Nichelle at Anovelista.com has done a very good article on Black First Ladies (Michelle Fenty, Michelle Paterson, Diane Patrick, and Michelle Obama). I liked this article because it was positive, gave proper respect to these women, and pushed forth why they’re fabulous. And, because we live in a world where a national network finds as many ways as they can to demean the possible First Lady, we spread the word about fabuous Black women such as these.

I just wanted to excerpt some of the Michelle Obama parts of the article:


It’s Our Camelot

Does a Black First Lady matter? It certainly does to me, but I wanted to ask other Black women about it so I started with my grandmother. I called and asked if a Black First Lady would make a difference to her and she thought that she heard me wrong and asked if I was kidding her. Ditto for my aunt, who is also my grandmother’s sister. “Are you kidding me? In my lifetime? Both of them would do us well. Everything about them is such a plus for us. I’m just so proud of them already.”

And, as you might have guessed, that is the same answer I got over and over. I figured as much, but I didn’t want to assume. One of my friends also just came right out and said it. “It’s our Camelot. To see a man like Barack Obama run such an amazing campaign is one thing, but to see his dynamic, pretty, relatable Black wife by his side is a huge (make that HUGE!) plus in his column.”

I don’t know if people realize just how deep this sentiment runs with many black women. I have received lots, and I do mean lots, of email forwards from other black women, simply filled with gorgeous family photos of the Obama family or especially affectionate pictures of Barack and Michelle hugging, snuggling… dancing. Seriously! If you are a black woman, how many times did the following picture appear in your inbox?

We like to see these photos for a very simple reason.

Extensive media coverage of attractive black men married to black women who look black (yeah, I said it!) with their beautiful black children are a very rare commodity. We are constantly steeling ourselves against negative media images of black women and persistent dismal statistics on the black family so a steady diet of the gorgeous Obama family can be quite satisfying.

Women like Michelle Obama, Michelle Paterson, Michelle Fenty and Diane Patrick remind me of women that I actually know, as opposed to women I only read and hear about in the press. They are living, breathing – yes, I’m going to say it – Claire Huxtables. Women like my friends, cousins and colleagues who are Mocha Moms or Jack & Jill members. Or women like myself who do not belong to any official group or sorority, but are well-versed in the “Negro Geography” game just the same. We know the meaning of ‘Working While Black’ and why the word “articulate” can be tricky. We’re not perfect and we are well aware of it. We just want a fair shake just like anyone else.

Historically, prominent Black wives have always been highly educated, staunchly in the upper or middle class and almost always, light-skinned. Also, more often than not, they were of a higher social and/or educational class than their husbands. Black leaders like Booker T. Washington, W.E. B. DuBois, and early black politicians were all married to women who fit the bill.

****************************************************

The rest of the article is just as good, and click here to read it.

Thank you, Nichelle.

In order to fight the Swiftboating lies, Obama has created a new site:

FIGHT THE SMEARS

Good to be PRO-ACTIVE.

Spread the word about this site. Someone tells you about something false about Obama, send them to this site.

I just got off a session with INDIE talk on Sirius. The attacks are heating up and getting dumb and dumber. My point was that many of these attacks revolve around the theme that the Obamas are not American, that black people can never truly be American, despite us having paid the ultimate price and never gotten due respect in return.

The latest is the rumor of Obama’s birth certificate. Idiots claimed that his real name was something other than Barack Hussein Obama.

Kos posted a copy. Mahablog thinks that was a bad idea. I agree.

There’s also a certificate/certification flap at Suitably Flip (”Kos Tries To Pass Off Obama’s Birth Certification As Birth Certificate“). Children, if you have a copy of your birth certificate around — a notarized one as needed to get a passport or for other stuff — what does it say? Does it say “certificate” or “certification”?

I dug mine out of a file and lo, it says “certification.” Yet it’s still what is commonly known as a “birth certificate” and, as it is notarized, it’s a legal document that will fill the bill whenever anyone asks me for my “birth certificate.”

The “birth certificate” document that was issued to my parents when I was born has a lot more stuff on it. I have seen it, but I don’t know what happened to it or even if it still exists. But typically (I’ve retrieved birth certificates for my children, born in Ohio and New Jersey, over the years also), what you get if you ask a state for a “birth certificate” is the simplified, notarized “birth certification.”

However, the wingnuts will dance around with the certificate/certification thing for a while and try to make an issue out of it. Just watch ‘em.

The only way to respond is to turn the tables on them and slam them back. If they trap us into perpetually playing defense to their offense, we lose.

Here here! These attacks are not about the content of the attack. No one cares what Obama’s birth certificate says. No one cares if Michelle said “whitey” in a video (which she did not). This is just a massive noise-making machine designed to feed and amplify the fears among an ignorant and manipulative media class and among citizens already against Obama but always open to a new excuse.

Meanwhile, McCain doesn’t know what he stands for. He and Joe Lieberman are lying when they claim he’s not for privatizing Social Security.

Noted Without Comment

12 Jun 2008

An ad for Oklahoma Republican Senator Inhofe notes his many trips to Iraq and other places in Africa. 

You heard me.


Today is the anniversary of Loving vs Virginia – the Supreme Court case that allowed Americans the freedom to marry whomever they choose. It’s Loving Day. Fact of the matter is that: the swirl was so popular at the founding of our nation that it had to be outlawed in order to keep ethnicities to each other hostile and to continue a system that effectively marginalized Indians and oppressed blacks for hundreds of years mostly for economic reasons. That sounds kind of Marxist. But it’s also just the historical truth. I mean, feel free to argue with me if you have an alternative explanation for what actually happened.

I give you the story of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, from whom the following notable Americans are descended according to the Wikipedia:

Pocahontas and Rolfe had one child, Thomas Rolfe, who was born at Varina Farms in 1615 before his parents left for England. Through this son Pocahontas has many living descendants. Many First Families of Virginia trace their roots to Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan, including such notable individuals as Edith Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson; George Wythe Randolph; Admiral Richard Byrd; Virginia Governor Harry Flood Byrd; fashion-designer and socialite Pauline de Rothschild; former First-Lady Nancy Reagan; and astronomer and mathematician Percival Lowell.

And of course there’s the story of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Not a marriage per se. More of a concubine-situation, unfortunately for her and their many children. What happened to their descendents?

Three of Hemings’s children chose to pass as white.[66] Two of them managed to effectively disappear from the historical record; one of these, Harriet, was said by a Monticello overseer to be “nearly as white as anybody, and very beautiful” and married a white man after she left Monticello.[16] In 1961, Pearl M. Graham published research indicating she believed she had discovered and spoken with Harriet’s descendants.[67] However, Fawn Brodie conjectured that these were actually the descendants of Sally’s brother John Hemings.[68] Beverly also married a white woman of good circumstances, according to his brother Madison; Beverly’s exit from history was as complete as Harriet’s; the only post-slavery record of his activities is an enigmatic reference to him in former slave Isaac Jefferson’s memoirs as launching a hot air balloon in Petersburg, Virginia.
[...]
Frederick Madison Roberts (1879-1952) – Sally Hemings’s great-grandson/Madison’s grandson/Ellen’s son – was the first person of known African American ancestry elected to public office on the West Coast: he served in the California State Assembly from 1919 to 1934.

There’s a column in the Washington Post today from a sister married to a white man. Here’s an excerpt:

My husband is white; I am African American. Thankfully, we face none
of the social and legal hurdles that Mildred and Richard Loving had to
endure just to love each other. In fact, it takes the pointed looks of
others to remind us of the difference in our skin tones. White people
stare (and then usually try to pretend that they didn’t), Asian people
stare, Hispanic people stare. But none stare more than my fellow
blacks. To many African Americans, I’m a traitor to the race.

Racism is racism. If it would offend you that a white man or woman wouldn’t marry your sibling or child on the basis of their race, doesn’t the reverse apply? And it’s not like people stopped marrying people from different races. It all just went underground with people forced to “pass” as another race just to be with the person they loved. The “Color of Water” story is all too common. Even in my own family — my grandmother was half-Cherokee and half-white and passed as black in public in order to marry my African-American grandfather. How many black families are “pure”? Not so many and to pretend otherwise is a form of self-hatred and self-denial of who we really are in my opinion. Mildred Loving herself was apparently part Rappahannock Indian. The truth is that interracial/interethnic/interreligious relations are part of the DNA of American society and what makes us a culturally dynamic, energetic nation that remains the envy of the world.

I’ve personally dated men from different backgrounds and consider myself the richer for it. It’s about seeing past the color of someone’s skin into who they are as a person — the content of their character as Rev. King said. This is one of the paths to peace and understanding — it’s harder to hate when someone is a family member. And now we have a presidential candidate in Barack Obama who is half-white and half-black — and because of Loving vs Virginia, it won’t hold him back.

I know this is going to draw many a comment, but before you tell me I’m wrong, please listen to Sister/Elder/Warrior Mildred Loving who died just last month who speaks in her own words of the significance of her and her husband’s battle to be free and what it means for us today. Do me a favor and think it through. Think about Barack Obama and Tiger Woods and Halle Berry. Then comment.

Mildred Loving’s statement on June 12 2007 , the 40th anniversary of
the Supreme Court ruling:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving*

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in
1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We
were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there.
We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back
home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in
love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You
see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time
people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their
ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married,
we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to
each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment,
called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the
night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for
the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage
certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state
prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge
declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay
and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the
interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such
marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not
intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but
offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25
years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were
not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t
have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP
Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the
country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry
all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the
Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long
been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the
orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have
been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge
said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government
should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long
enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and
prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if
someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a
day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to
marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the
person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind
of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their
race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should
have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing
some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies
people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and
my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the
commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or
white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the
freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all
about.

Liza Sabater over at Culture Kitchen breaks down another problem with the Obama Baby Mama Drama unfolding at Faux News: Michelle Malkin.

Liza gets at who’s really behind Malkin and why it’s more effective to have a brown person hating on other brown people

Yet what’s most important about all this mess is the other Michelle. La Malkin. Why do you think Fox News has on their payroll a dark-skinned Filipina who is not only their quite giddy and willing cover for the racist rants you pass as news, but also something of a news maker herself?

Michelle Malkin seems to be racist Pygmalion who has been molded by her husband, Jesse Malkin. Two years ago four bloggers documented what many people were wondering at the time about the increasingly prolific Malkin : That MichelleMalkin.com and most probably Michelle Malkin the syndicated journalist and columnist and
are not Michelle Malkin but the woman, her husband, Jesse Malkin and maybe indeed a small team of interns and researchers.

That nowadays she has people guest blogging at MichelleMalkin.com is a complete turnaround from the early days. Michelle Malkin in 2006 had just given birth and was slugging across the country interviews and book readings all the while writing a syndicated column, making TV appearances and peppering her blog with about 6 posts a day. Every day. Including Sundays. And she would do this and boast about how she didn’t have nannies, how she didn’t have interns or assistants working for her. She was the super brown woman, spokeswoman for anti-immigrants and white supremacists at large.

It’s why finding out who really is Michelle Malkin the author became so important. Was this a xenophobic genius or is she a front for a larger right-wing juggernaut?

It’s an historical pattern, this getting brown people to tear down other brown folks. There’s no shock value in brown folks demanding rights for immigrants or fair wages or justice of any kind. As much as people dis the professional black spokespeople for jumping on victimhood, there’s a lot more money in denying racism and actually blaming the victims of systemic racism for their own oppression.

I wrote and performed about this years ago in my piece, “I‘ll Be A Black Conservative For $240,000

[Black conservatives] are in very short supply, but they’re a must-have accessory for every ass backwards policy. Need to undo affirmative action? Find a black Supreme Court judge. Wanna bomb poor people? How bout a black National Security Advisor. Need to pimp one of the greatest underfunded federal policies since 40 acres and a mule? Armstrong Williams is your dawg!

Update from Comment From Left Field. a great reminder that while the Baby Mama lower third was up, Malkin was saying attacks on Michelle are ok so long as they are substantive. Fox is so triflin.

Obama’s "Baby Mama"

12 Jun 2008

Because even a minimum of respect for a black woman would be asking too much from Fox News.

In Young Gifted and Black, Lorraine Hansberry has a monologue from the point of view of a woman who gets solicited by white men who think she’s a prostitute every time she walks home. She says “you could be Jesus and drag” and they’d still be trying to flag you down.

And it’s really true. You can be an Ivy League grad two times over, married with two wonderful children, and some people still can’t see you past the color of your skin to see you as a human being.

Meanwhile, for those of you looking for feminist solidarity from the Joan Walshs of the world, well you get a post titled “Oh No They Didn’t.” Maybe she can record a segment with Current TV where she’s rolling her neck and snapping her fingers.

You also get this:

And yes, those of us who’ve spoken out about the sexism faced by Hillary Clinton have to be vigilant about the vicious personal attacks we know await Michelle Obama (hell, did I just say “await?”) I also can’t help hoping that Obama supporters who denied Clinton faced sexism, but who are now outraged by the treatment of Michelle Obama, will have new insight into the dynamics of American media and politics, and new compassion for Clinton. Call me a crazy optimist: I’m expecting Fox to apologize, too!

Because if you weren’t supporting Clinton, or you didn’t believe that she lost because of sexism, well, it serves you right that Fox News and the Right wing smear machine will be treating Michelle Obama like garbage. That’s some inspiring feminist solidarity there. I can’t wait to see how Walsh knocks down some more sexist attacks on Michelle Obama from Fox by reminding everyone how badly Clinton was treated, or criticizing racism by attempting to imitate what she thinks “black people sound like”.

If this incident generates a lot of outrage, and it should, it will only be a matter of time before it becomes a referendum on Hip-hop and how black people use the word “bitch” a lot, so it’s really our fault to begin with that Fox can’t be bothered to treat black people like human beings.And of course people will say that the Obamas are “playing the race card” if they object to this kind of coverage.

Hell, I’m just going to go ahead and throw up the Bat-Signal. 

WE GET IT; YOU WERE THERE. CAN WE DRIVE NOW?

We demand a seat at the table. If you’re going to discuss us, why don’t you invite us to the discussion first?

And it isn’t a fight we asked for. Most of us just wanted to be heard. But when we learned how to use this tool, the INTERNET, as a means of not just communication, but for political activism, organizing protests and marches – making demands of the MSM that our issues get media coverage fairly and objectively, it was only a matter of time before we get called into full-scale battle.

I just never thought the first ambush would come from the Vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement. I thought being in the blogsphere would better assist the old guard in the fight, and ensure them they could trust us to keep fighting the good fight against racism, sexism, all-isms, as well as bring attention to issues within our communities that matter to US, BLACK PEOPLE.

So, when I read that Jesse Jackson states that we bloggers are “good at serving the meal, but don’t know how to farm and till the soil”, I wanted to scream “If you take your hand off the plow and let us drive the mule, maybe we learn how to do that, too!”

And they wonder why we who are under 50 or original Black Panthers are challenging them. I don’t care if the NAACP trots out a 35-year-old activist named Ben Jealous; now that I’ve read that piece in the Chicago Tribune, in addition to what I wrote here, I’m now convinced that the NAACP has sent in someone to infiltrate the blogsphere and immobilize US. All we’re trying to do is advance the damned movement, and once again, we’re being shown, through the outdated strategies of the Old Guard why we’re still stuck like Chuck in the things that matter.

The Tribune article gives props to Black Bloggers for getting the word out on a lot of issues that flew under the radar:

Shaquanda Cotton – I first saw this at Skeptical Brotha and he didn’t let up until other blogs picked up the shameful imprisonment of a 13-year old girl that her teacher didn’t handle properly.

Genarlow Wilson and Marcus Dixon – imprisonment for giving into hormones.

Jena 6 – mass demonstration organized and had the proper impact to pressure the law into their release; as well as expose good-old fashioned bigotry. I think more than 20,000 Negroes invaded Jena, Louisiana, but the MSM can never admit to more than 25,000 Negroes doing anything in coordinated fashion – that scares the shyt out of them.

Pressuring Democratic Candidates to drop out of the Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Network (I refuse to call it a news organization). Color of Change.org started that petition and it caught fire to the point John Edwards was the first candidate to drop out; Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton followed in rapid succession. With the three marquee names saying they weren’t showing up, Fox had no choice but to drop the debate. Far worse was that the debate was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Now, as a result of those successes, and others on the way, the Old Guard is whining that we’re not respecting them. That we’re saying they’re irrelevant. I don’t think I’ve read where we said we didn’t need them anymore; I think we are urging them to rest on their laurels and show us how to carry the mantle of Civil Rights, political activism and demands for seats at the table of political and social civil discourse on a grander scale. We’ve never asked them to go away.

Ever see two people driving a car; I mean with both of their hands on the steering wheel? It cannot be done – that’s why cars are built with ONE steering wheel and a passenger seat. Someone has to drive and others have to ride. I believe we’ve asked for permission to learn how to drive the car now, and just like old deacons, deaconess, old Pastors in church, they want to hang on until they physically die and kill the movement right along with them. They won’t allow us to learn how to drive the car, and then they get upset when we take the keys and teach our damned selves how to put the car in gear and speed off.

They all holler about how they marched with Martin Luther King; but I wonder if they actually caught the man’s VISION? I also wonder how many of them really stood with Dr. King, as opposed to kicking him out of their pulpits? Because not all Black preachers were on board with Dr. King; I’m willing to put on my tinfoil hat and propose that if we got a look at the FBI’s payroll, some of them would be listed as paid informants. But, I digress.

Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, a revered Memphis Pastor who was with Dr. King the night before his assassination, told me at a conference in DC four years ago, that Dr. King worried about the fact that he hadn’t really trained anyone in the movement to carry forward the strategies of civil rights and political activism. He feared that all he’d done was to integrate Negroes into a “burning house”. Dr. King instinctively knew that civil rights activism had to go further than being able to ride public transportation anytime or anywhere we wanted; go to schools wherever we wanted. In 1968, our issues turned on the economic scale. Rev. Kyles gets many speaking invitations where he rivets you with total recollection of Dr. King’s last night; the cadence, the atmosphere – to hear him tell it is like re-living those moments; so I think he would know how Dr. King felt about what would happen after he left the scene.

In 2008, forty years after Dr. King’s death, I think I’m comfortable in saying he had every reason to worry, considering the recent Civil Rights track records of whom he left behind to carry on his work – and the Congressional Black Caucus in particular.

The Old Guard is still waging the fight for scraps from the table when the reality is, we want a seat at that table. Forget scraps.

And yet, when we see them, or the Congressional Black Caucus in the current state, they continue to engage in fights for SCRAPS.

Getting Don Imus fired was SCRAPS. Getting Fox Network’s FCC license yanked to stop them from spewing racist vitriol is MEAT ON THE BONE.

Getting a job on Wall Street, now, is SCRAPS. Being someone like Dick Parsons or Stan O’Neal, running thangs, is MEAT.

Old fashioned Civil Rights Marches in Demonstration and Protest, combined with advanced technology by means of the Internet is MEAT. Whining because Clint Eastwood made a historical picture without any Black People in it because it wouldn’t be historically accurate because they weren’t there at Iwo Jima, is SCRAPS. If they were there, you think a perfectionist like Eastwood didn’t do his homework in making that pic? If brothas helped to lift that flag, they would have been in the picture, and not some unnamed Black soldiers either. Honestly, Spike needs to pick his battles better.

We’ve had scraps – we want a seat AT THE TABLE. We want the same things we thought the Old Guard wanted. Maybe we should challenge them as to what they really want versus what WE really want. Maybe because we’re going about it differently, they may be scared we’re going to leave them out. We’re not; we will happily take them with us if they stop picking fights and battles with us and trust us to get the job done.

Good Morning.

It’s that time again. Time to share those links. Have those debates and discussions. Give us some trivia.

Share with the JJP community.

And always, have a peaceful day.

When asked a direct question from Matt Lauer on whether he had a better estimate on when the troops in Iraq could come home, John “100 Years in Iraq” McCain said this morning: “No. But that’s not too important.”

Oh really? My cousins are back from Iraq now but god knows how our family prayed for their safe return everyday that they were over there. And they were there a long time. Troop deployments have been extended past the normal amount to 15 months in some cases. As of Apr 2007, Time Magazine reported (emphasis mine):

The truncated training — the rush to get underprepared troops to the war zone — “is absolutely unacceptable,” says Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and opponent of the war who chairs the House Appropriations defense
subcommittee. A decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam, Murtha is experiencing a sense of déjà vu. “The readiness of the Army’s ground forces is as bad as it was right after Vietnam,” Murtha tells TIME. Even Colin Powell — a retired Army general, onetime Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Bush’s first Secretary of State — acknowledges that after spending nearly six years fighting a small war in Afghanistan and four years waging a medium-size war in Iraq, the service whose uniform he wore for 35 years is on the ropes. “The active Army,” Powell said in December, “is about broken.”

If the Army has been broken by the un-ending deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, how can John McCain say it’s not too important to bring the troops home? What about our national defense and “homeland security” which, if you believe Colin Powell, is at serious risk?

The majority of Americans want the ill-considered, unnecessary and Treasury-draining war to end. Too many families are struggling with loved ones deployed in harm’s way for too long. African-Americans serve at disproportionate levels in the Armed Forces and so this impacts our community even more. Write in the comments if you know someone personally whose been sent over there or had a relative sent to Iraq. And let us know if they came back and under what conditions. My first cousin told me that her daughter, my second cousin, was forced to suspend a successful career when called by the Navy Reserve, passed out from heat exhaustion in Iraq and also had to take her gun with her everywhere — even to the bathroom.

Even the Iraqis don’t want the US to be in Iraq for 100 years:

“High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely. . . . ‘The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,’ said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament’s foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

In the meantime, here’s what some leading Democrats had to say about “Not Too Important” “Where’s My Cane?” McCain:

Governor Howard Dean:

“Senator McCain is wrong. One of the most important questions in this campaign is when and how Senator McCain would bring our troops home from Iraq. Senator McCain stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that the American people do not want our brave troops in Iraq for 100 years under any circumstances. They want a president who will end the war responsibly.”

Senator Harry Reid:

“McCain’s statement today that withdrawing troops doesn’t matter is a crystal clear indicator that he just doesn’t get the grave national-security consequences of staying the course — Osama bin Laden is freely plotting attacks, our efforts in Afghanistan are undermanned, and our military readiness has been dangerously diminished. We need a smart change in strategy to make America more secure, not a commitment to indefinitely keep our troops in an intractable civil war.”


Senators Joe Biden and John Kerry:

“Senator McCain’s comment is evidence that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our troops and the national security needs of our nation. I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it’s ‘not too important’ when they come home.

You may have already seen this about people-powered Howard at DailyKos:

We are thrilled to announce that Gov. Howard Dean will kick off the 2008 Netroots Nation convention as Thursday’s evening keynote speaker.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee and governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 addressed the Netroots community at the 2006 and 2007 conventions. This year, we’re especially proud to recognize his efforts to create an active, effective movement by organizing in every precinct and in every state.

Click here to register now
.

Dean has been one of the most influential forces in the progressive movement. As chairman of the DNC, he has worked to make Democrats competitive in every race, district and state, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats’ core values.
His belief that every citizen matters, from California to Connecticut, from Alaska to Mississippi, echoes our belief that the voices of all Americans deserve to be heard.

Netroots Nation is July 17-20 in Austin, TX. So if you haven’t registered, now’s the time!

Click here to register now.

See you in Austin!

Why should you care and maybe even consider going? Well, Dean’s 50 state strategy or at least his vision played a role in Obama’s success. Also, if you’re reading this blog and especially if you are a blogger, Netroots Nation is the place to be at, y’all. You’ll rub shoulders with leading bloggers, journalists, congressional staff and state legislators. If you’re a black blogger, this means a chance to be where the people who are making history and pushing this nation in a new direction will be kickin’ it. It means taking your place as a leader for change and ahem, hope. You want to be there. Trust me. JJP will be there — will you?

Good Morning!

Well, it’s time, once again, to share those links, drop that knowledge, have those debates, give us some trivia.

So share…share…share..with your fellow JJP readers.

And always, have a peaceful day.

This Is Not Journalism

11 Jun 2008

When confirming whether or not an event took place, journalists are supposed to verify the information they eventually print. But in doing her absolute best to make the nonexistent Michelle Obama “whitey tape” a national story, Maureen Dowd can’t even be bothered to cite by name a reference that supports the rumor she’s trying to spread.

There are creepy Web sites, like TheObamaFile.com, dedicated to painting Michelle as a female version of Jeremiah Wright, an angry black woman, the disgruntled, lecturing “Mrs. Grievance” depicted on the cover of National Review.

On that site and others around the Internet, the seamy rumors still slither that there’s a tape of Michelle denouncing “whitey,” a rumor that Barack Obama disdained last week as “scurrilous.”

The National Review is where the rumor was definitively debunked, as conservative journalist Jim Geraghty pointed out that the details of the rumor appear to be lifted from a 2006 political thriller called The Power Broker. In fact, between New York Post Editorial writer Robert George who pointed out something like this gets spread about the Democratic nominee every year, and David Wiegel at Reason pointing out the shifting details of Larry Johnson’s story, it’s fair to say that conservatives were the ones who took this rumor to pieces.

So in citing the National Review as a source for the rumor Dowd conveniently neglects to mention that a reporter at that very same publication proved it wasn’t true. Her second source for the rumor is “the internet.” Certainly a proud moment in journalism history. From now on, when verifying facts, reporters and Op-Ed need only cite, “the internet”. There isn’t a diarist at Daily Kos who could get away with that, but there it is on the New York Times Op-Ed page.

But unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo are in fact, the only thing Dowd writes about. So she introduced the tape in this column as a rumor “other people are talking about” so that she can continue to write about it endlessly, all Summer and into the Fall, even though no tape will ever materialize. She takes the positioning of criticizing the Right Wing Noise Machine’s attack on Michelle Obama even as she legitimizes a story that, with the exception of Roger Stone, they decided was so untrue not even they’d run with it.

And in every column, she will produce the same paper-thin empathy towards Michelle Obama that she offers all women she smears, a rhetorical device that can’t hide the contempt she feels for women on the national stage.

At a time when Obama is trying to get the American people to pay attention to his policy agenda, Dowd not only wants you to judge the Obamas for the color of their skin, but also the content of what they didn’t say.

Last Wednesday, I spoke on a panel during NYC’s InternetWeek. It was put on by OneWebDay and Susan Crawford. The topic was participation and politics online. It was actually really good! I spoke about the ClintonAttacksObama wiki and the JJP community, and the audience and other speakers brought some really great thoughts and insights to the table.

I shared the stage with Andrew Rasiej (Founder, Personal Democracy Forum) and Jay Rosen (Professor, NYU Department of Journalism and creator of OffTheBus at HuffPo). The moderator was Allison Fine (Author, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age)

Here’s the YouTube Link. It’s 90 minutes. You can find it in various other formats here.

How Obama Won: It’s the Money

As the song says…

MONEY….MONEY….MONEY…MONEY…MO-NEY…

No campaign can succeed without it. Money helps build organization. Money helps buy ads that will introduce you to the country when you are an unknown. Remember, Obama needed lots of money to do both, after all, Hillary Clinton had racked up the ‘ Establishment’ in many states before Obama even got started well in the race, and he was an unknown outside of those of us in Illinois and political junkies from across the country.

When this campaign began, and Hillary Clinton REFUSED to take matching public funds, what was the point of it?

INTIMIDATION

Skeptical Brotha spelled it out in February 2007:


Barack Obama, following the Borq Queen’s lead, has opted out of the Presidential Campaign Finance system. The money chase has begun in earnest and in order to keep up, he’s got to play the game by her rules. This is a high stakes game that could cost upwards of half a billion dollars. Ain’t but three players invited to this table : Hillary, Edwards, and now Obama. The community of fundraisers that inevitably ends up financing and choosing our Presidents is being courted heavily by the Borg Queen. Most have been assimilated into the Clinton collective and will beat the bushes for her. After all, resistance is futile.

Obama’s apparatus is a little slow on the uptake. Most of the folk Hillary is attempting to assimilate have already been softened up for her in advance or have already assisted her or her husbands campaigns in the past. She effectively froze them in place until she emerged from her cocoon of inevitability. Hillary’s public goal for 07′ is $75 million. Trust and believe that she intends to raise over $100 million to get the ball rolling.

Remember y’all, the Borg Queen has learned from the master how to kill an opponent softly in the smoke filled rooms and salon’s of the rich and powerful. Bill’s prowess was a thing of legend in Arkansas. Nobody ever had a chance. You see, Arkansas is a small state ruled with an iron fist by a tight knit oligarchy. Nobody catered to them better than Bill. The care and feeding of the rich and powerful is a necessary skill for anybody who wants to play in this league. Hillary has the best education possible, having been involved in 4 national campaigns, there is no ego she can’t tame and soothe to reach her goal.

Then, the numbers came in for the First Quarter. They were dropped by Camp Clinton first on Drudge – the $36 million. Of course, you soon found out that $10 million of that was from her Senate Campaign and could not be used until the General Election.

The wait began.

And, then the drop. The lightweight. The Freshman Senator who could make a speech had raised $25 million from 100,000 donors.

STUNNED is the word.

The political ‘ Establishment’ just couldn’t believe what had just happened. I remember laughing as I watched Joe Scarborough make it through the announcement. Bob Schaffer on Face the Nation didn’t beat around the bush, he said it right out – he didn’t take Obama seriously until these numbers came in. It was the first crack of the ‘ Inevitable’ candidate.

By the Second Quarter, Obama had raised $58 million from 250,000 donors, and people still didn’t believe he could keep up with the Clinton Machine.

By October, it was becoming clear how Obama’s plan for getting money from lots of small donors was shaping his fundraising. Though his 20 million was less than Clinton’s take for the third quarter, he still was signing up donors.

In the Fourth Quarter, Obama raised $23.5 million, and by the end of the year, going into the Iowa Caucus, he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Cash-on-Hand, $14.4 million to Clinton’s $18.3 million.

Obama had kept pace with the Clinton Fundraising Machine all year, and had used his money wisely, having to spend more than her on television and basic organizing, because he was introducing himself to the country. His ability to raise money on the internet was a story, but not really a story.

It was sort of clear that he was raising money through his donors, but small amounts, but it didn’t have that PUNCH. That draw dropping punch until post-Iowa Caucus,

When Barack Obama raised 32 million in the MONTH of January. That’s over 1 million dollars a day. AND Hillary Clinton, who had led Obama by the end of December 2007 in fundraising, had to loan her campaign $5 million.

In February 2008, when Obama hit the One Million Donor Mark, and raised more than $6 million in the 24 hours post SuperTuesday. And, a total of $55 million for February.

It was now that Obama was getting it from all sides, and the full extent of what Obama was attempting to do could be explained in these posts from February:

How Obama Is Threatening People’s Money And Why It’s Important For Democracy

Why The War On Obama

In attempting to rewrite how campaigns were financed, there was an entire ‘ Status Quo’ that was threatened – by the left AND the right. If Obama succeeded, then he had set in place a model for which future insurgent candidates could follow. For people used to getting their way, he had to be stopped.

Obama’s fundraising ability – through the internet, which Howard Dean had pioneered in 2004, but Obama took to new unimaginable heights in 2008, will be studied for years to come. When he was going through the worst of times, still being able to out fundraise his opponents, was a way of keeping the vultures at bay, and stopping the bleeding.

Obama’s Fundraising, Post Super Tuesday, helped him in several ways:
1. By being able to fundraise WITHOUT taking time off the campaign trail to do so.
2. By not tapping out his small donors, he could go back to them time and time again.
3. The money allowed Obama to be able to complete his 50 State Strategy at a pace that Clinton just could not match.
4. I believe now, post Pennsylvania, Obama used the time in Pennsylvania, and his fundraising abilities, to bankrupt Hillary Clinton. She didn’t match Obama in dollars spent, but by him fighting her so hard in Pennsylvania, she had to pour pretty much every dime she didn’t have into winning the state. Though she won Pennsylvania, Obama bankrupted her, and the calendar post-Pennsylvania, wasn’t forgiving. She could never catch her fundraising breath to accompany the necessary campaigning schedule.

By the time this ended in June, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was $30 million dollars in the red; Obama’s was $46 million in the black, and he had raised over $250 million from over 1.5 million individual donors, 47% of them from individuals giving $200 or less.

Obama rewrote all fundraising ‘conventional wisdoms’.

If you want an overview on Obama’s vision, and how this is another way he outsmarted Camp Clinton, a must-read is the Atlantic Monthly’s Piece on Obama’s Money Making Machine. Obama understood that Silicon Valley wasn’t just a place for getting money, but ideas.


Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats




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