and condemnation. As the Asheville Citizen-Times editorialized today, "It was an innocent bear cub that lost its life this time as some deranged person or persons expressed their political rage. Next time, it could be an innocent person."

These incidents have all been perpetrated by or linked to McCain supporters, and stirred up by McCain and Palin's angry, hateful campaign rhetoric. Like during Palin's first stop in the state at a Greenville rally on Oct. 7, when she continued trying to smear Obama over his tenuous connection to Bill Ayers. With uniformed service members standing in the crowd behind her, she again peddled her discredited attack line that Obama was "palling around with terrorists" by asking, "He didn't know that he had launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist?"

The McCain campaign is currently flooding the state with robocalls making identical false charges. The N.C. Republican Party is aiding the attack with a scurrilous mailer sent to N.C. voters headlined, "Obama has close ties to domestic terrorist," with mug shots of Ayers from 1968 and a recent photo of him wearing a Cuban national baseball team jersey. This is the same ridiculously far right state GOP party that ran an attack ad during the primaries tying Obama to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, which McCain repudiated at the time.

Briefly, McCain realized the angry tone of his rallies was turning off voters, and rebuked an elderly supporter who called Obama "an Arab." Within days, he was back in the gutter at their final debate. Before 56.5 million people, he linked Obama to the community organizing group ACORN's voter registration efforts, and hysterically insisted ACORN was "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

On Saturday, McCain recorded a radio address in Concord, N.C. in which he made the racially loaded claim that "Barack Obama's tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency," then appeared at a rally attended by several thousand supporters. There McCain was introduced by loony Republican Congressman Robin Hayes, who informed the crowd, "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." Hayes is locked in a tight rematch against challenger Larry Kissell, a progressive former textile worker who lost to Hayes in 2006 by only 329 votes.

Last week, Palin told big donors at a fundraiser in Greensboro that she was thrilled to be visiting the "pro-America areas of this great nation," a gaffe so ill-advised and guaranteed to offend that she actually apologized for it, a first for Palin. But it was entirely consistent with her worldview, which is warped and narrow minded, categorizing anyone who doesn't share her extreme beliefs as "haters" and enemies.

The same day, she was asked by a local reporter what she thought of the late Sen. Jesse Helms, who was the last unapologeticly racist U.S. politician of the segregation era, held legendary, disgraceful campaign rallies of his own, and whose ultra right wing views were cut from the same cloth as Palin's. No wonder she expressed admiration for the man, admitting that "I do respect those years of service that he had provided." She also did her best to whitewash Helms' shameful legacy by falsely claiming he had apologized for his past misdeeds.

Interviewed by the Washington Post for a recent story on McCain's early political career, former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party Jon Hinz gave some insight into why McCain shows little concern over his campaign stooping to such lengths to trash Obama. "He needs to make enemies of the people he's going against in order to get fired up," said Hinz.

The violent incidents we've witnessed in North Carolina are all lower than low, in fact, they're despicable. But McCain and Palin are to blame for creating an environment where their more unbalanced supporters feel these kinds of actions are legitimate.

Supporters line up for a McCain rally in Wilmington, N.C., Oct. 13

It shows what dangerous ground McCain-Palin are traveling by relying on increasingly desperate, unfounded character attacks on Obama in their attempts to distract our country from the ongoing economic crisis. Yet as polls continue to indicate, these attacks have backfired. They are contributing to voters' distaste for the Republican ticket.

And they're leaving behind a hollowed out party destined for minority status. As independents and moderate Republicans like Colin Powell abandon the McCain-Palin GOP in droves, all that remains are increasingly bitter, frustrated, far-right voters. This election's coming Democratic tsunami will exile Republicans to the political wilderness, where they will have to decide whether to keep clinging to yesterday's politics of fear.

As for John McCain and Sarah Palin, shame on both of them. After resorting to careless demagoguery and stirring up hatred and division so recklessly, neither deserves to hold public office.


Rogues Gallery

All Posts by Category


#ChapelHillShooting #MuslimLivesMatter (1) $400 haircuts (3) 1960s (1) 1980s (1) 1984 (1) 1988 elections (1) 1989 (1) 1990 elections (3) 1992 elections (1) 1993 (3) 1994 elections (1) 1996 elections (3) 1998 elections (1) 2000 elections (3) 2004 (7) 2004 elections (2) 2008 (32) 2008 congressional races (2) 2012 elections (3) 2014 elections (13) 2016 elections (7) 527 groups (1) 9/11 (4) 9/11 first anniversary (1) Abba Eban (1) Abbe Raven (1) Abbie Hoffman (2) ABC (1) abortion (3) action alert (7) activism (2) advertising (2) advocacy (1) affair (4) Affordable Care Act (1) affordable housing fund (1) afghanistan (2) Age of Obama (1) AIDS (1) AIDS victims (2) AIPAC (1) al gore (2) Al Sharpton (1) Alec Guettal (3) alienation (2) Alison Lundergan Grimes (1) alternative energy (10) Alzheimer's (1) amanda marcotte (2) American Left (4) Americans for Limited Government (1) Americans For Prosperity (1) Amnon Rubenstein (1) andrew young (3) Angelo Robinson (1) anti-communism (1) anti-gay bigotry (1) anti-gay violence (1) anti-immigration activists (2) anti-science (1) anti-Semitism (1) anti-vaccine (1) anti-vaxxers (1) anti-war (6) appeal to southern voters (1) apprentice (1) Ariel Sharon (1) Ashley Todd (2) assassinations (2) Astroturf (1) atheism (1) attack ads (5) attack on voter rights (4) Australia (1) autism (1) average Americans (1) baby boomers (1) baby formula (1) bank of america (1) bankruptcy reform (1) barack obama (24) Barry Commoner (2) BBC (1) Benghazi (1) Benjamin L. Ginsberg (1) Bensonhurst (1) Berkeley (1) Beth Ising (2) bi-racial coalition (1) Biden-Palin Debate (1) big banks (1) big money (4) bigotry (7) bill clinton (6) bill donohue (1) Bill Hedrick (1) Bill O'Reilly (1) billionaires (1) Billy Bragg (1) Black Cultural Center (1) Black Lives Matter (4) black voters (7) Blan Holman (1) block the vote (1) bloggergate (1) bloggers (1) blogosphere (1) Bob Dole (1) Bob Iger (1) bob johnson (1) body cameras (1) books (3) Borders (2) BP (2) Brad Blog (1) Brad Friedman (1) Bruce Braley (4) budget deficit (1) bush (7) Bush Administration (2) bush administration misconduct (3) bush donor (1) bush on steroids (1) bush v. gore (1) California (1) Camilo Padreda (1) campaign feud (1) campaign finance reform (8) campaign gaffes (2) campaign scandals (4) campaigns (1) can edwards win (3) canvassing (1) capitalism (2) Catalyst (5) censorship (5) Cesar Chavez (1) Chad Taylor (1) Channel One (1) chapel hill (7) chapel hill town council (3) Charlie Black (1) Charlie Crist (1) Chatham County (1) chemical industry (2) children (1) chris hughes (1) Chris Whittle (1) Christine O'Donnell (1) CIA (3) CIA recruiting (1) CIA torture report (1) citizen participation (1) Citizens United (1) civil disobedience (2) civil rights (7) civil rights movement (1) civilian casualties (2) Civitas Institute (1) class issues (1) Clean Up Congress (1) Clear Channel (2) Clinton Administration (3) code words (1) Cold War (1) colin powell (1) Colin Small (1) college campuses (2) colonialism (1) columbia (1) community reinvestment (1) community reinvestment act (1) concentration of mass media ownership (4) Concord (1) congress (7) conservation (1) consumer fraud (2) consumers (2) Coors (1) corporate accountability (8) corporate front groups (1) corporate giveaways (2) corporate greed (1) corporate influence (4) corporate media (2) corporate misconduct (8) corporations (8) corruption (1) counter-inaugural (1) CRA (1) cra-nc (2) Craig Hicks (1) CRomnibus (2) crony capitalism (1) cross burnings (1) Crossroads GPS (1) Cuba (1) cuban exiles (1) cultural imperialism (1) Dale McKinley (1) damage control (2) Dana Rohrabacher (1) dark money (3) Darren Wilson (2) David Ball (2) David Brower (1) David Dellinger (1) David Duke (1) David Horowitz (1) Deah Barakat (1) debates (1) Debbie Cook (1) demagogues (3) democracy (6) Democratic Convention (1) democratic nomination (15) democratic party (2) Democrats (2) Denis Hayes (1) deregulation (1) detainees (1) Dick Cheney (1) dictatorships (1) dirty tricks (4) discrimination (1) Disney (1) disparate treatment (1) diversity (1) divisive politics (3) Dominican Republic (1) Donald Rumsfeld (1) donald trump (4) dumpstering (2) durham (2) e-mail (2) early voting (2) Ebola (2) economic inequality (2) economic issues (1) economy (4) ed meese (1) Ed Rollins (1) Edison Project (1) edith childs (1) education (2) edwards affair (4) election day 2008 (1) election fraud (1) electoral college (1) Eliot Spitzer (1) Elizabeth Dole (1) elizabeth edwards (2) Elizabeth Warren (3) Emily Lawson (1) employee pensions (1) end racism (4) energy independence (9) entertaining ourselves to death (5) environment (15) environmental pollution (5) environmental racism (2) Eric Garner (2) Eric Holder (1) Eric Odell (2) Ericka Kurz (21) evan bayh (1) Executive Orders (1) expenditures (1) exploitation of 9/11 (2) Exxon Valdez (1) factory farming (1) Faux News (1) FBI (1) Fear (1) fec (1) feminism (1) Ferguson (3) Fidel Castro (2) field plan (1) financial house of cards (1) fire (1) Fire From The Mountain (1) firebombing (2) fired up (1) first openly gay elected official in south (1) Florida (1) florida recount (1) foreign policy (1) Fox News (1) fraud (1) fraudulent inauguration (2) Frederick Douglass (1) Free Speech Movement (1) freedom songs (1) friend (1) fuel efficiency (1) fundraising (2) gary hart (1) gay (6) gay history (2) gay marriage (1) gay-baiting (4) Gaza (2) gen. david petraeus (1) gender equality (1) general election (23) Generation X (1) George H.W. Bush (9) George Norris (1) george w. bush (12) Geraldine Ferraro (1) Germany (2) gerrymandering (1) get-out-the-vote (3) GLBT community (1) global warming (2) GOP (27) GOP Slime Machine (10) GOTV (3) government harassment (1) government secrecy (1) great recession (1) greed (1) Greg Orman (1) grocery store (1) ground game (1) ground zero (1) GSE's (1) guerrillas (1) guest workers (1) Gulf War (5) gun violence (1) h+r block (1) hackers (2) Hamas (2) Harriet Ann Jacobs (2) Harris Wofford (1) Harry Blackmun (1) Harry Truman (1) Harvey Gantt (6) hate crimes (1) hate-mongering (3) hatred (3) health care reform (4) hedge funds (2) Helen Caldicott (2) Henry Hyde (1) Henry Kissinger (1) Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1) hero (1) Hezbollah (1) hillary clinton (14) historical amnesia (1) history (1) hit the road jack (1) HMO's (1) Ho Chi Minh (1) hoaxes (1) Holocaust (1) home foreclosures (1) homophobia (1) housing (1) Howard Rich (1) HR 1461 (1) Huks (1) Human Rights Campaign (1) hurting communities (1) i feel pretty (1) iit’s a wonderful life (1) immigration (4) immigration action (1) immigration reform (3) Inauguration Day 2009 (1) Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl (2) income inequality (1) Indigo Girls (1) industrial agriculture (1) industrial revolution (1) integration (1) intelligence community (1) international relations (1) Invasion of Panama (1) Iowa (4) iowa caucuses (1) Ira Magaziner (1) Iran/Contra scandal (1) iraq (2) iraq war (4) iraq war costs (2) Irgun (1) ISIS (1) Islamic State (1) Islamophobia (1) Israel (5) Israeli Labor Party (1) Israeli-Palestinian conflict (6) James Bay II (1) James Carville (1) james watt (1) January 20 2001 (2) January 20 2009 (1) jeb bush (3) Jenn Karson (1) Jenny McCarthy (1) Jeremiah Wright (1) Jerry Falwell (1) Jerry Rubin (1) Jesse Helms (13) jesse jackson (3) Jessecrats (1) Jesus de Galindez (1) JFK Assassination (1) Jill Biden (1) Jim DeMint (1) Jim Hunt (3) Jimmy Langman (3) job losses (3) joe biden (3) joe herzenberg (3) Joe Sestak (1) joe trippi (1) John Boehner (3) john edwards (12) john kerry (4) John Lennon (1) John Locke (1) John McCain (16) John Moody (1) john poindexter (1) John Raese (1) John Reich (1) John Sinclair (1) Joni Ernst (5) June 24 1973 (1) justice (2) justice for all (1) Justice for Mike Brown (1) Kansas (2) Karl Marx (1) Karl Rove (5) Kay Hagan (4) Kayla Mueller (1) Ken Calvert (1) Kentucky (1) Kirti Shastri (1) KKK (1) Koch brothers (4) Korean War (1) Ku Klux Klan (2) labor unions (2) Lakota Woman (1) Lamar Alexander (1) Larry Kissell (1) Latin America (2) Latinos (2) Lawton Chiles (1) lazy journalism (1) Lebanon (1) lee c. wilson (1) legal system (1) Lehman Brothers (1) lesbian (1) liberation theology (1) Libya (1) Likud (3) Linda Brent (2) Lisa Abbott (3) lobbying (1) Louisiana (1) love child scandal (2) lynching (1) macaca moment (1) MAJIC (1) Mandy Carter (1) Marco Rubio (1) Mark Chilton (2) Mark Kleinschmidt (1) Mark Penn (1) marketing (2) Martin Frost (1) Martin Luther King Jr. (1) Mary Brave Bird (1) Mary Crow Dog (1) maternity leave (1) Matt Czajkowski (1) max cleland (1) mayor of franklin street (1) mbna (1) McCain missteps (2) McCain VP (7) McCarthyism (1) McDesperate (4) measles (1) media (2) media bias (3) media failed to inform (2) media hysteria (1) media monopolies (3) medical insurance industry (3) Medicare (1) melissa mcewan (1) memorial (1) Menachem Begin (2) mentor (1) merger (1) Michael Bell (1) Michael Brown (3) Michael Stipe (1) Michele Bachmann (1) Michelle Bachmann (1) michelle malkin (1) Michigan (1) middle east (1) Miguel Recarey (1) Mike Castle (1) Mike Easley (2) Mike Hummell (1) military-industrial complex (3) Millennials (1) Milton Wolf (1) minimum wage (1) mission not accomplished (1) Mitch McConnell (3) Mitt Romney (6) Mobil (2) molly ivins (1) money (1) Moral Majority (3) MOVE (4) multiculturalism (1) multinational corporations (2) Muslim Americans (1) mybo (1) NAACP (1) Nat Turner (1) Nathan Sproul (1) Native Americans (2) nc (4) NC Legislature (1) NC MOBE 96 (1) NC PDP (1) neo-nazis (1) Nestle (1) netroots (3) New Left (1) New Orleans (1) New World Order (1) New York City (3) Nicaragua (2) no justice no peace (1) No More Bushes (1) nobama democrats (1) non-profits (2) North Carolina (23) North Korea (1) nuclear industry (3) Obama Inauguration (1) Obamacare (1) Obsession DVD (1) OCAW (1) occupied territories (2) October 28 2007 (1) offshore drilling (1) Ohio (1) oil (10) oil industry (6) oliver north (1) Omar Cabezas (1) online organizing (1) oppression (2) oprah (1) organizing (12) Orlando Bosch (1) Osama Bin Laden (1) ots (2) outrage (1) overconsumption (1) Palestine (1) pandagon (1) pat buchanan (1) Pat Roberts (2) Pat Toomey (1) patriarchy (2) Paul Wellstone (1) payday lending (1) peace (4) peace is patriotic (1) Peggy Young (1) Pennsylvania (2) Penny Rich (1) Peter King (1) petition (2) pharmaceutical industry (1) Phillipines (1) phonebanking (1) phony billionaire (1) picketing (1) PIRGs (1) PLO (2) police accountability (4) police brutality (5) police oversight (4) political committees (1) political consultants (1) political heroes (1) polls (1) pottersville (1) President Obama (4) presidential campaign (30) privatization of education (2) pro-war propaganda (1) profits (1) progressive Democrats (3) progressives (1) property (1) protest (2) protests (6) Public Citizen (1) public health (2) public opinion (2) publishing industry (2) pulp (1) pulping (2) PUMA (1) race card (1) race relations (5) race riots (2) racism (22) racist terrorism (1) radicals (2) Rafael Trujillo (1) rally (1) ralph nader (3) RALs (1) Rand Paul (2) ray charles (1) reading list (3) reagan's racism (1) recall elections (1) recession of 1991-92 (2) recession of 2008 (1) redbaiting (1) redistricting (1) refugee camps (1) refund anticipation loans (1) reproductive rights (1) Republican National Convention (2) republican party (2) Republican Study Committee (1) returns (2) revolution (1) rich donors (2) Richard Fink (1) Rick Santorum (1) Rick Scott (1) rielle hunter (2) Right Wing (11) right wing Republicans (11) RIP (3) rip-off (1) Robert McCulloch (1) Robert Mercer (1) Robert Redford (2) Robin Hayes (1) ronald reagan (2) Ruby Sinreich (1) rudy giuliani (1) ruling class (1) rush limbaugh (3) Sabra and Shatilla Massacres (1) Sam Brownback (2) same-sex marriage (1) Sandinistas (1) Sarah Palin (14) SAU (1) savings and loans (1) Scamdal (1) schools (1) Scientology (1) Scott Brown (1) SDS (2) SEAC (20) selected not elected (1) Senate races (10) sept. 11 (4) sept. 11 2002 (2) sexism (2) Sharron Angle (1) Sheldon Adelson (1) Shimon Peres (1) single payer health system (2) Six-Day War (1) slaveholders (1) slavery (2) Smithfield Foods (1) social movements (1) social networking (1) solar panels (1) soul music (1) south carolina primary (4) Soviet Union (1) spat (1) Sprint (1) Stand With Peggy (1) state governments (1) Steve Scalise (1) Steve Schmidt (3) stolen election (5) stop bush (1) StopBrownback (1) strange incidents (2) street theatre (1) Student Action Union (1) student activism (19) student voting (3) students (11) subprime lending (1) super PACs (2) superdelegate petition (2) superdelegates (2) supreme court (5) susan baylies (1) swine flu panic (1) Syria (1) take action (16) tax code fairness (2) Tea Party (8) Ted Cruz (3) terrorism (2) Terry Sanford (1) The Revolt (1) The Zionist Dream Revisited (1) these guys (1) third world (3) Thom Tillis (3) Thomas Frank (1) Threshold (8) tim kaine (1) Time Warner (1) tobacco industry (1) Tom DeLay (1) Tongass National Forest (1) Tony Coelho (1) Tony Mazzocchi (1) torture (1) Troopergate (1) trump was born wealthy (1) U.S. power structure (2) UNC-Chapel Hill (5) undocumented immigrants (2) unemployment (1) United Kingdom (2) universal healthcare coverage (6) unprovoked war (1) UpStairs Lounge (1) uranium mining (1) US foreign policy (2) US support for Israel (2) vaccines work (1) Vandana Ramaswamy (1) VANISH (1) veepstakes (4) vice president (6) Vietnam War (7) VOE (1) volunteers (6) vote packing (1) voter education (2) voter ID (1) voter intimidation (2) voter mobilization (1) voter registration (12) voter suppression (9) voter turnout (8) voter-owned elections (1) voters (7) voters for obama (2) voting (1) voting problems (1) voting rights (1) vp (1) Waldenbooks (2) Wall Street (2) walter mondale (1) war (6) war in iraq (5) war on terror (4) war on women (1) war profits (1) War Resisters League (1) war toys (1) war weary (1) waste (2) waterboarding (1) wealth (2) white supremacy (3) Whittle Communications (1) Winona LaDuke (3) Wisconsin (2) women (1) Woodrow Wilson (1) Woodstock (1) workers (1) workplace discrimination (1) World War One (1) xenophobia (2) Yippie! (1) Yitzhak Rabin (1) you're fired (1) young voters (1) youth (1) youth empowerment (2) youtube (1) Yusef Hawkins (1) Zionism (2)

Even More Outrage via Leftweets.org

Twitter Outrage News Feed