Sharing countercultural history. Investigating ideas on how to co-create sustainable community outside the box. Establishing said online resources content in one place. Thereby, mirroring the long process of what it takes to raise social justice, political and cultural consciousness collectively. Your mission, should you decide to join us, is to click on the yellow daisy on the left! All the best to you, in a world-wide affiliation!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Unity Campaign: Peace, Prosperity and Progress in the 21st C

We each grow in strength, character and our vital coping skills as human beings when we can pick ourselves up and get back into the flow of life. Hillary Clinton is a solid human being tested by the viciously competitive rigors of America's political reality right before our eyes. Which one of us can withstand this level of pressure to keep showing up for the entire country?!

This taken from a Chicago fundraiser and posted to Lynn Sweet's website: Hillary Clinton lamented that the party has won only three of the last 10 elections.'This is a sobering thought,' she said, adapting her electability argument from the primary campaign. “For me this is intensely personal, because I want to see our country once again not just solving problems, which sounds very pragmatic, but lifting up our sights and finding the promise of our country by once again producing the progress that is truly the American birthright. It has slipped away from us.”

In watching the youtube videos of the Unity Speech, did these two (1-former) candidate(s) bring together the generation of actively voting, techno-savvy "kids" with their families and life-experienced, politically active elder-allies in this audience in Unity, N.H. on June 27th? Can we push that consideration to the political/social forefront among us now?

Thursday, June 26, 2008


By Charlie Reese --

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don' t write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should beheld accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Democratic Women for Change- Roll Up Your Sleeves Time!

The Democratic women on the U.S. Senate have united behind an agenda for change. We believe it is time for a change in Washington: a change in tone and change in the level of commitment to addressing America’s priorities. That is what our "Checklist for Change" is all about. We challenge President Bush and Congressional Republicans to partner with us during the remainder of the 110th Congress to make the issues on our checklist a reality for the American people. This is by no means a complete list of priorities, but they are challenges that Congress can meet right now, if the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans will join us in our commitment to address these critical issues.

We invite you to join with us in the fight to bring about the change that the American people need and deserve. I encourage you to explore this website and the extraordinary work of my colleagues.

Each of us can make a difference, but together we can make change.


Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Dean of the Women Senators

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Violence of Sexism in 21st Century America

From one email respondent, of the Hillary Clinton Campaign:

I have lived through a number of political campaigns, but never in my life have I experienced one as deranged and devoid of fact and reason as this one.

The atmosphere in America has been so poisonous that the only similar political times that come to mind are 1930s Germany, which was also a time of unbridled and unreasoning hate.

The sad part is that even many women join in the hatred of other women. Why, I don't know, but I know it to be so.

Maybe women want to be thought of as one of the boys, or maybe successful and powerful women loom as a threat to those women. Could it be a case of . . .

Obama: my supporters are more violent than the Hillary supporters, so you had better make me president, or there will be hell to pay. (not a direct quote)

Is this what we have come to as a nation?

Hating Hillary

by Andrew Stephen
The New Statesman
May 22, 2008

"Gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind has been shamelessly peddled by the US media, which - sooner rather than later, I fear - will have to account for their sins.

History, I suspect, will look back on the past six months as an example of America going through one of its collectively deranged episodes -- rather like Prohibition from 1920-33, or McCarthyism some 30 years later. This time it is gloating, unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind. It has been shamelessly peddled by the US media, which - sooner rather than later, I fear -- will have to account for their sins. The chief victim has been Senator Hillary Clinton, but the ramifications could be hugely harmful for America and the world.

I am no particular fan of Clinton. Nor, I think, would friends and colleagues accuse me of being racist. But it is quite inconceivable that any leading male presidential candidate would be treated with such hatred and scorn as Clinton has been. What other senator and serious White House contender would be likened by National Public Radio's
political editor, Ken Rudin, to the demoniac, knife-wielding stalker played by Glenn Close in /Fatal Attraction/? Or described as "a fucking whore" by Randi Rhodes, one of the foremost personalities of the supposedly liberal Air America? Could anybody have envisaged that a website set up specifically to oppose any other candidate would be
called Citizens United Not Timid? (We do not need an acronym for that.)

I will come to the reasons why I fear such unabashed misogyny in the US media could lead, ironically, to dreadful racial unrest. "All men are created equal," Thomas Jefferson famously proclaimed in 1776. That equality, though, was not extended to women, who did not even get the vote until 1920, two years after (some) British women. The US still has less gender equality in politics than Britain, too. Just 16 of America's 100 US senators are women and the ratio in the House (71 out of 435) is
much the same. It is nonetheless pointless to argue whether sexism or racism is the greater evil: America has a peculiarly wicked record of racist subjugation, which has resulted in its racism being driven deep underground. It festers there, ready to explode again in some unpredictable way.

To compensate meantime, I suspect, sexism has been allowed to take its place as a form of discrimination that is now openly acceptable. "How do we beat the bitch?" a woman asked Senator John McCain, this year's Republican presidential nominee, at a Republican rally last November. To his shame, McCain did not rebuke the questioner but joined in the laughter. Had his supporter asked "How do we beat the nigger?" and McCain reacted in the same way, however, his presidential hopes would deservedly have gone up in smoke. "Iron my shirt," is considered amusing heckling of Clinton. "Shine my shoes," rightly, would be hideously unacceptable if yelled at Obama.

Evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, American men like to delude themselves that they are the most macho in the world. It is simply unthinkable, therefore, for most of them to face the prospect of having a woman as their leader. The massed ranks of male pundits gleefully pronounced that Clinton had lost the battle with Obama immediately after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, despite past precedents that strong second-place candidates (like Ronald Reagan in his first, ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976; like Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) continue their campaigns until the end of the primary season and, in most cases, all the way to the party convention.

None of these male candidates had a premature political obituary written in the way that Hillary Clinton's has been, or was subjected to such righteous outrage over refusing to quiesce and withdraw obediently from what, in this case, has always been a knife-edge race. Nor was any of them anything like as close to his rivals as Clinton now is to Obama.

The media, of course, are just reflecting America's would-be macho culture. I cannot think of any television network or major newspaper that is not guilty of blatant sexism - the British media, naturally, reflexively follow their American counterparts -- but probably the worst offender is the NBC/MSNBC network, which has what one prominent Clinton activist describes as "its nightly horror shows". Tim Russert, the network's chief political sage, was dancing on Clinton's political grave before the votes in North Carolina and Indiana had even been fully counted -- let alone those of the six contests to come, the undeclared super-delegates, or the disputed states of Florida and Michigan.

The unashamed sexism of this giant network alone is stupendous. Its superstar commentator Chris Matthews referred to Clinton as a "she-devil". His colleague Tucker Carlson casually observed that Clinton "feels castrating, overbearing and scary . . . When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." This and similar abuse, I need hardly point out, says far more about the men involved than their target.

Knives out

But never before have the US media taken it upon themselves to proclaim the victor before the primary contests are over or the choice of all the super-delegates is known, and the result was that the media's tidal wave of sexism became self-fulfilling: Americans like to back winners, and polls immediately showed dramatic surges of support for Obama. A few brave souls had foreseen the merciless media campaign: "The press will savage her no matter what," predicted the Washington Post's national political correspondent, Dana Milbank, last December. "They really have their knives out for her, there's no question about it."

Polling organisations such as Gallup told us months ago that Americans will more readily accept a black male president than a female one, and a more recent CNN//Essence/ magazine/ Opinion Research poll found last month that 76 per cent think America is ready for a black man as president, but only 63 per cent believe the same of a woman.

"The image of charismatic leadership at the top has been and continues to be a man," says Ruth Mandel of Rutgers University. "We don't have an image, we don't have a historical memory of a woman who has achieved that feat."

Studies here have repeatedly shown that women are seen as ambitious and capable, or likeable -- but rarely both. "Gender stereotypes trump race stereotypes in every social science test," says Alice Eagley, a psychology professor at Northwestern University. A distinguished academic undertaking a major study of coverage of the 2008 election, Professor Marion Just of Wellesley College - one of the "seven sisters" colleges founded because women were barred from the Ivy Leagues and which, coincidentally, Hillary Clinton herself attended -- tells me that what is most striking to her is that the most repeated description of Senator Clinton is "cool and calculating".

This, she says, would never be said of a male candidate -- because any politician making a serious bid for the White House has, by definition, to be cool and calculating. Hillary Clinton, a successful senator for New York who was re-elected for a second term by a wide margin in 2006 - and who has been a political activist since she campaigned against the Vietnam War and served as a lawyer on the congressional staff seeking to impeach President Nixon - has been treated throughout the
2008 campaign as a mere appendage of her husband, never as a heavyweight politician whose career trajectory (as an accomplished lawyer and professional advocate for equality among children, for example) is markedly more impressive than those of the typical middle-aged male senator.

Rarely is she depicted as an intellectually formidable politician in her own right (is that what terrifies oafs like Matthews and Carlson?). Rather, she is the junior member of "Billary", the derisive nickname coined by the media for herself and her husband. Obama's opponent is thus not one of the two US senators for New York, but some amorphous creature called "the Clintons", an aphorism that stands for amorality
and sleaze. Open season has been declared on Bill Clinton, who is now reviled by the media every bit as much as Nixon ever was.

Here we come to the crunch. Hillary Clinton (along with her husband) is being universally depicted as a loathsome racist and negative campaigner, not so much because of anything she has said or done, but because the overwhelmingly pro-Obama media -- consciously or unconsciously -- are following the agenda of Senator Barack Obama and his chief strategist, David Axelrod, to tear to pieces the first serious female US presidential candidate in history.

"What's particularly saddening," says Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and a rare dissenting voice from the left as a columnist in the New York Times, "is the way
many Obama supporters seem happy with the . . . way pundits and some news organisations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent." Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, Krugman believes that most of the "venom" in the campaign "is coming from supporters of Obama".

But Obama himself prepared the ground by making the first gratuitous personal attack of the campaign during the televised Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate in South Carolina on 21 January, although virtually every follower of the media coverage now assumes that it was Clinton who started the negative attacks. Following routine political sniping from her about supposedly admiring comments Obama had made about Ronald Reagan, Obama suddenly turned on Clinton and stared intimidatingly at her. "While I was working in the streets," he scolded her, ". . . you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-Mart." Then, cleverly linking her inextricably in the public consciousness with her husband, he added: "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes."

One of his female staff then distributed a confidential memo to carefully selected journalists which alleged that a vaguely clumsy comment Hillary Clinton had made about Martin Luther King ("Dr King's dream began to be realised when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964") and a reference her husband had made in passing to Nelson Mandela ("I've been blessed in my life to know some of the greatest figures of the last hundred years . . . but if I had to pick one person whom I know would never blink, who would never turn back, who would make great decisions . . . I would pick Hillary") were
deliberate racial taunts

Another female staffer, Candice Tolliver - whose job it is to promote Obama to African Americans - then weighed in publicly, claiming that "a cross-section of voters are alarmed at the tenor of some of these statements" and saying: "Folks are beginning to wonder: Is this an isolated situation, or is there something bigger behind all of this?" That was game, set and match: the Clintons were racists, an impression sealed when Bill Clinton later compared Obama's victory in South Carolina to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988 (even though Jackson himself, an Obama supporter, subsequently declared Clinton's remarks to be entirely inoffensive).

The pincer movement, in fact, could have come straight from a textbook on how to wreck a woman's presidential election campaign: smear her whole persona first, and then link her with her angry, red-faced husband. The public Obama, characteristically, pronounced himself "unhappy" with the vilification carried out so methodically by his
staff, but it worked like magic: Hillary Clinton's approval ratings among African Americans plummeted from above 80 per cent to barely 7 percent in a matter of days, and have hovered there since.

I suspect that, as a result, she will never be able entirely to shake off the "racist" tag. "African-American super-delegates [who are supporting Clinton] are being targeted, harassed and threatened," says one of them, Representative Emanuel Cleaver. "This is the politics of the 1950s." Obama and Axelrod have achieved their objectives: to belittle Hillary Clinton and to manoeuvre the ever-pliant media into depicting every political criticism she makes against Obama as racist in intent.

The danger is that, in their headlong rush to stop the first major female candidate (aka "Hildebeast" and "Hitlery") from becoming
president, the punditocracy may have landed the Democrats with perhaps the least qualified presidential nominee ever. But that creeping realisation has probably come too late, and many of the Democratic super-delegates now fear there would be widespread outrage and increased racial tension if they thwart the first biracial presidential hopeful in US history.

But will Obama live up to the hype? That, I fear, may not happen: he is a deeply flawed candidate. Rampant sexism may have triumphed only to make way for racism to rear its gruesome head in America yet again. By election day on 4 November, I suspect, the US media and their would-be-macho commentators may have a lot of soul-searching to do."

Thursday, June 19, 2008



Michelle: Hold Your Head High; We Got Your Back

By Sandra Kobrin - WeNews commentator

Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's Enews.

(WOMENSENEWS)--If you thought the way Hillary Clinton was treated by the media was a nightmare, brace yourself for what's going on with Michelle Obama.

With Hillary gone, the African-American wife of the Democratic nominee is the new woman to demonize.

Exhibit A is "Obama's Baby Mama," a caption Fox News used to identify Michelle last week. Baby Mama? Calling the wife of the presidential hopeful a term for an unmarried woman no longer involved with the father of her children? Why?

Nearly next in line is the don't-let-it-die brouhaha over the comment she made in February, four months ago, while campaigning in Wisconsin, when she said "for the first time I'm really proud to be an American." She was just saying it was great to see people turning out in droves to vote. But it got warped and retailed as anti-American, with the "really" part of her comment typically lost in the quoting.

Then there's the outright lie being spread all over the Net and fuelled by Fox News that she used the word "whitey" in a speech at Trinity Church. Conveniently enough the tape is nowhere to be seen. Geraldo Rivera has bet $100 on the rumor being false and while I hate to agree with Geraldo, I'd say that's a safe gamble.

One by one these incidents add up to an effort to portray a warm, humorous, gracious, hard-working professional woman and an apparently devoted wife and mother as a racist shrew.

Why the Fear?

Why are people so afraid of her?

Is it because she's smart, educated, outspoken, 6 feet tall and an African American woman?

I think so.

Is it because many people are somewhat OK with the idea of an African American president but are still petrified by the idea of an African American first lady?

Could be. That double whammy; African American and a woman.

Is it because destroying her reputation harms her husband's chances of winning?

You bet.

But don't worry Michelle, we got your back. We're not going to let them slam you and marginalize you. There are many women--white women and those of color--in the trenches and on your side.

Friends to the Rescue

Gina McCauley, a 32 year-old African American blogger, is one.

"The whole country doesn't know what to do about Michelle," says McCauley, who started "What About our Daughters," a blog by and for black women. A few days ago she launched to track the slings and arrows aimed at Michelle.

"I was getting so many e-mails every day citing horrible things being said about Michelle, I just had to create this separate site to let people know," she said. Her main site was being overrun with negative posts not only about Michelle but also the Obama daughters, including one referring to them "nappy headed ho's."

A cartoon that briefly appeared last month on the progressive Daily Kos site was there too, offering a glaring example of what can only be explained by complete cultural incompetence. The drawing showed Michelle being lynched and branded.

The point was to portray the ferocity of Republican attacks against Michelle that could be expected and the site quickly took down the offensive image.

Mark Lamont Hill, an assistant professor at Temple University, was one of those who came to Michelle's aid in that instance.

'The Last Thing We Need'

"The last thing we need is the normalization of images depicting the abuse of black female bodies," he wrote in The Root, which offers a daily array of online news commentary from a variety of variety of black perspectives. "Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that such tactics would be used against any of the other potential First Ladies. Can you imagine Bill O'Reilly talking about lynching Nancy Reagan?" has 10 volunteer employees who scan the media daily to monitor how Michelle is being portrayed.

"Many Americans, both Republican and Democrat, can't deal with a strong smart black woman," says McCauley. "They're used to the black women they see on TV, either passive or funny. Michelle just doesn't fit and they don't like that."

What do they like?

Apparently the general preference is for first ladies who are docile, smiling and know their place.

Four years ago the Republicans went after Theresa Heinz Kerry, the outspoken, educated, foreign-born wife of Democratic nominee John Kerry, for being too opinionated and for acting as his advisor.

Official Hostess Preferred

A USA TODAY-MacNeil-Lehrer Productions-Gallup Poll conducted during the Kerry campaign found "the majority of Americans said the first lady shouldn't be a formal advisor to the president, two thirds said it wouldn't be appropriate for her to be elected to office and nearly half said she shouldn't hold a job in the private sector. And almost everyone said she could serve as an official hostess at White House events and champion a non-partisan cause. Being the president's confidante and volunteering for a charity are widely acceptable, too."

Cassandra West, formerly the women's section editor of the Chicago Tribune and now director of communications for the Chicago Foundation for Women, wrote the first profile of Michelle Obama to run after Barack delivered the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention.

"Michelle was genuine, interested in others, and easy to talk to," West said. "Yes she's got opinions, but what educated, informed, intelligent, woman doesn't?"

West sees the attacks as politically strategic. "To damage her reputation is to destroy her husband's campaign. That's the reason for this. Some tactics are to hurt the person closest to the candidate. We've never seen a potential white first lady being treated this harshly."

The Obama campaign is well aware of what's going on. It has hired longtime Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter to work as Michelle's chief of staff, with her first order of business being the defense and enhancement of her boss's media image.

"She also will lead a war room to fight attacks against Mrs. Obama," Adam Nagourney wrote in the New York Times political blog on Monday.

War Room?

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at . -

Below is (my) answer to their requests for comments:

While I am horrified at the racist, sexist garbage being hurled at Michelle Obama, I also have to ask why some of the same people now justifiably expressing outrage didn't do the same when similar misogyny was hurled at Hillary. Why did the Obama camp stand by in silence when misogyny benefited their candidate, yet are now beside themselves when the focus has changed?

Does anyone really think Hillary could have defended herself...or Bill have defended her... against the barbarism? That only would have stepped up the attacks. Only Senator Obama was in a position to confront the misogyny. Had he similarly confronted sexism as he so eloquently did racism, perhaps Michelle would not now be facing what they threw at Hillary ..and perhaps more.

As far as the unspeakable lynching depiction of Michelle, keep in mind that an on-line Time magazine depicted Hillary tied to railroad tracks. Variation of a theme... and either case depicts a race to decency's bottom of the barrel. In addition, on national TV, the likes of Chris Matthews, Don Imus and Tucker Carlson, etc. called Senator Clinton a she devil, a witch, the Antichrist, Lady MacBeth... ad nauseum. And on radio, NPR's Ken Rudin compared her to the stalker in Fatal Attraction and Air America's Randi Rhodes called her a "big fucking whore." Etc. Etc. Never mind the nutcrackers and stuff like 'Bro's not Hos" tee-shirts.

There will those that argue about the right of free speech...but with freedom comes responsibility. It's still not acceptable to yell fire in a crowded theater. But while, we're "shocked, shocked" by racism, apparently sexism is so much a part of the national discourse it is deemed acceptable...until it hits home. It shouldn't matter whether you agree with someone's politics, that type of misogyny is should never acceptable and is never justified.

I'm surprised that some are just learning the lesson that monsters who spew such garbage are equal opportunity employers...especially when their target is an intelligent, educated, successful woman. Like Hillary Clinton. Like Michelle Obama. Tragically, adding African American to the mix only gives the haters more ammunition. So to those who stood by in silence when Hillary was the target yet are now angered at the treatment of Michelle, I remind them of the "First they came"...lesson from a German pastor at the end of World War II. When you allow another person to be brutalized, eventually the brutality will come to you. Or your candidate. Or your candidate's wife.

It should also be a lesson that, if Senator Obama had addressed the misogyny, a good portion of 18,000,000 voters would not feel his candidacy had been obtained by media attacks and party manipulated means. And even if the eventual outcome of the primary season ended up exactly as is it did, many of those voters would not now be planning to desert the democratic party.

As for myself, for the first time since I was a high school sophomore, I am not planning to work on a presidential election. Instead, I am planning to devote my time and energy to nationwide coalitions forming to end sexism (and every other unspeakable ism) in the media.

Olivia Taylor-Young
Cave Junction, Oregon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Watch the FULL program online, here. Click on, "Watch Online."

Genocide continues and peacekeepers are still not deployed.

We must continue to pressure world leaders to protect Darfuri civilians.

Next month, a year will have passed since the U.N. authorized a peacekeeping force to protect Darfuri citizens. This force was supposed to represent, at long last, a commitment to stop genocide.

Yet, almost 12 long and lethal months later, only a fraction of the force has deployed.

We will not fall silent while genocide continues. But we cannot speak out without YOUR support.

Help us raise $200,000 by June 30 to pressure world leaders to stop genocide.

The road to peace is long, but we have made real progress together. Since January, with your support, we have:

* Worked with the U.S. House and Senate to secure approval of $800 million of desperately-needed funding for Darfur;
* Supported successful divestment initiatives in Arizona and South Carolina, the 24th and 25th U.S. states to divest for Darfur;
* Coordinated a historic joint statement by Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama—the first time since World War II that all major presidential candidates have come together on a foreign policy issue.

You have helped us come a long way, but there are many challenges ahead.

Violence in the region has intensified. Rising food and fuel prices have slashed international food aid to Darfur. Banditry claims much of the aid that does make it through. Still, of the 17,000 additional peacekeepers promised in July 2007, only 2,100 have been deployed.

The people of Darfur need peacekeepers now, not just to protect them from the murderous janjaweed, but also to safeguard efforts to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid.

Please help us raise $200,000 by June 30 and give us the resources we need to pressure world leaders to deploy peacekeepers.

Thank you for your commitment to the people of Darfur.

Best regards,

Colleen Connors
Save Darfur Coalition

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this urgent campaign.


If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Save Darfur Coalition.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gore endorses Obama and promises to help him

Benjamin Franklin said "In a free society, the rulers are the servants, and the people are their superiors and their sovereigns and therefor, for the former to return to the later was not to degrade them, but was to promote them."

Monday, June 16, 2008 5:38:57 PM

Al Gore announced his endorsement of Barack Obama Monday and promised to help the Democrat achieve what eluded him -- the presidency. In a letter to be e-mailed to Obama supporters, the former vice president and Nobel Prize winner wrote, "From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected president of the United States."

In 2000, Gore won the popular vote but lost the disputed 2000 election to George W. Bush, who captured Florida and its electoral votes after a divided Supreme Court ended the recount. Since then, Gore has made combatting global warming his signature issue, and has been recognized worldwide for his effort -- from an Academy Award for a documentary for his effort to the Nobel prize.

Gore is one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, but he maintained a low profile in the primary campaign. He's planning to appear with Obama at a rally in Detroit Monday night.

It's the second time that Obama has rolled out a major endorsement in Michigan, a state he did not campaign in during the primary because its election violated the party rules. Obama is counting on a win in Michigan in November, but brought Gore and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards to help validate him among Democrats in the state after skipping their primary.

"It means a lot, obviously," Obama said of Gore's support, as he greeted workers outside the General Motors Flint Engine South plant. "He's somebody who is a visionary, not just for the party, but for the country."

Gore also asked for donations to help fund Obama's effort -- the first time he's asked members of his Web site to contribute to a political campaign.

"Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement. He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action," Gore wrote. "With the help of millions of supporters like you, Barack Obama will bring the change we so desperately need in order to solve our country's most pressing problems."

Obama focused on his plan to improve the economy while in Michigan, which has the nation's highest unemployment rate. He told a crowd in Flint, which had a seasonally unadjusted April unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, that they cannot fear globalization but must embrace it as a reality of the future.

"At critical moments of transition like this one, success has also depended on national leadership that moved the country forward with confidence and a common purpose," he said.

Anthony Romero and Ava Lowery in This Brave Nation, Docudharma Series!

We're in our third week of This Brave Nation, a documentary series that brings progressive activists and thinkers together in one place-your computer screen! This week, we've paired ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero with 17-year-old peace activist Ava Lowery for an inspiring discussion about civil liberties, new media, the anti-war movement, and the Bush administration.

Watch the full third episode

At 17, Ava gives voice to what this series is all about-young emerging activists. She's fiercely opposed the war since she was 14 years old, and we're looking for more young people like her for The Brave Nation Young Activist Award. If you know someone in your community that is putting themselves on the line and speaking out for a cause, let us know by nominating them today. You have until June 22 to nominate a young activist for The Brave Nation Young Activist Award.

You can also help inspire a new generation of progressive activists by helping us get this series into schools and libraries across the country. A donation of $15 gets you two DVDs of the first 5 episodes -- one for you and one to donate to a school or library of your choice! Imagine if everyone had the opportunity to learn about these progressive icons.

The feedback for this groundbreaking series has been overwhelming. Don't miss your chance to be part of This Brave Nation:

"As an aging progressive who majored in film, I salute you for your new series and thank you for the thoughtful, eloquent way you present the possibility for change. Bless you." PC - via email

"I highly recommend that you take a few minutes and watch these as they are released. I think these conversations will bring you both hope and challenge." -Docudharma (WOW! What a nice word!!)

Robert Greenwald and Katrina vanden Heuvel
Brave New Foundation and The Nation

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kafka Comes to America

Kafka Comes to America
"Federal public defender [Steven] Wax masterfully delivers a harrowing story of the erosion of civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks in a powerful testimony that reads like a thriller," hails Publishers Weekly (starred review). In Kafka Comes to America (Other Press), Wax interweaves the stories of two men he represented who were caught up in our government's post-9/11 counterterrorism measures. This event is cosponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, the ACLU of Oregon, the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, and Amnesty International.

Public defender ready to battle for individual rights

Attorney Steven Wax's book puts reader on front lines of war on terror
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Oregonian Staff

Powell's City of Books was packed. All the chairs in the Pearl Room were taken, and the aisles in the art and architecture sections were filled with the cream of Portland's liberal legal establishment, eager to hear from the man who defended Brandon Mayfield and helped free a Guantanamo detainee.

Steven Wax was ready. He knew about half the crowd of about 300 by name and knew they shared his belief that the federal government has torn holes in the Constitution in its prosecution of the war on terror. It was a friendly audience, but Wax wasn't taking anything for granted, any more than he would in front of a jury in a courtroom or a judge in chambers. He was prepared, armed with the facts and ready to present them with passion and precision, the way he has for 25 years as the federal public defender for Oregon.

Every lawyer knows the importance of a good opening. Wax began by describing what it's like to arrive at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. government's detention center in Cuba. Wax put his audience on the tarmac with him, getting searched by military guards and going into Camp Echo to meet Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese man who worked for a charity in Pakistan when he was arrested in 2002. Hamad -- Wax referred to his client exclusively as Adel, the same way he called Mayfield only by his first name -- had been at Guantanamo for 44 months. When Wax went into Hamad's cell, his client was "chained to the floor like a dog."

Wax stepped down hard on the phrase and let it sink in. He is 59, in his seventh four-year term as the federal public defender, and his sense of outrage hasn't diminished. He told the Powell's audience he was proud to be a child of the '60s, "infused with idealism and anger" and ready to use the law to defend individual rights against government power. Not every public defender's office took Guantanamo cases. But Wax volunteered because he thinks the issues are fundamental to preserving democracy, and he's not shy about saying so.

"Give me a soapbox, and I'll stand on it," said Wax, who has written a book called "Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror." It goes deep inside two cases: the 2004 arrest of Mayfield, a Portland lawyer held as a material witness for more than two weeks after a mistaken fingerprint identification by the FBI linked him to terrorist bombings in Spain, and the less-publicized detainment of Hamad, who spent more than five years in prison before being released last year.

Wax's office took seven Guantanamo cases. Four men have been released, and three remain there. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that prisoners at Guantanamo have the right to petition a judge for their release, upholding the right of habeas corpus. "I love that word," Wax told the Powell's crowd.

"I was relieved to see the majority of the court understood the importance of habeas corpus to our structure of government and to the core liberties we enjoy," Wax said Friday from Washington, D.C., where he was on a book tour.

As important as the 5-4 decision was, Wax said he thought it might "spawn yet another procedural morass" as the government decides what to do with the 270 men held at Guantanamo. He thought there might be a rapid release of prisoners to their home countries and said "the last thing the government wants to see is a public hearing with protestations of innocence" that might expose why prisoners were sent to Guantanamo and how they were treated.

At his 17th-floor office across from the federal courthouse the morning after the Powell's event, Wax was relaxed and expansive about his life. His grandfather was smuggled out of Russia in 1910 after attacking a lieutenant in the czar's army who taunted him about being a Jew. A great-uncle was arrested in the Palmer Raids of 1919-20, when thousands of suspected radicals and Communists were arrested and held without trial. Wax came to Portland from New York, where he worked first in the Brooklyn district attorney's office, helping prosecute cases that included the "Son of Sam" murders, and then as a public defender in Binghamton, N.Y.

Wax started writing "Kafka Comes to America" after his second trip to Guantanamo. He envisioned it as a magazine article and said the book "came pouring out of me. I loved it. I couldn't stop." He got early advice from Portland defense lawyer-turned-author Phil Margolin and eventually worked with a writing coach to expand his style away from the terse language of legal briefs and toward adjectives, action verbs and colorful descriptions.

Wax called Mayfield's case "the most intense 19 days of my legal career." He described visiting Mayfield in the Multnomah County Detention Center in 2004 and telling him that it was possible the government might remove him from the legal system and put him in military detention, the way it had to two other U.S. citizens, Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, who were accused of terrorist activities and declared illegal enemy combatants.

"This is the new reality," Wax said he told Mayfield, who was in the audience at Powell's and confirmed Wax's account.

"It was a little odd, being on the other side in that situation," Mayfield said. "I'm used to listening to clients telling me they're innocent. I just had to have faith in his abilities."

Mayfield said that while in custody he met regularly with Wax and Chris Schatz, an assistant federal public defender, and usually was "escorted in shackles and chains. They did a full strip search before I was brought in. It usually wasn't on the phone, but we had to sit like this" -- Mayfield moved closer -- "and talk like this" -- he lowered his voice.

After his release, Mayfield and Wax became friends. Mayfield, who read Wax's book before publication, described Wax as "very calm, cool and collected, the consummate professional." Mayfield filed suit against the U.S. government and won a $2 million settlement in 2006. A federal judge ruled in 2007 that two provisions of the Patriot Act used to detain him are unconstitutional. The government has appealed.

Mayfield, 41, politely greeted people after Wax's event and posed for pictures with Wax. He continues to practice law and said his life has pretty much returned to normal, "but it'll never be quite the same. I used to be somewhat idealistic, but I got a big dose of reality."

Hamad was released in December, after the Sudanese foreign minister wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The charges against him, principally that he worked for organizations that had some association to terrorism and that he might have met suspected terrorists in refugee camps, "absolutely" amounted to guilt by association, Wax said.

Wax closed his Powell's presentation by reminding the audience that in no other country would Hamad have received the kind of legal representation he did, paid for by the government that imprisoned him. Some people might not understand how the Sixth Amendment right to counsel applies to those captured on foreign soil, he said later, but most would see that it's the American way, and he's proud to be an American.

Jeff Baker: 503-221-8165;

Mayfield tells Congress that oversight important
Posted by The Associated Press November 16, 2007 12:26PM

Don Ryan/The Associated PressPortland attorney Brandon Mayfield, left, shared a smile with public defender Steven Wax as they announced May 24, 2004, that a federal judge had dismissed the case against Mayfield, who had been detained in connection with the Madrid train bombings investigation.

An Oregon lawyer who won a ruling that provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional has urged Congress to resist Bush administration efforts to overhaul a law requiring oversight of government surveillance.

Brandon Mayfield challenged the Patriot Act over secret surveillance and searches of his home and office after the FBI misidentified a fingerprint in the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.

The FBI publicly apologized to Mayfield for the mistake and settled a lawsuit for $2 million. In September, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled on his challenge to the searches, issuing a sharply worded rebuke to the administration that warned the Patriot Act allows the government to sidestep Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The White House since has been pushing for a rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which requires court oversight of surveillance. On Thursday, the House approved a bill to strengthen that oversight, drawing an immediate veto threat from President Bush.

The Democratic bill also stopped short of providing legal immunity to telecommunication companies that help the government eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail. Mayfield wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee members Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., urging them to protect FISA from amendments that could weaken it.

"The Patriot Act weakened the requirements the government needed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to bug my home and office," Mayfield wrote.

"When legislation is written that waters down the standard of the Fourth Amendment, it is not the guilty who suffer, but the innocent," he said. The letter was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Mr. Mayfield's case is a cautionary tale," said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU legislative office in Washington, D.C. "Mr. Mayfield's experience has taught us that expanding government powers without checks and balances can actually affect and ruin people's lives."

THE GUANTANAMO bURDEN; To Congress is left the task of answering what the majority opinion left unanswered

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, June 13, 2008; Page A23

The key words in Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's Guantanamo opinion do not involve the history of habeas corpus, the territorial status of Guantanamo Bay or the accountability of the executive branch to the rule of law. They appear on the opinion's penultimate page and are unlikely to attract much attention amid the chatter the decision has already generated. "[O]ur opinion does not address the content of the law that governs petitioners' detention," Kennedy wrote. "That is a matter yet to be determined."

Yes, habeas corpus has been grandly re-established at Guantanamo. But, as the court majority made clear in this brief passage, that does not mean the government is holding a single person illegally at the base. Nor did the court have a whole lot to say about what procedures the government needs to use to determine whom to detain. Most important, it didn't require that anyone at the base walk free.

The result is that 6 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, America still faces many of the fundamental questions about detentions that it faced the day the military brought its first captives to Cuba.

It's long past time to answer them. Indeed, Congress and the executive branch -- whether the Bush administration or its successor -- desperately need to enact a comprehensive legislative solution to the problem of detentions in the war against terrorism, both clearly defining "the content of the law" and creating appropriate procedures for making those judgments.

The Guantanamo population has never been a monolith. Some detainees the military has held at the base are extremely dangerous -- proud military enemies of this country whom no society with an instinct for self-preservation would set free. One, for example, told a review panel: "I do pose a threat to the United States and its allies. I admit to you that it is my honor to be an enemy of the United States. I'm a Muslim jihadist." This detainee went on to say that he was "not one of [Osama bin Laden's] men and not one of his individuals. I am one of his sons. I will kill myself for him and will also give my family and all of my money to him." Other detainees admit facts that clearly render them subject to detention under the laws of war, though they may not be al-Qaeda or Taliban terrorists.

The majority of detainees, meanwhile, either deny the allegations against them -- with varying degrees of plausibility -- or choose not to address them in the primitive review mechanisms the government has set up. These detainees often present complex and murky issues of fact that any adjudicatory system has to resolve.

Guantanamo also houses a substantial group of detainees whom the government has long since cleared for release or transfer but whom it cannot send home for fear they might be tortured and whom other countries are not itching to take in. Some of them pose little or no threat to the United States. Additionally, the base houses a substantial group the military intends eventually to put on trial for war crimes.

John Overmeyer,
The current system -- at least in public -- labels all these groups "enemy combatants." But they present different problems. What's more, because the government's review processes are so anemic, the Supreme Court yesterday showed those processes little deference, and one can expect that lower courts, in the habeas cases this decision will bring back to life, will show little more to the detention decisions that resulted. A better system would cause courts to show more respect when habeas review rolls around.

A reasonable system would do as much adjudication as possible in public, creating for each detainee a rigorous set of factual findings and a record evaluating the decision to detain. For detainees of the type held at Guantanamo, whom the laws of war fit uncomfortably, the detention decision ought not to reside in the military but in a civilian federal court, assigned by statute to assess whether each detainee meets a legislatively prescribed standard.

In this proceeding, detainees should have real rights, starting with representation by competent counsel, cleared to see all evidence -- even classified evidence -- against their clients. Detainees themselves need a more detailed summary of the evidence against them and a more meaningful opportunity to present evidence of their own. Judicial supervision of these decisions must persist as long as the detentions persist, ensuring that the detentions are humane and remain necessary.

Congress, in short, needs to design a system open enough for the public to know how scary some detainees really are and adversarial enough to credibly separate the wheat from the chaff.

If it fails again to create such a system, the result of yesterday's decision will not be a resolution of the dispute over Guantanamo. It will be endless litigation over the hard questions all of these court battles have managed so assiduously to avoid: Whom does America want to detain outside its criminal justice apparatus? What procedures does it want to employ for evaluating a given captive? And what rights should that captive have?

The court has narrowed Congress's latitude to answer these questions, but it thankfully has not relieved the political system of its burden. Congress cannot afford to shirk that burden any longer.

Benjamin Wittes, a former Post editorial writer, is a fellow and research director in public law at the Brookings Institution. He is the author, most recently, of "Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Speak out on behalf of the ongoing Farmworkers struggle to be treated as respected human beings!

Thank you for caring about Maria Isabel.
Please help us spread the word about her tragic death.

We told you about the tragic death of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez who died due to heat stroke while laboring in a Stockton area vineyard and asked you to send her family a condolence letter. You responded. Thank you!!!

You were part of the approximately 3,000 supporters sent Maria's family beautiful personal notes of condolence which we've shared with her grieving mother, Jovita, and the rest of her family.

We want to continue to spread the word about this tragic incident. It's important that Maria's story is heard and that her tragic passing helps make people aware of the sad indifference farm workers face from growers and labor contractors regarding basic safety protections required by law. Together we can help other farm workers avoid the same fate.

Could you please take the next step and forward this e-mail to at least 10 friends and family so they can add their name to our online condolence card? Help ensure Maria's death will leave behind a legacy of change for farm workers.

Thank You!

Add your name to the online condolence card for the family of Maria Isabel, 17-year old heat victim. Tell Maria’s mother, Jovita, that you care.

Thank you for caring about Maria Isabel. Please help us spread the word about her tragic death.

I thought you might want to sign the UFW's the online condolence card.

17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez tragically died due to heat stroke while laboring in a Stockton area vineyard.

To date no one from the companies involved has had the decency to express condolences to Maria's family--not the farm labor contractor, not the company who owns the field where Maria labored, nor the wine distributor. There have been no letters, no one showed up at the funeral--nothing. The only reaction they had was to try to shift part of the blame of Maria’s death onto her fiancé, Florentino.

We want to let Maria’s family know that people from all over North America care about this tragedy—that people from all walks of life and of all backgrounds recognize the value of Maria’s life and death. Tell the family that you share the sorrow of Maria’s death and pledge to do what you can, so other farm worker families do not have to endure the same agony.

It is very easy to participate. We have put together a simple sign-on condolence letter, in English and Spanish that we will share with Jovita and the rest of Maria’s family.

Maria’s Story

On May 14, the official temperature was 95 degrees; it was even hotter inside the wine grape vineyard owned by West Coast Grape Farming, east of Stockton, where Maria and her fiancé, Florentino Bautista, worked. Maria had been working for nine hours.

At 3:40 p.m. Maria became dizzy. She didn’t know where she was and didn’t recognize Florentino. Maria passed out. Florentino helplessly held her in his arms.

There was no water for the workers from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. When water arrived, it was a 10-minute walk from where Maria was working, too far to access. There was no shade or training for foremen and workers about what to do if someone became ill from the heat—as required by law.

The foreman came over and stood four or five feet away, staring at the couple for about five minutes. He said, "Oh, that’s what happens to people, but don’t worry. If you apply some rubbing alcohol to her, it will go away." It didn’t.

After a number of delays Maria was taken to a clinic. On the in Lodi, the foreman called on the driver’s cell phone and spoke to Florentino. “If you take her to a clinic,” the foreman said, “don’t say she was working [for the contractor]. Say she became sick because she was jogging to get exercise. Since she’s underage, it will create big problems for us.”

They arrived at the clinic at 5:15 p.m., more than an hour and a half after Maria was stricken. She was so sick an ambulance took her to the hospital. Doctors said her temperature upon arrival was 108.4 degrees, far beyond what the human body can take.

Maria’s heart stopped six times in the next two days before she passed away on Friday.

Doctors said if emergency medical help had been summoned or she had been taken to the hospital sooner, she might have survived.

It is hard for Maria’s family and her fiancé, Florentino, to accept her death, knowing it could have been prevented.

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Thank you so much for helping build this community, and for the work you do to change our country for the better.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

It IS Time!!!

"At the present time, the dysfunction of the old consciousness and the arising of the new are both accelerating.
Paradoxically, things are getting worse and better at the same time, although the worse is more apparent because it makes so much 'noise'."
- - Eckhart Tolle

Today the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a stinging rebuke to the Bush-Cheney Administration's handling of military detainees at Guantanamo Bay -- while vindicating you, me, and thousands of others who have spoken out against the Administration's unwise and unconstitutional policies from the very beginning.

In today's 5-4 Boumediene v. Bush decision, the Court ruled that stripping habeas corpus rights from detainees at Guantanamo Bay was unconstitutional. In so doing, the Court reaffirmed the fundamental right of habeas corpus -- the right that all Americans, and those prisoners under American control, have to challenge the government's reasons for imprisoning them -- a fundamental American right that underpins our individual freedoms and liberty.

Now, in three separate decisions, the Supreme Court has rejected the Bush-Cheney Administration's erosion of fundamental rights. It is these very protections and rights that set America apart from our enemies and make our nation a beacon of freedom and justice for the rest of the world.

It's time to repair the damage that the Bush-Cheney Administration has done in rolling back essential rights that have long guided America's conscience -- and the Supreme Court's ruling is yet one more step in that important process. It's another signal that -- at least in this instance -- we will not cringe in fear and walk away from bedrock American values.

Today's decision is a huge victory for justice, for the Constitution, and for the rule of law. Thank you so much for continuing to stand with me and fight for the rights and freedoms we hold dear.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

Monday, June 9, 2008

This Brave Nation- 2nd in the 6-part Activist Documentary Series

Click on each image above for links to the website and the full-length documentary on social activists, Bonnie Raitt and Delores Huerta!

These two women have accomplished so much with their own lives. What are their disappointments still?
Dolores Huerta, now age 77, as of June 9, 2008_ led the UUAW farm workers grape boycott for over five years, while raising eleven children on no income. Her grandchildren still face racism in their schools.

Bonnie Raitt_ Since 1968, and the flowering of the Women’s Rights Movement, there are still very few women in the Federal levels of the Senate and the House, or in the state branches of higher governmental positions throughout the entire country. Nor are there more women in the executive levels of the media, publicity, or public relations. Leveling the playing field in terms of race, ageism, and sexism we have yet to make the strides that truly make the difference in our society. The lessons around war that drive our continued economic addiction to the Military-Congressional-Industrial Complex must be taught repeatedly every four years. The absolute responsibility of the media now as it has become constrained corporate property, has reduced complex and serious issues concerning our foreign policies, our economic policies to mere sound-bytes, and has resulted in recklessly dis-allowing an entire country to go deeper together to become wiser about these issues. This means our entire national environment is not changing fast enough and neither are the underlying reasons why we aren’t doing what as a nation we need. We need to be talking about them, we need to keep up the pressure because the stakes are much too high, and this time there is no turning back. This time it is not about saving some trees or a few whales. This is the future that we all have; citizens and politicians alike.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Suspending" Her Bid for the Presidency
Make sure the latest version AdobeFlash is on your computer, to view this link of Hillary's complete speech.

Interesting choice of words, "suspending" a woman's bid for the US Presidency.
As of yesterday, on June 8, 2008, I realized my initial understanding of this sentence could be discounted as in need of correction_ as "suspending" one's campaign has to do with laws in the world of presidential campaigning. generally described, they are laws that now have a direct impact on Hillary Clinton's need to continue fund raising, in order to pay off debts the campaign has incurred over sixteen months.
Yet, I stand by the constructive nature intended in my original understanding, to thoughtfully challenge Americans to consider the nature of our differences in close proximity to one another, as follows:

HOW MANY middle-class Americans are listening versus indulging their wounds reactively and publicly, assuming the views of other American voters? Because each person has a view that is individually different from one another_ assumption of personal opinion from one person can generally tend to come at the expense of everyone around them!!! People who generally vote alike, and who therefore are political allies, are alienated as a result of this quality "assumption," time and time again!!! Grow up average American minds, become more observant of your own thoughts and feelings_ personal 'opinion-spouters', especially in context with your neighbors as well! Let go of so much literal interpretation and your own consequent availability for more clear understanding of one another in the big picture!! Be quiet inside, listen more, observe more and hear your own real understanding beyond the hurts concerning major disappointments_ before you choose again. Choosing again, is our hard-earned right because of our and our predecessors' hard work; a commitment that is a lifetime commitment to change for the better.

It WILL take time to recover from the disappointment of this campaign. I am still shedding tears of fatigue and deep personal disappointment. We also knew it was possible that Hillary might not make it to the White House_ this is our reality as women: To chip away at the old prejudices every single day of our lives. Yet, we did make progress in this campaign! That has to continue to be the only focus, fight and cause that as women, people of color, and gays, as well as people whose immigrant status is new in America, no matter how disappointed we feel, we know the way to get there where much more is equal for all of us, is to keep moving forward. To elect the more liberal, and humanist-centered administration into the U.S. White House is the way now. The optimal word in this moment in our national history is: NOW.

Turning of the Tide in the Democratic Party?


Howard Dean <> wrote:

The Democratic Party

I wanted to drop a quick note about a major policy change here at the Democratic Party.
As we move toward the general election, the Democratic Party has to be the Party of ordinary Americans, not Washington lobbyists and special interests. So, as of this morning, if you're a federal lobbyist, or if you control political action committee donations, we won't be accepting your contribution.
This is an unprecedented move for a political party to make -- one that has sent shockwaves through Washington and has turned the debate on clean campaigns upside down. We've unilaterally agreed to shut lobbyists out of the process, and are we're relying on people just like you.
Just imagine what hundreds of thousands of Americans donating $20, $30, or $50 at a time can accomplish together. Imagine the signal that it sends to anyone who looks at John McCain's political machine and the special interest money it needs to fuel every move it makes.
We have a chance to change the way business is done in this country, and we're taking the lead. Will you join us and make a contribution right now to help us elect Barack Obama?
I've written before about guys like Charlie Black and Rick Davis, lobbyists who are at the highest levels of McCain's campaign. But they're just the start -- John McCain and the RNC suck up lobbyist money millions of dollars at a time.
In May, McCain had his best fundraising month of the campaign, and it was directly because he refuses to shut special interests out.
But we did, and we need your help. This is an example of the kind of White House Barack Obama would run. Make a contribution to help elect him:
I'll be in touch later about our plans for the general election, but I wanted to let you know about our policy change right away.
Howard Dean

DNC bans lobbyist money; Dean remains as chair


WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting swiftly as his party's presumed presidential nominee, Barack Obama is keeping Howard Dean at the helm of the Democratic National Committee, while bringing in one of his top strategists to oversee the party's operations.

The campaign also announced that the DNC will no longer accept donations from lobbyists and political action committees, to comply with Obama's campaign policy. Party officials say they expect the DNC's staff to quickly expand to run an aggressive general election campaign.

Campaign adviser Paul Tewes was dispatched to help lead the changes Thursday.

"Senator Obama appreciates the hard work that Chairman Dean has done to grow our party at the grass-roots level and looks forward to working with him as the chairman of the Democratic Party as we go forward," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

By keeping Dean as party chairman, Obama ended up taking sides in a long-running dispute between Washington-based Democratic Party leaders and state party officials. Although Obama campaign officials have expressed concern in the past that the party did not have enough money, Obama shares Dean's goal of building the party from the ground up, even in states where Republicans dominate.

Dean welcomed Tewes to the DNC, saying he would help the party transition to the general election.

"Over the last three years, the DNC staff has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Democratic Party is strong in all 50 states and that we communicate our values to Americans across the country," Dean said in a statement. "The DNC and the Obama campaign are now working together to continue this effort."

"We know that we have a lot of work ahead of us. On everything from the war in Iraq, to privatizing Social Security, to making the disastrous Bush tax cuts permanent, (Republican nominee-in-waiting) John McCain has made it clear that he is more interested in continuing the policies of the past rather than facing America's future."

The fundraising changes will make the party and the candidate have a consistent position. Obama often says banning the donations is one way to help keep him free of the influence of Washington insiders.

"Today as the Democratic nominee for president, I am announcing that going forward, the Democratic national Committee will uphold the same standard — we will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Bristol, Va.

Just a "little" comic relief!

"We are going to change how Washington works. They will not run our party. They will not run our White House. They will not drown out the views of the American people."

Obama is pressing his case that McCain is under the influence of special interests because of his advisers' lobbying ties.

McCain's senior advisers are former lobbyists, including campaign manager Rick Davis. McCain was stung last month by the disclosure that two advisers worked for a firm that had represented the military junta in Myanmar, also known as Burma, which has restricted foreign assistance for cyclone victims.

The Arizona senator instituted a new lobbying policy that says no campaign staffer can be a registered lobbyist, resulting in three more departures from his campaign, including a top fundraiser, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler.

Obama's ban on lobbyists money is not ironclad. He does accept money from lobbyists who do not do business with the federal government and he also accepts money from spouses and family members of lobbyists. He has had unpaid advisers with federal lobbying clients, and some campaign officials also previously had lobbying jobs.

The new fundraising policy is not expected to hurt the party's fundraising ability because lobbyists and PACs do not constitute a major source of money.

DNC officials said Thursday committee had raised $4.7 million in May, bringing the total raised this election cycle to $82.3 million. According to its latest report with the Federal Election Commission, the DNC had raised $2 million came from PACs over the past 16 months. And according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the DNC raised a mere $53,360 from executives or associates in lobbying firms so far this election cycle. That total, however, includes employees of lobbying firms who are not registered lobbyists.

Compared to its Republican counterpart, the DNC has been at a disadvantage.

The RNC on Thursday said it had raised a total of $166 million so far this cycle and had $53.6 million in the bank at the end of May.

The DNC reported having $4 million in the bank at the end of May.

Obama, however, has had a clear fundraising advantage over McCain. The Obama campaign has not released its May fundraising; as of the end of April, he had raised $264 million since the start of 2007.

McCain raised $21.5 million in May and entered June with $31.5 million cash on hand, campaign officials said Thursday. McCain has raised nearly $115 million since the beginning of 2007, with $77 million this year alone.

As DNC chairman, Dean set up a joint fundraising committee earlier to amass money for the eventual nominee. Acceding to Obama's wishes, that committee already was not accepting money from federal lobbyists.


Associated Press writer Libby Quaid in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS UPDATES throughout, ADDS Obama and Dean comments. ADDs new DNC, McCain and RNC fundraising totals; ADDS photo link; Changes dateline; corrects graf 17 with amount raised by DNC from PACS to $2 million, sted $3 million.)

Hillary's Speech

Thank you so much. Thank you all.

Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned, but I sure like the company.

I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you – to everyone who poured your hearts and your hopes into this campaign, who drove for miles and lined the streets waving homemade signs, who scrimped and saved to raise money, who knocked on doors and made calls, who talked and sometimes argued with your friends and neighbors, who emailed and contributed online, who invested so much in our common enterprise, to the moms and dads who came to our events, who lifted their little girls and little boys on their shoulders and whispered in their ears, “See, you can be anything you want to be.”

To the young people like 13 year-old Ann Riddle from Mayfield, Ohio who had been saving for two years to go to Disney World, and decided to use her savings instead to travel to Pennsylvania with her Mom and volunteer there as well. To the veterans and the childhood friends, to New Yorkers and Arkansans who traveled across the country and telling anyone who would listen why you supported me.

To all those women in their 80s and their 90s born before women could vote who cast their votes for our campaign. I’ve told you before about Florence Steen of South Dakota, who was 88 years old, and insisted that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside. Her daughter and a friend put an American flag behind her bed and helped her fill out the ballot. She passed away soon after, and under state law, her ballot didn’t count. But her daughter later told a reporter, “My dad’s an ornery old cowboy, and he didn’t like it when he heard mom’s vote wouldn’t be counted. I don’t think he had voted in 20 years. But he voted in place of my mom.”

To all those who voted for me, and to whom I pledged my utmost, my commitment to you and to the progress we seek is unyielding. You have inspired and touched me with the stories of the joys and sorrows that make up the fabric of our lives and you have humbled me with your commitment to our country.

18 million of you from all walks of life – women and men, young and old, Latino and Asian, African-American and Caucasian, rich, poor and middle class, gay and straight – you have stood strong with me. And I will continue to stand strong with you, every time, every place, and every way that I can. The dreams we share are worth fighting for.

Remember - we fought for the single mom with a young daughter, juggling work and school, who told me, “I’m doing it all to better myself for her.” We fought for the woman who grabbed my hand, and asked me, “What are you going to do to make sure I have health care?” and began to cry because even though she works three jobs, she can’t afford insurance. We fought for the young man in the Marine Corps t-shirt who waited months for medical care and said, “Take care of my buddies over there and then, will you please help take care of me?” We fought for all those who’ve lost jobs and health care, who can’t afford gas or groceries or college, who have felt invisible to their president these last seven years.

I entered this race because I have an old-fashioned conviction: that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their dreams. I’ve had every opportunity and blessing in my own life – and I want the same for all Americans. Until that day comes, you will always find me on the front lines of democracy – fighting for the future.

The way to continue our fight now – to accomplish the goals for which we stand – is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him, and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.

I have served in the Senate with him for four years. I have been in this campaign with him for 16 months. I have stood on the stage and gone toe-to-toe with him in 22 debates. I have had a front row seat to his candidacy, and I have seen his strength and determination, his grace and his grit.

In his own life, Barack Obama has lived the American Dream. As a community organizer, in the state senate, as a United States Senator - he has dedicated himself to ensuring the dream is realized. And in this campaign, he has inspired so many to become involved in the democratic process and invested in our common future.

Now when I started this race, I intended to win back the White House, and make sure we have a president who puts our country back on the path to peace, prosperity, and progress. And that's exactly what we're going to do by ensuring that Barack Obama walks through the doors of the Oval Office on January 20, 2009.

I understand that we all know this has been a tough fight. The Democratic Party is a family, and it’s now time to restore the ties that bind us together and to come together around the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love.

We may have started on separate journeys – but today, our paths have merged. And we are all heading toward the same destination, united and more ready than ever to win in November and to turn our country around because so much is at stake.

We all want an economy that sustains the American Dream, the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford that gas and those groceries and still have a little left over at the end of the month. An economy that lifts all of our people and ensures that our prosperity is broadly distributed and shared.

We all want a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance. This isn’t just an issue for me – it is a passion and a cause – and it is a fight I will continue until every single American is insured – no exceptions, no excuses.

We all want an America defined by deep and meaningful equality – from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families.

We all want to restore America’s standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq and once again lead by the power of our values, and to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

You know, I’ve been involved in politics and public life in one way or another for four decades. During those forty years, our country has voted ten times for President. Democrats won only three of those times. And the man who won two of those elections is with us today.

We made tremendous progress during the 90s under a Democratic President, with a flourishing economy, and our leadership for peace and security respected around the world. Just think how much more progress we could have made over the past 40 years if we had a Democratic president. Think about the lost opportunities of these past seven years – on the environment and the economy, on health care and civil rights, on education, foreign policy and the Supreme Court. Imagine how far we could’ve come, how much we could’ve achieved if we had just had a Democrat in the White House.

We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much.

Now the journey ahead will not be easy. Some will say we can’t do it. That it’s too hard. That we’re just not up to the task. But for as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject “can’t do” claims, and to choose instead to stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work, determination, and a pioneering spirit.

It is this belief, this optimism, that Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard.

So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can.

Together we will work. We’ll have to work hard to get universal health care. But on the day we live in an America where no child, no man, and no woman is without health insurance, we will live in a stronger America. That’s why we need to help elect Barack Obama our President.

We’ll have to work hard to get back to fiscal responsibility and a strong middle class. But on the day we live in an America whose middle class is thriving and growing again, where all Americans, no matter where they live or where their ancestors came from, can earn a decent living, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must elect Barack Obama our President.

We’ll have to work hard to foster the innovation that makes us energy independent and lift the threat of global warming from our children’s future. But on the day we live in an America fueled by renewable energy, we will live in a stronger America. That’s why we have to help elect Barack Obama our President.

We’ll have to work hard to bring our troops home from Iraq, and get them the support they’ve earned by their service. But on the day we live in an America that’s as loyal to our troops as they have been to us, we will live in a stronger America and that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our President.

This election is a turning point election and it is critical that we all understand what our choice really is. Will we go forward together or will we stall and slip backwards. Think how much progress we have already made. When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions:

Could a woman really serve as Commander-in-Chief? Well, I think we answered that one.

And could an African American really be our President? Senator Obama has answered that one.

Together Senator Obama and I achieved milestones essential to our progress as a nation, part of our perpetual duty to form a more perfect union.

Now, on a personal note – when I was asked what it means to be a woman running for President, I always gave the same answer: that I was proud to be running as a woman but I was running because I thought I’d be the best President. But I am a woman, and like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious.

I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.

I ran as a daughter who benefited from opportunities my mother never dreamed of. I ran as a mother who worries about my daughter’s future and a mother who wants to lead all children to brighter tomorrows. To build that future I see, we must make sure that women and men alike understand the struggles of their grandmothers and mothers, and that women enjoy equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal respect. Let us resolve and work toward achieving some very simple propositions: There are no acceptable limits and there are no acceptable prejudices in the twenty-first century.

You can be so proud that, from now on, it will be unremarkable for a woman to win primary state victories, unremarkable to have a woman in a close race to be our nominee, unremarkable to think that a woman can be the President of the United States. And that is truly remarkable.

To those who are disappointed that we couldn’t go all the way – especially the young people who put so much into this campaign – it would break my heart if, in falling short of my goal, I in any way discouraged any of you from pursuing yours. Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. When you stumble, keep faith. When you’re knocked down, get right back up. And never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.

As we gather here today in this historic magnificent building, the 50th woman to leave this Earth is orbiting overhead. If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.

Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time. That has always been the history of progress in America.

Think of the suffragists who gathered at Seneca Falls in 1848 and those who kept fighting until women could cast their votes. Think of the abolitionists who struggled and died to see the end of slavery. Think of the civil rights heroes and foot-soldiers who marched, protested and risked their lives to bring about the end to segregation and Jim Crow.

Because of them, I grew up taking for granted that women could vote. Because of them, my daughter grew up taking for granted that children of all colors could go to school together. Because of them, Barack Obama and I could wage a hard fought campaign for the Democratic nomination. Because of them, and because of you, children today will grow up taking for granted that an African American or a woman can yes, become President of the United States.

When that day arrives and a woman takes the oath of office as our President, we will all stand taller, proud of the values of our nation, proud that every little girl can dream and that her dreams can come true in America. And all of you will know that because of your passion and hard work you helped pave the way for that day.

So I want to say to my supporters, when you hear people saying – or think to yourself – “if only” or “what if,” I say, “please don’t go there.” Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. We have to work together for what still can be. And that is why I will work my heart out to make sure that Senator Obama is our next President and I hope and pray that all of you will join me in that effort.

To my supporters and colleagues in Congress, to the governors and mayors, elected officials who stood with me, in good times and in bad, thank you for your strength and leadership. To my friends in our labor unions who stood strong every step of the way – I thank you and pledge my support to you. To my friends, from every stage of my life – your love and ongoing commitments sustain me every single day. To my family – especially Bill and Chelsea and my mother, you mean the world to me and I thank you for all you have done. And to my extraordinary staff, volunteers and supporters, thank you for working those long, hard hours. Thank you for dropping everything – leaving work or school – traveling to places you’d never been, sometimes for months on end. And thanks to your families as well because your sacrifice was theirs too.

All of you were there for me every step of the way. Being human, we are imperfect. That’s why we need each other. To catch each other when we falter. To encourage each other when we lose heart. Some may lead; others may follow; but none of us can go it alone. The changes we’re working for are changes that we can only accomplish together. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights that belong to each of us as individuals. But our lives, our freedom, our happiness, are best enjoyed, best protected, and best advanced when we do work together.

That is what we will do now as we join forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make history together as we write the next chapter in America’s story. We will stand united for the values we hold dear, for the vision of progress we share, and for the country we love. There is nothing more American than that.

And looking out at you today, I have never felt so blessed. The challenges that I have faced in this campaign are nothing compared to those that millions of Americans face every day in their own lives. So today, I’m going to count my blessings and keep on going. I’m going to keep doing what I was doing long before the cameras ever showed up and what I’ll be doing long after they’re gone: Working to give every American the same opportunities I had, and working to ensure that every child has the chance to grow up and achieve his or her God-given potential.

I will do it with a heart filled with gratitude, with a deep and abiding love for our country– and with nothing but optimism and confidence for the days ahead. This is now our time to do all that we can to make sure that in this election we add another Democratic president to that very small list of the last 40 years and that we take back our country and once again move with progress and commitment to the future.

Thank you all and God bless you and God bless America.