PA Delegate Tells Convention Story For “The Nation”

Cynthia Baughman, a delegate for Barack Obama is in The Nation today writing about her convention experience.  The goal of this convention was simple:  unite the Party behind ONE candidate.  Convincing the Hillary delegates to cross over and not continue the deep schism within the Party was critical.  Baughman relates this:

Voting in our delegation began Wednesday morning. At breakfast Ed Rendell said, “If you are a Clinton delegate and you feel that you must vote for Senator Clinton to bring closure I understand that–but it would give me great pleasure to be able to say that following the instructions of Sen. Clinton the great state of Pennsylvania casts all its votes for Sen. Obama.” My county party chair, a Clinton delegate, was the first of our delegation to vote at the polling station in our hotel, and he voted for Obama. Delegates could change their votes up until the moment the state cast its votes on the convention floor, and throughout the afternoon, Ed Rendell was out there, cajoling and charming delegates, working for unanimity. When New Hampshire cast all its votes for Obama, the convention went wild. Meanwhile one of our Clinton delegates, Jo Ellen Litz of Lebanon, Pennsylvania sat with a tally sheet, adding up the Clinton and Obama votes as each state announced its totals. “How did you vote?” I whispered. “How do you think?” she said, sweetly. “Did anyone pressure you to switch?” I asked her. “I kept to myself today,” she said.

So, did Democrats depart Denver today united?  Time and polls will tell.

McCain Introduces Palin

In introducing his running mate John McCain announced “she will stand up for special interests.”  Well, we expect no less from a Republican.  Oddly she didn’t know enough in Dayton to walk to the podium after being introduced.  Perhaps she isn’t used to walking on anything but snow.

The day after Barack Obama hit a home run John McCain struck out.  Sarah Quayle has no foreign policy experience beyond commanding the Alaska National Guard for 18 months.  Does that entail yelling “mush” to their sled dogs?  For a candidate who says repeatedly that national security is the pre-eminent issue of this race, that the war on terror is the most important issue of our time to choose a VP with no experience is appalling.

Her governing experience involves being the Mayor of a town of 8500 people.  It probably has more moose and elk than people.  She has been Governor for a year and a half and is currently under investigation for abusing her power as Governor.  Though she claims the staff person who sought to get her former brother-in-law fired was suspended and she had no personal knowledge of the action common sense says otherwise.  If a staff member had committed such an abhorrent abuse of power on their own they surely would have been fired, not suspended.

It’s interesting the McCain-Palin ticket cannot fill half of a small arena in Dayton, Ohio.  The afternoon after witnessing Barack Obama addressing 80,000 people at Mile High Stadium the difference between McCain’s minor league tour and Obama’s major league operation is apparent.  John McCain has yet to fill even small arenas in small cities.

John McCain’s age is an issue as he celebrates his 72nd birthday today.  As those present serenaded him with “Happy Birthday” the GOP candidate said “Two is enough.”  Yes John, two terms is enough.  It is time for change.

Let’s remember where John McCain was three years ago today.  His buddy George W. Bush visited the McCain home in Arizona to help him celebrate.  Bush chose to spend that day with his buddy rather than deal with the drowning of a major American city.

McCain Selects Inexperienced, Anti-Choice Palin

John McCain took the issue of experience off the table today with his selection as VP.  Sarah Palin, a two year Governor of Alaska, is his pick.  The 44 year old woman is an obvious attempt to pick off Hillary voters.  When these women discover how virulently anti-choice this ticket is they will run to the Obama-Biden choice.

The choice is clear if women’s reproductive rights are important.  John McCain is not only against a woman’s right to choose he is even opposed to family planning and the use of contraception.  This selection highlights his belief that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.  Palin has a four month old baby among her five children.

Palin is so anti choice she opted to have her baby in spite of knowing it has Downs Syndrome.  She is Alaskan through and through and hunts, fishes and eats moose burgers.  Obviously someone suburban soccer moms will relate with (said very sarcastically).

This choice also serves to underline the fact safe Republican states such as Alaska are in play this year.  

Does McCain actually think Clinton supporters will look at Sarah Palin and see Hillary (hat tip to Kim)?  Does he think they are that stupid?  Palin couldn’t carry Hillary’s pants suits much less her gravitas and experience.

McCain May Pick Abuse of Office VP

CNN is reporting that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may be his Vice Presidential pick following a private jet which landed in tight secrecy in Dayton, Ohio.  Palin was elected Governor of Alaska two years ago and is already mired in controversy over her  abuse of power.  She has been accused of using her office to force her former brother-in-law out of his job.  Just what we need after Bush/Cheney:  someone who thinks she’s above the law and abuses her office for political purposes.

Gov. Palin is accused by former Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan of using her authority to force him into firing a state trooper Michael Wooten, who was going through a messy divorce from the Governor’s sister.  

John McCain desperately needs to change the television chat from Obama’s speech last evening so will announce his VP selection today.  Unfortunately for Sen. McCain the speech Sen. Obama gave last evening, for those lucky enough to be awake, will resonate until November.  Should he select Palin she brings this baggage to a campaign already overladen with the baggage of George W. Bush.

McCain must choose a running mate attractive to younger voters due to his advanced age and obvious mental errors on the campaign trail.  Questions abound concerning his mental acuity and fitness for office.  Selecting a woman would also be an obvious attempt to attract Hillary’s supporters.  

I’ve been of the mind McCain would pick Mitt Romney for his economic credentials, the area McCain is perceived as being vulnerable.  Romney also brings a more youthful person and good looks.  Unfortunately he also brings his Mormonism and flip flopping record on issues from abortion to gay rights.

Russia Used Cluster Bombs in Georgia

Reports from Georgia claim Russia used cluster bombs against civilians in the recent conflict.  Cluster bombs are extremely irresponsible weapons as they kill and maim civilians, including children.  Many are designed to look like toys then blow up kids.  Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft in a bomb which then separates and disburses the smaller munitions to spread over large areas or spread from the ground by armed forces.  Anyone coming into contact with them is victimized.  They either kill or blow off limbs.

The United States continues using cluster bombs and Israel used them in their war against Hezbollah in 2006.  The worldwide campaign to eradicate the use of cluster bombs was the hallmark of Princess Diana’s quest.  You can help by signing a petition demanding that nations discontinue killing and maiming civilians.

LaDuca Thinks Words Like “Faggot” and “Wop” Are Acceptable

Adam LaDuca, now the former Executive Director of the PA Federation of College Republicans, deleted numerous offensive statements from his blog The Truth Shall Set You Free.  Just because he deleted content (unethical by blogging standards by the way) doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared forever as he discovered yesterday.

Some remain like this one directed at an anonymous commenter:

thetrueconservative Says:

October 21, 2007 at 11:09 am

I didn’t say you didn’t save it? My point was that I’m not going to keep replying just to hear myself talk. You don’t want to hear it and you are too close-minded to try and grasp anything I’m saying, so I’m not going to waste teh space.

And how on earth am I like Nixon…please describe…I’d also find it funny that you claim my remarks are “homophobic” guess what, when gays stop calling eachother fags and queers, so can the rest of the world. It’s just a word. Just like I am a “WOP” I tell people all the time I don’t care if they call me that. It’s just a word and it does nothing to insult my character. If anything, it’s actually RECOGNIZING me as an Italian.

And still, you refuse to disclose your name, your employer, or anything else. Which leads me to believe still the same theory as before: you just want to try and tick me off and get me flustered. In all honesty, I couldn’t care less. I have put up with people my whole life like you trying to put me down, etc. and I really am numb to it anymore. So keep on commenting that I go to a tier four university, and I’ll keep allowing them to come through. Why? Because it has no effect whatsoever on where I’m going to go in life, all because one person in the region has to open their mouth to make themselves feel better.

And, I believe, you’re engaging in some sort of juvenile blackmail by threatening to send my comments to the Morning Call. People have written much worse about me, and you’ll probably take them out of context. See, I don’t really think you’re a homo, and even if you were, that’s your perrogative (spell check). I also don’t consider yourself to be an Islamo-Fascist, and again: if you are, then you’ll eventually be discovered or fly a plane into a building and die, one or the other. Again, that’s your decision. I couldn’t care less.

In all honesty, I sort of enjoyed this virtual debate with you, even though it wasn’t about an issue and it was about where I go to school, etc. But whatever, at least someone is reading my blog and bringing attention to it.

Have a good Sunday, sir. Would you be an NFL fan? The Eagles? Steelers? Someone else? I’m a Cowboys fan…yuck, I’d hope we can bounce back from that embarassing shellacking against New England.

Here’s the damning section again:  “I’d also find it funny that you claim my remarks are “homophobic” guess what, when gays stop calling eachother fags and queers, so can the rest of the world. It’s just a word. Just like I am a “WOP” I tell people all the time I don’t care if they call me that. It’s just a word and it does nothing to insult my character. If anything, it’s actually RECOGNIZING me as an Italian.”

Adam LaDuca doesn’t think using words like “faggot” and “wop” are offensive?  He should check with gays and more Italians.  If I called an Italian a “wop” it would be accepted as an ethnic slur and I would be properly condemned.

Adam LaDuca is a stupid, arrogant, ignorant fool.  Does he not know the origin of the word “faggot” which makes it so offensive?  Let’s educate him.  During the Spanish Inquisition when witches (mostly women with red hair) were being burned at the stake “faggots” meant firewood.  Faggots were the wood used to burn witches alive.  When they ran out of faggots for the fire they used homosexuals.  Yes, they burned gays alive with the witches and, so, gays became known as “faggots” because they were only good to use as kindling.

That’s mighty offensive and why the term is so offensive.  This is why it is NEVER acceptable to use this term.

This is the young man John McCain has used as his point person to organize Berks County and Kutztown University.  I contacted the McCain office in Harrisburg and they continue to refuse to comment.  I think their silence speaks volumes.

Obama: “Republicans Own Their Failures”

Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president last evening in a speech which did not end until 11 pm in Pennsylvania.  How many of you missed it?  That many?  This wasn’t good timing for working people in Pennsylvania.  The DNC schedule had the Senator beginning his remarks shortly after 8 pm was two hours off.  Fortunately that provided me enough time to get home to watch.

I went to the Canal Street Pub in Reading for a Drinking Liberally watch party which had somehow morphed into an Obama event.  I was repeatedly accosted by aggressive Obama workers for ID and to sign up until I was ready to leave.  I thought I was at a Drinking Liberally event, not an official Obama event where it was required to register.  I was wearing my blog shirt and had my laptop (but no wifi which is why I came home) which was marked clearly “The Pennsylvania Progressive” but the Obama people kept insisting I register with them.  That really turned me off.

I thought the speech by Obama answered the questions Americans have about him and how he will lead the nation, how he differs from his opponent.  It was 45 minutes long and inspired.  It reminded me of Howard Dean’s “You Have the Power” speeches from 2004 and Obama is clearly inspired by Gov. Dean’s legacy.

Putin: Bush Provoked War to Aid McCain

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a man whom George W. Bush claimed he looked into whose soul and found a good man, today accused Bush of provoking war in Georgia for political purposes.  Putin said Bush prodded Georgia to seize South Ossetia to help John McCain’s presidential campaign and damage Barack Obama.

Mr Putin told CNN US citizens were “in the area” during the conflict over South Ossetia and were “taking direct orders from their leaders”.

He said his defence officials had told him the provocation was to benefit one of the US presidential candidates.

Why does this not surprise me?  Because George W. Bush has been provoking local and regional wars all over the world.  Because everything he has done as president has been for partisan political purposes.  This president raised terror alert levels during the 2004 campaign to incite fear in voters before the election.

This is a president who perverted the American judicial system for partisan political purposes.  What are the lives of a few hundred Georgians if it means helping Republican keep power?  Nothing.

“The suspicion arises that someone in the United States especially created this conflict with the aim of making the situation more tense and creating a competitive advantage for one of the candidates fighting for the post of US president.”

Remember how much George W. Bush loved Vlad?  He looked into his eyes and saw a soul mate.  I think this told us more about Bush than Putin.  We already knew Putin, the former KGB strongman who decimated Russian democracy and installed himself as a new csar.

Obama Speech Excerpts

Excerpts of the Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

“The American Promise”

Democratic National Convention

August 28, 2008

Denver, Colorado

As prepared for delivery

“Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

“It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

“It is why I stand here tonight.  Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

“We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

“Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less.  More of you have lost your homes and more are watching your home values plummet.  More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay and tuition that is beyond your reach

“These challenges are not all of government’s making.  But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed presidency of George W. Bush.

“America, we are better than these last eight years.  We are a better country than this.”

***

“This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive.  Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.  And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.  On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

“Now let there be no doubt.  The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect.  And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

“But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time.  Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than ninety percent of the time?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.”

***

“You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma.  We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

“The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.”

***

“That’s the promise we need to keep.  That’s the change we need right now.  So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

“Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

“Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

“I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

“I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families.  Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

“And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

“Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them.  In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels.  And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

“Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution.  Not even close.

“As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power.  I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.  I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.  And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.”

***

“We are the party of Roosevelt.  We are the party of Kennedy.  So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country.  Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.  The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans  — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are to restore that legacy.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts.  But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease.  And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once more the last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”

Closer to the Dream

Forty five years after making history with his “I Have a Dream” speech Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy culminates as an African American accepts the nomination of a major political Party for president.  This is truly historic.  Barack Obama brings all Americans closer to the dream expressed so eloquently by Dr. King but let us not fool ourselves that the dream is fulfilled.

The racist comments made by the former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania College Republicans remind us how much further down the road we need travel to erase racism from our culture.

The dream is closer however.  This year we have two qualified African American candidates for president with Cynthia Mckinney nominated by the Green Party.  Two candidates from which to choose a truly progressive administration.

I’m old enough to remember 1968.  I remember that fateful day in Memphis and I recall the riots which erupted all over the nation.  African Americans stood up and said they’d had it with discrimination, lynchings, substandard education, and lives of poverty.  The nation responded but we continue having miles to go.

In spite of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other legislation in 2000 Jeb Bush managed to disenfranchise thousands of African American voters in Florida simply because they shared the same surname with convicted felons.  In the 21st century we still have to enforce voting rights laws and decry discrimination against African Americans at the polls.

Republicans across the nation are seeking to pass voter identification requirements designed to further disenfranchise poor people, the elderly and the disabled.  Those unable to drive or own a car will be barred from voting.  This year witnessed a group of nuns shunned from voting in a primary because they did not have ID.

As Robert Frost would say, we have miles to go before we sleep.  Miles to go on down the road to equality.  Tonight is a major step forward however.