wlotus: (Eyes Wide Open)
Listen as Keith Olbermann debunks the myths surrounding the community center planned for 45 Park Place, NYC (2-4 blocks away from Ground Zero, depending on how you count "blocks"): the building which has been incorrectly labeled by much of the media and its opponents as "The Ground Zero Mosque".



"There is no training ground for terrorists. There is no insult to the victims of 9-11. There is no tribute to medieval Muslim subjugation of the west. There is, in fact, no 'Ground Zero Mosque'. It isn't a mosque....What is planned for 45 Park Place, NYC is a community center. It's supposed to include a basketball court and a culinary school. It is to be 13 stories tall and the top two stories will be a Muslim prayer space. What a cauldron of terrorism that will be: terrorist chefs and terrorist point guards. [Keith Olbermann]"

My fellow Americans are embarrassing me...again.
wlotus: (Atlas Shrugged)
[livejournal.com profile] sophiaserpentia has written an eye-opening (to me, anyway) description of why the political situation in this country is much worse than I imagined it was.

In spite of my surprise at the seriousness of the problem, it is no surprise to me that the Democratic Party is wasting a hard-won opportunity to turn this country around. If they keep it up, we are looking at another 8-16 years of Conservative Republican control over the country (and the fiscal and social nightmare that will accompany it) once Obama's term is up.
wlotus: (Fountain Pen)
Dear Governor Patterson:

I am unhappy with the way our state senators are making a mockery of the democratic process. We did not elect them to put on the embarrassing power struggle the nation has seen from them in recent weeks. Since they seem unable to do the work we elected them to do, I recommend firing all of them and not allowing any of them to stand for re-election. Perhaps then we can elect legislators who will work for us, rather than grandstanding for their own special interests.

Sincerely,
[livejournal.com profile] wlotus (NYC)

You can send your thoughts to the governor, too.
wlotus: (Fountain Pen)
I'm studying Dr. Cornel West's 1993 book Race Matters and am enjoying the mental stimulation very much. But as I ended Chapter 1 and began Chapter 2, I wondered what he would say has changed or remained the same since he published that book. For example, I found what I hope is his Facebook page and sent him the following message. I hope he responds; I am very interested in hearing his point of view.

Dear Dr. West:

You began Chapter 2 of "Race Matters" by criticizing black leaders for failing to admit Clarence Thomas was unqualified to be nominated for the Supreme Court. You called his academic record "undistinguished" and his career as an appellate court judge "mediocre". Yet in 2008 you campaigned for Barack Obama to become president, a man whose academic record was also undistinguished, and whose mediocre career on Capital Hill included spending more time campaigning for president than doing the job he was elected for. What changed in the 15 years since "Race Matters" was published that allowed you to justify campaigning for him, rather than denouncing him as unqualified? Do you feel that by campaigning for him, you have made the same mistake you said other black leaders made with Clarence Thomas: "rendering invisible highly qualified black [politicians] who deserve serious consideration for [election] to the [presidency]"?

Sincerely,
[livejournal.com profile] wlotus
wlotus: (Atlas Shrugged)
There is a subtle difference between wanting the president to fail and expecting that one to fail, and some people are missing that difference. I and other PUMAs do not want that one to fail, because his failure means more trouble for our country...and lord knows our country has seen enough trouble to last a lifetime. But we expect him to fail, because we saw right from the beginning that he was nowhere near experienced enough to take over the leadership of this country right now. We are not surprised when he blunders and stumbles. We are not shocked when he goes back on his word. We saw this pattern of his when we checked his near-nonexistent political record and watched his behavior during the democratic primaries. It would be great for our country if he did not fail, but we think his success is about as likely as the Loch Ness monster being real. :-)

That is why we did not support him, in the first place.

Furthermore, PUMAs banding together in support of him (even when we have no reason to believe in him) will not help him succeed. Our support of or opposition to him does not affect his abilities or the lack thereof. The only way for him to succeed is for him to be competent in the first place. Blaming PUMAs or Republicans or anyone other than him for his lack of performance is making excuses. If he succeeds or fails, it will be because of him, not because of anyone else.
wlotus: (Atlas Shrugged)
I haven't been posting about politics, partly because I have all but given up on the political scene in this country. I read articles that keep me abreast on what is really going on, and that is about it. I rarely join organized activities to try to affect any sort of change one way or another. I am no longer registered with a political party. I took my email address off most political action lists, including those of so-called "feminist" organizations. The organizations and other citizens of this country are going to do what they want to do, and judging from the direction they have chosen to go in and the leadership they chose, my opinion doesn't matter one way or another.

That's not to say I don't care. I do, and deeply. And that is my problem. If I didn't care as much as I do, I would be willing to keep beating my head against that brick wall. I wouldn't be so angry.

The strange thing, though, is I am not afraid, anymore, of what will happen to the country. I don't feel like my lack of participation is going to send the country to hell in a hand-basket or cause me to lose rights over my body or any of the horrible things people have told me would happen, if I opted out of the political process. My not being much involved doesn't change anything in the grand scheme of things. But in my personal life, it decreases my stress levels to focus on surviving whatever will be, rather than sacrificing my life to try and stop a moving train. I'll just hunker down, do what I need to do in order to survive, and watch the world do what it wishes. And if anyone doesn't like that, especially anyone who didn't like my political stance when I actively expressed it...well, you do the work. Why should I work to support your agenda and your president when you so ferociously opposed my views? You got the leadership you wanted; take responsibility for it. You work with it, oppose what you don't like of it, and champion what you approve of. Unless and until the leadership of this country more accurately reflects my concerns or I immigrate, I'm just along for the ride.

What's that? That isn't what you wanted? You wanted my energy behind you, not pulled out altogether? You should have thought about that before you tried to shut me up by hollering (in so many words), "Get in line!"
wlotus: (Nope)
Ms. Magazine Got It Wrong
wlotus: (Sad Angel)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I would love to ignore that fact. The lead-up to today's election has stressed me out, in spite of my best efforts to remain unstressed. Last night I even dreamt about awaiting election results with a group of people. Even in my dream I said, "I thought this would all be over by now!" and felt a sense of dread that it wasn't over and at what was to come, no matter who was elected. I woke up with a heavy heart, because now I get to do the waiting game all over again, just in real life.

When I am dreaming about elections, you know this whole process has gone on too long and is not benefitting me in any way. I would love to find a way to entirely opt out of it and still be able to live with myself.

In any event, my polling place was humming with activity. There are about 10 districts voting in that place, so there were multiple machines (one per district) and lines for each machine. I waited behind 10 or so people for my turn to vote. Here in New York we still use the old-fashioned machines, so there are no hanging chads or electronic changes to worry about. My vote will be counted exactly as I cast it.
wlotus: (Idiot President)
With head held high and a determined set to my jaw, I stepped into my voting place this morning and made history. Today I voted for the only all woman-of-color ticket to ever run for president of the United States of America: Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente of the Green Party. I was proud to do it, to give a respectful nod to my sisters who have come so far in this country's racist history. But I admit I pulled that lever by their names with a heavy heart, because it signified something equally as historic for me: it was the first time in my life that I did not vote for the party I first registered for, the party I used to believe in.

Barack Obama's candidacy for president deeply offends me. I do not want to see a man who lies and whose political machine cheats be rewarded with the high office of president. Seeing evil rewarded always pisses me off. It did when Bush cheated his way to the office in 2000, so of course it would offend me if history repeats itself in 2008, even if the person who benefits from such dishonesty is a black man.

The cries of how historic his candidacy is also irk me. The man and his backers cheated and lied and intimidated their way to the Democratic nomination. That is nothing to celebrate; it should be decried and punished! Black people of all people should be up in arms; we know all too well that lying your way into power is wrong, because our people have suffered from it in this country for hundreds of years. Yet people are all in awe over the possibility of electing this black man. Are we now so blind to justice that we will support any unqualified liar just to be able to say we have a black man in office? Are we so desperate that we will turn a blind eye to wrong? Wrong is wrong, and wrong should be punished, not rewarded, no matter who the person is.

Don't get me wrong: I want to see a black president, too. But I want to make history the right way: by electing an honest, qualified person. I am offended I am presented an unqualified liar and told to be happy for him, because of our race and his party. I deserve far better than that from the party I have supported my entire life, from my country, and most of all, from my race.
wlotus: (USA Flag)
By the Way, While We're Changing Washington...
"Where I Stand", by Sr. Joan Chittister, 3 November 2008

The election that the numbers said ended almost a month ago -- whether anyone really noticed or not -- is just hours from being over. And not a day too soon for a country whose mental health has been taxed over and over again for the last four years. It's time for someone to start cleaning up the mess rather than simply go on creating it. We hope.

Before that can happen, however, someone ought to stop long enough to look at the election process itself. This time we had primaries full of likely presidential candidates, all of whom turned out to be what the world would have thought, looking in through the USA looking glass, to be unlikely candidates: a long-term politico, a young African-American, a two-time presidential candidate and a woman. Everything about this election distracted from everything else about it so nobody paid much attention to the obvious.

Maybe we should.

Read the rest...
wlotus: (USA Flag)

Thank You, Mr. Smiley

I may need to pay more attention to Tavis Smiley as a journalist. Thank goodness for objectivity.


Obama Fundraising Drops Like A Stone

Not only that, but McCain and Obama are equal in the polls.
wlotus: (USA Flag)
A college student who sees through Obama writes a first-hand account of the caucus fraud she witnessed and the stress of living and going to school in the middle of pro-Obama territory. This is one example of how ugly the Democratic Party presidential campaign has been to those of us who don't succumb to the pressure to "fall in line" and dare to be just as outspoken as the Obama side is. (I wonder if she lost people she thought were her friends over that madness, like many others of us have.) This is the first time in my life I have been aware enough of the process to see just how fracturing it can be and be disgusted enough to leave the party over it.

The other day a classmate said this election cycle is the beginning of the end of the current Democratic and Republican parties. Both parties are fractured, because many of the people in both parties have significant issues with the candidates their parties selected. He says the old guard that is holding tight to the reins of power by any means necessary will continue to be pushed out as more and more people defect to other parties, vote to unseat incumbents who support the old way, or go independent. I hope so, if only so the sort of ugliness this student and I have witnessed can be less likely to happen.
wlotus: (USA Flag)
PUMA PAC has asked people to comment to their educational thread. Many people claim to not understand why many Democrats (or left-leaning Independents) are not overwhelmingly supporting Obama. Here is my comment.

I am a black woman who is not voting for Obama. I used to be a Democrat; this year I changed my voter’s registration to “no party”. Here are the reasons why.

The Obama phenomenon is not new to me. I grew up in the black pentecostal church and saw this phenomenon all of the time. A man gets up in the pulpit and spends the next hour tossing out cliches that, when strung together, say a whole lot of nothing and include no practical advice one can apply to one’s everyday life. Yet, what he says is carefully chosen to pluck at people’s heartstrings. The bulk of the congregation is played like fiddles; they cry and shout and jump and are moved by the pretty words. The man is declared a “man of God” and “a great preacher”. If anyone dares to closely examine what he says and points out the lack of content, that person is nearly crucified. Their emotions were stirred, so the gross lack of content in his words and lifestyle are overlooked, and they will fiercely attack anyone, even a fellow church member, who says otherwise.

Obama is the same.

One day this man no one knows makes a speech at the Democratic convention. Suddenly the Democratic Party is bowing at his feet. No one is willing to look at the fact that he has done *nothing* to indicate he has the strength of character necessary to lead this country. Once he manages to get to Congress, no one is willing to look at the fact that his seat was barely warm, before he began campaigning for president. Those of us who question the wisdom of putting someone with absolutely no experience at that level are fiercely attacked by our own party. We point out that if Senator Clinton had done the same thing, she would not have been likely to get far in the Democratic Party primary, let alone make it to the convention, and we are shouted down. No one is able to say what, of substance, this man has done. But suddenly, he is qualified to be president of the nation, when he has spent more time campaigning for president than he has spent on Capital Hill doing the job he was elected to do?

There is a look into his character: he will neglect the job he was elected to do in order to pursue personal/political gain.

Then the word started coming from the foot soldiers about the caucus fraud they saw with their own eyes. We were told about the pressure put on delegates at the convention to change their Hillary votes to Obama; the foot soldiers saw that, too. We saw the rules committee give Obama delegates for a state where his name wasn’t even on the ballot. Many of us wrote to the mainstream media and let them know about these things. Yet, the mainstream media remained *silent*. Why are they working so hard to protect a man who supposedly has done next to nothing? Why were they not vetting him more thoroughly?

Then news of his questionable and scary associations came out. But for me, that was not even necessary. I had seen enough to know this man cannot be trusted. We don’t know what we are trusting, if we put our trust in him to lead this country. The pretty words mean nothing. I want to see a track record, and there is none of substance or quality. There is, however, a track record of empty words, caucus fraud, sexism, race-baiting, secret meetings, and media silencing. I refuse to vote in support of that sort of track record, so I will not.

Added for my blog: As for the effect that will have on my country, the Democratic Party should have thought of the bigger picture before they pulled strings to shove an unqualified, potentially dangerous politician down our throats. They should have pushed forward someone qualified, someone with a track record of protecting the middle class, someone with a track record of fighting for women's rights. Instead, they pushed down our throats this flash in the pan, for reasons they will probably never admit to. (Sexism, classism, and political corruption come to mind.) If we are burned, the party is to blame, not those of us who have enough clarity of mind not to be fooled by pretty words. I refuse to give up my vote out of fear and loathing. I will use my vote for what is right. If I vote according to fear, if I vote according to party pressure, I may as well not vote at all, because that is sham democracy, not true democracy.

Someone else who commented on the thread made a very good point: the last time Americans were swayed by feel-good words in spite of the person's spotty track record indicating he was unfit to lead the nation, we ended up with our current president. I didn't vote for that sort of thing last time, and I will not do it this time, either.

Good Point

Oct. 19th, 2008 08:41 pm
wlotus: (USA Flag)
So Colin Powell endorses Obama — so the eff what? What am I supposed to do? Forget the fact that Obama himself is unqualified for the office because the man who assured me that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s says he is qualified?

~ angienc, on The Confluence


Yeah, good point. :-)
wlotus: (USA Flag)

Excerpted from You Don't Need Permission to Be Angry, Ladies, by Riverdaughter

We just sat through eight of the most reactionary years in our nation’s history. George Bush has dragged science back into the stone age. He’s eroded whatever safety net this stingy ass country gives women. There we were, thrilled with the prospect that one of OUR gender, who was the absolute best candidate hands down, was going to take over the White House and start putting it all back together again. And she was done in by her own fricking party. Hillary Clinton could survive the media attacks. She rose above it. She could withstand the attacks from the Republicans. She eventually earned their grudging respect. But she could not survive the backstabbing manipulations and betrayal of her own party in the service of a man who wasn’t even qualified to serve as her apprentice.

Damn straight we're angry.

Read the entire, eloquent article.

wlotus: (Atlas Shrugged)
Excerpt from "Amok Time" on The Confluence

"But it is some of us in the blogging community that are getting tetchy. Some of us are starting to lose our nerve. It’s disconcerting to be a committed, progressive Democrat who absolutely can’t stand her own party nominee. It makes one question one’s loyalties and commitments. We’ve witnessed some of our friends going nova in our emails in a most spectacular way. It seems to be a case of rationalization that if we at The Confluence can’t get behind Barry and are simply stating some uncomfortable truths, that we must not be progressive anymore. This is not the case. We aren’t losing our religion. We’re standing our ground. We are not rewarding the bad behavior of the party that cut 18 million voters out of the decision making process and awarded the nomination to a man with no experience or qualifications but who has a knack for eliminating his opponents in underhanded and devious ways. [Emphasis mine.]"

Read the entire article...


It looks like no matter which man is elected, this country will get the leader it deserves: someone who doesn't care about the middle class, the average person. Someone whose party is willing to use underhanded means to win, if necessary. A party elite more concerned about greasing one another's palms than doing what is good for the average American. We had our chance for change, the Democratic party blew it for us by pushing Senator Clinton out of the race by any means necessary, and too many of us are married to the two-party system to turn our backs on it.

When the country slides further down the tubes, don't blame me: I voted for Hillary.
wlotus: (USA Flag)
I have never heard McKinney debate, though I have looked at where she stands on the issues and viewed some of her speeches on YouTube. This will be the only debate I watch this election season, provided I am at a computer that night. (The debate will be streamed on http://www.thirdpartyticket.com/ .)

Sunday's C-Span Opportunity: 3rd-Party Candidates Debate
by Maria Recio
Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 by McClatchy Newspapers
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/10/15-8


WASHINGTON - Third-party presidential candidates finally will have their own debate: at 8 p.m. Sunday at Columbia University in New York.

The debate, which will be announced Wednesday, will include at least three of the four third-party candidates - independent Ralph Nader, the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney and the Constitution Party's Chuck Baldwin. Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr said he has a scheduling conflict, but debate organizers say he wanted to appear only with Nader. (Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain are also invited.)

Read the rest...
wlotus: (USA Flag)

1. According to the FEC, once a third party candidate receives at least 5% of the total popular vote, their party is considered a "minor party" and is eligible for partial public funding. That allows them to spend more money on advertising to get their message out, rather than spending most of it on canvassing for the signatures necessary just to get on the state ballots.

2. A candidate must have 15 percent of the popular support according to polls in order to be included in the presidential debates. Voting for these candidates gives them a chance to get their message out to the general public in debates the same as the major party candidates.

Interview with J. David Gillespie, professor of political science at Presbyterian College
30 August 2004


QUESTION: What about the ability of third party candidates to present their principles, their ideas, to the general public?

MR. GILLESPIE: Well, debate access is another constraint. You know, we've very rarely had a thirdparty candidate on the debate stage with major party candidates. Ross Perot and John Anderson are the only ones that have ever been on a presidential debate stage because, generally, it takes 15 percent of popular support as registered in the various polls to qualify for being part of the presidential debates. Since a candidate cannot gain popular support if he cannot get his views heard, this is a classic example of "themthathave is themthatgets."



3. Supporting third party candidates forces the major parties to consider adopting the ideas and principles of the third party candidates, in order to gain votes.

Third parties can draw attention to issues that may be ignored by the majority parties. If the issue finds resonance with the voters, one or more of the major parties may adopt the issue into its own party platform. Also, a third party may be used by the voter to cast a protest vote as a form of referendum on an important issue.* [Wikipedia: "Third Party (United States)"]

*Many members of the Just Say No Deal coalition are voting third party in November for this reason.

wlotus: (Atlas Shrugged)
comic strip that reminds me of Obama
Agnes, by Tony Cochran

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