Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 54,277
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 54,277
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Posted by bigtree | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 01:46 PM (0 replies)
Nicholas Kristof @NickKristof 31m
Congrats to Philippines for peace deal with MILF rebels. If it sticks, that's a huge advance for a lovely country!
Catherine Warrick @CatWarr
And that's why I never abbreviate Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Posted by bigtree | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 08:30 AM (4 replies)
Barack Obama in Cleveland, OH - October 5th
Photograph by Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America
Posted by bigtree | Sun Oct 7, 2012, 06:20 PM (3 replies)
Posted by bigtree | Sun Oct 7, 2012, 03:09 PM (34 replies)
Barack Obama in Madison, WI - October 3rd
Photograph by Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America
Posted by bigtree | Sat Oct 6, 2012, 08:51 PM (6 replies)
The way the lie about 'cooked' job numbers has been spread and adopted by Romney's surrogates and supporters is disturbing and alarming.
Listening to some of his supporters today on c-span and news accounts of the reaction to yesterday's 7.8% unemployment rate, I was struck by the way that even the ridiculousness of this lie about the Labor Dept. manipulating job numbers hasn't stopped his supporters from repeating it like it was gospel.
It's clear that there is no floor to the campaign of lies against Barack Obama. It's also clear that Mitt Romney is singularly the person most responsible for the proliferation of a blatant and demonstrably false accusation against a bipartisan department of career Labor Dept. employees. His supporters are simply following his lead in using outright lies as campaign rhetoric and attacks; even after they have been proven false beyond any reasonable doubt.
Romney certainly didn't invent campaign lies, but, he's made the practice of deliberate and repeated prevarication (even after being directly called on his distortions by an objective press) a standard in republican presidential politics.
Romney is pushing forward with his campaign of deliberate and encouraged distortions and lies -- with no apparent intention to even try and hew his rhetoric and campaign claims to the truth and facts. His advertising campaign has been an amazingly corrupt challenge to the press and others who normally seek to provide accountability to these election-season claims and attacks.
So far, the press has been remarkably responsive in pointing out the lies and distortions, but, there's really no mechanism of restitution or reprieve for the deliberate bull which has proven effective at confronting the candidate, penalizing him, and rehabilitating the reputation of his opponent. What we have now is a shameful dialog from the republican candidate and his right-wing supporters which is so personal -- so demeaning toward his Democratic rival -- that the standard of discourse among the supporting public threatens to descend into a free-for-all of character assassination and deliberate obfuscation. Heck, we have that right now.
I'm not a fan of Ayn Rand, but she made an interesting and relevant quote that, perhaps, Romney's partner Ryan's admiration for the writer might cause him to reflect on with a personal interest of his own:
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim," Rand wrote in her book, 'Atlas Shrugged.'
In the unlikely event that Romney actually managed to assume the presidency, after a campaign of deliberate and encouraged lies and distortions, he'd be resigned to a political landscape without the accountability that a well and properly informed electorate would provide to measure his own actions and conduct in office. That Labor Dept. he's allowing to be demeaned and slandered today would be his own; presenting job numbers in a Romney administration that would be marred and mostly ignored by a cynical public encouraged to distrust and reject the very product of the very government he propounds to lead.
For most of McCain's campaign against Barack Obama, the republican and his running-mate took great relish in distorting the record and character of their Democratic opponent. Their campaign also benefited from a deliberate campaign to characterize Barack Obama as someone who's values and intentions were, somehow, un-American and dangerous.
Much of that sentiment, deliberately proffered up from the actual republican campaign and candidates, still hangs around President Obama's neck today. Indeed, the Romney campaign has done what they could to capitalize on that sentiment among supporters, like one of their major promoters, Donald 'Birther' Trump.
Yet, one of the most edifying, and redeeming moments in the McCain campaign came from the candidate, himself, in a town hall appearance. A lady stood up and tried to insist that President Obama was an 'Arab' that she 'couldn't trust,' and was interrupted, corrected, and rebuked by John McCain in a profile in courage which I still appreciate greatly today.
At the risk of alienating a sizable number of his base supporters who had invested their opposition in many of the lurid and bigoted characterizations swirling around about Barack Obama, John McCain checked himself and told the woman (against a chorus of boos from the conservative audience), point blank:
"He is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States. If I didn't think I would be one heck of a better president I wouldn't be running."
John McCain's campaign had already benefited from the deliberate character assassination of Barack Obama by his surrogates and supporters; yet, he couldn't continue to countenance a following which insisted on such divisive, false, and demeaning rhetoric that the lady had demonstrated in her opposition to his Democratic rival. McCain had an inner limit to the degradation of our public discourse which he refused to ignore or put aside to further his political ambition.
There is no apparent limit to Mitt Romney's ambition for the presidency. He sees no need to temper or reject the more extreme factions of his republican party in their character assassination of the president; or repudiate their deliberate lies and distortions about this Democratic president and the government Barack Obama oversees and manages.
Mitt Romney is short-sightedly 'condemning' himself (as Ayn Rand wrote) to 'faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked.' The government and country he would inherit, if elected, would certainly reflect that cynicism and prevarication that he bred into his supporters with his own unapologetic distortions and acquiescence to the deliberate lies from surrogates and supporters. He's surrendering to the 'blackest of destruction;' he's auguring to become a hapless 'slave' to his own mendacious appeal.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Oct 6, 2012, 09:59 AM (9 replies)
President Barack Obama isn't getting lots of accolades for his debate performance last night, but his digital campaign team might deserve them when it comes to combining digital media planning and direct response messaging. Today, Obama for America is running the Promoted Trend on Twitter using the #ForwardNotBack hashtag leading to a video that came together in mere hours.
Obama is also running anti-Romney expandable ads on key swing state news sites with a message aimed squarely at younger voters, along with a more-general anti-Romney ad takeover mirroring the #ForwardNotBack theme on HuffingtonPost.com.
The Obama paid trend links to search results topped with a video tweet from the Obama camp: therein lies about a minute-and-a-half of mainstream media response to the debate, all suggesting statements by Republican Mitt Romney were light on facts. TV coverage clips are coupled with several screenshots of equally damning conclusions on Twitter about Romney statements from non-partisan fact-checking groups FactCheck.org and Politifact.
"The results are in. Romney played fast and loose with the facts," states text that introduces the Obama video. (http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021467229)
Before the debate, Obama's campaign surrogates played down his chances of scoring high points last night, in part because Romney had more recent debate experience and more time to prepare. Today's video-enhanced Twitter move seems to follow that strategy. Rather than highlighting the President and his own words, the video uses trusted media outlets to reinforce one of Obama's primary messages last night: Romney's claims regarding issues such as healthcare and his tax plan are not based in fact.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Oct 4, 2012, 04:27 PM (5 replies)
Folks who are undecided at this point won't be swayed by a scowl or a sneer. Romney is challenged to find votes from a narrow group of undecided voters. I'd be surprised to see even a dent in that number post-debate.
More important, he didn't do anything to change the most damaging feature of his personality, which is his lack of concern for the plights of average Americans. He focused his defenses on millionaires, insurers, providers, banks; contrasted against Pres. Obama's sharp focus on the plights of the vast majority in the middle-class.
Jackassery in one debate isn't going to overcome the narrative already cemented on Romney by the Obama campaign; that Romney is a wealthy elitist who cares more about propping up corporations and the rich, than he does about helping average Americans grow and prosper.
Watch the polls.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Oct 3, 2012, 11:16 PM (4 replies)
Romney will certainly be of interest to voters watching, because he's relatively unknown right now (yes, even despite the exposure he's had over two election cycles and everything in-between).
However, President Obama will also get a close level of scrutiny, because of the cottage industry of misinformation and distortions about his person and policies.
Here's how the dynamic should work;
Romney will confirm the worst voters have heard or read about him. He's wrapped his policy around the worst of his personal privilege and greed. The rest is a demagogic and prevaricating attack on Barack Obama's character and record.
President Obama will easily render all of that nonsense, that republicans have convinced themselves he represents, moot and ridiculous. Barack Obama will resemble none of that; instead, the debate will be a welcome platform for his very inclusive, and substantive appeal.
Romney can't sell his economic plan because it doesn't add up. He can't sell his foreign policy criticisms because he's functionally clueless, even with cues from the Bushites advising him. He can't even sell himself. With or without zingers, Romney will be left looking like a spoiled brat who's too privileged and elitist to actually care a wit about the voters watching.
Posted by bigtree | Mon Oct 1, 2012, 10:45 PM (1 replies)
Why I support Barack Obama
by Ron Fullwood
In electing Barack Obama, America advanced an authentic leader to the White House.
Although he's an accomplished academic - a former president of the Harvard Law Review; though he's served in the Illinois State Legislature and in the Senate; Mr. Obama's most productive and important qualification is his skill in inspiring and organizing which began with the choice he made after college to go into the communities and work to bring people together to help make a positive difference in their surroundings and in their lives.
Hope is the mantra he's chosen as his organizing point. Throughout his previous campaign and election, and the present one, Mr. Obama has been ridiculed and even scorned for promoting that one motivating principle, as if that represented the totality of his platform and initiatives. Hope can't feed the hungry, care for the sick and injured, end wars . . . but Mr. Obama wants us to believe in our ability to come to solutions and remedies for these issues and concerns by facing them together without the obstructing veils of cynicism and corrupting self-interest.
As his inauguration unfolded alongside the celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Obama's message of hope reminded us of the nation's reaction to the 'dream' that King expressed in his address at the Lincoln Memorial at the end of the March on Washington.
Martin Luther King, Jr. will always own that moment where he inspired the nation to move past the personal and institutional bigotry, racism, and discrimination which had marked centuries of oppression for people of color in America. Likewise, it is reasonable to argue that the moment and the challenges we face are no less perilous or consequential to the citizens of our country and abroad than the ones we faced in the '60's.
In as inclusive a manner as our nation is capable of, Barack Obama offered his echo of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream in his national campaign - rallying a nation to join him in pulling the levers of political action and reform; rallying us to believe and to have hope for the future. Pulling the nation completely out of the mess we're in will be a remarkable achievement, if he's ultimately successful in his leadership.
There had been so many feelings of despair among those of us who worked to change the direction and make-up of our government and the White House through the Bush years, so much hopelessness. There was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment when Barack Obama was elected which each and every supporter of Mr. Obama's candidacy could revel in - not the least of which had been his candidacy's ability to make Americans believe in their ability to change the direction of our country through our political action and votes.
Baynard Rustin, a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, argued in his book, 'Strategies for Freedom', that for a movement to have a permanent and transforming imprint, it should have a legislative goal attached which will transcend the whims of the emotions of the moment. Describing a different struggle that America faced with the advancement of civil rights, he wrote that:
"Moral fervor can't maintain your movement, nor can the act of participation itself. There must be a genuine commitment to the advancement of the people. To have such a commitment is also to have a militant sense of responsibility, a recognition that actions have consequences which have a very real effect on the individual lives of those one seeks to advance."
"Far too many movements lack both a (legislative) perspective and a sense of responsibility, and they fail because of it," Ruskin wrote.
Barack Obama has managed to advance himself to the presidency with that legislative goal in front of his appeal to hope. Achieving legislative solutions which will adequately confront the republican minority will certainly take more time. That effort will also, more than likely, take even more protesting and advocacy, but, as long as we keep our legislative goals at the head of our protests, and form the necessary coalitions of support to advance those legislative efforts within the system, we can assume the necessary responsibility for the consequences of our government and transform the direction of our movements from agitation to action.
Barack Obama's election was the realization by voters that our nation's problems will not be solved by academics, experts and technicians, economists, military tacticians, or legislators alone. It was an acknowledgment that we're all going to need to commit ourselves to stay engaged in working to develop and implement solutions.
As we work for the reelection of our 44th President, we also celebrate our own victory over cynicism and our determination to come together to drive home our stake in the future of our nation. We've elected someone who insists on that inclusive future. We've elected an authentic leader.
I can't help but look at President Obama with wonder at the pace and scope of change in my lifetime
I looked at his relaxed, confident face as he signed what may well turn out to be the most important piece of social legislation in my lifetime, his signature 'Affordable Care Act' and I marveled at the very visual affirmation of the progress our society has made in my lifetime; all at the behest and determination of Democrats and the Democratic party.
I was born into a society in which government was just beginning to respond to the demands of my parent's generation to treat us as equals and to defend that equal treatment behind the force and authority of the Federal government. My own life has been largely void of the most pernicious of barriers to opportunity, self-determination, and justice that they fought for, and I'm constantly aware of how our party's responsiveness to those rights and needs of my community have grown right along with my own advancements through adulthood.
I look at our President and I'm humbled by the wisdom and progressiveness of Americans in electing this man. I'm further humbled by the fact that it is, once again, our Democratic party which broke the barrier of race which had vexed many in the black community in their aspirations for that high office.
It was Democratic President John F Kennedy who introduced the Civil Rights Act in 1963 in his civil rights speech advocating "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments," as well as "greater protection for the right to vote."
The civil rights bill got bottled up in committee, yet, the assassination of the President; the March on Washington; and President Lyndon Johnson's leadership got the chocked wheels of Congress rolling toward eventual passage. Interestingly enough, the maneuvers that Democratic legislators employed to circumvent members of our own party who were blocking passage mirrors the engineering of the advancement of his 'historic' health bill.
Now, no one could argue that the civil rights legislation was perfect, or the process without taint. However, the barrier was crossed and future generations were forever bound to the idea of Federal protection of equal rights and equal access. Years later, our Democratic party is still leading the way in making the promise of that legislation a reality by enhancing and expanding those protections.
That's what I saw through the blur of water in my eyes, as I watched the president sign yet another major advance in federal protection and defense of rights for Americans in obtaining access to health insurance and keeping it on behalf of our Democratic party. That's what I see when I watch this Democratic president working on our behalf.
In my lifetime, I've NEVER seen a government or party which completely represented me.
I thought, when I first began to pay attention to government, and I'm certain now, that it's not designed to just represent me, but is responsible for a myriad of needs and concerns - some of which I may not share. *The only thing I've ever felt I was due was to have my ideas compete alongside the others. I've always understood that I'd have to generate as much enthusiasm for a candidate from my district or state to carry those ideas to the statehouse or Congress.
I understand that there will be opposition to my ideas, sometimes overwhelming opposition. But, I'm comfortable to have my ideas in consideration along with more popular or accepted ones. I see our political system as a mechanism to reconcile the many different and diverse ideas and concerns into action. I recognize that it's not always easy or possible. I'm not discouraged by that; I'm challenged to work harder.
In my lifetime, the Democratic Party has been outstanding in carrying and advancing those ideas I support and believe in. Those ideas haven't always prevailed, even among Democrats, but I have lived long enough to see some of those ideas revived, presented, and advanced after all, despite an earlier rejection or defeat. I fully intend to keep pressing my ideas and concerns until they can generate the support needed to advance them legislatively or otherwise.
I never expected to get my way with 100 senators and 500 representatives, but I'm gratified for the progress we've made in achieving the numbers needed to gain the majority. There is obvious value in holding the majority, including the important ability to keep republicans from setting the agenda on the floor and in committees.
In all, the Democratic party remains the most effective and representative vehicle for my ideas and concerns, despite the disagreements I may have with the actions of this Congress or any other I've witnessed. Most of our Democratic senators and representatives work hard to represent us as we continue pressing them for recognition and advancement of those ideas and concerns. I've personally had more than that opportunity. That's all I've ever expected.
This election year has been much like our unusual, unpredictable weather these days. There's so much unprecedented in the atmosphere and landscape of our party's upcoming defense of our Democratic presidency. There's the obvious historic nature of this current president who's race is being deliberately (if not mindlessly) highlighted and framed by many of his bigoted, republican opponents and their supporters; so far, mostly to the advantageous effect of mobilizing and energizing our Democratic base to his heightened defense and support.
I'm mindful that it was just a year, or so, ago that both the economy and President Obama's appeal was teetering on a precipice of indifference in his re-election to an outright wave of opposition from his own base of supporters. A combination of a populist appeal and some executive action has attracted enough of an early buzz regarding the president's re-election from his party regulars and others that he has effectively placed himself firmly into the vital role of our party's political champion.
It's a welcome end of term of a operationally defensive presidency caught up worrying about smoothing out every republican-induced bump in the legislative roadway. Free from any significant or noticeable primary challenge -- and advantaged by a prevaricating and flawed republican nominee -- President Obama has been able to appeal to both the traditional factions of our party, and to many more progressive interests, as well, and position his supporters to rally against the extremes coming from his republican opponents.
It's been a perfect storm of opposition which has inspired many passionate defenses of this presidency from potential Democratic voters; of its agenda; and of its legislative accomplishments. The opposition party has muddied up what had just recently augured to be a dry referendum from them on the struggling, incumbent President.
I am a giddy fool in my unquestioned, enthusiastic, energetic support for the re-election of Barack Obama; basking in the glow of his excellent character, his steady and progressive logic, and in his warm and embracing appeal to our core Democratic principles; reveling in the bold contrast he offers against the bleak and caustic republican opposition. I am a dedicated and loyal toiler against his demagogic attackers.
My natural aversion to the reflexive moderation and unnerving compromises which marked much of his first term is undone (almost) by the warmth, strength, and beauty of this Democratic President's substantive and inspiring campaign and grace in office.
Let me say from the outset that, in comparison to most politicians of any stripe or position, Barack Obama is a very dynamic and compelling figure.
Fact is, his persona, character, and interests reflect more of America than any president in my lifetime. Much is made about Bill Clinton playing sax on Arsenio as candidate, but this president has displayed contemporary cool in office with his embrace of electronic and social media; his public embrace of contemporary music and musicians; as well as his interest in sports from the major leagues to his frequent games of one-on-one b-ball.
More importantly, though, President Obama has embraced many of the progressive issues of our time and presented their resolution or disposition as imperatives for the immediate future. That's a marked difference from the traditional caution of our political establishment. To be certain, many politicians are now challenged to come forth with positions and action on issues they thought they could slow-walk through the political process until they were dead or forgotten.
Even in the midst of our present financial disaster/recovery-- maybe even because of it all -- this president is pressing for action and accomplishment to counter the typical, deliberate cynicism many in our national legislature have worked to engender in our expectations of the government we've made them responsible for.
'Cool' for this president isn't just an attitude; it's a persona derived from his sincerity and commitment to those things which Americans feel characterize the best of what we are and what we aspire to become. Folks recognize that commitment to our national, social, and political advancement and want to identify with that sentiment and effort. Barack Obama inspires Americans on a real level; on a plane where Americans actually live and exist.
I know I can sometimes appear to be an optimist, but I'm often deeply cynical about politicians and government. Don't mistake my confidence and positive persona for optimism, or for some kind of naivete. Hell will freeze over, I believe, before I see all of the changes I want enacted by government realized in my lifetime.
There are, however, transformational moments in our history which usher in progress which can't be reversed or erased. I believe that President Obama's announcement, in his calculated interview, that he now fully supports marriage equality, is one of those earth-moving political decisions which will usher in a new generation of civil rights for those individuals in the LGBT community who have been deliberately denied basic citizenship rights because of who they love; who they choose to have sexual relationships with; and, who they choose to marry.
We don't need to dwell too long on the utter immorality and political timidity of the president's earlier position which he had said was 'evolving' over time. There is no justification to be had for his insistence on sticking to his position against marriage equality and rights for gay Americans. There isn't any mitigation of those views to be had in his welcome and correct support of many other precepts of our LGBT agenda. There isn't any justification for waiting so long to express this change of heart -- no letting the powder dry; or waiting for the next election; or defending his reelection can justify maintaining such a selfish and hurtful stance.
Yet, there isn't any more need to dwell on those transgressions of Barack Obama now that he's made a decision to move forward to change attitudes and the law. There's no more need than there was to dwell on the faults of President Lyndon Johnson -- a man who ushered in a new era of civil rights for black Americans and others; yet, couldn't keep himself from calling blacks 'nigras.' -- after he had his own epiphany and embraced the civil rights fight; enlisting every instigation of democracy he could manage to further the historic progress he ultimately achieved in making the federal government responsible and accountable for the defense of those rights.
What the President has done with his statement -- just a couple of paragraphs; a few sentences -- is to make himself the primary target for those who would oppose these rights he's advocating. In this election year, President Obama will be forced; challenged to defend his position on marriage equality as integral to the defense of his entire candidacy for reelection. I don't know if that's the fight folks were expecting, but that's the one we've got right now.
Fortunately, this President has already demonstrated his capacity and ability to express empathy, compassion, and understanding on many issues in ways which welcome all Americans to join in and participate. Indeed, President Obama has used this issue as a measure of our commitment to each other; employing his defense in a way which ultimately unites us.
It's hard to understate the importance of this sitting president's embrace of these basic, but denied, rights. History has shown that it takes leadership at the level of the presidency to initiate and carry through important changes in our society. It has been said by Edmund Burke that, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Or, perhaps, more accurately, ""When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
So, united we now stand. Forward to the fight for equality for all!
Watching President Obama's campaign kickoff speech in Ohio, just one more time, I got a bit more of an idea of what he's angling to achieve in this campaign beyond his reelection. I'm looking at Barack Obama in the context of the history of our nations leadership --within and without government -- and I'm struck by the degree that this president has managed to inflect his political rhetoric with elements of a progressive agenda which have previously been the elements of activism and advocacy from outside of government; rhetoric not normally associated with a sitting president.
One of the very first thoughts expressed in his speech was a profound statement of our political party's purpose and identity:
"We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth," President Obama said. "If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids the chance to do even better -- no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is."
Right out of the gate, this president is embracing the struggle that the majority of Americans are facing in trying to earn a living and to provide for their families and their future.
"It was tough . . . It was tough all across the country," he said, "But the American people are tougher. All across America, people like you dug in. Folks like you fought back."
Most importantly, the President Obama defined where we came from in this economy, and in the other affairs which make up the state of our union, and declared that we are going forward -- not backward to the policies and politics which let us down in the first place.
'Forward' is more than just a motto; it's a defining stand against those who would have us reverse and take away the elements of progress that we've achieved so far. Forward is a declaration that we intend to build on the initiatives and actions which are already taking root for Americans around the nation.
In an earlier response to a thread of mine, DUer, grantcart, perfectly summed up President Obama's appeal in this election:
"He's not running to win the election," he said, "He's running to win the agenda. Rather than pivoting to the center he is trying to get the country to sign on to going forward on a progressive tact."
"We’ve got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules," President Obama said.
Posted by bigtree | Sat Sep 29, 2012, 09:31 AM (44 replies)