Obama wins the LA debate overwhelmingly

The good thing about today's Democratic Presidential Debate from Los Angeles was that the two remaining candidates--Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton--gave voters a clearer view of themselves in regards to leadership, vision, policies and personality.

In terms of who won, I believe that Democratic voters won as did the cause for better politics. However, while both did well, I thought Obama stood out. He articulated a better understanding of the times, and his principles and proposals a better fit.

It seems that Luntz' focus group agrees. Check out the video.


Miami McCain in Control

This move a year ago by Florida's Latino Congressional Delegation's to embrace and endorse John McCain was not only risky but has proven to be brilliant. The Latino support, along with the move-up of the Florida Primary, were key ingredients in today's smashing victory by McCain against Florida-friendly Rudy Giuliani and Latino unfriendly Mitt Romney.

BTW: McCain's victory in Florida is a resounding defeat again to the screechers of rightwing radio: Limbaugh, Hannity, Levine, et al.

McCain wins in Florida with seniors, Hispanics, moderates
Florida's Latino Members of Congress Endorse John McCain
John McCain's "Hispanics is what we're talking about"
Who Won the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate?
Latino Voters Critical in New Primary Calendar

Hillary's Inner Tracy Flick

Below is a funny SlateV video of Hillary Clinton, candidate for Democratic Party presidential nomination, and Reese Whitherspoon as Tracy Flick, a Machiavellian candidate for high school student body president in the 1999 movie Election. Of course, the disliked Flick wins her election, but without friends, it's a hollow victory. Spooky, right?


Ted Kennedy: 'I feel change in the air'

Alert: See video of Senator Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama.

It was as close as it gets to a coronation. In front of a rapturous, chanting crowd, Ted Kennedy today enfolded Barack Obama into a hug, and in that instant drew a clear line of succession from the Democratic heroes of the past to a younger generation.

Now it was official: Obama was the rightful political heir to John F Kennedy as designated by his brother, Ted, his daughter, Caroline, and his nephew, Patrick.

"I feel change in the air," Ted Kennedy roared, and the crowd roared with him.



A Message From Obama: A Big Win

Gerry --

We've just won a big victory in South Carolina.

After four great contests in every corner of this country, and another record turnout today, we have the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of Americans we've seen in a long, long time.

You'll have a chance to make your voice heard next Tuesday, February 5th -- and I am counting on you.

I'll be heading down shortly to thank our supporters in South Carolina.

If you're reading this tonight, I hope you'll tune in at home so I can thank you, too.



Caroline Kennedy: A President Like My Father

ALERT: See video of Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama.

A President Like My Father (by Caroline Kennedy, NYTimes - 1.27.08)

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.

My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.

Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Caroline Kennedy is the author of “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”


Obama Takes South Carolina!

After one of the ugliest stretches in recent political primaries, in which the Clintons did everything in their power, including unleashing a race-baiting and emotionally unstable Billy "Bubba" Clinton, in a despicable attempt to tar Barack Obama as a shady, fast-talking, done nothing, black pol from innercity Chicago, the voters of South Carolina had their say today.

And Barack Obama has won in a landslide!

Perhaps the better man can win afterall.

Obama runs away with SC primary


The Clintons' Ghettoizing of Barack

In my opinion, Patrick Buchanan is almost always more wrong than right. But here's one in which he's dead right: The Clintons are succeeding in Ghettoizing Barack. Buchanan knows racial politics--and he's watching it being used by the Clintons against Barack.

In three weeks, Barack has been ghettoized. The crossover candidate, the great liberal hope, has become a Jesse Jackson, who is ceded the black vote and a few states, then given a speaking role at the convention, as the party moves on to the serious business of electing a president.
It's despicable--and it's working for the Clintons!

It's a primary reason why decent Americans everywhere--Independents, Democrats and Republicans--must vote against this type of politics in the remaining primaries as well as in the general election.

Photographer Jim Peppler Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A touching photo essay of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as witnessed by Jim Peppler, a former reporter for The Southern Courier. The essay was published in honor of Martin Luther King by Newsday.


Obama's Speech at Ebenezer Bapitist Church: The Great Need of the Hour

Below is the text of Senator Barack Obama's speech today at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Great Need of the Hour

The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram's horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

"Unity is the great need of the hour" is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved.

But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake.

If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour.

Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it's the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I'm not talking about a budget deficit. I'm not talking about a trade deficit. I'm not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I'm talking about a moral deficit. I'm talking about an empathy deficit. I'm taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we're still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can't afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we've come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We've come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it's just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It's not easy to stand in somebody else's shoes. It's not easy to see past our differences. We've all encountered this in our own lives.

But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don't think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man.

And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country's ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don't happen in the spotlight.

They don't happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect.

Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She's been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America.

And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down.

That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.


The Clintons Use Their Race Card Advantage

Coming off a dramatic victory in Iowa, the Obama campaign suddenly found itself deep in the fog of a concocted battle with the Clinton Camp over race.

It's vintage Clinton Machine politics--a politics that calls for the use of any device, no matter how low and despicable, to gain political advantage.

They are such masters of "slim & hide" politics that many in the media--and therefore the public--seem confused about which camp is responsible for inserting race.

So there was Hillary sounding all saintly in yesterday's debate in Nevada--and incredibly it was Obama who Tim Russert keyed in on until forced to apologize.

Apparently in American politics, if the Clintons and their surrogates cleverly stroke the race chord, and a campaign helper for the Obama Camp documents it for lazy reporters to read, according to Russert that's race-baiting by Obama.

As a veteran reporter and former political operative who knows the game, I expected better from Russert.

Hillary sat there looking like the cat that swallowed the canary!

But in politics there's a simple test used in determining who's behind a particular tactic: see who benefits.

Who benefited from raising direct and indirect questions about race on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary--a primary which had Obama in the lead?

Hint: It wasn't Obama.

How exactly does Hillary benefit from use of the race card? And would the "nonracist" Bill and Hillary Clinton stoop so low as to allow its use? For answers to those questions by someone who understands political combat Clinton style, read former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris' In Contrast to Obama, Hillary Plays the Race Card.

I challenge Clinton supporters--especially those Latinos shilling--to prove us wrong.

My conclusion from this whole sordid affair? The Clintons know that their opponents--be it Al Gore and Jesse Jackson in 1992, or Barack Obama and John Edwards in 2008--are more honorable. Politically, the Clintons--whom are less so--gain the advantage. Just witness what's happened this week.

Enough said!


Romney Tied to Global Warming Denier Group

Aides and staffers of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are listed among the principals of a new Astroturf group set up last fall to deny the science of global warming.

The new group advertises itself as the American Environmental Coalition - "working to keep America beautiful, strong and prosperous." But the sole focus of its expensive website is to question the science of climate change.

As for its outreach activities, the AEC seems intent only on attacking Romney's presidential competitor John McCain, the Republican candidate with the best record on responding to climate change.


Tara Plantation II: The Clinton Attacks Obama Wiki

While Republican Bobby Jindal, the nation's first East Indian-American governor, was sworn in Monday in Louisiana, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her associates have been deploying a despicable "racialized" Southern strategy.

Of course, the Clinton's are denying that they're using racist tactics to peel away white white Southern votes from Obama. But to those of us paying attention, it's exactly what they're doing. Daily Kos'rikyrah is onto the Clintons--as are many African American bloggers, including Prometheus 6, who observed:

I believe they are trying to bury the email forwarding, Bill Shaheening, Bob Kerreying, 'Pig' Penning that Hillary approved. They're trying to make the controversy about the MLK comment (which was ambiguous) instead the the Southern Strategy she's been implementing.

The Clintons are banking on the press rolling over and/or failing to see the obvious. So rikyrah has taken it upon herself to create The Clinton Attacks Obama Wiki, an incident tracker of the racial insults hurled at Obama by the Clintons and their surrogates. As a wiki people are free to add to the list as new incidents occur.

Here's the list as it stands:



Mexico's Grand Warlock: Hillary Next U.S. President

Mexico's Grand Warlock (Antonio Vázquez) has announced his predictions for the next President of the United States: Democrat Hillary Clinton.

He has also predicted that climate change will cause intense hurricanes that will destroy Central America and cause severe damage to Miami. FARC hostages will be released by March, Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will break-off relations with Venezuela's Chavez and Brazil will become the most powerful nation in South America.

Brujo Vázquez Makes '07 Predictions


Emigrante Latino - Los Hermanos Flores

Hillary & Tara Plantation Politics

The Clinton Campaign has caused a brush fire of sorts when an operative, and then the candidate herself, seemed to be saying that 1) Obama is no MLK, and 2) that LBJ--and not MLK--deserves credit for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Isn't this "plantation" politics?

In other words, some blacks--MLK included--may be inspiring preacher-types, but it takes the people in the big house--such as LBJ and HRC--to get things done.

Oh my goodness!

Recognizing that they were in a pitch battle with Barack Obama, the Clinton strategy seems to be to build a "racially-tinged" firewall for the next round of primaries. Their point? That a smooth-talking black man offering dramatic change can't be trusted. It's a strategy that could work given the compressed primary schedule, the power of special interests and the racial fissures of the body politic.

It's despicable politics (and Nixonian/Wallace in its attempt to scare voters into cleaving to the status quo.)--and I hope that voters don't fall for it.

But remember that Bill Clinton built his own "racially-tinged" firewall when he lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire in 1992. He did two things to galvanize the Southern "bubba" vote: 1) he made a show of not stopping the execution of a mentally ill black man in Arkansas; and 2) he did a much publicized photo-op in front of a Georgia State prison with a background filled with black prisoners in prison stripes. Those two horrific stunts sealed the bubba vote for Clinton, isolated Jesse Jackson and his efforts to engage white blue-collar workers, and positioned him to neutralize the Republican's white male advantage.

It's worked in the past--and no doubt Republican operatives, right wing media and allied groups are designing their own race-based attacks. So, may be it's a good thing that the Obama campaign deals with this garbage now. Thus far, Obama and his people have handled the assaults really well. Most missles have been deftly swatted or have backfired. Unfortunately, the volleys are likely to increase over the next few months.

Warning to the Clintons: At the end, Tara was scorched--and the slaves escaped!

Racial tensions roil Democratic race
Clinton’s Civil Rights Lesson

Desperate Clinton: LBJ, not Martin Luther King, is real civil rights hero
Hillary: You Negroes Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights
Hillary Clinton And An Attack Vs. Martin Luther King


Katie: An American in Scotland Misses Puerto Rico

Katie (aka, Long Aye-lander in Glasgow) is an American living in Scotland and missing Puerto Rico. Here's her latest post entitled: From Manhattan to Maricao: a Puerto Rican Odyssey.

I love visiting Puerto Rico. It’s relaxed yet alive, urban yet natural, American yet Latin American. If I wasn’t so set on going to Scotland, I could easily picture myself living in a little casita with a palm tree in the back garden.

Adrian is fond of pointing out the similarities between Scotland and Puerto Rico. He sites their shared love of fried food (and resulting obesity problems), extreme national pride, friendliness and political situations. As a semi-autonomous territory of the United States, Puerto Rico’s relationship with America is similar to Scotland’s relationship with England. And, just like in Scotland, people make a lot of noise about independence but nothing ever gets done about it.

Of course, Scotland and Puerto Rico are probably more different than they are similar. Scotland is wet, cold and miserable 80% of the time; Puerto Rico is warm and sunny 80% of the time. Puerto Rico is seriously overcrowded – 4 million people squashed into 3,515 sq mi – while Scotland only has 5 million people on its 30,414 sq mi of land. Scottish people may sound like they’re speaking another language, but Puerto Ricans ARE speaking another language. Most Puerto Ricans are naturally fabulous dancers; Scottish people…well, not so much. Adrian is perplexed by what he calls “white people dancing.” His attempts to imitate “white people dancing” are usually ridiculous but not all that far off the mark. Observe:

Ah, Puerto Rico - land of palm trees, beautiful beaches, insane traffic, reggaeton and Ricky Martin.

I miss you already.


Hillary Back On Track

What a difference an actual election makes. Hillary has just won the New Hampshire primary besting Barack Obama in an historic turnout.

How did the pundits and pollsters get this election so wrong? Here are three possibilities:

- Polls showing a 10 point lead for Obama just prior to today's vote may have been wrong. She'd been ahead all along and the pro-Obama spike never materialized in terms of votes. What the false polls may have accomplished, though, was to make the Clinton camp work that much harder on turn out.

- Independents expected to vote for Obama may have actually voted for John McCain instead.

- It appears that women came out in bigger numbers for numbers for Hillary than was the case in Iowa.

- Hillary's crying bout may have actually helped humanize her. Terry McAuliffe thinks so: “That humanizing moment yesterday. That did it.”

While Obama and Hillary are essentially tied in terms of wins, Hillary is better poised to go the full distance. Hillary has more support among traditional party activists, is better known and will not have to worry about independents voting in democratic primaries.

The Clintons Unhinged

There is just zippo graciousness coming out of the Clinton camp.

Is it really good politics for Hillary to rant on about being the "change" in a debate last week--followed by a crying spell about how it's all so "personal" to her--climaxed by a finger-wagging Bill berating Obama supporters for voting their dreams?

And to make matters that much worse, the Clintons have re-enlisted the reptilian Carville and Begala--the dudes best known as the kings of negative campaigning.

Do Democrats really want a repeat performance from these folks?

Frankly, I'd like to see independent-minded Democrats denounce the negativity and "win-at-all costs" approach of the Clintons. And if they insist on gutter politics, a boycott of Bill and Hillary events.

Enough already!


Back to the Future: Carville & Begala to join Clinton campaign
Bill on Obama: Big Fairy Tale

Hispanic College Fund Call for Applicants

Scholarship Applications for the 2008-2009 academic year now available

Washington, DC--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--January 8, 2007--Scholarship applications for the 2008-2009 academic year are available online at The Hispanic College Fund's website. Scholarship amounts range from $500 - $10,000 and are for one-year only. All scholarship recipients must re-apply each year. The average scholarship awarded is$3,000.

Applications are ONLINE and require an essay, resumé and letter of recommendation. We do not accept any paper applications. Deadlines for our scholarships vary from February 1st, 2008 to March 15th, 2008.

The Hispanic College Fund offers several scholarships through its scholarship program. You must plan to attend a college or a university as a full-time student for the entire academic year in order to be eligible for a Hispanic College Fund scholarship. Only students who are U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in the United States or Puerto Rico and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 are eligible.

In 2007 the Hispanic College Fund awarded over $1.8 million in scholarships to 615 students.

To learn more go to http://www.HispanicFund.org and begin your application!

An Obama Tsunami?

Obama's charisma and positive message has sparked a tsunami of excitement and hope among New Hampshire's primary voters.

If the early voters of Dixville Notch on the Canadian-New Heampshire border are any indication, it's going to be a sweet day for the Obama's--and an historic day for America.


Who Won The ABC N.H. Debates? Change

Winners of the back-to-back GOP and Democratic presidential debates by ABCNews/Facebook in New Hampshire were those candidates most convincing in their claims to be a true change agent for a weary nation.

Who were those candidates?

I believe they were John McCain for the GOP and Barack Obama for the Democrats.

John McCain - Senator McCain won the mantel--albeit in Republican form--by detailing how he took on the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and forced the Bush administration to change its war strategy in Iraq.

The GOP runner-up? Mike Huckabee for his populist focus on average Americans.

Barack Obama - Avoided Hillary's bait to get into a tussle while keeping his eye on bringing about a more constructive political dialogue.

The Democratic runner-up? Edwards also for his "personal" commitment to pursuing a politics on behalf of the little guy.

N.H. Democratic Debate
N.H. Republican Debate

Obama to take New Hampshire!


Paul's No Obama

Michael O'Neill of Sag Harbor (aka, MO) rips Ron Paul for his phony libertarianism when it comes to his oppressive views on immigration. MO concludes that Paul is no Obama. Amen!

I am not at all surprised Ron Paul didn't quite get to Phoenix Tuesday, as his adepts promised all of us. Phoenix the bird arising from the ashes, not the Arizona hot spot, whence came libertarianism as an ideology that Goldwater rode as his horse into ignominious defeat as avatar of Republican ideology. An ideology so intellectually bereft, they fancy up To rally round; still, no matter the spin after his Iowa trouncing Paul lost. How typical of his adepts, ever so anxious to show how impure are St. Paul's rivals. They appear to be blind to, or they dismiss, or would diminish St. Paul's pandering contradictions, conforming to the Repubs' mantras of invective.disinformation and falsehoods, now subsumed under that pious old standby of law and order, “we are a nation of laws” and “ what part of illegal don’t you get?” as if they are fighters for human rights, only against immigrants, documented and undocumented. Enough to puke.

Still, my friend Eileen is right, Ron Paul towers over his Repuke rivals by a large distance. Next to them, he seems positively a statesman, with their petty, closed-minded and smug self-congratulations. Paul comes across as ethical to Fred Thompson’s money grubbing, McCain’s mercenary heroism, Romney’s toney phoniness, Guiliani’s indecent, self-exposure of modesty, Huckabyebye’s holier than thou cruelty. What a singular crowd of grown men that they could make Paul appear to be a kind of respectable man of professorial gravity. Their unattractive mockery and condescension of toward Paul in the New Hampshire debate was only evidence of their own arrogance.

For all of Ron Paul's railing against big government, the coercive force of the state maintained by police tactics, for declaring his anarchist view that government is best starved, withered away and then drowned down the drain, because government is fundamentally immoral, restricting personal rights not to be taxes and taking away personal liberty. It's as plain as the nose on his face, or rather it should be to the rest of us, that the undocumented immigrant, according to their own apologetics, are the very best example of a free people living outside the grid of an oppressive central government's repressive laws, curtailing individual liberty.

Immigrants do for themselves as Libertarians like to claim is their ethic. Libertarians should be at the very front barricade of protecting immigrants living outside the law, if Libertarianism should mean something, anything other than gussied-up selfishness and hoarding for the few promulgated by the same ole grand ole party. Where is his vaunted indignation at the state’s use of armed coercion and violence when used against immigrants. Where is his putative indignation at government surveillance against immigrants as dress rehearsal for all of its residents, documented or not? Where is this heroic Libertarian credo against spying, recording, taping, searching, beating, jailing and exiling innocent people? Paul lacks the common sense, the judgment, the character and integrity of Obama, Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson, Edwards and Clinton, et al. How truly disappointing it must be for the Paulies to see him succumb to the tawdry impulse to pander to a certain swathe of the GOP's activist base of flat earth fundamentalists, as is the case with his most recent campaign advert on immigration policy. It is a shameful ad, endorsed by St. Paul himself, that ran all over the state just prior to Iowa's caucuses.

His ad has a 5 point program on immigration:

1.) No amnesty. What meanness & ingratitude, besides being a nonsensical twist of language legitimizing vindictiveness at the racist core of Repuke Minimen Know Nothing American Patriots. Tens of thousands of immigrants have been here over 15 yrs and more, and are still in the process of gaining status. Even ICE admit there is a 12 year backlog in application processing. Immigration is a process not a fait accompli.

The campesinos know well the U.S embassy will never give them a visa as it is well documented that the poor, the uneducated, the unskilled will have no chance whatsoever to obtain a visa from any U.S. embassy in the world, except for the most exceptional cases. These hard working immigrants have earned the right to due process and the gratitude of our nation for their outstanding and measurable contributions to our well-being and comfort. They have paid their debt many times over.

Nobody, but not one candidate or pro-immigrant group I know of is recommending amnesty. All agree that people who have worked here should pay fines for whatever civil scofflaw against immigration rules, which are a civil, not a criminal offense, which might have been broken. But,in the Repuke's stance of rhetoric, deportation for 12 million undocumented immigrants is feasible, no matter the Nazi-like tactics urged like cordoning off large blocks and systematically searching out all undocumented or raids by armed deputized thugs in the night like the southern bounty hunters deputized by municipalities to seek out run away slaves, illegals, who stole their own bodies from their master.

Undocumented immigrants have paid $550 billion (with a b) into the Social Security "rainy day fund" of which they most likely will never see one red penny. Their contributions which amount to $50 billion a year is what keeps SS solvent. Yet, that doesn't cut hay with the Paulies, I know, as they wish to privatize SS so retirees can remain pure and not suffer under a welfare state that will rob them of their dignity, their ability to do for themselves. Paul has urged the government to give over policing of the border to paramilitaries. And don't think that is idle harangue. Blackwater has already moved into a 500 acre compound, next to the Mexican
border where they can dance with the sugar plum fairies of U.S. treasury billions from the federales Homeland Security slush fund.

2.) No welfare benefits. This is deliberate disinformation on St. Paul's part and even contradicts what he espoused before the Latino Univision debate. He well knows that present policy forbid an immigrant, documented or undocumented from receiving any welfare benefit for the first 5 years & under no circumstances for the undocumented, ever. Instead of imposing this cruel and unwise law, he lies about it, just like all the other Repuke candidates, giving the distinct impression that immigrants have swelled the ranks of welfare recipients, which they (we) all know is false. Paul remains perfectly silent over the discrimination against all those refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants who do not come from Cuba or Israel. Immigrants do not come here to receive stingy, starvation levels of welfare aid. It is well established how the hard work poor immigrants accomplish is legendary. as has been the case since the Puritans, speaking a foreign language, immigrated to Plymouth Rock or how Irish immigrants dug by hand the Erie Canal.

The massive welfare is taken by subsidized agricultural corporations and tax policies that let the corporations off with myriad tax sheltering of billions for which Paul voted. All this shit about welfare taking away the dignity of those in need and robs them of the wherewithal to seek work, save and pay their own way is made a mockery when Paul voted to permit the heirs of the wealthy not to pay inheritance tax, which evidently will not play havoc on the children of the wealthy as it must on the poor kids of the not wealthy. This is part of the massive lie that undocumented immigrants are criminals since they are a priori illegal beings, which has become the ideological tautology of the far right, mainstreamed by the corporate media and the Repub Party, insisting on using the sobriquet “illegal aliens” as neutral So much for family values. Can you imagine the squeals arising if the Wall St. Journal or CBS regularly referred to “cruel minimen Republican?”

3.) End birthright citizenship. This is a variant of the racist "anchor baby" (those lazy darkies fuck all day and party all night) rhetoric of the hard right. Shame on Paul for his sleazy unconstitutional proposals pandering to the screech choir of nativists and Know Nothings. What pious hypocrisy for Paul to pose as a strict Constituionist or even a somewhat lax one, for that matter.

4.) Secure the border with physical barriers. Paul knows this is a stupid waste of enormous sums of money and manpower, expanding significantly the power and reach of government. Worse, Paul knows it is futile and misleading to attempt physical barriers to immigration. He had said so himself previously. Fundamentally, he succumbs to the hoary lie that the darkies are terrorists and threaten the security of the U.S.A. This is a very old charge of American nativists, first hurled in the late 19th Century.

Look up accounts of the deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in forced marches of 1916 across the searing Sonora desert from Bisbee to the border by armed vigilantes on horseback in the Bisbee Bee. In those newspaper accounts Mexicans are also referred to as terrorists. Of course these terrorists had their properties confiscated and given over to the most enthusiastic vigilantes. Remember between 1854 to 1900 there were 305 documented lynching of Mexican and Mexican American terrorists in Texas alone. How painful it must be to have to support this kind of racism coming directly out of all the pandering Repuke candidates, including Paul.

5.) End student visas from terrorist nations. This might be the most unconstitutional proposal yet put forth by Paul. While pandering to AIPAC & Christian Zionist fundamentalist propaganda, it insidiously gives legitimacy to an official policy of collective punishment. We seem not to mind the terrorists if they are Cuban émigrés or other erstwhile allies of the U.S. like Israeli settlers. Would it be fair to deny visas to American students' study abroad programs because of crimes committed by Bush Cheney? Paul favors wasting billions to build a futile wall that he well knows will not deter immigration outside of regular channels.

The presentation of this ad is constructed to impart a fear mongering approval for the anti-immigrant hate that is being deliberately and systematically fanned by the Republican wing of the Know Nothing Party, whose wide tent includes the National Alliance, KKK, David Duke, the Minutemen among extremists.

The imagery of dark-skinned immigrants swarming into the country is a classic Brown Peril trope, as is the ominous voice-over informing us: “Today, illegal immigrants violate our borders and overwhelm our hospitals, schools, and social services.” While in the Univision debate, Paul sang an entirely different corrido tune: “But we have to realize where the resentment [against immigrants] comes from. I believe it's related to our economy." Well, duh.

"When the economy is weakening,” he relates "and there's resentment because of our welfare system – jobs are going overseas; our good jobs, [and] pay is going down.... There’s a lot of resentments because the welfare system is based on mandates from the federal government to put pressure on states like Florida and Texas to provide services which the local taxpayers resent. Some of our hospitals are closing. So it's an economic issue, too. If we deal with the welfare state and a healthy economy and a sound money [system] and all this wasteful spending overseas, we would have a healthy economy; I think this problem [with illegal immigration] would be greatly reduced.”

Now, this bit of contradiction is not just pandering to a Latino audience. In the Newsweek interview he showed how aware he was of the unfairness of scapegoating immigrants for the economic deterioration of the American middle class under his party's policies. Policies his nostrums would make even worse Paul reflected on the fact that as an obstetrician he delivered children now referred to as “anchor babies’ who were “immediately put on [welfare] benefits. They can get housing allowances, food allowances, and Americans resent it because our economy is weak....I want a healthy economy. Then we will be able to have a much more generous immigration policy, which would fit my personal philosophy and our Constitution.”

And again, this time before the Des Moines Register editorial interview in which he elaborated on the dangers of enforced multiculturalism, including bilingualism and welfare benefits for non-citizens, all of which are about as big a problem as flag burning in the U.S.. He goes on to say: "I'm also convinced that if we didn't have the welfare state, this would be a non-issue. If we had sound money, no welfare state, and we were thriving....It's because we're having these economic problems that I say the illegal alien becomes an easy scapegoat." But that was then, now he sees that fund raising and attention can be obtained by his revising his stance to fit more fully with what the Repuke mob is screaming: good óle American Patriot racist gore.

This supposedly astute economist totally ignores the now overwhelming evidence presented by academic scholars establishing indisputably that immigrants contribute much more to our economy than they take in services. While still expressed in the context of his continuous, steadfast drumbeat against government, welfare, SS, and Medicaid for the poor, the weak and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant at least previously came out as a non-problem to Paul. That was then, but now with a little more fundraising to be done, some more money needed, a lot more attention to be had tossing out red meat to the mob.

Paul is either less than truthful or pandering to an anti-immigrant hatred being fanned by all Repuke candidates. Yet we are told Paul is different from those politicians, that he stands on principle and that his candor imparts his out sized credibility translated into popularity and electoral ascendancy. Yet with his own contradictory presentations, depending on his audience, the emperor stands naked admiring his raiment. On the issue of immigration as with so many other issues, Paul stands as just another unprincipled flack of Republicanism, without the courage of his cranky and feckless convictions, in spite his appearance of rectitude.

And certainly not of Obama's pro-immigrant and principled political stance, his courageous refusal to scapegoat immigrants for crimes and colossal ineptitude of Cheney/Bush and the Repuke majority congress. For those who dismiss criticism of Paul's character as wanting, because immigration is just not really so important in spite of the hoopla, I have to laugh. Immigration is nothing less than the single most important issue for this race. They are desperately trying to make it the priority of the national political debate. Desperate, because they are incapable of running on anything else of domestic or foreign policy already delivered into calamity. To deny that, as does my neighbor Eileen, is to me to deny reality, which evidently doesn't seem to bother the St. Paulie adepts.

You can't say you admire and respect Obama, but work for Paul because he opposes the Iraqi war and imperialist bases around the world. His ideology and beliefs are retrograde, warmed- over Republicanism based on isolationist indifference to the world. They are anything, but progressive.



Obama Takes Iowa! Sets Sights on Conquering NH

The Dream Lives!

Senator Barack Obama has won an historic and decisive victory in the Iowa Caucus!

The latest results show Obama 37.14; Edwards 30.00; Clinton 29.60.

On the Republican side, Gov. Mike Huckabee (34%) trounced Gov. Mitt Romney (25) Fred Thompson and John McCain tied for 3rd.